The F-35 is Gamble Fifth generation ‘all round’ performance has overlooked many faults. For example the following article discuss the most teething issue of ‘visibility’ while the video provides all the issues related to F-35 fighter.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the military’s most expensive main warplane of the future, has a huge blind spot directly behind it. Pilots say that could get them shot down in close-quarters combat, where the flier with the better visibility has the killing advantage.
“Aft visibility could turn out to be a significant problem for all F-35 pilots in the future,” the Pentagon acknowledged in a report obtained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington, D.C. watchdog group.
That admission should not come as a surprise to observers of the Joint Strike Fighter program. Critics of the delayed, over-budget F-35 – which is built in three versions for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps – have been trying for years to draw attention to the plane’s blind spot, only to be dismissed by the government and Lockheed Martin, the Joint Strike Fighter’s primary builder.
The damning report, dated Feb. 15, summarized the experiences of four test pilots who flew the F-35A – the relatively lightweight Air Force version – during a September-to-November trial run of the Joint Strike Fighter’s planned training program at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
The report mentions a number of shortfalls of the highly complex F-35, including sensors, communications and aerial refueling gear that aren’t yet fully designed or just don’t work right.
No aspect of the report is more damning than the pilots’ critiques of the F-35’s rearward visibility. “All four student pilots commented on the out-of-cockpit visibility of the F-35, an issue which not only adversely affects training, but safety and survivability as well,” the report states.
The Joint Strike Fighter is a stealth plane designed to avoid detection by radar, but if it ends up in a short-range dogfight, a distinct possibility even in this high-tech age, it’s the pilot’s eyes that matter most.
Meant to replace almost all of the military’s jet fighters at an initial cost of more than $400 billion, the F-35 has a clamshell-style windshield with a good view to the front and sides. But it’s got no line of sight to the rear, which is blocked by the pilot’s seat and the plane’s upper fuselage spine. Today’s A-10s, F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s and F-22s, by contrast, have so-called “bubble canopies” with good all-round vision.
The limitations of the F-35’s canopy are “partially a result of designing a common pilot escape system [a.k.a. ejection seat] for all three variants to the requirements of the short-take-off and vertical landing environment.” In other words, the Joint Strike Fighter’s windshield is constrained by the need to fit a standard ejection seat and the downward-facing engine of the Marine Corps variant, which allows that model to take off and land vertically and is located directly behind the cockpit. Wired.com
The F-35 program, the most expensive in military history, has been plagued by technical problems, cost overruns and delays, according to the NY Times.
The Pentagon said on February 22 that it had grounded all of its stealthy new F-35 fighter jets after an inspection found a crack in a turbine blade in the engine of one of the planes. NY Times
A report released in 2013 stated that flaws in the F-35′s fuel tank and fueldraulic systems have left it even more vulnerable to lightning strikes and other fire sources including enemy fire than previously revealed, especially when operating at lower altitudes. Bloomberg
In September 2012, the Pentagon criticized, quite publicly, Lockheed Martin’s performance on the F-35 program and stated that it would not bail out the program again if problems with the plane’s systems, particularly the helmet-mounted display, were not resolved. Aerospace.com