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Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective

The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.

Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.

Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.


War with China

The Rand Corporation, one of the Defense Department’s most trusted and longest running contractors, was hired by the Pentagon to carry out a computerized and simulated war between China and the US. The results put the military in a bad light and they were deemed classified, but were leaked to the press. What the computer models showed was that in the most likely scenario for a US-China war, the United States was soundly defeated by the Chinese military.

Most Americans will immediately and arrogantly close their ears to any suggestion that the US could lose a war to anyone. So, it’s a good thing that war correspondent David Axe published the step-by-step actions each military takes to show readers exactly how and why America loses. The account, leaked to the media and published by, shows how the blame lies squarely on one thing – the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s abysmal failure in combat.

‘In the scenario, 72 Chinese jets patrolled the Taiwan Strait,’ the report described, ‘Just 26 American warplanes - the survivors of a second missile barrage targeting their airfields - were able to intercept them, including 10 twin-engine F-22 stealth fighters that quickly fired off all their missiles. That left 16 of the smaller, single-engine F-35s to do battle with the Chinese. As they began exchanging fire with the enemy jets within the mathematical models of the mock conflict, the results were shocking.’

The lesson from the simulated encounter was that the newest and most expense American joint strike fighter - the F-35, ‘was no match for Chinese warplanes. Despite their vaunted ability to evade detection by radar, the JSFs were blown out of the sky.’ The authors reluctantly conceded, “The F-35 is double-inferior.”

The Lockheed Martin fighter was sold to the American people with the promise that its weapons systems were so advanced, it could shoot enemy planes out of the sky long before enemy radar even picked up the F-35s. And that’s still true. But what happens after the initial few seconds as both air forces are charging directly at each other at the speed of sound? The results were that as soon as the range closed and the F-35s lost their advantage of extreme distance, they were all shot down by Chinese fighters.

The secret Rand report for the Pentagon wrote, “Inferior acceleration, inferior climb, inferior sustained turn capability. Also has lower top speed. Can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.” The military analysts explained that the F-35 would function better as a long-range, mobile missile platform rather than a fighter. The computer models showed that once the jets had lost their element of surprise and launched all their missiles, remaining enemy fighters had no problem clearing them from the sky. The result was the loss of the battle and China’s successful invasion of Taiwan.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

According to the Rand war scenario developed for the Pentagon, the most expensive military weapon in the history of mankind is a complete and utter failure. The futuristic warplane is supposed to replace all other jet fighters in the US arsenal at a cost of $1 trillion and climbing. As one critic published a few weeks ago, that’s enough money to buy a $100,000 home for every homeless family in America for the next six generations.

The F-35 didn’t fail because of its recurring engine fires or the problems it’s still having with vertical landings and take-offs. It failed because it was designed to do too many things.   It is now designed to be a fighter, reconnaissance, interceptor, stealth, bomber, Navy carrier landing, etc.   One military analyst claims that it like asking one player to play every position on the football team; punter, QB, nose tackle, wide receiver, etc.  By trying to do everything, it does nothing well…but at an enormous cost.

China, on the other hand, makes much cheaper but highly specialized air craft.  Using this method they are able to get much higher quality and much higher quantity aircraft.

To make matters worse, the military has put all of its eggs in this one F-35 basket.   There is no plan B.

How did it come to this? Corruption and cronyism.   It is about bringing pork back to the district. It is about giving kickbacks to political donors. It is about connections, influence and political gain. It is about Lockheed Martin getting paid. The irrelevant fact is that the most expensive aircraft program in US history can barely fly.  

I have seen this crime against the American people taking shape over the last few years.   The Chinese military, which is much more keenly aware of military tactics than I, can spot this at a great distance.

The USA, just like the Roman Empire before it, ignorantly puts all its faith and trust in the silver bullet of technology and military prowess, while corruption and cronyism has rotted out everything but the shell.

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