BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:45 P.M.) – The U.S. Navy’s F-35C stealth fighter jet is not ready for combat-related activity, despite a proclamation from the commander of the U.S. Naval Air Forces about the aircraft being “ready for operations, ready for combat and ready to win,” the Task and Purpose publication reported this week.

According to Task and Purpose, the testing data that was obtained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO)  indicates that the F-35 variant’s “fully mission capable” rate — a key measure of a military aircraft’s readiness — collapsed from 12% in October 2016 to zero in December 2017 before remaining flat through 2018.

In addition to the Navy’s troubles, the Marine Corps’ F-35B has also experienced a lot of problems, Task and Purpose said, citing a POGO report.

The Marine Corps’ F-35B hasn’t fared much better: According to the POGO report, the aircraft’s FMC rate fell from 23% in October 2017 to 12.9% in June 2018.

Both of these rates are far below the September 2019 target of an 80% mission capable rate for both Navy and Air Force fighter jets by set by former Defense Secretary James Mattis back in October.

These shortcomings come weeks after an annual report from the Pentagon’s operational testing and evaluation arm highlighted the alarmingly low service life of the F-35B that “may be as low as 2,100 [hours],” well below the expected service life of 8,000 hours.

According to POGO, these readiness shortfalls dramatically reduce the availability of aircraft and, in turn, the next generation’s overall effectiveness downrange.  From the report:

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To tell how many planes can actually get to the fight requires a second measure, the sortie generation rate: that is, how many flights per day each fighter in the fleet completes. The 2018 DOT&E report makes no mention of it.

The fleet-wide sortie rates for the three F-35 variants POGO calculated from the 2017 report were extremely low, averaging between 0.3 and 0.4 sorties per day. During Operation Desert Storm, frontline combat aircraft including the F-15 and F-16 flew an average of at least one sortie per day, and the A-10 fleet averaged at least 1.4 sorties per day. Even under the pressure of recent Middle East combat deployment, the F-35’s rates have not improved. According to statements from the squadron commander, 6 F-35Bs onboard the USS Essex  flew over 100 sorties in 50-plus days in the Middle East. In other words, each F-35B flew a third of a sortie per day—meaning they flew an average of once every three days—in sustained combat.

However, while the aircraft has experienced issues, the Marine Corps has still put their F-35B to the test, flying more than 100 combat missions against both the Taliban and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh).

 

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Diego Prendergast

The base problem is the U.S. reliance on software in the original design of the aircraft. I mean the reliance of real-time software compensation as opposed to physical modifications while evolving the design of the machine. They seem incapable of going back to the drawing board.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Nope, it’s just that cows don’t make ham. I could explain you about F-35’s issues, but it’d be VERY long.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

It faces even more problems since the initial idea was to make it a small affordable strike aircraft completing F-22. Congress export ban on F-22 made it too expensive, thus killing the program.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

The Lock-Mart tries to make F-35 multirole to compensate. The main error was to shrink the Yak-43 project they bought from Russia from MiG-35 to Harrier’s size.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

To comply with USMC’s (now retired) Tarawa class of LHDs small elevators, another was they should have started by using F-35C as a base for F-35A…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Naval aircraft adapt easily as land versions, not the contrary.
Another mistake : not keeping the two little RD41 engine fr vertical thrust

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux
Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

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Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

And instead going for the LM’s chief of project individually patented system.
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Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Where a shaft coming from the main engine is also running fans of the way to huge vertical lifter.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

The two RD-41 had a thrust on par but were a much smaller/lighter package allowing to stuff more fuel and allowing not being so bulky…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

As other versions were dev’d from the VSTOL F-35B.
X-35 demonstrator weighted 9980kg empty, F-35A : 13,154kg and others are heavier.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

etc etc. e.g. Yak-43 was to receive Tu-160’s 25t thrust engine. No room for it, it needed to create the P&W F135, while lighter X-35 used F-22’s engine.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

In fact, imagine you want a Porsche the size+price of a Renault Clio with the cargo of a Mercedes Vito and keep the Porsche performances…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Won’t happen. F-35B will be better than Harrier, this is obvious, and can do the F-117+A-6 job with self defence capabilities but Pentagon has been clear : …

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

… F-35 needs F-22, Rafale or Typhoon as protection. As long as you see it as a strike aircraft, it can be OK if you have money to dilapidate and…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

If you’re OK with Washington having a backdoor allowing to ground your fleet on any caprice, except for Israel (they have the source codes)

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux
Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Yak-43
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Daeshbags-Sux
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Daeshbags-Sux

Hihi, idiots are thumbdowning Russian aircraft and the fact I’m pointing F-35 as a flawed copy of Yakovlev 🙂

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Well, I hope this version will show:
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Karel Vd Geest

This paper reported earlier that an attacking Israeli F35 was completely invisible to Syrian radar, so that seems to refute this report.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

IOC (Initial Operational Capability) is not FOC (Full Operational Capability). No F-35 model will get the FOC before 2023-2025. US Navy only ordered 80 F-35C.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

We can’t know about F-35 availability as long it’ll be on low rate production as spare-parts are difficult to get. I expect smth on par with F-22 and Chinese J-20/J-31 and sub-par for F-35B.

Member
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Dave Diesel

It is an edsel with wings

Robert
Guest
Robert

There’s not a lot of demand for a half trillion$ flying (occasionally) Edsel. The Chinese and Russians can literally fly circles around this dog.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Don’t worry : F-22, J-20, J-31 or Su-57 are near as troublesome 😉
DOT&E former boss Dr. Gilmour resigned, the new one is less into pointing flaws and not only for F-35 😉

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

The only efficient 5th generation is still…
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Daeshbags-Sux
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Daeshbags-Sux

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We still can sell an efficient 5th gen fighter to the Yankees 😉

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

until we field the 6th gen :
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Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Pretty interesting : F-35 is set to receive BAe AN/ASQ-239 “Barracuda” for the block 4 upgrade… Just a system doing the same stuff as Thales SPECTRA v1.0 in 2003, including early active stealth 😉