Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tyler Rogoway on F-35 Fuel Trucks

Sometimes,.... when it’s really, really hot..., you don’t want to heat soak your fuel trucks. So What? 

Hat tip:KamenRiderBlade at 

Tyler Rogoway writes for a living. He’s got to write about something, and the latest ‘something’ is all about telling the American, nay, The World’s Low-Information crowd that not only the Air Force has found out that in really, really hot, weather, it doesn’t want to 'heat soak' the fuel trucks servicing your F-35s, but also that this development is, apparently in Rogoway’s opinion, a ‘BAD!’ thing.

His ‘article’ is about what we've come to expect from him, and the entire treatment of the subject matter is an excellent example (yet one more in a line of many) of how F-35 critics will highlight something they don’t understand as being a flaw or deficiency. The next step will be to add that one little mis-characterization to a litany of previous mis-characterizations, and then use them in their totality to continuously criticize and condemn the aircraft, program, technology,and hell, when you get right down to it, even the ‘National Defense Strategy’ that drives the selection and fielding of weapon systems in the first place.

The ardent F-35 critics generally fall into two camps: Those that do so while really understanding NONE of it, as I suspect in Rogoway’s case, or alternatively, those who do so as an intentional manipulation of the facts to distort reality for nefarious purposes (P.A.C.E. anyone?). I am indifferent as to what brand of delusion drives the contrived criticisms, but believe while the latter is incurable, there is always hope for disabusing the former of their delusions through information. (Kreuger-Dunning Effect notwithstanding, there is always hope). I could go into Rogoway’s GAWKER piece and dissect it into itty-bitty chunks of tautological floatsam, but to me the comment thread is far more interesting.

Rogoway’s fa├žade of being a disinterested observer slips somewhat, and probably reveals more about where he is ‘coming from’ than he really would have wished. To his credit, he did not immediately wash these exchanges down the memory hole like a lot of people would have.

I’m now going to place one of my favorite quotes here for later reference. I think I will be pointing to it later in this post:

Novices in mathematics, science, or engineering are forever demanding infallible, universal, mechanical methods for solving problems. 


Here we go. My observations in [square brackets] and boldface emphases in Rogoway’s responses are mine. No typos are corrected. The selected (because it was more succinct than another) exchange of interest is:

‘Dastim’ to Tyler Rogoway 

Having decades of experience with LockMar's military products (Submarine sonar), I can honestly say this is par for the course. It is VERY common for a new weapons system to have faults out of the gate and the more complex/expensive they are, the more faults possible. Moving forward they prove themselves invaluable but the start is always ugly. When they took the submarine sonar contracts in the early 90s we had a plethora of problems, some mission limiting, but in the end, their systems proved to be the best in the world. Be patient, this shit is far more complicated than most of you have any idea about.

[Other than not being a ‘fault’, but an emergent requirement based upon the press release wording, the need for fuel not to exceed some very high temperature when it is loaded is almost certainly driven by the aircraft using the fuel system as a heat sink for its environmental control system (ECS). If the fuel is already hot, it will not be an effective heat sink, will it? This again, is not a ‘fault’, but at worst it is an “operational requirement”. All aircraft have specific operational requirements, and there’s no requirement that they all be the same that I’ve ever heard of. So What? If one is familiar with advanced aircraft or avionics systems design, one might speculate--and then ask for confirmation either way—that perhaps the additional heat controls placed on the fuel that is loaded and the effect on the ECS cooling system is related to the closely controlled gaps and openings on the F-35 outer mold line (OML) in order to meet LO requirements. For whatever reason, the requirement can be perceived as problematic only if it will require some onerous workarounds to overcome. Clearly this isn’t about an F-35’s systems intolerance of normal military operating temperatures and requirements, though the ‘stories’ written to-date might lead one to believe it were so. This has to be about fuel temperatures after the fuel has been heat-soaked for hours (or days), and reducing the heat soak by either reducing the amount of heat absorbed directly (paint the truck tank a light color) or indirectly (shelter the truck to prevent direct sunlight from beating down on the fuel tank). Not being a panic-prone F-35 hatercritic, I would also wonder if then perhaps the F-35 might also expect fewer problems with very cold fuel in arctic climes? Dastim’s point about complexity is well founded and well made, but it is only half the story. Combine an aircraft in development experiencing the normal issues one would expect if one knew what they were doing, with the apparent legions of technically deficient souls who have NO understanding of the challenges AND BENEFITS that make those challenges worth the effort in pursuing advanced technology systems, and you get a technically illiterate response...such as:]

Tyler Rogoway to ‘Dastim’ 

You sir are a part of the problem. Major systemic issues led to the F-35 being in the place that it was, including ridiculous sell job on concurrency and laughable cost goals and timelines. We cannot sustain the best fighting force in the world like this, it will economically break us.

You may feel just at home with this sort of nonsense and after writing well over 200 pieces on this program I am insulted when you say myself and others probably have no idea what we are talking about. We need a new approach with fresh minds that will come up with new ways so that this sort of program never happens again. And finally, the F-35 program, the largest weapons program in history, is not new sonar arrays for submarines.

[Rogoway’s first paragraph, aside from the abstract, unsupported, and unwarranted accusation made against his commenter, is a series of claims made without supporting evidence and with the presumption that they are indisputable facts when in reality they are a series of claims that are not only debatable but have been and are continuously debated. Rogoway, apparently happens to believe these claims are true. This is his first logical fallacy: “Begging the Question”. He layers on top of this fallacy, via assertions of “ridiculous”, “sell job” and “laughable” (without falsifiable support) the additional logical fallacy of “Appeal to Ridicule”. The second assertion that he has written “well over 200 pieces on this program” in defense of his knowledge base is clearly a Fallacious Appeal to Authority, and it is one built upon another fallacy: The Non-Sequitur. Just because someone ‘writes’ about something, particularly ‘opinion pieces’ it “does not follow” that they must understand, much less be an authority on what they are writing about. How we judge someone knows or knows not what they are talking about is based upon the CONTENT and the 'verifiability' of the writing. Rogoway digs deeper with a rhetorical ploy you don’t see every day: Righteous Indignation (“I am insulted”) over his being ‘doubted’. Rogoway begins his fadeout with more ‘Begging the Question; (‘need fresh minds’) with another Non Sequitur (‘so it will never happen again’). Rogoway’s last sentence is a throwaway line but he should have thrown it farther. As he slung it, “the F-35 program, the largest weapons program in history, is not new sonar arrays for submarines” misses Dastim’s point: It takes time to develop and field complex systems. If Rogoway is willfully ignoring this point, his assertions that ‘one of these is not like the other’ could very well be thought of as a Composition Fallacy in his denial.]

I wonder... 

If Rogoway cut down on his logical fallacies to nil, would the next 200 articles on the F-35 gain him the  'cred' he thinks he already deserves? Personally, I think he won't get any better until he realizes he is one of those Novices' old J.R. warned us about. (Told you I would refer back to J.R.)

I worked a 12 hour day today (now 'yesterday'-yikes), so I don’t feel like taking down his Magnum Opus of Circumstantial Ad Hominem that occurred in his exchange with ‘ashkelon’ tonight/this morning.

But here's some food for thought, 

What happened the last time a bunch of naysayers, some 'expert', but all OUTSIDERS who were looking in at a revolutionary weapon system program and then made all kinds of criticisms they just knew 'had to be true'?
Answer: Hilarity ensued.