Analyst: Russian MiG-29 and Su-27 Top American F-35
“The F-35 is so bad it is absolutely hopeless when pitted against modern aircraft. In fact, it would be ripped to shreds even by the antiquated MiG-21,” Sprey told RT, commenting on a recent expert report, which dismissed the F-35 project as a total failure.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, described by US media as “a pure gold plane” for its exorbitant price tag, would find itself helpless in a dogfight with Russia’s fourth-generation Su-27 and MiG-29 jets, Pierre Sprey said.
“The Su-27 and even the MiG-29 have bigger wing space, more powerful engines and carry more air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons… That’s why the F-35 will be totally helpless against both because when you confront a plane, which is more maneuverable, accelerates faster and is better armed then you are in trouble,” he added.
Few people are as qualified to speak about fighter aircraft as Pierre Sprey. He is the co-designer of the F-16 Falcon jet and the A-10 Warthog tank buster, two of the most successful aircraft in the US Air Force.
TOPICS:AirF-35F-35 WatchFlankerFulcrumJoint Strike FighterLockheed MartinMiG-29Su-27
POSTED BY: BRENDAN MCGARRY AUGUST 12, 2015Can Soviet-era fighter jets like the one above, the twin-engine MiG-29 Fulcrum, or the bigger one below, the Su-27 Flanker, outperform the newest American design, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter?Yes, according to Bill French, a policy analyst with the National Security Network, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank
that favors progressive defense policies. He’s the author of a report released Tuesday by the organization. It’s titled, “Thunder without Lightning: The High Costs and Limited Benefits of the F-35 Program,” a pun on the jet’s official name, Lightning II.The document comes a month after news of an internal Pentagon review that detailed how an F-16 outperformed an F-35 in a dog-fight
In his research, French wrote the Joint Strike Fighter performed only slightly better than the F-16, F-18 and AV-8B Harrier — the U.S. aircraft it’s slated to replace. What’s more, he compared the power, maneuverability and maximum payloads of the fifth-generation stealth fighter against those of the older Russian aircraft.
Here’s what he wrote:
“The F-35’s performance characteristics also compare unfavorable to already deployed foreign 4th-generation fighters such as the Russian-designed MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker (also produced by China) in service with air forces around the world. These are the kinds of aircraft the F-35 would most likely face in air-to-air engagements against a high-end opponent. Compared to both the Su-27 and the MiG-29, the F-35 is grossly inferior in terms of wing loading (except for the F-35C), transonic acceleration, and thrust-to-weight. All F-35 variants also have significantly lower maximum speeds, Mach 1.6 for the F-35 compared to Mach 2.2 for the Su-27 and Mac 2.3 for the MiG-29.Air-to-air simulations paint an even grimmer picture. In 2009, U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin analysts indicated that the F-35 could be expected to achieve only a 3-to-1 kill ratio against the decades-old MiG-29 and Su-27 despite its advantages in stealth and avionics. The results of other simulations have been far worse. In one simulation subcontracted by the RAND Corporation, the F-35 incurred a loss exchange ratio of 2.4-1 against Chinese Su-35s. That is, more than two F-35s were lost for each Su-35 shot down
. While these simulations take into account a host of other factors and include assumptions about the context in which the engagements take place, they nevertheless underscore the need for skepticism regarding the F-35’s air-to-air capabilities.
Unfortunately, there are insufficient data on foreign 5th-generation fighters to allow for meaningful comparisons. Three such fighters are known to be under development: the Russian PAK FA and the Chinese J-20 and J-31.
The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons acquisition program, estimated to cost $391 billion to purchase 2,457 aircraft for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy.
The Corps recently announced the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was ready to fly initial operations — albeit with a less lethal version of the aircraft. The Air Force is expected to make a similar declaration in 2016 and the Navy in 2019.
Corps officials have acknowledged they’ll have to “make do” with a less lethal version of the airplane. For example, the early operational F-35Bs won’t include a new night-vision helmet, Small Diameter Bomb II or GAU-22/A four-barrel 25mm Gatling gun — or the ability to stream video or simultaneously fuse sensor data from four aircraft.
Many of the weapons improvements will be included as part of a future software upgrade, known as 3F, which is slated for fully operational F-35Bs in late 2017. Indeed, proponents of the aircraft argue that fully operational Joint Strike Fighters will easily outperform fourth-generation aircraft.
Eight countries have committed to help develop the F-35, including the U.K., Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Also, Israel, Japan and South Korea plan to buy production models of the aircraft.