• 03 JUN 14
    • 0

    Off Topic: Australia’s worst spending boondoggle in history: The US Joint Strike Fighter (updated)

    Recently the new Abbott government has given its approval for the purchase of 58 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) at a cost of $12.4 billion – making it the nation’s most expensive Defence asset. To quote in part from the ABC News,Thu 24 Apr 2014:

    Asked if he was worried taxpayers would question the cost of the program at a time his Government is warning of wide-ranging cuts, Mr Abbott responded: “I want to stress that this is money that has been put aside by government over the past decade or so to ensure that this purchase can responsibly be made.” “This is not new spending today. In the context of a tough budget, this is spending money that we need to spend that has been sensibly put aside in the past to ensure that our nation’s defences remain strong.” The extra aircraft will bring Australia’s total Joint Strike Fighter force to 72 aircraft, with the first of them to enter service in 2020.

    Read the full article, and view the video here

    Sorry Mr. Abbott but you have made a disastrous purchase. Your unquestioning faith in US fighter technology has blinded you, and your administration to serious deficiencies with this fighter plane which will go down in history as a design disaster, which apparently in an active air battle is inferior to its Chinese counterpart. Read below…

    Also see Senator Scott Ludlums Senate estimate speech on it here: http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/estimates/senate-estimates-f35-joint-strike-fighters

    (Also see links at end of this posting about the same situation in Canada)

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    F’d: How the U.S. and Its Allies Got Stuck with the World’s Worst New Warplane
    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was meant to improve the U.S. air arsenal but has made it more vulnerable instead

    From all the recent sounds of celebrating coming out of Washington, D.C., you might think the Pentagon’s biggest, priciest and most controversial warplane development had accelerated right past all its problems. The price tag —currently an estimated $1 trillion to design, build and operate 2,400 copies—is steadily going down. Production of dozens of the planes a year for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps is getting easier. Daily flight tests increasingly are hitting all the right marks. Or so proponents would have you believe.

    SNIP

    Owing to heavy design compromises foisted on the plane mostly by the Marine Corps, the F-35 is an inferior combatant, seriously outclassed by even older Russian and Chinese jets that can fly faster and farther and maneuver better. In a fast-moving aerial battle, the JSF “is a dog … overweight and underpowered,” according to Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, D.C.

    SNIP

    At least twice since 2007 Chinese hackers have stolen data on the F-35 from the developers’ poorly-guarded computer servers, potentially including detailed design specifications. Some of the Internet thieves “appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel claimed. The September 2012 debut of China’s latest jet fighter prototype, the J-31, seemed to confirm Hagel’s accusation. The new Chinese plane, built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, bears an uncanny external resemblance to the F-35: same twin tail fins, same chiseled nose, same wing shape. “It certainly looks like the Chinese got their hands on some [F-35] airframe data,” said Richard Aboulafia, a vice president at the Teal Group, an arms industry consultancy in Virginia. But the J-31 lacks many of the features that were included in the F-35 “mainly or entirely because of STOVL,” according to Aviation Week writer and fighter expert Bill Sweetman. Namely, the J-31 does not have a lift fan or even a space for a lift fan. The omission apparently allowed Chinese engineers to optimize the new plane for speed, acceleration, maneuverability and flying range — and to add good pilot visibility and a second rearward engine — instead of having to build the plane around a pretty much useless vertical-takeoff capability that slows it down, limits it to one motor and blocks the pilot’s view.

    SNIP

    Read the extensive article here.

    AND FROM CANADA:

    Why The F-35 Is The Wrong Choice for Canada – Part 1 http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/why-the-f-35-is-the-wrong-choice-for-canada-part-1

    Harper’s tough choice on new fighter jet for Canada http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/04/21/harpers_tough_choice_on_new_fighter_jet_for_canada.html

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