This sounds really encouraging:
The U.S. Air Force's F-35A made its debut at the toughest Red Flag yet, and not only dominated the air space but made the legacy aircraft in the force package even deadlier, according to pilots.
The F-35's participation in the Air Force's capstone training event at Nellis AFB, Nevada, which is known as one of the world's most realistic and challenging air-to-air combat exercises, marked a crucial test for the fifth-generation fighter.
That's a tough environment to excel in. Assuming we model reality accurately, of course. But Red Flag and the Navy's Top Gun have good track records.
The F-35 had a 15:1 kill ratio, and even without weapons it was invaluable for its sensors and information sharing capability. (The latter is no longer in the text available.)
This site has a lot more not behind a firewall.
I'm genuinely encouraged despite my worries of a longstanding nature of how this new approach will work in the real world.
I guess the question is whether the exercises represent the real world accurately. The track record is good, of course. But the pressure on the services to show that the plane is not a waste of resources--especially since nothing else is on the table to replace aging 4th generation aircraft--is pretty high, too.
But even if the plane works as advertised, is there a potential problem in all this magical software?
ALIS is more than just a convenient way to order spare parts and other F-35 maintenance supplies. It also contains analysis capabilities that predict the health of individual F-35s, based on what they have been doing. If an enemy can break into ALIS, they know what the F-35 fleet (of, eventually, several thousand aircraft) has been doing and what is being planned. Building, maintaining, and now making ALIS more resistant to attack is itself a multi-billion dollar project. Failure to protect ALIS puts all F-35s at risk.
Autonomic Logistics Information System scares the Hell out of me. I don't see how any benefit that shaves percentages off of costs or adds percentages to availability is worth the risk of compromising the entire world-wide fleet planned.
When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead, do you know you're going to fall?