This article paints a one-sided, terribly dark picture of a program that is doomed, doomed I tell you. Nothing could be further from the truth.
How can I make this statement? For three reasons: first this article references out of date test results, second it ignores the fantastic success operational pilots have been achieving in exercises, and third it does not present any of the views of the military pilots flying the aircraft.
The obvious bias of the article against the F-35 is displayed by the presence of the link to an old 2015 story: “Test pilot admits the F-35 can’t dogfight.” Not only was that flight test NOT a dogfighting test, and certainly NOT an OT&E dogfighting test, it was a flight control laws test. Apparently some deficiencies were identified, AND corrected, because all interviews in 2016 from pilots actually flying the aircraft are dripping with praise for the aircraft. Prominently displaying this link to an article that has been thoroughly debunked shows this bias.
All reports in 2016 of military pilots flying operational aircraft have had overwhelmingly positive outcomes. The Marines cleaned up at Red Flag. The Air Force unit dispatched to Northern Lightning practically wiped the sky clear of the opposing red force. Not mentioning these operational results in this article fosters a clearly one-sided point of view.
Finding interviews with actual F-35 pilots that reveal information about F-35 performance has been sparse. However, one pilot in particular, “Dolbe” Hanche, a Norwegian Air Force pilot with over 2000 hours in the F-16 and a Naval Test Pilot School graduate, has blogged about his experiences. Hance has been effusive in his praise for the F-35 and its performance. He has written about how he is able to dominate in dogfighting exercises and perform maneuvers that were simply not possible in the F-16. Anybody curious about the F-35 should Google “Dolbe Hanche” and go read his interviews / blogs.
Developing a new aircraft, especially a fighter, is a demanding proposition. Testing is necessary and required. Presenting such a one-sided view of the testing process and results does “War is Boring” readers a disservice. Comparing F-35 testing and development to contemporary and historical aircraft in an objective fashion would make for an enlightening read. It would seem that the F-35 will be fully operational long before such an article from “War is Boring” is ever written.
There is an old adage: if you let engineers tinker and test until they say it is ready, you’ll never get your product. This is true. I am an engineer. Sometimes you just gotta take the toy away from the engineer and give it to the kids.