Sunday, January 04, 2015

More On The F-35 Debacle - Its Guns Are Useless Until At Leasr 2019!

F-35 Lightning II

I - and more importantly, pilots who've flown and tested it - have had a lot to say about the new F-35 stealth fighter.

Aside from being ridiculously expensive to design and produce, the end result after a trillion dollars is an airplane that's too heavy, far too slow and not maneuverable enough to compete in air-to-air combat. It tested so poorly that the Pentagon had to ignore its on standards to pass it, according to a leaked report that  actually called the new F-35 unsafe.

Nevertheless, the Defense Department is going to purchase 2,443 of the F-35s in three different versions, for the Air Force, Navy and Marines, starting in 2015. And they're going to replace two superb combat airplanes with it, the F-22 and the workhorse A-10.

The latest episode in this sorry story? Along with its' other problems, the F-35 (AKA the Joint Strike Fighter or JSF) lacks cannon, and even when it finally gets them they are configured as to be virtually useless.

The F-35 uses a GAU-22/A four-barreled rotary cannon. And in order for the pilot to use the gun, it needs special Block 3F software to aim it effectively.

Block 3F's estimated release date? Sometime in 2019, over four years from now. Until then, the F-35 has no operable gunnery.

It gets better. The GAU-22/A  is  able to fire off 3,300 rounds per minute, but the Air Force's version of the F-35 is designed to carry just 180 rounds. And the Navy and Marines versions are designed to carry only 220 rounds. In other words, a pilot gets one  burst of about for a few  seconds or so.

That pretty much means that the F-35 is almost useless for ground support, something the A-10 it was supposed to replace is superbly successful at.

The A-10 carries a seven-barrel GAU-8/A Avenger in its nose, with 1,174 rounds and a fixed rate of fire of 3,900 rounds per minute. Not only that, but the Avenger uses 30mm ammo, which can devastate tanks the GAU-22 can't as well as taking out fixed enemy ground positions. The GAU-22/A? Just 25mm ammo, not nearly as deadly...but since these so little of it, it doesn't really make much of a difference.

In fact, a big problem with the F-35 is that while it was designed to do a lot of different jobs (far too many, actually) it really seems only fit for one, that of a BVR (beyond visual range)plane for long-range missile warfare. Aside from the F-35's huge cost and reliability issues, it's far too slow and unmaneuverable to engage in dogfights with competing aircraft, especially when compared to the F-22 it's supposed to replace.And its other weaponry - a pair of Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM long-range air-to-air missiles and two JDAMS, either 1,000 pound satellite-guided bombs or 500 pound laser-guided weapons - are primarily designed for the BVR function.

The F-35's defects aren't lost on foreign purchasers either, with a number of orders being cut severely or canceled. Israel, for instance was supposed to buy 31 F-35's from Lockheed Martin..but cut its order to 14 and may even scratch its F-35 order altogether as more details about the plane leak out.


louielouie said...

i said it before regarding the ships the joos were buying from the hun.
this is just another example of my point.
if it doesn't cost a billion the generals/commanders don't want it.
does it work?
who cares, how much does it cost?

B.Poster said...


You're spot on here I think. Actually the analysis does not apply to all military commanders. After all the Chinese and the Russians spend much less on their militaries than America does and in most ways that matter their militaries are superior ours. In spite of all this vast spending, right now it'd be problematic at best to defend the American mainland in the event of an invasion.

The F-35 is actually quite typical of much of what is made in America: big, expensive, and it doesn't work!! Why anyone would buy American weapons is a mystery to me. Much more effective and less expensive weapons and weapon systems are available elsewhere.

Another mystery to me is why anyone would place orders for the F-35 before it has even been tested in action. Given America's history of making big, expensive, and completely useless things I would think would cause other nations to be extra skeptical and they would want to ensure they had complete control over any money the invested with their scientists and engineers leading the project and the Americans taking a subordinate role.

Anonymous said...

Actually a lot of American hardware is very good but the love affair with F35 is a very bad thing for everybody as it has become too big to fail.The ongoing delays,technical difficulties and spiralling costs will mean that drone technology will make them obsolete before delivery.THE WEST SHOULD STICK WITH GEN 4/4.5 AIRCRAFT UNTIL TARANIS ETC ARRIVE.Atrillion dollars would buy a lot of this proven generation of aircraft MJF