Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Another F-35 Weakness Confirmed

It's hard to get an accurate critique of the F-35's shortcomings from its maker, Lockheed Martin, or from its key customer, the United States Air Force. They spare no effort to gloss over problems with this worrisome warplane but, bit by bit, information does emerge.

Aviation Week reports that the USAF, which is still years away from going operational with the F-35, is already looking to trim spending to free up money for the 35's replacement. Why? Well, there are plenty of reasons but the latest to emerge is the admission that Lockheed's stealth bomb truck is short where it matters - on its payload capacity.

[Air Combat Command chief, General Mike] Hostage acknowledges that the “magazine” for today’s fifth-generation fighters-—the F-22 and, eventually, the F-35—is shallow. Each can carry only a maximum of eight ground-attack Small-Diameter Bombs. Physics limits magazine options for these aircraft, as the stealthy design requires small internal weapons bays.

It sounds as though Lockheed's vaunted "Fifth Generation" F-35 might face an unexpectedly truncated lifespan. It's successor will be designed to field much more firepower and, presumably, the sort of counter-stealth technology the Russians and Chinese have under development.

MoS, the Disaffected Lib

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