Are the rest of the details of the article, about domains I don't personally understand, equally subtly inaccurate and misleading?
I think that's the case for most things where people who are not complete subject matter experts write about something. A lot of our own conversations about things are probably quite inaccurate in a lot of details.
In this particular case the author may even have asked back but what is the author going to do if he/she gets fed inaccurate information? I think the only blatant inaccuracy is the reference to DevOps, otherwise the description of agile is pretty OK too me.
I hope people won't fall into the usual trap where some inaccuracies in some media leads them into reading much less accurate but more extreme media which is something you often see in politics.
A tenet of journalism is that professional practices can provide some level of truth regardless of expertise.
Note that this article will one day be cited in a DevOps wiki page by a well meaning writer far abstracted from 2019 HN. That’s the way most history is written.
Remove the reference to "DevOps", and you have a concise enough explanation of "so-called agile software development" and a cleaner paragraph overall:
> One solution favored by Winter during his recent tenure was agile development, a popular software engineering methodology used for quickly testing and evaluating features for new products.
(Since software teams in the U.S. government, such as 18F, also use agile dev these days, so it's not particularly relevant to point out its popularity in the "private sector")
Note that the posted article is a NYT Magazine piece, which has different editorial style and convention from the newspaper. Typically, a story this long wouldn't be written by a non-staffer in the newspaper. But it's not uncommon for the magazine to commission a writer who has written a notable article for a different publication to generalize and elaborate on it for the NYT Magazine.
"Dysfunctional" is also misleading. The program has produced three operational variants, including the first ever supersonic STOVL aircraft. The US and Israel have both conducted F-35 airstrikes. That is a called a "functional" (if by no means perfect) aircraft development program.
It's also encouraging to see the F-35A price falling as expected...
Also, what became apparent with Apollo – though it is not how it worked – is that it is better to define your system up front to minimise errors, rather than producing a bunch of code that then has to be corrected with patches on patches.
Indeed, it sometimes probably is, and agile generally shouldn't mean you just make it up as you go along. But I think we've generally come to recognize that, at least in many cases, being more flexible and iterative.
This, to be clear, is not in any way a knock on the many people who developed software for Apollo. It was a type of project and set of technologies that made it difficult to be as iterative as, certainly, pure software projects are today.
It’s worth questioning whether agile SW development that we do for websites, apps, etc... is good when human life hangs on the line.
I suspect a project like the F-35 is a hybrid, with elements that are life-or-death mission critical and absolutely need to Just Work, and elements that allow for refinement - even refinement-by-failure in some cases.
Which just underlines how complex a project like this is. A distant descendant of the Apollo Guidance Computer code is likely just one of (at least) hundreds of equivalently complex routines and features in the F-35 codebase.
And they will refer to this, 'well-researched piece by a 'reputable news source.
Let's see if I am right, will check in in 2-3 weeks...
News about them lately is also not in their favor. I'm sure this is just another piece (which has been covered to death by better and more accurate publications) that is intended to discredit the current administration more.
Seems good enough for a general audience.
And nobody was surprised.
Me I think the F35 is the 21st century equivalent of a battle ship.
Unfortunately, coming up with a design that could effectively fill those roles was more than they could accomplish. Fortunately, the program was cancelled after spending ONLY $6.9 billion.
The F-35 is a beautifully designed trillion dollar uncuttable expenditure. If you look at how the program was designed to consume money, instead of deliver anything of value; it's a work of art!
Trillion dollar uncuttable programs are dime a dozen...
On an unrelated note: I submitted this article 4 days ago without any discussion , does anyone know what the time frame for resubmission on HN nowadays is?
Modern fighter aircraft are expensive because they are relatively large and crammed with tones of expensive avionics and sensors. Increasingly, the quality of your sensors and your ability to evade detection are more and more important while maneuverability is less important because of said missiles. Better sensors are larger and require more power to operate necessitating a larger aircraft. Also, the number of Gs an aircraft can pull is limited by both human survivability and airframe strength. This means as the size of the aircraft increases the max number of Gs it can pull will decrease. Missiles can pull 50 Gs. Even if you remove the human, no aircraft large enough to carry the necessary sensors, fuel, and weapons to be combat effective will reach even 1/3 of that because it would rip the wings off.
People will mention every catastrophic flaw Ada programs have ever had, but how many people will remember this as an example of how C++ fails at being a real language for real projects?
They're building a plane, not Microsoft Excel.
Personally, my expectation is that the F35 is America's $30,000 toilet seat -- financial cover for our secret UFO program of much higher performance vehicles. Building parts in 50 states is, of course, good congress fodder, but it's also a good way to make sure no one knows what they're building.
It is this lie I tell myself to continue believing in America's technological superiority :)
I read it a few months ago. Highly recommended.
It's true that the F35 seems a little beefy, compared to other aircrafts.
A single engine is quite bad for survivability.
While I can admit that vertical liftoff can be an asset if you want to respond quickly to an attack without building airstrips every 50km, it's hard to really justify building so many aircrafts with a airframe shape that allows VTOL. VTOL is a tough compromise on aircraft.
Having an aircraft that can play several roles is not a good idea. Regrouping roles is a good idea, but regrouping them all into only one is really not a good engineering decision.
That's like deciding to design a pen-lighter-laser-pointer-usb-drive-knife-screwdriver into a single device. It sounds cool, but in the end, it's better to see what can go together and what should not.
Unless the F35 has a next gen radar which allows it to see enemy aircrafts from farther, it will be bad at dogfights.
> “This is going to be the first fighter jet produced in the thousands for a very long time,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group. “None of this is stoppable. It will be remembered, as the smoke clears, as something that worked far better than critics thought it would, but something you’d never, ever want to do again.”
All these 3 separate plains probably could share 90% of parts, software, avionics, that VR helmet, etc. Having fewer constraints it would also simplify the plane body design.
Just image car engineers are asked to design one car to replace off-road, city and van cars. Even Elon Musk did not come up with that idea.
True (not as bad as it once was), but is a lot cheaper over the life of the program. They were trying to get a next generation F-16 to go with the next generation F-15 (the F-22), and that didn't happen.
Are you sure about this?
From my research it looks like the same is true in civilian aviation. Statistically twin engines are more dangerous.
The civil link you provided refers to "light twins" (ie. underpowered and used in GA) used in training and EMS. Not applicable to airliners, which can safely take off on one engine.
Something to think about: all of my former twin instructors have been killed flying light twins.
Four-engine airliners are actually preferred for oceanic routes for safety, but regulators now allow twins (ETOPS), for cost reasons.
Source: commercially-rated airplane pilot.
The point of seeing your enemy from afar is that you launch a missile and avoid the dogfight.
It is bad at dogfights http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/07/14/pentagons-b...
Performance is generally better than F-16s in real wold scenarios due to the more powerful F135 engine and the internal weapons bay which means carried weapons don't cause additional drag as they would if carried on pylons. That second point is extremely significant. The aerodynamic effects of hanging a bunch of stuff of your wings is pretty major, especially at supersonic speeds.
Here's a few pilots commenting on differences between the F35 and other aircraft they've flown.
Or even a linked drone swarm.
On that basis, the F-35 will be obsolete against the other superpowers by around 2035 at the latest.
To expand upon that, manned aircraft aren't going away anytime soon because electronic warfare is a thing and until drones are capable of human level decision making you need a human in the loop. Drones will augment the F35's capability but against a near peer adversary you're going to need a manned aircraft at the center of every drone swarm. Especially if you're taking about small drones as those will be lacking the high powered radar which will be crucial in such engagements.
The F-35 has internal and external mount points that are specifically designed to carry these drones.
... sorta like a smartphone
Similar to this: https://mozyrko.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/77-failed-startu...
It stands to reason removing the human component would be a far better engineering choice than this monstrosity.
I’m reminded of the quote, “A flying car is equally bad at being a car and an aircraft.”
It’s not inconceivable that one or both of those programs will have an optionally manned fighter in active service in 20 years (2039).
US is miles ahead...someone have the courage to level.