Thursday, November 26, 2015

The F-35 fanclub is all excited about the latest defense appropriation...let's take a real look at things.

I've had a couple of fanboys from stop by (not talking about my regular F-35 supporters...just one or two new faces) basically talking shit.

They believe that with the signing of the latest defense appropriation, news from the UK about buying their complete alotment of F-35s etc...that things are smooth sailing.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Lets take a quick look down memory lane (oh and this is just this year...I'm not going back to the promises at the start of the program and this is only dealing with numbers...not capability).

via Breaking Defense, July 2015.
The prospective chairman calls the F-35 a “vital component of our effort to ensure the Joint Force maintains dominance in the air.” But there is a big but. He discloses that the requirement for the size of the fleet is being reviewed: “Given the evolving defense strategy and the latest Defense Planning Guidance, we are presently taking the newest strategic foundation and analyzing whether 2,443 aircraft is the correct number. Until the analysis is complete, we need to pursue the current scheduled quantity buy to preclude creating an overall near-term tactical fighter shortfall.”
How did the Pentagon respond?  By basically calling the incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a liar.

via Defense News, Aug 2015.
The Pentagon is not conducting a formal review of F-35 planned procurement numbers, a spokesman said Tuesday, despite comments by the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that indicate otherwise.
You would think that would be all the proof I could muster that the number of F-35s bought would be cut, but it gets better.

via The Washington Examiner, Oct 2015. 
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says the government will have to cut its purchases because of the "prohibitive" cost of the original number. "There's just not going to be that money," he told the Washington Examiner. "Do the math."
A reduced buy of F-35s plays into the debate in Congress over saving the A-10 from retirement despite Air Force pressure to get rid of those aging aircraft. "That's one reason why we're fighting to keep the A-10 in existence," said McCain, "because they're saying the F-35 would replace the A-10, but there aren't going to be that many F-35s."
And then we have the news from a UK conference and Senior Air Force personnel stating that they were looking at a buy of F-15/16/18s.

via The Diplomat, Nov 2015.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter might not be produced in sufficient numbers to maintain the U.S. Air Force’s current operational capabilities due to budgetary constraints, according to Aerospace Daily & Defense Report. As a result the service is considering filling the capabilities gap with 72 Boeing F-15s, Lockheed-Martin F-16’s, or even Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.
“F-15s and F-16s are now expected to serve until 2045, when an all-new aircraft will be ready, and plans to modernize F-16s with active electronically scanned array radars and other improvements are being revived,” the article states.
The program office and USAF were alot quicker with the "lie card" and responded almost instantly.

via Flight Global, Nov 2015. 
The US Air Force has denied any plans to purchase another tranche of Lockheed Martin F-16 or Boeing F-15 combat jets following reports it could seek bids for up to 72 new aircraft.
According to comments attributed to a senior US Air Combat Command official at an international fighter conference in London last week, the current Lockheed F-35 procurement plan could prove unaffordable, and another fighter wing of F-15s, F-16s or perhaps even F/A-18s is being considered to supplement the current fleet – which will serve into the 2040s as F-35s are delivered.
Long story short?

The F-35 Program Office, USAF, and USMC aviation will go to any lengths to provide cover for this airplane....up to and including calling the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs a liar during his CONFIRMATION HEARING!

That is astonishing!  I'm in 1st Civ Div.  I can speak my mind.  These are military members...questioning the word of a senior officer!  That is punishable under the UCMJ.  As a matter of fact I've seen men punished for less.

The F-35 is in trouble.  The churn around this program is a sight to behold and the communication around it is indicative of a program in trouble.  The same happened with the F-22, the Comanche, the Crusader and the EFV.

F-35 fanboys.  Don't take this snapshot in time and think that all is well.  Far from it.  I don't say death spiral anymore...I say its in a flat spin headed out to sea. 

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