Tuesday, 30 April 2013

CF-35 "Webinar": Initial impressions.

As I posted earlier, Lockheed Martin's CF-35 "webinar" (web seminar) was today.  I was able to take part in my own limited way, and I'm happy to say that two of my countless questions made it through and were answered.

I will post a link to the "webinar" as soon as Lockheed makes it available.  They assured everyone taking part that it will be available for download and to share.

I will post a more detailed analysis once I've been able to go over the entire presentation, but, in the meantime, here are some initial impressions:

  • The F-35's stealth is really being trumpeted as a "game changer".  Lockheed claims that traditional tactics are now obsolete, and that the F-35 will be akin to a ninja in the skies, striking its enemies with impunity from the shadows.  I'm not so sure.
  • There seems to be some confusion as to what entails a "combat load".  The F-35 with its 4 internal weapons (4500lbs) is often compared to other fighters with fully loaded pylons (15,000+lbs).
  • "Stealth.  Sensor Fusion.  Next Generation."
  • The F-35 sounds like it will be a very impressive aircraft against ground based targets.
  • The F-35 pilot will be reduced to operating the sensors and weapons systems.  The plane nearly flies itself.  This makes me wonder why a pilot is needed at all.
  • For some reason, Lockheed test pilot Billy Flynn believes that stealth is needed to patrol the arctic safely.  Better not tell that to the CP-140 Aurora crews that currently responsible for that.
  • The F-35 is "top priority" and should be safe from any sequestration related U.S. budget cuts.
  • "Every myth about the F-35 has some basis in fact."  -Stephen O'Bryan, Vice-President in charge of the F-35 program.
  • "Cold weather testing is scheduled for 2014."  
More to come.  

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