F-35A at Red Flag 19-1

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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spazsinbad

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 06:57

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

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 08:07

steve2267 wrote:Does Red Flag simulate or otherwise account for missile Pk < 100% ?



My brother flew in Top Gun. ROE was if you cannot break lock before time of impact, you are considered dead. I imagine if you're being targeted by an F-35 or F-22 with LPI and have no idea that you have shots inbound, it's generally a bad day for Red Air.
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ricnunes

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 15:05

wrightwing wrote:Aircraft don't fly around with their jammers constantly radiating, nor are they maneuvering against a foe, they can't see. The reason F-35s (and F-22s) can achieve such lopsided kills, is that their opponents weren't aware of them. An AIM-120 within its NEZ, against a non-maneuvering target, and no jamming, is going to have a very high Pk. That's the key difference between 4th generation fighters and 5th generation.


Precisely!


marsavian wrote:Once an AIM-120 goes Pitbull an attacked aircraft will be aware of it via its RWR.


Yes indeed.
However we must take into consideration the following when an AMRAAM goes Pitbull:
- This happens when the missile is already close to the target. I've remember to have read something around 10 nautical miles. This of course assuming that the launching aircraft hasn't lost the target lock (L&S target to be more precise) which for the reasons mentioned by others, this shouldn't be the case.
This means that since the missile is already very close to the target and closing fast, the enemy aircraft's Jammers won't be effective since the AMRAAM's radar should break thru the enemy jamming, again due to the missile being to the target aircraft.
- The same applies to evasive maneuvering. If the enemy aircraft tries to execute quick/sharp turn it will lose speed/energy and the end result will be that the missile will easily catch the enemy aircraft and the aircraft will hardly be able to evade the incoming AMRAAM/missile. Or as opposed, if the enemy aircraft's pilot decides to retain energy by avoiding turning much and accelerate then it will be much easier for the missile to predict the impact point and as such kill the enemy aircraft with relative ease.

Resuming, by the time that an AMRAAM goes Pitbull - if the launching aircraft still has the enemy/target aircraft as its L&S target - the enemy pilot's reaction time will be extremely limited, if any. What I mean is that in this case when the enemy pilot is aware of the incoming AMRAAM thru its RWR, this will probably be too late.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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knowan

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 16:29

I wonder if sticking a LPI AESA seeker on an AIM-120 would be worthwhile, to reduce time of RWR alerting the target of the live missile incoming?
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botsing

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 17:46

ricnunes wrote:This happens when the missile is already close to the target. I've remember to have read something around 10 nautical miles.

Do we have any reliable source for a more accurate time before the AIM-120D seeker goes active?

10nm to me seems still too far out and would give the target too much time to act.
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steve2267

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 17:56

quicksilver wrote:
steve2267 wrote:Does Red Flag simulate or otherwise account for missile Pk < 100% ?


Yes.

How would it serve the purpose of the exercise (training for real combat) to ‘game’ (i.e fake) the weapons Pk?

Really...think about it. Training for combat...life or death...not a tag line in a movie (‘no points for second best’) and they’re gonna fake the Pk’s? Really??


I had thought about it. Hence my question (to confirm). It seemed silly to me that there would not be some random roll of electronic dice to simulate the Pk given the launch parameters / targeting aspect etc etc. It seemed odder still, highly improbable, that a nugget with only "7 or eight flights" after graduating F-35 training would go four for four with AIM-120s when his aircraft only carries four missiles. (Or did this RF flight allow "unlimited" magazines just like the Red Air boogers can regen with impunity?) Shooting four AIM-120's would seem to suggest two or three kills. But four out of four seemed unlikely given historical AIM-120 combat performance.

OR... the reporting was lacking, and no one was asking any critical questions, OR the story was embellished a little.

kimjongnumbaun wrote:My brother flew in Top Gun. ROE was if you cannot break lock before time of impact, you are considered dead. I imagine if you're being targeted by an F-35 or F-22 with LPI and have no idea that you have shots inbound, it's generally a bad day for Red Air.


But... KJN seems to supply the missing piece to this puzzle.

Does the AIM-120 have the ability to remain in SAR mode and NOT go active? Better to remain silent and guide on the LPI returns of the F-35 or F-22. If so... how many shots can an F-35 or F-22 guide at the same time? Such a capability would require an LPI "seeker" -- the ability to pick up the LPI dar returns... But LPI is like "background noise"... so the AIM-120 would either have to be programmed (somehow) for the "guiding" aircraft, or... Hmmmm....

But AIM-120 also has command guidance, correct? F-35 locks & tracks bandit via LPI lock... command guides AIM-120 until last possible moment... when AIM-120 goes active. That makes more sense. If the F-35 were to go "active" with a traditional SAR waveform that the AIM-120 could guide on... it would reveal its position.

Is it unclass how many AIM-120's an F-35 can command guide at one time?
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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steve2267

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 18:16

Can the AIM-120 be command guided via an LPI waveform? If not, that would mean the signals from a command guiding aircraft would be potentially detectable... a stealth no-no.

Hmmm... I am probably asking questions that are treading on class.

I'll just call it ephing magic involving lots of maths.
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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botsing

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 19:14

steve2267 wrote:OR... the reporting was lacking, and no one was asking any critical questions, OR the story was embellished a little.

OR... The young pilot learned how to maximize his weapon potential and has the airplane to actually use that potential.

I agree, context is everything.


steve2267 wrote:Can the AIM-120 be command guided via an LPI waveform? If not, that would mean the signals from a command guiding aircraft would be potentially detectable... a stealth no-no.

AESA RADAR can "steer" a message beam with little side lobes, making the AIM-120D receive the message clearly well but keeping the targeted aircraft out of the loop as long as it does not cross that beam.

This aside from frequency hopping and other technologies that make for LPI.
Last edited by botsing on 16 Feb 2019, 19:20, edited 1 time in total.
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steve2267

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 19:37

botsing wrote:
steve2267 wrote:OR... the reporting was lacking, and no one was asking any critical questions, OR the story was embellished a little.

OR... The young pilot learned how to maximize his weapon potential and has the airplane to actually use that potential.

I agree, context is everything.


A quick search of AIM-120 / AMRAAM Pk yields numbers anywhere from ~43% (a Karlo Kopp special) to as high as 80 or 90%. A median seems to be around 65% give or take. If Red Flag models or simulates Pk, then without further explanation, going four for four is extraordinary.

In the Dutch thread, [Dutch F-35A Pilots] Out of the SHADOWS May 2018 PDF, the F-35's jammed the opposing F-16's radars without their knowledge, and guided AIM-120's from the blue force Dutch Vipers against the Red Force Vipers. This Dutch account raises two questions:
  1. Did the young nugget @ RF 19-1 have the old timer loft any AIM-120's at the bandit before bugging out? If not, why not? (Of course, maybe it was an A-10 and he had no AIM-120s...)
  2. Why didn't the youngster work his Lightning EW magic wand against the bandit's dar? (Lot's of scenarios there... again... context)

Perhaps the better questions would be: Did Lightnings use any AIM-120's from 4th gen aircraft to take down Red Air? Did Lightnings use their radar's to blind any Red Air? Perhaps a juicier, unrelated (yet related) question would be: did Red Flag 19-1 Red Air use any 5th generation air assets?
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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marsavian

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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 20:18

AIM-120 doesn't have a SARH mode. It is initially datalink guided to where its active radar can automatically take over and there is also a HOJ mode. Red Flag doesn't appear to mimic the active radar of the AIM-120 but it proxies for it by taking its simulated flight path and if it doesn't connect at the same point in space (evasive maneuvers) as the bandit or if the bandit breaks radar lock (beaming) then the bandit has survived. The fact that F-22/F-35 consistently get 100% missile pK in Red Flag is suggesting their radar/fused locks are not being broken and they are not firing missiles outside the NEZ.

Also remember that with AIM-120D the missile can tell the F-35 (at early Block 4) if its own radar lock has been broken and the F-35 can then send fresh datalink instructions. First with aircraft LPI AESA and then with EOTS/DAS/AIM-120D the AMRAAM just got more lethal irrespective of the natural Range/Sensor/ESM/ECM improvements of the base missile.
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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 22:16

marsavian wrote:Once an AIM-120 goes Pitbull an attacked aircraft will be aware of it via its RWR. I suspect it's very hard to simulate the seeker head of a missile going active on a simulated launch although I suspect the terminal missile guidance of an F-35 would be excellent via its AESA and EOTS laser and even DAS for HOBS shots.

The AIM-120 doesn't go active until the final moments before impact (it may not go active at all, as it can be used completely passively, and HOJ.) Presumably, the seeker lock, etc.... can be simulated. All the jets in the exercises, use extra gear which not only tracks all movements in 3D, but launch envelopes, and allows for cockpit warning indicators.
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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 22:20

botsing wrote:
ricnunes wrote:This happens when the missile is already close to the target. I've remember to have read something around 10 nautical miles.

Do we have any reliable source for a more accurate time before the AIM-120D seeker goes active?

10nm to me seems still too far out and would give the target too much time to act.

It's not 10nm. It'd be less than 10km.
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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 22:27

steve2267 wrote:
botsing wrote:
steve2267 wrote:OR... the reporting was lacking, and no one was asking any critical questions, OR the story was embellished a little.

OR... The young pilot learned how to maximize his weapon potential and has the airplane to actually use that potential.

I agree, context is everything.


A quick search of AIM-120 / AMRAAM Pk yields numbers anywhere from ~43% (a Karlo Kopp special) to as high as 80 or 90%. A median seems to be around 65% give or take. If Red Flag models or simulates Pk, then without further explanation, going four for four is extraordinary.





Those Pk numbers are against maneuvering targets, that are possibly employing countermeasures. Non-maneuvering targets, with no countermeasures, and within the the NEZ, should be close to 100% Pk.
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Unread post16 Feb 2019, 22:55

wrightwing wrote:
marsavian wrote:Once an AIM-120 goes Pitbull an attacked aircraft will be aware of it via its RWR. I suspect it's very hard to simulate the seeker head of a missile going active on a simulated launch although I suspect the terminal missile guidance of an F-35 would be excellent via its AESA and EOTS laser and even DAS for HOBS shots.


The AIM-120 doesn't go active until the final moments before impact (it may not go active at all, as it can be used completely passively, and HOJ.) Presumably, the seeker lock, etc.... can be simulated. All the jets in the exercises, use extra gear which not only tracks all movements in 3D, but launch envelopes, and allows for cockpit warning indicators.

Presumably it can be simulated but all the first-hand accounts of 4th gen pilots being informed that they are dead completely to their surprise suggests it is currently not.
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Unread post17 Feb 2019, 00:16

wrightwing wrote:Those Pk numbers are against maneuvering targets, that are possibly employing countermeasures. Non-maneuvering targets, with no countermeasures, and within the the NEZ, should be close to 100% Pk.


While not a hard and fast number, simple reliability of the missile limits Pk to something more like 90%. Even the most reliable missile ever developed, the D-5, has not demonstrated 100% reliability.
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