Decades in the making, already the most expensive military project in history – and still US F-35 figher jet isn’t ready. Some are now pointing to signs that the plane’s appeal is wearing off, despite the efforts of its manufacturer.
A plane so technologically advanced that it would give Britain and the US air superiority in any future conflict and billed as the world’s most advanced stealth fighter jet, could be one of “the biggest white elephants in history”, according to a former defence minister.
And while costs of the F-35 spiral and delays run into years, another commentator has warned that “our skies and seas are vulnerable”.
The aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, was designed to replace the Harrier jump-jet, which went out of service in 2011. The UK once envisaged ordering 150 F-35s, to be ready by 2012. Three years on, the F-35 is still far from ready to fly in combat and the cost of a single jet has risen from £33m to £87m. The UK has ordered only eight to date. Continue reading »
“What a mess… If the American middle class could see the billions of their taxes being poured into this bottomless pit of incompetence & corruption which results in no more than a 72% overall success target achievement they would surely cry.”
Those expecting the F-35 to meet its operational capabilities in the near-term will not be breathing much easier now that Office of the Secretary of Defense has published its progress report for the F-35 . It’s a hot mess. The glass-half-empty analysts over at POGO have their own analysis of the report here, which essentially parrots the OSD report, but uses more adjectives and an indignant tone.Continue reading »
Israel will order another 14 F-35s for $110 million a piece, including logistical support, training, parts and maintenance, which appears to be a much better price than the U.S. itself has been able to manage. The 14 fighters will join an earlier order of 19 jets. An option to acquire 17 more has been secured, bringing the total to 50, which has been Israel’s goal in fielding two squadrons of 25 fighters each.
Germany has rejected a request for Boxer tanks from Lithuania, according to Die Welt (German). The paper cited concerns for Germany’s own preparedness (recently called into question with “rapid reaction” troops found to be operating without rifle barrels during a NATO exercise.)
The ‘smallest Air Force in history’ is dealing with more missions than ever. So the flyboys are calling in the military contractors to operate their jets.
The U.S. Air Force fleet of planes and pilots is stretched so thin, the service is considering hiring private military corporations flying supersonic jets to train its fighter jocks in mock air combat.The Air Force is being forced to consider such desperate measures because it doesn’t have enough fighter jets and trained aircrew to fly missions where they would simulate enemy warplanes—also called “red air” in military slang. Continue reading »
Outgunned by the Su-30 family of aircraft and suffering critical design flaws, the American F-35 is staring down the barrel of obsolescence – and punching a gaping hole in western air defences.
This article is an excellent read to understand how Russia’s technological level is best in its class in many military sectors, especially with regard to fighter jets. It originally appeared in Russia & India Report. The SU-30 continues to be the number one choice among global buyers.
Built to be the deadliest hunter killer aircraft of all time, the F-35 has quite literally become the hunted. In every scenario that the F-35 has been wargamed against Su-30 Flankers, the Russian aircraft have emerged winners. America’s newest stealth aircraft – costing $191 million per unit – is riddled with such critical design flaws that it’s likely to get blown away in a shootout with the super-maneuverable Sukhois. Continue reading »
The Pentagon’s fighter jet F-35 may not be fully operational until 2019 due to a newly discovered computer glitch. The $400 billion ultra-sophisticated jet, the most expensive in US history, was expected to enter service in 2015.
F-35 is the fifth generation combat aircraft which is designed in three variations for US Air Force, Navy and Marines to replace out of date aircraft. It was planned to join the Marines in 2015 and Air Force in 2016. Continue reading »
America’s $400 billion, top-of-the-line aircraft can’t see the battlefield all that well. Which means it’s actually worse than its predecessors at fighting today’s wars.
When the Pentagon’s nearly $400 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter finally enters service next year after nearly two decades in development, it won’t be able to support troops on the ground the way older planes can today. Its sensors won’t be able to see the battlefield as well; and what video the F-35 does capture, it won’t be able to transmit to infantrymen in real time.Versions of the new single-engine stealth fighter are set to replace almost every type of fighter in the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps inventory—including aircraft specifically designed to support ground troops like the A-10 Warthog. That will leave troops in a lurch when the F-35 eventually becomes the only game in town. Continue reading »
Lockheed Martin Corp and U.S. defense officials have reached agreement on the terms of a contract worth about $4 billion for an eighth batch of 43 F-35 fighter jets, sources familiar with the deal said on Thursday.
The contract will lower the cost of the radar-evading warplane by about 3 percent and includes jets to be built for the U.S. military, Britain and other U.S. allies, according to the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.
The cost of the U.S. Air Force model of the plane, which accounts for 27 of the 43 aircraft, will go down by nearly 4 percent, said one of the sources. Continue reading »
Just days before its international debut at an airshow in the United Kingdom, the entire fleet of the Pentagon’s next generation fighter plane — known as the F-35 II Lightning, or the Joint Strike Fighter — has been grounded, highlighting just what a boondoggle the project has been. With the vast amounts spent so far on the aircraft, the United States could have worked wonders, including providing every homeless person in the U.S. a $600,000 home.
It’s hard to argue against the need to modernize aircraft used to defend the country and counter enemies overseas, especially if you’re a politician. But the Joint Strike Fighter program has been a mess almost since its inception, with massive cost overruns leading to its current acquisition price-tag of $398.6 billion — an increase of $7.4 billion since last year. That breaks down to costing about $49 billion per year since work began in 2006 and the project is seven years behind schedule. Over its life-cycle, estimated at about 55 years, operating and maintaining the F-35 fleet will cost the U.S. a little over $1 trillion. By contrast, the entirety of the Manhattan Project — which created the nuclear bomb from scratch — cost about $55 billion in today’s dollars. Continue reading »
The US’s newly developed radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will not be able to escape Russian radars.
“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter… is not, in fact, stealthy in the eyes of a growing number of Russian and Chinese radars,” the Aviation Week said.
It said the jet, which the Pentagon hopes would be stealthy, is “having all sorts of shortcomings.”
The report said the jet is not even effective in “jamming enemy radar”, adding the US Defense Department is spending “hundreds of billions of dollars” for a “fighter that will need the help of specialized jamming aircraft.”
It said the F-35 is even “susceptible to detection by radars operating in the VHF bands of the spectrum.”
As the price of the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons endeavor ever soars even further, critics are calling into question the cost and capabilities of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
When all is said and done, the United States Department of Defense is expected to spend over $1 trillion on acquiring a fleet of the fancy stealth jets. But while concerns have been raised repeatedly regarding the program for years now, some new reports suggest that the military might soon sign-on to buy other state-of-the-art aircraft.
On Friday this week, Military.com reported that the US Navy has not only decided to drop the number of Lockheed Martin-made F-35s it plans on purchasing from 69 to 36, but that 22 new EA-18G Growlers built by Boeing have been added to a list of unfunded priorities.
Could the U.S. Navy’s future Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft have an air-to-air role? The service’s director of air warfare Rear Adm. Mike Manazir posed that it could during a Dec. 20 interview with USNI News.
Manazir contemplated the possibility that that the UCLASS, which is primarily being designed for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike roles, could be used as a flying missile magazine which could supplement the firepower of the F/A-18E/F and F-35C Joint Strike Fighter in air-to-air combat as a robotic wingman of sorts.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China’s espionage and military buildup.
According to Pentagon documents reviewed by Reuters, chief U.S. arms buyer Frank Kendall allowed two F-35 suppliers, Northrop Grumman Corp and Honeywell International Inc, to use Chinese magnets for the new warplane’s radar system, landing gears and other hardware. Without the waivers, both companies could have faced sanctions for violating federal law and the F-35 program could have faced further delays.
“It was a pretty big deal and an unusual situation because there’s a prohibition on doing defense work in China, even if it’s inadvertent,” said Frank Kenlon, who recently retired as a senior Pentagon procurement official and now teaches at American University. “I’d never seen this happen before.”
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the military’s expensive main warplane of the future, has a huge blind spot directly behind it. Pilots say that could get them shot down in close-quarters combat, where the flier with the better visibility has the killing advantage.
“Aft visibility could turn out to be a significant problem for all F-35 pilots in the future,” the Pentagon acknowledged in a report (.pdf) obtained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington, D.C. watchdog group.
That admission should not come as a surprise to observers of the Joint Strike Fighter program. Critics of the delayed, over-budget F-35 — which is built in three versions for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — have been trying for years to draw attention to the plane’s blind spot, only to be dismissed by the government and Lockheed Martin, the Joint Strike Fighter’s primary builder.