Wednesday October 22, 2014

Australia pushes back F-35 buy, citing costs and US delay

Australia has pushed back plans to purchase further F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

Australia will push back by two years its decision on whether to buy as many as 70 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Defence Minister Stephen Smith announced this morning.

Smith said the decision, which follows a similar move by the US, would save Australia $1.6 billion over the next four years. Delaying the purchases, however, will almost certainly add to the eventual cost of the already pricey aircraft, especially if other countries follow suit.

The RAAF has so far ordered two F-35As, which are under production and are scheduled to be delivered to a US-based test and development site in 2014. Australia had been scheduled to move next financial year on plans to purchase a further 12 F-35As under phase 2A of Project Air 6000, and a further 58 F-35s under Phase 2B, but that decision will now be made in 2014-15, Smith said.

Smith told reporters that a decision on whether to purchase other fighters to cover any capability gap left by the F-35 delays would be made by the end of this year. He has previously said that buying additional F/A-18F Super Hornets would be the “logical option” to fill such a gap, though consideration may also be given to extending the RAAF’s nearly 30 year-old fleet of F/A-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornets.

The US announced earlier this year that it would delay the acquisition of 179 F-35s over the next five years as part of larger Pentagon budget cuts. That move has already contributed to a nine per cent increase in the Pentagon’s estimate of the US F-35 program’s overall cost, from US$1.38 trillion to US$1.51 trillion. The US has so far stood by plans to purchase 2443 of the stealthy fighters, but its decision to delay early purchases has drawn criticism from JSF partner nations — including Australia — who say the delays will add to their costs.

Comments

52 Responses to “Australia pushes back F-35 buy, citing costs and US delay”
  1. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    The policy of delaying the delivery of the turkey (F-35) to two years, to 2019, saves the Government at $1.6 billion dollars over the next four years – this only threatens to create a budgetary sinkhole that will weaken the RAAF’s requirements.

    Its a complete failed project of all time, it is at severe risk of being late (again–now 7 years late. 9 years according to some folks commented back in 2002.); even more expensive and a disaster in the making for any air arm that intends to use it.

    What “Juliar” Gillard said “The Government is committed to delivering one of the most capable defence forces in our region with the people and equipment we need to do the job, including the joint strike fighters, the new amphibious ships, the new submarines and our air warfare destroyers”. Absolute garbage from the PM and the Defence Minister.

    We are the biggest suckers going ahead with this JSF (Joint Strike Failure) it will never become a viable combat aircraft due to cumulative poor and nasty decisions made early in the design that has inferior acceleration, poor manoeuvrability, short range with no loiter time and very limited weapons payload which is unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence and totally unsuited for air superiority role when compared against Sukhoi family of aircraft and later Band-Aid fixes to entirely seal the problem.

  2. d grant says:

    To the guest who seems to think this is all the PM ‘s fault, he has a very convenient memory. It was John Howard and Defence minister Robert Hill who signed up to the JSF and abandoned the tradition selection process.

  3. Steve says:

    I wonder what Guest from Melbourne would reccomend – surely not the F-22 which has and ven shorter range and faces a USD10Bn, multiyear delay to give it a limited capability to drop unguide iron-bombs?

  4. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    NNIIRT 55Zh6M Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radar.

    What about it?

    This radar is designed from the outset to detect stealth fighters (especially the lemon F-35 at any angles) and provide early warning and track data to missile batteries and fighters.

    The VHF component will provide a significant detection and tracking capability against fighter and UCAV sized stealth targets. High off-road capability permits placement well away from built up areas, enabling concealment.

    Rapid deploy and stow times permit evasion of air attacks by frequent movement, defeats cruise missiles like JASSM.

    Initial Nebo M builds for Russian Air Defence Forces, but expected like other “counter-stealth” radars to be marketed for global export to arbitrary clientele.

    The Nebo M Mobile is intended to be IOC in 2012-2013.

    The turkey (F-35) has no stealth advantage vs. PAK-FA and is grossly inferior to PAK-FA in sustained speed, altitude, agility, combat radius and weapons load payload;

    The turkey is glossly inferior to a production J-20 in stealth shaping, sustained speed, altitude, agility, radius and weapons payload

    The turkey is also completely inferior to the Su-35S in sustained speed, altitude, agility, radius and weapons payload.

  5. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    Well Steve the JSF has short range check out the specifications.

  6. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Steve

    What I would recommend instead is purchasing off the shelf products such as the advanced F-15E+ Strike Eagles.

    I don’t see the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block 2 to be the only viable option to replace our 71 F/A-18A/B Hornet fleet. Is because the Super Hornet has a similar performance deficiences to the F-35 which the aircraft has a short range and does not have the performance envelope of a true air superiority fighter. The Super Hornets will be outclassed by the Su-27/30 Flanker family of fighters by most regional nations in all key performance parameters, aerodynamic, long range, bigger weapons payload, radar and sensor performance by widely available fighters.

    What I don’t recommend for Australia is equipping with just Super Hornets/F-35s or other small fighters with short range that has no practical use for our air power etc.

  7. Foo says:

    Why would the united states spend 1.5 trillion dollars buying 2000 odd planes if it was no good do u think they are stupid?

  8. Wayne says:

    Follow the US Navy.

    A fleet of E/F Super Hortnets supplemented by F-35A’s in time. Add a few more tankers to the mix.

    Also proceeding with the Growler mod will give us an electronic edge for many years. Reading about Russian “whiz” stuff reminds me of the TSR-2 argument about how great an aircraft it was. Well they made a couple of prototypes and threw them in the bin. How can something that was never put in service ever be considered a fabulous piece of kit?

    Meanwhile the F-111 soldiered on after its initial teething problems to be a very good strike aircraft not to mention a latter role as the EF-111.

    The RAAF with around 50 Super Hornets/Growlers and a similar number of F-35′s plus a dozen tankers, 6 x E737′s etc would be formidable. Better than Wirraways at Rabaul!

  9. Dan says:

    Hi Wayne a 50/50 mix of supers and JSF’s sound like a good mix. Grab another 50 supers by the end of the year to take some strain of the flight hrs of the classics and when the JSF is ready to go bring it online. Maybe it’s viable that the RAAF grab the MRRT that they have been offered from airbus ind. This sorts out the short range issue’s and the leasing of adagold’s A340. We then become more defense orientated than attack . These aircraft and the US Marines based out of Darwin would sure make an attacking force think twice. Yet our costs are not ridicules.

  10. Dan says:

    One other issue that I forgot to mention was if we get our 100 pcs of JSF’s what happens when there is an incident and the aircraft is grounded until further investigation. Just last week the black hawkes were down unless urgently required and I can recall the F111, seakings, tiger, chinooks all having across the board grounding for some reason over the last 10 yrs. Imagine the JSF with all that wiz bang technology and design being 100% reliable or consistent Im sure it will have in service issue’s as well at the supers. At least with 2 main fighter/attack aircraft that leaves some fighting force in place.

  11. Darren says:

    I think there has been a number of good points raised. However there are some big picture issues too. While the JSF may turn out to be a failure, it may not. The Su27 Family is formidable. On paper the specs are hard to dispute. A well trained pilot with an intergrated support force (AWACS, MRTT, ECM [read EA-18G]) has the potential to punch above the weight of the aircraft he/she flies. A handful of SU-27′s can look good on the flightline, but it is the training and supporting assests that take it to the next dimension. We are past 1 v 1 dogfights. Regular Red Flags are ample demonstration. Beyond this it would be nice to have a blank cheque to go shopping. We could buy the best of everything. As a country we really aren’t in this position. The Superhornet has it’s flaws, but it is a simple step change from the classic Hornet for training and support compared to inducting a different aircraft. We already opperate 24, so know it’s capabilities and will exploit its strengths and shield it weakness. The USN is nearing end of procurement with possibly the last multi year deal in place. And with the A$ in a good spot it makes sense to buy. A mix of classics and supers already works. Pool the classics to extend their airframes. So to Dan and Wayne, I think you are right, when you consider the big picture, not just the aircraft. More tankers is a must (and can we get them with a Cargo door and main floor frieght/passenger conversions?). And while we are at it can we cancel the C-27/C-295 and just get 6 more C-130J’s and 5 more CH-47F’s? Why get another type? Both of these are in service/on order with all the required training and support. EA-18G’s are also worthwhile (after all we’ve modified them for the role). Finally electric folding rotor blades for the MRH 90. If their going to deploy to sea, I think this might be handy.

  12. The Colonel says:

    Given its performance and range, Rafale would have been the choice, surely, if the US / Australian relationship hadn’t been so cosy. It’s amazing how effective the Lockheed Martin pitch for the ‘electric jet’ was and continues to be.

  13. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ D Grant

    Sorry I forgot to add earlier it was also Howard Governments fault that signed up to the JSF and abandoned the tradition selection process (back in June 2002), which is absolute terrible and garbage mistake too.

  14. Tim says:

    I’d like to see the F-15E & the future upgrade F-15SE, Eurofighter Typhoon & Dassault Rafale all considered. All are in current production (except Silent Eagle). All have been used in combat (except Silent Eagle). Agree that another one or more MRTT are needed. Need to keep in mind that the AP-3C Orions will need to be replaced in the future. The C-130H is getting long in the tooth, so they are either upgraded substantially or retired in favour of more C-130J-30s or maybe even A400M. I believe we still need either the C-27J or C295 as they would complement the airlift capabilities of the C-130 & C-17 & MRTT.

  15. Sam says:

    for those questioning the capability of the JSF based on specs alone, you might consider reading the lockheed martin response to the bad publicity stemming from the RAND review: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2008/september/SettingRecordStraightonF-.html.
    @Tim: I think the primary reason the F15′s arent being considered is that they are an old aircraft. They lack the avionics and capability to remain competitive for another 30 years, especially with the introduction of 5th gen fighters they will be sorely outmatched and we will hardly be able to claim “air superiority”. I’m not sure if this is true for the rafale and typhoon, I’m not familiar enough with their specs.

  16. In the Know says:

    Another Guest: join the long queue of pundits that think this is a bad idea.

    It seems that you have some knowledge about these things, but lets face it, anyone can point to new platforms, countermeasures and technologies that on paper are a better option – there is an arm chair coach in all of us.
    What the ADF has had to decide is what is the best mix of platforms for air-to-air, air-to-ground, coalition tasking, ISR capability and which of those platforms works in with our new tankers MRTT, our new P8s, our new UAV’s, our new airwarfare destroyers, etc, etc. Any new platform cannot work in isolation, that doctrine died years ago. There is no one completely right answer.

    Lets face it, our relationship with the US is indisputably a high priority and purchasing major platorms from them has less issues than from a sometimes solvent ex-USSR supplier.

    What is also indisputable is that new capability of this complexity is never easy and will always be expensive. It just is – as someone said the F111 was the same. We got F4′s to bridge that gap – it worked out fine. Point is we have to do something, this is just the best overall option – not perfect, just better than others.

  17. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Sam

    I totally disagree

    The primary reason the F-15 should being considered to fulfill the RAAF’s requirements is because its a combat-proven aircraft this nation must be look at to replace the 71 F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet fleet.

    What I agree with you is the F-15 will be outclassed with the introduction of the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA and J-20 Mighty Dragon 5th gen fighters which will be sorely outmatched by those aircraft. But the F-15 still has a vital role to play and can handle the Su-27/30 Flanker family threat only and the US with F-22s can handle the PAK-FA and J-20 threats.

    The F-15 can be modified with the APG-82 AESA, F110-GE-132 or F119-PW-100 engines (with a modified conventional afterburner nozzles) with 2-D or 3-D thrust vectoring nozzles and supercruising mode (without using afterburners which saves fuel) which needs to be considered, DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System), NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen cockpit display, digital fly-by-wire flight control system, IRST sensor pod etc.

    The reason why the F-15 is a combat proven aircraft is because, during action in the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Balkans and recently in Afghanistan the F-15 showed its superior ability to perform missions required of the F-X (Fighter Experimental).

    The F-15 family of aircraft has a perfect air-to-air combat record of more than 104 victories and zero defeats. F-15s shot down four MiG-29 fighters during the Balkan conflict and 33 of the 35 fixed-wing Iraqi Air Forces aircraft lost in air combat during Operation Desert Storm. During the Balkan conflict, the F-15E was the only fighter able to attack ground targets around the clock, in all weather conditions. The F-15 aircraft are used by the Air Force against terrorist targets.

    The F-15 has a fantastic long range endurance, bigger weapons payload and speed capabilities than its F-X competitors. The aircraft will get into a fight, strike with a lethal mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, and return more effectively than the other (small airframes with short range such as F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35 JSF) F-X aircraft.

    The F-15 is in production. Boeing has built more than 1,500 of all its F-15 models and the company has extended the F-15 production line well into the 2020s to attract and satisfy new and existing customers.

    Plus the F-35 JSF is still the wrong aircraft for any air force and navy’s requirements. Why does the Pentagon and the RAAF say the JSF is a true 5th Generation Fighter. Really? The F-35 is a dog, not a racehorse.

    Here are the facts:

    Cost of the program. $385 billion for development and production, and about $1 trillion or more to maintain and operate F-35 aircraft over decades.

    Range. The short range of the JSF means they would have to be refuelled several times to fly across Australia or anywhere.

    Please note: Australia is about 2,222 nm (4,000 km) wide. Aircraft designed for European use such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, MiG-35, SAAB JAS-39 Gripen and American F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-35 JSF have too short a range for use by such a large country as Australia. Again those aircraft are unsuitable to cement Australia’s regional air power lead and the RAAF really needs a large airframe with high capability to fulfill the requirements. Small fighters with short range are only ideal for smaller air forces in Europe, some Asian countries and some South American nations to operate them is because their range is not as important and they are surrounded by the small vast land areas, and more surrounding air bases (for any emergency situations e.g. hydraulic and engine failures). They can be equipped with either single or two engines (Actual range varies with mission). Australia doesn’t have that environment is because our island is
    surrounded by the vast oceans and limited internal operational basing infrastructures which means small fighters with short range are ill-suited to our needs .

    Single-Engine. This makes the aircraft more vulnerable to engine failure which is totally ill-suited for overwater operations. Remember this makes the aircraft more vulnerable to engine failure that will cause heavy losses to the entire fleet and putting pilots lives in jeopardy. The Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan engine will cause damage to flight deck and runways with heat build-up and exhaust impedes the aircraft’s ability to conduct missions in hot environments. The F-35 engine and integrated power package exhaust may cause excessive damage to the flight deck environment and runway surfaces that may result in operating limits or drive costly upgrades and repairs of JSF basing options. The RAAF had 116 Mirage IIIO/IIID high altitude interceptors and lost 41 fatalities which was heavily utilised, operated at extremely low altitude in any weather, probably in saturated airspace infested with low flying birds, rolling hills, antennaes, many other high speed aircraft and gun firing which caused surges to the SNECMA Atar 9C turbojet which resulted an engine failure. To place the F-16V Viper, Gripen NG or lemon F-35 in the excat environmental circumstances as in any of the Mirage accidents, and it too would have as high an attrition rate. If you place the twin-engined aircraft in the same situation the rate would be at least halved.

    Thinned Skinned fuselage: Lockheed Martin has done very little with major safety pre-cautions on the Joint Strike Fighter to protect against fire. As an close air support asset which the F-35 is suppose to be (when it attempts to discriminate tanks, convoys, surface-to-air missiles and anti aircraft artillery) its totally incapable, the aircraft will be an very easy target to shoot down, because it’s a very delicate aeroplane which means the aircraft has a huge F135-PW-100 turbofan engine surrounded by fuel wrapped around entirely in the fuselage and engine. Very little they can do because the .22 Rifle or any form of gunfire can very easily penetrate the skin on the airframe and causes it to catch on fire like a “blow torch”. Plus the F-35 will expose more heat (in full afterburner, like an exploding volcano) this will make the adversaries to detect the F-35 at BVR range, using medium range AA-12 (R-77) Adder and AA-10 (R-27) Alamo heat seeking missiles. Its a very vulnerable aircraft.

    Speed. The top speed of the JSF is only Mach 1.6 placing it at a significant disadvantage to Mach 2.4 aircraft such as the super cruising Sukhoi. Wing and engine intake geometry is optimised for sub-sonic flight – so a more powerful engine cannot fix the problem even if one would fit in the small JSF airframe. In stealth combat configuration, the F-35 aerodynamically doesn’t and will never be able to outperform all other combat-configured 4th, 4.5, 4++ and 5th generation aircraft in top-end speed, loiter, subsonic acceleration and combat radius. This doesn’t allow unprecedented see/shoot first and combat radius advantages.

    This situation by relying only on stealth, AESA radar, advanced sensors, networking, data fusion capabilities, BVR AAMs and cruise missiles as stand-off while flying at straight and level with very gentle manoeuvres of presents of guns or missiles the JSF will be a “dead duck”. It doesn’t work that way which is absolute pathetic.

    Super Cruise: No (-1)

    Thrust Vectoring Control – TVC: No (-1)

    High Agility Supersonic / Subsonic: Neither (-1)

    Large Thrust to Weight Multi Engine Thrust Growth: Middling T/W One Engine Little Growth (-1)

    High Combat Ceiling (> 7 deg/sec turn rate, sustained): No 18 lbs (0) which the fuel flow is very inefficient.

    APG-81 AESA radar. The nose geometry of the JSF limits the aperture of the radar. This makes the JSF dependent on supporting AEW&C aircraft which are themselves vulnerable to long range anti-radiation missiles and jamming. Opposing Sukhoi aircraft have a massive 1 meter radar aperture enabling them to detect and attack at an JSF long before the JSF can detect the Sukhoi. It has Medium Power Aperture (0) (Detection range around 140 – 150 nm at BVR) compared to the Su-35S Super Flankers N035 Irbis-E (Snow Leapord) X-band AESA radar’s detection range at 217-248 miles (350-400km) and for tracking stealthy targets at an RCS of 0.11 sq.ft (0.01 sq.m) at 56 miles (90 km) and T-50 PAK-FA’s N036 BRLS AFAR/AESA (based on Tikhomirov NIIP N035 Irbis-E) with the same detection range characteristics at 217-248 miles (350-400km) and for tracking stealthy targets at an RCS of 0.11 sq.ft (0.01 sq.m) at 56 miles (90 km). The J-20 Mighty Dragon’s AESA radar’s detection range is unknown to clarify at the moment.

    “Partial Stealth”. It is argued that these disadvantages are offset by the JSF being “partially stealthy” in that it has low frontal visibility to millimetre-band radar. However, this is of little value against VHF radar using meter-long wavelengths. Russian engineers are now producing advanced VHF radar systems for the Sukhoi and for ground-based system such as Nebo SVU. As explained by my friends and colleagues in the defence, this exposes most fighter-sized ‘stealth’ aircraft. While the radar technology will only improve, the stealth characteristics of the JSF are locked-in with its flawed geometry.

    Unavailability. The JSF is not expected to be fully operational around 2018 or later.

    Weight. The JSF seems to have a serious weight problem and may be unable to take off with a full load of fuel and weapons making it even more dependent on air-tanker support.

    Only “Four” BVR Air-to-Air Missiles. The JSF can only carry four air-air missiles (AAM) for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat. By contrast late model Sukhoi Flankers can carry a wide range of AAM on twelve hard-points.

    Classified Components. The JSF is likely to have a range of components that are ‘off-limits’ to the Australia and can only be serviced in the US.

    Highly Integrated Avionics: Yes (0)

    Sidelooking ESA Apertures: No (-1)

    High Specific Excess Power – Ps: No (-1)

    High Situational Awareness (SA) – Onboard / Offboard: Yes (0)

    The world’s best air forces choose the world’s biggest failed project, inferior to the Sukhoi family of fighters, upcoming J-20 Mighty Dragon and advanced SAM systems which is not lethal and not survivable, extremely expensive to fly and maintain.

    It is very fortunate that there are so many representations and sortions of facts presented in the opinions offered by Winslow Wheeler, Pierre Sprey, Air Power Australia, retired fighter pilots and officers etc.

    The simple facts are as follows:
    –– The F-35 will never be the most lethal and survivable multirole fighter in history;
    –– The F-35 is not meeting or not exceeding every single one of the Key Performance Parameters that the services have mandated;
    –– The F-35’s capabilities are not being validated in their laboratories, and on ground- and flight-test programme today;
    –– The F-35’s procurement costs are not up to date and not meeting programme cost objectives, and certainly are not on track to meet the customers’ unit flyaway cost targets; and
    –– The F-35 programme is way behind schedule to deliver the first production-model aircraft from 2010.

    I’m not very pleased to see that many of the world’s most elite air forces – including the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps, Canadian Air Force, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and other NATO air forces – do not agree with the opinions and facts from Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon, Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta and pro-JSF advocates that recent endorsements of the F-35 programme both in the US and abroad underscore these convictions. In fact they should be kicked out and forgotton.

    I’m not the most proud of the fact that the F-35 is the system of choice for all participating nations to protect the freedoms that enable those with differing opinions to speak out.

    One of the guests on this website claims about the F-15SE Silent Eagle is a affordable aircraft than the F-35. What he said about this remarkable aircraft. ” In comparison, some aspects of the Silent Eagle package make it a promising possibility. Boeing is talking about a $100 million price tag per aircraft, a significantly longer range than the F-35, and a maintenance infrastructure that could be based on the one for Israel’s F-15 fleet. Delivery may begin by 2012.

    Lockheed Martin are bunch of crooks, con artists and outliars including Tom Burbage and his colleagues. Get away from the failed F-35 program its going to ruin the RAAF. Stay well away from them they are not trusted.

  18. Dane says:

    If Boeing can get the F-15SE off the ground and demonstrate it properly and what it is capable of, it could be a great buy for Australia. It would keep in line with our two-crew strike/bombing capability and make a good fighter. However, the current Labor government isn’t concerning itself with defence problems, choosing to delay them and leave them for the next government to deal with. A purchase of the Boeing F/A-18E under its “Roadmap” plan wouldn’t hurt either. The Classic Hornets currently with the RAAF, which surely won’t be combat capable for much more than a few years, are going to need to be replaced. But will the current government admit the F-35 is going to be too late and another gap filling aircraft required? Not likely…

  19. Pete says:

    @Another guest.
    Sounds like a Kopp out to me!

  20. Dan says:

    Even with the deeper maintance tender just released by the Govn. Does anyone know the how much would be left to give out of the faithfull “classics”

  21. Sam says:

    @Another Guest

    I’m not going to respond to your whole post (its fricken huge!) but I will single out a few points. Sure there SEEM to be disadvantages, especially in regards to the stealth capabilities and VHF radar capability, and there SEEM to be certain disadvantages with the aircraft, but unless you’ve got access to highly secretive data, then all the information you’ve posted is heresay.

    I find it inconceivable that several major governments would commit to buying a large number of these aircraft if the aircraft are inferior in as many areas that are claimed. These are governments who are savvy to all the intricate details that we as a public arent. I will make one correction to your post: The lift fan for the RAAF is not an issue as the model we will be purchasing is the F-35A CTOL (conventional takeoff/landing), and also indicates that our aircraft wont be taking fire from conventional ground weaponry (not surface-air) meaning that if the skin is as vulnerable as you say it is, wont be as big an issue as you paint it to be.

    As to the cost of the aircraft. We have bought an initial 2 F-35, and are possibly going to buy an additional 12 at a cost of approximately $130million each. This initial cost is expensive due to lack of economies of scale (not many produced means cost of producing parts is higher) and the fact that they are still under development. Current projections (including all delays and extra development costs that have already been accrued) are at approximately $75-$85 million per aircraft assuming that we buy the full intended 100. This, might i point out is significantly cheaper than the $100million per F-15 that you’ve stated (im not sure if this is the actual price) for an aircraft that will DEFINITELY be far outmatched if ever China or Russia decide to bring their 5th Gen aircraft our way. It does not make sense to me to buy an aircraft that we know will be insufficient.

    In terms of its maneuverability, it is rated at +/- 9G, which is significantly more than the Super Hornet, and “In stealth combat configuration, the F-35 aerodynamically outperforms all other combat-configured 4th generation aircraft in top-end speed, loiter, subsonic acceleration and combat radius. This allows unprecedented see/shoot first and combat radius advantages.” (http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2008/september/SettingRecordStraightonF-.html) Read this it’s worth a look at.

    The F-35 is designed as a “First Strike” aircraft. This means that it takes advantage of its stealth, and although it has limited weapons capability in stealth configuration, can quickly and silently dispose of any immediate threats. This is when the legacy aircraft are introduced into the fray and the F-35 can equip an additional 6 external ordinance when stealth is not required.

    The single engine problem you refer to was definitely something that made the USN jittery in the inception of the project. The stipulation was that if there was only to be one engine, that the reliability of it was significantly improved (which it has been, watch NOVA: Battle of the X-Planes). The engine in the F-35 is the most powerful engine ever put in a fighter and has the equivelant thrust of BOTH engines in the F-18 or Eurofighter. Unless you can provide a reference, I highly doubt that it has issues with takeoff with a full fuel load.

    The “Simple Facts”, as you put it:
    –– The F-35 will never be the most lethal and survivable multirole fighter in history (speculation based on rumour and heresay)
    –– The F-35 is not meeting or not exceeding every single one of the Key Performance Parameters that the services have mandated;
    This is unfounded. According to RAAF Review of Defence Annual Report:
    “a. Cost is currently within the approved cost envelope.
    b. Capability is expected to meet RAAF’s planned Initial Operational Capability
    requirements as advised to Government in 2009.
    c. Schedule remains on schedule to deliver our first two aircraft in 2014 for US-based training.”
    more detailed review, specifically to each of these statements is available here: http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo/publications/review_JSF.pdf
    –– The F-35’s capabilities are not being validated in their laboratories, and on ground- and flight-test programme today;
    Incorrect. To quote lockheed martins response to the RAND review: “Rather than relying exclusively on flight testing, the F-35 is retiring development risk through the most comprehensive laboratories, sensor test beds, and integrated full-fusion flying test bed ever created for an aircraft program. Representing only 25% of our verification plans, still the F-35′s flight test program is comparable in hours to the combined flight test programs of the three primary U.S. aircraft it will replace.” (http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2008/september/SettingRecordStraightonF-.html)
    –– The F-35’s procurement costs are not up to date and not meeting programme cost objectives, and certainly are not on track to meet the customers’ unit flyaway cost targets; and
    Incorrect. See RAAF Defence review: http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo/publications/review_JSF.pdf
    and The Australian – First RAAF Joint Strike Fighters: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/first-raaf-jsfs-to-cost-130m-each/story-e6frg8yo-1226314244468
    –– The F-35 programme is way behind schedule to deliver the first production-model aircraft from 2010.
    Not behind schedule for Australian requirements. Projected to be in service from 2018-2019. See various articles previously posted and do your own research at airforce.gov.au and various other sites.

    I suppose it comes down to what you want to believe. I’m choosing to believe credible sources. The information you have (as far as i know) is heresay and rumour. I do, however, agree that it would be a good idea to procure an air specific aircraft to complement our fleet of F-35′s. Potentially the F/A-18F/G, but this is not something that I have recearched in much depth so I’m hesitant to make comment or recommendation as to what aircraft this would be. I am also skeptical of this happening given that Julia Gillard’s quest to put the Australian budget into surplus has lead to a $4bn cut in defence budget, and $17bn worth of cuts to defence over the past 3 years.

    I realise that my post actually went on for ages and i recognise the irony of saying yours was big and i wasn’t going to address the whole thing :P sorry! I really am a supporter of the JSF, I think the tactical advantage that it provides is enormous, especially with its avionics and advanced situational awareness functionality, I think the survivability of our pilots will go through the roof. As they say: “Lose sight lose the fight”. With the JSF you’ll never lose sight.

  22. Doug says:

    Got to laugh when you hear people when people compare the PAK-FA , F-35 and J-20 based on largely made-up or unknown performance figures.

    The USA has been in the combat aircraft business for a long time and I am sure that they are capable of building a fighter that can match or defeat anything the Russians and Chinese can build.

  23. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Sam

    This statement is all BS. I strongly disagree with that.

  24. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Doug

    I got to laugh when I hear more bad news about this failed project.

  25. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    All of you pro-JSF advocates are total outliars with all rubbish statements.

  26. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Sam

    The information I have is heresay and truthful. If you don’t like it go and take it up to the APA about your outliing JSF statement.

  27. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Sam, Doug and to all pro-JSF advocates

    I’m choosing to believe credible sources. The information you have stated about this lemon (F-35) (as far as i know) is heresay and rumour and the APA contributers are far more knowledgable than the RAAF, Department of Defence, Federal Government and Australian Aviation – with facts etc than your pathetic reason statements about this turkey.

    There’s absolute NO WAY I have confidents flying this unsafe, useless, less capable, overpriced and behind schedule failed aircraft if I was a fighter pilot. Very dangerous and very vulnerable aeroplane.

    Again the simple facts are as follows:
    –– The F-35 will never be the most lethal and survivable multirole fighter in history;
    –– The F-35 is not meeting or not exceeding every single one of the Key Performance Parameters that the services have mandated;
    –– The F-35’s capabilities are not being validated in their laboratories, and on ground- and flight-test programme today;
    –– The F-35’s procurement costs are not up to date and not meeting programme cost objectives, and certainly are not on track to meet the customers’ unit flyaway cost targets; and
    –– The F-35 programme is way behind schedule to deliver the first production-model aircraft to the RAAF until 2018-2019

  28. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Sam

    I still totally disagree. Well Sam that’s your rubbish statement and its still a wrong aircraft.

    Why should I believe your pathetic and outlie statements? The Government and most RAAF personals have absolute no clue what they are talking about.

    Lockheed Martin are bunch of crooks, con artists and outliars including Tom Burbage and his colleagues. Get away from the failed F-35 program its going to ruin the RAAF. Stay well away from them in fact they are not trusted.

    Why should Australia and the US Allies deserve to be partners with Lockheed Martin to participate the failed JSF program that will never fulfil its mission requirements???

    Anyone is a supporter of the JSF is a complete liar, ignorant, naysayer, crazy etc. If I was a Defence Minister I’ll never support the failed turkey (F-35) program and never support Lockheed Martin, instead I’ll support the very capable aircraft such as Boeing Co. with the F-15 program or the Sukhoi Co. with the Su-35S Super Flanker-E, PAK-FA and other aircraft. The JSF goes to hell. To me the certainly of acquiring 4.5 or 4++ Generation Fighters does make sense to me to buy an aircraft that I know will be sufficient. Again I already told you before the F-15 still has a vital role to play that can handle the Su-27/30 Flanker family threat only and the US with F-22s can handle the PAK-FA and J-20 threats. The JSF can’t and you can’t always expect that every country to be equipped with this lemon (F-35). Why? Too expensive, 9 years of behind schedule, failed project of all time, less capable, inferior to the advanced Russian/Chinese fighters, advanced SAMs, AAA’s and NNIIRT 55Zh6M Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radar.

    What I think the tactical advantage that the lemon provides is uesless, a dud, garbage and terrible, especially with its inferior acceleration, poor manoeuvrability, short range with no loiter time and very limited weapons payload and less powerful radar and sensor performance. The tactical advantage that will only provide avionics and advanced situational awareness functionality, although maybe fantasy and great systems no doubt about that, but its the inferior and overweight airframe that’s extremely controversial. It’s very ugly and too fat (In fact the aircraft really looks like an overweight “Baby Seal” or fat slob).

    Speed. The top speed of the JSF is only Mach 1.6 placing it at a significant disadvantage to Mach 2.4 aircraft such as the super cruising Sukhoi. Wing and engine intake geometry is optimised for sub-sonic flight – so a more powerful engine cannot fix the problem even if one would fit in the small JSF airframe. In terms of its maneuverability, it is rated at +/- 9G, which is significantly equal to the Super Hornet, but significantly less than the F-15, F-22, Su-27/30 Flanker, PAK-FA, MiG-29/35 Fulcrum, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and Chengdu J-10 Vigorous Dragon. In stealth combat configuration, still the F-35 aerodynamically doesn’t and will never be able to outperform all other combat-configured 4th, 4.5, 4++ and 5th generation aircraft in top-end speed, loiter, subsonic acceleration and combat radius. This doesn’t allow unprecedented see/shoot first and combat radius advantages.

    This situation by relying only on stealth, AESA radar, advanced sensors, networking, data fusion capabilities, BVR AAMs and cruise missiles as stand-off while flying at straight and level with very gentle manoeuvres of presents of guns or missiles the JSF will be a “dead duck”. It doesn’t work that way which is absolute pathetic.

    Again single-engine makes the aircraft more vulnerable to engine failure which is totally ill-suited for overwater operations. Although the reliability of it was significantly improved but that doesn’t mean it won’t fail. How can you be sure. Remember this still makes the aircraft more vulnerable to engine failure that will cause heavy losses to the entire fleet and putting pilots lives in jeopardy. The Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan in the F-35 is the most powerful engine will cause damage to flight deck and runways with heat build-up and exhaust impedes the aircraft’s ability to conduct missions in hot environments. The F-35 engine and integrated power package exhaust may cause excessive damage to the flight deck environment and runway surfaces that may result in operating limits or drive costly upgrades and repairs of JSF basing options. IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG WITH THAT ENGINE, I”M TELLING YOU NOW YOU HAVE TO GROUND ALL THOSE AIRCRAFT.

    Ill-suited for Close Air Support Asset which the F-35 has Thinned Skinned fuselage: Lockheed Martin has done very little with major safety pre-cautions on the Joint Strike Fighter to protect against fire. As an close air support asset which the F-35 is suppose to be (when it attempts to discriminate tanks, convoys, surface-to-air missiles and anti aircraft artillery) its totally incapable, the aircraft will be an very easy target to shoot down, because it’s a very delicate aeroplane which means the aircraft has a huge F135-PW-100 turbofan engine surrounded by fuel wrapped around entirely in the fuselage and engine. Very little they can do because the .22 Rifle or any form of gunfire can very easily penetrate the skin on the airframe and causes it to catch on fire like a “blow torch”.

    Read the Aircraft Survivability 2012. Fire : Significant Threat. As with most aircraft, fire is the primary vulnerability to the F-35. Fire extinguishing is limited to the IPP (Integrated Power Package) bay. This system was installed primarily for ground safety reasons. Fuel, hydraulic, and PAO fluids are the primary sources of fire on the aircraft and are distributed throughout the aircraft. As one would expect, fire is a threat to Flight Critical Systems. Ullage protection is provided by an On Board Inert Gas Generating System (OBIGGS).

    If the aircraft suffers a electrical fire from one of the wiring systems or engine fire, how can the pilot put out the fires when the aircraft has no fire extinguishing system on board the aircraft???

    Plus the F-35 will expose more heat (in full afterburner, like an exploding volcano) this will make the adversaries to detect the F-35 at BVR range, using medium range AA-12 (R-77) Adder and AA-10 (R-27) Alamo heat seeking missiles. Its a very vulnerable aircraft.

    Unavailability. Its behind schedule for Australian requirements.The JSF is not expected to be fully operational around 2018 or later.

    Weight. The JSF seems to have a serious weight problem and may be unable to take off with a full load of fuel and weapons making it even more dependent on air-tanker support.

    Only “Four” BVR Air-to-Air Missiles. The JSF can only carry four air-air missiles (AAM) for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat. By contrast late model Sukhoi Flankers can carry a wide range of AAM on twelve hard-points.

    Sorry I really am a supporter of the F-15, Sukhoi family of fighters and other very capable aircraft. I really am a anti-F-35 supporter.

    The JSF brings absolutely nothing to the table that existing aircraft designs such as the F-111, F-15 family, F-22, A-10 and other aircraft – cannot already do and do better.

    I think the survivability of our pilots will not go through the roof.

    I cancel your piitiful lemon.

    Its just a ignorant naysayers that claim the F-35 is a right weapon suit our requirements.

  29. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Sam

    Its only the pro-JSF advocates are the biggest suckers going ahead with this JSF (Joint Strike Failure) it will never become a viable combat aircraft . The policy of pushing the failed turkey forward at any cost only threatens to create a budgetary sinkhole that will weaken the defences of the RAAF.

  30. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Sam

    Excuse me, I should say in terms of its manoeuvrability, it is rated at +/- 9G, which is significantly equal to the F-16. The aircraft is too heavy, overweight and sluggish to be successful as an air superiority fighter, due to the fuselage which has too much cross section, the wings are too small which lack the extreme agility (the ability to out-manoeuvre the adversary in air-to-air combat), the wing platform is optimised for subsonic cruise and transonic manoeuvre and doesn’t provide enough lift and drag to defeat Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and Within Visual Range (WVR) air-to-air missiles (AAMs) from enemy fighters in the dogfight and stand off ranges, advanced surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and ground fire take on top end threats.

  31. Sam says:

    @Another Guest

    Your arguments are not credible and based completely on heresay. You have provided no references to anyone that would have access to sensitive data making them qualified to comment, and therefore I give them no credence and nobody else here should either.

    I wont comment on the weapons capability and aerodynamics as I am not qualified to do so, and I highly doubt you are either, however I am inclined to believe the reports of Lockheed Martin, the governments of the U.S., Australia, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, Israel and Singapore and not the APA, as their concerns were already addressed in the report i referenced earlier. Did you actually read anything i posted? You should believe my “pathetic and outlie” statements because they arent MY statements. They are the statements of parties actually involved in the production and development of the aircraft.

    You call me ignorant and here you are with absolutely no evidence to support your conclusions

  32. Another Guest (from Melbourne) says:

    @ Sam

    Well that’s what you believe in your own imagination.

    My arguments are credible and based completely on heresay. I certainly have provided references to anyone that would have access to sensitive data making them qualified to comment, and therefore I give them credence and anybody else here should too.

    I will also comment on the weapons capability and aerodynamics as for me I am qualified to do so, however I am inclined to believe the reports of the APA, retired fighter pilots, officers, engineers and designers etc. I am inclined to not believe the reports from the governments of the U.S., Australia, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, Israel and Singapore and certainly not Lockheed Martin.

    With your question “Did you actually read anything i posted”?

    Yes I did, but again I strongly disagree. I will NEVER believe your “pathetic and outlie” statements because they arent the statements that I don’t recommend.

    Well I got my friends and colleagues in the ADF to support my conclusions with absolutely evidence to show that the F-35 is a wrong aircraft, no matter what classified components the lemon (F-35) has.

  33. Peter says:

    @ Sam

    How many times I’ve told you about this. I don’t care what you put your wish in your statement to claim the JSF is a right warplane is because you still have NO CLUE what you’re talking about. The JSF is certainly not a true 5th Generation Fighter, the lemon is a boondoggle. It’s now time to throw the turkey in the trash bin and see the rotten damn thing in the fire and see this rubbish burn for good.

    The United States is making a gigantic investment in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, billed by its advocates as the next — by their count the fifth — generation of air-to-air and air-to-ground combat aircraft. Claimed to be near invisible to radar and able to dominate any future battlefield, the F-35 will replace most of the air-combat aircraft in the inventories of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and at least nine foreign allies, and it will be in those inventories for the next 55 years. It’s no secret, however, that the program — the most expensive in American history — is a calamity.

    This month, we learned that the Pentagon has increased the price tag for the F-35 by another $289 million — just the latest in a long string of cost increases — and that the program is expected to account for a whopping 38 percent of Pentagon procurement for defence programs, assuming its cost will grow no more. Its many problems are acknowledged by its listing in proposals for Pentagon spending reductions by leaders from across the political spectrum, including Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and budget gurus such as former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Alice Rivlin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and Office of Management and Budget.

    How bad is it? A review of the F-35′s cost, schedule, and performance — three essential measures of any Pentagon program — shows the problems are fundamental and still growing.

    First, with regard to cost — a particularly important factor in what politicians keep saying is an austere defence budget environment — the F-35 is simply unaffordable. Although the plane was originally billed as a low-cost solution, major cost increases have plagued the program throughout the last decade. Last year, Pentagon leadership told Congress the acquisition price had increased another 16 percent, from $328.3 billion to $379.4 billion for the 2,457 aircraft to be bought. Not to worry, however — they pledged to finally reverse the growth.
    The result? This February, the price increased another 4 percent to $395.7 billion and then even further in April. Don’t expect the cost overruns to end there: The test program is only 20 percent complete, the Government Accountability Office has reported, and the toughest tests are yet to come. Overall, the program’s cost has grown 75 percent from its original 2001 estimate of $226.5 billion — and that was for a larger buy of 2,866 aircraft.
    Hundreds of F-35s will be built before 2019, when initial testing is complete. The additional cost to engineer modifications to fix the inevitable deficiencies that will be uncovered is unknown, but it is sure to exceed the $534 million already known from tests so far. The total program unit cost for each individual F-35, now at $161 million, is only a temporary plateau. Expect yet another increase in early 2013, when a new round of budget restrictions is sure to hit the Pentagon, and the F-35 will take more hits in the form of reducing the numbers to be bought, thereby increasing the unit cost of each plane.

    A final note on expense: The F-35 will actually cost multiples of the $395.7 billion cited above. That is the current estimate only to acquire it, not the full life-cycle cost to operate it. The current appraisal for operations and support is $1.1 trillion — making for a grand total of $1.5 trillion, or more than the annual GDP of Spain. And that estimate is wildly optimistic: It assumes the F-35 will only be 42 percent more expensive to operate than an F-16, but the F-35 is much more complex. The only other “fifth generation” aircraft, the F-22 from the same manufacturer, is in some respects less complex than the F-35, but in 2010, it cost 300 percent more to operate per hour than the F-16. To be very conservative, expect the F-35 to be twice the operating and support cost of the F-16.
    Already unaffordable, the F-35′s price is headed in one direction — due north.

    The F-35 isn’t only expensive — it’s way behind schedule. The first plan was to have an initial batch of F-35s available for combat in 2010. Then first deployment was to be 2012. More recently, the military services have said the deployment date is “to be determined.” A new target date of 2019 has been informally suggested in testimony — almost 10 years late.

    If the F-35′s performance were spectacular, it might be worth the cost and wait. But it is not. Even if the aircraft lived up to its original specifications — and it will not — it would be a huge disappointment. The reason it is such a mediocrity also explains why it is unaffordable and, for years to come, unobtainable.

    In discussing the F-35 with aviation and acquisition experts — some responsible for highly successful aircraft such as the F-16 and the A-10, and others with decades of experience inside the Pentagon and years of direct observation of the F-35′s early history — I learned that the F-35′s problems are built into its very DNA.
    The design was born in the late 1980s in the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon agency that has earned an undeserved reputation for astute innovation. It emerged as a proposal for a very short take-off and vertical-landing aircraft (known as “STOVL”) that would also be supersonic. This required an airframe design that — simultaneously — wanted to be short, even stumpy, and single-engine (STOVL), and also sleek, long, and with lots of excess power, usually with twin engines.

    President Bill Clinton’s Pentagon bogged down the already compromised design concept further by adding the requirement that it should be a multirole aircraft — both an air-to-air fighter and a bomber. This required more difficult trade-offs between agility and low weight, and the characteristics of an airframe optimised to carry heavy loads. Clinton-era officials also layered on “stealth,” imposing additional aerodynamic shape requirements and maintenance-intensive skin coatings to reduce radar reflections. They also added two separate weapons bays, which increase permanent weight and drag, to hide onboard missiles and bombs from radars. On top of all that, they made it multi-service, requiring still more trade-offs to accommodate more differing, but exacting, needs of the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy.

    Finally, again during the Clinton administration, the advocates composed a highly “concurrent” acquisition strategy. That meant hundreds of copies of the F-35 would be produced, and the financial and political commitments would be made, before the test results showed just what was being bought.

    This grotesquely unpromising plan has already resulted in multitudes of problems — and 80 percent of the flight testing remains. A virtual flying piano, the F-35 lacks the F-15′s and F-16′s agility in the air-to-air mode and the F-111 and F-15E’s range and payload in the bombing mode, and it can’t even begin to compare to the A-10 at low-altitude close air support for troops engaged in combat. Worse yet, it won’t be able to get into the air as often to perform any mission — or just as importantly, to train pilots — because its complexity prolongs maintenance and limits availability. The aircraft most like the F-35, the F-22, was able to get into the air on average for only 15 hours per month in 2010 when it was fully operational. (In 2011, the F-22 was grounded for almost five months and flew even less.)

    This mediocrity is not overcome by the F-35′s “fifth-generation” characteristics, the most prominent of which is its “stealth.” Despite what many believe, “stealth” is not invisibility to radar; it is limited-detection ranges against some radar types at some angles. Put another way, certain radars, some of them quite antiquated, can see “stealthy” aircraft at quite long ranges, and even the susceptible radars can see the F-35 at certain angles. The ultimate demonstration of this shortcoming occurred in the 1999 Kosovo war, when 1960s vintage Soviet radar and missile equipment shot down a “stealthy” F-117 bomber and severely damaged a second.
    The bottom line: The F-35 is not the wonder its advocates claim. It is a gigantic performance disappointment, and in some respects a step backward. The problems, integral to the design, cannot be fixed without starting from a clean sheet of paper.

    It’s time for Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, the U.S. military services, the Congress, pro-JSF advocates and including YOU SAM to face the facts: The F-35 is an unaffordable mediocrity, and the program will not be fixed by any combination of hardware tweaks or cost-control projects. There is only one thing to do with the F-35: Junk it. America’s air forces deserve a much better aircraft, and the taxpayers deserve a much cheaper one. The dustbin awaits.

    “GET AWAY FROM THIS AEROPLANE ITS GOING TO RUIN OUR AIR FORCE”

    In fact Sam, you’re allowing the adversaries to destroy our air power that the lemon F-35s can’t take on high threat zones. You and your JSF team are just as worse than the enemy, by shrinking the size of our air force that is going to degrade very soon.

    If you have a big problem with that I recommend you take it up to the APA.

    Do you listen to Lockheed Martin and RAAF personals all day about the Super Hornet/JSF issues?

    I wish you luck of reading my credible and (based completely on heresay) truthful statements.

  34. Sam says:

    Well Peter, to kick things off, I dont believe youve made a statement to me about any of this previously. So the amount of times “you have to tell me” is rather irrelevant.
    Secondly, referencing your comments so that they can be verified and taken seriously is quite important! I can make up a statement that sounds good too, that doesnt make it factual. Because you have neglected to provide any sort of source for what you’ve posted, how do i know that you havent made 90% of it up? Your arguments seem coherant and make sense, but it seems to me that users like “Another Guest” have just been sitting on youtube watching sukhoi fanboy videos all day and getting their information from the comments.

    I agree that there have been some serious causes for concern. I also believe that you have presented an extremely bias and emotional view of the situation, making it innacurate. one example of this is the cost. More than a third of the cost increases you have described can be accounted for by inflation. The change in value of the dollar since 2002. Another third can be accounted for by a more accurate accounting system relative to other fighter programs. This can be found in the lockheed press release section. They detail what is accounted for.

    Even given this, i agree that the cost has increased significantly from what was originally projected, and I also agree that this is probably just going to get worse in the future. But given that this aircraft is intended to replace 13 different aircraft, I dont see how this could have possibly exceeded its cost-benefit ratio. This is the biggest fighter development program every to take place. Of course its going to be expensive.

    To say that this aircraft will ruin the airforce is idiotic. You have no idea what the performance capabilities of this aircraft will be when it is finished, and neither do I. If you think every detail about this project and its specifics have been released to the public, you are extremely naive. I guarantee you the majority of detail surrounding the F35 has been kept highly classified, and as such the true nature of the performance of this aircraft won’t be assessable until final products come off the production line and into service. I have already stipulated that this aircraft should be supported by a more specialised air-air fighter, but it will by no means ruin any air force.

    The reason I listen to sources such as Lockheed Martin, the RAAF and every other official source with a stake in the project is because they are the only ones with access to that data. I dont take heed of the politicians who are looking for an issue to take side on as they obviously have a political agenda. I have read the proposals of the APA, and the responses. And whilst I agree that the APA raise some valid points, I trust the RAAF (who have the information that the APA dont) to know what they are buying.

    Word to the wise: Read both the doomsday and promotional information with a grain of salt. No project comes off perfectly. I am sure the F-35 will have both its triumphs and its pitfalls,

  35. Peter says:

    @ Sam

    I have presented an extremely bias and emotional view of this situation, making them very accurate details.

    This lemon is just going to get worse and worse in the future if more problems occur when the JSF is operational. But given that this aircraft is intended to replace 13 different aircraft, I do see how this could have possibly exceeded its cost-benefit ratio. Yes this the biggest fighter development program every to take place. Of course indeed that this failed lemon going to be super expensive to fly and maintain.

    To say that this aircraft will ruin the any air force is certainly not idiotic. The only idiotic statement says the F-35 is a right aircraft etc etc. Errrr… yes I do have idea what the performance capabilities of this aircraft will be when it is finishes. I’m not extremely naive about this project that specifics have been released to the public. Yes I do guarantee that the majority of detail surrounding the F-35 has been kept classified, but again its still a wrong aircraft. I have stipulated that this aircraft should never be supported by a more specialised air-to-air fighter, but it will by means ruin any air force.

    To me I also listen to sources from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, the RAAF and every other official source. I also don’t take heed of the politicians who are looking for an issue to take side on as they obviously have a political agenda. I also research the proposals from the APA, and the responses. And whilst I also agree that the APA, retired fighter pilots, officers, engineers and designers etc raise some valid points, In a lot of ways I don’t trust the Government/RAAF to know what wrong equipment they are buying.

    Which I combine information.

    The only triumph for the lemon (F-35) is its systems and avionics, but the rest is all pittifall.

    Sam, if it was up to me when I announce the the defence acquisitions. I cancel the JSF program, return the remaining 24 Super Dogs (Hornets) back to the United States Navy and acquire advanced F-15s and probably some Eurofighter Typhoons or Dassault Rafales instead.

    For e.g.

    Either the A-10C or OV-10 18-24 – for close air support asset

    Either the Typhoon or Rafale 40 – for Air Superiority/Strike asset

    F-15E+ or F-15SE 50-60 for Air Superiority/Strike asset

  36. Peter says:

    @ Sam

    I’m telling you this failed project is never cheap, despite your claim of the price $75-$85 million per aircraft to buy around 100 mistake jets what you, Lockheed Martin, the Government/RAAF say.

  37. Sam says:

    Alright, you’re not saying anything new. You’re just taking my statements and turning them into negatives. I suppose it’s a good thing defence aquisitions arent up to you :)

  38. Mil says:

    The guest from Melbourne makes some valid points.
    The RAAF should fill it’s gap with the F-15 Silent eagle as with it you have the range, some advantages in dogfights with 4++ gen Russian aircraft, very good range and strike capability (carrying big ASW weapons). The FA-18′s would get diced and it has been envisioned that the US will be fighting with a Raptor as a mini awac guiding F15′s in future combat. Australia has signed it’s base agreements with the US, there is no reason why the US cannot send over a few Raptors like in the UAE to help defend required. airspace.

    The F-35 should be squashed, the only positive thing is one version can allow Australia a chance to revisit the old carrier days and allows for operations in theatres where some minor contest for Airspace might occur.

    Like the guest has stated, it has also been suggested Lock/Mart has overstated both the f22 nd f35′s capabilities to remain stealthy. There has been rumours that companies in Sweeden were told to hold of developing or announcing their anti stealth capabilities at a time when the f22 project could have had it’s funding wiped out.

    http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,157743,00.html

    One only needs a missile to create a blast radius of 2 metres and a raptor would fall in theory, defending the sea or one’s own territory would give advantages to an airforce equipped with F-22′s.

    If the RAAF has any smarts it would procure F-15′s or even the Rafael, long range AAM’s(meteors), ASW’s and a couple of Long range SAM batteries to defend air and sea. Wait until the US sorts it’s crap out then choose what is needed with a bit more clarity and less spending waste.

  39. Peter says:

    Sorry folks its Peter (Guest of Melbourne) if you guys notice on the top left corner.

  40. Allan says:

    I think it is time for the government to delay this aircraft permanently. It has been in development far too long and yes i`m well aware of it`s supposed advantages. I also recall several other aircraft having a troubled gestation. The only question will be when and if the government (whoever is in power at the time) will go back to the traditional way of evaluating the contenders, Because let`s face it the classic Hornets are going to need replacing in the next five years. You can only keep them going so long without them becoming a liability.

    I hope the powers that be see the errors of their way soon, so the RAAF can get back to having a decent tactical fighter force. Preferably long ranging and twin engines.

  41. Mil says:

    Yes, Peter it is. My bad.

    While your here I might rack your brain with a question out of left field. Politically almost impossible but back a while Australia was offered SU-35′s for about 20 mil a piece including having manufacturing rights thrown in.
    Would it be far fetched to to aquire a few of these but with Israeli, French or even US avionics for the RAAF, the airframe is so fine tuned, maintenence costs are one of the lowest and the ability to produce as many as we like with mods to reach our required standards. If the neighbours get 20 we build 40 etc at half the cost plus we create the basis for our own manufacturing industry ie keep the dollars and create jobs here. We get more flight hours and give more opportunities in the RAAF to become pilots.

  42. Peter says:

    Hello Mil – you’re still around

    No no its not you. It was my fault that I put Guest of Melb instead of Peter which someone was questioning who is he.

    Plus I didn’t mean to embarass you guys on the comment page, is just I’m very frustrated that Sam and other JSF advocates never get the facts straight of why the F-35 is a wrong aircraft etc.

    Indeed, somewhere around in the mid-to late 1990′s there were talks for Australia to seek a replacement for the F/A-18A/B Hornet fleet with Su-27M (Su-35) when there was a Fierce Market Competition. During 2002 the Su-27M program was no longer be able to compete with comtemporary and future foreign fighters, it was cancelled. Until from the mid-2000s, Sukhoi and its KnAAPO division further developed the Su-35BM concept and improved it with additional cutting-edge technologies and eyeing potential foreign sales.

    I completely agree the Russian fighters are always cheap to purchase, maintenence costs are lower than the western types due to the labour costs. They have stronger aerodynamic performance, bigger weapons payload, better range and more powerful radar and sensors.

    According to the Wikipedia, the Su-35BM costs at the estimated price at US$45 million to $65 million and the Su-32/34 Fullback costs at US$36 million.

    The Su-30MKI variant is equipped with the data presentation system. It was supplied by the French company Thomson-CSF and comprised a VEH-3000 HUD, six 5×5″ MFD55 colour liquid crystal displays (three in each cockpit). The same company supplied the Totem integrated INS/GPS suite. The data processing system included digital processors created by India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). The ECM system was commissioned from Isreal Aircraft Industries (IAI) and was built around the EL/M-8222 active jammer developed by IAI’s Elta division.

    Another Israeli item used on the Su-30MKI was the Rafael Litening optoelectronic targeting/navigation system pod enabling day/night all-weather use of air-to-surface missiles. RPKB acted as the systems integrator.

    Also there are two privately owned former Ukrainian Air Force’s Su-27UB Flanker-C’s which is another example equipped with western analog avionics and labelled with english stencil decals on the airframe and retitled in english stencil letters on the instrument panels. They are based at Pride Aircraft Inc. at Rockford, Illinois.

    Have you heard of this website called New Australia. Check it out on http://www.newaustralia.net. This website includes Cost Effective Self Defence, you’ll find this interesting to read about Saving Billions on Air Forces. Air Power Australia recommends the government to look for Sukhois as a cancellation for the failed F-35.

    Regards Pete

  43. Sam says:

    Peter this might be worth a read if you’re interested in educating yourself and not blindly following speculation and conspiracy-theorist type hysteria:

    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jfadt/defenceannualreport_2010_2011/hearings.htm

    The transcripts are of parliament sessions with the APA, AVM Osley, Dr Jensen, and Lockheed Martin, as well as various others. Dont get me wrong, I still have personal concerns about the project but these transcripts shed a lot of light on the actual F35 situation :)

    Please dont tell me to “get my facts straight”. Everything I’ve posted here is fact. Everything you’ve posted is a parrotted version of the speculation written by APA.

  44. Peter says:

    @ Sam

    I really don’t care what you think. I’ve already educated myself of following speculation and conspiracy-theorist type hysteria.

    No you need to get your facts straight of the reasons of why the F-35 Joint Strike Failure is a wrong aircraft etc. You failed to admit that everything I’ve posted here is fact. Everything you’ve posted Sam is a parrotted version of the speculation written by Lockheed Martin, the Government and JSF advocates.

    So don’t you ever tell me where I go.

  45. Peter says:

    @ Sam

    Again. Lockheed Martin are bunch of crooks, con artists and outliars including Tom Burbage and his colleagues. Stay well away from them in fact they are not trusted.

  46. Peter says:

    @ Sam

    Read what Mil has put up on the comment page about Radical and Cheap Anti-Stealth Radar. Then you get the idea of why these radars will detect the stealth aircraft just as the lemon F-35.

    What Allan has stated above the lemon JSF project has been in development far too long etc etc and other folks that really dislike the failed JSF program say the samething too.

  47. Peter says:

    @ Sam

    You have to ask yourself of why should Australia and the US Allies deserve to be partners with Lockheed Martin to participate the failed JSF program that will never fulfil its mission requirements???

  48. Peter says:

    @ Sam

    I reckon this might be worth a read if you’re interested in educating yourself and not blindly following speculation and conspiracy-theorist type hysteria:

    Official Committee Hansard PARLIAMENTARY JOINT COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE

    GOON, Mr Peter Anthony, Head, Test and Evaluation and Principal Consultant/Adviser, Air Power Australia

    KOPP, Dr Carlo, Head, Capability and Strategy Research, Air Power Australia

    LONG, Mr Adrian Lindsay, Director, RepSim Pty Ltd

    MILLS, Mr Christopher Laurie, Director, RepSim Pty Ltd

    PRICE, Mr Michael, Managing Director, RepSim Pty Ltd

  49. Mil says:

    Pete,

    Thanks for the info. The Website has a similair veiw I hold in defense, that of equipping Australia in the right areas. It is a similair doctrine of the way Australia fought in WW2 against a much larger army (hit “n” run wearing them down). Concentrating on a large Sub force is perfect, it brings Australia the ability to deny our coastal waters and neighbouring seas to agressors and in times of conflict hit precise sea targets with enormous reach ie flagships, supply convoys or invading transports.

    It seems undeniable that the RAAF should be thinking homegrown SU35′s, F15′s or Rafaele to fill the gaps. I lean towards the SU-35′s because they are very refined aircraft as the others are, but has the valuable addition of being produced here and it’s increasing modern arnament package ie.Indian hypersonic missles, R-37 & Yakhont etc. This is important if in times of war, as supply can become an internal issue and in times of peace creates an industry making available the basis to create experience and expand homegrown techs.

    Small but highly trained and equipped land Army, large Air Force and Specialised Navy makes for a great defense force. Particually when opponents will have long supply routes(sub strike gauntlet) and vast open deserts(air force fodder) and dense bush (commando hidey holes) to trek to get anywhere near vital cities or resources.

    Without straying to far from the topic, myself being more of a right liberaterian, the website has some good ideas on some topics others just not so. The good thing is here in Australia as in Canada with the F-35, people have independent thought and don’t just go with a flow blindly. It is good to see that people like you Pete challenge mainstream when we know it ain’t gonna work, it keeps the country out of trouble. 5-10-15 Years is just going to be too long to wait for an aircraft that might well be obsolete with the ways radar tech is being developed.

    Cheers Mil

  50. Dane says:

    Why not just hand the nation to anyone that wants it? You can’t downsize something that is already running on a minimum strenght

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