F35 - superfighter or lame duck?

longknife

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
42,221
Reaction score
13,042
Points
2,250
Location
Sin City
It is a very serious problem.

Military procurement bureaucrats listened to generals who wanted too much for too little. They wanted a stealth version of the Osprey that could do the VTOL stuff while flying at Mach+ speeds carrying a huge variety of armaments and payloads.

They got what they should've expected.
 
OP
I

Indofred

Guest
So, in your opinion, it could be a serious mess.
I'm going to have to read a lot more, but it looks dodgy on the surface.
 

westwall

Diamond Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
64,541
Reaction score
16,229
Points
2,180
Location
Nevada
It is a serious POS. Over budget and under performing.
 
OP
I

Indofred

Guest
Oops. That seems to be the general opinion.
The Royal navy are going to be serious miffed. Question is, what would possess the British MOD to but a possibly dodgy bit of kit?

PS - terrific avatar. The F4 has a rugged charm that few aircraft can match.
 

Delta4Embassy

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
25,745
Reaction score
3,032
Points
280
Location
Earth
The F-4 was adequate for its time, but its exhaust was it's main downfall. No one wants to fly a combat aircraft with a big black line leading to it. :)
 

Swagger

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
13,454
Reaction score
2,281
Points
280
Location
Up on the scaffold
Oops. That seems to be the general opinion.
The Royal navy are going to be serious miffed. Question is, what would possess the British MOD to but a possibly dodgy bit of kit?

PS - terrific avatar. The F4 has a rugged charm that few aircraft can match.
When the MoD approved the adoption of the utterly useless SA-80 A1, it was later discovered that several of its fiercest advocates in Parliament held shares in BAE Systems, the weapon's manufacturer. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if that was the case with the F35. Additionally, the Admiralty have also voiced support for a navalised version of the Typhoon, but Parliament wouldn't listen. I wonder why.
 
OP
I

Indofred

Guest
Oops. That seems to be the general opinion.
The Royal navy are going to be serious miffed. Question is, what would possess the British MOD to but a possibly dodgy bit of kit?

PS - terrific avatar. The F4 has a rugged charm that few aircraft can match.
When the MoD approved the adoption of the utterly useless SA-80 A1, it was later discovered that several of its fiercest advocates in Parliament held shares in BAE Systems, the weapon's manufacturer. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if that was the case with the F35. Additionally, the Admiralty have also voiced support for a navalised version of the Typhoon, but Parliament wouldn't listen. I wonder why.
I suggest the possibility of a few greased palms, as I suspect, you do.
The SA 80 was a clear case of cash vs. common sense.
If I recall, something like 50% were returned as faulty on post delivery testing, and the thing couldn't be fired from the left without risk of serious injury.
I believe, without checking, he government of the time were out to privatise the factory, so needed it to look busy and profitable.

There's bound to be some 'friendly' cash in a few pockets here.
At least the Typhoon, whilst way over budget, works.
 

westwall

Diamond Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
64,541
Reaction score
16,229
Points
2,180
Location
Nevada
The F-4 was adequate for its time, but its exhaust was it's main downfall. No one wants to fly a combat aircraft with a big black line leading to it. :)





The F-4 was a serious contender all the way up till it was retired. In the hands of a capable pilot it could match nearly aircraft out there. I watched one wax TWO F-18s in a fight over Owens Valley back in the day.
 

Mushroom

VIP Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2012
Messages
834
Reaction score
171
Points
78
Location
Near Baghdad By The Bay, California
Military procurement bureaucrats listened to generals who wanted too much for too little. They wanted a stealth version of the Osprey that could do the VTOL stuff while flying at Mach+ speeds carrying a huge variety of armaments and payloads.
I think you mean the Harrier (AV8B), not the Osprey (OV-22).

And I for one have long recognized that the first run of just about any military equipment does not perform exactly as advertised. The M-16 was not reliable until the A1, the Arleigh Burke class destroyers were not really world class until the last of the first gens were launched, and the F-18 was originally rejected by the Navy, only being accepted after many years of upgrades and modifications.

And yes, a replacement for the Harrier is badly needed. An upgrade of the Vietnam era Harrier, even the youngest Marine Harrier II is over a decade old, and it is time to start seriously working on their replacement.

And yes, it is still needed. For a Marine Amphibious Force, this is often their only air to air defense when they are separated from a Carrier Battle Group.

I have worked with a great many pieces of equipment in the military over the years, and it had always gone through many modifications, so that it barely resembled the original models. And if somebody has a good eye, they can spot them.



That is a First Generation PATRIOT Missile launcher, a piece of equipment I am very familiar with. That one happens to be a the museum at the White Sands Missile Range (where I have inspected it in detail).



And there is a PAC III 3rd generation launcher. I can spot at least 7 differences in a 1 second glance to tell one from the other. Could the original shoot down an inbound ballistic missile? No. Could the original be rapidly emplaced with the entire Battery ready to fight in less then an hour? No. Was it able to do it's original job and shoot down enemy aircraft within 2 hours? Yes.

In short, I do not see this as a boondoggle. I simply see it as a program that is badly needed, to replace equipment that is dangerously close to the end of it's lifespan.
 
Last edited:

westwall

Diamond Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
64,541
Reaction score
16,229
Points
2,180
Location
Nevada
Military procurement bureaucrats listened to generals who wanted too much for too little. They wanted a stealth version of the Osprey that could do the VTOL stuff while flying at Mach+ speeds carrying a huge variety of armaments and payloads.
I think you mean the Harrier (AV8B), not the Osprey (OV-22).

And I for one have long recognized that the first run of just about any military equipment does not perform exactly as advertised. The M-16 was not reliable until the A1, the Arleigh Burke class destroyers were not really world class until the last of the first gens were launched, and the F-18 was originally rejected by the Navy, only being accepted after many years of upgrades and modifications.

And yes, a replacement for the Harrier is badly needed. An upgrade of the Vietnam era Harrier, even the youngest Marine Harrier II is over a decade old, and it is time to start seriously working on their replacement.

And yes, it is still needed. For a Marine Amphibious Force, this is often their only air to air defense when they are separated from a Carrier Battle Group.

I have worked with a great many pieces of equipment in the military over the years, and it had always gone through many modifications, so that it barely resembled the original models. And if somebody has a good eye, they can spot them.



That is a First Generation PATRIOT Missile launcher, a piece of equipment I am very familiar with. That one happens to be a the museum at the White Sands Missile Range (where I have inspected it in detail).



And there is a PAC III 3rd generation launcher. I can spot at least 7 differences in a 1 second glance to tell one from the other. Could the original shoot down an inbound ballistic missile? No. Could the original be rapidly emplaced with the entire Battery ready to fight in less then an hour? No. Was it able to do it's original job and shoot down enemy aircraft within 2 hours? Yes.

In short, I do not see this as a boondoggle. I simply see it as a program that is badly needed, to replace equipment that is dangerously close to the end of it's lifespan.




I am all for upgrading military equipment, and yes, nothing performs as advertised. However, the amount of money being squandered on the F-35 is horrific. That money could be used to upgrade small arms, artillery and other essential equipment that will actually get use in a low intensity warfare arena. The F-35 was designed to fight the Soviet Union and I would rather have the 14 A-10's that the money for a single F-35 would buy.

To be honest I am rather jaundiced when it comes to "stealth" aircraft. You simply don't need all aircraft to be stealthy. There are few operators with the capability to deal with 4th Gen aircraft as they stand now. Even more ridiculous is the stealthy Littoral Combat Vessel. I have never seen a stealth ship operating off shore, hide from the trusty old MK I eyeball.
 

Mushroom

VIP Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2012
Messages
834
Reaction score
171
Points
78
Location
Near Baghdad By The Bay, California
I am all for upgrading military equipment, and yes, nothing performs as advertised. However, the amount of money being squandered on the F-35 is horrific. That money could be used to upgrade small arms, artillery and other essential equipment that will actually get use in a low intensity warfare arena. The F-35 was designed to fight the Soviet Union and I would rather have the 14 A-10's that the money for a single F-35 would buy.

To be honest I am rather jaundiced when it comes to "stealth" aircraft. You simply don't need all aircraft to be stealthy. There are few operators with the capability to deal with 4th Gen aircraft as they stand now. Even more ridiculous is the stealthy Littoral Combat Vessel. I have never seen a stealth ship operating off shore, hide from the trusty old MK I eyeball.
No, it was not designed to fight the Soviet Union. If you follow it's development, it was originally the Joint Strike Fighter, a 1993 program that merged 2 older programs after the Soviet Union collapsed.

And the idea is to create a next generation fighter, to replace ones that were expected to be reaching the end of their lifespan at the start of the 2020's. It was from it's beginning a long term program, and was never intended to deliver combat aircraft within a decade. It was to deliver aircraft in 20 years that would serve for another 30-40 years.

And trying to design equipment as you are suggesting (fighting in a low intensity theatre) is the most sure way to loose the next war. Remember the old saw that states that the surest way to loose the next war is to plan to repeat your most recent one. You are making the same mistake so many do, in that you are expecting that every war we will ever fight in the future will be a repeat of Gulf Wars I, II and Afghanistan.

If we follow your blueprint, and say get involved in a war with Russia, China, or some European power, we will have our assets royally handed to us. Because fleets of A-10s would be hamburger to a nation with sophisticated air defense capabilities.

Because in a high intensity battlespace, you need aircraft like the F-35 to open the way for and protect the A-10s and other various attack aircraft (like the AC-130 or AV8B).
 

westwall

Diamond Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
64,541
Reaction score
16,229
Points
2,180
Location
Nevada
I am all for upgrading military equipment, and yes, nothing performs as advertised. However, the amount of money being squandered on the F-35 is horrific. That money could be used to upgrade small arms, artillery and other essential equipment that will actually get use in a low intensity warfare arena. The F-35 was designed to fight the Soviet Union and I would rather have the 14 A-10's that the money for a single F-35 would buy.

To be honest I am rather jaundiced when it comes to "stealth" aircraft. You simply don't need all aircraft to be stealthy. There are few operators with the capability to deal with 4th Gen aircraft as they stand now. Even more ridiculous is the stealthy Littoral Combat Vessel. I have never seen a stealth ship operating off shore, hide from the trusty old MK I eyeball.
No, it was not designed to fight the Soviet Union. If you follow it's development, it was originally the Joint Strike Fighter, a 1993 program that merged 2 older programs after the Soviet Union collapsed.

And the idea is to create a next generation fighter, to replace ones that were expected to be reaching the end of their lifespan at the start of the 2020's. It was from it's beginning a long term program, and was never intended to deliver combat aircraft within a decade. It was to deliver aircraft in 20 years that would serve for another 30-40 years.

And trying to design equipment as you are suggesting (fighting in a low intensity theatre) is the most sure way to loose the next war. Remember the old saw that states that the surest way to loose the next war is to plan to repeat your most recent one. You are making the same mistake so many do, in that you are expecting that every war we will ever fight in the future will be a repeat of Gulf Wars I, II and Afghanistan.

If we follow your blueprint, and say get involved in a war with Russia, China, or some European power, we will have our assets royally handed to us. Because fleets of A-10s would be hamburger to a nation with sophisticated air defense capabilities.

Because in a high intensity battlespace, you need aircraft like the F-35 to open the way for and protect the A-10s and other various attack aircraft (like the AC-130 or AV8B).







Yes, I am all for developing the new aircraft. the F-22 while still enduring teething problems IS our fifth gen fighter. Keep developing that. The problem with having one airframe do a whole bunch of jobs is they never do any of those jobs very well.

You tell me, which would you rather have supporting you in the trenches in ANY conflict, a very nice, fast mover that is stealthy but not the best CAS platform, or an upgraded A-10?

Would you rather have an airframe that had to make sacrifices to meet one mission or a dedicated VSTOL airframe that had to make none?

And yes, the F-35 is a marriage of TWO aircraft requirements....that were originally intended to fight the Soviet Union. Thank you for making my point. If we really wanted to make a improvement to our universal war fighting capabilities, we would restart the F-22 production line, restart the A-10 production line, retire the F-15s and to fill the role of a multipurpose light, fast strike fighter introduce the F-16XL Cranked Arrow to bridge the gap of the fast mover attack aircraft.



Helicopter wise they could bring back the AH-56 Cheyenne which is a far more capable helicopter than the AH-64 and with the new manufacturing techniques we have it would be a world beater.



In other words, there are loads of weapons that could be brought on line, that would increase our war fighting capabilities for a fraction of the cost of the F-35.
 

Mushroom

VIP Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2012
Messages
834
Reaction score
171
Points
78
Location
Near Baghdad By The Bay, California
Would you rather have an airframe that had to make sacrifices to meet one mission or a dedicated VSTOL airframe that had to make none?
The problem here is though that we need a new VSTOL aircraft.

And by itself, there is no way the Marines can support the funding by themselves.

The Harrier is a 50 year old design, and needs to be replaced. And the capability is needed.

And you keep concentrating on VSTOL, even though only 1 of the 3 models has that capability. Only the Marine version will have that capability, not the Air Force or Navy versions.

You want to scrap the entire program, leaving the military with nothing for another 20 years. Only the Air Force can use the F-22. Not the Navy, not the Marine Corps.

Now that is stupidity if you ask me. Wanting to concentrate on one service, and letting the other two suffer and stagnate.
 

westwall

Diamond Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
64,541
Reaction score
16,229
Points
2,180
Location
Nevada
Would you rather have an airframe that had to make sacrifices to meet one mission or a dedicated VSTOL airframe that had to make none?
The problem here is though that we need a ne VSTOL aircraft.

And by itself, there is no way the Marines can support the funding by themselves.

The Harrier is a 50 year old design, and needs to be replaced. And the capability is needed.

And you keep concentrating on VSTOL, even though only 1 of the 3 models has that capability. Only the Marine version will have that capability, not the Air Force or Navy versions.

You want to scrap the entire program, leaving the military with nothing for another 20 years. Only the Air Force can use the F-22. Not the Navy, not the Marine Corps.

Now that is stupidity if you ask me. Wanting to concentrate on one service, and letting the other two suffer and stagnate.






There have been compromises made to the airframe so that it can have a V/TOL capability. Believe me I know all about the F-35 as I have been following it since its inception and have friends in the industry. I am also a pilot, so understand the compromises that have to be made to have a one size fits all airframe.

I understand the Harrier is a 50 year old design. It is also an airframe that can be updated and it has the advantage that ALL of the basic aerodynamic research has been done.

Put simply, improve the engine, avionics and weapons fit, and the Harrier will continue to be THE top of the line V/STOL aircraft in the world. There is nothing the F-35 can do that the Harrier can't do, other than fly at supersonic speeds, and be stealthy....which is a capability of dubious need when your mission is moving mud from low altitude.


You also state that the Navy and Marines can't use the F-22. Why is that? They all used the F-4 Phantom and didn't seem to have a problem. It is no major issue to put a stinger on the F-22, this is purely a case of inter service rivalry.
 

SteadyMercury

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
4,731
Reaction score
1,193
Points
190
Put simply, improve the engine, avionics and weapons fit, and the Harrier will continue to be THE top of the line V/STOL aircraft in the world. There is nothing the F-35 can do that the Harrier can't do, other than fly at supersonic speeds, and be stealthy....which is a capability of dubious need when your mission is moving mud from low altitude.
What?

So the harrier will be superior despite the F-35 being able to fly much faster, have a superior combat radius, far better sensor suite and situational awareness, low observable allowing sorties in more heavily contested airspace, a larger weapons payload, and can function as a true air superiority fighter.

How will the Harrier continue to be the top V/STOL aircraft in the world?
 
OP
I

Indofred

Guest
Put simply, improve the engine, avionics and weapons fit, and the Harrier will continue to be THE top of the line V/STOL aircraft in the world. There is nothing the F-35 can do that the Harrier can't do, other than fly at supersonic speeds, and be stealthy....which is a capability of dubious need when your mission is moving mud from low altitude.
What?

So the harrier will be superior despite the F-35 being able to fly much faster, have a superior combat radius, far better sensor suite and situational awareness, low observable allowing sorties in more heavily contested airspace, a larger weapons payload, and can function as a true air superiority fighter.

How will the Harrier continue to be the top V/STOL aircraft in the world?
The Harrier has been around for a very long time, but it has also proven to work extremely well.
The more I read about its replacement, the more I think the harrier should be kept in service. I'm of the opinion the British government have seriously messed up here.
 

westwall

Diamond Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
64,541
Reaction score
16,229
Points
2,180
Location
Nevada
Put simply, improve the engine, avionics and weapons fit, and the Harrier will continue to be THE top of the line V/STOL aircraft in the world. There is nothing the F-35 can do that the Harrier can't do, other than fly at supersonic speeds, and be stealthy....which is a capability of dubious need when your mission is moving mud from low altitude.
What?

So the harrier will be superior despite the F-35 being able to fly much faster, have a superior combat radius, far better sensor suite and situational awareness, low observable allowing sorties in more heavily contested airspace, a larger weapons payload, and can function as a true air superiority fighter.

How will the Harrier continue to be the top V/STOL aircraft in the world?






You can retrofit all of the new avionics and situational awareness hardware (cameras mainly) onto a Harrier. You can stretch the airframe and reprofile the wings (aero already done) to improve the range and loiter time, the only thing the Harrier can't do that the F-35 can do, is go supersonic which for a CAS aircraft isn't necessary anyway. As far as the stealthy bit, show me how that prevents the MK I eyeball from spotting you?
 

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Forum List

Top