posted on Dec, 23 2009 @ 05:06 PM
reply to post by James R. Hawkwood
Yes, its just too damn heavy.
It was concluded very early on (even at the time of BAe's ASTOVL studies) that asking a supersonic combat aircraft with a useful range and payload to
perform VTO's was unnecessary, expensive and complicated.
The early mk.1 Harrier was limited to 5,000lb inc fuel for VTO but could operate in STO mode at 9,000lb. The Harrier GR.5/AV-8B entered service with
no ability to perform VTO's with any kind of useful load due to it being much heavier than the earlier model (it is also about 80mph slower due to
Improvements to later versions of the Pegasus increased thrust to the point where VTO was possible again, but in reality it is never used.
Indeed the only reason the X-35B and its Boeing rival were required to demonstrate VTO was because the Russians had done it with the Yak 41 (The
French had also done it in the 1960's with the Mirage IIIV but this seems to be glossed over).
The F-35B could be made to perform a VTO, at a push and *IF* engine thrust can be increased by about 10%, but it would'nt be able to carry any
ordnance or fly very far.
I think the far more serious defect is that the nozzle cannot be used for manouvering. I mean, how ridiculous is that? The F-35B basically has an
automated process that means whenver the nozzle is rotated, the lift fan spools up, the wheels come down and it lands. That is its sole function,
which seems a waste.