WASHINGTON: Will the F-35B land vertically at the Royal International Air Tattoo or the Farnborough Air Show? No. Will it hover? Yes.

One of my colleagues had raised the issue that the F-35B will not perform a vertical landing this July, inferring this might be because it would damage the plane or the runway.

F-35 program spokesman Joe DellaVedova told me that the Marine version of the Joint Strike Fighter will perform short takeoffs and landings and perform hovers at both shows. I’m betting you can expect the same at the July 4 christening of the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The blast from an F-35B as it lands vertically is pretty fearsome, but the Marines, Navy and program office all say the effects are manageable. I’ve seen the landing spots on the USS Wasp after several days of F-35 testing and spoken unsupervised with crew members. The Wasp deck crew told me they were seeing less damage to the deck than it sustains from some other aircraft that routinely fly from the Wasp and other LHD class ships.

Wasp Deck where F-35B lands

The deck on the USS Wasp where F-35s land.

The Wasp desk was coated with Thermion, a new product composed of aluminum and ceramic that are bonded together by heat at application to form a very smooth and tough heat-resistant coating. By contrast, the runways at Farnborough are designed to handle general aviation jets and airplanes. Nothing larger than a 737-800 is permitted to land except during the air show. The RIAT runways are designed for Royal Air Force and American jet aircraft, including B-52s. Fairford is a standby air base, not one used regularly except for the annual air show. A source familiar with the plane’s testing tells me the aircraft could easily and safely perform several vertical landings on an up-to-date military grade runway.

So, the question remains, why not land vertically at the shows? “We want to showcase how we will operate this plane during combat operations,” Capt. Richard Ulsh, a spokesman for the Marine deputy commandant for aviation, told me today. During a combat operation or for expeditionary use the plane would perform rolling or short takeoffs and landings on land to conserve fuel, Ulsh said. The plane is undergoing testing for landings on concrete and grass and dirt. The tests for concrete are finished, Ulsh said, but those for grass and dirt takeoffs and landings are not complete. Organizers made available a dirt and grass area at Farnborough. The F-35B has performed more than 450 vertical landings, Ulsh said.

He added that vertical landings consume a great deal of fuel and claimed the Marines made their decision in part because they are “trying to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”


  • http://www.usmc.mil @notrizzo

    “why not land vertically at the shows?” I’ll go with the obvious, and non-conspiracy theory assumption that though the runways probably would be able to handle the blast, they don’t want to take the chance of some weak point in the surface shooting up a hunk of ground to damage the plane or heaven forbit, a spectator.

    • Don Bacon

      They could put AM-2 matting down as an “Expeditionary Airfield (EAF).”

  • Don Bacon

    [Capt. Richard Ulsh] added that vertical landings consume a great deal of fuel and claimed the Marines made their decision in part because they are “trying to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

    What is he, the Good Humor Man?
    Try a little harder, and cancel the damn thing.
    ‘Cuz Lockheed — gasp — has been lying to us.

    With the F-35B in their fleet, expeditionary forces, like the U.S. Marine Corps, have a decisive advantage over their adversaries. The F-35B’s versatility, as demonstrated onboard the USS WASP (LHD-1), will revolutionize expeditionary combat power in all threat environments by allowing operations from major bases, damaged airstrips, remote locations and a wide range of air-capable ships. The F-35B gives warfighters the ability to accomplish their mission, wherever and whenever duty calls.

    • GaryLockhart

      How much time have you logged in the ACE of an embarked MEU?

      • Don Bacon

        About the same time as General Amos.

  • Gary Church

    Quite a bit of misdirection, if not deception, going on in these statements. Vertical landings with direct thrust aircraft like the Harrier and F-35 on unprepared sites produce huge amounts of flying debris and they can only operate on a clean surface. This talk about operating in grass and dirt is science fiction. Any landing on a surface other than a prepared runway or flight deck is a calculated risk as to whether FOD will wreck the lift fan. As for why they are not landing on the runway, it’s simple. This monstrosity is in such trouble right now that if it crashed the farce would end even sooner. With one trillion dollars over the next half century at stake who would risk that? I doubt it will last much longer- human beings cannot be that stupid.

    • http://www.breakingdefense.com/ Colin Clark

      Gary, might be time to graduate from the JFK School of Paranoid Ramblings.

      • 2IDSGT

        Are you seriously just now noticing this guy?

        • Beazz

          To all concerned, Gary, Don and Mike who I refer to as the three stooges for obvious reason are three old Army guys that know little about th modern army and absolutely nothing about the modern air force and navy. They even actually promote class warfare amongst the different branches of the military. In their old senile old brains they think only the army and marines are real military since they do the ground fighting. They dont comprehend that without the air support from the other branches our ground troops would have suffered many thousands more dead and wounded in the last 13 years even though they are the worlds finest!
          As for the nonsense they spew about the F35/F22 they are clueless. They use sources like Eric Palmer who is a known anti F35 clown that I have been reading his stupidity on various sites for at least 8 years. Then they use APA ( air power Australia) that is a conglomeration of a bunch of has beens known as well the “fighter mafia”. These guys like Sprey and Wheeler to name a couple were highly involved in the early F16. But they now feel it is junk because it now has missiles and Radar!! Yea, that’s how out of touch
          these guys are. And the three stooges quote these men that not surprisingly are also anti F35. They use years old data that has been debunked like to he F35 can’t fly in rain!! One of the three stooges threw this out a week or so ago and I this was fixed 4+ years ago!!
          If you really wish to get up to o date honest info onb the F35/22 go to f-16.net. It is full of current and retired men and women who actually work/have worked in these programs and know what the hell they are talkin about. I wish the three stooges would go there with their bs. Watchin them get ate alive and took to school by actual professionals would be worth the price of admission!!
          But seriously, for all things F35/22 related go to F-16.net

          • Mike

            For what? Let me see if I understand this… We’ve got an angry old Navy guy who refuses to tell us what he did in the Navy, saying that a couple of old combat soldiers who understand close air support are full of crap?

            The F-22 is so derelict that it is restricted from flying at altitude because of oxygen supply problems and the F-35 that has NEVER been used in CAS and is years behind schedule at an incredibly high cost and what is he saying? Is he saying that we should “just trust” Lockheed Martin that one day this albatross will actually be an air domination and CAS fighter?

            As I’ve said before, that sounds a lot like the AR-15/M-16 that was supposed t be the “miracle weapon” in Vietnam…. Except it wasn’t and still isn’t!… :(

            Go figure… :(

          • Beazz

            LOL… Sorry Mike but no anger here. You and the other members of the three stooges give me a daily laugh. You most of all. You lie and then use old data and keep making yourself look like an old fool clinging to the past and not able to comprehend how technology has advanced since your Vietnam days.
            But first let’s clear up your most recent lie. At no time did you ask me what I did in the Navy. You asked what branch of the military I served in and I then made yourself look foolish by acting like the Navy was not the real military but just you ground pounders were the real deal. You’re to ignorant to even realize that without the Navy and Air Force you soldiers and your equipment would never show up for a fight and without their remarkable skills in the air many thousands fewer of you would be coming home alive. Fortunately the men and women of today’s modern
            Army and Marine Corps know it is a team effort and we
            are all on the same side and they are dang happy to
            have the enemy ground troops they encounter to as much as possible be ripped to shreds by the their Air
            Force and Naval air before they engage them and
            therefore many more Americans go home alive and not
            in a body bag. But since you wish to know what I did in
            the Navy, I was an air traffic controller in there as well.

            And should we tell everyone how you told me you bet I was some “white boy” who never fought in any war and more racist nonsense but the moderators deleted it? Naaa let’s not tell all on here what an angry old out of touch racist you are. And btw, you would be right in that I am white and was never in a war. Like that was somehow suppose to make me feel bad? Only a damn fool wants to be in a war you idiot!; Then again, if the shoe fits …..
            Now let’s move on to the F22. Another marvel of modern technology you have no comprehension of. Let’s start with the lie about it being grounded. That restriction was lifted in April of 2013 on all a/c that had received the fix for the oxygen problem and all a/c will have been repaired by July of 2014. IOW, they areall fixed now basically! http://defensetech.org/2013/04/05/air-force-lifts-f-22-flight-restrictions/


          • Beazz

            Just an honest mistake right Mike? What is sad and s you have no clue why something like that may have occurred with the F22. You don’t know that while most fighters rarely fly around in the 50k feet area at all, the F22 lives there!! While most fighter pilots time above Mach is measured in single digit minutes for their entire career, the F22 lives above mach as it super cruises at mach 1.6 as a way of life. These things have NEVER been done before so it is not surprising that things are coming to light that has simply never been encountered before. When they do, we fix them and continue on!
            As for the F35. CAS is just going to be ONE of the mission’s it performs. Just like the F16, B1 and even B52 do now! Along with CAS the F 35 is going to be
            second ONLY to the F22 in the air superiority role. So
            no matter how badly you three antiques wish to remain in the last century, technology and the world marches on. To bad yall will miss it sitting around th campfire mad at the world for not sitting with you. There is a place for the likes of y’all. Its callwa museum!

          • Mike

            Great to see that you are an airplane enthusiast….. Visited that the sites you recommended….. Sure a lot of Lockheed-Martin stuff there and a lot of posts by Air Force guys and other “enthusiasts”…… I say that both aircraft have a lot of expensive problems and have not been tested in battle. I believe you are saying I’m wrong…. History will show which of is correct….. You have a nice day, aye?

          • Beazz

            Well Mike, since the F22/35 are made by LM it stands to reason there is info about them. And since it is an airplane site it makes even more sense that there is a lot of info from air force pilots as well as air force mechanics. If you noticed, what those pilots have to say is straight forward and honest. Their lives depend on how well these a/c function so these folks give very honest opinions and assessments of how things work. The a/c mechanics do exactly the same and these people are sharp as hell and know what they are talking about based on facts!! Something you and your two pals use very little of.

            And yes it’s true neither have been tested in combat. One is still under development and is coming along VERY nicely contrary to what the uninformed like to spout. And the F22 while not tested in actual war has been part of training exercises such as Red Flag, the worlds largest and most realistic aerial exercise on the planet and the a/c continues to amaze those that participate in it.
            Maybe you’re familiar with the F15? The only jet a/c undefeated in air to air combat in history. Something like 104-0. Well the F22 routinely takes on 4-6-8 against one F22 and it always wins!! F15 pilots are a cocky bunch and rightfully so, but they say they dont even like training against the F22 because they go up, get told they are dead and go home and NEVER have even saw the F22 on Radar. They say it is an account extremely humbling experience! and there is the interview of I think it was either an Australian or British exchange pilot flying the F15 and got an F22 in sight visually and still could NOT get its weapons to lock onto it! So I am confident that when it does go into battle for the first time, I would not wish to be the poor slob on the business end of it :-)
            Btw, the F22 is not so much different then a certain tank back in the early 90s. It to was said to be to high tech and could never work, especially in the desert. Then along came GW1 and the rest is history. It didn’t perform as advertised, it far EXCEEDED ALL EXPECTATIONS. When the F22 does finally make its debut, it is goin to be literally jaw dropping what it really does do. So will the F35!!
            You have a great day as well!

          • ucavman

            You are naive. Do you think the Red Flag exercises really reflect the real capabilities that exist today on the latest and greatest and best “evolved” platforms? It is stacked in such a way as to make only the newer much more expensive platforms look good. Yes, it is fixed. If they really brought to the exercises the latest and greatest and best “evolved” platforms (that are not even close to their earlier generations) that have the exceedingly excellent newest AESA radars and latest EW and other leading edge integrated systems (e.g. sensor fusion and integrated weapons suites and smart computer systems and integrated displays) in conjunction with the off-board complementary platforms to take place in these exercises the results wold be FAR less impressive. It’s all fixed! It’s all politics, power and money. It is not about winning a future “full-blown real” war that won’t totally demolish our country financially.

          • Beazz

            In short, you are clueless. The exercises are “scripted” in order to test certain aspects of the platforms there. There is a difference in scripted and rigged. And just what AESA radar is more advanced and powerful then that of the F22 currently? The most powerful and evolved EW systems in the world belong to the US currently and these systems are at red flag and other exercises. You obviously have no clue what training exercises are for or how they are conducted. So rant on if it makes you feel better. Thanks for the afternoon laugh!

          • Horn

            The F-22’s oxygen supply problem was fixed and the altitude limits were lifted years ago. Granted though, whoever thinks that the F-35 will be able to perform CAS on par, or better than the A-10 has been seriously misinformed. They might as well hand over the CAS roll to the F-16 instead of the F-35. F-16s are cheaper to repair and replace. The F-35 is more of a light bomber and A2A combat fighter.

          • Mike

            Right on the button…… Nice that we have all sorts of really fragile aircraft that (hopefully) can dominate at 30,000 feet, but if we’ve not got squat at ground level then our outnumbered ground pounders are going to their butts handed back to them…

            Someone needs to wake up the ascot wearing high flying boys and explain to their leadership that if the ground troops are not successful all their high altitude antics won’t mean squat when their airfields are overrun!… :(

            While the A-10 may be more vulnerable to Manpads, they are still the best we currently have at CAS for the infantry…. Fewer attach helicopters and more A-10’s and things on the ground will go one whole heck of a lot better…..

            I still shutter at the thought of our Marines having to depend on CAS from the F-35….. One good combat operation against the Russians of the Chinese will make that screwy thinking very clear…. :(

          • billy

            You mean shudder,right?

          • Mike

            Insert more coffee before typing… I also screwed up attack with attach.. :(

          • Horn


          • Horn

            This is what can happen when a bomber tries to pull off a CAS mission.

            A buddy of mine was a FAC in the Middle East. He told me that whenever they were calling for CAS from anything other than an A-10, he always got nervous. Either design a more economical replacement for the A-10 or bring back the LAAR program.

          • Mike

            Amen…. Said by the very guys who had a need for CAS…. :(

          • billy

            Have just visited F-16 net. Excellent site. It seems “don bacon” is not a stranger over there. Just type his name in the forum search box.
            Another object of their derision is someone they say is pretending to be an ex marine. His blog is SNAFU-solomon.blogspot, and it seems this guy and “don” are well aquainted.

          • Beazz

            Hi there Billy,
            I sure didn’t know Bacon had ever been on F-16.net! I’ll definitely go check that out. I’ll go check out that blog as well. Wish more people on here would visit f-16.net if they are really interested in things like the F22/35. I been goin on it for 9 years or so and have learned plenty from it. I am just a military enthusiast and in particular airplanes and the site is full of people who actually know what they are talking about and don’t mind giving you the facts if you wish to learn ya know. I’d love to see the 3 stooges try their outright lies and outdated info with those guys lol.
            Ya really gotta wonder what is behind Don and company with their hate everything and everyone. They seem mad at the world for even bein here!
            I’ll go check out Don on there and the blog you
            suggested. Will be fun exposing them for what they are
            on here as well..

          • billy

            I don’t think don bacon has been on F-16.net as a poster. I was simply pointing out that some people on that site are aware of him. And it’s because of the SNAFU blog.
            You seem interested in promoting F-16.net. I am not. I am neither a pilot nor am I in any way connected with the military.
            I am simply very curious as to why there is a consistency in this anti F-35 campaign (if I may call it that). And again,I say google “wu-mao”

          • Beazz

            Hello again,
            Sorry but I have no interest in promoting F-16.net either. Nor am I connected with the military or defense industry. I was simply using that site because it is the best source of actual honest, credible and in depth information related to the F22/F35 that I have ever ran across and since the 3 Stooges are constantly telling lies and using outdated info by years about these a/c I felt folks could go there and read real facts about them for themselves and see how intentionally misleading Don, Mike and Gary are.
            As for the reasons there are so many anti F35 types its all about the money!; They all have an agenda and more times then not the want the money spent somewhere else. As was pointed out on here by another poster about at least one of the 3 stooges, he was more concerned about his insurance costs he
            pays in retirement from the military. He acts as
            thoughh he is concerned with the tax payers being ripped off when all he really cares about is having to pay for health insurance like the rest of us do. IOW he is willing to sacrifice superior weapons so he can get free insurance!
            But if you look closely at the big anti crowds you will most likely find they have a financial interest in it failing and they somehow benefi from it if they can get the funds redirected towards their pet projects.
            JMHO though.

          • Beazz

            One other reason I feel the anti F35 crowd is so loud and noticeable is the dawn of the internet. All weapons systems have always had the same kinds of problems the F35/22 has had but there was no way to spread them like now. With the invention of the internet every little problem is made public and scrutinized every which way but lose and the politics of where to spend the money on ones own agenda driven pet project is amplified because of it.

          • Beazz

            I googled wu-mao and not sure what you are suggesting. Maybe the Chinese are behind the bashing of the F35 with the intent of getting it canceled because they know full well they have no match for it, especially if the USAF actually gets the 1763 they plan on getting? I would not be surprised if they were behind a lot of it. There is a book I think named “Total Warfare” that talk’s about how the Chinese are using every form of warfare against the US right now except military, but that to is coming once they feel they can handle us. And if we don’t wake up that is not more then 20 or 30 years away!
            Interesting though and certainly within the realm of possibilities!

          • billy

            I haven’t read the book you mention,but the parallels with the rise of Nazi Germany in the thirties are obvious.

            I can’t say either way that these individuals who comment and bash the F-35 are wu-mao or not,but there is a consistency to their diatribe – not just here but in other forums on other sites and as I pointed out,this don bacon gets a mention on the F-16 site. They don';t have a very high opinion of him. One of the regulars over there was even threatened with physical harm by don’s acquaintance.

            Perhaps it is about money as you say. But I don’t think so. In my first post above I mentioned the frequent complaining about “taxpayers money” being wasted etc. Over at THE DIPLOMAT I saw one guy absolutely livid that Australia had confirmed it was purchasing the aircraft. He’s an obvious Chinese propagandist but pretends to be concerned about the poor old Aussie taxpayer.

            The Chinese regime has a heavy presence on the internet in China.All their citizens know it. I believe they are branching out internationally as well. Nothing new,really. The internet is just another medium to be used for propaganda purposes,as first the printing press was,then radio and film. It’s a kind of “white ant” propaganda – all these little people gnawing away at the fabric of public opinion,whether it be domestic or international.

            You say : And if we don’t wake up that is not more then 20 or 30 years away!”

            I believe it’s closer.

          • Chuang Shyue Chou

            Oooh. Thanks for the information. on F-16.net. I just went to read the bits about SNAFU-Solomon too. I am acquainted with the writing of the Solomon entity as I have read SNAFU-Solomon’s blog for some time as well as Aviation Week’s blog. It seems that over a period of time, he has turned from being pro-F-35 to anti-F-35 for some reason. The Don Bacon person does appear on his comment section a fair bit, likewise Eric Palmer. This is interesting.

            In the same vein, I do wonder if how the online comments of shills can affect policy-making if any.

            I had little idea that the commentaries of some of the personalities that I see commenting on military affairs in blogs, forums and websites would be so widespread. Now at least, I know. I should have realised.

          • billy

            I like to read various newspapers online. It’s a way to get an angle on things when there is so much misinformation about. It was interesting to see the regular commenters in the British newspaper DAILY TELEGRAPH complaining about pro Russian commenters flooding any article on the recent Russian annexation of Crimea. It was very noticeable and very annoying.
            It kills the debate when you have three or four people banging the same drum, day in day out, in what seems an almost tag team tactic. Sound familiar? Look at some of the people in here.
            You wonder if the online comments affects policy making? Hehe. The Wu-Mao fifty centers are regarded as idiots by people who recognize them. Shills from the 1950’s.
            Interesting moniker you have BTW.

          • 2IDSGT

            I don’t think so. At 35, I’d consider myself an “old Army guy,” and the comments these guys make on other board on other topics indicate that they are in no way American.

      • billy

        Over a period of time I have noticed an intense,almost hysterical antipathy toward the F-35 from Gary Church. In other online magazines such as THE DIPLOMAT I have also noticed the same attitude from a few others in the comments section whenever the F-35 is mentioned. The authors of these disparaging comments invariably purport to be American. They frequently use the term “we” and “us” in their posts so as to give their views an air of legitimacy. i.e. an outraged American taxpayer etc etc
        I suggest the discerning reader google “Wu Mao”.

        • billy

          ….and this Don Bacon character?

          • Mike

            And where did you earn your veterans benefits “Billy”?

          • billy

            Not in the PLA.

        • PolicyWonk


          So far, in all fairness, every published report regarding the quality and performance of the F-35 has been found lacking.

          It is also true that the cost per unit of each plane is far in excess of what it was supposed to be, and the project management has been legendary in its lousiness. So far the reports indicate a 5th generation price being paid for a generation 3+ performing fighter plane.

          The best reports coming out of the F-35 has been in the area of cost savings, which are still paltry when compared to what it was supposed to cost.

          While it is encouraging that a few other nations have opted for the F-35, I’m still waiting to see *something* that indicates it is approaching its original mission profile (which has been reduced several times).

          If you’ve a source or two you can point be to, I’d appreciate it.


          • billy

            You say :

            “While it is encouraging that a few other nations have opted for the F-35, I’m still waiting to see *something* that indicates it is approaching its original mission profile ”

            And what is this “something” that will mollify you?

            What are your qualifications to adjudicate upon the performance of an aircraft that you have no knowledge of,except from press releases and rumor?
            Are you an aircraft engineer privy to top secret technical information?
            Do you have an insiders knowledge that has eluded the best military minds of a dozen nations which are laying out billions of dollars to purchase the F=35?
            What are YOUR sources?

          • PolicyWonk

            So –

            What is clear is that you have ZERO sources to reference that somehow justifies the continued existence of the F-35.

            My qualifications aren’t whats relevant – I’m a US taxpayer, and I demand my money be spent responsibly. You, are a condescending interloper that seems to think you can BRAVO SIERRA your way out of answering a direct question and/or providing a reference as requested.

            You failed. Miserably. You have nothing, and therefore ZERO credibility.

            If you’re a shill for Lockheed, or one of the F-35 cheerleaders that should be court-martialled for misleading the American public then at least try to find the courage to say so.

            Have a nice day!

          • billy

            Your qualifications ARE relevant because YOU are the one (s) making the assertions. I haven’t made any assertions vis-a-vis the F-35 and the reason I haven’t made any is because I simply do -not – know.And I might add that I do not pretend to know. You do pretend and so therefore I’m asking you what your qualifications are?

            I thought I made a clear allusion to my “sources” when I made mention of the fact that the best military minds of a dozen nations have advised their respective governments that the F-35 is well worth the billions of dollars. I trust their judgement far more than I trust the judgement of people who harp on continuously about the whole project being a disaster without having an inside knowledge of the project. You base your arguments on rumor and speculation. And now you want to court martial people for “misleading the American public” LOL.

            Who are you trying to mislead and who are YOU a shill for?

          • PolicyWonk

            After you came out and implied that anyone who scorches the F-35 is being un-American/un-patriotic. Despite the fact that questioning the government is what a democracy is all about, and happens to be one of the cherished rights everyone who puts on a uniform fights to protect, your statement can only be deemed “questionable”, or to be even more generous, “misguided”.

            I simply asked you for a reference to that demonstrates an improvement in F-35 performance/capabilities – without implying you’re right or wrong.

            Yet you went on the offensive demanding to know why I should question your golden-plated opinion, which you’ve since revealed to this forum was developed sans any burdensome factual basis.

            Every auditing agency report has indicated poor performance of the aircraft (GAO, DOT&E, amongst others), the project management, and its inability to meet even the several-times reduced mission profile. I suppose the fact that these auditing agencies and public reports are created to protect the taxpayers investments is lost on you.

            Furthermore, the articles published on this site have been hardly favorable (though they did trumpet the tiny, fractional, cost reduction) to the F-35.

            You implied all kinds of things in your previous diatribe to me, only to reveal you have no factual basis to support your argument(s).

            BTW – I’m not a shill for anyone, and I leave it to the other denizens of this site to determine for themselves who’s done the misrepresenting.


          • billy

            I have made no implication that anyone who criticizes the F-35 is un-American. That is an assumption on your part.
            I am,however,implying that there is a concerted and organised campaign to discredit this aircraft,not just in this forum but others also.

            But the focus is on you,(disregarding whether or not you are a part of that campaign :) in our discussion.
            I am questioning the reasoning behind your unrelenting criticism. What is the basis for your assertions? What qualifications do you possess that allow you to make these criticisms?
            You mention audit reports,press releases etc but what is the actual origin of your technical insight to damn this plane outright? That was the question I was asking you.
            Can you answer it?

          • PolicyWonk

            My assumption came from the implication raised in the original thread by your posting.

            Is there an organized campaign to discredit this aircraft? Where could that have possibly come from? Maybe you don’t READ Aviation Week (where test results have been posted), or any of the other dozens of defense related sites, trade rags, GAO reports, DOT&E, or anything else.

            The F-35 program has been discredited because: the program is legendary for having the lousiest management in DoD acquisition history; Its mission profile has been reduced several times, yet it still cannot meet even the reduced profiles; the plane is FAR above its projected costs; is years behind schedule; and every published report scorches it.

            The one thing the F-35 shares is the same dubious distinction with the floating failure called LCS, which has also been scorched by *every* inspection/watchdog agency.

            Not even ONE report regarding either has been even remotely favorable. THIS is why I am concerned, as are many many others. Damning reports regarding performance, cost, etc, that haven’t improved since the program started has a way of getting folks riled up.

            If your opinion (as I’ve stated before) was created without the burden of having supporting facts, that isn’t my problem: its YOURS.

            I’ve got stacks of reports and facts. You have nothing.

          • billy

            I repeat,I have not made any assertions or given any opinions on the performance of the F-35. I am not in a position to do so. And I’m saying neither are you.
            I am not discussing cost over runs,delays, program management etc. I am discussing the actual performance of the aircraft – an aircraft under the microscope as it is in the middle of its flight test program. Is it any wonder that there would be controversies and problems in developing a fighter with such ambitious capabilities?
            It’s a pity you weren’t at the press conference above.You could have waved your stack of reports and your facts at some people who actually know what they are talking about.

          • Mike

            You notice that “Billy” never answered the “where did you serve” question? Just what we need here more hysterical civilians that think they “know”…. To bad a DD-214 isn’t a requirement to post!…. Geezzz… :( I think he is still trying to figure out your “Bravo Sierra”…. :)

          • billy

            I don’t claim to have served in the military. And I’m not American.

            Where’s the proof that you have served in the US military,and that you are American?

            Your pal PolicyWonks states that his qualifications are irrelevant,and that as a US taxpayer he demands that his money is spent responsibly. That is the basis for his “outrage” at the F-35 program. I have asked him for the credentials that allow him to make informed authoritative statements on the F-35 program and so far he has not supplied them.

            If you think knowing a few phrases like “Bravo Sierra” or what a DD-214 is,is going to impress anyone then think again. Any idiot can spend a few hours on the internet learning this stuff and pass himself off as a vet – for a while..until a real vet gets interested,which is what happened over at F-16.net when the SNAFU solomon guy tried his Bravo Sierra and caused much laughter.

            Speaking of which – I notice don bacon is very quiet. He’s talking about AM2-matting I notice but he doesn’t have much else to say.

            Here’s a site that might be of interest to you …..


            It’s enough to wanna make ya court martial the lot of em,eh?

          • Mike

            So “Billy” are you trying to tell us that you are Chinese? If not what is your nationality? Just trying to get a “hold” on why you feel the way you appear to…

      • Mike

        Actually Colin,
        Gary spent many years as an air-frame mechanic… He probably knows better than any of us what problems come about when landing in dirt and sand… I have personally seen the same thing when landing a Huey back in my day in really dusty LZs… The prop wash from the V-22 and the F-35 is many times worse than I ever experienced and that means more flying debris, just waiting to get sucked into those engines . :(

    • GaryLockhart

      That tinfoil helmet of yours is way too tight.

      • http://www.usmc.mil @notrizzo

        Like this one?

  • Don Bacon

    The F-35 B is actually quite impressive with short take-offs and particularly with hovers. It will do well at the air shows with a its hover, possible have a couple of puppy-dogs do a wing-walk with the plane doing a slowly-rotating hover while the pilot eats a sandwich.

    But that doesn’t win wars, does it. A large rotating target is just that.

    Even if the B does get to a remote airstrip and manages to land somehow, what then? The blogger “M&S” at Eric Palmer blog:

    Forget ‘rough field’ and VLO, the F-35B is utterly useless away from a major land base or carrier just on fuel alone. A typical single haul (short) truck will have around 5,500 gallons or 37,400lbs of JP-8 at 6.8lbs per gallon in it. A trailer or a truck with trailer will have as much as 11,600 gallons or 78,880lbs worth of fuel.

    If a STOVL jet operates with near maximum internal fuel of 14,000lbs
    when it has a long runway, 78,880lbs is 5.6 sorties worth of fuel.

    Aircraft always fly in section lead/wingman pairings and so you have roughly two, single section, missions out of a tanker truck worth of gas. A tanker truck which cannot be delivered by anything less than a C-5 or C-17. Both of which require a full length runway, regardless.

    There were 86 Harrier IIs in ODS which flew a total of 3,380 sorties during the 43 day air war, for an average of 78 sorties per day from places like Tanajib, less than 35nm from the Kuwait border.

    Even if you assume they are flying short ‘commuter routes’ as hump’n’dump BAI
    missions on frontal targets within the Kuwaiti TO, say 2 sorties for every refuel, that’s still 39 sorties of fuel expenditure at 546,000lbs for 20 section launches per flying day.

    Roughly 7 tanker trucks worth of gas for every operational day. . . .

    How are all those tanker trucks going to get to a remote location, even IF the B does? The B won’t finish its operational testing until 2019, if then, according to the F-35 SAR. So it won’t really be operationally capable next year at the IOC, will it.

    Capt. Ulsh: ”We want to showcase how we will operate this plane during combat operations.”

    Okay son, do it, just do it. That’s all we ask.

  • PolicyWonk

    He added that vertical landings consume a great deal of fuel and claimed the Marines made their decision in part because they are “trying to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

    Considering the appalling mismanagement of the F-35 program, and equally revolting cost overruns that should’ve been eaten by the pirates, thieves, and weasels that have infested the Lockheed boardroom since the unfortunate demise of Kelly Johnson, this particular cost savings is seemingly insignificant.

    At this point, one would think they’d be trying to persuade the taxpayers they haven’t been ripped off via the forced purchase of a 3rd-generation performing aircraft for which we’re paying a 6th generation price, yet is merely represented as a (years-behind-schedule) 5th generation fighter plane.

    Lets save ourselves some time, and issue the indictments now!

  • JimBobJoe

    Where does it end????
    Russia and China are at the threshold of fielding their next generation fighters. What does America have for the money it’s spent??? Lockheed Martin is a FAILED defense contractor as far as the F-35 is concerned. The close to 100 that have been produced haven’t even reached IOC because the software and systems integration wont be finished until god knows when. 2016??? This is beyond failure. America’s greatest military strength, it’s air-power, is nose-diving, while the contractors have an excuse to charge more money at every turn.

    Unless one goes out on a limb and speculates that the capabilities of the F-35 are just being kept secret, or there are classified programs compensating for this failure, then America is screwed.

    The nature of warfare has changed immensely. A Chinese blitzkrieg would be wrapped up in a day with conventional missiles taking out every airfield, satellite, and all major surface combatants in theater, while still maintaining a nuclear deterrent. They caught America with it’s pants down on cyber-warfare, and presumably, have superior capabilities in this new area.

    All I get from this website is sequestration sequestration sequestration…. is dooming America.

    No… The defense contractors are dooming America.
    It’s become so cliche about how Eisenhower warned about the Milplex, but it’s become very real.

    America has been humanity’s greatest hope in spreading democracy, human-rights, and freedom, but it’s turned into a corporate republic where everyone hates each-other and it’s moral-infrastructure replaced by an amoral approach to maximizing profits.

    Someone…. give me a plausible reason to think otherwise.(not you gary)

    Colin? Sydney? Tell me… do you think Lockheed Martin has done right by the American people? Not to ask you to bite the hand that feeds you, but who can defend these people? I eat and breath defense news every day, and, generally, the only informed people that don’t absolutely hate the F-35 are it’s lobbyists.

    • Don Bacon

      (IOC) dates are:
      F-35A USAF Aug 2016 – Dec 2016 with 12 to 24 F-35As
      F-35B USMC Jul 2015 – Dec 2015 with 10 to 16 F-35Bs
      F-35C USN Aug 2018 – Feb 2019 with 10 F-35Cs

      These IOC dates are all prior to the completion of F-35 operational testing and the Milestone C production decision which are scheduled for 2019, a departure from normal, legal procedures which call for a production decision prior to declaring the system operational. Block 3F software, full combat potential, has been estimated to be available around 2018.

    • billy

      Fifty cents for you.

    • Mike

      Well said JimBobJoe… Well said indeed…

  • mehmet

    We are looking forward to seeing it at riat anyway. In the meantime here you can see some great F-35 photos:
    F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Pictures

    • Don Bacon

      Turkey joins the net again with “great” photos taken off the web — but no photos of F-35 in Turkey, another partner (besides Canada and Denmark) which hasn’t procured any faulty F-35 prototypes yet, no photos of F-35C landing on a carrier because they can’t, and of course no photos of F-35B landing in — yuk — the dirt, which they apparently can’t do.

      • mehmet

        Gracias por los comentarios Don :)

        • Don Bacon

          De nada, por seguro.

  • Tholzel

    “He added that vertical landings consume a great deal of fuel and claimed the Marines made their decision in part because they are “trying to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.” ”

    What a load of BS!!! (Does that PR flack think we all just fell off the cabbage truck?) The cost of a few hundred extra gallons of fuel pales in comparison to the cost of sending the jet there in the first place. My Take: Clean verticals are not certain enough to guarentee an incident-free event.

    • Don Bacon

      Meanwhile they’re bragging that 15,000 sorties have been flown by the three variants, but the only purpose of flying these seventy F-35 prototypes is to burn fuel (as opposed to the twenty prototypes being tested, development tests, by DOT&E).

  • Rodney

    Mr. Clark, you are NEVER allowed to speak unsupervised to someone on a ship about a controversial weapon. If you think you did, you’re a fool who was fooled. Everyone you might have been around was briefed on what to say and threatened with severe punishment should they say anything negative, or even neutral.

  • Anon851

    The American public is having their pockets picked by Lockheed and Lockheed is laughing all the way to the bank. This aircraft has yet to fly one day of combat support for our troops in either Iraq or Afghanistan and yet they say we are still 5 YEARS away from full operational capability — I guess the CEO at Lockheed and his cronies think the American public are all on medical marijuana. Cancel a plane — just one plane at 200 mill and I could theoretically have 10 x’s A-10s — a proven warrior that scares the BEJESUS out of Al Qaeda and would also make the Chinese ground troops quake as well … What a FARCE — you spend the money to send the aircraft to England and then you don’t put the aircraft thru a complete demonstration of its so-called capabilities in front of its detractors. The USMC is putting up all this smoke and mirrors …. There’s a new term for that in case you missed it — General Officer Welfare — promoting a defunct weapons system just long enough as a four star to allow you to serve four years in that capacity, have your boots licked all four years, retire and walk into some form of really high-paying VP position because you kept the faith and bamboozled the American public thru four years or so as Commandant of the Corps.


    • Mike

      Pretty darned articulate Anon, and sadly, in my opinion, closer to the truth than we want to believe….. :(

    • Don Bacon

      April 1, 2014
      Bethesda-based Lockheed saw a $7 billion increase in contracts from federal agencies in 2013, posting $44.1 billion last year compared to about $38 billion in 2012. The company’s stock closed Tuesday near its 52-week high at $163.71, up nearly 75 percent from the beginning of April 2013.

  • Uniform223

    Found a good video… if you have the patience for it its worth the watch.


  • http://www.usmc.mil @notrizzo

    The one thing we can all be certain of is that as big a program boondoggle is, it will be nothing compared to the next major fighter/drone program. And you can also be damned certain that that XF-XX program will seem like a miracle of efficiency compared to the one after that….

  • http://www.urf.com Bud

    In either ’93 or ’94 I attended the show when the Russian YAK-141, touted as the first supersonic VSTOL aircraft, melted the runway when demonstrating the show to officials before the day before the press day of the show. As a result they were also forbidden to take off and land vertically, but they could hover. There should be some press pictures of the damage it caused. The pilot of that aircraft had also ejected from two other variants of the aircraft during initial test flights. Nice guy. I also recall the debate around the claim that the YAK was the first hovering supersonic jet, and that the Harrier had once gone supersonic before that (downhill in a tailwind I suppose). I guess I could also say that I have hovered in two supersonic fighters, the Phantom and the Hornet as I have departed the aircraft from normal flight that resulted in a 1-2 second “hover” before entering post departure characteristics. Guess the claim needs to be “intentionally hover”.

    • Mike

      Well that is pretty much “Been there done that”….. Geeez, thanks for sharing… I would bet you checked your shorts after those two “maneuvers”…… ;(

      • http://www.urf.com Bud

        Actually both fighters are generally forgiving of this error. If you just follow the procedures for each they recover quickly. Not so much a pucker factor than an embarrassment to explain why you didn’t recognize it was going to happen in the first place. (it happened more than twice and just about anyone doing air-to-air training has done it, repeatedly )….and it’s more about waiting for the aircraft to decide what it wants to do next than “hovering”. That airshow and the Paris show are truly worth attending, even if the F-35 can’t take off/land vertically for the crowd to see.

        • Mike

          I’m an old ground pounder who has spent a lot of time flying my Turbo Arrow very close to the ground in the canyons of Central and Southern Utah in the very early cool stable air of the mornings. I would imagine that “hover” could be pretty uncomfortable if that occurred below several hundred feet of the deck… :(