To be honest, this F-35 fighter jet High-AOA testing video has nothing to be impressed of

I’ve seen the video released yesterday by Lockheed Martin at least a couple of time. Still, I struggle to find something to be impressed of.

The video was taken during a series of F-35A high angle of attack (AOA) testing that was recently completed.

According to LM: “The testing accomplished high AOA beyond both the positive and negative maximum command limits, including intentionally putting the aircraft out of control in several configurations. This included initially flying in the stealth clean wing configuration. It was followed by testing with external air-to-air pylons and missiles and then with open weapon bay doors.  The F-35A began edge-of-the-envelope high AOA testing in the Fall 2012.  For all testing, recovery from out of control flight has been 100 percent successful without the use of the spin recovery chute, which is carried to maximize safety.”

Some media outlets that received the release published interesting reviews about what they defined “shocking” or “most awesome” footage ever seen, allegedly showing the aircraft’s superior maneuverability.

AF-4 Flight 148 Hi AOA

Image: U.S. Air Force

Few weeks ago, Bill Flynn, Lockheed test pilot responsible for flight envelope expansion activities for the F-35, told Flight Global 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 debunked all Flynn’s “theories” about the alleged superior F-35 performance.

The F-35 maneuverability shown in the video seems far to be special. Have you ever seen what a Su-27, a Mig-29 a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, with the latter highly facilitated by thrust vectoring engines, can do?

Even the SAAB Draken was capable to perform a “Cobra” some 40 years ago

Enhanced by Zemanta
About David Cenciotti 4450 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.


  1. The main thing is that unfortunately America has adopted a position since the Korean war, that the best way to win a dogfight is… to not dogfight at all… Its all a game about who gets to see who and when. Its all about “U cant see me” type of game. Future air combat will be decided by stealth unfortunately

  2. Bill Flynn refers to a çombat payload’, meaning two heavy LGB’s, two AMRAAms and fuel. In that configuration the F-35 is indeed more manoevrable than 4th gen.
    A clean Typhoon, or with AAM’s only and no droptanks, will no doubt be more manoevrable. But a fighter without sufficient fuel or payload is rather useless and only suited for airshows.

  3. Some f-35 and f-22’s air capabilities are top secret. Why would they show to the public their trump-card? Lockheed aren’t incompetent to build these expensive fighter jet without sure win in air to air combat.

  4. “Russian fighter planes since the cold war have always depended on a big radar on the ground detecting targets & telling the Migs when the threat is.”

    That is the deal, AWACS and long range radar stations spots every “stealth fighter” from maximum range. Fighters with a smaller radars can not do it but it isn’t required as you get the target data from others. Then it comes superiority that launching a semi-active radar seeking missile to intercept and once it is close enough it will lock to you no matter where you sit as you are visible target to it.

    Instead trying to be “stealth”, it is better to fake where you are by sending fake signal back from your location where radar guided missile locks and explodes itself.

Comments are closed.