Monday, November 11, 2019

Report. F-35 is obsolete almost before it enters service.

via The Interpreter
In a startling statement reported this month, two recent Air Force chiefs assert Australia has made some grave force structure errors. It seems the RAAF needs a new bomber, as the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter now entering service is inadequate for future strike operations.
 The Lot 15 aircraft has significant hardware and software changes so the complete maintenance and support system, simulators and training centres will also need modernising. This will take time and additional money, but there is no choice. If not modernised, the earlier F-35s – almost all the RAAF’s brand-new fleet – will become hard to maintain or software update, and gradually operationally deficient.

The nine Lot 15 aircraft arrival will allow the RAAF to declare Final Operational Capability and start wrapping the acquisition project up. Over 20 years, the project has slipped 10 years.

This delay meant an interim aircraft, the Super Hornet, was necessary. Funding this meant the overall air-combat capability project had the largest cost overrun of any Australian defence acquisition in history, in absolute terms.

Yet making matters worse, the threat environment evolved.

In 2017, USAF reviewed its air combat programs and determined that, all things considered, the F-35 would be unable to penetrate defended airspace past 2030. The logic underpinning this formal report was later explained publicly by its lead author. The recent pronouncements by the retired RAAF chiefs are then unsurprising. They consider that the RAAF’s force structure is now passé, being unable to defend “our lines of communication or prevent the lodgment of a hostile power in the Indo-Pacific region.”

It suddenly seems the Air Force needs major recapitalisation, just as its force structure is being renewed at considerable cost. The retired chiefs are now calling for a “reset”, with significant new spending and possibly acquiring advanced bombers, cruise missiles, and unmanned aircraft – a laundry list reminiscent of the Howard government’s White Paper.
Story here. 

50 year airplane?  Bullshit!  The F-35 will be lucky to have a 10 year life span in REAL service.

The Aussies are finally waking up to the terrible reality.  When will the USAF?

Payloads over platforms.

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