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05 December 2014


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Allen Thomson

Speaking of the F-35, it appears that China has them in mind. Go to 39.1500 N, 88.6168 E in Google Earth and set the date slider to 15 May 2013. The mock aircraft lined up there have a curious resemblance in shape and size to F-35s.


Didn't the F-111 damn near kill Chuck Yeager?



"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." Hmm... I didn't learn all that much at Carlisle but I agree that the existence of the marine air force is nonsensical. pl

Peter C

The F 35 is a triumph of political engineering. That's all it amounts to.

This elephant sized Swiss Army knife, has lots of stuff, and none of the tools work well, because there are too many crammed into one thing.

Also, it's always Bureaucratic REMFs dream to have just one thing do all things. Buy one big thing and then have attachments to do everything. Have one big warehouse with all the parts, one school to train the maintainers etc etc etc. Dream on!!


The Ash Carter article noted that in being $160 over its cost, this is more than the combined defense budgets of France and Britain. Astounding. A tribute to the tri-ochracy of defense industry lobbyists, the AF brass and Congress.

The F-111 couldn't be used aboard carriers- too big and heavy. With its size, it would have caused problems that the A-6, then the Navy's attack bomber did not.

Regarding the Marine Corps air wings, the F-35 is nonsense. However, the Marines look at the air support the Army has gotten from the Air Force and that has helped them dig in in keeping their fixed-wing suppport. I can't tell how many Army types have said they rue the fact that the Air Force took all the combat support fixed wing when that service was established. Maybe the Army could get the A-10s.

Mike C


It goes straight back to Guadalcanal and the Cactus Air Force. The Marines have insisted ever since that they need their own air power in case another Adm. Fletcher sails the carriers away again. The Marine demand for short/ vertical ops, and that it fit in their LHDs/LHAs, is what ruined the F-35. The requirement, now essentially abandoned, that all versions be 80% the same forced the Marine F-35B mold lines onto all three versions.

Mike C

I think you're referring to his accident in the NF-104. By the time the -111 came around, Yeager was doing things other than test-piloting.



I heard talk in 2004 that the AF was willing to give up the A10 to the Army, but wanted to keep all the personnel to retrain for the F22. Not sure about the truth of that but it seems plausible.



Kind of curious how much Marine battle doctrine is based on battles steeped in lore vs. What works.

The Marines had it bad in Anbar, rolling around in LAVs that they hosed you out of after an IED attack versus the Army's Stryker that took vbieds on the chin and kept rolling. God bless them.


Mike C

Yes. I know about Guadalcanal. Maybe I'm just jealous. pl

Lord Curzon

And, as I recall, Sandys cancelled an outstanding aircraft, the TSR2, with the then Government advocating the F111!

dilbert dogbert

Any time you add VSTOL to an aircraft you reduce payload and range. Stupid. You and not going to operate such and expensive aircraft from a vulnerable forward airbase.
Mention of the F111 brought back memories of a NASA program I worked on where we installed a jet engine simulator in a model to investigate the possible aerodynamic effects of engine inlet and exhaust flows on whole A/C aero. The program was initiated because of the aero problems with the F111. The problems were not due to inlet and exhaust flows. The were because of inlet design problems and cooling airflows around the engine.

Odin's Raven

I don't think I remember.



Likely you're right. That was the Starfighter IIRC which caused issues for the Germans and Italian Air Forces.



We lost a number of Harriers in Afghanistan when an insurgent raiding party made a one way trip inside the FOB.

Had all the hallmarks of a Hollywood movie, with the climax being the LtCol rallying the cooks and clerks to fight off the insurgents and then dying when he lead the charge with his service pistol.


"The WWII P-47 had been nicknamed the Hog, and the follow-on F-84 had become the Super Hog. It was quite natural then that the F-105 would get tagged with Ultra Hog. Transition problems resulting in "controlled flight into terrain" gave rise to the name Lieutenant-eater, but that didn't stick."

This link is slaying me.



Aircraft designer Daniel P. Raymer, who was on a Pentagon panel on the JSF that was to become the F35 wrote this, and I quote:

"An unmanned airplane offers a 25% saving in weight compared to a manned airplane carrying the same bombs".

As for dogfighting UAV's he wrote:

"Making ist strong enough to pull 20g increased emoty weight by 30%, and concluded that the US already have those and they are called air-to-air missiles.

Elaborating on the JSF: "I had one overriding fear during y entire involvement with the programs that mecame the F-35. It colored everything I did and everything In suggested. Cost. I was really afraid that this program, like so many before, would grow ion cost as the years went by and would eventually be cancelled.
And cost alone made me fear the option "three similar but separatre designs". Even with major commonality, there would be three separate aircraft developments, three separate first flights, three separate flight test programs, and while there could be a single integrated production line, three different aircraft would be coming of it.

Not only would that cost more, it would also take longer."


different clue


I am strictly civilian, obviously . . . . but my feeling is that if any country figures out how to make drone airwar work as part of a bigger airwar picture, it will be budget-constrained countries with deep and broad scientific establishments like Iran. Perhaps also Hezbollah will devote some part of their scarce money and research-power reserves to see and develop what drones can do. (And it suddenly occurs to me that Taiwan might also try to do it very secretly if China doesn't find out and terrify Taiwan right out of that line of research.)

different clue


And if a committee designed a camel, what would that look like?



I played in a regionally oriented war game a while back in which armed UAVs were a feature. it was clear from the result that armed UAVs are a game changer for powers that lack an air force. pl



Not saying drones don't have utility in warfare at all. Personally I think small scale ruggedized robotics are under used. But the slide rule crowd believes that drones will replace all aspects of warfare, which is ludicrous.


Make 'em totally autonomous, radio shielded, and you don't need to worry about jamming. Just load 'em up with fire-and-forget guidance...after all, what could possibly go wrong?...

Navy is already insisting on fighters following visual orders from the flight-deck signalman, which is seriously creepy to see work.

Since jets can scale from 3' to 300'+ and need no life-support/food/cockpit, autonomous jets will always be cheaper, faster, and much more maneuverable than comparable manned ones. Boats & subs too. Encryption may be an issue, but I don't envision it being discussed due to embarrassment. When costs get under 1/10th x I guess the tech will be impossible to ignore. I hope you are right, though.

DC: I agree about Iran.

["No, I said 'Bomb GEORGIA', not Atlanta, you fool!..."]


Good, but last time I looked, missiles don't a) fly patrol, waiting until needed; b) carry multiple rounds, for multiple targets; c) keep firing even if their lock-on is jammed the first time; d) fly for days on end. There should be room for a cheap hybrid, though; good observation.

re cost: "Projects expand to exceed allocated resources". Esp. boondoggles, made to create jobs.


Current preliminary thinking on the "no fear" robotic army suggests the first effect will be lowered inhibitions on the part of Congress, and possibly generals, to go to war. Already Obama's/Israel's tactical drone assassination programs provide preliminary examples. When the enemy can be simply eliminated with no immediately obvious blowback, with little effort, then the Chicago Way becomes the new ethics of the world.

Against the backdrop of the 1984 Oceania vs. Eurasia vs. Eastasia concept of endless war, I'm quite worried. The House just voted a casus belli against Russia. S.R. 65 already gives us casus belli against Iran. We just spent the last decade in Iraq wiping out their civilization and $6T of our national balance. We could have united with Russia in a non-zero-sum way to resolve regional conflicts and cooperate against the world depression, but nooo...So, unless a whole new school of ethics quickly gets developed in the next five years, I'm seeing a whole new round of adventurism once the robot ships and planes come online for real. Any suggestions on how to defuse/mitigate this?

Mike C


I was agreeing about the nonsense of it, not trying to instruct. Sorry for my lack of clarity.

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