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 …

  1. highdiver_2000

    Doesn't like humidity

    "But the limitations of EOTS, including image degradation with humidity, force pilots to fly in closer to a target than they had to when using earlier systems just to get a clear enough picture to launch a missile or take a shot."

    Nice! There goes the sales Australia and Singapore

    1. fajensen Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Doesn't like humidity

      Nope - The goes INCREASED sales to Australia and Singapore, isn't the F35 a Great Product?

      Dick Jones: .... I had a guaranteed military sale with ED 209 - renovation program, spare parts for twenty-five years... Who cares if it worked or not?

      1. BillG Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Doesn't like humidity

        +1 to @fajensen for the RoboCop reference.

        there are fatigue problems in the tail; the arresting gear on the F-35A variant is good for one landing only; the F-35A and F-35C show excessively high air flow temperatures around the engine; and the horizontal tail overheats in a Mach 1.5 run.

        How the hell did this happen? This is WAY past incompetence, it looks like criminal indifference!

        How does one design this level of crap into a machine and believe that it will not be detected later on? I'd like to see Reg dig deeper into this. None of this is new, there were articles on the F-35 cockups back in 2011.

        There is a correlation that the number of military and politicians on the oversight committee for an aircraft is directly proportional to the time it takes to develop an aircraft. The F-177 had 7 people on the oversight committee and it was finished quickly. The F-22 had 130 and it was a cluster-f*ck.

        In 2009 the F-35 oversight committee allegedly had over 300 people.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They canned the f22 and tried to kill the warthog for this pile of shit.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      They canned the f22 and tried to kill the warthog for this pile of shit.

      It's obvious really - they're using lens apertures.

      f16 - f22 - and now f35. They need to go the other way. I predict the successful fighter aircraft will be the f1.8.

      1. m0rt Silver badge

        Re: They canned the f22 and tried to kill the warthog for this pile of shit.

        "f16 - f22 - and now f35. They need to go the other way. I predict the successful fighter aircraft will be the f1.8."

        Bokeh wins wars.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They canned the f22 and tried to kill the warthog for this pile of shit.

        It's obvious really - they're using lens apertures.

        f16 - f22 - and now f35. They need to go the other way. I predict the successful fighter aircraft will be the f1.8.

        Absolutely. However, it will still be hopeless against Mig 1.44. You really need to bite the bullet, and go directly to f0.9

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: They canned the f22 and tried to kill the warthog for this pile of shit.

          "You really need to bite the bullet, and go directly to f0.9"

          That would be a night fighter (Noctilux...$10500, almost expensive enough to be a piece of actual military equipment.)

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: They canned the f22 and tried to kill the warthog for this pile of shit.

        "It's obvious really - they're using lens apertures."

        Very good. So good, in fact, that you win not one, but TWO internets!!!

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      Russians made them do it!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The largest and most successful Russian covert hacking campaign is continuing as planned, then.

    The Motherland thanks you, comrades!

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: The largest and most successful Russian covert hacking campaign is continuing as planned, then.

      Model C uses licensed Russian technology. So you may be not that far off.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: The largest and most successful Russian covert hacking campaign is continuing as planned, then.

        "Model C uses licensed Russian technology".

        And I bet that technology works smoothly and reliably.

  4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Draft Trump speech found on wikileaks

    We support jobs. It's about jobs, also. The F35 program has created a huge number of jobs for Americans. I do not care if it cannot land twice. That is not important. First we want to fix our highways. We're going to fix our highways. We fix the pot holes in our highways, the F35 will not have to take off. We are going to spend another $329billion on the flirtyfive, and we are going to make the Mexicans pay for it.

  5. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Oh wonderful

    So when our aircraft-less aircraft carriers finally get some aircraft they won't actually be able to fly.

    This could end up being a more expensive fiasco than Brexit! Will any Minister be sacked for this?

    [On second thoughts, no, that's silly. *nothing* is going to beat Brexit!]

    1. Known Hero
      Facepalm

      Re: Oh wonderful

      Oh Do fuck off.

      The closest this comes to brexit is that we bought some, and that link is very tenuous

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Oh wonderful

        We need a 'Farages Law' no matter what the subject is being spoken about someone will always drag it to Brexit.

        1. Alistair Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Oh wonderful

          windows 10 update for UK

          Rename "deleted files container" "BREXIT"

          /<icon for the humourless>

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Oh wonderful

          "We need a 'Farages Law' no matter what the subject is being spoken about someone will always drag it to Brexit."

          or U.S. president, or any political person/issue in general, or 'popular target of the moment', or ...

          As for the F35, at least it seems that the lipstick is being applied to the 'end that goes "oink"'. The "contradictions" of stealth vs vertical take-off vs supersonic operability still haven't been resolved. it's almost as if an "all in one" solution really isn't possible, yet they're doing it _ANYWAY_.

      2. Brent Beach

        The Gold Standard for Stupid

        It is unfortunate, but Brexit and the election of Trump have become the gold standard for stupid self-inflicted harm.

        All you Brexit fans will just have to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Trump fans and live with this.

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Oh wonderful

      You Sure!? Threatening the EU to sending the entire British fleet consisting of HMS-MIssile-Sponge, HMS-Weapon-Less and HMS-Rust-Bucket (and 35000 power-point wielding consultants) to defend Gibraltar from Spain after Brexit seems to add a nice icing on the brownie cake?

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Oh wonderful

        I can't find the citation right now, but I'm pretty sure that deploying "35000 power-point wielding consultants" contravenes all existing treaties on rules of engagement.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Oh wonderful

        ...to defend Gibraltar from Spain after Brexit...

        Since HMS Victory is still a Commissioned vessel, they could plug up any leaks in the hull and move it to the active list - in preparation for her reprising her leading role in the The Great Siege of Gibraltar in October 1782.

        Note: HMS Victory - Unready for sea "You'll never guess the name of the contractor"

      3. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: Oh wonderful

        You Sure!? Threatening the EU to sending the entire British fleet consisting of HMS-MIssile-Sponge, HMS-Weapon-Less and HMS-Rust-Bucket

        Don't forget the HMS "hides under the water and can fire missiles at you all day because all you have are fishing trawlers".

    3. JimC Silver badge

      Re: Will any Minister be sacked for this?

      Of course not. The natural wastage rate in ministers and the time scale of the project ensures that by the time the chickens come home to roost all ministers concerned with the early decisions will be long pensioned off - or at least appointed to comfortable 'consultation' posts with, well, probably F35 and QE Carrier contractors...

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Will any Minister be sacked for this?

        QE? Do you really mean quantitive easing, or the second big 'bail out the banks by printing loads of money' known as QE2?

        1. keith_w

          Re: Will any Minister be sacked for this?

          I thought he was referring to the aircraft carriers currently under construction.

    4. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Oh wonderful

      "This could end up being a more expensive fiasco than Brexit!"

      Brexit will save us billions every year. It has hardly any cost so far....Our economy is growing 2nd fastest in the G20...

      1. Afernie
        Facepalm

        Re: Oh wonderful

        "Brexit will save us billions every year. It has hardly any cost so far....Our economy is growing 2nd fastest in the G20..."

        You can call off the search. We've identified that guy who jumped off a 20 storey building, muttering "so far so good" as he passed each floor...

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Oh wonderful

          You can call off the search. We've identified that guy who jumped off a 20 storey building, muttering "so far so good" as he passed each floor...

          Not the . A closer one would be someone goes to a casino and bets 5% of what they own on red or black. There is a risk but if you loose, it's not the end of the world...

          Everyone said the economy would crash as soon as we voted for Brexit - it hasn't - record highs in the FTSE, outstanding economic growth

          All we know right now is we will not be paying the EU billions net each year anymore. We might stand to gain massively from trade deals. We might stand to loose from the EU depending on what is agreed. But we don't know.

          What we do know is we are out for sure - once the article is invoked it's not reversible. We also know other countries are queuing up to do trade deals. Hello for instance the 52 nations / 2.3 billion people . 15 trillion GDP of the Commonwealth. Ditto, Canada, the US, India, Australia. Who mostly have forgiven us for forcing "civilisation" on them.

          We can look at our status as a global financial centre - and the regulatory advantages that not being in the EU might bring. And the ability to adjust our tax rates for corporates...

          We can also look at similar countries that are not in the EU like say Norway and Switzerland.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Oh wonderful

            That should read "Not the best analogy..."

          2. Roo
            Windows

            Re: Oh wonderful

            "Everyone said the economy would crash as soon as we voted for Brexit - it hasn't - record highs in the FTSE, outstanding economic growth"

            When a currency falls shares become cheaper and more attractive to foreigners. TL;DR: Britons own less of their companies, and what they own is worth less anyway.

            1. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: Oh wonderful

              "When a currency falls shares become cheaper and more attractive to foreigners."

              So greater foreign investment then. Another benefit...

              1. graeme leggett

                Re: Oh wonderful

                'greater foreign investment'

                Business talk for 'your companies are being bought by foreign interests'

                Brexit terror - gain "sovereignty" , lose control of economy

              2. Roo
                Windows

                Re: Oh wonderful

                "So greater foreign investment then. Another benefit..."

                Greater foreign investment erodes it further because the folks with the gold make the rules. Less sovereignty is what you are getting - perhaps you could write to your local MP about it.

          3. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Oh wonderful

            "We can also look at similar countries that are not in the EU like say Norway and Switzerland.".

            Not similar at all as they are in the single market, follow their obligations and pay for the privilege. The Norwegians pay more per capita than you in the UK, too lazy to find out about Switzerland.

            Be an optimist, but your comment seems to prove you have been listening to Farage & Co and trusted them.

            Some due diligence is always worth it when making decisions.

            1. Triggerfish

              Re: Oh wonderful

              Not the . A closer one would be someone goes to a casino and bets 5% of what they own on red or black. There is a risk but if you loose, it's not the end of the world...

              The permanent economic stability of a country is not a 5% no harm no foul bet ffs.

              Everyone said the economy would crash as soon as we voted for Brexit - it hasn't - record highs in the FTSE, outstanding economic growth

              I'm moving to a country thats pegged with the dollar and I have seen a goodly amount of my savings and wages wiped because of this, now thats individual, but it reflects on the worth of our pound when we want to purchase. Also it may not help export which is what I am always told, because we need to buy raw materials in etc and guess what? They now effectively cost more.

              As other posters have said share prices have dropped, and companies are getting bought up and the profits not coming back into the UK either, a weak pound isn't that great.

              All we know right now is we will not be paying the EU billions net each year anymore. We might stand to gain massively from trade deals. We might stand to loose from the EU depending on what is agreed. But we don't know.

              We might, we might, we might, dunno maybe it's just me but somehow I think maybe knowing what would happen or at least having a pretty damn good idea is the way to make a major descision. Basing it on some jingoistic ideas and hope is not.

              What we do know is we are out for sure - once the article is invoked it's not reversible. We also know other countries are queuing up to do trade deals. Hello for instance the 52 nations / 2.3 billion people . 15 trillion GDP of the Commonwealth. Ditto, Canada, the US, India, Australia. Who mostly have forgiven us for forcing "civilisation" on them.

              You mean we were not trading with Canada, the US etc before? Gosh we missed a trick there.

              Or do you mean now we are out of the EU suddenly the need for British goods is going to rise for some reason, if so can you tell me what? There's only so much jam you can sell.

              Do you think for example we would have more clout than the EU, for example if TTIP was happening do you think the Eu could have refused it, do you think Britain on it's own would have been able to?

              We can look at our status as a global financial centre - and the regulatory advantages that not being in the EU might bring. And the ability to adjust our tax rates for corporates...

              Yeah tax cuts for large corporations work so well for the common man. Suppose we can cut some things though, NHS, roads, education etc. Banking especially unregulated banking has done us all so fine in the past few years.

              We can also look at similar countries that are not in the EU like say Norway and Switzerland.

              The sheer ignorance of that statement and lack of understanding about the single market membership....

          4. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: Oh wonderful

            It looks as if a lot of Remainians are frightfully hacked off that we are leaving the EU. Unable to find any solid arguments against it, and unable to find any facts to support their case, they vent their frustrated feelings by awarding downvotes on The Reg.

            Go for it, people! It's a lot less harmful than violence.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          5. oldphart

            Re: Oh wonderful

            I¨m from Norway. We pay the EU oodles of millions every year to get access to their market and have to implement all their regulations. It is like a membership with no voting rights. Just go on dreaming that they will give you what you want on a silver platter.

      2. Roo
        Windows

        Re: Oh wonderful

        "Brexit will save us billions every year. It has hardly any cost so far....Our economy is growing 2nd fastest in the G20..."

        1) Our currency has plummeted in value, so a net loss overall.

        2) We haven't left the EU yet, so you can't honestly comment on the true cost yet.

        3) The likely outcome is that trade overheads will increase because we still have to renegotiate all those agreements from a position of weakness.

        The reality of the situation is that Britain is a much weaker trading partner than the EU as a whole, so we are unlikely to get any favours from partners over and above what Europe gets.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Oh wonderful

          "Our currency has plummeted in value, so a net loss overall."

          Nope - great for exports - and most FTSE 500 company earnings...And it means the nations debt is lower value, so a net gain...

          "We haven't left the EU yet, so you can't honestly comment on the true cost yet."

          See above where I make clear what we can comment on.

          "The likely outcome is that trade overheads will increase because we still have to renegotiate all those agreements from a position of weakness."

          Nope - we have a position of strength - they need us more than we need them. For instance the EU sells more to us than we do them. And all the free trade deals we will do will increase non EU trade.

          1. Roo
            Windows

            Re: Oh wonderful

            "Nope - we have a position of strength - they need us more than we need them."

            Doubtful. The EU loses just one trading partner with a paltry 60m customers, we lose access to the entire common market (which includes the member states plus all the folks paying to play like Norway for example).

            "And all the free trade deals we will do will increase non EU trade."

            Free trade deals aren't free beer, they cost real money. As a country of 60 million folks there is *less* benefit for the trading partner in negotiating with us simply because we are a smaller market than Europe as a whole. Consequently you *should* expect the cost of trade with those countries to *increase* rather than decrease. Increasing costs tend to hinder trade.

            Most of the folks on telly telling us Brexit is great seem to be very rich, have multiple passports, and keep most of their money outside of the UK. In your case I can't work out if you are ignorant, stupid or simply shilling for Brexit to happen for some other nefarious purpose that you dare not share in public.

      3. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Oh wonderful

        So far TheVogon's comment has attracted 26 downvotes - and no rebuttals. Hmmm.

        1. Roo
          Windows

          Re: Oh wonderful

          "So far TheVogon's comment has attracted 26 downvotes - and no rebuttals. Hmmm."

          Plenty of rebuttals, just a lack of folks on the Brexit side willing to take part in rational discussion or point out a silver lining that isn't a figment of their good intentions.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh wonderful

        I know this doesn't need to be said, but you do know that we won't actually leave the EU until 2019? All the bad effects will largely only be felt then. We are currently experiencing a last hurrah.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Egghead Gilmore, typical of a boffin to miss the point...

    It is perhaps the most successful weapons platform in USAF history! Just look at the stats:

    * 32,500 jobs across 46 states!

    * 18 states with over $100M spent!

    * Underpinning vulnerable congressional districts for over 20 years!

    And with that newest test report it looks like remedial development will continue for the foreseeable future, keeping USAF spending well at the forefront into the 21st century. Huzzah!

    [figures from This Map Shows Why The F-35 Has Turned Into A Trillion-Dollar Fiasco]

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Egghead Gilmore, typical of a boffin to miss the point...

      Thanks for that hyperlink, Mongo.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Egghead Gilmore, typical of a boffin to miss the point...

      It sure is a spectacular success, from the perspective of the USA's curious form of crypto-socialism. The American tax-payer won't stomach coughing up for the more conventional ways of redistributing quality-of-life from the wealthy to the poor, like universal healthcare or welfare benefits. So instead the government has to do it through these indirect and inefficient schemes disguised as defence procurement.

      1. SeanC4S

        Re: Egghead Gilmore, typical of a boffin to miss the point...

        Food stamps for 1/6 of the population, free or minimal cost school meals, pensions for all, health care for most. Left wing on the inside, right wing on the outside.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There have been planes like this before.

    Have to get dangerously close to the target, unable to fly home and land.

    They've re-invented Kamikaze planes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There have been planes like this before.

      They've re-invented Kamikaze planes.

      No, they've reinvented the fabled multi-role combat aircraft. Since military aircraft were made of string and paper, senior fools have fantasised about one combat aircraft being able to do more than one thing. I can't think of any that truly excelled all round - a few came close, but for all, the compromises always meant that there were far better dedicated airframes. Just think of the compromises needed on a multi-role aircraft between the attributes needed for low level versus high altitude, dogfight versus strike, stand-off versus close support, speed versus strength, endurance versus performance, carrier versus land ops, SVTOL versus runways, stealth versus aerodynamics and control....

      That is why the F35 is a pile of junk, because of overreach in the specifications. They will iron out many of the shortcoming over time and at vast expense, but F35 will never excel in any of its roles. The Tornado shows the same thing - never as good at strike and low level as a Buccaneer, never a match for a proper interceptor fighter, never very good as a pure weapons platform.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Spudley

        Re: There have been planes like this before.

        No, they've reinvented the fabled multi-role combat aircraft. .....

        That is why the F35 is a pile of junk, because of overreach in the specifications. They will iron out many of the shortcoming over time and at vast expense, but F35 will never excel in any of its roles.

        I guess the one good thing about the F35 is that it makes the SLS rocket program look cheap and successful by comparison.

        1. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Re: There have been planes like this before.

          The F35 is the white elephant by which all future white elephants will be measured.

          Concorde looks like an economic whim by comparison. Hell, the Space Shuttle looks like good value for money.

      3. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: There have been planes like this before.

        @Ledswinger

        De Havilland Mosquito - Successful fast fighter, bomber, ground-attack, anti-shipping, photo-reconnaissance, and carrier-borne variants: Wikipedia link

        1. Steve Crook

          Re: There have been planes like this before.

          Yup, that'd be my choice as well. Best plane from WWII by a country mile and very possibly the best combat aircraft ever built.

          Great airframe design & build coupled with engines from the gods. Went to the Mosquito museum and was quite astonished at how small it was. I've built a few models of the plane, but until you see it in the flesh it's incredibly difficult to appreciate just how tiny it is.

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

          I was informed by a former W/C on Mosquitos - that the RAF's own statistical department concluded that in terms of military effectiveness (i.e. value of target destruction) per £ spent, the Mosquito was nearly 6 times as effective as the Lancaster bomber. It really is a case where less was more. More Mosquitos, and fewer Lancasters, and more precision bombing of oil, rail junctions and matériel concentrations could have done more to shorten the war and reduce rebuilding costs, as well as saving crew lives.

          A bit of a missed opportunity, really.

          1. jrd

            Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

            Well, that's sort-of true, but it's like saying the sniper rifle is a very cost effective weapon so all our soldiers should carry them. The Mosquito was a precision weapon and the Lancaster wasn't. If we had sent Mosquitos on thousand-bomber raids over Germany, they would have been shot to pieces by the German air defences.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

              In fact, the mosquitoes WERE sent on thousand-bomber raids. Due to their precision, they were the first ones in and marked that target area with flares that gave a bright target for the lumbering, big-bombload carrying planes.

              1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

                Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

                The first use of a Mossie as a "moving bombing target" was by Leonard Cheshire when flying with 617 Squadron. He had pioneered the technique by flying his Lancaster below the other Squadron Lancs and letting them drop "on" him. Then he realised a Mossie would let him get in and out lower and faster, and the ultimate iteration of this method involved him flying an RAF Mustang at treetop level, IIRC.

                This sort of ingenuity is why 617 Squadron was widely regarded as the premier RAF Squadron in Bomber Command.

                1. Thesheep

                  There is a great painting of this in the RAF club (in fact they claim to have a painting of every aircraft flown by the RAF...)

              2. Archtech Silver badge

                Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

                But the lumbering, big-bomblaod carrying planes probably missed the bright markers by a mile or so anyway - just as they missed everything else.

                The safest place to be during a thousand-bomber raid was the shop floor of a German ball-bearing factory.

            2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

              Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

              Well, that's sort-of true, but it's like saying the sniper rifle is a very cost effective weapon so all our soldiers should carry them.

              Very valid point and really unfair to be modded down.

              £ per damage the best WW2 plane was Po2 - cost nothing, did a hell lot of damage (especially if you account for the psychological too). Mosquito and Pe2 closely followed (funny - Pe2 was also designed as a heavy fighter first and re-purposed as a bomber). On this metric the B17, Lanc and the B29 sucked bricks sidewize through a thin straw. They could, however, hit stuff which the Mosquito could not hit. Ever. Each of them had their function and replacing one of them with the other would have not worked at all.

              1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

                F18 uperhornwt was a multirole aircraft. It can even act as a light tanker ffs! Carrier capable, decent range, cheap to fly, doesnt have to ditch ordnance to carrier land either.

                Great aircraft.

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

                "Each of them had their function and replacing one of them with the other would have not worked at all."

                Yes, this! There's is no such thing as a universal "weapon". Every weapon or weapons platform has compromises and therefore weaknesses which some other specialist weapons system can find and overcome.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

                £ per damage the best WW2 plane was Po2 - cost nothing, did a hell lot of damage (especially if you account for the psychological too).

                Holy cow! From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polikarpov_Po-2:

                UN forces named the Po-2's nighttime appearance Bedcheck Charlie and had great difficulty in shooting it down, even though night fighters had radar as standard equipment in the 1950s. The wood-and-fabric-construction of the Po-2 gave only a minimal radar echo, making it hard for an opposing fighter pilot to acquire his target. ...

                The Po-2 is also the only biplane credited with a documented jet-kill, as one Lockheed F-94 Starfire was lost while slowing down to 110 mph – below its stall speed – during an intercept in order to engage the low flying Po-2.

                Next time I need an impossible-to-shoot-down stealth fighter-bomber, I know where to get one!

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

                  "Next time I need an impossible-to-shoot-down stealth fighter-bomber, I know where to get one!"

                  Yes, I think it's been suggested a couple of times that building some new Fairey Swordfish for the new RN Carriers might at least give us a fighting chance in any future conflicts. Well, more of a one than the apparently even longer delayed F35s are going to be.

                2. Archtech Silver badge

                  Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

                  That reminds me of the story that Bismarck's AA guns couldn't successfully engage the attacking Stringbags, because the highly efficient German gunnery computers couldn't hack such a slow flight speed.

          2. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

            "...the Mosquito was nearly 6 times as effective as the Lancaster bomber".

            Not when it came to dropping Tallboys and Grand Slams, it wasn't.

        3. Orv Silver badge

          Re: There have been planes like this before.

          Low radar signature, too.

        4. TReko

          Re: There have been planes like this before.

          And the Mosquito was the result of private investment, developed on a tiny budget and was resisted by the top airforce brass at almost every turn.

          1. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: There have been planes like this before.

            And once the top brass gained complete control, from 1945 onwards, they completely wiped out the British aircraft industry. (See "Empire of the Clouds", passim).

      4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: There have been planes like this before.

        @Ledswinger: this.

        The F-35 makes the F-105G look good, and that's saying something. (One of these days I must look into how Germany avoided the F-35, it seems somewhat unusual.)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: There have been planes like this before.

          "(One of these days I must look into how Germany avoided the F-35, it seems somewhat unusual.)"

          Yeah, the F35 needs a G variant. G for...umm..Germany, yeah, that's it G for Germany!

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

            Re: There have been planes like this before.

            F-104G

            1,122 aircraft of the main version produced as multi-role fighter-bombers. Manufactured by Lockheed, and under license by Canadair and a consortium of European companies which included Messerschmitt/MBB, Dornier, Fiat, Fokker, and SABCA. The type featured strengthened fuselage and wing structure, increased internal fuel capacity, an enlarged vertical fin, strengthened landing gear with larger tires, and revised flaps for improved combat maneuvering. Upgraded avionics included a new Autonetics NASARR F15A-41B radar with air-to-air and ground mapping modes, the Litton LN-3 Inertial Navigation System (the first on a production fighter), and an infrared sight.

            RF-104G

            189 tactical reconnaissance models based on F-104G,[12] usually with three KS-67A cameras mounted in the forward fuselage in place of cannon.

            (Source: Jimbopedia)

      5. Paul_Murphy

        Re: There have been planes like this before.

        After the Mosquito I would suggest the TSR2 (if it had been continued) or the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow (ditto) as the Mosquito equivalent of the jet age (excepting the Buccaneer for the low-level stuff) the Harrier being the only other jet plane that could fly slower and lower.

        Since the Americans screwed the country (and Europe) over with the F111 it's been downhill ever since.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There have been planes like this before.

        On the other hand...

        F4 Phantom - a pair of jet engines attached to a brick. Couldn't turn if its life depended on it, but it could outrun and outclimb anything in its day. Even when it had no gun people still managed to use it. People found a way to use its advantages and then some.

        F15 C - Solely designed to dogfight. Air supremacy at its best. Somebody redesigned it to carry bombs, slapped a E instead of C, still kicks ass. People even managed to make a stealthy variant! I'd ditch the F35 and keep building these, along the A10 and the F22 for wild weasel purposes.

        F14 D - After getting rid of iffy engines of the model A, it was a decent interceptor, despite still overworking the maintenance crews. Ended its life with a "Bombcat" variant. Too bad it was not cost-effective, and the economics should serve as warning for the mess the F35 is.

        F16 - Began life as a small fast fighter in the C variant, ended up as a multi-role. Got dorsal tanks that the US refuses to use, but gives it longer legs to do anything.

        I think the secret is to make a competent airframe, front and foremost. People go around and find a way to use those airframes later.

      7. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: There have been planes like this before.

        "Just think of the compromises needed on a multi-role aircraft between the attributes needed for low level versus high altitude, dogfight versus strike, stand-off versus close support, speed versus strength, endurance versus performance, carrier versus land ops, SVTOL versus runways, stealth versus aerodynamics and control...."

        there is a Russian-developed analysis method known as 'Triz' that attempts to "resolve contradictions" such as those. Worthy of mention.

        Yes, it may be impossible to really "do it right", but I think they're optimistic about making it "good enough". Who knows, with enough tweeking, a bit of luck, and good feedback from the military pilots, they can upgrade this thing into a workable airframe. But yeah, it does NOT seem to be ready for prime time at the moment.

        Still I'd favor deploying a percentage of aircraft using F35, so long as the older ones aren't retired (until it's proved). And let's keep the updates/upgrades coming for A10, F22, and maybe even F18 while we're at it. The B-52 got a LOT of usage for half a century, and so if it works, why not keep using it?

        (obligatory reference to Arthur C. Clarke's "Superiority" and WW2 aircraft, allied vs axis, and who won the war [and why])

      8. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: There have been planes like this before.

        "No, they've reinvented the fabled multi-role combat aircraft."

        The last generation had the Lockheed Starfighter. Every generation of generals/air marshals/designers need their own mistakes to learn from 'cos learning from history is just so last year!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So let me get this right....

    ...60 years ago they managed to make planes fly and shoot rather well at the speed of sound.

    Now with decades of experience, supercomputers and CAD, they can't do that.

    Progress.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: So let me get this right....

      "Pork" has a way of getting fatter, not faster or more nimble.

      They call them pork projects for a reason.

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: So let me get this right....

      Although inclined to agree I also think to be fair, planes were much simpler then, and if you read accounts of people trying to fly these planes now they are supposed to be a bitch to fly, not just mossies but the single engine fighters, torque steer and such could apparently flip you trying to take off.

      There was a written account of someone trying to fly a ME109 someone offered a go on at a meet, experienced pilot years of experience as a crop duster and in various aircraft, whole family history of flying commercially, didn't even get it down the runway to take off before he realised it was better to power down, live and not trash someone's million dollar plane.

      Mosquito was still a shit hot plane though.

  9. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    Dr Havilland Mosquito?

    Fighter, bomber, photo reconnaissance and more.

    Built out of eco friendly wood so Green credentials.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Dr Havilland Mosquito?

      The wood made them quite stealthy, too.

      1. Vic

        Re: Dr Havilland Mosquito?

        The wood made them quite stealthy, too.

        And safe.

        Whereas a metal aircraft would generally be torn apart when hit by cannon fire, the Mosquito would generally survive, as long as nothing important was hit[1]. Many aircraft came home with gaping holes in the fuselage...

        Vic.

        [1] Like the pilot...

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: Dr Havilland Mosquito?

          My thoughts exactly. The Mosquito was an outstanding plane (and stunning in my view).

        2. Peter Clarke 1
          Alert

          Re: de Havilland Mosquito?

          The Mosquito also shares a failing with the F35- tropical temperatures and humidity caused the glue holding it together to fail

          1. Gray
            Windows

            Re: de Havilland Mosquito?

            A shame, really... just at a time when we've invented stable epoxies and cyanoacrylates, we've deforested all the suitable woods! Perhaps carbon black=>carbon fiber=>Black Mosquito?

            1. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: de Havilland Mosquito?

              Black Mosquito? Wasn't that the costumed superhero who defeated villains with his continuous high-pitched whining? "You really shouldn't break into this bank. Do you know how much that vault cost? A team of highly-skilled craftsmen took eight weeks to construct and install it, and you've just burned the lock out. They'll be really upset. I don't think the insurance covers laser-beaming eyes."

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Windows

                Re: de Havilland Mosquito?

                "Black Mosquito? Wasn't that the costumed superhero who defeated villains with his continuous high-pitched whining?

                PMSL!!!

                (I really should NOT drink beer while reading here!!!)

          2. Tim99 Silver badge

            Re: de Havilland Mosquito?

            @Peter Clarke 1

            The Mosquito also shares a failing with the F35- tropical temperatures and humidity caused the glue holding it together to fail

            Possibly a manufacturing fault, and not the glue: Wikipedia Link.

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Dr Havilland Mosquito?

      And quite stealthy for its time.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dr Havilland Mosquito?

      And two lovely sounding Merlin engines

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Dr Havilland Mosquito?

        "And two lovely sounding Merlin engines"

        It is strange. I'm no huge aviation fan, or old enough to really remember prop driven aircraft much at all, but NOTHING beats the sound of ANY Merlin powered aircraft flying low overhead!!!

        A Vulcan comes a close 2nd!

    4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Paging

      "Dr Havilland"?

      Maybe you were thinking of Dr Scholl - who also favoured construction from wood (or his foot stuff company did).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i dont know how many faults are usual on a new design of aircraf

    but some of these do sound a bit of a concern, a hard to maintain aircraft with bits melting off while the aircraft is already unstable at speed with novel single use components...

    Maybe I'm just a bit of a pessimist but I am glad that's not the list for a civilian aircraft...

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

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

    The comments here have identified the program's raison d'être ...... the F-35 is a sub-prime coincidental QE dollar printing and distribution program ....... trying to prevent the American dream economic model system from collapsing in the military industrial complex sector/vector.

    Such fantastical business arrangements though are fully dependent upon the truth of such matters that matter being practically unknown and virtually secret for the revelation opens myriad vulnerability doors and portals for both private renegade rogue and public state and non-state actor exploitation, and thus is the use of such aid an abuse and misuse of executive office because of the catastrophically self-destructive nature of the scheme/scam/ponzi.

    Would y'all agree with most everything shared there? Or is something important missing? Or is fake news having an airing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      Hell of a Venn diagram called for, but I do think you tagged them all properly.

    2. Gray
      Windows

      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).

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        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!

    3. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

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

      @ amanfromMars 1

      All I would add is that Trump should stop whining when NATO has to pay for those.

      What I find so astonishing and a bit disturbing is how we boys always find i so exciting to dream about weapons of great interest. My $DAITY how I loved guns as a kid, took me almost 18 years to get over it and here I am again appalled by a missing cannon

      Here in Finland we are looking for new planes and I really hope it won't be those.

    4. Archtech Silver badge

      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.

  12. MrT

    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?!

  13. Your alien overlord - fear me

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

  14. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    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."

    1. Dan McIntyre

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

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      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.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: Clarke correct beyond the military

        They should have built the pane with devops somehow.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          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.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Clarke correct beyond the military

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

          FTFY

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      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.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        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]

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          " 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.)

          1. Sanguma

            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.

        2. Alumoi
          Coat

          [hopefully THAT never happens]

          Wanna bet?

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "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.

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            "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."

            1. Archtech Silver badge

              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.

  15. Zmodem

    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

  16. Chris G Silver badge

    $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.

  17. Christoph Silver badge

    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?

  18. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    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.

    1. deconstructionist

      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

      1. HereIAmJH

        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.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          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.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            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.

          2. Kev99 Bronze badge

            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.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              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.

              1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

                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

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

        "actually we cant launch anything but the f35b "

        WHOOOOSH!!!!

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

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      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?

    3. /dev/null

      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...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        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!

    4. Chris G Silver badge

      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.

    5. Archtech Silver badge

      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?

  19. kmac499

    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.

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Not necessarily bad

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

      1. Uffish

        Re: in the direction of the USA...

        Why am I thinking about what Lance Corporal Jones said?

  20. Mage Silver badge
    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.

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      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.

  21. boatsman

    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 ?

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      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.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        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.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          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.

    2. Wink Wink

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

      Female Pilots

  22. boatsman

    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

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      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)

  23. boatsman

    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.

    1. Wink Wink

      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?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    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!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      I haven't had a Pimms Cup in ages.

  25. Arctic fox
    WTF?

    I had to read this bit twice to get my head round it.

    "Opening the door to fire the cannon pulls the aircraft off-target"

    Aren't aircraft designers supposed to know about things like drag coefficients? I mean that the way the landing flaps work (or rather how they work) might suggest that suddenly opening the door to the gun bay might have an effect on the aircraft's behaviour in flight?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I had to read this bit twice to get my head round it.

      "Aren't aircraft designers supposed to know about things like drag coefficients? "

      Aircraft designers probably would, but they're a bit of a 20th century concept.

      Lowest-price CAD jockeys do what they're told (if you're lucky), they're not paid to understand anything, and nor are the managers involved.

      Well that seems to be the way it looks to lots of folk anyway.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: I had to read this bit twice to get my head round it.

      Designers, yes. Managers, not so much.

      Yes, it's a problem in every industry these days.

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: I had to read this bit twice to get my head round it.

      If you think of the planes Lockheed's "skunkworks"* came up with...

      * basically just a handfull of guys in a shed somewhere, really

    4. fajensen Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: I had to read this bit twice to get my head round it.

      Aren't aircraft designers supposed to know about things like drag coefficients?

      Nope, the people who make it to the technical interview these days has cleared two hurdles on the selection track already (actually, a third if one counts the whole page job-add in a glossy and expensive printed media glorifying the generic greatness of the organization): The recruitment con-sluttants with their hoodoo-based personality testing and then the locale HR-people. Since the first two "filters" know nothing of the subject matter, they will do box ticking on the CV and niceness testing on the candidate.

      The end results are a set of genuinely nice candidates (and sometimes one or two psychopaths) with limited domain knowledge, not really what we asked for - but now we have spend thousands on The Recruitment Process and we are Late so we have to pick One, not "non of the above", and just hope that it works out - and they will be using Big-Money design tools like Comsol and anything Dassault, so maybe it will be OK in the end!?

      Which it will be in a way... because In the end we recruit The Specialist Consultant to fix the mess, The Consultant is consulting because he/she absolutely knows their stuff but due to many factors like them also being bastards, they will never make Recruitment.

      Civilisation is collapsing, I say.

      Paris, 'cause she could work in HR.

  26. Potemkine Silver badge

    $ 391,000,000,000

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

    This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people"

    What could have been done for $ 391,000,000,000?

    And moreover for something so wrong: F-35 can never ever replace the A-10, unless F-35 pilots like to follow the Kamikaze path...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: $ 391,000,000,000

      Careful with talking sense like that someone will call you a commie...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: $ 391,000,000,000

        "someone will call you a commie..."

        HE'S A COMMIE.

        And with potential 'leaders' like Trump and Clinton, maybe the commie's not such a bad choice.

      2. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: $ 391,000,000,000

        Yup, Eisenhower was a commie.

        Compared to the Dulles brothers, perhaps.

    2. SeanC4S

      Re: $ 391,000,000,000

      2% or less of the economy is not a big deal. That is surprising little given how grave the threats actually are. Also we were nearly wiped out by Ebola, one adaptive mutation and most of us would have cashed in our chips early. Really though, very feckless attitudes from humans these days, like nothing can touch them.

      1. EnviableOne Bronze badge

        Re: $ 391,000,000,000

        The US defence budget was 3.3% of gdp in 2015 (according to the world bank) and Trumps budget wants to up this considerably/

        NATO treaty mandates 2% and several nations have been below this for years the UK slipped under 2% at the 2013 SDR.

        The US defence budget is still greater than the next 7 largest combined, and they have to find some way to spend the money (or they might not get it next year)

        IMHO UK.Gov made mistakes getting involved, BAe / RR could have warmed over the Harrier, replacing the Spey core in Pegasus with the Trent, and using the size difference to improve the aero and produce supersonic forward flight. The Blue Vixen LDSD Radar / AMRAAM combo on the GR9 was one of the best air defence platforms available.

        USA.gov made the mistake of thinking that you get the Air Force, Navy and Marines in a room and you can make one design that meets all their needs. Did they not learn from the Eurofighter / Typhoon debacle. UK.gov replaced several specialist aircraft with the "multi-role" fighter that was a jack of all and master of none.

        From the looks of the F35 progress, its not a master of anything, and it scarcely makes jack in most things. The combination in current service F-15, F-16, F-18, F22, AV8-B, A-10 are cheaper per unit and more effective and more efficient

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: $ 391,000,000,000

      "a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

      BOOO! mega-thumbs-down for sounding like a HIPPY.

      Perhaps this needs a leitmotif consisting of "Hearts And Flowers" played on the world's smallest violin, coupled with a slight change to the lyrics: "Oh, my heart, it bleeds, for you! I am such a sucker, for emotional, manipulation!" etc.

      Seriously, when you PAY PEOPLE to STAY POOR, you PURCHASE POVERTY. At least, spending "that kind of money", we're getting some AIRPLANES.

      Don't forget we existing in a dangerous world, which is ultimately governed by the aggressive use of force. We don't have 'Atilla the Hun' and 'Ivan the Terrible' and other infamous marauders going around raping and pillaging because we have STRONG MILITARY FORCES to stop them.

      And, NOT maintaining a military edge on our potential enemies would only allow THEM to advance past us and then NUKE us until we glow (and shoot us in the dark). I don't want Iran, N. Korea, ISIS, or any other potential force of evil, to do this to any of us, thanks.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: $ 391,000,000,000 @bombastic bob

        There are those who would say, bombastic bob, that STRONG MILITARY FORCES reflect and support WEAK INTELLIGENCE SOURCES.

        Does Sun Tzu not teach you anything and everything ......

        All warfare is based on deception.

        Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.

        The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

        He and they and that which fights is lost, and are serial losers in Greater IntelAIgent Games Plays that dare care share to always win win ..... 4SAS2 via Stealthy IntelAIgent Servers. Live Virtual Machinery Reigns and Rules and Reads the Runes that Ride the Roads of Ruin in Dead Head Territory?

        I'll wager you all the tea in China, that you have not a clue about what UKGBNI Special Source Forces are able to enable and do remotely from any and all Invisible Intangible Space Places. Anything they like isn't even close if it ignores and discounts everything you too might like.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: $ 391,000,000,000 @bombastic bob

          "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

          But did he ever encounter an enemy for which the word "surrender" is taboo, meaning they will fight to the last no matter what you do?

      2. fajensen Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: $ 391,000,000,000

        ... and other infamous marauders going around raping and pillaging because ....

        We *do* have lots of marauders going around raping and pillaging right now because those STRONG MILLITARY FORCES showed their strength by destroying their countries and whatever chattel these people once had.

        Those potential - aka imagined - enemies SHOULD indeed nuke your ass at the very first opportunity, since it is the only way stopping those STRONG MILLITARY FORCES from preying on the weak.

  27. AbsolutelyBarking

    Yes the warplane equivalent of Windows Vista.

    Add to that, we can't maintain the engines ourselves, we have to send them to that very stable regime Turkey.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/11/uk_f35s_heavy_overhaul_says_us/

    1. Sanguma

      Yes the warplane equivalent of Windows Vista.

      Aha! Vistabetion! Do you vistabet? Does vistabetion make you blind?

      Just about sez it all, don't it?

  28. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Boeing

    I do rather wonder if we'd be in the same mess if the DoD had gone with Boeing's design, or if it is all the additional requirements added since the fly-off that are to blame for this fiasco.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Boeing

      It's all the pork that was pretty much required to get the votes needed to pass the budget. Otherwise they'd have likely been replaced in the next elections. It's a real dilemma.

  29. kjwpark1943

    Navy

    We need Kelly Johnson with his slide rule.

  30. kjwpark1943

    Stealth sucks,we need SR 71 generation with slide rules and a Kelly Johnson running the show.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Joke

      is Kelly McGillis still available? Or did she got with the Cruise programme?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ....waste....waste...waste...

    I mean, of human, time, resources, minds and skills. What a useless pile of nonsense. Imagine backing companies that make profit from death? It's madness. I hope all you geeks find a more productive rather than destructive career.

    That is, remove yourself from the job pool until you don't have ways that support murder.

    Trust me, if I could designate that NONE of my tax money went to people supporting legalised murder, then I'd do it yesterday.

    Making weapons is akin to slavery, it's really dumb, it is just that that most folks haven't realised it yet.

    Imagine what could have been done with all those human hours?

    Thanks.

    1. TheWeenie

      Re: ....waste....waste...waste...

      Pretty sure that in order to actually kill anyone it'd need to get airborne first.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ....waste....waste...waste...

      I hope all you geeks find a more productive rather than destructive career.

      Maybe those geek designers of the F35 actually took action and secretly designed a throughly crap plane that is crap on so many levels that every layer of "the onion" reveals more crap, which will suck up military resources and ingenuity for many decades so there won't be any of those available for any "regime change" or "peace keeping missions" and stuff?

      Actually saving brown peoples lives by giving the beast what it craves yet hobbling the beast by doing so!?

      Would that not be brilliant?

  32. Pete 2 Silver badge

    F35 - that's REAL integrated thinking

    So is the feature that this fighter can't land more than once just an acknowledgement of the effect that all it's combined failings will have on its combat success?

    it was only designed with a single-use arresting gear because the manufacturers don't expect it to survive two sorties.

  33. Adair

    You gotta know...

    when to hold'em,

    know when to fold'em,

    know when to walk away,

    and when to run...

    The thing is that too many of the people involved know nothing, except money. And they don't know much about that either.

    What a clown show.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: You gotta know...

      Actually, they DO know votes. And if you're representing a little hodunk desperate for federal money and your vote could mean life or death for the budget, what would you do?

  34. TheWeenie

    Not the first journey to the cloud(s) that's cost an absolute fortune and delivered the square root of f*ck all.

  35. ecofeco Silver badge

    So almost a half trillion dollars

    That buys a lot of bridges, but in the U.S. anything that benefits the average person is just crazy commie talk.

    But let's cut feeding the elderly (meals on wheels) and health care for children and prenatal care because, you know, FREEDOM!

  36. thetjb

    Its all in the blueprints

    They should never have sent the Bothans to get the plans.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid Me ....

    An as a bloody yank I am forced to pay for this Piece of SHite !!!!

    Military Intelligence at it's best ...

  38. Uffish
    Facepalm

    Gilmore's missive included this:

    "...conduct an actual operational test of the F-35B onboard an L-class ship before conducting a combat deployment with the F-35B".

    I admit that his report is way outside my areas of competence but it does seem that he is recommending that they should try out the plane on an L-class ship before going to war with that combination and not after.

    I am beginning to get nervous about this program.

  39. Kev99 Bronze badge

    I still see absolutely no reason for three versions of this flying brick. Build one for the Navy and tell the others take it or get nothing. It's a lot easier to remove non-essential items such as tail hooks than it is to design by committee for a committee. And I've yet to see any testing against radar used by possible US adversaries, such as ISIS, NKorea, China, etc.

  40. Bobcat4424

    Not about national defense ...

    The F-35 is not about national defense but rather about transferring billions of dollars from the taxpayer to the military-industrial complex. It was a deliberately low-balled bid, followed by intentional cost overruns. It is build in as many Congressional districts as possible, garnering political support but dramatically increasing costs while making true quality control impossible. Lockheed Martin has dedicated far fewer resources to the F-35 than required and at this point is steadily sliding backwards as currently none of the 17 million profiles cannot be performed.

    And trying to make a mainstream multi-purpose fighter stealthy was just plain stupid. We have known since the Bosnian conflict (where we lost one F-117 and had another damaged beyond repair) that in CAS ground forces can easily shoot down the F0-35.

    So why are we just hearing about this now? Lockheed Martin, like so many "defense" contractors hires retired Pentagon procurement officers into cushy non-existent :"executive" jobs. Can you spell quid prop quo?

  41. Rattus Rattus

    It's times like this

    that I really miss Lewis Page.

  42. rtb61

    A For Profit Plane

    But, but, but, is so profitable. Not only on the first round of selling it to vassal states required to buy it or else but also highly profitable maintenance and debugging but also to replace it because it sucks once the final production is run.

    The F1000X will be even more profitable and come with extra lasers.

    NATO (the North American Occupation farce) selling more US military rubbish to more countries at record profits and all they had to do was kill over million people to achieve it, imagine how much profit they can generate if they kill 10 million (it as become all so sickly farcical).

  43. Louis Schreurs BEng
    Devil

    ........drag it to Brexit.

    We need a 'Farages Law' no matter what the subject is being spoken about someone will always drag it to Brexit.

    Now wait for the Nazi reference.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Applied pacifism

    As a pacifist, I applaud the defense contractors recent deliveries. A Heckler & Koch rifle that barely hits the target, the Eurofighter that is barely capable of flight and now bug-riddled F35. Things are going in the right direction.

  45. JJKing Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice......DAMN!

    Yes the warplane equivalent of Windows Vista.

    No, not really as Vista did work. If you had said Windows 10, I would have added to your vertical line with the pointy bit on top. :-)

    This airframe was totally fucked by the Marine vertical movement requirement. This necessitated the need for the large, heavy, fast rotating, pilot decapitator. This meant the fuselage had to be really wide to accommodate it and that meant lots of that nasty drag shit. The wing got mad smaller which meant heavily reduced lifting force so high G turning became an issue.

    One would have thought that they would have learnt after the F-111 debacle since that was pushed by that famous military man, General Dynamics, as a one size fits all three (of the four) for the USA armed forces.

  46. 1Rafayal

    mandate for independence!

  47. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Dr Michael Gilmore is missing the point

    The F35 program, as with most other defence acquisition programs, is a WEALTH TRANSFER PROGRAM from the public purse to the shareholders of whatever defence contractor gets the job.

    In the States it is also an EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM so that every politician's electoral base gets just enough of the financial distributions to gain the politician's votes.

  48. Dave 15

    Link

    I wish I could remember it but it is on youtube somewhere... an Australian journalist did an indepth about this whole f35 fiasco. There are more than one or two hints at major bribery and corruption on the part of politicians across the globe.

    Even if the thing weren't to drop out of the sky at the sight of a thunderstorm (yup, it does) then its range and massive radar footprint from the back (as it returns for fuel) means it will be shot out of the sky by the far cheaper, faster, more manoeuvrable, more heavily armed longer range and (again for those that didn't realise 1/3rd of the price) Russian Sukkov.

    Add to that my suspicion that having a stupid fan and flappy covers means it is unlikely to actually prove as masterful in the sky as the old (and even more vastly cheaper) Harrier I would love to know how much was pocketed by the ministers in the UK who signed that deal. Even more annoying that they scrapped 3 aircraft carriers in favour of 2, neither of which will be equipped with as many F35s as any of the originals had Harriers. Adding insult to injury these two 'biggest ships the Royal Navy has ever had' can fly a single 'normal jet'... something that even the veritable Hermes could mange, a ship we could probably have bought back from India for a couple of quid as they only got round to decommissioning her this year!

  49. Wink Wink
    Alert

    Your objections; Political or Technical?

    I am unsure whether to laugh or cry. The endless nonsensical sound bites about this deeply technical and even top secret aerospace system is Monty Python level silly.

    Only time will tell if the F35 is a marvel or a mess. The musings of armchair Rocket Scientists won’t.

    A leapfrog system like the F35 is always a long-term development cycle that continues for the life of the system. As an MIT Aerospace Engineer with years of hands on experience with innovative space hardware, I am amazed that there are only "276 deficiencies in combat performance as ‘critical to correct’ in Block 3F". Of which something less than half are already addressed.

    That small number, in my experience means they are doing something right. For %^&%%$ sake people did you really think designing a revolutionary fighting system would be a cake walk.

    Engineers not only ascribe to the Scientific Method they have if forced upon them. They draft and in the case of new technologies, invent a design. They simulate and finite analyze but in the end, it either flies or fails and they redesign until it works. I would love to brag that every one of my designs was flawless out of the gate but if that is the case, you can be sure you are not advancing your art. We learn more from our failures that we do from our successes.

    Let’s all try a little honesty. If you wake up on the left every day, you have probably never met a Military system or expenditure you loved. The F35 is a political failure but not a technical one; at least not yet. Every fighter in America's inventory has followed the same path. They mature only over time and via multiple small and large upgrades.

    Many anti-F35 voices in the US and Canada are actively praising the F18 Super Hornet as a superior alternative. Such short memories, when it was introduced, the F18 was even more despised and flawed than the F35. As Yogi Berra would say, "It's like déjà vu all over again."

    Let me be honest, it is still an open question, whether the F35 will mature into the fighter my instincts and training say it will become; but if I'm correct, then it will dominate the battle theater for decades and will go down as a game changing success.

    Now you be honest with yourself and take step back to reflect on the origin of your F35 opinions. Are they technical or are they political? It is ok to object for political reasons. Those can be legitimate grounds for argument but do not exaggerate the normal technical learning curve of a new system to bolster your arguments.

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