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As Air Force senior officials prepare for posture hearings this week with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, the subject of modernization promises to be front and center. Core to that discussion will almost certainly be the limping, $1.4 trillion F-35 program. Belying the conventional wisdom, which touts the Joint Strike Fighter as something of a futuristic aerial Swiss army knife, the F-35 is proving to be little more than a dull, bent, and unwieldy butter knife — a jack of no trades, master of only one: burning through taxpayer dollars at a rate that would embarrass Croesus. The bloat of the program is now placing increasingly excruciating pressure on the entire Air Force budget, this despite the F-35 being years from genuine operational capability. The pressure it is exerting is leading to a parade of rhetorical and actual absurdity of the variety that should, under normal circumstances, alarm Congress and anyone else concerned about the future of American defense.
Among the crippling problems highlighted in the DOT&E report: Software glitches disrupting enemy identification and weapon employment. A redesigned fuel tank that continues to demonstrate unacceptable vulnerability to explosion from lightning or enemy fire. Departures from controlled flight during high-speed maneuvering, a six-year-old problem that apparently will not be solved without sacrificing stealth or combat capability. Helmet issues fundamentally degrading pilot situational awareness. Engine problems so severe they’re limiting sortie rates, impeding the test schedule, and generating risky operational decisions. Nightmarish maintainability issues leading to over-reliance on contractor support.
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Timely
The RAF and RN flew them as part of the trials on the Wasp and absolutely raved about them. Everyone that has anything to do with the program seems to love this aircraft.
A former Harrier pilot compared landing the Harrier to the B model. He said in the Harrier they pick a point and land within a foot or two of it, and that's a good landing. In the B model, they pick a point and land within inches of it.
originally posted by: greencmp
a reply to: Zaphod58
I am for a strong military and I just can't imagine that there isn't a better way to go than man-on-board systems.
I remember when Darkstar came out in the 90s and thought that was it, how could we be pursuing an airframe like this?
We would have to make it exceed human capacity (thus squishing our pilots) or hamper its operational capability severely.