For all the wholly deserved criticism of the F-35 light attack bomber, there are some things that Lockheed and its partners got right. What they didn’t get right was the airplane itself.
The Brits used to operate an aircraft carrier, HMS Invincible. By American carrier standards the British ship had undersized elevators – the hydraulic platforms that move aircraft between the hangar deck and the flight deck. Lockheed designers had that problem in mind when they designed the F-35 which is why it’s kind of short, a little stubby even. Britain’s new carriers have larger elevators but, no matter, the (Read more…)
It’s gradually becoming apparent why countries buying the F-35 don’t get a chance to flight test it first, especially up against its competitors. The “why” is because it’s less of a multi-role jet fighter than we’ve been told, a lot less.
The United States Air Force wants the F-35 bad, real bad. The generals in blue want it so bad that they’re doing everything possible to get rid of their current, close support aircraft, the A-10.
Cheap, Effective, but Definitely Not Sexy
The troops on the ground love the A-10, especially when they’re pinned down in firefights with insurgents. The (Read more…)
The US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations is looking for a strike fighter and he’s looking well beyond the F-35.
Admiral Jon Greenert told a Washington audience last week that the F-35′s vaunted stealth cloaking, the magical advantage for which it sacrifices speed, agility, range and payload, “may be overrated.”
“What does that next strike fighter look like?” Greenert asked the packed forum. “I’m not sure it’s manned, don’t know that it is. You can only go so fast, and you know that stealth may be overrated. … Let’s face it, if something moves fast through the air, disrupts (Read more…)
The United States Navy has decided not to put all its eggs in the F-35 basket. The navy has trimmed its order for the 2016-2020 period by full third. It has also canceled a missile system designed specifically for the over priced, overdue and under-performing light attack bomber.
The USN has decided that money can be put to better uses, mainly a new stand-off missile.
Whistling past the graveyard, the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) Program Office said the American navy’s “commitment to the program remains strong” and that the loss of orders will be made up by international customers. Yeah, right.
The overpriced, overdue and under-performing F-35 could actually weaken the defences of America and her allies, including Canada. Even pretending, for the sake of argument, that the Lockheed light attack bomber could meet the expectations we all had for it at its inception, the sheer cost of the project, especially at a time of austerity, is crippling.
The hard-right Washington Examiner compares the F-35 to France’s Maginot Line.
Between the two world wars, France chose to build an impregnable defense against the sort of invasions it suffered in 1870 and 1914. The Maginot Line was over 900 miles long, took (Read more…)
(Remember, this is the plane that the Harper government wants to saddle our aircrews with for half-a-century, fifty years. But, I digress.)Trying to keep tabs on the development of Lockheed’s F=35 requires no end of reading between the lines.One thing that comes through, admittedly in snippets and from different angles, is that the Americans are starting to conclude that their wunder-plane is less wunderful than they had hoped.Months ago the journal of the US Naval Institute fretted that the F-35 was operationally flawed because it lacked “all-aspect stealth.” Its stealth cloaking is mainly frontal aspect (Read more…)
Two big drawbacks to the F-35 are its limited range and mediocre speed. It doesn’t go very far in stealth mode on its internal fuel and it is incapable of the modern fighter sine qua non, supercruise. Those are enormous shortcomings, especially for an uber-expensive warplane.
Good news. It seems the Americans have noted the problems and have come up with a partial answer – a new engine. Think of it as a cross between your kid’s Transformer toy and a modern, high-powered jet engine.
The future fighter will be required to not only fly farther than today’s aircraft, but (Read more…)
It’ll be years before the over-priced, overdue and underperforming F-35, stealth light-attack bomber, ever shows up in Canadian air force hangars but already the supposed magic of stealth is losing its lustre to the evolution of counter-stealth technology.
Ask yourself just what did we expect the countries obviously intended as the targets of our stealth supremacy to do except to work out ways of both copying it and defeating it. We’ve been waving this “first strike” sword over their heads – Russia’s and China’s – for about 15-years now. The Americans even war-gamed a dress rehearsal of a stealth sneak (Read more…)
Just like every other US client state (except us, for now), Israel was quick to sign up to buy the Lockheed F-35 light attack bomber. The Israeli air force inked the papers for 19 of Lockheed’s controversial warplanes and then went back to the trough to order another 32. At this point something quite curious happened. Powerful voices such as the Minister for Intelligence Yuval Steinitz, began asking some very awkward questions.
The opposition’s stand was related to Aviation Week by a senior Israeli official:
“For maintaining stealthiness, this aircraft has compromised maneuverability, shorter operational range and significantly less payload (Read more…)
One of These Is a Fighter. Your Guess.
Imagine what would happen if you showed up for your first day of work at a new job with no pants. That, in a way, is the story of the Lockheed F-35.
Perhaps to keep antsy foreign customers in line, the US military set 2015 as the service entry date for the overdue, over budget and under-performing light strike bomber. It’s now known that this aerial boondoggle won’t be showing up ready for work. The software needed to operate its 4-barrel gun won’t even be finished until 2019. And the F-35 will (Read more…)
There’s enough stuff in the F-35 to get a comedian through a HBO special. The latest guffaw – its gun doesn’t shoot. It’s there and everything – gun, ammunition, the lot. Pilots just won’t be able to fire it for a while, 2019 at the earliest.
At this point, it’s not even funny how much the Pentagon has screwed up the development of its new stealth fighter jet, the F-35. But the latest report that the jet’s 25mm cannon won’t be operational until 2019 at the earliest is just laughable. Even more laughable is that it probably doesn’t even (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Did You Hear the One About the F-35?
According to the Pentagon, Ottawa has sent signals indicating Canada will take delivery of its first F-35, light nuclear attack bombers, in 2016 or 2017.
The Harper government, true to its standard operation procedures – secrecy and deceit – says no decision has been made. That crap runs straight out of the mouth of Stephen Joseph Harper.
A leaked U.S. Department of Defence slide presentation shows Canada has asked to swap places with the U.S. air force and place the order in the current fiscal year, which means a possible delivery date of either 2016 or 2017. (Read more…)
We know that a lot of top US military types have lost their passion for the F-35 light attack bomber. A recent report from the Pentagon’s Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments put it this way: [It] will not be able to operate effectively or efficiently against anti-access/aerial-denial (A2AD) weapons and doctrine being developed by China and other adversaries. Some time ago it became obvious to me that stealth warplanes, other than strategic bombers, were better defenders than attackers. Which leads us to this thing, China’s first stealth fighter, the J-20. By American standards it’s not highly stealthy. Like (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The F-35′s Very Huge and Obvious Achilles’ Heel
A report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments seems to toss a wet blanket over the controversial and troubled F-35.
It’s been known for some time that some top people in the US Air Force and US Navy have been having second thoughts about the overpriced, overdue and under-performing F-35.
The head of USAF Air Combat Command, General Michael Hostage, doesn’t care for the limited weapons load of the F-35. He’s calling for early action on a 6th Generation fighter before the miraculous 5th Gen, F-35 even goes operational. The US Navy is also beginning to question whether (Read more…)
It’s no secret where the F-35 is intended to operate – in the highly-defended airspace of just two countries, China and Russia. The F-35 and its big brother the F-22 were designed to defeat sophisticated air defences, at least what would have passed for sophisticated at the turn of the century.
It’s hard to fault the intended targets of America’s stealth armada for responding to what, for them, is a potentially catastrophic threat. And so they have.
They had a look, several looks, at what Lockheed and its sub-contractors were up to. It’s believed they hacked a lot of computers, (Read more…)
A squadron of venerable A-10 Wart Hogs is heading to the Middle East to help the fight against Islamic State forces. The aircraft are from the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard.
Their performance in Iraq or Syria should fuel opinions on whether these aerial battle tanks should be retired to make way for the far costlier and much less capable F-35.
The A-10 is famous for its devastating 30 mm. gatling gun shown here beside a VW beetle.
The overdue, overpriced and under performing F-35, light strike bomber, has hit another major snag. The US government accounting office has released a report showing the F-35 will be upwards of 79% more costly to operate than the warplanes it is intended to replace. The GAO concludes the F-35 may be unaffordable to operate.
Part of the reasons behind those higher costs can be found in these numbers cited by GAO. First, mean flight hours between critical failures: “As of March 2014, this metric was averaging well below its requirements at maturity, meeting an average of 42 percent of (Read more…)
US Air Force Lt. Col. Dan Ward has an interesting take on just when the F-35 light strike bomber went off the rails – right from the outset.
In February of 2014, Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, the Air Force’s top uniformed acquisition official, said big, audacious programs like the Joint Strike Fighter were “doomed the day the contract was signed.” As the former Program Executive Officer for the JSF, he brings a pretty credible perspective to the situation. Given his first-hand experience and the F-35’s track record of delays, cost overruns, technical problems, operational (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Why the F-35 Was DOOMed From Birth
The events of the past few months have made us again think of the unthinkable.
A resurgent Russia, talk from its president about the use of nuclear weapons, the deployment of new missiles, subs and strategic bombers. Sure we did a fair bit to egg this on but that doesn’t change the fact of where we find ourselves today.
Which naturally brings me back to the F-35, the overpriced, underperforming and woefully overdue wunderplane from Lockheed. The hype has now pretty much run its course. We know that, to the extent it ever was stealthy, it was only frontal aspect. (Read more…)
Few who lived through the Cold War with its constant threat of nuclear annihilation realize the role confidence played in preventing an outbreak of apocalyptic hostilities. Even at times when we thought the “other side” might be nearing the point of pre-emptive attack, we had a sufficient degree of confidence that they would do no such thing. The Red Telephone that connected the White House to the Kremlin was specifically intended as an instrument for maintaining confidence.
The Cuban missile crisis demonstrated the leadership needed to maintain confidence – and peace – in stressful circumstances. Kennedy was being pulled by (Read more…)
For years I have been openly mocking our prime minister. He believes he’s the combined reincarnation of General Douglas MacArthur and Winston Churchill, often touting things like the Canadian victory in the War of 1812, even though Canada wouldn’t exist for another 55 years. Pish posh.
In reality, I have criticized Harper for being an international relations buffoon, something more like Ian McKellen’s Richard III.
But despite having criticized war-mongering Harper [who nevertheless abuses and neglects military veterans and their mental health disabilities] for deciding to buy a bunch of F-35 fighter jets, I shouldn’t have.
I criticized the (Read more…)
The Mound of Sound sent along this note, followed by his guest post on the F-35:
I thought an update on the F-35 would be appropriate after reading Bill Sweetman’s latest piece in Aviation Week. He writes that this warplane’s Canadian backers are desperate to convince us that we don’t need to put the F-35 through an actual competition.
Canadian supporters of the F-35 marginally stealthy, light attack bomber are so convinced that the F-35 would trounce its rivals in an actual, head-to-head competition that they argue fiercely we should have no such competition.
Aviation Week says we’re being conned.
It may be the biggest military blunder in Canadian history but all signs point to our country succumbing to the F-35, Lockheed’s first-strike, light attack bomber. Harper, the ultimate stealth politician, is playing a waiting game. He knows that the clock is running out on most potential F-35 rivals. With the market dominated by cash-strapped buyers, costly aircraft production lines are shutting down in short order.
Boeing had modified ‘stealth’ prototypes of both the F-15 Eagle and the F-18 Super Hornet but without a lead customer both lines will probably be shut down and, once they’re gone, (Read more…)
Last evening I stumbled across a documentary on America’s B-2 stealth bomber on the Smithsonian Channel. At one point there was an interview with an American engineering expert. She mentioned that at the heart of stealth technology, it’s all math. Angles that will reflect radar waves back to the transmitter and give you away. Angles that will deflect radar waves in helpful directions so they don’t return to the transmitter and you remain radar invisible, that sort of thing. Then she dropped what was, for me, a bombshell.
Guess where the Americans got all that (Read more…)