Bill is back at the ARES blog after AV-Week had to figure out a way to cull the trolls that appeared there on a regular basis.
His latest work points out some obvious questions about cost and schedule of the F-35 program and how one of the top LM officials seems to be short on current events.
Operating cost predictions are just as important as the purchase price. As it stands now, there is no way the original buy numbers of 3000-some jets are valid.
The program will battle to make 200. Place your bets on degree of orders of magnitude.
In other news, the USAF is doing some pit testing of AMRAAM and JDAM weapons shapes. AF-1 and the shapes are properly painted for the test cameras which means the testers are on the way to flight-drops soon if no show-stopping events appear.
Of special interest is this image.
That is an AMRAAM shape being dropped from station 4. Stations 4 and 8 are important to give the aircraft the ability to carry 4 AMRAAMs internally.
They have obviously got past the very difficult wind-tunnel tests with scaled down models. It was this kind of wind-tunnel testing that gave the Super Hornet the pointed outward-stores which was a kick in the head for the over-optimists.
Let us see what happens when flying starts.
(click image to make larger)
Not discussed much is that the aircraft, as delivered, will be obsolete to emerging threats.
Maybe by 2020 or 2021 we will be able to re-fight ALLIED FORCE-like legacy-threats. 22 years after the event. A job done just as well and cheaper by uprated-"teen" fighters, Tomahawks and JASSM(?).