F-35 simulator demonstrates fighter of tomorrow

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Shane A Cuomo
  • Air Force Print News
While the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is still in development, Airmen are getting a “sneak peek” at the future of air superiority thanks to a unique simulator.

The Lockheed Martin Corporation’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, or JSF, pilot interface simulator is demonstrating the fighter’s capabilities to some pilots here.

“It is very close (to the real thing). The system that we are showing right now has already been tested on different platforms,” said Clyde Bellinger, Joint Strike Fighter pilot interface representative for Lockheed Martin. “It’s going to have fantastic capabilities. What we are showing, as far as the demonstrator is concerned, should be very close to what’s going to be on the actual aircraft.”

The new fighter is expected to deliver unmatched advantages to U.S. and coalition forces.

The Air Force expects to purchase 1,763 F-35s to complement the F-22A Raptor and replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon as an air-to-ground strike aircraft. The fighter has a large internal weapons bay and gun. It also has an improved internal fuel capability, infrared sensors and a laser designator. It also carries larger payloads for greater distances and it is capable of better thrust and 9-G maneuvering.

The F-35’s design includes specific advances and combinations of leading-edge technologies never before incorporated in a single aircraft, which the simulator demonstrates to the pilots. For example, pilots can select interchangeable windows on the flat panel cockpit display to provide unprecedented pilot tactical situation awareness.

“The JSF has a much more advanced cockpit display,” said Maj. Don Borchelt, chief of the air-to-air section at Pacific Air Force Headquarters. “It’s got one integrated display that puts all your tactical situational information right there in one place for the pilot to read and digest quickly."

All these advances are designed for one purpose -- improving the pilot’s capabilities.

“The main thing the JSF does is decrease the pilot's workload. It presents all the information into one easily digestible format that the pilot can know exactly what is going on without having to do a lot of switch actuations,” Major Borchelt said.

And while the joint fighter of tomorrow is still in production, today’s pilots now have a chance to experience the Air Force’s future transformation into a more agile, streamlined and lethal force thanks to an F-35 simulator.

“It is obviously a new airplane,” Major Borchelt said. The major is one of the pilots who flew the simulator here. “It brings together a bunch of things that weren’t available previously. All these things are going to make a fighter more survivable -- all of that is good.”