back to article F-35s grounded by spares shortage

More than a decade after the first F-35 took to the air, the US military doesn't have a complete set of maintenance instructions, and spare parts shortages are keeping 22 per cent of the fleet out of the sky. A new United States' Government Accountability Office (GAO) report comes a week after the US Navy said it may leave 108 …

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Facepalm

A new month...

... a new F35 failure story!

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Anonymous Coward

Let's make planes that can't fly......

....that we can't afford to arm, that we don't have spare parts for and the documentation is non existant.

Now let's fill the overseas order book as a way of fucking our allies as well.

Incompetence on this scale HAS to be deliberately 'generated' by the manufacturer(s), it's beyond credible that an even half way capable manager could allow things to get this out of hand.

Of course if you use the 'no individual responsible for anything' style of management then no-one is to blame, while they all get paid fortunes.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

Oh no, incompetence on this scale is a natural product of nurturing a for-profit defense industry.

When the US entered World War 2, its armed forces were tiny, and their technology was nothing to brag about either. But with a couple of years of dedicated development, they had planes and tanks that could match or beat both Japanese and German forces.

That's how you win a war: you don't develop all the weaponry in advance, you wait until you know who you're fighting before you decide what you need to beat them.

But none of that is compatible with the military-industrial complex.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

The problem is that their primary purpose is not as a weapon system. Their purpose is to take large amounts of tax payers money and make certain that most of it is directed to a very small number of the right people. In the UK the right people are not only British but American/Multinational.

After the apparent fall of the "Soviet Empire", it was necessary to quickly find a suitable enemy to keep the spending going - The "War on Terror" is ideal because it has no easily definable enemy, no clearly stated definition of "winning", no timescale, and mostly happens a long way away from the people who actually pay for it. Perhaps we will get back to business as normal with Russia and China (and North Korea?). Projects like the F-35, nuclear powered submarines, large aircraft carriers, etc., are ideal ways to soak up taxpayers money.

Older readers may recall a vaguely similar, but smaller, cancelled project the BAC TSR-2. It was rumoured that the mean time to failure for the aircraft was shorter than the time it took to get to V1 takeoff speed down the runway...

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Coat

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

These could be the 1st Genration of 'Peace Planes'.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"That's how you win a war: you don't develop all the weaponry in advance, you wait until you know who you're fighting before you decide what you need to beat them".

And just how does one qualify the clusterfucks in Vietnam or Afghanistan.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

And just how does one qualify the clusterfucks in Vietnam or Afghanistan.

Blatant incompetence at military, political and humanitarian level.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......@ veti

When the US entered World War 2, its armed forces were tiny, and their technology was nothing to brag about either. But with a couple of years of dedicated development, they had planes and tanks that could match or beat both Japanese and German forces.

There was a lot of innovation, but your argument is only partly true. The US' best bomber of WW2, the B17 actually had its first flight in 1935, and was built as a commercially funded prototype albeit to a Defense department competition spec. The B24 is perhaps nearer to your argument having its first flight in 1939, but was unpopular with crews and suffered heavy losses. The best transport aircraft of the war was the C47, essentially a khaki painted version of the commercially developed DC3 that first flew in 1935. The US didn't have any decent fighters until it was able to manufacture the Rolls Royce Merlin under licence (and that engine had its genesis as a private venture by RR in the early 1930s). The Sherman tank was effective purely because of numbers than capability, and suffered appalling loss rates against the much better German tanks in Europe. The most successful Sherman tank commander (a Canuck) was credited with 18 tanks destroyed, but the top 10 German tank commanders are all credited with over 100 Allied tank kills.

The real advantage of the US military was not technology, but in the size and scale of the US economy, by having a domestic industrial base that was not under regular air attack, secure, local supply chains for materials and components, along with little dependence on foreign food or energy resources.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

@Tim99 good comment but I must pull you up on the TSR2 - splendid aircraft buggered up by political bungling - cancelled to buy the "cheaper" F-111 then that purchase cancelled and a make-do-and-mend approach with the Buccaneer, Jaguar and the Tornado for a few decades.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

My goodness, the TSR-2! I remember making up a cardboard model of that which was free with a neo-fascist warmongering propaganda sheet that passed as a boys' comic back in those days.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......@ veti

The real advantage of the US military was not technology, but in the size and scale of the US economy, by having a domestic industrial base that was not under regular air attack, secure, local supply chains for materials and components, along with little dependence on foreign food or energy resources.

And by being late to the party.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"That's how you win a war: you don't develop all the weaponry in advance, you wait until you know who you're fighting before you decide what you need to beat them."

Thats all very well if your enemy is thousands of miles away. It didn't work out quite so well for the allies in ww2 (allies before the americans joined that is) in 1940 when they got their arses shot off all the way to dunkirk. Millions died in an avoidable war because european powers ignored the military complex hitler was building in the 30s and were woefully unprepared not only politically but also from a military equipment POV when it kicked off. If the european powers had had decent military equipment in 1939 hitler could have been contained and defeated long before it escalated.

Need a good example of a 1930s pork barrel project? The Maginot line. Cost a fortune - utterly useless.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

If the european powers had had decent military equipment in 1939 hitler could have been contained and defeated long before it escalated.

Given the speed of reaction of democracies in peacetime, to have had decent military equipment n 1939, they'd have had to have recognised the threat by 1930, and started building soon thereafter. One of the few public voices saying that Germany was a threat, and we should rearm was a certain Winston Churchill, who was widely regarded as a loose cannon, best ignored even by his own party. And all through the 1930s, it is worth remembering that the Labour party's stated position was that the best defence was no defence (plus ca change!).

Equipment was not the problem, really, it was the head-in-the-sand attitude of the political classes.

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M7S
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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"you wait until you know who you're fighting before you decide what you need to beat them"

I think that unfortunately even if there wasn't a current policy wanting to test kit anywhere hot, dusty and with an oil bearing substrata, that current lead times and the advent of serious and small WMD render that an unwise procurement strategy for even the USA. protected by quite a bit of ocean either side, to rely on.

Even the falklands would probably never had been recovered if, post invasion, the UK would have needed to pop down to "weapons-R-us" anymore than they already had to (ships from P&O, improved sidewinders from the US* etc etc)

*Allegedly

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Anonymous Coward

"That's how you win a war"

No, that's how you get very close to a defeat, and save yourself sometimes by sheer lucky (the carrier not in Pearl Harbor, the Tone reconnaissance plane with issues...), sometimes because of brave and clever individuals (Thach devising how to fight Zeros with the inferior F4F, the codebreakers identifying Midway...), sometimes because your allies can fill your gaps (i.e. giving you Merlin engines for the P-51, or RADAR technology). And sometimes because some weapons (P-38, B-17, etc.) are already available. Sometimes by sheer number, like the M4 - actually, the US never had a state-of-the-art battle tank until the M1A1.

Meanwhile fixing the torpedo issues took a very long time, too much time, read the story, how much people can be stubborn, and lead to many casualties because of that. USAF repeated the mistake when it removed guns from fighters, and wanted too specialized planes.

Anyway, many weapons were already in development - even then it took some time to design and build a new weapon -, but weren't ready when the war started (TBF, F4U, P-47, P-51, B-29) because it's not that you ignore wholly what your enemy has already (although IIRC reports about the Zero capabilities from Chennault were ignored), but a country already planning to start a war will accelerate its weapon readiness, one not planning it may be slower to deploy them (and US was still in the Great Recession troubles, and with a strong neutralist movement).

Great Britain was lucky to have Hurricanes and Spitfires ready to fight the German planes - the Channel is far smaller than the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Then a lot of technology came from the defeated Germany - but it didn't help much to win later - after all Germany itself shown you can't win with technology only.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

One of the other major factors in thinking of the politicians, and of the people, is that Great War (as it was known as) had only formally ended in 1919.

The sheer scale of the carnage for that war seriously weighed on their decisions to follow the route of appeasement.

From the mid 1930’s onwards people were starting to listen to Churchill, and hence the RAF and RN where being built up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"...If the european powers had had decent military equipment in 1939 hitler could have been contained and defeated long before it escalated....."

This is just not accurate.

At the outbreak of war in 1939......

The Royal Navy outgunned the Kriegsmarine by a substantial margin and Plan Z (NOT Plan Z from Outer Space!!) was initiated by Hitler in 1939 as a way of achieving parity by 1944.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_Z

The French Army at the start of the Battle of France was comparable in size to the German Army and had better equipment in many instances (surprisingly the French Char B was better then the German tanks available at the time).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_France

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Char_B1

Germany went to war much earlier then the German Military was ready for. Hitler, pretty much through his forceful personality and being an absolute dictator 'bullied, bribed and boxed' the Military into fighting a war they were, equipment wise, not prepared for.

The reality is that German tactics were vastly superior, the Allies were still thinking about fighting a Great War style conflict, unaware, that even though there was overwhelming evidence, that the Germans were going to fight a Blitzskrieg war with a tightly integrated Luftwaffe highly trained in Close Air Support.

The bribery bit?

Most people, even today, are not aware that Hitler had been bribing senior members of the German High Command for years using the Konto 5 slush fund.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bribery_of_senior_Wehrmacht_officers

Sweeping comments about European failings pre WWII should really be made about political cowardice rather then equipment shortcomings.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

Sherman tank was never better than the Germans' Panther or Tigers, but they made so damn many of them and they just kept coming and coming...

US planes were excellent Typhoon and Mustang, yes, great.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

@Bob Wheeler: agree. People forget that all of the leaders in UK and France has been through a terrible war, some just surviving. There's good evidence that the British caution at throwing men at the D-Day beaches was not only because they had almost run out of manpower, but that the commanders, including Montgomery, had seen what 'throwing me' in' actually meant. I am sorry for it, but I can't blame commanders for being appalled at the idea of carnage. They were only human.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

US planes were excellent Typhoon and Mustang, yes, great.

The Typhoon, American? Amuse me by explaining that.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

US planes were excellent Typhoon and Mustang, yes, great.

..and the Mustang was initially designed and built for the RAF to fulfill British requirements for a long-range fighter. At that time the Spitfire and Hurricane were short range metropolitan defence aircraft, which is what they'd been designed for, and once the Battle of Britain was over, the RAF needed something with a longer range that could take on the Luftwaffe over Europe.

The Mustang wasn't up to much with the original Allison engine, especially at altitude, but fitting a Merlin transformed it. Years ago I knew a member of the ground crew responsible for its initial trials in the UK, who described the Allison as a beautifully made car engine and who claimed that he was part of the team that replaced it with a Merlin during the initial trials.

The USAAF only got Mustangs later: remember that they thought that escort fighters weren't needed because B-17 formations had enough guns to deal with any fighters they might meet.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

That might have been the case when wars took many years to win/lose and development time of spitfires etc was relatively quick ie 1-2 years.

Now we have potential wars that could be over PDQ so you best make sure that you have everything you need to fight it at all times.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

Not 'Commando' comic perchance? Where all we ever really heard the Germans say was 'Aiee!' as the bayonet went in?

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JLV
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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

I am really really puzzled that you don't grasp the complexity difference between a modern fighter and say a Spitfire and can't figure out how incredibly simplistic your statement is.

Lead times _are_ going to be inherently longer now. Every single country is hitting that wall, but not many would not have yanked Lockeed from the public teat by now.

The incredibly stupid wastefulness of the F35 program does not change your bit of punditry from being laughably ill-informed and specious.

BTW, the US pretty much never did field a tank that could beat the Germans ones. They fielded incredibly brave men who swamped the Nazis by numbers w inadequate Shermans and suffered grievous losses doing so.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"......Even heavily outnumbered, with tanks that had wafer thin armor (due to allied bombing raids), incredible fuel shortages, dysfunctional intelligence, intercepted communications (the allies knew the Nazi battle plans before the the Nazi generals on the field), the Nazis managed to push the USians back in the Ardennes ... it was their only real attempt as they were trying to keep the Russian's at bay at all costs ... I am grateful the Nazi regime was ousted, don't get me wrong ... bu the only army that crushed the Nazis almost single-handedly on the battlefield was Russian ... aided by allied bombing, of course, and by Hitler's world-famous military tactics [sic] ... my grand dad was there, in the Ardennes, and "remained there".

Anon, because defending the view of encyclopedia Britannica on the subject tends to upset people ........"

Put simplistically, all loses (inc civilians).....

British loses about 450,000

US loses about 450,000

French loses about 600,000

Indian loses about 2,000,000

Japanese loses about 3,000,000

Polish loses about 6,000,000

German loses about 7,000,000

Chinese loses about 20,000,000

USSR loses about 27,000,000

Of course I've left quite a few out purely for brevity.

The Germans were never once beaten on the battlefield where there were comparative forces and logistics (fuel, ammo) available. You can well argue (and Sun Tzu certainly would) that part of war is to ensure you have the resources available to overwhelm your opponent in a fight, however Germans regularly fought and won with substantially less forces available then they were up against, some of the Crimea battles are good examples.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Kerch_Peninsula

The old phrase applies, amateurs talk tactics, experts talk strategy and professionals talk logistics.

The Western Allies ability to have a stable manufacturing base in the US and the size and manpower resources of the USSR ensured that the Axis would almost certainly lose in the long run.

When the Germans invaded Russia under Operation Barbarossa you have to remember that Pearl Harbour hadn't yet happened. The Japanese did not inform the Germans of the attack till it had already occurred.

So let's imagine for a moment that the US hadn't been dragged into the war till 1942 or maybe even 1943....could the Germans have been able to complete their plan for the USSR before the build up of forces in the UK and North Africa forced them to divert manpower to these potential threats?

Whenever I read history and I'm a Brit, I usually come to the conclusion that WW2 was won at Midway and Stalingrad.

If it wasn't for some incredible luck at the Battle of Midway when the dive bombers almost stumbled upon the Japanese carriers the Americans could well have been penned into the West Coast for two or three years, perhaps enough time for Germany to force the USSR to sue for peace.

If Hitler hadn't ordered his forces to 'take' Stalingrad, history is pretty certain it was as much for vanity reasons given the name of his opponent, but instead contained Stalingrad and used the freed up divisions in the drive for Moscow the outcome of the war could have been a much much longer time for the Allies to win or perhaps even some kind of stalemate.

Of course no-one can be sure of what could have happened with any certainty, but people should not underestimate how effective the German Fighting Machine was.

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LDS
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Russians was not helped only by allied bombing...

... but also by a huge amount of supplies they would have never be able to produce themselves. The Germans weren't able to stop the convoys reaching Archangel, and in the Pacific Russia stayed away from Japan (it declared war only when the atomic bombs were launched, while delaying Japanese contacts to surrender to reap some benefits) again fearing Japan could attack the Pacific ports and stop the supplies arriving there (Japan too did a mistake not attacking Russia in coordination with Germany before attacking US, but the Axes forces were luckily unable to coordinate efforts, and Japan was obsessed with the Pacific).

And of course was heavily helped by the blockade - again, Russia couldn't impose one over Germany, having no way to control the seas (dictators usually don't like the navy - probably because it has always been the most difficult force to obtain a total control over), nor send troops in Africa or Middle East.

That allowed Russia to outnumber Germany on the East front, after having being heavily defeated too (while US and UK were also fighting in Italy and the Pacific...), and ensure supply lines to its troops. During the France campaign, one issue was to ensure enough supplies to the troops - because adequate ports were not available, and the railroads had to be rebuilt, and even locomotives brought from US. Remember, without supplies you can't win any battle.

In the Ardennes Germany was greatly helped by the terrain, weather, and Allies mistakes (spreading the troops on a too large front). Still Germans were stopped well before their objectives, although in the beginning they outnumbered the Allied forces heavily, and just wasted resources that would have been more useful on the Eastern front - because US and UK troops never acted like Russian ones against the civilians....

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

but people should not underestimate how effective the German Fighting Machine was

I don't think many people round here do, but I'd suggest the Germans were doomed to defeat in WW2 long before Stalingrad, due to the simple over-stretch of their state and military apparatus. They were at war simultaneously in Western Europe, North Africa, and across all of Eastern Europe. They occupied multiple countries without successfully pacifying them, tying up military resources in France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Poland, Norway, Baltic states, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria, North Africa. And at the same time they had a navy with an inadequate surface fleet (high quality, but no operational carriers and insufficient capital ships). Their air force had excellent fighters throughout the war, but was hampered start to finish by a lack of heavy bombers, because the bulk of German strategy was to win the war through Blitzkrieg. As the US and UK found out in Iraq a few short years ago, winning the conquest stage of a war is easy if you've prepared for that, it is always the bit afterwards that is hard.

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pxd

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

This x 10^6. Kit development times are getting longer, and (projected) war scenarios are getting shorter. pxd

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"My goodness, the TSR-2! I remember making up a cardboard model of that..."

I wonder if your cardboard model was more reliable than the real thing.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

That might be possible when everything is new - tanks, although used a bit in WW1 didn't have much R&D behind them. Planes weren't anything that a chap in a shed couldn't build.

Now potential enemies have planes as good as the F35's predecessors, starting the clock on 15 years development for the next generation is dangerous.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

Is there any defense/military equipment company who isn't this incompetent? Seems that every project on both sides of the pond is a clusterfuck of epic proportions that just enriches the board.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

Actually the Shermans, Cromwells and Comet where all superior to the oh so great Panther and Tiger in three important areas:

Reliability and Repairability

Numbers

Capabilities of crew

The vaunted "Panther" averaged a major breakdown in the running gear one per 150km and fixing that was very time consuming. The oh so superior Tiger (and more so the Tiger Ausf. B "Königstischer" - that actually was closer in many ways to a Panther btw) had major weight and reliability problems with the engine and where only rail-transportable with special tracks. Tracks that where not useable off-road due to ground pressure. All three had an extremly underpowered turret traverse engine and more than one of them died due to that (The Cologne Panther is a nice document on this - the M26 simply out-rotated the poor lil Nazi Kitty and boom - instand roasted Nazis). Situational awareness was lousy for the gunner, crew training, in the SchweineStaffel even more then in the Wehrmacht was high on indoctrination and low on skill and so on

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......@ JLV

Lead times _are_ going to be inherently longer now.

They ARE longer now. I question why they are "inherently" going to be longer now? We have the huge time saving advance of CAD, the ability to go from drawing board to physical component prototypes via 3D printing.

Flight testing seems to be broadly as time consuming as it has always been, the real delays are in fuck-witted procurement, painful multi-country collaboration, trying to simultaneously design every element anew, and persistent changes in specification and design. Not to mention political dithering. With the will and the funding, it should take no more than a few months to design a new fast jet, and a few months to build (EAP, the forerunner to Typhoon, went from design concept to first flight in about three and a half years, with very limited government or military customer support). You could argue that design work went on longer beforehand, but that would be true of almost any WW2 aircraft.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

Actually the M26 Pershing was a nice "Kitty Killer". Fielded late in the war but had the need been there it would have been available earlier. And the "lesser panzers" (Most german tanks where Panzer III and IV) could reliably be killed by the Sherman (Both 75 and 76mm variants). Or by the british Cromwell and the Comet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

Typhoon? You mean the British one right?

And the Mustang? Only decent when paired with a British Merlin engine....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"Incompetence on this scale HAS to be deliberately 'generated' by the manufacturer(s), it's beyond credible that an even half way capable manager could allow things to get this out of hand."

Considering the project started in 2006, in the thick of massive tech project screw-ups, I would have expected nothing different. For me, just a typical project from that era. WAY over on time and money, with crap for quality and documentation. Anything different would be a unicorn.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......@ veti

The USA tanks only 'won' at great cost to their 'cooked' crews because (as the Russians have planned for a long time now) if you have enough of anything you will nearly always win. The American tanks were no match for a German or British tank one on one.

As for planes the only half decent one was the Mustang once it had a Rolls Royce engine to make it go.

We gave up on TSR2 - a fighter in every respect better than eurofighter or f35

e.g. speed - tsr2 mach 2.35, F35 mach 1.6

range tsr2 2500 nmiles, f35 1200nmiles (combat radii... 750, 669)

tsr could also carry more if needed.

The quoted ceiling is the only thing the f35 has as an advantage, but frankly given the speed difference the tsr2 will have been and gone before the f35 has noticed.

Pity our government ditched our superior (now 50 year old) plane for the American garbage we have been saddled with since. Perhaps time to reevaluate this.

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Re: "That's how you win a war"

M1A1... nearly as good as the Challenger... but not quite - who has the longest tank to tank kill... nope, not the yanks, our very own Challenger.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

The only issue with the real thing was the landing gear - everything else worked, and worked damned well. Even the landing gear allowed landings, although it obviously did need some strengthening work.

As for reliability in general, don't forget we didn't lose any Harriers, or even have any Harrier 'down time' during the Falklands war.In fact they have proved to be be one of the more reliable planes in the Gulf

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

Frankly cobblers. We could finish the TSR2 and have a plane better than the f35, it would be ours and it would take very little time. We could take the Harrier and beef up the engine and thin the wings a bit to make it faster - that wouldnt take long and we could keep using the Harrier until its replacement is ready (at least we were clever enough to redirect the engine rather than create some awful fan arrangement with flapping doors that will fall off and mean the manouverability of the Harrier can't be matched by the 'new' plane)

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JLV
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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......@ JLV

Hmmm, good points, in some ways, but methink you are giving too much credit to what CAD can achieve in what's always a R&D heavy endeavor.

That said, I'd be happy to see us do something of what you say by essentially having mothballed factories ready to produce stuff on demand. If we had say 200 F36s (i.e. 35+1), with capacity to manufacture in a 6-12 month timeframe and if the pilots were heavily trained on the actual planes (by rotating several pilots on the same physical plane) and with simulators, who knows?

Car companies have also managed to cut their design cycles for new models by quite a bit. Not quite to the 20-30s times, but still closer to what you say.

But I don't think it's realistic to wait for something to happen and then rely on last minute design & manufacturing prowess to save the day. Your pilots won't be ready - again you are hitting a complexity wall - there is so much more you need to know about a modern jet's weapons and avionics than you would have needed to as a WW2 pilot.

Prep models, keep them ready but don't mass produce them? Maybe.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"Millions died in an avoidable war because european powers ignored the military complex hitler was building in the 30s and were woefully unprepared not only politically but also from a military equipment POV when it kicked off."

Millions died in an avoidable war, because the Treaty of Versailles so successfully backed Germany into an intolerable financial corner that warfare was the only feasible way out[1].

Were it not for the Treaty of Versailles and the Allied goal of squeezing Germany until the pips squeaked, Hitler would never have been taken seriously in Germany, much less elected. The Allies have themselves to thank for bringing about the conditions Hitler needed to take power.

FTFY.

[1]: When Money Dies, Adam Fergusson, 1975 (revised 2010)

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"After the apparent fall of the "Soviet Empire", it was necessary to quickly find a suitable enemy to keep the spending going - "

It was? Because GHB pretty much gutted the aerospace industry in the aftermath of Walls Fall, Everyone Goes Home For Tea when he cancelled so much of the military spending whole local economies were smashed flat.

Don't take my word for it, just take a look at the map of Long Island, former home to Grumman, Fairchild, Eaton et al. All gone, almost overnight when those contracts were force majeured.

I suppose if you widen your definition of "quickly" to 12 years you might have a point though.

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Re: "That's how you win a war"

"Then a lot of technology came from the defeated Germany - but it didn't help much to win later - after all Germany itself shown you can't win with technology only."

A sweeping statement. Germany failed to leverage the technology it did have by not having the manufacturing sector go on a war footing soon enough. Example: tanks. Still making the Panzer IV and very obsolete Panzer III in facilities that could have been turned over to making the new and badly-needed Panzer Vs (Panther). Germany's best weapons were always in too short supply to be effective once attrition began to be a factor.

And even that is a simplification. Having the country's overall war strategy in the hands of a loon didn't help them when the shock and awe factor wore off. Lucky for us, eh?

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"Sherman tank was never better than the Germans' Panther or Tigers,"

In many ways you are right, but the Tiger had a reputation that was far in excess of its potential.

It was too heavy for its transmission. Its tracks and outer roadwheels had to be removed and narrow tracks fitted before it could be transported on railcars (and then the process reversed before committing to combat). The interleaved roadwheel design imposed a complex and time-consuming repair process when the wheels took a hit, and the wheels were prone to getting fouled to the point of failure by mud when in Russia (indeed, one documented Soviet tactic for disabling them was to have soldiers run alongside them feeding barbed-wire into the wheels, which made my respect for the the Soviet soldier, already quite high, quite a bit higher I can tell you).

The Tiger had a big gun and ridiculous amounts of armour on front and sides. That was what was asked for.

But, being a design that began back in the pre-war days before Guderian & Co. got a look at the Soviet tanks (The Soviets and Germans being pals then) the armour was not sloped, which made for a heavier vehicle than would have been the case had the glacis and sides been sloped a-la Panther ( itself a reaction to the superior T34 design; a later and very rare Tiger II had such armour but was too late to the party). The money and facilities spent on the Tiger would have been arguably better spent in making more Panthers, a design so successful the French were using them into the 1950s.

The T34 and Sherman had, as you say, one thing the German tanks didn't: dedicated production lines that were fast and efficient. Hell, when the Soviets pulled back behind the Urals they had machine tools set up in fields so tank production could proceed while the factory itself was being built. The Sherman benefited from the enormous personnel and resource bank of the US. In all probability, German high command knew that once the US was involved personally it was game over, and the only way out was to "win" quickly and sue for peace with them. The Germans consistently underestimated the Soviet forces.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"Equipment was not the problem, really, it was the head-in-the-sand attitude of the political classes.'

I don't think you've read your history very well. The British leaders knew exactly what position they were in. They knew they could not afford monetarily to defend all of the British Empire, it was just too big. Also politically after the first Great War, the British public were in no mood to go to war with Germany again. There was also a known threat from Japan, not just Germany. As for Churchill, he was in the political wilderness because of his mis-management of the 'soft underbelly of Europe' campaign in the Dardanelles. Where they did miscalculate was over USSR signing a non-aggression pact with Germany which effectively took them out of the war for 2 years (and let USSR invade Poland) and they clearly did not understand how mad Hitler was.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"Were it not for the Treaty of Versailles and the Allied goal of squeezing Germany"

Were it not for the Treaty of Versailles and the FRENCH goal of squeezing Germany

FTFY......The British stated at the time that the treaty was excessive and probably counter productive. The French thought the treaty too lenient.

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

No. They're all too important to fail.

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