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Just watched a fascinating interview with Pierre Sprey. His wiki page. He's one of the designers of the F-16. I've read before of problems with the F-35 program but here he savages the entire plane, not just the program behind it.

You have wonder if the F-35 (wiki) is in trouble when you have someone like war hawk "Bomb Bomb Iran" John Mcain quoted as saying the $398.6 billion program has major problems.

Originally posted to TrueBlueMountaineer on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:39 PM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks and Kossack Air Force.

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Comment Preferences

  •  ... (19+ / 0-)
    "Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we've been bombing over the years been complaining?"
    George Wallace

    "The good Earth — we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy." Kurt Vonnegut - "A Man Without a Country", 2005.

    by BOHICA on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:04:19 PM PDT

  •  Heh, "send money to Lockheed." (11+ / 0-)

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:04:57 PM PDT

  •  As a fan of Colonel Boyd I admire the F-16 (16+ / 0-)

    The F-35 multimission vision is a failure.

    It is not even stealthy;

    New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Hide From Russian Radar

    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter—the jet that the Pentagon is counting on to be the stealthy future of its tactical aircraft—is having all sorts of shortcomings. But the most serious may be that the JSF is not, in fact, stealthy in the eyes of a growing number of Russian and Chinese radars. Nor is it particularly good at jamming enemy radar. Which means the Defense Department is committing hundreds of billions of dollars to a fighter that will need the help of specialized jamming aircraft that protect non-stealthy—“radar-shiny,” as some insiders call them—aircraft today.
    Lockheed owns too many officers and politicians of both parties.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:11:28 PM PDT

    •  I too am a follower "Genghis John " Boyd. (5+ / 0-)

      Kayaking is just doing OODA loops on water.

      Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

      by River Rover on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:47:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He's right... (3+ / 0-)

      With stealth, you can know they're there, and about where (thanks to your old-style, cheap Russian radars), but your short-wavelength targeting radars can't see them. So you use low tech and/or hybrid methods to aim and shoot.

      •  If you are within range to shoot... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, Jon Sitzman

        ... a practical missile, IR/optical guidance will do just fine.

        So stealth is not an asset, even for that.

        I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

        by Farugia on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:41:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Optical yes... (0+ / 0-)

          IR, maybe. Stealth includes considerations for IR profile minimization, but it's far from perfect, especially with large jet exhausts that can't be hidden entirely. Still, if you're shooting from above and behind (where IR generally will work), stealth has already been compromised.

          Optical is another reason stealth is used so much at night.

    •  "Stealthy" is not all or nothing, on/off. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jon Sitzman, rduran

      It's not that simple.

      A notionally stealthy design isn't invisible to enemy radars. That's not really possible. What it does accomplish is to significantly reduce the range at which it the aircraft can be detected by an enemy radar. If a standard aircraft can be detected by a ground-based radar at (say) 100 miles out and a stealthier design at 30 miles out, it's vastly easier for the stealthy aircraft to fly between enemy radar installations and avoid detection.

      The F-35 will reduce the detection range of notional Russian or Chinese radars substantially compared to (say) an F-16. That doesn't mean it's not detectable.

  •  There is an old adage about airplanes, (17+ / 0-)

    tools and missions. If you try to make something do too many things, it will do none of them well.

    Look it up and you will find the point illustrated by the F-35.  I wonder how many of our pilots on board here would be willing to strap this thing on their backsides.

    My vote in the poll is "not me, coach."

    Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

    by Otteray Scribe on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:27:52 PM PDT

    •  Obsolete Before Deployment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, Jon Sitzman

      The pity is that the ground support role envisioned for this aircraft likely needs to be performed by armed aerial combat vehicles and not crewed aircraft.  With the lethality increasing over most battlefields to the point where flying crewed aircraft over the combat just invites the enemy to take hostages, we need to rethink the whole mission.  The only intelligent alternative would be for a large slow bomber capable of flying forever and dropping large quantities of precison ordnance on specifically identified targets.  That aircraft also probably needs to be a seaplane too so that we don't need to worry about the availability of airports to support it.  Neither vehicle appeals to the fighter mafia currently running the USAF.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:39:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The airports aren't that big a problem (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, Jon Sitzman, Farugia

        When you have a bomber with 10,000 mile range (cough B-52 cough) you can base it a very long way from the battlefield.

        During the Gulf War we had bombers based in the UK, Spain and the Indian Ocean hitting targets in Iraq.

        There were even strikes launched from the United States on the first day.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 05:51:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Long Loiter Times and Prompt Response (0+ / 0-)

          I'd agree that basing strategic bombers at a distance doesn't present a problem when you're planning a strike, but the situation changes when you're trying to act as the mobile heavy artillery in defense or a counter-attack.  In those cases, we need to keep the bombers loitering in the vicinity for long periods of time or, in some cases, come to the assistance of US or allied troops promptly.  The political situation also dictates just whose airfields one can use and the tide does not seem to be running in our favor, so eliminating the potential impediments would seem to be the long-term smart thing to do.  Admittedly, most air combat roles seem to be moving in the direction of leaving little to the Air Force besides being the Space Command.

          "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

          by PrahaPartizan on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 03:23:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If only there was some way (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PrahaPartizan

            to refuel bombers in flight so that they could loiter longer.

            Oh wait.

            If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

            by Major Kong on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:34:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Tax dollars (4+ / 0-)

    not at work.

    Look at this picture.
    https://www.google.com/...

    Now ask yourself how many trillions of your taxes went into the R&D, manufacturing, operation and maintenance for these white elephants.

  •  Maybe I'm a little biased... (7+ / 0-)

    ...as my user name might suggest, but can someone based in the real world please tell me what the h*ll was wrong with the F-15? Expensive? Yes...but not F-35 expensive, and already proven. Marvelous air superiority fighter that also lent itself to becoming a pretty badass bomber as well. How many terrible reviews has that plane garnered? How many accolades and praises? Too many questions...not enough honest answers...

    I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way. Carl Sandburg

    by Eagle Keeper on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:46:58 PM PDT

    •  You may be confused, sir or madam... (4+ / 0-)

         ...and think that the MIC is committed to providing the best of the best for our fighting men and women.

      Compost for a greener planet.............got piles?

      by Hoghead99 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:01:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. They have been trying to get rid of the A-10 (6+ / 0-)

        for years. Everybody but the brass and the K Street crowd loves them. Ask a grunt taking cover from a Taliban sniper in Afghanistan if the Warthog is too slow and too outdated.  

        Or whether they would like ACS to be an A-10 or some supersonic fast mover.

        Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

        by Otteray Scribe on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:48:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not To Be a War Hawk, but . . . (4+ / 0-)

          when I saw the photos of the long column of new Toyota pickups manned by ISIS, I thought of the A-10.

          "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

          by midnight lurker on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:01:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is a brute. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jay C, Farugia, DaNang65, PrahaPartizan

            Comparing the A-10 to the F-35 is like comparing a Mack truck to a Bugatti. One is expensive, fancy and fragile, but the other gets the job done, mud and dents be damned.

            Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

            by Otteray Scribe on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:14:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're being harsh on Bugatti (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Otteray Scribe, Jon Sitzman

              At least, a Veron is sexy and fast, while the F-35 certainly ain't fast and for the esthetics ...

              Well, for the esthetics, the only nice thing you can say about the F-35 is that its early prototype was not as irremediably hideous as its one-time competitor.

              I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

              by Farugia on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:03:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Depends on Your Point of View (6+ / 0-)

                I always thought that the F-32 exhibited far more growth potential than the F-35, which isn't much more than a pared-back F-22.  Of course, that's precisely why the fighter mafia in the USAF opted for it, because it satisfies that visceral longing to exhibit the "right stuff."  What's funny and sad simulatenously, is that every supposed failing the F-32 had has come out in the F-35 as they've tried to get it ready for deployment.  Only, it's cost the US taxpayer enormously more money as the USAF continuously rewrites the contract to keep it from bankrupting the incompetence at Lockheed, similar to what happened on the F-22.  The DoD is the only Federal department which still believes it can solve problems by throwing pallets of cash at it and the Republicans love them for it.  That's why any intelligent thinking voter knows the Republicans are hardly fiscal conservatives.

                "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

                by PrahaPartizan on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:46:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Agree, save for you use of "Fighter Mafia". (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Otteray Scribe, Jon Sitzman

                  The once-future F-32 was at least honest about what it was, a ground attack aircraft, not a pretend fighter (I still can't believe they actually managed to sell the F-35 as an air superiority fighter. Unfuckingbelievable...).


                  One thing I strongly disagree though is who you call the Fighter Mafia.

                  Funnily enough, I already saw you do that and tried to express my shock, my outrage, my utter disbelief, my crestfallen despair ... and, woe is me, I completely failed for you are doing it again :-)

                  It was last December, in response to one of your comments.

                  By that term, you seem to designate the fighter-jocks-turned-brass-with-their-fingers-in-the-Lockheed-pie who run the show in the USAF and keep the F-35 zombie alive.

                  You could not be wronger. They are NOT the Fighter Mafia.

                  They have other nicknames, none of them fit to be pronounced in polite society. Also, don't worry, they don't care a bit about exhibiting the "right fightery, yeehawy and hotshoty stuff". This is not why they preferred the F-35. They picked Lockheed because, aside of delivering the U2 and the A-12/SR-71, Lockheed has a long and storied history of doing the "right stuff" for brass and politicians and they knew they could trust Lockheed to deliver once more. Those USAF folks' only visceral longing is to get a really nice and lucrative retirement as a Vice-President of Golfing and Grilling, courtesy of Lockheed. And they are really good at making sure Lockheed makes all the money it needs to pay them back.

                  But they are NOT the Fighter Mafia.


                  The term "Fighter Mafia" designates a very special group of people.

                  The real Fighter Mafia - blessed be their name for Col. John Boyd was their prophet - are the good guys in the fight. We owe them the F-16 and the A-10.

                  Or more exactly they were, for they are all long retired and many of them no longer of this world.  

                  Pierre Sprey in the video above is actually one of the last of this group, still around to kick Lockheed's nuts once in a while.

                  I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

                  by Farugia on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:33:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  "the right stuff"... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...if you want a visceral gut reaction to an aircraft...may I present to you the F-15...badass...undefeated...oh so fun to watch (and listen to)...accelerates going straight up...I'll shut up now.

                  I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way. Carl Sandburg

                  by Eagle Keeper on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:09:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  While I pray this discussion stays out of there, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Farugia, Jon Sitzman, Otteray Scribe

          the A-10 issue is a subscript of tonight's IGTNT.

          War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

          by DaNang65 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:22:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Everybody loves the A-10, but..... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rduran, Otteray Scribe

          It's not survivable in a 4th generation air defense environment.

          Even in 1991 they did well until they started going up against Republican Guard units that had better air defenses.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 05:59:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How Should the Money Be Spent? (4+ / 0-)

            The A-10 cost about $13M in 1993 dollars (maybe $25M in today's bucks.) Nobody knows what an F-35 will cost. It might be anywhere from $160M to $260M each, depending on the model. Somehow I can't see it in a ground support role, it's just too expensive to throw in the fray as a target for MANPAD's.

            Some have complained about the A-10 being vulnerable to improved (since 1993) air defenses, but what would it cost to upgrade its electronics and countermeasures, compared to losing an F-35?

            It seems to me that in the F-35, they are building a one-size-fits-none aircraft.

            "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

            by midnight lurker on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:01:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I really don't know (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Otteray Scribe

              I'm not a big fan of the F-35 but the A-10 just won't be viable if we ever have to fight somebody with modern weaponry.

              Since a front-line fighter has a 30-40 year life cycle we have to look at what we're going to need decades down the road.

              If you think we'll be doing nothing but counter-insurgency for the next 30 years then by all means keep them around.

              If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

              by Major Kong on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:21:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  What is the definition of "survivable?" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Otteray Scribe

            To be absolutely cold about it, the A-10 had a loss rate of 5 percent per 100 sorties in 1991.  Have things gotten an order of magnitude worse to justify, say, axing 300 A-10s for 30 F-35s (assuming you retained the same capability for the trade)?  

      •  Sorry...my bad... (0+ / 0-)

        ...apparently I, like Lloyd Bridges, picked the wrong day to stop doing coke. Thanks for the reality check...

        I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way. Carl Sandburg

        by Eagle Keeper on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:05:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry...my bad... (0+ / 0-) (0+ / 0-)

        ...apparently I, like Lloyd Bridges, picked the wrong day to stop doing coke. Thanks for the reality check...

        I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way. Carl Sandburg

        by Eagle Keeper on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:13:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Creates jobs and jobs win elections. MIC has (3+ / 0-)

    always been popular with Congress both for votes and for contributions.  

    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubt." Bertrand Russell I'm very certain that is true. 10−122

    by thestructureguy on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:47:56 PM PDT

  •  I diaried the history of the F-35 here: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe, Farugia, rduran

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:39:14 PM PDT

  •  Pierre Sprey's wrong about a lot of things. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sphealey, Jon Sitzman

    And he was not one of the designers of the F-16. At all. His insistence that the Air Force needed a smaller, cheaper, more austere fighter was a part of the motivation that led to the F-16, but he had nothing to do with its actual design and development.

    Sprey was a gadfly theorist who had some good ideas in the early 1970s regarding air combat, particularly his 'energy maneuverability' concept. He was fiercely opposed to the growing size and complexity of Air Force fighters, and when he was shown the mock-up of F-15 Eagle, he famously declared "It's too big!"

    But here's the thing: Sprey was dead wrong about this. There are indeed some advantages to small size in air combat fighters; it makes them more difficult to see, and potentially cheaper to acquire, permitting a larger force for the same money. In the real world, however, it didn't work out that way. The 'too big' F-15 turned out to be a vastly more effective air combat fighter than Sprey's little F-16. Its larger size permitted a much more capable and powerful radar and electronics suite, a much larger load of air to air missiles, a longer range, and much greater resistance to damage. With the lethality of modern air to air missiles and improvements in radar, the small size of the F-16 provided less of an advantage. The unvarnished truth is that the F-16 was something of a disappointment in U.S. service, proving to be much less effective and less versatile than expected.

    Furthermore, the small size of the F-16 proved to save a lot less money than expected, because it took three or four of them (and more pilots!) to do the same job two F-15's could do. The flight characteristics of the small F-16 deteriorate alarmingly when it's loaded with weapons, while the F-15 remains much more usable.

    I could go on.

    •  Having "fought" both (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jon Sitzman, xaxnar, Farugia, Ralphdog

      The F-15s were much tougher to go up against.

      That being said, the Eagle drivers always wanted to play the game their way.

      We were playing in some air defense exercise once. It might have been Copper Flag or William Tell. They had us flying straight and level over the Gulf of Mexico at 15,000 feet. Might as well just paint a target on the side and be done with it.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:13:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your Sig Line (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jon Sitzman, xaxnar, Farugia

        If I remember correctly, in the mid-1960's some "rogue" B-52's participating in an air defense penetration exercise swooped in from the Gulf of Mexico at about 500 feet (or less) an got almost as far as Dallas before they were effectively intercepted. I think part of it had to do with F-106's not being able to acquire targets close to the ground. In any event, the BUFF boys were criticized by ADC for not playing by the rules. Or maybe it was an "urban legend."

        "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

        by midnight lurker on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:07:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It wouldn't surprise me (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jon Sitzman, xaxnar, Farugia, Ralphdog

          When we were allowed to go "full up" we did very well even against defenses with F-15s and F-16s.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:16:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Vastly? When was that assertion tested ? (0+ / 0-)
      The 'too big' F-15 turned out to be a vastly more effective air combat fighter than Sprey's little F-16.
      I wasn't aware the United States had had to go into a hot and shooting air war against a similarly capable enemy since the F-15 and F-16 entered service.

      And no, the turkey shoot over Iraq doesn't count as a valid test, given the gross air supremacy the allied forces enjoyed and the lack of proper training of Iraqi pilots.

      The only air force that operates both types and got into a somewhat realistic air war is the Israeli Air Force with a real side-by-side test in June 1982 during the war in Lebanon, a test which quickly turned into a turkey shoot.

      At the time, Israel had 25 F-15A/B B in inventory (Peace Fox) and 75 F-16A/(Peace Marble I).

      I don't know how many of the Israeli F-16 were assigned to air protection during the Beqaa Turkey Shoot but not the whole 75 lot, given that they were tasked with a good part of the ground attack missions against Syrian positions. My guess was no more than half of them got to play with a flying opponent.

      It turns out those 25 F-15 accounted for 38 of the claimed victories, and the 30 to 40 F-16 engaged in fly swatting claimed the remaining 47 victories (and one for a F-4 from 105! Go Flying Brick!!!).

      It turns out F-15 and F16 showed about the same efficiency in air-to-air combat, while the F-16 is less than half the cost of a F-15...

      I'm not pretending this engagement in 1982 is a perfect measure of the relative worth of each airplane. I'm just saying your assertion is not substantiated by what little data exists.

      I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

      by Farugia on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 11:26:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would beg to differ. (0+ / 0-)

        You don't get to discount the Iraq experience just because you don't like the outcomes. The poor Iraqi training applied equally to F-15 and F-16 drivers.

        In U.S. service, F-15s have scored far more air combat victories than F-16s, despite being fielded in much smaller numbers. That's a simple, verifiable fact. Part of it is mission tasking, as F-15s were more likely to be used for anti-air missions than bombing (though a large chunk of F-15 production was the F-15E strike version). But the small size and 'knife fighting' capacity of the F-16 has come to matter less and less as modern lethal missiles like AMRAAM and late model Sidewinders have pushed the engagement envelope further out.

        •  Wha... (0+ / 0-)

          Given that F-16 were assigned to ground attack and (marginally) Wild Weasel duties, and given that the Iraqi were not exactly eager to engage air-to-air against coalition strike packages, it's not particularly surprising that F-16 didn't score any air-to-air kills.

          You can't score if you don't have an enemy to shoot at.

          Air combat duties were assigned to F-15 and F-14, with the F-15 scoring all the hits. Does it means the F-15 is crushingly superior to the F-14?

          No (although the actual response could be indeed be "yes", given how useless the Phoenix missile was on F-14).

          It was simply that during the war 1) F-14 were not cleared for firing BVR (IFF issues) and 2) Iraqi planes would bolt home as soon they were painted by a F-14 radar.

          There again, a case of not scoring for reasons of not having a target to shoot at. Or more exactly, for reasons of potential targets being very rude and uncooperative by running away far before they were within cleared range. The naval aviators should have flown silent, Red Baron style, to get any glory :-)

          So, yes, I can and will fully discount the Iraq experience as a data source on the relative worth of the two concepts.

          PS: By the way, the only 'air-to-air' kill by a F-15E during that war was a chopper taken down with ... a Paveway, shortly after take-off. Same deal as for F-16. You don't get to score if you don't have targets to shoot at.

          I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

          by Farugia on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:02:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Exactly, I support the project for what it is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farugia

    A job's program, one of the few the republican assholes will support.

    And it keeps highly skilled well paid manufacturing capacity in operation, just in case something happens that will require these workers for real.

    We should have been doing the same to the tune of $500 Billion/yr with NASA. Instead we let the agency die on the vine and we lost tens of thousands of high skill workers, who are likely stuck flipping burgers ... at best .... god help us if we need to field spacecraft in a hurry to save the Earth or something.

    However, the future is actually pilotless fighter/bombers that can pull G's no human ever could, smaller cheaper and able to accomplish attacks conventional planes simply can't.

    But at least the workers manufacturing and maintaining them will have job security ... and the "pilots" will have a safer job than actual combat pilots do now.

  •  With all due regard to Senator McGrumpypants, (0+ / 0-)

    I'd ignore his complaints. It's pretty much reflex grumbling about spending  by a Democratic administration.

    As for Sprey, his objections to the multi-service, multi-role ideas carry some weight, though I'm not buying all of his objections. There's some factors he doesn't fully appreciate.

    And then there's some problems we're still stuck with. If the F-35 is a turkey, like say the F-111, what do we do? Buy Eurofighters? If nothing else, it's politically impossible, and it also means the multinationals who own the defense contractors of this country would abandon military aerospace. We'd lose a lot of technology and manufacturing capability (which includes jobs and skills.)

    We never built as many F-22s as was originally planned, and the line is shut down. The F-15s and F-16s are aging out, and the A-10 fleet is on the chopping block because the services have all kinds of missions they're supposed to meet, but Congress won't give them the money they need to to do all of them adequately. (That's one big reason for the Swiss Army Knife specs for the F-35.)

    It should also be remembered that designs evolve. The P-51 didn't really reach full potential until they put the Merlin engine in it. The P-47 got real gains once they added the 'fat' four-bladed prop. The B-17 nearly got killed at birth as too expensive and too complicated - and it wasn't until they got up to the G model that it was adequately armed to defend itself. And if Douglas had stopped with the DC-1...

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 10:18:01 AM PDT

    •  The F-111 was not a complete turkey (0+ / 0-)

      It could do a number of things, mainly fly low and carry a lot of bombs.

      Now, what do you do after you kill the F-35 (and Lockheed)?

      Step 1 is very clear : put an end to the 'stealth' BS.

      Stealth as it has been sold doesn't work as advertized and nowhere close. It's a scam.

      A bit of stealth is useful, to make radar-guided BVR missiles even more pointless and useless than they already are. Basically, no 90° angles and use composite materials where it makes sense and is cost effective. That's it.

      Dedicated  'stealth' one-trick ponies against whatever happens to be the threat of the day can make sense, like the F-117 against Fan Song radars at a time. But, those are one-off skunk projects, 'skunk' not as 'super-secret' but in the sense of done quick and cheap by virtue of being designed just good enough for one very specific mission, as the need arises.

      Beyond that, it's a matter of budgets and of whatever can be salvaged from the F-22 and F-35 programs.

      In any case, it's a fucking disaster.

      I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

      by Farugia on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 12:09:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tonights Viewing Assignment…. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farugia

    NOVA covered the years-long battle over which design would be selected on the eventual road to the F-35.  Battle of the X Planes.

    Here's some links to where it can be seen, with some additional info (About 113 minutes long).  Here, here, and here.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 10:25:43 AM PDT

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