F-35 Engineering Challenges

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Winston, Nov 2, 2019.

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  1. Nov 2, 2019 #1

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

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    I think that many years from now there will be a "Great Planes" episode about it on TV just like there is now about the F-16, F-15, A-10, etc. An awesome aircraft well described in an excellent video. The answer to his price question: absolutely.

    F-35 Engineering Challenges

     
  2. Nov 2, 2019 #2

    BBowmaster

    BBowmaster

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    The most expensive military in the world is the one that’s second best.
     
  3. Nov 2, 2019 #3

    cwbullet

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    I don't think so. We have the most professional and well-trained military in the world. The video is a bunch of hype. Our technology goes well beyond the aircraft itself.
     
    Flyfalcons, Mugs914 and John Taylor like this.
  4. Nov 3, 2019 #4

    Peartree

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    I think you're misunderstanding his point. I could be wrong, but I think the point is that regardless of absolute dollars, it's always more expensive to lose.
     
  5. Nov 3, 2019 #5

    BBowmaster

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    Correct. I love the Russian planes, always have, sexy designs. But if you wanted me to bet on one, American planes have always been better.

    At the end of the war, it’s about who won, not who came in on budget.

    That said, I do have two points of concern:

    • Can we win a war of attrition?
    • Are we getting as much for our dollars as we could/should?
     
  6. Nov 3, 2019 #6

    cwbullet

    cwbullet

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    Ok. I did take it differently.
     
  7. Nov 3, 2019 #7

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

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    Agree on the professionalism/training comment, disagree that the video is even remotely "hype." It's an extensive and fair analysis based upon known facts. He didn't make the "it's worth the cost" claim since he said he's Irish and not an American citizen. I made that comment based upon my opinion.
     
  8. Nov 4, 2019 #8

    mach7

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    Overall kind of a fair assessment.

    But a few things to think about.

    1 4th gen fighters already maneuver at the limit of human capability.

    2 Stealth can change the fight and is a force multipler

    3 pilot training/quality always changes the fight

    4 Information is the battlefield and a force multiplier

    5 overall cost is irrelevant as long as more units can be fielded than the enemy

    6 The F-35's avionics and flight controls are not mature
     
  9. Nov 6, 2019 #9

    Viperfixr

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    I feel I can now weigh in a little more on these conversations, as my military retirement ceremony happened just over a month ago. My last job was in the USAF F-35 Integration Office, and I have over 9 years experience with the jet, both in the field and programmatically at a service level. The USAF IO represented our service to the program office, the other eight program partners and two other US service users. IO works directly for the CSAF.

    Operationally, the jet is amazing and performs mostly as we need it to. The jet is more mature at this point in its development that any other current USAF fighter was at a similar point. Mach7, not sure where flight control logic problem info came from, but I know many currently qualified operators who express a different opinion. The FMS (Full Mission Simulator) isn’t up to snuff yet, however.

    The current Achilles Heel for the program is sustainment, that “cradle to grave” support that kicks in after the shinny new jet arrives on your ramp. JSF logistics was over a decade behind the jet and still remains behind today. Typical Not Mission Capable for Supply rates (I.e. lack of parts holding a jet down) typically hover for the A-model fleet worldwide at twenty something percent. That mediocre to fair supply performance comes at great cost, and cost is the driver right now. And, cost to buy a jet is like the visible portion of an iceberg, and sustainment costs what’s below the water line.

    Depending on which stats/propaganda you subscribe to, (I believe) that’s going to get worse before it gets better. I was a part of the USAF effort to put pressure on the program to rapidly improve affordable readiness. The reasons that led to this situation are many and go back to program inception assumptions, with the USGOV culpability at 51 percent or more, in my opinion. OEMs usually deliver exactly what they’re put on contract to deliver with very good reliability; poor contracts mean bad outcomes.

    I have little doubt the program will improve, and rapidly. If they fall short, the US services Program of Record buys are at stake, and sustainment for that full fleet ends in a Big $T. So, you could say both prime OEMs are incentivized to improve.

    And, for the record, I am not continuing with the F-35 program post military retirement, nor working for a JSF prime. Location was all important to my wife and I to be closer to family, and that meant finding a job in AZ instead of Fort Worth TX or anywhere else.

    Currently I am on a five week RV trip before arriving in Az, so I am checking this infrequently at best.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
  10. Nov 6, 2019 #10

    BBowmaster

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    I think the excessive cost is mostly due to a broken military procurement system. It’s a relatively expensive plane to be sure, but if costs were controlled as they should be (in an ideal world) it would certainly be worth every penny.

    I’m guessing if you asked pilots if they’d rather take an F-35 or a Falcon on an equal sortie, they’d choose the F-35.

    Viperfixr’s comment on the purchase cost being the tip of the iceberg is eye-opening to me. I probably shouldn’t be surprised. My car is $25k. Buying from dealer-cost parts and assembling with dealer mechanics would put the cost close to $450k. And despite the poor roads and drivers here in Michigan my driving isn’t considered combat stress. :)

    On the professionalism issue, our troops are the most respected in the world, with the possible exception of the Israelis. Not the most LIKED, mind you, but our enemies have a healthy amount of respectful fear.
     
  11. Nov 6, 2019 #11

    BABAR

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    thanks for your service and best wishes in retirement!
     
  12. Nov 6, 2019 #12

    Viperfixr

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    Keep in mind our procurement system is largely shaped by LAWS passed by Congress. It’s a cumbersome system that takes too long to deliver...by design. Entities like the Rapid Capabilities Office are changing the game, but change comes slowly.

    Regarding the F-16 pilots choice today, if they had to go up against a modern, high-end, integrated air defense system, there is no question what they would chose. Any ground attack mission is far better in the F-35 than the Viper. Love the F-16 as I worked it my career more than any other, but if you sat down with a list of improvements to the Viper...you’d end up with something like the F-35 (with bigger wings). I saw the first RED FLAG missions where Lighting IIs came up against Raptors for the first time, and it was fascinating to watch the F-22s confusion. Yes, Raptors will kill it every time in a visual fight, but in many ways the F-35 is a more advanced 5th Gen fighter than the beloved Raptor. I’ve worked both.
     
  13. Nov 7, 2019 #13

    mach7

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    Viperfixer,

    I got the information about the Avionics and flight control software issues from Aviation week and co-workers who have flown the -15, -16, and -22. They have all flown the -35 sims.

    But, of course, I defer to your info. It is much more accurate and recent I'm sure.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019

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