Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TIME trashes F-35 with false, dated, incorrect, misleading and incomplete "facts"

Dr. Loren Thompson disassembles a TIME story critical of the F-35.   Essentially, TIME does what all the critics seem to do at one time or another - used outdated and incorrect information to formulate the usual bogus case against the aircraft and the program.  For instance:
[T]he piece says that the short range of the Navy's F-35s will require aircraft carriers to "sail close to enemy shores." In reality, the F-35 will deliver about 40% more combat radius than the Navy planes it is replacing. Elsewhere, it states that a stealthy jet like the F-35 "requires sacrifices in range, flying time and weapons-carrying capability." But the most common version of F-35, the Air Force variant, has a combat radius 25% greater than that of the non-stealthy F-16s it will replace while carrying a bigger bomb-load; in some scenarios, F-35 can carry over three times the bomb-load of an F-16. And it asserts that the plane's "squat fuselage" forced designers to put the tailhook of the Navy version in a location where it doesn't work well, without noting that the tailhook issue has been solved.
In fact, we've even featured video of the tailhook functioning just fine.  It is a non-issue.  A little research and TIME is not citing outdated and incorrect "facts".  It just isn't that hard (like, perhaps contacting Lockheed Martin for an update?). Without it, you're perpetrating myths.  And that doesn't help a journalistic reputation at all does it?

And there is more.  Even the apparent research they did was incomplete, causing one to assume the intent of the article wasn't to present a balanced and factual treatment of the F-35 and the program, but to portray the aircraft as a lemon that has been overcome by events.  Neither contention could be further from the truth and simply display the "journalist's" ignorance:
The story is full of misleading statements. It says that the advent of unmanned drones "makes the idea of flying a human through flak and missiles seem quaint," without mentioning that drones can't survive when subjected to flak or missile fire. It cites a former official saying the Air Force refused to consider purchasing the longer-range Navy version of the plane without noting that the Navy version costs more and is poorly suited to Air Force needs. It complains about a supposed doubling in costs while failing to note that the cost of the most common version has fallen in each successive production lot, and is on track to match that of the legacy F-16 fighter at the end of the second Obama Administration. It asserts the high-tech helmet worn by F-35 pilots is "plagued with problems," without acknowledging that fixes have been found and even without fixes, the helmets are better than anything being used today.
Again, we've reported that for the most part, the helmet problems are fixed.  They're still working on the night vision acuity, but it's an engineering problem, not a design problem.  It will be fixed. Both latency and jitter have been solved. 

The state of journalism today is abominable.  Instead of informing, we see publications like TIME advocating a position based on dated, false, incorrect and incomplete information.  It is either pure laziness or the result of an agenda.  I'll leave it to you to decide.


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