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Comment Re:Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 1) 343

Like I said in another section of this thread, the cost-over-runny bits of development are already almost. A squadron of F-35s has just been declared combat ready. done. Thus, to the extent this particular new weapons system has included b$Billion surprises, those have already been sprung. That means all those over-runs the English Majors in the media freak out about are already priced into $85 million, and that $85 Mil price-tag is in the budgets for the next fifty years or so.

Which in turn means that the only way to reduce the order would be to get Congress to reduce defense spending. And specifically, that they'd prefer reducing defense spending by cutting weapons procurement, rather then cutting flight time (Av Gas ain't cheap).

That shit ain't happening.

Comment Re:Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 1) 343

The F22 was supposed to be the expensive air superiority fighter and the F35 the cheap aircraft for close air support after the opposition's airforce and defences were taken out.

F22 was canned because it was too expensive - as you say, ironic because the per-piece price of the "cheap" F35 is now higher.

Pardon my rantiness, but Godmotherfuckingdamnit, would it be too much to ask a single person who is opposing the F-35 to fucking check motherfucking wikipedia to find out whether the blurb he read about this shit a year ago is still fucking true?

If you're talking about the cost of a single plane, you're talking flyaway cost. For F-22 that is $150 million. For F-35 it's $116 million for the extremely expensive Navy variant, for the cheaper Air Force variant it's under $100 million and likely to reduce to $85 million in 2018.

Comment Re:Sounds like .... (Score 1) 343

You're changing the subject.

We're talking about whether the weapon will work for the job we bought it for, not whether the US Political system includes anyone who enjoys a fair fight. Which you just implicitly admitted it will work fine, by not countering the point.

And, for the record, since that time George Washington went 0-3 in fair fights in the Revolution; we are extremely proud of never having one. We're not some ponsy aristos, obsessed with adding honor to the family tradition by gloriously dying on the battlefield and making it "forever England." We make the other poor dumb motherfucker die for his country, and let his countryman wax poetic about it.

Comment Re: Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 1) 343

And if the Air Force informed a Marine captain that his company had to do a job that cost a guy a day in combat conditions would said Marine Captain do his damndest to squirm out?

Infantry guys love the A-10 for the BRRRRRRRP, and in the immediate future (say the next 5 years) this will work fine. But in the long term, manned aircraft as CAS is dumb with a capital D-U-M. 1% a day casualties just is not acceptable. I don't know what will replace them, but I suspect it will take advantage of the fact that a drone base and pilot do not actually have to be on the same continent, and every FOB commanded by an O-3 will have a couple Air Force Lieutenant drone jockeys sitting around the staff room waiting to take over a tough-ass drone, designed on the A-10 model, with the A-10's GAU-8 gun.

Comment Re: Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 1) 343

Not really. CAS is what happens when you're going 300 MPH, straight over the enemy position, running a cannon. No drone we have in the sky actually does that shit. They do bombs and missiles, but not kamikaze cannon runs.

The A-10 does. AFAIK the only other real close support aircraft in the world is the Russian Grach (altho COIN planes like the Tucano can fake it). Grach gets a bit of a bad rap because various post-Soviet and African states operate them in places with real air defense, so they tend to have that 1% a day casualty margin I mentioned.

Thus the drone comment.

Comment Re:Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 1) 343

Dude, we've already paid for the parts of the project that can go over-budget. We're into production. If Lockheed says "sorry guys, we spent $90 mil building this one" and doesn't have a detailed invoice for every single line that went over Lockheed gets to eat the loss. They'll also need a really good explanation for not calling the Air Force when Pratt and Whitney over-charges for the engine. Moreover, production cost is in the $80-85 mil range, which is cheaper then damn near any modern fighter out there, and cheaper then quite a few whose first flight was before I was born in '81. In fact to my knowledge the only 3.5+g fighter available for less then the 80-85 mil we're being charged is the SAAB Grippen.

So the price is already in the budget. Moreover, if the elites in DC have to choose between a) Medicare and b) the Defense Department do you seriously think there's any fucking chance they won't go for option c) drown in deficit spending?

Comment Re:Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 1) 343

Like I said, sitting on your ass in the Valley it's easy to say you can do that. Actually doing that, at 50k ft, in all weather conditions, at night, while keeping your eyes in the sky from being blowed up by a cheap-ass drone out of Nevada, is a much different technical problem. Note the night thing? What the fuck you gonna do if I send in 500 F-35s to nail your eye-in-the-sky base at night?

Your solution (networked small, low-power, hard-to-detect, observation units in constant communications with each-other) is actually quite similar to the guys who figured out how to detect our stealth aircraft decades ago. But in in actual combat it's hellishly difficult to pull off because you figure out a way around any single element of the system and it's a boondoggle. Thus, IRL precisely one guy managed to pull that shit off.

Comment Re:Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 1) 343

Dude, we've already paid for the shit that goes over-budget on F-35.

We're into production, and costs go down during the production run. According to the latest info from the Air Force's accountants, each new F-35 costs less then any opther American fighter currently on sale. Altho we could conceivably save $16 million a pop if we got the Swedish Grippen.

Comment Re:Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 0) 343

It should be noted that turning, climbing, and running aren't terribly important if the other guy can't find you, target you, or shoot at you.

Exactly. The F35 will be fine as long as we assume that our adversaries are completely incapable of innovation. The Chinese would certainly never think to stick a $5 optical camera and an ANN in the nose of a SAM and track using visible light.

What would the range on that shit be? With the human eye it would probably be a couple miles, the distance of the horizon is probably a theoretical maximum, but that depends largely on your elevation (at sea level it's 2.9 miles), but let's say that we're at 50k ft, which seems to be the service ceiling. That's 15,240 metres. Wiki's formula is d km= 3.57h m, so 441 or so km. So that works. You got a visual sensor that can tell a 10m by 16m triangle-shaped thing at 441 km from a seagull's tail at 350 km? They're all the same color (gray), on a background which is probably grayish clouds, estimating range with visuals is a huge pain in the ass, etc. I'll gladly agree that the whole F-35 plan is stupid. If your missile shoots off after the seagull it'll but rocket fuel at the rate you usually burn rocket fuel at, and by the time it figures out "shit I'm going for a seagull's ass" you're never gonna get it back.

The point with that isn't that it's impossible they'll figure out a way top track the fucker down. Human ingenuity being what it is, somebody will pull that shit off eventually. The point is that getting that shit to scale to the point you can actually use that militarily is a huge fucking pain-in-the-ass, and not likely to happen for awhile. First-gen Stealth, for example, got cracked pretty much as soon as we invented it, yet in 25 years of service precisely one guy pulled it off in combat.

Moreover, you're missing the best part of the program: we're getting thousands of them (680 Navy and Marines, and 1,763 for the Air Force). That's less planescombat aircraft then every country in the world except China and the Russians. So I will not be surporised if 30 years from now the Chinese have enough toys to deal with a couple hundred F-35s, and the Russians enough to deal with a dozen or two, but 2,443? Hell fucking no.

Comment Re:Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 3, Insightful) 343

Interestingly enough, a few years back it was considered a terrible waste of money and everyone thought that it should be canned and replaced with F-35.

It's amazing how the perception of a weapons system can change among English/Journalism majors when there have been a few years to work the bugs out.

Comment Re:Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 0) 343

It's actually supposed to bullshit it's way through close support until Congress finished paying for it and then the Air Force can ask for a drone.

Nobody with an ounce of military sense considers sending the A-10 into a combat environment where it will be shot at. They were specifically designed to take 1% casualties a day from mid-80s Soviet equipment. While it does admittedly have the best survivability we could possibly create with current tech, all that means IRL is that it's fucking stupid to have a manned close air support aircraft in the current environment. Even if we had that many pilots, having a unit of 25 engaged and losing 6-7 of them in a month would be politically unacceptable.

OTOH, if the 6-7 planes downed are drones, that means we have to buy more, which means pork in a dozen Congressional districts...

Comment Re:Can't turn, can't climb, can't run (Score 1) 343

It's interesting you're quoting media reports from English/Journalism Majors in an evaluation of technology. This does not speak well to your critical thinking skills.

No shit, a plane specifically designed to be impossible to find can't dogfight. I'll bet the next thing you tell me is that a dude with a cavalry sabre can hack every pilot in the squadron to death if he's managed to sneak into the officer's club while their drunk and totally unarmed. Hell, given the state which most flyboys keep their firearms our hypothetical one dude with a cavalry sabre could probably gut almost all of them sober if he started from within 15 ft.

Moreover if you read those carefully, you'll note the F-35 costs they're quoting are entire program costs for 55 years. So the cost of the planes, the cost of training the pilots, the cost of spares, the cost of jet fuel, etc. No shit the cost for doing that for 55 years, for a major industrialized nation, which frequently finds itself blowing the fuck out of random places, is a huge ass number.

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