The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, described by US media as “a pure gold plane” for its exorbitant price tag, would find itself helpless in a dogfight with Russia’s fourth-generation Su-27 and MiG-29 jets, Pierre Sprey said.
“The Su-27 and even the MiG-29 have bigger wing space, more powerful engines and carry more air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons… That’s why the F-35 will be totally helpless against both because when you confront a plane, which is more maneuverable, accelerates faster and is better armed then you are in trouble,” he added.
Few people are as qualified to speak about fighter aircraft as Pierre Sprey. He is the co-designer of the F-16 Falcon jet and the A-10 Warthog tank buster, two of the most successful aircraft in the US Air Force.
In a report titled “Thunder Without Lightning: High Cost and Limited Benefit Development Program of F-35” and released by US non-profit organization National Security Network, analyst Bill French wrote that, according to the technical parameters, the F-35 is “losing to the fourth-generation fighter MiG-29 and Su-27, developed by the Russian Air Force and used around the world.”
Besides, all of the F-35s have significantly lower maximum speed as compared to the Soviet aircraft.
Mr. French also wrote that in a simulated air combat, the results drew an even “grimmer picture.”
According to him, despite the superiority of the F-35 with regard to stealth technology and avionics, if compared to the Su-27 and MiG-29 the loss ratio is to be expected at 3:1. That is, for each destroyed Su-27 or MiG-29 there would be three F-35 destroyed.
The report said that the F-35 was only slightly better than the veteran F-16 and F-18 jets.