Ask an F-35 pilot about it. He (or she) will tell you that it will be the greatest thing flying when it is finished. The problem is that it was conceived in the mid 1980s and it will never be finished unless all of the REST of the requirements the military specified for it are eliminated, just like all of the requirements that have been eliminated so far.
What happened was that Lockheed- Martin sold the pentagon a bill of goods. They calculated the budgets of ALL the armed services which use fighter, light bomber and ground assault aircraft and then they explained how a bunch of money could be saved by using only one air frame for everyone. That is true enough. But all of the services have different requirements, different functions, and different needs. One airplane can’t do everything well…and trying to merely creates an airplane that can’t do ANYTHING well.
The sales pitch worked and we bought a turkey. It’s now too big and too expensive to fail, but it is clearly a failure. It isn’t fast, maneuverable, stealthy, agile, redundant, reliable, efficient or capable of doing any of its design functions. Sure, some of the things on it and in it would be spiffy…if they can eventually be made to work. But the air frame itself is a total failure and any pilot who tries to take it into combat will be very lucky to survive any contact with the enemy, as Israel found out last month when a Syrian SAM site blasted one of their ‘stealthy’ F-35s. They didn’t knock it down, but it’s trashed. A hundred million dollar airplane and it never fired a shot. By the way…the F-35 requires about a hundred hours of maintenance for every hour it flies and no more than half of them are expected to be flyable at any given time, with the real numbers probably below 20%. You can’t come back to base, refuel, re-arm and go back. You come back to base (hopefully) and the airplane needs to be rebuilt. It’ll be ready again in a couple weeks if the parts come in.
The F-35 Turkey is supposedly an upgrade to the F-22 (another Lockheed product which asphyxiates its pilots and is interminably grounded). but the F-22 went out of production after 188 airplanes at a cost of over $67 BILLION and it’s only use has been to fly over South Korea ( 2 out of 4 deployed F-22s managed to get airborne) to scare Pyongyang. I’m not sure anyone was impressed. Bottom line, the F-22 isn’t going into combat anytime soon, the F-35 never will, and what we have left is a fleet of old F-18s, F-16s, some A-10s, and nothing at all that can face off against a front line Russian or Chinese fighter aircraft.
The total projected cost of the F-35 boondoggle is $1.45 TRILLION. You can’t even imagine how much that is, but its $1,450 BILLION, or $145,000,000 MILLION..or in simpler terms, the F-35 will cost every man, woman and child in the Unites States $3,200 in taxes. That works out to almost exactly ONE THIRD of the US annual budget. Granted, the F-35 costs are spread out a little, but it’s still $1.45 TRILLION that we will be tossing down the shitter until all the idiots who approved the thing retire and new people have the political clout to stop the bleeding. Hopefully that will happen before we need air superiority again, because we sure won’t own the skies for the foreseeable future.
Here’s how to tell: We won’t be sending F-35’s to face off against China in the South China Sea. We won’t be sending F-35’s to challenge the Russian S-400 or S-500 SAM sites, either in Syria or in eastern Europe. We won’t even be sending F-35s to actually challenge North Korea’s Mig-21s.
It gets worse. By grabbing the aircraft R&D and manufacturing budgets of all the military services which need fighters and dragging the process out for decades, Lockheed has effectively knocked out the competition and become a monopoly. Buying the F-35 has put the US at least ten years behind Russia and China and now there is no other company we can turn to to make up the time.
We WILL send F-35s to fight, when Hell freezes over, alongside our brand new Littoral Combat Ships which sail away periodically and have to be towed home. They can’t fight either – they are aluminum, have no armor and their power trains don’t work- so they are only deployed to places from which they can be easily towed home. They weren’t designed to be able to stand on their own as fighting ships. They, and ALL naval vessels, were designed to be protected by F-35s.
No one will admit that we have tossed away TRILLIONS of dollars on worthless shit by trying to make one airplane do everything, but the idea was started back when McNamara was SECDEF and tried to force both the air force and the navy to standardize on the F-111. Fortunately, he didn’t succeed. The F-111 was never capable of being a fighter or operating from carriers. The navy never bought any and went with F-14 instead , followed by the F-18 which is scheduled to be replaced bu the F-35 in 2019-2023. It won’t happen, of course, so the navy will have to get the F-15 and/or F-18 production lines re-started. The air force used F-111a them as light bombers and eventually as wild weasels while using the F-15 and F-16 as fighters. By the way, air force F-15s are being modernized to remain in service beyond 2030 because everyone knows there aren’t enough F-22s to fight any serious engagement and there aren’t ANY combat ready F-35s and there never will be. But hey, Lockheed made a lot of money and is still raking it in!
The US could catch up and at least be competitive by licensing the production of Mig-37 and Su-57 fighters from Russia. But that isn’t going to happen. So, instead, those aircraft will be licensed to China and probably India as well as every other country that needs cutting edge fighters. I expect Israel to dump F-35s and buy SU-57s in a few years. After all, friendship is great, but air superiority in the middle east is what allows Israel to exist.
While all of this is going on, the US has over a THOUSAND active military bases around the world, the US infrastructure is falling apart because there is no money to repair it, the veterans are getting crappy care, Social Security is bankrupt (so is Medicaid and Medicare), we have no core manufacturing facilities left and we are running out of natural resources. The government is dysfunctional, the health system doesn’t work, the education system doesn’t work, most working class adults have to work full time for the privilege of living in debt( and there is no one to raise their kids, who then go out and shoot up schools), college graduates earn a diploma and perpetual debt upon graduation, every other American takes Prozac (including very small children) and most of the ones who don’t are homeless or in prison, gender is a choice now..you can pick!, criminals and psychos aren’t REALLY bad – they just need a hug – GUNS are the real problem. Guns kill people. The violent idiots who use them are just innocent victims and need more Prozac. Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens in an insane attempt to get them away from criminals won’t work. Removing Freedom and Liberty from citizens in order to give them Freedom and Liberty will only result in our becoming a third world country.