Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Dave Majumdar's F-35 'Punk Journalism'...Again

Whereby 'boy journalist' double downs on David Axe's 'Dogfight' B.S, ignores reality and dances around Libel in just a few paragraphs. 

But hey! Its always fun to watch someone debase themselves for pennies a word right?...right? 
Today, Dave Majumdar, once a promising aero reporter, apparently needed some rent money. Why else would he fabricate another F-35 click-bait hit piece for the lower-brow crowd, (update: the Punk is now the 'Defense Editior' of the digital rag) rehashing the pap that David Axe used to set off a disinformation cascade? Now I could spend all night Fisking Majumdar's craptastic article to include "27 8x10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence" but there's only a couple of things worth my time, nailing Dave to the wall, that should cast the rest of his 'pap' under the proper spotlight. The first is his apparent (willful?) inability to discern information from 'spin':    
Meanwhile, proponents of the F-35—primarily Lockheed Martin and the JSF program office (JPO)—tried to dismiss the results—aggressively calling out the War is Boring outlet by name. The company and the Pentagon claimed that the tests were not truly representative because the F-35 test article involved in the trial versus the F-16 was not equipped with a full set of avionics, didn’t have its stealth coatings, and did not use the jet’s helmet-mounted display and, moreover, was not equipped to simulate high off-boresight missiles like the AIM-9X Sidewinder. Besides, the F-35 was designed to fight from long-range—the JPO and Lockheed claimed.Both sides of the debate are correct—but neither side is telling the whole story. As a good friend on the Hill recently told me: “In political communications, facts are an interesting aside, but are completely irrelevant. What we do here is spin.” That’s exactly what’s happening here—both sides are selectively cherry picking facts to make their case—spin.

Dave...Tell your 'friend' to F.O.A.D.

"Tried to dismiss the results" Dave? Facts are not "an interesting aside" to people who design and build weapon systems.  What the JPO and LM responded with was 'The Truth'. It was a post-stall agility test, testing for areas where it might be worthwhile to 'open up' the control laws (CLAWs) and was not a 'dogfight'. 

The Testing in Question was Described Ahead of Time Last Year 

Not only was what the JPO/LM response the TRUTH, it was one that was KNOWN and in the public domain the year BEFORE the test ever occurred and therefore it is also a delightfully 'provable' truth. I buried the lede with this point in an earlier post, but I recreate an excerpt here:  
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 (am I psychic or what?), 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 paper's passage [emphasis/brackets mine]:

With intentional departure testing [Objective #4] wrapped up, the team will soon move into departure resistance [Still 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: 'SRC' is a '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 [brackets/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" that is to come, he specifically identifies Objective 5 test "Handling Qualities" objectives and 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 so-called 'article'. 
Therefore the "reasonable man" may logically and confidently conclude the LM/JPO response:
  • WAS NOT simply something that was contrived in response to Axe's made up bullsh*t but...
  • WAS accurately asserting what the testing was truly about..
Go ahead Dave, spring the few bucks to buy a copy from the AIAA. Have someone with the requisite knowledge explain it to you.
Majumdar's incompetence takes him into another reprehensible act, whereby he uses David Axe's idiotic output as the justification for insinuating Billie Flynn lied to him:
The company has repeatedly made assertions about the F-35’s performance that have later proven to be false. One example I can cite immediately is when Lockheed test pilot Billie Flynn told me how a fully laden F-35 has better high AOA performance and acceleration than all comers save for the F-22. The test report that David Axe managed to obtain clearly shows Flynn’s assertions to be false. 
Nice one. Does 'Majumdar' mean 'A**hat' in English? Aside from the fact Majumdar implies Flynn is a liar, there's also the comparatively minor commission of a non-sequitur to boot.  

The rest of Majumdar's 'article' is crap too, just not worth bothering with in light of the above affronts to reality. A 'great' day for aero journalism, eh?

[1] AIAA #2014-2057


Phil T said...

Well it seems like it was POGO that drew the short straw this week with Tyler "I rehashed over 200 of other peoples stories without any critical evaluation so I know what I'm talking about" Rogoway riding shotgun. I read the report on the Marines test they got through FOI and the reasonable man in me thinks that it would be logical for LM contractors to be on board given that it was a significant test of on board operations and they need to understand where there are failures and areas that can be improved to increase operational capability. But maybe I'm wrong and the chicken littles of the world are right...

SMSgt Mac said...

HI Phil,
It got even better. Later Axe cited Majumdar's hit piece. Its a long-standard tactic of the faux reform industry: Tautological "Soixante-Neuf". And the POGOettes and fellow travellers are at the root of it all. The objective is to rouse the rabble before any possible good news or info counter to past faux reform B.S. could hit the streets from the AFA Convention and elsewhere.

Unknown said...

I hate to post an off topic comment, but this is something that has been perturbing me for a while now.
What do you think of John Boyd?
Regarding Sprey and Spinney, you've made yourself clear as crystal, but I can't find anything regarding your thoughts on the man himself.