The first of the last

The first of the last

Three major defense programs or platforms — so far — have hit milestones this week on their way out of production or out of service:

Lockheed Martin’s final F-22 Raptor flew for the first time, Flight’s Steve Trimble and Dave Majumdar reported.

The Navy identified the first four of the seven cruisers it will decommission to save money, unless Rep. Buck McKeon can save them: They’re the USS Cowpens; USS Anzio; USS Vicksburg; and USS Port Royal, and they’ll all go away on March 31, 2013, according to a Navy administrative message.


And Boeing announced Thursday it has delivered the first aircraft of the final multi-year batch of F/A-18Es and Fs and E/A-18Gs — unless, of course, the Navy Department were to decide to buy more of them. Here’s what the company said:

Boeing has completed delivery of the U.S. Navy’s first aircraft acquired through the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G Multi-Year Procurement (MYP) III contract, ahead of schedule. Aircraft G-57, an EA-18G Growler, was the first of 148 F/A-18E/Fs and EA-18Gs that the Navy will purchase through the contract. The aircraft was delivered to the Navy on Jan. 26 and arrived at its home base at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on Jan. 30.

On Sept. 28, 2010, the Navy awarded Boeing the MYP III contract for delivery of 66 F/A-18E/Fs and 58 EA-18Gs, to be purchased through 2013. The Navy has since expanded the contract with the addition of 24 F/A-18E/Fs. The Navy has the option to procure up to 194 F/A-18E/Fs and EA-18Gs under the MYP III contract terms.

It goes on:

Boeing delivered 210 Super Hornets to the Navy during MYP I, which spanned fiscal years 2000 through 2004. The company then received a second multi-year contract that included 213 F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft, and spanned fiscal years 2005 through 2009. Through fiscal year 2009, 44 more aircraft were added to MYP II, including 24 F/A-18Fs acquired by the Royal Australian Air Force under a Foreign Military Sales agreement with the U.S. Navy.

Procuring aircraft through the first two multi-year contracts generated $1.7 billion in savings for the Navy. The MYP III contract is projected to generate more than $605 million in savings, for total savings of more than $2.3 billion across the three F/A-18E/F and EA-18G contracts.

The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a low observable, multirole aircraft that performs virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions. Boeing has delivered more than 480 F/A-18E/Fs to the U.S. Navy. The F/A-18E/F has logged more than 166,000 combat flight hours supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Boeing EA-18G Growler is the only air combat platform that delivers full-spectrum airborne electronic attack capability along with the targeting and self-defense capabilities derived from the F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornet. A derivative of the two-seat F/A-18F Block II, the EA-18G’s highly flexible design enables warfighters to operate either from the deck of an aircraft carrier or from land-based airfields. The EA-18G was a critical platform employed during NATO operations in Libya in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn in 2011. The EA-18G logged more than 7,000 combat flight hours supporting operations in Libya.

Not sure about the Super Hornet being “low observable,” but let’s leave that aside for now — did you catch the bit where it described the Navy’s “option” to increase its aircraft buy? That could mean the potential for a trickle of new airplanes beyond today’s projected end of production, so Growler G-57 might not be the first of the last after all.

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Considering the F-35 isn’t going to be ready for carrier opps anytime soon, if at all. We may need to buy many more Super Hornets in the next couple of years.

Super Hornet is a plane of the past let fall the production and go to th 6G fighter, soon F-18 will encounter Pak –fa or J-20 and little chance to win in a dogfight with this two new planes.

Low observable… Just how stealthy is the F/A18E/F/G or the F-35A/B/C when the hard points are loaded for a ground attack mission?

The F-35 has the option of carrying weapons internally. The Hornet does not.

I think since the F-35 is having problems, I believe that the Us Navy should buy more Super Hornets and Growlers as a back up.

Posting this again:

1 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block II Cost: $53 Million
1 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet International Road Map Cost: $60 Million est.

1 F-35B Cost: $291.7 Million
1 F-35C Cost: $ 235.8 Million

For every 1 F-35C we could make 4.7 Super Hornets. For every 1 F-35B we could make 6 Super Hornets. The Super Hornet with the International Roap Map upgrades has six improvements that make it just as good as the F-35: http://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​l​E​3​h​8​y​I​m​m4U

1. Conformal fuel tanks. Give it an unrefueled range roughly equal to the F-35.
2. Internal IRST.
3. Glass ****pit display.
4. EPE upgraded engines that increase thrust by 20%.
5. Stealthy weapons pod for internal carriage. Give it a frontal RCS roughly equal in stealth to the F-35.
6. Spherical scanning IR sensors that provide missile warning and picture roughly equal to the F-35.

Boeing has made a stealthy weapons pod for the Super Hornet as part of their international road map upgrades. It can hold 2 AMRAAMs and 6 SDBs,or 2 AMRAAMs and 1 Mk-83, or 2 AMRAAMs and 1 Mk-84, or 4 AMRAAMS. Essentially an internal payload that can rival that of the JSF in terms of firepower. The Super Hornet airframe has more RCS reduction features than any other 4.5 gen fighter in the world and with the stealthy weapons pod it has a frontal RCS equal in stealth to the F-35. If you mount weapons externally on either fighter they lose their stealth. The Super Hornet is also 4x cheaper than the F-35.

in my opinion the F-22 was worth the extra money what is so great about the F-35 that a strike variant of the F– could not do for cheaper.…
further more as a general rule I do not think the navy and Airforce should ever p;urchase the same plane it takes out competition while the navy has differnt needs because of its carriers it always seems to be a bad fighter when the navy and airforce purchase the same plan example at least in my opinion the F-4

The “low observable” claim with the Super Hornet (and even more so with the Block II because it does not have a mechanical radar to put in the “stowed” position) is more of a “balanced” approach like what is used by the B-1 bomber. Some low observable shaping (mostly front aspect effect) is used in order to have a better baseline. With this better “tuned” baseline, self-defense measures like on-board radar detection can have a better chance at predicting risk to enemy emitters. In the Block II this is displayed in a more unified or “fused” display.

With this, the on-board self-defense jammer ends up having to do less work and is more efficient. Again more so with the Block II in a fused manner where the whole self-defense system works better as a unified kit.

As an aside: years ago, when this was done with the B-1 design, the increased predictions in jamming efficiency produced a weight savings of 5000 pounds. They took that weight savings and farmed it back into more self-defense gear for the B-1. Having seen all the self-defense gear for the B-1 in a big room at a depot test center, it is impressive with the amount of boxes and systems.

Trivia: portions of the Block I self-defense system included a jammer previously rejected by the Navy.

With Block II, you have that, and a better towed decoy (ALE-55 vs ALE-50). ALE-50 has some recorded saves in Operation: ALLIED FORCE (1999) including a B-1.

Against legacy systems, (and even without the G Grower/Grizzly jammer), the F-18E/F Block II can more than manage and kill those threats.

The F-35 has a defensive problem because if it goes naked (where even a simple turn can increase RCS by a factor of 100 or more (quote by LM with the F-117 shootdown), it has no proper self-defense jammer. And… a forward pointing AESA with limited power-output; limited in band capability, and limited field of view, is not a credible self-defense jammer. The towed decoy for the F-35 is in a future “notional” Block.

The F-35 and Super can’t stand up to high-end anti-access threats. And the Super Block II brings so much more value to the Navy, especially since they have to spend gobs of money buying and sustaining big grey floaty things.

Years ago, when asked what they wanted out of a Joint Strike Fighter, the Navy said: two-seat capability and two-engines. They get that capability with the Super. Because of the F-35 STOVL requirement, the Navy ended up with a turkey of a JSF.

The F-35 is so behind schedule, and has so many technical problems that may or may not get sorted out. We may need to buy a lot more Super Hornets. The F-35 is so far behind schedule and over budget it makes the F-111 Program look like the Model Program to follow. See link below
http://​i1004​.photobucket​.com/​a​l​b​u​m​s​/​a​f​1​6​8​/​H​o​r​d​e01

The F-4 was a result of everyone jumping on the techno-craze bandwagon and entirely forgetting the basics. It looks like history is repeating itself with the F-35. I still think the A-model has a chance though.

The Navy should stop waisting time and just start purchasing Super Hornets with the upgrades since they would get an improvement in capability equal to the F-35 only with aircraft in large numbers. Not only could we make these upgraded Super Hornets easily, but all of the Block IIs that the Navy already has could be retrofitted with the upgrades as well.

The Marines should configure their amphib ships for the sole purpose of putting Marines on shore and should purchase Super Cobras and Super Hornets. The F-35B is not only not worth the price, but the concept of the STOVL fighter is pretty much dead. We had made the STOVL fighter with the idea that it could be used to stealthily jump out of the brush camouflaged and slow down the Soviet armored fist that would have rolled through Europe. We never send our STOVL fighter to special hostile areas because modern artillery, MANPADs, and SAMs have made that mission suicidal. Now we just try to use STOVL fighters the same as we use fixed wing fighters off of a carrier or off an airstrip. During the Gulf War the AV-8 Harriers were put on an airstrip closer to Kuwait for no other reason than that they had such a short unrefueled range they needed to be closer to get involved. The STOVL capability in a fighter is not used for anything special and building it into an aircraft is too expensive and decreases overall performance. The USMC should remove its STOVL squadrons and replace them with Super Hornets or Super Cobras.

So you know the classified RCS numbers of the F-35? You do realize that even if you could match F-35/B-2 stealth from the front you could not egress safely right? The only way the F-35 will stay at 200 million is if you cut the program. Cutting numbers doesn’t save money. The price drops as you ramp up production.
That’s why The B-2 costs over 1 billion. You only have 20.

The problem is all the massive technical faults with the F-35. They are far from figuring it out. Maybe an intelligent purchaser of military equipment will have something to look at around 2021 or 2022.

Amphibious ships primary purpose is to put Marines ashore, always has been. While the AH-1Z can do many parts of the CAS mission, it can’t do it all. Neither can the F-18(in any form), The AV-8B provides the Marines fixed wing abilities when regular fixed wing may not be available. The F-35B is suppose to increase that ability, especially from an LHA, which the F-18 cannot operate from. We must remember that STOVL capabilities require more complicated equipment and shorter operating range. The problem is we are requiring this aircraft to do 2 completely different missions and that is extremely difficult. The primary mission of Marine Air has been to support the Infantry and will continue to be.

Thing is we dont need more crappy Super Hornets. we need a new fleet defender like the Tomcat was a new plane or redesign plane like a F-22N or F-15SE for Naval use would be far better theirs too many Hornets in Navy service which cant do every mission like the brass wants them too.

Buck McKenon is full of crap there nothing he can do to stop the Navy from being cut. Only solution cut the stupid Army there programs are crap.

The Navy needs an aircraft larger than the F-35C, but a redesigned F-22 or F-15 is definitely not the answer. Clean sheet NGAD integrating proven propulsion and avionics, together with a strike capability is the way forward.

Even a Super Hornet with the full proposed upgrade package would not match the frontal RCS of the F-35. Boeing had to back down from the same claim regarding the F-15SE too.

Pricing doesn’t work like that. It’s based on so many factors you cannot just list figures like that. I’ve mentioned some of the reason for the current F-35 LRIP costs before and shouldn’t have to do it every topic remotely related to the F-35. Once design changes reach a minimum, the airframe and engines won’t be much more complicated or material intensive to manufacture than the F/A-18.

The avionic suite which is still in development is expensive, but trying to jam them into the Super Hornet isn’t going to make that aspect of a fighter any cheaper. Considering power requirements, you might need to make some changes to the Super Hornet’s power supply system.

You’re not going to match the RCS of the F-35 from any aspect, the IR/laser warning system is not comparable to EODAS and closer in design to the missile warning systems offered for helicopters.

The Super Hornet with upgrades can be a good interim aircraft, but what about the long term?

Unfortunately the B-1B never got the Block F upgrade with the new defensive avionics. The F-35 isn’t the F-117 either. There is space for internal ESAs which could be used as part of an ECM system.

The APG-81 has the same array size as the APG-79 and CAPTOR-E, but is significantly more capable than both. If you want something bigger, than you’ll have to move to a bigger airframe. Hence why we should have aircraft like the F-22 as well.

It took about 5 years after IOC for the F/A-18E and F/A-18F to get an AESA radar, the new jammers and decoys, and all of the other nice systems it has today.

I can’t understand why they can’t apply what they did to the F-15SE to the Super Hornet. Give it stealth and super cruise and you might have a decent fighter. Also upgrade our F-16 fleet to the F-16N, replace all F-15Cs with updated and upgraded F-22s. Retire 90% of the B-52s and B-1Bs, replace them with the B-1R. This would at least get us back up to speed and cover the gap until we get 5th and 6th generation fighters and bombers. But no we can’t do any of this, we have to give the bums their welfare checks and pay for half the world’s defense.

By the time the F-35 is fixed upgraded F-18F and F-15s will be higher performance.

Tactics and pilot training can beat any adversary. We did it against the Japanese until mid-1943.

We need to face the facts that the F-35 program has failed and we need to quit flushing more money down the toilet on it. Even if it ever reaches IOC it will never become affordable in the quantities needed to fill out the force structure. Also, the internal payload is insufficient in both the A/A and A/G roles and it has no A/G missiles period with the cancelling of JAGM & NGM.

The RAND study on restarting F-22 was indicated that it would be about $400M. That’s only a month or two of overruns on F-35. We should be building more F-22’s and more F-15E (advanced configuration) aircraft for the Air Force. Advanced Configuration F/A-18s for the USN. We also need to get on with going to a 6th generation fighter aircraft specifically designed to counter the 2025+ AA/AD environment that the F-35 will be hard pressed to cope with.

As for F-35, harvest the technology that did work (or will work soon) like DAS and terminate.

The only dog fight American planes will be in against Chinese or Russian planes is in Xbox. We learned a long time ago in the jungles of southeast Asia it is F-ing stupid to fly into enemy air space and leave their air fields un molested. We don’t fight like that anymore, we just have a bunch of fighter jocks that pine for the glory days of it.

The USAF and LM can talk big crap all they want but if we really had faith in the F35 we wouldn’t be slapping ER on the back end of every major stand off missile in our inventory. We wouldn’t be building missiles with greater stand off range and speed. The USN wouldn’t be pouring billions into the X47.

Wow there is so much part truth and misconception on the F-35 its silly. Many of you have actually no clue what the plane can or cannot do. You don’t even realize that the F-15 costs $100 Million dollars it self.
You just carry on with your lemming like knee jerk reactions to all things F-35. I have a few questions for you.

1. So if you dump all things F-35 what are you going to replace Marine tac air with?

2. A wasp class ship with F-35bs is a strike asset, a Wasp with only Helos is worthless until sams are cleared, what will you put on the wasp?

3. UAVs cannot do counter air, and are jammable and spoof-able are you will to commit a large number of unstealthy F-18s into a dangerous IADS MAW in order to escort them? remember you gave away all the navies stealthy fighters after the money was spent.

4. How will totally scrapping the F-35 really save money when long lead items and parts have already be negotiated? The parts have already been cut, the assembly lines set up. Bull dozing the factory wont save you money since the projected buy is in the thousands. Lockheed will simply roll the cost into the remaining airframes. If you want the cost to be near the F-18s cost then you have to buy the 2k like the DOD commited to buy.

5. What about the Japanese fighter fleet, The USAF F-16 fleet, The British? will they all buy hornets also?
Are you willing to CEDE all American fighter manufacturing and the Jobs they provide because your nostalgic for the F-14 and F-18? The F-18 is not even better than the Euro-fighter, it lost competition in India and japan.
Do you think these countries will wait another 15+ years for the next fighter?

A lot of us are a lot smarter than you think and you may not be as smart as you think you are. For one thing F-15 and F-16 are proven, F-35 is not. For another thing F-35 has spent something like $50B but there is $350B to be spent that could be spent to acquire all the alternative material solutions that would address all your questions. For another thing there are mutliple systems & solutions in the battlespace to address your #3 point: F-18s never have and never will be operating in a vacuum. I’m not saying scrap the F-35 completely, I’m saying at least develop back up plans. I’ve never seen a single F-35 advocate acknowledge the slightest probability that the program is a failure, and that there are feasible alternatives. One that you failed to mention, that a lot of posters have advocated for, is restarting the F-22 production line and developing variants from a basic solid design. So thank you for contributing your “part truth and misconception” to this nauseating debate.

The F-15C is being upgraded as well with newer helmet targeting system new avionics ect. But a SE ungraded would be best since Boeing say it make the F-15 just as stealthy as a F-35 which would be great since the F-15 is much faster than the Lighting is anyway, and carries more munitions. The F-16 would not pass Navy requirements for a carrier plane the one engine design would not make pilots feel safer compared to the Hornets two. Yes the Lighting has one engine but it has safety feature the Falcon doesn’t have to meet navy safety requirements.

With paper-thin weight margins, I doubt you will see much growth room with the F-35.

How exactly is an APG-81 “significantly” more capable than the APG-79?

It took that long for the Super to get to Block II because when the plans were drawn up in the 90’s to field it, AESA capability at the time was a non-starter to meet schedule. As it turns out, the spiral upgrade plan of the Super makes sense.

Let’s think about this for a moment. What part of the CAS mission can’t the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet perform? Yes, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet can and has many times done everything in the CAS mission. Not only has it done it well, but it’s proven to be tough and reliable while doing it. During the Gulf War some of the older Hornets took a hit from a shoulder launch SAM and were still able to make it back to base safely. The Super Hornet builds on that and has enough weapons to deal out damage in spades.

The F-35B sucks at close air support. It can’t handle small arms fire. It only has 1 engine. It’s range is less than that of the Super Hornet with internal fuel. It’s internal payload is small and is not suited for supporting infantry. It can only hold 2 Mk-83’s. Older Hornets in the Gulf War often carried 4 Mk-83’s and used up everyone of them when the fighting got hot. If you mount weapons externally on it then it becomes an extremely expensive F-16 and it’s range is greatly decreased. On top of that if one of them gets shot down we will need to waist more resources and time getting to the crash site since its technology is so sensititve. That’s counting that it was shot down in a place where we could get to it before a hostile country that might have an interest in selling the wrekage to Russia or China. If the Marines were looking to make their Air Wings fit for supporting infantry the F-35B was the worst choice.

The F18 is nice to fly and to fight wars against losers but this is. The problem is what the also more and more loser get modern weapons like the S400, S300PM, TOR M2 or cheaper Chinese products like the HQ9, HQ12 and in the not so past future the HQ15. And the peer enemy’s like red China and Russia how produce this weapons have already more them enough form them to make it for every non stealth fighter impossible to survive in the combat zone. To buy more F18 is as a lack of a better alternative necessary to maintain the force structure why many older F18 leave the service but it is not a wise investment for the future.

A new F18E/F will still in service for 20–25 years or with other words he will still in service beyond 2030 and it is not very hard to imagine how useless it will be in this environment. But to make it a bit clear on this time modern air defense system like the S400 and HQ15 will be the standard air defense systems of the most enemy’s and the Russian and possible also the Chinese will have also floated the market with cheap 5. Generation fighter like the PAK FA or the J20 so only Russia plans to sell about 600‑1000 of his PAK FA to foreign states and some of them are not the friends of the free world.

And hear is the main point a new F18E/F cost about 60–80 Million but he will still only useful for the next 10 years because of the increasing proliferation of modern Air defense and fighters. In compare with the F18 E/F a F35C cost 113–135 Million but still usefully for is entire live time from 20–25 years. Because of that I claim what to purchase additional F18 E/F is a bad strategy.

But Boeing laying everyone how just bit knowledge about the matter has can see this. The F15SE has possible a frontal RCS comparable to the F35 but them you just change angle a bit the RCS rise far behind the RCS of a F35. The F15SE is not a stealth aircraft he is only signature reduced but it is questionable them this will really help in combat.

If it were so easy to get a real stealth aircraft you will be sure what they will have today already a Mig21SE or a Mig29SE and many more “stealth” legacy fighter but they don’t. And this why stealth means more them to give an aircraft internal a weapon bay and a RAM spread and who claims the contrary is just lying to yourself.

STOVL fighters were NOT made to “jump out of the brush camouflaged and slow down the Soviet armored fist.“
They were made as a safeguard to our air-base run-ways being taken out in a surprise attack. This threat still exists, especially in the Pacific theater. China has over 1000 IRBM’s and could easily take out our air fields all the way out to Anderson at Guam.
STOVL’s don’t need runways. They just need hardened shelters to withstand missile attacks (not direct hits, of course)

Here’s why the F-18 is a better deal than the F-35:
In times of austerity, it is best to think in terms of cost-effective capability. The USA will be sacrificing lot’s of capability in other parts of the military because the F-35 is such a rip-off. It’s a money-pit, and was hardly designed to be the best MRF in the world. It was designed to give Lockheed and it’s sub-contractors sickening fat revenue streams for the next 50 years. They don’t want to save the USA money because that means they will be getting less money! They will play the usual games, while declaring proud patriotism that our troops deserve the best!
By the time this program matures, since concurrency was a total failure, potential adversaries will have developed countermeasures to the only thing that puts the F-35 above competitors. That being stealth.
In this time of austerity it would be much more cost effective to use 4++ platforms and rely on stand-off weapons and a combination of UCAV’s. The F-35 is only marginally better right now. Marginally.

The F-35 is actually a threat to the rest of the military capability the USA needs because of the enormous resources it will require to acquire, maintain, and operate.

The F18 block II is close enough to the F35, immensely more cost-effective, and can do just fine with stand-off weapons until the adversary’s air-defenses are taken out.

F-18E &Fs cost around 70 million and an F-18G around 100 to 120 million with all the pods it carries. according to Boeing’s website.

This is short sighted. Okay, you got a workable short term solution with upgrades of existing designs. Yet within 20 years our fighter fleet is outclassed.

We need new designs and not just the F-35 either.

If the Chinese could easily take out our air bases why not focus on making a lighter, cheaper, land-based version of AEGIS? That sounds like a serious security concern. Our PATRIOT SAMs and the THAAD missile systems should be able to stop a lot of those missiles. It would be cheaper to focus on upgrading those. Anyway don’t you think with 1000 IRBM’s that could supposedly destroy airstrips easily they could also destroy hardened shelters easily too? Bt the way, if they did take out all those air bases then the F-35B is still SOL. That means no long range refueling and it is left with a short combat distance that is virtually useless for any other means than defensive sorties.

I have not said the F/A-18 in any form can’t do the CAS mission. It does do it fairly well. The main problem is that most pilots are flying the CAS mission from high altitude. The best I have worked with believe in the old school method of flying CAS at 2000 ft or less. It appears today very few pilots are doing that. This seriously reduces friendly fire problems; it also means the FAC better have his trash wired in one bag.

Two more problems with the F/A-18 is that it is a fast mover and proper CAS requires flying NOE at slower air speed. The other is time available on station. It cannot stay for a decent amount of time before having to refuel. The A-10 is best available today. The AH-1Z can do some of what the fixed wing can’t and that is get into the tight canyons and draws.

I never said the F-35B was great at CAS. What I said was you cannot deploy the F/A-18 with a MEU. You cannot operate one from a LHA. The AV-8B Harrier has only 1 engine and it can operate from a LHA. What the F-35B does do is provide the air support of the AV-8B in a platform that can respond faster to the needs of the MEU and be a bit easier on pilots.

I don’t like the choice either but, what are the alternatives that fit those needs and for less money???

Do you know what the maximum range of the SA-18 Ilga shoulder-launched SAM is? I can assure that it’s a lot longer than 2,000 ft. Advances in MANPADs are the main reason pilots have been advised not too fly at such low altitudes. The A-10 is an exception because it would take a lot more than an SA-18 to knock one of those out of the sky. Everything you just said made the F-35B look even worse by the way. It is less relaible than the Super Hornet, it has less range, it has terrible readiness rates due to its complex design; it can’t even handle small arms fire.

Other options? How about taking the Harrier, making it longer, bigger, better armed, shaped for stealth, equipped with RAM coatings in crucial areas, give it an AESA radar, and an upgraded version of the same engine with modern technical twists? This “Super Harrier,” for lack of a better term, has the potential to be just as good or better than the F-35B. Not only that, but it will also be cheaper to design and make as well as operate and maintain. The Harrier has long been out of production but the parts for it are still around and this alone would help keep costs down. Maybe the USMC could team up with the British and Italians to make it since they are the only ones who wanted to buy the B-model. They could make it to their expectations and needs without having to worry about cost overruns from trying to mesh the airframe with terribly designed versions for other services.

Good luck with that. The Harrier is out of production, out of room for growth, and changes like that would require a near total redesign.

How would the Harrier be any more survivable? It only has one engine and can handle small arms fire no better. The F-35B can carry more munitions than two 1000lb JDAMs externally, and it has more range the AV-8B. Neither compare to CTOL/CV designs in terms of range or total payload, but the F-35B is far closer.

The Marines will operate both F-35Bs and F-35Cs last I read.

The purpose of the RCS reduction features on the F-18E are to make electronic countermeasures more effective. The purpose of the weapons pod concept is marketing. The purpose of that 4x cheaper claim must be humor.

Looks like the anti-F-35 clown car has made an appearance. Guys, the Super Hornet was only ever meant as an interim aircraft. And that was 20 years ago. It’s a dinosaur best consigned to history. The sooner you realize that the sooner you can come back to reality with the rest of us.

I would be happy to get through next year, and you are talking about 20 years hence? There are no resources now, and the F-35 wants more and more of a shrinking pool. We need new designs all right. The F-35 was the opportunity. I am sick of listening to what went wrong, and who is to blame and how to fix the problem by staying the course. Staying the course is bringing us all down. We are neck deep in the Big Muddy, and the big fool says to push on.

And yet it is a better aircraft than the F-35.

The F-35 shills just assume that the F-35 cost blowout just means we will borrow 5 times more from the Chinese. But that is not how it works. Staying the course on the F-35 means only 200 aircraft will be built because there simply isn’t money available for 1000s of F-35s.

Combined with the F-22 the F-25 will see the largest reduction in American air power ever seen. 80 of the air force will be the un-upgraded legacy aircraft that they so deride as obsolete. And half of the front line fleet will be worse performing F-35 aircraft while the other half will be hard to maintain f-22s.

This is only happening because Lockheed has decided to defraud the American people by selling them lemons. It turns out we don’t need the Russians or Chinese to wipe out our air force the greed of William Crook and the his Lockheed friends is enough.

I think our tactics and pilot training helped us beat the ME-262. The performance difference between the Me-262 and the P-51 Mustang was far greater then the difference between the F/A-18E/F and the Russian and Chinese stealth fighters

That is why it can operate from airfields closer to the scene of the fighting then other aircraft. One bomb on a runway makes it useless for aircraft like the F-16 but the F-35B can still operate from it. The need for aerial refueling will be far less if it is operating from closer in facilities.

Also,no missile defense system is perfect

Two words: National Debt

There are a lot of things we should do but cannot afford to

The F18 is already not enable to be effective against modern Air defense or actual enemy fighter like the Su35 or the even the SU30MKI and in the future the will have to face far superior enemy’s like the J20 and the PAK FA and what means modern Air defense so the F18 E/F has already no chances. With the F18 you cannot penetrate under acceptable loses a composite of modern Air defense System for example S400 (Long Range), SA-17 Grizzly (middle range) and Tor M2 as short range Air defense system. Against such a composite the F18 will have no chances and more and more country buy such air defense systems to replace there Soviet era Systems.

The F18 E/F is not a bad tactical fighter and he is relative cheap but she is simply outdated no matter how many improves you make the design is more than 30 Years old. Today the F18 is useful because of the fact what a lot of potential enemies are armed with completely outdated fighter (like soviet export variants of the Mig23 and Mig29) and Air defense Systems (like SA2, SA3 and SA6) but this case is already changing.

So for example even Venezuela has buy now high Ned Air defense like S300PMU2 and SU30 fighter and the possibility of the sale of S300 batteries to Iran has already become a pressure-medium for the Russians to hurt the USA and Israel.

Around 2020 or later the most potential enemy’s will be armed with toady actual air defense systems (S400, TOR M2) and around 2030 the standard enemy fighter will not be the Mig23 or the Mig29 is will be the PAK FA, the SU35 or the J20. To send F18E/F against such threats will ends only in a turkey shoot for the enemy forces. The USA need to get the F35 and this not why the F35 is the best of best but why is the only remaining program how can still relevant against future treads. To be serious even the F35 is not enough to face the future and it will need a lot of help (like drones, new Air to Air and SEAD Weapons and also new jammers and a changed tactic) for this fighter to beat the enemy.

To make it more understandable:

Imagine you what will happen in a duel among a F18 and a F22 and this is exactly what a fight against a PAK FA or the J20 will mean for the F18. The PAK FA or J20 will have the first and second and possible also the third shot before the F18 E/F release what the enemy is in the combat zone it will be look exactly like what happens as F16 faces the F22 in combat training in Alaska (all F16 shot down without only to observe what the F22 has virtually kill them).

The F35 is not meant for Air-Superiority missions. No one is arguing that the F35 will address Air to Air situations effectively against dedicated Air-Superiority fighters like the SU35 & PAK. (J20 is a big fighter bomber and F35 could probably defeat it in air to air, but we don’t know enough yet.)

I agree with you on the F18’s inadequacy in the SEAD role against emerging air defense systems like the S-400, but I think it would do fine with stand-off weapons like the AGM-158 JASSM and AGM-154 JSOW.
The F22 would make short work out of anything in the Air-Superiority role.

great points, also, I believe he F-35 can pull 9 g’s, while the Super Hornet can only pull 7 — 7.5 g’s.

Here’s a big issue:

It’s been revealed that some of the F35’s systems must be redesigned and new software written to address the successful Chinese espionage of the F35. This is responsible for some of the cost overruns and delays.

It seems like a move is being made to move the F35 to the next block model, like what would be the F16A to the F16C, in order to address the Chinese breach. http://​www​.aviationweek​.com/​a​w​/​g​e​n​e​r​i​c​/​s​t​o​r​y​_​g​ene

But, the bottom line is that the F35 has been affected by incompetency and greed on the part of Lockheed and the sub-contractors. They have betrayed the American people, which they are supposed to serve.

The F18 block II may have to fill the gap until the “F35C” arrives.

Only the USAF F-35 can pull 9 Gs. The ‘C’ is rated at ‘7.5, and the ‘B’ at 7, IIRC. In both cases, the lowered G rating is intended to extend airframe life. All the planes, F/A-18 included, can safely pull 9 Gs in an emergency.

Williams argument is pure conjecture, and to say that the advanced composite structures of the F-35, and exceptionally hi-pressure/temperature STOVL-burdened F135 will ever be only a little more complicated/expensive than the more traditional and proven SuperHornet counterparts is merely a demonstration of blind faith.

And the EODAS’s alleged superiority is laughable in light of the continuing failure of the integral HMD . As is the reference to long-term viability, given that the F-35 will be equally obsolescent if and when it ever reaches its expected FOC in the 2020’s…

The aerospace industry as a whole is using more and more composites, that doesn’t mean the F/A-18 never used composites, a rather high portion of the aircraft is composite IIRC.

But why the comparison of the F/A-18 to the F-35B? If you want an apples to apples comparison, compare the F-35B to the AV-8 and the F-35C to the F/A-18.

Do you honestly think the HMD problems won’t be sorted out? What supports your idea that the F-35 will be obsolete by the 2020s anyway? Like the Super Hornet was continually improved upon, so will the F-35.

There has been a continued failure by contractors and the entirety of the federal government to prevent Chinese espionage. Think again before blaming just Lockheed. It’s everyone’s problem.

Ever get tired of rooting for the PRC itfunk/oblat? You’re against any sort of military modernization program, I’ve never seen you support anything other than thinking we should by tankers from EADS who are “honest European contractors” unlike those filthy Americans.

What you say is true but the point is what the F35 still a stealthy strike fighter and he is for SEAD missions possible also better them the F22 how cannot carry for example the JSOW intern. And I also claim what the F35 is not the optimal platform to face modern air defense and enemy 5 generation fighter like the J20 how there created to beat the F22 but how bad are the chances of the F18 E/F against this enemy’s?

The tragedy is what the USA has killed there best horse with the F22 in their late asymmetric war mania how looks like to be over and put all is eggs in the F35 basket and I think what this was a bad decision but this is no longer the point. They speak hear about the purchase of additional F18 E/F and I’m convinced what this is a mistake why this aircraft will still only for the next 10 years useful before he become a turkey even for military light weights like Syria and Venezuela.

And stand of missiles like AGM-158 JASSM and JSOW are really nice thinks and even with a stealth platform absolutely necessary to beat modern air defense. Make no mistake even with modern stand of missiles and the F35 and B2 as carrier it will be not easy to suppress or to destroy the enemy air defense but without a stealth platform it will be nearly impossible. And to make it clear I not claim what the S400 and other possible more dangerous middle and short range air defense weapons are invincible for legacy fighter but the cost to beat them will be unaffordable high.

The USA has oversleep the technological change in the high end war why he has concentrated the last 21 years all in resources to prepare there force for a asymmetric wars what he will no longer fight during al potential enemy’s has prepared his force to beat the USA. As consequences the Russian and Chinese Air Defense Weapons has become significantly more deadly and effective during the USA has killed the F22 and fielded average weapon like the JASSM and JSOW how still far behind them what is technological possible.

That’s why this new Harrier would be great. It would require a redesign, but you could room for growth while keeping some of the commonality of the older Harrier in mind. The F-35B has run out of room for growth already since it’s using all of it up to fix the major design flaws. Everything that we have learned from the failure of designing the B-model we could avoid or improve with this new Harrier. Not only that, but at the rate the F-35B is going as it is we could probably design and build a few prototypes before the B-model gets to IOC. This would also be a much cheaper and, if designed correctly, much more heavily armed fighter that could be produced in numbers and provide more capability, flexibility, and firepower than the F-35B.

You obviously didn’t read the previous conversation. If the enemy has the ability to destroy the airfield, what’s to stop them from taking out a few F-35B’s, especially if those are airfields that are closer to them. You know what would be cheaper to use and much better than the F-35B? Long range air refueled fighters or an upgraded and redesigned Harrier.

STOVL fighters stationed at air bases within range of the action have already proven to be at risk themselves. An airstrip near Kandahar in Afghanistan had Harriers stationed there and suffered a rocket attack from terrorists in the area. One Harrier was destroyed and another one nearby was damaged. If we went to war with an opponent that had better rocket artillery you could imagine what would happen.

I never said the F/A-18 didn’t use composites, I said it was traditional and proven, ie; not designed with the added complications required for the integral LO, signal management, and STOVL . Commonality, remember? Which also applies to the base F135 engine burdened by the need to strengthen it for power transfer to the STOVL LiftFan system.

As for the HMD system — it’s been how many years now, and how’s that spherical EODAS gonna work with NVGs?

Oh, and I think if you actually read what I wrote, rather than what you imagined I wrote, you’ll see that I said *equally* obsolescent, not “obsolete”. And the future growth possibilities of the F-35 are considerably restricted by its already tiny allowable weight gain margin.

It’s a dog, and an expensive, largely untested dog at that.

>How would the Harrier be any more survivable?
I think that most of the answer is within Black Owl’s post already, like more robustness. And add the newest technology including state of the art engine and it will fly further, with more payload.

And then come other factors, like operating cost and acquisition cost. That’s the navy„ not a commercial company, there won’t have any lawsuit if the pilot die in combat; while not preferred, any risk of loss have to be taken in account somewhere because otherwise the only aircraft flying right now would be the f-22, and the navy would be looking for a STOVL f-22, and attempting to build a plane like the f-35 would have no sense, because something more expensive will do better.

I know, the sky is the limit.
Oops wrong one, the funds is the limit.

Actually by pushing the reasoning a little further the only plane flying would not be the f-22, it’s too cost effective. The pentagon would be looking for the ultimate plane, to the point where all the resources could only build a single one, because it will be so much better at everything than anything else ever created…

The reason for flying CAS at that low altitude is to prevent friendly fire issues. The main benefit is better accuracy with dumb bombs and gun runs. That is one way also to reduce the possibility of civilian casualties and still get the bad guys. As for the SA-18, isn’t that what ECM pods, flares and chaff is for??? As for regular ground fire, have you ever hit anything that moves faster than 300mph with a rifle or machine gun? For a good idea of how tough that is, look at how many fixed wing aircraft that were shot down by Infantry ground fire during the Viet Nam war.

The AV-8 in any form is no longer in production and to retool to make more will take years. It is obvious you have not worked in manufacturing, The suggestions you have made will take years to tool up for. That is just for the Manufacturing part alone, now add the politics to it and that will be years more and this is just domestic. The changes you are suggesting will require the airframe to be either redesigned or seriously modified to the point a new design is more cost effective. Any changes to the equipment aboard requires the engineers to reconsider everything else aboard too. We must remember the Airframe is what the service life is based on and to build new is not practical at this time.

negative, their airframes and electronic capabilities were designed over 30 years ago and cannot match the F-35’s evolution. Its 5th generation for a reason, its going to be bad ass.

I agree, cutting the f-35 would be a huge blow to our economic infrastructure, aviation credibility, and would leave us in an even larger gap for trying to replace 30 year old fighters.

Sorry people, its not going to happen. The F-35’s problems will be fixed eventually and the fighter will be impressive. Its hardly like they are producing a worse fighter than anything we currently have, its performance would be impressive or else they wouldn’t be investing the sort of money they currently are.

Says who? If you can provide any validity to that statement I would like to here it.

itfunk, what exactly do you want? Aircrafts have issues, this program wasn’t even awarded until 2000. This program is a little over 12 years old and you whine and bitch about how bad it is? Its still maturing and the military is finding ways to bring the costs down.

Also stop saying the plane costs $300 million while the F-18 only costs $50 because your wrong. You never included the cost of development in the price of a product, even if it was government funded. In that case the Price of a Chevy Impala would be $50,000 instead of the $20,000 it costs to consumers.

Stop drinking the Kool-Aid

He can’t.

Do they add the ability to operate from amphibious assault ships? I didn’t think so. What about real stealth? Didn’t think so. Did they fix the airbrakes, I mean pylons? Didn’t think so.

The biggest threat to Americas security are the greedy contractors — their plan to have us borrow as much money as possible for second rate equipment is a direct threat to Americas security.

William Crook is torn between using the spying purely as an excuse for redesign of poorly designed systems and defending Lockheed as not as stupid as they look. Its a fine line full of contradictions being a contractor shill.

Naturally itfunk/oblat jumps to defend the efforts of his comrades in the glorious People’s Republic. It’s okay to steal if you’re stealing from dirty American contractors, right Oblatski?

Do we need the ability to operate fighters from Amphibs? Any operation we launch that we need to use Amphibs will have a carrier involved so, no not really. Please define “real stealth” and why it’s absolutely necessary. The Super Hornet offers stealth that is good enough to get the job done and doesn’t risk advanced sensitive materials in combat. By the way, this is the most important question: Did they fix the F-35 yet? Didn’t think so.

Wow, you just showed you have no idea what you’re talking about. Have you ever talked to a pilot from the Vietnam War? Have you at the very least read a book written by them? You shouldn’t look at how many got taken down. You should look at how many got hit and how severe was the damage then ask yourself: “can the F-35 take that much damage?” Small arms fire was always a problem for Vietnam pilots and something they had to keep constantly in mind. It’s not going to always be a few guys with AK-47’s. They bring .50 cals and bigger guns and MANPADs are not only getting better, but also getting cheaper and more proliferated (no thanks to Russia). The SA-18 could take out a fighter in a super sonic bombing run and it is an all aspect weapon so it has an IR sensor that’s good enough to acquire a lock on an aircraft if it’s looking at it from the front. Flares are the only counter to IR missiles and with new IR imaging missiles being developed even flares are starting to become useless. Poor thing to mention about the F-35: it has a super hot exhaust engine that shows up on IR sensors like a roman candle. What fighters really need to conduct CAS is toughness and maybe a system like TROPHY. The F-35 completely fails when it comes to toughness and it has paper thin weight margins that make adding growth systems, such as TROPHY, an impossibility. The Super Hornet still has extra space, cooling, and power for the addition of such a system though.

second rate equipment? your far gone..

The USN will be getting new Super Hornet’s well past 2015… there’s no other option at the moment; won’t be until the next decade. No matter how many F-35’s are delivered over the coming years, they still won’t be combat ready.

To remind you I have worked with pilot who flew helicopters and fixed wing in Viet Nam. Fixed wing is much more difficult to shoot down than helos. The whole point is the approach for the run. That is where a good FAC comes in, if he sets it up right the exposure time will be at a minimum. As for the guns, if you pay attention to how they shoot, most are of the spray and pray school. Every jet has hot exhaust not just the F-35B and it is no different than any other high performance jet. It gets worse when you use the afterburner. Again the F-18 CANNOT operate from a LHA and aircraft that can is what the Marines need. What other aircraft that is in or is ready for production which will meet the needs of the Corps?

Good grief. Think before you post. The J-20 is not a dog fighter. If your talking about guns and not missiles, I would take the F-18 any day in a traditional dog fight anyday and everyday.

Whenever I need a good chuckle, I read any post from Araya. It makes my head hurt, but I try to decipher anyway.

Inside Defense just announce that the Navy is seeking multi-year 5 buys.
http://​insidedefense​.com/​I​n​s​i​d​e​-​t​h​e​-​N​a​v​y​/​I​n​s​i​d​e-t

Wonder what that does to the F-35C buy?

“Any operation we launch that we need to use Amphibs will have a carrier involved so, no not really. ”

Oh god, I get tired of this kind of stupidity. How many CVNs were available for Libya? Oh yeah, none. Carriers can only be one place at once. Cutting 11 ships capable of operating fighters is going to hurt.

“Please define “real stealth” and why it’s absolutely necessary. The Super Hornet offers stealth that is good enough to get the job done and doesn’t risk advanced sensitive materials in combat. ”

You have absolutely no idea if it does or doesn’t. NONE. As for why it’s necessary, ask yourself why only F-117s were allowed over Baghdad until the IADS were taken out. Who am I kidding? If you actually had that kind of mental capacity we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

“By the way, this is the most important question: Did they fix the F-35 yet? Didn’t think so.”

You do know what RDT&E means? Didn’t think so.

WOW, I though this ‘volley’ was never going to never end.…… ;-D

Interesting reads, all of them, Jolly good show everyone

Hahahaha! You obviously didn’t study that conflict closely enough. You’re right that CVNs were not available for Libya and the Gators were. Guess what it proved? It proved that Gators can’t really do much in terms of air operations. They weren’t enough to get the job done at all, not even close, and we had to rely on long range air-refueled fixed wing strike fighters to get the real fighting done.

I’m assuming you do have an idea then? You must be an expert. Explain further. Also if you sent a bunch of Hornets or Falcons armed with a bunch of AGM-88s they could very easily destroy the SAM systems that Saddam had at the time. It would be wiser to focus more on destroying SAM sites rather than sneaking around them with stealth. Although stealth does have it’s benefits for certain types of missions, stealth cannot solve every problem faced in modern war and the F-35 puts a total emphasis on stealth while sacrificing other very crucial areas of performance which, judging from the low grade attempt you made at trying to insult me, I don’t expect you to understand.

As for the last part. The fact that you are trying to change the subject shows you want to dodge the question of the F-35 design flaws. You know the answer to it. Have they fixed or even come close to fixing the F-35? Give me you’re best answer to that question.

I’m saying that fighters from an LHA aren’t really that important since they don’t offer much capability and they don’t really do much in the fighting. I can see a point to having them, but if we do have them the F-35B is entirely in the wrong direction. A STOVL fighter for the marines should be built with CAS in mind. It shouldn’t contain highly classified tech in it. It should be cheap, rugged, reliable, and heavily armed. The F-35B is none of these things and so if the only two choices are to have the F-35B or nothing, then it would be best to have nothing. The F-35B won’t do the job well and it costs ridiculous amounts of money that could be better used buying tanks, Bradleys, and Super Cobras to better support the rifleman in combat. During the Libya War we were able to do almost everything with long range air-refueled fighters and sub-launched tomahawk cruise missiles. The small aircraft that the Amphib in the area provided weren’t very good. The F-35B is so expensive to buy and it has a very expensive operating cost so much so that it would be cheaper to just rely on long range air-refueled fighters, which could be almost anywhere within the span of a few hours since we have various long term air bases around the world that provide ideal locations for such things. We don’t really need the F-35B and buying it would be an unwise use of large amounts of money.

Whoops! Missed this.

A Super Harrier would actually be very easy to make. As the Super Hornet program proved, upgrading an older fighter to a new design is like making a jet with half of the air frame testing and half of the R&D already done from the start. The only real issue here is politics. In that respect you’re right. It is only because of the politics surrounding the F-35B that a Super Harrier will most likely never be made, no matter how much more useful and better than the F-35B it may be.

You really don’t know much about upgrading airplanes or about the Super Hornet for that matter. The Super Hornet may LOOK like an upgrade to the Hornet but its only shaped like the original and is actually a totally new airplane. Designing it was hardly easy but it stayed off the front pages because the controversy was pointed toward F22. As has already been said about the Harrier, the Harrier line has been closed for decades and virtually every system aboard it is out of production and can not be procured. Thus any Harrier related aircraft would actually be a completely new airplane and just the design and testing would take 5 to 10 yrs at a minimum and thats from contract start, not from the date that someone first suggests it.

I don’t like 1 engine myself.Therefore the F-35 would not get my vote.

I’m fully aware of everything you just said and I’m saying that it’s still a better option than buying overly expensive fighters that can’t do the job and will be produced in small numbers that will probably rival that of the F-22 since it has now surpass its price. A “Super Harrier” might not be as flashy as the F-35, but it will do the job and it will be cheaper. The production line is out, but the parts are still out there and that will help keep the costs down if we start now while they’re still here.

You’re still missing my main point. The major problem with the F-35 series is not the production line. It is the design itself. It’s too complex and it doesn’t work. Because it doesn’t work and the economy isn’t great it would be best to scrap the F-35 and just build on the basics for now. Taking an old design and modernizing it will take around 5–7 years probably, but the fact is it would still be better to have a good fighter in development and close to production in 5 years than to be 5 years down the road and have less than 100 poorly designed, extremely expensive fighters that won’t be able to do the job they are called to do. That’s exactly where the F-35B and the F-35C are heading.

By the way, it’s clear that you don’t know that much about the Super Hornet or its spiral development at all and you just made a great blunder by making such a statement. The Super Hornet’s development went very smooth for a fighter and its price as well as its incredibly reliable performance is a testament to that. The Super Hornet from the canopy back was largely redesigned, but the fact is the basics still remain the same and for the most part a major portion of the redesigns are just vast upgrades of the baseline Hornet. The F414 engines, the most complex and most notable part of every fighter aircraft, are just an enlarged and modernized version of the older Hornet’s reliable F404s. They work better than the older ones and they are able to be easily upgraded with the EPE or EDE equipment. The airframe is greatly redesigned, but it is still based off the simple concept of taking the older Hornet’s and making it bigger, better, and with extra space for future systems. Many new systems came out that do what the older Hornet’s did 10x better so they simply removed the old stuff and replaced it with the new. Overall, it may be a new fighter, but the basics remained largely the same in its redesigned state and it was this fact that was able to keep costs down and performance up. I have studied the crap out of the Super Hornet so if you say something even slightly off, I’ll pick it up pretty quickly.

In general principle we do agree. Though, the problem we have is how CAS is done. While the AH-1Z is one of the world’s best attack helicopters, it cannot do it all. It can’t carry/drop bombs of any type, it can’t aerial refuel for more time on station, max. air speed of 255mph(not with a combat payload), combat radius of 144 miles with only 2500lbs payload. STOVL fixed wing is not minor to the Amphibious Strategy of the Corps, if it was the Harriers would have been gone long ago.

What happens when a MEU is on a mission and they need fixed wing support and there is none in the “neighborhood”( Air Force or Navy Carrier)? By your way of thinking, they would have nothing. What you may not understand is the situation can turn ugly faster than long range air refueled fighters can reasonably respond to. Having the AV-8B or the F-35B on board a LHA means they can respond to those needs faster than any thing else, because that is their mission to support the Grunts. The airframes of the AV-8B in service are wearing out. What other alternatives does the Corps have?

Besides The Marine Corps does not have, will not have, and can not use the Bradley IFV, because it cannot and will not Surf Qualify.

I will say again.… You don’t know anything about Manufacturing. What you suggest will take years to do. If you change any of the major components, you have to modify something else. If it adds weight, the airframe will need reenforcing as well as the Engine power output needs reconsideration. All of that means the entire aircraft will need to be gone over and that is without changing any of the major dimensions. This is all before the first new part/ sub-assembly is sourced, provided you have the engineering prints for quotation. The rest of the process can be a absolute nightmare for the novice to manufacturing for any government( that’s before politics).

The only thing we agree on is that CAS for the Marines is needed. Other than that, you think the F-35B as well as STOVL aircraft are necessary for an MEU and, as the past several conflicts in which we have had the Harrier and experienced many of its uses, it’s clear that they are not. STOVL aircraft are more of a commodity, one that is often too expensive and doesn’t perform well. We don’t need STOVL aircraft for a job that fixed wing fighters can perform better and can be made in greater numbers for the same amount of money.

The F-35B’s mission is not to support grunts. It’s design is proof of that. It’s merely made to try and have some commonality with USAF and Navy strike fighters in the techno-craze bandwagon that it is leading, but it ultimately sacrifices what’s absolutely necessary for CAS and supporting grunts. If we cancel the F-35B and the F-35C and buy Super Hornets in good numbers, then we can station more of them in various air bases around the world and have more aircraft of better capability than the F-35B.

If we make more Super Hornets and spread them out to our foreign air bases that increases our overall reach around the world drastically and it decreases our response time to a majority of the places around the world that an MEU wouldn’t have with the F-35B. Let’s also face the fact that the F-35B and the F-35C won’t be able to be made in large numbers. Fewer aircraft means less in the area and that decreases our reach and increases the amount of time that it takes to respond.

As for what happens when an MEU is on a mission and in need of fixed wing support: seriously if the situation is so desperate they have only a few hours to respond then that MEU will need a lot more than a small amount of F-35Bs. Also, if the F-35B only saves our forces a few hours worth of response time at the cost of losing necessary capability and obscene amounts of money as opposed to long range air-refueled fighters, then it truly is a worthless aircraft in the long run and it loses out heavily in terms of other traits. I’m worried that an MEU will be on a mission and the support it has with the F-35B won’t be enough, especially in the CAS role. I’m even more worried about an F-35B being shot down in that type of environment and the Marines not having enough assets on hand to get to the crash site before someone who has an interest in selling the wreckage to the Russians or Chinese. No matter what the F-35B will never be worth the risk or the price when we could very easily have 6 reliable heavily armed Super Hornets for the same amount of money refueled from an airbase and arrive within the span of a few hours.

Lastly, lets face it. Fixed wing aircraft are going to be needed in any conflict that Marines are used in. The fixed wing aircraft can do everything and the F-35B can’t. It would be more effective if we just put all of our focus on improving our fixed wing fighter fleets and acquiring air bases close to potentially violent areas. If the Marines want a STOVL jet they should have something purpose built for it or they should have none of them at all and a lot of Super Hornets.

lol, not the Bradley specifically, but I think if the Marines got rid of the F-35B, they would have been able to afford the EFV, which was drastically more useful and fit the mission of the Marine Corps perfectly.

If you actually read my previous response you would see that I already stated that it will take a few years. You think I haven’t researched this? I know what I’m talking about. You’re just trying to make it sound complicated by taking the specifics and jumbling them up into colorful language. It wasn’t a very good attempt at it. By the way, do you know what a novice is? We don’t have novices. We have experts.

A Super Harrier would be very easy to design, make, and produce even if it would take five years and even then it would still be better to go with that option than to acquire the F-35B, which doesn’t even have the ability to carry out the mission.

This debate is over. You obviously don’t have a good answer for why we can’t make a Super Harrier other than the political side of the fighter industry.

How does the F-35B not have the ability to do the mission. Please be specific.

So, let LM and the F-35 proponents put up or shut up. According to the propaganda, the Eglin birds are now flying so let’s do this. Superbug vs Lightning. That will put this to rest once and for all. If the F-35 is as good as you’d have us believe and the Superbug is so antiquated and best relegated to history and air parks, prove it.

Actually, let’s up the ante. Since it’s proponents like to say the F-35 is the “One plane to rule them all” prove it. Let it go up against every single legacy plane that you and the rest of its cheerleaders claim it will easily outclass. F-35A and C against F-15E, F-16D-G, Super bug and F-22A. F-35 B against AV-8B, A-10. Surefire way to get us aboard is to treat us all as if we’re from Missouri; SHOW US.

At this point, paper metrics, computer models and fancy powerpoint presentations means little to me. Give me enough pencils, a good enough calculator and enough time and I can successfully make a brick fly. Either show me in the air, shooting things down and blowing things on the ground up AND doing it better than legacy platforms to the point that the cost is justified and I’ll sing the F-35’s praises right along with you.

But you have to do it NOW. Constantly sliding delivery to the right until all of your competitors’ lines have been shuttered isn’t going to cut it.

Good point! but you have to make it a valid comparison. You have to compare the baseline F-35’s that we were supposed to get for $60B and a decade against a legacy fighter force with a decade and that many billions of dollars invested in sustainment & modernization upgrades.

All the Superbug has to do is fly around for half an hour and wait for a F-35 mission kill due to a major system failure.

But of course it’s unfair in many other ways too. The F-18 has weapons, after 10 years the F-35 is yet to launch a peanut. Also the F-18 can pull more than 4.5G without frying it’s electrical system. Even if the electrical system actually worked the high F-35 wing loading means the superbug has better sustained turns. Better thrust to weight means it out accelerates the 60s era aerodynamics of the F-35.

Go supersonic and the F-35 cannot follow as it’s another mission kill when the F-35 skin bubbles and peels. And lets hope the trail is not held at sea where no F-35 can land.

Yea I understand “failure is normal”. William Crook was saying that years ahead of you so get in line behind him

third rate, fourth rate, fifth rate, how low do you guys go ?

Nobody with any knowledge of military aircraft expects the current early test F-35’s to be at the same maturity level as a deployable asset. Compare fleet F-18s to deployable F-35s in a few yrs and you will have a fair comparison.

“Nobody with any knowledge of military aircraft ”

There’s the problem. ;-) Sometimes it almost feels like I’m getting dumber reading some of the posts here.

Having been part of the testing phase of the F/A-18E/F “low-observable” portions, I will make this statement: “The F/A-18E/F IS most definitely a low observable aircraft. especially when compared to itself without the treatments done to insure better survivability of aircraft and aircrew”.
Lots of work went into this aircraft to make it as good as it is, and for good reason.
When any aircraft is loaded for air-to-ground, it’s inherent stealth capabilities are, of course, limited by the radar signature of that segment of the war load. Once that portion of the mission is over, very little of the aircraft’s remaining weapons load can be useable for targeting. Say what you will, but check your facts first, lest you be seen as a fool.

STOVL can provide the support the MEU needs and is there when they need it. To station more aircraft at overseas bases requires more assets in various places to stretch our dwindling resources beyond breaking point. The last I heard all of the services are in the downsizing mode, not growing. Strategically, some of what you say might work, but tactically it fails and will cost lives needlessly.

Do you realize what you are proposing? Where are those aerial refueling assets come from? How long will it take to get into position service those aircraft? How long to service that flight? Can they stay on station long enough for the mission? Do you understand that once they expend their load, where do they reload? Flying back to those bases after refueling at least once more, have you considered pilot fatigue? If that pilot has flown one trip, will that pilot be in good enough shape to do it again and be able to do precision strikes with very little rest, if any at all? That is a lot of stress on the pilot. There are times when the grunt doesn’t have a few hours to wait for CAS. Especially when something can be there in a matter of a few minutes, service the targets, then return to the ship to rearm, top off the fuel and then be back on station faster before what you propose can even arrive on scene, because the fight will be over. The kicker to this is the use of fewer assets, people and more ordinance on target faster.

We won’t even get into the political nightmare of additional bases and how long that would take. That is even before the LOGISTICS of what you propose.

I am not taking specifics and twisting them into surrealistic art ! I speak from a Manufacturing background ! I have work with real experts from many industries. You have no clue about the process, sourcing, lead times, training, tooling, inspections, certifications, and contract negotiations, that is just a start. You have no idea of what you are speaking of. You think it is easy just do this and POOF, its done. The manufacturing industry does not work that way, there are so many details of the process you ignore, which are extremely important that would make or break this if not done right. Keep your delusions.

I’ve lost interest in this. You’ve run out of steam and you’re doing the same thing over again. We’re done here.

And you just again showed that you have no idea what you’re talking about. In a hot conflict that we are using aircraft from far away airstrips we have already proven that it’s easy to make a combat pattern where one flight of strike jets engages in the hot zone while another one recently coming back in from the area is landing, arming, and fueling and at the same time another flight that has already been fueled and armed is taking off on it’s way to relieve the fighters on station. We have plenty of practice with this type of combat pattern at a high tempo and have proven we can get it going for weeks on end none-stop. It worked extremely well in Libya and it’s even easier if you have more aircraft and more pilots, which is what we would get if we purchased Super Hornets. More planes means more pilots and more pilots means less strain per pilot.

Gators were the ones that couldn’t do a lot of the fighting in Libya because of the limited capabilities of their aircraft and the small number of them, exactly the same flaws the F-35B brings since it will be made in small numbers and it has limited range and fire power. That is even before the terrible readiness rates and MAINTENANCE INTENSIVE problems are solved. The highly complex F-35B will be a hanger queen, requiring hours of maintenance in order to keep it working. The fact that we will have small numbers of them means fewer pilots and each pilot will have to endure more strain of combat. I’m not continuing this any further. You have proven you don’t really know what you’re talking about at all and are simply scrambling around for a good point to use as to why we need STOVL jets or the F-35B. Have a good day.

Your lack of interest shows, you want what you want and don’t care about the results they will bring. This means you will ignore any one and anything that does not fit your already preconceived opinion; including reality. That is exactly the attitude that kills needlessly.

Again you refuse to see logic, because it does not fit your preconceived opinion. It is readily apparent, you care only about cost and not about the lives of those who go into harms way.

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