F-35 air-to-air - Pro and Con

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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zero-one

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Unread post07 Feb 2014, 19:09

Thank you Mr Gums.

No doubt IFF will be done well beyond vissual ranges,

But identification is one thing, actually hitting the target with a Slammer is another.

A pilot once told me "the further away you shoot, the more likely you mis"

I think it applies even to super hi-tech Slammer Ds and Meteors, my question is, what would you do if a mis occurs, and you were flying a Stubby. deep in contested air space.

I remember the same thing happening with Israeli Eagles, after mising with their Aim-7s, they closed in and brought their other weapons to the fight (Aim 9s, Pythons and even Guns). Is that still an option these days? Plus this gives the Slammer its "Mad dog" mode and a seriously high PK
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basher54321

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Unread post07 Feb 2014, 19:22

Gums wrote:
Then there was "non-cooperative target identification" capabilities very "protected" at that time. Best I remember, the Tomcat and Hornet had a similar system.



Hi Gums - was that similar principle to NCTR? - looks at the at fan blades from a frontal aspect (I think).
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Unread post07 Feb 2014, 19:56

zero-one wrote:The F-35 is said to be able to match the performance of a Block 50 with a very light load, so if you were able to do this on a Viper with eggs (which Im guessing are 1,000 lb bombs) then the Stubby will be pretty comfortable doing a Bat turn with a heavier load.




Adding weight to the F-35 will affect its performance as well - it's the extra drag from the bombs/pylons that would be the main difference, and because the Viper is a lot smaller its very difficult to say for sure in the case of both having 2 x MK83 & 2 x AIM-120. ( I have seen anecdotal claims on acceleration only)

The point was though in the early 80s getting in close was probably expected >95% of the time (especially for the F-16) -
also the Block 10/15 could run rings round the adversaries as Gums stated and the missiles were far more limited.

Today the likely hood of getting in close is probably far less.

Hypothetically that figure could rise against an air force with numbers - but anyway Block 50 turn performance probably isn't enough even with a Helmet mounted system if suddenly in a merge with a near peer with similar close in systems. The IR missiles today far exceed the (barely) all aspect AIM-9L regarding launch parameters.

Therefore the F-35 takes another approach (if you watch the AAQ-37 video on youtube) - combined with relevant tactics (and yes am aware this is only a paper capability at the moment).
Last edited by basher54321 on 08 Feb 2014, 15:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post07 Feb 2014, 20:26

zero-one wrote:A pilot once told me "the further away you shoot, the more likely you mis"


I can see that being the case with conventional fighters, however the main benefit of L-O fighters, is the ability to approach your target unnoticed and fire from within your weapon's NEZ giving all the advantages to your weapon and limiting your target's reaction time.

It's the same as a submarine stalking another sub. If you do it right and remain undetected right until the point you fire, it makes it extremely difficult for your target to escape your weapon.
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Unread post07 Feb 2014, 20:35

Salute!

Basher and Zero have some good points.

As the 80's went, our displays got better WRT the "kill zone". So the Eagles and Tomcats and Hornets had good displays to show the Pk if you launched the missile then. Viper one called the "dynamic launch zone", but we usually fired our simulated Lima well within that "circle". The Hornet actually had a large "SHOOT" displayed on the HUD, and we laughed 'cause we didn't know the nasal radiators or marines could even "read", LOL.

Back in the 80's, the Eagle drivers learned that shooting at max range using their "launch envelope" display would not work at max range. We could do the bat turn and actually out run the Great White Hope if they launched at 15 miles or so head on. The missile starts to slow down a few seconds after launch, you see? Slammer specs dictated a better sustained powered flight from the motor, plus it didn't leave the large white plume from the motor. Under the rules we had in DACT, the Eagles had to call "Fox 1", as we didn't need real rocket plumes to clue us in. So do the bat turn and run away.

It always amazes me that Steve Ritchie got all his kills with the Sparrow ( classmate of mine from the Zoo), and Cunningham got all his with the 'winder. Steve understood the Sparrow very well, and if you see some of his kills, they were all within visual range and captured by his gun camera. He also fired two, each time. He had super backseaters, and they both knew what the Sparrow could do or not do. He set up the shots better than anyone except maybe Bob Lodge ( Oyster 01, and another classmate).

The Slammer is much better, and I think there's a video out there of the Viper pilot that nailed a few bandits during the Balkan era. The mid-course data link for the Slammer helped at max range shots, but best bet is to get within a few miles and you don't need any steenkeeng mid-course data link. The thing also has a "point and shoot" boresight mode for shooting across the circle and off boresight to "x" degrees. The Lima was very good in that geometry, and the Royal Navy Harrier guys told us they were amazed by the Lima during th Falklands. They did not believe all the PR about the Lima, but after a kill or two, had nothing but praise. We were de-biefed by one or two of them after the Falkland battles.

The biggie for the Raptor and Stubby is not having to have a good "chirp" before pressing the button. Seems the AIM-9X will solve those problems, but better to hear the chirp and then shoot.

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Unread post08 Feb 2014, 02:37

Gums wrote:Salute!
It always amazes me that Steve Ritchie got all his kills with the Sparrow ( classmate of mine from the Zoo), and Cunningham got all his with the 'winder. Steve understood the Sparrow very well, and if you see some of his kills, they were all within visual range and captured by his gun camera. He also fired two, each time. He had super backseaters, and they both knew what the Sparrow could do or not do. He set up the shots better than anyone except maybe Bob Lodge ( Oyster 01, and another classmate).



That's pretty cool you know those guys

At least Ritchie had the later AIM-7E and E-2 in 72 - think of Robert Blake getting a kill with an AIM-7D in an F-4C in 66!

Its safe to say the AIM-7D-F were pretty bad - the AIM-9L seems like the first good missile - but its unusually high ~0.7pk in 1982 seems to be a combination of good British tactics, lack of any countermeasures (or evidence of use) by the FAA (Argentine AF) - and as far as I can tell were all rear aspect shots.

There is a Serbian video with the surviving pilot accounts that took part in the 1999 conflict. One of the pilots recounts how they are outnumbered and in full view of everybody and hoping to spot the NATO jets visually in the hope of merging and using R-73s.............with the inevitable results. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLngqoBpWXQ)

This for me sums up one reason why the F-35 / 22 are superior A-A platforms - regardless of airframe/missile performance, used properly they should have an information advantage (in theory) allowing them to engage in a tactically superior position or avoid / disengage at will etc.
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Unread post08 Feb 2014, 16:26

Salute!

Funny, Basher, but I also know Bob Blake very well. Lives nearby and leader of the local Zoomie Protective Association, heh heh. First grad to bag a Mig and was my boss at Hill when we ramped up the Vipers ( had more pilots than jets for a few months, then were were getting 3 or 4 a week). Another classmate got one with the cannon - Karl Richter ( went thru UPT with him). A few others got Migs as backseaters, including one flying with Robin Olds on the Bolo mission. We were there at the right time for sure, then many went back as Ritchie and Lodge did ( and Gums).

Our Falkland debrief by the Brit was interesting. Some of the shots were from the beam and they were amazed at the missile's initial turn and then homing to the kill. I don't think they had the "slaved" seeker mode, but we helped them integrate the Lima on their Sea Harriers within a coupla weeks from the get go. WRT to the F-35, they flew the Harriers in very bad weather ( extremely low ceilings). One tactic they used was to follow the wake of the boat, and folks on the boat were throwing flares into the water to help. Cruise on up to the boat, then set down, heh heh. Should be easy for the Stubby to do the same.

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Unread post08 Feb 2014, 17:49

Gums, the SHARs/Harriers did amazingly well in the horrible South Atlantic Weather of those days. These days the BEE will have JPALS to guide them to a precision landing - perhaps an automatic VL? We have not heard about this auto VL feature since a 'discredited' report years ago now. [A decade ago the VACC Harrier did an auto VL (and many others at the time using a simulacrum of JPALS.] Once JPALS is in top condition it will be easy enough to find the ship etc.
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Unread post08 Feb 2014, 20:17

Salute!

I don't think the Bee needs a lot of cosmic auto stuff to get to the boat in bad WX.

A good ground map radar that can be used to "designate" the boat and track it would be enough. Vertical steering could also be supplied and simply hit that magic button for vertical landing mode as you cruise in. The Bee looked very comfortable landing on the Wasp, and the vertical landing we had here at Eglin showed the procedure. Sucker cruised in at 50 or 60 knots, then slowed and came straight down on the runway. Video is here someplace.

I still have to find the schedule or just spend hours up near Duke Field to see the Bees practice their vertical landings. Way it looks to me, they would do one, then go up in either mode, than come back around and do it again. The vertical landing pad is just off the south end of the runway, so a short taxi would make it easy and not waste gas.

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Unread post08 Feb 2014, 22:43

Gums, I guess my unstated point is that 'in theory' - with JPALS - with the 'auto VL' - the BEE should be able to land VL (finding the ship) in ZERO/Zero weather - probably not a calm sea either. GO JPALS! 8)

I hope you can take some of your own FCLP VL video? Wear your Ear Defenders! :mrgreen:
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Unread post08 Feb 2014, 23:56

Gums wrote:Salute!

Our Falkland debrief by the Brit was interesting. Some of the shots were from the beam and they were amazed at the missile's initial turn and then homing to the kill. I don't think they had the "slaved" seeker mode, but we helped them integrate the Lima on their Sea Harriers within a coupla weeks from the get go. WRT to the F-35, they flew the Harriers in very bad weather ( extremely low ceilings). One tactic they used was to follow the wake of the boat, and folks on the boat were throwing flares into the water to help. Cruise on up to the boat, then set down, heh heh. Should be easy for the Stubby to do the same.



Hadn't associated Karl Richter with a MiG-17 kill - amazing that they have now researched the name of the MiG pilot that bailed out! shame Karl's luck ran out later.

25+ claims for the F-105 vs. the MiG-17 - and mostly guns guns guns - that shouldn't have happened - shows you what great pilots some of these guys like Karl were.

Hats off for knowing these legends and flying the greatest jet ever - that being the Block 10 (did you ever get in the YF-16?)

Thanks for the info on the Falklands A-9L use - kinda reminded me of Boyds Attack study where he advocates the AIM-9B will lock onto the side of the F-100 - you know where the paint always burns off - not so sure the missile would have turned like the L though - gotta love pure turbo jets ha!

The F-35B will be such a massive upgrade - especially the ease of flying the thing. I think the Fleet Air Arm should rename the B to the Harrier III or even the Super Harrier - much more fitting :)
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Unread post11 Feb 2014, 01:10

Back on point: I sure hope the F-35 can handle the air to air load...

Because not even the US can afford the F-22, and these NATO countries/others are going to be relying on the F-35 to carry the load. I'm no fan of APA/Kopp, but if I'm Australia - I'd be concerned too.
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Unread post11 Feb 2014, 05:01

mixelflick wrote:Back on point: I sure hope the F-35 can handle the air to air load...

Because not even the US can afford the F-22, and these NATO countries/others are going to be relying on the F-35 to carry the load. I'm no fan of APA/Kopp, but if I'm Australia - I'd be concerned too.



The US wouldn't place the F-35 at the corner of its defense for the next 30 years. If, it wasn't 99% sure it was up to the task!

As for F-35 critics some like Kopp, ELP, and Sweetman have lost all credibility. As a matter of fact a recent quote from a USN Pilot flying the F-35C with VFA-101 recently said.......

"The only naysayers of the F-35 are the ones that haven't flown it or against it"

Which says it all in my opinion!
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Unread post11 Feb 2014, 07:31

mixelflick wrote:Back on point: I sure hope the F-35 can handle the air to air load...

Because not even the US can afford the F-22, and these NATO countries/others are going to be relying on the F-35 to carry the load. I'm no fan of APA/Kopp, but if I'm Australia - I'd be concerned too.


A lot of the countries that are receiving F-35s are using them to replace the lighter F-18 and F-16 multi role fighters anyway. I don't recall Norway, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Netherlands having F-15s or F-14s. The US, UK, Italy, have F-22s and eurofighters. so its Japan, Israel, and South Korea left that are actually F-15 users that aren't going high end with something else.

One of the big memes with APA that kind of spread throughout the internet is that it was "f-22 or bust." The law forbidding the export of the F-22 (I think maybe one or two other countries would have actually spent that much really) seemed to create a whiplash that anything less than an F-22 was unfeasible. that an F-35 would be "clubbed like a baby seal" or some such garbage.(remember this is the same bunch that wanted to create a super F-111) that set the stage for the constant comparison of the F-35 vs the F-22. Nothing is as good as an F-22, so that settles that, but being 2nd to an F-22 and ahead of the rest? no shame in that :D And I think that gets lost. I think in the realm of public perception it put the F-35 behind the 8 ball, and that didn't help with Kopp and co throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it. I think just like the F-18 and F-16 it will be perfectly capable of fighting in the air, and there is not some rule somewhere that a "lower end" multi role fighter like an F-16, F-18 or F-35 can't fight and win using its advantages against the bigger A2A boys like Flanker, F-15 and F-22.

Its going to happen, F-35s will get "kills" in exercises against F-22s. :devil: I know this because F-18s, F-16s, F-5s, Eurofighters, have already (providing the rules of the exercise allow them the help they need to merge) I can't wait for the day we see an F-22 in an F-35 gunsight and APA and EPL completely spaz out, and lose the one marble they all shared between the 3 of them.
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Unread post11 Feb 2014, 09:24

"spaz out". Yeah - I know what that is like. :devil: :doh: :D :shock: 8) Poor boyblis indeed. (boybli: Schwitzer-Deutsch for 'little boy') They'll just say it is a PR stunt anyway and say 'what about the cost'. :drool: :twisted: :roll: And it took X number of years.... :mrgreen:
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