Hill Air Force Base, Utah — As investigators grappled with what was behind the F-35 crash earlier this week, pilots were also trying to preserve some vital technology.
While many of our American allies own the F-35, some of our enemies still want to know what’s inside. China has even been accused of stealing plans from the F-35 to install it in their 5th generation fighter jets. That’s why the U.S. is cautious about how much stealth fighters are shared.
The F-35 has received a lot of attention, not only because of what it can do, but also because it costs taxpayers in research and development costs—a fighter jet cost tens of billions of dollars over the years, and in its early stages, each aircraft cost about $80 million for the Air Force variant.
“If we really showed what we were capable of, you would never hear or see us,” the major said. F-35 pilot Jay “Fast” Doerfler.
The fighter’s combination of speed and stealth allows it to dominate the battlefield, helping older fighters more accurately understand what to expect before entering the fray.
“The jet can use his radar to find a bad guy, and on my mask, I get an arrow pointing to where he is, and I know I can look and I can find him easily,” Doerfler said.
Pilots say the helmet gives them the biggest leap in many ways, even allowing them to look directly at the jet for a 360-degree view.
“To be able to switch between video on, video off, night vision camera on or off, all the symbology directly in front of you, being able to look anywhere, the information is faster and your information is better.” Tip. It makes us more deadly,” the major said. Kristin “Beo” Wolf of the 388th Fighter Wing.
All of this is just one example of why the technology is so closely guarded, why the crash site will remain safe and won’t be seen until every piece is collected.
Even when covering the F-35, we as the media were asked to keep certain parts of the fighter jet off-camera.
“If we didn’t have the F-35, we would be irrelevant in our operational capabilities today,” the captain said. “Psycho” Habluetzel of the 388th Fighter Wing.
It’s about our desire to maintain an edge on the battlefield, protect huge investments, and allow our pilots to better keep us and themselves safe.
Pilots are also keeping a close eye on the crash site to keep everything as close as possible to the post-crash state for investigation.
They won’t be able to collect all the wreckage until investigators are done there.