Nov 11

 – F35, The Jet That Ate the Pentagon:

“We don’t know where all the money is going.”

The F-35 is the most expensive weapons program in history, with a total cost of $1.5 trillion, that has turned into a total fiasco.

So here is an 8-minute documentary (with some cool footage of the thing flying, landing vertically, etc.) to give you the willies about how the system works, and what’s wrong with it.

Note the term, “concurrent development.” It’s a key concept – and at the core of why this deal went haywire.

For more info about the documentary and its backers, to sign a petition, or get into the hair of your lawmakers about this, check out the site of the video. Continue reading »

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Oct 28

Well, sometimes one has to spend that much for complete air inferiority

F-35 slammed as ‘inferior’ to older American & foreign fighters incl. Russia’s Su-27, MiG-29

Leaked: New F-35 Fighter Jet Beaten By F-16 From 1970s (Video)

… but maybe the perfect helmet design could scare possible enemies away …

Star-Wars-Darth-Vader


 

The U.S. Government Is Spending 400,000 Dollars On A Single Helmet:

Would you pay $400,000 for a single helmet?  Of course you wouldn’t – but that is precisely what the U.S. government is doing.  Just the helmet for the pilot of the new F-35 Lightning II is going to cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars.  And since we are going to need 2,400 of those helmets, the total bill is going to end up approaching a billion dollars.  But what is a billion dollars between friends, eh?

Sadly, our military has a very long history of wasting money like this.  Back in the 1980s, the “six hundred dollar toilet seat” became quite famous.  Average Americans were absolutely outraged that the government was wasting so much of our hard-earned money, and promises were made that things would change.  Here is more on what transpired back then from Wikipedia

Beginning in 1981, President Ronald Reagan began an expansion in the size and capabilities of the United States armed forces, which entailed major new expenditures on weapons procurement. By the mid-1980s, this spending became a scandal when the Project On Government Oversight reported that the Pentagon had vastly overpaid for a wide variety of items, most notoriously paying $435 for a hammer, $600 for a toilet seat, and $7,000 for a coffee pot.

But of course things haven’t changed, have they?

Instead, they have gotten even worse.

I have no idea how a single helmet could be worth $400,000.

Does it grant magic wishes?

Does it turn the user into a mutant superhero?

Here is an excerpt from the USA Today article that is reporting on this super expensive helmet…

When the joint strike fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, finally takes to the skies on its first official mission, it will be one of the most advanced and one of the most expensive planes ever.

And the pilots flying the aircraft will be wearing the most advanced and most expensive helmet ever.

The helmet will give pilots quicker access to the information they need to see and has special cameras to “see” through the bottom of the plane. But it will cost an estimated $400,000 per helmet — more than four times as much as the Air Force paid for head wear for other aircraft such as the F-16.

Is that why the helmet is so expensive?

It can help the pilot see through the bottom of the plane?

Really?

If you just go down to your local Ford dealer they will be glad to show you lots of new trucks that can “see behind them”, and the best truck on the lot only costs about $50,000.

Or better yet, if F-35 pilots really want to see what is going on underneath them they should just slap a window on the bottom of the plane.

Of course I am just being facetious, but I think that you get the point.

We all work really hard for our money, and it is quite disheartening to watch the government waste it so flippantly.

And this week the Republicans in Congress have agreed to suspend the debt ceiling for the rest of the time that Barack Obama is in the White House.  In one of his final acts as House Speaker, John Boehner has given Barack Obama a wonderful parting gift

Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner presented his newly forged budget deal to his Republican colleagues at a private meeting this morning, outlining his plan to avert another government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling as a parting gift to his successor.

The deal would increase federal spending by $80 billion over two years and raise the federal borrowing limit through 2017. The 144-page bill, which was released Monday shortly before midnight, was welcomed by Democrats who have been pushing for budget negotiations all year.

Thank you John Boehner for selling us all down the river time after time.  You have done a great disservice to our nation.

This new budget agreement is actually going to significantly increase spending.  Here are some more of the details from the New York Times

For this fiscal year alone, the deal would add $50 billion in spending, divided equally between defense and domestic programs, as well as $16 billion for emergency war spending, half for the military, half for the State Department. Together, that represents an increase of $66 billion in the spending limits for 2016, not far off the $70 billion increase Mr. Obama requested in his budget.

Personally, I can’t wait to see how much of that 16 billion dollars is for lethal military aid for Ukraine.  Many of you that have been following this closely know exactly what I am talking about.

Of course this budget deal still must be approved by Congress, but that is just a formality at this point.  Many “conservatives” in Congress are voicing displeasure with this deal, but is anyone listening?  The following comes from Business Insider

Conservatives moved quickly to revolt over a blockbuster budget deal reached among congressional leaders and the White House early Tuesday morning, calling it a “betrayal” days before US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is set to leave Congress.

“This budget deal is a betrayal of all the fiscally conservative promises Republicans made in the last election. It is emblematic of why working-class Americans are angry with congressional Republicans,” said prominent right-leaning economist Stephen Moore, in a statement released by the conservative group FreedomWorks.

The Tea Party is supposed to be standing against the tax and spend agenda of the Democrats and the establishment Republicans, but enthusiasm for the Tea Party seems to be subsiding.  In fact, according to Gallup support for the Tea Party has hit an all-time low of 17 percent.

So we will just continue to witness business as usual in D.C. until disaster strikes.  At this point it is expected that somewhere around 100 Republicans in the House will support this deal, and with all of the Democrats on board that should be enough to get it to pass.

Since Boehner reached his first “budget deal” with Barack Obama back in 2011, the U.S. national debt has increased  by $3,970,023,503,348.07.  It is a betrayal of a magnitude that is difficult to put into words.

Overall, the federal government has been stealing 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day since Barack Obama first entered the White House.

When I tell most people that, I can tell that they don’t really believe me, and truthfully that statistic does sound completely and utterly ridiculous.

But it is true.

When you multiply 100,000,000 by 24 by 365 you get 876,000,000,000.  And if you multiply that number by 7 (the number of years that Obama has “served” so far rounding up), you get 6.132 trillion.

Well, according to CNSNews.com the U.S. national debt has risen by more than seven and a half trillion dollars since Barack Obama was first inaugurated…

Since Obama took office, the total debt of the federal government has already increased by $7,525,761,885,381.30—rising from $10,626,877,048,913.08 on Jan. 20, 2009 to $18,152,638,934,294.38 on Oct. 23, 2015.

When you break that number down, the amount of new debt added under Obama comes to $64,134.73 per household

The $7,525,761,885,381.30 that the total debt has increased so far during the Obama presidency equals $64,134.73 for each of the 117,343,000 households that were in the United States as of June.

Are you ready to cough up your share?

The truth is that it is already mathematically impossible for the U.S. government to pay off this debt.

What our politicians are attempting to do now is to keep borrowing money and extending the game for as long as they possibly can.

If that sounds like a really bad plan to you, that is because it is a really bad plan.

What our leaders have done to future generations of Americans is beyond criminal.  But the American people have come to accept this as “normal”, and only a very small percentage of us are still complaining about it.

So the jokers in Washington will just keep on doing what they are doing until it all comes tumbling down all around them.  By then, it will be far too late to do anything about it.

F-35 deathtrap: Pentagon jet’s ejection seat could snap pilot’s neck

The Truth About the Useless F-35 & F-22 (Video)

Pentagon Needs $5,000 Headsets to Keep F-35 Crews from Going Deaf

F-35 slammed as ‘inferior’ to older American & foreign fighters incl. Russia’s Su-27, MiG-29

F-35: Trillion Dollar War Plane May Still Not Be Ready For Combat

Leaked: New F-35 Fighter Jet Beaten By F-16 From 1970s (Video)

What A Mess … SecDef’s Office: F-35 Progress Worse Than Feared

Bad News for Lockheed’s F-35 Stealth Fighter: This Warplane Has “Serious Deficiencies”

$400 Billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet ‘10 Years Behind’ Older Jets

AND NOW: Computer Glitch Prevents US’ Most Advanced F-35 Fighter Jet From Firing Until 2019

Pentagon Bars F-35s From Farnborough Airshow After Engine Problems

Americans Have Spent Enough Money On The Broken F-35 Joint Strike Fighter To Buy Every Homeless Person A $664,000 Mansion:

“With the full amount spent on the F-35 at its disposal, the U.S. could afford to purchase every person on the streets a $664,000 home.”

Top US Aircraft Designer: F-35 Astonishingly Unmaneuverable – You Can Guarantee That A Russian 1950s Mig-21 Would Just Hopelessly Whip The F-35 In A Dog Fight (Video)

US F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet Can’t Evade Russian Radars

Money For Nothing? Boeing Says F-35 Isn’t So Stealth After All

U.S. Waived Laws To Keep F-35 On Track With China-Made Parts (Reuters)

Test Pilots: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Blind Spot Will Get It ‘Gunned Every Time’ (Wired)

Pentagon Grounds F-35 Fighter Jet Fleet After Engine Crack Found (CBS News)

F-35 (Ironically Known As ‘Lightning II’) Fatal Flaw: Lightning! (RT)

Trillion-Dollar F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet Has Thirteen Expensive New Flaws

NATIONAL SECURITY ALERT: F-35 STEALTH FIGHTER SPY COVER-UP (Veterans Today):

“AN UNPRECEDENTED DISASTER”

 

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Oct 07

F-35 deathtrap: Pentagon jet’s ejection seat could snap pilot’s neck:

Tests on the Pentagon’s troubled F-35 fighter jet have exposed a potentially life-threatening blunder as its ejection seat could snap a slender pilot’s neck when attempting to save his life, Defense News reports, citing a source close to the program.

Ejection tests performed in slow flying speed mode in August revealed that the pilot’s US16E seat constructed by contractor Martin-Baker has an excessive forward rotating momentum, which – combined with the force of the ejected seat shot out of the aircraft – snapped a lightweight dummy’s neck. Continue reading »

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Sep 27

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Sep 24

Pentagon Needs $5,000 Headsets to Keep F-35 Crews from Going Deaf

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Aug 14

F-35

F-35 slammed as ‘inferior’ to older American & foreign fighters incl. Russia’s Su-27, MiG-29 (RT, Aug 14, 2015):

The performance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is inferior to foreign jets it is expected to outperform in engagements and barely justifies replacing with it the older models currently deployed by the Pentagon, a scalding report says.

With an estimated price tag of $1.4 trillion, the Joint Strike Fighter is among Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program. The 5th-generation multipurpose fighter jets are meant to become the backbone of America’s air power for decades to come and play a significant part in defense capability of its allies. Continue reading »

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Aug 14

H/t reader squodgy:

“Notwithstanding that the US Navy reported a less than 50% readiness for combat result in last month’s tests on carriers, and a host of other unacceptables such as high radar detection rate, poor weapons carrying capability etc, its cost reaches $1,500 Billion or one and a half million million dollars……$1,500,000,000,000…….
and the number ordered shrinks by the day to levels approaching half, because it is unaffordable….now they complain it is not Gatling Gun capable….you know the gun which they use to kill their own with.”


Navy-CF-1_flight_test

F-35: Trillion Dollar War Plane May Still Not Be Ready For Combat (Shadow Proof, Aufg 10, 2015):

While Congress debates cutting Social Security, the most expensive weapons program in history — with an estimated lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion — is making questionable progress.

The US Marine Corps recently announced that, after 14 years of development, the F-35 is ready to be deployed and issued a declaration of initial operating capability (IOC). The IOC means that, in theory, the F-35 is fully operational and ready for combat use. Continue reading »

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Jul 04


Jul 3, 2015

Description:

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.

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May 10

H/t reader squodgy:

“Ha ha ha ha ha ………bureaucratic incompetence and military industrial complex greed makes one useless but very expensive cocktail.”


F-35-Variants-All
The UK considered buying 150 F-35s from the US, but not one plane is combat ready as costs soar

New US fighter jet on course to becoming ‘one of history’s biggest white elephants’ (Independent, May 10, 2015):

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 »

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Apr 05


04.04.2015

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Mar 14

H/t reader squodgy:

“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.”


f-35s

SecDef’s Office: F-35 Progress Worse than Feared (Defense Industry Daily, March 13, 2015):

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 external link. It’s a hot mess. The glass-half-empty analysts over at POGO have their own analysis external link of the report here, which essentially parrots the OSD report, but uses more adjectives and an indignant tone. Continue reading »

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Feb 24

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

 – Israel Gets Fire Sale Deal on F-35s, Upping Numbers | Germany to Lithuania: No Tanks for You (Defense Industry Daily, Feb 23, 2015):

  • Israel will order another 14 F-35sexternal link 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 Weltexternal link (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.)

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Feb 09

f-35s

Bad News for Lockheed’s F-35 Stealth Fighter: This Warplane Has “Serious Deficiencies” (The Motley Fool, Feb 7, 2015)

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Jan 22

Air Force Turns to Supersonic Mercenaries

Air Force Turns to Supersonic Mercenaries (The Daily Best, Jan 20, 2015):

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 »

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Jan 06

Sukhoi Su-30 Fighter Jet
Russian Sukhoi Su-30 Fighter Jet

The Latest Russian Fighter Jet Blows America’s Away (Russia Insider, Oct 21, 2014):

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 »

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Jan 02

You can’t make this stuff up!

Related info:

$400 Billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet ‘10 Years Behind’ Older Jets

More info down below.


F-35 fighter jet

– Computer glitch prevents US’ most advanced F-35 fighter jet from firing until 2019 – report (RT, Jan 1, 2014):

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 »

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Dec 27

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Newest U.S. Stealth Fighter ‘10 Years Behind’ Older Jets (The Daily Beast, Dec 26, 2014):

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 »

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Oct 29

US Air Force handout photo of Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II fighter jet
A Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter flies toward its new home at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in this U.S. Air Force picture taken on January 11, 2011.

Exclusive: Lockheed, Pentagon reach $4 billion deal for more F-35 jets (Reuters, Oct 28, 2014):

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 »

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Jul 16

rofl

More on the F-35 success story:

Americans Have Spent Enough Money On The Broken F-35 Joint Strike Fighter To Buy Every Homeless Person A $664,000 Mansion:

“With the full amount spent on the F-35 at its disposal, the U.S. could afford to purchase every person on the streets a $664,000 home.”

Top US Aircraft Designer: F-35 Astonishingly Unmaneuverable – You Can Guarantee That A Russian 1950s Mig-21 Would Just Hopelessly Whip The F-35 In A Dog Fight (Video)

US F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet Can’t Evade Russian Radars

Money For Nothing? Boeing Says F-35 Isn’t So Stealth After All

U.S. Waived Laws To Keep F-35 On Track With China-Made Parts (Reuters)

Test Pilots: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Blind Spot Will Get It ‘Gunned Every Time’ (Wired)

Pentagon Grounds F-35 Fighter Jet Fleet After Engine Crack Found (CBS News)

F-35 (Ironically Known As ‘Lightning II’) Fatal Flaw: Lightning! (RT)

Trillion-Dollar F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet Has Thirteen Expensive New Flaws

NATIONAL SECURITY ALERT: F-35 STEALTH FIGHTER SPY COVER-UP (Veterans Today):

“AN UNPRECEDENTED DISASTER”


f-35s
An F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (Reuters / Randy Gon)

Pentagon bars F-35s from Farnborough airshow after engine problems (RT, July 15, 2014):

Despite the United States Department of Defense’s decision this week to clear for flight all jets in its fleet of F-35s, the stealth fighter won’t make its debut at a UK airshow as expected.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, a DOD spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday that the Pentagon has decided to refrain from sending Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter jets abroad. Continue reading »

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Jul 10

From the article:

“With the full amount spent on the F-35 at its disposal, the U.S. could afford to purchase every person on the streets a $664,000 home.”


Americans Have Spent Enough Money On A Broken Plane To Buy Every Homeless Person A Mansion

Americans Have Spent Enough Money On A Broken Plane To Buy Every Homeless Person A Mansion (ThinkProgress, July 9, 2014):

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 »

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May 11

rofl



Added: Oct 21, 2013

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Apr 30

See also:

Money For Nothing? Boeing Says F-35 Isn’t So Stealth After All

U.S. Waived Laws To Keep F-35 On Track With China-Made Parts (Reuters)

Test Pilots: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Blind Spot Will Get It ‘Gunned Every Time’ (Wired)

Pentagon Grounds F-35 Fighter Jet Fleet After Engine Crack Found (CBS News)

F-35 (Ironically Known As ‘Lightning II’) Fatal Flaw: Lightning! (RT)

Trillion-Dollar F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet Has Thirteen Expensive New Flaws

NATIONAL SECURITY ALERT: F-35 STEALTH FIGHTER SPY COVER-UP (Veterans Today):

“AN UNPRECEDENTED DISASTER”


F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (file photo)

US stealth fighter jet can’t evade Russian radars: Report (PressTV, April 29, 2014):

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.”

Continue reading »

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Apr 25

Related info:

U.S. Waived Laws To Keep F-35 On Track With China-Made Parts (Reuters)

Test Pilots: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Blind Spot Will Get It ‘Gunned Every Time’ (Wired)

Pentagon Grounds F-35 Fighter Jet Fleet After Engine Crack Found (CBS News)

F-35 (Ironically Known As ‘Lightning II’) Fatal Flaw: Lightning! (RT)

Trillion-Dollar F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet Has Thirteen Expensive New Flaws

NATIONAL SECURITY ALERT: F-35 STEALTH FIGHTER SPY COVER-UP (Veterans Today):

“AN UNPRECEDENTED DISASTER”


F-35

Money for nothing? Boeing says F-35 isn’t so stealth after all (RT, April 25, 2014):

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.

Continue reading »

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Feb 16

131109-N-SB233-218

Navy’s UCLASS Could Be Air to Air Fighter (USNI News, Feb 13, 2014):

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.

Continue reading »

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Jan 04

Exclusive: U.S. waived laws to keep F-35 on track with China-made parts (Reuters, Jan 3, 2014):

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.”

Continue reading »

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Mar 08


The F-35′s rearward visibility is limited.

Test Pilots: Stealth Jet’s Blind Spot Will Get It ‘Gunned Every Time’ (Wired, March 7, 2013):

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.

Continue reading »

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Feb 22

Pentagon grounds F-35 fleet after engine crack found (CBS News, Feb 22, 2013):

The Pentagon on Friday grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets after discovering a cracked engine blade in one plane.

The problem was discovered during what the Pentagon called a routine inspection at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., of an F-35A, the Air Force version of the sleek new plane.

The Navy and the Marine Corps are buying other versions of the F-35, which is intended to replace older fighters like the Air Force F-16 and the Navy F/A-18.

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Jan 24

Design flaw in ‘Lightning II’ F-35B jet raises fears of lightning-induced explosions (RT, Jan 20, 2013):

It’s the world’s most expensive combat aircraft, but don’t expect it to fly in bad weather: The $237-million F-35B has been banned from traveling within 25 miles of a thunderstorm, amid fears that lightning could cause its fuel tank to explode.

The aircraft, which is ironically known as ‘Lightning II,’ is not permitted to fly in thunderstorms until an oxygen gauge in the fuel tank is redesigned.

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Dec 14

Trillion-Dollar Jet Has Thirteen Expensive New Flaws (Wired, Dec. 13, 2011):

The most expensive weapons program in U.S. history is about to get a lot pricier.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, meant to replace nearly every tactical warplane in the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, was already expected to cost $1 trillion dollars for development, production and maintenance over the next 50 years. Now that cost is expected to grow, owing to 13 different design flaws uncovered in the last two months by a hush-hush panel of five Pentagon experts. It could cost up to a billion dollars to fix the flaws on copies of the jet already in production, to say nothing of those yet to come.

In addition to costing more, the stealthy F-35 could take longer to complete testing. That could delay the stealthy jet’s combat debut to sometime after 2018 — seven years later than originally planned. And all this comes as the Pentagon braces for big cuts to its budget while trying to save cherished but costly programs like the Joint Strike Fighter.

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