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F-35 - An Eagle or a Turkey?


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#91 Armand

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 11:55 AM

The design of the former British jump jet carriers sacrified the until then Fairey Gannet AEW's solitarely reliing on the AEW of the NATO partners.
This prooved critical when RN took on the Falklands alone hence without AEW of the NATO partner,
and seemingly have the Brits duplicated the detail on this newbuild :-o

Edited by Armand, 02 July 2017 - 11:58 AM.


#92 GregP

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 08:18 AM

Could be that no matter who you are, your defense has to be affordable. If not, the country will fail.

 

Perhaps that played a part; I don't know.



#93 USAF Steve

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 06:10 PM

One thing the F-35 has proven itself to be is controversial.   Probably the most controversial aircraft since the F-111, which coincidentally also tried to be all things to all people rather than just pick a role and do whatever it takes to be the best at that.

 

I suppose it's heartening to recall that in the end the F-111 proved itself to be a most capable aircraft and remained in service for many years.  It had a lot of teething troubles too, and eventually the Navy backed out of their involvement in favor of Navy designs.  Might be too late for that in the case of the F-35 but in my opinion if the powers-that-be had remembered the lesson of the F-111 they may not have attempted to make one air frame fit all the different roles it's expected to.

 

I've read that the unit cost is coming down quite a bit, and for the A model it's now in the $85M range which is very expensive but not hugely different than any other modern military plane.  I think the F-117 was around $60M per plane and that was back in the early 80s, so not all that far off.  

 

I think one problem that the Pentagon was faced with is trying to figure out who the 'enemy' is, and who it might be in 2050 or 2060 AD.  Hard to build a solution for a problem you can't define!


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#94 GregP

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:23 PM

I don't believe the F-35 is a bad airplane. I think it is ludicrous to base your entire air force on a plane that is a bomb truck, but not many (2), has 2 AAMs on it, cannot dogfight, and we STILL don't know the range because if you run it near empty, the fuel will overheat since it is used to cool the plane.

 

If it is your AF backbone, it WILL dogfight within visual range, and the F-35 is a loser in within-visual-range fighting of any kind. It's probably a very good plane BVR. But politicians have never given permission for BVR kills to date, so the point is entirely moot.

 

We can use some F-35s, sure. But not as the basis for the Air Force, for crying out loud. I wish Trump had cancelled it forthwith and gone after a good backbone aircraft for the Air Force.

 

I hope we aren't beaten too badly when this thing is our mainstay, but I have little faith it will, be that way.

 

The F-35 fanboys defend and say it was never meant to be a dogfighter, but I was around when this thing was born, and that was a promise from the outset. You can't even calculate the fuel fraction for it because NOBODY will tell us how much fuel it can use and still fly before it overheats!

 

So, it has a mediocre thrust to weight ratio, an unknown fuel fraction and range, can't carry many bombs if stealthy, can't carry many missile if stealthy, and can't dogfight when it is caught within visual range. And we call that our wonder plane? Sounds like idiots are running the Air Force to me.

 

I like the plane for a specific role. That is BVR attack. If we aren't going to employ that tactic, the plane is a serious kink in the armor and needs to be retired NOW. It would fall out of the sky in droves over Hanoi, but could probably do quite well in a sneak attack versus most defenses. Sneak attacks don't win wars. They are a thorn in someone's side, but aren't strategic in the slightest.

 

In a head-to-head confrontation versus a first-line enemy, the F-35 comes up WAY too short. And we don't have enough F-22s to do much good. At least it is a very good fighter! That assumes both the F-22 and F-35 pilots get enough Oxygen to stay awake! Both have had issues with that very thing.

 

The positives on the F-35, and it has some, are FAR outweighed by the negatives when it becomes your main Air Force aircraft. As an attack plane, it does just fine. As more, it is severely lacking.

 

If I ever hear the words "concurrent development" again, I want to hurt whoever speaks them. All it means is "pay the vendor regardless of the product delivered."



#95 WildWeasel

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 01:39 AM

I'd say turkey in a few of its assigned roles, most importantly being attack.

 

It's a reasonably capable replacement for the Marines' Harriers, but other than that, the F-35 is like using a scalpel to nail in a railroad spike; it isn't gonna work. The big plan at this point is to replace the A-10 fleet with the '35s. That will prove to be the biggest mistake since sending F-104s to Vietnam. The F-35 is a precision instrument designed to fly around at high altitudes and put a few JDAMs on a house or two. It cannot swoop in at treetop levels and engage enemy units with a 30mm gun designed specifically to destroy armor. It doesn't have the capability for AGM-65s, replacing them with the far lighter JAGM. Its SEAD capability is severely limited by a lack of support for the AGM-88 HARM. 

 

USAF's decision about the F-35 replacing the A-10 isn't one of capability. It's all about politics within USAF itself. They've wanted to kill the A-10 for decades. Remember the attempt in the late '80s to replace it with a GAU 8-equipped F-16? That went nowhere, and Desert Storm proved them wrong when the A-10s performed with flying colors. Most officers with lots of pull in the Air Force come out of fighter and space units. Former CSAF Welsh is a rare exception to that, coming from an A-10 unit originally, but converting to F-16s later. The fighter cabal got to him, as you can see here:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=NQr4Zbr-e1k

 

See his insistence that the F-15, -16, and -35 can perform CAS, but his lack of an answer for why they're using the A-10 for that role instead? He doesn't want to admit that an "air-to-mud" plane does the job better than an air superiority fighter, a light multirole fighter, and a wannabe multirole fighter. It's gotta be glamorous to please many of the USAF's commanders, and let's face it, the A-10 isn't glamorous. It's an ugly beast, but it's an ugly beast that gets the job done.

 

 

I would have said something about the connection to the panacea-seeking TFX program, but it looks like Steve beat me to it.


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#96 USAF Steve

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 05:28 PM

I agree it's hard to imagine the F-35 down low, terrifying enemy ground troops the way the A-10 does.   Stealth isn't going to help much in that role, when the biggest danger is probably shoulder fired IR missiles and small arms fire.   It's not like the ground troops aren't going to hear it and see it, so stealth is almost irrelevant except for if enemy fighters are hanging around (if they are the should have been killed already by F-22s or F-15s).   I am an Air Force guy so hate to be critical of the USAF but  I have never understood that long campaign to get rid of the A-10 when it's one of the most effective weapons of it's type in the world.  Maybe they should paint them a cool color and call them something else, like the A-10 Viper, put some vinyls on there, skulls and sharks and that type of thing.  Make those pilots feel like they really are cool after all.   Or give the A-10 pilots a beret like the Army would do to make them feel elite.  



#97 Armand

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 12:01 AM

I agree it's hard to imagine the F-35 down low, terrifying enemy ground troops the way the A-10 does. Stealth isn't going to help much in that role, when the biggest danger is probably shoulder fired IR missiles and small arms fire. It's not like the ground troops aren't going to hear it and see it, so stealth is almost irrelevant except for if enemy fighters are hanging around (if they are the should have been killed already by F-22s or F-15s). .

CAS should be about 'hanging around' awaiting call-in's and that isn't among the forces of any of the F-35 variants. Additional is the arsenal of the F-35 not sufficient to anything but a single strike, wich again matches the range/hour airborne: It have to get home refuelling soon anyhow hence reloading can be done at that occation, however who maintains the CAS meanwhile?

Edited by Armand, 29 August 2017 - 12:02 AM.


#98 GregP

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 07:50 PM

All I can say from experience is that THE plane to have overhead in Viet Nam was a Skyraider, not a jet. The Skyraider could haul a LOT, shoot or drop something on every pass, and hand around for 2 - 3 hours if needed. A flight of 4 Skyraiders would keep a LOT of heads down for a LONG time.

 

All you'd have to do if F-35s came over is wait for a few passes and he's out of fuel and has to leave.

 

Now, that's a jungle war, almost devoid of modern defenses.

 

Not quite the same in a desert war with modern defenses; there's no place to hide in a desert. The F-35 might do fine in a desert war, but not all wars are fought there. Throw in some woods, jungle, or a lot of cover, and it's a different game in a limited war.






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