US Air Force strongly backs the F-35 - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 25 January 2012

US Air Force strongly backs the F-35

(Photo courtesy

With the F-35 under fire over time and cost overruns, the USAF has come out strongly behind the fighter, praising it as "multi-role capable, able to fight air-to-air and air-to-ground."

Detractors of the F-35, posting on Broadsword, have consistently --- and erroneously --- termed it solely a ground strike aircraft, with limited capability in air-to-air combat. Broadsword, of course, has consistently backed the F-35 as the best choice for India, rather than the over-priced, over-hyped Rafale and Typhoon. The latest PR trick by Eurofighter (I go into splits of laughter whenever I think of this) is to fly patrols over the Economic Summit at Davos. I kid you not... I've received an official release from Eurofighter to this effect.

The American Forces Press Service release is pasted below.

Air Force Leaders Say Strategy Calls for F-22, F-35 Capabilities
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2012 – Fifth-generation fighter aircraft are key to America maintaining domain dominance in the years ahead, Air Force officials said here today.

Lt. Gen. Christopher D. Miller, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, and Maj. Gen. Noel T. “Tom” Jones, the service’s director for operation capability requirements, said the technology – exemplified in the F-22 and F-35 – assumes greater importance in combating growing anti-access, area-denial capabilities.

The generals spoke during a media roundtable in the Pentagon.

Fifth-generation aircraft are particularly valuable as part of the new defense strategy guidance that President Barack Obama unveiled here earlier this month, they said. That strategy explicitly affirms that the United States military must be able to defeat ant-access, area-denial threats.

“This is not a new thing,” Miller said. “Militaries have operated in ant-access environments probably since the beginning of time. But what is different, and why fifth-generation aircraft is relevant to that, is that operating in anti-access environments continues to become more complex and challenging.”

There is a continuing competition between nations developing anti-access capabilities and others devising ways to defeat that, the general said. “Fifth-generation aircraft are a key ability that the Air Force is bringing to the nation’s ability to operate in those environments,” he added.

The Air Force has flown against anti-access environments since it was founded. American fighters countered this capability in the skies over Korea and Vietnam. Airmen faced off against surface-to-air missiles ringing Hanoi. In the Persian Gulf War, airmen defeated the ground-to-air threat over Iraq, and most recently, they knocked out the anti-access capabilities around Tripoli.

But missile technology has become more complex and more difficult to counter. Command-and-control capabilities have grown. This will require a new set of capabilities flying against them, Jones told reporters. “The fifth-generation capabilities that the F-22 and F-35 possess will allow us to deal with that environment,” he said.

F-22s and F-35s bring maneuverability, survivability, advanced avionics and stealth technology to the fight. Both planes are multi-role capable, able to fight air-to-air and air-to-ground.
“These capabilities give our leaders the ability to hold any target at risk, anywhere in the globe, at any time,” Jones said. “I think it is important for any adversary to understand we possess those capabilities and intend to continue the development.”

Another aspect of the strategy includes the ability to operate against adversaries across the spectrum of conflict. F-22s and F-35s are particularly relevant at the top of the spectrum, “where we can’t always set the conditions for our operations as easily as we have in the last couple of decades of military conflict,” Miller said.

This is an extremely valuable capability that must be nurtured, the generals said.
Americans have become used to having domain dominance, Miller said, expecting U.S. service members to be able to operate on land, at sea, in the air with a fair degree of autonomy as they pursue national objectives.

“This is not a birthright,” Miller said. “That is something we have had to work very hard in the past to gain, … and we can’t take for granted that we are going to be able to support the joint team in future environments unless we maintain a high-end capability to target an adversary’s air forces, their surface-to-air forces and basically be able to seize control of parts of the air space and other domains the joint commander needs.

“It’s an Air Force capability,” he added, “but it’s a key Air Force contribution to the joint warfighting capability of the nation.”


  1. I understand that every kid wants the
    biggest and most expensive toy on the
    market and this is what Broadsword
    has been advocating. Procuring F-35's have the following obvious problems that cannot be tackled.

    1. Cost: when even the US government is having to think twice about cost issues related to the F-35 how can India - a poor country - afford it ?

    2. Even if the US donated F-35s for free the infrastructure for maintaining/servicing such a sophisticated piece of equipment is beyond India's capabilities. We are talking a costly long-term dependence on the US for what will be the backbone of India air-force. History has shown that the U.S. cannot be trusted. Even if China is forcing India and the US together it would be foolish to put all our eggs in the US basket.
    It is simply not prudent. Which is why diversifying purchases to Europe is a smart long-term strategy. European aren't powerful enough to take unilateral action like dumping your allies at whim.

    3. The most important point is that every power worth its salt has to have its own defence industry. What kind of a power relies on weapons purchased from abroad as India does for most things except assault rifles (and even those don't properly). Buying the F-35 means killing any Indian innovation in this regards (simply because of lack of funds). Technology development is a slow ans laborious process of perpetual technological refinement (of course one can always steal it like
    china does). This has to developed
    in-house no matter what the cost else even few year we will be out there with a begging bowl. Countries are aware of our lack of technological know-how and we are treated shabbily by one and all the Russians, Israelis, French who all over-charge us. This is point that Boradsword coming from a defence background will find hard to appreciate.

  2. please let it be known to your readers about your true intentions for pitching F-35 from the very beginning, which will maintain transparency in this blog. Whenever you talk about F-35, you look like a Lockheed Martin official!!

  3. why does the JSF need F22? a big blank huh? i start to doubt now ajai that US is trying to "buy" media now. do you forget that their weapons come with stingers, trackers, bells whistles and strings?? let alone the impotence, USA has great support aircraft, but their fighters are made for comforting the pilot, and not discomforting the enemy. i dont want to go into f35, its a high priced low capability jet, DOT. LCA is better, atleast it is integrated by India, and does not cost a bomb. LCA with PAK FA sounds good to us Indians. save the raincheck for some other time, this game is over, F35 is out for good. Supersukhoi can beat it any day, when it comes. read the aussie link i sent you some time back, or do you care?

  4. I guess the F-35 pays your bills these days, eh?

  5. no matter wat u buy ...f-35 or f-22 ..u cannot save this country...this is a country where a army chief has to go to court..this is a country where a honest scientist is declared unemployable and this is the same country where ministers can run offices from jail and people like kalmadi returns to same position after a tour of jail...Sir u might reject this comment as its too negative and pessimistic and doesn't deals with your beloved..without questioning your integrity and your honesty I hold an opinion that these are paid articles and while doing so you are not committing any crime after all you are an individual and hold full right to earn your livelihood and I'm more than certain that you must be paying taxes for what ever you are earning and hence this paid article issue should be put to the rest, because this is a country where people are making money through illegal means and not even paying taxes. People are making money out of almost everything from fodder to tanks to guns to jets to eggs to coffins and are still able to get away with honours like padam shree...and if in such an environment you are earning rightfully..I don't see any wrong in it and as far as F-35 is concern seriously that hardly matters to me because no matter what cannons you have, you need men potent enough to use them and we certainly don't have such men..our men live in adarsh and sukhna. Sir days are gone when people with pen used to change the a days its marketing...if u can market urself u can sell a pence worthy article for billions ..else noble worthies are rusting in the depths of what we call Republic of India...happy Republic day ..and I hope this is not our last republic day as a Nation...

  6. Nice piece of additional information. Its the excellence we have come to expect from MrAmerican the masters of the Mongo people. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Its killing. Score! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
    Thanks Ajai Sir ji!

  7. abhi tak blog bashing ka dard nahi gaya.....LOL

  8. lets have a respectable debate here. I ask you (BroadSword), in what way is your F-35 better than my choice (say Eurofighter)? If you have already mentioned somewhere already, I apologize, please give me a link, I will do the reading, with my limited ability, perhaps a little analysis and get back to you. agreed?


  9. Dear Ajai, I too am curious on what your response would be to the first letter (3 questions by Anon, Jan 25). I think he summarizes quite logically, whats in the minds of most of us.

  10. Anon@20:16 (The very first individual to comment)

    When you say "History has shown that the U.S. cannot be trusted". I can say the same with all the other supplier as well. Russians are known for price hike and delays. Europeans suppliers have issues with delays. Also, Brits and French both are known to sell weapons to Pakistan.

    The whole history of not being able to trust US, is based on the incidents when India was considered weak, economically and potitically. That does not apply today. India has a growing economy and enjoys better relations with the US.

    When you say "...Europe is a smart long-term strategy". Many countries in Europe are falling faster than a load of bricks. The so called hodge-podge-lodge of countries that are building the Eurofighter, they too have issues. They too are having trouble affording their product. Most European countried have a tiny economy. Their appetite for weapons is not as big as the US, even when combined. IT take one big player to quit, and that bird too will fall like a rock. The only nations that build, buys and actually uses it's own weapons is the US. If we can get the contracts right, there should be no issues in dealing with the US in the current environment.

    We should know the history, but running from it rather than learning for it is not the right thing to do. I say learn from the past, and look to the future. If all we do is look back, one thing for sure, we will never know what is ahead of us because our focus is on the past and that will never change.

  11. Anon at 21:40

    So US fighters are made to comfort their pilots and not to dis-comfort their enemies. Where do you get your news from? The US has fought more wars in the last 100 years then all other combined. They were the ones who cleared all the critical stuff in Libya before any of the MMRCA front runners were willing to go. This was just one example, do some research and you will see many more.

  12. The F-35 is an albatross. It's costly, we definitely won't get the code to the OS to make our own changes and to verify and plug backdoors, we won't be able to source local components for spares, and it's going to be expensive as hell to maintain. We don't know whether we'll get the desired availability rate as well as the plane's going to require a hell of a lot of maintenance. The F-16 would have served us best - cheap, proven, and effective - of the planes in the competition, but w did nlot go for it. Hell, if we wanted major modifications, the F-15 had the volume within the hull for our enhancements. Not to mention the F15 is a world beater even

  13. India will never sign any Intrusive Treaties like,
    Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement or CISMoA.

    And without that, whatever India buys from U.S is Minus critical Technology.

    And after all, these are the very same people who didn`t allowed Israel to sell Arrow Missile Defence system to India. And even didnt allowed them to cooperate with us in developing ASEA Radar.


  14. While I do not agree with Col. Shukla's prescription of the F35 for the IAF on several grounds, I respect his opinion and stance.

    What I cannot digest is the comments this provokes.. why does a strong opinion necessarily have to be linked to purchased bias towards LM? Isnt it kind of juvenile to do what we do best and say it must be because of LM's chai-pani? Weird.

    It is going to be tough for our experts to create a conspiracy for whoever wins from amongst the EF & the Rafale.... I mean, heck Sonia Gandhi is Italian... and so is Carla Bruni... damn...!!? !!

    Disagree like mature adults, not like rumour-mongering folks.

  15. Ajai sir,

    I hope you do realise that Eurofighter Gmbh doesn't have an air force of its own. The aircraft in question belong to the Austrian Air Force which is coordinating with the Swiss to carry out a pretty standard operation viz. enforcing a no-fly zone over a high security area.

    Eurofighter's role (by which which I refer the company) was restricted to making a note of it and passing it on to their PR department, which in turn passed it on to various journalists like they've done hundreds of other news articles in the past.

    Point is, your assertion about it being a 'PR trick by Eurofighter' is just plain wrong.

    Coming to the F-35,

    You're right when you say that its going to be considerably better than the Eurocanards while costing roughly the same (maybe marginally more). And I submit those who disagree are plain wrong and don't realise the sheer scale of money invested in the program. The aircraft's avionics and stealth characteristics will be comparable only to the F-22.

    But, its still unsuitable for India because we simply cannot get in the requisite timeline and with the requisite degree of ToT. The IAF wants deliveries starting late 2014 and HAL produced delivery by 2016.

    The F-35 will be available in earliest by 2017 (and that too in an IOC state not with mature capabilities). Secondly, India wants to produce the chosen aircraft from the ground up like the Su-30MKI. With the F-35, the best one can hope for is a plain assembly line with components and kits shipped in from the US. And even assuming all that goes well, by the time you have even a basic domestic line setup, the PAK-FA will be in service as an alternative.

  16. No Matter what you say the MMRCA deal will either go to Rafale or Typhoon. Even if F-35s were to get selected some time in distant future it could be for the Indian Navy and unless the PAKFA project fails it wont be even considered.

  17. What you folks really, really need to wrap your minds around is the way military weapons are costed, especially development programmes like the F-35.

    The US is evaluating a proposal to downsize the F-35 fleet in the context of having to cut some half a trillion dollars in defence spending over the next decade. That has nothing to do with the price!

    Why is this so confusing to so many of you? If your neighbour is undergoing a cash crunch and he and his wife decide, "we'll stop going for 10 movies a month and go for only 7"... does that mean that movies have become too expensive for your own household too? What logic is this?

    The cost of the F-35... and this is the fly-away cost, which includes the engine and all the sensors that come as standard fitment --- will be US $65 million per piece by 2015-16. This is about half that of the Eurofighter and Rafale. This information has not been taken out of a hat; it has been presented by Lockheed Martin in multiple forums. And Lockheed Martin, while a moneymaking corporation without doubt, does not put out false figures. Unlike in Russia, that simply is not the way that business is done in the US.

    As for the maintenance cost! Who the hell has decided, even before the fighter has entered service in numbers, that this will be an enormously expensive aircraft to maintain? Is the logic that... well, the F-22 is very expensive to maintain and operate?

    How then do you explain that the F-16 and the F/A-18 are relatively cheap to maintain and operate and provide an extremely high availability?

    The fact is that you will only find out how expensive the F-35 is to maintain and operate once it has been in service, in numbers, for a few years. And that is also true of the Rafale and the Eurofighter. Just bear in mind that the Mirage-2000 has proven to be the IAF's most expensive aircraft to maintain and operate. And now we're upgrading it at enormous cost and throwing more good money after it...

    Anybody who argues that the IAF cares jack-shit about expense and operational economy is flying in the face of facts. All that the IAF is doing is gathering more fighters... and to hell with the expense.

    And as for the argument that we need to build our own defence industry... of course we do. There is no greater supporter of indigenisation than Broadsword. I am not suggesting that we replace the LCA, MCA and other indigenous fighter programmes with F-35s. I'm arguing for buying F-35s rather than the over-priced, under-performing Rafale and Eurofighter.

  18. Hello Broadsword,

    You have made your point clearly here that you are debating purely on the cost. Okay, I look at F-35 prospect from 2 angles.

    F-35A is cost effective :
    My research see some countries get great deals for themselves, and others not a great deal. Will tell you more, the Turkish and Israeli govt are buying 100+ F-35A.
    Israel 100 F35A cost : 5 Billion
    Turkey 100 F35A cost : dunno
    Canada 65 F-35s cost $16B (with all ancillary costs included)
    Australia 15 f35x cost 3.4 billion

    Now, if Israel is buying f-35A with out any life cycle cost associated with it(if this is what ancillary cost mean to Canada), I think I am with you, does not make sense to buy Rafael and Euro-fighter. But then again, what will you gain and what will you loose in this deal. Question is will buying F-35A kill AMCA or on the contrary bring in some tech to ADA n HAL? The price discrepancy is little confusing, perhaps, Broadsword or some body here can throw some light here. Clearly a welcome thought here from Broadsword, very much appreciated

    Second line of thought: F-35 is not effective to the country

    Buying F-35 would make us closer to USA and antagonize Russia. What are the repurcussion of Russia being pissed off: Some are as follows:
    Russia will stop supporting us projects related to space, nuclear submarines, cruise missiles (brahmos), artillery and others (nuclear power reactors tech and fuel).

    A counter argument to the above could:
    We have already brought some much tech from USA like transport, anti submarine warfare, radars and others, what is stopping us from buying a fighter program.

    To this: a argument would be, we are buying transport and logistic equipment from USA like Pakistan has been buying logistic equipment from Russia. Also, when chinese built n pakistan bought jf-17 got Russian engine on it, India got American Engine on its LCA. So, we as a independent nation are keeping tabs on Russia, USA and Pakistan. So now you imagine yourself in the CSS and PM asks your advise what would you give?
    Here is what I would give. "We as a nation still depend on Russia on many fronts, we cannot antagonize Russians. When we bought western fighter aircraft in the past, it has always been countries but USA. So, lets go with the same format and choose the better of the two existing MMRCA participants being Euro fighter and Rafael.
    What is the conclusion?
    F-35 might be great aircraft both in terms of cost effectiveness and combat readiness, India at this juncture cannot grab it although it makes sense buying it now. If India wants to grab f-35, buying F-35 in small numbers for our aircraft carrier sounds to me a very good tactic. A drastic change will always raise eyebrows if we buy f-35 for our air force, a gradual change at a time is often not observed. So, conclusion, no f-35A for Air force, F-35 for Navy looks very promising in the future!

    To Broadsword, if you have a point, make it without abusing me. Please do not steal the joy of reading your blog, thanks.


  19. Well I agree with you Ajay, F-35 was always the best choice, comes in 3 variants and will be useful for all 3 services. Many forget F-35 partners are already assembling a lot of the parts for the F-35. It has a truly global supply chain, there is no doubt in my mind that apart from the real sensitive stuff Lockheed wouldn't have any trouble meeting the 60% TOT clause set in the MRCA RFP.

    If we order about 250 F-35, I am sure we can have them for less than a 100 million per unit and will come with the some of the deadliest weapons pack out there. F-35 is being tailored in order to carry a host of Israeli, US and EU weapons, there is no reason why we can't have Meteor on the F-35. Furthermore, such a large buy would automatically make us the largest international user of the F-35 which will give us leverage. We are already buying weapons from the US, we already have
    Harpoon, Paveways in our inventory with CBU-97 SFW, Fishhawk torpedoes on the way. Whether EF or Rafale win we are bound to have an all US weapons pack on MRCA since they are the most cost effective weapons on the planet often being 3 times cheaper than similar weapons elsewhere and 3 times more effective. Considering the army is buying M777, AF is buying Apaches C-130J, C-17, US companies are bound to win a lot of deals due to open nature of these competitions.

    With a massive F-35 order, not only can we pressure the US into dropping the need for intrusive agreements but also remove the existing ones. Cant go to the table without leverage. Sit at the table and tell them you'll buy 250F-35 if all strings are removed and aircraft comes with local assembly, considerable TOT and guarantee of supplies with freedom to defend ourselves at our will, I am sure US will oblige.

  20. Ajai, time will tell whether the F-35 ends up being a truly potent platform or platform that fails to live up to the lofty expectations of the U.S airforce and its partner nations on the project. I , unlike many detractors on this forum seem to believe that the F-35 has enough going for it to be considered a better investment than the current finalists in the MMRCA competition. However, I will say this - the future of air supremacy is not a manned aircraft and India had an opportunity to turn the problem it has on its hands ( with rapidly shrinking squadron & obsolescence) into an opportunity to transform itself into a leader in unmanned systems. You could argue that manpower is our strength but we all know that wars are won by projecting smart power not manpower !


    S. Satpathy

  21. F-16 and F/A-18 have been around for decades and are mature platforms. Their availability rates and maintenability are excellent. They don't use exotic materials, nor require special handling like any of the stealth planes do. The F-35 is a more complicated piece of equipment - cheaper does not mean less complicated in this instance as the F-35 tries to do too much in one design in a smaller hull (replace the F-16 and the A-10) - than the F-22. So, yes, there'll be issues with handling, availability and cost. Nevermind that the nightmare that is inventory maintenance in our armed forces will grow worse by inducting this plane as I'm fairly sure the Amis won't allow us to integrate the missiles and weapons in our current inventory with their baby.

  22. Buying the F-35 shouldn't piss off Russia, we are after all buying over 200 PAKFA, frigates, missiles, super MKI etc, there is no worry for Russia. They know we do not pose a threat to them, buying into a US platform doesn't mean we'll turn our guns against Russia, won't happen. Russia and US know that beyond China and Pak, we hardly pose a threat to either the US or Russia or EU.

    India will be the largest economy in the world on the long run, none will be able to match the population, the size of the market or the economic power our country will possess, we should get used to charting our own way. The rest of the world should fall in line with us and not the other way around.

    Once indigenous efforts kick in, these large scale purchases are pretty much in the last leg. Two decades down the line, for all future defense needs we would have become self reliant, so now is the chance to forge lasting ties with the two major powers.

    That said F-35 is by far the most value we can get for our money. All 3 services would be happy and the program is right at the beginning, we would buy into a new aircraft, a new way of air combat thus allowing us to be pioneers in F-35 tactics and possibly become the most potent user of this deadly bird.

  23. Mr Shukla you are one of the few people on this planet who are so strongly backing this aircraft. Im sure there are more experienced people in south block who are also concerned about our country as you are.

  24. go and read US air force budget estimates for 2011 where they have clearly mentioned that F 35 FLYAWAY cost is 122 million dollars. If you can trust their air force you can trust your country's as well.


  26. Stop it, Ajai, you've lost. You are a soldier, time to act like one. See the latest Associated Press article on the disaster that is F-35:

  27. Secondly, you made a point in the FMBT post that the way to design and purchase equipment should be by first planning an overall war strategy and then implementing it through getting the *appropriate* hardware (that fits the aforementioned doctrine). Why not take this (absolutely correct) methodology to our aircraft fleet as well? Frankly, the JSF has no place in our strategy ... the MMRCA tender is meant to give us an appropriate fighter in-between the light Tejas (interceptor role meant to replace the aging MiG-21s/Bisons) and the heavy Su-30MKI (main air superiority and strike backbone). Unlike the USAF, our strategy is not to shutdown multiple different fighter-striker programmes and replace them with a jack-of-all-master-of-none F-35 JSF. And finally, such purchases cannot be just made by junking a decade-long open tender and evaluation process and blindly buying a barely-in-production aircraft just because one journalist says so. A proper process will take another ten years and our Mirages and MiG-29s would still not be replaced by any MMRCAs. Finally, do read the AP article of today I sent in my previous comment:

  28. There is nothing more incoherent on this blog than the authors F-35 opinions, the 'doubters' get a lot of straw men but the true concerns are never addressed in a satisfactory manner. Like so...

    To say that the F-35 downsize has nothing to do with price is ridiculous, if the cost of the program were under control or the size that it is then it would not be such a long standing target of cuts. However it is also an issue (or rather of failure) of management, the US remains committed to the F-35 because there is no alternative, rather than that the aircraft is well priced or managed. These delays may gives additional time to fix the defects in the aircraft but they may not save it from addition, perhaps inevitable cuts.

    The readership is to believe that unlike Russia business in the US does not propagate false figures. Perhaps when using the credit crunch to justify cuts in production the author should explore why the crunch happened. While at it they can explain the belief that Lockheed is an accurate source on the jets price when their own estimates for the program have proven so wildly off that the US congress has been forced to pass legislation which will force Lockheed to cover further increases in the cost of F-35 purchases themselves.

    The F-16/F-15 are no grounds for estimating the life cycle costs of the F-35, why the author chooses to skip a generation (F-22) is unclear? Perhaps it is because the F-22 has proven to be a prima donna in the hanger, which sinks the authors argument as the F-35 will face the same difficulties (management of the aircraft’s stealth coatings and unproven technology risks due to a mismanaged development) that is just not relevant to the teen generation.

  29. The following from Slowing down JSF procurement – again – to allow for more testing and address the laundry list of issues outlined in the latest DOT&E report [PDF]( This decision reflects the conclusions of the Concurrency Quick Look Review [PDF]( that talked of a “lack of confidence in the design stability” and of the “concurrency driven consequences of the required fixes.”

  30. why don't you change the blog name to f-35 broadsword????

  31. @ Anonymous 19:43

    Your comment: "There is nothing more incoherent on this blog than the authors F-35 opinions"

    There is. Your opinions.

    @ Anonymous 14:38

    Your comment: "why don't you change the blog name to f-35 broadsword????"

    Why don't you change your name to Rafale Anonymous, or Typhoon Anonymous.



  32. On the contrary I find the points raised by @ Anonymous 19:43 and
    @ Anonymous 20:16 to be logical and based on facts (these aren't mine by the way). Broadsword seems to argue like a little girl - arguing for the sake of arguing. This is a pattern I've observed
    before, i.e., not addressing the facts head-on and taking things too personally for a journalist. I hope the rest of the officers in the defense forces are more mature.

  33. "There is. Your opinions."

    *Slow clap*

    Well thats told us! Swear words, shouting and hypocritical personal attacks show that the juvanile and intolerent poster is not the one offering a critical opinion of the blogs material.

    Since I managed to refraim from accusing you of being in someones pocket perhaps you could extend the same level of courtesy and attack the opinions rather than the person.

    So drop the smokescreen and address the issues. How can Lockheeds cost/timetable estimates be considered reliable these days, why is the F-15/16 a better comparison for the F-35 than the F-22 and how can events in the worlds biggest procurement program occur in isolation of its own cost?

  34. Those countries which dont have a credible aerospace industry if they buy any fighter jet be it Rafale, Typhoon or even F-35 will pay through their noses. Atleast in the Indian MMRCA deal there are offset regulations of 30% which could rise to 50%.Although the numbers of F-35s produced would be far greater than those of Typhoons or Rafales thus bringing economies of scale and more benefits to some extent but the point is that there are so many binding agreements which India may not agree to as far as F-35 is concerned though it is a next generation plane with stealth features. moreover india is committed to the PAKFA programme and only and only if the US gives in to India's demands the F-35 may not be a wise choice.Even if India were to select the F-35 when it would be available not before 2018 what will the IAF do till then it desperately wants to diversify the source from where it can acquire newer fighter jets.

  35. To broadsword at 18:53:
    You must muster the patience to put up with juvenile idiots. The world is full of them.

    I'm a firm believer in the supremacy of quantity and rigorous training over quality. With an inventory of 200+ stealth fighters from Russia and god knows how many more whenever we get around to productionizing AMCA. If we purchase F-35 as well, we're talking of a stealth aircraft inventory of about 500 planes. My questions to you are as follows.

    1. To what purpose do we need that many?
    2. What role do you envision our stealth planes performing in a war?
    3. There are two very critical roles for an air force in war. a. Keeping the skies clear of the enemy so that your infantry can persecute the war on the ground to victory. b. CAS for the infantry. How many conventional planes would we require for the all important second role? Fighting a week or two week long war without CAS against ineffective Pakistan is well and good, but if there's serious bloodletting against the Chinese, we'll need CAS far more than we'll need strategic bombing capabilities. In that role, wouldn't a conventional platform whose reliability is proven be better?

    My personal opinion is that we'd be much better off focusing on systemology, aggressive training and tactics, force multipliers such as AWACS, mid-air refueling, precision munitions, infrastructure, etc than following so many third world idiot nations and purchasing high tech because it is high tech and then finding out we don't have the talent pool to run, maintain and fight the machines.

  36. To broadsword:
    Oh and as to anonymous 19:43 being incoherent, though the person makes a mistake about F-22 and F-35 being different generations of fighters - they aren't - the points they make are valid. Like the DDG program in the US Navy, the F-35 is going to be too costly for the things it does. I'm sure that the americans will get it to work through unheard of levels of heroism, but I don't see why we follow their folly.

    Granted, the European crap we're buying is overpriced junk as well, which is why I think we should have gone with one of the two US fighters we had on the competition.

  37. @ Broadsword
    The F-35 won't have a fly-away price of $65M in 2001 dollars in 2015-2016 because the most recent US DoD budget announcement truncated the purchase of JSFs through 2016, they'll only be producing 44 a/c in 2015 and and 61 in 2016. This is in stark contrast to the most recent 2010 plan that claimed 2015 would see ~320 a/c produced. JSF won't be at full rate production in 2016 which means that they will not be that inexpensive by that time frame. The JSF partners will be lucky if they get their a/c by 2020, let alone India.

  38. Colonel, with all respect to your patriotism and your service to the nation I would like to ask you one simple question i.e.

    If I don't know anything about military and warfare then why should I trust you, instead of trusting the decisions made by people who are serving the flag under oath, they are still there to shed their blood for the country and have not quite services to make a bright future in A/C rooms of BS. They are the people who are accountable to no matter how dysfunctional but still supreme and powerful parliament of this country. Give me one single reason as why I should question their decision that not only questions their common sense and ability to comprehend situation but in a way questions their integrity and ability to defend this country, the very job which I as a countrymen have gave them. When I and my parliament and my armed forces chose them "We" thought that they are capable enough to defend this country and have the ability to defend this country, but if I trust you and go for F-35, doesn't that says that people this country trusted with its security are incapable??? and a former tank commander should be trusted, who despite all his wisdom might be knowing slightly less than a formidable team of ace fighter pilots about the performance of a fighter jet and how to use a fighter jet. should you have answers to these questions, do accept this comment and if u wish to then you might answer them as well. ( I just questioned your wisdom and not your integrity or your dedication for the well being of this country and definitely not questioned your intentions and loyalty towards tricolour)..M too small to do that


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