Design Engineering

F-35 test pilot says JSF can’t dogfight

Design problems with JSF allows 40-year-old F-16 to consistently outmanoeuvre the sluggish F-35 in mock air battle, leaked report reveals.

July 2, 2015   Mike McLeod

15-June-F-35-F-16-dogfight-625A less than complementary report – obtained and posted by defense journalist David Axe reporting for’s “War is Boring” site – gives the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter a woefully poor rating in terms of its ability to dogfight.

According to the unnamed test pilot — who flew an F-35a in “Top Gun”-style mock air battles with an F-16 in January — the trillion-dollar fighter jet was at a “distinct energy disadvantage” against its opponent although the F-35 was unladen while the F-16 carried under-wing fuel tanks. In layman’s terms, energy disadvantage means the JSF cornered and climbed too sluggishly to either hit the enemy plane or evade its gunfire.

To add to the controversial jet’s problems, the test pilot also reported the high-tech helmet worn by F-35 fighter jockeys was too large for the cramped cockpit. This prevented the pilot from tracking his opponent or “checking his 6,” thus allowing the F-16, which is slated to be replaced by the F-35, to sneak up behind its supposedly superior successor.


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1 Comment » for F-35 test pilot says JSF can’t dogfight
  1. Serge Jodoin says:

    Nothing new there. This information has been public for years. The F-35 program is political in nature and it will be an open ended liability for Canadian taxpayers for decades to come. The European multi purpose fighter bomber is way superior to the F-35 and would be a great negotiating chip in the current trade negotiations with the EU. With American political drones running our country there is little chance this will happen …

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