Saturday, July 7, 2018

Abort This Thalidomide Baby

Both of the above are the pride of long-outdated technology; both are full of the exact same substance, by design. But unlike the mongers of the upper item, 19th century ceramicists of the caliber of Wedgewood would have never, in their wildest dreams, designed their wares so that the user of the lower item had to sit inside it. That attempted "improvement" has been solely the province of Lockheed-Martin, purveyors of a hoary line of solidly awful and craptastic designs since pretty much ever, after they got past the ubiquitous C-130 and the SR-71.

From Cold Fury today:
This is the U.S.’s Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the next generation of American fighter jets. It has been in development since 1992. All told the program is slated to cost upwards of a trillion dollars. 
It’s also supposed to be a single plane shared between the Marines, Air Force, and Navy. This is where the problems start.  
And it is one of the most colossal pieces of shit ever created.
 The F-35 Thunderjug (named as it ought to be, after the once-ubiquitous underbed depository of nightsoil, whose lineage to the F-35 is a direct line) is a testimony to the ghost of Robert MacNamara, the last genius who foisted such a colossal piece of offal on the DoD and the American people, his crowning gold-plated turdnugget being the FB-111, an imaginarily “joint” fighter bomber so horrid it was too heavy to land and take off from the carriers it was supposed to grace, and was sh*tcanned by SecNav and CNO, back when admirals and service chiefs still had a pair. So instead, both the F-4 and A-6 soldiered on until the F-14 and F-18 took over.

The supposed advantages of the F-35 are illusory, the compromises to produce an AF, Navy, and Marine aircraft are legion, and the best thing SecDef Mattis and Trump could do to cement the renaissance of the US military is to kill the entire boondoggle, tie it around the necks of the Obozo, Clinton, and Bush (both of them) administrations, and start all over with appropriate aircraft tailored to be world-beating fire breathers for each of those services, in the respective services’ intended roles.
If sub-assemblies, whether one or many, happen to be shared in common, well and good, but the point of an aircraft is to win in the role it is designed for, and you can no more make a Marine expeditionary CAS bird, a Navy carrier-based tactical bomber, and a USAF ground-based bomber the same aircraft than you can take a surface sailor and put him in a USAF air wing or Marine grunt battalion.

They are complementary roles, and similar, but not identical. Sandpaper and toilet paper are both useful items, but hardly interchangeable.

And anyone in charge of the F-35 with service rank should be cashiered from the military, in any grade from O-10 down to W-1, and the entire production team punished and penalized to the legal limits of DoD’s discretion for future work. They have sold out the country for promotions and contracts, and that needs punishing.

Instead of trying to cram everything including the kitchen sink into a mythical all-in-one A-6/A-10/F-14/F-16/F-18 replacement (and also Piper Cub/B-17/C-47/PBY/B-52/Zeppelin replacement, if you read the sales brochures), figure out what made each service’s airframe needing replacement work, and make each of those better, to the limit of 2018 technology, rather than that of 1985. It may be that they can largely share a cockpit, but everything from forward of the stick and behind the pilot’s seat to the tail should probably be hugely different in each version, for 10,000 good, sound aeronautical engineering and tactical reasons. This is why a B-2 doesn’t look anything like a C-17, or an F-22, and all of those are in the same service.

The F-35 isn’t having teething problems; it’s a thalidomide baby. It’s not an actual human fetus, so abort that disaster, with extreme prejudice, and don’t spend another penny on the catastrophe it was always going to be, is, and will always be.

Make the F-35 Thunderjug, the prototypical DoD Turd With Wings, go away forever.
Stop rewarding Lockheed's horrid sub-standard aeronautical engineering and superb ability to bamboozle and bribe their way to contracts, instead of make world-beating aircraft.

Like James Cameron should have done decades ago with the atrocious sequels to Aliens: pretend they were all just a horribly bad dream, and never really happened, and the fans will instantly forgive you. Put first you must have that "come to Jesus" moment, admit the error, and then you have pull the "flush" handle on the prior effort.

After a good advance on a trillion dollars has been utterly wasted, America and her military have been punished enough.


paul scott said...

I imagined I could get through my entire life without knowing anything at all about fighter jets. You've ruined this hope. I am threatened, have to go to a safe space to lie down.
Even though you say James Cameron should never have happened he did, he came to our New Zealand, and we can't get rid of him. Nor Peter Jackson.
Everything is bad except the reality that the tyranny of the left in the USA is on its way to self-destruction.

The Gray Man said...

I really wish the military would stop trying to jam "fast movers" into CAS roles. When I was in Afghanistan, we never had to call for CAS under major fire, but there were a few times we requested it if possible. Of course it was always possible. When we requested CAS, we didn't really want "fast movers". We wanted:


One of those is what we wanted. Not some jet carrying a bomb, that flies in at Mach 1 and flies out even faster. Sure, a bomb is nice, but it is what it is: Fighter/Bombers are not CAS.

Badger said...

RIP "Kelly" Johnson (who my Mom had the delight of working for during the war (P-38 mods) and again during the "cold" one. His unwritten 15th Rule:

"Starve before doing business with the damned Navy. They don't know what the hell they want and will drive you up a wall before they break either your heart or a more exposed part of your anatomy."

The now defamed word Lockheed should be removed from the company name. Heartily concur with your suggested disposition of the people associated with this monstrosity.

Aesop said...

@paul scott,
I never said James Cameron shouldn't have happened, just some of his movies.
And your life-plans are still intact, as the F-35 isn't a fighter (as countless exercises have demonstrated repeatedly), and only barely a jet.

The Thunderjug is to actual combat aircraft what the Trabant is to actual cars.

SiGraybeard said...

It’s also supposed to be a single plane shared between the Marines, Air Force, and Navy.

And the damned thing is so expensive that it might literally be a single plane. The AF flies on Mondays, the Navy gets it on Wednesdays and Marines on Fridays. The other four days it's being rebuilt ... um ... in maintenance.

I'm 6' tall. My wife is 4'10". I like to stand next to her and say, "one size never fits all". Doesn't work for aircraft either.

Anonymous said...

has anyone contacted Trump yet?

Angantyr said...

"The Thunderjug is to actual combat aircraft what the Trabant is to actual cars"


Glad I wasn't drinking coffee when I read this.

Pat H. said...

We Southern Nationalists applaud the degradation of the US government's military, it is a direct reflection of the US government itself, an entity that has been rogue since at least 1861 when it unlawfully invaded out southern lands and murdered over 500,000 of my people.

it's finally is coming home.

Aesop, that you're wasting your brain power on dragging the US government out of its well deserved downhill slide is a wasteful activity.

Aesop said...

Perhaps because, living 2500 miles closer to a failed state than yourself Pat, I see that military as rather more necessary than evil.

Jim Scrummy said...

Well, former SecDef William Perry was one of SecDef McNamara's "whiz" kids who came up with that brainfart of the F-111B followed by the F-35. Even Boyd knew the F-111A couldn't dogfight for shinola, hence the F-15 and F-16 were his babies. I was working in the aerospace industry when winning the JSF contract was the big thing on the weapon acquisition street. The preliminary competition knocked out the old McDonnell Douglas company when they lost the first round. I remember asking a Lockheed engineer from Fort Worth how they were going to replicate the A-10 mission profile...he said and I quote..."TECHNOLOGY"? Really? To go down in the mud and provide CAS with a plane that was going to cost more than the F-22 (Thanks "Hoss" Cartwright for killing that plane on the Hill, you should still be in jail you POS, maybe your son-in-law's brother will do some time...Peter Strzok)? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense...??? Anyway, the Israelis have used the F-35I (their version with a beefed up ECM Suite and other goodies they've added on) in limited combat with good results thus far, and may have done some Pysops warfare with them...

Canceling the program is a non-starter unfortunately. Not sure if any of the tooling is still around for the F-22, since it was built at 3 different facilities (Boeing did the wing assembly, with Lockheed doing the assembly at Fort Worth and final at Marrieta)? The F-16s and FA-18ABCDs are all near the end of their airframe life expectancy. The only F-15s flying are some the Cs & Ds (mostly in the ANG) and most of the E's. The combat air fleet is old and worn out. The F-35 is the only game in town for the foreseeable future. I've heard about the F-44 Mustang II, but, it's still in the unlit charcoal phase.

0007 said...

I worked on the F-22 program at one of the facilities of that company which will not be named. When the program was cancelled at 187(?) aircraft instead of the 1000+, all of the jigs at that plant were carefully shrink-wrapped and shipped out to an undisclosed location.