The F-35: Our Gold-Plated Hangar Queen

OH DEAR: Our Gold-Plated Hangar Queen. David Archibald gives a fascinating and fact-laden rundown on why the F-35 aircraft, which the USA, Australia, and other western countries are almost committed to buying, is already technologically outdated — can’t hide, can’t fight, can’t run, can’t bomb, and way more expensive than promised.

On paper, the F-35 is a superb machine, which is is to be expected, as US weaponsmiths do much better at producing sales brochures than military systems able to perform as promised. Over-budget, unreliable and fatally compromised by design flaws, it is a flying pig.

Fact is, it isn’t a fighter aircraft in the first place. Australia might think it is buying a fighter than can hold its own against the Su-30, J-11, PAK-FA, J20, J31 and others, but it is really a light bomber.

stealth against radar isn’t the be-all and end-all of aerial combat. The F-35 can be spotted by low frequency radar a couple of hundred kilometers away, as all aircraft can be. Infrared detection can also work at a considerable distance under the right atmospheric conditions. For example, all Sukhois after and including the Su-27SK have Infra Red Scan and Track (IRST) that keeps getting better. The latest IRST – the OLS-35 – will detect, track and engage the F-35 at about 70 km.