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#1 Mar 14 2012 at 8:15 AM Rating: Excellent
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I was checking out one of my military sites last night for some after work relaxation and found an interesting topic from our friends down under. Seems they are a bit concerned with the price of the F-35, rightly so as are we (U.S.). The topic was on the performance of the F-35 vs. the latest Russian/Chinese fighters. The results were a bit alarming to me, so I thought I'd dig a little deeper.

Australian Committee Hearing on F-35 performance

At the end of article, there's a linky to the Parliament of Australia's site with the full transcript.
Linky for easy

After reading through the transcript, my eyes caught this:
Quote:
Mr Mills : Just to add to that, Senator, all of our simulations are completely open for scrutiny, as they should, be so that you can check the assumptions. You are absolutely right—wrong assumptions, wrong results. You might also be interested to know that all of these videos have been posted on YouTube and all you have to do is look up the single word 'computerharpoon' and you will find a series of results. If you scroll down you will see a couple of pages of them. They are to demonstrate the simulation, so you have to read through that, but you can see them operating. It takes about five or six minutes—they run at about five or six minutes real time.


Naturally, I opened up YouTube and typed in 'computerharpoon' and came up with this:
ComputerHarpoon




...and we now decide our military capability by playing Harpoon 3.
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#2 Mar 14 2012 at 8:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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klausneck wrote:
...and we now decide our military capability by playing Harpoon 3.
Ace Combat 6 costs too much.
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#3 Mar 14 2012 at 10:29 AM Rating: Good
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You can also hone your infantry skills playing America's Army...
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#4 Mar 14 2012 at 12:26 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm going to hijack this thread just a little bit, because clicking one of the linked videos reminded me why I despise linux/java UI so much.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7Jy88g31W0&list=UUoRP0-CgRKwXwZ4djAK7yJA&index=5&feature=plcp

Look at the 3 buttons in the middle window at the start of that video. Why the **** is the button text aligned with the bottom of the button, instead of being centered vertically? Also, what's with the obsession over antiquated fixed-width fonts in UI dialogs? Tiny imperfections like this make it a lesson in disgust every time I must use such a program. Which is a shame, because there are a ton of useful programs hidden behind crappy UIs.

Edited, Mar 14th 2012 1:26pm by BrownDuck
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#5 Mar 14 2012 at 12:59 PM Rating: Excellent
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Just buy the Russian fighters.
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#6 Mar 14 2012 at 8:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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I watched a few of those simulations. I've come to the conclusion that the individual who made them is an idiot. The U.S. vs china navy one in particular was just horrible and blatantly misleading. Chinese nuclear submarines at the moment suck. Period. There is absolutly no way in **** they would ever manage to sneak one unnoticed into striking range of a carrier battlegroup unless the magical submarine faries suddenly granted them a 30+ year jump in technology. Not to mention that the DF21d ship killer the submarine is supposedly launching isn't a wavetop cruise missile, but a balistic missile, and we have coutnermeasures that can probably kill it even in the hypersonic end run.

Ignoring all that, The F-35 is no F-22, thats for sure. The latest russian PAK-FA fighter jet can outperform the F-35. It probably struggles a bit against the F-22, being somewhat more manouberable but less stealthy, but with equally trained pilots, and assuming missile pairity, up against an F-35A, the PAK-FA would have a good chance. Which is why we should be building more F-22's. The F-35 is supposed to be a follow on to the F-16, but its significantly heavier and not as manouverable, plus it still has that whole single engine thing, which is a really really bad idea on a carrier. Now if you take the single engine from the F-35 and cram two of those into an F-22, update the F-22 with the latest avionics from the 35 and the new stealth outer skin, and make an F-22B, you would have an unstoppable aircraft.

We aren't doing that though.

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#7 Mar 14 2012 at 10:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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Honestly, what we need are micro-fighter UAVs. Even with a minimal loadout, they should outperform fighter fleets, since they would almost always have numbers.

Yeah, the sim results said that too Kao.

Edited, Mar 15th 2012 12:32am by Timelordwho
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#8 Mar 14 2012 at 11:05 PM Rating: Decent
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Every time something like this comes ups China gets to site back pull out the check book and ask if we want the Interest rate plan that bends our grand kids over or do we want the one were we just go head and sign their souls over.
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#9 Mar 14 2012 at 11:51 PM Rating: Excellent
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Er, China buys bonds from the US at the interest rates the US sets for them. We're not taking out payday loans or something. Likewise, China can't just call them in.
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#10 Mar 14 2012 at 11:52 PM Rating: Good
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That, and China owns less than 7% of US debt.

Edited, Mar 15th 2012 1:52am by Timelordwho
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#11 Mar 15 2012 at 7:37 AM Rating: Good
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
I watched a few of those simulations. I've come to the conclusion that the individual who made them is an idiot. The U.S. vs china navy one in particular was just horrible and blatantly misleading.
Must have been done by the same crew behind Deadliest Warrior.
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#12 Mar 15 2012 at 8:06 AM Rating: Excellent
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Deadliest Warrior is good times if you don't take it too seriously and just watch pigs get axed in half and gel torsos riddled with bullets.
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#13 Mar 15 2012 at 9:29 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Deadliest Warrior is good times if you don't take it too seriously and just watch pigs get axed in half and gel torsos riddled with bullets.


You mean people watch it for other reasons? Smiley: confused
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#14 Mar 15 2012 at 10:02 AM Rating: Excellent
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I imagine some watch it to get worked up over whether an Eskimo can beat up a cowboy.

My personal favorite is how they need to make sure each guy uses each weapon once during the "fight". Ranged weapons will always miss or hit ineffectively if there's a melee weapon to be used.
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#15 Mar 15 2012 at 10:10 AM Rating: Good
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My favorite was the Spetsnaz one. "We'll give one a melee weapon that can kill someone five feet away and takes little to no training to use, and the other one we'll give a shovel. That sounds accurate."
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#16 Mar 15 2012 at 10:12 AM Rating: Good
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Harpoon still exists!? I remember playing the **** out of Harpoon 2 back in the day. Think it was on floppies.
#17 Mar 15 2012 at 5:24 PM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
My favorite was the Spetsnaz one. "We'll give one a melee weapon that can kill someone five feet away and takes little to no training to use, and the other one we'll give a shovel. That sounds accurate."

To be fair, Spetsnaz can use those trench shovels like a samurai uses a sword.
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#18 Mar 19 2012 at 1:06 AM Rating: Good
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
I watched a few of those simulations. I've come to the conclusion that the individual who made them is an idiot. The U.S. vs china navy one in particular was just horrible and blatantly misleading. Chinese nuclear submarines at the moment suck. Period. There is absolutly no way in **** they would ever manage to sneak one unnoticed into striking range of a carrier battlegroup unless the magical submarine faries suddenly granted them a 30+ year jump in technology. Not to mention that the DF21d ship killer the submarine is supposedly launching isn't a wavetop cruise missile, but a balistic missile, and we have coutnermeasures that can probably kill it even in the hypersonic end run.

Ignoring all that, The F-35 is no F-22, thats for sure. The latest russian PAK-FA fighter jet can outperform the F-35. It probably struggles a bit against the F-22, being somewhat more manouberable but less stealthy, but with equally trained pilots, and assuming missile pairity, up against an F-35A, the PAK-FA would have a good chance. Which is why we should be building more F-22's. The F-35 is supposed to be a follow on to the F-16, but its significantly heavier and not as manouverable, plus it still has that whole single engine thing, which is a really really bad idea on a carrier. Now if you take the single engine from the F-35 and cram two of those into an F-22, update the F-22 with the latest avionics from the 35 and the new stealth outer skin, and make an F-22B, you would have an unstoppable aircraft.

We aren't doing that though.



I've had a chance to talk to some people more knowledgeable about the specific design of the F-22, and from what they've said, it seems that just trying to create a newer F-22 with those sort of design characteristics would be a pretty bad decision. The cost/flight hour would be prohibitive for pilots of the skill required to use them to their potential, and that they don't allow for the tactical control that is useful in A-A engagements. This isn't to say they are awful, they are quite effective hammers, but more efficient, wieldly ones could be designed for next generation aircraft without just trying to drop high-tech additions onto a outdated frame.

Having two F35 engines would knock down maximal flight times, which causes quite a few issues, from a tactical perspective.

They weren't kind to the F-35 calling it a "hybrid vehicle that is a suckier bomber than a F-105, a worse AA fighter than a MiG-21, and an ineffective tactical defense craft. Far too little bang for the exorbitant buck.... There is absolutely a place for manned fighter craft but not with this well marketed whale".

Edited, Mar 19th 2012 3:51am by Timelordwho
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#19 Mar 19 2012 at 2:01 AM Rating: Excellent
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the F119 engine in the F-22 Raptor currently has a specific fuel consumption rate of .8 lb / per pounds of thrust per hour (.8 lb/lbt/hr) Per engine. The F135 engine of the F-35 consumes only 0.7 pounds of fuel per pounds of thrust per hour. The downside to the F135 is that it isn't designed for supercruise, but the upside would be dramatically increased range for the F-22, not decreased range. Because the engines would use less fuel. Not more. Which would be pretty great from a tactical perspective. The F135 also could be easily reingineered to accomodate supercruise and still use less fuel and have more specific thrust than the F119.

You would have to do some reingineering, the F-135 is a larger engine than the F-119. It's also about 10 pounds heavier. So you would need to blister out the engine bays slightly.

The F-22 uses flight computers and hardware developed in 1994. The F-35 uses newer computers and targetting sensors in its avionics package, most of which were upgraded from F-22 technology. There is a reason the F-35 **** looks alot like the F-22. I'm not sure i'd call the F-22 an outdated frame per say. certainly there are better stealth coatings now then when the F-22 was first produced, and the F-35 does use some materials and techniques that were not available at the time of F-22 initial design. Add those in too, and you would probably shave a couple hundred pounds from the aircraft, which would also help.

Who are these "more knowledgeable people" anyways?
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#20 Mar 19 2012 at 7:01 AM Rating: Good
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I think the main issue that most non-industry people miss is the one thing Kao pointed out earlier, the F-35 isn't on the same level as the F-22. The F-35's main design was to be that lower cost supporting character in the battle plans, very much the same as the F-16 is to the F-15 and the F-18C/Ds were to the F-14. Looking past the cost increases, the F-35 will fill that role just as well as those airframes. Replacing the A-10 is a silly notion to me, but replacing the F-16C/D - F-18C/D - AV-8B fleet is something I feel the F-35 will do just fine. The enhanced sensor capability and automation (remember planned programing on the F-35 will add teir 2/3 UAV control at some point, much like what is being added to the AH-64s in Block 4 configuration) will hopefully cut down on pilot overload. The fact that the F-35 **** looks nothing like the F-22 shows that technology difference; the F-22 having 4 multifuntion displays where as the F-35 has 2 19" touch screen monitors up front. Add to that the ability to "Look-Through" the **** when tracking a target is really giving an edge to the short-range "knife fight" battle with AIM-9Xs and 25mm gun shots, not to mention targeting for the various air-ground munitions.

Where the F-22 pulls ahead is the long-range BVR fights, more so when you team them up with a few AESA modified F-15s (Golden Eagles if you will). Have the F-15s blast away with their radars and while the target(s) are focused on trying to kill them, the F-22s sneak around the sides and hit them. That's the game changer that the F-22 brings, it's not invisible but cuts down on it's signature to the point that they would be missed on the long-range scan. This is even more effective if you can hide in the bad guy's radar lobes.

I'm really hoping they pull through on this program and bring that "F-4" capability to the services again. Having a common airframe really helps on cutting sustainment costs down the road; common ground support, centralized depot support, etc.

The most interesting thing about this article was the fact that a goverment office (doesn't matter which nation) actually paid tax payers money for a research/simulation company to produce data to support their purchase....and that company proudly said "Well see, we figured out if you produce enough common infantry and get them streaming over to the other guy's base early enough in the game, you can wipe them out!" little Red Alert for you

I mean, Harpoon 3...really?

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#21 Mar 19 2012 at 10:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
the F119 engine in the F-22 Raptor currently has a specific fuel consumption rate of .8 lb / per pounds of thrust per hour (.8 lb/lbt/hr) Per engine. The F135 engine of the F-35 consumes only 0.7 pounds of fuel per pounds of thrust per hour. The downside to the F135 is that it isn't designed for supercruise, but the upside would be dramatically increased range for the F-22, not decreased range. Because the engines would use less fuel. Not more. Which would be pretty great from a tactical perspective. The F135 also could be easily reingineered to accomodate supercruise and still use less fuel and have more specific thrust than the F119.

You would have to do some reingineering, the F-135 is a larger engine than the F-119. It's also about 10 pounds heavier. So you would need to blister out the engine bays slightly.

The F-22 uses flight computers and hardware developed in 1994. The F-35 uses newer computers and targetting sensors in its avionics package, most of which were upgraded from F-22 technology. There is a reason the F-35 **** looks alot like the F-22. I'm not sure i'd call the F-22 an outdated frame per say. certainly there are better stealth coatings now then when the F-22 was first produced, and the F-35 does use some materials and techniques that were not available at the time of F-22 initial design. Add those in too, and you would probably shave a couple hundred pounds from the aircraft, which would also help.

Who are these "more knowledgeable people" anyways?


Some ex-heritage foundation guys. Not engineers, but they looked at strategic valuation, capabilities and simulations. Here's a doc that goes into a bit more detail.
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#22 Mar 19 2012 at 10:27 AM Rating: Good
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Probably the same people that write combat training manuals. You know? People that will never use what they write.
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#23 Mar 19 2012 at 2:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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That document is the report on the f-35 testing shortfalls so far, all of which I agree with. The tailhook issue and the fuel venting issues in particular are going to be difficult to solve in a cost effective manner. That document says nothingbabout putting an f35 engine in an f22 airframe though. Realistically you would probably end up putting in some sort of f119 upgrade with the f35 lighter startup module and the alloy and bearing advances, though I thinj they could also widen the engine by about 2 inches and still have plenty of clearance and better performnce witout requiring structural changes. The point still stands though!
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#24 Mar 20 2012 at 9:53 PM Rating: Decent
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I think people look at the term successor to literally. I see these planes with 2 separate uses and intentions. Ive followed the F35 with some interest as my country is slated to buy a bunch of them as well. While for Canada it is a clear cross the board upgrade (we have no real stealth aircraft of our own, we borrow the US's sometimes or others in NATO) for the US I think it is designed for a purpose other than all around aircraft.

I think it has been designed to be a strike aircraft, get in drop your sh*t, and leave hopefully without being seen. I just don't see it as an interceptor, it lacks the maneuverability against the most potential aerial threats (Russia and China).

The F22 however is better equipped to perform this role, it has some stealth ability which can help keep it off radar in an overwatch position, and then pounce on unsuspecting enemies.

I think comparing the two directly isn't really fair. It looks to me like the F22 has the F18's dogfight ability, and the F35 has its strike capability. Instead of a super plane, you have 2 much more sophisticated role players.

I dunno, I know Canada needs new planes, we need new everything really, our military while very well trained and technological, their base equipment is about 20 years old, our navy, airforce, and even army is rolling around in Gulf War sh*t.

Edited, Mar 20th 2012 11:53pm by rdmcandie
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#25 Mar 21 2012 at 1:00 AM Rating: Excellent
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Theres definitly truth to that. The F-22 is essentially a "what if we modernized an F-15" aircraft.It's designed for the strike fighter role. it needs to gain altitude fast to respond to incoming, unexpected threats, and to run down any such threats before they get to target. Long patrol loiter time is secondary. The F-35 was essentially the same concept applied to the F-16 airframe, sort of. The F-16 origionally was designed as a concept by a pilot in the airforce, amid much opposition, during the time when fighter aircraft were growing steadily bigger. The designer took the approach of making a very small aircraft, with a very large engine, with speed and manuverability being primary to all other considerations, and it worked pretty well. Unfortunatly the single engine gives the F-16 the worst crash rate of all U.S. fighter aircraft since the brewster buffalo, but it was cheap and effective, and purchasable in mass quantities to support the frontline F-15's. The F-18 was a similar concept, origionally designed to support the F-14 tomcat. The current F-18e superhornet basically replaces the tomcat entirely until the F-35C is cleared for duty.

Anyways, under the existing US forces model, the F-35 didn't need to be a better fighter aircraft than the F-22, we just needed lots of them and they needed to be particularily manouverable. What happened though, is our F-22 fleet got cut below the bone. There are presently near 500 F-15's in service at all locations worldwide with the airforce, They gaurd our forward air bases, our coastlines and borders, and the middle of the country in the event the outer perimeter is penetrated. They are parceled out in squadrons of 6 or so aircraft, with a reserve of maybe 10% for mechanical downtime. Thats roughly 80 bases, cities, or other key locations effectivly protected, spread out in parcels where they can effectivly support the other squadrons in the event of a point attack. 80% of the F-15 fleet is nearing the end of its structural lifespan, without completely rebuilding the aircraft.

There are only 187 F-22's.

That simply is not enough aircraft to protect the area required, unless you believe some magical force multiplication **** about the aircraft being worth 6 of any other aircraft on the planet forever, and no one will ever upgrade to match them. Eventually, the focus will be drones to supplement them, but right now, the drone interceptor program is decades away from being a reality. That or maybe a new round of F-22's or something similar.

In the mean time, the F-35 is being proposed as the aircraft to fill the gap. So fair or unfair, it is being asked to fill the role of the F-22 in at least 400 spots, which means that measuring the F-35 against the F-22 suddenly becomes a major concern. It shouldn't be a major concern, because the F-16 was always a very nimble and capable aircraft, and the F-35 is supposed to be a follow on to that. The problem was in this case they lost sight of the design philosophy that made the F-16 such a success in some areas. They're trying to make the aircraft do too many things, on the cheap. Did we need a replacement for the Harrier? absolutly Did we need a stealthier F-16 replacement? sure, since the F-16's are nearing their structural limits as well. Did we need a carrier version of the F-35? We already had an F-22 carrier variant in the works, which given that if you are launching off a carrier, and lose your only engine, you are flat out dead, was probably a much better decision than an F-35C, but whatever. The problem is, those three things all should be seperate aircraft designs. Not to mention the idiotic idea of trying to replace the A-10's with a high speed, no armor fighter aircraft (hasn't stopped them from trying with the F-16's though either I suppose.) Trying to make all three square pegs fit in that one round hole has driven costs up enourmasly, whatever the origional intent was. Part commonality down the line might result in some savings, but there are compromises being made that I think probably shouldn't be made, especially on the carrier variant, to keep overall weight light enough so the F-35B is effective.

I get the stealth aspect, and that sacrifices in manouverability and even top speed are worth it in the era of super long range standoff smart missiles, and the F-18E super hornet, cool though it is, shouldn't have been built, but eventually someone is going to create detection measures that mitigate stealth. The amount of computational power anyone on the planet has access to, the cheap abundance of sensors and bandwidth, and the fact that aircraft disturb the atmosphere when they travel through it means that someone with enough dedicated sites could theoretically set up some sort of "sosus" style network to detect incoming stealth aircraft simply by engine noise, air disturbances, or magnetic signature. We aren't there yet, and with advances in visual active camoflague we might keep ahead of the curve, but its definitly an aspect we can't rely on too much. If we assume they can't see us, when we find out they really can, we're screwed.

Not putting a standard F-18 Tailhook on the F-35 in a retractable gear housing was a stupid decision though. I think we can all agree on that.
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#26 Mar 21 2012 at 2:18 AM Rating: Excellent
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Right, the F-35 is being used as essentially a single craft solution to every problem. It cost too much for it's comparative inability to excel at any of it's roles.

Which is what I (and those 'more knowledgeable people' you scoffed at) said.

A missile support drone would fulfill the F35's troop support role more efficiently and significantly cheaper.
A dedicated fighter jet of would outperform the F35 by orders of magnitude in a fighter exchange.
A bomber craft with better stealth and load-out would again be a better solution.

The F-35 isn't cheap enough nor modular enough such that it can do what it needs to. It's a 1Tril defense project that isn't working as intended.





Edited, Mar 21st 2012 4:33am by Timelordwho
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#27 Mar 21 2012 at 2:26 AM Rating: Good
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How much does the Russian plans cost to build and maintain and how much do they water them down compared to the F-35s the US will be exporting. I would be more worried about our allies turning to them. If the Russians can sell a product that can go toe to toe with a water down F-35 for less it becomes a tougher sell.

Edited, Mar 21st 2012 4:30am by RavennofTitan
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#28 Mar 21 2012 at 2:44 AM Rating: Excellent
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RavennofTitan wrote:
How much does the Russian plans cost to build and maintain and how much do they water them down compared to the F-35s the US will be exporting. I would be more worried about our allies turning to them. If the Russians can sell a product that can go toe to toe with a water down F-35 for less it becomes a tougher sell.

Edited, Mar 21st 2012 4:30am by RavennofTitan


The Sukhois cost $45-65 mil, with dev costs of ~$10Bil, F35's cost $200-230 Mil with dev costs of ~$1Tril. Both have a large scale introduction in ~2015-2016. Both are versatile fighter craft.

...and Sukhois win in simulations. Even the ~1988 old versions of Sukhois.

Edited, Mar 21st 2012 4:48am by Timelordwho
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#29 Mar 21 2012 at 11:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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Timelordwho wrote:


Which is what I (and those 'more knowledgeable people' you scoffed at) said.


That was mainly directed at the fuel consumption comment, for what its worth.
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