F-35 : The Greatest American Gamble

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A Jack of all trades but a master of none

These words precisely suit the 5th generation gamble made by the USA and its allies.The multi-billion $ F-35 program has been the target of critics worldwide ever since it got delayed and shot past its budget. Reports claim that the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as the F-35 program is known, to be a massive failure and waste of money. People blindly agree with the critics and join the F-35 bashing bandwagon, unaware of the actual potentials and the shortcomings of the aircraft. I say that for an aircraft like this, I will have its share of Pros and Cons no matter what. I will highlight both of them for you and you can decide for yourselves whether to criticize it or support it. But whatever you do, it will be the backbone of the USAF in the future.

PROS

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The one thing I am sure of is that the commanders and planners in charge of the most powerful air force in the world are not dumb enough to place the future of their country in the hands of an aircraft which cannot stand up to its opposition. Since WW2, USA is known to produce top of the line aircraft which match or are more than a match for the other top aircraft from around the world. I have enough belief in these people to know that the F-35 won’t be a flying piece of junk as everybody have started to chant blindly. The display technology used in its cockpit, its user interface and controls are all top class. It is said to be a “low observable” aircraft, meaning conventional radar systems can’t detect it and unless advanced AESA radars are used, the F-35 will be pretty much off radar screens.

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It’s integrated with world-class weapons. Its weapon load is somewhat on the lighter side as it can carry just 6 Air to Air missiles inside its weapons bay. It has 6 external hardpoints to carry weapons when stealth is not needed. One of the most recent additions is the capability to fire the newly developed Joint Strike Missile (JSM) , which is a medium-range cruise missile for attacking surface targets. It is developed so that 2 of them can be fitted In the internal weapons bay. This gives the F-35 a standoff strike capability.

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Bomb bay doors open
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F-35 firing JSM

Its light weapon load is justified by statements saying that the ‘stealth’ features of the F-35 will be used to allow it to sneak into enemy airspace, suppress their air defense systems and attain air superiority by the usage of its BVR missiles. Then it would exit the area and a wave of conventional aircraft like F-15, F-16 carrying heavy weapon loads would take care of the further conflict with their superior weapon loads and ranges. But the F-35 is not designed to be as stealthy as the F-22 and can offer stealthy features in many situations. The USAF will undoubtedly have the advantage of numbers when they field around 2200 5th generation F-35As as the rest of the countries are planning to field just a handful or a couple of hundred 5th gen aircraft.

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HMDS on F-35
External weapons load

The one unique and great feature of the F-35 is going to be its HMDS ( Helmet mounted display system) which is said to be the best in its class. The F-35 is also integrated with the latest cruise missile is the American arsenal , the Joint Strike Missile ( JSM ) . This will give the F-35 the ability to engage surface targets at ranges of over 270 km . 2 of these missiles can be fit the bomb bay of the F-35 and it can thus retain in low RCS while on a strike mission . This , combined with the ability to carry JDAMs ( Joint Direct Attack Munition ) inside the bomb bay will surely enhance the attack capability of the F-35.

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F-35B

The surprising thing is that the F-35B is going to be the only fighter capable of vertical takeoff and landing after a few years when all the harriers are retired. This is something unique and wonderful that the USA has in their inventory. This gives them a lot of flexibility in deploying high-performance fighters from smaller aviation platforms like LPDs and LHDs. It is also the only fighter option available for countries like Spain, Italy, UK, Australia which operate small aircraft carriers or LHDs with ski jumps. No other country in the world has been able to produce an equivalent since the Russian Yak-141 program was canceled.

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F-35C being launched from an electromagnetic catapult

The F-35C is the carrier based version which will be launched from catapults and operated only by the US navy on its fleet of 10 supercarriers. It will be the only 5th generation carrier capable aircraft in the near future as the Russian and Chinese designs are still on the drawing board. This aircraft will give the US Navy to enter hostile airspace with greater safety due to the low observable nature of the F-35. Although it won’t have the range and payload of the Super Hornet , it will complement them until the navy can field a high-performance 5th or 6th gen fighter beyond 2030, for which it has already requested design proposals.

CONS

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The one thing that surprises me is that the USA is the only country in the world which is sure of operating an Air force comprised of entirely stealth fighters by around 2030. Their main adversary, Russia will field an Air force consisting of several hundred Flankers and Fulcrums. The Su-30/34/35 will be the core of the Russian Air force fighter and tactical bomber fleet. They are non-stealth aircraft with extremely long ranges and huge weapon payloads and powerful radars. Their secondary aircraft will be a couple of hundred Mig-29/35 which too are non-stealth and have decent range and payload comparable or better than the F-35.

Su-34,50,35 ( Right to left )

Their Airforce will be spearheaded by a fleet of around 200 Su-50 ‘stealth’ fighters which Russia admits, doesn’t have a lot of stealth features as they want to trade in performance for stealth. Unlike USA which is placing its bet on the F-35 for every task and will cost a bomb in maintenance and procurement, Russia will maintain an Air force which will offer far more punch conventionally and cost less to maintain. Though stealth is very attractive as it adds an aura of invisibility, it will be effective only when used in small numbers and backed up by large numbers of conventional aircraft will greater capabilities and will be highly ineffective against an adversary equipped with an Integrated Air Defense System (IADS).

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Eurofighter and Rafale

France will be fielding an Air Force consisting of Rafales. Germany , Spain, and Britain will be fielding the Typhoon as their primary combat aircraft. Sweden will have the Gripen. So none of the major European nations are relying on a stealth aircraft for their future needs as they feel 4++ generation aircraft with advanced sensors and equipment can perform the same task with greater efficiency .

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F-22

There are several joint exercises between USAF and RAF which prove that the Typhoons managed to detect the F-22 by using IRST (Infrared Search and Track) and obtained a virtual kill. Now, the F-35 is admittedly less ‘stealth’ than the F-22. So imagine how it would hold up in combat against enemy fighters which are most likely to be flankers. It’s only big edge over modern flankers is its low RCS (Radar Cross Section). The Russians are equipping their fighters with powerful AESA radars and IRST which can probably detect the F-35 from a hundred kilometers away. Yes, the F-35 too can detect the Flanker from a hundred kilometers away. So where is the advantage offered by its stealth now? It would have to fight the flanker in what would be a game of speed, maneuverability, and range, all of which it lacks in. Its sensors might be high tech, but always the Russian technology is underestimated and American tech is assumed blindly to be superior. What I say is, both have equally high technology and can exploit each other’s weakness well enough. And the F-35 doesn’t give them the needed edge.

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F-15 Silent Eagle

Now, I mentioned that the F-35 will be used as a part of an initial attacking force to gain air superiority and will be followed by conventional aircraft in performing the later missions. But there’s only one problem with that, USAF won’t have conventional fighters once the F-35 fleet is fully inducted. Their missions using the F-35 will cost twice as much as it would using an F-15. Stealth aircraft also have a notoriously low availability rate compared to conventional aircraft. In my opinion, the structure of the USAF could have been , 189 F-22, 500 F-35 , 1000 F-15 Silent Eagle and 500 F-16 upgraded to the latest versions. This would give them a powerful fleet of 5th generation and 4++ generation aircraft. The balance will be maintained and availability of the aircraft will be way higher than a fleet of stealth aircraft. I say this based on reports that the F-22 spends almost a week in the hangar after flying one operational sortie and that the RAM coating on the aircraft is delicate and prone to falling off which increases the maintenance cost.

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F-35B lift fans
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F-35B from QE class of Royal Navy

One more incident which backs up my opinion. When the F-22 was facing the oxygen deprivation issue and pilots started getting sick and losing consciousness, the whole fleet was grounded for days. But now USAF had their F-15 and F-16 to maintain the combat edge and operational readiness. But if an incident of similar magnitude occurs with the F-35, say a malfunctioning or a crash, the entire fleet would be grounded till investigations reveal that it is safe to fly.

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A-10 firing its 30 mm Gatling gun

The other thing that I don’t agree with is replacing the A-10 fleet using the F-35. I know that almost any aircraft can perform Close Air Support (CAS) as the F-15 and F-16 have been doing so in Afghanistan and complementing the A-10, but to have a CAS aircraft which can survive a modern battlefield unlike Afghanistan, it needs to be rugged, armoured and have a huge payload and cannon to strafe targets and provide gunfire support. The A-10s cannon and air to ground armament are unequaled and means hell for the enemy on the battlefield. The F-35 is not rugged, armoured and nor does it have a cannon like the A-10 to provide gunfire support. The A-10 needs to be replaced by a modern CAS aircraft with better capabilities and not the F-35.

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F-35C. Note the extended foldable wing tips

Coming to the carrier capable version F-35C, it is no doubt the only stealth fighter in service, but it has half the range and payload of its non-stealth contemporaries like MiG-29K, Rafale, and F/A-18 Super Hornet. It sacrifices performance for stealth which I don’t think is a very good idea. The US has been managing to gain air superiority over lightly defended airspaces and well-defended ones too with ease now. I don’t see how the F-35 will make a difference as it can’t sneak past an S-300/400 Air defense system, which defeats the purpose of its induction. The F-35B notoriously sacrifices its range and payload in exchange for the ability to take off vertically. It won’t matter much to the US as the F-35B is their secondary aircraft deployed in small numbers on amphibious assault ships. But for other countries which use it as their primary fighter, it will make a noticeable difference in performance.

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Osprey refueling F-35B

The main reason that it has managed to get a lot of criticism is that it is the largest defense program in the world. It is worth hundreds of billions of dollars and will potentially decide the future of the USAF and the air forces of several other nations. But one fact is clear. No other country is putting all its eggs in one basket like the US. The Royal Air Force will maintain a large fleet of typhoons in the future and just 24 F-35s will form a part of their air force. But if you look at the case of USA, 2300 F-35s are expected to enter service in the next 15-20 years. They will be the mainstay aircraft in every conflict and every situation. One problem with the aircraft could ground the entire air force. There is only one variant used by the USAF, the F-35A, and so one problem and practically the whole air force will be crippled. They would have to rely on a tiny fleet of 189 F-22s out of which only around 130 are combat capable and only around 40-60 will be available for combat duties at any one point in time.

CONCLUSION

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F-35 A, C, B

This shows that, no matter how capable the F-35 is or what numbers it is deployed in, it will be a delicate situation for the USAF. The F-35 won’t offer too much bang for the buck, as aircraft costing way less than it, can perform similar missions. It’s the only advantage will be it’s ‘stealth’ which according to many countries is no longer such a huge advantage as seen in training exercises. I’m not saying the F-35 is a bad plane. It is one of the best in the world and a marvel of engineering (especially the F-35B), it will be an even match for the world’s best fighters if not better according to USAF claims. But what I’m trying to tell is, replacing several types of aircraft with a large number of aircraft of one type is not such a good idea. You don’t invest all your money in one company’s stock, do you?

Note: Images copyright – US Navy, USAF, Lockheed Martin, Kongsberg. If you are the photographer and credits aren’t mentioned, please contact defencyclopedia@gmail.com.

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66 thoughts on “F-35 : The Greatest American Gamble

    1. Thank you. You have a good point . Low frequency radar and PESA radars are definitely on the way to make Stealth more irrelevant. Russia is incorporating L Band Radar into its Su-50 which is said to be capable of detecting stealth aircraft.

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    2. The main reason for the plane was to put competitors out of business and give USA control of future military expansion… look at the TSR 2 and Arrow all push to the scrap heap for the F!-11

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  1. The notion that the F-35 lacks speed or agility is not true, already pilots and evaluators who fly the aircraft say that they are very i pressed by its performance.

    http://www.defensenews.com/article/20110516/DEFSECT01/105160302/F-35-Tests-Proceed-Revealing-F-18-Like-Performance

    “Operational pilots should be thrilled with the F-35’s performance, Kelly said. The F-35 Energy-Management diagrams, which display an aircraft’s energy and maneuvering performance within its airspeed range and for different load factors, are similar to the F/A-18 but the F-35 offers better acceleration at certain points of the flight envelope.

    “The E-M diagrams are very similar between the F-35B, F-35C and the F/A-18. There are some subtle differences in maximum turn rates and some slight differences in where corner airspeeds are exactly,” Kelly said.

    Thomas, who is also an F/A-18 pilot and a graduate of the Navy’s Top Gun program and the Marines’ Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, agreed that all three variants should be lethal in the within-visual-range fight.”

    One thing about the F/A-18 is, its really one of the best dogfighters ever created, the only problem with it is its relatively lower T/W ratio compared to F-16s and F-15s, the F-35 will eliminate this problem by its higher T/W ratio than the F/A-18 while being able to hold high Angles of attack just like it.

    I made a computation of an F-35A vs a Su-30 and here is what I got

    F-35 vs Su-30

    Su-30

    Empty:39,021 lbs
    Fuel(40%): 8,290 lbs

    weapons:
    4xR-77: 1540 lbs
    2xR-11: 460 lbs
    150 rounds: 450 lbs
    Total: 2450 lbs

    Combat Load: 49,761 lbs
    Thrust(dry/AB): 33,820/55,120
    Wing Area: 667 feet

    TW Ratio
    Dry:0.67
    AB:1.11

    Wing Loading: 74.60
    Wing Loading plus body lift estimate of 40%: 44.13 lbs/sq ft

    _____________________________________________

    F-35A
    Weights
    Empty: 29,300 lbs
    Fuel(40%): 7,392 lbs

    Weapons:
    4 x Aim 120C missiles: 1,340 lbs
    2 x Aim 9X missiles: 376 lbs
    180 rounds: 216 lbs
    Toatal: 1,932 lbs

    Combat weight: 38,642

    Thrust
    Dry: 28,000
    AB: 43,000
    Wing Area: 460 feet

    TW Ratio
    Dry:0.72
    AB: 1.11

    Wing Loading:84 lbs/ sq ft.
    Wing Loading plus body lift estimate of 45%: 46.13 lbs/sq ft

    So in both wing loading and thrust to weight ratios, they offer verry similar performance, take note that the F-35 will carry most of its weapons internally not externally which eliminates maneuverability degrading drag.

    Regarding speed, its easy to say that the F-35s top speed of Mach 1.6 is not impresive, however the F-35 can hold Mach 1.2 without the use of afterburners, this is a feat that no F-16 or F/A-18 can do.

    Plus both the F-16 and F/A-18 can only acheive their advertised top speeds (mach 2.05 and 1.8) when flying clean, the F-35 can reach mach 1.6 with a combat load and can maintain 1.2 for 150 miles

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  2. The notion that the F-35 somehow lacks speed and maneuverability is a common misconception
    I know its a bit long but I prepared this just for you so please take some time to read through. Thanks
    Lets look at some figures against some proven and supposedly superior platforms, lets compare them and see.
    you basically need 3 essentials to be maneuverable:
    1. Lots of Lift
    2. Lots of thrust
    3. Little Drag
    Lets discuss lift:
    I know you probably heard Pierre Spray said that the F-35 is a dog because it has little wings. and has to carry 110lbs of airplane for every square foot of wing.
    Pierre Spray was involved in the aircraft industry at around the 1960s where fighters were basically tubes with wings.
    At that time all of the lift came from the wings. small wings = small lift.
    But at around that time Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) was experimenting with Lifting Body designs, they wanted to produce fuselages that can assist the wings in producing lift instead of being dead weight.
    Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin-Marietta_X-24
    That’s why at around the 1970s we began to see fighters with wide flat fuselage sections and smaller wings. So lets compare the wing loading of the F-4 against Pierre Spray’s favorite F-16 variant the F-16A.
    F-4
    Empty: 30,328lbs
    Load:8000 lbs
    Comabt Weight: 38,328
    Wing Area: 530 feet
    Wing Loading: 72 lbs/ sq feet
    F-16A
    Empty: 16,300
    Load:8000 lbs
    Comabt Weight: 24,300
    Wing Area: 300 feet
    Wing Loading: 81 lbs/ sq feet
    So by Pierre Spray’s own argument the horribly turning F-4 should fly circles around his hotrod F-16? What’s happening here?
    Well the F-16 does not rely on just wings to produce lift, it has a blended body and wing design, plus LERX that produce vortices above the airplane (if you remember you physics, high pressure below + low pressure above creates lift)
    around 40% of the F-16s total lift does not come from the wings at all. So in reality the F-16′s actual wing loading when loaded with 8,000lbs is closer to 49 lbs per square feet not 81 lbs.
    The F-35 is the same. to get the F-35 to have 110lbs / sq ft of wing loading as Pierre Spray said it needs to carry 21,300 lbs of load.
    The f-16 can never do that, but the F-35 can! that’s what’s great about this plane, it gives you options, if you need to go to a long range mission then sure, the F-35 CAN carry 18,000lbs of fuel and 18,000lbs of weapons.
    But if your going to a CAP mission where a dogfight is possible, then why load it with 21K? Most likely an F-35 would take off with 18,000lbs, And when it gets to combat it would probably have 10,000lbs depending on the range to the target.
    So lets pit the F-35 against some really good aircraft, Wing Loading calculation.
    All loaded with 8,000 lbs, perfect for dogfighting:
    Wing Loading:
    Mig-29 M/M2: 91
    F-16C (block 50): 90
    F-35A: 81
    F/A-18C: 77
    Su-30MKI: 72
    So as you can see at dogfighting weights, the F-35 is not bad at all, its not the best but really not all that bad.
    Now consider this, the F-35 probably has the most efficient body lifting surface of all these aircraft due to the fact that its fuselage has the smoothest flatest surface of all these planes, not a lot of disturbance for the wind to flow around on.
    So lets give all these aircraft a Body lifting coefficient of 40% but to be conservative lets give the F-35 45%, the truth is probably much larger but hey lets keep it down.
    Wing loading plus body lift:
    Mig-29 (M/M2): 54.6
    F-16C (block 50): 54
    F/A-18C: 46
    F-35A: 44
    Su-30MKI: 43
    The F-16s wing loading is similar to the Mig-29s which is why it replicates the Mig-29 in RedFlag.
    But Notice how the F-35′s wing loading is so close to the F/A-18 and just 1 pound above the Su-30, which is why when you ask pilots they will say that the F-35 maneuvers like an F/A-18 with better acceleration.
    And really acceleration is the only thing Hornet pilots dont like about it.
    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d … -tactical/
    Lt Col Matt Kelly wrote:
    Operational pilots should be thrilled with the F-35′s performance, Kelly said. The F-35 Energy-[Maneuverability] diagrams, which display an aircraft’s energy and maneuvering performance within its airspeed range and for different load factors, are similar to the F/A-18 but the F-35 offers better acceleration at certain points of the flight envelope.
    So do you still think they are lying?
    Now lets talk thrust. This is a no brainer, the F-35′s engine is rated at 43,000lbs the most powerful in the world. So lets cut to the chase and compare.
    Thrust to weight at max thrust:
    (All loaded with 8,000 lbs)
    Mig-29 (M/M2): 1.05
    F-16C (block 50): 1.05
    Su-30MKI: 1.13
    F/A-18C: 1.14
    F-35A: 1.15
    Surprise Surprise, the F-35 has the best Thrust to weight ratio of all of the planes involved, and really in a dogfight Thrust to weight can be more valuable than Wing loading.
    Now Drag:
    All these planes will carry weapons externally adding lots of drag. with a full centerline tank the F-16 is reduced to 7Gs max and the Mig-29 is reduced to an appalling 4Gs, the F-35 will carry most if not all its missiles internally, very little drag.
    So to conclude, even without Stealth, even without all its advanced sensors and ECM suits, the F-35 will (in the words of Pierre Spray) wax the competition every single time, then if the F-35 is a dog the rest should be compared to kittens.

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    1. I really appreciate the fact that you took time to prepare such a detailed explanation. Thank you for your opinion. I agree with the technical comparisons that you have mentioned . I haven’t said that the F-35 has bad maneuverability though. It’s speed is below Mach 2 which gives it a disadvantage In certain situations like when it needs to get out of a hot zone quickly.

      But the main adversary of the F-35 will be the Su-50 which outperforms it in most of the aspects you’ve mentioned. So if we pit an F-35 against it , the Su-50 will have a better chance in any situation as both aircraft aren’t designed to be as stealthy the Raptor and the Su-50 has better maneuverability and weapon load.

      The internal payload of the F-35 is pretty decent. But I stressed on the F-35B which has a very less payload and range due to its STOVL nature which limits the takeoff weight. It won’t be a problem for USA. But it’s a problem for UK which will use it as the primary naval fighter.

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    2. Zero-One,

      I love how the pro-F-35 advocates/fanbase people support and defend the aircraft without looking at the facts and testing the evidence. They are certainly just drinking the Kool-Aid and believing the BS from Lockheed Martin with their thana marketing strategy etc.

      Ok sure now lets talk thrust and wing loading. Yes there is a no brainer, the F-35′s engine is rated at 43,000lbs the most powerful in the world. So lets cut to the chase and compare the examples of aircraft listed below. Thrust to weight at max thrust: (All loaded with 8,000 lbs)

      MiG-29A: 1.09. Wing loading of 82 lb/ft².

      F-16C (Block 50): 1.09. Wing loading of 88.3 lb/ft².

      Su-30MKI: 1.13 (loaded weight with 56% internal fuel). Wing loading of 82.3 lb/ft².

      Su-35S: 1.13 at 50% fuel (0.92 with full internal fuel). Wing loading of 84.9 lb/ft² 50% fuel.

      F-15C: 1.13 (−F100-PW-220). Wing loading of 73.1 lb/ft².

      F-15K: 1.13 (-F100-PW-229). Wing loading of 73.1 lb/ft².

      F/A-18C: 0.96 (1.13 with loaded weight & 50% internal fuel). Wing loading of 93 lb/ft².

      F-35A: with full fuel of 0.84 and with 50% fuel: of 1.05. Wing loading of 108 lb/ft² (when empty) and 176 lb/ft² (when fully loaded).

      Surprise Surprise, the F-35 has the poor thrust to weight ratio and terrible wing loading, of all of the planes involved, and really in a dogfight Thrust to weight/Wing loading are both more valuable.

      This analysis by Pierre M. Spey, a key member of the F-16 and A-10 design teams, cast sharp doubt on the F-35’s capabilities:

      “Even without new problems, the F-35 is a ‘dog.’ If one accepts every performance promise the DoD currently makes for the aircraft, the F-35 will be: “Overweight and underpowered: at 49,500 lb (22,450kg) air-to-air take-off weight with an engine rated at 42,000 lb of thrust, it will be a significant step backward in thrust-to-weight ratio for a new fighter… [F-35A and F-35B variants] will have a ‘wing-loading’ of 108 lb per square foot… less manoeuvrable than the appallingly vulnerable F-105 ‘Lead Sled’ that got wiped out over North Vietnam… payload of only two 2,000 lb bombs in its bomb bay… With more bombs carried under its wings, the F-35 instantly becomes ‘non-stealthy’ and the DoD does not plan to seriously test it in this configuration for years. As a ‘close air support’… too fast to see the tactical targets it is shooting at; too delicate and flammable to withstand ground fire; and it lacks the payload and especially the endurance to loiter usefully over US forces for sustained periods… What the USAF will not tell you is that ‘stealthy’ aircraft are quite detectable by radar; it is simply a question of the type of radar and its angle relative to the aircraft… As for the highly complex electronics to attack targets in the air, the F-35, like the F-22 before it, has mortgaged its success on a hypothetical vision of ultra-long range, radar-based air-to-air combat that has fallen on its face many times in real air war. The F-35’s air-to-ground electronics promise little more than slicker command and control for the use of existing munitions.”

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      1. Goes to show that you dont understand what you are talking about.
        Wing loading is the weight of an aircraft divided by it’s wing area,

        In your example above, you loaded all planes with 8,000 lbs but you got their wing loading and thrust figures using another divisor.

        Let me e plain it to you slowly.

        The F-35A weighs 29,300 lbs empty.
        Add 8,000 lbs and it will weigh 37,300 lbs
        Okey breath, are we following? Good.

        Now divide the gross weight (37,300 lbs) by the wing area (460 feet)
        What do we get (use a calculator) 81.08 lbs per square feet.
        This is the wing loading. Okey great.

        Now lets go for power.
        Max thrust (43,000 lbs) divided by gross weight (37,300 lbs)
        What do we get 1.15
        So do you see where you were wrong now?

        Lets do another comparison.

        Typical Air-Air load.

        F-16C (block 50)
        Empty: 18,900 lbs
        Load: 8,000 lbs (6,000lbs of fuel + 6 missiles)
        Combat Weight: 26,900 lbs
        Wing Area: 300 feet
        Thrust: 28,600 lbs

        Wing loading: 89.66 lbs / square feet
        Thrust-to-weight ratio: 1.06

        ________________________________________________________

        F-35A
        Empty: 29,300 lbs
        Load: 11,000 lbs (9,000lbs of fuel + 6 missiles)
        Combat Weight: 40,300 lbs
        Wing Area: 460 feet
        Thrust: 43,000 lbs

        Wing loading: 87.60 lbs / square feet
        Thrust-to-weight ratio: 1.06

        Even when loaded with 50% more fuel than the F-16, the F-35’s wing loading is still better.
        Its thrust to weight ratio is identical to the Block 50 which is arguably the best maneuvering version of the F-16.

        Oh and about Pierre Spray being an integral part of the F-16 and A-10 design team?? Please

        Pierre Sprey was involved in the LWF (Light weight fighter) program but he did not design the F-16, that aircraft was designed by the many engineers at General dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) which Pierre Sprey was never employed in.

        So what did Pierre Spray do?
        Well, he was part of a team called the “Light Weight Fighter Mafia” that simply issued the requirements for the LWF program.

        They basically said, it should be this fast, it should pull X amount of Gs at this altitude, it should accelerate like this…etc. etc.

        Pierre Spray himself never said he “designed” the F-16, all he says is that he “worked” on the F-16.
        As part of the team that issued the requirements.

        But on how to achieve those requirements, Pierre spray has no clue,
        Thats why he still notes wing loading, the F-16 actually has terrible wing loading,

        lets compare the wing loading of the horribly turning F-4 against Pierre Spray’s favorite F-16 variant the F-16A.

        F-4
        Empty: 30,328lbs
        Load: 12,000 lbs
        Comabt Weight: 42,328
        Wing Area: 530 feet
        Wing Loading: 79 lbs/ sq feet

        F-16A
        Empty: 16,300
        Load:8000 lbs
        Comabt Weight: 24,300
        Wing Area: 300 feet
        Wing Loading: 81 lbs/ sq feet

        Even when loaded with 50% more fuel and ordnance the under performing F-4 should out turn the
        F-16A if we are to follow Pierre Spray’s poor judgement of maneuverability.

        However the F-16’s unimpressive wing loading is compensated by high lift devices like LERX, and body lift, and the unstable nature of the F-16s design, other parts of the aircraft are used to generate lift, taking the load away from the wings.

        all of these are more refined and improved upon on the F-35.

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  3. Thank you defencyclopedia
    I agree, against the Su-50 the F-35 will probably be at a disadvantage in speed and maneuverability.
    It will not be a slouch and the Su-50 will definitly have a tough time, and may even loose against a more experienced pilot.
    But in today’s modern battlefeild, Speed and maneuverability are not the only determining factors.
    -RCS
    -Situational awareness
    -Countermeasures
    -Weapon’s performance
    and weapon’s data link can all contribute to thwart the Su-50′s maneuvering advantage.
    Another thing that the F-35 holds against most planes is it’s high angle of attack capability,
    All F-35 variants are cleared to 50 degrees Angle of attack while most planes (i.e. F-16, Typhoon, Rafale, Grippen, Mig-29 ) are limited to ~25 degrees AOA, the F/A-18C is limited to ~40 degrees.
    though the Mig-29 can reach ~40 degrees with the limmiter off, most pilots choose not to do this because the Mig-29 has a large tendency to go out of control when pushed this way, most pilots preffer to have the limitter on and fight with high sustained G maneuvers instead of high AOA maneuvers.
    The F-35 can fight both ways, maneuverability in a combat configuration, It will be on par or slightly better than some planes in some asspects, either sustained G or high AOA or both (i.e. F-16,Rafale, Typhoon, Mig-29, F/A-18, F-15, Su-27/30)
    and marginally inferior to others (i.e. Su-35, F-22, Su-50)
    But in RCS, Situational awarenes, it will be head and shoulders above most aircraft.
    Payload?, in non stealth Config the F-35A can be loaded with 18,000 lbs, a little less than the F-15E but quite a bit more than the F-16C, range is good, and top speed? well the F-16 can reach Mach 2.0 in a clean configuration, but when laoded for combat, that drops to Mach 1.5 or lower, tha F/A-18 is the same way.

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    1. The F-35 is a wonderful aircraft as I myself have stated in the post and is equal to the best in the world if not better. But the point I’m trying to make is that stealth won’t provide the F-35 with much advantage and replacing many types with F-35 is definitely not a good idea.

      As for the payload , what you say is not valid for all variants . It’s for the A variant only. C has a lesser payload and B has a very small payload comparatively .

      Thanks for the detailed comment. It definitely shows the F-35 to be way more superior to the F-16 which I agree. But the operating costs of the F-35 for a mission will be several times that of the F-16 . And so will be the mission availability rate.

      Keep up the great work of interacting.

      Like

      1. It may not be the best. But incorporates a lot of the latest technology. It has its faults but it’s still a great aircraft. Lots of bells and whistles. But I’m not saying that all these make it superior to its adversaries.

        Like

      2. defencyclopedia,

        The other detailed analysis definitely shows the F-35 to be way less superior to the F-16 which others will agree. But the operating costs and fly away costs of the F-35 for a mission will be several times higher than the F-16 and other aircraft. And so will be the mission availability rate is lower.

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      3. defencyclopedia,

        I’m also a defence analyst. I believe the truth and I also look at the facts and test the evidence. I certainly don’t believe pathetic lies from the scandal Lockheed Martin, The Pentagon, The Congress and idiotic pro-F-35 advocates/fanbase like you people.

        The F-35 is still a terrible aircraft and will always be. How can the F-35 ever be a great aircraft that will not meet specification nor the operational requirements, inadequate to deal with the changed threat environment which has shown that the aircraft has a lot of limitations and it cannot do a lot of things as expected to show and promise that is a true fifth generation fighter, because it does not meet all the requirements of partner nations. Its fuselage is too overweight which has too much cross section; the wings are too small which lacks the extreme manoeuvrability. The wing planform is optimised for subsonic cruise and transonic manoeuvre which doesn’t provide enough lift and drag to defeat Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and Within Visual Range (WVR) air-to-air missiles (AAMs) from enemy fighters in the dogfight and stand-off ranges, advanced surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and ground fire during top end threats. It also has inferior acceleration at Mach 1.6, short range with no loiter time and very limited weapons payload that is unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence and totally unsuited for air superiority role when compared against Sukhoi family of aircraft, particularly post 2010 configurations; definitely post 2015 evolved growth variants and upcoming PAK-FA, J-20 and J-21/31 fifth generation fighters.

        What amazes me is how people are being encouraged to drink the Kool-Aid a.k.a. believing in total to indifference to what is real. Who have never looked at the facts and tested the evidence. I guarantee you the F-35 will never be a great strike aircraft. I have colleagues and including myself (from the defence industry) know more about the F-35 that is very incapable of than anyone else don’t you think? We have nothing but very disappointed for the F-35 and its poor capabilities. Again, as its limitations are inherent to the design, they cannot be altered by incremental upgrades.

        But the problem is N.R.P., the F-35 not a good enough reason to keep the program going. Saying the F-35 is too big to cancel is a complete excuse. Size is not relevant to failure. The F-35 program has already failed, so cancel it. Because if you keep on going ahead with the F-35 you will weaken your defence. Whoever made the decision to go ahead with it should be publicly shamed or get shot.

        You know something. If the defence acquisition was up to me, I’ll be certainly to kill the F-35 and encourage the allies to cancel this lemon too, as a way to put it into the indoor fire and watch it burn for good. Instead take business else where. The F-35 is at best a great national scandal, unproven and at worst the biggest piece of high-tech boondoggle to ever come out of United States of America. Lockheed Martin are bunch of crooks, outliers and never do business with them again. They are a bad bargain for any customer.

        Why is Lockheed Martin a bad bargain for any customer?

        Because Lockheed is a tremendously effective marketing organisation and they acquire all kinds of political influence both through the route of politics of the country, contributing to parties, through retired officers, and through their own marketing organisation which is extremely effective. It is an amazingly good marketing organisation backed by a company that doesn’t build very good aeroplanes.

        In essence, the unethical Thana Marketing strategy is using to sell the JSF, along with the acquisition malpractice of concurrency in not only development, the production and testing but the actual designs of the JSF variants, themselves, have resulted in the JSF marketeers writing cheques that the aircraft designs and JSF Program cannot honour.

        Lockheed Martin’s thana marketing strategy which is basically designed to enable Lockheed Martin to rape any nation’s plundering taxpayers money in the western world for the next 40 to 50 years.

        The F-35 needs to be scrapped and put Lockheed Martin out of business. Also sack Lt.Gen Chris Bogdan and his staff, pro-F-35 advocates/fanbase people and get the FBI to send some of those corporate fatcats to prison-demand all money unspent refunded to taxpayers. The Pentagon, the Congress, Lockheed Martin, pro-F-35 advocates/fanbase people and the idiotic Air Force/Navy and Marine Corps top brasses have turned the USAF, USN and USMC and the allies into a complete sorry mess.

        If you’re a defence analyst who loves writing about everything related to the military. Why are you believing indifference to what is real by publishing articles about how great the F-35 is etc?

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      4. I’ve taken into account both the positives and the drawbacks of the F-35 in this article. It’s not a blind article praising the F-35. I’ve spoken to defense industry people as well who tell me that the whole JSF program is currently a huge mess and LM is just looking to push off aircraft to its export customers. There are multiple issues with the aircraft and with the whole program. The allies are gonna have a tough time with this plane and will end up using a load of money to just keep it flying. My point is it has a lot of advanced technology. But on the whole, the program is flawed and is currently too huge to cancel or do anything about it.

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      5. defencyclopedia,

        “The F-35 is a wonderful aircraft”.

        Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. You are a complete idiot. Calling the F-35 a wonderful aircraft that is unsuited for air superiority, deep interdiction bombing and cruise missile defence and close air support due to limited range/endurance, limited weapons load, limited top end speed, limited agility and a whopper IR signature. A great aircraft that will be ineffective against the current generation of extremely powerful advanced Russian and Chinese systems; In any combat engagements between the F-35 and such threat systems, most or all F-35 aircraft will be rapidly lost to enemy fire.

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      6. defencyclopedia,

        “is currently too huge to cancel or do anything about it”.

        Again, saying the F-35 is “too big to cancel” propaganda is a complete excuse. You know size is not relevant to failure. The F-35 program has already failed, so cancel it. Because if you keep on going ahead with the F-35 you will weaken your defence. You know if the F-35 documents etc was put in front of me on the table I’ll be certainly putting them in the fire as a cancellation and encourage other nations (that have participated or planning to participate the “Just So Failed” project) to scrap it and tell them to get away from Lockheed Martin before they use their thana marketing strategy and raping any nation’s plundering taxpayers money. They are destroying the defence industries of Europe, Australia, US and other parts of the world.

        N.R.P, have you seen a 24 page article in Air and Space Power Journal, “The Comanche and the Albatross: About Our Neck Was Hung”. Written by Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF. He has got a good point why the F-35 must be cancelled now.

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      7. Here we have another idiot riding the F-35 hate bandwagon, lol Australia’s Super Hornets are going to be pulverized by the Lightning, just because you’re country can’t afford F-35’s because of budget cuts, availability, maintenance etc. doesn’t mean you have to hate it

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Zero-One,

      The F-35 can’t fight both ways, manoeuvrability in a combat configuration, It will be slightly worse than some planes in a lot aspects, either sustained G or high AOA or both (i.e. F-16, Rafale, Typhoon, MiG-29, F/A-18, F-15, Su-27/30 family) and marginally inferior to others (i.e. Su-35, F-22, Su-50)
      But in RCS, Situational awareness, it will be head and shoulders above most aircraft.
      Payload?, in non stealth Config I don’t see the F-35A able to carry 18,000 lbs weapons, that is going to sacrifice its stealth, it has a very small weapons load at 5,000 lbs, it’s much less than the F-15E but quite less than the F-16C, range is terrible, and top speed is appalling.

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      1. Care to back that up?

        The AOA limit for the F-35 is 50 degrees (a little higher than the F/A-18, which is the best American 4th gen in high AOA capabilities)

        Typical Air-Air load.

        F-16C (block 50)
        Empty: 18,900 lbs
        Load: 8,000 lbs (6,000lbs of fuel + 6 missiles)
        Combat Weight: 26,900 lbs
        Wing Area: 300 feet
        Thrust: 28,600 lbs

        Wing loading: 89.66 lbs / square feet
        Thrust-to-weight ratio: 1.06

        ________________________________________________________

        F-35A
        Empty: 29,300 lbs
        Load: 11,000 lbs (9,000lbs of fuel + 6 missiles)
        Combat Weight: 40,300 lbs
        Wing Area: 460 feet
        Thrust: 43,000 lbs

        Wing loading: 87.60 lbs / square feet
        Thrust-to-weight ratio: 1.06

        Even when loaded with 50% more fuel than the F-16, the F-35’s wing loading is still better.
        Its thrust to weight ratio is identical to the Block 50 which is arguably the best maneuvering version of the F-16.

        Furthermore it will not have any of the F-16’s parasitic drag due to external weapons carriage.

        This translates into more Gs in maneuvering than the F-16C.

        Now the F-35 will only fight in stealth config only when stealth is needed.
        The USAF currently uses stealthy F-22s in conjunction with non stealthy F-15s and said that the effect is amazing. The F-15s used as bomb trucks and baits the enemy for the F-22s

        I see similar tactics used with the F-35 where Stealth F-35s are used in conjunction with heavily armed non stealthy F-35s

        The Stealthy ones simply relay targeting info to the bomb truck F-35s and preserve their own weapons for defense.

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  4. Your right, the B varriant in my oppinion is the weakest of all 3, its max G rating is only 7Gs, its internal fuel capacity is only around 13,000 lbs, it has the highest wing loading of all 3 variants even if you account for body and vortex lift.
    In my oppinion the A varriant which has the highest thrust-to-weight ratio and the C vartiant which has the lowest wing loading (almost aproching F-22 class wing loading) will be far deadlier in A-A combat.
    however, what the B lacks in kinematics, it will try to make up for in flexibility.
    For example, a squadron of F-35Bs deployed in a forward operating base or atop an Wasp class, need only to carry a decent fuel load in order to get to the target area, they can virtualy land anywhere and be back in action while other planes are still racing back to base.
    The B may also be used to turn roads and high ways into potential air feilds and swarm the enemy from multiple undisclosed locations, all of this is easier to do with a STOVL aircraft.
    Advanced AESA radars have the ability to detect stealth aircraft, but not as easily as they would detect non-stealth aircraft,
    for example if a certain AESA can detect a target with an RCS of
    1 square meter, 100 miles away, it will only detect the F-35 which has a frontal RCS of 0.001 square meters, maybe 15-20 miles away,
    there is a formula for detection ranges and I dont have it on the top of my head, but if I remember correctly, for you to double the detection range of a radar, you need to increase its power, not 2 times, but around 4 times,
    So is the F-35 detectable? Certainly it is, but remember, detection is only the 1st part of the kill chain, tracking is the 2nd, and it is much more difficult to do against stealth planes.
    Now about LF band radars (low frequency) it is true that they can detect Stealth aircraft much easier, but they are also prone to things like:
    -clouds
    -smoke
    -dust
    -birds
    -insects
    -other radio frequencies
    -jamming frequencies
    -chalf
    All of these things will confuse LF band radars, they will all return as potential contacts, it could be an F-35 but it can aslo be a flock of geese.
    Now, they are also very inacurate, they will tell u the general direction of the contact, but not exactly where, what altitude, what speed, what heading, not enough to give you a targeting solution.
    Im not saying that the F-35 is perfect, I have many problems with it to, The engine demonstrated that it can acheive more than 50,000 lbs of thrust, but for maintenance purposes, the DOD decided to limit the engine to 43,000 lbs of thrust, WHY????
    The F-35 is certainly not too powerful in anyones eyes, it has good power but it can use a little more, why mot 45,000 lbs, or 47,000 lbs???
    The F-35 demonstrated that it can actually pull 73 degrees AOA with ease, but was limited to 50 degrees for safety! Why again?? According to LM, their research showed that there is not a whole lot of advantages that you can get from 73 degrees so 50 is enough?
    I dont know if a pilot would ever feel confident knowing that his plane can do “just enough”.
    I also hate it when LM says that if an F-35 ever finds itself in a dogfight, then something has gone wrong.
    Well my answer is, in what war has everything ever gone perfectly according to plan? Something will go wrong from time to time.
    Dont get me wrong, they are not saying that the F-35 can’t dance, they are simply saying that it will be extreamly difficult to get to the point where the F-35 needs to dogfight, but if or should I say “when” it does get there, I believe it will hold its own.
    LM did say that “if the F-35 finds itself in a situation where maneuverability is needed, it will display a surprising degree of agility”

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    1. You’re absolutely right with your logic of the F-35B. I’m neutral about the F-35 and I welcome all the advantages and the drawbacks you point out. The STOVL nature does give it unmatched flexibility by allowing it to operate from small flat patches of land . This will definitely make up for its lack of range and payload.

      And about the detection , I mentioned that just to make it clear to the readers that the F-35 is not invisible to the radar as many might believe. It’s stealthy features will definitely delay it’s detection when compared to its non-stealthy counterparts. And about the agility , it can hold its own I feel but it certainly won’t be superior to the flankers out there and the flankers will have an advantage in close range combat .

      But what do you feel about replacing all types of fighters with the F-35 in the future ? Don’t you think one problem can have the entire fleet grounded ? And coming to the cost of maintaining the aircraft . It’s going to be extremely high compared to its non-stealthy counterparts . What do you say about that ?

      Thank you for your detailed comment.

      Like

  5. Here is a good comment, from a Ukranian Su-27 pilot when he flew back seat on a Vipper

    http://www.eucom.mil/article/19481/safe-skies-2011-presents-rare-opportunity

    “Dmytro said through a translator. “I think the F-16 is a little less powerful, but more maneuverable. It was such an honor to fly with Col. Toomey and the adrenaline is still pumping; it was an experience of a lifetime.”

    there is an evaluation by the Norwegian Airforce shared here:
    http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24472
    Scroll down to Energo’s graph

    They concluded that the F-35 compared to RNAF F-16 had the following advantages:

    Reach – F-35 have significantly longer reach with the same weapon-load. Equally it has the possibility of longer endurance

    Speed/Acceleration – F-16 is described as a Mach 2 fighter but as soon as one hangs weapon on it the speed is limited to Mach 1.6 or lower. Equipped for the mission both aircraft falls within the same speed and acceleration zone.

    Maneuvering – In air-to-air the F-35 has equal or better maneuvering capabilities compared to the F-16. In air-to-ground configuration the F-35 has better maneuvering mainly due the powerful engine and lower drag due to internal carriage of the weapons.

    This was also the claim of F-35 test pilots and evaluators

    So if the F-35 will roughly have F-16 like agility, then it can also be more maneuverable than the Flanker, especially the earlier models, though the Su-35 may be an excemption.

    However, I think we can both agree that in a gun fight, the 2 birds will be closely matched.

    Now about replacing most planes with F-35s, it has its pros and cons
    Eventually it will bring the cost down as you only have 1 supply chain to maintain, and a fewer number of suppliers to build components, Maintenance training cost will also be reduced and specialized equipment for different aircraft will be a thing of the past.

    It will also be easier for Allied airforces to integrate to each other, and will have the same capability all across the board.

    But ofcorse this also has drawbacks, like you said, if the F-35 turns out to have a design flaw, then you will need to ground the entire fleet which will comprise of 80+% of the US fighter inventory.

    This is the reason why F-35s are so rigorously tested, they want to make sure that there are no hidden surprises,

    for example
    the bulk head crack was found only on the B varriant, and only on simulated ground testing after more than 9,000 hours of simulated use, LM said that F-35s are required to last only 8,000 hours but must be designed to last 100% more than that, 16,000 hours.

    So as you can see, they are really working hard to make sure that no hidden surprises are seen.

    To sum it up, its as if saying, what would you feel if the USAF, USN and USMC all equiped their airforces with thousands of F-16s complemented by a few hundred F-15s and some legacy F-4s during the 80s.

    To me its ok, I think the Gulf war would of still be won with that kind of force, I don’t see anything that the F-4, A-10, F/A-18, AV-8B, can do that the F-16 compleatly can’t do, it might not be as good but certainly not bad.

    Like

    1. About the maneuverability, I’m keen to agree that it will have the same amount if maneuverability as the earlier flanker variants but probably not the Su-35.

      You have managed to convince me that the F-35 will definitely be equal to the F-16 in all aspects or maybe better in a few cases with your valid points. That’s is , If the test pilots claims are entirely true . And maybe it will be a close match in a fight with early model flankers but you never know. F-35 relies too much on its sensors and BVR combat to do the job. It might just find itself becoming flanker bait in a future combat. I seriously doubt it can outperform Su-30/35 in close combat . Even in strike roles , it will definitely be inferior to the F-15 and Su-34.

      About the rigorous testing , I have to say , I can agree that the F-35 is reliable only after it enters service and several years have passed without any design flaws being exposed. These things about the stealth coatings peeling off aren’t just baseless rumors .

      Like

      1. Well sir, Ive said all I can say.
        If you’re correct and the F-35 does turn out to be inferior to late Flanker models in agility, I am confident that the margin will be relatively low.

        In fact I believe the F-35 will have advantages in some parts of the envelope, like sustained turn rate due to its slightly higher T/W ratio than the Su-30 as we have seen above. And by its lower drag profile due to internal storage

        Now, the close contest in maneuverability will be more than made up for by the fact that the F-35 is harder to detect, harder to track and harder to target by any weapons system.

        The Flanker on the other hand is easier to detect, track and target by the F-35s multitude of advanced sensors.

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      2. I do agree that the F-35 will prove harder to detect and track when compared to the flanker. But IRST is going to make a huge difference as the F-35 can be detected from long ranges using it and it’s stealth features won’t come to its aid at that time. Using IRST , both the Flanker and F-35 will be on the same playing field with their sensors countering the other’s weaknesses. So it would be an evenly matched fight.

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    1. Yes John. But the Royal Navy will use it as their primary combat aircraft. So they are the ones who will have to deal with the low performance and will face problems of operating an aircraft with less range and payload which the US is using for a secondary combat role. The US Marines won’t face the problem as all they need is close combat support.

      Like

    2. Allow me to answer that,
      The F-35B or any varriant for that matter wont fight CAS (or close air support) like the A-10.

      The A-10 was built to fly low and slow for accuracy and designed to take hits ehen it does that.

      The F-35 is a fighter, its domain is high and fast, for accuracy it will use all its integrated sensors.

      The APG-81 radar for example has what we call SAR mode, basically taking a picture using radar waves, the Radar has demonstrated the ability to track and target multiple moving ground targets.

      The DAS system is a system of 6 IR cameras stationed around the airplane which, when activated allows the pilot to see through the floor of the airplane and behind his seat, thats why the F-35 doesnt have good rear visibility because, when the DAS is activated it will give the pilot, a full 360 degree visibility around the airplane, as if the aircraft structure was not there, this system can also be used to queue weapons

      And finally the EOTS which is basically a supper high deff camera that can be used to magnify, and target enemy contacts.

      So instead of, a low and slow punching bag type of fight like the A-10,
      The F-35 will be high and fast, using sensors and agility to fight CAS missions

      Like

      1. Yes. The sensor system of the F-35 is currently unparalleled. It also has superior situational awareness compared to any adversary fighter. So that will certainly work in its favor. But the question is how effective and rugged these system are so that they will work effectively in the battlefield. Only time can answer their effectiveness .

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      2. Zero-One,

        There was a stunning pilot comments about the aircraft’s survivability (such as “Aft visibility will get the pilot gunned [down] every time”), a new, unclassified DOD document on the F-35 is now available. It describes the performance of the F-35A and its support systems in initial training at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. http://pogoarchives.org/straus/ote-info-memo-20130215.pdf

        “AFT VISIBILITY WILL GET THE PILOT GUNNED EVERY TIME”

        A key system of the aircraft, the pilot’s multi-million dollar helmet-mounted display (HMD) of the aircraft’s operating systems, threats, targets and other information “functioned more or less adequately. [But] presented frequent problems for the pilots.” These included “misalignment of the virtual horizon display with the actual horizon, inoperative or flickering displays, and focal problems – where the pilot would have either blurry or ‘double vision’ in the display. The pilots also mentioned problems with stability, jitter, latency, and brightness of the presentation in the helmet display…” Two of the complaints were basically that elements of the helmet made it harder, not easier, to see outside the aircraft. (pp. 16-17.)

        There are additional problems for detecting threats in the all-important visual mode: the ejection seat headrest and canopy “bow” (where the canopy meets the fuselage) are designed in such a way as to impede seeing aircraft to the rear: one pilot commented “A pilot will find it nearly impossible to check [their six o’clock position {to the rear}] under g.” Another commented, “The head rest is too large and will impede aft visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements,” and “Aft visibility will get the pilot gunned [down] every time,” referring to close-range combat. (p. 18.)

        Indeed, DOT&E stated explicitly “The out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35 is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft.” (p. 17.)

        To summarise in different words, the helmet-mounted display and the F-35 system does not present an enhanced, clearer view of the outside world, targets and threats to the pilot; instead, they present a distorted and/or obstructed view. This is one of the most serious backward steps that the entire F-35 system takes, and it presents an even greater threat to the survivability of the F-35 and its pilot than the astounding evidence of the flammability of the F-35 (all versions) in the recent analysis of another DOT&E report by military analyst Lee Gaillard at Counterpunch at

        http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/04/when-money-is-no-object-the-strange-saga-of-the-f-35/.
        In the event of the pilot needing to escape from the aircraft, there are also some incompletely explained problems with the ejection seat in “off-normal” situations, i.e. those that can occur in combat or even real training. (p. 43.)

        Yes that’s right the F-35 doesn’t have good rear visibility The DAS system is a system of 6 IR cameras stationed around the aircraft which, when activated allows the pilot to see only through the floor of the aeroplane and infront only. But what happens if there is a enemy fighter behind the F-35 during in the WVR fight? The problem with the IR cameras, it will have very low quality and won’t be able to visualise which is a friend or foe compare to the human eyeball.

        Like

      3. Zero-One,

        How on earth will the F-35 will be high and fast, using sensors and agility to fight CAS missions.

        Your opinion is irrelevant since you and your people work with the Just So Failed (JSF) program. Let’s take ground support for example since that is the hot topic of the day. Can the F-35 provide ground support? No it cannot. It has a total of 6 hardpoints, 180 rounds of ammo and 250 mi combat radius. The A-10 has 11 hardpoints, 1350 rounds and 290 mi combat radius. Does the F-35 have self-sealing fuel tanks. No. Is the pilot protected? No. Does it have redundant flight controls? No. Can it fly back to base if its engine is damaged? No. The F-35 IS INFERIOR to the A-10 in all aspects. The software is not ready for the plane yet making it unfinished. Please stop spreading the baloney propaganda. You’re drinking way too much Kool Aid.

        Also the F-35 is in serious trouble, the latest is over the gun system. It is being reported that is due to a computer glitch – that is a severe understatement.

        What it is really due to is two things: one, the disaster of ridiculously over-complex computer software system; and two, the fact that the gun itself is mainly for the purpose of close support and close in the air combat and the air force does not think that either of those are important.

        In fact they think that close support is so unimportant that they are willing to cancel their present A-10 aeroplane. They’d like to wipe it out immediately, as soon as possible. And it is the best close air-support plane in the world. And they’ll promise that “well, later, sometime later the F-35 will replace it, we don’t know quite exactly when.”

        But the problem with the gun is real. And it is very much a part of the overall problem of the software disaster. The software is so complicated that the air force has planned it in five different blocks. And right now, they are simply flying the first block. And still having trouble with that one.

        They are struggling to get the second block to work by the end of this for a kind of phony demonstration of the first operational squadron for the Marines. They may well not even be able to get the second block working.

        The third block is supposed to come in 2016 for another phony demonstration of the first squadron of the Air Force.

        And then the fourth block, which the first block that even provides for the gun, that even allows you to shoot the gun, is not due until 2019. And we won’t know whether that block of software is working till the end of that year.

        So for now, for the next four years, we have no possibility of shooting the gun, and it is the single most important weapon for close support and for close in-air combat. Needless to say the aeroplane is incapable of doing either one of them at all without the gun. And even after the gun works, if it does, which we don’t know, the airplane will be hopelessly incapable of close support and probably worse at close-in dogfight than the MiG-21, MiG-29, Su-27 and other aircraft.

        The only reason you are not hearing about the Navy problem with the software, is the Navy does not even have the gun. Two versions – the Air Force F-35A and the F-35B for the Marines have a gun – very important to both if they could do those missions.

        But it is not that it is a glitch that has suddenly arrived and said, “Oh, we were going to have a gun, we won’t have one till 2019” – they never even planned to have software to have the gun work until 2019.

        And they are so far behind schedule, it is amazing. Since the beginning of the software engineering every year they’ve been losing six months of schedule. So they are supposed to advance a year – every year they lose six more months.

        So when they promise 2019 for the fourth version of this software that might be able to shoot the gun, it is very likely that it will be another year or two later than that. This is a promise simply based on the current schedule which they’ve never held.

        The guns are absolutely essential for two reasons. In close support it is the single most important weapon because when your troops are in the most trouble, when they are about to be overrun by enemies that are 131, 98, 65 or even 31 feet away – there is no other weapon that works. If you tried to drop laser guided bomb in that situation you are as likely to kill your friends as the enemies.

        Only the gun can be brought in that close to friendly troops to get them out of trouble. So in the deepest emergencies, the gun is the most important thing. But the air force has no interest in supporting troops. It has no interest in close support. So that is why they have scheduled the software that couldn’t even possibly shoot the gun so late in the program – because they are struggling with other enormous problems and they don’t care for close support.

        Whether this aeroplane does it or not – does not matter. They’ll just promise it will do it and let’s cancel the A-10 that does it today superbly. Let’s cancel that right away and we’ll wait for a while, the F 35 won’t work.

        Not unless there are some enormous embarrassment. So far they are spending as much effort on public relations to try to smooth the overall problems they’ve been having in actually engineering and designing the aeroplane. So unless there is some terrific series of crashes, I think, for the meanwhile, there is no chance that they will cancel the program.

        I do predict that they will have that much trouble with this aircraft within the next few years, and that we will never see them build more than 500 of these aeroplanes. That the aeroplane will become technically such an embarrassment that they’ll pretend they did not really need it anyhow, and that “it’s alright we have a better idea, we are working on a new aeroplane and forget about the F-35.”

        The Daily Beast article shows how moron pro-F-35 advocates / fanboys stick your head in the sand when presented with the facts. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/08/pentagon-misfires-in-stealth-jet-scandal.html

        Time to shove the F-35 up in your backsides.

        Like

      4. Zero-One,

        Close Air Support means get down at low altitude and stay within the vicinity with the ground troops around 4 to 6 hours to be able to give them all day cover when they are needed.

        How can you affectively provide close air support with an aircraft who cannot fly lower than 10,000 ft because it is so expensive. CAS means get down and dirty, not fly high and pretty using precision bombing and the effect of the bomb blast will cause live casualties. Retiring the A-10 is going to cost lives of the Army brothers and sisters.

        http://www.pogo.org/our-work/straus-military-reform-project/weapons/2015/af-hq-declassified-and-released-incomplete-data.html

        Like

  6. The F-35 also posseses IR reduction methods.

    Both the F-22 and F-35 are built to be Stealthy in 3 asspects
    -Hard to detect against active Radar systems
    -Hard to detect against passive radar systems
    -Reduced IR emissions

    In here
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hV8W4EzXRU
    Royal Australian Airforce officials are defending the F-35 against Senate scruitiny
    and near the end, the RAAF general said that the F-35 is difficult to detect in both X band and L band( low frequency) radars,
    and in 3 asspects including reduced IR emissions.

    Mind you, these guys are under oath to say nothing but the truth, thats why if they are not sure of any statement, they don’t speculate, they are very careful and often say “we will confirm that”

    Like

  7. The Russians always find a way to make it cheaper. “And so the Americans are putting all their eggs in one basket, sacrificing cost and performance for invisibility. Let’s make it redundant at a 1000th of the cost”. Riverting article this, thank you.

    Like

    1. You’re right about the Russian logic. They somehow manage to get things done at a fraction of the cost. Look at their Tanks , Littoral Warfare Vessels , Fighters and Firearms . Everything is several times cheaper than its American equivalents. I’m not saying the Russian stuff is better . But the stuff manages to get the job done at a comparatively very less price and that’s what most of the customers need.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Creating a Low RCS platform is very difficult, early stealth designes had to sacrifice a lot of performance to be invisible.

      But today, RCS reduction techniques like Planned form allignment have allowed designers to make very low RCS platforms without sacrificing performance.

      The F-22 and F-35 are perfect examples.

      there is an evaluation by the Norwegian Airforce of the F-35A
      shared here:
      http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24472
      Scroll down to Energo’s graph

      They concluded that the F-35 compared to RNAF F-16 had the following advantages:

      Reach – F-35 have significantly longer reach with the same weapon-load. Equally it has the possibility of longer endurance

      Speed/Acceleration – F-16 is described as a Mach 2 fighter but as soon as one hangs weapon on it the speed is limited to Mach 1.6 or lower. Equipped for the mission both aircraft falls within the same speed and acceleration zone.

      Maneuvering – In air-to-air the F-35 has equal or better maneuvering capabilities compared to the F-16. In air-to-ground configuration the F-35 has better maneuvering mainly due the powerful engine and lower drag due to internal carriage of the weapons.

      So in short, the F-35 matches or exceeds the best American 4th gen dogfighter in a combat configuration.

      Like

  8. a great back and forth discussion on the f35 after reading the comments i am definitely confident the f 35 will hold its own in the future i was just wondering what your thoughts are on the f15 silent eagle and if thrust vectoring was incorporated into the design i believe this plane would be a superior fighter compared to the su 27 su 30 su35 ?

    Like

  9. The F-35 aircraft designs will not meet specification nor the operational requirements laid down in the JSF JORD (Joint Operational Requirements Document) by significant degrees, noting that these operational requirements and resulting specifications, themselves, were predicated on the capabilities of reference legacy Soviet Cold War threats from an era past (not for the 21st Century anti-access/area denial emerging threats) and subsequently subjected to the illogical and deeply flawed process known as CAIV (Cost As and Independent Variable).

    The designs of all three JSF variants are presenting with critical single points of failure while even the most basic elements of aircraft design (e.g. weight, volume, aerodynamics, structures, thermal management, electrical power, etc.) will almost certainly end up in what Engineers call “Coffin Corner”.

    In essence, the unethical Thana Marketing strategy is using to sell the JSF, along with the acquisition malpractice of concurrency in not only development, the production and testing but the actual designs of the JSF variants, themselves, have resulted in the JSF marketeers writing cheques that the aircraft designs and JSF Program cannot honour.

    I make it very clear that if put against newer aircraft from Russia and China, I guarantee the F-35 aircraft will not survive the future conflicts up against the Su-30/Su-35S variants, MiG-29M2/MiG-35, PAK-FA, J-20 and J-31 aircraft in Beyond Visual Range and Within Visual Range engagements.

    Stealth technology is all based on a lie. Why?

    It is a pure fantasy and a scam, not even the F-22 Raptors can hide. It is supposed to be invisible for radar which it never was. It just reduces the cross section and visibility, making the plane look smaller on radar than it is. Nothing more or nothing less.

    Stealth is useful only against short-wavelength radar of the kind that might be carried on an interceptor or used by a radar-guided missile. Physicists say no amount of RAM (Radar Absorbent Material) coating will protect you from 15ft to 20ft wavelength radar of the kind the Russians have had since the 1940s.

    If you are putting F-35 up against the newer generation of much, much more powerful long-wave length Russian radars, as well as the P-14 Tall King family and P-18 Spoon-Rest of Cold-War era radars and some of the newer Chinese radars of a ground-to-air unit that would have no difficulty detecting and tracking an approaching F-35.

    For more information, here are the links.

    http://www.whale.to/b/stealth_countermeasures.html

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Rus-Low-Band-Radars.html

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Nebo-SVU-Analysis.html

    http://defense-update.com/20141111_jy-26-chinas-new-counter-stealth-radar.html#.VIrQV7kcSCg

    http://defense-update.com/20141113_the-chinese-great-radar-wall.html#.VKegI7kcSCh

    http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20140509000110&cid=1101

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/28/new-u-s-stealth-jet-can-t-hide-from-russian-radar.html

    Unfortunately there is a little margin for error, the large exhaust nozzle of the F-35 will be extremely hot, it has an enormous fuel burn and has a very big heat signature (when using its full afterburner). That is a dead give away when the Flankers, Fulcrums and the PAK-FA aircraft are equipped with an Infra-Red Search & Track (IRST) sensor to pick up the heat pluming F-35. The back end of the F-35 in full afterburner is something like 1600 degrees (Fahrenheit). In terms of temperature, aluminium combusts at 1100. You are talking about something really, really hot. If you have got a dirty big sensor on the front of your Su-35S or your PAK-FA or whatever, it lights up like Christmas lights and there is nothing you can do about it. The plume because of the symmetric exhaust, is all over the place. It is not shielded, it is not ducted in any useful way. The Sukhois or MiGs equipped with the heat seeking BVR (Beyond Visual Range) AA-12 (R-77) Adder air-to-air missiles will be able to seek and destroy the F-35. It is going to be a fire explosion and waiting to happen.

    The F-35 will also be detected by the L-Band AESA which will be equipped on the Su-35S and PAK-FA. It is used for targetting which they’ll be able to track LO/VLO stealth aircraft, as well as the F-35.

    The F-35 has a very big cross section (like a fat pregnant pig) in comparison to the wavelength. However L-band has very good resolution, and as such facilities usually need to be huge. Mounting small L-band radar on a plane, as has been implemented on the Su-35S, PAK-FA will enable both of these aircraft to lock onto F-35.

    For more information about the L-band Active Electronically Steered Array, here is the link, http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-06.html.

    Well, unfortunately some hostile nations could well be purchasing the Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radar, advanced S-400 and S-500 SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) systems and a very high possibility purchasing Sukhoi Su-35S Super Flanker-E 4++ Generation and soon upcoming Sukhoi PAK-FA 5th Generation fighters which will render the F-35 obsolete.

    If you want to find out more about this counter stealth radar, here’s a description.

    Development initiated late 1990s leveraging experience in Nebo SVU VHF-Band AESA radar;

    2012-2013 IOC intended;

    Designed from the outset to detect stealth fighters and provide early warning and track data to missile batteries and fighters;

    The VHF component will provide a significant detection and tracking capability against fighter and UCAV sized stealth targets;

    High off-road capability permits placement well away from built up areas, enabling concealment;

    Rapid deploy and stow times permit evasion of air attacks by frequent movement, defeats cruise missiles like JASSM;

    Initial Nebo M builds for Russian Air Defence Forces, but expected like other “counter-stealth” radars to be marketed for global export to arbitrary clientele.

    The VHF band element in that radar will detect the F-35 at a distance of tens of miles. That is without a doubt. What that means is that the aircraft is going to be in great difficulty if it tries to deal with what I call a modern or contemporary threat. The same is also true when you deal with these newer stealth fighters, because they are designed to compete with the F-22. They fly higher; they are faster and more agile—much, much more agile. They have more powerful radars and much, much better antenna packages for other sensors. The F-35 is not meeting its specifications and its specifications are inadequate to deal with the changed environment.

    The question all the pro-F-35 advocates/fanbase like Lt.Gen Chris Bogdan, Steve O’Brien, Orlando Carvalho, Billie Flynn, Marillyn Hewson, Loren Thompson and all who have to ask themselves (and answer honestly) is:

    “What is America and its allies are going to do in the post-2015 ‘stealth-on stealth’/’counter-stealth’ world where all the leading reference threats, both airborne and surface based, being proliferated around the world by some of the world’s best capitalists, have the common design aim of going up against and defeating the F-22A Raptor, F-35 Lightning II and B-2A Spirit stealth bomber; especially when there are so few of the latter capabilities to be a persuasive deterrent let alone an effective defence?”

    Another problem is you’re getting a super complicated aeroplane that won’t be able to fly very much.

    The two main features of stealth design include a radar absorbent material coating and overall aerodynamic design changes that reduce the reflection of radar. Both of these approaches create tremendous challenges. Because stealth aircraft spend a lot of time around 50 or 100 hours on the ground inside in a special atmosphere controlled facility, which need to be retreated after every flight by applying RAM coatings and to prevent rain or dust from damaging them, which goes to show you how unbelievably expensive and very labor intensive. Further, the treatment requires the handling of toxic materials by workers. A lawsuit was filed in 1994 by five workers and the widows of two others alleging that the coating treatment caused the worker’s illnesses.

    Also, pilots won’t get enough flight hours in the real aircraft (to refine their skills). Look at the cost per flight hour for stealth aircraft vs. non-stealth. You’ll be talking about somewhere between $35,000 – $40,000 or higher.

    Like

  10. Killer in the Sky: Russia’s Deadly Su-35 Fighter, here is the link.

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-russian-bear-roars-the-sky-beware-the-deadly-su-35-11799?

    Should the F-35 pilots be shaking in their cockpits? I bet they certainly will, because I’m sure the pilots will realise that their F-35 can’t turn, can’t climb and can’t run and can’t go to altitudes that other aircraft can.

    The Su-35S Super Flanker-E is expected to be most potent multi-role fighter and will be much more lethal in air-to-air combat against the F-35. It is now currently in operation with the Russian Air Force.

    But one Air Force official with experience on the F-35 said that the Su-35 could pose a serious challenge for the stealthy new American jet. The F-35 was built primarily as a strike aircraft and does not have the sheer speed or high altitude capability of the Su-35, F-15 or F-22. “The Su’s ability to go high and fast is a big concern, including for F-35,” the Air Force official said.

    “Large powerful engines, the ability to supercruise for a long time and very good avionics make this a tough platform on paper,” said one highly experienced F-22 pilot. “It’s considered a fourth gen plus-plus, as in it has more inherent capability on the aircraft. It possesses a passive [electronically-scanned array] and it has a big off boresight capability and a very good jamming suite.”

    The Su-35S as a comprehensive radiofrequency offensive/defensive suite, including Digital RF Memory wingtip RF jammers for the mid/upper bands, and an optional Low/Mid band jamming pod. The addition of the electronic attack (EA) capability complicates matters for Western fighters including the F-35, because the Su-35’s advanced digital radio frequency memory jammers can seriously degrade the performance of friendly radars. It also effectively blinds the on-board radars found on-board air-to-air missiles like the AIM-120 AMRAAM. The Su-35 can also change directions fast at high speed and high-altitude for anyone that does get a long-range no-escape-zone (NEZ) solution on it. Thus, ruining the AIM-120 NEZ for those shots.

    The new Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) X-band hybrid phased array, in development since 2004 and planned for the Su-35 block upgrade, and as a block upgrade or new build radar for other Flanker variants. The Irbis-E is an evolution of the BARS design, but significantly more powerful. While the hybrid phased array antenna is retained, the noise figure is slightly worse at 3.5 dB, but the receiver has four rather than three discrete channels. The biggest change is in the EGSP-27 transmitter, where the single 7 kiloWatt peak power rated Chelnok TWT is replaced with a pair of 10 kiloWatt peak power rated Chelnok tubes, ganged to provide a total peak power rating of 20 kiloWatts. The radar is cited at an average power rating of 5 kiloWatts, with 2 kiloWatts CW rating for illumination. NIIP claim twice the bandwidth and improved frequency agility over the BARS, and better ECCM capability. The Irbis-E has new Solo-35.01 digital signal processor hardware and Solo-35.02 data processor, but retains receiver hardware, the master oscillator and exciter of the BARS. A prototype has been in flight test since late 2005.

    The performance increase in the Irbis-E is commensurate with the increased transmitter rating, it has a passive phased array of 35 inch (900 mm) diameter scanned mechanically to give a 120 degree field of view in azimuth. NIIP claim a detection range in the air-to-air mode for a closing 32.29 square feet (3 square metre) coaltitude target of 217 – 250 miles (350-400 km), and the ability to detect a typical fighter type target and closing 0.11 square feet (0.01 square metre) target at 56 miles (90 km) for a stealthy target. In Track While Scan (TWS) mode the radar can handle 30 targets simultaneously, and provide guidance for two simultaneous shots using a semi-active missile like the R-27 series, or eight simultaneous shots using an active missile like the RVV-AE/R-77 or ramjet RVV-AE-PD/R-77M. The Irbis-E was clearly designed to support the ramjet RVV-AE-PD/R-77M missile in BVR combat against reduced signature Western fighters like the Block II Super Hornet or Eurofighter Typhoon. In terms of radar range performance, its power-aperture product performance is only exceeded by the APG-77(V)2 AESA in the F-22A, and the intended APG-63v3 / APG-82 AESA for the F-15C/E. The combination of a long range radar and supercruise allows the aircraft to gain up to 30 percent more kinematic range out of its intended Beyond Visual Range missile armament, in comparison with conventional fighters like the F/A-18 series or the F-35, which must shoot “uphill” if attempting to engage the higher and faster flying Su-35S.

    A new OLS-35 optoelectronic targeting system developed by the Urals Optomechanical Plant (UOMZ – Oorahl’skiy optikomekhanicheskiy zavod) in Yekaterinburg was also fitted. The IRST scanning an area of -/+ 90 degree in azimuth has a detection range of 30 miles (50 km) in head-on mode and 56 miles (90 km) in pursuit mode.

    The APG-81 AESA radar. The nose geometry of the F-35 limits the aperture of the radar. This makes the F-35 dependent on supporting AEW&C or AWACS aircraft which are themselves vulnerable to long range anti-radiation missiles and jamming. Opposing Sukhoi aircraft have a massive radar aperture enabling them to detect and attack at an JSF long before the JSF can detect the Sukhoi. It has Medium Power Aperture (0) (Detection range around 160 – 172 miles (259 – 277 km) at BVR. The F-35 will be a dead meat.

    http://www.ausairpower.net/SP/DT-Su-35S-Flanker-March-2010.pdf – Sukhoi’s Su-35S
    – not your father’s Flanker.

    For further information, here is the link, http://www.ausairpower.net/PDF-A/JSF-Issues+Problems-2011-Master.pdf

    Like

  11. It is too impossible to design a single “do all” fighter/bomber/close air support aircraft and expect it to do ANY of those tasks well.

    Can the F-35 perform air superiority? The very clear answer is no. Gen Mike Hostage (also a staunch supporter of the F-35) claims that the F-35 is not built as an air superiority platform, it needs the F-22 or the F-15.

    Remember the F-35 was suppose to be designed primarily to support ground forces on the battlefield with some self defence capabilities and is not suitable for the developing regional environment. The aircraft is unsuited for air superiority, you can’t have an aircraft that has tiny wings with very high wing loading of 108 lb/ft² when empty, and when fully loaded it is 176 lb/ft² of not being able to have adequate manoeuvrability of defeating and avoiding enemy fighters, missiles and ground fire. The F-35C will still have the same high wing loading as does the A/B models, which won’t have adequate manoeuvrability and poor thrust to weight ratio. It also unsuitable for deep interdiction bombing and cruise missile defence due to limited range/endurance, very limited weapons load and limited supersonic speed.

    Also the F-35 can’t do close air support mission. I reckon one of the test office’s conclusion is misleading. The vulnerability has decreased 25 percent focused on a small area “if the aircraft is hit.” The probability is actually high, classified number. This means the overall impact to aircraft’s survivability is high, higher than 0.5 percent.

    Why is the survivability higher than 0.5 percent?

    To restore a 2 lb safety valve system part of 43 lb (20 kg) equipment will increase more weight on the F-35 affecting the aircraft’s flight performance parameters, making it draggier that can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run to escape enemy fighters/guns/missiles, terrible acceleration, limited range/endurance and doesn’t have enough motor for the weight. Lockheed Martin has done very little with major safety precautions on the F-35 which is a very delicate aeroplane that makes it more vulnerable (if flown at low altitudes when performing close air support missions) from a high-explosive round such as .22 Rifle, or any form of gunfire that will disable or destroy an engine and fuel tank and the F-35 has no armour cockpit tub to protect the pilot if hit by a bullet or fragment. The F-35 doesn’t carry flame-retardant foam in its fuel tanks because the foam displaces fuel. The fuel tanks are not equipped with self-sealing membranes to plug bullet or shrapnel holes. The F-35 has a total of 6 hardpoints, 180 rounds of ammo and 250 mi combat radius. As its limitations are inherent to the design, they cannot be altered by incremental upgrades.

    There is another problem for the F-35. Single engine aircraft are designed on the basis that they are semi disposable.

    Unless you are short distance from the suitable runway you are going to eject and destroy the plane in the event of an engine failure. In the ocean or the artic that is not all that comforting of an idea, or many other places for that matter. If you assume the probability of failure of one engine is 1 to 100, then the probability of both engines failing at the same time (due to non-common systems) is 1/100th of that again or 1 to 10,000. I’ll take the 1 to 10,000 odds any day over the other.

    So the new modern engine is never going to fail? Of course it will fail one way or another and single engine just doesn’t cut the mustard.

    “Reliability of modern engines in production proves the point”.

    Well yes in some degree that modern engines are very reliable, but bare in mind the loss of the engine overwater or artic guarantees the loss of the F-35, and other single engine fighter and also requires that the search and rescue assets commit to support any operational deployment of F-35s.

    Basically you’re just flushing the taxpayers money down into the toilet of acquiring them. So just think for a minute, if the F-35 or any other single engine aircraft flying over the ocean deploying to Australia or other country for example and the engine has been disabled or completely destroyed. What’s the pilot going to do?? He or she can’t restart the engine when its overheated etc, the plane will be gliding and very soon it starts to sink like a stone and the pilot has got no option but to eject and ends up in the ocean in the middle of nowhere. The cumulative cost of the aircraft and pilot looses with a single engine aircraft would be astronomical.

    The F-35 certainly doesn’t have survivability. It’s a fire explosion and waiting to happen, on any mission you care to mention.

    The F-35 is neither balanced survivability nor a true 5th generation aircraft. The F-35 has no credible defensive jamming. Those selling the idea that the F-35′s AESA radar as a defensive device against enemy terminal radar concerns aren’t believable. Power output limits, thermal concerns along with the limited field of view and in-band frequency limits make the idea of the F-35 radar as a defensive solution of little value. It is only useful on a marketing PowerPoint slide to the clueless. And, unlike the designers of the F-22, the F-35 will not be in possession of true stealth, high-speed and high altitude to help degrade enemy no-escape-zone firing solutions of weapons.

    What amazes me is how people are being encouraged to drink the Kool-Aid a.k.a. believing in total to indifference to what is real. Who have never looked at the facts and tested the evidence. I guarantee you the F-35 will never be an amazing strike aircraft. I have colleagues (from the defence industry) know more about the F-35 that is very incapable of than anyone else don’t you think? We have nothing but very disappointed for the F-35 and its poor capabilities.

    Do you know that after collapsing of Soviet Union, Yakovlev sold to Lockheed Martin blueprints of YAK-141 and F-35 is pretty much YAK-141, but with advanced avionics?

    Saying the F-35 is too big to cancel is a complete excuse. Size is not relevant to failure. The F-35 program has already failed, so cancel it. Because if you keep on going ahead with the F-35 you will weaken your defence.

    But the problem is, the F-35 not a good enough reason to keep the program going. The F-35 is at best a great national scandal, unproven and at worst the biggest piece of high-tech boondoggle to ever come out of United States of America. Whoever made the decision to go ahead with it should be publicly shamed or get shot.

    Like

    1. Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF, wrote a 24 page article in Air and Space Power Journal, “The Comanche and the Albatross: About Our Neck Was Hung”. He has got a good point why the F-35 must be cancelled now.

      The F-35 is based on a belief that radar low observability will remain effective against future air defence threats. Although true for the F-117 against Iraq’s Kari system in 1991, stealthiness is unlikely to remain so against an adversary that has two decades to prepare for US stealth fighters, which have much higher infrared, visual, and emitter signatures than did the F-117.

      Outside China and Russia, no massive threat from an advanced integrated air defence system exists. Moreover, China is a poor example of a threat to cite if someone is trying to justify a short-ranged fighter with limited payload flown from island bases within range of overwhelming missile attack. Losses of US aircraft have mainly been helicopters since the Vietnam war and fixed wing losses were not shot down.

      Only Russia and China can pose the kind of anti-access, area denial (A2AD) environment that justifies a massive investment in stealth.

      These facts make the risk calculation involved with prioritising stealth over performance, range, and weapons loadout inherently suspect—and the F-35 might well be the first modern fighter to have substantially less performance than its predecessors.

      This is Col Michael W. Pietrucha’s Proposal.

      • Maintain a limited number of F-35As (those already purchased) as a replacement for the capabilities lost upon retirement of the F-117; (Well, to me the limited number of F-35As need to be sent to AMARC and to be recycled)

      • Create a modernised Tactical Air Force fleet consisting of a high-low mix of modernised F-15 and F-16 legacy fighters, light attack aircraft, and multi-purpose jet trainer / attack aircraft;

      • Recover some “sunk cost” of the F-35 program by using advanced systems to modernise legacy fighters, in effect fielding fifth-generation systems in fourth-generation airframes;

      • Restore the Air Force’s SEAD/EW (Suppression of Enemy Air. Defences – Electronic warfare) fighters and crews;

      • Expand the service’s global reach capabilities by providing deployable Tactical Air Force assets that can operate from short, rough airstrips on a logistical shoestring

      • Increase the number of absorbable cockpits to the point where the Air Force can augment the inventory of fighter/attack aviators to meet requirements;

      • Invest in affordable, exportable “light combat aircraft” derived from Air Education and Training Command’s T-X program;

      • Allow the Air Guard to maintain its position as the operational reserve and “relief valve” for experienced fighter/attack aviators while recapitalizing its portion of the CAF; and

      • Build a Tactical Air Force that can meet the nation’s demands for air-power capabilities even in the face of increasing fuel costs and decreasing budget.

      Every F-35 a country buys from Lockheed Martin damages its defence, here is the link.
      http://rt.com/op-edge/212115-lockheed-f-35-marketing-clout/

      Lockheed Martin’s thana marketing strategy which is basically designed to enable Lockheed Martin to rape any nation’s plundering taxpayers money in the western world for the next 40 to 50 years.

      The F-35 needs to be scrapped and put Lockheed Martin out of business. Also sack Lt.Gen Chris Bogdan and his staff, pro-F-35 advocates/fanbase people and get the FBI to send some of those corporate fatcats to prison-demand all money unspent refunded to taxpayers. The Pentagon, the Congress, Lockheed Martin, pro-F-35 advocates/fanbase people and the idiotic Air Force/Navy and Marine Corps top brasses have turned the USAF, USN and USMC and the allies into a complete sorry mess.

      The F-35 is at best a great national scandal, unproven and at worst the biggest piece of high-tech boondoggle to ever come out of United States of America.

      If the defence acquisition was up to me, I’ll be certainly to kill the F-35 and encourage the allies to cancel this lemon too, as a way to put it into the indoor fire and watch it burn for good. Instead take business else where. Lockheed Martin are bunch of crooks, outliers and never do business with them again. They are a bad bargain for any customer.

      It is time to put the F-35 into AMARC and to get them chopped into the recycle bin.

      Like

  12. Zero-One,

    The close contest in manoeuvrability will be more than made up for by the fact that the F-35 is easier to detect, easier to track and easier to target by any weapons system.

    Like

  13. Zero-One,

    Stop drinking the Kool-Aid

    The F-35 also possesses IR increasing methods.

    The F-35 is not built to be Stealthy in 3 aspects
    – Easier to detect against active Radar systems
    – Easier to detect against passive radar systems
    – Increased IR emissions

    The RAAF officials are defending the F-35 against Senate scrutiny without looking at the facts and not testing the evidence. Mind you, these guys are under oath to say nothing but a lie, that’s why if they are not sure of any statement, they are just speculating about the F-35 is difficult to detect in both X band and L band (low frequency) radars, and in 3 aspects including reduced IR emissions, they are not very careful when they mention about the F-35 and its capabilities.

    Again, mind you Zero-One you’ll be starting to talk other areas when the F-35 becomes very vulnerable.

    Like

  14. Zero-One,

    I am confident that the margin will be relatively high.

    In fact I believe the F-35 will have disadvantages in a lot of parts of its envelope, like sustained turn rate due to its slightly lower T/W ratio than the Su-27, Su-30, Su-35S, MiG-29M2/MiG-35, Su-50 PAK-FA, J-20 and J-31 as I have seen. And by its higher drag profile due to internal storage

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    1. cyberoutpost,

      Don’t you realise the F-35 is at best a great national scandal, unproven and at worst the biggest piece of high-tech boondoggle to ever come out of United States of America.

      Like

  15. Zero-One,

    You are the that you doesn’t understand the figures correctly. Yes I do exactly know what wing loading means.

    The F-35 is still a terrible aircraft. How can the F-35 be a great aircraft that is inadequate to deal with the changed threat environment which has shown that the aircraft has a lot of limitations and it cannot do a lot of things as expected to show and promise that is a true fifth generation fighter, because it does not meet all the requirements of partner nations. Its fuselage is too overweight which has too much cross section; the wings are too small which lacks the extreme manoeuvrability. The wing planform is optimised for subsonic cruise and transonic manoeuvre which doesn’t provide enough lift and drag to defeat Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and Within Visual Range (WVR) air-to-air missiles (AAMs) from enemy fighters in the dogfight and stand-off ranges, advanced surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and ground fire during top end threats. It also has inferior acceleration at Mach 1.6, short range with no loiter time and very limited weapons payload that is unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence and totally unsuited for air superiority role when compared against Sukhoi family of aircraft, particularly post 2010 configurations; definitely post 2015 evolved growth variants and upcoming PAK-FA, J-20 and J-21/31 fifth generation fighters.

    If you’re a defence analyst who loves writing about everything related to the military. Why are you believing indifference to what is real?

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    1. look mate, the F-35A will pulverize your Aussie F/A-18, heck all this hate on the F-35, you need to understand that she will not square off with the SU-35, that’s for the Raptor

      Like

    2. Are you sure you understand the figures your argument? I really think you don’t
      So let me dismantel them 1 by 1 for you.

      1. Its fuselage is too overweight which has too much cross section.
      Wrong: The A model weighs 29,000 lbs. this is 11,000 lbs lighter than the Su-35 which weighs 40,000+ lbs
      Cross section? this is a term commonly used in measuring the radar returns of an aircraft, like RCS (radar cross section)
      are you trying to sound technical? Don’t!!

      2. the wings are too small which lacks the extreme manoeuvrability
      Wrong: The wing of the A and B models are 460 square feet which is 160 feet larger than the F-16’s wing which is 300 feet.
      Now if calculate the wing loading of both aircraft, they are as follows

      F-16:
      Empty weight: 18,900 lbs
      Wing area: 300 square feet
      Wing laoding: 63 lbs per square feet

      F-35A:
      Empty weight: 29,300 lbs
      Wing area: 460 square feet
      Wing laoding: 63 lbs per square feet

      Basically the same.

      3. The wing planform is optimised for subsonic cruise and transonic manoeuvre which doesn’t provide enough lift and drag
      Wrong: do you even know what “Transonic Maneuver” means? This is Mach 0.8 to Mach 1, guess what, this is where most dogfights occur.
      So basically what you said was, “the F-35’s wing is optimized for maneuvering at Mach 0.8 to Mach 1, which is where most dogfights occur.
      Wheres the bad news in that statement?

      4. defeat Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and Within Visual Range (WVR) air-to-air missiles (AAMs) from enemy fighters in the dogfight and stand-off ranges,
      advanced surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and ground fire during top end threats.
      Wrong: Now this is just funny, Missiles have long been capable of outmaneuvering fighters, guess what the most agile fighters are only capable of 9G maneuvers,
      modern missiles are capable of 30-40G maneuvers. If you really want to dodge missiles, what you need is Stealth and advanced countermeasures combined with agility.
      The F-35 has all of these.

      5. It also has inferior acceleration at Mach 1.6
      Wrong: Now this is just stupid, Mach 1.6 is the required topspeed for the F-35 (it has been tested to Mach 1.67). this does not
      indicate the acceleration rate. Guess what, a Mig-31 can go to Mach 3.2 while an F-16 can only reach Mach 2.05, but the F-16 will out accelerate the Mig-31 any day.
      The F-35’s acceleration is said to match the F-16 block 50.

      6. ith no loiter time and very limited weapons payload that is unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence and totally unsuited for air superiority role when compared against Sukhoi family of aircraft,
      Wrong: No Loiter time, in an internally armed configuration it has a combat radius of more the 600 nautical miles. By comparison an F-16 has to refuel just to reach a radius of 400 NM.
      Do you know how far that is? The F-35 can also carry in excess of 18,000 lbs of ordnance both internal and external. the A-10 can’t even carry that much weapons.

      Like

  16. The F-35 is deadly and new, but the military are putting too much in the aircraft. They need to rethink a lot of things. First, there is no aircraft that could replace the A-10. The A-10 is a very unique aircraft and can take a lot of punishment and still get the job done and bring the pilot home. We need to keep the A-10 and upgrade its systems. It will save a lot of money in the long run and we will have a sole dedicated CAS platform that the ground troops can rely on. Second, keep the F-16 and F-!5 and upgrade them. The F-15 and F-16 are still deadly aircraft and still keep the skies safe. I not saying that the F-35 is worthless. Just need to rethink a few things and not replace the entire USAF with just the F-35. We are putting too much faith and trust in one aircraft.

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  17. Lol all this hate in the F-35 is astounding, why compare her to the SU-35? The F-35 is to replace the F-16, and the F-22, the F-15, so if you want to fight an SU-35, then it’s going to be the Raptor fighting, not the Lightning

    Like

  18. Maybe we can write a book on the comment section alone. 😀
    As for the F-35, I guess we will get the correct answer of the question that whether F-35 is a good jet or not by 2020 only as then it will have passed at least 4 years in service.
    And by the way, would it be correct in assuming that Stealth Fighters are only a psychological pressure on the opponent country and will be mostly useful when facing ‘weak’ countries only?
    I will explain the question with an example. Say USA wanted to conduct strikes in Pakistan as it constantly does. It can do that with any conventional aircraft as well as F-22 and F-35. Only difference would be that F-35 and F-22 most probably won’t be visible to the Pakistani Radars while the conventional aircrafts would be.
    Now, say China invaded Taiwan. USA will respond to it’s ally by sending it’s air force against China. Now here is the difference, when the USA will want to attack China, the commanding officer will most probably opt for F-22s for attacking China and after that F-18s (from the carrier group) since the commander will be knowing the capabilities of each of the fighters. So here it won’t actually matter that you are using stealthy or non-stealthy fighters as China has powerful radar systems (S-400 which it has ordered) to detect even the stealthy jets.
    So would that be correct that stealth fighters are for most of the role, psychological pressure and will be most useful against comparatively weak countries only?

    Thanks:)

    Like

    1. Wrong, a stealth or VLO (very low observable) aircraft is never invisible. It is simply harder to detect and once detected, harder to track and once tracked harder to target. You are correct in saying that the S-400 can detect an F-22 or F-35. In fact, any radar can detect them. However they can only do so in extremely short ranges. The USAF routinely flies it’s F-22s and other jets over Syria. The difference is, when the US flies other planes like F-15s and F-16s, the S-400 batteries go on standby and their targetting radars (the S-400 has 2 types of radars, the scanning radar is used to scan the skies for targets, once a target os detected, the targeting radar is activated to track the target and feed the missile with a targetting solution) are activated. But when F-22s fly, they don’t go on alert, it is as if the S-400 crews don’t care that there is an American fighter flying in their protective zone. Die hard Russian fans will say that this is just a ploy to let the Americans keep thinking that the S-400 cannot detect them. But realistically, are Russians risking their S-400 batteries to get within striking distance of the F-22s? Lastly the USAF requirement is for the F-35 to be very effective in eliminating high end SAM systems especially the S-400 system. According to the DOD, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has met this requirement and that they are very confident it can take out an S-400. Will it be detected? Sure, but what if the F-35 can only be detected from wothin 20 kilometers, the F-35’s JDAM or AGM-88E has a range of over 50 kilometers. This is what, first look, first shot, first kill means

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      1. It would be generous to say that the S-400 can obtain targeting data on the F-35 at 70 miles. It would be generous to state that the S-400 can obtain targeting data on the F-22 at 25 miles. It is probably impossible for the S-400 to obtain targeting data on the B-2 at any distance.

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  19. Thanks for the well balanced article.
    I totally agree that there are a lot of people out there who love to bash or praise the F35 without taking a balanced view.

    I think as you say the USAF will “make it work” because they have to and have the technology to do so.

    My argument is “why was it needed”

    In your theoretical force make up lies the solution the USAF should have followed.

    182 F22A
    200 to 300 F22B
    1000 F15 Silent Eagles
    1000 F16 latest versions
    200 to 300 A10 suitably upgraded for 21st century combat

    The F22B could have been a strike aircraft leveraging on the already completed F22 design with maybe a meter more length for the internal weapons bay and a little less of the fragile stealth coating to lower maintenance cost. A C model could also have been built for the USN and even a model with a few of the top secrete features removed for export to close allies.

    These aircraft would have been idealy suited for the “first day of war” strike role (better than the F35) and be able to fulfil the air to air role.
    In all aspects they would outclass the F35 and based on the cost of the F35 the whole fleet would have saved billions.

    The F15 Silent Eagle produced at a fraction of the cost of the F35 would have formed the bulk of the fleet for the second day of war or the other 90% of conflicts the US finds itself in.

    With a lot of commonality in the F22 models, upgrades could have the costs shared between more airframes ensuring they remain the world’s Pre-eminent fighter well into the middle of this century.

    I just don’t see why the F35 was ever needed. The F22 is unlikely to see a peer (let alone superior) competitor before 2050. And given the fact that the USAF deploys with a complete range of support aircraft such as AWACS etc even a near peer force would be no match.

    So the real question is not if the F35 can perform or not, but why was so much money wasted on a program that was never needed.

    I fear that the USAF is already making this same mistake again. Without any country yet fielding a 5th gen fighter, they are already talking of billions for the next generation.

    So will the F35 work, probably.
    And as it will probably never be involved in a full scale war with a peer state we will never know for sure.
    Was it the best the USAF could have done with taxpayer money, definitely not.

    Like

  20. Read this scathing indictment of the F 35 program.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443612/f-35-donald-trump-should-cancel-failed-f-35-fighter-jet-program

    Mr. President, Cancel the F-35

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443612/f-35-donald-trump-should-cancel-failed-f-35-fighter-jet-program

    by MIKE FREDENBURG January 6, 2017 4:00 AM

    The failed F-35 fighter-jet program can’t be fixed — it’s time to turn the page. Our incoming president’s willingness to boldly challenge the status quo is arguably the main reason he was elected. And no defense project is more representative of a disastrous status quo than the 20-year-old Joint Strike Fighter program — the F-35. The F-35 program showcases all that is wrong about our military’s vendor-dominated, crony-capitalist procurement system. Unless dealt with decisively, its massive cost and its lack of capability will have a dramatically negative impact on our military’s effectiveness for decades to come.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443612/f-35-donald-trump-should-cancel-failed-f-35-fighter-jet-program

    Like

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