|Is the F-35 in trouble? Does the Pope wear a funny hat?|
Time magazine's latest issue has a rather nice piece on the trials and tribulations of the F-35 Lightning II. In an article titled: "The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built", Mark Thompson examines the controversial fighter's problems and high costs at a time when America needs to seriously consider cutting its mammoth defence budget. Put simply, the troubled and expensive F-35 program could be a tempting target for Washington lawmakers needing to slash the defence budget.
|The Wild Weasel "YGBSM" patch would be more appropriate.|
Naturally, a well researched piece in a respected publication like Time needs a counterpoint, and it's provided by the very pro-defense-industry Lexington Institute. Avionics-intelligence.com published this article by Loren B. Thompson, PhD. In a way, Canada should be thankful to Thompson as he was one of the champions behind the U.S.A's surplus C-17 production, allowing Canada to pick some up on the cheap.
In his article Dr. Loren B. (not "Hunter S.") Thompson states that UCAVs are not the answer, since they cannot survive flak or missile fire, ignoring the fact that squishy humans don't do well in those environments either. He also states the F-35C's tailhook issue "has been solved" (not quite), and it can carry "three times the bomb-load of an F-16"(51,000lbs! That's more than a B-2!)
To top it all off, Thompson misquotes Senator John McCain on the F-35 stating it "May be the greatest fighter in the history of the world." The hard truth is, McCain has been a staunch critic of the F-35 program, calling it a "scandal and a tragedy". McCain had kinder words at a ceremony where his home state of Arizona welcomed a new F-35 squadron, but it wasn't exactly a glowing praise.
Looks like Dr. Loren B. (not "Hunter S.") Thompson doesn't like silly things like facts get in the way of a good argument.