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(The Drive)   The USAF is conducting a flyoff between the A-10 and the F-35, and you'll never believe this, but it appears that the Air Force is rigging the rules in favor of the F-35   ( thedrive.com) divider line
    More: Facepalm, A-10 Thunderbolt II, Fighter aircraft, Air Force, close air support, F-35 Lightning II, Ground-attack aircraft, F-35, F-22 Raptor  
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4487 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Jul 2018 at 10:37 AM (18 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2018-07-11 09:47:48 AM  
Oh, I'll bet. Evaluation categories:

Top speed
Stealthiness
Single engine performance
Afterburner

Not evaluated:
Workable machine guns
Battle record
Ground troop preferences

I'm suer they'll focus on "multirole capability," ignoring what the A-10 does in favor of what the F-35 is promised to do ... someday. Recall the F-22 was also mulitrole with braggerts claiming it could manage intelligence, do reconnaissance or serve as a data handling hub and local battle manager. Then Gen Moseley famously announced it would focus purely on its core mission (air-to-air). Soon after, production was cut since the plane was suddenly not as useful but still very expensive (and I suppose some already foresaw the need to get funds shuffled over to the F-35)
 
2018-07-11 10:32:27 AM  
The F-35 is on a cost plus contract.  The A-10 is not.  So it's an easy decision.  Sure, it'll cost us like losers if we get into a scrap, but defense contractors will pocket all that money just the same.  Then when we decide we need a ground attack aircraft after we get our asses kicked, we can do it properly, with a cost plus contract.
 
2018-07-11 10:39:05 AM  

edmo: Oh, I'll bet. Evaluation categories:

Top speed
Stealthiness
Single engine performance
Afterburner

Not evaluated:
Workable machine guns
Battle record
Ground troop preferences


A-10 might actually win that one.
 
2018-07-11 10:46:27 AM  
Are there any commonalities between the two other than they are both heavier than air aircraft?
 
2018-07-11 10:50:27 AM  
Didnt the Air Force do the same thing with the F22, where they put a single F22 up against 5 or 6 F15s and claimed the F22 "won" based on "simulated missile shots"? They rigged the whole thing so the F22 had full AWACs support and only needed radar lock on the Eagles to score a kill, whereas the F15s were left on their own and had to get full missile lock (which required them to get within range of the F22 radar).

Then they did a head-to-head dogfight between a F22 and a F15, and the Eagle smoked the Raptor in about 5 seconds, but the Air Force claimed it was an invalid test because the Raptor should never end up in a head to head dogfight anyways since it is going to sneak up on and shoot down anything that it wants.
 
2018-07-11 10:51:03 AM  
I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Either give fixed wing ground support to the Army and Marines OR roll most of the Air Force into the U.S. Army Air Corps leaving the nuke missiles and support as the U.S. Strategic Missile Force.
 
2018-07-11 10:52:34 AM  
Why would they have a competition between a stealth fighter and an CAS craft?
 
2018-07-11 10:55:21 AM  

rzrwiresunrise: Why would they have a competition between a stealth fighter and an CAS craft?


They needed to challenge the A-10 somehow.
 
2018-07-11 11:00:59 AM  
My brother is a retired USAF maintainer.  Whenever I bring up the A-10, which he worked with in Korea, he'd always go on about the availability of air frame parts since the tooling was destroyed years ago.  I recently mentioned I'd heard they were 3D printing the parts and it so pissed him off that I invalidated his long time argument.
 
2018-07-11 11:01:51 AM  
The A-10 will surely lose the all important Hangar Queen competition.
 
2018-07-11 11:12:13 AM  
Yeah of course it's rigged, it's the millitary. They aren't scientists, they're soldiers, and soldiers are trained to see negitive result a failure to their mission. Their assigment here was to show how the f-35 is better than the a-10 and that they will do.
 
2018-07-11 11:12:44 AM  

hissatsu: The A-10 will surely lose the all important Hangar Queen competition.


And have you ever seen a Warthog in the swimsuit competition?

// F35 wins Miss Congeniality
// get it?
 
2018-07-11 11:15:19 AM  

StrikitRich: My brother is a retired USAF maintainer.  Whenever I bring up the A-10, which he worked with in Korea, he'd always go on about the availability of air frame parts since the tooling was destroyed years ago.  I recently mentioned I'd heard they were 3D printing the parts and it so pissed him off that I invalidated his long time argument.


If you really wanna piss him off tell him about the 3d printer sent to the ISS.

/ throw in something about them wanting to print a full A-10 up there
// I know I know
/// Sounds like he still might take the bait
 
2018-07-11 11:16:40 AM  

rzrwiresunrise: Why would they have a competition between a stealth fighter and an CAS craft?

Because the Ferengi running the F-35 project are literally suggesting the F-35 replace the A-10 for CAS.

Needless to say, the Army isn't amused by the idea.
 
2018-07-11 11:16:44 AM  

rzrwiresunrise: Why would they have a competition between a stealth fighter and an CAS craft?

Because the Air Force brass never wanted the A-10, and they do want to showcase their spiffy new toy.
 
2018-07-11 11:23:45 AM  
Col: Okay, the A-10 just blew up a bunch of stuff and made it home in one piece. Time to see how bad the F-35 will kick its assets
Lt: Um sir, the F-35 caught fire on the runway.
Col: ....and thus it wins in the "thermal camoflauge" category. Since this category is 85% of the score, the F-35 wins!
 
2018-07-11 11:30:36 AM  

Dick Gozinya: Then they did a head-to-head dogfight between a F22 and a F15, and the Eagle smoked the Raptor in about 5 seconds, but the Air Force claimed it was an invalid test because the Raptor should never end up in a head to head dogfight anyways since it is going to sneak up on and shoot down anything that it wants.


Don't know about that. With thrust vectoring the F-22 is an extremely maneuverable aircraft.
 
2018-07-11 11:31:39 AM  

MythDragon: Col: Okay, the A-10 just blew up a bunch of stuff and made it home in one piece. Time to see how bad the F-35 will kick its assets
Lt: Um sir, the F-35 caught fire on the runway.
Col: ....and thus it wins in the "thermal camoflauge" category. Since this category is 85% of the score, the F-35 wins!


Clearly the F-35 used it's advanced guidance systems to properly and deliver the A-10's munitions. Additionally it's stealth was so effective that nobody actually witnessed it's takeoff, landing, or flight in the area of operations to include the pilot. Upon return the F-35 ignited it's advanced flares which have exceeded performance benchmarks and ignite over 835% of the originally projected surface area.

Clearly the F-35 is an amazing machine.
 
2018-07-11 11:31:53 AM  
CSB:  Certain airports have helpfully put observation areas at the ends of their runways.

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-07-11 11:34:01 AM  
Ha Ha...it was backwards day.  F-35 wins!!!
 
2018-07-11 11:35:56 AM  

mrmopar5287: Dick Gozinya: Then they did a head-to-head dogfight between a F22 and a F15, and the Eagle smoked the Raptor in about 5 seconds, but the Air Force claimed it was an invalid test because the Raptor should never end up in a head to head dogfight anyways since it is going to sneak up on and shoot down anything that it wants.

Don't know about that. With thrust vectoring the F-22 is an extremely maneuverable aircraft.


So an F-22 do a full show locally. Got to talk to the pilot. Amazing agility. I'm not jealous of many men but F-22 stick jockeys are among them.
 
2018-07-11 11:40:06 AM  
I can't wait for the successor to the F-35.
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-07-11 11:42:38 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: The F-35 is on a cost plus contract.  The A-10 is not.  So it's an easy decision.  Sure, it'll cost us like losers if we get into a scrap, but defense contractors will pocket all that money just the same.  Then when we decide we need a ground attack aircraft after we get our asses kicked, we can do it properly, with a cost plus contract.


It almost seems like the brass is actively trying to trade soldiers lives for cold hard cash. Weird.
 
2018-07-11 11:48:21 AM  
After the tests are done and the A-10 wins, they will have a bunch of excuses that the test parameters favored the A-10, and the F-35 could have done better but it was windy and some of the targets moved.

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-07-11 11:51:23 AM  

StrikitRich: My brother is a retired USAF maintainer.  Whenever I bring up the A-10, which he worked with in Korea, he'd always go on about the availability of air frame parts since the tooling was destroyed years ago.  I recently mentioned I'd heard they were 3D printing the parts and it so pissed him off that I invalidated his long time argument.


3D options are improving, but it is far far far from a magic bullet. Many of the structural aircraft components are cast or forged. Both methods give you very different results when compared to 3D printing, especially in the areas of crack growth and crack detection. Both of these are critical areas when you're talking about parts that crash airplanes.

Then you get into the "how do we print this part?" piece of the puzzle. The tech data may not be sufficient.  We're talking old scans of even older Mylar prints, that have to be interpreted by CAD techs and engineers to try and figure out how a part was built. Often times, critical structural components say "see tool drawing," which no longer exists. For the A-10, there was a massive effort just to model the entire aircraft a few years ago. I worked the initial program, and it was a nightmare.

I'd looooooove 3D printing to be a viable option, but we're currently limited to very specific use cases. We are years out from being able to fire up a "printing line," and Xerox a plane.
 
2018-07-11 11:52:03 AM  

OldJames: After the tests are done and the A-10 wins, they will have a bunch of excuses that the test parameters favored the A-10, and the F-35 could have done better but it was windy and some of the targets moved.

[img.fark.net image 318x159]


Yep, the A-10 is one of the best purpose built aircraft ever built. Others that come to mind are the rightly revered SR-71 and of course the U-2.
James May Rides in a U2 Spy Plane [HQ]
Youtube w-COlil4tos


James May got to go for a ride. He claimed that if every human on the planet can have that experience just once it might just bring about world peace.
 
2018-07-11 11:52:34 AM  
My understanding of the F-22 vs F-15 issue is that once you get to about the F-15/F-16/F-18 level of performance you just aren't going to gain maneuverability to become 3x, 4x, 5x more effective in a dogfight.  The limiting factor isn't your materials or engines or control surfaces...its your pilot dying b/c you're shoving his head up his own ass at 30 g's.  The idea of shoot them all down with missiles from 200 miles away before they see you is really the only way to improve ratio's at that point until you get the pilot out of the airframe.
 
2018-07-11 11:53:30 AM  

This text is now purple: edmo: Oh, I'll bet. Evaluation categories:

Top speed
Stealthiness
Single engine performance
Afterburner

Not evaluated:
Workable machine guns
Battle record
Ground troop preferences

A-10 might actually win that one.


Also forgot..battlefield loitering, survivability, air-ground interoperability, ease of maintenance, amount of ordinance. F-35 would simply fail to meet any of those categories.
 
2018-07-11 11:55:10 AM  
So here's a video I shot in Chicago last year that went green: F-22, A-10, & a P-51 doing loops around downtown in preparation for an airshow. (Apologies for the shakiness, was hanging out of a 44th-floor hotel window.)

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-07-11 11:55:14 AM  

oopsboom: My understanding of the F-22 vs F-15 issue is that once you get to about the F-15/F-16/F-18 level of performance you just aren't going to gain maneuverability to become 3x, 4x, 5x more effective in a dogfight.  The limiting factor isn't your materials or engines or control surfaces...its your pilot dying b/c you're shoving his head up his own ass at 30 g's.  The idea of shoot them all down with missiles from 200 miles away before they see you is really the only way to improve ratio's at that point until you get the pilot out of the airframe.


Remember when in the early 60's the USAF believed that dog-fighting was extinct and air-to-air missile combat was the only future?
 
2018-07-11 12:00:08 PM  

oopsboom: My understanding of the F-22 vs F-15 issue is that once you get to about the F-15/F-16/F-18 level of performance you just aren't going to gain maneuverability to become 3x, 4x, 5x more effective in a dogfight.  The limiting factor isn't your materials or engines or control surfaces...its your pilot dying b/c you're shoving his head up his own ass at 30 g's.  The idea of shoot them all down with missiles from 200 miles away before they see you is really the only way to improve ratio's at that point until you get the pilot out of the airframe.


That's why both are moot anyway.
Meet ALPHA. It's already beating former fighter pilots in simulators, and the thing is it's doing it in aircraft we use. Another article I've seen says even when we adjusted the variables in the human's favor it still won.
Now give it an aircraft built for it. No need for a cockpit, life support, ejection mechanism, none of that shiat. It also doesn't suffer from blackouts/redouts/gforces at all. So a human might pull what, 9 for a brief moment? This thing can pull 15 as long as the airframe can take it.

Human fighter pilots will soon be dinosaurs.
 
2018-07-11 12:02:41 PM  

Frothy Panties: oopsboom: My understanding of the F-22 vs F-15 issue is that once you get to about the F-15/F-16/F-18 level of performance you just aren't going to gain maneuverability to become 3x, 4x, 5x more effective in a dogfight.  The limiting factor isn't your materials or engines or control surfaces...its your pilot dying b/c you're shoving his head up his own ass at 30 g's.  The idea of shoot them all down with missiles from 200 miles away before they see you is really the only way to improve ratio's at that point until you get the pilot out of the airframe.

Remember when in the early 60's the USAF believed that dog-fighting was extinct and air-to-air missile combat was the only future?


different circumstance.  I don't think anyone is arguing that the F-22 should be worse than the F-15 at dogfighting.  It should be equal, or have small incremental improvements.  I'm just pointing out that its probably not reasonable to expect the huge improvements in dogfighting effectiveness that we saw previously until we go to unmanned aircraft.  And if you want huge improvements in shootdown ratios from manned aircraft then what you should be looking for is other technologies that get those kills in other phases of the battle pre-dogfight, while still being equally effective in the dogfight phase.  Certainly not recommending removing guns or stopping training in close range air combat or anything.
 
2018-07-11 12:04:52 PM  

oopsboom: Frothy Panties: oopsboom: My understanding of the F-22 vs F-15 issue is that once you get to about the F-15/F-16/F-18 level of performance you just aren't going to gain maneuverability to become 3x, 4x, 5x more effective in a dogfight.  The limiting factor isn't your materials or engines or control surfaces...its your pilot dying b/c you're shoving his head up his own ass at 30 g's.  The idea of shoot them all down with missiles from 200 miles away before they see you is really the only way to improve ratio's at that point until you get the pilot out of the airframe.

Remember when in the early 60's the USAF believed that dog-fighting was extinct and air-to-air missile combat was the only future?

different circumstance.  I don't think anyone is arguing that the F-22 should be worse than the F-15 at dogfighting.  It should be equal, or have small incremental improvements.  I'm just pointing out that its probably not reasonable to expect the huge improvements in dogfighting effectiveness that we saw previously until we go to unmanned aircraft.  And if you want huge improvements in shootdown ratios from manned aircraft then what you should be looking for is other technologies that get those kills in other phases of the battle pre-dogfight, while still being equally effective in the dogfight phase.  Certainly not recommending removing guns or stopping training in close range air combat or anything.


The one thing the F-22 has that the F-15 doesn't. A very generic dogfight starts up high with both aircraft circling for position on the other. With thrust vectoring the F-22 can rotate on it's own axis while maintaining it's maneuver and target the F-15. That would be the one major advantage the F-22 has in that scenario.
 
2018-07-11 12:06:16 PM  

StrikitRich: My brother is a retired USAF maintainer.  Whenever I bring up the A-10, which he worked with in Korea, he'd always go on about the availability of air frame parts since the tooling was destroyed years ago.  I recently mentioned I'd heard they were 3D printing the parts and it so pissed him off that I invalidated his long time argument.


Always wondered what became of QA.
 
2018-07-11 12:18:44 PM  
The F35 costs 5x as much as an A10.

Then ask a combat infantry vet which would be preferable to provide support when their position is being threatened - one F35 or five A10? Heck, from what I understand they would take one A10 over five F35.
 
2018-07-11 12:18:56 PM  

rzrwiresunrise: Why would they have a competition between a stealth fighter and an CAS craft?


Because bean counters see an advantage in having one standard machine do all jobs.  But it's a false economy, as in a military situation you want to have the best tool for a particular job.

I have no doubt that the F-35 can be pressed into a close air support role, but it isn't optimized for that and will *ALWAYS* do worse in that category than a purpose built CAS aircraft.

As for replacing the A-10, no one has been able to adequately explain to me why we couldn't take one or more apart, scan them, and then build new tooling to start up the production line, perhaps with some improvements due to advances in materials science since they were first introduced 41 years ago.

I mean, if a small team of guys can build upgraded duplicates of the Me-262 by hand for $5 mill a pop, I see no reason why an established aircraft manufacturer couldn't restart production on the A-10 for a much lower cost per airframe than the F-35.
 
2018-07-11 12:19:02 PM  
"The sources that shared the information, who asked to remain anonymous out of a very real fear of retaliation from senior Air Force leadership, said the service had crafted the test plan without talking to a single member of the A-10 or JTAC communities or the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, which provides Warthogs and Joint Strike Fighters, among other types, for test purposes. Army and Marine Corps personnel were also conspicuously absent from the discussions"

Sounds like a proper government-issued study...

Either way there's a silver lining for the AF generals.  the idea of proposing the F-35 to replace the A-10 was only needed when the F-35 was in the planning stage.  If the A-10 wins this little competition, then the AF will use that to campaign for a new stealthy ground attack aircraft, which is what they should have built in the first place.
If the F-35 wins, then the high cost of this platform is vindicated a little bit more.

the biggest problem of course is the cannon.  The F-35 can't match the A-10's cannon, because there is nothing else like it on earth.  It's like comparing a tank to mechanized artillery.  There are some things you need a big powerful gun with lots of ammo for.
 
2018-07-11 12:19:41 PM  
Stuff like ALPHA, as far as i know, isn't really being developed as a standalone pilot replacement.  It's more of a military-capable autopilot.  The same way as a normal autopilot has a list of things to do if there's a wind shear or oil pressure warning this thing also has a list of things to do if say you need to get from A to B by flying at 200 feet around mountains or has an emergency procedure for 'just detected an incoming missile'.  What it doesn't do is actually perform missions, you can't tell it to go and search these 3 grids for the terrorist leader in the blue truck that we got intel on yesterday and bomb him, but only if hes not around collateral victims unless hes escaping then maybe its ok, but not if its enough to look bad on tv unless you're going to miss the opportunity.  But foundationally, it has the potential to be the basis for a semi-autonomous drone system that could take orders from a controller and then be able to function in the field with a lot less worry about control delay or situational awareness problems.
 
2018-07-11 12:23:07 PM  

Animatronik: the biggest problem of course is the cannon. The F-35 can't match the A-10's cannon, because there is nothing else like it on earth. It's like comparing a tank to mechanized artillery. There are some things you need a big powerful gun with lots of ammo for.


Hey now.  If you keep talking that kind of bullshiat we're gonna have another M2 or M1128 up in here
 
2018-07-11 12:28:06 PM  
Who we gonna fight?
We gonna fight the Chinese over Korea, or the Russians over Iran and Syria?
Or are we gonna keep fighting "wars" with goatherds?
Because if it's goatherds, we really want the A-10.
 
2018-07-11 12:30:47 PM  
The fact the F-35 lacks any of the JTAC modules is pretty frightening. How can it perform CAS with no live feed data from the ground? And adding these pods and modules to the F-35 will have what kind of impact on its stealth and maneuverability? What a mess....
 
2018-07-11 12:32:12 PM  

dittybopper: Always wondered what became of QA.

Got cut out of the budget to pay for executive bonuses.

FWIW, it's been a longstanding military-industrial doctrine to use actual battles for beta testing.  You can learn an awful lot by getting troops killed, and it's cheaper than paying for your own tests.
 
2018-07-11 12:32:33 PM  

dittybopper: I mean, if a small team of guys can build upgraded duplicates of the Me-262 by hand for $5 mill a pop


Link? DDG is failing me.
 
2018-07-11 12:37:56 PM  
Awesome A-10 Thunderbolt II Brrrt Compilation - Happy Brrrt Day Special
Youtube NvIJvPj_pjE
 
2018-07-11 12:40:17 PM  

oopsboom: Stuff like ALPHA, as far as i know, isn't really being developed as a standalone pilot replacement.  It's more of a military-capable autopilot.  The same way as a normal autopilot has a list of things to do if there's a wind shear or oil pressure warning this thing also has a list of things to do if say you need to get from A to B by flying at 200 feet around mountains or has an emergency procedure for 'just detected an incoming missile'.  What it doesn't do is actually perform missions, you can't tell it to go and search these 3 grids for the terrorist leader in the blue truck that we got intel on yesterday and bomb him, but only if hes not around collateral victims unless hes escaping then maybe its ok, but not if its enough to look bad on tv unless you're going to miss the opportunity.  But foundationally, it has the potential to be the basis for a semi-autonomous drone system that could take orders from a controller and then be able to function in the field with a lot less worry about control delay or situational awareness problems.


I'm not suggesting ALPHA for ground support. Air Superiority however it would rule the skies and if it's going to be used as an autopilot would make about as much sense as using a flamethrower to light your cigarette. It's more capable than a human in air to air combat already. If you give it the appropriate platform it WILL be 2x-3x better than any human in any aircraft. It doesn't care about g forces. No joysticks, extra oxygen, explosives under the seat, seat, no instruments. No more $400k helmets and on and on.

We're talking radically different aircraft designs because they no longer have to support a soft, squishy, fragile meatsack.

For CAS, keep the A-10 or improve on it. I want a human with a brain to do that job.

THIS is what the F-35 can't do and why the Warthog even has Marines saying nice things about the Air Force.
 
2018-07-11 12:43:22 PM  

Dr Dreidel: And have you ever seen a Warthog in the swimsuit competition?


img.fark.netView Full Size


\Razorback, warthog, whatever
 
2018-07-11 12:47:11 PM  

oopsboom: The idea of shoot them all down with missiles from 200 miles away before they see you is really the only way to improve ratio's at that point until you get the pilot out of the airframe.


Which we'll never adopt as rules of engagement, because the price for false positives is so high.

One misidentified airliner will set you back politically for longer than a world war.
 
2018-07-11 12:50:05 PM  

jso2897: We gonna fight the Chinese over Korea, or the Russians over Iran and Syria?
Or are we gonna keep fighting "wars" with goatherds?
Because if it's goatherds, we really want the A-10.


If it involves CAS in any form, you want the A-10.

But they have real interceptors, you say. So did Germany and Japan in WWII. That's why CAS gets a fighter screen. Nothing can support the ground and dogfight at the same time.
 
2018-07-11 12:54:28 PM  

Luse: oopsboom: My understanding of the F-22 vs F-15 issue is that once you get to about the F-15/F-16/F-18 level of performance you just aren't going to gain maneuverability to become 3x, 4x, 5x more effective in a dogfight.  The limiting factor isn't your materials or engines or control surfaces...its your pilot dying b/c you're shoving his head up his own ass at 30 g's.  The idea of shoot them all down with missiles from 200 miles away before they see you is really the only way to improve ratio's at that point until you get the pilot out of the airframe.

That's why both are moot anyway.
Meet ALPHA. It's already beating former fighter pilots in simulators, and the thing is it's doing it in aircraft we use. Another article I've seen says even when we adjusted the variables in the human's favor it still won.
Now give it an aircraft built for it. No need for a cockpit, life support, ejection mechanism, none of that shiat. It also doesn't suffer from blackouts/redouts/gforces at all. So a human might pull what, 9 for a brief moment? This thing can pull 15 as long as the airframe can take it.

Human fighter pilots will soon be dinosaurs.


Do you want Skynet? Because this is how you get Skynet.

Nothing scares me more than having robots or AIs fighting our wars for us. War is terrible exactly because of the human toll it takes. Not to mention that eventually the robots and AIs will decide that fighting for humans sucks more than fighting against humans.
 
2018-07-11 12:54:33 PM  

jso2897: Who we gonna fight?
We gonna fight the Chinese over Korea, or the Russians over Iran and Syria?
Or are we gonna keep fighting "wars" with goatherds?
Because if it's goatherds, we really want the A-10.


At the rate we're going we'll have the Germans in a pincer with the Russians advancing from the east
 
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