What if F-35s were available in a Desert Storm Scenario?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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spazsinbad

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Unread post30 Jun 2018, 05:27

It was interesting to review an old video with F-35/F-22 {BERKE} and just F-22 pilots talking about how they can switch roles in flight very easily without that much stress & switch back again & then enable 4th gen aircraft to continue on etc.

Mitchell 5th Gen Air Combat - The Operator’s Perspective [Nov 8, 2016] video has been posted earlier by 'vanshilar':

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=52482&p=355956&hilit=WjTpqF22Ous#p355956

RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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weasel1962

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Unread post01 Jul 2018, 05:24

The lessons of desert storm were taken in before designing the F-35.

https://www.gao.gov/archive/1997/ns97134.pdf

If one sees the above report, the lessons included:

(a) Guided vs Unguided <- Now its multiple guided.
(b) No need 57k cluster bombs. <- Now its all PGM with collateral management.
(c) Reduced supporting aircraft <- Now its the right range with integrated sensors that reduces support required.
(d) Avoid GBAD <- Now its 40k sensors with standoff munitions

The question could be, how many F-35s would it take to achieve the same results as 1,875 aircraft in Ops Desert Storm? May not be that many.
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Unread post02 Jul 2018, 05:10

Salute!

Well, lrrp, if you want to see a real big logistics and aircraft systems nightmare, then go back to the late 60's and the 70's. Even early 80's. It was interoperabilty of munitions and the associated carriage/electrical/mechanical hardware/software.

Try employing a Harm on anything except a F-18 or modiied Weasel F-4 without adding dedicated boxes and wiring. Harpoon was even worse.

The "standard" armament interface got traction and we eventually got MIL-STD-1760 and a STANAG to enable NATO planes to use more and more of the other guys' weapons.

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SpudmanWP

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Unread post02 Jul 2018, 06:18

Thank God for UAI. It only took 30 years after the PC industry invented the concept for the DoD to apply that to warfare.
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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 04:46

Salute!

Actually, Spud, the NATO military started the interoperability movement well before the PC environment. Years before we saw a "peanut" or Tandy 1000 or Mac.

NATO and the AE-9 working group of the SAE developed the standard armament interface. The eventual goal was "plug and play" smart munitions, but first we had to have standard carriage rack lug spacing and such. We also needed to have a standard set of electrical and logical wiring connectors. Then there were all the specs for volts/amps/waveforms and so forth. Finally, we had to define protocols and such for data transfer and weapon control. I was there, and I went to the working group meetings in late 80's when developing the message formats and weapon arming/release protocols using the MIL-STD-1553 bus.

The 1553 data bus was in action well before the Mac or Peanut came out. It was deemed very good at the time, but bandwidth became a problem in the 80's. So the Mil-Std-1760 standard interface had the 1553 bus plus some fiber optic and video wiring to handle mass data transfer and such. The standard also defined with extreme detail weapon control safety measures and such. My job then was defining the control algorithms for the sfwe pukes while satisfying the safety shop folks that were used to relays and hard wired circuits versus remote commands using a data bus and only one wire for the final arming or release consent. The nuke mafia from Sandia drove us nuts!

Oh well, I would take a 16-ship of Stubbies and take out the IAD and assigned high value targets while having few dedicated A2A wingies alongside.

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Unread post10 Jul 2018, 05:02

Salute!

The biggest reason for all the morphing to A2G platforms back in the 60's and 70's was 1) Vietnam, and 2) diminished Pact threat of an Eastern Europe invasion.

The ATF debacle soured much of the HQ staff toward a "universal" platform,although the Double Ugly made a good case for multi-role (despite not being the best in both roles). The distrust of multirole and multiservice platforms showed up again in the 90's with the JSF. The LWF platforms ( 16 and 18) had inherent A2G capability, but not on the scale as the Mudhen requirements. The change in the threat and then DS helped move the Viper and Hornet more to strike than A2A.

Unless there is a conflict between the major powers real soon, looks to me that F-35 and its brethren in other air forces will be the dominant platorms for next 10 or 15 years.

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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 02:40

Salute!

With due respect, "Lurp", try the Clancy/Horner version of the air war and such in Desert Storm. It is rare to actually know many of the principles of that military action, much less to have been their IP in one jet or another. And I enjoyed watching them on TV that winter.

No doubt, the BDA and actual weapon guidance imagery played well in the press, and as no sierra propaganda. It should have also given potential enemies an idea of what they could be facing.

There should be no comparison with Vietnam strategy or tactics. The Storm was classic conventional warfare with only a touch of strategic efforts as we saw in WW2. And from my point of view, the U.S. seems unlikely to engage in a lengthy, protracted conventional war for as far as we can see into the future. So the mix of the F-35 with other assets in the air, plus an array of standoff weapons from ship and subs seems to be a realistic force structure for the initial stages of any conflict. I am not familiar with the ground forces side of doctrine or tactics as I was 40 years ago, sorry.

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element1loop

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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 11:40

lrrpf52 wrote: ... The hypothetical scenario of a single ship JSF up against the world does not mirror any campaign or initial push scenario I can think of, but I've only walked in one set of boots in my life. Maybe others have seen something like that. ...


Serious question, for whoever wishes to offer a viewpoint.

Did the F-117A operate in DS with wingmen, or without? Why? Did they move on to the IP as a lone-wolf, attack alone, then egress and RTB alone?

If ... the F-117A operated alone in DS and Balkans, how much more capable and suitable would the F-35A be, with VLO + EOTS + EODAS + MADL + Auto-detect, Auto-PID + Auto-Priority + Auto-Cue + SA + Self-Escorting + Agility--at operating as a lone-wolf, in the same place and time?

Does a swarm of F-35s, or even a two-ship per unit volume of air, exhibit a higher RCS and other signatures, than the same volume of air with just one F-35 present?

(I'd love to hear what an F-117A pilot, from DS era has to say about this, and what they would do with the F-35.)
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krorvik

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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 12:13

element1loop wrote:Does a swarm of F-35s, or even a two-ship per unit volume of air, exhibit a higher RCS and other signatures, than the same volume of air with just one F-35 present?


Hm. At least two options for likelyhood of detection: Close formation, it is likely to increase radar return from that area. So, physical increase. Further apart - it increases the chances of finding one of them. Statistical increase.

However - I'm unsure whether or not that matters significantly. Important question - any takers on whether an F-35 operating alone would be right given the right circumstances?
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steve2267

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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 15:16

krorvik wrote:
element1loop wrote:Does a swarm of F-35s, or even a two-ship per unit volume of air, exhibit a higher RCS and other signatures, than the same volume of air with just one F-35 present?


Hm. At least two options for likelyhood of detection: Close formation, it is likely to increase radar return from that area. So, physical increase. Further apart - it increases the chances of finding one of them. Statistical increase.

However - I'm unsure whether or not that matters significantly. Important question - any takers on whether an F-35 operating alone would be right given the right circumstances?


Isn't this line of reason "stuck" in 4th gen thinking? This isn't aerobatic flying where the wingman is glued to his leader's wing. We aren't even talking about a loose deuce where the wingman is thousands of feet away, or a mile or several miles. What I recall reading about nascent F-35 tactics and operational concepts have the F-35's spread out by tens of miles. The number that sticks in my head is 20 miles. A four ship would be spread across sixty miles, and would cover at least 100 miles or more.

In essence, the fourship is four separate lone wolfs from a radar detection point of view. (Unless the aircraft were in trail and the radar beam remained directly down the line of Lightnings.) Yet tactically they are one team or unit.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, add dollop of F-117 & gob of F-22, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well, then bake. Whaddya get? An F-35.
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krorvik

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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 16:15

steve2267 wrote:This isn't aerobatic flying where the wingman is glued to his leader's wing.


Of course. And even if he was, would it be significant?
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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 17:52

lrrpf52 wrote:
element1loop wrote:
lrrpf52 wrote: ... The hypothetical scenario of a single ship JSF up against the world does not mirror any campaign or initial push scenario I can think of, but I've only walked in one set of boots in my life. Maybe others have seen something like that. ...


Serious question, for whoever wishes to offer a viewpoint.

Did the F-117A operate in DS with wingmen, or without? Why? Did they move on to the IP as a lone-wolf, attack alone, then egress and RTB alone?

If ... the F-117A operated alone in DS and Balkans, how much more capable and suitable would the F-35A be, with VLO + EOTS + EODAS + MADL + Auto-detect, Auto-PID + Auto-Priority + Auto-Cue + SA + Self-Escorting + Agility--at operating as a lone-wolf, in the same place and time?

Does a swarm of F-35s, or even a two-ship per unit volume of air, exhibit a higher RCS and other signatures, than the same volume of air with just one F-35 present?

(I'd love to hear what an F-117A pilot, from DS era has to say about this, and what they would do with the F-35.)

There is some good file footage of interviews with F-117A pilots immediately after they returned from opening night sorties. From what they said, it made it sound like they were flying independently, but as part of a Squadron with separation between each bird.

The pilot being interviewed indicated if you were the first to strike, you enjoyed lack of any AAA being fired, but the follow-on guys get a light show.


Cheers lurp, I'll write a mini 'war 'n peace' long comment tomorrow on the concept, and what I have in mind with respect to the topic of thread.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 19:21

You might find this differed depending on the mission - According to then Maj Joe Bouleys account - he makes out that on the first night to Baghdad there were three waves of F-117As and the second wave had ten jets in it although no idea how far apart they were.

They were probably not taking chances because it would seem they expected losses at first. F-16s were tasked with SEAD for F-117s although expect from some distance.
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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 19:27

Also don't see MD about much these days but may as well post this anyway


Funny story of night 1 of Desert Storm, as related by one of the pilots who was later a civilian academic instructor during my time there. So whether stealth technology worked or not was really unknown for sure during night 1 strikes on Baghdad. This guy was headed inbound, on autopilot like he's supposed to [in the F-117, you're really just a WSO with landing currency], and he sees AAA coming up at him, in a barrage in front of him. He decides to modify course just a bit, but not too much from what was planned, and the AAA shifts with him. A few more times of this and the same thing, but he manages to complete his bomb run without getting hit. Coasting out of the area and crossing the line to friendly territory, he goes to fence-out, only to find out that his external lights are still on. In the 117, having been designed by engineers, the cockpit was not at all ergonomically friendly.....switches for related items were placed all over the cockpit. There was something like 6 switches and rheostats that had to be manipulated or checked in order to ensure that all the various exterior lights were off, and they were all located in different areas in the cockpit. Following his event, a single switch was installed known as the "all external lights" on/off switch was installed on the left cockpit wall, and named in honor of this pilot.
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Unread post08 Aug 2018, 22:28

Brilliant Story. Glad your guy survived. Those PVI peeps seem to have improved a lot since then. :doh:
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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