Here's how the F-35 slaughtered the competition in its latest test
Early results came in from the US Air Force’s realistic, challenging Red Flag air combat exercise — and it looks like the F-35 slaughtered the competition.
Aviation Week reports that the Joint Strike Fighter killed 15 aggressors for each F-35 downed. The F-35 achieved this remarkable ratio in a drastically increased threat environment that included radar jamming, increased air threats, and surface-to-air missile batteries.
“In the past, the non-kinetic effects were not fully integrated into the kinetic fight,” Col. Robert Cole, the Air Force Cyber Forward director, said in a statement.
But now, F-35s take on cyberthreats and electronic warfare in addition to enemy surveillance and conventional, or kinetic, threats.
“This integration in an exercise environment allows our planners and warfighters to understand how to best integrate these, learn their capabilities and limitations, and become ready to use [these combined resources for maximum] effect against our adversaries,” Cole said.
But the F-35s didn’t just shoot down the enemy — they used their sensor-fusion and datalink abilities to talk to other planes and help them sniff out threats they wouldn’t have seen on their own.
“Before, where we would have one advanced threat and we would put everything we had — F-16s, F-15s, F-18s, missiles, we would shoot everything we had at that one threat just to take it out — now we are seeing three or four of those threats at a time,” Lt. Col. George Watkins, 34th Fighter Squadron commander, told Aviation Week.
“Just between [the F-35] and the [F-22] Raptor we are able to geolocate them, precision-target them, and then we are able to bring the fourth-generation assets in behind us after those threats are neutralized. It’s a whole different world out there for us now.”
The ability for fifth-generation US aircraft to detect threats and send that information to legacy planes meets an urgent need for the US military.
The F-35 has repeatedly hit cost and schedule overruns during its production and is now years behind schedule. But the latest performance at Red Flag proves that even a handful of F-35s can improve an entire squadron’s performance.
The current Red Flag exercise will conclude on February 10.
- 'Rocket man is on a suicide mission': Trump threatens to 'totally destroy North Korea' in major UN speech
- Mattis hints at secret 'kinetic' military options for North Korea
- Trump calls Iran deal 'an embarrassment' in UN speech, warns 'I don't think you've heard the last of it'
- 'We are a service that is too small': The Air Force is under strain and looking at some major shakeups
- It's the US Air Force's 70th birthday — here are 27 photos of it doing what it does best
- US officials are raising alarm over Colombia's cocaine boom, but they may be 'missing most of the picture'
Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter .
This Marine creates amazing sculptures to remember fallen heroes -- free of charge
Spending nearly 70 hours creating each sculpture, Cliff Leonard carefully carves out the finest details, making each piece a real work of art.
This is why Iran is smuggling boatloads of weapons into Yemen
The top US admiral in the Middle East said that Iran continues to smuggle illicit weapons and technology into Yemen, stoking the civil strife.
This is why Trump wants a massive military parade on Pennsylvania Avenue
President Donald Trump's trip to France for the country's Bastille Day parade in July left him wanting to replicate the experience back home.
The Navy just fired more commanders connected with ship collisions
Just before hearings on Capitol Hill, the US Navy has fired two senior commanders in the Pacific region in connection with recent deadly collisions.
'The man who saved the world' dies at 77
Stanislav Petrov was on the overnight shift in the early morning hours of Sept. 26 when the computers showed US had launched five nuclear missiles.
This is the fictional country the Russians are training to fight
Just like the U.S. trains to fight in Atropia, Centralia, and North Brownland, the Russian military gears up to fight Veishnoriya to protect its interests.
9 struggles infantrymen know all too well about mail drops
While you're deployed, mail becomes a commodity. Emotions can roller coaster as that mail truck rolls in, though — you never actually know what you'll get.
Putin is keeping a watchful eye on the Zapad exercises
Putin attended the week-long war games with Belarus that have demonstrated the Russian military's resurgent might and made neighboring countries nervous.
This video of a Russian helicopter accidentally firing on observers is crazy
Two people were hospitalized with heavy injuries after a helicopter accidentally fired on observers, likely journalists, of the Zapad '17 exercises.
THE MIGHTY SURVEY GIVE-AWAY
We want to hear your thoughts. Complete our survey for a chance to win 1 of 5 gaming consoles