F-35 Goes Supersonic as Critics Cite Lack of Agility

AIN Defense Perspective » November 20, 2008
...
November 20, 2008, 7:04 AM

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has exceeded Mach 1 for the first time–a timely achievement after a recent Rand study suggested that the design lacked maneuverability for air-to-air combat. Lockheed Martin said that the Lightning II accelerated to Mach 1.05 with a full internal load of inert weapons–5,400 pounds–on November 13. The design top speed is Mach 1.6. The Rand study on Air Combat discussed the potential performance of U.S. airpower in a conflict with China over Taiwan. In passing, the study noted that the thrust loading of the F-35 “is significantly inferior to that of the F-15, F-16 and F-22, (resulting in) slower acceleration, slower climb and more energy bleed in tight turns.” The Rand authors also claimed that if the F-35A were ever obliged to engage modern Russian/Chinese fighters within visual range, it “can’t turn, can’t climb (and) can’t run.” Last September, F-35 program officials defended the aircraft against previous negative reports from a war-gaming exercise. “The F-35 enjoys a significant combat loss exchange ratio advantage over the current and future air-to-air threats, to include Sukhois,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles R. Davis, the F-35 program executive officer.

FILED UNDER: 
Share this...

Please Register

In order to leave comments you will now need to be a registered user. This change in policy is to protect our site from an increased number of spam comments. Additionally, in the near future you will be able to better manage your AIN subscriptions via this registration system. If you already have an account, click here to log in. Otherwise, click here to register.

 
X