Defense Secretary Gates Sacks F-35 Project Manager


New Member
Just read this on's "Danger Room":

If the Pentagon doesn’t get its Joint Strike Fighter just right, the U.S. military is screwed. Which is why its a such serious, serious problem this stealthy, all-purpose jet has had such a “troubling performance record,” according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Things have gone so wrong that Gates just announced he’s sacking the head of the star-crossed, nearly $350 billion program and is withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in performance fees to JSF-maker Lockheed Martin. “When things go wrong, people will be held accountable,” Gates told reporters...
Gates Sacks Stealth Jet Chief...

My apologies, I'm new here and didn't include my (limited) perspective on the subject. The Wired article mentions the problem of the F-35 vertical take-off burning a hole in flight-decks. Maybe (again) my limited knowledge is to blame, but didn't "they" realize the amount of thrust that would have been required to lift the F-35 from the start?

Also, in the linked Bloomberg article, a "strength shortfall" in the center fuselage is mentioned, which to put it bluntly sounds more like it is weak. Does anybody know why the aluminum structure would be so fragile?

I wish the three-star officer that is inheriting this project the best of luck!
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F-15 Eagle

New Member
Thank god for that, those greedy bastards at LM should all get fired. I have no sympathy for LM. This is a government contract and the entire future of US military air power rests on the F-35. LM needs to get their act together and what Gates did was a step in the right direction. :D :finger


New Member
Cost overruns seem part and parcel of the US militaries procurement system. A company puts a tender in for 20% below costs, promises to create jobs in a state with a senator with clout, sends some ex generals it has put on its payroll to lobby for it, calling in favours from past contacts, and wins the tender.

Then a couple of years down the track it goes to the government cup in hand needing more money due to unforeseen costs and the program is finally delivered late and well over budget. The company makes its profit, the lobbyists are well paid, the senator gets his jobs and their votes, senior military and government officials are promised gold plated jobs when they retire, win win.

The cost has probably caused congress to cut back on its original numbers pushing prices even higher, it may even be canceled due to the cost overuns, The taxpayer is screwed, the soldier/sailor/airmen gets a piece of kit that was dubious in its procurement and may not have been the best design for the task, or he is left with old kit when the program costing billions is canceled. Europe probably isn't much better, seeing the fiasco with the A380, the A400M etc.
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