Yuma opens first JSF Marine squadron

Yuma opens first JSF Marine squadron

The Marine Corps will stand up its first operational Joint Strike Fighter squadron Tuesday at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., in a major Marine aviation milestone.

The first F-35B Joint Strike Fighter arrived in February with 15 more slated to arrive through 2013. Marine aviation officials will officially stand up Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 in a ceremony Tuesday.

It marks the beginning of the JSF era in the Marine Corps as the service begins to fade out its legacy aircraft. The Joint Strike Fighter was designed as a combo platter of F/A-18, Prowler and Growler capabilities. Over the life of the F-35 program, Marine leaders expect it to replace all three to some degree.

Marine Corps commandant Gen. James Amos has said he’s seen progress in a program that has faced severe scrutiny over missed deadlines and a growing bottom line. Amos, a career aviator, said in 2011 he would keep a close eye on the Joint Strike Fighter declaring that the services needed to reclaim major programs like the F-35.

In August, he said he has stepped back his monitoring of the program.

“Last year I felt like I had to be more hands on, and on things like decisions in regards to if there is any trade space here in how the airplane is being developed,” Amos said. “Are there any decisions I can make right now which will ease the burden on the airplane as it’s going through.”

Tuesday’s ceremony will set the latest milestone toward that progress and the Marine Corps’ long term relationship with the F-35. The Marine pilots for the new squadron will come from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where the Navy, Marines and Air Force are training their pilots on the joint program.

All three services have selected some of the most elite and most experienced pilots to fly the F-35. With so few Joint Strike Fighters in service, though, the pilots there complete much of their training in flight simulators. The same training regimen will occur at Yuma as the fighters trickle in.

The Joint Strike Fighter has continued to take heat from Capitol Hill as the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a letter critizing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for rushing testing on the F-35B, the version flown by the Marine Corps. The F-35B is the more advanced jet considering it must land and take off from an aircraft carrier.

The senators issued the letter in February citing problems discovered with the “F-35B’s structure and propulsion.” Those concerns have not subsided, but it has not stopped the Marine Corps from taking the lead in standing up their squadron — the first service to open an operational squadron.

Development problems persist within the acquisition program for the Joint Strike Fighter. The Pentagon has still not finished a contract for the JSF’s fifth production lot with Lockheed Martin. Pentagon leaders have tried to roll back some of the comments made by the new F-35 acquisition chief in respect to the military’s F-35 relationship with Lockheed, but Maj. Gen. Christopher Bogdan has stood by them.

It will be telling to see how fast the F-35s arrive at Yuma and how soon the Marine pilots stationed there can start flying them.

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Another case of concurrency risk in the F-3$ program. Treating development aircraft as if they were operational aircraft in order to make it appear that more progress has been made than actually adds still more risk to the program. How many development flight restrictions are as yet unresolved on the aircraft. How much of the flight envelop is yet to be addressed? I hope that getting the cart before the horse doesn’t bite us yet again.

It must be humiliating for the best Marine pilots to be forced to fly the JSF. Even a 30 year old hornet is more capable then the JSF that can only jettison it’s stores in combat. Presumably the pilots will be trained to shout bang bang as they do it. Hoping the enemy dies of laughter.

“The F-35B is the more advanced jet considering it must land and take off from an aircraft carrier.”

So much stupidity in only one sentence.

The –B model’s big trick is not landing and taking off from a carrier; it’s landing and taking off in VSTOL mode from a variety of platforms. The –C model is perfectly able to “land and take off from an aircraft carrier”.

That clarification aside, the executive summary on the F-35 overall is as follows:

– It’s hugely over initially projected costs, rendering the total price tag of the program unaffordable. Ash Carter put it in a nutshell when he said the constant-dollar flyaway cost of the F-35A _doubled_ between FY2000 and FY2010. The B and C variants increased in cost even more.

– There is no realistic hope of bringing these costs under control. Volume production won’t do it. Not least because full rate production has been endlessly delayed. By the time FRP hypothetically cranks up in the out years, the services will not have the procurement dollars they enjoy today. And, the overseas foreign military partners who were supposed to bring costs down by buying hundreds of frames are quietly and informally bailing out of the program. How many F-35s is Greece in for, do you think?

– The jets being delivered are technically immature low-rate “mistake jets” that may never be suitable for combat service without extensive expensive rework, and perhaps not even then.

– The F-35 was designed to work as part of a “high-low” stealth mix with the F-22. Except the US didn’t buy adequate numbers of the F-22. The whole CONOPS blows up without them.

– The F-22 is far more able to survive in a modern air combat environment than is the F-35. (Hint: the risk is not so much from enemy fighters these days as it is from enemy triple-digit SAMs.) The F-35 has worse stealth performance and hugely inferior kinematics. An F-22 can transit the envelope of an S-500 battery quickly enough and at a high enough altitude to live. The F-35 cannot.

– The IOT&E process won’t be complete for years yet, probably as late as 2018, and that process may at any time turn up further major deficiencies requiring rework or, worse yet, redesign.

– The jet isn’t really amenable to significant new redesign steps should those prove necessary. It’s an overcrowded little frame with a major weight problem. Key safety systems like fire suppression have had to be stripped out to make weight as it is. Not that anything could ever go wrong with that.

– The software’s not ready. And won’t be for years. The magic helmet isn’t ready. And won’t be for years. LockMart is just now getting around to the most basic of weapons release testing, years after this elementary step should have been taken. The empennage is damaged by sustained afterburner. Dozens of showstopper problems of this sort remain as open action items.

This thing is the biggest disaster in American military procurement history. Not for nothing is it derisively called “The Jet That Ate The Pentagon Budget”.

And that budget, with Obama re-elected and the fiscal cliff looming next year, is about to get even smaller. How much bone and muscle elsewhere will get cut to prop up the F-35 fantasy scenario for a few more years?

Hmmm. I see use of a term that everyone’s favorite IT tech Downunder has been trying to slime the F-35 with for years and a quote lifted from the title of a screed from one of the doyens of CDI/POGO Demilitarization Complex. Reads like a talking point list. Any references from anyone who actually, y’know , knows anything about modern air warfare? Nope.

Find it good the USMC is trying to jump ahead of the political storm over this plane. But the problems with the B model the USMC may have jumped the gun too fast. I wish they could have bought A which have perfect test scores for now and work out or dump the problem B model. So good move y Marines just they picked a problem prone model of the JSF.

Over this is a training squadron only and with cuts sequestration and political gridlock I doubt you see a all USMC JSF fleet before 2017. The USMC is updating harriers and buying exRAF planes to fly them into the 2020s.

No doubt we will shortly get into another furball on the topic of What Is To Be Done.

With the F-35 fanboys asking, “Are you really seriously proposing to buy upgraded teen series jets instead?” And the chorus of response from their opponents saying that, yes, that’s precisely what is being proposed.

The unfortunate reality is that right now, today, there is a yawning shortfall which will start to bite later in this decade where there simply will not be enough combat coded flyable frames to stand up full fighting air wings.

The F-35 simply won’t be ready at that time in the needed numbers. It may not be genuinely combat ready even in small numbers. The only realistic option is to buy some updated teen series jets.

But the teens, even with some low observable steps, are not going to be any more survivable against triple digit SAM batteries than is the F-35. The advent of those SAMs changes the entire calculus of airpower in ways that don’t look good for the U.S. long term.

In the 2020+ era, which in procurement terms is coming up fast, the US will have only two platforms that can operate in the anti-access environment safely: the B-2 and the F-22. Both of them in tiny numbers, and aging systemswise, with the low mission capable rates that implies.

Time to step back and learn from history.

The F-35 isn’t the first multiservice combat airframe procurement disaster. That honor goes to the F-111.

Then, as now, it became clear pretty late in the game that the jet was unsuitable for several of its intended roles. Most especially carrier ops.

What rescued the Navy from F-111 failure was the genius of Grumman, who cooked up the F-14 in record time. Reusing the best parts of the F-111 design ecosystem such as the AN/AWG-9. And, that fallback plan worked, and produced a great jet which delivered decades of high capability service.

So there are a few plausible fallback paths today. Here is one: new manned frame program. Roughly analogous to the rapid Tomcat development. USN/USAF only. No USMC variant.

The worst of the F-35’s issues are due to the design compromises required for the Marines’ VSTOL –B variant. Which contaminated the viability and performance of the –A and –C variants as well.

Trying to get supersonics and stealth and VSTOL in one package was a design overreach. Don’t repeat that mistake. If the Marines need VSTOL CAS, well, hey, there are already superb platforms for that role. They are called “helicopters”.

Any putative USN/USAF design needs to mirror the design history of another successful multirole, multiservice design, the Phantom. The Navy designed it for their (frankly more complex and demanding) navalized requirements and then the USAF were able to perfectly well re-use the same design, right down to retaining the tailhook, in land base ops. Have NAVAIR take the conceptual lead.

Don’t make it too small. This was a key flaw in F-35 CONOPS. Observe what the Russians and Chinese are doing with their own new supersonic stealth air superiority platforms: making them BIG. Why is that? Because for stealth and drag reasons, you need to keep a lot of fuel and a lot of weapons tucked inside a generously sized outer mold line. Especially true of fuel and especially true in a Pacific centric strategic model with its insanely long distances.

Grumman rode to the rescue once before with the F-14. It is hard to avoid thinking of a navalized redesign of the Northrup Grumman YF-23. Except bigger (per earlier comments). There was a proposal for an F/B-23 “theater bomber” using the YF-23 planform.

Replace that with “theater interceptor-bomber” and you’re getting close. Though I suspect the proposed F/B-23 is too long to fit on the older CVN elevators.


The original YF-23 prototype cheaply re-used a lot of teen fighter stuff internally: cockpit, hydraulics, landing gear. Great. Go with that again. Proven systems. Reduced cost. Reduced logistic issues during the overlap years. One of the F-35’s weak points is that so many of the internals are new, complicated and costly, like the integrated power pack. Stay clear of that model.

Reuse the F119 engine. One of the things about the F-22 that has worked pretty well. Ignore the F135 engine. Too many VSTOL related design compromises in that.

“Trying to get supersonics and stealth and VSTOL in one package was a design overreach. Don’t repeat that mistake. If the Marines need VSTOL CAS, well, hey, there are already superb platforms for that role. They are called “helicopters”.”

I was under the impression what the Marines really *need* is a STOL fighter that can take off from their LPDs/LHDs/et al, and that the vertical landing was Harrier carryover. That said, helicopters can fulfill CAS and land vertically, and realistically an ESG has to choose between helicopters to move Marines and fighters to cover if no CVN is available.

This is not a training squadron. The training squadron is at Englin AFB, VMAT-501 I believe. This is an operational squadron.

Amazing how the F-35 fan-base does not get it. An Operational Test Squadron–whos’ job it is to establish and document combat tactics–has just been delivered an aircraft that is not fully tested. Before delivery to an Ops test squadron the jet should have already hit air and surface targets with guided weapons. This has not happened. That and all the other untested problems with the jet. Instead of working on tactics they will be having to deal with faults that should have already been figured out before being handed over to Ops. So sad to see such a fraud.

Amazing how the F-35 HATERS do not get it. An Operational Test Squadron–whos’ job it is to establish and document combat tactics–has just been delivered an aircraft that is not fully tested. Thanks to Concurrency, the OT squadron will be testing and developing tactics based on Blk2A as SDD dev continues. They will add Blk2B & Blk3 capabilities to the tactics plan when they become available. This plan of test and evaluate as features come online will allow the F-35 to reach IOC much sooner than the traditional method of IOT&E after SDD would allow.

FOOLS BELIEVE THAT before delivery to an Ops test squadron the jet should have already hit air and surface targets with guided weapons. This has not happened and is not needed. Haters would have you believe that by some freak of technology a JDAM will somehow miss it target when dropped from F-35 before SDD is complete. This is of course an absurd assumption. They seem to forget that OT will be developing plans and tactics that can simulate much of the F-35’s “still-in-development” features if needed. A key point to remember is that when VMFA-121 is fully up & running, has all their F-35Bs, and are at the point where they actually want to put live rounds on target, the SDD program will have progressed well past the stage where that function is certified. Only a FOOL would require every step to be completed before progressing to the next stage as this would cause massive delays in getting the plane in the air and into the pilot’s hands.

FOOLS also think that instead of working on tactics, they will have to deal with faults that should have already been figured out before being handed over to Ops. FOOLS forget that this is part of SDD and that the Blk2A functions that the OT folks will train with are certified. OT will not be planning & training with anything that SDD is still working on.

So sad to see such a fraud continually post drivel as the program continues to excel and prove him wrong.


Not into raining on parades but… yes the Corp does have their first non-training STOVL, supersonic, stealth, Block 2/A a/c (BF-19), with more to follow (1 per month). With block 2/B the Corp goes IOC. Also the testing continues with AF-04 over 50+ Deg in AOA at Edwards, with no problems reported.

Get on board, or get left behind, the train is pulling out of the station. :)

Judging from the paint scheme, the JSF must be planning on spending a great deal of time hiding on land. Vice painting it for in-flight colors. .….…It certainly looks good in camo, though.

Just a follow-up on the whole live weapons issue. The F-35 just carried it first true weapon and communicated with it via the datalink.

They announced that from Feb 2013 through the end of April 2013 they plan on dropping “roughly” 2 weapons a week. So, by the time VMFA-121 has half their planes the SDD program would have dropped roughly 20 live weapons.


Oh really. No doubt that observation comes from a wealth of knowledge concerning human eye physiology and the physics of visual and IR light propagation and refraction in the atmosphere , especially as it relates to the acquisition and tracking of targets in a variable light background, via unaided human eye and technical means? Just askin’

For writing the manual on things like the best way to do a gun run, limits on manuevering with a full load, at what point it flies apart on a high speed turn, a squadron linked together sharing attack plans and UAV feeds — is that done at Eglin, with these guys at Yuma, or back at the LockMart test track? Not a hater (and please educate me if I’m way off), but wouldn’t developing tactics or writing school house manuals on any of those things without it being tested out first be just powerpoint deep and wishful thinking?

A related problem is the very carrier the B-variant is supposed to fly from (LHA-6) is in theory an amphibious ship without a well deck (making it a CV) that somehow also lacks either an angled flight deck or catapult. The idea of the well-deck-less assault ship was tried and failed.

Therefore, if the F-35B doesn’t deliver, we have a CV lacking the ability to act like a CV. If it turns out to be a good plane — we’ll have two smaller hulls to project air power to take place of the Enterprise while the USS Ford is being constructed, and/or otherwise be deployed where the risk isn’t as high to free up a Nimitz for Persian Gulf duty.

Once again, a f-22 crashed, this time the pilot survived.

Do you think that pushing concurrency beyond feasibility –like setting up the production line BEFORE having validated the products– will address those issue?

I don’t quite think that anybody here at dodbuzz with any intention to discuss had such an unrealistic perception of the reality; that is, that everything has to be perfectly working before going to the next step. Yes concurrency yield benefits but it have to be carefully implemented, and the f-35 have already proven that it did not worked, and the production line issue is a fact.

I could enumerate what I don’t like from the f-35 but your first reply remember me why I despicate so much politicians.

To your hypothetical “FOOLS” affirmation:

“Only fools think that others can’t succeed where they have failed.”

For the USAF not the USMC. Two different services and F-35 versions.

To put it basically:

–SDD makes sure it flys

–Eglin teaches you how to fly

–IOT&E teaches you how to fight

To address your question directly:

–SDD makes sure the datalinks work

–Eglin teaches the pilot how to use the datalink

–Yuma teaches the pilot how to fight with the datalink.

SDD would be the wrong place to develop battlefield tactics because they are not soldiers & pilots. Same applies to schoolhouse manuals as that belongs with the school house itself.

If SDD did try to develop the tactics itself, it truly would be a PowerPoint exercise since they have no experience or way to test anything.

Eglin covers all three services, USMC, USN, and USAF.

Yuma is where the USMC will develop the plan and learn to fight with the F-35. It’s called IOT&E.

This is going to go nowhere. I can’t wait until the 2013 cuts abort this failed program. If you must keep the ‘A’ variant, maybe a few ‘B’s will survive a few decades until they become too expensive to maintain.. the ‘C’ won’t actually happen for the Navy, they don’t even want it anymore and have expressed this.

I see that the F-35 fanboys are busy thumbing down every single comment on this post.. I think they should get honorary marketing degrees.

I believe in that perspective that concurrency is analogue to other engineering paradox. Like simulation or live test, pencil drawing or CAD, sculpture or numerical or paper representation, abstraction or as is, Modeling or experimentation. And on and on.

While I am not an engineer, it is obvious that they all got their benefits; while I hate the Greek concept using the term ‘equilibrium’ it seems to be a more acknowledged perception of needing all of them. Yes someone very careful can design an airplane with zero testing that will fly. Yes someone can make a plane on a pure experimental basis, without doing a single once of math (i.e. the Faraday way).

Since we are talking of contracts instead of projects, everything cost money. Delay cost money, testing cost money, design cost money, pencil cost money; even a brain cost money. Too much concurrency cost more money, yield a diminished return and is a factor of delay, which cost more money…

How can you call people against this very concurrent approach that is late, underperforming, over budget as fools? Again, the only naive person (using word like fool cannot yield a productive discussion) is its own creator whom may have done some bean-counting optimization, but to be polite lets say that they were over-optimistic. And when you are playing with fighter jet, consequence can be tragic, though the f-22 crash link that I previously posted was just a reminder that sh*t happen.

That being the case, why is it foolish to wait on the testers to fire the gun and stress the hell out of the plane before the guys at Yuma come up with the tactics for the plane? Or has enough been done already for them to get started and just wait on SDD to do the next thing while they tinker with the last thing?

VMFA-121 gets more F-35Bs today (at least three total) and some clarification.

1. VMFA-121 will have 16 jets by Sept 2013

2. First jets are Blk1B

3. They are an “Operational Unit” not an OT or testing unit.

4. Planes will cycle through depot to get Block upgrades as needed.

5. The USMC is willing to take the F-35B IOC before IOT&E is complete.

“It is an operational squadron, it is not a test squadron-it’s not developmental test or operational test, it’s not a fleet replacement squadron like VMFAT-501. You can’t call it anything else other than an operational squadron,” says Col Kevin Killea, the USMC’s aviation requirements officer at the Pentagon. “That being said, the Marine Corps certainly is not putting out a banner today that says it’s operationally capable.”

Lots more at the jump (two links)


>What does a pilot failing to apply AB have to do with an F-35 thread?
It was mean to be a reminder that risk is part of it but I forgot to talk about this in the first reply.

I have already got your point, and refuting the extreme doesn’t mean anything.
>Where has the Concurrency plan for the F-35 failed?
Perhaps we should agree of a definition of failure? Insane concurrency have definitely played a role in cost overrun and delay. Where have you been when they needed to literally re-design the whole aircraft because otherwise it could not fly? The f-35 is late, cost more and perform less than expected. Again, it’s a fact that the final f-35 is costing more exactly because the production line have been “finalized” (crystallized) even before testing is completed (I mean reasonably mature) in order to reduce cost of those very test-aircraft.

So what they are saying is that we have now made a Marine Corp fighter squadron switch their very capable warplanes for useless ones. The military industrial base just keeps making more and more sense everyday (insert sarcasm).

Hardly. The process of transition has to start somewhere. They can’t just flip a switch and declare IOC.


First I have to admit that I am a little confused as to where is the software is right now, but it’s not war-ready yet. If the only thing that need to be fixed is the helmet that simply doesn’t offer consistent performance then yes you can begin to develop some strategies around it. But since any modern fighter jet are aerodynamically unstable, it cannot even fly without its computer thus if the software cannot or is not yet cleared for using the f-35 all along its expected capabilities (maximum angle of attack have been achieved very recently for example) then what kind of tactics can you expect to develop when despite the fact that you are inside a real f-35 you cannot use it?

Except a tactical warm-up or extrapolating the same way as being in a simulator, the possibilities are not very huge, this is sub-optimal. I think it have more to see with the fact that everybody was expecting theses f-35 years ago, rather than the ideal concurrency execution model.

They can’t just flip a switch and make F-35Bs that work up to spec either.

We all know that the marines are just trying to keep one PR stunt ahead of cancellation of the F-35. With the B the first on the chopping block.

Which is why they are starting slow at Blk1B. Not everything has to work per Blk3 spec in order to start training.

btw, VMFA-121 was the first USMC F/A-18D squadron so they have experience with being the first to fly a new fighter type.

Correction: VMFA-121 is an Operational Combat unit, not a training, OT, or Dev Unit.




“Amazing how the F-35 fan-base does not get it. An Operational Test Squadron–whos’ job it is to establish and document combat tactics–has just been delivered an aircraft that is not fully tested. Before delivery to an Ops test squadron the jet should have already hit air and surface targets with guided weapons. This has not happened. That and all the other untested problems with the jet. Instead of working on tactics they will be having to deal with faults that should have already been figured out before being handed over to Ops. So sad to see such a fraud. ”

What is this Fraud doing ELP?

Gasp? what is that? is the F-35 Integrating weapons? That cant be possible! http://​www​.​f​-16​.net/​n​e​w​s​_​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​4​6​5​6​.​h​tml
It cant be possible, because up until now you’ve banked your entire argument on the F-35 Not passing milestones.
OHH No whats this? 50 degrees AoA? it cant be, it must be doctored!
ELP what will you do when we get a fully functional plane for under 100 MILL?
Ohh wait there is still that F-35 High cost argument to fall back on.…

“The 17 F-35Bs in the deal came in the cheapest, at $109.4 million each, followed by the 11 F-35As at $111.6 million apiece, according to a Dec. 17 e-mail from the new JSF spokesman, Joe DellaVedova. The relatively small buy of four F-35Cs came in at $142.9 million per jet. The deal doesn’t include the price of the jet’s F135 engine.

“Lockheed officials have long pitched the $3.4 billion fixed-price deal — known as LRIP-4 — as a statement of their confidence that the company will get the jet’s cost under control.”

These numbers were first published in Aviation Week, which listed the cost of an F-35A at $128 million a copy in the previous batch of production jets, known as LRIP-3. The first batch of F-35As cost $221 million apiece” http://​www​.dodbuzz​.com/​2​0​1​0​/​1​2​/​1​7​/​f​-​3​5​-​l​r​i​p​-​4​-​cos

How can this be possible? How is it that the price of the plane is dropping? Are you fading into history ELP?

“ELP what will you do when we get a fully functional plane for under 100 MILL?”

Followed by, only a few sentences later,

“The deal doesn’t include the price of the jet’s F135 engine.”

File this under “admission against interest”.

Hi Michael

“The F-35 will perform less than expected”.

You’re right. There are estimates that the Shenyang J-31 Falcon Eagle will have a combat radius of 780 mi (1,250 km) on internal fuel and the ferry range 2,485 mi (4,000km) with external fuel tanks. Maximum speed is Mach 1.8 the same top speed as the F/A-18.

- Length: 55 ft 5 in (16.9m)

- Wingspan: 37 ft 9 in (11.5 m)

- Height: 15 ft 9 in (4.8 m)

- Wing area: 430 sq ft (40 m2 )

Armament: None on the prototype, apparently the aircraft will have 12 hardpoints. (Four are internal for “low observable” missions.)

The J-31 will be a F-35 killer.


Me too, hopefully I can’t wait to see this Just So Failed program get chopped one day. I reckon you’re right Mike that the pro-F-35 advocate wingnuts are busy thumbing down every single comment on this post which I’m seeing right now.

Also the Australian Aviation website has a lot of F-35 advocates around and spread untruthful rumours about its great performance of the aircraft, on time, on budget etc. In fact Andrew McLaughlin (former Australian Aviation deputy editor and now in NACC) is one of them. His argument is all out of the loop and an outlier with all thana marketing information which spreads all full of belony rumour publications when he writes on magazines and books about the F-35’s APG-81 AESA radar is a defensive device against enemy terminal radar, has a very potent credible defensive jamming equipment to jam the Russian/Chinese fighters radars, IADS, missiles and AAAs, cheap to acquire at $60 or $70 million for R&D, own and maintain, carries more weapons load, long range, faster acceleration and rapid turn rate than legacy fighters. The F-35′s stealth capability will actually get stealthier over time that doesn’t lose its special stealth skin coating which the surface material smooths out over time, slightly reducing the F-35’s original radar signature which is a right and ideal aircraft for RAAF’s requirements.


What you see these examples I was talking about on this site how the F-35’s cheap to acquire own and maintain and so on is all based on a thana marketing PowerPoint slides that the pro-F-35 advocates are making us believe the aircraft is suitable to fulfill all air forces, navy and marine corps requirements with wrong facts that are clueless what they are talking about.

Hey torque How Much do you think, a fully upgraded F-15SE would cost? or a euro-fighter? The age of the 50 million dollar fighter is over.


That doesn’t surprise me that one of the F-35 fanboys on this site are dreaming to become fighter pilots likely will be flying this overweight “Baby Seal” when the F135 engine fails, wiring problems from the avionics, IPP etc without fire extinguishing system to put out fires for emergencies, highly flammable and vulnerable with thinned skinned fuselage for the small arms,.22 rifle, assault rifles, machine guns and AAA’s to be able to penetrate the F-35’s fuselage when the aircraft hangs around hour after hour to support ground troops for CAS role, can’t out-manoeuvre, can’t out-climb and can’t out-accelerate the Russian/Chinese fighters in a BVR and WVR combat, SAMs and ground fire to defeat them that the F-35 pilots will likely be dead in combat or captured by the enemies on the ground and be as prisonners and get ambushed. This tells me this aircraft is not trusted for the pilots to fly.

The great jessmo

(Yawns) Rubbish. In the end the anti-F-35 advocates will win, you bloody pro-F-35 fanboys wingnuts WILL LOSE one day.

1. The F-35 will NOT meet all specs In range, 50 degrees AOA weapons stealth etc.

2. The F-35 will be produced in large enough numbers that the production costs WILL NOT BE REDUCED.

3. The F-35 will NOT live up and never perform its expectations.

Great Jessmo, have you even ever considered the outcome if your wrong??? Anti-F-35 supporters will win with every test point made.

The great jessmo

Did you ever know that the Shenyang J-31 Falcon Eagle’s has longer range, be extremely manoeuvrable and the ability to carry more weapons load than the F-35??? I reckon you’ve failed to address this aircraft

There are estimates that the Shenyang J-31 Falcon Eagle will have a combat radius of 780 mi (1,250 km) on internal fuel and the ferry range 2,485 mi (4,000km) with external fuel tanks. Maximum speed is Mach 1.8.

- Length: 55 ft 5 in (16.9m)

- Wingspan: 37 ft 9 in (11.5 m)

- Height: 15 ft 9 in (4.8 m)

- Wing area: 430 sq ft (40 m2 )

Armament: None on the prototype, apparently the aircraft will have 12 hardpoints. (Four are internal for “low observable” missions.)

The J-31 will be a F-35 killer in BVR and WVR.

The F-35 fanboys are “BS”

The great jessmo

“The F-35 will be produced in large enough numbers to push down production costs”.

F-35 schedule & costs. Aviation Weeks Bill Sweetman takes a deep look into the Pentagon’s latest Selected Acquisition Reports, which was released on March 30/12.

“Another three-year slip to initial operational test and evaluation, the culmination of system development and demonstration, which now is due to be complete in 2019 – the target date is February but the threshold date is October…. it appears that the main culprit is software and hardware, mainly in terms of… sensor fusion and emission control – that take place in the fighter’s main processor banks…. In what follows, I’m going to use average procurement unit cost (APUC).… recurring flyaway is the lowest cost, but neither the US nor anyone else can put an aircraft on the ramp for that money. And all numbers are base-2012…. The APUC for the F-35A in 2013–14 is $184-$188 million, versus $177m (2009 dollars) for the last F-22s. And that is at a much higher production rate.”

The great jessmo

(Continued article from Bill Sweetman about F-35’s schedule & costs).

Most ominously for the F-35’s future cost structure:

“Although the basis of the numbers has been changed, the SAR still compares the F-35A with the F-16, and shows that the estimated CPFH [DID: Cost Per Flight Hour] for the F-35A has gone from 1.22 F-16s in the 2010 SAR to 1.42 today – versus 0.8 F-16s, which was being claimed a few years ago. Where is that operations and support money going to come from?”

To all pro-F-35 advocate wingnuts

I exactly know why the Defence standing in region is ‘eroding’, not just the defence cuts its the fact that YOU F-35 lovers are buying and building the wrong aircraft that is not designed as a high altitude air superiority fighter/interceptor. The F-35 was defined during the mid-1990s to have “affordable” aerodynamic performance, stealth performance, sensor capabilities and weapons loads to be “affordably” effective against the most common threat systems of that era past – legacy Soviet Cold War era weapons, not for the 21st Century emerging threats.

To all pro-F-35 advocate wingnuts

The F-35 is designed primarily to support ground forces on the battlefield with some self defence capabilities and is not suitable for the developing regional environment and, not suitable for close air support missions as mentioned above the vulnerability of US fighter/attack aircraft against small arms, SAM/AAA sites. The aircraft is unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence as mentioned before due to limited endurance, limited weapons load and limited supersonic speed. Again as its limitations are inherent to the design, they cannot be altered by incremental upgrades The F-35 will be ineffective against the current generation of extremely powerful advanced Russian and Chinese systems, as detailed above; In any combat engagements between the F-35 and such threat systems, most or all F-35 aircraft will be rapidly lost to enemy fire. The F-35 JSF is a boondoggle, nothing but a turkey of the program.

The F-35 already failed its range spec remember? Has the aircraft flown to 50 degrees yet? I see official mention of 20 and 30 degrees but no mention of 50. What altitudes and airspeeds?

The F-35 will NOT be built in sufficient numbers to push down production costs because:
a) The US will likely head into a recession next year as a result of measures employed to avoid the fiscal cliff. Congress will start looking much more seriously at programs that can be cut and the F-35 like the F-22 before it will be hailed a technical success but with too much work still to do, far too expensive to proceed with.
And b) It is a failure. It was supposed to be a cheap to build and maintain replacement for the F-16. It’s currently on track to become a stealthy F-15E without the F-15E’s range but with similar or higher purchase and support costs. People who say that there are no other option are deluding themselves, just ask the USN.

Yes, the F-35 will live up to expectations, just not the expectations of the pew pew fighter crew.

in reply to jeffB:

For some reason the thread in which I replied (for now) doesn not show up when java script is enabled, and so is your answer.

Yes they attained the 50degree, lockheed posted a video on youtube yesterday and 2 out of 3 press article showed that video. http://​australianaviation​.com​.au/​2​0​1​2​/​1​1​/​f​-​3​5​a​-ac

So what will their squadron be called VF 121 or VFM 121? I was just wondering because there was a Navy squardon VF 121.The original Top Gun school started in 1969 with VF-121 ( The Pacemakers ) located at NAS Miramar, San Diego, CA. I wish them all the best.

There are alot of F-35 haters on here and thats a perfectly legitamite point of view. The real problem is a lack of real alternatives to the F-35. Even under an assumption that the F-35 is completely inadequate, many lose sight of the fact that most of our current fleet of aircraft are now considered inadequete for other reasons… and what is adequete isn’t something that actually exists. That means you’re starting over from scratch and they end up sitting through another 10yr development cycle.

This might not be much of a defense but the F-35B even with all its short-comings and even assuming the aircraft doesn’t get fleshed out beyond where it currently is, it still ends up a superior aircraft to the Harriers the Marines are currently using and it is set to replace. It is a step up, maybe it doesn’t go far enough and maybe it costs too much, but it is a step up in capabilities.

The F-35B has been the biggest driver of cost and technical design challenges. It’s requirements defined the many of the constraints imposed on the other models. I think it really is to blame for much of the program’s issues and probably should have been its own program to better contain cost.

Nothing have been deleted. The post count proof it.

It’s a glitch. Once again, everything is still visible when you disable javascript.

firefox: Edit->Preferences->unclick ‘enable javascript’

Oh really? The had a great deal of success with non-well deck small carriers for Amphibious Operations. The Well Deck is a great addition to the air platform but is by no means the only way to construct the amphibious air platform. Having deployed several times with both LPHs and LHA/LHDs, I have seen both sides of that picture and even without fixed wing aviation assets (F35/AV8), the Amphibious Ready Groups will be able to use LHA6 very effectively.

Yes your post are really missing, it seems that all your posts except one have been deleted except one from that thread, even when javascript is disabled.

M. Hoffman, I have to say that the timing for such glitch and its severity are very suspicious, post have been deleted before yet all the replies remained. It’s very annoying to see a whole thread disappear.

I am filling a support ticket one more time.

Correction: post have been deleted but not all of them.

“F-35B is here to stay and the Marines know it.”

But are the Marines here to stay?

Reflect for a moment that on its current fiscal trajectory, the U.S. government will within a few short years reach a point where all available federal revenue — that’s 100% — is going to just three functions.

Those three functions being (1) entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, (2) interest payments on the federal debt, and (3) defense.

This analysis assumes all other federal nondefense discretionary spending goes away.

That is an unrealistic situation. It would entail shutting down all federal aid to the states, the entire post office, the entire Department of Education, the entire Department of Housing and Urban Development, the entire Department of Health and Human Services, the entire Department of Justice, the entire Department of Transportation, the entire Department of Agriculture, the entire Department of Commerce, Homeland Security, the FBI, FEMA, FCC, FAA, NASA, NOAA, et cetera.

This latter step obviously isn’t going to happen. (As much as I would like for it to. There is huge waste in the federal discretionary sector, especially in HHS/HUD/USDA, but there are also a lot of clients of that sector who vote.)

Cuts are going to have to be made in the big three sectors originally cited. Except we can’t cut interest on the federal debt without defaulting and becoming Argentina. We are highly unlikely to get cuts of the required magnitude out of Medicare and Social Security, the so-called “third rail” programs that politicians fear to touch.

So that leaves heavy defense cuts as the only way to make the nut. And when the meat ax really comes out for the DoD, expect very tough questions to start to be asked about fundamental force structure.

The toughest question? If the USMC should continue to exist in its present form.

As one foreign military analyst put it, “I can’t understand why your Navy has its own Army, and why your Navy’s Army has its own Air Force.”

That’s the nub of the matter right there.

At minimum, even if the USMC survives the oncoming budget trainwreck as an independent service, there are going to be increasingly loud calls to do away with Marine Air as a fast-jet arm, and have that role provided by USN and USAF assets.

Yes, I know why the Marines want their own organic tacair. Because of their history. They’ve been left in the lurch before by the other services failing to provide air cover, and they got tired of Marine grunts soaking up friendly fire from sloppy CAS by USN and USAF.

However, making historically based policy arguments in a society which is historically illiterate is not a gambit with a high likelihood of success.

And if either the USMC as we know it goes away, or fast-jet Marine Air goes away, what goes with it is the requirement for the F-35B. The other services don’t want it.

And if the –B model goes, why continue the program with the other two variants, which will suffer through the entire program cycle with the design compromises and cost issues which had to be endured to make the –B possible?

It’s not browser related, it’s just that post show up differently whenever javascript is not enabled. Last time I checked, part of the glue for creating threads was retrieved from another website (intensedebate​.com or something like that).

Funny you think this is a operational squadron but the USMC is preparing to use the VTOL version of the F-35 England AFB has not. Most pilots in England lean how to fly a A or C model.

I think you two have your hope so high that the JSF is here and all planes in service will be gone by next year. That’s Too optimistic for your side.

VMFA 121 AKA the Green Knights

Simple, the B is a force multipler with the small deck gators serving as small flatops in place of the Nimitz carriers in case of casualties or lack regular carriers in the area, which s comparable to the carriers of other carriers in the world. And with the B being Marine only, guess who will stick around. Also, so long as there is a United States, there will be a United States Marine Corp!

They Have a squadron at Eglin too. All VTOL

LHA-6, the new USS America has other a/c;12– MV-22B Osprey, 6–20 F-35B Lightning II, 4– CH-53K Super Stallion, 7– UH-1Y Venom/ AH-1Z Viper, 2– MH-60S Seahawk. With this complement, they can send to war a highly mobile, fast and deadly aerial assault force that is not tied to geography or fixed support lines. Travelling in style, the 1,500+ ground troops can assault, take and hold large facilities and areas of land that are not immediately adjacent to the ocean. Semper Fi!

You know what gets me? All these people posting as if they even know what they are talking about… NONE of you have ANY idea what you are talking about in reality. You all ‘think’ you do based on articles, speculation, drivel from critics and so on. NONE of you are part of the program. NONE of you are one of the pilots slated to fill the cockpit and NONE of you have any insider factual information pertaining to the plane or project.

What a crock of crap you are all spewing. Are there issues that need to be ironed out? You bet there… just like there are in EVERY SINGLE NEW PROJECT. From the M1-Abrams to the Apache AH-64 to the LCS to the Bradley M2A3… You all jump on any old bandwagon thinking you know it all when in reality you know nothing about what you are talking about.

The Jet costs too much, of that I agree. BUT other than that, I have no opinion at this time on how well the jet will or will not perform, whether it is a lemon or not and so forth. AFTER it is in use and things get ironed out AS pilots report issues, just like in other programs, I have no doubt the jet will have no problem being a front line fighter bomber second to maybe the F-22 if that.

It’s incredible that the first squadron of F-35 aircraft is the F-35B variant for the US Marines as this is the most complex version of the F-35, I would have thought the Air Force would be the first to get their F-35A then the F-35C for the US Navy with the US Marines getting their F-35B last; the Marine pilots enjoy flying the F-35B because of two things, the F-35B is supersonic and it’s easier to perform the vertical landing than with the AV-8B Harrier.

Eglin, not England.

Our country came under attack by mother nature again, and yet again, we had NO DEFENSE against it. No military presence. The worthless marines showed up three whole weeks later on Staten Island and did almost nothing. Our citizens were left to die, same as they were left to die on September 11, 2001. WE HAVE NO DEFENSE. We only have a worthless group of morons wearing fancy uniforms. Sucking away our money and burning it up in the most wasteful manner possible. They left us to die again.

But thats mostly tests and to get senior pilots to train new pilots in this squadron to fly JSF. Doesn’t matter the B has many issues and I doubt they are all solved.

Thank you mucho for an excellent heads up.

There are three reasons why the USMC is the first to stand up an Operational unit:

1. Need — The F-18C/D & especially the AV-8Bs are very old, expensive to maintain, and (in the instance of the Harrier) disproportionately dangerous to operate.

2. No Fallback — The USMC does not have have a newer fighter to fall back on. The USAF has the F-15E, F-22, and Blk40/50 F-16s that are relatively new that can pick up the slack from the older planes as needed. The USN has the newer F/A-18E.

3. Mission — The USMC needs the F-35B primarily for CAS. This can be effectively done (as a replacement for the Harrier) with the Blk2B version of the F-35B. The USAF & USN need them for much more complex missions that will need at least Blk3 to operate at full capability.

I sure was surpriswed to know the MArines took over Yuma AB My squadron, as well as many other AIr Force suadrons, used that for weaponds training area.…when it was an Air Force Installation.…..We lived in tents then and no hangars to work on our aircraft????

Yes really. Seriously, if the US needed a smaller carrier why not call it for what it really is (a CV)? This is exactly why LHA-6 (in this configuration) will only have a class of 2 hulls — the Marines themselves are not terribly happy about having a precious resource being referred to as an “assault” ship when it really isn’t and is only useful to supply air support.

Now I’m not suggesting in any way that air support isn’t important — it is *vital* to the success of any assault operation. This ship is useful as a carrier — and while carriers are incredibly useful — it is most certainly not an assault ship.

There are too many Einsteins that can say what is prefect and wrong with every choice. If so many senators and congressmen could get the information to make a choice? How many people walking into their office could send this information to our enemies? SECURE THE FORCES

The great jessmo

There are numbers published in Aviation Week about F-35’s schedule & costs.

Bill Sweetman takes a deep look into the Pentagon’s latest Selected Acquisition Reports, which was released on March 30/12. Excerpts:

“Another three-year slip to initial operational test and evaluation, the culmination of system development and demonstration, which now is due to be complete in 2019 – the target date is February but the threshold date is October…. it appears that the main culprit is software and hardware, mainly in terms of… sensor fusion and emission control – that take place in the fighter’s main processor banks…. In what follows, I’m going to use average procurement unit cost (APUC).… recurring flyaway is the lowest cost, but neither the US nor anyone else can put an aircraft on the ramp for that money. And all numbers are base-2012…. The APUC for the F-35A in 2013–14 is $184-$188 million, versus $177m (2009 dollars) for the last F-22s. And that is at a much higher production rate.”

The great jessmo (Continued article about F-35’s schedule & costs)

Most ominously for the F-35’s future cost structure:

“Although the basis of the numbers has been changed, the SAR still compares the F-35A with the F-16, and shows that the estimated CPFH [DID: Cost Per Flight Hour] for the F-35A has gone from 1.22 F-16s in the 2010 SAR to 1.42 today – versus 0.8 F-16s, which was being claimed a few years ago. Where is that operations and support money going to come from?”

You forgot it’s just a PR stunt

I have to laugh at all those saying the F35 flyaway cost is so expensive we must cut it. Brilliant a product that is 99% complete, lets cut. We already spent the money, all we have to pay is the fabrication cost, making said platform VERY affordable. Same is true of the V-22 Osprey.

If one wants to argue that the maintenance of said planes is unaffordable, that at least is a valid point. Stating that because we have already paid an ungodly amount of money developing the product, we should not build them, is down right stupid and short sighted.

As for the “helmet” issues, they are pretty much all paper tigers. The thing works, just not all the bells and whistles guaranteed under contract. The platform is ready for combat training today if one wanted it to be, just does not have Every bell and Whistle working.

Until Every new aircraft comes up with a real ability to jam/kill IR/RADAR SAM’s or A2A missiles, Every fighter is a sitting duck, F22 included, so stating the F35 is likewise a duck, is true, but not really and those who know the true story sure as heck won’t be blathering it about on the internet.

It’s a PR move, so that the Marines can say “If you Cancel the B what are we going to Use on Our New Ships” But at $295 Million a piece right now, they better start trying to think of an alternative. Because Congress will NEVER give them that much money with “Sequestration” coming in a few weeks and they Know it. For the cost of 2 F-35B’s the Navy can build a brand new LCS.

Not true fully loaded Gripen NG is around $40 Million & it will out preform the Junk Strike Fighter in many ways. 1. Super Cruise at Mach 1.2 2. Land & take off from a 800 meter stretch of highway & be refueled & rearmed in 10 minutes. 3. Has New second gen AESA radar & Advanced IRST system. 4. Low maintance cost less than 1/2 of the current cost of the F-16 about $4,000.00 per fight hour. 5. With advanced super sonic drop tanks has a longer range ( 4000 km ) than the JSF. 5. Sea Gripen is under development with a joint venture between Saab & the UK contract was signed in Sept. of 2011. I would bet that unless the JSF’s costs drop a lot that the UK will be flying Gripens off their new carriers.
Gripen NG stats. http://​www​.the​-desert​-fox​.com

“Not true fully loaded Gripen NG is around $40 Million & it will out preform the Junk Strike Fighter in many ways.”

There is much to admire about the Gripen design philosophy.

However, I seriously doubt that Saab are proposing to sell the NG variant of the jet for $40M. That would be the steal of the century procurementwise.

And one key way in which the Gripen does not, and cannot, outperform the F-35 is in its radar signature management. In which the F-35 itself is lacking.

The F-35 has low survival odds in the modern anti-access environment. The Gripen, in the modern anti-access environment, has zero survival odds.

The Gripen is a 1980s vintage Eurocanard design with a great big radar return. That can no doubt be touched up a bit by outer mold line polishing, and localized application of radar absorbent materials, but improvement will not be commensurate with what it needs to stay alive.

As for the idea of Sea Gripen, history has not been kind to land-based designs which have undergone a hasty navalization. It is never as simple as just bolting on a tailhook and adding some anticorrosion coatings. The process works far better to start with a fully navalized and carrier qualified design, and then to compel the land-based air force to adopt its use, cf. the F-4 Phantom.

Hi all, I’m fully in line with MALAKIE just up here.

Don’t assume things you don’t know. Let the pilots and the program teams decide. Let the pro’s handle this. Flying an old crate with a design of 15 years or more is maybe an idea, but it will not save you when your opponent has smarter and better aircraft and material, hence you know what you get but it will bite you in your *ss. At the other hand flying something where the design and characteristis are so mind breaking as the F35 is a total other story. Oke the budget went overt the initial thought, so what. In the end we have a platform for more than 20 years to come. Remember the story of the F15 and F16 many years ago.. It’s still flying, but the techniques are stretched, the F16 is real EOL, face it. And to serve and protect you need more than an oldtimer.

You don’t give a combat squadron a machine that can’t do combat. The F/A-18D was capable of fighting a war when they got it. The F-35B isn’t.

Why not just steal back the plans of the planes just like these from China as they stole the plans from us and worked out all of the problems. Grab 2 of each and copy them. Problem fixed.

in 2020, Defence will be less than 20% of the budget, entitlement and debt will be in the 70% range. see if you can find the real problem.

Dude, the military’s primary reason of being changed from hurricane cleanup and peacekeeping after we went into Afghanistan, Iraq and stepped up involvement in the Middle East.

We have National Guardsmen (and women) for this kind of mission. Especially now that involvement in Iraq no longer requires dipping into the national guard manpower piggy bank.

Until the program is done nobody has any way of knowing true flyaways. I agree that cutting now simply shifts program costs onto less units and skews cost/unit in a bad way. That said, why did Lockmart allow development costs to spiral…unless they assumed that a high development cost would be offset in high unit buys; which isn’t particularly wise.

It doesn’t change the fact that we already spent a ton of money on the F-35 designs, and by stealing a foreign design and building it, you technically flush all of your money down the toilet by procuring a different design.

Unless you plan to do systems integration from JSF to the stolen design, which costs money too.

Releasing early versions of the F-35 is basically rolling out late alpha/early beta product to the consumer. The US military and perhaps other tier one nations will get early access to the JSF…and hopefully it won’t kill anyone.

The Right Way To Do It would have been to field the avionics upgrades independently and prove them in the legacy fleet, then deploy the F-35 with those avionics later. Or to roll out the F-35 with contemporary avionics, then replace avionics in the JSF and legacy platforms once it matured properly.

It’s not like General Motors designs everything from scratch with each new model year, and then because of the expense of R&D makes zero changes for the next five years. We’re adopting a Corvette-style design-everything-at-once philosophy, probably because we no longer mass produce aircraft.

That’s a lot of ground troops to move and resupply with 12 Ospreys, 4 Super Stallions, 3–4 Venoms (with converse 4–3 Vipers, unless you go with all Venoms or all Vipers) and two Seahawks.

It makes sense for certain types of operations, such as in Sierra Leone where one would use a helicopter force to secure an embassy…or coughcoughBenghazicough where a helicopter-borne force could have been deployed to the CIA Annex and Department of State Consulate, or if required, to protect the embassy in Tripoli.

Armed, joint strike fighter forces working together. Great concept.

The Canadian Government has made it Official, they are looking at Alternatives to the Junk Strike Fighter.
. http://​www​.flightglobal​.com/​b​l​o​g​s​/​t​h​e​-​d​e​w​l​i​n​e​/​201


Me too, I can’t until next year when the cuts abort this lemon. You can read more on Budget cuts the new enemy for US’ costliest jet F-35 from The Economic Times.

I dont know too much about aircraft ‚but I think the Marines are looking to make plenty of deals with asian countries for land for the Marines to land these new planes on. Okinawa,Guam,Thailand Australian boondocks and mabe Burma.wont need a/c carries and problems from our press if thre are any problems with the planes, mabe these planes will scare commies on that side of the world.

The Marines will stay the Marines,keep the hellos get rid of the jets.The Navy will keep the ships the Airforce should be the only pilots, make shure they our the BEST,the Marines pilots go to the Air Force, the Navy pilots go to the Air force THATS IT.The Navy Seals as good as they are go to Special Ops WW world wide– a new service along with Force Recon of the Marines and Army Special Forces.Special Op H&S command will be every other comand Special Op needs to operate.Marines keep BTN RECON-Army keep Rangers,Delta Force is with Special Op service.The Army has reg army tanks helos,no boats or jets.Coast Guard is Coast Guard.This may cause problems or make things easier ‚save money on double training save on bases and gives every one one job to do better at it and if your gung ho go to the service-Special OPS WW.


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