Tuesday, January 02, 2018

What happened to the review that Mattis ordered between the Super Hornet and F-35?

via USNI (Jan 2017).
Defense Secretary James Mattis is ordering a Pentagon review to compare the capabilities and cost between the emerging carrier-based Lockheed Martin F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter and an upgraded version of the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, according to a memo obtained by USNI News.

The three-paragraph directive orders Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work to, “oversee a review that compares F-35C and F/A-18 E/F operational capabilities and assesses the extent that F/A-18E/F improvements (an advanced Super Hornet) can be made in order to provide a competitive, cost effective, fighter aircraft alternative.”

The memo also directs Work to look at the overall F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program to find opportunities to significantly reduce cost while maintaining the requirements for the program.

The Work reviews are set to inform upcoming budget decisions, read the memo.

In a Friday statement to reporters, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said, “this is a prudent step to incorporate additional information into the budget preparation process and to inform the secretary’s recommendations to the president regarding critical military capabilities.”

The new review follows then President-elect Donald Trump’s December declaration that he wanted Boeing to price out a comparable Super Hornet to an F-35 as a cost saving measure.
Story here.

My question.  What was the result of the study?  Why aren't defense journalists pressing for answers?

I imagine that the results and testing will be biased to make the F-35 look as good as possible but NAVAIR knows the reality and that's why it hasn't been released.


Combat capabilities must not be allowed to be subordinate to marketing or stockholder profits.

If the conventional wisdom is correct then electronic warfare will become even more important than stealth in the near future. That means that the E-18G will be a bigger part of future warfare than stealth...especially for ground forces.  One last thing.  The USAF has abandonded electronic warfare and tossed the mission to the Navy.  The USMC has essentially joined with the AF and is doing the same.

That makes this study absolutely essential to the ground combat component of the United States (and probably our allies).  We don't have ground based electronic warfare platform like the Russians (who are masters) or even the Chinese.  In short.  I believe we will need the E-18G to survive on the modern battlefield against a peer opponent.

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