Is the F-35 the worst fighter ever? | Fighter Sweep

Just under two weeks ago, we talked about a poorly-translated test report that gave critics of the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II ammunition to suddenly declare it the worst dogfighter ever.

In the time since that article, you can’t find an aviation-oriented website that hasn’t put its two cents in, declaring the F-35 everything from an F-4 clone, to an F-105, and even going as far as calling it a BVR failure.

via Is the F-35 the worst fighter ever? | Fighter Sweep.

TLDR- No.

But go ahead and read the whole thing.

12 thoughts on “Is the F-35 the worst fighter ever? | Fighter Sweep”

  1. It would have to go some to surpass the F-111 (technology notwithstanding). “There is not enough thrust in all of Christendom…” how politically incorrect of Tom Connolly to claim that he was fighting for Christendom. You’ll never see another flag officer make that mistake.

  2. I predict the F-35 will just like the CV-22 and MV-22. In other words, an aircraft that can do a certain mission (sort of) but not nearly as well as the aircraft it replaced. It won’t be a total failure but it will never, ever live up to the hype that surrounded it during the Powerpoint briefs that were being fired up in the Pentagon back in the 1990s….

  3. I read his TLDR as – “we don’t know”. Here is his direct quote:

    “So is the F-35 truly the worst fighter ever?
    The standard U.S. Air Force Weapons School answer is, “It depends.””

    The bulk of his argument is “its classified” so no one knows anything, can’t deduce or infer anything, so shut up. Not exactly a compelling defense of the F-35.

    1. He also didn’t do his article any favors with this bit:

      “This is where I must apologize. In my follow up, I went a bit out of my way to trash the F-35 as a program.

      As a fighter pilot, this is pretty far out of my own lane. The merits of the cost per unit and total program costs/timeline are something politicians and elected officials should debate and explain to America. As a taxpayer, it’s everyone’s right to question how money is spent. But the two issues should not be confused. I should not have brought it up as part of the argument.”

      C’mon, everyone knows this program has been crap from the beginning. Just look at the cost overruns and the ludicrous promises that were made (it was going to be cheaper to maintain and fly than the aircraft it was replacing, etc…). Declaring any criticism of the program as “pretty far out of my own lane” is just crawdaddin’, as they say in Cajun land. You’re a fighter-pilot (supposedly), just say what you think, don’t thrown in a bunch of weasel-words to soften the blow. Plus, who the hell is he apologizing to? Lockheed Martin? The butt-hurt generals in ACC? The F-35 fanboys on the internet? Screw ’em. If they can defend the monstrous cost overruns and laughable timeline goals, let them try. Good luck trying to push all the old Powerpoint slides into the memory hole. Plus, it isn’t crazy to combine criticism of the actual airframe with the program in general. To expect a very poorly managed program to produce a competent product strains the boundaries of belief. The burden of proof is on the company building this aircraft and the military professionals who acted as naked partisans in pushing for it all these years.

      I actually hope I’m wrong. Maybe the F-35 will turn out to finally have some combat ability, but right now, I think the DoD would be better off killing it and starting over, just like they’ve done with countless other programs.

      Unfortunately, because this is a multi-service program, there is no General Schoomaker to do the right thing and just pull the plug before things get really out of hand (Schoomaker is the one who finally killed the RAH-66 Comanche when it became glaringly obvious that it was not fit for combat operations with Army Aviation). I think the US and our allies are going to be stuck with this thing for a long time.

  4. The really sad part is that with the state of the art tech. In design they still couldn’t get the job done! I bet there are some skunkworks ghosts snapping slide rules and pencils somewhere!

    1. It always amazes me that slow, hand operated slide rules with only three significant digit accuracy were used to design nuclear reactors & weapons, spacecraft, etc. Nowadays, with supercomputers it seems to take more time and more money to produce equivalent(?) results.

  5. @timactual –
    It pays to do some research. Vous êtes un homme très sage. Connolly was one of the many giants – a leader among the myriad men that gave our country its superpower status during the cold war. My comment was there to contrast what principled men (like Tom Connolly) do as compared to the midgets and cowards that afflict us today.

    Jour heureux Bastille (belated). And while history may not repeat itself, we may be due for a rhyming chorus – perhaps an American la Marseillaise

    This contains translations of the lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K1q9Ntcr5g

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