Skip to comments.Is The F-35 Strike Fighter The Military Chevy Volt?
Posted on 02/27/2012 4:54:12 PM PST by raptor22
Defense: Pilots who arrived a year ago to train on the fighter of the future are still waiting as safety concerns, cost overruns and questions about the whole program's feasibility mount.
The F-35 is meant to be America's next-generation fighter, the heir to the Air Force's F-15 Eagle and the Navy's and Marines' F/A-18 Hornet. Those two aircraft have fulfilled their air superiority and ground-attack roles well, yet many are well beyond their expected life expectancy.
The F-35 would fill America's defense needs in an age of budget constraints, we were told. So far it has not been a smooth takeoff.
About 35 of the best fighter pilots from the Air Force, Marines and Navy who arrived in the Florida Panhandle last year to learn to fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are still waiting. They've been limited to occasionally taxying them and firing up the engines.
Otherwise, their training is limited to three F-35 flight simulators, classroom work and flights in older-model jets. Only a handful of pilots get to fly the F-35s.
Concerns have arisen, ranging from improperly installed parachutes under the pilots' ejector seats to whether the aircraft have been adequately tested.
Production has been slow and delayed, and the cost has risen from $233 billion to $385 billion. Only 43 F-35s have been built, and an additional 2,443 have been ordered by the Pentagon.
Part of the problem is that the F-35 is a one-size-fits-all aircraft designed to fit roles from taking off a carrier's deck to hovering and landing in a confined space on a foreign battlefield. It's meant to be a ground-attack and air-superiority fighter. The question is whether it can adequately be both.
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There you go...
My point in saying "C-5" at all was to say effectively "a really big cargo plane." Your analogy of "flying aircraft carrier" was exactly it, with the fighter planes being drones with folding wings. Imagine the fighting range of such a system! It might take on a small air force in a matter of hours. I don't know how much heavier a seaplane version would be, but one could then refuel the "aircraft carrier" from a ship tanker, making it a mobile air force that could be sustained for weeks to months. Want stealth with soft armor? Make the tanker a shallow sub. With fuel inside to moderate the pressure difference, the tank might possibly be a towable bag. Tow it with a submarine tug?
Yes, fun stuff indeed. Wouldn’t you love to be involved with a think thank that came up with these ideas, presented them, and saw them come to fruition? I would.
BTW, your additional ideas were interesting too.