Boeing’s joint strike fighter blues

Boeing’s joint strike fighter blues

Hindsight is ceiling and visibility unlimited. As patience with the F-35 Lightning II continues to wear thin among almost everyone except those closest to the program — who point out that the jets are ripping through test points, in spite of all the bad headlines — Boeing engineers are griping that if DoD had picked their airplane, we wouldn’t have had all these problems. So writes Steve Wilhelm in the Puget Sound Biz Journal, who reports that hometown Boeing types say their jet, the X-32, should have won the Joint Strike Fighter competition, especially because of how well they said it handled short takeoffs and vertical landings.

The X-32 used a Harrier-style system of directed thrust nozzles for its STOVL variant, which advocates said was simpler and more reliable than Lockheed’s system. The Marines’ F-35B needs to “transform,” like a Decepticon, for takeoff and landing: Its engine nozzle rotates down, a unique lift fan behind the pilot starts up, and all manner of doors and ports and hatches need to open. All this complexity has made it tricky to get Lockheed’s concept into action as a production aircraft — although, again, service officials say they’re going at it like gangbusters — and Secretary Gates has put the F-35B on probation. If the Marines can’t get it right after two years… well… they’ll get a stern talking to. There is no alternative for the B, service officials concede, unless the Pentagon or Congressional lawmakers want to cancel it and take away the Marines’ ability to fly fast jets off big-deck amphibious ships. That’s not gonna happen.

In the meantime, Boeing’s fighter advocates can say they told us all so, even though there’s every chance the company would have had its own problems making its X-prototypes into flyable, production F-models. During the competition, Boeing never demonstrated the full capabilities of its STOVL jet in a real-world scenario — each time its B-version flew, it had been modified for safety or test reasons, operating without certain doors and panels or with its landing gear down. Lockheed, meanwhile, made aviation history by showing its F-35B could make a short takeoff, fly supersonic, and then land vertically.

We’ll never know what 10 years of development and hundreds of billions of dollars could’ve done for the X-32 — maybe it could be flying in Marine squadrons off Navy amphibious ships today. (Doubtful.) The real lesson is that even when the Defense Department sets up a program designed to save money and be efficient by using the same basic aircraft for three services… it won’t. Instead it produced a very expensive “joint” program in which only one of the participants — the Air Force — seems truly pleased with the result. And if it did produce the perfect plane for the Marines, the nature of the competition also meant that DoD couldn’t buy it.

It’s funny, though: If this contest were happening today, DoD might buy F-35As and Cs from Lockheed for the Air Force and Navy, but F-32Bs from Boeing for the Marines, given today’s strategy of spreading work around to placate defense giants and their surrogates in Congress. As it stands, Boeing will have to be satisfied with daydreaming about the one that got away.

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JSF needs to be cancelled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DOD Chopping Block, shopping list: JSF, Next Gen Bomber. These three platforms alone would pay off the National Debit in Savings. This is not hard. There is no Need for the JSF or JSF type platform period!!! Stealth is DEAD!!! See the S-400 SAM IADS System. This is not hard. We have Stand-Off Weapons that can defeat any IADS from Long Range Strike. Stop the Insanity, Fire Mullins, Gates and Air Force Senior Leadership for allowing Platforms such as JSF and F-22 for not having communications to any legacy platforms except for 1936 Voice.… These people have worked this JSF crap long enough. Fire them cancel this program and let’s move on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NO James, I am not!!!! I am a an American who deals with JSF and these issues each and every day. Telling the Truth in Washington these days is not Politically Correct these days!!! I have shed Blood for this country myself. How about YOU!!! Pick up your Weapon and Stand the Post or Shut UP!!!! We do not need these platforms. The S-400 will eat JSF and F-22. Continuing to fund Lockheed Martin and Wall Street to up the share cost at the cost of American Life’s is not RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will never apologize for telling the Truth!!! I worked for General LaMay and other Senior Leadership in my career that made decisions that were correct for the DOD and Correct for America. We are now in an environment where telling lies and subsiding Prime Integrators is the new politically correct thing to do. Well, that is NOT the case!!!

The Boeing JSF had one disadvantage that was difficult to overcome — It was so ugly that the Air Force just couldn’t see themselves flying around in the thing. It looks like a frog with an open mouth.

The looks of the plane came up repeatedly duirng development and the selection process. No one wanted to say outright that was a deciding factor, but all things being equal the Air Force — and anyone else when any aesthetic sense — would pick the Lockheed design.

I fault the Boeing design team for developing a design that was so ugly. If form followed function, and this design was vastly superior over all others, then OK. But it wasn’t. There are many design directions they could have gone before selecting the look of a gaping frog.

Unlike the fly-off between the Northrop YF-23 and Lockheed YF-22, the competition between the Boeing X-32 and Lockheed X-35 wasn’t too close. As mentioned the X-32B couldn’t take off vertically without parts removed to reduce weight. Even with a significantly stronger engine, the “F-32″ would have gained plenty of weight, much like the F-35 has.

Meanwhile the X-32 would have undergone a major redesign anyway, the delta-wing was to be replaced by a more “conventional” configuration. The 2D thrust-vectoring nozzle would have offered somewhat improved maneuverability and rear-aspect stealth, but from the front the F-32 could hope to match the F-35 in terms of radar signature reduction.

Now Boeing does seem to do a better job at managing and running their military programs than Lockheed. But the X-32 design was not up to par. In my opinion the McDonnell Douglas JSF design should have been selected for further development, that had promise.

The S-400 won’t eat the JSF or F-22, you’ve been reading too much Russian marketing. Stealth is not “dead” and firing all of these officers you have a personal problem with won’t solve anything. The F-35 has problems but it can communicate with legacy aircraft, besides for more modern communication systems it has the current standard, Link 16.

your intelligence shows when you say “national debit” Its national DEBT…NOT DEBIT.

The McDonnell Douglas design got dropped due to projected price didn’t it? That seems kind of silly now considering what has happened.

Speaking of looks, I always thought the x-32 looked like a stealth grandchild of the old F-86.

Forget “hindsight”, the fact that SIGHT was involved at all meant that Monica (X-32) was going to end up a loser.

It didn’t help that the last fighter aircraft that Boeing (Seattle) actually designed and built in production was the P-26 Peashooter from pre-WWII.

As long as the lift fan worked a couple times in the prototype phase (which it did) the Boeing team wasn’t going to win. Whether it works day in and day out in combat conditions was not a worry for the USAF and still seems up in the air. The Boeing bid was then just there to drive the price down with low cost manufacturing techniques (like thermoplastic composites, which apparently didn’t quite work out) and as a fall-back if the lift fan proved completely unworkable. But as we can see, on Cost+ contracts the bid price has very little to do with what the DoD will pay.

Whoa, settle down there big boy. Your frustration is showing. I too like the fantasy of a “perp walk” of the decision makers who got us into this mess, but it isn’t going to happen. It’s too big to fail dontcha’ know?

no he have right, stealth is dead.Why? because foreign countrys have developped new technology and today they sell it.Before that you have only one old technology where the f-22 have one advance, but now that’s over.When USA have say f-22 was stealth, you need see the technology in this time.
It is sure country who use old airplane like north korea, and many others country, one f-22 was undetectable but country who buy french or russian new technology, that’s different.The chinese j-20 was one propaganda plane, for say: we know stealth technology, russia make the t-50 for gain market against f-35.
But don’t say things like that, f-35 don’t was buy by foreign actor , just wait some years, after that everything know the reality.

If Boeing and GE built this fifth Generation Fighter, it would NOT cost as much as the American tax payer has paid today. Granted, both would have had issues to deal with like any development program, but we the tax payer would not have been ripped off like we are today. I’ve been engaed wth several LM, Boeing , P&W and GE programs over my 30 years, and rest assured the Boeing and GE teams do a much better job managing the tax payers money.

due to the risk, as it had no tail for example. and it had a second engine for stovl, which wasn’t very good also.

Yeah, just like in FIA–whoops.

The percentage of the budget that defense spending occupies is less than social programs. One is necessary for maintaining the sovereignty of a nation, the other is a luxury.

Defense spending relative to GDP has declined over the last 30 years. That means we spend fewer dollars each year to defend each dollar our nation has. Call that a success, but one that still demands continual reinvestment.

I don’t think the F-35 as a whole has been a worthwhile program, but there are few alternatives that would accomplish its program’s goals.

ok, so why would it be designed in Seattle? Didn’t Boeing (former McDonnell) St. Louis design F15 and F18?

There aren’t many contractors to be trusted. Electric Boat Company maybe, that’s about it, when it comes to cost. Regardless, there are going to be cuts coming. What is the question, not if. Any program doing poorly are probably going to be looked at for cost savings, whether that is reduced buys, modified buys, or cancellations, the cuts are coming. We pretty much are going to have to chop a little something from everywhere to realistically get the debt under control. The JSF program regardless of who built it was conceived for a different time, and it isn’t really exactly what we know now the future is going to look like. Like others have said though, we’ve got few alternatives other than updated legacy buys, and probably not the political willpower for that.

Why don’t we just create stealth UAVs with air to ground missiles or bombs that could go in the first wave along with cruise missiles to take out enemy SAM batteries? One to several waves of these followed by F-35s (ground attack) and F-22s (high cover) if needed then we can use our 4th generation fighters after that.

If they’d gone with Boeing the STOVL version would already be cancelled, we’d still be waiting for Boeing to give us the “final” configuration of the A & C versions, and we’d all be moaning about how much better it would have been if we’d picked Lockeed’s design rather than being stuck with Boeing’s ugly POS. (And I do mean UGLY, as in the kind that doesn’t stop with blinding people but the “turn them to stone like Medusa” ugly.)

If the President wishes to find out for absolutely sure whether the F-$$ ( OR STEALTH IN GENERAL !!! ) is worth spending a single more cent on (at least before wasting 323 billion $ on the F-$$‘s mass production), there is an extremely easy and objective way to determine this: Invite Russia to a friendly, medieval-style tournament, and fly off
1) a single, remote-controlled F-$$ prototype
2) a single, remotely operated S-400 site
in an Artillery polygon or in some missile test site.

The outcome of that duel would shut one of us up FOREVER , that I’ll promise you!

I’m also absolutely sure that all the patiently waiting (silently despairing?) foreign F-$$ clients (and the Chinese) would gladly be invited to this conclusive, decisive experiment, too… There is just too much money on the table, too much at stake, to refuse such a test!

Northrop designed the YF-17 which evolved into the F/A-18, McDonnell didn’t do much with the original design of the A/Bs. The basic design was what McDonnell built the Super Hornet on.

It should have been done in St. Louis, but Boeing Commercial mafia has ruined the once proud military air ability of the old MACAIR.

What’s it with military jets called “Lightning” and extreme, traumatizing ugliness? If you think the X-32 was ugly, what should one say about the British BAC “Lightning” of the 1950’s, you know: That Frankenfighter with external fuel tanks on pylons STANDING on the UPPER side of the wings…?!


That “Lightning’s” ugliness was such that it caused thunders wherever it appeared!

*cough* tanker lease.

Ah ok. Yeah, I can see that being risky. Thanks for the info.

Sorry that should have said the F-32 could NOT hope to match the F-35’s stealth qualities from the front. The huge intake ensured that, even with the radar blocker they had planned.

Given what we have seen you are probably right about this. The x-32 (the ugly duckling) probably would have been less over budget and on time. I do however, think that the F-35’s performance (even the B model) during competition was better. I’m sure as pointed out here that looks had something to do with it also.

I guess our real question going forward is do we want pretty aircraft that are too expensive to buy, too difficult to build, and too difficult to maintain given our government’s current money problems or should we try to upgrade the old and replace the broken with slightly better aircraft we can build now?

I’m not saying the x-32 was the correct answer but it may have been more right than the f-35. It is really hard to take sides since the whole idea of the JSF is bad and boeing phoned in their prototype.

Shall we dub the x-32 the ugly duck?

I HIGHLY doubt you’re too far up the food chain in the JSF world, if at all… Given the infantile, self-serving nature of your posts (not to mention the lack of basic English skills) I think it’s more likely you’re simply another blog troll. Little of what you posted is factually accurate or relavant and most sounds like a mash up of political rhetoric and talking points. You’re incorrect on your opnions on stealth, the S-400’s effectivenesss, and the F-35’s communications suite. The rest of your posts was near-incoherent drivel.

Or he could just be very ticked off and not proof-reading his work very well.

the single engine was the biggest problem, as it used TV for steering I THINK. so if the engine goes out…
the second stovl lift engine was bad from weight and complexity standpoint (i doubt it would be the f-135) and that’s about all i can remember.
i also read somewhere that LM f-35 design office refused to accept the f-22 office’s advice (competitiveness in the firm) as they had no fighter design exp (at least recent) and about the same for boeing (didn’t know anymore how to design planes). the outcome for the latter si known.

while it is true that the f-32 had to take off parts due to weight, that wasn’t a permanent problem, as there was already a redesign, but it would gain weight without a doubt and the harrier-style stovl has its share of problems (hot air and whatnot). OTOH the f-35 used the empty space for weapon bay for cylinder stroke, landing gear etc.

the problem with front-side-only VLO is that eventually you have to get away from the SAM site too if you don’t engage (or can’t anymore) it. and then…
also it would be much better (for the 35 and 22) to use a HARM for SEAD than a slow 250lb bomb.


This is a racist attack on our president. ‘osbama’ is a term of derision for the president and is a combination of Osama and Obama

this is disgusting and needs to stop.

haha, nice

Good Afternoon Folks,

OK so what, but how about the really big question would the X-32 melt flight decks?

Unlike the F-35B, would the X-32 STVOL be allowed to land and take off from a carrier?

Byron Skinner

Laughable BS at best. One of THE major reasons why the LM design was chosen was because its V/STOL design was LESS RISKY the Boeing’s. But of course Boeing engineers are going to say their design should have one, do you know any time when a losing bidder has NOT said as much…

Sorry naysayers but the reality is that the program is doing quite well ATM. It took longer to ‘turn the corner’ due to the 2004 weight issues than initially thought (& planned for) but production (that’s right PRODUCTION) is now delayed more by procurement cuts than other manufacturing issues & flight testing is AHEAD of the latest schedule. ANYONE complaining about the JSF program should educate themselves as to the performance of past programs…

We are wasting time here. Eliminate the Following: B-2 (Air-Condition Wonder of the World), NGB, JSF and F-22. Stealth is Dead (See information below) and there is simply no reason to have a manned aircraft flying over any target anywhere in the World under any circumstances. We have Stand-Off Strike Weapons as well as Unmanned Strikers that can eliminate any Target including Grass Huts and Camel Factories. The S-400 better known as the SA-21 Triumf has the following characteristics for all you home gamers:

The S-400 SA-21 is capable of destroying stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.
Did you really think after we lost the F-117 in 1999 that our enemies would not exploit this data and find a WAY TO DEFETE STEALTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where have you people Been. WE are flogging a DEAD Horse and SPENDING Billions and TRILLION on outdated Technology… e.g. JSF, B-2, and NGB. For what??? Grass Huts and Camel Farms

The S-400 SA-21 is capable of destroying stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second. Your intelligence is as stupid as your Contractor. It is both a Debt and Debit: Debit Definition for the stupid: “a column on the left of an accounting statement where debts and expenses are recorded” Get a Life!!!

The S-400 SA-21 is capable of destroying stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.

Spam it a few more times. There may be a few people that you still have yet to tick off!

Yes, you need to be ticked off, The Truth always makes folks feel good.

Earlydawn… If the truth hurts READ IT YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JSF, F-22, NGB, Are Worthless!!!!

The S-400 SA-21 is capable of destroying stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.

Since the marines are familiar with upgrading flight decks due to similar problems with V-22 nacelles venting buckling flight decks don’t see that as an issue.

AJ could you repeat all the missile specs again… I don’t think you’ve said it enough :)

You still want and need a Marine pilot who can have “EYES ON” the troops or positions he is supporting and the enemy. UAV’s have an inherent problem as they cause a Fog of War phenomenon of their own. While they are the future, you just can’t support the troops at that level with the technology as it stands now as far as Close Air Support is concerned.

So while we have yet another back and forth discussion over the useless F-35, the Chinese have been busy with J-20 test flight number two.….


One important question is what happened to McDonnell Douglas Aircraft after losing the JSF contract? What would have happened to Lockheed? Boeing is the only company in the gambit with a diversified product line… do we all really only want one aircraft manufacturer in the US capable or engineering and building modern military aircraft? Sometimes you got to throw the dog a bone to keep the boat afloat. I would prefer Boeing to not be the Microsoft of the military aircraft world. And fyi… MD went belly up after Boeing lost the bid… and they were acquired by Boeing. So who was the real winners and losers of all this? :)

AJ please note that it only has a 400km EFFECTIVE range (3,500km is strait shot not deviating and at a perfect angle). It is also being superseded by the S-500 (development Russia is saying will be done next year). And finally RUSSIA is comparing its capabilities to the modern MIM-104 Patriot missile systems.

Actually, he’s right. A debit is a completely different animal. Debt is something you owe. It changes over time, but it’s not a single point in time event, then gone. Deficit is a gap between a budget and actual spending (in the red, of course). Debit is a single charge, which can add to either a deficit or a debt (or both), depending on circumstance. There is no National Debit in Savings. there is no National Debt in Savings, actually… But that’s another question.
You’re also talking about a Russian piece of equipment. They may have IRST up on us, but their radars aren’t even close to ours. I have to wonder how they are suddenly detecting these low RCS aircraft… Perhaps the same way the PAK-FA is a 5th generation fighter. It may fly like one, but the avionics just ain’t there.

You mean like the Sentinel or the Phantom Ray?

Yeah, we should.

Cause Boeing hasn’t designed a plane in a long time.

Somebody must work for LM.
And, of course, the fact that they forgot that they have to write the code for the a/c isn’t part of the discussion? Or the fact that it was supposed to already be operational by now, but it’s around, what, 4 years late? And the B may never fly?
Sorry, I like the F-35, but don’t try to snow us.

Still waiting to see any truth from you. Opinion? Sure. I’d love to say you’re drinking the kool-aid, but that sorta implies that other people agree with you when you say (and believe) incorrect information.

I think it was Richard Aboulafia who said that they were using old technology there.

Don’t get me wrong, the thing scares me, but I doubt it can stand toe to toe with the F-22.

Then again, based on standard Chinese tactics… it doesn’t have to go one on one.

Lockheed and MD both got out of the diversified portfolio when their commercial aircraft couldn’t compete with Boeing and Airbus. LM already had the F-22. MD went belly up for more reasons than just the F-35. Essentially, they spent too much, and the A-12 drained a lot of their cash reserves, as well as causing them to lose a large percentage of their workforce. Lockheed is in no danger, and would have survived just fine without the JSF.
On the other hand, by giving the only two fighter a/c of this generation to LM, they effectively did what you suggested they should avoid: put all their eggs in one basket.

Politic played a major role at the time of the fighter contest, during that time, Bush was the president, and he need to bring the jobs to build this fighter to his home state, no matter how good Boeing’s design would be or how low our bid was, we still just can’nt win.

kinda like the wait for the final F/A-18 E, F, and G versions. Oh, yeah, those are operational. my error in comparing.
Also something about Ugly POSs that in the end seem to work out well in close air support, e.g. P-47s, Skyraiders, F105 Thud, A-37s, A-10 Warthogs, A-6, Harriers, Phantom IIs, and Apaches.
If I was in a trench with incoming bad guy rounds, give me a A10 or AH64 checking in to help out when called.

Everyone here knows you’re a GE employee in their marketing department.

I agree with Duke, Texas is the critical factor to both JSF and F-22. It is political and money driven. Has nothing to do with capability!!!

Only if you think that the F-22 and the F-35 are old technology. There are many stealth design characteristics that were taken directly from both the F-22 and the F-35 including the large single canopy, chined fuselage, and DSI inlets from the F-35.

Richard Aboulafia is a Lockmart mouthpiece who along with the other “experts” for rent have been desperately trying to convince everyone that only LM can build 5th gen fighters since the PAK-FA and now the J-20 started flying. Which of course ignores the terabytes of information that was “borrowed” from none other then the JSF Program by the Chinese, along with countless other hacking events dating back ten years.

The F-22 is not the aircraft that’s threatened by the J-20, its the future backbone of US air power the F-35.

“And fyi… MD went belly up after Boeing lost the bid… and they were acquired by Boeing” — say what, TheGuy? Some facts: MD lost their JSF bid November, 1996, and the merger with Boeing was announced December, 1996 — thereby keeping the doors open in St Louis and Long Beach. MD was a dying company, thanks to Harry Stonecipher. Unfortunately for the working stiffs at heritage Boeing, Harry has about 50 IQ points over that dimwit mailorder PhD Phil Condit, and he ate Phil’s lunch. Boeing has been suffering ever since, with Harry’s proteges installed throughout the remnants of a once great company.

Actually, it’s the avionics that are the real issue here. The Russians have also fielded their own “5th gen” fighter, but they don’t seem to understand that the admittedly nebulous term generally implies, not just stealthy structures, though there’s a lot more than copy macro-structures, but the small pieces that none of us can verify by looking at it… It also implies sensor fusion, AESA radar, assisted flight controls, FBW, etc.

The other thing is… They may have gotten information, but they didn’t get anything classified. Why? Cause that isn’t on the internet. They use separate non-networked computers for that.

Is the F-35 going to be challenged by the J-20? Probably. I hear the side and rear aspects have a much larger RCS than the front, far more than the F-22. Will the F-22 be challenged? Probably not. They’ll get overwhelmed, most likely, but until they get to visual, they’ll own the J-20, IMHO.

great point

Except they never built the F-22 in Texas. Marietta, GA is production ground zero for this aircraft.


The Boeing X-32 lost because it could not do the job. The jet flown in competition was not the one they proposed to build. The engine nearly burned through the hull in VTOL mode, which was tethered for flight. The VTOL config jet was set for vertical, but they had to re-config the intake for CTOL mode for any high speed flight. The intake design was not set and at 700 pounds was a real show stopper. As for Boeing and its ability to manage a new flight program, the C-17 program is not a poster child. Its program showed that they were unable to design or get into flight this new trash hauler without large schedule slips and infusions of money. For example, the first flights involving multiple landings cracked the main ring frames at the landing gear. Without the USAF forcing LM to help BMA, the C-17 would not have had a T-tail nor aft ramp complex. The list of problems encountered by the Boeing design team is long and expensive.


Actually, the aircraft was superior to the X-35 in up and away flight, it couldn’t help but be so, being nearly 6,000lbs lighter (28,000lbs) and with 34,000lbst in military and 52,000lbst in A/B (compared to 26K and 43K for the X-35).
The Boeing bird ran rings around the X-35 and the PWSC version of the F-32 would have been 1,500lbs lighter yet.
The cost was actually in fuel burn because the direct lift mode requires a lot of siphoning of the forward compressor stage air (before it gets too hot) to provide bleed supplies for the EIGHT nozzles in the F119-PW-611 engine.
Lots of bleed air = bigger front fan. Bigger fans need more oomph to spin them and more oomph comes from higher specific fuel consumption.
With this, the F-32 lost perhaps as much as 150nm in radius and it didn’t help that the aircraft’s design included a triplet of pitot tubes clustered around the nose that prevented inflight refueling and further increased the perception that the jet was short legged.

The X-32 was surprisingly stealthy in the PWSC configuration because the jet would have had a ‘device’ in the inlet duct that was not present in the original bird.
It also would have in fact –lost– 1,500lbs of weight in the change from a pure delta to a tailed jet and this would have given it absolutely stellar performance.
The STOVL condition is a matter of opinion but many of the changes were due to the fact that they wanted to avoid inlet issues in case of popstart progression back up through the core and it was felt that this could most easily be done by maximizing capture area as a function of removing the forward cowl.
I have also heard that the translating cowling (with would have also been a feature of the PWSC version) was not ready in time.
Take your pick but the jet had a 28,000lb empty weight and a 34,000lbst thrust reserve so it was not lacking in the ability to hover.

The big problem for STOVL was that the Marine desire was for an ‘ASTOVL’ configured jet with very lightweight internal carriage of Mk.82 and AMRAAM class missiles, not a pair of 2,000lb urban renewal Mk.84. All major CAS support missions would have been done with external ordnance, just like they are being planned for the F-35B today and the internal fuel load would have also been greatly reduced (at least 4,000lbs) from that of the 14,000lb of the actual X-32.
Had the Marine mission been decoupled from the JSF program as one commonality too far, the X-32 would have had a conventional, rear mounted, engine without the massive burner pipe and this would have helped aesthetics as well as signature by allowing the airframe to have a conventional weapons bay underneath a serpentine inlet duct.

IOW: Everything would have changed.
As is, the big less from the JSF is quite simply that you don’t use empty-shell X-plane technology demonstrators to make your production downselect commitment with. Because while the PWSC Boeing F-32 aircraft was actually kinda cute, in a puggish sort of Wildcat fashion, the F-35 grew weight within it’s existing moldline as systems which were not in the X-jet came back to haunt Lockheed (weapons bay, landing gear, AMAD etc.). The resulting structural shortfalls (weakening the boxframe to accommodate the outboard gear and weapons bay especially) are what greatly added to the baseline weight of the standard jets and essentially made the F-35B useless. Drastic changes in things like the Quick Mate production subassembly lap joints have made the F-35 no easier to build than a 1980s jet, just to save a few pounds of weight.
It’s easy to demonstrate systems design. It’s hard to /estimate/ volume control.

What will determine the fate of the JSF as a whole as indeed Manned Airpower is inherent to these three systems–

500m anti-mortar–1934

2km anti-rocket http://​www​.gizmag​.com/​r​h​e​i​n​m​e​t​a​l​l​-​l​a​s​e​r​-​t​e​s​t​/​2​550

10km anti-TBM http://​www​.gizmag​.com/​g​o​/​5​8​68/

When you see that kind of development, that fast, using essentially bundled fiberoptics (civilian comms cable) it is no longer possible to pretend that airdefense is an ordered system of measure and counter because there is no missing. The 50kw German design cut through a 15mm thick steel girder. If the jet comes too close, it’s over. No miss-ile dodge. No 500,000 dollar per-shot costs.

Well, Boeing missed the boat by miles. Ugly A/C ? Sure, but technically, a poor design. McDonnell Douglas had a better design. Having to reconfigure an aircraft for vertical to convential, was stupid, stupid, stupid. The AV8 didn’t do that. Why did Boeing go that route? Ask their management. They lost because they didn’t build the right aircraft…period.

gosh– what we need is change the confuigeraion to super xf-32 like the super hornet was done! maybe DOD will go ahead and do it if they put f-35 on hold! SAVE SOME BUCKS! DUH!


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