F-35 against Su-35: who will win?
The uniform shock fighter Lockheed Martin F-35 should become a basis of fleet of tactical fighters of the Pentagon. However far not each country on Earth presumes to use to itself expensive fighters of the fifth generation.
Hardly the whole fleet from such fighters will be created even by Russia and China. Instead in the foreseeable future various options of the fighter Su-27 "Flanker" developed by Sukhoi Design Bureau and intended for a gain of an air superiority will be a support of their tactical aircraft. Most effective of them – Su-35 possessing strongly improved electronics, engines and the case. In the next years this version of the Russian fighter, possibly, will receive great popularity in the world.
At opposition "Flankeram" the U.S. Air Force, marines and (to a lesser extent) fleet should rely on various updatings F-35 though it never intended for achievement of an air superiority. It was and remains the fighter attack plane with expanded possibilities on self-defense from other fighters though the Pentagon and advertizes it as the multi-purpose fighter. How four F-35 will lead, having faced the four of Su-35? Most likely, will change a course and will cause F-22 ("Raptors") and F-15 into which tasks enters to establish and support an air superiority, and itself will cheerfully depart further to the appointed purposes.
However, as the history teaches us, in the war not always it turns out to choose the optimum decision. Even if F-35 it is necessary to manage own forces, they have quite good chances to cope Su-35 – simply for this purpose it is required to play correctly the cards. Pilots F-35 will need to use strong places of the fighters – a low-visibility and sensors – and not to allow the opponent to maintain their weaknesses. Actually, they will need to battle because of limits of visual visibility, avoiding closer contact at which they become vulnerable.
"Raptor" from the very beginning intended mainly for air fight, but to F-35 it does not belong. F-22 combines big limiting height of flight and supersonic cruiser speed (more than 1,8 Moves). Meanwhile F-35 hardly reaches 1,6 Moves on a full forcing. Besides F-22 possesses excellent maneuverability in fight within visual visibility. It surpasses rivals in angular speed of a turn, radius, an angle of attack and an increment of speed at all heights.
The four of "Raptors" flying on supersonic speed in the rarefied atmosphere at height more than 50 thousand foots (15200 km), actually, can choose, where and when it to battle, and the four rather slow F-35, flying below, can – if pilots are insufficiently careful – to appear is compelled to engage with the opponent surpassing in characteristics.
Moreover, speed F-35 and height which it takes, do not allow it to give to the AIM-120 rockets the same energy, as at start with F-22. Respectively, range of rockets will be less. In addition, on F-35 too it is less than rockets – that is important, as means of radio-electronic suppression with technology of digital storing of high frequencies are quite capable to confuse system of prompting of AIM-120.
On short distance F-35 does not possess maneuverability of "Raptor" – or even F-16 or F/A-18, – and in near fight rescue the plane the superiority of the pilot over the opponent in experience and skills can only. In addition F-35 in a stealth configuration it is equipped with only internal arms and cannot bear AIM-9X rocket which are capable to strike the purposes with shift from the vising line. If weapon compartments F-35 are adapted once under AIM-9X, the fighter should offer AIM-120 rockets which are suitable for its main objectives better. Thus, the pilot F-35 should avoid near fight at any cost.
It is improbable that the American command will put before F-35 tasks of an air superiority gain if it has other alternatives. However, as the USA have not enough "Raptors", and F-15C becomes ever less, it is quite possible that it will be compelled to go on such measures. However, in any case in the majority of regions of the world the main threat for the American aircraft there are air defenses modern complex systems, instead of enemy aircraft.