Have to laugh my butt off. Over in another place they posted a report by a Norwegian pilot that says the F-35 can dogfight well. So the F-35 lovers say, "See, we were right and all the F-35 haters are wrong. Can we lay the rumors the F-35 can't dogfight to rest now?" The Norwegian pilot only describes the initial break and says NOTHING about what happens if the F-35 doesn't achieve an instant kill. All he describes is the initial contact break. I think I want to know what happens when 2 F-35s, with a combined loadout of four air-to-air missiles, meet up with 6 or 8 Su-35s. What are the chances then?
They get ONE positive report that doesn't say much or quantify anything and are all over it like it's a gospel from the mount. And the F-35 still isn't in service and hasn't survived a real WVR dogfight yet. Talk about lame. One guy even says, "So much for the Pierre Sprey opinion!"
Defense Analyst Pierre Sprey has more fighter analysis time than all the posters over there put together, including the Norweigian pilot quoted. The group he was in led the effort that developed the F-16 and produced the spec that resulted in the A-10. One might disagree with his opinions, but incompetent he ain't.
I sincerely hope all those F-35 lovers over there are right and the F-35 turns out to be a good platform. We'll see when it actually becomes a combat platform ... one that doesn't shut itself down when the fuel gets too hot. Here's a quick look at just ONE recent report:
The AIA Daily Lead today had an article in it that states the systems start shutting down when the fuel remaining gets too hot. One has to wonder what the real range, before malfunctions start happening, is. Wanna' bet that number is "classified?" There are a LOT more bad reports.
Many or even all may be wrong, but, for myself, I think I'll let the F-35 prove itself before I jump on the bandwagon. Since I don't have the power to render it cancelled, I sure hope it does well when it is our primary defense! We'll probably get to find out in the near-term future. So far, I'm underwhelmed and have been waiting for 17+ years to be impressed. Hope it actually happens someday. The alternative isn't a good outcome.
At least we can discuss it here. That's a start.
Any guys out there who have had their opinions of the F-35 turned around in the last 6 months or so? I'd like to join you but so far have nothing to be impressed by other than the fact that the Italians managed to fly one across the Atlantic Ocean, joining Charles Lindberg and his 1927 Ryan aircraft as successful crossers of same.
Tell us about it if your opinion has changed recently! Maybe it will help.
When I go back and read this, it sounds like I hate the F-35. I don't.
I've been searching for a reason to like it for 17 years and have failed to find one so far except for the avionics. For awhile I was working at a supplier that made F-35 items, and they were high quality if a bit flawed. We were doing some sub-contracting for the prime supplier and we found some faults in their actuators that nobody apparently wanted to correct on their own money. We couldn't because we were a subcontractor and our contract said to build to print. The prime didn't want to to because that meant spending their own money. As far as I know, the manufacturer wasn't aware. I hope the faults have been corrected now after 5 years.
A big portion of my not being able to find anything much to like may well be due to not working on the program any longer, and thus having a dearth of information from which to draw. What I DO read is mostly negative, and with people celebrating because it can fly across an ocean seems ludicrous. If it couldn't, that would be BIG news. I expect ALL fighters to be able to fly across an ocean when accompanied by a tanker or when tankers will meet the fighter when they are needed. It's nothing to crow over. The fact that they ARE crowing over it lends some credence to my wariness of the aircraft. Nobody remarks at all when almost any other aircraft does that, even private piston planes that seat 2 - 4 people. So if flying the Atlantic is a reason to celebrate, what sort of faults must it have, really, if they celebrate the fact taht ir can stay in the air for awhile?
Again, if YOU have positive things to say about it, please do so. I know the cannon shoots and am waiting for it to be able to be shot in flight. The Norwegian's account of the F-35 says a lot about the initial break in a dogfight (a very small part of a dogfight when an instant kill is not achieved), but saying the F-35 picks up speed quickly when the angle of attack drops without quantifying it at least to say it will accelerate with an F-16 is saying nothing at all. Without a frame of reference, it's like saying, "I have a race car and it's fast." So. OK ... what is it faster than? A mule? A Greyhound? A family car? If you don't quantify what "fast" is, it becomes meaningless.
Again, if you like the F-35, tell us why.
Accuracy with 2 smart weapons does not mean it can win a war or even that it is good. It means it COULD be a great aircraft to take out a single, high-value target that can't see a stealth fighter until it is right overhead. That doesn't mean I want it as the primary weapon in the inventory. Having 2 air-to-air missiles doesn't mean it is a good fighter. It means it has 2 shots before running or going to guns. So the performance in a close-in fight will be VERY important to the survival of the F-35 pilot in a real fight with an equal adversary. If the F-35 shoots from BVR, then the survivors will know where the missile came from and if they are faster than you are (most are), you will soon be WVR in a tail chase where you are out of ammo or nearly so and rapidly being caught up with by your opponents ... unless they are out of or low on fuel.
So I have to fall back on what I know about it.
1) It has great avionics, a plus.
2) It carries 2 smart weapons, good for a single target or maybe 2 in a perfect world.
3) It carries 2 air-to-air missiles, good for the first-shot fight and not very good if there are survivors, as there WILL be.
4) I'll grant it will eventually be able to shoot the cannon. It carries very little ammunition, so I'm not too sure why it even has one.
5) It isn't very fast; not good, but also not damning.
6) It has been demonstrated that it can't dogfight, but there is one Norwegian pilot who says it can handle more AOA than the F-16, which I would expect given that the F-16 is 45 years old. I wonder what the Norwegian pilot has flown before the F-35, but am not motivated to try and find out unless other information surfaces to prod me there.
7) It flies too fast to replace the A-10, can't loiter like the A-10 can, and carries almost no weapons loadout when compared with the A-10 loadout.
8) It doesn't have enough ammunition in the small cannon to constitute much a threat to armored ground forces ... certainly nothing like the GAU-8 cannon in the A-10.
9) Since it has a hard time dogfighting with the F-16, I wonder how it does against the F-15 and F-22? We never hear about those encounters, do we? What about dogfighting with the Typhoon? Or Rafale? Or Indians Flankers? In a real fight, it won't be coming up against F-16s much.
10) We KNOW the fuel is used as a heat sink and when the fuel gets too hot, the F-353 starts having faults. So fill it up and fly a mission. What is the real range?
That isn't much of a list to admire, is it?
Anybody have any positives to add? Please?