This article is an excellent read to understand how Russia’s technological level is best in its class in many military sectors, especially with regard to fighter jets. It originally appeared in Russia & India Report. The SU-30 continues to be the number one choice among global buyers.
Built to be the deadliest hunter killer aircraft of all time, the F-35 has quite literally become the hunted. In every scenario that the F-35 has been wargamed against Su-30 Flankers, the Russian aircraft have emerged winners. America’s newest stealth aircraft – costing $191 million per unit – is riddled with such critical design flaws that it’s likely to get blown away in a shootout with the super-maneuverable Sukhois.
Stubby wings (that reduce lift and maneuverability), a bulbous fuselage (that makes it less aerodynamic) low speed and a super hot engine (which a half decent radar can identify) are just a few of the major flaws that will expose its vulnerability during air combat.
With more than 600 Flankers (Sukhoi-27s and its later iterations such as the Su-30, Su-34 and Su-35 Super Flanker) flying with air forces around the world, the fate of the fifth generation F-35 seems decidedly uncertain. Aerospace experts across the world are veering around to the view that America’s most expensive fighter development program (pegged at $1.5 trillion) will be a sitting duck for the flankers.
“It’s a turkey,” declares aerospace engineer Pierre Sprey in an interview to Dutch television. Few people are as qualified to speak about fighter aircraft as 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 (USAF).
Winslow T. Wheeler, Director of the US’ Straus Military Reform Project, Centre for Defense information, agrees. “The F-35 is too heavy and sluggish to be successful as a fighter,” he says. “If we ever face an enemy with a serious air force we will be in deep trouble.”
So far the US has been lucky it has never really encountered a “serious” military. Over the skies of war-weary Iraq, tiny Libya and utterly defenseless Afghanistan, the American aircraft operated with impunity. But luck can run out – if they ever come up against the air forces of Russia, China or India the outcome won’t be so one-sided. In particular, the Indian Air Force has beaten the USAF’s fourth generation fighters using both third and fourth generation jets.