Back in the day, the Air Force removed guns from their fighters. All their pilots needed to take out enemy aircraft: missiles! Yeah, no. The new F35 (JSF) has a single four-barrel 25mm rotary machine gun cannon: the GAU-22/A. And now it’s finally been test fired (above). Hang on. Back in January the JSF was banned from using its machine gun in combat until it received a software update – which wasn’t expected to arrive until 2019. Does the above test mean they cracked the code? Meanwhile and in any case, the F35 recently lost a mock dogfight to a 70’s-era F16. Check out the plane’s backers’ response [via telegraph.co.uk] . . .

“The F-35’s technology is designed to engage, shoot, and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual ‘dogfighting’ situations,” the statement said. “There have been numerous occasions where a four-ship flight of F-35s has engaged a four-ship flight of F-16s in simulated combat scenarios and the F-35s won each of those encounters because of its sensors, weapons, and stealth technology.”

Same you-know-what, different day. Colonel Boyd is spinning in his grave.

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190 Responses to The F35 Sucks

  1. So THIS is about guns? Or a trillion $ boondoggle? Or clickbait? This country is soooo screwed…

    • A worse dogfighter than an F-16.

      A worse air-superiority fighter than an F-15, much less an F-22.

      A worse ground-attack aircraft than an A-10.

      More expensive than all of the above. Combined. Amazing.

  2. Least interesting firing of a Gatling gun ever. At least hold the trigger down for a couple seconds. This guy’s obviously never watched any footage from knob creek.

      • actually a lot more ammo and gat works fine, software issue is false.

        can’t believe everything you read.

        • Not true. AF admitted to the 180 round limit, and that the gun system does not work as a system. And will not until a long time from IOC.

          Yes, the gun itself works just fine, and is not ammo limited sitting on a test stand.

  3. The F35 is the definition of a boondoggle, but remember, retiring the A-10, the most effective, cost effective and combat available ground attack plane in US inventory, is somehow going to save money………

    • The A-10 is the Airfarce as mainstream middle America is to the coastal latte sipping libtards of the marxist wing (80%) of the dem party. Pickups, Walmart, family, (and guns). Not hip.

      • And you are clearly a moron – probably a drunk moron – and clearly well out of your pay grade when it comes to talking about aircraft systems. Typical reichwing ammosexual.

        • Three you go again! “Ammosexual”! Why this obsession?
          By the way, what are YOUR bona files as far as discussing the deletion or retention of the A-10 Warthog? What makes YOUR opinion so special?

        • This is the same ‘god’ who mouthed off as to how Airbus manufactures helicopters in Texas, right?

          Pssst!

          Airbus manufactures their helicopters in Europe.

          They are assembled and fitted out with options in Texas.

          Try commenting on something you actually know, instead of what you *think* you know, moron.

          Now dance, troll. That’s an order.

        • It makes sense if you put “to” in front of Airfarce instead of “the”.

    • One of the committees forbade the USAF brass from canning the A10, so they’re stuck with the best A2G plane in the world for at least another 10 years.

      • A-10 is about worn out. And they performed horribly in the NATO war games of the 1980’s. Their performance as a tank killer (with no ability to fly in bad weather and in the face of the German Army’s Flakpanzer fleet) was a major reason why the Ground Launched Cruise Missile program was dreamed up. Raygun felt that if the A-10’s couldn’t stop Soviet tanks then he’d just nuke West Germany and our troops that were there.

        Anyway, yeah, they have performed well doing close air support in the Middle East where there is no opposition. But back in the day when Fairchild was pushing to build a new batch they wanted as much money per copy as a Gulfstream corporate jet cost back in the day. For a plane that has no radar nor even an autopilot at the time, and which is so slow that it gets bird strikes from the rear (a joke) that’s insane.

        The base commander at Myrtle Beach publicly said they needed an attack version of the F-16 rather than the A-10 and that’s what his replacement got.

        • The F-35s only performed as well as they did in the mock dogfights because the AF testers loaded down the F-16s with huge external fuel tanks to make them less maneuverable and show up on the F-35s sensors.

          And those of you (especially god) should go back and read the history of the A-10. The AF started trying to kill it from day 1 because it didnt fly supersonic and was ugly. It was also designed to perform one specific mission and that was close ground support which the AF ried to get away from in the 1950’s. Its also why the army had to start arming helicopters!

          The AF wants to get these turkeys and “fix them when they get them into the operational AF”. Then they can say we spent so much money getting them we have to spend more to make them work so we don’t waste money..

        • The A-10 is the least upgraded plane in the air force fleet (this includes cargo aircraft). Had they upgraded them like every other plane, it wouldn’t be as “worn out”.

          You’re comparing the cost per new pane to a corporate jet…which is actually a reasonable comparison. F-35s are running about 20x the price of a corporate jet. But hey, I can do math!

          We’re not going to get into a war with the Chinese or Russians in the next 10 years, but we will be at war with Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the like. What plane is better for the more probable war? What plane is way more cost effective?

          The previous the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, identified the nation’s mounting debt as the greatest threat to U.S. national security. Not Russia or China. How much is the F35 costing us? How much will it actually be used? How much is the A10 costing us? How much can it actually be used? (If the Air Force stops purposely holding it back).

        • The B-52 is 20 years older than the A-10 and is still operationally viable and is expected to be for another 25 years at least. The AF recently pulled a B-52 from the boneyard and refurbished it for active duty. It had been decommissioned since 2008 and was dry-rotted in the fuel lines and tires, but they were able to refurbish it. In light of that, it is hard to buy their argument about the A-10 being too old.

          http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/02/23/air-force-resurrects-b52-bomber-from-boneyard-for-first-time.html

          As the for the A-10 not being able to survive defended airspace, here is a story about one made it back alive after being shot full of holes over Bagdad:

          http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/Stories1/001-100/0016_A-10-battle-damage/story0016.htm

          According to the article: “The A-10 can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23mm. Manual systems back up their redundant hydraulic flight-control systems. This permits pilots, like Captain Campbell, to fly and land when hydraulic power is lost.”

  4. If I remember this correctly the Navy aquired the new, then, f4 phantom, sans gun, as the Navy was convinced the missile era made guns obsolete. It took a few years but the Air force jumped on the f4 bandwagon. The mistake wasn’t figured out until Viet Nam.

    The f4 was the premier machine in my day. But a CAS machine it was not. Best CAS in those days were marines in A7’s and Air Force guys in Spads.

    But this f35 isn’t the first nor will it be the last turkey pushed onto the long suffering American GI. Brewster Buffalo, Sherman tank, m551, M16……..

    We had a little ditty, It went something like this. We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing have done so much with so little for so long……

    • IIRC, one of the things that brought back the guns was somebody hanging a gun pod on an F-4, then shooting down an enemy plane.

      Then they sent the relative cost comparison back to the Pentagon. Something about $100 in ammo doing the same job as a $1,000,000 missile go their attention.

      • I have a fondness for the F-4, and as a multi-role strike fighter, it did an admirable job, in no small part to it’s pilots. But like Pierre Sperry said, the canted wings, the upside down “V” tail, the massive powerplant….these are the earmarks of band-aids on a bad design.

        • once knew a design ngineer from the original F-4 program. he said the airplane was an experiment to determine if, with enough power, you could make a brick fly.

        • F-4 a bad design? Nonsense! Bad designs don’t see over 5,000 aircraft built. Anhedral on the horizontal tails was intended to keep them far removed from the wing downwash to avoid the so-called “pitch-up” problem at moderately high angles of attack. The anhedral consequently reduced the aircraft’s lateral stability (AKA Cl-beta, rolling moment due to sideslip). The positive dihedral on the outer portions of the wing countered that effect by increasing the Cl-beta. The wing fold joint provided the ideal location to increase the wings’ dihedral. Modern digital flight control systems now eliminate the need to increase static and dynamic stability through aerodynamic methods. Two engines (smaller GE J79s) came about for increased survivability (two engines are better than one) and increased thrust. Following the F3H Demon single engine debacle, James S. McDonnell (Mr. “Mac”) swore he’d never build another single-engine aircraft again (the Demon’s Westinghouse J40 and Allison J79 engines were real pigs). All aircraft will benefit from increased thrust since it shortens takeoff distances, increases rate of climb, and increases sustained turn rate and top speed. BTW: the F-4 was originally designed to be a high performance interceptor to protect the carrier battle fleet. It was not optimized for so-called dog-fighting. The USAF F-4E was later given an internal gun and fixed wing leading-edge slats (as opposed to flaps) to improve its instantaneous turn rate for air-to-air combat. It also became a better dog fighter due to improved AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. The Navy stayed with the original wing leading edge flaps for carrier suitability (slower landing speeds).

    • Just remember the Sherman tank was neutered at the request of George Patton as tanks do not fight other tanks. The Sherman could have taken a much more powerful gun if the Army would have requested it.
      Stoner had the M16 working fine, but then the Army tinkered with it and put in ball powder versus rod powder producing an entirely different pressure time curve. About everything the Army did degraded the gun and was done without the consultation of Stoner.

        • According to Sullivan who helped design the original AR/M16, the ammo never really went back to Stoner’s recommendations. Of course everything changed with the M16A2.

      • @indiana Tom Even worse, Patton and other generals held back the introduction of the M-26 Pershing. It was a much better armed and armored tank that could have put US tank crews on an even footing with German Panthers and Tigers. The generals wanted to use new tank destroyers rather than update the obsolete and flammable Sherman. Unsurprisingly the Germans just went for the Shermans and the infantry they supported and cut them apart.

        • Not making excuses for the Army, but most of the German tanks were Mark III and Mark IV along with assault guns without turrets. Tigers were rare. Panthers were in short supply. My friend had a step father who commaned an M-18 and most of the German armor was assault guns. I do not believe he even saw a Tiger and he was in the thick of the Battle of the Bulge. German armor was scarce after the Battle of the Bulge and the German offensive in the Alsace-Lorraine.

        • Your absolutely right, but casualties were extremely heavy when they did come up against heavy German armor. Even some of the assault guns outgunned and out armored the Sherman. IIRC single Tigers and Panthers were able to fend off much larger US and British tank units by sticking themselves in choke points and letting the low velocity rounds bounce off their frontal armor.

        • Friend’s step father stated the M-18 Hellcat with the 76mm HVAP ammo did OK against the German armor that he was going up against. The M-18 was good at taking the assault guns in the flank.

        • Those guys had guts !!

          Going up against full tanks and SP guns, while sitting in a tin can riding on a tank chassis, open to the elements.

        • Dad got to play for a short time with an M-36 Slugger with a 90mm high velocity gun. They had a show in which a captured Tiger hull was used at as a target. The Tiger’s front glacis plate just disintegrated and crumbled when hit by the AP 90mm round.

        • Until those Tigers and Panthers ran into a Sherman Firefly (upgunned with a 17pdr gun), or an Achilles (the M10 tank destroyer, not a bad vehicle at all, upgunned with the same 17pdr – the US did the same with a 90mm gun to produce the M36).

          Worth remembering that Michael Wittman, Germany’s top tank ace, was roaming around the Russian steppes for years racking up kills: he was dead within six weeks of D-Day (killed in his Tiger – by a Sherman Firefly…)

          The Sherman’s a hugely underrated tank, usually because “it loses a one-on-one with a Panther or Tiger”. Yes, but there weren’t many of those and while they were dangerous they could be dealt with. On the other hand thousands of infantrymen survived because reliable, effective Shermans were there in numbers supporting them in battle – they usually get left out of the calculations.

        • A big problem with a Sherman was they were designed originally to be used as an Infantry Support vehicle and not as a antitank vehicle. When the tank began being used contrary to its intended purpose we began seeing the combat loses mount. During the war we build in excess of 55,000 Shermans and at best guess no more than 2,500 Tigers were built.

    • The missiles on the F-4 during that time frame sucked compared to what we have today.

      Honestly when was the last time a US plane got into a real dog fight, as in close range with guns? First Iraq war saw one and the Mig 29 crashed into the ground trying to evade the F-15 on its tail.

      • When was the last time any fighter pilot said, “Actually, I think I had too much ordnance available.” ????

        But fighter pilots are not a bunch of benighted scientists and engineers, so what do they know?

    • I worked F4-C fighters at Torrejon AB, Spain for three years from 77-80. They weren’t the fastest or most maneuverable aircraft in the inventory but they were the most badassed. An F4 sitting on the ramp looks as if it is there for one reason, to kick some ass. The Wild Weasels also flew the F4 all the way thru the J variant, so it must have been good at something.
      I worked for a former Wild Weasel, Col. Whalen, at Keesler in the mid 80s and he had nothing but praise for the aircraft.
      But as to the A10, it is a formidable battlefield aircraft. The early problems that haunted it were resolved years ago. During exercises at Nellis AFB, NV it was common for agressor aircraft to attempt to take out an A10 only to have the A10 turn onto their 6 and obliterate them.
      You will never see the AF risk an F35 in a CAS role. You can bet they have already run a cost benefit analysis that shows the risk/reward ratio is too great. Paralysis by analysis .

  5. The B model F35, which the Brits are contracted to buy, can only carry 500 rounds of 20mm. It can’t turn, drive, fly fast enough to out match it’s opponents. Can anyone say “F-111”?

      • Perhaps you don’t remember the protracted development of the F-111. Such as the Navy version and the version that was to be built for the UK.

        • My comment stands on it’s own. The F-111 was faster and could carry more ordnance than the F-35. Not debatable, facts don’t lie.

        • Once the 111 was fully developed and deployed. Comment here is about comparing the aircraft status prior to that time. The 111 suffered many operational failings in the early days of production (or even development). The great difference here is the -35 is not designed to ever be much better when fully fielded.

    • I see a lot of posts comparing the FB-111 to the F-35. I was in the USAF during the final days of the 111. I did not work with the aircraft, but I remember hearing a few things about it. It may have been fast and carry more weapons, but it was inflexible, heavy, expensive, and it sucked in a dog fight especially if it went up against an aircraft like the F-15 or F-16. So, my information may be wrong, but I get the impression that comparing the F-35 to the FB-111 is an apples and oranges comparison. For the USAF, it seems like comparing it to the F-16 is a bit more apples to apples.

      • The FB-111 was a bomber that had “some” ability to defend itself in a dogfight if attacked. It was never intended to be a dogfighter or tasked with Air to air missions.

        Pretty sure a B52, which has been in service for 50 years, would suck in a dogfight as well.

        • “Pretty sure a B52, which has been in service for 50 years, would suck in a dogfight as well.”

          That was proven on June 24, 1994 when Col. Arthur “Bud” Holland decided aerobatics in a B-52 would be a great idea for the annual Fairchild AFB open house.

          During practice he ran through the maneuvers he was going to fly in the airshow. Steep takeoffs, ultra steep turns, and maybe another B-52 maneuver he was known to do, a wing-over.

          This was the result:

        • Bright daylight, turn off all your electronics and you are invisible to B-52 defensive systems (which no longer include a gun).

      • The F-111/F-35 comparison is apples-to-apples. Both aircraft over designed, over weight, over wrought, over matched and over budget. There were alot of good ideas and features in the 111, but too advanced for the times. Major mission changes hobbled the development.

  6. The point of the F35 was to serve as a promotion vehicle for officers and NCOs.

    Delivering a viable aircraft was not part of the mission. Hence , this underperforming vehicle is the intended result.

    • A sad and quite possible assessment.

      A Maelstrom of design via committee seasoned with mission creep.

      At least when Lockheed had Kelly Johnson he could keep focus on the end result.

      • It is all about being assigned to a big budget program and increasing the budget (more money for your military service, less for the guys in the other services). Been there, done that.

        No one ever got promoted for reducing the cost of a defense program. Did I ever tell you the story about the Colonel who was charged with developing the anti-tank round for the A-10?

        • I don’t believe so, but the company that manufactured the actual round (Sooner Defense, now defunct) is about 5 miles from where I am right now.

        • I was working space and missile warning programs at the time, but TIME reported the whole sordid story.

          Original program officer for the cannon round shell (canister, casing) had the cost up to $1500 per round, using highly specialized materials for the casing and projectile. The new program officer set out to bring the cost down to something manageable because the $1500 cost was so ridiculous the gun would be worthless.

          Eventually, the cost of the round was pegged at $150ea. The difference was the frangible casing/canister the new program officer had his team design and test. Two non cost benefits: weight reduction, more ammo; eliminmation of system jamming; the cardboard confetti resulting from firing the round could not enter the mechanism anywhere.

          Long story short – the program manager responsible for a huge break-through was re-assigned to a nothing job, in the basement of the pentagon; no duties, no phone, no future. he retired as a colonel as soon as possible. cost to the US, immeasurable.

        • The A-10 gun caused other problems.

          Ammunition propellant gas (now devoid of oxygen) was vented at the nose of the aircraft and had a nasty tendency to find its way into the engine’s intake and briefly snuff out the fire in the engine’s core.

          They had to jury-rig the turbofan’s ignitor to keep sparking while the gun was firing.

        • The frangible casing didn’t last much beyond the second program manager. Cooler heads prevailed and an expensive metallic casing was fielded.

        • Yeah, aluminum really makes the 30mm round “expensive.” It’s most likely the least expensive part or the round. Hey, they make beer cans out of the stuff! It’s even cheaper than depleted uranium!

        • Ok, my bad. Paper is heavier and more expensive than formed aluminum.
          Ending a source of potential feed mechanism was probably worthless, too.

          Thanks for the input.

  7. We here in the USA goes through ups and downs with our jets. After WW2 the belief was all “dog fights” would be from beyond visual range. Korea taught us differently. Thus the Navy came up with the top gun program. Now it seems we are swinging back to the false belief that long range fights are the wave of the future. Until some country with older or newer plans that can fight up close hands us our butt again.

  8. The F-35 is IMO a dog. As a former Marine F-4 guy, I would have loved going against the F-35.

    As someone who has used .50 cal. and 20mm air-to-air and air-to-ground, it is big time fun for a hard core shooter.

  9. I just responded to this at another website…I was typing up another but I screwed it up so I’ll paste my other comment ’cause I’m lazy:

    Lightning II is a multirole attacker, not superiority fighter:
    It can dogfight. It may be expensive as hell and already getting old as tech goes before its even rolled out officially, it may not be able to go toe-to-toe with Su-35 Flanker-Es or F-22 Raptors, PAK-FA or the supposed Chengdu J-20, it may not “technically” have Supercruise ability. But all this is academic…it is designed as a multirole, modular attack fighter: it can put up a fight that is risky for even the best fighter jets to commit to if forced to…and that is all that needs to be accomplished. In it’s designed role it will act as an attacker flanked by air superiority badasses which as of right now is technically still the F-22 Raptor (that may not be true theoretically now, but still…). In its role as a piece in the air dominance puzzle it fits, it may not be pretty and getting old on the vine and almost ready to ship to the modern jet boneyard, but saying “it can’t dogfight” is a stawman: it can, but isn’t designed to be an air superiority jet. Its like saying “The Raptor can’t attack infantry columns or submerged subs”. Yeah…but it can make sure that other attack platforms in the air that can do that are 100% free to do so in air conditioned comfort.

    • Regardless of its mission design, it is a maintenance nightmare. Also, it is incredible fragile compared to other air-frames.

    • They said the same thing about the F-18 Hornet in 1980. To slow, not enough fuel, low over target time. All that ended when 200 hour Hornet drivers were shooting 3000 hour F4 pilots in mock combat in 2 maneuvers. Sure it’s over budget, so is every other defense program. And the Lighting II stealth capabilities change how aviators fight.

      • The problem with that argument is that the original F-18 was in service for the shortest period of time of just about any US naval aircraft. It was extensively redesigned because the Raygun administration didn’t think it was politically viable to start with a clean sheet new airplane. So the first and second generation F-18’s only have something like 3% parts commonality.

        • So I’m just imagining that the F/A-18Cs and Ds are still on the deck of USN carriers? Those are substantially the same airframe as the As and Bs that rolled out in the early 80s. And the Cs and Ds came out in the late 80s anyways.

        • His valid (for a change) point is the F-18C is a substantially different aircraft from the F-18, the changes being deemed critical almost immediately after the first expensive aircraft design. The ‘redesign’ angle was more to fool uninformed congrssmen not being paid off by contractors than Reagan, though.

        • Barnbwt – “God” is referring to the F/A-18E and F models, which have little commonality with the smaller A, B, C, and D models. Fooling congressmen had nothing to do with the nomenclature change. The E and F models were designed to carry larger payloads longer distances.

  10. With modern stealth and stand off range of engagement, the point is to never make it to the merge…

    • It is not a ‘stealth’ plane. The design was tweaked to minimize its radar signature where practical, but that’s about it, and modern radars and sensors will still pick it up. The term used was always ‘stealthy,’ and knowing marketing, is probably a strong term for the reality.

  11. We’ve been down this road before. In Vietnam. The USA had most of their aircraft assets invested in aircraft that were pigs when it came to dog fighting MiGs, and justified their existence by claiming that they could strike at long ranges. Then after some screw ups the orders came down to engage enemy aircraft only if the pilots could visually identify the enemy; all of a sudden rockets and the original F-4 “lead sled” didn’t look like a smart solution to the problem.

    The Brits are saying that the F-35 is way, way too compromised because of the need for a vertical landing version but what would they know? Just because they have ordered the thing, are stuck with it, and need a Harrier replacement.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the F-15 has a combat loss record of something like 104 kills and zero losses. There were design studies done for a naval version of the F-15, and other studies done using things like canard wings and a moving set of engine exhausts to make the F-15 super maneuverable. Perhaps an upgraded F-15 is the direction that the USA should have gone towards and then designed a separate V/STOL fighter, but hindsight is 20/20.

      • It usually doesn’t work out but in this case I personally think it would have. 104 to zip is a record that is hard to argue with. It’s shocking to realize that the newest F-15s still have steam gauges instead of an electronic cockpit.

        • ” It’s shocking to realize that the newest F-15s still have steam gauges instead of an electronic cockpit.”

          Wrong.

          “Boeing is offering an advanced cockpit configuration for future F-15 new builds and upgrades, including the F-15SE. The main feature is the 11×19 inch color, large area multifunction display. Each fighter will have two, in the front and aft cockpit. The view in this picture shows the back seat view of the system. ”

          See for yourself:

          http://defense-update.com/20120215_new-fighter-acquisition-uncertainty-revving-up-f-15-prospects.html#.VZgRblJ_S8A

          BTW: Mechanical ‘Steam Gauges’ are quite common backups even in ‘all-glass’ cockpits. It’s nice to have something else to reference when your electrics crap out.

          You’d know that if you ever spent any time in an actual cockpit and not in front of a computer screen playing Microsoft Flight Simulator in you mom’s basement.

          Cripes.

          Is there *anything* you’re good at, ‘god’, besides being wrong?

          TTAG used to attract higher-quality trolls than the morons we get now.

          Dance, little troll.

          That’s another direct order.

    • Wrong. “God” is not the all-knowing being he thinks he is. The F-15B (aircraft B-2) modified with canards and thrust vectoring nozzles was not intended to be a “super maneuverable” version of the aircraft. Rather, it was intended to be a short takeoff and landing version and was known as the STOL Demo F-15. At the time the USAF was worried about it’s F-15s not being able to takeoff or land on runways that had been shortened by bomb damage. The F-15 STOL Demo aircraft flown by McDonnell-Douglas test pilot Larry Walker subsequently demonstrated very short takeoffs and landings.

  12. The F35 is another Pentagon SNAFU of the highest order. The USAF hierarchy just cannot stand anything they consider “low tech”….they have done EVERYTHING they can to get rid of the A-10 EXCEPT for sabotage them to fail completely. They absolutely DO NOT CARE if it works or if it’s RIGHT just as long as it’s the most expensive and newest technology there is.
    They’ve bet the entire farm on it despite all of the lessons learned from the past! I guarantee you that one of these days one of these things will get taken out by a damn good pilot in a half worn out Mig or another “low tech” fighter because all of its electronics and computers took a dump and had the dreaded “blue screen of death”.
    They’ve got stuff in the F35 that can’t even be used because the software and the means to do it haven’t been made yet!! The stuff is based on THEORIZED and as yet unavailable breakthrough science….LMAO! We are screwed!! I’d hate to still be in the Army and hear that my air support is grounded because of a glitched software update or a computer virus made by a 13 year old girl in China!
    The USAF and its leadership needs to be replaced entirely and they need to quit trying to “one up” everybody based on the latest sci-fi movies.

  13. John Boyd. The OODA Loop. Get inside the other guys OODA and you win

    Observation: the collection of data by means of the senses

    Orientation: the analysis and synthesis of data to form one’s current mental perspective

    Decision: the determination of a course of action based on one’s current mental perspective

    Action: the physical playing-out of decisions

  14. Also the F-16C Fighting Falcon is by no means a slouch and is one of the most tried and battle-tested fighter jets in history. The tech that separates the generations of fighters is ever so slight yet so devastating in the smallest increments. That an F-16C managed to down an F-35 in a dogfight isn’t a huge surprise. Its a small and maneuverable dogfighter that ruled the mid range AAM missile and vulcan gun range well into the early 80s. Also a good signals and electronic countermeasure package in the nose.

  15. All these comments were relative to the Osprey program……all it takes is more ….and more….and more…money!

    Sgt York was stopped…..not this one….

    • Osprey was a huge change in technology and resulted in performance that no other aircraft can match. I was just reading an article from a Marine General who said that they have had to revise their strategy because of the range and speed they get when refueling behind a C-130.

      The York on the other hand is a real head scratcher. The US would have been smart to get the manufacturers of the Flakpanzer Gepart to mount their turret on the M1 chassis. The German system was already in the field and lethal.

  16. Funny thing about the A-10, the Air Force is saying the A-10 would not survive in a contested aerial environment. But, it was originally conceived as a tank buster for use against hordes of Soviet tanks invading Western Europe, which would’ve been the most contested airspace in history. It was always intended to do it’s work low and slow while the supersonic boys took care of business up high. So that’s what it was originally designed for, but now that they want to get rid of it, because CAS just ain’t their thing, they’re claiming it’s not.

    • USAF has resisted doing air support for decades in favor of other roles. A handful of A-10s were being operated by a special command at Ft. Bragg that was evidently under the indirect command of the Army; that makes sense. As the Brits used to say they’d put RAF Harriers in hides and their pilots would live with the ground troops. USAF will never operate that way because their pilots insist on staying in Hiltons rather than tents.

        • you have no idea how much the air force fears that very thing. since establishment, they have lived in fear of people asking why we need a separate air force at all. the biggest threat is the marines, who assign a marine air wing to each marine infantry division…and it works exceedingly well. which is why the air force intends to grind-up the A-10s so no one can argue that close air support for army units should be conducted by army air units, with the A-10 being surplus and available to transfer.

        • “Bring back the Army Air Corps and give them all the A10s that the AF doesn’t want.”

          Give them to the Marines.

    • The efficiency of A-10 in the environment for which it was originally designed for remains unproven. But why does it even matter? It has shown itself to be immensely efficient in the battlefields where US soldiers fight today (and are likely to fight tomorrow: a war with ISIS is much more likely than a war with Russia even today). And a very good bang for the buck at that.

  17. F35 is a waste of time and money. The future belongs to drones and the present/past belongs to the F16.

    Drones won’t outmaneuver any aircraft one-on-one. But they could be mass produced and instead “swarm.”

    • The drone fighter is not restrained by human physiology. The drone fighter will outmaneuver the manned fighter,

      • “The drone fighter will outmaneuver the manned fighter,”

        Word.

        When the lightbulb goes on over the right head aerial combat will forever be changed.

        • You still FLAME DELETED? Clearly you are not familiar with combat systems. More like a wannabe.

      • Modern fighters are only constrained by pilot physiology when they are lightly loaded. The F-16, for example is limited to much lower Gs when they have full external fuel tanks.

    • As far as I know, artificial intelligence has not yet been invented and incorporated into the battlefield. Drones are flown by human pilots in simulators uplink locations. My scenario was about having 200 100 hr pilots flying drones against 10 1000 hr pilots. The Red Army showed that numbers will out-weigh training.
      Secondly, I get the lack of effect of G-force on a drone versus cockpit pilot. But I’d say in an apples-to-apples scenario, the cockpit pilot would defeat the drone pilot more often than not due to awareness in space versus being back in a simulator.

      • I don’t think that is true. The airframe can withstand more g-forces than the pilot. Yes, advances in flight programming will be required, but that will happen sooner rather than later.

        In fact, I think I remember reading that in newer fly-by-wire planes with advanced avionics, the correct procedure to deal with stalls and spins is to go hands off stick and let the computer regain control. Not so different from a car with ESC feathering power delivery and braking forces to individual wheels.

  18. It’s not just the F-35 that has had software issues. Several years back, six F-22s were being flown from Hickam AFB in Hawaii to Okinawa Japan for deployment. When they crossed over the international date line, the date change caused their computers to crash. Kinda like the Y2k thing was supposed to do to all our computers, but never did. Well, with the F-22, something similar happened and they nearly screwed the pooch. Their entire cockpits displays, which run on computers, went dark. No navigation, no flight instruments, no weapons control, partial communications loss.

    They were able to locate an aerial refueling tanker that was accompanying them and followed the tanker back to base on US soil. If not for the tanker to follow, they would have been in trouble. They could not risk continuing towards Japan with no real navigation and get off course, straying into China or some other nation and causing a major international incident or being forced to land in hostile territory. The odds of flying back to Hawaii successfully with only their magnetic compass working was iffy. So without the tanker to follow, their only other option if they couldn’t find Hawaii would have been to bail out and ditch the planes in the ocean, sending all those billions in tax dollars to the bottom . Makes me wonder what other software glitches may show up in the future at the wrong time.

    The F-22 runs on millions of lines of computer code that get updated and uploaded from civilian subcontractors . I think our newest planes, including the F-35 and it’s gun, are too dependent on digital tech which can crash or be hacked via cyber attacks on the subcontractors systems. Everything from weapons to navigation and communication should have analog redundancies built in.

    • “So without the tanker to follow, their only other option if they couldn’t find Hawaii would have been to bail out and ditch the planes in the ocean, sending all those billions in tax dollars to the bottom .”

      That’s easily solved with a stock consumer grade yoke mount GPS that costs a few hundred bucks as a backup.

      • Good point. A hand held radio and GPS would have solved some of their problems if they had had them. But that would have been of little help in combat with their weapons systems down. All six that would have been sitting ducks if the enemy found them.

        • Correct, no help in combat.

          It would have got them to Hickam where they can fight another day rather than on the bottom of the ocean.

          Pilots are famous for off-the shelf solutions. Like Fuzzbusters for missile warning in fighters.

    • The way I heard the story, the engine computers crashed and had to be rebooted…and that was about it. Embarrassing for Honeywell, but not catastrophic.

      • One computer failure lead to a cascade of other problems. From an old article:

        —–

        Luckily for the Raptors, there were no weather issues that day so visibility was not a problem. Also, the Raptors had their refueling tankers as guide dogs to “carry” them back to safety.

        “They needed help. Had they gotten separated from their tankers or had the weather been bad, they had no attitude reference. They had no communications or navigation,” said Retired Air Force Major General Don Shepperd. “They would have turned around and probably could have found the Hawaiian Islands. But if the weather had been bad on approach, there could have been real trouble.”

        “The tankers brought them back to Hawaii. This could have been real serious. It certainly could have been real serious if the weather had been bad,” Shepperd continued. “It turned out OK. It was fixed in 48 hours. It was a computer glitch in the millions of lines of code, somebody made an error in a couple lines of the code and everything goes.”

        Luckily for the pilots behind the controls of the Raptors, they were not involved in a combat situation. Had they been, it could have been a disastrous folly by the U.S. Air Force to have to admit that their aircraft which cost $125+ million USD apiece were knocked out of the sky due to a few lines of computer code. “And luckily this time we found out about it before combat. We got it fixed with tiger teams in about 48 hours and the airplanes were flying again, completed their deployment. But this could have been real serious in combat,” said Shepperd.

        —-

        – See more at: http://www.dailytech.com/Lockheeds+F22+Raptor+Gets+Zapped+by+International+Date+Line/article6225.htm#sthash.ekvxRLXR.dpuf

  19. Every one knew this pane was inferior to the F-15 F-16 and F-22. Only reason its entering service is that Obama made a 08 campaign issue out of retiring the F-22 in favor of this junk. Face it we need F-15 upgraded and F-22s and we need more large weapons the Army needs a new tank even. Enough with waste like this and MHS and PSR and JLTV crap Obama lackeys stuck us with!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Your Obama hatred paints you to be a first class moron. The F-22 was incredibly expensive, but the biggest problem was having two super-expensive programs (F-22 and F-35) running at the same time. If the Pentagon had been smarter they would have staggered them. However, understanding basic military budgeting is beyond the grasp of most low-level ammosexuals.

  20. The F35 is successful. It’s making a lot of money for a lot of people. In mil-speak, that is the definition of “successful.”

    “War is a racket.”

    Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC

  21. same DoD that, back in the 90s tried to mate an F-16 fire control system and radar to a multi-gun anti-aircraft mount, on an an existing tracked vehicle. idea was that all the components were already fielded and proven. simple symbiosis. and all to save money from using existing supply chain (greater numbers purchased of each system meant lower unit costs). things went well until being a year or so behind schedule, the field tests were conducted. after about a dozen failed tests encompassing 20 or so simulated helicopter attacks, DoD promised to deliver a system based on one final test, using a stationary helicopter mounted on a tower. fail. secdef finally ordered the program ended because no one anywhere knew how to make the thing work.

    no, it is not unusual to test components of a system independent of the system (prove the gun functions before mating to targeting software). however, it has also been seen as prudent to wait until all components are available, then mate and see if it works. figuring out which system caused what failure is always way more efficient than finding beforehand that a failure is likely !!

    • Sorry but that was done in the late 70’s in a program called SGT York and cancelled by Casper Weinburger under Reagan. They pre-manufactured so many of them that they were still using them for test targets in the mid-90s.

  22. Taking a gun off of a fighter is the same mistake made prior to the Vietnam war. It cost the lives of many American pilots. You Are correct Col Boyd Is spinning in his grave. As well as Major Bong, pappy bowington, Curtis Lemay, Jimmy Dolittle, Benjamin O Davis jr, Adolf Gallland, Sabru Saki. etc, etc.

    Never give up your guns.

    • While I think giving up a gun is a stupid idea, the simple fact is that A2A missiles (and related sensors) will determine the result of 95-99% of modern “dogfights.”

      In the Gulf Wars, American fighters (all of them) dominated the airspace because the used sensors (AWACS and others) to pick off Iraqi fighters before the Iraqis had any chance to fight back.

  23. Sooooooo, a 35 is great as long as it is working perfectly, then a 16 is on top? As with our everyday lives I worry we become too reliant on the electronic versions of things. When it comes to survival, we just need to know it works. TTAG members will understand and make analogies easily.

    • Politicians run the wars. Politicians hate casualty reports. Politicians demand the ability to engage in war with minimal casualties on either side. Military must then build wonder weapons designed to convince enemies that our capability is so awesome, they had better not even try to challenge us. Wonder weapons are expensive, so they must be built with every conceivable option/capability known to man. And they better not result in to many hometown headlines about Americans dying in their wonder weapons.

      Truth is with enough F-16s and A-10s in battle at one time, numbers will overwhelm enemy capability. At lower dollar cost. But there will be more human losses than with systems that are limited in number and heavily restricted as to how they are used.

  24. The F-35 is a purely political aircraft.

    And we all knows what wins when it’s Politics vs. Practicality…

    The F-16 and the A-10 were both Boyd’s gifts to us, aircraft that bypassed the political machine.

  25. As a U.S. Navy power plants mechanic currently working on F/A-18C Hornets, I am dreading when these come to the fleet. The engine is too large to fly onto the ship, every time you open a panel to change a part that area of the skin of the jet has to get repainted, and having only one engine means that the countless times that I’ve seen Hornets come in to land single engine would be lost aircraft and possibly aircrew instead.

    We should just have Boeing start producing F/A-18Cs again because we’re running out of the ones that we’ve got. I’ve heard they still have the tooling and parts support to make it possible, not to mention that you can buy at least 5 Hornets for the price of one JSF.

    • I worked on them as well 1980-89. All A&B Plank owner VFA 125-106 and VMFA 314. Engine fuel and APU. Flew the crap out of them.

    • A quick Google shows that the F-18 is still in production so there is no danger of the tooling not being available, at least for the next few years. The assembly line was scheduled to shut down in 2017 but now they think they have more orders.

      • The F-15SE assembly line is still up.

        Boeing isn’t stupid.

        (Unlike a current troll…)

        Dance, troll!

  26. Actually, after seeing the success of the little gyrocopter penetrating the most restricted air space about Washington DC, I was sort of thinking of a drone in the shape of a more updated WWI Albatross airframe and engine with extensive use of carbon fiber and plastics for the engine, exhaust, radiator, and other parts which were originally metal. This thing would give the established air forces of the world complete nightmares. This thing would fly low and slow over enemy territory.

  27. Even if the F-35 were perfect, is it too expensive to risk in combat?

    Upgrades, especially in engines and avionics, have given a new lease on life to many old aircraft. Although the Air Force isn’t interested, are there potential upgrades that would improve the A-10’s effectiveness and survivability?

    • At ~$130m, this airplane is to replace the A-10, a down-in-the-weeds, shoot-the-enemy-in-the-face tough little fighter. It can…wait for it…….”take a lickin’ and keep on tickin'”. In order to be a swiss army knife airplane, weight is the determiner of all things. The 35 can’t take the battle damage of close air support missions, and wit so few to be available, the likelihood of them actually doing the ground attack role against a determined enemy is nil.

      And why do the AF pilot’s association want to get rid of the A-10 (and refuses any effort to let the Army have it)? Because, you guessed it, the A-10 can’t dogfight !!

      • Yeah, there’s no way in Hell the USAF is going to send its $150 million baby (at least..it’ll probably be a whole lot more than that by the time they’re through screwing around with it) anywhere it could likely get shot at. Just like how front-line infantry are never going to get the kind of robot pack mules and power armor the .mils are developing–they’re too expensive to get blown up on the front lines by some twit with a $200 AK and a couple $20 pipe bombs.

        • Back in the early 90s, I was read-in on the Navy A-12 program. The projected unit cost was $146M at that time. It was intended for mid-career and younger crews. Computer projections for an aircraft with all the whiz-bang required indicated the plane would be so heavy the Navy would be required to retro-fit all 9 carriers with beefed-up hangar deck elevators. My reaction was, quote: “It’ll never fly; literally”. Too much per unit, too expensive to trust to young aviators, fleet costs were prohibitive. I was ridiculed as a “know nothing about Navy programs”. Three years later, program cancelled, the admiral in charge of the program was dismissed. I was remembered as the smart-ass who got it right, embarrassing way too many people.

      • Good rant. From what I hear the Army declined to get involved. In other words they don’t want the A-10 either.

        • The Army doesn’t want it, until it does. So long as it is available through the AF budget, the Army is happy not to own the A-10. But with TIC, our guys on the pointy end love it, love it. The Army will be soon demanding a better platform than the F-35 when they find-out the AF is reserving their favorite toys for air-to-air against an enemy that doesn’t have aircraft. And when the Rooskies or Chicoms threaten with their air forces, our AF will determine the ground attack mission is merely a hobby.

          BTW, I was intimately involved with the manufacturer when they couldn’t produce the first version of this fancy airplane, which was the laughable A-12.

        • They Army isn’t allowed to have it. They are barred from fielding fixed wing fighters. Now the Marine Corp is a different story. Given the money to support it, I don’t know why they wouldn’t want it. Nothing comes even close to lifting the spirits of ground troops in trouble than the “Brrrrrrrrrrrrrt” of an A-10

        • The Army has tried to take the A-10 off the hands of the AF many times in the last 30 years but the AF has always said no and somehow managed to find the money to keep them flying.

        • in the late 60s the army had more fixed wing aircraft than the air force. army was forced to give up their C-X cargo aircraft that were directly supporting units in the bush in vietnam. up to that time, army was allowed fixed wing. laws and regulations changed because the air force said it was unfair for the army to have so many non-helos. laws and regulations can be changed again.

    • I was at the Udvar-Hazy museum last fall, and they had this turd sitting next to arguably my favorite aircraft ever, the F14. Out of respect for the janitors and my nation, I didn’t spit on disaster in the making. And this thing looks almost fully 1/2 the size of the Tomcat.

      There’s something so graceful and powerful about the Tomcat, and so tragic about it’s demise.

  28. Bad at dog fighting huh?

    In this day and age of BVR missiles and advanced AA units, this article is essentially saying an M4 is inferior to a Springfield in a bayonet charge. Dogfighting is and has been obsolete when missiles gained the long range capability they have today. Even the Russians have faced this reality with the Pak Fa and have done their best to load it up with technology to counter the BVR missiles.. it, too, is a turd in dogfighting. Not sure why anybody uses dogfight capability as any kind of metric these days.

    • Because when you exhaust your missile supply, you got nothing (with a gun, you got at least that for awhile before you have to run).

      In the end air-to-air combat ends up in a gun fight. A missile attack in a full-up aircraft is nothing like a Hellfire attack from a drone. You can never imagine all the things that can cause your systems to fail. Guns have a significantly lower fail rate (well, until now maybe). Every time the brainiacs in DoD think missiles are king, someone comes along and shoves it you know where with a fighter with a gun. Everytime.

      • Except the fact that these aircraft are designed to engage at distance, in a wing, with multiple craft working together. They are not going to dogfight with guns. They will be gone before anybody even knows they are there. Technology and missile capability has far surpassed anything we had in Korea, and even Desert Storm. Believe me, people are using completely obsolete metrics when gauging an aircraft like the F-35, and it’s capabilities. I quote, “5th generation aircraft are not ‘fighters’—they are ‘sensor-shooters’ optimized for different threat regimes, and can perform the roles of “F,” “B,” “A,” “RC,” “E,”EA,” and AWACS aircraft of the past.”

        This is why I hate articles like this. Too many people obsessed with how we fought in the last century with old equipment without understanding that modern aircraft and anti air capabilities have long since surpassed their opinions and public knowledge on the matter, and that the information edge the F-22 and F-35 provide is immensely obscene. If what the anti-F35 crowd said was true then the Russians wouldn’t be trying to copy it and its capabilities with the Pak Fa and would proceed with their MiGs with confidence. But, sure, it’s a bad plane. I’ll go with that meme, because not many people can’t seem to grasp the changing nature of war otherwise.

        • You actually have a decent point. That, and it’s hardly a mature system. It will improve with time. Still … I have to say that I personally would have taken a hard look at an upgraded F-15 instead.

        • The Russians are doing a terrible job of copying the F35, their PAK FA is fast, maneuverable, doesn’t have an airframe compromised by a “need” to have a STOVL variant… I bet its gun even works!

          Excuses won’t mask the truth, the F35 lobby just keep changing their story whenever it’s convenient. It was supposed to have dogfighting capability in the beginning, but as the truth slowly came out that the F35 is a dog they’ve started to try and convince us that dogfighting is a thing of the past and technology will save us.

          https://medium.com/war-is-boring/when-is-the-f-35-not-a-dogfighter-when-it-s-convenient-2fb1f233f42

          How can you trust anything F35 lobby says when we know they’ll blatantly lie to us (I.E., A10s are too expensive! They kill American soldiers! We need the maintainers!) or call their own people traitors if they dare to speak out against the F35 orthodoxy…

        • I don’t think that there’s any debate that war has changed and we must change with it. I think the debate is whether or not the F-35 is the right solution for this “new” type of war, and at this moment all evidence points to no, especially on a cost effectiveness basis.

          Sure, my neighbor might have an Escalade that can do “everything”, but my car still gets me from point A-to-B faster, on less gas, and I can still pick up the groceries and drop this kids off at the pool. In fact, I could buy four Sentras to his Escalade.

          We talk a lot about this “new” type of war and standoff fighting, but who are we fighting? Are we getting into a war with Russia? China? Not going to happen. War with us would destroy the Chinese economy since so much of it is based on export to Western nations. Russia? They have better things to do. We’re going to be pounding the ground against ISIS and the like.

          The previous the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, identified the nation’s mounting debt as the greatest threat to U.S. national security. I may or may not be an aircraft expert, but the nature of our country has changed, and I’d rather have only an “older” airplane than one where we owe the mortgage and our children’s future to China. That’s the real war, and we are losing, mostly by shooting ourselves in the foot (Which without the right software, the F35 might literally do).

        • On point and agree. Back in the day (wow I can say that now). Naval aviation was specialized. A7 A6 Attack platforms. F-4 F-14 Fighters. FA-18 replaced all of them, cost & logistical reduction and provides good capabilities in both disciplines. Saying that when we went against F-15’s it was hard. More powerful aircraft and radar, clearly a better air to air platform.

          Stealth changed everything and I believe Soviets conceded the armament race after the 1st Gulf war. They had nothing like it and after 25 years still lack solid stealth platforms.

        • @2wheels First and foremost, the biggest exsistential threat to modern aircraft are ground based, long range dedicated AA platforms. The F-35 is a hard counter to S-300 and S-400 variant missiles. There is absolutely no aircraft in our fleet that can operate in the threat area that those units possess, other than the F-22 and the F-35.

          2ndly, the Pak Fa has been plagued with problems, ranging from engine fires to underpowered engines, to a “stealth” and radar system that is woefully inadequate for a 5th generation aircraft. So much so, the Russians have moved on and dumped their order down to 12. Yes, it is a more agile aircraft.. It is also an aircraft designed to face off with an F-22, not an F-35. The F-22 is a dedicated AA platform. The F-35 is, truely, a multi-role aircraft. It is designed to work with F-22’s in tandem on a joint battlefield, and it seems that the anti-F35 crowd cant grasp the fact that modern battlefields are all linked together, and that joint operations are the name of the game, as well as information. Like I said before.. People are obsessed with dogfighting as some kind of metric. That’s literally like being obsessed with bayonet charges and saying the Marine’s KBAR knife is inadequate and that we should go back to the 1796 Cavalry Sabre. It’s very much a piece of technology that people are trying to fit into a battlefield and scenario that doesn’t exist anymore. Please, move on and open your mind to the reality that you’re literally applying old world thought to new world realities of war.

        • Your arguments are exactly the same as posited in the last century, fighting that century’s wars. The idea of simply being able to stand-off 100 miles, shoot down every target with no malfunctioning systems/missiles has been overcome by inconvenient reality. The first time a 35 shoots down a non-hostile from long distance, without first identifying visually will the the end of the vaunted stand-off weapon system. Faith is science and engineering (engineers built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark) is too often a false hope.

          Don’t forget, the 35 is designed to replace a much cheaper and capable ground attack bird that carries 1100rds of 30mm. Truth is the ground attack mission will be too difficult for the 35, and too likely to result in loss of the aircraft. Thus, science and engineering bring us a product that cannot fulfill its requirements, but, hey, it is really cool and can take-off straight up.

        • @Emfourty Gasmask
          The F35 is a great example of our military worshipping at the altar of high technology and designing by committee. It’s a political mess, and F35 fanboys such as yourself refuse to admit that there’s anything wrong with the program. You just explain them away… “Can’t dogfight? That’s ok, we never meant it to!”. Actually they did, but the compromises they made in the design prevented that from happening.

          Since it’s going to be the most numerous fighter in our arsenal, we’re literally betting the farm on stealth and BVR technology, what if that doesn’t work? Stealth is not a guarantee, especially if you actually want to hang ordnance off those wings.

          Technology is great and all, but it’s not an excuse for building a lousy fighter.

        • “Except the fact that these aircraft are designed to engage at distance, in a wing, with multiple craft working together. They are not going to dogfight with guns.”

          You’re comparing apples to oranges, here.

          Missiles are for aircraft are primarily for other aircraft, ships (think Harpoon), or long range attack.

          Guns are most valuable in a ground support role, an aircraft on station loitering overhead can respond nearly instantly to help the ground-pounders screaming for help.

          Ask the guys on the ground in the sandbox how valuable a gun on an aircraft is. I have a family member currently in the Marines deployed in the sandbox.

          I say give the jar-heads the A-10. A pilot protected in titanium ‘bathtub’ armor would be just the ticket for low-level gun attacks.

        • @Sam and 2wheels:

          You guys are stuck on the notion that enemy aircraft are the biggest threat the F-35 will face. They’re not. The Russian’s have long since gave up on fielding aircraft against an American invasion, because the 2,207 fighters/interceptors we have will make short work of their 769 fighters/interceptors (Or China’s 1,066 obsolete craft). They can’t afford to build a force big enough to counter the latest and greatest air supremacy machine we have as it is. Russian’s and the Chinese do not have the numbers to counter our air power, plain and simple.

          The F-35 has the capability to operate in a threat enveloped poised by the S-400 dedicated AA defense (that the Russians have instead placed their bets on) loaded up with a 40N6 Long range anti-air missile, and all subsequent ground based, long range anti-air missiles that did not exist in the last century of warfare that are far more capable of taking down any aircraft in our fleet, including the precious F-15, F-16 and F/A-18.They simply cannot operate in an area with an S-400 unit in the field, not without fielding a dedicated ECM/ECCM aircraft flying with them. And if that is shot down? Yeah. There is no upgrading them to allow this. Once again, read what I’ve typed. The battlefield you guys have in your mind doesn’t exist anymore. The Russian’s placed all their bets on sophisticated, ground-based, mobile anti-air systems that the Tomahawk or really any other flying weapon system we have other than our modern, technologically sophisticated weapons cannot counter due to TOR and BUK missile support. Complain about placing our bets on high technology all you want.. The reality is that this is literally the century where high technology wins, not conventional technology that was overly prevalent last century. Believe it or not, our enemies are not stupid and have adapted to our tactics and have perfected a counter to our conventional, old technology solutions that have existed.

          As a side note, do you honestly think the Russian’s or Chinese care about visual confirmation of an enemy aircraft? Reality: They don’t care. They’re going to shoot at whatever is in the airspace that they can’t identify, like they’ve done in the past numerous times. We have WAY better radar systems than they do, thankfully, which would allow us to get away with it these days, but in an actual, full scale war involving multiple countries, I’d be shocked to see anything other than a military aircraft flying in the skies.

          With that said, the F-35 isn’t perfect. It’s not going to be perfect, and it’s a compromise of many different features that, incidentally, allow 6 to 7 different aircraft to be replaced with one. Will it work? Probably. Our enemies can’t afford or have the capability to engineer their way through the compromise. Will it last? No probably not, the military is already looking at 6th generation technology.. Which is essentially more of the same, but better and even MORE sophisticated. Like I said, dogfighting is done and over with. “Fighters” as we know it are pointless in the face of modern AA technology, and are better suited to go after bombers or other CAS type aircraft and helicopters.. if they can get through the web of bullshit that would be hedged against them.

        • To repeat myself (as I love to do), no fighter pilot ever regretted having too much firepower on-board.

  29. I’m currently in college studying engineering. A club I’m in hosted a talk from Paul Bevilaqua, the man who designed the lift fan for the f35.

    His whole presentation was about the plane. From what I understand, you have to make compromises when you design an aircraft. That I get. But the f35 is unique, rather than making a few compromises with a certain goal in mind, the designers had to somehow accomplish 3 different goals with one airframe. Traditionally if you have 3 different roles for a new aircraft, you design 3 different airframes. This was not the case with the f35. While yes, each branch will get a subtlety different aircraft, I believe all the performance has been compromised out. All we are left with is an overpriced, under-performing aircraft.

    Also fun fact: Pilots are typically not allowed to use the f35’s long range advantage because the typical rules of engagement for fighter aircraft require visual ID of the enemy aircraft before it can be engaged.

    But hey, they’ve got 180 rounds. It’ll be all right.

    • He’s got it. A specific V/STOL plane would have made more sense than a plane that filled so many roles with the same air frame.

    • I agree. Only one out of three variants needs STOVL capability, and that’s the variant I’d classify as the least important. But that requirement got lumped in with all the rest somewhere along the line… And now we wonder why the F35 can’t dogfight.

  30. I have no problem with it losing in a dog fight….because dog fights are about as effective & common in modern wars as a musket or a sword.

    The F-35 should not even have a gun (the B variant doesn’t because of physical space…but then they went ahead and blew threw a bunch more cash to make a pod style pylon mounted version, *rolls eyes).

    The F-22 should have been the last fighter to have a gun. This isn’t Top Gun, theirs no Maverick or Goose, you want to destroy your enemy before he even sees you, hence the stealth.
    The F-35 is a budget joke, Lockheed should be barred from competing in the next fighter jet contract. This thing was touted as being affordable, but it’s not even close. Lockheed is by far, the worst aviation company in history when it comes to being on budget. They can make awesome aircraft, but they have no respect to time tables or budget restraints.

  31. The government is only using surplus tax money on this project. I first saw that “4 barreled gun”, my mind made the leap to the aircraft ran on a four barreled carburetor. Hi Tech Sopwith Camel.

    • and carl buddig chipped beef over willy lunchmeat.
      i’ve got some ambrosia for one of these poster children.

  32. The Russians still have a very relevant air dominance interceptor in the 5th gen Su-35 Flanker-E which I think is a air dominance rig mod of the Su-37 (4.5 or 5th gen Interceptor ?) multirole fighter , I remember some reports from the last India air show that had attendees surprised at how maneuverable it was from the last few years, it flew higher than any other interceptor and the wings are filled to the brim with arms and ECM packages. Flanker-e pilots are among the toppest gunz in their air force.

    • When compared to the aircraft that would be fighting against them (Read: The F-22) they pretty much falter. The Su-35 Flanker’s are not 5th gen aircraft, they are more 4th gen+ and actually do not hold any real advantage over actual 5th Gen aircraft, which in a real combat scenario (wing vrs wing) they’d be wiped out before they even knew what happened. Most likely by dedicated, ground-based AA missiles at that.

  33. By far the biggest problem with the F-35 is it is being asked to do too much. Anytime that one plane is asked to be an Air Force fighter AND attack aircraft AND a Navy carrier fighter AND a Marine Corp STOVL aircraft AND the Royal Air Force AND Royal Navy, etc. etc…. The F-35 is really three different aircraft being asked to do no less than five different missions that should be accomplished using five different aircraft. This is the crap you get when you try to get cheap. Yeah, cheap. This was a plan where one aircraft could do everything for everyone and save a bunch of money.

    I’m pretty for sure it isn’t as bad as what we see on the media. After all, they just want a story not the truth. Then again I’m pretty sure it isn’t as good as the pentagon wants us to believe.

    • This has always been my point against the F-35. The engineering trade-offs and compromises necessary to all the aspects of the aircraft in order to satisfy all the requirements and customers make it good at absolutely nothing.

      The first and worst requirement that compromised the rest of the design was the STOVL fan for the Corps. If they eliminated that and told the Corps to look at fast attack helo’s instead, it would be a much better outcome for the F-35.

      • Except it can fly around in airspace guarded by modern ground based AA systems, which are the real threat these days. The rest of our air fleet? Not a chance in hell they can get close to the latest dedicated systems.

        • Emfourty Gasmask – I’ve read all of the posts in this long thread and you sir, with very few exceptions, are the only person who actually knows what he is talking about. Bravo! Close-in dogfighting today is a good way to get killed considering today’s latest short-range, all-aspect, air-to-air missiles. No aircraft flying today can out-maneuver or reasonably defeat the latest off-boresight missile technology. The missiles will home in on the heat of the aircraft’s skin. Distance and a minimal radar cross-section at all aspects are your only life insurance policy. Fact. Even turning on your radar can get you killed. Computer codes now allow us to keep the configuration’s radar cross section low at most aspects. BTW: be thankful that the Boeing X-32 “Monika” didn’t win the JSF competition. I actually worked on that piece of crap and we all breathed a sigh of relief (in St. Louis) when Lockheed won the competition. The design originated in Seattle (not St. Louis) and when you have a bunch of airliner engineers design a jack-of-all-trades fighter aircraft, the X-32 abomination is the result. Blame the Marines for that one but that’s a subject for another post. Not long after the loss I decided it was time to pull the handles and retire from my long distinguished aerospace engineering career. With lots of money and time, the Lockheed F-35 will probably be a war winner. Note: every modern weapons system’s cost and development time have been underestimated by overly optimistic and dishonest program managers who are afraid of losing their livelihood. Some will even lie to delay the day of reckoning. It’s a fact of life and weapons’ procurement. That’s what happened with the A-12 flying Dorito chip.

        • Emfourty Gasmask – I’ve read all of the posts in this long thread and you sir, with very few exceptions, are the only person who actually knows what he is talking about. Bravo! Close-in dogfighting today is a good way to get killed considering today’s latest short-range, all-aspect, air-to-air missiles. No aircraft flying today can out-maneuver or reasonably defeat the latest off-boresight missile technology. The missiles will home in on the heat of the aircraft’s skin. Distance and a minimal radar cross-section at all aspects are your only life insurance policy. Even turning on your radar can get you killed. Computer codes now allow us to keep the configuration’s radar cross section low at most aspects. Thus, onboard guns for dogfighting (the subject of this thread) are a waste of space and weight allowance (think gold plating). And reducing the wing loading of the F-35 to make it more maneuverable would result in additional undesirable and unnecessary compromises.

          BTW: be thankful that the Boeing X-32 “Monika” didn’t win the JSF competition. I worked on that piece of crap. Even though it came as no surprise, we all breathed a sigh of relief (in St. Louis) when Lockheed won the competition. The Boeing design originated in Seattle (not St. Louis) and when you have a bunch of airliner engineers design a jack-of-all-trades fighter aircraft, the X-32 unworkable abomination was the result. Blame the Marines for that one but that’s a subject for another post. Not long after the loss I decided it was time to pull the handles and retire from my long distinguished aerospace engineering career. With additional money and time, the Lockheed F-35 will probably be a war winner. Note: every modern weapons system’s cost and development time have been underestimated by overly optimistic and dishonest contractor program managers who fear losing their livelihood. Some will even lie to delay the day of reckoning. Combine that with the inevitable gold plating by the individual services… They’re facts of life and weapons’ procurement. That’s what happened with the Navy A-12 flying Dorito chip. If you want to purchase truly breakthrough technology with today’s nearly worthless dollar, you have to pay the piper, and then some.

  34. The F35 has the most advanced avionics and optics of any F/A aircraft in the world. Might have a bit too much. It will have a hard time winning against a straight fighter, because it’s built as a multi-role aircraft.

    • Something that is really scary is that circuit boards on many major systems are maked “Components Made in China. Assembled in Korea”.

  35. Historically fighter aircraft that had been made obsolete by newer designs were kept in service in ground attack roles IF they could carry lots of ordinance. The F-16 is still a decent second line fighter with low operating costs and with a targeting pod and guided munitions it will do nearly as good as the A-10 in the ground attack role.

    F-35s will clear the skies and F-16s will mop up after air superiority is established and most air defenses have been suppressed.

  36. I can see that the F35 is the Air Force’s LCS. It may be able to do its job, but there will be no savings doing it, and there is always another platform (or mix of them) already in existence that can do parts of it better. That being said, I wonder if it really matters. The much hyped F22 has yet to see combat, and probably never will. It seems that it is just too expensive and shiny to risk. I have a feeling the Air Force will treat the F35 the same way. The Corps will probably use their’s to good effect, if they can ever get them in service.

  37. As long as the U.S. only gets involved in military simulations the F35 should serve us just fine…

    • I remember several years back when they were trying to justify getting 5th generation fighters the US engaged in war games with India. The games included multiple combat engagements where single US planes took on 11-12 Indian AF planes. Can you guess what the result was? Our planes were all destroyed of course. The Pentagon had its proof the US forces need 5th gen fighters (who would have lost too because they cant carry sufficient missiles to engage that many enemy) and the Indians got to brag at home they defeated the great americans.

  38. I do think the f35 is kind of a sad waste. :/ Could have been more F-22s. :p

    When WAS the last time we got in a dogfight?

  39. Designed by committee boondoggle. I can think of way too many DOD procurement programs since the advent of the Department of Dullardry that tried to be everything to everyone. Most ended up being nothing more than porktacular money pits. Sheesh.

    And as far as armament goes, does anyone remember one of the benefits of the PT boats’ open deck space? More guns when war comes!

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