My Nephew was a Crew Chief on the F-35 while in the Marines. Currently out of the Service and going to College in engineering while working for a major Avionics developer for the F-35.
He has a lot of cool things to say about the F-35 garnered from the pilots who have been flying them and training in them. He has a lot of stuff he can't talk about - the aircraft is capable of things yet to transpire in air combat.
But the thing that seems to upset most folks about the aircraft is that it is *not* what "fighter" aircraft have ever been. It is not a dog fighter....that function is defunct in the 21st century air superiority gig. Basically, if the F-35 finds itself engaged in a dog fight it has already failed in it's mission and design.
That's kinda sad actually. The day of the fast, maneuverable, ballerina type dog fighter has passed into history. Aircraft capable of competing in this role, using the state of the art methods, weapons, and tactics, will gradually grow to resemble a beautiful fighter jet less and less very soon. They are now and will likely continue to progress into Fugly flying computers.
I don't actually have many problems with the aircraft itself - it's difficult to be objective at this point because it is still largely classified and unproven publicly - and will wait to judge it until it's fully in service and has carried out some missions. But I am concerned about the procurement debacle, the spiralling costs and the political situation surrounding it, which was a major departure from my preferred British military doctrine of working alongside the US without being dependent upon it. In other words, I'm not a big fan of the programme - as for the aircraft itself, I need to know more before judging it.
Perhaps this is a good opportunity - what don't you guys like about the actual airframe and systems?
I must admit that, whilst I am suspicious of completely relying on fire and forget or assuming that all air confrontations will happen at a distance, the guy in the video does seem to me to be on rather thin ice with his analysis of the technology and techniques of today's air combat picture.
Does nobody remember the speech at the start of the Top Gun classroom training?!
As an aside I suspect the aircraft itself is perfectly suited and probably excels in all the capabilities we will need it to, the procurement process and project management is typical Today of companies trying to ensure they outlast the project and don't end up further merged into obscurity through penny pinching defence contracts - it's all a product of it's own processes in my mind and every project will end up the same I'd imagine.
Mhhh, I do not like it since so much money went into a plane that seems to want to be a flying battle station that relies on shooting others on long distance while I see that concept already way outdated.
That task will almost surely be taken by drones very soon.
Also technically I have difficulties understanding the concept. Does it rely on best radar in the world while trying to hide from enemy's radar? Then it would loose at the moment that enemy manages to develop an even better radar?!? Or enemy manages to develop a radiation system that blinds the F-35 radar, what then?
I imagine a situation where Russians manage to engage a radar jammer and then SU-30 (is that the current model?) is going after a F-35....
I studied communications engineering in university and to me it seems not plausible how USA can be so dominant with radio signaling, anybody here has an explanation?