We Just Got Shafted On The F-35

We Just Got Shafted On The F-35, by David Archibald.

The next contracted production run [of the F-35] will produce 106 aircraft for the US military and 149 aircraft for its allies, including us. …

The first indication that something fishy was going on was a couple of years ago, in the annual report of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. The report started talking about the economic order quantity of F-35 aircraft, without stating what that number was. It seems it is about 500 aircraft. Presumably Lockheed Martin was promised that it would produce at least 500 aircraft before the programme was cancelled. As at June 2018 Lockheed had produced 300 F-35s. So this order will get them over the line by getting the foreign customers to take most of the production, well in excess of the proportion they are supposed to take over the projected total production run. …

The F-35A while being towed at the Inauguration Ceremony on July 7th, 2006.

Lockheed Martin will get to produce its minimum economic quantity of the F-35, and the US military will minimise the damage to itself in Lockheed getting to that point,. But Australia will be left without any fighter aircraft able to go up against late model Flankers. We are handing over billions of dollars for some hangar queens, and then will have to start over again. This is an existential threat, with China preparing for war with most of its neighbors.

It is rumored that the reason the US military is so sanguine about the F-35 is that it has a proper fighter aircraft coming out of the USAF black program. Australia needs to hedge its bets and also start getting a fighter that is effective and that we can afford to operate.

The F-35 has great computers, but aerodynamically is very sub-par. The “solution” above would make a lot of sense, for the US. Looks like the Australian military, who love the most expensive stuff, are the patsies — again!