Maybe I should start a trend: when I’m sad or lonely, I can just google “F-35 problem” and I’ll be laughing until it hurts in no time.
First off, let me just clear this up: propaganda displays of military aircraft flying over stadiums or cities is a really bad idea. They’re nowhere near as reliable as commercial aircraft and they’re expensive. It’s also really distasteful. Consider that most of the world’s experience of an American aircraft flying over ends in dust, screams, and blood, there’s something inherently sick about treating fly-overs as entertainment.
The Air Force F-35 jet team that performs at air shows around the world has had to scale back appearances this year. The problem: a growing shortage of engines because of longer repair periods, some due to previously unreported shortcomings with engine blade coatings.
The Air Combat Command that controls the F-35 demonstration team late last month cut the number of 2021 shows by eight performances, or about one-third, to ensure the flying doesn’t aggravate a worsening service-wide shortage of Raytheon Technologies Corp. engines.
The engines on A-model F-35s have been running “hot,” or close to the limits of their design, and that heat has caused premature cracks, or delamination, of turbine blade coatings. That’s required the engines to be removed or repaired earlier than anticipated, aggravating an already backlogged depot system. The cracks in the coating aren’t a flight safety issue, but they reduce an engine’s useful life, said a defense official.
Every single military aircraft expert I’ve read anything from, says the F-35’s single-engine ‘overclocked’ design is a bad idea. They put so much crap in the plane and then couldn’t get the performance even close to the original specs so “let’s just run the engine harder!” gets it closer to the specs. Remember, this was originally going to be a stealth
first strike fighter that could “supercruise” onto a target from a long distance. Instead it turned out to be a short-legged overly wing-loaded aircraft in search of a mission – it’s not a fighter, it’s not close-support, it’s not a bomber – it’s an F-35! It’s the best F-35 at F-35ing that anyone has ever spent a trillion dollars for.
And now it’s not even a good fly-over demo plane.
The engine issues are also under review by congressional auditors.
“We are currently writing a report that discusses engine problems – among others,” Diana Maurer, a Government Accountability Office director, who oversees the agency’s work on defense maintenance and sustainment, said in an email. “The engine sustainment problems are potentially so significant that we broke off a separate review just to focus on what DoD is doing to address them.”
The next bit of F-35 comedy gold is that the control software and inventory software is a mess. I wrote about that before [stderr] there is a logistical tracking system that monitors performance and flight hours, part replacement and the location of parts (i.e.: it tells American spies exactly where every F-35 is and what it’s been up to, lately) – the original version was so bad that the Air Force started a whole parallel implementation by a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs that was going to be a whole lot better. The unexpected, shocking news is that – that hasn’t worked. So now the Air Force is turning to the computer science departments at some universities. [bloomberg]
The Pentagon has tapped the software expertise of three top U.S. universities to assess what still must be done to fix balky software on Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35, the costliest U.S. weapons system.
An independent technical assessment is being executed by software subject matter experts from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, and the Georgia Tech Research Institute, according to F-35 program spokeswoman Laura Seal.
The F-35 is a flying computer. Each of the fighter jets made by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed will have more than 8 million lines of code, more than any previous U.S. or allied fighter, and software flaws have bedeviled the $398 billion program.
Picture me recoiling in horror. I spent a year as a consultant to the database research group at University of Maryland under Dr Nick R. whose group did a lot of implementation consulting for NASA and other government agencies. I know how that sort of project goes – it’s not the kind of design work and system engineering that results in good code. Throwing consultants at an expensive disaster results in a bigger, more expensive disaster.
“It’s a flying computer.” Said as though they just figured that out. Wow.
I predict there will never be a stream of F-35 LOL-memes.