Friday, July 04, 2014

F-35 fire

Seriously, it's like the plane is begging people not to buy it.
The U.S. military said it had grounded the entire fleet of 97 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets until completion of additional inspections of the warplane's single engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.
I wonder if the Royal Navy has a Plan B? Might say as much about the Monarchy as the military-industrial-political complex if the Sovereign's namesake carrier is unable to field the aircraft it was built for.


agsharma said...

One of the links on the post is incorrect!

Boris said...

Ah, thanks! That was weird.

Steve said...

As I understand it the new Carrier will be built then decommissioned to save money. So they will have a carrier with no planes, and when/if the planes arrive there will be no carrier. And you thought Harper was out of his depth.

Harper, Abott and Camoroon, the three stooges of Empire.

The Mound of Sound said...

Do you recall when Lockheed, desperate to trim excess weight out of the damn thing, removed the fire suppression system? Eventually they were forced to put it back and simply accept performance deficiencies. I'll bet the pilot of this bird appreciated that.

Aviation Week reported on a speech given by the head of DARPA in which she claimed (without specific reference to the '35) that big ticket defence programmes had become a danger to national security.

The F-35 may be new technology, 5th gen, but it's still very much a Beta model. If, as widely reported, its potential adversaries (who filched a massive amount of data from BAE and Lockheed computers) have developed countermeasures, then America and a good many of her allies may have squandered their defence capabilities well into the future. This just could turn out to be the greatest White Elephant of them all.

Boris said...

MoS, Beta? I'd go back one and say "proof of concept". Take the lessons learned, and design a new plane (or two or three!) from scratch.

For Canada, at least to my mind, the first and formost tactical air capability must be fighters capable of intercepting aircraft straying near our airspace and (post-9/11) civilian aircraft under hijack. Joining optional NATO bombing campaigns elsewhere should be a secondary consideration.

Boris said...

Steve, they are building two carriers, the Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales. The latter is meant to be sold or mothballed immediately after completion. They are enormous and expensive things, much larger than what they're replacing, and the Royal Navy is small and getting smaller. If the F-35 is cancelled or further delayed, things will get very awkward because that aircraft is intergrated into their design. There is no publicly announced back-up aircraft selected. My understanding is that it would be difficult to find one because most other available substitute carrier-borne aircraft use a catapult system, which neither ship has because it was too expensive to install. Apparently they can be reconfigured "quickly"(aka several years and billions of £££, versus decades).

Just watch: this wee little aeroplane will end up breaking entire governments, navies, and air forces.

the Keystone Garter said...

There isn't a lot separating the main Jets being offered. My preference is for a Jet that can deliver future payloads. To me, these look like sensors suites delivered in a pod that can scout out a building interior for WMD components and relay the data to the circling Jet. Since the F-111 is retired, I guess the Super Hornet offers the most potential payload. The fact that the Gorwler is a CF-18 potential upgrade product is big to me. This suggests a future 2035 upgrade to a "Sensor-Growler" is possible. The federated software suite whereby software components are separate, is big. The f-35 software suite will be too expensive over time. I'm not convinced stealth is worth sacrificing payload. More payload means more potential fuel and more range. Twin engines are obviously better. The heavy payload of the f-14 looks good; suggests keeping tabs on the US Navy is a reasonable strategy.
The f-16 was so cheap because it was mass market. It is self-reinforcing that the f-35 by not being cheap, will not be mass market. Whoever is ignoring the software upgrades over time the F-35 requires, is delusional. I like that you can see a 2035 sensor-pod on the CF-18's exterior; it would be a lot like a painted Red Cross.

Alison said...

Think Progress :

"On any given night in 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services concluded, there were an estimated 600,000 homeless Americans living on the streets.
With the full amount spent on the F-35 at its disposal, the U.S. could afford to purchase every person on the streets a $664,000 home."

the Keystone Garter said...

The Super-Hornet payload looks decisive. It is 34000lbs: 1.5-2 times higher than the rest. The big payload suggests versatility as does the Federated Software suite. Super-Hornets can be repurposed for future needs. I endorse the Super-Hornet as of summer 2014.

Boris said...

Alison, indeed. North Korea suffers a similar problem in that in order to maintain its military, which also maintains its elites, it must impoverish its public. Even if the F-35 worked, the US would still have the problem wherein maintaining global military dominance results in domestic insecurity.