Monday, March 11, 2013

F-35 ... OK, I see your point

As most of you know, I have avoided the F-35 issue over the years. It has been intentional, and for all the wrong reasons.

I just left it alone in spite of all the waring signals it gave off. It was so important, frankly, that I did not want to tempt fate by kicking something that just had to work. "We couldn't screw this up too ... could we?"

I still feel that way, but that feeling in my gut is getting stronger that I may have been a fool.

My bad. Here is what will probably morph in to a longer article for later this month that F-35 will just be a part of. The biggest problem with the F-35 is its original sin; it is the spawn of the Cult of Transformationalism.

As a result, it was just too "Joint" to have a fighting chance of being a success. The odds were against it - any review of "from conception" Joint programs show this to be true - and it is looking like I have played against the house and will lose.

A few years ago, and something I have touched on, there was an indication that this program was snake-bit as the warning signs of a-historicalism were screaming red. In the face of all combat lessons identified, the USMC and USN versions were not going to have an integral gun. Having a fighter without a gun is like a line infantryman without his helmet. Do none of these people read their history from Hanoi to Kandahar?

Last week, another card came out of the deck, thanks to the good folks (most of the time) at POGO. Read the whole report here if you must ... but as it is Monday; here is the card.
The most attention-grabbing part of the report features comments from the pilots who flew the initial OUE training flights. Each student accomplished six flights and one taxi-only maneuver in a Block A-1 configured F-35A.

Pilots identified a number of issues, many of which stemmed from the immaturity of the aircraft.

All four pilots commented that there was poor visibility from the cockpit, which appears to be the result of design flaws.

One pilot said he had difficulty seeing other aircraft due to the location of the canopy bow, while others identified the lack of rear visibility as a major, potentially deadly, flaw.

“The head rest is too large and will impede aft visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements,” commented one pilot quoted in the report. “Aft visibility will get the pilot gunned every time.”
... and the USMC and Navy pilots won't be able to gun back. Don't tell me about the fracking gun pods either. That is such a pathetic comeback. Try something better.

OK kiddies ... shall we review? What happened with the P-47, the P-51, and was a core requirement of the F-16? Yes, a bubble canopy. Why ... because it is a fighter; and regardless of all the PPT you see, when push comes to shove you need to be able to see "where'd he go?"

Yes, this has been known for a long time ... but ... we've looked the other way. Why? Simple; too big to fail - so hope.

Can some photoshop god make me a Vince Lombardi face palm - the failure in fundamentals is just getting too large.

Hat tip JR.


PaulV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PaulV said...
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PaulV said...

Vince Lombardi, Like Gen George Patton, doesn't facepalm...he makes the other poor, dumb, bas... facepalm!

Go Packers.

Anonymous said...

When (if) the helmet issue is corrected, isn't that supposed to fix the visibility thing? Could be wrong, but I thought it had cameras in its ass.

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