The Joint Strike Fighter purchase: Someone must have been smoking one

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The Joint Strike Fighter is "flying dog meat", writes Sydney bureau chief and military buff Ross Jones, and anyone who goes near this lemon has rocks in their heads. 

Anyone who goes near the Joint Strike Fighter has rocks in their heads.

It’s the Liberals, I rest my case.

These things aren’t going to keep us safe from anybody. The word Joint in the JSF of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II means just that. Not single strike fighter — a joint strike fighter. It needs another aircraft to protect its lumbering airframe, packed to the gunwhales with 8 million code lines of stuff — too slow to turn and too slow to run.

Put these things up against a new Russian Sukhoi or a Chinese Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle without air cover and they’re toast.

It's like no-one recalls the Fokker Scourge of 1915.

And all that packing in of equipment fills its porcine airframe so there is absolutely no room for development; what you see is what you get for yonks.

Remember the Zero?

It cut allied aircraft to bits in the first few years of the war, especially the stupendously stupid Boomerang, manufactured by the Commonweath Aircraft Factory and completely outclassed from the off.

But the Americans designed and built improved aircraft, while the Japanese did not — under pressure as they were. As a consequence, the Zero became obsolete and was shown to be no more than the flying fuel tank with guns that it was.

The lesson is glaringly obvious. Why then, commit to something so inflexible?

The JSF program has been beset by delay after delay, by cost increase after cost increase. It has tied up the American aviation business and retarded the development of new aircraft capable of standing a chance against the best the Russians and the Chinese have to offer.

The F-22 Raptor, with which the JSF was originally designed to work in unison, was put out of production because of the JSF program’s muddled priorities. The F-22 was an air superiority fighter, the JSF is not and so is flying dog meat.

$12.4 billion on this lemon, while the budget axe falls. Co-payments, retire at 70, welfare to the poor — we all need to put our shoulder to the budget wheel to pay for this thing.

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