Eurofighter has launched a new campaign to assert the
supremacy of the Typhoon against the Lockheed Martin F-35 in air-to-air combat,
describing internal simulations giving the former an advantage over a
numerically superior F-35 attack force.
The campaign is aimed at challenging Lockheed’s claims that
the F-35 enjoys a 6:1 exchange ratio over modern fighters.
Eurofighter also hopes to dispel creeping global acceptance
of Lockeed’s description of the F-35 as a fifth generation fighter that is
implicitly superior to so-called fourth generation fighters, such as the
The challenge appears as several countries face decisions over
buying both aircraft. On 20 July, Italy announced a decision to
cancel a planned Tranche 3B contract for 25 Typhoons.
In Eurofighter’s view, buying F-35s at the expense of fewer
Typhoons reduces the air force’s overall capability. Eurofighter respects the
F-35 as a world-class fighter for the air-to-ground mission, but not as a fighter
in the traditional role as an air-to-air machine, says Craig Penrice, a Typhoon
pilot and marketing adviser.
Lockheed and programme officials have claimed that the days
of traditional dogfighting are over. A promotional video released last year by
F-35 supplier Northrop Grumman claims, for example, that “manoeuvrability is
irrelevant” to a modern fighter. The video shows the F-35 can defeat opponents not
with dogfighting skill, but by firing missiles agile enough to turn 180º.
Eurofighter, however, claims the F-35 lacks all-aspect, very
low observable stealth, and is vulnerable to detection and defeat by
In an internal simulation series, Eurofighter found that
four Typhoons supported by an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) defeated
85% of attacks by eight F-35s carrying an internal load of two joint direct
attack munitions (JDAMs) and two air-to-air missiles, Penrice says.
According to Laurie Hilditch, Eurofighter’s head of future requirements capture, the F-35′s frontal-aspect stealth can be defeated
by stationing interceptors and AWACS at a 25º to 30º angle to the F-35′s most
likely approach path to a target.