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F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?  
User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Posted (1 year 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 12485 times:

I ran across this interesting and well-written article about why the F35 is such an alleged disaster. Simply put, the idea of designing a fighter that could address contradictory requirements (USN, USMC) resulted in a plane that did nothing well. Given the high level of expertise on this site, I wonder what fellow a.nutters think:

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/5c95d45f86a5

Enjoy.

p.s. You may have to copy and paste the link.

138 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12457 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11350 times:

The article is largely a diatribe, but I've pulled out what I think is the meat of the argument, which has some merit.

Quote:

Engineering compromises forced on the F-35 by this unprecedented need for versatility have taken their toll on the new jet%u2019s performance. Largely because of the wide vertical-takeoff fan the Marines demanded, the JSF is wide, heavy and has high drag, and is neither as quick as an F-16 nor as toughly constructed as an A-10.

Well, yes, but the idea is we could not afford to replace both A-10 and F-16 with new designs, thus the compromises.

Quote:

Bomb bays would normally go along an airplane%u2019s centerline, but the F-35's center is reserved for the 50-inch-diameter lift fan.

Good point.

Putting these together we get:

Quote:

And to fit both the F-35B%u2019s lift fan and the bomb bays present in all three models, the %u201Ccross-sectional area%u201D of the fuselage has to be %u201Cquite a bit bigger than the airplanes we%u2019re replacing,%u201D conceded Lockheed exec Tom Burbage, who retired this year as head of the company%u2019s F-35 efforts.

The extra width violates an important aerospace design principle called the %u201Carea rule,%u201D which encourages narrow, cylindrical fuselages for best aerodynamic results. The absence of area rule on the F-35%u200A%u2014%u200Aagain, a knock-on effect of the Marines%u2019 demand for a lift fan%u200A%u2014%u200Aincreases drag and consequently decreases acceleration, fuel efficiency and flying range. Thus critics%u2019 assertion that supersonic speed can%u2019t be combined with STOVL and stealth, the latter of which are already incompatible with each other.

Not sure if this amateur rant about area rule stands up in the real world or not.

Quote:

But the hits kept coming, chipping away at the F-35's ability to fight. The addition of the lift fan forces the new plane to have just one rearward engine instead of two carried by many other fighters. (Two engines is safer.) The bulky lift fan, fitted into the fuselage just behind the pilot, blocks the rear view from the cockpit%u200A%u2014%u200Aa shortcoming that one F-35 test pilot said would get the new plane %u201Cgunned every time.%u201D That is, shot down in any aerial dogfight by enemy fighters you can%u2019t see behind you.

Good points as well.

It'd be interesting to generate an estimate of how much better the F-35 could be without the need to provide the STOVL features. Of course I believe such a program would not have been funded at all, a point he neglects to make.

His praise for the Chinese clone of the F-35 is strange. He seems to be awarding it merits it has yet to earn.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13194 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11313 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
Well, yes, but the idea is we could not afford to replace both A-10 and F-16 with new designs, thus the compromises.

Quite so, without the first Gulf War the A-10's would have been long retired, the USAF brass then thought it somehow 'unsexy'.
Which brings me to the point of this odd article, this obsession with matching the performance of legacy designs when that was never even a design goal.
It's like slagging off the F-15 because it's performance did not match the YF-12.

What is needed for the job, the post Cold War job that is?
It was true in the late 1990's and even more so now, that the only way the US was likely to be able to replace all those F-16's, F-18's, AV-8B's was to do a joint design, sometimes painful to develop as it is.

The idea that China has an aircraft with the capabilities of the F-35 in the short to medium term is like claiming that the ARJ21 is on a par with current and new Western RJ's.


User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5523 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11301 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
Quote:

Bomb bays would normally go along an airplane%u2019s centerline, but the F-35's center is reserved for the 50-inch-diameter lift fan.

Good point.

This is only applicable to the F-35B, the other variants have greater internal weapon stores and fuel capacity than the F-35B (with the A maximizing weapons capacity and the C going for maximum fuel.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
Quote:

But the hits kept coming, chipping away at the F-35's ability to fight. The addition of the lift fan forces the new plane to have just one rearward engine instead of two carried by many other fighters. (Two engines is safer.) The bulky lift fan, fitted into the fuselage just behind the pilot, blocks the rear view from the cockpit%u200A%u2014%u200Aa shortcoming that one F-35 test pilot said would get the new plane %u201Cgunned every time.%u201D That is, shot down in any aerial dogfight by enemy fighters you can%u2019t see behind you.

Good points as well.

I don't know how good these points actually are.

The F-16 has only one engine... and how unsafe has it been? Fighter jets have ejection systems which alleviates much of the "danger" to the pilot.

And the rear vision element is covered by the new helmet technology, which while being a major headache right now, will become the standard for any future manned modern fighter jet. Twisting around to try and see your enemy will be slower than always being able to see them right in front of your eyeballs.

Tugg

[Edited 2013-08-15 11:35:56]


I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 7299 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 11289 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
Of course I believe such a program would not have been funded at all, a point he neglects to make.

Another program would have, the airforce and navy needed new platforms.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
His praise for the Chinese clone of the F-35 is strange. He seems to be awarding it merits it has yet to earn.

He doesn't really praise it, he rather points out what could have been built without the need for the lift fan.

Quoting GDB (Reply 2):

The idea that China has an aircraft with the capabilities of the F-35 in the short to medium term is like claiming that the ARJ21 is on a par with current and new Western RJ's.

Nobody knows how good (or bad) the two new Chinese fighters are, just as we really don't know if the F-35 is any good either, people just assume it is because it's built in the US.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12457 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 11243 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 2):
What is needed for the job, the post Cold War job that is?

One interesting point was that the instant you shoot the first missile or bullet then the enemy knows where you are and stealth is then worthless, meaning he feels that stealth is over-hyped.

Quoting tugger (Reply 3):
This is only applicable to the F-35B, the other variants have greater internal weapon stores and fuel capacity than the F-35B (with the A maximizing weapons capacity and the C going for maximum fuel.

Thanks for the clarification!

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 4):
Another program would have, the airforce and navy needed new platforms.

As did USMC. How were you going to afford unique airframes for all three?

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 4):
He doesn't really praise it, he rather points out what could have been built without the need for the lift fan.

Not to much precision. Just because it looks different in some ways he presumes are better, he can't justify the leap to suggest it is better, IMHO.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 4):
Nobody knows how good (or bad) the two new Chinese fighters are, just as we really don't know if the F-35 is any good either, people just assume it is because it's built in the US.

He's presuming it is worse because it was built in the US to provide solutions for all three services and is loaded with every development lab's favorite widget, but nobody here really knows how good or bad LM did at meeting all the mission requirements. There's a non-zero chance that LM was able to dive in to the manure and pull out a pony.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 318 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 11083 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 5):
One interesting point was that the instant you shoot the first missile or bullet then the enemy knows where you are and stealth is then worthless, meaning he feels that stealth is over-hyped.

Which is one of the worst arguments I've heard in a long time. The reality is all that they know is where you were. And even that isn't always true.


User currently offlinecjg225 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 818 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 11047 times:

Quoting comorin (Thread starter):
Simply put, the idea of designing a fighter that could address contradictory requirements (USN, USMC) resulted in a plane that did nothing well.

Is this really a revelation to anyone?



Restoring Penn State's transportation heritage...
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5523 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 10970 times:

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 7):
Quoting comorin (Thread starter):
Simply put, the idea of designing a fighter that could address contradictory requirements (USN, USMC) resulted in a plane that did nothing well.

Is this really a revelation to anyone?

Actually, it is currently flat untrue. The questions remain to be answered. And "well" is certainly a level to which a jack-of-all-trades can attain.

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlinePowerslide From Canada, joined Oct 2010, 569 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10894 times:

Quoting comorin (Thread starter):
Simply put, the idea of designing a fighter that could address contradictory requirements (USN, USMC) resulted in a plane that did nothing well

Says a blogger. Same ol' arguments and it sounds a lot like complaining without giving any alternatives. All this whining from the same circle is starting to get old and, thankfully, doesn't affect the development of the program.


User currently offlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 7299 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 10864 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 5):
As did USMC. How were you going to afford unique airframes for all three?

Do the Marines really need a stovl aircraft? It's more a case of the Air Force and Navy sharing the same plaform (F4 anyone) and the Marines riding on the coat tails of the Navy, like the do with the F18.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12457 posts, RR: 25
Reply 11, posted (1 year 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 10620 times:

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 7):
Is this really a revelation to anyone?

Did I hear someone calling me?  
Quoting tugger (Reply 8):
The questions remain to be answered. And "well" is certainly a level to which a jack-of-all-trades can attain.

I think that's a more balanced point of view to take.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 10):
Do the Marines really need a stovl aircraft?

The Marines are convinced they do and, significantly, their die-hard backers in Congress are supporting them on this.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 10):
It's more a case of the Air Force and Navy sharing the same plaform (F4 anyone) and the Marines riding on the coat tails of the Navy, like the do with the F18.

It's not about the F-18s the Marines operate off of big-deck carriers, it's about the Harriers they operate off of LHAs.

Congress has given the Marines their own LHA carriers, has supported the Osprey throughout all its turmoil and has supported the 'B' model of the F-35 as well, so the USMC has an entirely new generation of kit in place or on the way.

There might be a day where the USMC is not funded so well, but that day has not yet arrived. Given the kind of warfare we find ourselves in, the USMC can and does make a good argument that the brown water navy is at least as important as the blue water navy.

The main premise of the article is that the VTOL variant of the F-35 has forced the A and B models to be wider/draggier/heavier than they need to be, and has also meant that it can't have a second engine and can't have good rearward vision. I'm sure there's some truth to this, but I'm also not sure that it matters much if at all. I'm also sure that the program needed to satisfy the Marines to get funded, so without the B model there would have been no F-35. The British partners also were in favor of the B model.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2314 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (1 year 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 10584 times:

Quoting comorin (Thread starter):
Simply put, the idea of designing a fighter that could address contradictory requirements (USN, USMC) resulted in a plane that did nothing well.

I know some F-4 Phantom pilots who might disagree with that.



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3509 posts, RR: 27
Reply 13, posted (1 year 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 10525 times:
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Quoting moose135 (Reply 12):
I know some F-4 Phantom pilots who might disagree with that.

There is always a discrepancy between what a person dedicated to one tool feels is optimum and what the actual performance is when weighed against a broader spectrum is... I'm not saying the pilots aren't accurate in their beliefs, just saying do they have equal time and similar usage of the alternatives to give them an accurate basis for rating ?


like the old saying "If you only have a hammer, all problems look like a nail. "


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12457 posts, RR: 25
Reply 14, posted (1 year 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 10418 times:

Quoting moose135 (Reply 12):
Quoting comorin (Thread starter):
Simply put, the idea of designing a fighter that could address contradictory requirements (USN, USMC) resulted in a plane that did nothing well.

I know some F-4 Phantom pilots who might disagree with that.

Not really a correct comparison given that F-4 was built to USN specs and not to USN/USAF/USMC/RN/RAF/etc committee-driven specs.

It's still impressive that it worked well for all the services who flew it.

I suppose some of the original USN requirements like having to land on a carrier and fit on the elevator tended to keep the weight down and maneuverability up. Also USN was fond of twin engines for reliability so it had a lot of thrust.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1693 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 10352 times:

I would note that the original requested specs for the F-35A and F-35B asked for 2 x 1,000lb bombs internally plus 2 AIM-120's. Very early in development, all three variants had a specced internal weapons carriage of 2 x 2,000lb bombs plus 2 AIM-120's. When weight issues cropped up for the F-35B later on, the F-35B's internal carriage was reduced back to the original 2 x 1,000lb bomb + 2 x AIM-120 requirements to save weight. The F-35A's internal carriage remained the same. The USAF is in fact getting a aircraft that exceeds their originally requested specifications on this point, the USMC is getting an aircraft that meets their original specs.

Quoting tugger (Reply 3):
The F-16 has only one engine... and how unsafe has it been? Fighter jets have ejection systems which alleviates much of the "danger" to the pilot.

Indeed. Look at the safety and reliability record of the F-16.

I think the main issue is that with previous fighters, there has always been some revolutionary development in the ability to go much higher, faster, and be more maneuverable that pushes the design envelope. Looking at the generations of fighter aircraft, each generation had a major kinematic advantage over the previous generation.

Starting with the 5th generation of fighters, there is an increasing de-emphasis on kinematic superiority, with an increasing focus on situational awareness and stealth. We have kind of, short of a revolutionary development, reached a point where we cannot extract more kinematic superiority out of designs because of human endurance. With that, along with review of past air combat, started placing more emphasis on improving the pilot's situational awareness, adding low observability characteristics, in a package that is kinematically on par with the previous generation of fighters.

The major advancement is in situational awareness. Lack of situational awareness kills, and we have seen in exercises and in real combat where a kinematically inferior foe will kill a foe with superior kinematics if they had better situational awareness from the start. Being able to gather information about the environment around you, and then presenting that information to the pilot in a manner that is easy to interpret and understand so that it can be acted upon is itself a decisive advantage in combat.

We went from situational awareness provided by the Mark 1 eyeball only to adding radars, ESM, datalinks, and EO/IR sensors all separately to the point where we can fuse all of the information being provided by all of the sensors to create a unified picture that's presented to the pilot instead of the pilot having to look at all of his sensors and create the unified picture in his mind. Thus, the pilot can be more of a tactician with essentially a god's eye view of the battlefield around him and react more quickly to events around him. That is the key advantage that 5th generation fighters will bring, not any sort of major advancement in kinematics.


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3509 posts, RR: 27
Reply 16, posted (1 year 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 10289 times:
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Let's not start that whole pro/con blah blah debate that has closed many threads...

The writer has an opinion.. so be it. it's one person.. some of it may be valid... some not... but time will tell when it finally reaches combat.. 5-7 years from now.


User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4463 posts, RR: 19
Reply 17, posted (1 year 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 10229 times:

You can have all the situational awareness in the world but it won't do you any good if the fighter you are up against can out maneuver, out accelerate and out gun you.


Many of the last generation fighters can do that against the 'Jack of all trades' F35, let alone today's.


The F35 is so compromised by it's VSTOL requirement it has basically been designed to be a victim.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1693 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10190 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 17):
You can have all the situational awareness in the world but it won't do you any good if the fighter you are up against can out maneuver, out accelerate and out gun you.

I've heard of British Jaguar attack aircraft being able to bounce F-15's in Red Flag. And I've heard the same of Tornado ADV's doing the same in Red Flag when they received JTIDS. Neither the Tornado nor the Jaguar are exactly what one would call supreme dog fighters.The key is better situational awareness.

Air combat is largely the art and science of ‘situation awareness’. This can be defined as knowing what the enemy is doing and denying the enemy similar infromation. 75% of air combat is decided because the target did not see what shot them down. Targets must be detected, the information passed to fighters and interpreted by the fighter pilots, the intercept made and weapons fired.

A lack of situational awareness gets you killed in air combat. The one US air to air loss of Gulf War I for example was a direct result of poor situational awareness, as an Iraq MiG-25 blazed in undetected and got in behind an USN F/A-18 piloted by Scott Speicher and shoot him down, killing him.

There has been tremendous investment by air forces in enhancing situational awareness capabilities of their forces over kinematics. For example, Sweden in the late 1980's added a datalink capability to their Viggen fighters from GCI. With this, the ground based air defence system can provide target detection. The Viggen's can share information with other Viggen's such as which target each aircraft is attacking, fuel and weapons state and so on. In 1995 the ability to transmit simple text messages was added. The JAS 39 Gripen has increased capability with information shared between fighters, S100B Argus AEW, GCI radars, naval warships and SAM positions. 4-6 fighters would be spread over a distance of 120-150 km and share the same view.

The US and NATO implemented a very similar setup with JTIDS (Joint Tactical Information Display System) datalink and fighter displays. This was initially fitted to AWACS, some USAF F-15C, USN F-14D and RAF Tornado ADV's, and then rolled out extensively post 9/11. JTIDS when it came out was a top of the line datalink system; it could on a 5x5 inch display any target that was detected by any friendly unit within a range of 555 km of the fighter equipped with JTIDS.

With this system, the British were able to enhance the combat effectiveness of their Tornado ADV's, and with the cooperation of RAF E-3's, they developed tactics that leveraged their superior situational awareness. RAF Tornado ADV's fitted with JTIDS controlled by RAF AWACS fitted with ESM have defeated USAF F-15s in exercises using JTIDS as I mentioned earlier. The AWACS would use its radar and ESM to detect targets, pass the information over JTIDS. The Tornado F.3 would stay passive (leave radars off) and get into AMRAAM launch parameters without activating radars. The end result was that the USAF F-15s had little or no warning and were literally sucker punched during such exercises.

Another US/NATO datalink for the F-16 that was used was called IDM (Improved Data Modem), which can share information between 4 aircraft. This system is cheaper and is more widely available. MIDS (Multiple Information Distribution System), a lower cost version of JTIDS will allow up to 8 aircraft to share information, with increased capability in the future. A typical MIDS installation will be 8 fighters linked to an AWACS with each aircraft having a designated transmit slot.

Essentially, if one has superior situational awareness over an opponent, it is like playing a real-time strategy game with the fog of war removed for that one side. You would be able to see, react and respond to the enemy much faster than what they can, even if your units were qualitatively inferior.


User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 19, posted (1 year 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 10148 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 18):

Extremely well written and informative posts. Much appreciate your (and others') expert thoughts on the subject! Thanks also for the explanation of what a 5th Gen fighter is all about, and the network aspects of future combat scenarios.

Does this mean that the era of the dogfight is over? Is the new mode that of Beyond Visual Range aircraft launching hypersonic A2A missiles? Or are you saying that improved Situational Awareness makes up for the perceived deficiencies of the F-35?

Thanks for the great posts, everyone!


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12457 posts, RR: 25
Reply 20, posted (1 year 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 10079 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 15):
Starting with the 5th generation of fighters, there is an increasing de-emphasis on kinematic superiority, with an increasing focus on situational awareness and stealth. We have kind of, short of a revolutionary development, reached a point where we cannot extract more kinematic superiority out of designs because of human endurance. With that, along with review of past air combat, started placing more emphasis on improving the pilot's situational awareness, adding low observability characteristics, in a package that is kinematically on par with the previous generation of fighters.

Contrasting your statement to the article, the author of the article is saying that if there was no need for VTOL we would have developed an aircraft for all the other roles that was narrower/sleeker/lighter with better visibility, more optimized weapons bays and perhaps additional thrust from a second engine. It also seems evident that such an a/c would have been developed faster so would be more affordable. It seems he/she thinks there is a case to be made for the need to be kinematically superior as he points out that China's prototype appears to have a lot of those superior properties. He/she also disses stealth and does not address the awareness and information sharing aspects of the issue.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 15):
We went from situational awareness provided by the Mark 1 eyeball only to adding radars, ESM, datalinks, and EO/IR sensors all separately to the point where we can fuse all of the information being provided by all of the sensors to create a unified picture that's presented to the pilot instead of the pilot having to look at all of his sensors and create the unified picture in his mind. Thus, the pilot can be more of a tactician with essentially a god's eye view of the battlefield around him and react more quickly to events around him. That is the key advantage that 5th generation fighters will bring, not any sort of major advancement in kinematics.

After all the money we've spent on all of the above, I hope you are right. I hope the key ideas haven't been stolen already, and I hope that if such info is stolen then nothing of significance can be gleaned from it.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1693 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 10010 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 20):
Contrasting your statement to the article, the author of the article is saying that if there was no need for VTOL we would have developed an aircraft for all the other roles that was narrower/sleeker/lighter with better visibility, more optimized weapons bays and perhaps additional thrust from a second engine.

I would disagree. The design of F-35 was driven more by USAF and USN requirements, over USMC requirements for STOVL. You need a deep fuselage to carry all of the fuel and weapons because of the stealth requirements. You need to minimize the size of the cockpit to cut back of radar reflection. On top of that, in light of the experience with the F-16, there was no way the USAF would accept a twin engined fighter, and the USN, observing the ongoing developments, agreed with the USAF.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 20):
It also seems evident that such an a/c would have been developed faster so would be more affordable.

Disagree. Early in the F-35's development, the plan was that the F-35's sensors would not be as complete as it is today; in other words, on par with say the current basic F-16 and F/A-18, and heavily reliant on external support. As development progressed, it became clear that it would make more sense for F-35 to be a provider of information, not just be a recipient. As such, more sensors, and more datalink capabilities were added to F-35 early in development, along with improving sensor fusion present within the cockpit.

Improving the OODA loop for the pilots will be an ongoing goal in development of future fighters. An pilot that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby "get inside" the opponent's decision cycle and gain the advantage. And if you can obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your opponent while you simultaneously clarify his intentions, you get inside your opponent, and can short-circuit his decision making process, therefore making the enemy make a mistake, that you can capitalize on because the enemy is reacting to events that have occurred, and not being proactive about the situation because they lack the information to make decisions.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 20):
After all the money we've spent on all of the above, I hope you are right. I hope the key ideas haven't been stolen already, and I hope that if such info is stolen then nothing of significance can be gleaned from it.

It will be a long while before anyone can realistically replicate the level of sensor fusion and situational awareness improvements that are coming down the pipeline. The Russians are still stuck in the late 1980's in terms of their avionics, and the Chinese are only marginally ahead of the Russians in terms of technology, but years behind in terms of tactics and understanding what goes on.

Quoting comorin (Reply 19):
Does this mean that the era of the dogfight is over? Is the new mode that of Beyond Visual Range aircraft launching hypersonic A2A missiles? Or are you saying that improved Situational Awareness makes up for the perceived deficiencies of the F-35?

Improved situational awareness will improve the fighter pilot's ability to make decisions in combat because he has more information in a timely manner that's easier to analyse and interpret, be it BVR or dogfighting. If I know in a dogfight, where my wingmen are and where the enemy is in relation to me and my allies all times, I can make a better decision compared to the opponent that lacks this knowledge. I can then have more confidence in employing my weapons, as I can then take a shot with great confidence that the person I'm shooting at isn't a friendly, and that there is no one sneaking up on me to shoot back at me.

RAAF Air Marshal Geoffrey Brown has this to say about situational awareness in combat:
http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/...0-4c72-a379-e4fd10cc710a%2F0002%22

Quote:
Air Marshal Brown : Let me go through what 'situational awareness' is because it is actually the key advantage of fifth-generation fighters. It has been the key advantage in combat for quite a deal of time, even as far back as World War II. Air crew with the most situational awareness will normally win the day. But rarely since World War II has close-in combat been the actual determining factor because situational awareness is really that combination of things—of understanding what has happened, what is happening and the ability to say what will happen into the future. This is where fifth-generation aeroplanes have an unprecedented advantage over fourth-generation types. The rearward visibility—when you look at those pilots—it depends on which aeroplane you fly.

Dr JENSEN: F16s and 18s?

Air Marshal Brown : Yes. The A10. I think most of them were A10 drivers.

Dr JENSEN: No, three were F16. One was 18.

Air Marshal Brown : I think if you have a look around on an F16 sometimes that is not wonderful either. But getting back to the situational awareness, the ability to actually have that data fusion that the aeroplane has makes an incredible difference to how you perform in combat. I saw it first hand on a Red Flag mission in an F15D against a series of fifth-generation F22s. We were actually in the red air. In five engagements we never knew who had hit us and we never even saw the other aeroplane at any one particular time. That is in a current fourth-generation aeroplane.

The data fusion and the stealth makes such a difference to your overall situational awareness it is quite incredible. After that particular mission I went back and had a look at the tapes on the F22, and the difference in the situational awareness in our two cockpits was just so fundamentally different. That is the key to fifth-generation. That is where I have trouble with the APA analysis. They tend to go down particular paths in the aeroplane, whether it is turn rate performance or acceleration. These are all important factors, but it is a combination of what you have actually got in the jet and the situational awareness that is resident in the cockpit of a fifth-generation aeroplane that makes the fundamental difference.
Quote:
Air Marshal Brown : Let me get back to my example again. In all those cases, neither turning performance nor speed were the factors that caused us to die in those five simulated engagements. In any practice engagement I have had in the last 20 years where I have turned with another aeroplane in a bigger picture environment—rather than the static one by ones, two by twos or four by fours—every time I have tried to do that I have ended up being shot by somebody else who actually is not in the fight. As soon as you enter a turning fight, your situational awareness actually shrinks down because the only thing you can be operating with is the aeroplane you are turning with. The person who has the advantage is the person who can stand off, watch the engagement and just pick you off at the time.


[Edited 2013-08-17 13:00:00]

User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12457 posts, RR: 25
Reply 22, posted (1 year 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 9724 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 21):
The design of F-35 was driven more by USAF and USN requirements, over USMC requirements for STOVL. You need a deep fuselage to carry all of the fuel and weapons because of the stealth requirements.

So you do not think the fuse would be even more narrow if it didn't have to be structured to accommodate the lift fan?

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 21):
As development progressed, it became clear that it would make more sense for F-35 to be a provider of information, not just be a recipient. As such, more sensors, and more datalink capabilities were added to F-35 early in development, along with improving sensor fusion present within the cockpit.

Interesting. It triggers many questions in my mind:

- Not sure why this would/could not have been known ahead of time. It would have led to a more realistic budget and schedule estimation for the program.

- If the main advantage is to be a host of an array of sensors in a moderately kinematic airframe, wouldn't one come up with a quite different design? One could conjure re-use of an existing airframe to host such sensors, and one could alternatively conjure an airframe with a lot more AA weapons bays and a lot more endurance so that the expensive sensors could be airborne longer and shoot down more things.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 21):
Improving the OODA loop for the pilots will be an ongoing goal in development of future fighters.

Yet by the above criteria it'd seem one wouldn't need a 'future fighter' to do that, nor will the nations be that supportive of funding one.

On the other hand, both military officers and defense contractors see their careers advance when they can claim fathership of a new airframe, and politicians get lots of campaign contributions and jobs to hand out when that happens. Even with this in its favor, I don't think we'll see a 'future fighter' for quite a long time.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 21):
The Russians are still stuck in the late 1980's in terms of their avionics, and the Chinese are only marginally ahead of the Russians in terms of technology, but years behind in terms of tactics and understanding what goes on.

Could very well be, but we said similar things about the Russians and atomic weapons till we found out they had spies in the Manhattan Program feeding them all the info they needed to catch up in a hurry.

China also is functioning in a much more closed society so it's a lot harder to figure out exactly where they are in military technology.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13194 posts, RR: 77
Reply 23, posted (1 year 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 9676 times:

My understanding was that back in the mid 1990's when JSF was being defined, the major contention between US services was the Navy's desire for a twin engined type, over the USAF's favouring of one powerplant.

User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5523 posts, RR: 8
Reply 24, posted (1 year 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 9610 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 17):
Many of the last generation fighters can do that against the 'Jack of all trades' F35, let alone today's.

Quite a definitive statement. And you know this exactly.... how?

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 18):
Air combat is largely the art and science of "situation awareness". This can be defined as knowing what the enemy is doing and denying the enemy similar infromation. 75% of air combat is decided because the target did not see what shot them down.

  
Dogfighting is an important but last ditch element of combat nowadays. It is much more important to be able to first take out as many of your opponent as possible and and not need to directly engage them. Of course we all know how planning to that ideal turned out in the past, so some close air combat must be expected, designed, and trained for.

Quoting comorin (Reply 19):
Does this mean that the era of the dogfight is over? Is the new mode that of Beyond Visual Range aircraft launching hypersonic A2A missiles? Or are you saying that improved Situational Awareness makes up for the perceived deficiencies of the F-35?

See my above post, and regarding missiles etc., I believe UAV platforms and missiles will become closer and will expand the "stand off" ability of manned aircraft.

And I would more state that "situational awareness" is a key designed element of the F-35 which if it does not have will mean it is deficient.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 20):
Contrasting your statement to the article, the author of the article is saying that if there was no need for VTOL we would have developed an aircraft for all the other roles that was narrower/sleeker/lighter with better visibility, more optimized weapons bays and perhaps additional thrust from a second engine. It also seems evident that such an a/c would have been developed faster so would be more affordable. It seems he/she thinks there is a case to be made for the need to be kinematically superior as he points out that China's prototype appears to have a lot of those superior properties. He/she also disses stealth and does not address the awareness and information sharing aspects of the issue.

Kind of a lot of hypothetical, assumptions, unproven/unknown, and unsubstantiated elements in there, don't you think? It can only be used for discussion without placing any actual validity in it.


Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 21):
The design of F-35 was driven more by USAF and USN requirements, over USMC requirements for STOVL. You need a deep fuselage to carry all of the fuel and weapons because of the stealth requirements.

So you do not think the fuse would be even more narrow if it didn't have to be structured to accommodate the lift fan?

One of THE primary considerations for the F-35 design was internal storage for fuel and weapons as stealth was of primary importance. That meant a wider (or longer) fuselage in order to incorporate this. While a fighter with fully loaded hard points under its wings and fuselage may look really cool, it looks even better on radar.

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
25 Max Q : It has a very wide, draggy fuselage because of the need to fit the Lift Fan. Without this requirement the body would be much narrower, it would not ne
26 ThePointblank : Not exactly, Scott was spending his time looking out for SAM's as part of a SEAD package, and was not looking out for enemy fighters. If you read any
27 Max Q : It just doesn't matter PB unless, as in the ideal world you present that everything stays BVR. If it gets into a close in dogfight the F35 doesn't sta
28 ThePointblank : Not exactly, having better situational awareness means that you know where the enemy is to start the fight, and know where the enemy will be througho
29 Revelation : Yes indeed. All I was doing was distilling the long and tedious article into the few points I felt it was trying to make. Indeed it seems the article
30 hh65man : Eric Hartmans situational awareness allowed him and his wingman to to survive in a massively hostile out gunned environment....while flying an aircraf
31 Max Q : Problem is not every Pilot is Eric Hartman..
32 ThePointblank : However, good training and selection that is present with most Western and NATO aligned air forces means our pilots are qualitatively superior to mos
33 tommytoyz : There is no question that the F-35 is very low bang for the buck. It's not zero bang, but a small bang for the money. Anything is good at the right p
34 Revelation : That's similar to saying the B747 is a better people carrier than a Gulfstream: true but not particularly relevant. However it does cause me to repea
35 Ozair : I don't think you realise how much a fighter jet really costs these days. The Rafale and Eurofighter are both around the US$100 mil mark, the South K
36 Post contains images Devilfish : Now...this had me wondering!
37 frigatebird : I don't usually post here as I am not really familiar with military aviation. Here in the Netherlands the F35 is very controversial. The majority of t
38 kanban : I find it hard to read an opposing opinion without making the same analogies.. doesn't mean they're wrong or illiterate.. just means I have a problem
39 Post contains links Revelation : I don't think you realize you are ignoring sunk costs and comparing relatively small lots compared to the large lots the USA and partners are conside
40 tommytoyz : Yes, it is. And it is also saying as if an A320 were 3 times cheaper than a similar sized B737. Or if the B737 could only carry 1/2 or less the paylo
41 connies4ever : Flip the coin: same ol' arguments and it sounds a lot like slavish admiration for the shiny new toy and that concurrence was merely a means to an end
42 cargotanker : Cost per bomb delivery? You're just making up metrics now. No air force uses that as a metric and they shouldn't because it would result in acquiring
43 Revelation : Right, but that's not the only thing we're asking the F-35 to do. It'd be more on topic for this thread to discuss if we're asking the F-35 to do too
44 Powerslide : Still no alternatives from the anti-f35 crowd, just more complaining about costs and performance numbers. There is no new fighter on the horizon. Whe
45 connies4ever : That argument is about as weak/strong as the previous one. Apparently touched a nerve.
46 Max Q : I have an alternative. This Aircraft is completely compromise because of it's need to cover the VSTOL mission. So make that the ONLY VARIANT. It makes
47 windy95 : Which is sad that our troops will be stuck with this jack of all trades for the forseeable future. What a waste of our cash and time.
48 Ozair : Sunk costs have nothing to do with it. The cost of the airframes listed are the cost of the airframe, it does not include paying any previous develop
49 tommytoyz : Lets see: 1. Rafale is planned to stay in production to at least 2030.... 3. T-50 will start production around the same time as F-35 3. Gripen NG may
50 Revelation : You have to admit "inevitability" is a pretty weak argument. It didn't work so well for F-22, and F-35 is only one bad budget cycle away from being F
51 Post contains links Ozair : Sunk costs are just that, sunk. If you want to play that game though we can look at each aircraft and quote actual facts and figures! Let's look at R
52 Revelation : The chancy part of your analysis is: Versus: No one can say if that number will be reached, but it is the number that makes the F-35 look more afforda
53 Flighty : I wish they made a deal with Saab or something. The central problem for F-35 was its budget was too high. That's a critical problem. A war-losing pro
54 Post contains links ThePointblank : The problem is that, time and time again, one needs to pay attention to who is being quoted, in what context, and what particular bias does the subje
55 kanban : This part of your post is informative and brief.. thanks The rest is mere justification why no other opinions should be allowed.. that's not why ther
56 Post contains links Ozair : I agree, the number is high but so is the market potential. The US has aircraft that must be replaced, as do about 10-15 other Air Forces. Given the
57 Post contains links ThePointblank : My point is that you do need to be careful about who you listen to. Pierre Sprey and Winslow Wheeler are not credible because they have zero expertis
58 kanban : give it a rest... you've lost the argument by talking it to death.
59 connies4ever : Per Reply 57, I agree: you do need to be careful to whom you listen to. Which is why many on this thread disagree with your claims. I agree with Kanba
60 Ozair : So all people should get equal credibility when commenting on an issue? I don't agree and I will show you why. Would you like to make a claim as to w
61 kanban : No, all people are entitled to their perspective, even if wrong in the readers frame of reference. Guessing who's going to win an election is an opin
62 Powerslide : Replace already flying F35s with hypothetical aircraft. Great plan, but decades too late. Line is shut down and there are enough F22s tooling around
63 connies4ever : Per Kanban's comments, everyone is entitled to comment on any issue on this site. You can agree or not. If not, but you believe the commentator has s
64 Post contains links Ozair : And no one is criticizing comorin in any way. He actually credited the forum with having people who could intelligently comment on the issue. You don
65 kanban : personally I think that after 12 years of development and another 7 before a complete package is available leaves us with both expectations on actual
66 Ozair : You're missing the point. It is not about what people say on this site. It is about the article and what level of credibility we should give it. Agai
67 tommytoyz : We are talking about available alternatives right? Which Rafale is. And nobody is buying it, which is why it will remain in production till 2030? Can
68 Post contains links ThePointblank : Same can be said about F/A-18 E/F, which was introduced with a very rudimentary weapons and sensors configuration, mostly borrowed from the Hornet. I
69 connies4ever : And I agree: nothing YOU have posted references anyone specific. It's not you I'm referring to. India currently has 126 Rafales on order, and has an
70 autothrust : That is not unique to the F-35. This kind of situational awareness is provided to any sensor fusion capable aircraft.
71 Post contains links Ozair : The plan is for 126 but there has been no order as yet even though the negotiations have been going on for more than a year and a half. http://timeso
72 Flighty : It's still useful to contrast how cheaply it will be built (Saab has a long track record) compared to the F-35. The difference will be hundreds of bi
73 kanban : There was a time when pilots said if the cockpit wasn't open and they got to wear silk scarves they wouldn't consider themselves pilots... then after
74 Powerslide : It's cheaply built because its a cheap aircraft, with capabilities far below that of the F-35. They are not even in the same league. Tiny? If the mar
75 Ozair : Let us be as clear about the numbers as we can. Your statement is a bit ambiguous so we have to break it down into two separate areas, development an
76 kanban : always a debate between "need" and "want".. Paranoia drives too much in arms procurement as well as if it's new technology, it's automatically superi
77 Ozair : Sure, but the way it usually works is governments state the need, for example in Australia’s case the release of a White Paper. Militaries then wri
78 tommytoyz : News to me. F-18s are flying as full combat capable aircraft right now. Your false statements don't surprise me. That's why I quickly skim over all y
79 tommytoyz : Couldn't agree more. Change is painful to many. However, change is inevitable.
80 Post contains links Ozair : The figures I provided came straight from reply 39 in this thread from Revelation, who in turn took them from the following link. http://www.aviation
81 kanban : I'll disagree.. county legislative or executive branches say your mission is "blah, blah" the military comes back and says the best way to do that is
82 Post contains links tommytoyz : Got you guys mixed up. Sorry about that. Why do so many want to deny reality, I'll never know. And you do want an engine with that, don't you? Given
83 Post contains links autothrust : Indeed, some people just can stand the truth. In average the procurement for 150 F-35 in 2013 was ~225 Million. Source GAO Analysis based on DOD Data
84 Post contains links ThePointblank : You repeated this in another thread: FG: LM Cuts Price For Next Batch Of F-35 (by oykie Jul 30 2013 in Military Aviation & Space Flight) And peop
85 Post contains links agill : No they are expected to be delivered starting 2018, to the Swedish Air Force. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/saab-idUSL6N0AM3BG20130117
86 flyingturtle : I watch in amazement. This thread either lives in fame or goes down in flames. My purely non-technical, non-enlightened opinion is that this project s
87 Post contains links Ozair : No worries. The figures provided by aviation week include the engine price and half the modification price the US government is required to pay. The
88 Ozair : Thanks for that, I hadn't seen that report. Interesting though that the purchase is still somewhat linked to the potential Swiss order. You are a cou
89 comorin : Just wanted to stop by and thank everyone for the great comments and debate. I know very little about the subject, and sure have learned a lot from yo
90 tommytoyz : The truth bears repeating. And no, it does not include development costs. Yes, people have made that claim, but it is false. Just becuae people say s
91 kanban : I think we are trying to say similar things in local variations of the English language.. Simply, the government says protect our coasts, the militar
92 tommytoyz : Thanks for this. I'll take this any day over an article which just repeats press releases. Ir concurs with adding each LRIP5 procurement contract up
93 Powerslide : This puts the cost for an F35A @ $85million in 2018. Costs are decreasing and performance of the aircraft is slowly being discovered, yet JSF critics
94 Ozair : Thanks for the catch, it should definitely should have been reversed. Agree although in the Australian context the government and military usually co
95 Post contains links tugger : Then if the truth bears repeating then I will do so as well: The numbers you quoted did include development costs. And I found the source you used (b
96 kanban : You people are too polite.. our congress is a bunch of dingo droppings.. consensus is just a step before socialism, communism, tootti frutti-ism.. Ma
97 Max Q : Whatever it costs it's not worth it.
98 autothrust : Well GAO Report clearly see a rise in cost for 2013, even when the SAR differs from that in 2012. I don't believe that for a second, the GAO report s
99 Post contains links ThePointblank : The Selected Acquisition Reports reflect actual contract numbers, not estimates. GAO reports report what happened in the past, and does not really at
100 tommytoyz : Your analysis against this one: GAO-13-500T, April 17, 2013 Which states that the average acquisition price, for the entire program, is projected at
101 tommytoyz : Many GAO reports are positive. You may not have not read enough of them or only F-35 related ones. From GAO-13-500T, April 17, 2013 (Look it up, ya'l
102 ThePointblank : Which includes development and non-reoccurring costs. One can spin the numbers to make them look anyway they want them to, and you don't understand c
103 tommytoyz : The development budget for the F-35 is $55.3 Billion. The projected average acquisition costs, without development, is $137 million for each F-35. On
104 kanban : there is a tendency in this thread and others on the same subject to justify a position based on past programs poor or cost performance.. That's just
105 Post contains links and images ThePointblank : Including development and non-reoccurring costs. Easy. Each production lot is increasingly larger. For example, LRIP Lot 9 is expected to have 64 air
106 kanban : You can see in this thread how different users interpret differently.. it's a no win situation.. yet some keep trying to win.. Further, from experien
107 Post contains images flyingturtle : A question to those who know more than I do: Why was the F-22 production line terminated, while the F-35 is still made? David
108 Ozair : Primarily cost and capability. Cost to acquire and then to maintain is significantly higher (close to double) than the aircraft it was slated to repl
109 ThePointblank : Many components (especially in the avionics) were obsolete and no longer manufactured well before the F-22 production was terminated, indeed, many sy
110 tommytoyz : Wrong. Total F-35 cost projection is $400 Billion over 2,457 units. $55 Billion of that $400 Billion is for development, testing and research. Includ
111 Post contains links ThePointblank : Incorrect. Per the F-35 2012 SAR report on page 22, procurement is only $215 billion dollars for the airframe, for a total of $265 billion under BY20
112 kanban : Dang.. you guys are arguing over projections.. numbers created to sell a program and lull congress into granting more money.. LM has a history (as do
113 Ozair : Indeed, back to the real point of the thread so we can bicker on what we were asked to. Seems David Axe really doesn't like the F-35B as he has follo
114 tommytoyz : You are saying the GAO is wrong in their April 2013 report. OK got it. Here is a quote: Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Fo
115 flyingturtle : Let me thank you for giving these insights! Somehow, in my perception the F-22 has already achieved some notoriety as a "forgotten" aircraft. You don
116 Ozair : Now the USAF has cut down the airshow demonstrations it may very well fly under the radar.... You can probably thank the F-35 for that. The F-35 bein
117 tommytoyz : Let the recent GAO report, from this year (2013), clarify all this for you and set you straight: Development $55.2 Billion Procurement $335.7 Billion
118 tommytoyz : Matter of fact, in the 44 page written report, GAO-13-309 from March 2013, there is a letter from the US DOD, saying they agree with the GAO report an
119 Post contains images Revelation : Sigh, only in the DoD sphere would moving from one CPU to another cost tens of billions of dollars and not have a guarantee of success, especially mo
120 ThePointblank : The main issue is that the i960MX chip is a 5V processor and no one makes or uses a 5V processor since the early 1990's. That means, in order to acco
121 Revelation : No, you just need a 5v domain and a lower voltage domain and suitable interfaces. Given the lower voltage domain will be using lots less energy it sh
122 ThePointblank : Ada is essentially a dead programming language for aircraft, as not too many programs make extensive use of Ada in their avionics (the F-22 is the bi
123 Revelation : There are pockets of ADA out there. I know one guy who did FADEC software that ended up on some PW engines that was written in ADA. However that's no
124 ThePointblank : The USMC initially deployed AV-8B Harriers from a 10,000-foot runway at Sheik Isa Airbase in Bahrain, during ODS. This resulted in a 45-minute transi
125 Post contains links Ozair : Again, as I indicated above I don't see how we can honestly discuss the contents of the article without understanding the bias that the author has br
126 ThePointblank : I should also note that if the proposed cutbacks in the USN carrier force comes into effect, the USMC's force of amphibs and their air wings becomes a
127 sovietjet : From the very beginning I have believed the F-35B was not needed as well as the USMC as a whole branch. All they do can be done by the other three bra
128 spink : If they are smart, either LM or USAF has full rights and assets to the designs allowing them to get them built at pretty much any fab in the world. I
129 Revelation : I'm not sure you need a lift fan to operate off a 4,000 ft runway. I'm not sure the right answer wouldn't be to just extend the runway. I'm not sure
130 ThePointblank : The runway was barely considered to be a runway as it was heavily degraded. The air strip was actually a 8,000 ft runway, but only 4,000 of it was ac
131 Ozair : Well in the context of the question you asked regarding a Guadalcanal scenario, I think my conclusion was pretty clear for your Guadalcanal scenario
132 Revelation : Thanks for restoring the context. It is interesting to see the impact of what ends up being some long range flying, both back in the 40s and today. E
133 Max Q : While that was easily handled by the Harrier how will the F35 cope with it's super hot exhaust, countless moving parts FOD concerns and last but not
134 Post contains links ThePointblank : 1. The exhaust is not a major concern regarding the CONOPS of F-35. 2. Moving parts: they've done flight tests to simulate various failures onboard t
135 Max Q : Well, the Harrier can just land vertically and avoid any of those issues ! Furthermore, unlike the F35 it can use reverse thrust by pointing the nozz
136 Post contains links ThePointblank : Landing the Harrier vertically also is very demanding; refer to the NATOPS on that: http://publicintelligence.net/u-s-na...s-av-8b-harrier-ii-flight-
137 Powerslide : The Marines should hire you on as their consultant. With your extensive experience you obviously know how to fight wars with jets off boats. Better t
138 Max Q : Sign me up ! Don't get 'blessed' very often, awesome.
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