F-35 fighter not having a unimpeded glass bubble canopy

One of the F-16’s advantages was that it had a bubble glass canopy that wasn’t impeded by anything - as opposed to the F-14, F-15 or F-18, which had this metal rod thing that obstructs vision.

The F-22 apparently did the same, but then with the F-35 the decision was made again to have that metal thing (I really don’t know what to call it) that partially obstructs the pilot’s vision. What is it for - for a better canopy open/closing system design?

The F-35 has a system of infrared cameras that give a full sphere of coverage. The helmet display uses these to effectively let the pilot look through the floor or other parts of the plane. So it isn’t nearly as important to have a wide visual field of view through the canopy.

The helmet itself is a pretty amazing piece of technology
F35 Gen III Helmet

WAG the metal thing (I’d call it part of the canopy frame) is for strength.

This posting at another forum has reasons that sound likely but aren’t supported, so YMMV.

So, the canopy has a (composite, not metal) support arch because it’s thinner than the F-22’s. The F-16 has a support arch, too, at the seam of the two-part backward-opening canopy, but it’s at the back. And the canopy is pretty thick and has to be ejected separately before the ejector seat.

So: forward-hinged design to move the canopy’s powered hinge mechanism away from the lift fan area in the B model (STOVL). Lighter thinner canopy to be compatible with a detcord canopy-cutting system for faster ejection, needed for STOVL direct-lift safety-of-flight. Lighter and thinner but one-pieced means reinforcement somewhere along the arch. (Otherwise, birdstrike and such could be pretty bad.)

Don’t we have Viper drivers on the forum? I thought we did. I’m just vamping on what a smart-sounding contributor on another forum says, and we all know how well that may work out. :dubious:

Makes one wonder: What’s the risk of an ejecting F-35B STOVL pilot getting sucked into the lift-fan if he ejects while the jet’s in vertical-lift mode? I’m assuming the ejection propels the pilot far away enough that that’s not possible.

Pretty unlikely. That seat is pushing close to 15g s at full thrust and it moves very quickly. Have a look on youtube for video and you’ll see what I mean.