US Test Pilots on F-35 Helmet and Seat

It has emerged that US test pilots are panning the F-35’s lack of rear visibility due to flawed seat and cockpit design, as well as a helmet-mounted sight key to the platform’s air-to-air capability that’s on the fritz. The F-35 program simply tried to be too many things: strike fighter, air superiority fighter, V/STOL, close air support. The name “strike fighter” implies a different emphasis than, say, “multirole fighter.” If it’s a strike fighter you want, you can get away with certain design compromises- less manoeuvrability, less pilot visibility etc. And the lack of a cockpit with good rear vision has always been the most strike-fighter-ish feature of the plane. Unfortunately, for many countries, the F-35 will be used in the fighter role, and not being able to look behind you- or even get the information from your helmet-mounted sight- is a problem.


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