Monday, August 20, 2012

F-35 critics need to update their 2008 era song and dance

Its becoming boring to see the same old arguments each and every time some critic speaks out.  Especially when most of those arguments are so dated they’re not worth reading.  Have they run out of reasons to oppose the aircraft?

The latest example can be found here.  The critic in question calls an article that is way too pro F-35 for his taste, “embarrassing”.

Actually, this is embarrassing, or should be:

The Yuma Sun newspaper published a column by Marine Corps public affairs officer Staci Reidinger after she toured the Texas factory producing Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. No mention of the JSF program’s years of delays and rising costs, its reliability and performance problems and the fact that the Marines’ slavish dedication to the flawed stealth fighter means the Corps risks losing its ability to fight in the air.

No mention by the critic of the rising sortie rate at Eglin which speaks directly against the ancient “reliability” jab. Does he not know?  No mention of the test results showing the aircraft well ahead of schedule which punches the dated “delays” meme in the head. Has he missed that?

Performance problems?  Not in anything anyone has written about it lately.  In fact, most of the people who’ve actually flown the aircraft, instead of grousing about it from the ground, are quite impressed with its performance.  Yes, believe it or not, there are actually lots of fighter pilots, to include Marines, flying it today and they love it.

He’s also not at all up on the culture change this advanced aircraft promises among pilots and war planners.  If he was he wouldn’t be making the claim that the Corps “risks losing its ability to fight in the air”.

Marine Corps General Jon Davis disagrees:

The F-35B is going to provide the USMC aviator cultures in our Harriers, Hornets and Prowlers to coalesce and I think to shape an innovative new launch point for the USMC aviation community. We are going to blend three outstanding communities. Each community has a slightly different approach to problem-solving. You’ve got the expeditionary basing that the Harrier guys are bringing to you. You have the electronic warfare side of the equation and the ­high-end fight that the Prowler guys think about and the [­communications] and jamming side of the equation, which the Prowler guys think about. And you have the multi-role approach of the F-18 guys.

Sounds like he thinks it will improve their ability to fight in the air.

So who do you believe?  Some critic or the Commander of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing?

And rising cost?  As Elements of Power points out:

If the F-35 is ahead of the curve as indicators seem to be 'indicating', then all the heretofore life cycle support cost numbers 'projected' (and now almost certainly based upon legacy systems and approaches) will have to revised downward once enough data is in hand.

And we’re headed there, not that the critics will ever notice.

SNAFU! summarizes the critical paragraph rather well:

Read the whole thing but that verbiage is straight out of the Sweetman, Air Power Australia and ELP playbook. As a matter of fact he can probably get hit with plagiarism cause I'm sure I've read those exact words on one of those websites.



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