F-35 critics #military

The critics–without access to all the secret squirrel information–have been more consistently accurate on program progress than those with all the access to the secret squirrel information. If only those involved in the program didn’t depend on groupthink.

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35 thoughts on “F-35 critics #military

  1. I can agree with you on that. The USAF and Lockheed are badly overselling the plane, the F-35 is a strike fighter, not air superiority nor deep interdiction. If they keep the arguments for the F-35 narrow, there won’t be as much of a problem.

    I believe that the F-35 represents what the F-16 should be replaced with, but its really hard to keep arguing for this particular plane in the face of the ongoing bad news.Note: the problems are with the B model, as usual, this one variant can be safely said to be dragging down the other two. And software always has issues. I doubt any new program will escape that. You want sensor fusion integration on the F-16? You’re going to get software problems just like the F-35

    But on a wider note, I think that the AF would be well served if it could allow for ok programs and at the same time critics can allow for implementation difficulties. (I am not saying that the F-35 program cannot be criticized for running this late) Everyone would be better served if we did not expect perfection. And the AF would be greatly served it if accepted the technologies from the F-35 program for the next decade, at least as opposed to developing the next greatest tech for the next fighter.

    • I agree with you on both points. LMT has to start giving us some good news and whatever is developed next (NGB,FA/XX,etc….) should draw heavily on work done on F35.

    • Arkady: “…on a wider note, I think that the AF would be well served if it could allow for ok programs… Everyone would be better served if we did not expect perfection.”

      Of course, but realize that this view is totally conflicting with a F-35A model. That logical thinking is the anti-thesis of a ‘stay the course F-35A program’ strategy. We simply can’t have it both ways.

      As for F-16 having the same software issues as JSF if it wanted to be ‘F-35’ized’… sure, but for this reason and the example you just expressed, we (Congress/USAF/taxpayers) should be CONTENT with a sufficiently ‘OK’ F-16 upgrade spiral plan and not necessarily the Whole enchilada. Take a block 60+ forinstance: it would come ALREADY fusion-mature and as such would be fused with systems such as RACR (or SABR), Litening ATP-SE (upgraded G4), PAWS-3 (and potentially, AN/AAR 56) and the LW Shadow IRST pod. I’m sorry, but right there you would have superior passive target search, track and visual ID over an EOTS!!! Not bad for affordable and MOTS.

    • Probably one of the few people that post here that thinks Super Hornet is a good jet and a good buy for RAAF.

    • Jimbo –

      Sir, selecting a tactical fighter jet is more of a geo-strategic and alliance based decision, than the actual raw technical performance of a particular jet potentially on the market. It is a very intimate national decision.

      Likewise, the host govt of the manufactuerer of said soon-to-be high-performance next-gen jet would need to implement deeper courting efforts and fundamental ideological/strategic policy shifts (beyond the current advances and bi-lateral trade deals) in order to gain such trust, in order to even approach such a possibility.

      Besides, PAK FA will be a very big gas guzzler (on scale with F-22) and a beast to maintain/operate of its respective life cycle. Something far heavier than I’d think RAAF could afford – something which if they could afford, would be probably better off served by an export F-22x or F-15SE with pre-existing friendly logistics.

      As unpopular as the thought is, I actually weigh in with NICO as assessing an F-18-International block type Super Hornet (with CFT, improved engines giving T/W of around 1.28:1), improved SA and self-protection and internal IRST. While not a super-cruiser, it would arguably be the most cost-effective and balanced platform. imho.

      • To Geogen:

        What is your plan B? Personally, after SH, I think RAAF should take a look at Euro2000. You could buy some second hand ones from European countries for cheap or may be a group buy between Japan,SK and Australia? They pretty much share the same common “enemy” in China. I think it could be competitive if you figure AESA, CFTs are in the works, TVC has been bench tested, Meteor should be available aaround 2018.

      • RAAF’s plan B, besides a full-blown, follow-on Super Hornet-Int plan B in lieu of JSF?

        You got me… *shrugs* In the past I’ve conjectured that a Super Eagle configuration would be the best option. I even sketched a delta-winged, vertical-tailless model some yrs back as a rogue entry proposal to the ‘competition’.

        EF-T is a helluva an aircraft though w/ plenty of growth potential, no question and would especially be so if they could integrate an effective AESA. Do you have a link for CFT related projects story, btw? CFT would seem to be a no-brainer upgrade, not to mention possibly improve the looks of that wing blend. Furthermore, I don’t think it needs the engine upgrade, but if they did put that into work, including TVC capability, that would be a bonus I’m sure. I’m just curious then, for RAAF’s concern, it could be custom configured with SABR radar and F414 EDE w/ fluidic chevron nozzle? Apparently, Rafale was initially prototype tested with F404. Which might lead into a wildcard ‘plan B’ option I could ponder: a CFT equipped Rafale, with F414 EDE (enabling common O&S logistics with existing Supers), SABR and integrated Litening and Shadow IRST pod. That might get a bit expensive, perhaps in-line with a block III F-35A, but still, would be an extremely hot jet with insane T/W. Those would be some credible twin-engine plan Bs, imho. Cheers-

      • http://typhoon.starstreak.net/Eurofighter/weapons.html
        http://www.indiandefence.com/forums/f17/eurofighter-typhoon-cfts-1416/

        CFTs have been wind tunneled tested, I am sure I saw a picture somewhere Euros did a form/fit to a Typhoon. No plumbing or actual flight if recall. But it’s not that hard. There is a picture of RAFALE flying with CFTs but I don’t know if it is real or not. Rafale first prototype did fly with F404 because M88 wasn’t ready at the time, might require quite a bit of work to install F414s. I guess we can agree that RAAF has other viable options to JSF.

    • Stick with the F-35, it’s the next best thing to the F-22. Alternatively, if you don’t mind reducing your ambitions and requirements, buy more Super Hornets and gamble on the availability of suitable UCAVs in 15 years time to manage the toughest missions.

      B. Bolsøy
      Oslo

  2. Right, its the next best thing to the F-22. Hey, can you share with us that good stuff your smoking these days in Norway? It must be really good because it seems to make you deaf to all the broken sounds coming out of the good ship JSF engine room these days.

    Even with its dismal top speed the Super Bug is in service, battle ready and can actually deliver as advertised at around $60 each. The F-35 remains a vaporware plane, with a diminishing customer base, ever expanding price tag, and an uncertain future. Come to think of it, I know the perfect item that truly reflects the state of the F-35…..

    http://www.despair.com/hope.html

    • Diminishing customer base, RSF? Hmm. I see plenty of speculation in places like this. What I don’t see are customers leaving the program. Not one single partner nation has pulled out. Not one single order has yet been cancelled.

      Plenty of speculation over what numbers of aircraft might be ordered and in what year they might be ordered and delivered etc, but not one single customer has changed their mind about the F-35 platform itself, despite all the schedule, cost and development problems. Plus one additional Country has joined and several others are reportedly very keen to do so as well (Singapore, South Korea, UAE and Japan are VERY likely future customers).

      Considering that most of these partner nations actually joined the program 8-10 years ago and aren’t expecting their first aircraft for another 5-6 years yet, I think this is a rather remarkable feat.

      Even A400m can’t boast as much (with South Africa having formally withdrawn from that program).

      That IS reality RSF. A curious situation isn’t it? You are so convinced it’s a terrible aircraft. They are all clearly convinced it’s an excellent aircraft. Must be some powerful stuff in those powerpoints, eh?

      • Sorry? ‘Not one single order has yet been cancelled?’ Do you have a source for that?

        With all due respect m8… have you heard about DoD’s procurement cuts through FY15? LRIP 2, 3 and 4 cuts?? I’ll give you the benefit and will accept a clarification of what you intended to say.

      • They ain’t orders Geo. They are intentions. Every single order for an F-35 aircraft remains funded. Not one acquisition contract has been torn up. ‘Intended’ orders may have dropped, but then they may have been fanciful in the first place!

  3. “but not one single customer has changed their mind about the F-35 platform itself, despite all the schedule, cost and development problems”.

    A: Just what planet are you calling from? Here is the latest from all the news feeds in the UK:

    “Future prospects for the F-35 joint strike fighter program got a lot murkier Tuesday after British government officials announced plans to delay and dramatically trim their purchases of the warplane from Lockheed Martin”.

    “The sweeping review of defense programs unveiled by Prime Minister David Cameron envisions cutting purchases of F-35s from 138 planes to as few as 40. It would also delay the first orders until later this decade and switch the type of jet the British navy will operate”.

    “Considering that most of these partner nations actually joined the program 8-10 years ago and aren’t expecting their first aircraft for another 5-6 years yet”

    A: Say what? The JSF program is conducting flight testing now that should have happened 4-5 years ago. Attached below is the first JSF SDD schedule, and the second, and the third, and now all these years later we’ve all lost count how many times the development schedule has slipped. Really do yourself a favor and at least research your comments before you make them.

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2008-03.html

    “That IS reality RSF. A curious situation isn’t it? You are so convinced it’s a terrible aircraft. They are all clearly convinced it’s an excellent aircraft. Must be some powerful stuff in those powerpoints, eh”?

    A: The reality is that this plane is billions over budget, and at least 4-5 years late. The reality is that all these years later and countless engineering mistakes, costly airframe redesigns, engine testing meltdowns, and cost over runs, not a single battle ready F-35 exists in any form.

    And all the JSF trolls and PowerPoint jockeys can’t put this flying disaster back together again…

    • RSF:

      Well put. If BB and the other members of the JSF coalition of the willing were to take a look at the five (5) reasons at the end of the above APA link which outline why the JSF is a failed program, they will see these are the same points made in the Root Cause Analysis and Assessment annexed to the Nunn-McCurdy Re-certification Letter signed by Ashton Carter and dated 01 June 2010 – just over 2 years after the results of the earlier APA analysis were published.

      • Peter. It’s easy to be in opposition. It’s a whole different matter to provide solutions that actually works. I don’t see much in the form of that that in your paper. I think noone has denied that the JSF is an abitious untertaking. But that’s the nature of the fighter game, if you wan’t to push your abilities you aim above it.

        It remains that most modern fighter programs – F-22, Gripen, Eurofighter, Rafale etc. – were all years late and over budget. Yet they are fine aircraft today. Even successful programs and the best fighter choice, according to some.

        Couple of quick questions on your points:

        * No. 5 (and partly your final remarks). You claim the program suffers from lack of transparency and oversight. How, exactly? It seems to me one of the more transparent fighter programs in recent history. All three services and international partners have unfiltered access to the program, contractors and affiliates are regularly updated, there are annual audits by the DoD and Congress, and contracts are negotioated each year as the law dictates.

        How do would you say this compares to other programs, and what do you propose as a better model?

        No. 4. Can you point to any capabilities which have been traded to reach cost targets? How does this relate to the SWAT program, which added cost to maitain capabilities, or the decision to equip all F-35s with EOTS, as opposed to only part of the fleet?
        No. 3. In what way do these technologies represent a too large risk in your view, and what would be the better alternative? Can you point to any critical engineering problems with the EHA, cockpit, ASEA, F135 or other system? That is, problems which require significant resource investments and falls outside the normal sphere for a new fighter type? Does your analysis consider the benefits of F-22 and F-16 spiral development?
        No. 2. Design compromise. Isn’t there examples of fighters designed with say Navy requirements, but successfully adapted by conventional air forces? Isn’t it true that all three services agreed on the JSF’s requirements — and still do?
        No. 1. Concurrency risk. Can you elaborate, and which historic programs are you refering to? Didn’t the F-22 program also enjoy a high degree of concurrency?

        B. Bolsøy
        Oslo

      • Bjørnar Bolsøy:

        As ever, you have missed the point; namely, the 5 points at the end of the APA 2008 paper are the same reasons which may be found in the JSF Re-certification Letter, signed by Ash Carter and dated 01 June 2010 – 2 years after the APA analysis was published. BTW – the actual analysis pre-dates the publication date by some degree.

        Now, if you want answers to your questions about the 5 points, either read the related material on the APA website or, better still, go and ask the Hon Ashton Carter.

        It is obvious you have not done the former since if you had then you would know the APA Team have provided solutions that not only will but do work and are more cost effective and strategically relevant than the just-so-flawed JSF Program.

        As for your statement:

        “I think noone has denied that the JSF is an abitious untertaking. But that’s the nature of the fighter game, if you wan’t to push your abilities you aim above it.”

        there are two points worth considering.

        Firstly, the only things a(m)bitious about the JSF Program have been the wild and crazy blue sky marketing claims and, of course, the STOVL and “affordability is the cornerstone of the JSF Program”. The latter two are both failures while the “a total indifference to what is real” marketing bears little resemblance to the JSF specification and, moreover, the KPP’s and KPI’s that are actually in the contract.

        As for the last part of your statement “….if you wan’t to push your abilities you aim above it”, that is very true but this hardly applies to the JSF Program in terms of the resulting aircrafts abilities and competitiveness as a fighter or a bomber or a CAS aircraft against the Reference Threats.

        It may also interest you to know that circa 2000 through to as late as 2004, the JSF marketing by senior defence officials here in Australia and elsewhere included statements like “excellence is the enemy of good enough” and similar.

        Such marketing sound bytes were meant to steer attention away from the air dominance capabilities of the F-22 Raptor and to encourage people whose expertise lies elsewhere to infer that the JSF was “good enough”.

        Enjoy your reading tasks. I hope you find them both informative and of some assistance in developing your ability to filter out the “a total indifference to what is real” emanating from the JSF Program marketing teams.

        VR,

        Horde

      • Peter. Point well taken, but you made the points on your website, not Asthon Carter.

        Your conclusions might be similar, but the specifics may differ. There is certainly no mention of, say, EHA or radar problems, reduced capability or “limited success” of SWAT, or “marketing distractions” in Carters letter, as you seem to claim. Nor am I aware of such issues in the publizised DCMA reports, though I could be wrong. Therefore I’m asking you to elaborate, and discuss your views on how things should have been done.

        If you feel it’s too time consuming to write, it’s appropriate that you provide exact references to your analysis. Keep in mind the blog form, I don’t think we can expect the readers to have easy access to all program literature, such things as this letter (perhaps it’s on your site?). Nor can you expect the debatants to wade through piles of references and analysis in search of cognitive points, though I’m sure it’s there. That is your job, if I am to assume you wan’t a reasonable debate.

        Increasing cost and delays are quite real and serious issues, but still a certain amount of sober mind should accompany the readers of reports and future prognoses. Experts differ, and it is very difficult to predict the future. Though everyone /tries/ to. Often reality ends up somewhere in the middle of two opposing viewpoints.

        As for your comments on capabilities, well you know we disagree on that. I have still not come over one reasonably complete and credible study which concludes that the F-35 will not be able to execute its misson, including air-to-air combat against future threats. If you can point me to one, by all means do. It’s assuming, of course, that the F-35 delivers something close to its planned capabilities. And before you accuse me of “blind faith”, the JSF partners fully agree on its capabilities. Israel too.

        B. Bolsøy
        Oslo

    • The UK has ordered 3 test aircraft to date, if recollection serves. That is it and they haven’t pulled out of that commitment, though the aircraft type delivered may change to the F-35C rather than the F-35B. As above, stated acquisition intentions may have decreased but the UK has NOT pulled out of the F-35 program NOR has it cancelled it’s only current order. Yes, it’s eventual fleet will probably number far less than the 138 aircraft mentioned earlier, but they have NOT left the program. No country has. That was my point earlier and it is quite remarkable, especially in light of all the hurdles which you and Mr Goon point out so adroitly.

      What you wrote is completely irrelevent to my earlier point. I said the Countries joined the JSF program 8-10 years ago. The SDD phase. I said nothing about the success or otherwise of the SDD program, merely when the partner nations joined. Nor has a single partner nation left the JSF program since that time.

      Yes, I know of the delays and it’s hardly good or welcome news. I don’t deny them, but rather find it interesting that despite them ALL the Countries that originally invested in the program, plus one more now (Israel) are still committed to it so strongly.

      Now the choice seems to come down to believing that ten of the best and most professional air arms in the world are all hopelessly mired in groupthink and besotted by their own incompetence for believing this aircraft meets their air combat needs OR perhaps they may just understand a bit more about this aircraft and it’s capability than we do?

      • TO Bonza:

        I hope you are right that they have it all under control and they know what they are doing.

      • I don’t know that the F-35 program is exactly ‘under control’ there ARE slippages and the cost seems to be rising. I do know however that these issues, whici seem so very important to most of the people who post here funnily enough, don’t seem such an issue to those who will actually buy and use this aircraft.

        Interesting, no?

      • Bonza, sir,

        Read over GAO’s March 2008 report to Congress on the JSF again and then ask the taxpayers and citizens how they should ‘funnily’ have any interest at all in the outlay of their tax dollars and the nation’s key defense capabilities and those of our allies.

  4. Bonza:

    Lets start at the top:

    “The UK has ordered 3 test aircraft to date, if recollection serves. That is it and they haven’t pulled out of that commitment, though the aircraft type delivered may change to the F-35C rather than the F-35B. As above, stated acquisition intentions may have decreased but the UK has NOT pulled out of the F-35 program NOR has it canceled it’s only current order. Yes, it’s eventual fleet will probably number far less than the 138 aircraft mentioned earlier, but they have NOT left the program. No country has. That was my point earlier and it is quite remarkable, especially in light of all the hurdles which you and Mr Goon point out so adroitly”

    A: Stating that the UK is not pulling out of the program, or is simply trading one variant for another ignores the huge reduction in aircraft. Recent comments in the UK seem to indicate that the actual number of the F-35C’s may fall to 12 fighters. Since you like so much playing word games so much, lets quickly review recent developments among the nations of the unwilling and their “altered participation” (LAUGH) in this loser program.

    Norway:
    Reduces F-35 purchase to 4 aircraft in 2016 for “training purposes” (sure), with full deliveries not to start until 2018 and IOC in 2019 (holding out for fully functional and flying block 3 aircraft to the dismay of Lockmart and Gate). There is also a second contingency plan to potentially push IOC out to 2022, and as Mr. Sweetman pointed out, that’s 22 years after the original SSD. So much for your 8-10 year lag!

    Netherlands:
    The Dutch parliament voted on May 20 to pull out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter test program and cut its purchases of its F-35’s to one of two. Since then among political turmoil the decision to purchase the F-35 has been delayed until 2012 (my that sounds encouraging).

    Denmark:
    Denmark’s 2010-2014 defense cuts would trim its payment commitments under for production, sustainability, and follow-on development MOU to DKr 520 million ($86 million) from DKr 680 million, based on “a lower number of aircraft” than the planned acquisition of 48 F-35 foreseen in the MOU. But it appears Denmark hopes to negotiate to pay only administrative costs during this period, as it has delayed its planned decision on a new fighter (source Aviation Week).

    My those are ringing endorsements of the F-35, and sorry those pesky Dutch did VOTE TO LEAVE the JSF program (see, words do cut both ways).

    “but rather find it interesting that despite them ALL the Countries that originally invested in the program, plus one more now (Israel) are still committed to it so strongly”.

    A: That’s certainly an interesting way to spin the recent developments that I just covered, sounds like bullshit to me. And Israel after fighting to try and get real technology transfer for integration of indigenous weapons systems, finally gives in under personal pressure from Gates with of course the debt laden out of work US taxpayer footing the 2.7 billion dollar price tag.

    Meanwhile back at the ranch, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz got Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to promise that acquisition of the planes will be considered by a forum of senior ministers.

    “Now the choice seems to come down to believing that ten of the best and most professional air arms in the world are all hopelessly mired in groupthink and besotted by their own incompetence for believing this aircraft meets their air combat needs OR perhaps they may just understand a bit more about this aircraft and it’s capability than we do”?

    A: This statement is now so far removed from reality that its hard to know where to start. This aircraft is absolutely untested in the extreme and its real capabilities and or problems will not be known for YEARS. So this spin that 10 air arms (how many are falling by the way side) somehow know better then everyone else is just a crock. Until a battle ready F-35 actually is flying, your opinions remain unproven just the marketing drivel created by Lockmart.

    • 12 fighters? Please. That figure was how many ‘peace time’ F-35’s they plan to operate on their carrier/s. Not a wartime carrier group which as was stated clearly in their recent strategic update will remain at 36 aircraft, ala the Falklands. Do you honestly think this is all they will buy, or do you think perhaps the UK might need some for training, test and development, attrition etc?

      If the RN has 12 aircraft at sea then they will require more than double this on land and that is even if the RAF doesn’t purchase any to begin replacing the GR4 Tornados in the 2020-2025 timeframe. I’ve already agreed it is unlikely the UK will get it’s planned 138 aircraft. Is this not enough for you?

      Your spin aside, The Dutch Parliamentary vote was symbolic only, it had no authority under the care-taker conventions at the time and the Dutch order for an initial test and training aircraft to be followed by a 2nd similar aircraft HAS been confirmed by the new government.

      My point remains valid however. You can throw as much vile and venom as you like, but not one partner nation has withdrawn from the program. Not one single order that HAS been placed has been cancelled, despite the great list of problems the program has encountered AND Israel has joined the program and placed an order for the aircraft. Whilst the US taxpayer might be paying for this in Israel’s military aid budget, Israel COULD have used this money for ANY US fighter, bar the F-22 or indeed any other capability the US is prepared to sell to Israel. They didn’t however. They chose F-35 at a time when nearby Countries are introducing large numbers of 4th Gen fighters into their inventories and DESPITE being a current advanced F-15 operator and prseumably therefore being aware of the capabilities of a so-called ‘Tier 1′ fighter .

      Reality. It seems to be that reality is dependant on what your personal opinion is here. If you are pro-JSF you are deluded, incompetent, corrupt and beset by groupthink. If you are a critic, you are obviously switched on and understand precisely everything there is to know about this program. Very amusing, but suggesting there is no ‘proof’ of F-35 capability seems a bit much to swallow.

      Do you honestly believe that in the 400 odd test flights conducted to date, all the CATBIRD flights and bench/lab testing of avionics, sensor systems and RCS pole testing etc that they’ve learnt nothing about this aircraft?

      Seems to me there is some trouble with reality all right…

    • RSF. Just a check on some of your facts here:

      “Norway: Reduces F-35 purchase to 4 aircraft in 2016 for “training purposes” (sure), with full deliveries not to start until 2018 and IOC in 2019 (holding out for fully functional and flying block 3 aircraft to the dismay of Lockmart and Gate). There is also a second contingency plan to potentially push IOC out to 2022″

      Firstly, the acquisition of four training jets in 2016 is according to plan. You are correct, however, that the main batch is not expected until 2018, a one year delay. The reason for that is to ensure Block IV readiness, which was the baseline for the Norwegian fighter evaluations. However, your comment that there is a “contingency plan for IOC towards 2022″ is incorrect. Rather, the last F-16 jets has a service life until 2022, if needed.

      “UK. Recent comments in the UK seem to indicate that the actual number of the F-35C’s may fall to 12 fighters”

      What is actually being said is that that no figures will be determined until 2015, and that the carrier wing will have at least 12 operational jets. In addition, RAF Tornados are to be replace by F-35s. The minimum suggested number is about 40 jets.

      B. Bolsøy
      Oslo

  5. Bonza – Stop getting so excited.

    Nobody has left the program but they have not yet reached the crunch decision point where they have to, and the competing offers keep getting better – Gripen NG, AESA Typhoon, Super Hornet Plus.

    Meanwhile, you can stick your fingers in your ears and yell LALALALALA all you want but that gigantic sucking sound is the JSF SDD slipping, the production ramp sinking and sliding right, APUC headed for the upper limit of CAPE estimates, and faith in the magic O&S costs diminishing by the second.

    Those facts account for why you and your other yellow-bellied, hide-behind-pseudonyms, John-Gabriel-theorem-proving Internet tough guys are redoubling personal attacks on independent observers who are calling the shots as they see them and putting their reputations on the line.

    • I’m excited? Hmm, I don’t remember insulting anyone on this blog, nor launching a personal attack on anyone.

      I made a simple uncontestable statement that despite all the handwringing and prophesies of doom that seem to permeate this and some other sites, not one customer has withdrawn from the project and not one customer has cancelled an order for an F-35 airplane.

      Now I’m a ‘yellow-bellied tough guy’… It is interesting that people should get so riled up by this one statement of fact. As for pseudonyms, were you born Arthur Harris? Was Geogen or RSF born with these names? Tis the done thing on the Internet. Ask Horde.

  6. re: Jimbo
    “What aircraft do you guys think the RAAF should buy?, i reckon PAK FA myself.”

    Gripen NG if they want to be tied to land bases.
    Sea Gripen if they want to be expeditionary.

  7. Bonza:

    Horrible that 12 plane number, and yes its quite possible if the UK decide to order Super Hornets which cost quite a bit less I might add.

    Furthermore electing to stay in the program to see what happens next is quite a bit different then canceling aircraft which is precisely what is starting to happen now. On Israel they are surrounded by enemies and completely dependent of US arms sales, do you really think that they have a choice in ordering the F-35 at this point?

    Contrary to your comments, I do not believe that the JSF supporters are stupid, just mislead along with several governments on the promise of a “cheap” Swiss Army knife fighter that can do everything well.

    I see a complete disconnect between whats happened in the JSF Program to date, and the continuous PR blitz from Lockmart on this plane. BTW – I will say this just once, I started life blogging in support of the F-35 back when Lockmart first got the program, and I actually liked the X-35 test aircraft. But over the years I lost confidence in the JSF with the continuing history of program and technical problems and cost overruns.

    On Catbird and lab testing to date, the promise of a revolutionary new way of building fighters rings hollow with far more technical problems in the JSF program so far. I should also point out that dependence on lab testing was pointed out by the JET investigating teams as a program vulnerability, and so far their findings have been accurate both in predicting technical/production issues and elevated costs. Here is what the JET II report said on page 1 of the report, 3rd paragraph (see the attached link to the report below):

    “The revised plan relies on state-of-the-art simulation labs, a flying test bed, and desk studies to verify nearly 83 percent of JSF capabilities. Only 17 percent is to be verified through flight testing. Despite
    advances, the ability to so extensively substitute for flight testing has not yet been demonstrated”.

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09303.pdf

    • Fair enough RSF, but I will say the “problems” that F-35 have had to date, pale in comparison to other recent development programs. Super Hornet for instance? So far there have been no “show stopper” technical issues with the variants, problems that one should expect in flight trials (and this is probably the biggest issue I have with L-M, reporting publicly that flight test is more in the nature of “verification” rather than discovery is utter nonsense) have of course occurred but nothing severe yet.

      I make no secret that I think the F-35 will be a success. It would be utter foolish to deny issues in it’s development program, but L-M has a track record of delivering exceptional combat aircraft and I am happy to wait and see what they can deliver.

      Cheers,

      Bonza

      • To RSF:

        Good job on the point by point country presentation, I wanted to do something like that and ran out of energy. :) Countries have still intentions to buy JSF but I think it is undeniable and not much of a stretch to say “confirmed” orders are going to be less than “intention” orders, between bad economies and costs overrun, it just is going to happen. When I was reading GAO report, page 9 table 2, I was surprised as I had forgotten that original buy in 2001 was 2880 as now it around 2440 or so. Obviously I have no proof but I just don’t see US buying that many JSFs.

        To Bonza:

        Good job on trying to defend JSF, it’s not easy because as I complain all the time, LMT needs to do a better job and give us some good news. Everybody is different, I am not a “stay the course kind of guy”, some people are. I understand you and others believe LMT/DOD know what they are doing and we should trust them or give them more time. I just don’t believe in that. It’s our money and security in play, I want these people to do a good job and if they aren’t, we need to do something about it. I have never argued complete cancellation of JSF, I do believe we should get rid of the F35B, we should consolidate on the F35C for both USAF/NAVY. My grip with staying the course is I just see cost increases going through the roof and more delays, I think there are ways to avoid those and save the best parts of the program. I really hate this US mentality of just throwing good money after bad money and then when that doesn’t work, let’s just cancel it. I hate that. You spend a ton of money and you have nothing to show for it. :(

        I think that is where our differences lay.

  8. Heretic:

    I agree! The Gripen offers the most technology and capability for the best price point. And they have had a near flawless development program with the Gripen NG to date.

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