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Russia’s Nightmare: The F-35 Stealth Fighter is a Nuclear ‘Bomber’

No-Fly Zone F-35
The active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings conducted an F-35A Combat Power Exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Jan. 6, 2020. The exercise, which was planned for months, demonstrated their ability to employ a large force of F-35As -- testing readiness in the areas of personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, flight operations, and combat capability against air and ground targets. A little more than four years after receiving their first combat-coded F35A Lightning II aircraft, Hill's fighter wings have achieved full warfighting capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is one of the most advanced aircraft to ever take to the skies. The stealth fighter jet can fill many roles, but one of the most important ones is its ability to carry and deploy nuclear weapons – something Russia or China most likely can only dream of right now. 

The F-35, An Advanced Aircraft 

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a fifth-generation stealth multi-role aircraft with three operational versions. 

The F-35A is the conventional take-off landing version flown by the U.S. Air Force and most foreign users. The F-35B is the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) version flown by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Royal Navy. Finally, the F-35C is the aircraft carrier iteration of the aircraft flown by the U.S. Navy. 

The fifth generation fighter jet specializes in six mission sets: Strategic Attack, Close Air Support, Air Superiority, Electronic Warfare, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), Suppression Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and Destruction Enemy Air Defense (DEAD). 

One of the most fascinating pieces of technology on the F-35 is the software that allows the pilot to look at a target, lock it, and launch a munition by just pointing the helmet at the target’s direction regardless of the direction the F-35 is flying.

But what makes the F-35 truly special is its ability to act as a “quarterback” on the battlefield by using its stealth characteristics and advanced fusion sensors to spot and track an enemy aircraft and direct a friendly aircraft, such as an F-15E Strike Eagle or F/A-18 Super Hornet, to it. One F-35 could truly make a difference on the battlefield. 

But one of the F-35’s shortcomings is its small internal weapons loadout. With only two internal weapon bays, the fifth-generation aircraft is limited to the number of munitions it can carry and retain its stealth characteristics. The F-35 can carry more weapons, but it would have to be in external hard points that would considerably lessen its stealth. 

The F-35 is by far the most expensive project that the U.S. military is working on, with an approximate cost of $1.7 trillion. 

Initially, the Department of Defense was planning to buy approximately 2,500 F-35 of all three versions, but now that number is contested as the high price tag of the aircraft has forced the Pentagon to rethink its purchasing approach. But the U.S. military isn’t the only buyer of the F-35. Close to 20 countries have bought, ordered, or expressed interest in the fifth generation aircraft. 

The F-35 and Nuclear Weapons 

The F-35’s fifth-generation stealth capabilities make it almost invisible to ground and air radar, enabling the aircraft to engage ground, naval, and air targets undetected from very long distances. In a nuclear scenario, that would make the F-35 the ideal aircraft to deploy a nuclear weapon

The Air Force has been working on clearing the F-35 for nuclear operations. Last year, the aircraft reached another milestone when two F-35As successfully deployed a test version of the B61-12 thermonuclear bomb

F-35 Helmet

F-35 Helmet. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin.

But not all F-35s will be cleared for nuclear operations. The Pentagon has stated that once the platform has qualified for nuclear missions, only the specific Air Force squadrons that are tasked with the nuclear mission will be specially configured. 

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Cary

    May 2, 2022 at 1:24 am

    Made a couple of key Typos in the otherwise excellent article. “Fight Generation” was written in a few places where it should have read “Fifth Generation”.

  2. Arne Lidmark

    May 2, 2022 at 2:12 am

    Modern Russian ground and air radars can see and guide missiles at F-35. Even other modern radars can. These radars can only be deceived by modern avionics on pods on F-35. Other modern airplanes have them too.

  3. Alex

    May 2, 2022 at 8:20 am

    Just the facts: let the F-22 or F-35 at least fly up to the territory of the Russian Federation. They don’t even cross the border. But they can’t. The whole secret is that these aircraft are prohibited from approaching the territory of the Russian Federation after several cases when they shone on Russian radars like a Christmas tree and all were targeted by missiles. That’s the whole secret of Russia’s “nightmare”.

  4. Illurion

    May 2, 2022 at 8:39 am

    Dream On Alex:

    The fact is that “one” F-35 is capable of destroying Moscow without even entering Russian Territory.

  5. Michael Byrd killed a right wing terrorist slut

    May 2, 2022 at 9:16 am

    Without reaching Mach 2. Their a nightmare to no one. Good thing Congress won’t let those USAF morons retire the F-22.

  6. Alex

    May 2, 2022 at 9:36 am

    Illurion – you have already been destroyed by your illiteracy and cancer, which has developed because of hatred.

  7. Charles Warner

    May 2, 2022 at 11:30 am

    In simple fact, no matter how good the jet fighter, Russia lacks in comparison to US fighter pilots. They don’t have the experience at hand to hand combat maneuvers and time with the planes. American pilots don’t just set on their kiesters, they have seen air to air combat.

  8. Lion King

    May 2, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    You refer to these scraps nightmare to Russian ultramodern Air to air and surface to air missiles? I’d it not these same f35 machines that some usairforce generals disproved its use? Ah well, they should run around the Russian airspace and let’s witness its full potential. Funny writers.

  9. Alex

    May 2, 2022 at 12:23 pm

    This is probably worthy when in an air battle you are sitting on a 4-5 generation aircraft, and against you a 3-4 generation.

    I remember the famous “Phantom of Kyiv”, which destroyed 40 SU-35s and SU-57s on an old Soviet aircraft.

    And it really exists! After all, Biden constantly shakes hands with someone…

  10. Illurion

    May 2, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    Alex:

    – i am not destroyed
    – i am not illiterate
    – i do not have cancer
    – it is you that is filled with hatred
    – i will outlive you

  11. Alex

    May 3, 2022 at 6:11 am

    Illurion: don’t be hysterical, monkey. I’ll write better on the topic. Oh, you don’t have brains.

  12. Illurion

    May 3, 2022 at 8:30 am

    Dear Bandera NAZI Alex:

    The fact that you cut-and-paste the same thing over and over on different articles is proof that you “COULD NOT WRITE BETTER” even with the terrorist Putin idiot that you worship helping you.

    As for your ramblings about “hysterical”, “monkey”, and “don’t have brains,” YOU ARE LOOKING IN THE MIRROR AND DESCRIBING YOURSELF.

    ps: the news today is that your precious Putin has cancer, and will be undergoing emergency surgery.

  13. Alex

    May 3, 2022 at 9:58 am

    William Scott Ritter, Jr. is an American military analyst. Intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps. He served in this position for about 12 years. He became the Marine Rapid Deployment Force’s lead analyst on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq War. United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq.
    During Desert Storm, he served as an adviser to General Norman Schwarzkopf on ballistic missiles. Ritter later worked as a security and military consultant for the Fox News network. According to an interview he gave to Democracy Now! in 2003, he also had a long official relationship with the British foreign intelligence agency MI6.
    If the Bandera Nazis start squealing that he was bought by Putin, then let them shove their squeal up their ass.
    Here are Scott Ritter’s words:

    “Do you want to name the best students of military science today? These are Russian officers! And we treat them like children – “these are Russians.” And they are the most educated and trained officers of all who can be found. They understand everything better than us. They didn’t spend 20 years kicking down doors and slaughtering families in Iraq or crawling up hills in Afghanistan to kill a shepherd, that’s what we did, and the Russians think big.

    We think in small arrows. We watch a video of how a Russian column is destroyed or three tanks are knocked out. War is hell, people die there, and if you look at the little arrows, you will think that the Russians are defeated. But look at the big arrows! The Russians kept the 100,000-strong group of Ukraine in Kyiv. If they are not threatened, they will move forward for reinforcements.

    Therefore, you (Russians) send 40 thousand soldiers from Belarus and hold the enemy in place. You have 80,000 enemy forces in Odessa, you send 30,000 soldiers from Crimea – their (Security Council of Ukraine) group is stuck. You have 100,000 enemies in the Donbass, and you, the Russian troops, cannot let them go to Kyiv. You send the militia of Donetsk and Lugansk to the front line. The most difficult situation! But you clung to the enemy and hold him, don’t let him move!

    You are conducting a through attack to break through the corridor to the Crimea. And Mariupol is a key city on the way, we had to take it. The only city for which the Russians fought. Why? Because he was the only one that mattered. The rest played no role.

    You will not take 3 million Kyiv with a force of 40 thousand. It doesn’t happen! You will not take 1.6 million Kharkiv with a force of 50 thousand. But you will take Mariupol. They had to take it. This was a strategic necessity.

    This whole phase was the preparation of the battlefield. The Russians have destroyed fuel storage facilities in Ukraine. What is a tank without fuel? Coffin! And the truck? Another coffin. Warehouses of ammunition and food are blown up. A soldier who is hungry and thirsty will be killed.

    The Russians have rearranged everything for themselves in order to prepare for a massive pincer attack that will fall into the forces of the Ukrainians, who will have no food, no water, no fuel, no ammunition. Here’s what the second phase will look like.

    The Russians have moved away from Kyiv, they no longer need to hold that grouping, it will not be able to move without fuel anyway. They’re stuck! If they leave the city, Russian aircraft will destroy them. There will be no reinforcements, the enemy in Donbas cannot move. They are trapped.

    The Russians have closed the ring and will destroy everyone. Or they will capture a huge part of the Ukrainian army. And when that happens, there will be nothing left. And the Russians will be able to demand whatever they want. That’s why I say the Russians will win. Because I see the situation. I do not flatter myself with the illusions that “the Russians could not take Kyiv and Odessa.” THEY DIDN’T TRY!”

  14. Illurion

    May 3, 2022 at 11:58 am

    For the record.

    I hearby publicly declare that the Bandera NAZI Russian Troll “Alex” is truly “certifiably insane”, and should be institutionalized.

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