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Up Close and Personal With the Fearsome New F-35 Jet

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GIVEN JUST 15 minutes to photograph the F-35A Lightning II, most professional photographers would choose a digital camera with a massive memory card and shoot nonstop. Jeremy Blakeslee showed up for his assignment at Luke Air Force Base with an old-school film camera, and made only a few photos. (www.wired.com) More...

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josecmorales
José Morales 2
Excellent, i love this plane!
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 1
Good for you! I'll let you pay my share of the price tag on them.
preacher1
preacher1 2
For once, you and I agree on something. He can pay my share too. LOL
dbtowey
Dan Towey 2
Everyone blasts this plane, yet it's more capable than anything it's replacing. So it has problems? So did every other major aircraft system we've every deployed. The F-16 had engine problems that caused flight restrictions requiring it to remain within glide distance. The F-14 had huge teething problems also and suffered from major cost overruns. Having spoken to guys who fly this plane, I get a distinctly different impression from them that all you internet "experts". The way forward often is not an easy path. We've lost all our ability to push through problems as a nation...it's sad.
preacher1
preacher1 4
It may very well eventually and after many more dollars be made to work. That said, when we are already light years ahead of any other enemy nation from a technology standpoint, IS IT NEEDED; especially in this day of multi trillion dollar deficits.
dbtowey
Dan Towey 1
Is it needed? Yes that's the golden question, isn't it? I think that answer will depend on what happens with China. If we find ourselves facing off with them then yes. If we fade into the darkness of failed nations, then no. It was needed back when it was first put on to the drawing board but as with most modern systems, that was a long time ago.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Obviously some of them will be built and eventually all the teething problems will be worked out. That said, just like the B2 and F22, the final number will be scaled back due to cost. It will be interesting. While I am not necessarily a vocal supporter of the A10, I am a believer in CAS. It bothers me that while this is a replacement, it won't even have a gun until about 2020 and then only have a 600 round magazine. Not really enough to wet a jaybirds tail. You do CAS by getting under the WX and seeing what you are shooting at, not from the FL's. I remember the F4 coming out with missiles only and no gun because we wouldn't be dogfighting anymore. That was all well and good but the Mig's over Vietnam didn't get the memo. I lost several good friends there in the time that it took to add guns to the platform. We don't need to lose grunts on the ground for the same reason.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Also, was it needed when it first went on the drawing board or just wanted to keep some suits in jobs?
dbtowey
Dan Towey 1
I don't buy into conspiracy theories in the age of wikileaks, whistleblower protection, and multi-million dollar book deals.

I understand why the F35 was done this way. Given the complexity and cost of modern aircraft, wouldn't it be tempting to save money by designing something that is multirole capable? By nature multirole is a compromise. Anything specialized will be better at it's specialized task than something designed to do several roles. The F35 won't replace the A-10's sheer capability at CAS. It can't. The A-10 was designed around the gun and you'd have to design another airplane around the gun to get that capability. Most certainly whatever THAT plane was wouldn't look anything like the F35. The F-16 is a multirole aircraft. As such it's neither as good at CAS as the A-10, nor is it as dominating in ACM as the F-15. But that aircraft has served this nation and others quite well. As far as multirole aircraft go, the F35 looks to be a quantum leap beyond the aging F16 in every respect. Will it beat the A-10 in the CAS role, or hang with the F22 on CAP? Nope, and it wasn't designed to. I am betting that designing a modern A-10 for specialized CAS and then a modern fast attack aicraft would be more costly than the F35 - especially when you consider logistics - but would yield aircraft better suited to those specialized roles.

Whats the right call? Who's to say. Not me, I don't have enough info. Time will certainly tell but our teen series jets were being left behind by foreign powers and that's a fact.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Well, I'm not sure about the being left behind but as you say, not for me to decide. The fact that the F35 may not be as good on CAS though, does not take the CAS mission off the table. I guess that is my beef. A major upgrade, as opposed to a clean sheet, has to be cheaper though. History will tell.
dbtowey
Dan Towey 1
For sure it doesn't take CAS off the mission list. I personally think they'll keep the A-10 flying for awhile. Aircraft such as the Super Tucano are interesting. It leaves me wondering if a lighter, cheaper CAS aircraft that can loiter for hours and not minutes is a better answer than a cold-war era tank-buster. The Air Force seems to think that it might be a viable solution for insurgencies or areas where the SAM threat is less.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Certainly there is a need or needs, the question is whether this craft sufficiently addresses those needs. Your point that a multi-role craft involves compromises and that it cannot satisfy any specific role as well as a single-purpose solution would. A larger question is whether the compromises made to fit the craft into the multi-role reduces it's ability role to the point that it fails to succeed at any of them. My concern is that the F-35 will not adequately succeed in any of it's roles beyond satisfying the Lockheed shareholder population.
iflyfsx
iflyfsx 1
No, you have it wrong. It's not just a couple of technical problems, and it's not just "Internet experts" pointing out the flaws. One of the critical problems with the entire program was trying to make one airplane fit different missions. As someone else mentioned, this forces you to compromise, in the worst sense of the word. The result is, no one gets the best airplane they could get. No other airplane had these many problems, this serious, or this expensive. It doesn't come close. Sounds like you are one of those misinformed "Internet experts."
preacher1
preacher1 3
Still a hunk of junk.
patpylot
patrick baker 1
the fly-away price of this thing is absurd. The long list of items that can ground this thing is imposing. We have not given enough consideration to building a system just slightly beyond the capability of any and all adversaries, so we go a bit crazy on pushing the envelope into nutso-land. Will more or less than a thousand of these ever be built and paid for? You gotta love sticking our allies with having to fund these things.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, in speaking of sticking our Allies, the Brits have also got the cost of a sooper dooper Aircraft carrier almost built, and basically designed around this hunk of junk. They will really get screwed royally when the final price tag come in, if there ever is one.
awsauerman
Yes digital cameras are fast shooting and you get carried away with just "point & shoot" and get lots of blurred, sloppy shots because you don't take time to focus on the subject.
I find a Hasselblad with a 120mm lense was more than adequate for the shoot. He got 30 shots in 15 minutes -30 seconds to choose the area, frame the picture, consider the light and insure little distraction is in the background. Excellent job...
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
And 10-15+ years of experience in photography. (from google):"Photographer and Urban Archeologist specializing in the documentation of historical industrial architecture, machinery, infrastructure and mines". Not questioning his craft or assignment, just the subject.
joelwiley
joel wiley 0
Each one in the pics appear to come with its own red 2-yard dumpster. How appropriate. Fill the dumpster with $100 bills and the sum would be about the approximate unit cost.
chudddds
chudddds -3
just another reason why it is enjoyable to take some vested raghead skanks out. 2004-2006. salaam maleekum to your hole in the ground.

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