Thursday, February 28, 2013

A proper article describing the Super

It has been a long-time-coming but finally an article that describes proper points of why someone would want the Super Hornet. They are right on the cost per flying hour, however Australia's is still somewhat high.

I'll describe the fused and balanced defensive suite some other time.

And of course: the Super shows up with ability a joint operational commander can actually use.


Hammer of Thor?

No.

Highly useful and affordable?

Yes.

Dead-end contract

USAF awards a contract (for the second time) to a vendor for an aircraft at a 20 percent cost hike all for a war no one cares about.

Better late than never? I don't think so.

Bogdan points to LM misleading on F-35 price

Bogdan states the following in public:


"You hear Lockheed Martin keep talking about $65m, $67m. Well guess what. That's the cost back in 2004 or 2003.

"Who cares about that. I want to know what it costs the day I buy it," he said.

Actually, if you look at U.S. Government select acquisition reports, that was never the price back then either. LM's fantasy price also assumes everyone sticks to the buy plan. That is not going to happen. Bogdan is still low because the original business plan assumed that prices don't flatten out until you reach 1500 units...assuming everything works.

I would be interested how Bogdan would explain an F-35 cost-per-flying hour that is looking to be well over twice that of an F-16. And again, all this assumes the systems work.

I am also curious how Bogdan intends to help improve the price prediction ability for the alleged biggest buyer?

“It’s about $37 million for the CTOL aircraft, which is the air force variant.”
- Colonel Dwyer Dennis, U.S. JSF Program Office, 2002-



Entertainment value

From today's The Australian:

Enter Rudd. As prime minister, Rudd was intimately involved in shaping the 2009 defence white paper. It wasn't a particularly well written document, but its strategic assumptions were hard headed and sound, and it provided a highly credible force structure - 100 Joint Strike Fighters, 12 capable, long-range subs, an eight battalion army - and a sensible funding commitment of a 3 per cent real increase a year out towards the end of the decade. Had the government stuck to that commitment it still would have been hard put to realise the white paper's ambitions, but it would have had a chance. Some extra money may have been necessary, some time lines may have been extended, but we would be on the road to a good, though not extravagant, defence capability.

Bold emphasis mine.

Pretty desperate if the only person they can come up with to save a political disaster is Rudd. He would have to do a swan dive to have any hope of  pulling his party out of the crapper.




"Just f*#*king hopeless..."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bogdan off message

Brave general.

"Lt-Gen Bogdan said the F-35s would cost between $US80 million and $US90 million by the time Australia was due to receive its batch of 12."

What has Australia been told before?

“It’s about $37 million for the CTOL aircraft, which is the air force variant.”
- Colonel Dwyer Dennis, U.S. JSF Program Office brief to Australian journalists, 2002-

". . . US$40 million dollars . . "
-Senate Estimates/Media Air Commodore John Harvey, AM Angus Houston, Mr Mick Roche, USDM, 2003-

" . . US$45 million in 2002 dollars . ."
-JSCFADT/Senate Estimates, Air Commodore John Harvey, Mr Mick Roche, USDM, 2003/2004-

". . average unit recurring flyaway cost of the JSF will be around US$48 million, in 2002 dollars . . "
-Senate Estimates/Press Club Briefing, Air Commodore John Harvey, 2006

". . the JSF Price (for Australia) - US$55 million average for our aircraft . . in 2006 dollars . ."
-Senate Estimates/Media AVM John Harvey ACM Angus Houston, Nov. 2006-

“…DMO is budgeting around A$131 million in 2005 dollars as the unit procurement cost for the JSF. .”
-AVM John Harvey Briefing, Office of the Minister for Defence, May 2007-

“There are 108 different cost figures for the JSF that I am working with and each of them is correct”
-Dr Steve Gumley, CEO of the DMO, Sep./Oct. 2007-

“…I would be surprised if the JSF cost us anymore than A$75 million … in 2008 dollars at an exchange rate of 0.92”
-JSCFADT Dr Steve Gumley, CEO DMO, July 2008-

". . Dr Gumley's evidence on the cost of the JSF was for the average unit recurring flyaway cost for the Australian buy of 100 aircraft . ."
-JSCFADT/Media AVM John Harvey, Aug. 2008-

Confirmed previous advice i.e. A$75 million in 2008 dollars at an exchange rate of 0.92,
-JSCFADT Dr Steve Gumley, CEO of the DMO, Sep. 2009-

" ...about $77 million per copy."
-Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Feb. 2008.

Bogdan is also off-message. Consider this:

We will continue to drop the price of the airplane out to approximately 2020 where the US government estimate is for an airplane, with the engine and all mission equipment, to be approximately $US67 million ($A66 million)," he said.

"That is better than any fourth generation fighter out there today in terms of cost."

Hagel confirmed

You can goof up a confirmation hearing and still get selected, well, because there isn't anyone else for the job. Or, so it seems. Be interesting to see if he gets some revenge.


Tony Soprano: You know what they say: Revenge is like serving cold cuts.

Dr. Jennifer Melfi: I think it's "Revenge is a dish best served cold."

Tony Soprano: What did I say?



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Poor management climate "unfazed" by complex program trouble

$67B plus $14B or so in upgrades via poor management by the USAF (and others) of what was a good idea (the F-22...um...120-130 combat-coded ones anyway) and going on to $60B or so for the Just So Failed F-35, just doesn't look good.

Yet, the people that brought you whole portions of this gross mismanagement are "unfazed" by F-35 troubles.

Surprised?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Industry has lost the opportunity of over 1000 F-35 orders, maybe more

What does the New Air Combat Capability Office do?

If you look at the downward trends in the F-35 development, not much. They certainly are not keeping political decision makers well informed. Consider this recent rough count which compares what the NACC has briefed in 2004 vs. 2013.



--click on image to make larger--

Not good. Note that one of the early JSF program managers stated that the business plan assumed aircraft prices don't "flatten out" until 1500 units are made.

Bogdan talks tough, but there are heaps of reality out of his hands.

Blame-shift wizard

USAF tries to blame-shift, but this has been coming for sometime now...




Spin-check

A red flag is usually when you see a title of an article or post as "fact-check" or "fact-box". Many times that is not the case.

And in this case, giving bad investment advice doesn't promote longevity. My corrections added below:

Factbox - Current plans for F-35 warplane orders from U.S., allies
Sun, 24/02/2013 - 20:36
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and its allies plan to buy thousands of new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter warplanes in coming years.

Following is a list of the planned purchases, according to data provided by Lockheed Martin Corp , the prime contractor for the $396 billion weapons program.

Lockheed is developing three variants for the U.S. military services and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane's development - Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada. Two other countries, Italy and Japan, have also placed orders for the fighter jet.

The conventional landing A-model will be used by the U.S. Air Force and most allies; the B-model, which can take off from shorter runways and land like a helicopter, will be used by the U.S. Marine Corps, Italy and Britain; and the C-model, or carrier variant, will be used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

U.S. Air Force 1,763 F-35As ***pure fantasy which ignores some serious facts that USAF has experienced significant procurement faults for years. In 2008, their own people in Plans and Programs (those that tell the boss how to make ends meet) stated that it would be unlikely that USAF could afford more than 48 jets per year once full rate kicked in. Things have not improved since then. In 2001, the USAF plan was to go full-throttle at 130 a year with procurement ending in 2026-27. Later, in 2006, this was changed to 80 per year extending out to 2036-37. The trend-line does not inspire confidence.***

U.S. Navy 260 F-35Cs ***(not with carriers and air wings being parked, and, no proof of a jet that traps)***

U.S. Marine Corps 340 F-35Bs and 80 F-35Cs ***(Good luck)***

Britain 138 F-35Bs ***(The UK government has not committed to any such order. It is now looking more like a few dozen. And that assumes the flying piano works.)***

Turkey 100 F-35As ***(Also hype and, ignores current Turkish concerns about the program.)***

Australia 100 F-35As ***(Anyone that follows the Australian story (while not sniffing model airplane glue) finds 100 at best, a fantasy).***

Italy 60 F-35As and 30 F-35Bs ***(Being assured with Italy always has risks)***

Netherlands 85 F-35As ***(See Australia above)***

Canada 65 F-35As ***(See Australia above)***

Norway 52 F-35As ***(Faith-based procurement and an over-all military that is under-funded on pure military readiness)***

Japan 42 F-35As ***(They actually have to work. Speaking of work, all the JSF Partner Nations must feel cheated when looking at the FMS deals with give-away industry off-sets. "Best-Value"?)***

Denmark 30 F-35As ***(Has stated their F-16 replacement is open to other types as well)***

Israel 19 F-35As ***(No "sale". Bought with U.S. taxpayer money) ***

(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Eric Beech)

Massive judgement day

I like the title of one section of this article:

"MASSIVE U.S. ORDER"

I am not so sure. I haven't updated this in awhile, but it has not improved any. Also, USAF may lose 3 F-35s this year due to fiscal management incompetence within the service.

And, you don't have to be the nutty guy in "The Dirty Dozen" played by Telly Savalas yelling to the Major, that "judgement day is coming" to see what has been going on.

For years.



Snooze bar

It is unfortunate that with all of the bad advice to government by the New Air Combat Capability (NACC) office and others over a faulty multi-billion dollar program, that most reporters are sitting on a gold mine of stories and what do they do?

Copy-paste reporting.

That story qualifies for meta-data about things we already know…

…from one side.

Not reported are that those magical prices do not appear unless orders are confirmed up to the 3000+plus level; that unit prices don’t flatten out until about 1500 aircraft are made, and that assumes that there are no development problems.

It is interesting for the government to say that they will not accept a loss in air combat capability when they are picking a fighter aircraft as a stop-gap that has worse energy performance than the classic F-18 that is going away.

And more: the Super Hornet beats the F-35 in most useful metrics of what a joint combat commander needs.

Neither the Super Hornet nor the F-35 will be able to stand up to emerging threats.

Mainstream defence reporting in Australia: underwhelming, inaccurate, lazy, and not especially useful.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Shortfall

This is not to pick on just the Navy as everyone is guilty. But I will use them as an example.

"The Navy’s participation in the political campaign to pressure Congress into unraveling the sequester is crude, obvious and shameful, and it should earn the Navy’s budget especially skeptical scrutiny by Congress."

Amazing that the Navy can't solve these problems with 233 admirals feeding from the trough.

Maybe an extra 100 admirals would help.

Powerful problems

Yes engine development is complex. Especially when considering the tri-service F-35 requirements.

One would think that the project managers and other big-brains will get out of the current F-35 grounding which revolves around cracked turbine blades.

Let us review some F-35 engine history. Below is a 2008 briefing that deals with earlier engine failures. One comment in the brief shows that Pratt and Whitney knowledge came up short.



---"P&W had neither the standard work nor the advanced analytical techniques to address this phenomenon
–Exceeds current industry state-of-the-art"---


Now on to other F-35 engine problem history here and here.

Graham Warwick AW; 14-sep-2009

The CTOL engine was 2,455 cycles into a 2,600-cycle durability test leading to initial service release when "parts were noticed coming out of the jet pipe". The engine was still running and capable of producing thrust when it was shut down.

Inspection revealed tip damage to a "handful" of blades on the first and section fan stages, which are integrally bladed rotors (IBR). Downstream damage was confined to the compressor. There was no visible damage to the combustor and turbine.

The F135 was 5 hours into an 11-hour supersonic high-cycle fatigue test and was being pushed very hard through a sequence of throttle transients. For this test, the inlet-plenum hardware on the test stand had been changed to run at supersonic conditions. There is something at the bottom of the engine [between the fan and compressor] that we want to retrieve".

And 27-sep-2011

Only a couple of days after the termination of the FY2011 budget in the F136 engine development contract new problems are reported by Stephen Trimble of Flight International in the competitive F135 engine program.

Some quotes from the article "New engine snag upsets F-35 manufacturing progress":

Pratt & Whitney confirms that a "small number" of F135 test and production engines have been replaced with spares since March. The replacements were ordered after a ground test engine was found to be mis-assembled after an overhaul, Pratt & Whitney says. Further checks identified the same problem on other test and production engines.

"These engines are being replaced by spare engines on site in Fort Worth, with no impact to the F-35 flight test programme," the company says.
However, Venlet says the engine problem has caused a short-term interruption to the new manufacturing plan.

Venlet's predecessor, Brig Gen David Heinz, also complained about quality control issues on the F135 engine, telling reporters in July 2009 that although individual turbine stages met quality specifications, the combined stack of stages in a completed engine did not meet tolerances for quality.



It is unfortunate that lobbying and back-room deals got rid of the alternate F-35 engine by GE/Rolls known as the F-136. This was a big sell in the early justification to Congress (and to all partner nations) posing as "value-added", that two engine vendors would inject healthy competition into the program.

GE/Rolls was with the program, became a stalking horse, and then, kicked out to cover F-35 Nunn-McCurdy cost rise in other parts of the program. Note that they still get some work with STOVL appliances that go with the Pratt and Whitney engine.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blue-sky market

What do you do when your crappy aircraft has serious problems?

You try more blue-sky marketing in hopes that the audience (like visitors to an AFA conference) might be gullible enough go those extra yards with more faith.



Cheer squad

Oh, so very true.

A significant and costly issue for Australia was that the ADF ceased to behave like a critically engaged customer very early in its involvement with the project, and became part of a cheer squad.

USAF general confused about F-35 "capability"

Sad when a top USAF general is confused about the alleged performance of the F-35.

“Any advancement in some kind of capabilities we may have to fight is obviously worrisome,” Field said. But the 1,763 figure has not been changed by the development of new top-line fighters from China and Russia, Field said. He argued those developments show the need for America to have the advanced F-35 systems.

Doubtful. Two Western reference threats, the F-22 and Typhoon which mirror growing Pacific Rim threats, the PAK-FA and SU-30/SU-35 (PDF), easily outperform the F-35.



(click on image to make larger)

Then too, there are ground threats.

Operation: PONZI FREEDOM

The outright deception continues:

We will continue to drop the price of the airplane out to approximately 2020 where the US government estimate is for an airplane, with the engine and all mission equipment, to be approximately $US67 million ($A66 million)," he said.

"That is better than any fourth generation fighter out there today in terms of cost."


Yet, all these claims are being made about an aircraft nowhere near having final go-to-war mission systems.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fear-monger to cover bad management

Some of us didn't just fall off the turnip truck:

"I think if you ask the AF today, if normal funding were to be assumed through July, about 40-50% of American combat aircraft would only be capable of meeting wartime requirements. So no, it's not surprising that only 30% would be available in July with restricted funding," the aide said in an email. "Over the past 10 years, the AF has taken risk in its O&M accounts (flying hour program and depot maintenance activities) in order to pay for modernization (mainly F-35 which has been sapping their funding), and those incurred risks that Gen Welsh's predecessors thought were worth taking have now become issues current AF leadership has to address and fund now."

Agree. USAF maintenance problems are mostly of their own making.

Mismanagement of an $81B program hasn't helped either.

Maintenance friendly stealth

Maintenance-friendly stealth requires the process to well, be, maintenance friendly.

For example, will this maintenance task break the low observable bubble and require radar-absorbent-skin (RAS) and/or radar-absorbent material (RAM) refurbishment...or not?

Suboptimal over-reach

Congratulations Sir. Due to the over-reach in the SEA 1000 hopes and dreams, you just described the need for a nuke, U.S.-built, Virginia-class submarine.

An AIP boat will not be competitive in blue-water sub ops.

Now if you want to talk about the littorals to the North and sub-operations within our means to procure and sustain on a small budget, that is a different story.



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$4B for 24 more Super Hornets

Australia's F-35 prospects are looking more grim.

Also this: (Note also a big UAV mention).

The government is also expected to soon announce that it will spend at least $4 billion on another 24 Boeing Super Hornet jet fighters from the US Navy to prevent any air power capability gaps.

I am curious what the low-information folks over at the NACC think?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The RAAF's very good air-to-air missile

It is unfortunate that the RAAF is getting away from the AIM-132 ASRAAM air-to-air missile when the legacy Hornets retire.

AIM-132 is an option for F-35 customers, however the RAAF has not taken that path.

In the F-35 development phase, it was assumed that AIM-132 would be carried internally and externally on the F-35. However, some problems have developed and it could end up as external carry only.

Back in 1998, AIM-132 was selected by the RAAF for legacy F-18s after a process which eliminated the AIM-9X and the Python-4.

Besides the helmet targeting and off-bore-sight targeting ability, range is its big selling point. You can get off a shot first before the other guy. It even has a potential beyond-visual-range engagement ability.



Disadvantage of AIM-132 for the RAAF? It isn't in the U.S. supply chain for joint operations.

With that though, it would have been nice if the 2006-7 "bridging fighter" and replacement for the legacy F-18s was based on the use of AIM-132, LITENING Pod (which is also used by the RAAF), and the potential for Meteor capability.

If the F-35 fails and Australia came to its senses and restarted with a clean sheet of paper, it could take advantage of some truly practical appliances for the F-18 replacement.

Minister of rent-seeking states F-35 "on-track"

Wasteful rent-seeking has a price.

Consider this:

Mr Snelling said he believed the program was on track after he met representatives of maker Lockheed Martin.

"From what Lockheed Martin said to me in briefings, I would be very, very confident about the future of that program," Mr Snelling told The Advertiser.

Emphasis mine.

A low-information rent-seeker says things are on track.

But, they are not.

---

-Summary of Air Power Australia F-35 points
-Aviation Week (ARES blog) F-35 posts (2007 to present)
-U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) F-35 reports
-F-35 JSF: Cold War Anachronism Without a Mission
-History of F-35 Production Cuts
-Looking at the three Japan contenders (maneuverability)
-How the Canadian DND misleads the public about the F-35
-Value of STOVL F-35B over-hyped
-Cuckoo in the nest--U.S. DOD DOT&E F-35 report is out
-6 Feb 2012 Letter from SASC to DOD boss Panetta questioning the decision to lift probation on the F-35B STOVL.
-USAFs F-35 procurement plan is not believable
-December 2011 Australia/Canada Brief
-F-35 Key Performance Perimeters (KPP) and Feb 2012 CRS report
-F-35 DOD Select Acquisition Report (SAR) FY2012
-Release of F-35 2012 test report card shows continued waste on a dud program
-Australian Defence answers serious F-35 project concerns with "so what?"

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Former DM--Defence chiefs obsessed with running interference for troubled F-35 program


Fitzgibbon has an audio up (along with an article) at the Sydney Morning Herald where he claims the following:

-He was not going to sign off on the F-35 until he had more knowledge of cost.
-Claims to know classified capability of the F-35 and states there is the possibility the aircraft may come through the trouble some day. Note: The "it's classified" meme, doesn't allow the system to ignore current engineering troubles.
-Claims Howard put us in a bind. I agree. I would say the triple-H. Howard, Hill and Houston got Australia involved in the F-35 based on thin-to-no credible analysis.
-Claims the flag-ranks were against him. Including Fitzgibbon wanting the Growler capability for the Super Hornet, where the flags feared it would take away from the F-35.
-MP Frydenburg uses the bad percent-of-GDP meme re: Defence spending. Fails to mention insurgent DMO.

And:


Former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon has slammed the defence force chiefs he once worked with as "obsessed" with the troubled Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program and accused them of running "interference" to protect it.

Mix and match support

An interesting read over on The Strategist.

I think the LJB reference is kind of important as it was he who went along with the cooked up Gulf of Tonkin incident. But anyway:

Similarly, Australia’s 1999 intervention in East Timor didn’t engage America’s national interests and so US support was less comprehensive than some hoped.

Well OK but a little extra history:

In 1999, the US imposed a ban on military aid to Indonesia after it was accused of taking part in violence in East Timor during that territory's break from Indonesia. The ban had a serious impact on the combat readiness of Indonesia's F-16 fleet, mainly due to a lack of spare parts.

Maybe far from perfect, but a good object lesson.

Of interest, we also do not know the full view of U.S. intel support and other resources that may, or may not have been integrated into Australia's F-111 strike contingency and other ADF work that was being spooled up at the time.

In political terms such an approach means potentially signing us up in advance for any and all future American wars; this is a big ask and in many ways makes us the 51st state of the Union!

Don't worry. With the help of insurgent forces like the DMO, the current spend-thrift government and the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy, you won't have to worry much about the U.S. asking Australia on the next Operation:USELESS DIRT because there may not be a military to deploy. What of it there is could very well be parked at the dock, airfield or barracks with no sustainment plan of worth.

As an aside, USAF aggressor F-16s from Alaska are visiting at RAAF Base Williamtown to help out with a RAAF training program.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The flying club

Our friend James Brown has posted an unfortunate piece over at The Interpreter.

It is unfortunate because I would expect better from someone of his calibre. One of the main purposes of air power is to allow the ground troops to do their important work unmolested. The other purpose being not to cost so much as to leave nothing else for the rest of the military. If Australia continues on its current F-18 replacement plan, it looks to end up with a very expensive flying club unable to support the military goals of the nation.

I will go through some of the points raised by Mr. Brown.

Last night's story on the JSF was eerily similar to this story from back in 2007, also by reporter Andrew Fowler. Last night's segment discussing John Howard's 2002 meeting with Lockheed Martin and the shock of Dassault's Daniel Fremont at the JSF decision was largely a re-run from 2007. In both stories, former RAAF officer Chris Mills was on hand to conduct war gaming, though thankfully this time Four Corners left out the awkward Jakarta air strike simulation.

Last nights story and that from 2007 are bookends. For the viewer not knowing anything, the amount of repeat from the 2007 show was necessary. As for Wing Commander Chris Mills AM, RAAF (Retd), BSc, MSc(AFIT) Mr. Brown might learn something from him if he took the time. Mills was around when we had the Mirage fighter aircraft. Important because this gave him the experience of doing dissimilar combat training against one of our allies who just got new American F-5s. So, it might be good to listen to someone who knows what it is like to fly against an opponent who had an over-all, better combat aircraft.

Mills professional experience as a Red force analyst might be worth noting also. As for "gaming", a program that can be setup to show one aspect of threat analysis via Monte Carlo simulations, is valuable and contributes to the total body of work.

The 2007 scenarios against Indonesia should feel awkward or uncomfortable. Like it or not, the RAAF had a strike contingency available should it have been needed during the past unpleasantness.

Four Corners' 2007 program argued that then Defence Minister Brendan Nelson's purchase of the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet was flawed because the F-111, in the words of one interviewee, would last 'virtually forever'. Conventional wisdom now is that Nelson's decision was prudent.

Mr. Brown shows that he may need to brush up on the true history of F-111 sustainment. Boeing was the last grand holder for contract management of F-111 logistics. The effort Boeing put on then Defence Minister Nelson was masterful. They saw him for the easy mark that he was. They scare-mongered non-existent structural risk to the F-111 and made the RAAF boss look like a fool for only a month before stating that if there were any delays to the F-35, a "bridging fighter" would be the last resort and that extending the life of legacy Hornets and the F-111 was workable.

Defence responded to this fait accompli by coming up with all kinds of stories of dubious worth being passed off as justification for the bad decision. Mr. Brown may be interested that up to that point, Defence had done no significant analysis on Super Hornet warfighting capability. He can ask Chris Mills about that one.

Congratulations Mr. Nelson, you just stacked additional billions in unwarranted spending on to the new air combat "capability".

Last night's Four Corners also picked up inspiration from this five-month old Canadian story on the JSF, including its star interviewee, Pierre Sprey. Sprey made a lot of comments which were left uncontested throughout the story, including the assertion that 'high cost and low performance was designed into this plane'. Sprey also asserted that the F-16 would beat the F-35 in aerial combat, a point others would debate vigorously. Some of the other assertions put up on the program were very sloppy indeed, including this gem about the JSF: 'the aircraft is designed to rape, pillage, and plunder governments around the Western world'.

Anyone following the Canadian F-35 decision doesn't have to be led too far to reach a conclusion that it (like the Australian F-35 decision) was based on weak to non-existent analysis.

Unfortunately, if one looks at various government reports, and analysis outside the faith-based F-35 camp, the pure project management incompetence is there to see. Many probably intended to make a great aircraft. Massive groupthink produced something which may well be the exact opposite. NASA did not intend to kill  shuttle crews...twice. But dangerous normalization of deviance attitudes in management did just that.

The F-16 is an important mention. First, the F-35 has been sold on the idea that it would cost 20 percent less to own and operate than an F-16. So far, it looks like the F-35 has a good chance of having a cost-per-flying hour double that of an F-16. Reason? The additional complexity of the F-35 and...its' weight. Point F-16.

The F-16 today can actually support Mr. Brown's brothers-in-arms on the ground. When an electro-optical pod is attached to it, the pod has a wider field of view than a Super Hornet, or an F-35. That is that the F-16 can do right and left orbits around a close-air-support event and is easier to work with a ground forward air controller. The Super, can only do left orbits. Look at most OEF and OIF Super combat configs with no drop tank on the left wing in order to give a better field of view for the pod. The F-35, could be in worse shape. Its EOTS field of view was designed more with interdiction in mind. Want to orbit around the ground forward air controllers area of interest? Well, first you need real working F-35 mission systems. So far the F-35 helmet and DAS problems have shown that if we are to believe our esteemed Lockheed friend about USMC 2015 deployment, for it to be anything other than show, they will need to hang an electo-optical pod externally to have a working field of view and may even need... a HUD.

It gets worse. The F-16 (and the Super) have ROVER and Blue-Force-Tracker capability. It is unknown when this may appear on a working F-35. So again, here, the F-16 brings more worth to a joint combat commander because you can actually use it for close air support with current best-practice.

Air-to-air? Neither the F-16 nor the F-35 will be able to stand up to high end threats. The very nature of the Joint Strike Fighter, Joint Operational Requirements Document, created in the 1990s and signed off at the beginning of the last decade, assumed there would be plenty of F-22s to do the dangerous work because it has not only better stealth, but better raw performance. Add to that, today we have two Western aircraft that represent the reference threat coming in the Pacific RIM such as the Russian PAK-FA and big SU aircraft. Those two aircraft are the Typhoon and the F-22. The F-35 is unable to beat those aircraft. It is also difficult to believe it will take on emerging ground threats. That leaves non-high end threats, which the F-16 can do better and cheaper than the F-35.

Mr. Brown's "sloppy" comment? Lockheed Martin is there to win. Regardless.

Houston's explanation for this seems entirely reasonable, and absent anything further must be accepted over a few assertions from a retired defence official not willing to comment publicly.

Houston's explanation could have been "entirely reasonable" had it stood on the kind of mountain of analysis needed to justify spending tens of billions by a country with such a small number taxpayers. Since there is no robust analysis to support Australia's F-35 decision, one could also reach the conclusion that it is "entirely reasonable" that Houston was either asleep at the wheel, deskilled, poorly advised or any combination. With great rank comes great responsibility.

As for the shadowy figure. The Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy has a well known reputation for punishing those that dare speak anything outside of the party line.


Four Corners also made no mention, either in its program or in the accompanying background material on the website, of this September 2012 ANAO report into the JSF procurement process. This seems to suggest that Four Corners was not aware that Australia's F-35 procurement had already been thoroughly audited.

Define "thoroughly audited". The idea of an ANAO report is significant progress. Unfortunately, it had a number of holes in it that disregard the language of engineers (PDF).

The program did make clear that the JSF is very, very late and very, very expensive. But that in itself is not unique among air combat procurement projects. As this ANAO report makes clear (Chapter 2), Australia's 75 F/A-18 'legacy' Hornets were delivered at almost double the budgeted cost.

The try by some claiming that F-35 problems are not "unique" among air combat procurement projects, doesn't address that history shows, some air combat procurement projects have had significant bad endings.

-------

"The A-12 I did terminate. It was not an easy decision to make because it's an important requirement that we're trying to fulfill. But no one could tell me how much the program was going to cost, even just through the full scale development phase, or when it would be available. And data that had been presented at one point a few months ago turned out to be invalid and inaccurate."

Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, 1991


-------


Lockheed Martin is certainly sensitive to the ballooning cost of the F-35. Just look at the flight suit patch it is issuing for the F-35 (above). Where normally these kind of patches would be packed with pugnacious slogans, this one highlights that the JSF is 'affordable'. At $135 million a piece, I won't be picking one up on my salary anytime soon.

I don't know how to process the above paragraph other than to say that the JSF patch appears to be a facade. And, that one of the major goals that spawned this project: "affordability" is now unreachable just on the volume buy hopes and dreams. By that and other measures such as capability, we have, a failed project.


The JSF arouses passionate debate here in Australia, and Robert Gottliebsen and Air Power Australia have been prolific in their search for 'truth' on the F-35's capabilities and Australia's possible air combat gap. I don't yet know who is right and wrong in this debate, but these writers have certainly made me curious. Still, if there is a smoking gun to be found that shows we have chosen the wrong aircraft, Four Corners has yet to find it.

With no solid risk-analysis to commit Australia to such an expensive procurement, maybe, not a "smoking gun", but good evidence of who pulled the trigger.

Motive. Opportunity. Witnesses.

General Bogdan's faith

Faith-based argument:

LT. GENERAL CHRIS BOGDAN: I tell you, it is a formidable airplane. I have no doubt if you went head to head with this airplane with any other airplane in the world with the capabilities that I know it has, it will do very, very well.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Australian ABC report on F-35 progress

Reach for the Sky.

Full video here. (44min)

Houston endorsed F-35 on a whim

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston endorsed Australia going with the F-35 simply because the U.S. said it was the right aircraft for Australia. No critical analysis was done.

A former Defence official closely involved in the oversight of the replacement program agreed to talk to Four Corners on condition that his identity was protected.

He said the decision to join the JSF program was taken without the aircraft ever being fully tested – and that Air Chief Marshal Houston was seemingly swayed by the enthusiasm of his US counterpart.

"He told several people at the time that the Chief of the US Air Force had said this was the right aeroplane for Australia and so Angus thought that was the correct answer, that this was the right aircraft for us."

The former Defence official said it was "an interesting approach" and certainly "speeded up the decision-making process".

He said Australia would normally have gone through a competitive tendering process to work out "what the aeroplane could do, what its costs and its schedule was".

But this had not happened in the case of the JSF, he said.

"We were proposing that we buy something being developed for the US Air Force, if you like, on a whim."

In a statement to Four Corners, Angus Houston said: "The System Design and Development phase was non-binding and the Australian Government could opt out if it so wished."

He added: "I am still convinced that the JSF is the right air combat aircraft to meet Australia's future security needs."


Four Corners and the bleed-out of military capability

In 2002, then Defence Minister Hill decided that Australia should participate in the risky F-35 program. The safe tender process, was abandoned. Who advised Mr. Hill this was such a great idea?

Just a few years before, Defence started a purge of senior leadership. The results of this purge were that critical thinkers, the language of engineers and proper leadership technique would be abandoned for corporate group-speak and group-think. Many important decisions would be made by whichever powerful, yet unskilled team of bureaucrats happened to be in power at the time.

The results of this have been a tree which produces rotten fruit: a poison upon proper military leadership and management competence.

Australia’s galactically bad decision to pick the F-35 didn’t happen in a vacuum. The effects of sexual harassment, bullying, bad procurement decisions, poor maintenance of ships, are all from the same cause: a toxic leadership climate. This now deskilled military leadership produces bad advice because it is unable to produce anything but.

Tonight at 8:30 East coast time, Four Corners will have a program about the severe problems with Australia’s involvement in the troubled F-35 program. It is a companion piece to a program they did back in 2007. That and this score-sheet on Defence spin are important viewing.

Parliament is what makes things happen in Australia. It will take Parliament to seriously change the military. How they can do that and manage the rent-seeking behavior and me-first attitude of the whole of the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy will be the ultimate challenge. If Parliament continues to fail in this arena, military capability will continue to erode.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dutch will park their F-35 mistake jets

It is bad when Dutch government officials are given plenty of warning about a risky project, for years, and then, press on anyway, only to eat even worse results than their normalization of deviance mindset and/or faith allowed.

Or, as one esteemed observer of military aviation matters stated: "What’s the combination of symbols I need to use for a facepalm emoticon?"

Situation 2008: promises

In the MOU, signed by Dutch secretary of state Jack de Vries on the 30th of May 2008, we can find in paragraph 5.2.4:
“ The NL MOD share of the Financial Cost Ceiling is 30M TY U.S, dollars. The NL MOD Non-financial Cost contribution includes, but is not limited to, munitions, use of two (2) JSF Air Systems, and the services of trained personnel for IOT&E efforts.”
The planning was that the IOT&E would take place from mid-2012 until mid-2014, 2 years, separated in a Block 2 and a Block 3 part.

Situation 2013: deception

This week the Dutch parliament received a surprising letter, telling the members of parliament:
- The cost ceiling will be broken, cost of IOT&E participation will be about € 54 million (US$ 73 million)
- The IOT&E will take 4 years, not 2 years
- The IOT&E planning is now from 2015 until 2018, however it may be a little later
- The two Dutch F-35s can not be used until that moment (2015)
- We have to pay “parking costs” several millions a year

We could have bought the Dutch F-35As some years later, now we bought potential “hangar queens” from the much more expensive, early LRIP3 and LRIP4 series (having saved about US$ 100 million). We invested over US$ 250 million in these two planes, that will be parked for several years, useless investment by a country with a defence budget under high pressure.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Botswana

A new episode for the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency could done around The Men's Most Excellent Flying Club.

Good photo.

Welsh buys into F-35 marketing hype

With no complete-go-to-war F-35 available to evaluate, for years, it seems Welsh is confused by marketing.

If the full sequestration were to take effect, "we're going to have to look completely at the [F-35] programme," US Air Force chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh told the Senate Armed Services Committee on 12 February. "It's going to be impossible to modernize."

The consequences operationally would mean that the US Air Force would not be able to operate as effectively in contested airspace as it had planned. "Our kick in the door capability would be impacted," Welsh says.

The F-35 was never going to "modernize" the USAF tac-air community. If anything, it would be a negative affect. The F-35 has an alarming cost in both per-flying-hour and procurement. It will be too weak to take on emerging threats.

The F-35 is unable to help the USAF, "operate as effectively in contested airspace as it had planned".

Until that is agreed upon, the USAF's ability to perform air supremacy will be impacted.

What is needed? New production of an evolved F-22B that has acceptable maintenance metrics.

And, new-build legacy aircraft for those times when high-end threats are not part of the operational picture.

USN problems point more toward long-term negligence and incompetence

To be brutally honest, this PDF (STATEMENT OF ADMIRAL JONATHAN GREENERT CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS BEFORE THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE ON THE IMPACT OF SEQUESTRATION 12 FEBRUARY 2013) doesn't really address core Navy operational sustainment problems that have been going on for a number of years. Even without sequestration, Navy leadership has had some serious long-term, come-to-Jesus issues that point more toward negligence and/or incompetence.

The decision to waste tens of billions on the F-35, LCS, DDX, amphibs without a well-deck, chronic mismanagement of sustainment didn't start just within the last 2 years.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

No fat?

AUSTRALIA'S defence chief says there's no fat left in military personnel numbers, so national defence will be affected if the mining industry keeps luring people away.

General David Hurley said there were now more than 79,000 people in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), with 58,000 full-timers and 21,000 reservists.

"In my view there is no fat in these numbers, given future preparedness, sustainment and development needs," he told the Australian Defence Magazine congress in Canberra.

I wonder. Not mentioned are the 22k civilians. 7400 employees are in the corrupt DMO: most civilian.

CDF doesn't mention the flag-rank bloat.

I wonder why?

General Hurley said Australia had substantial capability for long-range strategic deployment of forces but had lost some of its ability to mount long-range tactical missions.

"Substantial"? Or, sub-optimal?

Nothing of value

"Mr Smith said current defence spending maintained Australia's status in the top 15 nations, usually around 13th or 14th.
"In real dollar terms, we spend far greater than any of our immediate regional neighbours, including Indonesia and Malaysia," he said."

Yet, you are so ignorant. First, percent of GDP is a bad scale of Defence spending. In an entitlement society (especially one in debt), the only thing that matters is how much money is left for Defence, after everyone else have had their say.

Table scraps.

The other part of that is that it does not matter much if it is X or Xx2 dollars. The corrupt DMO (and the rest of the entrenched Defence bureaucracy) will find a way to waste it on things that provide no real defensive value to the Nation.

That and more is what won't be reported much in the propaganda publication known as ADM.

Canada has not performed a proper study for its CF-18 replacement

Stories like this almost write themselves for their hop-scotch display of illogic.

It seems Canadian Defence is so de-skilled that they are unable to properly evaluate current and fantasy (F-35) fighter aircraft.

They use the term "interoperability" but don't grasp its operational significance.

But the same report notes “interoperability is a key concern for Canada,” referring to the Typhoon’s ability to fly alongside U.S. and allied aircraft without any problems.

Similar concerns were raised with Sweden’s Gripen and France’s Rafale.

The Typhoon can do ROVER with a LITENING pod. Old, outdated "studies" from the senior Canadian Defence crew appear worthless. ROVER is something the F-35 may never see until (if) the troubled program figures out other problems. Point: Typhoon. The Typhoon is also the only Western aircraft that can come close to defeating the F-22. Important as now, the F-22 is a reference threat for growing Pacific Rim threats. Point: Typhoon.

But in addition to the aforementioned interoperability concerns, officials noted the Gripen uses a system for emergency landings and landings on short airfields different from Canada, which would require changes.

Good point. This negates the F-35. Full-stop. Some deployed fields that Canada uses are around the 6000ft region. Not something to toy with when doing F-105-like approaches (even on perfect runways) with no drag chute (fantasy or otherwise). Good luck with that. Point: Gripen. Big-time.

Not only does the F-35 have more software than the space shuttle, which will cost a lot to maintain, the concluding report reads, but security upgrades at Canadian military bases “will likely be very expensive.”

Well, a lot of things have more software than the space-shuttle. What is the point? Think about sortie-rates and cost per flying hour too. Point: Everything else but the F-35.

Despite the pros and cons of each option, the concluding report repeatedly notes the F-35 is the only “fifth-generation” fighter aircraft, which it characterizes as having “low observable technology and the enormous tactical advantage stealth confers.”

"Fifth-generation-fighter": an LM-created meme on its best day. Otherwise known as a fraud of a claim. Got an F-22? No. What "enormous tactical advantage" when you can be detected, run down, and killed, and those are the days that the F-35 is not sitting in maintenance. Point: Typhoon. Then there is the risk of being blocked out of whole regions against high-tech threats.  Point: F-22 (not under consideration of course).

The above is just more proof of why the CF-18 replacement was taken away from military senior leadership. They are unable to come up with a reasonable solution because they do not possess the skill to do so.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Red Star over Australia? Black hand? Both?

Neither of the mainstream Australian political parties have been smart on Defence.

With that stated, get this.

According to a leaked copy of the next Defence White Paper, Defence is now on the hook to help pay for Labor's spendthrift ways. Certainly fiscal health is a part of Defence, however I don't see any cure appearing on the horizon to stop government's bad behavior.

Burning up taxpayer cash on a fraud known as the carbon tax; declaring war on mining; paying people to breed and a host of other bad government ideas can't end well.

For now though, Defence is there as a convenient fund-site to be robbed, with no valid defence strategy as justification.

Besides the easy slam-dunk reference to collectivism, the current Labor party in charge shares traits not unlike a racketeering criminal enterprise. It reminds me of a Sopranos episode where Tony's crew gets a government loan with a front-man that owes Tony, to buy run down houses to fix them up for a public housing program. Then, Tony's crew get some known-associates to go through every house and strip it of copper-piping and other raw materials (at taxpayer funded, "contractor"  hourly labour rates). Then the front company vanishes.

I don't have a problem with someone voting for either party. I'm not even anti-Labor when you look at some of the true definitions of said party. Not my cup of tea, but it is a free-country (sort of). What bothers me is the obvious corruption and soaking of the taxpayer that can only ruin this great nation.

As for some of the "Sopranos" in this country? They go to the back bench and get $140k per year, of your money, for the rest of their life after politics. Great "work" if you can get it. It is all for the "working families" you know.

Now shut up and row.






Saturday, February 9, 2013

Canadian Ponzi-scheme fans

The problem with Pennie and Lee's shit-analysis are reports like this.

Further, these are the claims by those wanting to spend your money on a fifth-generation-failure:




Not good when the F-35 is close to $35,000, $40,000, $50,000 per flying hour and we still do not have a fully working and tested, go-to-war product.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Rogue pilot

Big talk from a pilot-gone-con-man.

As mentioned in the article, there are no credible results of operational test. Also, there is no complete, functional F-35 with go to war systems.

I am curious what the pilot-gone-con-man thinks the F-35 is capable of bombing? CAS? No ROVER. High end threats? Like the "4th-gens" he mentions, not survivable.

The F-35 is too expensive to own and operate for non-high-end threats and too weak to take on emerging threats.


Sea swap

A seriously goofed up manning situation for sure.

"It is deeply ironic that because we're bleeding personnel to Australia, we're having to use Australian personnel to put our ships to sea."

Fortunately, the RAN doesn't have serious crewing problems.

Oh wait...


Operation:USELESS DIRT update

Alternate reality on Operation:USELESS DIRT 1.

Here is part of an opinion of why it was a good idea for Australia to be involved in Afghanistan:

"That's all true but the context now is that al-Qa'ida is largely defeated in-country, the Taliban is significantly weakened and the government in Kabul is pro-Western. These are important gains.

Progress in social and economic development has been made of a type that probably looks more impressive to Afghan than Australian eyes. Solid advances also have been made in training the Afghan military. They aren't up to the standard of the ADF but they will be able to hold their own, with the continued assistance of the US, Australia and others.

It would be deeply wrong to be triumphal about any of this: gains can be reversed, but there is cause to think that Afghanistan can remain unified and largely stable thanks to the efforts of Australia and the international community."

The original U.S. mission was to get OBL. This was defined within a day or so of 9/11 by the U.S. Later, some idiot decided to make it a nation building exercise of a culture that:

1.Thinks it is OK to abuse young boys.
2.Thinks its OK to abuse women.
3.A culture of corruption that can't be reasonably changed, at any cost (large PDF).
4.Is tribal and has no grasp (or apparent need) of a central government which is usually run by one tribe and its cronies.

There was and is, plenty of work for the very small ADF to do in the Pacific Rim. Every dollar wasted on Operation:USELESS DIRT 1, takes resources away from those efforts.

Allies are friends. They tell their friends when doing something isn't such a good idea. It doesn't seem we have done that in this case with the U.S.

The current Afghanistan facade will fold. Security forces that have had billions put into them will melt away.

Not worth the effort.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Entitled

Senator Johnston does not understand that using percent of gross-domestic–product (GDP) as a gauge of Defence spending means nothing.

Given the ill-health of the budget and debt, the only thing that matters is how many billions are available for Defence each year after all the other bills are paid (no borrowed money).

Defence comes last because Australia is an entitlement society. And in such a society, if it is the entitlement that is sacred, Defence is not entitled to a fixed annual fief.

Further, if things keep going the way they are, that is, a government produced, business-unfriendly environment and spendthrift federal budget strategy, Defence will soon be lucky enough to get table scraps.

Johnston loses even more credibility by referring to the moronic Defence White Paper of 2009 as if it has worth.

WWAD?

Good read.

Other questions.

How does Australia really stand with supporting Japan and the Philippines? Going to Cope North and other exercises, by themselves are not enough.

"It’s time for the US and its Asian allies to establish some maritime ‘red lines’ in Northeast Asia."

I am curious how the author thinks Australia fits into the "Asian allies" statement?

Appeasement to China? Or stand tall with our allies who are being bullied?

USAF announces budget cut response

The USAF has responded to the coming budget cuts with this summary.

-Possible furlough of civilian workers.
-Laying off 3200 employees that do not work in “mission critical” areas.
-Hiring freeze
-Cutback on weapons orders: F-35, C-130 etc.
-Restructure of new tanker program.
-30 weapons systems face “reduced maintenance”.
-Affects sustainment of sat-com assets.
-8 hour days on ground radar sites vs. 24 hours.

Another source mentioned that B-52 flying hours would be cut by 10 percent: effective immediately. Expect other airframe communities to do similar.

And with the current DC climate, it appears there will be "no parole from the governor."

How does this affect air supremacy? The F-35 is basically useless for the USAF. And the F-22 needs a serious replacement (more on that later).

USAF cost per-flying-hour for their inventory isn't good either.

Not mentioned is a big piece of low-hanging fruit: the excess number of flag ranks and SES.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

History lesson

Not so accurate in this discussion:

Andrew: Then in some cases it becomes a matter of timing? That’s the problem that France had in the mid 1930s—it knew where the threat was coming from and roughly what capabilities the adversary would have, but it overspent on preparedness at the expense of investment in future capability and when the war arrived in 1939 rather than 1936 they were caught with out of date forces. Isn’t there a tension between future and present forces?

When France was invaded in 1940, did Germany have superior tanks? No. Superior aircraft? No. Superior ships? No. How can France be accused overspending on preparedness when...they were not prepared? France was defeated because of poor leadership from the very top; poor command and control and poor military preparedness in whole military communities. That is: the very basics from general-staff planning down to platoon leadership. They had enough hardware. They spent enough on the military. They were not capable of making it work to win. Germany took a lot of casualties in the invasion of France while having superior training, tactics, and general-staff work. If you swapped weapons systems, Germany still would have won.

Moving along on other things, Jim brings up the failed idea of Defence spend as a percent of GDP. The only value proposition is how much money is available in existing federal budgets to be given to Defence. Hello. This is an entitlement society.

More: the Defence 2030 is a kick-the-can-down-the-road fantasy. What we need is pure, skilled, military thinking which is not present in today's entrenched Defence bureaucracy. What we have today is: "If it is expensive and involves the maximum amount of rent-seeking, it must be good."

That and a failed DMO are: the enemy within.


U.S. Gov begs for a low price

I am curious how the U.S. Government does value negotiations with a vendor when they are the only choice? Do they beg? "Please lower your price".

Or what?

As an aside, here is what Australia was briefed in 2006:



Here is what Canada was briefed in 2009:




In the 1990's, having two engine vendors was always part of the JSF snow-job to a gullible Congress. "Look at all that value!"

DOD select acquisition reports on F-35 JSF program health, are now separated between airframe and motor.



Sunday, February 3, 2013

Failed planning

Interesting about another case of goofed up USAF planning.

Right after the end of The Cold War, when Germany unified, the German air force used ex-East-German MiG-29s as red-air combat training throughout NATO.

One of the threats that had to be considered with the MiG-29 was how to avoid its' helmet-cued, high-off-bore-sight (HOBS) heat-seeking missile system used for within-visual-range (WVR) combat.

A counter that was taught was to keep the threat at arms-length. Broken-down air forces with export-MiG-29s which also had poor defensive avionics, were killed by the beyond-visual-range (BVR) AMRAAM.

Eventually, the U.S. fielded their own helmet-mounted-cueing system to work with the AIM-9X. This ended up in the F-15, F-16 and F-18 in the last decade. Parity.

Twenty-some years later after The Cold War (8 after F-22 IOC) and we have this:

"The huge advantage offered by such a high off-boresight missile in combination with a HMCS may give a third or fourth-generation fighter a decided edge over the fifth-generation Raptor (with AIM-9Ms) in a visual range encounter."

Correction: even with an F-22 that has AIM-9X but no HOBS-cueing helmet.

What makes it more interesting is when the BVR AMRAAM faces threats with real defensive avionics and low-observable appliances all you have left is WVR. Most threat fighter aircraft the F-22 will face in combat have HOBS missile systems that can be cued with the helmet. Look off that way..."Fox!".

Way-to-go USAF.

The following video explains HOBS air-to-air missile systems. I picked this Israeli video (at this point) to cut to the chase. The music for the AIM-9X video was just too annoying.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bag man

AOL Defense is happy to be in the bag for the F-35 Just So Failed. Yesterday they published a propaganda piece with the real message that it does not matter if America follows a flawed force-structure policy centered around the F-35 and loses a battle or a war, as long as the F-35 survives in the thousands.
I put the following comments under the post:

“Misleading and, showing a complete lack of understanding of the Joint Strike Fighter Operational Requirement Document (JORD) which is now effectively obsolete. And, the F-35 will not be able to stand up to emerging PacRim threats by very definition of the JORD. Reference threats are now the Su-35, PAK-FA and high-end SAMS not present in ALLIED FORCE 99 or any thinking in the JORD at the time. Also, back then it was assumed we would have several hundred F-22s to do the big threat work. Now...that idea...like the JSF JORD, is worthless. The carrier air wing is at high risk of being obsolete to the threat. Any USMC amphib with the F-35B (if it ever sees operational use--(watered down block definitions or not) will be dead meat to the emerging threats. Lesser threats? Well, the F-35B won't even have blue-force-tracker and ROVER in finished Block 3 form. All we hear about that (like all the other failed promises) are notional Block 4,5,6 hopes and dreams. Completely worthless for a Joint Operational Commander. In order to make the F-35B even useful for its first all-show-no-go deployment, they will have to put an external SNIPER pod on it because the EOTS field of view (OK for strategic strike ...if the aircraft doesn't get shot down) is not as wide of a field of view as an external SNIPER-XR pod (right or left turning while observing) for CAS......DAS not proven to work to effect at this time. The jet will also need a HUD with the failed helmet. Yeah, I can see the USMC-air (under its marketing director General Amos, who conned the current DOD boss into dropping a year off of the F-35B probation) doing nothing more with an early F-35B deployment than image over substance. "But what about STOVL?" Says the model-airplane-glue-sniffing brigade... Over-hyped http://goo.gl/UbKOW But first things first. All those defects. And all the thermal problems associated with semi-working / faulty mission systems that have a long way to go before proof of life...along with a mountain of other defects. All this unaffordable to own ....and operate with a cost per flying hour projected to be double that of a Hornet. What........a.........sham....”

Further reading:

-Summary of Air Power Australia F-35 points
-Aviation Week (ARES blog) F-35 posts (2007 to present)
-U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) F-35 reports
-F-35 JSF: Cold War Anachronism Without a Mission
-History of F-35 Production Cuts
-Looking at the three Japan contenders (maneuverability)
-How the Canadian DND misleads the public about the F-35
-Value of STOVL F-35B over-hyped
-Cuckoo in the nest--U.S. DOD DOT&E F-35 report is out
-6 Feb 2012 Letter from SASC to DOD boss Panetta questioning the decision to lift probation on the F-35B STOVL.
-USAFs F-35 procurement plan is not believable
-December 2011 Australia/Canada Brief
-F-35 Key Performance Perimeters (KPP) and Feb 2012 CRS report
-F-35 DOD Select Acquisition Report (SAR) FY2012
-Release of F-35 2012 test report card shows continued waste on a dud program