A new report titled “Thunder without Lightning,” (PDF) authored by Bill French and Daniel Edgren for the National Security Network (NSN), argues that the United States’ fifth-generation fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), has major shortcomings that will leave it particularly ill-suited to project air power in the Asia-Pacific region. The F-35 has come under wide-ranging criticism, primarily for the considerable expansion of the costs associated with the program but also for its perceived operational shortcomings. The NSN report is the latest salvo against the United States’ flagship fighter program, the costs of which continue to balloon, inching toward half-a-trillion dollars.Read it all here.
In short, the F-35 just doesn’t have the right feature set to thrive in the geographically expansive war-fighting scenarios foreseen in the Asia-Pacific.
Specifically, the authors write that “The F-35’s short range means that it will be of limited use in geographically expansive theaters like the Asia-Pacific or against so-called anti-access threats whereby adversaries can target forward airbases.” In recent years, U.S. strategic thought has fixated on counter anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) challenges from possible adversaries in the Asia-Pacific. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Defense has planned for contingencies involving a potential war with China, which is heavily investing in these sorts of technologies to make intervention costly for U.S. conventional forces.
Yeah. You thought this was over? YOU WERE WRONG! The F-35 must die so that the Marine Corps Ground Combat Element can live!
Tossing a few pimped out Humvees in the form of the JLTV will not suffice. We'd do better by buying more MTVRs! We need the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, we need a replacement rifle (and not the pathetic M4)....we need to recapitalize our ground vehicle fleet. We can't do that with the F-35 sucking up every penny and the Wing demanding more boat spaces!