New US fighter jet on course to becoming ‘one of history’s biggest white elephants’

A quick search under the F-35 tag will reveal to you a longer troubled history than what one article alone will.

 

A plane so technologically advanced that it would give Britain and the US air superiority in any future conflict and billed as the world’s most advanced stealth fighter jet, could be one of “the biggest white elephants in history”, according to a former defence minister.

And while costs of the F-35 spiral and delays run into years, another commentator has warned that “our skies and seas are vulnerable”.

The aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, was designed to replace the Harrier jump-jet, which went out of service in 2011. The UK once envisaged ordering 150 F-35s, to be ready by 2012. Three years on, the F-35 is still far from ready to fly in combat and the cost of a single jet has risen from £33m to £87m. The UK has ordered only eight to date. Continue reading

Bad News for Lockheed’s F-35 Stealth Fighter: This Warplane Has “Serious Deficiencies”

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) has an F-35 stealth fighter jet — but can it shoot? We posed this question last month, in the midst of a “he said-she said” battle waged between the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Project Office and … The Daily Beast, which alleges the Pentagon is misleading taxpayers (and Congress) about when the F-35’s 25mm nose cannon will be ready for combat.

Says the Pentagon, development of “3F” software needed to operate the gun is on track, and should begin rolling out by 2017. According to the Beast, though, the software is behind schedule and won’t reach combat pilots before “late 2018 at the very earliest.” As a result, F-35 pilots must go into combat without guns for at least the next three years, before the software becomes operational.

Bad as all this sounds, though, it could be the least of Lockheed Martin’s problems. Continue reading

China stole plans for a new fighter plane, spy documents have revealed

German magazine Der Spiegel has published new disclosures of signals intelligence collected by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and its “Five Eyes” partners, including the Australian Signals Directorate. The intelligence reveals new details of the directorate’s efforts to track and combat Chinese cyber-espionage.

According to a top secret NSA presentation, Chinese cyber spies have stolen huge volumes of sensitive military information, including “many terabytes of data” relating to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) – also known as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Continue reading

China Stealing State Secrets

Benjamin Bishop, a defense contractor with top secret clearance, was arrested on March 15 for passing on state secrets to a 27-year-old Chinese spy. The severe breach in national security shows that beyond losing information via Chinese hackers, more traditional methods of espionage, such as the “honey pot,” are continuing to take their toll.

Mr. Bishop was compromised when he met the young woman during a conference on international military defense issues. The name of the woman has not been released, but is referred to as “Person 1.” What is known is that Person 1 was living in Hawaii on a student visa, and was most likely at the military meeting to target people such as Mr. Bishop, who have access to classified information. Continue reading