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Old 07-30-2015, 02:36 PM   #1
Onkel Neal
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radar America's fancy new fighter jet stinks at fighting. And the US Navy doesn't care.

America's fancy new fighter jet stinks at fighting. And the US Navy doesn't care.

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In trials off the California coast in January 2015, a 1980s-vintage U.S. Air Force F-16 repeatedly defeated one of the flying branch's brand-new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter stealth jets in mock dogfights. "The F-35 was at a distinct energy disadvantage," the unnamed JSF pilot wrote in a scathing five-page brief that War Is Boring obtained.

The test report is the latest proof that the F-35 — which Lockheed Martin is developing for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines, and a host of American allies — is an inferior fighter in close combat compared to much older planes. Complex and heavy, the JSF "can't turn, can't climb, can't run," to quote one infamous 2008 war game report.

But the U.S. Navy — the third-largest purchaser of F-35s — seems unperturbed. Indeed, in recent planning the Navy describes the JSF less as a traditional fighter than as radar-evading, flying sensor and communications node.
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Old 07-30-2015, 04:00 PM   #2
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The whole thing is a boondoggle, as you would expect from something as committee designed as this plane is. As for the avionics package, they would just be better off upgrading the F-16, F/A-18, and F-15 with the new avionics (or heck, maybe entirely upgrade/redesign the F-16, F/A-18, and F-15), and it would still be considerably cheaper than the F-35 program.

I do wonder how well the F-35 performs at BVR (Beyond Visual Range) and if it is any better than the F-22. The semi-stealth features could give it a potential edge in being able to shoot first before it is detected. On the other hand though, I'm not sure that the semi stealth feature is all it is cracked up to be, as to shoot you either need another aircraft feeding you target information via data-link, or you need to be using your own radar system which nullifies the stealth advantage as you are telling every aircraft near by exactly where you are.

One thing is for sure, the moment your enemy fires back, you would be in serious trouble; a plane that can't dogfight, cannot avoid missiles either. At any rate the US needs to stop designing military hardware the way it has been, trying to design a plane that can do everything and be used in all levels of service will only give you a plane that will be poor at all those things, and it won't save any of the money you think it will either, as you will have to replace or cancel the POS. The Russians know this, when the heck are we going to learn.

My favorite line:
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Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, the Navy's top aviator, called the JSF's sensor combo a "game-changer." "Suck[ing] in all that information," an F-35 can paint "a great, clear picture of who's good and who's bad."
Oh please! Are you serious? That has to be the dumbest thing I've read someone saying about the program yet.
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Old 07-30-2015, 05:41 PM   #3
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The whole thing is a boondoggle, as you would expect from something as committee designed as this plane is.
AHEM! http://www.subsim.com/radioroom/showthread.php?p=2330079#post2330079 From Fubar2Niner's marvelous thread http://www.subsim.com/radioroom/showthread.php?t=221119
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In July 2015, Lockheed Martin confirmed the authenticity of a leaked report showing the F-35 to be less maneuverable than an older F-16D with wing tanks. The pilot who flew the mission reported inferior energy maneuverability, a limited pitch rate and flying qualities that were "not intuitive or favorable" in a major part of the air-combat regime gave the F-16 the tactical advantage. In general the high AoA capabilities of the jet could not be used in an effective way without significantly reducing follow-on maneuvering potential. In an interview with CBC Radio broadcast 2 July 2015, military journalist David Axe claimed to have read the leaked report and stated: "Against a determined foe, the F-35 is in very big trouble." Perhaps a bit of a costly boondoggle IMHO ...but a very cool looking plane!
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Old 07-30-2015, 05:43 PM   #4
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To be fair the Harrier was pretty terrible when it first came out too, it was deadlier to its pilot than the enemy, and the EE Lightning was a hangar queen early in its life too. Then there's the F-104, look how much refitting that took before it became a half way to decent interceptor.

The F-35 will come round eventually, probably just in time to be replaced by drones...
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Old 07-30-2015, 05:47 PM   #5
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It's all about lookin' cool BBY!
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:24 PM   #6
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The problem with being reliant on keeping the fight BVR is that political considerations can preclude engaging targets without first having a visual ID (see USAF in Vietnam for example) and you don't want to be forced into visual range if you are flying an aircraft that is inadequate in that area.

Hopefully the F-35 well be fixed before it is really needed, another example of a total failure that was eventually fixed was the F-111.

It will be very expensive to fix.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:02 PM   #7
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Not a very big aficionado of fighter aircraft, so I can only really speak as a citizen/taxpayer: at 1 billion US$ each plane shouldn't this thing be a whole lot better than just a small flying bus? This is just another example of what happens when there is no accountability, oversight, or competent management in military spending. Isn't time we finally stopped being the ATM for big defense industries and made them deliver what they promised at the prices they bid when they sought to work on projects such as this. The industries know they can quote a ridiculous, lowball figure and not face any consequences when they go way, way over budget because the Pentagon and the Congress will just cut them a check to cover the "overages" they knew full well were going to happen before they even started to bid. I think they time has come to raise the stakes on the industries and hold their feet to the fire. Why doesn't the Congress take a hint from some of the "incentive" methods used in other bid contracts? A lot of contracts for other civilian projects make the contractor responsible for overages or penalize them for lowball bidding if they can't meet price/quality. Perhaps instead of the contractors padding their bottom line by "accidental" miscalculations, maybe if they were offered bonuses for completing a project on time and of specified quality and a further bonus if they complete a project as specified ahead of schedule. Following the Northridge Earthquake of 1994, there was much hand wringing and moaning over how it was going to take many months to replace and/or repair damage done to the freeway system in Southern California. Someone came up with the idea of an incentive bonus for the contractors if the got the repairs done on schedule and more if they beat cost/time projections. You never saw civil projects done so efficiently and rapidly in your life. The contractors beat the projections and pocketed tidy sums (the workers, however, were a bit miffed; they were used to drawing out projects to pad their salaries and overtime). Let's make it more profitable for the defense contractors to do the job right and fast the first time and turn off the seeming never ending spigot of taxpayer dollars...

One more thing: am I the only one who thinks it borders on the criminal when Pentagon planners seem to be more intent on justifying their jobs and on assisting their contractor cronies rather than in providing the people who really do the fighting and risk their lives with the best possible weapons and equipment in a timely manner? I seem to recall reports of fighter pilots turning off some of the "whizz-bang" technology in their cockpits because the tech got in the way of actually flying and fighting. Just because some Pentagon desk jockey is trying to fulfill his childhood "Star Wars" fantasies by cramming in every "Oh, Wow" bit of tech is no reason the pilots and crews have to deal with possibly life-endangering situations in battle caused by tech out of control. Sometimes when you want something that flies right, aims straight, and protects you in combat, you don't really need to have "Flash Gordon" tech getting in the way...


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Old 07-30-2015, 09:09 PM   #8
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The way other things have been going in this 21st century ...

I wouldn't put it past the indwelling weapons suppliers to have a new plan that includes talking points.

Instead of a real test between an old F-16 and a new F-35 being labeled as a complete success it was labeled a failure.

What good would it do to brag about being the best in the face of the enemy?

I can always hope and dream that my country is the best in everything they do, especially when push comes to shove.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:38 PM   #9
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Politenessman!
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Aktungbby View Post
I've been saying that the F-35 has been a terrible idea for years now

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To be fair the Harrier was pretty terrible when it first came out too, it was deadlier to its pilot than the enemy, and the EE Lightning was a hangar queen early in its life too. Then there's the F-104, look how much refitting that took before it became a half way to decent interceptor.

The F-35 will come round eventually, probably just in time to be replaced by drones...
I honestly never thought much of the Harrier. As a fighting aircraft, its capabilities are pretty crap. It has just one thing going for it, that it can do STOL and VTOL for landing (yes it can do VTOL takeoffs but only naked), which makes it somewhat useful for the helo-carriers. It's a poor dogfighter due to lack of energy, and its payload is very small.

I think many period early jets had high maintenance too, but the EE Lightning had the added problem of its stacked engines. I don't know if I would ever consider the Lawn Dart to be a particularly good aircraft. Sure its performance was great in it's interceptor role, though its payload was rather light. It could move but it couldn't turn well, and it had a very nasty habit of living up to its nickname.

I suspect the F-35 won't for the simple reason that it's basic design is bad. Energy problems and a lack of maneuverability are not something that can easily be fixed. I also think the Navy is deluding themselves. You can't use a stealth jet for target acquisition and relaying, at least not while having it remain semi stealthy (this whole idea makes no sense at all). Plus I highly doubt it is all that stealthy an aircraft to begin with (I suspect it is about comparable to the F-22). Furthermore if its design is as underpowered and unmaneuverable as is claimed, surface and aerial missiles will be a massive threat to it when it is detected, particularly against state of the art weapons systems which can't be jammed, are very maneuverable, and very resistant to chaff and flares. So it probably would be a bad idea to send these things into the heart of enemy territory (especially given how much these stupid things cost). You could buy half a squadron of F-16s for the cost of just one F-35.

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The problem with being reliant on keeping the fight BVR is that political considerations can preclude engaging targets without first having a visual ID (see USAF in Vietnam for example) and you don't want to be forced into visual range if you are flying an aircraft that is inadequate in that area.

Hopefully the F-35 well be fixed before it is really needed, another example of a total failure that was eventually fixed was the F-111.

It will be very expensive to fix.
This is very true, and not just in Vietnam, even the current wars had similar rules of engagement to avoid accidentally shooting down civilians or allies. Like I said above, it is also very very bad for trying to defeat missiles shot at you, as you won't be able to out energy or out turn it.

Without redesigning the entire aircraft I don't know how some of that stuff can be fixed. Sure at some point a new engine system will become available to fix some of the energy problems, but the fundamental problem is the underlying design, not the engine, so the aircraft will always be at a disadvantage.

Really the Air Force should just get the F-16 Super Viper, give it a state of the art engine with thrust vectoring, the avionics package from the F-35, and some other tweaks to improve its maneuverability, and a fully digital MFD system. The Navy could do the same with the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The Marines can just go back to walking, since they were a key contributor to the F-35 mess to begin with, because they wanted their version to be able to VTOL. That or the Marines can keep the F-35, but they get to pay for the entire development costs of it.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:41 PM   #11
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Going to be expensive when the malfunctioning new catapults start putting F-35s in the drink. Maybe that's the plan to get rid of them.

Great point about rules of engagement!
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Oberon View Post

The F-35 will come round eventually, probably just in time to be replaced by drones...
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Old 08-01-2015, 04:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by NeonSamurai View Post
I honestly never thought much of the Harrier. As a fighting aircraft, its capabilities are pretty crap. It has just one thing going for it, that it can do STOL and VTOL for landing (yes it can do VTOL takeoffs but only naked), which makes it somewhat useful for the helo-carriers. It's a poor dogfighter due to lack of energy, and its payload is very small.
I'm not 100% sure about the Harrier VTOLs only being naked, I think it can do them with a reduced load, otherwise it would make the FOB deployments in West Germany a bit difficult, that being said, there were probably roads nearby to enable STOL operations, although given the lifespan of the average pilot when the balloon went up it would have been academic really.

VIFFing is a handy technique that only the Harrier can do, but it only really works in the merge and it can be countered fairly easily.

It's not the best aircraft, but it wasn't really designed for air to air, it was more aimed at ground support in an era when helicopters were only just coming into their own. This niche could explain why we never really went into attack helicopters in a big way until getting the designs for the Apache from the US, I mean there was the anti-tank Lynx, but the Lynx wasn't designed as a sole attack helicopter.

Of course, when the CVA-01 project was cancelled and we found ourselves having to build a navy on the cheap, we found that a ski-jump carrier could throw VSTOL aircraft up, and so the Harrier was slotted into that role too.

Really, the Harrier is a typically British design, a square forced to the do the job of a triangle, circle, and a hexagon. In a way, the F-35 continues that mission, it's almost as if BAe had designed it and not Lockheed...

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I think many period early jets had high maintenance too, but the EE Lightning had the added problem of its stacked engines. I don't know if I would ever consider the Lawn Dart to be a particularly good aircraft. Sure its performance was great in it's interceptor role, though its payload was rather light. It could move but it couldn't turn well, and it had a very nasty habit of living up to its nickname.
I had a similar opinion of the Tent Peg but Schroeder tells me that the Luftwaffe thought quite highly of it. Then again, these are the guys that flew the Komet so they were probably used to aircraft that were deadlier to the pilot than the enemy. Again though, it's square pegging a round hole, the F-104 was designed as an interceptor, it was designed to fly at the enemy very fast, hit them with air to air missiles and then return, refuel and rearm. Same as the Lightning. It didn't need to dogfight or evade, it was essentially a guided missile with missiles on it.
Then someone decided to put bombs on it.
It's like the 262, original plans for an inteceptor and then some bright spark decides that it must be a fighter-bomber.

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I suspect the F-35 won't for the simple reason that it's basic design is bad. Energy problems and a lack of maneuverability are not something that can easily be fixed. I also think the Navy is deluding themselves. You can't use a stealth jet for target acquisition and relaying, at least not while having it remain semi stealthy (this whole idea makes no sense at all).
I think in that respect it's trying to pick up the enemies EM emissions without being detected and then relaying that across. Although of course, relaying that means that the aircraft has got to make some noise itself. I don't know how they're getting around that, laser transmissions perhaps?
I think though, the idea of target acquisition and relaying is more based around the kind of setup that the AH-64D has, in that one F-35 can pick up a contact, relay it to the group and then back to the AWACs who can correlate it with their data, all in a matter of seconds. I guess having data from two fixed points might help firm up a long range shot, but since the Phoenix went out of service there's not really much point in trying to snipe the enemy out in BVR, because as soon as you drop an AMRAAM, he's going to go defensive and then work back from where that weapon came from.
Of course, he can't hit what he can't lock on, and I think that's the whole idea for the F-35, is to reduce the range at which the enemy can get a solid lock on the aircraft. Enabling the F-35 to kill, say, an Su-33 before the Su-33 can get a good lock on the 35.
A chap from the RAS used CMANO, which is probably the closest civilian sim you can get, and put some F-35s up against some Sukhois, the results were telling:
http://aerosociety.com/News/Insight-...-in-air-combat


Quote:
Plus I highly doubt it is all that stealthy an aircraft to begin with (I suspect it is about comparable to the F-22). Furthermore if its design is as underpowered and unmaneuverable as is claimed, surface and aerial missiles will be a massive threat to it when it is detected, particularly against state of the art weapons systems which can't be jammed, are very maneuverable, and very resistant to chaff and flares. So it probably would be a bad idea to send these things into the heart of enemy territory (especially given how much these stupid things cost). You could buy half a squadron of F-16s for the cost of just one F-35.
Definitely agree on this though, I don't think the F-35s mission is going to be deep penetration, not against an enemy that has a half decent defense network anyway. I suspect, at the least in the RAF/RN the F-35 will be a fringe support and interception machine. I don't know what sort of aircraft would do the deep penetration missions any more, the sort of thing that the F-117 and B-2 were designed for...well, obviously we still have the B-2, but otherwise. Probably RCS reduced drones, something like the Avenger, since the Sentinel seems to have already been put on deep recon missions in Iran.
I come across as defending the F-35 here...and honestly I find myself in a very odd position, because part of me thinks that the F-35 might just make it out alright given time, that all these nightmare reports are just the result of the internet age, and we'd have been seeing similiar reports about other successful aircraft during their early days. I mean, certainly according to the article I already linked, the report from War is Boring involved a prototype aircraft which lacked certain equipment, such as off-sight bore targeting and part of the stealth gear. However, there are a lot of problems with the F-35, there is no going around it, and the price tag on it is ridiculous in an era where manned aircraft are slowly becoming obsolete.
But, we're stuck with it, certainly the UK is anyway, and we're just going to have to try and bodge the best of it and hope that our other aircraft make up the shortfall. I'd have been happier if the QEII carriers had been a standard long deck rather than another bloody ramp job, we'd have had more options on the table in regards to what aircraft we could fly from it. Heck, we could have just gone and got a load of F-18s, but no, we have to have the cheap boat with the too expensive to fly aircraft. British military procurement mysteries, we're full of them (see Nimrod fiasco).

Hopefully, once some of the customers start getting their F-35s we'll get more combat information about how the fully operational aircraft handles against a standard opponent.
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Old 08-03-2015, 01:38 PM   #14
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I saw this article and we discussed it to death over at the keypublishing forums.

I'm not a great fan of the F-35 and I'm sure it has limitations, however it also seems like it has become the done thing to trash the aircraft.

There were some inconsistencies in the report. I can't be bothered rehashing it but head over to keypublishing forums and you can see it there.

It's interesting that the F-35 used was an early model, quite possibly without the latest FCS software.
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Old 08-03-2015, 02:50 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Oberon View Post
I'm not 100% sure about the Harrier VTOLs only being naked, I think it can do them with a reduced load, otherwise it would make the FOB deployments in West Germany a bit difficult, that being said, there were probably roads nearby to enable STOL operations, although given the lifespan of the average pilot when the balloon went up it would have been academic really.

VIFFing is a handy technique that only the Harrier can do, but it only really works in the merge and it can be countered fairly easily.

It's not the best aircraft, but it wasn't really designed for air to air, it was more aimed at ground support in an era when helicopters were only just coming into their own. This niche could explain why we never really went into attack helicopters in a big way until getting the designs for the Apache from the US, I mean there was the anti-tank Lynx, but the Lynx wasn't designed as a sole attack helicopter.

Of course, when the CVA-01 project was cancelled and we found ourselves having to build a navy on the cheap, we found that a ski-jump carrier could throw VSTOL aircraft up, and so the Harrier was slotted into that role too.

Really, the Harrier is a typically British design, a square forced to the do the job of a triangle, circle, and a hexagon. In a way, the F-35 continues that mission, it's almost as if BAe had designed it and not Lockheed...
I'm pretty sure it can't carry more than a couple of wingtip AIM9s and take off purely vertical, not at least without taking fuel off, or being extremely slow and shakey in takeoff (ie dangerous to fly). Now on a ship steaming at flank speed into the wind can help it a bit. I believe the idea in west Germany was that the harriers would use the local roads for STOL, and overpasses for shelter, the harrier doesn't need much length at all, especially if not carrying it's max payload. In a sense that would be a job it would be good at, as a semi guerrilla aircraft that doesn't need airfields.

You pretty much sum up my thoughts on VIFFing, the harrier can achieve a really tight turn circle using that trick, but it can't hold it for very long, plus VIFFing slows it's turning rate as energy is being used to push it into its turn and not around it.

Thing is though, the Harrier was not great at ground support either, due to its rather small payload and again low energy and maneuverability. All around it was really pretty mediocre.

Ultimately it's legacy was its service on the ski-jump and helo carriers. It was the only plane that could do the job.

Maybe BAe was a silent partner in the F-35 project with Lockheed.


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I had a similar opinion of the Tent Peg but Schroeder tells me that the Luftwaffe thought quite highly of it. Then again, these are the guys that flew the Komet so they were probably used to aircraft that were deadlier to the pilot than the enemy. Again though, it's square pegging a round hole, the F-104 was designed as an interceptor, it was designed to fly at the enemy very fast, hit them with air to air missiles and then return, refuel and rearm. Same as the Lightning. It didn't need to dogfight or evade, it was essentially a guided missile with missiles on it.
Then someone decided to put bombs on it.
It's like the 262, original plans for an inteceptor and then some bright spark decides that it must be a fighter-bomber.
It was super fast, no doubt, and turned like a beached whale when it wasn't trying to see how far into the earth it could impale itself. As I recall some Canadian pilots liked it too, but the ground crews didn't due to how sharp the wings were (they would actually put guards over the edges of the wings). As an interceptor it wasn't so great, mainly because of how terrible the missiles it carried were (early AIM9's), and they were having problems with the plane crashing due to firing the gun with it's linked ammo. As an all around fighter it was not good. The MiG-21 tore it to pieces.

Apparently though not all German pilots liked the Lawn Dart either.
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The poor safety record of the Starfighter brought the aircraft into the public eye, especially in German Air Force service. Fighter ace Erich Hartmann famously was retired from the Luftwaffe because of his protests against having to deploy the unsafe F-104s. The F-104 was also at the center of the Lockheed bribery scandals, in which Lockheed had given bribes to a considerable number of political and military figures in various nations in order to influence their judgment and secure several purchase contracts; this caused considerable political controversy in Europe and Japan.
Having it being able to carry nuclear bombs, wasn't such a bad idea though, as it was small and fast, and you don't need pinpoint accuracy with nukes. Otherwise ya, not a good bomber, pretty tiny payload (and low wing clearance).


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I think in that respect it's trying to pick up the enemies EM emissions without being detected and then relaying that across. Although of course, relaying that means that the aircraft has got to make some noise itself. I don't know how they're getting around that, laser transmissions perhaps?
I think though, the idea of target acquisition and relaying is more based around the kind of setup that the AH-64D has, in that one F-35 can pick up a contact, relay it to the group and then back to the AWACs who can correlate it with their data, all in a matter of seconds. I guess having data from two fixed points might help firm up a long range shot, but since the Phoenix went out of service there's not really much point in trying to snipe the enemy out in BVR, because as soon as you drop an AMRAAM, he's going to go defensive and then work back from where that weapon came from.
Of course, he can't hit what he can't lock on, and I think that's the whole idea for the F-35, is to reduce the range at which the enemy can get a solid lock on the aircraft. Enabling the F-35 to kill, say, an Su-33 before the Su-33 can get a good lock on the 35.
A chap from the RAS used CMANO, which is probably the closest civilian sim you can get, and put some F-35s up against some Sukhois, the results were telling:
http://aerosociety.com/News/Insight-...-in-air-combat
Last i checked though, you can't really do passive target acquisition as detecting EM doesn't give you ranging data (signal strength does not equal range), or other needed data such as altitude. To do what the guy claimed, the plane would have to be flying with it's radar on, which means no more semi-stealth. I don't think the US uses lasers to transmit data from aircraft, another possibility would be to tightly beam it to a satellite, but that would induce lag, which wouldn't be good for trying to guide a missile at the target.

You are correct though with data relaying that is the idea, but any plane that has the system can do it in either direction (and it is direct plane to plane, not necessarily through AWACS). These systems are also necessary for planes like the F-22 and F-35 to fire while remaining semi-stealthy, as if they use their own radar, the enemy can fire back and have their missiles track the enemy radar until it gets close enough to lock on with it's own active radar. Of course you can do this trick with data link planes as well that are not as stealthy, one stays back and paints the target while the other sneaks in closer from another angle and fires.

I wouldn't put any stock at all in such simulations (especially CMANO, which relies on totally stupid AI pilots) as the capabilities for both planes are highly classified and not known to the general public. Also I should point out the cost differential, if I can afford 5 Su-33's to each of your 1 F-35's who is likely to win the engagement? Not to mention the F-35 needs someone else to provide the radar targeting so that it can engage in BVR without revealing itself and getting an AAM fired right back at it, homing on it's radar emissions.

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Definitely agree on this though, I don't think the F-35s mission is going to be deep penetration, not against an enemy that has a half decent defense network anyway. I suspect, at the least in the RAF/RN the F-35 will be a fringe support and interception machine. I don't know what sort of aircraft would do the deep penetration missions any more, the sort of thing that the F-117 and B-2 were designed for...well, obviously we still have the B-2, but otherwise. Probably RCS reduced drones, something like the Avenger, since the Sentinel seems to have already been put on deep recon missions in Iran.
I come across as defending the F-35 here...and honestly I find myself in a very odd position, because part of me thinks that the F-35 might just make it out alright given time, that all these nightmare reports are just the result of the internet age, and we'd have been seeing similiar reports about other successful aircraft during their early days. I mean, certainly according to the article I already linked, the report from War is Boring involved a prototype aircraft which lacked certain equipment, such as off-sight bore targeting and part of the stealth gear. However, there are a lot of problems with the F-35, there is no going around it, and the price tag on it is ridiculous in an era where manned aircraft are slowly becoming obsolete.
But, we're stuck with it, certainly the UK is anyway, and we're just going to have to try and bodge the best of it and hope that our other aircraft make up the shortfall. I'd have been happier if the QEII carriers had been a standard long deck rather than another bloody ramp job, we'd have had more options on the table in regards to what aircraft we could fly from it. Heck, we could have just gone and got a load of F-18s, but no, we have to have the cheap boat with the too expensive to fly aircraft. British military procurement mysteries, we're full of them (see Nimrod fiasco).
Yet that was exactly what that Navy guy was talking about using the F-35 for (but I guess the Navy doesn't really have much hands on experience with stealth planes). Mostly IMHO he was just talking out of his arse though.

I figure drones will take over a lot of the deep penetration and recon jobs, along with the planes we have always used, using NOE flying and other tricks to stay hidden.

Personally I really don't believe the F-35 will ever be a good aircraft. It just simply can't be. It is trying to do way to many things which means it will be poor at all of them: they are trying to standardize the aircraft with 3 different military branches, each with differing needs; plus they are trying to make one of the variants VTOL which means that the other two variants will have to suffer the design necessities that enable VTOL; on top of it they are trying to make it stealthy too, which just further compounds the problems and highly limits the aircraft.

I don't think having the extra stuff though would have helped it in the dogfight. Sure off bore targeting would have helped, but then the f-16 has that capability too (and I'm sure it wasn't using it for that fight). Stealth technology is absolutely useless in a furball. So really nothing would have changed. We would need to see how the real plane performs in BVR testing to see where it may just perform ok.

I think Canada is stuck with it too, thanks to our stupid lil Emperor of a PM. We don't need it, we have the CF-18 which is a pretty nasty plane, we won't ever be having any carriers, and we don't really need VTOL. It is also way too expensive. Plus we are still busy trying to fix those lousy submarines England sold us some years ago. Otherwise I agree with what you said about the UK's situation with them.

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Hopefully, once some of the customers start getting their F-35s we'll get more combat information about how the fully operational aircraft handles against a standard opponent.
Indeed, assuming we don't just get more hype and BS from the military, contractors, and politicians eager to avoid any more egg on their faces.
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