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F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg

Ledswinger Silver badge

Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

Unfortunately I still think the F35B is a pile of expensive and unproven crap, and should be cancelled. If the best thing that they can come up with is that "F35B is easier to fly than an aircraft whose development started in 1957", it would seem that they are clutching at straws.

Charlie Clark Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

Unfortunately I still think the F35B is a pile of expensive and unproven crap

It's ironic that the US "won" the cold war partly by forcing the USSR way beyond its economic means to keep up technologically and is now well on the way to doing the same with its "allies".

Meanwhile on real battlefields my money would be on guerillas soon having drones that are "good enough" to be a real PIA even against such technological superiority.

Rich 11 Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

my money would be on guerillas soon having drones that are "good enough" to be a real PIA

The drones might be good but those guerrillas are going to lose all their drone operators pretty fast, unless they can also afford satellites. Being able to control drones from a base well away from the theatre of operations is a huge advantage. The best guerrillas will be able to do is hide in a city, very close to a target that their enemy can't risk hitting with their overkill precision weapon.

JLV Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

>It's ironic that the US "won" the cold war partly by forcing the USSR way beyond its economic means to keep up technologically and China is now well on the way to doing the same with its "allies" to the US.

Big John Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

It's easy to advance quickly when you're appropriating much of your tech from others, as the Chinese did over the last half century. It's not nice but I can't really blame them under the circumstances.

It's a different game tho, when they achieve parity with the West, as they have now done. Time to do their own innovations. Riding coattails is no longer an option. Sure, they may outshine us in future, but that remains to be seen.

Ledswinger Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

"The best guerrillas will be able to do is hide in a city, very close to a target that their enemy can't risk hitting with their overkill precision weapon."

As routine and prolonged use of suicide bombers shows, the extremists are more than happy to sacrifice their own troops, and there appears no shortage of willing cannon fodder. That said, I would have thought that the ingenuity of their best weapons makers would extend to making repeaters to form a home made mesh network to control remote controlled vehicles. And there several countries willing to offer state support for proxy wars in creating such technologies. Iran in particular I would expect to have examined remote control swarm attacks and built functioning prototype systems years ago.

And there were recent reports of a swarm drone attack on Russian forces in Syria, although IIRC that came from Russia Today, and could be a simple and blatant lie.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

"It's easy to advance quickly when you're appropriating much of your tech from others, as the Chinese did over the last half century. It's not nice but I can't really blame them under the circumstances."

As per usual, just copying others. The US lead by example in it's early days by ignoring copyright and patents from outside the US for many years.

ElReg!comments!Pierre

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

> development started in 1957

Also missing (quite understandably) is the combat perfs. The gap would have been easy to cover but that's what you get for bailing out of the Rafale program - the reasons for this being, again, quite understandable, but directly in contradiction with the latter decision to switch to the American program. Politics is almost entirely about doing the exact opposite of what the previous administration did, just to prove how wrong they were. With the same result on costs and effectiveness, again and again. *SIGH*

(surely that vertical thing is mostly a gimmick, given how even the F35 program almost gave up on it in favor of the "short landing" option when it became evident that fans can't possibly compete with wings in terms of lift; feel very free to prove me wrong)

SkippyBing Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

'The gap would have been easy to cover but that's what you get for bailing out of the Rafale program'

I'm fairly sure the French bailed out of the Typhoon programme to develop the Rafale when it became apparent they weren't going to get to lead it. Certainly the UK never moved from the Rafale programme to the F-35.

'(surely that vertical thing is mostly a gimmick, given how even the F35 program almost gave up on it in favor of the "short landing" option when it became evident that fans can't possibly compete with wings in terms of lift; feel very free to prove me wrong)'

The USMC will always land vertically on their ships, there's videos of it on youtube. The SRVL is uniquely British and was developed when the UK decided to investigate if it was possible to maintain the bring back weight* could be maintained in the challenging conditions of the North Arabian Gulf. Where due to the heat and humidity you'd normally be planning on recovering with minimum fuel and stores to give yourself a fighting chance of not becoming a submarine. The US are less concerned as they're more willing to dump expensive munitions in the water.

*What you can land back on the ship with

JLV Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

>Sure, they may outshine us in future, but that remains to be seen.

An interesting point. Those of us old enough may remember the great Japan scare of the 80s and 90s when it seemed Japan Uber Alles was coming. But, at least in computers, Japanese superiority never quite crystallized - anyone remember the Fifth Generation Computer Systems initiative?

I think China is a different kettle of fish. It's 4x the size of the US, not 1/3, for one. For another, I believe lack of individualism, excessive consensus-ivess, is a major Japanese weakness. A lot of innovation is due to maverick behavior and if that's missing in your culture you suffer. The Chinese seem to be a lot more cutthroat and individualistic, i.e. "not nice" (to each other), than the Japanese. Their system is theoretically Communist, certainly totalitarian, but they worship money and success and will take it over consensus and being nice (even to each other). In practice, it's a chaotic free market, unlike Japan's government-led industrial system.

The other aspect is the US nearing 2020 is a very different country than in the 80s. The amount of partisan, unscientific and just plain foolish behavior across the political spectrum is staggering. The amount of STEM grads is low and you are doing your best to block skilled immigrants to make it up. Whereas the US could face off against the USSR and Japan 30 years ago, its government is ill-suited to take on China. Not least in how much global goodwill Republican administrations since 2000 have squandered.

Used to be the USA were loathed or loved, but at least respected. This is becoming less and less true and will make it harder going forward to build alliances containing China.

Currently reading "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? ", highly recommended, though my above ramblings are not from it.

Kabukiwookie Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

The US does not have any allies, it has, at best 'competitors'.

Remember this:

http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/30/news/airbus-germany-nsa-spying/index.html

Or this:

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/07/eu-demands-explanations-for-us-spying-threatens-data-pacts-and-trade-deal.html

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

The perception of a fighter is proportional to the number of video games named after it.

The US are less concerned as they're more willing to dump expensive munitions in the water

Couldn't they dump the munitions onto a raft or retractable net to save money? D'oh stupid question - piling more debt on the taxpayer is the objective.

SkippyBing Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

'I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow...'

Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister 1855-1858, 1856-1865

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

> It's easy to advance quickly when you're appropriating much of your tech from others, as the Chinese did over the last half century

Damn right! You slit-eyed bastards, give us back all our rocket scienti...

...err, hang on

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

> I think China is a different kettle of fish.

So do I.

For a start, I'm no longer surprised when I head over to a project's GitHub and find out that the docs, bug tracker, etc., are all, literally, in Chinese. *And* the buggers are making great quality software too.

macjules Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

+1

£100m-ish price tag

The price tag is now well over £175m per aircraft. This is not a national defence, this is "done up like a kipper mate" Arthur Daley stuff. So for £2.5Bn, how many Rafale or F-18's can we buy - I bet its a lot more than 14 F35b's

eldakka Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

> An interesting point. Those of us old enough may remember the great Japan scare of the 80s and 90s when it seemed Japan Uber Alles was coming. But, at least in computers, Japanese superiority never quite crystallized - anyone remember the Fifth Generation Computer Systems initiative?

Well, just wait until they feel the need to use their secret Space Battleship Yamoto, then you'll change your tune!

werdsmith Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

those guerrillas are going to lose all their drone operators pretty fast,

That operator will pre-plan the flight and set the drone up to get on with the job by itself. They won't need super accuracy to attack a target like Camp Bastion. Not even GPS, just rough dead-reckoned guidance.

werdsmith Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

On the one hand, China with its population of billions will be able to produce a proportional number of brilliant minds. On the other hand, the USA with its opportunities, cash and sunny weather can recruit most of its brilliant minds from the entire world - including China. We know that the USA has its faults but it can still offer an attractive way of life for the well heeled, certainly more attractive than (we are led to believe) the lifestyle in China.

It's interesting though, how some nations will take technology from the rest of the world and lead at actually manufacturing and monetising it. I'm thinking South Korea and display panels. Much of hte fundamental research that goes into enabling those things to work actually comes out of Western universities.

Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

"As per usual, just copying others. The US lead by example in it's early days by ignoring copyright and patents from outside the US for many years."

Not forgetting the tech they stole from Germany after WW2 and the immigrant scientists who worked on it.

If you dig into the slightly more sane of the conspiracy theories surrounding American NSA bases on foreign soil you find somewhat credible claims of state sponsored commercial espionage as well.

wheelbearing

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

In ten years time I bet they will have satellites.

Potemkine! Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

I'm fairly sure the French bailed out of the Typhoon programme to develop the Rafale when it became apparent they weren't going to get to lead it.

Nope. It was bailed out because the Typhoon was neither a multirole combat aircraft nor was envisaged a naval version. Looking at independent reviews , France got it right.

casinowilhelm

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

yes that's pretty much what the article said, but thanks anyway.

Aitor 1 Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

The main tool against japan was the yen. The US managed to make it very expensive.. and all their exports became uncompetitive.

Now, the yuan is also being pushed up..and it is not the chinese government.

ChrisC

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

"That operator will pre-plan the flight and set the drone up to get on with the job by itself."

In that case, can I suggest the MoD invest in a fleet of tower cranes - simply sprinkle those at random around the base areas and et voila, instant defence against pre-planned drone flightpaths...

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

It's easy to advance quickly when you're appropriating much of your tech from others

Much like the US did in the 19th and early 20th centuries to the UK? It's pretty easy to find evidence how the US pirated technology wholesale during the first century or so of it's existence - mostly from the UK.

Now don't get me wrong - I don't blame the US at all. I just think it's slightly hypocritical of the US to be so rabid about IP protection when the base that they built their technology from was mostly stolen.

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

MoD invest in a fleet of tower cranes - simply sprinkle those at random

What's wrong with using good old-fashioned barrage balloons? Extra points for putting short-range radar-controlled guns on to knock rogue drones out of the sky..

Smooth Newt Silver badge
Meh

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

Despite what the article says, in Royal Navy service there is no difference between the two types. The Royal Navy will get the same overall effect by deploying its non-existent, and stupidly sold off, Harriers as it would by deploying its non-existent F-35's. i.e. no effect whatsoever.

You can easily identify naval aircraft operators by the colour of their aircraft. US Navy aircraft are silver, Russian Navy aircraft are green and Royal Navy aircraft are invisible.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

1.4 billion people can support a lot of engineers, programmers, and scientists, particularly if they don't waste human resources by churning out a zillion lawyers, sociologists, and poli sci types.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: The perception of a fighter is proportional to the number of video games named after it.

"Couldn't they dump the munitions onto a raft or retractable net to save money?"

Would you want to trust your life to a very complex missile that's been dropped onto a raft 300 times?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

"That operator will pre-plan the flight and set the drone up to get on with the job by itself."

Furthermore, a test showed that a Raspberry Pi can outfly/outfight an experienced combat pilot in a combat simulator with identical aircraft.

Given that a drone can be smaller, lighter, and much more maneuverable (a flesh pilot can only take about 12 G, with major physiological issues), and you can probably build 20 of them for the cost of one F35. The survival duration of manned aircraft - particularly one like the F35, with an enormous infrared signature, high wing loading, and limited weapons load due to the need for internal stowage to maintain the limited stealth that it has - is likely to be very short, particularly if you don't mind trading a drone or two for the F35.

Aseries

Re: The perception of a fighter is proportional to the number of video games named after it.

It's not the $$$. There are only so many weapons stocked on an aircraft carrier and resupply is not always convenient when things get hot.

Rich 11 Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

They won't need super accuracy to attack a target like Camp Bastion.

True enough, but a target like that will have its own air defences.

The original proposition was about readily-available drones becoming better dogfighters than hugely-expensive F35s. By the time we reach that state of affairs, I think it very likely no more F35s will be being built or even being flown -- except perhaps by some very lucky well-heeled hobbyists.

Someone suggested that guerrilla drone operators (assuming they were of the jihadist kind) we would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the chance to take down an F35. I think good drone operators would be a valuable resource that their leadership wanted to protect, not throw away. So, it occurred to me that if the Blue forces wanted to take out an Orange drone operator hidden in a building in a city, then rather than use an overkill precision weapon they would have another option: target the comms gear on the roof by flying in low and slow, and drop a couple of hand grenades out of the cockpit of a Sopwith Camel...

Brent Beach

Suicide Drones

Small drones pulled into jet engines can do serious damage.

A drone with software that can detect the air intake of the F35 jets and position itself to be sucked in to the engine would be relatively inexpensive and be programmed easily in the near future. No radar needed, just a cheap camera and software. No bomb, the drone itself is enough to cripple the engine. No operator intervention required. The F35 pilot won't even see the drone before it cripples his single engine.

The comparable cost - $1,000 to $70,000,000 or 70,000 to 1.

YetAnotherLocksmith

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

You realise you can fly a drone 5 feet off the ground, right?

John Brown (no body) Silver badge
Coat

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

"You can easily identify naval aircraft operators by the colour of their aircraft. US Navy aircraft are silver, Russian Navy aircraft are green and Royal Navy aircraft are invisible."

So, basically you are saying that only the RN have true stealth aircraft?

The cloak of invisibility ------->

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

I'd rather hope it was 'better' than the Harrier considering its design is about 50 years ahead of the Harriers and its mind boggling cost. (To put the gap in perspective, compare a Harrier to a pre-WW1 plane).

There seems to be an urgent need to convince the public that the F35 is a valuable asset, worth every dollar spent on it. Realistically I fear it will never be anything more than an overpriced, unreliable PoS.

Ledswinger Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

There seems to be an urgent need to convince the public that the F35 is a valuable asset,

And to a small extent, it is working. The balance of up/downvotes on my original post condemning this article as MoD propaganda for a programme that should be cancelled, has been a remarkably consistent ratio of 3:1. If I make the reasonable assumption that the upvoters agree, the downvoters disagree, what we can infer is that even amongst a group of unusually bright and well informed readers, 25% have taken the bait, and have been persuaded by the storyline of "what a great aircraft the F35 is".

From the point of view of MoD, that'll be seen as a really good outcome - its cost them next to nothing, and a fair proportion of the readers appear to have been convinced. Now, not convincing 75% of readers might be seen as a bad outcome, but lets face it, MoD are the people who think it is acceptable to spend £1.3bn on a simple recruitment system that doesn't even work, buy aircraft carriers when there's no aircraft, nor sufficient surface vessels to create a convincing carrier battlegroup. And even believe there's a need for carriers when we have coped without a carrier capability for over a decade already, and by the time the QE is aircraft-equipped, we'll have managed without a carrier for fifteen years.

Expect the "success" of this article to be followed up in the mainstream press, with a programme of "jollies for journalists" to get them to write gushing articles about the F35. The one thing they can't yet do is take them up for a joyride, because there isn't a two seater version (as there was with the Harrier, and many other fast jets), but I wouldn't be surprised if the MoD propaganda budget stretched to taking selected journos out to the US training facility in Florida.

No matter how obvious it is that the F35 programme is stupid, over-complicated, unaffordable, poor concieved, the MoD and the morons of the British government are not going to admit they've screwed it all up, and come up with a better plan. The last chance was when they balked at the cost of redesigning the QE mid-construction to take cats and traps, but realistically, the multi-billion cost of that would probably still have been lower than the UK's share of the F35 cost-overruns.

Jaybus

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

And also as per usual, they will be running into the same domestic issues that the US, and others before them, ran into, such as demand for higher wages, better working conditions, banning child labor, and etc. Companies, including their own, will be looking to cheap labor in less developed nations creating the same double-whammy that stymied manufacturing in the West.

jgarbo
Devil

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

The US has no "allies", only servants, of which the UK is one.

fobobob

Re: The perception of a fighter is proportional to the number of video games named after it.

Perhaps something like a drop into a giant inflatable airbag?

Muscleguy Silver badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

The naval ship Yamato wasn't much use in the end. It was too valuable to be put in harm's way until the end when it was sent on a suicide mission to try and interdict the landings on Mindanao. It was sunk by US divebombers and torpedo planes.

There is still debate over whether it was capable of firing a full broadside with those 18" main guns without turning turtle.

Japanese capital ships were less vulnerable to air attack than British ones but much more vulnerable than US ships especially the later ones which had vast numbers of small machine cannon able to put a hail of lead in the air.

not.known@this.address Bronze badge

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

"The amount of STEM grads is low and you are doing your best to block skilled immigrants to make it up."

When the education system switches to valuing nonsense degrees called something like "David Beckham Studies" or "Using Social Media Is Better Than Fixing Computers" then of course STEM courses will be ignored - why do a degree where you actually need to learn and remember stuff when you can 'earn' the same level of qualification for watching football or "analysing trends" on Farcebook and Twatter? And don't forget that the political parties who seem to do most to encourage these types of courses are also the ones who claim to care most for the 'working man'...

And bringing people in from overseas because your own students are either too lazy or too short-sighted to do something 'technical' is a really bad idea - what happens if those people came over so we paid them while they got free training then they 'went home' and took their jobs with them (or is that not what "off-shoring" really means?). Not exactly solving the skills shortage unless you can persuade them to stay... And guess what, the same political parties that seem to think you can keep a car running because you can quote how many views Kim Kardashian has had or fix a network outage by quoting the latest ill-advised Tweet from the White house are the same ones who put more effort into paying for training foreigners than trying to increase the local skills base...

Spooner8989

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

How many Harrier jump jets could we beef up and the same techy stuff, and at the same time create more jobs for the UK. Costing a lot less than £150m plus per aircraft. Shades of scrapping the TSR2 a/c to buy American Phantom jets.Cost us the tax payer a lot of money!!!!! + JOBS.

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

VAAC 35 knot relative speed ?

"It's a 35-knot overtaking speed at a seven-degree angle relative to the boat"

In the video, I could not see any speed, relative to the boat ?

Pen-y-gors Silver badge

Re: VAAC 35 knot relative speed ?

Just guessing - could it be a 35kt air-speed - i.e. allowing for wind etc? Prolly totally wrong.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: VAAC 35 knot relative speed ?

"could it be a 35kt air-speed - i.e. allowing for wind etc"

Nope - he explicitly states "overtaking speed".

x 7 Silver badge

Re: VAAC 35 knot relative speed ?

the video has no relationship to the landing technique being discussed, except that a lot of the avionics package for the F-35 is derived from the trials carried out on the VAAC Harrier. What the videos shows is an automatic vertical landing: nothing to do with the rolling vertical landing

nematoad Silver badge
Happy

Re: VAAC 35 knot relative speed ?

"...a seven-degree angle relative to the boat," Andy said"

I didn't realise that the F35 could land on a submarine.

You can tell that he is in the RAF not the Navy.

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