I'm not a big fan of the F-35, probably never will be, but the platform itself is not the problem, it's how its being managed and the rolls it's being
"Open Source" isn't really necessary - or all that big of an obstacle. It's a decade old technology that could be out-done by a distributed
network of smart phones (I'm exaggerating slightly). The real challenges lay in the programming and the actual IR/radar/etc technologies. The data
processing end of it is child's play in today's world of buku-flops and memory.
First, the technology is not a decade old, it was started a decade ago. You really like to simplify the difficulty of implementing hardware and
software aviation packages in the world of government funding bureaucracy and military aircraft.
I have few details on the F-35s software, but if a product is open source, upgrades will go smoother. The current HMD and IRST are tailor made for the
F-35. Yes, it could be transferred, but it takes time and money. I never said it isn't going to happen, but it isn't happening any time soon.
Take a look at today's aircraft - simply look at the different demands placed upon the F-16 and the F-18 - two aircraft bred from the same
light-fighter competition. Look even further at the differences between the F-14 and the F-15 - two aircraft with similar roles but working in two
completely different environments.
Sure - parts-commonality is good when you can actually make use of it - but to make the same airframe attempt to conform to so many different demands
is stupid, to be blunt. You will be decades and trillions into developing a fighter to service the needs of a defense system that is 20 years in the
Parts commonality could save billions in the long run. A, B, and C are being developed side by side, I would say having made three highly technical
and different aircraft to fill different rolls in a decade is a very big accomplishment. Plus, parts commonality was successfully implemented. All
three variants are not the same aircraft or airframe, and have many distinct differences in their design to better fit their rolls.
Here's the bad side of this concept, the F-35 could be considered outdated before it even enters service. The F-35s airframe is not capable enough to
handle today's threats. It was a BVR centric design based on what was learned in the first Gulf War and Kosovo. I will get to this at the end of this
I'm not sure I follow your statement - the problem, here, is that the U.S. has lost anything that resembles control over mission creep. We
treat our aircraft like we treat a piece of legislation - "Oh, let's make this Advanced TACTICAL FIGHTER fill a light bomber role! It can replace the
F-15E, too!" - That's part of what killed the raptor program, they couldn't help but attach all kinds of completely contradictory roles to the
aircraft and felt they had to justify its existence in a world where the threat the ATF was meant to counter no longer existed.
The very same thing is happening with the JSF - except the program to create it sprang from the collapse of the raptor program. Rather than doom an
aircraft to a perpetual identity crisis - they decided a program dedicated to developing an entire fleet of airframes out of that identity crisis was
a better use of tax payer dollars.
To understand "evolution through revolution" and vise verse, you have to look at military development during the Cold War, when it was the most
If you chronologically line up different assets both the Soviets and the US fielded, you will notice a very clear and distinct difference in the
evolution of the designs. The soviets made more cautious baby-steps, most obvious being the T-90s family. The US seems to erratically jump around with
technology and layouts, but both seem to get to the same location at the same time, but in different ways. Sometimes it's good, for instance, with the
M1A1 Abrams and the AH-1, sometimes its bad, like the F-35. Of course, this rule isn't 100%, i.e. Mi-24, but is generally the case in military design
between to to largest competitors at the time.
Let me reiterate this point, I do not like the F-35s identity crisis, I want 500-1000+ F-22s with F-35 electronics. The two good things that came from
the project are the HMD, and the parts sharing. The Pentagon failed, but it is not a perfect world.
Back to the F-35s inadequacies in performance with respect to the airframe. The US managed to beat soviet hand me down aircraft in the BVR
environment, and for some reason, they assumed their enemy wouldn't adapt. In terms of capability, the major players like China, India, and Russia are
all balancing out slowly with the US. Advancements from China and Russia have shown twin engine high performance aircraft are not dead, and the bar
needs to be raised in the US. Future aircraft will require high performance engines to evade long range air-to-air missiles, engines the F-35 does not
have, and the PAK FA, F-22, and maybe J-20 do.
On a second note, I just read Israel wants to add TROPHY APS on some helicopters, this is a groundbreaking advancement in aviation survivability. APS
was never really was valued because a $3-12 million piece of equipment was not worth the extra $300k to protect it (hard pill to swallow, but it's
true in the eyes of the higher-ups). However $35+ million attack helicopter is, and inevitably a $100+ million aircraft will definitely be worth
protecting. Hard-kill missile systems will be the future, and they're only a few years away. This might make BVR-only a dangerous game to play if you
rely on your AIM 120 getting the shoot down. Currently speculation, but the next few decades might be balls to the wall, gun and WVR only combat if
APS finds it way onto aircraft to complement stealth.
I generally do not disagree with what you're saying, In fact I share your opinion on most of these issues regarding the Lighting II, if my responses
come of as a little harsh, I apologize upfront.
edit on 16/7/11 by ZIVONIC because: (no reason given)