originally posted by: jaxnmarko
a reply to: intrptr
I really miss the F-14 and a sweet 100 mile Phoenix missile! F-18? Eh.
And this right there is the core of the problem. Bleeding edge defense tech costs unholy amount of money. Always has, always will. You either can
accept that or settle for more affordable solutions that work, but arent pushing the envelope.
Dont like the F-18? Sure no problem. The F-14 was the better plane in its capability niche. It was also a maintenance nightmare, requiring more than 5
times the maintenance hours for every flight hour compared to the Hornets.
It was the right call to get rid of them, the naval air arm barely survived two decades of warfare without them.
The F-18 still sucks and the F-35 cant here fast enough? The F-18 in it various iterations got the job done and will always be more affordable and
less maintenance intensive than the F-35. There is a reason why the Navy invest heavily in the Block 3 Hornet and drags its feet on F-35B/C
Anyone think that will change? The Air Force is already moaning about unaffordable sustainment costs of the F-35. Who could have known. Defense
spending wont remain as high as it is today. Administrations and priorities change, but even if Republicans will hold the White House forever, the
debt cant be increased indefinitely and current budgets unsustainable.
These days there is no alternative of course. The F-35 will go forward and if it kills the various US Air Forces and effective fighting forces so be
But what is maddening about the situation – there actually was an alternative on the table back in the day. But they made the wrong call in 2009
when Gates decided to cancel the F-22 production.
What they should have done is cancelling the F-35 instead. Not because it’s a bad airplane (it isn’t) but simply because procuring and sustaining
thousands of them on top of dozens other, equally critical defense programs is a pipedream.
1700 F-35As alone on top of B-21, PCA, PEA, PGS and god knows what? rofl
This was the case ten years ago and will be the case ten years from now. The budgets aren’t there. And they never will be again, not with the
exploding entitlement programs the left has been pushing. Like it or not, it’s reality and the military needs to change approach to remain combat
capable going forward.
A cancellation of the entire F-35 program would have entailed a restructuration of the US Air Fleets and saved untold billions in the process.
Cancel F-35 production but continue F-22 production for the Air Force and allies. Procurement cost of the F-22 was already coming down rapidly, a
production run of more than 500 F-22 would result in the F-22 costing much, much less than all those LRIP F-35s being procured these days. The F-22s
would have replaced the entire F-15C/D fleet, while the Legacy F-16 fleet would have gradually upgraded with newly purchased, cost effective, risk
free F-16 Block 60. Sustaining them is not an issue, the F-16 is a proven, well understood airframe and the relevant support infrastructure is already
Long term you'd switch to an Hi/Lo UCAV mix - something like MQ-9 / Avenger C on the low end and an 'MQ-180' at the high end of the threat
Further down the road there would have been a longer ranged strike aircraft, not unlike what is PCA today. An enlarged F-22 /X-44 would have been an
ideal candidate for that. It also could eventually replace the F-15Es. This takes care of the Air Force. An affordable number of Stealth Jets backed
up by a smaller number of long range strike aircraft and the B-21 of course, while the backbone is composed of dirt cheap Legacy Jets. The simply
truth is: You do not need 5th Gen to bomb some Middle Eastern country. And you cant use more thana couple of dozen short legged fighter jets against
China anyway, you simply don’t have the tanker and airfield capacity for it.
The Navy should have switched to an entirely -18 based fleet, accelerate purchase of Block 3 and commit to UCLASS as an actual UCAV. One fighter jet
airframe on the carriers, this is how you build an affordable fleet capable of prolonged wartime service. You think the Navy will be able to afford
F-35 squadrons on continuous wartime service for better part of two decades like the Hornet has seen since 2001? Good luck with that.
As for the Marines, do two things A) give them the phone number of the Navy and Air Force to call in the event of them needing CAS and B) introduce
them to the concept of navalized attack helicopters. They don’t need freaking fighter jets too.
This is how you create affordable solutions. Build on what you have, utilize existing systems to the maximum, never put your eggs in one basket by
pursuing defense programs too big to fail.
But i'm sure if the US only procures enough F-35s, at some point magic will happen, the budget will be balanced and they will fight China with a
thousand fighter jets backed up by hundreds upon hundreds of stealth tankers the Chinese will never touch at all. Because MAGA. Or something.