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F-35: How the U.S. and Its Allies Got Stuck with the World’s Worst New Warplane

  • 11-15-2013 | 10:56 AM
  • fatbuckRTO
  • https://medium.com/war-is-boring/5c95d45f86a5

    I do tend to wonder if the author is on the Boeing or General Dynamics payroll. But at the same time, ignoring negative war games outcomes (or sometimes twisting the results to a positive) seems to be SOP at the Pentagon. Before I joined the military I never would have guessed doe-eyed optimism was a common trait among generals...
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  • 11-15-2013 | 11:35 AM
  • Papa_Complex
  • Sometimes it seems like some big brain comes up with what he thinks will be the ultimate tool, goes out and gets someone to build it, and then slants all the results to make him look like a genius when it all falls apart.

    Grizzly turrets.

    Apache helicopters that blow out their own breaker panel when firing to one side.
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  • 11-15-2013 | 11:36 AM
  • pauldun170
  • I'm going to go out on the limb and say that article is inaccurate, poorly researched, misleading and lacks boobs.

    I can't respond to that article during work hours.
    I have a lot to say about that article, the authors points and the F35 program.
    Thanks for posting fatBuckRTO.
    Its a great topic.
    Bookmarking this thread and to hopefully discuss later.
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  • 11-15-2013 | 07:34 PM
  • fatbuckRTO
  • Quote pauldun170
    I have a lot to say about that article, the authors points and the F35 program.
    Thought you might. I'll get to work on the whole "no boobs" thing...
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  • 11-15-2013 | 08:37 PM
  • pauldun170
  • This is going to take a bit. Lot of stuff in this article and I have a few errand to run but I'll start

    The price tag —currently an estimated $1 trillion to design, build and operate 2,400 copies—is steadily going down. Production of dozens of the planes a year for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps is getting easier. Daily flight tests increasingly are hitting all the right marks.
    Author doesn't mention its just an estimate and thats its based on development, purchase orders and operations costs over 55 fucking years of expected service of an entire fleet of aircraft.

    Here is a more recent ESTIMATE (which can go up or down)

    Owing to heavy design compromises foisted on the plane mostly by the Marine Corps, the F-35 is an inferior combatant, seriously outclassed by even older Russian and Chinese jets that can fly faster and farther and maneuver better. In a fast-moving aerial battle, the JSF “is a dog … overweight and underpowered,” according to Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, D.C.
    Thats based on a bullshit, flawed RAND study from 2008. I'll get to this later.

    Among the pathologies inherent in the F-35's design, by far the most damaging is the result of a peculiar institutional obsession by one of the new plane’s three main customers. Early on, the Marine Corps contrived to equip the JSF as a “jump jet,” able to take off and land vertically like a helicopter — a gimmick that the Marines have long insisted would make its fighters more flexible, but which has rarely worked in combat.
    Who is going to tell the Marine Corp that the amphibious warfare ships that carried their old jump jets are part of the gimmicky scheme. I'm not a Marine nor do I really read up on their current doctrine but having the ability to carry fast attack aircraft that can...I don't know, drop heavy things that go boom fron a small aws is a good thing to have and not a gimmick.

    HOWEVER its that reason why costs have balloned so much. The F35B is a cock sucking money whore.

    Where once mighty American warplanes soared over all others, giving Washington a distinct strategic advantage against any foe, in coming decades the U.S. air arsenal will likely be totally outclassed on a plane-by-plane basis by any country possessing the latest Russian and Chinese models — one of which, ironically, appears to be an improved copy of the JSF … minus all its worst design elements.
    If this asshole tries to claim that Chinese stealth wannabe POS is actually....I'll come back to this. I have to go see if China finally figured out how to design and build a aircraft engine thats not a pos. Last time I checked. They couldn't even with Russians holding them by the hand. Lets just set aside Chinese military doctrine and pretend that they are going...wait.Let me stop before I go on a tangent.
    At the time the Navy was working with the Air Force on the F-111, an early attempt at a one-size-fits-all jet that the Pentagon believed would replace nearly all older planes with a single, multipurpose model.
    Oh..I see he is trying to name drop the F-111. One of the best low level bombers and electronic warefare platforms of the 20th century. Australia was just recently bitching about having to retire their fleet.
    wonder where he is going with that one?

    There is a lot more here where he bitches about the F35B which is going to Marines and The Royal Navy. Yeah it has problems. Yup its pricey. Yup stupid militaries with requirements for jets on small ships.
    What about the F35A which will be built in greater number? You know...the cheap one. The one with better range and capabilty?
    What about F35C which has 50% more range than F35B.
    I'm a little lost here because I'm skimming and I got run out real quick

    Cost per plane...coming down

    I'll be back

    Last edited by pauldun170; 11-16-2013 at 12:22 AM.
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  • 11-18-2013 | 05:29 PM
  • EpyonXero
  • Do you work for LockMart Owego, Paul?

    I dont know a lot about the F35 other than they look pretty badass sitting on the flight line but the Pentagon does have a habit of throwing bad money after good when it comes to large, over due, and over budget programs. Its as if once a program reaches a certain price threshold it cant be killed.
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  • 11-19-2013 | 04:13 PM
  • pauldun170
  • Damn me and my short term memory. Completely forgot about this thread.

    The issue with military contracts is that it takes so long to fill out the paperwork that by the time you finish the first set of docs requesting the docs that initiate a requirements signoff, some lobbyists tells some congressman to hold a committee to test the feasibility of doing something that to the program that benefits the lobbyists sugar daddies. Then the lobbyists hit up generals and generals start pressuring committee members and then committee members start asking generals crap and then
    Election cycle break where everyone goes on the road and promises crap.
    In the mean time, $$$ get pulled to go to a program with more muscular lobbyists behind it and then some think tank starts handing out papers saying ....

    yada yada yada
    Mission creep magically appears and then rework, renegotiation more funding
    Then as the years go by, as new weapons system development new threats and countermeasure pop up...you have to figure that in.
    Then someone complains that you are over budget and spending to much so they cut production numbers which then gets factored into the formula used in cartoons.
    Total cost\production number = cost per unit
    So lets say you have a good estimate on program cost and you budget properly. Figure the program is going to take 5-7 years until you begin serious testing.
    Lets assume no changes in requirements come down.

    Congress decides they would rather spend money on new Congressional marble bath house with gold covered faucets and velvet covered minorities to serve champagne in honor of Senator X's 15 reelection. So they cut the units ordered from 500 to 150 and then they also cut funding to an alternative engine for the project.
    Now the unit costs have gone up the wazoo and lobbyists from competing companies, hippies and the like scream WASTE!!! The thing that cost 11 billionty dollars!!! per thing.

    Then the questions get asked.
    Why do we need this?
    What does it do?
    then someone says "Why can't it do X ? It cost 11 billionty per thingy so it should at least be able to do X!!!"
    Then the committees happen.
    Then the threats begin.
    Then the new requirements come rolling in.
    Then ....

    I don't know. I guess I don't know.

    Maybe sometimes, a manufacturer needs to keep the production lines rolling.
    So everyone works together to toss em a couple of bucks. Get program A to use a component from district 12 or something. So you figure something out.
    Sometimes, you overlook stuff in testing because it threatens the contract. (Fix it later...the threat of cancellation early in the program is a lot stronger than when you have billions in supply chain, leases and orders in play. )

    I guess I'm not sure.

    I apologize for the rambling.
    I'm multitasking too much today
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