U.S. fighter cost $ 1 trillion refuses to fly

An ambitious project to create the newest U.S. fighter-bomber of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II ("Lightning II") is on the verge of failure. Developed by the American company Lockheed Martin fighter plane afraid of frost and storm, the U.S. military acknowledged. The deficiencies need another five or six years.

The Ministry of Defense of the United States have puzzled over whether to continue funding a dubious project, which is already "eaten" about $ 1 trillion A U.S. partners in the European Union are speculating whether they need prohibitively expensive fighter with so many technical flaws. 


Iron argument in world politics

The size of the military clubs has always been a powerful argument in international negotiations. And, apparently, the game muscles and saber-rattling for a long time will remain dominant in world politics. As stated on the eve of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, effective solution to the political and economic issues directly depends on the existence of a threat to use military force. In his view, the approaches of the Cold War and today takes place.

In this sense, many technical flaws and failures of the project F-35 Lightning II is not only wet slightly reputation of the U.S. military industry, but also an adverse impact on U.S. military doctrine that regards fighting aircraft main striking force of the army.

An ambitious program to create a universal fighter-bomber of the fifth generation of the NATO countries was launched in 2001. The company Lockheed Martin has developed three versions of the combat vehicle F-35: for the Air Force, Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. The latter provides the possibility of short takeoff and vertical landing. The newest fighter to replace, in particular, F-16s Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F/A-18 Hornet and attack aircraft vertical takeoff and landing AV-8B Harrier II.

"Lightning" bad luck

Sponsors of the program of development of modern fighter aircraft, except the United States are the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada and other countries. Initially, it was estimated at $ 40 billion, but, as usual, the military appetites grew. As a result, project costs have increased many times and for 2013. exceeded $ 1 trillion

Meanwhile, during the exercise Pacific Vision-2008 fighter F-35 was not up to par. Then it turned out that positioned the plane of the fifth generation F-35 "Lightning" on a number of parameters plays a Russian SU-35 and effectively engage air defense missile system S-400 "Triumph".

Even more disappointing conclusions about the quality of the new F-35 made in the Office of operational test and evaluation of the Pentagon (OT &E). Last year, all three versions of the aircraft revealed numerous technical defects. One of them (the shortcomings of the system on-board inert gas generating OBIGGS, responsible for filling the fuel tank air mixture) creates an increased risk when flying in theory all-weather fighter in storm conditions. Experts have concluded that the fuel tanks and the engine of the plane could explode when hit by his lightning. Because of this, the F-35 had to fly around for at least 40 km areas with frequent thunderstorms.

Furthermore, according to leaked to the American press to the secret Pentagon report to the U.S. Congress, at the latest fighter hampered visibility from the cockpit and recorded failures of onboard systems when temperature below 15 degrees Celsius. In the version of the F-35 for the Marine Corps during landing overheated fan of vertical flight and fail nozzle actuators. Military experts have concluded that the perspective of front-line fighter is not fit for combat missions. In February 2013. U.S. Department of Defense was forced to stop for a while flying F-35 because of another problem: cracks in the blades of the turbine engine.


Useless scrap of paper F-35

According to the head of the agency "Airport" Oleg Panteleev, that the ambitious and much-touted American project newest superistrebitelya experiencing difficulties, there is nothing surprising. "F-35 is extremely rich in terms of technical and technological solutions of the machine, have never been fulfilled. So engineers have to fix numerous flaws", — stated the expert. The quality of the newest American fighter aircraft impacted the lack of qualified professionals in the U.S.. "The processes that took place in his time in the United States and the Soviet Union to develop weapons, has slowed down in recent decades, for obvious reasons. In the United States, as well as in Russia, there was a definite generation gap engineering and technical professionals. According to the number of specialists involved in the military-industrial complex, the U.S. is also somewhat "sunk." This is, of course, also affected the quality of the aircraft, "- says O.Panteleev.

The main trouble F-35 Lightning II are not "childhood diseases" that can be eliminated, and its prohibitive cost and growing by leaps and bounds the cost of the project itself, he added Yuri Avdeev from the newspaper "Red Star". "Thanks to the powerful PR all tend to think that the Americans everything is fine (with the latest weapons.) But, as it turns out, this is not true — he said. —

Today, American experts have for a number of circumstances, "lift the veil" and reveal the true state of affairs. "According Yu.Avdeeva, review the amount of military contracts and compare prices with the competitors makes the world economic crisis.

Denmark and Australia have already abandoned plans to purchase the F-35. It is possible that the same decision would be, and Italy. The Pentagon has previously stated that he intends to purchase approximately 2.4 million of these aircraft, and their development and procurement of the U.S. budget for 50 years will be allocated about $ 1.5 billion by March Meanwhile, 2013. produced only slightly more than half a F-35, which is not surprising: with the budget of the project has increased many times and the price of aircraft — from 90 to almost $ 200 million

"When at the signing of agreements for the supply of aircraft countries — partners U.S. called some figures, and now impose very different, they abruptly disappear appetite. And then it turns out that it is necessary to eliminate defects, to which also requires additional funding," — added Yu.Avdeev .

Agrees with his colleague and editor of "Ferris Aerospace" Victor Anuchin. According to him, the project itself was originally incorporated inflated fighting characteristics that make it attractive to potential customers. "This is done to get the most funding, additional orders from other countries on this fighter. And when it comes down to it, it turns out that all this useless scrap of paper — he said.

The closest competitors of American F-35 Lightning II is a promising development of the fifth-generation combat — Russian T-50 and Chinese J-20. Compare car experts are not taken because there is no accurate data on their combat performance.

According to experts interviewed by RBC, notwithstanding all the difficulties Americans are likely to continue to implement the project F-35. That means putting money into it will be continued, and the fighter is clearly not cheaper.


Alexander Volobuev, RBC


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