Tuesday, July 23, 2013

F-35: Critic ladles out thin gruel

If you haven't read or don't read the Elements of Power blog, you're missing out on some great analysis on many subjects.  But SMSgt Mac, who runs the place, is particularly harsh with F-35 critics.  Why? Because it is the same old song each time, just a different verse.   In today's verse, Mac takes on an Italian editorialist who thinks he's offering a "banquet" of an argument.  Instead, Mac reveals it for the thin gruel it is.

"The development program for the F-35 is not proceeding well. …"

“Not proceeding well”. One may argue the point using the “as compared to what?” other modern (last 50 years) and similarly advanced technical development efforts or even to simply other large, highly complex, government programs-- as the F-35 program fall into both categories. I would therefore challenge Mr. Albano to name one program in either category that did/has not experienced as many or more challenges than the F-35 program. I also challenge him to name any of them that did a better job of dealing with them than the F-35 program has to-date. This is the kind of simplistic thought that makes my Aerospace Engineer blood boil. But on the plus side, it provides me yet another opportunity to quote a favorite: J. R. Pierce.

"Novices in mathematics, science, or engineering are forever demanding infallible, universal, mechanical methods for solving problems."
"… In any case we are talking about a highly advanced aircraft not only for the use of new stealth technology — which basically means opposing radar has difficulty in detection — but also for new production technologies and the integration of a lot of electronics called sensor fusion — to put it simply, allowing better awareness of the situation around the aircraft. "

Mr. Albano obviously has no idea how important Low Observables and F-35-grade Sensor Fusion are to the modern air combat equation judging by how this entire piece is written. The “difficulty in detection” is a “damning with faint praise” fallacy. Low Observability disrupts the entire kill chain at every step, from attempts to detect to terminal weapon end game, and forces an opponent to have to begin the process all over again when the chain is broken. 
Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing, if for no other reason than to learn how to analyze critical reviews from those who think they're presenting reality, but are instead just advancing a position.  Mac utterly destroys this particular critics arguments in detail.


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