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The co-designer of the F-16 on why the F-35 is a failure [video]

CBC The Fifth Estate interview with Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16. ( More...

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Dolf Brouwers 4
Watching this interview I had a thought about defense minister McNamara a long time ago promoting the F111 and commonality.....that didn't work out !
And then the price tag 200 million + ! for an F35....
Eric Bordelon 2
Yeah, 200 million is still a bargain compared to the $1B for each F-22...
jb3680550 5
The lcd in this mess is Lockheed/Martin. It's Eisenhower's classic argument about the Military Industrial Complex with the mega contractor dictating to the Pentagon what it will buy and how much they will pay. Have a relative that retired from L/M, and they honestly believe they're the 4th arm of government.
Eric Bordelon 3
I agree, I used to work for LM on a NASA facility, the company pretty much acted as though they owned it and muscled NASA whenever possible.
matt jensen 1
You mean they aren't. Just joking, but I remember that MICC comment by Ike - and thought he was joking. You remember Gen Dynamics?
skylab72 1
Eisenhower was dead serious. Yes, I remember GD, they were subsumed by LM. When Sprey started with them, the company was called Convair. Yet another casualty in the inexorable consolidation of power in the MIC.
Matt LaMay 1
Try more like $150m...
Dolf Brouwers 1
Barack stopped the F22 , right ?
iflyfsx 1
Only to dump that money on the F-35.
jb3680550 6
Sprey has valid points about "Jack of All Trades" aircraft. His past criticisms of the F-4 and F-15 are nothing more than NA/GDyn v MD jealousy.As a former USAF Crew Chief, the F-16 was well known as an over-engineered Widow Maker.
Jim Quinn 6
Didn't they call the F-16 the "Supersonic Lawn Dart" for a while after a run of fly-by-wire chafing incidents?
jb3680550 3
Yep. GDyn/USAF rushed it into service for overseas sales. Even after all of the original A/B's were "repaired", still had a number of G-LOC induced FIT's.
fliteshare 3
F35 is Yak141 "Freestyle" with fancier avionics.
matt jensen 1
The Yak is better
Ron Sheehan 3
The basic argument is sound. A 'jack of all trades', whether military aircraft or kitchen utensil, ends up being unsuitable for any one task. It's time to renew the concept of building aircraft for specific functions and optimizing the design to meet the functional requirements. THAT's how you control cost and ensure air dominance.
bbabis 7
He certainly is a legend in his own mind. It took years for the F-16 to become the fighter it is. Out of the gate, the F-15s and others in Red Flag had it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Around the C model the roles reversed. The only valid point Mr. Sprey has is the F-35 trying to be everything to everybody. This causes people to compromise and the definition of compromise is people argue until no one his happy. Add in politicians and bureaucrats making decisions instead of engineers and generals and you have the F-35.
btweston 9
That is his entire point. Everything else he says comes from that idea. The very concept behind the F-35 is foolish in that it results in an airplane that is not really that great at anything. Apparently not that cheap either. And for God's sake it's not even cool looking!
honza nl 2
just like the Su-27 / 35 Pak-50 have F-35's for breakfast, lunch and dinner....
matt jensen 1
Unfortunately, we are having the planes jammed down our gullets. Give me an F5 any day!
skylab72 1
or put an F-16 engine in your F-5 and have an F-20 aircraft that smokes the F-16 on 2/3s the $.
Musketeer1 8
"The co-designer of the 1976 Dodge Dart on why the 2006 Lamborghini Aventador is a failure."
btweston 2
Has the Lambo hit the streets yet?
jet4ang 1
Davenit 4
Well I guess We should ask general Westmoreland for his opinions on Afghanistan, LBJ for his opinions on Iraq, and JFK for his views on NASA, FDR for his views on gov. assistance, etc.

This guy is so proud of himself as though he is a fighter jet god, when in fact every design that made the f-16 what it is today was NOT his decision and he actively opposed the very things he takes credit for. His views are null and void.
Robert Hirst 3
One of the major "design points" of this hunk of junk is that parts are made in 47 states. The Marine version can't do the vertical thing because it incinerates every potential landing surface. Bob McNamara be doing barrel rolls in his grave.
Jim Quinn 3
He certainly does have some valid points, at least in my opinion. Look how many aircraft have been pushed into production that were simply not able to do the job that was touted for them. It's a common scenario, especially when a multi-service capability is desired.
jack tucker 1
Are you the Jack Tucker who lived on Barry Ave. If so I am Drew at 3x4x Barry Ave.
You can find my phone public listing in Big Bear City, CA.92314
Mick Alsop 1
Unmanned is the way forward with a specialist team remotely flying, whether fighter, bomber or surveillance, regardless of what the designers mourn about.
skylab72 1
You can waste billions of $ on jack-of-all-trades boondoggle UAV's to.
smoki 1
This is obviously one man's highly prejudiced and biased opinion which renders it of little credibility. His off hand remarks dismissing stealth technology seem a bit far fetched as well in which he exalts old technology as able to defeat stealth masking so easily. I highly doubt that. If a defensive surface to air missile system throws enough "darts" into the air one of them will eventually hit something. That was proven in Vietnam with the SA-2.
skylab72 1
He remarks are actually well founded. Have you ever tuned a radar system? He is not exalting 'old' technology, he is reminding anyone who understands both radar and stealth technologies that long wave frequency agile radar systems make it extremely difficult to avoid detection. Moreover stealth as currently implemented is totally dependent on having air superiority, because it is so optimized for ground radars it can easily be seen from above. The HARM missile makes combat stealth obsolete.
Dolf Brouwers 1
$1B for a plane that feeds toxic oxigen to the expensive way to die !
Davenit 1
Wrong plane. f-22, not f-35
Dolf Brouwers 1
I reacted on Eric Bordelon referring to the F22....
Arthur Moss 1
The F-16 was the "Light Wt" fighter, and a long time in development from the prototype competition. The F-18 started out as the losing F-17. The F-35 cost & time problem has been making all of the electronic gadgets work together. As far as ground support, the Army's AH-56A Cheyenne helicopter was a fantastic weapons platform. It lost to Air Force Politics of the ground support mission. There are You-tube videos now on the Cheyenne, and the weapons capability. Lockheed had 30 & 60 passenger transport versions of the Cheyenne. The Cheyenne 20mm main gun could hit a dinner plate sized target at 2 miles, while flying by/going away.
James Worley 1
I wonder what the great Colonel Boyd would say about this.
James Worley 1
Read the book, "BOYD".
skylab72 1
O.K. folks I have time to actually weigh in. While I am no big fan of the work of Pierre Sprey, (I worked both on the F-17 and the F-20 as a Northrop sub, and firmly believe a> the F-17 was the superior airframe in the 'light fighter' competition (Note it's class dominance after the McDonnell Douglas rework into an FA-18) and b> the F-20 outperforms the F-16 in almost all tests while delivering this level of performance at less than 80% the total cost of ownership. In short Northrop's loss was for political not performance reasons.)

HOWEVER, everything he says about the F-35 is spot on.


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