How to shoot down a stealth fighter

Locklin on science

Editorial note: I actually wrote most of this five years ago, but was reluctant to publish it for misguided patriotic reasons. Since people are starting to talk about it, I figure I might as well bring some more sense to the discussion.

I’ve already gone on record as being against the F-35. Now it’s time to wax nerdy as to why this is a dumb idea. I’m not against military spending. I’m against spending money on things which are dumb. Stealth fighters are dumb. Stealth bombers: still pretty dumb, but significantly less dumb.


I have already mentioned the fact that the thing is designed for too many roles. Aircraft should be designed for one main role, and, well, it’s fine to use them for something else if they work well for that. The recipe for success is the one which has historically produced good airplanes: the P38 Lightning, the…

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3 thoughts on “How to shoot down a stealth fighter

      1. No, haven’t had time to follow that stuff lately. But I’ll repeat what I said with F-22s results: it is useless unless we know the exact setup. Rules of engagement, ID/IFF techniques and approach, weapons payloads, assumed missile Pk, relative numbers, overall tactical situation… all of that can be manipulated to make an aircraft seem better or worse than it is. Not even intentionally manipulated necessarily, but simply by being optimistic, where you should ask “how would a weapon perform in unfavourable circumstances”. Because any competent enemy will be trying to create those.


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