Lockheed Martin’s F-35 humiliated by aircraft from 80s
The five-page brief written by an unnamed test pilot reveals that the expensive project suffers from serious design flaws that result in energy loss and limited maneuverability in dogfights.
According to the document obtained by War Is Boring, in a test that was conducted on January 14, near the Edwards Air Force Base in California, two F-35A and F16D fighter jets took on each other in a mock air battle.
The dogfight was specifically designed to test F35’s effectiveness in a close-range air battle, where the modern aircraft would perform extreme maneuvers in order to target and “shoot down” the F-16 whose pilot was assigned to evade the attack and kill the JSF.
However, things didn’t go as planned and the F-16, despite carrying extra fuel tanks to intentionally limit its maneuverability, came out victorious and humiliated the modern fighter in almost all categories.
In an instance where the F-35 fighter was able to defeat its aging opponent, it lost much more energy than expected as a result of maneuvers exercised by the pilot.
The cockpit also had a faulty design and limited the pilot’s viewing range which let the F-16 to sneak up on the F-35 from behind, without being spotted soon enough.
The extent of the problems with the fancy fighter jet has been so vast that even American military officials could not hide their disappointment.
US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James stated earlier this week that the JSF is costing way more money than they had “ever imagined possible.”
“People believed we could go faster, cheaper, better” but that strategy “has not worked as well as we hoped and that’s probably the understatement of the day,” Secretary James added.
F-35, a developing project by Lockheed Martin Corp that has been going on for fifteen years, is said to be the highest costing weapon in the history of the United States military with a fleet of over 2400 units planned to be manufactured with an estimated cost of over $400 billion.
The Pentagon has also set aside another $1 trillion to maintain and operate the Joint Strike Fighter program over the course of its lifetime, as announced by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).