North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has promised to sink an American aircraft carrier and turn the White House into ashes. His ability to do that with his tin-can military is extremely dubious — especially when you consider we have a weapon he won’t be able to see.
The F-35 is the newest addition to America’s aerial arsenal, and it’s quite the doozy. The fighter, produced by Lockheed Martin, has the same performance as other fighters in terms of speed, turning and range, according to Business Insider. But where it really excels is in the area of stealth.
“What the public doesn’t realize is how dominant the difference in information is,” said retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Dan Flatley in a Business Insider interview.
Flatley has flown the F-35 and even helped design the curriculum for training pilots. He talked about the “crushing psychological effect” that stealth aircraft can have. Doing a training exercise in the non-stealth F/A-18 Hornet, he was faced with trying to locate the stealth F-22 Raptor.
“I remember indelibly the moment in which the AWAC (airborne early warning and control plane) called out to me that there was a Raptor in front of me at very close range that made me uncomfortable,” Flatley said. “I had no way of targeting him, no way of defending myself.”
Flatley said that with the new stealth jet, other planes “may have a general idea that there’s an F-35 out there, but they don’t know exactly where we are.”
“Everything they see becomes the F-35 out there,” said Flatley. “Every radar hit, every communication is about the stealth jet. They want to illuminate or eliminate a threat they can’t handle.”
And it’s not just that other fighters can’t see the F-35 — it’s that the F-35 can see almost anything. Business Insider says the plane “features six cameras stationed around the jet and a helmet display that allows pilots to literally look through the jet as if it wasn’t there. It features the only infrared radar on a US fighter since the F-14, and uses unprecedented sensor-fusion capabilities to paint an incredibly vivid picture of its surroundings for miles out.”
The F-35 has become controversial because of its cost overruns — according to The New York Times, the planes cost more than twice their original estimate. But Flatley argues that it’s worth it. He says even capable enemy pilots will be stymied by the new plane.
“It has nothing to do with their skill or technology. They’re at such a technological disadvantage,” Flatley said. “It aggregates to a completely inept response to what we’re doing in the air … People are so hellbent on shooting down the stealth fighter that they invariably make mistakes that I can exploit.”
And that’s something that should keep Kim Jong Un up at night.
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