According to an article published by the Washington Times, the F-35A, the Conventional Take Off and Landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter, would be defeated in aerial combat because of its current shortcomings.
Mentioning a leaked Pentagon report made available by POGO, the article explains that “out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35A is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft,” thus limiting a pilot’s ability to see aerial threats surrounding him.
The problem is in the large head rest that impedes rear visibility and the ability of the pilot to check the aircraft’s 6 o’clock for incoming aerial or surface threats.
Another shortcoming is the aircraft adveniristic helmet mounted display system (HMDS Gen. II), that has not yet solved focal problems, blurry and double vision in the display and misalignment of the virtual horizon display with the actual horizon.
The HMDS Gen. II integrates FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) and DAS (Distributed Aperture System) imaging, and night vision (without somehow uncomfortable NVGs – Night Vision Goggles) into a single helmet in which essential flight and weapon aiming information are project onto a virtual HUD (Head Up Display) on the visor.
A few weeks ago in a Flight Global piece by Dave Majumdar, Bill Flynn, the Lockheed test pilot responsible for flight envelope expansion activities for the F-35 had claimed that all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter will have better kinematic performance than any fourth-generation fighter plane with combat payload, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
Such claims were strongly disputed by a Eurofighter Typhoon industry test pilot, who tried to debunk all Flynn’s “theories” about the alleged superior F-35 performance.
Considering the above mentioned F-35′s flaws (and all the shortcomings highlighted by the report…), the kinematic performance of the (recently, once again, grounded) stealth fighter, is the least of its problems.
The commander of the U.S. nuclear arsenal told lawmakers that the big across-the-board cuts to military spending mean that his forces might not be able to defend the United States in six months’ time.
Air ForceGen. C. Robert Kehler, in charge of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee about the impact on his command of the sequester, as the automatic cuts are known, and the other looming fiscal battles in Congress, such as the one expected before the end of the month on government spending levels for the rest of fiscal 2013.
Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler (right), commander
“I’m pleased to report that Stratcom is capable of executing its assigned mission responsibilities today,” Gen. Kehler said, according to a transcript. “However, given the potential impact fiscal uncertainty and declining resources could have on Stratcom, I am concerned that I may not be able to say the same in six months or a year.”
He said the Air Force’s bomber pilots would not be able to fly the training hours needed to maintain their launch-on-notice readiness if the service eliminated flying and maintenance for units not in or preparing for combat — a cut that might be needed if the sequester continues in effect throughout the year.
Uncertainty about budget levels also could interfere with space operations, another Stratcom responsibility, the Air Force Times reported. Cuts could leave “a huge gap in the command’s ability to monitor space for threats, such as asteroids, debris” or enemy missiles that could knock out satellites and disrupt the nation’s GPS navigation and telephone communications systems, according to Air Force Times.