The simulator, which started operating in May, can be found at the Luke Air Force Base on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona and it certainly looks like the real thing. There are plenty of levers and buttons to press, andif you peek out of the window it looks like you are flying at several thousand feet.
While the pilot may feel invincible inside the simulator, the problem for those behind the controls in real life is that they are more like sitting ducks. Despite costing around $1.4 trillion to develop (or a $100 million each), the F-35 just isn’t very good.
It was slammed in a recent report by US progressive think tank National Security Network, which identified four key areas where the F-35 is lacking: poor maneuverability that makes it vulnerable in dogfights, small internal payload capacity, short operational range and reliance on stealth technology to survive.
“To avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Congress and DOD should begin the process of considering alternatives to a large-scale commitment to the F-35. Staying the present course may needlessly gamble away a sizable margin of American airpower at great expense and unnecessary risk to American lives,” the report stated.
It was meant to be a 5th generation multipurpose fighter that would become the backbone of the US Air Force. However, 4th generation jets from Russia and China are outperforming it.
“Compared to both the Su-27 and the MiG-29, the F-35 is grossly inferior in terms of wing loading (except for the F-35C), transonic acceleration, and thrust-to-weight. All F-35 variants also have significantly lower maximum speeds,” the report added.