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Seems like the Pentagon is having seconds thoughts about the F-35 programmeIf this bird did not meet the performance as estipulated in the contract not the price (lets not forget that it started at about 56 million and now it is 85 million PLUS the cost of engines ~ 115 million) this damn weapons programme has to be ditched and the responsable individuals have to explain where and how they were wrong so that this does not happen again (this is wishful thinking of course) (www.fool.com) More...
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For those with a knowledge of history, nearly every time in the past the pentagon wanted to have a do-all aircraft it fell short of expectations and cost more than was forecast. Case in point, the F4 Phantom. The Air Force wanted a missle platform, the Navy wanted a CAP fighter, and the Marines wanted a ground support aircraft that could dogfight if needed - sound familiar? The compromises on the aircraft to make it a be-all weapon system left it over weight, (initially) under powered, no internal gun, poor rear visibility and with few supporters of the aircraft when it was originally built. The F4 was designed ina commitee with far too many cooks in the kitchen and we are seeing this same sequence play out once again with the F35. Eventually, the aircraft will be delivered and enter operations, the pilots will figure out how to make it perform its designated mission - work around it flaws - and its merits will eventually over shadow its compromises. The F35 is everything to the cooks in the kitchen and it will be delivered inspite of anything the critics of the program can offer up now.
I think you are correct with " it will be delivered inspite of anything the critics of the program can offer up". The question is that when it is delivered, can it deliver as advertized. Given that bombs don't fit in the bomb bay as the few rounds the cannon holds won't fire for years yet, I must take it's prowess with a grain of salt.
Joel, the current thinking is the internal bays will be used for air-to-air capabilities (since the internal gun is a big question right now) and ejectable ordinance racks will be hung under the wings to tote bombs and ground attack missles. So much for any stealth capabilities in the tactical ground support role. Granted, everyone was expecting a step up from the F16/F18/AV8B 3rd/4th gen platforms, but only time and the pilots who fly the F35 will decide the aircraft's worth.
Great set of comments Tim. They will fix & figure it out like they did with the F4. Having seen this aircraft up close and personal at EAA Airventure this year, I can tell you that it is a work of *art* compared to the F4, however! The pilot was absolutely glowing as he talked about flying it.
The guys I've talked to who actually fly the thing say it's light years ahead of anything else out there (but they admittedly haven't flown a Raptor ;) ), so I wish people would just chill out and see what happens. Anybody who thinks life at L-M has been all peaches and cream are delusional (Chalet). The amount of pressure on the development team is more than most any of us here have ever experienced in their professional life.
...and even more so at the first tier suppliers of systems for the F35.