Early results came in from the US Air Force’s realistic, challenging Red Flag air combat exercise — and it looks like the F-35 slaughtered the competition.

Aviation Week reports that the Joint Strike Fighter killed 15 aggressors for each F-35 downed. The F-35 achieved this remarkable ratio in a drastically increased threat environment that included radar jamming, increased air threats, and surface-to-air missile batteries.

“In the past, the non-kinetic effects were not fully integrated into the kinetic fight,” Col. Robert Cole, the Air Force Cyber Forward director, said in a statement.

But now F-35s take on cyberthreats and electronic warfare in addition to enemy surveillance and conventional, or kinetic, threats.

“This integration in an exercise environment allows our planners and warfighters to understand how to best integrate these, learn their capabilities and limitations, and become ready to use [these combined resources for maximum] effect against our adversaries,” Cole said.

F-35 cockpit
Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann/US Air Force

But the F-35s didn’t just shoot down the enemy — they used their sensor-fusion and data link abilities to talk to other planes and help them sniff out threats they wouldn’t have seen on their own.

 

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Featured image courtesy of Lockheed Martin