It’s always amazing to see complex machinery and the heat they generate through the lens of a thermal camera, the Lockheed Martin F-35 is no exception! The F-35 is a state-of-the-art stealth multirole fighter, and this particular model allows for vertical landing (as you’ll see in the “hottest” part of the video!)
This footage was captured using the FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HDc during a flight demonstration at last month’s Farnborough International Air Show.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The footage above illustrates why the F-35 is easily detectable despite its much-hyped radar “stealth:” it generates so much heat that it is visible at long ranges by thermal imaging sensors, such as the infra-red scan and track (IRST) sensors fitted to most combat aircraft made outside the US.
It also begs the question of how Lockheed designers – and the Pentagon -- can have believed their own “stealth” claims to the point of ignoring the F-35’s infra-red signature, which negates all gains made in the radar spectrum.
Incidentally, it also makes one wonder how US military aviation chiefs could have accepted an entire generation of combat aircraft without IRST sensors they are now belatedly trying to retrofit.
In the video, the switch from visible to thermal imaging, at the 10 second mark, is especially telling (hotter is whitest).
To coin a phrase, it stands out like a blowtorch in a dark room.
Throughout its modest flight display, the aircraft – an F-35B STOVL variant -- generated an incredible amount of heat, which makes it easily detectable from any angle by any thermal imaging sensor, including IR binoculars and sights that are widely distributed on the modern battlefield.)