The F-35 has been in the main stream news for months now, and to be honest, I haven't taken much notice. Fighter jets are not an interest of mine. I
remember reading a news post (last year?) saying there were problems with the oxygen systems on the F-22 and F-35 and thinking... how do you get
something like that wrong? Technology has a natural progression. You build on past work. Getting something like this wrong seemed odd to me.
Then I read a news article on FT.com on the 8th:
Pentagon: F-35 won't have a chance in real combat
A "leaked memo" from the Defense Department’s director of the Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff saying there were issues with the F-35. Well, lets have a look at the points:
- The out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35A is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft.
- The head rest is too large and will impede aft [rear] visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements... Aft visibility could turn
out to be a significant problem for all F-35 pilots in the future.
- Reduced pilot situational awareness during an emergency.
- Likelihood of a pilot in distress becoming unable to escape his aircraft during an emergency — or perhaps drowning in event of an evacuation
- Deficiencies regarding the F-35 pilot’s helmet-mounted display.
- There is no confidence that the pilot can perform critical tasks safely.
Not forgetting those pesky oxygen problems. Again, how do you get something like the out-of-cockpit visibility wrong... or the headrest? Those
dimensions would have been known before manufacturing a single part.
So, what is the connecting factor with these problems. That's right... the pilot
. Remove the pilot and most of the problems go away. Turns out,
Lockheed have been developing an unmanned F-35 Jet since 2006.
Lockheed developing unmanned F-35 jet
I see the recent "leaked memo" as government seed planting. The Obama administration can be seen at some stage as "saving the doomed F-35
by converting the fighter jet into a drone. Possibly one that is semi or completely autonomous. Having an advanced fighter jet flying
overhead piloted by a computer program might scare a lot of people, so they roll the idea out slowly on the public, and give it some spin.
Incidentally John Pike of globalsecurity.org also went on the record in the March edition of National Geographic saying he suspects the F-35 Lightning
II might be "the last fighter with an ejector seat, and might get converted into and a drone itself."
edit on 10-3-2013 by zigguratvertigo because: Title correction