A Freedom of Information request has brought to light the delayed implementation of the Air Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) in the F-35B aircraft.

A document attached to the FOI request, a 2021 Air System Safety Case – Safety Statement for Lightning, details that the introduction of ACAS, initially set for 2024, has been pushed back to 2028 for Manual ACAS and 2029 for Auto ACAS.

“F-35 Air Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) was scheduled for introduction into service in 2024. Although ACAS is regarded as a high priority by the UK, the US Services (and therefore the F-35 Programme) regard it as very low priority and it has recently been deferred. Forecast integration dates are now Jan 2028 for Manual ACAS and Jan 2029 for Auto ACAS.”

The document also states:

“I am content that the Air Safety Risks to Life (RtL) associated with the routine operation of Lng are currently managed and mitigated such that they remain at least ALARP and Tolerable.”

The principle of ‘As Low As Reasonably Practicable’ (ALARP) dictates that risks should be managed to the lowest feasible level while remaining below the maximum allowable risk.

In a 2019 inquiry, Douglas Ross, Conservative MP from Moray, questioned the Ministry of Defence on how the F-35 Lightning aircraft complied with specific aviation safety standards. In response, Stuart Andrew, then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, stated, “The UK is, however, working with the US to develop an automated Air Collision Avoidance System for the F-35. Prior to this integration, we remain fully confident that the F-35’s advanced situational awareness enables it to operate safely.”

The delayed integration of ACAS raises questions about the continued adherence to this principle and whether the current measures without ACAS are sufficient to ensure the safety of the aircraft and its operators.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also previously worked for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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NorthernAlly
NorthernAlly
15 days ago

Just read an article in the telegraph saying a professor in York as realises a paper basically saying we should ditch domestic suppliers and just buy off the shelf from other countries. This is a perfect example as to why for our key defence needs that is bad. We are at the whims of what other countries think are priorities and if they don’t match up we are at the bottom of the list. Buying foreign off the shelf certainly has its place but for key assets we should be pushing British products or at least working with partner nations… Read more »

C B
C B
15 days ago
Reply to  NorthernAlly

I completely agree, and when we do decide to go with British products they cost much more for a less. I guess this should be expected with not buying pre-tested products. With the whole British defence industry dominated by BAE it leads us to spend ever more because there’s no other company to turn to.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
15 days ago
Reply to  NorthernAlly

15% of all F35 sold are built here.

The trouble with buying British is that we have a long history of mismanaging large projects, which we then cancel after having spend £billions. We are spending about £50 billion a year on defence, look at the pathetic amount of kit we have for it.

I’m all for buying battle proven off-the-shelf kit, we would get far more bang for our buck

Coll
Coll
15 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

And the F-35 has been mismanaged by Lockheed and the Pentagon. Does AJAX count when it comes to poor quality when getting the first initial batch?

Last edited 15 days ago by Coll
Jim
Jim
15 days ago
Reply to  Coll

Not sure I still agree on F35, look what it delivers at a price that’s ridiculously low. The aircraft is massively higher spec than it was planned at the start of the program but the price is inline with initial projections.

Stick meteor on it and the new radar and it’s probably deadlier than an F22 in the air for like $80 million.

grizzler
grizzler
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

yeah but that the point isn’t it..we can’t so it isn’t.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

JIM Meteor and SPEAR 3 integration are already funded and part of the F35B Block4 upgrade. We are not the only country having our own kit integrated by that Norway is as well. As for the F35B Radar why would you need to upgrade it ?

Netking
Netking
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

I think he’s referring to the fact that Northrop Grumman has gone and secretly developed an even more advanced radar for the F-35 that will go on all block 4 jets.

Jim
Jim
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Current radar is amazing but the AN/APG 85 is an entire new level of amazing and it will be two generations beyond the AN/APG 77 on the F22.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Much of the kit on F22 is indeed archaic by modern technology standards and that’s the problem, the US is pandering. Do they spend a fortune on massively upgrading it to F35 standards or do they do the minimum required and wait for the Gen 6 replacements. It’s a problematical airframe but still towards the pinnacle of capability in the great order of things with lots of life potential in it and perhaps the biggest question is will the Gen 6 replacement in reality be (as promised) a far more reliable, upgradable and flexible platform.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Hello Jim, “The aircraft is massively higher spec than it was planned at the start of the program” But at what cost? not including the cost of installing the new engines when they finally arrive and where will we be in the queue for them? FOC for Meteor/Spear 3? When? 2030s. “We have been eating into the life of this engine since the beginning of the program because we did under-spec the engine and its requirements,” he continued. “We are building costs into this program by eating into the life of this engine with additional overhauls that are expected over… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
15 days ago
Reply to  Coll

Wallace decided that Ajax has turned a corner and recent posts on the Forces News YouTube channel show an initial batch of 4 being successfully tested by the Blues and Royals.

The initial batch – if they are accepted – will set the standard for the rest. We must wait a little longer to see if they have brought the quality up to an acceptable standard

Peter tattersll
Peter tattersll
15 days ago
Reply to  Coll

Really ? They can’t build enough of them .

Jim
Jim
15 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I agree on smaller more bespoke items off the shelf is fine especially if the countries we buy from also buy our off the shelf solutions. P8 is a good example as is E7. No point reinventing the wheel to procure a small number of platforms and UK MPA and AWACS domestic solutions were a disaster in the past. I think it’s vital though that we continue to build warships and Fast Jet aircraft as well as armoured vehicles and artillery systems. Helicopter’s is a nice to have but not essential system for domestic production. I think domestic drones is… Read more »

NorthernAlly
NorthernAlly
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Agreed for example the river joints have been a brilliant piece of kit and we didn’t have to waste 100s of millions if not billions designing a very specific peice of kit only a couple of nations would want in small numbers. However let’s look at the eurofighter which yes does have problems but for every £1 spent on designing and building it how much has gone back into the treasury through all the different taxes it would go through. If we had just went screw it and bought the Rafale or F16 most of it would have left the… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
14 days ago
Reply to  NorthernAlly

We seem to think that only we have these problems, when they are endemic to advanced and particularly advanced military hardware. The US hardly ever gets a project to its goal efficiently or remotely near proposed cost despite their capabilities, budget, internal competitiveness and industrial base. Sadly it only seems like it’s us who through post Imperial navel gazing who as a result write off our National capabilities, worth and potential. At the top end, our technological capabilities are second to none despite our relative size. I fear while we run our Governance from a dilapidated Victorian edifice with 500… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Fast Jets.

Should be domestic or joint with others.

Drones/ UAV systems
Electronics/Avionics/Radar/Sonar
Munitions.
Missiles.
Engines.
Ships and ships systems especially.
Submarines.

Should all be domestic.

The rest, helicopters, transport aircraft, MPA, artillery, buy OTS.
I’d like Armoured Vehicles and Artillery to be domestic ideally, but governments seem to have eradicated that. If we can go on to rejuvenate home industry at a good price, then fine. Otherwise, OTS.

Steve
Steve
15 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

15% of the work, doesnt’ mean 15% of the profits or income. I haven’t seen any actual data behind the 15% outside polictical statements.

Louis
Louis
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve

It’s 15% of the value built in Britain which makes sense as most British components are specialised high value components.

The major components in size will be RRs components on the B, and BAE’s rear fuselage on all F35s (the only fuselage component where that is the case), and the majority of vertical and horizontal tails.

Jim
Jim
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Actually it’s more than 15% of the profits atleast on production. The US builds 15% but BAE also builds 15% due to its US defence subsidiaries. So UK PLC captures more than 15%.

Steve
Steve
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Us subs pay profit in the US and not UK. Just because they have a head office in the UK doesn’t created extra value beyond the jobs there.

Steve
Steve
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Also do you have any sources on that with figures?

Not saying its not true, I just couldn’t find any data to back up the 15% figures

Last edited 14 days ago by Steve
grizzler
grizzler
15 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

That doesn’t counter the fact that in doing so we have allowed our requirements to be delayed based on the different priorities of the manufacturer -which is what the OP was alluding to.

Stc
Stc
14 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

That’s to some part to bad organisation at the MOD and drip feeding projects. It allows all projects to take a lot longer than necessary inflation and delay increase costs leading to cost cutting elsewhere. It’s going to get worse, note Hunts commitment to 2% of GDP no mention of a gradual increase to 2 and half % of GDP promised recently. Plans made by the MOD will have to now be altered. Cuts in projects inevitable, because that and training deployment is the only areas they can be made. Leading to problems with things like Tempest. By the time,… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
14 days ago
Reply to  Stc

The problem with blaming the politicians for the MoD’s appalling record of incompetence, mismanagement and endless costly cock-ups is that it let’s them get away with it.

The headcount at the MoD has risen this year from ~62,000 to ~67,000. We never hear of a reduction in headcount do we? Empire building is alive and well in the MoD

Coll
Coll
15 days ago
Reply to  NorthernAlly

Stimulating the economy is also paramount. But hey, why create another generation of engineers?

Last edited 15 days ago by Coll
Coll
Coll
15 days ago
Reply to  Coll

I see your point. Meanwhile, we just buy projects that have just as much of a dismal development record and degenerate our capabilities and skills. Cool. Don’t get me wrong, I want success for Tempest, but it’s worrying when we have certain parties cancelling projects and politicians getting involved.

Last edited 15 days ago by Coll
Jim
Jim
15 days ago
Reply to  Coll

I think tempest only fails if Japan pulls out, like AUKUS it’s too big a deal for HMG. £15 billion over 10 years is chump change for a government that spends £30 billion a day. Labour won’t ever allow UK aerospace plants to close nor will the Tory’s.
Other items in defence spending will take a hit especially if tempest ends up being too expensive but they will sacrifice other capability to get it done.

If Japan pulls out different story but then we just buy more F35 and drones.

Dokis
Dokis
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

The fact that UK, Italy, Japan are all nations with similar needs, and besides that, also that UK and Italy have currently similar jets delivered with similar timelines makes the GCAP a strong program. Good to be free from the French needs of a CATOBAR version or the German indecisiveness or the American everything. I think GCAP will be a success.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
15 days ago
Reply to  Dokis

I have always found that we tend to deliver projects much better when we are working in a partnership. For some reason it tends to deter deter civil service dithering, Political tinkering and keep us on track.
When left to our own devices however it tends to go er Pear shaped.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Labour won’t ever allow UK aerospace plants to close. Who do you think destroyed the aerospace industry in the sixties and seventies? BUT…in the end I would rather buy the right equipment than worry about it’s source. If our companies are best buy it , if not go abroad.

Jim
Jim
14 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Different story now, if you close Warton you close an entire industry. The UK aerospace plants and companies in the 60’s needed some major rationalisation.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

You hope 😉

Louis
Louis
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Warton isn’t the only aircraft factory. All Airbus wings are produced in the UK in Broughton, Belfast and Filton. Samlesbury still has an assembly line for the aft fuselage on F35 etc. When Brough closed a few years back barely anybody batted an eye. Warton manufactures parts for other aircraft as well so wouldn’t close. The issue with rationalisation is exemplified in BAE. Both Hawker Siddeley and BAC could’ve remained separate when they were merged and nationalised. After a long list of decisions made by BAe, Britain went from Concordes first flight in 1969, to not producing any commercial aircraft… Read more »

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I think the more likely scenario will be the European 6th Gen and Tempest projects will be amalgamated. However at the moment we “ appear” to reasonably harmony within Tempest but if we go by past history , getting in bed with the French and the Germans could be very problematic . The Germans tried to derail Typhoon every two months.( or it seemed like it). Maybe the Germans attitude to defence has had a wake up call since Ukraine. The French when they were part of eurofighter wanted the lions share of the development and construction , it was… Read more »

Louis
Louis
14 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

Both Italy and Britain don’t want France, and the recent fiasco with Typhoon means they won’t want Germany. Japan doesn’t want more countries in the project and nobody wants their workshare diluted anymore. It just won’t happen.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
14 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Agree. At the moment we are three with skills and attitude to get the job done. That will do.

Dokis
Dokis
13 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

There’s one more aspect. France and Germany won’t end well, 110%. Needs are different, and attitude don’t make me start. France will go alone and Germany will knock at GCAP, bringing much needed funds. The hope is that it will happen as late as possible, when as much as possible is crystal clear and decided

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
12 days ago
Reply to  Dokis

Agree. They’re in trouble already. The problem is do we trust the Germans either? Their involvement in Typhoon has been troublesome since the start.

Jim
Jim
15 days ago
Reply to  Coll

Can you show me a country where that’s not the case? Every manufacturing country on earth uses defence to create jobs. Being able to sell Allie’s weapons is also a major power tool, indeed probably the main thing that sets great powers apart from the rest.

Just ask Argentina what UK sanctions will do to your Airforce.

David Barry
David Barry
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

You’ll get F16s?

Drones are the investment of the future – don’t like them, can’t quite get them – SLR / GPMG myself, but, drones are the future; we just need data scientists / algorithm munchers to lead us into the new Century.

Jim
Jim
14 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

You’ll get very old second hand F16’s a decade after most of your Airforce got grounded.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Well said, every Country that can do so is trying to get industrial alliances that gain them defence infrastructure, work share and ultimately on shore design, technology and production independence. Above all it’s a way of developing technology that infiltrates into its industry generally. There seems to be a lot of blindness here regarding that cross over and indeed the cross over between the military and the Universities. The Ai programmes that so many shout about in respect of Taranis and now Magma is a joint programme between Bae and the University of Manchester which of course has a history… Read more »

Steve
Steve
15 days ago
Reply to  Coll

There are some fundamental problems with how the government had cut education that is stopping engineers. There are plenty of jobs for them and not enough getting trained. Buying more home grown military kit or not won’t solve that.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Remember when I was a teen it was so often lamented that an Engineer in Japan was seen as being top of the pyramid, an engineer in the UK was seen as a top end blue collar worker. Belatedly all these years later we see the problem with that pompousness much instigated by an education system that much prefers lathering about the classics to getting one’s hands dirty.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
15 days ago
Reply to  Coll

200 a year new apprentices going through the RR Nuclear school of excellence here in Derby. Says it all !

Jim
Jim
15 days ago
Reply to  NorthernAlly

British kit is really good as well when it’s 10 years past development and has hot production lines.

NorthernAlly
NorthernAlly
15 days ago
Reply to  NorthernAlly

Yes value for money is very important and I’m not against buying off the self. For example buying small numbers of very specific kit as I said in my reply to Jim the river joints are one great example of this. I’m currently food shopping so I’m just going to repeat what I said to Jim again. For every £1 spent on the design and manufacture of the eurofighter (which yes does have some big problems like Germany saying who we can sell to) how much have we got back in tax through the company and the people it’s employed.… Read more »

Louis
Louis
15 days ago
Reply to  NorthernAlly

I think the trouble is, the UK would not have been able to have a 5th generation STOVL aircraft, and Tempest. The industry isn’t large enough. Ultimately, Tempest is the air superiority fighter that replaces Typhoon so is more valuable than F35B when it comes to protecting the UK which is the base that the armed forces need to be capable of, therefore it’s more crucial to get weapons systems like Meteor on it. Britain does manufacture 15% of each F35. The aft fuselage section is one of the only sections on the aircraft that’s built in one place. Most… Read more »

Dokis
Dokis
15 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Tempest doesn’t exist anymore… it’s GCAP now and it is as British as Italian and Japanese

Louis
Louis
15 days ago
Reply to  Dokis

It’s part of GCAP now, but the aircraft is still called Tempest.
The aircraft is definitely not just as much Italian as it is British or Japanese and that will of course be reflected in work share.

Last edited 15 days ago by Louis
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
14 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Indeed and as Tempest translates more or less into various Japanese fighters of the past I suspect there’s a good chance one of those variations might creep into their version, after all their F16 derivative has become Viper Zero. The Japanese programme used the name Shinshin however so don’t know if they will stick with that, time will tell. As for ‘as much this or that’ Leonardo will be responsible mostly for electronic systems within the actual design. It will be interesting to see how the Anglo Japanese split occurs tbh. Not clear where Japanese fighter design might have more… Read more »

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
14 days ago
Reply to  NorthernAlly

F-35 wasn’t bought off the shelf, it was bought off the drawing board.

mark one
mark one
15 days ago

I guess with such small quantities of them, they rarely get to meet each other anyway. 😎

Marked
Marked
15 days ago

Anybody surprised? Thought not.

Chris
Chris
15 days ago
Reply to  Marked

Most airliners don’t have an autopilot driven TCAS, only the very latest airbuses do. Why does the F-35 need it? The Americans look at UK requirements and cringe at how stupid they are.

Mark B
Mark B
15 days ago
Reply to  Chris

When you have a joint venture different parties will bring different requirements. All parties really need to respect the views of others if the venture is going to be a success.

Chris
Chris
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

There isn’t much “Joint” in the venture with thousands of orders for the F-35 and 48 total from the UK. There are 13 customers with more orders than the RAF, why should LM prioritize a customer that is so small? It’s illogical. Even the Netherlands are buying more.

Mark B
Mark B
9 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Even the Netherlands…😂Let’s try it another way – is there much respect for any of LM’s clients?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
15 days ago
Reply to  Chris

“Why does the F-35 need it?”

Because when they are in stealth mode, they can’t see each other! 😂

Dokis
Dokis
15 days ago
Reply to  Chris

😄🥇

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
14 days ago
Reply to  Marked

It’s not essential. It took years to get it on Typhoon. With the F35’s systems, Its understandable it’s low down the priority list

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
15 days ago

“F-35 Air Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) was scheduled for introduction into service in 2024. Although ACAS is regarded as a high priority by the UK, the US Services (and therefore the F-35 Programme) regard it as very low priority and it has recently been deferred. 

Meteor/Spear FOC anybody??? Blk4 is currently scheduled for 2029 and the last production run is scheduled for 2035.

 November 22, 2023 at 3:23 PM

“Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment Christopher Lowman told Breaking Defense that negotiations on the performance-based logistics agreement with Lockheed are at an impasse.”
LINK

Last edited 15 days ago by Nigel Collins
Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
14 days ago

Only five years then. Nothing to worry about.