I believe the F35B has huge potential, but I don't believe the composite materials it is built out of can withstand the stresses of short take-off, vertical landing and following transition into and out of supersonic flight. Would it be possible to put the development of the F35B on hold for a least 10 years and concentrate efforts in finding ways in being able to produce high performance metals, such as titanium, more cheaply. Then a second generation aircraft could be developed.
In the mean time Boeing were willing to continue the production of the AV8 Harrier. Could they continue to do so with the development of 5th generation subsonic fighter? If so the US Marines and Italian Navy would at least have cover until the F35B were ready for entry into service.
You are probably right. but 10 yrs may be too long a time, based on what the US expects from its projects.. quick returns.Composite material fracture mechanics is a field which has not yet been fully understood,and few computational tools have been developed.To rely on them for prolonged periods with their unpredictable creep/fatigue properties could be highly risky.
Also the avionics suite is also in trouble with all versions of the F-35, causing serious stability problems.The entire JSF program should be given a re-look.