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Air Force: JSF Will Redefine Age Old Doctrine for Fighters

by Kris Osborn on June 6, 2013

sdd_lripa_002The advent and upcoming operational use of new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)-aircraft cockpit information technology is likely to generate new paradigms for implementing the widely known Observe, Orient, Decide, Act OODA-loop concept made famous in the 1970’s by former Air Force Fighter Pilot Col. John Boyd, Air Force officials said.

Boyd, who flew F-86 Sabre aircraft during the Korean War and went on to be a military theorist and Pentagon consultant, conceived of the OODA-loop notion as a method of winning a dogfight against an enemy fighter jet by, in part, more quickly anticipating fast-changing circumstances, orienting, observing, deciding and “acting.”  In essence, a thrust of the idea was to synthesize information rapidly and make accurate and impactful decisions more quickly than an opponent.

These days, the fusing of sensor, weapons and electronic data made available to fighter pilots and air crews – in conjunction with the rapid integration with numerous mobile command and control centers — provides new areas of application upon which to utilize or apply the OODA-loop paradigm, said Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, Military Deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

“We’re becoming much more efficient in terms of how we use information,” Davis explained. “Probably the most unique enabler that has come along since Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya is the integration with our command and control centers and the Air Operations centers such as the AWACS the JSTARS.”

As a result, instead of only needing to Orient, Observe, Decide and Act relative to the actions taken by the “nose” of an enemy fighter jet — air crews in a Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, for example, will be able to make rapid decisions regarding what a potential enemy might be doing elsewhere as well – such as moving Surface to Air Missiles (SAMS) on the ground, Davis explained.

“Thing are becoming a much more holistic battle, maybe, than when Boyd was flying his F-86.  He was focused on what you see the guy [enemy fighter] doing and where his nose was going. Now, you can sit and bring sensors in to decide about what the enemy is thinking about – such as taxiing his airplane or moving his AAA [Anti-Aircraft Artillery] or SAMS.  There is an Observe, Orient, Decide and Act scenario that goes well beyond what you are watching a guy do with his airplane,” Davis explained.

While offering a relevant strategic insight regarding the potentially broader application of OODA-loop-type thinking and criteria, Davis’ comments in particular were offered in the context of a discussion about what he referred to as the game-changing, next-generation capabilities contained in the now-in-development F-35 JSF stealth aircraft.

For instance, the sensors and the integration with the JSF will improve a fighter-jet’s ability to conduct Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance (ISR) missions as well as integrate more quickly with those air assets which exclusively perform those missions, Davis explained.

“We’ve got to quit thinking of how we would use that airplane in terms of traditional missions.  You are going to be picking up all kinds of visual and electronic data everytime you launch the airplane. It is providing you the next two or three levels above in terms of detail and whatever may be out there on the battlefield,” Davis said.

For instance, a JSF will be able to provide much more fidelity and definition in terms of the visuals and the current and future electronic signals of the battlefield, he added.

‘The actual level of intelligence you can gather with a two or a four ship of F-35s out there will certainly match or exceed the basic capability that comes off of the things we have out there now – the Predators, Reapers and other airplanes,” Davis explained.

All of the access to additional combat-relevant information in real time brings with it the requisite need to at times make fast determinations in battle, as Boyd’s OODA-loop initially suggests is necessary in dog-fights.

“With the JSF, you see a fused picture of all the sensors that are on board so you are looking at an integrated picture of every signal that it picks up. It not only offers the pilot much better SA {situational awareness}, but it also helps you prioritize what his next action should be,” Davis explained.

For instance, instead of having a need to view and consider information from a host of different displays such as a radar picture, radar warning picture, data-link picture and targeting-pod picture, a JSF air-crew will be able to simultaneously view a wide-range of information in real-time, Davis added.

“Think of it as taking every data source that is out there and getting an understandable, actionable picture display in the cockpit – as opposed to the days where it was federated, meaning you had to look at a radar display, a target display and a data link display,” Davis said.

Also, a Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) Pod can help JSF aircrews geo-locate incoming signals from the ground such as enemy air defenses, radar and other electronic signals.

In addition, The JSF is engineered with its own internal focused and highly specific Electronic Attack capability because the aircraft will need to function in what strategists refer to as heavily-denied areas, Davis added.

As part of its high-tech line up of networking technologies, the JSF is configured to use LINK 16 a high-speed tactical digital data link. The aircraft is also built with a Electronically-Scanned Array (ESA) radar able to provide synthetic aperture rendering of air and ground pictures, Davis explained.

“It’s an ESA radar which produces a synthetic aperture picture, so it produces both air-to-air and air-to-ground pictures. Most of our new advanced electronically scanned array radars today do that,” he said.

The JSF program developmental strategy is, in part, grounded upon a series of incremental software “drops” — each one adding new capability to the platform. In total, there are more than 10 billion individual lines of code for the system, broken down into increments and “blocks,” F-35 program office officials explained.

“Software development remains a focus area of the joint program office. We have a solid baseline and we need to be able to execute on that,” said Joe DellaVedova, F-35 program office spokesman.

Software drop 2B is undergoing flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md; software Block 2B builds upon the enhanced simulated weapons, data link capabilities and early fused sensor integration of the Block 2A software drop, DellaVedova added.

“With Block 2B you can provide basic close air support and fire an AMRAAM {Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile}, JDAM [Joint Direct Attack Munition] or GBU 12 [laser-guided aerial bomb]. This allows the plane to become a very capable weapons system,” he said.

Overall, DellaVedova said the F-35 program office has been making substantial progress. Software drop 3I, which is a technical refresh of Block 2B, is slated to be ready by 2016.

Davis explained that the Air Force plans to achieve Initial Operating Capability with its variant of the JSF by 2016 with the 2B/3i software configuration; the final 3F software block will bring an increased ability to suppress enemy air defenses, he added.

Overall, Davis emphasized that the Joint Strike Fighter acquisition effort underscores the importance of maturing and prototyping new technologies before they are fully or formally developed as part of an acquisition program.

“Very rarely should we be out maturing new technologies in new platforms. We should let something go through the process of maturing new technology. Then, once we are certain that it is at a usable level, our acquisition programs can do the hard work of integrating,” Davis explained.

Davis emphasized that the capabilities of an F-35 are so much more advanced compared to today’s F-15 and F-16 aircraft – that a side-by-side-type comparative discussion is not merited.

“An F-35 is the equivalent of an F-16 with three fuel tanks,  sniper pod, two 2,000-pound JDAMS {Joint Direct Attack Munitions}, two AMRAAMs { Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile} and two AIM 9Xs…. in a stealth configuration,” Davis explained.  “That is not a configuration an F-16 can fly.”

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{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

Tad June 6, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Must be F-35 funding season in Congress.


USS ENTERPRISE June 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Is that not the whole year?


Ben June 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Too bad the pilot can't see behind him.


citanon June 7, 2013 at 1:04 am

Except he can, all the time, and easier than turning his head, if he just slaves a display window to the rear facing DAS cameras and puts that on one corner of his LCD display. He'll get the benefit

It's not rocket science folks, you can still display a DAS picture on a computer screen without the HMD (duh). The pilot will benefit from the tracking, IFF symbology, target selection, etc. As soon as it gets dark, that little window on his computer screen with the IR view will be better than the picture he gets through his HVGs.


BajaWarrior June 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

Not fast enough and a good chance that it will get you killed


blight_ June 7, 2013 at 9:53 am

And ominously enough, looking behind you doesn't work so well at night.


USS ENTERPRISE June 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Planes don't hit the ground in milliseconds. It take a little longer than that.


Gaylord_Gaylordson June 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Pure drivel.


blight_ June 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Sometimes I wonder if it would be faster to retrofit F-35 hardware to an F-16; then use it as the avionics testbed instead of using a sad jumbo jet


tiger June 14, 2013 at 12:13 am

Not stealthy though & lacks the internal storage bays.


F4N-4EVR July 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Obviously engineers instead of fighter pilots got the main design assignment. Last time things went rigjt was the f-15a/c and the f-16 by Col. Boyd. And there is no ooda paradigm, it's the original 4 building blocks of all action. Boyds ooda loop did not suggest anything, ooda is all and everything. Ooda is dogfighting. Ooda is everything. To say anything else is garbage and indicates zero study of or undetstanding of ooda.


Ben June 6, 2013 at 6:56 pm

LANTRIN pod? Isn't that 1980s tech?


USS ENTERPRISE June 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

But it works…..


blight_ June 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Too bad that focusing on the tech makes the F-35 a meat puppet for the magical technology capabilities, not the fighter itself. It indeed sounds like an excellent fighter, but the R&D cost is not a pleasant one to bear.


Kole June 6, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Let alone new IRST developments in other countries….


citanon June 7, 2013 at 12:57 am

If it was easy to bear every country would have it, and you would not get an advantage at all. It's called a high barrier to entry folks. It's a nice thing to have when "entry" means the other guy killing you.


blight_ June 7, 2013 at 10:15 am

The only reason why the F-35 is important right now is that it is allegedly designed from the outset to operate with the doodads we are making for it (since they are part of the same acquisition program).

No matter the outcome of the F-35, the vendors will want to make money off of their product. The stuff will find its way to export customers whether or not we have an F-35 to put it into.


Kelly June 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I'm sure the F-35 will be an adequate delivery truck for SDBs and chauffeur for many fancy sensors. There's almost no chance it would ever be in a contested airspace, so whether it actually performs as advertised (at some unspecified point in the future) is moot.


SJPONeill June 7, 2013 at 9:00 am

In which case, you could probably use a C-130 as an adequate delivery truck for SDBs and chauffeur for many fancy sensors in permissive airspace…


blight_ June 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

"There's almost no chance it would ever be in a contested airspace"

We'll see about that. In American and Israeli use, we'll certainly be kicking people's doors in…


James Hasik June 7, 2013 at 11:33 am

Why "almost no chance"? That seems an unsupportable statement.


d. kellogg June 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm

In all seriousness, when IS the last time the US faced credible contested airspace?
Perhaps Desert Shield/Storm much more than early OIF, before that MAYBE Libya under Reagan.
But seriously, a genuine credible opponent?
It's only these folks screaming "don't trust the chinese! don't trust them sneaky russians!" who seem to be pushing hardest for these new aircraft.

Seems to me excepot for the very costly airframe, any and all of the F-35's actual avionics, sensors, radar, EO system, and especisally the weapons it will actuall kill with, are perfectly adaptable to a majority of current tried-and-trusted airframes.
The F-35 seems little more than a severely oiverpriced F-117 replacement, a 1st-week-of-war strike platform that in theory will be protercted by F-22s on any foreign incursion where air dominance is a must.
If it isn't Russia or China, who then, in all seriousness?

Why again do we need to stir up a war with them?


blight_ June 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm

"Seems to me excepot for the very costly airframe, any and all of the F-35's actual avionics, sensors, radar, EO system, and especisally the weapons it will actuall kill with, are perfectly adaptable to a majority of current tried-and-trusted airframes. "

Agreed. If the -35 program suceeds, the subcontractors will have good business contributing to mfr retrofit kits for F-15's, F-16's and F/A-18's….

"F-16 Block 70, F-35 doodads for a fraction of the price! With doodads like these, who needs a low radar cross section!"

That said, selling more hardware would also bring the price down, which is a win for the F-35. As long as we don't sell the stuff to nations that eventually stab us in the back…I'm looking at you Pakistan


seriously? June 13, 2013 at 9:55 pm

is that because the Rusians and Chinese have respected that which might lead to them losing a war? Peace through superior firepower has kept the peace, and frankly the Soviet quantity quality kept us ever from pushing their buttons too much either. China last time I checked was stirring us rather than vice-versa, it's not like we are deciding to call the Spratlys ours, or make claims to Hong Kong or such. If you want to let them do whatever they want, by all means, we won't stir them up and won't need those shiny new jets….


Nessuno June 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm
Big-Dean June 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Lockhead just adapted the Microsoft model, kill the customer with constant updates of code while charging lots of $$$ for each update.


Nick June 6, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Talk about sugar coating bullshit! All this BS about this and that is unproven stuff that's looks good on paper but hasn't been put in practice. What about dog fighting? Are we back in the 50's and 60's were everyone thought dogfighting was a thing of the past. This sorry lame ass excuse of an airplane can't maneuver. This article never mentioned it because it can't. One of these days we will get into a war were visual engaugement will happen and it will have to dogfight. The brass doesn't talk about it because they know how much capability has been givin up to feild this aircraft at the cost that it is so they drum up articles like this one to sell us on this disaster.


SJE June 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Sounds like you could incorporate most of the improved sensors, comm etc into existing aircraft that, y'know, actually fly


Belesari June 7, 2013 at 7:05 am

And there is the secret. It wasn't the plane so much as all of the systems. And in the name of politics and Joint descriptions we get to pay for all of the R&D and will soon see the same tech on a bunch of other aircraft a lot of it foreign.


USS ENTERPRISE June 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Ahem China Ahem.


SJPONeill June 7, 2013 at 8:57 am

I wonder if this guy has ever read any of Boyd's work? If her had he might know that the OODA loop has always been much broader in application that just mano-a-mano A2A combat. More mindless F-35 hype…


Joe June 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm

works for business decision making as well.


wmcritter June 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

I don't care how much ISR capability it has, it still can't replace an A-10, which they say it is supposed to do. It still has no range, it still can't fly low and slow, it still can't take a hit and survive. It is the worst possible option to replace an A-10. Using the F-35 for CAS will get a lot of good pilots and boots on the ground killed.


USS ENTERPRISE June 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Agreed. It doesn't have the cannon, and thats it. (Gun pods don't count, by the way).


blight_ June 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Even if the A-10 only had an M61 instead of the Avenger, it can still take a horrific pounding, and fly close against ground targets that would eat helicopters.

JSF will only really do CAS from afar. Using it close-up is a capability that will disappear with the A-10. Though maybe we'll someday have heavily armored drone-operated CAS aircraft, controlled from a TOC or somesuch.


Gaylord_Gaylordson June 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm

…and that's how CAS is done these days. 90% of the time. Even armored jets are not survivable on the modern battlefield.


Mastro June 13, 2013 at 5:16 pm

The F35 will fly at 10,000 feet or higher and drop guided bombs-maybe SDB's on their heads.

The stealth will help with radar defense systems- but IR not so much.

Still better than the A-10- those strafing days are gone- except for dirt-eating insurgents- and frankly armed trainers are a better way to go with them.

Chris June 10, 2013 at 11:27 am

Agree. Luckily they're putting new wings on the A-10s to extend their lives through 2045 I think I read. Even though those things will be ancient by then.


Atomic Walrus June 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Fortunately there are better ways of providing close air support than flying low and slow. Even the A-10 gets chewed up when it does that. Funny you mention getting "boots killed on the ground" – the employment of low & slow gun attacks has been a big cause of blue-on-blue in Iraq and Afghanistan. Precision-guided munitions can do the job from a safe stand-off distance with better targeting precision (as the name implies.)


hibeam June 7, 2013 at 10:26 am

The new doctrine is centered around doing all the expensive development work and then allowing your adversary to download it. The woo, woo, woo,…nyuck, nyuck, nyuck doctrine or W3 N3 in military parlance.


blight_ June 7, 2013 at 10:52 am

I'm curious to know how much of JSF's hardware is meant to go to export customers. Either it's the same hardware with features disabled in software, or a dumbed down hardware+software set.


USS ENTERPRISE June 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I think it depends on that "level 1, 2, 3" partner thing. It most likely gets more basic the lower the level.


oblatt1 June 8, 2013 at 2:02 am

Captain Kirk always willing to make a random uninformed guess to help LOL


Sanem June 7, 2013 at 11:36 am

by 2020 UCAVs will rule the skies, through numbers and stealth they'll make any manned platform obsolete

the main use for manned platforms will be as forward UAV operators and data relays, and in this role an F-16 with 2020 tech will do the F-35's job at a fraction of the cost


USS ENTERPRISE June 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm

…..The B-52 will be retired in 2045. Yeah, UAVS FTW.


William_C1 June 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Yes the mythical UCAVs that will do everything and won't cost anything…

An F-16 is too short ranged for that sort of role.


Restore Palestine June 8, 2013 at 2:19 am

What brand of liquor do you drink? What kind of stuff do you smoke?


Ben June 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

The JSF won't be able to do most of the what an F-16C Block 52 can do right now for many years until all the JSF software is written.


d. kellogg June 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Same can be said for the latest F-15 and F/A-18 variants: there's no real tech in the F-35 than can't port over, EXCEPT for the low observability airframe.
And again, after that 1st week of a war against whatever credible threat we feel we need F-35s to strike, all these older types (teen series) and even the bomber fleet will be the real workhorses logging the excessive mission hours around the clock.

The really disheartening thing is, while we DO have the latest-and-greatest in the Super Hornet E/F/G aircraft, it is our F-15s and F-16s that are lacking in comparison to what the latest foreign customers are buying in them.
NOT buying newest-and-best F-15s and -16s is how we justify ~needing~ F-22s and -35s,…


blight_ June 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Indeed, the -15's and -16's we have aren't just old, but falling behind in terms of equipment cycles.

But if you have finite dollars to spend you can go with the long bet on the F-35, or go cautious and buy a proven product. That said, Lockheed should be pushing ahead to retrofit F-35 hardware on planes that it owns, like the F-16, and obviously the F-22. Boeing could try to integrate some JSF gems onto its F/A-18's; but already has the SHIRM.


Joe June 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm

This platform will not replace the A-10. The A-10 will simply be retired without replacement.


jhm June 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

And we will all bow our heads in forever mourning that day


Joe June 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm

What would heinie Alderholt say?


mastro June 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Well- maybe Tucano-type armed trainers and drones for the stone age insurgents- but well armed armies can't be strafed any more.


Josh June 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm

If only some of you put as much effort into finding the positive aspects of the news as you do the negative, maybe you would support the program slightly more than you currently do.


hibeam June 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm

You have crossed a red line. Now I am drawing another one. Even redder.


Dr. Horrible June 8, 2013 at 11:36 pm

That seems like a self-evident sort of statement, don't you think?


Belesari June 8, 2013 at 12:11 am

This isn't replacing the A-10. The A-10's are being upgraded. The Air Force will simply make sure nothing like it is built again so it can make sure all combat begins at 10,000+ feet and if the guys on the ground are screwed by it? what of it.


oblatt1 June 8, 2013 at 1:47 am

The F-35 will usher in a new age – gone will be the grainy hud camera views of a F-16 pilot dodging 6 SAMs over Iraq instead the F-35s DAS can stream 360 degree HD video to you tube as it strains to pull 4G trying hopelessly to escape only to end up as a fireball.
Should make for some gripping – albeit short – viewing


Netta June 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm

" d. kellogg · 1 day ago
In all seriousness, when IS the last time the US faced credible contested airspace?
Perhaps Desert Shield/Storm much more than early OIF, before that MAYBE Libya under Reagan.
But seriously, a genuine credible opponent?
It's only these folks screaming "don't trust the chinese! don't trust them sneaky russians!" who seem to be pushing hardest for these new aircraft.

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2013/06/06/air-force-jsf-w

Mr Kellog, I would like you to read up on the package Q situation, and then give me a modern tac air solution to hitting critical targets in contested air space.

The loss of two F-16s can be attributed to a series of stresses, the lateness of the Air Tasking Order, not enough coordination time, a tactical approach that provided the Iraqis considerable warning, fuel problems for the Weasels and other aircraft, bad weather, and insufficient attrition of the defenses combined to create a dangerous situation.

"There were a number of crucial lessons from Package Q. The most obvious was that Iraqi defenses in Baghdad remained lethal: future strikes on Baghdad would be mostly assigned to F-117s, but conventional air assets with better coordination would still strike targets downtown Baghdad."

Cruise missiles = Not the right munitions for some missions. Your not going to chase down a driving technical, or a BM launcher with Tlam.

Drones= Not ready and in order for them to have all of the bells and whistles of a F-35 you would end up with a less capable F-35

2000 F-22s= Not happening to expensive with limited basing

Please gentle men. If I cant even fly legacy planes over vintage SA-3s How are we going to threaten targets?


d. kellogg June 9, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Cherry picking to suit your argument?
Since when is Q the primary and most obvious/most likely scenario we'll ever see again?
(wiki? really?)

As to your choice of targets: if the adversary's AA systems (ground based and other aircraft) are still of such high concern/threat level, engaging the random target-of-opportunity technical or other ad-hoc guntruck isn't something you should be wasting high-dollar assets on that are better suited to the genuine SEAD/DEAD and air dominance missions.

Also what I see you've failed to consider: today's near-real-time surveillance and targetting assets aren't the same generation as even a decade ago, let alone Desert Shield/Storm timeframe.
These capabilities have grown exponentially in the past decade moreso than the previous quarter century prior to it.

The LAST mission we should ever consider using F-35s for is sending them willy-nilly into very hostile airspace and just let them bomb-truck whatever Targets of Opportunity arise.
Notice our B-52s didn't carpet bomb those principal highways while Iraq still had worthy threat ADA in the area?
Why would we even consider such we-need-a-pilot's-eyes-directly-over-the-target bomb-truck expeditions with the F-35?


Netta June 10, 2013 at 3:33 am

Because some targets CANNOT be killed with out a man flying over them. For instance, HAS, SUPER shelters, revetments, Underground tunnels loaded with planes or ballistic missiles. What happens when you need to put a bomb through a vent shaft? You cant sanitize war by assuming an enemy will always let us strictly rely stand off weapons. The F-35 was designed to fly into enemy airspace.


Netta June 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Futher More How do you solve issues with?

1. Asymmetric Aircraft types?
2. Planes dropping external loads when targeted?
3. Communication in large strike groups?

I think I know the answer.


Durin June 9, 2013 at 10:55 am

An F-35 is the equivalent of an F-16 with three fuel tanks, sniper pod, two 2,000-pound JDAMS {Joint Direct Attack Munitions}, two AMRAAMs { Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile} and two AIM 9Xs…. in a stealth configuration,” Davis explained. “That is not a configuration an F-16 can fly.

even F-15 has its upgrade to stealth version as F-15SE, F-16s probablt can have one too, when aircrafts will be more aged.


d. kellogg June 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Key point here being,
the F-35 STILL uses the same teeth as legacy fighters (other than a 25mm gun instead of 20mm).

Other than reduced detection envelope of the launch aircraft, what real advantage does the same AIM-120, AIM-9X, or insert-ground-ordnance-of-choice-here have over the same model of weapon deployed from legacy aircraft.

And what still HASN'T been properly addressed: just how hot again is that F-35 engine plume, compared to legacy platforms?
At over 40,000pounds of thrust, we ain't talking about some non-afterburning hi-bypass turbofan as used on commercial haulers.

The F-35's maneuverability vs current platforms has already been called into question: what happens when your stealth aspects have failed you and it's all down to turning and jinking at close range, where gunfire and short-ranged, hi-G-turning IR-homers are the choice?


blight_ June 10, 2013 at 10:09 am

That's 40 kpounds wet, I doubt anyone is lighting up afterburners when they want to stay stealthy. That's probably the reason why the F-22's F-119's have supercruise, and undoubtedly it was engineered to have reasonable IR emission profiles on supercruise as well.

I suspect the usual suspects would say "once the F-35's magical electronics detect an enemy at all aspects, the Sidewinders with all-aspect off-bore capability will fire and knock that punk off your six". Don't know how it pans out in the real world…


Gaylord_Gaylordson June 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm

There's nothing "stealthy" about the F15SE. That's why no one wants it. They want the F35.


Mastro June 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm

It doesn't reflect radar like an aluminum-coated billboard.

But the marketing guys decided "stealthy" sounds better-


Walter June 10, 2013 at 11:26 am

I'm no expert but weren't there initial criticisms of the F-15 and that it was gonna be slow and couldn't fight close-in either? Correct me if I'm wrong.


Gaylord_Gaylordson June 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm

They also said that about the F22.

Newsflash: Know-nothings still know nothing and they are still very loud about what they don't know.

Pierre Sprey for example has been wrong about the F22, F117, M1 Abrams and now the F35. He predicted US planes would be devastated by the Iraqi IADS and Mig29s too. This is one of the leading lights of the anti-F35 club. Pretty lame.


WCL June 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm

How has Pierre Sprey been wrong about the F117 and the F22? The F117 was once hailed as an "invisible bomber" but it was showing up on many civilian radars, some of which were shipborne.

Do you have links to what Sprey has said about the Iraqi IADS and Mig29s?


mastro June 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Sprey gets me tired with all his "make a smaller F16"- like the US is the size of Switzerland.

But- I'm not sure he's wrong on the F22- jury is out until a major shooting war.

I'm afraid the F22 will actually be downed by some enemy with an all aspect IR seeker in some No-Fly zone scenario-


WCL June 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I think what they really mean by "redefining age old doctrine" is that now the US will enjoy air inferiority rather than air superiority in the coming decades.

Nice change of pace, eh?


Buck June 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Besides enabling intel sharing, Link16 also is a radio beacon so that the enemy can find you better and and kill you.


DigitalSoul June 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Observe, Orient, Destroy, Appologize


Badger130 June 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Doesn't matter. The PRC have already hacked the specs and plans.


bigfig7 June 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm

When all the tech gadgetry fail you hope you can fall back on superior kinematic performance to save your bacon, unfortunatly I haven't seen any indication that the F35 will have this fall back option unlike the F22!


CaptEirc June 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm

98% of the hater posts on here contain wrong or just plain bad info. Not a one of them work on the inside. What they DON'T KNOW can fill an encyclopedia. Do you think for a moment that the DOD is going to release actual performance characteristics for the world to read? Get real. None of these wanna be experts will EVER get to fly this. This A/C couples with the F-22 (as it was designed to do) create a 5th generation plane that is unmatched. But they wouldn't know that. Too busy complaining about things they only imagine they know.


Restore Palestine June 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm

You are right in one aspect: the DOD is not going to release actual performance data because it's far worse. Many career bureaucrats will lose their jobs and face criminal probes if they reveal just how big a failure the F-35 has become.


Mastro June 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Yeah- it can go Mach 5 and shoot friggin lazers.

All I know is that report after report has come out saying that it is overweight and can't meet performance requirements.

Canada, Norway, the Uk and the Netherlands are seriously concerned.


gator June 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm

If you a**holes only knew. This is the best fighter we have ever developed with capabilities you can't even imagine. Give it a rest unless you have the clearance to know.


Mastro June 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Clearance? I'll just listen in on a conference call like the Chinese do-


metfanlou June 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm

And an unmanned drone can't do all these things without risking a pilot except the one behind the control panel at Nellis?


Buffrat June 13, 2013 at 1:59 am

I remember when the M-1 Bradley, the Abrhams, the FB-111, the F-4 Phantom II, M-16, and a host of other weapon systems were also described in disparaging terms. The truth is no one knows how its going to perform until its in combat. And I for one am tired of hearing that slapping on some updated pods and software is going to make a 1960′s designed aircraft like the F-16 or F-15 is comparable to the F22 or F35. But what I do know is that despite all my reading, despite all my research, and despite all my contacts within DOD, I like the thousands of others on this blog, have no clue whether it will perform as advertised.


Mastro June 13, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Well- the Phantom got shot down lots of times by the Mig 17 and would go into stall until they added slats to the wings circa 1970-

The FB-111's cost a fortune, did terribly on their first Nam deployment and was so expensive to operate the USAF dumped them about 15 minutes after the Berlin Wall fell.

The M16 jammed like crazy until they chrome lined the barrel and supplied cleaning gear (still can't believe they didn;'t do that)

So – yeah- I'm worried.


TJRedneck June 13, 2013 at 6:49 am

I, like EVERYONE else here, do not know how the F-35 will actually perform in combat. Not just because of all the money spent, and not just because of all the aircraft that this will replace, but because of our pilots in harms way I hope and pray that this aircraft performs way beyond expectations and makes all the naysayers eat their words.


Arthur June 15, 2013 at 11:40 pm

The F-35B has more range than a Harrier with ext. tanks. All models can see, ID and shoot down the guy behind them anytime.


Zspoiler August 10, 2013 at 11:57 pm

maybe one of these centuries the F -35 will come on board. Maybe we should build a version of the F-16 XL for the Airforce ,And F/A-18`s for the Navy. We know these systems work.


Big-Dean June 7, 2013 at 12:23 am

not impressive at all

roll rate is poor
power is poor
climbing ability is poor
single engine
shall I go on…

this thing wouldn't stand a chance in a dogfight


Kole June 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

This only proves the airplane can survive an AoA departure from controlled flight.


citanon June 7, 2013 at 12:55 am

Lol, you could tell all this from a intentional departure test huh?

Let's see, it has the most powerful fighter jet engine ever put on a single engine fighter, and you think it has poor thrust to weight because what, it can carry more internal fuel?

You think single engine fighters are poor but then the F-16 has how many engines?

You think the roll rate is poor but supposedly it has a higher roll rate than the Eurofighter and Rafale…

So what were you saying again?


USS ENTERPRISE June 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Literally everything in that comment is wrong. Maybe the F-35 isn't that bad…….


gildasd June 7, 2013 at 5:15 am

Those are the official numbers…
The sound on the grape vine is that it can't sustain more than 5g positive and 3g negative without structural damage.
I won't be citing any sources.


gildasd June 7, 2013 at 5:17 am

I forgot to mention that this info is for the prototypes, I dearly hope the production model does better.
(this is not secret – everybody and his Chinese cousin knows this).


Atomic Walrus June 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Most fighters are limited to -3g. As far as 5g, you need to be a little more specific with the number – how is the aircraft loaded? An F-16 isn't able to pull 9g when fully loaded for a ground attack mission. It only gets to that level of performance when it's lightly loaded. You also have to consider what that level of loading implies structurally. 5g at 70,000 lb MTOW is imposing 350,000 lb loads on the wing structure. That's the equivalent of hanging an M1A2 Abrams MBT from each wing!


Gaylord_Gaylordson June 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Bahahaha. What grape vine is that? The one that grows retarded grapes that get their info from the internet?

The jet has already been flown to the limits of the envelope. It can sustain Gs easily as well as a 16 or 15 can.


oblatt1 June 7, 2013 at 8:45 am

G limits have been reduced down to 4.5G now. But these are early days lots of development and weight to come they will probably go lower.


Restore Palestine June 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm

And that's the American Way.


citanon June 8, 2013 at 12:26 am

The pilots interviewed state, and the video also shows, that it can point its nose very well at high AoA. Previously only other US fighter that could do this, AFAIK, was the F22. The F-18 Superhornet has some good high AoA chops, but not to this extent, as far as I'm aware, so this is pretty impressive.


oblatt1 June 8, 2013 at 2:04 am

I expect in a spin is how it's going to spend alot of its time


oblatt1 June 8, 2013 at 2:11 am

This is just rubbish. Poor thrust to weight and high wing loading means the F-35 has relatively poor AoA handling. The fact that it is docile in stall just underscores how un-maneuverable it is – and Airbus has wonderful stall characteristics too.


Restore Palestine June 8, 2013 at 2:12 am

It's a product of spin-masters. Of course it's going to spend a lot of its time spinning.


gildasd June 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I really hope this goes back up to the 8g to 12g range… You need that just for ground avoidance in adverse situations.
I think that the F35 is great plane that the spec pushers on leather chairs in the pentagon are ruining… Just so they can cross out some line in a spreadsheet to impress someone at the coffee machine down the hall.


Dr. Horrible June 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm

"because the plane is a blended wing lifting body, the fuselage generates considerable lift that is not accounted for in the naive wing loading figure." – how you figure? I recognize that this is a hard statement to rebut without actual CFD or test data, but that strikes me as an unlikely claim.


gildasd June 11, 2013 at 4:53 am

I don't know, it was just explained as "max sustainable" and too low.


Gaylord_Gaylordson June 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm

That's crappola. It is a demonstration of superior nose pointing and post stall capability.


WCL June 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Considering the F35 has only recently test-fired missiles *after* 15+ years of R&D and *after* it's in production phase, I am highly suspicious of your claims. Besides, you have not provided any links to back up your claims.

What's are your credentials in fighter jet design and engineering?


gildasd June 13, 2013 at 6:47 am

No, old fashioned people talking in a meeting in a room specking out specialized parts. No links to that.
Parts I always tried to source in Europe or the US due to quality control and industrial discretion guaranties.


Atomic Walrus June 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm

That's the trick with specifications: 5g sustained is too vague. The max sustained g is actually expressed as a function of aircraft weight, altitude, and airspeed if it's being used to define maneuverability. On the other hand, it's possible to narrow down the definition if it's max sustained g at corner velocity (i.e. the speed where the aircraft is translating the direction of its flight path as quickly as possible.) Using the equation a=1/2*V^2/R, where a=centripetal acceleration, V=aircraft air speed, and R= turning radius, you can see that you're going to be able to achieve a much tighter turning radius at 5g if your corner velocity is lower. (Which is why on the basis of turning radius, a biplane absolutely kills an F-16.)


gildasd June 13, 2013 at 6:58 am

And why a thick wing nearly reaches the turning radius of a biplane but has a limited speed envelope. But let's stop the brain size waving there, you are probably an engineer and I am a lowly industrial designer… So you will outgun me.
What I am worried about, in a selfish manner, is that this overlong bloated project might damage some of the US firms I depended on and will depend on again (as soon as I finish this new diploma).
I know of a few specialized firms that have nearly all their eggs tied down in the F35 program. So if it fails, they get shafted (unlike the prime contractors who get a bonus) and they will probably be bankrupted.
Finding replacements would be hell.


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