Reply to post: Re: "Not my fault..."

High rear end winds cause F-35A ground engine fire

JLV Silver badge

Re: "Not my fault..."

Think P-39 Airacobra, WW2 aircraft which was pretty advanced, quite innovative and intended for air combat. Instead it had pretty massive problems in that role and was instead shunted to mostly ground attack roles*.

some of it sounds familiar (wiki):

"in the event of heavy rain the pilot's forward view would be completely obliterated; the pilot's notes advised that in this case the door windows would have to be lowered and the speed reduced to 150 mph (241 km/h)"

However in 1940 aircraft design and production cycles were in months, not in decades. You could also still use the P39 to do other things. Most importantly there were plenty of very good planes, designed by evolution rather than committee, waiting in the wings to take over its role. For each P39 you had a Tempest or P51 design.

Or you could also pick the F104 Widowmaker, which required, IIRC an upside roll to eject downwards, at least in the beginning due to its big tail (see recent articles about F35 helmet and pilot necks). That thing was quietly canned some years down the line.

Point is - aircraft designs can and do fail, sometimes. There are tons of fighter designs that either were abandoned or put into different roles while a replacement was procured. It doesn't necessarily mean the original designers were incompetent or corrupt. They just failed, perhaps by being too innovative.

The difference is, we now refuse to acknowledge the problem and are in full Emperor's New Clothes mode. There is no alternative design to fallback on - the whole point of the F35 program was to source all the eggs with one basket to reduce costs. Lobbyists, and the rather clever spreading of the pork all over, means that the F35 is likely to trump a lot of military and budgetary logic before it gets canned.

Anyone wanting to chuck the F35 is a peacenik clueless idiot, runs the official party line.

And we have no plan B.

* even the Typhoon was, IIRC, originally more intended for fighter duty.

** also the wikipedia entry makes the P39 sound quite a bit more successful than I recall reading about it in the past.

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