My silly pick for Gate’s replacement beats the President’s silly pick. Here’s why #military

If the President is allowed to make a silly pick for Gate’s replacement (Panetta), I think I can too.

My pick has energy to do the job; has a good team; and by almost all the words of this video, understands the mission of Secretary of Defense. The words are on-message. As a bonus at the end of this video, my pick leads by example and tells you how he will cut costs on the road show.

Energy; the right words; a good team; and understands being frugal.

Panetta will be looking for places to sneak naps. My pick won’t.

Everybody; get in line…

DOD report contradicts Norway-Oz deception over F-35 program woes

Norway has joined Australia in issuing misleading public statements about the health of the F-35 program. The following quote from Norway shows some serious deceptive behaviour.

“In brief, the new revision as we understand it, is that the test programs for the three variants of the F-35 are disconnected from each other. Further testing of the different variants is to be implemented independently, so they do not slow mutually each other.

In particular the testing of the F-35B (STOVL) has demonstrated problems, but this is a variant that we do not plan to acquire. Further development is extended by a few months (about 10 months for the version that we do plan to acquire).”

Norway, like Australia is trying to push the idea that the major problems announced by the U.S. government are mostly specific to the F-35B short take-off and landing variant wanted by the United States Marine Corps.

Both gloss over problems that are part of all variants of the F-35 program by trying to make the public believe that since it is the A model they are trying to procure everything will work out fine. A report from the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test & Evaluation shows that things aren’t all that simple.

In it are mentioned not only problems with the STOVL B model but issues that will have an effect on all variants. Things such as engine power, aircraft handling, and a lot of software.

“The DOT&E also reports that the latest date for the completion of development testing on the F-35A and F-35C, in early 2016, will not be met unless Block 2 and 3 software is delivered on time and other “critical” problems, including issues with the JSF’s helmet-mounted display system, are resolved. But the mission systems flight test schedule “still contains significant uncertainty”.

Rather than the rapid software development schedule originally planned, the DOT&E report now says that “the F-35 mission systems software development and test is tending towards familiar historical patterns of extended development, discovery in flight test, and deferrals to later increments.

Flight testing so far has revealed problems with handling in the transonic and medium angle-of-attack regimes, and a problem with screech – destructive high-frequency combustion instability in the F135 afterburner – which is preventing the aircraft from achieving maximum power.

For all variants, earlier plans to achieve flight test goals by raising the sortie rate to 10-12 flights per month per aircraft “are not achievable”, the report says, until reliability and maintainability are improved.

Mission system software is the biggest problem. Currently, the only software for which a test program has been approved is Block 0.5 – but the Block 0.5 effort has failed, since the program office has deemed it unsuitable for training.”

Leading all of this spin is out-going U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates. He stated the following last week.

“In short, two of the JSF variants, the Air Force version and the Navy’s carrier based version, are proceeding satisfactorily.”

Spin report complete.

Chicom J-20 first flight during Gates visit; how to make our SecDef look even more worthless on air power issues

So what do you do as China to make a point when the U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates visits? You perform the first flight of the J-20 stealth fighter prototype.

The U.S. can save money in the defense budget by stopping spending on aircraft like the Super Hornet and F-35. They have no place in any future air power plan.

There are a few apologists that try to make little of this, but there is really no substance to an argument which states: we shouldn’t worry now, the F-35 will be good enough, Gates knows what he is doing, China is no real threat.

The F-22 will start retirement in the 2020’s. What then?

Gates gives the F-35B two additional years to fix problems #military

Well, the idea that the USMC will get initial operating capability (IOC) by 2012 is officially dead.

Gates will give the program two additonal years–above the 13 months tacked on to the whole program earlier this year–to fix F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant issues. Sounds good, but Gates will be going away soon. Whatever happens with budgets and the reality of engineering promises in the future will determine how much life the STOVL or the whole F-35 program can muster.

Design-wise, the F-35B STOVL is the base version of all F-35 variants because the A (convential take-off and landing) and C (carrier take-off and landing) designs have to conform to the B needs for all 3 variants to have any useful commonality.

More wrong-thinking Gates fans (article in The Australian) #military #auspol #ozcot

Yeah right. Because we need Gates to destroy America’s air power roadmap even more; (Cancelling the F-22 and throwing all bets on the dysfunctional F-35).

A good point from history. It was air power that permitted friendly naval power to exist in the Pacific in World War II.

I can’t imagine why some want to change that.

The U.S. Navy carrier air wing roadmap is still in trouble #military

So what will Gates do for Tuesday’s F-35 tree-of-woe announcement? I would be surprised if he admitted a mistake but I guess it is possible.

Later in the month there will be another DOD get-together to see where they want to take the program. I do think that Gates will have run out of patience with all of this.

I don’t think you will see anyone in that clan suggest producing more F-22s. That would make too much sense for this crowd. You cannot reverse decisions made by royalty.

While the United States Air Force (USAF) may be in trouble, certainly the U.S. Navy and the United States Marine Corps are in for some come-to-Jesus decisions with this aircraft.

The Marines have a few options. There is still a lot of airframe life in some of the Harriers if they are willing to cherry pick airframes; certainly enough to get them out to the 2020s. Until then, they should go ahead and get gap-filler Super Hornet Block II two-seat F-model aircraft to fill out some of their need. This would be easy to do and give them some good power quickly.

The Navy is looking at a reality of having two fast jet squadrons of aircraft for each aircraft carrier. Even if the F-35C comes through, they are looking at a 3 fast jet squadron carrier wing, 1 with F-35C, 1 with Super E and 1 with Super F.

Also there are early lot Supers that cannot be converted to Block II. So a continuing production of Super Hornet Block II has to take that into account and the fact that those early Supers will be getting old, along with the problem of classic Hornets going away.

That is the reality for the carrier air wing. This is the box Navy planners have put themselves in.

If Gates and Carter are smart, they will kill the F-35 program. If they are half-smart, they will kill the F-35B which is taking up too much time, money and effort for no useful gain.

Pentagon to report up to 3 year delay with F-35 and rising costs #military #cndpoli #auspol

The F-35 program is consistent in performance. That is, rising prices and more delay. Tomorrow there will be a DOD brief on this latest announcement.

Slippage in the JSF’s timetable may be as much as one year for the Air Force and Navy versions and two to three years for development of the Marine Corps model capable of short takeoffs and landings, the officials said.

The potential increases would be on top of changes unveiled this year by the Pentagon: a 13-month extension to the current development phase to November 2015, shifting of $2.8 billion in production funds for continued research and delaying the purchase of 122 jets to beyond 2015.

Gates and Carter fib about F-35 tech problems in their recertification of the F-35 after Nunn-McCurdy breach

Remember Gates, Carter and others who said there were no technical issues with the F-35 in the Nunn-McCurdy recertification of the program?

Via insidedefense.com (subscription)

“DOD, Lockheed Agree On Redesign Of JSF Drive Shaft Critical To Marine Corps Plans

The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin have agreed to a new design of a component critical to the Marine Corps’ variant of the Joint Strike Fighter — a drive shaft connecting the main engine to the vertical lift fan that will be incorporated into the F-35B if test flights in the coming months validate recent durability concerns.”