No Growling Needed

The F-35 is beating the stealthiness expected of it “at maturity,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program manager. Officials must still verify this claim “with more data,” she told reporters on June 9 during a company-sponsored media day in Arlington, Va. She noted that Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Hostage recently told Breaking Defense that the F-35 needs no jamming support from other aircraft, such as Boeing’s EF-18G Growler, in a heavily defended battlespace to “go where it needs to go.” Hostage said the F-35 actually has better stealth than the F-22. “I can’t say some of those things” due to classification, commented Martin, but she said Hostage accurately represented the F-35’s capabilities. The Growler and similar platforms are going to be “helpful” if there are “fourth generation aircraft … and they need some protection,” but the F-35 has “all the stealth we said it would have,” and can “get in and get out safely with the electronic warfare it has on it,” she asserted. The F-35’s stealth is checked as it exits production and again just before government acceptance. “And, after we fly it a few months, we put it back through the [stealth test] range and verify the stealth is still there,” said Martin.