US Air Force Reality: Flightless Planes and Disrupted Supplies


Those who from time to time try to question the scientific and military-industrial potential of Russia, skeptically assessing its capabilities to create modern models of combat aircraft, by all means try to set the United States as an example for us. The local "high-tech and super-advanced" developments in this area seem to be almost an absolute ideal, unattainable for us, "lapotniks" in principle.


However, is it really so? How many American "achievements" in creating winged reality machines, and how many - the most ordinary PR and unbridled fantasy? It is worth taking a closer look at this issue.

The plans include a squadron of robots armed with lasers


The American media traditionally pay great attention to detailing the "incredible prospects" that await the country's air force in the future. Articles of this kind are submitted as "confidential information" from the depths of private companies and even very serious government organizations that are involved in relevant developments or oversee such. There is hardly any doubt that these "leaks" are carefully planned and sanctioned from above. Thus, the "information background" is created, which is necessary for the ordinary American man in the street to be sure: funds from the huge US military budget, whose volumes are unparalleled throughout the world, are spent on ensuring that the country's army really has exclusively "all the best ".

Here are some more or less recent examples from the second half of last year. Such well-known publications as The Times and Popular Mechanics have undertaken to vividly depict previously unseen weapons systems, which supposedly may be in the US Air Force's arsenal in the near future. We are talking, for example, about the work carried out by the Office of Advanced Research Projects of the US Department of Defense (DARPA) in the field of combat use of millimeter electromagnetic waves (so-called microwaves). They, according to the available scientific data, are capable of effectively enough to carry out both non-lethal defeat of enemy manpower, and, much more importantly, to disable sensitive electronic elements of combat equipment enemy. In the bowels of the Pentagon, rumors are circulating about the supposedly successful test of a "high-precision cruise missile with a microwave warhead", which, being launched from the B-52 Stratofortress bomber, "successfully hit electronic targets" at a distance of more than a thousand kilometers. However, how much truth is in them is not known for certain.

However, at this stage, DARPA seems to be concerned not with missiles, but with "microwave guns", which, being installed on multipurpose fighters, can play the role of missile defense systems that effectively protect cruise vehicles from air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles ", As well as suppress enemy sensors and radars. This "weapon of the future", by the way, has a very serious competitor - the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) laser weapon system, which is seriously supposed to equip fourth-generation fighters in service with the US Air Force, such as the F-15E , F-15C, F-15EX Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Its purpose will be exactly the same as that of the "microwave guns" - an active anti-missile defense system for aircraft. The American aces do not plan to shoot down enemy vehicles with "death rays" yet ...

All this, however, pales before another program of the same DARPA, which The Economist told its readers about. In this case, the conversation is already about, as the newspaper writes, "technologies of future wars." Their main meaning lies in the gradual replacement of living pilots of combat vehicles (first of all, ultra-high-speed fighters) with artificial intelligence systems, capable not only of controlling an aircraft, but also effectively conducting air combat and hitting ground targets. Moreover, according to the publication, at a certain stage in the implementation of the mentioned ACE program, AI will have to take control of not one, but at least two fighters at once! According to the authors, this development is already at a very serious stage - for example, in August 2020, on the basis of the Johns Hopkins DARPA Laboratory of Applied Physics, a full-scale virtual "exercise" AlphaDogfight was held, in which as many as six potential developers of winged combat robots competed. According to the information provided by The Economist, some of them even managed to win "fights" on simulators of living pilots.

In reality - flightless planes and disrupted supplies


Concluding the conversation about the grandiose "air" plans of the Pentagon, one cannot fail to mention that, in principle, all the combat vehicles currently in service with it - both the fourth and fifth generations there are already recognized as "yesterday". You give the sixth generation, and the sooner the better! In any case, the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program of the military department, about which there are so far more rumors and speculation than real information, is aimed precisely at this achievement. Until recently, perhaps the greatest intrigue in this matter for the American expert community was who exactly would grab such a solid "jackpot" as a state tender for its implementation. Most likely, the sensation will not happen. And although no official statements about the developer of the "fighter of the future" have been made either by DARPA or by the Pentagon, but the recent slip of the financial director of Lockheed Martin Ken Possenriede, which he clearly made with intent, practically leaves no room for doubt.

This gentleman "mentioned" about "a very important and large-scale new aviation program", work on which is literally in full swing in the division of the Skunk Works. Everyone knows that this branch of Lockheed Martin is engaged in its most secret and futuristic projects. There is nothing to be surprised at - I intentionally did not mention the developers of all those new products, which were discussed in the first part of the material. This is not easy, but very simple - in just two words: Lockheed Martin. This mega-corporation practically monopolized the work with the Air Force of the American army, at least in the field of fighter aircraft and the creation of new weapons systems. Whatever it was, but the most expensive project in the history of the Pentagon, and indeed of the world aviation, the creation of the F-35 multipurpose fighter, is precisely its brainchild. By the way, it is with him that we will begin our conversation about the realities of the US military aviation.

Lockheed Martin Corp last year let down its own customers eagerly awaiting deliveries of the "most advanced" and insanely expensive cars. Instead of the 141 fighters planned for "shipment", 123 aircraft rolled off the company's conveyors. Thus, the deviation from the plan was 8%. And this result was achieved with great difficulty - back in May 2020, the corporation announced that, most likely, they could build no more than 117 F-35 fighters. The reason for this failure is, of course, the coronavirus pandemic, which, according to representatives of Lockheed Martin, confused all their plans "making it difficult for the factories," and, most importantly, "breaking the supply chain of necessary components and assemblies." The coronavirus, of course, has badly done something wrong to almost everyone in this world, but it is unlikely that it will be possible to “write off” all the problems with the F-35. The failure to release "most up-to-date" oddly coincided with a much more serious problem.

Let me remind you that an official decision on the mass production of this machine for the needs of the US Air Force has not been made by the Pentagon to this day. The "main and final" tests of the fighter, after which it should receive a "green light" from the US military, have been postponed over and over again, starting in 2017. Again and again, the next problems, flaws, design flaws are revealed - and their elimination begins. The next "final and decisive" combat tests of this machine, which have already absorbed an incredible amount of US taxpayers' funds, were scheduled for December 2020. However, according to an official statement by the press secretary of the deputy head of the Pentagon in charge of such issues, Ellen Lord, they are again canceled "indefinitely." As well as the decision to mass produce "the most modern". At the same time, speaking about the reasons for such a fiasco, the department, of course, mentioned a pandemic, but did not keep silent about the "technical problems" because of which the testing was deemed inappropriate.

What is Lockheed Martin left to do in this situation? Only as soon as possible to conclude a contract for the creation of a sixth generation fighter is, of course, both easier and more profitable than "bringing to mind" the fifth ... By the way, problems with the F-35 are far from the only "dark spot" in the current stage of fruitful cooperation of the corporation with the US Air Force. The tests of the experimental hypersonic air-based missile Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) developed by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies, conducted in mid-December last year, also ended in complete failure. The pilots either tried unsuccessfully to launch the "super-duper rocket" loaded on board the B-52, or did not even dare to do so, subsequently reporting on some "fundamental errors" of a mechanical nature that prevented the test launch. Incidentally, in 2019, Lockheed Martin swore an oath that the "hypersound" they created would fly by the end of 2020 at the latest. It looks like HAWC, whose tests are "postponed indefinitely", will face the same fate in this regard as the F-35.

Meanwhile, according to a report published last year by the US Audit Office, whose representatives have inspected units and units of the US Air Force over the past several years, the degree of combat readiness of American combat aircraft is approaching critically low levels. According to Pentagon regulations, at least 80% of the vehicles must be ready to soar into the air at the first command - otherwise there can be no question of any effective defense of the US airspace. As for the vaunted F-35, which is the "latest development", they could boast of such a level of readiness for combat use only for a couple of years over the past decade. Most of these fighters need to be repaired almost constantly - because of the design flaws and vulnerabilities that were originally incorporated in them.

However, with the "good old" proven "horses" like the F-16 and F-15E Strike Eagle, the situation, if better, is not much better. A very characteristic problem of the American Air Force is that there are simply no spare parts for the normal maintenance of their vehicles, they are in short supply. This is far from a brilliant reality, which is worth delving into before trying to find fault with the domestic military aviation industry and extol someone else's to heaven.
Ad
We are open to cooperation with authors in the news and analytical departments. A prerequisite is the ability to quickly analyze the text and check the facts, to write concisely and interestingly on political and economic topics. We offer flexible working hours and regular payments. Please send your responses with examples of work to [email protected]
22 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. greenchelman Offline greenchelman
    greenchelman (Grigory Tarasenko) 13 January 2021 10: 16
    +2
    This is a disaster for the US Air Force, when "instead of the planned 141 fighters, 123 left the company's conveyors." What a horror, especially against the background of one and only Su-57 in Russia. He will defeat everyone. The United States now has more than 610 F-35s alone, not counting other "scrap metal" and Allied aircraft.
  2. Cyril Offline Cyril
    Cyril (Kirill) 13 January 2021 10: 47
    +1
    Ahahah)) Yes, to release 123 new fighters instead of 140 in a year is really a "failure" :)

    Necropic in its repertoire. Necropic.
  3. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 13 January 2021 11: 09
    +2
    It would be interesting to compare with our industry.
    What is the percentage of underdelivery?
    What is the percentage of defects?
    What percentage are flightless?

    And then the Americans have already done F35 for 500, and right there, like in an article, they wrote that our Air Force had decreased in recent years.
  4. 123 Offline 123
    123 (123) 13 January 2021 11: 35
    +6
    Adepts can admire the achievements of the pale-faced elves as much as they like, and they cannot do otherwise because sycophancy is in their blood, but the reality is somewhat different.
    The decision on full-scale production of the F-35 has been postponed indefinitely. Interestingly, this event coincided with the launch of the serial production of the Su-57. And the coincidence is hardly accidental. Apparently the prospect of confrontation in the future, armed with a "miracle of engineering" does not particularly warm the hearts of overseas commanders. It is difficult to find another sane explanation for this rather strange behavior. To carry out tests and according to the results determine whether an aircraft is needed, having previously released 600 copies is a rather strange decision. I can imagine a universal howl if the Russian Defense Ministry announced something similar, say, on the Su-34. But this is another matter, everything that the Americans do for a certain category of our fellow citizens a priori is not subject to critical consideration.
    Retiring Donald left a surprise for old Joe, the difficult decision will fall on his fragile shoulders. To declare that for so many years they have been releasing "wrong" is unlikely to add to his popularity. And there is simply nothing else. Apparently, the decision to continue production will nevertheless be made, primarily for political reasons, but it will forever unfasten on the conscience of the president's teeth. Well, they will also drink several tens of billions for "improvement" and "finishing".
    1. greenchelman Offline greenchelman
      greenchelman (Grigory Tarasenko) 13 January 2021 15: 30
      -2
      With small-scale production, they have already accumulated more than 610 units. With us in serial production 1. Can you imagine what will happen if they actually start the conveyor? And there is no need to insult people "patriot".
      1. 123 Offline 123
        123 (123) 13 January 2021 15: 52
        +6
        With small-scale production, they have already accumulated more than 610 units. With us in serial production 1. Can you imagine what will happen if they actually start the conveyor? And there is no need to insult people "patriot".

        Do you have no critical understanding of information at all? Think like a child. Are you saying that they have production facilities for a multiple increase in production? And now they are having fun? Do not tell me by chance where this idle "conveyor" is located?
        That is what has accumulated. At the beginning of mass production, they also had 1, and not 600 were immediately released.

        And there is no need to insult people "patriot".

        Was that an insult? I have characterized the behavior. I don't know why you "orgasm" on them. Do you think I'm wrong? I’m ready to bet on a bottle of cognac, if you look at your comments, for example, in some article about icebreakers, your comment with a similar sarcastic style, but we will not find there in the US address. Will watch? winked
    2. cmonman Offline cmonman
      cmonman (Garik Mokin) 14 January 2021 00: 06
      -2
      The decision on full-scale production of the F-35 has been postponed indefinitely.

      There is an American proverb: “stubborness is good only when constipation”, or in Russian “stubbornness is good only with constipation”.
      In your comments, you regularly stubbornly and erroneously repeat that the F-35 was postponed due to production, and we, who are in the know (not because they are smart, but because we read English), tirelessly repeat to you - not ready a simulator on which you can simulate the signals of Russian air defense radars of the S-300/400/500 type and other super_super radars that are not equal in the world.
      After all, it is not for nothing that overflights of the Russian borders have become more frequent - the Americans are scanning something for themselves, and the result must be put into simulators in order to learn how to deal with them. As a result, both the F-35 instruments and software will be updated. That's all ... drinks
      1. 123 Offline 123
        123 (123) 14 January 2021 07: 17
        +1
        In your comments, you regularly stubbornly and erroneously repeat that the F-35 was postponed due to production, and we, who are in the know (not because they are smart, but because we read English), tirelessly repeat to you - not ready a simulator on which you can simulate the signals of Russian air defense radars of the S-300/400/500 type and other super_super radars that are not equal in the world.

        I'll leave you the address below, call them, tell them about the simulator, otherwise they don't know. I would be grateful if you poke your nose, where in the article on the link about the simulators it is written hi
        (Similar information came across in other sources. With your knowledge of English, you can probably find it) Happy New Year! drinks

        https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/38507/its-official-pentagon-puts-f-35-full-rate-production-decision-on-hold
        1. cmonman Offline cmonman
          cmonman (Garik Mokin) 14 January 2021 16: 48
          -1
          Your link has text:

          Bloomberg was first to report news of the verdict, which was made by Ellen Lord, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment in the Trump administration. There had been previous suggestions that a delay was at least likely, before today's official confirmation.

          If you click on "Previous suggestions", then you will find the article:
          https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/10/26/the-f-35-will-move-into-full-rate-production-even-later-than-expected/
          and in it (translated by Google):

          The Pentagon will have to postpone the transfer of the F-35 program to serial production due to another delay in the start of critical simulation tests. Before the Defense Department's chief arms buyer, Ellen Lord, can clear the F-35 for mass production, the aircraft must pass a series of tests in a collaborative simulation environment that simulates complex threats that cannot be replicated in real flight tests.

          drinks
          1. isofat Offline isofat
            isofat (isofat) 14 January 2021 17: 00
            +2
            Quote: cmonman
            “The Pentagon will have to postpone the transfer of the F-35 program to serial production due to another delay in the start of critical simulation tests.

            Delay critical ... this is important! We are waiting, sir, suddenly the United States will finally give birth to something. laughing
    3. General Black Offline General Black
      General Black (Gennady) 14 January 2021 02: 45
      0
      To carry out tests and according to the results determine whether an aircraft is needed, having previously released 600 copies is a rather strange decision.

      Here is a reference.
      https://masterok.livejournal.com/6867312.html
      1. 123 Offline 123
        123 (123) 14 January 2021 07: 24
        +2
        Here is a reference.

        Thank you hi From the link above the article, it has almost the same figure. yes
  5. Barmaley_2 Offline Barmaley_2
    Barmaley_2 (Barmaley) 13 January 2021 12: 05
    -1
    It's ridiculous to read these attempts to justify themselves for the obvious shoals and problems of the Ros.vks, poking your finger in the other direction, they say, we have a cow without an eye, but that one, almost a neighbor's, has a broken horn! Instead of openly admitting their problems and trying to solve them effectively, they always try to hit anyone.
    First, the United States prints the WORLD currency and draws it as much as needed. During the year, they threw in $ 4 trillion "to fight against covid and maintain the ec-ki" and the sky did not collapse on earth. And because the US debt is “only” 95% of GDP (and most of the debt is our own. ”Japan has 250% of debts and they live somehow. So the author shouldn’t worry about“ so much money has been poured, but what's the point ... ". For amers, unlike Necropny, apparently, this is the smallest problem.
    Secondly, it is a great rarity when a new technique does not have childhood sores and is not "raw". You can stumble anything like that. The question is, will it be brought to mind?
    Thirdly, I wish for the videoconferencing of the Russian Federation to build their 5th generation or 4 ++ aircraft at the same pace as pind @ sy their "underplanes" f35.
    1. 123 Offline 123
      123 (123) 13 January 2021 12: 26
      +5
      First, the United States prints the WORLD currency and draws it as much as needed.

      If so, why was the production of the F-22 and Zumwalt stopped because of the high cost? Are you ashamed?

      During the year, they threw in $ 4 trillion "to fight covid and maintain ec-ki" and heaven did not collapse to earth. And because the US debt "only" 95% of GDP (and most of the debt is our own

      This is the problem, they owe themselves to themselves. Demand for Treasury bonds is declining, other countries are refusing to buy it. It becomes impossible to spread inflation all over the world.

      Secondly, it is a great rarity when a new technique does not have childhood sores and is not "raw".

      It is very rare when sick and raw equipment is produced in such series. as a rule, at first they are "treated" and eliminated, then mass production begins, and not on the contrary.

      You can stutter anything like that. The question is, will it be brought to mind?

      Let's try yes Give a suitable example, where "raw" equipment has been produced on a similar scale for many years ... It is very interesting to listen to winked

      Thirdly, I wish for the videoconferencing of the Russian Federation to build their 5th generation or 4 ++ aircraft at the same pace as pind @ sy their "underplanes" f35.

      Why do we need so much?
      1. The comment was deleted.
        1. The comment was deleted.
        2. The comment was deleted.
      2. The comment was deleted.
        1. The comment was deleted.
      3. The comment was deleted.
        1. The comment was deleted.
      4. The comment was deleted.
        1. 123 Offline 123
          123 (123) 14 January 2021 21: 57
          +1
          Great, as always, briefly, informative, reasoned good
          A prominent politician, co-chairman of the Growth Party S. Shnurov is performing especially for you. Parting song. winked

          1. The comment was deleted.
            1. 123 Offline 123
              123 (123) 14 January 2021 22: 07
              0
              And good night to you hi
              1. The comment was deleted.
  6. now it is the aircraft-robots that are relevant, and they must be closely tackled!
  7. Alexander K_2 Offline Alexander K_2
    Alexander K_2 (Alexander K) 13 January 2021 21: 17
    -3
    America was hysterical, Russia plans to release the SECOND SU-57 !!!!!
    1. Barmaley_2 Offline Barmaley_2
      Barmaley_2 (Barmaley) 14 January 2021 21: 47
      +1
      Well yes! There is also a ratio of 1 to 500 pieces. in favor of drying.
  8. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 13 January 2021 23: 27
    -1
    By the way, our media almost does not say what kind of defects these are, with 600-700 aircraft successfully flying.

    VO somehow gave the most "outstanding" defects. Rapid tire wear in extreme landings. They want 25 instead of 7 landings. In marine environments, the stealth coating wears out faster from strong supersonic sound. Electronics should be able to collect all the information from the battlefield not via satellites. Strengthen antivirus. Simple details so you can 3D print on site. With the breathing apparatus, problems still remain with the F16-15 - it does not automatically adjust 100% for each pilot.
    And a lot of all sorts of other garbage, we just call it "modernization"
  9. Indifferent Offline Indifferent
    Indifferent 14 January 2021 06: 21
    +1
    Well, at least someone wrote something constructive! I am surprised at couch strategists and tacticians. They sit on a seated sofa and beat their fingers on the keyboard. Do you need a lot of intelligence? The main thing is to discredit and abuse everything! It's so nice! Surely Ukrainians is (y) are having fun! I wonder where we can get aviation power, if everything has been purposefully destroyed since the 90s? Americans in entire industries have lost competence, with complete prosperity, but about that silence! They have forgotten how to make atomic bombs of low power and are dispossessing of large warheads. Doesn't know how to cheaply enrich uranium, they haven't built a single tank for ten years, They have a complete blockage with nuclear power plants. The ships will be bought in Europe. They forgot how to build their own. But the sofa experts "do not know" about this! It is necessary to look for "specks in the eye" in our policy and scold and scold! It's a shame! After all, most of you are from a single Soviet country !!!
    1. Alexander K_2 Offline Alexander K_2
      Alexander K_2 (Alexander K) 15 January 2021 07: 00
      -2
      I completely agree with you. I'll try a little positive: Su-57, Zircons, Daggers, Onyxes, Maces, Armata, Terminators are being prepared in Russia! And what's there, you can safely remove the words are being prepared and planned - then absolutely Excellent!