The F35

From War is Boring –  a Devastating Critique

Lockheed’s F-117 stealth fighter was developed in a breakneck 30 months by a close-knit team of 50 engineers led by an experienced fighter designer named Alan Brown and overseen by seven government employees. Brown said he exercised strict control over the design effort, nixing any proposed feature of the plane that might add cost or delay or detract from its main mission.

The F-35, by contrast, is being designed by some 6,000 engineers led by a rotating contingent of short-tenure managers, with no fewer than 2,000 government workers providing oversight. The sprawling JSF staff, partially a product of the design’s complexity, has also added to that complexity like a bureaucratic feedback loop, as every engineer or manager scrambles to add his or her specialty widget, subsystem or specification to the plane’s already complicated blueprints … and inexperienced leaders allow it…

Problems multiplied. Originally meant to cost around $200 billion to develop and buy nearly 2,900 planes expected to make their combat debut as early as 2010, the F-35’s price steadily rose and its entry into service repeatedly slipped to the right. Today the cost to develop and manufacture 2,500 of the new planes — a 400-jet reduction — has ballooned to nearly $400 billion, plus another trillion dollars to maintain over five decades of use.

To help pay for the overruns, between 2007 and 2012 the Pentagon decommissioned nearly 500 existing A-10s, F-15s, F-16s and F/A-18s — 15 percent of the jet fighter fleet — before any F-35s were ready to replace them. The first, bare-bones F-35s with half-complete software and only a few compatible weapons aren’t scheduled to make their combat debut until late 2015, the same year that Boeing is slated to stop making the 1990s-vintage F/A-18E/F, the only other in-production jet fighter being acquired by the Pentagon. (F-15s and F-16s are still being manufactured for foreign customers by Boeing and Lockheed, respectively.)


Senators Vote to Keep Secret the Price of America’s New Stealth Bomber

How much does a B-21 cost? No one will say …


The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee issued a severe blow to transparency and fiscal responsibility in May 2016. In a closed-door vote, the committee eliminated a requirement to disclose the development cost of the U.S. Air Force’s new B-21 stealth bomber.

Committee members voted 19 to seven to prevent the American people from knowing how much of their money will be sunk in this latest questionable weapons project.


Price estimates the Air Force has already released for the program should give taxpayers cause for concern. Last year, the Air Force told Congress the program would cost $33.1 billion. This year, the flying branch updated its estimate to $58.4 billion — an increase of $25 billion, or 76 percent.


Pentagon issues scathing report on the F-35

An F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter takes off during an exercise at Twentynine Palms, Calif., on Dec. 11, 2015.<br>Levi Schultz/U.S. Marine Corps

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s top weapons tester has condemned aspects of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in a new report, raising questions about the $1.5-trillion effort’s ability to meet its already slipped production schedule, synthesize information on the battlefield and keep aircraft available to fly.

The 82-page report was distributed to Congress last month, and released publicly this week. It was completed by Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation. He reports directly to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and carries out independent assessments for both Carter and members of Congress.

The report raises serious questions about whether the Pentagon should initiate a three-year “block buy” of up to 450 fighter jets beginning in 2018, something that was floated last year in the Defense Department as a way to save money. Doing so would drive down the cost of each single-seat, single engine aircraft and increase fielding of the jet to both the U.S. military and international partners like Australia and Britain, defense officials said.


Time to walk away from US aid

Caroline Glick

Liberman F35


To date, the IAF has purchased 33 F-35s – all with US aid money. The IAF wants to purchase a total of 75 F-35s, which are supposed to replace both the F-16s and the F-15s that the IAF currently fields.

As Liberman made clear during his visit, whether Israel purchases them or not is entirely dependent on the aid deal.  We should not take them. We should walk away.  And we should walk away even if we receive nothing in exchange for the planes we reject.

The F-35 is a disaster of epic proportions, for the US first and foremost. If Israel agrees to base its next generation fighters on the F-35, it will be a disaster for us as well. Although it is late in the game, we need to cut our losses.

To date, the F-35 has cost the US $400 billion. That is twice what it was supposed to cost. The project is already four years behind schedule and still in development. It won’t be operational until May 2018 – at the earliest.

The F-35 is a jet that was developed by a committee and tasked with doing everything. So it isn’t surprising that it doesn’t work. In February, J. Michael Gilmore, the Director of the Pentagon’s Operational Test and Evaluation office submitted a scathing report to Congress on the F-35 program. It is worth going through just a few of his findings.

The F-35’s calling card is its stealth capacity. According to the engineers at Lockheed Martin, the JSF is supposed to be all-but-invisible to radar systems. Its stealth system is supposed to be far superior to the stealth capabilities of its third generation predecessors. But at present, its stealth systems do not work, and it is unclear whether they will ever work as planned.


TSR2 – Documentary

Report: TSR2 With Hindsight edited by Air Vice-Marshall, W.C. Hunter CBE AFC DL

click here    TSR2 – PDF


Avro Arrow Documentary


The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow was a delta-winged interceptor aircraft, with nuclear rockets and missiles, designed and built by Avro Canada as the culmination of a design study that began in 1953. The Arrow is considered to have been an advanced technical and aerodynamic achievement for the Canadian aviation industry. The CF-105 (Mark 2) held the promise of near-Mach 2 speeds at altitudes of 50,000 feet (15,000 m) and was intended to serve as the Royal Canadian Air Force’s primary interceptor in the 1960s and beyond. But when it was canceled it was a ruin for Canada’s pride. –…

Many planes with great potential around this time period ended up with a similar fate. The XB-70 and TSR come to mind… The USA cancelled many projects, so their recommendation was not wholly machiavellian. This was the start of the missile age, soon after even fighter jets ended up being built without guns! Unlike other cancelled programs, the real shame here is that everything was destroyed, and a part of Canadian engineering history gone forever. 

The reasons for the cancelation were fairly simply and well understood.  Very expensive at the time (actually even today the F-35 is comparable per unit in adjusted money), untested airframe, untested engine, and the Americans basically left the Canadians to pay for the development of the American missile and fire control systems.  Sales of additional aircraft were to bring down development cost per unit but they never materialized because the Americans were promising everybody cheaper better planes in just a few years.  So everyone ended up with the F-4.  In the end of the day, even though we had to wait years for it, the F-18 was a better, cheaper plane.  The Arrow would still be faster, but there is no flight data to indicate that it was anything other than an “arrow”, fast and straight, unable to maneuver.  Perhaps that is all that was needed to intercept Russian bombers, but if you look at a modern Super Hornet or an SU-35, they don’t look that much like an Arrow.  It’s time to admit the Arrow was a great achievement for it’s time, and much of the technology probably got stolen and now appears on both American and Russian built planes, but for a tiny country like Canada it was a big stretch.  They should have flown 206 though.  And they shouldn’t have cut them up.  I think they must have known there was something fundamentally wrong with the design or I can’t see cutting them up.  They should have flown 206 if for no other reason than to prove out the engines and to learn from the other aspects of the design.  To cut them up, they must have thought they were to dangerous to fly.