Why the Super Bug is no substitute for the F-35: a technical comparison
Posted by zbigniewmazurak on July 31, 2012
Extrapolating on the Super Bug’s decisive inferiority to the F-35 (including its B and C variants), and in response to ignoramuses at POGO and elsewhere who delude themselves and others that the Super Bug is a substitute for, or even a plane superior to the F-35 (as POGO falsely claims), here’s a side to side technical comparison of all 3 F-35 variants with the Super Bug on a number of key characteristics:
|Dry thrust (kN)||125||125||125||62.3|
|Thrust w/afterb. (kN)||191||191||191||97.9|
|Internal fuel cap. (lb)||18,480||13,500||19,750||13,000|
|Service ceiling (ft)||60,000||60,000||60,000||50,000|
|Max takeoff weight (lb)||70,000 class||60,000 class||70,000 class||66,000|
|Combat radius (nmi)||584||469||615||390|
|T/W w/50% fuel||1.07||1.04||0.91||0.93|
As you can clearly read from the table, the Super Bug is decisively inferior to all three F-35 variants on all counts, except that it has a slightly higher thrust/weight ratio with a 50% fuel load than the C model and its maximum takeoff weight is 6,000 lb higher than the B model’s (but still 4,000 lb lower than the F-35A’s and C’s).
Other than that, it is decisively inferior to all three F-35 variants – in terms of the G limit, combat radius, internal fuel capability (i.e. how much fuel can it carry internally, without external fuel tanks, which increase its RCS), dry thrust, thrust with afterburner, and stealthiness (and thus survivability), which is necessary to survive in today’s threat environment infested with modern IADSes and fighters. Also, while all three F-35 variants can pull 9Gs with a full combat load, the Super Bug can pull only 7.6Gs and only in a clean configuration – that is, without any missiles, conformal fuel tanks, jamming pods, or any other external stores. If any external stores are added, it can pull even fewer Gs.
But why do the characteristics other than stealthiness matter?
Thrust, and more importantly, T/W ratios affect planes’ speed, maneuverability, climbing ability, and other aerodynamic performance. Internal fuel capability affects the plane’s combat radius, and as we see from the table, all three F-35 variants have a combat radius significantly larger than the meagre CR of the Super Bug, which is only 390 nm. The F-35 can also fly much higher than the Super Bug, and therefore, launch its missiles from a much higher altitude to increase these missiles’ range significantly. A higher G limit means the F-35 can withstand higher forces of gravitation, and therefore more violent maneuvers, than the Super Bug.
Cancelling the F-35 and using the Super Bug and the F-16 instead would practically be a death sentence for the USN, USMC, and USAF pilots who would be flying these aircraft against the enemy, just like flying the Brewster Buffalo, the F4F, and the P-38 against the Japanese was a death sentence for the unfortunate pilots flying those aircraft. By suggesting that the USN and the USMC go down this route, POGO and NTU hacks are effectively showing their utter disdain and contempt for USN and USMC pilots and demanding that they be consigned to death.
It is utterly unacceptable to force brave American pilots to fly such inferior aircraft and consign themselves to a certain death from enemy fighters. They deserve the best aircraft available – and for the USMC and the USN, this means the F-35B/C.
The Super Bug is, plainly, no substitute for, let alone a plane superior to, the F-35. Not even close. Making such claims only reveals the utter ignorance of those who make them.
If all people around the world who pontificate about issues they know nothing about would shut up, this would be a much better and much quieter world.