Thursday, December 19, 2013

The F-35 and the "dogfight" question

I see War is Boring is at it again, this time questioning the abilities of the F-35 in a "dogfight".

It's an interesting attempt to brand the F-35 as inferior to the F-22 while making it clear the F-35 isn't intended to be the F-22 ... or something.

Take this paragraph:
By contrast, there are troubling questions as to how well the F-35 would fare against the new foreign fighters. While the F-35 has air-to-air sensors and can carry air-to-air missiles, it does not have the kinematic performance of the F-22. It’s simply sluggish in comparison.
Well, yeah ... so are most of the fighter aircraft in the world, "in comparison".  And, as they attempt to point out in the article, the F-35 is a Joint STRIKE Fighter.

However, the critics have also said that what we should really be doing is buying more F-18s, remember?  And they will do well against whatever is out there, or so the argument goes.

So what does the F-35 remind pilots of?
U.S. military test pilots say the JSF is similar to the Boeing F/A-18C in speed and maneuverability.
Oh.  Gee, given the critics, I'd think that would be a plus. And it has what else?
The F-35 does have integrated avionics—in some ways more advanced than even the Raptor’s ...
And? Oh yeah, stealth.

So maybe, just maybe, it will be the plane getting the first shot, huh?

Obviously the F-35 isn't an air superiority weapon, but will it be able to defend itself?  Yes.  Will it be able to help establish air superiority?  Most likely, yes:
“You have to have the F-35 to augment the F-22 to do the air superiority fight at the beginning of a high-end conflict to survive against the fifth-generation threats we believe will be in the world at that point in time,” Welsh says. 
 Bingo. That's the point of the net-centric, information sharing advanced capabilities the 5th gen aircraft share.

The F-35 is not a dogfighter, but then we don't want the F-22 to be one either.  We want them to be "first shot, one shot, fight over" aircraft.  Working together, there's no reason they can't be.  And that's Gen. Welsh's point.



  1. So, what are you talking about Dogfight or BVR?

    What model of F-35? with internal cannon? external gun pod? with exterior racks for the Aim-9X?

    U.S. military test pilots say the JSF is similar to the Boeing F/A-18C in speed and maneuverability…

    Again, wich version? in clean configuration or with all the external pods I just mentioned? because the F-35B/C will need it for dogfigh, even the F-35A will need the external racks for the Aim-9X

    If your point is to prove that the F-35 will never be in a close range dogfight that’s a different story.

    1. there hasn't been a close range dogfight since 1972.

    2. Falklands/Malvinas 1982,Beeka valley 1982,Several dogfights between F-14s and Libyan aircraft in the 1980s,Iran-Iraq war,Gulf War,over Bosnia in the 1990s,Ethiopia are a big liar...

  2. If there won't be any more dogfhights in the future, why do they need to carry the gun pod ant the Aim-9X? Just to attack helicopters? That,s a very expensive way to do it.

  3. The F-35 maneavering like an F-18C?
    I wanna see it...

  4. Add the external gun pod and the racks and Aim-9X to the F-35 and you will obtain this for Dogfight... just way more expensive

  5. Regarding the F-35s Maneuverability.

    From the Begining the requirement for Lockheed was to combine the maneuvering charactaristics of America's 2 best 4th gen dogfighters
    "One of the challenges we had was to make an airplane that had the low speed characteristics of the Hornet and the high speed of an F-16.

    The Hornet can fly slow extremely well and get to high angles of attack and point the nose all around. The F-16 can’t do that as well, but the F-16 can fly extremely fast and can recover energy quickly. The Hornet does not do that very well. Once they get into an energy deficit, it’s hard for them to recover because of the low thrust to weight ratio and the aerodynamic penalty of sensors and weapons in the airstream.

    The F-35 incorporates the best of both in flying qualities: it will fly slowly at high angles of attack; it can fly supersonic for extended periods of time; and it regains energy quickly because of its large engine."

    and now in testing, Pilots who evaluate the aircraft are saying
    "Lt. Col. Derek J. O'Malley, commander, 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron.

    Borrowing some of the best features of the F-16, F-18, A-10, and the hovering Marine Corps Harrier, the F-35 is fast, stealthy, and packs a punch.

    "Fantastic to fly, very powerful, very maneuverable, easy to handle," Lt. Col O'Malley said.