Where did that come from?
|Source of original photo: US Navy|
Today, with the successful-to-date F-35 sea trials of the CF-3 and CF-5 aircraft operating off the USS Nimitz these past two weeks, the story has become one of a ‘surprising’ reversal of opinion (or beginnings thereof) by the Navy—at least as far as the media would lead us to believe.
I submit, that to the contrary it can be shown that what Navy enthusiasm there is for the F-35C is probably pretty much what it has always been, with perhaps a few more opinions among Wizened within the competing NAVAIR tribes lately changed for the better.
The life cycle of the whole ‘Navy chill to the F-35’ meme can be tracked easily—all the way back to its origins. The first FIVE citations/quotes are from the same publication taken over time. I do not mention the publication’s name for a couple of reasons. One, it doesn't matter. The media followed pretty much the same path getting here no matter what the sponsor. Two, I am partial to the reporting at the source and do not want to unfairly highlight this one little misadventure among a larger body of greater work. [I've numbered the steps involved in developing the meme to make it easier to discuss and reference if needed]
Ready? We begin….Published this week, our source informed us that:
1. …The Navy has been much less enthusiastic about the F-35 than its two sister services, the Air Force and Marines. That seems to be changing now that the F-35C has successfully landed and taken off repeatedly from an aircraft carrier….There was an embedded link in the statement that took me to last year:
2. “That’s the message Orlando Carvalho, new head of Lockheed Martin’s iconic aeronautics business wants to send the US Navy, the service most skeptical of the F-35."There was an embedded link in THAT quote that took me to earlier last year:
3. “Speaking for the Navy,” added the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, “I need the fifth-generation fighter, and that [F-35] provides it, so we’re all in — but it has to perform. It has problems; it is making progress.”
“I do not at this point believe that it is time to look for an exit ramp, if you will, for the Navy for the F-35C,” continued Greenert, who in the past has damned the Joint Strike Fighter with similar faint praise.This passage had an embedded link to an article with this bit:
4. By contrast, the CNO sounded more resigned than excited about the Navy piece of the $240 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the carrier-launched F-35C. We have to have it, but “the question becomes how do we buy and how does it integrate into the air wing,” Greenert said. “If we bought no Cs, I think that would be very detrimental for the overall program.”This passage contained one link to a 2012 article presenting this passage:
5. …Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert’s recent article in Proceedings announces in public what many have already known in private: The U.S. Navy is not wholly committed to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Admiral Greenert’s controversial — and, potentially, hugely consequential — article raises several interesting points, among which is the contention that advances in sensing capabilities and electronic and cyber warfare will increasingly degrade America’s stealth arsenal.
This is not news. What is news, however, is the head of the U.S. Navy signaling a tepid commitment to the military’s largest acquisition program, not to mention the many allied and partner country participants.There were three links embedded to sources in the above to the ‘sources’ that follow. These are the first references external to the publication we’ve been citing so far:
6. A link to Admiral Greenert’s “Limits of Stealth” script in his now infamous “Payloads Over Platforms” article in USNI’s Proceedings as incoming CNO (2012), which, I note here, does not even mention the F-35. His shtick did not impress me at the time. Still doesn’t. But as we have seen in getting back to this point in time, his later comments appear to reflect a somewhat more ‘informed’ POV now. The 'CNO' is NOT 'the Navy' BTW.
7. A link to the ‘corrected final’ copy of the 2010 “The Final Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel”, A report that a word search of finds no mention of the “F-35C”, nor just the ‘F-35”, nor the words “Stealth” or “Low Observable”. Why it was even linked, I cannot tell.
8. A link to a Heritage Foundation paper titled “Thinking About a day Without Seapower: Implications for US Defense Policy”. It also has not a single mention of the “F-35”, ‘C’ model or otherwise, or “Low Observable”. It does mention the word “Stealth” three times:
Developing a Long-Term Research and Development Plan. After numerous studies and a half-dozen shipbuilding plans, Navy leaders have correctly concluded that the United States needs a larger fleet—not simply in numbers of ships and aircraft, but also in terms of increased network capability, longer range, and increased persistence. Navy leaders recognize that the U.S. is quickly losing its monopolies on guided weapons and the ability to project power. Precision munitions (guided rockets, artillery, mortars, and missiles) and battle networks are proliferating, while advances in radar and electro-optical technology are increasingly rendering stealth less effective. Policymakers should help the Navy to take a step back and look at the big picture to inform future investment portfolios. Congress should demand and uniformed leaders should welcome the opportunity to develop long-range technology road maps, including a science and technology plan and a research and development plan for the U.S. Navy. These plans should broadly outline future investments, capabilities, and requirements. The possibilities include:And....
- A next-generation surface combatant,
- A sixth-generation fighter, and
- Low-observable capabilities beyond stealth…
Building a Modern Congress–Navy Partnership. …Note only two of the three ‘stealth’ references relate to low observable aircraft, and those stake out a claim similar to that which Admiral Greenert has since backed away from after he assumed the CNO responsibility. In any case, the Heritage Foundation report comes closest to representing the “Navy’s” coolness towards Low Observables in the form of one of the co-authors: a retired Navy Captain and ship driver. Not quite "The Navy' .
...To relieve additional pressure on the already strained Navy shipbuilding budget, Congress should seriously consider funding the design and construction costs of the Navy’s new replacement ballistic missile submarine outside of Navy budget controls. These national assets are employed as part of critical strategic missions. Without additional resources, the defense industrial base and the nation’s conventional advantage at sea could be sacrificed to recapitalize the strategic force. Alternatively, Congress should consider whether this extremely expensive leg of the nuclear triad should be maintained in the face of decreasing stealth, shrinking nuclear stockpiles, and limited shipbuilding funds….
Strip away the journalistic overlay of 'what it all means' and there's no 'there' there. So much for the Navy being ‘cool’ towards the F-35C.
Now if you want to talk about the F-18E/F/G ‘community’ (read ‘tribe’) being cool towards the F-35, well………..DUH!