Despite warnings of poor performance and spiraling costs from at least three oversight agencies, both Congressional armed services committees voted to add new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to the president’s appropriations request and approved a three-year block buy.
The final number has yet to be hashed out, but if the Senate gets its way, taxpayers will buy 94 F-35s in 2018. That would mean more than 800 F-35s would be purchased before the design has been fully tested.
Congress’s actions here are disappointing. What is even more disturbing is the justification provided for those actions in the House. (The Senate language is not yet available.) Buried deep within Rep. Mac Thornberry’s (R-Texas) “Chairman’s Mark” of the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), is a lengthy rationalization of the F-35 double-down plan. The authors of the offending appendix include lots of details, but they failed to give a complete picture. The full story, of course, would have undermined the current appeal for digging farther into the F-35 hole.
The report says the House Armed Services Committee “understands” the F-35 program has completed approximately 90 percent of the development phase. It is basing this understanding on testimony provided by the former program executive officer, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan and three other flag officers, on February 16. The witnesses—whose job it is to be boosters of the program—said it had essentially turned a corner and painted a rosy picture of its future.
The casual viewer of the hearing would hardly know there have ever been any problems with the F-35. It was like tuning into a heinous murder trial only during the character witness testimony for the defense. Perhaps that was the idea. Noticeably absent from the panel were any representatives from the Pentagon’s top weapons-testing office or any other independent analysts. Their presence would have changed the tone significantly since less than four weeks before the hearing, the testing office released a scathing, 62-page assessment of the F-35 program as part of its FY2016 Annual Report.
The F-35 program is still plagued with serious design problems and still requires years of testing before anyone will know if it is capable and suitable for combat. Nevertheless, the public would have no idea if all they did was listen to the carefully selected panel in February. (There no mention of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation report in the NDAA justification.)
Read more here: www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/congress-hypnotized-by-plane-that-cant-get-off-the-ground/
So is this the future for our neighborhood? 2908 S Pond is an affordable Bench home. Now it will be gravel. We have no problem with the gardens. Great - that was a pasture and open space and homes shouldn't be built there until the Airport resolves its very serious noise issues - and the legal problems that come from State and Local decisions. The "Aviation Department" paid $188,000 for 2908 and the land. Don't know how much demolition will cost. WOW PRETTY EXPENSIVE GRAVEL LOT!
We thought Boise has an affordable housing shortage. Guess Not. The Airport purchased this perfectly good home at 2918 S Pond Street years ago and has rented it - not really knowing what to do with it since it was purchased as "mitigation". This is real - happening today July 12, 2017. Just think if hundreds more homes are "purchased" because of the disruption caused by F-35 fighter jets. This is why Bench residents are so outraged. What should homeowners do? Fix the roof? Replace the stove? And what about those homes that aren't purchased?
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Delayed testing could add more than $1 billion to the cost of the F-35 fighter jet program, according to a government watchdog.
In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended completing developmental testing before making “significant new investments” in the program.
“Cascading F-35 testing delays could cost the Department of Defense (DOD) over a billion dollars more than currently budgeted to complete development of the F-35 baseline program,” the report says.
Critics have long slammed Lockheed Martin's F-35 program, estimated to cost $400 billion for 2,457 planes, as a costly boondoggle.
Read more here: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/330253-watchdog-delayed-testing-could-add-1b-to-f-35-program
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Greeting to fellow Boiseans,
By way of introduction, I am Dave Frazier, editor of the BOISEGUARDIAN.COM newsblog.
In the past few days I posted the results of a public records request of Boise City regarding the F-35. I make no claims of being impartial. I oppose basing the noisy fighter at Gowen Field.
However, I do claim to be accurate and factual. I am a Vietnam veteran, have worked for all of the major national news organizations (TIME, NY TIMES, NEWSWEEK, U.S. NEWS) providing both writing and photos. I also support the USA and a strong military defense. Over the years I have traveled officially with the IANG to Alaska, Norway, California and covered other military operations with the USAF in England and Mt. Home.
My opinions are not "misinformation." They are based in logic and sound judgement garnered from 71 years on the planet and nearly 50 years living within earshot of Gowen Field. I was a personal friend of Lt Col Leo Leeburn, the wartime commander at Gowen and even wrote part of his funeral eulogy. Gen. Darrell Manning, a former adjutant of the Idaho Guard wrote the preface to my Vietnam memoir, "DRAFTED! Vietnam at War and at Peace"
While not mentioned specifically, I resent any implication on the part of Kathleen Lacey and those so eager to attract the F-35 that my work and the GUARDIAN promote "erroneous or misinformation." I also have not seen any substantive information that was false or grossly inaccurate from other sources.
Here is a link to the latest GUARDIAN post. It reveals the mayor's staff specifically planned to use each and every one of you as pawns to sway public opinion in favor of the F-35.
Yours for truth and freedom,
DAVID R. FRAZIER
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War Of Words Over F-35 Revealed In Documents
Using money donated by concerned citizens, the GUARDIAN paid to obtain three months worth of public documents from the City of Boise regarding the F-35 which paint a vivid picture of a single-minded battle plan with little regard for “collateral damage” to the home-owning citizens of the Boise Bench. The documents are available HERE until April 27. NOTE–This is a 413.96 MB zip file that will be downloaded to your computer or device – be sure you have room for it.
Armed with taxpayer dollars and the resources of government, Boise and Idaho politicos have launched a public relations offensive against the citizens in their battle to attract the F-35 fighter jet to Gowen Field. They may be well intentioned, but many residents stand to be victims of “friendly fire” in this war of words.
E-mail documents show “The Group” (or committee) comprised of National Guard, City, State, Idaho Power, and Airport employees, communicates almost daily preparing canned form letters to constituents, conniving to keep “our message” in the media via op-ed pieces in the Statesman, at public meetings, with the Federal Government, and on social media. Their event at Gowen Field hosting the STATESMAN editorial board was an exercise in military maneuvers worthy of a military academy class.
The Group has created “talking points,” while never once discussing alternatives to the loud F-35 fighter being based in Boise. For instance, in a series of exchanges regarding the opponent’s logical suggestion of basing the F-35 mission at Mountain Home AFB, they settled on this response:
“The U.S. Air Force is currently considering which Guard bases will receive F-35s, not the consolidation of Air Guard and Air Force bases.”
When opponents and the GUARDIAN noted the impact on the most densely populated area between Salt Lake and Seattle, the glib solution became:
“Boise is the most densely populated city in Idaho, maintaining a population base sufficient to meet the needs of an F-35 mission.”
In one document the Idaho Dept. of Commerce reveals it has nationwide access (intelligence source?) to a service called BRANDWATCH. They provided a password and instructions to the Group so members could get news reports and social media trends regarding the F-35. Boise’s attorney denied the GUARDIAN access to that info by redacting it from the e-mails. Just another weapon in the official arsenal not available to the enemy.
Buried in the hundreds of messages was this reference from airport Director Rebecca Hupp to Mayor Dave Bieter: “I will also ask Elizabeth Koeckeritz to email, for your rerefernce, the attorney-client memo that initially discussed forming Gowen Strong as an independent non-profit and the City Council resolution.” Koeckeritz is a civil attorney for the city. GOWEN STRONG is a collaboration between Boise City and the private special interest lobbying group known as the Chamber of Commerce.
When a member of what is now “Citizens for a Livable Boise” sent an invitation to a neighborhood association president to attend a meeting of concerned citizens regarding the F-35, the neighborhood guy’s wife turned it over to the mayor’s staff, prompting this response from an executive staffer:
“Tracy’s husband, received this email today…would be great to arm some of these folks with facts beforehand. Also, speaks to Jade’s point about reaching out through Kathleen Lacy (sic) and Melinda McGoldrick to the NAs. (Jade Riley is mayor’s chief of staff and NA is neighborhood associations).
It came as no surprise when neighborhood association presidents received a letter sent April 14 by none other than Kathleen Lacey, Boise’s neighborhood coordinator claiming, “In recent weeks, you may have received information from individuals who oppose the potential F-35 mission at Gowen Field. While we certainly respect the opinions of everyone and their right to express them, we feel a responsibility to make sure you have accurate information to base your own opinion upon.”
Read more here: boiseguardian.com/2017/04/15/war-of-words-over-f-35-revealed-in-documents/
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Air Force says it carefully sorted through 83 military bases around the country before deciding where to assign a coveted prize, the first Air National Guard squadron of F-35s, the next fighter jet in America’s arsenal.
In the end, it picked Vermont for the honor, home state of one of the National Guard’s most powerful political allies in Washington, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy.
But state pride in the award to the “Green Mountain Boys,’’ as the Vermont Air National Guard calls itself, has been clouded by the Air Force’s failure to fully take into account the thunderous noise the F-35s would generate in densely populated communities around its base at Burlington International Airport.
That failure and other flaws in its selection process are raising questions about whether the Air Force deliberately sought to reward a key friend in Congress with a squadron of advanced fighter jets for his state, and whether residents near the airfield might fall victim to Washington’s system of political spoils.
Projected sound levels around the airport are so high with the F-35s that local officials predict several thousand nearby homes would fall within a zone designated “incompatible for residential use,’’ negatively affecting the lives and property values of as many as 7,000 citizens.
A Globe examination of records, and interviews with Pentagon officials directly involved with the review, show the Air Force — in selecting Vermont over competing locations — relied on inaccurate, excessively low estimates of the impact of the jet blast on the local population.
One of the Pentagon officials said in an interview that the lengthy base-selection process was deliberately “fudged’’ by military brass so that Leahy’s home state would win.
Read more here: www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/04/13/selection-vermont-guard-base-for-jets-was-based-flawed-data-raising-questions-political-influence/pmhiPtI1BPWxwC3yK1adAL/story.html
By Denise Seigart
I believe the current debate regarding the placement of F-35s here in Boise is focused on the wrong issue. While the noise created by these jets will indeed be intolerable and damaging to physical and mental health, I believe this is the least of the effects we in the Treasure Valley will suffer. The air pollution created by F-35s will be far more damaging to the health of our citizens than the noise. According to the Air Force environmental report (F-35 Training Basing: Environmental Impact Statement, 2012) produced for the Boise area, F-35s will annually release tons of additional pollutants into the Valley’s air, such as volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and large and small particulates.
While the amount of pollution will vary by the number of planes and flights, it is certain that the pollution caused by the F-35s will be well above what we experience now from existing plane traffic. Given the inversions and wildfire smoke we suffer each year, and given that Idaho in general was ranked by the United Health Foundation in 2015 as one of the states with the poorest air quality in the nation, I find it remarkable that we are being considered at all for the F-35s. Atlantic County, N.J., was considered for placement of the F-35s, but its poor air quality was partially responsible for the rejection. I believe we can make the same argument here.
Burlington, Vt., report (Endangered Health, 2012) found “three key pollutants in jet exhaust ... are widely recognized as having a major impact on health, contributing to cancer and respiratory disease. ... The UCLA Medical Center study of the Santa Monica Airport ... demonstrates the critical significance of local measurement of these pollutants in assessing the impact of airport operations.”
Read more here: www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article143713174.html
Denise Seigart is a registered nurse who has been working or teaching for 37 years in the areas of public health, pediatrics, maternal-child health and research. She and her husband moved to Boise in 2014.
The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of Dr. Michael Gilmore, the now-retired Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in his last annual report.
The Joint Strike Fighter Program has already consumed more than $100 billion and nearly 25 years. Just to finish the basic development phase will require at least an extra $1 billion and two more years. Even with this massive investment of time and money, Dr. Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon, and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services."
Dr. Gilmore detailed a range of remaining and sometimes worsening problems with the program, including hundreds of critical performance deficiencies and maintenance problems. He also raised serious questions about whether the Air Force’s F-35A can succeed in either air-to-air or air-to-ground missions, whether the Marine Corps’ F-35B can conduct even rudimentary close air support, and whether the Navy’s F-35C is suitable to operate from aircraft carriers.
He found, in fact, that “if used in combat, the F-35 aircraft will need support to locate and avoid modern threat ground radars, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft due to unresolved performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage availability.”
Electronics Used to Justify Cost Not Delivering Capabilities
Ineffective as a Fighter
Ineffective as an Interdiction Bomber
Ineffective as a Close Air Support Platform
Navy’s F-35 Unsuitable for Carrier Operations
Price Tag Is the Only Thing Stealthy about the F-35
Combat Effectiveness at Risk
Can the F-35 Be Where It’s Needed, When It’s Needed?
F-35 Reliability Problems
Officials Hiding Truth about F-35’s Problems and Delays from Taxpayers
Read more here: http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/weapons/2017/f35-continues-to-stumble.html
PHOENIX — Residents near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base have asked a judge to order the Air Force to conduct a full-blown environmental impact study of flight operations. Their attorney says they’ve been treated with “contempt.”
In new court filings, attorney Joy Herr-Cardillo noted the military did a less formal “environmental assessment” in 2012, concluding there would be no significant impact on those living in and around the flight path of the Tucson base.
Herr-Cardillo said reports that there would be F-35 training at the base prompted the lawsuit. The latest generation of jets is known to be particularly noisy. As it turned out, Tucson was passed over as an F-35 training site.
But she said neighbors discovered in researching the issue that much has changed since the original Operation Snowbird operations started in the 1970s, the last time the Air Force fully looked at the impact of its operations on the base’s neighbors.
Operation Snowbird was originally designed to provide training time for pilots from northern states during the winter.
But since then, according to Herr-Cardillo, Operation Snowbird became a year-round activity. The type of aircraft used also changed.
She said the Air Force never considered the effect of all that additional air traffic on neighbors, something she said it was required to do.
Read more here: http://tucson.com/news/local/davis-monthan-air-force-base-neighbors-ask-judge-to-order/article_63b9c5a3-8c93-534d-bb3b-e68a6826b68f.html
BOISE, Idaho — The Central Bench… tree lined streets, flowers budding and chirping birds. But the peace and quiet could change if F-35’s are stationed at Gowen Field.
The F-35… some call it the “sound of freedom,” others say it’s the sound of hearing damage and plummeting property values.
If the F-35’s come to Boise, official data shows hundreds of homes could be classified as uninhabitable with the juts taking off and landing nearby.
"We know for sure because it's been identified, 105 homes (could be uninhabitable), 419 are out there on the chart as being very probable (uninhabitable), some numbers I've seen are closer to 900," said Dan Marler of Citizens For a Livable Boise.
"My main concern about the F-35's coming to Boise is the hearing of children," said Boise Bench neighbor Robert McAndrew.
McAndrew has lived on the Bench for years.
"Often times see the A-10's take off, they make a big loop around and then they land again and those are practice runs," McAndrew said.
McAndrew said the A-10 is loud enough to rattle his windows and the F-35 would be worse. He’s not just concerned for himself, but for the safety of others.
"I need assurances from Governor Otter and Mayor Bieter that the ears of children on the bench will not be damaged by the jets. Owyhee grade school is just about as close to the airport as you can get," McAndrew said.
Read more here: http://kboi2.com/news/local/boise-bench-neighbors-say-officials-arent-hearing-their-concerns-over-f-35-noise
The Air Force & Arizona Star Got It Right the First Time:
The F-35 is much louder than the F-16 and A-10.
The Arizona Star reported that the F-35 fighter projects 121 decibels (db) of noise to the ground, 25 decibels more than the F-16, at the same speed and altitude. Later, the Star corrected the estimate of the F-35 noise to 98 db, based on numbers provided by Davis-Monthan. But D-M’s numbers are contradicted by 6 years of consistent Air Force reports.
Five independently prepared Air Force documents show that at most altitudes and speeds, the noise on the ground below the F-35 will be an average of 16 decibels louder than the loudest F-16 currently flying from D-M/TIA (a difference of roughly 60 times the physical energy & more than three times as loud perceptually).
1. The Elgin AFB Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) reports the F-35 at 500 mph was 121 db, & the F-16 was 97 db (a 24 db difference).
2. A joint empirical test by the AF & Lockheed reported the F-35 at 121 db at 1,000 ft, and 500 mph. While the F-16 at the same speed and height, was 114 db (a 7 db difference).
3. The Nellis EIS, reported the F-35 at minimum (cruising) power at 1,000 feet was 103 db, and the F16 at 89 db (a 14 db difference).
4. The Luke Air Force Base EIS, report landing estimates for the F-35, at normal military power (full throttle without afterburner) was 79 db, compared to the 66 db of the F-16 (a 13 db difference).
5. The Burlington Vermont EIS, reports that the F-35 produces 115 db at ground level, on take-off, while the F-16 produces 94 db (a 21 db difference).
These five Air Force reports show that D-M’s claim is completely wrong. And, Regardless of the real difference between the F-35 and the F-16, it will be at least 25 db louder than D-M’s A10s, which are the most frequent Air Force plane over Tucson - a difference of about 400 times the physical energy, which will sound about 6 times as loud. Typical data from Air Force Environmental Impact Statements report that the F-35 is much louder than all other fighters. Note that the A-10 is at least 15 db quieter than the quietest F-16, and at least 25 db quieter than the F-35).
Original article here: http://www.tucsonforward.com/files/F-35_Noise_fact_sheet_07-2014.pdf
Trump criticized the cost of America’s warplane of the future, but what he’s not saying is that it might be hackable and leave soldiers vulnerable.
A pointy-beaked F-35B Lightning II idles noisily on a runway at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in southern Maryland. Suddenly the plane roars to life and sprints a mere 300 feet before abruptly lifting off and soaring into a cloudless, late-winter sky over Chesapeake Bay. A while later it zooms back into view, slows to a hover over the runway like a helicopter, then drops straight down to the concrete, where it lands with a gentle bounce.
A U.S. Marine Corps test pilot is manning the controls. If he were Air Force or Navy, his version of the military’s highly anticipated new fighter jet wouldn’t have this capacity to take off and land on a dime—though it would come with other custom features. This is why Air Force Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan, who’s in charge of overseeing the acquisition of the F-35, brought three plastic models of the fighter jet to a December 2016 meeting with Donald Trump at his Florida residence.
Bogdan, a tall former test pilot who speaks in a raspy, authoritative voice, has been working with Lockheed Martin Corp., the plane’s manufacturer and the country’s largest defense contractor, since 2012. Nine days before their meeting, Trump had called Bogdan’s program “out of control” in a tweet, so the three-star general knew that at Mar-a-Lago, the president-elect would put him on the spot. But what he didn’t anticipate was Trump’s eagerness to demonstrate his own knowledge of aviation. Trump talked with pride about his personal Boeing 757, Bogdan says. “Anything about airplanes, he’s excited about, and he told me that the first time we met.”
Amid the gold-inlaid, high-ceilinged splendor of the Jazz Age château in Palm Beach, Bogdan explained the F-35’s advanced sensor system and stealth capability. Trump listened respectfully, but the next day he was back on Twitter, complaining about the plane’s “tremendous cost and cost overruns.” To Bogdan’s continued surprise, in the days before the inauguration, Trump twice telephoned the general at his office in an austere Pentagon annex in Arlington, Va. He wanted to discuss the allegations he’d heard that the F-35’s performance fell short of existing fighters. Bogdan hastened to reassure Trump that those claims were “myths,” “misinformation,” or “old information”—none of them worth believing.
On Jan. 30, his 10th day as president, Trump markedly changed his tone. He took credit for knocking $600 million off the price of the latest batch of 90 fighters and told reporters the F-35 was “a great plane.” Since then, he’s made the F-35 an emblem of his dealmaking prowess. During his Feb. 28 address to a joint session of Congress, the president boasted he’d “saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic new F-35 jet fighter.”
In truth, thanks to Bogdan’s negotiations with Lockheed, prices were going to fall with or without Trump’s intervention. And the plane, discounts notwithstanding, is still on its way to becoming the priciest military procurement in U.S. history. Trump’s self-congratulation serves as a distraction from the larger issue troubling the fighter jet: its performance. While the Pentagon’s official line is that, after years of difficulties, the F-35 is meeting high expectations, skeptics both outside and within the military say it’s turning out to be a two-decades-in-the-making, trillion-dollar mistake.
Read more here: www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-04-04/is-the-f-35-a-trillion-dollar-mistake
WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced five installations as candidate bases for the next two Air National Guard F-35A locations.
The candidate bases include: Dannelly Field Air Guard Station, Montgomery, Alabama; Gowen Field AGS, Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville AGS Florida, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Detroit, and Truax AGS, Madison, Wisconsin.
“The Air Force is committed to a deliberate and open process to address F-35 basing,” said Jennifer A. Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations. “As we progress through the basing process, we will share information so interested communities are aware of what to expect.”
The Air Force will now conduct on-the-ground site surveys at each candidate location. Site survey teams will assess each location against operational requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, infrastructure and manpower, and then develop cost estimates to bed down the F-35A.
The preferred and reasonable alternatives are expected to be selected in the spring of 2017 and the Air Force will complete the Environmental Impact Analysis Process before making a final basing decision.
The F-35As are expected to begin arriving at the second and third Air National Guard locations in the early to mid-2020s.
Previously, three active duty operational locations and one Air National Guard location were identified for F-35A basing-Hill AFB, Utah; Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England; and Eielson AFB, Alaska; and Burlington AGS, Vermont.
Following an intense four-year competition, the U.S. Department of Defense on 26 October 2001, named the Lockheed Martin lead Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) team as the winner of the contract to develop the F-35 Lightning II. The F-35 team immediately entered the program’s 10-year System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase.
The SDD period involves the development and testing of the entire aircraft system, including its manufacture. During SDD, the team will build a total of 22 test aircraft. Fourteen will undergo flight-testing, seven will be used for non-airborne test activities, and one will be used to evaluate the F-35’s radar signature.
Nine nations are partnering in the F-35’s SDD phase: The United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia. Partnership in SDD entitles those countries to bid for work on a best value basis, and participate in the aircraft’s development. Additionally, Israel and Singapore have agreed to join the program as a Security Cooperation Participants.
Lockheed Martin is the F-35 prime contractor, while Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are principal partners in the project.
Final assembly of the F-35 takes place at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, Texas. Northrop Grumman Corporation in Palmdale and El Segundo, California will manufacture the center-fuselage, and the aft fuselage and tails will be manufactured by BAE Systems in Samlesbury, England. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth will manufacture the forward fuselage and wings.
Conventional Take Off & Landing (CTOL)
Span (ft) 35
Length (ft) 50.5
Wing Area (ft2) 460
Internal Fuel (lb) 18,498
Short Take Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL)
Span (ft) 35
Length (ft) 50.5
Wing Area (ft2) 460
Internal Fuel (lb) 13,326
Carrier Variant (CV)
Span (ft) 43
Length (ft) 50.8
Wing Area (ft2) 620
Internal Fuel (lb) 19,624
For more detailed information go to https://www.f35.com