Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Disaffected Lib: We’ve Already Entered the Counter-Stealth Technology Era

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…)

The Disaffected Lib: Israel’s Unanswered Questions

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…)

The Disaffected Lib: It’s America’s Problem. Why Make It Canada’s?

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…)

The Disaffected Lib: Did You Hear the One About the F-35?

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?

The Disaffected Lib: Pentagon Outs Harper. Says Canada to Buy the F-35 in 2017.

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…)

The Disaffected Lib: The F-35′s Very Huge and Obvious Achilles’ Heel

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

The Disaffected Lib: The Pentagon Re-Thinks the F-35

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…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Last Thing an F-35 Driver Will Ever Want to See

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…)

The Disaffected Lib: Gun Pigs Fly Again

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 Disaffected Lib: Unaffordable to Buy, Unaffordable to Fly

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…)

The Disaffected Lib: Why the F-35 Was DOOMed From Birth

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 Disaffected Lib: Hey Washington. If You Want Us to Stand Up to Putin, Why Not Sell Us the Plane He Doesn’t Want Us to Have?

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…)

The Disaffected Lib: When Confidence Fails

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…)

Politics, Re-Spun: My Deepest Apology to Stephen Harper, Military Genius

Yes?

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…)

Alberta Diary: CTF bullying and misinformation: just what’s ‘wacky’ about rape prevention research?

Canadian Taxpayers Association Federal Director Gregory Thomas dressed up as a professor, with a man dressed as a pig, at a CTF news conference trashing government support for academic research. A cameraman can be seen at left obligingly filming. Below: Dr. Melanie Beres, unfairly ridiculed by the CTF for her 2006 thesis; Mr. Thomas when he’s dressed as a grownup.

According to the comedians at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a $17,500 grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to a promising young Alberta-trained sociologist whose research looks for ways to improve rape-prevention education is a waste (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: An F-35 Update From The Mound Of Sound

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.

(Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Let’s Be Honest – Canada Will Wind Up With the F-35, Largely by Default

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…)

The Disaffected Lib: It’s Funny What You Can Pick Up from Watching TV

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…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: F-35: Lies from Lying Liars #cdnpoli

The F-35 was going to be a plane made with Chinese parts, despite US law forbidding that.

mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBR… this just adds to the ridiculousness. Russia probably has deal w china to remotely disable these.— jeff cliff (@jeffcliff1) January 04, 2014

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: First Nations Get $0.3M for Solar Research #skpoli

The Conservative government generously gave First Nations in Saskatchewan enough grant money to build one impressively sized solar array that could power a half dozen homes.

Ontario is going with $5,000M.

SaskPower gave 10 times this much to the UofR to research how to put CO2 underground so more oil can be pumped out of the Weyburn area.

Lockheed manufactures illegal weapons, and is part of the F-35 dud stealth bomber boondoggle.

Solar is not “concentrated” in SK as explained in the article, we just have more sun hitting the ground throughout the year than most of Canada. There’s (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Stealth Achilles’ Heel – Numbers

Joseph Stalin is cited as observing that, “quantity is a quality unto itself.”  You can have the best of something and the other guy can have the worst of something but if he’s got 20 of the worst and you’ve only got one of the best, chances are you’re in big trouble.  That’s sort of the predicament air forces committing to the F-35 will face.

Canada, for example, is hoping to buy just 65 of these stealth light attack bombers.  A paltry 65 of these short-range, single-engine warplanes for the second biggest country in the world.   (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: F-35 – Already Getting Obsolete

The authoritative military journal, Janes, reports that Lockheed’s overdue, overpriced and under-performing F-35 Wunderjet is already encountering problems with obsolescence.

The United States has embarked on a technology refresh development track for the electronic warfare (EW) module of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to overcome obsolescence issues before the system has even made it into service. This has seen the US Naval Air Systems Command place a USD149 million contract to Lockheed Martin, as a modification to a previous advanced acquisition deal and covers the “redesign and qualification of replacement F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Electronic (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Shadow Boxing – the F-35

“There may be a universe where it is smart to give your adversaries 25 year’s notice of exactly how you plan to render their defenses obsolete. We just don’t live there.” 

                                                   -  Bill Sweetman

One of the best sources on the F-35, its strengths and its weaknesses, is Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman.  He’s been following America’s stealth programmes for many years from the F-117 to the B-2, the F-22 and now the (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Lockheed – Arm Twister Extraordinaire?

What Lockheed wants, Lockheed intends to get especially when it comes to the F-35 stealth light attack bomber.

Last week the company tried to stiffen spines here in Canada by warning that Canadian businesses stood to lose over $10-billion in contract work if their government tries to play wise guy and cancels the F-35 purchase.  Nice little place ya got here.  It’d be a shame if anyting was to happen to it.

Now Lockheed seems to be doing a full Wall-Mart on its own contractors.  Seemingly desperate to cut costs that are scaring off potential buyers, Lockheed (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Dutch Trim F-35 Order

At the outset the Netherlands was expected to buy 85 of Lockheed’s light attack stealth bomber, the F-35.   For a nation not much larger in area than Vancouver Island that seemed like a hefty purchase.

Now the Dutch have announced they’ll settle for just 37 of the overpriced, overdue and underperforming warplanes.   That seems to make the F-35 something of a niche buy for the Netherlands.  Not particularly inspirational but it still gives Lockheed something to crow about as the company tries to strongarm South Korea into rethinking their decision to go for an  updated F-15 buy instead.