Marines and UK need replacement for Harrier. That means STOVL or full VTOL. At the moment, the only aircraft that meets the requirements is the Harrier and the barely flying version of F-35B as well as Soviet Yak-38 which is no longer in service and cancelled Yak-141 which is the aircraft from which Lockheed Martin licensed the STOVL system from.
Can you please keep your micropolitical bullshit to yourself? This is an adult discussion about real issues.
Again, the "F-35 is the only game in town" clame is a bold faced lie. NATO countries currently operate the following 4.5/5th gen fighter/attack aircraft:
We are spoiled for choice. This is definitely not about that.
In a fight with "real adversary" by your definition, F-35 is the single worst choice of all aircraft, barring downgrade to F-4 or similar, due to its extreme cost. Ignoring the MAD aspect of the issue, if you're facing a massed assault of decent air superiority aircraft in a shitty fighter that has barely any missiles and only frontal stealth, you're dead.
Current fleet at least has a chance because there's enough of air superiority aircraft that have decent to good performance.
And again, you appear to be ignoring the fact that F-35 is a terrible attack aircraft even if we pretend for a moment that Lockheed Martin isn't advertising it as a fighter. Attack aircraft's primary role requires it to have decent operational range and payload. F-35 has neither without external hard points.
And no offence, but in modern world, enemy will know you're coming. Political conflicts that result in massive conflagration between two major states are affairs that take months to appear. And once that happens, spy satellites AWACS aircraft and strategic search radars kick in. Stealth provides little protection from those, you will be spotted. It will only provide protection from fire control radars which cannot get a proper lock due to sensory deprivation, and considering the questionable stealth that F-35 has in the first place and the fact that Russians operate MiG-31s which will be locking on it from above rather than below, F-35 is still pretty much the worst choice.
the Constitution is a blacklist of things government is not allowed to do, not a whitelist of things Citizens ARE allowed to do.
I get your sentiment, and support it, but I must quibble on a minor point: The main body of the Constitution is a whitelist of duties the government is charged with, and the means for doing so. The first ten amendments, The Bill of Rights, is a blacklist of things the government is forbidden from doing without a constitutional amendment. The 9th and 10th amendments specify that the Bill of Rights, being a blacklist, is not to be interpreted as a whitelist of citizen rights.
The only defense is to give them just barely enough resources to do their job,
Are you unhappy with taxes or with budget allocation? The first and third part above are about budget allocation, which, unfortunately, has very little to do with taxation. The middle part is about taxes, which, unfortunately, have very little to do with budget allocation.
I favor reducing spending and increasing taxes. That is because I am a fiscal conservative and we are currently running a wildly excessive deficit. I believe in running a balanced budget except during exceptional economic downturns, in which a short-term deficit is fiscally prudent for the long-term outcome, and in times of plenty, when a short term surplus prepares our larder for the next downturn.
Conflating reductions in spending with reductions in taxation is a premeditated psychological manipulation tactic. There are bad people out there who want to maximize their personal short-term outcome by cranking up the deficit and damn the consequences to the economy. Those people are not helpful to America. Do not fall victim to the false equivalence of taxation and spending.
Why not? US is currently Russia, largely due to complete halt of develpment and massive brain drain after the fall of Soviet Union. That suggests that US has at least ten to fifteen years of head start. If you go into details, Russians probably still lead on aerodynamics and engines or are about even due to two decades of lost development. US has a massive lead in its traditional advantages of logistics, production and avionics.
US most definitely has the time to develop something else. That argument is quite ridiculous.
The main argument here is cancellation of F-35 program because of structural failures of the program mentioned above, and usage of F-35 development to create three separate aircraft for each branch (carrier based fighter/bomber, airforce strike focused fighter bomber and marines STOVL strike focused fighter/bomber).
This would also solve the problem with Lockheed Martin becoming an effective monopoly for future fighter production in US as tenders could be given to separate companies.
Entering? Yes. Reading and managing with numbers? No. You seem to think that the only costs with data management are entering. That's just ridiculous.
I'm not going to even bother with the rest of your argument, which amounts to "spreadsheet bad for everything, world is wrong in choosing it, I stand alone as a warrior for just cause". Good luck with that.
I think your other part where you are grossly misinformed is where you think that stealth is end goal. It's not. It's merely a means to an end, and end goal of stealth is immunity to radar guided missile's targeting system.
Electronic warfare aircraft are means to that very same goal, that are proven to be about as efficient as stealth but take the exact opposite path to tackle the problem - instead of sensory deprivation of stealth, they use sensory overload instead. This approach has significant benefit over stealth in that this approach allows EW aircraft to provide same benefits to entire fleet of allied aircraft. That's how downright ancient Panavia Tornadoes and older, traditionally vulnerable to SAM aircraft like F-15Es and F-16 were able to operate in Libya in spite of heavy SAM presence across the region.
EW aircraft are basically a cheaper, more efficient means to solve the problem that stealth attempts to solve. They are more efficient because they don't just cover stealth aircraft, but they cover all aircraft in the fleet. This solves the massive problem that US discovered it had in Iraq war - few stealth aircraft and too many targets to hit them with, while a lot of older, functional aircraft that couldn't penetrate air defenses and couldn't be used.
This is what was solved in Libya.
I don't suppose anyone will even read this reply, but surely yours is an argument of despair? Moreover, isn't it slightly circular? And it certainly doesn't speak well for the health of democracy. If no party other than the two giants has any chance of being elected, what happens to the citizens' power to elect a government that will carry out their wishes?
Unfortunately much of that is outright lie. Lockheed Martin specifically sold F-35 to other countries under the umbrella of "you can replace all your fighter, attack and close combat support aircraft with this one machine". This is why they got so many countries on board with financing in spite of having no aircraft to show for it.
This has since been proven to be false, to the point where several countries like Australia have opted to buy other aircraft like F/A-18E/F models to replacing their aging fleets instead of F-35 after failures of F-35 became evident.
As for "design goals" as it comes to F-35, is there really anyone still having that discussion, other than Lockheed Martin shills? We already know they failed at meeting essentially all of them, and design requirements had to be continuously reduced so that aircraft would have at least some chance of meeting them. Knowledge of this is widely available in mass media.
Point one: I'm looking at it from the point of view of other countries. I readily concede the fact that US will never buy a French jet, even if it's far better suited for the role. It took immense amount of wrangling just to get Harrier in, even though it literally had no alternatives.
Your second point is moot. F-35's commonality is reported at around thirty percent today, and it's likely to go down rather than up as development continues. This is actually one of the biggest failures in the program, and was widely reported.
Your third point is extremely debatable. F-35's stealth is already been reported to be exceptionally lacking in all but frontal hemispheres, and in addition to that it has very little in terms of payload when it's stealthy. It needs to have external hardpoints (read: no stealth from any direction) for any meaningful strike package for example, or to have a meaningful range which it woefully lacks.
So we go back to point one, which as I admitted, I readily concede. But in that regard, there is one point that is being argued in US today: that F-35 program should be scrapped and in its place US should develop three separate fighters (because of point #2 being proven largely failed today). This would get all users an aircraft that is actually at least decent for the designed purpose, instead of an abortion of an aircraft in all usage scenarios that F-35 is increasingly proven to be.
You forget that capabilities of S-300 are well known, because several of the newer NATO countries have the system's naval version on their ships.
S-400 is arguable, and S-300 would definitely pose a significant threat to older planes like F-16 and F-18 without electronic warfare support.
However the rocket at the edge of its operational range is at a massive disadvantage in terms of power of its guidance system vs power of nearby powerful jammer.
You are grossly misinformed. "Wild weasel" is a US program to attack SAM targets with HARM missiles. It was just that, nothing less, nothing more.
Modern NATO aviation, when striking sites defended by SAM installments use dedicated electronic warfare aircraft. These aircraft are designed for extremely specialized role that has nothing to do with destroying SAM targets. Their goal is to track, locate and jam incoming radar-guided missiles. They render stealth moot because they go for exact opposite approach (overloading tracking system with false information instead of depriving it of information) that gets you the exact same end goal as stealth - near immunity to radar guided missiles.
They don't have to stand forever. As noted, you can develop from existing platforms, and you can use experience from F-22 and F-35 projects to design something that would actually perform its role.
F-35 doesn't do that, and F-22 is still dysfunctional as anything other than pure air superiority fighter. Also I'm pretty sure that most NATO countries would gladly take it for air superiority role over F-35 if it was offered for export. So offer F-22 for export for air superiority tasks, and get Rafale or F-18 for ground attack.
And as has been noted countless times, stealth is largely "backfit" into current aircraft by having all aircraft escorted by dedicated electronic warfare aircraft which accomplish the same thing in a different way. As has been widely reported, F-35's steath is already fairly bad outside frontal hemisphere, so it would likely require similar support regardless.