F-35: What The Pilots Say

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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zero-one

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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 11:28

Woah 6- 7 Gs without G suits? I don't know about that. I've read World war 2 planes like the Mustang and Spitfire pulling about 6Gs but thats the absolute highest for that era. When fighters started to return to combat agility, the F-14A had a limit of just 6.5G but was considered the best in the world at that time.

Anyway, Kinematics is what sets fighters apart from any other type of aircraft. Lots of planes have powerful sensors, massive networking capabilities and even stealth. But combine all that to a relatively small aircraft, make it fast and maneuverable and you end up with something that is much harder to shoot down than any other type of airplane. Thats why we can never remove the kinematic aspect from fighter threads, its such a big part of what makes fighters what they are.
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mixelflick

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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 13:08

zero-one wrote:Woah 6- 7 Gs without G suits? I don't know about that. I've read World war 2 planes like the Mustang and Spitfire pulling about 6Gs but thats the absolute highest for that era. When fighters started to return to combat agility, the F-14A had a limit of just 6.5G but was considered the best in the world at that time.

Anyway, Kinematics is what sets fighters apart from any other type of aircraft. Lots of planes have powerful sensors, massive networking capabilities and even stealth. But combine all that to a relatively small aircraft, make it fast and maneuverable and you end up with something that is much harder to shoot down than any other type of airplane. Thats why we can never remove the kinematic aspect from fighter threads, its such a big part of what makes fighters what they are.


THIS

Unless PCA fundamentally changes the game with no emphasis on speed/turning G's, it'll be a metric wherever fighters are discussed. Honestly, I think it's going to take either one BIG air battle or a full on war to cement the fact that fighters shouldn't be dogfighting. Not saying it can't happen, am saying it hasn't happened yet.

Russia still builds jets to dogfight, China does too. We have in the past, and seem to be in transition to a force that won't, or doesn't want to. I also think design teams don't want to have egg on their face if they build a whiz bang fighter that can't dogfight, then winds up in one and gets shot down.

Then again, they design to spec/requirements. Someone at DoD is going to have to have the courage to make that call..
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madrat

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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 13:26

Dogfighting mostly resulted in standoffs, not kills. Most kills were opportunity kills, catch the enemy unaware. Even during Vietnam, this truth did not evaporate. Communist planes were most dangerous fling out from the cover of clouds and jamming. Once recognized the usual result was not necessarily unit kills against the MiGs. And the U.S. fighters enjoyed significant energy and endurance advantages, not maneuverability advantages. You really have to have energy and endurance advantages once both sides are aware of the engagement. Otherwise anytime you catch an enemy unaware you have the greatest chance for victory.
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zero-one

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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 14:16

mixelflick wrote:Russia still builds jets to dogfight, China does too. We have in the past, and seem to be in transition to a force that won't, or doesn't want to. I also think design teams don't want to have egg on their face if they build a whiz bang fighter that can't dogfight, then winds up in one and gets shot down.


I agree with your initial points but not so much with this one. These are the kinds of statements that make American aircraft look like they are less capable in WVR than Russian/Chinese aircraft.

I often hear Indians say that American aircraft are inherently less capable in a dogfight because of the American belief that they will never have to dogfight due to Stealth. I have shot down these statements left and right.

Everyone tries to make their fighter have the best of both worlds. BVR and WVR. The Russians/Chinese don't have the technological advancements of the US so they try a different approach for BVR in the form of ram jet powered BVRAAMs and integrated IRST systems as well as fighters with massive radars.
its not true that Russians focus on WVR, it only looks that way because they have no choice, shooting a stealth fighter at BVR ranges is nearly impossible so they're best bet is to close in and hope for the best.

The US on the other hand continues to invest in very high performance engines to continue their E-M advantage over the Russians. If you look at the most advanced fighters between the US, Russia and China. Tell me which group would have the most advantage in a dogfight.

USA
F-22
F-35
F/A-18E
F-15X
F-16V

Russia
Su-57
Su-35
Su-30
Su-27SM3
Mig-35

China
J-20
J-16
J-11
J-10

I'd say team USA has a pretty commanding lead in dogfighting capabilities just on aircraft performance alone.
I'm not saying they will want to dogfight because no one does, even the Russians don't want to dogfight. But if it came to that, American fighters are built to be better dog fighters than anyone else's fighters. By the way I'm not an American so this isn't nationalistic chest thumping.
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mixelflick

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Unread post28 Mar 2019, 12:31

We'll probably be crucified for speaking about dogfighting but oh well...

I understand and agree with your point. Because of superior engines, American aircraft will have the E-M advantage. Somehow though (probably the youtube effect), Russian fighters are judged superior WVR. Up until just recently, they certainly did the flippity flop thing more convincingly. Most people will look at this and think, "OMG, no other aircraft stands a chance". Whereas in reality, neither aircraft really stands a chance given dogfights will in all likelihood be mutual kill events.

100% agree Russians will crow about dogfights simply because they don't do the BVR thing very well, and their stealth technology just isn't there. They have access to the same data we do though, showing mostly BVR kills over the past 25 years. They know, deep down what that data means.

But they need to sell airplanes too, and can't really point to their air to air combat record. Youtube has been their great equalizer, as it dramatically magnifies the perception that airshow tumblers = the best.
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zero-one

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Unread post31 Mar 2019, 12:56

mixelflick wrote:We'll probably be crucified for speaking about dogfighting but oh well...


we survived :pint:

Anyway, I'd like to add, I think some of the things that are intended for BVR superiority end up being useful in WVR as well.
Internal weapons bays for VLO, ended up giving you 0 parasitic drag.

high alpha capability which I'm convinced is for high Inst turns, useful for both BVR and WVR.

Not sure how accurate this is, but DCS seems to make it look like BVR involves far more maneuvering than most people think.
To pilots out there, do BVR tactics really involve this much high energy maneuvering?
Rather, Is maneuverability really relevant in BVR combat

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mixelflick

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Unread post31 Mar 2019, 13:00

zero-one wrote:
mixelflick wrote:We'll probably be crucified for speaking about dogfighting but oh well...


we survived :pint:

Anyway, I'd like to add, I think some of the things that are intended for BVR superiority end up being useful in WVR as well.
Internal weapons bays for VLO, ended up giving you 0 parasitic drag.

high alpha capability which I'm convinced is for high Inst turns, useful for both BVR and WVR.

Not sure how accurate this is, but DCS seems to make it look like BVR involves far more maneuvering than most people think.
To pilots out there, do BVR tactics really involve this much high energy maneuvering?
Rather, Is maneuverability really relevant in BVR combat

Really good points about certain BVR qualities lending themselves to WVR, esp inst turns. In fact, I think the high inst turns of the new F-35 demo are the most impressive part of the display!

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Unread post01 Apr 2019, 12:26

I think F-35 is really exceptional fighter even in WVR situation. It has very good flight performance all around and has excellent nose-pointing ability and very carefree handling according to pilots (even compared to other modern jets). It also has very good acceleration and power, about as good as any according to pilots who have flown jets like F-22 and EF Typhoon. Su-27 derivatives also have good nose-pointing ability, especially the TVC equipped ones. But only Su-35 seem to have the power to quickly accelerate after said maneuvers. Also many of the maneuvers seem to be less controlled than in F-35, F-22 or Super Hornet. That could be my wrong interpretation about them though.

Compared to Russian IR missiles, AIM-9X and ASRAAM are clearly better with much more capable imaging seekers, LOAL and better maneveuverability. Sure R-73 derivatives are still very dangerous missiles, but they are definitely starting to show their age even with upgrades. Not idea about how Chinese missiles compare.

F-35 has EO DAS and the best helmet mounted system in any fighter jet. These (and other sensors and sensor fusion) will make sure that F-35 pilot will have superior SA even in WVR fight compared to any other jet in all conditions. This will be extremely important in real world WVR combat where confusion and ID problems seem to be rather common.

So I don't think Western designers have forgotten WVR combat (or "dogfighting"). For example F-35 seems to have all the tools to be really dangerous even to best WVR machines out there. But it's just a small part of the overall capabilties it has.
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Unread post01 Apr 2019, 13:10

Well said...
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Unread post10 May 2019, 16:26

I absolutely knew this would happen based upon my own experience transitioning firstly from a radial prop SLOW trainer to a WWII era first jet fighter trainer to an A4G Skyhawk (fifty years ago now) - WHY WON'T THIS THING GO FASTER! :mrgreen:
Visiting the Warlords: An April 2019 Update from the CO of VMFAT-501
29 Apr 2019 Robbin Laird

"...He [Lt. Col. Adam Levine, the CO of VMFAT-501] made the point that the “newbies” had never experienced the much more pilot intensive processing of data which legacy pilots do, expected their machines to work in ways that could facilitate what they wanted to do, but to do them faster.

In other words, they already assumed the new baseline of man-machine interaction and wanted that interaction to speed up.
…"

Source: https://sldinfo.com/2019/04/visiting-th ... vmfat-501/
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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