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Trillion-Dollar Jet Has Thirteen Expensive New Flaws

The most expensive weapons program in U.S. history is about to get a lot pricier.... ( More...

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"Kendall and company found a laundry list of flaws with the F-35, including a poorly-placed tail hook, lagging sensors, a buggy electrical system and structural cracks."

At this stage of the game, those types of things should have been worked out already. One-size-fits-all does not work well when the services each have different missions. The Navy and Marine Corps can share an aircraft since they perform the same missions from carrier decks, but I really question the viability of taking an aircraft that is supposed to be sealthy and make it STOVL capable by adding a vertically-oriented fan. The Air Force mission is usually so different from the Navy/Marine Corps mission that similar airframes usually don't work well (the Phantom II being an obvious exception).

I actually find this statement the most troubling: "Most ominously, the report mentions - but does not describe - a "classified" deficiency. "Dollars to doughnuts it has something to do with stealth," aviation guru Bill Sweetman wrote. In other words, the F-35 might not be as invisible to radar as prime contractor Lockheed Martin said it would be."

It might be time for the Pentagon to cut bait and continue the F-22 program while figuring out what to do. At least the Raptor is a known quantity. Boeing also has plans for further upgraded versions of the F-15 (I guess it would be the -15F or -15G) and the F/A-18 (most likely the -18G/H). We know the Pentagon budget is about to be slashed, so this albatross needs to be jettisonned.
99NY 0
I understand that this aircraft is in all sorts of new technological fields and delays are to be expected, but if its true that Lockheed couldnt even get the stealth to work then there needs to be hell to pay.
alistairm 0
"Hi, Lockheed, this is Canada calling. Yeah, cancel our order, eh!"
weatherman04 0
Scrap it and invest the money back into the F-22. It is a proven platform and it is already in service! It amazes me how they can create nearly flawless aircraft such as the F-117 and the F-22, yet the F-35 seems nearly impossible to build. I mean Lockheed has a long history of successful, cutting-edge aircraft, yet the F-35 is a roadblock for them. I wonder if the real problem isn't the design, but the fact they're designing an aircraft for multiple branches and multiple nations.

Tim Smith 0
I would say the problem is with it being designed for all the branches....everyone wants their cookies in the jar. It's a great concept with having one similar platform for all branches. And hopefully it will pan out and truly save costs on production, maintenance, training, etc.
weatherman04 0
I know the F-35 is way more complex, but the three branches didn't have this problem when the F-4 was designed. Hopefully it will all work out though. We can't afford to let China and Russia catch up with our technology.
skylab72 0
O.K. The story so far: We want to take an AV-8, an FA-18, an F-16, an F-117, and smush all their best features into one airplane, then you say, we have to make it responsive to all the specific unique needs of all the various branches of the US service, (well maybe not the Coast Guard), and you want to be able to build derated versions for other countries and meet all the export restrictions, OH and don't forget, it must perform any mission we might dream up, air superiority interdiction to in-your-face air-to-mud, it oughtta do some recon just for good measure. You know we need to include only the latest cutting edge avionics, and man machine interfaces, and don't forget to use as many off the shelf parts as you can to keep costs down, yeah that will work. Oh and while you are at it lets spread the wealth around and let all the aviation companies and most defense contractors help design the various arts of it, so no one goes broke in the thirty years we will be working on it, it'll be a snap to coordinate... Oh and one more thing, why don't we develop a brand new engine to power it, better yet let's do two, so we can have a back-up, yeah that'll work, all things for all people, it has always worked before, right?
zennermd 0
They are stopping production of the F-22 for this...? They are talking about this aircraft being cheaper to produce. Doesn't sound like it to me.
Toby Sharp 0
scrap it
Kawaiipoint2 0
Agreed. The Raptor, Strike Eagle, Super Hornet and Fighting Falcon still have a LOT to give before this thing should replace it..
Ricky Scott 0
Its too bad another company had an airplane that met the challenge and was production ready. But was rejected by the Air Force because it was ugly. Lockheed bid an airplane they had not even designed yet won.

Go figure.
Donald Rand 0
shades of McNamara's folly


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