Two interesting Air Force items from Strategy Page.
Most recently, the AF has begun test flights of the X-45A drone plane. This one is fully armed, and designed in part for enemy air defense suppression. A second unit is coming on line, and test “pilots” will be looking into how to use the drones in pairs.
From Saturday, the Air Force leaked flight sim tests that the new Russian-built Su-30 can best our top-of-the-line F-15 in a head-on match-up. The Su-30 is an improved version of the Su-27 Flanker, which is about as capable as the Navy’s F-18A Hornet.
But keep two things in mind. First, the computer simulation only looked at one situation, and that without benefit of an AWACS patrol for our fighters (unlikely). Second, the Air Force has been threatened with cutbacks to its F-22 Raptor and F-35 JSF purchases, so it has every incentive for making its current air-superiority fleet look vulnerable.
QUESTION: Everything I’ve read on Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 is still calling it the “Joint Strike Fighter.” Is that ugly nickname going to stick to that beautiful platform? If the bloated F-22 can get a cool moniker like “Raptor,” then surely the F-35 derserves better than JSF.