F-35 BVR vs Dogfighting

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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sferrin

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Unread post12 Sep 2017, 20:43

SpudmanWP wrote:The motor itself, regardless of "wing time" has an expiration date, IIRC.


Why would the USN have expired motors onboard? And I'd be astonished if "wing time" didn't effect the expiration date.
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sferrin

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Unread post12 Sep 2017, 20:46

ricnunes wrote:" The AIM-54 was the very first of its kind - Active Radar guided missile - and thus as we all know when new technologies emerge they are some very big "teething problems" which got even worse since air-to-air missile technology in general was a bit on its "infancy" at that time."

"Well like SpudmanWP indicated, the reliability of an equipment (this case the AIM-54) which is/was on service for a long time (decades in this case) only tends to get worse as time goes by. Worse even when considering that the equipment (AIM-54) never had the best reliability to start with even when it was in "new and mint" condition."


So was it "bad" because it was too new or "bad" because it was too old?
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sferrin

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Unread post12 Sep 2017, 20:47

basher54321 wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:Wouldn't the motor's, and their susceptibility to vibration when carried, got worse over time and maybe that's the reason for the failures?


FWIW

From someone who was in during that time and is still in navy aviation...
VF-213 was intent on getting AIM-54 kills if a situation presented itself on that cruise. They practiced AIM-54 shots up to taking Southern Watch. The only problem was, a new AO (ordnanceman) had checked onboard recently with no Tomcat experience. (I don't have any either BTW, navy sent me elsewhere). He loaded the arming shoe? for all 4 AIM-54s on that flight backwards, so that when they were fired, the rocket arming pins sheered instead of being pulled. Each F-14 fired one, but once they dropped like Mk-54s vice firing off like AIM-54s, they cancelled the intercept. The Mig-25s were in the heart of the AIM-54 envelope and most definetely would have resulted in 2 high speed kills. They were doing the classic Southern Watch rule breaking of heading south ~ Mach 2 and they flying a half circle back north.


This (human error) sounds far more likely of a cause than "bad motors".
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Unread post12 Sep 2017, 21:06

I agree. I'm glad to get to learn about that.
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Unread post12 Sep 2017, 22:17

sferrin wrote:
ricnunes wrote:" The AIM-54 was the very first of its kind - Active Radar guided missile - and thus as we all know when new technologies emerge they are some very big "teething problems" which got even worse since air-to-air missile technology in general was a bit on its "infancy" at that time."

"Well like SpudmanWP indicated, the reliability of an equipment (this case the AIM-54) which is/was on service for a long time (decades in this case) only tends to get worse as time goes by. Worse even when considering that the equipment (AIM-54) never had the best reliability to start with even when it was in "new and mint" condition."


So was it "bad" because it was too new or "bad" because it was too old?


First of all the word "bad" is a tad too harsh.
But resuming (and attempting to reply to your question) I believe that the AIM-54 had some problems/issues namely with reliability (but not only) due to being "old" and "old technology".
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Unread post12 Sep 2017, 22:25

basher54321 wrote:
ricnunes wrote:
Moreover and if I'm not mistaken the AIM-54C or at least most AIM-54Cs weren't new builds but instead upgrades from older AIM-54A variant missiles. Also if my memory doesn't fail me the upgrade from AIM-54A to AIM-54C basically consisted in changing the data bus from Analogic to Digital so the rocket motor remained the same, a situation which of course didn't help at all with the AIM-54 rocket motor reliability.




The AIM-54A used an Aerojet Tactical Systems Company or Hercules Incorporated Mk 60 Mod 0 solid-propellant rocket motor, while the AIM-54C uses a Mk 47 Mod 1 motor from Hercules or Rockwell International Rocketdyne Division. Both motors are polybutadiene-based, but the Mk 47 is a more smokeless design.

AIm-54Cs were new builds and a new production line as far as I know (USN):


AIM-54C
Last production model. Analog electronics replaced by Reprogrammable Memory (RPM) digital processor, yielding
faster target discrimination, longer range, increased altitude, improved beam attack capability, better ECM resistance,
and greater reliability. Continuous-rod warhead replaced by controlled fragmentation warhead.

AIM-54C+ High Power Phoenix
Improved variant developed by Hughes for F-14D. Contains internal heaters, which eliminates need for temperature
conditioning liquid, high-power Traveling Wave Tube (TWT) transmitter adapted from the AIM-120 AMRAAM, and
low-sidelobe antenna. Latest version of RPM substitutes 6 ultra-high-speed computer chips for 45 of earlier,
less-capable chips. Full-scale development began in August 1987. First test flight of fully upgraded missile on 14
August 1990 scored a direct hit on a QF-4 drone.



Ok, I stand corrected regarding the AIM-54C variant.

Thanks for the info basher :D
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Unread post13 Sep 2017, 03:32

blindpilot wrote:From earlier
I let this slide, because the Dragon reply was spot on, but I need to propose a minor adjustment to it at this point

I just wanted to make that point, on the possibility of being sucked in by ROE issues. The ROE in that circumstance is if you don't listen to my buddy on your wing, you will die very fast, before you can decide if you want to do a "Cobra." I am absolutely certain that the hypothetical MIG 29 above knows this by the way, and has already called ahead to get a new change of shorts. (see Iranian F-4 intercept by the F-22)

MHO anyway,
BP


The BVR critic's general assertion that there must be visual Positive-ID (thus subverting stealth advantage via unavoidable exposure), is also more than a bit hopeful, tbh.

In the 1989 Gulf of Sidra spat, an AIM-7 BVR launch occurred after head-to-head mutual closure of 1,370 kt, with Master Arm On at 25 nm radius ( per standard procedure of the time) and the first missile fired at 12 miles, then again at about 10 miles.

A graphic example of how BVR really happens.

At no time did anyone obtain a visual, nor doubt a Positive-ID had been made, or hesitate to fire a missile, at BVR range, at two targets no one had verified were 'Bandits'. (this is what really happens then you tail-chase an E2 Hawkeye, in this case) There was probably preceding Intel of Libyan actions, received in the past few days, then OTHR and EWR observations, plus ship-based observations, then radio intercepts as they were launching the MiGs from an observed airbase, then E2 detections, MiG23 IDed via Radar characteristics, then hostile signals on RWRs, F-14s locking them up, from may miles out as warning to turn away (which they ignored five times), then BVR range launch at 12 miles.

The positive ID was indirectly and remotely made - electronically.

There's no ideal VISUAL POSITIVE-ID, in real-world BVR, unless there's significant ambiguity, and even then it may not take place (recall SM2 killing Iranian airliner, without positive visual ID, in rather ambiguous airspace circumstances).

I suspect even Dragon's NORK MiG29 would not have got in a first shot. People assuming BVR range and Stealth will be undermined by ROE or need for Positive-ID, better rethink their position.

"First Look, First Shot, First Kill", was the mantra of the mid-1980s, especially with regard to AMRAAM developments, as it, plus "Look-down, Shoot-Down", became the sales brochure slogans and selling points for more advance BVR capabilities of the future. Stoping for a visual gander to positively ID was not part of the concept.

As technology improves there's less and less chance that a direct visual check for a positive-ID, of bogies, will be made with anything but an EOTS-type telescopic sensor.

--

One further point re exceptional A2A BVR capabilities of F-35, that has not been mentioned here yet, is that the 3F Mission Data Files, will of course provide the pilot info on the ID-ed aircraft type they face, in A2A BVR range engagement.

Such as a graphical depiction, in the helmet's airspace, of the current manoeuvring orientation of enemy radar field of regard and range sensitivity with respect to current LO orientations of F-35. Same for enemy IRTS and MAWS, etc., to provide the lowest possible chance of a counter detection, and alerting of the enemy flight, or of F-35 passive missile launch being detected, in terms of fields of regard or range sensitivity, and prevailing conditions, obscurants and E-noise, etc.

Is there a better potential for exploitable BVR passive surprise ambush killing in any other BVR capable fighter today?

{Extraneous thoughts on this: I don't know what the F-22A can do, but I'd hope it has something like that. If not, I'd be thinking of saving money via withdrawing F-22, after building an F-35D, using the C's larger wing (6 x AIM-120E, plus AIM-9X BKIII), uprate the engine by another 10,000 lb for dry supercruise at 60 k ft, where air resistance is less on the longer wing, and that wing more supportive in thin air with more fuel. It will be lighter too (no bombs for air dominance ROLE) so trim will be flatter, cruise speed higher, range outstanding, supercruise of M1.3-4 capable, if you really need to move somewhere fast, MDF BVR enabled. You could do that after about 2028, and lose probably nothing in terms of BVR capability. A shorter and much smaller skin area 5th gen has better LO characteristics, at every wavelength, including OTHR and VHF, does it not? The longer waves are bouncing off the shockwaves, not so much coupling with the airframe, after all. I'd be seriously thinking about it ... *IF* the F-135 turns out to be reliable enough to have just one of them.}
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Unread post13 Sep 2017, 14:09

Human error, degradation notwithstanding... the Phoenix forced enemies to think before acting. Sure, you could make a case it was a great air to ground missile, but the Iranian claims/actual combat results gave Iraqi pilots pause. Recall that incident where Iraqi aircraft were sandwiched between a flight of USAF F-15's and USN F-14's?

The Iraqi's promptly turned into the flight of F-15's, which is REALLY saying something considering by that point in the conflict they know how deadly it was/is...
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Unread post13 Sep 2017, 15:30

mixelflick wrote:Human error, degradation notwithstanding... the Phoenix forced enemies to think before acting. Sure, you could make a case it was a great air to ground missile, but the Iranian claims/actual combat results gave Iraqi pilots pause. Recall that incident where Iraqi aircraft were sandwiched between a flight of USAF F-15's and USN F-14's?

The Iraqi's promptly turned into the flight of F-15's, which is REALLY saying something considering by that point in the conflict they know how deadly it was/is...


Yes, I agree.

Even because the AIM-54 was the "first true predecessor" of the AMRAAM which I believe is the world's best BVR air-to-air missile (perhaps excluding the Meteor).
Obviously being the first of its kind, specially in an age where technology wasn't nearly as advanced as it is nowadays means that the equipment (AIM-54) inevitably suffered considerable (reliability) problems.
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Unread post13 Sep 2017, 18:44

Not trying to be Sarcastic or rhetorical but why are the most recent Air-air kills all done Within visual Range.

The F-15 shooting a drones over Syria, the Turkish F-16 that shot down a Russian Su-22, the F/A-18E that shot another Su-22. Its not as if these advanced air assets had any trouble detecting, tracking or identifying these cold war relics did they?

Raptors nearly shot down Iranian F-4s and syrian Su-22s WVR as well.
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Unread post13 Sep 2017, 18:51

zero-one wrote:Not trying to be Sarcastic or rhetorical but why are the most recent Air-air kills all done Within visual Range.

The F-15 shooting a drones over Syria, the Turkish F-16 that shot down a Russian Su-22, the F/A-18E that shot another Su-22. Its not as if these advanced air assets had any trouble detecting, tracking or identifying these cold war relics did they?

Raptors nearly shot down Iranian F-4s and syrian Su-22s WVR as well.


I think that's more political related.....they are only allowed to shoot at enemy at WVR after visual identification and radio warning (for some case). Even in these case, SA at BVR allow the winning aircraft to have the upper hand in terms of starting position.
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Unread post13 Sep 2017, 19:33

ricnunes wrote:Even because the AIM-54 was the "first true predecessor" of the AMRAAM which I believe is the world's best BVR air-to-air missile (perhaps excluding the Meteor).


We don't know much about the Japanese AAM-4B with an AESA seeker and the Chinese PL-12C and PL-12D.
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Unread post13 Sep 2017, 21:15

talkitron wrote:
ricnunes wrote:Even because the AIM-54 was the "first true predecessor" of the AMRAAM which I believe is the world's best BVR air-to-air missile (perhaps excluding the Meteor).


We don't know much about the Japanese AAM-4B with an AESA seeker and the Chinese PL-12C and PL-12D.


Yes, we don't know much about those missiles but this is what it's known:

- The Japanese AAM-4B is bigger than the AMRAAM and the Meteor and for example, this to the point that the AAM-4B cannot be fitted inside the F-35's weapons bay while at the same time having a comparable range to the AMRAAM namely later versions of the AIM-120C like for example the -C7. This seems be an indication that the AMRAAM motor quite more efficient that the one found on the AAM-4B.
Another evidence is that the Japanese seem to be looking into a solution of integrating their seeker into the Meteor missile.
So even if the AAM-4B has a better seeker (and I won't dispute that, since afterall it carries an onboard AESA radar/seeker) it certainly doesn't have a better motor. So there's a possibility that in general and combined terms of range, effectiveness, weight, cost and even the ability to be carried on more pylons and more quantity on a single aircraft that the later versions of the AMRAAM might still have an edge over the AAM-4B.

- About the Chinese missiles (PL-12) I very much doubt the effectiveness of those missiles specially when compared to the later versions of the AMRAAM like the -C7 or -D.
Afterall those Chinese PL-12 missiles are based on the AA-12 (R-77) missile and we all know that these Russian missiles just cannot compare to the AMRAAM (even the earlier variants of the AMRAAM).
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Unread post13 Sep 2017, 23:01

mixelflick wrote:Human error, degradation notwithstanding... the Phoenix forced enemies to think before acting. Sure, you could make a case it was a great air to ground missile, but the Iranian claims/actual combat results gave Iraqi pilots pause. Recall that incident where Iraqi aircraft were sandwiched between a flight of USAF F-15's and USN F-14's?

The Iraqi's promptly turned into the flight of F-15's, which is REALLY saying something considering by that point in the conflict they know how deadly it was/is...


There was an account in the book "Gulf Air War Debrief" where a Tomcat pilot mentioned that incident and being frustrated that the Iraqis always ran from Tomcats. He also made the point that, "they didn't seem to detect the F-15s". This would make sense given the F-15s that got first priority being sent over were all MSIP IIs.

"The major part of MSIP II involved the development an upgraded AN/APG-63 radar, which is so much improved that is given the new designation of AN/APG-70. In this unit, the radar data processor memory was increased from 16K to 24K, and its processing speed was increased by a factor of three. The memory capability of the APG-63 radar fire control system was increased from 96K to 1000K and the processing speed was trebled. A Programmable Armament Control Set (PACS) was installed. The new unit has multiple bandwidths for high-resolution ground mapping using SAR technology. Several new radar modes were added, such as track-while-scan, which made it possible to ripple-fire up to four BVR missiles at separate targets simultaneously. The APG-70 radar also had a Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) capability, which makes it possible for it to detect and direct attacks on enemy aircraft without its emissions being easily seen by the enemy. The new processing power made available with the use of the new APG-70 radar made it practical to make use of Non-Cooperative Target Recognition (NCTR) technology, which provides the ability to distinguish more reliably between friendly and hostile aircraft. Much of the NCTR technology is highly "black" and very few details are available, but it reportedly makes it possible to avoid a lot of "friendly fire" accidents, such as the one that resulted in the loss of the IranAir Airbus in July of 1988. "

http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_fighters/f15_25.html
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Unread post13 Sep 2017, 23:28

Good stuff, so even back then there was a degree of LPI for the RWR of the time. Of course over time both systems get more capable to the point that 1991 LPI is a spotlight compared to modern LPI.
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