"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is The F-35 Strike Fighter The Military Chevy Volt?

This headline made my crack up and then I remembered as a taxpayer how we were being taken to the cleaners with the F-35.  What a boondoggle and waste of taxpayer dollars.  The Air Force has test pilots sitting around doing simulators when they were brought into the test out the new plane.  Some get to start the engines and drive it around a little just like the Volt but that's it.  Too dangerous to take in the air.

Have they fixed the wiring problem in the weapons bay or have they managed to get the F-35 under weight to land on a carrier?  Those are only a few of the problems.  How about the new and shiny logistics system that would download the status of the plane on landing if something had to be fixed?  Aero took the money from logistics so the LM Star Tester will most likely be the tester of choice unless they go to Warner Robins for their dog of a tester, VDATS.  The F-16 received a waiver not to use VDATS so there should be no way that Lockheed uses that system but then when you are looking to curry favor with the Air Force bigwigs who knows.

Try cost overruns and way behind schedule when the President of Lockheed guaranteed then Secretary of Defense Gates that everything was going according to schedule and any schedule problems would be fixed.  Still waiting for problems to be fixed and get back on schedule.  After reading this article from IBD, sounds like the problems with the F-35 still exist and in bigger numbers.

Will the F-35 be the same mechanic's nightmare as the F-22?  Whoever was in charge of source selection for the F-22 and F-35 blew it.  Guess this explains why the FOIA request for the F-35 was never answered -- they still have major problems and still wasting tax dollar money.  Guess others are waking up to the fact that one size does not fit all when it comes to military planes.  All these questions and so few answers out of Lockheed.  Where this ends up is anyone's guess.  Rumor has Lockheed shopping some of their groups to get money for the F-35 because the well of dollars at the DoD is running dry pretty fast.

Read this article and ask yourself why we are wasting so much money and yet the DoD wants you to think there is no place to cut.  The way contracts are awarded would be a great starting point because transferring the major weapon systems programs to the Headquarters to be Super System Program Offices (SPOs) is not working.  The merging of  AF Force Logistics Command and AF Systems Command into AF Materiel Command (AFMC) back in the early 90's doesn't seem to have worked out all that well either because of the lack of oversight.  They new weapons systems were better when controlled at the Aeronautical Systems Center SPO's made up of systems and logistics types at Wright-Patterson AFB with less pressure from the inside the beltway types.  The F-16 back in the 80's is a perfect example of cooperation between ASC, AFMC, AFSC, and the Hill AFB depot that is in charge of the F-16.  

Whatever the answer, the F-35 is not doing very well in meeting the standards that were promised by Lockheed.
Is The F-35 Strike Fighter The Military Chevy Volt?
Posted 06:59 PM ET 
Defense: Pilots who arrived a year ago to train on the fighter of the future are still waiting as safety concerns, cost overruns and questions about the whole program's feasibility mount.
The F-35 is meant to be America's next-generation fighter, the heir to the Air Force's F-15 Eagle and the Navy's and Marines' F/A-18 Hornet. Those two aircraft have fulfilled their air superiority and ground-attack roles well, yet many are well beyond their expected life expectancy. 
The F-35 would fill America's defense needs in an age of budget constraints, we were told. So far it has not been a smooth takeoff.  
About 35 of the best fighter pilots from the Air Force, Marines and Navy who arrived in the Florida Panhandle last year to learn to fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are still waiting. They've been limited to occasionally taxying them and firing up the engines. 
Otherwise, their training is limited to three F-35 flight simulators, classroom work and flights in older-model jets. Only a handful of pilots get to fly the F-35s. 
Concerns have arisen, ranging from improperly installed parachutes under the pilots' ejector seats to whether the aircraft have been adequately tested. 
Production has been slow and delayed, and the cost has risen from $233 billion to $385 billion. Only 43 F-35s have been built, and an additional 2,443 have been ordered by the Pentagon.
Part of the problem is that the F-35 is a one-size-fits-all aircraft designed to fit roles from taking off a carrier's deck to hovering and landing in a confined space on a foreign battlefield. It's meant to be a ground-attack and air-superiority fighter. The question is whether it can adequately be both. 
As we learned in past conflicts, relying on one-size-fits-all aircraft can be perilous. Our reliance on the carrier-based F-4 Phantom during Vietnam is a case in point. An aircraft designed to hunt down Soviet bombers during the Cold War, it carried missiles but no guns and was ill-suited for dogfights against MiG fighters designed for a single role — that of air superiority. 
That was the role originally designated for the F-22 Raptor, a stealth fighter designed to simply sweep the skies of enemy jets and let other aircraft do their thing. Production was stopped at only 187 planes, with the excuse given that we couldn't afford multiple aircraft for different roles. So the F-35 was designated as our flying jack-of-all-trades. 
Excerpt:  Read More at IBD

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