The evolution of F-35 arguments over the years

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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XanderCrews

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Unread post21 Nov 2020, 18:55

Pull up a chair old timer, and get comfy by the fire. its 2021 in just under 6 weeks. there have been nearly 600 F-35s built and all 3 variants are service. Other than Canada playing politics with procurement like always, the F-35 is actually selling more and more and is basically a done deal.

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I won't bore anyone with all the glowing F-35 statistics. But it seems like only yesterday the great internet argument about the F-35 was raging. long posts were made, entire blogs started to endlessly argue in fact. before the great meme war of 2016, and the meme war of 2020, there was the great internet F-35 dogfight. after around 15 years of fighting, 10 of them very intensely, the detractors seem to be offering only scattered and incoherent resistance-- though there is still indeed resistance and the whining still appears. I thought it would be a great time to look back on the arguments against the F-35. What was your favorite, old timer? For those of us who have been at this for so long, how have you watched the complaining evolve or suddenly watch some "show stopping" problem simply disappear from public discourse? do remember the heated Australian war of Peter Goon and Karlo Kopp? remember when the F-35 would never catch a wire? or would be incapable of breaking the sound barrier or dogfighting? Remember when the whole program or at least the B model would be "cancelled any day" ?

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share your favorite F-35 criticism that aged terribly


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jessmo112

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Unread post21 Nov 2020, 20:09

1. It cant fight cant turn, cant run, double inferior.

2. It cant dogfight. (This one still persists)

3. Wasted money on mistake jets.

4. The Griffen is a true 5th gen fighter

5. Stealth and 5th gen are only marketing terms. Stealth doesn't work.

Special thanks to people like Don Bacon, and the Guy who used to write at aviation week.
They entertained my for hours.
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Unread post21 Nov 2020, 20:25

My favourite was the F-35C initial HOOK problem (caused by a misplaced decimal point in statistics supplied by NavAir).
:doh: Numerous articles by Eric 'The Face' Palmer (ghosted by GOON most likely) explained at great length how it would not be possible for the F-35C to be modified - even for the hook to be modified - to get onboard. The sky was indeed falling.
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steve2267

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Unread post21 Nov 2020, 22:00

spazsinbad wrote:My favourite was the F-35C initial HOOK problem (caused by a misplaced decimal point in statistics supplied by NavAir).


Misplaced decimal points, esp. in pages and pages and pages of data are a real PITA and the bane of engineers. Gotta be careful and diligent. A misplaced decimal point in some guidance numbers cost a Titan IVA mission... talk about a $1B booboo...
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post21 Nov 2020, 23:11

The F-35 Can't Run On Warm Gas From A Fuel Truck That Sat In The Sun

Remember this gem from late 2014?


The F-35 program continues to work through a litany of problems, but this one is almost laughable.

(Ironically Tyler thinks its not too absurd to actually look into, and prints it anyway)

According to the USAF, the troubled fighter cannot use gas from standard green colored USAF fuel trucks if it has been sitting in the sun. Considering that these jets will most likely find themselves operating in the desert or in somewhere in the scorching Pacific, this is a big problem.

Sadly, the answer for the F-35's fuel finicky conundrum, one of many heat related issues with the jets since their testing began, is being addressed outside of the F-35 aircraft itself, in the form of repainting standard USAF fuel trucks with bright white solar reflective paint.

Clearly it is not tactical in any way to be driving a giant white potential fuel-bomb around a battle zone. This is especially true considering that the F-35B variant is supposed to operate 'forward' from austere fields. Still, the solar reflective paint job, that costs around four grand for each truck, seems to be less expensive than fixing the issue on the jet itself, as there is no word of that happening.




:mrgreen: :mrgreen: EVERYONE IS GOING TO DIE!!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

There's no word on if the military will fix a problem that never existed!!!
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Unread post22 Nov 2020, 10:24

Probably the biggest hit piece on the F-35 was the Rand Report written by John Stillion and Harold Scott Perdue that said:

“The F-35 is double-inferior,” Stillion and Perdue lamented in their written summary of the war game, later leaked to the press. “Inferior acceleration, inferior climb [rate], inferior sustained turn capability,” they continued. “Also has lower top speed. Can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.”

The moral of the story is you should not let a RF-4 navigator insturctor write reports on the F-35 when he does not understand the implications of fuel fraction and the advantage of having a clean airframe in air combat manuvering.

This debacle was further esclated by the leaked F-35 test report that landed in the hands of reporter David Axe. How journalist David Axe got his hands on an F-35 test report still needs to be answered but needless to say the F-35 test pilot flying the test hop did not comprehend the software limitations on the F-35's flight envelope.

Which brings us to the second leason learned from this debacle. When the F-35's chief test pilot Jon Beesley tells you that the F-35's turn performace is some where between an F-16 and F-18 you should probably pay attention to that.

I love this quote by Billie Flynn from Air and Space Magazine:

"For four years, all people could talk about was how we’d lost a dogfight against a 40-year-old F-16. Paris was the first time we showed what the airplane could do. The F-35 engine is the most powerful fighter engine in the world, so on takeoff, I pulled straight up. The F-22 Raptor is an airshow favorite because it is super maneuverable. It has thrust vectoring; it controls the engine exhaust with paddles that move. The F-22 can do a downward spiral, and I did the same thing in the F-35—without thrust vectoring. I pull up to vertical, skid the airplane over the top, and spiral down like a helicopter hovers. That pedal turn [executed with rudder inputs] ended the discussion of how an F-35 would perform in a dogfight."

Enough said!
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Unread post22 Nov 2020, 13:46

Don’t forget ‘melting flight decks’... or this one —

https://theaviationist.com/2010/11/24/t ... -problems/

Or this — https://theaviationist.com/2016/08/14/t ... al-imager/

:roll:

And, of course, there were a host of other henny pennys who would start chirping at the slightest whiff of controversy some reporter could inject into the modern information medium(s) we all inhabit. I hope we’ve all become smarter about ‘journalism’ and ‘journalists’ and what we should or should not believe (about anything) in the process. Search ‘gell-mann amnesia effect.”
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Unread post22 Nov 2020, 15:25

Salute!

Great op-ed piece to kick off thread, Crews

Back.... way back, I may have mentioned my basic concern with the "one size fits all" concept of the JSF. You must realize that I was being weaned in the fighter/attack mission in the mid/late 60's, and the F-111 debacle soured me. I witnessed the political lynching of the A-7D. And then came the Viper in 1975. Later, we got the Mudhen. PGM's got better and changed the universe, so an outstanding A2A platform could fit neat stuff in the bays. And the beat goes on.

Looking back, seems to this old fart that it is a bit easier to add mudbeating capability to an airframe designed for air to air, maybe even interceptor roles than going the other way. The surprise to me was when the F-35 demonstrated such maneuverability, and way back I always assumed it was primarily a mudbeater. Not a bomb truck, but something for the Weasel role, interdiction against high value tgts, etc. They learned their lesson from the Sluf - more power!!!!

I agree with Alloy about the RAND "hit piece", and shook my head. Having dealt with Rand analysts on several programs as fellow sub-contractors, the assertions troubled me. Ditto with Spaz abou the hook. We had a similar problem with the Viper hook, which GD promptly solved ( and angle here or there and fraction of inch forward or aft, makes the world go 'round 'round). I have not seen enuf historical data to prove having an "emergency" motor reduces losses for flying over water a lot in a high performance fighter/attack/recce jet. Two motors complicates many things and increases weight, requires more gas, reduces volume for weapons/systems, and the beat goes on.

My biggest and sometimes only concern was/is with the helmet HUD and no fixed doofer on the glareshield. Somehow, with new wireless technology today, I think we could always stick something up there as a back up to the helmet. Oh well.

Gums opines...
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XanderCrews

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Unread post22 Nov 2020, 15:31

quicksilver wrote:Don’t forget ‘melting flight decks’... or this one —

https://theaviationist.com/2010/11/24/t ... -problems/

Or this — https://theaviationist.com/2016/08/14/t ... al-imager/

:roll:

And, of course, there were a host of other henny pennys who would start chirping at the slightest whiff of controversy some reporter could inject into the modern information medium(s) we all inhabit. I hope we’ve all become smarter about ‘journalism’ and ‘journalists’ and what we should or should not believe (about anything) in the process. Search ‘gell-mann amnesia effect.”



I'll up that with Dunning Kruger Effect :mrgreen:


JSF program taught me who Bernie Sanders was long 2016. And as you state above i found myself trying to articulate what I called at the time a kid of "quasi journalism" what we would all know now as "fake news" these days, thanks to Tyler Rogoaway. Who was a guy who had a blog, but almost no historical perspective, no military experience, no engineering experience but fancied himself an unbridled experts since he was not weighed down by such biases of education and experience.

I guess I could also say I learned my generation is too dumb to live from him as well :doh:
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Unread post22 Nov 2020, 15:37

Mine too was the RAND controversy with “Dr” Stillion et al...

The fact they took Goon and Kopp’s word for the performance of the F-35 verbatim, even going so far as using some of their ‘graphs’, shows just how much junk that report was. Not to mention, you know, forgetting Taiwan, the US Navy, the US Army, the USMC, surface to air missiles, naval ships, offensive capabilities can be brought to the fight as well, or that any other fighter beside the F-22 and F-35 actually exist in Western service...

Then probably Eric L. Palmer and his understudy Soloman who just round out the idiocy surrounding this aircraft (and many other things...) impressively until this day, in Soloman’s case...
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Unread post22 Nov 2020, 20:33

“...not weighed down by such biases of education and experience...”

...nor any sense of history wrt major weapons system development/acquisition. There are many but here’s a fun one, with particular irony re: Senator Stennis —

https://www.nytimes.com/1978/07/12/arch ... ed-by.html
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Unread post22 Nov 2020, 20:55

Wow. Just change the aircraft types of old for aircraft types today and it is history repeating itself in that NY TYMES. :shock:
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Unread post22 Nov 2020, 22:11

Salute!

Couldn't find the testimony from the U.S. Senate, but I recall it with no small amount of amusement.

McNamara was defending the TFX acquisition and it was obvious to all that the "B" was gonna be a turkey, and the future USAF 'vaark was destined to be a low altitude penetrator with zero A2A capability. Oh yeah, "Lancer" never took off, and 20 years later we saw Lancers becoming "Bone's". Gotta luv it.

So Navy is opting outta the program and using its experience to develop the F-14.

A wily old Senator asked the Secretary, "sir? Just what, if any, experience do you have in these matters?"

Gums recalls.....

P.S. I will eat crow concerning my early doubts about a successful "joint" fighter for Marines, Squids and USAF
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Unread post22 Nov 2020, 23:46

Navy gave Grumman some ‘study’ money for a new fighter a couple years before the ‘B’ was killed; appears the writing was on the wall long before it actually died.

My sense is that the time spent reconciling competing service requirements in JAST (and preliminary to the formal contract award in 2001) was a departure from TFX that kept JSF politically viable as technical risk reduction progressed. Six-ish+ years worth of requirements development, as industry advanced critical propulsion technologies and sorted out the means to economically build three variants on the same line.
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Unread post23 Nov 2020, 00:27

Gums wrote:Salute!

Great op-ed piece to kick off thread, Crews

Back.... way back, I may have mentioned my basic concern with the "one size fits all" concept of the JSF. You must realize that I was being weaned in the fighter/attack mission in the mid/late 60's, and the F-111 debacle soured me. I witnessed the political lynching of the A-7D. And then came the Viper in 1975. Later, we got the Mudhen. PGM's got better and changed the universe, so an outstanding A2A platform could fit neat stuff in the bays. And the beat goes on.

Looking back, seems to this old fart that it is a bit easier to add mudbeating capability to an airframe designed for air to air, maybe even interceptor roles than going the other way. The surprise to me was when the F-35 demonstrated such maneuverability, and way back I always assumed it was primarily a mudbeater. Not a bomb truck, but something for the Weasel role, interdiction against high value tgts, etc. They learned their lesson from the Sluf - more power!!!!

I agree with Alloy about the RAND "hit piece", and shook my head. Having dealt with Rand analysts on several programs as fellow sub-contractors, the assertions troubled me. Ditto with Spaz abou the hook. We had a similar problem with the Viper hook, which GD promptly solved ( and angle here or there and fraction of inch forward or aft, makes the world go 'round 'round). I have not seen enuf historical data to prove having an "emergency" motor reduces losses for flying over water a lot in a high performance fighter/attack/recce jet. Two motors complicates many things and increases weight, requires more gas, reduces volume for weapons/systems, and the beat goes on.

My biggest and sometimes only concern was/is with the helmet HUD and no fixed doofer on the glareshield. Somehow, with new wireless technology today, I think we could always stick something up there as a back up to the helmet. Oh well.

Gums opines...

The A7 was a quiet success. Cheap, quick design from the F8, a lot of bombs and long range. The Navy still has a hard time replacing the A6 and A7 capabilities.

I consider the F35 a good aircraft but not a great aircraft. Remains to be seen what it does when Biden changes the ROE to Vietnam ROEs, and forces it into a close in dog fight with no missiles against Flankers...
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