Fighters on weight in gold

Difficulties in implementing the programs from the creation of the American aviation 5th generation

"Should have the advantage of a storm danger of losing this advantage." An old rule of chess prompted the U.S. military to the development and production of weapons at once on 2-aircraft systems, the upcoming whose fate is now in question because of their immense price.

Air Combat fifth generation — the most prestigious theme of the last decade. The public is full of delights: a country that will put into operation the first such machines will get an advantage in the decisive air. It seems the situation is repeated a hundred years ago, when Britain launched the battleship "Dreadnought", an old time devalue the usual armadillos.

Around what still needs to be able fighter fifth generation, and what he should not be able to be broken mass of copies. The list of properties airplane looks like: multi-functionality, supersonic cruising speed without afterburner engines, radar and infrared stealth, the radar radial angle, the presence of a single combat information system expert mode prompts and the ability to fire at multiple targets at all angles. Any of those positions pulls a lot of requirements to sverhtehnologichny products — electronics, software, polymers, construction materials, jet engines running radar equipment.

If you see the war machines that are now available in the industrial or even commercial readiness, then the fifth generation are only two aircraft and both South American — F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

Carnivore PLANE

The history of "Raptor" ("Predator") goes back to the first half of the '80s, in the program from ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter). By 1991, he was elected a basic layout — YF-22 development consortium "Lockheed", "Boeing" and "General Dynamics." He formed the basis of the project of the new fighter F-22 flew in 1997. Since 2003 plane began to enter the Air Force of the United States.

As can be seen, the machine is in operation points to himself compares well. Sounded terrible was the amount spent on flight service (44 000 dollars per flight hour), according to the latest findings of professionals who do not meet the reality. Official data of the Pentagon and just point to the fact that these numbers are not supersede the costs associated with the operation of the F-15 — multi-functional "ancestors" of the new fighter. Not yet found a sound proof and diverged widely in the press reports that costly coating that absorbs radio waves, was unstable to rain moisture.

But the price of all programs from the creation and construction of the "Raptor" exceeded 65 billion dollars. Create one machine costs about 183 million dollars, and in view of its R & D cost passes for 350 million. Natural result: the military budget in 2010 was laid out without purchasing the F-22. Apparently, considering all the "rapacity" cash appetites applets, the Pentagon has decided that the existing 168 aircraft while it enough. Reduce the price of the car due to the export will not work: the fighter legally forbidden to supplies for the U.S. border.

Against the background of the initial statements about the complete substitution of the "Raptor" F-15 fleet it looks almost scandalous: recall that the cost issue — it's 630 cars, 500 of them combatant. Even if we consider the starting requirements of the Air Force (750 units) too high, the last quota was established in 2003 and amounted to 277 aircraft, with the already underrepresented and enforced (on money judgments). We can only guess the extent to which the U.S. Air Force satisfied with the situation, but some experts point out in this regard, lowering the overall combat potential of the U.S. Air Force.


When were the first real data on the standard prices "Predators", the Pentagon made an effort to somehow cut the rising costs. Reduction in purchases F-22 is the second step, and step tactics. Strategically also tried to solve the problem of back in 1996 by launching the development of more functional and cheapest kind of tactical fighter fifth generation. So a programm JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) and her awkward child — the plane F-35 "Lightning" ("Lightning").

According to the requirements specification machine should become easier F-22 is not such a strong, but go to the troops immediately in 3 versions. Option «A» — based tactical fighter airfield for the Air Force. Option «B» — with short takeoff and landing for the Marine Corps. Option «C» — carrier-based fighter for the Navy. The Pentagon has once again seduced by the idea of saving the universalization and forget an old, have repeatedly confirmed the practice of truth: a universal tool combines within itself all the flaws replaced them specialized samples, and usually in the absence of specific advantages.

South American engineers noted that the F-35 project was born as a result of "dense consultation" with the Russian Yakovlev Design Bureau, which at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union had a promising experimental model aircraft with short takeoff and landing — the Yak-141. If all of what later came to be with applets JSF, is a direct result of these consultations, the yakovlevtsam to deliver municipal services for the destruction of expensive military programs from "potential enemy."

If you read seriously, the F-35 project has fallen victim to, on the one hand, the conflicting desires of the customer, and on the other — the technical and economic constraints that do not allow comparable cheaply build aircraft with such features. The program JSF can be considered a pleasant example of the consequences of trying to make a fighting machine on the edge of available technology and besides, the principle of "the same, but cheaper." One of the developers, "Lockheed" on this occasion saw laconically: "They wanted a plane with such demands — low profile, single engine, internal suspension, short takeoff, and they got it."

In September 2008, the South American professionals in the aviation industry released a note in the British Revue "Jane's Defense Weekly", which carried "Lightning" an impartial verdict, "the F-35 program is not successful and has the potential to transform into a disaster of the same magnitude as the project F- 111 in 60 years. " A comparison of the ill-fated F-111 only for sure: it was the previous attempt to make a single "universal plane", which in various modifications had to serve the Air Force, and Navy, and even strategic aviation.

Officially featured properties F-35 caused a lot of gossip. The revolutionary innovation of American engineers from the aviation industry consists of, for example, that you first declared combat radius of the aircraft in various versions ranged from 51 to 56% of maximum range. Whereas traditional design procedure, backed by ordinary mundane logic (you need to fly back and forth and even throw in store for air combat maneuvering and unexpected), lays this parameter in the range of 40%. Meaningful conclusion professional one: the public demonstrated a combat radius "Lightning" with navesnoymi tanks in comparison with the greatest range without such. By the way, before the data are "corrected": now strictly radius equal to half the maximum range that as in the past leaves the question open.

The subtlety is that the placement on the outside of the suspension o
f the aircraft fuel tanks or weapons (and in the inner compartments, he is very modest 910 kg payload) here gives him "low profile". This is not to mention the deterioration of the maneuvering and high-speed features (and so quite feeble, if you start from the official thrust-weight ratio and the geometry of the machine), and the ability to withstand supersonic cruise mode (which is without external suspension by some observers called into oscillation). So Makarov, F-35 really can have such combat radius, but almost lost a critical part of the fundamental tactical parts of the machine fifth generation.

Add to that uncovered in 2003 "blunder" in rassredotachivanii weight limits construction (unprecedented error in 35% of the calculated values, according to a leading developer of "Lockheed Martin" Tom Berbedzha), which ultimately led to the loss of time searching for solutions, and weighting machine … unnecessary waste of 5,000,000,000 dollars. But these 5 billion were only the beginning of an epic titled "financing programs from JSF».

Rediscount rediscount

In 2001, the Pentagon said that during the implementation of programs from 2866 will be bought F-35 fighter jets, the cost of one machine in production does not exceed 50.2 million dollars. After seven years, the Ministry of Defense, "count" budget: South American Navy at the time for common reflection concluded that four hundreds "Lightning" they do not need. Now planned to buy only 2,456 aircraft, but the total value of the contract niskolechko did not fall, and even grew to 299 billion dollars. Because of these costs for the two year schedule stretched supply of equipment to the troops.

And, in the end, another bout of "reassessment." In spring 2010, the Pentagon was obliged to officially recognize the Congress that in the implementation of programs from JSF was again broken "correction Nunn — McCurdy" (to exceed the military budget of the project). U.S. Department of Defense through the teeth called the latest figure — 138 million dollars for a single fighter F-35 in 2010 prices. Meanwhile the initial price of the car, voiced by strategists from the Potomac in 2001, jumped to 2.3 times (c elimination of inflation and rising prices).

It should be emphasized that this is far not the last part of the "Marlezonskogo ballet." Betrothed value represents only the average price estimate fighter in the criteria for its mass production "with the export contracts" (and to this complex issue, we'll be back a bit later). In the meantime, in the hands of Congress, other numbers: in 2011, the U.S. military ordered the first batch of 43 "Lightning" at a cost of over 200 million dollars per car. It is clear that when deploying large-scale series unit cost per aircraft will be reduced, but in exactly the same way as the process can be used to embed in the cost of the design costs.

Purchases of small series also does not inspire optimism last contract with the Pentagon, "Lockheed Martin" in the fourth test batch — 5 billion dollars for 31 "Lightning". In this case, the agreement indicated that the price is fixed and in the case of the additional costs the contractor undertakes to cover their own expense.

This shows the real potential to exceed "current final" figures prices. The military department as the United States, apparently exhausted the reserves for the upcoming growth of purchase prices for equipment and will be able to perfectly make up their own budget just by reducing supply or perceptible lengthening their terms. And then it will lead to an actual increase in unit price of the purchased items arms, as in the case of F-22.


F-35 program from supposed "cheaper", first due to large exports. According to initial plans, by 2035 over the limit were to go higher than 600 cars, and taking into account the likely expansion of the circle of the "partners" programs from their number could grow to 1,600.

But the rise in the cost of aircraft and growing doubts about his combat effectiveness does not go unnoticed. So, England is considering the possibility of reducing procurement of 140 vehicles to 70. Evil tongues are purely in English joke that the total amount is still, apparently, will not change due to the increase of the contract price.

Among small partner countries the situation is even more difficult. Netherlands detained purchase the F-35 for a couple of years and have reduced their number from 85 to 58 units. Denmark this spring froze the question of supplying up to 2012 with a "good" prospect generally abandon such ideas. And on the days of Norway took a willful decision to defer receipt of their "own" 48 fighters immediately prior to 2018. The official reason — the Ministry of National Defense said that "not aware of the prices at which it will be forced to take these planes." On the background of the fact that the Pentagon and did not fully understand how much it will cost this "golden fighter," similar wording differently as mocking and not name.

Looks more promising fate of the "Lightning" in the Middle East. Almost just Israel signed an agreement to purchase 20 F-35 fighters, agreeing to pay for each are the same 138 million dollars. And the point is a possible increase in the supply for another 55 cars, and the Israeli side has already stated that the "ready to use it."

But the optimism of Tel Aviv should not be misleading. Jewish government has always sought to get the most advanced standards of weapons and military equipment, regardless of the cost. Israel's strategy is to ensure deter Arab neighbors, and this issue should not be considered in the context of the war economy, and politics. Thus, the Jewish government at the time a lot of effort to be the first in the middle of the Middle Eastern nations to get the advanced standards of the previous generation fighters (F-15 — in 1977, F-16 — in 1980).

Because Israel does not confirm the order niskolechko international success of programs from JSF, but is an attempt to issue a need for virtue. Tel Aviv is in a situation where he has no other options, except as to pay any money for the aircraft, which it considers relevant necessary. Especially since most of the funds for the contract will be deducted from the package of U.S. military aid. Simply put, the end customer a large part of the Israeli machine is a South American budget.


May feel as if the Americans izderzhali some 10 billion dollars-s and 10-s several years of works on Straseni expensive, inefficient and seemingly useless machine, pompous betrothed fighter fifth generation. This view is, of course, to amuse the hurt someone's feelings, but it is fundamentally wrong.

Military-industrial complex just clumsy, monopolized and bureaucratized. He is able to devour billion without any visible effect and impose state frankly unneeded contracts. And still at work on his countenance reminded of an old aphorism Winston Churchill about democracy: "Disgusting, but everything else is worse." European military industry is suffering the same penchant for excess waste and additionally burdened kopotlivymi harmonization process. Chinese defense industry, despite the harsh progress in the last 20-25 years, so far has not overcome the technological gap with advanced countries. Russian as "defense" has
just received any significant funding, and is just starting to recover industrial relations and promising developments, one hundred percent destroyed in the 90s.

The only fighter standing on the arms of the fifth generation — F-22, just no one to carry on the war. He patiently waits worthy competitors. Meanwhile, the South American military industry manufacturing debug tools and workflows.

In the current situation, even conspicuous difficulties with the F-22 (fully combat-ready, but very expensive aircraft) and the harsh outlines of the likely failure of the F-35 (the same expensive, but for a number of assessments to the same little use in combat against) — is fully applicable fee the full deployment of engineering and design and production complexes Aviation fifth generation. And such a deployment — an exclusive reality of modern America. Other players in this field are required to catch up, upgrading its own research and production potential on the go.

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