F-35 compared to TFX (F-111)

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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maus92

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Unread post30 Jan 2012, 22:50

"F-35: Out of Altitude, Airspeed, and Ideas — But Never Money"

"The F-35 in on track to be the most expensive program in the history of the Defense Department, and it has repeated just about every mistake we invented since Robert McNamara concocted the multimission, multi-service TFX — a program conceived with the same kind of fanciful one-shoe fits all imaginings as the F-35.

Technical problems, cost overruns, and schedule slippages caused the TFX to implode into one of the most infamous debacles in Pentagon’s history. The result was the super-costly single-mission (deep strike), single service, swing-wing F-111. Planes were delivered without mission essential avionics and sat on the runway for two years awaiting parts. Production rates were slowed and total production quantities were reduced from 1,500 to 500."

The article is long, and contains links to other sources.

Also referenced is a blog posting about the F-35B / STOVL mentioned earlier in this forum:

"In addition to being a thoughtful critique, it is an inspiring example of an officer’s integrity on the one hand and a telling discussion of the problems with the basic STOVL requirement the Marine Corps is wedded to, on the other. I have heard many Marines utter similar critiques in hushed tones behind closed doors since the late 1970s, but few have stated them openly. This requirement is not a minor issue, because the STOVL specifications have caused untold compromises in the already heavily compromised F-35 design."

Read more: http://battleland.blogs.time.com/2012/0 ... z1kyonJ250
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sferrin

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Unread post30 Jan 2012, 23:30

Fighter Mafia. 'nuf said.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post30 Jan 2012, 23:49

Oz is very familiar with the F-111 development saga (or those able to use the internet anyway) so Ozians have the nouse to 'go with the flow'.

And it is still amusing to see an USMC C-130 pilot being given OUTstanding pubilicity for his 'dummy spit'. Good one. Ah the power of the blogger on the internet. Just keep interlinking the bullshit does not make it smell any nicer! :D
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arkadyrenko

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 00:24

spazsinbad - here's the problem about getting an objective source on STOVL. If you ask Marine tactical aviation, do you honestly think that they're going to argue that they are unnecessary and redundant? No military branch will ever argue that their skills and expertise are no longer necessary. Likewise, ask the US Air Force about the C-27. They will say those planes aren't important and can be replaced, and by the way the US Army should not be allowed to operate any solid sized air transport fleet at all. (The A-10 cancellation is only going to add more fuel to the US Army v US Air Force fight.)

The only way to get an objective look at these branches is to try and find the person who can assess the pros and cons about a certain system without arguing for their branch. Of course Marines will talk about the Marine Air Ground Team, to do otherwise is to admit that Marine air isn't necessary.

The JSF has become a monster, one that is gobbling up good programs and bad to feed its insatiable appetite for development dollar and engineering talent. But, as the article mentions, the program has been expressly designed to ensure that nothing gets cancelled or questioned. The JSF has gone from the low end companion to the F-22 to a high tech, advanced, and massively expensive and delayed fighter. That is not a good outcome and should be something to be regretted, not merely waved away as the cost of doing business.

Here is a serious question for JSF supporters. What happens if IOC gets pushed to 2020? 2022? At what point should the USAF cancel the program because it is A) Unaffordable or B) Too far behind schedule? To an impartial observer of the situation, that is a clear question of costs to complete the JSF versus the costs for another tactical fighter route. But in this debate, it has become an article of faith for many that the JSF must be pursued, no matter what the costs. And think, this is exactly what the vendor wants, Lockheed wants to be in this situation, above all reproach because it has become the indispensable company. And I ask this question: why has the USAF allowed itself to fall into this absurd situation? The customer should drive the demands, not the supplier, but I digress.
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hb_pencil

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 00:33

A few months ago I read Tommy Thomason's book on the F-111B, partly because its one of the only books on that program. I was considering writing a blog post on it, but other work intruded. I kinda expected that comparisons with the F-111B to occur, given both are large multi-service programs.

The problem with it was two-fold. I don't think cost overruns or technical issues were the cause of its failure. Both services were willing to take underperforming, overcost aircraft. and in the end it was also found that the F-111B met or exceeded most of its requirements.

There were two problems. The first was that the Navy really resented taking a USAF aircraft; this was driven home by the USAF's management of the project. Members were looking for any excuse to kill it, and were willing to wage a battle to do so. Second was the changing requirements of the era: Spinney was part of the movement to create a lightweight fighter to battle the Soviet aircraft of that era. The F-111B was a fleet defense fighter designed to shoot down multitudes of bombers, not a true fighter.

Those two facts to me are critical when comparing the context. First, the F-35 is more a Navy program than an AF one. Its populated by NAVAIR Personnel, and many of its key requirements are based on Navy specifications, not AF ones. Second, the specification and role remains valid: both services need a replacement for its Tac-Air capabilities, and they desire stealthy aircraft. So there is significant buy in from both services (including the Marines).

Spinney's article is full of misrepresentations however. The AF version was never going to be a "tactical fighter." It was always a medium penetration bomber that was to replace the F-105. The F-15 emerged partly as a result of the Mig-25's appearance too. So saying they saved the AF Tac-Air is really pushing it. That and the F-35 was a compromised airframe. I'd love for him to say that in front of some of the NAVAIR people involved in the program.
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luke_sandoz

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 00:48

and the source for all this sturm & drang is . . . tadahhhhhh TIME magazine.

TIME . . . where everyone goes for expert opinion on all things aviation.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 01:05

'arkadyrenko' said: "spazsinbad - here's the problem about getting an objective source on STOVL." No there isn't. I'm not worried about anyone having a say about STOVL. God Help me if this forum is not biased against STOVL. Just look at the anti crowd response any time this subject is broached and even when it isn't. 'STOVL is bad for F-35' is brought into the conversation at the drop of a hat. PLOP.

What I'm saying is that a 'blogging USMC C-130 pilot' somehow gets credibiility over and above a whole bunch of able USMC people knowledgeable about not only STOVL ops with the AV-8B and before but also aware of the potential of the F-35B for the USMC new CONOPS. Where are these people. Ignored by the F-35B haters. So be it. Check out SLDinfo for some ideas about what is in store for the USMC with F-35B. These people know stuff most likely that the C-130 pilot - looking darkly into the past - cannot see. So big deal. Just give the knowledgeable people some credit instead of 'bloggers'. It is like ELP creating news. What a joke.
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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 01:18

Salute!

Great thread.

Somehow I don't feel that the two programs can be compared on a $$$ value or operational capability basis.

Funny, but USAF took two Navy planes and used them for another 20 years - the F-4 and the A-7.

First USAF design besides the 'vark was the Eagle, then the Warthog and Viper. Meanwhile, the Navy replaced the defunct F-111B with the Tomcat and didn't field a new tactical jet until the Hornet.

As with others, I wish the "B" would take its place in the procurement battle for $$$ and that DoD would concentrate on the "A" and the "C". IMHO, both are needed.

The "B" operational need is still questionable to this old attack puke. USMC doctrine requires very close coord between the grunts and the aviators. But I don't see that the STOVL requirement as 100% essential. USMC Hornets do well supporting their doctrine for assaults and CAS and.... They are not used for deep interdiction missions or battlefield air superiority.

The $$$ mentioned do not reflect inflation and the long process from the "statement of need", "required operational capabilities" and such ( go look at the procurement process for DoD programs). So takes us ten years to get something flying in useful numbers compared to the F-4, F-14, F-15,F-16 and A-10.

The F-35 is not an improved Viper. It has different operational capability specs to meet the threats envisioned by the brain trust.

I don't see the F-35 as another F-111. The "C" looks like a real winner for the U.S. Navy, and should do really well as both a fleet defense jet and a tactical bomber. The "A" should be a decent replacement for the Viper in the ground attack role, but maybe even or less capable as the Viper in A2A ( LO considerations aside for the A2A mission).

later,

Gums sends...

P.S. Doing a paper at the Air University I read U.S. Senate hearing documents from the Defense Cmte. The F-111/TFX stuff was neat. One thing that stuck with me all these years ( from 1970 when I read the testimony) was a question by one Senator of Sec McNamara. "Just what, if any, experience do you have in these matters?"
Gums
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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mixelflick

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 01:57

In before operational requirements are re-vamped to include super-cruise, more stealth and greater payload. Oops, we shut that production line down... :)

The Navy/Marines? They can build more Hornets. AWAC's Hawkeye Hornets are long overdue. We can also replace the C-2 with Super-Cargo Hornets. These will have a total of 8 under-wing hardpoints, plus the center-line station. SC Hornet will thus have the ability to carry onboard 9 F404/414 Hornet/SH engines (not including the 2 powering it). Further out, I see the Super-Duper Hornet. I'd suggest Boeing send a complimentary production model to Carlo Kopp, of Australian Air Power. It'll give him some new material to work with.

Hornet's forever...
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hb_pencil

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 02:06

Gums wrote:As with others, I wish the "B" would take its place in the procurement battle for $$$ and that DoD would concentrate on the "A" and the "C". IMHO, both are needed.


The problem with the program is that more funds for the A and C won't really have much of an effect on the pace of development. Its a fairly rigid program that can't be easily accelerated (or slowed down easily).


Gums wrote:The "B" operational need is still questionable to this old attack puke. USMC doctrine requires very close coord between the grunts and the aviators. But I don't see that the STOVL requirement as 100% essential. USMC Hornets do well supporting their doctrine for assaults and CAS and.... They are not used for deep interdiction missions or battlefield air superiority.


One of the big draws for the STOVL version is the export opportunities. There are five probable buyers for the aircraft: India, Japan, Spain, Italy and Thailand. Australia is a possible one too. So you're looking at at least 180 or so buys, maybe 250+. Killing the program basically puts alot of states in the lurch with sea control type carriers, so there is an allied consideration there that does not exist for the F-35C.
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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 02:08

mixelflick wrote:In before operational requirements are re-vamped to include super-cruise, more stealth and greater payload. Oops, we shut that production line down... :)


At twice the flyaway and three times the projected lifecycle costs.
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navy_airframer

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 03:26

mixelflick wrote:In before operational requirements are re-vamped to include super-cruise, more stealth and greater payload. Oops, we shut that production line down... :)

The Navy/Marines? They can build more Hornets. AWAC's Hawkeye Hornets are long overdue. We can also replace the C-2 with Super-Cargo Hornets. These will have a total of 8 under-wing hardpoints, plus the center-line station. SC Hornet will thus have the ability to carry onboard 9 F404/414 Hornet/SH engines (not including the 2 powering it). Further out, I see the Super-Duper Hornet. I'd suggest Boeing send a complimentary production model to Carlo Kopp, of Australian Air Power. It'll give him some new material to work with.

Hornet's forever...


That is about the funniest thing ive ever heard.
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stereospace

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 07:13

luke_sandoz wrote:and the source for all this sturm & drang is . . . tadahhhhhh TIME magazine.

TIME . . . where everyone goes for expert opinion on all things aviation.


TIME . . . where no one goes for expert opinion on anything. People still read TIME? :roll:
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alloycowboy

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 08:26

@Gums..... The question I have about the performance of the F-35A vs the F-16 is if the turn performance of F-35 is on par with a F-16 Block 60 then really how much quicker do you need the F-35A to turn? Haven't we now reached the point where squeezing 1-2% more performance out of the airframe is rather pointless and we should now concentrate on developing advanced missiles instead as there is a bigger performance advantages to be gained there?
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rdale

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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 10:41

to hb_pencil
As for Italy and Spain buying the B model , arn't they broke ?

to alloycowboy ,
isn't the turn rate now limited by the G force the the pilot can stand ?
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