Our F-35 joint strike fighter boondoggle

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A great article on our Air Force tactics and equipment from Vietnam, through Desert Storm to present. It excoriates the Air Forces decision to put all of their eggs into one - as yet delivered - basket. From War on the Rocks.

Here are two paragraphs:

What really happened was that the Air Force dismantled a wildly successful “Electronic Combat triad,” consisting of the EF-111A, the F-4G, and the EC-130. The EF-111A Raven was an unarmed conversion of the F-111 fighter-bomber capable of jamming air defense radars. The F-4G Wild Weasel was the last of the Air Force Phantom conversions, intended to hunt down and kill radar-directed missile batteries and guns. And the EC-130 Compass Call was a powerful communications jammer. Not a single aircraft was lost to a radar threat in the Gulf War while an armed F-4G Wild Weasel or an EF-111 Raven was on station. F-4Gs alone fired a thousand anti-radiation missiles and took down over 250 radars, a hit rate unequaled before or since.

None of that mattered. Lured by the false promise of stealth aircraft, the F-4G and EF-111A were retired with no replacements. The EC-130 Compass Call fleet was downsized. The Wild Weasel school was closed and the decades of hard-won combat experience stored in the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) community scattered to the wind. The Air Force placed all its chips on the Joint Strike Fighter and held tight to a vanishing mirage, even as the F-35’s costs spiraled and its initial operating capability date stretched further into the future. Worse yet, the Russian and Chinese systems designed to beat the F-35 have been fielded already, before the F-35 fully enters service. The Air Force has not only lost the capability to penetrate well-defended airspace with strike aircraft — with the loss of its electronic warfare expertise, it has lost the capability to know that it has lost the capability to penetrate well-defended airspace. If the United States is to continue to rely on airpower as a credible contributor to national defense, we will have to re-learn how to open a path for strike aircraft using tried and true methods.

Lockheed is making an obscene amount of money and nobody in Congress has the stones to hold their feet to the fire. (here, here and here)

1 Comment

The USAF has screwed the pooch and the lefties have screwed the Navy. The US Army has somehow kept the faith and keeps answering the call.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on May 3, 2016 10:00 AM.

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