Friday, March 10, 2017

USMC F-35 performance at Red Flag not what we were told?

via The Drive.
 A reading between the lines would seem to prove Marine F-35Bs were still far from ready for actual combat a year after the service declared the aircraft had achieved initial operational capability (IOC). It's especially enlightening to read after the Air Force's impressive claims about its own F-35As at Red Flag 17-1 in February 2017, where pilots reportedly racked up an impressive kill ratio of 15-to-1, a figure that was later revised to 20-to-1.
Interesting.  What else does the article have to say?
Bardo did not include his squadron’s win/loss ratio for Red Flag 16-3, but blamed all losses on pilot error or the exercise’s constraints. The limits of Nellis’ training range, artificial no-fly areas, and rules that confined the jets in a 1,000 foot “altitude block,” meant the F-35s could play to their strengths, he wrote. Based on the available information, we cannot independently assess those claims.
Even with these limitations, VMFA-121’s aviators had “the ability to use the aircraft's high fidelity sensors to share data over Link-16 [data link] with fourth-generation assets with less capable sensors/radars,” Bardo explained. “This type of non-kinetic support was a force multiplier and enabled fourth generation escort assets to be more lethal and survivable.” 
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