September 4, 2014. Beijing. (ONN) It’s no secret - America’s futuristic F-35 joint strike fighter is a disaster. It’s not only the most expensive weapons program in US history, it also doesn’t work. Mysterious engine fires keep them grounded while strategic forecasts and war games show the planes getting blown out of the sky by last generation Chinese fighters. China however, has built its own version of the F-35 thanks to their robust espionage program. It’s a fraction of the cost of ours, and theirs apparently works.
The US F-35 and the Chinese J-20 side by side. Image courtesy of JakartaGreater.com
As we reported a month ago, the US F-35 joint strike fighter lost its computerized war games against Chinese fighters when the Pentagon’s top strategic forecaster - the Rand Corporation - created simulated confrontations between the two countries. But the plane can’t even get that far because recurring engine fires keep the plane out of the sky. There are a number of reasons why the F-35 is a disaster while its Chinese twin - the J-20 - doesn’t appear to be having the same problems. The most obvious is America’s system of Washington-Wall Street corruption.
WW 2 Lightning, courtesy of World-War-2-Planes.com.
Everything’s wrong with the F-35 Lightning II
For starters, it’s bad karma to name a new fighter by lazily re-using the name of an old fighter, especially one as cherished, respected and successful as the World War 2 Lightning. It’s strange square-shape with two tail fins connected by a cross-bar made many experts fear it would be too slow and too hard to maneuver. But it turned out to be the fastest, most deadly and longest range fighters in the US air arsenal. Ironically, its modern namesake - the F-35 Lightning II - is none of those things.
The second biggest problem with the F-35 is that its government overseers at the Pentagon demanded it replace all US fighters, the most problematic being a vertical take-off like the British Harrier Jump Jet. US Marine commanders insisted their version of the F-35 be taken with them into the trenches of the front lines of battle. Otherwise, half their Marine forces would continue to be stationed hundreds of miles away on a Navy aircraft carrier or a US military base in some despotic Middle Eastern or North African country. Being ‘all things to all people’ doomed the F-35.
The third reason the F-35 is a trillion-dollar disaster can be chalked up to corrupt Republican and Democrat Congressmen. Knowing that US Congressmen don’t like it when a large manufacturer in their home district shuts down and lays off hundreds of people, military defense suppliers purposely scattered the planes production to countless companies in almost every state. That ensured it would be politically damaging back home for a Congressman or woman to vote to kill the F-35 program.
A report from Business Insider and Yahoo Finance details how there are only four US states that DON’T have parts of the F-35 manufactured, designed or serviced in their state. Those four states left out of the trillion-dollar gift that keeps on giving are Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska and Wyoming. As if that weren’t bad enough, the F-35 is going to be a NATO fighter. And European military manufacturers used their own corrupt political influence in their home countries of Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, England and even Turkey to land some of the plane’s production. Those are the nine countries, in addition to the US, that were awarded parts of the F-35’s lucrative manufacturing work.
Easily stolen top secret weapon
With manufacturers in 46 US states and nine countries making up the secret F-35 design and manufacturing team, there was no way the futuristic warplane was going to be kept secret. A separate report from Business Insider and Yahoo Finance details how the US is spending between $1 - $1.5 trillion and taking 20 years to produce the F-35 joint strike fighter. China, it’s revealed, has been designing and manufacturing its own version of the F-35 right alongside NATO.
The Chinese version is called the Chengdu J-20 and it looks remarkably similar to the US F-35 (see image at the top of the article). The plane incorporates design characteristics never used before, except on the F-35. One of the many problems for US and NATO pilots - the Chinese seem to have improved upon the F-35 specs and given their version a twin engine instead of the single engine the US design uses. The J-20 is also more sleek, being longer, flatter and thinner.
The report describes how the American effort took 20 years, while the Chinese have produced their version in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost. ‘The J-20 has evolved rapidly from its first documented prototype in 2011,’ the account reads, ‘Each successive prototype has shown a number of design advancements that help the plane evade enemy radar detection. These changes include modifying the plane's wing size and adjusting the air intakes to maximize stealth.’
Illustrating where much of the Chinese design is assumed to have come from, the report goes on to describe how the Chinese J-20 will have the advanced AESA radar system. The account explains, ‘AESAs are incredibly powerful radar systems broadcast at a range of frequencies, allowing a plane to remain stealthy in the process. And the use of the AESA in the J-20's nose marks a striking similarity to the design of the US's F-35 fifth-generation fighter. The similarities between the F-35, the F-22, and the J-20 are likely not a coincidence.’
The authors quote military aviation expert Carlos Kopp in Air Power Australia, “By cleverly exploiting contemporary United States-developed stealth fighter shaping design rules, Chengdu engineers were able to rapidly get an excellent basic shaping design with a minimum of risk and cost, and significant long-term stealth performance growth potential.” The publication warns, ‘This potential, if China capitalizes on it, could allow the J-20 to achieve levels of stealth on par with, or even exceeding, the F-35.’
Pratt & Whitney engines
The most recent news in this ongoing taxpayer tragedy was an announcement less than a week ago from F-35 engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney that it was halting deliveries of F-35 engines. The reason given was that the company discovered that one of its subcontractors and suppliers may have been providing what the company termed “suspect titanium”. With embarrassing episodes of the F-35 being repeatedly grounded and absent all the major scheduled air shows due to engine fires, it’s Pratt & Whitney that has felt the heat over the past few years.
As far back as May, the defense contractor announced it had discovered substandard titanium engine parts during an in-house inspection. Company spokesmen confirmed they had quickly stopped using the defective parts and had reordered new ones to the right design specifications. Ominously, the same company spokesmen assured the American people that the F-35’s already delivered to the military posed no safety threat even though the defective part wouldn’t be replaced in the 147 F-35’s already in US and NATO hands.
A report from Bloomberg News explains that in addition to the substandard quality of the titanium parts, Pratt & Whitney wasn’t even sure about their source, ‘After the company’s internal review raised doubts about the titanium’s origin, Pratt & Whitney “immediately reported its concern” to the Justice Department, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.’ He confirmed the titanium is also used on some commercial engines made by the company.
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