Sunday, October 02, 2016

Arguing about the F-35 dogfighting misses the point?

via Business Insider.
"As a pilot, dogfighting is fun, but it doesn't get the job done," US Air Force Maj. Will "D-Rail" Andreotta, commander of the F-35A Lightning II Heritage Flight Team, told Business Insider.
"If I'm dogfighting I'm not bombing my target. I'm not getting my job done, and what I'm probably doing is wasting gas and wasting time."
Andreotta, a pilot in the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base who has flown both the F-16 and F-35, says the F-35A's unprecedented situational awareness and stealth gives him "the utmost confidence that this plane will operate perfectly" in a dogfight with fourth-generation aircraft.

So air superiority missions, combat air patrols and fighter sweeps (do they even use that term anymore?) means that the F-35 isn't doing its job?

It gets better though!  Did you notice the nuanced statement by the Major?  He has utmost confidence that this airplane will operate perfectly in a dogfight with fourth gen aircraft?

That statement is so loaded its scary!  Operate perfectly does not necessarily mean win!

The hits keep coming for the F-35 this weekend though.  Check out these passages from an article.
Those planes – the Russian Su-50 and the Chinese J-20 – are labelled 5th generation because they have stealth, along with certain speed-altitude-agility attributes, armament capabilities and beyond-visual range combat capability. They are also twin-engined compared to the F-35A's single jet, meaning they cruise at higher speeds and altitude.
There are conflicting views about the merits of the aircraft among the experts.

Director of test and evaluation at think-tank Air Power Australia, Peter Goon, says the combat equivalent to the Russian and Chinese 5th generation fighters is not the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, but the American F-22 Raptor.
"The evaluation of the F-35, so far, has shown that in air-to-air combat, it has trouble defeating the F-16," says Goon, referring to the "old" technology fighter.At the same time, Goon says the Russian and Chinese fighters have evolved to meet the "referent threat" not of the F-35A, but of the American F-22A Raptor of which there are only 186, none in Australia, and with production ceased.
Everyone is excited because the USAF will test the F-35 against the A-10 in close air support tasks.  We've all read the report about how the F-35 fared in a dogfight against an F-16.

We all missed the point.

What we should be demanding is real deal info on how the F-35 performs against top tier opponents.  We need to see no shit sims on how the F-35 performs against an integrated air defense complex including land based S-300/400/500 missiles, threat 5th generation aircraft/air to air missiles and electronic warfare.

I feel confident in saying that if information about the F-35 changes then I will happily change my opinion of the plane and the program.  Slick marketing campaigns, appeals to authority by rolling out a pilot to sing the company line about the plane being the best thing since sliced bread, and redesigning the Marine Corps to make it seem indispensable isn't gonna get it done.

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