Saturday, October 15, 2011

Want to cancel the F-35 program? Good luck.

If the cuts go beyond that $450 billion, the effects will be “dire”, he said.
All of that sounds pretty bad, and on the surface seems to suggest the JSF program as we know it is somewhat doomed. But it’s equally possible that no matter how much it looks like the F-35 will fail, it won’t.
Why? Well, this, for one.
Every state except Wyoming, North Dakota and Hawaii has jobs tied directly or indirectly to production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the next generation, supersonic aircraft for the Air Force, Marines and Navy.
To recap, that means the U.S. needs to slash spending on a bloated military program, but somehow not force people out of work in related industries in every single state but three. Yeah.
Meanwhile, BAE Systems has been given the go-ahead from Lockheed to develop an alternate helmet, after the first one, made by Vision Systems International, ran into some trouble.
From DefenseTech:
BAE’s brain bucket is based on the one used by Eurofighter Typhoon pilots. However, for F-35, BAE will remove the Typhoon’s display system — housed in the giant forward part of the helmet — and will replace it with a pair of night vision goggles and a single eyepiece showing Heads-Up Display-style info
VSI’s helmet was supposed to project HUD info — and most impressively — infrared imagery from the F-35’s Distributed Aperture System onto the pilots’ visors, giving them an almost bubble-like view around the aircraft in any weather (the system would literally allow the pilot to look down and see below the aircraft.) However, projecting very high-quality images onto the visor is proving difficult.
© 2011 iPolitics Inc.
Again, this week, U.S. officials questioned the viability of the JSF F-35 program – this time, the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee that developing and building three variants of the high-tech fighter creates fiscal challenges for the military.
Dempsey, who took office Oct. 1, said he is committed to developing a new, fifth-generation fighter but questioned whether the U.S. can afford separate versions for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
And from Aviation Week:
If defense budget cuts stay at $450 billion or less, the U.S. Air Force can maintain all its missions and capabilities; however, the service can deliver them only at a reduced capacity, says Lt. Gen. Herbert Carlisle, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements.