Tuesday, May 15, 2012

F-35: Skaff vs. Brigante

Inside Promoter vs. Outside Discounter: Nobody's Perfect

SLD Info has a fairly decent piece up where they interview a Lockheed Martin Former-Viper-Meat- Servo-now-Systems-Engineer named Dr. Michael L. Skaff on what makes the F-35 different from all those 4-point-something-generation aircraft that the Giovanni de Briganti fellow over in 'Gay Paree' seems to think is 'just like' a fifth-generation F-35. 

You have to make yourself get past the rather contrived leading-question format SLD uses, and sift Skaff's techno-cliche' verbiage found on oh-too-many 'summary' PowerPoint slides , but it's worth the effort to just get down and digest the data.
Source: SLDinfo.com
The only place Skaff goes way outside the wire is when he gets a little 'giggly' about the YF-22 having better 'maneuverability' than the YF-23. Yes it is generally known that was the case, but the difference in maneuverability was relatively small, and due largely to the gamble Lockheed made in putting vectored thrust on the YF-22 when it was NOT a requirement.  The YF-23, in comparison to the YF-22 was NOT as Dr Skaff described (in discussing maneuverability):
Skaff: Agility from a fighter pilot point of view is fighter performance.  A classic example was the YF-23. It was a phenomenal interceptor, but that’s all it could do. It couldn’t turn. It didn’t have great agility, fighter performance. 
They [Northrop] went too far with the stealth enabler, and you had an extremely stealthy airplane, but they paid for it in lack of fighter performance.
He 'overstates' the F-23 agility advantage (by more than a 'tidge'). Let's just say I was 'AFFTC' at the time, been inside ear-protection range while both aircraft were running engines at the same time, and know AF guys who actually crunched data used to 'grade' the flyoff.

He also conveniently forgets to mention -- if he even knows-- that the YF-22 was officially selected for being seen as 'lower risk' design and more 'producable'. Those reasons often get guffaws from those of us who worked "Stealth Week" for reasons I don't care to explain.  IMHO. the ATF contract award marked the shift in the balance of 'performance' vs. 'lower risk' towards 'lower (perceived) risk'.   

Skaff''s little ATF side trip in the discussion might dissuade otherwise knowledgeable people from accepting the rest of his assertions concerning the F-35. He needs to stick with what he really knows (like, apparently, Pilot-Vehicle Interface).          

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Yep. The YF-23 met the manueverability requirement (which was not small). Saying it "didn't have fighter performance" couldn't be further from the truth.