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And no Virginia, I mean Tony Stark, this is not a common occurrence. At least not to this extent. Yes when the B-1 B was built, capability was left on the table and built in later. Yes, when the F-22 was built some significant capability was left out and it took a decade longer to field than originally thought.

Yeah, it's pretty common.

F-22's sideways-looking radar was deleted. IRST was downgraded from multi-color to single color, before being omitted altogether. The ejection seat requirement was downgraded from a fresh design to the ACES II. The HMD was omitted, as was AIM-9X. All those were cut due to budget; better to get a new plane on the ramp and

F-16 had a LOT of capability left out when it hit IOC. So much so, that the AF didn't get the plane they wanted until the Block 30, well over a decade after IOC.

This was touched upon two months ago.

That kind of broad generalization of expectations results in a grossly inaccurate "apples to oranges" comparison. Neither the F-15 nor the F-16 had the software requirements that the F-35 has necessary to reach both IOC and FOC.

The software used in in the X-35 in 1996 was that for basic flight control, flight testing and communications. There was no radar, no weapons systems, no sensor fusion. F-35 AA-1 in 2006 had to have an entirely new "OS" written for it, so that development is running 10 years. And bear in mind, Microsoft, Apple and Google have been developing their operating systems over decades.

Secondly, that comparison ignores both the similarities and differences between the developments of the F-16 and the F-35 and their goals.

Congress and the DoD are concerned (either justifiably or overly concerned, depending on your perspective) with the cost of concurrency, even though it has always been the plan for the F-35 to repeat the proven F-16 approach. Unlike serial programs, where development — test — production nicely dovetail one after the other, concurrency is where they overlap. Based on their statements and testimony to the U.S. Congress, today’s DoD officials believe that F-35 concurrency adds unbounded and unaffordable retrofit costs to incorporate fixes for problems found in later tests into earlier production airplanes. They intend to keep F-35 production at very low (and costly) production rates until at or near full specification performance is demonstrated. For the F-35, final testing is not scheduled for completion until 2017.

The point, of course, is the contractor isn't slowing down the development and production of the F-35. The customer - DoD & Congress - is. And part of the reason for that is being driven by the belief that all the fixes necessary to apply to the current crop of F-35s are too expensive.

By contrast, from the start, the F-16 went to high-rate production; 352 airplanes were on firm order within four years and three years later, more than 500 had been delivered worldwide. This fast production was based on several important decision criteria. First, there was confidence that the early configuration of the F-16 would be superior to the F-4 Phantom it was replacing, even though the performance specification had not been fully demonstrated through testing. Contractor and government tests were in parallel, and results were shared to gain quick confidence in the basic airplane.

Second, low cost could only be achieved through high-rate production.

Third, service leaders knew that the airplanes would be continuously upgraded, so there was never a final configuration for production.

Lastly, there was never a plan to retrofit older airplanes as newer capabilities were added. Rather, each airplane configuration was fielded for a mission suited to its performance. And when retrofit was initiated, it was accomplished as part of a scheduled block change to keep the cost low. To date, there are 138 versions of the F-16, as well as 15 block changes, with each block a decisive improvement in capability.

Read that very carefully, because it explains precisely what should be happening with the F-35. It also makes a very important point that many critics seem to miss - "when retrofit was initiated, it was accomplished as part of a scheduled block change to keep the cost low." Or, once final configuration is agreed upon, all aircraft will be brought up to date with a scheduled block change.

The problem for the F-35, of course, is the slowdown in production as implemented by DoD & Congress makes it hard for the efficiencies and economies of scale full production would bring. Additionally, it is obviously impossible to put fighter in service in volume if DoD slows the production process. These delays have directly affected the software development insofar as they have "kicked the can down the road" as it were for certain benchmarks to be addressed.

Why does this happen with every new plane? Because we learn a lot of lessons, but then we (and by we, I mean elected officials mostly) forget them (assuming they bothered learning them in the first place). People come and go, and when they leave, they take that operational experience with them. It's up to the newbies to learn as much as they can from them before they go.

Edited by Tony Stark
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Fair enough points...I won't ask why the Government/Military hasn't learnt...

People make emotional or political decisions, not logical ones. People come and go; those who have come before take that experience with them and the new people that come in and think they're Marco Polo.

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Fair enough points...I won't ask why the Government/Military hasn't learnt...

Lots of reasons. but high turn over throughout doesn't help... also the opposite problem sometimes:

http://breakingdefense.com/2016/06/to-sen-mccain-why-sasc-should-not-change-b-21-acquisition-rules/

Sen. John McCain, SASC chairman, has said he “will not authorize a program that has a cost-plus contract,” and has cited commercial development of cell phones as an example of the kind of development he would like to see. Such a sentiment is one we all share, unfortunately the reality of costly weapon-development programs is such that Northrup Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, and Boeing are unwilling to invest the type of capital required to build a half-billion dollar aircraft with one potential buyer. The same cannot be said of cell phones where there is a global market.

colin-farrel.gif

Dinosaurs in our midst. Note that McCain does not share the "build it like a cell phone" mentality when it comes to other strategic assets, like CVNs for example.

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Sen. John McCain, SASC chairman, has said he “will not authorize a program that has a cost-plus contract,” and has cited commercial development of cell phones as an example of the kind of development he would like to see. Such a sentiment is one we all share, unfortunately the reality of costly weapon-development programs is such that Northrup Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, and Boeing are unwilling to invest the type of capital required to build a half-billion dollar aircraft with one potential buyer. The same cannot be said of cell phones where there is a global market.

For those reading that and thinking, "That's not a bad idea..." I'm going to break down why his dementia is a terrible thing.

Wireless carriers like AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon have hidden the actual cost of phones for years. They charge you a couple hundred dollars up front and hide the rest of the cost in your wireless bill each month, which you’re locked into for two years. While still a hefty $200, a subsidized smartphone is only a fraction of the $500, $600, $700, or even $800 you’d otherwise spend for a good phone at retail. Smartphones are so expensive that you can often buy an HDTV or laptop for less

The iPhone 5 retailed for around $650, but according to iSupply, an iPhone 5 16GB model has a Bill of Materials of just $206.85. it cost at least $8 to manufacture an iPhone 5 (remember, it's built in China for cheap), $20 royalties and licensing per unit, operating expenses such as R&D (yes, Senator, we pay for that too) run $18.85, with sales, general, and administrative costs (which include everything from paying the electric bill to Tim Cook’s $10,3M salary) runs $42.33 per phone.

So, it costs at least $288.03 for Apple to build (and run its operation around) its most popular device.

The iPhone 5 16GB retails for $649.99. This is what it costs at an Apple store and what you’ll pay for it if you don’t sign up for a two-year wireless contract with your carrier. But this cost includes a retail markup. It’s difficult determine the exact markup but Apple’s balance sheet indicates it makes an average of $581.09 per iPhone. If we assume this is true, that gives it a retail markup of $68.90. Remember $581.09. We will use it again when calculating the profit Apple makes off of each phone.

Apple sold a total of 31.24 million iPhones from April to June 2013 and had a gross profit margin of about 36.9 percent across all of its product lines. The gross profit margin is the profit Apple earns on all of the devices it sells when you include variable costs, like the cost of obtaining components and manufacturing a product, but not other costs like software development, sales, and administration. Though Apple’s total gross margin is 36.9 percent, it’s iPhone margin is likely much higher. Reuters estimated that Apple made as much as 49-58 percent profit margins on iPhones from Oct. 2010 to March 2012. The iPhone 5’s profits likely remain much higher than its overall margin, which is pulled down by the thinner profits Apple makes on the iPad and other products.

If we take the $581.09 wholesale price of the iPhone 5 16GB model and subtract the manufacturing costs we estimated at $226.85, we get $354.24, which leaves a 61 percent gross profit margin. Subtract the “R&D, Administrative, & Licensing” costs we calculated at $61.18 (10.5 percent) from that total and we end up with $293.06, or about about 50.4 percent of the wholesale cost of an iPhone. This is in line with Reuter’s 49-58 percent estimate for iPhone sales, though we’ve added in Apple’s fixed costs as well

iphone-5-price-breakdown-676x438.png

Apple is making a lot of money on iPhone sales. A lot. Because of the precedents it sets with the world’s most popular phone, smartphone prices only seem to rise in the United States. Manufacturers are looking for ways to lower the cost of production and price in other parts of the world, though. While a $700 smartphone isn’t uncommon here, buyers in developing countries will not, and cannot, pay that much for gadgets. As a result, manufacturers like Apple have been hard at work finding ways to whittle down the costs of building smartphones. Qualcomm, which builds a huge number of smartphone processors and cellular radios, is trying to to find ways to build low-cost, high-efficiency processors that can be sold in China and India, where the majority of its 2 billion+ residents have never seen smartphones, but will certainly want them as their level of income increases.

Worldwide, Apple sells an estimated 25,782 smartphones an hour. 19 million smartphones a month. But smartphone costs here in the United States haven't really dropped since the fist iPhone hit the market in 2007. And those development costs are spread out among the insane number of devices sold.

Someone take away the Senator's car keys before he confuses the gas pedal for the brakes and drives into a crowd of people.

Note that McCain does not share the "build it like a cell phone" mentality when it comes to other strategic assets, like CVNs for example.

McCain never met a Navy project he didn't like. He's trying really hard to get a ship named after himself.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John S McCain is named after John S. McCain, Sr., and John S. McCain, Jr., both Admirals in the United States Navy. John S. McCain, Sr., commanded the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, and acted as commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force during the latter stages of World War II. John S. McCain, Jr., commanded the U.S. Navy submarines USS Gunnel and USS Dentuda during World War II. Subsequently he held a number of posts, rising to Commander-in-Chief of the United States Pacific Command before retiring in 1972. These men were the grandfather and father of Senator McCain.

It must really get under McCain's skin that Jimmy Carter - a peanut farmer who pardoned those who dodged the draft on his second day on office - has a submarine named after him.

Edited by Tony Stark
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Wait a minute, you can quote yourself on the Internet and that makes you even more authoritative?! Why didn't anyone ever tell me this before? All I've ever heard is that repeating the same wrong information doesn't make it true.

The analogy to the F-16 is completely not applicable. Why? I'm glad you asked.

There simply is no comparison between F-16 "concurrency" and what the F-35 program is going through. The F-16 was constructed as a largely empty jet with significant space available. The fact that it went from the block 10 to the block 30 upgrades so quickly was more about developing the technology to fit into the jet, than fitting the technology into the jet. The F-35 on the other hand truly was in the middle of development for its planned final configuration while that configuration was being built. There were modifications being made to the overall jet during the early LRIPS while the previous LRIP was literally next door on the assembly line. That is a huge distinction which seems to have eluded many people on the subject including you.

Let me give you a better analogy. Let's talk muffins. F-16 muffins were like this:

I bake a batch, I know there's something missing, I adjust the recipe, I bake a new batch. Repeat until block 60.

F-35 muffins are like this:

I bake a batch from a partial recipe, I know there's something missing, I start the 2nd batch will trying to see if I can fix the already baked first batch (maybe I can add some frosting or sprinkles or something) and then I adjust the recipe again as I get ready to work on the 3rd batch. Repeat through LRIP11. Since it is really really hard to unbake a muffin, and all muffins at the end of the line are supposed to be the same, eventually cold hard reality is gonna set in. So instead of selling all the F-35 muffins for a high price, I might have to give the first 3 or 4 batches to my friends and family just to get rid of them. Lookee here, it takes a lot longer to explain F-35 muffins that it takes to explain F-16 muffins. Not an accident.

I used to have a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass supreme. There were places under the hood of that engine I could hide a basketball or 2. My modern 2015 car, if I were to pop the hood I could roll a marble from one into the other and it wouldn't fall through. That's essentially what the difference was between the F-16 then in the F-35 now. There is no retrofit. There is very little room for preplanned product improvements, or P3I as the F-15 and F-16 were built around. The only way you can improve the EW performance on the F-35 now is to build in what you need. You cannot strap on another antenna, you cannot scab it into the skin. If you hang a fancy new pod on one of the weapon stations, you better be sure it is compliant with the existing cabling.

Nominally as aircraft model builders we should all understand what happens when you glue a wing together. It generally only comes apart with a firecracker. The way the F-35 is assembled is very similar to a model aircraft, and the ability to fix things on the inside is also very similar to a model aircraft – – very difficult, very time-consuming, which equals very expensive.

On the other hand, modifying a F-16 or F-15 pretty much took a can opener and scabbed over skin from a Budweiser can. I kid, but not really.

So no, they are not remotely the same, and retrofitting existing F-35's to current F-35 standards is damned near impossible.

For you to pooh-pooh it and simply say that it's merely a

belief that all the fixes necessary to apply to the current crop of F-35's are too expensive
is simply ignorant of this aircraft, how it is constructed, and what can be done to it after the outer mold line is sealed. Obviously software fixes, that can work with the existing hardware, will simply require a new tape to be loaded to the jet. But many software fixes are tied to hardware fixes that can't be simply changed. This is significantly more complicated than your broad generalizations make it out to be.

To convert every jet produced prior to the batch with the first Israeli aircraft to that standard would not only require re-winging every single aircraft, it would also require tearing the guts out of the central fuselage. The significant amount of cabling that was run through that modification resulted in substantial rearrangement of internal tubes, pipes and wires.

Going back to my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass, I could have just as easily dropped the 350 cc V-8 engine in the space that was occupied by the 305 cc V-6. And much like that exercise was essentially trivial, so was upgrading the F-16. On the F-35 every cubic inch is spoken for which is why future block upgrades will be only software or box swapouts. There's even space reserved for a probe and a drogue refueling probe in the nose of the F-35A, just in case any of our foreign partners want to refuel Navy style. This is how much preplanning and forethought when into every part of this jet, again unlike in any way the F-16.

Lastly, there was never a plan to retrofit older airplanes as newer capabilities were added. Rather, each airplane configuration was fielded for a mission suited to its performance. And when retrofit was initiated, it was accomplished as part of a scheduled block change to keep the cost low. To date, there are 138 versions of the F-16, as well as 15 block changes, with each block a decisive improvement in capability.

Read that very carefully, because it explains precisely what should be happening with the F-35. It also makes a very important point that many critics seem to miss - "when retrofit was initiated, it was accomplished as part of a scheduled block change to keep the cost low." Or, once final configuration is agreed upon, all aircraft will be brought up to date with a scheduled block change.

By virtue of cost, it is exactly what is happening. Sure, the plan was to try to retrofit as much as possible. But that has quickly fallen by the wayside as reality has set in. The services have accepted that there are certain upgrades that will not be retrofitted onto the fleet. And for the most part, that's okay as those jets will be relegated to training roles. So again, the picture is far more complex than you let on or are aware of.

The problem for the F-35, of course, is the slowdown in production as implemented by DoD & Congress makes it hard for the efficiencies and economies of scale full production would bring. Additionally, it is obviously impossible to put fighter in service in volume if DoD slows the production process. These delays have directly affected the software development insofar as they have "kicked the can down the road" as it were for certain benchmarks to be addressed.

This doesn't even begin to make sense. What are you basing this on? The software development at this point is completely independent – – oh wait it always has been – – of the production schedule. The amount of resources being dedicated to designing, developing and creating production runs of software on this program are mind-boggling. And those folks are working completely independent of that mile-long assembly line. The 2 have absolutely zero bearing on each other. Software is behind because software is behind, not because of production.

To be fair, what the services are asking the software on this jet to do is pretty freaking mind-boggling, Star Trek, death from above machine fantastic. Why can't we just acknowledge that all the stuff this jet was supposed to do was a super huge reach for technology in the first place and leave it at that? We don't need to make the software story any more complicated than that. It's not because of scheming LM money grabbers, scheming Congressman, a North Korean plot, or any other crazy explanation. Software is behind because really smart people are working their butts off and trying to do something really, really hard and they haven't achieved it yet.

Regarding the production slowdown there is also a degree of pay now or pay later involved with this decision. I'm not saying either course is right or wrong, but DOD chose to spend more money in the short term so that it would have more combat capable aircraft in the future. You can argue that they should have simply kept blasting jets out the door full speed regardless of the state of development, I think there's also a valid argument there as well. It again boils down to the recognition that certain retrofits and upgrades will not happen in the earlier LRIP jets, and the finite amount of money available to throw this program with all the other competing federal priorities.

The final point, and I failed to make it properly yesterday. If you're going to attack certain media for wheeling out the same old tired arguments, lazy criticisms, etc. then please don't be a hypocrite and do the same. You throw out all these broad generalities about programs saying that all programs have this, or all programs have that and we've seen this exact same situation before. It simply is not true. I think you are a fairly strong advocate for the program, but you gotta do a little more homework and provide specific details. I don't know what happened, you used to be able to do that. And I look forward to you getting back to it.

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On the F-35 every cubic inch is spoken for which is why future block upgrades will be only software or box swapouts.

Mark - first, I just want to say I'm truly impressed. I had you somewhat written off as another "The F-35 is flawless" Fanboi. Your comments were insightful and seemed to be fair and balanced, which isn't always a feature seen in posts on this thread.

The one remark that stuck out the most to me was that above. Given how every single US (and undoubtedly European and Soviet / Russian) aircraft designed in the last 50 years has gained significant weight over their lifespans due to hardware being added, I'm truly surprised that the F-35 design team made the decision to fully utilize the entire volume of the aircraft. On one hand, I suppose it's the ultimate in engineering efficiency but did they really think there would be no need to add any additional hardware over the 40-50 year lifespan of this jet? That seems a bit short-sighted, even bordering on arrogant. Or did they just assume that electronics are going to continue their ongoing trend of being able to do more while taking up less space?

Is there any additional power / cooling capacity on the aircraft or are those services max'd out as well?

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While every cubic inch is spoken for, not all are being used currently.

Future hardware upgrades would come to the mission equipment--an EW pod, maybe better EOTS, etc. Flares are always being upgraded, do that could happen too. The biggest changes will come in computer upgrades; faster processing time will allow for improvements in EW and fusion performance. But the outer mold line is set, the volume to play with is fixed. Signature is still king there.

As for the IPP, the power and cooling budgets are also fixed. The IPP itself is a marvel for doing what it does. But it does have limits. It would be accurate to say there is less capacity left than what has been used.

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MarkW

I have a son-in-law that is operational with the F-35. He & most of his counterparts do not care for the JSF & I'm sure they know what they're talking about. No slight on you but after reading many of your post I don't think you can be convinced. But I digress, he flies what he's told to fly until he retires or turns in his wings. Yut.

Masterguns

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MarkW

I have a son-in-law that is operational with the F-35. He & most of his counterparts do not care for the JSF & I'm sure they know what they're talking about. No slight on you but after reading many of your post I don't think you can be convinced. But I digress, he flies what he's told to fly until he retires or turns in his wings. Yut.

Masterguns

So he's just willynilly sharing operational impressions with you?

I guess OPSEC is just an interesting acronym for him.

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So he's just willynilly sharing operational impressions with you?

I guess OPSEC is just an interesting acronym for him.

Wut???

Lighten up Francis... We've got blogs by other NATO pilots about their "operational impressions". Maybe we should have the FBI lock up a certain chatty Norwegian Major? I'm pretty sure if this guy is flying / maintaining an F-35, he's got a good idea what OPSEC is about. Thanks for your concern though.

Gunny - I'd be curious about what your son-in-law has for specific issues (and what his background in the program is). Any chance you can reach out to him and post some details? Always good to hear feedback from folks that are in the trenches instead of us interweb experts.

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Wut???

Lighten up Francis... We've got blogs by other NATO pilots about their "operational impressions". Maybe we should have the FBI lock up a certain chatty Norwegian Major? I'm pretty sure if this guy is flying / maintaining an F-35, he's got a good idea what OPSEC is about. Thanks for your concern though.

Gunny - I'd be curious about what your son-in-law has for specific issues (and what his background in the program is). Any chance you can reach out to him and post some details? Always good to hear feedback from folks that are in the trenches instead of us interweb experts.

Those blog posts were most likely vetted by PAO's and cleared to be posted. On the contrary someone talking casually to a relative isn't.

Sorry, I'm just fairly OPSEC minded.

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I'm still trying to figure out where Gunny thinks I'm coming from...

And seriously, there was nothing OPSEC related in his post. I don't think Hun U boats will be targeting the Wasp based on what he wrote...

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Those blog posts were most likely vetted by PAO's and cleared to be posted. On the contrary someone talking casually to a relative isn't.

Sorry, I'm just fairly OPSEC minded.

So you are sure this service member violated OPSEC? On what grounds? This isn't a black program like the F-117 was back in it's early years.

Plus, more than likely the Chinese have all the classified data anyway. :)

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MarkW

I have a son-in-law that is operational with the F-35. He & most of his counterparts do not care for the JSF & I'm sure they know what they're talking about. No slight on you but after reading many of your post I don't think you can be convinced. But I digress, he flies what he's told to fly until he retires or turns in his wings. Yut.

Masterguns

My son is at Hill and has heard the exact opposite.It sounds like "My last plane was better" syndrome, too attached to the old one to explore what the new one can do.

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MarkW

I have a son-in-law that is operational with the F-35. He & most of his counterparts do not care for the JSF & I'm sure they know what they're talking about. No slight on you but after reading many of your post I don't think you can be convinced. But I digress, he flies what he's told to fly until he retires or turns in his wings. Yut.

Masterguns

I don't think its a matter of him not knowing what he is talking about, and I don't think anyone said that seeing as this was your first post mentioning him and all. He is entitled to his opinion, just like how I still run into Marines who think we should reissue M-14s, Buy Blackhawks instead of Ospreys, Ditch the Saw, (but not for the alternative that was picked!), Bring back the battleships, which to pick for the AAV-7 replacement, etc etc. The Marines I talk to from those same Operational squadrons are painting far more positive pictures of the F-35 even if they are occasionally unhappy with certain details.

We (as in the USMC) were never going to ever get anything this nice on our own. Not even close. WE didn't have the money to develop a harrier replacement by ourselves and thanks to the cooperation of the USAF throwing their weight (money) behind it, and then the USN (even more money) we are getting more than we could have ever ever hoped to get on our own by going joint. We were never going to get a STOVL mach 1+ plus fifth Generation fighter with all the whiz bang the F-35 has in it. period. Christ we couldn't even field the EFV on our own... (Americas amphibious assault force, couldn't get an amphibous vehicle into service) and god knows with the GWOT we would probably wouldn't be getting any kind of F-18/Harrier replacement at all ever, since we can only be expected to turn our entire Corps into a COIN only force the last 15 years.

We would be lucky to get ANY new type STOVL (even new build harriers), or to buy enough Super Hornets which the navy is already looking at pulling back and using with Stand-off munitions instead. I don't know how you get a Super hornet to operate off an L-class ship, or how you perform CAS from stand off ranges. But one of the big pushes with the USMC is to keep being "first to fight" see, We kind of got embarrassed into finally joining SOCOM after 9/11 when SOCOM went into A-stan first. SOCOM at the time consisting of US Army, USAF, and US Navy Spec ops... and the "first to fight" weren't even there. Oops. So we joined SOCOM after years of fierce resistance. And just like that, we need to be able to employ advanced systems so that we aren't the second to fight after the USN and USAF have cleared things up until its safe enough for the Marines to come out and play. A few pilots have already publicly remarked on this, that it will be good to have the USMC in on the full air war plan, instead of showing up with Harriers and being told to wait in the corner and not eat the crayons.

I really don't know what gripes your Son in Law has specifically unless you share them, and its not like stranger from the internet is going to outrank his opinion anyway and change your mind, nor am I going to attempt to invalidate his opinion in some way. But I will say this we DAMN LUCKY to be getting what we are getting and it could be a helluva lot worse in a lot of respects.

Edited by TaiidanTomcat
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The F-16 was constructed as a largely empty jet with significant space available.

Dear Lord, Harry Hillaker must be rolling over in his grave right now. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact that it went from the block 10 to the block 30 upgrades so quickly was more about developing the technology to fit into the jet, than fitting the technology into the jet.

More accurately, developing technology allowed more capability to fit in smaller spaces. Even then technology couldn't shrink added capabilities so much that they would fit inside an F-16. Witness every pod ever hung off 5A & 5B (Pave Penny, LANTIRN, LITENING, HTS.....) and the dorsal spine, stuffed with technology that wouldn't fit inside the airframe.

You may have insight into the F-35 program, but please don't try writing revisionist history about the F-16. There are still many of us alive who were there and who know the facts.

I won't even comment on your 350 cc Oldsmobile engine other than to say I didn't know Olds built motorcycle engines..... ;)

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just like how I still run into Marines who think we should reissue M-14s

Those who need M-14's are issued the revised ones.

WE didn't have the money to develop a harrier replacement by ourselves and thanks to the cooperation of the USAF throwing their weight (money) behind it, and then the USN (even more money) we are getting more than we could have ever ever hoped to get on our own by going joint. We were never going to get a STOVL mach 1+ plus fifth Generation fighter with all the whiz bang the F-35 has in it. period. Christ we couldn't even field the EFV on our own... (Americas amphibious assault force, couldn't get an amphibous vehicle into service)

How do you know what the color of money looked like in the 80's and into the 90's when the Harrier replacement was being pushed? I do agree, that for better or worse the Marines are buying an aircraft that was far outside of the scope of what they envisioned 30 something odd years ago. The USMC could have fielded the EFV on their own at the cost of end strength with the V-22 and the F-35B would have been cancelled.

and god knows with the GWOT we would probably wouldn't be getting any kind of F-18/Harrier replacement at all ever, since we can only be expected to turn our entire Corps into a COIN only force the last 15 years.

Most major weapons programs continued through most of the GWOT until '10 and a few over budget programs stayed afloat by indirectly dipping into wartime funding. No one expected the Marines to be a "coin only force" which is why they received the funding to be a modern expeditionary force.

We kind of got embarrassed into finally joining SOCOM after 9/11 when SOCOM went into A-stan first. SOCOM at the time consisting of US Army, USAF, and US Navy Spec ops... and the "first to fight" weren't even there. Oops.

I don't think anyone was embarrassed....closer to directed. "first to fight", leave that stuff for the recruiters and commercials.

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We (as in the USMC) were never going to ever get anything this nice on our own.

Quit your whining, baby. You got the latest model M60s didn't you? And those Sheridan's look barely used.

Dear Lord, Harry Hillaker must be rolling over in his grave right now. Nothing could be further from the truth.

More accurately, developing technology allowed more capability to fit in smaller spaces. Even then technology couldn't shrink added capabilities so much that they would fit inside an F-16. Witness every pod ever hung off 5A & 5B (Pave Penny, LANTIRN, LITENING, HTS.....) and the dorsal spine, stuffed with technology that wouldn't fit inside the airframe.

You may have insight into the F-35 program, but please don't try writing revisionist history about the F-16. There are still many of us alive who were there and who know the facts.

Okay, I've tried so hard to remain aloof and anonymous and yet all of a sudden everybody knows what I'm thinking? And to be fair, the part you cited I was worried would be misinterpreted. Your reading way too much into it.I was referring specifically to the initial radar capability versus later radar capability. Having worked with the tail end of the PEACE MARBLE program, I am intimately familiar with what you can and cannot stuff into the existing outer mold line of an F-16. And as was seen in that case, as in the cases you pointed out, if it doesn't fit strap or scab it on. That's not an option for the F-35 under many circumstances.

The other point I was trying to make is that unlike the F-16 which was built as a building block program, the F-35 needs to be fairly complete and self-actualized off the assembly line. No CFTS, no spine, minimal pods, etc.

As for revisionist history let's not forget what the F-16 was originally intended for the first place and how it ended up being a workhorse bomb truck and jack of all trades was never how it was originally envisioned. "Lightweight Fighter", which Hillaker was an advocate for, indeed...He and Boyd both have been spinning in their graves for decades based on what the F-16 has mutated into.

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Those who need M-14's are issued the revised ones.

I'm talking in lieu of ALL M-4/M-16s.

The USMC could have fielded the EFV on their own at the cost of end strength with the V-22 and the F-35B would have been cancelled.

Maybe. Maybe not. Air power falls more heavily into the Navy funding than the EFV does. Blue dollars vs Green Dollars. The Navy paid/pays big bucks into Marine aircraft, not so much for Amtraks, which are clearly a Marine thing and the Navy does not help at all or very very little.

Most major weapons programs continued through most of the GWOT until '10 and a few over budget programs stayed afloat by indirectly dipping into wartime funding. No one expected the Marines to be a "coin only force" which is why they received the funding to be a modern expeditionary force.

One of the slights used against the EFV was it couldn't handle IEDs. Another issue that has crept up is the Armor weight of all USMC vehicls. As all vehicles now are covered with armor thanks to GWOT, amphibious/ship to shore vehicles carry fewer vehicles, necessitating more trips, slowing down the invasion. MRAPs can't swim either. Its made a dent believe me.

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I find it ironic in a thread where the F-35 was falsely accused of requirements creep the EFV comes up. Literally the text book case at Defense Acquisition University.

Get it right people:

EFV = requirements creep, to death

F-35 = gross/criminal program office mismanagement

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Much indecisive. Very drama. Such Canada

Yep, Canadian politics can be wild and cookoo too. The US political craziness is like the NFL, Canadian political craziness is like the CFL. Both games good to watch, both are very interesting, both can drive viewers nuts with side show Bob stuff.

Up here near Vancouver the upcoming Abbotsford Air show is mere weeks away. The US will have six Super Hornets here. Two flying, one will be the USN Demo from VF-122 but Boeing has leased two new builds right off the line for the show. Boeing F-18E/F test pilot (former RCAF) Ricardo Traven is gonna show the Super Hornet stuff in what is said to be great display all be it only nine min. long.

Canadian Government guests are scheduled to attend the show.

LockMart should send an F-35 to the show as well. I'm giving no politics but as an aviation buff the more cool demonstrations the better. :D

Edited by Gordon Shumway
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