US F-16 pilot: Su-35 Flanker looks good at air shows, but it’s junk

WASHINGTON, US — Retired US Air Force pilot Lt. Col. Dan Hampton gave his opinion on the Russian Su-35 Flanker fighter. According to him, quoted by @PStyle0ne1 on Twitter, the Su-35 only looks good, but in reality, is “junk”.

US F-16 pilot: Su-35 looks good at air shows, but it's junk
Photo credit: Twitter
US F-16 pilot: Su-35 looks good at air shows, but it's junk
Photo credit: Twitter

“My opinion, and that of most professional fighter pilots, is that the Su-35 is a typical Russian machine and it looks nice. They give it a nice paint job, put all kinds of cool stars on it and all that. But deep down, it’s not really that good of a plane. It looks good at air shows, but my personal opinion is that its junk,” the former Air Force pilot said, according to @PStyle0ne1.

Lt. Col. Dan Hampton has extensive experience. He served in the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, and Iraq wars. According to his opinion, Ukraine can only get planes, but also Western retired pilots. I.e. he believes that “mercenary pilots”, already retired, but still capable of fighting, can be involved in the defense of Ukraine.

Journalist Mr. Stephen Bryen wrote about it in his latest material. According to him, due to the limited time available to Ukrainian pilots to train to fly Western fighters, it is entirely possible that aircraft painted in Ukraine’s camouflage could be flown by Western-trained pilots.

US F-16 pilot: Su-35 looks good at air shows, but it's junk
Photo credit: Wikipedia

This is not the first time such analyzes have been made. The fact that there are actually Western soldiers in Ukraine should not be surprising either. Britain’s Ministry of Defense, for example, has officially confirmed that its special forces were at the start of the war in Ukraine. They trained Ukrainian soldiers.

Later reports from the war suggest that not all British troops were withdrawn. They are said to have played a major role in the sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva. Let’s not forget the fact that NATO and the US provide a complete information picture from the intelligence on the Russian movement of the Ukrainian military.

At the moment, it seems that the Ukrainian military is losing the battle for Bakhmut. Virtually surrounded on all sides, Ukrainian reports indicate that their forces are suffering and struggling. According to Ukrainians, Russian attacks are not stopping. Currently, a major presence in Bakhmut is seen by the Russian private military company Wagner.

But according to Western experts, the “fall of Bakhmut” is a measured risk by the Ukrainians and their allies. One of the main goals of Ukraine, apart from the return of the territories temporarily occupied by Russia, is the return of Crimea. It is in this Ukrainian offensive, if it takes place, that “fighters and Western pilots painted in the colors of Ukraine” will play a major role.

Russia will unveil the export Sukhoi Su-57E fighter in India - Su-35 fighter jet
Photo credit: Rosoboronexport

In this offensive, Kyiv will need not only its own forces but also Western help. Therefore, it is believed that mercenary pilots will take part in this battle. Their main goal will be to cut off Russian communication in Crimea, which would ensure a land advance. Experienced Western pilots are expected to attack Russian armor and command centers in the region.

Going back to the opinion of Lt. Col. Dan Hampton it strongly contrasts, but with an opposite indicator, from the opinion of Ukrainian pilot Lt. Col. Dmitry Vilhelmovich. In 2022, in a video interview, he says that the performance and productivity of the F-16 compared to his Su-27 are much less. He expressed this opinion after training on an American F-16.

Watch: Su-27s toss high-speed high-drag bombs on Russian facilities
Photo: Wallpaper HQ

Here we should note that the standard of Russian military aviation engineering is one. I.e. The Su-35 uses a similar design and integration but is significantly superior to the Su-27 model. “I flew the F-16 the first day, I loved the fighter. However, in terms of performance, it is much lower than the Su-27,” Lt. Col. Dmitry Vilhelmovich admits. It should be noted that the comparison is based on one of the characteristics that Russian aircraft are generally known for – maneuverability and ability in close combat.


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