back to article Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it's scarcely fit to fly

Now-retired Dr Michael Gilmore, until recently the Director of Test and Evaluation for the US military, has published his final evaluation of the F-35 program, and it's a treat. In his parting report (PDF), deliciously dated April 1*, Gilmore details a host of issues remaining with the US$391 billion-and-counting project, with …

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Re: The music has stopped ....... and the party's over. What do imagine comes next?

"The "something missing" is America's next big "super carrier" that carries its own integrated Ballistic Missile Defense system (and a squadron or two of F35's)."

... and it will be land based!

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Re: The music has stopped ....... and the party's over. What do imagine comes next?

The point that everyone seems to overlook consistently is that there is no earhtly need for the F-35. It is a project without a role, without a mission.

The continental USA does not need manned aircraft to defend it. And the USA will never fight an overseas war against any nation with aircraft better than the F-15, F-16, etc.

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MrT
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Hang on...

... F-35A and F-35C are having problems not burning up, so that's a rare plus point for the B. Frying pans - who knew?!

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Should they ask Elon Musk about how to do multiple (reusable) landing on a boat? They seem to have it sussed.

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Superiority - Arthur C. Clarke.

That's what the F35 fiasco reminds me of.

http://www.mayofamily.com/RLM/txt_Clarke_Superiority.html

To quote but a snippet :

"The ultimate cause of our failure was a simple one: despite all statements to the contrary, it was not due to lack of bravery on the part of our men, or to any fault of the Fleet's. We were defeated by one thing only - by the inferior science of our enemies. I repeat - by the inferior science of our enemies."

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@Anonymous South African Coward - thanks for the ACC story link - read it and enjoyed immensely.

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Clarke correct beyond the military

I've been this happen in corporate settings: too much money thrown at huge 'enterprise level' projects to get one over the competition when really we should have thought small and tactically.

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Re: Clarke correct beyond the military

They should have built the pane with devops somehow.

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Trollface

Re: Clarke correct beyond the military

> They should have built the pane with devops somehow.

Using this approach, I am sure it would already fly on Powerpoint by now.

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The German WWII over engineered war machine lesson.

The U.S. has forgotten it. It will pay dearly for it one day. I wish it didn't, but history shows that stupid is never tolerated for long.

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Devil

Actually German WWII "over engineered war machine" lesson is more about numbers vs high tech solution. Sure, the kill ratio would have been better for a Messerschmidt vs Allied plane (they had fuel-injected engines, as an example) but the Allied designs were cheaper to build in mass quantity. So while the German tech was better, they couldn't build them fast enough to maintain that advantage.

At the same time, Arthur C. Clarke's "Superiority" is really about completely replacing the old, reliable tech with new, unproven tech, for the sake of doing so, and for no other good reason. THAT danger is real, if the "military industrial complex" gets its way.

The obvious solution to the F35 problem is to NOT put all your eggs in the F-35 basket, but keep some older (proven) designs around, and active, and well maintained, etc.. [and continue development of these airframes for upgrades and fixes]. THEN, work with the F35 long enough to get the bugs out, do a complete re-design as "something else", or re-define its role more consistently with its design [and build something else to fill in the mission gaps]. So apply lipstick to the "oinky" end (as someone else recently posting to an El Reg forum might say).

Now, if some mensa-candidate dim-bulb were to replace EVERY U.S. (or U.K.) military aircraft with an F35, YES, you would be correct to say "It will pay dearly for it one day".

[hopefully THAT never happens]

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" but the Allied designs were cheaper to build in mass quantity. So while the German tech was better, they couldn't build them fast enough to maintain that advantage."

They built them fast enough, thanks to Speer, it was just that they didn't have enough fuel to keep them in the air. Wasn't it said that the engine life of one German jet was about 5 hours, but they only had enough fuel to keep each one in the air for about 20 minutes?

(I can't remember the exact numbers, but the general rule - that modern armies run on oil and you'd better have plenty of it where you need it - remains true.)

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Coat

[hopefully THAT never happens]

Wanna bet?

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Re: Clarke correct beyond the military

"They should have built the plane with agile devops somehow."

FTFY

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"Actually German WWII "over engineered war machine" lesson is more about numbers vs high tech solution."

Also well demonstrated by Russian tanks in particular but allied tanks in general.

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"Also well demonstrated by Russian tanks in particular but allied tanks in general."

The famous quote of the German general that "You lost 10 Shermans for every Tiger. Unfortunately you had eleven of them."

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And pilots. The Allies rotated squadrons in and out of combat and sent the experienced and battle-weary off to recuperate at flying schools, teaching the newcomers how to stay alive for the first few hours of combat; the Luftwaffe kept the squadrons in combat until battle-weary meant lost in action. Meant the aces built up huge scores in the Soviet Union and Africa; it meant that their skills weren't passed on; it meant they couldn't maintain their edge.

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Depending on topography

Or just one Sherman if it could get behind the Tiger. On at least one occasion an American armoured car knocked out a Tiger with its puny 50-mm gun. The two vehicles were travelling down a sunken road where the Tiger couldn't turn, or even rotate its turret. And, as Fate would have it, the Yank was behind.

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the MOD only spent £10 billion on a BAE Systems mystery plane with EM drive that can do atleast mach 4

https://youtu.be/NMMA5KgIvYE?t=2m17s

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$391 Billion

And that's only for one non functioning aircraft, the US doesn't really need weapons to attack countries, they could just buy them. It worked in the Ukraine.

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So what's the problem?

It's accomplished all its objectives. Lots of money and jobs for the military and the armaments industry. Who needs actual functionality?

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Phew, bullet dodged.

Luckily for the UK, if the F35 it turns out not to work then our new £6bn carriers will just switch to another carrier launched plane, of which there are several. After all, it's not like our carriers can only launch one type of combat aircraft is it? Because that would be just silly.

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

actually we cant launch anything but the f35b from our new carriers as they have no catapults installed VTOL only...yeah brain dead but hey at least we are consistently stupid.

Pentagon wars (film) about some up all this

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Trollface

Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

Neeeeoooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm!!!

That was either the sound of Androgynous Cupboard's sarcasm flying over your head, or an F35. Which do you think it was?

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

Not just one type, they can launch Harriers too.

Just a bit awkward that all the Harrier squadrons have now been disbanded.

The RN still have 9 Sea Harriers in taxiable condition for flight deck operations training though...

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

You should just change them to launch drones, that will put you ahead of the curve. Everyone else will be there in 10 years. Of course, about that time an aircraft carrier might be about as sustainable as a battleship.

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

The USMC fly these great vatol airctaft. Perhaps we can buy some?

They are called AV8B and look great. Combat proven too. No idea why we didnt think of using something live those in the first place.

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

I reckon, for a several £million, a few crates of beer and a couple of nice safety ties, Colin Furze and his mates could come up with something that would actually fly off a carrier deck and land again more than twice.Plus it would all be done in a back garden shed.

It would have interesting weapons and be fun too.

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Devil

Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

USMC also flies Osprey (tilt rotor) which had a LOT of problems early on. People died in accidents, etc. And now it's working. So maybe an example for F35, to work with it for a while, until the bugs are squashed? [let's hope nobody dies, though]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accidents_and_incidents_involving_the_V-22_Osprey

well, the Osprey IS a kind of helicopter. Helicopters are just unstable (particularly during takeoff and landing). I've heard that flying a helicopter is like juggling while riding a unicycle.

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

"actually we cant launch anything but the f35b "

WHOOOOSH!!!!

(And no, not's not the sound of an F35!)

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

"The RN still have 9 Sea Harriers in taxiable condition for flight deck operations training though..."

Wow! Didn't know that! A billion or two might get us at least a partial squadron working off the new carriers then!

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

Danny m'boy, it's called Not Invented Here and My Owners Would Be Upset If I Didn't Throw Them a Few Billion Dollars.

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

I had a quick look up on when the AV8B diverged from the original harrier. It seems that basically the yanks agreed that the harrier was a fantastic platform that just needed a little tweaking. Whereas the UK decided it had no money and it works good enough for launching in Germany and off the carriers so leave it alone.

It is STILL being upgraded even today. The USMC love the AV8B and it does everything they want it too - its a mini popup fighter that can bomb, strafe and mini dogfight. It has full night fight, air and ground radar, databus telemetry, upgraded CPUs, cockpits, engine, wings. The reason? It works as a sound platform that hasn't been bettered. About the only *bad* thing is lack of supersonic capability - however, the A10 doesn't and the A10 will be phased out before the AV8B.

It is a true multirole aircraft and we should never have gotten rid of our harriers - even though they are shadows of its bigger cousin.

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

Although, of course, it's lucky for us that our carirers won't be able to do any harm. Because if they did we just might end up at war with someone. And then we'd all be sorry, wouldn't we?

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Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

"It seems that basically the yanks agreed that the harrier was a fantastic platform that just needed a little tweaking. Whereas the UK decided it had no money and it works good enough for launching in Germany and off the carriers so leave it alone."

Not exactly. British GR.5-GR.9 Harriers were based on the same "Harrier II" platform as AV-8B. Differed mainly in avionics and weaponry.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Harrier_variants

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Aerospace_Harrier_II

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In other news :-

Replacement trident missiles faillure due to them being biggerer, longerer and poking out of the bottom of the sub, which means the blue touch paper gets wet and won't light.

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Not necessarily bad

Which is no necessarily a bad thing IMHO, if it prevents them from flying off in the direction of the USA...

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Re: in the direction of the USA...

Why am I thinking about what Lance Corporal Jones said?

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Black Helicopters

Dare I say, Brexit?

How did they get it so wrong?

Well, Theresa May won't be using these to fight the Spanish over Gibraltar.

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Re: Dare I say, Brexit?

According to Fletcher Pratt, "[a] man who attacks stone forts with wooden ships is a fool; Lord Nelson said so". (It detracts little from the truth of this remark that Nelson found out the hard way, at the cost of certain body parts).

Consider then that Spain constitutes a very large, more or less unsinkable aircraft carrier. To fight it from an actual aircraft carrier seems the height of folly.

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Because of the risk, the Services decided to restrict pilots weighing less than

136 pounds from flying the F-35.

uh...... 4 ft 3 inch midgets only ?

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Re: Because of the risk, the Services decided to restrict pilots weighing less than

136 pounds from flying the F-35.

uh...... 4 ft 3 inch midgets only ?

Nah. Just girls. And I mean 'girls', 'cause once they get older than 21 the weight goes up. See http://halls.md/average-weight-women/ for more.

This should make re-making 'Top Gun' very interesting. Especially the beach volleyball sequence.

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Re: Because of the risk, the Services decided to restrict pilots weighing less than

No problem. They'll just shoot it on a table-tennis table with a table-tennis net and ball.

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Re: Because of the risk, the Services decided to restrict pilots weighing less than

The size isn't the problem. I was just thinking that three of the four in the beach volleyball sequence were not merely shirtless (Anthony Edwards, a.k.a. 'Goose', Tom Cruise's GIB was the odd one out) but were well-oiled (no, not that way) and the scene was shot so as to max out the beefcake. (And now you know where all the 'Tom Cruise is gay' rumors came from.) A re-shoot of that scene, complete with oil and no tops, but with 17 to 21 year old girls, would be sufficient to pack in a certain demographic.

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Re: Because of the risk, the Services decided to restrict pilots weighing less than

Female Pilots

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and then some...... need to have 2 helmets with you.....

Part of the weight reduction to the Gen III Lite HMDS

involved removing one of the two installed visors (one

dark, one clear). As a result, pilots that will need to use

both visors during a mission (e.g., during transitions from

daytime to nighttime) will have to store the second visor in

the cockpit. However, there currently is not enough storage

space in the cockpit for the spare visor

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Devil

Re: and then some...... need to have 2 helmets with you.....

"removing one of the two installed visors"

spare visor? OK maybe it needs one of 2 new features instead:

a) a liquid crystal that forms a polarizing filter when electricity is applied;

b) a 'varilux' lense, similar to eyeglasses, that automatically transitions from light to dark

and maybe

c) an easily snapped-on replacement stored in the ejector seat, behind the pilot's head (in case of damage)

a reasonable solution to this shouldn't be too hard, yeah.

(or keep a set of sunglasses in a storage pookah on the dashboard)

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if you cant fix it, you change the spec, right ??

including 17 documented failures to meet specification requirements

for which the program acknowledges and intends to seek

contract specification changes in order to close out SDD.

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Re: if you cant fix it, you change the spec, right ??

I'll assume what you say is a fact. What you didn't tell us:

1: is this uncommon for similar complex systems?

2: what are the changes? Are they like "Two cup holders instead of three" or the wings fall off at +2 G?

3: what impact they have on the performance of its overall mission?

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Anonymous Coward

"Vertical oscillations during F-35C catapult launches were reported by pilots as excessive"

Not a problem for the Royal Navy. Omitting catapults from our aircraft carriers was a stunning piece of foresight. Pims all round!

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