- Gentlemen of the jury, the defendant did not admit his guilt and did not repent. But look at his face! Fat plump muzzle with traces of technology "stealth" ... in my opinion, he simply does not understand what we want from him.
Do you understand me, sir? Kan du tale Dansk? Türkçe konuşuyor musun?
- I assure you, gentlemen, F-35 speaks excellent English and Danish, and Turkish. The young polyglot perfectly understands Hebrew, Italian and Norwegian, and recently began to learn Japanese.
But he can not understand the main thing - what is he to blame?
Yes, F-35 is not holy righteous. An aircraft worth more than 100 million is worthy of harsh criticism and must comply with the most stringent customer expectations. He suffers heavily from "childhood diseases" and for the seventh year, since his first flight, he cannot reach operational readiness. The kid initially took on too much - in the dashing attempt to replace the F-16, F / A-18, AV-8 and A-10, he could not become either a nimble fighter, a formidable bomber, or a survivable attack aircraft.
But why so cruelly trample it in the dirt? Why break the life of the unfortunate young man? Where is your mercy and common sense, gentlemen? Who of you in your youth did not make mistakes?
Understand, ladies and gentlemen, the guy has a heavy inheritance. All of his imaginary "flaws" - the consequences of our difficult era. You blame the F-35 for not meeting the requirements of the “fifth generation”, while you yourself are not able to clearly articulate the requirements for the “fifth generation of fighters” ...
You claim that the F-35 does not have a cruising supersonic flight speed. But who said that this parameter plays such an important role in a real combat situation? Cruising supersonic is nothing more than a figment of the imagination of the creators of the “fifth generation of fighters”. As the “fifth generation” itself: in fact, the level of modern technologies does not allow creating a fundamentally new design; the only parameter that surpassed the characteristics of fourth-generation machines is the price.
Unable to give the plane at least some useful skills that could be claimed in the present conditions (unmanned control in battle or absolute invisibility in the electromagnetic spectrum), sly top managers and marketers came up with a brilliant advertising move - to set the requirements for "new »Generation of fighters. Thus, the “formless supersonic” (an interesting but far from the most important function), the hazy concept of “multifunctionality” (yeah, tell F-15E about it), the “glass cabin”, “inconspicuousness” and “super-maneuverability” ...
Stop! The last two parameters are clearly mutually exclusive paragraphs. Made with the technology of "stealth", the fuselage and the wing of the aircraft will not be effective from the point of view of the laws of aerodynamics.
For this reason, a comparison of Lightning with the Russian fighter of the 4 ++ generation Su-35 looks completely absurd. The large twin-engine Su-35 (empty weight 19 tons) and the lighter single-engine F-35A (empty weight 13 tons) are already in different “weight categories” and have different tasks, functions and purpose.
Su-35 can be confidently classified as a “fifth-generation fighter”, but with one single caveat: the heavy, multi-purpose Su-35 is the Russian view of the problem of a promising fighter. Being a direct heir to the T-10 platform - an unsurpassed masterpiece in the field of aerodynamics, Su-35 took the path of further developing its maneuverable qualities, “scoring” on the remaining requirements of the “fifth generation”, including the inconspicuous.
In turn, the program Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is an analogue of the unimplemented domestic program "Light Front Fighter" (LFI). The American solution of the “fifth generation” theorem, in which priority is given to stealth and some national features of the American aircraft industry (an impressive on-board electronics complex and advanced shock skills, the so-called “bomb carrier”).
The result is obvious:
Su-Xnumx. The plane that is capable of jokingly perform the "pancake" and "Pugachev's cobra". The brilliant Russian machine, abolishing the very concept of "turn radius", is exceptionally strong in melee combat, and in terms of its "maneuverability" today has no analogues in the world.
F-35A, on the contrary, demonstrates objective advantages at long and medium distances, while able to carry tons of bombs. But “dog dumps” are clearly contraindicated in him.
Whose decision is right - only a real fight in the sky will clarify. However, it is known that during the air war against Yugoslavia, all 12 air victories of the NATO Air Force were won in long-range and medium-range combat with the aid of the AIM-7 and AIM-120 AMRAAM medium-range missiles (the last UR with a range of 100 + km and active gos actually refers to arms long range).
In this situation, a clear advantage remains for the F-35.
“Lightning” has a smaller visibility compared to “Dry” - its small dimensions affect (shorter than 7 meters, wingspan less by 4 meter) + full set of stealth technology attributes: skidless flashlight, internal suspension of armament, radio absorbing coatings and minimum radio-contrast elements on the outer surface of the fuselage and wings. Computer-based 3D-design based on the CATIA package made it possible with utmost precision to ensure the mutual positioning of large-size fighter design panels, reduce the number of seams and gap sizes, and reduce fastener volumes.
All this indicates a marked decrease in the EPR of the American F-35 in comparison with any of its existing competitors of Russian, Chinese or European production. The “American” will be the first to detect the enemy even if the capabilities of the F-35 and Su-35 detection tools are equal (which is unlikely - after all, on board the Lightning, in addition to the radar with active phased array AN / APG-81, an infrared system is installed AN / AAQ-37 detections from six opto-electronic sensors interacting with the EW and RTR AN / AAS-37 complex and IR / ANQS-40 sighting IR cameras, providing the pilot with an unprecedented level of environmental monitoring: navigation and piloting at night location detection Positions of working anti-aircraft weapons, warning of incoming missiles and enemy aircraft).
Radar image of the terrain, made using radar AN / APG-81
From the point of view of on-board electronics capabilities, Lightning fully meets the customer's expectations: the aiming and navigation complex will allow the fighter-bomber to equally effectively strike air and ground targets.
The AN / APG-81 radar can simultaneously operate in air-to-air and air-to-surface modes, carry out high-resolution mapping, and perform functions of electronic reconnaissance and electronic warfare.
The AN / AAQ-37 optic-electronic system looks equally impressive - the system is able to automatically fix the positions of anti-aircraft weapons and detect enemy ballistic missile launches at a distance of up to 1300 km - it is no coincidence that the F-35 will be introduced into the US Navy anti-missile defense system.
The Yankees hope that every F-35 will become a cluster in a single information space of the Armed Forces - now every fighter is equipped with a MADL (Multifunction Advanced Datalink) broadband data line, specially designed for F-22, F-35 and B-2 stealth machines . In the future, it is planned to equip the F-35 with a highly secure infrared data transmission channel IFDL (Infra-Flight Data Link) for communication with US Air Force aircraft over short distances.
Frankly, an excellent tactical reconnaissance with an impressive array of tools for radar mapping of the terrain, visual, IR and RTR reconnaissance could grow out of Lightning.
Of the other positive qualities of the F-35, the most advanced information field of the cabin should be noted today. Panoramic multifunctional PCD display (Panoramic Cockpit Display) with 20 x 8 inches dimensions (50 x 20 cm), instead of the HUD, a HMDS computerized helmet guard sight (in the future, the aircraft can become “transparent” for the pilot) and a voice control system - all this gives its specific the advantages of the F-35 pilot, simplifies the assessment of the air situation and has a positive effect on the speed and accuracy of the decisions made.
In general, in all that relates to the field of on-board electronics, the F-35 is confidently ahead of even its older brother, the Raptor.
Gentlemen, after all that has been said above, it would be extremely incorrect to mock the F-35, calling it a worthless project, created only for cutting the American budget. Should Lightning be “defamed” for failing to perform a “pancake” (turning in the air at 360 ° with almost no loss of speed), if the American concept of the “fifth generation lightweight fighter” did not initially envisage the creation of a “super-maneuverable” aircraft with an OBE?
In exchange, Lightning received a number of specific advantages related to stealth and combat informational support. In addition, created as a replacement for the F-16, "Lightning" is trying to become a multipurpose fighter-bomber. Internal weapons bays were originally designed for the suspension of guided bombs and air-launched cruise missiles. And if the situation permits - in the course will go six external points of the suspension arms. It is no coincidence that the declared combat load of the F-35A exceeds 8 tons - more than that of a solid tactical bomber Su-24.
In comparison with the promising Russian fighter aircraft MiG-35, Su-35 or PAK FA, the F-35 Lightning II is not a bad or good aircraft. He is just different. A completely different concept of air combat, virtually eliminating the possibility of “knife fights” (knife fight), a completely different purpose and function, largely related to striking ground targets, as well as working as a guided combat unit in a single Pentagon intellectual space.
Throughout his youth, Lightning fought relentlessly in the seizures of childhood diseases, regularly surprising its creators with various tricks from its high-tech "stuffing". It seems that it has become annoying to many - so much so that in the West there are already high-profile proposals from senior officials that it’s time to stop this whole circus and channel money to more sensible projects.
Among other things, Lightning suffers severely from “split personality” - as conceived by the designers, a fighter for the Air Force, a carrier-based aircraft for the Navy and a “vertical line” for the Marine Corps were built on the basis of a single F-35 design.
If the requirements for the deck F-35C could be combined with the requirements for the ground F-35A, without much damage to the designs of both machines, then an attempt to build an VT-planter F-35B in the body of a conventional fighter turned out to be a disaster. Due to the need to accommodate a hoist fan, the Lightning fuselage was too wide, which further worsened the already low LTX for the entire F-35 family of fighters.
It's amazing how such a “wagon” managed to get up in the air!
The illusion of the collapse of the F-35 program is skillfully supported by media that is susceptible to sensation, in which the clumsy lodger cannot fly at heights above 7000 meters, fears thunderstorms and cannot land on the deck due to the extremely short landing hook. Electronics junk, pilots choke, guns do not shoot ... well, the end!
However, despite the deafening whistles and insults to the JSF program, it is worth noting that None of the 72 F-35s built (August 2013 data) were lost in flight accidents.
The Yankees methodically correct the identified problems and with admirable perseverance push their Über-plane on the world market, simultaneously managing to improve the design. F-35 has not yet been adopted by any of the combat squadrons and has not participated in any of the military conflicts, and the developers are already thinking about the promising composition of equipment and weapons of the new generation.
Popular opinions about the "buggy" electronics and insurmountable difficulties that allegedly arise when trying to integrate all the "most complicated" F-35 systems into a single on-board information complex are not without a good reason. The machine, of course, difficult, but the main thing with its operation - high-quality software. And with this, as usual, there are no critical problems, especially given the efforts that Lockheed Martin spends on developing software for its new technology.
The reasoning in the “robots will destroy the world” style is worthy only of junior students of humanitarian specialties. But anyone who has ever come across real engineering knows that electronics is the most reliable and unpretentious component of any system. All the rest: mechanics, electricians, hydraulics cause much more trouble and problems - for example, the main rule when creating spacecraft (where reliability is key): as few as possible moving mechanical parts. Especially not in respect of the progressive movement, if possible, try to convert it into a rotational.
AL-41F1С - one of the variants "117 Products" (engine of the I-th stage for fifth-generation Russian fighters)
For this reason, the operation of the “high-tech” F-35 in the front-line units is unlikely to be more difficult to operate the Su-35 with the AL-41F1С engine with thrust vector control. Creating an engine with a shock wave (or at least OVT) requires remarkable efforts, high technologies and unique structural materials, which for a long time retain their physical properties in a raging blue flame of a jet stream.
Repair of such a machine in the "field" conditions, without the presence of high-class specialists (welders, mechanics assembly work), in principle, impossible. The operation of a fighter with a UHT (CLE) will require an exceptionally high "technical culture" among pilots and support personnel of air bases and, as usual, will cost you a lot of money.
Horizons of innovation
It is fair to admit that in the form in which it exists, the F-35 is not particularly needed by the US Armed Forces. The JSF program is pure American-style “divorce”: everything is very bright, powerful, colorful, just breathtaking. But in fact: all the promising technologies implemented in the Lightning design — super-radar with AFAR, all-IR-detection systems, multifunctional PCD displays, helmet-mounted sights and elements of the stealth technology — all this could be successfully implemented (and already implemented !) on 4 + generation machines
Otherwise, the F-35 is an ordinary fighter with rather mediocre LTH and very high cost.
Due to the relatively small number of F-35s, and the low rates of procurement of these aircraft, the Lightning will not be able to completely replace the aircraft of the previous generation: this is especially evident in naval versions of the F-35C (only 260 vehicles - and this is for 8-10 aircraft carriers of the US Navy!)
The conclusion is obvious: F-35C will serve side by side with proven F / A-18, especially since Boeing (the main competitor of Lockheed Martin) has already announced the development of a new version of its F / A-18E / F - the new The aircraft, which received the unofficial name "Silent Hornet", has most of the signs of a "fifth-generation fighter", including a "glass cabin" and a hanging stealth container for armament.
At the same time, the JSF program has become a powerful generator of innovative technologies. Nowadays, the creation of technological masterpieces like the F-35 is much more difficult than taking a satellite to near-earth orbit.
It is clear that the Yankees in the coming 5-10 years will bring their "Lightning" to the mind and launch it into mass production. Our task is to find a worthy answer.