A video has emerged showing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter configured for close air support missions, with weapons mounted on the aircraft’s exterior as opposed to in its internal weapons bay.
Lockheed Martin has touted the F-35’s ability to carry weapons under its wings as converting the fifth-generation jet into “Beast Mode.”
According to newly captured footage by world-renowned photographer Frank Crebas, an F-35 was recently seen sporting four 500-hundred pound GBUs and a pair of AIM-9x air-to-air missiles on its external pylons, the Aviationist reported Thursday. The footage was snapped on July 27.
When the F-35 carries any weapons under its wings, it loses some of its stealth features, which are best enabled by keeping all of the weapons in the aircraft’s internal weapons bay, the Aviationist reported.
F-35 in ‘Beast Mode’
The “Beast Mode” marketing tactic was partially debunked last December. Specifically, the Bethesda company’s “Beast Mode” configuration claimed to keep six GBU-31 JDAM guided bombs weighing 2,000 pounds each, two AIM-120 missiles and two AIM-9X Sidewinders onto an F-35 for a total of 10 weapons for mixed air-to-air and air-to-ground attack missions. But this configuration hasn’t ever been tested, and the hardware to deploy it may not exist, a report found.
“The Joint Program Office and the aircraft’s prime manufacture acquire a long history of making over simplified, misleading, absurdly positive and not fully accurate statements,” The Drive demurred in a report bringing Lockheed’s claims about “Beast Mode” down from fantasy land to reality.
When The Drive poked holes in Lockheed’s initial vaporware pitch, it pointed out that F-35 is facing increasingly stiff competition from the F-15 in the sense that the F-15 does acquire a proven capability of carrying a relatively large number of weapons, which is becoming an especially attractive capability in the Pentagon’s eyes.
Indeed, Israel and the US are reported to be exploring an advanced F-15X in light of the F-35’s lethargic pace in getting off assembly lines without quality issues.
Notably the Dutch F-35s, training with US crews in California, were not carrying the 2,000-pound GBU-31 bombs. Nor were they carrying 14 beyond-visual-range missiles and two AIM-9X Sidewinders, for a total of 16 missiles, as Lockheed Martin initially marketed would be standard when the F-35 took on “Beast Mode” armaments for air-to-air only missions.
While the “Beast Mode” configuration may watch intimidating, a bombshell government watchdog report found that a test designed to compare the F-35 and the A-10 Thunderbolt in close air support missions was rigged in favor of Lockheed’s jet.
“The designers essentially created a laboratory demonstration to pointto how aircraft can hit non-moving targets in a sterile environment. This hardly represents the conditions when soldiers and Marines are locked in close combat with an enemy just yards away. In the worst-case, most urgent close-support scenario — the one in which these aircraft need to be tested — a small group of American soldiers are about to be overrun by a numerically superior enemy force with reinforcements too far away to waiton. Their only hope of survival is for an aircraft to appear overhead, raining deadly fire on the enemy soldiers, forcing them to catch cover or retreat. Not one event during these four days of tests comes close to addressing or simulating this,” the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) found.
The test was a sham, it reported in July. “Rather than telling us whether or not the F-35 can actually provide the kind of close support our ground forces need to survive and prevail, this grossly inadequate test has been designed to mislead.”
Why is the TV show “SEAL Team” worth watching?
Of the three major military dramas broadcasting these days on TV, the SEAL Team is the most sincere.
The TV shows (Wednesdays, 9 ET/PT, ★★½ out of four) works mostly because it’s not reaching beyond its comfort zone. Following a team of U.S. Navy SEALs carrying out covert operations with the aid of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), it’s an uncomplicated action series without twists or unnecessary spectacle, at least so far.
TV veteran David Boreanaz (Bones) plays Jason Hayes, the leader of the Tier One Navy SEALs, and he’s an intense and focused guy not unlike the FBI agent he played for so many years on Fox’s series. Jason’s home life has crumbled due to his dedication to his work, and he’s haunted by the death of a teammate on a recent mission. The cast is rounded out by Jessica Paré (Mad Men) as a CIA analyst and Max Thieriot as a young and ambitious soldier trying to make it into the Tier One unit.
The TV drama plays to the strengths of its network, and its star. The missions are simple and paint the soldiers as patriotic and unimpeachably good. In last week’s second episode, Navy SEAL flirted with bigger questions about war and the state of the world, but all in the service of its core characters. The action is sharp, clean and often close up, prioritizing the soldiers’ points of view.
The lack of sensationalism is what makes Navy SEAL a stronger entry into the military genre this fall than NBC’s The Brave and CW’s Valor. The Brave is flashy, while Valor is twisty and ill-conceived, and neither has a cast as engaging.
U.S. Navy SEAL Team is straightforward, but also enjoyable. Sometimes simple works. Take a look:
Elite Russian Special Forces in Astonishing Footage
Special Operations Forces of Russia, or SOF (Russian: Силы специальных операций; ССО, tr. Sily spetsial’nykh operatsii; SSO) are strategic-level special forces under the Special Operations Forces Command (Russian: командование сил специальных операций; KCCO, tr. Komandovanie sil spetsial’nalnykh operatsii; KSSO, or KSO) of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
Formation of first units for future Special Operations Forces began in 2009 as part of the overall reform of the Russian Armed Forces. Special Operations Forces Command was set up in 2012 and announced in March 2013 by the Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. According to Gerasimov, the SOF was designed as a strategic-level asset, whose primary missions would be foreign interventions, including sabotage and anti-terrorism operations. SOF do not belong to any branch of the Russian armed forces and are not to be confused with special forces that until 2010 were under the GRU and whose subsequent subordination appears to be unclear. Russia′s SOF are manned exclusively by professional personnel hired on contract, in commissioned officer positions.
The video compilation is showing various parts of Russian Special Operations Forces.