We talk about the F-35 alot on these pages because I believe its destroying the defense budget, hindering needed modernization of our ground forces and will fail to deliver what's being promised.
If you've monitored the conversations here, you'll notice that proponents no longer talk about the F-35 being able to fly as fast, as high or be as maneuverable as our current fighters. They say that its not necessary because the F-35 is stealthy. It will see the enemy first, shoot first and leave the area before its detected. Lets assume that argument has merit. The next question becomes...is the F-35 as stealthy as we're being led to believe? Do an eyeball test. Below are pics of the X-35....
This airplane has the look that we've come to associate with stealth aircraft. To be quite honest in this form it actually does look like its stablemate, the F-22 (pic below).
But look at what the F-35 has turned into now? Does it meet the eye test?
I don't know what happened between the X-plane and the production version but to this aviation neophyte the plane has lost its stealth characteristics somewhere along the way...at the very least it doesn't appear to be as stealthy as the original design.
What say you? Am I way off base and the eye test doesn't apply or could I actually be onto something? Oh and consider this. If the F-35 has seen even a modest reduction in its stealth profile then the argument that it will get first look, first shoot suddenly loses alot of steam. Against a near peer foe, we will see radars that are equal to our own....and against a networked air defense complex these planes will be sitting ducks.