|A model built when 15|
Here in USA, the big story surrounds the F-35 fiasco. This was the going to be the perfect fighter plane—ultra high-performance with the ability to hide from radar. What has emerged is an expensive mess. These planes first flew in 2006 yet in 2011, the Pentagon was complaining that:
- The helmet-mounted display system does not work properly.
- The fuel dump subsystem poses a fire hazard.
- The Integrated Power Package is unreliable and difficult to service.
- The F-35C's arresting hook does not work.
- Classified "survivability issues", which have been speculated to be about stealth.
- The wing buffet is worse than previously reported.
- The airframe is unlikely to last through the required lifespan.
- The flight test program has yet to explore the most challenging areas.
- The software development is behind schedule.
- The aircraft is in danger of going overweight or, for the F-35B, not properly balanced for VTOL operations.
- There are multiple thermal management problems. The air conditioner fails to keep the pilot and controls cool enough, the roll posts on the F-35B overheat, and using theafterburner damages the aircraft.
- The automated logistics information system is partially developed.
- The lightning protection on the F-35 is uncertified, with areas of concern.
On the other hand, the Russians have not one but two fighters with a 35 designation already wowing the generals at the Paris Air Show. The Sukhoi Su-35 can do maneuvers that seem aerodynamically impossible including the signature "Cobra" stunt where the nose of the aircraft doesn't seem to be pointed anywhere near the direction of flight.
My guess is that the arm-chair Cold Warriors who want to pick a fight with Russia would soon discover that even without an obscene defense budget, the Russians are as capable of defending themselves as they were when Napoleon and Hitler thought they would be easy pickings.