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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

That would be awkward

My money would be on China getting there first.
The US military is desperately trying to recover the wreckage of a Japanese F-35A stealth fighter which crashed over the Pacific yesterday amid fears China and Russia could beat them to it. Parts of the tail of the world's most sophisticated stealth jet have already been found after it disappeared off the radar 85 miles east of Misawa, Japan during a training mission.

Eight ships and seven aircraft,including a U.S. Navy P-8 Orion maritime patrol plane, are looking for traces of the jet that is believed to have sunk to 5,000ft. The pilot of the aircraft is still missing.

But experts today warned that Russia and China could also be trying to get their hands on the aircraft to discover its secrets.

Tom Moore, a former senior professional staff member at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted: 'There is no price too high in this world for China and Russia to pay to get Japan's missing F-35, if they can. Big deal.'

'Bottom line is that it would not be good,' retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula told Business Insider.

It is believed Russia and China could be using their advanced submarines to scour the ocean floor in search of the jet in order to steal vital technology on board. And experts have warned that parts of the jet could easily be replicated if they do recover the wreckage before US or Japanese search teams.
On the other hand, given the apparent shortcomings of the F-35, the bigger fear might be the Chinese or Russians learning that there is no reason to replicate any parts of the jet. It's interesting how this storyline tends to track the plot of A Mind Programmed/The Programmed Man.

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50 Comments:

Blogger Mr.MantraMan April 10, 2019 11:00 AM  

I just assume the paperwork Americans just download the plans from their desks at Lockheed and others and then email them home with no need for any recovery operation. I lurk at SNAFU blogspot and IMO the most impressive point to the F-35 is Lockheed's Blogforce, they could beat the Borg, pigs truly can fly.

Blogger Longtime Lurker April 10, 2019 11:20 AM  

Introducing Jiaolong - China's deep sea submersible: https://infogalactic.com/info/Jiaolong_(submersible)

Jiaolong's new mothership and pending visit to the Marianas trench: http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201902/15/WS5c66541fa3106c65c34e9920.html

Has the Jiaolong been rerouted? Inquiring minds want to know.

Russia's long experience with deep sea submersibles: https://infogalactic.com/info/Mir_(submersible)

Blogger Crew April 10, 2019 11:25 AM  

My money is on the US ships crashing into tankers before they get anywhere near the downed F35.

But then, if it is stealthy, it should be hard to find, even when crashed!

Blogger Salt April 10, 2019 11:29 AM  

Remember the hoopla over the Glomar Explorer going after the Russian sub.

Blogger SemiSpook37 April 10, 2019 11:32 AM  

Ah, the F-35. The jet built completely by committee. I'd say the Chinese and the Russians are wasting their time, as with anything done in that approach could be adversely affected by a stiff breeze on a calm day.

Blogger NO GOOGLES April 10, 2019 11:43 AM  

Eh, most of the shortcomings of the F-35 were on the administrative end. Cost overruns, delays, teething issues. Of course, for a weapon of this complexity many of these were not unexpected. The F-35 is easily the most technologically advanced and potent weapon of its type in the world. It would be a massive problem if so early in its lifespan it were to fall into other nations' hands.

The real problem with the F-35 is how in the world they are going to find enough skilled and competent pilots to crew it - and how are they going to maintain all of the ancillary infrastructure needed to keep it flying at 100%. "Diversity" has taken a DEEP toll on our military logistics (as the Navy's constant struggles to sail ships without running into things has perfectly illustrated) and while the combat pilots are mostly still white and competent there has been pressure to "diversify" the flight line for more than a decade and the disaster is unfolding in slow motion already.

It doesn't matter how good your aircraft is if you can't keep it in the sky because of lack of competent pilots and infrastructure. The rot is deep.

Blogger DraveckysHumerus April 10, 2019 11:50 AM  

If USS Carter isn't drydocked then it's presently enroute to the F-35 at flank speed. Carter will attempt towage to some other location. Surface vessels may play cat and mouse. I'll disagree with F-35 detractors -- you guys were correct about the platform for a long time but today we have a true 5gen aircraft that has tremendous flexibility. F-35 will be a valuable asset even against peers. 0.03

Blogger Christian Schulzke April 10, 2019 11:57 AM  

Isn't the J-21 already a carbon copy of the F-35? Given the level of espionage coming from Chinese "Americans" I wouldn't be surprised if they really don't have much to learn.

Blogger T April 10, 2019 11:58 AM  

Laughs in capability to fight to full scale theater wars and win in 5 years .

Blogger Dave W. April 10, 2019 12:03 PM  

Japan found the wreckage: https://www.foxnews.com/world/wreckage-of-missing-japans-f-35-fighter-jet-found-pilot-remains-missing

Blogger carnaby April 10, 2019 12:07 PM  

"On the other hand, given the apparent shortcomings of the F-35, the bigger fear might be the Chinese or Russians learning that there is no reason to replicate any parts of the jet."

Or maybe it's a red herring... we crashed an "F35" that indicates to the Russians and Chinese that they have nothing to fear. That would be the smart move if we want the advantage if/when it comes to actual combat.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine April 10, 2019 12:11 PM  

I'm glad I'm not still in submarines. I'd almost certainly be involved in the search.

While submarines are better about their navigational caution than surface ships, it's still degrading too as far as I can tell. Being in an area with a bunch of other submarines concentrated that all want to find the same thing but don't want to be found themselves is just asking for it.

Blogger carnaby April 10, 2019 12:12 PM  

Of course this is all old news as the jet has been found... or has it? Maybe that is just a report to throw the Chinese and Russians off the trail. Apparently we never actually know anything. How do we even know a jet crashed? Maybe this has all been a red herring from the start to observe the Russian and Chinese reactions to a crashed F-35. How would we ever know? Maybe the same is true of all the reported F-35 deficiencies?

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia April 10, 2019 12:28 PM  

I love the Daily Mail -- it's always a treat.

"Experts say..." and they talk to two guys. Hyperventilating journalism at its finest.

Don't you know that Trump's Homeland Security department is in "turmoil?" The Daily Mail says so, so it must be true.

Let's see if anybody can find, let alone recover intact, delicate sensor equiment and radar components at pressures of 7000 lbs per square inch.

I look forward to the breathless follow up story from the Daily Mail, along with its searing exposes of Buckingham Palace intrigue, along with their insightful coverage of randy EPL stars and their WAGS.

Blogger Dave Dave April 10, 2019 12:29 PM  

@6. The German tanks in WWII were the most advanced, yet they lost to mass produced American tanks.
When it comes to technology, I am more interested by the submarine developments than the fighter jets. We saw how devastating the U-boats were in previous wars, and they will continue to be a deadly force, especially with how nuclear submarines are becoming more viable.

Blogger DraveckysHumerus April 10, 2019 12:36 PM  

@12

Carter is still drydocked. Do we currently have a Pac-based sub that can salvage an aircraft at 5k or lower? None of our other SSNs can do it. The Japanese can from the surface. Curious.

Blogger Unknown April 10, 2019 12:38 PM  

Christian Schulzke wrote:Isn't the J-21 already a carbon copy of the F-35? Given the level of espionage coming from Chinese "Americans" I wouldn't be surprised if they really don't have much to learn.
The F-21 is a copy of the F-22, from photos it would appear the only part not duplicated is the 2D engine exhaust nozzles.

As for the lost F-35, I would be interested in learning if loss of engine power was the cause. Going from an all dual engine fleet to the single engine F-35 was an eyebrow raising idea for me when I saw what the F-35 looked like.

F-35 losses are going to be higher than the F/A-18 automatically because of this. Single engine F/A-18 recoveries were not exactly uncommon during my 20 years in the USN.

-Unknownsailor-

Blogger Daniel April 10, 2019 12:46 PM  

Send Captain Hultgren-Curie aboard the USS Meetoo to recover things. The Russians and Chinese will know to stop looking.

Blogger dc.sunsets April 10, 2019 12:55 PM  

@12 That's some scary stuff you wrote.

Death comes to us all, one per customer, but it's not the destination, it's the Path that matters (right?) As our Empire erodes, it strikes me as likely that collective endeavors that involve danger will see a significant trend toward A Lot More Danger and a lot fewer people going home (in one piece.)

Military endeavors in particular strike me as THE place where you can be as competent as the day is long but if you have Affirmative Action Incompetence anywhere nearby it's the same thing as getting fragged.

The F-35 is among the hilarious ways in which one of the Empire's factions robbed the others. It's an Empire of Mutual Theft, where it wouldn't matter if the weapons system was made of cardboard, what matters are the jobs downstream and the swag to be recycled into Congressional campaigns. Dead bodies of servicemen are a necessary side-effect only because appearances must be maintained.

Blogger sykes.1 April 10, 2019 1:20 PM  

I thought China had already stolen all the secrets from the Pentagon's and Lockheed's servers.

Blogger Doktor Jeep April 10, 2019 1:24 PM  

Indeed very possible they'll find out the F-35 is vaporware.

As for why the USA lacks advanced bottom-searching subs.... well we have to keep feeding all those minorities or they'll start robbing the urban hipsters.

Blogger pyrrhus April 10, 2019 1:43 PM  

I doubt there is anything about the F-35 that China doesn't know already, with thousands of Chinese working all over the MIC....

Blogger Stryker4570 April 10, 2019 1:45 PM  

Are we sure it's even on the bottom of the ocean? How do we know it wasn't flown to China (or, less likely, Russia) and some fake wreckage scattered in a likely location? That was my first thought when I heard the news. I remember the Russian Mig pilot in the 70's or 80's that flew a state of the art Soviet Fighter to Japan of S. Korea and defected. How much easier to do that with a Stealth aircraft?

Blogger DonReynolds April 10, 2019 1:48 PM  

I am reminded of the most important British contribution to the Korean War effort (1950-53)...the excellent jet engines used in the MiG 15 Soviet jet fighter plane.

Blogger MendoScot April 10, 2019 1:50 PM  

I bet Godzilla gets there first.

Blogger berb2000 April 10, 2019 1:58 PM  

F-35 is the first military machine that is "too big to fail".
I am seeing that many sensors are claiming to get around stealth features. If so, what then does the F--35 really bring to the US military other than being the most expensive item we have?

Blogger Unknown April 10, 2019 2:11 PM  

> Parts of the plane have been found after it disappeared off the radar...

Wait - how could it have been on radar??

Blogger RA April 10, 2019 2:21 PM  

There are lots and lots of paperwork Americans with security clearances all over the big contractor companies. Easy pickings, IMO. I would be surprised if the Chinese and the Russians even felt they had to pursue this one.

Blogger Crew April 10, 2019 2:45 PM  

I am reminded of the most important British contribution to the Korean War effort (1950-53)...the excellent jet engines used in the MiG 15 Soviet jet fighter plane.

I read somewhere that the Russians figured out the metals being used by harvesting metal shavings from the shoes of those who went to the places where the engines were made.

Maybe it was false.

Blogger Johnny April 10, 2019 2:49 PM  

>>wonderful versatility... More like jack of all trades and master of none. A seriously overpriced airplane that is not specialized for anything in particular, and therefore not particularly good at anything. If the F-35 is a great airplane it is because it has superior armaments, not because it is a superior airplane.

Airplanes are identified by the frame, the mechanical stuff that hooks all the other stuff together. Not uncommonly it is the other stuff that counts the most. To reference to WWII because it is what I am familiar with: The Mustang fighter was delegated to a reconnaissance role when it had the Allison engine. Somebody 'hot rodded' a Merlin engine into the airframe and the Mustang Fighter became the best fighter available in large numbers in WWII. And then there is the engine nicknamed the Double Wasp or double rotary engine. Of the several airframe that picked up that motor, every one of them became a real mother fugger if you had to go up against it.

Blogger FUBARwest April 10, 2019 2:54 PM  

Completely OT: I'm down for the book club. Missed the stream last night so couldn't comment on the stream

Blogger Crew April 10, 2019 3:34 PM  

Wait - how could it have been on radar??

Transponder?

Blogger Ominous Cowherd April 10, 2019 4:03 PM  

Is the F35 terribly bad, or just terribly over-priced because of our procurement system?

It's not impossible that the adversaries could learn that the F35 has good points, which they could duplicate far more cheaply.

Blogger DonReynolds April 10, 2019 4:34 PM  

@30 Johnny
"Airplanes are identified by the frame, the mechanical stuff that hooks all the other stuff together. Not uncommonly it is the other stuff that counts the most. To reference to WWII because it is what I am familiar with: The Mustang fighter was delegated to a reconnaissance role when it had the Allison engine. Somebody 'hot rodded' a Merlin engine into the airframe and the Mustang Fighter became the best fighter available in large numbers in WWII."

You are correct.
The big surprise, in time for the Battle of Britain, was that ALL of the British aircraft outperformed German expectations. Those Spitfires and Hurricanes were not much to worry about until they had American high octane fuel in them.

When Spitfires were crated off to Russia under the Lend Lease agreement, the Russians treated it like a dud....which is was, without American high octane fuel. That was one of the key factors in the air war during WWII, but seldom mentioned.

Blogger Robert What? April 10, 2019 4:53 PM  

Since "diversity" and virtue signalling appear to be the primary motivations of the US military, I can't see how they can possibly win any conflict of the future.

Blogger Matamoros April 10, 2019 5:26 PM  

We have the same problem in the South what with damn Yankees selling their little cottage up North for beaucoup bucks and then running up the housing costs down here.

And then they complain, "That's not how we do it up North."

Blogger Ominous Cowherd April 10, 2019 5:30 PM  

Unknown wrote:Wait - how could it have been on radar??

Transponder?

Blogger DraveckysHumerus April 10, 2019 6:01 PM  

@32 Crew

F-35 is equipped with retractable luneburg lenses and IFF capable of selectively interfacing with ATC. The lenses are super efficient radio reflectors readily picked up by civilian radars if deployed. IFF will respond to a radio interrogation by reporting positional vectors for aircraft avoidance if deployed. Military aircraft are supposed to comply with civil aviation rules when operating in commercial airspace under common circumstances.

Blogger Hammerli 280 April 10, 2019 6:05 PM  

It's normal procedure to have the transponder running except in a combat zone...and for LO platforms, to carry a radar reflector. It's the easiest and cheapest way to prevent any data collection on actual RCS numbers.

And yes, the F-35 works. The real PITA has been the software that runs the sensor suite. And the sensor suite is formidable - radar, fully integrated EO/IR/laser designator systems, etc. Very flossy.

Blogger Hammerli 280 April 10, 2019 6:07 PM  

I'll add that cost numbers are notoriously easy to manipulate. Even more so with the F-35. Like a high-end car, it comes with a lot of standard equipment that are expensive add-ons for earlier aircraft.

Blogger English Tom April 10, 2019 6:08 PM  

@Don Reynolds

You're forgetting the stand on the Imjin river by the Gloucesters.

Blogger Haxo Angmark April 10, 2019 6:15 PM  

exactly, VD" the Pentagram's great fear is that the "enemy" will

recover this updated version of the Brewster Buffalo and realize

what a useless piece of hi-tech junk it really is.

Blogger Verne April 10, 2019 7:19 PM  

The F35 uses much of the F22s technology. The F35 was a brain dead effort to make a.cheaper plane that can do everything. But the technology in that plane can help a nation make an F22. The F22 is the best fighter ever built. It can dominate the sky. We wouldn’t want to face it’s equal

Blogger Iron Spartan April 10, 2019 8:19 PM  

The Chinese know everything there is to know about the F35.

The Air Force is so risk adverse that when the first F35 is shot down they will cease operations until they figure out how to deal with the loss.

Blogger Jack (LJCSOGHMOMAS) April 10, 2019 8:20 PM  

I would guess that it's a red herring, as carnaby said. If it's really such an important piece of equipment and it would be really really bad if China or Russia recovered it before we did, then why advertise this fact in the newspapers? And the Chinese and Russians are smart enough to know that.

On the other hand, maybe it really is what they say, and by putting it in the papers, it just makes it look like a red herring to disinterest the Russkis and the Chi coms. James Angleton said spycraft is a wilderness of mirrors, and he would know.

Blogger J Van Stry April 10, 2019 8:46 PM  

If they're offering enough money, he probably just flew it to China

Blogger Aurelius Gomez April 10, 2019 9:32 PM  

The Japanese have better subs as does the US.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd April 10, 2019 9:56 PM  

Iron Spartan wrote:The Air Force is so risk adverse that when the first F35 is shot down they will cease operations until they figure out how to deal with the loss.

The military is absolutely, 100%, dedicated to the mission. The mission is CYA until retirement.

Jack (LJCSOGHMOMAS) wrote:If it's really such an important piece of equipment and it would be really really bad if China or Russia recovered it before we did, then why advertise this fact in the newspapers?

If the Chinks and Rooskies were really so dumb that they couldn't figure out this might be interesting, they would be too dumb to read the papers.

Blogger wahr01 April 10, 2019 10:04 PM  

Why would the Chinese need to find a crashed plane when they've had the plans since late 2015?

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/snowden-chinese-hackers-stole-f-35-fighter-jet-blueprints-article-1.2084888

Blogger SciVo April 11, 2019 6:17 AM  

Stryker4570 wrote:Are we sure it's even on the bottom of the ocean? How do we know it wasn't flown to China (or, less likely, Russia) and some fake wreckage scattered in a likely location? That was my first thought when I heard the news. I remember the Russian Mig pilot in the 70's or 80's that flew a state of the art Soviet Fighter to Japan of S. Korea and defected. How much easier to do that with a Stealth aircraft?

My favorite unlikely theory for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 is that it was modern piracy, and the passengers were all flown into a slave market. But I don't think that real life is that interesting.

Anyway, I'm trying to interrogate my feelings of anger and spite, and it turns out that I really don't care what the heck happens to our military aircraft. They aren't actually used for our benefit anyway. They aren't for us, so f*** them.

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