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Sat Feb 27, 2021, 07:22 PM

Even by Pentagon terms, this was a dud: The disastrous saga of the F-35

Even by Pentagon terms, this was a dud: The disastrous saga of the F-35
The military-industrial complex spent $2 trillion building a "flying Swiss Army knife." Now it's been shelved

FEBRUARY 27, 2021 1:00PM

(Salon) Somehow the United States has managed to develop a fighter jet for all three services the Air Force, Navy and Marines that goes for $100 million apiece, ran up almost a half-trillion dollars in total development costs, will cost almost $2 trillion over the life of the plane, and yet it can't be flown safely.

How did this happen, you ask? Well, it's a long, complicated story, but basically it involves taking something that's supposed to do one thing and do it well, like take off from the ground and fly really fast, and adding stuff like being able to take off and land on an aircraft carrier or hover like a hummingbird.

That's why they call it the "flying Swiss Army knife." Have you ever tried to use one of the things? First of all, you can't find the knife blade, hidden as it is among scissors and screwdrivers and can openers and nose hair tweezers and nail files and pliers. The geniuses at the Pentagon decided they needed to replace the aging F-16 fighter, and everybody wanted in on it.

The F-16 is what you would call the M1A1 airplane of U.S. forces. The Air Force currently has about 1,250 of the planes, with 700 of those in the active duty Air Force, about 700 in the Air National Guard, and 50 in the Reserves. General Dynamics has built about 4,600 of them since the plane became operational in the mid-1970s, and they are used by allied air forces all over the world. You fill them up with jet fuel, push the starter button and take off. It will fly at twice the speed of sound, it will carry 15 different bombs, including two nuclear weapons, it can shoot down enemy aircraft with five different varieties of air-to-air missiles, it can knock out ground targets with four different air-to-ground missiles, and it can carry two kinds of anti-ship missiles. The thing is an all-around killing machine. ..............(more)


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Reply Even by Pentagon terms, this was a dud: The disastrous saga of the F-35 (Original post)
marmar Feb 27 OP
AndyS Feb 27 #1
Aristus Feb 27 #2
keithbvadu2 Feb 27 #3

Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Feb 27, 2021, 08:00 PM

1. I recall a war game scenario against the F-16 and the F-35 came out the worst for it.

The only advantage the 35 had was advanced avionics which could be retrofitted to 16s if need be.

The promise was lower cost because of volume; one design for all services. By the time it was over there were designs for each service which compromised the original concept so it was MORE expensive and did nothing right.

The Russians have planes that can outperform the 16 but ironically burn so much fuel they can't stay in the air long enough to do a real dog fight or be deployed too far from a tanker which is a slow moving Molotov Cocktail.

A tool that does everything does nothing well.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Feb 27, 2021, 08:29 PM

2. The same nimrods who wanted the equivalent of the Soviet BMP infantry fighting vehicle,

and Frankensteined together the Bradley, which looks like a tank but isn't.

The Bradley originally featured rifle ports in the hull of the vehicle so the infantry could fight from inside. In the Soviet BMP, the infantry used their own rifles in the ports, while the Bradley would only take a specially-modified version of the M-16, necessitating another expensive, wasteful weapons purchase by the Pentagon. The rifle ports were later covered over by bolt-on armor panels because the original armor suite was too thin to be any useful protection. This reduced the Bradley from an infantry fighting vehicle to a "battlefield taxi" little better than its predecessor, the M-113.

The Bradley was configured to be a scout and reconnaissance vehicle, even though it was too tall, too loud, and too slow to be an effective scout track.

The Bradley was equipped with a TOW missile launcher, in order to provide defense against tanks, even though, in the time a Bradley gunner could fire off one TOW missile and possibly miss, an enemy tank could get off four rounds and hit.

The Pentagon kept stuffing more and more bells and whistles into the crew compartment, displacing more and more infantrymen until it was barely a personnel carrier at all.

I've driven the Bradley. The drive train makes the beast handle like an overloaded semi, while the much heavier M1 Abrams tank handles like a sports car (almost.)

This is what happens when weapons design programs are placed at the mercy of bureaucrats with dollar signs in their eyes.

The whole saga made for an entertaining, if infuriating, TV movie, The Pentagon Wars.


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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Feb 27, 2021, 11:06 PM

3. 1+

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