F-35′s latest sales pitch: “Maneuverability is irrelevant”

Much has been said about the F-35′s aerial prowess, or, according to some, the lack thereof. But a key member of the F-35′s industry team says none of that dogfighting stuff matters anyway. 

Check the 3:30 mark: “With [distributed aperture system], maneuverability is irrelevant. Instead of mutual kills, the F-35 simply exits the fight, and lets its missiles do the turning.”



Northrop Grumman uploaded the video about the F-35′s electro-optical DAS system to a special new YouTube channel on Monday.

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11 Responses to F-35′s latest sales pitch: “Maneuverability is irrelevant”

  1. AirSix 8 May, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    Where have I heard that before? Ah, yes. The F-4, before it started getting waxed in furballs.

    I agree with the F-35 guys — as long as the pilots stay with their TTPs. But others will remember hearing this argument before.

  2. airplanejim 8 May, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    How nice to know that you don’t need maneuverability. Do you think we are buying a pig in a polk? The best part is that SECDEF recommends that we buy 30 of these turkey’s(F-35) at $6.8B. Glad I won’t be flying one of them into battle. Let’s see, small pay load, low maneuverability, high price, loss of commonality. That sounds like a government program. And some people want government run health care.

  3. Jimmy 8 May, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    That claim would be a lot more encouraging if our missiles are more maneuverable than they are right now.

  4. maguro 8 May, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    Better hope they’re right since we’ve decided to place all our bets on the F-35.

  5. Royce 8 May, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    Won’t everyone else eventually have something like the DAS that will put more capability into their more maneuverable aircraft? It sounds like the technology can be used across platforms and has nothing to do with the F-35 stealth or other features.

  6. Dave 8 May, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    >>>”With [distributed aperture system], maneuverability is irrelevant. Instead of mutual kills, the F-35 simply exits the fight, and lets its missiles do the turning.”<<<

    That is consistent with what pilots have told me about modern high-off boresight missiles. Essentially, from what I've been told, the new missiles make the WVR arena virtual suicide resulting in a mutual kill. The exception being unless you enter the fight with a massive advantage.

  7. Mike 8 May, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    What Dave said.

    Lots of discussion at the F-35 Forum (at F-16.net) on this topic. The fighter pilots seem to agree that a knife fight with modern AAMs is mutually assured destruction. You can’t out turn or outrun a modern missile, so what’s the point, they ask.

    Much better to be stealthy and have lots of situational awareness, fire your weapons, then run away bravely.

    I hope they’re right.

  8. Prometheus 9 May, 2009 at 5:14 am #

    Get more F-22.
    Cost as much as an F-35 prior 2020.
    Hell the Navy should take a look at a F-22″N”.

  9. Luke Meighan 12 May, 2009 at 3:54 am #

    Man, this is like a super model with herpes. The F-4 experience should have taught us better.

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  11. Blacktail 3 October, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    AirSix mentions that the sales pitch that “Maneuverability is irrelevant” has been made for the F-4 Phantom II, but that wasn’t the first time.

    Ever hear of the Blackburn B-25 Roc? How about the Boulton-Paul Defiant?

    They were “Turret Fighters” — air-to-air combat platforms that instead of using fixed, forward-aimed guns (as had been used successfully since the First World War), had powered turrets on the roof with a cluster of machine guns.

    The premise was that because the guns could be swiveled appreciably far off-boresight, “Maneuverability was irrelevant”. Does that sound familiar?

    The RAF then tried to do this in the real world, and the Rocs and Defiants got torn to ribbons by non-turret-using Bf 109s. After that, the RAF never again tried to use Turret Fighters in combat.

    See for yourself;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackburn_Roc

    http://www.aviastar.org/air/england/black_roc.php

    http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_blackburn_roc.html

    http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_defiant.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boulton_Paul_Defiant

    http://www.wwiivehicles.com/unitedkingdom/aircraft/fighter/boulton-paul-defiant.asp

    http://www.aviastar.org/air/england/boulton_defiant.php

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