July 29, 2015
Problems make F-35 an Aerial Missile Platform, not Fighter
July 29, 2015. Great Lakes, IL. Americans have spent the past two years hearing about one fatal flaw after another concerning the fighter plane that will protect America’s skies for the next 50 years. Taken as a whole, one conclusion is evident. America will not have a fifth generation fighter to match China, Russia, Europe or possibly even the Middle East. Instead, the Pentagon has clumsily replaced its fighter planes with the most expensive aerial missile platform ever made, that may or may not even work.
F-35 Lightening II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is supposed to replace America’s entire fleet of F-16’s, F-18’s and every other fighter plane the US military uses. And with Congress and the Pentagon doubling-down and gambling the country’s future aerial defense on a $1.5 trillion fighter that can’t fight, the nation is positioned to fight the next few wars without a fighter plane, but instead only a missile launch platform. The problems and defects with the F-35 are endless and astonishing. Like most government programs these days, the F-35 joint strike fighter program appears crippled by corruption, incompetence, or both.
As detailed by Air Force Times recently, one of the problems with the F-35 is its self-diagnosing maintenance computer program. The system that is replacing human mechanics and their time-consuming safety checks will use computers instead. The problem is that it not only doesn’t work, but 80 percent of the parts diagnosed as broken or needing maintenance are false-negatives. That shocking revelation was made public during a House Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this year.
Faulty computers and software
A separate report from Business Insider detailed bugs in the F-35’s other software programs. The Pentagon has admitted there are still problems with the software that controls the fighter’s warfare capabilities. They include deficiencies with navigation, weapons firing, weapons delivery accuracy, radar, friend-or-foe identification, optical targeting, and recurring false alarms. The Pentagon concluded, ‘The Distributed Aperture System continues to exhibit high false-alarm rates and false target tracks, and poor stability performance, even in later versions of software.’
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The Lightening II is a lightening magnet
One example of bitter irony is the admission that the F-35 Lightning attracts lightning strikes at an unacceptably high rate. Current Pentagon requirements insist that planes be anti-lightning equipped for at least 12 continuous hours. But with the F-35, if the plane flies twice in 12 hours, it is susceptible to lightning strikes.
Does anything on the F-35 work?
The same Business Insider report quoted the Pentagon’s audit in which it describes all the other parts of the F-35 Lightning that do not work, or do not work on an acceptable level. The results revealed that all versions of the F-35, ‘Have reliability issues with their avionics processors, landing gear tires, thermal management systems, ejection seat assemblies, cockpit display electronics unit, helmet display units, seat survival kits, igniter-spark in the turbine engines, and on-board oxygen generating systems.’
“Can’t turn. Can’t climb. Can’t run.”
Possibly the most shocking revelation for the American people regarding the F-35 Lightning II fighter is that it can’t dogfight. After numerous failed exercises in which the F-35 was repeatedly defeated by last-generation fighters from the US, Russia and China, the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have made the dubious claim that the Lightning was never meant to be a fighter that dog fights with other fighters. Instead, it’s a short-range aerial missile platform. A report from Reuters one year ago this month proclaimed the F-35, “Can’t turn. Can’t climb. Can’t run.”
The reason the F-35 can’t turn, climb or run is that the plane was designed with only one engine instead of two like all of its foreign counterparts. And that one engine had such design flaws that engine fires required the manufacturer – Pratt & Whitney – to completely redesign the F-35’s engine. When the entire F-35 fleet was grounded two years ago after another engine fire, Rear Admiral John Kirby announced, “Additional inspections of F-35 engines have been ordered…Return to flight will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data.”
Can’t fly in the Middle East, or near the equator
Possibly the most astonishing revelation regarding the F-35 Lightning was exposed when the Pentagon admitted the plane’s engine overheats when flown in hot climates, like the Middle East. The fighter was designed without a typical cooling system, instead opting for outside air to blow through the plane, cooling it down in the process. The fighter also requires low-temperature jet fuel to avoid engine overheating. Fuel tankers baking in Middle East heat rise to too high a temperature level. The Pentagon even ordered all fuel tankers painted white in an attempt to keep them cool.
F-35 pilot condemns the plane
Probably the most embarrassing episode from the F-35 scandal occurred earlier this month when an F-35 test pilot report about the plane was leaked to the public via the site War Is Boring. “The F-35 was at a distinct energy disadvantage,” the unnamed test pilot said of the F-35 after mock battles with an F-16. That was the result even though the F-35 had all external bombs and fuel tanks removed for the test and the F-16 was loaded with all the external materials it could hold.
“Even with the limited F-16 target configuration, the F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage for every engagement,” the pilot wrote. The flier even revealed that as the battle went on, the F-35’s performance deteriorated, “Energy deficit to the bandit would increase over time.” Other fatal flaws the F-35 test pilot revealed were that the Lightning is too slow to dog fight and each time he tried, the F-16 won the contest. The pilot also said he was blind to his rear because his helmet was too big for the small cockpit and wouldn’t allow him to even turn his head. When compared to the 1980’s-era F-16, the F-35 pilot reported that his Lightning II was, “substantially inferior.”
Within hours of the leaked report, the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin both responded publicly. They each explained that the mock battle with the F-16 was a dog fight scenario that would never happen in real battle. Instead, the F-35’s stealth capability and short-range missile systems will shoot down any enemy planes long before they reach dog fighting range. And that’s all the plane was designed to do. In other words, the F-35 is an aerial missile platform, not a fighter plane.
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