How have your opinions of the JSF changed over the years?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

alloycowboy

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 824
  • Joined: 26 Oct 2010, 08:28
  • Location: Canada

Unread post11 Aug 2011, 05:29

The F-35 is a good fighter but the US goverment is going to have to hold Lockheed Martin's feet to fire in order to get the airplane at a better price. One of the reasons the YF-23 lost to the YF-22 was because Northrop was having cost problems with the B-2 Bomber. Northrop really under estimated how much time and labour it would require to build each composite B2 bomber. This has long been thought to be one of the main reasons why that the YF-23 didn't win the ATF fly off. Well now the shoe is on other foot and I can see Lockheed Martin now being over looked on US Goverment Contracts until it gets F-35 costs under control.
Offline

discofishing

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1421
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2008, 22:15
  • Location: USA

Unread post11 Aug 2011, 11:32

My opinions have indeed changed over the years. I have more disdain for politicians and main stream media. Additionally, I no longer support the F-35B. I do not think it will operate well from austere field environments. The Marines should stick with the F-35C. I'm for significant expansion of the US Navy carrier fleet to support this.
Offline

munny

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 631
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2010, 01:39

Unread post11 Aug 2011, 13:25

I no longer believe that its a fighter capable of penetrating deep into modern air defenses as sometimes portrayed, thats the job of flat, flying wings and cruise missiles. The F-35 will be the number one aircraft for kicking in the enemy's front door though and will be absolutely devastating in war once air superiority is achieved.

Combined with future aircraft (NGB, UCLASS) the F-22 and other support assets it will fill its role nicely for the US.

Lets hope Australia doesn't forget to buy some drones.
Offline

battleshipagincourt

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 332
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2011, 00:30

Unread post11 Aug 2011, 14:01

spazsinbad wrote:Recent training news article outlines some more 'near future' savings: http://www.f-16.net/news_article4393.html

"I've got 80 hours in the simulator and only logged nine actual flying hours," Smith said. "That is a testament to how good the simulator is. Everything is digital...."


????

Where are the cost savings in the F-35 from this? Simulators are cheaper than actual flying, which applies to ALL fighters. One might as well justify that simulators make the B-2 a more affordable bomber.

spazsinbad wrote:"Claims it will cost a trillion dollars to maintain the United States' Joint Strike Fighter fleet over its lifetime are incorrect, a senior Lockheed Martin official said in Canberra yesterday.

F-35 program integration general manager Tom Burbage said if similar costings were applied to the existing US fighter fleet, the total would come to $4 trillion over the same period...."


So to cover up for the F-35's own cost overruns, he just invents some $4 trillion figure? Is there even a fighter program which vaguely approaches the scale of half a trillion dollars? (inflation taken into consideration)

Even the entire F-16 program, with some 4450 units built, cost along the lines of $267 billion over thirty years of service. This figure is based on an average unit cost of $20 million + upkeep = $60 million. For the sake of argument, let's double this figure to take inflation, attrition, and other expenses into consideration.

That comes to a generous figure of ~$550 billion or so for some 4500 F-16's.

Now compare that to the F-35, in which some 3000 are presently under order, a lifetime figure of about $650 billion doesn't seem an unreasonable low-end estimate. Certainly numbers are not on the JSF's side.

http://www.jsfnieuws.nl/?p=596

"Because of the predictive parts monitoring built into the JSF, it should need significantly fewer people to maintain it. The much older F-16 requires many more people to perform maintenance than should the JSF, this source argues. And those people are very expensive, especially over time. So the new model’s costs are much higher...”

"Recently DoD sharply increased its projection of JSF operating and support costs compared to previous estimates. The December 2006 SAR projected life-cycle operating and support costs for all three variants at $ 650.3 billion, almost double the $346.7 billion amount shown in the December 2005 SAR and similar estimates. The operating cost per flying hour for the JSF CTOL is now estimated to be greater than current flying hour cost for the F-16, one of the legacy aircraft to be replaced. Officials explained that the amounts reported in 2005 and before were early estimates based on very little data, whereas the new estimate is of higher fidelity, informed by more information as JSF development progresses and more knowledge is obtained..."

"Recent Selected Acquisition Reports (31-dec-2009) show a cost per flight hour (in Base Year 2002 US$ and excluding indirect costs, health care, etc.) of US$ 15.190/flght hr, compared with the earlier estimates from 2002 of US$ 7.844/flght hr. This a 90% increase in what was being promised back in 2002 (i.e. 80% of F-16C O&S costs or better) when Lockheed Martin and JSF Program Office convinced the JSF partner countries persuaded to join the SDD Phase of the JSF Program."


http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6560528

This site merely indicates the average unit price is only about 30% of the lifetime cost of having the fighter. But they also note that with more capability comes a more expensive fighter.

Don't get me wrong... I recognize that having a smaller air force with more capable fighters may be a good idea for the sake of lowering certain overhead costs. My primary concern about the F-35's costs are that they've been estimated significantly higher than legacy fighters in almost every way.

Where it does excel, however, is in not requiring the support aircraft the F-16 needs. Between (F-15/F-22) escorts, AWAC's, jammer aircraft, and tankers... these could ultimately prove significantly more expensive in the long run. Unfortunately the USAF isn't moving in the right direction from my perspective.

If I were in a position of authority, I would have built the 381 F-22's that were required to replace the F-15 entirely. Only I would have changed its role from mere air dominance to acting as dedicated mini-awacs, upgrading them to carry all the sensors and networking capabilities of the F-35.

I would also have extended the life of the F-16 with one last major upgrade, and building 500 new airframes. The purpose of this would mainly have been to test the electronic warfare suite destined for the F-35 in a proven airframe. That way, when the JSF program eventually comes into fruition, many of the technologies would already have been perfected on the F-16 and F-22.
Offline

Atle

Enthusiast

Enthusiast

  • Posts: 38
  • Joined: 11 Jan 2008, 14:04

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 10:25

Before I thought that the F-35 would be quite in the middle between the totally awesome "mini Raptor" the marketing tried to portray, and the all useless piece of crap the critics claimed it to be. To me it seemed to become quite capable, even not very high raw performance but low RCS and top notch avionics.

Now I think the critics seem more and more right. The delays makes the hi tech gadgets look less and less impressive as they become more contemporary. At the same time the cost blowouts takes away funding for the necessary future upgrades to keep it competetive duringt its life.
Offline

shep1978

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1395
  • Joined: 04 Apr 2009, 16:00
  • Location: UK

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 13:25

Atle wrote:The delays makes the hi tech gadgets look less and less impressive as they become more contemporary.


Contemporary to what though, I mean what else is there flying that is anyway near as advanced in terms of mission systems than the F-35? Add to that what is there out there that is projected to have as advanced mission systems? I'm not aware of anything at all, yes there is plenty of talk of legacy jet upgrades but again non of those come close to the F-35's mission systems.
Offline

battleshipagincourt

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 332
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2011, 00:30

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 14:02

Typhoon, Rafale, F-18E, UAE F-16, T-50, J-20... certainly these render older generation fighters obsolete.
Offline

shep1978

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1395
  • Joined: 04 Apr 2009, 16:00
  • Location: UK

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 14:25

battleshipagincourt wrote:Typhoon, Rafale, F-18E, UAE F-16, T-50, J-20... certainly these render older generation fighters obsolete.


I'm not sure if you were replying to my post or not but if you were I don't get your answer, afterall Atle's post was speaking about the hi tech gadgets that in his opinion look less and less impressive as they become more contemporary. \confused\
Offline
User avatar

southernphantom

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1086
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2011, 17:18
  • Location: Nuevo Mexico

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 16:19

I'm no fan of the F-35, believe me. But, it's pretty obvious that it's an improvement over legacy fighters in most ways. Its LO qualities are inferior to those of the F-22, which is why the Raptor is frankly the best-suited deep strike aircraft we'll have until, possibly, the F/A-XX.

I do, however, think the F-35 is stuck in a 'capability hole' between legacy fighters and 'true' fifth-generation airframes like the F-22 and T-50. It's more expensive to operate than the legacy birds, but doesn't have quite the same capability as its larger cousins. We might be better off cutting down on the F-35 buy and buying an F-16 'Block 70', based on the F-16E/F but incorporating avionics lessons from the F-35. Same avionics upgrade program goes for the F-22.
Offline

sewerrat

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 287
  • Joined: 23 Mar 2009, 18:03

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 16:26

battleshipagincourt wrote:If I were in a position of authority, I would have built the 381 F-22's that were required to replace the F-15 entirely. Only I would have changed its role from mere air dominance to acting as dedicated mini-awacs, upgrading them to carry all the sensors and networking capabilities of the F-35.

I would also have extended the life of the F-16 with one last major upgrade, and building 500 new airframes. The purpose of this would mainly have been to test the electronic warfare suite destined for the F-35 in a proven airframe. That way, when the JSF program eventually comes into fruition, many of the technologies would already have been perfected on the F-16 and F-22.


Yeah, I'd agree that more F-22s should be obvious to everyone. However, that being said, with the 18x copies of the F-22, it is essentially what the F-117 was during the 1980's and 1990's and that is a highly specialized and highly capable speciality aircraft; whereas the F-117's mission was ground attack to pave the way for convential aircraft, the F-22 is the likewise the same but its mission is to pave the way in the sky by clearing out aerial bogies. That, and we have 3x the number of -22s as we had of the -117s.

The F-35 is quite capable of replacing the F-15 in the air dominance role. And if it were not for lacking supercruise, although I'm quite certain that the -35A will cruise in excess of Mach 1.0 (Mach 1.25'ish maybe in dry power), there is nothing that the Raptor has that the F-35 does not have.

It would also cost billions to build up a fleet of 600 F-16s with pseudo F-35 avionics. There is also a lack of space in the F-16 as well, as far as being able to stuff the airframe full of the sensors, black boxes, and integrating it into the F-16s wiring schematics. That's what specialized planes like the Catbird are for. You don't need a sample size of 600 to find out development issues; a few pre-production models of the real jet will suffice to discovers bugs in the system.

Yeah, the F-35 could have been a little more agressively designed for aerial dominance in tems of cruise speed, and maneuvering, but as has been mentioned many times on this board, that no manned fighter aircraft is ever going to outrun a missile, nor out turn a missile.

What can be done, when technically feasible is to outfit fighters with built-in IR Laser "jammers", and some other types of (perhaps) un-mentionable jammers for missiles with active radar guidance. Effectively negating the need for supercruise which is really quite awesome, but comes with the penalty of yielding a brighter hot spot in the sky to be seen at greater distances.
Offline

battleshipagincourt

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 332
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2011, 00:30

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 16:37

southernphantom wrote:I do, however, think the F-35 is stuck in a 'capability hole' between legacy fighters and 'true' fifth-generation airframes like the F-22 and T-50. It's more expensive to operate than the legacy birds, but doesn't have quite the same capability as its larger cousins.


I'm not so sure of that.

'If the F-35 had supercruise, it would be complete.' That's typically the one attribute that everyone seems to want. They want a high-speed drag racer, which is only part of what makes a great fighter.

While I'm somewhat like that, I think they made a good compromise in designing an aircraft to house all the major systems internally. A clean F-35 will perform similar to one loaded with internal weapons, whereas the F-16 only outperforms the F-35 if it turns and runs (don't even try comparing it with a military load). Some may suggest that stealth detracts from an aircraft's other capabilities, but it ironically improves upon them, as it requires a clean airframe. Although somewhat more bulky, stealth planes excel at carrying useful combat loads without detracting from their maximum capabilities.

Although I still gawk at the F-35's meager mach 1.6 and inability to supercriuse, I can at least give credit to its overall performance at low speeds and clean configuration. And although I can't help wondering what they could have had for the JSF (not bothering with the B variant), I still think its overall capabilities are quite impressive. Maybe not as remarkable as the F-22, but still quite impressive compared to even more modern aircraft.
Last edited by battleshipagincourt on 13 Aug 2011, 17:39, edited 1 time in total.
Offline

battleshipagincourt

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 332
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2011, 00:30

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 17:35

sewerrat wrote:The F-35 is quite capable of replacing the F-15 in the air dominance role. And if it were not for lacking supercruise, although I'm quite certain that the -35A will cruise in excess of Mach 1.0 (Mach 1.25'ish maybe in dry power), there is nothing that the Raptor has that the F-35 does not have.


The F-22 can carry AIM-9's internally. It has a more sensitive/powerful AESA radar, capable of mounting 'cheek' arrays. EOTS was a feature that was originally intended for the F-22, but deleted due to budget cuts. Aside from that, it's optimized for high altitude and high speed performance, not to mention having better agility and stealth attributes.

This therefore makes it an ideal choice for use as an advanced mini AWAC's. While the F-35's capabilities may be impressive, the F-22's ability to mount cheek AESA arrays and supercruise makes it far more flexible for the air dominance role. It would require upgrades similar to the 'low-end' F-35, but it make a lot of sense.

The F-22 is by far the world's best fighter in most respects, but its potential is greatly underutilized. With critical hardware like EOTS and the ability to network with other fighters, each F-22 could act as a force multiplier beyond a pilot's wildest dreams. Why else do you think they wouldn't allow the Raptor to be exported to international customers?

sewerrat wrote:It would also cost billions to build up a fleet of 600 F-16s with pseudo F-35 avionics. There is also a lack of space in the F-16 as well, as far as being able to stuff the airframe full of the sensors, black boxes, and integrating it into the F-16s wiring schematics.


Considering how little space they had to work with in the F-35, certainly mounting new systems like EOTS into a single-seat F-16 seems physically feasible. I can't speak for the internal wiring or cooling limitations, but the UAE F-16's are quite advanced, even by today's standards. From as far back as 2004, they already had AESA radar, data networking, limited HMD capabilities, and reduced RCS attributes.

Although these weren't bought with US funds, the development costs were significantly lower than what was paid for the F-35... somewhere along the lines of $3 billion. With this, the US could have bought a stopgap generation of F-16's for the primary purpose of retiring older fighters and offering a potential substitute for the F-35 if it fell behind schedule and/or went overbudget.

Don't you think it would have done Lockheed Martin some good to not be given impossible deadlines to meet an ever-growing list of demands for their fighter?

sewerrat wrote:Yeah, the F-35 could have been a little more agressively designed for aerial dominance in tems of cruise speed, and maneuvering, but as has been mentioned many times on this board, that no manned fighter aircraft is ever going to outrun a missile, nor out turn a missile.

What can be done, when technically feasible is to outfit fighters with built-in IR Laser "jammers", and some other types of (perhaps) un-mentionable jammers for missiles with active radar guidance. Effectively negating the need for supercruise which is really quite awesome, but comes with the penalty of yielding a brighter hot spot in the sky to be seen at greater distances.


Fighters don't outrun the missile... they use speed to put as much distance between them and the missile launcher as possible. Air superiority fighters also use speed to give their missiles a kinetic energy boost, increasing their range and reducing the enemy's reaction time. Supercruise is equally valuable because it allows fighter like the F-22 to outrun most fighters without compromising their low IR attributes.

While the F-35 probably can't do this, its performance in military thrust at least matches that of most aircraft carrying external weaponry and in full afterburner.
Offline

sprstdlyscottsmn

Elite 4K

Elite 4K

  • Posts: 4925
  • Joined: 10 Mar 2006, 01:24
  • Location: Nashua NH USA

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 19:23

And as for the Mach 1.6 limit, this is likely a placard limit, not a thrust limit. As has been said before, testing of high mach is expensive so lesson were taken from the M2.5 capable F-15 that never went over M1.4 and instead designed the plane for a useful speed.
"Spurts"

-Pilot
-Aerospace Engineer
-Army Medic
-FMS Systems Engineer
-PFD Systems Engineer
-PATRIOT Systems Engineer
Offline

andreas77

Enthusiast

Enthusiast

  • Posts: 60
  • Joined: 14 Nov 2008, 18:30

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 20:36

battleshipagincourt wrote:....
Some may suggest that stealth detracts from an aircraft's other capabilities, but it ironically improves upon them, as it requires a clean airframe.
...


Adding stealth to a design always leads to compromises in other regards. What might be a great way to improve flight characteristics can totally mess up the aircrafts radar signature. Just look at the F-22, those straight edges where not to be seen before the stealth-era since that kind of design never was considered the best from an aerodynamic perspective, smooth edges and curvature are often better. I am pretty sure that the designers of the F-35 had to give up some flight performance in order to achieve the required level of stealth.


And regarding the threads subject, I am just as skeptical now towards the F-35 design & business case as I was 5 years ago.
Offline

battleshipagincourt

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 332
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2011, 00:30

Unread post13 Aug 2011, 21:15

andreas77 wrote:Adding stealth to a design always leads to compromises in other regards. What might be a great way to improve flight characteristics can totally mess up the aircrafts radar signature. Just look at the F-22, those straight edges where not to be seen before the stealth-era since that kind of design never was considered the best from an aerodynamic perspective, smooth edges and curvature are often better. I am pretty sure that the designers of the F-35 had to give up some flight performance in order to achieve the required level of stealth.


I was referring to the clean airframe configuration. Obviously the F-117 compromised aerodynamics for stealth, whereas the F-22 and F-35 used a much more subtle design principle known as planform alignment. While intended for VLO, their stealth characteristics resulted in dropping external stores... therefore improving their flight characteristics with a war load. I'm not suggesting that LO and aerodynamic characteristics are mutually beneficial, but having all the mission equipment within a clean airframe is better for performance and range than mounting it externally.
PreviousNext

Return to General F-35 Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests