Wednesday, July 01, 2015

F-35 stories

There's a story circulating about a report by a F-35 driver on a close-range mock dogfight between a F-16 and F-35.

The F-35 apparently failed completely in this most fighterly of fights.

If true, then any air force wishing to maintain an air-to-air capability should not replace its entire fleet with this aircraft.

In the air-to-air role, it is actually an air defence weakness that an enemy could exploit, especially if said can find a way to surprise patrolling F-35s or get in under missile/detection ranges, which it will.

1 comment:

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi, Boris. I've read the report and it's awful. The US Air Force and Lockheed admit the report is accurate but say it doesn't tell the whole story. They're right.

It's not some 30-year old F-16 that the F-35 will cut its teeth on. No it can expect to go up against warplanes such as the Su-30/35, the PAK50 or China's J-20 and J-31. Three of these are themselves stealth designs, something the F-35 was never intended to defeat.

A long time ago it struck me that a stealth fighter is more suited to the defender than the attacker. The F-35 with no supercruise and limited to onboard fuel has a serious range problem especially trying to get away with faster, more agile and longer-range aircraft in pursuit (it's also not stealthy in rear aspect). Any hope of not getting overtaken in a tail chase means going full afterburner and watching the gas gauge roll down to "E". With Russia's Sukhois in the air and S-300/400s on the ground, any tanker that tried to come to the rescue would be downed.

From what I've read, the F-35 has some amazing onboard electronics but they're wrapped in a profoundly compromised airframe with a dodgy engine.

You mentioned "patrolling F-35s." That's the first mention I've come across of someone suggesting this thing has the loiter capability associated with patrolling. It's the lack of that loiter capability that renders it relatively unsuited to ground support.