So now the F-35 is in more trouble than it has ever been, even the US Air Force has admitted that the F- 35 will not survive combat without presence of other assets ie, F-22 or F-15 in area. Its seems to likely that it will not be the aeroplane for Finland. Of course Lockheed Martin has made a lot of overtunes to airforce in Finland and invited the brass to come and see how the F-35 are produced in St Luis, but even though the political aspect here is very powerful I would say frighteningly powerful one has to keep in mind that if F-35 lightning II or flying cocktease is an airplane that cannot climb, cannot run and cannot turn.
So F-35 cannot survive air combat against any professional or even semi-professional adversary and I’m afraid Russia’s Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily is at least at least semi professional. Also they have radars and equipment for detecting just the kind of planes F-35 is.
F-35 has been troubled airplane from the start because somehow somebody got the notion that it is possible to build an airplane that will meet 9 different slotsin AF arsenal: the Tactical Fighter for Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy and be able to fulfill the roles of close air support aircraft, light tactical fighter and a stealth aircraft, oh yes, and be jump jet as well. This has led to many contradictions in airplane’s build. Most important of which is that the jumpjet capability needs to have a big fan within the fuselage of the airplane, this is very bad for Tactical Fighter but on the other hand tactical Fighter and close air support airplane will need large wing area in order to have a good fuel economy and good maneuverability and reasonable slow flight characteristics. But the need for ability to vertical take-off the plane needs to have small wings and thus it is quite impossible to have enough wing area in the aeroplane to make it a good turn and manouver fighter.
Close air support means that airplane has to be able to go reasonably slow and to have reasonably good weapons load to be able to support the ground forces it is supposed to be supporting. Not so with F-35. F-35 has to be an stealth, well will not stealth aeroplane low observable aeroplane nevertheless, so no external stores. Most of the weapon load have to be carried within the airplane. There is another problem internal stores of the F-35. In the body there is barely enough room for a 4 air-to-air missiles. And when the wings have been decorated with stores there goes “low observability” in radar. And you have just got another airplane visible in the radar just like the rest. Lockheed MArtin tried to persuade the US air Force to abandon the A-10a and to buy more F-35. Fortunately somebody had still his sences and decided to keep the best plane of Afganistan and Irak wars.
Also the aeroplane is way too expensive at 110 million(W/O engine) a pop. Finnish Air Force could hope to get 60 airplanes which is not enough to defend the whole space of Finland. So no one has to hope that nobody in the Air Force brass or in politicians who are looking into the HX program will give serious consideration for F-35 fighter as a choice for the Rebublic. The political aspect of this is a bit frightening: the buyer would be married to Lockheed Martin whose only goal in this is to make obscene amounts of money. Also you would be married to the ebb and flow of current strength between parties in US Congress and would you get permission to buy needed weaponry when you need it? In timely fashion? That might be a small concern about the strong arm tactics with replacement parts packages weaponry engines and software updates is never the less daunting.
if Canada and Australia are doing their best to bail out from the F-35 wagon I think it would be sensible for Finland not to get into it at all in the first place.
The US has known some time along that there is somethingfundamentally wrong with the F-35 because they had to deny Norwegians participation in Swedish JAS Gripen program.
This is how desperate Locheed-Martin and USA are to get buyers for the failing F-35. Lockheed Martin would like you to believe that f-35 has surpassed all the benchmarks it has been given. Yes that is true, but only after the capabilities needed to meet those requirements have been downgraded enough so that F-35 can meet them. This has come at the expense of a fighter combat survival capabilities. Normally fighter planes have a redundant systems, for example there is two fly-by-wire systems so that even though there might be extensive damage to the fighter it still remains airworthy. In F 35 these redundant systems and fail safes have had to go in order to meet weight requirements posted by US Air Force.
So I HOPE US will not be forcing the F-35 on Finland as a ticket to get into NATO. Finland should stay well clear of this cocktail.