Tuesday, June 5, 2012

First non-test pilot trained on F-35 compares it to the F-16

Recently, the first non-test pilot was certified on the F-35A.

USAF Lt Col Lee Kloos, commander of the 58th Fighter Squadron, is the first non-test pilot to start his transition over to the stealthy fifth-generation machine. Kloos, a former 2000 hour F-16 pilot and Weapons School graduate, has already completed four out of six cadre checkout flights needed to qualify him to fly the F-35A.

Kloos has now finished all six qualification flights and is the first of a cadre of flight instructors who will help other pilots transition into F-35.

Kloos had some interesting things to say about the characteristics of the F-35 in comparison to the F-16:

The veteran F-16 operational tester and Weapons School grad shared some of his impressions the F-35. The jet is powerful, stable and easy to fly.

"One of the things this aircraft usually takes hit on is the handling because it's not an F-22," Kloos says. "An F-22 is unique in its ability to maneuver and we'll never be that."

But compared to other aircraft, a combat-configured F-35 probably edges out other existing designs carrying a similar load-out. "When I'm downrange in Badguyland that's the configuration I need to have confidence in maneuvering, and that's where I think the F-35 starts to edge out an aircraft like the F-16," Kloos says.

A combat-configured F-16 is encumbered with weapons, external fuel tanks, and electronic countermeasures pods that sap the jet's performance. "You put all that on, I'll take the F-35 as far as handling characteristic and performance, that's not to mention the tactical capabilities and advancements in stealth," he says. "It's of course way beyond what the F-16 has currently."

The F-35's acceleration is "very comparable" to a Block 50 F-16. "Again, if you cleaned off an F-16 and wanted to turn and maintain Gs and [turn] rates, then I think a clean F-16 would certainly outperform a loaded F-35," Kloos says. "But if you compared them at combat loadings, the F-35 I think would probably outperform it."

And, of course, it is with combat loading where the comparison should be made, since that’s the configuration that will go into “badguyland”, as Lt.Col Kloos calls it.  It sort of puts a dagger in the heart of the argument critics like to use about the F-16s maneuverability and performance advantage.  It’s coming from someone who knows the F-16 pretty intimately with over 2000 hours in the aircraft.

Before the critics try to twist that argument, Kloos adds a little ground truth to the debate:

The F-16, Kloos says, is a very capable aircraft in a within visual range engagement--especially in the lightly loaded air-to-air configuration used during training sorties at home station. "It's really good at performing in that kind of configuration," Kloos says. "But that's not a configuration that I've ever--I've been in a lot of different deployments--and those are the configurations I've never been in with weapons onboard."

So that’s certainly not the configuration by which the two aircraft should be compared. It is an apples to oranges comparison.  Instead, it is a much better comparison with the usual configurations Kloos and other F-16 pilots used in combat.  And in that configuration, per Kloos, the F-35 outperforms the F-16.

And that’s without even mentioning the stealth component.



  1. There it is from someone who actually knows what they're talking about, not all these self-proclaimed-expert/know-nothing critics out there.

  2. Pretty weak endorsement for this Fat Little Ugly Pig (Flupper).

  3. Viper is proven in combat. Proven in reliability and performance. Proven in air forces around the world. The most prolific fighter aircraft since the P 51 Mustang. I'd venture to say the Viper has a smaller radar cross section than the F35, and most likely is stealthy without even trying to be.
    So. In real world measures, the Viper experienced. The F35 is very green. Not to mention, the Viper is much more cost-effective.
    I would like to see aircraft in clean configuration, square off in a demo performance. I guarantee the Viper would outperform in speed, maneuvering and time to climb. Not to mention the Viper is so much more attractive.smoother lines and just plain sleek and powerful.

    1. I would venture to say that your an idiot and talk out of your ass.

    2. OK, I dont know if you're an idiot or an complete idiot. This argument of F-16 being proven in performance and reliability is the most idiotic argument I've ever heard. Hey F-4 Phantom was battle proven, WTF did they went on producing a teen series fighter jets?? Hmmm, maybe it lacked some performance that F-15/16 has.. The same way F-35 will bring level of lethality that F-16 could only dream about..
      And last but not the least - did you read the fucking article. You're trying to convince me that you know better then a fighter pilot that actually flew both jets, with 2000 hours in F-16?? Get a life man, or spread your F-35 propaganda on Russia Today, they would appreciate your input..

    3. Hey, vergASS04:
      You're an ASS. And a direspectful PUNK ASS at that

  4. with its price tag, youd think you wouldnt have to study hard to find the f35 is better. it should be A LOT better, not slower than the f22, but good in some other areas etc. we shouldnt be talking about trade offs etc. for an f16 is is a tiny fraction of the cost.

  5. What utter bollocks.

    First off, the F-35 _was clean_. In that it had NOTHING in the weapons bays. Not it's 'normal' load of 2 JDAM and 2 AMRAAM. What that means, with the wing so far back and the fuel tank module and weapons bays so far forward, is that the jet is unmaneuverable to begin with and will in fact _get worse_ with a combat load of it's own.

    Secondly, for an F-35 to have such poorly defined FLCS laws at a point where it is _officially now an in-service combat aircraft_ can only be taken to mean that, were the true limiter values known, they would either signify a truly dominant aircraft or...a total pig. Why would LM undersell a plane as a product line which, already massively over priced, now is 'hiding it's true abilities' as an F-16 equivalent dogfighter?

    Ans: The F-35 is not an F-16 equivalent sustained turn and acceleration fighter. It is also not an F/A-18 equivalent nose-hoser alpha dominant fighter. EMPTY OF WEAPONS, it is a pig. Any fighter pilot who fails to chime in NOW in admitting this needs to seriously get ready to bend over and SQUEEEAL! when they take this thing into combat.

    Third, no F-16 which is truly challenged is going to stay A2G configured. Indeed, the sole time this happened (once, in Desert Storm, when a Crew Chief had poured a nice pretty clear white glue onto a scratched combat jettison button) it nearly cost the pilot his life and that was vs. an SA-8 battery after the bombs were off.

    For a Flanker threat or a Rafale/Typhoon/Gripen/J-10 canard clone, no pilot wants to go into a fight both fuel heavy and weapons dragged. And so an F-16 _reasonably can be expected_ to clean the wing down to a centerline jammer pod and outboard/tip AAMs.

    At which point, it's a pretty slippery opponent, especially at high altitude where it accelerated under the IPE engine, very well but where it's natural 75-80lb/sqft wing loading makes the subsequent merge and circle fight less winnable.

    EVERY 'BVR' (as goes the intercept...) engagement that the dedicated F-15C got into during ODS began with a sprint phase to make the vector cutoff and that in turn required the centerline and then the two wing tanks to _go_. Because you cannot jettison the center over Mach 1 and you don't want the wing bubbles to be dragging you down when they are likely empty. This is why the show-tanks and the GTW tanks are different. You expect to dump the latter on almost a mission basis, the former (better plumbing, superior aerodynamics) remain on the jet, all the time, in peacetime training.

    1. Fourth, let's look at the F-35 as a holistic (whole-system) metric for BVR. First off, the more seconds between consented pickle and weapon impact, the more things can go wrong with seeker, tether, geometry, fusing missile energy target aspect...everything.

      This is why an in-envelope modern HOBS capable SRM has an SSPK around .7 to .8 and a BVR weapon is still at about .35-.5. If the F-35 was 'intended' to be a primary BVR platform, it would carry a missile load like the F-22. Instead, even to the extent of compromising it's supersonic release capabilities (which adds 5 miles to JDAM and 10nm to AMRAAM, based on optimum release altitudes and target profiles), the F-35 has TWO deep-bays bomb stations which are toed in, around the forward fuselage fuel module.

      By itself, this means the jet is not optimized for BVR but it _also_ means that the jet is not competent to WVR because there are ZERO SRMs available to back up a failed shoot-shoot-look double salvo of MRMs.

      Can't win before the merge, can't /play the game/ after it 'so of course' the lack of WVR performance doesn't matter! No weapons, no purpose!


      Finally, let's talk secrete weapons. Modern DRFM capable RWR/ELS can detect even LPI/LPD capable emissions fairly easily, band tagging the exact waveform skips in frequency and polarization by which a selective bandpass radome 'fenestrates' the return signal while keeping out a lot of extraneous environmental noise and jamming. It's even worse for IRH weapons since they are broad-band open to RFCM.

      Once you have got the seeker thumbprinted, you can charge up your gallium nitride Khibiny or equivalent SAP-518 jammer and pulsed-power = HPM hard kill the seeker, directly. This means that, if you are facing a section (2-plane) element of fighters, you cannot trust even your own wingmans double tap to prick their bubble but may need as many as FOUR jets (full flight/division count) firing EIGHT weapons to get a clean kill on both threat platforms as your BVR long lance dives into .25SSPK range and you are literally having to saturate the hard kill 'jammer' faster than it can swing, weapon to weapon.

      Or. You can have an F-22 with six shots, double up with it's wingmen and get twelve shots, from 20% farther (Mach 1.3 = limit before the bow shock shows up on IR) or 50% farther (Mach 1.6 = IR trackable) with a sound shoot-look-shoot process of firing and then taking a clean up salvo followon engagement as a function of shooter:illuminator tactics and simple chainsaw.

      Both jets having AIM-9M/X followon shots, if they need them, meaning they can shoot two independent sections worth of dispersed DCA CAP and then _run away_.

      Which the F-35 cannot do because it is such a drag queen, having half the installed military thrust and no supercruise ability at all.

      Go to Youtube, listen to the man talk about dogfighting Su-30s with F-22s and how important that 28dps vs. 31dps maneuver margin can be. Then realize that, at 4.5G sustained, the F-35 is limited to about 9-10dps.

      If the threat comes out of your high 3 or 9 on a conversion which you cannot match because your wingloading exceeds 100lb/sqft and _he has stealth too_ you are damned well going to be in a dogfight.

      But it's gonna be a short one because even if your DAS sees him, you have no missiles left and turning into Threat A will simply saddle up Threat B coming wide on the opposite side.

  6. you've gotten an excellent weblog here! would you prefer to make some invite posts on my blog? casino blackjack