I’ve been against the F-35 from the day it was announced. Sure, it sounds cool and, in theory, can fill the gap between mission-specific aircraft, but let’s not pull punches here: it costs too much and is–in a practical sense–technologically inferior to the current air superiority fleet we have in service.
Let’s not forget that the F-15, a plane designed in the 1960s and first entered service in the early 1970s, can fill every mission role that the F-35 was designed for (including naval carrier operations). The F-15 may not be as stealthy as the F-22, but–then again–neither is the F-35!
Another Air Force official familiar with the F-35 confirmed that the jet won’t have the software to fire its gun until the Block 3F software is released to frontline squadrons sometime in 2019. Neither Lockheed nor the F-35 Joint Program Office responded to inquiries about the status of the jet’s gun.