The Instigator
Jonnykelly
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Jingle_Bombs
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The F-35's capabilities are insufficient for US needs.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2016 Category: Technology
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 527 times Debate No: 85413
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
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Jonnykelly

Pro

Quick Military debate. Round one is for acceptance only please, and Round 2 is for presenting primary arguments only, no rebuttals until round 3.

I will be advocating that the F-35's capabilities are insufficient to the demands of the US military, and that another set of alternatives must me considered.

Please only accept if you intend to finish. Unexcused forfeiture will be considered loss.
Jingle_Bombs

Con

Right. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Jonnykelly

Pro

Thank you to my opponent for accepting, I look forward to a good civil debate. One quick note: while I have been dissatisfied with nearly every aspect of the F-35 program, I won't be one of those who say it is completely useless and is a flying death trap. I respect it as a general airframe, but have serious issues with it.

Now onto the debate.

The F-35 Lightning II, born of the Joint Strike Fighter project, is a "Fifth generation" multirole stealth fighter made by Lockheed Martin, with parts from Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and Pratt and Whitney. The F-35 was and is promoted as being a more diverse, advanced, and inexpensive aircraft than others, such as the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor. As of late, the F-35 program has come under fire (as most military programs do) for apparent shortcomings in the Lightning II and for overreaching expenses. The F-35 program has cost the American taxpayer approximately $400 Billion. [1] For such a large price tag, the F-35 ought to bring the US unquestionable air dominance in combat and a successful deterrent from attack.

The F-35 has failed to reach necessary levels of capability to meet US needs and to make the high price worth it. The specific causes of these are as follows.

1. The F-35 lacks capabilities necessary to accurately call it a "5th generation" fighter.
Of the many issues surrounding the F-35, this isn't the most obvious, but it is true never the less. Air Power Australia has compiled a 'criteria' for what makes a 5th generation fighter, and the F-35 lacks many of the criteria, regardless of future upgrade [2]. These are: The F-35 lacks supercruise, high agility/supermanueverability, high speed excess power, thrust vectoring, side looking electronically scanning array, supersonic weapons delivery capability, large thrust : weight ratios, good non-frontal stealth, and large internal usable fuel. (Many of these will be discussed more carefully later on). If the F-35 is not truly 5th generation, how can it be considered worth of greater expense than a reliable 5th generation such as the F-22? And how can it be expected to compete with upcoming 5th generation threats like the PAK FA or the J-20?

2. The F-35 lacks necessary air dominance fighting skills.
Before anyone dares to make the "F-35 is a multirole/strike fighter, it isn't meant for / doesn't need robust air to air combat skills" argument, I will make it clear. This is a FALLACY for two reasons. 1) Multirole aircraft have been required to have a standard robust air to air combat skill set (i.e. F/A-18, F-16, F-4, P-51). This doesn't change with the F-35. 2) The F-35 is currently slated to replace the F-15A and possibly C [3]. These are AIR SUPERIORITY aircraft. If the F-35 will be replacing these aircraft instead of the F-22, they must have a robust air to air capability. This is a capability that the F-35 lacks.

The F-35's air to air capabilities are incomplete at best. The lack of supersonic cruise and weapons delivery means that the F-35 can't sling AMRAAMs as effectively as supercruise jets like the Raptor, making the already insufficient range of the AIM-120C further reduced. The only missile that can make up the deficit is the MBDA Meteor, which is not for US use and is therefore invalid for this debate. Even with the AIM-120D, the range and speed of delivery is too poor for a reliable kill, especially given recent improvement in enemy memory jammers. In the event that missiles are fired at the F-35, without thrust vectoring, the F-35 will struggle to dodge or spoof missiles. [4] At close range, the F-35 is almost worse off, as it must give up an AIM-120 place for an AIM-9X (not a smart move), and even with the advanced AIM-9X and HMCS, the F-35 lacks maneuverability to support it. And if the Lightning runs out of it's highly limited supply of missiles, it is almost surely a dead bird as a result of poor close in fighting skills using a cannon (or lack thereof for the B and C models), and lacks adequate rear stealth for a quick escape [5].

3. The F-35's stand-alone strike capability is lacking.
I won't talk too long on this one, as the F-35 may well have solid strike capabilities at full potential, but I feel it's prominent to mention that necessary EW packages to suppress IADS won't be equipped until much later software upgrades, plus, bumps added to the underside of the aircraft drastically reduce side stealth, making penetrating strikes more dangerous. [6]

4. The F-35 has inherent design flaws that are either pushed to later upgrades to address, or will never be fixed.
These flaws include the above mentioned bumps on the airframe, engine issues, cooling systems, software holes, uplink-required start up, HMCS false alarms, radar deficiencies, and much more. [7] When the F-22 achieved IOC in 2005, it wasn't perfect, but it was a fighting maching. The F-35B "achieved" IOC last year, yet it is still a very long way from being combat capable. All of the issues must be fully fixed before any F-35 can be considered an asset to the US military, despite high demand for fighter aircraft.

To conclude, the F-35 is far from being at its full potential, and even at its best, it lacks critical skills that the US military needs. Regardless of its state as a multirole fighter, it lacks necessary air to air skills, and even as a strike fighter, it is currently inadequate at striking IADS protected targets. As a result of inherent design issues, the F-35 will likely never be the top fighter the US military needs.

Sources:
[1] http://www.globalsecurity.org...
[2] http://www.ausairpower.net...
[3] http://nationalinterest.org...
[4] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[5] https://medium.com...
[6] http://www.ausairpower.net...
[7] http://www.ausairpower.net...
Jingle_Bombs

Con

Well its not everyday you find somebody on here who knows the difference between an AMRAAM and a Sidewinder. Good job!

But now let me educate you as to the real strategic purpose of the F-35 program, and how it actually guarantees US security needs against Russia, China, and the like for the next 50 years.

The F-35 Lightning II - a Multi-Role Stealth Fighter built for Export.

To begin, you got the first part of your description right. The F-35 is a fifth generation multi-role stealth fighter being built for the services by Lockheed-Martin. Knowing that much was pretty easy, but I almost completely fell out of my chair and started laughing a little when you started saying that the F-35 was being "promoted" as a more diverse, advanced, and inexpensive replacement to the F-22. That wording and repeated comparison to the F-22 Raptor is what got you killed -I'll explain in a minute-, and then you went on to largely dismiss the F-35's overall air-to-air capabilities over the next four paragraphs arguing obsessively that it couldn't turn, can't climb, couldn't shoot, can't roll, couldn't bank and couldn't run at all before finally concluding like an aerospace military genius that the multi-role F-35 would "never be" the smooth sleek top of the line air-to-air fighter that the US military needs and demands.

Here the problem with that kind of reasoning and why so many F-22 fighter jocks keep messing up in their criticism of the F-22. The F-35 was never ever intended to be a replacement for the F-22. Period. The F-22 is an optimized Air Dominance Fighter while the F-35's is a multi-role stealth fighter with a ground support mission. The F-35 was thus never going to be as good or as flashy in air-to-air combat sorties as an F-22. It really should have been that simple.

You're also forgetting that from the time of early conception, the F-35 was built with exporting it to other countries in mind. The strategic genius of exporting a 5th Generation Fighter Jet and a "watered down F-22" as some people still like to call it, and then mass producing it, does several important things:

1) It establishes a worldwide US monopoly on 5th generation fighter parts, designs, components, upgrades, and weaponry - Other countries attempts to develop their own 5th generation fighter programs (and anything that could be remotely better than an F-22) are now forced to compete with the US military-industrial complex. You can see then how this is a loosing battle for them and a long-term tactical advantage for US air superiority when we dictate what other airforces get and what they fly.

2) It helps pay for the program - So far 9 contributing F-35 partners have agreed to pay $4.38 billion towards development costs (http://tinyurl.com...). Economics of scale (mass production) also predict that by 2018 an F-35 will be as affordable as a legacy fighter (http://tinyurl.com...)

3) It strengthens allied nations and allied air forces - Regardless of the remarkably silly F-22 vs. F-35 comparisons, the F-35 is still a 5th generation fighter and the best air to air fighter platform in the world short of an F-22. When our allies fly the same advanced aircraft we do and share the same equipment we have, our joint forces enjoy much greater synergy and supportability across the full spectrum of military operations (including joint-operations). The relative strength of allied air forces by themselves are also significantly improved by adding fifth generation fighter jets.

4) Increases military spending pressure on Russia & China - Reagan proved that one of the best ways to curb a military buildup from a potential adversary was to procure and invest heavily in high-tech military equipment (think SDI). What do you think happens now to the stability of Russia and China when 10 countries (countries like NATO, Turkey, Korea, and Japan that encircle both Russia & China) are all sporting 5th generation fighters??? I mean this is so full of strategic pwnage its not even funny. The F-35 & F-22 programs are easily the largest defense programs in US history, combining at over a $1 trillion dollars and accumulating to over three decades of accumulated research and aerospace development. Anybody who is even remotely familiar with the material and computer complexity of 5th generation fighters will tell you too that these things are ridiculously difficult to design, hard to build, and just as ridiculous to afford. Seriously, after $66 billion we still can't even get the oxygen tank right on an F-22 for crying out loud. Everything from the radar, to the software, to the datalink, to the electronic warfare suite & sensors, to the turbofan engines themselves comes with such an enormous price tag and so much engineering complexity that the average military buyer has no choice but to just drop their jaw and say, holy ****!

So if
Russia & China really want to try competing with the US in the advance fighter market, I say let them! By time they've blown all that capital away on their first 5th generation fighters its likely that we'll already have developed a newer 6th generation fighter.

5) Adds to the US economy - last but not least, foreign sales of the F-35 (along with foreign sales from theUSarms industry in general) adds to the US economy by creating thousands of jobs and ranking in billions of foreign capital. In the years ahead, the F-35 program alone will have supported 129,000 Americans in 45 different states (http://tinyurl.com...). Its smart for us then to keep these global partnerships alive so we can keep our place as the #1 arms dealer in the world.

The rest of this now is just simple fact checking:

The F-35 lacks capabilities necessary to accurately call it a "5th generation" fighter.

The F-35 is a 5th generation fighter. (http://tinyurl.com...). You should stop focusing on just maneuverability.

how can it be considered worth of greater expense than a reliable 5th generation such as the F-22

In addition to the strategic value of exporting the F-35 to other countries, the F-35 is slated to replace the aging fighter fleets across three branches of the military. Its worth noting that these older planes average over 30 years old and a one-mission plane like the F-22 is not going to cut it.

The F-35's air to air capabilities are incomplete at best.

The F-35's air to air capabilities are fine. The F-35 carries the next-gen Aim-9x Sidewinder and the lastest AMRAAM air missiles; the former when combined with HMDS cueing is capable of firing on aircraft trailing BEHIND the plane. Meanwhile, its electronic warfare suite and stealth coating gives it the technological edge -that 99% of enemy planes don't have- when it comes to defeating detection and jamming enemy radar.

The F-35 has failed to reach necessary levels of capability

Right. Did you know that the F-35 is most likely stealthier than an F-22 when it comes to radar cross section? (http://tinyurl.com...)

The F-35 is slated to replace the F-15

Is completely false. Read your source again.

The F-35's stand-alone strike capability is lacking.

Your forgot that for the majority of its strike-missions that the F-35 will not need a fighter escort. It also has its own electronic warfare suite and doesn't need to depend on electronic attack aircraft (like the EA-18) for SEAD. This added tactical flexibility and independency means that the F-35 is perfectly suited for stand-alone strike missions.

The F-35 is far from being at its full potential

And the F-22 lacks a HMD, 3D thrust vectoring, carrying configuration for the latest Aim-9x and AMRAAM missiles, an IRST cueing port, an optimized A/G capability, an optimized electronic warfare suite, and a tactical data link system that can be accessed by other AF planes that aren't just F-22s.

The F-22 also lacks a clear mission seeing as how the last time we needed a fighter ace was in Vietnam (http://tinyurl.com...).

So who now has more potential to make up?

Debate Round No. 2
Jonnykelly

Pro

Before I begin any official rebuttals to my opponents argument, I would like to draw attention to a number of issues I have with my opponent's argument structure and style. Note my opponent's unprofessional tone, disrespectful remarks, and especially his sources. All of his sources are either from 'f35.com', 'lockheedmartin.com', Wikipedia, and one broken link. None of these sources can be considered credibly by themselves as they are promotion web sites for the F-35. An unbiased source is required to ensure reliability.

Now on my opponent's arguments.

"I almost completely fell out of my chair and started laughing a little when you started saying that the F-35 was being "promoted" as a more diverse, advanced, and inexpensive replacement to the F-22". This is the first of many times that my opponent misquotes me. I have never suggested that the F-35 will phase out the F-22, only that funding was directed to the F-35 program rather than to the F-22 program [1], making the F-35 an alternative, not a replacement.

"you went on to largely dismiss the F-35's overall air-to-air capabilities over the next four paragraphs arguing obsessively that it couldn't turn, can't climb, couldn't shoot, can't roll, couldn't bank and couldn't run at all before finally concluding like an aerospace military genius that the multi-role F-35 would "never be" the smooth sleek top of the line air-to-air fighter that the US military needs and demands." Much more misquoting. I never suggested that the F-35 couldn't turn, climb, shoot, roll, bank, or run. I merely stated that the F-35 lacks sufficient BVR engagement skills as a result of low cruise speed compared to other fighters and lack of thrust vectoring to dodge incoming missiles.[2] I furthermore stated that the F-35 is not extremely well suited for close range combat, as it is not nearly as maneuverable as other jets, American or otherwise, and that it's high-alpha and use of AIM-9X missiles cannot change this fact.

"The F-35 was never ever intended to be a replacement for the F-22". My opponent is right. I NEVER suggested that the F-35 will be phasing out the F-22.

"the F-35 is still a 5th generation fighter and the best air to air fighter platform in the world short of an F-22." Prove it. Many people think that the F-35 can be matched by the Su-35s, and annihilated by the T-50 or J-20. [3]

"The relative strength of allied air forces by themselves are also significantly improved by adding fifth generation fighter jets." No more than they would by adding any other 5th gen. This piece of evidence does not support the clause that the F-35 has high capabilities, only that it's a good idea to export 5th gen fighters. Furthermore, this clause is debatable. Skeptics would say that giving or selling high-tech equipment to nations closer to our enemies (i.e. Turkey) greatly increases risk of said technology falling into the wrong hands. See RQ-170 incident.

"Increases military spending pressure on Russia & China". This again does not prove the F-35's capabilities, only that export is a good idea.

"So if Russia & China really want to try competing with the US in the advance fighter market, I say let them!" They are, fairly successfully and cheaply. Su-35s is highly capable without stealth, T-50 and J-20 appear to be highly skilled in the near future, and the Chinese have also built extremely high numbers of J-11s just to overwhelm our 5th gens.

"Adds to the US economy". Any fighter aircraft development and sale would boost US economy, this says nothing to the F-35's capabilities.

"The F-35 is a 5th generation fighter. You should stop focusing on just maneuverability". Prove it. My opponent's source is biased, and I didn't just focus on maneuverability.

"Its worth noting that these older planes average over 30 years old and a one-mission plane like the F-22 is not going to cut it." I never suggested that our 4th generation fighters don't need to be replaced. As for the F-22, my opponent is wrong. The F-22 is FAR from one-mission. The F-22 can double the range of JDAMs with added precision, can use AN/APG-77 to overwhelm enemy electronics stealthily, can use advanced sensors for armed reconnaissance. Not to mention, if F-22s gain true air dominance, a 5th generation strike fighter is barely necessary, as there won't be air threats to counter. At any rate, this debate is about the F-35's capabilities, not the F-22's.

"The F-35 carries the next-gen Aim-9x Sidewinder and the lastest AMRAAM air missiles; the former when combined with HMDS cuing is capable of firing on aircraft trailing BEHIND the plane. Meanwhile, its electronic warfare suite and stealth coating gives it the technological edge -that 99% of enemy planes don't have- when it comes to defeating detection and jamming enemy radar". The AIM-120 is becoming rapidly outdated and ineffective. Range is becoming insufficient, terminal maneuverability is poor, and it is susceptible to memory jammers. As for the AIM-9X, at this time the missile must be carried externally, compromising the F-35's supposed best feature, stealth. In the future, the AIM-9X might be carried internally, but it must replace 2 of the 4 AMRAAMs, a poor choice. The F-35 also cannot jam enemy radar without risking detection since its AN/APG-81 is not stealthy like the AN/APG-77. Also my opponents claim that the F-35 can engage an enemy trailing behind it using an AIM-9X is rather exaggerated. The AIM-9X is good, but not that good.

"Did you know that the F-35 is most likely stealthier than an F-22 when it comes to radar cross section?" My opponent's source is again invalid, and the evidence is questionable. The F-35 MAY be stealthier at front angles for a SPECIFIC radar band. The Raptor has much better all-aspect stealth.[4][1]

The F-35 is in fact going to carry out air dominance missions, and will in fact replace the F-15 around 2030. [5]

My opponent ignores my evidence proving that the F-35's stand-alone strike capability is lacking, and simply says 'you're wrong'.

My opponent ignores my point that the F-35 is far from it's full potential, and instead red herrings the F-22, yet again. (P.S. the only reason the F-22 is not at full potential is as a result of nearly all funding going to the F-35.)

"The F-22 also lacks a clear mission seeing as how the last time we needed a fighter ace was in Vietnam". FALSE. Air to air combat took place over Serbia, the gulf war, and only a few months ago over Turkey. Air-to-air combat is alive and well. Also Wikipedia is not a viable source.

Conclusion:

My opponent has opted to completely ignore my solid evidence and explain only why a 5th generation global fighter is a good idea, an argument unnecessary to debate. Until he can prove that the F-35 has sufficient capabilities to suit US need, his point is moot.

Sources:
[1] https://www.fas.org...
[2] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[3] http://dailycaller.com...
[4] http://aviationweek.com...
[5] https://www.flightglobal.com...
Jingle_Bombs

Con

I would like to draw attention to a number of issues I have with my opponent's argument structure and style.

Drawing voters' attention to my sarcasm and tone only makes you appear petty. You're also going to have a difficult time managing a military career someday if you honestly take major offense to being called an "aerospace military genius."

An unbiased source is required to ensure reliability.

Really dude. You're going to link me to Australia Air Power's own subjective criteria of a 5th generation fighter when it was actually Lockheed-Martin who built the first 5th generation fighter planes in the first place?

This is the first of many times that my opponent misquotes me. I have never suggested that the F-35 will phase out the F-22, only that funding was directed to the F-35 program rather than to the F-22 program [1], making the F-35 an alternative, not a replacement.

Alternative is a well known synonym for replacement (http://tinyurl.com...). I've known that since my third grade English class.

Furthermore, you've argued obsessively that your primary concern with the F-35 is its perceived lack of air-to-air combat skills and that it was proving to be a failed 5th generation substitute for funding more F-22s.

So here is my conclusion again; "The F-35 was never ever intended to be a replacement for the F-22. Period. The F-22 is an optimized Air Dominance Fighter while the F-35's is a multi-role stealth fighter with a ground support mission. The F-35 was thus never going to be as good or as flashy in air-to-air combat sorties as an F-22."

I never suggested that the F-35 couldn't turn, climb, shoot, roll, bank, or run.

Why suggest this then:

"The F-35 lacks supercruise, high agility/supermanueverability, high speed excess power, thrust vectoring, side looking electronically scanning array, supersonic weapons delivery capability, large thrust : weight ratios,"

"I merely stated that the F-35 lacks sufficient BVR engagement skills.. and that the F-35 is not extremely well suited for close range combat, as it is not nearly as maneuverable as other jets"

Meaning exactly what I had said about you earlier. You think US needs = air to air fighters.

Prove it. Many people think that the F-35 can be matched by the Su-35s, and annihilated by the T-50 or J-20.

I can prove it. The T-50 and J-20 are 5th generation prototypes that aren't yet in service. Your own source from Round 1 (#2) also indicated that an F-35 with proper weaponry is capable of defeating the Su-35.

I stand by my assertion, "the F-35 is the best air dominance fighter in the world short of an F-22."

No more than they would by adding any other 5th gen. This piece of evidence does not support the clause that the F-35 has high capabilities, only that it's a good idea to export 5th gen fighters.

Actually it does. The F-22 is a one-mission plane (Air-Dominance). The F-35, meanwhile, has multi-role capabilities (CAP, CAS, SEAD, and Strike) can land on a carrier and do STOVL; making it more usable to countries that want air assets that can cover a broader range of military operations.

Exporting the F-22 or another 5th gen fighter, as a result, is not a viable substitute for the multi-role functions of an F-35.

Furthermore, this clause is debatable. Skeptics would say that giving or selling high-tech equipment to nations closer to our enemies (i.e. Turkey) greatly increases risk of said technology falling into the wrong hands.

Incorrect. Controlling the worldwide 5th generation fighter market through the US military-industrial complex is one of the best ways to control the proliferation of next-gen weaponry. By exporting the F-35 overseas, we put pressure on other countries not to develop their own 5th generation programs -which they are and were going to try and do anyway- and stop them from designing or buying other next-gen planes that would be better or different than what we had. These countries are also now forced to return to the US for parts and upgrades if they wish to maintain and grow their own air fleets.

See RQ-170 incident.

The RQ-170 was never exported.

T-50 and J-20 appear to be highly skilled in the near future

The T-50 is well behind schedule and over budget where Russia is finding out just how crazy 5th gen fighers are to even make (http://tinyurl.com...). The J-20 also fatally lags in engine development (http://tinyurl.com...). By the time either of these airframes are combat ready and affordable enough to mass produce (by year 2030 give or take) there will be 1,000s of F-35s flying in 10 different countries.

and the Chinese have also built extremely high numbers of J-11s just to overwhelm our 5th gens.

Which makes sense then that we should continue to buy F-35s which can be fielded in greater numbers, perform more missions, and be produced at lower costs then the F-22.

Any fighter aircraft development and sale would boost US economy, this says nothing to the F-35's capabilities.

Again incorrect. The F-35's next-gen multi-role and stealth capabilities make it attractive to foreign sales, which brings in more capital to the US economy than an F-22 that was just produced domestically.

The F-22 is FAR from one-mission.

The F-22 is a one mission plane. It was designed back in the 90s to be a dedicated Air Dominance Fighter, most specifically for large-scale Cold War engagements with the Soviet Union (http://tinyurl.com...). The aircraft it replaced (the F-15 Eagle) was also a dedicated air-superiority fighter. As a result of its limited capabilities, the F-22 never participated in either the wars in Libya, Iraq, or Afghanistan. And while it can drop a JDAM through modifications, the F-22 was never optimized for a ground attack role or SEAD missions.

if F-22s gain true air dominance, a 5th generation strike fighter is barely necessary, as there won't be air threats to counter

Right. Because after the F-22 has shot down everything there wouldn't be any next-gen surface-to-air missile threats to take care of.

The AIM-120 is becoming rapidly outdated and ineffective.

Looks like the F-22 is needing some new missiles then.

The F-35 also cannot jam enemy radar without risking detection

How does jamming enemy radar make you detected by enemy radar?

The AIM-9X is good, but not that good.

AIM-9x performing a 180: https://www.youtube.com...

The F-35 doesn't need much manuveribility with missiles like these.

The F-35 MAY be stealthier at front angles for a SPECIFIC radar band. The Raptor has much better all-aspect stealth.

Gen. Hostage (ACC Comdr) has mentioned that the F-35 has a lower RCS then the F-22: http://tinyurl.com...

Whether or not Hostage is to be believed, we do know that the F-35's electronic warfare suite and jamming gives it a survival edge that the F-22 doesn't have.

The F-35 is in fact going to carry out air dominance missions, and will in fact replace the F-15 around 2030.

THe F-35 is not replacing the F-15. Stop making stuff up. In event that it did (according to your sources) the F-35 would be heavily modifed and would be a different plane by 2030.

The only reason the F-22 is not at full potential is as a result of nearly all funding going to the F-35.

Thankyou for proving my "replacement" point.

FALSE. Air-to-air combat is alive and well.

Please explain why then the last USAF fighter ace was from Vietnam?

Please explain why the Iraq Air Force ran away in 1991 and never left the ground in 2003.

Please explain why the F-22 was never used in the Iraq War or Afghanistan and why Robert Gates ultimately killed the F-22 Raptor program in favor of buying more multi-role aircraft like the F-35?

Conclusion

My opponent has completely ignored my evidence that the F-35 fulfills
America's strategic interests and has next-gen capabilites that make it invaluable across the range of military operations. He has opted instead to focus our attention on my sarcasms and his air-to-air obsessions of the F-22. Until he can prove that the US doesn't need the F-35, his points are moot.

Debate Round No. 3
Jonnykelly

Pro

"You're going to link me to Australia Air Power's own subjective criteria of a 5th generation fighter when it was actually Lockheed-Martin who built the first 5th generation fighter planes in the first place?" Yes. I merely cited APA's criteria for a 5th generation fighter which I consider to be accurate to a degree. So far nearly all of my opponent's sources come from the people selling the F-35, or from Wikipedia.

"Alternative is a well known synonym for replacement" My opponent is still wrong here. Nowhere in the source he cited shows that the two words are in fact synonyms. An alternative is one of two or more possibilities [1], a replacement is a thing that takes the place of another [2]. Seeing as I never suggested that the F-22 will be phased out by the F-35, my opponent cannot say that I hold the F-35 to the unreachable standard of the F-22. I only state (and have been stating) that the F-35 must maintain an air dominance skill set proportional to the F-22 just as the F-16 was proportional to the F-15, however perhaps slightly more so as the F-35 will have to fly air dominance missions due to availability rates in the future.

"Why suggest this then:" The things that I mentioned are critical to BVR engagements, strike missions, and close range engagements, not only for dogfights.

"Meaning exactly what I had said about you earlier. You think US needs = air to air fighters." My opponent is correct here to a certain degree. The US does need more air to air capacity than is currently supplied, as well as a solid strike/EW platform. The F-35 can only partially supply for these needs, and is thus insufficient.

"The T-50 and J-20 are 5th generation prototypes that aren't yet in service" Coming soon, possibly as early as next year for the PAK FA [3]

"Your own source from Round 1 (#2) also indicated that an F-35 with proper weaponry is capable of defeating the Su-35." My opponent defeats himself here. With proper weaponry (not available to the US) the F-35 (costing over $100 Million) can defeat (presumably at a 1:1 kill ratio) the Su-35 (costing $35 Million). So my opponent is bragging that the ultra-expensive stealth fighter MIGHT be able to defeat the inexpensive non-stealthy Su-35 with weapons that the US doesn't have. Weak argument.

"The F-22 is a one-mission plane (Air-Dominance)" Irrelevant, as this debate is about the F-35, and I've already proven that it is not.

"The RQ-170 was never exported." My apologies for lack of clarity. I only meant the RQ-170 was an example of what can happen when an advanced aircraft is captured by enemy forces. I didn't mean that it was an example of an export aircraft being lost.

"The T-50 is well behind schedule and over budget" So is the F-35. The difference is that the PAK FA is doing it without stealth coatings and will be far better at air to air combat. The T-50 is a real threat.

"Which makes sense then that we should continue to buy F-35s which can be fielded in greater numbers" To the contrary, it means we should ensure that the F-35 actually can fight in air to air combat before making it our mainstay fighter.

"The F-35's next-gen multi-role and stealth capabilities make it attractive to foreign sales" Now just imagine how much money could be generated by a 5th generation fighter with real capabilities.

"Looks like the F-22 is needing some new missiles then." I'm not sure what my opponent is getting at here. The AIM-120 is becoming outdated and ineffective regardless of what platform uses it. The F-35 is only lowering the capabilities of the AIM-120 with it's low cruise speed and agility. [4]

"How does jamming enemy radar make you detected by enemy radar?" Failed jams happen. Also, while the F-35's EW suite might effectively suppress one SAM system, there may be another unknown SAM system nearby that detects the F-35's AN/APG-81 and be able to target it. This is why a stealthy AESA like the AN/APG-77 would have been better.

"The F-35 doesn't need much manuveribility with missiles like these." FALSE. If the F-35 cannot dodge/spoof long range missiles, it cannot get close enough to use the AIM-9x. Furthermore, the F-35 cannot carry the AIM-9x externally at this time, making use of the missile on the stealthy aircraft suicide. Even in the distant future with the internal carriage of the missile, the F-35 must sacrifice AMRAAM spaces for it. The AIM-9x is a great missile, but the F-35 cannot support it.

"Gen. Hostage (ACC Comdr) has mentioned that the F-35 has a lower RCS then the F-22" General Hostage has been proven wrong. My source is a Congressional Research Service publication that EXPLICITLY states that the F-22 is stealthier.

"Thankyou for proving my "replacement" point." I proved my own 'alternative' point actually.

"Please explain why then the last USAF fighter ace was from Vietnam?" The standard for what a fighter ace has changed. There aren't pilots with 25-plus kills, and we don't lose nearly as many pilots either. In today's warfare, 3 kills makes an ace.[5] At any rate, this is a red herring. The presence of an ace does not mean there is no need for air combat assets.

"Please explain why the Iraq Air Force ran away in 1991 and never left the ground in 2003." Because our superior air to air combat capabilities shut them down. There was hardly a fight because we pursued proper precautions.

"Please explain why the F-22 was never used in the Iraq War or Afghanistan and why Robert Gates ultimately killed the F-22 Raptor program in favor of buying more multi-role aircraft like the F-35?" The F-22 was not ready for Iraq, not needed in Afghanistan, and was having temporary oxygen issues during Libya. As for Robert Gates, the man was controlled by a Liberal congress under a Liberal President. It's fitting that he would choose the "affordable" 5th generation fighter. Since then, General Carlisle and many others have lamented Gates' decision.

"He has opted instead to focus our attention on my sarcasms and his air-to-air obsessions of the F-22." I spent 2 sentences referencing my opponent's tone, I did not focus my argument on it. My opponent has been the one to keep bringing the F-22 into this, not me.

"Until he can prove that the US doesn't need the F-35, his points are moot." This is my favorite part of my opponent's argument. He completely changes the resolution for debate. My objective has been to prove that the F-35's capabilities are insufficient to US needs, NOT that the US doesn't need the F-35. That would be far, far different.

Sources in comments (space issue)

My Conclusion:

My opponent has not fulfilled his objective to prove that the F-35s capabilities are sufficient for US needs. He has not even with any degree of accuracy disproved my contentions against the F-35. Specifically speaking, my opponent has failed to answer to the following:
-The F-35 is not maneuverable enough to survive in close range engagements using the cannon
-F-35 cannot carry the fix-all AIM-9x internally, so it can only be employed while sacrificing stealth
-In the distant future, when the AIM-9x can be carried internally, the F-35 must sacrifice AMRAAM stations for the missile, a poor choice
-The AIM-120 is outdated with insufficient range, and susceptibility to memory jammers.
-The poor performance of AIM-120 is made worse by low F-35 cruise speed
-F-35 cannot dodge incoming missiles due to low maneuverability/lack of thrust vectoring
-F-35's non-stealthy AESA adds additional risk of detection.
-F-35 is grossly delayed and over budget
-F-35's mainstay EW system won't be delivered for years
Since my opponent has failed to answer the above and instead focuses on proving why an export fighter is a good idea, his point cannot be considered made. All in all, the F-35's capabilities are insufficient to US needs, and have not justified the massive expenditure.
Jingle_Bombs

Con

Yes. I merely cited APA's criteria for a 5th generation fighter which I consider to be accurate to a degree.

*You* consider to be accurate?? Since when did you become an aerospace engineering expert?

How can you really call me out for bias if everything you've cited against me rests on some fictional appeal to authority?

Nowhere in the source he cited shows that the two words are in fact synonyms.

Read it again: https://www.google.com...

Your arguments have always been about dissing the F-35 because you rather have more air-to-air fighters like the F-22.

my opponent cannot say that I hold the F-35 to the unreachable standard of the F-22.

Yes I can. For one you had the nerve to call the F-22 standards "unreachable." and two; 99% of your criticisms of the F-35 have hovered around air-dominance skills and the claim it was substituting for more F-22s - even though I've tried telling you repeatedly the F-35 was never meant to compete in that role against the F-22. The F-35 is a multi-role fighter with a ground support mission. It is not a primary air to air fighter.

The things that I mentioned are critical to BVR engagements, strike missions, and close range engagements, not only for dogfights.

Yes, Yes, for the 100th time, we all get it. Your limited interpretation of US security needs = more air to air fighters. Well guess what, the USAF doesn't need any more air superiority fighters because it already has the F-22 and the F-15. Furthermore, air combat is in steep decline and has been an almost non-existent mission since Vietnam.

Coming soon, possibly as early as next year for the PAK FA [3]

Read your stupid source again: http://thediplomat.com...

Your source clearly states that "serial deliveries" could begin in 2017, which is not the same as mass production.

Furthermore, your source said pretty clearly only 55 PAK FA fighters -at a maximum- are expected to be in ready by in 2020 (by which time there will be 1,000s of F-35s in 10 different countries). In addition, your source states that the PAK FA program has been plagued by "delays, cost overruns, and unsteady technology." Exactly what I had predicted earlier.

Iit means we should ensure that the F-35 actually can fight in air to air combat before making it our mainstay fighter.

The F-35 is not our mainstay fighter. The F-22 is. And we already have enough F-22s for America's air-superiority needs.

The standard for what a fighter ace has changed. 3 kills makes an ace.

I don't need a source to tell you that 5 kills have always made an ace since day one. And I also don't need a source to tell you too that aces have disappeared since Vietnam because air combat has become nearly non-existent.

Because our superior air to air combat capabilities shut them down.

So if we're already so good in that field already.. why does air force need to add another air-superiority fighter?

My opponent has not fulfilled his objective to prove that the F-35s capabilities are sufficient for US needs.

I've made a valid argument in R1 that the F-35's multi-role capabilities provide serviceability across the full spectrum of U.S. military operations (Land, Sea, and Air, along with joint-operations with allied countries). Overall the F-35 will be called upon and used more in action than the F-22 ever will.

In addition, I've mentioned that the F-35 is slated to replace the aging fighter fleets across three branches of the military. Its worth noting again that these older planes had previously performed a variety of different missions for the marines, navy, and airforce, whereas a one-mission planes (like the F-22) is ill-suited for naval, carrier, and STOVL requirements.

Exporting the F-35 also fulfills important strategic interests when it comes to strengthening US military alliances and sticking it to Russia & China.

-The F-35 is not maneuverable enough to survive in close range engagements using the cannon

Not needed with the formidable maneuverability of the Aim-9x. BVR and long-range missiles have made cannons obsolete anyways.

-F-35 cannot carry the fix-all AIM-9x internally, so it can only be employed while sacrificing stealth

Because of the F-35's stealth capabilities, it won't be engaging enemies up close. Lockheed-martin themselves have even said; "The F-35's technology is designed to engage, shoot, and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual "dogfighting" situations." (https://www.f35.com...) There's really no need to outfit the F-35 with the Aim 9x then unless its doing a CAP patrol (in which case the mission will inevitably call for breaking stealth to engage with enemy planes anyways).

-The AIM-120 is outdated with insufficient range, and susceptibility to memory jammers

Is false. The AIM-120D just began deliveries in 2010, and features improved navigation, 50% improvement in range and HOBS capability compared to other AMRAAMs (https://en.wikipedia.org...).

-F-35 cannot dodge incoming missiles due to low maneuverability/lack of thrust vectoring

There are lots of better ways to defeat a missile. Stealth and electronic attack in particular, along with preemptive ground attacks against SAM sites. Maneuverability and thrust vectoring are more or less a last resort option.

-F-35's non-stealthy AESA adds additional risk of detection.

The F-35 uses a passive array radar. Passive array is a lot more difficult to detect than active.

-F-35 is grossly delayed and over budget

Name a 5th gen program that wasn't? In either case, the F-35 enjoys unprecedented fiscal support from 10 different countries, and will be as affordable as a legacy fighter beginning in 2018.

-F-35's mainstay EW system won't be delivered for years

Is false. The first suite was delivered in 2007 (http://www.aviationtoday.com...)

Conclusion

Pro needs to stop focusing on air to air capibilities and realize that US security needs are a lot more significant and strategic in scope than his fanboy fascination with the F-22 Raptor and Top Gun.

Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Jingle_Bombs 1 year ago
Jingle_Bombs
My bad bro.
Posted by Jonnykelly 1 year ago
Jonnykelly
Well, good to see you've already ignored my first request prior to acceptance. "Round 2 for primary arguments only, no rebuttals until 3 and 4" Thanks.
Posted by Jevinigh 1 year ago
Jevinigh
Following this one.
Posted by Jonnykelly 1 year ago
Jonnykelly
@BrendanD19, To be fair, the F-35 can in fact fly at night, and has proven this several times. The restriction on night flying is a standard precaution for all developmental aircraft. And the issue involving an engine fire is in fact just that, an issue, but leaps and bounds have been made in fixing the problem. It's only fair to be factual.
Posted by BrendanD19 1 year ago
BrendanD19
Seeing as it cannot fly at night and bursts into flames on the runway, I think the only guy who will take you up on this is a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin
Posted by Jonnykelly 1 year ago
Jonnykelly
Ok I'll try this again. Anyone interested in actually accepting this debate?
Posted by Jonnykelly 1 year ago
Jonnykelly
@Minecraft11, I see that you are new to this site. By accepting, you are saying that you will finish the debate. Just a reminder. I've had issues with people abandoning halfway through.
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