High cost of survival in an air war with China

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wrightwing

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Unread post11 Oct 2019, 16:59

marauder2048 wrote:The big issue with FARPing is that OTH radars readily detect aircraft landings; they are rather unmistakable events.

A kill chain that relies on an OTHR cue to gather satellite-based SAR imagery of a landing site needn't
be especially long latency; the SAR constellations DOD was looking at a decade ago had average response times
(depending on desired image quality and constellation size) that could be as low as five minutes.

With MRBM flight times in the 10 - 15 minute range and average FARP times in the 90 minute range,
there's a lot of slack for all of the other elements in the kill chain.

Ultimately, I don't really see how the Air Force can avoid embarking on a major hardened aircraft
shelter building program or at least structures can provide protection from the submunitions dispensed by MRBMs.


I doubt there'll be FARPing, without prepping the battlespace (i.e. taking down/degrading sensors/networks, that would put the FARP assets at immediate risk.) I'm guessing Day 1 would involve B-2/sub launched missiles, among other kinetic/non-kinetic measures. The added benefit is that these would be the same sensors that threaten CVNs. Once the enemy's eyes are blinded, a lot more freedom of action is possible.
I also suspect that there would be feints involved, causing the Chinese to expend missiles at non-existent targets.
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weasel1962

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Unread post11 Oct 2019, 22:23

Under distributed ops, farp's gone in 30min. Flight goes in with a ground tanker, refuels, rearms and then off its goes on another sortie. Nothing permanent. If aggressor counter attacks the runway, nothing's there except concrete. Quick repair undertaken. Meanwhile flight completes sortie, goes to another field for the same. So even if aggressor can see the flight going in, they need to have an OODA loop that's under 30mins and strike at that precise moment. That's assuming OTH can precisely detect stealthy aircraft at 800km.Even if it succeeds, its only a small flight that's taken out. Can try to take out all runways, but corp engineers are going to keep some running at all times.

In that meantime, those small flights are going to take out up to 16 aircraft or 32 targets per sortie. There's only so much attrition any aggressor can take. By the time the USAF or the CVNs arrives, they can mop up what's left. Theoretically sound. In practice, practice, practice, practice.
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element1loop

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Unread post12 Oct 2019, 01:57

weasel1962 wrote:Flight goes in with a ground tanker, refuels, rearms and then off its goes on another sortie.


I'd swap out pilots and replenish stores on ground then immediately launch them, to get everyone clear of the runway and any incoming anti-personnel munitions risk, earlier.

Do all the tanking in the air. I don't see how a tanker on the ground is any faster, safer or more desirable, looks like more to go wrong doing that.

These 5th-gen fighters don't have to move in tight formation, except for when arriving and leaving the FARP.

In other words, as soon as they launch they meet and top-off on a tanker then immediately and individually proceed to IPs and launch. i.e. let the networked autopilot's of each jet negotiate the speed of each jet in order to regain a desired open formation, after such post FARP launch tanking.

And also have datalinked standoff weapons manage their own flight speed to achieve tighter desired TOT (i.e. when timing and position actually counts. Doing that should also make it harder to engage them in transit plus increases their sensors footprint feedback areas. So they come together just before terminal phase, but not before, complicating the task of defeating the attack weapons.

That way strike aircraft do not have to maintain a formation, and also launching weapons at different times, will not impair 5th-gen range as much, though it may attenuate the full-range of the weapons, somewhat. Better to sacrifice some range of weapons that way than to hinder maximizing the manned platform performance and margins though, IMO.

In this way fuel is not being wasted whilst loitering and awaiting other members of the flight to top-off fuel (post FARP launch). 5th-gen don't need a constant close wingman for support when they're not seen or tracked at BVR ranges.

And a formation that's strung out is actually more advantageous for the flight's sensor footprint and SA, plus also better serves networked data inputs. Plus a more strung out strike flight equates to longer flight tracking on contacts that were found and IDed along the route, for other flights to deal with, or to get a heads-up on and cue sensors and weapons, i.e. a more sustained air-supremacy will result and better cumulative tactical ISR dominance as well.

Plus if the tanker remains in the air at all times it can withdraw at 480 knots on warning, from OTHR, E-2, E-3 or E-7, plus pipe data via relay service to other forces, and provide F-35s on the FARP with continuous SA, plus relay warning of attack and a time to weapon arrival, to get people clear of a FARP in time.

If the tanker has 2 x F-35 Escorts configured for air to air (8 BVR AAM), then these have no need to even land at the FARP, they don't need anything. So the escorts would be able to provide tactical EA and jamming services to suppress ISR targeting drones or aircraft detected approaching or operating near to a FARP, thus to delay any effective counter-strikes on the active FARP. Plus they provide constant radar and DAS observations, SA and air defense for the still flying tanker, and for active FARP activity.

So only 4 to 8 strike F-35A/B need to land at the FARP.

All else is done by air-drop fly overs, and occasional quick in and out visits by support aircraft, to move people and kit.

It would be hard to approach and knock-out such a FARP that has a good SA picture, via an attempted OPFOR ground force, and OPFOR air, naval and artillery power are unlikely to shut it down for long. So OPFOR weapons would predictably be forced to concentrate on destroying the surfaces, and seeding the area with anti-personnel munitions. Which requires unmanned vehicles than can systematically remove any of these between FARP uses and surface repairs. So keep V-22 on the Island for evac of injured but store out of sight.

Not sure what to do about special forces from subs, except their time of arrival would be delayed by several days to a week, and random active pingers may deter a subs from approaching. Alternatively the FARP operates a mobile mortar, rocket or drone that can launch active sonobuoys into surrounding waters, at random times and locations, to relay any contacts to the network for a P-8A on station to address, or for a Romeo to follow up. At least that could provide warning of special forces within the area, and provide a response before they can get ashore.

Alternatively, an unmanned hovering drone with active dipping-sonar - but that needs a constant supply of fuel. An autonomous semi-submersible fuel-barge from a small-amphib ship insert may be the solution here, plus would provide a couple of V-22 with fuel for evacuation/withdrawal options from the Island.
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eloise

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Unread post12 Oct 2019, 06:20

marauder2048 wrote:The big issue with FARPing is that OTH radars readily detect aircraft landings; they are rather unmistakable events.

A kill chain that relies on an OTHR cue to gather satellite-based SAR imagery of a landing site needn't
be especially long latency; the SAR constellations DOD was looking at a decade ago had average response times
(depending on desired image quality and constellation size) that could be as low as five minutes.

With MRBM flight times in the 10 - 15 minute range and average FARP times in the 90 minute range,
there's a lot of slack for all of the other elements in the kill chain.

Ultimately, I don't really see how the Air Force can avoid embarking on a major hardened aircraft
shelter building program or at least structures can provide protection from the submunitions dispensed by MRBMs.


OTHRs are big fixed soft target, they will be juicy targets for boost glider missile such as HCSW, imagine some F-35 launch HCSW from thousands of miles. Immune to any retaliation
HCSW.jpg

Notice of Contract Action (NOCA) - The Long Range Systems Division (AFLCMC/EBJ) intends to solicit proposals from limited sources and award contracts for the development and integration of an air-launched hypersonic conventional strike weapon (HCSW) with both fighter and bomber aircraft platforms. Integration will include mission planning operations and support. The HCSW will provide a prompt (Hypersonic/Hypervelocity), precision strike capability against high-value, time-critical fixed and relocatable surface targets in a single or multi-theater challenged (A2/AD) environment. It will utilize Global Position System (GPS)/Inertial Guidance System (INS) for navigation and terminal guidance with a Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) warhead. It is anticipated that the contract will be awarded in the 1st quarter of FY18. The contract will include all necessary effort through Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD).

https://govtribe.com/opportunity/federa ... 218r0003-1


Flight-test infrastructure within the U.S. Air Force is evolving as a new generation of faster and longer-range air-launched weapons approach a four-year surge of flight-test activity.

By 2023, the U.S. Air Force plans to introduce the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon and the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon—which boast double-digit Mach numbers and a maximum range measured in the thousands of miles. About 40 hypersonic flight tests, including prototypes of new Army and Navy hypersonic weapons, are scheduled over the next four years.

- RQ-4s selected as hypersonic test monitors
- Wave gliders emerge as option for overwater tracking and scoring

As those weapons are evaluated, the Air Force also plans to introduce the Lockheed Martin AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile by 2022, which features “significantly greater” range than the Raytheon AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile. The Long-Range Standoff missile also will enter development in 2021. And the suffix “extended range” is being added to a host of air- and ground-launched missiles in the U.S. military’s stockpile.

For each such weapon, the Air Force must develop a concept and infrastructure to monitor and relay telemetry data from the missile over the full length of the flightpath, including the ability to terminate the test if a safety issue develops.
The Defense Department has conducted hypersonic flight tests before, but the volume of planned testing over the next four years adds another challenge. The flight tests for DARPA’s Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle-2 program seven years ago was supported by dozens of assets, including ships and patrol aircraft stretching far out into the Pacific Ocean.

But that approach is “incredibly expensive,” says Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, commander of the Air Force Test Center (AFTC).

The Air Force has developed a new concept to provide the same telemetry relay capability using a small number of high-altitude unmanned aircraft systems, rather than multiple aircraft at lower altitudes and ships.

“What we’re looking at now is an airborne array of RQ-4s that would enable us to do the same thing with far fewer platforms and fewer people, while still covering the same space,” Azzano says.
The new approach relies on antenna technology that can transmit telemetry data amid the sustained heat and pressure of hypersonic flight, where skin temperatures of the glide body or missile escalate up to 3,600F (2,000C).

The Air Force is also considering other applications of unmanned technology for long-range flight tests. The AFTC is an enterprise that includes: a wind tunnel complex at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in California, a flight-test center at Edwards AFB, California, and a weapons and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance test center at Eglin AFB, Florida. The facilities at Eglin include the Gulf Test and Training Range. The 400-nm length of the range is not long enough to support hypersonic weapon testing, but it may serve as a test site for new solid rocket motors and booster rockets developed for hypersonic weapons.

“I need to be able to relay telemetry, I need to have flight termination, I need to do scoring eventually out in the open ocean for where a weapon would impact,” says Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, commander of the 96th Test Wing at Eglin. “There are actually technology development programs going on to do just that."

One technology cited by Cain is an unmanned vehicle called a wave glider, which uses the energy from ocean waves to generate power. It uses that generated power to produce thrust, allowing the vehicle to remain in a specific location for weeks or months.

“If you put the right measurement devices on them, that’s essentially the concept,” Cain says.

The Gulf Test and Training Range is also expanding, with plans to install instrumentation from the Florida Panhandle to the Florida Keys. The Air Force has run fiber-optic cable about halfway down the west coast of Florida so far, Cain says.

“We’ve started an underwater survey to the Keys to look at where the Gulf Range extension goes next,” Cain says. “As the range increases, we’re going to use the whole 400-plus miles of the range more frequently.”

https://aviationweek.com/missile-defens ... technology
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marauder2048

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Unread post12 Oct 2019, 07:22

weasel1962 wrote:Under distributed ops, farp's gone in 30min.


I was going by "Forward Arming and Refueling Points for Fighter Aircraft" cited above which gives a lower bound of
one hour and an average of 90 minutes. That's fairly consistent with USMC timelines for
attack aircraft and their version doesn't typically entail a crew swap.

The stated figures are reasonable given practical limits to the fuel offload rates that can be achieved
with the small pumps that are C-17 portable. Same with weapon upload rates and
maintenance inspection/repair.

OTHR would mainly cue off of transport aircraft which are electrically (at HF) pretty large and
their landings (particularly short landings) are distinct; FARPs being typically conducted at night
reduces the usable ionosphere to frequencies that are less suitable for detection of fighter
sized aircraft.
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Unread post12 Oct 2019, 12:28

They need a better designation than -260. Should use single digit. It doesn't hurt to recycle old numbers from obsolete systems. AIM-5? 6?
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Unread post13 Oct 2019, 16:31

madrat wrote:They need a better designation than -260. Should use single digit. It doesn't hurt to recycle old numbers from obsolete systems. AIM-5? 6?


I'd like to know how they got -260. They aren't anywhere near that in the official designation system. (You wouldn't reuse numbers under the current US system. Of course they've completely f--ked that up with stuff like "F-35", "B-21", etc.)
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Unread post16 Oct 2019, 01:52

Re-posting a link Doge posted a few days back within another thread, that's also relevant to this one:

Q&A: Toward a Seamless Pacific
October 2019 | John A. Tirpak

An exclusive interview with PACAF Commander Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.

Q. How is USAF responding to Chinese and Russian long-range missiles?

A. The ability to disperse—historically, we’ve gone to places where we’ve got a big base with a big footprint. But I need to be able to go someplace that simply has a runway, a ramp—a place that I can put fuel bladders, some munitions trailers, and some airmen. They can operate that airfield and also bring in folks to reload, rearm, and move on.

We’ve been working on … a hub-and-spoke concept. I’ll disperse over a number of different airfields, over a number of different islands, and work the command and control between those to create a little more flexibility.

The more airfields I prove I can operate from, the more airfields our adversaries have to account for. We need to shift and move. At the same time, I want to do some counter-ISR and deception to make it more challenging for the adversary. It’s all about affecting their decision-making cycle [and] where they might target us. I want to spread out, so if we do get attacked, we’re able to recover very quickly, and still put pressure on our adversary.


http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArch ... cific.aspx
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Unread post16 Oct 2019, 03:34

A crew can lay 5000 sq ft of AM2 mat per hour. Consider how fast it would be to lay a 1,000 ft AM-2 runway (72 ft wide) with 5 crews. Then add the new lightweight mats that are both stronger and lighter that is supposed to speed up runway laying and repairs. Many, many more runways.
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element1loop

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Unread post16 Oct 2019, 06:17

weasel1962 wrote:A crew can lay 5000 sq ft of AM2 mat per hour. Consider how fast it would be to lay a 1,000 ft AM-2 runway (72 ft wide) with 5 crews. Then add the new lightweight mats that are both stronger and lighter that is supposed to speed up runway laying and repairs. Many, many more runways.


I'm tempted to say if it sounds too good to be true it probably isn't. I suspect the transit and build prep stages will take that optimal surface production rate down to a much lower rate, in real-world deployed conditions.

But assuming a 12 hour productive working day can be sustained, and that rate of surface production could be sustained throughout that 12 hours, that amounts to 833ft (254m) added to a runway's length each day. If there's sufficient approach and takeoff over-run available (taxi surface would be nice but I'm guessing back-tracking will be required, which may slow things down a bit), and the clearing and prep-work can be done equally quickly, this rate could turn an abundance of 6,000 foot runways into 8000 foot runaways, in key island areas.

But what size equipment in what density do you need to achieve that sort of production rate? Does the plant equipment and other fuel and material resources to actually create the surface all fit into existing aircraft? Or do those, or some of these actually need to come via amphib landing craft over a much longer time period, to achieve that sort of production rate for just a couple of days? If so, investments need to occur in longer surfaces and taxiways at key sites before a conflict. Plus forward pre-positioning of equipment and supplies for repair, extension and operating area enhancements from there.

AV-8B/Expeditionary (F-35B) Basing on AM-2 Matting Exercise
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=16017

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Last edited by element1loop on 16 Oct 2019, 06:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post16 Oct 2019, 07:06

What I'm getting at is these are maritime Islands with topographic variations, trees, streams, rock outcrops, varying soil types, varying ground water levels, varying ground aspect, varying levels of soil compaction (or lack of). The images above show the mat laid in a very flat, compacted barren uniform terrain, and it was also leveled with a sealed layer on it. There will be a lot of time-consuming prep to get a site ready to lay surface on it. The rate you can put it down on the ground is not going to be the limiting factor for how fast you can create a surface. If the clearing, leveling and compaction/drainage prep work is done before a conflict, plus pre-position materials, it would go much faster when needed.
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Unread post16 Oct 2019, 11:20

Agreed, will need a fair bit of land. Will need more land for an 8000 ft runway vs 1000 ft runway. There's also existing roads which just needs to be straightened and widened. There's a fair bit of agricultural land (which is already flat) in the Kyushus.

It helps when things are pre-planned. That's the purpose of oplan. No point waiting until something hits the fan.
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Unread post16 Oct 2019, 17:31

You can bet on it, that we've looked at all the spots where this could be done immediately, as well as secondary and tertiary spots, that could be set up with more work. There's no need for 8,000' of matting. F-35Bs won't need a fraction of that. For CTOL aircraft, you're primarily concerned with repairing damaged areas, which again is a lot less labor intensive.
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Unread post17 Oct 2019, 04:05

A conformal tank upgrade (or even a sleek low-drag and fairly low capacity ferry tank on inner pylons) and fuel-economy improvements from an engine-core update, could allow the F-35A and F-35C to cross the western 2/5th of the Pacific basin (from Wake Island and Kwajalein longitudes, to the westwards) without tanker support at all.

This would take pressure right off the tactical tanker support fleet, and would deliver much more tanking capacity available more often, in forward areas, to increase sustained strike tempo.

This would also enable F-35A and F-35C to return unsupported to more rear areas for deeper level maintenance, then to return again to the combat area with minimal tanker support needs - a huge plus!

It also enables F-35C to fly ahead of the fleet and join the attack from air bases, a week or two before the carriers plus their MQ-25 arrive to leverage the F-35C further.

This would be a very important advantage to develop IMO. It makes it easier to sustain early strikes and the inevitable increasing maintenance and repair needs for 5th-gens, while the enemy is still struggling to get much past the first Island chain because of the larger swarm of F-35s in the forward areas that can be quickly reinforced.

And the more F-35A and F-35C you can get forwards fast, without much tanker support needed, the less availability issues will impact forward operations. There will be a larger number of forward F-35s available earlier to perform key Strike, SEAD and OCA missions. More suppression earlier in general.

Wake Island Route
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Kwajalein Atoll Route
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The US Military Is Pouring Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Into Tiny Wake Island

By Kirstin Downey / Oct 16th, 2019

... Lt. Col. Rebecca Corbin, commander of the Alaska-based 611th Civil Engineering Squadron, acknowledged in an email that a military buildup is underway at Wake. “The increased activity in recent times is not an illusion,” she wrote. “There are indeed a lot of changes happening on that small atoll.” The Pacific Air Force Regional Support Center is “pouring a lot of investment into the infrastructure and the contracted support to that location,” she wrote, including a new contract that will manage airfield operations, accommodations for workers and public works projects.

The spending includes more than $200 million for facilities operations in the past seven years to an Alaska-based firm called Chugach Federal Solutions for what was labeled “Phase-In Wake Island,” according to USASpending.gov, a federal website that tracks government spending. In September, another Alaska-based corporation announced it had received a $470 million, 12-year contract for airfield support at three military bases, including Wake Island. In February, a firm called Aecom was awarded an $87 million contract for work at Wake Island. ...

In the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017, the U.S. committed $11.7 million for construction of a test support facility at Wake, at the same time it committed $86 million for a ballistic missile defense site at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, about 700 miles from Wake. The contract on Wake appears to have been awarded to a construction company based on Guam to construct a metal building that would provide work space for 60 deployed personnel during Missile Defense Agency test events. That same year, the federal government also committed $27 million for an upgraded electrical distribution system, according to a press release. The work on both projects was expected to be completed by early 2019.

In Washington on Monday, Navy Vice Adm. Jon Hill delivered a public presentation on the effectiveness of a March 25 missile defense test over the Pacific, where an intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from Kwajalein, tracked by what Hill called “two powerful radars,” including one at Wake Island. Two ground-based interceptors in California were launched soon after, and both successfully collided with the ICBM target and destroyed it, Hill said. Hillʻs presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, posted on a Defense Department website, suggests that Wake is being revitalized as a center of military operations in the Pacific as part of what is called a “layered missile defense system.”

Hill said it was important for the U.S. to beef up its missile defense capabilities because of what he called “near-peer competitors” who are designing and fielding advanced missiles that are harder to track. The U.S. is facing a number of new challenges in the Pacific, including continuing tensions with North Korea and increasingly militarism from China and an ongoing trade war. China has established numerous military installations on islands in the South China Sea, including airfields, missile, radar and helicopter infrastructure.

... Corbin said in the email that U.S. buildup has been going on for awhile. “Huge projects have been underway in the last two to three years,” she said, including the removal of scrap metal and tons of solid waste material. She said that the U.S. government has committed $120 million for infrastructure there, as well as repairing a taxiway and aircraft parking ramp for $87 million. A solar power system was also constructed, she said. “Wake Island has always been a geographically important location for military activities, including refueling,” she wrote. “The re-investments done of late are not to increase activity or capacity but rather replace aged infrastructure. After waiting years for investment dollars, the advocacy and planning of the Pacific Air Forces Regional Support Center is finally paying off.” ...

... He said the real significance of Wake is its runway because it provides a unique place in the Pacific where jets can be diverted to land safely if they develop mechanical problems in the air. But he said that U.S. interest in the Pacific has increased in the past three years as China has developed its own military presence in the area. ... “Operations have escalated in the past six years with missile tests and displays by North Korea and Russia in 2013 and 2014, and China’s new ICBM on display in the parade last week,” Gilbert wrote in an email. ...

https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/10/the-u ... ke-island/
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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