Australian Navy Backs Off From F-35B Joint Strike Fighter

F35 Sea TrialsThe Australian military has decided to cancel plans to purchase F-35B Joint Strike Fighter short-take-off-and-vertical landing aircraft and place 12 of the aircraft on two of their larger assault ships, citing the challenges of needing to rework the ships to accommodate the plane, according to published reports.

“Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s proposal to put F-35 fighter jets on the Navy’s two 27,000-tonne troop transport assault ships has been quietly dropped,” writes The Australian Financial Review.

The two assault ships, which are the largest in the Australian Navy, would need a massive amount of modifications in order to host the F-35B, the report said.

“The jump-jet proposal would involve extensive modifications to the ships, including new radar systems, instrument landing systems, heat-resistant decking, restructuring of fuel storage and fuel lines, and storage hangars,” The Australian Financial Review reported.

The U.S. Navy has made progress with modifications to its first America-class amphibious assault ship, the USS America, in order to improve its ability to properly host the Marine Corps’ F-35B.

Some of the modifications involve fortifying the ship’s deck such that it can withstand the heat generated by the vertical take-off and landing of the F-35B, Navy officials said.

The America’s first deployment is now slated for Spring 2016, Navy officials have said.

In total, the America is configured to house up to 31 aircraft including as many as 12 MV-22 Ospreys and the CH-53 Super Stallion, AH-1Z Super Cobra, UH-1Y Huey, F-35 B Short-take-off-and-landing Joint Strike Fighter and MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter.

Unlike previous Wasp-class amphibious assault ships, the America will not have a well-deck to launch connector vehicles that transport Marines and equipment from ship to shore over water. Instead, the America is specifically engineered for aviation. Compared with prior amphibs, the America has a larger deck space and hangar area for aircraft.

— Kris Osborn can be reached at Kris.Osborn@military.com

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.
  • Nicky

    Smart move on Australia. Why get saddled with an Aircraft that has piss poor performance. What the US Should have done was to continue upgrading and updating the Harrier program with new engines, avionics, airframe and weapons.

    • William_C1

      Harrier has less performance, has been out of production for a decade, and has reached the limits of its growth with the AV-8B+ variant.

      • oblatt23

        And still its the better aircraft. That is how sad the situation is.

      • Bernard

        The problem is that VTOL cripples an airframe severely limiting the combat effectiveness of the aircraft.

        • curious

          This project was never about combat. It was about money.

    • DanH

      The performance is awesome…that’s why they are knee deep in the F-35A and have already started taking deliveries. Harrier is WAY outdated, there was nothing more that could have been done. They had already upgraded the radar and a few weapons…there wasn’t anywhere left to go. Besides it cannot land conventionally like the F-35B can. Not to mention…no one has built Harriers for a VERY long time.

      • Godzilla

        The Harrier can land conventionally: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cxATLtHZZA

        The problem is the payload is atrocious and the electronics and weapon systems are completely obsolete.

      • Adenzel

        The fact that you stated that the Harrier cannot land conventionally show’s how little you know. Also recent tests show that an aircraft that first flew in 1974 can consistently beat the f 35 in a dogfight. It handles like a pig.

        it probably is time to retire the harrier, maybe, but avionics can always be upgraded, also the harrier was brilliant in a dog fight. The main issue with the harrier being it’s subsonic top speed. That being said there are many many aircraft faster than the F35.

      • JaketheMuthaFuknSnake

        Saying nothing more can be done with an aircraft is horse $hit. All you people do that perpetuate these expensive wasteful programs are doing is assuring the future of Lockheed Martin.F-35B isn’t even a new idea. It’s a new rendition of an old Soviet design. There IS NO excuse for not being able to completely revamp pre-existing systems with the amount of funding and tooling that already exist.

    • twest915

      Ya and maybe just keep up grading the by-plane! That worked will also! Get a clue!!

    • UpLateAgain

      Harriers kill more pilots in both the British and US forces that fly them than the rest of their tactical aircraft combined.

      • LPF

        I’ve read some utter horse shite in my time, but you sir just won the internet

    • Donald Baker

      Good for Australia. Hopefully this turkey will go down in flames.

      • Godzilla

        This is not unexpected. With the price drop in commodities (a large chunk of the Australian economy is in mining) they just do not have the money to do an extensive overhaul like this. Neither will have Spain who designed the carrier in the first place. Not with the Eurocrisis on.

        I am still wondering about the British carriers.

    • jfelano

      Piss poor performance?? Wow, it replaces several aging jets and helicopter gunships and does that better than all of them combined. Wow your dumb.

    • Rusty

      Good move,flying junk pile

    • sayly75

      well after all that you might as well built a new one. SMFH

    • Gums

      The F-35 “bee” was never orderd by Oz.

      nuff said

      Yep, fly those Vipers and Eagles and Hornets and Typhoons and Harriers and all those jets with a RCS I can see 100 miles away.. Let’s use Mustangs and FW190’s and Spits in Korea. Let’s make the ROE so restrictive that we can’ t use a Sparrow versus a Mig over N Vee unless within visual range. Beam me up!!! Desert Storm was first battle with BVR ROE and see what happened.

    • spacemanspiff

      dont kid yourself the harrier is much worse than the f-35. It was called the widow maker because over one 3rd were lost in crashes. Just because the f-35 is subpar doesn’t mean your harrier isnt a pile of shit.

      • LPF

        I’m sorry do you work for lockheed martin? find me ONE source that states 1/3rd of the harriers built were lost in crashes or that it was EVER known even informally as the widowmaker you lying sack of shit

        • curious

          He is the only source, I think.

        • Mark

          http://www.pulitzer.org/archives/6722

        • Mark

          In the very same article above I gave you both of your requests even though you asked for just one of the two.

          • LPF

            I stand corrected you found the one article, where the “Author” calls it the widowmaker, unlike say the ACTUAL Pilots!

            Of the actual incidents listed the only one details, was a maintenance mistake, in an article that goes on about how the Airforce suffered a total of a WHOLE 5 Aircraft lost to missiles in the Gulf War!
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Harrier_Jum…

            You will see that most of the losses in British use here bird strikes associated with flying low level CAS support type training and missions and the majority in all other services , pilot error.

    • blight_asdfljsadf

      I wonder if the UK would take LiftSystem and try to make a light STOVL to fly off of flight decks sized for the Harrier…

    • Mike

      The F-35B is the only good thing to come from the program. It is by far a better aircraft than the jump jet in every way. Faster, advanced radar, advanced stealth, weapon systems, safer flight transitions. Now as far as it replacing the A-10, F-16 it is a good thing it has great stealth ability because that is all it has.

      • retired462

        The “B” model has a very limited weapons bay, and will be quite a while before the “fix is in”. Stealth is no good with external stores, and I can’t see them flying most of their missions with internal only. Munitions make the mission.

        • NathanS

          Sure, an F-35 in stealth mode may not have the weapons stores of some legacy aircraft, and stealth isn’t perfect.

          However, it can safely get far further into an enemies area of denial than any non-stealthy aircraft, and has powerful sensors and discrete communications (MADL does not give away the position of the F-35, is very difficult to jam, and is secure) to provide targeting information to AEGIS warships, drones, and other assets. It can then guide missiles launched from those assets to their intended targets. While specifics are under-wraps, it’s also able to selectively jam specific targets (so it doesn’t broadcast its position to other enemy assets), to help the missiles successfully find their targets.

          So it doesn’t need a large weapons bay to be potent; and is night-and-day better than anything a Harrier can do.

          • FASnipeHT2

            Still can’t take off fully loaded. We are one of the few countries left with big decks. Most of the other Navies have ramp decks. They also have to upgrade the landing areas due to the extra heat it puts out. I sure hope they keep making improvements. We need these planes to perform! I hope they become an awesome plane!

          • NathanS

            The F-35B requires 800ft (244m) to take off fully loaded with a ski jump (or 300ft / 92m for a light loading). (Source: AEROSPACE TESTING INTERNATIONAL September 2014).

            The HMAS Canberra has a deck of 755 ft (230m), so cannot support max take-off weight. It should support most standard combat layouts however (most practical loads are well short of the maximum).

          • curious

            You are repeating Lockheed’s sales brochure. you have memorized it or something?

        • DanH

          The Marines seem to have no problem loading up the internal weapons bays…so what’s the issue??

    • LENOJ

      compared to Harrier, F35 does not have “piss poor” performance. you can’t put an f35A or f35C in your “assault ship”. you can’t put an f18E super hornets either. neither can you put 4++ russian fighter jet.

  • Raymond SMith

    With all of the numerous problems of the F-35. Just it is time for all countries to step back and ask is this plane really worth the cost? There was some very big promises in the beginning about the F-35 that made it seem like the Superfighter of the near future. But what has been shown is the plane is more of a SuperChicken with numerous flaws.

    • Bubi Hartmann

      When the F-22 was still in primary development, all the news was about what a massive failure and cost fiasco it was. This built to the point where Congress eventually de-funded and killed the program with only 178 F-22s built. BUT - when the F-22 was finally fully sorted out and production cranked up, the final product that was delivered was all that had been promised and more. But by then it was too late, the program was canned. Doing the same thing to the F-35 given the legacy issues with the existing aircraft fleets would result in massive problems for the US Military, yet we are already going down that road (example - cancellation of the secondary engine program that would have ultimately helped solved the energy / dogfighting issues recently noted).

      • ircphoenix

        The F-22 was also over budget and delayed delivery. Which is what doomed it. ONCE the bugs were worked out (at the cost of the taxpayer) instead of at the cost of the developer, it turned out to be a decent plane. But it STILL didn’t get a HOBS capability until recently… whereas the Eurofighter has had that capability for YEARS. So our premier fifth generation fighter which was massively over budget and massively late, is STILL getting upgrades that bring it to parity with gen 4.5 aircraft.

        • oblatt23

          The F-22 is a better design but poorly manufactured so the reliability is a disaster. In combat conditions most f-22s will be maintenance kills.

  • RunningBear

    RAAF is buying 60+ F-35A and will have ample opportunity to develop both tactics and technology as the RAN Canberra LHDs are brought up to speed with their MH-60R helicopters. When the opportunity arises, the experience of both the Brits and the Marines can expedite the development of the RAN LHDs for the F-35B. The vast difference between the F-35A and the F-35B is totally focused on “ONE” button, labelled “LAND”. The computer wil then land the a/c nose wheel within a one foot square box. The 460+ nmi. combat radius from an LHD will provide an irresistable ISR capability from 1/2 a dozen F-35Bs on each Canberra. The RAN is also flying the P-8 which can team up with the BAM in a similiar ISR role.

    • jeff

      Mind putting what you said in English ? Sounds like defense contractor BS now

    • Godzilla

      There is just one problem with that idea. The F-35 has crap range. It is supposed to be a front line fighter (fodder) to something like the F-22.
      Australia is a continent and the possible enemies are VERY far away…
      The whole idea of putting the planes on the LHDs was to fix that.

    • blight_asdfljsadf

      “the experience of both the Brits and the Marines can expedite the development of the RAN LHDs for the F-35B.”

      No, the RAN needs money which Australia doesn’t have. Best they can hope for is buying Harriers once the Marines divest themselves of Harriers.

      “The 460+ nmi. combat radius from an LHD will provide an irresistable ISR capability from 1/2 a dozen F-35Bs on each Canberra. ”

      Money money money money…

      OTOH, maybe the Australians will find a nice lightweight drone to fly off the Canberra.

      • RunningBear

        …in my opinion, quietly close the door on the Harrier and if the Bee is bit much then a drone may be the right interim even unto an emal drone. … :)

  • Brucer

    WOW! I always thought the F-35 was a boondoggle but didn’t realize that ships had to be retrofitted or specially designed to accommodate this aircraft. Since the USS America no longer has a well-deck and is designed to house only aircraft why isn’t it a species of aircraft carrier instead of an amphibious assault ship?

    • Kirk

      It’s primary role is still Amphibious Assault. It just will be airborne assault instead of using hovercraft. The F35s are for support. However, depending on the need, the America can serve in a more traditional CV role because she has more hangar space as a result of eliminating the well deck. In other words, her primary role is still amphib assault, but she can also carry more F35s in a “light carrier” role. Note: she will still be dependent on other aircraft for AEW.

    • IHTFP

      It’s a “Landing Helicopter Assault” ship that will rely on Ospreys to drop Marines behind enemy lines.

    • IHTFP

      The third America-class ship, LHA 8, will have a well deck.

    • Jaime

      http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/navy-builds-ship…

    • blight_asdf

      It is indeed more of an LPH than an LHA. The designators could use revising…too bad it’d cost money just to change ship designations. Hah.

    • Ben Wallace

      The Navy is only going to build one more assault ship such as the USS America. I think that ship’s going to be named the USS Tripoli. Subsequent to these two vessels, new LHA’s will restore the well deck.

  • kurt

    This is why I need stock in these companies!!!! billions of $$$$ and they don’t even have to build something that works!!!!!!

    • Dfens

      Yep. They make more profit when the airplane doesn’t work and the program gets cancelled as it transitions into production.

    • mememememememme

      people always make fun of that ahole that blaze’s the trail this air craft is revolutionary ,its a prototype ,you see all these air craft critics criticizing and they can’t even see the way of the future, i’ll take off the blinders for you bro, one example , for one we won’t need giant carriers any more all are enemies are preparing for a war against are navy and are carriers are going to be first to be attacked with china’s new carrier killer, it takes 5 years and billions to build those giants we can now build ww2 size carriers in a month, this craft can take of from the deck of a missal cruiser, trail blazers always are made fun of then you look and ever a hole is following in there trail. yes i want stock in that trail blazer and ever other

  • blight_

    Canberra already had a ski jump…this is what happens when specs you give to teh shipbuilders are optimistic, and the aircraft in question is hotter, heavier, etc than the spec. Cost overruns make life awkward. Then you lose orders.

    F-35 loses another partner. Not good.

  • MIkey88

    YEAH!! It took the Aussies to figure out what that flying piece of crap really is.

    • spy 7658

      Australia is still buying the F-35A variant.

    • the health inspector

      Right! and I bet you’d give up your first born just to get a ride in one.

  • guest

    Good on the the Aussies!! It sounds like they have their act together. Be nice if we could say the same for our Navy and AF.

  • Bill Eudy

    White Elephant!

    Austraiilia is smart. This plane does everything and does it poorly!

  • WhiteCedar

    I am glad for Australia did not waste its money on the F-35. Worst plane I have ever seen. To bad the United States doesn’t know how to quit dumping good money after bad. Once it failed testing. Can not fix was is terminally broken.

  • GiveMePlanes

    God you guys are idiots. You read an article and you take their word as if it were the gospel and do no further research to find out why. The F-35 is still in DEVELOPMENT!!!!! There are still restrictions set on the plane. Once it passes another test they lift the restriction. That’s how you develop something this big. Secondly, you’ve watched way to much Top Gun. A fully developed F-35 with a Pilot who knows how to use it will crush an F-16 in a real combat situation. Why????? Before the F-16 even knows the F-35 is there the F-35 has already fired a missile at it. Whoever fires first wins. There is no Dog Fight.

    • bart ninja

      that is what they said about the F-4.

    • Big-D

      you’re making BIG assumptions “Giveme”
      1. your assuming that the F-35 will ALWAYS know where the bad guys are
      2. You assuming that the F-35 will ALWAYS the the first shot off
      3. Your assuming the bad gays will NOT shoot back
      3. Your assuming your missile will hit the bad guys not miss
      4. Your assuming there will only be one bad guy in the air and not TWENTY coming at you
      5. Your assuming the bad guys will turn around and run away once you fire at them
      6. Your assuming the bad gays will NOT dodge or spoof our missile then rapidly close to visual range and start DOG FIGHTING your ass
      7. you assume you’ll have enough missile to shot down all of the bad gusy before they get to visual range
      8. you assume that the standard rule of engagement will even allow your to fire your missile BVR in a hotly contested airspace
      9. you assume all of the fancy gadgets in the F-35 will always work and the bad guys won’t jam or microwave your ass

    • Tom

      Dead on!!

    • joesgarage

      20 years in development, that is the life of a program. IT should be no more than 5 years from award until the aircraft is in the fleet. face it this thing a dog just like the F22 that Lockheed couldn’t build right. That was another example of a 20 year testing program. It will be another 5 to 7 years before the F35 can carry some of the weapons, can’t fire its guns, Add that to the 20ye years already wasted and you have an airplane almost 30 years in development. That is insane and unjustifiable..

      • ronvan2

        Agree! Either you have the people to design a plane or you don’t! Either you have the technology, that is proven to work, or you don’t! Look at the B-2. I can’t remember hearing about a lot of problems when it first came out? Build it right the first time! Sure there will be unforeseen problems, but they should be small ones! The F-35 has way to many MAJOR problems!

        • gurst

          The B2 was built by Northrup and not Lockmart. That’s probably 90% the reason that what you said is the truth, plain and simple.

        • blight_asdf

          “I can’t remember hearing about a lot of problems when it first came out?”

          Probably because B-2 and F-117 were built in a day and age when they were Secret Weapons, and overruns were simply buried and not discussed. Stealth isn’t so secret anymore, and overrun drama gets aired out like dirty laundry.

        • shortchanged

          Right on ronvan2, and the us navy has some crappy ships as well, google uss Donald cook with black sea, a Russian plane made several simulated bombing runs over this piece of junk, which then lay dead in the water for several hours before limping to a friendly port on the western side of the Black sea.
          Some say it was majic, others say it was the MIC’s usual stuffup. You choose.
          Tell that nice sensible Mr Abbott, to do us taxpayers a favour and not to buy any ships going cheap.

        • Fred

          I worked on the B2. You didn’t hear about any problems because we were forbidden to tell anyone. It was a “black” program. Leaks didn’t happen then the way they do now.

        • DanH

          They had plenty of people to design it. I think the problem with your post is that you clearly don’t understand that they also have a supply chain to wait on….however there is no issue with the supply chain. -35’s are rolling off the line all the time…

    • ronvan2

      STILL IN DEVELOPMENT? I can agree with you on that, but, for me, LM should have NEVER put this plane out until they had addressed ALL problems! Right now it is sort of like “closing the barn door after the horses were out & gone”! IF LM had done this and the F-35 had minimal problems, it would have increased LM reputation for building an excellent plane, right, the first time!

      • derf

        Name a single modern military aircraft that didn’t have issues after entering production. Go ahead, try.

    • donbacon

      Yes it is still in development BUT the Marines are about to label it “combat capable” and the Pentagon wants to procure hundreds of F-35, all of which would require retrofit in depots yet to be built and staffed.

      • DanH

        I’m sorry, but why do you think they would all require retrofit’s? I think you don’t keep up on current events…

    • commonsense

      Yeah, but what happens when getting the plane into operational status (a decade late) finally renders the technology that made them undetectable in the beginning finally irrelevant? The become a seating duck. Or what happens when you spend a fortune on a “golden bullet”, but the enemy can overwhelm you with swarms of cheaper weapons?

    • Guest

      Yep, fly those Vipers and Eagles and Hornets and Typhoons and Harriers and all those jets with a RCS I can see 100 miles away.. Let’s use Mustangs and FW190’s and Spits in Korea. Let’s make the ROE so restrictive that we can’ t use a Sparrow versus a Mig over N Vee unless within visual range. Beam me up!!! Desert Storm was first battle with BVR ROE and see what happened.

      Oh yea, lets use same gas and loadout and meet 200 miles from our base and your base. Carry 4 x Slammers internal for us and whatever you like. We will get the first shot and first warning you will get will be about 2 seconds before you are hit, maybe even dead. Oh well, war is hell.

      Finally, the land of OZ never oredered or ev en planned to get the Bee model of the F-35. Do these folks ever due some “research” or whatever?

      Gums…..

    • Gooney

      The F-35 might have fired a missile, but that doesn’t mean a kill, far from it. See http://navy-matters.blogspot.pt/2014/01/rand-air-… Then, once it has fired a missile (and it only has a couple to start with), it has given itself away, and will probably have to engage in a close range dog fight, where it is dead meat.

    • keith

      That’s what they said in Vietnam, no dog fights. Thank God Topgun was born.

    • Tad

      Yup, still in DEVELOPMENT after 20 years. By way of comparison, the F-14 Tomcat was in DEVELOPMENT for 22 months.

      • blight_asdf

        The F-35 article represents a second iteration on the X-35 technical demonstrator that survived the downselect against X-32. The F-14 iterated off of the planned naval variant of the F-111, and went into mass production warts and all.

        Kinda wish they’d gone with the X-35, a smaller aircraft that at the time didn’t have an internal weapons bay, and lacked the expensive sensor fusion hardware that by itself can change the way the game is played on any aircraft it is installed into.

    • retired462

      We have been in the F-35 program far too long.
      Fighter squadrons should have been flying and fighting with this jet a long time ago.

    • Bob

      Ummm.. This plane has got nothing against the F16 so imagine that same mentality verses a MIG. Can you say Korea and Vietnam all over again. We had to train our pilots to dog fight again. Time to scrap this junk and build more F-22’s and come up with something BETTER to fill the other roles.

    • doug

      Mebbe, but the F-35 will fare far worse against the less costly, far superior in every way, PAK FA

  • Bernard

    Australia never put in an ORDER for the F-35B. They only looked into seeing if it was worth it for the Canberra class, and they will find once it is in IOC and in steady production and use that it is totally worth it. This a/c is a game changer. So all in all, this article is only made to look like the F-35 failing and countries are dropping their orders. Propaganda.

  • DanH

    Well the F-35 has a bad rap because of all the negative press concerning all the money being spent on it…which, if you want all the technologies and bells and whistles, you have to pay for it. The Aussies should have gone with the C model as it has greater range and that’s what they need down there. I’m actually a bit surprised there isn’t any orders for the C model outside the USN. But the jet is performing fine…regardless of what you hear about secret ‘leaked’ pilot reports - hogwash btw - EVERY aircraft goes through development problems…the more complicated the aircraft, the more problems you can expect. The fact they’ve only lost one so far is quite amazing.

    • GiveMePlanes

      You’re like a Diamond in and sea of idiots.

    • duker

      Its much worse than ‘complicated’- its practically useless, the computer software is still nowhere being completed and tested, its so far behind that its got a new main processor in the planes coming down the production line, but they havent completed the testing in the planes in the air- which they have to do before they can even power up the planes that are being delivered.
      They keep moving the goalposts on the computer system versions, so what was once version 4A and 4B is now 4i 4ii 4iii, and that is over a 12 month period. Plus that version wont be IOC till 2022.

    • oblatt23

      9 out 10 losers choose the F-35 - “failure is normal there is no alternative.”

    • ronvan2

      Sorry, but the F-35 is a POS! Engine problems, Fuel problems, Computer problems, a gun that is still 3-4yrs. away before it can shoot, cannot outperform current fighters, & on & on! I do understand your “bells & whistles” part, but then again look at the B-2. It has more technology than any other plane, 136 computers to fly it and I can’t remember hearing about a lot of problems when it came out?
      The bottom line, for me, is that the F-35 should have NEVER been pushed so hard until ALL these problems had been addressed and fixed!

      • DanH

        There are no engine problems…not sure where you heard that. No fuel problems either…again, not sure where you heard that. Computer has no issues…perhaps you’re talking about coding? The gun can, and has been fired, on schedule…as is the coding taking place to begin airborne gun firing/testing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFoJ93Kb5z0

        The B-2…where to begin……The 136 computers you speak of (which have been consolidated in a specific way)…one computer flew the aircraft…essentially instructing the rest what to do. Not many problems when it came out….until a little moisture invaded into the system and crashed one. Anywho…the -35 is just fine….haters gonna hate and the folks who know the factual information will try to no avail to correct them.

      • DanH

        “Engine problems, Fuel problems, Computer problems, a gun that is still 3-4yrs. away before it can shoot, cannot outperform current fighters, & on & on!…”

        Would love for you to explain each problem you listed because apparently you’re the only one who knows about such problems……we’re all waiting.

    • Scot

      Back in the 90’s when the Osprey was be tested / developed all we heard was what a terrible A/C it was and such a waste of money.
      And I seem to remember a lot of Tomcats crashing in the early 70’s.

    • Alan Martens

      That’s not quite the F-35C story I read on page 54 of the June 2013 Naval Institute “Proceedings”. I tend to trust the people who get to contribute articles to that publication to know what they’re talking about. Who are you?

      • DanH

        I’m not familiar with the two year old article you refer to. That being said, the naval institute is a private organization, and I certainly wouldn’t assume anything they wrote was fact. Perhaps you can post the referenced article. Until then, stop trolling.

  • Curt

    How can Australia cancel something that they never even ordered? The PM proposes changing some of the F-35As to F-35Bs. The Australians study the proposal and decide it doesn’t make sense. So first, there was no order, it was a proposal. Second, it would have been a conversion of F-35A to F-35B anyway, they didn’t increase or reduce the planned F-35A buy (which again is not a contract that can be cancelled). And finally, if they decide to change their minds later, they still can since, you know, they haven’t ordered any yet.

    • oblatt23

      Australia had solid plans to buy the F-35B. When they saw the real aircraft they canceled those plans.

      Every independent assessment of the F-35 says its a turkey.

    • dicemna99

      Yes, you can cancel a contract.

      A contract will stipulate buying ths many aircraft for this much at this time.
      As far as I can tell.
      This much has increasd to THIS much. That is grounds for a contract cancellation.

      Aircraft will be dlivered in 2013, is now maybe aircraft will be delivered by 2020.
      This is another grounds for cancellation.

      Airplane will be able to shootdown other airplanes.
      Well, actually this turkey wont be able to shoot down anything…

      Read more: https://www.defensetech.org/2015/07/10/australian-navy
      Defense.org

  • Big Daddy

    This aircraft will probably be cancelled and never see more than few becoming operational. The companies involved will have made billions of taxpayer dollars and so will the politicians and military hacks from kickbacks and jobs when they retire. My only hope is that some of the technology is transferred into other aircraft in production and in the future. Every time the DOD tries to make something do everything it does nothing. When will they learn? You make small incremental advances, you cannot make huge leaps it just doesn’t work well. You build with the ability for future expansion of performance & capabilities. The Bradley was an example of a vehicle that they tried the kitchen sink approach and it didn’t work. Some times they get it right but so many times they repeat the same mistakes. Mistakes are made yes but not at the overall cost of the F-35. The aircraft has too many issues that look like they are unsolvable.

    • diceman99

      Yes, you can cancel a contract.

      A contract will stipulate buying ths many aircraft for this much at this time.
      As far as I can tell.
      This much has increasd to THIS much. That is grounds for a contract cancellation.

      Aircraft will be dlivered in 2013, is now maybe aircraft will be delivered by 2020.
      This is another grounds for cancellation.

      Airplane will be able to shootdown other airplanes.
      Well, actually this turkey wont be able to shoot down anything…

    • Mark

      When you say, “to many issues that remain unsolvable,” what unsolvable specific issues are you referencing?

      • dave brown

        can’t turn, can’t accelerate, can’t run. those are unsolvable.

  • Marcus

    Dear Dan H, part from being an apologist for the F35 and therefore one suspects you may work in a factory making the poor quality components that are eventually cobbled together to make the worlds worst fighter, one thing you are not is an Aussie whereas Your recommendation that we should opt for the C model F35 only underscores your lack of knowledge. the Canberra class is designed with elevator and ski ramp to operate STOVL jets like the Harrier or B model JSF. It has no capacity to accept a catapault to operate C model type carrier jets. you see once again we and the rest of the West foolishly trusted the US to deliver on its hype about the F35 being a worthy product. Sadly though the real problem we and the US ill have to face up to is that without an alternative the F35 in any version A, B or C, for the first time since WWII the Western alliance will in future lack air superiority and our F35 pilots will go to their doom if they have to take an F35 into combat. so much for your corrupt congressional procurement system.

    • duker

      I think he meant the longer range of the C model. Just as they now operate the F18 models which were designed to be launched from a carrier.

    • planeinspector

      He may work in the “factory” but where do you work to have such vast “knowledge” of the F35 other than what you read? I work on the aircraft so I feel I’ve got a better understanding of the aircraft than you do.

    • DanH

      Ouch Marcus! I guess Australian’s are just plain rude, huh? Your assumption that I’m not Australian is correct. I am absolutely knowledgeable as to your Navy’s equipment and capabilities. As noted by duker, and what I thought I made clear previously, I was going with the highest range C model due to your country’s operating environment. Your country has NEVER placed an order for F-35B’s. They’ve taken delivery of the A model, I’m sure you know, and I think a mix of A’s and C’s would be best suited. Not sure why you think your pilots will go to their doom going into combat in a -35. Hell you all are flying -18/C/D/E/F’s right now…talk about a lack of stealth. Your chances will be far better in a -35. If there’s still an argument from you, then I’ll leave you with this….just fly the military aircraft your country produces……. ;-)

  • Jsam77

    I’m no fan of the F-35. But, of the three variants, the B model is the most impressive and represents quite a leap forward compared to the Harrier jets it will replace. If safety is the only metric used to compare the two there is almost no comparison. I think the decision by the Aussies is more indicative of the cost and delay of re-engineering the Canberra class than it is a vote of no confidence in the B. From what I’ve read, they really weren’t considering using STOVL aircraft on the ships in the first place - the ship was a Spanish design and it would have cost more to remove the ski jump than to keep it. In other words, their choice not to purchase the B has almost nothing to do with the aircraft itself.

    • oblatt23

      >If safety is the only metric used to compare the two

      Yea that is the metric to use for a fighter jet.

      • Nashingun

        Jsam77
        I totally agree with you! The STOVL is a deadly combination for a stealth supersonic F-35. There are so many half-wit mumblers out there crying this plane is useless but sadly the F-35B is the most lethal of all 5th gen aircraft manufactured today! Even a T-50 PAK FA won’t survive a F-35B hold up in the air and maneuvers in short angles for a kill. Just watch how the Harrier maneuvers and add to it stealth, supersonic speed and the best technology money can buy today! Sweet!

        • curious

          don’t you think its embarassing to make arbitrary fictional claims about fighter jets?

      • jsam77

        I get what you’re saying, but the life of a pilot is not a minor consideration when considering your platform. One of my closest friends flew the Harrier. There is a reason why they call it “the Widow-maker”.

    • DanH

      The technology is impressive, yes, but from an operations standpoint…it was not needed. They should have gone with the C’s and flown them all off the carriers.

  • ToBeSeen

    Ummmm……__If I read correctly……__There were over 100,000 air sorties during Desert Storm…..__20 of which could be classified as “Air to Air” engagements…..__Most were controlled/directed by AWAC”S Bid A$$ Radar……__I can see how important dog fighting is to War……….__Wars are not won by a single dog fighting contest between a MIG and a F-## aircraft…. it is the whole package of US military Services coordinating attacks…..__Just saying…..

  • David

    The F-35 is an incredibly expencive boondoggle. Put updated F-15 and F16 in the correct numbers, throw in some A-10s…. you have a more than effective force at one tenth the price. Oh sorry,, Im being a realist,,, oops sorry congress.

    • ronvan2

      YEP! Just look at the B-52s. Upgraded many times, flying for 50+ years and still carries more bombs than the B2! Next upgrade that I have heard about is to replace their old engines with more modern ones. Built right and designed for ONE mission!

    • jfelano

      Wow your dumb. The F35 is a multi role aircraft that does it’s job better than all those you just mentioned combined. Get a clue buddy.

    • derf

      The F-15SE, the upgraded F-15 that was pushed as an alternative to the F-35, costs about $100 million each. That’s the same as the F-35A, and not much less than the F-35C’s $120 million.

      The Israelis pay about $50 million for each F-16I, and those are not modernized. The slightly modernized (to the maximum that it can take, at least) F-16 E/F models cost somewhere between $50 million and $80 million each (price quotes vary). At best, merely 2-1 over F-35As.

      • DanH

        Except for the fact the -15SE is not in production in any form. -16E/F’s cannot be marketed due to the fact the UAE fronted all the money for the type. Hence the reason LM marketed the ‘F-16I’ to india without some of the E/F’s systems.

    • Bill Wallace

      Incredibly expensive?? A 5th generation, stealth fighter, with 3 variants that currently sells for $96 to $116 Million, depending on the variant. The services are currently considering a block purchase of F-35s that will bring the price closer to $80 million each. Kindly enlighten me on HOW that is incredibly expensive!!

  • oblatt23

    Lockheed structures its contracts and agreements to keep the ponzi scheme going. That is how they can pretend that there are orders for 3000 aircraft and keep the pretense up that everyone loves their turkey. But when it comes to pay something the customers evaporate.

    In the end our allies will bail and we will be left with paying for it.

  • fonz

    Just get the Apache or the Cobra.

  • ronvan2

    It would appear that Australia’s leaders are a lot smarter than ours! The F-35 belongs alongside Bernie Madock as being one of the worst ponze schemes, supported by OUR military & “elected clowns”!

  • reddog

    The F-35 was flawed from the start. The problem started because the so called experts never listened to the pilots about what they needed or didn’t need in a specific situation.

  • Nashingun

    Stupids with poor picture of a fully operational F-35s capabilities so hilariously lost on bad publication and media reports thinking that this plane can’t do dog-fight or is a piece of target practice… witless mumblings! Nevertheless, just watch till this plane gets into service and take on real battles and see how its cutting edge technology really works and how it is designed to fight. So gullible of the media hyping loonies! lol

  • BlackOwl18E

    I’m laughing my head off over here. It’s found out that the F-35 can’t dogfight and that was what it took to get some more people to back out and for the US to reconsider the amount of the whole fleet that’s purchased.

  • mwood

    We can defeat ISIS with bi-planes, but we have no testosterone (ie, women)…

  • LRK55

    Seems to me the F35B is the only model that is needed so far. The other F35 variants are not as good as the F18 or the F16, but the F35B is way better than the Harrier. I am in favor of USMC getting F35 ASAP. Other branches should hold off.

    IMO, the the F35ABC should remain in LRIP until Block 4, and a new engine. That is is 2025 time-frame
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/sensor-….

    • DanH

      Why would it need a new engine!??? The one it has now works just fine………

    • blight_asdfljsadf

      What’s unfortunate is that legacy Harrier customers can’t buy the -B straightaway. Not without thermion coatings and strengthened ski jumps. Given the global economic crunch, this hurts the -B’s export opportunities.

  • RRGED

    I would support and vote for selling the Aussie’s one of our Super Carriers.

  • ALFRED SURWIN

    1. DOES ANYONE know just what the fantastic F-35 actually costs, i.e. $140,000,000 per plane ?
    2. How would the F-35 compare to the most recent versions of the i.e. Eurofighter or similar … has any group done this homework ?
    3. Is the F-35 really political rather than military ?
    Appreciate knowing, thank you !

  • Rob

    The f 35 airplane is a family of three different planes with some of the same design features that share 80 percent of there parts. It is not designed to dogfight with a f16 who’s pilot would never see it coming. The f22 raptor and f18 super hornet aren’t going anywhere for 20 to 30 years. The f35 winning design is suppose to save money in the future when your only maintaining one set of parts for three planes. Not A6 A10 F22 F18 F14 F15 F16 T38

    • blight_asdfljsadf

      A-6, F-14 already replaced by the Superbug.

      F-15 not replaced by JSF, and probably never will. Same with F-22. Same with T-38.

  • Charles

    “…the America is specifically engineered for aviation. Compared with prior amphibs, the America has a larger deck space and hangar area for aircraft…”
    ====================================
    Ha! - “specifically engineered for aviation…”.

    Big Fat Hairy Deal. This is what is otherwise known as a CV, or CVL, and this has been done before. Many times. The only differences between this so-called amphib and a standard carrier is that its missing an angled flight deck, catapult, and arresting gear.

    W/r/t the F-35, so far it seems the only victory securable by this aircraft for for the boardroom at LockMart.

  • JonF

    scrap the F-35! What a f^%$ing waste of money. Once again it became the new shinny thing for the Airforce, Navy and Marines to have. The notion of an aircraft beinh multi -roll makes me smile. Anytime we think anything can do more than one thing great, really means it can’t do any one thing well. I agree with a previous writter, lets upgrade the currrent fleet in all related branches and develope something worth while.

  • lance

    With all its problems its delays and cost….. Like this would be a real shocker!!!!!

  • @Todd_Klassy

    Scrap the F-35A. Re-start the assembly lines and replace them with the proven F-22 Raptor, which costs the same as the F-35A. Scrap the F-35C and buy the stealth-like version of the advanced F-18 Super Hornet. Work out the bugs on the F-35B because, well, there aren’t many other options. Any savings left over use to upgrade the A-10 Thunderbolts AND start R&D on the generation 6 fighter now.

  • Bob

    How many of you armchair engineers have aeronautical degrees? I suspect NONE!

    • oblatt23

      How many Lockheed shills believe in magic ? The aeronautical engineers look at the high wing loading and poor thrust to weight of the F-35 and tell you year sago that the F-35 was a dog. But the shills will tell you that F-35 has magical capabilities that allows it to ignore physics

      • William_C1

        If wing loading was everything the F-4 would be more than a match for an F-16 in a dogfight, now have you ever seen that picture of the F-16 turning within the turn radius of an F-4? Wing loading isn’t everything and the F-35 has a decent T/W at 50% fuel (which is still some 9,000 lbs of fuel for the F-35A).

      • Big-D

        the Lockheed shrills believe the Power point is more powerful than the sword LOL

  • JBH

    the problem is that we as a nation continue to believe that our ever evolving technological weaponry will be our salvation . if they fire 1 missle we’ll respond with a 100 . if they kill one of our soldiers we’ll kill 100 assorted people and hope our targeted one is in the bunch . we can outspend and outbuy the rest of the world combined .

  • Schwack

    Nothing to do with wether they work or not. USA is basicaly demanding all white countries buy these planes for a huge price tag because USA simply wants the money and believes they can demand it wether those scrap heaps work or not. Pay now and we’ll fix ’em later policy. Better off buying cheaper copies the chinese already made from plans USA already gave them.

  • blight_asdfljsadf

    Do the australians have any plans to fly STOL aircraft off the jump? Short of buying the last Harriers on the planet, that jump will probably be pretty useless if they use it as a helicopter carrier.

  • oblatt23

    Everyone agrees that the F-35 is rubbish, the shills will tell you repeatedly that poor performance doesn’t matter. The real debate is between those that support Lockheed and its need for more money and those that support the USA and its security.

    • Lars Ragnar

      Steal the plans for the Sukhoi T-50 and go into production

    • crackedlenses

      And who pray tell made you the spokesperson for “everyone”, Comrade Oblatski? You certainly don’t speak for me….

  • James

    Australian Navy never had an order for F35B. The PM’s thought bubble on putting some of them on the LHD ships never got beyond the thought bubble stage (well, not so far).

    Our Air Force order for 72 F35A’s remains unchanged.

    But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

  • tim

    Cancel the order of 100 F-35A’s for the RAAF, get more super hornets.

  • ipeanddevelopment

    Those wanting the F-35B flying of the Canberra Class are simply illogical people. Like SpazSinbad.

  • Sir Laughalot

    Australia is going to buy 24 SU33s instead so they can compete with Indo….

    • William_C1

      What? Su-33s? There isn’t enough room on those amphibious assault ships. They’d fall right into the water.as soon as they tried to take off.

    • ronvalencia

      http://www.asiapacificdefencereporter.com/article…

      “The Hornets and Sukhois are having interesting fights with various outcomes. The Hornets have done fairly well, even during 1v1.” WGCDR Jones said Australian pilots were getting a “buzz out of working with a new platform,” but he too declined to offer an opinion on the capabilities of the Flankers. Instead he diplomatically said, “I remain very comfortable that we have the Super Hornet in RAAF service.” GPCAPT Kitcher assessed the Super Hornets as enjoying parity with the Flankers, but that “a pilot’s skill is the most important factor”.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gX_vZB-2nE
      F-18E vs SU-35. Notice Flanker’s drop moment after high AoA.

  • Fernando Perales

    Why keep spending tax dollars on a an unarwothy jet…Time to stand and deliver,which it has not and won’t. Cut it take the hit,use the money for other retrofits like keeping the A-10,among other worthy proven work horses…

    • Valvatorez

      Because military acquisitions policy driven by greed, not common sense like logical thinking adults.

    • DanH

      I think you meant ‘unairworthy’ jet? How is it in any way unairworthy?…they’re flying right now as a matter of fact…The A-10 isn’t going anywhere and has been updated. Are you not well versed on the subject you’re trying to discuss?

  • blight_asdf

    This seems like a paper study that simply said “do not buy this unless you have lots of money to bring our Canberras up to spec”. And in alignment with their fiscal responsibilities/limitations the process stopped.

    Anyone know how much more range the -C is supposed to have over the -A? And perhaps, what disadvantages would come from giving the -A variant the larger wing of the -C?

  • BAJ15

    This post certainly has gained a lot of interest. Certainly, this is a huge contract and commitment. Projects like this have lots of issues. My hope is that this does turn out to be what it started out to be. Time will tell.
    One observation I have is that to me, the main advantage this aircraft line will have is its communicative abilities. Specifically, to merge with other systems such as UCAVs of a wide variety. Perhaps the plan is that there will be air to air UCAVs at its disposal to aide in the well documented “dog fight” deficiency?
    Also, to me this is a software challenge like none other. Could the performance be enhanced further one the restrictions are taken off, and it can perform more aggressively? All with a few more lines (or million, what’s the difference, right?) of code?

  • changey

    Totally misleading headline. Aussies never placed an order for the F-35B so they can hardly cancel the order.
    All the Aussies did was conduct a study as to whether they should buy it. I’m really disgusted with some in the defense news racket(like this byline) who pursue agenda’s as dishonestly as the national media does with politics. People whine about the F-35’s limitations as a dogfighting jet when it was never designed to be azz kicking dogfigter because the F-22 was given that job! Too bad Obama cancelled the F-22 at a paltry and near useless number of 180+ which forces the USAF fit a round peg in a square hole.

  • galloglas

    That’s soon to be one dead bird.
    Thank the Lord no Men and women were killed because of it, yet.

    I’ve read where the heat signature from it’s one LARGE exhaust nacelle is three times hotter and brighter on IR than any fighter of it’s size.
    That alone will make it’s last defensible feature null and void, stealth.
    A Bonfire in the sky.

  • David Amos

    Once upon a time there was a project P1127 and a super sonic stablemate P1154. The P1127 became the Harrier, work stopped on the P1154 but 70% of it’s features appeared in Harrier 2 (B). Scrap F35 and dust off the P1154 plans and give it new avionics, carbon fibre etc. Even a suitable vector thrust supersonic engine exists in plan form. Evolution versus quantum leap?

  • camille

    Its need to be order before you can cancel.

  • TeXan1111

    The AF Navy USMC turkey takes all the Defense budget and they cut the ground forces to boot!

  • 45k20

    Good for Australia, bad for the F-35. (Or, good for Lockheed, as they can drive the prices up again).

    I shall repeat myself: The Marines do not need their own fixed wing aircraft….they will never go into a combat action without the Navy in support, and they have plenty of aircraft. Designing a plane JUST for the Marines, and the USMC even HAVING it’s own fixed wing combat aircraft, is stupid.

  • gkm

    the australians don’t want to want to waste their money on a gold plated piece of crap.

  • Roland

    The F-35 could be best in performance flight on its vertical up and down on mid air flight maneuver.

  • AirBull

    Remember that the LHA-6 USS America was an all new design and ended up being a one-off all new class of aircraft carrier, as it’s well deck was omitted in favor of a larger ACE. Total joke and waste of money, both the ship and most of the aircraft it carries to include the F-35B,V-22, UH-1Y, and AH-1Z. The CH-53E and the new CH-53K are great aircraft.

    Existing MH-60S and AH-64E’s off LHD’s were all the Marines needed.

  • James

    I immediately think, hmm, why were all the F-117’s ground into carbon dog food. and the F-14’s turned into emulsified cat food… Support a failed project by eliminating the few things that actually make it redundant, because they do the job well and robustly. Have concerns here people, real concerns…

  • @AlexJudz

    Bad decision if correct. The F-35B is the best variant of the three F-35 variants. The LHDs need protection - they currently have none! They could have over 1000 ADF personnel and they are a sitting target with no adequate aerial support once they leave our shores and no adequate support from submarines. Add to that the late delivery of the AWDs and you have two LHDs that can only be used in peacetime for assistance missions. Not exactly why we have them or a navy.

  • blight_asdfljk

    There’s something hilarious about the Tu-160. It is a missile carrier (which was the original plan for the B-52, to carry lots of ALCM) using their version of the B-1A. There’s some interesting Cold War irony in it.

    8 were scrapped under NTCR (which probably angers Russians to this day). What’s also interesting is their keen-ness to restart production, rather than go the “next generation” aircraft shtick. Perhaps they’ll restart production, fill out the subcontractors, regain confidence in volume production of a supersonic bomber and then start their next program?

  • Michael

    Id read the article by Dave Baddams before drawing any conclusions about LHD capability. F-35B capability is one issue, but I would not read too much into the uninformed comments about what its capable of.

    as far as the LHDs are concerned, most of this “cost overrun” stuff is just untrue. the ships are designed for STOVL operations and in fact the Spanish versions are already operating AV8s. Baddams was the recently retired CO of 801(?) sqn RN so he has a lot of knowledge on this subject. This guy from the Fin is an unknown to me.

  • Keith

    So much emotion. I’d be interested in knowing whether an LHD would have increased surviveability with an organic fighter capability versus a reliance on land based air cover. Or do we accept that the LHD is optimised for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, and alternatively, where there is a hostile air threat, then we rely on a coalition partner to provide the air coverage.

  • Masto

    Good job Australia. What you need is F-15 Squad to fight our Sukhois at future exercises.