Thursday, February 28, 2013
The F-35 - Too Heavy, Too Slow, And A Trillion Dollars In The Hole
This is just...sorry.
As you might remember, back in 2009 after President Obama threatened a veto, the US Senate voted 58-40 to remove funding and pull the plug on the F-22 Raptor, a perfectly good and serviceable stealth fighter and then the most advanced fighter jet in the world..
After the vote, President Obama lauded the Senate’s decision, saying that any money spent on the fighter was an “inexcusable waste.” As compared to, say, ObamaCare, which the president felt was a more appropriate use of U.S. tax dollars. An oh yes, all those shovel ready projects.
Aside from breaking promises to U.S. Allies Japan and Israel (who had both contributed money for development and were promised deliveries of the F-22), it also cost a mere 95,000 American jobs.
Ah, but now we have the new and improved Lockheed Martin F-35, right?
Well, after huge cost overruns, delays, and over a trillion dollars in development costs, the F-35 is ready. Except it's so slow and heavy that it's more vulnerable to enemy attack then the F-22 it replaced...so the Pentagon actually had to lower its specifications and standards to make the F-35 acceptable:
At this point, the Pentagon is literally rewriting its rulebook so that the dumbed-down super jet will pass muster.
The Defense Department's annual weapons testing report reveals that the military actually adjusted the performance specifications for the consistently-underperforming line of F-35 fighter jets. In other words, they couldn't get the jets to do what they were supposed to do, so they just changed what they were supposed to do.
"The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by eight seconds," reads the report drafted under J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. (The F-35A is the standard model, so to speak, that the Air Force will use. The line also includes the F-35B, the Harrier-like vertical landing version built for the Marines, and the F-35C, a Navy version that's optimized for aircraft carrier takeoffs and landings.)
To put it bluntly, the Pentagon's new trillion-dollar fighter jet doesn't go a fast as it should, doesn't turn as sharp as it should and doesn't handle as nimbly as it should. This is bad news, explains Wired's David Axe. For the pilots who will eventually take the F-35 into combat, the JSF’s reduced performance means they might not be able to outfly and outfight the latest Russian- and Chinese-made fighters," writes Axe. "Even before the downgrades, some analysts questioned the F-35′s ability to defeat newer Sukhoi and Shenyang jets." That all sounds like bad news, doesn't it? If our expensive new jets can't beat the Russians or the Chinese, who can we fight? I'm pretty sure al Qaeda doesn't have an air force.