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The U.S. Air Force Just Admitted The F-35 Stealth Fighter Has Failed - Forbes

Chacha_Facebooka

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The U.S. Air Force’s top officer wants the service to develop an affordable, lightweight fighter to replace hundreds of Cold War-vintage F-16s and complement a small fleet of sophisticated—but costly and unreliable—stealth fighters.

The result would be a high-low mix of expensive “fifth-generation” F-22s and F-35s and inexpensive “fifth-generation-minus” jets, explained Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown Jr.

If that plan sounds familiar, it’s because the Air Force a generation ago launched development of an affordable, lightweight fighter to replace hundreds of Cold War-vintage F-16s and complement a small future fleet of sophisticated—but costly and unreliable—stealth fighters.

But over 20 years of R&D, that lightweight replacement fighter got heavier and more expensive as the Air Force and lead contractor Lockheed Martin LMT +1.7% packed it with more and more new technology.

Yes, we’re talking about the F-35. The 25-ton stealth warplane has become the very problem it was supposed to solve. And now America needs a new fighter to solve that F-35 problem, officials said.

With a sticker price of around $100 million per plane, including the engine, the F-35 is expensive. While stealthy and brimming with high-tech sensors, it’s also maintenance-intensive, buggy and unreliable. “The F-35 is not a low-cost, lightweight fighter,” said Dan Ward, a former Air Force program manager and the author of popular business books including The Simplicity Cycle.
The F-35 is a Ferrari, Brown told reporters last Wednesday. “You don’t drive your Ferrari to work every day, you only drive it on Sundays. This is our ‘high end’ [fighter], we want to make sure we don’t use it all for the low-end fight.”

“I want to moderate how much we’re using those aircraft,” Brown said.

Hence the need for a new low-end fighter to pick up the slack in day-to-day operations. Today, the Air Force’s roughly 1,000 F-16s meet that need. But the flying branch hasn’t bought a new F-16 from Lockheed since 2001. The F-16s are old.

In his last interview before leaving his post in January, Will Roper, the Air Force’s top acquisition official, floated the idea of new F-16 orders. But Brown shot down the idea, saying he doesn’t want more of the classic planes.

The 17-ton, non-stealthy F-16 is too difficult to upgrade with the latest software, Brown explained. Instead of ordering fresh F-16s, he said, the Air Force should initiate a “clean-sheet design” for a new low-end fighter.

Brown’s comments are a tacit admission that the F-35 has failed. As conceived in the 1990s, the program was supposed to produce thousands of fighters to displace almost all of the existing tactical warplanes in the inventories of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

The Air Force alone wanted nearly 1,800 F-35s to replace aging F-16s and A-10s and constitute the low end of a low-high fighter mix, with 180 twin-engine F-22s making up the high end.

But the Air Force and Lockheed baked failure into the F-35’s very concept. “They tried to make the F-35 do too much,” said Dan Grazier, an analyst with the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, D.C.

There’s a small-wing version for land-based operations, a big-wing version for the Navy’s catapult-equipped aircraft carriers and, for the small-deck assault ships the Marines ride in, a vertical-landing model with a downward-blasting lift engine.

The complexity added cost. Rising costs imposed delays. Delays gave developers more time to add yet more complexity to the design. Those additions added more cost. Those costs resulted in more delays. So on and so forth.

Fifteen years after the F-35’s first flight, the Air Force has just 250 of the jets. Now the service is signaling possible cuts to the program. It’s not for no reason that Brown has begun characterizing the F-35 as a boutique, high-end fighter in the class of the F-22. The Air Force ended F-22 production after completing just 195 copies.

“The F-35 is approaching a crossroads,” Grazier said.

Pentagon leaders have hinted that, as part of the U.S. military’s shift in focus toward peer threats—that is, Russia and China—the Navy and Air Force might get bigger shares of the U.S. military’s roughly $700-billion annual budget. All at the Army’s expense.

“If we’re going to pull the trigger on a new fighter, now’s probably the time,” Grazier said. The Air Force could end F-35 production after just a few hundred examples and redirect tens of billions of dollars to a new fighter program.

But it’s an open question whether the Air Force will ever succeed in developing a light, cheap fighter. The new low-end jet could suffer the same fate as the last low-end jet—the F-35—and steadily gain weight, complexity and cost until it becomes, well, a high-end jet.

If that happens, as it’s happened before, then some future Air Force chief of staff might tell reporters—in, say, the year 2041—that the new F-36 is a Ferrari and you don’t drive your Ferrari to work every day.

To finally replace its 60-year-old F-16s, this future general might say, the Air Force should develop an affordable, lightweight fighter.

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GumNaam

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China should troll the u.s. by offering the J31s! :lol:

somebody slap this article across that indian bhatard abhijit iyer-mitra's face who was having rectal orgasms just talking about the wonderfulness of the f35!
 
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Prince Kassad

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This article is bullshit. It is written by David Axe, and well known partisan who has been publishing anti-f35 lies for years. Simply google his name and "f35" and "bias" and you'll find thousands of people debunking his garbage.
 

GumNaam

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David Axe is a F-35 hater in my opinion like our very own @BON PLAN aka @Dac O Dac
This article is bullshit. It is written by David Axe, and well known partisan who has been publishing anti-f35 lies for years. Simply google his name and "f35" and "bias" and you'll find thousands of people debunking his garbage.
all the experts are wrong but you fan boys are right, okay dudes, whatever you say... :disagree:
 

Khan vilatey

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Why not offer jf-17s or j-10CE.

the Americans could start with jf-17 block 4 with a GE/PW engine ,APG -76

reinforced wings with configurable fuel tanks

And a lot of cheaper composites

At 45 millions a piece it would meet all US needs at the fraction of the cost



K
 

GumNaam

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Why not offer jf-17s or j-10CE.

the Americans could start with jf-17 block 4 with a GE/PW engine ,APG -76

reinforced wings with configurable fuel tanks

And a lot of cheaper composites

At 45 millions a piece it would meet all US needs at the fraction of the cost



K
No I'm afraid not, Pakistan has placed its own pressler amendment sanctions on the united states. :lol:
 

Khan vilatey

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No I'm afraid not, Pakistan has placed its own pressler amendment sanctions on the united states. :lol:
Maybe they will buy the tejas, it already has GE engine, isreali radar, American avionics ...... but no users.............. 😂


I would love to be a fly on the wall in that presentation. This plane has been on the drawing board for 40 years uses 60% of international components and has and no possible upgrades!

it also costs 80 million / piece compared to block 70s 80 million

k
 

dbc

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all the experts are wrong but you fan boys are right, okay dudes, whatever you say... :disagree:
Did David Axe or Pierre Sprey ever fly the F-35? I prefer to listen to the folks that operate the thing .
As a spouse of a retired naval aviator I know plenty of people that have actually flown the bird.
How about you? Is a video from an old 80 something dinosaur enough for you?
Someone who has never flown a fighter aircraft; never mind the F-35.

Neither David Axe or Sprey are experts in my opinion.
Would you value the opinion of a Formula 1 driver like Hamilton or Verstappen over someone who once saw a Formula 1 race at Silverstone?

..yeah sure buddy whatever you say ... :lol:
 

GumNaam

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Did David Axe or Pierre Sprey ever fly the F-35? I prefer to listen to the folks that operate the thing .
As a spouse of a retired naval aviator I know plenty of people that have actually flown the bird.
How about you? Is a video from an old 80 something dinosaur enough for you?
Someone who has never flown a fighter aircraft; never mind the F-35.

Neither David Axe or Sprey are experts in my opinion.
Would you value the opinion of a Formula 1 driver like Hamilton or Verstappen over someone who once saw a Formula 1 race at Silverstone?

..yeah sure buddy whatever you say ... :lol:
sprey is not an expert??? this guy was the chief engineer in charge of designing the F16, you do know that right?

the entire problem is with this "paradigm shift" that everyone keeps talking about that concentration has "shifted" from being fast & turning faster to being network centric and being aware of everything in the battle theatre while staying a safe distance away...the fatal problem with that approach is that against advanced nations like China and Russia and Europe, they just have to jam your sensors which can ALSO be done from a safe distance. once the network centricity is blinded...the f35 is a sitting duck that can't even compete with a flying brick with an engine and a gun!
^^^ here's the real reason why a dud like the f35 is being shoved down your throats (and one of the reasons why the military industrial complex turned against trump). watch and edumacate yourself.
 
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Knight Rider

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Did David Axe or Pierre Sprey ever fly the F-35? I prefer to listen to the folks that operate the thing .
As a spouse of a retired naval aviator I know plenty of people that have actually flown the bird.
?
Someone who has never flown a fighter aircraft; never mind the F-35.

Neither David Axe or Sprey are experts in my opinion.
Would you value the opinion of a Formula 1 driver like Hamilton or Verstappen over someone who once saw a Formula 1 race at Silverstone?

..yeah sure buddy whatever you say ... :lol:
The video is 4 years old. Its present on youtube.
Just write "F-35 THE FAILURE or The Flying Lemon" and its come up. :enjoy:
 

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