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Lockheed's F-35 in flight -- image courtesy Lockheed Martin
The F-35 Lightning II makes its maiden flight

Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II single-seat fighter made its maiden flight this past Friday. The F-35 is the production version of the X-35 Joint Strike Fighter prototype which was selected over the competing Boeing X-32.

The flight marked the culmination of a five-year gestation period and was for the most part successful. "The Lightning II performed beautifully," said F-35 Chief Pilot Jon Beesley. The flight was scheduled to last an hour, but was ended after just 38 minutes. An in-flight glitch took place in which an air data probe flashed a warning in the cockpit. As a result, “gear-up" testing was not performed during the flight. "We designed the aircraft with redundancy so if one of the sensors is out we can fly with the other one. That part worked just fine," said Beesley.

There will be three distinct versions of the plane in the $276.6 billion USD program. Prices will range from $45 million USD per plane for the F-35A to $60 million per plane for the F-35C.

The F-35A is the smallest/lightest of the bunch and will be put into service by the US Air Force. It is destined to replace the F-16 and A-10 (oh how we will miss the GAU-8/A Avenger). The F-35B is the STOVL variant which will replace the AV-8 Harrier currently in service with the US Marine Corps. The F-35C will be used by the US Navy where it will replace the F-18A/B/C/D.

The United States is currently partnered with Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and Turkey on the F-35 program. Other countries including Israel and Singapore are also interested in the F-35 program.

Given all the news surrounding the success of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), it would be interesting to see if Lockheed's proposed pilot-less variant of the F-35 will ever see the light of day -- if only in prototype form.

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A-10 RIP
By therealnickdanger on 12/18/2006 12:46:39 PM , Rating: 3
The F35 is an amazing craft and will be a great addition to the air superiority of the US and her allies. The A-10 will remain my favorite plane of all time, however.

RE: A-10 RIP
By Martin Blank on 12/18/2006 12:50:59 PM , Rating: 2
Don't look for the A-10 to be replaced by the F-35 yet. They tried it with the F-16, and found it to be too fast and too lightly armored to be effective in the same role. The Air Force has plans for upgrading the Warthog through at least 2025, and no other plane yet has proven itself able to take the low-altitude pounding that the A-10 has taken, survived, and retaliated against before returning to base.

RE: A-10 RIP
RE: A-10 RIP
By Aikouka on 12/18/2006 1:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
Correct, you won't see the A10 being replaced for awhile, simply because it's very good at what it can do. It was actually going to be scraped, until the use in Desert Storm and how invaluable it proved in low-altitude flight for long periods of time.

The A10 is still being worked on and kept up to date by Lockheed Martin:

RE: A-10 RIP
By borowki on 12/18/2006 2:07:32 PM , Rating: 2
The F-35 is also incredibly expensive. I don't know if we really want to put our pretty planes in situation where they could get shot up.

Maybe we ought to investigate making the A-10 design into a pilotless plane.

RE: A-10 RIP
By Wwhat on 12/18/2006 5:14:17 PM , Rating: 1
How the hell would someone think that a F35 would replace an A10? he just said he likes the A10 not that the F35 is a replacement anyway.
They are completely different machines with a completely different role, it's like saying the F35 will replace the spaceshuttle..

RE: A-10 RIP
By Wwhat on 12/18/06, Rating: 0
RE: A-10 RIP
By KristopherKubicki on 12/18/2006 5:28:37 PM , Rating: 5

The stealthy F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th-generation fighter designed to replace aging AV-8B Harriers, A-10s, F-16s, F/A-18 Hornets and United Kingdom Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers.

RE: A-10 RIP
By Aikouka on 12/18/2006 7:13:04 PM , Rating: 2
They won't be putting all the A-10's out of commission. LM SI still handles the prime contract to work with the A-10 and ensure that it is still of use to the military. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if the military paid for something they never used XD.

RE: A-10 RIP
By WhiteBoyFunk on 12/19/2006 12:17:37 PM , Rating: 2
I work on a base with huge depots where they have plans for the warthog for something like the next 20 years. The Army and Marine Corps won't let us drop the aircraft, not like we have a choice :P

RE: A-10 RIP
By CheesePoofs on 12/18/2006 5:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
It (F-35) is destined to replace the F-16 and A-10 (oh how we will miss the GAU-8/A Avenger).

RE: A-10 RIP
By crazydrummer4562 on 12/18/2006 6:47:35 PM , Rating: 3
They're completely different niches...The A-10 was designed around the GAU-8 cannon and was meant to be heavily armored for an aircraft, as well as the wing sweep angle, which is engineered for maximum lift at low speeds. Additionally the turbines are rear-mounted so that they recieve minimal ground fire. They're very different aircraft to begin with, it's pointless to compare them really.

RE: A-10 RIP
By thejez on 12/18/2006 1:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
air superiority of the US? do you see all those flags on the side of that thing?? I dont understand why the US would sell this thing to all those countries as it neutralizes the superiority aspect of having these things...

RE: A-10 RIP
By masher2 on 12/18/2006 1:22:20 PM , Rating: 4
We're not selling the plane to anyone we're likely to be fighting soon. As for the longer-term, the recipient is going to depend on us for parts and maintenance in any case, so the risk is minor.

RE: A-10 RIP
By KristopherKubicki on 12/18/2006 2:05:44 PM , Rating: 5
It appears as though Israel will also purchase several F-35s. While I do not think the U.S. and Israel will be fighting each other any time soon, Israel has a nasty habit of selling U.S. tech to countries that are not supposed to have such tech. Much military tech that we sell to Israel has also been copied and repackaged as an Israeli weapon system.

I find this appalling, but apparently this has already been discussed and figured out within the project leaders.

For more reading, please look up histories of the:
* The Israeli F-10 Lavi
* The Israeli Phalcon Radar
* The Chinese PL-8 missile
* The Israeli Python 3 missile buyers

.. And I am not even going to touch on the number of weapon systems that have gone from the U.S. to Israel to China to Iran.

RE: A-10 RIP
By DigitalFreak on 12/18/2006 3:01:56 PM , Rating: 3
Where's the DMCA when you need it? :-)

RE: A-10 RIP
By Chillin1248 on 12/18/2006 3:37:08 PM , Rating: 4
As an Israeli I would like to point out several errors/mis-understandings in your article:

1)- The "Lavi" - This plane was to be designed by Israel but built with U.S. parts under the U.S. FMS. However it not only exceeded its budget (1.3 Billion Dollars), but it also [the two prototypes that were built] outperformed and were cheaper than the F-16;as well threathen the export market for the F-18 as well. That was a threat to standard U.S. exports, not just to other countries, but to Israel as well which might unbalance U.S. influence in the region.

2)- IAI Phalcon 707 AEWC&C - A Israeli designed and produced system. It was a cooperation between IAI and Raytheon (name should sound familiar as they work closely with Israeli weapons specialists and have made lots of news with their Anti-Missile laser). Whoever Israel sells the system to is her business, just as Israel doesn't complain when U.S. does its own business of selling F-15s to Saudia Arabia and F-16 to Egypt and Pakistan. Israel planned/plans to mount the Radar system on Chinese Il-76 aircraft.

3)- RAFAEL Shafrir 3 - This missile is licensed built by China as the PL-8 missile, Israel does not supply the weapons and it is a Chinese that was originally Israeli, no different than the J-xx series of aircraft modeled on the Russian MiG aircraft. A country has a right to export natively produced and designed weapons without another country telling them where they can sell it.

If it is beneficial to Israel to sell it to China, then Israel has the full sovereign right to sell it; no matter how much it may inconvenience the U.S. . Obviously the U.S. giving over $3 BILLION dollars each year in FMS to Saudia Arabia (it gives roughly only $2.15 Billion FMS to Israel, and these may not be used in any "Disputed Territory"; it gives Egypt roughly $2 Billion) inconvenience Israel a lot more than a obsolete 1970s AAM.

Now I assume we all know about the Iran contra affair, U.S. ordered Israel to give the weapons to Iran.

In summer 1985, Michael Ledeen, a consultant of Robert McFarlane, asked Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres for help in the sale of arms to Iran. The Israeli government required that the sale of arms meet the approval of the United States government , and when it was convinced that the U.S. government approved the sale by Robert McFarlane, Israel obliged by agreeing to sell the arms. In July 1985, Israel sent American-made BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles. Reverend Benjamin Weir was subsequently released; despite the fact that arms were being sold to Iran, only Weir was released. This resulted in the failure of Ledeen's plan with only three shipments through Israel.

RE: A-10 RIP
By masher2 on 12/18/2006 4:01:42 PM , Rating: 5
> "If it is beneficial to Israel to sell it to China, then Israel has the full sovereign right to sell it; no matter how much it may inconvenience the U.S..."

Not when Israel received US technology specifically with the agreement to not resell those weapon systems. Furthermore, given the massive, unprecedented levels of direct aid the US showers upon Israel (well over $100B, or more than $23,000 for each and every Israeli citizen), indirect aid and protection, and support for Israeli policies (the US is very often the lone veto in UN resolutions against Israel), it behooves Israel to repay some of those favors.

In short, allies should be allies...and on the subject of technology transfers and weapons proliferation, Israel has been a very poor ally indeed.

RE: A-10 RIP
By Chillin1248 on 12/18/2006 5:06:23 PM , Rating: 3
Israel has long ago repayed its debt to the U.S.. During the Cold War it was Israel who gave the U.S. engineers a look inside not only every Soviet tank system up through the T-62 (and perhaps the T-72 though I am not sure about that one). It gave the U.S. their first look inside the MiG-21, a plane that caused F4 Phantom II pilots much fear. Not to mention what information the Mossad has given the NSA. And of course what better a testing ground for new U.S. weapons than Israel which is forced to constantly use them. Remember U.S. will not do anything unless it furthers their own interests as well.

Now it is not even near 100 Billion dollars in aid. Before 1971 the entire amount was only roughly $1.95 Billion USD.

From 1949 through 1965, U.S. aid to Israel averaged about $63 million per year, over 95% of which was economic development assistance and food aid. A modest military loan program began in 1959. From 1966 through 1970, average aid per year increased to about $102 million, but military loans
increased to about 47% of the total. From 1971 to the present, U.S. aid to Israel has averaged over $2 billion per year, two-thirds of which has been military assistance.

Now the Phalcon Radar system, as far as the information I can dig up on it, is a entirely Israeli designed and produced system called ELTA. They are not using any U.S. planes to mount it on when selling to China. I do not see how they are breaking any laws.

Now about the U.N. It is the same U.N. that voted that the basis Israel was founded on, Zionism, was racist... And then in 1991 said it was not. For amusements sake decided to look up who sits/sat on the Human Right Council and Security Council? Most people in this region don't give two hoots what the U.N. says or does. This is what the U.N. is known to do in this region and it is why many do not care for it:

Now after watching the first part of the second video (the end of the video is not relevant to the discussion at hand) please read the following on Hamas:


RE: A-10 RIP
By Chillin1248 on 12/18/2006 5:31:19 PM , Rating: 1
Here is another case of U.N. misconduct:

UNIFIL's most notorious collaboration with terrorists involved the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli soldiers, and the subsequent cover-up.

On October 7, 2000, Hezbollah terrorists entered Israel, attacked three Israeli soldiers on Mount Dov, and abducted them Lebanon. The kidnapping was witnessed by several dozen UNIFIL soldiers who stood idle. One of the soldier witnesses described the kidnapping: the terrorists set of an explosive which stunned the Israeli soldiers. Clad in UN uniforms, the terrorists called out, "Come, come, we’ll help you."

The Israeli soldiers approached the men in UN uniforms. Then, a Hezbollah bomb detonated—-apparently prematurely. It wounded the disguised Hezbollah commander, and three Israeli soldiers.

Two other terrorists in U.N. uniforms dragged their Hezbollah commander and the three wounded soldiers into a getaway car.

According an Indian solider in UNIFIL who witnessed the kidnapping, "By this stage, there was a big commotion and dozens of UN soldiers from the Indian brigade came around." The witness stated that the brigade knew that the kidnappers in UN uniform were Hezbollah. One soldiers said that the brigade should arrest the Hezbollah, but the brigade did nothing.

According to the Indian soldier, the UNFIL brigade in the area "could have prevented the kidnapping."


RE: A-10 RIP
By Chillin1248 on 12/18/2006 5:44:04 PM , Rating: 1
And finally, the last one on the U.N.:


"The United States has always supported Israel at the UN and can be counted upon to veto any resolutions that are critical."


Many people believe the United States can always be relied upon to support Israel with its veto in the UN Security Council. The historical record, however, shows that the U.S. has often opposed Israel in the Council.

In 1990, for example, Washington voted for a Security Council resolution condemning Israel's handling of the Temple Mount riot earlier that month. While singling out “the acts of violence committed by Israeli security forces,” the resolution omitted mention of the Arab violence that preceded it.

In December 1990, the U.S. went along with condemning Israel for expelling four leaders of Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group. The deportations came in response to numerous crimes committed by Hamas against Arabs and Jews, the most recent of which had been the murders of three Israeli civilians in a Jaffa factory several days earlier. The resolution did not say a word about Hamas and its crimes. It described Jerusalem as “occupied” territory, declared that Palestinians needed to be “protected” from Israel and called on contracting parties of the Geneva Convention to ensure Israel's compliance. It was the first time the Security Council invoked the Convention against a member country.

In January 1992, the U.S. supported a one-sided resolution condemning Israel for expelling 12 Palestinians, members of terrorist groups that were responsible for perpetrating violence against Arab and Jew alike. The resolution, which described Jerusalem as “occupied” territory, made no mention of the events that triggered the expulsions — the murders of four Jewish civilians by Palestinian radicals since October.

In 1996, the U.S. went along with a Saudi-inspired condemnation of Israel for opening a tunnel in "the vicinity" of the al-Aksa mosque. In fact, the tunnel, which allows visitors to see the length of the western wall of the Temple Mount, is nowhere near the mosque. Israel was blamed for reacting to violent attacks by Palestinians who protested the opening of the tunnel.

The United States did not cast its first veto until 1972, on a Syrian-Lebanese complaint against Israel. From 1967-72, the U.S. supported or abstained on 24 resolutions, most critical of Israel. From 1973-2003, the Security Council adopted approximately 100 resolutions on the Middle East, again, most critical of Israel. The U.S. vetoed a total of 37 resolutions and, hence, supported the Council's criticism of Israel by its vote of support, or by abstaining, roughly two-thirds of the time.12

In July 2002, the United States shifted its policy and announced that it would veto any Security Council resolution on the Middle East that did not condemn Palestinian terror and name, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade as the groups responsible for the attacks. The U.S. also said that resolutions must note that any Israeli withdrawal is linked to the security situation, and that both parties must be called upon to pursue a negotiated settlement (Washington Post, July 26, 2002). The Arabs can still get around the United States by taking issues to the General Assembly, where nonbinding resolutions pass by majority vote, and support for almost any anti-Israel resolution is assured.


RE: A-10 RIP
By masher2 on 12/18/2006 6:00:59 PM , Rating: 1
> "The historical record, however, shows that the U.S. has often opposed Israel in the Council. "

So you feel that, because the US has occasionally (and rarely) didn't stand in lockstep with Israeli interests in the UN, that this somehow invalidates my statement? What sort of strange logic is this?

The fact remains. The US is Israeli's strongest supporter outside its own borders, and has been on countless occasions the sole veto between Israel and UN action against it.

RE: A-10 RIP
By WhiteBoyFunk on 12/19/2006 12:23:22 PM , Rating: 2
US Misconduct? I sure hope this guy doesn't physically live in the US.

RE: A-10 RIP
By WhiteBoyFunk on 12/19/2006 12:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
Rescrolled and noticed Chillin is from Israel. Cool how when things go wrong it's our fault. I suppose the Cole's downfall is fault of those from Yemen, and bombing of the Khobar Towers fault of the Saudi's. Sometimes I don't understand why we help anyone when all they do is whine about certain things and conveniently overlook the overall good we do.

RE: A-10 RIP
By mindless1 on 12/24/2006 7:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
Without question some things are the US' fault. You don't get to be a superpower without stepping on some toes.

There is no innocent government and finger pointing based on the past, only perpetuates the mistakes of the past. Only when governments stop taking the "us" and "them" attitude, will this change. Remember that particularly in the US, it's all about media spin, special interest groups, big money. Oppose something if it garners you supporters, then move on finding the next thing to point your finger at, hoping that by making others look bad, you make yourself look better. Unfortunately this behavior is intermixed with sincere and legitimate efforts.

That is not to imply the US is bad, or worse, only that nationalism is contradictory to humanism across borders.

RE: A-10 RIP
By masher2 on 12/18/2006 6:16:31 PM , Rating: 4
> "Israel has long ago repayed its debt to the U.S..."

So you feel that Israel has repaid over $100 billion in direct aid, plus hundreds more in indirect aid, not to mention priceless access to the most advanced US defense technology...all just by giving the US a few looks inside some outmoded Soviet weaponry?

And my figures are correct. As of 1997, the total cost of US direct aid to Israel has been $134,791,507,200. That doesn't count aid in the decade since then, nor indirect aid or indirect costs incurred from supporting Israeli policiies.

RE: A-10 RIP
By rushfan2006 on 12/19/2006 10:04:55 AM , Rating: 1
Since 1997.....$137 billion to Israel...

Hmm...interesting in a fraction of that time we have DOUBLED that amount spent on Iraq....

And surely THAT is a worthwhile expense to US taxpayers. /sarcasm.

RE: A-10 RIP
By masher2 on 12/19/2006 10:17:19 AM , Rating: 2
As I pointed out, that's only the costs up to 1997, and ignores all charges since then, as well as any and all incidental costs. Given that support for Israel is one of the primary motivators for Middle-East discontent with the US, one could build a case that the cost of entire Afghan and Iraqi military efforts (as well as losses from 9/11 itself) were all indirect costs of our support of Israel.

RE: A-10 RIP
By KristopherKubicki on 12/18/2006 4:36:19 PM , Rating: 2
Please do not confuse my personal opinion in the comments with what is reported in the article.

I think you raise interesting points - the U.S. shouldn't be selling technology in the region either. However, the thing that still concerns me is that some of these weapon systems being sold to China, then later to Iran, have the possibility of being used against Israel. China isn't the only backdoor either: recently weapons sold to Eastern Europe have ended up in the Middle East, weapons sold to Russia have ended up in Libya, weapons sold to Argentina have ended up in Colombia. None of these are particularly U.S. OR Israeli-friendly places right now and such propagation should be a unilateral concern.

I have been moderating you up by the way: you have strong arguments even though they are not popular.

RE: A-10 RIP
By Chillin1248 on 12/18/2006 5:11:22 PM , Rating: 5
Of course.

I also agree with you that the weapons have a interesting way of being used against us, and I personally do not advocate selling these weapons to questionable countries. However from a political viewpoint I do not see how to condemn Israel for doing so.

Best example I can figure for American supplied, Israeli weapons being used against Israel is when during the "Road Map" period Israel, under a U.S. request, gave the PA roughly 10,000 M-16 rifles and over 3 Million rounds of M1193 5.56mm NATO round ammunition that was supposed to go the PA security forces. Not two weeks later the guns were already responsible for a attack on a Israeli civilian which severely wounded him.

I also thank you for the moderation of course, but I would hope people would take arguements at face value sometimes without bias.


RE: A-10 RIP
By Fnoob on 12/19/2006 10:58:01 PM , Rating: 2
Osama Bin Laden ? We created that weapons system...

"propagation should be a unilateral concern."

RE: A-10 RIP
By Martin Blank on 12/20/2006 6:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
No, we didn't. I wish people would learn this point. Osama bin Laden financed his own network entirely with his own money that he inherited as a member of one of the wealthiest families in the Middle East. He despised even suggestions of taking help from the West, and was known to execute Westerners on-sight. Hence, he was barely known during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan,

The mujahideen was made up of several groups fighting the Soviets. Don't think that providing assistance to a few means providing assistance to all.

RE: A-10 RIP
By dubldwn on 12/18/2006 5:03:00 PM , Rating: 2
Being an Israeli yourself, and with statements like,
If it is beneficial to Israel to sell it to China, then Israel has the full sovereign right to sell it; no matter how much it may inconvenience the U.S.

maybe it really is time for Israel to be more independent. I know there's some talk in Israel of declining future military aid, and other's perception that you're around because you're under our protection might no longer be in your interest. If you feel you can go it alone, have at it. But right now, if it's not convenient for us, then you shouldn't do it. To be sure, if it's not convenient for YOU, then WE'RE not doing it.

RE: A-10 RIP
By Chillin1248 on 12/18/2006 5:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that the U.S. has a very good stranglehold on the region in terms of military balance. If Israel would quit U.S. FMS right now then Egypt and Saudia Arabia would then have numerous arms not available to Israel. If the U.S. would moderate some more its weapon expenditures in the region then there may be a chance for more independence from FMS, but then again that would weaken U.S. in the region.

I will see if I can find the list again showing an idea of what Egypt gets from the U.S. on a average year, list is accurate down to the amount of empty clips shipped.


RE: A-10 RIP
By dubldwn on 12/18/2006 5:38:41 PM , Rating: 2
If Israel would quit U.S. FMS right now then Egypt and Saudia Arabia would then have numerous arms not available to Israel.

I'm not suggesting Israel quit the U.S. FMS, I'm suggesting that Israel not transfer sensitive technology (I recognize you're disputing that) or make decisions without considering the negative affects they could have on our standing in the region.

If the U.S. would moderate some more its weapon expenditures in the region then there may be a chance for more independence from FMS, but then again that would weaken U.S. in the region.

That's right - others using our weapons definitly gives us leverage. But engaging in an arms race is a decision the region makes. Others are willing to sell weapons, it's just that ours (and yours) are very competive. Come on man, Saudi Arabia could have F-22's, F-35's, F-100's whatever your pilots would blow them out of the sky. Military balance. Please.

I will see if I can find the list again showing an idea of what Egypt gets from the U.S. on a average year, list is accurate down to the amount of empty clips shipped.

My only response to this is I'm glad the U.S. continues to meet the defence needs of Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

RE: A-10 RIP
By Chillin1248 on 12/18/2006 6:02:44 PM , Rating: 2
Here is the list I promised you:


RE: A-10 RIP
By dubldwn on 12/18/2006 6:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
um, you sent me the one for Israel by mistake. Oh, and by the way, do you really need 52 more F-16's?

RE: A-10 RIP
By Chillin1248 on 12/18/2006 3:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
Also I want to add how weapon exports from the U.S. work in this region. Israel gets the F-35 on Sunday, Saudia Arabia gets it on Monday and Egypt gets it on Tuesday. Courtesy of U.S. Regional policies.


RE: A-10 RIP
By Wwhat on 12/18/2006 5:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
Ha, worried about israel and in the meantime I see turkey is in the JSF team, I say no more.

RE: A-10 RIP
By Wwhat on 12/18/2006 5:16:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah damn israel so loves iran, always helping them...

RE: A-10 RIP
By Chillin1248 on 12/18/2006 5:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
There was a time that Iran was just as Westernized as Israel during the Shah's reign. Hence the reason that Iran has over 70 F-14 Tomcats delivered by the U.S., though few today are in flying condition.


RE: A-10 RIP
By AMDfreak on 12/18/2006 3:31:54 PM , Rating: 1
That's exactly right. Saddam had a number of F-15's, but they never flew against us because Iraq couldn't buy parts to maintain them.

RE: A-10 RIP
By Martin Blank on 12/18/2006 4:42:17 PM , Rating: 2
Iraq never had a single F-15 in its inventory. The Iraqi air forces consisted mostly of Soviet aircraft -- lots of MiGs and Sukhois, and even a few Chinese planes (copies of Soviet craft), but no US fighters. In fact, as of 1990, there were no US-made aircraft at all out of an inventory of more than 1000 total aircraft. The only non-US operators of the F-15 are Israel (1977), Japan (1981), and Saudi Arabia (1981).

If there's any accuracy at all to your statement, it's a misplacement of the F-14s flown by the Iranian air force. After the overthrow of the Shah, the trade embargo prevented Iran from getting any new parts from Grumman for its Tomcats. They turned to cannibalizing less-functioning planes to keep a few in the air, but eventually even that left them short of parts. There have been rumors that the domestic aircraft industry has succeeded in building proper parts, but their true combat capability is in question.

RE: A-10 RIP
By DagTM on 12/18/2006 7:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, it reduces the capital needed to fund the project - those countries committed substantial $$$ (up front, apparently) in order to be involved.

I guess it's all business in the end....

RE: A-10 RIP
By alcalde on 12/21/2006 3:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
Read William Grieger's Fortress America. Defense companies lobby to be able to export their newest creations to the rest of the world, then run to congress and tell them they have to fund a new generation of hardware because the rest of the world has caught up to us. :-( You'll encounter such mind-numbing tales in the book as the army dumping tanks into the ocean to form coral reefs because of the huge costs of maintaining vehicles designed to stop a Soviet advance into Europe that they obviously no longer needed, and then Congress turning around and authorizing a major new tank acquisition, and a military person required to make presentations to justify the need for newer generations of hardware, and when discussing future threats, embarrassed to have to put up a slide of the Eurofighter, bemoaning to the author later that he doesn't believe Britain or Italy are going to be attacking us soon. Awesome book.

RE: A-10 RIP
By masher2 on 12/21/2006 3:55:13 PM , Rating: 1
If you're talking about the M60 tanks the army used to test designer reefs, those are 1960s-era armaments. It was more than time to fund a revamp.

RE: A-10 RIP
By soydios on 12/18/2006 9:29:58 PM , Rating: 2
RIP A-10 and F-14.

The F-14 just got retired, and is/was, IMHO, the granddaddy of all fighter planes the US has fielded over the last thirty years. They all share its basic design principles.

The A-10 kicked arse. Who wouldn't like a plane that could fly while missing half a wing and had a 30mm gatling cannon slung under its nose?

RE: A-10 RIP
By JNo on 12/19/2006 11:31:16 AM , Rating: 2
All this wanking on about US air superiority and the bottom line is that the US went into a war torn desert country with bugger all in its defence (compared to the military might of the US) and is now desperate to pull out and leave it in ruins at an astronomical cost to itself and has achieved very little in the process. What's the point in all this money and military tech if they can't stay the course, finish the job and stabilize distressed regions of the world?

The US is so caught up in its own military muscle, shock, awe and freedom, that it fails to see the bigger picture all too often.

RE: A-10 RIP
By masher2 on 12/19/06, Rating: -1
US should fund this as well...
By RussianSensation on 12/18/2006 2:23:49 PM , Rating: 2

Su-37 also stores a radar in the tailcone of the plane that allows it to fire missiles behind the plane.

Thrust vectoring allows the Su-37 to direct the exhaust gases in 3 dimensions, substantially improving maneuverability, especially at low speeds.

The Su-37 can carry air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons on 12 stations. The number of missiles and bombs carried can be increased to 14 with the use of multi-payload racks.

This is probably best dog fighter in the world and would cost a "bargain" if outsourced in Russia since there is no need for R&D costs already incurred by the country.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By Einy0 on 12/18/2006 3:22:11 PM , Rating: 2
It would cost more than we would deem acceptable. The SU-37 is a fantastic innovative design. However just because it's designed and made in Russia doesn't mean it's cheap to make. In fact Russia has only a few of them. They cannot afford to make them for themselves. Also consider maneuverability, the F-35 is a small agile type fighter. The SU-37 is a huge interceptor type aircraft. The type of thrust vectoring on the SU-37 helps, but it still is not as agile as an F-35 will be.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By stromgald on 12/18/2006 4:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Einy is right. The F-35 is not on the same level as the Su-37. The F-35 would most likley beat the Su-37 in a dog fight easily because of the Lightning II's stealth characteristics and more advanced avionics. There is also a big size difference too.

The American equivalent of the big Su-37 is the F/A-22 Raptor, but they're not the same on a technological level since the F/A-22 is a considered a 5th generation fighter, and the Su-37 is derived from the Su-27, a 4th generation fighter.

The Russian equivalent of the F/A-22 is the Su-47. Although the manuverability of the F/A-22 isn't explicitly documented, most aircraft experts think the Su-47 is probably more manuverable due to the forward swept wing, but the F/A-22 is more stealthy and of course, has better avionics.

By KristopherKubicki on 12/18/2006 4:58:16 PM , Rating: 1
Before 2002, the Su-47 was designated the S-37. Perhaps that's where some confusion was.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By harshw on 12/18/2006 8:38:33 PM , Rating: 2
The F-35 is certainly not on the same level as the Su-37/Su-35. The SU-37 competes with the F-22 rather than the F-35. The Russian equivalent of the F-35 is the PAK-FA programme.

Right now, the only country with a complete fleet of operational TVC aircraft is India with around 36 aircraft: see But the SU-30MKI is too expensive to use as a mainline fighter, just as the F-22 is too expensive. Hence the need for the F-35 and the PAK-FA. As for the fact that the F-35 is more manouverable than the SU-30MKI or the SU-35/37, all I can say is that the MKI variant has been flying for some time while the F-35 is doing maiden flights now ...

By KristopherKubicki on 12/19/2006 6:15:19 PM , Rating: 1
The PAK-FA is actually two separate aircraft (last I checked anyway) since an X-craft has not been chosen. This consists of the Sukhoi Su-47 and MIG-1.44/1.42. Although the aircraft is supposed to compete with the F-22, it has a 2015 intro date also.

While we are on the topic of TVC, also check out India's HAL Tejas. It's set to be the country's mainline fighter in the next few years. It might not hold much weight against a Su-37 or F-22, but as far as other delta-wing aircraft go it's impressive. Oh and it's made almost exclusively in India.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By skyyspam on 12/18/2006 9:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
Who cares about agility.

Airplanes do two things:

1) drop bombs
2) shoot missiles

Yeah, the Su-27 series is a great bunch of airplanes, but the basic airframe has some flaws:

1) it's ungodly huge!!
2) the engines have to be replaced often
3) it's not very stealthy
4) it's only cheap until you add a good radar, IRST, etc...

Stick some weapons on the thing and then see how well it turns. Put some decent avionics on it, and see what happens to the price tag. Load it down with bombs or missiles, and it becomes a flying pig, like every other jet in existence.

By Martin Blank on 12/19/2006 12:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
Airplanes also get involved in dogfights. It happened over Iraq in 1991, and it happened over Yugoslavia in the 1990s. If we get involved with China at some point, it will happen there, too.

You're among the group that has declared the dogfight dead since the 1950s, and you've been wrong every time since.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By harshw on 12/19/2006 4:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
Flying pig ? At the 1994 Farnbourough airshow the Su-30MK did its airshow routine with ordnance on all 12 pylons - a total of 7,000 kgs. This was sanctioned by Sukhoi designer Mikhail Simonov to counter criticisms that the Sukhois could only do their TVC enhanced aerobatics without stores.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2006 4:15:22 PM , Rating: 1
Airplanes do 3 things:

1) drop bombs
2) shoot missiles
3) dodge missiles and bullets other planes or AA installations fire at them.

What do you need for that? Manueverability.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By exdeath on 12/19/2006 10:03:21 AM , Rating: 2
The F22, Typhoon, and Su-37 have been ranked in combat before and normalized in terms of either F15 or Su-37 kills. Against each other I think the Typhoon is equal to like 4 Su-37s and the F22 is equal to like 12 Su-37s. A single F22 has also been shown to have a 8:0 or so kill ratio against the F15C in real life combat sims. F15C pilots complain they never even found the damn thing as they watched their buddies fall to radar locks one by one. Now the F15C is the undisputed and unrivaled king of air to air fighter of the world... think about that for a second.

Just some basic known stats I dug up on F22 vs SU-37, all in favor of the F22:

-10,000 lbs lighter airframe
-4,000 lbs more thrust *per* engine
-173 ft^2 more wing area, this higher wing loading
-super cruise and 1,000 miles longer operating range
-flys higher and faster with much faster climb rate
-better electronics
-stealth when using only internal weapons
-3,000 lbs more take off weight and 10,000 lbs lighter air frame translates to 13,000 lbs more ordnance when using external weapon mounts
-all of the above while being 10 feet less length, 5 feet less high, and 4 foot less wingspan.
And finally:

F-22 is actually in production, the Su-37 is not. So yeah...

America! Fuck yeah!

RE: US should fund this as well...
By stromgald on 12/19/2006 12:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
What about against the Su-47 Terminator? The Su-37 is a fourth generation fighter and the F/A-22 is one of the first fifth generation fighters, the comparison is ridiculous. Its like a F-14 vs. a F-4. Its not a fair comparison. The Typhoon is also a fourth generation fighter.

I think the F-22 might edge out the Su-47, but not by much. The forward swept wing of the Su-47 gives it better manuverability than the F-22 and it also has very good stealth characteristics (but not as good as the F-22).

For those who don't know, the 'generations' are levels of technology incorporated into fighters. Its kindof vague, but there's more information here: .

RE: US should fund this as well...
By exdeath on 12/19/2006 5:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know enough about the Su-47 to say because it is a 'paper launch' aircraft that isn't in production. As far as I know the Su-47 is a concept used as a test bed for furthering military aviation technology in general; I don’t expect it will see the light of day on its own, so it doesn’t really matter if it’s better or worse. If anything I would expect the things learned from the Su-47 to go into an even better production fighter, but in what quantity is questionable.

There were hundreds of designs on paper that have been superior to the F-15 for years and years, but none of them have or ever will see the light of day, much less in sufficient quantities to be a threat. The F-22 only furthers that gap by at least a factor of magnitude of 10.

As for maneuverability, the F-15 and the F-22 weren’t made to wow crowds at air shows, they were made to be unbeatable at shooting down other planes ^_^

RE: US should fund this as well...
By stromgald on 12/19/2006 6:33:25 PM , Rating: 2
The S-37 was the test aircraft that wowed crowds with its backslide/tailslide manuever at airshows. The name was changed to the Su-47 because it was deemed 'ready for production' after some slight redesigns. It's not exactly a paper launch, but I doubt any country is getting more than maybe a few dozen of these monsters in the next decade.

The Su-47 can easily outmanuever an F-15 and maybe an F-22 just by its design (tighter turning radius, higher angle of attack, etc.), but of course avionics and pilot skill/training are usually more important factors in a dog fight. That's where the US will win hands down against anyone except maybe Israel.

It isn't so much that the F-22 and F-15 weren't built to wow people at airshows, its that the U.S. military doesn't like to show off their planes. Sukhoi doesn't have any restrictions from the Russians because they're trying to gain some pride/respect by showing off their country's new aircraft.

My point is that the F-22 isn't the best design ever built. From an aerodynamic manuverability standpoint the Su-47 is superior IMHO. With the same pilot and same avionics suite, I'd bet on the Su-47 over the F/A-22 in a dog fight. But you're right in that the F/A-22 does put the US air superiority way above any other country's because the Su-47 isn't entering production.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By MrBungle123 on 12/19/2006 7:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
does it really matter which plane can turn more sharply when modern fighters can already pull more G's than the pilot can handle anyway?

RE: US should fund this as well...
By stromgald on 12/19/2006 9:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
G's and turning radius aren't the same thing. They're related, but not the same. Turns by aircraft aren't 'flat' turns so by flying at a higher angle of attack and by sacrificing some altitude, a Su-47 can change direction much more quickly than a F/A-22 that has to fly more parallel to the ground just to maintain altitude. The tri-wing configuration of the Su-47 also helps with this ability. This is also the reason why the F/A-18 Hornet is such an excellent dogfighter, the leading-edge design of the wing allows for very high angles of attack.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By exdeath on 12/20/2006 11:37:37 AM , Rating: 2
My point was, in the real world, the Su-47 pilot still wouldn't even know the F-15 or F-22 is in the sky until the AMRAAM shows up out of nowhere on the outer ring of the Su-47s radar warning receiver closing in at Mach 4

RE: US should fund this as well...
By stromgald on 12/20/2006 2:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
The Su-47 is also stealth so other than visual contact or help from an advanced multi-source passive radar, an F-15 or F-22 wouldn't see the Su-47. The same goes the other way too. With the correct software and multiple radars, it is possible to track an F/A-22.

Also, it's not that hard for an expert pilot to dodge a missile when you can manuever at slow speeds better than a F/A-18.

I agree with you that in the real world, with the F/A-22 being used by the USAF and the Su-47 used by any other country except maybe Israel, the F/A-22 would win. From an aircraft to aircraft only standpoint, the Su-47 has a very good chance of winning.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By exdeath on 12/20/2006 5:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
I was referring to avionics and range more than the stealth aspects; hence I included the F15C as well as it can do what I described without stealth.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By jarman on 12/21/2006 4:37:55 PM , Rating: 2
Also, it's not that hard for an expert pilot to dodge a missile when you can manuever at slow speeds better than a F/A-18

Please do not comment on things you do not understand. What you have seen in movies does not apply to the real world of air combat. There is no "dodging" of missiles as they try to hit your aircraft. The sensor load, speed, and armament of modern air-to-air missiles (or even surface and sea-to-air variants) negates a pilots ability to out fly the missile. If a modern missile has engaged a target and the target does not have effective electro-mag or stand-off counter measures, the target WILL be hit.

By stromgald on 1/1/2007 11:16:53 AM , Rating: 2
You're making bad assumptions about what I know/understand. I'm not basing this on movies or TV, but on fact and what I know from work.

When I said 'dodge' a missle, I meant using chaff or flares. Just having these items doesn't allow you to avoid a missle, it involves throwing the distracting material one way and running as fast as possible in another. That involves turning in short distances at high speeds. The Su-47's design allows it to do that a lot better than the F/A-22.

If dodging and manueverability isn't an issue like you say, then why would thrust vectoring be such a big deal on the F/A-22? The fact is that even with the advanced electronic jamming (radar and IR) on the F/A-22, the way to survive an missle lock is still to dodge and use things like chaff or flares.

RE: US should fund this as well...
By tcsenter on 12/26/2006 2:10:14 AM , Rating: 2
A single F22 has also been shown to have a 8:0 or so kill ratio against the F15C in real life combat sims. F15C pilots complain they never even found the damn thing as they watched their buddies fall to radar locks one by one.
That's because most of the F-15C's combat systems and avionics suite are over 10 years old (in technology standards), particularly the inferior AN/APG-63(V)1 radar system, and deliberately being kept that way to justify the 'need' for the F-22. Though much improved over the original version, the APG-63(V)1 capabilities are still very dated and near the limits of its upgradeable processing and memory capacity.

Raytheon has developed a major retrofit package, the AN/APG-63(V)3, based on the same Active Electronically Scanned Array technology found in the F-22's AN/APG-77, with major processing, memory, and avionics capability increases over the AN/APG-63(V)1. Certain elements within the Air Force, defense industry, and Congress are trying to prevent this and other cost-effective improvements to the F-15C because it would close the capability gap between the F-22 and F-15C.

The F-15C's aerodynamics and flight performance characteristics are still on a par with newer aircraft, all it needs is a modern avionics and combat systems overhaul, as well as an engine upgrade and significant improvements in the reliability of several sub-systems, all of which have passed development and prototype phases and are ready for operational evaluation. A few studies/analysis of these improvements concluded the F-15's air superiority could be extended at least 15 years into the future for about $5 billion or less.
Now the F15C is the undisputed and unrivaled king of air to air fighter of the world... think about that for a second.
Correct, now think about why we are spending 200+ billion to 'replace' the "indisputed and unrivaled king of air-to-air (and multi-role) fighter" in the world when that status could be extended by at least 15 years at a cost of not more than $5 billion.

While we will need to replace the F-15 at some point, it is fairly indisputable that point would be no sooner than 2022 with cost-effective improvements, but for the 'push' in favor of the F-22 by certain interests within the defense industry and military. The further-out we attempt to predict the needs and capabilities of a future aircraft, the more likely those predictions will be wrong. The F-22 will already be 15 years-old when it is slated to finally replace the F-15. We could have kept it in development phase for another 10 years at a fraction of the cost and ended up with an even better and future proof replacement for the F-15C.

Jack of all trades and Master of None
By Chernobyl68 on 12/18/2006 2:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
They spent so much money getting this plane to do everything that it will be exceptional at nothing.
Examples of aircraft that are too good at their jobs to go away:

A-10 Warthog
A-6 Intruder
S-3 Viking
F-14 Tomcat

The Navy's getting the short end of the stick in regards to new aircraft replacement. The F-35 is going to leave the Navy in a sad state. lets see how good this thing is at ASW. The only recent Aircraft replacement that has made any sense is the F-22 Raptor replacing the F-15 Eagle. The Eagle is one of te best fighter aircraft ever designed and built, but the F-22 exceeds it in all respects. The recent efforts of the Navy to replace the F-14 and A-6 with the upgraded F-18s is a stop gap at best. It has neither the speed nor payload of the F-14, and doesn't have near the range of the A-6. And the F-35's single engine design reverts a long period of multi-engine redundancy.

RE: Jack of all trades and Master of None
By DeathSniper on 12/18/2006 2:43:43 PM , Rating: 3 do realize that the F-14 was decommissioned a few months ago right? (Which is too was a rockin' plane)

You might want to add the B-52 to that list...heh.

RE: Jack of all trades and Master of None
By marvdmartian on 12/18/2006 2:57:47 PM , Rating: 2
What I find amazing is that the F-14 was recently retired, due to the F/A-18 (allegedly) doing the job better, and at lower maintenance cost (likely the real reason why).

Now they're saying that the 18's going to be replaced with a 35? Is that only the fighter role that will go to the new kid on the block, with the 18 retaining the attack role, or will the 35 take over every role of the 18??

Things sure have changed in the past 20 years, as the F/A-18 entered the fleet. Back then, we had A6's for attack (now F/A-18) and in-flight refueling (now S-3's), EA-6B's for radar suppression (now handled by S-3 Vikings, if I'm not mistaken), S-3's for sub hunting (is the F-35 supposed to take over that role as well?), and F-14's for attack and ship defense (now handled by the F/A-18's).

I can't really see a planed designed as a fighter taking over the roles of in-flight refueling or sub-hunting, to tell the truth. Both roles require a plane that can loiter for a while, but still have the capability for quick dashes when required. Plus, you want something with some big ol' tank capacity and/or weapons carrying ability (those MK48 torpedoes ain't light, ya know??).

Anyone heard anything about the eventual replacement of the S-3 Vikings?? Those "Hoovers" have been in the fleet for a while now, and I wonder if the navy has any plans to retire them sometime soon.

By Martin Blank on 12/18/2006 3:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
I posted below about the advantages of the Super Hornet over the Tomcat. The F-35 will not be replacing the F/A-18E/F line, but complementing it.

The Super Hornet has already demonstrated in-flight refueling capabilities, so it can take over that. The EA-18G will be handling radar suppression when it comes online, replacing the EA-6B. The S-3s are due to be retired by 2009, and their duties spread about the fleet. I'm in the group that thinks that the lack of a dedicated anti-sub replacement is a bad idea, but I have little sway in this matter.

By rcc on 12/18/2006 4:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
can't really see a planed designed as a fighter taking over the roles of in-flight refueling or sub-hunting, to tell the truth. Both roles require a plane that can loiter for a while, but still have the capability for quick dashes when required. Plus, you want something with some big ol' tank capacity and/or weapons carrying ability (those MK48 torpedoes ain't light, ya know??).

OK, Mk48s aren't light, neither are they air launched. It's a 21" sub borne system. You are thinking of the Mk46, or maybe the Mk50? replacement. Either of which is a whole lot smaller.

By stromgald on 12/18/2006 5:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
I think you may be missing the fact that there's two versions of the F/A-18, the Hornet and SuperHornet. The Hornet (A/B/C/D) versions of the F/A-18 are being replaced by the F-35. The Superhornet (E/F) is an super-sized version of the Hornet that is about the same size as a F-14. Its relatively new (1990s) and has as much or better capability as the F-14 in ordnance and avoinics/electronics.

However, I was very disappointed in the Navy's decision to replace the F-14 with a scaled up F/A-18 C/D. The F/A-18 E/F has poorer range and higher takeoff/landing speeds (especially bad for aircraft carriers) despite its increased payload and manuverability. In fact, I'm not very impressed by any of the Navy's choices in aircraft except for the new F-35. The F/A-18 role should've been taken care of by a F-16 derivative, and the F-14 shouldve been replaced by something better than scaling up an already poor fighter.

The S-3 is going to be replaced (at least partially) by the MMA I think. MMA stands for multi-mission maritime aircraft and will be built off the highly economical (aka cheap) 737 commercial jet platform.

By Mclendo06 on 12/18/2006 7:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
You hit the nail on the head. When you look at aircraft, there has steadily been a decline over the years since the mid 60s of the number of man-hours of maintenance required per flight-hour. Things were starting to get out of control with regards to this number, and so aircraft designs began to focus more on maintainability and ease of maintenance. The F-14, while a very capable aircraft, bucked this trend pretty bad. I can't recall exact numbers, but I do remember from some charts that I saw in some classes recently that the F-14 required at least twice the maintenance man-hours of comparable aircraft. Aircraft downtime is a major factor when you are limited to a certain aircraft compliment by the size of your airfield (in this case, a huge ship). Also, I agree that the F-35 will not be as capable as some of the aircraft which it is replacing of the missions it is supposed to fulfill, but there are benefits in standardization such as training and parts cost. Also, the F-35 is supposed to be a stealthy aircraft, which represents an improvement over all of the aircraft it is replacing. With regards to the issue of only having one engine, this is a trade which the navy finally decided to make. Yes, with two engines there is improved redundancy, but there is also added complexity which increases cost. Modern engines have become extremely reliable, and so the peacetime risks associated with only having one engine are much lower than they were say 20 years ago. True, if the F-35 gets shot, the fact it has only one engine will result in lower survivability, but as a stealth aircraft, it will be exceptionally difficult to track and engage. I believe that the F-35 will perform the tasks set out for it acceptably well, and that it will add value to the aircraft fleets it is entering.

RE: Jack of all trades and Master of None
By Martin Blank on 12/18/2006 3:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
The A-6 is a lumbering, subsonic beast with virtually no stealth capabilities. The only real advantage of the Tomcat was the Phoenix, which was never used to its real capabilities. Every engagement handled by a Phoenix could be handled by an AMRAAM at lower cost and without the temperamental AWG-9 radar system.

I do agree that there's an issue for the S-3 in anti-sub warfare, but aside from that, the Navy's capabilities aren't taking any hits. Contrary to your assertions, the F/A-18E has greater payload (17,500 pounds vs. 13,000 pounds), greater combat range (681 miles vs. 576 miles), and is capable of deploying every weapon the F-14 could (except for the Phoenix) and then some.

RE: Jack of all trades and Master of None
By Chernobyl68 on 12/18/2006 5:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
A-6E Range : 2819 nautical miles, payload ~35,000lbs
F-18C/D Range: 330 miles, payload ~28,000 lbs
F-18E/F Range: 681 miles, Payload ~36,000 lbs

Range can be extended by tankers, but all that does is increase operational costs: more aircrew needed, more flight hours on equipment.
Air force tankers cannot refuel Navy planes.

When the F-18's were bombing in afghanistan, I remember hearing they had to be refueled 4 times, twice on the way in and twice on the way back. The tankers had to be refueled!

It used to be said that only about 6% of the earth's surface could not be reached by an Intruder.

By Martin Blank on 12/19/2006 12:51:44 AM , Rating: 3
Its ordinance payload was 18,000 pounds. The 35,000 pound loadout includes fuel. The range that you quote for the Intruder is the ferry range, while the ranges that you quote for the Hornets are the combat radii, which factor in time on station for patrol and combat. The ferry range for the C/D models is, according to the Navy, about 1800 miles, and about 1900 miles for the E/F line. Ranges without external tanks are 1100 and 1225 miles, respectively. No, they don't have quite the legs of the A-6, but they're also not so short as you suggest.

By RogueSpear on 12/18/2006 6:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
It's funny to read about this today. Just earlier this afternoon I came across a small book dedicated to the live fire testing of the lethality of the F-22. It was one of the last things that my grandfather worked on before he passed. The book was dated 1994! It's incredible how many people and how many years it takes to go from initial sketches to fully functioning.

RE: Jack of all trades and Master of None
By corduroygt on 12/19/2006 2:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
The navy version, F-35C has two engines

RE: Jack of all trades and Master of None
By stromgald on 12/19/2006 3:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
No, it doesn't. All F-35 versions have only has one engine. Two intakes, but one engine, just like the JAS-39 Griffon

By corduroygt on 12/20/2006 10:47:38 AM , Rating: 2
Last time I heard about the JSF, the navy variant was supposed to have 2 engines. Well I guess they've changed that.
Still not a very good idea to put a single engine on a navy plane, I say.

Landing gear
By OrSin on 12/18/2006 12:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
Can't we replace it some thing more eye pleasing.
Wheels on metal can look better. Yeah yeah a small thing, but after over 50 years of flight its the only thing thats still looks the same.

RE: Landing gear
By dice1111 on 12/18/2006 12:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
You serious? Style over function? Come on, you'd think the military would care for even a second? Besides, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

RE: Landing gear
By Brandon Hill on 12/18/2006 1:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
Would you prefer chrome spinners and low-profile tires?

RE: Landing gear
By BladeVenom on 12/18/2006 1:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
Pimp my F-35.

RE: Landing gear
By Aikouka on 12/18/2006 1:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
Shush, Brandon, you're going to give MTV ideas!

Xzibit on his new show, "Pimp My Plane" with the tagline, "Our Boy, X to the Z, will take your expectations sky high!"

Sadly enough, as much as I make fun of it, I have every episode of Pimp My Ride on my Multimedia server and that includes the UK version with Westwood. No idea why, but I like watching it :P.

Oh and it seems during my time trying to evade the Oops bug, BladeVenom stole my Thunder (or Lightning II ;)).

RE: Landing gear
By Jedi2155 on 12/18/2006 1:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
I never thought wheels on metal were not eye pleasing, and I always loved the look of wheels on metal :).

Also why replace a system that is known to work so well.

RE: Landing gear
By TimberJon on 12/18/2006 2:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
How about repulsorlift generators.

-Rolls eyes-

RE: Landing gear
By Mclendo06 on 12/18/2006 7:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
If you are that concerned about aesthetics, just be glad that DOD didn't go with the X-38. And to anyone from Boeing who reads this post - sorry. I love your airliners but your JSF prototype looked kind of like a sick frog!

A10 RIP? Good idea.
By HaZaRd2K6 on 12/18/2006 2:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
The A-10 Warthog, for all it may be a powerful plane, in the hands of inexperienced (or even experienced, for that matter) pilots can do much more harm that anyone anticipated. I'm a Canadian and a few months ago some of our soldiers were on a raid in Afghanistan with US air support in the form of 2 A-10 Warthogs. One of the pilots opened fire on Canadian troops and ended up killing four and wounding numerous others. The pilot opened fire for only two seconds and did horrendous damage. These planes aren't designed to be discriminating. They kill anything that's in their path. It's a damned good thing they're being decommissioned.

RE: A10 RIP? Good idea.
By Aikouka on 12/18/2006 2:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't being decommissioned. As mentioned in a comment above, they're still being kept up-to-date for use by Lockheed Martin until 2028.

RE: A10 RIP? Good idea.
By ChronoReverse on 12/18/2006 2:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
Erm, any weapon being fired on friendlies will cause massive damage. What on earth does that have anything to do with how worthy the A-10 is?

I'm Canadian too and at least I have the sense to see where the fault lies (not the plane) in that situation.

RE: A10 RIP? Good idea.
By dubldwn on 12/18/2006 6:09:30 PM , Rating: 2
I sure he's being sarcastic, and that he doesn't want the plane to be decommissioned.

RE: A10 RIP? Good idea.
By rcc on 12/18/2006 2:53:22 PM , Rating: 2
That's horrible, I agree. But what about the next time, when you are about to be overrun and you only get a couple of seconds of support. Do you really want it to be less lethal????

This is the first time I've heard a complaint for a weapon system that does it's job too well. In your case the weapon isn't at fault. But control and comms hosed up somewhere.

RE: A10 RIP? Good idea.
By HammerZ on 12/18/2006 7:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
Would you prefer that the A-10 does no damage when its weapons are engaged? Then, would you want it for air support?

The lesser of two choices...
By masher2 on 12/18/2006 1:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
I was rooting for the X-32 myself, but the military is nothing but conservative.

RE: The lesser of two choices...
By Aikouka on 12/18/2006 1:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
If the military is so conservative, why'd they award the CSAR-X contract to Boeing instead of Lockheed Martin (or Sikorsky)? :P

RE: The lesser of two choices...
By masher2 on 12/18/2006 2:07:19 PM , Rating: 2
CSAR-X wasn't really a new development effort. AFAIK, Boeing, Lockheed, and Sikorsky all submitted slightly modified variants of craft already in production. In any case, a search and rescue chopper isn't a combat craft...the military has no problem going out on a limb in areas outside of core weaponry.

RE: The lesser of two choices...
By Aikouka on 12/18/2006 2:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
The main point of the helicopters is SAR missions, correct, but they don't ignore the fact that at times combat is an unavoidable portion. Hence the 'C' for Combat in CSAR-X.

Although, the CSAR-X bid is really up in the air right now as there seems to be some squabbles over why exactly Boeing received the win.

And yeah, the designs submitted were either newer versions of older helos (the Chinook) or similarly offered in other proposals (US101/EH101 Merlin).

By otispunkmeyer on 12/19/2006 4:12:52 AM , Rating: 2
that is one sweet looking machine. i wish our gov would spend money on stuff like this, stuff we can be proud of, instead of wasting it on themselves and asylum seekers.

i know were involved with the eurofighter but fuck that, this looks soo much better. there is a dismantled eurofighter at my university and its a horrible looking thing. wrinkly panels with exposed rivet and screw heads... im guessing its only an early-ish prototype though since its been there a few years.

RE: wow
By probedb on 12/19/2006 4:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
...and it's the looks of the aircraft that are important in warfare...<shakes head>...but you're right, i doubt Eurofighter will ever be finished which is a pity as it was pretty advanced initially but probably out of date now it's taken so long to develop and it's still not in service.

RE: wow
By Dribble on 12/19/2006 4:59:27 AM , Rating: 2
You are British right? So you are aware that Britain footed a sizable part of the development costs - the VTOL version is intended for use on British carriers, and the VTOL engine is a British design.
The Eurofighter (now Typhoon - Eurofighter is a terrible name if you want to sell it outside of Europe) looks 10 times prettier then this thing and has great potential - it's big problem is it's being built by a euro committee, which means it'll end up costing too much and not working as well as it could have :(

RE: wow
By rcc on 12/19/2006 11:53:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, well. You know what a camel is, yes? It's a horse build by a commitee. And an elephant? A milspec horse.

Old joke, but a lot of truth.

By 05SilverGT on 12/18/2006 2:34:39 PM , Rating: 1
Does it have an iPod jack? :)

By TimberJon on 12/18/2006 2:42:10 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the new iPhone. Better network communications. =)

By arturus on 12/18/2006 5:27:46 PM , Rating: 2
"Maybe the new iPhone. Better network communications. =)"

That wouldn't work, they'd have to fly below 5000ft to get reception and if they used Nextel subtract 5000ft :)

Your Missing The Point.
By AllexxisF1 on 12/19/2006 8:24:54 AM , Rating: 3
You guys are missing the most important point of this aircraft program.

If a war were to break out against the Allies from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, or more importantly all of them at once, having a "standard" one platform multi role aircraft saves time and money.

God forbid we should ever hit the depths like we did in WW2, but if we had to manufacture aircraft for a major conflict in large numbers, having this one standard platform gives us an amazing edge.

Factories can tool up and continually modify and improve output efficiency. Not to mention all the forces receiving the same flight, maintenance training and parts.

All the Allies pilots can be trained not only for the same flight platform but now for different roles all together. A pilot on the F-35 can easily learn air to air combat along with ASW operations and or tank busting. The only difference will be the tactics and weapon systems. In a sense all your pilots become a multi function tool just like your aircraft.

It might not be an A-10 at tank busting, but if you could produce more numbers, have stealth capability, and at the same time take your aircraft to any theater where the parts will be there and the aircraft instantly turned around for a completely different's a better platform.

RE: Your Missing The Point.
By Fnoob on 12/19/2006 11:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
Very valid. We can only hope the core advantages of such a unified platform aren't exported to our enemies. When that ultimately happens, unfortunately, our level of refinement will hopefully exceed that of our foes.

Of course, at some point, we must wonder if society will ever evolve to the point where the one with the better argument wins.

Compare the US Senate to the forums of the Socratic age... deep sigh. Amazing that we insist upon "evolving" to learn to implement common sense discussed thousands of years ago.

OC Choppers Edition F-35
By pcmodem on 12/18/2006 4:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
One wonders what an OC Choppers Edition F-35 would look like (or fly like).

RE: OC Choppers Edition F-35
By Fnoob on 12/19/2006 11:02:27 PM , Rating: 2
It certainly wouldnt be stealth, and I wouldn't wanna be the test pilot.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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