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

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 12 May 2019, 19:13
by Fox1
It's about time we fielded a high end aggressor aircraft capable of simulating the most sophisticated threats the world can throw at us...or in this case, more sophisticated than any threat opposing nations can currently throw at us. Perhaps the renewed emphasis on great power competition will breath new life into the adversary program and dissimilar combat in general and bring things back to the level they were during the later Cold War years. It seems our dissimilar air combat training capability had been allowed to erode considerably over the past 20-30 years. I'm glad to see that trend being reversed. It would also be nice if we could get a few Eagles with AESA radar into the aggressor squadrons to help simulate the most sophisticated Flanker threats.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 12 May 2019, 20:02
by spazsinbad
Another history story with details known from previous posts: USAF to Activate ‘Stealth’ Aggressor Unit

11 May 2019 David Donald https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... essor-unit

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2019, 02:16
by rheonomic
Gums wrote: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.


It'd be interesting to field something like the variable stability system on VISTA to represent threat aircraft, but the envelope the VSS supports would probably be too limited.

Theoretically you could change the desired dynamics in the F-35 CLAW to represent another aircraft, but the cost and schedule to implement and validate that would by cost-prohibitive.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2019, 12:44
by mixelflick
Fox1 wrote:It's about time we fielded a high end aggressor aircraft capable of simulating the most sophisticated threats the world can throw at us...or in this case, more sophisticated than any threat opposing nations can currently throw at us. Perhaps the renewed emphasis on great power competition will breath new life into the adversary program and dissimilar combat in general and bring things back to the level they were during the later Cold War years. It seems our dissimilar air combat training capability had been allowed to erode considerably over the past 20-30 years. I'm glad to see that trend being reversed. It would also be nice if we could get a few Eagles with AESA radar into the aggressor squadrons to help simulate the most sophisticated Flanker threats.


Amen, x2!

Have been saying this for a long time. I can understand using lesser aircraft because they're cheaper and may represent 3rd world air force threats, but never understood why we didn't train to a higher level threat. It would seem to make sense - if you can defeat higher end threats, then you could certainly defeat lower ones. Seemed to me like we were doing the opposite.

I know F-15/16 aggressors can simulate late model Mig-29's and Flankers. I know we have both Mig-29's and Flankers too. But finally, we have something that'll more than adequately prepare us for the looming confrontation with Russia/China. It's good to see, and can't get here soon enough IMO.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2019, 21:05
by wrightwing
mixelflick wrote:
Fox1 wrote:It's about time we fielded a high end aggressor aircraft capable of simulating the most sophisticated threats the world can throw at us...or in this case, more sophisticated than any threat opposing nations can currently throw at us. Perhaps the renewed emphasis on great power competition will breath new life into the adversary program and dissimilar combat in general and bring things back to the level they were during the later Cold War years. It seems our dissimilar air combat training capability had been allowed to erode considerably over the past 20-30 years. I'm glad to see that trend being reversed. It would also be nice if we could get a few Eagles with AESA radar into the aggressor squadrons to help simulate the most sophisticated Flanker threats.


Amen, x2!

Have been saying this for a long time. I can understand using lesser aircraft because they're cheaper and may represent 3rd world air force threats, but never understood why we didn't train to a higher level threat. It would seem to make sense - if you can defeat higher end threats, then you could certainly defeat lower ones. Seemed to me like we were doing the opposite.

I know F-15/16 aggressors can simulate late model Mig-29's and Flankers. I know we have both Mig-29's and Flankers too. But finally, we have something that'll more than adequately prepare us for the looming confrontation with Russia/China. It's good to see, and can't get here soon enough IMO.

Higher end 4th generation threats can still be simulated, using less expensive aircraft. Even if their organic systems don't replicate those of a threat, they can still have the same situational awareness via GCI/datalinks. We aren't training against 70s/80s level threats, in exercises. We still fly DACT between F-15/16/18/22/35s, as well as allied Typhoon/Rafale/Gripen/Flanker/Fulcrums, and even more elaborate training in simulators. You can rest assured that pilots aren't only training against kinematically inferior threats. Adding F-35s to the mix, will definitely enhance training, though. It gives our 4th generation pilots more experience in tactics against LO/high situational awareness threats.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2019, 22:00
by spazsinbad
"... It gives our 4th generation pilots more experience in tactics against LO/high situational awareness threats." Surrender?

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2019, 22:13
by SpudmanWP
Learn to use more passive measures to gain SA.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2019, 22:57
by Gums
Salute!

How many here have ever flown against the actual "Aggressor" folks, or have been one of them?
Quick, for sure, and Snakehandler and 35-AoA and.....

The biggie from day one in the mid 70's was the really super GCI that the T-38 (and later the F-5) had to get them to us. They had super situation awareness and didn't need onboard radar except maybe the end game. Think Mig-21 and a few later Soviet planes. DIdn't get better in the 80's. So everybody was flying around with radar in STBY, heh heh, maybe in search mode.

I only got smoked once at Red Flag by F-5, and no RHAW indication My wingie didn't pick up the bandit until he hosed me. It was like North Vietnam.

The biggie with the F-35 is it can have great SA without an air defense system. And it's radar is LPI and it can get data from a wingie that is 20 miles away. Scary, huh?
+++++++++++++++++
Reason I asserted we could not have "dial a Mig" for our FLCS was that it was hardwired analog circuit boards. The digital FLCS a decade later or so would be easier to implement, but those computers would be very specialized ones and have some kinda switch to revert to basic Viper control laws in a heartbeat. Very expensive and too many sftwe modules to give you a bad day.

What Cat III did was limit roll rate and AoA. So we could appear to be something less than a real Viper, although we could still pull 9 gees if going fast enough.

Gums sends...

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2019, 00:58
by Corsair1963
Wonder if the Aggressor F-35's will get a New Camo???

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2019, 06:22
by Fox1
Corsair1963 wrote:Wonder if the Aggressor F-35's will get a New Camo???


I just hope that they don't end up with a botched color matching job such as this abomination....

Image

Not even the damn Soviets would have used a scheme so ugly as the "rotten banana". :lol:

And as bad as that one was, I seem to recall one that was even worse back in the 1980s. I can't remember if it was an Air Force or Navy bird, but the colors were so lively that it made the aircraft look about as inconspicuous as a deer hunter in his bright hunter orange vest and hat.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2019, 08:24
by Corsair1963
I doubt the F-35 Aggressors would adopt a loud Russian Type Camo! My guess is something low key like the current J-20. :wink:


J20CX.jpg

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2019, 14:11
by mixelflick
Corsair1963 wrote:I doubt the F-35 Aggressors would adopt a loud Russian Type Camo! My guess is something low key like the current J-20. :wink:


The attachment J20CX.jpg is no longer available


This is just beautiful..

Having said that, nobody does it better than the Russians. These two on the SU-57 are gorgeous IMO. The "plane inside a plane" smaller image also gives the impression that the "smaller plane" has canards. Not sure if that was deliberate, but found it interesting nonetheless...

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2019, 11:33
by spazsinbad
Venom 19-01
15 May 2019 Staff Sgt. BreeAnn Sachs, 49th Wing Public Affairs

"HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- In response to Air Force senior leader priorities, Holloman Air Force Base’s 311th Fighter Squadron put their readiness and lethality to the test by deploying to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, for dissimilar air combat training with the F-35 Lightning II, April 22 to May 3, 2019....

...Week one of the exercise consisted of adversarial training with the F-35, both student and instructor pilots had the opportunity to dog fight with the Air Force’s newest operational 5th generation fighter aircraft. “Looking off your wing and seeing an F-35 gives you one of those ‘America is pretty cool’ moments,” said Colas. “We train against F-16s all the time at home, and don’t get to see the difference in performance (between different airframes). Seeing how good the F-16 is against even the newest aircraft is awesome and gives you a lot of confidence.”

In addition to flying as adversaries, 311th FS instructor pilots had the opportunity to operate as allies in week two of the exercise. “The instructor pilots flew missions directly with the F-35 on the ‘good guy’ or blue air side,” said Capt. Danielle Park, 311th FS instructor pilot. “The students are getting to see exactly what goes into mission planning and debriefing, which is really important. Personally, I didn’t get to see that until my first Combat Air Force assignment. They’re getting to see a lot of important mission sets that they might not get to see (again) until later on in the CAF.”

Venom 19-01 also aligned with Hill’s Combat Showcase, which took place April 30 to May 1, 2019. Holloman’s F-16s flew alongside F-16s from Kunsan Air Base, Korea, and F-35’s from Hill’s 388th Fighter Wing and reserve 419th Fighter Wing.

This is the first time the 311th FS’s current Basic Course students have flown with a dissimilar airframe, an experience many seasoned pilots will not have until later in their careers. “When I went through the B-Course, I didn’t fly against any dissimilar aircraft,” said Maj. David Abel, 311th FS instructor pilot. “The biggest benefit I’ve seen from us fighting the F-35 is not simply having F-16 pilots learn about the F-35; the F-35 pilots are learning about the things we can and can’t do. When they look to use F-16s in their fight they can see how to work with them, to make sure they get what they need.”

This is also the first time B-Course students from Holloman’s Flying Training Units have ever flown with the F-35. “The 8th Fighter Squadron did an instructor pilot TDY with the F-35 in Oregon in the summer, but there were no B-Course students or brand new Viper pilots flying,” said Park...."

Source: https://www.aetc.af.mil/News/Article/18 ... nom-19-01/

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 30 May 2019, 16:44
by spazsinbad
Air Force Will Use Older F-35s to Simulate Enemy Fighters
30 May 2019 Oriana Pawlyk

"ABOARD A C-37 MILITARY AIRCRAFT -- U.S. military pilots who head to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, will soon find out what it's like to go up against an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The service earlier this month announced that it is reactivating the 65th Aggressor Squadron and moving 11 F-35A Lightning IIs to the base to serve as aggressor air, or "red air," training. The move is part of a larger initiative to give pilots the experience they'll need in a high-end conflict.

While advanced jets acting as "red air" isn't new, the Air Force sees the necessity to craft an aggressor squadron made up entirely of the Pentagon's premier jet, according to the service's outgoing top civilian. She says it makes solid economic sense. "And here's the reason: We're talking about the early F-35s, so in order to bring them up to Block 4 [software configuration] standards, it would take about $15 million a piece to retrofit them. Instead, we can use them as aggressors quite well," Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Military.com in a recent interview. "We need to be able to simulate a high-end adversary, and this is a pretty cost-effective way to do it."...

...Two of the F-35s are coming from Edwards Air Force Base, California; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is providing the rest. Eglin is planning for new F-35s on its flight lines; its older fifth-generation fighters won't transfer to Nellis until at least 2022, the service said in a release....

...U.S. fighter pilots are eager to train against a stronger adversary. "The F-22 [Raptor] guys are hungry to get at a fifth-gen adversary like a [Chinese] J-20," a fighter pilot told Military.com in 2017. "The problem is, no squadron can replicate it unless you have dedicated fighter [squadrons of aircraft like the F-35 or F-22] acting as adversary air."

Pilots attend Nellis' Weapons School -- the Air Force's version of "Top Gun," stood up after the Vietnam War -- to train on the latest and greatest techniques. Using the F-35s "will allow our pilots to study adversary tactics," Wilson said.

"Right now, our F-35s out at Nellis, they see everybody so far away, and they kill them so fast, it is a delightful, unfair fight," she added. "We have to prepare for the high-end fight, and that means train our pilots ... against fifth-generation aircraft. We've got to do that somehow.""

Source: https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... hters.html

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 28 Jun 2019, 15:58
by quicksilver
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... f-22-64631

‘Nothing gets close...’. Interesting.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 28 Jun 2019, 16:38
by SpudmanWP
Typical NI... recycling someone else's 2-year old article.

Re: F-35 Aggressors!

Unread postPosted: 28 Jun 2019, 17:58
by jetblast16
National Ignorance :mrgreen: