Opinion: F-35: A Pig In A Poke (excerpt)
(Source: Stars and Stripes; published: August 4, 2016)
By Mike Sweet
I’ve reached a point where I’d rather do anything than talk about Donald Trump.

My mental health requires I forego mentioning the man and his antics, at least for a day or so. That’s enough time for him to commit some new crimes against human decency that defy explanation but require repeating the observation that he’s nuts.

So instead of presidential politics today’s topic is aviation. Which sadly can also be aggravating given it is unavoidably linked to bad political decisions. Like betting the farm the F-35 fighter bomber can assure the nation’s security.

The headline on Gizmag’s technology website this week read optimistically: “F-35A declared combat ready following first air-to-air kill.”

After 16-plus years in development and nearly half a trillion-dollar taxpayer investment, has the much-maligned fighter-bomber finally proven it’s been worth the wait?

Sorry to have to say so, but no, it has not.

In fact all the test over the Pacific Ocean off the California coast proved was that the very complicated high-tech fighter with its legendary glitches could launch a conventional air to air heat-seeking missile that shot down an unarmed target drone. A second drone escaped a second missile the F-35’s pilot fired at it.

The performance was hardly special for a supposedly sophisticated warplane that has taken 16 problem-riddled years to get to this point.

Every other legacy aircraft in the U.S. arsenal, from A-10s, F-16s, and F-18s to F-15s have for many decades routinely performed far more complex and dangerous feats in real combat.

The Pentagon and Congress made a huge mistake in committing to the F-35 at the expense of soliciting other cheaper and more effective designs. It’s not even as stealthy as promised. Yet the F-35 is now the only egg in the American arsenal’s basket of future aerial weapons, and it’s rotten. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Stars & Stripes website.


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