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CAF sees first RAAF F-35 under construction

written by WOFA | November 8, 2012
CAF with Northrop Grumman's Gary Ervin, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, and Michelle Scarpella, vice president of the F-35 program.

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown has observed production of the centre fuselage for the first RAAF F-35A Joint Strike Fighter during a visit to Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, California facility last week.

AIRMSHL Brown toured Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Assembly Line, which produces F-35 centre fuselage sections, and where the first inlet ducts for the RAAF F-35A AU-1 were jig-loaded on October 9. AU-1 will be handed over to the RAAF in 2014, and initially will be based in the US for pilot training.

“We were honoured to host Air Marshal Brown here in Palmdale,” said Michelle Scarpella, vice president of the F-35 program for Northrop Grumman. “He was able to see firsthand our advanced facility and manufacturing techniques that will help deliver the most advanced and most effective stealthy strike fighter to the Royal Australian Air Force.”


  • jimmy latsos


    Only time will tell wether this will be an historic day for the RAAF or a day of infamy?!. I hope that the f-35 will be the game changer that L.M. promised.God speed ,lightning 2 .

  • Observer


    Has there been any word on the RAAF or RAN purchasing the F-35B model for the LHD’s ?

    And NO (certain individual) I don’t want a 20,000 word essay on why F-35B is a bad choice for LHD’s!!!!

  • William


    Not officially, and from the designs you would have to trade off helicopter hangar space for the F-35’s, which would effect the number of troops you could mobilise rapidly significantly. Obviously it would depend on the the mission of the ship of course, and would be great for force projection.

  • BH


    Ever since the lhd idea was put on the table the govt has put so much effort in to writing off that idea that the chances of the f35b being acquired are non existent… We’ll be lucky to even see the quoted “up to 100” f35a’s. The cost of: buying the more expensive varient, the extra training, support of such a small fleet and the capability impact of having part of the total fleet with the lesser range/payload etc just couldn’t be justified for a small player like Australia. As good as capability as it would be unfortunately the practicality or lack there of will always win over…

  • Peter


    The F-35s are chickenfeed to the Sukhoi’s. The F-35′s high power jammer will have this capability but will likely be unusable against the most likely high threat scenarios. Again, the F-35 is the world’s first trillion-dollar plane that will certainly fail the air defence requirement – so it must be very, very bad.

    For instance, the electronic warfare capabilities of the Su-35S Super Flanker-E are also more extensive than in earlier Flankers-Bs. A comprehensive internal ESM/RWR system is fitted. Wingtip KNIRTI SAP-518 series phased array EWSP jamming pods are the baseline, with 5 to 18 GHz coverage against SAM engagement radars, SAM seekers and fighter radars. A large centreline SAP-14 pod can be carried for support jamming, this 1 to 4 GHz design being analogous to US ALQ-99 pods on the EA-18G Growler, but using electronic rather than mechanical beam steering. A Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) and expendables are carried. To enhance the potency of the EWSP suite, extensive treatment with radar absorbent materials has been applied, following the model used in the F/A-18E/F and F-15SE, with Russian claims of a thirty fold reduction in frontal X-band signature. In practice, external stores will impair signature gains much as in the Boeing fighters.

    The F-35 is neither balanced survivability nor a true stealth 5th generation aircraft. The F-35 has no credible defensive jamming. Those selling the idea that the F-35′s AESA radar as a defensive device against enemy terminal radar concerns aren’t believable. Power output limits, thermal concerns along with the limited field of view and in-band frequency limits make the idea of the F-35 radar as a defensive solution of little value. It is only useful on a marketing PowerPoint slide to the clueless. And, unlike the designers of the F-22, the F-35 will not be in possession of true stealth, high-speed and high altitude to help degrade enemy no-escape-zone firing solutions of weapons. The thrust-vectoring on the F-22 is also an aid for quickly changing direction at Mach and not just sub-sonic speed.

    Andrew McLaughlin (former Australian Aviation deputy editor and now in NACC) is a Labor wingnut. His argument is all out of the loop and an outlier with all thana marketing information which spreads all full of belony rumour publications when he writes on magazines and books about the F-35 JSF’s APG-81 AESA radar is a defensive device against enemy terminal radar, has a very potent credible defensive jamming equipment to jam the Russian/Chinese fighters radars, IADS, missiles and AAAs, cheap to acquire at $60 or $70 million for R&D, own and maintain, carries more weapons load, long range, faster acceleration and rapid turn rate than legacy fighters. The F-35′s stealth capability will actually get stealthier over time that doesn’t lose its special stealth skin coating which the surface material smooths out over time, slightly reducing the F-35’s original radar signature which is a right and ideal aircraft for RAAF’s requirements.

    What you see and hear about the F-35′s performance and its effectiveness is all based on a thana marketing PowerPoint slides to make you believe the aircraft is suitable for the RAAF and other air forces, navy and marine corps with wrong facts that make you clueless what Andrew or other pro-F-35 advocates are talking about.

    So don’t believe Andrew McLaughlin, RAAF personnels, Boeing – Lockheed Martin manufacturers, Department of Defence and the Government on air power issues.

    They don’t have a clue about air power. Why?

    “Modernising our aging … fighter force depends on the fifth generation capabilities of the Joint Strike Fighter”. “Simply put, there is no alternative to the F-35 program. It must succeed.”

    1. You can’t maintain air superiority with the F-35 vs. emerging threats.
    2. Which means you can not “hold any target at risk”.
    3. The F-35 has no credible “fifth-generation capabilities”; except maybe in the eyes of the marketing pukes.
    4. The idea that there are no alternatives to the F-35 (for the USAF and other countries) is untrue.
    5. “It must succeed”. Hitler was famous for statements similar to this when the German Army was getting torn to shreds; ignoring the concept that the enemy has a will of their own.

    McLaughlin, the RAAF, DoD, Boeing and LM manufactures have a history of misleading people on air power issues.

    I’m really glad that Andrew had left AA for good because he realises that he no longer fits the job in the Aerospace Defence Industry a.k.a lack of knowledge on air power that doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing by crippling the RAAF with wrong equipment.

    So again, don’t believe them about air power issues.

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