06/20/2016: F-16s fly with F-35s every day at Luke AFB.
In this video from the 56th fighter wing, one such flight is portrayed.
During our visit to Edwards AFB, we discussed the F-35 working with the F-35 with Lt. Col. Raj Chari:
Question: We discussed the so-called F-16 and F-35 dogfight with colleagues earlier today, what is your take on this amazingly blown out of context story?
Answer: My first week here that story came out. I found the whole thing amazing because it did not even involve a simulated combat sortie. We were going after some particular test points.
The F-16 was simply a test aid, not in a dogfight with the F-35.
The story was simply spun and used by those who like to spin stories.
Because this happened just after I got here, I reached back to the leadership to determine whether this would have a chilling effect on our pilot reporting and discussions and was given clear guidance that we were not testing in response to the press, we were testing to evolve the aircraft.
That was made very clear from the top down. We are looking for accurate test and evolution of the aircraft, not a managed press campaign. Somebody else’s distortions are not going to deter our discussions.
And really, discussing the F-16 with the F-35 would be like a horse cavalry officer discussing the tank during the First World War.
You know the tank can not jump across the trench like a horse does!
That is correct and absolutely irrelevant.
The USAF Chief of Staff has us focused on the target of dominance in 2035 and not just carrying the legacy approach and fleet forward. The F-35 is a big part of that forward thinking.