As the F-35, the U.S.’s most advanced stealth fighter jet slowly starts to make its way into the sky, countries like Russia and China are hoping that their very high frequency (VHF) radar will be able to spot the F-35. A Major for the Air Force says they might possibly be able to see the F-35 on radar, but shoot it down? No way.
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Maj. Dan Flatley has divulged to the public that pilots of the F-35 are not concerned about Russia’s or China’s VHF radars.
“Adversaries have to build a kill chain,” Flatley told Business Insider. “We’re not trying to prevent every aspect of that chain, just snap one of those links.”
Flatley, a former pilot of the F-35, further explained that just because they can see the F-35 as a blip on their radar screens doesn’t mean that they can track it, shoot it, and bring it down. It would simply give an enemy pilot a general idea of where the stealth plane is.
The enemy could actually regret trying to find the F-35. Flatley explained, as the enemy’s radar emits radiation that the F-35 can track to pinpoint a bombing strike on said location.
“That’s the thing people don’t understand,” said Flatley. “They think we’re saying we’re invisible to everyone all the time at all bandwidths and energy levels … that’s not what we’re saying.”
Russia, a country that boasts regularly of making America’s newest planes and military advancements futile, may have to eat their words with the F-35. The Russians are sinking millions into their VHF radar equipment, but, by Flatley’s accounts, all they’ll really be able to do is to catch a glimpse of the F-35, not shoot it down.
At various points through the years, concerned taxpayers and military generals were beginning to wonder if the plane would ever be finished and how many millions it would ultimately cost.
Flatley put those notions to rest as he says he has full confidence in the F-35. “We’re not going to waste it,” he said. “The expectation is that the F-35 will operate in a scenario against air and surface defense systems – and that’s an expectation that the American taxpayer and public should have.”
h/t Business Insider