from the not-nearly-as-tasty dept.
I think this is a first for S/N: An audio presentation as a story.
The other day I heard Pierre Sprey, the primary designer of the F-16 and A-10, talking to journalist Ian Masters about the F-35 attack jet. This guy is a fascinating speaker.
Topics: Politics and military procurement;
- Graft; bribery.
- How, after an aircraft becomes a multi-role multi-service platform, it is not a "common" airframe any longer.
- Vertical takeoff and landing to support ground troops is nonsense. (It churns up too much crap on anything except when using a giant concrete slab.)
- Trying to put VTOL and supersonic capability into the same aircraft is just stupid.
- When plastic aircraft burn, they produce toxic smoke.
It's about 20 minutes in length, but if your media player has a speed control, you can listen to it in less time than that.
The high bitrate version at Ian's site is 19MB. Mr.Sprey is the 3rd of 3 guests.
The low bitrate webcast at KPFK's archive is 14MB for all 3 guests.
KPFK also has a stream.
The 3rd segment is from 36:30 to 55:00.
KPFK's stuff will be available until mid-October.
He goes into considerable detail on stealth, noting that it is a complete boondoggle:
- The USA likes higher frequency radars because the antennas are smaller and more portable and stealth aircraft are less visible to those units.
- OTOH, old cheap Soviet radars--even WWII radars--can detect stealth aircraft, no problem.
He goes into some detail as to why stealth costs so much:
- stealth--hugely increases the cost of the program 'cause you're now using extremely expensive materials, way beyond normal aircraft material cost, and you're making the aircraft almost impossible to maintain because to have stealth you can't have a bunch of doors and openings on the airplane; every opening reflects radar energy. Right?
- So, now, every time you want to fix some piece of electronics, you have to cut a hole in the airplane.
- ...and after you cut the hole and fix the electronics, you've got to patch up the hole so it's just as smooth as it was before you cut it, you know, with a bunch of highly toxic glues and compounds and then you have to let the airplane cure for 3 days.
- So, the damned thing is sitting in the hanger, you know, completely out of business just because you had to replace a fuse that was inaccessible because there was no door nearby. [...]It's a nightmare of an airplane to operate.
In his closing comments he says:
Until you can arrange a system by which congressmen who give away the taxpayers' money to defense companies and generals who go to work for defense companies as soon as they retire--until you can stop that, you will be increasingly weak and undefended at higher and higher cost.
Overall fleet-wide monthly availability rates remain around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of new aircraft. One notable trend is an increase in the percentage of the fleet that cannot fly while awaiting replacement parts – indicated by the Not Mission Capable due to Supply rate.
[...] Total acquisition costs for Lockheed Martin Corp.'s next-generation fighter may rise about 7 percent to $406.5 billion, according to figures in a document known as a Selected Acquisition Report. That's a reversal after several years of estimates that had declined to $379 billion recently from a previous high of $398.5 billion in early 2014.
Related: The F-35 Fighter Plane Is Even More of a Mess Than You Thought
The F-35: A Gold-Plated Turkey
Flawed and Potentially Deadly F-35 Fighters Won't be Ready Before 2019
Lockheed Martin Negotiating $37 Billion F-35 Deal
Does China's J-20 Rival Other Stealth Fighters?