Who will win?
Recently there is sharp debate how the uniform shock fighter F-35 of the Lockheed Martin company can prove in fight with other fighting vehicles, especially with modern Russian and Chinese planes.
This dispute will not be allowed until F-35 and J-20, J-31, PAK FA or Su-35 will not meet for the first time in air fight. Besides, there is a set of other factors, except qualities of planes. And to argue on this subject it is useless. We want it or not, but the Pentagon, most likely, as a result will get thousands F-35 cars and therefore Lightning II is for America for a long time.
Critics F-35 specify that this single-motor invisible plane not so well proved in comparison with quite old F-16D Block 40 updatings, at which two pendant tanks in capacity of 1 400 liters. F-35A, being most agile of three versions of the fighter, convincingly showed that it not such maneuverable, as older cars. But for the majority of those who watches this program, in this circumstance there is no big surprise.
Meanwhile, supporters F-35, first of all, Lockheed Martin and heads of the program of the uniform shock fighter, tried to wave away from these results. Thus they very much tried to make a laughing-stock of the War is Boring edition. Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon argued that tests actually are not indicative, because the test sample F-35 competing with F-16, had an incomplete set of the onboard radio-electronic equipment, it had no masking covering, the nashlemny display, and besides, it was not equipped with rockets with indirect aiming of the AIM-9X Sidewinder type. And still Lockheed Martin and heads of the program of the uniform shock fighter declared that F-35 is intended for conducting fight at a great distance.
Are right both those, and others, but anybody from them does not tell everything completely. As one old friend from Capitol Hill, «in political communications the facts – interesting, but the minor thing which does not have any value told to me. That we do here, is called as their juggling». Exactly so all here also occurs – both parties selectively use the facts for a reinforcement of the arguments, that is, are engaged in a juggling.
Actually, F-35 never intended for an air superiority gain – and for this reason it called the uniform shock fighter. About 10 years ago in the American Air Force said that F-22 Raptor of the Lockheed Martin company is vital for national security because F-35 cannot cope with fighters of the opponent and resist to the air defenses most modern complex systems, such as Russian S-400. But when the program of construction of "Raptors" stopped, the Air Force made changes to the story.
From the moment of a stop of the Air Force production F-22 line try to present F-35 as the multi-purpose wonderful plane which can carry out any tasks, being a universal platform. To understand it, far it is not necessary to go: to look at that battle which inflamed because of plans of the Air Force enough to remove from arms A-10. And Lockheed only adds fuel to the fire. This company repeatedly made loud statements about characteristics and possibilities F-35 which appeared late false. One example which occurs to me, is the story of the test pilot of Lockheed of Billey Flynn (Billie Flynn) which told me that at F-35 with full fighting loading such indicators as the angle of attack and acceleration is better than any plane, behind exception F-22. But the report on tests which managed to be got to David Eksu (David Axe), unequivocally shows that Flynn tells a lie.
Yes, prototype F-35 involved in flight tests had no masking covering and a complete set of the onboard radio-electronic equipment. But it has no value in air fight on removal of direct visibility. Lockheed Martin and heads of the program of the uniform shock fighter for some reason did not mention that when American F-35 (at British advanced short-range missiles of a class «air – air» ASRAAM take place inside) have a full complete set of a low-visibility, they do not bear rockets of indirect aiming of AIM-9X tolerant to infra-red traps. Therefore the nashlemny display has in this case no any value. Further, if this plane was equipped with AIM-9X rockets, it should to place them on an external suspension bracket that would bring to naught all properties of invisibility. So conversations on lack of a covering it too next "duck".
Besides, aerodynamic characteristics it is not all. The avionics and a low-visibility too are very important. Though F-35 is not singing and dancing second coming as Lockheed Martin and representatives of the program of the uniform shock fighter try to convince us, they are right that advantages of this car in its invisibility, devices of detection and network work.
Though F-35 air – air» average range (AMRAAM) of AIM-120 what "Raptor" has and F-15C does not possess necessary kinematic characteristics for start-up of advanced rockets of a class «, it, most likely, can fly up unnoticed to the plane of the opponent on range of start-up and with the first to strike blow. Certainly, AMRAAM this quite old weapon, and it is not protected from influence of digital radio-frequency directors of hindrances with a memory; but the USA will surely create over time it on replacement the new rocket of the class "air-air". While America will not have such rocket, four AMRAAM which bears onboard equipped for air fight F-35, it can appear insufficiently. But as air fights happen infrequently, hardly it is possible to call it a fatal shortcoming.
Further, having possibility to work in a network, F-35 groups can carry out interaction and communicate – and it offers them huge advantages. And as the American pilots are well prepared and trained, use excellent tactics and platforms of providing the AWACS type (this real advantage of the Pentagon), F-35 is for certain capable to be overcome adequately almost with any opponent. It belongs and to the best planes of Russia and China. At the Russian and Chinese cars it is for certain much better kinematic characteristics, but they lag behind according to low-visibility characteristics, on devices of detection and on indicators of network work, which for modern air fight doubtlessly more important.
As I already spoke at the beginning of article while F-35 will not meet in fight with well prepared and equipped opponent flying by modern planes, we will not know, as far as it is good or bad. Let’s hope that we should not find out it.