F-35 fighter loses dogfight to 1970s F-16 jet

Pentagon and Lockheed Martin defend the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after it lost a mock dogfight


Web Desk July 04, 2015
An F-35 fighter jet of United States Airforce. PHOTO: AFP

Pentagon and Lockheed Martin, the lead company building the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, came to the defence of the jet following reports it was outperformed by a 40-year-old F-16 jet.

In a mock battle held over the Pacific Ocean between the aircraft meant to be the most advanced jet ever and an F-16 which was built in the 1970s, the aircraft that has cost the US military more than $350 billion under-performed to a level where it could not hit an enemy plane or save itself from the gunfire.

However, defending the F-35, Pentagon and Lockheed Martin said the aircraft saying the aircraft used in the test was not equipped to the same standard of its front-line aircraft and did not have its 'stealth coating'.

Read: India orders 36 Rafale fighter jets from France

Further, the Joint Program Office in an online statement claimed the F-35 does not have the software necessary for sensors to work and locate enemy.

“The aircraft was not equipped with the weapons or software that allow the F-35 pilot to turn, aim a weapon with the helmet, and fire at an enemy without having to point the airplane at its target," it said.

The dogfight organised in January in California to test F-35’s ability in 10,000 to 30,000 feet close-range combat as both the aircraft were tasked to ‘shoot’ each other down.

Interestingly, the F-16 won the fight despite being weighed down by at least two drop tanks for extra fuel.

Substantiating the report, Air Force Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, in charge of the F-35 programme, admitted the planes had been hit by simple mistakes. From the wingtip lights that were not in conformity with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to tires not pursuant with landings, it had several flaws.

Read: Following threats, fighter jets escort Air France flight to New York

The fifth-generation aircraft had been designed to excel in electronic warfare, air-to-surface combat and air-to-air combat.

The aircraft had orders in line with Royal Air Force seeking eight F-35s next year. Further, US Vice President Joe Biden promised a delivery to Israel ‘next year’, in addition to reports Tel Aviv had approved a new deal to add 14 more jets to its 2010 order for 19 aircraft, as reported by RT.com.

The article first appeared on Daily Mail.

COMMENTS (17)

Usman | 5 years ago | Reply @shahid: I was trying to say the same thing, the F22 still needs lots of improvement to be battle ready and all weather fighter jet, though on one on one combat, F22 can indeed outclass any other fighter even in 1 vs 4 disadvantage. What nobody understood was that such games are meant to show the skills of a fighter plane, and over 40 games are held before final verdict is given. Europeans have been making bold claims against F22 and F35 simply because they are american jets and europeans need to promote the eurofighter or the Raphael. This is no big news, the scene would be alot different in war, F35 would have fired one missile 80 km away and went home leaving the F16 to deal with it
shahid | 5 years ago | Reply @Mrs Juicy Gossips: Which F-16 are we talking about again? F-16A/B block 1 or 10? If so that's that's 1970s technology already so good job if JF-17 is competitive with that. Truth is the JF-17 is nothing close to the F-16C/D and above. every man marketing the aircraft has said repeatedly it's a "cost effective" aircraft. You don't sell premium products emphasizing low cost to mostly third world countries. Pakistani promoters know the capability of the JF-17 hence they are not selling in competition with the F-16 Viper. The advantage of JF-17 is that it's low cost but decent enough and can be produced in bulk, according to Pakistani military people themselves. JF-17 Thunder is not a bad airplane itself but it's unfair to compare it to F-16s or other aircrafts out of it's category.
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