A big week for JSF (and their fanboys & girls)…. Or not?

From the previous intro I now want to go to the Farnborough International Air show (FIA) which took place last week in the United Kingdom.

Farnborough International Air show 
A lot of headlines and rumours, a lot of working hours for the Marketing gurus of Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon and other related companies worldwide. It promised to be the highlight of the year, and the moment everybody… well not exactly everybody… dreamed of the last 10 to 20 years. Year after year had gone by, but every year no show for the already (operational) flying JSF. But this year was different: The dream would come true. For LM a true victorious moment celebrated by media and printed promotion. They even taken care of hanging posters in London subway stations to showcase the first European flight demo of the promising JSF. All things where arranged to welcome the true fighter of all fighters to Europe…..

The JSF should have moved from Eglin Air Force base all the way to Europe to entertain the believers there on three occasions. The convoy – Yes you can speak of a convoy – with a pair of KC10 tankers, at least one KC130J tanker, and a C-17 to escort 4 fighters across the Atlantic. The 4 JSF need to refuel around 10-12 times each during their crossing, should have arrived on Fairford (a Big US airbase with all necessary security) in the first week of July. They Didn’t!


The JSF and her big Marketingteam did mis more than one show. First the launching ceremony of the too big, too fat and too badly equipped new British Super Landing Helicopter Dock ships.

QE-class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships
If they were Aircraft carriers they should have been equipped with Cat’s & traps like proper carriers (the French, Brazilian and US way) with enough budget to buy enough carrier capable fighters. Or the other way around, enough fighters for a reasonable price like the F/A  Super Hornet, the French Rafale or a new breed the Sea Gripen.  I say the other way around because yes Cats&Traps maybe more expensive to buy than the STOVL launching pad on the super LHD. But the other thing is. The aircraft to operate from such a Carrier can be more cheap than the current choice: the JSF F35B. Beside the over expensive aircraft, the UK also can count on much higher Operation & Sustainment costs, lower Sortie generation rates and last but surely not least: more and extensive higher costs to ship infrastructure because of the enormous heat on the deck. In short, the choice of the STOVL variant by the British MoD, was and still is a false one. Biased and the use of improper arguments. They didn’t include all the relevant costs, they compared the price of building the Carrier on a STOVL basis versus extra costs of fitting Cats&Traps without looking into the other relevant costs. They also neglected to look at the consequences for operational availability – and very important –cooperation with both the US Navy and the French navy with which the British Prime minister says it will have far reaching defence cooperation…. Without the possibility to cooperate on joint aircraft carrier operations…. How dumb.  For more info on these arguments I recommend a series of articles by my colleague of Safe the royal navy.

Fairford Air show
Besides the naming ceremony of the launching of the Queen Elizabeth vessel, the JSF also missed the Royal Air Tattoo at Fairford Airbase.. the place where the JSF Convoy would have landed and stayed during the trip because it currently is one of the largest US airbases in Great Britain… with all necessary security and facilities which are needed to support such a fine aircraft.

But to get back on the JSF appearance during this event. Couple of days before this great occasion to show the aircraft to the public, the JSF had a very interesting malfunction… no an accident to be honest.  Again the issue was on the F135 engine. Read this summary.

F-35A with extensive engine fire at Eglin – June 2014

On Monday June 23, 2014 at 9:15 p.m. a F-35A, assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing, 58th Fighter Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, caught fire as the instructor pilot, was taking off as part of a two-ship formation for a continuation training mission. First reports told the “significant fire” originated in the tail of the aircraft, mentioning it a Class-A (big) incident.

The pilot successfully shut down the plane and escaped unharmed and the fire was extinguished with foam by a ground crew. The aircraft involved is the AF-27, s/n 10-5015, a LRIP-4 series aircraft that made its first flight on April 22, 2013 and was delivered on May 29, 2013 to the US Air Force. The F-35A was towed to a hangar. Accident investigators have collected any related foreign object debris at the same hangar for review.

There is a company who finally did – what they should have done long time ago. Saab nailed the remaining parts of Lockheed Martin and here 5th generation fighter to the wall, and throwing daggers at it. Each dagger reached their target swiftly and decisively.

Just one picture to help you start thinking… if you didn’t do that already. Why the 5th Generation is nonsense.

FIA Saab slide 8

This article isn’t meant to make fun of the JSF…. No to the contrary. I am sad that the influence of marketeers in our society is so big… and influential, they even are able to change truth, change facts, and let the bad guys win even if they lose every war, They blow every chance to deliver what they promised. And always find something or someone to blame. And always they are right with their “concurrency” and High quality superior program management principles. They still sell us that same old story that, every big (weapons) program will have these kind of setbacks. Well they don’t … not with normal Program management and smart development methods. And with reasonable set Performance goals (KPI’s) But hey… If Lockheed Marketing sells us a straight banana than it’s straight right?

How can we still live in such a society? Where big words and promises are more worth than delivery of promises, on time, on schedule, within budget and according to preset Key Performance Indicators and quality standards?  A new blog of mine will point out how things where shown in the Netherlands by Dutch Broadcasting organization.

Stay tuned!

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