Profligate Pentagon
Canada Rethinking F-35 Due to High Cost
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  • PKCasimir

    The web site shouldn’t have complex issues such as the F-35 program commented upon by unknowledgeable interns totally ignorant of the military and weapons systems procurement. The tale of the F-35 in Canada is a complex one in which life cycle costs got confused with initial procurement costs and the opposition party, aided by a Canadian press dominated by anti-Harper leftists, seized upon this confusion in order to score political points. The entire Canadian military establishment strongly supports the F-35 and sees it as the best fit for Canada’s air defense needs. You get what you pay for.

    • rheddles

      It is not true that you get what you pay for. It is true that you don’t get what you don’t pay for. Not the same thing. In the case of the F-35, you get far less than you pay for. And plenty of the US defense establishment feels that way. The F-35 is the fighter built by people too young to remember TFX and politicians bought by a military industrial complex that don’t want to teach them.

      • PKCasimir

        A minority of the US defense establishment would be against apple pie if you put it to a vote. There hasn’t been a weapons system in the entire history of the US military that hasn’t been opposed by a minority. The M-1 tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the F-22, the list goes on.
        Well, I’m old enough to remember TFX. I was on active duty when Robert McNamara imposed that on the defense establishment. And your comparison of F-35 to TFX displays a profound ignorance of both programs.

    • Canad’s Military is happy to have a new jet because our aircraft are worn down and nearing retirement. I am sure they’d be as happy as they are now if they could get newly built F-18 super hornets. F-35 is the A-7 of the 21st century. Can’t turn, can’t run, can’t do anything properly.

      • PKCasimir

        Canada’s military prefers the F-35 to the F-18 so you are absolutely wrong about that.; and everybody in the US Air Force, US Navy, and the USMC is wrong about the F-35 and you’re right. Right!
        Your statement that the F-35 “can’t turn, can’t run, can’t do anything properly” shows a profound ignorance of modern air warfare. The days of one on one dogfights are long gone; it is now a matter locating and destroying the enemy with modern electronics, radar, software and weapons before he can even react.

        • Haha! Okay know-it-all dude… We’ll see. Those same things were said in the 50s and they ended up costing lives and treasure..

        • B-Sabre

          “The days of one on one dogfights are long gone; it is now a matter locating and destroying the enemy with modern electronics, radar, software and weapons before he can even react.”
          I believe this was also said by the guy that decided that the initial models of the F-4 Phantom didn’t need a gun….

  • The F-35 is a nightmare. Cancel the whole darn thing before it is too late. Build more F-22As and F-15E Eagles. Sell F/A-18E to the allies and trusted buyers. This is madness. I hope Canada doesn’t buy this turkey.

    • rheddles

      We can’t build F-22s as the line was broken down and the workers dispersed.

      • I thought the line was to be preserved until 2015.

        • PKCasimir

          It might help if you actually knew what you are talking about before commenting on these matters. You can’t just “preserve” a production line without significant costs and you can’t just “preserve” a fighter airplane production line and start manufacturing airplanes tomorrow.
          The F-18E and F-15E are both 1980s design. My sympathies to the Canadian Defense Establishment in trying to get the F-35 through so much ignorance.

          • I didn’t know I had to seek your permission before commenting. But guess what… We’ve been fighting insurgents and cavemen. They’re stuck in 7th century. I am sure 1980s technology would do.

  • animalmother

    Asian partners have all committed to buy because what the F-35 brings to the fight long term is not only important to them but unique – nothing else out there can do what it will be able to do – in any war against China the special capabilities of the F-35 will factor huge – but for countries like Canada it becomes a much harder sell because the tactical and strategic implications of the plane just do not resonate with polities that spend virtually zero time thinking about such things. Canada should buy the jet because it’s very much in their long term interest to support US high tech military advancements – but try explaining that to the average voter who is clueless when it comes to these things – which is why Lockheed should really be trying to sweeten the pot with jobs and access to hi tech industry – I don’t see why you can’t have a plant in Toronto or Montreal rolling out F-35s.

    People who criticise the F-35 do not know what they’re talking about and have spent zero time reading about what the battlespace 10, 20 years down the line is gonna look like – yes it’s too expensive and mistakes were made – but you can say that about almost every hi tech military advancement that has come along – people criticised the V-22 and now it plays a key role in the way the Marines conduct their business – 60 years ago people wanted to get rid of the B-52 as a waste of money and here we are with it still playing a key role in our force structure – the average person hasn’t a clue what they’re talking about when it comes to these things – which is what makes it such a tough sell when the optics are unhelpful. Think about it: the F-35 essentially doubles our carrier task force strength because along with the V-22 it turns LHDs into kickass fighting platforms – and that’s just the beginning of what it will do.

    • Same things were said in the late 1950s when the gun-less F-4 Phantom was designed and built. A fighter jet gotta be able to fight. F-35 can’t fight. Great sensors, but can’t fight its way out of a wet paper bag.

      • animalmother

        sorry you’re wrong – this is not supposed to be a Spitfire and was never meant to be – this is an informational node in a connected battlespace – if it ever gets in a ‘dogfight’ that means something has gone very wrong.

        • And who will do the dog fighting??

          • El Gringo

            Besides the Israelis, probably nobody. That’s the point of using a stealth aircraft supported by an interconnected array of sensors. You destroy the enemy well before he is even aware you are there.

            Now, questioning whether we need an 85 million dollar maintenance hog to bomb jihadists in caves is a whole different matter.

          • B-Sabre

            Aren’t you assuming that “bombing jihadists in caves” is all we’re going to be doing for the next 50 years?

          • El Gringo

            Definitely not. But I am certain that we will be bombing far more jihadi caves than Chinese AA systems during the next 50 years – and using the F-35 to do it is just inefficient.

            Both the Air Force and Navy have traditionally used a “high-low” mixture of aircraft to perform both air superiority and ground attack missions. The “low” aircraft were usually less capable albeit less expensive aircraft. The F-16 and A-10 have put in exemplary performances at competitive costs for their roles as the “low” part of the mix.

            Now, however, the uber-expensive F-35 is poised to take over as the “low” aircraft in the mixture which means that we will be using fragile, high-maintenance stealth aircraft as bomb trucks to face the latest jihadi threat.

            I suppose that far more efficient and expendable drones will be deployed in greater numbers for this kind of mission but there will always be a role for manned aircraft in the ground support role. Not only is the F-35 ill-suited for that role, it is also extremely inefficient. For the price of one F-35, we could purchase five or six F-16s or an entire wing of Super Tocanos that would be better at the job.

          • Yes

  • Nevis07

    What a mess. Can Lockheed Martin and the major contributing manufacturers be sued for defrauding multiple governments and peoples? We should be recouping some costs. I think the concept of using such a diverse set of manufacturers across the globe was a mistake to begin with – the supply chain for such a technical undertaking I think is too complex.

  • I think the conclusion is overstated. the F-35 has plenty of issues, but the Dutch and Norwegians are solidly committed, and Saab pulled out of the Danish competition because they saw it as rigged for the F-35. Israel will begin receiving planes soon from their order, Japan has signed a contract, and Korea will follow. Australia ordered a couple, and committed to 70+ recently. Turkey has restated its long-term commitment.

    If Canada picks something else, it’s not likely to change any of these commitments.

    I do wish TAI had more people on staff with a depth background in military issues. They’d catch things like this.

  • Fat_Man

    It would be a more intersting problem if they could make the damn thing work. Nobody will buy them because they can’t build them and fly them. The only question is when we are going to give up and acknowledge that it is time for Plan
    B.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    All of these “Bleeding Edge” military systems have initial problems. The F-15 had terrible engine problems, the M-1 Abrams main battle tank also had engine problems, the B-2 Stealth bomber is known as a hanger queen it requires so much maintenance.
    In my opinion however, the worst problem the F-35 faces isn’t development, it’s technological out dating. Drones are well on their way to replacing all combat aircraft, because they are cheaper, don’t have to supply pilot life support or controls, don’t endanger expensively trained pilots, can perform long missions without a loss of effectiveness, can perform high Gee maneuvers that would kill a man, etc…

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