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Is the F-35 doomed?

This is a discussion on Is the F-35 doomed? within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; It seems that the F-35 is getting a lot of bad press lately, and there is no question that some ...


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Old November 11th, 2009   #1
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Is the F-35 doomed?

It seems that the F-35 is getting a lot of bad press lately, and there is no question that some of it is justified (the cost keeps going up and the delays are mounting). This article is quite damning:

Winslow T. Wheeler: The Self-Dismembering F-35

Here's a quote: "At 49,500 pounds in air-to-air take-off weight with an engine rated at 42,000 pounds of thrust, it will be a significant step backward in thrust-to-weight and acceleration for a new fighter. In fact, at that weight and with just 460 square feet of wing area for the Air Force and Marine Corps versions, the F-35's small wings will be loaded with 108 pounds for every square foot, one third worse than the F-16A. (Wings that are large relative to weight are crucial for maneuvering and surviving in combat.) The F-35 is, in fact, considerably less maneuverable than the appallingly vulnerable F-105 "Lead Sled," a fighter that proved helpless in dogfights against MiGs over North Vietnam. (A chilling note: most of the Air Force's fleet of F-105s was lost in four years of bombing; one hundred pilots were lost in just six months.)

Nor is the F-35 a first class bomber for all that cost: in its stealthy mode it carries only a 4,000 pound payload, one third the 12,000 pounds carried by the "Lead Sled."

As a "close air support" ground-attack aircraft to help US troops engaged in combat, the F-35 is too fast to identify the targets it is shooting at; too delicate and flammable to withstand ground fire, and too short-legged to loiter usefully over embattled US ground units for sustained periods. It is a giant step backward from the current A-10"

Is the F35 destined to be an all-time mega-expensive failure? Should partner countries start looking at other options? Your thoughtful comments, please.
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Old November 11th, 2009   #2
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It is certainly not doomed.

I suggest you read some of the threads on F-35 on this forum. I think you will find plenty of information that demonstrate to you that it is far from doomed, and also why that is so.

You will also find some critisism of the person that wrote the article that you qouted... It's not the first time he critisise the F-35.
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Old November 11th, 2009   #3
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It sounds like someone regurgitated a Kopp "analysis".
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Old November 11th, 2009   #4
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It sounds like someone regurgitated a Kopp "analysis".
Not that wackjob again. Nether one of those guys knows what they are talking about. I think it was wrong to cut off the F-22 production at 187 planes and I think its also wrong to cut back of the F-35. They need the F-35. Those guys rather see the air force fleet crumble by not replacing the 25-40 year old F-15s and F-16s.

Edit: Why in the hell do people get this idea that the F-35 and F-105 are related? They are too different jets from a completely different era.

The F-35 is more like a F-22 that can do the job of both the F-15 and F-16/F18.
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Old November 11th, 2009   #5
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I could understand the US wanting to keep the F35 at almost all costs but if it was such a rubbish aircraft why would the export customers buy it? They can't have all been fooled by the term 5th Gen.
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Old November 11th, 2009   #6
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I could understand the US wanting to keep the F35 at almost all costs but if it was such a rubbish aircraft why would the export customers buy it? They can't have all been fooled by the term 5th Gen.
Pro-tip: it's actually not a rubbish aircraft. The poster just doesn't know his stuff.
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Old November 11th, 2009   #7
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I could understand the US wanting to keep the F35 at almost all costs but if it was such a rubbish aircraft why would the export customers buy it? They can't have all been fooled by the term 5th Gen.
Maybe because those who're actually doing the buying know it isn't a rubbish aircraft?

Quote:
It seems that the F-35 is getting a lot of bad press lately, and there is no question that some of it is justified (the cost keeps going up and the delays are mounting). This article is quite damning:

Winslow T. Wheeler: The Self-Dismembering F-35

Here's a quote: "At 49,500 pounds in air-to-air take-off weight with an engine rated at 42,000 pounds of thrust, it will be a significant step backward in thrust-to-weight and acceleration for a new fighter. In fact, at that weight and with just 460 square feet of wing area for the Air Force and Marine Corps versions, the F-35's small wings will be loaded with 108 pounds for every square foot, one third worse than the F-16A. (Wings that are large relative to weight are crucial for maneuvering and surviving in combat.) The F-35 is, in fact, considerably less maneuverable than the appallingly vulnerable F-105 "Lead Sled," a fighter that proved helpless in dogfights against MiGs over North Vietnam. (A chilling note: most of the Air Force's fleet of F-105s was lost in four years of bombing; one hundred pilots were lost in just six months.)
I find those argument that the F-35 will suck at dogfighting ridiculous. Stealth isn't just good for avoiding long range detection, but missile locks as well.
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Nor is the F-35 a first class bomber for all that cost: in its stealthy mode it carries only a 4,000 pound payload, one third the 12,000 pounds carried by the "Lead Sled."
At worst, if it needs to carry a heavier payload it can carry them externally. External stealth pods aside, it can also go into an area after the air force achieves air superiority. which means it doesn't need to worry about compromising its stealth.
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As a "close air support" ground-attack aircraft to help US troops engaged in combat, the F-35 is too fast to identify the targets it is shooting at; too delicate and flammable to withstand ground fire, and too short-legged to loiter usefully over embattled US ground units for sustained periods. It is a giant step backward from the current A-10"
Maybe it can fly slower, or maybe its sensors are much better at getting a lock at further distances outside the range of weapons that can endanger it.
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Is the F35 destined to be an all-time mega-expensive failure? Should partner countries start looking at other options? Your thoughtful comments, please.
No.
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Old November 11th, 2009   #8
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Originally Posted by djpav View Post
It seems that the F-35 is getting a lot of bad press lately, and there is no question that some of it is justified (the cost keeps going up and the delays are mounting). This article is quite damning:

Winslow T. Wheeler: The Self-Dismembering F-35

Here's a quote: "At 49,500 pounds in air-to-air take-off weight with an engine rated at 42,000 pounds of thrust, it will be a significant step backward in thrust-to-weight and acceleration for a new fighter. In fact, at that weight and with just 460 square feet of wing area for the Air Force and Marine Corps versions, the F-35's small wings will be loaded with 108 pounds for every square foot, one third worse than the F-16A. (Wings that are large relative to weight are crucial for maneuvering and surviving in combat.) The F-35 is, in fact, considerably less maneuverable than the appallingly vulnerable F-105 "Lead Sled," a fighter that proved helpless in dogfights against MiGs over North Vietnam. (A chilling note: most of the Air Force's fleet of F-105s was lost in four years of bombing; one hundred pilots were lost in just six months.)

Nor is the F-35 a first class bomber for all that cost: in its stealthy mode it carries only a 4,000 pound payload, one third the 12,000 pounds carried by the "Lead Sled."

As a "close air support" ground-attack aircraft to help US troops engaged in combat, the F-35 is too fast to identify the targets it is shooting at; too delicate and flammable to withstand ground fire, and too short-legged to loiter usefully over embattled US ground units for sustained periods. It is a giant step backward from the current A-10"

Is the F35 destined to be an all-time mega-expensive failure? Should partner countries start looking at other options? Your thoughtful comments, please.
Consider that all reliable evidence suggests that the F-35 has been designed with F-16 and F/A-18-like performances. In fact, the F-35 will out perform these in a tactical loadout, some of which has has already been demonstrated (climb out). Wheeler seems to be forgetting that the 49k take-off weight is with a huge 0.4 fuel fraction and no aerodynamic penalties. Expect the F-35 to be a sprinter once down to it's maneuvering weight. And it's stealthy.

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Old November 11th, 2009   #9
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If the F-35 was a POS, all of the nations would have pulled out of buying the aircraft, including the USA. NONE HAVE! What a load of tripe!

LM is building them on time and on budget. Development may have been delayed a year or two, but with a new aircraft and new technology engineering has to be done before the program proceeds. In fact, of all of the most recent new aircraft, the development delays for the F-35 have been the LEAST by far.... At the moment I know of no building program delays....
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Old November 12th, 2009   #10
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Not that wackjob again. Nether one of those guys knows what they are talking about.
Actually they do know what they are talking about for the most part, that’s the worst thing. They are out there deliberately misleading people.

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I think it was wrong to cut off the F-22 production at 187 planes and I think its also wrong to cut back of the F-35. They need the F-35. Those guys rather see the air force fleet crumble by not replacing the 25-40 year old F-15s and F-16s.
You can blame LM for the F-22A, they screwed the pooch on that one. In 10 years half of that small fleet won’t be able to conduct air superiority missions (what the platform was designed for) because of software obsolescence and the fact that upgrades designed for the newer end of the fleet can not be applied to the older platforms.

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Edit: Why in the hell do people get this idea that the F-35 and F-105 are related? They are too different jets from a completely different era.
Because in terms of airframe design, weight and to an extent the platforms intended roll they are similar. But to use that to make judgements on the F-35A's capability fundamentally misunderstands (or misrepresents) the nature of the battle-space the F-35A will be operating in. Just the F-35A's sensor and weapons package makes it more lethal than any other non F-22A platform yet devised. You could put that sensor/weapon combination on an F-16 and it would be more capable than the USAF's F-15C fleet. Battle isn’t just about instantaneous turn rates and energy management any more, information dominance is the name of the game and from that perspective the F-35A is a killer.
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Old November 12th, 2009   #11
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If the F-35 was a POS, all of the nations would have pulled out of buying the aircraft, including the USA. NONE HAVE! What a load of tripe!

LM is building them on time and on budget. Development may have been delayed a year or two, but with a new aircraft and new technology engineering has to be done before the program proceeds. In fact, of all of the most recent new aircraft, the development delays for the F-35 have been the LEAST by far.... At the moment I know of no building program delays....
EVERY new platform has delays. LM is performing well on the JSF program; IIRC the F-22A had HEAPS of problems in SDD. They lost an airframe due to a bug in the flight control software.
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Old November 12th, 2009   #12
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If the F-35 was a POS, all of the nations would have pulled out of buying the aircraft, including the USA. NONE HAVE! What a load of tripe!

LM is building them on time and on budget. Development may have been delayed a year or two, but with a new aircraft and new technology engineering has to be done before the program proceeds. In fact, of all of the most recent new aircraft, the development delays for the F-35 have been the LEAST by far.... At the moment I know of no building program delays....
Agree that delays have been minor compared to other programs.

However there have been some delays, and I would be surprised if there will not be more:

F-35 changes sought to avert more problems

Most likely both timelines and budget will grow. But this is normal!

If you want to talk delays in military aviation, look at the A400... Or the NH90.... And I think also the Eurofighter Typhoon had some delays. F22 has been mentioned. Etc..
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Old November 12th, 2009   #13
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It's way too early to completely write the F-35 off as a dud.
Let's give it at least a couple of years more before we do that.
It has proven to be a very interesting project to follow, especially
since my tax money do not fund it.
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Old November 12th, 2009   #14
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Originally Posted by djpav View Post
It seems that the F-35 is getting a lot of bad press lately, and there is no question that some of it is justified (the cost keeps going up and the delays are mounting). This article is quite damning:

Winslow T. Wheeler: The Self-Dismembering F-35

[..]

Nor is the F-35 a first class bomber for all that cost: in its stealthy mode it carries only a 4,000 pound payload, one third the 12,000 pounds carried by the "Lead Sled."
Couple of more remarks.

Actually, the F-35 will take 5700 lb of internal weapons, pull 9G's with that, and carry well over 18000 pounds if including the wing stations.

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Originally Posted by djpav View Post
As a "close air support" ground-attack aircraft to help US troops engaged in combat, the F-35 is too fast to identify the targets it is shooting at; too delicate and flammable to withstand ground fire, and too short-legged to loiter usefully over embattled US ground units for sustained periods. It is a giant step backward from the current A-10"
Wheeler is comparing against the spesific requirements of the 1970-1980s. The F-35 probably wont replace the A-10 in some narrow tactical niches, but it will probably more than make up for that due to its vastly longer sensor reach, self protection, network and data fusion. Sure the A-10 can do repeated strafes, but it also has a slower resonse time. What works best will depend on the conflict, type of mission and quality of the operational planning as much as the technical abilties of the platform in question.

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Old November 12th, 2009   #15
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Sprey, Wheeler et al. wants something radically different from todays concept of air power - check attachments and link to get an idea of what Sprey-Wheeler world looks like.

In short:

anything larger than an F-16 = bad
advanced avionics, radars in particular = bad
LO = bad
BVR = bad

Pierre Sprey's ideal US airpower fleet - The DEW Line
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File Type: png wheeler2.PNG (59.8 KB, 38 views)
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