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@stoneklr Works well enough in the UK. The National Health Service is a treasure to everyone, because although it is expensive - no one is left without health cover. I've known many Americans who've been treated, ask where they have to pay - been told it was free and walk away in sheer amazement. Obama is only trying to provide America with something we (and the rest of Europe) have taken for granted for over 60 years.
1 year ago on Conversation @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/26/the_jet_that_ate_the_pentagon
I've been watching the argument go backwards and forwards. Whilst one side says the US needs hi-tech fighters with attack capability to dominate the skies and protect American troops on the ground, the other side would say that it didn't do the US much good in Vietnam, because the enemy dug in, went underground and won the war, even though the US dominated the skies. Hi-tech does not help if the enemy is deep underground and you cannot find him - let alone kill him. For all the drone attacks on Pakistan and Afghanistan, how many Taliban and Al-Queda leaders have been killed? It took the USA 10 years to find and kill Bi Laden, with the very best air weapons available.The F35 is just too damn expensive and the Pentagon needs to rethink its strategy. Thankfully, it appears that they are starting to be convinced of the viable alternative. In the 60s, the British government was convinced that manned fighters would be a thing of the past in less than a decade. British aerospace companies were building the most hi-tech fighter the world had ever seen. It was a world beater. A fighter than could defeat anything in the Soviet armoury, yet deliver nuclear weapons deep into Soviet territory without difficulty. The aircraft was called the TSR2. The costs spiralled out of control and the British could not afford it. So they cancelled it - even though the design was so far ahead that it took the Americans and Soviets years to catch up. It even had rudimentary stealth with a low cross-section to defeat Soviet SAMs and was built to fly fast and low, so the enemy could not keep up with it, let alone detect it until it was too late to catch. Just like the F35, the TSR2 gobbled up the development money, but was cancelled in favour of 'off-the-shelf' packages like the F1-11 and F4. For the same reason, I believe that F35 will be cancelled in favour of cheaper alternatives.Gen 5 has developed stealth and combined it with extreme manoeuvrability to defeat the enemy fighters. They combine high-tech information to the pilot to decide on the threat and then deal with multiple targets simultaneously. One aircraft, killing dozens of enemy aircraft at the same time. Sounds great until your one aircraft (which is all you can afford) gets blown out of the sky by some simple AAA or SAM that overwhelms the defences. So what is the alternative? The answer is to buy cheap and put the money into the next phase - Gen 6 - Fighter CAV.
Gen 6 is the way to go. CAVs have become the way to fight battles without risking the most expensive and vulnerable part of the aircraft - the pilot. A highly manoeuvrable CAV can perform G-Turns that would kill a human. They have exactly the same sensor packages, but they can broadcast their radar without fear of revealing their position, because they can lure the enemy is as bait to let radar silent drones take the enemy out from flanking positions. A drone can be made to collide with the enemy - just as Battle of Britain pilots tended to do in the Second World War, when they ran out of ammunition. They can crash into a target without loss of the pilot's life. They can carry precision munitions to the enemy and you can saturate the enemy's defences with so many targets that you overwhelm his ability to fight back.
A few years ago, an RAF officer mentioned to a number of freshly recruited pilots that they might be the last ones to actually take to the air in an aircraft. That the next generation will sit in a cabin, somewhere in the world and fly remotely over the enemy's territory with impunity.
CAVs can be the ultimate in stealth, they don't even need to be refuelled. There are aircraft in design that will sit at altitude and recharge from the sun, waiting on CAP station for a target to appear. They only return to the ground to collect new ordinance. It's time to accept that the F35 is sounding the death knell for the all-singing, all dancing hi-tech aircraft and consider the alternative - an aircaft that can out-perform the enemy in every way - because it does not have the weak spot - it does not have a pilot.
Another case of seeking an 'All Singing, All Dancing' solution to a simple problem. The F35 was asked to do too much. It took years and the engineers had to 'sweat blood' to get the first Harrier down to a weight that made it an effective ground attack VSTOL. The Sea Harrier was a 3 Gen aircraft that regularly defeated 4 and 4.5 Gen fighters in ACM. The problem is that they sought a supersonic Vstol, but there's no need for it. Most ACM is sub-sonic and the characteristics of the Harrier airframe combined with the Pegasus engine made the Harrier a difficult aircraft to defeat. The AV8B/GR9 with upgrades was a very versatile aircraft. Instead of developing the F35, they should have further developed the Harrier.