We all knew the F-35 was an impressive war machine but it turns out that we didn’t know just how impressive it really was. We thought it was simply the best 5th generation aircraft in the world but it turns out that it’s even better than that because it’s also a 4th generation aircraft!!!!! That’s right. It can transition between 4th and 5th by loading bombs on external pylons. I can see you’re flabbergasted and disbelieving. No aircraft can do that, you’re thinking, but it’s true. This one can. USNI News website is reporting this amazing capability (1). Here’s a quote from Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Aviation.
“No other airplane can go from fifth to fourth and back to fifth again. I’m buying pylons for the airplane.”
There you have it. By adding external pylons to the F-35 we gain the entire 4th generation capability in addition to the already amazing 5th generation wonders the aircraft contains. You’re asking, though, how will this affect our enemies and ourselves? Gen. Davis describes exactly how this new capability will make our enemies and us feel.
“I think for our adversaries will be quite worrisome, for us should be a source of great comfort.”
Great comfort! Yes, yes, that's exactly what I feel when I think of the F-35. He nailed it.
But wait, there’s more!
The F-35 has been at the center of debate about close air support (CAS) with proponents (well, actually only the Air Force) and critics debating whether the F-35 could be an effective CAS aircraft. Well, it turns out the AF was right and the critics were wrong. The F-35 is not only suited for CAS, it’s optimized!!!
“The pylons optimize the F-35B for close-air support …”
An optimal CAS aircraft and all thanks to the pylons, those amazing pylons.
It’s a shame that they couldn’t hang pylons on, say, the A-10 to optimize it for CAS.
Is there any way the F-35 could get any better? No, you say? It’s not possible, you say? Well, I hesitate to even mention this for fear of giving away what may possibly be or become a top secret F-35 capability but if the canopy was removed for a flight and a machine gun was mounted to the rim for the pilot to operate by hand, the F-35 would be a 1st generation aircraft. That’s right, we’d have an aircraft that could transition between 1st, 4th, and 5th generation. Truly, no other aircraft in the world would have that kind of capability set.
All right, you’re thinking this is another of ComNavOps famous humor pieces. Well, sadly, it’s not. This is real. Follow the reference link and read the article for yourself. The quotes and the content are real and come from the Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Aviation just as I’ve stated. Yes, the mocking tone of the post is mine and the 1st generation bit was added to emphasize how ridiculous the hype on this aircraft has gotten. And that’s the real story in this post.
The hype surrounding this aircraft is out of control and the fact that the Marines feel the need to put out this kind of marketing pap tells me that they’re feeling the heat for declaring a demonstrably unready aircraft (50% availability during the trial period!) cleared for IOC. If your product is so bad that you have to resort to made up attributes extolling a capability (pylons) that existed in WWI, you have a problem. This Marine General has made a laughingstock of himself and the Marines.
As I said, I wish this was a humor piece but it’s not. This is really sad.
Hey, I’m going to further risk national security and let you readers in on another amazing F-35 secret. Program managers are developing round, rolling, rubberish things to place on the bottom of the landing gear. They call them wheels (I think that’s how you spell it – not sure, it’s new technology) and, supposedly, it will give the F-35 unparalleled ground mobility. Gen. Davis and I are on the same page. The F-35 is an awesome machine.
: F-35B External Weapons Give Marines 4th, 5th
Generation Capabilities in One Plane”, Megan Eckstein, Davis August 13, 2015,