The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), planes arrive at Edwards Air Force Base in California in this May 2010 file handout photograph. (REUTERS/Tom Reynolds/Lockheed Martin Corp/Handout/Files)
OTTAWA - Back in his native Ottawa, a Lockheed-Martin test pilot, board member and former Canadian air force colonel is talking up the F-35 stealth fighter.
"What the F-35 has is more manoeuvrability than I ever had in the CF-18 as an air show pilot," Billie Flynn told QMI Agency.
Flynn said he has flown dozens of different planes, including taking the CF-18 into combat in Kosovo and testing the Eurofighter Typhoon.
He said nothing compares to the F-35s he tests weekly in Texas.
"I'm dramatically more lethal than I ever was in those fourth-generation airplanes," Flynn said.
While Flynn said it's important that the stealthy F-35 can often sneak up on enemies, he appreciates the jet's interoperability and that its sensors have a greater range than other fighters.
"Sensor fusion finds all that information, controls those sensors, tells me what's there and then it passes on that information to everyone else in my network," he said.
Canada is re-evaluating how it will replace a CF-18 fleet that is reaching the end of its lifespan.