09:09 GMT30 November 2020
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    The Pentagon has billed the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II as the most advanced multirole fighter in its arsenal, but the most expensive piece of military equipment ever made apparently has a weak spot that could make it visible to newest air defense systems developed in Russia and China.

    "The F-35's single Pratt & Whitey F135 engine – while immensely powerful, producing about 43,000 lbs of thrust – also runs extremely hot," defense analyst Dave Majumdar wrote for the National Interest. "The Russians – who build excellent infrared sensors – could use the F-35's thermal signature to develop a weapons quality track to engage the stealthy new jet."

    In fact, Russia is reported to have already developed a radar that is capable of tracking and intercepting the F-35. Known as the Podsolnukh (or Sunflower), it is a short-range over-the-horizon surface-wave system that has already been deployed in three areas across the country, covering the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan and the Caspian Sea.

    Other object-detection systems are apparently in the making.

    "The Russians, especially, have been investing in long-wave networked radars operating in the UHF and VHF-bands for over two decades in their efforts to counter American stealth technology," the analyst detailed.

    Meanwhile, the Pentagon has tried to present the F-35 in the most favorable light.

    Earlier this week, Deputy Commandant for Aviation at the US Marine Corps, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, described the F-35 as a "state-of-the-art, game-changing, war-winning" aviation platform in a testimony to the US House Armed Services Committee.

    Davis also compared the single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighter to a powerful dinosaur.

    "The F-35's – twenty-four to zero kill ratio – killed all the targets," he said. "It was like Jurassic Park, watching a velociraptor – kills everything, does really well. We can't get that airplane fast enough into the fleet."


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    military aircraft technology, multirole jet fighters, military technology, plane tracking, radar, technology, engine, Podsolnukh, F-35 Lightning II, US, Russia
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