US analyst: F-35 beats Russia’s best

The F-35s prowess has been taking a beating, especially on this blog. Rand’s “baby seals” report in September clubbed the F-35 as the “can’t turn, can’t climb and can’t run” fighter. Even the infamous YouTube video of the US Air Force officer describing Red Flag contained an implied insult of the F-22′s kid brother.

Of course, it’s not easy to balance the commentary when Lockheed Martin declines to publicly defend the F-35′s dogfighting skills, presumably out of concern that a good word for the F-35 could undermine the case to save the F-22.

But here’s a new analysis by Heritage Foundation analyst Ariel Cohen, which ranks the F-35 as a clear winner against even the MiG-35 and Su-35.

Stealth is a majordiscriminator between a 5G fighter like the Lockheed Martin F-35Lightning Joint Strike Fighter and “Gen 4 plus plus” competitors likethe Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35 Fulcrum and the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker thatare essentially modernizations of their respective progenitors, theMikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 and the Sukhoi Su-27. No operational Soviet orRussian stealth aircraft has ever been reported to have enteredservice.

A U.S. analyst who requested anonymity said that while the Russianshave some good specific system technologies, their ability toeffectively integrate them often lags behind that of the West, and theLockheed Martin F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter takes integrationof off-board intelligence to a step well beyond proven Russiancapabilities.



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10 Responses to US analyst: F-35 beats Russia’s best

  1. sferrin 15 January, 2009 at 12:22 am #

    Think it’ll get as much press as the F-35 bashing pieces? Nah, I didn’t think so either.

  2. Mike Wheatley 15 January, 2009 at 12:22 am #

    I looked forward to reading that link, as I wanted to read up on the specifics about what the F-35 delivered, that would make it a counter to the Su-27 derivatives, for those nations unable to purchase the F-22.

    I was dissapointed.

    The only facts presented were:
    (1) The F-35 has a tiny altitude advantage.
    (2) The F-35 has shorter range. (But with what payload? Other sources seem to indicate that the F-35 is not that bad in practice.)
    (3) The F-35 is lightweight due to “advanced design and materials”. But the resulting (light) weight is already factored into all the power / weight / wing area analysis that people are doing…
    (4) Russia suffers from poor avionics.

    Maybe I am missing something fundamental here? (Please enlighten me if so!)

    It is a no-brainer that the US will purchase the F-35 to opperate in tandem with the F-22, they have no alternative. So (surely?) the only purpose of such analysis is to evaluate the F-35 for use by other nations?

    These other nations are not going to be fighting Russia. So the state of Russia’s maintenance, updates, training, etc. is moot.

    What would be interesting is a comparision of the F-35, when used by non-US forces, (expeditionary and/or small nation,) against the latest internationally marketed hardware.
    Does anyone know of a good analysis of this?

  3. Matthew G. Saroff 15 January, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    It’s the Heritage Foundation who did the study.

    Even more than the other right wing think tanks, they are a wingnut welfare outfit, and I would not take them particularly seriously. (Full disclosure, they fired a friend of mine for having cancer.)

    His arguments seem either in error or just plain silly:
    That they will be escorted by F-22s: Silly, and that’s not what they are sold on, and applies only to the US, and not foreign governments who are buying it.
    He declares that it is “smaller” than both the Su-35 and MiG-35, when the MiG is significantly lighter.
    He claims that it is “more maneuverable”, when its thrust to weight is significantly lower, and its wing-loading is significantly higher than both Russian aircraft.

  4. Weaponhead 15 January, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    Shame on Flight for even posting this “analysis”. This is pure drivel from a Russian and Eurasian studies PHD. Not sure this guy has ever been in an aircraft and highly doubt he’s had anything to do with designing, making, or employing tactical aircraft. Please stick to credible sources on this important topic.

  5. ELP 15 January, 2009 at 7:58 pm #

    On air power issues, the writer was way out of his depth.

  6. Michael Cecire 15 January, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

    This is unfortunate – I was hoping for something substantial but the content is all vapor. It’s nothing more than a puff piece, probably written for the benefit of those who would prefer to plug their ears and hear the bad news.

    I’m not reflexively anti-JSF, but articles like this one seem to only underscore the buffoonery to which the JSF partisans will go to whitewash what is becoming pretty clearly a very bad deal.

  7. Weaponhead 16 January, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Wow a Ph.D. (in what I wonder?) and senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian studies and international energy security. I’d better pay attention with those credentials in understanding tactical millitary aircraft. Reading the “analysis” you can clearly tell that the author has no background in military avaiation. This drivel is not worthy or print or publication.

    Please Flight, we expect posted articles to be from credible sources.

  8. Aleks 19 December, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    New Research?By the researcher of Lockheed Martin?If company cries that it’s the best but refuses to make a computer-modelled tests with representatives of all participants this means that F-35 is under a big threat to fail.F-16 didn’t have such a big problems and served successfully.

  9. n a 16 March, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Ariel Cohen is just a paid mouthpiece for the defense contractors.

  10. Hormuz P. Mama 22 July, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    I have been reading Flight International for about sixty years with utmost satisfaction, and had even written for this excellent journal years back. This item does not come up to Flight’s usual standards.
    I hope to see a separate article on this subject some day.

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