KlassWar wrote:Can't compare early Soviet rockets to the F-35 clusterfuck. Rocketry was bleeding-edge tech back in WWII, avionics is an established science in the present.
The problem is that the F-35 was a hare-brained idea in the first place. The Army and Air Force wanted a stealth general-purpose fighter. The Navy wanted one they could launch from a carrier. And the Marines wanted VTOL so they could avoid relying on the Navy. For whatever reason (namely, Lockheed-Martin wanted a contract to rule'em all and paid the bribes to get it ), all them planes became a single project with all sorts of ugly structural compromises.
The result is a stealth-vtol-general purpose fighter-bomber that can't climb, can't turn, can't run, can't hide and doesn't carry that much ordnance.
I maybe wrong but it looks like you do not know how weapons development works.
It was not LM who came up with the concept of an all-purpose all-services fighter. It was the military that sent out a message, aka 'Request For Proposal', to every manufacturer for an all-purpose all-services fighter. Yes, the F-111 is still in memory.
However...If you put aside your ideological/political biases for a moment and look at this from technical and military perspectives, you will see or at least partially concede that the F-35 or equivalent is inevitable.
A bomber cannot be a fighter, but a fighter can be a bomber, or at least partially successful as a bomber. This has been true since the first aircraft from WW I. Since then, every bomber was designed and operated as a bomber but just about every fighter was at least attempted to be multi-roles and multi-missions. Even the F-14 Tomcat was modified and successfully tested to drop bombs -- the 'Bombcat'.
Mass deliveries of large quantities of bombs in a general area can affect the direction of a war, but so can many smaller deliveries of smaller quantities of bombs in many smaller areas, so came the fighter-bomber.
The point here is that every fighter was structurally and operationally modified to become a fighter-bomber and not one was developed from paper to be a true fighter-bomber. Yes, we have fielded many designs that were supposedly multi-roles and multi-missions, but all of them were originally designed from conception to be fighters. The F-35 is arguably the world's first designed from concept to be a true multi-roles multi-missions airframe.
In the past, whenever a carrier sail, it departs with a complement of F-14s for fleet defense, F-18s for general purpose, A-6s for bomb deliveries, S-3s for anti-sub, E-2s for airborne warning and control, and a few helos for short range missions and general support. You do not need to be an HR and/or logistics expert to see the difficulties involved in keeping the carrier's air fleet operations running smoothly. You do not need to be a CFO to see the financial strain on the organization.
Even the USAF, despite having the advantages of large land basings, eventually reduced its operations down to two major airframes: the F-15 and F-16. And there are highly modified versions of both airframes to be multi-roles and multi-missions.
The US, Russia, and China can afford to deploy as many uniquely designed airframes as we want but despite each country's wealth, all continues to work hard to reduce the logistical burdens of maintaining such fleets. Smaller countries that need to import their defense have no choice but to search for airframes that are capable of being multi-roles and multi-missions. This is why the F-16 is so popular.
The F-35 is an inevitable aircraft regardless of any speculative alternatives. The US have it, all the major powers are developing their own versions of it, and smaller countries want it or the Russian/Chinese versions of it. The Russian and Chinese versions of the F-35 will have their own problems from compromises necessary to meet their respective services' demands.
In my ten yrs in the USAF, I was on two aircrafts: F-111 and F-16. I know what it is like to cruise 20-30 meters in an F-111 over the English Channel or up/down in hard terrain following (TF) mode over the hills of Scotland. I know what it is like in an F-16 to have 9g on the body in a hard turn. I know what it is like standing next to a real nuclear bomb during Victor Alert duty back in Cold War.
When the F-16 first came out, there were no shortages of criticisms leveled against it, from the dubious fly-by-wire flight control system to its small size to its fragility. Pilots from heavier fighters like the F-4 or F-15 did not like how difficult it was to land the F-16. For the F-4, F-14, or F-15, landing each was essentially a 'controlled crash' because each aircraft was heavy and designed with different aerodynamic philosophies. When transitioned to the F-16, these pilots have to force the F-16 to land because the jet was designed to be so maneuverable to start. The F-16's first flight was completely unplanned. It was supposed to be a high speed runway test run. But the jet took off anyway, forcing the test pilot to continue with the unofficial test flight. Then there was the Kapton wire controversy that ended in a lawsuit against General Dynamics over a pilot's death. But look at the F-16's success today.
If the F-111 was a debacle for the idea of a multi-roles multi-missions airframe, then the F-16 redeemed that idea, and the F-35 may probably just prove its critics wrong.