The Air Force has joined the Marine Corps in announcing that each has a squadron of F-35s ‘combat ready’. Not as an air superiority fighter, which it will never be, but as a limited ground support aircraft – probably the worst possible role the airplane could be tasked in.
I don’t understand where the checks and balances went. In the past, things which made no sense were not funded – or at least ALL the branches of our military – and most of NATO – weren’t locked into the same weapons system years before it was designed or tested.
I hate to contradict the entire military industrial complex, but this airplane doesn’t work. No matter how much money is thrown at it, the laws of physics are immutable for winged jet aircraft.
I researched the aircraft used in the certification process and the statistics published in the Air Force Infographic. Among other things, it stated there were sorties of eight F-35s…but only 7 were flyable…and that they scored a kill ratio of 8-0 over the F-15s which were supposed to be hunting them. However, the F-35s were not loaded with air-to-air defenses, which they won’t get until about 2020 at best, and were tasked only with placing GBU-12 bombs on ground targets. So ‘kill ratio’ doesn’t men ‘kill ratio’. It means that in eight sorties, the F-15s never engaged the F-35s at all.
It also means that no precision bombing was involved. A GBU is a cluster bomb. If one bomblet hits in the target area….about the size of a football field…it’s called a hit. The F-35s managed to get eleven of twelve bombs within 300 feet of the target. That’s not ‘close air support’.
Since the F-35 project was started in 2001, it’s years over time and 70% over budget. And the airplanes capabilities have been degraded by about 90% during those lost years. It no longer has any backup systems, but it still uses it’s fuel load as hydraulic fluid. So if you lose your ONE engine, say because ONE hydraulic line gets hit, you are done. There are no redundant flight control systems.
As of five years ago, the Chinese had hacked the system and downloaded all of the blueprints for the entire aircraft, flight systems, ancillary equipment, stealth capabilities, radar and weapons. That’s why the Chinese built only two or three of these walruses and then moved on. And that’s why they are jumping all over the South China Sea. We can’t compete in the air anymore. Not with Russia, China, or even India.
The American public is told “We’re ready now! We have almost TWENTY of these futuristic 1990s fighters almost combat ready!” What we actually have is a $1.6 TRILLION dollar obsolete hangar queen.