Thursday, July 5, 2018

Interesting articles on the sophistication of the computers on the F-35 and its fighting abilities

 When F-35 Joint Strike Fighters flew simulated combat missions around Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, their pilots couldn’t see the “enemy” radars on their screens.
Why? The F-35s’ on-board computers analyzed data from the airplanes’ various sensors, compared the readings to known threats, and figured out the radars on the training range weren’t real anti-aircraft sites — so the software didn’t even display them. While the software and pilots on older aircraft hadn’t noticed the imperfections and inaccuracies in how the Eglin ranges portrayed the enemy, the F-35s’ automated brains essentially said, “Fake! LOL!” and refused to play.
 Eglin isn’t some backwater base with inadequate equipment. It’s the crown jewel of Air Force test programs.

Further, In major training exercises like Red Flag it's been shooting down 20 F-15s and F-16s per F-35 lost. In exercises like Green Flag it's been performing CAS in situations where A-10s and F-16s aren't making it home. Systems designed to emulate SAMs like SA-17s and SA-20s are failing to provide a training challenge to F-35 pilots because they can't detect the jets, and pilots are having to override the identification systems on their F-35s because the jet is smart enough to recognise that they're not the real SAMs.


  1. An F-35 doing CAS and lingering over the battlefield strafing the enemy is something that I'd have to see to believe.

  2. Technology is great, when it works.
    I think that the more complex you make something, the more prone to failure it is, speaking from a technicians view point.

  3. I think I'd rather have an A-3 doing CAS for me.

  4. Computer simulations are crap. They're great for designing machines, but when the shinola hits the fan is where reality sets in. These jets are so crammed with tech and hardware, they can't even get out of their own way. The Golden BB rule will always be around no matter how many computers are stuffed into the plane. One close proximity AAA or SAM burst that disrupts the skin's stealthy surface and it's "Game Over". These steaming piles of Merde will stick out like sore thumbs on the radar screens. Look at the pics of the F-35s with the microwave reflectors installed so their stealth capabilities cannot be quantified by the opposition. Now, imagine having a couple of torn up flak damaged panels while engaging in a hostile environment. 30 seconds later and it's uncontrolled flight into terrain. The A-10 will be flying rescap over the steaming pile in the smoking crater. The 'Hawg shrugs off the heaviest ground fire that would turn an F-35 into a puddle of goo. The A-10 may be a dated design, but is was meant to be a mud hen from the beginning. It's robust structure and redundant control systems have proven it a winner in every conflict it's been involved in. Fly-by-wire and black boxes are not what grunt pilots want when going in harm's way. The 'Hawg's motto should be "Is that all you've got ?" The F-35 is nothing more than an overpriced engineering wet dream that has no real value in the close quarters combat arena. So, when the droning AF generals try to get rid of the A-10 by saying it's too old, ask them why they still keep the B-52s around(which are twice as ancient). Perform the thick wing mod and install upgraded engines on the A-10. Then they're good for another 30 years. Case closed.....

  5. If there is ANY component sourced from the PRC the entire platform and anything it communicates with is compromised.

  6. F-35 cost to acquire is God knows how many mutiples of what he A-10 cost the taxpayer. the F-35 does cost slightly less than seven times more to operate in peace time than the A-10. cost of spares for the A-10 weapon system as a whole is a number that is as embarrassing small as the costs of the spares for the F-35 are embarrassingly high. and during combat operations, the gates of supply would open wide and WRM flows out like a mighty tide rolling in.
    Maverik wannabees all want to go mach 2+ with their hair on fire. warriors want a weapon with which to destroy their enemies and bring them home alive so they can do it again and again.
    the A-10 is designed as an CAS/attack aircraft. the F-35 is something not quantified yet. there has never been a one size fits all do every thing airplane that does not end up at being mediocre at everything and excellent at nothing. How often in the histories of military aviation have tactics been used to overcome the inadequacies of design of weapons. as a shining example of this phenomena, i give you the Sparrow III weapon system.
    on the flip side of the coin, it seems ok in the air to air arena. unless you have to actually catch up to something(like a Tu-160) speed is not as important as being unseen. and any imperfection in battle damage repair or bit of structure not were it's supposed to be caused by whatever, it will be seen. speed is compromised by stealth design and stealth design is compromised by speed design. haven't seen anything with both. don't forget IR stealth. leading edges get mighty warm at speed. you'd be surprised
    I hope the US Army grabs all the A-10s when the USAF sends them the AMARC. if the job needs doing right, do it yourself.

  7. What you say is kind of true, CW. It's called mission data. All combat aircraft have it. It's like a software database that has an electronic threat library. They're tailored to the aircraft and they build the mission data sets for regions of the world. They're expensive to build and maintain. Building one for the training ranges has to be something done specially for that range. Right now that's pretty low on the priority list, I'd imagine. The mission data sets for 5th gen aircraft are so much more sophisticated than older jets that there's no comparison. It's like comparing a model T to a new model Lexus. If the emitter signals don't jive with what's in the mission data sets the emitter is still displayed to the pilot, just not necessarily as a threat. But that's been true forever, the ultimate decision maker is behind the stick.

    1. i agree. still, the motto of USAF is "to train like we fight". if the training is wrong so will the fight be.
      as an aside i note that the russians have embraced electronic warfare in such a big way it is organic at the squad level. what is that going to affect on the electronic wizz=bang hooptie that the military is now so enamored with. today, you better be one with a map and compass as GPS is no longer secure and any one using bluetooth or a has a cell turned on is a target. it is getting that bad.