Tag Archives: F35

F-35 readiness rates get in way of NATO war planning

Editors Note: NATO seems like it wants a full scale war with Russia and China but what will it fight with??? Their ammo and supplies are running out due to giving it all to Ukraine in this proxy war and the F35, B1 bombers and other aircraft are unusable due to constant safety issues and age. The F35 has been a total disaster since it was born and being that it’s the main NATO joint strike fighter I ask again, what will NATO fight with?

Defense Secretary under the Trump administration, Christopher C. Miller, was so frustrated with the jet that he referred to it as “a monster” and “a piece of… (you get the idea)”.  Even the late John McCain, well known for anything but enmity towards the US MIC (Military Industrial Complex), called it “a textbook example of our broken defense acquisition system”.

Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst

Last year, NATO officially declared that Russia is its primary adversary, officially restarting the Cold War. Since then, the belligerent alliance’s war machine has started revamping its strategic posturing towards Moscow, but after decades of numerous wars of aggression against relatively helpless opponents, NATO’s conventional fighting capabilities have atrophied significantly. This seems to be affecting all branches of major NATO militaries, including their air forces, particularly those operating the deeply troubled F-35 JSF (Joint Strike Fighter), a pan-Western effort to unify all NATO and NATO-aligned countries into “a well-oiled joint fighting force with near flawless coordination and battlefield information sharing”. At least that was the original idea.

However, the reality is much different. Publicly, the Pentagon is quite happy with “the best fighter jet ever made”. Privately, the situation is starkly different. For at least a decade, numerous reports on the F-35’s countless flaws have turned out to be not only true, but even overoptimistic, as the actual scale of issues plaguing the program is much worse. This has resulted in repeated delays in deliveries, as well as serious issues with modernization efforts. By the time many of the reported issues are resolved, the US Air Force already has new mission requirements that essentially nullify all the previous work and force the developers “back to the drawing board”. In short, the F-35 has proven to be unable to adapt to new threats despite being devised (and marketed) to do exactly that.

According to various sources, over 900 F-35s have been completed and delivered by April this year, but the fleet is still suffering from much of the same issues as when the jet was inducted into service nearly a decade ago. A plethora of maintenance issues and performance defects are causing disastrous availability rates. Back in February, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed that the F-35 fleet not only failed to meet the requirements for improving readiness, but has even managed to make them a lot worse than in previous years. Availability rates for both the conventional F-35A and STOVL (short take-off, vertical landing) F-35B fell by 11% in 2022, with only the naval F-35C variant making small improvements in this category.

“Between 2021 and 2022, F-35As’ availability fell by 11 percentage points, from 65 to 54”, CBO stated in a report, adding: “F-35Bs’ availability also fell, by 7 percentage points, from 61 to 54, while F-35Cs’ availability rose by 5 percentage points to 58.”

And yet, even these reports turned out to be overoptimistic as Lockheed Martin once again resorted to using semantics to make the performance of its products seem better than they actually are. According to Bloomberg, the percentage of F-35s capable of flying any mission at any given moment, otherwise known as full mission-capable rates, was just over 29%, manager of the program Air Force Lieutenant General Michael Schmidt said in written testimony for the March 29 hearing of the House Armed Service Committee’s aviation subcommittee. This is nearly 10% less than the full mission-capable readiness in 2020, which stood at 39% at the time. Such a drop effectively nullified possible advantages provided by deliveries of new jets.

“This is unacceptable and maximizing readiness is my top priority,” Schmidt said in his prepared remarks, adding: “[Our] goal is to increase readiness rates by at least 10% in the next 12 months.”

This is just the latest in a series of now well over a hundred scathing reports issued over the years by both military and civilian US officials. As there are currently close to 540 F-35s in service with the US military, the latest readiness figures indicate that no more than 160 are fully mission-capable, meaning it’s among the very lowest, “bested” only by the F-22 “Raptor” jets and the atrociously maintenance-heavy B-2 strategic bombers. Ironically, F-35s were designed to have low maintenance requirements and operational costs to replace F-16s and A-10s for USAF, F-18s for USN (Navy) and AV-8Bs for USMC (Marines). The jet’s many issues resulted in a spending “death spiral”, as the program’s overall cost is getting ever closer to the staggering $2 trillion.

A major issue with the F-35 is its troubled F135 engine prone to overheating, resulting in issues with its ability to fly supersonic, a feat considered standard practice for fighter jets ever since WWII. Defense Secretary under the Trump administration, Christopher C. Miller, was so frustrated with the jet that he referred to it as “a monster” and “a piece of… (well , you get the idea)”.  Even the late John McCain, well known for anything but enmity towards the US MIC (Military Industrial Complex), called it “a textbook example of our broken defense acquisition system”, stating in one of his Senate briefings that “the F-35 program’s record has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance”.

US vassals and satellite states have also found numerous issues with the F-35. For instance, during 18 months of operational testing (from January 2021 to June 2022), South Korea reported findings about nearly 250 critical flaws in the jets it acquired from the US in 2019. As late as December, Israel (one of the first F-35 operators) had to ground its entire fleet during preparations for a possible war with Iran. Others, such as Japan and the UK, have also suffered similar issues, even resulting in crashes and deaths. However, while the F-35 has certainly been a disaster, it might prove to be a major contributor to improving global security, as diminishing the political West’s ability to wage war is by far the best way to preserve peace across the world.

Key Chinese components in F-35s show vulnerabilities of US military industrial complex

Written by Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst at infobrics.org.

It is no secret that in the last couple of decades the global economy has become so intertwined that any sort of trouble in one seemingly unimportant market can cause a ripple effect on a scale that could affect the entire world. However, what’s less expected is that the same can be true for the massive Military Industrial Complexes of superpowers such as China, Russia or the United States. This is especially true for the latter, as the US economy plays a central role in the globalized world, as the US dollar is still the world’s most important reserve currency, despite clear signs its importance is dwindling.

The US military has a number of highly complex armament programs that also play a crucial geopolitical and geoeconomic role, even at the expense of such programs’ security/military impact. One of the most prominent examples of this is the massive Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program which gave way to the much-touted, yet troubled F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter jet. One of the numerous issues this program has encountered are the constantly overflowing costs. In order to reduce the massive price tag of the project, the JSF program went on to outsource much of the work that needed to be done, as the production costs in the US alone would’ve made the troubled jet prohibitively expensive, quite possibly even more so than the F-35’s older “cousin”, the F-22 “Raptor” which saw its production run cut short barely 5 years after it went into service with the US Air Force.

However, the cost-saving measures seem to have gone “too far” this time, as some of the outsourced components for the F-35 came from countries the US itself defines as adversaries. The delivery of the F-35A (otherwise known as the “Lightning II”) fighter jet has been placed on hold by the US military after it became known that certain key components contained materials that were made in China. The component, reportedly a magnet used in F-35 turbomachine pumps, “does not transmit information or harm the integrity of the aircraft and there are no performance, quality, safety, or security risks associated with this issue,” Russell Goemaere, a spokesman for the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) said in a statement.

The Pentagon claims that “neither flight operations for the F-35 in-service fleet, nor the production of the aircraft by manufacturer Lockheed Martin have been affected.” However, the use of Chinese-made products in the JSF jet raised enough concerns for the Pentagon on August 31 to order deliveries of the aircraft temporarily halted for an unspecified period of time, which clearly indicates the seriousness of the issue, although the Pentagon officials are trying to downplay its importance when giving public statements.

“On Aug. 19, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) notified the F-35 Joint Program Office that an alloy in magnets used in F-35 turbomachine pumps is potentially in non-compliance with Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS), as the alloy was produced in the People’s Republic of China,” Goemaere said in a statement. “Defense contractors voluntarily shared information with DCMA. Based on the additional information, the F-35 JPO temporarily paused the acceptance of new F-35 aircraft to ensure the F-35 program’s compliance to DFARS pertaining to specialty metals.”

This is the second component issue to affect F-35s in only a few months. Back in July, an ejection seat issue grounded more than a hundred F-35s. The fighter jet has seen an extremely troubled and prolonged research and development cycle, along with numerous production problems. In addition, the ever-increasing cost of the JSF program is measured in trillions of US dollars, resulting in multiple production cuts and unplanned cost-saving measures. Unexpectedly, the program was “conveniently” reinvigorated as a result of the Ukraine crisis escalation, which the US Military Industrial Complex capitalized on in a major way, getting orders from countries (such as Germany) which previously wanted to avoid the F-35 due to its numerous problems.

Another major issue for the JSF program is the troubled Pratt & Whitney F135 jet engine, which has caused a plethora of problems with the fighter jet’s kinetic performance. In addition, back in July, a shortage of spare engines left many F-35s grounded because it took far longer than planned to repair some of the key engine components, according to a report filed by congressional auditors.

“Inadequate maintenance depot capacity leading to a shortage of operating engines has grounded F-35s more often and for longer time periods than expected,” the Government Accountability Office said in a report on July 19.

And yet, the leading US military corporation, the infamous Lockheed Martin, continues its relatively successful lobbying campaign that the F-35 is “essential” to both the US and its numerous satellite states. However, the jet seems to be more of a way for the US to exert greater control over its vassals, as the F-35 is also an intelligence platform due to the sheer amount of sensors and data it can transfer to the US. Thus, in addition to being a geopolitical and geoeconomic project aimed at tying the vassals to the US even more, it is also a premier ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) platform which allows the US military unprecedented access to other countries’ intelligence-gathering capabilities. This is especially aimed against Russia and China. However, the aforementioned issues with outsourced components show this goes both ways and that the US is not immune to outside influences.

Source: InfoBrics

You can support this ministry and keep us on the internet using the links below.  Patreon is gone so we have PayPal and Cash App left to us below.  We have also added a new monthly support option through the website.  That link is below as well.  Thank you again and God bless!

Monthly Support Option: https://dontspeaknews.com/donations/

PayPal Link: https://paypal.me/johnnystorm

Cash App ID: $jstorm212