Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Critic unhappy with good news for the F-35 program

As is always the case, every program the DoD embarks upon gathers it's usual quota of critics.   With some programs, the critics have a case.  Certainly the F-35 has had it's moments worth criticism.  But it has also been a program that has made critical changes on the fly and has begun to fulfill its promise of a "game changer".

That, of course, is anathema for critics who are always ready to assure us that they know exactly why any program should be scrapped or is a failure.  In the case of one critic, Winslow Wheeler, who has never set foot in a jet fighter and has made his reputation by being a congressional aide who analyzed costs, he would have you believe that a) he knows what everything is really worth and b) nothing is worth what we plan spending on it.

Wheeler has, in the past, called the F-35 a "flying piano".  He runs with a group who have in the past told us we would suffer on the battlefield from the failures of certain weapons programs such as the M-1 Abrams tank and the AH-64 Apache.

But given Wheeler's past attacks on the F-35, where he has been more than happy to tell us why it won't work, I got a chuckle out of his latest and greatest screed when I read this:
The more-rigorous battlefield testing (the very first and partial phases of operational test and evaluation) will not start until 2016; when the results of those tests are available in 2019, we will be able to move beyond assurances and use actual data to assess just how well the F-35 actually performs. 
Of course the lack of data has never stopped Wheeler from pontificating about how bad a program this is and "assuring" us it is a waste of money.  And he's now back on his heels as the program goes from success to success.  High angle of attack testing went off without a hitch.  IOC dates have been set.   And the leadership is finally realizing what the F-35 brings to the game and they're getting behind it, much to Wheeler's chagrin.

He promises to "enlighten" us today on why all this feeling good about the program is misplaced and, of course, we ought to share his doom and gloom assessments - assessments that to this point have been off target - and he'll tell us again that if we'll only listen to him, we'll save ourselves time and money by sticking with cheap 4th generation fighters while our potential adversaries continue to develop their 5th generation fighters.


1 comment:

  1. Well, Wheeler also stated (back before Desert Storm) that the F-15 would be slaughtered by "better" Iraqi jets, and that prediction didn't exactly pan out, to put it lightly...