After a stunning 15 years of development and countless delays, the US Air Force just declared the first squadron of F-35A fighter jets ready for combat. The 34th Fighter Squadron at Utah's Hill Air Force Base can now go fight bad guys anywhere in the world.
Tagged With f-35
Let me get this out of the way: the trillion dollar US F-35 fighter jet program is an embarrassing mess. But it's hard not to marvel at the very expensive technology's promises. This conflict squeezed my brain this week, when the Air Force stopped by Gizmodo's US office with a $US400,000 ($554,212) F-35 helmet in hand. They even let me wear it.
Now, more than $US1 trillion into its development, the F-35 aircraft is experiencing glitches with its radar systems. US Air Force major general Jeffrey Harrigian explained the problem in an IHS Jane report: "What would happen is they'd get a signal that says either a radar degrade or a radar fail — something that would force us to restart the radar."
Dr Keith Joiner was responsible for signing off on the testing and evaluation for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for Australia — of which 72 were ordered for a cost of more than $17 billion, starting over 14 years ago.
Now, due to numerous concerns — among them major software issues — Dr Joiner says "the Senate should put a dirty great big stop work order on any sign-up to any production aircraft that we've not already committed to."
Video: The Lockheed Martin F-35 continues to tick off production goals on its journey to ready-for-service status for the nine partner countries — including Australia — involved in its development. Today, one of the first F-35s built in Italy has flown across the Atlantic Ocean to join the F-35 training fleet in Maryland.
A submission to a Senate inquiry into the feasibility of Government's planned purchase of at least 72 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets says that the multirole planes will be instantly outmatched in air superiority by the airborne wings of competing countries in the region like China and Indonesia, and will fare even worse against future threats. It suggests — hypothetically — that Australia instead push for the F-22 Raptor, a jet that the United States has never sold to even its closest military allies.
While Britain waits (and waits, and waits) for the F-35 to stop breaking, the mainstay of its ground-attack aircraft remains the Panavia Tornado, a '70s airframe that is not ageing gracefully. Exhibit A: the two Brimstone missiles that accidentally 'became detached' during a landing in Cyprus today.
Regardless your thoughts on the F-35 program, or billion-dollar fighter jets in general, there's still something inherently amazing about mid-air refuelling: two man-made machines, probably hundreds of miles from home, hooking up in mid-air and transferring aerial lifeblood from one to another.
Arati Prabhakar — director of the Pentagons advanced research arm DARPA — has revealed a breakthrough achievement in machine mind control: Jan Scheuermann, a 55-year-old quadriplegic woman with electrodes implanted in her brain, has been able to fly an F-35 fighter jet using just her mind. This is her.
The Lane Cove West Business Park on Sydney's north shore is a sleepy little place, but inside one of its buildings, behind these doors, something very high-tech is being created. Rockwell Collins Australia, a subsidiary of its American parent, is hard at work building an integral part of the world-class sensor suite that goes into the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Drones are expensive. Aircraft like General Atomics's MQ-1 Predator or MQ-9 Reaper cost millions of dollars piece, while the cost of maintaining the fleet stretches into the high tens of billions dollars over their lifespans. The Pentagon's internal watchdog is aware of this, and recently lambasted the Air Force for not justifying the purchase of 46 Reapers — potentially wasting $US8.8 billion of taxpayers' money.
Last year, Australia dramatically boosted its order of the still-in-development, problem-prone F-35 stealth fighter. Now a new report says the jet's 25mm cannon won't be operational until 2019 at the earliest. Even more laughable is that it probably doesn't even need the gun to begin with.
Briefly: This amazing photo by Dane Wiedmann reminds me of a toy aircraft carrier I had when I was 12. It's the F-35C CF-3 and CF-5 on the deck of the USS Nimitz during their first trials at sea.
Behold the F-22 Raptor (top two) and F-35 Lightning II (bottom two) flying together for the first time in history. Arguably the two most technologically advanced military jets in the world, the Lt. Col. Matt Renbarger — commander of the 58th Fighter Squadron — says they mix together like peanut butter and jelly.