The Joint Strike Fighter
was is the future of American air power. We need this to work. Sadly, Lockheed Martin seems to have lost it’s way.
Kelly Johnson and Ben Rich must be turning over in their graves. The F-117 was built with parts and avionics taken from several existing aircraft. The SR-71 was designed with the slide rule.
What does the taxpayer get for billions spent? Redo...after redo…several re-starts…
Whereas the F-22 has many boosters, the F-35 has many, many skeptics.
The F-22 was canceled because of the chattering class that called it a “cold war era” fighter. Some claimed that existing aircraft were enough, that we’d never have to fight another war against a real air force.
The problem is that the F-35 is having major teething pains. All project do so some extent. However, the DOD wants 3 aircraft out of one: a conventional fighter for the Air Force, a carrier version for the Navy and a VTOL (think harrier) for the Marines.
Lockheed has to admit that having over 50% commonality between version was a pipe dream (the real figure is lower). Other problems about.
Will the pundits kill the F-35? Of course they’ll try. They’ll trot out the same arguments. Many call for building more F-16s/F-15s. The argument that we don’t have to update our aircraft died out when F-15′s started to fall from the sky due to metal fatigue. Our fleet is aging and re-builds will only delay the their retirement (and may even cost as much or more than a new aircraft).
The tired argument of using the F-22′s radar in existing aircraft has been around since the early 90′s. Many a book was filled with “experts” saying that the F-15 and F-16 can keep working until…some date in the future.
They are wrong. Dead wrong.
The PAK-FA and the J-XX from Russia and China mean that we have to step up our game. Either we build aircraft that can kill the enemy or we go back to Korean war when foreign air forces strafed our military. Yes, it’s been that long as Lex reminds us.
Lockheed needs a new Ben Rich. Someone who can light a fire under the program. Why is the software so bad? Why is the aircraft gaining weight? Instead of shilling for Lockheed, the Administration should hold their feet to the fire.
Just flat out canceling the program will not fix the problem.
The left and the deficit hawks won’t let another aircraft fly. At least for a while. While new F-16′s and F-15 may buy us 5-10 years, we need new aircraft.
We need to go big or go home.