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F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 03:12
by gc
Air Force to reactivate aggressor squadron for F-35 training

The Air Force is reactivating the 65th Aggressor Squadron and moving 11 F-35A Lightning IIs to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, as part of a larger initiative to improve training for fifth generation fighter aircraft.

The action came after Gen. Mike Holmes, Air Combat Command commander, recommended improving training for fifth generation fighter tactics development and close-air support by adding F-35s to complement the fourth generation aircraft currently being used.

To support this requirement, the Air Force decided to create a fifth generation aggressor squadron at Nellis AFB and move nine non-combat capable F-35A aircraft from Eglin AFB, Florida, to the squadron.

“This move will allow us to repurpose early production F-35s to help train Airmen for the high end fight,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.

It also draws from a deep and successful history.

“Aggressor squadrons have been honing the skills of Air Force pilots since the early 1970s,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “They provide a dose of realism in air exercises and their training value is crucial. These F-35 aggressor aircraft will keep us ahead of adversaries for years to come.”

Aircraft transferring from Eglin AFB to Nellis AFB will not occur until newly produced aircraft arrive at Eglin AFB to replace them. New aircraft are planned to arrive at Nellis AFB beginning in early 2022.

The 65th AS, which previously flew F-15 Eagle aircraft, was inactivated in September 2014.

The Air Force will also assign two F-35A aircraft from Edwards AFB, California, to Nellis AFB to join the 24th Tactical Air Support Squadron. The 24th TASS is an F-16 Fighting Falcon squadron whose primary function is supporting and performing close-air support training. Introducing the F-35As from Edwards AFB will allow additional training for the F-35As as close-air support assets.

https://www.nellis.af.mil/News/Article/ ... -training/

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 08:33
by spazsinbad
:applause: Good news all round. :applause:

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 08:52
by hornetfinn
Great news! I was sure this was going to happen at some point as 5th gen fighters are just too much for 4th gen aggressors. This was much sooner than I though however and definitely better that way. Good idea to use early production jets for this purpose. Exercises are going to be very interesting from now on...

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 11:36
by gc
Interesting. Usually Aggressor pilots have deep expertise in adversary tactics. For F-35 aggressors, are there even adversary fifth gen tactics to learn about? The number of operational Su-57 is so puny that i do not suppose they have developed any multiship tactics. Perhap they will replicate J20 tactics?

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 11:51
by hornetfinn
I think USAF aggressors will develop working adversary tactics before any potential adversary does so! I really doubt Russians or even Chinese have managed to develop really good tactics for their aircraft as their very small number and being mostly prototypes or preproduction examples. Of course they probably have developed some tactics, but those likely need a lot of work still. IIRC, it took quite some time before F-22 tactics were truly developed and pilots initially flew them like almost invisible F-15s with great SA. I'd bet aggressors will develop tactics that potential adversary would likely use based on theri expertise on the subject.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 15:19
by viper12
Any idea if they will sport aggressor camo patterns ? Might make for even more confusion during WVR training scenarios otherwise.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 15:38
by spazsinbad
viper12 wrote:Any idea if they will sport aggressor camo patterns ? Might make for even more confusion during WVR training scenarios otherwise.

F-35 is able to keep track of all aircraft and their status within a minimum of 10 nm so no problem for WVR F-35 pilots.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 21:33
by vilters
Aggressors are there to simulate enemy aircraft performance and tactics.

But?
Euh?

We are 2019 and what 5ft Gen enemy aircraft is out there to simulate? :devil:

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 21:42
by SpudmanWP
Much like the way we do long term planning in our procurement strategy, we train not only for today's enemies, but tomorrow's as well.

Given that both Russia and China have 5th gen programs in active development, it only makes sense that we would do this.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 22:02
by steve2267
vilters wrote:
We are 2019 and what 5ft Gen enemy aircraft is out there to simulate? :devil:


Training for the 5ft UAV / drones the enema will be launching from 5th gen stelph teknikals. :devil:

:doh:

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 23:10
by citanon
Renderings show J20 livery

Image

I wonder if they can have custom Lundberg lenses to simulate specific RCS.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2019, 23:22
by SpudmanWP
Nah, just use the built-in training system that will just make the Aggressor appear on your display when appropriate based on range and approach angle. You will have no idea that the track is a simulated one as opposed to an organic one coming from your own sensors.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2019, 19:47
by Gums
Salute!

The observation about variable RCS is a good one. That is an easy thing to do, because all we have to do is "add".

I am pretty sure we could not have done a FLCS sfwe package for the VIper aggressors to dial in almost any plane we wanted. Back in the day we used the Cat III limiter to simulate a Flogger at subsonic speed. It prolly also presented the performance of many Gen III and early IV platforms.

If they don't enhance the RCS when using the F-35 as an aggressor, it will be like clubbing baby seals. And oh yeah, should the Blue guys wind up in a knife fight, things will get very interesting.

Gums opines...

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2019, 22:17
by spazsinbad
USAF to Stand Up F-35 Aggressor Squadron at Nellis
10 May 2019 Brian Everstine and Amy McCullough

"... [youse know the important stuff from above report] Scott Poteet, Draken’s director of Air Force programs, told Air Force Magazine the addition of F-35 Aggressors at Nellis will provide full spectrum training.

“There’s threats the Air Force needs to train against that can only be fulfilled by a fifth-generation platform, the F-35 or F-22,” Poteet said. “There’s going to be plenty of work to go around based on the adversary demand, and we’ll play our part and continue to increase our size as well to support the bottom portion of the pyramid, if they want to take that top capacity. It’s going to be a win-win for everyone.”

However, Poteet acknowledged the ramp already gets pretty crowded during major exercises like Red Flag, saying the company has had several conversations about how the service intends to accommodate the influx of aircraft. Draken, whose A-4 Skyhawks and L-159 Honey Badgers currently occupy two rows on the ramp, is expected to double the number of aircraft at Nellis within the next six months as its supersonic Mirage F1s and Atlas Cheetahs come online.

Poteet said Nellis leadership is expected to let the company know soon what kind of footprint it needs at the base. “The driving factors are how much space we’re going to have because there’s only so much real estate,” Poteet said. “In the end, there will be a top-tier F-35 squadron supporting high-end adversary requirements, then you’ll have the next layer of very capable supersonic F1s and Cheetahs, and then a lot of iron on the ramp with A-4s and L-159s, so it’s a comprehensive, integrated solution of government as well as contract.”..."

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... ellis.aspx

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2019, 23:08
by jaws
In 2022 hopefully