> In a war you don't use a multi-billion toy for it's marketing qualities. Because this is the way lose your multi-billion toy.
The most recent batch of F35A unit cost was $110 Million.
I think you've got some severe misunderstandings about the nature of the F35 project. Its a multi-billion $$ *research* project, but each airplane is much cheaper than that.
> The F-35’s price per unit, including ancillary costs like depot maintenance, ground support equipment, and spare parts is $110.3 million per F-35A, $135.8 million per F-35B, and $117.3 million per F-35C.
This airplane is designed to be mass produced well. The mass production / upfront engineering costs are massive, but the airplane itself is... ya know... an airplane.
> No. It can't do CAS with it's guns.
That's why the F35 has gun-*pods*. It can equip the pods and turn into a CAS fighter.
The F35's ability to equip gunpods and perform a CAS role is well known. Its not very good at it and has all kinds of restrictions, but it is in fact a use-case that had some level of design thought go into.
> At 5-7km? Are you sure it can't be seen at all at that distance? It's a radar absorbing and a radar dispersing materials, not an invisibility cloak from Harry Potter. And yes, you can point it and spray-n-pray. With AAA rate of fire you can do this.
Uh huh. https://media.cheggcdn.com/media/1fe/1fe5f562-7e84-4761-9bce...
You know that bullets drop different heights given the distance to target, right? You can't just spray-and-pray at these distances, the difference between 5km and 5.5km is a lot of space that the "bullet drops".
Ask _any_ hunter or marksman. They'll have tac-marks on their rifle for how high to aim even at 100m vs 300m shots. When you start dealing with much further out targets things get even worse, especially if you're "aiming up" and the ballistic trajectory of bullets starts to grow very complex.
Doubly so when these aircraft are moving at 500mph+, so you need RADAR to calculate how far to lead the bullets. At 5km, an AA gun will take as long as 5 to 10 seconds before it reaches the target, so you need significant amounts of calculation on the Jet's direction-of-travel (and leading your shot) before you even have hopes of hitting it.
Now yes, RADAR + Computers do the job well... against an A10 or otherwise aircraft devoid of stealth. If you blind the RADAR system and none of these computers work anymore, you pretty much have free reign and are nearly immune to bullets. You can't be tracked, you can't be calculated, you can't be hit.
Hitting a 3D target maneuvering in the air is very difficult. That's why we built aimbot / Anti-air gun systems to calculate these things.
All of those computers cease to function the minute the aircraft is stealth. If the computer doesn't know the distance, bearing, or velocity, it cannot compute and will not be able to hit the target.
But that doesn't change the fact that you're playing "Batman utility belt" with these weapon systems. We started with MANPADs and now we're talking AA guns, but in either case the stealth-capability of F35 defeats both so it doesn't matter. Are you gonna pull any other weapon out of your bag of arguments? We're like 3 or 4 arguments through weapon systems that would have made the A10 fully irrelevant and you're still struggling to make a coherent case on what weapon would reliably hit an F35.