On the F-35 and America’s nuke deterrent


The Pentagon’s chief weapons testing officer, Michael Gilmore, has just produced a scathing report on the F-35’s effectiveness in combat.

In that report, the DOD’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation states outright that the F-35 is incapable of waging unsupported combat (i.e. fighting without the assistance of other weapon platforms) against any “serious” adversary.

In other words, without other aircraft coming to its aid, the hyper-expensive F-35 cannot survive in combat against any serious threat, be it the high-performance Sukhoi Flankers (and their Chinese derivative), the highly agile and well-armed J-10 Sinocanard, or 5th generation stealthy Russian and Chinese fighters such as the PAK FA, the J-20 and the J-31.

Bill Sweetman has obtained an advance copy of the report for Aviation Week. He sums it up thus:

The Block 2B version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which the Marine Corps declared operational in July last year, is not capable of unsupported combat against any serious threat, according to Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation (DOT&E).

The problem for the F-35 program is that, according to the program defenders’ hype and Lockheed Martin’s corporate spin, the F-35 was supposed to be stealthy enough and armed sufficiently to defeat even the most advanced enemy fighters and air defense systems, even ones operated by competent personnel.

“Serious adversaries” armed with such advanced fighters and air defense systems were, for the last several years, given as the raison d’être for the F-35 program.

Yet, as I’ve been warning for the last several years, and as the Pentagon’s chief weapon tester has now confirmed, the F-35 stands no chance of surviving in combat against cutting-edge enemy aircraft and ADS – unless supported by other platforms such as the F-22 or the F-15.

Yet, the Pentagon cannot afford to procure such pathetically underperforming weapons. In this era of fiscal restraint, platforms which soak up protective escorts will be huge LIABILITIES, rather than assets.

The solution for the Pentagon is simple: eliminate these liabilities. Immediately kill the F-35 program, resume F-22 production, and quickly develop the Sixth-Generation Fighter.

In other news, another expert, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has warned that America’s nuclear deterrent and its supporting infrastructure are woefully underfunded and urgently need modernization:

“North Korea’s nuclear test last week is a reminder that we’re living in a new era of nuclear proliferation. Now comes a warning from U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Monizthat the Obama Administration is neglecting America’s nuclear umbrella.

(…)

Mr. Moniz went on to note that “a majority of NNSA’s facilities and systems are well beyond end-of-life.” Also, “infrastructure problems such as falling ceilings are increasing in frequency and severity,” as more than 50% of facilities are at least 40 years old and nearly 30% date to World War II. “The entire complex could be placed at risk if there is a failure where a single point would disrupt a critical link in infrastructure.” Yet the White House is set to request only half the funding needed for facilities between 2018 and 2021.”

The need to modernize the US nuclear deterrent and its supporting infrastructure is also an issue I’ve been warning about for years.

Once again, I have been proven right.

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