It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
NAVAL AIR STATION FALLON, Nevada — The Navy's sole F-35C squadron made its first trip to the hallowed strike fighter ground here to hone tactical skills and fly for the first time with F/A-18 Hornets.
Strike Fighter Squadron 101's "Grim Reapers" wrapped up two weeks of training with Top Gun fliers at Fallon's Naval Strike Air Warfare Development Center on Friday, the fleet replacement squadron's latest step in putting the F-35C Lightning II through its paces toward its initial operating capability in 2018.
"The first thing is, it’s cool. The cool doesn’t wear off," pilot Lt. Cmdr. Patrick "Turtle" Rice said on Thursday. "It’s just a lot of new toys."
The F-35 was flying “clean,” with no weapons in its bomb bay or under its wings and fuselage. The F-16, by contrast, was hauling two bulky underwing drop tanks, putting the older jet at an aerodynamic disadvantage.
But the JSF’s advantage didn’t actually help in the end. The stealth fighter proved too sluggish to reliably defeat the F-16, even with the F-16 lugging extra fuel tanks. “Even with the limited F-16 target configuration, the F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage for every engagement,” the pilot reported
Lighter and cheaper won't survive a peer or near peer war if one breaks out.