Links and Stuff

The F-35 has poor cockpit visibility.

Certainly no worse than say the old A-7 Corsair, but I’ll admit I was a bit surprised that they didn’t go with a bubble canopy. But as the article notes, it’s a compromise due to the engine placement for the STOV/L F-35B variant. Which just supports my long held belief the the inclusion of the F-35B has so compromised the entire program as to make the program as a whole virtually unworkable.

Lockheed wasn’t blind to the problems of this canopy design. One of the innovations of the F-35 is a 360 degree field of view sensor system that uses external cameras to allow the pilot to “see” through the airframe. Known as DAS, the system projects a view on the eyeshield of the pilot’s helmet. Theoretically, with the DAS, the plane doesn’t even need a clear canopy. The problem is, the DAS doesn’t work very well. There’s a significant lag time in the system. The pilot sees what was there a few hundredths or tenths of a second ago. That may not seem much, but in actuality, it is incredibly disorienting. And years of work still haven’t solved that problem.

The old F-4 Phantom was pretty infamous for poor forward visibility, due to bows and framing on the windscreen, and eventually due to extra displays, gauges and instruments bolted to the panel. When McDonnell Douglass tried to improve the situation by using a one-piece forward windscreen, they were surprised to find it was actually unpopular with pilots because it was harder to see the director lights used on aerial tankers to line up. Small ergonomic factors mean a lot to fighter pilots.


What is it with Colorado Democrats? How the heck do we lose to these half-wits?


Robert Farley has an excellent post at The Diplomat about the Battle of Java Sea in World War II.

He lays out the strategic, operational and tactical challenges the ABDA Command face. ABDA (American, British, Dutch, Australia) was a force cobbled together at the last minute to challenge the Japanese thrust into the Dutch East Indies (basically, what is now Indonesia) which was both a prime resource for the Dutch, and the primary strategic objective of the Japanese for going to war in the first place.  Better strategic planning beforehand may have helped, but lack of unity of command will always be a challenge in coalition warfare.



And since we’re talking about the Battle of Java Sea, was there any doubt it would be CDR Salamander’s entry for Full Bore Friday?


3 thoughts on “Links and Stuff”

  1. Re: The Colorado legislature. I lay quite a bit of the blame on Tom Tancredo’s ego. He split the conservative vote for governor and the discord could only hurt down-ticket races.

  2. I’m sorry, but I have a great deal of difficulty taking anything from Wired seriously. That’s about the same level as taking Rolling Stone “coverage” of Iraq/Afghanistan seriously.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there are more than a few weapon systems/designs which have been tagged as garbage which have turned out quite well. Both the M-1 Abrams and the M-2 Bradley come to mind.
    That’s not to mention that bleeding edge, state-of-the-art high-tech is frequently less important than knowing how to use what you have most effectively. I cite the Mitsubishi A6M vs. the Wildcat, and the M-4 Sherman against German Tigers/Panthers.

    Hell, the biggest problem the US air forces faces during the Vietnam War wasn’t the MiG-21, but their own flawed training systems. Once the Navy fired up TOPGUN (I still miss Lex) the odds flipped the other way quite quickly, despite the continuum of existing technology.

    1. oh, I don’t place any great faith in Wired. But I had to write something, anything today, and might as well be that.

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