The Most Expensive Jet in History, the F-35, Was Just Outperformed by an Old 1970s Jet

By: | July 16th, 2015

The Pentagon’s $400 billion F-35 jet fighter is the costliest weapons program of all time. Designed to excel in electronic warfare, air-to-surface combat and air-to-air combat, this fifth-generation aircraft is cited as the most advanced combat jet in the world, with stealth capabilities that allow it to completely avoid radar detection. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems.

This futuristic jet was hugely outperformed recently by a 1970s F-16 in a mock battle.

To test the new plane’s ability in close-range combat, the mock battle was held near Edwards Air Force Base, California. Both the F-35 and the F-16 attempted to ‘shoot down’ the other in the dogfight.

According to the test pilot of the F-35, the jet fighter was too slow to fight other aircraft within visual range. He found the jet too cumbersome to dodge the enemy fire.

The test pilot had interesting observations on F-35’s $400,000 helmet.

The pilot found the futuristic jet’s high-tech helmet too large to move his head comfortably inside the cramped cockpit. Each F-35 helmet costs over $400,000, and is designed to give the pilot a 360-degree view outside the plane.

In a media response, the Pentagon’s Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor, quickly defended the F-35 saying the plane was not equipped with many of the features that give it an advantage over other fighter jets.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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