F-35 Noise “Good to Go”

Studies of F-35 noise relative to legacy fighters will be released Friday, and will show that “on the ground, at full military power,” which is full power without afterburner, the F-35 is “actually quieter, by a little bit” than legacy aircraft such as the F-15, F/A-18, and F-16, F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said Thursday. That means the F-35 is “good to go” for beddowns in the US, he said. This “real noise data” should dispel rumors that the F-35 will be much louder than its predecessors. Part of the reason is that the F-35 is “very sleek in its outer mold line, without a lot of drag,” Bogdan said. Using afterburner, however, the F-35 is considerably noisier than its predecessors, as it generates 43,000 pounds of thrust. Its noise will be on a par with the old F-4 Phantom, Bogdan reported. Although its character is different, the F-4 noise is deeper than that of the F-35, he said. The differences, however, may be hard to detect with the human ear, which cannot perceive differences of up to three decibels, he reported. The numbers were developed in 2013 and “validate” numbers developed in 2008 with an early, pre-production version of the F-35.