F35 good or bad?
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  1. #1
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    Default F35 good or bad?

    I just came across this older interview of Pierre Sprey by CBC (Canada broadcasting co) He helped design two planes that have some of the longest active service lives to date (F-16, and A-10).

    The Designer Of The F-16 Explains Just How Stupid The F-35 Is - Digg
    Direct link to youtube:
    YouTube

    This is another youtube that says F35 great, addressing some of the complaints of the above interview:
    YouTube

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    Personally I agree 100% with Mr. Sprey.

    Steve

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    This does make sense. I knew that it was sold as a joint strike fighter. The Marines always have had special requirements because of their mission as the army and Air Force. The fact that Israel has done so well with the F16 shows there is a lot that can be done to improve without a lot of money.

    The price tag on these are crazy. Not sure if stealth is really a scam. If that is true then this seems like a complete screwup. Very disappointing and so I am thinking this might be only part of the story. My initial reaction is that since he is so convincing considering everything I have watched over the years that the man has not been able to rise any support for his views. I suspect there are other pieces to this puzzle.

    Interesting video it has me willing to look into the issue.

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    Found this review of this mans opinion.

    Pierre Sprey's Anti-F-35 Diatribe Is Half Brilliant And Half Bullshit

    Please excuse the French in the link.

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    I remember working on some control manifolds back in 2001 i think.
    When it was a ton overweight!
    Shows how good the Harrier was...simple is best boys!

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    The F35 concept of multi roll multi service airplane was and is a major flaw. The f111 was pitched as a multi service airplane, the Navy requirement caused it to be far different than the original concept. The idea that scale of production lowers cost was and is the basis of these kinds of airplanes. The reality of each branch having their own specs makes the whole concept suspect.

    I do think the stealth attributes are more valid than Mr. Sprey alludes to. The internal stores also greatly improve performance over wing mounted ord. There are attributes of the F35 that are good or even great, the airplane as a weapon system is, a unicorn dream in what it is supposed to be Vs what it will end up being. Like the B2, it is so expensive the procured numbers will never amount to the original order. They will be so valuable that commanders will be reluctant to deploy them. The kind of battles we face in the future really point towards unmanned aircraft and missiles or close air support.

    Steve

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    From everything I've read it's a mixed bag. The major issue as others have noted is the cost and complexity due to trying to be what the Germans call a wool-milk-pig. The more it costs the less you can have and there is some merit to the old Soviet doctrine of producing huge numbers of good-not-great equipment.

    IMO one of the major issues with the F35 is the intent to internalize all add-ons to reduce radar signature. Traditional aircraft used for multi-role missions use largely bolt-on systems that are cheaper to produce and easier to retrofit.

    As an aside, many years ago I got a great vantage point at an airbase to watch pilots practicing touch-and-go landings. There were a variety of aircraft from ancient B52s to the F15 Eagle. The latter blew our socks off when we saw how little runway it required to become airborne. It seemed as much rocket as aircraft!

    IMO there will always be a role for manned aircraft, although the role of unmanned craft will increase. For many missions a piloted aircraft is perfectly ok and far cheaper than something like a cruise missile, which is not reusable.

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    Scott nice to see you back here,

    As a pilot, I hope there will be piloted aircraft long into the future. High risk suicide type missions could easily be flown by remotely piloted or autonomous airplanes. I agree with the enemy of good is perfect doctrine, we have seen it play out time and time again with lots of projects military and commercial.

    One of the worst things about our military procurement is the lead times, we are building stuff that was designed 20 years ago. The weapons and tactics we are building for are not the threats we face today.

    Steve

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    As my company makes the engine sets and other parts for the aircraft...I think it's great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    IMO there will always be a role for manned aircraft, although the role of unmanned craft will increase. For many missions a piloted aircraft is perfectly ok and far cheaper than something like a cruise missile, which is not reusable.
    Long time no "see"

    Re "not reusable" reminds me of the story where a suicide bomber instructor was teaching his class.

    "Watch carefully. I'll only be showing this once"

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    Such a expensive plane for sure. The fact that they are so expensive means less planes. That is fine if they can handle the needs. Of course they can cover a certain area and can not be in two places at the same time.

    With military hardware there seems to be controversy often over the cost and utility of them. The Bradley was one that was under scrutiny yet it was proven when used. For what it is itvserved the need well. There have been things which I thought maybe they should not have cancelled like the Crusader tank. Of course the name was before the war and if they went ahead with it then the name could be changed if it is a problem.

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    Obscene amounts of taxpayer money being spent of ever more obscene ways to kill people

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Obscene amounts of taxpayer money being spent of ever more obscene ways to kill people
    But its all OK if we get paid some money for helping produce it, right?

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    The only thing more expensive than having the best air force, is having the second-best air force.

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    From what I've read the major issue with the F35 was when they decided to have a VTOL variant for the Marines to replace the Harrier. The need to accommodate that variant resulted in changes that bloated the airframe.

    Had they stuck with the F/A concept (Fighter/Ground Attack) there likely would have been far fewer issues. Apparently the F/A-18 is working ok but imagine how that might have turned out if a VTOL variant were demanded.

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    Is it still suffering from cracks? I haven't seen it over my house in a month.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    The only thing more expensive than having the best air force, is having the second-best air force.
    That sounds good on paper. The FW190 and ME262 were far and above the allied aircraft and did little to further the cause. Swarms of P47's and P51's could be deployed and overwhelm the far more advanced ME262. A few F35's against SA400 batteries thick as thieves, just lucky shots would take out most if not all. Remember the F35 is not going to be fighting guys in Toyota trucks, the Russians and Chinese have formidable weapon systems in spades.

    The really high value targets are very well defended, it is going to take an overwhelming response to achieve results. I remember when the B2 was in development, then pre-production and finally production. The fleet numbers slipped at every step until the number was insignificant. Remember the B2 was going to replace the B52. The sad fact is, every new airplane is old before it is deployed and becomes so costly that they are never ordered in the numbers needed.

    While I do think we still have rolls for manned attack and fighter aircraft, unmanned aircraft make more sense in a number of situations. Honestly cruise missile type craft with higher payload and more sophisticated systems, a smart bomb in its own little stealth airplane with countermeasures. We have all that technology right now, in large orders the avionics/targeting and ECM could be done inexpensively.

    The existential threats we face are thousands upon thousands of missiles and hundreds of airplanes. A couple of squadrons of F35's as capable as they are claimed to be are no match. Particularly without external stores, they just don't have the depth of of ordnance. The bar has moved and the weapons we fought previous wars with aren't the weapons we will fight the next one with.

    An F35 may be able to track and target dozens of threats, without the ability to kill each of these what good are they. There is strength in numbers that is just not replicated any other way. A few hundred airplanes on each coast is nothing, especially when you consider up time and maintenance. A few squadrons in each sector. The total cost involved are so high they devour the resources needed for other programs. This is just plain dumb. The cost either needs to come way down and force strength increased or we find a plan B

    Steve

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    A friend of mine flew the Prowler and now flies the F18 for the Marines. I haven't talked to him in about 2 years, so his opinion of the F-35 may have changed, but he said the F-35 was a bad idea for a number of reasons not mentioned in this video:

    -The Navy wants jets with 2 engines for redundancy over open oceans. F-14, F-18, etc. The F-35 only has 1.
    -The Marines don't need stealth. They use their jets for close in air support of troops fighting on the ground. Their jets don't go in until the air force has already established air superiority.
    -The F-35 requires far too much maintenance. They have to replace the tires every 5 flights.

    From what I have read, the video above is a little misleading about radar/stealth. Radars CAN detect stealth jets using low frequency radars. However, they cannot use this for targeting their missiles. Sending in a stealth jet alone is a bad idea. That is how the F-117 got shot down in Yugoslavia. Sending in stealth jets in combination with other jets and active jamming works.

    Personally, with the high cost of modern air defense systems, I think we would be better off building a lot of cheap drones. Send them in first in waves and let the enemy use up all of their surface to air missiles on the drones. Then send in whatever we want relatively unopposed. No need for stealth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in SoCal View Post
    The weapons and tactics we are building for are not the threats we face today.
    You mean like reinforced cockpit doors on passenger jets ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in SoCal View Post
    That sounds good on paper. The FW190 and ME262 were far and above the allied aircraft and did little to further the cause. Swarms of P47's and P51's could be deployed and overwhelm the far more advanced ME262.
    No, it's a lesson from history. It's not about Biggles vs. the Red Baron.

    Sprey is stuck in the 1970's. Times have changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in SoCal View Post
    A few F35's against SA400 batteries thick as thieves, just lucky shots would take out most if not all. Remember the F35 is not going to be fighting guys in Toyota trucks, the Russians and Chinese have formidable weapon systems in spades.
    The proliferation of IADS makes stealth even more important. 4th gen fighters are not survivable against S-400.

    It's not about being "invisible"- it's about decreasing the detection range.

    2,456 jets is a little more than a "few" in my book.

    Tell me, if stealth is so useless- why are the Chinese and Russians (among others) investing so heavily in it?

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