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F-35 FRIEND OR FOE [8 page PDF]

Unread postPosted: 01 Apr 2021, 10:27
by spazsinbad
F-35 FRIEND OR FOE [8 page PDF of article attached]
May 2021 Jon Lake

"To its supporters, the F-35 is an agile, versatile, high-performance, multi-role fighter that combines stealth, sensor fusion and unprecedented situational awareness to lethal effect. To critics, the fighter is woefully delayed, heavily compromised and monumentally expensive. JON LAKE investigates the two faces of the F-35...


...Eye-watering cost
The F-35 is said to be the most expensive defense program in history, and costs have certainly been eye-watering. In 2006, the first batch of F-35As cost a staggering $241.2 million per aircraft and though the ‘sticker price’ has progressively reduced, the high unit cost (89% higher than the baseline estimate) triggered a breach of the Nunn-McCurdy Act, which forced Congress and the Pentagon to evaluate whether the program should be canceled. In June 2019, the Pentagon and Lockheed announced that the price of the F-35A would drop to below $80m in Lot 13. But, although this and an ‘official’ Lot 14 figure of $77.9m, have been released, the US Project on Government Oversight has revealed that this price for the 2020 model F-35A is inaccurate and that a figure of $110.3m per aircraft would be more accurate, since this would include money spent in previous budgets to purchase parts for that particular lot of F-35s. [I thought 'SpudmanSWP' had good reasoning about how wrong this 'furphy' meme is but I guess this sort of thing will live forever]

By the same metric, a US Marine Corps F-35B costs $135.8m, while a US Navy F-35C costs $117.3m per aircraft. At least as important as unit price are operating and support/sustainment costs.

In 2018, it was calculated that every F-35A flying hour cost about $44,000 on average, equivalent to two F/A-18E Super Hornet flying hours. This has since dropped to about $36,000. There is a goal to further lower the cost per flying hour for the F-35A to $25,000 by 2025, but General Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, said at this February’s Air Force Association's virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium: "I'm not brimming with confidence. As I sit here today, I'm not overly confident we'll get there."

Sustainment and support are also a major headache for F-35 operators. Ex- USAF chief of staff , General Dave Goldfein, and former Air Force Secretary, Heather Wilson, both warned that sustainment and support costs threatened procurement numbers, while former acquisition ‘tsar’ Will Roper said in January, the F-35A was: “A long way from being an affordable fighter that we can buy in bulk.”...

...In June 2019, it was revealed that the Pentagon had set strict limits on the time that the aircraft could spend at supersonic speeds in full afterburner. The risk of structural and thermal damage limited the F-35B to 80 cumulative seconds at Mach 1.2 or to 40 seconds at Mach 1.3.

The F-35C was limited to 50 cumulative seconds at Mach 1.3. Simulator testing and modeling showed that restricting full afterburner to a maximum of 50 seconds at supersonic flight could prevent the C model from reaching the Mach 1.44 speed required for maximum-range BVR missile launches, according to the F-35 integrated test team at Patuxent River, the naval air station in Maryland.

Speed is one key attribute for a fighter, but another is good handling, and the F-35B and F-35C experienced “incongruous lateral and longitudinal control responses” at higher angles of attack, according to an accident investigation report in October 2020. Early testing revealed that the F-35B and F-35C became difficult to control when operating at more than 20 degrees angle of attack, with pilots experiencing unpredictable and uncommanded random oscillations in pitch, yaw and roll. This made it very difficult to extract maximum performance out of the aircraft.

Software tweaks brought about improvements in flying qualities, and pilots were provided with an intuitive angle of attack (AoA) reference indication, allowing them to quickly optimize lateral maneuvering. [so it was fixed eh]..."

Source: Combat Aircraft Journal May 2021 Volume 22 No 5

Re: F-35 FRIEND OR FOE [8 page PDF]

Unread postPosted: 01 Apr 2021, 21:14
by steve2267
I do not at present have time to wade through 8 pages of Axe-esque "reporting", but based on Spaz' quoted summary, this "article" would seem to have little in the way of balance. And I believe we have hashed to death all the points mentioned in Spaz' quoted material -- summary: nothing to see here, all issues have been addressed.

I am somewhat surprised that Lake did not trot out the infamous F-16 dogfight crapola.

Re: F-35 FRIEND OR FOE [8 page PDF]

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2021, 00:47
by spazsinbad
The 'test maneuvers with F-16 early on in development were referenced by orfer (yes I know) I believe indicated here
[first a 'good' bit then 'lastly' the 2015 reference (sneaky huh - must be using 'LO woids'): ["damning with faint praise"?]
"...Its combination of LO, sensor performance and airframe performance also makes the F-35 a highly-capable counter air aircraft, able to see and engage enemy fighters long before they can see it. And, while the aircraft’s agility does not match that of the F-22, nor aircraft like the Eurofighter Typhoon, the F-35 does have excellent high angle of attack and slow-speed maneuvering capabilities, very much like those of the F/A-18 Hornet.

And, according to pilots who have fought against the F-35, the aircraft also has some eye-watering ‘opening moves’ – maneuvers that conventional fourth-generation fighters cannot follow. This has resulted in F-35s achieving a respectable ‘exchange ratio’ in exercises, killing many ‘enemy’ fighters for each F-35 lost. During a Red Flag exercise in 2017, which marked the F-35A’s first participation in the exercise, F-35As shot down 20 aircraft for each F-35 lost in simulated combat.

As a result, most pilots who have converted to the aircraft would rather fly the F-35 in combat than whatever they flew previously. But quite apart from its own autonomous capabilities, the F-35 promises to make a massive contribution to the overall allied air power effort, acting as a significant force multiplier....

...Though there are three Joint Strike Fighter variants, the basic configuration thus represents something of a compromise, and the F-35A is slower, heavier and draggier than it needed to be.

As a result, in an air-to-air configuration with a take-off weight of 49,540lb, the F-35A has a thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.85 and a wing loading of 110lb per square foot. This means its performance falls somewhere between that of the F-16 and F/A-18 – which is impressive, but not in the same league as the F-22 or the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Lockheed disputes this, claiming that F-35 kinematics are “better than or equal to” the Typhoon, but others report that in a visual engagement, the F-35A lacks energy maneuverability and is at a distinct energy disadvantage in a turning fight – which operators would then describe in an official flight test report from 2015 as not “an ideal regime. In a beyond-visual-range (BVR) engagement, transonic acceleration is good, but again not in the same class as the F-22 or the Eurofighter Typhoon, while supersonic acceleration is relatively poor...."

Re: F-35 FRIEND OR FOE [8 page PDF]

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2021, 14:15
by Gums

I thot I replied to this topic, as I read the entire document.

If I was "moded" out, I can reply on the other forum that has the word"politics" in it, as I made a straightforward point about the "ticks" and the F-35 criticism. If not, I'll repost later.

Gums sends...

Re: F-35 FRIEND OR FOE [8 page PDF]

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2021, 23:51
by XanderCrews
Small wonder the USAF is looking to
reduce its uptake from 1,763 to 1,050
F-35s, and is reportedly considering
procuring a new fourth-generation
tactical fighter – not exactly a ringing
endorsement of the Joint Strike Fighter.

They did one study that talked about 1050. If the USAF has decided to take only 60 percent of its "cornerstone" in exchange for complete unknowns I welcome them to do so. but then again, I want to watch the air force burn. Also I drink

Re: F-35 FRIEND OR FOE [8 page PDF]

Unread postPosted: 05 Apr 2021, 13:02
by Scorpion1alpha
Somewhere, Billie Flynn's head is exploding.

Re: F-35 FRIEND OR FOE [8 page PDF]

Unread postPosted: 07 Apr 2021, 14:10
by mixelflick
Every time I read these wildly conflicting reports, I feel like asking "will the real F-35 please stand up"? It's almost as if they're flying 2 different aircraft.

Regardless, I'll take the 20-1 air to air kill ratio at Red Flag (with similar results seen elsewhere). People can argue all day about whether or not it can match a Typhoon kinematically, but if the F-35 can beat it consistently that's all that matters. Doesn't matter how it does it IMO.