Who needs infrastructure, arts and culture, or medical care – when you can have an F-35!? It’s stealthy!
It’s a great fighter!!
It does VTOL off the deck of support ships!
There’s a scathing new report out on the Project On Government Oversight [pogo] It’s getting to the point where comedians are going to start doing F-35 routines.
“the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.”
If you buy a computer to surf the web on, to write documents with, and to play games – then find out that it can’t get on the network, the word processing suite for the platform isn’t available yet, and Microsoft is still working on an operating system – but Solitaire works! You might say: “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.”
Usually when someone shines a great big fail-light on the F-35, they are immediately bombarded with commenters saying how it’s not bad, that the report was written by haters, and how great the plane is (or is going to be real soon!) – after all, there’s about a trillion dollars at stake through the course of the entire program. Some people would kill and eat their own children for that kind of money. They’re ready to see yours die, anyhow.
F-35 boosters say it’s the network that matters; what actually matters is that the network isn’t working.
That’s harsh. And true. The vision of the future of the F-35 is “sensor fusion” across its private network, which will include satellite data, drone data, and outbound munitions command/control. The idea, in other words, is that the F-35 will be able to take advantage of stealth to shoot down other countries’ stealth aircraft by merging all this data into a seamless battlefield picture that… uh… See what’s wrong with that picture? The exact same argument can be used to explain how another country’s sensor grid can be used to ‘fuse’ infrared-tracking drone data to defeat the F-35’s stealth (its engine runs ridiculously hot!) and its stream of distinctly non-stealthy refuelling ships (it has a pathetic 750nm range) This is a fairly typical paradigm in DoD-ese: our stuff is great, their stuff sucks, therefore we will win! Give us money!
Never mind that the F-35, if it gets used at all, will mostly be dropping munitions on insurgents and the occasional Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital that blunders into the line of fire. Like the F-22 before it, it’s a plane without a mission – unless that mission is to transfer money from the treasury to the defense/industrial complex. For crying out loud, if that’s all you wanted to do, why doesn’t the US have a massively-funded fusion research program or a Manhattan-style program to build inexpensive, clean, reliable energy storage systems? Northrup Grumman could build those! They’d be ridiculously overpriced, but the Chinese-made knockoffs’d be great and affordable.
The ability to penetrate heavily defended airspace to destroy fixed targets deep in enemy territory is an often-cited justification for the F-35.
So it’s like a cruise missile except it’s got a human in it? Christfuck but the Air Force is stupid. They just want to fly airplanes. Couldn’t the government set up a program where the Air Force can fly dangerous cheap planes so they can get their Top Gun on?
You will not be dogfighting against aircraft with remotely similar capabilities. Mostly you will be flying bomb-loads over countries we are not at war with, dropping bombs on towns and cities mostly full of civilians that want very desperately to be somewhere else. A few of those civilians will be pissed off and will have MANPADs – man portable air defenses – infrared/radar homing weapons that love the big plume of heat an F-35 kicks out. So the F-35s will stay home until the cruise missiles and drones do the dirty work: the F-35s will be truck drivers hauling ordnance. Oh, wait, sorry, that’ll be the B-52s.
Due to its small, overloaded wings, the F-35 cannot maneuver adequately at the slow speeds that searching for concealed and camouflaged targets requires—and being completely unarmored and highly flammable, it would suffer catastrophic losses from just the small rifle and light machinegun hits inevitable at the low altitudes and slow speeds required.
Not just crash! Burn, then crash!
The F-22 was used very very sparingly in some strikes in Syria, so that it could be said that it had flown successful combat missions. That’s the F-35’s future as well: it’s going to be trotted out someplace where it can be exposed only very carefully. Strategically it’s a new role: “hangar queen.”
Read it all here: pogo.org