F-35 Lightning II (Stealth Joint Strike Fighter)
This post is related to this dramatic headline:
Military: Don't Worry if the F-35 “The Most-Expensive Fighter Jet Ever” Can't Dogfight
First this background on the plane:
· In 1997, Lockheed Martin was selected as one of two companies to participate in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) concept demonstration phase.
· In October 2001, the Lockheed Martin X-35 was chosen as the winner of the competition and teamed with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems to begin production.
· In December of 2006, the F-35 completed its first flight. Over the next few years, flight and ground test articles of all three variants rolled off the production line and began collecting test points.
· In February 2011, the first produced F-35 conducted its first flight with deliveries beginning that very same year.
Now, the source article of this post is from this story (ABC News – July 1, 2015), in part: The makers of one of the most expensive weapons programs in history went on the defensive today, saying a recent report on the F-35 fighter jet’s failures in old-school dogfighting against a decades-old, much cheaper legacy fighter “does not tell the whole story.”
The report in question, posted on the national security news website War Is Boring, was based on an internal five-page brief in which an F-35 test pilot wrote a scathing criticism of the next-generation jet’s abilities in a January dogfight with an F-16, one of the planes the F-35 is designed to replace.
Essentially, the pilot reportedly wrote, the F-35 was no match for the F-16 in close-up, high maneuvering fighting – whether the F-35 was trying to get the F-16 in its sights or trying to evade the F-16’s mock weapons.
“The F-35 was at a distinct energy disadvantage,” the test pilot reportedly wrote. “There were not compelling reasons to fight in this region.” Now the Pentagon’s F-35 Program Office did what the actual $138 million jet (GAO report) apparently couldn't, well, they are fighting back.
I conclude that it would be great to get the whole story, and ideally the whole truth and nothing but the truth … and not from members of congress protecting their aircraft production turf, either.
Related media coverage on this subject:
From PBS April 2010 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military-jan-june10-defense_04-21/
From Business Insider February 2014 http://www.businessinsider.com/f-35-cost-2014-2
From Think Progress July 2014 http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/07/09/3458101/f35-boondoggle-fail/
From the Fiscal Times February 2015 http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/02/02/Pentagon-s-Too-Big-Fail-F-35-Gets-Another-106-Billion
From the CT Mirror June 2015 http://ctmirror.org/2015/06/02/congress-money-for-f-35-program-may-come-with-strings-attached/