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Jim Young

Entire F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet Fleet Grounded

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2 hours ago, KevinAu said:

The experience of our shermans against the panzers is one of the reasons of our obsession with the highest technology. Never would the US subject its servicemen to fight as an inferior force. The casualties we would suffer as an inferior force would never be acceptable today. This aversion to casualties that drives our politics and policies is why the US has not won a war since WWII.

True, and it has led to a bit too much trust in the notion that superior technology can win a war, which in recent years we've seen is clearly not the case; it certainly won't put boots on the ground either. And it's not like there haven't been numerous example to learn from..

Over Vietnam in the mid to late 1960s, initial trust in the AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder's capabilities led the US to design some fighters and interceptors which didn't even have a gun; a decision which later saw them desperately adding bolt on gun pods to these aeroplanes and even starting the SFTI program (aka TOPGUN) to teach their pilots how to fight with guns when those missiles failed to do the job. On the ground below those fighters, the troops would often pick up an 'inferior' AK-47 to use instead of their issued M-16, since it too was failing when in real combat conditions; the AK-47 had slack tolerances compared to the M-16, which made it a bit less accurate, but it also meant that it was far less likely to jam when a bit of grit got into its action, and a less accurate assault rifle is certainly better to have than one which is great when it is clean, but cannot fire at all when you're out on patrol and covered in mud.

Back in WW2 it was the same story: The Daimler-Benz DB601 engine on the Messerchmitt bf-109 and bf-110, was far superior as a design to the RR Merlin, it being fuel injected and therefore much more usable under combat G loads. But in a war of attrition over several years, the man-hours involved in building a fuel injected engine with all of the close tolerances necessary to achieve that whilst production was being harassed by bombing raids, as opposed to making something with a simple float carburetor as on the Merlin, proved problematic for the Germans. The issue was summed up when Adolf Galland was asked by Herman Goering: 'is there anything you need to help you win the fight?', Adolf Galland famously replied; 'Yes Herr Reichsmarschall. Give me a squadron of Spitfires.'

Down on the ground it was the same story, the Tiger tank was much feared by the Allies for its brutal armour penetration capabilities and heavy defensive armament, but all that weight meant it would bog down in terrain, allowing lighter and much cheaper to build tanks to outmaneuver it. The German high command realised this and requested that their designers make something lighter and cheaper to build, more akin to the Russian T-34. They received the honest reply that: 'we could never make a T-34, because it wouldn't pass our quality control checks.' As a result, they made the Panther Tank, but even this was far more complex than the T-34 and could therefore never be built in the numbers the Russians managed to churn out the T-34 in. The Russians had pragmatically accepted the fact that in a war, they would lose tanks and men, but ultimately they would win with simpler and cheaper weaponry in larger numbers.

More recently, the F-14 Tomcat was famously equipped with the AIM-54 Phoenix missile, which could engage stuff literally well over 100 miles away by using time shared radar guidance and lobbing its missiles in a ballistic arc to increase their range. Having four of these missiles, the sophisticated F-14 was tested against four QF-102 drones which were configured to represent a flight of four MiG 21s: Sure enough, the F-14 launched its four AIM-54s at the 'MiGs' when they were still well short of closing the range to one where they themselves would be able to fire, and predictably it scored some hits, but, it only destroyed two of them and severely damaged a third, putting this also out of the fight, but it missed the fourth one. On paper this is an impressive score, but wars are not fought on paper, so it still left the F-14 with one 'MiG' coming for it when it was out of missiles, and a cheap MiG would therefore be able to close on the expensive aircraft carrier the F-14 was tasked to defend, and sink it, destroying both it, and all of the expensive F-14s based on board it.

It is, essentially the same story as the T-34 versus the Tiger and the AK-47 versus the M-16, but western Governments still fail to learn the lesson it so obviously teaches them.

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Alan Bradbury

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At the end of WW2 how many aircraft were the allies capable of producing in a day?

How many F-35's do you honestly think they could produce in a day if they had to ramp up production for a war effort? 

Yes I agree with Kevin the Sherman's were far more inferior death traps but at that time they didn't have much choice, they had to turn the balance by producing in volume and not by matching capabilities. This is why I don't like the F-35's as a future fighter, because when it comes down to it, it will perform exceptionally well at the outbreak of war but inevitably fail when an advisory finds a simple vulnerability that easily takes them out, and they won't have a fighter that could be produced in the 100's daily that will be required to keep up with war production from overseas. 

They could keep the F-35's as a great toy to show off but they also need a cheap and nasty fighter to back it up. At that start of WW2 the Japanese biggest worry was they wouldn't be able to keep up with the US War production, they were right about that. A future war the US won't be able to keep up that sort of production with the type of hardware they want to produce. This is what I find worrisome about the future is overseas production will vastly outnumber the USA's capabilities, this is why the F-35 is a failure in my POV.

Edited by Matthew Kane

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1 hour ago, Matthew Kane said:

At the end of WW2 how many aircraft were the allies capable of producing in a day?

How many F-35's do you honestly think they could produce in a day if they had to ramp up production for a war effort? 

Yes I agree with Kevin the Sherman's were far more inferior death traps but at that time they didn't have much choice, they had to turn the balance by producing in volume and not by matching capabilities. This is why I don't like the F-35's as a future fighter, because when it comes down to it, it will perform exceptionally well at the outbreak of war but inevitably fail when an advisory finds a simple vulnerability that easily takes them out, and they won't have a fighter that could be produced in the 100's daily that will be required to keep up with war production from overseas. 

They could keep the F-35's as a great toy to show off but they also need a cheap and nasty fighter to back it up. At that start of WW2 the Japanese biggest worry was they wouldn't be able to keep up with the US War production, they were right about that. A future war the US won't be able to keep up that sort of production with the type of hardware they want to produce. This is what I find worrisome about the future is overseas production will vastly outnumber the USA's capabilities, this is why the F-35 is a failure in my POV.

We do need aircraft that are inexpensive, able to get the job done but with cruise missiles such aircraft are just fading away.  And what does one do with swarms of aircraft anyway, one needs well trained pilots to fly them, in the Battle of Britain fewer aircraft defeated an almost overwhelming force due to training and technology of the day.  The US in Korea and Vietnam always had to go against greater numbers of Migs, it was tough but somehow the pilots made it thru for the most part with the introduction of schools like Top Gun.  Training is key, technology can only go so far.  One can have many ships, many aircraft, many weapons, but if the enemy does not engage they are useless.  The US and allied military are well seasoned, very experienced now, and that was proven recently in a battle with Russian soldiers in Syria where the Russians had to back off, though the battle was shrouded in secrecy.  The Chinese and Russians are still copycats, but I wonder if they will succumb again to what Reagan did to the Soviet Union in the 80's--he bankrupted them by growing the military.  Sooner or later money will decide things, Russia and China will need their economies and trading partners and there are plenty of consumers in the west and the growing second world to buy items from them.  Major wars between world powers will become useless, self defeating, as we have seen since WWII. 

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54 minutes ago, Cactus521 said:

We do need aircraft that are inexpensive, able to get the job done but with cruise missiles such aircraft are just fading away

Not today, I am all for peace. I have 2 daughters I am raising and I want the best for their future, and everyone else.

But if it came down to it I am on the side of domestic production inevitably winning a war as the backbone of the war effort. I started as a mechanical engineer when I was 18 years old. I am now 48 years old and over those 30 years watched majority of productions lines I ever worked relocate overseas. Not good when you need to kick start war production. Back in 1940 the USA was very industrialized, they could convert factories for the war effort. Today you can't convert call centers or Walmart's into factories to make F-35's, this is the difference , and it is a substantial difference compared to 1940 when people actually new how to make things.  

Edited by Matthew Kane

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1 minute ago, Matthew Kane said:

Not today, I am all for peace. I have 2 daughters I am raising and I want the best for their future, and everyones.

But if it came down to it I am on the side of domestic production inevitably winning a war as the backbone of the war effort. I started as a mechanical engineer when I was 18 years old. I am not 48 years old and over 30 years watched majority of productions lines I ever worked relocate overseas. Not good when you need to kick start war production. Back in 1940 the USA was very industrialized, they could convert factories for the war effort. Today you can't convert call centers into factories to make F-35's, this is the difference , and it is a substantial different compared to 1940.  

Yes, when we think of aircraft, or automobiles made domestically, they really are not entirely made here.  Their parts come in from elsewhere, in cars the electronics from Asia, same as in our aircraft fleets, airline, general aviation and military.  The US has outsourced so much manufacturing and in my career, information technology.  We're becoming a nation of consumers but consumers need jobs, need careers, and not everyone can make money like Lady Gaga, or an Actor, or an Actress.  There is less interest in people becoming pilots and it stands to reason, it is too expensive, the only route in is thru the military and civilians think twice about entering the military when we are constantly at war with someone.  I was surprised learning from my daughter how few students of high school age really want to dig into technology, we need their minds so much but they are interested in playing, not developing.  I got heavy into simming as both a player and developer, I took interest in the betas, took interest in adding the few things I could, because other hobbyists shared their work, and payware vendors did amazing work.  I live fairly simply, no fancy car, I do not fly GA often anymore, maybe every other year if I am at an airshow and meet up with an old friend.

I have my sim, and my interest in civilian aviation, and my No Limits Coaster Sim, which is a fun way to blow off steam, and I play computer card games and from time to time try to beat the computer in chess (just won my first Chess Titans game ever, you can still download it for free and run it on Windows 10).  I also love playing a computer game called Warzone, which is modeled after the old board game Risk in its simplest version.  It is always beatable if I follow the same strategy of taking Europe, building up my forces, then moving against the enemy as the enemy weakens itself attacking neutral countries.  I like it because it is not a graphically violent game, just chess on a world map, in a way. I love 500 Rummy, my Grandma and I used to play it, often against my parents, and we were unbeatable to our amusement.  When I was a teen I would bike across Napa to her trailer park and challenge her to Rummy, she always had a soda waiting for me.  That was our online entertainment before computers and the web, the good ol' days, the late 70's when Apple was rising and the personal computer revolution was cast..  I lived in the Bay Area then, it was exciting to be near Silicone Valley...

John

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On 10/12/2018 at 11:16 AM, Matthew Kane said:

They could keep the F-35's as a great toy to show off but they also need a cheap and nasty fighter to back it up. At that start of WW2 the Japanese biggest worry was they wouldn't be able to keep up with the US War production, they were right about that. A future war the US won't be able to keep up that sort of production with the type of hardware they want to produce. This is what I find worrisome about the future is overseas production will vastly outnumber the USA's capabilities, this is why the F-35 is a failure in my POV.

There is more than one way to increase the odds. The "cheap and nasties" in the near future are likely to be swarms of air combat drones with upgraded F-35's and F-22's as a command center. A stopgap until it all goes pilot-less and controlled by autonomous AI, but that's further off. 

The dynamics of peer-to-peer World War are also very different now, compared to the past. Any of the major players who ended up on the short end of production capacity for conventional hardware, has the option to escalate with tactical nukes. That will likely prevent any conflict from escalating to the point where it's a question of one player or another running out of aircraft.

The WW2 rules for production capacity no longer apply. Consider what options Germany or Japan would have had, with nukes available as a last resort.

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25 minutes ago, Paraffin said:

There is more than one way to increase the odds. The "cheap and nasties" in the near future are likely to be swarms of air combat drones with upgraded F-35's and F-22's as a command center. A stopgap until it all goes pilot-less and controlled by autonomous AI, but that's further off. 

The dynamics of peer-to-peer World War are also very different now, compared to the past. Any of the major players who ended up on the short end of production capacity for conventional hardware, has the option to escalate with tactical nukes. That will likely prevent any conflict from escalating to the point where it's a question of one player or another running out of aircraft.

The WW2 rules for production capacity no longer apply. Consider what options Germany or Japan would have had, with nukes available as a last resort.

There are also more non lethal weapons coming into play and development, meant to disable and disorient enemy combatants.  I do not know if they can be used from aircraft however.  Some use sound, some use heat energy, to disperse hostiles and minimize civilian casualties.  There are also "force fields" of sorts that can deflect weapons used on tanks now and other vehicles, and maybe on aircraft someday.  It may get to the point when weapons become useless as defensive systems become more effective, which turns us to cyberwarfare and the prevention of it.  I do not envision some country wanting to conquer the world any longer, it has long been told that the superpowers will have to deal with regional threats and learn to cooperate with each other, especially to protect the global commercial sector.  Non lethal systems will eventually take hold, even down to the local police forces (such as Tasers).  The objective is not to kill the enemy, but to pacify them and eventually incorporate them into the world, as Japan and Germany were after WWII.

John

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