The F-35 continues to be plagued by poor gun accuracy

The latest DOT&E report is out and the results are not encouraging.

The 25mm gun on Air Force models of the Joint Strike Fighter has “unacceptable” accuracy in hitting ground targets and is mounted in housing that’s cracking, the Pentagon’s test office said in its latest assessment of the costliest U.S. weapons system.

The annual assessment by Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, doesn’t disclose any major new failings in the plane’s flying capabilities. But it flags a long list of issues that his office said should be resolved — including 13 described as Category 1 “must-fix” items that affect safety or combat capability — before the F-35’s upcoming $22 billion Block 4 phase.


This is actually a bigger problem than many people anticipate. Even in today’s world, especially if the probability of missiles killing is much lower than anticipated, guns remain very relevant to modern air combat.

Interesting external guns seem to have “acceptable” accuracy in this case.

The three F-35 models are all equipped with 25mm guns. The Navy and Marine versions are mounted externally and have acceptable accuracy. But the Air Force model’s gun is mounted inside the plane, and the test office “considers the accuracy, as installed, unacceptable” due to “misalignments” in the gun’s mount that didn’t meet specifications.

Having to have an external gunpod is typically less than ideal for any fighter aircraft, but under the circumstances, it may be that there are no alternatives.

This continues to be an ongoing challenge for the F-35.

10 thoughts on “The F-35 continues to be plagued by poor gun accuracy

  1. Uh, why didn’t they just go with the PROVEN 20mm Vulcan cannon? That’s been proven for DECADES! Whenever we’ve fit a gun to a fighter since Vietnam, it’s always the Vulcan. Why? Well, because it works-duh. Secondly, whose brainchild was it to withdraw the A-10 from service?


  2. Acceptable=within the specification. I suspect the external gun has a very generous spec, so when then it says acceptable it means piss poor but within the criteria we set. The internal gun probably is a bit better accuracy and a tighter spec.


      1. Hi Picard578. I’m glad you got your blog back (though I see that you lost your domain). I can’t find your “Myths about Nuclear Weapons” essay anymore. It was a good essay, so could you repost it to your blog?


      2. I was able to find your “myths about nuclear weapons” essay on the Internet Archive, but I can’t post up the link here for some reason. Can I send it to you another way so you can repost it to your blog? Maybe in an updated version that takes into account all the new nuclear weapons that Vladimir Putin announced he has under his command?


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