Aviation Week & Space Technology

Podcast: View from the Cockpit – What the F-35 Can Do

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on Mar 12, 2017

Congratulations, Jen, Lara, and Graham - terrifically informative and important interview with Lt. Col. Berke!

Lt. Col. Berke did a great job summarizing and explaining the "three big things" that completely separate fifth gen from fourth gen warbirds and how they are used by their operators. His analogy to the iPhone is right on target. It seems like ages ago - though it was only a decade back - that billions of people literally asked the question, "Why would I ever need a smart phone?", and now today the iPhone and its spawn have transformed how and where people communicate, socialize, buy and sell stuff, and do work ... a massive example of creative destruction, where companies like Uber and Facebook and Amazon are now used daily by billions, and "old tech" companies like PC makers, taxi companies, brick and mortar stores and shops, and rental car companies are going broke.

Another key point he made is that the knowledge base of today's F-35 pilots and other users is akin to the day that Apple released the iPhone ... and that within a couple of years it was the app developer community that didn't ask, "what can the iPhone do for me?" .. but rather, "OK, now I am going to figure out what I can do with my iPhone". It's the user and developer community of the F-35 that will determine what we do with it for decades to come, things that nobody can even imagine today.

Lt. Col. Berke also nailed it when he said that by far the most important quality or capability in aerial warfare today for pilots and crew is "situational awareness". The fourth gen pilots who are not linked in with the F-35s are literally flying in a mental fog, unaware of the threats and opportunities in the battlespace. He also hit a home run when he declared that some of the biggest fans of the F-35 are the pilots of fourth gen aircraft, as well as sea based and land based platforms, because of the data sharing and situational awareness that the F-35 delivers to their platforms.

Finally, his closing statement was priceless:

"The people who are the biggest critics of the F-35 are the people who are furthest removed from it ... and the people who are the biggest fans of the F-35 are the ones who work in it or with it on a daily basis."

on Mar 13, 2017

Surely you must be kidding. It has NO gun! It cannot carry missiles outboard without new wings! It cannot shoot a moving target! It has no supercruise, it is not stealthy and it costs 100 million dollars, each!
Yes the pilot, who is doomed, will have situational awareness of the bad guy at six who will be blasting his airplane to pieces with a 30 mm Gatling gun of Russian design. Give the Blue Angels the F-35 and restart the F-22 production line with all the spare radars from the F-35 and fix the price at 50 million each through competition using Government owned property or give lockheed 6 months to field the airplane they won the contract for at the price they quoted. They should be stricken them from the qualified bidders list for five years. Too big, too fat, and they are putting the U.S. and its allies at a disadvantage militarily that even our adversaries wouldn't be able to do.

on Mar 13, 2017

Sorry, Vladimir or Vasily, wrong.

The F-35 most certainly has a gun, but it will likely never use it, as guns are now an anachronism in both ground attack and aerial combat. It routinely kills moving targets in war exercises - the F-35B has never lost an engagement with a fourth gen yet, according to Gen. Davis, commandant of USMC aviation. And no, no bogey is going to get on the pilot's six to blast away, that's a fantasy.

But go back to your vodka bottle and rest assured that Putin's anti-F-35 trolling campaign is an utterly miserable failure ... real facts beat alternative facts in the real world, every single time.

on Mar 13, 2017

user-2788752 is correct. The podcast introduces a Topgun pilot speaking personally. One can hear the typical ego in his voice, and that did it for me.
Yes, possibly, the F-35 could be a competitive aircraft if it were 100% serviceable, but we have yet to see that.
I remember post-WWII, there were some wonderful jet fighters coming into service and pilots were saying, 'Gee, if only we had those in 1940'.
Here's a good question; Instead of putting the F-35 into Israel or Japan, why not put it into Ukraine?
BTW, I (or my parents) have never been near Eastern Europe in my life.

on Mar 13, 2017

BlazonMc: "One can hear the typical ego in his voice, and that did it for me."

"Hear the ego in his voice?" Wow, you have good ears. Can you tell me how much change is in his pocket?

How many humble fighter pilots have you met? How about humble surgeons? Hedge fund managers? Successful politicians?

on Mar 13, 2017

DTRT: perfect response! Then there's the psychologists who posted later, their objections to ego. None of them have flown single seat but they're qualified to grade egos without a clue how to employ a JDAM or make a 2 v. X AMRAAM sort.

on Mar 13, 2017

The usual suspect continues with his standard reply; if you disagree with him you must be a Putin troll. Keep waving that glossy brochure!

on Mar 14, 2017

It can't out-run the competition
It can't out-climb the competition
It has a short range, eats fuel like a hog
It cannot attain super sonic when fully loaded w/fuel & weapons
When the engine fails, you lose the airplane
It lands tooo fast for carrier ops
The Marine version, after one VTOL episode, has to refuel.

on Mar 14, 2017

"It can't out-run the competition" - It doesn't need to.
"It can't out-climb the competition" - It doesn't need to.
"It has a short range, eats fuel like a hog" - It can refuel
"It cannot attain super sonic when fully loaded w/fuel & weapons" - It doesn't need to.
"When the engine fails, you lose the airplane" - F16?
"It lands tooo fast for carrier ops" - What?!
"The Marine version, after one VTOL episode, has to refuel" - It doesnt matter.

Were you even listening?

on Mar 14, 2017

"It can't out-run the competition" - Yes it can, it will accelerate to supersonic faster than a Growler or a Viper
"It can't out-climb the competition" - Yes it can. An F-16 cant keep up with it's rate of climb.
"It has a short range, eats fuel like a hog" - it has enough range to fulfill it's mission.
"It cannot attain super sonic when fully loaded w/fuel & weapons" - Just like any other fighter. Luckily, it can carry a full load internally AND sustain supersonic flight.
"When the engine fails, you lose the airplane" - just laughable.
"It lands tooo fast for carrier ops" - No, the carrier is too slow.
"The Marine version, after one VTOL episode, has to refuel" - It does not VTOL, it STOVLs, which allows it to carry a lot more fuel than VTOL.

on Mar 15, 2017

So, the WunderCraft doesn't need to out-perform the competition. A potential foe will just need to have glossy brochures mailed to them and then we just sit back while they laugh themselves to death. Worth spending that Trillion dollars then.

on Mar 15, 2017

"It can't out-run the competition" => it can actually, since others fighter carry weapon externally their speed is reduced alot when loaded with weapon unlike F-35. Furthermore, F-35 rely more on ambush tactic more than speed since it is a stealth aircraft
"It can't out-climb the competition" => F-35 subsonic acceleration is better than F-16 , F-18 , F-14 as well as the Eastern fighter such as Su-27, Su-35 so it will in fact out climb all of them ( not that it really need to )
"It has a short range, eats fuel like a hog" => F-35 combat radius is much much better than F-16 , F-15C , Typhoon , Rafale , Gripen , F-18
"It cannot attain super sonic when fully loaded w/fuel & weapons" => F-35 can achieve maximum speed even when loaded with internal weapons, if you talking about external load, an F-16 or Su-27 with full external load won't reach supersonic either

"The Marine version, after one VTOL episode, has to refuel" => no it didn't , you made that up

on Mar 17, 2017

""It has a short range, eats fuel like a hog" => F-35 combat radius is much much better than F-16 , F-15C , Typhoon , Rafale , Gripen , F-18"
=> A Rafale can just fly about 4300km (3x2000L drop tanks+2x1050L conformal) with 2 underbelly Meteor and 2 wingtip Mica IR, it stills has room for 4 TER so let's say a total of 8 Meteors and 8 Mica-IR
=> Rafale is stealthier than F-35 (not only passive stealth and not only over X/S-band), no problem to have the payload's RCS "disappear"
=> Cool if the F-35 flies supersonic : a Mach 1.7 F-22 can be locked from 270-285km/frontal and 430-450km/rear with Rafale's FORMER OSF! F-35 being much hotter... Range reduces if it's subsonic but stills impressive (90-95km/front, 145-155km/rear). No datas for the new OSF (classified).

""It can't out-run the competition" => it can actually, since others fighter carry weapon externally their speed is reduced alot when loaded with weapon unlike F-35. Furthermore,"
=> A2A payload is not so heavy, you just drop subsonic big tanks if things heathen... F-35 won't and any way, due to intolerable vibrations in transsonic area even limited at 4.3G, even a A-7 is more likely to outmanoeuvre any missile!

""It can't out-climb the competition" => F-35 subsonic acceleration is better than F-16 , F-18 , F-14 as well as the Eastern fighter such as Su-27, Su-35 so it will in fact out climb all of them ( not that it really need to )"
=> With M88-9, Rafale has better T/W ratio than F-15 ;)
Max sustained speed is now Mach2+, max peak speed is Mach2.2, super-cruise has also risen, any way, ANY jet fighter rarely pushes this way, only if a rapid short range interception has to be done and... It makes you very IR visible, thus, the smallest you are, but the air friction only is terrible for IR signature in supersonic=> You aren't stealth!

""It cannot attain super sonic when fully loaded w/fuel & weapons" => F-35 can achieve "
=> BUT can't eject an AMRAAM at +550kts (1000km/h)!!!! Screwed!

Anyway, F-35 is only stealth from the front and over X/S-band while Rafale can fly just over a S-300 battery, F-35 has no IR-stealth too, when we'll have to down the 100 F-35 they are selling to Turkish Muslim Brotherhood (AKP), it'll be easy, now it's a problem for Greece and Bulgaria.
As Rafale is the only one capable to launch a satellite on a 800km orbit, we must release space weaponry ASAP. I think some re-entry cone containing a few small missile taking advantage of the ballistic speed, using Nostradamus radar to locate where the missiles will re-enter then let their seekers go... Having a kinetic strike system and well, Goldeneye, seems the way to go too...
I don't really see how to protect our friends in south-eastern Europe. Gosh, Erdolf let 320,000 jihadists enter Syria. And what he's doing to Turkish Kurdish cities! This is ethnic cleansing, well not to say genocide but we're not far!

Moreover, as LM or Washington can ground any F-35 and if we consider how they have tried to undermine the EU, we MUST ban F-35 from EU use. This is a breach of security, not to say treason and anyway, it doesn't complies with new environmental laws about noise and if F-35 is a 5th gen "fighter", Rafale is 5.5th gen.
Rafale is no match for both F-35 and F-22, Meteor is no match for AMRAAM, Mica-IR is no match for Sidewinder and Rafale is cheaper so why bother? US DoS pressures like for Norway? Maybe the same scheme they did for F-104?
F-35 is the new F-104 but... F-104 was cheap!
We can even adapt STOLV aircraft carriers as STOBARs so even F-35B is useless.
Actually, only Rafale can save the USAF/USN/USMC

on Mar 31, 2017

Sorry, DTRT, but I'm old enough that I remember hearing your argument first made for producing the F-4 with no gun. Guns are always an anachronism until the pilot needs them. Remind me when guns became irrelevant to ground attack/close support and be sure to pass that along to the Army and Marines on the ground in Afghanistan.

on Mar 13, 2017

From late in the interview: "It's easy to criticize. The easiest thing in the world is to point to something you don't like; you don't know, and say it doesn't work." I'll listen to the subject matter expert, but thanks for sharing.

on Mar 14, 2017

No gun. How cute. :-D

on Mar 15, 2017

1) F-35A has 25 mm gun, F-35B/C use gun pod
2) All F-35 version can carry missiles outboard without any wing modification
3) F-35 can maintain Mach 1.2 without reheat which is supercruise by definition
4) F-35 can shoot moving targets.That basically what the added terminal sensor on SDB II and LJDAM are for
5) F-35 is even more stealthy than F-22

on Mar 14, 2017

The dog is the colonel's bread and butter. If you question him tooo carefully, he will sic the dog's friends on you.

on Mar 12, 2017

Critics of the F-35 say it is not a dog fighter like the F-15C. With today's missiles and radar The F-35 shoots down the fourth generation opponent and never gets within 30 miles. The job of dog fighting is unloaded onto the missile. True, the Navy was premature with the F-4 and Sparrow and the F-14 and Phoenix, but that was forty years ago.

on Mar 13, 2017

I heard this first hand fifty not forty years ago and it was wrong then and its wrong now. You cannot strafe with a missile. You cannot dogfight with a missile when you are pounced on by the enemy. They don't work close in no matter what the military industrial complex says. Ask any real fighter pilot whether he would still prefer a gun for the mission of the F-35 given that it can't shoot and can't carry a significant load of anything except the B.S. that still sells it.

on Mar 13, 2017

The US military has not engaged in a gun-battle "dogfight" in over 26 years, and damned few of them in the quarter century before that. Short range high off-boresight AAMs can take out bogeys close in, but most will be taken out BVR in any case.

on Mar 13, 2017

The US hasn't fought against anyone with any type of halfway Air Force in almost 40 years so you have no clue what type of engagements they will get in. The generals and admirals said dogfighting was over with in the 50's. Why have Top Gun or agressor squadrons then.

on Mar 13, 2017

The last major air conflicts were Desert Storm & the 1982 Lebanon war between the Israelis & the Syrians. Zero gun dogfights. The day of the gun as a primary or even a secondary A-A weapon is decades in the past.

on Mar 13, 2017

My. The way Top Gun (1986) portrayed the fighter jet, I thought that was their only purpose.

on Mar 17, 2017

But as now a single pod make a Su-24 disappear from the radars of an Aegis frigate.

"but most will be taken out BVR in any case."
=> Air to air weapons effectiveness
defenseissues.net/2013/06/15/air-to-air-weapons-effectiveness/
Note that a big drawback US aircraft have with their guns is that, if Gatling are good in A2G, they're far to be great in A2A as they need 0.6s to begin to turn ;) A revolver canon will fire immediately. It'll take several 20mm shells to down a plane. A single 30mm will be enough and has more range. Now there are 30mm @2500RPM for only 120kg... Mhhhh, return of the turrets doing both a strike but also a CIWS job? Elongated barrels may be interesting too, look, the 40mm (200RPM only) on new French IFV shot a flechette to 40km!

Quality and quantity :
defenseissues.net/2013/06/08/quality-and-quantity/
It's what people like you don't get.
Actually, never thought bout let's say some kind of re-creation of the Do-335, maybe built in India to cost less than $5M. It may be equiped with an IRST, 12 Iris-T costing less than 2 AMRAAM, using composites, it'd be very light and fast, surely +900km/h, maybe near 1000, you build 26 for the price of 1 F-35...For the same price USA buys 1350 F-35, you end with 35100 Do-335NG and 421,200 missiles... Same price of procurement, surely not to use and... How would you repel an attack of 35000 aircraft?
Quality or quantity?

on Mar 13, 2017

The last two gun kills were made by A-10s in 1991. In each case the victim was a helicopter (a Bo-105 and an Mi-8). Iran and Iraq each got a few gun kills during their long conflict, but very few. In fact, since 1980 you're as likely to score a kill with a bomb or CFIT as with a gun. Read this report: csbaonline.org/uploads/documents/Air-to-Air-Report-.pdf (hyperlinks not allowed so you'll have to copy and paste).

on Mar 17, 2017

Last gun kill occurred a few days ago : a jihadist has downed a Syrian Mig-23 with his AK-47, just a bullet in the engine.
Now, guns are very useful in air to ground but, let's think about facts :
Can we really talk about air battles when you ended with well maintained and filled with ECM etc western fighters in huge numbers facing Serbian or Iraqi decades old aircraft poorly maintained in little numbers, barely flying without RWR and pilots flying 20h/year or less...

Now everybody has stealth and you can even equip a Mig-21 and you can make radars turn bonkers with hundreds of ghost echoes, it smells the old school IR missiles and have to finish with the gun, so...

on Mar 12, 2017

I used to live across the street from a guy who flew Guppies (aka Pregnant Guppy aka AD-4W). He thought it a great airplane. Most people think what they are flying is great. Most people think the program they are working on is great. If they don't something is REALLY wrong.

Thus folks working on or flying the F-35 are very likely to think highly of it. That is not to suggest they are lying or even wrong. Rather it is an indication nothing is really wrong as the most didactic opponents believe.

Much of the current publicity problems of the F-35 are rooted in many years of misrepresentations, development troubles, and lies about them, by the people running the program in the period 2001-2013.

So the fact that the program is finally succeeding is obfuscated by past dissembling.

The twaddle pumped out by some supporters for the last 15 years has discredited people who speak for it now.

The program is essentially 8 years behind schedule. The airplane still has the type of problems that programs usually have at this stage of development. The program is way over cost and development is still far short of what was promised.

Attempts to claim the program is on schedule and at costs by setting the start date for determining those "facts" forward from the Early Bush administration to the very late Obama administration at best only discredit those making the assertion, and at worst "prove" to opponents that the lies continue.

The F-35 much reminds me of the F-111. The first decade of what became a very accomplished attack aircraft were a tale of woe denied by lies and punctuated by the disastrous Combat Lancer deployment.

By the time the airplane became a success no one except it's crews and the North Vietnamese noticed.

So I listen to a guy with a career investment in the airplane and who clearly likes it touting his controversial mount to a group of awed editors.

I have no reason to doubt the Lt. Col. And every reason to expect his enthusiasm. Lt. Peister was proud of being able to muscle his Guppy around the sky and on to the carrier.

I certainly hope Lt. Col. David Berke is right. The problem is that so many years of lies and blatant propaganda have preceded him that his credibility concerning the F-35 is automatically if unjustly in question.

The F-35 still has problems and it will take facts, not assertions, to prove it is a viable airplane.

The problems will be overcome I am certain. When the airplane sees combat its reputation will be made.

At this point the F-35s most rabid supporters and not its most rabid detractors are the biggest problem it faces. They sound the same now as they did when the program was in deep doodoo. They were wrong then, why should they expect to be seen differently now? Detractors are headed for the same situation unless they start adjusting their assessments to fit demonstrable facts.

The airplanes are flying in many hands and every exaggeration is going to be compared with reality. Yet until actual combat occurs, claims based upon canned exercises must be be accompanied by detailed information on how the exercises were framed and scored.

Otherwise given past lies why should they be trusted?

Fantastic claims were made by the USAF about the utter destruction of Serbian forces in the Balkans which turned out to be utter bull stuffings when the wreckage was counted. The claims fit what was expected from tests and exercise scores. . .

on Mar 12, 2017

5 years, not 8 as the original F-35B IOC was to be 2010 and the F-35A was to be 2011. Also, their IOCs were for pre-SDD blocks (ie Block 2B/3i) and only the F-35C was to IOC with Final SDD Block (ie Block 3F).

on Mar 12, 2017

Thanks Mark, I appreciate your comments. I will always be honest and candid about the F-35 program and welcome any questions about it...part of why I was on the podcast. Hopefully it was beneficial to you and the other listeners.

on Mar 13, 2017

Therefore, we should welcome your negative thoughts about it.

on Mar 12, 2017

Mark - there you go yet again with your pathetically lame cynical spinning, and inventing your usual raft of "alternative facts".

There was never any "lying" about the F-35 program. It was optimistically planned in the early going, for sure .... but optimism does not equal lying. The program was probably not as well managed as it should have been in the early going, with unrealistic customer expectations driving the boat ... but by 2012 the management problems were fixed, the program was re-baselined, and it has been on schedule and under budget, with required quality, ever since.

The F-35 development program always was an unprecedented massive undertaking, with emerging technology being developed that never, ever existed before with respect to its most transformational quality - that of fifth generation situational awareness and sensor fusion. And the F-35 was not just one massively advanced and transformational aircraft system, but three such systems.

Nearly all of my three-going-on-four decades of military and commercial professional experience has been in the area of practice known as professional project management. About 95% of all the people in the world who call themselves "project managers" are untrained and virtually clueless about the science and professional practice of how to manage projects to achieve requirements, but they're given the title anyway. That's just a fact of life. But when such untrained PMs do manage to actually deliver a project to spec in all respects, it is more often than not either a random lucky occurrence, or is actually a misrepresentation, claiming to have met all scope, schedule, quality, or budget requirements when in fact corners were cut somewhere.

Every customer in the world wants their project delivered with maximum quality, minimum cost, and minimum schedule, with no cuts in scope. But in reality, you can't have it all.

With no change in scope, if you increase quality requirements, the cost goes up and schedule goes long. Reduce the budget, and delivered quality goes down, and the schedule more than likely goes long. Shorten the schedule, and both the cost goes up and the quality goes down.

But in the real world, the scope ALWAYS CHANGES. There is no such thing as a significant project that doesn't change from start to finish.

Construction is one of the oldest professions to adopt modern project management science going back most of a century ago or more. Yet today in the 21st century, with all the fancy computer planning and monitoring tools that we have, about 85% of all construction projects still fail to meet schedule requirements ... and also fail to meet budgeted costs without cutting project scope.

Well, the F-35 program began with only the barest notion of what it would take to create a highly integrated stealthy attack aircraft and battle management system, with sensor fusion, and multi-platform communications of battle data. It took longer to create than anybody thought it would in 2001 when the developmental contract was issued to LM. And it cost more than the early "blue sky" estimates.

But the F-35 program never cut scope, and never cut corners, and has in fact delivered the required performance. But it took longer and cost more.

Everything looks easy when you don't know what you're talking about .... and Mark, you clearly don't know what you're talking about in your anti-F-35 diatribes.

on Mar 13, 2017

@DTRT; It is time that you declared your interest conflict.

on Mar 13, 2017

You first.

on Mar 14, 2017

I've answered that question many times. I have never had any relationship, financial or otherwise, with any defense firm or any of their suppliers.

I DID serve six years honorably in the US Navy, on submarines, doing things that we still cannot talk about 40 years later. I love my country and I love the people who defend her, including close family members now in service, and those who served before ... and I want every single one of them serving today and tomorrow to have the finest weapons the American taxpayer - the world's richest taxpayers, by the way - can afford to give them while they protect us 24/7/365 forever from the bad guys.

on Mar 20, 2017

"I DID serve six years honorably in the US Navy, on submarines"
=> Well, I clearly think that F-35 would surely have more potential as a submarine while, as an aircraft, there is really really nothing outstanding, maybe fitting the "caterpillar drive" like on Red October sub would have potential to attack aircraft carrier.

" I love my country and I love the people who defend her, including close family members now in service, and those who served before ... and I want every single one of them serving today and tomorrow to have the finest weapons the American taxpayer - the world's richest taxpayers, by the way - can afford to give them while they protect us 24/7/365 forever from the bad guys."
=> So you want Rafale! No problem! They'll be built in the USA.
F-35 has really nothing outstanding in fact : it's inferior on anything to Rafale and could get owned by anything, even a modernised Mig-21 : you just need 2-3 pods added. Gosh, have you red something serious like the DOT&E report?
Another point : the brasses that get strangely, once retired, by Military Industrial Complex with very high salaries are something more than common...

on Mar 13, 2017

DTRT It's interesting to read your comments to Mark. I have to say I got a completely different impression from his post. I'm a fan of F-35 in that I expect it to be a very effective system eventually, so I have no axe to grind. I thought Mark's statements were fair, balanced and reasonable. Just as I found your comments about project management very enlightening.

on Mar 14, 2017

GlennR - thanks but Mark defamed everyone associated with the F-35 program when he claimed they flat out lied their way through the project. Go back and read that part.

It's a typical cynic/troll statement. Totally not true.

Mark also defames Lt. Col. Berke by claiming that he only says positive things about the F-35 because he earns a paycheck flying it. That also is a typical troll comment, and again, a complete slur and defamation of Col. Berke and everyone else who flies, maintains, integrates with, or commands the F-35s.

I find such commentary outrageous and treasonous, and I don't care if it is sour old coot like Mark Lincoln or not, it's still outrageous and treasonous.

on Mar 13, 2017

To summarize, the prime rule of development contracting is you can have it good, fast, or cheap. Pick one.

on Mar 14, 2017

MNice ... yes, that's the more common statement ... but it neglects the "it" part, which is "scope". As I've witnessed other managers do countless times over the decades, the scope part can and is often gamed. Or as often said, the contractor "cuts corners" delivering less scope, or quality of scope, than promised in order to meet the other requirements. Or as some say, "with low bid, you get what you pay for" ... except many times you don't even get low bid quality.

on Mar 14, 2017

Two words: definition of first word is "an intact adult male of the species Bos taurus.
"professional project management"? Must have forgotten his earlier confession of being a deck-hand on a submarine.

on Mar 12, 2017

"With today's missiles and radar The F-35 shoots down the fourth generation opponent and never gets within 30 miles."

With the Chinese J-20 becoming operational how do the numbers look?

A meeting engagement within visual range and the F-35 switches to Fox 2, oh. Well it's Guns, Guns, Guns. Damn, a miss . . .

"That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What the f. . . are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?"
- Private Hudson. Ailens

on Mar 12, 2017

Always critical to train for the visual fight...one of several reasons why we still train to it so much. Also, Aliens was awesome.

on Mar 13, 2017

Mark Lincoln: "With the Chinese J-20 becoming operational how do the numbers look?"

The numbers look a damned sight better for the F-35 than they do for any gen 4 airplane. The Gen 4 aircraft have the same problem with the J-20 that Chinese Gen 4 aircraft have with the F-35.

on Mar 16, 2017

Mark,

The F35A has a gun.

The likelihood of Marine F35Bs facing off against J20s is very low. Besides, these 1v1 comparisons just don't hold water because this is not how US forces train to fight. If the F35 runs out of weapons it will quarterback the fight for other air assets that can still shoot. This has been discussed in many articles and is how the F22s and F35s have trained in Red Flag.

Lastly, please provide stats on air to air kills since Vietnam showing the percentage that were achieved using guns. I'm sure it will clarify how little use it is in the age of missiles.

on Mar 20, 2017

"With the Chinese J-20 becoming operational how do the numbers look?"
=> Rafale will have the same problem they have with F-22 and F-35 : the J-20 builder will brag about outstanding performances and having won while actually, they lost. And for sure : Rafale is Gen.5.5, not Gen.5

on Mar 13, 2017

Yes I am farthest away from the F35; it doesn't float my boat. I recall Colonel William Franklin Guss, USMC: “1st Marine shoot down MiG.” It was Korea and Guss was flying a propeller Corsair. This experience refutes the argument that 5th generation F-35 is superior to 4th generation F-22, a specious argument. Pay attention: the F-35 is just another TARGET for the F-22. Sell the F35 to foreign countries so Lockheed doesn't endure a major loss, but upgrade and start again manufacturing the far superior F-22.

on Mar 13, 2017

FYI the F-22 is a 5th Generation fighter not 4th. The 5th generation nomenclature was adopted when stealth was added as a feature of modern fighter aircraft. The F117 was attack only. The F-22 was the 1st 5th generation fighter.

on Mar 13, 2017

The F-22 is only fifth gen in the sense that it is stealthy ... but it is in no way fifth gen in the way that the F-35 is. Fifth gen is not just stealth. Stealth is a minimum requirement, just like having four wheels is the minimum requirement for an operable car, but having'em doesn't make it a race car.

on Mar 13, 2017

Stealth is hypothetical.

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