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05 December 2014


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Charles I

The same FZ article I cited in the Ashton Carter/WH... thread says the program is $160 billion over budget.


Canadians were told we could get about 65 of 'em for $14 billion, $25 billion with gas, tires, bombs and oil change. Wholly unsuited for touted Northern Sovereignty missions as a single engine, heavy, short range, long landing strip plane, from which our pilots could eject into the Arctic wastes. . . last reported news I heard somewhere from Canadian govt was maybe we'd still like to get them . . .after the next election.


Charles I

ps to myself here's the latest hilarious but sad part:

We'd like to get at least, er 4 (FOUR) of them, maybe, later. Then we'll be in the loop, hoopla died down, lolly flowing, lots more to come.



They should have just upgraded their existing aircraft, just as the former Soviet Union and the present Russia is doing. (Pls. correct if info is wrong.)


To replace the aging F-4 Phantom, McNamara & the Whiz Kids combined the USAF & USN fighter requirements. The result was the F-111. The cumulative requirements increased the weigh of the aircraft to the point that it lacked the thrust to weight ratio to be an effective fighter.

SecNav Paul Ignatius was defending the F-111 before Sen. Stennis at a SASC hearing. Adm. Tom Connolly was accompanying SecNav. The rules of the game require Defense personnel to support the President's budget. They are however allowed to state a personal opinion if asked directly.

Stennis knew that the Navy was not happy with the F-111 program. However, SecNav fielded every question & strongly supported the F-111. Most of the concerns were about the weight to thrust ratio. Finally Stennis asked Adm. Tom Connelly for his personal opinion of the F-111. Adm Connelly responded, "There isn't enough thrust in Christendom to fix that plane."

The F-111 was built; but, served as a bomber not a fighter. The USAF went on to develop the F-15 & F-16. The Navy developed the F-14 which was named the "Tomcat" after Adm. Tom Connelly. The Adm. did not get his 4th star. Where are such men in DOD today.

William R. Cumming

How much would 100,00o modernized ME-262 cost?


Meanwhile the Air Force is still doing its damndest to get rid of the A-10.

If it can survive the attempts of the Pentagon to kill it, it truly will be the indestructible plane.


One slightly different coda to the Varks history. It did a highly credible job of 'tank plinking' during Deserrt Storm. It also dropped the bunker busters cobbled together from howitzer barrels to take out the Taji bunkers during the Storm.

The Air Force has arguably produced two major Charlie Fox programs in the F-22 and F-35. The F-22 took nearly a decade to go from Prototype to production and squadron service. It got so expensive that the AF has way too few of them. And Carl Levin made sure that neither Japan or the Aussies could buy them. Would have nice to have there to contain China right about now.



I am a firm believer that great airplanes look good. The F-35 is a reincarnation of the Brewster F2A Buffalo Fighter.

Both are ugly but served their purpose of making money for military contractors.

But, the SU-30; it is fighter jet pornography:

Odin's Raven

This problem has already been recognised in writing fiction about alternate history.


For true defense, there has to be a balance between high tech and a weapon system that can be mass produced, should we find ourselves in a protracted war with another industrial power. The F-35 ain't it. A true threat to this country's sovereignty won't be a third world country.


A model airplane enthusiast was flying a 3' long line-of-sight RC control with a real turbine jet engine mebbe about 8" long. It hauled. Didn't know they made them. Here's a 7' long SR-71 jet RC model for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lYGUROZ_Pg
Stock RC jets can go 50-300mph they say, and start at $200 on up. For the price of a Corvette, I should be able to construct a custom one that's mostly fuel tank so can fly across states. $1M should buy a fleet of 10. Multiply by 50x for the first three years for R&D costs. Navy is already using A.I.s to land on a carrier deck, fully autonomous dogfighting is much harder, perhaps 6 years out. This could give us a "peace dividend" but since most defense money is spent for jobs and directors' bonuses, I don't see the price cuts happening until they must. What Congress will do with a fleet of robot fighter/bombers is a different nightmare.


As Tom Clancy said, they sure make them pretty.


SU-30 is a further evolution of SU-27 and is not the same generation as F-35. Su-30 is comparable to F-15 variants and follows similar design philosophy.

F-22 and F-35 are clean sheet designs that represent a new generation of fighter aircraft. Their main design philosophy revolves around shaping principles to minimize radar visibility(lo and vlo). Russia doesn't have anything in the same class as F-35, however they do have an aircraft undergoing development which is considered a counter to F-22. It is called Pak-Fa

Interestingly, Chinese are following hi-lo mix like US and have an aircraft that is in same class as F-35. It has two engines and is not encumbered by the design decisions that have wrecked J-35 as explained by Colonel. The F-22 counterpart is called J-20 and F-35 counterpart is called FC-31


Yeah this project will be one for the history books. Love the pic of the factory floor!


General Dynamic/Grumman F-111 TFX was a costly "technology demonstrator." But the demonstrator was too large and heavy as a fighter for USAF and especially USN.

USAF got a decent bomber out of the General Dynamics FB-111A. And Grumman took advantage of F-111B technology in the design of their superlative F-14 Tomcat.

But you're right, Colonel, it was an expensive and wasteful way to go in the design and development of combat aircraft.

The development of the F-35 is a deju-vu of the V-22 Osprey experience. Even now, it's quietly conceded the V-22 can not in practical operation live up to some of the original specifications performed by existing helicopters its intent was to replace.



Not too worried about drone fighter/bombers for the simple reason you will never have a totally safe encryption, not is the wireless capability always guaranteed with current or future tech anytime soon. I know drone operators in the SW and they tell me that its not uncommon to lose connectivity with the drone and at least once a week the thing goes on autopilot and returns to base because no one can establish a signal with the thing.

Maybe there's some old heads around here who will tell me otherwise about the feasibility of drone fighters in combat in my lifetime but I still remember people claiming that we'd have terminator robot drones fighting for us in Iraq so that'd work out. I think even if we did there'd be some Iraqi who'd have figured out how to make a jammer from a cell phone, a car battery, and some falafel wrappers and kill a few zillion dollars worth of DARPA tech.

Honestly, technology as panacea has been around with us since Vietnam with McNamara and the other eggheads at the helm of that particular ship, but it seems like war has stayed the same over all.


Honestly "jointness" is the biggest scam going in the military right now. It enriches some contractors and generals and bends over the grunts. Look at the replacement for the M4 - the Air Force demanded that the thing be small enough to fit inside a certain space while the Marines wanted to be able to hit targets out at 500 yards. One service is demanding a pistol while the other wants a Remington 700, but to the Pentagon all the needs are interchangeable.

Same thing here. Maybe its because I never made it past Spec 4 and attended War College, but I can't see why the Marines have/need a fixed air wing for any other purpose than "because my granddaddy flew Corsairs in WWII and I'm part of that proud legacy", or whatever. Furthermore it seems that the requirements for a land based service with strategic bombers and the requirements for a sea based first strike/expeditionary service are going to be pretty different.

But hey again, just a dumb grunt. Maybe when the next war kicks off they'll have figured out how to stop the F-22 from giving the pilots hypoxia so they can be shot down by an SU-30 that actually works to specifications versus putting themselves into the side of a mountain while the contractor says "Well, it ain't SPOSE to work like that!"

SAC Brat

Two points. The F-35 appears to be a program designed to provide its contractors an unstoppable flow of government money, with an airplane a possible but not necessary byproduct. Fox, henhouse, etc. A V-22 program on steroids, avoiding the KC-46 pratfalls.

The second point is that several US companies, such as Boeing and Pratt & Whitney have become infested with business types that move their engineers from program to program leaving the customer talking to some FNG with six months in a position. In the past the customer could communicate with some dinosaur who was there at the beginning of a program and knew what they were talking about. Often now the customer has more knowledge of the history of the product they are using than the manufacturer.
It sucks when you can fly an airplane for 30 to 50 years but the manufacturer is worrying about fluffing Wall Street more than customer support.


In the end, the F111 as a bomber was just what we needed here in Australia and it served until just a few months ago when the last few were formally retired. It worked because the Indonesians and Chinese didn't have look down/shoot down radar worth much and also couldn't track that terrain following massive radar headlight. From memory its radius of action went all the way to Peking.

We upgraded the avionics to digital in the eighties and fitted all sorts of "stuff". I used to be acquainted with the engineering professor who was the structural integrity authority for it.

As for the F35, what can I say? A camel is a horse designed by a committee.


It's almost like a modern version of a pyramid, instead of emperors having a resting place to ascend to the stars we have thousands of workers to send wealth to the stars.


The Awkward?

robt willmann

It would be nice if fighter pilot Col. John "40 Second" Boyd could be brought back to life to bluntly excoriate the ridiculous F-35. Boyd was the person behind the F-15, F-16, and F-18 airplanes, and had a significant effect on U.S. Marine war fighting doctrine.

Here is a hearing on April 30, 1991, before the House Armed Services Committee, about defense after the Iraq War began with the Kuwait matter. On the panel are Johnny Boyd, former U.S. Senator Gary Hart, John Lehman, who was Secretary of the Navy for most of Ronald Reagan's terms as president, and Donald Hicks, R&D and Engineering at the Pentagon. Although it is 2 hours, 40 minutes long, it is actually quite interesting. Boyd's prepared statement starts at 7 minutes into the hearing and goes to around 19 minutes, 40 sec. He comments a few times after that. From 1 hour, 25 min. to 1 hour, 34 min., 22 sec., he comments on the use of air power in war. In talking about the Iraq/Kuwait campaign, he thinks that the bombing "in some cases might have gone too far ... whether you have to beat up a whole country, I'm not so sure; naturally they did not do that this time, so in that context, they have certainly improved." He would probably have been against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the destruction of its civilian infrastructure, and the deliberate tearing of its social fabric; we will not know because he passed away in 1997.


The committee was chaired by U.S. Representative Les Aspin, who later became Secretary of Defense for president Bill Clinton. He lasted only about a year, because of the "Black Hawk down" episode in Somalia, which resulted in his being forced out.


John Boyd apparently gave lengthly oral "briefings" rather than writing essays and articles about his thoughts. Unfortunately, there is almost no record of them. Here is part of a talk he gave at an unknown time at the USAF Air University--


Boyd created the idea of the OODA loop. Robert Coram wrote a biography of him, and was interviewed in December 2002 by Brian Lamb of C-Span, the last good interviewer left on U.S. television--


Coram claims that Dick Cheney, as Secretary of Defense in 1990, asked Boyd to come out of retirement and talk to him about attacking Kuwait and Iraq, and it was Boyd who developed the strategy for that military campaign. If that is true, the public was not told that little tidbit, which meant that the generals appearing regularly on television were front men, as far as the strategy at the heart of the matter was concerned.

A recent example of one of Boyd's theories happened when the Russian government got inside the OODA loops of the U.S. puppet government in Ukraine, the CIA, and the U.S. State Department regarding Crimea. Russia eased the Ukrainian soldiers out of the bases in Crimea, quickly arranged for a referendum election, held the election, and then had a little annexation ceremony in Moscow making Crimea part of Russia, while the U.S. and the usual suspects were left flopping around and hypocritically blustering about Russia interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine after the U.S. interfered by arranging the coup.


The Chinese seem to be very active in developing the J-20. As I stated, it would have been nice for Japan to have 100 F-22s to counter that. The F-22 is a fearsome aircraft, if limited in weapon carriage. An F-22 pilot stated that fighting 4th generation aircraft with it was like clubbing baby seals. The PAK-FA has been around so long that it is nearly obsolete. And the Russians are having serious development issues with it still. That is probably an outcome of erratic funding, not a lack of talent.


Which one of Odin's ravens are you? Hugin or Munin?


NASCAR race fans can subscribe to watching races in a virtual format, so as that technology develops, as stated, pilots will no longer sit in the airplane. I suspect it will spread to other applications too. Some fighting will increasingly become an office job.

Of course, a combat robot run by AI is a truly frightening idea.

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