Drones

F-35 is the Navy's 'last manned strike fighter aircraft'

The Top Gun remake is going to suck. More.

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U.S. Navy

The F-35 may well be the last damned Top Gun opportunity the U.S. Navy offers—and not just because the Defense Department will be out of slack on its credit cards after they finish paying for the damned boondoggle. Yes, the F-35 is just a tad underperforming and overcosting. As David Axe noted for Reuters last year:

The Lockheed Martin-built F-35 — which can avoid sensor detection thanks to its special shape and coating — simply doesn't work very well. The Pentagon has had to temporarily ground F-35s no fewer than 13 times since 2007, mostly due to problems with the plane's Pratt & Whitney-made F135 engine, in particular, with the engines' turbine blades.

This at a total cost currently running at about $1.5 trillion.

But the Navy is done with sticking the likes of Maverick and Goose into cockpits—it's placing its bet on robots! Yesterday, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus told attendees at the Sea-Air-Space 2015 conference:

For example, as good as it is, and as much as we need it and look forward to having it in the fleet for many years, the F-35 should be, and almost certainly will be, the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.

Never fear, we can have cost overruns and epic technology fail on drones, too.

But, and I ask this sincerely: Will drones ever bond over a game of beach volleyball? I think not. The Top Gun remake is going to suck. More.

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  1. “This at a total cost currently running at about $1.5 trillion.”

    That’s a lot of zeroes. A LOT of zeroes. We are dooooommed.

    1. So if memory serves from a prior article, all of the money collected in the record breaking tax collecting year.

    2. $D000000000000M

  2. Danger zone!

    1. +1 Highway to the

    2. Ohhh, Krieger-san!

      This is the only proper Danger Zone/Top Gun video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyAn3fSs8_A

  3. Paging Francisco.

  4. Hold on, hold on. They’ve announced a Top Gun remake? TONY SCOTT IS DEAD YOU FOOLS…oh wait they’d never let him make it anyway.

    JD, you really should have put the clip with Tarantino talking about Top Gun.

    1. You can be my wingman anytime, Epi

  5. “Playing with the Bots” by Kenny Log-ins.

    1. *cannot decide between polite applause and narrowing gaze….remembers who he is…

      narrows gaze*

  6. Has nobody at the Pentagon ever seen Jamie Foxx’s magnum opus, Stealth?

  7. Top Gun got me laid by a girl well outside my league. I admitted over drinks among friends that I’d never seen it. She invited me over later that night to watch it. I still haven’t seen it.

    1. She didn’t have sex with you.

      She had sex with a “Maverick-stand-in”

      1. Doesn’t matter, had sex.

        1. Yep. Only taller, thankfully.

  8. All you need is a swarm of cheap, disposable bots carrying explosives on a one-way trip.

    1. Those are called “missles”.

      1. Yup

        One small step from missile to UAV

      2. I think you’ll find it’s spelled Les Misslerables.

        1. I have a spelling disability!
          /runs from Internet crying

    2. Or one man with a plan and a gyrocopter to monopolize an entire afternoon of MSNBC. I kept catching snippets of their broadcast while I worked out, nothing but footage of the entirely uneventful arrest on the White House lawn. Apparently there’s nothing else of note going on, like a nuclear deal with Iran approaching critical mass or anything.

      1. You have to admit that an ultralight autogyro flying from from Florida and landing on the Capitol Lawn was pretty awesome.

        1. I didn’t listen in to any of their vapid babble, but I imagine it was nothing but various talking heads agreeing how racist it was.

  9. Let’s see a robot try to fly around the country in its Tomcat solving mysteries with Catherine Bell.

    1. Mmmmmmm…Lieutenant Colonel Sarah McKenzie…

      *wistfully sighs*

    2. I’d buy that for a dollar.

  10. I think if the U.S. can build a robot military we will see a lot more international adventurism.

  11. “Will drones ever bond over a game of HOMOEROTIC beach volleyball?”

    FTFY.

    1. There’s non-homoerotic beach volleyball?

    2. It’s beach volleyball. The “homoerotic” part is a given.

      1. I don’t know how to break this to you all, but women in bikinis play beach volley ball, too. With guys.

        1. Oh, so just because they’re women, they’re not allowed to be homoerotic? END THE SUBTEXT GAP NOW!

          1. I’m just saying all lusts are satisfied.

  12. Yes, it will be a sad world without pilots.

    A complete loss of general awesomeness.

    1. Wonder weapons? My God, I don’t see the wonder in them. Killing without heroics. Nothing is glorified, nothing is reaffirmed. No heroes, no cowards, no troops. No generals. Only those that are left alive and those that are left… dead. I’m glad I won’t live to see it.

      1. It’s been all downhill ever since we stopped beating each other with the bones of wild boars.

        1. -1 Obelisk

      2. You magnificent bastard, I read your book!

    2. A friend and I had a speculative discussion about unmanned air-to-air combat over a decade ago. We pretty much agreed it would be a bunch of former teenage video game addicts wearing captains’ bars high-fiving each other in an enclosed room somewhere while a grizzled general screamed at them to use their missiles, and the pilots complaining about how that would be playing on easy mode.

      1. Ain’t gonna happen, any fur ball stuff will be autonomous.

  13. the F-35 should be, and almost certainly will be, the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.

    I’m guessing the plan to create an army of atomic supermen is going to be shelved. Again.

    1. Only if they cost less than 1.5 trillion each.

  14. The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots. Thank you.

    1. Ah, shoot!

    2. Not the Harrier! We’ve got a war tomorrow!

      (different episode but whatever)

      1. I had a completely different series in my head:

        Killbot A: Aww, we’re gonna get fired!
        Killbot B: Someone said fire. *opens fire*

        1. Killbot 2: Cease fire. Mom called off the attack, although I don’t see how it’s her?

          Killbot 3: Someone said “howitzer!” [Killbots 1 and 3 start firing on the middle Killbot, eventually blowing themselves up.]

  15. EIGHTEEN MINUTES, 28 COMMENTS. A NEW REASON RECORD. IN OTHER WORDS, GAY MOVIES MEAN LOTSA CLICKS!

  16. +1 Tooth Snapping Val Kilmer

  17. Never gets old.

    http://digg.com/video/the-desi…..he-f-35-is

    I’ve heard a few people replying that the F35 can turn almost as tight as the F16 in some circumstances. Awesome that we are spending a $Trillion to get a new plane that can almost do the same stuff as aircraft it would be replacing if it wasn’t prohibitively expensive.

    1. And exactly who is the technologically advanced country for which we need this awesome defensive power?

      1. Neocons fervently believe that war with Russia and China is inevitable. They really are pathetic in their pants-wetting delusion.

        1. The 2 countries that have good enough radar to make the F35 not stealth…

      2. You didn’t watch the blockbuster documentary Independence Day?

        1. Oh, I thought that movie was called Keynesian Stimulus.

          1. 4 stars! /krugman

    2. The F-35 is central planning… all of it… distilled into an airplane.

      You would think the reprieve begrudgingly granted to the A-10 would clarify things.

    3. A. Turning performance in an air-ground platform is a secondary consideration.
      B. New A-A weapons mitigate the benefit of turning performance. (Better to have the weapon do the work rather than the delivery platform.

      1. Too bad it isn’t a dedicated penetration strike-fighter instead of the all-in-one they tried to build. It might work and cost half as much and be an improvement over the F-15E.

        1. It is EXACTLY the same mission as the F-16 which is an A-G platform as well. BOTH aircraft (16 & 35) can carry A-A weapons for self protection (like the A-10 does), but it isn’t its mission. Yesterday, when you needed the sky cleared of fighters, you called the F-15. When you needed a ground target destroyed, you called the F-16. Tomorrow, you call the F-22 for A-A and the F-35 for A-G.

          1. The F-35 is not that specialized. You’re describing things as they should be. Instead, the military has turned the F-35 into an ‘all in one’ that sucks at everything.

            1. Yawn. Wake me when you have any idea of what you are talking about.

              1. I accept your capitulation.

                Cytotoxic and everyone else: 1 FDA: forfeit

            2. Yeah, the F-35 is pretty much the bard in the adventuring party of military hardware.

            3. Cyto, you really don’t know what you’re talking about. The F-35 is meant to replace 3 services’ worth of strike aircraft, the F-16, the F-18, and the AV-8.

              Like the F-16 and F-18, it can be configured to carry A-A weapons for defense and some light intercept work. The AV-8 was more limited for self-defense, but it certainly was capable. The main job of the F-16 and the F-18 (and the F-35 that is replacing both) is to perform SEAD, DEAD, some counter-air missions, and to act as sensor platforms for other aircraft of the same type.

              1. It’s going even beyond that and replacing soem foreign platforms as well. The thing is that jacks of all trades usually end up being masters of none.

                1. The thing is that jacks of all trades usually end up being masters of none.

                  So, an F-16 replacement then.

                  1. So, an F-16 replacement then.

                    At roughly ten times the price per plane.

                    1. And it replaces 5 different planes for 3 separate services. What would the cost be for developing 5 new aircraft?

                    2. We used to have things called RFPs.

                    3. What does that have to do with anything?

          2. I seem to recall that the original mission of the F-16 was a light fighter that was intended for purely for air combat and lacked bomb racks.

            The use of the F-16 for ground attack always struck me as a “we spent all this money, now we gotta give it a mission”

            1. Regardless of the name of the competition it won, it is currently the most successful strike platform ever to exist, and is the most exported combat aircraft ever.

            2. I seem to recall that the original mission of the F-16 was a light fighter that was intended for purely for air combat and lacked bomb racks.

              Yep, the A models. It was the perfect fighter for a mission that never was. It was hell on wheels in a dogfight. Unfortunately, it lacked range, high altitude capability, had a little tiny RADAR only capable of supporting the AIM-9 at grossly inferior ranges, limited IFF capability and was in every way inferior to the F-15 except in a low altitude dogfight.

              The C model, was, however, a pretty good short range strike fighter that could defend itself. Made it PERFECT for a Korean scenario.

      2. Too bad it isn’t a dedicated penetration strike-fighter instead of the all-in-one they tried to build. It might work and cost half as much and be an improvement over the F-15E.

    4. Turning performance is not the sum-total of the improvements of the F-35 over the F-16, and as Francisco said, it scarcely matters for its mission.

      1. What mission – isn’t it built for all missions including air superiority?

        1. Enriching Lockheed and getting politicians reelected, this is the mission.

        2. What mission – isn’t it built for all missions including air superiority?

          No.

          1. Yes. The 35 is meant as a front line fighter. It is not meant to be as dominant as the 22 but it is meant to go head to head with front line opfor. If all wr needed is another bomb truck, then an updated 117 would have met the needs. The 35 replaces the 16 and 18. The more ridiculous mission is CAS which by definition will limit its stealth advantage.

            1. The F-35 is an A-A platform like the F-16 is an A-A platform…it can do it, just not well. It’s primary mission is to drop bombs.

              BTW, do you know which platform dropped the most weapons in support of ground troops in Iraq/Afghanistan?

              1. BTW, do you know which platform dropped the most weapons in support of ground troops in Iraq/Afghanistan?

                Does depleted uranium count as ‘dropped weapons’?

                1. I suppose, but I meant bombs.

              2. BTW, do you know which platform dropped the most weapons in support of ground troops in Iraq/Afghanistan?

                These guys?

                1. B-1s dropped 69% of the ordinance with flying under 30% of the total sorties. Mostly CAS.

        3. Air superiority is the F-22’s mission. The F-35 was meant to be a versatile surface-to-air platform meant to replace the F-16 and the F-18.

          1. Bummer for the Navy.

            1. Indeed and just not correct. Both the eagle and the viper are valid in the fighter role. The reason we built the viper was that we couldn’t afford enough eagles just like we can’t affird enough raptors. Is it less capable in a-a than a raptor? Of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s purely an attack craft. There is a reason it’s the F35 and not the A35.

              1. Wait. We spent a Trillion dollars because we can’t afford enough F15’s?

                Please explain.

    5. It does actually. Sprey proved his senility 25 years ago with his laughable predictions for desert storm. The 35 just had its first trials against vipers. No official reports yet so make of that what you will.

      1. Depends on what block of Vipers they put against them. There’s a TON of variation in the radar and pods.

        1. Thot they were blick 40’s but don’t know for sure.

      2. I’m guessing they lost if they went up against Adama and (the original) Starbuck.

        1. Frack you! What the frack are you talking about? The first mate of the Pequod was kind of a pussy!

  18. Sky-net… nearer than ever!

  19. I’m skeptical that drones will ever take the place of human pilots in fighter aircraft. Someone actually there in person is going to have a huge advantage over someone halfway around the world.

    At least for fighter vs fighter combat. OTOH, for bombing, drones will be fine.

    1. I’m skeptical that drones will ever take the place of human pilots in fighter aircraft.

      You misunderstand. Since the Thermopylae (and well before), it’s been obvious that you expend technical energy to save lives. The defeat of the Spanish Armada and the German Engineering problems in WW II echo the phenomenon on an engineering level.

      You don’t field one manned fighter vs. one unmanned fighter of equal size/capability. You field half a dozen or more individually weaker unmanned fighters for each manned fighter.

    2. Top Gun-style fighter v. fighter combat is dead. Now you kill the other aircraft at 50 nm with a missile or else. The F-22’s guns are a joke. And even if you did need to maneuver, an unpiloted aircraft is lighter, cheaper and can pull more g’s than a piloted aircraft. The drones will always win.

    3. DEW development will move all manned flight to over-the-horizon. Radar is already directed energy. We have radar that can track bullets. Stepping up the amount of energy and applying it to flying objects will mean cooked pilots and no air cover.

      Manned aircraft will become purely logistics platforms and extreme stand-off bombers.

      No more assholes with silk scarfs.

      1. Manned aircraft will become purely logistics platforms and extreme stand-off bombers.

        Sounds like you agree with the experts. I just hope whatever enemies we might face in the future are on board with the program. Not like those barbarians with their inferior technology that have laid low all those other vastly more advanced empires with their superior militaries.

    4. Someone actually there in person is going to have a huge advantage over someone halfway around the world.

      No, they actually don’t.

      If you’re halfway around the world you have to deal with, around a second and a half’s worth of comm-lag – which is only of concern once you get into a dogfight and irrelevant before then.

      And that’s only necessary if you’re flying it from halfway around the world and not from a mobile bunker 500 nm away from the battlefield (ie, a carrier).

      But you can build a plane that is lighter, can accelerate harder and turn waaaaaaaay tighter than a manned one. Manned planes are limited to around 9g’s due to the pilot (and that’s peak, sustained for short durations) – imagine a plane that can do 12g+ turns all day, has half the RCS of the F-22, and a spare *ton* or so (removing the pilot capsule and life support systems) that can either be dedicated to weapons or used to lighten the AC.

      Then add in that the plane can be in the air for as long as you can fuel it – no more returning to base to handle pilot fatigue. Put it out on patrol, mid-air refuel and it only has to come back once its expended its munitions.

  20. Which one assassinates the pilot; F22 or F35?

    1. The 22. The 35 just melts its landing pads.

  21. The Top Gun remake is going to suck.

    Then it is guaranteed to be better than Top Gun.

  22. Why don’t they just do what everyone’s doing with IT. Outsource the piloting to India?

  23. The Top Gun remake is going to suck.

    They already did that remake – and you’re right, like everything else she’s been in, everything about it except her arse sucked.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382992/

  24. I was there watching the filmng of the Top Gun volley ball scene at Miramar NAS. Two things struck me:

    * Spray-on sweat, of course!

    * Tom Cruise is the douche bag I expected him to be.

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