While people term F-35 a “multirole” aircraft, and Lockheed Martin stated that it is second-best air superiority fighter in the world, F-35 is primarly a dedicated ground attack aircraft. This can be seen relatively easily, as there are different requirements for fighters and for ground attack aircraft.
Primary requirement for ground attack aircraft is ability to fly low and fast. This means that gust sensitivity should be minimal, which is done by high wing loading; only exception are close air support aircraft, which have to be able to fly low and slow, and be agile at low speeds. Air superiority aircraft, on the other hand, has to be able to turn while maintaining energy, which is achieved through having low wing loading, low drag and high thrust to weight ratio.
F-35s EOTS IR sensor (not to be confused with EO DAS which is defense system) can only detect targets right in front of, and below, aircraft.
Wavelengths used by it are also optimised for detecting ground targets.
Even F-35s name says it all: “strike fighter”. Unlike multirole fighters, which are designed to operate primarly in air superiority role but can also carry out ground and (sometimes) maritime strike missions, strike fighter is designed to operate primarly in strike role, with air-to-air capability being secondary and usually limited to self-defense (even A-10 can carry Sidewinders for self-protection purposes).
At 50% fuel, thrust-to-weight ratio of all three fighters is below that of modern fighter aircraft at air-to-air configuration takeoff weight, with exception of Saab Gripen. For both F-35A and F-35B, wing loading at 50% fuel is above 400 kg per square meter, with F-35C achieving barely acceptable 340 kilos per square meter. While there is a degree of wing-body blending, amound of body lift is not comparable to air superiority aircraft like F-16, Gripen or Rafale. STOVL requirement also resulted in stubby, fat body, making F-35 a drag queen, especially when compared to clean F-16 – and for all three aircraft listed, clean configuration includes 2 AAM, either BVR or WVR, whereas Typhoon carries 4 BVR AAM in clean configuration. Result is that F-35 has rather sluggish acceleration, and looses energy quickly.
Its cockpit visibility is also good only to front, sides and above aircraft – and in these areas, it is still limited by bow canopy frame. Rearward visibility is nonexistent, thanks to STOVL requirements of B variant – and when pilot brought up that flaw, general Bogdan stated that he can always “put pilot in cargo aircraft where he won’t have to worry about getting gunned down”. Its high-tech HMD, counted at to adress problems of limited cockpit view, also experienced problems, making it possible that information to F-35s pilots will be limited to only what they can see directly through canopy – which is not much – and what can de displayed from sensors on screens within cockpit. This means that problems with canopy bow and ejection seat headrest impeding visibility might get F-35 gunned down in visual combat.
F-35 is also seriously flammable – fuel literally surrounds the engine, and fire protection measures have long since been deleted from the design in order to make it lighter. As result, hits from any kind of weapon which can penetrate its skin – basically anything from 20 mm cannon and above – will turn it into fireball.
Due to everything described above, it has to rely on stealth to survive. But stealth aircraft since SR-71 have been routinely detected by radars and IR sensors during and after Cold War; USSR luckily never chose to shoot any US aircraft, while Iraq did not have capability to do so, even if indications exist that Iraqis did detect F-117. But Serbs easily solved the VHF radar’s problem with low resolution, using it to guide IR SAM close enough to F-117 for missile to acquire and engage the target. Result are two F-117s taken out of action during Kosovo war, one shot down and one mission-killed.
Radar-based BVR combat has never been reliable either. Radar-guided missiles never achieved Pk of over 8% against capable opponent, and this is unlikely to improve, despite all USAFs self-deluding exercises where F-22s BVR missiles are assigned probabilities of kill of 90%. Even this “capable” should be taken with bit of salt, as it refers to North Vietnamese – but at very least, and unlike Iraqis, they did try to evade the missiles.
In fact, by using Air Power Australia report and fixing it with calculable data, it is possible to calculate likely BVR missile Pk against modern, 12-g capable fighter. As g forces pulled in tracking turn are square of speed difference, it can be calculated how much of forces required can modern missiles achieve. AIM-120 travels at Mach 4, and can pull 30 g within its NEZ, yet it would need 768 Gs to reliably hit a modern fighter which is maneuvering at corner speed of Mach 0,5, or 237 Gs if target is still at standard cruise speed of Mach 0,9. This results in Pk between 3 and 13% against fighter aircraft with no ECM, which fits perfectly with 8% Pk demonstrated against (mostly) maneuvering aircraft without ECM to date. If fighter is maneuvering at corner speed, but is still limited to 9 g by FCS (is not in override), BVR missile Pk is 5,2%. Thus, we have following kill-chain against modern fighter aircraft in g override (12 g capable) at M 0,5 (most likely scenario, as RWR will have warned pilot of radar lock):
Action – likelyhood of failure – hit probability
Active missile confirmed on launch rail — 0.1% — 0,999
Search and track radar jammed – 5% — 0,949
Launch or missile failure – 5% — 0,902
Guidance link jammed – 3% — 0,875
Seeker head jammed or diverted — 30% — 0,612
Chaff or decoys seduce the seeker — 5% — 0,581
Seeker chooses towed decoy — 50% — 0,29
Aircraft out-maneuvers missile — 97% — 0,00873
Fuse or warhead failure — 2% — 0,00856
Against 9 g capable fighter aircraft, it goes this way:
- Active missile confirmed on launch rail — 0.1%
- Search and track radar jammed – 5%
- Launch or missile failure – 5%
- Guidance link jammed – 3%
- Seeker head jammed or diverted — 30%
- Chaff or decoys seduce the seeker — 5%
- Seeker chooses towed decoy — 50% — 0,291
- Aircraft out-maneuvers missile — 94,8% — 0,015
- Fuse or warhead failure — 2% — 0,0146
This can be compared to 0,36% probability of kill shown by modern SAMs against capable opponent (with 2 hits being a non-maneuvering VLO light bombers at low altitude and with no ECM; if only actual fighters are counted, probability of kill is 0,12%, as 1 F-16 was shot down out of 842 launches).
In WVR combat, if missile travels at Mach 3 and fighter aircraft travels at Mach 0,5 (corner speed of many modern fighters) and can pull 12 g maneuvers, missile needs to pull 432 g to hit fighter aircraft. This gives a Pk of 14% for WVR missiles, as even IRIS-T can “only” pull 60 gs. Against targets limited to 9 g, it has to pull 324 g, for Pk of 18,5%.
As such, for visual-range missiles, against aircraft maneuvering at corner speed, calculation goes this way:
- Active missile confirmed or on launch rail – 0,001 – 0,999
- Launch or missile failure – 0,03 – 0,969
- DIRCM effective – 0,00 (rarely fitted to fighters)
- Flare or decoys seduce the seeker – 0,05 – 0,921
- Aircraft out-maneuvers the missile – 0,86 – 0,13
- Fuse or warhead failure – 0,1 – 0,12
Total Pk: 12%
Against fighter aircraft limited to 9 g it goes this way:
- Active missile confirmed or on launch rail – 0,001 – 0,999
- Launch or missile failure – 0,03 – 0,969
- DIRCM effective – 0,00 (rarely fitted to fighters)
- Flare or decoys seduce the seeker – 0,05 – 0,92
- Aircraft out-maneuvers the missile – 0,81 – 0,17
- Fuse or warhead failure – 0,1 – 0,157
Total Pk: 15,7%
As such, BVR missiles will have Pk of 0,86% – 1,46%, and WVR missiles will have Pk of 12% – 15,7%. As F-35 can carry 4 missiles, combined Pk will be 3,44% – 5,84% for BVR missiles, or 48% – 62,8% for WVR missiles. Because F-35 is very expensive and maintenance-intensive, it will find itself outnumbered, and forced to engage opponents with gun. This will mean F-35s loss against most fighter aircraft, as it is performance-limited: only one version can regularly pull 9 g maneuvers, and other two are limited to 7 and 7,5 g, respectively – which also means that opponent’s IR missiles will have higher Pk against them (~20%) than other way around. They can’t run either, as maximum speed when clean is Mach 1,6 – theoretically, as current aircraft are unable to go past Mach 0,9. While all three versions likely have ultimate load limit of 13,5 g, it is unknown wether F-35B and C will be allowed to go into g override to same limit as F-35A.
F-35s technology, once thought to be best of the best, is now outdated. Its IRST is no better than European counterparts, and is actually worse for air-to-air work as it is designed – and uses wavelengths suited for – air-to-ground work; and by the time F-35 enters service, Eurocanards will have AESA radars.
As a ground attack aircraft, it is only somewhat better. It can carry only two 900-kg bombs in its bomb bays, making it a rather average bomber. It is unable to carry out close air support, as it is too vulnerable to get low enough to engage tactical targets, too fast to put weapons precisely on target even if it does come low, and too fuel-thirsty to loiter over ground troops in need of air cover.
In March 2013, F-35A was forbidden from doing following things:
- descent rates of more than 30 meters per second
- airspeed above Mach 0,9 (compare to advertised Mach 1,6)
- angle of attack beyond -5 and +18 degrees (compare to advertised +50 degrees)
- maneuvers beyond -1 and +5 g (compare to advertised 9 g for A version)
- takeoffs or landings in formation
- flying at night or in bad weather
- using real or simulated weapons
- rapid stick or rudder movements
- air-to-air or air-to-ground tracking maneuvers
- refuelling in the air
- flying within 40 kilometers from lightning
- use of electronic countermeasures
- use of anti-jamming, secure communications or datalinks
- electro-optical targeting
- using DAS to detect targets or threats
- using IFF interrogator
- using HMD as “primary reference”
- use of air-to-air or air-to-ground radar modes for electronic attack, sea search, ground-moving targets or close-in air combat modes.
It also had quite a list of other problems:
- liable to explode if struck with lightning
- F-135 jet engine exceeds weight capacity of traditional replenishment systems and generates more heat than previous engines
- extensive damage will require returning aircraft to factory for repairs
- fuel dump subsystem poses fire hazard
- survivability issues (rumored to be about stealth)
- airframe unlikely to last through required lifespan
- using the afterburner damages the aircraft
- poor radar performance
But this is hardly end of F-35s troubles list. Performance shortfalls are compounded by development problems: at one point, Lockheed Martin had to cannibalize LRIP production line for spares so prototypes can continue with testing.
F-35s costs are understated. Sometimes-heard 59 and 79 million USD values are those of early days of the programme, specifically from 2002. But even without inflation, costs have doubled by 2012, with flyaway cost being 197 million USD for F-35A, 237,7 million USD for F-35B and 236,8 million USD for F-35C. And these are unlikely to get any lower than they are for very simple reason: modern fighter aircraft are complex, and for them learning curve barely exists. And what of learning curve does exist has already been largely absorbed by reduction in cost which lowered F-35As unit flyaway cost from 207 to 197 million USD. One of reasons is that fighter aircraft get continuous upgrades which do not allow production to stabilize and invest in truly effective cost reduction measures. F-22s unit flyaway costs went backwards late in production: whereas flyaway cost mid-production was 200 million USD, last aircraft produced cost 250 million USD flyaway. Same happened with F-14, F-15 and F-16, due to increased complexity of new technology put in to make them “more capable”; F-16A would, today, cost 30 million USD, but F-16C costs 70 million USD.
F-35 is also very unreliable, which means that pilots won’t be able to fly it as often as required, and it is not meeting reliability growth targets. One in seven training sorties in late 2012 resulted in mission aborts. By late 2012, F-35 was barely achieving one sortie every 3 days. It had 4 flight hours between critical failures, and by 2013 mean elapsed time for engine removal and installation was 52 hours (system treshold being 120 minutes). Flights were also aborted due to battery problems whenever temperature dropped below 15 degrees Celzius, making F-35 utterly unsuitable to Canada, Great Britain or Scandinavian countries.
I have already mentioned HMD problems. These include misaligned horizons; inoperative or flickering displays; double, unfocused, jittery, washed-out and/or latent images. Due to all that confusion, HMD more hurts situational awareness than it helps – and F-35, due to STOVL requirement for Marine version, has nil rearward visibility.
While F-35 has met 7 out of 10 objectives, several objectives – like “begun lab testing” – were impossible to fail. But these do not show how well – or bad – programme is progressing. And in the end, it cannot be expected that dedicated strike aircraft can perform well in air superiority role; role which, despite wishful thinking by weapons designers, is still visual-range unless enemy is outmatched in every way imaginable. But if it is, F-15A and Tornado ADV are perfectly capable of handling him; there is no need for stealth fighters; and if it isn’t, F-35, with its disastrous visual-range performance, cannot be anything more than cannon fodder, soaking up enemy missiles so more capable fighters – be it F-22, F-15 or F-16 – can take out enemy aircraft without heavy losses. But F-35 is too expensive for that, which means that USAF will be in trouble as soon as F-16 is replaced by F-35.
30 thoughts on “F-35 and its troubles”
1-How do you know the F-35s wing loading?its belly also generates lift,and the real number is not of public knowlage….
2-T/w F -35-1,07 Rafale-0,988 Eurofighter-1,07 gripen-0,97 Su-30 MKI-1.00…hummm…its actualy very competitive…
3-More after…no time now
1-Wings are most efficient lift generating device, and aircraft like Rafale, Gripen, Typhoon, F-16 have similar or larger amount of body lift when compared to F-35.
2-TWR only allows you to SUSTAIN maximum turn rate, which that turn rate will be is dictated by wing loading. And your TWR values are wrong, at air-to-air takeoff weight they are 1,03 for Rafale C (your value is correct for Rafale M), 1,08 for Typhoon, 0,87 for Gripen, 0,87 for F-35A; at 50% fuel + AtA load they are 1,22 for Rafale C, 1,27 for Typhoon, 0,99 for Gripen, 1,07 for F-35A. So no, F-35A isn’t very competetive, for B and C variants situation is even worse.
1-As you noticed the JSF is «very fat»…this means bigger body,more body lift in the F-35 than in other fighters…i dont know real wing loading number and neither do you…On JSF performance http://elementsofpower.blogspot.pt/2013/04/the-f-35-and-infamous-sustained-g-spec.html…
2-TW in the F-35A is 1,07…with 50% fuel and normal payload(2 AMRAAMs and 2 JDAMs)…and 50 % fuel is more internal fuel than 100% of internal fuel in a Gripen…
3-On performance and «being flammable»…lol http://manglermuldoon.blogspot.pt/2013/01/canada-and-f-35.html#comment-form
1-You are rather wrong. Fat body means lot of drag, for large amount of body lift you want wide but relatively thin body, like in Rafale or F-15. As for real wing loading numbers, I use public data, and having in mind how fat F-35 is and how small wing is, its wing loading won’t be good in any case.
2-F-35 is bomber and low-level strike aircraft, Gripen is point-defense interceptor and dogfighter. And fuel is compared by fuel fraction, not by amount of fuel.
3-F-35s fire protection measures have been removed to save weight. As for Libya, Muldoon is wrong, Rafale was bombing from the start, without any escort.
“”We were involved since day one, hour one,” says the current chief of the Rafale detachment, who for operational security reasons can be named only as Lt Col Pierre”
“Rafales dropped their first weapons against Libyan targets on 21 March”
“U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirits, F-15E Strike Eagles and F-16CJ Fighting Falcons launched during the early hours of March 20”
“French Dassault Rafale planes began reconnaissance missions on 19 March and were the first among the coalition to attack Libyan forces, destroying four tanks.”
March 19: Rafales fly recon over Libya
March 20: US aircraft, both LO and non-LO, attack Libyan targets
March 21: Rafales start attacking targets on ground
1-Drag? you mean on an airshow or whit full load?Gripen with 2 1000lbs JDAMs and 2 AAM is much more «draggy» than the JSF…
And with less trust that external load will have more impact in the JAS 39 than it will have on the JSF…
2-They are bouth multi role fighters competing for the same«jobs»…
3-If stealth is no good,why is the entire world after this tech?Russia,UK/France,Turkey,China,South Korea,Japan are all developing VLO aircraft…and there is the question of the entire western world buying the JSF…
1-In air-to-air configuration, Gripen is far less draggy than F-35. Fact that you’re using AtG configuration would indicate that you agree that F-35 is bomber.
2-Gripen was designed for air superiority with strike being secondary mission, F-35 was designed for strike with air superiority being afterthought only put in when F-22 orders were finalized at 187.
3-Humans are idiots, that’s why. Why everyone was after F-104/F-105/F-4 style interceptors before Vietnam? Even Viggen was not designed for dogfight.
1-With or without fuel tanks?Range and all that….Gripen IS a multirole fighter…just like the F-35…just like the Rafale over Lybia 🙂
2-No…Air to air was allways a requirement for the JSF…but its hard to talk about air to air when your ideal air force was destroyed in the ground by a STEALTH attack…
3-from wikipedia: «Guilt by association 
Main article: Association fallacy
Guilt by association can sometimes also be a type of ad hominem fallacy if the argument attacks a source because of the similarity between the views of someone making an argument and other proponents of the argument.
This form of the argument is as follows:
1.Source S makes claim C.
2.Group G, which is currently viewed negatively by the recipient, also makes claim C.
3.Therefore, source S is viewed by the recipient of the claim as associated to the group G and inherits how negatively viewed it is.»
As those planes were «bad» then the JSF must be bad also…but lets pick that apart:
1-F-105-Designed to perform nuclear attack with a single bomb and retreat at full speed it was forced in Vietnam to carry more bombs than a WW2 B-17 in one of the most defended air spaces in the world…it shoot down 27,5 MiG(one shared with an F-4) one of witch with free fall bombs…lol…not bad for a plane doing a job that it was not designed to do…
2-F-4-A long range navy interceptor designed to kill bombers forced to dogfight smaller MiGs with castrating RoE…and still won…not to mention that the germans still view it as better bomber interceptor than the Eurofighter…those 10% top speed mean a lot over nothern europe against russian bombers…
3-lol…not even i can defend the F-104…: ) it wasnt a plane…it was a scandal…from wikipedia«”The Flying Coffin” from the translation of the common German public name of Fliegender Sarg. The F-104 was also called Witwenmacher (“Widowmaker”), or Erdnagel (“ground nail”) – the official military term for a tent peg. The Pakistani AF name was Badmash (“Hooligan”), while among Italian pilots its spiky design earned it the nickname Spillone (“Hatpin”), along with Bara volante (“Flying coffin”). In the Canadian Forces, the aircraft were sometimes referred to as the “Widowmaker»
And the famous«Lockheed bribery scandals»…serious just read it in wikipedia….a disgrace
4-The Viggen could have been the best dogfighter of its time if FBW had been invented…
5-Suuure…all those scientists from different cultures must be ALL WRONG…if all scientists agree then it must be a lie…lol
1-In case you haven’t read what I wrote in the article… you CAN’T design “multirole” aircraft from the onset, and that will be equally good in all roles, simply because requirements are so different. You can either design a strike aircraft and then add air-to-air capability (F-35) or design air-to-air fighter and then add ground attack capability (F-15, F-16, Gripen, Rafale, Typhoon). All good multirole aircraft were made latter way, since air-to-air mission requirements are far more uncompromising than strike.
2-F-35 was and is primarly strike aircraft with air-to-air capability limited to self-defense so it doesn’t need escort, F-22 was to be air-to-air fighter.
3-F-104, F-105 and F-4 got their asses handed to them in Vietnam, especially before Top Gun was established. F-35 is in same situation, ground attack aircraft being pushed to do air superiority.
4-Of time period, definetly. But no way it could outperform Draken for example.
5-Do you have brain to think or you only follow what corporate scientists say? And no, not all scientists agree… Pierre Sprey (worked on F-16) doesn’t, Peter Ufimtsev (responsible for F-117 stealth concept) doesn’t… so that is man who is part of group that spawned F-15, F-16, A-10; and by extension all other modern fighter aircraft since all (except F-35) are built to same basic principles as F-15 and F-16, and another man who is responsible for modern radar stealth. And as for what you attempted to do with that claim, it is composite of two logical fallacies:
1/2-It all depends on its performance…until we know more and flight testing ends…none of us can be sure…and the way LM does buissness we might have grandchildren before the plane is operational…
3-Like in soccer…more goals you win…those fighter(not the F-104) won against the russian MiGs…
4-I remmenber the Draken…it did the Cobra before it was fashion lol 🙂
5-Its only an false appeal to authority if the authority is false or unrellated to the mather… the USAF,the RAF and the VVS are real …and they know what a plane is…it not an appeal to the people…its an appeal to reason…
As for Pierre Sprey…it might surprise you but i like that old bat…at least he speaks is mind off and defends is ideas…i might not agree with all he says but most times he is right…And i like listening him talk about the F-35…the way he says TURKEY is awsome…he rally hates the damn thing…
PS-I hope he wrong on that one 🙂
1-I have already explained that in the article. Air superiority: low wing loading, high thrust-to-weight ratio, low weight. Low-level strike: high wing loading, medium-to-large payload. CAS: low wing loading, low speed, high damage resistance.
3-Century-series fighters were primarly bombers and interceptors.
5-It is also false appeal to authority if authority has personal interest in matter that can influence judgement. USAF, RAF and VVS all have interests, especially USAF. I have mentioned in one of articles before how USAF senior officials get to work in armaments industry if they successfully lobby in favor of certain firms; and firms want complex fighters.
1-Lets whait for the OPEVAL…
3-thats what i said…and they still won…
5-Yes they have…they like making money…and what better way than build aircraft that the rest of the world will buy?If it does not work people will not buy it…nobody bought the F-105…all partners in the F-111 bailed out exept for Australia…(and it end up being the best deep strike/interdition aircraft in the world)…
But enought with aircraft…when will you post on land and naval warfare?
1-And what you think OPEVAL will reveal? That F-35 has antigrav engine hidden somewhere.
3-Number of kills made by USAF in Vietnam: 190. Of these, 51 were with gun, 83 with IR missile and 56 with radar missile. At least some of kills were crappy MiG-23s, and most kills happened after Top Gun was established. Pilot quality beats aircraft quality.
5-Just like countries are trying to bail from F-35 project right now?
I did post on naval warfare:
Admittedly, it isn’t much. I do have some articles on waiting.
No MiG-23 in Vietnam…MiG-15,17 and 21…
I just assumed there were, because I know that all three you mentioned proved superior to F-104, F-105 and F.4. What I forgot was that there were F-100s in Vietnam, and they were often used to escort other century-series aircraft.
Are the T/W values for Gripen C or GripenE?
Gripen C. Gripen E will have TWR above 1 at air-to-air takeoff weight.
Better than expected…the antigrav engine with alien tech : ) http://youtu.be/aWji8AcOYGA
Well, you can also see it the other way around:
The SR-71 was never considered a stealth aircraft. Although reduced radar visibility was something they were hoping for in the A-12 (SR-71 predecessor), they realized early on that as soon as they made a turn, the a/c was clearly visible. Plus, there was its IR glow. When the SR came by, it was usually detectable for a brief time, usually not enough to react. In fact, that “liability” became an asset because whenever it came by every emitter around lit off and we could obtain a lot of signals intelligence.
Can’t buy the statement that the Soviets never chose to shoot any US Aircraft. They tried almost every chance they got. They were always trying to intercept the SR, even though it was in international waters and almost certainly took ineffectual shots (ineffectual because of the SR’s speed, altitude and defensive systems). During the Cold War, they did indeed shoot down US aircraft, and this is well documented.
Not trying to be picky about your basic points, just want to stick up for a system that worked very well, and was politically retired before its time.
Yes, I doubt that Russians could have shot down SR-71. MiGs were able to target it, but even against modern fighters you have to get almost to or to visual range in order to prevent them from simply outrunning the missile.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
Out of curiosity Picard, what do you think about the SR 71 or these Mach 3 capable weapons like the XF-108?
SR-71 was OK, better than so-called stealth aircraft.
It looks like the F-35’s engine has not met reliability requirements.
“The fan crack occurred on Dec. 23 during accelerated mission tests (AMT) on ground engine FX648 at Pratt’s West Palm Beach facility, as the engine reached 77% of its required life, says F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan. Discussing the problem at Aviation Week’s Defense Technologies and Requirements Conference in Arlington, Va., Bogdan says Pratt may have “underestimated the stress at low-cycle fatigue” of the fan, which he says “blew” during the test.”
Oh and, the software remains problematic:
“While the program is ”in catch-up mode with ALIS,” Bogdan said they were beginning to see improvements in the system. The latest software update was done at Eglin Air Force Base this weekend. “Normally with ALIS we would take one step forward and two steps back. This time we actually took a step forward and didn’t take a step back. That is encouraging, that because of the way we are changing the development of ALIS we starting to see results. But we are way behind. We are way behind.” “
Oh, and finally, there have been bulkhead cracks on the F-35B.
“Ground testing was halted after the extent of the cracks became clear because the test had accomplished its goal of finding out what happens to the aircraft when stressed beyond its expected lifetime, a program source said.”
The comedy (and tragedy) continues:
This is like some a drama tragedy play.
Oops typo – meant to say “This is like a drama tragedy play.”
The F-117 downing was done with SA-3 missiles. No IR at all.