Will The F-35 Become A Fighter Drone?

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posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 12:35 PM
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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:

  1. The out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35A is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft.
  2. 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.
  3. Reduced pilot situational awareness during an emergency.
  4. Likelihood of a pilot in distress becoming unable to escape his aircraft during an emergency — or perhaps drowning in event of an evacuation over water.
  5. Deficiencies regarding the F-35 pilot’s helmet-mounted display.
  6. 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 project" 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




posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 12:51 PM
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In all reality, that is probably the method they will use to save the project. I don't know if they have sorted out all of the current issues, I know they are still testing them, because I live near an air base that is the home for the F-35, and I see them flying around a lot still. I think we have four F-35 here for testing.

That would be the only viable way for them to actually put those billions of dollars to good use.. I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with that plan completely, but it would definitely be part of a cutting edge military... So as long as they don't use them on US citizens, and use them only to protect us from REAL threats, not the BS they try and push, I wouldn't see a problem with it personally.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 12:52 PM
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The unmanned F-35 idea has been around since the start of the program. There was an unmanned version that was being developed before they even flew the first F-35. Lockheed won the contract for the program, by concentrating on a manned version (which was the requirement), but Skunkworks from the start had ideas to make it an unmanned platform as well. They even developed a system that would allow 2 F-35s and F-22s to control up to four unmanned F-35s.

Although the proper thread title should be "Will the F-35 become an unmanned fighter?" instead of what it is. There is nothing that says that it's going to be, and if it were to become one it wouldn't be for some time yet. They still have a long way to go in the testing program before they're even close to ready to convert it.
edit on 3/10/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:03 PM
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The F35 a drone...?

Yea... ok...



(cue terminator music - dum-dum . dum dum-dum - wah-wah-waahhh wahhh-wah-waaaahh)



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by eXia7
In all reality, that is probably the method they will use to save the project. I don't know if they have sorted out all of the current issues, I know they are still testing them, because I live near an air base that is the home for the F-35, and I see them flying around a lot still. I think we have four F-35 here for testing.

That would be the only viable way for them to actually put those billions of dollars to good use.. I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with that plan completely, but it would definitely be part of a cutting edge military... So as long as they don't use them on US citizens, and use them only to protect us from REAL threats, not the BS they try and push, I wouldn't see a problem with it personally.


Then Iran comes along and "hack" all of them simultaneously once they enter Iranian airspace, Well at least it saves them the money of buying their own.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:05 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Wouldn't the point be that there will be very little conversion necessary? It sounds like it may already be a drone... Just with a piddly insufficient nook carved out for a pilot.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by CrikeyMagnet
 


It's more than just some lines of software. They have to remove the life support systems, install the new communication antennas, the control interfaces, etc. It can be done (see the QF-4 and QF-16), but they have to get through the testing program first. They're a long way from trying to add the complexity of converting it to a UAV.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:16 PM
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Wouldn't it make more sense to have something a little less expensive as a drone fighter? A mass of cheaper drone fighters would be more effective than a few high cost ones...
Just a thought more than anything researched.
It just seems to me that the F35 program has been very costly.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:18 PM
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reply to post by Badgered1
 


It's justification, that's all. Like I said this idea has been around since at least 2006. Now that costs are spiraling higher and higher, they can say "Well we can make it unmanned, and save a lot of money", and it'll get studied, and never happen. Or won't happen for awhile yet.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:26 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


You are right of course. I've changed the title as my post is more prediction or speculation based on some facts, and a gut feeling. I'm rather confident that time will prove me right however. We shall see



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:28 PM
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reply to post by zigguratvertigo
 


I've had this same discussion with some others that think either it's going to go unmanned, or that it's going to "fail" and all the extra money has been used to produce something else that will step up and take its place.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:39 PM
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F-35 and its (international deal and co-ops) WAS and still IS a sham..

As Norwegian (like I said billions of times… years ago) that we would have been in much better shape if we had JAS -39 deal instead of this (NOT flying) brick.

Billions of dollars by Norwegian government wasted on this (by the order of the USA)….!



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:42 PM
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reply to post by amkia
 


The JAS-39 has its own problems. It's a nice plane, but the issues in buying it are numerous as well, from building capability to support capability. It won't have the problems that the F-35 is currently having, but if you can't get the support for it that you need, then you're just as much up the creek as you are with an F-35.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 07:12 PM
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reply to post by zigguratvertigo
 


Drones are the future........ we can build airplanes capable of more than a human pilot can physically stand. Why wouldn't the military want a platform to outperform others simply by the fact of not having a human in the cockpit?? It's just a matter of real-time technology catching up with the possibilities.... I am 100% certain they are working on making things like this a reality.



posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:05 PM
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My memory is crap and I've decided to hijack this thread to ask the question, before the F-35 was crowned the winner of the next gen fighter what was the other planes in contention with it



posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:08 PM
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reply to post by ThePeaceMaker
 


The Boeing X-32. One of the ugliest planes ever built and flown.




One of the theories I've heard is that they deliberately threw the competition to funnel the money into a black project.



posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:17 PM
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The problems quoted aren't the real problems. They are immaturity issues due to the version being flown being an early block.

It was obvious from day one that conventional visibility from the F-35 would be limited. The payoff is that when the EODAS is working the pilot will have full visibility in all directions, including looking through the airframe. That will be made to work although it may be late.

The real problem is that the clever bits (EODAS, APG-81) could just as easily be fitted on a non stealthy fighter design with better speed and agility. Its not anything special in those regards and is notably less agile or fast than the best of the last gen.

The only thing it has that others don't have and cant be retrofit with is limited stealth. I'm not convinced thats worth the penalties elsewhere.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 03:56 PM
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Why Not! They already spent 400 billion on the project already! Might as well piss away another 400 billion of our money. Oh remember our tax deadline is April 15th!!
edit on 15-3-2013 by Metha-Don because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 22 2013 @ 12:14 PM
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The British government has bought into (or forced into) this white elephant project selling our harriers leaving us with two brand new aircraft carriers with no aircraft until theF22 is avaliable which will be years if ever when we could have bought the Dassault Rafale which are up and running now.... its a discrace



posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 10:05 AM
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reply to post by zigguratvertigo
 
rather than make our new stuff into drone's,why not take what we have mothballed away and recycle those into drones? We've got some really neat stuff stashed out here in Arizona





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