The F-35 Can’t Fire Its Cannon Without Committing Suicide

Good thing then the cannon can't fire straight anyway so there's no reason to fire it

When the F-35 fires its 25-millimeter cannon, it doesn’t just damage enemy targets.

It also damages the F-35.

That’s one finding of a Pentagon audit of America’s flagship warplane. As in previous years, the Pentagon’s Director Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), which evaluates testing on new and improved equipment, identified numerous problems with America’s flagship warplane.

“The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program continues to carry 873 unresolved deficiencies,” said DOT “Although the program is working to fix deficiencies, new discoveries are still being made, resulting in only a minor decrease in the overall number of deficiencies.”

In particular, the F-35A – the land-based version flown by the U.S. Air Force and other nations – has a problem with its cannon, which is mounted internally inside the aircraft. “Units flying newer F-35A aircraft discovered cracks in the outer mold-line coatings and the underlying chine longeron skin, near the gun muzzle, after aircraft returned from flights when the gun was employed,” DOT&E found in its annual FY 2019 report.

Compounding the problem is that the F-35A’s cannon can’t hit the target, a problem that has been reported in previous years. “Based on F-35A gun testing to date, DOT&E considers the accuracy of the gun, as installed in the F-35A, to be unacceptable,” said the audit. “F-35A gun accuracy during SDD [the System Development and Demonstration phase of the program] failed to meet the contract specification. Investigations into the gun mounts of the F-35A revealed misalignments that result in muzzle alignment errors. As a result, the true alignment of each F-35A gun is not known, so the program is considering options to re-boresight and correct gun alignments.”

Software changes are supposed to improve the aiming of the cannon, and corrections are underway for gun installation, boresighting and hardware. But the new hardware and software has yet to be fully tested.

So for now, some F-35As are restricted in firing their cannon. “The U.S. Air Force has restricted the gun to combat use only for production Lot 9 and newer aircraft,” the audit noted.

Interestingly, the short takeoff and vertical landing F-35B and carrier-based F-35C – which carry their cannon in an external pod – did not have the same problem. “F-35B and F-35C air-to-ground accuracy results to date with the gun pod have been consistent and meet the contract specifications,” DOT&E found. “The results do not show the accuracy errors of the internal F-35A gun.”

Modern air combat centers on air-to-missiles that allow fighters to destroy their targets from a distance. But as U.S. F-4 Phantoms discovered over Vietnam, cannon are not obsolete. Lacking a cannon cost American pilots many a MiG kill, because dogfights frequently resulted in situations where air-to-air missiles either could not be fired or proved unreliable.

While the F-35 is supposed to be a silent assassin that uses its stealth and sensors to dispatch its victims by surprise, it is quite conceivable that the American jet will find itself in close-range combat with Russian fighters such as the highly maneuverable Su-57 and Su-35, which are more optimized for dogfighting.

Source: The National Interest

  1. […] Read further at Anti-Empire […]

  2. Vish says

    No worries, just retrofit the Boeing 737 MAX as a replacement for the F-35s.

    The Boeings are a helluva lot more lethal!

  3. Evil_shadow says

    im not engineer, and i lack quite a lot of knowledge, but isnt F-22 stealth due to its shape (internal bomb/missile bays) and tech? why did they put external pods on “stealth” planes (STOL/VTOL F-35)? as if that plane doesnt have bad shape for stealth operations…

  4. Brion Adair says

    I’m sure Russian pilots are thrilled to know that they don’t have to fire a single round and let that damned turkey the F-35 blow itself out of the sky. Saves on ammo 🙂

    By the way I was reading on Veterans Today that the Syrians recently took out an Israeli F-35 with an old Soviet Cold War SAM they had lying around.

    With weaponry like this the World can be assured that “humanitarian bombing” and other “being a force for good” activities may end up being suicidal to those bringing “truth justice and the American way”.

  5. Al Carbone says

    this is good news cause we just gave pissrael 35 of these F-35’s

  6. Jorge Trevino says

    The F-35 is proving to be lethal, but for itself and the pilots within

  7. CHUCKMAN says

    P T Barnum a century ago was the great snake-oil salesman of America and became a symbol of some things in American society.

    The F-35 is the 21st century hi-tech version of snake oil.

    The Pentagon has pushed it down the throats of almost every ally.

    With enough of them paying good money, the thing is effectively subsidized.

  8. Jorge Trevino says

    That aircraft is quite sympathetic. It lacks almost everything and what allocates, malfunctions

  9. CHUCKMAN says

    Readers might enjoy this cartoon:

    Just amazing I did that a few years back, and still the saga of the F-35 continues.

    What’s wrong with America?

    It can’t win wars although it loves starting them.

    Bombing has become a national sport, closely watched by millions of fans on televisions from couches all over the country at dinnertime.

    And it often can’t even build competent planes and ships, the Navy having a whole series of boondoggles with very costly boats – the littoral combat ships they’re getting ready to abandon, the Zumwalt-class destroyers, the Ford-class aircraft carriers, and others.

    The Great Orange Oaf’s noisy incompetence as President is becoming truly.symbolic for the country in many ways.

    1. tapatio says

      Just backed up in your URL. You do good work.

      1. CHUCKMAN says


        I don’t much of it these days, but I enjoyed it.

        You and others might enjoy this other approach, which I think is pretty original:

        1. tapatio says

          WOW! That’s going to take a while to go through. Thank you and it’s bookmarked like your other page. I love that photo of Dubya and the Songbird (F’ing traitor).

  10. JustPassingThrough says

    just keep selling those things to all of the nato flunkies.
    sounds like Lockheed is working for the Russians and Chinese.

    “F-35 is supposed to be a silent assassin that uses its stealth and sensors to dispatch its victims by surprise,”

    unfortunately stealth and sensors don’t dispatch much.

    1. Canosin says

      there is no such thing like stealthy aircraft…..every one gets it’s own special treatment and medicine when needed…..especially the Russian way of medication…..very effective and a lot cheaper…..

  11. David Chu says

    I really sincerely beggingly (is that a word?) hope that the Yankee spend more and more billions of their fake dollars on this F-35 thingy . . .

  12. Vera Gottlieb says

    Why is this plane still around and being talked about? It has been known for many years that the F-35 is a lemon.

    1. itchyvet says

      Because it’s the gift that keeps on giving long after it’s been added to the military junk pile. The money will still be rolling in years from now. In the meantime, the junk planes go mouldy and unservicable in their A/C hangars.

  13. Reggie says

    No wonder the Russian government is rooting for Trump to get another chance as he screwed his company s up he’s screwing up America even worse and his supporters can’t see it good luck people.

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