Skip to comments.Boeing: Here's Why the F-35 Australia Is Buying Is Flawed and Needs Our Help
Posted on 04/30/2014 11:57:36 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Lockheeds strategy of basing its F-35 marketing strategy on its stealth capabilities is beginning to backfire as their effectiveness is being increasingly challenged by competitors and outside analysts. (RAAF photo)
Boeing has been loudly criticising Lockheed Martins F-35 in hopes that the Navy and other clients will buy more of its EA-18G Growlers for support and F/A-18 Super Hornets as contingency.
Developed in a Joint Strike Fighter contract that Lockheed won over Boeing in 2001, the F-35 is wildly over budget and has run into various design problems. Chief among them, according to Boeing, is the weakness of its stealth technology.
Last week, Australia committed to buying 58 of the jets at a cost of $24 billion over their lifetime.
In a presentation earlier this month called The Perishability of Stealth, Boeing argued that the F-35′s stealth and radar jamming systems wont work against some new radar technology. Boeing claims that stealth fighters need support from electromagnetic spectrum warfare aircraft, such as Boeings EA-18G Growler, which can disrupt enemy sensors, interrupt command and control systems, and jam weapons homing across all bands within the electromagnetic threat spectrum.
Today is kind of a paradigm shift, not unlike the shift in the early part of the 20th century when they were unsure of the need to control the skies, Mike Gibbons, the vice president for Boeings F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler programs, told Business Insider. Today, the need to control the EM spectrum is much the same.
Stealth technology was never by itself sufficient to protect any of our own forces, Gibbons said.
Lockheed, for its part, insists that the F-35 is fully capable of blocking signals itself. Lockheed also questions the wisdom of flying the two aircraft in tandem, since the Growler is not a stealth aircraft and its presence could alert enemies.
Boeing counters that the F-35 needs support from an aircraft that can block signals across the electromagnetic threat spectrum and which can also block signals while moving away from targets, as the Growler can.
Heres an image from Boeings presentation of the Growlers effectiveness across the electromagnetic spectrum:
Growler EM Spectrum
Heres another slide showing the full spectrum jamming capability of the Growler, illustrated by different colours representing different wavelengths, versus the F-35′s X-band only jammer. The circles represent overlapping layers of an enemys EM spectrum:
Growler EM Warfare
Now even Boeing will admit that the F-35 has its value. Designed to replace a range of fighter, strike, and ground attack aircraft, the Joint Strike Fighter can take on various missions that the Growler could not handle on its own.
Still, Boeing wants the Growler, which is heavily armed in its own right, to provide additional support.
The Growler today protects stealth aircraft from EM warfare, Gibbons told Business Insider. It protects Super Hornets, it will protect the F-35 when it is operational, it even protects B-2 bombers.
The Navy recently placed 22 Growlers on its unfunded priorities list, signaling a belief that the F-35 may need the additional support. Gibbons estimates that the Navy will eventually push for between 50 to 100 more Growlers once the first 22 are funded.
Boeing is also pushing for the Navy to buy more Super Hornets. The Super Hornet is a multirole fighter that can be equipped with a range of surface-to-air and surface-to-ground missiles and a variety of bombs.
BOTH “Airplanes” are First Class Pieces of SH!T!
Why does it look like they are attacking the CA coast?
Maybe that would be a great idea.
Boeing: “Here’s why placing a patch on our 30 year old air frame is better than buying a brand new one.....”
Real world: even “stealth aircraft” operate with jammer support, the the Growler. A prudent mission-planner would take advantage of every tool to ensure the success of the mission & the survivability of the aircraft & crew. That means if you have jammers, you use them.
Single engine design might not be so good for Navy requirements.
Maybe I’m misunderstanding you but I wouldn’t consider the ALQ-99 a “patch”.
Gotta admit, mission planners must love the “equipped with a range of surface-to-air and surface-to-ground missiles” capability. Hell of a plane.
Look at the rainbow colors. Does that mean the plane has Gaydar, too?
What they really need are some EF-111s. Ours are all in the Boneyard...think we could sell them?
I think Boeing is still p.o’d after their stealth turkey was totally rejected by the Air Force.What a turkey it was.
When the 30-year old design costs a tenth of the F-35, a prudent person would listen.
Ah come on.. $500 million for a lifetime of thrills spills and air pockets
Gimme the F22 any day, flaws and all.
Gimme a Phantom 4B any day ;-)
The Australians were the last to retire the F-111’s. There was a lot of debate about that since the plane had the kind of range that they needed. Their F-18 replacements don’t have nearly those kind of legs.
... oh and the EF-111 went into retirement before the EA-6 Prowler, so they’re probably not even a possibility. I recall that toward the end Navy Prowlers were considered a “strategic asset” and they were flying jamming missions for the USAF in the Balkans.
Performance and Reliability count for something.
Calling it a patch is akin to calling the space shuttle a paper plane.
I feel obliged to point out, however, that the EF-111 carried far more fuel, could go supersonic, and carried 10 transmitters internally with an internal electrical power supply. Anyone who has flown in a Prowler and struggled to get more than one pod out of three up and running can appreciate the importance of not using a RAT.
DOT&E says it is a problem for the “Growler” too: “The EA-18G also exhibited low reliability, due primarily to the frequent failure of the legacy ALQ-99 jamming pods and their newly designed pod interface units.”
Oh well. The USAF gave up on EW a long time ago...
I wonder how much Boeing paid for this “article”?
58 of the jets at a cost of $24 billion over their lifetime...
Whoa nelly! That is way too much. Are these planes gold plated?
This isn’t an admittance that the F-35 has flaws, this is a sales pitch for people to buy the F-18.