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While China has long been concerned about JSF’s ability to plunder its plans in cyber files in the hope of reverse engineering, critics in Australia have created the general impression that the fighter, which is now officially called F-35 Lightning II, is a “dog”. This criticism was strong enough to start a parliamentary inquiry into whether the RFSA should buy an ATP.
The Senate investigation concluded that “…the F-35A is the only aircraft capable of meeting Australia’s strategic needs in the foreseeable future and that sufficient progress has been made in the testing and evaluation program to address performance issues.” The report also states that “in light of the serious problems that led to the revision of the basis of the F-35 program in 2012 and the unresolved issues identified by the Director of US Operational Testing and Evaluation, the The committee remains very skeptical about the cost, timing and capabilities of the F-35A safeguards.
This reflects the long-standing opinion of ASPI’s Strategic and Defense Program Director, Dr. Andrew Davis, that although the JSF program has suffered cost overruns and deviations in the early years of its existence, it has worked much better since the application of restrictive measures. Costs were falling and the production schedule had stabilized.
The Committee had little confidence in the most outrageous accusations that the Fund was obsolete and could have outdone its potential competitors.
It is often said that the RAAF would be better off with the American F-22 Raptor, a larger cousin with two engines than the F-35 produced in the 1990s. In fact, the F-22 is a superiority fighter in the air, cleans the sky of enemy fighters very well, but it is not designed to carry out other tasks as well as the JSF. Buying and operating was expensive, and the assembly line was closed a few years ago.
JSF is a multipurpose aircraft designed to perform various tasks, from achieving air superiority to sinking enemy warships, attacking targets on the ground and providing direct air support to the troops. According to Group Captain Glenn Beck, he is the leader of the Air Transition Air Transition Office of the RAF, the Bowler pilot. According to Vice-Marshal of the Air Lee Gordon, head of the Capacity and Sustainability Team of the Air Force of the RAF, “Raptor” is “a wonderful fighter with a date of flight that we could not have even if we wanted”. The JSF is much more complex: around 8.5 million lines of computer code compared to less than 2 million lines in the F-22.
Donald Trump was perplexed, suggesting that to recover the excessive costs of Lockheed-Martin, he would ask Boeing if he could produce an alternative. But a few days later, the new Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, said in the hearings of the United States Senate that “the JSF is fundamental to our own superiority in the air” due to the electronics of the fighter, which increases its capabilities. Mr. Trump just wanted to lower the price to have the “best opportunity for the dollar,” said General Mattis. In fact, the decisions necessary to reduce the price were made many years ago.
The Japanese investment funds of the RAAF have been quoted at different prices of up to 300 million dollars each. Chris Bogdan, chief of the Joint Projects Office F-35 of the Pentagon, Lieutenant General of the United States Air Force, said this week in Australia that he is confident that the price of each hunt we request will be reduced to 80 million dollars. each. This is close to the price of a fourth generation fighter that is not very complex.
In 2010, the US bureaucracy was alarmed because the project was executed two years late and far exceeded the budget. It was “revolt” and was taken under control.
The project is extremely complex and has not yet been resolved, but the Americans and the ARAA trust that the fighter will work very well. A recent problem was that designers had to give up guided weapons designed to involve land mobile targets, since it is a form of cluster munitions that the United States no longer uses. The replacement work was underway.
In addition, there is a delay in the production of an anti-ship missile suitable for Australia. One of them is being worked by Norwegians, and Australian military scientists are developing a sensor for it.
Gordon said the problems are being solved as they arise, and he is confident that the RAF air force will be on track to meet the new timetable: the first fighter arrived in December 2018, and three squadrons and one training unit They will be fully operational by 2023.
Recently it has been suggested that women (or smaller men) will not be able to fly in JSF because the helmet was so heavy that if they pulled they broke their necks. The RAAF says that the problem has been solved by making the helmet lighter, by changing the headrest panel of the seat ejector and slightly reducing the parachute opening.
In recent months, several countries have increased the number of their orders in the JSF after a careful study of their possibilities. Israel, which is spending its defense assets very cautiously, says it is very happy with its purchase and can buy 75 fighters.
The sailors say that their pilots love the JSF and want to be delivered as soon as possible.
One of Australia’s most experienced military pilots, squadron commander Andrew Jackson, an ARAA instructor, trains pilots from several countries, including the United States, to fly the JSF. Jackson is one of two Australians who will fly F-35 from the United States to Avalon in Victoria in the coming days. He says he is much better than any other fighter who has flown.
“This fighter will give fighter pilots a level of awareness of the situation that far exceeds that achieved on older platforms,” said Jackson. “This level of first-hand experience is what all pilots dream of.”