As one  of our followers here on FighterSweep, you’re probably someone that likes to keep track of the latest news on America’s most advanced fighters–especially the stealthy, badass fifth-generation F-22 and F-35. More specifically, you’ve probably been keeping tabs on the development of the F-35–its setbacks, its achievements, and its march toward IOC. That also means you may have run across an article that screams, “The F-35 can’t beat the plane it’s replacing in a dogfight!”

As a taxpayer, reading that probably pisses you off. After all, the F-35 acquisitions program is one of the most twisted and over-budget jobs programs in the history of the U.S. military. It’s late. It’s expensive. It’s bloated. It can’t even fly within twenty-five miles of a thunderstorm because they had to remove lightning protection to save on weight–a requirement for the Marines so they could take off and land vertically in the F-35B.

There are hundreds of valid complaints on this aircraft, but the latest clickbait headlines scattering social media aren’t among them; it’s as though suddenly everyone is Colonel John Boyd reincarnate and knows what the problem is.

NSAWC assets getting ready to depart Fallon NAS.

Now, before we get into the why, let me first preface all of this by saying I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t work for Lockheed-Martin. I have nothing to do with the Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps acquisitions process. As I mentioned in my Hornet versus Viper comparison, the Viper is my first love–so naturally I smiled a little when I read the headline.