Could the F-35 Stealth Fighter Be the ‘New’ F-4 Phantom?

    Sebastien Roblin

    Security, North America

    There is some eerie simalarities.

    Conventional wisdom can offer contradictory insights. Are we doomed to forget the past, and thus condemned to repeat it? Or are we always preparing to fight the last war while failing to think ahead about how the next one will be fought?

    From the standpoint of military strategy, it is at once important to learn from operational experience, without blindly assuming that future conflicts will playout in the same fashion. This brings us to the controversial, thousands of which are set to enter wide-scale service in the three warfighting branches of the U.S. military and at least nine other countries.

    Oriented as a multirole platform, the F-35 is slower and less maneuverable than preceding fourth-generation fighters it will eventually replace, or the air-superiority oriented F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. While more focused as an air-to-ground platform, the Lightning is intended to defeat more agile opposing fighters by detecting and engaging them beyond visual range (BVR) with air-to-air missiles, while hopefully avoiding a within-visual range (WVR) dogfight where it may be detected and out-maneuvered.

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    However, to some critics this sounds worrisomely similar to how the U.S. military envisioned its F-4 Phantom performing in the Vietnam War. The comparison so natural that you can also check out an earlier article on this by my colleague Michael Peck.

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