Friday, July 31, 2015

CNO Nominee Richardson Got These F-35 Questions Too?

I told them I didn't want the job, but I answered them anyway.

Hat Tip "spazinbad" @

SMSgt Mac appearing before SASC?
CNO Nominee Admiral Richardson answered some pre-confirmation hearing questions. I like his answers pretty much, but like my answers better. It comes with the freedom of being long retired (as well as never being an Admiral).

RE: Tactical Fighter Programs
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, which is the largest and most expensive acquisition program in the Department’s history, was formally initiated as a program of record in 2002 with a total planned buy of 2,443 aircraft for the U.S. At projected procurement rates, the aircraft will be procured by the Department well into the 2030 decade to reach its total quantity buy. The program has not yet completed its systems development and demonstration phase, and is not due to enter full rate production until 2019, 17 years after its inception.

The Navy’s FY16 budget request indicates a program of record of 369 F-35C, with Navy procurement continuing throughout the life of the F-35 procurement program. The overall requirement for 2,443 aircraft was established nearly 20 years ago. Since that time, however, there have been countervailing pressures to: (1) reduce force structure to conserve resources; (2) improve capability to respond to prospective adversary technological advances and increased capabilities from updated threat assessments; and (3) respond to an evolving national defense strategy.

Do you believe the Navy’s F-35C requirement is still valid?
Well Senators, that’s quite a preface to a “yes or no” question. But as it comes from such an august body as the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will use the working assumption it is offered to provide proper perspective to the questions to come, rather than an attempt to ‘poison the well’,and so the Committee’s prefacing informs my response,and I believe due diligence also requires me to to expand upon the very fine points the Committee raises, in part as an answer to this first question. 

As the Committee very well knows, the F-35 Program is as large and expensive as it is because it is really three programs in one. While there have been studies that have reviewed whether or not combining programs was worth the effort, we must note that aside from them all having contentious ground rules and assumptions embedded, that NONE of them measured the costs and benefits of the F-35 program against the typical number of programs we would have to undertake to successfully field three different aircraft. Can there be any doubt looking back at history that at least four or perhaps five programs would have to be attempted to actually field three different jets? Can we possibly fathom the procurement costs per airplane if we had attempted to field the minority F-35B and F-35C as stand-alone programs? Mr. Chairman and Committee Members, the Navy and Marine Corps budgets are very blessed to have the Air Force subsidize The Department of the Navy’s rent-seeking by absorbing a disproportionate percentage of the net development costs.

As the bulk of the development is behind us in sunk cost and schedule, and there is no indication that the way forward is too difficult, completion of the systems development and demonstration phase should not be a problem.

That it will have taken 17 years to reach full rate production would be an issue above my station if I were still on active duty: I would not be in a position to second-guess prior Congressional decisions to stretch development and delay production, trading risk for schedule and cost. It would also not be my place to pass judgement on the actions of prior Congress’ that created the three-in-one program approach in the first place. 
As a retiree who returned to civilian life over twenty years ago however, I am free to answer that the former was typical, foolish, political tinkering and/or ego-stroking on the part of Congress. The latter however, is shaping up to have been a very good idea by your predecessors.

And so the final answer to your question is therefore, of course: “Yes”--the F-35C will be a VITAL part of the future Carrier Air Wing.

Do you believe the Navy can afford and needs to procure 310 more F-35Cs with a procurement cost of over $42 billion?

As to ‘need’, the F-35C provides essential 5th generation strike fighter capability to our Carrier Air Wings. Without this capability, we cannot achieve air superiority. The Department of the Navy currently has a requirement for 340 F-35Cs. That number needed of course is always subject to revision as national strategies change and new information is made available. For example, on the one hand, the Navy doesn’t yet have any operational experience with low observable or fifth generation capabilities. As the Navy gains experience, it will probably create opportunities and incentives to not procure more of or retire older systems faster on the one hand. On the other hand, the Navy has a history of buying aircraft over long timeframes due to expected attrition, and given the F-35C’s stellar initial sea trials, we may just not lose as many jets like we have in the past and so they will not need replacement. If I were confirmed as CNO, I would work with the Chairman and other service chiefs to revalidate the appropriate number of aircraft the Navy requires to meet the mission.

Speaking to the cost figure offered, let us note that the numbers you mention are either future inflated dollars or dollars that include developmental cost dollars that are already sunk, both, and/or are based upon presumptions of future economic factors that may or may not apply. They are also spread over how many years? I would enjoy exploring the nuances of these numbers with the SASC, numbers that should never be aired in a casual manner, as no doubt the SASC would agree.

Do you believe that the Navy will still want to buy the F-35C, an aircraft design that will be 30 years old before the Navy production is scheduled to finish?
Well let’s see, we’re flying the F-18C/Ds and F-18E/F/Gs right now. The current versions are evolutions of a design originally produced in 1975 and are still in procurement. That’s 40 years since inception. So 30 years should not be a stretch at all for the Navy and the F-35, especially considering that unlike its predecessors, the F-35B and C are designed to evolve as required over time. Right now the Navy is committed to making the F-35C the next Carrier Air Wing fighter, complementing the F/A-18E/F until the F-18 reaches the end of its lifetime in the 2030s when the basic design will be over 50 years old. I believe once the fleet gets its hands on the F-35C, the fighter/strike community will set new standards in creative thinking and divining ways to get rid of the older jets and buy more F-35Cs as the older jets obsolescence becomes more obvious.

Do you believe the Navy’s current and planned force mix of tactical aircraft is sufficient to meet current and future threats around the globe, and most especially in the Asia-Pacific theater of operations where the “tyranny of distance” is such a major factor?

Currently, I do. There are capability, inventory, and readiness aspects to delivering the required force mix. If I was ever to be confirmed as CNO, I would work with leadership to determine the best options to pace the threat in a dynamic security environment. The fiscal environment will bound the scope of our efforts, and so I would urge Congress to work harder in creating a fiscal environment that will provide for all of our Constitutionally-mandated needs.

The Secretary of the Navy recently remarked that he believed the F-35 should be and would be the nation’s last manned fighter aircraft. Do you believe this to be true?
If I were to be confirmed as CNO, I would work with the Secretary of the Navy to aggressively advance the development of unmanned systems. It is crucial that we push the boundaries of what unmanned technologies can achieve; the next generation in tactical aviation will play a large part in this transformation.

Having said the above, let me also observe that the Secretary has all of the technical knowledge and expertise in all the relevant knowledge areas and disciplines, with the liberal-arts and legal education sufficient to have once been a competent junior ship’s officer. I’m sure he was a very fine surface warfare officer, once upon a time. His thoughts and opinions on the subject of UAVs carries all the commensurate weight that comes with such an accomplished background.

I thank the Committee for their interest. Now go away.

Monday, July 27, 2015

F-35B IOC is Imminent

Prepare for all the Handwringing

Word on the street is that F-35 IOC is all done except for the signatures (which always leaves the political angle, but ya gotta have faith).

I remember all the angst when the B-2 IOC occurred. How did that work out?
Like this:
IOC is the beginning, not the end. People who think you can field a perfect airplane out the door don't know airplanes, people, or how weapon systems become operational.
Note the critics were still acting in accordance to their SOPs even after B-2 IOC. Although the GAO pretty much threw in the towel after they published the report they had already written before Allied Force in 1999 (with only a cursory nod to the reality that just smacked around their paper pushing exercise.  

By the time F-35 FOC occurs, the critics will have lost all their teeth and will be gumming it to death. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

P.W. Singer and August Cole? 'Game Show' Quality Defense Analysis

(Apologies to Game Shows Everywhere)

Ersatz sound-bite providers cum defense 'thinkers' P.W. Singer and August Cole have piled even more B.S. on the F-35 non-story that was made up out of whole cloth earlier over at 'Axe is Boring'.

To summarize the authors (in sequence):
  1. Help propagate the disinformation cascade by repeating the nonsensical hit-piece-on-a-report that neither they nor the original author propagating such drivel apparently are capable of understanding. 
  2. Misrepresent the official response to said hit-piece and critique their own misrepresentation. 
  3. Repeat a tired old ‘we tried missiles only’ trope. (Only interceptors designed to engage nuclear-armed bombers at a distance were ever ‘missiles only’ armed). 
  4. Misrepresent the Navy’s actual design objective of the F-4, which was as a "Fleet Interceptor" of aforementioned bombers, and armed with A2A missiles designed to intercept those same less-than-maneuverable bombers and at very high altitudes (unlike how the ROEs shaped SEA combat). BTW: The Air Force ALWAYS wanted a gun on its F-4s in the fighter role. Robert the ’Strange’ said ‘NO’ to the AF until the F-4E. 
  5. Provide a cartoon snapshot of the fighter pilots' post-1968 experience in SEA. 
  6. Then reassert the bogus F-35 hit-piece masquerading as ‘reporting’ and analysis as if there were 'facts' involved.

So then.... 

Q: What IS there about the rest of the authors' so-called ‘analysis’ that would make their ‘blog post’ anything other than 'intellectual' booger-flicking?

A: Nothing.

By way of a palate cleanser, lets compare Singer and Cole's B.S. with some, y'know...FACTS.

Contrary to what some might believe, I try not to just point at the stupid people and their stupidity without also providing some positive and countervailing content. So in passing, let us review some information that at least provides some information as to what that 'test' Axe & Co. got their beta-boy panties in a wad over  REALLY means -- instead of what they want it to mean (apparently just because it fits their preconceived life-positions).

The Testing in Question was Described Ahead of Time Last Year 

From the 2014 AIAA paper "F-35A High Angle-of-Attack Testing"[1], authored by a Mr. Steve Baer, (Lockheed Martin "Aeronautical Engineer, Flying Qualities" at Edwards AFB), and presented to the Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference held between 16 and 20 June 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia we find that F-35 High AoA testing was designed to follow in the following progression: 
The test objectives for high angle-of-attack testing are as follows:
1) Characterize the flyqualities [sic] at AoAs from 20° to the control law limit regime with operationally representative maneuvers. 
2) Demonstrate the aircraft’s ability to recover from out of control flight and assess deep stall susceptibility 
3) Evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of the automatic pitch rocker (APR) 
4) Evaluate departure resistance at both positive and negative AoA with center of gravity (CG) positions up to the aft limit and with maximum lateral asymmetry. 
5) Assess the handling qualities of the aircraft in the High AoA flight
Now, in case a 'punk journalist' or other factually-challenged reader wanders by, we need to be clear that #5 has nothing to do with "dogfighting". We know this because Mr. Baer makes two points shortly thereafter within the paper. 

The first point is relevant to the state of the testing at the time of his writing. I observe that this paper was written during Objective #4 testing and published at about the time it concluded. This observation is supported by the passage [emphasis/brackets mine]:
With intentional departure testing [Objective #4] wrapped up, the team will soon move into departure resistance [Objective #4] and plan to remove the SRC now that these systems have been verified. In this phase of testing, the jet will test the CLAW limiters with much higher energy and rates than previous testing, fleshing out and correcting areas that may be departure prone. Lastly, select operational maneuvers [Objective #5], such as a slow down turn and a Split-S, will be used to gather handling qualities data on high AoA maneuvers. With the completion of this phase, the F-35 will be released for initial operational capability in the high AoA region.
   Note: 'CLAW' is Control Law and 'SRC' is Spin Recovery Chute.
Clearly the testing was not yet at step #5 at the time of writing but to emphasize same, the author followed the above paragraph with [emphasis mine]: 
While the flight test team will explore legacy high AoA maneuvers for handling qualities, it will be the Operational Test and Evaluation team that will truly develop high AoA maneuvers for the F-35. In the operational world, a pilot should rarely be taking the F-35 into the high angle-of-attack regime, but the ability to do so could make the difference between being the victor or the victim in air-to-air combat....
So with this paragraph, not only does the author expound on the exploring of "legacy high AoA maneuvers" (the 'legacy' part is important) that is to come, he specifically assigns the kind of testing that will "truly develop high AoA maneuvers for the F-35" (vs. 'legacy' which may be differed from) to the Operational Testers and NOT part of the Edwards AFB Developmental Test Team activities. 

In a nutshell, just within these two paragraphs that Baer wrote in early/mid 2014 is precisely what the JPO/LM stated in their official response to Axe's B.S.
Therefore the "reasonable man" may logically and confidently conclude the JPO response:
  1. WAS NOT simply something that was contrived in response to Axe's made up bullsh*t  but...
  2. WAS accurately asserting what the testing was truly about...
....debunking all and any claims to the contrary.

[1] AIAA #2014-2057

Minor changes for clarity, readability and typo corrections made 23 July 15 @ 1944 hrs.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

'That's All Brother' Update

Like most stories that come out in the mainstream media, they seem to never come out with all the important details just right. I'm following the 'That's All Brother' saga as it unfolds, and in the wake of the CAF's VERY successful 'Kickstarter' campaign, some more pieces of the backstory surrounding the rediscovery of this historic C-47 are coming to light.

Now, according to this article-- which also mentions 'That's All Brother' will be on static display at the EAA's annual Oshkosh fly-in, the aircraft company that 'found' the plane in it's turboprop conversion queue, didn't just 'find' it . 'That's All Brother' had been tracked by an individual who served in the same unit after the pilot of 'That's All Brother' in postwar service and it was this gentleman-- an Air National Guard 'boomer'--in addition to the conscientious crew at Basler Turbo Conversions was instrumental in making the right people aware through personal perseverance:
Matt Scales was serving in an Alabama Air National Guard unit when he learned one of his unit's former members — Donalson, who died in 1987 — had flown the lead plane in the D-Day invasion. In 2007 Scales tracked down the unit Donalson served in during the war and searched the unit's history. He figured it would end there because most military historians didn't bother to record tail numbers.
But Scales and fellow military historian Ken Tilley hit the jackpot. Donalson's unit historian wrote down his D-Day plane's tail number: 42-92847. On a lark, Scales looked up the tail number in the FAA's database and got a hit. It was privately owned by a man in Arizona who was excited to learn his plane had flown on D-Day.
Scales, again, figured that was the end of it. He continued working as a boom operator in an air refueling wing and as a police officer in Alabama. Three years later he decided to check the database again and learned that by then the plane had been purchased by Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, which repurposes old DC-3 and C-47 planes into modern aircraft.
Randy Myers, director of production and engineering at Basler, had seen "That's All, Brother" with its Vietnam gunship paint parked at the airport in Waupaca years ago and made an offer to the Arizona man. Myers wouldn't learn of the D-Day connection until much later.
Once Scales realized it was at Basler, he contacted museums and aviation preservation groups to see if any were interested in saving the aircraft that led the D-Day invasion. None were, and Scales figured his quest had finally come to a dead end.
But last year a blogger mentioned the combat history of the C-47 parked in the boneyard behind Basler. Smith, of the Commemorative Air Force, thought his group was the perfect fit to save it. It exchanged a C-47 in its collection for "That's All, Brother" and began fundraising for the restoration.
There's lot's more of the story at the source.

Scales' enquiries and efforts are what spread awareness of the artifact and its location. And though no group responded to his personal efforts directly, it was those efforts that allowed the chain of events to unfold as they did.

Note: I wonder how much of this was also serendipitous. Scales served in the Alabama ANG, Were the resources that Scales needed to get the right tail number perhaps more readily available at Maxwell AFB, home of the Air University, in Montgomery?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Mysterious LM CUDA Missile Update

Just gets more interesting as time goes on...

Major Hat Tip to Marauder for finding the relevant AFIT Technical thesis and passing it along

Regular readers may remember one of my most popular posts on LM’s CUDA missile concept. In that post, I hypothesized some about the CUDA’s weight and resultant performance by using a comparative analysis of what little was known about the CUDA and existing missiles with known physical characteristics. Key assumptions were that the same kind of propellant characteristics and relative scaling of the different components of existing missiles would apply to the CUDA.

Based upon a recent AFIT paper I no longer believe that approach is sufficient.

Employment of a CUDA missile ‘concept’ was used in a thesis written by Army Major Casey D. Connor, and published earlier this year. In his paper “AGENT-BASED MODELING METHODOLOGY FOR ANALYZING WEAPONS SYSTEMS”, Major Connor modeled and examined the relative effectiveness of different missile loadout combinations for a very specific A2A mission using two methods of attack: 'straight-in' and ‘pincer’.
The paper was exploratory in nature, and there’s not enough in the paper to come to any more conclusions than Major Connor did -- but I’m sure someone will read more ‘findings’ into it than he did. In fact, I'd expect 'some' to leap to all kinds of ‘conclusions’ about a lot of different sub-topics because the paper really does raise some very interesting questions that someone else will probably/hopefully pick up and follow-up on going forward.
The value of the paper to us in this instance is that it gives us an indication of some key performance—shall we say—“possibilities” for a CUDA-like weapon system. The paper uses the terms CUDA-like and SACM (Small Advanced Capability Missile) interchangeably. Given the rumblings on the web and in aero media since the CUDA concept’s existence went public, the relationship of the CUDA (a Lockheed Martin concept) to SACM (the programmatic objective of CUDA) is now better known. No surprises there.

What is Surprising?

What IS surprising (to me at least) are the characteristics used for the CUDA/SACM in Major Connor’s thesis. Specifically, Connor provides the CUDA/SACM weight used in his simulations as 49Kg (108 lbs). This has HUGE implications. 

If by my original speculation where I extrapolated known data about existing technology, I had arrived at a weight estimate that was 45.5 lbs higher (153.5 lbs) than the 108lb weight Connor uses, then it almost certainly speaks of significantly more advanced/miniaturized technology than simply scaling down 'more of the same' from existing systems.

I had toyed with putting a wedge in my original estimate for a reverse-weight spiral (less structural weight is needed the lower the non-structural weight), but thought that would have been pushing all the ‘estimating’ a little too far. As it turns out I would have come closer, but still nowhere near a mere 108 lbs for a CUDA weight estimate by my using current weapons for baseline info. I think now that ‘Next generation’ guidance, control, structure, and maybe  propulsion technology breakthroughs almost certainly permeate that CUDA/SACM design concept. As the scaling of RM propellant weight probably still applies (harder to make lighter propellant than other components), I don't think there's much weight change per cubic inch of volume there. But even so, this new lower weight could potentially drive the CUDA/CACM higher in the ‘Delta V’ performance than what I had previously estimated.

What Changed?

If only the weight is lower, with the other factors such as the ratio between pre-launch and expended rocket motor weights, and propellant/rocket factors, etc., then the CUDA potential top speed would not necessarily be higher than my first estimate (~24% higher than AMRAAM using existing missiles as guides). But I don’t think that at this new lighter weight, the same ratio CAN still hold true: a larger percentage of the total CUDA/SACM weight is now more likely found in the rocket motor -- if only just because everything else got lighter.
This shift in weight contribution, in turn, would mean a larger percentage of pre-launch weight is propellant that will be expended in acceleration. The scope of the impact of such a change is unknown, but here is a parametric exploration of the impact of various possible RM weight ratios from no change (54.53%) and up to a little more than 5% increase (60%):
What if the CUDA has a higher percentage of propellant weight than the AMRAAM?
(updated verbiage for more clarity less obfuscation)
As you can see, very little increases in the ratio of propellant weight to total weight yields significantly higher potential Delta V that could be tapped into to:

  1. increase range, 
  2. enable shaping complex flyouts, and/or 
  3. increase end-game dynamics. 
That this improved performance is likely a ‘truism’ in the CUDA/SACM design concept is reflected in Major Connor’s findings.

Connor’s modeling of the engagements he selected resulted in outcomes where the ‘pure’ CUDA/SACM loadout successfully engaging the RED AIR targets at significantly greater distances (32%-38% greater, depending on attack method used) than the Medium Range Missile Model (AMRAAM-basis) used (see Fig. 43 below from the source). That kind of range advantage would be consistent with a higher Delta V for the CUDA/SACM weapon.

[Note: Read the paper for information on the mixed loads of a short range missile (AIM-9X ‘like’), medium range missile (MRM) and the CUDA/SACM weapons]

The higher performance of the CUDA/SACM also shows up in the higher 'effectiveness' ratings of the pure CUDA/SACM loadout over the pure MRM loadout. As Figure 42 from the paper below illustrates, the pure CUDA/SACM missile loadout kills targets at better than a 2 to 1 advantage over the MRM’s kill rate as well as doing so at ranges farther than the MRM. 

This increased effectiveness suggests perhaps an even better end-game kinematic CUDA/SACM design performance than the MRMs due to a higher percentage of propellant design weight, working with the hit-to-kill Attitude Control Motors (ACMs) in the front-end. 

Connor’s focus in the paper isn’t on getting into the nuances of the CUDA/SACM’s capabilities, but the higher performance of the CUDA concept indicated by the data is supported by his observations within the text as well:
The main characteristics of the new missile technology examined in our research include hit-to-kill technology in which the missile uses a kinetic warhead to attack the target, agility in that the missile’s guidance, propulsion, and control surfaces allow it to maneuver more flexibly towards a target, and a smaller size allowing each fighter to carry more missiles. These new weapons have the potential for dramatically changing the range of possible tactics and mission roles allowed. (p.1)
Tactics best suited to the new missile are ones that maintain BVR to take advantage of the increased engagement ranges and possibly combined tactics that allow the flexible maneuvering characteristics of the new missiles to engage enemy aircraft at angles that the enemy aircraft will be unable to counter. (p.102)
There’s a lot of other ‘food for thought’ on many air combat topics in the paper. Connor was meticulous in documenting what he could of the methodology that he used including the limitations, ground-rules and assumptions. There’s also some excellent sources listed for further reading in the list of references.

Time will tell if the SACM concept will be developed into a full-up weapon system. But I must say that if it doesn’t go forward in some iteration or another I will be even more surprised than I have been so far in following the CUDA/SACM story.

Note: minor edits for readability and clarity made 16 July @ 1945 CST.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

David Axe is More Boring Than Ever (Bless His Heart)

And still practicing Punk Journalism 

Bumped! Axe Doubles Down

*******Update 2 at End of Original Post******* 

Gawd. Saw this at work today and am only posting a short comment because somebody (surer than sh*t) will read something into any non-comment on my part, considering how I've already provided input (17 March 2015) on this subject:
I will bet dollars to donuts that IF the program chooses to respond to such hooey, that we will discover the first two BFM "tests" were in the middle of January, the first two flights were on two consecutive days, the missions were flown by two different pilots, and both of them had nothing but glowing reviews about the jet's performance. If I find eventually a public source to validate this 'guess' I will be happy to also share who I 'guessed' were the pilots, which flight they flew, and which plane(s?) was/were flown. And perhaps even quote the pilots.
First, I'm certain that whatever the test pilot report being cited by Axe may bear some faint resemblance to Axe's representation of same. Axe's perversions of the facts, per his usual modus operandi come via his bizarro assertions-stated-as-fact  and their complete disconnect from any reality as to the purpose and goals of the first A2A scenarios that were flown.

What the objectives were came out shortly after I made my first comments. From Av Week online (2 Apr 15)and with important bits in bold/EMPHASIS:
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been flown in air-to-air combat maneuvers against F-16s for the first time and, based on the results of these and earlier flight-envelope evaluations, test pilots say the aircraft can be cleared for greater agility as a growth option. 
Although the F-35 is designed primarily for attack rather than air combat, U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin test pilots say the availability of potential margin for additional maneuverability is a testament to the aircraft’s recently proven overall handling qualities and basic flying performance. “The door is open to provide a little more maneuverability,” says Lockheed Martin F-35 site lead test pilot David “Doc” Nelson..... 
..... “When we did the first dogfight in January, they said, ‘you have no limits,’” says Nelson. “It was loads monitoring, so they could tell if we ever broke something. It was a confidence builder for the rest of the fleet because there is no real difference structurally between AF-2 and the rest of the airplanes.” AF-2 was the first F-35 to be flown to 9g+ and -3g, and to roll at design-load factor. The aircraft, which was also the first Joint Strike Fighter to be intentionally flown in significant airframe buffet at all angles of attack, was calibrated for inflight loads measurements prior to ferrying to Edwards in 2010.

The operational maneuver tests were conducted to see “how it would look like against an F-16 in the airspace,” says Col. Rod “Trash” Cregier, F-35 program director. “It was an EARLY look at any control laws that may need to be tweaked to enable it to fly better in future. You can definitely tweak it—that’s the option.”
The expectation of the tests was to see how the airplane behaved when slung about in a A2A engagement using the current control laws within the current G-limit design, and they found they can open them up the laws for more. Let's ignore the fact we don't know AF-2's empty weight and that the program was delivering the SDD baseline weight aircraft about the time the engagement occurred.

Let's pretend it doesn't matter that we don't know the weight of the F-16 or the altitudes and speeds the engagements occurred either. Let's also ignore the fact that ALL jets need to have many such engagements before the aircrew really know how to best exploit their advantages. Even without all that, Axe is STILL  just laying down a nice pile of fertilizer for the rest of the Punk Journalists and Faux Reformers to spread and nurture yet another disinformation cascade.

Sit back and watch the fun. Any bets on who cites this weak-a** hit-piece first?

Update: I see is on the case.

Update 2(1 July 15)

Wow. A lot can happen in a day, and I can't even go into the kind of detail I'd love to go into for some of it. (I'll have to stay 'hypothetical' about the now-out-in-the-open Test Report, given the caveats plastered at the top and bottom of every page of the report.)

First. A former fighter driver with experience in both the F-16 and F-18 chimed in with some thoughts that fit pretty much hand-in-glove with what I've stated so far in his post: Why The “F-35 v F-16″ Article Is Garbage.
Second. The global disinformation cascade Axe set off (and I predicted) was gathering a lot steam until the former fighter driver posted his thoughts.

Third. The F-35 program office and LM then added some information that was also consistent with my posts on the topic. (I'm not claiming any special insight here, just an experienced one that appears to be consistent with other experienced viewpoints.)

Fourth. Axe appears to have felt enough sting in the criticism he's received so far to now have gone a step further and posted a lightly-sanitized copy of the report. If he cared a whit versus just playing a gadfly, I would love to explain to him the cognitive dissonance between what the report says and means in contrast to what he asserts it means. I suspect the JPO or LM will have to go through the process of releasing some of the leaked information for export just so they can spell it out for the low-information crowd.

Until they do, I won't be linking to or addressing anything directly mentioned in the report because doing so could constitute an 'export'. I like my current digs and income status and look terrible in orange or broad stripes, so NO.
Axe better hope he's as insignificant a pissant as I think he is, because the caveats on those pages obviously leave him and his employer open to criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits. It would take a lot of political capital to be spent by the anti-defense crowd to keep Axe and Co. out of the grinder if Uncle Sugar or Lockmart decide to call them out on this. BTW: May whoever leaked the report be far less connected and may the scum twist in wind over this leak.

Given I won't be discussing the contents of the report, I WILL say that Axe's doubling-down on this stupidity gives me some inkling as to how Forest Rangers must feel when some life-long urbanite visits the park and keeps pointing at some small woodland creature insisting it is a 'bear' no matter how many times the Ranger points out the differences. I can't believe he offered the report as if it supported his position. Is he THAT clueless, or is he 'whistling past the graveyard' hoping nobody will call him out further on his peddling crap?

Maybe he wouldn't have made this mistake of misreading things into the report that aren't there, if he read more widely.