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In what way is the F-35 going to be an upgrade over the F-16/F-18s it's going to replace? Most of the discussions I have read seem to focus on it's cost and number built rather then what it can do. The national debate is completely absorbed by compensation orders and noise/emission worries. Any sites or magazine issues that anyone wouldn't mind recommending on it's performance and future roles?

They look more l33t. :p

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In what way is the F-35 going to be an upgrade over the F-16/F-18s it's going to replace? Most of the discussions I have read seem to focus on it's cost and number built rather then what it can do. The national debate is completely absorbed by compensation orders and noise/emission worries. Any sites or magazine issues that anyone wouldn't mind recommending on it's performance and future roles?

Stealth for one, it wraps the same same load an F-16 or baby Hornet carries inside the fuselage. So you've got the same warload being carried by an aircraft that will be exceedingly difficult to detect. Of course if you want to ditch stealth you could get close to F-15E levels of ordinance hanging off the wings/internal bays. Then of course you have the avionics which are likely the best to ever fly on an aircraft, the Helmet mounted sight actually allows you to look through the plane!

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Why'd they decide to do that?

Quicker/easier to test. Seems like the first/main thing they want to do is make the FAST pack do what it was originally designed to---carry missiles! Live-fire tests this summer. Also, radar upgrades, though likely the same as the latest F-15C's have.

Making it "stealthy" will come later. So new weapons/avionics first, airframe changes later.

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Stealth for one, it wraps the same same load an F-16 or baby Hornet carries inside the fuselage. So you've got the same warload being carried by an aircraft that will be exceedingly difficult to detect. Of course if you want to ditch stealth you could get close to F-15E levels of ordinance hanging off the wings/internal bays. Then of course you have the avionics which are likely the best to ever fly on an aircraft, the Helmet mounted sight actually allows you to look through the plane!

Should I read that as that the F-35 is primarily an attack craft with secondary air to air capability? Most of the smaller European partners in the project are going to use it as their main air defense fighter. The lightweight F16s were ideal for that role. I guess a stealth plane will give it an advantage and off course good integration with other NATO systems. I can't help but wonder that later generation F-16s pretty much offer the same but with a proven track record.

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The point of the past few posts has been discussing planes where the ENTIRE assembly pivots as a whole (thus the terms "all-moving" and "slab"). There's nothing interesting about a plane with a fixed fin and a movable rudder.

Yikes... :blink: I'm kinda shuddering at the thought of the stresses on that single pivot point...

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Should I read that as that the F-35 is primarily an attack craft with secondary air to air capability? Most of the smaller European partners in the project are going to use it as their main air defense fighter. The lightweight F16s were ideal for that role. I guess a stealth plane will give it an advantage and off course good integration with other NATO systems. I can't help but wonder that later generation F-16s pretty much offer the same but with a proven track record.

No you shouldn't. In a stealthy config a JSF can carry 4-6 AAMs internally (again roughly equivalent to what a F-16 or Baby Hornet actually carry in a conflict) so any nation using it in an air superiority role isn't losing anything there. People seem to get hung up on the fact that the F-35 only matches a clean F-16 in performance, but the fact of the matter is when an F-16 actually goes to war it can't match it's own clean performance. An F-16 on a mission is going to have several thousand pounds of fuel taking up a quarter of it's pylons it's going to have all sorts of ordinance hanging off the rest making it tough to pull more than a handful of Gs or get much past the sound barrier. A F-35 will be able to reach it's top speed with a full warload (mach 1.6, which just happens to be the top speed of an F-16 with only a pair of sidewinders and single droptank). It'll be able to pull 9Gs with the equivalent of the F-16's three droptanks of gas inside. Add stealth, a radar that does triple duty as a jammer and ELINT gear, an IRST array that allows the pilot to look through the floor of his/her cockpit, and low speed handling on par with the Super Hornet, and I'm having trouble seeing how it's not better than an F-16.

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Looks are everything when it comes to public perception of how bad-ass a plane is. F-16 wins there. :)

This is what a F-35 will look like going to war, and here's an F-16 with the same warload. You tell me which looks sexier.

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I seem to recall reading in one of my books that the F-35 can't use Sidewinders in its internal weapons bays, as the IR seeker head is partially blocked even with the missile extended on its launch trapeze.

If this is true, then it is limited to AMRAAM in the self-defence A2A role, which is not the most suitable option for close-in defense as I understand it.

IMO, lack of a close-in IR homing missile would seem to be a definite disadvantage, especially combined with the lack of a gun on some models.

While there's the arguement that the F-35 is not supposed to get into a knife fight, crap does hit the fan and if and when it does, I can see the F-35 pilot having serious trouble.

While both the F-22 and F-35 are 'supposed' to fight at BRV and that is their forte, many times in recent history political considerations (not military ones), have prohibited firing at BRV and required WVR visual identification/clarification of a target before engagement. Remember, rules of engagement are often set by the politicians not the military and more often than not don't favor the good guys.

Graham

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I seem to recall reading in one of my books that the F-35 can't use Sidewinders in its internal weapons bays, as the IR seeker head is partially blocked even with the missile extended on its launch trapeze.

If this is true, then it is limited to AMRAAM in the self-defence A2A role, which is not the most suitable option for close-in defense as I understand it.

IMO, lack of a close-in IR homing missile would seem to be a definite disadvantage, especially combined with the lack of a gun on some models.

It shouldn't be a problem since the latest AIM-9X Sidewinder has "Lock-on after launch" capability.

While there's the arguement that the F-35 is not supposed to get into a knife fight, poo does hit the fan and if and when it does, I can see the F-35 pilot having serious trouble.

While both the F-22 and F-35 are 'supposed' to fight at BRV and that is their forte, many times in recent history political considerations (not military ones), have prohibited firing at BRV and required WVR visual identification/clarification of a target before engagement. Remember, rules of engagement are often set by the politicians not the military and more often than not don't favor the good guys.

IIRC the one of the requirements for the F-35 was agility equal to or better than that of the F-16. In clean configuration, it should be better than a F-16 with missiles hanging everywhere.

Edited by Vifam7
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The F-35 is officially "comparable to" the F-16 in agility. And if it was .0001% better in some part of the envelope, you know the official word would be that it was "superior to" the F-16.

Anyways---I think the nations that are going to have the ASRAAM as the main missile for the F-35 have the right idea.

As for F-16 looks---uber-fugly hump-backed UAE (and Greek and Israeli) ones don't count. :p

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The F-35 is officially "comparable to" the F-16 in agility. And if it was .0001% better in some part of the envelope, you know the official word would be that it was "superior to" the F-16.

Anyways---I think the nations that are going to have the ASRAAM as the main missile for the F-35 have the right idea.

As for F-16 looks---uber-fugly hump-backed UAE (and Greek and Israeli) ones don't count. :p

While a clean F-16 and a clean F-35 might have the same performance, the clean F-35 is two bombs or six AAMs away from flying a combat mission, while the F-16 needs to have all the crap in the pic above strapped to it to do the same thing. So yeah an F-16 is a great performer when it's not carrying anything, but strap enough ordinance to it to do something useful and give it enough fuel to carry it further than five feet, and it turns into a dog. The F-35 will be able to perform the clean F-16's airshow routine carrying all the extra weight of the dirty one.

Also you forgot Poland!

Edited by Nied
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Mach 2.5, with 1.9 at cruise? I'll believe that when it flies over my house that fast. Yeesh, I'd have trouble accepting that supercruise level from a YF-23.

Also---every comment from "people whose opinion I give weight" put all the "little non-stealthy aspects" as more than countering the big, obvious stealth aspects. Thus, it's probably only a bit better than a EF-2000, stealth-wise.

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Mach 2.5, with 1.9 at cruise? I'll believe that when it flies over my house that fast. Yeesh, I'd have trouble accepting that supercruise level from a YF-23.

Also---every comment from "people whose opinion I give weight" put all the "little non-stealthy aspects" as more than countering the big, obvious stealth aspects. Thus, it's probably only a bit better than a EF-2000, stealth-wise.

Which are the 'little-non stealthy aspects'?

Besides the straight intakes (can be mitigated by shape of ramps inside?), the IRST ball, those funny cylinders at wing trailing edge and the tubes and antennaes (on prototype only?).

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Remember the days when it only took a year or two (sometimes less) to go from the drawing board to operational status. Man, those were the days.

Depends how you look at it. Yes, some WWII aircraft were developed and flying within a very short time span by modern standards. Or, the early versions were. It often took quite a few further developments to get to the point where the aircraft lived up to what it was promised to do. The Mustang is probably the classic example; the models that won the air war over Germany were the later B, C and D models with the Merlin engine, for example. There was also, obviously, a lot of innovation that often took years to develop to get to that point, such as all the experience with high performance racers and engines [1] that eventually led to the Spitfire. Even Reginald J. Mitchell had to give that one a couple of tries before he got it right...

[1] As has sometimes been said of the atomic bomb, the challenge wasn't so much building them; it was getting things to the point where the average weapons handler wouldn't irradiate the base accidentally...!

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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Which are the 'little-non stealthy aspects'?

Besides the straight intakes (can be mitigated by shape of ramps inside?), the IRST ball, those funny cylinders at wing trailing edge and the tubes and antennaes (on prototype only?).

How about the big round engine nacelles? Or all the exposed pop-rivets (notice that those are always covered over with filler on American VLO aircraft and are invisible once painted), or the moving LERXs (innovative though they are the, they wreak merry hell on any attempt at edge alignment)? The PAK-FA is a great aircraft but to pretend it's somehow going to be some nigh invisible uber-weapon is to engage the same kind of fact-free wanking people were doing over the Su-27 ten years ago.

Also how awesome is it that that guy falls for APA's ridiculous India fear mongering? Christ the IAF just finished participated in Red Flag right along side Australia and there's a very good chance they're going to buy the exact same airplanes as the RAAF, but they're going to turn around and attack a mutual friend and trading partner? Give me a break.

Edited by Nied
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Nied already covered the PAK-FA, (don't forget that while it has aligned edges, they seem to have chosen about a dozen different edges to align to when viewed from above as opposed to the YF-23's 4 or so)

but as for 747-800 engines: (I call it the -800, even if no one else does)

"Noise" isn't much of a concern to the airlines when they're paying double what they used to for fuel. So long as it's quiet enough to meet the next legal limit, they're happy. The 787 engine is basically a generation newer than the A380 engine. The A380 engine is the last of the previous gen, the 787 engine is the first of the new.

Here's a pic showing the new wing and engines decently: 747-8FF-takeoff-under_ip.jpg

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How about the big round engine nacelles? Or all the exposed pop-rivets (notice that those are always covered over with filler on American VLO aircraft and are invisible once painted), or the moving LERXs (innovative though they are the, they wreak merry hell on any attempt at edge alignment)? The PAK-FA is a great aircraft but to pretend it's somehow going to be some nigh invisible uber-weapon is to engage the same kind of fact-free wanking people were doing over the Su-27 ten years ago.

The rivets are easy to deal with, and the engines will be upgraded later in the development. But I agree that total stealthyness wasn't top priority in the design. Don't know if active stealth is still all the rage, though.

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The rivets are easy to deal with, and the engines will be upgraded later in the development. But I agree that total stealthyness wasn't top priority in the design. Don't know if active stealth is still all the rage, though.

LOL active stealth! Haven't heard that one in a while. And the engines can be changed, but changing the nacelles they fit in is re-designing the fuselage.

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