Tag Archives: F-35

The F-35 At 20: How Its Successes, And Failures, Shaped The Aerospace Industry

The takeaway from the last 20 years, according to aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia, might well be, “You succeeded, but please don’t try that again.”
By Valerie Insinna – On Friday, Oct. 26, 2001, executives and employees from the nation’s two biggest defense primes gathered in boardrooms and sprawling production facilities to watch a Pentagon press conference. At stake: the Joint Strike Fighter competition, which would decide who would dominate the next 40 years of the defense aerospace industry — and rake in hundreds of billions in profits.

It was a moment five years in the making. The Pentagon wanted to buy a single stealth aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps capable of three distinct operational requirements: conventional landings on a runway, landing on aircraft carriers, and performing short takeoffs and vertical landings.

It awarded contracts to Lockheed Martin and Boeing in 1996 to build competing prototypes, known as the X-35 and X-32. By July 2001, Lockheed’s X-35 had proven it could execute a short, 500-foot takeoff, fly at supersonic speeds and then vertically land in a single flight. While Boeing’s X-32 also demonstrated supersonic flight and vertical landings, it did not accomplish them in the same flight.

For the engineers that had designed and developed the two planes, emotions were running high as a group of white-haired defense acquisition officials approached the podium of the Pentagon press briefing room.

And just like that, the competition was over. more>

Failure of new U.S. weapons systems may be more than science fiction

BOOK REVIEW

Ghost Fleet, Authors: August Cole and P.W. Singer.
The Modern Mercenary, Author: Sean McFate.

By Matthew Gault – Ghost Fleet, a new novel by national-security analysts August Cole and P.W. Singer, is fascinating. The book, set in the near future, is an account of a war between China and the United States written by two men whose day jobs are studying conflict and making policy recommendations.

The Pentagon’s current obsession with Swiss-army-knife-style weapon systems, which are able to do many different things, leads it to lose the first major battle against China in Ghost Fleet.

The F-35, in particular, is considered by many weapons experts to be a laughingstock. Its gun can’t shoot because Lockheed has yet to write the software for it; the $600,000 helmet required to fly the plane has yet to work as intended, and, in at least on case, the jet’s engine has caught fire.

Despite these problems, the Pentagon is adopting the F-35 in all of its branches … and getting rid of battle-tested legacy systems. more> http://tinyurl.com/pzfq67x

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