Tag Archives: F-35

Would you pay $1.7 trillion for a plane that couldn’t fly? by Andrew Lautz

The F-35 jet may be the US military’s biggest procurement disaster ever. From Andrew Lautz at responsiblestatecraft.org:

According to a new GAO report the F-35 is still riddled with maintenance and performance issues, but yet Congress keeps demanding more.

If you had all the money in the world, would you pay nearly $2 trillion for a plane that couldn’t get off the ground half the time? Probably not, even if your means were endless. It may sound like an insane question, but it’s one that taxpayers and watchdogs are asking the U.S. military now after yet another nonpartisan government report found countless flaws with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

A bit of background on the F-35 for readers uninitiated to perhaps the most expensive boondoggle in the $700-billion-per-year defense budget today: the program began in the 1990s and was, according to the Congressional Research Service, or CRS, intended to be “the last fighter aircraft program that DoD [the Department of Defense] would initiate for many years… expected to shape the future of both U.S. tactical aviation and the U.S. tactical aircraft industrial base.” Lockheed Martin, today the nation’s largest private defense contractor, was selected as the primary manufacturer of the aircraft in 2001, with Pratt and Whitney tapped to make the engine.

The program has been troubled from the start, with numerous quality and safety concerns, doubts about the number of jobs promised and created by the program, trouble with the plane’s logistics software, and countless delays and design flaws. A new report from Congress’s nonpartisan taxpayer watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, sums up all these concerns while putting a fresh, updated bow on troubles with the multi-trillion-dollar project — which the Air Force Chief of Staff recently called a “Ferrari” for his service branch.

Continue reading→

The F-35 and Other Legacies of Failure, by Dan Grazier

Don’t hold your breath, but there’s a possibility that the F-35 boondoggle will be stopped before it soaks taxpayers for additional hundreds of billions of dollars. From Dan Frazier at pogo.org:

(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen; Illustration: Leslie Garvey / POGO)

For 20 years, the Pentagon’s program to develop the F-35 aircraft appeared invincible, even as the project hit repeated delays and went well over budget. And then, just within the span of a few weeks, official support for the F-35 has seemingly evaporated. It could not come soon enough.

At the end of the Trump administration, the acting secretary of defense called it a “piece of…” The Air Force chief admitted the F-35 would never be able to live up to its original purpose. And now, the chair of the House Armed Services Committee said we should stop throwing money down the F-35 “rathole.”

This all comes as the program is rightfully on a list of programs facing a Pentagon review that could result in recommended cuts to the total number of aircraft to be purchased. It signals a tectonic shift in support for a program that previously received near universal official support from the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill.

This shift is due to the sudden realization in Washington, despite years of warnings, that the F-35 is too challenging and costly to maintain.

And if there are to be major changes to the F-35 program, now is the time to do it. Otherwise, if the program does manage to squeak through operational testing, Congress could then authorize a bulk purchase of F-35s, something the program office and the manufacturer have wanted for years. But even if the plane is technically deemed operational, such a move would saddle the services with hundreds of flawed, high-maintenance aircraft, which will depress readiness rates, further strain the already harrowed maintenance crews, and require years of costly retrofits.

Continue reading→

Price of the Alliance: The F-35 Undermines Korean Peace, South Korea’s National Security, by Stu Smallwood

If you’re going to be a US ally, you sure as hell are going to buy US weapons. From Stu Smallwood at antiwar.com:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in did something very unusual in early October for a leader who once deemed the Korean peace process among the highest priorities of his administration: He promoted the very fighter jets that North Korea says undermine diplomacy.

President Moon was on hand to celebrate the first delivery of the Lockheed Martin F-35A “next generation” fighter jets that, with 40 in total set to arrive by 2021, represent the most expensive weapons purchase in South Korean history according to Reuters.

“The war of the future will be a fight of science and intelligence against all elements that threaten our people’s safety and property,” Moon said in a speech to promote the jets, noting that he felt “secure about the might of [South Korea’s] military armed with new … F-35As.”

Continue reading

F-35 Program Is “F***ed Up”, Puts American Pilots In Severe Dogfight Disadvantage, by Tyler Durden

Is the F-35 a white elephant or an advance in aviation technology that just needs new product kinks and glitches worked out? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Two of the three versions of Lockheed’s beleaguered F-35 fighter jet suffer from previously unreported problems that could put the Joint Strike Fighter at a serious disadvantage in a dogfight with an adversary, according to documents obtained by Defense News.

If left unresolved, the following ‘category 1’ glitches will be icing on the cake of Lockheed’s $400 billion quagmire (partial list via Defense News);

  • When the F-35B vertically lands on very hot days, older engines may be unable to produce the required thrust to keep the jet airborneresulting in a hard landing.
  • After doing certain maneuvers, F-35B and F-35C pilots are not always able to completely control the aircraft’s pitch, roll and yaw.
  • Supersonic flight in excess of Mach 1.2 can cause structural damage and blistering to the stealth coating of the F-35B and F-35C.
  • Cabin pressure spikes in the cockpit of the F-35 have been known to cause barotrauma, the word given to extreme ear and sinus pain.
  • The spare parts inventory shown by the F-35’s logistics system does not always reflect reality, causing occasional mission cancellations.
  • If the F-35A and F-35B blows a tire upon landing, the impact could also take out both hydraulic lines and pose a loss-of-aircraft risk.
  • Possible maneuvering issues when the aircraft is operating above a 20-degree angle of attack.
  • The F-35’s logistics system currently has no way for foreign F-35 operators to keep their secret data from being sent to the United States.

Continue reading→


The Day U.S. Military Supremacy Publicly Ended, by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

This is an excellent update on Russian weapons and weapons systems, and how they compare to US weapons and weapons systems. From Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD at lewrockwell.com:

This article updates and expands one I wrote on this subject for LewRockwell.com posted on March 8, 2018, and again on July 20, 2018. I presented it at the 36th Annual Meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Las Vegas last week. Some of the slides I used for that talk are reproduced here.

When WW II ended with two atom bombs dropped on Japan the United States emerged a superpower. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and with Russia struggling, the U.S. became the world’s sole superpower, militarily supreme.

Continue reading

The Lockheed/Martin F-35 Turkey “One A Day In Tampa Bay”, by Steve Candidus

Your tax dollars at work. From Steve Candidus at theburningplatform.com:

File this one under the title – ‘Some things never change’.

In the early stages of WWII the US Army Air force had a medium bomber called the B-26 Martin Marauder.

It was known as a ‘hot’ airplane with high performance and a perchance for coming back to the ground in the uncontrolled high speed way rather than the nice slow speed safe way.

In fact, it got the nicknames of, “The Widow Maker, and The Baltimore Whore” and since some of its pilot introduction flights were performed in Florida, they used to say “One a day in Tampa Bay”.

Hardly complimentary tags.

Then-Congressman Harry Truman visited the Martin Company in Maryland to determine what the problem was.

To his surprise they already knew quite well what was wrong. They had made a mistake in their wing loading calculations. The wings were simply too small for the aircraft – hence the nickname “The Baltimore Whore” as it had no visible means of support.

When Truman inquired as to when the needed fixes would be implemented they informed him that they had no intention of fixing the airplane. They didn’t have to. They had a contract.

The story goes that Harry T. didn’t even wait to get back to Washington DC, and that he placed a couple of phone calls and by the time he got back to DC Martin’s contract for the B-26 had been summarily cancelled.

All of a sudden, they saw the light and decided they had better fix the wings.

The B-26 went on to have a remarkable career with the US Army Air force and had one of the lowest loss rates of any aircraft of its type.

Fast forward to 2017. Martin is now a part of Lockheed/Martin and their F-35 Lightning II spends more of its time in the hanger than it does in the air. You know, where an airplane is supposed to be. In the air…

Its reliance on over-the-horizon long-range detection makes its importance of a stealthy design open to debate. In order to detect an enemy aircraft it has to turn on its radar. That’s like shining a flashlight in the dark. The enemy can see exactly where YOU are.

To continue reading: The Lockheed/Martin F-35 Turkey “One A Day In Tampa Bay”

Trump on Military Spending: An Encouraging Sign, by Thomas Knapp

Trump needs to go through the military’s (and every other part of the government’s) budget with a fine-tooth comb. Military spending should be going down, not up. From Thomas Knapp at antiwar.com:

As on most issues, president-elect Donald Trump has been all over the map on military issues throughout his campaign and post-campaign pronouncements. One day he muses about disbanding NATO, the next day he promises to “rebuild” the US military, which is already by far not just the most well-funded war machine, but the most well-funded enterprise of any kind on Planet Earth (the 2017 US military budget exceeds Wal-Mart’s 2015 gross revenues by about $100 billion). He’s hard to pin down.

Still, Trump’s December 12 tweet on Lockheed’s F-35 contract is encouraging to those who’d like to see real US “defense” spending cuts. “The F-35 program and cost is out of control,” he wrote. “Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”

If the F-35 – called the Joint Strike Fighter because it’s supposed to be used by all US armed forces and several allies, replacing various other aircraft – ever actually rolls out ready for combat, its life cycle cost will come to more than a trillion dollars and the prices of various models will run in the range of $100 million per aircraft. For the sake of comparison, that’s more than three times the price of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, the current US Navy and Marine Corps fighter/attack workhorse.

The F-35 is indeed one of the more insane wastes of taxpayer money in recent history. If Trump could find a way to kill the whole project, both taxpayers and the armed forces would be better off for its demise.

To continue reading: Trump on Military Spending: An Encouraging Sign

Not Content To Stop With Air Force One, Trump Is Now Going After The F-35, by Duane Norman

Somebody needs to go after the F-35, which is way over budget and has various operational shortfalls. From Duane Norman at fmshooter.com:

If Trump’s tweet and subsequent commentary about Air Force One’s bloated price tag didn’t scare all defense and government contractors, his tweet about the F-35 should frighten them beyond belief.

As I have previously detailed, at an estimated $1.5 trillion dollars, the F-35 is perhaps the biggest defense program in the US DoD’s budget, and unsurprisingly, it is far behind schedule and way over budget. But the worst part about the F-35 is that it just can’t do the job it was designed for. Essentially a stealthy bomb chucker with a little bit of maneuverability, air-to-air capability, and a lot of high-priced avionics, it doesn’t even beat the jet its supposed to replace (the F-16) in within-visual-range engagements, and is almost totally reliant on its stealth to avoid them.

All of this begs the question – why didn’t the DoD instead choose to extend the F-22 line, and build a stealth fighter/bomber with more range and payload, scrapping the maneuverability requirement which held the plane’s performance back?

This morning, President-elect Trump turned his tweeting attention from Air Force One to the F-35 program, as seen below:

The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016

However, this is hardly the first time Trump has mentioned the F-35’s bloated cost and underperformance. Over a year ago, Trump threatened to cancel the F-35 when his campaign was just beginning, Back in February, Trump detailed his objections to the F-35 on the campaign trail, and Trump continued his threats to cancel or amend the F-35 program throughout his campaign. Clearly, his objections have not disappeared now that he has won.

To continue reading: Not Content To Stop With Air Force One, Trump Is Now Going After The F-35

How to Build a $400 Billion F-35 That Doesn’t Fly, by Brianna Ehley

From Brianna Ehley at thefiscaltimes.com:

The Pentagon’s embattled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter continues to be plagued with so many problems that it can’t even pass the most basic requirements needed to fly in combat, despite soaring roughly $170 billion over budget.

As the most expensive weapons program in the Pentagon’s history, the $400 billion and counting F-35 is supposed to be unlike any other fighter jet—with high-tech computer capabilities that can identify a combatant plane at warp speed. However, major design flaws and test failures have placed the program under serious scrutiny for years—with auditors constantly questioning whether the jet will ever actually get off the ground, no matter how much money is thrown at it.


To continue reading: How to Build a $400 Billion F-35 That Doesn’t Fly