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New Report Details What 31 US Air Force Pilots Who Flew the F-35 Really Think
The National Interest ^ | August 6th, 2016 | John Venable

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 Martin’s 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-35A’s 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 instructor—and graduate of the Air Force Weapons Instructor Course of “Top Gun” fame—said 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-35A’s 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 ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; airmen; lockheed; usaf
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To: carriage_hill
Are they allowed to say what they really think, without fear of retribution?

That's a very good question.
The fact that as of March 2016 there's been 171 manufactured for the US and only 31 air-force pilots are represented is a little funny as well. (I would expect that they got pilot opinions throughout development/testing.) — One of the interesting things in the assessment linked in the article is how the comparison of the A-10 is in jet maneuverability, but that's not the issue that is at hand for the push to replace the A-10: the A-10 was designed to go low-and-slow and have a high loiter time, so that it could do CAS (including tank- and APC-busting).

21 posted on 08/06/2016 10:18:25 AM PDT by Edward.Fish
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To: Mariner

So, how does it compare with Russian and Chinese aircraft?


22 posted on 08/06/2016 10:19:48 AM PDT by Sasparilla (Hillary for Prison 2016)
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To: DoughtyOne

Fact of the matter is the F-35 relies on it’s speed to increase it’s survivability in a Close Air Support role (visual/Anti Aircraft guns/Shoulder fired missles). A fast moving platform makes it difficult to place eyes on target before releasing ordinance. The F-35 relies on a pinpoint target BEFORE it can deliver it’s advertised pinpoint accuracy. Grunts on the ground saying they are “north of us” does not help the F-35 at all. The A-10, on the other hand, is slow enough to visualize the battlefield and deliver its ordinance on the correct target. Notice how the A-10 pilot who was interviewed said that the F-35’s electronics increased its “situational awareness”?? How do you think it receives this information? It gets it from other electronic devices!! If an F-35 showed up in Benghazi it would be clueless about where to drop it’s ordinance safely. Keep the A-10. Yes it’s slow and not sexy but it is cost effective and survivable in today’s low threat battlefield is what we need.


23 posted on 08/06/2016 10:20:14 AM PDT by timlilje
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To: carriage_hill

“Are they allowed to say what they really think, without fear of retribution? “

heck no They’d say the moon is made of cheese if told to do so.


24 posted on 08/06/2016 10:23:16 AM PDT by CodeToad (Islam should be banned and treated as a criminal enterprise!)
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To: Mariner
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.

How many dogfight engagements have A-10's been in?

25 posted on 08/06/2016 10:24:01 AM PDT by ASA Vet (Jus Soli + Jus Sanguinis = NBC)
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To: Sasparilla
"So, how does it compare with Russian and Chinese aircraft?"

They have nothing in this class.

26 posted on 08/06/2016 10:28:28 AM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: Moonman62
That's an interesting article. Venable does a great job of pointing out that one of the most critical elements of performing the CAS mission is that all players be intimately familiar with the capabilities, requirements and culture of everyone involved in the mission.

The comments after that article highlight the most common problem with Internet debates on this subject. That is, most of the people arguing have no practical experience with what they are arguing about. And if they do, it is decades old experience. To give a rough analogy about why that matters, imagine someone whose last experience with a cell phone was in 1990, trying to argue why IPhones are better than Androids. The mission the A-10 was designed to support is as critical as ever and probably more so. But that is about the only thing that hasn't gone through several evolutions (revolutions?) of change since the A-10 was first designed. Weapon, sensor and communication technology have so radically altered the CAS environment since the mid-1970's, that to even bring up the threat environment of places like the 1980's Fulda Gap is to reveal you no longer understand the modern combat environment.

Ultimately, the most important measure of success of a CAS mission is that the enemy dies quickly, and no friendlies die in the process. The premier experts in all aspects of that mission is the USMC. IMO, examining their current approach to executing the CAS mission is probably more useful than reading anonymous internet comments.

27 posted on 08/06/2016 10:34:49 AM PDT by Rokke (www.therightreasons.net)
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To: ASA Vet
"How many dogfight engagements have A-10's been in? "

Nothing compares with the Warthog for its specific and limited mission.

And as much as the USAF hates to provide CAS, they'll be keeping the A-10 for the foreseeable future.

28 posted on 08/06/2016 10:47:50 AM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: ImaGraftedBranch

TOP GUN is open to the best pilots of all the services, including NATO pilots.


29 posted on 08/06/2016 10:50:13 AM PDT by Afterguard (Liberals will let you do anything you want, as long .as it's mandatory.)
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To: Edward.Fish

I don’t even understand how the F35 and A10 are remotely comparable.


30 posted on 08/06/2016 10:54:29 AM PDT by carriage_hill ( Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: carriage_hill
I don’t even understand how the F35 and A10 are remotely comparable.

The reason they're being compared is because of the push to get rid of the A-10, plain and simple.

31 posted on 08/06/2016 11:12:02 AM PDT by Edward.Fish
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To: Edward.Fish

Why wouldn’t the AF just turn it over to the Army? Gets it out of their garage, and the infantry still has the CAS they need? Just common sense, isn’t it? (I have no military background.)


32 posted on 08/06/2016 11:18:18 AM PDT by carriage_hill ( Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: The Sons of Liberty
"Can we afford this aircraft, and how many can we procure at the price? "

At full production in 2018 it will cost less than an F-15E or F-18 and equivalent to a new F-16 Block D.

$84 mil per copy.

33 posted on 08/06/2016 11:18:53 AM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: Rokke
"The premier experts in all aspects of that mission is the USMC."

Nobody else comes close.

34 posted on 08/06/2016 11:23:26 AM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: carriage_hill
Why wouldn’t the AF just turn it over to the Army? Gets it out of their garage, and the infantry still has the CAS they need? Just common sense, isn’t it? (I have no military background.)

(IIRC/IIUC) It's not even an act of congress, but a Memorandum of Understanding from 1952.

We wouldn't be having these problems if we didn't have the unconstitutional Air Force (this is to say that there's nothing authorizing an Air Force in the Constitution, only an Army and Navy). — It seems to me that having an Air Force is dangerous to military effectiveness because politicians (and a surprising number of modern military/DoD thinkers) don't really seem to understand the need for boots-on-the-ground as the basis of controlling an area.

As a result of the above, we're setting ourselves up for being Russia in Afghanistan those decades ago where, as one Russian general said something like:
During the day we controlled hundreds of kilometers, during the night two blocks from our position.

35 posted on 08/06/2016 12:15:39 PM PDT by Edward.Fish
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To: Edward.Fish
I don’t even understand how the F35 and A10 are remotely comparable.

The reason they're being compared is because of the push to get rid of the A-10, plain and simple.


The F-35 fills a vital need in our inventory , but so does the the A-10.

We are also missing a slot below the A-10 that used to be filled by the OV-10 Bronco.

We need to pull our Broncos out of moth balls and refit and modernize them for some of the low intensity CAS functions the A-10 is doing but is over kill for. We can field 4 Broncos for the price of one A-10 which gives better coverage and a rapid response to break up the type of ambush attacks the Obama ROE invite.

Then bring in the A-10s if needed.

36 posted on 08/06/2016 12:24:25 PM PDT by rdcbn ("There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alt)
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To: Mariner
The Air Farce would rather scrape the A-10's than to turn them over to the Army.

That would require the stupid fixed wing combat mission restriction to be lifted. Keeping all those Officer slots is more important than a winning strategy.

37 posted on 08/06/2016 12:24:52 PM PDT by ASA Vet (Jus Soli + Jus Sanguinis = NBC)
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To: carriage_hill

See #37


38 posted on 08/06/2016 12:33:18 PM PDT by ASA Vet (Jus Soli + Jus Sanguinis = NBC)
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To: Mariner

pundits and politicians have questioned the worth HAHAHAHA


39 posted on 08/06/2016 12:33:59 PM PDT by hawg-farmer - FR..October 1998 (MECCA and Medina, the SNAKE HEAD..)
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To: carriage_hill

And #35


40 posted on 08/06/2016 12:36:05 PM PDT by ASA Vet (Jus Soli + Jus Sanguinis = NBC)
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