Discussion on canning the F-35 for the US Air Force

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Not quite sure what's going on, but there's talk about a new inexpensive fighter to replace the F-16 since the F-35 won't seem to be made in enough numbers. Also the author claims the F-16 is 60 years old which seems a little off since the first deliveries were in the late 70s and there are still foreign sales of the latest versions. I thought the biggest issue with the F-16 was that it was meant to be lean, with limited range and that tiny nose that couldn't host a large radar like in an F-15 or F-14.


I was wondering why there had to be a joint strike fighter program. It just seemed like specializing with three different aircraft would have been easier to customize. And I'm sure the US Navy would have preferred twin engines.
 
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That article is all over the map with little substance. The F35 are entering active service now, and already branded as unreliable by the author.
I sense an agenda driven article.
It's been 5 1/2 years for the Navy and Marines, and 4 years for the Air Force. That's enough time to spot re-occurring issues. Fact of the matter is that the F-35 does have reliability issues with more than a few components.
I was wondering why there had to be a joint strike fighter program. It just seemed like specializing with three different aircraft would have been easier to customize. And I'm sure the US Navy would have preferred twin engines.
It's simple, really. A JSF is cheaper to produce on a per unit basis than three individual airframes designed for the specific needs of each branch of service. Without bringing politics into it, that was why politicians decided to cut the F-22 program early in favor of the F-35 JSF program- it would be cheaper to build the F-35 on a per unit basis. Nevermind the fact that the F-35 program would cost over five times what the F-22 program cost, because of the shear numbers at which the F-35 could be produced (due to the fact that it was a JSF so all services were involved, plus it could be sold to allies unlike the F-22), the F-35 could actually be produced at a third of the price the F-22 could be per unit.

We've finally gotten a hint at admittance that the F-35 was not was we were promised- something that the public has believed for some time by now. The 60 year cost of the F-35 was pegged at 1.7 trillion, per the CBO. However, the F-22 and F-35 got caught up in politics and of course, as when so many other things in this world get politicized, the taxpayer pays the price. We've not only spent more money than all of us on this site combined and multiplied by 1,000 would ever see in our lives, but we stopped the program of a plane that could actually live up to it's billing in the process. I remember the internet going to bat for the F-35 when it lost a dogfight to an F-16 a few years ago, and a Marine officer claiming that it only lost due to bad pilot habits. Maybe that should've been the signal that the program was in trouble.
 
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I think the 60 year old reference is to the future F-16 replacement date, not to the time between the first build date and now. One thing the article got completely wrong was when it accused the Air Force of stopping F-22 production at such low numbers. The Air Force had nothing to do with that decision.
This article tells me the new Chief of Staff of the Air Force is brilliant. This is the only plan that makes sense. I won't say the F-35 is a complete failure, but the program is a textbook case of what to do if you are a profiteering contractor, and what not to do if you are a customer or taxpayer.
The F-35 was sold as a cost effective fighter to multiple countries before it ever passed operational flight testing. Multiple production contracts were let before testing was even started, much less passed. Completely the opposite of the F-22 program where the aircraft had to pass multiple test milestones prior to any production decision.
And now you have an airframe that is neither cost effective nor capable (yet - improvements may make it a capable airframe at some point), produced by a program that is too big to fail with multiple countries already bought in.
To counter a China that is militarily and politically acting like Japan did in the late 1930s we need numbers. We will never get those numbers with an exclusive mix of extremely expensive exotic stealth airplanes.
 

Astro14

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We need 100 more A-10's
Only if we get in a COIN conflict with permissive threat environment. They’re great if we own the skies, have forward basing and no surface to air threat exists.

They’re useless against a near - peer threat. Slow, vulnerable, limited speed, modest range, limited payload, unable to operate from high/hot airfields with a useful weapon load.
 
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SCOPE CREEP! Everyone wanted their hand in the project and wanted a new jet to do everything. Look how it turned out...
 
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A new F-35A costs less than $90 million, which is a bargain for a state-of-the-art combat aircraft. And no other existing platform can launch off short deck aircraft carriers except the F-35B. So not all is bad despite the truly bad development process.

On the other hand, not all missions require the F-35’s level of sophistication and they aren’t cheap to maintain. So supplementing it with a less-expensive alternative may be prudent. The real trick will be to do it quickly and not allow mission creep to turn it into something over complicated and expensive.
 
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Some of us knew the F-35 was an overpriced failure to deliver the promised capability over a decade ago.
A relative of mine is an F-22 pilot and I'd heard some, we'll just say less than positive things about the F-35 from him. That said, I try not to let that color my opinion too much as I don't have any experience in the matter. I was disappointed when they axed production of the F-22.. it's such an awesome airplane.
 

y_p_w

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A new F-35A costs less than $90 million, which is a bargain for a state-of-the-art combat aircraft. And no other existing platform can launch off short deck aircraft carriers except the F-35B. So not all is bad despite the truly bad development process.

On the other hand, not all missions require the F-35’s level of sophistication and they aren’t cheap to maintain. So supplementing it with a less-expensive alternative may be prudent. The real trick will be to do it quickly and not allow mission creep to turn it into something over complicated and expensive.

No doubt they're going to be part of the plan. I guess the real question is whether they're going to actually end up with about the 2700 planned deliveries. Certainly a lot of the foreign sales are happening. I think the foreign military sales were part of the reason why the F-35 program was pushed so hard.

However, my earlier comment was more about the compromises in trying to jam as much into one program. Total overall costs could have be less for multiple programs. Right now I'm not so sure how much foreign military sales are really contributing to the development costs.
 

y_p_w

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Only if we get in a COIN conflict with permissive threat environment. They’re great if we own the skies, have forward basing and no surface to air threat exists.

They’re useless against a near - peer threat. Slow, vulnerable, limited speed, modest range, limited payload, unable to operate from high/hot airfields with a useful weapon load.

Didn't the original raison d'être (destroying tanks) more or less disappear and they found something else for it to do? It effectively replaced a propeller powered plane and will likely be replaced or al least supplemented by a newer one. Also - aren't drones being used a lot more in those types of environments?
 
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Only if we get in a COIN conflict with permissive threat environment. They’re great if we own the skies, have forward basing and no surface to air threat exists.

They’re useless against a near - peer threat. Slow, vulnerable, limited speed, modest range, limited payload, unable to operate from high/hot airfields with a useful weapon load.
And chances fighting nation that has S400 against non-state actor whose guys have GS23 on Toyota pickup truck as primary weapon are?
I saw A10 in Bosnia during runs against Serb tanks around Sarajevo, and your points are right on target. However, I have a feeling North Africa, Middle East and some other regions might be next engagement and not Taiwan.
Good reading on this subject:
 

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Didn't the original raison d'être (destroying tanks) more or less disappear and they found something else for it to do? It effectively replaced a propeller powered plane and will likely be replaced or al least supplemented by a newer one. Also - aren't drones being used a lot more in those types of environments?
Yes, but they present huge problem if you want to win "hearts and minds." They are tempting for policy makers as it does not expose pilots to danger, cheaper etc. But, again, possibility of collateral damage is much higher.
 
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but also deniability... there's a lot more anonimity when using drones. Nobody knows whose it was and nobody is missing any if one falls or gets shot down
 
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nobody claims ownership I mean
When you fire Hellfire missile, or any missile, you really do not have to claim ownership. Missile will leave enough fragments for propaganda. Take Afghanistan for example: do you really need to claim ownership so that everyone knows whose UAS was?
 

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When you fire Hellfire missile, or any missile, you really do not have to claim ownership. Missile will leave enough fragments for propaganda. Take Afghanistan for example: do you really need to claim ownership so that everyone knows whose UAS was?
Look mom, the new AGM-179 ?

C49D07D8-F3C3-4DF3-BA09-8711349324D0.png
 
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