Here is a summary of what went wrong with the F-35 :
  1. No matter how much the US Air force tries to sell the F-35, it is short legged. So much stuff is needed to squeeze into a small airframe, there is little room for extra fuel.
  2. It cannot run or turn quickly enough to escape from enemy air superiority fighters. Once unmasked en route to enemy’s position and this is highly likely, the F-35 will lose out to more agile planes like SU-35.
  3. The idea behind the design of F-35 is unrealistic. The F-35 airframe was designed such a way that it can fulfil the requirements of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. However using a single airframe for all three services is a stretch too far.
  4. The F-35 was meant to be more of a money-spinner than anything else. With so many co-opt partners in this project, will the United States willingly put in the most cutting edge aviation technology to be shared among her Allies?
  5. UPDATE : The F-35 is unable to super cruise (to sustain supersonic speed without afterburners) like its other rivals and will be caught out easily by enemy fighter jets sent to intercept it.
  6. UPDATE: The F-35 is a single-engine multirole aircraft. Although it reduces procurement/maintenance cost, it spelled doom when one engine loses power and the F-35 becomes a sitting duck To enemy fighters. I would think such an important multiple purpose platform would at least warrant a twin-engine configuration.
  7. And lastly, not that it matters that much, but from an aesthetic viewpoint, it is not a pleasant-looking aircraft and looks clumsy and bloated.
A saving grace might be the installation of laser energy weapons on the F-35 as depicted in this latest weapons commercial from Lockheed Martin :
However, this topic is best left for another discussion in future.