By: Charles P. Pierce for Esquire, Jun. 12, 2019
One of our regular features here at the shebeen is checking out the latest on the F-35, a.k.a. the money pit in the sky, a.k.a. The Flying Swiss Army Knife. (In addition, the president* may believe that it is actually invisible, like Wonder Woman’s plane.) Usually, when we check in, we find that, once again, the project is beset with unforeseen gremlins, like the furry dude that Shatner sees on the wing in that episode of the Twilight Zone. Once again, the F-35 doesn’t disappoint. From Defense News:
According to documents exclusively obtained by Defense News, the F-35 continues to be marred by flaws and glitches that, if left unfixed, could create risks to pilot safety and call into question the fighter jet’s ability to accomplish key parts of its mission: F-35B and F-35C pilots, compelled to observe limitations on airspeed to avoid damage to the F-35’s airframe or stealth coating. Cockpit pressure spikes that cause “excruciating” ear and sinus pain. Issues with the helmet-mounted display and night vision camera that contribute to the difficulty of landing the F-35C on an aircraft carrier.
To the untrained observer, “limitations on airspeed to avoid damage to the F-35’s airframe” reads a lot like, “Don’t fly this state-of-the-art warplane too fast or it will fall apart.” And from this the untrained observer might also conclude that producing a state-of-the-art warplane that can’t land on an aircraft carrier brings air power back to a point somewhere half-past the Sopwith Camel. The untrained observer might then conclude that this whole project is the equivalent of dumping the contents of 1,000 Brinks trucks on the National Mall and setting the bills on fire.