USAF wants a new fighter to fill in for the F-35?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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doge

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Unread post02 Apr 2021, 08:29

Opinion of a reporter of Air Force Magazine. 8)
https://www.airforcemag.com/article/edi ... the-world/
Editorial: The Best Fighter in the World
By Tobias Naegele March 26, 2021
    The radar-evading F-35’s very presence changes the nature of battle. It’s a strategic investment and combat tool, not a tactical one.
Springtime in Washington. Pollen—and politics—is in the air.
In the Battle of the Budget, the Air Force and its premier acquisition program, the F-35 fighter, is under attack. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith launched his opening salvo, calling the F-35 “a rathole” and saying he wants to “figure out how we can get a mix of fighter attack aircraft that’s the most cost-effective.”
It’s a curious choice of words. While the projected life-cycle costs for all three versions of the F-35 over a span of nearly 40 years is $1.6 trillion, the $80 million-per-copy cost to acquire these jets is less than some last-generation aircraft—and a bargain considering the combat-multiplying effect of this vastly superior platform.
If the F-35 didn’t work—if it couldn’t evade radar, couldn’t fly in combat, couldn’t compete with the most sophisticated air defenses in the world—then it would be right to call it quits. But staying the course on F-35 is not buying into a “sunk cost fallacy,” where one keeps doubling down on a losing bet in the hopes that things will turn around later. The F-35 is already a success, demonstrating combat flexibility and delivering a decisive advantage in Red Flag exercises.
Pilots have raved about the jet’s performance. In its first Red Flag, F-35s scored a 20-to-1 kill ratio against a simulated enemy. In another, it flew 16 simulated offensive counter air missions, eliminating 100 surface-to-air missile sites without losing a plane. That’s not just good performance—it’s unmatched performance.
There are at least three arguments for the F-35 as the most cost-effective fighter the Air Force can buy:

Stealth. When adversary forces turn on S-400 and future Chinese- and Russian-made air defense systems, what will they see? An F-35 shows up on radar as the size of mosquito. It’s not quite invisible, but it’s too small to track effectively. Eliminate its low-observable features and sure, you save some money. You also give the enemy something they will recognize: targets.
Suddenly, “cost-effectiveness” takes on a whole new light. What price shall we put on the lives of American pilots? Is America too cheap to put our sons and daughters in the best combat aircraft money can buy?

Mission efficiency. A pair of F-35s can strike multiple targets in a contested environment with no support save, perhaps, a tanker. To get two conventional fighter jets to a similarly contested target requires 10 to 20 additional aircraft. The strike jets must be accompanied by other planes to jam enemy radar, defend the attackers, and provide situational awareness. So even if the F-35 costs twice as much per flight hour as an F-16—it’s less than that, in fact—it’s still the more cost-effective option. Buying F-35s eliminates the need for other aircraft and the personnel, acquisition, training, and logistics that go with them. No economic argument against the F-35 is viable without that calculus.
To opt for a lesser aircraft is specious, like the husband who argues that instead of a car, he should get a motorcycle. He knows full well that he can’t ride in snow or rain nor ferry his family on the bike, so will ultimately need another vehicle. It’s self-deception to think otherwise.
Unlike a motorcycle, the magic of the F-35 is that it is far more than a one-for-one replacement. It buys more value for the money.

Deterrence. The most cost-effective investments in defense are the ones that, through they’re very presence, change adversaries’ plans and behavior. Why has China and Russia invested so much in air defense? Why are both pursuing stealth aircraft like the F-35? It’s because they know that without them, they don’t stand a chance against a U.S. Air Force fully equipped with F-35s.
Stealth is a disruptive game-changer. It imposes costs on the opposition. That’s part of what makes it so cost-effective itself. Failing to buy the full complement of F-35s therefore plays into their hands.
Few know better than Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. how great a threat the U.S. faces from China and the parallel threat he faces in Washington. He commanded Pacific Air Forces in his last job before becoming Chief, so he knows the area and the arc of challenges ranging from China in the south through North Korea and Russia in the north. Brown recently asked for a review of “tactical aviation” and dialed in the Defense Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office to help. He believes an objective, credible study can help make his case to critics like Rep. Smith.
The study could make a big difference, but it also involves risk. Inviting CAPE to the party means bringing in long-time F-35 skeptics. And embracing the naval term “tactical aviation” to describe combat aircraft devalues the fifth-generation, manned F-35 to be the equal of less-capable older platforms and yet-to-be proven unmanned alternatives. The Navy and Marine Corps use the “tac-air” term because they see jets as supporting elements to their aircraft carriers and Marine Expeditionary Units.

In fact, however, the radar-evading F-35’s very presence changes the nature of battle. That makes it a strategic investment and combat tool, not a tactical one.
Whatever we call it, this combat aviation review must be forward-looking. There is little to be gained by dwelling on the compromises wrought by making one airplane meet the competing visions of three military services. Those decisions are done. If the study focuses on combat effectiveness and efficiency, on the cost not of individual airplanes but of accomplishing the missions they must undertake, then the study will yield valuable results. If it’s all about the cost of the program from its inception, it will miss the mark.
The Air Force, the F-35 Joint Program Office, and Lockheed Martin still have work to do to shave costs out of the program. It shouldn’t cost $36,000 per flight hour to operate this jet and with work they can get that figure down. Likewise, there are logistics solutions to ongoing parts shortages. Solving those will be a whole lot easier than canceling a program on which we and 11 critical allies depend.
Tell your Congressman, tell your friends: Cutting back the F-35 in favor of last year’s model is a move in the wrong direction.
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Unread post02 Apr 2021, 08:31

Dave Deptula of the Mitchell Institute wrote an article at Forbes. 8)
https://www.forbes.com/sites/davedeptul ... 22b1be568c
F-35 Hitmen Put U.S. And Partner Lives At Risk
Mar 29, 2021 Dave Deptula
Rep. Adam Smith’s recent attack against the F-35 program was followed by an avalanche of anti-F-35 hype putting the aircraft under pressure in the court of public opinion. Unfortunately, most of these assaults have been made without realization or acknowledgement of the benefits that the F-35 provides. The F-35 is actually excelling in combat, over a dozen countries are in line to buy it, and the price per unit is below the cost of alternative fighter designs with less capability. China has worked tirelessly to build a copy of the F-35 as a key component of its military modernization program. If the F-35 is such a “bad deal,” why is the Chinese Air Force trying to copy it in quantity?
The F-35 program is still facing developmental challenges that must be rapidly addressed. However, the current wave of criticism is out of proportion to those challenges and speaks to agendas of people who want to cut defense and have little, if any, understanding of the criticality of the F-35 to the future of U.S. and partner nations’ security. The reality is that the F-35 is a key element of gaining control of the air, a fundamental precondition for any successful military operation, and no alternative will be able to deliver this necessary capability cheaper or faster.

The Pentagon generally makes its investment decisions regarding military systems in the context of which alternative provides the greatest “cost-effectiveness.” In this case, however, critics and analysts who should know better zero in on cost to the exclusion of effectiveness. Critics too often fail to understand or acknowledge that just a handful of F-35s can accomplish the same effects that it would take 10 to 20 or more last-generation or new, but less technologically advanced, aircraft to accomplish. Those lesser capable alternatives do not have the combination of stealth (low observability), electronic warfare capability, and sensor systems encompassed in a single F-35. It does not take a math major to understand that a flight of four F-35s will cost far less to deploy, sustain, and employ than dozens of lower-tech alternatives.
This is far from a theoretical argument. On the opening day of Operation Desert Storm, 20 stealthy F-117s attacked 28 separate targets; it took more than 40 non-stealth aircraft to strike a single target in the same time frame. Any reasonable cost calculus must therefore include a cost-per-effect analysis, comparing not just the unit cost per aircraft but also the number of aircraft needed to deliver an effect in an operational context. On a cost-per-effect basis, the F-35 is clearly a better value than any other combat fighter available today or within the next decade.

While the F-35 has experienced its share of developmental problems, with some still in play, the aircraft is doing well enough to deploy to combat. The reality is that it is advancing a broad range of new technologies and that is a challenging task. These hurdles are not dissimilar to those that the F-15 and F-16 experienced during their entry to service but are now hailed as great successes. When I was first flying the F-15 in the 1970s over half the fleet was grounded due to a lack of operable engines. At one point multiple F-16s were crashing each month. These challenges were solved, as will those facing the F-35.
To derail the F-35 acquisition program at this point is to flirt with disaster. Today’s Air Force is the smallest and oldest it has ever been. Our combat Air Force is less than half the size of the force that performed so well in Desert Storm in 1991. Many of the same aircraft continue to be the backbone of what has become a geriatric Air Force, with an average age over 30 years. The youngest B-52 is over 58 years old. The training aircraft that we teach new pilots was introduced 60 years ago. The average fighter is over 30. The Air Force is in desperate need to recapitalize. Any modern alternative to the F-35 would take another decade to develop, involve far more challenging technical issues than currently facing the F-35, and would drive cost higher on numerous fronts.

We now live in an era where lacking essential military capabilities, like air superiority, comes with extreme consequences. Threats from China and Russia are on the rise, nor have dangers presented by nations like Iran or North Korea dissipated. Modern enemy defenses pose extreme threats to combat aircraft lacking stealth, sensors, robust processing power, and digital connectivity. How the F-35 is performing in the face of those modern threat challenges is best revealed by those actually flying and employing the aircraft. These perspectives are absent in critics’ assessments.
Proof of performance can be found in numerous areas, but perhaps some of the most compelling data comes from the Red Flag exercises, which afford the most realistic air combat training in the world. In its first Red Flag, the F-35 achieved a 20 to 1 kill ratio in aerial engagements against adversaries. In other words, F-35s destroyed 20 simulated enemy aircraft for each F-35 “lost” in simulated combat. No other aircraft, aside from the F-35’s F-22 cousin, performs at this level of effectiveness.
Maj Emanuele A. of the Italian Air Force, after flying the F-35 in a subsequent Red Flag, commented: “We knew we had an operational advantage, due to the 5th generation technology, but we didn’t expect such a high kill ratio: in the 16 OCA [offensive counter air] missions we flew, we neutralized more than 100 [surface to air missile] SAM systems and never lost a plane.” This is why so many allies and partners seek the F-35. It is a gamechanger at a time when new capabilities are badly needed given burgeoning threats.
In real world operations, F-35s have flown combat missions in the Mideast for nearly two years with similar glowing reviews from the pilots flying them. Indeed, the F-35s performed beyond expectations. Deployed to the region from October 2019 to June 2020, “the [34th fighter] squadron was able to fly its first combat sortie within 24 hours [of arrival] and it didn’t lose one sortie due to a maintenance issue at either location while deployed,” testified the 34th fighter squadron maintenance officer.

As the Air Force Chief of Staff and the Commandant of the Marine Corps recently stated, “We have either reached, or are fast approaching, a point whereby many of our legacy systems can never be made ready — available and capable — for a great-power adversary.”
Only 20 percent of Air Force fighters today are able to meet the criteria of integrated stealth, electronic warfare and integrated information systems necessary to defeat a great-power adversary. These are its F-22s and F-35s. The F-22 line is no longer running. Only the F-35 is still being built, providing both the necessary capability and the potential to reach the capacity necessary to meet the modern threat challenges the two service chiefs were addressing. The F-35 is the fastest, most cost-effective way to fill the airpower capacity deficiency created over the past 30 years of consistent underfunding of the Air Force.
Through continued development, the remaining challenges in the F-35 program can and must be addressed. Slowing down or terminating the F-35 can only further degrade America’s and her partner’s defenses. Such short-sighted actions would invite risk and reduce the probability of success in meeting U.S. and allied partner security objectives. To put it more bluntly, following the recommendations of F-35 critics to slow down, reduce or terminate the program will cost American and allied lives, destabilize regions, put allied populations at risk, and empower adversaries. The F-35 program is not too big to fail, but it is too critical to sacrifice. The defense of our nation, allies and partners depends on it.

For the first time, I learned that story about the shortage of F-15 engines in the 1970s. :shock: Interesting. 8)
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Unread post02 Apr 2021, 08:32

Opinion of IAM's International President. 8)
https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog ... lt-by?rl=1
Our national security depends on a strong F-35 program built by American workers
BY ROBERT MARTINEZ JR., OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 03/30/21
As a U.S. Navy veteran and aircraft assembler by trade, I am proud to see my hometown of Fort Worth building the most sophisticated and superior aircraft in the world, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The first F-16 was delivered to the Air Force in 1978. It was built by the men and women of Fort Worth. As a former aircraft assembler on the F-16 production line, I felt a sense of American pride in producing the world’s most advanced combat plane. It’s the same sense of pride that many feel today while making the world's premier — and only — 5th generation fighter in production today, the F-35. It is also the only active production line that can produce the numbers of aircraft necessary to ensure that our services and allies maintain air dominance for decades to come.
In a March 26 op-ed in The Hill, opinion contributor Sean Kennedy states that “the best taxpayers can likely hope for, barring an uncharacteristic recalibration with reality from the Pentagon, is that the program gets significantly scaled back.”
The Machinists Union, which I am honored to lead as international president, disagrees with this assessment. The opposite should happen with the F-35 program. Now is the time to invest in the best air-to-air fighter by ramping up the production line to reduce unit costs and continue to handle the world’s current and emerging threats.
Thirteen partner and allied countries who rely on the F-35 agree that this aircraft is the world’s best multi-role fighter, capable of deterring adversaries and enables critical joint capabilities. Machinists Union members take pride in building this game-changing aircraft that will keep our fighter pilots safe so they can come back home safely to their loved ones.

The op-ed also fails to highlight the significant economic contributions this program that supports more than 254,000 direct and indirect American jobs and approximately 1,800 first-tier suppliers across the country, generating an annual economic impact of over $49 billion in the U.S. These numbers include high-paying, high-tech Machinists Union jobs in California who manufacture F-35 components, members in Connecticut who build Pratt and Whitney F-35 engines, and many more who work throughout the F-35 supply chain. When our union discusses what “Made in America” means, we highlight the F-35 program and how it has made the lives of working families better — not only in Fort Worth, but all across our nation. These jobs are key as our economy continues to try and recover on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, a point we intend to make when we meet with the Biden administration.
Our country has a real opportunity to put politics aside and invest in our nation’s homegrown technology and workforce. With Russia and China expanding defense investment, now is not the time for long-time skeptics of our military defense department to put our nation at risk by seeking to cut this critical fifth generation deterrence that provides a generational technological gap between us and our adversaries. As the administration is in the midst of preparing the president’s budget, we have highlighted that now is the time to invest in the best air-to-air fighter by ramping up the production line to reduce unit costs and continue to handle the world’s current and emerging threats.
I have confidence that congressional leadership of both parties and the Biden administration will improve our military readiness and capability, while giving our service members and women everything they need to do their job safely and effectively. Maintaining our nation’s only 5th Generation stealth aircraft currently in production, the F-35, is key to investing in smart defense.
The dedication of Machinists Union members who are a part of the F-35 program make a better world possible. We will continue our work to ensure elected officials in Washington understand that the F-35 program is a strategic investment in our nation’s security and American workers.
Robert Martinez Jr. is the 14th International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). A Fort Worth native, Martinez served in the U.S. Navy before joining IAM Local 776A as an aircraft assembler in 1980. The IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America, representing nearly 600,000 active and retired members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airline, railroad, transportation, automotive, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care and other industries.

California...!!! :shock:
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Unread post04 Apr 2021, 01:36

Salute!

At the risk of being "canceled" or "moded out", I have to provide the secret code to pervent a robo moderator from getting on my case.

I use the word "ticks" because I cannot use the whole word I want due to the moderators and robo mods that look for certain words.......

Therefore, I refer to a group of beings that we can go back to ancient Greece to define..... "poly", as in many, and then add a blood/$$$ sucking insect called a "tick".
=========================
We are now seeing a group of ticks that wish to divert all the $$$ to pissant things versus continued production and fielding of the Stubbie. The new Chair of the House Defense Cmte represents a district/state with a dog in the fight. I cannot speak for the USAF dude or other high folks, as they were my students 40 years ago, and maybe have become weary of objecting to the new sheriff's deputies' position. We shall see.

At least one high military officer has publically stated an eternal truth, and from personal experience I can agree with "him"/"her"/"it" .....

You fight the war with what you have when the balloon goes up. Unlike WW2, you do not have the months and years to re-engine the Mustang, or develop the P-47 or build dozens of carriers.

A clean sheet new plane that supplements the F-35 is a joke until maybe 7 or 8 years down the road. Better to just keep cranking out Vipers and Hornets with better avionics and motors just in case the balloon goes up before the new thing is on the flightline in hundreds of FMC platforms. Heh heh heh. All the $$$ for the great white hope must go thru the contractual bazonga and design reviews and updates and then new requirements with new reviews and on and on..... Been there and one that has seen the process from both sides of the equation.

Here I am and thot we had sent all the aliens to Mars with that new rover.

Gums sends...
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Unread post05 Apr 2021, 12:32

I still have a scar from a doctor removing a tick with his cigarette. I'm old enough to remember smokers and office guys drinking on the job.

Sounds like an austerity program. Name something with an innoculous name that does the complete opposite by design. Call it progress and belittle anyone and any group that speaks out against the predictable outcome. Because it's about raw power not any particular agenda for x, y, or z. For every sensible period of progress for any particular organization there is bound to be someone that sees an opportunity for power that drives it into the ground.

We need not label it as any particular organization nor do we need to be talking about government. And in most cases there doesn't need to be money nor ideology involved. Ticks happen everywhere and in every organization over time. Ticks just latch on to success.
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Unread post05 Apr 2021, 15:00

Gums wrote:Salute!

At the risk of being "canceled" or "moded out", I have to provide the secret code to pervent a robo moderator from getting on my case.

I use the word "ticks" because I cannot use the whole word I want due to the moderators and robo mods that look for certain words.......

Therefore, I refer to a group of beings that we can go back to ancient Greece to define..... "poly", as in many, and then add a blood/$$$ sucking insect called a "tick".
=========================
We are now seeing a group of ticks that wish to divert all the $$$ to pissant things versus continued production and fielding of the Stubbie. The new Chair of the House Defense Cmte represents a district/state with a dog in the fight. I cannot speak for the USAF dude or other high folks, as they were my students 40 years ago, and maybe have become weary of objecting to the new sheriff's deputies' position. We shall see.

At least one high military officer has publically stated an eternal truth, and from personal experience I can agree with "him"/"her"/"it" .....

You fight the war with what you have when the balloon goes up. Unlike WW2, you do not have the months and years to re-engine the Mustang, or develop the P-47 or build dozens of carriers.

A clean sheet new plane that supplements the F-35 is a joke until maybe 7 or 8 years down the road. Better to just keep cranking out Vipers and Hornets with better avionics and motors just in case the balloon goes up before the new thing is on the flightline in hundreds of FMC platforms. Heh heh heh. All the $$$ for the great white hope must go thru the contractual bazonga and design reviews and updates and then new requirements with new reviews and on and on..... Been there and one that has seen the process from both sides of the equation.

Here I am and thot we had sent all the aliens to Mars with that new rover.

Gums sends...


Thats what I've been screaming. 10 years to field the "5th gen minus" would be unbelievably quick. Even the Vaunted Gripen NG has taken over 10 years. And that's a follow-on design by the "best aircraft manufacturer in the world"


Theres an addage about airplanes having to get the politics right by Sidney Camm. Theres also the old saw of "novices study tactics, and experts study logisitics" And that applies here in the sense that people in charge seemingly think the problem is the actual building of the airplane (that would be the tactics) vs Beuracracy and politics (which is the much larger factor like logistics)

It could fill a book but lots of JSF problems are thanks to "customer contributions" and not because somehow the contractor just "forgot" how to build airplanes. Thats why I'm so skeptical of these amazing new airplanes we are on the verge of getting. If you didn't solve the buearcracy problem then nothing will change. You'll just save days or weeks designing a part so it can be delayed months or even years anyway.

We are all going to have to pretend to act surprised when this happened.

Practice your "shocked" face, boys.
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Unread post05 Apr 2021, 18:03

As previously stated, black programs in the United States aren't about hiding technology from the enemies of the United States, it is about hiding it from the bureaucracy so they don't politicize it and stick their fingers in it.
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Unread post10 Apr 2021, 16:50

JUSTIN “HASARD” LEE explains. 8)
https://www.sandboxx.us/blog/an-f-35-pi ... eneration/
AN F-35 PILOT BREAKS DOWN EACH FIGHTER GENERATION
Justin Lee | April 2, 2021
I hear the term “fighter generation” a lot these days, such as Fourth-gen or Fifth-gen. What does that mean?
It’s a great question. A fighter generation is a period of time where aircraft were designed and built with similar technology, under a similar philosophy. There’s no clear-cut distinction between generations—engineers simply build the best aircraft they can and looking back we can broadly categorize where different aircraft belong. Fifth-generation aircraft represent the newest fighter technology. However, to understand what that means and what capabilities these aircraft bring to the table, we need to take a look at the previous generations.
The dawn of the jet age began during WWII with the first operations jet—the German Me-262. The United States, lagging in jet technology, fielded their first combat-capable jet in 1945. These and other first-generation aircraft were like their propeller-driven predecessors, except for their engines. They had little to no avionics and their primary weapon was the gun. Because jet engine technology was in its infancy, they had short lifespans and, if not delicately managed, were prone to flameouts—quickly turning them into gliders.
After the Korean War ended in 1953, second-generation fighters made their debut. One of the lessons learned during the war was that gunning a high-speed aircraft with a manual gunsight was incredibly difficult. Technology had also progressed to the point where missiles could be used to shoot down enemy aircraft. Combined with afterburning engines, this era gave rise to the interceptor: high-speed, high-altitude aircraft, like the F-104 Starfighter, that was designed to intercept Russian bomber formations and launch nuclear-tipped air-to-air missiles.

Third-generation aircraft arrived in the early 1960s. These aircraft placed an emphasis on a multi-role capability. Aircraft like the F-4 Phantom could carry a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, including the first laser-guided smart-bombs. The gun was de-emphasized and, in some cases, eliminated. This, combined with subpar missile reliability, led to a lower-than-expected air-to-air kill ratio during the Vietnam War.
Fourth-generation aircraft addressed the missile-reliability issue by reemphasizing the importance of maneuverability and the within-visual-range dogfight. Nimble aircraft based on fly-by-wire control systems (instead of traditional cables and pulleys) were developed, which allowed inherently unstable designs like the F-16 Viper to fly. Avionics were also substantially improved, along with the pilot-to-aircraft interface. By placing the buttons on the stick and throttle, a pilot could execute thousands of commands without taking their hands off the controls, allowing for quicker reaction times and the ability to change settings under high G-forces.
Because several fourth-generation aircraft are still flying today, many include a fourth-and-a-half generation designation for aircraft that were upgraded or redesigned after the 1990s. Due to an exponential increase in computing power over the last 50 years, the fourth-generation aircraft rolling off the factory-line today–like the F-16V and the F-15EX—are massively improved from their original designs. Though they may look similar to their predecessors, their advanced integrated avionics suites allow for an order of magnitude increase in situational awareness.
Because fifth-generation aircraft were designed from the ground up nearly 30 years after their fourth-generation predecessors took flight, an entire article needs to be devoted to describing the new capabilities these aircraft bring to the fight. Make sure to keep an eye out for part 2!

https://www.sandboxx.us/blog/justin-has ... -the-f-35/
JUSTIN “HASARD” LEE: WHY I WANTED TO FLY THE F-35
Justin Lee | April 5, 2021
In this article, I’ll be discussing the current paradigm of air combat and what makes fifth-generation aircraft special. If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous article on what an aircraft generation is, and how we got here, make sure to give it a read for some important background information.
In 2017, I was flying the F-16 block 50 and was approaching the end of my assignment. The way assignments work in the Air Force is that you submit a dream sheet ranking all the different aircraft, locations, and non-flying jobs available. What you get depends on your individual ranking along with the needs of the Air Force.
During that assignment, I had a chance to go to combat and fly in over 10 large “Flag-Level” exercises. If you ever hear a pilot talking about “Green Flag, Checkered Flag” or “Red Flag,” chances are they’re talking about a large U.S. Air Force war game exercise.

I also had a chance to fly several times alongside the Air Force’s newest fighter, the F-35. Though the F-35 was not combat-capable at the time, what I saw blew me away and caused me to put it at the top of my dream sheet. This is the reason why:
Combat aviation is constantly evolving, and just like Darwin’s theory, it’s survival of the fittest. New technologies are introduced, which cause previous tactics and aircraft to become obsolete, which then drives a new round of innovation. In the 1950s and ’60s, it was about going high and fast—it was the rise of the interceptor. In the ’70s and ’80s, with the help of pilots like Col. John Boyd, highly maneuverable aircraft like the F-16 Viper were designed to dominate the within-visual-range arena during dogfights. And since the turn of the century, air combat has gone through another great change.
Air combat is not the one-versus-one cage match that’s often portrayed in the movies. It usually involves hundreds of aircraft going against an enemy that’s just as well-equipped. And it’s not just limited to the sky; warfare is multi-domain, meaning you could be fighting against ground, space, and cyberspace assets as well as air. Instead of a one-on-one cage match, it’s more like a football game multiplied by 100. Individual ability is only important if it benefits the whole. Fifth-generation technology leverages advances in technology to make aircraft like the F-22 and F-35 the quarterbacks of the air.

One of the key attributes that make this possible is stealth, which allows an aircraft to be much more survivable in a highly contested environment. The next is great sensors which enable the pilot to see everything that’s happening in the battlespace. Because these aircraft absorb a near-incomprehensible amount of information, the next trait–data fusion–enables the pilot to easily understand that data. And because fourth-generation aircraft, like the F-16 and F-15, will be with us for at least the next 30 years, the last attribute–the ability to share that view of the battlespace with other aircraft through networks–makes for a much more lethal force.
If you talk to any current fighter pilot who’s had a chance to integrate with assets like the F-22 and F-35 they’ll tell you (after the standard fighter pilot ridicule) that these aircraft are absolutely essential to future conflicts, especially the ones highlighted in our most recent National Defense Strategy.
Feature photo: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham
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Unread post10 Apr 2021, 16:51

Opinion of General William R. Looney III, USAF (Ret.) . 8)
https://www.realcleardefense.com/articl ... 71690.html
To Measure F-35 Progress, Focus on Key and Meaningful Defense Metrics
.By William Looney April 07, 2021
America’s 5th generation, multi-role stealth fighter, the F-35, has continued rolling off the production lines despite the COVID pandemic. That’s been an unheralded - but significant - national security and manufacturing success story during the pandemic.
But it’s easy to miss that news, given breathless, factually-bereft stories calling the F-35 a “failure” that get passed around on social media.
One item often cited by F-35 critics is the Pentagon's delay in certifying the Joint Strike Fighter for "full-rate production."
As with many aspects of the F-35 program, to put the "full-rate production" designation into perspective requires understanding the context. How significant really is this designation relative to other key indicators of the F-35 program’s progress?

The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed everything under the sun and imposed incredibly onerous conditions on manufacturing. Yet, the F-35 supply chain workers successfully mounted a Herculean effort last year to produce 120 fighters to supply both the United States and its allies and partners with next-generation airpower.
COVID has also taken a toll on readying a U.S. government-run program known as the Joint Simulation Environment or JSE. In the simplest terms, the JSE is a computer program that simulates advanced threats that cannot replicate live flight tests.
The challenge for the Pentagon’s team has been getting the computer simulation to integrate the F-35 – a complex project that COVID hasn’t made any easier. Back in August 2020, Ellen Lord, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, attributed “setbacks within the JSE from COVID” due to the changes in the work environment required by the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for safe working conditions. Until the JSE program is up and running and the F35 has been integrated into the simulation, "full-rate production" cannot be declared.
In essence, the postponement of "full-rate production" designation has been caused by the lack of JSE integration and should not be taken as a negative reflection on the F-35’s capabilities - or the ability of the U.S. and our allies to purchase the next-generation platform at current rates. In fact, the Office of the Secretary of Defense has stated unequivocally, "The delay in approving Full-Rate Production does not affect planned production of F-35 aircraft for U.S. Services and international partners.”

Indeed, the F-35 is still, in the words of the F-35 Joint Program Office, "the premier air system of choice" for the U.S. and international customers, who will experience no change to currently approved delivery schedules and production milestones due to the Full-Rate Production designation delay.
Or, as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown recently stated, “the F-35 is the cornerstone of the U.S. Air Force fighter fleet.”
The actions of the F-35 back up those words. For nearly 18 continuous months, Hill Air Force Base deployed the F-35 to the Middle East, conducting hundreds of combat missions and returning safely. F-35s are proving themselves in exercises from the Arctic Circle to Guam.
Our allies see the value of the F-35. NATO ally Denmark is in the process of receiving its first F-35. An Italian aircraft carrier is undergoing qualifying trials to carry F-35s, with American and British pilots landing U.S. jets on the Italian ship.

This year will see further deployments of F-35s by the United States and our allies and partners. These aircraft are forward deployed, providing significant conventional deterrence to rivals like Russia and China, and binding our alliances together.
The key performance indicators to watch now are the number of aircraft rolling off the assembly lines and the growing number of combat-ready squadrons America and its allies are able to deploy.
When it comes to measuring the progress of the F-35 program, those are the key and meaningful metrics that matter.
General William R. Looney III, USAF (Ret.) was the 28th Commander of the Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He is a retired combat and command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours. He is currently a consultant for a number of defense companies, including Lockheed Martin.
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Unread post10 Apr 2021, 16:52

Sen. Jim Inhofe cares about the F-35. 8)
https://www.politico.com/newsletters/mo ... lic-794462
Military budget brawl goes public
By BRYAN BENDER 04/05/2021

Inhofe discussed his unusually positive working relationship with the panel’s new chair, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island. “We're very good friends,” he said. “I was at his wedding and, I mean, we just go way, way back. And I think the world of this guy.”
But that doesn’t mean they won’t fight over budget priorities with the prospect for a flat defense spending request. And what does he see as the biggest brawls?

“Right now we're in this big crisis on the F-35,” he said. “People already in the new administration are saying, ‘There's a weak place there. We could spend that money on global warming. We can put our agenda in there because that's not working out the way we want it to work out.’ Then you have to face the reality that we only have two [fighters] that are fifth generation, the F-22 and the F-35, and yet China has already got there.”

Another flashpoint is the portfolio of programs to upgrade the nuclear arsenal. But Inhofe predicted that the arguments for curtailing those efforts are less effective in the face of Russian and Chinese buildups.
“We don't have the luxury of thinking we have what we need to deter an incoming missile,” he said. “We have to have it. And everyone knows that. I think people are much more aware of that.”
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Unread post06 May 2021, 18:29

REP. MICHAEL TURNER (R-OHIO), OPINION 8)
https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog ... llies?rl=1
Mixed messages on F-35 undermine our allies
BY REP. MICHAEL TURNER (R-OHIO), OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 04/20/21
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL

In claiming “America is back,” President Biden recommitted to the NATO alliance and encouraged Europe’s “strong investment in the military capabilities that enable our shared defense.” However, recent second-guessing of America’s commitment to the F-35 program by members of the president’s own party undermines these words and erodes the trust of our allies.
Strengthening our relationship with our allies comes at a critical time. China and Russia’s aggression is growing by the day, and misguided policy by the Biden administration, like that toward the Iran nuclear deal, has jeopardized our relationship with allies like Israel. Without trust among our allies, it’s more difficult to work together to deter our shared adversaries.
It seems critics of the F-35 have forgotten — or deliberately ignored — the historical context of how this aircraft came to be. Years ago, America made a commitment with our allies that together, we would develop and build a 5th generation aircraft that would be available to both the U.S. and its allies. In addition to unrivaled 5th generation capabilities, a key aspect of international participation in the F-35 program was cost-sharing, which today has resulted in significantly lower costs compared to other aircraft.
Critics cannot ignore that the F-35 has been popular with America’s allies and friends. Our Pacific allies, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are building their air forces around the F-35. Israel, a notable airpower, has praised the aircraft. Our European allies, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and the United Kingdom, have all signed up for the F-35 and are in various stages of delivery or deploying the aircraft. Even more nations, like Finland, are considering it.

Our allies invested in the F-35 because they relied on American assurances that we would adopt it in numbers that mattered. Unfortunately, this is not the only Pentagon program of concern to our friends targeted by skeptics.
With our support, the United Kingdom has maintained a purely sea-based nuclear deterrent consisting of nuclear-powered, ballistic missile submarines. Initiated with the Polaris Sales Agreement, the U.K. procured U.S.’ Trident missiles to be paired with their nuclear warheads and fitted to their submarines. To hedge against aging systems, the U.K., in parallel with U.S. efforts on the W93 warhead, is developing a new warhead to be housed on a delivery system shared between our two nations. However, despite the vitality to the U.K.’s role in NATO’s deterrence, the program has been challenged with Democrat-proposed budget cuts. Such positions only serve to harm U.S. credibility when seeking international partners for the purposes of our shared defense.
Intended to replace 4th generation fighters designed in the 1970s, the Joint Strike Fighter was built to serve as a powerful deterrent to aggression from adversaries by being more lethal and survivable in any future conflict.
What’s lost on critics is when the United States and its allies use the same platform, they achieve an unprecedented level of interoperability, creating dilemmas for our adversaries. In the case of 5th generation fighters, we’d have an allied air force of F-35s more powerful and capable than the sum of its parts — a goal we’ve been steadily building toward, with more jets built, more squadrons declared mission-ready and more allies having achieved operational capability.

The F-35 is modern and capable now and will be for decades — a stark contrast with so many of our current weapons platforms, which are often aging legacy programs. Conversely, we do ourselves no favors by holding out for programs still in their infancy, typically with ever-moving timelines from development to readiness.
Providing greater validation for the program, Pilots love the F-35, and it’s no wonder why — the aircraft provides unprecedented situational awareness and stealth, ensuring survivability and mission success. In fact, the only nations who don’t want the U.S. and our allies to have the F-35 are China and Russia.
Early program challenges are being addressed, and now the cost of an F-35 is lower than 4th generation aircraft while readiness rates increase. The Joint Strike Fighter is more than the “cornerstone” of the fleet, as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown recently remarked. It’s also a world-class force multiplier, connecting America to our allies and making our alliances that much more powerful.
We must stop with these harmful mixed messages and be clear that America is staying the course with the F-35. To do otherwise is to weaken our allies’ resolve toward this program and place our military and those alongside us at a disadvantage in tomorrow’s fight.

Mike Turner serves as ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and co-chair of the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus (F-35 Caucus).
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Unread post06 May 2021, 18:36

Opinion of Nick Jost (Lt.Col. ret.) fighter pilot. 8)
https://www.thedefencehorizon.org/post/ ... ir-warfare
The F-35 as the future of air to air warfare
Apr 16 Nick Jost (Lt.Col. ret.)
Abstract: Let´s take a closer look at the future of air-to-air warfare and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the fifth-generation replacement for the aging fleet of western, mostly US-built fourth-generation (4, 4+, 4++) fighter aircraft. A direct comparison between the two generations would not be sensible due to the different concepts and philosophies of each. Fifth-generation means stealth capable. That capability changes the way of warfare entirely.

Bottom-line-up-front: The F-35 will yet have to prove if it really is (or will be) capable of replacing 4th generation fighters like the F-15C & E, F-16, F/A-18 (legacy and Super Hornet) and F-117.

Problem statement: How to fairly assess the potential impact of the F-35 on air-to-air warfare in the context of the heavy criticism the program has faced? How to understand this negative criticism the F-35 program gets publicly confronted with?

So what?: The (potential) operators of this new airframe should rethink their strategy and refrain from phasing out their generation 4, 4+ and 4++ airframes too soon, before the F-35 and its inherent logistics and supply chain will be completely operational.

The Air Force as a cost-driver
Ever since the beginning of aviation, the value of deploying aircraft in combat to fulfill many different roles has been apparent. Rapid advances in technology were always seen in the military, especially with regards to the advancement of combat aircraft. Today this pattern continues. As a result of the longstanding emphasis on aviation, many countries around the globe devote a remarkable amount of national funds to the maintenance of their armed forces. For some it is enough to simply keep their forces up to date; for others, it is a priority to keep their technology at the highest possible state of the art. The price of this continuous renewal is high, and other branches of the military are often held on a short leash as a result.
The F-35 project is a prime example of this phenomenon. Its development history dates back to the year 1996, when the actual development contract was signed. The first flight of the prototype already occurred four years later, in 2000. The first F-35s (USMC F-35B variant) became operational in mid-2015. That is quite a time span, but not uncommon in the development of new military equipment. After all, the incredible financial investment is supposed to “fit the bill” for decades to come. And here lies the problem. This single platform offered in three different variants (conventional take-off and landing F-35A (CTOL), short take-off and vertical-landing F-35B (STOVL), carrier-based F-35C (CV/CATOBAR)) is supposed to be an “all-in-one solution” that will fit three different branches within the US armed forces and numerous NATO and allied forces around the globe. This single airframe in its three different variants is intended to take over the roles of a multitude of fourth-generation fighters (including 4+ and 4++)[1] in use today. That usually means the aircraft cannot specialize at specific tasks, but will rather be able to perform a wide array of duties adequately.
It has been argued by some that the F-35 may be the last manned fighter aircraft designed.[2] Unmanned aircraft are already in the pipeline. The “loyal wingman” project from Boeing, for example, is a multirole, unmanned aerial vehicle with stealth capabilities that will be used as a “force multiplier” flying alongside manned aircraft to perform missions autonomously, controlled by artificial intelligence.[3] The next logical step in the view of the developer will be getting rid of the “weak link” also known as the human being for all combat airframes. The question is whether society is ready for unmanned aerial vehicles fighting against each other in conflicts or being used to fight against a human enemy. That ethical question remains to be analyzed yet.

But why is the F-35 project so controversial? Dissenters claim that the F-35 actually lacks in speed and maneuverability compared to generation 4, 4+ and 4++ aircraft, which would not bode well for the cost justification of the new project if true.[4] This negative press may have damaged the reputation of the F-35 before it could prove itself through extensive use in conventional combat.
Shortcomings in replacement parts due to the not yet fully established logistics and supply chain for the F-35 pose a further potential risk and could lead the airframe to be deemed as not combat-ready. In response to this challenge, several operators, most notably the US, are pushing hard to stay within the planned operational timeframe.

Concept-spoiling as a pattern?
This negative campaigning has happened before with different airframes. One of the more recent cases was the Eurofighter Typhoon, which has received a lot of bad press but has proven to be a quite capable, albeit pricey, airframe. Many will remember the lawsuits and teething problems of the early stages of the F-16, which turned out to be a very capable best-seller that has undergone numerous modernizations to stay at the very cutting edge of technological advancement. It is relevant to mention that every aircraft that has been built in the history of aviation has received criticism. Everybody is aware of “teething problems“ or “growing pains'' which means that no matter how advanced technology is, you won't get it right the first time. Everything can be designed on computers nowadays, where every item and part of the hardware can be simulated and tested, before it is built. Nevertheless, there will still be design flaws and errors that can only be found once the airframe is being put together and tested in flight.

For all of its advancements, the F-16, as all fourth-generation fighters, must eventually come to an end due to a significant shortcoming: the lack of stealth capabilities. However, stealth technology is expensive, very much so. Not every country is capable or willing of paying the prize for stealth technology. Not every combat situation actually requires stealth either. It is a possibility to gain an advantage by “sneak in unseen, do your thing and get out unseen”.
However, once the advantage of stealth is gone, when the opponent has made visual contact, the story becomes different. In beyond visual range (BVR) fights where “fire and forget” missiles have been fired and have not reached its designated targets, for whatever reason (spoofed, jammed, ran out of fuel, etc.), it still comes down to who has got the “better” aircraft in the sense of maneuverability, speed, acceleration, weapon carrying capability, survivability, etc. since the fight will end up in a “dogfight”. I have never flown any of the F-35 variants in real life or simulations, so I can only examine what I have heard from fellow F-35 and non-F-35 pilots. The F-35 community is very persuasive in explaining where the F-35s strengths lie – stealth, durability, endurance and its multi-role capability. On the other hand, fellow 4, 4+ and 4++ generation fighter pilots comment that the F-35 isn´t worth the money in any respect. It is reportedly not as fast or maneuverable as an F-15 or F-16, and hasn't quite got the firepower and weapon carrying capability of the A-10 or the F/A-18.

The plane of the future
So, is the F-35 a good “dogfighter”[5]? Among other updates, the F-35 no longer uses a Heads-Up Display (HUD). Instead it uses a technology far more advanced than the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), which already is a technological marvel. The F-35 pilot helmet uses a Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS), which projects all relevant and desired information right into the pilots´ field of view, no matter where the pilot is looking, be it right down through the cabin floor or anywhere through the aircraft's fuselage. The HMDS is a combination of many high-tech display features: a virtual HUD, digital night vision, distributed aperture system, cueing of sensors and weapons (boresight), target designation, defensive system, encrypted datalink, plus the capability for later HMD advancements. All that encompassed in one “light weight” (dropped from 5.1 to 4.6 pounds) helmet system greatly enhances the pilot´s situational awareness (SA). SA is the most crucial skill for crews in military aircraft. It is a matter of survival. The more systems you have that help you maintain your SA or even help increase your SA, the better. And that is also the main argument from everybody involved in the F-35 program - even though it might not be the fastest fighter jet around or the most maneuverable, it is certainly one of the most or even the most pilot-friendly fighter, SA wise currently flying.
The benefits of the F-35 don’t stop there. While fourth-generation aircraft are very capable and “affordable” compared to their successors, they have to carry a lot of their sensors and equipment externally, thus preventing them from being stealthy. The corresponding aerodynamic drag increases with every item that is “hanging” outside the aircraft, reducing its tactical radius by increasing fuel burn. Stealth aircraft on the contrary carry all of their fuel, ordnance, and sensors internally, which keeps their radar signature (radar cross section) as small as possible. That is especially beneficial when the mission calls to operate undetected, e.g. during reconnaissance or precision strike missions in highly defended areas. Whenever stealth is not required, fuel tanks or extra ordnance can be mounted externally to enhance the combat radius or weapon load. The F-35 relies on stealth. F-35s, employed correctly in battle, would score most of their kills with long-range missiles fired from beyond visual range.[6]

Why does the F-35 then lose dogfights with fourth generation fighters? Well, there are some explanations. For one, it is a new system: the new airframe, new power plant, new electrical systems, sensors and pretty much everything in the aircraft is new. As with any new system there are “teething problems” in the beginning. Everybody who works with computers is aware of the constant upgrades and software updates programs require. There is no difference to modern aircraft; in fact the biggest part of the development is not the hardware, but rather the software. That is a quick and simple explanation to why things are not going as planned yet and why all the legacy fighters seem to have no problem in air to air combat with the F-35. That of course will change as the software is gradually being updated and integrated within all systems and all bugs will be fixed over time.

Dominance with an uncertain future
But should that be of concern? Not according to some defense strategists and senior officials. The days of the “dogfight” are long gone and since the F-35 uses stealth technology it has a clear advantage. In a perfect world that might be true, but in the unlikely situation where the F-35´s weapons have been spoofed or not found their targets, the opposition will suddenly be very close, where everything ends up in a “furball” - a classic dogfight, where the F-35 won't really excel compared to some modern Russian MiG (29, 35) and Sukhoi (27, 30, 33, 35) fighters. History has proven the days of the dogfight are by far not gone at all. It has happened many times before where long-distance "fire and forget" missiles have not reached their targets for whatever reason. In the time span of a few dozen seconds (supersonic aircraft closure speeds) the adversaries will find themselves once more confronted in a classic dogfight (aka knife fight in a phone booth) situation, where maneuverability still counts. Contrary to mainly US and NATO, Russian philosophy never dropped the dogfight scenario. Look at Russian hardware. Everything is extremely rugged and well-engineered in case the infrastructure (runways, airports) has been destroyed and the need to operate from unimproved landing strips (grass, gravel) arises, whereas in the west we tend to operate from “sterile” FOD (Foreign Object Damage) checked flight decks and runways.
Still, most NATO countries are replacing their fourth-generation airframes with fifth-generation F-35 variants. The biggest threat to this day, besides the asymmetric warfare of terrorism, comes, according to the US National Security Strategy, from countries like China and Russia. Their inventory still poses one of the greatest threats. A large-scale aerial engagement against enemies like that will be less than favorable for the F-35. Russian philosophy never distanced itself from air superiority and the dogfighting capability of their front-line fighters. US (NATO) philosophy got rid of guns on airplanes after Korea, since the thought was future engagements would happen at great distances utilizing radar and (fire and forget) missiles. Vietnam proved that decision to be wrong and guns were quickly put back onto airplanes (e.g. F-4 Phantom) and new advanced fighting courses, most notably the US Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and the USAF Weapons School were established.

However, the critical turning point has already been reached; the latest results show a different picture about the capabilities of a very versatile platform that will greatly improve over time. The largest military contract in history involved the development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. There is a lot of economic and political interest behind that program that will ensure it will become a success. More than 620 units have been built up to this day.
Nick Jost (Lt.Col. ret.) has 20+ years of international work experience in the armed forces (Navy and Air Force) as a fighter pilot and special forces operator, running his own aerospace, maritime and defense consultancy as well as working in numerous international projects. Mr. Jost has an academic background in aeronautical science and international relations. The views contained in this article are the author’s alone.
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Unread post06 May 2021, 18:38

Opinion of Heritage's John Venable. 8)
https://www.heritage.org/defense/commen ... il-it-wont
Russia and China Would Love to See the F-35 Fail. But It Won't.
Apr 20th, 2021 John Venable
    KEY TAKEAWAYS
    1. The timing, volume, and the sameness of the talking points from the F-35 jet’s opponents is enough to make you wonder where it’s all coming.
    2. Program critics have recently latched onto the Pentagon’s decision to halt the F-35 full rate production declaration for the foreseeable future.
    3. No other fighter has ever been held back from full-rate production because of a simulation. Not any fourth-generation fighter.
In the last few months, a torrent of scorn has been heaped upon the F-35 stealth fighter jet program, seemingly just in time for the fiscal year 2022 defense budget cycle.
The timing, volume, and the sameness of the talking points from the F-35 jet’s opponents is enough to make you wonder where it’s all coming. Not from F-35 pilots certainly, who overwhelmingly favor the aircraft over their previous jets.
Cui bono is Latin for “who benefits?” And that’s the question we probably should be asking. Who benefits from the United States making a decision to abandon the F-35 program?
Russia and China immediately come to mind. Each in their own way has tried to copy the F-35 but thus far have come up short in manufacturing a comparable plane. They’d love the United States to stop buying the F-35 fighter.
After all would Russia, which has seen fit to meddle with U.S. elections and mount sophisticated disinformation campaigns which undermine confidence in U.S. coronavirus vaccines, and even target U.S. armed forces, pass up an opportunity to sway U.S. public opinion against the F-35 jet? Why wouldn’t they target the world’s most advanced fighter weapons systems to minimize its fielding, while they figure out how to make their own stealth work?
What about China? They also created their own false narratives about the origins of the coronavirus, and western countries responses. They also tried to influence elections in Taiwan. While their J-20 stealth jet fighter looks a lot like the F-35 fighter, beneath the surface, it cannot compare. They’d love to see the U.S. stop buying F-35 jets, which would likely defeat J-20s by the vast margins in combat.
Not that it has to be one of America’s adversaries. Even a rival company could orchestrate a campaign to malign the F-35 jet fighter. But it could never be effective. People would see right through it. Wouldn’t they?
Maybe. Or maybe not. Americans generally trust what they read. A recent survey reveals false headlines fool adults 75 percent of the time.
So just how could the Russians, Chinese, or even a competitor company accomplish such dastardly work?

Proxies perhaps? Sounds like the movie Conspiracy Theory, right? But walk with me down this path for a moment.
You might be surprised to learn there is a thriving Washington, D.C. cottage industry of public relations firms hiring authors with seemingly bonafide credentials to write opinion articles on a variety of topics. They are aided in this effort because many legitimate media outlets don’t disclose the role of a PR firm in placing an Op-Ed. Even the author may not know who is ultimately paying him for his “work.”
Once such an article is written, paid or automated agents of industry or adversarial nations can immediately amplify the story by reposting and retweeting it.
But false narratives need false “facts,” and to support their case, critics of the F-35 have latched onto a few to make their case. Most recently, they have cited the cost and the decision to delay the full-rate production decision as cause to give the F-35 a second look.
So, let’s look at cost. Critics cite the F-35s projected lifetime costs of $1.7 trillion as unaffordable.
No matter who you are, $1.7 trillion is a lot of money. But at what point in the history of fighter aircraft has anyone ever added up all of the costs for development, acquisition, maintenance, fuel and support for the projected lifetime of that weapons system?
You can’t name one because this is a new whim, a tactic if you will, of the sound-bite world.
But for the sake of argument, let’s pick one. Add up the lifetime costs of the F-16 jet fighter from its design in early 1970s through the fielding of all ten variants, its service life extension program, the development and fielding of its new electronically scanned array radar, four different engines, the navigation and multiple targeting pods, maintenance, fuel and support costs for the last forty-six years—and let’s not forget the remaining twenty-six years of its projected life.
Or pick the lifetime costs of the A-10, the AV-8B, or the FA-18A/B/C/D warplanes, their major modifications and service life extension programs—and, because the acquisition of the F-22 stealth fighter jet was curtailed, you have to include at least some portion of the F-15A/B/C/D model fleet. All five weapons systems began development in the late 1960s or 1970s and their support costs will still be racking up years beyond the here and now.

And then remember that the F-35 is going to replace them all.
That’s right—you would have to add up totals for all of them to support a claim that the F-35 is a “rathole” for dollars.
Program critics have recently latched onto the Pentagon’s decision to halt the F-35 full rate production declaration for the foreseeable future.
Not because of the jet’s performance—but because the Joint Simulation Environment isn’t working. That’s right, a simulation is unable to test and validate the performance of a simulated F-35 against simulated threats to prove that it can meet performance expectations in that simulated world.
No other fighter has ever been held back from full-rate production because of a simulation. Not any fourth-generation fighter. Not even America’s other stealth fighter, the F-22 jet.
And yet the maligning efforts of the F-35’s competitors and America’s adversaries alike have taken hold, in spite of the facts.
Pilots who have flown fourth-generation aircraft and are now flying the F-35A jet love it. It costs 30 percent less to acquire than a combat-capable F-15EX jet and the cost per flying hour of those two jets are now a wash. And unlike that dated fighter, the F-35 jet can successfully employ in and around missile systems that will be lethal for aircrews who face them in an F-15EX fighter.
America’s adversaries would like nothing better than for the United States to curtail its buy of the F-35, just like Washington did for the F-22, because there is not an allied or adversary platform in production that can come close to competing with the F-35.
And if policymakers really had doubts about how the F-35 will perform in a simulated high-threat environment, why don’t we just ask the Israelis how it does in a real one?
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Unread post06 May 2021, 18:39

Opinion of Councilman in the City of Sterling Heights. 8)
https://www.macombdaily.com/opinion/rad ... 921a7.html
Radtke: F-35‌ ‌boosts‌ ‌Michigan‌ ‌jobs,‌ ‌makes‌ ‌our‌ ‌community‌ ‌stronger‌ ‌
By Michael Radtke Guest Opinion Apr 23, 2021
The F-35 Lightning II not only protects America and her allies, but as an important twenty-first century state-of-the-art weapons system, helps drive Michigan’s economy. It is imperative that our congressional delegation continues to support this important program as budget negotiations begin.
The F-35 is the world’s most sophisticated fighter jet, taking 21st century firepower, agility, and breakthrough stealth technology to America’s men and women on the battlefield. Nearly 50 Michigan companies are suppliers to the project, and four of them are located right here in Sterling Heights. The F-35 supports more than 5,000 jobs and contributes more than $500 million in economic impact to Michigan. Almost a third of those jobs are in and around Sterling Heights. Investing in advanced manufacturing jobs, like those needed for the F-35, puts us on track to renew the Michigan economy and put Michigan back to work.

The global demand for the F-35 is expanding. Nine allied nations already fly the F-35, and that number will only continue to grow. The expansion and growth of the F-35 program—and their possible basing at Selfridge—will only help our community’s economic prosperity. Congress cannot let off the gas, and needs to fully fund this important defense initiative. Even better, training in advanced manufacturing will create a stronger local workforce, attracting even more manufacturers looking for skilled workers.
What’s more, if the F-35 can be built in Michigan, it should also be stationed here as well. Selfridge Air National Guard Base is already home of the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard, and hosts units of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps Reserves. Given the heightened role that National Guard and Reserve units are playing in our nation’s defense, those in uniform should be training on the most up-to-date technology and aircraft. In addition, all of Macomb County would greatly benefit from continued investment in Selfridge.
Michigan’s history in manufacturing is well known. With the F-35, we will continue that legacy, while putting Michiganders back to work.

Michael Radtke is a Councilman in the City of Sterling Heights.
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Unread post06 May 2021, 18:41

The Governor of Kansas will support the F-35. 8)
https://governor.kansas.gov/governor-la ... i-program/
Governor Laura Kelly Urges President, Congress to Support Kansas’ Aviation Industry Through F-35 Lightning II Program
Apr 28, 2021
Governor Laura Kelly sent a letter to President Joe Biden and to certain members of the House of Representatives urging them to support the aviation industry, create jobs, and encourage economic development in Kansas by sustaining and modernizing the F-35 Lightning II program.
“The F-35 strengthens national security and international partnerships while providing high quality engineering and manufacturing jobs throughout the country – including in Kansas,” Governor Kelly said. “It is critical that the Department of Defense and our allies invest in the F-35 fleet, continue to increase production, and keep the program on track.”
In the letters, Governor Kelly details that, in Kansas alone, more than 42 companies help build the F-35, providing more than 5,290 direct and indirect jobs and a total annual economic impact of $617 million.
“Kansas is proud of our aviation history, so it’s only appropriate that so many of our citizens contribute to the production of the most advanced fighter jet ever produced,” Governor Kelly said in the letter.
Governor Kelly also thanked President Biden and Congress for their support of the F-35 program, and for their leadership on national defense and security issues.
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