Skip to comments.New Report Details What 31 US Air Force Pilots Who Flew the F-35 Really Think
Posted on 08/06/2016 9:39:08 AM PDT by Mariner
Air Force Gen. Herbert Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, this week declared the F-35A fighter jet ready for combat. While many pundits and politicians have questioned the worth of this jet, the only people who know the ground truth are the pilots themselves.
A total of 174 U.S. pilots currently have been trained to fly Lockheed Martins F-35A Lightning II. The Heritage Foundation recently interviewed 31 of these former F-15C, F-15E, F-16C, and A-10 pilots. Each expressed a high degree of confidence in the F-35A, their new fifth-generation platform.
Here are nine insights gleaned from those conversations:
1. Even with developmental restrictions that limit the F-35As responsiveness and ability to maneuver, every U.S. fighter pilot interviewed would pick the F-35A over his former jet in a majority of air-to-air (dogfight) engagement scenarios they could face.
2. A former F-15C instructor pilot said he consistently beat his former jet in mock dogfights.
3. A former F-16C instructorand graduate of the Air Force Weapons Instructor Course of Top Gun famesaid the jet is constrained on how tight it can turn (G-limited) now. But even so, the rudder-assisted turns are incredible and deliver a constant 28 degrees of turn a second. When the Air Force removes the restrictions, this jet will be eye watering.
4. Three former F-16CJ Wild Weasel instructor pilots, those tasked with attacking surface-to-air missile sites, said a single F-35A can find and attack SAM sites faster and more effectively than three F-16CJ fighters working together.
5. The F-35As radar effectively can shut down enemy fighter and surface-to-air radars without those adversaries becoming aware they are being electronically attacked. Coupled with stealth, this jet is all but invisible to enemy radars.
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalinterest.org ...
The fact that pilots like it carries great weight in the planes favor.
In this day and age would it matter? Think about all the other interests Eisenhower warned us of. Remember the C5A?
Well it means you can go from semi to full auto as in ROE
I keep reading about this being a good replacement for the A10 among other things. Part of the beauty of the A10 was it’s ability to take hits and make it back home.
Is the F35 going to be able to take major damage and still limp back home?
“The fact that pilots like it carries great weight in the planes favor.”
I agree. Those with the hands on experience will know.
I would imagine it means they have computer controlled governors on them that keeps pilots from flying themselves unconscious.
All positive and nothing negative makes the article suspect. Although reading between the lines, the F35 probably isn’t as good as the A10 in high threat situations.
ummmm...Top Gun is Navy, not Air Force...
The F35 is designed to fight a modern adversary, it will never effectively replace the A-10 in close combat support.
Just as important with the A10 is its ability to fly slow and keep a hardened target buttoned up for a longer period while troops advance on it.
The A10 was my bestest friend.
How slow can the F35 fly to make a prolonged run?
It is not a single purpose low and slow like the A-10 with heavy armor. It can do air to ground precision support roles now done with helicopter gun ships and the A-10 but it is not a helicopter or A-10.
Pilots that fly it that I have spoken with see the future growth of the platform and like all pilots like to fly the newest.
Define “high threat situation”.
Are Air Force pilots now attending Navy "Top Gun" school? Anyone?
Interesting comments after this article about the A10 vs F35.
The REAL factor is: Can we afford this aircraft, and how many can we procure at the price?
Then again how will it perform against a S-400 or the upcoming S-500 AA systems?
How does the plane’s light ammo load out in a dogfight compare to a Russian air supremacy fighter after all the missiles are expended?
How long will the plane last in combat after the AWACS is shot down?
Of the 174 only 31 responded or less than 18%. Does that low response make the survey valid?
How many pilots that responded have a positive view because their evaluations for promotion are due?
“graduate of the Air Force Weapons Instructor Course of Top Gun fame”
I’m glad they clarified that. I always thought that Top Gun was Navy, with the uniforms and aircraft carriers and all.
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