|Quoting kanban (Reply 38):|
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 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 subject have.
I've noticed the article in question quoted people like Winslow Wheeler, and Pierre Sprey as their major sources. My feelings on those two are well known to anyone here. Basically, when you only quote people like Winslow Wheeler, and Pierre Sprey, you've effectively screwed any credibility you might have had. Wheeler is a budget guy. He knows about as much concerning fighter aircraft and design as does Axe.
And if you remember correctly, Wheeler said that we'd not see reductions in the price of the F-35 in future orders. He was wrong. If he can't even get it right in the area of his supposed expertise, why in the world would one even bother listening to him when he spouts off about things he knows little to nothing about?
The author then compounds the crediblity problem by introducing Pierre Sprey which he obviously wants you to believe is credible as well:
“The Harrier was based on a complete lie,” said Pierre Sprey, an experienced fighter engineer whose design credits include the nimble F-16 and the tank-killing A-10. “The Marines simply concocted it because they wanted their own unique airplane and wanted to convert amphibious ships into their own private carriers.”
Pierre Sprey has never "designed" any fighter aircraft. Ever. He was a PA&E (Office of Program Analysis & Evaluation) guy. He has zero credibility whatsoever to those who actually know his background. By Pierre Sprey's own account, Sprey was a dilettante with an engineering degree but no military experience. After graduation from Yale, Sprey became a research analyst at the Grumman Aircraft Corporation for space and commercial transportation projects. He came to OSD
/SA in 1966, where he declared himself an expert on military fighter aircraft, despite his lack of experience. Sprey admitted being a gadfly, a nuisance, and an automatic opponent of any program he was not a part of.
Or, essentially, ignore whatever the man says. He has no experience or experience to back his statements. And, as in the case of the M1 tank, of which he was also a critic, his criticisms were essentially unfounded:
None of this establishes that the M1 is a good, bad, or mediocre tank. It does establish, however, that one should be very careful in accepting what the Reformers say.
Their "misstatements" could easily be avoided. For example, they could have learned that the tank will fire without electronics. They simply hadn't tried very hard to find out. For example, the firing of the gun is explained in the crew's manual, as, for that matter, is the dark and mysterious problem of adjusting the seat. There are detailed drawings. The manual is in the public domain. Before leaving Washington, I had asked Rasor's office for their copy. They didn't have one and had never read it.
Before long, one notices a pattern in the pronuncia-mentos of the evangelical Reformers. They mix a robust disregard for truth with a well-developed taste for parody. Observe that the Reformers do not accuse the military merely of bureaucratic ineptitude, poor judgment, and inattention in the expenditure of other people's money—the normal foibles of federal agencies. Instead, soldiers are accused of absurdity, of serious unfamiliarity with their profession, of behavior explainable only by clinically substandard intelligence, and of something bordering on lunacy. This is not analysis but a sort of literary cartooning.
Powerful Hostility Toward Technology
A strand running throughout Reformist thinking is their powerful hostility toward advanced technology. At first, they couch their distaste in terms of reason, pointing to real failures of excessively ambitious projects, the real tendency of industry to promote new technology because they make money at it, the real problems of reliability that have plagued many advanced weapons. Then one notices that they rigorously ignore the benefits of technology, that what they advocate often appears to be the military of World War II: unelectronic, radarless, computerless stamped steel. (If generals prepare for the last war, Reformers prepare for the war before last. To say this is unfair, but not very unfair.) One ends by noticing in them a backward-looking romanticism, a longing for the days when men wore iron and their horses didn't come with 500-page manuals. The media often seems to accept this stuff without question (or used to accept it; the Reformers seem to be losing credibility), perhaps because reporters believe the Reformers to be engaged in public-service work.
They aren't, exactly. Rasor, for example, is a paid advocate—i.e., a flack—as much as any PR man at McDonnell Douglas. Cousins's book royalties depend on sales, and measured discussions of the design of armor don't sell books—splashy allegations do. Gary Hart's Reformist fulminations (in America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform, a book by Hart with William S. Lind, published in 1986 by Adler & Adler) were going to be used, one supposes, to position him as a defense-minded Presidential candidate before he self-destructed. Further, the attractions of attention are not without weight in Washington, and many Reformers would never again go
on television if they ceased to deal in sensational charges. The evangelicals are not without agendas of their own.
Another characteristic of Reformist writing is heavy reliance on the fact that much of their nonsense is obvious only to specialists. For example (I could provide pages of this), Cousins speaks of the Hellcat missile (it doesn't exist), worries that electronic jamming might make a descending ICBM fly back to destroy its country of origin (this would require the repeal of the laws of physics), talks of the superiority of aiming a tank gun with the naked eye (flatly impossible), and admires the virtues of the Belgian Leopold tank (apparently he had heard of King Leopold and figured a Belgian tank must be a Leopold, as indeed it might be, if the Belgians built a tank. Really, it was a Belgian-owned German tank known as Leopard).
|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.
I think the biggest issue that is people compare F-35 to other 4th gen fighters, and see it as a pure replacement for F-16, F/A-18, and AV
-8B. It is that, but also much more-its advanced sensors, when networked together, will eventually substitute for the Navy and Air Force fleets of very expensive (and very in-demand) surveillance and reconnaissance and command and control aircraft. When used in combination with munitions-carrying drones, small formations of F-35s will be able to conduct large-scale strikes that remain the purview of large, manned bombers. In effect, F-35, with its reconnaissance and strike capabilities and ability to act as a “node” in a larger “network” of joint systems make it much more than a stealthy tactical aircraft.
|Quoting kanban (Reply 38):|
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?
The problem is, with previous aircraft, you had to look at each different system to gather information and then put it together in your head as to what's going on. In that type of scenario, yes, one can be overwhelmed with information because the information is not being presented in a unified manner. It is for example, not immediately obvious that say, a radar detected by your ESM
and ECM system is the same target as the aircraft you spotted on your radar. It may be the same target, it may be two different targets. You don't know.
With F-35, the onboard avionics put together the information for you to create one common picture. All of the information from datalinks, radar, ESM
/IR, etc are all pulled together and is used to generate one picture of the surrounding battlefield. So, not only do you have more information, it's information that is easily acted upon.