Let me resurrect a long-running debate on this blog --- should India buy the Rafale or the F-35 Lightening II?
For recent Broadsword arrivistes, here's the context: I believe the IAF, and later the Indian Navy, should be buying the fifth generation F-35, not outdated dinosaurs like the Rafale or the Mig-29K. The F-35 is better, cheaper and operationally more relevant for us than the other two Gen-4 fighters. And it is a myth that Dassault or MiG will give us any more technology than Lockheed Martin and Boeing would.
But the most convenient argument deployed by opponents of the F-35 is that its development is hugely delayed. So which fighter's development isn't?
Here a video of the recent sea trials of the F-35B (the STO/VL variant, the most troublesome of the three variants, with the greatest design challenges) carried out early this month on the USS Wasp, off Newport, Virginia.
Doomsayers had predicted that vertical landing would burn holes in the deck and that the downwash would sweep sailors overboard. Well, bad news doomsayers, take a look at how close the sailors are standing to the landing aircraft.
The trials featured 74 vertical landings and short take offs over a three week period. No catapults, no tail hooks.