Wednesday, December 16, 2015
STOVL....is Marine Air killing the concept and itself?
Above you see pics of British Harriers operating in an expeditionary manner in austere conditions.
This is what attracted the USMC to STOVL. The idea of having fast movers close to the battlefield...able to live in the mud with the ground combat element.
Small payload? Short endurance? Not a problem. They wouldn't be flying far and they could make several strikes in the time it would take more complex aircraft to carry out one. It was responsive. It was timely. It was a hip pocket force for the Marine battle commander.
Now we fast forward to the F-35. Even if perfected (which I seriously doubt) the plane will remain overly complex and in my opinion unable to be forward deployed.
In essence Marine Air is killing the STOVL concept. If that isn't enough then consider the other "unintended" consequence. The ideas floating around to sail F-35's without the ground element will make them vulnerable to budget cuts. Which is more effective. To have fully equipped aircraft carriers with 80 super hornets on deck or a couple of USS America class LHDs with 20 F-35s and unable to project ground power?
Is it too far a stretch to say that Marine Air is killing itself by being so wedded to the F-35?