Keeping the VTOL capability, while reinforcing the gear and structure to be able to perform normal Carrier landings, isn’t the brithest idea at all.
Therfore getting rid of the the gun, while beeing forced to loose weight is understandable, but a lil’ bit dumb.
Choose one over the other, the way it is done now, is the unreal wish to get everything in one Plane, wich will have negative impacts - of wich there are plenty.
Additionally… A Carrier Operation based plane with only one single engine… Where redundancy matters the most is just insane.
Furthermore, because it’s not used in local short range sorties or air policing, it’s forced to use the additional Fuel on the outer wings, to get to its target in the first place, rendering it’s Lil stealth capability completely obsolete…
The whole F-35 program was the wish to field only one plane, wich is the best multi role plane overall.
But it didn’t work out.
Only one engine, limited CAS capabilitiy, no real possibility to perform show of force due to short time in the area and additionally no gun if its the C Model, to complex in regards of production and maintenance, major Software Problems, loosing its stealth capability (Wich was one of the biggest selling points) if loaded with armament fitted for its mission a.s.o.
F35C is not VTOL capable. Its essentially a wider wingspan, foldable wings and reinforced F35A
Harrier was used just fine for years.
You dont have to make up or pretend there are dealbreakers with an aircraft when there really isn’t. Every aircraft has limitations, but in the case of the F35, single engine and no-gun isn’t one of them
Military aircraft have radar reflector plates on them to increase detectability, preventing a potential enemy from gathering information on how stealthy it really is. Its the reason the US refused to sell the F-35 to Turkey after they bought Russian SAMs.
On the contrary - one of the whole perks of the Rolls Royce Pegasus was that it was a simple engine. Very powerful for it’s time but quite simple.
The clever bit was using the thrust from the cold and hot sides of the engine (pre-combustion/post-combustion) for the fore/aft nozzles respectively. That’s where a lot of the competing VTOL designs got it wrong - by trying to cover-complicate with extra engines, ducted fans, etc. The Kestrel/Harrier design used the one engine for lifting, flying, hovering and everything in between - the nozzles were just ducts for directing that thrust in the direction required.
F-35 is a different beast and a product of a different time. It is a bit pointless comparing a small strike jet developed in the 1960s for a VERY specific role (which it did very well) with a multi-role 5th gen programme that has multiple incarnations and intended functions.
Its probably not the most complex. But in terms of maintenance its probably not particularly fun having to deal with 4 pivoting elements.
Its more a short response to a pivot away from the complaint that single engine is somehow a dealbreaker on Carrier aircraft. Me pointing to the single engine of the harrier not excluding it from having a successful career
Dunno about fun when it comes down to maintaining… But different strokes for different folks?
There are major differences in the old Rolls Royce engine and modern jet engines, especially those ones used in the F-35, F-22, F-18 a.s.o.
Were speaking about modern engines with way more structural stress due to more heat, pressure, way more complex cooling mechanism and many more.
The Rolls Royce one was “fairly easy” to inspect and maintain, needed a lot less complex and advanced tools and overall less maintenance time due to way lower wear and tear due to above described factors.
The more complex a system gets, the more it is prone to failure.
That’s why the majority of nations decided to not only use one engine - especially Airframes used in one of the hardest environments possible. Carrier Usage.
Because the failure of just one engine didn’t cause the loss of the whole airplane.
To be fair no more or less than any other single-engine type of the era.
Also got to laugh at the wikioedia reference. The Indian Air Force will consistently manage to write off considerable numbers of aircraft due to their appalling safety record. One esteemed colleague who shall remain nameless noted that the IAF could crash a paper aeroplane if they had them in the inventory…
F-35 suffers from multiple issues the aircraft as well as the whole programme.
Sure nothing unusual but it is the most expensive defense programme to ever exist.
Combined with certain issues of the hardware, software especially in regard to low readiness that is not ideal to say the least.
Wether the aircraft will deliver what is promised in real aerial warfare against near peer, peer or in part technologically superior adversaries remains to be seen. Hopefully it does not come to that.
Similar to how the Gulf War can not be seen as proof that F-15 with it’s therein documented efficacy is the best air to air platform in the world.
Most importantly doctrine be it US, Soviet or now Russian or the one of whomever else always has to stand the test. It is based on all kinds of data, analyses, tests and assumptions.
Wether it was the right tool for the job might be known after a conflict and will likely be debated for decades after as well. Additionally a militaries doctrine can easily happen to be designed for a enemy it never goes to war with.
I’m sure F-35 does it’s job decently at the very least but as I see it with it’s focus on export it is what F-16 was in the 70s or 80s.
Not mounting a gun for self defense at the very least was a fault in the 50s and 60s. The doctrine assuemd that air to air missiles guided by radar would render cannons in aerial warfare and depending on whom you asked even planes themselves obsolete.
Both quite obviously wrong in retrospect. With a quite similar issue at hand on the F-35 variant you discussed.
In a changing ‘‘threat environment’’ ideally if not restrained by funds, manpower, technology or any other factor a military will of course retain all abilities needed to counter known threats while developing for service everything that is needed to face projected threats combining capabilities wherever possible.
The only thing that can be assuemd with a good amount of certainty is that aircraft will be unmanned at some point at the very least for a time.
Stealth technology for example is not black magic. While a aircraft certainly it’s airframe is being developed for a service life measured in decades electronical warfare and radar technology also evolve constantly. Missiles with all their components a well of course.
Stealth technology grants a further advantage though many nations are leveling the palyingfield which leads to stealth technology being just another tool in the box of military aircraft developement.