“F-35 super stealth plane will get pilots shot down in aerial combat” new leaked report says

According to an article published by the Washington Times, the F-35A, the Conventional Take Off and Landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter, would be defeated in aerial combat because of his current shortcomings.

Mentioning a leaked Pentagon report made available by POGO, the article explains that “out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35A is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft” thus limiting a pilot’s ability to see aerial threats surrounding him.

The problem is in the large head rest that impede rear visibility and the ability of the pilot to check the aircraft’s 6 o’clock for incoming aerial or surface threats.

Another shortcoming is the aircraft adveniristic helmet mounted display system (HMDS Gen. II), that has not yet solved focal problems, blurry and double vision in the display and misalignment of the virtual horizon display with the actual horizon.

The HMDS Gen. II integrates FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) and DAS (Distributed Aperture System) imaging, and night vision (without somehow uncomfortable NVGs – Night Vision Goggles) into a single helmet in which essential flight and weapon aiming information are project onto a virtual HUD (Head Up Display) on the visor.

F-35A EG

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

Few weeks ago in a Flight Global piece by Dave Majumdar, Bill Flynn, Lockheed test pilot responsible for flight envelope expansion activities for the F-35 had claimed that all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter will have better kinematic performance than any fourth-generation fighter plane with combat payload, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Such claims were strongly disputed by a Eurofighter Typhoon industry test pilot, who tried to debunk all Flynn’s “theories” about the alleged superior F-35 performance.

Considered the above mentioned F-35’s flaws (and all the shortcomings highlighted by the report…), the kinematic performance of the (recently, once again, grounded) stealth fighter, is the least problem.

Aviation journalist David Axe has published an insightful piece about Lockheed Martin’s marketing efforts to keep up “the much-delayed, over-budget” F-35 Joint Strike Fighter reputation.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Not sure why this jet is called a “stealth” fighter, it’s not, it’s never been and was never designed to be. The program has been, from day one, a “stealthy platform” not a “stealth platform”. The plan has always been to use true stealth platforms like the F-22/F-117/B-2 fly the SEAD missions to punch holes in enemy IADS followed by F-35/F/A-18/F-15 & 16 to the serious strike warfare mission.

    I’ve never liked the Marine Corps version, too many moving parts for a frontline combat jet, particularly, a Marine combat jet whose primary mission will be supporting Marines in the mud flying CAS & interdiction missions. The plane (all variants) have serious issues, but so did every jet before it, including the F-15 which has become the most successful post WWII fighter in the world.

    The Lighting will be leaps and bounds more advanced than our enemies, a jet whose need will be surely questioned given the program’s cost and the rise of the drones, but history has shown that nearly every 4th and 5th gen American aircraft to date zooms right to the top of the list as the best fighters in the world, so will the F-35 in spite of the shortcomings and design flaws.

    • Code is being written for the F-35 to be a drone control platform. So it’s a program that’s clearly considered the drone factor, and probably will be one of the last manned combat jets.

      • I think “the last man aircraft” is debatable. We’ll still have to insert and extract ground forces by air, unmanned drones will not be doing those missions.

          • I suspect that’s a sarcastic comment since the SA-2 has been a thorn in our side for a very long time.

            • As long as you stay away from Ivan’s bomb factories those shouldn’t be a problem

              • Why on god’s green earth would we do that? Oh, sorry, just saw the elephant on your avatar, the universal sign for chickenhawks.

  2. The plain technical faults will surely be solved. The real question is if this combination of pretty good stealth, mediocre dynamic capabilities and fine electronics will turn out to be super in a combat situation. Also the durability of its parts may also be questioned.

  3. It will probably work well as an air to ground and air to ship combat platform. It will possibly have problems when the task is to dominate the airspace. Is it fast and agile enough to successfully meet an airborn enemy in the air and then flee away from a counterattack? Perhaps it can be used to lauch fast long-range missiles from a safe point, so that the issue does not exist.

  4. Why o why do people continue to report industry propaganda spread by competitors without any background on the sources? There’s a great deal of negativity about this program, simply because so many noses have been put out of joint. The fact is, there is no other aircraft that has so much 360 visibility in so many spectra, And I’m hearing folk continue to bang on about technical issues long since resolved. It is still in development phase, and what do people think happens when any project is under development? That’s right, alterations are made, and problems resolved. A lot of BS being put about by people not thinking of how such programs develop. The fact is, this is a revolution the Chinese and Russian’s are trying to copy, but are making a botched job of it with stupid new tail configurations that are breaking hard rules of aerodynamics and flight stability that are far far worse than anything the ‘bitching about the F-35 corps’ could ever imaginate.

  5. Many forget code being written for drone control. Thus stand off weapons in the Network Centric Warfare model will in effect change the manner in which strike warfare is carried out, with drones buffering F-35 defence, and punching holes through enemy air defences. Also the ability to hand drones over to ground units in the future in ferry mode. The true aims and full impact of this aircraft have barely been considered by the cometariat.

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