It’s the way things are going.
Look at the T-50, little visibility there, just headrest also…. not much better for the SU-35 either
China’s J-31 is no better than the Lightning. The J-20 seems slightly better from pictures, but not by much.
It seems that it is the way things are in order to reduce RCS as much as is practical.
However, according to Norweigan F-35 test pilot (& F-16 pilot) it is far from the end of the world:
“The cockpit view from the F-16 was good, better than in any other fighter I have flown. I could turn around and look at the opposite wingtip; turn to the right, look over the back of the airplane and see the left wingtip,” Hanche wrote. “That´s not quite possible in the F-35, because the headrest blocks some of the view.”
But Hanche was able to improve his visibility by moving forward in his seat and leaning slightly sideways, before turning his head and looking backwards. This enabled him to see around the sides of the seat.
Hanche stressed that he was still able to maintain visual contact with his opponent during aggressive maneuvering, and the cockpit’s visual limitation is not “a genuine problem with the F-35.”
“For now my conclusion is that this is an airplane that allows me to be more forward and aggressive than I could ever be in an F-16,” Hanche wrote. “So how does the F-35 behave in a dogfight? … To sum it up, my experience so far is that the F-35 makes it easier for me to maintain the offensive role, and it provides me more opportunities to effectively employ weapons at my opponent.”