It has been revealed that F-15s were unable to shoot down F-35s in multiple dogfights during a deployment exercise.

The deployment exercise also reportedly confirmed that the jet is on track to reach initial operational capability later this year. The simulated deployment tested the F-35A against a stringent set of IOC requirements to include basic close air support, aerial interdiction and limited suppression and destruction of enemy aircraft.

According to the US Air Force, seven F-35A aircraft and 181 personnel from Hill’s active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing pushed the aircraft to its limits at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, during the training in June.

Col. David Lyons, 388th FW commander said:

“This was really the capstone event in our preparations to reach IOC and it was a resounding success. By any measure, the aircraft did well. We should be ready to declare IOC very soon. As a longtime F-16 pilot, I can tell you these numbers are impressive. The F-35 performed phenomenally.”

Dueing the exercise, F-35A pilots reportedly flew exercises with F-15Es from the 366th Fighter Wing and remained undefeated.

Col. George Watkins, 34th FS commander said:

“Since the aircraft’s arrival last fall there have been too many milestones to count and we’re making great progress. The Mountain Home deployment marks another significant milestone in validating the F-35A’s capabilities as we pursue IOC.”

According to the USAF, known for its highly advanced stealth capability, the F-35 is the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter and is designed to gather, fuse, and distribute more information than any aircraft in history. It can penetrate enemy territory that non-stealth aircraft such as the F-16, A-10, and F-15 cannot.

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Without knowing the rules of engagement this means absolutely, precisely, nothing. Zero, nadda, zilch.

Dave S

That’s a tad unfair. The original article does have more data. And it gives evidence to support what is being said.

Greg Holden

Correct me if I am wrong, but I always thought that the F-35 was not designed for dog fighting. I though it was designed to kill at distance.

James Gale

Correct it was designed as a BVR aircraft. As testing has progressed and new software updates have been released the aircraft is expanding it’s original potential.

Greg Holden

Good to hear! Personally, I think it’s going to be a belter. Thanks!

James L Habermehl

It has always been designed to be able to dogfight at least as well as the F-16 and F-18. Why any pilot would actually want to do so is another matter.

Brian Yeates

How is it’s manoeuvrability compared to the Eastern Block aircraft and can it defeat their tactics?

Ray Ward

these were G restricted f15e ground attack eagles with conformal external fuel tanks…i call bs on this matchup

James L Habermehl

If they were carrying CFTs (they are removable) then yes, they would indeed be G-restricted. But there are no details of any actual attempted intercepts, or if in fact any F-15s ever found any F-35s in the first place, that I have read so far. If no F-15s ever got into some sort of dogfight with any F-35s–and why would they want to, anyway–then whether the F-15s cold pull only 5.5G or their full 9G is immaterial. So far it seems to mostly be circular reporting of previous reporting of an earlier report, with an occasional guess dropped into the… Read more »


From the Aviationist. “However, the “zero losses” may simply mean that the F-35s were able to complete their assigned strikes without being shot down by the aggressors of the Red Air: considered that the F-15Es were probably equipped with the AN/APG-82 AESA radar and the Sniper ATP (Advanced Targeting Pod), the fact that the Strike Eagles performing DCA (Defensive Counter Air) were not able to “find” and/or “engage” the almost-IOC F-35s can be considered a huge achievement for the pricey, troubled 5th generation multirole combat plane.” Either that or the F 35’s simply shot down the F 15’s.

Toby Noskwith


Christopher Kent

I see the experts are out hating again

Aaron Befoh

Didn’t they also lose to the F16s as well.

Cliff Benton

Lol….are you for real?

Aaron Befoh

I heard about it last year.

Cliff Benton

What you heard was political propaganda.

Darren McRitchie

That’s was BS

Mark Llewellyn

Yes, why have a McLaren P1 when we have a Ford Escort already?

Colin Macdonald

I should think so given the price of them ?


Pound? On the Lockheed Martin payroll are you? From accounts, they were able to deliver ord on ground targets without being detected by the F-15E (ground attack version of the F-15). Of course, the F-15E is not equipped with an IRST camera system, nor were the F-35s being tracked by VHF ground radar. Let’s see what happens when the F-35s engage a flight of F-15s WVR.

James L Habermehl

WVR? On the Boeing payroll are you? Why would F-35 pilots, or for that matter F-15 pilots, even *want* to get into a WVR fight or even worse a dogfight? A guy could get killed that way. The idea of aerial warfare os to see the other guy while not getting seen by him, so you can shoot him down without getting shot down instead.

James Bartlett

Can’t remember where I saw it now but there was a experienced Norwegian F16 pilot who now flys there F35A he was surprised how brilliant it is in dogfights.

James L Habermehl

This is one of several articles he has written. I hope it is okay to post links to other sites. Some blogs seem to object to this, so I understand if it gets deleted.

Lewis Dellar-Singer

I should bloody hope so !

Jonathon Tucker

Seem this this morning

UK Defence Journal

Yes, more than one news website has published this… news.

Chris Albutt

The one major draw back the F-35 has is the very limited amount of air to air weapons it can carry internally and if more weapons are hung off the outside this compromises it’s stealth ability. A simple way to defeat the F-35 would be to swamp them or attack the other big weakness of western doctrine and find the tankers and destroy them it would be unlikely that a western fighter would carry enough to return to Base. A case proven by the RAND corporation in a virtual engagement with the Chinese over the straights of Taiwan. The F-22… Read more »


4 A2A missiles on the lightning isn’t terrible (will be 6 in the future).

The game changer though is that the Lightning will be able to target, request fire & guide missiles fired from other aircraft.

In a hypothetical scenario in the far-east, a flight of 2 x Lightnings & 2 x Korean F-15Ks will bring to bear 24+ AIM120-Ds against a foe.

There is also unlikely to be any scenario where the USAF/USN & Allies are outnumbered by China in the first place.


The area of the control surfaces of the F-35 is quiet huge. Meaning it can initiate a turn or manoeuvre surprisingly quickly.