F-35 stealth fighter factory

AIR FORCE PLANT 4, FORT WORTH: No one should believe that the battle between Boeing and Lockheed for the right to build Navy fighters is over.

Boeing keeps pushing the low cost, readiness and availability of the F-18. It’s here, it’s proven, and, they say, a new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will cost just over $50 million for a fully equipped airplane, should the Navy decide to buy more.

During a briefing here before the rollout ceremony for the one hundredth Joint Strike Fighter, Lockheed Martin’s direct, articulate, and fittingly named general manager for the JSF, Lorraine Martin, made this bold pledge during a briefing for reporters: By 2019, the F-35A (the Air Force version) will cost $75 million a copy in current dollars ($85 million in good ole then-year dollars, i.e. counting future inflation), which will be “less than any fourth generation fighter in the world.” That means no other fighter already flying (one sold in US dollars or Euros) will cost less — not the famously inexpensive Gripen, not the French Rafale, the Russian MiG-35, the Boeing F-15 Eagle, or the European Typhoon.

And Martin, known for helping to right Lockheed Martin’s most important program — which had been very wobbly — went even further: “I think we can do even better.” Skeptics will, of course, note that her prediction can’t be tested for five years. That’s forever in Pentagon budget terms. In legislative years, it’s not quite as far away — only two elections. Is it marketing? Of course it is. But it’s also a clear sign that Lockheed continues to target the Navy above all other clients.

A battle has brewed inside the Navy and between the Navy and the Office of Secretary of Defense over when the service should start buying F-35Cs and how many it should buy. Most recently, the Navy “goofed” and issued and then withdrew a pre-solicitation offer for up to a mix of up to 36 F-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, the radar-jamming variant.

At a Dec. 9 F-18 event, Boeing’s F-18 program manager, Mike Gibbons, said the F-18 Super Hornet costs about $51 million a copy, counting key components — like the engine — that government buys directly from other companies. So how is $75 million less than $51 million, we asked Martin during her briefing here? She told us she was “not sure” the F-18 price included “everything on it,” while the F-35 price includes all weapon systems. We tried to get a better answer but failed.

Fundamentally, Boeing’s case is fairly weak because cutting the number of F-35s would significantly raise the politically sensitive unit price. And Frank Kendall, head of Pentagon acquisition, and other senior defense officials have made clear for months now that they are trying to do everything they can to keep the JSF price and program costs as low as possible. They also have made clear that their commitment to the F-35 is rock solid as the program has stabilized and cut costs. One factor that will be difficult for Boeing to counter is the allies’ hunger for the F-35’s costs to remain as low as possible.

So, while elements of the Navy really, really want to buy more F-18s (Super Hornets and/or Growlers), the service is split. Combine that with the commitment to the program by the senior Pentagon leadership and a host of allies, and I think Boeing faces an uphill battle — and uphill battles in the Pentagon are rarely won. (Sorry, Rep. Forbes!)

(Full disclosure: Lockheed Martin picked up the tabs for our flight to Fort Worth and hotel. Added this Dec. 19 as I forgot to append. The Editor)

Comments

  • Don Bacon

    It would be helpful if Martin would provide some reasons why the F-35 might cost less than other planes. (I don’t say fourth-generation as she does because that’s meaningless marketing hyperbole.) Otherwise it’s just “I’ve got this bridge. . .” type chatter.

    • Marauder 2048

      Because building 100 aircraft clearly provides no insight whatsoever into how to reduce costs. And of course there’s zero visibility into the current cost, backlog and production rates of competing aircraft.

    • Charles Kafka

      probably cheaper, because in the next war, they will just park them, and not use them.
      just watched a documentary on the Battleship Yakimono, that’s what happened to that ship during ww2,
      and it was only brought out on a last suicide mission, when the japanese knew the war was lost.
      same thing happened to the bismark, and it’s sister ship.

  • TerryTee

    Ya Right, from Rand today how on ” Joint always cost more and deliver less”
    .” Joint Fighter Programs Cost More, Add Risk: Rand”
    .

    http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/150301/joint-fighter-programs-cost-more%2C-add-risk%3A-rand.html

    The “Snake Oil Salesman” in full force pitching the cost of the “Junk Strike Fighter”, just like Obamacare is going to Save Every American $2,500.00 a year. Nice Power Point Presentation , but nowhere near the Truth!!!

    • Don Bacon

      Lack of full commonality, the raison d’être for this jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none, will help to kill the F-35. Besides its negative operational impact it drives up production and sustainment costs.

      from RAND article:
      While the initial goal for the F-35 was to have 80 percent of the airframe components in common for the three versions, Rand found that by 2008 that had dropped to between 27 percent and 43 percent because of development difficulties and increasing weight. “As of this writing, it is not clear how common the mission systems, avionics, software and engine will be among the three service variants.”

      Here’s the program office on commonality–
      Commonality is the key to affordability – on the assembly line; in shared-wing platforms; in common systems that enhance maintenance, field support and service interoperability; and in almost 100 percent commonality of the avionics suite. Component commonality across all three variants reduces unique spares requirements and the logistics footprint. In addition to reduced flyaway costs, the F-35 is designed to affordably integrate new technology during its entire life cycle.

      • Marauder 2048

        So about the same amount of commonality as the “inexpensive” Super Hornet and Legacy Hornet. Got it!

    • Douglas Paul Cox

      Right, there was the TFX program in the 60s and . . . sorry, can’t think of another one.

    • Gary Church

      The Junk Strike Fighter and Obamacare are different issues. Don’t do that.

  • Andrew Robertson

    This article seems heavily biased for the F-35. It fails to mention that the F-35C has yet to show if it can even land on a carrier and is by far the most expensive and most problematic version. Lockheed is lying their pants off becuase they know that there is a fight over more Super Hornets for the Navy. The F-35C is a bad deal for the Navy and it’s being forced on them. It’s not just element of the Navy that want more F/A-18s, It’s a majority. The Super Hornet fits NAVAIR like a glove and it can be upgraded to be pretty comparable to the F-35. That last statement (Sorry, Rep. Forbes!) clearly shows where the author’s views are.

    • cvxxx

      Actually both panes need to be replaced with more modern 5th generation fighters.

      • Andrew Robertson

        For a vast majority of missions you don’t need stealth or any of the so called “5th gen” tech that Lockheed promotes. The Super Hornet, when teamed up with the Growler, can handle advanced IADS threats that 5th gen aircraft are designed to defeat. With the Advanced Super Hornet upgrades it gains a significant increase in stealth that is dirt cheap to purchase and good enough to handle anything with the right combination of jammers and ordnance. The F-35 is unnecessary and we don’t have the time or the money to develop a new fighter. The Super Hornet is by far the best option and it’s good enough to go toe-to-toe with any threat.

        • cvxxx

          With the knowledge that has been gained it should be easy to build the fighters that are actually needed.

          • Andrew Robertson

            The real enemy of building the fighters needed is politics and I see a great shift that has just happened with Brazil. The Super Hornet vs F-35C Fight Round Two is still not over. Since Boeing got snubbed by Brazil because of the administration’s spying that will give them a few more talking points. There are already people blaming the Obama administration for the lost $4 billion plus dollars in work the USA would have gotten if Boeing won the contract. If the Super Hornet line closes, which currently employs more than 5,000 jobs based from the plant in St. Louis, then the lost jobs could end up being blamed on Obama’s administration too as the Brazilian order would have kept the line open and the Super Hornet was the clear favorite. I see many possibilities for the future right now and I have high hopes that the Navy will be allowed to buy more Super Hornets.

          • Gary Church

            I have never been real happy about selling weapons to other countries. Maybe Britain or France but I do not trust any of the others not to shoot at us if the world was to suddenly “change.” There is the argument that if we do not sell them then “the other side will.”

          • Gary Church

            I forgot to mention our good friends Canada and Japan and South Korea. Apologies.

        • Marauder 2048

          So if the right combination of jammers, ordnance and upgrades is sufficient to handle current and emerging IADS why are new airframes needed?

  • ELP

    As an industry friend told me:

    “The 100th Super Hornet was delivered to VFA-102, fully qualified and ready for war. In fact, the Super Hornet went to war at its IOC when there were about 100 aircraft delivered; every one of which was delivered ahead of schedule.”

    All true. Another thing that is true? 12 years after contract award, no amount of LM spin can change the fact that an outlier hook placement design on the F-35C makes it high risk for consistent trapping aboard a carrier. And well, there are all those unworking mission systems too.

    • Marauder 2048

      Delivered ahead of schedule because the Navy was willing to relax the KPPs and accept an interim configuration of an interim aircraft.

  • Derek Sage

    Considering that the C model can’t even land on a carrier, I’ll call BS

  • 10579

    what are the other 4th gen fighters and there price tags?

    • paulrevere01

      Speaking of price tags…let’s add in all those 12 years of development costs to each unit that rolls off the line. That is only reasonable. I recall by the each F-35 cost estimates at 200+million…now it’s 75mil. I seem to also remember some total 12 year number in the neighorhood of $650 BILLION.

      Come on guys, my hero Don Rumsfeld was lamenting a $2.3 TRILLION missing pile and lately added to that another $1.5 TRILLION since his declaration.

      With the country falling apart the way it is, for you guys to be discussing the cost of nuts and bolts when the Titanic is stern high in air is ridiculous.

      As an AF vet, stung by this bankster theft of my entire combined 401’s and a Keogh and unconscionable ignorance of above stated DOD mystery losses and me relegated to puttin’ along on SS only, I am very much frustrated and rather PO’d reading these nonchalant attitudes…kinda like destitute ranch hands lookin’ thru a barbed wire fense at the gated community tri-tip/fillet BB-Q, with no way to participate, even though I raised the damned beef!

      • Jacobite

        Pfft that is only like 16,000 Gripens/F16s, a few less F15s, like 220,000 T90s etc..etc… But these non-working planes, defintely worth it, another 6 or so years, couple hundred Billions more and my god it will be unbelievable!

  • Araya

    Guys let’s face the reality the F18 is a more them 30 years old design how are already incapable for combat in contested heavy Air Space despite of all claims from Boing and is Lobbyist. And in light of this fact, what does it make a difference them Hornet cost 30 or even 50 Million less them a F35C because why the Hornet is an obsolete platform. Just to make it clear I am not a Fan of the F35 Program how is in my eyes a big mistake but even the F35 is far more capable them any other 4 or 4.5 generation fighter one the market simply because of is stealth combined with the most advance sensor fusion technology. One of the best examples of is the fact is what all Country’s with real national security problems like Israel, Japan and South Korea like as Australia and Singapore have already chosen the F35 as their future fighter or are about to select it despite of the much cheaper F18 or the F15SE. So even the much stronger F15SE has lose in South Korea and Japan against the F35 because why for this country even the F35 is not enough to face future treats like the Chinese J20 or J31 so for example Japan has tried for a long time to get the F22 even in a stripped down variant.

    To illustrate because why the F18E/F Block II or even a Block III like the F15SE or the F16 are or will be obsolete in the future you just have to look one the Risk environment for the next 20 Years. Because why them you buy a new Jet you do it to use it for at least 20 Years or longer and not just for 2 to 5 Years like a car so you must calculate with the requirements what will be need to meet for this time Scala. And hear it looks extremely bad for all non 5 generation fighters because why potential adversary’s like Red China and Russia have already improved their Air Defense System to a level how makes it nearly impossible even for the most advance legacy fighter to survive and both peer enemy’s also already export this high end Air Defense systems (like the S300PMU2, S400, TOR M2, Pansir S25 or HQ9) wherever they can and they also continuing to improve their air-defense capability’s but the biggest game changer is the emerge of their proper stealthy 5 Generation Fighter and Bomber like the J20, J31 and the PAK FA in combination with advance Air or Air Missiles how can like their newest Air Defense System no longer counteract by non-stealth legacy platforms like the F18 or F15. So even the old Su27SE and Su30MKI are competitive with the latest F18 and F15 and the Su35BM is one nearly all aspects a superior enemy for US and European 4 generation fighter. The flight Cell of the legacy jets simply had meet already the maximum of is upgradability and this should not be a surprise them you consider what this designs came from the late seventies. Because of this Facts to acquire more F18E/F only because why there are cheap and proved you must look to the future and that is long overdue.

    • Bobby Bouchet

      I could barely understand the above comment. Not to be a grammar nazi, but I am sure the writer’s valid points were lost in poor English skills…..

    • Another Guest (from Australia)
      • Araya

        Hi Guest (from Australia) I copy you the same reply what I had given you in the A10c topic because it fit better one this topic

        hear. Posted by my in the A10C Topic.

        “”””

        The F35 is not so bad how Mr. Carlo Kopp claims lets took an objective look one the F35 in compare to other airframes. So let’s start with the cooperation:

        1. The Avionic: The F35A/B/C will have the complete packaged of the most advance Avionic how was ever integrated in a Fighter only the F22 Block40 will have comparable avionic with other Words the F35 will have everything what the most advance legacy fighter (like the F16Block60 and the F15SE, EF200) from the beginning and all this integrated in is stealthy flight cell not one external pots like the F16Block60 or the F18E/F Block 3.

        2. Stealth: This is a big question the stealth characteristics of the F35 are classified like the characteristics of the F22 and the B2 Bomber no one’s know the truth and even them this one will not speak about. But estimations believe what the F35 should have a RCS of 0.0015m2 this is around 5 to 10 time larger them the estimate frontal RCS of the F22 but in compare to the RCS of every other legacy fighter in clean configuration around 1000 to 400 times smaller. So for example the EF2000 has a RCs of around 0,6m2 in clean Configuration with other words with no weapons with 4X AiM120 and 2XAIM9 the RCS of the EF2000 surpass the 1,5m2 Level. The RCS of the F18 E/F and the F16Blcok52++ are even larger them the RCS of the EF2000 and what means the RCS of Russian build Fighter like the Su30 so the estimation reach from 15m2 to 5m2 for the SU30 and 5m2 to 1,2m2 for the SU35Bm in Clean Configuration. With other Word’s the F35 is even with is to the F22 much inferior stealth far superior to any other Russian, Chinese or western 4.5 Generation Fighter.

        3. Top Speed: Now this is another example for Mr. Carlo Kopp disinformation Campaign, first the F35 is clear inferior to the F22 how can with armament fly Super Cruise and reach Top Speed of Mach 2+ the F35 can only reach Mach 1.6 with internal weapon load but this is faster them all Legacy fighter with external Weapon’s . I speak with an EF200 pilot about the Top speed level of the EF2000 with armament and they are far different from them in Clean Configuration and the EF2000 is the fastest of all legacy Fighter. With other Words F22 beat the F35 in Speed like in any other Category with exception of the Avionic and it is likely what the PAK FA will also be 0,2 to 0,4 Mach faster them the F35.

        4. Maneuverability: Possible the most overestimated property in the time of Air to Air Missiles how can fly 50g maneuver. I didn’t claim what Maneuverability is not important but at is the least important Area in modern Air Combat because why BWR Missiles and highly maneuverable Short range Missiles like the AIM9X are the main armament of all modern fighters. Even the best Su35 or EF2000 Pilot will have o chance to escape an AIM9X Block 1 or 2 one short Range only is countermeasure device will determine is fate. Them you ever see a AIM9X in a Live Fire test you will understand what I mean and the AIM9X is further enhanced for example to the Block 2 standard what give the missile even BVR Capability.

        5. Weapons/Armament. Here are the F22 like the PAK FA and the J20 better they can all carry more AA weapons in there internally the F22 for example ca carry 6 AIM120 and 2X AIM9 the F35A just 4-6 AIM120 depends one the source. I saw a weapon configuration how allows to put 6 AIM120 in the internal bay of the F35 but I didn’t know then it will be become operational. But despite of this with exception of the F15SE no other Legacy Fighter has internal weapons and them you really need Firepower you can put national AIM120 and AIM9 externally one the F35. It is also to say what the F35 can already or better said will be able to use form the beginning the latest weapons for example the AIM120D or the AIM9X something what the F22 can’t. So for example the F22 just can fire the AIM120C5 and C7 in them moment and only use the AIM9X with limited function.

        6. Radar Technology: The Radar of the F35 is smaller them the Radar of the F22 and the PAK FA but only the F22 radar AN/APG-77v1 can be considered superior top the AN/APG-81 of the F35 because why it has 500 emitter’s more and use also the same technique. But what means other ASEA Radar Systems so they still far inferior to the AN/APG-81 how is at last just a smaller but improved version (better Software) of the Radar AN/APG-77v1 of the F22. The USA has already around 20 Years in experience with ASEA radars the Russian, Chinese and European’s have no experience with ASEA radar technique so even them the Russian claim what they have better or comparable radar Systems it remains highly unlikely what they say the truth. And what means the L-Band AESA what the Russians claim to e a stealth killer and Mr. Carlo Kopp use it as is strongest argument so this is also not so easy how the most people believe. For example the L-Band Radar Emitter of the PAK FA are weak and limited in their range and even them you detect a F35 or F22 with this L-Band System you just get inaccurate data because why the L-Band is not ideal to get a fire-solution. But this is not the only problem them you activate your Radar system you always lose your stealth because of the energy emission. So PAK FA how fly with activated L-band ASEA or X-Band ASEA are non-stealth fighter and easy targets for a F35 how has like the PAK FA an IRST System and likely also AWACS support.

        7. IRST: IRST is a future how is not new but deadly against Stealth Fighter because why it is much harder to make a Fighter less hot them to make it less visible for the Radar. But exactly hear is the F35 superior to all pother existing and future fighter for example the F22 didn’t have a IRST System the EF2000 and the most Russian have IRST Systems but it is unlikely what this Systems should be better them the System of the F35 how is much newer and also with a much 360 degree detection in compare to the not-stealthy forward positioned PAK FA IRST System.”””

        Additional Comment about the posted Link. Them you look on the third page how you can see the Fighter and UCAV from foreign Nations so you must also consider what the European didn’t have a real stealth Fighter project or even a real stealth UCAV project they have just two underfunded demonstrator projects not more. With other Words he European are out of the Stealth Game/Competition for the next 20 to 30 years so only the Russian and the Chinese remains in the game and only red China have the potential to surpass the USA. Actually the Russian PAK FA didn’t look like a real stealth fighter and the lack of Know How, Economic Strength and an industrial Base will hinder the Russian to catch up with or even to surpass the USA. In the moment the Russian have just 5 prototypes of a stealth fighter in different stage of development and even the final product will be inferior to the basic F35 how is not the state of art stealth fighter. The Chinese are different they have the money, the ambition and also a lot of intelligence information to catch up to the USA. So the J20 looks already stealthier them the PAK FA and with the J31 the Chinese also have a F35 like cheap Stealth Fighter. The Question now is how the USA will react to the Red Chinese Threat In the moment it looks bad because why the USA is leaded by a weak and totally incompetent Administration (Obama) and paralyzed by political infighting but 2014 and 2016 are election the economy improves and the Chinese treat grows from day to day. So them the USA decide to react they have the industrial base and the know how to defend their leading position even against the Chinese Communist’s. The F35 is far away from a good fighter or even a good stealth fighter but the F35 can be improved, the F22 line restarted and a 6 generation fighter program started.

        • Jacobite

          Actually the F35 is founded on myths:
          1.) The F35 is a multi-role plane, therefore it can replace all existing western planes: Take a look at its fixed internal weapons payload of 2x2000IB JDAMS/JSMs and 2*AIM-120 AMRAAMs, hardly a multi-role loadout, look at its poor manouverability etc..etc..

          2.) The F35 is needed because of it’s stealth technology: actually the F35s stealth is vastly inferrior to the F22s having a much higher RCS and being X-band optimized as opposed to multi-band like the PAKFA, F22, Jas-Gripen. Besides as a ground bomber it has to contend with large, very powerful, low frequency band ground based SAMs, the F35s x-band stealth tech doesn’t work against this.

          3.) The F35 is cheap: No it is not, based of the netherlands acquisition they cost about 250M each, that is the price of 5 F18s or 6 SU27s which is absurd since its a small one engine plane.

          4.) The F35 has ‘advanced avions': Things like the Helmet mounted displays are not new, the radar on F35 is smaller than on bigger planes therefore is less capable (than the same radar tech on a bigger plane), what decoys and countermeasures does it have? The Pakfa has a system to blind IR homing missiles and a radar to trick the missiles into seeing multiple planes, Jas-39 Gripen has decoy pods on the back, other planes have chaffe. Face it, they just took the F22s avionics and a engine derivitive, built a plane around it and touted it as something fancy, it brings nothing new, actually SAAB claims there data links are supperior to link16 (f35s link), israel uses its own wonder why?

          5.) Stealth does not=invisability, whilst L band may not give precise targeting information it does identify proximity, and allow for radar to focus on that area, triangulating if necessary. Missiles can be fired and lock on with IR/RADAR once closer. PAKFA has significant radar size advantage, which helps mitigate any claimed inferiority in stealth. Actually PAKFA has many things the F22 doesn’t such as the countermeasures, IRST, Multiband radar, variable intakes, better range, etc..etc… It is actually a more ‘advanced’ plane.

          6.) If F35 is better, how come it gets slaughtered in actual combat simulations against legacy planes like the Su27?

          • Another Guest (from Australia)

            @ Jacobite,

            Actually the F-35 is founded on myths by Lockheed Martin, with all that down below you claim:

            1.) The F35 is a multi-role plane, therefore it can replace all existing western planes: Take a look at its fixed internal weapons payload of 2x2000IB JDAMS/JSMs and 2*AIM-120 AMRAAMs, hardly a multi-role loadout, look at its poor manouverability etc..etc..

            2.) The F35 is needed because of it’s stealth technology: actually the F35s stealth is vastly inferrior to the F22s having a much higher RCS and being X-band optimized as opposed to multi-band like the PAKFA, F22, Jas-Gripen. Besides as a ground bomber it has to contend with large, very powerful, low frequency band ground based SAMs, the F35s x-band stealth tech doesn’t work against this.

            3.) The F35 is cheap: No it is not, based of the netherlands acquisition they cost about 250M each, that is the price of 5 F18s or 6 SU27s which is absurd since its a small one engine plane.

            4.) The F35 has ‘advanced avions': Things like the Helmet mounted displays are not new, the radar on F35 is smaller than on bigger planes therefore is less capable (than the same radar tech on a bigger plane), what decoys and countermeasures does it have? The Pakfa has a system to blind IR homing missiles and a radar to trick the missiles into seeing multiple planes, Jas-39 Gripen has decoy pods on the back, other planes have chaffe. Face it, they just took the F22s avionics and a engine derivitive, built a plane around it and touted it as something fancy, it brings nothing new, actually SAAB claims there data links are supperior to link16 (f35s link), israel uses its own wonder why?

            5.) Stealth does not=invisability, whilst L band may not give precise targeting information it does identify proximity, and allow for radar to focus on that area, triangulating if necessary. Missiles can be fired and lock on with IR/RADAR once closer. PAKFA has significant radar size advantage, which helps mitigate any claimed inferiority in stealth. Actually PAKFA has many things the F22 doesn’t such as the countermeasures, IRST, Multiband radar, variable intakes, better range, etc..etc… It is actually a more ‘advanced’ plane.

            6.) If F35 is better, how come it gets slaughtered in actual combat simulations against legacy planes like the Su27?

            The F-35 is certainly neither balanced survivability nor a
            true stealth 5th generation aircraft. The F-35 has no credible defensive jamming. Those selling the idea that the F-35′s AESA radar as a defensive device against enemy terminal radar concerns etc aren’t believable. Power output
            limits, thermal concerns along with the limited field of view and in-band frequency limits make the idea of the F-35 radar as a defensive solution of little value. It is only useful on a thana marketing PowerPoint slide to the clueless. And, unlike the designers of the F-22, the F-35 will not be in
            possession of true stealth, high-speed and high altitude to help degrade enemy no-escape-zone firing solutions of weapons. http://www.marketing.org.au/Thana_Marketing__The_dark_side_of_marketing_strategy_A1120.aspx

          • Another Guest (from Australia)

            @ Jacobite,

            You said earlier that the F-35 is a lemon. Why are you saying the F-35 is a good aircraft? If I were you Jacobite don’t ever ever believe what Lockheed Martin claims the F-35 is a true 5th generation and so on. LM are like jehovah witness trying to brainwash any customers with misleading points etc about this aircraft by encouraging you to drink the Kool-Aid to make you believe in total to indifference to what is real.
            Get away from these suckers, they are not trusted.

          • Jacobite

            Im not saying it is good, i did before say how it could be improved, but the F35 is and will always remain a rubish plane. Simply put there is no way such a small single engine plane can have the legs (range), payload and manouverability required of a modern day frontline fighter-bomber, especially when the planes wings are optimized for subsonic speed.

            What is needed are supercruising, supermanouverable, low observable, cost effective, maintainable (with high degree of readiness) front line fighters, which in the case of a fighterbomber can bring a reasonable internal payload to combat.

          • Araya

            Hi Jacobite, it feels a little strange to defend the F35 a Program how I hated from the very beginning as a big F22 Fan but some not all of your Arguments are based on unserious sources like Dr. Carlo Kopp from Air Power Australia and also one a romantic imagination of the Air to Air combat. I will give my best and ask also to forgive my bad English grammar to explain why I think so.

            Let’s start

            “”
            1.) The F35 is a multi-role plane, therefore it can replace all existing western planes: Take a look at its fixed
            internal weapons payload of 2x2000IB JDAMS/JSMs and 2*AIM-120 AMRAAMs, hardly a multi-role load out, look at its poor maneuverability etc..etc.. ”””

            Hear you make a failure the weapons payload is not so poor as you think so 2X2000 JDAMs and 2X AIM120D I saw also a configuration with 4X AIM120D and 2X2000 JDAMs but I didn’t know them the USAF will upgrade to this configuration. It is not bad because why any Legacy Adversary like the Mig29SM, Mig35, Su27SE, Su30MKI,
            Su35BM,J10B, J11, J15 like as Western Jets EF2000, Rafale, JAS39,F15,F16 and F18 didn’t have any internal weapon payload. And here they came to the so called “poor” maneuverability. Poor in compare with what? Sorry why I ask so but the truth is what the F35 is more maneuverable with weapons them any other Legacy fighter with the exception of the EF2000. The Problem is simple them they speak about maneuverability and top-speed is simple all legacy fighter are counted in clean configuration this mean without any weapons in this configuration even an F16 Block52 or a F18 beat the F35 like as T38 can beat in training a F22 but them you fight you don’t fly in clean configuration. I do it with 6 or more External Air to Air Missiles one you legacy plan them you fly in multi-role configuration for example with a EF2000 you can be happy them you reach Mach 1, 4 external Weapons simply destroy the dream of any dogfight Fan Boy. But far more important is the impact on your RCS but to this topic I’ll come back later. Clear is the F35 is inferior to the F22 in combat configuration and the F35 will be also inferior to the PAK FA them you came in a Dogfight but everything beloved under this two Airframes is in combat configuration inferior or at best equal to the F35 including the J20 and the EF2000.

            “”
            2.) The F35 is needed because of it’s stealth technology: actually the F35s stealth is vastly inferrior to the F22s having a much higher RCS and being X-band optimized as
            opposed to multi-band like the PAKFA, F22, Jas-Gripen. Besides as a ground bomber it has to contend with large, very powerful, low frequency band ground based SAMs, the F35s x-band stealth tech doesn’t work against this. ”””

            It is absolutely true what the RCs of the F35 is much inferior despite of the fact what the data is classified estimation believe what the frontal RCS of the F22 in X-band is 10 to 15 smaller them the RCS of the F35 but the RCS of the F35 is around 400 times smaller them the RCS of a clean EF2000 and the EF2000 (with 0,6m2) has next to the Rafale the smallest RCS of all flaying airframes. The Mig29Sm in compare has a RCS of 5m2 in clean configuration the Su30MKi a RCs of 15m2 in clean configuration. Now them the speak about very powerful, low frequency band ground based SAMs you are right but the problem is what even the F22 will not perform much better them the F35 against this treats. But the S300PMU2 and the S400 this are the powerful, low frequency band ground based SAMs about you speak are not invincible and not present in a large number so you have to deal with them with tactic and blood. So even them your Stealth is not enough to remain invisible for this SAM System so it reduces the effective reach of them and the powerful signature of their Radar-Systems betray them for hundreds of kilometers distance. Small Diameter Bombs, JSOWs or JASSM like classics as HARMs are here to be used to destroy or suppress the Enemy Air
            Defense the advantage is that you have the initiative them you deal against the enemy Air defense because why you can chose how you concentrate your resources. And what means x-band stealth so the x-band is the mostly used radar frequency so for example all enemy fighter use this frequency primarily like the most SAMs and even them the F35 was mainly optimized to be maximum stealthy against
            x-band radar waves this doesn’t mean what the F35 will be completely non-stealthy in L-band it just mean what is stealth is less effective. But L-band have also their own problems so for example they are less precise and easier to jam so it is very hard to get a fire solution only one L-band based frequency.

            “3.) The F35 is cheap: No it is not, based of the netherlands acquisition they cost about 250M each, that is the price of 5 F18s or 6 SU27s which is absurd since it’s a small one engine plane.”

            Right the F35 is not cheap and I had prefer the F22 because why the F22 because even the F22
            would have been cheaper but because of the Obama Administration and is Pacifist idiots it is too late and they have to live with the F35 in the absence of alternatives. Ok you can restart the F22 Line but this will cost much so much what the new produced F22 will be also not cheaper them the LRIP F35. What means the price cooperation it makes no sense so for example you can get 20 A10c for the price of a LRIP F35 but Price is not all. More important is the performance and hear the F35 perform better them any other Airframe one the market as consequence any country with real security problems what had the choice among the F35 and other fighter like the F15SE, F18 E/F, EF2000, Rafale had chosen the F35 despite of the high price tag. Best example for Israel, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Norway and even the small Singapore will fallow.

            “”4.) The F35 has ‘advanced avions': Things like the Helmet mounted displays are not new, the radar on F35 is smaller than on bigger planes therefore is less capable (than the same radar tech on a bigger plane), what decoys and countermeasures does it have? The Pakfa has a system to blind IR homing missiles and a radar to trick the missiles into seeing multiple planes, Jas-39 Gripen has decoy pods on the back, other planes have chaffe. Face it, they just took the F22s avionics and a engine derivitive, built a plane around it and touted it as something fancy, it brings nothing new, actually SAAB claims there data links are supperior to
            link16 (f35s link), israel uses its own wonder why?””””

            Sorry but this can be all “copy and paste” form Ausairpower. So the F22 has the same problem like the F35 but despite of this they didn’t care about because why the F22 is unbeatably and the only hope this is exact the message of any Article from Dr. Carlo Kopp the head of Ausairpower. The reality is much more complicated so the F35 has the most advance IRST System known the F22 didn’t have an IRST System but only a Missile warning System, the F22 has also no ECM System’s the F35 will have the Next Generation Jammer and it can also use like the F22 is Radar System as ECM System. The avionic of the F22 are in compare to the avionic of the F35 simply inferior and this is a fact what the Air Force recognizes so for example the F22 didn’t have an IRST System, No ECM, No Link 16 and also not a Helmet mounted displays and even the Mig29 have a Helmet mounted displays and the actual F22 can also not fire the newest Air to Air Missiles so for example the F22 can only fire the AIM10C5 and C7 and just the old AIM-9P and at best the AIM9X but with limited capabilities because of the lack of an Helmet mounted display. Sorry but this is the truth what Mr. Carlo Kopp embezzles them he bash the F35 again and again. And what means the Israel so the Israel’s are World Leader in Avionic and seek access to the F35 avionic especially to get access to international
            market. And now let’s talk a bit about the PAK FA and is “stealth killer” skills, really it is a typical Russian propaganda claim so they called the Su47 a stealth killer, the Su37 they called also a stealth killer and they call the Su35BM like the PAK FA now also a stealth killer. But let’s face the fact what the Russian Pak FA is in the moment just another prototype with a questionable stealth design and many promises. Hear something to think about the Russian lacks around 20 years behind the Western World in topics like Computer and Communication technology and even more in production technology they also didn’t have any experience with stealth or Air based ASEA Radar and now they should abruptly develop and produce better Systems them the USA with around 30 Years of operational experience? How likely is that? Even the Official Russian Sources had already granted what the PAK FA will not have comparable stealth to the F35 the Russian Embassy in India for example even claim what the PAK FA will have a RCS of 0,5m2 this is so bad what even a F15SE should be competitive with. But this not all the PAK FA has a lot more Problems so for example they didn’t have their planned engines and as consequence they fly far under the planed Top Speed level the avionic like the most weapons also exist to a large part just one the paper or are prototype stage at best not to speak of the software. The Pak FA is in them moment just an empty shell and it is questionable them the Russian will lever reach the performance data what the Pak FA should have. The real Problem is the red Chinese J20 and the J31 because why china has a strong industrial base, infinite money and because of their superior intelligence access to western technology so it is likely that the J20 and the j31 will become operational land a real threat to the US Air superiority.

            “””
            5.) Stealth does not=invisability, whilst L band may not give precise targeting information it does identify proximity, and allow for radar to focus on that area, triangulating if necessary. Missiles can be fired and lock on with IR/RADAR once closer. PAKFA has significant radar size advantage, which helps mitigate any claimed inferiority in stealth. Actually PAKFA has many things the F22 doesn’t such as the countermeasures, IRST, Multiband radar, variable intakes, better range, etc..etc… It is actually a more ‘advanced’ plane.””

            The Pak FA has in the moment nothing all this about what you are plans and presumptions partially based one Russian Sources. And even them the PAK FA get all this tools it will not have a has significant radar size advantage the N050-Radar is just the second Russian ASEA Radar is predecessor the Schuk-A the first Russian ASEA Radar had an effective range of just 160 kilometer against a 5m2 target ! And now the N050 should be abruptly better them the APG77 or the APG81? How probably is what? And what means the L-Band secondary Radar so this is more a marketing trick because why the effective range of the l-band radar is much lover them the effective range of the IRST System how is mounted in a really non-stealthy configuration on the noose of the PAK FA. To call the PAK FA a more ‘advanced’ plane is simply unserious it is at best more “advance „one the paper. Them the PAK FA will get sometimes around 2020 is main engines and become operational the F22 will be already upgraded in the Blcok40 configuration and the F35 will be out of the LRIP production.

            “”6.) If F35 is better, how come it gets slaughtered in actual combat simulations against legacy planes like the Su27?”””

            Source? Possible Airpower Australia? Sorry but Carlo Kopp is so obsesses in is hate for the F35 what he will publish as next how a F35 be slaughtered by a P51 Mustang. Even the Russian Pravda was not so impudent to claim what a F35 can be slaughtered by a Su27.^^

          • Jacobite

            Well I have to disagree.

            1.) I am not saying the internal weapons payload is bad, I am saying that if the F35 was a plane designed for multiple roles its weapon bay would have been designed to take multiple different types of payloads (i.e. an air-2-air payload and the air-2-ground payload with two defensive AMRAAMs). As for maneuverability there are several problems with the F35, transonic acceleration, sustained turn speed (only 4Gs compared to like 10 for most current planes), acceleration, climb rates, all of which have bassically been downgraded and were not good from the start.

            2.) Yes the RCS is worse than the F22 and better than planed produced during the 60s-80s, yet it’s stealth is the so called reason why it is needed. The systems I am thinking of are systems like the S350E (12 missiles per launcher, 120KM range), and S400, there are not many of them now, but once again it is the supposed need for ‘stealth’ to deal with ‘modern SAMs’ which is the reason that the F35 is ‘needed’. The problem as I mentioned with this story is that the F35s stealth is X band, these SAMs use low-frequency radars which are unafected, additionally no one mentions the underneath RCS (probably because it is really bad!), nor is it mentioned that their predecesors were sucessfully defeated in operation desert storm without ‘stealth’! I believe this is a trick, to trick people who do not know how air campaigns work, how they were jammed, and blown up with HARMs and other stand-off munitions!

            Actually standoff munitions have improved considerably, take for example SDBII(120KM) and JDAM-ER (80Km), and possibilty to further increase this through powered versions! As for radars most fighter radars are X-band based, but newer planes are increasing multi-band, the L band can not be jammed by the F35s X band radar! I don’t really want to get into the physics behind why fighters are X band and new SAMS are Low frequency band.

            3.) Actually I don’t think the F35 does perform better, existing planes can deliver greater payloads, a further range, faster, and for less money. They have a sustained manuverability of about twice the Gs, far better transonic acelleration 0.8,1.2K KPh and maximum speed. They are also cheaper. I am not so keen on the F22 because of it’s short range, and numerous problems (oxygen/flight ceiling/not being fully equiped/vector thrusting performing below promised etc..etc..), but that is also superior. Netherlands is paying 250M each, that goes to show you how expensive these are!

            4.) No it isn’t, I got this information from looking at documents/pictures/diagrams. As I said there is nothing revoloutionary or new about the F35s avionics, even as you said russians had helmet mounted displays well before the F35, as for using the radar as a weapon other planes can do that, but the F35 has a disadvantage that the radar areas is small (meaning a bigger radar fitted on another plane with comparable technology will be more powerfull and able to outjam you). It is also not multi-band like the PAKFas, and your not going to jam low-frequency bands with an X-BAND radar.

            Yes the PAKFA is a prototype, an unfinished product just like the F35 which also has many problems. Many countries have made massive improvements in closing the gap between them and the west. Too dismiss the plane silly.

            5.) It seems you really doubt russian AESA radars, I don’t know too much about the AESA radar but I know that a larger radar with more receivers/transmiters is more powerfull than one of the same technology and less transmitters/receivers. The size is definitely an advantage and allows a better radar to be fitted, I don’t know how far behind russian radar is but they have till atleast 2020 probably before the F35 enters mass production.

            6.)This is one by RAND, there were more I believe but I can’t find them. Some of them they were getting their asses kicked really badly, like getting almost no kills.
            http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-f-35s-air-to-air-capability-controversy-05089/

          • Araya

            Hi Jacobite,

            “”
            1.) I am not saying the internal weapons payload is bad, I am saying that if the F35 was a plane designed for multiple roles its weapon bay would have been designed to take multiple different types of payloads (i.e. an air-2-air payload and the air-2-ground payload with two defensive AMRAAMs). As for maneuverability there are several problems with the F35, transonic acceleration, sustained turn speed (only 4Gs compared to like 10 for most current planes), acceleration, climb rates, all of which have bassically been downgraded and were not good from the start.””””

            Ok I can agree to your argumentations, but one the other Hand I saw comparable debate’s as the F18 E/F was put in service because of the lower speed and shortcoming’s on High-G flight conditions.The questions is how relevant are this lacks for the F35 in a combat situation, the F35 is by far not perfect but it is also not the crap what blogs like ausiairpower claim day by day. I had preferred the F22 over the F35 but then I have to choose between Boings Legacy Fighter crap and the F35, I chose the F35.

            “””
            2.) Yes the RCS is worse than the F22 and better than planed produced during the 60s-80s, yet it’s stealth is the so called reason why it is needed. The systems I am thinking of are systems like the S350E (12 missiles per launcher, 120KM range), and S400, there are not many of them now, but once again it is the supposed need for ‘stealth’ to deal with ‘modern SAMs’ which is the reason that the F35 is ‘needed’. The problem as I mentioned with this story is that the F35s stealth is X band, these SAMs use low-frequency radars which are unafected, additionally no one mentions the underneath RCS (probably because it is really bad!), nor is it mentioned that their predecesors were sucessfully defeated in operation desert storm without ‘stealth’! I believe this is a trick, to trick people who do not know how air campaigns work, how they were jammed, and blown up with HARMs and other stand-off munitions!””””

            L-band Radar Technique is not new she was used by old radar systems and later become obsolete why X-band Radar System there more accurate but become prominent again because why it is hard them not impossible to optimize an airframe against all Radar bands. But the Problems remain L-band radars are in compare to high frequency inaccurate so you need much more energy to reach the same accuracy as an X-Band Radar. It is simply how longer your impulse is as more inaccurate your feedback becomes (L-Band) and how shorter the impulse as more accurate you can determine the position of the enemy airframe. So it is possible to detect a stealth airframe with L-band radar systems form the late fifties how they saw during the Kosovo War but as a F117 was shut down but it becomes really hard to use the L-band information to guide your SAMs to the target. And despite of this even them an Airframe is not optimized against L-band it remains much harder to detect and track them a non-stealth airframe. The latest Russian build strategic Air Defense system like S400, S300PMU2 and now S350 have a high detection range against high flying airframes in order to counter them before they can lunch standoff missiles, Anti-radiation Missiles, glide bombs or even effective jam the Radar. This should work very well against legacy airframes but against stealthy airframes like the B2 or the F35 and F22 the effective detection range fall under the effective range of standoff missiles, Anti-radiation Missiles and glide bombs. The Russian know this and despite of this they also highly defend their strategic air defense systems with short range Air Defense systems like TOR M2 or Pansir S25 but even with this additional defense the Air defense will be penetrate, suppressed or even destroyed them the enemy concentrate enough fire power against it. Air Defense Systems should make it for the enemy harder and costlier to operate and to reach is target but it will not stop him. So for example the Air defense was In the Western World neglected because why the Western Country’s/ Nato there accustomed to have the Air Superiority the Soviet’s/Russian there forced to deal with the enemy Air Superiority and invest so a lot in Air Defense Weapon’s because why there Air force there considered as weaker/inferior to their western counterpart’s. But the best Air Defense System remain a Superior Fighter Force in the Air because why they can operate flexible and defend any point of the Air Space against an attacker. SAMs are more a static defense and in War the attacker has always the initiative against the defender he can focus is resources one point and overwhelm the defender.

            “””3.) Actually I don’t think the F35 does perform better, existing planes can deliver greater payloads, a further range, faster, and for less money. They have a sustained manuverability of about twice the Gs, far better transonic acelleration 0.8,1.2K KPh and maximum speed. They are also cheaper. I am not so keen on the F22 because of it’s short range, and numerous problems (oxygen/flight ceiling/not being fully equiped/vector thrusting performing below promised etc..etc..), but that is also superior. Netherlands is paying 250M each, that goes to show you how expensive these are!”””

            Actually fighter like the F16 or the F18 perform not better, you can say what they are cheaper to bomb Taliban and other Insurgent’s but they didn’t have a greater range and they are also not faster or more maneuverability them the F35. For example the F16 has a max operational range of just 925 km in Hi, Hi, Hi flight profile and is vulnerable against any tactical Air Defense System. The F18E/F perform even worse them the F16 so the max operational range of the F18 with minimal weapon payload is just 720 km. To compare the F35A have with full internal load a max range of 1100 kilometer and even the F35B has a greater operational range them the F18 E/F with more than 800 kilometer. The F35 has also a higher average speed with full internal weapon load them the F16 and F18 because why any external weapons increase the air resistance dramatically. Only the F15E is superior to the F35 in top speed, range and weapon payload. But then you didn’t flay the F35 in stealth configuration you can get a comparable weapon load even to the much larger F15E. Some call the F35 a Bomb truck and them you look one the total delivery capacity you will see what that the name fits.

            “”””
            4.) No it isn’t, I got this information from looking at
            documents/pictures/diagrams. As I said there is nothing revoloutionary or new about the F35s avionics, even as you said russians had helmet mounted displays well before the F35, as for using the radar as a weapon other planes can do that, but the F35 has a disadvantage that the radar areas is small (meaning a bigger radar fitted on another plane with comparable technology will be more powerfull and able to outjam you). It is also not multi-band like the PAKFas, and your not going to jam low-frequency bands with an X-BAND radar.”””

            Yes the Russian had helmet mounted displays before the NATO countries and the USA but they lacked and many other domains of know how especially on digital technique and as the UDSSR collapses the largest part of the Russian Industrial base diapered with the Soviet union because why a large part of the production facilities there placed in the Baltic and Ukraine. Today Russian lack of qualified personal in all domain especially in the Military Domain even the Russian propaganda press like Ria-Novosti recognize it. For example the Russian had buy Four Mistral Ships from France to modernized there production technique with modern western production technology and you must know what the mistral class is mostly build on civil and not military quality standards. But another much better example nearly all Nations how buy Russian Fighter including India do it without the Russian Avionic the buy just the hardware the software and some other High Tech devices came from Israel. And why they speak about IRST Systems so you must also consider what the Russian are today incapable to produce a thermal camera for their Tanks how can be exported so they buy France or Italian Thermal Cameras and Night vision Systems. This are just some examples for the shortcomings of the Russian defense industry and them they speak about a real 5 generation fighter the technological requirements are much higher. So for example even them the Russian can build a fully functional Prototype the question remain them they can hold a constant production quality how is necessary for stealth airframes. And what means the planed so called multi-band radar of the PAK FA so you have misunderstood what this is not a multi-band radar it is just a classic X-band Radar with two small L-band Radars one the sides this L-band Radars should have a max operational range of 40 kilometers. Personally I think what the L-band Side radars are more a marketing move them really a fictional future because why them you start your Radar system you already lose your stealth because of the Electromagnetic Signature. The F22 and the F35 have a future called LPI to avoid the detection by Radar warning systems but now one knows them the Pak FA will have such a future or them this future really works against high end enemy’s. With other Words a PAK FA with active radar can be detect by beyond 300 Kilometer range by an F22 or an F35 the same works inversely hear is the F35 again in advantage other the PAK FA and the even the F22 because why the F35 can get target information over Link 16 from a other F35 or a AWACS Airframe and calculate a fire solution without to activate is own Radar System. The F22 has hear a Problem because why the actual F22 only can communicated Radar data with other F22 why the actual Software don’t support Link 16.

            “””
            Yes the PAKFA is a prototype, an unfinished product just like the F35 which also has many problems. Many countries have made massive improvements in closing the gap between them and the west. Too dismiss the plane silly.”””

            No the difference is much bigger them by the F35. So the F35 is actually nearly a complete airframe the have the original Engine, the Radar System like the IRIST installed and integrated and also a Basic software. The actual PAK FA is comparable to the X35 or to the YF22 so it exist in the moment 5 prototypes of the PAK FA all with partial different flight cells and all didn’t have a Radar system or the final engines installed. They are so incomplete like the X35 or the YF22 there. So for example the Radar System is unfinished and not installed one any of the prototypes and I didn’t know them the IRST System is installed on any prototype. But I know a Russian how is much better informed about the actual status of the PAK FA and I will ask him them how soon as I can. He was the one how had descried me the PAK FA as an underpowered empty flight cell.

            “”””

            5.) It seems you really doubt russian AESA radars, I don’t know too much about the AESA radar but I know that a larger radar with more receivers/transmiters is more powerfull than one of the same technology and less transmitters/receivers. The size is definitely an advantage and allows a better radar to be fitted, I don’t know how far behind russian radar is but they have till atleast 2020 probably before the F35 enters mass production.
            “”””

            Yes the Radar Since and the Number of the transmitters/receivers are very important like as the Software and the sensitivity and also the production quality of the System is. You can have even 3000 transmitters/receivers them you didn’t have a Software how can evaluate the data from the receivers the entire system is useless. They didn’t know them the Russian have the Know How to get the theoretical possible power out of there System. They also not know how qualitative the transmitters/receivers are so I never heard what the Russian are competitive one high tech electronic. But what they know for sure is what they didn’t have nearly any experience with this technology so they have built just one ASEA fictional Radar and this Radar was simply worst and become never operational and now they seek to beat the state of art US Model with the first shot. The USA is the World leader in Computer and Communication and Software technology all High Tech Companies like IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, L-3 Communications, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boing, Northrop Grumman, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Apple just to name a few came from USA. I didn’t know any Russian Companies with comparable know How or since so I am very sceptic about the Russian skills.

            “”””
            6.)This is one by RAND, there were more I believe but I can’t find them.Some of them they were getting their asses kicked really badly, like getting almost no kills.
            http://www.defenseindustrydail…””””

            First thx for the Link, I know also a RAND study how has performed the F22 the F35 and the F15 against the Su35 with the result what the kill ratio of the F22 was 10 to 1, the ration of the F35 was 4 to 1 and the ratio of the F15E was 0,85 to 1. Personally I didn’t give much one such study’s become why Air combat never plays in ideal clinic/labor conditions.

          • Another Guest (from Australia)

            Hi Jacobite,

            “The problem as I mentioned with this story is that the F35s stealth is X band, these SAMs use low-frequency radars which are unafected, additionally no one mentions the underneath RCS (probably because it is really bad!)”.

            Here’s the article I’ve found http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-01.html. The graphic of the F-35 underneath the fuselage has shown the RCS is very bad.

            Here’s another graphic of the F-35’s Best Case SAM Engagement Geometry and Timelines http://www.ausairpower.net/XIMG/JSF-RCS-Angles-4.png

          • Another Guest (from Australia)

            The “real mission” for the F-35 is to fail any combat mission requirements that can’t do air superiority, deep interdiction bombing and close air support roles. It’s designed in the DNA. The whole JSF programme right from the start in the early 1990’s is a total delusion and should’ve existed at the first place.

          • Another Guest (from Australia)

            excuse me never existed at the first place

        • Another Guest (from Australia)

          @ Araya,

          The F-35 was defined during the mid-1990s to have
          “affordable” aerodynamic performance, stealth performance, sensor capabilities and weapons loads to be “affordably” effective against the most common threat systems of that era past – legacy Soviet Cold War era weapons, not for the 21st Century anti-access & area denial threats.
          The F-35 is designed primarily to support ground forces on the battlefield with some self defence capabilities and is not suitable for the developing regional environment and, is not suitable for air superiority and close air support missions. The aircraft is unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence due to limited range/endurance, limited weapons load, limited supersonic speed/agility. You cannot improve the F-35 no matter how you try to make the aircraft better, its limitations are inherent to the design, they cannot be altered by incremental upgrades. The F-35 will be ineffective against the current generation of extremely powerful advanced Russian and Chinese systems, as detailed above; In any combat engagements between the F-35 and such threat systems, most or all F-35 aircraft will be rapidly lost to enemy fire.

          If you have the F-35s that just aren’t capable of dealing with the high threat zones, it just doesn’t do you any good of going ahead with the failed program and sink the money. Because the F-35 will be increasingly expensive aircraft that will fail the air defence program.

          “Why will the F-35 fail the FX-III requirement? It
          has the ability to penetrate heavily defended airspace and hold targets of interest at risk any time you want to. That’s what the F-35 can do because it’s stealthy”.

          Well unfortunately there’s absolutely no point of selecting the F-35 because some hostile nations could well be purchasing the Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radar, advanced S-400 and S-500 SAM systems which will make the F-35
          obsolete.

          If anyone wants to find out more about this counter
          stealth radar, here’s a description if you’re interested.

          Development initiated late 1990s leveraging
          experience in Nebo SVU VHF-Band AESA radar;

          2012-2013 IOC intended;

          Designed from the outset to detect stealth fighters
          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 VHF band element in that radar will detect the
          F-35 at a distance of tens of miles. That is without a doubt. What that means is that the aircraft is going to be in great difficulty if it tries to deal with what I call a modern or contemporary threat. The same is also true when you deal with these newer stealth fighters, because they are designed to compete with the F-22. They fly higher; they are faster and more agile—much, much more agile. They have more powerful radars and much, much better antenna packages for other sensors. The F-35 is not meeting its specifications and its specifications are inadequate to deal with the changed environment.

          If the F-35 was to be able to meet its specifications, the aircraft will have the ability of going up against a 1980s Soviet air defence system of the type that we saw destroyed very effectively in Libya 2 years ago, the F-35 would be reasonably be effective in that environment, because these older Soviet radars would not see it.

          But if you are putting F-35 up against the newer
          generation of much, much more powerful Russian radars and some of the newer Chinese radars, the aircraft is quite detectable, especially from behind, the upper side and from the lower sides as well.

          The F-35 will also be detected by the L-Band AESA.
          It is used for targetting which they’ll be able to track LO/VLO stealth planes such as the F-35 especially from behind, the upper side and from the lower sides as well, just like the Nebo-M radar.

          Unfortunately F-35 is a single engine which gives it little margin for error. The large exhaust nozzle of the fuel guzzling F-35 will be extremely hot and has a very big heat signature. The back end of the F-35 in full afterburner is something like 1600 degrees (Fahrenheit). In terms of temperature, aluminium combusts at 1100. You are talking about something really, really hot. If you have got a dirty big sensor on the front of your Su-35S or your PAK-FA or whatever, it lights up like Christmas lights and there is nothing you can do about it. And the plume, because of the symmetric exhaust, is all over the place. It is not shielded, it is not ducted in any useful way. The Sukhois will be able to seek and destroy the F-35 when using the heat seeking BVR AA-12 (R-77) Adder AAMs.

          The APG-81 AESA radar. The nose geometry of the
          F-35 limits the aperture of the radar. This makes the F-35 dependent on supporting AEW&C aircraft which are themselves vulnerable to long range anti-radiation missiles and jamming. Opposing Sukhoi aircraft have a massive 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 which other aircraft’s radar?

          The N011 Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) for the Su-35S
          Super Flanker-E

          NIIP claims a detection range for a closing 32.3 sq.ft (3 square metre) coaltitude target of 190 – 217 NMI (350-400 km), and the ability to detect a stealthy aircraft while closing 0.11 square feet (0.01 square metre) target at ~50 NMI (90 km). In Track While Scan (TWS) mode the radar can handle 30 targets simultaneously, and provide guidance for two simultaneous shots using a semi-active missile like the R-27 series, or eight simultaneous shots using an active missile like the RVV-AE/R-77 or ramjet RVV-AE-PD/R-77M. http://www.ausairpower.net/DT-SuperBug-vs-Flanker.html – about the Irbis-E.

          The PAK-FA will feature the N050 BRLS IRBIS
          AFAR/AESA?, similar to the Su-35S N011.

          * Frequency: X-Band (8 – 12 GHz)

          * Diameter: 2 ft 4 in (0.7 m)

          * Targets: 32 tracked, 8 engaged

          * Range: 217 nmi (400 km)

          EPR: 32.3 sq.ft (3 sq.m;): 86.0 nmi (160 km) and 0.11 sq.ft (0.01 sq.m) target at ~50 nmi (90 km)

          Azimuth: +/-70°, +90/-50°

          * Power: 4,000 W

          * Weight: 143 to 176 lb (65 to 80 kg)

          A conservative estimate for the frontal RCS of the F-35 would be 0.0015 square metre which is only stealthy in the front, this is what I call “Partial Stealth” which the F-35 does have. Because if the situation arises, the Sukhoi family of fighters, upcoming J-20 or J-60 can out-run, out-climb and out-manoeuvre, and be able to track the F-35 using L-band AESA, IRST sensor (from the upper and lower sides and aft fuselage) and launch their AAMs from any altitude at speed etc.

          The bad news is, with the changed threat environment the
          F-35 will be obsolete when the aircraft arrives in 2016 or later, the US as well the allies are armed with this aircraft will make their air forces totally ineffective in the next 30 to 40 years. I’m complaining about Lockheed Martin lying and misleading to the military and the public what they state their facts
          what the F-35 can do etc. And I don’t see any contradiction with the way I’ve promoted these new Russian/Chinese radars etc.

          • Another Guest (from Australia)

            From J-60, now designated as J-31.

          • Araya

            @Another Guest,

            “”” The F-35 was defined during the mid-1990s to have “affordable” aerodynamic performance, stealth performance, sensor capabilities and weapons loads to be “affordably” effective against the most common threat systems of that era past – legacy Soviet Cold War era weapons, not for the 21st Century anti-access & area denial threats. The F-35 is designed primarily to support ground forces on the battlefield with some self defence capabilities and is not suitable for the developing regional environment and, is not suitable for air superiority and close air support missions. The aircraft is unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence due to limited range/endurance, limited weapons load, limited supersonic speed/agility. You cannot improve the F-35 no matter how you try to make the aircraft better, its limitations are inherent to the design, they cannot be altered by incremental upgrades.””””

            It is true what the F35 was never designed to have the performance of the F22 is was designed to be the next century F16. As you say the F35 was designed during the mid-nighties to face legacy Soviet Cold War era weapons fortunately this legacy Soviet Cold War era weapons are today the largest part of the enemy air defense. With other Words even the S400 base (the S400 project was started in the mid eighteens) one the S300 from the Cold War era and this Air defense System is the actual the state of art and not fully operational. And the Red Chinese are equipped with export versions of the S300 and domestic HQ9 SAMs how are considered to be inferior to the S400 and the HQ9 is also considered to be inferior even to the earlier soviet S300 version’s. I make no mistakes this SAM Systems’ are overkill but also not cheap, heavy, complex and they exist only in limited numbers and they ca be defeated how I will explain. So the F35 is not an ideal Solution against this Advance strategic air defense Systems but the F22 it is also not. To beat this defense systems you need a combination of tactic and different platforms and weapons and you must be also willing to pay with blood for the success. At last any Air defense will fall them you concentrate enough forces to penetrate it, for example them you really have to deal with S400 or the S300PMU2 batteries you didn’t fly against it with a single or two F35 in order to drop JDAMs on them. But you lunch a massive attack with an entire Squadron and use Standoff Weapons like the JSOW, drop SDBs form high altitude and start from greater distance JASSMs and simultaneously use ADM-160 Decoys to sutured the enemy Air Defense and force them to fire there costly missiles one it. As alternative your can also fire AARGM to force them to turn their Radar system off or even to destroy their costly Radars. So to beat enemy’s Air defense you have already a lot of tools for, not just JDAMs or old HARMs and them the Air defense is suppressed or even destroyed you get them. The treat of Advance Air Defense Systems is not new it has materialized in the early eighteens as the NATO came to the conclusion what the massive Soviet Air Defense will exterminate the entire NATO Legacy Air force after just 6 Weeks of full-scale War. As response stealth was developed and after the disappointed experience in 1999 against the Serbian Air Defense how was successfully suppressed but not complete destroyed the NATO and especially the USA has fielded some new weapons and improved older. So even Overkill SAMs like S300PM/PMU2 and S400 has lose some of their terrifying effect for example a single B2 can today carry 216 small diameter bombs them you drop them from max altitude you get a max range of up to 110 km. A SDB has also a small RCS and even those the tactical Air Defense Systems do their Job with Effectiveness of 100% some will penetrate the defense because why it is unliekyl what the enemy will have enough missile to shout all incoming glide bombs down. So the enemy will have to shut down the delivery vehicle (B2, F35, and F22) before it can drop is Bombs one there targets. The S400 like the S300 have extreme powerful Radar Systems how can track high flying Legacy fighter up to 600 kilometer away but a B2 like as a F35 or F22 didn’t have a 5m2 RCS they have more a 0,001m2 RCs as consequence the effective range decrease dramatically, likely enough what you can lunch your AARGM and drop your SDBs and JSOWs before you turn off and let them deal with your fired payload. It is often helpful not just to see the situation alone form your side but also form the enemy because why he has to deal with a lot of Problems. Because of this the F35 like the F22 has to be effective against enemy Airframes and Medium-range/Tactical Air defense Systems and not against Strategic Air Defense Systems for what you have Standoff weapons and anti-radiation missiles. So the Stealth of the F35 and F22 must and should be effective enough to deal with this tactical SAMs and also with the actual and future enemy Fighter only the J20 is a real concern for me because of its different mission profile.

            “”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.”””

            Simply solution fire an advance Anti-Radiation missile on the Radar and it is toast. So the F35 will be able to carry AARGM in is internal Weapon Bay so you have a simple and relatively cheap specialized solution for this Problem of high power L-Band Radar Systems.

            I see what you have copy a lot from Dr. Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Website the “Jesus Christ” of all F35 headers. Sorry but I write in previously posts what this guy has lose any credibility because why he is obsessed to prove what the F35 is complete garbage and the Russian technology so superior what your can think what they came for another star. Sorry but this guy is able to claim what a P51 is superior to a F35 the most of is claim’s and articles one is webpage are partial or complete false or based one Russian propaganda. Facts what are against is view are completely ignored by him, he is simply an unserious source. So just for example let’s take a look one the Russian radar technology, the Russian know how and at last one the PAK FA the new F35 “killer”. First let’s start with the Russian ASEA Technology, Russia has in the moment no operative Air based ASEA Radar Systems but only two system one complete and another in development. The complete Radar system is the “Schuk-AE” how was presented 2009 one the MAKS 2009 and offered to India with the Mig35 but rejected. Now let’s talk a bit about the performance of this Russian ASEA radar so it has a 680 emitter and a detection range of 200 kilometer not so bad but now the bad news for Dr. Carlo Kopp the Schuk-AE has just a detection range of 160 km against a 5m2 target! Sorry even a F16 has a RCS of 1,2m2 with other words the Schuk-AE is inferior even to PESA Systems mounted one Legacy Fighter. Just to compare the Schuk-AE with an US build ASEA Radar AN/APG-79 mounted one the F18 E/F how has 1100 transmitter’s and an effective range of up to 130 kilometer against a 1m2 target or up to 300 kilometer against a 5m2 target and also a LPI mode. And don’t forget the AN/APG-79 is in compare to AN/AP-81 just a toy and the AN/APG-77V1 of the F22 is even more powerfully them the AN/AP-81. Now to the second Russian Radar how is in development the N050 how should be mounted one the PAK FA this Radar system has the same since as the AN/APG-77V1 and around 1500 transmitter units the rest is just speculation but only Mr. Carlo Kopp can be so brazenly to claim what the N050 should be stronger them the AN/APG81 and competitive to the AN/AP77v1 of the F22. The Russian have nearly no experience, no industrial high tech base and lack around 20 to 30 years behind Western in Computer and Manufacturing technology and they should now build a State of Art Radar System ? Sorry but this is highly unlikely for everyone not called Dr. Carlo Kopp. Everything what the Russian have in the moment is five empty hulls called Pak FA powered by two weak engines Saturn-117 how there used because why the new Isdelije 127 are not operational so the PAK FA will get around 2020 at best is original engines with the actual Saturn-117 the PAK FA should be slower them the F35. And this is not all even the Russian officially proclaim what the Pak FA will be less stealthy them the F35 and the Russian embassy in India has even said what the frontal RCS of the PAK FA should be around 0,5m2 this is a higher RCS them the RCS of the F15SE. This are just few examples for the short comes of the PAK FA, I can write the entire day about the known problems of the Pak FA, is design failures an d the likely not published problems but I am simply exhausted for today. So to make a final statement for today the PAK FA is in the moment nothing more than a prototype and it is questionable them the PAK FA will ever reach the planed flight performance because of the lack know How and a High Tech industry with Advance production methods and also because of the lack of money. Red China is the real problem so the J20 looks already far more sophisticated them the Pak FA and the Chinese have infinite money and access to the latest dual use technology simply because why the entire world produce electronic and other industrial products in China. Another Problem is the design of the J20. So the J20 was not designed like the PAK FA to be a fighter it was designed to be a long range strike platform. The J20 looks to be designed as stealthy Anti-Ship/Anti-Access unit and because of is stealth it can be a bigger threat to the US forces in the Pacific them the DF21D ASBM.

  • PolicyWonk

    The recently released Inspector Generals report didn’t seem so, um, optimistic regarding the prospects for the F-35, let alone the pricing explosion that Lockheed to trying to reduce.
    The real problem, isn’t only the price (which is a considerable problem): its the lack of performance. The F-35 hasn’t been able to meet even the reduced mission requirement.
    Hence – so far – the US taxpayers are paying top dollar for a truly mediocre aircraft.
    That said, the Japanese have decided (in good part due to China’s recent diplomatic belligerence) to purchase F-35’s and V-22’s. The USAF claims this is a seriously awesome aircraft with astonishing capabilities – yet nothing I’ve read on any of the defense-oriented sites (etc.) have posted results that indicate a positive review of this aircrafts abilities.
    Hence – until something turns up, this remains little more than a high-priced dog that don’t hunt.

  • estuartj

    I’d bet most called the cutting of the DDG-1000 or Seawolf class SSN an “Up Hill Battle” until it wasn’t.

    • Gary Church

      Yes but Lockmart is a power unto itself. The most powerful defense company in history. I bet they get their way however bad the plane turns out to be. Look at the V-22.

  • Douglas Paul Cox

    A little less hype and a little less hysteria would go a very long way.

  • James Sinclair

    This article appears to be discussing the unit cost of the aircraft whereas the true measure of the cost of an aircraft is surely the through-life support and operating cost. Given that the reduction of these costs was one of the reasons for the JSF program, then surely this is the way in which the F-35 would cost less than any fourth generation fighter. Are there any estimates available on the through-life costs of the F/A-18 variants and the F-35 variants?

    • Don Bacon

      The operating costs of the F-35 aircraft, two-thirds of the lifetime cost, are “unacceptable and unaffordable”.

      The recently released RAND report:

      The report questions a fundamental tenet of the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program — that building different versions on a common base will reduce costs. Rand analyzed an estimated $1.5 trillion “life-cycle cost” that includes acquisition plus long-term support of the fleet.

      The Pentagon projects a price tag of $391.2 billion to build a fleet of 2,443 F-35s, a 68 percent increase from the projection in 2001, measured in current dollars. The number of aircraft the Pentagon plans to buy is 409 fewer than called for originally.

      “Under none of the plausible conditions we analyzed did” the F-35 “have a lower life-cycle cost estimate,” Rand, a nonprofit research institution, said in the report released this week on the plane known as the Joint Strike Fighter.

      GAO report: F-35 operating and support costs (O&S) are currently projected to be 60 percent higher than those of the existing aircraft it will replace.

      The estimated cost of flying the new F-35 fighter approaches $30,000 per hour. — GAO Rpt

      Cost per flying hour (CPFH) = $31,921– see Jun 3, 2013 F35 maintenence

      The Pentagon guesses that it will cost a third more to run the F-35 than the aircraft it is replacing. Ashton Carter calls this “unacceptable and unaffordable”.

      • James Sinclair

        Thanks for your response. You seem to think that it is plausible to stop the JSF program at this stage. While it may not indeed be up to scratch, at this stage of development, with (to my knowledge) no other fighters available or in development that would meet the same requirements, I don’t believe that this is possible. I’m interested to hear what you think with respect to how the program could either end, or change to reflect the reduced commonality and increased projections of life-cycle costs.

        • Jacobite

          Don’t be silly the F35 is basically the worst american plane for its time since the cold war, it delivers a smaller payload, a closer range, at a lower speed for more money and with less survivability than existing platforms. It can’t run, can’t hide, can’t climb, is inferrior to every western plane its trying to replace and has many serious flaws.

          The ‘stealth’ doesn’t work because it is X-band optimized, modern SAMs use low frequency bands that are unafected and modern 5th Gen Planes like the PAK-fa feature multiple band legnths. And based on the netherlands contracts these are going for about 250Mn USD each, which is 5x the price of a F18,6x the cost of an F16 etc..etc…

          Additionally sadams comprehensive anti-air system featuring the very anti-air systems that the ones F35 is most likely to go up against are based of was succesfully defeated in operation desert storm without this ‘stealth’ through jamming. the use of homing anti-radiation missiles and evasion.
          >There is a famous video of an F16 dodging 6 Iraqi missiles, could the F35 with its poor mobility do the same?

          • James Sinclair

            Thanks for your opinions, but this really wasn’t the focus of my question. My point is that the F-35 is here, and will be with us for quite some time. So if it is deficient as you believe, how do we work with it to overcome these deficiencies?

          • Gary Church

            Overcome? Aint no 5 foot tall NBA players.

          • Another Guest (from Australia)

            @ James Sinclair,

            Here are some more information for you to read,

            http://www.ausairpower.net/jsf.html

            http://www.ausairpower.net/PDF-A/JSF-Issues+Problems-2011-Master.pdf

            http://www.aviationweek.com/Portals/aweek/media/stealth_rm/stealth.html

            http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Nebo-SVU-Analysis.html

            http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Rus-Low-Band-Radars.html

            http://www.democracyarsenal.org/2013/12/can-the-.html

            http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2004/April/Pages/Fast_Jets3594.aspx

            http://www.marketing.org.au/Thana_Marketing__The_dark_side_of_marketing_strategy_A1120.aspx

            All its about is to spend money and that is a mission of the aeroplane it’s for the US Congress to send money to Lockheed Martin to produce this “Joke Still Flying”. That’s a “real mission” for the aeroplane to fail any combat mission requirements that can’t do air superiority, deep interdiction bombing and close air support roles.

          • Jacobite

            Well whilst superimposing the F22s multiband stealth technology and redesigning the internal weapons bays to each take 3-4 aim-120s, maybe adding external mount points arround the belly for a few Brimstone/500IB JDAMs like the F15, and giving it the adaptive engines (which will extend range, but not comparitively when pitched against other aircrafts with the same engine tech) would greatly improve the plane it would still deliver less payload, a shorter distance, for more money than other planes, and be unable to turn, climb or run in a fight and have transonic acceleration problems due to its weight/engine. And even if you somehow opened the production process up to more competition to bring down the price it is still a bad plane.

            But why would you bother when the existing inventory is already better at their respective roles, still have a good ammount of life left in them, have upgrade paths available (i.e. silent eagle, advanced superhornet, vector thrusting potential, room to improve ram coatings, radars, etc..etc..). And when the F35 probably wont enter mass production anytime before 2020 which is more than enough time to develop a range of more affordable planes that are actually better than their predecessors.

            What the US needs is fairly low Observable, supercruising, supermanouverable front line combat planes with a combat radius of 2,500KM+ on internal fuel (adaptive engines) and large payloads. You aren’t going to get this out of a small single-engined plane. Two such types are needed (produced in land and/or CV variants), a multirole air-supperiority fighter (think F22/Pakfa) tasked with A2A combat initially but with a reasonable A2G capacity later on, and a larger multi-role fighter-bomber (think F111) capable of delivering large payloads, with a larger bomb bay, with a jamming and possibly tanker variant. And the MC/Army need a modern take on the Harrier II, a cheap, reliable and affordable, yet more capable STOVL plane.

            This would still see the Replacement of the F15, F16, F18, F22, Harrier II, A-10 Warthog (6 planes) with 3 planes. By upgrading the B1 to proposed B1R standard (anti-air weapons, supercruise through F22 engines), placing the B52s and B2s in reserve and either producing an enhanced (think harrier 2 vs harrier enhanced) B1R or brand new next generation equivelant, bombers could be consolidated to 1 from 3. The P8 is already scheduled to replace the P3-Orion and E-8 ground survaillance planes, and could serve as the basis for an AWACS 3->1. So considerable reductions in airframe types are possible.

        • Don Bacon

          The program would end for any number of reasons.

          –unit cost — The unit costs in the budget currently in FY2014 are:
          F-35A $176m, F-35B $237m, F-35C $236m
          Lockheed has said that these costs could be brought down to $75m in today’s dollars by 2019 — six years from now. Such a cost would require a full rate production. But that’s the same year that Milestone C is scheduled, a JSF production decision. Meanwhile they are buying test planes at high costs.

          –sustainment cost. As noted above, operational and sustainment costs are considered to be unaffordable.

          –continued quality control problems. A recent report from the Pentagon’s internal watchdog reveals that the next gen fighter jet is plagued with hundreds of issues. The Defense Department’s Inspector General conducted a series of quality assurance assessments that found the Joint Program Office and Defense Contract Management Agency performed “inadequate oversight,” failing to adhere to widely adopted quality management protocols while losing control of contractors. The program manager has indicated that JSF quality control is not his job. Really.

          –poor test results. The FY2012 Pentagon test report listed many, many problems. We can expect to see the FY2013 report about Jan 10. Here are the reports issued this past calendar year, also testimony by the head tester Dr. Gilmore.
          DOT&E Report
          http://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/FY2012/
          GAO Report
          http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/652948.pdf
          DOT&E testimony
          http://tinyurl.com/k2cjj4c
          DOD IG Report
          http://www.pogo.org/our-work/straus-military-reform-project/weapons/2013/interesting-findings-in-dod-ig-f-35-report.html

          That’s a start. There are other options to the JSF which would cost less and perform better.

          • Another Guest (from Australia)

            @ Don Bacon,

            Take a look at this,

            FY2014 budget
            F-35A $223.2M each
            F-35B $313.8M each
            F-35C $441.1M each

            These costs are for procurement and R&D. Also for this budget, there are $369M worth of “F-35 Fighter Mods”.

          • Another Guest (from Australia)

            The F-35’s price tag will keep climbing handsomely.

  • Another Guest (from Australia)

    Here are some of the images of the Joke Still Flying. Just to have a laugh.

  • screendummie

    I had a good chuckle after reading this piece.

  • george

    Even stealthy aircraft are visible on long range low frequency radar so why not put growlers out there and use capable planes that we already have. There is a huge flaw in the logic for the F35. It has sensor fusion. Thats it.

  • george

    Some might argue the F35 IS a 4th gen plane because it ticks off so few 5th gen boxes.

  • Charles Kafka

    the F-35 was the first plane i believe bought from the idea phase instead of having one built, then ok’d.
    that didn’t go well.