The introduction of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the U.S. Military’s fifth generation fighter jet, has been mired with criticism and delays. Five months after it was tested in a dogfight against an F-16D Block 40, the outcome of the test has finally surfaced.
According the test pilot, the F-35 was woefully ill-equipped to fight the older and aerodynamically disadvantaged F-16. When the pilot attempted to get the F-16 in his sights, the F-35 would move too slowly to execute the attack. The pilot wrote in a brief that the F-35’s maneuverability was so bad that he didn’t think it should be used for dogfighting.
The pilot’s helmet was also too large for the cockpit, preventing the pilot from seeing the F-16 sneak up on him.
The US has spent $1.5 trillion developing this fighter jet over the last decade, and every step of the way has provided evidence that the jet isn’t up to snuff.
The guys over at Foxtrot Alpha say it best:
The fact that the F-35 is maybe not really a good fighter at all is reminiscent of the question that we’ve been asking for years — if you don’t really need competitive maneuverability, than why do we need a fighter at all?