The F35 also can’t provide close ground support.
Via FOX News
How would the military’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft fare in a dogfight against an old F-16D fighter? Not well, according to a leaked test pilot report of mock air battles in January between the two aircraft.
The test pilot’s report was first reported by the website War is Boring, which covers military matters. The leaking of the report is under investigation by the Department of Defense, which says the test plane was missing some of the F-35’s most impressive technology, such as long-range abilities that allow it to avoid dogfights to begin with. FoxNews.com has seen the report, which is scathing about the F-35’s abilities at points.
“It [the F-35] wasn’t effective for killing or surviving attacks primarily due to lack of energy maneuverability,” the unnamed pilot’s report concluded about the plane, which is the most expensive weapon in history and has cost more than $1 trillion dollars to develop and produce, after cost overruns.
But in a statement emailed to FoxNews.com, the Department of Defense’s F-35 Joint Program Office defended their new plane, emphasizing that this particular test was done with a test F-35 called an “AF-2”, which lacks advanced equipment normally in F-35s that is designed to destroy enemy planes before they can reach the F-35.
“The F-35’s technology is designed to engage, shoot, and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual ‘dogfighting’ situations,” the statement reads, adding that F-35s have won longer-range mock battles.
“There have been numerous occasions where a four-ship of F-35s has engaged a four-ship of F-16s in simulated combat scenarios and the F-35s won each of those encounters because of its sensors, weapons, and stealth technology,” it reads.
Not everyone is convinced. David Axe, founder and editor-in-chief of War is Boring, said that the lack of simple close-combat fighting ability is a big problem.
“This report confirms what observers have long suspected — that, despite ample warning, America made a bad bet with the F-35,” Axe told FoxNews.com.
“Anyone claiming that dogfighting is obsolete needs to read some history. The Pentagon made the same claim before the Vietnam War — and many Americans pilots died as a result when more agile MiG-21s shot down their cumbersome jets,” Axe said.