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.
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.”
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.