Why the F-35 Isn’t Good Enough for Japan
While the F-35 retains some radar evading capabilities, its radar cross section is over ten times greater than that of the F-22 making it far less survivable — leading some analysts to term it a “pseudo stealthy”fighter. The F-35 has less than half the range of the larger F-22 and lacks the Raptor’s advanced long ranged air-to-air missiles, which for an archipelago nation separated from its potential adversaries by vast seas are major shortcomings. As a single engine light platform with a small arsenal of just four air-to-air missiles, restricted to a below average speed of Mach 1.6 and a very low altitude relative to the Raptor, the F-15J, and elite twin engine Chinese fighters,the F-35 hardly presents an adequate solution to counter China’s growing fleet of J-11 fighters — let alone more advanced platforms more recently deployed by Beijing such as the Su-35 or J-20.
Indeed, it was never designed for such an air superiority role.