Analyst James Hasik, author of Arms and Innovation, yesterday posted a remarkable blog red-teaming a future without the Lockheed Martin F-35. You need to set aside several minutes to read through the logic, but it’s well worth it. Some key excerpts:
In the United States, the leadership of the USAF and the USMC see noclear alternative to simply continuing to pour whatever money they mustinto the program. (The Navy is an exception, and I’ll get to thatbelow.) But the US has a further problem: the airplane is not justjoint, it’s international. Like the International Space Station, theJSF is still stumbling along in part because it’s too international todeorbit.
Hasik also looks at all the world’s fighter industrial base, and finds them overwhelming aligned towards rooting for the F-35′s destruction.
In short, most of the combat aircraft industry would arguably like to kill this thing, and the rest is at best dispassionate.
Perhaps Hasik’s harshest comment:
The JSF is just not militarily vital. Several yearsago, I asked the head of strategy at a European aircraft manufacturerwhy his company had no obvious plans for a fighter beyond the currentmodel. “All our customers,” he said, “have enough fighters for chasingCessnas for the next fifty years.”
Rather, Hasik envisions a future without the F-35 program. F/A-18E/F Super Hornets team with X-47Bs. The US Air Force and US Marine Corps start from scratch to develop a fighter that can be employed against China’s post-2020 fighter and air defence technology. For, the international partners, maybe it’s business as usual, with the Gripen, Rafale, F-16 and F/A-18 continuing to compete with each other.