Disclaimer: I am not a fan of the F-35 Lightning II. I could list my gripes with the whole program (late, over budget and not the best choice) in detail, but that’s not the purpose of this blog post.
Japan openly acquired US made (Japanese assembled) F-35A stealth fighter aircraft. Their acquisition of F-35B (short/vertical take off and landing) stealth fighter aircraft for their “Destroyer Helicopter Carriers” is another matter. I’ve heard that it’s ‘classified’ but it’s one of those open secrets that is only restricted to people in government.
Elsewhere, it’s talked about.
The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. It’s seen in the video below taking off from and landing on the USS America, a ‘helicopter carrier’.
The addition of a squadron of F-35B supersonic stealth fighters to their four Destroyer Helicopter Carriers is a game changer.
In the video below, it shows F-35B aircraft depicted on a graphic of the JS Izumo, on the deck as part of the ship’s compliment of aircraft. As I suggest above, it’s not a well kept secret.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has a number of weapons/configuration options:
One thing that the aircraft (and the US inventory) currently lacks is an effective stand-off anti-shipping missile that can be carried for use against enemy surface craft. The Harpoon and Penguin have outlived their normal lifespans. The smart bombs have the capacity, and stealth may get you close enough to use them – maybe?
The Norwegian’s new stand-off anti-shipping missile is being designed with the F-35 in mind. There is also the AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range [stealth] Anti-Ship Missile) currently undergoing testing. That too was designed with the F-35 and the F-18 in mind. Will the addition of those systems give the Chinese pause? Likely not. The Chinese are full of hubris these days.
I'm not an expert, but it might make a lot of sense to have some kind of stand-off missile system within range of Chappaqua.
Like the way you think!
The LRASM will get China's attention. One problem with the STOL F-35B is the small bombay, due to the STOL fan. That is still being worked… sigh
They also need a way to mid-air refuel those jets that are flying off of the small decks. when they go to VTOL mode the burn through the entire tank, which is why they have short take-off and vertical landing. There are a lot of engineering issues. However, if the Japs can launch stealth LRASMs from wing mounts (in non-stealth mode) they can still put a hurt on the Chinese navy.
I'll take a Super Hornet over that "stealth" turd any day of the week……
And twice on Sundays!
The USAF/Lockheed-Martin put the uber-expensive F-35 forward as the replacement for all current strike/fighter operations to include the A-10, F-16, F-15, F-18, AV-8B, etc. and it's operational reliability in a wartime tempo, survivability in close air support, and so many other issues to include the expense of the airframe, is not ready for prime time.
Other nations and the US Navy / Marine Corps bought the bill of goods. Marine Corps squadrons, flying the F-18A have serious maintenance issues which have been made public – but they waited for the F-35.
The US has 19 Amphibious Assault Ships and Amphibious Transport Docks, all of which would have been turned into CV's of a sort with the introduction of the F-35B. It was a way to expand power projection in the way that the Japanese want to. It's a good idea only if it works.
The F-22 is a marvel when it flies. You need to deploy 3 to keep one in the air because of maintenance issues…and the F-35 is going down that path. When you marry that to expense, it's not a good thing.
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