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F35 Backup?

Hey guys, I hope I am not out of place posting in the Air Force section without having been in the Air Force myself, but when I have questions on planes I have no one to ask as my family is all Navy. I try to keep up with information about the US arsenal, but based on what my family says about our ships they do not always give every exact number to the media regarding ships and their abilities (rightfully so).

So I read this article on the F-35, and it says the back up would be more F22s, but claims their electronics are "antique." Just wondering what those with more knowledge would think about this back up and the claims about the electronics as I was under the impression that the raptor was next gen because of the electronics and thrust vectoring.

If I have no place to post this because of my lack of service or the topic please let me know, I just like to try and stay informed.

Link to article- http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-pentagons-emergency-plan-if-the-f-35-doesnt-work-15568
 

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There are 196 F22's...production is complete. There are 138 F35's with production continuing for several more years...total number will depend on foreign military sales. But some 2460 are planned at this point.

Sounds doubtful the F22 will be a backup for the F35. Not enough to back themselves up.
 

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The F-35 program amounts to international welfare. The US taxpayer has funded the lion's share of the cost and would likely get stuck with the rest of the cost if the program folds. All of those other countries are going to want their investment back. Of course the US will pay them off because they will be stuck with a bunch of junk parts that have no use.

The F-22 is still a better plane. I mean if you ignore that it kills pilots occasionally there is nothing wrong with the antiqueness of it.
 

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The F-35 program amounts to international welfare. The US taxpayer has funded the lion's share of the cost and would likely get stuck with the rest of the cost if the program folds. All of those other countries are going to want their investment back. Of course the US will pay them off because they will be stuck with a bunch of junk parts that have no use.

The F-22 is still a better plane. I mean if you ignore that it kills pilots occasionally there is nothing wrong with the antiqueness of it.
All aircraft have fatal mishaps, unfortunately.

However, the safety record of the F-22 is better than most. Their have been only two fatal incidents, both were pilot error.

The first, the pilot when into G-LOC, recovered from that but found he was too low to regain control of the aircraft and ejected outside of the ejection envelope, and was killed by the wind-blast.

The second was a loss of the environmental control system (ECS) due to a malfunction, this lead to a loss of on-board oxygen generation (OBOGS). The pilot did not engage his emergency oxygen supply.

Unfortunately, ECS failure are not unknown in all aircraft, they happen more often than anyone likes. And, all aircraft that have OBOGS (all late model Hornets and Super Hornets, Harriers, Typhoons, Rafale, Gripen, Hawks, etc...) have the possibility of losing OBOGS when they loose ECS.
 

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Lysander,

Your post this morning included the following quote,

"However, the safety record of the F-22 is better than most. Their have been only two fatal incidents, both were pilot error."

This rubbed me very much the wrong way.
I will now attempt to explain why.

As a former U.S.M.C. A-4 pilot, I know nothing about the F-22. I do however, know something about military pilots, the mission, pilot 'behavior' and the 'politics' of aircraft accidents.

Since dead men don't write, and since I was almost one of them a long time ago,
please allow me in a very small way to help defend them.
. . . May they both Rest in Peace, and may Perpetual Light shine upon them.

About your quote above, . . . well, how neat and tidy that sounds!
"Nothing more to see here folks, just pilot error (maybe at night and 600 knots?), move along!"
You invoked 'pilot error', and yet in BOTH accidents you happened to include the mechanical issue that led to it ( G-LOC ? whatever that is, . . then the other not engaging emergency Oxygen.)

Speaking of errors, what about design error, maint. error, weather, training error,
supervisory error, etc.
Why not even ALL of them, to a greater or lesser degree? It's happened, trust me!

But, to simply invoke 'pilot error' is incredibly shallow and painfully ignorant of the TOTAL environment these guys were no doubt facing.
(For example, might YOU not hesitate before you ejected from an obscenely expensive jet? Yet, that VERY hesitation just put you out of 'safe ejection' limits.
This ain't just driving home in a snowstorm at nite, this is MAYHEM in a very short time, when all the red lights, bells and whistles are shrieking, and you never saw it coming!)

Sea-story . . . back in training, an instructor sat us students down and took us thru the pilot's manual for the jet. He took care to point out the occasional black-boardered boxes that always began with 'WARNING!' .
He then explained that someone usually had to DIE to rate such a warning-box. At age 23, that got our attention.
(. . . Oh, and the newer the jet, the fewer the warning-boxes.)

I will bet you several cold beers that the F-22's pilot manual now has two such warning-boxes that it did not have before!

In closing, to quote Mark Twain, "Write what you know about."

Semper Fidelis,
Nacho
 

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The Fokker was small and made mostly of wood. I doubt that the radar would pick it up until it was close... too close! Whiz-kids ROOL1. -Lloyd BEERCHUG1
 

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Amazing, simply amazing. The contract was signed in 96-97 and here we are in 2016 and it still isn't operational. Still has problems but NOT TO WORRY!! A few more billions and a little more time and hopefully they'll figure it out.

They complain that the A-10 is old and costly to maintain, well what do you expect of an aircraft that has had the crap flown out of it in a conflict or two. BUILD SOME NEW ONES, PROBLEM SOLVED. For those brain dead pinheads talking about beyond visual range engagements.....you better look at history when the Phantom II was built. It too was designed and built to do BVR intercepts then all of a sudden they changed the rules of engagement and pilots had to identify their targets before they engaged which all too often led to dogfighting.

Are we to assume (AGAIN!!!) that dogfighting is a thing of the past??? The problem with these whiz kids is that all too often they are too stupid to realize how stupid they really are.
 

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Amazing, simply amazing. The contract was signed in 96-97 and here we are in 2016 and it still isn't operational. Still has problems but NOT TO WORRY!! A few more billions and a little more time and hopefully they'll figure it out. . .
The first F18E was ordered in 1992, it wasn't until 2006 when they were fully operational. The Super Hornet was designed with pretty much all existing technology....

Oh, and in 1997 there was no F35, that was when Lockheed and Boeing were contracted to provide technology demonstrators for the JSF fly-off. it wasn't until 2001 that Lockheed's JSF version was selected as the winner and the system development contract was signed. The first actual aircraft wasn't ordered until 2003.

They complain that the A-10 is old and costly to maintain, well what do you expect of an aircraft that has had the crap flown out of it in a conflict or two. BUILD SOME NEW ONES, PROBLEM SOLVED. . . .
Who's going to build them? A mall now sits in the old Fairchild-Republic plant...
 

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The first F18E was ordered in 1992, it wasn't until 2006 when they were fully operational. The Super Hornet was designed with pretty much all existing technology....

Oh, and in 1997 there was no F35, that was when Lockheed and Boeing were contracted to provide technology demonstrators for the JSF fly-off. it wasn't until 2001 that Lockheed's JSF version was selected as the winner and the system development contract was signed. The first actual aircraft wasn't ordered until 2003.


Who's going to build them? A mall now sits in the old Fairchild-Republic plant...

I stated that the JSF contract was signed in 96-97. I should have been more specific as to what contract was signed.

The Super Hornet contract was signed in 1992 and production started in 1995 leading to full scale production in 1997. My point is that it takes far too long to go from drawing board to IOC and all the while more and more manufacturers go by the wayside. The 2006 date was when the F-14 was retired as they had been fully replaced by the Super Hornet which while outwardly similar to the A/B/C/D models is actually a new design.

As far as the F-35 is concerned;

1996-2001, time line from development contract signing to systems/demonstration contract. 5 years.

2001-2006, time line from that contract to first flight. Another 5 years.

2006-2016, tests upon tests, glitches upon glitches, 7 years+ behind schedule and god knows how many billions over budget. Another 10 years and counting. The Marines may have recently been caught fudging tests with the aircraft. And there's nothing else that the military can fall back on as there's nothing else in development or on the drawing boards. F-22 production was stopped, the Northrop YF-23 not likely to be revived. So we have a weapons program that is literally too big to fail as it's been going on for so long, has cost so much, and has numerous foreign countries involved, all of whom have pinned their futures to this aircraft.

Often when production ceases the tooling is mothballed and stored, case in point is the C-5 Galaxy. Production was over for 12 years when Reagan ordered production to restart with 50 B models.

If the A-10's tooling was stored then production could be restarted providing the will existed to do so. The USAF hates the CAS mission and have been trying to unload the A-10 for decades.
 

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Often when production ceases the tooling is mothballed and stored, case in point is the C-5 Galaxy. Production was over for 12 years when Reagan ordered production to restart with 50 B models.
The C-5 was built at Lockheed's Marietta plant, which was in continuous operation for those years (partly through massive USG loans). There were also the possibility of foreign orders through 1979, as well as a massive re-winging effort that kept Lockheed involved in keeping the C-5 producible.

The last C-5A was delivered on 18 May 1973, Congress approved funding of 50 C-5Bs on 16 Aug 1982, it was 'out-of-production' for only nine years. But in reality, C-5 parts had been coming and going through Marietta fairly constantly as the AF and Lockheed tried to keep the engines from falling off, or the wings from cracking under load (for a time the C-5A was restricted to a payload less than a quarter of what was specified, less load than the C-141).

Everything I hear people say about the F-35, I have heard them say about every aircraft developed since the F-111. And, the really funny thing is the aircraft people hold up as shining examples of aeronautics usually had the worst development history.

The A-10, for example, was plagued with weak lower wing skin that would have meant they would never reach their intended service life. So, the popular gripe of the time was this is a waste of money, "billions will be spent and they will never last..."

Well, here we are, years later, billions spent, and they worked, quite nicely too. Memory is short on these things...

Incidentally, theA-10 has one major problem that was never fully corrected, firing the 30mm cannon emits such a large cloud of oxygen depleted gun gas, it can snuff out the engines, I believe three aircraft were lost to this.... The fix, somewhat rudimentary is to excite the engine igniters during gun firing, so if one or both engines flame-out due to oxygen starvation during gun firing, they will light off when the pilot lets go of the trigger, and an appropriate note in the manual to stop shooting if an engine quits...
 

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F-35 issues and the Super Hornet

The first F18E was ordered in 1992, it wasn't until 2006 when they were fully operational. The Super Hornet was designed with pretty much all existing technology....
The Super is much heavier than the Legacy, and in many ways is virtually the same weight class as an F-15, rather than just the mid sized lightweight fighter it was originally was developed as. Though it took the 90s to develop the Super Hornet, early model Super Hornet's were flying combat missions with VFA-115 during the final stages of Operation Southern Watch in 2002, and that squadron along with VFA-14 and VFA-41 flew Super Hornets during the first phases of Iraqi Freedom in 2003. That is a roughly 10 year timeline from first being ordered to dropping bombs in anger, which is still better by any yardstick than the F-35, which has yet to fly in any form of combat outside exercises.

To understand the saga of the Super Hornet is to take a trip down Naval Aviation memory lane. It all starts in the early 90s in the wake of Desert Storm. When Cheney was SecDef in 1992, the Hornet was seen as the be all platform of Naval Aviation. The F/A-18 had scored 2 Mig victories in Desert Storm, while Scott Speicher's loss to an Iraqi Mig 25 on the first night of the war was still an unconfirmed event.

The funniest description of the F-18 Super Hornet has to be that in James Perry Stevenson's The Pentagon Paradox. Stevenson made the point that since the Navy renamed the YF-17 into the F/A-18 Hornet, the Super Hornet ought to have been called the F-19 Wasp to truly describe itself. There is a bit of Naval tradition in this, however. Back in the days of sail and even into the early days of steam, the cash strapped Navy would often finagle repair funds into new construction. A Ship was officially "rebuilt" over time, with the old hull scrapped and bits of her incorporated into the new one. The most famous example of this was the USS Constellation, which went from a late 18th century Frigate into a mid 19th century Corvette.

The Pentagon party line was that the Hornet proved its worth since the two VFA-81 Mig Killers had been on the way to a bombing mission, and had diverted, shot down the Iraqi Mig 21s, then continued their mission without a hitch. This proved the Swing role concept to the satisfaction of the powers that be. The Tomcat had only shot down a single Iraqi Helo during Desert Storm. Thus, despite the F-14s record with the Iranians, and the 4 to 0 positive Victory ratio of the Tomcat in US service against hostile jets, the Tomcat was seen as an expensive cold war legacy platform. The Hornet was the jet of the post cold war era, a strike fighter platform that could handle the mission of littoral power projection in a unipolar world.

1n 1992 the Tomcat community had slowly began to realize the importance of bringing bombs to the fight, and the Bombcat concept was still in its infancy. It wasn't till that year that the Tomcat was even cleared to deliver Dumb bombs, and there was no onboard precision munitions guidance/delivery capability on the airframe yet. Therefore, the F-14 was highly vulnerable to post cold war Peace Dividend defense cuts. One of Cheney's first moves after Desert Storm was to cut funding to the F-14D Super Tomcat production and upgrade program, despite the fact that that version finally cured many of the issues of the earlier TF30 powered A Models. New production was halted at 37 new and 18 rebuilds. Though the B-model had brought the improved F110 engine to the fleet and the D had both new engines and avionics, the Tomcat was seen as an interceptor, not a strike aircraft. Small wonder that by the mid 90s the Tomcat community saw the loss of half its squadrons as the Navy reduced F-14 numbers from 2 to 1 squadron per boat.

Cheney's rationale in killing production of the Super Tomcat was that the improved Super Hornet was a more cost effective option. However, the development of the Super Hornet did run into some issues, and with the Navy phasing out the A-6, there was a need for an interim strike platform to replace the Intruder. Enter the LANTIRN equipped Bombcat, which saw a group of Naval Aviators perform an end run around the entire Navy Test and Evaluation bureaucracy and equip the Tomcat with the Air Force's LANTIRN pod system in record time. The Bombcat proved to be a worth replacement of the A-6E and a viable self designating precision bombing platform. It would also become a useful Forward Air Controller platform through the remainder of the 90s and the first phases of the Long War of the early 2000s. The Bombcat also played a role in re-affirming the need for 2 seat strike aircraft, and its success during the 90s ensured the two seat F-model Super Hornet would be its final replacement.

In the mean time, the Super Hornet dealt with normal issues inherent in the development of new aircraft. Officially the F/A-18E and F were improvements of the Legacy Hornet, however aerodynamics issues such as wing drop and ordinance separation issues resulted in numerous changes to the aircraft. Today's Super Hornet is a vastly more capable program than the original version. With AESA Radar, helmet mounted sights, the Jamming capability of the Growler, and tactics catered to the platform's strengths, it is doing a fine job of maintaining Navy carrier air power projection around the world. It must continue to do so until a viable replacement can come on the horizon.

This post is a bit simplistic, but I did want to contrast the Super Hornet's development to the abortion that is the F-35. No aircraft is perfect, but even the F-22 achieved IOC at the end of 2005 and flew sorties over Syria in 2015. With that timeline in mind, we will be lucky to see the F-35 fly combat missions by 2021...which may or may not happen, depending on the situation then.
 

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The Super is much heavier than the Legacy, and in many ways is virtually the same weight class as an F-15, rather than just the mid sized lightweight fighter it was originally was developed as. Though it took the 90s to develop the Super Hornet, early model Super Hornet's were flying combat missions with VFA-115 during the final stages of Operation Southern Watch in 2002, and that squadron along with VFA-14 and VFA-41 flew Super Hornets during the first phases of Iraqi Freedom in 2003. That is a roughly 10 year timeline from first being ordered to dropping bombs in anger, which is still better by any yardstick than the F-35, which has yet to fly in any form of combat outside exercises.

To understand the saga of the Super Hornet is to take a trip down Naval Aviation memory lane. It all starts in the early 90s in the wake of Desert Storm. When Cheney was SecDef in 1992, the Hornet was seen as the be all platform of Naval Aviation. The F/A-18 had scored 2 Mig victories in Desert Storm, while Scott Speicher's loss to an Iraqi Mig 25 on the first night of the war was still an unconfirmed event.

The funniest description of the F-18 Super Hornet has to be that in James Perry Stevenson's The Pentagon Paradox. Stevenson made the point that since the Navy renamed the YF-17 into the F/A-18 Hornet, the Super Hornet ought to have been called the F-19 Wasp to truly describe itself. There is a bit of Naval tradition in this, however. Back in the days of sail and even into the early days of steam, the cash strapped Navy would often finagle repair funds into new construction. A Ship was officially "rebuilt" over time, with the old hull scrapped and bits of her incorporated into the new one. The most famous example of this was the USS Constellation, which went from a late 18th century Frigate into a mid 19th century Corvette.

The Pentagon party line was that the Hornet proved its worth since the two VFA-81 Mig Killers had been on the way to a bombing mission, and had diverted, shot down the Iraqi Mig 21s, then continued their mission without a hitch. This proved the Swing role concept to the satisfaction of the powers that be. The Tomcat had only shot down a single Iraqi Helo during Desert Storm. Thus, despite the F-14s record with the Iranians, and the 4 to 0 positive Victory ratio of the Tomcat in US service against hostile jets, the Tomcat was seen as an expensive cold war legacy platform. The Hornet was the jet of the post cold war era, a strike fighter platform that could handle the mission of littoral power projection in a unipolar world.

1n 1992 the Tomcat community had slowly began to realize the importance of bringing bombs to the fight, and the Bombcat concept was still in its infancy. It wasn't till that year that the Tomcat was even cleared to deliver Dumb bombs, and there was no onboard precision munitions guidance/delivery capability on the airframe yet. Therefore, the F-14 was highly vulnerable to post cold war Peace Dividend defense cuts. One of Cheney's first moves after Desert Storm was to cut funding to the F-14D Super Tomcat production and upgrade program, despite the fact that that version finally cured many of the issues of the earlier TF30 powered A Models. New production was halted at 37 new and 18 rebuilds. Though the B-model had brought the improved F110 engine to the fleet and the D had both new engines and avionics, the Tomcat was seen as an interceptor, not a strike aircraft. Small wonder that by the mid 90s the Tomcat community saw the loss of half its squadrons as the Navy reduced F-14 numbers from 2 to 1 squadron per boat.

Cheney's rationale in killing production of the Super Tomcat was that the improved Super Hornet was a more cost effective option. However, the development of the Super Hornet did run into some issues, and with the Navy phasing out the A-6, there was a need for an interim strike platform to replace the Intruder. Enter the LANTIRN equipped Bombcat, which saw a group of Naval Aviators perform an end run around the entire Navy Test and Evaluation bureaucracy and equip the Tomcat with the Air Force's LANTIRN pod system in record time. The Bombcat proved to be a worth replacement of the A-6E and a viable self designating precision bombing platform. It would also become a useful Forward Air Controller platform through the remainder of the 90s and the first phases of the Long War of the early 2000s. The Bombcat also played a role in re-affirming the need for 2 seat strike aircraft, and its success during the 90s ensured the two seat F-model Super Hornet would be its final replacement.

In the mean time, the Super Hornet dealt with normal issues inherent in the development of new aircraft. Officially the F/A-18E and F were improvements of the Legacy Hornet, however aerodynamics issues such as wing drop and ordinance separation issues resulted in numerous changes to the aircraft. Today's Super Hornet is a vastly more capable program than the original version. With AESA Radar, helmet mounted sights, the Jamming capability of the Growler, and tactics catered to the platform's strengths, it is doing a fine job of maintaining Navy carrier air power projection around the world. It must continue to do so until a viable replacement can come on the horizon.

This post is a bit simplistic, but I did want to contrast the Super Hornet's development to the abortion that is the F-35. No aircraft is perfect, but even the F-22 achieved IOC at the end of 2005 and flew sorties over Syria in 2015. With that timeline in mind, we will be lucky to see the F-35 fly combat missions by 2021...which may or may not happen, depending on the situation then.
A fact you left out about the F-14's replacement by the Super Hornet was the increasing man-hours of maintenance needed to keep the Tomcats airworthy. 30+ yr old wiring shorts out, requiring HOURS to disassembly the wiring bundles to find the breaks. IMO, a better plan would have been a total rebuild program for the F-14s, similar to the rebuild program for the F4B/Js. It would have extended the service life of the Tomcat.
 

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It didn't take an expert to realize the S/VTOL version of the F-35 was going to be a major headache. It's at the point now where we're in too deep to abandon it now.... we've spent too much money to stop.

Crazy.
....NO....it's never too late to pull the plug...
We'll never recoup the money already spent but we can stop the hemorrhaging.....
 

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The C-5 was built at Lockheed's Marietta plant, which was in continuous operation for those years (partly through massive USG loans). There were also the possibility of foreign orders through 1979, as well as a massive re-winging effort that kept Lockheed involved in keeping the C-5 producible.

The last C-5A was delivered on 18 May 1973, Congress approved funding of 50 C-5Bs on 16 Aug 1982, it was 'out-of-production' for only nine years. But in reality, C-5 parts had been coming and going through Marietta fairly constantly as the AF and Lockheed tried to keep the engines from falling off, or the wings from cracking under load (for a time the C-5A was restricted to a payload less than a quarter of what was specified, less load than the C-141).

Everything I hear people say about the F-35, I have heard them say about every aircraft developed since the F-111. And, the really funny thing is the aircraft people hold up as shining examples of aeronautics usually had the worst development history.

The A-10, for example, was plagued with weak lower wing skin that would have meant they would never reach their intended service life. So, the popular gripe of the time was this is a waste of money, "billions will be spent and they will never last..."

Well, here we are, years later, billions spent, and they worked, quite nicely too. Memory is short on these things...

Incidentally, theA-10 has one major problem that was never fully corrected, firing the 30mm cannon emits such a large cloud of oxygen depleted gun gas, it can snuff out the engines, I believe three aircraft were lost to this.... The fix, somewhat rudimentary is to excite the engine igniters during gun firing, so if one or both engines flame-out due to oxygen starvation during gun firing, they will light off when the pilot lets go of the trigger, and an appropriate note in the manual to stop shooting if an engine quits...
....I've never heard a Hog driver complain of this but hey, I'll bet the receiving end of those 30 mikes stopped breathing too....
 
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