The controversy surrounding the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is still simmering, prompting experts to pose the question: what if the United States Air Force had dropped the F-35 many years earlier?
Indeed, besides the US Air Force, the Navy and Marines were hoping that the new fighter jet would provide them with new unbeatable advantage in the skies. It has turned out however that although the project was $165 billion over budget, the plane has not performed as it was widely advertised.
The main complaint is that the F-35 is less maneuverable than the F-22. In July, 2015 Australian Federal Parliament member Dr. Dennis Jensen emphasized in his Op-Ed "Time to Remember the Vietnam Air War Lesson" that the plane's manufacturer had obviously forgotten the bitter lessons of the Vietnam War.
Referring to the US military doctrine of the 1950s, Jensen noted that it claimed the era of "dogfighting" was over. As a result, America's F-4 Phantom planes had advanced air search and targeting radars, eight air-to-air missiles, and other sophisticated equipment. However, since the days of "dogfighting" were purportedly over, the F-4 Phantom was designed without a gun, Jensen pointed out.
"[I]t is clear the JSF will be dead meat if it ever comes to close range combat with decades-old fighters," Jensen pointed out.
Interestingly enough, in an interview with RT, famed US aerospace engineer Pierre Sprey, the co-designer of the F-16 Falcon jet and the A-10 Warthog tank buster, remarked that the infamous F-35 "would be ripped to shreds even by the antiquated MiG-21," let alone a dogfight with Russia's fourth-generation Su-27 and MiG-29 jets.
What makes matters even worse is that many experts consider the project an outrageous waste of money.
The RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis institution, stated that although the Pentagon has pursued numerous joint aircraft programs, including the recent F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project in order to reduce Life Cycle Cost (LCC), it has obviously failed to accomplish this mission. Moreover, the programs lead to even higher overall costs.