I’ve discovered yet another reason to continue the F-35 program.
It has been revealed, after flight tests, that the radar cross section of an F-35 is no larger than that of a ping-pong-ball. The F-35 would therefore be stealthier than any currently serving aircraft in the world, except B-2s and F-22s. The radar cross section of an F-22 is the size of that of a metal marble, which means this aircraft is undetectable for any current radars.
The F-35 type is only slightly less stealthier than the F-22 type, under the condition that it carries no more than 2 weapons externally (which means carrying other weapons in the plane’s interior). It’s no problem, if the US military orders enough F-35s.
Please watch this video:
The F-35 type is also more stealthy than the F-117 type. That aircraft was stealthy, but it used first-gen stealth technology. It was detected by a Yugoslavian radar and shot down by an S-125 (SA-3 Goa) SAM. Why? For three reasons:
1) The plane’s bomb bay was open when the radar found the F-117, thus enabling the radar to find the aircraft. The commander of the SAM unit which shot the plane down, Zoltan Dani, admitted this.
2) The plane was visible to non-static radars, as explained by Petr Ufimtsev. A non-static radar is one consisting of two units: the emitter and the receiver of radar waves. The F-117 deflected the radar waves emitted by one unit towards another unit, enabling the second unit to detect it.
3) During OAF, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, NATO aircraft flew along the same routes time after time. The Yugoslavians learned these routes and guessed where they could expect NATO aircraft to fly from, and positioned their SAMs and radars accordingly.
Some claim that a remedy could be a “stealthy” F-15, the F-15SE variant. They’re wrong for a number of reasons:
1) The F-15SE is designed to be stealthy only from the front, and only for X-band radars, i.e. the radars used by enemy aircraft. It is not designed to be stealthy to other-band radars, like the ones that inform SAMs where to shoot.
2) The F-15SE’s weapons and fuel tanks would be hidden in internal bays. This would reduce the amount of ordnance or fuel that an F-15 could take.
3) The cost of an F-15SE is $100 mn per plane, according to Boeing. This makes this fighterplane variant significantly more expensive than an F-35. A single F-35 costs $83 mn. If the USAF buys such aircraft (because it’s unlikely that existing F-15s can be retrofitted to the F-15SE standard, although I might be wrong on that issue), it would pay a higher cost for inferior aircraft. An F-15SE cannot serve as anything other than a stopgap plane until enough F-35s arrive.
The truth is that there is NO alternative to the F-35 program. The CAGW and the NYT claim otherwise, but they’re wrong. There is NO alternative to the F-35 program.