F35 - Money well spent.

F35 fighter has failed

An interesting read if you ignore the sensationalism in the article's title. The article talks about starting afresh with a clean sheet design. Surely the project is too far along to start messing around with order numbers and looking at new projects? Although is there an opportunity for the US to get on board with Tempest and bring their bigger budgets to help with development?
The US wanted an all F35 fleet but can’t afford it so they’ll settle for a hi-lo mix, much like with the F22. They’ve already placed orders for the F15EX to replace older F15s and is considering ordering new F16s.

Boeing lands the first order of the F-15EX

US Air Force Considers F-16 Order 16 Years After Last Delivery
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Quite. The right answer would be Typhoon but... well, built in metric not Imperial. ;-)
Depending how cheap and light

lots of Lead in trainers eg Hawk needs replacing
F16 needs replacing
Theres lots of 3rd world nations who couldnt afford or support the likes of Rafale - Typhoon

Perhaps whats needed is more akin to a souped up Hawk

Simple rugged construction - No LO materials
Roughly Jag Sized
Up to Mach 1.6 - Minimum required for credible Air Policing (intercept commercial AC) - perhaps choice of AB (Hawk ) / Non AB (F16)
Single Engine
Stable handling

Low operating cost - accepting that cheap trainer economics may mean different engines** for Trainers and Fighters

Market at current Mirage / Fishbed / F16 users/ countries that have no need of Typhoon /F35 but do need a modicum of capability..




**Marks of same engine
 
FA 50?

 
Depending how cheap and light

lots of Lead in trainers eg Hawk needs replacing
F16 needs replacing
Theres lots of 3rd world nations who couldnt afford or support the likes of Rafale - Typhoon

Perhaps whats needed is more akin to a souped up Hawk

Simple rugged construction - No LO materials
Roughly Jag Sized
Up to Mach 1.6 - Minimum required for credible Air Policing (intercept commercial AC) - perhaps choice of AB (Hawk ) / Non AB (F16)
Single Engine
Stable handling

Low operating cost - accepting that cheap trainer economics may mean different engines** for Trainers and Fighters

Market at current Mirage / Fishbed / F16 users/ countries that have no need of Typhoon /F35 but do need a modicum of capability..




**Marks of same engine
T-7A Red Hawk

Boeing: T-7A Red Hawk
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Yes, but you're back then at understanding about contested airspace - see various threads about the A-10.

An F-16, for instance, may be 'old' but it's very kinetically competent - in fact, still one of the most capable aircraft out there. It's electronically competent - in terms of sensor capabilities, and electronic protection. Pretty much the only thing it hasn't got is designed-from-the-beginning airframe stealth.

You can't say that about a lead-in trainer.

In fact, you couldn't say that about earlier marks of F-16. You wouldn't want to be flying an original, 1978 F-16A in current contested airspace. You wouldn't survive - it just doesn't have the electronic protection/capability. It would still be every bit as dynamically capable - if not more so - than the newest lead-in trainer but it's about far more than that.

People need to remember that the 'low' in any 'high-low' mix is still relatively high in terms of capability. It's not the Red Arrows in Hawks armed with -9L Sidewinders any more. The game has moved on considerably since then.

And, again, people need to remember that even relatively uncontested airspace still has some bite. That we haven't lost a combat jet over Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria doesn't mean that there isn't a credible threat. It means that we have professional combat aviators and systems that are aware of and capable of handling the threats.

Your 'low' needs to be set at the level of a current-generation F-15/16/18, and 'current-generation' means more bells and whistles than are on many of the versions of those same aircraft that are already in service. Hence the F-15EX.

Remember: the F-35 was born out of the CALF - Common Affordable Light Fighter. It's now none of those. It comes in three versions, is the size and weight of a Phantom, and even the 'fighter' bit has been given up on to a degree. It can look after itself but it's long since been decided that it's a feisty bomb truck, not a turn-and-burn air superiority asset.

That said, it'll allow you to do Day One stuff that earlier-generation designs can't, and you'd still rather have as many of them as you can get your hands on.
 
F35 fighter has failed

An interesting read if you ignore the sensationalism in the article's title. The article talks about starting afresh with a clean sheet design. Surely the project is too far along to start messing around with order numbers and looking at new projects? Although is there an opportunity for the US to get on board with Tempest and bring their bigger budgets to help with development?

Bear in mind that it's written by David Axe, who has never knowingly said/written anything to the F-35's advantage.

A single F-35 could be attacked by seven enemy fighters, shoot down six of them and Axe would write a long piece explaining how the fact that the 7th one managed to run away illustrated the need for a new lightweight fighter for the USAF...

He does have several points (in general), but he doesn't half kick the arrse out of the damning of the F-35. The US has the Next Generation Air Dominance fighter programme taking shape, and the new 'clean sheet fighters' are more a recognition that the F-16 will be past its sell-by date (at least in terms of what the US wants from it) sooner rather than later - it's more an acknowledgement that the Viper is getting old, not that the F-35 has failed, one might argue.
 

Slime

LE
F35 fighter has failed

An interesting read if you ignore the sensationalism in the article's title. The article talks about starting afresh with a clean sheet design. Surely the project is too far along to start messing around with order numbers and looking at new projects? Although is there an opportunity for the US to get on board with Tempest and bring their bigger budgets to help with development?

Or, the Tempest team could join the NGAD team in the US that has already made a start, and has test flown a prototype.

Aviation Week podcast covering NGAD:
 
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Bear in mind that it's written by David Axe, who has never knowingly said/written anything to the F-35's advantage.

A single F-35 could be attacked by seven enemy fighters, shoot down six of them and Axe would write a long piece explaining how the fact that the 7th one managed to run away illustrated the need for a new lightweight fighter for the USAF...

He does have several points (in general), but he doesn't half kick the arrse out of the damning of the F-35. The US has the Next Generation Air Dominance fighter programme taking shape, and the new 'clean sheet fighters' are more a recognition that the F-16 will be past its sell-by date (at least in terms of what the US wants from it) sooner rather than later - it's more an acknowledgement that the Viper is getting old, not that the F-35 has failed, one might argue.

Thinking about it, you might also contend that the F-35 evolved into the high-end aircraft because of the demise of the F-22's production line earlier than planned, but that it had a freezing effect on developing aircraft which'd be a sort of '4.7' Gen aircraft (if Typhoon, Super Hornet, Gripen E and Rafale are 4.5 Gen). It's the same problem - to a degree - which the RAF faced in the late 1970s/early-1980s: so much was invested in Tornado that there was no room to manoeuvre in terms of the finances. The UK Harrier GR5 was binned in favour of collaboration on the AV-8B; the idea of upgrading the Vulcan as a stand off weapons carrier (and occasional deliverer of Paveway II against enemy airfields) was dropped (would've interfered with Tornado and JP233 development); the Buccaneer upgrade was pared back, etc, etc). FEFA/EFA/EF2000/Typhoon emerged as the light at the end of the tunnel appeared in the mid-80s (with most Tornado GR squadrons equipped and ADV squadrons about to come on line [or so they thought...]).

The F-35 programme is much much bigger than Tornado was and has had a similar effect in terms of becoming the only programme on offer- some Arrsers will recall that there was doubt as to the wisdom of the 'winner take all' approach, not least since it might - in theory - have been better to have gone ahead with F-35B and F-35C, but to have given the USAF the F-32 (the production aircraft would've looked much better than the X-32. Well, a bit better)
View attachment 552336


Even then, though, it meant that there was no acceptance of the notion that a small step up from 4.5 Gen to something which'd have been labelled in the 4.6-4.9 Gen range (in that annoying way fighter generations are now termed) - ranging from a sort of enhanced Typhoon/Super Hornet through to a clean sheet design which'd have, say, been authorised in 2002/03 and entering service no later than now, replacing F-16s - might have been a good idea.

The size of the programme, in turn, meant that if you started to chip away at it - buying a USAF wing of F-15Es here, six more Super Hornet squadrons for the USN there (which, to an extent, happened because of the legacy Hornets being knackered), Super Hornets for the USMC, etc, etc then you start to call into question whether you need the F-35 at all...

Which, of course, the USAF did and does because there aren't enough F-22s to contend with a well-equipped - not necessarily Russia or PRC - opponent who uses their air defences with some degree of skill, particularly if they have decent GBAD capability.

So the USAF and the USMC (without F-35, they have nothing new and our unlamented contributor Tek-whatever-he-was-called who claimed a Super Harrier III was being secretly designed proved to be wrong in his assertions) threw up the barricades to defend the entire programme - which meant cutting off discussion of something which isn't quite as advanced, or as expensive, as the F-35.

The fixation on 'it must be the F-35' was understandable, but the combination of being so adamant about using the F-35 to replace the A-10 started that whole unproductive line of debate about how CAS can only be done with a very big gun and something apparently impervious to the SA-22 (presumably because of the gun) rather than a nuanced discussion of where the A-10 might find a niche. With the benefit of hindsight, the USAF would've been better to have turned the narrative to a 'the F-35 will be needed to replace some of the capabilities we won't have because of the smaller F-22 buy' offering [a reasonable point].

Also - and I think that the RAF and the Israelis can claim a bit of credit here - the USAF came to realise that if you combine a Typhoon/F-16I/F-15I with an F-35, you can do some very interesting things without needing as many 5th Gen aircraft as you thought; which is also driving part of the narrative now.
 
F35 fighter has failed

An interesting read if you ignore the sensationalism in the article's title. The article talks about starting afresh with a clean sheet design. Surely the project is too far along to start messing around with order numbers and looking at new projects? Although is there an opportunity for the US to get on board with Tempest and bring their bigger budgets to help with development?
The F-35 has failed to be cheap, but that isn't a great surprise. The project was based on ideas brought in from the auto industry by management consultants to satisfy trendy project managers in the Pentagon who thought that they could use auto industry style mass production techniques to achieve auto industry style cost reductions.

The idea was doomed to failure from the beginning because even the most optimistic sales targets for the F-35 didn't even come close to what would considered to be "mass production" in the auto industry.

I just had a look at what I wrote previously to remind myself of what has come before, and apparently the Pentagon project managers had studied Toyota production systems for inspiration on how to manage the F-35 project. At the time Toyota was being held up as the pinnacle of manufacturing efficiency.

However, as I said at the time Toyota's experience at making millions of vehicles isn't of much help when making a relatively small handful (a few thousand) of aircraft.

You needn't read the following links, as they just amount to what I have said in the above couple of paragraphs. The first is from a 2014 post.


While the Pentagon project managers may have failed to completely revolutionise the management of defence procurement projects as they set out to do, this is a separate issue from whether the plane is an adequate fighter. It seems to work, and I haven't read too many stories about them falling out of the sky, so they seem to be doing the job they were intended to.

If the US really want a cheaper fighter though, then they need to stop looking for magic solutions in the form of consultants giving seminars on Toyota production systems.

If they were going to start with a clean sheet of paper and come up with something "cheaper", then they would probably end up with something that looks sort of similar to Saab Gripen in terms of size and overall capability. If that's not what they want, then they need to give up on the illusion of trying to get a top end plane at a bargain basement price.
 
Thinking about it, you might also contend that the F-35 evolved into the high-end aircraft because of the demise of the F-22's production line earlier than planned, but that it had a freezing effect on developing aircraft which'd be a sort of '4.7' Gen aircraft (if Typhoon, Super Hornet, Gripen E and Rafale are 4.5 Gen). It's the same problem - to a degree - which the RAF faced in the late 1970s/early-1980s: so much was invested in Tornado that there was no room to manoeuvre in terms of the finances. The UK Harrier GR5 was binned in favour of collaboration on the AV-8B; the idea of upgrading the Vulcan as a stand off weapons carrier (and occasional deliverer of Paveway II against enemy airfields) was dropped (would've interfered with Tornado and JP233 development); the Buccaneer upgrade was pared back, etc, etc). FEFA/EFA/EF2000/Typhoon emerged as the light at the end of the tunnel appeared in the mid-80s (with most Tornado GR squadrons equipped and ADV squadrons about to come on line [or so they thought...]).

The F-35 programme is much much bigger than Tornado was and has had a similar effect in terms of becoming the only programme on offer- some Arrsers will recall that there was doubt as to the wisdom of the 'winner take all' approach, not least since it might - in theory - have been better to have gone ahead with F-35B and F-35C, but to have given the USAF the F-32 (the production aircraft would've looked much better than the X-32. Well, a bit better)
View attachment 552336


Even then, though, it meant that there was no acceptance of the notion that a small step up from 4.5 Gen to something which'd have been labelled in the 4.6-4.9 Gen range (in that annoying way fighter generations are now termed) - ranging from a sort of enhanced Typhoon/Super Hornet through to a clean sheet design which'd have, say, been authorised in 2002/03 and entering service no later than now, replacing F-16s - might have been a good idea.

The size of the programme, in turn, meant that if you started to chip away at it - buying a USAF wing of F-15Es here, six more Super Hornet squadrons for the USN there (which, to an extent, happened because of the legacy Hornets being knackered), Super Hornets for the USMC, etc, etc then you start to call into question whether you need the F-35 at all...

Which, of course, the USAF did and does because there aren't enough F-22s to contend with a well-equipped - not necessarily Russia or PRC - opponent who uses their air defences with some degree of skill, particularly if they have decent GBAD capability.

So the USAF and the USMC (without F-35, they have nothing new and our unlamented contributor Tek-whatever-he-was-called who claimed a Super Harrier III was being secretly designed proved to be wrong in his assertions) threw up the barricades to defend the entire programme - which meant cutting off discussion of something which isn't quite as advanced, or as expensive, as the F-35.

The fixation on 'it must be the F-35' was understandable, but the combination of being so adamant about using the F-35 to replace the A-10 started that whole unproductive line of debate about how CAS can only be done with a very big gun and something apparently impervious to the SA-22 (presumably because of the gun) rather than a nuanced discussion of where the A-10 might find a niche. With the benefit of hindsight, the USAF would've been better to have turned the narrative to a 'the F-35 will be needed to replace some of the capabilities we won't have because of the smaller F-22 buy' offering [a reasonable point].

Also - and I think that the RAF and the Israelis can claim a bit of credit here - the USAF came to realise that if you combine a Typhoon/F-16I/F-15I with an F-35, you can do some very interesting things without needing as many 5th Gen aircraft as you thought; which is also driving part of the narrative now.
The link didn't work for me. Shame as the F32 looks just like the bastard child of an F16 and a NASA lifting body:

151014-F-DW547-005.JPG


Boeing F32

message-editor%2F1526772718431-jja91xc.jpg
 
Or, the Tempest team could join the NGAD team in the US that has already made a start, and has test flown a prototype.

Aviation Week podcast covering NGAD:
Not a chance, we've been screwed over by our 'cousins' far too often for that to happen. Might as well join a European programme and get screwed over by the French and Germans.

Sweden on the other hand...
 
Not a chance, we've been screwed over by our 'cousins' far too often for that to happen. Might as well join a European programme and get screwed over by the French and Germans.

Sweden on the other hand...
Im sure there’s a lot of people on here who feel the whole F35 program is a rip off. We’d have been better of buying these new SuperHornets or F15EX, better value for money. Do we really have a need for F35Bs, the two carriers could have had cats and wires.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Im sure there’s a lot of people on here who feel the whole F35 program is a rip off. We’d have been better of buying these new SuperHornets or F15EX, better value for money. Do we really have a need for F35Bs, the two carriers could have had cats and wires.
Value for money equates to not being a contender on Day One. F-35 was the only game in town.

We don’t need the F-15EX/Super Hornet. We have Typhoon.

And yes, we needed -Bs. The design work wasn’t nearly there in terms of cats and traps. Plus, there’s the sortie generation and training advantages of STOVL. This has all been covered previously.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
The link didn't work for me. Shame as the F32 looks just like the bastard child of an F16 and a NASA lifting body:

151014-F-DW547-005.JPG


Boeing F32

message-editor%2F1526772718431-jja91xc.jpg
The 'squadron entry' version of the Boeing looked quite neat. In the end, it doesn't matter what it looks like so much that it works - but the changes Boeing proposed turned an odd looker into a better performer.

@Archimedes makes a good point. Having the USN/USMC use the F-35 and the USAF the F-32 wouldn't have done any harm. The US has for many years had three or four concurrent fighter types in service in the form(s) of the F-15/16 and F-14/18. It didn't seem to do them any harm and it would have kept competencies and competition going.

(And as a complete aside, I rather liked the look of the F-32...)
 
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