Wednesday, July 08, 2015

F-35 doubt spreads...Singapore upgrades its F-16's and Australia rules out F-35B's on the Canberra Class LHD...

Lost in the news of War is Boring's blockbuster on the F-35's piss poor performance in a mock dogfight against a 40 year old fighter is this...Singapore is upgrading its F-16's...via Defense Industry Daily...
Singapore’s Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) has released more information on its plans to upgrade the RSAF’s fleet of F-16C/D fighters. The upgrades will take place in phases from 2016 onward, with various capability enhancements planned. These include laser-designatedJDAM munitions, air-to-air weapons, datalink capability and helmet mounted displays, as well as an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system, as per a previous DSCA request . The AESA system is thought to be the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) system.
Everyone has been waiting to see what the practical, frugal, independent and technologically advanced Singapore Ministry of Defense would do with regard to the F-35.

An update this massive indicates a wait and see approach at the minimum and could signal dissatisfaction with the F-35's performance AND price.

Even worse for the program?  The idea of selling a few F-35B's (in addition to the F-35A's) to the Australians has been sent to Davey Jone's locker.  Eric Palmer Blog is where I first read about it and the story comes from Australia's Financial Review.
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 ahead of the government's defence white paper after it was found the ships would require extensive reworking and the project was too costly.
Mr Abbott asked defence planners in May last year to examine the possibility of putting up to 12 of the short-take-off and vertical-landing F-35 Bs on to the two ships – the largest in the Navy – which carry helicopters and are likely to be primarily used to transport troops and equipment to war or disaster zones.
The first of the assault ships was completed last year and commissioned into the Navy in November as HMAS Canberra.
But defence officials conceded to a Senate estimates committee late last year that 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.
There will be no extra batch of F-35's for Australia....they won't be able to use the excuse that its necessary in order to make the amphibious ships that they bought more effective AND they damn sure can't spin the numbers to justify the costs.

A bad week for the F-35 is starting to look like its quickly stretching into a bad month.

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