He Owes the World an Apology but Don’t Hold Your Breath: It’s His 'Job'Rogoway opens with the little Punk Journalistic lie in the title: F-35 Can't Carry Its Most Versatile Weapon Until At Least 2022. Rogoway’s ‘article’ is about the F-35 and the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDBII) , or GBU-53/B.
The BIGGEST problem with Rogoway’s hit-piece is that even within the article itself, it is recognized that all of the F-35 variants CAN carry the GBU-53/B, it is just at the moment the F-35B can’t carry as many internally as it will after 2020-22:
When it comes to the F-35B and this game-changing weapon, the problem is fairly simple. The F-35B, even with its truncated weapons bay compared to its A and C model cousins, was supposed to be able to carry eight SDB IIs internally.
Further, Rogoway's article (through his ignorance?) was/is written up without recognizing certain protocols of aircraft weapons design and integration. ESPECIALLY the one that requires new planes to be compatible with selected existing weapons for integration, AND that new weapons are required to be compatible with existing planes on which they are designated to be used. Normally, any conflict between the F-35B and the SDB II would be a ‘hit’ against Raytheon, but since Raytheon wasn’t being beat up for busting some Outer Mold Line envelope, it took me all of a few minutes to locate information WHY no one was pointing fingers (other than Punk Journalists that is).
The SDB II program office has made considerable progress on the F-35 risk reduction effort to address the ongoing F-35 System Development and Demonstration program delays. The SDB II team successfully conducted F-35B and F-35C weapon’s bay fit checks utilizing production jets. The data collected during these fit checks will be used to finalize the modification of the F-35B weapon's bay. These efforts are on track and serve as a critical risk reduction event for both the SDB II and F-35 programs.
Rogoway doesn’t like how the SDBII deployment is ‘happening’. Is that the F-35B’s “fault”?
It’s a program decision made a while back (at least years ago: pg 117):
According to program officials, the biggest risk facing the program is integration with JSF. If JSF cannot meet its design specifications, then SDB II may not meet its requirements for weapon effectiveness or availability on that aircraft and may need design changes. The JSF is now integrating other weapons which will allow the program to determine the accuracy of its design documents. Many of these weapons have more stringent thermal and vibration requirements than SDB II. Additionally, SDB I will begin integration with JSF about 2 years prior to SDB II. By integrating with JSF after these weapons SDB II will be able to leverage data from these efforts.Did Rogoway expect the entire F-35 program to re-jigger it’s schedule (no chance of delaying anything else is there?) JUST to put the FULL INTERNAL SDB II load on the F-35B earlier? I note here that if the program so desired, they could load 4 SDB II’s internally early and 8 later, and all the while put the full external pylon SDB II loadout on as well.
And it’s not as if the SDB II is any different than any other program. To hear Ol’ Ty tell it, the SDB is 'ready to go' and ONLY the F-35B weapons bay tweak is holding it up. Sorry, the SDBII story was still being written as of last year’s GAO rundown on selected systems (pg 119-120). I expect this year’s report will give the ‘all clear’, but it can cloud up again as well.
As an aside and IMHO, what this 'issue' looks like is a minor tweak of F-35B weapon bay content arrangements, including all the little ticky-tack pieces of suspension equipment, weapon interface busses, and stuff that is just passing through the weapons bay. I make this observation based upon the acute lack of hand-wringing in the responsible corners, the 2013 'fit check' that cleared the weapon-weapon and weapon-door clearance....and program spokesperson statements at Rogoway's source... that Rogoway didn't bother mention. Doesn't require much insight, just a lot less bias.
What's the point?
Pentagon's most expensive fighter jet which is set to be used by the Royal Navy on HMS Queen Elizabeth CAN'T carry most advanced weapons because of design flaw
Never mind, that the Brits aren’t planning on even buying the SDB II yet (even says so in the UK Mail piece), the title 'says it all'. Really? REALLY.
90% of readers won't read the article, 90% of those who bother won't recognze the cognitive dissonance between the title and content.
Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the F-35 program, said in an Inside Defense interview last week that changes are being made to the jet so it can be released on schedule.
DellaVedova also said that Lockheed Martin will likely get the alterations contract down the line in 2015.
'This is not a new issue to us,' DellaVedova told Inside Defense. 'We've been working with the SDB II program office and their contractors since 2007.
'The fit issues have been known and documented and there were larger and more substantial modifications needed to support SDB II that have already been incorporated into production F-35 aircraft.
'These minor or remaining changes were put on hold until the aircraft reached a sufficient level of maturity to ensure that the needed changes would not adversely impact any ongoing SDB [II] developments.'
Inside Defense reported that the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program office so far has not publicly recognized problems - and that eight internal and 16 external SDB IIs are in fact meant to go on the F-35B.
Update: If I'd realized a thread at F-16.net had already started washing Rogoway's spew overboard while I was at work I would have just pointed people there. I got this ready for publication last night, decided to check in and relax and found Rogoway's piece pretty much in tatters.
Update 2: Geez Louise. On another thread at F-16.net, 'Linkomart' (Hat tip) posted an update to the original article:
(Editors Note: This story has been updated to clarify the scope of the F-35B internal weapons bay design changes.)So this ENTIRE exercise is over nit noi 'piece-part' changes? It will take longer to release the engineering drawings than it will to modify and install the new parts.
The internal weapons bay of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter cannot fit the required Small Diameter Bomb II weapons load, and a hydraulic line and structural bracket must be redesigned and modified ahead of the planned Block 4 release in fiscal year 2022, the joint program office confirmed this week.
Looks like the F-35 program is on to a highly effective technique for exposing Punk Journalists eh? : Just let them run with their ignorance and stupidity.