Friday, October 14, 2011

JCS can see having less F-35s because the program is unaffordable

Here is an amusing read over on DOD Buzz. The Joint Chief of Staff (an Army guy) can see a world with less F-35s.


Or maybe not, since the program isn't healthy and is on the road to delivering an obsolete combat capability. "On-track" as they say.

And the DOD boss Mr. Panetta proves he is poorly advised and out of the loop. No clue-train for him.

“This is a remarkable airplane,” he said. “It really does the job well.”

Unproven and unrealistic assessment on his part.

"DoD officials today are trying to understand all the “issues involved” with reducing its costs and getting the advertised performance."

Does the current production plan look like this? No? Then all the gross assumptions about "affordability" and capability are long off the table.

Great timing on the week of the official announcement of the replacement helmet which offers less capability including no DAS.



War News Updates Editor said...

Eric, you are so on the money when talking about the F-35 program. Keep it up.

Graeme said...

Perhaps Mr. Panetta has not heard of the PAK-FA, J-20, Supercruise, 3D Vector Thrust, Supermaneuverability, Russian and Chinese stealth fighters, Long Range platforms armed with up to 12 Air to Air Missiles, Mach 2.3+ Performance, L-Band radars, IRST. The ERBIS-E Radar. No clearance of any weapons on the JSF, IOC for the JSF with 2 Air to Air Missiles, No exploration of the JSF Flight Envelope, etc, etc.

Horde said...


Precisely, though all the Hon Leon Panetta needs to do to find out all he wanted to know but was afraid to ask is read the APA Journals, Analyses and Tech Reports on the Air Power Australia website.

Agree with you point about the Snow Leopard (Irbis-E) gimbal mounted ESA radar.

It is ideally suited for BVR engagements, enabling the Su-35S to be distancing itself from any incoming while maintaining guidance lock on its own missiles as they head, inexorably, toward their target/s.

That's just one of the many things aircraft like the JSF and the SH will never be able to do.

Anonymous said...


What are these Russian platforms you speak of? Are they entering mass production and are cleared to carry 12 AA missiles that can out f-pole AMRAAM and have radars that can detect an F-35 at a survivable range? What range detect do they have on an F35 forward and rear hemisphere with their IRST ? What's the IRST scan volume? Is it a first detect sensor?


Anonymous said...

Give up rex.
Is the F35 entering mass production?

Anonymous said...

Rex -

Going with Plan A... By the time the USAF's first operational mature block III squadron achieves IOC in around 2018, there will likely be at least 20-30x (equivalent sized) worldwide - recapitalized w/ NEW 4.5 gen platforms alone, carrying sufficient next-gen AAM, and w/ sufficient networking and sufficient avionics (with good enough IRST vs a gigantic IR signature shooting out a 42k lbf engine) to nullify any illusion of 'deterrence' projected by a catastrophically hollow USAF TACAIR with no other options.

That would not include any worldwide 5th gen platforms operational at the time.

The USAF's mass fighter-gap seen by 2020 will only be closed by reducing requirements and restructuring the national strategy and be celebrated as a decisive and calculated 'Plan B' saving the USAF as they will no longer need to maintain very old, very expensive, legacy force structure.

I'd disagree with Graeme slightly though, in that a mature block III F-35 by 2018 should have capacity for 4 internal AMRAAM and expectation would be for at least 2 -9x to be cleared on wing stations?

Anonymous said...

I think the F-35 is closer to mass production than any eastern competition!

Further pure speculation with no facts on the awesomeness of an IRST isn't helping anyone.


Anonymous said...

Ah, rex the Su35 is in production

Gobsmacked said...

call 2018 close to mass production, now looking like 2020?
In any case it is outclassed now.

Anonymous said...

Anon, I can't see why the SU-35 is a competitor to the F-35, it's a competitor to AESA equipped F-15 through F/A-18.

It's got a niftier radar and cool kinematics but it's not LO and is an AA-10C/AA-12 shooter.

Gobsmacked, that article is a bit misleading. About half those missiles don't exist and the ones that do are obsolete. I also don't believe the author has any grounds to offhandedly dismiss F-35 LO as he does.


Cocidius said...

As I stated over at DOD Buzz, while the US and its partners continue to revolve around the drain in the JSF Death Spiral, Russia and China continue to use the F-22 as the Benchmark to shoot for.

Here's the latest shoe to drop, the first photo's of a Shenyang stealth fighter model on display as reported over at the Dewline.

Note this is NOT a single engine strike fighter, this is a two engined air superiority aircraft with a striking resemblance to the Raptor.

When will the US wise up and put the F-22 back in production?

@ Rex said...

Rex bro -

The F-35 will by all accounts NOT be SDD-mature until 2018!

Mass production of any future entry-level software and systems development phase-completed F-35 won't be until SDD is completed!

And even then, the unit cost will be so high, Mass production 'FRP' will be a scant fraction of what is still officially advertised!

The first mature block III USAF squadron wont likely be IOC until 2018 at the earliest!

Rex, the harsh reality: Staying the course will equate to a Catastrophic USAF Tacair Implosion event, with fingers pointing around in blame by 2020, like blame has never before been pointed in anger.

Please pass this memo on to colleagues.

Gobsmacked said...

"Gobsmacked, that article is a bit misleading. About half those missiles don't exist and the ones that do are obsolete. I also don't believe the author has any grounds to offhandedly dismiss F-35 LO as he does."
Please quote your sources and references regarding your statement. If you read the article there are some interesting points, and if they wrong please point out which ones and why.

Anonymous said...

Gobsmacked, where are the authors sources on F-35 LO? Of course, his sources are pie in the sky guesses that support his argument. The real sources of course arn't publically available.

I'm assuming you are well aware that fanciful ramjet R-77s and R-27s with active seekers don't exist beyond APA.


ELP said...

A SU-35 class will kill it. L-band and IR sensors... Jam down AMRAAM then the F-35 dies in WVR. Hardly a "better than legacy" solution.

Anonymous said...

Rex if you actually read the article, you would know what Eric is talking about.