Recently, Business Insider magazine named the F-35 fighter one of the worst American developments. This aircraft is very expensive and has not yet got rid of a lot of shortcomings. The Air Force and Navy had high hopes for it, but it does not live up to them.
According to Sohu, on November 3rd the F-35A took part in an unpleasant incident. The Russian Tu-160 missile carrier carried out a planned flight over the Japanese Sea and was accompanied by two fighter jets. Suddenly, the bomber set the maximum wing sweep angle and turned on its afterburner, trying to break away from the escorts.
The F-35As tried to catch up with the Russian jet, but they couldn’t. The huge Tu-160 was still visible on radar screens, but quickly left the line-of-sight area. Thus, a 110-ton strategic bomber suddenly easily got rid of two 13-ton pursuers.
In terms of military features, it should be noted that the incident that Sohu writes about confirms one of the characteristic features of supersonic strategic bombers. High flight speed is one of the main ways of overcoming air defences. It allows to quickly reach the launch line of missiles or break through air defence zones or get away from fighter jets.
Tactical and technical characteristics of equipment also affected the results of the recent incident. The Russian Tu-160 reaches speeds of up to 2,200 km/h. The American F-35 with afterburn accelerates only up to 1930 km/h and can maintain such a speed for a very limited time. [The 1.6 Mach speed is theoretical, in practice pilots are told not to push it beyond Mach 1.3 or 1.4, and even then for no more than eighty or forty seconds respectively.]
Source: Topwar.ru, translated by Stalker Zone