Is it just stealth?
The Secret Powers of the F-22 and F-35 That Keeps Enemy Fighters Away
Currently, the U.S. Navy has three squadrons tasked to simulate adversary aircraft: the units are equipped with F-5 or F/A-18 fighters, while the service Topgun school uses both F/A-18s and F-16s. The USMC has one “red air” squadron of F-5s and the USAF two aggressor squadrons of F-16.
As reported by Seapower Magazine, Jeffrey Parker, a former U.S. Air Force (USAF) fighter pilot and CEO of Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) told that the F-35 is easily able to counter the adversary services aircraft thrown at it in numbers. For this reason, the adversary services industry is struggling to come up with a realistic threat aircraft to challenge fifth-generation fighters.
“Nothing gets close to these things [the F-35s],” said Jeffrey Parker. “I’ve flown against the [Marine] F-35Bs down at [Marine Corps Air Station] Beaufort [S.C.] It’s an impressive airplane. Even in the hands of students, it’s a very capable fighter.”
(This first appeared in June 2019.)
Moreover, he added that the U.S. Navy, USAF and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) need “increased adversary services aircraft” to reduce the airframe fatigue of their front-line fighters and their limited flight hours in the adversary role.