Infamous JSF report precedes “abrupt departure” for RAND analyst

The author of a leaked Rand report concluding in a non-peer-reviewed section that the F-35 “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run” has apparently left the think-tank. (Read the report here. I obtained a copy of the report a few weeks after it had been leaked to the Australian press.)

Dennis Jensen, an Australian lawmaker, former defense analyst and outspoken F-35 Joint Strike Fighter critic, broke the news about John Stillion’s departure in a speech on the floor of parliament in Canberra yesterday.

“His abrupt departure amid the controversy over his reportraises some deeply disturbing questions. There are suggestions in some quarters that he wasdismissed over the document and that his removal was ordered by the US military,” Jensen said.

Read Jensen’s full press release on the jump.

A senior analyst who wrote a report critical of the JointStrike Fighter (JSF) has suddenly departed the RAND Corporation think-tank amidan international row sparked by his comments.

Federal Member for Tangney Dennis Jensen revealed JohnStillion, a respected senior analyst with RAND‘sProject Air Force, had abruptly left the organisation and that there weresuggestions he had been dismissed over the report.

“His abrupt departure amid the controversy over his reportraises some deeply disturbing questions,” Dr Jensen said in a speech toparliament Thursday.

“There are suggestions in some quarters that he wasdismissed over the document and that his removal was ordered by the US military.”

Dr Jensen said his office had been told by Project Air Forcedirector Andrew Hoehn that Dr Stillion had left the organisation but that nofurther details had been provided.

He also said that Stillion was not his source for thematerial and that he had never had any contact with the analyst.

In his pre-briefing report for the US Pacific Vision wargames exercise held in August, Dr Stillion had assessed the controversial JSFas being “double inferior”.

“Inferior acceleration, inferior climb, inferior sustainedturn capability,” he wrote.

“Can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.” 

Dr Jensen confirmed he had distributed copies of the RANDreport in a bid to stimulate debate about the controversial planned purchase ofthe JSF by Australia.

“The program general manager of the JSF project, LockheedMartin vice president Tom Burbage, and the program executive officer within theUSAF, Major General Charles Davis intimated that those who released the Rand document and made statements about it had a vestedinterest.,” he said in his parliamentary speech.

“Well, that person is me, and I do have a vested interest. Iwant to ensure Australiapurchases the capability that it requires, not merely a capability it has beensold.

“If the product is flawed, then our entire national securitypolicy will be as well.

“And that is too important for us to ignore.”

Dr Jensen also suggested Australia‘s Defence Department mayhave undertaken studies of the JSF and may have produced similarly negativeassessments.

“Has Defence done any such analysis?” he asked.

“If so, what were the results of that analysis? If they havenot, why not?”



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8 Responses to Infamous JSF report precedes “abrupt departure” for RAND analyst

  1. John S. 24 October, 2008 at 1:54 pm #

    The “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run” comments were based on the presentatin slides 79, 80, and 81 of the Rand presentation. However, the charts that show the F-16 with a higher thrust/weight than the F-35A contains the following caveat:

    “Note: All calculations based on data from Jane’s and assume:
    •50 percent internal fuel
    •Full air-to-air missile load”

    As the F-35 is designed to carry much more fuel internally than the F-16, I wonder how much of an advantage it is to compare an F-16 with 50% internal fuel and an F-35 with 50% internal fuel.

    An F-35 with 50% internal fuel has almost the same combat radius as an F-16 with full internal fuel.

    • Picard578 28 July, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

      F-35 is also far heavier, and drags a lot more than F-16. If you’re going to compare fuel, use fuel fraction.

  2. SMSgt Mac 25 October, 2008 at 6:38 am #

    Dr Jensen seems to have his head on straight in other ways, so it looks like he’s just another politician in need of an issue.

    Attention Dr Jensen! If your wonderful country wants the F-35 so they can operate it like an F-16 (or more appropriately an Australian F-18), then indeed you are wasting your money. If however, your country will exploit the advantages of the F-35 by using it as the design concept and operational philosophy was intended, then it will be the bargain of the next half century for you. Enjoy!

    (Now get back to putting AGW alarmists in their place!

  3. Sam Roggeveen 27 October, 2008 at 11:30 pm #


    You’re doing great work on this story, and I might follow up on it myself on the Lowy Institute’s blog, The Interpreter.

    One question: how come I can’t find Jensen’s media release (the one you quote) on his website?

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