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F35 Joint Strike Program


Submitted By jmatt525
Words 2473
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The F35 joint strike fighter program, formerly the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) Program, began in the early 1980s and 1990s along with several other multi role stealth fighters but is the only one since that the department of defense has finalized and put into production. The combined efforts from previous models and several fighters have made the F35 the outmost advanced and deadly fighter to this day. The F35 is known as a fifth generation fighter because of its combined engineering efforts and advancements of fighter aircrafts over the past fifty years. The key to air superiority is obviously having the best aviation technology which is why the AIR Force, Navy, and Marines have all participated in the F35 program as well as an International community from the UK, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, and Denmark. The primary contractor for the F35 program is Lockheed Martin, while Northrup Grumman and BAE systems have also been major contributors to the technology and advancement of the program. As it reads on the JSF website “The focus of the program is affordability -- reducing the development cost, production cost, and cost of ownership of the JSF family of aircraft.” This statement along with defining the F35 program as a system and as a whole will be the main topic of this research paper. A system is defined as a group of elements, components and attributes working together to perform some kind of function. The JSF program as a system has many elements known as Integrated Product teams (IPT) s which work together to perform the end function of producing and maintaining the F35 multi role fighter. The JSF program has 16 components or IPT’S each with their own sub-systems which keep the system operational and sustainable at all times. In October 2001 the system design and development plan began for the F35 program which marked the beginning of the conceptual phase of the JSF program. The JSF is a physical system being that it has manifested into physical form, consumes physical space, and has many sub-systems of production and manufacturing. Prior to 2001 and the start of the SDD the JSF was a conceptual system composed of ideas, plans, concepts and hypothesis of what some say was 50 years in the making. It is also a human made system being that it has a functional purpose in response to an identified need and has the ability to achieve operational objectives, it was brought into being and operates over a life cycle, and is composed of a harmonized combination of resources, as stated previously has subsystems and related components that interact with each other to produce a desired system response or behavior, as well as its IPTs having a hierarchy that is influenced by external factors from the system as a whole. Another characteristic that makes the JSF program a human-made or engineered system is that human beings are intervening with through components, attributes, and relationships. To define the system as a whole each IPT will be discussed and defined to explain how they contribute to the overall life cycle of the program. The first IPT is the Air Vehicle team, composed of six IPT’s working with developers and contractors to ensure operational feasibility, validate and deliver an affordable operationally effective, operationally suitable, production-ready and sustainable JSF Air Vehicle within SDD cost and schedule constraints for the warfighter. The first component is the Air Vehicle Systems Engineering Integration Team. The main task of this component is to ensure integration throughout the whole life cycle and at levels of the Air Vehicle Team. This means being responsible for Environmental Issues and ensuring the concept of green engineering is applied; Propulsion Integration; Requirements and Specialty Engineering; Aerodynamic Performance; Flight Sciences. The second component inside the Air Vehicle Team is Basing and Shipboard Suitability. The mission for Base and shipboard suitability is quality control and inspection for the F35 air system created by Lockheed Martin. They ensure the air systems produced are compatible with and operationally supportable from all F-35 basing options, F35A, F35B, and F35C. Sustainability and quality control is achieved through a detailed 300 line item checklist entailing requirements and military standards and is referred to as the BASS checklist. The JPO BASS team is also responsible for integrating new technology, administrating new alternatives to the air systems, budgeting new technologies and providing feedback for any alterations done to the air systems. The next component for the Air Vehicle Team is Airframe/ Manufacturing. Airframe/ Manufacturing are responsible for applying tooling techniques, assembly and manufacturing of Lockheed and BAE system products for the F35. The application of Lockheed Martin’s Airframe Affordability Demonstration (ADD) has greatly reduced the time and cost for manufacturing, this was achieved through the use of conceptual system design and engineering alternatives. The next component in the Air vehicle team is Vehicle systems. This component is responsible for several systems inside the F35 program. They consist of Flight Control System Hardware and Software; Utility Systems; Onboard Vehicle Systems Processing Infrastructure; the Vehicle Systems PHM Area Manager/Software; and the overall propulsion systems integration. The Mission Systems is the next component for Air Vehicle Systems. This component is what makes up all the electronic targeting, mapping, Radar; Electronic Warfare Countermeasures; Integrated Communication, Navigation, Identification suite; Electro-Optical Target System; and EO Distributed Aperture System inside the F35. The website refers to all these systems as having functional dependencies which implies that they operate on a series network. A series network implies that all systems must operate in a satisfactory manner for the system as a whole to operate effectively. In the event of one system not operating correctly a system failure will most likely occur. Being that it is a military system there are most likely counter measures and redundancies in the event of failure to keep the aircraft operational. All of these electronic systems discussed have key roles in the mission effectiveness of the F35 weapons systems. The last component in the air vehicle system is the Weapons Integration Team. Weapons Integration by definition is responsible for load, carry and employing of all JSF program F35 weapon systems. Only recently have the weapons integration team began testing with field exercises on all weapons including the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile. Each one of these components plays a crucial role to the operations of the Air Vehicle System. The next IPT in the JSF program is Autonomic Logistics. The website describes Autonomic Logistics as an automatic response to an unforeseen problem that can occur while the system is operating under regular conditions. The timeliness of the JSF Autonomic logistics team shows the system’s effectiveness in the event of corrective maintenance due to a failure. The website also discusses five key concepts that the AL team and Lockheed Martin strive for in the end result. They are: “Smart and Reliable Aircraft – An aircraft with reliability, maintainability, and prognostic and health management (PHM) inherent in the design, enabling the entire AL Concept. Technology Enabled and Supported Maintainer – Trained maintenance personnel, with information, instructions, tools, parts and materials. Integrated Training Environment – Integrated training environment mission-qualified pilots and maintainers, regardless of location. Intelligent Information Infrastructure – Intelligent information infrastructure that captures, analyzes and identifies system characteristics and interfaces with legacy support systems to provide F-35 information for every user worldwide Performance-Based Best Value Sustainment – A business approach that equally weighs risk, schedule, cost and technical aspects to provide a cost effective, affordable support system that reduces total cost ownership over the life cycle.”(JSF.MIL) The main concept of the AL team is having preventative maintenance in place to ensure operational mission effectiveness in the occurrence of an unexpected system maintenance failure. The third IPT in the JSF program is identified as Propulsion. This element of the JSF program is responsible for the integration and effectiveness of the F135 jet turbine engine. The F135 is currently in the system design and development phase undergoing several tests; performance tests to verify individual system performance, Environmental qualification, Structural Tests to determine quality of materials under stress and strain, reliability qualification and maintainability demonstration through the use of running engines for extended periods of time. The propulsion IPT is also responsible for the integration of the Rolls-Royce Lift System and the Lockheed martin Shaft Driven Lift Fan (SDLF).
Air Systems Integration is the next IPT in the JSF program and their main goal is to ensure system wide integration of system requirements and the JSF program mission statement. System integration is performed throughout every stage of design progression providing reviews at the end of every stage and applying corrective measures when necessary. These reviews can occur continuously and are generally informal. The specific responsibilities of the F35 ASI are; Technical/performance/functional threads, Variant, Block, Basing, Interoperability , ,Block Plan management ,Maintain Joint Common Specification ,JRAG leadership ,Acquisition Management ,Defense Acquisition Board Milestone Planning and Documentation ,Production Contract Planning and Development, Contractor Assessment ,Earned Value, Cost Estimates, Information response to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Services, Congressional, International Partner and other outside agency queries, Manages program level reviews, boards and working groups.
The Air systems engineering team for the JSF program is the next IPT listed in the program. The Air systems engineering team just like any engineering team is responsible for program wide application of efficient technical plans, configuration Control, Measurement of Technical Status, and Technical Processes. Some detailed descriptions provided by JSF.MIL are listed below “Responsible for ensuring all products and activities are designed and developed in accordance with sound systems engineering principles; and developing and implementing the JPO processes for Design Reviews, Risk Management,; Managing the Air System Software Policy and Practices; Overseeing the Product, Managing, the program Modeling, Simulation and Analysis; Excluding Operational Analysis. A member of appropriate program level reviews, boards and working groups. Establishing Program-wide metrics to aid IPTs in their tasks. Developing team and individual performance objectives/criteria that emphasize air system optimization and engineering processes. Maintain and manage the SEMP in conjunction with the ASC and PSCs. Develop a SEP to meet Milestone C Requirements.”
The Air system requirements IPT and Air Systems logistics IPT will be defined next in the JSF program. The Air systems requirement IPT does exactly what its name implies, manages system wide requirements. This team is devoted to the application of technical requirements outlined in the SEMP and ensuring they are followed to the T. Every IPT discussed so far works directly with Air System requirements during the entire system design and development phase to receive feedback on overall program visibility and ensuring every IPT is proceeding in an effective manner. Requirements can change at any time during a systems life cycle and having a strong Requirements team will ensure that they are met every step of the way. Next information will be provided on how the Air Systems logistics is responsible for system wide supply to every IPT. Effective logistics in any program will help ensure that a system can operate in an effective and efficient manner. The responsibilities for this IPT include; Information flow, supply chain management, inventory management, customer service, production planning, transportation and anything and everything else that logistics for supporting an entire system encompasses.
The Air system production is listed next and its main goal is the effective production of the F35 aircraft. Production and logistics IPT work very close in that they are both physically manifesting the F35 into being. The production team also works very close with verification and testing IPT to ensure quality control on any production of F35 materials. The production work is producing the JSF air vehicle system and the F35 propulsion system. The next IPT is verification and testing. Since the beginging of the system design and development phase in 2001 the verification and test team have been working to provide a top of the line, cross functional system evaluation. This includes but not limited to; Determining the requirements for system test, evaluation and validation; planning for system test and evaluation; preparing for system test and evaluation; conducting all systems tests for system wide IPT’s, collecting and analyzing data and ensuring timely feedback, and incorporating system modification when required and needed. This team also has one of the largest numbers for man power with over 200+ as well as one of the largest operating budgets at just over 1.8 billion dollars. The test and evaluation is a crucial part of any system because it helps determine if the system is running at its optimal level and ensures there are no discrepancies or variants, and if any are discovered they can provide feedback to other IPT’s to help find alternatives for said discovered problems. This IPT is responsible for testing throughout the whole program from conceptual phase of every IPT, to flight testing conducting at AFB’s around the country. There are generally four types of testing including the analytical evaluation during conceptual design. The first type of testing is conducted during preliminary design. The second is conducted in the detail design and development where prototypes and production models are begging to be developed. The third type is conducted during production of the F35. This testing ensures that the system is running at optimal levels but the system is not yet fully operational. The fourth type of testing occurs when there is a finished product and the system is fully operational and being utilized. The F35 program is currently in between type 3 and type 4 testing in different areas across the program.
The last major IPT that will be discussed is Business and financial management. The current budget for the JSF program is just over 40.5 billion dollars, and with the system still in the System design and development phase it is only going to increase. This IPT works program wide to ensure cost effectiveness in every aspect. Without the application of a well maintained budget and the support of engineers ensuring operational cost effectiveness the JSF program would most likely not made it as far as it has. With the discussion of cost at hand the website has not placed very much emphasis on the breakdown of costs program wide. Many of the documents that are available for download are from pre 2009 and do not have a good cost analysis available for viewing.
There are seven other IPT’s inside the JSF program that have not been discussed so far. They are; international, operations, contract, security, public affairs, and legal. Each of these IPT’s plays a crucial part in the program but because the main topic of this research paper is the focus on the engineering behind the F35 they have been excluded as main talking points and only briefly mentioned.

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