In the f35's defense : you develop weapons before you need them, not after.
A present enemy is not needed to develop a counter. In fact it shouldn't be needed. If it exists, you are late to the game.
People bash the f35 on criteria that is OBE.
High off boresight sraams make maneuverability less of an issue than it was before. Modern fox2 engagements last seconds, and hardly anyone gets time to turn at all.
Stealth isn't about sneaking around. It's about reducing the lock range of your opponents fox1 and fox3 missiles, allowing you to shoot first, and even choose to leave, at a range where you are not lockable.
Yah, it's over budget. Sucks. But most of the cost is in development and it's 99% done. Dumping it now would be stupid. The time to dump it was way earlier. Now it would be pointless.
Especially when the cost of modern f16 variants has crept up to parity with the f35.
If you want to reduce cost, cut the process down.
Modern arms development works at a snails pace and bleeds money, mostly because every little new thing needs a new contract, and engineers are not even allowed to fix things unless confguration management thinks it is worthy of fixing. CM fears new safety bugs so bad that they prefer to leave broken but safe things unchanged.
Flight certification takes a good year for any revision of hardware that plugs into an airframe's electronics. Get ready to grow old iterating on a design.
This comment was edited on Feb 28, 2021, 23:34.