Sunday, March 10, 2013
More on The F-35 Debacle -Leaked Pentagon Report Calls It Critically Flawed
The more that comes out about the F-35, the worse the news gets.
Not only is it too slow,too heavy, less maneuverable, and far too expensive to produce, a leaked Pentagon report actually calls the new F-35 unsafe:
In a leaked memo reported by the RT news agency, a Pentagon official prefaces a report on the F-35 by cautioning that even training missions cannot be safely performed on board the aircraft at this time.
“The training management system lags in development compared to the rest of the Integrated Training Center and does not yet have all planned functionality,” the report reads in part.
“The out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35A is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft,” one excerpt reads.
Elsewhere, the report includes quotes from pilots commenting after test missions onboard the aircraft:
“The head rest is too large and will impede aft (rear) visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements,” said one. “Aft visibility will get the pilot gunned (down) every time” in dogfights, remarked another.
“Aft visibility could turn out to be a significant problem for all F-35 pilots in the future,” the Pentagon admits.
In one chart included in the report, the Pentagon says there are eight crucial flaws with the aircraft that have raises serious red flags within the Department of Defense.
The plane’s lack of maturity, reduced pilot situational awareness during an emergency and the risk of the aircraft’s fuel barriers catching fire are also cited, as is the likelihood of a pilot in distress becoming unable to escape his aircraft during an emergency.
The Pentagon report described flaws as “unacceptable for combat or combat training.”
This is the plane that President Obama scuttled the perfectly acceptable F-22 for because in his words, "the F-22 cost too much.".
The Pentagon has already suspended all F-35 flights while Lockheed-Martin scrambles furiously to try to correct the flaws.
While they may mange to fix a few things, the biggest problem is that the F-35 was designed to do far too many jobs, and thus has to carry a lot more equipment than an average fighter. That's why development alone cost a trillion dollars, even with U.S. allies like Israel, Canada, Italy, Britain Turkey, Australia, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands contributing to the cost of joint development.
Because of the poor performance, high price tag ($238 million each) and high maintenance costs, a number of countries who initially were lining up to purchase the F-35 are now having second thoughts. Canada canceled a deal to buy 65 F-35's just last week and Italy cut it order from 131 to 90 planes, with a caveat that they may cut the order even further at a later date. Even the Defense Department has delayed most of its purchases.
The Israelis signed on for a squadron's worth, 25 planes, primarily because the F-22 was no longer available according to my sources. They're supposed to be up and running in 2016. The Israelis won a prolonged battle with Lockheed-Martin to be able to modify the plane's electronics with Israeli-unique systems once they're delivered, which should be between 2015-2017...provided the F-35 isn't scrapped.
Israel and Japan got screwed that way when the Obama Administration canceled the F-22. They had contributed to its development with the agreement that they were going to be able to purchase the plane, but since it was aborted, they never received what they paid for.
We'll see what happens with the F-35, but so far it doesn't look promising.