DOES A CUTTING-EDGE FIGHTER BOMBER
NEED TO DOGFIGHT TODAY (AND TOMORROW)?
AT A TRILLION DOLLARS FOR THE PROGRAM—DAMN NEARLY REAL MONEY—IT PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE THAT CAPABILITY
The following story originally appeared in the blog WAR IS BORING which was then taken up by the Washington Post and other media.
The disturbing truth is that weapons buying in the U.S. is so political that the operational utility of a weapons system is only one factor in the procurement equation.
That can be a damn nuisance where many weapons systems are concerned—but a strategic error where U.S. airpower is involved.
Without air dominance—which needs to include space dominance today—the U.S. would be exceedingly vulnerable
The many deficiencies of the F-35 are not issues to be dismissed. Neither the Pentagon nor the Air Force are to be believed without much supporting evidence (of the kind which can be checked). They lie a lot. They have no credibility.
Test Pilot Admits the F-35 Can’t Dogfight
New stealth fighter is dead meat in an air battle
by DAVID AXE
A test pilot has some very, very bad news about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The pricey new stealth jet can’t turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane during a dogfight or to dodge the enemy’s own gunfire, the pilot reported following a day of mock air battles back in January.
“The F-35 was at a distinct energy disadvantage,” the unnamed pilot wrote in a scathing five-page brief that War Is Boring has obtained. The brief is unclassified but is labeled “for official use only.”
The test pilot’s report is the latest evidence of fundamental problems with the design of the F-35 — which, at a total program cost of more than a trillion dollars, is history’s most expensive weapon.
The U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — not to mention the air forces and navies of more than a dozen U.S. allies — are counting on the Lockheed Martin-made JSF to replace many if not most of their current fighter jets.
And that means that, within a few decades, American and allied aviators will fly into battle in an inferior fighter — one that could get them killed … and cost the United States control of the air.
The fateful test took place on Jan. 14, 2015, apparently within the Sea Test Range over the Pacific Ocean near Edwards Air Force Base in California. The single-seat F-35A with the designation “AF-02” — one of the older JSFs in the Air Force — took off alongside a two-seat F-16D Block 40, one of the types of planes the F-35 is supposed to replace.
The two jets would be playing the roles of opposing fighters in a pretend air battle, which the Air Force organized specifically to test out the F-35’s prowess as a close-range dogfighter in an air-to-air tangle involving high “angles of attack,” or AoA, and “aggressive stick/pedal inputs.”
In other words, the F-35 pilot would fly his jet hard, turning and maneuvering in order to “shoot down” the F-16, whose pilot would be doing his own best to evade and kill the F-35.
“The evaluation focused on the overall effectiveness of the aircraft in performing various specified maneuvers in a dynamic environment,” the F-35 tester wrote. “This consisted of traditional Basic Fighter Maneuvers in offensive, defensive and neutral setups at altitudes ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 feet.”