comorin
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F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:28 am

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.
 
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Revelation
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:36 pm

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.
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GDB
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:25 pm

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.
 
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Tugger
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:33 pm

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]
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Kiwirob
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:38 pm

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.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:31 pm

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.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:32 pm

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.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:25 am

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?
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:46 am

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
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:24 am

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.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:29 am

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.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:55 pm

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.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:55 pm

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.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:34 pm

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. "
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:06 pm

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.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:25 pm

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.
 
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kanban
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:47 am

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.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:27 am

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.
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ThePointblank
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:30 am

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.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:44 am

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!
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:31 pm

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.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:54 pm

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]
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:26 pm

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.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:05 pm

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.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:44 pm

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.

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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:54 am

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 need a massively powerful engine that still isn't enough to overcome the drag and gives it very poor acceleration and top speed.


Not to mention it's marginal G limits.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 18):



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.

Interesting and this is where you defeat your own argument, the F18 has a far more advanced cockpit giving a pilot far better SA, it does however have a far lower top speed and less acceleration than a Foxbat.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:34 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 25):
Interesting and this is where you defeat your own argument, the F18 has a far more advanced cockpit giving a pilot far better SA, it does however have a far lower top speed and less acceleration than a Foxbat.

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 of the accounts of the shootdown from his wingmen, Scott's aircraft was literally sucker punched as Scott never even knew that there was a enemy MiG in the area. He was caught off guard.

On top of that, AWACS was unable to warn the F/A-18's because AWACS was overwhelmed with radio calls (as usual during Gulf War I), and his squadron mates, although seeing a unidentified aircraft operating in the area and had locked up the aircraft, could not fire because of ROE and let the MiG go, and also could not warn Scott because again, the radio's were all tied up by comms chatter.

If it was the same situation today, Scott would have had the advantage of having JTIDS, IDM and MIDS in his aircraft, and thus would have known that there was a enemy aircraft in the area by looking down at his MIDS screen and seeing every aircraft that either his or his wingmen and AWACS could see, and thus take measures to protect himself. His squadron mates would have likewise, upon seeing the MiG, and probably being able to confirm independently through their MIDS that the aircraft that they had locked up was indeed hostile, would have shot down the MiG before it even threatened Scott's aircraft. AWACS would also not have been tied up by radio calls and thus would have also had the ability to verbally make a call to the F/A-18's to draw their attention to a enemy aircraft in their vicinity.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:10 am

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 stand a chance.



RIP Scott Speicher.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:26 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 27):
It just doesn't matter PB unless, as in the ideal world you present that everything stays BVR.

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 throughout the fight. You can then fight smarter, not harder. In the case of Scott Speicher, the other Hornet's in his group saw the MiG at night visually by the afterburners. They just could not get a positive ID on the MiG as being a confirmed hostile to shoot it down (the MiG was identified as a bogey, meaning unidentified aircraft, not a bandit, which means confirmed hostile).

Quoting Max Q (Reply 27):
If it gets into a close in dogfight the F35 doesn't stand a chance.

9 times out of 10, the F-35 pilot through his superior situational awareness would know about the enemy before a close in fight could emerge. Remember, 75% of air combat is decided because the target did not see what shot them down. If you don't see your enemy or don't know where your enemy is, they will get you. Know where the enemy is and his intentions, and you can kill him before he kills you. Remember what Air Marshal Brown said above:

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.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:59 am

Quoting tugger (Reply 24):
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.

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 is heavy on opinion.

Indeed the F-35 is a jack of all trades. The key point is that it would not exist if it did not address all these trades. The services and the politicians all bought into that concept early on, and dropping out a key constituent (USMC, RN, etc) could easily have stopped the entire program.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:25 am

Eric Hartmans situational awareness allowed him and his wingman to to survive in a massively hostile out gunned environment....while flying an aircraft (arguably) inferior to most of his opponents.....
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:47 am

Problem is not every Pilot is Eric Hartman..
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:14 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 31):
Problem is not every Pilot is Eric Hartman..

However, good training and selection that is present with most Western and NATO aligned air forces means our pilots are qualitatively superior to most fighter pilots in the world. The NATO standard is 180 hours per annum, and most air forces fly more because 180 hours per year isn't enough for full pilot proficiency. The USAF flies considerably more; 200 - 280 hours per year, on the low end.

The USAF is very good in washing out pilots that don't make the cut. If you don't have the skills, knowledge or ability to be a top notch fighter pilot, you generally last no more than one assignment.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:40 am

Quoting comorin (Thread starter):
resulted in a plane that did nothing well.

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 price. If the F-35 were far cheaper, it would be a much better proposition, regardless of all the shortcomings.

Instead, besides radar stealth, it is vastly inferior and vastly more expensive, while carrying less munitions per mission - all at the same time. This means the F-35 requires more assets to be deployed (in terms of $ value) to deliver each 1lb of munitions, compared to any other aircraft or delivery method. Even a B-2 is far cheaper by this metric.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:49 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 33):
This means the F-35 requires more assets to be deployed (in terms of $ value) to deliver each 1lb of munitions, compared to any other aircraft or delivery method. Even a B-2 is far cheaper by this metric.

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 repeat the question above: if the superiority of F-35 comes from its sensor arrays, then (a) why not retrofit the sensors to a less expensive airframe, or (b) why not retrofit its sensors to a much larger airframe that can stay aloft longer and carry many more weapons?

I suppose the best answer is that it's time to replace lots of F-16s/F-18s/Harriers so that's what we're going to do. It's just a bloody shame the F-35 is so bloody expensive that we'll probably not be able to replace that many of them, but LM always has its guaranteed markup to fall back on, so it's all good...
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:26 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 34):

I suppose the best answer is that it's time to replace lots of F-16s/F-18s/Harriers so that's what we're going to do. It's just a bloody shame the F-35 is so bloody expensive that we'll probably not be able to replace that many of them, but LM always has its guaranteed markup to fall back on, so it's all good...

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 Koreans paid US$100 mil for each F-15K in 2006. Even if the F-35 misses its full rate production cost target by 25%, which is frankly quite unlikely given the known efficiencies, in 2020 it will still be cheaper than all the above options. The shame is it will have taken too long to get there.


Quoting comorin (Thread starter):
I ran across this interesting and well-written article about why the F35 is such an alleged disaster.

I didn't find it well written at all. It is littered with incorrect facts, was incoherent in its argument and almost a third of the references are to his own articles.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:45 pm

Quoting Ozair (Reply 35):
It is littered with incorrect facts

Now...this had me wondering!   
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:52 pm

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 the people don't want it, because high and ever rising cost. I'm not against the F35, but I wonder if it is such a good idea to buy it, certainly if it is as vulneable as some people say. The Saab Gripen is often mentioned here as a cheaper alternative, but I wonder if it would be an idea to buy new F16s (with the latest electronics and systems). I would like to ask the experts on this forum why the Netherlands shouldn't consider these cheaper options?

As said, I'm not at all expert so I would appriciate some constructive comments about pros and cons of the cheaper alternatives vs the F35.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:33 pm

Quoting Ozair (Reply 35):
I didn't find it well written at all. It is littered with incorrect facts, was incoherent in its argument and almost a third of the references are to his own articles.

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 setting my preconceived opinion aside to hear something from another perspective. And the "righter" I insist my views are, the less accurate they are in reality. These F-35 threads have demonstrated that frequently.


The question I keep wondering about is with all this data being displayed to the pilot is there a danger of information overload. Similar to but not on the same scale as texting while driving. Could there be a point where regardless of the sophistication of the systems, it needs to be dumbed down for humans?
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:57 pm

Quoting Ozair (Reply 35):
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 Koreans paid US$100 mil for each F-15K in 2006.

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 considering. Even so, I'm reading:

Quote:

Adding up known engine costs, retrofit estimates and the target-unit projections, an F-35A in LRIP 6 would cost the U.S. government roughly $118.5 million and in LRIP 7, $114.5 million.

Ref: http://www.aviationweek.com/Article....l/AW_08_05_2013_p30-602514.xml&p=2

The table in the article shows:

Variant and Lot Size Target Airframe Cost Estimated Retrofit Cost* Estimated Engine Cost Total Estimated Aircraft Cost
F-35A LRIP 5 (32) $105 $10 $14 $124
LRIP 6 (36) 100.8 7.4 14 118.5
LRIP 7 (35) 96.8 7.4 14 114.5
F-35B LRIP 5 113 10 38 156
LRIP 6 108.5 7.4 38 150.2
LRIP 7 104.2 7.4 38 145.9
F-35C LRIP 5 125 10 14 144
LRIP 6 120 7.4 14 137.7
LRIP 7 115.2 7.4 14 132.9

So the -B and -C are even more expensive.
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:37 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 34):
That's similar to saying the B747 is a better people carrier than a Gulfstream: true but not particularly relevant.

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 payload of an A320 while also being 2 times more expensive.

Even if the F-35 does everything promised from here on out, it would still be an extremely inefficient way to deliver 1lb of bombs - money wise. If you want to unilaterally disarm, hope for as many F-35s as possible, because like a sponge, it'll soak up government defense resources and introduce the inefficiencies described above.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:15 pm

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 9):
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.

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 to make the program so large and expensive that it likely can't be cancelled. All this praise from the same circle is starting to get old, and, unfortunately, glosses over the serious flaws in the aircraft.
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cargotanker
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:18 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 33):
Instead, besides radar stealth, it is vastly inferior and vastly more expensive, while carrying less munitions per mission - all at the same time. This means the F-35 requires more assets to be deployed (in terms of $ value) to deliver each 1lb of munitions, compared to any other aircraft or delivery method. Even a B-2 is far cheaper by this metric.

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 747Fs outfitted with bomb bay doors since that would be the most efficient carrier of bombs ever.

The 'inferiority' you cite only refers to dogfighting capability and you also ignore that the F-35 can carry gobs of munitions EXTERNALLY just like EVERY OTHER FIGHTER. (emphasis added because this is a really, really simple point that some people just can't wrap their heads around)

How valuable is a Rafale or a Eurofighter when they can't access areas a stealthy F-35 can?

How efficient is a Rafale or Eurfighter if it needs a large OCA and SEAD escort package for a strike?

So, an air force can have a fewer number of F-35s and drop more bombs on a larger number of targets. Makes the F-35 seem like a bargain to all of those non-stealthy fighters that require lots of escorts to get to a target. Also makes your "assets to be deployed" statement false. Fewer F-35s are required to be deployed to accomplish the same job as Rafales or Eurofighters.

Have you considered that an F-35 coupled with AIM-9x will make the dogfight obsolete? It will be able to sense and shoot at an enemy acft right behind it, or below, or above, or to the side. No need to point the nose at anything.

I agree that the F-35 is too expensive and suffers from design compromises due to the incorporation of 3 versions. But stealth and sensor technology are the game changers with this aircraft and what make it better than any other multi-role fighter out there, regardless of how fat or expensive it is.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:14 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 40):
Even if the F-35 does everything promised from here on out, it would still be an extremely inefficient way to deliver 1lb of bombs - money wise

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 much.

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 42):
But stealth and sensor technology are the game changers with this aircraft and what make it better than any other multi-role fighter out there, regardless of how fat or expensive it is.

Time will tell... We better hope so, or we better hope LM doesn't destroy the F-16 tooling...
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:16 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 41):
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 to make the program so large and expensive that it likely can't be cancelled. All this praise from the same circle is starting to get old, and, unfortunately, glosses over the serious flaws in the aircraft.

Still no alternatives from the anti-f35 crowd, just more complaining about costs and performance numbers. There is no new fighter on the horizon. When all the other lines are closed, the F35 will be the only choice, whether you like it or not.
 
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:49 pm

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 44):
Still no alternatives from the anti-f35 crowd, just more complaining about costs and performance numbers. There is no new fighter on the horizon. When all the other lines are closed, the F35 will be the only choice, whether you like it or not.

That argument is about as weak/strong as the previous one. Apparently touched a nerve.
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Max Q
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RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:10 pm

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 a reasonable Harrier replacement, although far too gold plated for the same job and not as rugged, but, it could work.


Replace the remaining planned production with developed versions of the F16 /F18.


Where Stealth is really required, manufacture enough F22's to cover the mission.


All the tooling is still preserved.



The better solution from day one would have been to forget the VSTOL mission, you could have had a stealthy airframe with far better performance, a true F16 / F18 replacement. Then simply keep updating the superb Harrier.


But the cat;s out of the bag now and this is what has to be dealt with.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
windy95
Posts: 2658
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:11 pm

RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:22 pm

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 44):
horizon. When all the other lines are closed, the F35 will be the only choice, whether you like it or not.




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.
 
Ozair
Posts: 1367
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:40 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 39):
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 considering.

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 development charges. If that was the case, the Eurofighter and Rafale would be more expensive. All three aircraft are at the end of their production learning curves so have gained every bit of efficiency available outside of numbers.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 39):

So the -B and -C are even more expensive.

Of course they are more expensive. Just as the Rafale M is more expensive than the C and any Eurofighter that could land on a carrier would be more expensive than the standard land based variant. Last I saw, none of the Rafale, Eurofighter and F-15 can land vertically either so you get what you pay for.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 39):
Ref: http://www.aviationweek.com/Article....l/AW_08_05_2013_p30-602514.xml&p=2

The table in the article shows:

Variant and Lot Size Target Airframe Cost Estimated Retrofit Cost* Estimated Engine Cost Total Estimated Aircraft Cost
F-35A LRIP 5 (32) $105 $10 $14 $124
LRIP 6 (36) 100.8 7.4 14 118.5
LRIP 7 (35) 96.8 7.4 14 114.5
F-35B LRIP 5 113 10 38 156
LRIP 6 108.5 7.4 38 150.2
LRIP 7 104.2 7.4 38 145.9
F-35C LRIP 5 125 10 14 144
LRIP 6 120 7.4 14 137.7
LRIP 7 115.2 7.4 14 132.9

And you missed the most important part of the article you quoted,

LRIPs 6 and 7 will be the first contract for which Lockheed Martin assumes all responsibility for exceeding the target cost of the airframes, Rein says.

So all the risk is now on LM. The US and partners pay the negotiated price, anything above that LM has to eat.

A more interesting discussion would be to identify what price LRIP 6 and above would be if the original production schedule had been adhered to?
LRIP 6 was supposed to be 80 now 36
LRIP 7 was supposed to be 77 now 35
LRIP 8 was supposed to be 90 now 45

We have already seen production efficiencies for those lots and the cost for the modifications for each airframe, as you listed above, is US$7.4 mil. Given LM and the US government pay half each that is a grand total of US$3.7 mil that US taxpayers will have to pay. I am sure doubling the production rate of the airframes would have resulted in greater savings than a US$3.7 mil modification charge per airframe.
 
tommytoyz
Posts: 1195
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:08 am

RE: F35 - "World's Worst New Warplane"?

Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:47 am

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 44):
When all the other lines are closed, the F35 will be the only choice, whether you like it or not.

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 stay in production a very long time if they get a few more orders, which is very possible IMHO.
4. Then there is the so called Gen 6 fighter already being bandied about
5. UCLASS and other UCAVS will make fighters less important and certainly ground attach aircraft.

Consider, most of the ground attacks in recent years have been done by the lowly propeller driven Predator, which was not even designed in the beginning as a combat plane. X-47B has shown this is a very viable method of operating and attacking an enemy. Far cheaper too.

No alternatives? Plenty actually.

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