Tagged With f-35

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.