F-35 and the OODA Loop

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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popcorn

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Unread post21 May 2016, 06:10

Part 3 was a bust.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post21 May 2016, 11:46

Some more ooda loopiness from sLdInfo... More at: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=20138&p=338895&hilit=Miller#p338895
Visiting the Pax River F-35 Integrated Task Force: Todd Miller Provides an Update
20 May 2016 Todd Miller

"...While the high level of “self-awareness” is a factor when launching and landing, it is also demonstrated an unprecedented capability to focus on mission. The very low observable (VLO) characteristics ensure the F-35 is shielded from easy discovery by hostile forces (shrinking hostile surface-to-air engagement zones), the sensors themselves are analyzing every emission — emitters, SAM sites, aircraft, missile launches, ground vehicles — and immediately locate and identify them equipping the pilot with a real-time picture of everything in the battlespace.

Watch your smartphone’s available Wi-Fi spots as you travel about? It’s a little like that, but much more serious business with the F-35 providing much more specific and critical information.

The F-35’s enhanced situational awareness provided by the sensor fusion ensures a superior OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act) empowering First Look, First Shot, First Kill by the pilot. Designed to operate in the contested environment, making the right decision faster than the adversary delivers a decisive tactical advantage.

The same principles apply to air-to-air combat, with the simple objective to kill the hostile aircraft before it knows you are there — rather than in a “knife fight.” The superior sensors and sensor fusion enable an aircraft that is as much “multi-task” as “multi-role,” performing Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR), air-to-air (A2A) and air-to-ground (A2G) activities all on the same mission without need to reconfigure.

What the non-classified audience can’t know, but have some indication of, is the non-kinetic capabilities of the F-35.

To what extent can the F-35’s active electronically scanned array radar (AESA) beam jamming signals, high energy chip frying signals or even a virus to infiltrate the unprotected emitters of a hostile force?

Such a scenario makes Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum’s virus transferring effort in the Hollywood hit “Independence Day” obsolete. We can only speculate about the extent of those and other unknown capabilities.

However, it is clear that the F-35’s sensor suite delivers unprecedented capabilities for electronic and cyber warfare in a fighter aircraft.

http://www.sldinfo.com/shaping-a-21st-c ... warfare-2/

The exceptional capabilities of the F-35 are particularly relevant as the USAF, USN and USMC prepare for future warfare in a contested or non-permissive environment. Unlike environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan where the U.S. has enjoyed relatively unchallenged air superiority, the military must prepare for future environments that will involve operating against advanced air defense networks.

Beyond attacking and defeating hostile forces in such an environment, the USN sees the F-35C as an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) platform that will relay data back to the E-2D Hawkeye, F/A-18E/F and shipborne weapon systems for launch of stand-off strike weapons.

The testing required to ensure integration and validation of flight characteristics is primarily the task of the ITF team at NAS Pax River, while a similar team at Edwards AFB focuses on validation of the mission systems...."

Source: http://www.sldinfo.com/visiting-the-pax ... an-update/
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post21 May 2016, 13:12

I think the author was not totally unreasonable in part 3 of the Vice news piece on the F35 though I disagreed with some of his conclusions. At least Ryan Faith acknowledged the Norwegian fighter pilot's report on the F35's dogfighting abilities. I feel that the author should have made a trip to Luke AFB to have a chat with the Norwegian and Dutch operational test pilots (F35). That will probably change the author's viewpoint of the F35 being a mediocre dogfighter (actually more like a nasty suprise for the F35's adversaries WVR).
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Unread post13 Dec 2016, 13:58

I think OODA loop discussion should be here instead of Trump & the F-35 thread.

Anyway, it seems to me that F-35 is the ultimate OODA loop machine. It basically minimizes the enemy OODA loop (stelth and SA) and maximizes own OODA loop. Enemy assets will be in F-35 OODA loop a long time before F-35 enters enemy OODA loop and in most situations it's likely that F-35 will never enter it. Besides, F-35 has features that makes it extremely capable of handling the OODA loop process making it very hard to overwhelm it:

1. Extremely capable and numerous sensors
2. Sensor fusion which fully manages all the sensors and all the information gathered from them
3. Unparalleled networking capabilities

I think John Boyd developed a very good theory about decision making, but didn't understand how to implement it in best possible way. That's not surprising given the timeframe he developed it. Stealth, most sensor technologies, sensor fusion, networking etc. didn't really exist at the time. However some very smart people did understand that and this is why all modern fighters are very heavy on avionics and systems to improve own OODA loop and features and systems to degrade enemy one (EW, stealth). I find it funny that there are still a lot of people around the net trying to sell lightweight day fighters.
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Unread post13 Dec 2016, 15:08

hornetfinn wrote:I think OODA loop discussion should be here instead of Trump & the F-35 thread.


That's fine with me! Seeing as how I was the one that mentioned OODA and the other thread suddenly takes off on a tangent... I must have affected the OO part of the other thread. :devil:

( For any future reader, this is the mentioned Trump & the F-35 thread. )

Hornetfinn, you expressed what I was trying to say, but in a much more eloquent manner.

The biggest thing F-35 pilots all seem to rave about is the level of situational awareness that the F-35 brings; even more than its low observable features (I wonder if those are just taken taken for granted now?) With it's God's EyeView of the battlespace, it strikes me that the F-35 pilot has become less of a pilot and more of a tactician. He starts thinking less about flying the plane, and more about fighting the fight. To me the F-35 almost becomes an OODA machine. As such, I would think Boyd would be ecstatic about the F-35 (as long as he could get past sticker shock.)

You mentioned "lightweight fighter," another pet-project or theory of Boyd's which was all about Energy-Maneuverability. I never have read anywhere about how the OODA loop theory intersected with Boyd's Energy Maneuverability ideas. I see them as distinct, yet compatible. Thoughts?

Lastly, growing up, I came across a board game called "Air Superiority." As I sucked in all the information I could about air combat at the time, I recall reading an article written, if memory serves, by an A-7 pilot. He described air-to-air combat in roughly 30 second chunks -- he'd observe the other aircraft around him, choose and implement a course of action (hard right circle, low yo-yo, barrel roll -- whatever) and then it would take about 30 seconds for him to see if things were working out, or if he needed to go to plan B. Later in life I read about OODA loops. Question: is the ACM/BFM OODA loop roughly on the order of 30 seconds? Or is it much shorter?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post14 Dec 2016, 14:16

steve2267 wrote:The biggest thing F-35 pilots all seem to rave about is the level of situational awareness that the F-35 brings; even more than its low observable features (I wonder if those are just taken taken for granted now?) With it's God's EyeView of the battlespace, it strikes me that the F-35 pilot has become less of a pilot and more of a tactician. He starts thinking less about flying the plane, and more about fighting the fight. To me the F-35 almost becomes an OODA machine. As such, I would think Boyd would be ecstatic about the F-35 (as long as he could get past sticker shock.)


I think it's because SA is the thing that is clearly seen and felt by the pilot all the time. Stealth is much less so, even though it allows F-35 to operate where most other aircraft could not. Of course the two complement each other. F-35s use both stealth and SA to get close to enemy and gather even better SA of the situation and environment.

steve2267 wrote:You mentioned "lightweight fighter," another pet-project or theory of Boyd's which was all about Energy-Maneuverability. I never have read anywhere about how the OODA loop theory intersected with Boyd's Energy Maneuverability ideas. I see them as distinct, yet compatible. Thoughts?


I think that too. I think Boyd made (or refined) sound theories in OODA loop and E-M theory but made wrong conclusions about how to implement them in real life. Instead of light day fighter without any serious avionics, the ultimate (for now) fighters from both OODA loop and E-M theory are actually heavy fighters with extremely complex avionics and systems. They are called F-22 and F-35. Even all other modern fighters are generally rather large, heavy and complex systems. Another thing is that air-to-ground capabilties and range/endurance has also been found to be extremely important for winning wars. Lightweight fighters are good for daytime dogfights but not much else. Having the ability to bomb the bejeezus out of your enemy is really great for winning wars.

I'd also say that getting the best out of OODA loop theory is far more important than getting the best out of E-M theory. This is because it's possible to get several orders of magnitude advantages instead of small percentage advantages. Not that E-M is not important, but getting decisive advantage through it is pretty much impossible.

steve2267 wrote:Lastly, growing up, I came across a board game called "Air Superiority." As I sucked in all the information I could about air combat at the time, I recall reading an article written, if memory serves, by an A-7 pilot. He described air-to-air combat in roughly 30 second chunks -- he'd observe the other aircraft around him, choose and implement a course of action (hard right circle, low yo-yo, barrel roll -- whatever) and then it would take about 30 seconds for him to see if things were working out, or if he needed to go to plan B. Later in life I read about OODA loops. Question: is the ACM/BFM OODA loop roughly on the order of 30 seconds? Or is it much shorter?


A real fighter pilot should comment this, but I think it sounds pretty reasonable in many situations. 30 seconds means aircraft move about 5 to 15 km each and thus the change in positioning would become apparent in many ways. However I think with modern systems the time varies a lot depending on what the situation is. In close combat it might well be quite a bit shorter and in long range BVR setting it might be longer as the situation changes comparatively less.
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Unread post15 Dec 2016, 01:03

With networked platforms featuring advanced sensor the "observe" phase would start much, much earlier.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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Unread post15 Dec 2016, 13:23

popcorn wrote:With networked platforms featuring advanced sensor the "observe" phase would start much, much earlier.

Yeah, an F-35 just starting up on the ramp will have a view of the battle space because the flight that is ingressing/egressing is sending it data that it received from flights in the fight. There are already stories of this kind of SA happening.
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Unread post15 Dec 2016, 21:27

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
popcorn wrote:With networked platforms featuring advanced sensor the "observe" phase would start much, much earlier.

Yeah, an F-35 just starting up on the ramp will have a view of the battle space because the flight that is ingressing/egressing is sending it data that it received from flights in the fight. There are already stories of this kind of SA happening.


I`m going to reinject my Waze discussion here.This discussion is still "trapped" in old thought patterns. "See first, Shoot first" is nothing more than going faster, higher, turning tighter type thinking. If we go there ("isn`t OODA awesume!"), we don`t get it.

My cell phone isn`t cool because it has Google Maps,and can see a God`s Eye view of the highways. It isn`t cool because I can ask Siri for traffic. It isn`t cool because I can ask for gas prices at the nearest station.

It is cool because it can do a whole new world of things I never imagined, since it has all the other things integrated into a single universal paradigm that never existed before.

My cell phone can tell me to "turn left," (because IT knows the traffic) while IT texts my son that I am running 10 minutes late, with a new meeting place while IT orders the football game tickets on line-downloads em to our phones, and tells us both what gate to be at ... etc. etc.

...and who knows what else, because I don`t yet. It probably can tell me that my old roommate, who I haven`t seen in 40 years is going to be at the game just one section over, and preemptively schedule a meeting with his phone for us to touch base again at the section 4 A concession stand ... and then ask me audibly, "Do you want to set up a meet there at half time?"

And if I say yes who knows what else that can enable?

Guys this is not about speed, and going higher and further, and turning, and Ooooooooo Dahs!

It`s about a whole new paradigm that will eat your mega fast OODA for lunch. That`s the F-35. It`s about wondering if some day the Block X software and new CONOPS doesn`t tell the pilot audibly ,
"Ummm pilot sir, before we start the mission, we had a stray SU-35 coming in from the south and I just handed it off to a South Korean corvette, and he shot it down... I hope that was ok.. anyway, there are some more targets ahead.. your orders?" and the pilot replies, "Well... if they are all bad guys then - `make them dead!`, and give me a minute while I finish this Sudoku puzzle!"

Just saying, Stop thinking like a 3rd gen fighter pilot, IT`S IN THE APPS!
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Unread post21 Dec 2016, 12:21

Boyd theorized OODA loop during time when every fighter was fairly equal in capabilities and nobody had really decisive advantage. Aircraft had generally quite similar performance figures and avionics were pretty simple for all. F-86 and MiG-15 were quite equal in capabilities and differences were pretty small although not insignificant. Same with say F-104 or F-4 and MiG-21 and MiG-23, although avionics started to make larger differences. F-15 and F-16 were quite a bit superior although not necessarily totally decisively so against latest Soviet aircraft although USA had something like 10-15 years advantage there. Su-27 and MiG-29 were mostly inferior avionics and weapons wise but flight performance was similar or even better. They were a real threat still and Air Defence systems were always very dangerous.

F-22 and F-35 take this to another level. What they do is they smash the enemy OODA loop so that it doesn't really exist. Their VLO stealth and SA make it extremely difficult to Observe any one of them, let alone most or all of them. Great networking and sensor fusion make the Orient part very difficult. They do not fly in tight formations, but formations are spread out over very wide distances. How do you orient towards that? With the first two, how do you Decide anything or Act to it? They make all enemy air combat and air defence systems lose most of their capability instantly by this.

I agree that the whole OODA loop concept isn't that earth shattering as even the 12th century Mongol armies used tactics that complied well with it. Boyd however made it one easily understood concept which is always valuable IMO.
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Unread post21 Dec 2016, 18:35

hornetfinn wrote:Boyd theorized OODA loop during time when every fighter was fairly equal in capabilities and nobody had really decisive advantage. ... How do you orient towards that? With the first two, how do you Decide anything or Act to it? They make all enemy air combat and air defence systems lose most of their capability instantly by this.

I agree that the whole OODA loop concept isn't that earth shattering as even the 12th century Mongol armies used tactics that complied well with it. Boyd however made it one easily understood concept which is always valuable IMO.


All very true, but it is crucial that today's airmen and commanders not get trapped in "kill chains," and "tactical planning loops." There are new options, that no one (certainly not me) understand yet. That's what the Marine pilots are realizing, and seeking to explore. Web thinking and new denial/kill concepts will emerge because all of the "features" have been integrated into a single node. Much like the numerous cell phone applications that have emerged, .. we simply don't know what's possible yet.

In the end, the head start the US has in this 5th Gen thinking will be the long term advantage, not how stealthy an aircraft is, or even sensor fusion, as stand alone capabilities.

MHO
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