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Bash the F-35 thred.


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On 4/20/2018 at 1:15 PM, Mighty_Zuk said:

I think this is bigger news than it seems to be. A hybrid of F-35 and F-22? They're almost definitely talking about a twin engine derivative. If that's true, there's no way it's just for Japan. It could mean a lot for the USAF, as they need more F-22 than they have right now, but the production is closed. This could be a way to get more F-22.


On 4/20/2018 at 11:09 PM, Sturgeon said:


I also think there are bigger implications here. However, what the USAF really needs is not more F-22s, but an F-22 replacement.


A bit late on this, but I could see a useful niche in the future export market (for very close friends of the US, such as Japan, Canada, Australia, etc.) for a "5.5th" generation fighter.


Also this is probably a window into the horrible future where there's a whole bunch of different fighter generations like 5.5, 5.75, 5.9, 5.5+ (and probably a 4.99++ or something after Boeing creates the EFA-18J to sell to people who don't want the latest lockmart product. Now with pylons aligned to the airflow!)

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5 hours ago, Collimatrix said:

I'm dubious.



When stealth aircraft are flown around casually, they wear devices that increase their RCS dramatically.  These are corner reflectors or Luneburg lenses.



Not only do these devices obfuscate the RCS of the stealth aircraft when it is clean, they also allow it to show up on civilian air traffic control radar, which is a useful safety consideration.

Even assuming that passive radar would be a helpful guide to the RCS of the aircraft, why wouldn't it be thrown off by these measures?

Or massive drop tanks and external stores as well, like we see with the F-22 fairly often on casual deployment.


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The guy who's working on the operational performance comparison of US strike fighters weighs in on the F-35's design priorities:


Collimatrix asked:

I am curious if you would be willing to make a post giving your interpretation of the design priorities and general capabilities of the F-35.

When I read your first work in this thread, I had come away with the following impression of the F-35:

-The F-35 doesn't compare so well to the best fourth gen fighters in a guns only dogfight if both are clean and at half fuel.

-Part of this is because the F-35 carries a ridiculous amount of fuel, and because it has internal weapons bays.  If the two fighters are given equal internal fuel endurance, and an actual air to air weapon load, the F-35 quickly pulls ahead.

-Still, all those weapons bays and all that fuel have to fit somewhere.  The F-35 is a rather stubby, tubby plane with a shape that works very well for stealth and reasonably well for subsonic flight efficiency.  However, the F-35 has somewhat unavoidably high wave drag because it just isn't that long and pointy, so its transonic and supersonic performance are less impressive.

I was curious if you might confirm or dispel those general conclusions, and what your overall take on the F-35's aerodynamic priorities is.


Spurts replied:


The F-35A is the most "empty" fighter aircraft... possibly ever. With an empty weight of 29,300 lb and a total internal load of 23,500lb (weapons and fuel) and having it's length dictated by the LHA/LHD elevators, it certainly had to make concessions.

Wave drag can be thought at a very high level as fundamentally coming from Area Rule and Fineness Ratio. 

The FR is where the F-35 suffers compared to the F-22 (as a directly applicable example). They have similar body width yet the F-35 is a dozen feet shorter. Yet, despite being a dozen feet shorter with a similar body width and shorter wingspan the F-35A manages to have about 2,200lb MORE internal carriage (between fuel and weapons) because it only has a single engine to deal with.

Now, the Area Rule is how smoothly the cross section increases down the length of the plane. Look closely at the F-35A. As the peak of the canopy blends back toward the fuselage the pointed intakes begin. Once the intakes meet the center body the bumps for the A-G weapons bay begins. Once those bumps reach their peak the wing begins. Follow this thought process as you look at the side and bottom views of the F-35A and you will see that it appears to have near flawless area ruling. Look at the bottom. Why doesn't it have a flat bottom like the F-22? It would be cheaper to manufacture and make it roomier in the weapons bays right? Instead it looks like a river coursing over rocks. The lower surface is carefully sculpted. 

This is why an F-35A can effortlessly exceed 1.6M if the pilot chose to ignore the limits. Evidence of this? The F-35C has been taken to 1.6M. It has the same engine. It has a much larger wing that contributes to a poorer wave drag (as evidenced by the transonic acceleration times). If the same engine can push the plane with much more wave drag to 1.6M then it can easily push the F-35A beyond that. Also, the F-35C still has enough "oomph" to break Mach 1 with six one-ton JDAMs and four A-A missiles. How many navy planes can even carry that load? (F-35C only) How many fighter aircraft in the world can even carry that load? (F-35A, F-35C, F-15E) And how many of those are single engine? (F-35A/C only)

The design priorities of the F-35 are to be the perfect plane for the actual missions the F-16 and F/A-18 do in real life. Even ignoring the stealth and systems side of it, just looking purely at payload and performance, it exceeds the capabilities of the teen-series by far.

A clean F-16 is a hotrod, but it is also useless. Send it out on a CAP mission and it sees an increase in form drag and weight from missiles, pylons, fuel tanks, and maybe ECM gear. Send it out for a strike mission and it sees a bigger increase in form drag and weight from bombs and targeting pods in addition to the missiles, pylons, fuel tanks, and ECM gear.

A clean F-35 is not quite as much of a hotrod. Send it out on a CAP mission and it sees the weight of the missiles, no form drag. Send it out on the strike mission and it sees the weight of the bombs, no form drag. No pylon drag, no fuel tank drag, no ECM drag, no targeting pod drag. 

Before you even add in the VLO properties, the F-35 is one of the finest warplanes ever designed.

As to the F-16 "dogfight", I will get to that later.

*EDIT* Now it's later. The only people who believe the F-35 lost a dogfight to an F-16D with two empty gas tanks are those who only read the hit pieces and not the test pilots report on the encounter, that was attached to at least one of the hit pieces. 

The test was a CLAW test of the AoA region between 20 and 25 degrees AoA. The F-35 in question was not 3F or even unrestricted 3i. What the test pilot commented can best be summed up in a few points.

1. The CLAW begins blending from low AoA logic to high AoA logic in the 20-25 degree region. This should be increased to 35 AoA as at 25 AoA the F-35 still flies as if its at low AoA.
2. At the specified test AoA, the F-35 cannot generate sufficient rate to achieve or maintain an offensive position on the F-16 target. The specified AoA also does not allow sufficient energy retention.
3. Overall control responsiveness felt sluggish, particularly in pitch and yaw. Previous flight tests on later CLAW builds (remember, test was not done using latest CLAW in test at teh time) already demonstrated the safe use of more rapid control deflections.

So to further summarize: Open up and adjust the CLAW, don't fight at 20-25 AoA.

Recall Dolby Hanche talking about how he can rake the nose hard in an F-35 to get angular position and then accelerate quickly to recover the lost energy, an acceleration he states the F-16 would have to drop it's nose to achieve.


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Pharaoh, let my people go?




But seriously, I was commenting on the whole death spiral is coming any day now meme.


I think so long as sustainment costs and logistical issues can be kept under control the f35 is going to be a great combat aircraft.


Honestly, Lockheed needs to hire the guy colli quoted in his posts to handle their PR and Promotional work. To put it mildly, what he said and how he said it there is a bunch more convincing and confidence inspiring than the stuff Lockheed itself seems to put out.


I fully admit that up until fairly recently I fully bought into the whole f35 is a gold plated school bus with wings 3 cylinder geo metro engine and stealth shaping that is going to bankrupt the country and make our military so weak the Swiss guard could fly into DC on a Thursday and have us officially surrendering before the Simpsons is on Sunday evening bullshit.


And a huge part of it was the messaging being put out there by Lockheed and the people trying to tell us it was a good choice.


If they'd have had this guy from Colli's post get up and say what he said there 8 years ago, there wouldn't be as much fatalistic the f35 is going to cause the fall of the western world histrionics as we see now.


Unfortunately, just like we saw with the air show performance awhile ago, it's way too late to change the minds of quite a few people.


I still think the x32 was better though, and everyone knows that the yf23 lost for being too good heh.

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Israel is the first country to have used the U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter in combat, the Israeli air force chief said on Tuesday in remarks carried by the military’s official Twitter account.


Local media further quoted Major-General Amikam Norkin as saying in a speech to the chiefs of 20 foreign air forces convening in Israel: “We are flying the F-35 all over the Middle East and have already attacked twice on two different fronts”.



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These two have more information (I think Haaretz were the first to report on this):





Norkin presented images of the F-35 over Beirut, Lebanon, and said that the stealth fighter did not participate in the most recent strike in Syria but did in two previous ones.


This one is more Syria related but still interesting:


The IAF commander also said that Iran fired 32 rockets at Israel during the flare up this month. According to him, four rockets were intercepted by Israel and the rest landed outside of Israeli territory, and more than 100 surface-to-air missiles were fired at Israeli jets over Syria.






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  • 2 weeks later...





Britain's most advanced jets touch down on home soil


The first of Britain's next-generation fighter jets have arrived home two months ahead of schedule in a major milestone for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

The first four of Britain’s new cutting-edge aircraft arrived into RAF Marham their new home in Norfolk. They touched down at 8.15pm after a trans-Atlantic flight from the United States, where Britain has more of the jets and 150 personnel in training.

The F-35s took off from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort earlier today and were flown by British pilots of the newly-reformed 617 Squadron, which was immortalised by the famous Dambusters’ raid of World War II.


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  • 2 weeks later...

June 21, 2018 at the American company Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth (Texas, USA) took place the ceremony of official rollout and transfer to the Turkish Air Force the first F-35A Lightning II fighter built for them - the aircraft with the serial number AT-01 (US Air Force number 15-5219, Turkish military number 18-0001). The plane made its first flight to Fort Worth on May 10, 2018.




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  • 3 weeks later...



POGO might be a bit upset about the recent A-10/F-35 close air support flyoff.


(although seriously there need to be more situations that involve more involved air defenses beyond "angry warband belt dumping PKs into the air")

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That's a goldmine. They've fallen hook line & sinker for the "flying tank" myth (remember, the same A-10 that was too squishy to be sent against iraqi forces in '91), but this is the best bit:


The very nature of combined-arms warfare means all arms mutually support one another so that the strength of one weapon makes up for the weakness of another. For example, an Army brigade combat team urgently needing close support will be employing artillery, mortars, rockets, and electronic countermeasure to suppress enemy air defenses in order to protect the aircraft providing them support. Additionally, if ground forces are doing their job correctly, they’ll be disrupting the enemy’s air-defense forces so much that their missile crews will be concentrating on evading attack rather than firing at our airplanes. It is difficult to aim any weapon properly when being shot at by a tank’s main gun. These ground-brigade measures to suppress air defenses, in turn, greatly increase the effectiveness of the close support that the brigade combat team needs.


Counterbattery fire will totally disrupt AA systems! There will totally be enough tanks running round the battlefield to keep every AA missile launcher distracted, but the troops still need air support before they're overrun!

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On 7/11/2018 at 12:31 AM, Krieger22 said:



POGO might be a bit upset about the recent A-10/F-35 close air support flyoff.


(although seriously there need to be more situations that involve more involved air defenses beyond "angry warband belt dumping PKs into the air")




Each A-10 carried two laser-guided 500-pound bombs, two captive-carry Maverick guided missiles, a pod of marking rockets, and only 400 30 mm cannon rounds. The F-35s carried a single 500-pound laser-guided bomb and 181 25 mm rounds, the most each plane could carry.





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