Navy Prepares F-35C for Carrier Landing

Navy Prepares F-35C for Carrier Landing

Navy test pilots are conducting numerous shore-based test landings of the F-35C of the next-generation Joint Strike Fighter in anticipation of its first at-sea landing on an aircraft carrier later this year, service officials said.

The shore landings, taking place at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., are designed to replicate the range of conditions which the F-35C is likely to encounter at sea – to the extent that is possible.

Test pilots are working on what they call a structural survey, an effort to assess the F-35C’s ability to land in a wide range of scenarios such as nose down, tail down or max engaging speed, said F-35 Test Pilot Lt. Cmdr. Tony Wilson, or “Brick.”

Max engaging speed involves landing the aircraft heavy and fast to determine if it is the aircraft or the arresting gear that gets damaged, Wilson explained.

“The whole purpose is to make sure the landing gear and the aircraft structure are all suitable to take the stresses that the pilot could see while trying to land aboard the deck of an aircraft carrier,” Wilson explained.

While recognizing that the mix of conditions at sea on board a carrier cannot be replicated on land, Wilson said the test landings seek to simulate what he called unusual attitudes such as instances where the aircraft is rolling with one side up or descending faster than normal with what’s called a “high sink” rate.

“We’ve done about 90 carrier-style landings,” he said.

High sink rate is reached when an aircraft is descending 21-feet per second, much faster than the typical 10-feet per second descend rate, Wilson explained. The shore landings also seek to replicate an airplane condition known as “yawing” when the body of the aircraft is moving from side to side.

The F-35C is engineered to be larger than the Air Force’s F-35 A or Marine Corps short-take-off-and-landing F-35B because the structure of the aircraft needs to be able to withstand the impact of landing on a carrier. Also, the F-35C has larger, foldable wings to facilitate slower approach speeds compatible with moving ships, Navy officials said.

“In order to withstand the forces experienced during an arrested landing, the keel of an F-35C is strengthened and the landing gear is of a heavier-duty build than the A and B models,” an official with the F-35 Integrated Test Force said.

The wings of the F-35 C are also built with what’s called “aileron control surfaces” designed to provide control power to roll the aircraft at slow approaching speeds, Wilson explained.

At sea, pilots must account for their speed as well as the speed of the wind, the weather or visibility conditions as well as the speed of the boat, Wilson explained.

“The landing area is constantly changing. This is a challenge to structure of the aircraft because there is no way of knowing for certain how hard we are going to hit the deck or at what angle they are going to be at,” he added.

On an aircraft carrier, the ship has arresting wires or metal cables attached to hydraulic engines used to slow the aircraft down to a complete stop within the landing area.

“On an aircraft carrier, the landing area is off about 10-degrees. The boat’s motion itself is moving away from you — so you can’t just aim at the boat,” Wilson said.

The cable is four to six inches above the deck of the carrier and hydraulic fluid controls the pace of deceleration for the aircraft, Wilson said. A hook lowers from the back end of the F-35C aircraft, designed to catch the cable and slow down the plane.

“In order to maintain our stealth configuration, we had to put the hook internal to the airframe. On all the legacy systems, the tail hook sits up underneath the engine externally. We have three doors that open up to allow the tail hook to fall down,” Wilson said.

The aircraft also needs to be able to withstand what’s called a “free flight,” a situation where the pilot receives a late wave off to keep flying after the hook on the airplane has already connected with the wire, he explained.

“We need to be sure that the engine and the aircraft itself can handle the stress of essentially being ripped out of the air by the interaction between the cable and the hook,” Wilson added.

Describing landing as a controlled crash into the aircraft carrier, Wilson explained that pilots look at a light on the ship called the Fresnel Lens in order to orient their approach.

“The whole purpose of the lighting system is to show us where we are in reference to a specific glide slope. What this lens does is it tells us where we are,” he said.

In total, the Navy plans to acquire 340 F-35C aircraft. So far, five F-35Cs have been delivered for pilot training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Both Wilson and fellow test pilot  Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burks, or “Sniff,”  former F-18 Hornet and Super Hornet pilots, said flying the F-35C represents a large step forward in fighter jet technology.

Burks referred to the JSF’s touchscreen cockpit display which combines information from a range of sensors, cameras and radars….ect.

“Unlike our legacy aircraft where I might have to look at several different displays – the F-35C’s integrated core processor integrates all the information for the pilot. It very neatly and concisely displays all that information in one location, making tactical decisions much easier,” Burks said.

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The Super Hornet production line is still open. That’s what’s important. With the Super Hornet and the Growler the Navy doesn’t even need the F-35C. They also have the option of buying the Advanced Super Hornet or the using the upgrades Boeing made to start making Advanced Growlers. The Super Hornet is going to be formidable out to the 2030’s. It’s good enough to go toe to toe with any threat from the air and to demolish anything on the ground.

If Lockheed Martin releases the results of the carrier traps vs missed attempts that might restore some faith in the F-35C. For now, I will still remain skeptical of the F-35C’s ability to land on a carrier until the tests are completed successfully.

getting a pig to fly is one thing, but getting a pig to land (on a carrier) is ten times harder…

“oink oink, snort, snort, squeal squeal, oink oink”

LockMart proudly announced recently that they had finished testing and certifying the F-35C for its maximum sink rate of 21.4 fps.

Except… wait a minute here. One of the F-35 skeptics pointed out on another blog that, back in 2010, LockMart made a similar announcement that they had finished testing and certifying the F-35C for its maximum sink rate of 26.4 fps.

So the allowable max sink rate has been slashed. Without explanation. What happened?

What happened, among other things, was that they took the early C models to Lakehurst for simulated carrier boarding, and found that the jet could not catch the wire at all. Complete failure.

Well, LockMart said, no problem, we’ll just make small revisions to the hook. Piece of cake.

This quiet but significant revision to the max sink rate implies that the fix was not a piece of cake, and it has resulted in second-order ripple effects through the rest of the airframe. Have these engineering changes reduced the expected durability of the C model? Or further accentuated the perpetual weight control problem of the jet? Don’t expect these questions to be answered forthrightly.

If anybody wants an intro to the subject matter, I would suggest reading MIL-A-18717, “…covers the design, development, construction, analysis, test and documentation requirements for arresting hook installations in aircraft…”

Over many decades, a lot of money and effort has gone into learning how to successfully recover aircraft to a CATOBAR flight deck in adverse conditions out in the fleet. The literature is available. There is no excuse for getting it wrong.

The hook profile that failed to catch arresting wires (deck pendants) in early towed testing on the F-35C had been copied from the arreasting hook that has worked well in the F-18. The difference is that the arresting hook was properly located in the F-18.

There’s an extremely informative comparison chart that a bit of search-engine-fu will easily turn up, showing the distance from the main landing gear to the tailhook for eleven different USN carrier aircraft, plus the X-47B.

(I found this by doing an image search with Bing for “tailhook location f-35c”.)

On the original F-35C design, they had the hook only 7 feet behind the main gear.

Compare this to the Hornet, which has the hook over 18 feet from the MLG in both variants.

The Tomcat? 22 feet.

It’s just astonishing that the LockMart engineers thought this ultra-short distance between hook and gear would work on the F-35, and that they were actually surprised when it was a total failure.

A news editor should mark this article incomplete in regard to reporting. The F-35C had to have a redesign because issues related to carrier recovery. Google: “F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Concurrency Quick Look Review”. The F-35C is an “outlier” design in regard to carrier aircraft. A huge part of this because of the STOVL-B model requirement pollutes the other 2 variants. Also, the F-35C empty weight has increased 15 percent over its 2002 design configuration. Want to make a carrier capable aircraft? Best to start with a dedicated design. So again, this article is very incomplete.

You are completely in error. The Navy supplied an incorrect dynamic model of the arrestment wire for LM to design the F-35C hook installation. Using the correct wire model, LM has redesigned the hook point and damping force, and guess what? The hook works fine now, even at only 7 feet behind the gear. You may apologize at any time.

You are confusing two separate requirements — sink rate and wire engagement. One has nothing to do with the other. The 26.4fps sink rate test was a lab drop test, designed to provide assurance the airplane could withstand 150% of design load for high sink rate conditions. The sink rate limit of 21.4fps will result in 100% of design load on service airplanes. Airplane structures are always lab tested to 150% of design load, and service airplanes are limited to 100% of design load. The airplane was never certified for 26.4 fps — never.

Why was 26.4 fps chosen for the lab test? Because gear loads at high sink rate landings are roughly proportional to sink rate squared. (26.4 /21.4) ^2 = 1.52 very close to the ratio of 150% to 100% gear load.

Nothing sinister about the different sink rates — one was the lab test, the other is for service usage.

You really should be more careful about making incorrect comments about technology you don’t understand.

Here again, you may apologize at any time.

Please see my reply to your other post concerning hook redesign.

“The hook works fine now”?

It hasn’t even been taken out for sea trials yet.

“Nothing sinister about the different sink rates — one was the lab test, the other is for service usage.”

The official 2010 press release from Lockheed Martin regarding the higher 26.4 fps sink rate said, direct quote,

“The tests were used to mimic the wide range of landing conditions expected in the fleet.”

I direct your attention to the four key words _expected in the fleet_.

That is, mimicking service usage.

So you choose to believe a press release from a liberal arts college journalism major who thinks a sink rate is how fast the water drains out of a kitchen sink?? You don’t know the first thing about structural certification, do you? Nothing to be ashamed of, most people know even less than you. Please believe me, what I stated is the truth. I was a aircraft structural certification engineer for forty years, including carrier suitability testing.

One more time — 26.4 fps lab testing is required to impose 150% of the loads expected in service. 26.4 fps provides 150% of the loads expected in 21.4 fps service landings.

As I understand it, recent ground based launches and landings have been successfully completed, thus clearing the airplane for ship based tests to begin in October. I absolutely guaranty you the Navy would never clear the airplane to the boat without full confidence the hook works. All airplanes will occasionally encounter a bolter, and I expect the F-35 will do so during ship based tests.

Yes, the hook works fine now.

And how exactly was the CTOL variant “polluted” by the STOVL variant? The USAF’s strike fighter would still look a lot like the F-35A even without the carrier and STOVL variants. They wanted single engine, a large amount of internal fuel and internal weapons carriage, and something not as costly to operate as the air-superiority focused F-22.

The Navy’s on the bandwagon not entirely by choice but considering the history of Naval Aviation programs starting with the A-12, they shouldn’t be pointing too many fingers.

John, most of the bloggers believe, albeit erroneously, that they are “experts” in the field, when in fact, their only experience or expertise, is purely based on “googling” and reading, another blogs, written of course by people who are also reading another blogs of people who believe that they are “experts” in the field. I like your comment. It knocked out, finally, torque wrench. Will you be kind enough to asked torque wrench his “qualifications” if any relative to the topic at hand? For sure he wont.

I question if any one variant “polluted” the others.

The real culprit is that all three aircraft have become more different over time. At the end of the day they will have common avionics and a great number of common pieces and might even be built on the same assembly line with modifications to produce different variants, but they are indeed different aircraft for different roles.

All three started from the common design of the X-35 demonstrator, which was a set of aircraft that was modified for conventional, then STOVL [Edit: Unsure when they modified for CATOBAR]. We decided to relax the commonality requirements as we encountered developmental problems. However, I am unsure if designing three separate aircraft would have been any cheaper.

Edit: Re-reading the chronically unreliable Wikipedia, there is a claim that “Because the X-35 did not have weapons bays, their addition in the F-35 would cause design changes which would lead to later weight problems”.

I guess that would explain a lot.

Don’t pay attention to this @ ELP character. He is a non polluter of all things F-35. If you don’t believe me just google ” Eric Palmer for President”

Why are no countries buying the Advanced Super Hornet/Growler instead of the F-35 then? Australia was the only country to buy the Super Hornet, as they needed to replace the F-111s they had. But they are not even buying more, but the were at least wise enough to be able to convert some to Growlers. Your argument does not even pass the smell test based on pilot reports, Air Force and Navy leadership satements, and the decsion of many other very competent Air Forces around the world to choose the F-35. All the arguments being made are getting very tiring? No one chooses to buy an inferior product if a superior product is already available. The means that the F/A-18 is an inferior product. The E-18G Growler is in fact an argument you can make, but not the Advanced Super Hornet.

Not to mention that most of the bloggers are ardent haters of the F-35 to begin with. It is amazing to see the number of people that see a design flaw as a reason toscap the program as opposed to correcting the design. Or they miss subtle issues like the software code for the F-35 is 4 times larger than the F-22, which is greatly in excess to almost all other plane itself. The F-35 has a million more lines of code than the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyers. And of course, it goes completely over their head that the code is going to give the plane a vastly superior capability. Another country can make a plane like the F-22 or the F-35, but another country can’t provide the vastly superior electronic warfare/attack capability that will be inherent in the F-35. But, they certainly can complain if this incredible software program is a delayed a little because it is so freaking powerful.

Really, what report are you citing? Just checked google, no such grounding is mentioned. Lying doesn’t become you.

And if you don’t read MIL-A-18717, guess what happens? If you guessed that you get a follow up contract to redesign the hook causing your company to make more money, then you guessed right. I don’t know what part of this being all about the money that you people don’t understand.

Ditto BlackOwl http://​www​.foxnews​.com/​p​o​l​i​t​i​c​s​/​2​0​1​3​/​0​2​/​2​2​/​f​-​3​5-f

Now come on people, it’s really really really time to cut our losses here and cancel this travesty before it grounds the entire DOD budget

You quote a story from last year, you can’t even read yet we should believe you when you say cut the program.…amazing

I was citing this blog here: http://​snafu​-solomon​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​4​/​0​6​/​f​-​3​5​-gr

I’m going to copy and past a response I gave to a previous question that was very similar because I have already answered this multiple times:

“You’ve got to be kidding me. They’re in line to buy them only because we told them to. Many of those nations want out of the program, but they can’t get out. Do you even UNDERSTAND the nature of defense corporations and politics? They’ve been economically blackmailed with jobs promises and contracts to stay. Pulling out of the program is not so simple.

This jet will not even be a very good aircraft. By all standards, when this thing is finished (if it is ever finished) it will have compromised so much in so many areas to fulfill those roles that it will be good at nothing. Even if it meets the current targets it will be inferior to current 4th gen fighters and will cost about 3x or 4x as much. LM gets to take everything while delivering nothing that they promised.”

Know what I hate most? Rhetorical questions.

Let’s ask one anyway.

Is it really all that implausible for it to be suggested — on the basis of LockMart’s own public press releases, subject to securities laws — that they had watered down the requirement for max sink rate? Because we should view that possibility in light of the previous history of many, many, many instances of just such watering down of requirements in the F-35 program.

The F-35 has failed to make spec for combat radius. Failed to make spec for transonic acceleration. Failed to make spec for sustained turn rate. Failed to make spec for reliability. Failed to make spec for sortie generation rate. Failed to make spec for STOVL ground roll. Requirements had to be artificially “relaxed” in all these areas to avoid triggering a Nunn-McCurdy program review.

It was also failing to make spec for weight. Except that weight simply can _not_ be fudged any further for this pudgy little porker of a jet. Especially not the B model, which is right up against the limit of not being able to get off the ground with a combat load. So to make spec on weight, the program ripped out things like the onboard fire suppression.

Meanwhile, major mission-critical subsystems like the Elmer Fudd “magic helmet” still simply do not work as expected, despite tons of money having been poured into frantic re-engineering pushes.

And, the plane has massively missed its predicted targets in the two key areas of (a) delivery date and (b) cost.

There were supposed to be entire go-to-war-ready air wings full of F-35s by now. In reality? They are barely to the point of standing up training wings with combat-unready airframes requiring rework.

Costs were supposed to have plummeted by this time. Remember, the public were confidently told that these jets would be cheap enough to replace the inexpensive F-16 on a one for one fleet recapitalization basis. How much is the F-35C, subject of this article, costing this fiscal year? A staggering $264M each! That’s insane. A billion bucks buys only three complete jets with a down payment on a fourth.

So again back to the original question. In light of this history of huge, ongoing, embarrassing failure in all regards of the F-35 program to date, with specifications being waived and relaxed left and right, are there any grounds to suggest that there would not be more such failures and waivers? Of course there are not.

I was about to conclude to some sort of glitches before an article about that issue surfaced on the wsj 6 hours ago. I bet that the f-35 destined for their upcoming transatlantic flight are going to receive a lot of new part. It would be very embarassing that they have to sent there as a glider, they might need an extra bigger battery pack for this.

Anybody want to bet what is going to be the next single point of failure?

I’m sorry, John. My recollection of the structural design criteria for landing gear is that it does not use the term safety factor, limit load or ultimate load at all. It has different terminology. The “design” load is derived from varying a set of parameters such as sink rate, pitch-roll-yaw angles, engagement speed etc. The parameters are varied to produce combinations that occur once in one thousand landings. This thing is called the multi-variate distribution. I will quote from the lectures of an engineer from the Iron Works that is familiar to many in industry, F.E. Knapp. He says:
“The word “design” takes on special meaning when related to carrier sinking speeds or landing loads. The traditional limit and ultimate concepts are discarded, and are replaced by a design sinking speed level whose probability of occurrence is once in a thousand landings. The structural restrictions placed on this design sinking speed level are not the usual “margin”, or “safety factor”, etc. but do require that the hardware have fatigue life for a spectrum including such landings and that it remain functional in every way after application of the highest sinking speed landing.”
I believe the F-35B and C continue this tradition of “design loads” for landing gear and an equivalent to Professor Knapp’s definition is in the structural design spec.
Regarding the initial subject of this thread comparing the design sinking speed to the allowable test sinking speed, there is definitely something to explain. Back substitution of the two sink rates into the multivatiate equations (look at Mi-A-8866 to get the gist of it, although I think the multivariate coefficients are different for the F-35 ), the approach speed for 26.4 ft/sec design sink rate is 144 knots, which looks right. The 21.4 ft/sec rate is higher than the mean sink rate for 144 knot approach speed. The two sink rates are not comparable and there is probably some explanation. Your explanation is not satisfying because the test does not demonstrate that the design loads do not cause failure or deformation that prevents function. Design load tolerance, where limit=ultimate, must be demonstrated to achieve certification, not ultimate/1.5.

I think ELP is referring to the fact that the B model dictated the position of the main engine nozzle such that it could, in combination with the lift fan, balance the machine in hover. This dictated a short aft end that brought the hook way forward on the C model compared to modern carrier capable jets. The hook to pilot eye geometry is odd and so is the main gear to hook point distance. Those parameters look closer to the Vought Cutlass, which did not last long in the fleet. The hook on the A does not get deployed in flight, but it still may skip over emergency arrestor cables because of the close proximity of the main wheels. I have not heard any report of this though.

Thank you for your comments, obviously from a professional.

Actually, it is Mil-A-8866, not Mi-A-8866. Your explanation is no more satisfying than mine, as you have not in any way answered torque wrench’s original contention. I chose to use the more familiar ultimate/design relationship because it at least offers the opportunity for torque wrench to understand it. My answer is satisfying in that it shows that lab tests at more severe conditions are used to clear service usage at lower sink rates.

Of course the multivariate coefficients are different for the F-35 — they are different for every airplane. Measured loads, displacements, and accelerations from the lab drop tests are used to provide test-based coefficients, rather than those based only on analysis.

Since you asked a rhetorical question, I won’t bother answering.

Wall Street Journal — June 15, 2014 — F-35 Fighter Jets Temporarily Grounded by Engine Problems

“The Pentagon temporarily grounded the entire F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet at the start of the weekend after one of the advanced jets suffered an engine oil leak… …pilot declared an in-flight emergency after being alerted to an engine oil problem… …Pratt Whitney said in a statement that it was working to identify the cause of last week’s problem, with jet-by-jet inspections taking around 90 minutes each. Program officials have pointed to problems with an oil-flow-management valve…”

The above exceprts taken from the news story available at the link below.


And the worst is that the f135 engine is –in average– delivering the merchandise. Its biggest problem right now is that it cost too much.

If the f-35 had performed the same it would have long met IOC with reliability of the B model under expectation (and increasing) but operational.

Nothing new here. People have always been critical and negative about new aircraft and systems. Naysayers have been around since the beginning of aircraft and weapons development for decades since the Korean war. Almost every significant advancement in aircraft design has had its detractors. The Osprey had its problems too, as well as the F-22. Face the facts. The F-35 is here to stay, and the people who make the decisions aren’t going to scrap it. F-18s are great aircraft, but they’ve been around since the 70s and are outdated by new technology, plus they don’t have stealth capability. Nice to know that people like yourself don’t change however. The pessimists and those uncomfortable with change will always be around. Thanks for being so dependable!

In my life I have read so many naysayers that make these judgements without the advantage of knowing what they are talking about. It seems they would be well off to keep quiet until the facts are in instead of spewing criticism and follow up with ” Until all the tests are completed” I would suggest young man, that you should have waited until “All the Tests are Completed” to comment. Until then your assessment is just uninformed opinion.

You suggest that the plan was to replace the ” inexpensive F-16 on a one for one fleet recapitalization basis” with “the F-35C”? Wow. The F-16 is an Air Force fighter, the F-35C is a Navy fighter.

The rest of your diatribes above are equally amusing.

I am far from uninformed, I can assure you that. You need to wake up and smell the reality of this program. I would suggest to you, kind sir, that you either provide decent facts to show why you think what you think or just not comment at all.

Ron, by your response it has shown the lack of knowledge that you have about the current military fighters in service. No one was being pessimistic, they were simply being realistic. The F-35 IS a complete waste of money, due to the amount of setbacks, problems, and other issues compared to how much it will actually benefit this country is ridiculous for the tax payers to keep paying for this. Not only does the F-35 bring that many impressive technologies, but it is an incapable fighter which I believe is inferior to any fighter in our current military. You are wrong about the F-18’s being around since the 1970’s, due to the fact that those would be the A/C models where as the current Navy is flying E/F Super hornet variant. The fact that the F-35 has stealth capabilities is somewhat attractive, but there is a catch to that. If it was ever to be effective in a combat situation it would loose all of it’s stealth capabilities due to its extremely small stealth payload. If the F-35 does ever actually make it into active duty, the only real place I see it at is in the Marine Corps, due to the Harrier and the old legacy hornets they fly becoming extremely out of date and the attractive B model with STVOL capabilities. For the A/C models of the F-35, I see them completely useless as they are just another fighter, that is actually less impressive that any current Fighters being used by the Air Force and Navy. I think we should scrap the F-35 A & C Models, focus on the B for the marines and keep it at that.

First of all, I cannot seem to say this enough: THIS IS SOMETHING NEW. Sure every program has had a few problems, but none of them have had problems like the F-35. The scale of this program is different from anything in the history of mankind to date. This has now become the most expensive weapon system in human history. It is under performing, late by roughly a decade with more years to add on to it, and, worst of all, it is being forced on the Navy and our allies when they have better options.

The Navy is the one saying that the Super Hornet will be good enough for future conflicts and the Navy is saying that it can handle any enemy in the future with the Super Hornet and Growler. It’s not just me saying this. The Navy has kept the F/A-18E/F up to date for the future and Boeing has upgrades that will make it much more lethal. The Navy came out and said that the Super Hornet as it exists now has fully funded classified upgrades that will make it formidable out to 2030. If they were allowed to drop the F-35C and start developing F/A-XX they would do so in a heart beat and could have it ready well before 2030.

In fact, with the situation the world economy is in, I am finally starting to see a possibility in the future when the F-35 will get canned, despite everything that everyone says about it being here to stay. I know that it will get a few planes out, but I don’t see this thing actually making it to 2020. It’s taking too much away from the economy without providing much in return.

Hahahaha, I would love to hear what Naval aviators say about the F-35. I bet the test pilots hate their job.

Informed by the finest Boeing propaganda sources. Damn, the crap we get out of Lockmart is bad enough, but those morons at Boeing who gave us the X-32, they need to put a damn sock in it. Oh yeah, it will take off vertically… without avionics or fuel.

SOS. I read heard stuff like this before, and to be honest, you sound just like a parrot. Yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah. Every single weapons system that we now have in our inventory was new. And nothing you’re saying here is original. If it were possible to go back for several decades and read what the critics said about the “new” stuff that was coming out before, you’d see that they’re saying the same stuff you are today. I hate to break it to you pal, but I’ve read this kind of stuff before. Cost overruns…normal, delays…normal. I’m a veteran of Naval Aviation from the Vietnam era bud, and it’s not new.

Right, not every program makes money off the problems they have. Only this one. Boeing programs aren’t like this. They use a whole different set of Federal Acquisition Rules.

Thank God they got rid of the F136. Clearly competition wouldn’t have helped with price.

Dfens, did I ever say Boeing was perfect? I think the whole MIC needs to be audited. I know they do some shady stuff too, but the Super Hornet was one thing that they got right.

And you know that I have been very critical of the V-22 because they really dropped the ball on that when it was rolled out.

I will try to communicate again. For landing gear, there is no factor of safety. You must demonstrate that there is no loss in function after a 26.4 ft/sec (design) sink rate impact, not 21.4. It first must be cleared on a full scale airframe drop test before it is attempted on a flying jet. Even then, a build up to design sink rate is necessary to make sure the instrumentation is working and that measurements are in-line with calculated predictions. If there is a major discrepancy, it must be understood before the design load test attempt. Both torquewrench and I are thinking there is an error in comparing those two company statements; e.g. a typo, using the B model sink instead of C, or using an intermediate restriction number that will be lifted after a lab test is completed…something to explain the two hugely different numbers.
The multivariate definitions frequently are the ones recommended in Mil-A-8866 or the modern equivalent JSSG-2006. The F-35 spec probably has custom ones for all three variants. I assume these were negotiated between LM and their government counterparts, but maybe they used them as-is? A good guess at the format of the F-35 spec is JSSG-2006, sections, 3.2.13 and in Appendix A A., but with the blanks filled in, of course. This excerpt is directly applicable:
“Based on carrier surveys the mean sink speed is equal to 0.128 times the mean engaging speed (in knots); and the standard deviation of sink rate is equal to 0.015 times engaging speed plus 1.667 fps. Sink rate is one of the eight multivariate parameters in which the maximum/minimum values equal the mean plus or minus 3.1 standard deviations.“
In order to head-off further confusion I will say that mean engaging speed is defined as tropical day approach speed minus 20 knots. Yes, 20 knots wind over deck is assumed for design sink speeds, and the approach speed has its own complicated definition. Don’t get me started…Uh-oh, too late.

Seriously? I’m not informed by Boeing. I don’t support every Boeing program. In fact, Lockheed Martin even has some programs that I think are pretty good.

You know I was critical of the V-22 and I think there are some better cheaper options for attack helicopters than the Apache. I want what has the right amount of performance at the right cost. The Super Hornet hit the nail on the head in those terms. The Navy thinks so too. What I really think is that a lot of American tax payer money is wasted by having it rolled into defense contractor profits through corrupt means. I want to see weapons makers deliver weapons that are on time (or to be more realistic, reasonably late) and on cost (again to keep being realistic, reasonably over budget).

Dfens, are you a little teed off about me pointing out that you never have anything positive to say? Is that what this is about? Or was it the time I pointed out that you are always griping about problems, but never bring any solutions to those problems? I would appreciate the more direct approach if you don’t mind.

Torquewrench is on to something. Maybe that for the LockMart and defense consortium the F-35 is a high average wage, public works, make-work, economic stimulus, and full-employment-for-generals-and-admirals-and-political-appointees-entitlement program!

“You suggest that the plan was to replace the ‘inexpensive F-16 on a one for one fleet recapitalization basis’ with ‘the F-35C’?”

No, I said that it had been proposed to perform recap with “these jets”, i.e., F-35s generically, after having referred to “F-35s” in the previous paragraph. Pick nits much?

Let’s remember that thanks to “cost savings via commonality”, another goal that the program has discreetly “relaxed”, the cost delta between the F-35C and the F-35A was supposed to be trivial, and the F-35A _was_ loudly and repeatedly touted as a one for one recapitalization option for F-16s.

But with regard to F-35 C models specifically, I will note that you have nothing to say by way of factual refutation regarding the absolutely astronomical unit cost of same.

At $264M per F-35C, the entire overall financial picture of the Navy changes in horribly bad ways.

For instance: there is currently a huge debate over whether to conduct the midlife reactor refueling and systems refit on CVN-73, the _George Washington_. The money has been put in, then taken back out, then put back in, the House and Senate can’t agree, it’s a huge budget catfight… and, in a world of ludicrously costly $264M Navy jets, it’s a ridiculous debate.

There’s no overall point in getting _George Washington_ refitted and refueled to keep a total of eleven operational CVN if it’s going to be enormously too expensive to fill the decks of those eleven CVN with adequate numbers of F-35C jets.

And at $264M per F-35C, it is in fact enormously too expensive. Cold hard reality right there.

So, other cold hard realities on the F-35:

The _Wall Street Journal_ reports the entire fleet was grounded this weekend just passed after a bad engine indication at Yuma.

There were “suspect findings” on two other aircraft other than the Yuma incident aircraft, so the problem is not _sui generis_.

Frank Kendall says about F-35 reliability that “there has been some marginal improvement but it’s not enough”.

Block 3F software is half a year late. Adding to the long history of blown software deadlines in this program. By the way, Block 3F is required for USN IOC, so that’s now half a year late as well.

So they’re declaring a Big Push to speed up the software. Despite Big Push efforts on previous block releases having not gone well. It’s as though Fred Brooks and _The Mythical Man-Month_ never existed.

Aerodynamic and weapons release test points continue to be behind schedule, as is also normal for this program.

Basically, the services are buying a bunch of prototypes, not production-ready combat jets.


It goes beyond competition. As I repeat, by having no real alternative, the f-35 represent a single point of failure for any air force buying that airplane, and it’s much worse for the allied.

Clearly it should have been TWO programs manufactured by TWO different companies. And the design deemed to be the best will have a bigger contracts. No more “I need to make thousands of copies to be at a reasonable price”. Any contractor blowing the baloon like LockMart did ought to be discarded in favor of a third design.

The beauty of cost reduction is purely accidental. ;-)

“The Super Hornet production line is still open.”

Not for much longer.

Navy’s CATOBAR aircraft should have two engines. Redundancy would be an obvious primary benefit, but perhaps less obvious that geometry would allow the arresting hook to be located on the centerline between the engines, allowing it to be located further rearward while still being able to fair-in the assy with a stealthy surface profile when retracted.

Look at this picture of the underside of F-35C. http://​timemilitary​.files​.wordpress​.com/​2​0​1​3​/​0​6/f

Compare it to the underside of the YF-23: http://​upload​.wikimedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​p​e​d​i​a​/​c​o​m​m​o​n​s​/​4/4

Isn’t the –35’s arresting hook located fairly far back already?

Though the –18’s tailhook seems to be even further back. The constraint seems to be that the tailhook cannot be made conformal, thus it must be hidden. under some kind of housing.

The French Rafale is also two-engine, FWIW. The USN historically employed a mix of single– and dual– engine aircraft designs during the Cold War; was their experience so bad?

What is perhaps unsurprising is that the –B and the –C grew based on weight projections from the baseline X-35 variant, whereas the –A did not. The Air Force stuck to its guns and wanted a lightweight fighter.

I wonder what would have happened if the Navy, Air Force and Marines insisted on JSF being a heavy fighter program instead of a light fighter program, then replaced the –15, the Harrier and the –18. This leaves the –16 dangling in the wind, but otherwise…

Seems like you were right!

“McCain, a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he had long been troubled by the Pentagon’s payment of 85-percent or higher award fees to Lockheed on the F-35 program despite cost increases and schedule delays, adding the background to those decisions was “disturbing.”

Former Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last month said the Pentagon’s F-35 program manager told him he had kept the fees high because he liked the Lockheed executive in charge, and the company official had said he would be fired if the fees fell below 85 percent.


Anybody googling ‘carter: InsideDefense’ can get Carter’s remark from the said past speech at Harvard.

Harvard made the whole speech available on the web. http://​youtu​.be/​T​U​V​K​V​9​e​a​Qy8

…then being a former aviator, you must be extremely familiar with all the aircraft programs that flat-out FAILED. Ever fly an F-111 off of an aircraft carrier? An A-12? Know any Army buddies who flew Cheyennes or Comanches? No? How about Zoomie buddies who flew F-17’s or A-9’s or F-20’s?

My point: just because an aircraft makes it past the drawing board doesn’t automatically mean it’s a good idea.

sferrin, I don’t see why you’re so smug. The F-35 is grounded right now and the program is falling apart at the seams because the aircraft sucks so bad. Congress is bribed by the MIC to keep throwing money at it, but throwing money at the problem is not going to fix it anytime soon. They need to kill one variant in order for this thing to work.

Meanwhile, the Navy has been allowed to decrease their F-35C procurement by half for the next two years and has instead requested 22 Growlers as an unfunded priority while being allowed to purchase 12 of those aircraft. Boeing has finally learned how to play the game at LM’s level and there’s a good chance that they’ll be back next fiscal year pulling for the Advanced Super Hornet. And most importantly, if the F-35C fails at carrier trials this October, there’s a strong chance that the Super Hornet production line will be extended again out of necessity.

You know what all this proves? You’ve been wrong this entire time. Sucks to suck doesn’t it? If I was you I would be really stressed over those carrier trials in October.

I’m sure that they have been “sternly” briefed to say nothing but good things about the pig

The Super Hornet was not something they got right. Hell, the Navy could be flying F-23s instead, that’s how badly they dropped the ball on that one. Instead they bet the farm on the Grumman ATF entry, lost NATF because it didn’t work and ended up with the consolation prize of the F-18E/F. Instead of kicking sand in the Air Force’s face with the F-23, they got the boobie prize.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the F-18 is bad because it is unsafe like the V-22. And I agree with you that having an open F-18 line is better than only having the promise of an F-35, that may or may not ever show up. But operationally the F-18 is a failure on so many levels. Honestly, it is to the Navy’s credit that they can operate at all with such an inferior aircraft. To spin that into, “it’s a success,” I just do not see that. I suppose I could believe that it is a success from a cost standpoint. MD didn’t take us to the cleaners on the E/F like Lockheed has done on the F-22 and is doing on the F-35, I’ll give it that.

You must not be very well-versed in how Naval Aviators communicate and interact. If there is one thing that they will not compromise on it is safety and they will communicate it clearly and often. Thats why the prior Blue Angel CO “resigned” (was pushed) a few seasons ago, it was because he was not safe to fly with. If you really know about Tailhook, the real Tailhook, not the parties, you’d know that there are sessions where the Ensigns, JGs and LTs will challenge the Flags with questions and issues and they community tradition is to answer openly and clearly. I’m a SWO and it amazed me. In any case, the Navy and USMC test pilots will not “Happy-talk” issues that they find. Issues wll be reported as they know that failure to communicate issue will kill many future users of the F35.

You are informed by Boeing sources all the time whether you know it or not. Certainly that blog you provided the link to gets a lot of “help” from Boeing, and Boeing very much shapes the Navy’s attitude on their airplane. Do you think the defense revolving door doesn’t buy them anything?

Here’s the deal, the procurement system we have now is what it is. I don’t like it. You don’t like it. Most people don’t know anything about it, but if they knew they wouldn’t like it. So that’s great, it needs to change. In the mean time, we can’t continue to try to be competitive with other air powers using 1970s and 1980s airplanes mainly because of stealth, and stealth can’t be added after the fact like a new avionics box. Stealth might not be perfect. Nothing ever is. Still, it is a game changer and we need to have it. Given that, we need to have new airplanes like the F-35. Like it or not, we need new airplanes and that’s the only game in town.

Even on the V-22, it has it’s problems, but I would not advocate cancelling it until we get something to replace it. That’s a big change in the way I’ve thought about that vehicle which originally I thought should be cancelled, but like I say, the game is what it is and we have to find a way to live with it until we can get the rules changed for the better. The world doesn’t stop because the US is having some internal issues.

yea sure it passed all the ground tests last time too.

“works fine now” in contractor shill means Lockheed’s sure they will be paid for yet another redesign

By the way, my opinion on the F-18 is nothing personal. There are reasons why some airplane designs succeed and some fail. You might not see those reasons, but it is my job to know what they are and to know which airplanes have those good features and which do not. Well, it used to be my job, but whatever. The F-18 — no good features and the extra structural weight to allow it to land on carriers took a mediocre design to one that sucked. F-14 — two really good features and a couple more it could have had if they’d built the super Tomcat. Too bad it’s gone, but it was dated too. F-23 — lot’s of advanced good features. Couldn’t use some of what made the F-14 successful due to rules. F-22 — really bad design, but it has stealth. F-35 — not quite as bad as the F-22, but bad, and it has stealth and the VTOL version works. That’s the way it is.

Re:“Is it really all that implausible for it to be suggested — on the basis of LockMart’s own public press releases, subject to securities laws — that they had watered down the requirement for max sink rate?”

It is not possible to water down the design sink rate because it is hard wired to the approach speed, which typically goes up over time because of empty weight increases , max lift decreases, handling quality difficulties, view over the nose vision problems, etc.. The sure fire way to lower it is to water down the “bring back” weight to slow down. Keep an eye on the bring back weight. That’s where the spin doctors can get some pay dirt. Another trick to watch for is a special allowance to use a wind over deck higher than 20 knots for the structural calculations. That would also give relief to the maximum engaging speed for the spec arresting system. On the other hand, they could upgrade the spec arresting system to the best one in the fleet too. There are a lot of clever tricks that can be pulled when the customer is on board with too big to fail.

I think this grounding is precautionary. It looks like an inspection burden at most. Don’t get distracted.

Three doors to open to allow the tail hook to deploy? I hope it is a darn good system for 3 times in my 600+ carrier landings the tail hook failed to come down. And there were no doors to open in the F-8 Crusader. It was a good thing I had the fuel to divert to a shore station or I would have torn up the aircraft pretty bad in an barricade engagement.

There are definitely contradictions when these pilots talks. According to Billie Flynn and every other fighter pilot speaking publicly, the f-35 is the best thing since sliced bread. But on paper, pilots are worried that poor aft visibility will get them gunned every time, and that exclude other more classified problems that may or may not exist.

IMHO these pilots talking publicly in goods –and only in goods– about the f-35 are speaking for a marketing purpose. To a great extent, that positive thinking is no more than propaganda.

But you are probably right, test pilots can’t afford to misinform the country buying or looking to buy that aircraft, and I expect them to start their speech with “I am an optimistic test pilots biased toward the f-35″ rather than changing the tone. Did he lied? Not quite. Any country making the decision to buy that aircraft without doing his **own** homework is totally incompetent and only ask to be fooled by the lowest bidder or the most persuasive bidder, or both.

Lying to the public? Hell yeah. Those spilling the beans are called “whistleblower” for a good reason. F-22 oxygen problem anyone?

P.S. By looking at the presence of fake hardware from China in the C-130 and how Lockheed handled the situation make it hard to believe that they are there to provide a service before making money. What they told to allies? That that there is no risk, and AFAIK there are still in the Canadian C-130.

And I am suppose to trust everything they say?

You shouldn’t try to tie counterfeit parts with other issues. I’ve run up against counterfeit parts in many jobs where I’ve worked and they are very very hard to find and eliminate. Platform integrators don’t actually make the nuts, bolts, microcircuits, etc and have to buy them. I have personally had instances where suppliers certified under sworn/notarized documents that parts were “New” and “US Manufactured” an later found that cheaper, non-conforming parts had been substituted. I have been a witness in court when this was litigated.

EVERY… EVERY company in the aerospace business has this problem and we all spend a huge amount of time on preventing it or minimizing its impact. The US Government has the same problem in the depots and supply system from vendors that they buy direct from.

You are totally wrong about the test pilots and how they communicate. You can keep throwing mud at them and at the company but you are very wrong. They are pretty open about aircraft performance. Either it passed its test or it didn’t. No shading or hinting about it.

Exactly. Fake hardware is very problematic, and it may or may not go beyond lowered reliability. I heard somewhere that someone can reverse-engineer a chip for ~$20k so by adding the word defense it probably goes to ~$70k and yet it’s impossible to formally prove that no back door or some sort of self-destruct feature are present. It’s impossible to prove the correctness of a software on an absolute scale; and microprocessor are said to be the most complex object being engineered by man, and you are probably more aware than me about the presence of microcode, and what a compromised microcode can do.

Like it or not, but Lockheed position about that fake hardware was and I quote, “Lockheed Martin, in co-operation with DND, has completed a full safety analysis that revealed there are no safety concerns or operational limitations to the affected aircraft,” said Peter Simmons, spokesman at Lockheed Martin, told QMI Agency.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not pretending that Lockheed is the great evil or the sole responsible in this. I believe that these kind of problems are taken too lightly, I even read about data breach caused by fake hardware in the middle east, in 2008 I think. There are more state of the art fab based in united states than 10 years ago but I highly doubt that everything is safe by now.

The tie with that situation and the f-35 is my justification for not believing in Santa Claus.

No. Unless you had the chance to speak face to face –and of the camera– there are not a single speech by any f-35 pilots that is open about its performance. Some of it is classified, and again I have yet to ear about any critical analysis, because nothing in this world is black or white.

In my book, a black or white statement about a 578 shades of grey f-35 whom objectives are always reduced to meet the new reality does not worth a dime.

What I think is that this aircraft is not mature enough and that they prefer to wait before making their own critical conclusion public. Why would a pilot destroy its career about an aircraft that is not finished yet, perhaps they prefer working with the engineering department trying to modify this and that? Maybe they are simply told that what they want will be part of the block 3x ?

We will surely ear about something when the everyday pilots will touch it.

Its actually pretty easy to talk to the pilots, go to one of the national expos like SeaAirSpace (April), Air Force Association naitonal (September) or Tailhook (September) and you can attend sessions and talk with them if you wish. The Government Test Pilots are heavily involved and will tell it like it is.

And there is no “wait until its done to talk” thing. Once a test is done, it is talked about. The classified stuff is not really at issue here, I’m talking about the open source stuff.

Exactly, the F-35 is a terrible idea. It is meant to replace something that doesn’t need to be replaced. I found a video that explains this perfectly. And Mr. Ron Rowan, instead of talking trash and trolling stuff that you are obviously not informed about, you might want to do some research ahead of time instead of just having an unsupported bias. http://​sploid​.gizmodo​.com/​t​h​e​-​d​e​s​i​g​n​e​r​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​f-1

Sigh. Haters are gonna hate. It is going to be a good jet. Yes it has teething problems as it is new tech, and that is also driving the price up. Just the way it is. Clearly the answer is NOT continuing to rely on the teen series of jets for the next 50 years. That just does not make sense. What would you rather do.…. cancel the F-35 and start over? Yeah, that will save us some money. There is always a group of folks who hate anything new. Folks HATED the F-18…turned out to be a good jet. They HATED the SH even more…turned out to be a good jet. Hated the Osprey.….and so it goes. The pilots flying it are saying despite the issues, it is truly a quantum leap in capability, better from a systems standpoint than the Raptor because it is newer.

There were many product presentations I witnessed in ancient history that had the comical but profound declaration: Good, Quick, Cheap…pick any two. Getting two out of three used to be considered success. Forgive me, but you are attempting to justify Good enough (after exceptional resources expended), way behind, and budget busting. Projects I have worked on were scrapped for much less than what you call normal for the F-35. OK, the V-22 was in that category too, but its unique performance seems to be good now. Therefore, it would be unwise not to produce them. I am not optimistic the F-35 will ever be seen as Good, quick or cheap.

You’re hoping for too much if you think it’s going to be a “good jet”. It’s ok. The passive search sensors will be great and the VTOL feature will work very well.

It tries to be that. They say that to the congressmen to get their votes. In reality it is welfare for the rich. Our defense workforce has never been so small.

the Vought Cutlass did not last long in carrier service because it was crippled by pathetic Westinghouse engines. Otherwise it was an excellent ship

Sigh. Believers are gonna believe. Anyone can see that 35 is a larger number than 22. It has to be better, right? I don’t want to cancel the F-35, just acknowledge its failures. I don’t want to build 3000 of ‘em. It is just not worthy.

You might want to look at the A-7 and F-8 (conveniently left off the Chart NAVAIR did, clearly they don’t count as naval aircraft) which have MLG to tailhook distances similar to the F-35. And just as a point, the landing gear and tailhook was not designed by Lockheed, it was subcontracted to Northrop-Grumman, the same company that builds the F-18 gear. I guess NG was too lazy to actually research what type of tailhook and damper made sense for the F-35 and just repeated the same one used on the F-18 and F-14. To bad Vought was out of the Naval Aircraft business.

Do you even remember the discussions going on during that era?

You know, for someone who acts like they know everything, you don’t really remember things correctly do you? Let me refresh you on history: THAT WAS AFTER THE COLD WAR. We were decreasing our military spending because the Soviet Union was gone. There was no way the Navy would ever get the F-23 even if they asked for it. Navalizing the F-23 would have been expensive as hell.

The Navy changed the Super Hornet’s correct designation of F/A-24 to simply another letter in the F/A-18 line, because they knew they weren’t going to get funds for a brand new aircraft, which the “F/A-24″ sounded like. They did the numbers on making a Super Tomcat and found that too would have been expensive. Not only would it have been expensive, but the Tomcat community was being prudish about it and lost their chances. Congress almost said that they would fund a Super Tomcat if they could make it into a multi-role fighter, but the Tomcat community said their bird was only for air-to-air and that didn’t fly with congress. They tried to make the Bombcat to please them, but it was already too late by then.

The F/A-18E/F functions just find and is even better than the older Hornet. With new avionics and the new AIM-120D AMRAAM missile it has roughly the same performance as the Tomcat with nearly twice the readiness rates and at a fraction of the cost. It’s also got the room for upgrades and can incorporate just enough stealth to get the job done. The Super Hornet isn’t the best at anything, but it’s good enough at everything and it’s cheap. That’s what makes it a success.

My reply keeps getting deleted by the administrator. I’m trying, but they keep taking it down.

Ok, that’s what happened. The NATF program just happened to disappear a few years before the Navy just happened to get a whole bunch of classified funding for a 1.2:1 scale of the worst jet they ever used. Grumman never got any money to develop the switchblade forward swept wing fighter they proposed for the ATF program, a prototype that failed, and it was a pure coincidence that the balance of the funding would be about what it cost to start the E/F line. Oh, and the F-35 is the antiChrist My dog told me so. Happy?

The trick seems to be to avoid the use of the word “you”, it annoys the robo-admin.

Oh, and if you cut and paste text, do it through an intermediate text editor like Notepad. Lots of pasted html text seems to annoy it too.


And then the next time around another company gets the contract because last time your company kept screwing up and dragging things out. That doesn’t pay off in the long run

*sigh* No, It didn’t pass ground tests last time. That’s why it was redesigned.

And this idea they’re doing it for the money doesn’t make sense. Do things like that and the next time around another company gets the contract because last time your company kept screwing up, redesigning things and dragging things out. That doesn’t pay off in the long run. Get it done on time without having to redesign anything and you will have a much better shot and contracts in the future.

Sure, it worked just like that after Lockheed screwed around with the F-22, right? That’s why they aren’t building the F-35… Oops.

Good to see you never tire of being wrong.

Also very similiar to an A-7 and F-8, both known for being terricle planes for landing on a carrier.… Oh wait. Never mind.

OMG you saw a Video an now your an expert on the complexities of Modern 5th Generation Fighters. Honestly, we don’t need the F-35! Well, do you suggest that we don’t develop a 5th Generation Fighter past the ~150 Raptors we have now. To fight against the likely hundreds of Russian and Chinese 5th Generation Fighter that will come in a few years time! (i.e. PAK-FA, J-20, J-31, etc. etc.) Honestly, that’s the problem with much of this debate. As we have ill informed Air Chair Generals that just keep repeating “Garbage” from Blogs and Media Sources looking to make a buck to get a headline.….….…..

The USN is saying no such thing that the Super Hornet is good enough for future conflicts. PROVIDE A SOURCE OR SHUT UP!

I really fear for future defense programs. It was bad enough back during the development of the F-16 Viper and M-1 Abrams Tank. Both of which turned out to be WAR WINNERS and in a VERY BIG WAY! Now with the WWW, BLOGGERS, and countless ARM CHAIR GENERALS. Every Basement Nerd thinks he is an expert and shouts to the top of his lungs that the world is coming to the end.…..Honestly, it’s getting sickening.

Laughable or maybe I should say “ridiculous”. Really, JSF (i.e. F-35) Program is falling apart at the seams because the aircraft sucks so bad. Man, talk about laughing out loud. As I am sure they could hear me in China. The true is the F-35 is doing exceedingly well. As orders are up and growing by the day. Just as the prices are dropping. Honestly, I think I will keep your name and let you eat your own words. It will be very amusing to see how you explain on how you were soooo wrong.

Here’s my source. Last paragraph:

“RAdm Bill Moran, director of the Navy’s air warfare division, noted that as well as funding APG-79 active electronically scanned array radar retrofits to all early Block 2 Super Hornets, “there are several other programs that I’d be happy to come back and talk about in a classified setting. They are very significant, fully funded in 2014 and will keep the Super Hornet credible through the late 2020s and early 2030s.””


Oh yeah. it’s doing exceedingly well as it lights on fire and leaks oil all over the place.

You can make statements like that only when you get the balls to make an intense debate account of your own and have the guts to come on here with the same name every time to get into arguments. Otherwise, you’re just an anonymous coward.

First off, let me ask what make YOU an expert? I never claimed of being an expert, but I am also not an idiot. I have done research about the F-35 and I am also currently studying aerospace engineering. Although there may not be very much information about the F-35, it is obvious by the pure physical design that limits it’s abilities, and you definitely do not have to be a rocket scientist (a.k.a. an aerospace engineer) to figure that out. And secondly, yes I do suggest that we don’t develop a 5th generation past our current F-22’s at this time. The reason being, what is the current threat that the F-22 is not capable of handling, along with the rest of our nations air power. I have strong belief that any of our current fighters could handle any threat in the next 20+ years. So I think we should keep our current inventory of fighter’s up to date, since we KNOW that they are able to successfully fulfill it’s mission and not waste out time and money on a plane that is essentially inferior to majority of the 4th generation fighter’s in this world. Also, I wasn’t able to understand if you were saying we don’t need the F-35 or if we do. Because if you agree with me that we don’t need it, I don’t see why you tried to argue with me, quite immature if you are just trying to be a troll on the internet… anyways I have solid evidence that I have stated where as I have not seen anything from anyone on how the F-35 would benefit our country. So from what I see, I do have more knowledge than you on this subject, and if not, prove it! Show me some solid evidence on how the F-35 would benefit this nation other than some publicity stunt saying “we have the best fighter” when in all reality it is a piece of crap.

The F-35 has experienced a number of problems during development, and bad decisions have been made by the DOD and the contractors–but similar issues have occurred in other defense contracts–many of them which produced very successful aircraft. When you build a new and revolutionary ‘system of systems’ –then you are engineering on the bleeding edge of current technology–and stuff happens.

I could write a long essay on why the F 35 program ran off the rails for a while, but that would be pointless to address the current situation. The current situation is that Lt. General Bogdan has gotten the program back on track, and testing, evaluation, and bug-fixing has been going on at a furious pace at many air bases and has yielded good results. This is a very complex program with politics, three services and multiple contractors involved.

Many posters seem to be living in the past, evaluating the F-35 solely upon metrics of 20 years ago.

Many of the posters seem to choose issues that have already been corrected–like the tail hook, Or one claimed all of the F-35’s were going to catch fire because ONE aircraft had a problem? It is hard to respect such fuzzy emotional thinking.

Like any new aircraft, the F*35 will have teething problems–which will be corrected and improved–as is normal in such a new design comprising many systems. The V22, for example, had a bad start–with a few bad crashes–but now has the safest record among rotor craft. The V22 was a ‘game changer’ regarding capability, range, and flexibility. It was painful, and almost cancelled several times–but in the end, a fine and capable aircraft was produced. It is still so advanced, no adversaries can match it.

In order to properly evaluate the F-35, one must appreciate many subjects–from modern air combat tactics and strategy, advanced AESA radar, E warfare, EOS, flight characteristics of fully-loaded legacy aircraft compared to the internally loaded F-35, MADL, helmet mounted display, comparison of situational awareness between legacy craft and future weapons of adversaries, their SAM systems and air defense systems etc. etc.

The F-35 was a compromise in many areas in order to achieve the best POSSIBLE system of systems. In engineering, compromise is not a bad thing, it is a necessity–it is the effective synergy of the total system which matters most.

I predict the F-35 will become one of the best fighters the US has ever made–and better than anything the competition will be able to make for 20 years.

I forgot the most important thing, I think gets missed or underappreciated by armchair experts.

Stealth is a very effective and powerful technology. It will take a war to prove it to the world, but Red Flag exercises and other combat simulations have shown stealth, in practice, to be a huge advantage over legacy systems. Some detractors try to claim that adversaries have a ‘new’ type of radar which can see stealth therefore invalidating the technology. Maybe in about twenty or thirty years stealth will lose much of its tactical and strategic value–but right now, it is an enormous edge held exclusively by US forces.

And make no mistake, the Russians and Chinese KNOW this.

Jack… F-35 aircraft are not stealthy in the presence of longer wavelength radars where pronounced features of aircraft geometry are smaller than 8x the wavelength of the radar used. The earliest radars such as those used in WW2 used those longer wavelengths (lower frequencies), so this is very far from new.

Those aircraft can be stealthy in the presence of shorter wavelength radars integrated within fighter aircraft and some antiaircraft missles, and that can provide very real advantage in the fights beyond visual range. However, other larger radar systems that are offboard the fighter aircraft platforms can be used to “see” the aircraft and can communicate that data.

Because of the large geometries used in the A-12, there may have been a more reasonable expectation of stealth with that aircraft against peer level adversaries, but no such expectation should exist with F-35 because the US and its peers well understand how to defeat its “stealth”, and will likely act on that knowledge.

Long wavelength radars are somewhat inaccurate in terms of positioning (not accurate enough to provide terminal guidance to a missile) and are very large, not something you’ll ever fit into an aircraft. Plus if you can narrow down the radar bands the enemy is using it means you can concentrate your jamming/ECM support on specifically countering such radar.

Only starting in the late ‘90s did VHF radars see something of a revival due to their increased effectiveness at detecting low RCS targets. Yet they will never be the most common radar sets on the battlefield due to their inherit limitations. An aircraft with a large RCS will still be detected long before an aircraft with a small RCS.

Lockheed, Northrop, and others who spearheaded the development of American stealth aircraft certainly know about the threat such systems pose, I doubt they’ve just been ignoring it either.

Well I am not an expert nor claiming to be one. F-35, F/A-18 Super Hornet or Raptors. No matter what we decide to fly isn’t going to matter if we don’t increase the range of our AA missiles. We got radars in these planes that can see for hundreds of miles but can’t hit anything at half that distance. Just my opinion.

F-35C = gas pig. The thing is so wide, heavy and draggy, that 1/2 the time it’s going to be flying around in blower. Interesting that it has almost no range advantage over the F-35A. As a generalization: drag increases to the square of speed. The F-35 is flying around with CFTs and conformal weapons pods that can never be removed. To add insult to injury, the new Advanced Super Hornet’s cockpit displays look more advanced than the F-35s!

I don’t see where the Navy has a choice right now. They need to keep the F-18 line open until they can start replacing them with F-35s. If I were in charge of the Navy, I’d set up my own design house and put them to work on designing a carrier capable version of the F-23. I’d let the defense contractors bid on building the airplane, not designing it.

Stealth is always valuable. That’s why we don’t, for instance, paint our airplanes day glow orange. We would like to have airplanes that are stealthy in all wavelengths of the electro-magnetic spectrum, but just because they might be able to be seen in one frequency range doesn’t mean we throw in the towel and paint them orange. It would be the height of foolishness to pioneer a new technology like stealth, allow our defense contractors to hand the technology over to our potential adversaries through security lapses, and not take advantage of it ourselves because our own weapons contractors are robbing us blind implementing it.

Ugh… If we listened to you losers the Navy would still be flying biplanes and using slide rules ! After all who needs a new stinking computer when we have a Commador 64 !


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