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The F-35: Flying Symbol of Out of Control Bureaucracy

 
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2015 04:57 pm
I'll say it again, when the F35 costs a half billion a plane, it will always be facing greater numbers of less expensive aircraft; a 35 pilot might manage to shoot one or two of those down from standoff range but the others will shoot him down five or ten seconds later.

Same problem the ME 262 had towards the end of WW-II, it was always facing bunches of P51's and the 262 wasn't faster than bullets.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2015 05:27 pm
@gungasnake,
We are planning to build more than 2000 F-35s. Who is going to outnumber us?

The problem with the F-35 is that it just plain can't fight to begin with.

What we need is to go back to building F-22s. And with your outnumber scenario in mind, we need to build the full complement of 750 F-22s.

I don't think an F-22 that runs out of ammo is in danger of being shot down, but it is also no longer able to down enemy aircraft until it returns to base to reload.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2015 05:50 pm
@oralloy,
I wonder if the sky would fall if the US Navy considered purchasing some Dassault Rafales or Saab Gripens to go along with their Super Hornets.

It probably would. It's an interesting thought though.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2015 09:24 pm
@oralloy,
Why??? The Hornet outperforms them all; has greater payload and range capability, and the Navy has a well-developed training, aircraft maintenance and test infrastructure to support them.

The French carrier aircraft are very good but designed for the French Charles De Gaulle class carriers which are smaller and have less powerful catapults than ours. What you suggest is a solution in search of a problem.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2015 11:29 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
Why??? The Hornet outperforms them all; has greater payload and range capability, and the Navy has a well-developed training, aircraft maintenance and test infrastructure to support them.

The European designs have those canards in the front that are supposed to let them do much tighter turns at low speeds.

I was thinking that a mix of Super Hornets with the European planes would be much better than a mix of Super Hornets and F-35s.

I guess it is still possible that the F-35 will get its problems worked out. But I keep waiting to hear that they've solved the problems and... well, I keep waiting. I've gone from being an F-35 supporter to being an F-35 skeptic.

I suppose the Navy could survive with Super Hornets alone, but a mix of planes allows different designs to complement each other with their own unique strengths.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 01:17 am
@gungasnake,
gungasnake wrote:
Same problem the ME 262 had towards the end of WW-II, it was always facing bunches of P51's and the 262 wasn't faster than bullets.


This is bullsh*t. Read The First and the Last by Adolf Galland sometime, he was the head of the Luftwaffe fighter command at the end of the war. American P51s were shooting up the airfields all over western Europe, and increasingly, German fighters had become homeless. By the last months of the war, they were being hidden on logging roads in forests, and pushed out onto paved roads to take off in the daytime. German communications were totally disrupted with RAF and USAAF fighters and medium bombers shooting up the roads and railroads constantly. Read about Eisenhower's Transportation Plan some time. Spare parts and fuel were getting harder and harder to deliver. Such a situation is unlikely to apply to American fighters. It is also doubtful that we will be facing opponents with large air forces, or sophisticated air defense systems. Our AWACs, which can be carrier launched, too, can vector fighters to the enemy's weak spots, and no cloud of "cheaper" air craft are likely to overwhelm forewarned American air forces.

You've just made up another one of your over-simplistic historical statements, born of your appalling ignorance of history, because you read one article and now you want to argue to defend the thesis of the article.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 02:31 am
@oralloy,
Quote:
We are planning to build more than 2000


will not happen.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 08:17 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

The European designs have those canards in the front that are supposed to let them do much tighter turns at low speeds.
Canards are indeed currently fashonable among European designers. They have some minor advantages, but in an era of fly by wire, computer guided aircraft control systems, there are easier, more efficient waysd of achieving the same advantages. Both the new F-18 and the F 35 incorporate these features.

oralloy wrote:

I was thinking that a mix of Super Hornets with the European planes would be much better than a mix of Super Hornets and F-35s.
The European asircraft you cited don't incorporate stealth technology as does the F-35. They would merely be less capable replacements for F-18s.

oralloy wrote:
I suppose the Navy could survive with Super Hornets alone, but a mix of planes allows different designs to complement each other with their own unique strengths.
A very vague and unsupported conjecture at best. Please list the Unique strengths you believe are involved here and indicate how they could be complimentary.

I believe you lack an understanding of the operating environment for military aviation, and carrier aviation in particular. There are many tradeoffs involved and introducing the added complexity of multiple, redundant aircraft types, manufacturers and sources of non interchangable replacement parts, plus the added training requirements is a big disadvantage. To do so without a meaningful significant advantage wouold be folly.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 12:08 pm
@georgeob1,
I can understand going super expensive and super capable and doing fewer copies, even though that is an iffy proposition knowing that your enemy will come at you with pretty good jets and at numbers many times what we have, but it is pretty scary that our government admits that one the enemy can get close the f-35 is finished because it can not evade. They are asking us to take the at their word that when the Chinese/Russians come at us with a 10-1 advantage in numbers with their damn good planes that our forces are going to survive. I doubt it. The F-35 is likely to be much like out aircraft carriers, gone in the first days of the war, a big fat juicy target once the enemy gets close enough, and they always will eventually.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 12:17 pm
@hawkeye10,
Another thing....even by military standards the F-35 helmet with a cost of $600,000 EACH that pilots so far say they rarely use and which they say makes it impossible to visually connect to the side and back of the aircraft, seems like a hard cost to justify. The bosses say that new generation pilots will use them early in their career and will get good use out of them unlike old school pilots who have flown for years without the technology and find the helmets more of a problem than a help. Maybe.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 01:32 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
Canards are indeed currently fashonable among European designers. They have some minor advantages, but in an era of fly by wire, computer guided aircraft control systems, there are easier, more efficient waysd of achieving the same advantages. Both the new F-18 and the F 35 incorporate these features.

The F-35 is probably the least maneuverable plane in the history of both the US Navy and US Air Force. I can't picture it being comparable to the maneuverability of one of the European designs.


georgeob1 wrote:
The European asircraft you cited don't incorporate stealth technology as does the F-35. They would merely be less capable replacements for F-18s.

Is the stealth of the F-35 really going to be much of an issue? It looks to me like when carriers of the future attack targets on land, they will have unmanned drones with greater stealth and greater range that can carry out the attack.


georgeob1 wrote:
A very vague and unsupported conjecture at best. Please list the Unique strengths you believe are involved here and indicate how they could be complimentary.

I'm thinking of the maneuverability provided by the canards. I've heard that in simulated dogfights between the new European designs and older Air Force F-15s and F-16s, the new European designs almost always win.


georgeob1 wrote:
I believe you lack an understanding of the operating environment for military aviation, and carrier aviation in particular.

Very likely true. But I have a good understanding of the F-35s shortcomings. It's looking like a great plane for the Marines, but a disaster for the Navy and Air Force.

If going with F-18s alone is good for the Navy, then maybe that is the best answer.


georgeob1 wrote:
There are many tradeoffs involved and introducing the added complexity of multiple, redundant aircraft types, manufacturers and sources of non interchangable replacement parts, plus the added training requirements is a big disadvantage. To do so without a meaningful significant advantage wouold be folly.

Does the F-35 bring any advantage to the table (other than for the Marines)?
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 01:34 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
oralloy wrote:
We are planning to build more than 2000 F-35s.

will not happen.

The Marines are going to get their full complement of F-35s no matter what.

The bulk of that "more than 2000" is heading to the Air Force, and the only way to cut the Air Force's allotment of F-35s will be to resume production of F-22s.

That is something that we need to do, but it'll be expensive now.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 01:35 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
I can understand going super expensive and super capable and doing fewer copies, even though that is an iffy proposition knowing that your enemy will come at you with pretty good jets and at numbers many times what we have, but it is pretty scary that our government admits that one the enemy can get close the f-35 is finished because it can not evade. They are asking us to take the at their word that when the Chinese/Russians come at us with a 10-1 advantage in numbers with their damn good planes that our forces are going to survive. I doubt it.

Keep in mind that the F-35 is not the same as an F-22.

Our F-22s will be able to down enemy planes until they run out of ammo, without enemy planes ever coming close to hitting one of the F-22s.

Of course, once an F-22 runs out of ammo it will have to head back to base to reload.


hawkeye10 wrote:
The F-35 is likely to be much like out aircraft carriers, gone in the first days of the war, a big fat juicy target once the enemy gets close enough, and they always will eventually.

I doubt we will suffer many carrier losses unless someone really messes up on defensive tactics.

These new unmanned bomber drones will allow our carriers to bomb land targets from a safe distance -- well out of reach of any advanced shore defenses.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 01:36 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
Another thing....even by military standards the F-35 helmet with a cost of $600,000 EACH that pilots so far say they rarely use and which they say makes it impossible to visually connect to the side and back of the aircraft, seems like a hard cost to justify.

An F-35 pilot is not supposed to visually connect with anything. They are supposed to get everything from the virtual reality projected inside their helmet.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 06:25 pm
Perhaps I should ask oralloy just how many flight hours he has in fighters and how much experience he has in air to air combat. I suspect the answer to both questions is zero.

When we did NATO exercises with the Greeks we were briefed to let it appear that they won. Otherwise they would pack up and go home in a snit. I wouldn't put too much trust in the stuff "you hear...". The results of the air war in Iraq gave us a good insight into the air warfare capabilities of our principal allies in actual combat, and the results showed we had nothing to regret in that area.

I frankly haven't followed the controversy surrounding the F-35 very closely. It is an attempt to put everything in one aircraft (carrier suitable stealthy fighter/attack), and that often involves hard tradeoffs. The most famous such effort occurred in the late 1960s whan McNamara and his whiz kids decided to design an aircraft that could do everything. The result was the unlamented F-111. As the then head of Naval Aviation explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee , "Senator there isn't enough thrust in nature to turn that truck into a fighter."

The F-22/35 is an effort to top the best previous cold war designs , and none of our potential rivals has yet fielded an effecive new generation machine. Conventional radar & IR guided anti air weapons and systems are getting better and more ubiquitous in this world, and I don't think it wise to simply sit back and stick with a conventional aircraft technology (However snazzy one can make it look with those canards) in such circumstances.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 07:03 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
Perhaps I should ask oralloy just how many flight hours he has in fighters and how much experience he has in air to air combat. I suspect the answer to both questions is zero.

Of course it's zero. I refuse to even board a passenger jet.

But what does that have to do with any of my points?


georgeob1 wrote:
I frankly haven't followed the controversy surrounding the F-35 very closely. It is an attempt to put everything in one aircraft (carrier suitable stealthy fighter/attack), and that often involves hard tradeoffs. The most famous such effort occurred in the late 1960s whan McNamara and his whiz kids decided to design an aircraft that could do everything. The result was the unlamented F-111. As the then head of Naval Aviation explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee , "Senator there isn't enough thrust in nature to turn that truck into a fighter."

The F-35's maneuverability should be broadly comparable to that of the F-111.

It's possible though that the F-111 is slightly more maneuverable than the F-35.


The F-35's advocates proclaim that maneuverability "no longer matters". They say that the F-35's sensors and computers will get an instant missile lock on an enemy fighter from any direction, and the F-35 can then shoot it down without ever changing direction.

There are two problems with this idea. The first problem is that the F-35's sensors are, so far, not much good at detecting enemy fighters. They do good at detecting ground targets, but that's about it.

I keep waiting and waiting to hear news that they've finally gotten the F-35's sensors good enough to reliably detect enemy fighters. But for some reason it just isn't happening.


The second problem is the F-35, even if it does detect an enemy fighter with its sensor network, can only pass that information to its longer range radar-guided missiles. The heat-seeking missiles that it needs for close engagements still have to get a lock the old fashioned way, by actually pointing the plane at the enemy until the missile locks on of its own accord.

It seems like it would be a priority to get heat-seeking missiles that can receive targeting data from the F-35, but for whatever reason, it just doesn't seem to be happening.


If they finally come out with reports that the F-35's sensors have gotten good at detecting enemy planes, and that they now have heat-seeking missiles that can receive targeting data directly from the F-35, I'll stop having such a negative outlook on the plane. But until then I see a disaster looming.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 07:47 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

georgeob1 wrote:
Perhaps I should ask oralloy just how many flight hours he has in fighters and how much experience he has in air to air combat. I suspect the answer to both questions is zero.

Of course it's zero. I refuse to even board a passenger jet.

But what does that have to do with any of my points?


A great deal actually. The issue is do you know the meaning and importance of the words that appear to flow so smoothly from you. Your gushing comments about canards betrayed a lack of real knowledge of the several technologies behind maneuverability in modern aircraft and a certain fixation on superficial features instead.

Even the issue of maneuverability can be misleading. None of the fighters we deployed throughout all of WWII in the Pacific could equal the Japanese Zero in maneuverability, and initially it gave them a big advantage. Later as we gained more experience and developed aircraft with different compensating features (higher rate of climb/faster acceleration in a dive/better ability to absorb damage, we quickly achieved a very favorable kill ratio in engagements with them and it widened rapidly as our tactics & pilot skills improved and as experienced Japanese pilots were killed * we recycled our combat experienced pilots back to trasining new ones, betting on a long war, while the Japanese kept theirs in the battle, counting on a short one.

The F-4 Phantom wasn't nearly as maneuverable as a MIG 21, but it could out climb and out last one in a vertical scissors. If the MIG tried to match it the F-4 would be on his tail as soon as his nose dropped. Proper tactics can exploit your advantages and defeat those of your opponent, but they are often learned at great cost. In WWII our F6Fs could out accelerate a Zero in a dive so they made single slashing attacks, avoided turning with the Zero,; diving away to climb back and attack again.

The point here is there is a lot more to the problem and the tradeoffs involved than can be seen by one with zero real experience.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 07:58 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:
The point here is there is a lot more to the problem and the tradeoffs involved than can be seen by one with zero real experience.


Not when people who actually fly these things are worried that if anyone gets close they are dead meat, and that they are being bombarded with so much information they cant concentrate on what is most important.

This great bird is only great so long as it survives, and one human with one brain can only do so much.

Did you see the worry that the plan is to get rid of awacs, to make these guys do that job too? Not cool if it happens, and I'll bet that is the plan.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 09:09 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
The issue is do you know the meaning and importance of the words that appear to flow so smoothly from you.

Yes.


georgeob1 wrote:
Your gushing comments about canards betrayed a lack of real knowledge of the several technologies behind maneuverability in modern aircraft and a certain fixation on superficial features instead.

My understanding is that forward canards allow a fighter jet to make much tighter turns at low velocities compared to planes without forward canards.


georgeob1 wrote:
Even the issue of maneuverability can be misleading. None of the fighters we deployed throughout all of WWII in the Pacific could equal the Japanese Zero in maneuverability, and initially it gave them a big advantage. Later as we gained more experience and developed aircraft with different compensating features (higher rate of climb/faster acceleration in a dive/better ability to absorb damage, we quickly achieved a very favorable kill ratio in engagements with them and it widened rapidly as our tactics & pilot skills improved and as experienced Japanese pilots were killed * we recycled our combat experienced pilots back to trasining new ones, betting on a long war, while the Japanese kept theirs in the battle, counting on a short one.

The F-4 Phantom wasn't nearly as maneuverable as a MIG 21, but it could out climb and out last one in a vertical scissors. If the MIG tried to match it the F-4 would be on his tail as soon as his nose dropped. Proper tactics can exploit your advantages and defeat those of your opponent, but they are often learned at great cost. In WWII our F6Fs could out accelerate a Zero in a dive so they made single slashing attacks, avoided turning with the Zero,; diving away to climb back and attack again.

Note that the F-35 is grossly inferior to other planes in both maneuverability and ability to climb.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 09:19 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
Did you see the worry that the plan is to get rid of awacs, to make these guys do that job too? Not cool if it happens, and I'll bet that is the plan.

I think the expectation is that "the network" will replace AWACS. It probably won't require much more effort from the pilots.

All the fighters will be linked together in a network, so as soon as one friendly fighter detects an enemy plane with its sensors, all friendly fighters will see it and have a missile lock on it (with their radar-guided missiles at least).

The Air Force, if they end up saddled with a bunch of F-35s instead of getting more F-22s, is planning to embed their handful of F-22s in a cloud of F-35s, using the F-35s to feed information to the F-22s which will then do the actual fighting.
 

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