Pentagon Considers Showcasing F-35 at Farnborough Air Show

F-35CformationPentagon leaders are deciding whether to allow the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to make its international air show debut this summer outside London at the Farnborough Air Show and the Royal International Air Tattoo, according to a Reuters report.

Defense analysts expect Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to green light a summer trip to London for the F-35 in order to demonstrate to allies the potential capabilities of the stealth jet. South Korea is expected to sign a $6.8 billion contract to buy 40 F-35s.

Allowing Lockheed Martin, the lead contractor building the F-35, to showcase the fifth generation fighter outside London could build support for the coalition of nations already on track to buy F-35s. Canada and Denmark are reported re-evaluating how many F-35s, if any, these U.S. allies might buy, according to the Reuters report.

The F-35B is the likely model that would be displayed. Three F-35Bs have already been built for the British.

The F-35’s performance at Farnborough would be a boon to the international air show circuit. Last year, the U.S. left their fighter jets at home during the Paris Air Show because of budget cuts connected to sequestration. America’s absence allowed Russia to steal the show as Su-35 performances dominated the headlines for the week.

Farnborough and Paris are the top European air shows. The shows rotate every other year so neither one falls on the same year. This year’s Farnborough Air Show will be July 14-20. will have a team on site to witness the potential F-35 performances first hand for Defense Tech and the rest of’s properties.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Uncle Bill

    Showcase them in Ukraine.

    • Lance

      They couldn’t afford them

      • Dfens

        They couldn’t afford to wait for them.

    • Tiger

      Dead issue for a week. Why are you so hot about the place? They threw up their hands without a shot. They voted, they drank the Vodka, They like it, it’s done….

      • blight_

        Indeed, the Ukranian government did not give instructions to hold, and simply to withdraw. So they’re withdrawing. You would think the Crimea is a line in the sand…maybe.

        That said, the Russians are pretty good at the enclave business. Look at Kaliningrad (former Konigsburg). They can drop Iskanders on Germany from it, and people can “see Russia” from across the river.

        • Rob C.

          Problem is Russians are using spies to pentrate a target nation and builds up people who would benefits a deal with them and selling out area to the Russians. Thats What happened in Crimeria, its secondary win for them, since they most likely planted Ukranian previous president into a position of power to let him hijack the country in the first place. Russia going get what it wants, weather anyone like its or not. Only way to stop them, is get spy war going again. People are too easily converted via money.

          • blight_

            The Crimea’s problem is that it was always full of Russians (Black Sea fleet) and inevitably pro-Russian people. Once it became Ukraine vs Russia it was a matter of loyalties.

          • Tiger

            Exactly. The nation has never been much of a nation. Much like Iraq. A nation in name, not spirit.

          • blight_

            Not Ukraine in particular (though Ukraine historically has been divided between the Ottomans to the south, the Russians to the north and the Poles to the northwest); though the Cossacks were historically aligned to the Rus to the north.

            That said, the Crimean is a special circumstance of a Russian enclave. Inevitably the locals must feel more Russian than Ukranian.

          • dkl

            Rob C you should learn some history instead of fabricating one.

            Crimea was Russian territory in the days of the USSR. It was put under the admin of the Ukraine Republic for some political and practical reasons while Ukraine was still part of the USSR. So Ukraine should have returned Crimea to Russia when it became independent.

            The chaos in Ukraine was planned and funded by NWO maniacs of the US Inc, with cooperation fron the NATO crime syndicate.

          • Spycatcher

            OK, Vlad, stop trolling, you’ve got a kleptocracy to run.

          • peters

            You’ve mistaken him as Obama or Lindsey Graham or John Boehner or Harry Reid or some other US politicians.

      • Dick Cockpit

        You’re a dead issue.
        The Russians owned Crimea before they stole it from themselves. However, I said Ukraine.
        I’m just wondering, if the reported 100,000 Russkies roll over into Ukraine, could we use say 10 B2’s, 50 F22’s and 100 F35’s and destroy anything with a motor and Russian plates. And then we can say we didn’t do it, must have been some pro-Ukraine militia or something.
        If we threaten it it will never happen. If we don’t, it might.

        • blight_

          Ukraine hasn’t quite recovered from the USSR days. It’s a crying shame, and pretty strange especially considering how important it was to the USSR.

        • Tiger

          How about “you” instead of “we?” If you have the itch to lead the Light brigade, We will watch you from the hills here…..

    • blight_

      “Crimeans, if you like your Ukraine you can keep it” ~Putin

      • ThisGuy

        Blight you are always entertaining

        • blight_

          I try. I pale in the shadow of hibeam though.

    • Kim Scholer

      Dumb idea, but still made me smile.

    • DDL

      What’s that Uncle Bill? Showcase them in Ukraine?

      The Ukrainians already know that the F-35 is an expensive joke. All competent engineers in the field of military jet development know it, be they Russians, Chinese, Israeli, French, German, Italian, Australian, Canadian, or Ukrainians.

  • Lance

    Good now the world can laugh at this pathetic piece of garbage if we want to show American missile why not the F-22? ohh that’s right Obama eliminated permanently production of the 5th gen fighter that works.

    • Tiger

      Stop crying about the F-22. It is not de bugged nor proven it’s self in action once.

      • Rob

        Yet that’s still better than the Junk Strike Fighter

    • Kurt Montandon

      I didn’t realize Obama was President in 2004, when the production was capped at 183. Does his time travelling villainy know no bounds!?

      • Tiger

        Hmmmm…….. If they can remake Robocop, why not TimeCop?

    • dkl

      The F-22 doesn’t work as advertised either. Both programs have been failures, except for LM, which has made a grand killing for its coffers.

      • zero-one

        Do you really know what you’re talking about dkl?
        The F-22 a failure?
        Then why is it that every one out there is spending billions just to compete with the F-22?
        Why is it that when an F-22 gets shot down in a mock dog fight it becomes headline news?
        The F-22 has shot down multiple EF Typhoons and Rafales and F/A-18s in mock close range dogfights but nobody cares.

        But Woah when the F-22 got shot down its breaking news!

  • JohnB

    The F-35B STOVL Lightning II was always going to be a great plane for airshows. At least that’s what USAF has always maintained.

    • AiminHigh

      Sorry JohnB, but the USAF isn’t purchasing the B-variant. Have a great Air Force Day!

      • Dick Cockpit

        Aim a little lower. Humor is always tough in text. But I’m pretty sure that was a joke.

  • Tiger

    You don’t sell plans by not showing up to the top air shows. Result? Last year we stayed home from the big shows and lost some deals.

    • Dfens

      You mean Dubai?

      • Tiger

        Farnborough, Paris, MAk, etc. a no show….

        • Dfens

          Oh, the now second rate shows.

  • Superraptor

    With a cold war with Russia in the making we need more of everything including new F 22s and new tactical nukes of which Russia keeps thousands on their ships versus 0 for US warships. And we need a bigger defense budget even if it means raising taxes. Stop the GOP from destroying our military through sequestration

    • William_C1

      Why do the Democrats get no blame?

      • blight_

        During the Democrat years the Russian military was even worse than ours. The resurgence of Russia really occured in the Bush years, and Bush did what he could to contain them (extending NATO’s feelers into the WP/CIS states). But roll on to Obama and his attempt to reset with Medvedev and that reset being reset with Putin in charge.

        The use of a Medvedev/Putin combo sows considerable ambiguity in our relations with Russia. We can simply assume Russia cannot be negotiated with (Brezhnev or Andropov style, with Putin) or that Russia is a sane player (Khrushchev, Gorbachev with Medvedev.)

        • Jake

          Are you serious ? Who was in control when the Soviet Union fell ? Also Repubs had control of the house for awhile while Clinton was in office. Democrats had an easy ride, thanks to the years of hard work before them.

          You’re talking out your @$$ buddy.

      • Superraptor

        The dems would vote for cancellation of sequestration. All Boehner has to do is bring it up for a vote. It is up to the GOP to save the military
        Sequestration means no A-10 and no Aircraft carriers and eventually no nukes.
        It is all our own doing

        • Charles James Haas

          While the dems would vote for ending sequestration, they would not vote for more money for the military. They would only support increase social spending. This would certainly lead to further being unable to support the military. Getting the budget under control will eventually lead to the ability to rebuild the military. But, it out of control spending is in social programs, not the military.

    • NAnaNa

      Thousands of tac nukes on their surface ships? Sources?

      • blight_

        Their anti-ship missiles are generally acknowledged to have tactical nuclear variants. But I question if anybody really knows for sure if they put to sea with them.

      • blight_

        No idea about surface ships.

    • Papi1960R

      Since the Russian Navy is down to about 60-70 capital ships and can maintain about 35 at sea full-time, my question is where are the “Thousands of Tactical Nukes” stowed? They must be in the 230 meter barges, each of these ships are towing behind them.
      I saw the Peter the Great(it is a very impressive ship) in Cyprus recently and they had no such weapons storage barge in tow. It must be the stealth model.
      Remember, a Nuke without weapons delivery platform handy or a Nation with the will to use said Nuke, is in effect identical to an American Nuke.

      • Charles James Haas

        Most of Russians tactical nukes are launched from artillery or ballistic missiles in its army with a large number kept with its air force also. The Navy can deploy with a lare number of nukes, as most of its anti-ship missiles and torpedoes are potentially nuclear armed. As the missile or torpedo is simply a truck for the warhead, the fuze and nuclear warhead could easily be placed on any weapon the want. Just as we took a large number of nuclear TLAMs and placed conventional warheads on them, the Russians can take a conventional missile of torpedo and replace the warhead with a nuke. So, essentially any weapon big enough to hold a nuclear warhead is potentially nuclear capable. Short range SAMs (like the SA-N-4) and RBU launchers would be exceptions to the rule. Of course, even larger, long range SAMs can be armed with nuclear warheas. SA-N-6 Fort/Rif system and SA-N-7 Gadfly/Grizzly missiles are capable of emplying nuclear warheads.

  • oblatt22

    They will have to put the F-35 after the C-130 display so it can wow the crowds with those 4G turns and poor transonic acceleration. They should at least be able to fit in a few passes before a major system failure.

    In the static display people can marvel at the small payload capability bad visibility and shoddy all round workmanship. Let s hope they have the full range weapons for it there to – including the 40 odd ones that will be obsolete by the time they manage to integrate them.

    I bet Sukhoi would even pay to bring it over for the show.

    • Dfens

      They’d never do that, the C-130 puts on a better show.

    • zero-one

      You must be refering to the 4.5G sustained turn for the F-35B right.

      Well you should know that sustained turns are heavily dependent on weight, speed and altitude. So unless you have those values on hand. the 4.5G turn declaration wont really bring you a meaningful conclusion.

      Ow by the way, the F-35A has been tested to 9.9Gs and 50 degrees AOA,
      the Su-35 in a combat configuration would be dead meat

  • syntaxerror9

    F-35B STOVL for an airshow: The only F-35 version usefull for the only mission it can perform!

  • BlackOwl18E

    I’m pretty sure the Russians think the F-35 is a joke, especially compared to the Su-35.

    • Stalin Jugashvili

      And what do you think?

      • Tiger

        The Owl thinks the Super Hornet is the best thing since sliced bread & tv remotes….

      • BlackOwl18E

        You must be new here. Welcome. My name is BlackOwl18E and I think the F-35 is a piece of crap only living off the corruption of the MIC civilian sector for profit. The Super Hornet, while not the best aircraft for any one particular task, can do everything in the tactical spectrum good enough to accomplish the mission at a price that is extremely cheap, making it the perfect fighter for the US Navy. When combined with the advanced jamming capabilities of the Growler it can defeat any threat. Nothing can match the Super Hornet/Growler combination in terms of bang for the buck and this combination is sufficient for all the future needs of the US Navy without the need for any other aircraft.

    • dkl

      The F-35 IS a joke compared to the Su-35. There’s no doubt about that.

      • zero-one

        Its the other way around I’m afraid, the Su-35 is joke to the F-35, which is why even Russia wants so few of them Flankers,
        the F-35 on the other hand has thousands of pending orders and more are jumping in.

        Once this airshow shows the F-35s true capabilities, where pilots are saying it performs exceptionally well, expect even more orders to come in.

        • DDL

          please stop pretending you actually know anything about either aircraft.

          Use your time reading up on the jets first.

    • zero-one

      You mean the plane that even the Russian air force is hesitant on buying.

      • BlackOwl18E

        Where did you hear that? Source?

        • zero-one

          Well owl the F-35 performs much like the F/A-18 in maneuverability with better acceleration according to this source:

          So Stealth and sensor fussion is only one of its many strengths,

          Agility and speed is another. The F-35A can cruise at Mach 1.2 for 150 miles with a full internal weapons load without using AB, although that is not considered supercruisng, it is still quite fast.

          • BlackOwl18E

            No, that’s not what I asked you for. I asked you to provide me information or a source that says the Russian Air Force is hesitant to buy the Su-35. That’s a claim you made and I want evidence, otherwise you’re just making crap up to support the F-35 like the rest of the Lightning supporting trash I’ve encountered in these discussion boards and you’re not worth my time.

            Show me something that says the Russian Air Force is hesitant to buy the Su-35, otherwise, don’t bother posting.

          • Aim120

            OWL its simply because the RuAF seems to be ordering just a few squadrons of the Su-35 but seems to be able to afford around 200 PAK-FAs, atleast thats what they are saying.

            The Russians wil never admit that the Su-35 does not live up to all the hype, but their interest on the plane alone will speak for itself

          • BlackOwl18E

            I wasn’t talking to you and I don’t want your opinion. You clearly don’t know jack because the Chinese have been drooling over the idea of getting their hands on the Su-35 and they at one point agreed to buy 100 of them. Keep in mind that they already have the J-20 and they have hacked into a lot of Lockheed subcontractors to get new technology, yet they STILL want the Su-35. They’re still trying to get Russia to agree to a deal to sell it to them, but the Russians don’t want them copying it. Good job on showing how little you know.

          • The32notes

            Really China? China will say anything to get Russian technology then try to copy it, its the fastest way they can get up to speed with defense tech. Aside from hacking F-35 bluprints from the Pentagon.

            Just look at the J-11B, a complete rip off the Su-27, China will say they want it badly just so they can copy it again.

            Now if the Russia was not hesitant on buying the Su-35, why are they buying so few? Its certainly cheeper than the T-50,

            Prove to us that the F-35 is a joke compared to the Su-35 first before you make demands.

          • BlackOwl18E

            You should also realize that the sources you provided just now are from 2011. A lot of things have changed since then and the F-35 performance requirements have been considerably lowered since then as well. You should try better to remain up to date.

          • zero-one

            Well here is a more recent update on the F-35’s performance by the 59th test and evaluation squadron.

            According to the evaluation:
            Borrowing some of the best features of the F-16, F-18, A-10, and the hovering Marine Corps Harrier, the F-35 is fast, stealthy, and packs a punch.

            “Fantastic to fly, very powerful, very maneuverable, easy to handle,” Lt. Col O’Malley said.”

            The statement perfectly illustrates Lockheed’s claims:

            “The Hornet can fly slow extremely well and get to high angles of attack and point the nose all around. The F-16 can’t do that as well, but the F-16 can fly extremely fast and can recover energy quickly. The Hornet does not do that very well. Once they get into an energy deficit, it’s hard for them to recover because of the low thrust to weight ratio and the aerodynamic penalty of sensors and weapons in the airstream.

            The F-35 incorporates the best of both in flying qualities: it will fly slowly at high angles of attack; it can fly supersonic for extended periods of time; and it regains energy quickly because of its large engine.”

            Now its your turn to provide evidence that the F-35 is a joke when compared to the Flanker S

          • BlackOwl18E

            NO, we are absolutely NOT talking about the performance of the F-35 vs F/A-18 (which does not matter until the F-35C proves itself by landing on a carrier in its final configuration).

            THIS IS THE FACT: You made a BS claim that the Russians are hesitant to buy the Su-35 and I don’t want to hear jack from you until you back it up with a source. Now get with the program and stop making yourself look like a fool by trying to dodge this issue.

          • Zero-one

            Answer this then, why are there so few Su-35s on the Russian Air Force? Cost? Well they say they can afford 200 Pak-FAs, I would expect the Su-35 to be much cheeper.

            First you said that the F-35s performance requirement was lowered, if you were refering to the sustained G downgrade, you should know that you really cant make a meaningful conclusion unless you know the parameters of that test.

            What was the configuration
            What was the weight
            What altitude
            What speed
            What AOA

            Unlike max G rates which are more or less fixed.
            sustained G rates are heavily dependent on these factors.

          • BlackOwl18E

            Your idea that the numbers for the Su-35 are low means absolutely nothing. They are not hesitant to buy it. If it was not worth it then they would simply skip it and invest everything in the PAK-FA. I’m still waiting for you to show a me a source where Russians are saying that they are hesitant to buy it, but you have offered me nothing but your much less than expert opinion. You have just shown me that talking to you is a waste of my time. See ya!

          • BlackOwl18E

            You’re a little late to the conversation. Don’t like what I have to say? Too bad.

  • hibeam

    The F-35 Compromise. Hopefully we can learn from it. If you need a sports car and a pickup truck you need a two car garage.

    • Theblueum

      Are there two hibeams? I like this one.

      • hibeam

        There are two hibeams. The political hibeam has been retired. I can appreciate that you guys are not interested in my politics on this site. My bad.

        • Ben

          Despite the downvotes, I usually got a laugh out of it.

    • Tiger

      Actually The Holden UTE fills that sports car pickup role rather well Down Under.

    • zero-one

      How is the F-35 a compromise?
      Its performing like an F-18 in maneuverability
      Better Subsonic acceleration than an F-16 (although it slower in the transonic region)
      Carries more payload than both
      Difficult to dettect
      Every airforce out there seems to want it
      So whats all the fuzz about

      • Ben

        It’s a compromise for a 5th generation fighter to be only as maneuverable as a 4th generation fighter and only compare about equally in engine performance… And in order to gain it’s stealth advantage it has to give up its payload advantage, which really only gives you one improvement over any 4th gen fighter at many times the cost.

        • Zero-one

          I Agree Ben, I would like the F-35 to perform so much better than the 4th gen fighters its replacing.

          But the mere fact that it combines the best capabilities of the F/A-18 and F-16
          Arguably 2 of America’s best dogfighters, means that it is a cut above the rest in Kinematic capabilities alone.

          Making it even more maneuverable will only increase cost and may question the need for the F-22.

          Besides what makes the F-35 5th Gen isnt just in its performance aspects.
          Its the wealth of information it provides.

          They say, knowing is winning half the battle, if thats the case then the F-35 will always begin th fight half won already.

          Sensor Fusion, allows all of the F-35s sensors to help each other to create a clear battlespace picture, while stealth denies that information from the enemy, add F/A-18 like maneuverability and you can see how this will be a very formidable adversary.

          • Ben

            I’m not denying that the F-35 is better than any of our legacy fighters 1-on-1, but is it really worth such meager improvement for such an astronomical pricetag? You talk about combining the best of the F-16 and F-18. You could buy one of each and still have enough leftover cash to give both aircraft significant upgrades for the price of a single F-35.

          • blight_

            Vehicles rarely are total improvements in all spectra compared to their predecessors.

            The M1 was heavier than most of its predecessors, faster, more powerful with a more reliable engine, and paid for it in fuel economy. Blanket ideas that Gen+1 must exceed Gen in all things is wishful thinking.

            Sure, it doesn’t dogfight, but the F-16’s maneuverability is probably a Boyd-driven outlier. It’s costs are astronomical due to the development costs of the electronics, which by themselves are also a great leap forward. If Lockheed wanted to crank out a Block 100 F-16 with DAS and F-35 electronics it would certainly break the bank too.

          • Zero-one

            Im not a fan of the cost to Ben, you can tell that I support the F-35, but cost is one thing that I cant defend very well.

            However, cost is coming down.

            And LM says they are on track to have the F-35 cost around $85M per plane by 2018 or 2019,

            Lets say thats wishful thinking and they dont manage to do that, the F-35 ends up costing around $100M, well thats still around the ball park of the EF Typhoon and Rafale, its not that bad,

          • DDL

            Zero-one, please don’t fabricate “facts”. It is NOT a fact, but pure BS to claim that the F-35 combines the best capabilities of the F/A-18 and F-16.

            The F-16 was designed with dogfight in mind. It can out-maneuver every other model in the Teen series, AND the F-35.

            It’s obvious that you know next to nothing about engineering and jet design. In fact, you don’t even have a clue about the history of US fighter jet designs and their relative merits.

            Please spare us of your ignorant opinions. Thanks.

          • Zero-one

            Next to nothing?

            Ok load an F-16 and an F-35 with 8,000 lbs, calculate their wing loading, and their T/W ratios.

            Wing loading: lower wing loading means more sustained Gs
            F-16: 90 lbs / square feet
            F-35: 81 lbs / square feet

            Now both planes produce body lift and have excellent vortex lifting properties, the F-35s body lift coefficient is most likely higher than the F-16s due to its wider smoother fuselage. So their true wing loading is much lower than the figures above. But even if they were equal, the F-35 clearly has the edge.

            thrust to weight: higher is better
            F-35: 1.15
            F-16: 1.06

            Thing about Thrust to weight is that its never just thrust to weight, its thrust to (drag+weight) in that regard the F-35s internal weapons will eliminate all drag from weapons carriage allowing it to fly clean while the F-16 will need to suffer a drag penalty.

            The F-35 has also been tested to 50 degrees AOA and beyond while the F-16 has an AOA limit of 25 degrees.

            So before you even try to argue with me, make sure that you have substantial evidence to back up ur claims.

            The F-16 is not simply the most maneuverable. There are many types of maneuverability. The F-16 is the best on the teen series on sustained G performance, acceleration and climb rates, and this also not throughout the envelope, the F-16 can outmaneuver the F-15 upto 30,000 feet, but above it, the F-15 will outmaneuver the Viper.

            the F/A-18 on the other hand has the best high AOA, slow speed maneuverability and instantaneous G performance of the teen series.

            The F-35 aims to combine all those strengths.

  • d. kellogg

    “…in order to demonstrate to allies the potential capabilities of the stealth jet…”

    potential capabilities?

    Somehow I’m seeing that GEICO commercial about Pinnochio being a bad motivational speaker…
    “I look around this room and I see a lot of potential! YOU have potential, and… (nose grows)…Oh dear….”

    • Tiger

      lol, thumbs up

  • Big-Dean

    “to demonstrate to allies the potential capabilities”????
    they must be bringing a giant screen for the power point presentation LOL

  • Rob C.

    I’m glad their going to show off the F-35, I saw a mockup of the plane on the last cruise of the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67). They need keep the plane out there so they keep people seeing it works, even if it trying too many things at once.

    F-35 should strictly have been VTOL and they should either kept the F-18E/F/G in production until real combatant could be produced. Multifunction fighters aren’t as good as advertised.

    • blight_

      They are pretty good until you get ahead of yourself. DAS and new electronics are probably putting us over in cost versus some kind of initial capability that would probably have to be extensively reworked to begin with. Those costs are sunk and cutting the build won’t get rid of those costs.

  • mpower6428

    I am all for the US repeating the success of the F-16 ( hell, id settle for the F-5 at this point) but, it would help if we could make a jet that actually worked.

    • bobcat

      Actually,while the F-5 was originally intended as a cost effective fighter for export to nations that didn’t have much wealth,the plane was actually very capable for what it was despite it’s simplicity. As a matter of fact,it was this very simplicity of the plane that made it such a great plane for the price tag that was placed upon it and in some ways,still has some limited potential in at least a few ways even by today’s standards despite not having all the newer and nicer gizmos like stealth,fly by wire and top speed in which the best variants were still actually barely supersonic at top speed. I’d rather be flying an F-5 over the current F-35 with all of it’s constant problems with bugs,glitches and even some limited engine issues!

  • Hialpha

    I’m sure it will get the “green light” and I’m equally sure it will be a boring demo, showing a short takeoff and flying by with it’s bay doors open. Then it will land vertically and taxi to the line. HOO-ray.

    In any event, the point of all this is too drum up interest, which even it’s announcement already has.

    • Tiger

      No instead they should go up like George Peppard in “The Blue Max” and realy give a good show. LOL

      • Hialpha

        Haha I like your style!

  • Kostas

    F35B is the only F35 variant we should be developing. The VSTOL capability is currently highly underrated. However the newer strike weapons highly challenge the survivability of the airfields and the large aircraft carriers. A saturation attack is feasible by more than one countries and can overcome even the most advanced air defence systems. The air manouverability and speed performance (at the mach 0.8-1.7 range)is on the other hand highly overrated at the current era of highly capable BVR weapons and JHMCS for the merge. The runways of the large airports and the aircraft carriers are as vulnerable and outdated as the big cruisers in WWII.

    • d. kellogg

      The capabilities of V/STOL aircraft ARE underrated (provided we actually develop the correct designs to exploit/maximize the potential….there’s that word again).

      But in the form of the F-35B, STOVL (or whatever format you want that acronym in) is highly OVERrated.
      The aircraft’s current design configuration is nowhere near optimized on par with what a Harrier could do, the “viffing” it made famous (thrust Vectoring In Forward Flight).
      Not in the hands of the USMC, as has been popular belief, but by British pilots who first used it against Argentinan Mirages in the Falklands Conflict back in 1982 before the USMC even developed the tactic further with the AV-8A or later -B…did the Marines ever score air-to-air Harrier kills other than against slow helicopters?

      Prior to the F-35B, there have been many other V/STOL types contemplated that would’ve exploited thrust vectoring far better than any F-35B ever will. Lack of funding killed all of them beyond the wind tunnel.

      • Tiger

        The Fleet Air Arm would give more credit to good aviators & sidewinders than thrust vectoring.

        • Kostas

          viffing, cobra or whatever other air maneuver is irrelevant in the modern air fight of BVR weapons helmet cueing systems. The big advantage of F35B is that it doesn’t need vulnerable and highly expensive bases in the form of airfields or aircraft carriers.

    • JohnB

      One individual feature of an aircraft does not by and of itself yield any capabilities. Capabilities come from the combination of all pieces and parts of an aircraft. According to the air force, the F-35A cannot perform the air-to-air mission. With respect to the close-air-support mission, the F-35 has been written off since more than a decade. It will probably be able to perform the air-to-ground mission, though, presuming it is carrying range-extending under-wing drop tanks, has tanker support and preferably some fighter escort.

      However, in every regard the capabilities of the F-35B are vastly inferior to those of the F-35A. It is carrying greater empty weight, has less endurance, less payload, worse kinematic performance, reduced reliability, the list goes on and on. In addition, it is way more expensive to develop, manufacture and maintain. That’s why the air force feel that the B-variant is an indefensible waste of the precious resources of the DoD. But, as the saying goes, “Nobody wants to say no to the Marines.”

  • Mitch S.

    The airshow is in England and the Brits have bet their entire carrier capability on the F35B.
    If I were Cameron I’d be calling Washington and telling them they better send over some “B”s to do demos so his people have some sense that the multi-billion pound (currency) carrier programme will have a plane to fly off the decks.
    (And Rolls Royce makes that neat articulating rear nozzle so there’s some local pride too).

    • d. kellogg

      Ever seen the now-defunct Yak-141 “Freestyle” aircraft, the hoped-for successor the Russians developed as potential replacement for the Yak-38 “Forger” carrier aircraft?

      It featured “that neat articulating rear nozzle” that F-35B fans are so proud of, PRIOR TO the F-35B being developed. The design was ~acquired~ by the F-35B’s engine manufacturers (legally through license, at least we’re told); it wasn’t their own original idea, even though they did further improve upon its operation.

    • Kostas

      I need the references for what you write in the first paragraph. Regarding the second paragraph, I cannot find somebody that would call the range difference of 590 vs 450 a “vast” difference. Neither the internal carriage of a 1000 lb weapon vs a 2000.

    • Kostas

      the F35B would allow us to deploy small refueling/rearmament stations much closer to the area of interest, which would be hidden or mobile, therefore much safer than the current airfields. This would also lead to much shorter turn over times and fewer planes would be needed for the same mission. Similarly, a small aircraft carrier (300-450ft long vessel) could be deployed much closer to the enemy because it would not be as a prominent target as an aircraft carrier is. The main problem is that we would realize after that that we don’t need the USN air branch or a separate USAF, but a combined air branch operating with the same plane. We need some strong political will to enforce logic over the interest of the various branches. It should be much stronger than the political will that enforced the SOCOM over the military bureaucracy.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    Mitch S.’ post is dead on. The plane needs to be seen as widely as possible to support those national executives who still intend to buy the thing. Canada and Denmark are “reconsidering” how many they will buy? Not good at all. The fact that the Koreans are on the edge of purchase, with all the problems the program has suffered, is the best news about the program’s future that there is.

    The last time we tried this hard for a jack-of-all-trades airframe was the F-111. The memory does not comfort me.

    • Dfens

      What memory? Apparently you’ve forgotten about the F/A-18 which is still being built.

      • Brian B. Mulholland

        I don’t think that the F-18 is meant to cover as wide a range of categories as the F-35. It’s going to be an F-18 with a V/STOVL model, so to speak. The F-111 was to be a fleet interceptor / strike fighter AND a low altitude penetrator. The first role didn’t work out, and the compromises made to fit the airframe to carrier decks (side by side seating, instead of tandem, to shorten the length of the fuselage and better fit carrier decks, for example) definitely handicapped it in AF usage. So, yes, that memory.

        • Tiger

          Right now they have it doing everything but chase subs & be a COD. A jack of all, master of few trades.

        • mrbishi1000

          The F-111 actually slotted itself into a role it performed very well. In the first gulf war it carried more ordinance and delivered more on target than the F117s, and returned with less unused ordinance. It was very good operationally. The Australians used them very effectively and they provided the ability for Australian Airforce aircraft for being able to reach into South East Asia and return home without refuelling at supersonic speeds. Very accurate and performed well against American forces by the same airforce during military exercises, especially with F18 top cover. I think, yes they did not fit the role for fast interceptor, but they more than redeemed themselves for fighter/bomber roles. They were even considered for supercruise engines as a retrofit for the Australians as well as upgrading the avionics, though the airframes had too many hours on them and costs were not considered cost effective to retrofit these airframes. So for me, the memory is fine.

          • blight_

            “delivered more on target than the F117s”

            A little tough to buy, considering the F-117 only had to drop two bombs before returning with no ordnance whatsoever. I can totally buy the “delivered more on target”.

            The Vietnam War was just not so good for aircraft. American missiles sucked and the inability to suppress enemy air defenses (for fear of killing Soviet advisors) was a bad idea.

    • DDL

      I’ll bet the Koreans were bribed or coerced into signing up on the crappy F-35. Anyone who has been to Asia for a while knows Korean politicians are as corrupt and incompetent as American politicians.

      Any wonder why Russia and China have been so quiet (or perhaps even giddy) toward potential sales of the expensive crap around their neighborhood.

  • Nate

    Do it i’m gonna be there at RIAT!!

  • guest

    And you all get your info. from?


    It is time to put up and show up. Although it seems those for the jet will heap praise and those against will scorn, despite how the F-35 performs. The plane has been in development too long which gives the complainers plenty of time to grouse about problems that have already been fixed. Seems similar to 787 development, but that is another story.

  • demata

    How much the stubbornness of Monti’s government to fund the F-35 factories damaged Italy and Eurozone?