War Is Boring and Reuters tackle the troubled jet
War Is Boring is proud to announce War College, a new podcast produced in partnership with Reuters. Listen every week as Reuters analysis and opinion editor Jason Fields and our writers talk American defense and global conflict.
So what’s the first episode about? The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The Pentagon plans to replace the bulk of its air combat power with the stealthy new jet over the next decade. There’s separate versions for the U.S. Navy, Marines and Air Force — each a bit different, but all sharing the same fundamental design. Within the next few days, the Marines will likely declare its version of the long-delayed fighter ready for combat.
But there are problems.
For one, the F-35 is bad at dogfighting. Worse, it lost a mock duel to the 40-year-old F-16 Fighting Falcon. Some experts — and Lockheed — claim the jet doesn’t need to win in a dogfight because of its stealth capabilities. The plane can pick its enemies off from a distance.
But what weapons will it use to do so? Thanks to the sleek design, it can’t carry many missiles. Worse, its gun is only good for a quick spray. That’s if the gun works. Lockheed isn’t finished writing the software that lets pilots aim the gun.
- Everything Wrong With the F-35
- F’d: How the U.S. and Its Allies Got Stuck with the World’s Worst New Warplane
- Test Pilot Admits the F-35 Can’t Dogfight