After the results of the F-35 vs. F-16 dogfight were released, the military community responded with disappointment and outrage. Why would we spend $1.5 trillion developing a fighter jet that couldn’t hold its own against the very aircraft it was replacing?
The Joint Program Office has since responded to this outcry. Apparently, the F-35 was never designed to be a dogfighter, but a long-range aircraft optimized for stealth. Here’s what the JPO had to say on the official F-35 website:
While the dogfighting scenario was successful in showing the ability of the F-35 to maneuver to the edge of its limits without exceeding them, and handle in a positive and predictable manner, the interpretation of the scenario results could be misleading. The F-35’s technology is designed to engage, shoot, and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual “dogfighting” situations.
The JPO also stated that the F-35 has won plenty of times against the F-16 in other scenarios.
War is Boring, the blog that originally broke the story of the F-35’s incompetence, has struck back by publishing the test pilot’s report in full on the website. Read ’em and weep, JPO.