Wednesday, June 19, 2013

F-35: F-18 buy corporate welfare?

That's what "Uncle Jimbo" over at the Blackfive blog thinks may be going on after taking a look at the Defense budget:
The Chairman’s mark of the Defense Authorization Act is out and there are many good things in there. Rep. Buck McKeon is a solid advocate for a strong defense and this is his chance to comment on priorities and goals for defense funding. Most of the relatively short document relates to policy and has some requirements for explanations of debacles like Benghazi. But there are also some funding items that don’t make much sense.

One of these is a requirement to buy F-18 aircraft, which is a bit of a head scratcher. We cancelled the F-22 program before we bought anywhere near as many true air superiority fighters as we should have. We have cut back severely the number of F-35s that we plan to buy, but somehow we can find the money to buy a completely different and significantly less capable bird. That smells distressingly like some corporate welfare for Boeing, who makes the F-18. 
Supporters of the buy will tell you it's necessary to "fill the gap" between now and the deployment of the F-35.   Is that really the reason, or is it a bit like the legacy of continuing to build C-17s and making the Air Force buy them years after the Air Force said it didn't need or want anymore C-17s?



  1. What you mean by less capable?

    1. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a great aircraft, but it isn't as capable. First of all, it does incorporate low-observable features, but it isn't completely VLO, which is a major issue, as low-observability is crucial, despite what Carlo Kopp & Co. like to say about low-frequency radars (Kopp and the APA crowd tend to forget that the radar absorbent material itself isn't the *only* material applied to a VLO airframe that actually works to absorb radar energy). Also, the F/A-18E/F doesn't have anything like the DAS (as far as I'm aware, no aircraft in service anywhere does), so it can't fire missiles (especially AMRAAMS, which are also quite useful, despite Kopp's attempts to use skewed figures to "prove" otherwise) at targets that are very high off boresight, nor can it see something coming towards it from the sides or behind until it enters visual range and/or decides to emit using a non-LPI radar. And then there's the lack of an LPI datalink between aircraft (many 4th gen aircraft have some kind of intra-formation datalink, but most are not LPI, and so are not exceptionally useful in contested airspace).

      The concerns about the F-35's maneuverability mainly stem from a misconception involving fuel loads. When critics site TWRs and wing loading figures that make the F-35 look like a "flying piano" (Winslow Wheeler isn't entirely great at creating analogies), they are typically assuming a full fuel load, despite the fact that an F-35 performing air superiority missions would *never* take off with a full fuel load. Most combat aircraft have a fuel to loaded weight ratio of around 15% when loaded for air superiority missions -- but the F-35 has a fuel to loaded weight ratio of almost 40% (!) when fully loaded.

      So why is the F-35 basically a giant fuel tank with wings and an engine strapped on? Non-LO aircraft typically carry drop-tanks when flying non-air superiority missions (CAS, bombing, buddy refueling, etc) to give them increased payload capabilities and longer range. The F-35 doesn't have this ability (drop tanks aren't LO), so it has to have all the extra fuel capacity carried internally. So, instead of carrying drop tanks on a mission where a non-LO fighter would, the F-35 would simply be filled with its full load of fuel, instead of a ~33% load (which would put it in the typical range of fuel to loaded weight ratio for air superiority missions). When being loaded out for air superiority missions, an F-35 would NEVER be filled completely full of fuel, and so generating maneuverability statistics that assume a full load will be carried is like calculating an F-16's maneuverability when it is carrying two full drop tanks. One thing that is easy to notice is that adding drop tanks or missiles can turn even highly maneuverable fighters into flying bricks. Note that the much-lauded Sukhois typically complete their fantastic maneuvers in an "airshow loading", which doesn't include any weaponry, and has a drastically reduced fuel load, and so is not anywhere near representative of a typical air superiority loading.

      When one considers this, as well as the fact that the new engine being developed for the F-35 will give it even greater thrust and even less fuel consumption (and thus will allow it to carry less fuel weight into a dogfight), it is obvious that the doomsday predictions of F-35s with F-105 style maneuvering are grossly simplified and completely untrue. When one considers the other advantages the F-35 brings to the table, it is pretty obvious that it is a step up from the aircraft currently in service.

  2. There is no real advantage in air to air combat for stealth fighters like the F22 or F35 if they use they radars to locate enemy airplanes, because they will also reveal their presence and will tracked at long distances with the sniper targeting pod for example.

    The USNavy is asking for even more advanced arflirs and aim9X-III and new generation of jammers for their Super Hornets and Growlers.

    For interdiccion missions they have advanced jammers, decoys and stand off weapons thay result more cost/effective than the super expensive stealth designs.

    The Super Hornet loaded for combat with 8 missiles is even more capable than the Sukhoys in the same configuratiin doing their usless acrobacies.

    The Super hornet can take off fully loaded of weapons and gas to arrive to combat with half of it gas and still be super maneuverable.

    1. Oh boy. The whole "the F-22 betrays its position as soon as it switches on its radar" fallacy. Apparently, there are some defense "experts" out there who have yet to realize that Active Electronically Scanned Arrays have been developed. I am awaiting their eventual realization with bated breath, as it has been a full half-century since solid-state radars have been introduced.

      Another "magic bullet" for defeating low observability that ain't so magic is FLIR (Sniper/LITENING targeting pod). The problem is that those targeting pods are look-down only -- they're used for ground attack, so they can only see what is angled below them. In a fight between an aircraft with a LITENING pod and a LO aircraft, the non-LO aircraft's only chance of detecting the LO aircraft with its FLIR pod would be if the LO aircraft conveniently decided to fly almost directly under the non-LO aircraft and sit there.

      Of course, their are air-air versions of FLIR (they're known as IRST; Infra-Red-Search-and-Track). The problem with these systems is their extraordinarily tiny field of view -- they see only what is directly in front of them. It is tunnel vision in the most complete sense, and unless the LO aircraft just happens to fly right in front of (as in, within five-degree by five-degree square) the aircraft, and flies in a completely straight line right down the IRST's field of view, the aircraft with the IRST system will not detect the LO aircraft, no matter how sensitive the seeker is, or how large the LO aircraft's infrared signature is. Looking through an IRST has been compared to looking through the sky through a straw, or through 200x binoculars. Great for identifying something you've already detected by other means; virtually useless for searching for a target.

      Then, of course, you have the fact that low-observability extends beyond radar. LO aircraft, such as the F-35, incorporate extensive infrared signature reduction, so it isn't quite so easy to find them using IR tracking. The stated range for Sukhoi's IRST system to identify and track a target is just eight to ten kilometers, and that's against a non-LO target that has its engines pointed directly towards the IR sensor and is going full afterburner. If you're trying to find an LO target that is facing towards you and has its engines on a low thrust setting (common BVR engagement configuration), you won't be able to track it until it's so close you can see it from your cockpit -- that is, until you've closed to WVR range. So no, IRST is not some magic bullet to unmask low-observable aircraft.

    2. Then you mention that F/A-18E/Fs can carry decoys, jamming pods, standoff weapons, etc, etc...

      The problem with that argument is that the F-35 carries them as well. An F-35 can carry MALDs, MALD-Js, JSOWs, JASSM-ERs, jamming pods, chaff, and flares just like an F/A-18E/F, and it has low-observability as an added bonus. In fact, the F-35 even has its own version of the IRST system you mentioned that the Super Hornet has. It's called the Distributed Aperture System (DAS), and its only difference from the Super Hornet's IRST is that, unlike an IRST system, which has virtually no field of view, the DAS scans in every direction simultaneously. It has a 360 degree field of view.

      And you're forgetting part of the cost equation when you talk about "super expensive" low observability. The most major cost of a fighter aircraft isn't the airframe itself, or, in the case of the F-35, the LO technology that it possesses -- by far the largest cost is of the weapons the aircraft uses. Standoff weapons such as cruise missiles are stupendously expensive -- they cost over a million dollars a pop, with some costing several million. And that's for *one missile.* Cruise missiles are the second most expensive single-use weapons; only ballistic missiles cost more. An F/A-18E/F, which would have to use standoff weapons to stay out of the range of a SAM site or CAP-patrolled area, would be forced to spend millions of dollars (in weapons only) just to conduct a single strike. An F-35 could approach the target closely enough to drop a JDAM, which costs less than 1.5% of the F/A-18E/F's JASSM-ER. When you realize that an F-35 can complete a bombing run with several tens of thousands of dollars' worth of ordinance, compared to the F/A-18E/F's several million dollars of ordinance, low-observable technology suddenly seems less "super expensive." In fact, there's a great post over on the Elements of Power blog that illustrates this effect, and demonstrates that, even assuming a costly LO aircraft and a pretty high attrition rate, the cost of using "expensive" F-35s to drop bombs is much less than using "cheap" non-LO aircraft, which must use missiles to hit their targets.

    3. Why to buy a super expensive stealth fighter to lunch decoys, stand off weapons, slam-er or anti radiation missiles??

      Once you destroy the enemy radars with those single expensive weapons launched from a cheap F-18 you can smash the entire enemy force using those super hornets with the same cheap bombs you mentioned the F-35 can carry in small quantities internally.

      One million dollars for a stand off weapon is peanuts compared with the billions you will spend for buying, training and maintain a fleet of F-35 to carry just 2 cheap bombs internally.

      About atflir sensors or sniper pods I think you are confused, they have ranges than more of 40nm and they can scan the entire sky in front just rotating automatically the sensor head.

      As I mentioned, now rytheon is develloping an even more advanced atflir pod and IR missiles.

      The Super Hornet has a very small radar signature in the front and also incorporate infra red signature reduction technology.

      Thats all you need if you are going to do an interdiction or interception mission to destroy enemy radars or face other airplanes.

    4. It's not as simple as "firing one really expensive missile, then just using cheap bombs." One thing the Serbian War taught the United States military was that SAM sites have an annoying habit of staying hidden. Through the use of selective emitting, passive early warning, decoys (even simple mock SA-2 Guideline SAM sites made out of painted lumber managed to fool U.S. aircraft for quite some time, and many countries have much more advanced decoys), very mobile SAM sites, and plain ol' bad weather, the Serbian air defense sites managed to remain hidden for months at a time. Dozens of missiles were fired at simple decoys, and dozens more were fired at targets that weren't hit -- and that was against a third-world tin pot military! Imagine the difficulties posed by a more advanced military, like Russia or China. In that situation, it would take a far greater amount of ordnance just to destroy the targets, due to the use of decoys, the ability of the SAM sites to remain hidden or hide if they are targeted, and the ability of the SAM sites to shoot down missiles targeted at them (something the Serbs couldn't do). Then, of course, you have the fact that there wouldn't just be one SAM site. There would be hundreds. When you add up the cost of the thousands upon thousands of missiles that the Super Hornets would have to use just to clear out those SAM sites, the F-35 becomes much, much cheaper than the F/A-18E/F.

      And the 40 nautical mile figure you stated is for target detection, not tracking. That's a common mistake; people make statements like "system A can DETECT aircraft B at distance C", without realizing such statements mean absolutely nothing. Detecting a target is pretty much useless: you don't have a fire-control quality track, you do not know what kind of aircraft it is (in fact, you don't even know if it's an aircraft), you often have absolutely horrid resolution (the target appears as a haze, not a solid return), and you don't have altitude or range information -- you only know the bearing to the target. In order to actually DO something about the target you detected, you have to develop a fire-control quality track, determine the kind of aircraft it is, get a good resolution "picture" of its location, and get altitude and range data -- and IRST systems can't do that until the target is less than ten kilometers away. And that is against an afterburning, non-LO target that has its engines pointed directly at the sensor. Try getting the same results against an LO target with its engines facing away from the sensor that is traveling with its engines on low power.

    5. Regarding the FOV of an IRST sensor: all IRST sensors in service have a FOV of less than thirty degrees. When you refer to "rotating the sensor head", you are either confusing IRST for a ground-attack FLIR system like the LITENING or Sniper pod, or the IIR system on the AIM-9X, which does rotate its sensor head after being launched to keep its target in the center of its FOV.

      Yes, the Super Hornet incorporates some measure of signature reduction, but it is not adequate for reliably penetrating advanced air defense systems. For that job, you need an aircraft that is VLO (RCS equal to or less than -30 dB), and is LO from all angles (full aspect low observability). The F/A-18E/F meets neither of these requirements.

      Yes, the Super Hornet can carry standoff weapons. It can carry IRST systems, jamming pods, advanced IR missiles, decoys, etc. But the F-35 can carry them to, and it can even carry more advanced systems -- its DAS is just like the Super Hornet's IRST, for example, except that it doesn't have a tiny FOV; it actually "sees" 360 degrees around it. The F-35 carries the same penetration aids the Super Hornet does, and has the added advantage of being low-observable. Furthermore, it has the ability to cost much less than "cheaper" aircraft by using cheaper guided bombs in situations where legacy aircraft would have to use expensive standoff weapons.

  3. Interesting that you mention the Serbs that more than a decade ago where able to Shoot Down an Stealth fifhter and damage another one, just with old Sams.

    The Chinese and Russians will do it much better than the Serbs against the F-35 if it try to snake around.

    That's why the USNavy uses Growlers to detect and jam real sams batteries instead of attacking thousend of fake ones and also lunches anti-radiation missiles instead of free boms for the same purpose.

    Also the Growler is able to detect and attack "undetectable" stealth fighters like the Raptor with Amraams as you can see in this article. The way it does it is "classified" but not difficult to imagine.

    A combined fleet of Super Hornets and Growlers are more effective and affordable than a fleet of F-35 that will be detected by 3th world nations with old russian Sams as happens in the past or advanced electronic attack platforms like the Growler in the present.

    1. Interesting that you mention the F-117 incident. You fail to mention, however, that the entire incident occurred because the pilot did not manage his signature correctly. It was pilot error that caused the event, not the failure of low observability. Also, the F-117 was a second generation low observable aircraft -- it relied upon extremely angular shaping to deflect radar signals. This creates channels of reflected radio waves that can be picked up by a radar receiver. If the pilot is managing his signature correctly, he will fly his aircraft so these reflected signals don't get directed towards a radar receiver, but if he neglects to do this, as the F-117 pilot did, he'll get himself shot down. The F-22 F-35, and B-2, which are third-generation low-observable aircraft, solve this problem by incorporating curved shaping (1970s computer software was unable to develop the complicated curved shape used on modern LO aircraft, hence the F-117's angular shape), which do not re-radiate radar energy the way the F-117's angles did.

      And you still fail to understand the historical example: even with all the Growlers and other equipment you mentioned, the United States military expended vast quantities of expensive munitions to destroy SAM sites, most of which were targeted at decoys, or were unable to hit their targets. When fighting against a more capable enemy, hitting SAM sites would require even more munitions, and the number of SAM sites would be much more numerous, so you can forget your whole "affordability" argument. You can pretend that munitions costs don't exist all you want; the fact still remains that F-35s can use much cheaper munitions than the F/A-18E/F and still be effective.

      Oh, and good luck getting your Prowler to even detect, much less jam, an AESA radar (like the type Russia and China are using for both SAM sites and fighter aircraft). It ain't gonna happen. Oh, and F-35s have all the same jamming capabilities of F/A-18, just in case you were wondering.

      And the whole Growler incident is funny, as well. You do realize the F-22 was using a Luneburg lens to allow the Growler to detect it, right? I always find it funny when people post things like "A PLANE DETECTED THE F-22/F-35/F-117/B-2 OMFG!!!!!!" without realizing that the LO aircraft was carrying a device to specifically give away its position, for testing purposes. Do you even know what DACT is?

      And regardless, the fact that an aircraft managed to, simply because of dumb luck, shoot down another aircraft does NOT prove that aircraft A is better than aircraft B. It's called a loss-exchange ratio. If you send a group of 32 F-22s against a group of 32 Mig 15s, one of the F-22s might actually be shot down by a Mig 15, simply due to dumb luck.

      So would you say that the Mig 15 is a superior aircraft to the F-22? If the answer is "yes", you really need to reevaluate your understanding of aerial combat. It's always possible to lose one aircraft to another -- in fact, it's unavoidable. Sooner or later, an opposing aircraft (say, an F/A-18E/F) will just happen to come up against a LO aircraft (say, an F-22) from the side, where the F-22's radar (like the radar of every single fighter aircraft) does not scan. In this position, the F/A-18E/F would be able to hit the F-22 -- but it would be able to hit it simply due to dumb luck, not due to a superior airframe (if it was going against an F-35, on the other hand, it wouldn't be able to sneak up on it so easily, due to the DAS). Red Force aircraft manage to sneak up on and "kill" Super Hornets all the time in DACT simulations -- does this mean that the Super Hornet is a bad aircraft, or that the opposing aircraft is superior? Nope, it's just due to the fact that losses occur.

    2. Oh, and if F-22 pilots put F/A-18 insignias on their aircraft every time they shot them down in simulations, the whole F-22 would be covered in white paint. You do realize this, right? If an F-22 manages to achieve ridiculously high loss exchange ratios against legacy aircraft (it has), but then one of them is shot down by a legacy aircraft, only a fool would call the legacy aircraft "superior."

    3. And I almost forgot! The recurring flyaway cost of the F/A-18E/F is over $55 million. Once you include the cost of equipment to make that Super Hornet combat-ready, the cost jumps to almost $70 million. The F-35 costs $65 million (recurring flyaway). So no, the F-35 is not "super expensive" compared to the Super Hornet. The Super Hornet is actually more expensive to buy, uses vastly more expensive munitions ($1.327 million a pop for the JASSM-ER vs. $18,000 for each JDAM), has a higher total fuel consumption when loaded out for combat (extra cost) due to its external carriage of munitions and the drag that creates, and doesn't have the same capabilities as the F-35 (VLO, DAS, extremely high off boresight firing of missiles, etc). The F-35, on the other hand, has the same capabilities as the F/A-18E/F (IRST, maneuverability, etc), and then some.

      Are you sure you want to continue your argument that the F/A-18E/F is "cheaper?"

  4. F-35 at $65 million?.... It's joke?

    Cost of equipment are the same for any airplane, so that's not a valid argument.

    The F-117 shoot down in Serbia was as stealth as any other stealth fighter, their main disadvantage was that I was not very maneuverable to defend itself in dogfight. That's why they developed the F-22, not the lack of stealth. And nop, the F-35 do not have the same electronic attack capabilities as the Growler (not Prowler). The F-117 was detected not for any pilot mistake, he did what he was supposed to do.

    By the way, if the use of JDAMS is your main argument in favor of the F-35 as a Striker airplane, the Super Hornet and Silent Eagle with their small frontal radar cross sections can also lunch JDAMS at safe distances, not just JASSM-ERs. In fact any airplane can do it at a great lower cost.

    About the F-22, how can you assure it was using radar reflectors in the exercise with the Growler?

    It's very common to see photos and videos of the F-22 defeated by Eurofighters, Rafales, F-16 and Super Hornets in dogfights but not at long distances with Aamrams as the Growlwer did

    1. You do realize that is the cost of an F-35, right? The F-35A costs $65 million, the F-35B costs $75 million, and the F-35C costs $70 million. Your inability to understand the differences between different types of aircraft cost measurement does not give you an ability to determine which aircraft is cheaper. Ignorance is not evidence.

      And you go on about the Serbian F-117 incident. I guess you must have some amazing powers of omniscience, and are an amazing military expert, since your knowledge of U.S. military operations apparently exceeds that of the U.S. Air Force! The F-117 shot down over Serbia was shot down due to the pilot's error managing his signature, and simply saying "NUH UH!!!" over the Internet does not qualify as creating a counter-argument. As I said, the F-22, B-2, and F-35 utilize LO technology that makes such a shoot down even more difficult, as they do not create the intense channels of reflected radar energy that are created by intensely angular LO aircraft like the F-117. That's why the Nighthawk was decommissioned -- among other things, its low-observability had become outmoded; obsolete.

      The use of the JDAM is not my "main argument" for the use of the F-35. My main argument is that the combination of very low observability and an IRST system without a pinhole-sized field of view make the F-35 a more capable aircraft than the Super Hornet, Viper, or Eagle. The use of JDAMs was simply a method of demonstrating how LO aircraft are more cost effective than non-LO aircraft.

      And no, the Super Hornet and Silent Eagle could not use JDAMs, as they are not VLO. The F/A-18E/F and F-15SE both incorporate signature reduction, but they are NOT VLO, and, as such, they cannot get close enough to a modern SAM site for a JDAM shot. A modern site will typically have a powerful radar with advanced discrimination and resolution capabilities. In this environment, a "kinda-LO" aircraft just doesn't cut it. It could get closer to the SAM site before it is detected than a completely non-LO aircraft, but it is not as capable as a fully LO aircraft.

      And then there's IADS. Many countries, including China and Russia, are developing systems to allow friendly aircraft to relay targeting information to the SAM site -- if the aircraft detects the target, it can send the information to the SAM site, allowing for a launch. The whole concept was first developed by the United States Navy as the Cooperative Engagement Capability, and has become a very popular idea.

      How does this effect the F/A-18E/F and F-15SE? Both aircraft incorporate signature reduction, but are not all aspect LO. This means that, while they may have a small frontal RCS, the RCS of the side and rear of the aircraft is similar to a non-LO plane. So, basically, that Super Hornet or Silent Eagle is dead as soon as the Flanker or Fulcrum coming up behind/to the side of it relays its location to the SAM site the Hornet/Eagle is trying to attack. In order to defeat this, all-aspect LO (as seen on the F-22, F-35, and B-2) is required.

      I suggest you actually read about the F-35, instead of using convoluted logic to conclude that it is useless. The F-35 does incorporate electronic attack capabilities. And again, I'd love to see how your beloved Growler does against an AESA radar. Somehow, I think that the results will not be inspiring (to you, at least).

    2. How do I know that the F-22 was using a Luneburg lens? Because that's what the report on the incident stated! You see, fanboys often make statements without actually presenting the full data; they selectively provide only that information that appears to support their belief, without providing the full picture, which most often contradicts what they support. For example, the F-22 that was "shot down" by a Growler was operating with a Luneburg lens. The F-117 that was detected by radar also had a reflector. Those F-22s that were "shot down" by Eurofighters? They were operating in a restricted manner -- they were not allowed to conduct the maneuvers they normally do, and they were restricted to using outdated weapons, all to give the Eurofighters and Rafales a fair fight (it's called Dissimilar Air Combat Training -- DACT). Of course, fanboys forget to mention this. They just say "OMFG A EUROFIGHTER SHOT DOWN AN F-22!!!! LULZ DUH MURICANZ R STOOPID!" without actually presenting the event as it actually occurred, or showing all the information. It's kinda like Carlo Kopp's "analysis" that "proved" that the AMRAAM is useless. If you distort the information enough, anything can be "proven."

      Again, it is possible for an F-22 or F-35 to be defeated in aerial combat, or shot down by a SAM. Neither aircraft is some sort of 100% invisible 100% invincible uber-plane. Sometimes, they will be shot down by inferior aircraft, just like sometimes, the F-15 is "shot down" by F-5s in simulations, and just like sometimes American P-38s managed to shoot down Japanese Zeroes during World War Two. Aerial combat is not some board game where two groups of aircraft meet, and the "inferior" group is 100% shot down and the "superior" group leaves without a scratch.

      However, I'll say it again (and hopefully this time you'll listen): if the F-22 had a Eurofighter, Rafale, or Super Hornet miniature stenciled on it every time it shot down one of those aircraft, there wouldn't be enough room on the plane for the USAF roundel. In actual combat simulations where the F-22 isn't given a handicap to allow for DACT, the results are decidedly in favor of the Raptor, and spamming me with video links of aircraft shows and JSOW firings doesn't change that fact.

    3. Here's some information that provides some clarification on the F-117 shootdown:

      "According to Dani in a 2007 interview, his troops spotted the aircraft on radar when its bomb-bay doors opened, raising its radar signature."

      That was one of the causes of the shoot down -- a failure to properly manage the aircraft's signature. Pilots are commonly trained to open their bays, fire their ordnance, and close the bays in less than one second, and when such doctrine is not followed, and bomb bay doors are left open, even LO aircraft can be detected. However, this in no way indicates that the F-117 was shot down because low observability itself is ineffective.

      Another drawback of early LO technology included a tendency to fail when the airframe was exposed to water, which allowed some F-117s to show up on radar, albeit briefly, and only as very fuzzy, low resolution returns. However, just like all military technology, low-observability is not static, and modern LO aircraft can survive rainfall and water exposure with their low RCS intact.

  5. To act like a fan boy is to open a blog to justify the F-35 using wishful thinking for prices and economical stealth solutions.

    If you don't listen to me maybe you will listen the experts like the top almirals of the USNavy to come back to reallity.

    1. Again, the F-35A costs $65 million dollars. You can deny that and use apples-to-oranges comparisons all you want; the F-35A's URF is $65 million. The F/A-18E/F's URF is over $55 million. Legacy fighters cost $10 to $15 million over the URF to outfit them with the systems they require for combat (those same systems are included as part of the F-35's URF). So, a fully combat capable F-35A costs $65 million. A fully combat capable F/A-18E/F costs $65 million to $70 million. Then, the F/A-18E/F will have a significantly higher cost of use due to the weapons it will be forced to use to remain relevant and its higher fuel consumption (higher drag). You can stick your fingers in your ears and scream "NUH UH!!" all you want; those are the facts. Fanboyism is refusing to believe the facts that are laid out in front of you, and instead spouting untruths and irrelevant You Tube links as "evidence."

      Fanboyism is having absolutely no idea whatsoever about aircraft cost, low-observable technology, sensor systems, IADS, or aerial combat as a whole, and still deciding that your false beliefs about a military aircraft are correct.

      Reality? So believing completely untrue myths about low observability is "reality?" Denying the cost of the F-35, even after statistics have been provided, is "reality?" Being told that you are misrepresenting actual events, and then just shouting "NUH UH!!!" as "proof" for your opinion is "reality?" Making bogus comparisons, completely untrue statements, and apples-to-oranges comparisons, presenting those ideas as fact, and when told you are wrong, simply acting like you are actually correct, screaming "YOU'RE WRONG!" as "proof" that I was wrong (instead of actually using rational arguments, logical comparisons, and facts), and refusing to understand how aerial combat works, is "reality?"

      I'm sorry, but you have a very delusional concept of "reality." Learn how aerial combat actually works, then make assertions.