Advocates for Crikey‘s favourite flying heap of crap, the F-35, have been on a propaganda offensive in recent months, insisting that the overdue, overbudget jet fighter that can’t fly or fight or eject its pilots without killing them, etc, in fact, is awesome. Alas, the hideous cost and awful performance of the plane keeps spoiling their efforts, and it was no different yesterday at the Avalon Air Show, when the F-35s being shown off couldn’t leave because there might have been bad weather at their destination. This isn’t a new problem, of course — the F-35 has long been known to be unable to fly in storms, which isn’t really a problem as long as our opponents agree to only fight wars in fine weather. Now the line from F-35 apologists is that the planes just need a minor tweak to be lightning-proof (civilian aviation airliners have been lightning proof for decades). But the problem — which is to do with the plane’s electrical and fuel tank systems — was supposed to have been fixed two years ago. “We were having a problem qualifying the airplane to fly in lightning, (but) that problem is basically behind us,” USAF Lt Gen Christopher Bogdan was reported as saying in 2015. Only, apparently, if the planes are flying backwards.

Peter Fray

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