Is the Innovative US F-35 Warplane a ‘Velociraptor’ or Easy Prey?
In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 6, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, commander of the US Navy Air Force, drew on the movie “Jurassic Park” as a selling point for the new Lockheed Martin F35 B stealth fighter plane.
“Even though the software version responsible for the way the airplane operates is currently a temporary, intermediate version, the F35’s functions are excellent and have just been tested in a large air maneuver,” said Davis.
He insisted that, like Velociraptor, the little dinosaur in the Steven Spielberg film which shredded all its victims, so too did the most advanced US Air Force plane, the F35, taking part in the maneuver with dozens if different fighter planes, not leave a single target unscathed.
Out of 24 swipes, 24 were destroyed, amounting to zero faults, mistakes or misses.
“The F-35’s 24-to-zero kill ratio killed all the targets,” Davis said. “We can’t get that airplane fast enough into the fleet.”
The Navy Air Force chief did his best to make the failures and delays in supply of the final, stable, version sound like an advantage, in the face of criticism about its shooting and steering systems software, which caused changes to the F35’s planned operational launches; its inferiority in friendly air battles with veteran F-16 planes and serious failings in its radar system.
Davis also talked in the hearing about the training of new pilots, flight drills, air battles and even maintenance and daily care of the 200-million dollar airplane (including getting it ready for actual service):
“Skilled operation of such an advanced fighter plane, that took 16 years to develop, is very complex. A large part of the training is done in simulators on the ground, because the plane is not ready to operate at full capacity or carry all the ordnance required and has a limited flight envelope.”
However, DEBKA Weekly’s military sources say that there is another problem which Gen. Davis did not share with the Senate committee relating to the advances made by the competition.
During the years of the F35’s development, Russia and China worked on a radar system based on UHF (Ultra-high frequency) and VHF (Very-high frequency), which is capable of pinpointing the stealth craft’s location with great accuracy and intercepting it.
Another drawback of the wonder plane is that it flies on one engine, a Pratt & Whitney F135, meaning that the heat emitted by its exhaust is concentrated in one place. This makes the plane easy to detect by the sensor systems developed by the Russians a while back, which specialize in locating thermal signatures.
That too works against the aircraft’s stealth quality.
Israel has acquired 33 F35 airplanes at a cost of $110 million apiece, at the expense of the US military assistance program (not including the cost of preparing it for operational service and outfitting Israeli technological systems). The last of the “Adir” planes, as they are codenamed by the Israeli Air Force, will be delivered to the IAF’s 140 “Golden Eagle” squadron – barring further delays – in 2021, when all the glitches are due to be ironed out. It will be housed at the Nevatim air base.
Some Israeli aviation experts contend that, as a result of commercial, international and political considerations, the IAF was bulldozed into prematurely and hastily committing to procure this aircraft, before it was fully developed and before its suitability for defending Israel’s skies and striking deep inside enemy territory were fully established.