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Can't turn, Can't climb, Can't run: F35 problems

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This is also worrying, imagine that the Chinese could tap into our F35's weapons systems

 

The Chinese might figure that there's not much to tap into. Last thing I read on the weapons subject, the F-35 has a capacity of two bombs and two air to air. And there's the machine gun, but there's hardly a 4th. Gen. fighter that couldn't beat the F-35 in a visual range tangle.

 

At the moment, if the Chinese are shaking in their boots, it's from laughter, not fear.

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It will be a big problem in the future. We like to call them smart weapons, but the problem is that the perceived opposition is rapidly getting smarter than we are. At the moment we're on the edge of losing air superiority, and we're also falling behind in electronic warfare and missile technology.

 

Hard to pinpoint any one thing that has caused this. Lack of R & D for one. Nations like Russia and China will be driving military technology into the future unless there is some cultural change in the West's way of managing the military/industrial complex. Wall Street and corporate profits do more driving than science and technology. Blinded by money, they've lost sight of the ball.

 

Recent showcasing of a lot of cutting edge new military technology by Russia has at least got our wheels in motion. If oil got back to $120/barrel and stayed there, we would be in big trouble. Although they are no longer a communist system, things are still very centralized. Former state owned design bureaus are now corporations, but often the state retains significant ownership. If the Russians want a new plane, bomb, or missile system, they just get on and develop it. They don't have a whole pile of different companies all trying to elbow each other out of the way to get their snouts in the trough. While we're busy trying to divide up some future pie, Russia and China have their sleeves rolled up and are hard at work. Recent world events have been a real wake-up call for us.

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Decision time for the Turnbull Government: believe the hype and go all-the-way with the F-35 or cut our losses and shop around?

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Ol' Mal Turnstile make a decision? That'd be a first.

 

I'm not sure that the F-35 will prove quite the useless lump popular opinion would have us believe, but there comes a point when Aus just plain would not be able to afford to buy and maintain sufficient numbers of them to form an effective force. Given that they are not likely to be a huge technical advantage over any potential enemy by the time they're fully operational, it all seems hardly worth it and a mix of Growlers and Super Hornets sufficient for the medium term.

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I guess something that works well for the price would be the go.

 

Gripen.

 

Eurofighter a little more priceier but still less than the F35 and in current serial production ready to go. Not being updated constantly like Apple pushing iOS updates to your iPhones.

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I thought this government was reducing foreign aid, not increasing it and sending it to US arms manufacturers.

 

How has there not been a senate enquiry into this?

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Reading that report, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were reading about the never ending Microsoft operating system saga.

 

One thing that seems to be in the back of the mind is ' what if stealth and some of this technology turn out to not be the be all and end all of things'. Maybe electronic advances will negate a lot of the new wizz bang features, and they just end up being eye candy attached to a fundamentally flawed airframe. Possibly in the future 4++ Gen. might be all we need. The Russians announced a couple of weeks ago they are starting on the 6th. Gen. design and preliminary work on 7th. Gen.. I wonder what that actually means, in an era when we haven't yet got the 5th. Gen. fighters to a stage of being reliable, and importantly, affordable.

 

The Indian MiG-21 Bison is a good case. Upgraded early 60's technology that no U.S. legacy fighter can have a chance of defeating. After the Red Flag exercises with the Indians, some in the USAF are saying that only the F-22 has a chance against it.

Just an old Vietnam War era banger with a flash jammer and new radar and avionics making fun of F-15's and F-16's. Do we really need a 150 million dollar Windows F3.5 flying laptop.

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As I believe I have mentioned before, the Shenyang J-8B with modern avionics is really all NZ needs... Effectively a twin engined MIG-21 chassis with side intakes clearing room for a radar radome in the nose. Effectively a F/A-18 equivalent with a 2.4Mach top speed in an Interceptor A2A clean config rather than the F/A-18's 1.8Mach

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The video presentation I watched on the Red Flag de-briefing was centered on U.S. evaluations of the Indian Air force Su-30MKI. Probably a good insight into how the Russian Su-30's would stack up against U.S. fighters. They said that the best Indian pilots came over in the Bisons.

 

One thing that I'd never really thought about until the presenter mentioned it, is that the MiG-21 has a naturally low radar signature without the jammer. Long and skinny, sharp features with delta wings and pointy intake shock cone etc., it would be harder to track than a MiG-29 or Su-27.

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As I believe I have mentioned before, the Shenyang J-8B with modern avionics is really all NZ needs... Effectively a twin engined MIG-21 chassis with side intakes clearing room for a radar radome in the nose. Effectively a F/A-18 equivalent with a 2.4Mach top speed in an Interceptor A2A clean config rather than the F/A-18's 1.8Mach

 

Kiwi, I'd tend to think that from a political point of view that the U.S wouldn't be too happy if we bought Chinese made fighters. But they'd probably get over it to a degree, whereas if we bought Russian, they'd think we were dancing with the devil.

 

We already buy Chinese cars, clothes, food, tools, machinery and almost everything else, so it's not like it's some radical new thing to buy Chinese.

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Found this site which has an interesting comparison on the market of comparable fighters for the F35 -> http://gripen4canada.blogspot.com.au/p/how-the.html

 

Obviously the site is biased in favour of the Saab Gripen - but it does have some compelling figures - such as half the purchase price of the F35, and a 1/4 of the operating cost, faster, simpler too operate, etc.... oh dear, why are we getting the F35 again ?

 

And yes its from Sweden, so insert Ikea pun here .....

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Well, Flat-Pack gripens would be able to be put together in Aussie following a "Tab-A into Slot-B and affix Retainer Clip 43" approach. The problem with letting you Aussies try and put together something military in Aussie however means it would probably end up like the SH2 saga and you fellas will throw up your hands several years later and sell it on to us Kiwis for 1/12th the original price and we'd apply some #8 wire and get them going properly toot sweet! :P If you want them to work properly out of the box, better let the Swedes assemble them at home. ;)

 

Besides with the Gripen, you have the option of out-of-the-box ASRAAM and Meotor support with a small-panel AESA version of the Eurofighter Typhoon radar.

 

The Typhoons radar is based on an updated LPI version of Blue Vixen from the FRS.2 Sea Harrier with larger scanner/emitter panel, the Brits worked with the Swedes on an updated Blue Vixen unit with the original sized mechanically scanned panel converted for AESA to fit the Gripen. Since the RAAF already have the ASRAAM rather than the AIM-9 it would make sense to go with the unit already with working connectivity rather than adding more code to an already bloated flying MS-Windows style bloatware. I've read the ASRAAM can be radar cued to fire off bore rather than helmet cued. The computer takes the data of where the enemy is, sends the data to the missile, which launches and uses inertial guidance to fly blind until it is turned and aimed at the enemy where the seeker head can scan and lock. Same as the idea of using the helmet guidance, but just getting the data from a different source.

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Link to an article on the problems and proposed fixes with the F-35's Martin Baker MK.16 US16E ejection seat:

 

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/2016/01/08/f-35-ejection-seat-fix-delayed-2018-pilot-restrictions-continue/78519892/

 

Pilot weight restrictions are expected to remain in place until 2018. The risk is 'elevated' for pilots under 75kg., and 'unacceptable' for those under 62kg..

 

The way I understand it, is that the risk is present in low speed ejections. The lighter weight pilots cause the seat to rotate forward too much, leading to a snap back of the head and neck with deploymet of the main recovery chute.

 

The proposed fixes seem logical. A lighter design helmet, a head support panel between the parachute risers, and a time delay switch for lighter pilots. I'm assuming the time delay for main chute deployment would allow the drogue time to stabilize the seat into a more upright position before the main opens. There's been no mention of the problem in a zero/zero ejection where a time delay would be an issue.

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I'd like to see the F-35 up against that when the missiles are all gone.

 

It will be interesting to see what the eventual combat plan for the F-35 will be. Let's hope they don't just go on the theory that we're really clever and no-one can beat us. I'd guess they must have some sort of Plan B for that scenario, where you are in your F-35, with no armament left and in visual range of the enemy, who has faster, more agile aircraft (with some AA missiles left).

 

Top Gun training would be a good thing to keep. The Russians have a different way of looking at it. They've always maintained that sooner or later it will merge in a tangle, and they build their aircraft and train their pilots accordingly. They all do a lot of regular dogfight training and a situation like that is second nature to them, plus they have the power and maneuverability to back up their piloting skills. If we could put our ego back in the box for a while, we could learn from them.

 

Something that could be interesting in the future is the joint Australian/Indonesian exercises. By the time we have operational F-35's, the Indonesians will have a reasonable compliment of Su-35S's, so it will be an interesting close up comparison.

 

Call me a sceptic, but I can see a bit of deja vu here. When the F-4 Phantom was built, the nobs decided that the era of the gun was gone and it's all missiles from now on. Vietnam sorted that theory out when Phantoms were being shot down by legacy MiG-17's. Now the descendants of those nobs are telling us that the era of dogfighting is gone, and with our technology we can destroy the enemy beyond visual range before they can detect us. Yeah, right.

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Indonesia has been a participant in Operation Pitch Black over the top end. Their Sukhois are impressive and when on the ground they keep them right away from prying eyes. Many Australians suffer from inertia; believing that our small Air Force has better equipment than the neighbours...

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