News outlets the world over may be claiming the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a failure–or even a dead program–but these sensational headlines aren’t all that accurate. Now, F-35 pilot, Podcast host, and Sandboxx News contributor Justin Lee has produced an in-depth video explaining why these recent hot takes are missing the mark on the F-35.
Recently, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles “CQ” Brown made headlines the world over when he announced that he may want to see the branch develop an entirely new 5th generation – (minus) fighter that could couple some of the F-35’s capabilities with a bill that’s more in keeping with 4th generation jets like the F-16.
Related: WHY 5TH GENERATION ‘MINUS’ FIGHTERS ARE THE FUTURE
General Brown, who was clear that the F-35 remained an essential platform for America’s air dominance, pointed out that the F-35’s capability set isn’t necessary for a breadth of combat operations. Using the world’s most capable stealth aircraft for airstrike operations in uncontested airspace, for instance, adds unnecessary wear to the aircraft and costs significantly more than leveraging less expensive planes for the same job, Brown explained, comparing the F-35 to a high-end sports car.
“I want to moderate how much we’re using those aircraft,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said.
“You don’t drive your Ferrari to work every day, you only drive it on Sundays. This is our ‘high end’ [fighter], we want to make sure we don’t use it all for the low-end fight… We don’t want to burn up capability now and wish we had it later.”
Related: AN F-35 PILOT EXPLAINS WHY THE JET’S BAD PRESS MISSES THE POINT
Despite Brown being clear that the F-35 is a highly capable fighter that just isn’t the right choice for every mission, outlets the world over took the news that Brown may want a new fighter as an indication that the Air Force’s top general wants to do away with the jet completely. This assertion seems supported by the Air Force’s decision to purchase new F-15EXs starting this year–at a price tag that’s actually higher (per-jet) than the F-35.
As we’ve discussed before, however, the F-15EX isn’t slated to fill the same role as the F-35, making the comparison nothing more than an entertaining thought exercise. The truth is, these new F-15s are simply going to replace America’s old F-15s. And as for the F-35… rumors of its demise at the hands of General Brown’s 5th generation minus fighter concept are similarly without real merit.
So without further ado, here’s Major Justin “Hasard” Lee going over what General Brown’s comments really mean, along with some important bits of context you can truly only get from a primary source like Hasard.
Make sure to subscribe to Hasard’s channel on YouTube for more great content just like this, and subscribe to Sandboxx too, while you’re at it!
Ethan Allen says
My time in the cockpit of military aircraft is antiquated (1960’s), however I still can distinguish between the writings of actual military flyers and those who have not and/or pretend to in order to appear authoritative.
My thanks to the author and to those herein who participate honorably in this forum. For those choosing to speak of that of which you know naught, cease and desist.
Vons vomit says
Most of the comments here are spot on. Why anyone would buy the F35 is beyond any sane way of thinking. If you take a look at the F35 design, it does not have the thrust to weight or wing loading to fight in dogfights with enemy aircraft. It’s stealth is laughable from the front of the aircraft and non existant from the sides and rear. It does not have the weapons capability because it cannot carry the required amount of bombs to make a good strike aircraft. The range sucks. The billion or so lines of computer code are always being corrupted and do not work at any given time. Those billion or so lines of code run every thing from the pilots helmet to how much thrust the engine puts out for all those airshow maneuvers. So yeah, the plane is trash. Billions wasted on a plane with promised features that do not work as advertised or does not work at all. So, please keep wishing the Air Farce keeps throwing money down the rabbit hole. In the mean time China and Russia are developing new and much better performing aircraft such as the J20 and the new Sukoi jet fighter.
Victoria Anderson says
The F-35 is a complete failure. Expensive too. Don’t build even one more.
mwahahaha…. HATERS… Never Prosper…. they just get Burnt Up over these FACTS!
#1 – Not only was the F-35 Program Far Ahead of its Time… but apparently only the Pilots know… what an Incredibly Advanced Aircraft the F-35 really is!
#2 – The 1st Digitally Developed Aircraft w/its own Uniquely Designed 3D VR (w/ Augmented Reality you fools can only DREAM of) is the 1st Aircraft that doesn’t have to show its own Prowess, Stealth and Assorted Myriad of Features idiots, haters and Demonic Marxist Retards can’t seem to FATHOM! ;-p)))) ….obviously! LOL….
#3 – It’s the competition? Really?!? No wonder you fools end up rooting for the Underdog that always LOSE in the END or SOONER!!! ….you know, the Reality is Every Other Aircraft vs F-35 is a BOMB that already BLEW UP! haha… Being Antiquated Designs from the DARK Ages of CAD! LOL…
#4 – Meanwhile F-35 is so Feature Rich Now… when SU-57 can’t even achieve it’s own potential w/ lame slow powerless engine and Minus the Chief Trait both True 5th Gen Aircraft like F-22 & it’s Flegling little Brother… F-35 not even out of Diapers yet! …where’s J-20 (w/o real 5th Gen Stealth it doesn’t have) & SU-57 are both 5th Gen Pretenders! mwahaha….
#5 – Most of all… for the F-35 the Best is Yet to Come & YOU HATERS…. don’t even know it… yet! LOL….
Because the Pilot of an F-35 is Flying a Vertially Invisible Aircraft and not ever meant to be just part of the supporting cast… F-35 has the most advanced Features and can do things other Aircraft only wish it could do DIGITALLY… from HIGH in the Sky Sensing… Tracking… Multiple Targets on the Sea, Land and Air no other aircraft can do…. besides…. that Awesome…. Vertical Take-Off and Hover capability no other military aircraft can do!
When IBCS working on DoD’s New ExaFLOP Speeds Intelligent Predictive A.I. Super Computers (3 including Frontier and El Capitan at 2 ExaFLOPS) the F-35 will only be far ahead of the GAME… but they will become “El Capitan” of the SKY! ;-D)))
Ethan Allen says
@ Kronicler 👍
Well said good sir‼✔
A 2 trillion dollar specialist of nothing.
Its can’t go supersonic Airframe can’t take the stress
Has horrible range
Limited weapons load out.
Can’t handle ocean water mist shuts down the on board computer
Can’t fire main gun without shooting its self
Weapons pylons on the wings Stealth is gone.
It can’t function in enemy airspace without space Satellites, Russia and China both possess Anti Satellite missiles. And have shown a remarkable capability in rendering GPS and other computer functions useless.
In a war against mountain boys in Afghanistan F35 would be a terror.
F35 against China, it couldn’t be used, because of its horrible range. China either knocks out the Satellites the F35 requires to function or it’s fueling tankers which the F35 requires to stay in the air. Anything you would want to use an F35 to destroy is to far away even with advances in missile tech. Even if the F35 gets some missiles off it wouldn’t be difficult to know where they came from.
The F35 can’t dogfight if its spotted with the Mk one eyeball its over.
Its a specialist against Mountain boys with AK’s and RPGs but a museum piece against China or Russia.
In a real war the F35 can’t do anything, useful or special.
How retarded can a commenter be here? Really? Do you even know what the ‘Concept’ of 5th Gen and Future 6th Gen Aircraft will be 10 or 20 yrs from now?
Do you realize the F-22 (being upgraded to F-35 level capabilities & its Future Born Digitally Developed Future Really is? Do you know that F-35 was never meant to stand out like SORE THUMB like both Stealthless J-20 and the almost Stealthless SU-57 that the F-35 can always SEE 1ST! ;-p)))
The most Advanced Aircraft in the Sky and you Turd Headed Haters should stay in own Britches!
Name One Competitor Classified and Certified to be FULL 5th Gen??? There ain’t any besides F-22 and did you notice that both have no REAL COMPETITION for the Future of Air Combat! ….nor do they have IBCS or IAMD… and you need to look those up besides reading more about USA’s Secure Forces Wide Private Hyper Tunneled Network they have a Team of White Hats trying to find holes before the Clueless Enemy ever get off the Ground…. like Stealthless J-20 Faux Clone or Powerless SU-57 that isn’t even selling and doesn’t even have an Engine capable of doing what a 5th Gen Stealth Aircraft should be able to do!!! …oh right but… but… but… a new engine is coming? Right! …that’s like wishing your wife was a Stepford Wife! ….all FAKE!!! :-D)))
Ethan Allen says
@ Kronicler 👍🎯
Again, well said Kronicler‼💥
Any criticism look at the Israel Air Force! They use it they bought it! If it doesn’t work they wouldn’t have paid for it and used it! The cost per aircraft was brought down and yes like the F22 it’s a waste to be used in uncontested battlefield. But it does needs to be used to develop the best tactics for it!
You paid for Israel’s F35. All of Israeli weapons procurements are from American tax payers, in the form of financial aid.
The Isreali’s can’t take the money elsewhere and buy french made Mirage fighter jets. They have to buy American or in this case take Americans tax dollars and buy lockheed’s flying trillion dollar cluster F**k. The money never actually leaves America it gets transferred right to lockheed.
And the Isreali’s DON’T USE IT IN COMBAT, that’s a lie. The F35 program is all smoke and mirrors.
One could certainly argue that israel bought it for political reasons. Also, the range issue is meaningless to them.
nicholas j michael says
If we keep the politics out of it, stop the bean counters and let the men and women who actually risk everything make the discussion. we would have the best tool for the job so. To the Congress just shut up approve the funds and stay the hell out of the way. Than we would have a platform that isn’t fubar
Tim Daugherty says
I know the Chinese appreciate our new technology.
Joe oktavec says
The Chinese better hope they don’t find out the capabilities of the F35. This plane is a search so other aircraft such as the F15ex can destroy weapon. Integrated with the F22 they can’t be beat – by anyone!
They can’t beat anything if they’re stuck on the ground waiting on parts or not flying fully mission capable.
I’m sure the U.S.S. Ford will be the greatest aircraft carrier ever . . . once it can get fully qualified and actually deploy.
F-22s cant talk to F-35s.
That explains why we have it in the trillion dollar democrat bill. Did you know they are giving China 3 billion dollars?
Dave Schmidt says
The F-35’s technology is definitely cutting edge. I look at the F-35 as a test bed for those technologies and nothing more. Those technologies need to be integrated into a fully capable / superior fighter and be able to dominate anything flying for the next 30 years. There are the problems with the plane itself. Forget those problems. (OOF! the money!!) The central question is can it equal and exceed the capabilities of the acft the F-35 is to replace? A resounding ‘no.’ No payload, unless it gives up its stealth capability. Can it loiter for a meaningful amount of time, a requirement for CAS. No. Unless the F-35 has technologies to separate friend from foe at danger close distances of separation from 30K feet with suitable weaponry, it’s a non-starter. What is its turn around time to rearm and refuel? Abysmal. Amount of time to swap engines and care for the delicate stealth coating? Again abysmal.
C C Rudolph says
Thanks for weighing in on this topic. I believe the F-35 is a great weapon in our arsenal and agree that the F-35 should be augmented by way of mission capable and less costly fighters. However, if I am not mistaken the F-35 was sold as the do-it-all fighter that would replace virtually every other legacy fighter in our inventory. That’s the real nut to crack with any rethink of our fighter fleet, the perception that the American people were lied to or the smart folks at the Pentagon weren’t so smart about the F-35 program.
“The f-35 is going to replace the F-15, F-16, F-18, A-10, and blah blah blah.”
How’d that work out?
Jeffrey C. says
I think we have tried a ONE FOR ALL services plane before, the F4 Phantom. It didn’t really work out that well. We need 4 planes.
CARRIER BASED FIGHTER/ATTACK
A PLANE FOR THE MARINES (whatever that may be.
You need the right tools for any job or the result is poor.
Jonathan S Miller says
Exactly. Didn’t work with the F4 and won’t work with the F35.
So apperently by your definition the USN is a bunch of idiots since their flying an all hornet carrier airwings since mid 2000’s. As well as franch navy with the rafael as their primary combat aircraft for all combat mission.
Randy Riggins says
Actually the F-18 Hornet was the YF-17 Cobra that was rejected by the US Air Force in favor of the F-16. The last real Navy Fight was the F-14 Tomcat which was shuffled around the F-111B carrier fighter. I think it is about in=me the Navy got their own fighter specifically designed for their needs, particularly Fleet Defense.
That’s right. The MOST Basic Rule Of All Time, Chose The RIGHT Tool For The Job. And, you want to AVOID, “Jack Of All Trades and Master of NONE…”
Exactly how many hours does C Q Brown have in this weapon system? And since he probably hasn’t been a “frequent flier” in some ten (10) years (re: his bio) his specific personal experience in this aircraft is slim to non-existent.
Just another frat boy senior officer.
The taxpayer spent big money in the development and production of the F-35 and this idiot doesn’t want to expose it to combat violence? Typical of the new USAF hierarchy.
Thanks for your valuable expert opinion Bill. Since Brown is no longer an active fighter jock, he is clearly ignorant of the F-35’s capabilities according to your rationale.
But you don’t need to take Browns word for it, you can ask any active F-35 pilot what they think of the platform and I doubt you’re going to find much criticism, particularly if given a choice between flying F-35 or returning to a legacy platform. There is no contest.
Although many of the details surrounding F-35 performance and capabilities are classified, what is known, particularly with regard to the plane’s repeated performance during large scale, realistic exercises like Red Flag validate that it is a transformative and highly effective platform, notwithstanding it’s high operating cost (currently) relative to legacy fighters. F-35 routinely achieves kill ratios in excess of 20-1 against highly trained and capable aggressor opposition. As a matter of fact, the Airforce is exploring standing up aggressor squadrons equipped with older F-35s because the fight is simply too easy against aggressors flying all non-5th gen aircraft.
In reality you sounds like a lot of the “journalists” reporting on this plane, you don’t really seem to know much about it, and in fact you probably are just disinclined to support spending on military programs in general, so if you don’t mind we’ll take your opinion with a grain of salt.
Russia will make Lemonade says
The F-35 is a lemon. No amount of smoke and mirrors can change this well known fact this late in the game. The cat is out of the bag. Why not just fess up? When a squadron of these Swiss Army Knives have to face off against a few SU-35’s and a squadron of updated SU-27’s, and our trillion dollar mistake gets face planted on the plains of Eastern Europe, it will be a harder pill to swallow, no?
But then the Pentagon is already aware of this aren’t they? That’s why they are replacing all of the F-15C’s with LEGITIMATE fighters: the new F-15EX.
So it appears thats the only admission of guilt we are going to get. But I’m glad they’re buying the F-15EX’s. We’d be naked otherwise.
The F-35 was originally sold to the American Public as a do-all multi-role stealth fighter that would replace a sheath of legacy aircraft AND be available for export to help float the aeronautical portion of America’s military industrial complex.
The F-35 has not delivered on almost all of these “original” selling points.
The F-35 can perform a wide array of combat activities, it just cannot do most of them well, or even average. America is arming itself with very expensive Swiss Army Knives in preparation for future knife fights. If it were up to me….I’d want better cutlery such as the following: F22, B2 Spirit, F15, F16. So yes on the procurement of the F-15EX’s. We should buy more!
(The B52 is a relic, the F18 and it’s variants are also lemons imo.)
Plagued with a myriad of technical problems, design flaws, many of which remain today, the F-35 is downright slow, and lacks agility. Not a dogfighter. Most 4th gen platforms would make an easy meal of the F-35. It has the look of a pig and a performance to match. It’s weapons payload is laughable, unless it’s external hard points are also loaded out thus destroying the only potentially redeeming quality of this lemon: it’s stealth capability. Its range is pathetic, embarrassing even. What were they thinking? SMH. Who came up with the specs for the F-35? Putin? Xi? Sure, it has the most advanced targeting, avionics, radar and ecm. It’s a very sophisticated aircraft no doubt. Wooptie Doo!
If I wanted to build 20,000 houses, I would not take the lion share of my payroll and use it to hire and overpay 2 or 3 pHD’s with expertise in timber products. No. I would use it to hire the very best carpenters, architects, plumbers, electricians, glazers, masons, geologists. heavy equipment operators, surveyors and civil engineers that I could get my hands on.
The pentagon, and our ridiculous federal government, each being charged with this nation’s defense, do not see it that way.
These idiots would hire the 3 pHDs to hammer up 20,000 houses !
Many client states are wise to all of this, wise to the numerous shortcomings of the ill-conceived F-35 program, and are walking away from this overhyped overpriced pile of meringue. I believe some are running away from it in laughter. Others are wincing. Israel is buying some, but they’re using our money to make the purchase! In any event, they don’t need long range aircraft. So there may actually be a role to fill using the FREE F-35’s. But Israel will maintain their fleets of F15’s and F-16’s you can bank on that. The few other nations who seemingly bought into the F-35 are doing the same. Use America’s money to buy a few lemons.
The F-35 is a stupid design. The stupidity has its origins in the naivety and arrogance used to push this concept at inception. They (Lockheed, the Pentagon, etc) endeavored to house far too many capabilities into a single weapons platform. Their pride and arrogance were the basis for this boondoggle. Did they get cocky from the eventual success of the legitimately lethal,?yet still unproven F-22?
After all, when we examine the past US Presidents who were involved with rubber stamping the F-35 program along the way…..we find the epitome of pomposity and arrogance: Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Obama.
Obama was the one who canceled the F-22 in favor of the F-35. Outstanding! I’d rather have one F-22 instead of five F-35’s.
So much wrong headed thinking in DC.
John Stuart says
The F-35 is a Swiss army knife airplane. It was designed to replace four types, F-16, A-10 F/A-18 and the AV-8B. It can do anything but is optimized for nothing. It doesn’t have the speed, range, maneuverability and payload of the planes it’s replacing, except for the AV-8B.
Except that it has all 3 with with the manuverabilty being somewhere between the f16 and the f18. And the f35 outranges all of them since it has 18,000 pounds of gas(19,000 lb for the f35c). In terms of payload only the a10 outcarries it. In terms of speeds it is equal with all of them since mach 2 requirement is useless except for paper statstics and bragging rights and barely any of them could reach it in the first place.
mark stewart says
The problem is that the old fighters won’t be able to survive future anti-aircraft missile systems. And the F-35 can. In large volume, every new F-35 is cheap. As for dog fights, the enemy aircraft is dead long before it can sight an F-35.
I’ve talked to a number of F-16 pilots here in Tucson and they all make very guarded comments about the f-35.
There are many many problems with this aircraft including it’s a poor dogfighter it doesn’t carry sufficient bomb load and many of its electronics still don’t work properly.
but the real problem with the f-35 is that it’s sucking up all the aircraft acquisition money available to the department of defense.really I think this aircraft is a disaster when looked at from a holistic viewpoint.
Jermel A Clark says
It seems that you don’t actually know what you are talking about in regards to the F35. If the plane was as bad as you say. Why are so many countries interested in acquiring them for their arsenals?
The F-35 has a 20-1 kill ratio. You’re dead in an F-16 long before you’re close enough to dogfight. You’re basically saying the Sniper isn’t a great knife fighter, so he should get a better knife instead.
The F-35 wasn’t billed as a sniper. It was supposed to be a multirole dogfighter that would replace the F-16 (dogfighter), F-18 and AV-8 fleets. Saying that a knife fighter does ok in sniping but sucks at knife fighting is the proper analogy.
Also, we already have platforms specifically designed for sniping. The F-22 and F-15. The F-22 was supposed to replace the 15. Now we’re specifically retaining the 15 to support the 35? Sounds like the 35 isn’t much of a sniper, either.
Great points, and now subscribed to Justin’s channel.
Commander Cobra says
Great piece and right on target. The sad part is it has taken this long to get to issue, not F-35 v the universe, but aging fleet of tactical and strategic aircraft in nearly every category, low numbers of wings-groups-squadrons, and aircrew (especially pilot) retention. Bringing additional aircraft online to provide the needed mix is basic and to long overlooked.
No BS. The F 35 was supposed to be the direct replacement for the F 16. Ow we are told nope that trillion dollar pit is just too pricey to fly so now we demand tax payers fork over more money (tens maybe 100s of billions more) for a direct replacement for the F 16. And hey don’t worry we won’t do what we always do and make the plane so complicated and “cutting edge” that its costs Ballon well over budget yet be deemed “too important to fail”. No thanks. Sounds like you need to start working on keeping those F 16s in the air for another decade.
You do know for a fact that the f16 had a way more troubled start than the f35.like the f35 the f16 was overbudget and it was missing its timeline goals and unique to the f16 it crashed alot earning the nickname lawnmower. For the amount of times it crashed and remember every iconic piece of equipment of the modern us military is filled with controversy usually by the idiots that run the media (ie.the m16 family,M1 abrams,M2 bradley and finally the f16.)