Thursday, June 13, 2019

F-35 Hit With Cluster Bomb Of Damning Joseph Trevithick & Tyler Rogoway

via The Drive.
Less than 48 hours after Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon reached a handshake agreement on the purchase of a whopping 480 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, an absolute cluster bomb of stories has dropped detailing significant technical issues with the jets. The revelations cover ongoing problems for all three F-35 variants, including performance limitations, troubles when operating in very hot or very cold weather, dangerous cockpit pressure incidents, faults in the helmet-mounted display, serious safety concerns in the event of a blown tire, and much more. The new details underscore the Joint Strike Fighter's ongoing troubles as the Pentagon's central Joint Program Office, or JPO, seeks to move the aircraft out of its developmental phase for good, as well as highlighting a worrying, but long-standing lack of transparency about the state of the program.

Defense News dropped the bundle of stories near-simultaneously on June 12, 2019—all of which are well worth reading in full—based on documents that it had obtained detailing 13 remaining Category 1 deficiencies across the F-35A, B, and C variants as of late 2018. These reviews of the issues were reportedly marked unclassified, but "For Official Use Only." Not all of the problems in these reports were previously unknown, but a number of them had never become public and the details about the known issues add important additional context. In total, this also represents what is perhaps the first full public accounting of so-called unclassified "CAT 1" problems across the Joint Strike Fighter program at any one point in time. Keep in mind there are also throngs of other deficiencies still in play that are serious, but don't rise to the CAT-1 level, at least not at this time.
Story here. 

This is a nice primer on the F-35 issues if you don't have time to read all the Defense News articles (which I highly recommend).

But I want to pivot to another issue.

Did you notice how the Pentagon/Lockheed Martin and the Program Office bookended this news?


So what was the response?

They announce a massive price drop on the airplane early this week.  It was timed so that most of the defense websites would be drooling over that news. Casual defense news consumers would note that and assume that all was well.

It dominated alot of blogs for a couple of days (not to mention the pre-news that they were getting close to an agreement).

Then Valerie's story hit and they already had talking points lined up.

But to add a little sauce to the goose the Polish Prime Minister arrived at the White House to announce that he was buying between 32-35 F-35's and the USMC did a slow speed flyby at about the same time.

The propaganda being used to sell this plane is EXTREME!

The manipulation of not only the public but journalists should be eye opening to everyone.

This isn't about a plane meeting specs anymore.  This is about livelihoods.  Desperation to get it done.

Defense of a nation (or the air arms of our allies)?  A distant consideration that isn't even the top ten of their concerns.

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