Report: How to lower F-35 costs? Lockheed asks employees

Report: How to lower F-35 costs? Lockheed asks employees

Lockheed Martin has asked its employees for suggestions on how to lower the cost of its F-35 Lightning II, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Barry Shlachter, Sandra Baker and Jim Fuquay write that Lockheed has launched an “affordability challenge,” under which some employees can submit their ideas for how to reduce some of the costs of the world’s largest defense program, now estimated to run about $400 billion to acquire and about $1.45 trillion overall. (Though there are reasons to be skeptical about that mega-number.)

Wrote Schlacther et al:

Using a special computer program called Brainstorm, the project asks salaried employees to submit ideas for cost-saving techniques that can be analyzed.

“Since we launched the program Monday morning, we’ve already had about 30 suggestions,” spokesman B.J. Boling told staff writer Bob Cox.

The F-35 program was initially sold to the Pentagon and Congress as a low-cost way to provide all three U.S. military services with new-generation combat jets. But costs run amok. As a result, the Pentagon, Congress and outside critics are making noise about program costs and hammering on Lockheed to make the aircraft more “affordable.”

Lockheed will pick the most promising ideas and have them reviewed by its in-house experts to see if they can be implemented. Employees with the winning ideas will be recognized by the company.

“Hopefully through this filtration process we’ll get a few ideas that come out the other end that will result in real affordability gains,” Boling said.

Lockheed would doubtless argue that on the scale of thousands of airplanes, even small improvements in efficiency and reductions in cost will add up. In fact, we heard last year that DoD program officials were already mulling changes to their F-35 production plans, including the notion that they’d dispense with their onetime hope of building different copies of the fighters on demand.

One original goal for F-35 was for Lockheed to be able to use its factory like one of those incredible Coke machines you see around these days, the ones loaded with every soft drink, letting you mix them as you please. Orders could come in from DoD or international customers in any sequence — couple Bs, couple As, couple Canadian As with different refueling hookups — and Lockheed could build each one in any order. But DoD has considered scaling back those ambitions and sticking with block production, holding orders until it could run a more efficient block batch of jets.

No recent word on where those discussions stand, and we may not hear until DoD and Lockheed ink a deal for the next batch of low-rate, initial production aircraft. In the meantime, Lockheed workers in Fort Worth will be coming up with money-saving ideas of their own.

What do you think the program and Lockheed should do to reduce costs?

Join the Conversation

A new sign of desperation from F-35 and the reality that their smoke and mirrors story of affordability will not last forever.

The house of cards is coming down.

The answer is so simple but no one wants to accept it: cancel the B-model and the C-model. At this stage the A-model is the only one that has a chance and it is the one that a vast majority of our international allies are looking to buy.

Get rid of the expensive union labor. Not worth the cost. They’ve done nothing but find ways to avoid work since they came back from their ten-week strike. They are determined to bring this program down. They have done everything from sabotaging aircraft to hiding in bathroom stalls. It’s sick.

The Marine Corps needs the STOVL to replace the Harriers badly. In fact, they Commandant of the USMC has asked for Lockheed to put a rush on the next plane in the pipeline. I’m guessing it’s the same for the Navy and the carrier variant.

No, it is definitely not the same for the Navy. I can assure you of that. The Navy wants to get out of the JSF program and buy more Super Hornets. The Marines have said they can keep their Harriers operating until 2030. That is plenty of time to make a new aircraft, preferably an upgraded “Harrier III.” A Harrier III would easily satisfy the needs of the USMC, the Royal Navy, and the Italians. It would also be cheap to make and quick to develop since it is based on a proven design.

“A Harrier III would easily satisfy the needs of the USMC, the Royal Navy, and the Italians. It would also be cheap to make and quick to develop since it is based on a proven design. ”

–Which is exactly why the defense-industrial establishment won’t let that happen. Frankly, I think it should. I’ve often said the same thing about the B-52. The AF loves it so much, but they’re getting old. Just redraft the same design with new electronics and avionics and boom: B-52J.

Actually, in regards to cancelling the B– and C– models, I’m thinking the opposite. Keep the –B and –C, cancel the –A. The –C model is similar to the –A, just modified with larger wings and stronger undercarriage for carrier operation.
Cancel the –A and let the USAF use the –C, just like they used the F-4 Phantom back in the 60s.

Why would you do that, when the A is the best performing version???

How do you define better performing?
The F-35C has better range and the F-35B can performs maneuvers that cannot be done by any other of the versions. The F-35A can pull more G’s.
Arguing what aircraft is better then the other is not the way to choose which of them should or should not be cancelled because they perform different missions

Seems like you all need to re-read all the latest military developemtn and procurement newsand then tell me again that “it would be cheap and quick to develop”…as it seemsthat nothing these days is cheap and quick to develop… everyone says that till yo uget into development and then the news slams them for the cost over runs…

Sequestration is coming.. It will reset everything.

With ” Sequestration” right around the corner, and the latest estimates from the CBO on the DoN’s current & future ship building plans ( out to 30 years ). I can see why the Navy maybe looking to get out of the JSF, which would explain last weeks comments. They Nay will have to decide if they want those “Gray Floaty” things they have planned to buy or the F35C.

CBO to DoN: Get Real: http://​www​.defenseindustrydaily​.com/​c​o​s​t​i​n​g​-​n​avy–

You are correct. I hope the services aren’t foolish enough to continue with their plans to buy the F-35 in numbers they originally planned. Because if they do, it will devastate the rest of their acquisition plans for other projects, which will hurt our country’s National Defense for years to come.

The concept of the A-Model is not doing away with the F/A-18. It is to match the F-16 in load, range, turn, excelleration, and in some cases, outperform the F-16. Which means, it is also better than the F/A-18. The Lawn Dart is a hard act to follow for making a Fighter into a Ground Attack and there is nothing better save an F-15E.
The B model does very well except for it’s range and weight carrying capability. It’s head and shoulders above the Harrier and a pilot can be checked out in a matter of yours versus weeks on a Harrier.

The C model is needed but it’s the worst of the lot for performance. It has to be since it’s heavier, larger wings, you know, the things a carrier bird needs. Load it down, do a max weight carrier takeoff and you are going to need every drop of gas you can get.

The A must be able to take on anything in the air and win. Even the newest Russian Jets. Even the ones that they want to build but can’t afford to.
The B must be able to operate off of unemproved fields. Nuff said on that one.
The C must be able to operate from a carrier and TO and Land with a heavy load. You won’t find a 12,000 foot runway in the middle of the Ocean very often so you have to land and takeoff from that postage stamp. And you have to do it better than the F/A-18E/F. It’s going to be awhile before the Growler is in jeapordy.
All three have a place otherwise the Russian may think that they can afford to build their new birds because we didn’t build ours.

I do so love the villification of unions when companies are reporting record profits. Texas is a right to work state and this state has a lot of non-union manufacturing workers as well. My company (not Lockheed) has asked me many times “what time could be cut from your process that would make your product cheaper without sacrificing quality?” Many times “WE” have told them we can cut here… or here… and nothing has changed. Don’t simply blame the unions… I spent 14yrs in the Army and recently, within the past three years entered the aerospace industry, I have a vested interest to help my company be as profitable as possible and help these programs become more efficient/affordable.

Am I willing to take cuts in pay/benefits to do so… to a certain extent absolutely… I would love nothing more than to spend 20yrs working in an industry I love and supporting the military while no longer “physically” able to serve is an added bonus. I’m just tired of the same ole rhetoric… It’s similar to coworkers who may here you bashing Obama… only for them to reply .. “Well Bush did something similar” … not everything is black and white… honestly I don’t like politicians in general. Yes older union people who are lazy and gluttonuss are unrealistic, but the problem also lies in Beaurocracy in these workplaces… I.E. overbearing/unrealistic safety standards which are put into place with no production floor input. A supervisor for every 5 employees… A manager for every 10 Supervisors… There is an absolute disconnect from senior leadership down to the workerbee. Let’s just use common sense and hold everyone accountable from Management, Engineers, and so on… just like the military… Poop cannot defy the laws of gravity and roll uphill.

I know ‚I know , all the employee will save their pop cans and donate them to the CEOs as part of their Billion dollar bonus this year. –Just kidding ‚but don’t you think that , that should have been done years ago by management in as far as managing the program more effectively and with out all of the huge bonuses and overcharging the taxpayers. ( IE .. taking advantage of the acquisition process and the overseers asleep at the wheel) This is just a PR program to take the heat off from greedy CEOs and mismanagement plain and simple!

LM is going to put themselves out of business because of their greed and Corruption, The days of fat bonuses and no oversight are over . It’s time for financial responsibility . (post economy crash) I saw on CNN awhile back that during the decade between ‘80s and ‘90s the annual income of blue collar workers went of 14% and white collar it was like 16%, and between the ‘90s and 2000 the blue collar wages went up a modest 2% to 16% and the white collar wages went up 400% . Now if those numbers were even close to being accurate , that is why we would find ourselves in a situation like we are in today. (again –post economy crash) — What a shame putting yourselves way before your country, which is against everything that our service men and women ( most service men and women ) hold true to their hearts when they join to serve.

I humbly disagree…the Army, Marines and the Navy have been able to recapitalize on older platforms at a greatly reduced price compared to building new platforms: CH-47F, AH-1Z, UH-1Y and the Super Hornet to name few. Not to mention we have been using basically the same battle rifle for the longest period in history with incremental upgrades through the years.

A little late now, but the plane could already be in service if the block 10 aircraft had been designed from the get go with a HUD instead of the star wars 360 degree hemet. The helmet could have been added in block 60 when it is perfected.

In the case of the CH-47F, there was a long established production line. Meanwhile much of the AH-1Z and UH-1Y are new, and the Super Hornet has very little in common with the original F/A-18 now.

The Harrier production line has been closed for years.The Marines will be keeping them in service by cannibalizing British ones.

Some may be easy on some systems like Oxygen and flight stick use the F-16s systems. Other pint is simple concentrate and A and C models dump the B.

LM is just trying to avoid the inevitable solution that will come which will be to buy less. We don’t need as many anyway. ADM Greenert’s recent piece envisioned the C model as more of a AWACs ISR asset than as a strike option solely. He said it best in that article as well, there is no point buying gen 5 aircraft only to hang gen 3 and 4 weapons on them. It opens the question wouldn’t it be cheaper and more cost effective to invest in gen 5 and even six weapons and hang them on gen 4.5 aircraft.

Bottom line is the F35’s costs are rising and revenue collections are not. Something has to give,


In forcing USAF to buy F-35C (or –B), please also understand that you’ve just INCREASED the cost to USAF and Partner’s combat Procurement by around 25% when the whole point is about what to do in order to DECREASE procurement costs!

And btw, can you read Dutch? Read the angst and chaos the F-35A Program alone is causing govt! Now offer them an F-35C instead?

They should sell the Air frames without engine and radar.

Start mass producing the air frame to bring the cost down. Put the F-35 skeleton in storage and then separately add the software, engine and radar down the road when code is complete and costs have come down for the engine as well.

It’s not like Air Forces really will be able to operate this jet affordably either right? So why not just bank the added operational costs for a decade or so while they’re in storage! It’s about jobs in keeping this Program alive, stupid. Forget operating the jet so much.

Cutting costs? Right. Robert J. Stevens, Chairman & CEO total compensation valued at $25.4 million for 2011, up about 16 percent from the year before, as he got a higher bonus even as earnings declined against a tough backdrop for defense spending. Christopher Kubasik, President and COO reportedly making in total compensation 10 million. For once, maybe starting at the top, will help. Or, perhaps a nice bake sale may help.

Though the production line had to be reopened, I am quite certain the two were quite a bit cheaper to build and maintain than a clean-sheet design, not to mention the platforms are quite familiar to legacy pilots and maintainers.
The Super Hornet is perhaps one the Navy’s greatest success stories, replacing F-14s, older F-18s and now the A-6 vis-a-vis the Growler. The Super Hornet can trace its lineage all the way back to the F-5 and demonstrates incremental improvements over time. Even considering what little it has in common with the Classic Hornet, the Super Hornet is certainly based upon common design principles. The fact the Navy adopted the plane to get around the usual acquisition kabuki is a testament to their creative thinking.

Geoffry Woods, the C-model and the B-model are the most expensive and flawed ones of the group. The C-model has a lot of things the A-model doesn’t have that increase the price. Beefy landing gear, folding wings, a tailhook that doesn’t work, and all the necessary inner workings for it to maintain carrier capability not only increase the price but add weight and more parts to an already complex design that is difficult to maintain. The A-model is the simplest and the cheapest right now. If we give all our focus to the A-model I’m sure we could make it ready for IOC within the decade and at least get SOMETHING from this program.

You realise that each aircraft cost 160 mil cheap right? And the company can make billions. If you have a very smart well connected CEO then you can do great. An idiot and your entire company fails. This is called intelligence. Hire the best get the most.

The F18 is a late 70s design , warmed over. — Twice !

if you arent building leading edge combat aircraft then you arent going to advance technically.

Yes it would be cheaper and much more efficient for the Navy to use 4.5 Gen Aircraft ( Super Hornet ) and use advanced weapons like some of MDBA’s current missile line. Like the Meteor BVRAAM, and the their Stealth Anti-Ship Cruise missile (forgot the name ). But 4.5 Gen fighters with Advanced AESA radars & IRST systems using 5 Gen missiles would let them keep building the ships they want to, considering the CBO just SLAMMED the Navy’s projected ship building costs right out the window.

CBO to DoN: Get Real: http://​www​.defenseindustrydaily​.com/​c​o​s​t​i​n​g​-​n​avy–

CBO’s Report: “An Analysis of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2013 Shipbuilding Plan” http://​www​.cbo​.gov/​s​i​t​e​s​/​d​e​f​a​u​l​t​/​f​i​l​e​s​/​c​b​o​f​i​l​e​s/a

I would go ahead with the production of the F-35A’s and Keep the F-35B & F-35C in R&D stage until they can iron out the bugs. the F-35A has a shot of going into Production and even out to the units. I’d then force the US Navy and USMC to buy more super hornets and maybe develop the Harrier III

the f-35B is at a point where it is more mature than any competitor could be, and i think it should go ahead. when you think about it in the context of the f-35 program, it’s been the B model that has caused the most design compromises and that the design is the best tailored for. the A could make sense as a replacement for the f-16, assuming that costs come down and/or the AF procures a lower number. the C, however, does not make sense — carriers need better air-interception capability to protect them from air threats (i’m thinking twin-engine and stealth, like a navy-version f-22).

Logic says that getting rid of the STOVL F-35B makes the most sense; but the only problem is that part of the US Military’s battle strategy and some of our foreign allies revolves around the F-35B for their small Wasp-class carriers and eliminating the F-35B would mean a serious re-think.

Are you honestly trying to say there are not hugely significant technological advances in the Super Hornet compared to the original incarnation of the F18?

And then when does the Navy get an actual 5th generation aircraft? Something more capable than the Super Hornet. When it came to the air-superiority mission, the upgraded Tomcats in competition with the Super Hornet were generally better with the exception of RCS. But the Super Hornet is by no means VLO.

There are indeed many advances in the avionics. But what nobody in the Navy likes to admit is that the Super Hornet was only going to a bridge until A-X (which later became A/F-X) entered service. While the JSF isn’t exactly what the Navy wanted, it does give them much of the capability they wanted out of the A-12 and A-X programs.

When the United States of America can afford to produce it without sending 3 generations removed into unmanageable debt.

By what standards? The F-35C has the longest range of all three variants.

While the F-35A can be more closely compared to the F-16 in terms of physical performance, the F-35C is closer to the F/A-18C/D. Compared to the F-16 this means better low speeds maneuverability, but greater drag and slower transonic acceleration.

No oversight? When it comes to anything DoD there are miles of bureaucratic red-tape everywhere.

So we let the rest of the world get ahead? Killing the F-35 isn’t going to fix the debt problem. Chances are it wouldn’t have the slightest effect in that regard.

The UK’s cycle of gutting defense every several years to pay off the debt incurred from everything else hasn’t worked for them, why will it work for us?

And speaking of the UK, if they weren’t willing to install catapults and all of that gear for the F-35C, why would they be willing to do it for F/A-18E/F? They liked their experience with the Harrier and want the F-35B.

OK maybe oversight was the wrong word i was looking for to explain the blatant misuse of resources available ‚How about no conscience when it come to spending taxpayers money.

True and that’s a common feature of all politicians and CEOs. Not much that can be done about it though. You just have to encourage competition between companies.

F-15 Eagle Keeper, I’m surprised that we are looking at single engine fighters. C’mon

Cancelling the B Model would be just about the DUMBEST thing we could do.

The B Model allows us to extend our reach and put these planes on ships other than carriers.

Not to mention the fact that the Marines need the B Model badly.

Problem with a ‘new’ B-52 is that it will not be able to survive in a high tghreat environment regardless of what ECM suite you install on it. For Iraq and Afghanistan? Yes, did well (but then so did/does the B-1 with a higher speed).

The B-52 is an exceptional airframe, but its design has reached its limits.

The F4 was an effort toward a common service multifunction platform. When the Navy decided to replace the A-7 they went with multiple engine for survivability. Now we have the 35B that requires flight decks to be redesigned because of excessive heat and the 35C that has engine containers so large and heavy that they can not be transfered via highline ship to ship or vert rep ship to ship. Also the engine containers size is too large to move about on the carrier. Engine verticle assembly cannot be done in the hanger as the length is to long. We are doing to ourselves what Reagan did to the USSR which was spend them selves into nonexistence.

Having been a part of the aviation community for 40+ years I have witnessed great improvements in systems reliability and safety. The men and women I meet who are just starting in the field as compared to those who started when I started are head and shoulder above in professionalism, intelligence.

Let’s just scrap the F-35 and buy F-22s and make an export version of the F-22s ( F-22EX ) and sell them to our allies. I am sure they would be OK with that. With a sky ramp and an arresting hook and the thrust vectoring on the F-22 ‚it could do carrier op.s. In the starting phases of a conflict the allies could configure it for Air –Air and after you rule the skies, then break out the external racks and turn it into a bomb truck, just like the SU-35 only much better. With the Raptor you can go in and take out the integrated air defenses with SDBs and Jdams as well as any airborne threats could be swept from the skies, as well as flying as an electronic attack platform. Then like i said ‚put on the external stores racks and take care of ground targets. Also support other platforms such as B-1B , B-2s and the rest of thebombers and strikers. I read on the site a while back that the Marines might be interested in F-22s (awesome !) Japan wants them the boys and Shelia’s from down under want them.

The only people that don’t want them is Mr.Gates (personal conflict with AF brass , and head in butt) and Mr. Obama (listening to man with head in butt , and personal problem with AF brass ) At the time of the F-22 line shut down they were making strides in quality and efficiency and F-22s were getting cheaper with every jet that came off the line. _

Now there is something that getss me fired up is when all these haters of the F-22 and other platforms as well is when these other people with heads up their butts through out prices of the Jets that are crazy , because ( and i have seen this on almost every article and post that are against the F-22 ) is when the say that each F-22 cost $300 million because they take the total cost of the program which includes R&D ‚test aircraft , testing costs, and even fuel used in testing , So that they can take the total cost of the program anddividee the number of F-22s and come out with this crazy 300 millionm dollar price . That’s called an agenda that person has done all this to talk trash or to try to get the public to be against the jet. How would like it if GM took all the money they spent on developing a new car and machines to build them and new assembly lines to build theand dividedd it up to charge you for a new car, at a great low price of only $204,000 for you all new ford pick-up, crazy right . I read that many many times and on TV news shows and on here . That gets me very angry,because it’s not fair and is very damaging to a program.

Who said anything about killing the F35? You don’t even bother to read what I wrote and in regards to this assertion “Killing the F-35 isn’t going to fix the debt problem” you are basically saying spending less money won’t contribute to solving the debt problem. That’s such an absurd assertion it doesn’t even rate a response

I get your point, it makes little sense how so much defense R&D is tied into acquisition these days. R&D, including the “D”, should be funded separately from any given acquisition program. Requiring acquisition programs to use only mature tech developed by the R&D arm might actually put a lid on costs.

But the truck analogy is absurd. For any consumer company, of course all R&D costs are reflected/included in the final price. How else would a company pay for them? So no, your truck would not cost $200k if R&D costs are included. It would cost exactly what GM sells it for. It might cost a little less if GM excluded the R&D costs, but not much since those costs are far smaller than a defense program and spread across millions of units.

I still don’t understand why the Navy needs the F-35C, with all the disadvantages its going to plague them there comes a time where it’s just not worth it anymore. Same goes for the B, the Marines really do not NEED STOVL they just want to have it. I can see the justification for the A model, but the B and C need to be dropped from the plan. There are alternatives for right now and the next 10–15 years so use them!

The words Military and priority’s will never mix again it seems.

Take the bonuses from management , The workers that add value have taken enough cuts!!! If I accept a job paying $XXX and that is what I get as my total compensation then I can’t say I’m underpaid, If I get a bonus for outstanding management for exceeding all standard then and only then am I being paid for excellence as a plus, but it should not pay more than the agreed amount. CEO’s that demand 5 or10 times the base wage in bonuses that are driving the companies into the ground or are adding greatly to cost overruns do not deserve additional compensation! Many companies are top heavy and problems take month to address with so many steps to go through. We don’t need umpteen levels of management that add no value to the finished product.

Boeing Sould have contract.…

The F135 weighs less and is shorter than the TF30s used by the F-14A Tomcat. And no flight decks don’t need to be “redesigned” for the F-35B.

The only capability the JSF adds is stealth. There are other ways of getting the job done without stealth and stealth might not provide the same advantage by the end of the decade that it does now. The Super Hornet does a lot of things that the JSF can’t do and the JSF doens’t provide much more of an increase in capability that the Super Hornet does. The advanced sensors that are on the JSF can easily be added to the Super Hornet, just as Boeing is showing with the International Road Map Super Hornet. The Super Hornet’s RCS can be further reduced and its range can be increased with conformal tanks. It makes no sense for the Navy to buy the JSF when an upgraded Super Hornet is pretty much all that they need and is extremely easy and cheap to make. No one cares that it was only designed to be a bridge because it turned out to be great and just what they needed.

“The F4 was an effort toward a common service multifunction platform.”

No, it wasn’t. The F4H was a pure-Navy bird up until the USAF decided that they wanted something that could swing-role the interceptor and tactical-bomber missions (as opposed to building more F-105 and F-106.)

because the F-16 was such a failure?

And why exactlu would we need to vertrep or highline one when the CVN will carry something like 20 spares onboard? How often do we tranfer F404/F414s? Virtually never!

This is the latest ruse in the LM Fleecing of the US taxpayers. Too Big to Fail arrogance is the mainstay in FTW. The last thing LM would ever do is listen to the employees. They don’t care. LM management — mostly unqualified management and cousins — is way “too smart”. There’s a certain “social impairment” that prevails within LM leading the lemmings inside the operation. Wilst all along the LM Mafia laugh and dance like drunken gnomes at the reality that they are still getting paid for absolute under-achievement and malfeasance. The “largest” defense contractor in many ways…very shameful.

How do you people suppose that this new upgraded super hornet will hit targets over Beijing, NK, the Taiwan straight, and all of the other places that have heavy air defences? Please tell me this magic thing the super hornet can do that the F-35C cant. Lets tryi loading up a super hornet with 4x JASSM stand off weapons, 8X SDBs and 2 AMRAAms. lets have it fly in a 600NM combat radius and target 1 dozen targets.
Can the F-18 do that? Where does the extra fuel tank go? Better yet lets Hit the 1st 4 targets with stand off weapons, drop our pylons and attack the next 8 targets with full 7g maneuverability and a Mach 1.6 dash speed. can the F-18 do that?

What good does it do the Super Hornet to be 1/2 the cost of the F-35 if you need 4x the planes for the mission?

How many targets can I hit with a super hornet using jassm, versus a F-35 using SDB? The pro Hornet argument falls apart when you start discussing sortie rates. How many Hornets do I need to hit a target withign a 600 NM combat radius? lets see 20 targets need to be hit. 10X super hornet each with 2X jassm and external tanks. 2Xsuper hornets with 6X AMRAAMS 2X super hornets escort jamming Possibly 2X Hornets buddy tanking. Thats an entire squadron of hornets for a few targets. compared to 3X F-35A,C with 8 SDB each =24 targets hit 2X F-35 A,C With 4–6 AMRAAms jamming counter air we are talking 5 planes versus nearly 20! you need 2 or 3 times the amout of hornets to do the same Job your Are My numbers fairly accurate? am I missing somthing?

You mean sequestration won’t devastate our country’s national defense, yet the F-35 will?

Failing to modernize tacair hurts too.

This is not all that unlike what GM is doing with the Volt.

@ The great jessmo

The moment you load an F-35C with external ordinance it is going to lose its stealth. Stealth also might not provide the same advantage that it does now because our enemies have been focusing on making counter stealth technologies.

As for the external pylons and the extra fuel tank, watch this: http://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​l​E​3​h​8​y​I​m​m4U

The B-model has less fuel than the Super Hornet does and what other ships could actually service an F-35B besides an amphib? Putting F-35Bs on Amphibs doesn’t really give us much of an increase in over all capability for fighting a war and it costs extreme amounts of money to make the jet in the first place. The Harrier will be here till 2030 so the Marines don’t need it that badly and they have plenty of time to cancel it and start over with a better aircraft, like a bigger Harrier III with more fuel, more power, longer range, heavier armament, stealthy shaping, and tweaks that the Brits and Italians would like.

Mr sweetman, How will adding conformal tanks and a extra belly pod give the SH more hard points?
The fact of the matter is the F-35 carries more TOTAL ordinance. Also Ishoudl point out that with better range you can fire those JASSMER from out of detection range then switch to Internal carriage.
or you could Just use NSM. The fact of the matter is the F-35 is 2 or 3 times the strike plat form of the hornet.

Dissclaimer: I am not Mr. Sweetman. I do not know him. He is a test pilot for Boeing that I have never met.

The conformal fuel tanks bring the Super Hornet’s internal fuel capacity to 18,450 lbs, which is not too far away from the 19,750 lbs on the F-35C. The Super Hornet will also have Enhanced Durability Engines (EDE engines) that maintain the same performance as the current engines with less fuel consumption. These will bring the Super Hornet’s range very close to that of the F-35C to a point where the difference is not significant.

The Super Hornet can carry three of those stealthy enclosed weapons pods, one under the centerline hard point and one under each wing. Each weapons pod can carry 4 AMRAAMS or 2 AMRAAMs and 2 SDBs or 2 AMRAAMs and 1 1000lbs bomb. That is not the limit either as they can carry a large assortment of other weapons. With these weapons pods the Super Hornet will have very low observability and hold more internal weapons than the F-35C.

On top of that, both the Super Hornet and the F-35C can only carry a maximum of 4 JASSMERs. The only way the F-35C could switch to internal carriage is if it ejects the pylons that it used to carry the JASSMERs, which is something the Super Hornet can easily do as well. The F-35C only carries more total ordinance if you mount weapons on both the internal and external weapons bays, at which point it sacrifices stealth and its performance falls below that of the Super Hornet. The F-35C is not 2 or 3 times the strike platform of the Super Hornet. It is only a marginal increase in some areas of performance and great decrease in others (reliability, maintainability, single engines, ruggedness, overall aircraft numbers) for a price that is 3x that of the Super Hornet.

If they are not going to start back up the F-22 line and make more Rapyors then they should integrate the thrust vectoring jet engine from the F-22 onto the F-35 to try to get some extra maneuverability out of the F-35 to help it compete in the air to air arena . The jet engine it currently uses is a variant of the Raptor engine anyway. If they don’t do something to help the Raptor out in the air versus overwhelming numbers of enemy jets it’s going to be bad for the F-22, because we can’t replace them. By the time this F-35 program wraps up we will be lucky if we get 500 jets ‚because of the way the costs are growing out of control. Can you imagine what kind of shape we would be in right now if we had only bought 187 F-22s and say 500 total F-35s back in the early 1980s. (I hate to think) and yet that is increasingly looking more and more like the future of the Airforce. ( we are in deep trouble! )

* Correction — my computer likes to finish words for me which are often wrong– Sorry ! * If they are not going to start back up the F-22 line and make more Raptors then they should integrate the thrust vectoring jet engine from the F-22 onto the F-35 to try to get some extra maneuverability out of the F-35 to help it compete in the air to air arena . The jet engine it currently uses is a variant of the Raptor engine anyway. If they don’t do something to help the Raptor out in the air versus overwhelming numbers of enemy jets it’s going to be bad for the F-22, because we can’t replace them. By the time this F-35 program wraps up we will be lucky if we get 500 jets ‚because of the way the costs are growing out of control. Can you imagine what kind of shape we would be in right now if we had only bought 187 F-15s and say 500 total F-16s back in the early 1980s. (I hate to think) and yet that is increasingly looking more and more like the future of the Airforce. ( we are in deep trouble! )

I thought the engine being proposed for this Super Hornet roadmap was the improved performance F414 with 15–20% greater thrust? Not the durability upgrade.

I believe the weapons pod only carries 2 AMRAAM maximum, not 4. Hopefully it would be AIM-9X compatible too. Plus whatever next-generation missile that we should have in the works.

Even with these upgrades the frontal RCS of the Super Hornet will not match that of the F-35. You simply cannot retrofit that level of stealth onto an existing design. A conservative estimate for the frontal RCS of the F-35 would be 0.0015 meters squared. Meanwhile a clean Block II Super Hornet has an estimated RCS of 0.1 meters squared based on Navy statements.. This is a significant difference.

You do realize that the F-35C is intended to replace the C/D model Hornets, not the E/F model Super Hornets, correct?

I recognize that the F/A-18E/F has given us good service and will continue to do so even after the F-35C enters service. But many would disagree with you about it being just what the Navy needed. There are many fans of the Super Tomcat (F-14D and ST21) who argue that the Navy should have taken that route instead of the F/A-18E/F.

Hello Eagle Keeper.

Me too. I’m astounded that my country (Australia) is still looking at single engine aircraft, which is a complete joke. I would like to see Boeing Co. propose more developments of the advanced F-15s and restart the F-22 production line as a alternative to the failed F-35 program.

What is your view about the new single seat F-15F+ variant (based on the two-seat F-15E) as a replacement for the C/D models, is that a good alternative? and What upgrades should the new Eagle have?

1. APG-82 AESA fire control radar.

2. 2D or 3D thrust vectoring supercruising F100-PW-232 or F110-GE-132 engines as a consideration.

3. DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System) or defensible EWSP jammers.

4. NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen ****pit display.

5. Digital fly-by-wire flight control system.

6. IRST sensor pod (either located next to the windshield or below the port air intake) and CFB (Conformal Weapons Bays) etc.

Hope to hear from you

P.S. I’m an F-15 supporter.

@ Curt

No. The F-16 is an awesome aircraft, but only ideal for NATO European nations, South American nations and some Asian nations to operate them, is because their range is not as important and they are surrounded by the vast land areas and more surrounded air bases for any emergencies (for e.g. engine failure or hydraulic problems).

Although modern engines are very reliable (which they are), the loss of the engine over water guarantees the loss of the single engine fighter, and also requires that the Navy commit search and rescue assets to support any operational deployment of F-16s, JAS-39s, F-35s or any single engined fighter.

P.S. William C. Do not respond what I’ve explained to Curt.

To Philip Ewing

“What do you think the program and Lockheed should do to reduce costs”?

No. I certainly don’t want to see Lockheed reduce the cost for the F-35. Instead I want to see this failed lemon get scrapped and put into the junk yard. Because its a failed project, the biggest and ugliest, by far, of all time.

Buying the F-35 is a really a terrible idea. It’ll be inadequate to deal with the changed threat environment, and if you have the F-35s that just aren’t capable of dealing with the high threat zones, it just doesn’t do you any good of going ahead with the failed program and sink the money. Because the F-35 will be increasingly expensive aircraft that will fail the air defence program and there’s absolutely no point of sticking with the F-35 because some hostile nations could well be purchasing The Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radar, advanced S-400 and S-500 SAM systems.

To Philip Ewing

Also F-35 will also be detected by the L-Band AESA. It is used for targetting which they’ll be able to track LO/VLO stealth planes such as the F-35 especially from behind, the upper side and from the lower sides as well. Unfortunately the exhaust nozzle of the F-35 will be extremely hot. The back end of the F-35 in full afterburner is something like 1600 degrees (Fahrenheit). In terms of temperature, aluminium combusts at 1100. You are talking about something really, really hot. If you have got a dirty big sensor on the front of your Su-35S or your PAK-FA or whatever, it lights up like Christmas lights and there is nothing you can do about it. And the plume, because of the symmetric exhaust, is all over the place. It is not shielded, it is not ducted in any useful way. The Sukhois will be able to seek and destroy the F-35 when using the heat seeking BVR AA-12 (R-77) Adder AAMs.

The F-35 is a boondoggle.

To Philip Ewing

Going back to the 55Zh6M Nebo M “Counter Stealth Radar”. If you want to find out more about this counter stealth radar, here’s a description if you’re interested.

Development initiated late 1990s leveraging experience in Nebo SVU VHF-Band AESA radar;
2012–2013 IOC intended;

Designed from the outset to detect stealth fighters and provide early warning and track data to missile batteries and fighters;

The VHF component will provide a significant detection and tracking capability against fighter and UCAV sized stealth targets;

High off-road capability permits placement well away from built up areas, enabling concealment;

Rapid deploy and stow times permit evasion of air attacks by frequent movement, defeats cruise missiles like JASSM;

Initial Nebo M builds for Russian Air Defence Forces, but expected like other “counter-stealth” radars to be marketed for global export to arbitrary clientele.

To Philip Ewing

55Zh6M Nebo M “Counter Stealth Radar”

The VHF band element in that radar will detect the F-35 at a distance of tens of miles. That is without a doubt. What that means is that the aircraft is going to be in great difficulty if it tries to deal with what I call a modern or contemporary threat. The same is also true when you deal with these newer stealth fighters, because they are designed to compete with the F-22. They fly higher; they are faster and more agile—much, much more agile. They have more powerful radars and much, much better antenna packages for other sensors. The F-35 is not meeting its specifications and its specifications are inadequate to deal with the changed environment.

To Philip Ewing

If the F-35 was to be able to meet its specifications, the aircraft will have the ability of going up against a 1980s Soviet air defence system of the type that we saw destroyed very effectively in Libya 12 months ago, the F-35 would be reasonably be effective in that environment, because these older Soviet radars would not see it.

But if you are putting F-35 up against the newer generation of much, much more powerful Russian radars and some of the newer Chinese radars, the aircraft is quite detectable, especially from behind, the upper side and from the lower sides as well.

To Philip Ewing

The F-35 is totally incapable of facing high end threats. This has shown that the aircraft has a lot of limitations and it cannot do a lot of things as expected to show and promise that is a true fifth generation fighter, because it does not meet all the requirements of partner nations. Its fuselage is too overweight which has too much cross section; the wings are too small which lacks the extreme manoeuvrability. The wing planform is optimised for subsonic cruise and transonic manoeuvre which doesn’t provide enough lift and drag to defeat Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and Within Visual Range (WVR) air-to-air missiles (AAMs) from enemy fighters in the dogfight and stand-off ranges, advanced surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and ground fire during top end threats. It also has inferior acceleration at Mach 1.6, short range with no loiter time and very limited weapons payload that is unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence and totally unsuited for air superiority role when compared against Sukhoi family, upcoming J-20 and perhaps the J-60 of aircraft, particularly post 2010 configurations; definitely post 2015 evolved growth variants.

To Philip Ewing

The APG-81 AESA radar. The nose geometry of the F-35 limits the aperture of the radar. This makes the F-35 dependent on supporting AEW&C aircraft which are themselves vulnerable to long range anti-radiation missiles and jamming. Opposing Sukhoi aircraft have a massive 1 meter radar aperture enabling them to detect and attack at an JSF long before the JSF can detect the Sukhoi. It has Medium Power Aperture (0) (Detection range around 140 – 150 nm at BVR)

Compared to which other aircraft’s radar?

To Philip Ewing

The N011 Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) for the Su-35S Super Flanker-E

NIIP claims a detection range for a closing 3 square metre coaltitude target of 190 — 250 NMI (350–400 km), and the ability to detect a stealthy aircraft while closing 0.01 square metre target at ~50 NMI (90 km). In Track While Scan (TWS) mode the radar can handle 30 targets simultaneously, and provide guidance for two simultaneous shots using a semi-active missile like the R-27 series, or eight simultaneous shots using an active missile like the RVV-AE/R-77 or ramjet RVV-AE-PD/R-77M.

The PAK-FA will feature the N050 BRLS IRBIS AFAR/AESA?, similar to the Su-35S N011.

* Frequency: X-Band (8 — 12 GHz)
* Diameter: 2 ft 4 in (0.7 m)
* Targets: 32 tracked, 8 engaged
* Range: 248 mi (400 km)
EPR: 32.3 ft² (3 m²): 99.4 mi (160 km) and 0.11 sq.ft (0.01 sq.m) target at ~50 NMI (90 km)
Azimuth: +/-70°, +90/-50°
* Power: 4,000 W
* Weight: 143 to 176 lb (65 to 80 kg)

To Philip Ewing

Again, the F-35 will be detectable from behind the fuselage, the upper side and from the lower sides as well, except for the front area, a conservative estimate for the frontal RCS of the F-35 would be 0.0015 square metre which is only stealthy in the front, this is what I call “Partial Stealth” which the F-35 does have. Because if the situation arises, the Sukhoi family of fighters, upcoming J-20 or J-60 can out-run, out-climb and out-manoeuvre, and be able to track the F-35 using L-band AESA, IRST sensor (from the upper and lower sides and aft fuselage) and launch their AAMs from any altitude at speed etc.

The bad news is, with the changed environment the F-35 will be obsolete when the aircraft arrives in 2018 or later, the US as well the allies are armed with this aircraft will make their air power totally ineffective in the next 30 to 40 years. I’m complaining about LM lying and misleading to the military and the public what they state their facts what the F-35 can do etc etc. And I don’t see any contradiction with the way I’ve promoted these new Russian/Chinese radars etc.

William C, The great jessmo, and to other pro-F-35 advocates.

Stay out of my argument. Thanks

Guest, I’ve seen you point out many of the problems with the F-35, but what do you think are the solutions? What should we do about these Russian/Chinese radars and adversary stealth fighters?

Guest, your a bit long winded arnt you? do you think being long winded makes your argument any greater LOL? All of the new fancy tech will die in the opening days of the war, from JASSM-ER. Can the Nebo track OTH at 600 miles out? Are you going to fire missiles at air targets from that far? The F-35s fire all of there JASSMs at the fancy new radars, drop pylons and still hit the parked Su-35s and T-50s parked on the tarmac.
@ black owl, Having big clunky stealth pods in the way still oesnt solve 2 fundumental flaws with the F-18.

1. That the fuel and ammo capacity is limited, and why have stealthy pods if your gonna have 4 JASSMs on the wings?

2. Transonic performance is gone with big stealthy pods and JASSMs on. The F-35 can go into full steal mode, and still use X2 NSM and X2 AMRAAM or X8 SBD.
@ guest since when is L-band the panacea for all things in the EM spectrum? here are 2 issues with L-band.

1. Its a wide band radar and MIGHT be useful for vectoring, but cant be used to accurately get a firing solution from a land base.

2. It can be jammed, spoofed, destroyed, hacked, destroyed like any thing else.

3. The antennae are wide and flat (do to physics) and are not readily installed in a nose, which means they will be wing root, and tail mounted. even Russians must obey the laws of physics.

Cut labor costs to the bone.

Works for the service industry.

There are two varients of upgraded engines that can be added to the Super Hornet upgrades. One is the EPE (Enhanced Power Engines) which increase thrust by 20%. The other is the EDE (Enhanced Durability Engines) that keep the same amount of thrust with less fuel consumption. The Navy is actually developing the EDE engine, which implies they intend to buy it already.

The weapons pod can carry 4 AMRAAMs. If you watch the link I posted Mr Sweetman clearly says it can carry 4 AMRAAMs. The weapons pod does not need to be AIM-9X compatible because the Super Hornet can carry them on its wingtip pylons where the seeker is exposed and can be used with the JHMCS for in close dogfights.

I know the RCS will not match that of an F-35. I said it would very low observable. It would be a combination of low observability and heavy armament, which is exactly what we need. I’m saying that the Super Hornet can replace our Legacy Hornets better and more effectively than the F-35C. An all Super Hornet force also makes it easy to train, easy to maintain, easy interchange, and combat effective. Actually the current plan for the Navy intends to replace the Super Hornet with the F-35C. They said that the F-35C was going to be the replacement for the SHornet a while ago in what I think was a PR push for the F-35C. The Navy made F/A-XX, which they said will be a Super Hornet replacement and which they also said they might acquire more F-35Cs under.

It does not work so well for the industry. Most of them are moving to china. How can you find the worker overpaid, their salary have dropped many times; while the management’s salary skyrocketed.

Cutting salary work well for bean counter, on a power point sheet. You save static cost, and you “suddenly” got a lot of glitch and technical problems, especially because of that cheap-labor ambiance.

That said, there are definitely a lot of profession that are overpaid, like in construction. But for lockheed employee working on the production line, I doubt it. Any evidence?

“How can you find the worker overpaid, their salary have dropped many times; while the management’s salary skyrocketed.”

Management salary raises are because they have reduced cost to the company. Workers will make more as soon as they eliminate worktime laws, minimum wage and environmental regulations…because we all know companies allowed to do whatever they want will suddenly take an interest in the welfare of their workforce.

It works. Customers haven’t stopped shopping at Amazon, Target, Walmart et al. If anything, they are “creating jobs” because you can hire two temps instead of a single full-timer.

Lockmart has no obligation to its workforce. It’s sole obligations are to its customers and its shareholders. Usually in reverse order. This isn’t communism…

Do you really believe that their salary need to be raised for that? It’s part of their jobs, they do not deserve a dime more for doing their jobs. And the management is part of the company, the fact that they are willing to cut the workforce salary to the bone, while increasing the salary –because they have saved so much more– is a proof of egoism, incompetency, and incapability to see that their own person is part of it. So few of them have the guts to cut their own salary as an example of austerity, and it’s not like they can’t afford it.

Oh yeah this method worked so well that we got a world crisis with banking difficulties, and they were all relying on the pattern you described. I hope that you don’t believe that bank are making money, don’t you?

Reducing management salary is not communism either. It’s just that they are closer to the shareholder to convince them that it’s not going to work…

How smart does the CEO have to be to be worth 400 times more than the average engineer who actually does the brain work that makes the company its profits? The fact is, aerospace CEO’s used to be engineers. In those days they made about 10 — 20 times what one of their colleagues might make. Today the aerospace CEOs are all bean counter morons from finance and accounting. They are not worthy of their predecessors in any way. They make 40 times more with not a single program that’s on schedule or on budget.

I agree with you here. Engineers should be in charge and not these business experts who are paid insane amounts and all too often don’t understand the complexities of what they’re managing. Yet the issue with overpaid CEOs is everywhere across the economy, and there really isn’t much to be done about it in a free market.

Correction: by makink money I was meaning to create money.

I watched the video again, you are correct about the four AMRAAM. From the loadouts he described earlier it sounded like just two. I certainly like the concept, but I’m not certain about the overall benefit to semi-LO designs like the Super Hornet, Eurofighter, etc. A variant compatible with the inner wing pylons of the F-35 or F-22 would be nice to have.

Now your claiming to know the F-35s classified RCS numbers?

Hello BlackOwl18E

Look, I apologize that I put the same info again, I’m replying to Philip Ewing since when he posted this article and I’m explaining to him about the my solutions that the costs of this aircraft should not be reduced and must be cancelled altogether. You don’t have to read my comments which I’ve post the same ones since you’ve already seen before. From my point of view these are my solutions what the reports that I have been received and stated from the defence industry that the F-35 will not meet the US and allied nations requirement etc.

To BlackOwl18E

“What should we do about these adversary 4.5 ‚4++ and 5th generation fighters”?

First of all cancel the whole F-35 program and restart the F-22 production line and make an export version of the F-22s ( F-22EX ) and sell them to the trusted allies as ribby22 stated. As you know the F-22 Raptor, with their greater stealth, the Raptors would be the aircraft of choice to penetrate particularly high-threat zones and be able to take on the upcoming PAK-FA, J-20 or J-60 aircraft and also hopefully be able to take out the S-400, S-500 advanced SAM systems and Nebo M.


The information (that I’ve received) which shows the results were certainly well within the ball park since.

1) F-22A carries twice as many Air-to-Air missiles as the F-35A.

2) In combat; the F-22A is flown at almost twice the altitude and twice the speed of the F-35A. This increases the range of the F-22A’s Air-to-Air missiles by almost 40 percent, increasing lethality, while it doubles the range of guided bombs like the JDAM.

3) The higher speed of the F-22A vs the F-35A allows it to control twice the area, when targets are mobile and time sensitive. In such situations, a single F-22A can do the same work as two F-35As.

4) The F-22A is much more lethal than the F-35A. It is also much more survivable than the F-35A.

5) The F-22A provides around three times more capability than the F-35A, yet costs only around 23% more per unit.

6) The F-22A was currently in production, and should restart again. Yet the planned Initial Operational Capability for the F-35A is now 2019? and this is at the Block 3 configuration level, with the prospect of further schedule slippages with commensurate increases in cost.

To BlackOwl18E

To restart the F-22 program, incorporate the new upgrades for the Raptor such as:

1. Propose more development variants of the F-22, add 3D thrust vectoring nozzles.

2. Add more range for the F-22, for e.g. to be flown more than 3,000 miles (for ferry flight) and for combat radius of action should be more than 1,000 miles (unrefuelled).

3. Add a wider weapons bays, to enable the F-22 to carry more ground attack weaponry.

4. Add more sensors such as IRST (which can be located next to the windshield at starboard, hopefully to improve pilots front visibility).

To BlackOwl18E

Also propose more developments of the advanced F-15s e.g. the F-15F+ single-seat variant (based on the two-seat F-15E). For the “friendly” side or low to medium threat zones of the forward edge of the battle area — for cruise missile defence, defending high value assets and if the rules of engagement dictate close-in-engagement — the F-15 would be a better choice. So a mixed force of Eagles and Raptors would present a potent combination of flexibility and capability which is a perfect idea to complement with each other. This would be a perfect replacement for the existing F-15C/D models.

Incorporate new upgrades for the advanced Eagles such as:

1. APG-82 AESA fire control radar.

2. 2D or 3D thrust vectoring supercruising F100-PW-232 or F110-GE-132 engines as a consideration.

3. DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System) or defensible EWSP jammers.

4. NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen cockpit display.

5. Digital fly-by-wire flight control system.

6. IRST sensor pod (either located next to the windshield or below the port air intake) and CFB (Conformal Weapons Bays) etc.

To BlackOwl18E

If you’re asking me about “Is the new two-seat combat-capable trainer version been proposed as a replacement for the F-15D model”?

I say the F-15SE should be ideal, or can anyone a suggest another variant.

What should we do about these Russian/Chinese radars?

In hindsight the DoD should’ve addressed the Nebo M “counter-stealth” capabilities and should’ve introduced the long range air-air missile in any strategic planning. The DoD should develop their own version of the L-Band AESA to be equipped on the advanced F-15s and F-22s front leading-edge flaps and tail fin area.

I hope you found my alternative very interesting BlackOwl18E.

What do you reckon?

Regards Guest

To BlackOwl18E

This feedback solution (the comments I’ve listed to scrap the F-35) must be sent to Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and President Barack Obama in the Pentagon and also should be sent to Congress.

Regards Guest

Looks like a lot of good arguments in these comments. I would like to throw a couple out there for thoughts and opinions.

A. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. An airplane that can do everything, please.

B. Think it may be time to dual source production as a competition. They did this with the cruise missile in the 80’s and it work out well. Nothing better than a little competition. It does cost some initial Non recurring to setup another production line but usually competition gains outweight those cost. Plus Boeing ST/ Louis has an excellant history of building world class fighters frrom the F-4 to the current F-15E and F/A-018 E/F/G. No one has a better record that that.

C. Maybe it’s time to skip the 5th generation and go with a 6th. Some pretty neat future things coming out like lasers to replace machine guns. Possibly a robotic back seat WSO which could take over control if they pilot gets hypoxia or just passes out by G-forec etc. think we are awfully close to a R2D2 type robot.

1) Other then cancelling the JSF out right, I think the best way to save money would be to cancel the A and B models of the F-35 and go with the F-35C. The reason I would cancel the F-35A is that it is not carrier compatible. A land based version of the F-35C would have greater range because things like the landing hook and folding wings would not be required. This alone will save a lot of weight.
2) If we had a slight bit more money then in paragraph 1, buy more F-22’s in addition to everything in paragraph 1. I would also work with foreign allies to develop an export version of the F-22 and for us an improved version of the F-22.
3) If we have more money then what is necessary to accomplish paragraph 2 buy the F-35B in addition. For everyone who is saying buy a Harrier III instead there are a lot of reasons to not do this. The original Harrier design dates back to the 1960’s and the modificationsdone to it to make it into the AV-8B maxed out that design. It would probably require a new engine, airframe modifications and all new electronics (i.e. AESA radar) A lot of money would have to be put into it and we probably would not get a jet nearly as good as the F-35B.

With all do respect to some. You have no clue on what your talking about. you have no more of clearance than the next person. And for you to insult a dozen air-forces by telling them that you know more about air warfare only using yourself as a source exposes a lot about you. I smell APA and peter goon in this room.

Did you just compare manufacturing jobs to service jobs? There is a big difference my friend.. and evidentally you do not work in the defense industry where knowledge is acquired and learned with each program… not a button with a corresponding picture I hit on a cash register. And these companies do have a more symbiotic relationship with its employees as management and supervisors come and go depending on which competing company or industry is willing to pay them more. My supervisor knows nothing of our processes or daily duties… he just knows when we need to get the product out the door and we are all efficient at that task. Your view on the workforce is old and antiquated and much like our current military as well. I spent 14yrs in the Army and we now have Privates and lower enlisted with masters degrees. They serve out of patriotism or choose to serve as enlisted soldiers due to family history etc.. yet senior leaders in many elements are strictly going by rank instead of getting to know their troops and their knowledge. In our current work environment we have the same thing.. unfortunately management nowadays has the same view on many of the blue collar workers as well.

Since most of our management/supervisors are strictly college grads and have never worked in aerospace until the day they were hired in as a supervisor. I dont think my supervisor really cares about my military career or the fact that I have a degree in political science… but rather work on the production floor because I got tired of cubicle/office work… and I’d much rather live/work in Texas than deal with beltway games.

Harrier III is a stupid Idea. At this point this plane is 90% dome, why start at the drawing board.

I know you hate the plane. I’m not in love with it either. It does’ t make economic sense to cancel the plane now, that is why they are all in, no choice.

Name one plane that didn’t have problems or have cost overruns with half of the complexity of this thing.

Furthermore, I highly doubt just adding sensor will be the same thing as the F-35 das. Is the computing power the same? Can it run the same intelligence, and algorithms? Can it handle the multi-tasking workload? You compare them as if they are apples and oranges.

Should we go backwards to non-stealth platforms while everyone else develops stealth? Your perspective is skewed by your pure hate.

In short what you propose is to waste countless billions developing craft that are almost complete, for other aircraft with unknown electronics, and other design issues that will cost an unknown price. It is too late to start over, and many platform has been perfected in the field like it or not. It’s the nature of new technology. By your logic we should just be throwing spears.

i meant apples to apples.

Oh hang on just to note that the F-15s are not equipped with leading edge flaps.

@ The great jessmo

With all do respect. I reckon you have no clue what your talking about. I also reckon that you have no more of clearance than the next person. For you great jessmo to insult a dozen retired pilots/officers/generals, Winslow Wheeler, Pierre Sprey other think tanks by telling them that you know more about air warfare only using yourself as a source exposes a lot about you to think that the failed F-35 is a right aircraft. Can’t you see why the F-35 is in deep trouble? I don’t think you do, because your mind has fallen out of your pocket. I can smell Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, Michael Donley, Norton Schwartz and pro-JSF advocates in this room.

Hi Benjamin

“A land based version of the F-35C would have greater range”. I still wouldn’t put all the eggs into one F-35 basket.

Unfortunately the F-35C has short range compared to the high capability fighters. The F-35C’s ferry range is 1,400 nmi (2,520 km) and combat radius of action is 615 nmi (1,141 km). Yes the C model does have a bit more range than the A/B models, again still has short range which is no good.

Single engine is unacceptable. It makes the aircraft more vulnerable to engine failure which is totally ill-suited for overwater operations which will cause heavy losses to the entire fleet and putting pilots lives in jeopardy. Although they are equipped with modern engines which they are very reliable, however the loss of the engine over water guarantees the loss of the F-35, and also requires that the Navy commit search and rescue assets to support any operational deployment of F-35s or any single engined fighter.

@ The great jessmo

Put it simply. Joining the failed F-35 program and buying this boondoggle is a really stupid, pathetic, dumb and unthinkable idea at the first place. It’ll be inadequate to deal with the changed threat environment, and if you have the F-35s that just aren’t capable of dealing with the high threat zones, it just doesn’t do you any good of going ahead with the lemon and sink the money, because if you do you’ll become a total loser and you have already ruined your own plan to shrink the size of the air force/navy/marine corps that certainly will show the air power will be totally ineffective in the coming years. Because the F-35 will be increasingly expensive aircraft that will fail the air defence program and there’s absolutely no point of sticking with the F-35 because some hostile nations could well be purchasing The Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radars, advanced S-400 and S-500 SAM systems.

The great jessmo

This is why LM has made you got facinated to join their failed JSF program which is why you’re conned with their statements. You may not like the way I’m explaining to you, I’m sorry to say but this is true great jessmo. If it was up to me I’ll completely back away and run away from LM and F-35 program. I will kill the whole F-35 program if I had my own decision and my own way. Its a “5th generation failure”.

@ The great jessmo

If I or anyone hears about the F-35 got shot down by the Sukhoi family, J-20, J-60 or advanced SAMs who to blame and point the finger? That is the DoD bureaucrats including Leon Panetta, Michael Donley, Norton Schwartz and indeed the pro-JSF advocates.

@ The great jessmo

So why should my country (Australia) and the allies deserve to be partners with Lockheed Martin to join the failed and a scandal JSF program that will never fulfil its mission requirements???

Guest. You really ought to condense your five+ comment responses. I continue to be amused by how you go along with every Russian claim regarding their “anti-stealth” products, yet dismiss anything pro-F-35 as being “Lockheed propaganda”. Surely the Russians have never exaggerated their capabilities in the past, right?

As is normal, you offer no long-term alternatives to the F-35 and proclaim “stealth is dead” despite Russian and Chinese developments in this area.

It may not have now, but why can it not be added. Even thrust vectoring was first done with a NASA F-15.

One thought does come to mind ” a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”

The F-15, although 40 year old now is a proven winner. The F-22 has never seen any action and the F-35, well it still has quite a ways to go.

The Silent Eagle may be enough in today’s economy to get us by until we get a proven 5th generation design that we know works in real life.

Why only salaried employees? I’ve met senior machinists with more common sense than many engineers.

If the money was right, I would be all for the Navy going it alone and building a stealth aircraft that just meets Navy requirements.
I got to agree that a single engine “makes the aircraft more vulnerable to engine failure which is totally ill-suited for overwater operations which will cause heavy losses to the entire fleet and putting pilots lives in jeopardy. Although they are equipped with modern engines which they are very reliable, however the loss of the engine over water guarantees the loss of the F-35, and also requires that the Navy commit search and rescue assets to support any operational deployment of F-35s or any single engined fighter.“
The problem I see and why I think the F-35C is the single model we should keep is because it is more stealthy then any aircraft available to the navy. There are some missions in which you are not going to want jamming.
Waiting for the F/A-XX or an improved F/A-18 is not really an option from what I see. I do hope we see the improvements to the F/A-18 because in most missions it will still be effective into the future.

And if the money spent on the F-35 had been used instead to find and fix the oxygen problem on the F-22, we would have a much better air craft and the numbers needed to do the job would lower the overall cost of the program until the congressmen and senators get into the save a dollar this month mode.and cut the production rate.

I was on Space Shuttle, MX / PK, EELV, et al. The biggest waste of funds was too many high paid managers, directors, and VPs, 1/2 of which did not add any value; along with way too much cost accounting required by the govt.

Yes, I suppose we could build them cheaper in China. No unions there!

Don’t know what white collar jobs are lumped into that 400% number (sure about that number BTW?). If that were true (I am an engineer) I would be making close to $160k/year and I make less than half that, even with a doctorate in engineering and working in the private sector. 400% must be the C-suite (CEO, CFO, etc.) at the top, because it’s not realistic for most white collar jobs.

I agree about producing more F-22’s not less. They are a spectacular fighter/fighter-bomber and have proven air-superiority. Build a lot of them and the cost per unit comes way down. Like you suggest build an export version that doesn’t have all the bells & whistles of our domestic plane and then adapt the domestic version for AF/Navy/Marine service. It’s a shame this wasn’t done before we spent all that money on the now costly F-35, but throwing good money after bad doesn’t make any sense either.

I would think that the stresses involved in arrested carrier landings would require a major structural redesign, which would probably end up making the concept less affordable than it might seem at first blush. I also know the Russians have experienced considerable payload, range, and endurance issues with their STOBAR operations.

I don’t think we’d send F-35’s over any of these places without first executing a number of SEAD/DEAD and air dominance missions to allow them to then clean up after the Tomohawks, ALCMs, JASMs, B-2-launched JDAMS, etc.

How to lower costs? Cancel the A and C varients, buy more F-22s, and invest in F/A-XX for the Navy F-18 replacement in 10 yrs. The F-35 is a bust, and always have been. Sell the Brits all the B varients so we don’t have to fly this POS.

Jeez, the bird is too expensive, gots too many bugs, is way behind schedule, & is not any more proven to be capable than the F-22, which is having problems of it’s own and has never seen combat in either Iraq or Afganistan. And given how long both conflicts have gone, it’s unbelievable it hasn’t been used. The B-2 got it’s time in and was proven. We got a budget to solve, and with all the talk of everyone not wanting to have forced cuts or have this problem-child aircraft cut, either get serious about the budget cut the aircraft, or stop complaining about the upcoming cuts and the out of control budget, and keep dumping money of this still not ready for the world aircraft. Or better yet, go to somebody else who can get us a similiar aircraft in less time and money. Arguing on F-18 versus F-35, who cares about what the F-35 can do when we are already years behind in getting it operational and is no closer to proving it in the real world, and not the range, while I can get a proven design aircraft in less than a year. So make the hard choice, cut it loose and straighten up your financial house, or let it keep sucking down money and wonder why our finances are such a mess.

You Cain’t imagine how much confidence it instills in a pilot who straps his ass in a machine entirely built by the lowest bidder who is seriously looking for ways to make it cheaper.…. I think I’ll stick to walking from now on.….…

Push the f-22, better bang for your buck. Look at F/14, look at the A-10, look at the competitions in the 70’s and 80’s for contracts..those were the days.…we just need to look at our roots.. low budget, redundend sytems hIgh speed flying basterd that no one can see shoot or simply out perform and still mass produce combat jet.
Stop spending my taxes on crap that in the end, our countries front line defence ends up down the #$%^@#$er!

I can’t agree more. Duh! How much more money do we have to pour into that Texas moneypit before the rest of the uninformed public stomp on their gutless, spineless, politicians. This is as much of a boondoggle as Obamacare.

Ok, so lets count how many operational sorties the F-35 has under it’s belt.…doh.…none. All the capabilities that they PLAN to have on the F-35 have been on the drawing board for how long now.…

What the Superbug has over the F-35 is a proven and COST EFFECTIVE production line and spiral development is keeping it relevant. Recent capability assessments have the Hornet leading the F-35 for the next 5 years…and that’s IF the Junk Strike Fighter makes it to IOC, oh, yeah, no one can tell us when ANYONE will attain IOC much less FOC.

Just lower the tag price.It’s your country too.

I agree with this line of thinking, but not just for the F-15. There are a lot of existing or retired airframes (A-10, F-15, FA-18, F-14, B-52) that are proven and reliable, and could be modified to out perform some of the latest generation fighters (including the F-22 and F-35) at a fraction of the cost.

For example, what has the F-22 and F-35 got that puts it above any existing fighters that can’t simply be added to existing fighters, besides stealth?

Seeing as Stealth may be neutralized by next gen radars, it makes more sense to me to put the billions (or trillions if the high estimate figures are accurate) spent on programs like the F-35 into developing:
–New engine designs for more fuel efficient supercruise capable flight on existing planes.
–New radar systems
–Lighter (and stronger) materials for air frames
–Lighter, (and smarter) munitions
–Electronic warfare suites.

Then, you get all those new gen sensors and airframes, you build an F-15, B-52, A-10 etc incorporating them, and voila, you have a proven aircraft with sensors able to detect stealth, weapons able to defeat ECM, and ECM able to defeat the opponents weapons, while the engines mean you can fly higher than the enemy SAM defences and faster than their interceptors… and you don’t really need stealth.

Hello Frizbee

Awesome planned you got their. Since you’ve mentioned those examples

–New engine designs for more fuel efficient supercruise capable flight on existing planes.
–New radar systems
–Lighter (and stronger) materials for air frames
–Lighter, (and smarter) munitions
–Electronic warfare suites etc.

I saw the similar upgrade proposal for the RAAF’s F-111 fleet back in 2001, but pity the wonderful F-111 is retired. If you want to know where the remaining airframes are located, 23 F-111s are buried in the Swanbank dump area in Queensland Australia. If you look at those photos, you’ll be outraged and sad. It’s terrible

“with sensors to be able to detect stealth”, the existing or retired airframes (A-10, F-15, F/A-18, F-14, B-1 and B-52) can be equipped with L-band AESAs in-front of the leading edge wing area and on top of the tail fin too (to be able to track LO/VLO aircraft) and weapons able to defeat ECM, and ECM able to defeat the opponents weapons, while the engines mean you can fly higher than the enemy SAM defences and faster than their interceptors. Absolutely makes sense.

Another good alternative.

Regards Guest

@ Hi Taxpayer

Hmmmm. That’s another good nick name for the F-35 the “Junk Strike Fighter”.

Or how about more nick names for the aircraft. This might make you laugh such as.

1. Junk Strike Failure

2. Joint Strike Failure

3. Joint Strike F*%k up

4. Baby Seal. Certainly not a Lightning II because it has no lightning bolts.

These aircraft has got plenty of nicknames whatever you wish to name this boondoggle.

Regards Guest

Keep all liberals out of the industry/mil complex.

Ill give you 5 reason Upfront why the F-35 is better than a super hornet.

1. Payload: even in a no stealthy configuration, the F-35 Kills the F-18 is total ordnance.

2. Kinematic performance: Put 8xSDB on a F-35 and 2X AMRAAMs you can still go 600Nms in a CR, DO mach 1.6 and pull 7.0–9.0 Gs ( depending on variant) can the F-18 do mach 1.6 with a similar load? lets try 2X laser jdams and AMRAAMs. Your claiming that the F-35 is a dog, but you want to make every tac air plane in the U.S arsenal a F-18.

3. capability gap: We need a plane to fill the F-117 niche yesterday. Did you forget that alot of Chinese and Iranian facilities are buried deep? http://​t0​.gstatic​.com/​i​m​a​g​e​s​?​q​=​t​b​n​:​A​N​d​9​G​c​T​X​V​Z​j​WVI

Do you think cruise missiles alone are the answer to every issue? sooner or later your going to have to fly near that target and put a bomb through a tunnel or a vent shaft. Your going to have to fly over that airfield and take out hardened facilities. The F-35 carries 2kLbs laser JDAMS in a stealth configuration the hornet does not. The F-35 fills the 1st day of the war gap. This is a mission that neither the F-22 or F-18 nor anything else flying can do except a B-2

4. Trying to shoe horn stealth into a hornet wont be cheap or without penalty: See reason 3. can you get 2kLb jdams in a super hornets wing pod?

5. Never again will the U.S. Send massive waves of conventional NON-stealthy fighters over a major near peer. Those days are over, for a few reasons
A. package Q showed the serious problems with massive strikes over major IADS in a urban setting.
B. having dissimilar air frames trying to fill different Niches in combat adds to the fog of war and adds complexity to planning IE F-4 wild weasels having different fuel loads and needs than a F-16.
C. Conventional fighters with external loads have to usually drop the load or drop fuel when fired on. The F-35 retains fighter performance in a combat configuration.

package Q
“he attack was the largest of the war and represented an attempt to strike Iraqi defenses a serious blow. The raid illustrated how a number of small incidents or stresses, none by themselves necessarily serious, could contribute to an unsatisfactory outcome,[4] which eventually convinced USAF commanders to call off further airstrikes against downtown Baghdad.”

The loss of two F-16s can be attributed to a series of stresses, the lateness of the Air Tasking Order, not enough coordination time, a tactical approach that provided the Iraqis considerable warning, fuel problems for the Weasels and other aircraft, bad weather, and insufficient attrition of the defenses combined to create a dangerous situation.

“There were a number of crucial lessons from Package Q. The most obvious was that Iraqi defenses in Baghdad remained lethal: future strikes on Baghdad would be mostly assigned to F-117s, but conventional air assets with better coordination would still strike targets downtown Baghdad.”

So its 12 nations words, versus the words of goon and sprey.. History has moved on without you guest,=.

it must be to build in China for low cost.…

Its hiliarious how the F-35 shills have t go back further and further in time to justify themselves. One day we will be hearing about how the F-35 can beat a MIG-21 while a F-4 cant. And funniest of all it will be a lie too of course.

The F-35 has worse performance than the worst USAF aircraft of the modern era — the only US jet aircraft to be withdrawn due to excessive combat losses in the 1960s. To pretend that it is anyway competetive 50 years later is simple foolishness.

1.It remain to be seen how the f-35 will finally be capable to use its hardpoints, and what will be the final penalty. Don’t forget that the internal bay and its “fifth generation design” give poor aerodynamic performance.

The typhoon finally did too well in close combat simulation against the f-22. What to expect from the aerodynamic performance of the f-35?(sure it won’t be the same)
see http://​theaviationist​.com/​2​0​1​2​/​0​7​/​1​3​/​f​i​a​1​2​-​t​y​p​hoo

2.I am very skeptical that the f-35 will be capable to get 600nm range with external loads. I am convinced that the drag of the f-35 is greater than the f/a-18 which is offset by a more modern engine, but energy is not free; range will be smaller.

3.I return the rhetoric to you, having the f-35 as the only viable plane is not the solution either. Do you need thousands and thousands of f-35 to fill that capability? (i.e. the f-117)

While I am a big zero in strategy, one big problem that I see by your previously stated strategy to strike closer with stealth is that as soon as countermeasure are launched, the closer your are, the thinner is you capability to evade them, as you are closer you have less time to to set up your own countermeasure; worse if the enemy is to scramble its hidden fighter jet you will have hard time to escape them. See link on point 1.

4.The f-35’s internal weapon bay is not cheap or without penalty either.

5a)Make sure to not create a different one by trying to solve every problem of the world with an f-35.
b)when properly managed, having dissimilar airframe –and capability– add to your polyvalence and add to deterrence power. Yes it have a cost and yes it can be better managed, does it mean that all we need is f-35?
c)The f-35 will remain more performance, but due to its design it won’t have the best performance out there. That’s an handy advantage, but not an absolute one. See how the typhoon compare against a f-22 in close-combat.

12 nation words? Hint: if you can fit into a mirror then you are not 12 nations.

>So its 12 nations words, versus the words of goon and sprey.. History has moved on..

The F-35 is going to built, period! Quit your whining about it. The Marines need the model B to replace their Harriers. We’re not going to buy any more F-22’s or do any export versions — the program is toast.

@ The great jessmo

Your statement is all full of thana marketing BS.

The great jessmo

“History has moved on without you guest”. Absolute rubbish.

3. A new mop of 30,000lbs is ready. If I were to attack a bunker, I would send a b-2 with an f-22 escort, with a lot of cheaper gbu-28 for most targets. Unlike centrifuges, which only need to communicate outside is for workforce and eventual radioactive material, destroying the entry point of such bunker will make the fleet totally useless and unreachable.

Where is the role for the f-35?

Want it cheaper? Have Boeing build it.

They tried this before, anyone remember the F-20? Cheapest fighter made. Best interceptor made. Fastest in air time than any other fighter made. Military refused to buy it because they didn’t order it. Feds wouldn’t allow Northrop to sell them overseas because they were too advanced. Go figure.

If it looks right.….…it is right. P-51, looked right.…was right. F-86, looked right, was right. F-15, looked right, was right. F-16, looked right was right. F-35, looks like a POS, flys like a POS, hides from radar like a POS. Therefore.… .Must be a great deal for the taxpayer.

Check out the Time magazine article on the F-35 and Winslow Wheeler’s excellent analysis of why the F-35 is a flying turkey.

I know a retired Air Force person ( high up inj aircraft maintenance team that was present during orignal testing out in the California Desert years ago. He told me that LM team always did not show up ( I mean the plane was not ready–ie not people) on time and always got delays. Where the Mcdonal Douglas team & plane was always flight ready. LM should not have been picked based on being therefore for all testing and trials.

Are you suggesting the USAF not take something brand new & gold plated? Blasphemy! The USAF doesnt even buy year old models of golf carts for their courses.

@ Pat

The failed F-35 program is already a toast. Not pursuing to buy anymore F-22’s or do any export versions — well the air forces will be totally ruined with the F-35. Read my comments Pat what I’ve posted earlier on the previous pages. The Marines don’t need the F-35B to replace their Harriers.

Why don’t you quit your whining about the F-35 is a needed aircraft — because it’s a wrong aircraft.

@ Pat

What Geoffrey Woods noted

“A Harrier III would easily satisfy the needs of the USMC, the Royal Navy, and the Italians. It would also be cheap to make and quick to develop since it is based on a proven design.”

@ Big Daddy

Yep, you got that right. Indeed the F-35 really does look like a POS, to me the aircraft looks like an overweight baby seal. If you want to read what I posted to Taxpayer about the F-35 should have more nicknames, its on page 1 and scroll down under great jessmo’s 11 replies until you’ll see my reply to Taxpayer. This might make you laugh.


The flight deck area where take off is planned is being redesigned to handle the greater heat generated from full power. The concept of water flow tubing to disipate heat build up.

MacNamara under JFK / LBJ!

Curt your numbers are very inflated for spares. The new logistics concept calls for a reduced footprint and greater reliability. I think the number planned is for four canned spares. You consider long forwared deployed ships place demands for parts which are delivered by either high line or vertrep. The engine and container are heavier than either our highline or vertrep is capable of delivering at this time. Presently Navy is working on a heavy lift high line design.

Under current logistics guidlines total cost of the program from R&D to disposal are included and under the Program Manager. So if you spread the cost over the total number of units you can identify a unit cost. When the government reduces the total number of units the unit cost increases. For $300 million how many complete WW II carrier battle groups ( including squadrons, support ships, escort ships and sailors) could the government purchase? Does this reflect the value of the produce or the value of the dollar?

Suggesting readiness for R2D2 is probably right on. The bashing of executive pay is entirely correct. Who needs more than $5 million a year? Family with four special needs children maybe. Fat in an organization should not be so publically displayed. You may need special talents in reserve for dificult problem solving but never have them standing around the test site apparently doing nothing of any value. And the not invented here prejudice has probably caused enough bad decisions that if they had been generally avoided we would have enough surplus to pay for 10,000 F-35s.

Bob Stevens came up through Lockheed as an engineer and has an engineer degree fellas. Do some homework.

Interesting that La Sicilia, newspaper from Palermo, had a article Friday about the Italian Defense Minister encouraging Aermacchi and Yakelov to explore a 21st century developement of the Yak-41 supersonic STOVL fighter. The Yak-41(nee Yak-141) was cancelled in 1995. Plans for a more advanced Yak-43 were sold to Lockheed Martin in 1997. He stated a Italian/Russian cooperation might lead to a lower cost, high performance fighter for the Italian Navy before Lockheed-Martin delivers its first production F-35B to the USMC.

Yes, Numbers! Just because on paper a aircraft can do it does not mean that in combat it can. There will be losses an enemy with the most number of combat aircraft will have an advantage.

need to check out f-23& f-32 again lockheed needs to learnthumbtack

uh, the Gulf War isn’t exactly the depths of recorded history.


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