February 20, 2016 by JImbo
Not my words.
Those of Aviation Week Magazine from remarks from the Pentagon.
Specifically, Michael Gilmore…the director of Operational Tests and Evaluation.
Although JSF fans will claim that the US Marines’ F-35B’s are “operationally capable” that simply isn’t true. There are serious issues with the airplane before it can be considered anything but a “training/test” airplane.
It can’t use its gun.
It can’t carry external weapons.
The weapnos it can carry are three… the Aim-120C air to air missiles and two bombs.
Many sensors are compromised…meaning don’t work right…or at all.
Some of it is software and will be solved over times.
Other issues are tougher.
For example, the whole plane heats up in hot sunshine and the computers overheat. Then they shut down. Minor systems like the radar and weapons. You know…not stuff you need to fight or anything right?
The problem there is that the plane uses cool aviation fuel to absorb heat from the computers. If that fuel isn’t super-chilled then it can’t absorb heat.
For now the planes sit in the shade and the fuel trucks are reflective to try to keep the fuel cold before loading on the plane. It still doesn’t like to fly in the desert however.
I guess as long as we only use it in Alaska it’ll be fine?
On top of that, to get the politically motivated “deployment by the Marines to the war-torn country of “Japan” they had to jury rig lost of stuff and make up an overly easy “operational test” off the East Coast.
Of course, it failed even that simple made up test with abyssmal readiness rates and a steady flow of personnel and spare parts from shore. No more than two of the six planes could be counted on to fly, so they cheated and just counted one flight as six missions.
Oh, and they didn’t use any of the weapons, sensors or included support systems. They used entirely one-off contractor-supplied equipment and just flew in circles around the ship apparently. Success was basically not crashing that day.
So… we can deploy it to Japan (since it’s cold in the north there too) and don’t go more than a few miles off the cost. Or get into combat.
REAL “combat operational.”
In the words of Gilmore:
“The event wsa not an operations test in either a formal or an informal sense of the term. It did not and could not demonstrate that the F-35B is operationally effective for use in any time of limited combat operation.”
Read for yourself in this month’s issue.
(And I highly recommend the magazine if you are into this stuff.)
As expected, the “true” date of being combat operational is still 2018..on paper. However, a huge dustup is going on right now between the Pentagon and builder Lockheed-Martin about that. The Pentagon is predicting it’ll take until 2019 to fix all the problems and be ACTUALLY USEFUL IN COMBAT.
Lockheed-Martin corporation is saying basically (paraphrasing) “Well… we’ll say it’s ready to go now and customers can decide how updated they want their planes to be.” So, if you are say the British or Australians or US Air Force and you don’t MIND that your planes can’t fly very far or use their weapons then sure… you can “accept the innate operational readiness risks inherent in an aggressive fielding timeline.”
Of course if you actually want a combat plane that can go INTO combat… then you’re out of luck for another 3 years.
Unless it gets delayed again.
Like it has since 2010…when it was SUPPOSED to be “combat ready” when we signed the initial contract.
Heck, we had a prototype FLYING in 1999.
In 2016 it can still…well… fly.
When the engine doesn’t burst into flames on takeoff.
In other words.