Wednesday, March 13, 2013

F-35: Quotes of the Day

I've pointed out the absurdity of a particular quote attributed to a  "leaked memo" from the Director of the Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, i.e.:
Other sections of the report outline some of the flaws that make the cockpit unsafe for pilots:

“The out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35A is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft The head rest is too large and will impede aft [rear] visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements. Aft visibility will get the pilot gunned [down] every time in dogfights."
 Lieutenant General Bogden, DoD's lead man on the F-35 program, was apparently hit with a question about this by someone in the media.  His answer is priceless:
He pointed out the DAS system, would allow rear viewing (and below) and then said, “If some F-35 pilot out there is afraid of getting gunned every time, then we can have him fly C-12s.” 
Of course a C-12 is the military version of a civilian King Air.  In terms of insulting a fighter pilot, I can't imagine a worse one.  What Bogden effectively did is dismiss the criticism as just plain nonsense.   That won't stop uniformed critics from still trying to use this as some sort of indicator of the aircraft's deficiencies, but, in fact, it is a red herring.

The other quote comes from the GAO in a report they released yesterday on the F-35 program.  I'll be going through the report and featuring some of it in the coming week.  However, in answer to those who continue to claim that the F-35 program is still deficient, GAO mostly disagrees:
GAO is not making recommendations in this report. DOD's restructuring of the F-35 program and other actions are responsive to many prior recommendations. DOD agreed with GAO's report findings and conclusions.
Those first two sentences do more to throw cold water on the critics arguments concerning the program as a whole than anything I've seen in a while.   Is there a lot of work still ahead?  You bet.  Are there challenges still to be overcome.  Yes.  But as the GAO says, the actions and restructuring to date have put the F-35 program on "on firmer footing."


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