According to Billie Flynn, one of the F-35 programme test pilots, the experience related to the F-22 fighters suggests that the 5th generation jets should be tasked with neutralization of the threats, so that 4th generation aircraft are able to carry out their tasks – as Flynn stated during the presentation of the simulator of the F-35 fighter. Flynn also showcased the jet’s capabilities, not only within the scope of the stealth technology, but also within the scope of the latest sensor systems and net-centric communication suite, connecting the individual fighters.
The Warsaw presentation preceding the F-35 simulator demonstration at the Kielce MSPO fair, is the first appearance of this type of device in Europe. The simulator, with a high degree of fidelity, replicates the capabilities offered by the F-35. It also makes it possible to present the work conditions for the pilot of this type of aircraft. It is an interesting element of the Lockheed Martin’s marketing campaign in Poland, as the government has expressed its interest in acquiring the 5th gen. combat jets.
Billie Flynn, before he started to be involved in the test flight programme of the F-16 and F-35 jets for Lockheed Martin, flew fighters in the Canadian Air Force and took part in 25 combat sorties over Kosovo and ex-Yugoslavia. He also test flew the Eurofighter and Tornado jets. Flynn claims that F-35 is capable of detecting and destroying the enemy air defences without being detected, opening the field of operations for the fighters that are not in possession of stealth capabilities, such as the F-16, F/A-18 or the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Flynn claimed that there is a need to be in possession of the 5th generation jets, however this does not mean that there is no space for the 4th generation fighters on the battlefield. He suggested that F-22 experience shows that the role for the F-35 would be to maintain the survivability of the 4th generation jets by neutralizing the threats, so that the older fighters are safe and able to return to base in one piece. Flynn stated that There is no chance that the 4th generation fighters would survive the conditions of the contemporary battlefield without the support from the 5th generation jets.
Considering the fact that the above statements were made by a pilot who knows the capabilities of the fighter jets such as F-4E/F, F-18, F-16, Eurofighter and F-35 Lighting II, the conclusion above may be taken into account. It should be remembered that the first unit flying the F-35 in the US Armed Forces has already gained its operational readiness. This year 150 F-35 fighters are going to be flyable, 650 are scheduled to enter service in a variety of the NATO member states, across the period of the upcoming five years.
During the MSPO 2015 Kielce Defence Salon, simulator of the F-35 jet is going to constitute one of the main elements of the Lockheed Martin’s exhibition.