Wednesday, October 2, 2019

F-35 Thunderjug, Doing What It Does Best

h/t CDR Salamander

Which thing is fail beyond anyone's wildest expectations.

Surprising me not a whit, it turns out that the Mission-Capable rate of the F-35A Thunderjug has not increased, but rather dropped in the last year, compared to the year prior, and now sits at under 50%, the second lowest number of any airframe on the entire inventory list. (And, Word To The Air Farce's Mother, the F-22 isn't covering itself with much more glory, either. Thank heavens we picked the second-best airframe in that selection process too, right?)

Yet again, we remind anyone listening, it's long past time for TPTB to stop lying to everyone including themselves, admit that the F-35 in all variants is the Flying Edsel, shitcan this entire monstrous p.o.s. program, use the remaining inventory as air strike targets, and try again from scratch. This cursed plane has only destroyed one military target of value: the Pentagon.

And anyone who ever touched the F-35 project from start to finish should be court-martialed, drawn, and quartered, including, if necessary, the corpses of any retirees who have already died. If they remove smaller body parts of offenders like tongues and fingernails with hot pincers during questioning, so much the better.

Pour encourager les autres.


SiGraybeard said...

Have you ever run across "Augustine's Laws", by Norman Augustine? He was the CEO of Martin Marietta back before it merged with Lockheed and became Lock-Mart? This was shared as photocopies in the dark ages when I was in the defense world, but it eventually came out in book form.

His laws are a bunch of very pointed observations about defense contracting and government in general. In addressing the rising cost of fighters, Augustine said (going by memory) by the middle of this century fighters will cost so much, the military will share one. It will require maintenance four days a week. The Navy will fly it Mondays, the Air Force will fly it Wednesdays and the Marines will fly it Fridays.

Notice that being available 3 days a week is 43% available. The F-35 was available 49.6% of the time. I think Augustine was predicting the F-35 and it's not a bad prediction. Kinda fitting since it's a Lock-Mart aircraft.

Glen Filthie said...

Far too early to write it off, Aesop. It’s a new airframe with new technologies going into mass production - delays, fiascos and chit shows have to be expected and are part of the process.

Fact is they’re doing pretty good; getting the V22 off the ground, operational and supportable involved far more headaches and ulcers. For awhile, every other week one of those beasts was in the news because it had torn itself and its aircrew to shreds.

Complicating things is that the F35 and the F22 are now political footballs. If certain individuals were hung out to dry by their necks, and certain team and parties were read The Riot Act ... I suspect operational efficiencies would take a big jump up.

Anonymous said...

50 years ago, the USA sent men to moon and brought them safely back home using machines designed with slide rules. No other country on this green rock has, to date, duplicated that feat. In fact, several countries have recently tried to land unmanned instrument packs on the moon AND FAILED.

Yet today, the USA can't design an aircraft, that doesn't leave the atmosphere, using the latest whiz bang computer aided design tools, to be available to fly more than 50% of the days of the week. So when the Russians or the Chinese or the Norks attack, I guess we'll have to schedule battles on the days when the support aircraft are available to fly and fight.


Anonymous said...

Isn't "Low Observable" one of/the primary feature that's supposed to make it superior to the opposition? If it isn't good at that how much combat effectiveness does it lose?

Anonymous said...

Just as in WW2, when the P38 first came out it was a flying pig. It took Charles Lindbergh himself to DOUBLE the distance it was capable of flying.
Did you ever stop to think that maybe the drone projects are what is really eating up the budgets?
And the SR71's now that they are all "retired" what is flying around 2 1/2 times the speed of sound, surveilling questionable happenings around the world? Satellites can be worked around, but how do you know when and where the Blackbirds(or their replacements) will show up?


Glenda T Goode said...

WWII.....Germans develop the Messerschmidt 262 fighter First flight April 8, 1941.

Did not see combat until mid 1944. Had this plane flown in combat in 1942 we would not have been able to sustain the air campaign. The outcome of the war in Europe would have probably been different. Why didn't the ME-262 fly combat until 3 years after first flight?

Hitler insisted that all fighter aircraft developed be able to serve in the attack role as well as a defense fighter. Imagine the ruin a squadron of ME262s could do to a B-17 led bombing mission had they been in service in numbers in 1942???

Now we have the Swiss army knife F-35 which is supposed to do all the missions that are needed thereby creating an albatross of an air-frame which due to its additional requirements will be unduly expensive and require far more maintenance.

You would think that the powers that be would learn from the past but unfortunately, they have decided to repeat it instead. The F-35 will never reach its goals in both availability and also in terms of the ability to complete all its missions. The cost per flight hour is massive compared to the relatively simple A-10. Yet, the brass in the pentagon fight to eliminate the A-10 to support the F-35 forget the fact that the A-10 is far easier to keep in the air as far as crew hours between missions and the additional support needed for the air frame specifically.

I am a historian and I see patterns in history and patterns in today's policies and agenda issues that are distressingly similar to the failed agendas and policies of the past. If I can see it and can research it as a private citizen, I can imagine that those who have access to even more detailed information can do so with far more accuracy and depth.

At some point these 'pie in the sky' 'uber aircraft' will be the end of our globally advanced air force and what will be left will not serve the American soldier or people in any effective manner.

Aesop said...

Boys and girls, let's recall that this is a wee bit beyond "standard DoD project changes".

The F-35 Thunderjug was in the development pipeline since 1992 (FFS!), didn't fly until fourteen years later, in 2006. And thirteen years later than that, still can't perform it's basic mission sets.

Yet they cost and average of $100M@, and the program is projected to top out at 1.5 Trillion dollars. That's $1500 Billion.

Bear well in mind that for the same price, we could have bought 50 Ford-class nuclear powered aircraft carriers, their associated battle group ships, all their aircraft, and paid for the crews for the next 50 years. Which is 38 or so carriers more than we have now. And had enough money left over to double our submarine fleet, and stand up three more heavy divisions in the Army.

At which point China would be only the third-largest military power on the planet, behind Virginia and Hawaii, separately.

The F-35 Thunderjug is a gold-plated cow patty (except the cow pattie flies better), and it's The P.O.S. That Ate The Pentagon.
It needs a heap o' killin'.

Anonymous said...

Well let's not get all excited and be buying more Ford-class CVN's until THEY can perform THEIR basic mission, to whit, laugh and recover aircraft. Ditch that POS EMALs and go back to steam.
I did see an F-22 do some impressive air show stuff. Not as though that's a measure of combat-effectiveness, however.
Boat Guy

Aesop said...

I didn't say we should, I said we could, based on the price of the newest carrier class (we aren't going to buy old carrier classes).

The point remains: we squandered the shot at a sufficient navy and army to buy craptastic p.o.s. airplanes that still can't do the job they were nominally designed for twenty-seven years ago.

Unknownsailor said...

I am not surprised, and none of you should be either.

I served in a Navy Prowler (EA-6B) squadron for 4 years, 2003-2007. 4 assigned aircraft. More often than not, only one or two could fly. The others would be down for special inspections, or something major broke.

Other squadrons in the air wing would have one or two near permanent hanger queens, aircraft also down for in depth special inspections, or lack of parts. Legacy Hornets for particularly bad, no one makes parts for them any more.

The F-35 has the added maintenance burden of it's exterior coatings that have to be maintained to keep stealth capabilities. The F-22 has the same issue, exterior coatings are a huge deal to full mission readiness state.

I would bet that a significant portion of the air frames listed in the non-mission ready category could fly, if they had to, but they would have greatly degraded mission capability rates. This was often the case with my squadron's aircraft, they could physically fly, but something was wrong with the ALQ-99 jammer system, or one of the other major avionics systems didn't work.

Not going to argue that the do it all approach is bad, it inevitably drives up the cost of the fielded air frame, but in an era of every decreasing budget dollars (inflation is a bitch), no one can afford to field fleets of specialized air frames like we did in the 1980s.

Perhaps if the DoD budget went to 6% of GDP again (6% of 20,580,200,000,000 is 1,234,812,000,000), like it was during the 80s, we could.

Budgets like that are never going to happen again.

15Fixer said...

From 1969-1976, my dad helped design and improve the F-15. It is still one of the World's best, and the DAF is considering re-opening the production lines as the F-15CX and F-15EX using all the design improvements made over the years with OTHER COUNTRIES money. We finally get to improve our planes using someone else's R&D money........

Ominous Cowherd said...

Yet they cost and average of $100M@, and the program is projected to top out at 1.5 Trillion dollars. That's $1500 Billion.

The intent of the Military Industrial Complex is to spend as much money as possible, to spread the pork and the bribes - er, campaign contributions, that is - as widely as possible. It sounds as if the F35 is a rousing success, probably their greatest success to date.

What, did you think it was about having an effective military?

Anonymous said...

Actually, Aesop I WOULD buy more Nimitz-class carriers. Better is the enemy of good enough.
Hell, the CVW of that era is still better -and in the numbers we could buy - than our likely adversaries at sea. Reopen the Tomcat and Intruder lines!
Boat Guy

Ominous Cowherd said...

Better is the enemy of good enough.

Better WWII carriers that work than modern whizz-bangers that can neither whizz nor bang. Not that we should resurrect WWII ships, but we should concentrate on making things that work - if we wanted to have the worlds best military. Instead, we have the world's best system of pork and bribery.

Anonymous said...

Sometime back, four or five years ago, the Air Force was short about 3,000 maintenance personnel. It's kinda hard to keep everything flying when you simply don't have the people to fix them. Sequestration, Obama-era funding cuts, and constant rotations to the sandbox took their toll. On top of that, they were starting to bring an entirely new airframe on-line -- yep, the F-35. Just not enough people to go around. I hear they've been working hard since then on solving this (throwing people at it), but it still takes time to build a skilled, knowledgeable work force.

A.B. Prosper said...

The F35 is doing exactly what it is supposed to, put money in corporate pockets.

Raising the percent GDP to cold war levels as unknownsailor suggested seems ludicrous as we are not going to face any peer power in open war.

China would beat us like a red headed step child and while we might be able to defeat Russia, maybe, they have a nuke on lose policy

We may well not be a nuclear power that can respond in a few decades as we have massive trouble with tritium and capacitors alike.

To the anon at 8:19 there is also a cultural/ethnic complement . Despite population growth the pool of people capable of doing the high end maintenance is shrinking . It was never super huge and would have gotten smaller as system grew more complex, IQ being fixed but we are turning a lot more Latin American than we were and this along with the Commies running education has hurt the pool of people.

None of our military problems are money related anyway, they are related to corruption and beyond that a combination to a completely failed education system and a huge population of people who do not and cannot benefit from education much above age 14 or so.

Of the ones that could, huge numbers have broken families

A real fix means an end to divorce, amass repatriation, a massive rightward shift in education and an economy that provides good jobs and can roughly double the current wages which would catch us up to the 70's as percentage GDP

And Nemo, the US that put a man on the moon was 85% white maybe a bit more with strong intact families who we mostly Christian and had an economy that provided good wages for a large range of skill sets and temperaments

A reduction or around 30% or so of your founding ethnos, the ones with the traits required to do these things combined with the failure of education, marriage and economy means US decline is inevitable and by the 2030's or so will resemble Brazil if it doesn't crack up

The only way to reverse that is essentially a right wing authoritarian state, a dictatorship of the actual Right till the Reds are gone and we can build some kind of system that works

None of this running away to Monticello crap, no money cucking you have to stay there, your boots on necks for two to four decades at the minimum till a new moral order is achieved

Given the "muh freedom" and Libertarian bent of much of the rebel right, this probably won't happen at all so Brail 2 here we come

The upside I guess is once we go broke, a lot of carpetbaggers will leave and ther State won't be pestering anyone nearly as much. No money plus a heavily armed population means a lot less intrusive government

markshere2 said...

The pilot union is dead set against removing meatsacks from the cockpit because ... union.

Unmanned aerial vehicles outperform in every aspect of what airplanes have to do to win: climb loiter maneuver payload ...and most importantly ...cost.

You can buy a swarm of uav fighters for the cost of a f35. Ditto cargo and bombers and recon and ground attack airplanes.

Economy of scale becomes a thing again.

The Gray Man said...

The F-22 has better survivalibility against the SU-35 than the F-35 does. Actually the F-35 has basically no survivabikify against it. So I guess that isn’t saying much. I’ve seen a few tests run where the F-22 actually had a positive kill ratio against the SU-35. Of course the F-35 was in the red on those tests and all others.