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Program is on track but challenges remain

The F-35 Lightning II program was said to be on track in June of 2013, but there are still key milestones left unmet. The multi-role fighter has been delivered in small amounts to the U.S. military, but a widespread rollout of the aircraft hasn’t happened.
 
The program has been criticized for numerous delays and ballooning costs. However, Pentagon acquisition Chief Frank Kendall was recently asked if the program was finally under control to which he replied, "Yes, it is."
 
Lt. Gen Christopher Bogdan, the military officer in charge of the F-35 program, added, "Long gone is the time when we're going to pay for mistake after mistake after mistake."

 
Bogdan also noted that the F-35 is necessary to keep pace with tech being developed in China and Russia. China is currently developing its J-20 stealth fighter, while Russia has a new stealth plane of its own: the Sukhoi T-50.
 
Bogdan said, "I don't see any scenario where we are walking back away from this program. We're going to buy a lot of these airplanes."
 
The 2015 fiscal request from the DOD asks for funds to buy two Navy versions of the F-35, six Marine versions, and 26 Air Force versions. That number still falls sort of the 42 aircraft originally requested under the budget.
 
While things are just getting started for the production of the F-35 Lightning II, we reported yesterday that production of the Boeing F/A-18 E/F  Super Hornet will likely wind down by 2016.

Source: MSN



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Buy a lot?
By FITCamaro on 2/19/2014 11:17:06 AM , Rating: 2
Not likely. Buy some? Yes. They've already scaled back the number to buy. Just like they did with the F-22. Because free cell phones and endless unemployment benefits are more important than having an adequate fighter fleet in the future.




RE: Buy a lot?
By Flunk on 2/19/2014 11:27:57 AM , Rating: 2
Really? Because I thought the issue was pork-barrel over-payments to military contractors who keep asking for more money constantly and never deliver.

The entire F-35 program has been a huge farce of mismanagement and embezzling. I don't think this has anything to do with cell phones or unemployment benefits.


RE: Buy a lot?
By tng on 2/19/2014 12:49:11 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Because I thought the issue was pork-barrel over-payments to military contractors who keep asking for more money constantly and never deliver.
To be fair here, Ben Rich stated in the second edition of the book that he co-wrote on the Skunk Works that Lockheed would break even on the F22 at aprox 800 planes. I take that with a grain of salt and it is probably more like 400, but you see the point.

quote:
The entire F-35 program has been a huge farce of mismanagement and embezzling.
I think that irrational expectations have far more to do with it. The DOD wanted something that would go across the lines and work for all the services and that is a problem. The other problem here is defense contractors that thought they could realistically do it somehow without listening to their engineers.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Solandri on 2/19/2014 5:43:18 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
I think that irrational expectations have far more to do with it. The DOD wanted something that would go across the lines and work for all the services and that is a problem. The other problem here is defense contractors that thought they could realistically do it somehow without listening to their engineers.

If it's anything like the DoD projects I've worked on (or pretty much any contract project really), there's also a healthy dose of the DoD changing the specs and requirements mid-project, after you've already put in a lot of time and spent a lot of money meeting the requirements they now say they don't want.

Ideally everyone would sit down and ink an immutable contract at the onset. But that simply doesn't work for cutting-edge R&D. New discoveries mean some things you thought would be easy turn out to be hard, some things you thought would be hard turn out to be easy and new features you hadn't thought possible become possible.

The problem is when something turns out to be easier, you can only save up to the amount of money allocated to meet that requirement. When something turns out to be harder, there's no limit on how much it can escalate the costs if you're not willing to remove or lessen the requirement.


RE: Buy a lot?
By edmund on 2/23/2014 5:31:56 AM , Rating: 2
if the country has a funds crisis. you cant cut down health services or education or transportation. the defence sector always takes the toll its just how things are. its easier to scale down weapons production, than to scale down health services. the reality is people wont complain if the defence sector is trimmed. but you trim any other sector and the whole country goes mental.


RE: Buy a lot?
By dgingerich on 2/25/2014 11:17:09 AM , Rating: 2
Are you even aware that Disability, Welfare, and Food Stamps together cost this country more than three times the defense budget in 2013? All the while, fraud in those programs has not been enforced on any level since 2008.

While I do think that we have spent far too much on garbage defense programs, we do need the F-35. It is a very complex, forced overly complex in most cases, program that requires much engineering. (The push for "wallow in complexity" in our university system over the last 20 years has come back to haunt us in this program.) With the complexity that this plane, there are bound to be many bugs to work out. The control systems alone are more than ten times as complex as the F-14. (I might add, at no significant advantage over the F-14.) What needs to be done is a from the ground up restart on the engineering of that plane telling the engineers to keep it as simple as they can to prevent bugs.

We need this plane because our potential adversaries in the world are catching up to our technological edge. If we do not maintain that edge, the only way we could win a potential war would be to throw more and more people at it. Since we have a far lower population than our potential adversaries, that would be disastrous. The only reason why we remained free from the 1950s to the 1990s was specifically because of that technological edge.

Without that edge, and with North Korea getting stealth planes from China, and Iran getting stealth planes from Russia, we would lose a war with either very badly. Both are lead by very power hungry men who seek to destroy our government and enslave us or convert us or exterminate those who would not become slaves or converts. That is not fiction. That is their way of thinking. Men like this have been leaders of powerful war regimes for millennia. They seek to conquer the world, and either could if we were not here to oppose it. To cut spending on our defense would not make the world more peaceful. It would break out in world wide war.

We are the only country that can keep those men in check, and we are pissing away our defense on people who refuse to work.


RE: Buy a lot?
By MrBlastman on 2/19/2014 11:35:27 AM , Rating: 3
It's the old philosophy that peace will prevail and humans are inherently good at heart.

Good luck with that. In all of humanity's recorded history, there has never once been a perpetual period of peace. War is inevitable. It is in our blood and every other lifeform on the planet.


RE: Buy a lot?
By lagomorpha on 2/19/2014 11:45:10 AM , Rating: 2
Actually it's more a matter of "we are always planning to fight the last war".


RE: Buy a lot?
By Samus on 2/19/2014 11:46:34 AM , Rating: 1
This is precisely what happens when a President with no military background is elected.

Military "advisors" are one thing, Military "experience" is another.

I'm not saying they need to be a general but a requirement for running for presidency should be military enlistment, just like being a natural born citizen. In fact I'd go as far as to say that should be required for senators as well. National Security is always the highest priority for any government, and nobody understands that better than the military.

The counter-benefit would also be weeding out a lot of weasely politicians who thing they and their family are "too good" for military service.


RE: Buy a lot?
By tng on 2/19/2014 12:53:07 PM , Rating: 1
Good ideas and not the first time that it has been proposed. However you still get people like John Kerry who will get through. Did you ever notice that he recorded a huge amount of his Vietnam service for later viewing? His enlistment was all geared toward his political ambitions.


RE: Buy a lot?
By tng on 2/20/14, Rating: 0
RE: Buy a lot?
By Jeffk464 on 2/21/2014 12:09:02 AM , Rating: 2
John Kerry is far from alone there are tons of vietnam vets who turned against that war. I can't think of anyone now that thinks that us killing over a million vietnamese was justified.


RE: Buy a lot?
By tng on 2/22/2014 4:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
Not saying that he was wrong, just that his whole life was tailored to win the POTUS. The whole war was not good and could have been avoided if the US would have listened in the first place.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2014 5:05:17 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I can't think of anyone now that thinks that us killing over a million vietnamese was justified.


Is Vietnam run by Communists today? No.

So it was justified. Go look at that sh*thole North Korea to see what Vietnam would be today had we not intervened.

Kerry is a traitor and an idiot. I can't think of anyone who doesn't think that.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Just Tom on 2/23/2014 5:19:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, Vietnam is run by Communists today.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world...


RE: Buy a lot?
By CalaverasGrande on 2/20/2014 12:36:57 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like you have been reading Heinlein.
Though it is kind of shady how many of our politicians haven't served, even though our country has been almost perpetually at war for 70 years.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/19/2014 11:50:22 AM , Rating: 4
I see where you're going with this, but growing up as a HUGE aviation and space buff (I was the geek that would ride his bike to the public library to read Jane's reference manuals), I have to ask you this question... isn't this just a logical progression of militarized aviation?

There have been a number of "turning points" in military aviation history, one of which happened with the NA XB-70 where we have to step back and reassess. IIRC, the XB-70 was destined to replace the B-52 as a Mach 3, nuclear-capable bomber. However, the fast development of ICBMs (to deliver nuclear warheads) and advanced SAMs (that could take out the XB-70) made it an expensive and "outdated" platform and was thus cancelled and relegated to research duty. And the B-52 is still around 50+ years later.

I think we're going through another phase where our capabilities in the air give us a distinct advantage with fewer planes needed.

There were what, 187 F-22 Raptors built? Given the survivability ( http://www.ausairpower.net/XIMG/f22a-vs-flanker.gi... ) of the F-22 compared to older aircraft (F-16, F-15, F/A-18, etc), do we really need 500 of them given that the Russians (they're worse off militarily than we are when it comes to finances) and the Chinese don't even have the capability to even approach the quality/number of Raptors we have?

Combine the F-22 with the F-35 and we have a pretty potent 1-2 punch in air superiority and AA/AG attacks. Not to mention our existing fleet of Gen 4 aircraft.

Besides, in any given conflict, how many of our premier air superiority planes do we even have in a region at a time? For example, during Desert Shield/Storm or Iraq War II, how many F-15s did we have patrolling the skies in that those theaters -- can anyone help me out on this one?


RE: Buy a lot?
By MrBlastman on 2/19/2014 12:29:02 PM , Rating: 4
You are overlooking something very crucial. In the event of a large-scale, global war, the United States is in a very bad position.

Geographically, we are okay... it will buy us some time. Our industrial might though, is nothing like it used to be eighty years ago. We've shut down countless factories and outsourced even our steel mills to China. If global conflict exploded, we'd be playing catch-up, not spool-up.

We're nothing like the America we were prior to World War 2. We might have gadgets and fancy technology, but, in the end, it is industrial might -and- resource supply that determines who wins and who loses.

World War 2 taught us this. Germany had technological wizardry but in the end, they were overwhelmed by countries that could out-produce and resource them.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Spuke on 2/19/14, Rating: -1
RE: Buy a lot?
By MrBlastman on 2/19/2014 1:23:07 PM , Rating: 4
History is reality and so many people ignore it. Our world's history has been cyclical since it began. On it ticks a pendulum that swings this way and that. Inevitability follows it in every swing.

Global wars are gone at the moment. Today they are dormant. Tomorrow... who knows?

Countries will always rise and fall and conquest beyond a nations borders will always occur unless one nation succeeds in conquering the entire planet. Even if that happens, the people within will eventually riot and burn it apart, splintering it into factions, then to nations and the wars will forever continue.

Harsh is the ember of war. It burns so bright with a blazing fury. It's hue of orange may fade to that of a deep red, waiting for the stones to be struck and the wind to be blown. Cover it up you may but bury it--you will never succeed. For it smolders deep within the rubble, waiting to re-ignite the tinder above setting ablaze everything once more.

That is reality. Anything else is fantasy.


RE: Buy a lot?
By SlyNine on 2/19/2014 2:24:44 PM , Rating: 1
While we shouldn't be ignorant of our past, we are not bound to it either. Fancy catch phrases and cliché's do not predict the future.

This world, and the capabilities of nations today pretty much dictate that there is no going back to the same tic tock cliché.


RE: Buy a lot?
By MrBlastman on 2/19/2014 2:42:14 PM , Rating: 4
I'd love to admit you're right but sadly, to me at least, humanity is all too predictable.

The only way we can escape the bonds of our past is by studying it. Too many people these days are content with ignoring it and pretending it never happened.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Scrogneugneu on 2/19/2014 7:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
Any nation wielding nuclear power ending up on the wrong side of a large-scale war will resort to using it instead of losing. This wasn't the case before WWII, and it changes the game a lot.

Since then, any war fought has been against nations without nuclear capacity. Otherwise, should one get the upper hand in the conflict, the other will simply blow everything up, which (even if the surprise effect is successful) will trigger a chain reaction from any other nation having nuclear power.

Global large-scale war is very, very unlikely to happen again if it involves any 2 nations with nuclear power. You do not start a war if you don't think you can win, and against nuclear, you cannot win (for now).


RE: Buy a lot?
By MrBlastman on 2/19/2014 9:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Global large-scale war is very, very unlikely to happen again if it involves any 2 nations with nuclear power. You do not start a war if you don't think you can win, and against nuclear, you cannot win (for now).


You might say unlikely but I say it is inevitable. Man is destined to kill themselves off this Earth at the rate we are going.

Look at the Congressional budget. Look how little is spent on NASA (the best thing we COULD spend money on) and how much is spent on other stuff like entitlements--and the Military.

The problem is... Military spending is necessary due to the flawed nature of Man (and life) on this Earth.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Jeffk464 on 2/21/2014 12:22:02 AM , Rating: 2
The scary thing is that our knowledge and technology has changed but our DNA is exactly the same as 5000 years ago. We still have the same drives and instincts as we always had. As more and more countries get nukes is judgement day inevitable? I'm pretty sure if you had a WW2 style war these days it would end in a nuclear exchange. The threat to humanity is not high tech fighters it is still the possibility of nuclear annihilation.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/21/2014 7:34:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The scary thing is that our knowledge and technology has changed but our DNA is exactly the same as 5000 years ago. We still have the same drives and instincts as we always had.


Without those drives, man would have never left the cave.

You guys are sounding...I don't know, but I don't agree with your premise.

It takes a LONG time for evolution to happen. Figuratively speaking, modern man is still a newborn! We're barely been on this planet for a blink of the eye. Give us a chance, goddamn...

Nothing is wrong with mankind. We're not doomed or heading for extinction, and we're not going to wipe ourselves off the planet.

What is this, the 1980's? Where we're all worried about a nuclear doomsday? Just lol...not even going to happen.


RE: Buy a lot?
By inperfectdarkness on 2/19/2014 1:22:19 PM , Rating: 4
187 is not a lot of tails when you realize that they're replacing 700+ F-15's. In order to maintain our pilot's proficiency (which is absolutely crucial in air-air engagements) we HAVE to fly the jets, and having a smaller number in the fleet = more hours per jet and the fleet ages faster.

Then when you calculate that at any given time 1/4th of the total fleet is in depot for routine maintenance, and at least 1/4th more is required stateside for training and proficiency, you're left with barely 90 jets--and that's assuming you can deploy ALL of those at once. Then when you factor in that most jets will be flown every-other-day at most (again due to maintenance) you're left with about 45 you can tag for any given day. Divide by 2, since they're always flown in pairs, and you're left with barely 20 sorties you can frag PER DAY--under the MOST IDEAL conditions--and that's for lowly 2-ships; and assuming you can deploy virtually the entire fleet.

Now when you factor that China/Russia can probably sortie HUNDREDS of F-11's/Su-30/Su-30MKK's, you've got a real problem on your hands. No matter how good the F-22 is, it's still limited on how many missiles it can carry--even if you assume 1-shot, 1-kill (which, again, is unrealistic).

Heck, N.Korea can send up "missile-sappers"--2nd and 3rd gen fighters in such large numbers that we'd have a difficult time dealing with more than the first 150 or so. The USA may be the Rebel Alliance in T-65 X-Wings, but the chinese Empire can send up vast amounts of weak TIE fighters and present a sizable challenge.

Not that I do any of this stuff for a living....


RE: Buy a lot?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/19/2014 1:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
But is it feasible to be able to afford 700 (or hell even 500) F-22s at $100 to $150M each (depending on production scale) vs those 700 F-15s which cost at most $35M each?

I'm being totally serious here.


RE: Buy a lot?
By sorry dog on 2/19/2014 10:51:44 PM , Rating: 2
F15's don't cost 35 million. Considering that Boeing is now selling Superbugs for 60-70 mil and growlers for 90 I'd expect a F15 buy today to be 70-80 mil unless it was a real large order.

The only jet today that would still maybe be 35 mil would be F-50 which is much more basic in capability and avionics and has one 4 million dollar turbine versus 2 that are 9 mil a piece.


RE: Buy a lot?
By inperfectdarkness on 2/20/2014 3:09:12 PM , Rating: 2
The Silent Eagle--the modern F-15 equivalent, costs 100M. You're not saving any money--and the F-22 is designed around stealth from the get-go, unlike rehashed F-15's.

P.S. ftr, we only asked for ~380 or so F-22's.


RE: Buy a lot?
By A11 on 2/19/2014 2:12:35 PM , Rating: 2
Sure more f22s would be nice but exactly what do you need them for?

Which nation are you possibly going to fight which will require a large fleet of F22s to defeat? Within the planes 40 years lifespans.


RE: Buy a lot?
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 2:01:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well Russia wants to have the pak-50 operational by 2018, which is their version of stealth fighter/ interceptor and it's likely they won't build less than 200 like the USA did with the F-22, and their allies with who in the world, let's see:

1:Syria, which the USA wants the current leader out of there big time, even if the opposition is backed by people the USA doesn't like either.

2:Iran, you know this one will sold there big time, and what happends to f-18's, F-16's, F-15's going up against that plane...Won't be pretty.

3:India is partially funding it's development, so it's a given they'll buy some too....How many is the question.


RE: Buy a lot?
By A11 on 2/20/2014 5:09:47 AM , Rating: 2
What Russia wants and what's going to happen might not be the same thing.

Call me when you are actually being threatened by large amounts of Iranian/Syrian pak-50s and we can talk about making more F22s. Until then they aren't needed.


RE: Buy a lot?
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 2:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
Well they've been on test flights with them for the past 2 years and 2018 is only 4 years away, so in the worst case scenario where they are operational, it's not like we can start cranking out f-22's like their toasters given their cost, and most people involved with building the first batches have moved on or kicked the bucket...The plane is 20 years old now.


RE: Buy a lot?
By A11 on 2/20/2014 3:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
You still don't explain why they are needed now.

There's just no threat in the world which justifies buying more F22s at the moment. Who's going to attack you with large numbers of 5th gen figthers?

No one is in the foreseeable future.


RE: Buy a lot?
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 3:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
These don't get built easily or quickly you know...You'd have to ramp up the factory and re-train staff that wasn't involved with the original, not to mention do updates like it was mentioned a couple of posts ago.

In short, if a worse case scenario arises and only then does one react by starting production, don't expect to have them available in a matter of weeks or even months...It isn't going to happen on such complex planes.

Meaning F-15's, F-16's and F-18's are going to have their hands full with what's out there right now, never mind having to deal with 5th generation planes from hostile countries that are better than they are.


RE: Buy a lot?
By A11 on 2/20/2014 4:18:51 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it takes time to build them, just like it takes time for the russians to build a pak-50. The enemy armada won't appear overnight either.

So again there's no need to build more F22s right now.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/20/2014 4:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
You mean now that we've blown our money on the F-35? No I suppose not.

However taking every penny spent on the F-35 and making more F-22's would have been the way to go.


RE: Buy a lot?
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 4:35:58 PM , Rating: 2
True, but if they do can we really afford to start building them even if we wanted to, given the way the economy is going, the deficit is still nuts and the overall debt is happily going towards 18 trillion dollars with 260 billion charged in interest every year.

As much as some may hate it, we can't afford to be the worlds police anymore....That was a couple of decades ago and the soviet union still existed, hence the main reason for the F-22 to exist in the first place.


RE: Buy a lot?
By FITCamaro on 2/19/2014 2:18:55 PM , Rating: 2
Right now we don't put F-22s in the battlefield because they aren't necessary. In a war where the F-22 is necessary, we likely lose due to not having enough.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/19/2014 2:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
But it's not like the F-22 is the only plane we have...

We still have a s**tload of F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s up high and A-10s, F-16s down low. Regardless, you don't want to f**k with us :-)

Come at me bro! http://richard-seaman.com/Aircraft/AirShows/Nellis...

Given how long we maintain airframes these days (just look at the B-52), these planes may be out of (or going out of production), but I don't think we'll be ditching them anytime soon (correct me if I'm wrong). Hell, there were over 4,500 F-16s produced, although I don't know how many are still around.


RE: Buy a lot?
By MrBlastman on 2/19/2014 2:47:08 PM , Rating: 3
They wear out, though man. Metal fatigue is the silent killer of our airframes.

Sure you can gut them and replace the internal spars but that can only happen if you still have spare parts. What about when you run out? If you've shut down the manufacturing capabilities you're stuck with... Iranian F-14s.

I don't think anyone is going to mess with us today. But thirty years from now? China will be a monster by then. Plan for the future... today. :)


RE: Buy a lot?
By A11 on 2/19/2014 3:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
Against china 30 years from now you will probably want something better than the F22.

Unless you don't think they will be capable of building an F22 killer by then.


RE: Buy a lot?
By FITCamaro on 2/20/2014 12:29:13 PM , Rating: 2
Ok but in 20-30 years we won't have those because they'll have worn out. They keep having to spend tons of money on them right now just to keep them in the air. Airframes wear out. Early C-17s are already starting to wear out due to the wars. And we a) already don't have enough and b) they're almost done building them.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/2014 4:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In a war where the F-22 is necessary, we likely lose due to not having enough.


Agree.

All I have to say is I sure hope Israel stays our ally. Because our F-35's wouldn't last two minutes against their F-15 Eagles in a real air battle.


RE: Buy a lot?
By sorry dog on 2/19/2014 10:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because our F-35's wouldn't last two minutes against their F-15 Eagles in a real air battle.


Negative.

F35's will be clubbing F15's like baby seals just as well as F22's. Having first shot counts for a whole lot.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/14, Rating: -1
RE: Buy a lot?
By sorry dog on 2/19/2014 11:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
The F15 is an amazing plane.

But if you read or listen to the F15 pilots that have flown against the F22 the most common said is that they were killed before they even knew where the Raptors were. That same features that make the F22 that effective are designed into the F35 and some features like EOTAS make it avionics packages even better. Even in a knife fight (which F35 pilots will usually avoid to maximize their stealth and radar advantage) the 35 will still have some advantages like higher initial turn rate and high alpha turns, longer legs, off bore shot flexibility, better pilot SA. The F15 will have higher SEP so have an advantage in the vertical.


RE: Buy a lot?
By FITCamaro on 2/20/2014 12:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
The F22 vs F15 is entirely a different argument. The F35 though is not a true stealth plan like the F22 is. So the "shot down before we knew where they were" argument won't apply. Especially in a air to air combat mission where the F35 will have external weapons mounted most likely.

EOTS is only effective when they're ahead of you. Not when they're behind you. If you're not in the radar cone, they can't lock on to you with just EOTS.

I think the F-35 is a great, multi-purpose plane. But it isn't for air superiority against competently equipped nations.

Now yeah we could always buy more F-15s or F-16s with new avionics since they still build them. But I don't see the military doing that.


RE: Buy a lot?
By sorry dog on 2/19/2014 11:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
The F15 is an amazing plane.

But if you read or listen to the F15 pilots that have flown against the F22 the most common said is that they were killed before they even knew where the Raptors were. That same features that make the F22 that effective are designed into the F35 and some features like EOTAS make it avionics packages even better. Even in a knife fight (which F35 pilots will usually avoid to maximize their stealth and radar advantage) the 35 will still have some advantages like higher initial turn rate and high alpha turns, longer legs, off bore shot flexibility, better pilot SA. The F15 will have higher SEP so have an advantage in the vertical.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Harinezumi on 2/19/2014 5:48:00 PM , Rating: 2
There are two kinds of potential opponents: ones with nuclear weapons and ones without. The F-22 is irrelevant in a war against the former and unnecessary in a war against the latter, so I really can't see a scenario where it would be necessary. The money spent on these planes would be much better spent on ICBMs and drones.


RE: Buy a lot?
By tayb on 2/19/2014 12:18:23 PM , Rating: 2
What a laugh. You sit here bitching about unemployment benefits and yet this program is basically an enormous transfer of wealth from the public treasury to Lockheed Martin. If only we could dump a few hundred thousand actual people off of unemployment benefits we could afford another plane or to two to further line the pockets of corrupt politicians and businessmen who have profited off this farce.

But at least we would have a few more jets for...uh... what, exactly?


RE: Buy a lot?
By MrBlastman on 2/19/2014 12:30:44 PM , Rating: 2
You fail at economics. No amount of Government spending can reverse our economy long-term. The only thing that can save us right now is corporate spending. They hold all the "real" money. Until they start pouring it into our economy, we all will continue to suffer.


RE: Buy a lot?
By FITCamaro on 2/19/2014 2:16:38 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not for vast corporate spending. I'm just for maintaining adequate military hardware to maintain air dominance. People don't mess with us because we can't be matched in the air. That'll change soon once Russia and China get their fighters built. It doesn't matter how good the F22 is. Roughly 180 of them (we've already lost like 3-4 of them to training accidents) isn't going to be able to take on hundreds of fighters from China and Russia. You know they'll build them.

As far as Lockheed Martin, someone has to build them. Do I support them building stuff properly and efficiently? Yes. But the fact that that isn't what happens isn't Lockheed's fault. It's the governments. They ultimately don't know what they want. They constantly change requirements and expect that it be done immediately and without cost changes or schedule changes. That isn't how engineering works. You can't change major things without the schedule and cost changing as well. Having worked on a F-35 related project, I saw it happen all the time.


RE: Buy a lot?
By A11 on 2/19/2014 3:09:38 PM , Rating: 2
You kept the tooling for the F22 so you can build more if needed.
The matter of the fact is that right now there is nothing which can stand against the US Air Force and that is not gong to change for a while so why spend more money now on something which might never be needed?

Sure if china/Russia massively modernize their air forces I'd start thinking about the fighter situation but they won't be able to do that over night, far from.
Also I don't really see a direct confrontation between major powers happening at all. Nukes being one thing but also the enormous cost of it.
How can a major nation even think about going to war with the US without being able to challenge your naval supremacy? It's economic suicide.


RE: Buy a lot?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/2014 4:16:05 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The matter of the fact is that right now there is nothing which can stand against the US Air Force and that is not gong to change for a while so why spend more money now on something which might never be needed?


Peace through strength.

Right now the world knows that if they start any bullsh*t, the combined might of the USA is going to stick it's big barbed cock-o-death all up in their business, and piss all in their Cornflakes. Big time.

If that ever changes, the world will quickly go to hell.


RE: Buy a lot?
By A11 on 2/19/2014 4:55:32 PM , Rating: 2
I agree about peace through strength but you already have that.

Where is the challenge?


RE: Buy a lot?
By inperfectdarkness on 2/20/2014 3:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
The key difference--even with the atrocious over-budget program--is that at the end of the day, the USA has a military asset to show for the money it spent.

Welfare has NOTHING to show for the money spent. NOTHING.


RE: Buy a lot?
By CalaverasGrande on 2/20/2014 12:34:31 PM , Rating: 2
You really ought to get your information some place other than drive time radio.
"Free Cell Phones" obviously refers to the USF program started by Reagan, and expanded by Bush jr to include cell phones as well as rural and low income Americans.
The USF program is tax revenue neutral. It gets 100% of it's operating cost from the USF fee on cell and land lines. The whole thing is run as an independent corporation separate from the government (so you know it was started by Republicans). So none of your precious war toys were harmed in providing phones for the dirty ungrateful poors.
More to the point, why do we need more conventional fighter bombers? There are very few combat roles that can not be more effectively served by UAVs. And that will be more cost effective and better poised to deal with emerging threats. Where the fighter bomber approach is geared towards winning our previous wars.


Finally
By Shark Tek on 2/19/2014 11:40:09 AM , Rating: 2
It was about time.

Yesterday I was thinking about how in the distant past we were developing great planes that served for many years and help us be on the edge of many conflicts. We didn't have the same technology gadgets we have today. I assume that those technology advances can help on building stuff more quickly. But it seems I'm wrong. Now is more expensive, more complicated and did I say expensive.

I really can't understand why is so difficult doing it today. It should be the other way around.




RE: Finally
By sorry dog on 2/19/2014 12:53:58 PM , Rating: 3
Because the planes really are much more complex than they used to be.

Shaping an object to not have surfaces to bounce radar returns off of and make it not only fly, but have excellent aerodynamic performance for maneuverability, high speed dash, efficient cruise, low speed handling... and you have to make it light enough for high power to weight ratio, but strong enough for 9g's.... oh and give it enough interior room to hold twice as much gas as legacy designs plus room for a few bombs and missiles. This wouldn't be possible without computer design, but at the end of the day, with so many critical design requirements, there is a lot of trial and error and thousands of hours in the wind tunnel...and on top of that it has to be able to STOVL.

This was a very ambitious project, and those tend to be very expensive.


RE: Finally
By shadow002 on 2/19/2014 4:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't make sense, as the F-35 program is a never ending nightmare since they won't the competition in 1995 against boeing, so it'll soon be 20 years in development and it still isn't done fixing all the bugs as it's being built in concurrency, meaning planes are being delivered with bugs to train pilots, then called back to the factory to repair those once a solution has been found...Get's expensive to do it this way.

Secondly,radar isn't the only way to detect the plane as microwave and infrared sensors have gotten extremely good, and even though some can say that's why there's super cruise and not needing afterburners to go above the speed of sound, but there's always heat since there's the friction of air over the body panels of the plane, and at close to mach 2, it can reach 100*C even at 30 000 feet and enough to cook an egg.

We see these sensors in the Eurofighter typhoon with that dome sticking out on the left side of the nose cone, the pirate system, and Russian planes like the SU-35 and SU-37 already have that too and seems to easily get locks out to 60 miles, so there goes the BVR capability of the F-35.


RE: Finally
By shadow002 on 2/19/2014 4:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
Even the F-22 needs a serious update In several systems, such as:

1:Avionics systems as the plane was build when the fastest computer chips were intel 386's.

2:The stealth coatings on the F-35 are more advanced.

3:The engine used in the F-35 is a modified version of the one used on the F-22, but they got it up to 45 000 lbs with afterburner, so a pair of those would get an additional 10 000 LBS of thrust for a total of 90 000 on an updated F-22.

4:The helmet mounted hud on the F-35 does not exist on the f-22 and it's ability to shoot missiles off bore sight, meaning you don't need to be exactly on the bad guy's ass in VFR in a dogfight to shoot your missile, and the missile takes coordinates and steers itself to some degree.

5:No AESA radar in the F-22 while competitor planes and the f-35 have them or are in development.


RE: Finally
By sorry dog on 2/19/2014 11:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
3:The engine used in the F-35 is a modified version of the one used on the F-22, but they got it up to 45 000 lbs with afterburner, so a pair of those would get an additional 10 000 LBS of thrust for a total of 90 000 on an updated F-22.


It doesn't work that way. The F135 uses the same core design as the F119 but has a much larger LP Fan stages and higher bypass ratio, meaning it's a larger engine and won't fit. Also, thrust = mass flow X velocity. I've never read the exhaust velocity spec for either engine, but I imagine the F135 exhaust is lower than the F119, however it has a much higher mass flow rate from the larger fans so greater thrust. The F119 was designed to behave much like a traditional turbojet with higher exhaust speeds that there would be plenty of excess thrust at higher mach numbers... which makes things like mach 1.6 at mil thrust possible.

Oh, and the F22's APG-77 does use an AESA antenna, and while the F22 doesn't have the fancy helmet it can make off-bore shots with the lastest block AIM9X.

I do agree that updates are needed though, but most of that has to do with communication and avionics upgrades and weapon compatibilities.


RE: Finally
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 1:30:36 AM , Rating: 2
Fair enough on the technical differences engine wise, but there's also reports that the F-22 can't fly when it rains since the stealth coating becomes ineffective when wet and I went...WTF?

As far as upgrades go, it'll be extremely expensive to get the plane up to date since so few of them were made, so if the time it takes to research and design those upgrades with the F- 22 in mind, and having only some 170 planes in service, it'll cost a fortune to update it.

I would love to see it go against Eurofighter typhoons in combat exercises but even then the air force doesn't allow it, even though those planes can super cruise, have AESA radars, thrust vectoring on the eurofighter block 3 variant, and one of the meanest missiles recently released, the Meteor scramjet long range missile flying at mach 8....Basically twice the speed of conventional rocket propelled missiles, so even if the F-22 gets a lock earlier in BVR, it might still get blown first given the speed of that missile, as it also has both radar and heat seeking capability.

Let's put the F-22 to the test if it's still the best 20+ years after it's initial design and first flight....Technology evolves afterall.


RE: Finally
By Bubbacub on 2/20/2014 9:37:27 AM , Rating: 2
The b2 and f117a had special stealth paint that came off in the rain!

The f22 and f35 stealthy coating is 'baked' into the skin of the aircraft.


RE: Finally
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 2:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
At least the B2 is still in service, and only cost 1.5 billion a piece( makes the F-22's 300 million price look like a bargain), but can only fly when the weather is nice...What's wrong with this situation?...:P

USA needs to wake up as this isn't the 1970's where the 2 major military suppliers to the rest of the world were the USA and soviet union....Other countries are to the point where they have the technology and manufacturing capabilities to develop their own military hardware, and it is state of the art for what it's supposed to do, as I remember an air force red flag exercise in the USA against French rafale fighters, where the USA was using F-16's and did 6 combat exercises and the refales won 4 out of the 6 engagements.

All the US pilots cold say is that the French pilots were very aggressive, meaning they didn't want to admit they got their asses owned basically....LOL.


RE: Finally
By Reclaimer77 on 2/20/2014 2:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure we would put those Rafale fighters to good use, after the French surrender to us in any real conflict :)

War games are, after all, just games. We would mop up the French "Air Force" like a Swiffer on steroids.


RE: Finally
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 4:06:56 PM , Rating: 2
Those exercises are meant to represent real war scenarios, and I know it's hard to admit they got their asses kicked, but they did and guess what, they're available now and cost between 90 and 100 million for a generation 4.5 fighter, and the F35 is already at 140 million a unit and the F-22 at 300 million for the amount built so far.

Either of the latter would have to prove they're vastly superior to justify anywhere near those costs, and it's hinted that the Eurofighter typhoon is even better than the rafale and about the same price tag, with 400 already in service and 600 of them on order.

F-35's and F-22'a costs have gone completely nuts and most of sane mind would have cancelled the F-35 as it won the contest to be America's next gen fighter in 1995 in a fly away contest to boeing's plane, yet here we are nearly 20 years later and the latest info is that they'll only be operational in 2018 or 2020, no military program in history took that long and it's obvious the capabilities delivered so far don't live up to the promises way back in 1995...


RE: Finally
By Reclaimer77 on 2/20/2014 4:16:09 PM , Rating: 2
There is no "real war" scenario where the French win air victories against America. Time to wake up.

And I just looked up this war game, every single engagement ended in a draw. How in the hell is this "getting your ass kicked"?

And our pilots were there to help TRAIN the French fliers. You're making this seem like it was a wargame where points were on the line.

So dishonest man..just come on.

Have you been paying attention to how we wage war in the real world when it's for real? In a real engagement, those French fighters get blown up in their hanger before they can even scramble them. That's after we neutralize every radar site and listening post in the country before anyone knows wtf is happening.


RE: Finally
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 4:43:19 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiD6c69uQRQ

Read the 4th post on this video.... says it all really.


RE: Finally
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 4:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
In posts 5 and 6, the USAF refused to use the F-22 on them, but had no problem using them on F-16's...Funny how that works.


RE: Finally
By inperfectdarkness on 2/20/2014 3:21:26 PM , Rating: 2
So our 4th Generation fighter put up a 4:6 ratio against the "other guy's" 5th generation fighter?

Well that says both that we need to replace our 4th gen fighters, and that our 5th gen fighter is WAY better than theirs.


RE: Finally
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 4:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
actually it's more like 3 to 1 in the rafales favor...They won 4 of the 6 exercises, an it's a generation 4.5 plane, meaning has all the capabilities of a gen 5 plane minus the steath, so let's put that into context:

1: F-35 has an AESA radar, so does an gen 4.5.
2: F-35 can super cruise, so does a gen 4.5.
3: F-35 has a helmet mounted display,so does a 4.5.
4: F-35 has secure communications, so does a 4.5 to sattelites
5: F-22 has movable rear exaust nozzels for agility, so does a 4.5

So in the end it's just the stealth factor and that the weapons, at least for the first strike, are inside the plane, but hope that it doesn't impact the planes handling since that 4.5 plane is designed aerodynamically to be very agile as the top priority and dogfights.

And if you think BVR is the be all and end all, look at the meteor missile developed for these planes....It's the first scramjet powered missile in the world with a top speed of mach 8, and twice as fast as what the F-35 or f-22 have, so even if these planes get a lock first and shoot first, and the other guy fires after with this meteor, I wouldn't take bets on who blows up first given the speed of this thing, and that it uses both radar and heat seekers in the missile.


RE: Finally
By inperfectdarkness on 2/20/2014 3:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
-Stealth coatings on F-22 are virtually identical to those on the F-35.

-The F-22 engines are already stupendously powered. Adding more speed and turning the F-22 into a mach-3 fighter isn't going to improve performance in areas that need it.

-HTS has been a standard for virtually all 4th gen fighters, and ALWAYS a standard on 5th gen fighters. The Mig-29 had them in 1985.

-No AESA on the F-22? ROFL!

More FUD. Next time, actually do some research.


RE: Finally
By shadow002 on 2/20/2014 4:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't thinking so much in terms of faster top speed, but more about climb rate and performing better in agility even with heavier payloads in their internal bomb bays, but the higher top speed also means longer combat range and longer range between refueling when travelling long distances.


really?
By lagomorpha on 2/19/2014 11:17:36 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Lt. Gen Christopher Bogan, the military officer in charge of the F-35 program


REALLY?

quote:
quantum bogodynamics

/kwon'tm boh`goh-di:-nam'iks/ n. A theory that characterizes the universe in terms of bogon sources (such as politicians, used-car salesmen, TV evangelists, and suits in general), bogon sinks (such as taxpayers and computers), and bogosity potential fields. Bogon absorption, of course, causes human beings to behave mindlessly and machines to fail (and may also cause both to emit secondary bogons); however, the precise mechanics of the bogon-computron interaction are not yet understood and remain to be elucidated. Quantum bogodynamics is most often invoked to explain the sharp increase in hardware and software failures in the presence of suits; the latter emit bogons, which the former absorb. See bogon, computron, suit, psyton.




RE: really?
By lagomorpha on 2/19/2014 11:20:01 AM , Rating: 1
bogon

quote:
4. By synecdoche, used to refer to any bogus thing, as in "I'd like to go to lunch with you but I've got to go to the weekly staff bogon".
5. A person who is bogus or who says bogus things. This was historically the original usage, but has been overtaken by its derivative senses 1-4. See also bogosity, bogus; compare psyton, fat electrons, magic smoke.


RE: really?
By inighthawki on 2/19/2014 12:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
Are you trying to make fun of his name? You do realize that's an 'a' not an 'o', right?


RE: really?
By lagomorpha on 2/19/2014 12:17:12 PM , Rating: 2
I posted before the typo was fixed in the article. You need to lighten up if you don't see anything funny in someone claiming the F35 program is finally under control after all these years having a name that very nearly means, "A person who is bogus or who says bogus things."


RE: really?
By inighthawki on 2/19/2014 12:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not uptight, I just didn't understand your joke because the two words don't seem all that related to me just because they share the same first three letters is all. I just think that you find it funnier than it really is I guess.


Both programs cost too much.....
By eggster007 on 2/24/2014 10:28:09 AM , Rating: 2
F22 and F35 both ballooned in costs, we're purchased on bad terms and the long term costs are multiple times higher than originally quoted.

There's no denying the contractors for these programs are very very good at what they do (both planes are exceptional).

I can't help feeling though that YF23 and the Boeing X32 could've been equally as good if not better and purchased with better costs controls.

The whole thing stinks of corruption and lies, lie of them.




By eggster007 on 2/24/2014 10:31:58 AM , Rating: 2
Can't find the edit button last line should of ended in "lies, lots of them"

Sorry.


Mistake after mistake...
By RedemptionAD on 2/20/2014 10:34:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lt. Gen Christopher Bogdan, the military officer in charge of the F-35 program, added, "Long gone is the time when we're going to pay for mistake after mistake after mistake."

Can the tax payers say the same?




Already Outdated
By deltaend on 2/21/2014 8:55:03 AM , Rating: 2
Not to be cynical, but I feel that this platform is already outdated. The future of aviation warfare is through drone combat and the sooner we invest the billions into that development, the sooner we can build mach 7 dones with anti-aircraft abilities and semi-autonomous AI which is smarter than simple and unencrypted GPS navigation. Frankly, the whole platform that includes a pilot seems both incredibly dangerous and unnecessary to me.




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