Cain Marko wrote:Austin, thx for the link - all I will say is that those who don't like the bird, really hate it; and those who tend to like it, really praise it. Too extreme.
That is something i would agree with
Most of the folks that love the F-35 are the LM folks or the paid write up we have seen on AFM/Air Intl , Janes etc well after all they have to sell the bird.
also, I realize that there are other factors to a/c performance, however, the F-35 is not as poor as some might make it out to be. For e.g. using the config I gave above, it has a v.similar wingloading to an F-16 blk60 or Shornet- around 460kg/msq. Not great vs. perhaps Ecanards, but then the bird makes up for it via a very low RCS airframe. More importantly, it is still not the production variant, there is likely to be further weight reduction, and refinement.
Actually if it comes to F-16 Blk 60 at the initial stage of life then its really bad, Block 60 is not the greatest kid in the block as far as Aeroynamic an Raw peroformance goes but for F-16 is fine becuase they are at the fag end of life , they have seen their best in Blk 30 an 52 or earlier variant and aircraft tends to get heavy with every new block model.
So if JSF is what it is now , it would get bad in aerodynamic performance in later stage of life as it woul naturally get heavier ( so is it for PAK-FA hence the need for more powerful engine but PAK-FA would still beat the Su-35 aerodynamically now )
The F-35 in many ways, can be thought of as a somewhat so-so fighter ala F-16/60 or F-18E in terms of kinematics, it can perform well enough, but not as good as say, an EF 2000 or Su-35. Does not mean that an F-18E/F-16blk60/F-35 can't cause trouble for the more agile birds, just that in the supersonic regime, it is not as topnotch.
The problem would come when it enters in to many to many duel at that time a stealth will be of no advantage and it woul boil down to kinemetics , aerodynamic performance and other flying qualities T/W , Turn rate etc , you can and eventually they would fit stuff like MAWS , DAS , DIRCM , Towed Decoys etc on to a Rafale ,Su-35 and Eurofighter which would not give F-35 any advantage , thats where it would likely loose. Remember the advert Aircraft need not manouver , Missile would do ..... they pretty well know how things would come to in WVR , hence they stress on DAS and Missile an Stealth ( which practically is of no advantage for either JSF or F-22 or PAK-FA in close duel )
In BVR without AWACS support JSF would retain the first look advantage , which can be reduced if you have awacs support .
But the biggest difference bet say the Shornet/F-16IN and the F-35 is the fact that it more than compensates for this mediocre aerodynamic capability with all aspect stealth, and a very uber sensor package.
Stealth of JSF or other aircraft is over rated , the stealth is mostly X-band specific ( true All Aspect Stealth is something only B-2 has in reality ) and once you have the same object seen in L band ( or best VHF ) then you would find that you nullify the stealth advantage to good extent , sensor package is given for JSF but there wont be a generational advantage when you compare with EF , Rafale or Su-35 , the advantage will be small at best and can be over come.
You know the story of F-117 being shot down by SA-3 using nothing but 60 systems at best ( 2 generation behind ) with minor improvement , and in a situation where there was complete air superiority , JSTARS , AWACS and what not , all you needed was a smart SAM operator and smart tactics , if you have it you can deal with it.
So imho, while I would always prefer the Ecanards over the Shornet or F-16IN, I'll take the F-35 over the Ecanards, the stealth option clearly gives a winning edge. Look at it this way, would an F-16IN be more effective with VLO features? If yes, then please select JSF from Table LM.
All boils down to choice , against JSF i would take EF if there is AWACS support , against F-22 or PAK-FA i would think around Tactics and Innovation and anti-stealth measures if i dont have equal capable platform.
I think EF can hold its own in A2A combat as long as you can have other supported platform backing you.
BTW if you have read the rand and other studies , till date a BVR engagement has a Pk of 0.46 using AIM-120C and that too in a situation where in most times the platform was not aware its under attack ( i.e. lack of SA ) and in all situation Allies clearly enjoyed all the modern platform and support they could get.
So even a BVR is mostly hyped for the range they mention goes equally for AIM-120C5/7 or RVV-SD or others ,their NEZ is typically very low for long range , a decent NEZ will boil down to 40 % of their claimed range. The only true BVR that will give a good NEZ at long range ( ~ 100 km ) is Meteor against modern fighter aircraft with its defensive capabilities.