It's past time to kill the F-35

Stairway Press in Las Vegas has just published a book about a problem called the F-35.

The F-35 is so bad that there is no point in proceeding with it.  Even if it worked as per the original specifications of the development contract in 2001, that would not be good enough.  It is very expensive to build and operate, and there is no role for it on the battlefield.  Anything the F-35 can do, something else can do better and more cheaply.  It must be kept away from enemy aircraft, which will harry it to death.

It is good practice, when bringing attention to a problem, also to detail the solution to that problem.  That is what the book does.  It is a discussion of air superiority achieved by aircraft dedicated to that purpose.  Without air superiority, the existence of the rest of the military enterprise is fraught, and the human cost of having undefended skies will be considerable.

America's air superiority is currently provided by a handful of F-22s, which are likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of late-model Chinese fighter aircraft.  Once the F-22s are shot down, the rest of the Air Force will be defenseless, even if the F-35 were in service and worked as designed.

The book begins with the background to the way Lockheed Martin engineered the F-35 selection process so that its design would be chosen for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines with the aim of being the sole source of fighter aircraft for decades.  The compromises needed to achieve that win in the selection process fatally compromised the product.

Those flaws can be determined from analysis of the design, and in fact they were predicted 15 years ago, soon after the award of the F-35 contract to Lockheed Martin.

Persistence with the bad choice of the F-35 has made the consequences progressively worse as the years have passed.  A rational purchaser would write off the $107 billion that has been spent on the F-35 program as of the time of this writing and consider the alternatives.

What makes an effective fighter aircraft in the second decade of the 21st century?  That is described, along with how to win in air-to-air combat.

Armed with the knowledge of what is required to achieve air superiority, the alternatives to the F-35 are examined in detail.  Options include the F-15, the F-16, the F-18 Super Hornet, and the restarting of F-22 production, as well as the fighters collectively known as the Euro-canards – the Gripen E, Rafale, and Typhoon.

The solution to the F-35 nightmare is the Gripen E from Saab in Sweden.  It is approximately the size of the F-16 but with a design that has benefited from another 40 years of evolution in fighter aircraft engineering and electronics.  As an air-superiority fighter, it is almost as good as the F-22 – good to the extent that the work of 10 F-22s could be done by 15 Gripen Es.  Those 10 F-22s would be equivalent to 40 F-35s.  Importantly, the Gripen-E is half the capital cost of the F-35, with an operating cost per hour that is one sixth that of the F-35.  The Gripen E has a high proportion of U.S.-made parts, including the engine, which is the one used by the F-18 Super Hornet.

Adopting the Gripen E will be an interim solution until a replacement is found for the F-22, which is simply too expensive to fly due to the way it achieves stealth – by the application of a lot of radar-absorbent material.  The better alternative to the F-22 is outlined.  That is the plane that lost out to the F-22 back in 1991.  That aircraft, the YF-23 from Northrop Grumman, achieved most of its stealth through shaping and shouldn't cost more to operate than the F-15.

Let's get back to the purpose of the book.  The sooner the F-35 program is terminated, the sooner the colossal waste of money will stop, and the safer we will all be.  There has been a perception that the F-35 program couldn't be killed because there was nothing with which to replace it.  The F-35-killer we have been waiting for is the Gripen E.  The Gripen E will save a lot of lives and the military budget and make it a lot easier to defend Western civilization.

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.  His fields of expertise include oil explortion, steelmaking, cancer research, climate science, and fighter aircraft.  He has also published on geostrategic issues.

Stairway Press in Las Vegas has just published a book about a problem called the F-35.

The F-35 is so bad that there is no point in proceeding with it.  Even if it worked as per the original specifications of the development contract in 2001, that would not be good enough.  It is very expensive to build and operate, and there is no role for it on the battlefield.  Anything the F-35 can do, something else can do better and more cheaply.  It must be kept away from enemy aircraft, which will harry it to death.

It is good practice, when bringing attention to a problem, also to detail the solution to that problem.  That is what the book does.  It is a discussion of air superiority achieved by aircraft dedicated to that purpose.  Without air superiority, the existence of the rest of the military enterprise is fraught, and the human cost of having undefended skies will be considerable.

America's air superiority is currently provided by a handful of F-22s, which are likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of late-model Chinese fighter aircraft.  Once the F-22s are shot down, the rest of the Air Force will be defenseless, even if the F-35 were in service and worked as designed.

The book begins with the background to the way Lockheed Martin engineered the F-35 selection process so that its design would be chosen for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines with the aim of being the sole source of fighter aircraft for decades.  The compromises needed to achieve that win in the selection process fatally compromised the product.

Those flaws can be determined from analysis of the design, and in fact they were predicted 15 years ago, soon after the award of the F-35 contract to Lockheed Martin.

Persistence with the bad choice of the F-35 has made the consequences progressively worse as the years have passed.  A rational purchaser would write off the $107 billion that has been spent on the F-35 program as of the time of this writing and consider the alternatives.

What makes an effective fighter aircraft in the second decade of the 21st century?  That is described, along with how to win in air-to-air combat.

Armed with the knowledge of what is required to achieve air superiority, the alternatives to the F-35 are examined in detail.  Options include the F-15, the F-16, the F-18 Super Hornet, and the restarting of F-22 production, as well as the fighters collectively known as the Euro-canards – the Gripen E, Rafale, and Typhoon.

The solution to the F-35 nightmare is the Gripen E from Saab in Sweden.  It is approximately the size of the F-16 but with a design that has benefited from another 40 years of evolution in fighter aircraft engineering and electronics.  As an air-superiority fighter, it is almost as good as the F-22 – good to the extent that the work of 10 F-22s could be done by 15 Gripen Es.  Those 10 F-22s would be equivalent to 40 F-35s.  Importantly, the Gripen-E is half the capital cost of the F-35, with an operating cost per hour that is one sixth that of the F-35.  The Gripen E has a high proportion of U.S.-made parts, including the engine, which is the one used by the F-18 Super Hornet.

Adopting the Gripen E will be an interim solution until a replacement is found for the F-22, which is simply too expensive to fly due to the way it achieves stealth – by the application of a lot of radar-absorbent material.  The better alternative to the F-22 is outlined.  That is the plane that lost out to the F-22 back in 1991.  That aircraft, the YF-23 from Northrop Grumman, achieved most of its stealth through shaping and shouldn't cost more to operate than the F-15.

Let's get back to the purpose of the book.  The sooner the F-35 program is terminated, the sooner the colossal waste of money will stop, and the safer we will all be.  There has been a perception that the F-35 program couldn't be killed because there was nothing with which to replace it.  The F-35-killer we have been waiting for is the Gripen E.  The Gripen E will save a lot of lives and the military budget and make it a lot easier to defend Western civilization.

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.  His fields of expertise include oil explortion, steelmaking, cancer research, climate science, and fighter aircraft.  He has also published on geostrategic issues.

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