Saturday, June 13, 2015

F-35 'Reporting' : A Study in Contrast

Take a look at the serious article at AIN on the effects of the latest F-35 cost reduction efforts here, and contrast it with the crap dropped to days ago over at 'David Axe Is Boring' for the low-information crowd.

Yeah, the author (Bill Carey) in the AIN piece brought up the unrelated GAO audit gripe with Pratt and Whitney, but he did so without any of the overwrought uninformed voices of 'doom' we usually have wade through -- and he included the official Program Office response (retort!) to the GAO 'report'. I thought it was a palate cleanser compared to the even-worse-than-usual-drivel that came out of  the 'collaboration' of two punk-journalistas at Axe's place titled: "The F-35 Just Catches on Fire Sometimes".

Duuuude! Heh heh. Heh. Uhhh um Heh...what was I saying?

I bet they thought it was a 'real cool' story when they wrote it. You can almost hear the snickering as they passed whatever they were 'smoking' back and forth trying to weave their contrived tale of woe:

What happened is not entirely surprising. Some personnel and testers have already raised concerns that the F-35 engine — known as the F135 — is prone to safety hazards.
As early as the 2007 fiscal year, engineers warned that a serious fire could break out if fuel leaked into the engine compartment, according to the latest annual report from the Pentagon’s top weapons tester.
By Fiscal Year 2013, tests had confirmed these fears. “Engine live fire tests in FY13 and prior live fire test data and analyses demonstrated vulnerability to engine fire, either caused by cascading effects or direct damage to engine fuel lines,” the report noted.
Hey 'Duuudes'? An engine shatting about 12 feet of metal spears through a fuel tank is going to cause a fire no matter effing what else you do.

For the record, the Punk Journalism employed oversimplifies things greatly. The  FY 2013 report says:
The first test series confirmed Polyalphaolefin (PAO) coolant and fueldraulic systems fire vulnerabilities. The relevant protective systems were removed from the aircraft in 2008 as part of a weight reduction effort. A Computation of vulnerable Area Tool analysis shows that the removal of these systems results in a 25 percent increase in aircraft vulnerability. The F-35 Program Office may consider reinstalling the PAO shutoff valve feature based on a more detailed cost‑benefit assessment. Fueldraulic system protection is not being reconsidered for the F-35 design.
The program’s most recent vulnerability assessment showed that the removal of fueldraulic fuses, the PAO shutoff valve,and the dry bay fire suppression, also removed in 2008, results in the F-35 not meeting the Operational Requirements Document (ORD) requirement to have a vulnerability posture better than analogous legacy aircraft.
Later, the report also says:
In 2008, the JSF Executive Steering Board (JESB) directed the removal of PAO shutoff valves from the F-35 design to reduce the aircraft weight by 2 pounds. Given the damage observed in this test, the JESB directed the program to re-evaluate installing a PAO shutoff system through its engineering process based on a cost/benefit analysis and the design performance capabilities. The ballistic test results defined the significance of this vulnerability. However, the test also showed that a shutoff system needs  to outperform other fielded systems. To be effective, it must trigger on smaller leak rates, down to 2 gpm versus the 6 gpm typical of other aircraft designs, without causing excessive false alarms. - The program is currently working to identify a low leak rate technical solution. The Program Office will consider operational feasibility and effectiveness of the design, along with cost, to decide if PAO shutoff valves will be reinstated as part of the production aircraft configuration. 
 Translated, the above passage says 1) the Program Office is considering its options, 2) the big thing about 'fuses' that DOT&E is all hot about would require engineering and effort to improve the state of the art because 3) the thingy the DOT&E office wants doesn't exist and are 4) beyond current state-of-the-art engineering.

I predict the JPO will develop the d*mned fuses (if they don't cost TOO much) if only to give the DOT&E their (two) pound(s) of flesh. I also note here (perennially it seems) that a '25% increase in vulnerability' gives no true perspective on vulnerability (25% more than "very little" is still "very little") nor the higher impact to 'survivability'. The DOT&E still provides no budget to the programs they write-up to help comply with their whims, and does not EVER weigh the importance of "vulnerability" relative to the "susceptibility" in considering the real metric of "survivability". This is not, per usual, a case of DOT&E actually being an authority on what is best. It a conflict in opinion and judgement between two presumptive 'authorities', of which only the JPO also has the 'responsibility'.

I'll stand with the ones who have the responsibility for draining the swamp, not the ones filming the docudrama, thank you very much.

So just who is writing this junk? 

Kevin Knodell is a professional multimedia journalist and comic writer. He writes about veterans, military history, peacekeeping and refugees for War is Boring at He's the current writer of War is Boring's regular comic series with artist Blue Delliquanti, as well as the writer of the comic mini-history 'How The World Forgot Darfur' with artist Keith Badgely.
From June 2014-April 2015 he was the coordinator of War Is Boring's field team in Northern Iraq. That meant supervising an international team of contributors covering the war with Islamic State, the mounting humanitarian crisis and the ongoing political struggle. The team's work has been cited by Fox News, The New Yorker, Huffington Post, France 24, and Yahoo News. He has been interviewed by Vice Germany and Rudaw English to provide insight on military tactics and new media conflict reporting.
Writer, Comic Writer, Combat Voyeur. Gets quoted by other media every now and then - got it.
At least he's a redhead and can grow a beard:
Very Van Gogh-ish

Joseph Trevithick is a "Journalist and researcher with experience using various open source and public domain resources, as well as traditional research methods (including informational interviewing and familiarity with the IRB process). Has written pieces for print publications such as Small Arms Review, and online outlets, such as a contributor to Small Wars Journal and Tom Ricks’ The Best Defense. Is also a regular contributor to David Axe’s War is Boring, hosted by Has been interviewed for television by BBC World, CNN International, ABC News, and Al-Jazeera English, on topics ranging from unmanned aerial vehicles to the situation in Afghanistan. Is currently working on a number of projects concerning various military topics for a range of audiences."
Also "He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006 with a dual BA in History and Policy and International Relations"

Summed up: Writer, likes history (small history from what I read), 'policy', and not just mediation -- international mediation . Gets quoted by other media every now and then - got it.
This article is a new low for Trevithick. Which is remarkable, because his old low isn't even a week old yet.
Well, he has access to a big map. Nothing says 'pro' like a big map... I guess.

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