Every-time I pass this gentleman's desk, I see him playing solitaire on this computer. Defense contractors are adult daycare.
Government is the one funding this guy’s adventures in Solitaire. What makes you think Government can do anything efficiently, let alone reduce poverty?
Trying to use rent-seeking to discredit free market economics is about as disingenuous as using movie piracy to discredit the Internet.
As a human, when I consider all of the ways that governments could be inept, killing humans tops the list of my favorites.
I only worry because I doubt that feature creep is handicapping other governments as well as it's handicapping mine.
Laws about keeping your dog on a leash only work if both dogs are leashed.
Markets work this way, and when individuals are left, for the most part, to operate in the same fashion the intrinsic efficiency of supply satisfying demand is better than anything we might, as a group, think up.
Go to 28:30 (actual flight helmet recording)
”Use the force, Luke.”
(the google drive never loaded for me)
Not only that, but a large component of the Joint Strike Fighter program was selling it to allied militaries. It would be silly to trash the aircraft publicly if you want a dozen other nations to buy it.
You'd think people in software would be more familiar with having defects in your product not meaning doom or incompetence.
Full report here: https://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/FY2018/pdf/dod/2018f35j...
Article summarizing it here:
If the F35 fucks up, people can die, international relations can be harmed, etc etc etc
The US's 'black' planes have been remarkably successful, though that might be due to the fact that we never see their development and testing phase.
Disaster possibility 2 is that the original bid is met... but one critical feature is left out of the contract (overlooked) and is thus not in the result.
Disaster possibility 3 is that the company does go bankrupt. Uh, oops, we needed that company. Now we can't get parts for other products. This could be fixed via a huge bailout.
There needs to be a decision making process that can guide the R&D project.
Unless of course goals, progress, etc. can somehow be quantified. (But these are complex projects, complex goals, even coming up with relevant metrics is hard, and somehow coming up with one utility function is kind of impossible - without spending a lot of money on R&D for that, but then you're back to square one.)
That said, yes, risk should be better spread, but also the following are all critically related to public spending/procurement: Personal accountability and motivation, too big to fail, cartel/oligopoly, agent-principal problems, corruption, institutional deadlock, too much bureaucracy, bad responsibility-authority allocation, etc.
Air craft carriers are obsolete, the same way the carrier made the battleship obsolete in the second World War, but nations were slow to realize it. Missiles make the carrier obsolete today. If you look at China's fast missile boats, they know this already. However it's quite handy still for projecting air power against much weaker foes - which to be fair is what the USA does today.
Human planes are just silly though. Make drones, work on improving the ability to control then accurately remotely. They can out fly and out manoeuvre piloted planes at a fraction of the cost without risking the pilot's lives.
I also agree that the aircraft carrier will be supplanted at some point because of sophisticated anti ship missiles. But, if carriers can launch drones from much greater distances it will allow carriers to extend their usefulness for quite some time.
Jamming remotely piloted drones is a good point. A backup autonomous system can help there. But I don't understand enough about how easy it is to jam signals designed to work through jamming would be.
I think looking at Russian commitment to EW is one of the possibilities of next step. Imagine war with no gps, barely functional coms etc. Basically go back 40+ years that is war vs adversary with good EW.
Now the counter is killing EW platforms as they necessarily emit.. so emit less or communicate less to not get fixed and pounded into the ground etc.
Manned platforms are not going anywhere any time soon. Humans are just too clever and adaptable
That ends up meaning that all intelligence that other countries intelligence-agencies end up collecting are available to the US.
Drone warfare really is the next step and having full jets that appear to be piloted but are actually completely autonomous would put the US ahead by decades.
Moving to something lighter or more aerodynamic becomes a lot easier after that. If you look at the Boeing Airpower/Loyal Wingman UAV, it looks like its based on this concept quite closely.
As for remotely controlled drones, that suffers from jamming.
Another major design constraint difference between "unmanned fighter" and "cruise missile" would be the deployment and reusability goals. Cruise missiles tend to need to fit in launch tubes or under wings, while presumably an unmanned fighter would not be so constrained (and thus be able to use larger wings). And while cruise missiles are very single use, the sensors on an unmanned fighter may make it too expensive to discard that way.
If we get real self driving cars how long till someone figures what you need to plaster on a tree to fool ML into crashing a car :) now imagine full nation state behind such effort. The risk of not having human in the loop is just too great.
You also just can’t do anything limited. I mean you can have even now fighter jet just kill anything it finds that does not transmit id, good in war maybe not so good at other times. Aegis is old tech and it is automated to kill anything that looks like a missile in full auto mode.
Iron dome probably same thing, engages and fires on full auto. Now imagine you hook it up to some automated 155mm battery, the moment missile get painted, it would start counter battery, I am guessing the round would land in Gaza before the rocket hits Israel. Now how many people would be ok with this is another question.
I mean, the benefits of a pilotless fighter jet are pretty significant: more maneuverable, faster, easier to design, and probably cheaper. I'm especially curious about fighter pilots' opinions about this.
What if airplanes had to be cranked out at a rate like the WWII Merchant Marine Liberty Ships: 2,700 of them from 1941-1945? (There's a restored one, SS Jeremiah O'Brien, at pier 45 in San Francisco.)
Are these machines so complex now that it necessarily must take a generation to develop a new one?
Sounds good on paper, disaster in practice.
Between the F-35, the ethiopian crash, and plenty other related topics, I’m amazed at the quantity and quality of the comments.
I would expect this topic to be kind of niche, and not attract >100 comments everytime!
I recall the MCAS issue being discussed here well before governments grounded the 737max. The FAA being one of the last to ground.
The F-35 issues appear to share those common in engineering. Over promising, over spending and not able to deliver on those promises, because no solution can satisfy all wants/requirements.
In my explicitly unqualified view, the F-35 tries to be everything to all services, yet my limited understanding on aeronautics is (similar to marine engineering); is the best designs are those that focus on a specific task.
it's of course possible to make a new jet fighter/bomber/thing that satisfies all of the requirements. The issue is cost and time.
The F35 is a classic mega-R&D project. Like going to the Moon, fusion, self-driving cars, XUV litography [or the whole process/node change from 10nm to 7 or 5nm]. Costs are enormous, lifetime TCO is also very high. It's so complex and funding is so far from infinite, that it is and will be never "done".
We know these. Just as you can always tweak a nuclear reactor or atomic bomb design, just as you can always make better microchips, you can always make better jets.
It's also very similar to the JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) - the goal/design is pretty straightforward, just the engineering way to get there, is not. It calls for "tech" that's simply does not exist, and calls for systems integration of that tech on a level that simply cannot be adequately estimated/planned.
Fusion, the JWST and the F-35 have different principal constraints (the JWST seems the simplest, it is simply cost constrained - every part of the R&D/assembly/verification process seems so underfunded that all the other parts/participants have to wait for each other - and downtime is not cheap either, specialists can't just go and have a gig while they wait for others/testing/manufacturing; the F-35 is probably very bureaucratically constrained, a bit like ITER [the big international fusion project] - everyone has a small part in it, so there's is lots and lots and even more back and forth between everybody, problems are discovered, tweaking needs discussions, discussions with many parties are a nightmare, everything needs paperwork, because it's public money after all, etc.)
This does not make the F35 "bad", but of course begs the question of spending efficacy. Was there really no better way to spend all this money and achieve very similar goals? There probably was.
But. Usually these projects are a success even if the end result is useless. Because they fund R&D in many places.
For example a good overview of how mega-R&D translates into tangible innovations is the W7X brochure: https://www.ipp.mpg.de/987655/w7x_and_industry_en.pdf (Germany spent a few hundred millions euros, and most of that went to small shops iterating on their tech - which of course helps Germany remain competitive on the global markets).
Lots of HN comments pretend to know everything about depression and its cures despite posting totally incorrect information on the subject.
People here tend to speak with authority on many things they actually know next to nothing about.
How do you measure the quality if you are not an expert?
Surely many are an enthusiast in aeronautics. There are plenty of documentaries and incredibly lots of information on the internet about aeronautics. And I believe that's still just some shallow information.
Find that hard to believe.
Geeking out about this kind of topic is routine for people with an interest in engineering. And let's be clear: it really is just a matter of geeking out, people getting a thrill out of playing at "appearing to really know their stuff".
That, and I think tons of tech-oriented people love flying machines, and a good exit or a fat Google salary makes it much more realistic to exercise that passion in real life.
Are they? How do you know that?
That just isn't very nice.
Bike lock guy? That guy who kicked a woman filming him at an abortion rally? There's a whole bunch of inciting online all the time, but we ignore that. There's been a whole bunch.
If you read the actual article, you'll see that most problems are either fixed already or aren't as severe the headline would make you believe. But nobody really reads the articles.
Uhm what? Presumably no pilot will fly into terrain if in control.
That whole thing just reads like a nightmare project
Flying limited visibility or with horizon obscured is a typical scenario for controlled flight into ground. Some pilots will also feel less confident with a particular implementation of the artificial horizon.
Then there are transition states between particular instrument assisted flight modes (“autopilot”) and manual flight modes, as well as assisted flight modes where the pilot and the computers disagree on the appropriate course of action (similar to, say, automatic trim of horizontal stabiliser in aircraft with engines slung under the wing). The pilot might switch modes and assume control over pitch and yaw but the computer was handing over control of throttle. So the pilot ends up fighting the computer for control rather than actually flying the aircraft.
Labelling it “pilot error” can cause investigators to stop looking for the root cause. “Controlled flight into ground” leads to the question “why would an otherwise competent pilot do what this pilot did?”
In this case, though, it seems to be used incorrectly because it's being applied to a problem that causes the aircraft to be difficult to control. A plane that is too hard to fly isn't the pilot's mistake.
The history of flight has many instance where this has happened.
A very common cause is bad visibility mixed in with mountainous terrain.
Ground warning sensors and training are better now so there's less of it, but you still get it from time to time.
Even if defense is a necessary evil, it should be obvious by now that electronic (cyber - forgive me) warfare is the future of military.
Why attack with physical weapons when you can literally shut down the power to an entire country? Or jam its communications en masse. Or cripple its transportation infrastructure.
When guns came out, they said it would be the end of warfare. Instead of spending years training archers, you could pull farmers from the fields, put together huge armies almost overnight. When machine guns came out, it was the end of warfare. How could massed formations fight against so many rounds going downrange at the same time?
This continued on with aircraft, aircraft carriers, nuclear weapons, missiles, and so forth. Nuclear weapons are especially interesting because instead of eliminating war, it looks like they eliminated formal war, pushing all that conflict down into police actions and non-state actors.
All those other things stuck around. What became really tough is that you had to integrate all of those other things together so that you use that right tools in the right way, almost like putting together a symphony. Cyber is the same way. What we're seeing now -- and I'm a firm believer we are currently in a cyber war -- are a lot of different actors seeing how hard they can push things. It's a war without any conventions about what "fighting fair" means. Bad place for us to be.
I think the F-35 has been a giant disaster, but that's part of a different discussion about military priorities versus strategic planning.
If the point were actually about defending one's country, then there are surely more effective ways to spend the money.
By all appearances, the modern military is just a convoluted way to funnel public money into the pockets of a few contractors and corporations (whose investors and shareholders win). It's an immensely inefficient way to skim money from the general population.
One might say the modern military is more precise, suggesting that we care about avoiding civilian casualties. However, the US drone use blows that theory.
If the goal were to defend a country from terrorists (modern invaders), then we would be concerned with right wing extremism which is responsible for more deaths than foreign "terrorists".
Lastly, if we were just concerned with human lives and longer lifespans, we would be putting most of our money into combating heart disease.
I completely agree. I think at the heart of the United States is a terrible vagueness and corrupt idea of why we have a military.
They to call it the War Department. While that certainly doesn't sound very nice, it cut to the direct point in having a military: fighting a war. That made it a lot easier to reason about.
So what's a war? A war is when people are doing something you don't like and you want them to stop. You have tried talking and reasoning with them and that didn't work. So you have to figure out other ways of making them stop fighting you.
That's it. You don't need guns, tanks, or even explosives. If you can make those other people over there stop fighting you, they surrender, you win.
At some point, probably around the time of WWI, mission creep started taking us into all kinds of places that either wasn't a war or we didn't like admitting was a war. So we started changing the language, setting up all sorts of units and programs that were only tangentially-related to war, and so forth. I read at some point when Bush was president we had military operations in over 80 countries.
Now most of those operations were peaceful: medic clinics, training, and so forth. You could argue that they were strategically fighting a war -- happy, trained people tend to be happier. But that sure looks like social programs, diplomacy, and police action than war. Don't get me wrong: these may be great things to do. My point is that if you stretch the language so far, then pretty much any damned thing you want to can be considered part of the military. Or a war, for that matter.
Based on this, and the ton of inertia and corruption that's been associated with war fighting since forever, I really don't think we can expect the Department of Defense to act in a sane manner. My gut tells me that we built the F-35 because we thought that's what we were supposed to do: come up with new, expensive tech that's better than the other guys.
We're going to need to get back to funding DoD to fight wars: real, live, in-person conflicts where the other guys need to be convinced to stop fighting us. That's going to take a ton of re-organization and strategic planning that I don't see happening any time soon. (Also, agreed with your statement about tunneling money to contractors, and defending the country. We've come a long, terrible way from the idea of a citizen soldier defending his home.)
You can disrupt 50s utility equipment with radio/em. You don't need a trillion dollar jet for that.
I'm just saying that we're spending money on the wrong stuff. And we're doing it in a HUGE way. There's a reason we do that, and it's not because of defense concerns...
Now where have we heard that before. Software patches to fix inherently unstable hardware. Move fast and break shit.
Newer designs are only stable when their attitude is constantly monitored and adjusted by control software. (To continue the metaphor, imagine a Segway or a pogo stick, more agile than a car)
The benefit you get from giving up passive stability is increased maneuverability in the case of fighters.
They had flight computers that did ultimately actuate the control surfaces.
A stable plane can fly with a stick controlling surfaces. Just like an ordinary cessna does. An unstable plane has to fly by wire, where a person moves a stick to ask the computer to tell the computer to roll the plane, and the computers calculate the necessary control surface movements and tells the servos to move.
More importantly, the computer tells the servos to move the surfaces many times per second just to keep the plane straight, because it's not stable. Looking at a modern jet fighter from the outside it's hard to see just how unstable in they are. You can get some idea by looking at where the weight is (in an empty plane) vs where the surfaces are. They are built like a dart, but with the wing in the front and the weight in the back.
Look at where the engine (the thing that weighs a lot in an empty fighter built from composites) starts in this cutaway: right under the tail! It's a backwards dart.
Ironically, also a core fighter pilot mantra to the detriment of flightline maintainers and field support engineers alike...you might call it a symbiotic relationship.
I suppose in your eyes, 'need' is a loaded term. Maslow's hierarchy of needs, while subject to some debate, has become a popular consensus on what the term means. Many socialist policies are in favor of universal health-care, food and housing programs etc. which sit at the foundation of the hierarchy.
Got any examples?