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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:17 AM

Commentary: F-35 program is a shambles [View all]


Commentary: F-35 program is a shambles
Written by Donald Hallwachs
Apr. 24, 2013


The F-35 is many years behind schedule and many billions of dollars over budget. The program has been so poorly managed that the military general in charge had to be replaced. The development schedule has seen many reworks over the years and it hasnít met any of them. It is doubtful it will meet the current one. The software for the aircraft, which runs the multitude of systems, has millions of lines of code and is still not fully functional. Flight testing and software development for all systems are many years behind.

The Air Force has repeatedly had to delay pilot training due to lack of progress in development. Older aircraft scheduled for retirement have had to be retained to make up for the F-35 schedule delays. Now the Air Force is proposing setting up squadrons without waiting for the aircraft to have full operational capability. Many of the foreign nations that had planned on using the F-35 are now putting those buying decisions on hold pending completion of development.

I was astounded to read the claim that the unit cost has been reduced by 50 percent. Everything I have read tells me it will be the most expensive, per unit, fighter aircraft in history. If it is ever finally developed, it will be so expensive that neither the US nor its allies will be able to afford them in the numbers planned. That will drive up the unit cost even more. Given the budget problems in the US the F-35 is more likely to be cancelled than not.

To make matters worse, its performance has had to be compromised to make it multi-roll. To make it short-takeoff/landing (STOL) it has a lift fan that adds weight and complexity and reduces fuel and/or weapons carrying capacity. This means it has to be carried or stationed closer to the battle front or its time-on-station will be reduced. To keep it stealthy, all weapons are carried internally, which makes it limited in its ground support role. To keep down weight it has minimal armor, which makes it more susceptible to ground fire.

unhappycamper comment: Buying the $418 million dollar F-22 to replace the $243 million dollar F-35 seems we are going backwards.

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Reply Commentary: F-35 program is a shambles [View all]
unhappycamper Apr 2013 OP
ChairmanAgnostic Apr 2013 #1
Newest Reality Apr 2013 #2
Sherman A1 Apr 2013 #3