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  (Source: FX)
Aerial show appearances are scrapped amid engine failures, fears of stormy weather

To the surprise of few, the troubled Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-35 fighter jet project suffered another embarrassing setback last week.  And this time the fighter's embarrassment was broadcast on an international stage, threatening to sway foreign buyers who are already second-guessing their commitment to the increasingly bedeviled jet.
 
I. The Show (Must Not) Go On
 
The U.S. Military was forced to cancel the F-35's ballyhooed (and long-overdue) international debut, which was supposed to be held at the United Kingdom's July 19-20 2014 Farnborough International Airshow.  A combination of concerns of stormy weather and fighter's engine design forced the embarrassing last minute cancellation.
 
Last month an F-35's engine caught fire.  After an investigation and grounding of America's small, roughly 100 plane test fleet, it was determined the cause of the fire was determined to be a lose cowling in the engine which rubbed against the jet engine's turbine blades.  Fixes were ordered and the no-fly order was lifted on July 3.
 
America has poured over $400B USD of its money alone on the F-35 and is on the hook for over 2,400 of the next-generation fighter jets.  International allies like the UK have poured tens of billions more into the project and ordered over 500 units of the much-hyped fighter.
 
George Standridge, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' business development chief, told Space Daily, in 2006:

[The F-35] fighters bring an order of magnitude increase in capability, survivability and supportability over legacy fighters, at a significantly lower cost and will transform defense worldwide.

On paper the F-35 seems a reasonable design, compared to its predecessors -- the "Fighter Teen Series" which included the much beloved F-16 and F/A-18 workhorses. Indeed what was on paper sounded great: replace traditional two-engines for a more powerful single engine; add best-available dog-fight stealth; create the best electronic air-combat awareness system; and, lastly, toss in an industry leading ordinance.

II. No Longer Grounded, But Still Limping Along

But today, the craft is essentially crippled from an effective combat standpoint.  Even with the no-flight order lifted it's been limited to:
  • 18º angle of attack (~1/3rd spec.)
  • Mach 0.9 (50% spec.)
  • -1/3g (1/3rd spec.)
For those who claimed the F-35 was "on track" last year, it now appears anything but.  Yet again it's fallen behind and facing more expensive redesigns.

Lockheed Martin

Rear Admiral John Kirby shared the bad news with reporters last week, telling them the troubled jet would be a no-show at the air show, commenting:

I can confirm that the Department of Defense in concert with our partners in the UK has decided not to send Marine Corps and UK F-35B aircraft across the Atlantic to participate in the Farnborough air show.

While we're disappointed that we're not going to be able to participate in the air show, we remain fully committed to the program itself and look forward to future opportunities to showcase its capabilities to allies and to partners.

We're actually glad for the news today to get the aircraft back in the air even if it is limited - we fully expect to work our way through this problem and restore the aircraft to full operational capability in the near future.

Admiral Kirby said that many factors including "operational risk, the weather, ground time, maintenance issues" triggered the decision.

III. Well Over Budget

In 2001 when Lockheed Martin won the award for the fighter, it projected it could built over 2,850 fighters for roughly $233B USD -- $314B USD in today's dollars.  That's roughly $110M USD per jet.  By 2012 it estimated it could deliver just over 2,450 (14 percent less jets) for $395.7B USD -- $411M USD (31 percent more money).  That's roughly $168M USD per jet -- 50 percent more per jet.

Lifetime costs have similarly ballooned roughly 50 percent, with inflation factored in.  At last reckoning the F-35 program is expected to cost the U.S. roughly $1.51T USD over its lifetime -- or roughly $618M USD per jet, up from internal estimates of $1T USD.  Quite simply put, the F-35 is the most expensive defense project of all time.

Shut up and take my money
Lockheed has overshot the unit cost (w/ development considered) and the lifetime cost by roughly 50 percent, making the nation's most expensive defense project even pricier. [Image Source: QuickMeme]

That would be fine and dandy if the fighter was the best fighter of all time.  But in today's flawed form it's far from that.

Add to that the fact that in January the Pentagon reported that only one in three delivered F-35s was "airworthy" (could fly) and it becomes apparent that Lockheed has only delivered 33 prototypes that were even partially working enough to fly.  And even those that can fly are severely constrained in their testing due to design flaws.

Winslow Wheeler, a defense budget expert, comments:

Even if the F-35 is released to participate at Farnborough, there may be a new problem: weather predictions for next week in England are not good, and the F-35 has real issues flying near thunder and rainstorms; it even has problems with wet runways.

Mr. Wheeler has been an outspoken critic of the F-35's progress.  As the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project for the Center for Defense Information (CDI), he has contributed criticism of the project both on his blog and in various other publications, including TIME magazine.
 
Yet for every critic there remains an eternal optimist.  Those who stand behind the fighter see it for what Lockheed promised it would be -- the greatest fighter of all time. They see it for what it could be, perhaps, if only it were able to overcome its plethora of problems.

F-35 in flight

Current U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel appears to fall into that category.  He tried to put a positive spin on this setback, as well, stating:

This aircraft is the future of fighter aircraft for all our services.  The F-35 is as big a project as we have and we’ve got a lot riding on it.  I know there are issues, but I don’t know a platform that we’ve ever had, we’ve ever designed, we’ve ever tried and then put into service that didn’t go through issues.

Technically he's right -- historically speaking, most jet fighters had some issues during their development cycle.  
 
But the problem isn't just that it's some issues.  It's that the F-35 has had more issues and missed its production/cost targets farther than any other production jet design in the history of America's military.  In short, time is running out to fix the F-35.
 
IV. F-35 was Deemed "Less Risky" Than Boeing Alternative
 
The F-35 began life as Lockheed's bid on the 1996 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), a planned fifth generation multi-role fighter jet.  Under the plan, the JSF would replace the aging AV-8B, F-16, F/A-18, and A-10 (most varieties).  It would also add support to the newer Lockheed F-22, which at the time was still in the testing stage.
 
After a half decade of deliberation, the Pentagon finally made up its mind.  In 2001 Lockheed celebrated when its X-35 beat out the Boeing Comp.'s (BA) X-32 to win the JSF contract.  In what would prove an ironic reasoning, the X-35 was selected, in part, over Boeing's design because it was deemed "low risk".
 
In retrospect, abandoning the tried and true methodology of using two smaller jet engines in carrier-destined jets, in favor of one larger engine was perhaps a risky strategy.  Likewise, the jet's unprecedented plethora of sensors and bleeding edge electronics -- while potentially great -- carried the risk of producing an ugly mess if the requisite massive body of code wasn't perfectly planned and tuned.
 
Then there was the issue of weapons.  Could a fighter that was already a bit behind in the weight-to-thrust department truly hope to carry the massive heavy arsenal that Lockheed claimed?  And last but not least, stealth fighters were hardly a proven technology at the time; the F-22 was maturing but still struggling in some regards.
 
But in 2001, few saw these storm clouds brewing on the horizon.


The Lockheed Martin X-35 beat out the Boeing X-32 (pictured) for the JSF contract. 

In the defense sector, Lockheed quickly won over most players (well, besides Boeing) to its increasingly exotic design.  Some of the biggest members of America and Britain's military-industrial complex -- including United Technologies Corp. (UTX) subsidiary Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), BAE Systems plc (LON:BA), General Dynamics Corp. (GD), Raytheon Comp. (RTN) -- banded together under the project leadership of Lockheed Martin.  Together they set forth to produce the X-35, which was rechristened the F-35 "Lightning II."
 
In 2006, to much applause, production began.  The finished craft would come in three varieties -- the F-35A (conventional take off and landing (CTOL)), the F-35B (short-take off and vertical-landing (STOVL)), and the F-35C (short-take off and vertical-landing (STOVL)).  Together these varieties would serve every branch of the U.S. military's air supremacy needs, according to Lockheed.
  
The builders eagerly awaited what would surely be a massive payday.  Raytheon would make much of armaments (e.g. AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles) while Northrop-Grumman would do the electronics and split the sensor systems with BAE.  Pratt & Whitney would provide the engine.
 
The U.S. government was sold.  It planned for orders of 2,850+ F-35As, F-35Bs, and F-35Cs.
 
V. The Cracks (Sometimes Literally) Begin to Show
 
After the first few years of testing, however, problems became apparent.  Almost immediately cost overruns were reported.
 
The plane was a bit heavy for its single, monolithic engine.  And as that engine was pushed to produce more and more thrust, it too got heavier.  And it also got hotter, which posed difficulties particularly with the F-35B variant, as the engines could damage carrier decks and parts quickly deteriorated.

F35 RAF
The F-35 has a single monolithic engine, rather than the more common two-engine design.
[Image Source: RAF]

The F-35C required redesigns to the tailhook to better "catch" the plane on landing.  It still faces some tough issues; it cannot undergo major repairs at sea as the engine is too large, and its control surfaces in 2011 were afflicted with software bugs.  After its numerous redesigns, the folding-wingtip fighter is only now about ready to undergo testing at sea, with oceanic trials scheduled to begin in Oct. 2014.  
 
The F-35A has suffered turbine issues -- perhaps because it's been pushed the hardest as it's suffered less other issues and hence been eligible for more flight testing.  An F-35A saw turbine cracking during a 2013 test flight, and most recently a F-35A suffered a failure last month.  Frank Kendall, head of Pentagon acquisition, described:

[The] blades in the engine’s low-pressure turbine and the surrounding cowl rubbed much more than is acceptable and a blade failed.

F135 Engine
A F135 engine from Pratt Whitney [Image Source: Aviation Week]

Meanwhile the F-35B was considered too risky for vertical takeoff and landing by the U.S. Marine Corps, forcing Lockheed Martin to exclusively conduct tests with its own staff pilots.  The F-35B was prone to failure due to poorly designed tires, which have undergone several revisions. It's also suffered from multiple incidents of bulkhead cracking, which have grounded the fleet of F-35s at times.  Oil leaks and generator failures also grounded the craft. 
 
The vertical takeoff and landing components saw "an unacceptable wear rate".  The ejection seat also reportedly has failed a number of times, leading to a serious risk of pilot fatality.  Lockheed Martin's solution was to take the aircraft home to land bases regularly for costly repairs.  The USMCs solution was to use the vertical takeoff sparingly, effectively abandoning the star feature of the F-35B.  
 
Further the overall design is less than stellar -- it's stealthier than the F-22 when it comes to deadly threats (missiles, enemy fighters) due to a lower frontal radar profile, but is easier to spot from bottom-up radar, where it has a bigger profile than the F-22.
 
VI. "Can't Turn, Can't Climb, Can't Run"
 
Despite its tremendous thrust (with its engine being the most powerful fighter jet engine in the world) its lack of a second engine (and comparable weight to past models) has led it to struggle in maneuvering and acceleration.  It reportedly can only reach its top claimed speed of mach 1.6 if it uses almost all its fuel performing complex acceleration maneuvers.  Former RAND author John Stillion summarized "can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run."
 
Lockheed's helmet-mounted display system (HMDS) partner Vision Systems International (VSI) -- a joint subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd. (ESLT) and Rockwell Collins, Inc. (COL) -- provided such poor visibility that it posed a risk to pilots.  Lockheed was forced to recruit BAE for a redesign.  But when VSI produced an improved third generation model the BAE prototypes were deemed less effective, hence more money was wasted, even as the helmet program continues to face criticism.

F-35 Helmet
[Image Source:VSI/Elbit/Rockwell Collins]

(A similar waste occurred with the design of a second engine, amidst the struggles of the first engine, which remains the in-use design.)
 
Due to the visibility issues from the helmet, the F-35A was only able to start nighttime testing this April; eight years after the first prototypes were delivered.
 
Lockheed Martin defends the fighter arguing that it can achieve the maximum angle of attack and that it has unsurpassed electronic awareness.  However the latter claim is somewhat questionable given that the code has ballooned to 24 million lines of code.  More fixes are planned, but the pace of patches has been reduced to a snail crawl given the size of the code.
 
Reports indicate the aircraft confuses its flares for incoming missiles, that its inertial navigation system does not work, and its radar performs poorly.  According to Pentagon officials, software bugs are the "number one technical challenge" facing the F-35 -- which is telling, given all its mechanical design flaws.
 
That's not terribly surprising -- the code is appalling massive to the point of perhaps being beyond salvation.
 
VII. An Aerial Boondoggle of Epic Proportions
 
The fighter also has fundamental logistical issues.  The body materials and stealth coatings leave the fighter highly vulnerable to (ironically, enough) lightning, with a single strike likely proving deadly.  Combined with the tire issues, the aircraft (as mentioned) has basically been deemed basically unflyable during storms.
 
And then there are the range issues.  As the large external fuel tanks of the "Fighter Teen Series" (F-15, F-16, F/A-18) were dropped for stealth, the F-35 has been reduced to "short range".  Stealth conformal tanks may help solve this issue, but lack of a long ferry range remains a problem as long as the F-35's carrier-bound variants remain problem plagued.
 
At the end of 2013, only 100 F-35s had been produced out of thousands of orders from the U.S., United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

F-35 w/ soldier
[Image Source: USAF]

To summarize the F-35: it's underpowered, it's clumsy, it's short ranged, it's somewhat slow, it's a befuttled mess of error-prone code driven by and driving extremely sophisticated electronics.  It might be a fierce foe -- if it doesn't happen to be stormy out, if you're near a U.S. carrier or base conducive for the fighter's short range, and if it isn't malfunctioning.  It's prone to mechanical failures, it's being produced at a far slower rate than expected, and it's costing far more than was expected.

And yet like moths to the flame, an international coalition of countries led by the U.S. can't help but find themselves smitten with this flawed fighter.  As they pour ever more money into the damage design, its proponents see the F-35 in terms of what it could be -- if only everything worked as it should.  But the F-35's growing legion of critics point to the fighter's litany of problems both financial and technological.  They say it's time to face the reality of the F-35 is -- an aerial boondoggle of epic proportions.

Sources: Marine Corps Times, POGO [blog], The Fiscal Times



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

But what do you do?
By Vertigo2000 on 7/25/2014 11:33:52 AM , Rating: 2
Do you keep throwing good money after bad? It might cost way more than expected, but at least you'll have a viable asset at the end. If so, where do you draw the line... if ever?

OR

Do you finally concede and scrap the whole thing essentially wasting billions and billions of dollars, man-hours and credibility? If so, who makes the final decision and what happens to them?

I think they've dug themselves into a hole so deep, they may as well keep digging and hope to come out the other side.




RE: But what do you do?
By ltfields on 7/25/2014 11:41:33 AM , Rating: 5
So what you're saying is that our best bet at this point is to leak the plans to the Chinese and Russians, then hope they waste billions making even more broken copycat versions? I might actually be down for that... ;)


RE: But what do you do?
By michael67 on 7/25/2014 2:31:41 PM , Rating: 3
They can never be this incompetent at it, as what is going on now.

They put on paper a great plane, that sounded really perfect, but they only forgot that there are real world laws of physics, and that they had to build the damn thing.

Or maybe that was the plan all a long, and was all a Ponzi scheme, and they ware just taking the bank for all its money, and are now running, and laughing there asses off, at all the tax payers.


RE: But what do you do?
By Cypherdude1 on 7/27/14, Rating: 0
RE: But what do you do?
By wordsworm on 7/25/2014 11:45:15 AM , Rating: 4
The other thing to do would be for the government to seize the company responsible for this thing and try to get as much of its money back as possible. The execs should be tried in a kangaroo court and thrown into chains.


RE: But what do you do?
By Solandri on 7/25/2014 12:09:00 PM , Rating: 4
My opinion is that this isn't an engineering problem. The problem with the F-35 has always been that it's been asked to do too many different things. The whole project had its genesis with the idea that having a different airframe for every combat role was expensive, both in spare parts and training maintenance staff. So rather than make lots of different aircraft custom-tailored to fill a specific combat role, make a single aircraft which can fill a bunch of those roles. One set of spare parts, maintenance staff only need to be trained to fix one plane, and you save money.

While that idea works on a small scale (e.g. adopting the F/A-18 to drop bombs in addition to dogfight), it falls on its face when you try to make it fill too many roles. They wanted the F-35 to be a fighter for the Air Force, a fighter/bomber for the Navy, and a vertical takeoff close air support vehicle for the Marines. That's just too many roles for a single airframe.

While I'm sure corruption at Lockheed is part of the problem, from what I've seen the engineers there are doing the best they can to fulfill a bad, overreaching list of specifications. Gutting Lockheed and throwing its executives in chains won't help in any way if the people truly responsible for this fiasco - Congress and the Pentagon brass - are going to just walk over to Boeing and request they build a plane with the same set of overreaching specifications. Jack of all trades and master of none describes the F-35 perfectly. The inordinate cost comes from trying to make it jack of all trades and master of all.


RE: But what do you do?
By Manch on 7/25/2014 12:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah this jack of all trades didnt work back then and it doesnt work now. That's why the Navy ended up with the F-18 to begin with. The F-16 wasnt viable.

I still dont understand the logic of a single engine platform on a carrier. This just baffles me.

I do like the modular concept, the single frame for all doesnt make sense. We still need specific platforms for specific mission requirements.

While a lot of this is Lockheeds fault, A LOT of it resides with the military. The ever moving goal post is always the demon we fight during any big project.


RE: But what do you do?
By Nightbird321 on 7/25/2014 1:22:30 PM , Rating: 3
It's what happens when politicians pretend to be engineers, and no better when politicians pretend to be scientists, economists, philanthropists, bureaucrats, city planners, statisticians, anything that is not whatever it is that politicians are supposed to do


RE: But what do you do?
By wordsworm on 7/26/14, Rating: -1
RE: But what do you do?
By lagomorpha on 7/27/2014 2:26:38 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
you pick a smart president


Not in the last century.


RE: But what do you do?
By Manch on 7/27/2014 9:27:44 AM , Rating: 3
Are you implying Obama is a genius? LOLOLOL

Your posts will now be met with a lot of skepticism as I now doubt your critical thinking skills.


RE: But what do you do?
By ritualm on 7/25/2014 3:34:03 PM , Rating: 3
I don't mind modularity and sharing some commonality amongst its components, but one airframe for more than one role is already too complicated, let alone 5+.

The whole F-35 project is chock full of feature creep, and it's increasingly looking like a engine-less Ferrari in a garage. The only time you'll hear "ooh-aah" is when top brass's trying to sell that hunk of junk. Ampera, anyone?


RE: But what do you do?
By Jeffk464 on 7/27/2014 5:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, you can carry over an engine like between the f15 and f16 but make the airframe for air superiority the best for that role and make an airframe for attack thats the best at that role. As far as I can think of an attack specific airframe has been important in every conflict since WWII.


RE: But what do you do?
By drycrust3 on 7/25/2014 5:11:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I still dont understand the logic of a single engine platform on a carrier. This just baffles me.

Knowing almost nothing about aeroplanes, I can't see why having a single engine is a problem (reliability issues aside), after all the MIG 21 is a single engine plane, and that has been pretty successful. It sounds like the problem is the engine is too heavy and too powerful for the air frame, just as putting a cast iron block V8 into a car designed for an aluminium 1.1 litre engine is bound to create problems. Either you put a lighter and less powerful engine into that air frame or you beef up the airframe.
The real tragedy of this isn't either the cost over runs or the delays in the F35 being operational, but that America is letting their competitors be the ones with better fighter planes.
The famous German Tank Commander Guderian said something along the lines of "Unreliable tanks are almost as bad as no tanks", which would more or less be the same for fighter planes. As it is right now you effectively have an expensive low spec aeroplane, both of which make you not want to commit it to operations.


RE: But what do you do?
By sorry dog on 7/25/2014 6:01:38 PM , Rating: 2
There's nothing wrong with single engine carrier planes, and have been/still are successful examples of this, I.E. A4, A7, F8,Harrier, Mirage2000. The A4 and A7 in particular served with great distinction.

Turbine reliability has gotten to the point that it's usually other issues that cause major mishaps. F16 airframes losses due to engine failure for the F100-PW-229 are zero.


RE: But what do you do?
By Manch on 7/25/2014 11:58:07 PM , Rating: 2
But none of those operate in the way an f18 or the 14 did. The stress on the engine isnt nowhere near as severe.

Turbine failure was the latest reasoning for the planes grounding, so its still an issue. As for the f16, it doesnt take off fro carriers so its not comparable
.


RE: But what do you do?
By Jeffk464 on 7/29/2014 10:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
The turbine didn't fail, the engine simply caught fire.


RE: But what do you do?
By Jeffk464 on 7/29/2014 10:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
what, I'm not so sure about your statistics


RE: But what do you do?
By Manch on 7/25/2014 11:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
Thats just it. You cant sideline engine reliability. On a carrier with limited resources, not being able to work on the engine is a big deal. Id argue that its a deal breaker.

And despite what a lot of people say in regards to other nations platforms, out are still the best. AWACS plays a critial role in maintaining that. That is a while other story though.


RE: But what do you do?
By drycrust3 on 7/26/2014 5:13:15 PM , Rating: 3
So what you are saying is a US Navy fighter plane has to be designed from the ground up as a carrier plane, which is exactly what is wrong with the F35: it is too many eggs in one basket.


RE: But what do you do?
By Manch on 7/27/2014 12:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah pretty much. This has happened before.

The LWF program that led to the selection of the F-16 was meant to provide a platform for both the USAF and the USN. The USN protested the decision bc the F16 would require extensive modification to work on a carrier and only had a single engine which was a huge reliability concern. Thats also why they wanted the YF-17 instead but it was on the USAF to pick the plane and the USN would have to work from there. The protesting finally got McNamara to back off and led to the VFAX where the YF-17 was used as the basis for the program and thus the F-18 was born from there.

Now if the F35 was built from the get go to serve the most stringent of needs fisrt VTOL/SVTOL, and carrier duty then maybe it wouldnt be where it is today. Of course they're sticking to their guns this time so the navy will eventually get this boondoggle.


RE: But what do you do?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/25/2014 5:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My opinion is that this isn't an engineering problem. The problem with the F-35 has always been that it's been asked to do too many different things.


Exactly. The Government bears a lot of responsibility in this mess, they asked to have a sh*t sandwich of a plane built, and that's what we got. Yummy, tastes great.

It's not so much the multi-role concept that's the problem, it's doing all those roles with a single airframe while also being designed for STEALTH at the same time that's the real wrench in the works.

You can compromise in a few places and be fine, but stealth requirements make you compromise EVERYWHERE.


RE: But what do you do?
By atechfan on 7/25/2014 12:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
That's it. The perfect response to government stupidity is government tyranny. You'd fit right in with the Obama administration.


RE: But what do you do?
By SeeManRun on 7/25/2014 1:26:52 PM , Rating: 1
RE: But what do you do?
By hpglow on 7/28/2014 11:59:45 AM , Rating: 2
This is exactly the type of waste you get when you let Republicans throw money at the military. 200+B for nothing delivered. Just the same as letting the Dems waste money. But let's look at the positive here... at least a bunch of undeserving management at Lockheed will get some nice bonus pay, conservitives will get some good lobby money next term. Meanwhile the middleclass gets to keep having trouble finding jobs and adjusting to stagnating wages.


RE: But what do you do?
By Samus on 7/25/2014 2:21:18 PM , Rating: 5
You scrap it.

Then, you make Lockheed take responsibility and turn over all research, testing data, and materials (which have all effectively been paid for) to Boeing to use toward X-32A development.

This is what many have been saying for years, and what many will continue to say as the F35 design fails to deliver.

The Boeing design was always cheaper. It's just ridiculous the simpler design was deemed "more risky?" By what experts?


RE: But what do you do?
By Gondor on 7/26/2014 7:08:12 AM , Rating: 2
These "cheaper" alternatives tend to get rather expensive very often. F-35 is a proof of that.


RE: But what do you do?
By justjc on 7/29/2014 4:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
There are two major reasons why Boeing lost the JSF race.

1) Major changes proposed before going into production, making the design seem less ready for production(new wing design, new tail design and abandonment of the variable intake cowl on the C model)

2) It just didn't look enough like an american figher jet should look, mostly due to the massive intake cowl

I am in no doubt that Boeing would have delivered a better plane than the F35 of today and saved the american taxpayers a lot of money-


RE: But what do you do?
By Jeffk464 on 7/29/2014 10:20:40 PM , Rating: 2
What, the X-32a is far to ugly a fighter to represent the US all around the world.


RE: But what do you do?
By Iketh on 7/25/2014 4:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
They keep throwing money at it because they are spell-bound. The only thing Lockheed did exceptionally was design a sexy aircraft. I myself can't stop looking at it. The politicians are under the same spell...


RE: But what do you do?
By Iketh on 7/25/2014 5:27:59 PM , Rating: 2
automatic down-rate because of the S word I used? come on DT...


RE: But what do you do?
By drycrust3 on 7/25/2014 5:59:57 PM , Rating: 2
Not being the one who downrated you, I'm guessing that "spellbound" is the "s word" that got you downrated, not the "sexy aircraft" reference.
Not being an American, I'm guessing the problem is that whoever cans the project will have this constant "they killed the best fighter plane in the world" haunting them, but by throwing more money into this bottomless pit you can hide behind the bushes and say you did it to protect America. The fact is it isn't the best fighter plane in the world because it isn't operational, and even if it was the spec within which it currently operates is well below "best fighter plane" territory.


RE: But what do you do?
By Jeffk464 on 7/27/2014 4:04:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but at least you'll have a viable asset at the end.


Its only viable if the Russian T50 stealth fighter has a hard time shooting it down. If you need air superiority before you can use it then you might as well use F16's.


RE: But what do you do?
By encia on 7/30/2014 10:56:23 AM , Rating: 2
From http://breakingdefense.com/2014/06/gen-mike-hostag...

General Mike Hostage On The F-35 vs F-16

"The F-35, he says, has “at least” the maneuverability and thrust and weight of the F-16. The F-35 is to the F-22 as the F-16 is to the F-15."


the tragedy is
By Bubbacub on 7/25/2014 11:24:48 AM , Rating: 3
That the f22 is already out there, out performing the f35 on most parameters and despite this is still cheaper (per unit when you buy thousands).

A ground attack variant (like the f15 e) and a watered down less capable export variant (to keep congress happy) would fulfill all roles apart from the marine stovl requirement (would have to compromise and let them carry on with harriers, or fit their ships with cats and traps).

Its still a viable option. The forty billion or so spent in f35 development is tiny compared to the trillion plus costs of executing this clusterfcuk of a programme.

Just cancel it, and reopen the f22 production line. It will still end up cheaper per unit aircraft when one buys the number of aircraft that the USAF and RAF are looking to buy.




RE: the tragedy is
By bah12 on 7/25/2014 11:45:30 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
... or fit their ships with cats and traps). - See more at: ...
Or better yet do away with the marine corps. I know blasphemy, but hear me out. Their intended use, that they are expertly well designed for, no longer exists. There will never be another storming of the beach, and creating beachheads. Those days of fighting are over, it is the modern equivalent of maintaining a calvary. They had a purpose once, and were an honorable force to be reckoned with, but now don't.

Put it this way. The Marine Corps was founded on the idea that it provides a flexible expeditionary force which comes from the sea on short notice, sustains itself from the sea, and returns to the sea when an operation is done. How does any of that apply today, if you need your own special carriers, choppers, aircraft, .... then guess what you are no longer "sustained by the sea" or "flexible". They much closer resemble a hodgepodge mix of army/navy.

Sometimes I feel our Politicians and especially military folks cling far too long to tradition. There is nothing they do that justifies an entire brank, and a much leaner/smaller special forces unit couldn't be created to do.


RE: the tragedy is
By Manch on 7/25/2014 1:28:27 PM , Rating: 1
From your I dont think you understand how or why the Marines exist.

Their are 5 branches of the military but only 3 departments.

The Marines while being a separate branch, they do not have their own department within the DoD and fall under the Department of the Navy. The Coast Guard as well during times of war. When not, they fall under Homeland Security but are still considered a military branch. The USAF use to be a lot like the Marines when they were the Army Air Forces. They were separated out into their own Branch and have their own department in 1947

They are very much still needed and still do a lot of things that is unique to their branch. While they have some assets like ships planes etc as all branches do(Yes the AF has ships too), those assets are tailored to put into effect the doctrine that guides that specific service.

Each branches basic doctrine defines at a high level what they do. This hasnt changed much. Strategic/Tactical doctrine does and as the missions change each branch adjust accordingly within the scope of their basic doctrine. The difference in doctrine between the branches is what defines their unique capabilities.

All services are interdependent as well. No service can act alone on a strategic scale.

Our actually end strength is also much smaller than just 20yrs ago.

Cutting the Marines is not an option, or a smart one. We've already cut down to the bone on all of our services.


RE: the tragedy is
By bah12 on 7/25/2014 3:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying what they do today isn't needed, rather that how they are doing it is not very efficient. I admire the Marines, they have better training and are very damn good at their jobs.

However there seems to be a pretty big overlap in some areas, all I'm suggesting is that if we eliminate them as a branch, roll them up in as a special forces unit to the Navy (like they kind of sorta are) and do away with some of that overlap we'd have a better overall fighting force. I agree we don't need to cut troops, but we need less bureaucracy and desk jockeys, and I feel we'd eliminate a bunch of that by simplifying the command structure, even if you don't change the missions at all.


RE: the tragedy is
By Manch on 7/26/14, Rating: 0
RE: the tragedy is
By Grast5150 on 7/29/2014 1:58:39 PM , Rating: 2
You obviously have never been in the military and do not know how the Marines fight. Marines are the best and most capable foreign fight force in the world. They have the training and attitude to perform any mission that requires more than pin point strike attacks. When you need a force of 10,000 to go in and pacify a region, you do not call the Army... You call the Marines. If anything, the Army needs to be reduced and money given to the Marines.


RE: the tragedy is
By Apone on 7/25/2014 2:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Or better yet do away with the marine corps. I know blasphemy, but hear me out. Their intended use, that they are expertly well designed for, no longer exists. There will never be another storming of the beach, and creating beachheads. Those days of fighting are over, it is the modern equivalent of maintaining a calvary. They had a purpose once, and were an honorable force to be reckoned with, but now don't.


Sure I agree the need to storm a beach and creating beachheads is highly unlikely today but you're only referring to the WW II efforts; the USMC dates back to the American Revolution and has evolved its role since then.

quote:
Put it this way. The Marine Corps was founded on the idea that it provides a flexible expeditionary force which comes from the sea on short notice, sustains itself from the sea, and returns to the sea when an operation is done. How does any of that apply today, if you need your own special carriers, choppers, aircraft, .... then guess what you are no longer "sustained by the sea" or "flexible". They much closer resemble a hodgepodge mix of army/navy.


Manch is correct; each branch of the U.S. military is designed to perform specific tasks. For the USMC, they are trained for amphibious assault (which includes humanitarian relief efforts, pirate hunting, & expeditionary support) which the U.S. Army is not. The USMC is not "sustained by the sea" since their transportation logistics is often handled by its parent organization, the U.S. Navy.

Many would also argue the USMC's training/conditioning is way more rigorous than the U.S. Army and thus they churn out better fighting soldiers in combat.


RE: the tragedy is
By Apone on 7/25/2014 12:12:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That thf22 is already out there, out performing the f35 on most parameters and despite this is still cheaper (per unit when you buy thousands).


Comparing the F22 and the F35 is comparing apples to oranges. The F22 is specifically designed for stealth and air superiority while the F35 is a "jack-of-all-trades" multirole aircraft.

quote:
A ground attack variant (like the f15 e) and a watered down less capable export variant (to keep congress happy) would fulfill all roles apart from the marine stovl requirement (would have to compromise and let them carry on with harriers, or fit their ships with cats and traps).


You can only maintain the F15 and AV8B Harrier so much before their obsolescence compromises the United States' ability to maintain its air dominance and defense.

quote:
Just cancel it, and reopen the f22 production line. It will still end up cheaper per unit aircraft when one buys the number of aircraft that the USAF and RAF are looking to buy.


The engineering, stealth, and technology of the F22 is exclusive to the United States while the F35 was joint-engineered with several countries (hence the name Joint Strike Fighter/JSF name).


RE: the tragedy is
By Manch on 7/25/2014 1:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
I think he meant create F-22 variant and export versions like we've done with the F15. That's how I read it anyways.


RE: the tragedy is
By Bubbacub on 7/25/2014 2:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
That is exactly what I meant


RE: the tragedy is
By Dug on 7/26/2014 10:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
by Apone on July 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

quote:
That thf22 is already out there, out performing the f35 on most parameters and despite this is still cheaper (per unit when you buy thousands).

Comparing the F22 and the F35 is comparing apples to oranges. The F22 is specifically designed for stealth and air superiority while the F35 is a "jack-of-all-trades" multirole aircraft.


Which is why he is saying you should pick the apple and not compromise with an orange.
Why would you want something that isn't superior?

quote:
quote:
A ground attack variant (like the f15 e) and a watered down less capable export variant (to keep congress happy) would fulfill all roles apart from the marine stovl requirement (would have to compromise and let them carry on with harriers, or fit their ships with cats and traps).

You can only maintain the F15 and AV8B Harrier so much before their obsolescence compromises the United States' ability to maintain its air dominance and defense.


It's compromised by using the F35 because it's less capable.

quote:
quote:
Just cancel it, and reopen the f22 production line. It will still end up cheaper per unit aircraft when one buys the number of aircraft that the USAF and RAF are looking to buy.

The engineering, stealth, and technology of the F22 is exclusive to the United States while the F35 was joint-engineered with several countries (hence the name Joint Strike Fighter/JSF name).


Short sited thinking.... again.


RE: the tragedy is
By Manch on 7/27/2014 12:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
So you would take the F22 an Air Superiority Platform designed for the USAF and adapt it to Ground Attack, VTOL/STVOL, & carrier duties? Do you think it will remain superior once you chop it up to try and make it do everything for everyone? It would end up being just as bad as the F35.

The F15 & AV8B airframes are in dire need of replacement. They've flown well past their original chassis expiration dates. Just way too many hours on those frames. I hate to say it but even a compromised F35 is better than a F15 or AV8B thats about ready to fall out of the sky.

I dont know what you're on about in that last bit. All he said was the F22 is exclusive to the US in response to the OP. I think you confused the two.


RE: the tragedy is
By encia on 7/30/2014 11:02:48 AM , Rating: 2
As for the Stealth issue. General Mike Hostage has claimed F-35 has superior stealth when compared to F-22.

From
http://breakingdefense.com/2014/06/gen-mike-hostag...

This debunks all internet assumptions on F-22's stealth being superior to F-35 i.e. these critics doesn't have access to F-35's classified data.


RE: the tragedy is
By sorry dog on 7/25/2014 1:21:50 PM , Rating: 2
The F22 is awesome but no more are coming... that ship sailed. Besides it would take a major redesign to turn it into an attack aircraft. It's weapon bays are not big enough to accommodate anything bigger than 500lbs, and it's missing many other features necessary in an attack aircraft. The Navy passed on the navalized version back in 1991 (which was probably the right decision given their aviation budget since then).

And then you would still need to design another plane from scratch for the Marines and foreign partners that are planning for the F35B... or do just let somebody else build their planes for them??


RE: the tragedy is
By inperfectdarkness on 7/25/2014 2:51:24 PM , Rating: 1
I think we just need to scrap the idea of VTOL. It's a technology that--like variable geometry wings--is high maintenance and difficult to engineer.

Quite honestly, the B-variant should be scrapped altogether & the Marines should be forced to use STOBAR carriers only.


RE: the tragedy is
By Manch on 7/25/2014 3:01:41 PM , Rating: 2
VTOL isnt hard to do nowadays. Making one platform do everything is! The F-35 is not designed well for this task.

Thrust vectoring pretty much took care of the need for variable geometry wings. Still that is one of the things I always loved about the F14. So bad @$$!!!

Marines dont have their own carriers and those thigns are really fricken expensive comparably. The ships they do have now can accommodate a VTOL just fine.


RE: the tragedy is
By Reclaimer77 on 7/26/2014 7:18:40 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Besides it would take a major redesign to turn it into an attack aircraft.


And that STILL would have been more economical than the F-35 project. Which was his entire point!

quote:
It's weapon bays are not big enough to accommodate anything bigger than 500lbs


Realistically, how often are 5k bunker busters even used?

F-35 has two hardpoints with 5000-pound weight limits, but a 5000-pound bomb doesn't appear on any list of planned F-35 weapons that I've seen.

Of course using those hardpoints means you can kiss your stealth properties goodbye.


RE: the tragedy is
By Grast5150 on 7/29/2014 1:41:07 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly.... The F22 is a much better product.... Cancel F-35 and re-open the F22 program.


By tayb on 7/25/2014 11:41:36 AM , Rating: 3
If their costs overrun that is their problem, not ours. They made a bid and that bid was accepted. They should take the money in the bid and deliver the jets. If they are behind schedule they should be fined but not receive further funding.

I do not know why it is acceptable for them to not to deliver as many jets as their bid stated, increase the costs after the fact, delay the delivery, and fail to deliver on the specifications of their bid.

Hold them to their original bid. This is the private sector, right?




By Vertigo2000 on 7/25/2014 12:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
Someone call the police... this man is talking logic and we will have none of that around here!

Seriously though, I believe this is SOP on these kinds of government projects. Oversell and underbid then, after you've been awarded the project, backpedal and increase the price.

Why it continues is beyond me, but "it is what it is".


By atechfan on 7/25/2014 12:25:30 PM , Rating: 2
Why does it continue? Because incompetent bureaucrats reward that sort of behaviour.


By Murloc on 7/25/2014 2:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
the government should be able to make them pay penalties and even rescind the contract if necessary.
But the trouble is, you end up with no plane!
Lockheed knows this so they can underbid as much as they want.

In Europe most big defense companies are at least partially owned by the governments for this reason.


By djc208 on 7/25/2014 3:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
Not to defend the private sector, but it's rarely that simple. In many cases government specifications or requirements change after the fact, meaning the design is in flux (e.g. "hey this plane also needs to be able to shoot our new flappy bird missle too"), or the roll grows (more power from the same engine, also do this other thing too, etc.) which can modify and change the contract through no fault of the contractor.
The bigger issue is that there were only two (American) companies that could even build this thing, if one of them goes bankrupt over trying to make this work we're in even more trouble next time we need a new fighter jet.
Honestly I think they do this on purpose, low ball to get it funded knowing it's going to grow like mad, just so they can get something to happen.


By Dug on 7/26/2014 10:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
The biggest issue is that they couldn't even build the engine so it didn't crack.

That is a basic function of any jet.

If they can't even do that, then no wonder they've failed at every other part.


A VF-1 would have been a better investment
By wingless on 7/25/2014 10:59:20 AM , Rating: 2
For the money they spent on this project, they could have turned an F-14 into a VF-1 Valkyrie from Macross. That is not a joke...




RE: A VF-1 would have been a better investment
By Flunk on 7/25/14, Rating: 0
By inighthawki on 7/25/2014 11:35:58 AM , Rating: 3
Why so serious?


By corduroygt on 7/25/2014 11:25:36 AM , Rating: 2
even better solution would be a cheap F-22 revision, with less effective and maintenance intensive stealth + ground attack capability.


RE: A VF-1 would have been a better investment
By Apone on 7/25/2014 11:37:33 AM , Rating: 2
@ wingless

We just need that pesky SDF-1 to finds its way to Earth and crash land so we can reverse engineer Robotechnology already. This should of happened 5 years ago (Zor is way behind schedule)...


By Gunbuster on 7/25/2014 12:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
This. We should have VF-1's based on the F-14 by now!


Creative journalism
By amanojaku on 7/25/2014 12:27:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yet for every critic there remains an eternal optimist. Those who stand behind the fighter see it for what Lockheed promised it would be -- the greatest fighter of all time. They see it for what it could be, perhaps, if only it were able to overcome its plethora of problems.
Jason, can you back up this statement with references? I don't know ANYONE who has claimed the F-35 is the greatest fighter of all time. Lockheed claims it is equivalent to or better than generation 4 aircraft, and testing shows that it is superior in stealth to generation 4, but only equal to or lower than generation 4 performance (no wonder; it has better engines, but is significantly heavier). Lockheed has maintained that the F-35 will beat any existing generation 4 aircraft when it is operating at its stealthiest, but there are situations where generation 4 aircraft will defeat the F-35.

On the other hand, it claims the F-22 is the greatest fighter of all time. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're the peace-loving sort), this is all speculation as neither plane has any combat experience to date.

The F-35 is like a family sedan, the F-22 is a supercar. The F-22 will get you from point A to point B faster (more kills per plane), but sedans move more people overall. Not the best comparison due to the cost of the F-35, but you get what I'm saying, I think...




RE: Creative journalism
By synapse46 on 7/25/2014 1:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
Watched the F22 demo team a few weeks ago and it was absolutely amazing.


RE: Creative journalism
By Manch on 7/25/2014 2:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
They used to(may still)practice every Thursday @ Langley. I used to watch those things dance around over the base. It absolutely incredible what those tings can do. I can see how people thought they were UFO's. The maneuvers are just ridiculous!


No orders from Denmark, not yet anyway
By justjc on 7/29/2014 6:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
I would like to note that the statement below, at least in the case of Denmark, is wrong.
quote:
At the end of 2013, only 100 F-35s had been produced out of thousands of orders from the U.S., United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey.


The Danish government have made investments during the initial development of the JSF, but the decision to buy F-35 as a replacement for the F-16 fleet is not a done deal. The decision has been postponed till the summer of 2015.

The proposed alternatives to the F-35A Lightning II model is Boeing F/A-18 Advanced Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon. The clear favorite here is the F-35A, due to the close political ties to the US and great marketing by Lockheed Martin, but with all its problems I must admit that my hope to see one of the alternatives take its spot.




By encia on 7/30/2014 10:54:20 AM , Rating: 2
http://airforces.fr/tag/peter-collins/

Furthermore, the Dutch did compare various fighter aircraft in 2002. Who remembers? The RNLAF – the Royal Netherlands Air Force – carried out this study and the balance sheet came out in the Dutch press:
Here are the ratings reported:

F-35 = 6.97
RAFALE = 6.95
Eurofighter = 5.83
F-16 Block 60 = 5.80


Um...not so fast...
By sorry dog on 7/25/2014 1:05:48 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
And then there are the range issues. As the large external fuel tanks of the "Fighter Teen Series" (F-15, F-16, F/A-18) were dropped for stealth, the F-35 has been reduced to "short range". That range has been rendered even shorter due to its weight and power-hungry engines that quickly burn through its scarce fuel. The F-22 has similar issues, but isn't quite as heavy so they're somewhat less severe.


Woah there buddy. It's combat radius is 590 n.m. which compares quite well which existing multi-role aircraft. Yes, you put the F-16 and F-18 into a ferry configuration with 3 tanks for great range, but then their performance and mission capability go to nil. The fuel fraction of the 35 is one of the highest out there. There are short comings of the plane to pick on but range is not one of them. You need to go re-research this issue.

quote:
In retrospect, abandoning the tried and true methodology of using two smaller jet engines, in favor of one larger engine was perhaps a risky strategy.


Again, you need to re-research your facts here. 1 larger turbine compared to 2 smaller ones is about as tried and true as it gets... unless, you don't count the F16, F104, F106 , F105, F8, Mirage series, A7, MIG21, and so on.
The reason why you see single engine designs is it is more fuel efficient. There have been more F18's lost to engine failure than F-16's, so so-much for redundancy.

Not that your article doesn't bring valid criticism to the table, but your arguments that are obviously flawed reduces the credibility and waters down your more persuasive points.




Armchair quarterbacks
By W00dmann on 7/26/2014 12:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
For the record, everybody here is an armchair quarterback (including myself). You (and I) know absolutely nothing about the capabilities of this aircraft, and anything we say is pure speculation. Yes the F-35 has teething problems but you know what? They had exactly the same sorts of problems with the F15, F16, F18, even the F14,and look how they turned out. This is highly complex, 5th generation tech and very few countries in the world have the ability to even start to take it on. Just look at some of the problems the Russians are having with their PAKFA and that plane isn't nearly as complex as the F35 (software wise).

For a more balanced opinion on the plane, visit the F35 forum at F-16 dot net. There are some very knowledgeable people there who contribute to the forum.




By stmok on 7/27/2014 5:00:55 AM , Rating: 2
The F-35 fighter project as a whole, is an over-engineered complex mess of potential problems.

The situation is exacerbated by Lockheed-Martin's marketing machine promising too much. (Sure, they can make wonderful PR videos with rock music and getting the US Govt to lobby overseas customers to buy their stuff, but what they're saying isn't really what's happening from an engineering perspective.)

You know what it really feels like? Taxpayers paying for LM's R&D technologies. (Us Aussies are paying for it as well, as we have invested into this project to replace our legacy Hornets!)

Like another past project (F-111...Also served in Australia), it tries to fulfill duties from more than one service. This is in order to "save costs" due to commonality of manufacturing components.

As most of you know, the F-111 was pushed into serving both the USAF and US Navy (See F-111B). History has already shown us the latter failed (not a dogfighter and too heavy!) and its technologies were implemented into what we know today as the F-14. (Engines, avionics, weapons systems). Lesson to learn? You can't turn a fighter-bomber into a fighter.

Its interesting to note that during the F-14's development, they had targets that had to be met. If they didn't meet them, there would be monetary punishments. ie: For weight, if they went a certain number of pounds over the target, they would be punished a few thousand dollars. This forced the engineers to be innovative by using materials that were lightweight and relatively affordable.

The problem with the F-35 is that it tries to be everything for everyone as LM acts like the money coming in is infinite...And everyone has really different requirements! As a result, the commonality between the three variants is approx 30%!

The idea to cancel the F-35 has potential. Because the technologies in it, can be used in purpose-built fighters for each service. The AESA radar and the electro-optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) being the two major components I would consider re-using.

Each service building their own fighter to THEIR requirements is better than building a fighter filled with compromises caused by different needs.

A good fighter needs to be agile, simple, easy to maintain, and easy to build. See F-5 series, A-4 series, etc.

In fact, an engineer from the past said it best...

“It is easy to build something complicated;
it’s hard to build it so that it’s simple.”

-Dr. William B. McLean
Father of the Sidewinder missile.




By CharonPDX on 7/28/2014 2:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
DailyTech editors: could we please get all of Jason Mick's articles tagged with "Opinion" in the headline?

Or even better, add the ability to filter so I don't see any of his articles? Or at least put the author in the article list on the sidebar, so I know not to bother clicking...

His massively-biased articles that pretend to be neutral news stories are getting old. (I don't disagree with all of his opinions, but when I come to something expecting a fairly neutral news story, but find it riddled with opinion and "digs" against the subject, it wears quickly.)




F35 is an expensive joke
By GatoRat on 7/28/2014 3:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
Above all, this was done in by the Marines obsession with VTOL. VTOL is cool, but highly impractical. It provides little real world benefit and the trade off in performance, weight, etc. actually makes it a detriment in the real world.

Forcing the plane to be a cross between Navy and Air Force also hampered the project.

As the statement goes; Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. Unfortunately, the F35 is not even a jack-of-all-trades.




By encia on 7/30/2014 10:46:56 AM , Rating: 2
RAND report has already been debunked by no less than RAND itself.
Read http://www.rand.org/news/press/2008/09/25.html

“Recently, articles have appeared in the Australian press with assertions regarding a war game in which analysts from the RAND Corporation were involved. Those reports are not accurate. RAND did not present any analysis at the war game relating to the performance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, nor did the game attempt detailed adjudication of air-to-air combat. Neither the game nor the assessments by RAND in support of the game undertook any comparison of the fighting qualities of particular fighter aircraft.”

Try again Brandon.




@ Winslow Wheeler
By encia on 7/30/2014 10:51:16 AM , Rating: 2
@ Winslow Wheeler

From www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/FY2013/pdf/dod/2013f35 jsf.pdf

"The program redesigned the On-Board Inert Gas Generation
System (OBIGGS) to meet vulnerability reduction and
lightning requirements. The program is currently planning
the tests for FY14 to ensure that the system is able to
maintain fuel tank inerting throughout all mission profiles.
The system should protect the F-35 from threat-induced or
lightning-induced fuel tank explosions"

Try again Winslow Wheeler.




Political Problem
By Donnarr on 8/5/2014 9:54:00 AM , Rating: 2
The way I understand it, a big part of the problem was, to get politicians to vote for this project, they had to be bribed with jobs for their state.

While this may seem like a good thing superficially, what ended up happening is the manufacturing was spread out all across the country and quality control suffered.

It was nearly impossible to get every manufacturer to keep the same standards.

So you get this mess of parts that don't fit, the quality of some parts is not the same as the quality of others.

Stuff like that




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