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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

Old 4th Apr 2019, 07:08
  #11781 (permalink)  
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Old 4th Apr 2019, 08:11
  #11782 (permalink)  
 
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I would guess both unit cost numbers are right. It's just depending what unit cost you are quoting.




Last edited by golder; 4th Apr 2019 at 08:31.
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Old 4th Apr 2019, 11:30
  #11783 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
And you are wrong by about 70 years. My impressions were formed form 80's to 90's. If things have gotten better since, GREAT!
But with Erdogan being a likely cause of another brain drain, I would hedge my bets.
That's another Turkey strength. Turkish industry is very independent and actually dictates a lot of political decisions. In all honesty, I've never heard of brain drain from Turkey. Do you have some reading for me to do on that topic? I see that Turkey always forces a condition in all government contracts that young Turkish engineers work alongside foreign managers. Saw that at the mountain dams construction, but then again, I'm not claiming full knowledge of the field.
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Old 4th Apr 2019, 11:50
  #11784 (permalink)  
 
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Just thinking out loud. (Sorry for the political angle.) Pentagon is the party most dependent on Turkey to produce the F-35 components. But it's also the Pentagon that pushes the block on S-400. It looks strangely superficial and conflicting. You just don't push away the country that you depend on so much for a program. And S-400 is far from new. It can't be such a huge threat. If anything, Pentagon should be interested to see how it performs against its planes and work on countermeasures.

We know Erdogan is not a pushover and will likely react in some spectacularly explosive fashion. It's also very likely that Turkey leaving the program will delay the program even further and make it even more expensive which in turn will justify the Pentagon to pull the plug on the whole shebang. Can it be that some faction in the Pentagon are simply trying to get rid of the program this way?

Lockheed is a great innovator but their innovations are always so "ahead of its time" that they take decades (and a lot of money) to realize, and by the time they are flying, it's too late and nobody wants (or needs) the aircraft they produced, and the technology has stepped further forward making the aircraft irrelevant or even obsolete. I'm thinking about SR-71 - by the time it was ready to spy on the USSR, the latter already had MiG-25 and R-40 missiles; F-117 - even during the development it was quite clear that Soviet radars can easily track it (likely because it was based on the scientific research done by a Soviet scientist).

The F-35's "common platform" concept is of the same kind - looked amazing on paper but turned into a nightmare and limited the capabilities of all three variants. Moreover, it turned out that Lockheed didn't have and couldn't develop the vertical take-off design, so they had to invite Yakovlev's engineers who worked on Yak-141 to develop it and delegate the manufacturing to Rolls-Royce.

I know that Lockheed's "Skunk Works" is considered the most advanced engineering team but in my very humble opinion they are nothing more than a bunch of childish dreamers who are always trying to perform way beyond their engineering and technical abilities. Harsh?
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Old 4th Apr 2019, 13:07
  #11785 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ProPax View Post
That's another Turkey strength. Turkish industry is very independent and actually dictates a lot of political decisions. In all honesty, I've never heard of brain drain from Turkey. Do you have some reading for me to do on that topic? I see that Turkey always forces a condition in all government contracts that young Turkish engineers work alongside foreign managers. Saw that at the mountain dams construction, but then again, I'm not claiming full knowledge of the field.
In the last five or so years, and this is directly related to the "coup" and the reaction to it, the intelligensia in Turkey has come under political attack by Erdogan's government: educators, etc. This is the kind of thing that can (though may not) lead to a brain drain wherein that core of any modern / industrial society may begin to migrate. Has that happened to a damaging extent? Unclear at this time, and it hopefully won't.
We see a bit of the Venezuelan brain drain where I live, as people have arrived from there over the past five years. The Brain Drain coming out of Mexico and into Texas has been happening for decades. A good number of my neighbors and friends are either related to, or are, educated people (many of them are graduates of the university in Monterry) who cannot find opportunity in their home country. So they come here.

As to the "need" for Turkey to be part of the F-35: we have plenty of allies, and that "plan" preceded the Erdogan government showing up. If they become politically unreliable, a deal can be made with someone else. (I suspect that UK industry would not mind a plus up in terms of engineering/manitenance business, for one). What I think was the attraction of Turkey was cost/burdened hour, or the perception of lower labor costs.

I agree with you that the longer term plan for the F-35 has run into Erdogan's choosing to change course for Turkey, and the US reacting to that. Where I disagree is your implication that the Pentagon is acting in isolation. No, it isn't. This whole mess is a part of the political continuum. Politics never ends; there is no stop in play in politics.

As to the skunk works and the "one size fits all" - One Size Fits All was a Congressional Mandate. Pure Politics. Both Boeing and LM tried to make a one size fits all to meet that requirement. It's the F-111 all over again.
As to pushing the edge of the tech envelope and reaching the point of diminishing returns, that's the subject of a PhD dissertation, not a post on PPRuNe.

Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 4th Apr 2019 at 13:17.
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Old 4th Apr 2019, 15:19
  #11786 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
In the last five or so years, and this is directly related to the "coup" and the reaction to it, the intelligensia in Turkey has come under political attack by Erdogan's government: educators, etc. This is the kind of thing that can (though may not) lead to a brain drain wherein that core of any modern / industrial society may begin to migrate. Has that happened to a damaging extent? Unclear at this time, and it hopefully won't.
Erdogan didn't come from nowhere. Turkey or rather the Ottoman Empire was a powerful state in the Middle East. They fought twelve wars with Russia alone (6-3 to Russia with three ties). They crushed Syrians, Persians, Arabs, Brits. But after Attaturk reforms Turkey became more peaceful and many people thought that some other countries took advantage. So Erdogan's ideas of "more Turkey" were initially met with a lot of long-supressed patriotism. He later lost a lot of that support, particularly in scientific and legal communities. But I definitely don't see any brain drain from Turkey, other than the usual "better life" seekers.

Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
We see a bit of the Venezuelan brain drain where I live, as people have arrived from there over the past five years. The Brain Drain coming out of Mexico and into Texas has been happening for decades. A good number of my neighbors and friends are either related to, or are, educated people (many of them are graduates of the university in Monterry) who cannot find opportunity in their home country. So they come here.
No idea where you live and I definitely can't say anything about Venezuela or Mexico. I suspect that political instability and drug wars respectively drive a lot of people out of the country. "And some of them are good people" (c).

Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
As to the "need" for Turkey to be part of the F-35: we have plenty of allies, and that "plan" preceded the Erdogan government showing up. If they become politically unreliable, a deal can be made with someone else. (I suspect that UK industry would not mind a plus up in terms of engineering/manitenance business, for one). What I think was the attraction of Turkey was cost/burdened hour, or the perception of lower labor costs.
Turkey is chepER not cheap. I'll use shipbuilding as an example again. Turkey is cheaper than, say, Germany or Norway, but much more technologically advanced than, for example, China or Poland. That's their strong part. I don't think, however, that they were chosen because of their cheaper labor. Turkey is the key partner in the NATO. Turkey leaves, and Germany will follow. And after that, keeping France and Spain will be nye on impossible. Again, maybe dismantling NATO is the purpose of these shenannigans, who knows.

You (I suppose you mean the US?) have other allies that can take over that work, but how much will it cost to transfer the production of something as complicated as the wingbox to another country? My guess is, hundreds of millions. Not to mention it will take a lot of time to get this done and reroute all logistics. It may push the program back years. I just don't think this project will survive such a blow.

Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
I agree with you that the longer term plan for the F-35 has run into Erdogan's choosing to change course for Turkey, and the US reacting to that. Where I disagree is your implication that the Pentagon is acting in isolation. No, it isn't. This whole mess is a part of the political continuum. Politics never ends; there is no stop in play in politics.
I never said Pentagon is acting in isolation. On the contrary, Pentagon is trying to distance itself from the political aspects of their decision. But it seems that their goal is to bury this project. I don't think they want the F-35 anymore. They'd much rather redirect resources (and purchase power) towards unmanned fighters. I just don't see any other reason for this horns-in-the-ground standoff with S-400.

Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
As to the skunk works and the "one size fits all" - One Size Fits All was a Congressional Mandate.
I didn't know that. My understanding was that Lockheed proposed this idea. Very interesting. If it was the Congressional Mandate, then it was a stupid one. One size fits all NEVER works. And if this same project is any indication, it would be much cheaper and faster to develop three different planes by three different manufacturers. They could've given the F-35A to Boeing, F-35B (is that the vertical liftoff?) to Lockheed, and F-35C to EADS+BAE. THAT would be a great political and technological move.
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Old 4th Apr 2019, 17:47
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Old 4th Apr 2019, 20:59
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Originally Posted by ProPax View Post
I didn't know that. My understanding was that Lockheed proposed this idea. Very interesting. If it was the Congressional Mandate, then it was a stupid one. One size fits all NEVER works.
This "joint" thing traces back to the comms and interoperatiblity snafus during Grenada, 1983. From that came Goldwater Nichols Act. But there was a heck of a lot more to it than that. Joint Doctrine became a bit thing in the 90's, and the "roles and missions" power play between all four services also ran into the "why can't we do it cheaper and generically to reduce cost." And so on. There were Joint Requirements Documents writtend for V22 in the 80's. (Won't go off topic on that either). And there is the perception that Joint will save money. (As above, so it was believed with F-111) The common platform requirement guaranteed that nothing would be optimized. That LM came up with some neat ideas that eventually had a lot do to with JSF hardly made F-35 As Is inevitable. Boeing could have won the bid, but didn't.
And I think I remember correctly that the loss of the A-12 (A-6 replacement) left the USN in a "we got no Stealth" mode that they had not planned on, which made getting on the band wagon with the stealthy "low cost" fighter an easier decision because that Roles and Missions debate was a huge motivator on "From the sea" strategy (read "fund me") posture in the 90's and the later versions of the martitime strat after that.
It's a real hairball.
As to Moving from Turkey to somewhere else: yeah, I'd expect to see a price increase.
As to Turkey being the "key" NATO ally. That's a reach. But they are certainly sitting in a decent piece of real estate at the moment.
But wait, other NATO allies have pulled people out, to include the Germans.
IMO, the Critical NATO ally in the Southern Region is, and remains, Italy.
Location, Location, Location.
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Old 5th Apr 2019, 14:04
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Erdoğan asks Turkish scientists abroad to return home
Thanks, ORAC, I will try to read all this as soon as I can.
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Old 5th Apr 2019, 14:33
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
IMO, the Critical NATO ally in the Southern Region is, and remains, Italy.
As I started to read this sentence I had a sinking feeling in my stomach expecting you to shoot down my argument too easily. I honestly expected to see "Greece" at the end of this sentence. But ITALY!? The problems I see with Italy (in the NATO context) are:

1. Government corruption the depth and prevaence of which can only compete with that of Nigeria (and I'd be hard pressed to name the winner). Whatever money you give Italy to build anything will be stolen. Any dealings with Italy will by definition be plagued with endless "funds misapropriations". I have very limited information about corruption in Turkey but I haven't heard any horror stories, either.

2. (As a potential F-35 partner) Quality of work. Italians are world-notorious for shoddy workmanship. And it doesn't matter which area you touch, from rusting cars to 787 delaminating fuselages. Twenty people quit Scuderia Ferrari when Jean Todt banned Chainti bottles on workbenches in 1997. Turkey, on the other hand, are well-known for making good stuff. I heard good reviews of Renault Symbol and some Ford trucks they make.

3. Weak army. Italy is the only participant of WWII who lost to ALL opposing parties from Brits in Africa to Americans in Europe to Soviet and Yugoslavian partisans in the north. The latter, if I remember correctly, stole an object as large as Benito Mussoulini and later hanged him. I just don't remember ANY significant (or actually any) victories by Italian army. They managed to lose a battle in Africa in the absence of an opponent. Whereas Turkey, as I said earlier, has a long and victorious battle history. They were the ones who defeated the unbeatable Persians, Arabs, Crusaders, Russians, etc. I'm not a historian, so correct me if I'm wrong.

4. Location. THAT is Italy's weakest point, methinks. It is either too far from or too close to just about everything. It's too far from the Middle East and Africa to launch any serious fighter or bomber missions with anything smaller than B-52. But at the same time they are close enough for a naval attack or an air raid from the opposite side. Under the current INF Treaty, Italy is too far to launch a nuclear attack on the "potential opponents". However it can easily be reached by things like Tu-22M3 or Su-34.

It's geopolitical position is both advantageous and useless. On the one hand, it's well positioned to control the Mediterranean Sea, but on the other, the Mediterranean is controled by those who control the Dardanelles, the Suez Canal and Gibraltar, and that's NOT Italy.

Turkey, however, is positioned almost ideally having common borders with Syria and Iran (Or is it Iraq? Or both?) on one side, and with Greece, Armenia, and Russia on the other. Thus it also wins on location, location, location.

As a side note I can also add Italy's zero respect from the surrounding countries. It is valued as a tourist destination but hardly anything else. Turkey, on the other hand, is a force to be reckoned with, both within the region and internationally. The US southern offensive on Iraq didn't happen because Turkey said "No". Can you imagine Italy saying no to the US?

All-in-all, I believe Turkey is much more important to NATO and the US.
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Old 5th Apr 2019, 20:22
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Turkey, however, is positioned almost ideally having common borders with Syria and Iran (Or is it Iraq? Or both?) on one side, and with Greece, Armenia, and Russia on the other. Thus it also wins on location, location, location.
If the assumption is that NATO is who wants to go to a fight in the Middle East. I am not convinced.
But no worries, two people can look at the same geostrategic situation and arrive at different conclusions. If one presumes that NATO is, in a unified sense, committed to going off to fight in the Middle East - Iran, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, and so on, yeah, what you laid out makes sense and fits a perfectly TurkoCentric view of the Eastern Med.
Eastern Med.
The NATO Southern Region goes from the straits of Gibraltar to Istanbul. Not just the Eastern Med.
I do not believe that NATO is so committed. (The US might, or might not be, depending upon which clown-of-the-week we have in the White House)

Aside:
I worked for a Turk for about 3 years in NATO. Good man, and I hope Erdogan's purges have not harmed him. Learned quite a bit from him about trying to see the world from a Turko Centric view. Enlightening, to say the least.
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Old 7th Apr 2019, 09:28
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
If the assumption is that NATO is who wants to go to a fight in the Middle East. I am not convinced.
If the past 16 years of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen are any indication, I don't think it's an assumption. And it's no longer about wanting to go to war. I just don't think NATO, i.e. the US, have any choice. They try to "withdraw" but they get get drawn back into it, deeper each time. Their dear friends Saudi Arabia makes more enemies in the region every day and have now become a rogue state in everything but the official definition.

Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
But no worries, two people can look at the same geostrategic situation and arrive at different conclusions. If one presumes that NATO is, in a unified sense, committed to going off to fight in the Middle East - Iran, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, and so on, yeah, what you laid out makes sense and fits a perfectly TurkoCentric view of the Eastern Med.
Israel maybe not, they fight their own wars and love every minute of it. But other countries - very likely. NATO is already involved in Iraq and Syria; Egypt and Lybia will follow soon, likely to be joined by Nigeria and Sudan who also share the anti-Western sentiments. Just like Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS before them, this whole "Arab spring" will backfire tremendously on the US in the coming years, and NATO will be drawn in those wars. And while Turkey is not quite the ticket geographically, for those potential conflicts, it is a Muslim country that can mediate a lot of rough edges.

Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
The NATO Southern Region goes from the straits of Gibraltar to Istanbul. Not just the Eastern Med.
I do not believe that NATO is so committed. (The US might, or might not be, depending upon which clown-of-the-week we have in the White House)
True. But NATO is not about where they ARE, but from whom they are defending themselves. And that area is slightly different. Most of NATO potential enemies lie to the east and south-east of Europe. Turkey is the ideal (and very willing!) "buffer" between the NATO and the Orient. Losing it as a NATO partner will be devastating, because then Greece becomes the buffer, and I seriously doubt they are capable or willing to do that particular job. Losing Italy as a NATO partner means no good capuccino at NATO summits, quite an acceptable damage.

Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
I worked for a Turk for about 3 years in NATO. Good man, and I hope Erdogan's purges have not harmed him. Learned quite a bit from him about trying to see the world from a Turko Centric view. Enlightening, to say the least.
Erdogan is not Pol Pot or Ronald Reagan, don't worry. I worked with Turks a few years ago. Didn't have any personal friendships but was pleased to see how hardworking and thorough they are. Turkish may be misled at the moment, but they are far from radical, and what they need right now is a boost to their pride, NOT being told what to do, which is exactly what Pentagon and the Hair Force One are doing. Turkey needs to be told loudly and publicly that they are the cherished and respected partner without whom nothing will work. This latest F-35 disaster (NOW we're back on topic!) will only drive them further away and deeper into the nationalist tempest.
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Old 7th Apr 2019, 12:53
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Originally Posted by ProPax View Post
If the past 16 years of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen are any indication, I don't think it's an assumption.
The amount of support for those varies, and it seems to decrease (among the allies) as time goes on. That the US had a serious and public fracas with Turkey in re what was going on in Northern Syria, to the point that they pulled people out of the country, isn't a small thing. (Though such rifts can be healed if there is good will on both sides).
I just don't think NATO, i.e. the US, have any choice. They try to "withdraw" but they get get drawn back into it, deeper each time.
I think it is very much choice since the decision to go into Iraq in 2003. The Germans and French chose to provide some support in Afghanistan, but not in Iraq. Each such situation will be colored by national interests, as does Aircraft Buying. (Hey, back on topic) The Germans are not buying the F-35; that recently became clear. You make the point that you think Turkey leaving NATO means Germany soon follows. Not sure how that works, but perhaps the Germans can underwrite the new Turkish fighter needs, rather than the Americans, when the German requirements and planning goes into full swing. That does not help NATO, though, in terms of commonality and support for operations with a common air frame. But we already deal with that and know how to.
Their dear friends Saudi Arabia
With friends like those, who needs enemies? I was personally glad to see the Turkish response to that killing ...
. NATO is already involved in Iraq and Syria; Egypt and Lybia will follow soon,
Here we disagree. Libya has come and gone as a NATO operation and I disagree that NATO will go into Egypt. The desire to untangle / disengage in Syria is palpable but does fall afoul of the point you raised previously: hard to get out.
likely to be joined by Nigeria and Sudan who also share the anti-Western sentiments.
Significantly different geostrategic situations, particularly Nigeria.
Just like Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS before them, this whole "Arab spring" will backfire tremendously on the US
It already has. What began as support for it has cooled/faded.
in the coming years, and NATO will be drawn in those wars.
Given the public response to both the Syria and Libya across NATO, I very much doubt it.
And while Turkey is not quite the ticket geographically, for those potential conflicts, it is a Muslim country that can mediate a lot of rough edges.
Yes. the question here is the confidence, or lack there of, in the Erdogan regime's ability to play the honest broker. He's pissed away a lot of good will.
Turkey is the ideal (and very willing!) "buffer" between the NATO and the Orient.
So Far. Mr Erdogan has demonstrated a Turkey First and Turkey as local regional leader platform (understandable if you look at the world from where he sits) which may or may not align with the broader NATO goals (whatever those may be). His cuddling up with Putin sends a powerfully negative signal.
Losing it as a NATO partner will be devastating, because then Greece becomes the buffer,
Yeah, that's a clear eyed take on it. Your underselling of Italy's position I'll simply disagree with.
This latest F-35 disaster (NOW we're back on topic!) will only drive them further away and deeper into the nationalist tempest.
This latest F-35 kerfluffle is a symptom, not a cause.
As with the Israelis, who was really paying for the F-35's there? I remember some loan guarantees on an FMS contract from 20 years ago that underwrote the Turks 'buying' modern aircraft. They didn't have the money, so who was paying the bill? Washington.

As bloody expensive as the F-35 is, do you really think Turkey is playing cash and carry? I don't.

I'll guess at less NATO, not more, in Libya soon unless the Italians and French decide that they have to go in.

Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 8th Apr 2019 at 14:59. Reason: Libya update
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Old 9th Apr 2019, 10:19
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F-35B aircraft will head to Cyprus later this year

On UK Defence Journal.

F-35B aircraft will head to Cyprus later this year for their first overseas deployment.

The UK currently owns 17 F-35B aircraft with the reformed 617 Sqn having arrived back in the UK last year.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“These formidable fighters are a national statement of our intent to protect ourselves and our allies from intensifying threats across the world.

This deployment marks an important milestone in this game-changing aircraft’s journey to becoming fully operational.”




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Old 9th Apr 2019, 11:07
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
As with the Israelis, who was really paying for the F-35's there? I remember some loan guarantees on an FMS contract from 20 years ago that underwrote the Turks 'buying' modern aircraft. They didn't have the money, so who was paying the bill? Washington.
And here's where my favorite point arrives. Who the heck needs F-35 at all? Washington?

F-35 per se started in 2000. But it can easily be traced to a Joint Strike Fighter program which started in 1993!!! But even if we take the X-35 as a starting point, it's been 19 years since its inception. The technology has stepped so far forward that it is now possible to fly planes via a satellite while sitting in a shipping container somewhere in the wild west.

F-35 is, as close as makes no difference, obsolete. As usually, it took Lockheed too long to develop a fantasy concept. It has a pilot onboard which in today's world is considered Victorian. Recent UAV developments showed that the signal can be transmitted fast enough to even perform SOME evasive maneuvers and launch air-to-air missiles.

F-35 was made for the Big War, like a WWIII. It's designed to attack or repel a massive armada of enemy forces. Anything other than that, and it's useless. As with the F-22 it's "too valuable to...". F-22 started flying in 1997 but managed to avoid all conflicts where it could be useful - Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria. Pentagon was worried that it could fall into enemy's hands and reveal its secrets. The same will happen to the F-35. It will be kept on friendly bases and guarded from any exposure.

Erdogan doesn't risk anything by losing F-35. Turkey, like no other country, knows what an old but thoroughly upgraded fighter is capable of. Their Israel-upgraded F-4 Terminator 2020 are still flying. Su-35S is a fifth-generation fighter in everything but "stealth". But "stealth" characteristics is hardly anything but a "selling point". The planes are still very well visible on the radars and enemy missiles can see them just as well. However, "stealth" reduces maneuverability and flight characteristics due to a certain shape the plane has to take.

Ergo, my humble opinion - this whole Turkey affair is little more than a badly made show. And my personal prediction - F-35 will soon be gone just like the F-22 was with a couple of hundred built.
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Old 9th Apr 2019, 12:44
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JASDF F-35 missing?

It seems the JASDF may have lost an F-35...

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2...ific-govt.html

-RP
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Old 9th Apr 2019, 12:57
  #11797 (permalink)  
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I was going to make a joke about radar contact being lost - but if no calls were made it seems something catastrophic. Let’s just hope the pilot got out.
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Old 9th Apr 2019, 14:34
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Someone started a separate thread on that; I suggest we use that to discuss this unfortunate incident.
No matter the plane - be it Cessna 172 or F-35 - one eventually goes down.
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 15:59
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So to summarize, F-35 is not "stealth" for the foreign buyers with some saying it's worse than the 40-year-old F-16. Most of its advertized features, like the helmet vision toys, don't work. AND it falls out of the sky for no apparent reason. Who the heck still wants to buy a $100m thing that's worse than most of $30-50m things available in abundance on the market!?
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 19:51
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Originally Posted by gums View Post
Salute ProPax!
Where are the factual basis for :

The helmet is working very well or we would have had numerous crashes when the folks are doing things you have not thought of or can imagine. Have you seen the optical and other sensor systems that dwarf anything previous fighter/attack planes have? You can actually look thru the floor using that : helmet toy".
Makes it real easy to land on a small carrier like the Marines do. Awfully nice to "check six", ya think? The radar is an orderr of magnitude more capable than existing attack planes anyone has flying.

And then this
:

Where is that news breaking headline coming from?

This plane has had a lower crash/loss/whatever in its first few hundred thousands than we have seen since the F-106 in the 60's, and maybe the USAF A-7D in the 70's.

There is a lotta difference between "falling outta the sky" and "hitting the ground when you do not want to". The only in-flight loss of the F-35 was a Bee model that USMC flies and it had a fuel line failure. We had one takeoff motor failure here in Florida, no "crash", and USAF plus P&W motor folks figured out how to cure the problem.
And then,

Price is now less than the $100 million unit cost, and remember that military unit price includes "x" years of repairs, modifications, upgrades and the amortized amount that the whole program costed from concept to contract to testing to tooling up to all the training and such. Hell, even Boeing sold the 737 Max, with its fatal flaw, arguing that no additional training costs or such woukld be required of the buyers. Explain that to the families over 300 folks such as yourself, the " Professional passenger ", from your profile. Oh yeah, your small SUV would cost a million dollars if the company only made 1,000 of them and tacked on a percentage of the design, development and such of your cost. SO it's more a basic economis lesson than a political assertion.
++++++++++++++++++
I flew three planes within one year of when they were adopted by USAF ( although one was not declared "operational" for the military mission for another year). So my opinions of the F-35 safety record is not without a few thousand hours of experience.
And then.....
Flash.......................
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