Trump's new Pentagon Chief Reportedly Hates the F-35 — Here's What the US Could Have Made Instead
The F-35 notoriously lost to older legacy fighters in up-close dogfights
January 11, 2019 - by Alex Lockie for BusinessInsider.com
Harmer's view of an alternate path to the F-35 represents a different military philosophy than what the Pentagon has accepted since 2001, when it launched the F-35 program
- President Donald Trump's acting Pentagon chief reportedly hates the F-35, and he joins a long list of prominent people who consider the $1 trillion jet program a waste of money.
- A former US Navy commander, Chris Harmer, told Business Insider what the US could have built beside the F-35: A revamped fleet of legacy fighters with fifth-generation technology delivered at a fraction of the cost
- F-35 pilots tell Business Insider the combination of stealth and sensor capabilities make the jet indispensable to the US military, and the Pentagon's top brass has placed a big bet on the jet's success
- But Harmer and others have a different philosophy of modern warfare that gives less credit to expensive stealth jets and seeks to offload some of the F-35's workload onto cruise missiles and radar jammers.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who took over after President Donald Trump accepted the resignation of Jim Mattis, reportedly hates the most expensive weapons system of all time, the F-35.
Shanahan worked for 31 years at Boeing, the F-35 maker Lockheed Martin's main industry rival, and has reportedly said his old firm would have done a better job on the new stealth fighter.
A former senior Defense Department official told Politicothat Shanahan described the F-35 stealth fighter as "f---ed up" and said its maker, Lockheed Martin, "doesn't know how to run a program."
"The F-35 is very capable in a very specific way," Harmer said. "The only thing it does that legacy can't do is stealth."... the F-35 notoriously lost to older legacy fighters in up-close dogfights.
Harmer, and other F-35 detractors including legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager, still think the F-35 was a waste of money.
"The only advantage of the F-35 is to go into highly contested airspace," Harmer said, adding that the US had "literally never done that."