High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 14 Sep 2019, 08:02
by element1loop
The high cost of survival in an air war with China

13 September, 2019

SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com
BY: Garrett Reim Los Angeles

To gain the upper hand in air combat, it is often better to focus on the ground. That was the opinion of one early air power theorist; as General Giulio Douhet of the Italian army noted in 1921: "It is easier and more effective to destroy the enemy's aerial power by destroying his nests and eggs on the ground than to hunt his flying birds in the air." And for the better part of the past century, Douhet's maxim has shaped US Air Force (USAF) strategy, as its commanders have sought to make their air bases fortified and resilient against attack.

That philosophy prevailed until threats to US air bases all but disappeared with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Over the past three decades, the service has focused its efforts on seeking efficiencies through consolidating operations to fewer, larger airfields.

But the era of efficiencies might now be over. As China buys and builds new long-range fighters, bombers, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles – as well as far-sighted satellites and surveillance aircraft – the USA is revisiting the idea of the vulnerable air base. A string of US and Allied facilities in the Western Pacific, including areas as far from any homeland as Andersen AFB in Guam are now viewed as exposed to potential attack from Beijing.

According to an August 2019 report by United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia: "This growing arsenal of accurate long-range missiles poses a major threat to almost all American, allied and partner bases, airstrips, ports and military installations in the Western Pacific. "As these facilities could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict, the [Chinese] missile threat challenges America's ability to freely operate its forces from forward locations throughout the region.

In response, the USAF is considering a new strategy known as distributed operations, a concept that calls for the service to operate from a greater number of more spread out air bases, of sizes small and large, so as to increase the number of targets an adversary would need to attack. In other words, the USAF has decided not to put all of its eggs in one basket.

BETTER ODDS

The distributed operations concept increases the odds of aircraft surviving or avoiding being attacked, according to a USAF-commissioned study by the RAND Corporation, which was released to the public in July 2019. "It's tough to defend, to defeat a… precision cruise missile with a big warhead," says RAND Corporation senior political scientist Alan Vick, one of the study's co-authors. "But then, it's very costly for them to have a weapon of that size and quality against every aircraft (and) location."

Distributed operations are also costly for the USA, however. As the report observes, more bases means more resources: anti-aircraft weapons, ammunition depots, communications equipment, fuel storage, aircraft hangars, maintenance personnel, soldiers to defend the airfield perimeter and headquarters staff. It could also mean a decentralised command and control structure, which could be complex and reliant on communications that are vulnerable to cyberattack.

To make such a strategy work, the USAF could use a mixture of three types of air bases: a stay-and-fight base, a drop-in facility and a fighter forward arming and refuelling point (FARP), says the RAND Corporation. The mixture of bases would have different strengths and weaknesses for various missions, given the available geography and resources the service has access to during a conflict.

A stay-and-fight base would likely be the furthest from combat zones and the most heavily fortified with active and passive defences. Active defences might include Patriot missiles for air defence and a THAAD high-altitude anti-ballistic missile defence system. Passive defence could include camouflage and concrete aircraft hangars, as well as dispersal of aircraft, fuel, and payloads across the airfield.

Drop-in and FARP facilities would have fewer defences. The former would only have enough strength to recover from an attack to evacuate aircraft. The latter would only be used for a few hours, enough time for a fighter to receive quick maintenance, fuel and ammunition, before an adversary would detect their location and launch an attack – effectively forcing the enemy to play whack-a-mole.

PRICE OF SURVIVAL ...

... The USAF has been thinking about some of these problems and practising distributed operations for about a decade. Since 2009, it has practised the FARP basing concept through a number of exercises, including "Rapid Raptor". In that exercise, the service lands at least four Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors and a C-17 Globemaster III strategic air transport loaded with support personnel, fuel and munitions on a remote airfield. The USAF claims it can arrange a rendezvous anywhere in the world within 24h.

Image

For take-off, an F-22 loaded with fuel and weapons needs a runway at least 1,830m (6,000ft) long. There are 258 such airstrips in the Western Pacific, according to a 2014 report in published Air & Space Power Journal, but such exercises are reliant on the USAF's limited airlift capacity, notes Vick.

MANIC MAINTENANCE ...

... To meet maintenance demands in distributed operations, Lockheed Martin and the USAF are experimenting with ways to train maintenance personnel across a large number of F-35 subsystems, allowing each crewmember to do a greater variety of work. Lockheed Martin's Nose-to-Tail initiative "has reduced the dedicated maintenance team to less than five personnel per aircraft, per shift – down from about 12", the company told FlightGlobal in May 2019. The USAF is running a similar programme called Blended Operational Lightning Technician. Still, the need for such resource intensive maintenance, such as stealth coating repair, might mean that fifth-generation fighters have to be constantly rotated away from the front lines, a complex juggling act, says Miranda Priebe, a RAND Corporation political scientist and another one of the report’s co-authors.

"You probably have a concept where fighters are moving forward into these distributed bases, and then probably have to go back further in the rear for certain kinds of maintenance," she says. "So, it is a more complicated problem and certainly different than the way we do things now. You're probably going to be accepting more risk in some of your maintenance decisions just to keep things moving."


More at link:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... na-460409/

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 01:10
by blain
The farther away you can operate from the first island chain and the PRC, the survival for air power greatly increases. The one major disadvantage is the greater range at which fighters and bombers must operate and its impact the sortie generation rate. Tac air will require tankers, which will increase the footprint at a particular base. That is not necessarily the case with bombers.

In a future conflict, a flight of B-2s/B-21s flying from the United States could fly from the Untied States to the Taiwan Strait, launch a 80 JASSMs/LRASMs, and then recover on Palau. Another flight could also conduct a similar attack and recover at another location. C-17s could bring missile reloads on rotary launchers and a new crew would fly another sortie. Additional sorties could flown until it was time to relocate to the next FARP. This time maybe Australia.

Below is an excellent study on dispersing fighters in the Pacific.
https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portal ... -Davis.pdf

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 12:11
by element1loop
Thinking along similar lines, bombers from the rear, dispersed Killer-Bees in close, A's (incl 22s) working with protected tankers and protected airbases to soften up with standoff. Navy moves in with C and SH to attack while relieving, supporting and re-supplying Bees, plus allies with A and B.

Eliminating regional targeting capabilities to sideline or degrade ballistic and cruise missile effectiveness is the key to getting the air power laid on early. That's where forward based KIller-Bees and several powerful GLCMs plus a large bomber force is key to suppressing the early barrages and enabling the rest of the F-35s to leverage that effort to get in and hit hard to enable 4th-gen effort in support.

It's going to need a big stockpile of cruise missiles, so the numbers don't run low for other contingencies as such a fight unfolds. Without that the whole thing slows as forces have to expose themselves more and get in a lot closer (with internal weapons only).

Going to read that this weekend.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 12:41
by quicksilver
We’ve visited the idea around here before... download/file.php?id=19620.

When it was just a Marine idea, Bill Sweetman called it ‘flights of fancy’ or some such thing in a 2015 article which was later reprinted in 2017. Whatever happened to him? :shrug:

The Navy (which is fundamentally ‘distributed’ to begin with) has explored some broader ideas that marry operating domains in the maritime, and now the USAF has expanded its outlook with a funded RAND study. And of course, everyone has been talking about ‘multi-domain command control’ for a few years now. Funny how these things work, isn’t it?

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 13:15
by sferrin
element1loop wrote:It's going to need a big stockpile of cruise missiles, so the numbers don't run low for other contingencies as such a fight unfolds. Without that the whole thing slows as forces have to expose themselves more and get in a lot closer (with internal weapons only).


Well there is news that the DoD is bumping JASSM buy:

"Notably, the Air Force also indicated it wants to more than double its purchases of Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile. After broadcasting its intent to grow the JASSM program from 4,900 to 7,200 weapons in the 2020 budget, the service said Sept. 27 it is growing the potential JASSM total to 10,000 missiles. It is eyeing exponential growth for the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile, a JASSM variant, from a possible maximum of 110 to 400 as well.

The service is mulling ordering batches of up to 390 JASSM-Extended Range missiles starting in Lot 18, then up to 400 JASSM variants in Lot 19, topping out at as many as 550 per lot through Lot 30.

“This also includes 50 LRASM missiles in LRASM Lot 4, reaching a maximum rate of 96 per lot in subsequent lots, continuing through Lot 8,” the service said in a sources-sought notice. “This effort also includes sustainment efforts to include operational safety, suitability, and effectiveness.”

Forty JASSM-D units, formerly known as the JASSM-XR “extreme-range” version, would enter the production line as part of Lot 19. "


http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... e-Buy.aspx

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 17:12
by element1loop
sferrin wrote:
element1loop wrote:It's going to need a big stockpile of cruise missiles, so the numbers don't run low for other contingencies as such a fight unfolds. Without that the whole thing slows as forces have to expose themselves more and get in a lot closer (with internal weapons only).


Well there is news that the DoD is bumping JASSM buy:

"Notably, the Air Force also indicated it wants to more than double its purchases of Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile. After broadcasting its intent to grow the JASSM program from 4,900 to 7,200 weapons in the 2020 budget, the service said Sept. 27 it is growing the potential JASSM total to 10,000 missiles. It is eyeing exponential growth for the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile, a JASSM variant, from a possible maximum of 110 to 400 as well.

The service is mulling ordering batches of up to 390 JASSM-Extended Range missiles starting in Lot 18, then up to 400 JASSM variants in Lot 19, topping out at as many as 550 per lot through Lot 30.

“This also includes 50 LRASM missiles in LRASM Lot 4, reaching a maximum rate of 96 per lot in subsequent lots, continuing through Lot 8,” the service said in a sources-sought notice. “This effort also includes sustainment efforts to include operational safety, suitability, and effectiveness.”

Forty JASSM-D units, formerly known as the JASSM-XR “extreme-range” version, would enter the production line as part of Lot 19. "


http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... e-Buy.aspx


As welcome as it is what still bothers me is US (and allied) forces can burn through a big chunk of that war-stock of advanced VLO missiles in a matter of a week or two in any real fight in Asia or even the ME. But the build-rate will remain relatively slow, and resistant to sudden acceleration to meet sudden demand.

Recovery of war stock numbers would take many years at such a build rate. This needs to not be so slow, nor as resistant to production acceleration to meet a sharp demand spike. It implies stockpiling thousands of the long-lead time components so that production can be accelerated to well above the planned annual rate if the need arises to refill war stocks much sooner than that. I hope that turns out to be a part of these JASSM developments within the ensuing program budget docs.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 05:14
by blain
element1loop wrote:Thinking along similar lines, bombers from the rear, dispersed Killer-Bees in close, A's (incl 22s) working with protected tankers and protected airbases to soften up with standoff. Navy moves in with C and SH to attack while relieving, supporting and re-supplying Bees, plus allies with A and B.

Eliminating regional targeting capabilities to sideline or degrade ballistic and cruise missile effectiveness is the key to getting the air power laid on early. That's where forward based KIller-Bees and several powerful GLCMs plus a large bomber force is key to suppressing the early barrages and enabling the rest of the F-35s to leverage that effort to get in and hit hard to enable 4th-gen effort in support.

It's going to need a big stockpile of cruise missiles, so the numbers don't run low for other contingencies as such a fight unfolds. Without that the whole thing slows as forces have to expose themselves more and get in a lot closer (with internal weapons only).

Going to read that this weekend.


The F-35Bs range limits it to finite combat radius. It will be difficult to extend its range with AR if it is operating within the enemy's engagement zone. We are basically talking about the Ryukyus and Japan because I don't think the Philippines or Vietnam will allow access. It will be very difficult for the F-35Bs to project power into the Straits in an operationally significant way. It's main value will likely be the defense of Japanese territory and our bases in Okinawa.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 06:06
by madrat
A shooting war with China will lead to an expensive air war... for China.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 07:04
by Corsair1963
blain wrote:
element1loop wrote:Thinking along similar lines, bombers from the rear, dispersed Killer-Bees in close, A's (incl 22s) working with protected tankers and protected airbases to soften up with standoff. Navy moves in with C and SH to attack while relieving, supporting and re-supplying Bees, plus allies with A and B.

Eliminating regional targeting capabilities to sideline or degrade ballistic and cruise missile effectiveness is the key to getting the air power laid on early. That's where forward based KIller-Bees and several powerful GLCMs plus a large bomber force is key to suppressing the early barrages and enabling the rest of the F-35s to leverage that effort to get in and hit hard to enable 4th-gen effort in support.

It's going to need a big stockpile of cruise missiles, so the numbers don't run low for other contingencies as such a fight unfolds. Without that the whole thing slows as forces have to expose themselves more and get in a lot closer (with internal weapons only).

Going to read that this weekend.


The F-35Bs range limits it to finite combat radius. It will be difficult to extend its range with AR if it is operating within the enemy's engagement zone. We are basically talking about the Ryukyus and Japan because I don't think the Philippines or Vietnam will allow access. It will be very difficult for the F-35Bs to project power into the Straits in an operationally significant way. It's main value will likely be the defense of Japanese territory and our bases in Okinawa.


Ever hear of the Boeing MQ-25A Stealth Tanker......... :wink:

MQ25B.jpg

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 07:08
by Corsair1963
madrat wrote:A shooting war with China will lead to an expensive air war... for China.



Which, is why China must start producing J-20's and J-31's in respectable numbers. This idea some are floating that China will only build them is very modest numbers is well "absurd".

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 07:35
by weasel1962
Expensive? Chinese planes are cheap. End result no change.

Too bad aren't facing the Indians. Don't do anything, they crash on their own. Fight them, they shoot down their own.

No need tanker. Below is a list of runways in the Ryukyus for F-35B ops which I compiled 7 years ago. Quite a lot of runways to suppress, and would be defended by Patriots and the JASDF. That explains why the Japanese are getting the killer Bees as well.

Spaz also asked for a visual map which I posted on one of the threads. Need to look for it.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 07:40
by Corsair1963
NICE! :D

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 08:04
by weasel1962
Can't find the link so just re-posting together with a range circle of a B from Okinawa.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 08:43
by Corsair1963
The US and her Allies need to acquire a lot more F-35B's and Ospreys! :wink:

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 08:44
by Corsair1963
weasel1962 wrote:Can't find the link so just re-posting together with a range circle of a B from Okinawa.



Then you have Taiwan and maybe even northern Luzon!

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 08:52
by Corsair1963
blain wrote:The farther away you can operate from the first island chain and the PRC, the survival for air power greatly increases. The one major disadvantage is the greater range at which fighters and bombers must operate and its impact the sortie generation rate. Tac air will require tankers, which will increase the footprint at a particular base. That is not necessarily the case with bombers.

In a future conflict, a flight of B-2s/B-21s flying from the United States could fly from the Untied States to the Taiwan Strait, launch a 80 JASSMs/LRASMs, and then recover on Palau. Another flight could also conduct a similar attack and recover at another location. C-17s could bring missile reloads on rotary launchers and a new crew would fly another sortie. Additional sorties could flown until it was time to relocate to the next FARP. This time maybe Australia.

Below is an excellent study on dispersing fighters in the Pacific.
https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portal ... -Davis.pdf


You can see why the USAF wants a large fleet of New B-21 Bombers. Especially, with the shift towards the Indo-Pacific. :wink:

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 09:25
by element1loop
blain wrote:The F-35Bs range limits it to finite combat radius. It will be difficult to extend its range with AR if it is operating within the enemy's engagement zone. We are basically talking about the Ryukyus and Japan because I don't think the Philippines or Vietnam will allow access. It will be very difficult for the F-35Bs to project power into the Straits in an operationally significant way. It's main value will likely be the defense of Japanese territory and our bases in Okinawa.


What they will provide is a barrier to PLA airpower when the Bee are fed data from regional OTHR, VHF and AWAC. Plus they will provide BM and hype missile defense data as well as EW and regional SA plus surface targetting data. Add some external JASSM-ERs and you're off to the races. GLCM for early deeper high-value.

Even if that was all the B achieved it would still go a long way to defeating A2D2 effect.

(your link had interesting insights)

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 14:12
by weasel1962
In an entirely India related post, has the F-35 been certified for jassm carriage?

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 15:19
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote: ... has the F-35 been certified for jassm carriage?


Do you suppose it won't be?

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Oct 2019, 15:22
by weasel1962
element1loop wrote:
weasel1962 wrote: ... has the F-35 been certified for jassm carriage?


Do you suppose it won't be?


Should be cos that's reflected in the external stores for F-35 weapons carriage. Just wondering when...India time wise.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 02:50
by weasel1962
element1loop wrote:
blain wrote:The F-35Bs range limits it to finite combat radius. It will be difficult to extend its range with AR if it is operating within the enemy's engagement zone. We are basically talking about the Ryukyus and Japan because I don't think the Philippines or Vietnam will allow access. It will be very difficult for the F-35Bs to project power into the Straits in an operationally significant way. It's main value will likely be the defense of Japanese territory and our bases in Okinawa.


What they will provide is a barrier to PLA airpower when the Bee are fed data from regional OTHR, VHF and AWAC. Plus they will provide BM and hype missile defense data as well as EW and regional SA plus surface targetting data. Add some external JASSM-ERs and you're off to the races. GLCM for early deeper high-value.

Even if that was all the B achieved it would still go a long way to defeating A2D2 effect.


Although JASSM would be incredibly effective, looking at what's available for the B in the near-term, that does not include the JASSM for the F-35. With the British dropping storm shadow from the B integration, that means only JSOW baseline will be available for B.

"external integration is planned for the F-35B aircraft"
https://www.raytheon.com/news/feature/arming_the_f-35

By FY 2023, JSOW-ER could be included on the B (since its integrated into the C) which would extend the strike range by 500+km. No issue for carriage since its a 1000lb weapon (no weight difference for ER)
https://www.janes.com/article/86249/ray ... er-missile

Japan is also buying the JSM and would be interesting to see if they are going to integrate this into their Bs.

At 300-500km munition strike range, that can take out any ship from South China Seas (around HK) up to the yellow sea. Unfortunately I am obliged to mention it can't target India because that's really too far away.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 04:08
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:
element1loop wrote:
blain wrote:The F-35Bs range limits it to finite combat radius. It will be difficult to extend its range with AR if it is operating within the enemy's engagement zone. We are basically talking about the Ryukyus and Japan because I don't think the Philippines or Vietnam will allow access. It will be very difficult for the F-35Bs to project power into the Straits in an operationally significant way. It's main value will likely be the defense of Japanese territory and our bases in Okinawa.


What they will provide is a barrier to PLA airpower when the Bee are fed data from regional OTHR, VHF and AWAC. Plus they will provide BM and hype missile defense data as well as EW and regional SA plus surface targetting data. Add some external JASSM-ERs and you're off to the races. GLCM for early deeper high-value.

Even if that was all the B achieved it would still go a long way to defeating A2D2 effect.


Although JASSM would be incredibly effective, looking at what's available for the B in the near-term, that does not include the JASSM for the F-35. With the British dropping storm shadow from the B integration, that means only JSOW baseline will be available for B.

"external integration is planned for the F-35B aircraft"
https://www.raytheon.com/news/feature/arming_the_f-35

By FY 2023, JSOW-ER could be included on the B (since its integrated into the C) which would extend the strike range by 500+km. No issue for carriage since its a 1000lb weapon (no weight difference for ER)
https://www.janes.com/article/86249/ray ... er-missile

Japan is also buying the JSM and would be interesting to see if they are going to integrate this into their Bs.

At 300-500km munition strike range, that can take out any ship from South China Seas (around HK) up to the yellow sea. Unfortunately I am obliged to mention it can't target India because that's really too far away.


Good to know, thanks.

Can't remember if JSM fits inside the F-35B, presuming it does, it's in the 900lb to 1000lb range. Updated NSM wiki page has further NSM/JSM range claim detail:

Operational range
NSM 185 km (115 mi; 100 nmi)+ (profile dependent)
JSM 185 km (115 mi; 100 nmi)+ low-low-low profile, 555 km (345 mi; 300 nmi)+ hi-hi-low profile
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_Strike_Missile


Yup, India's just out of range.

As I remember the first JSMs are to be delivered in 2021.

The F-35B range-ring indicator you posted one page back, I suspect this was not updated with the September 2019 LM range figures for the Bee.

Latest LM Fast Facts says: 01 Sep 2019 (1.1Mb)
https://www.f35.com/assets/uploads/docu ... 9_2019.pdf

Range (internal fuel)
F-35A >1,200 nm / 2,200 km (USAF profile)
F-35B >900 nm / 1,667 km (USMC profile)
F-35C >1,200 nm / 2,200 km (USN profile)

viewtopic.php?p=427673#p427673


When I plot that range it reaches well past Shanghai, in fact an F-35B with internal JSM would reach targets from Tangshan almost all the way to Hong Kong (and everything in between) from Amami Island alone. Move location further north, or south, within the Japanese archipelago or mainland and the F-35B with two internal JSMs could reach targets along about 95% of the entire Chinese mainland coast. It can even reach down to Cebu City in the central Philippines and northern Spratly Islands area.

2 x JSM from a Bee reaches well beyond the range of Beijing, from Kumamoto. That combination actually holds almost all of the eastern 1/4 of China's mainland at risk of VLO strike. You can clearly see why the Bee plus internal JSM was Japan's preferred direction.

Probably need a clearer look at what a Bee can really reach within the region, itself, as well as with JSM or JSOW-ER range-ring addition. This may turn out to be more advantageous tactical prospect than first appears. Plus the reach it delivers to LHDs.

The Taiwan-Philippines-'Gap' (TP-Gap?) is the obvious avenue to strike deep into the Pacific for the Chinese. Seems to me Bees with tanker support from Guam or the South could support an F-35B ISR/SA and strike presence within that GAP (in conjunction with BAMS).

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 10:13
by vm
weasel1962 wrote:Expensive? Chinese planes are cheap. End result no change.

Too bad aren't facing the Indians. Don't do anything, they crash on their own. Fight them, they shoot down their own.

No need tanker. Below is a list of runways in the Ryukyus for F-35B ops which I compiled 7 years ago. Quite a lot of runways to suppress, and would be defended by Patriots and the JASDF. That explains why the Japanese are getting the killer Bees as well.

Spaz also asked for a visual map which I posted on one of the threads. Need to look for it.

Chinese products are often cheap and of low quality. No wonder their customers prefer Russian engines in the chinese plane. Eg Jf17, the pakestanis rejected the poor quality Chinese plane and chose the Russian engine.

No one knows whether the j20 is really a different plane or another hyped Chinese copy paste product.

Reminds me of the Chinese fighter pilot who was killed while buzzing the American spy plane in international waters and managed to hit the plane and crashed and died. Poor controls probably on the chinese plane.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 10:42
by weasel1962
The truth is always the first casualty in war... as to fake insults, I'd leave it to the experts especially those that registered on this forum just to post about fake mig-21s shoot downs of f-16s.

Facts:
Shooting down of Mi-17 was a big mistake, admits IAF chief
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ ... 593737.ece

12 planes lost, at least 20 air force personnel killed in crashes this year so far
https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/i ... 2019-09-25

Questions raised over Cheetah choppers' flight-worthiness after crash
https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/q ... 2019-10-03

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 10:43
by zero-one
vm wrote:Expensive? Chinese planes are cheap. End result no change.

Too bad aren't facing the Indians. Don't do anything, they crash on their own. Fight them, they shoot down their own.


vm wrote:Chinese products are cheap and of low quality.


I tried to do some research on this and it seems that PLAAF aircraft have very low crash rates. So far no J-11 has been reported to crash yet and only 1 J-10 has.

This is far lower than Russian, Indian and even American counterparts. I'm not saying China has better quality, What I'm saying is, we need to base our assessments on something.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 10:47
by weasel1962
Some might say, if it doesn't fly, it doesn't crash.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 11:21
by zero-one
well it does, we've seen it. Granted they may fly less than American counterparts but thats just purely my guesstimate based on nothing really.

Anyone here has stats on how much modern PLAAF planes (J-10, J-11, J-16, J20) fly?

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 12:06
by element1loop
Range rings F-35B (450nm radius) plus JSM (300nm or 555km max range) for 750nm radius circles. Center of each circle is marked by red X.

Image

Operating from northern Luzon would be handy but no great loss.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 14:19
by weasel1962
If the Japanese extend some of the island runways to operate A, those range circles are going to be even scarier to the Chinese. Who needs carriers?

The best part is the main air forces are actually based in Japan/Korea with hardened bases. Those island runways are expeditionary whilst covered by mainland bases. The island runways can take a fair bit of punishment wasting those PLA ballistic missiles. Quick repairs with farp and distributed ops, that's going to be fairly lethal.

Then add carriers = end game. Thanos wins.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 09 Oct 2019, 17:37
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:If the Japanese extend some of the island runways to operate A, those range circles are going to be even scarier to the Chinese. Who needs carriers?

The best part is the main air forces are actually based in Japan/Korea with hardened bases. Those island runways are expeditionary whilst covered by mainland bases. The island runways can take a fair bit of punishment wasting those PLA ballistic missiles. Quick repairs with farp and distributed ops, that's going to be fairly lethal.

Then add carriers = end game. Thanos wins.


Most of China's economy and export ports are under these JSM range-rings, plus most shipping and naval bases. F-35A/B is certainly going to be a serious threat if dispersed and they have the logistics close to support it. Looks like a good reason to be diplomatic and negotiate compliance with a rules based order. We're lucky to have this strong ally with F-35s right in China's face at this point.

Agree it's going to take a major effort to deny FARP attack options. We have to make sure we can get sufficient capability out of that though. as I see it you'd need a minimum of:
8 x F-35A
1 x C-17A
2 x KC-30A

And initial AAR-supported strike goes in directly with 6 x F-35A in standoff strike config, and 2 x F-35 in escort config.
As this occurs a C-17A flies out to the chosen FARP location for that day, and gets setup.
Tanker and 8 x F-35A coming off the initial strike mission fly to the selected island FARP site.
Refueling occurs just before descent to land at FARP and this first tanker orbits out to the east and waits.
F-35A have arrives at the FARP an hour after the C-17A arrived and unloaded.
External standoff strike stores are added to 6 F-35A, and any internal A2A weapons used are replenished, fuel is topped-off again in all 8 F-35A.
F-35A total time on ground is about 1 hour.
6 x F-35A takeoff configured for Strikers.
2 x F-35A takeoff configured for Escorts.
Once in the air they meet up with a fresh second KC-30A, while the first tanker stays nearby, in case of issues with the second.
The second fresh tanker flies the second strike-support mission and is escorted by 2 x F-35A throughout.
The first tanker now takes up an orbit 1/3 of the distance back to its FOB and awaits to see if it will be needed to assist further after the second strike goes in.
The C-17A immediately packs up (on the fly as work is being done) and leaves the FARP pronto and RTBs.
Total time on the ground if C-17A is ~2.5 hrs, fast return without escort to a home base (and replaced tomorrow with a fresh C-17A).
The VLO flight of 6 attacks.
Then 8 x F-35A fly back to top-up on the second KC-30A.
Then all fly back to the first orbiting KC-30A and both tankers support the 8 x F-35A back to a pre-chosen northern air base.
Doing this during daylight would be a bit predictable so night time operation may be necessary with landing and taking-off from a FARP at night, without runway or taxi-way lighting (perhaps chem-light markers are laid out), using IR and low-light camera for visual cues.

Some FARPS will be more desirable than others, in which case you need to be able to place repair machinery and resources at those in advance of them being damaged. Do that with 5 FARPs and relocate the repair equipment in advance as the focus of attacks and geography change.

LHDs and CVNs begin to arrive after 1 to 2 weeks to really get the fight rolling.

This requires more ADF commitment to point-defense SAMs, like NSM, to cover that initial period to defend northern airbases from cruise missiles. Plus some Patriot batteries (or maybe an Israeli equiv) to deal with IRBMs attacking FOBs, or else sub missile attack. IMO, such SAM defenses and their sensors at FOBs seem to be the weakest link in sustaining tactical FARP capabilities each day during the first few weeks, until the combined air power takes away OPFOR's strike opportunities and initiative. Besides that we have most of the rest of what's needed already.

If you want to do another strike that day, or else around the clock strikes from FARPs, you send out fresh pilots in a second C-17A to form-up the third strike for that day, with a third KC-30A, and keep swapping around between say 5 active FARP runways that have the runway repair machinery plus their forward engineering contingent.

The first group of F-35A pilots coming back from their second strike get taken back to their squadron's operating base in the second C-17A.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 02:04
by weasel1962
Pre-positioning is of course preferred but C-17/C-130 packages are efficient. The short field landing/take off capabilities of both are optimized in this instance.

Some thoughts on PLA counter-strategies. I won't discount the possibility that the PLA would conduct a pre-emptive landing to take control of 1 or more islands. Stationing SAM or air assets would disrupt the LOC from Japan to Taiwan and deter the use of surrounding islands, similar to island hopping strategy used in ww2. This would delay US intervention as they have to take out the island first. China has already laid legal ground work in disputing Japan's claims to Okinawa.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 03:59
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:Pre-positioning is of course preferred but C-17/C-130 packages are efficient. The short field landing/take off capabilities of both are optimized in this instance.


I've developed that FARP operating concept a bit further and edited it accordingly, have a read what's there now:

viewtopic.php?p=428165#p428165

PLA's fastest way of denying FARP operating sites is paratroop drop with MANPAD support then back-up with a PLA air-delivered SAM system, once such islands are secured. Once they secure them they would attempt to deploy a long-range rocket artillery or GLCM to hit islands near it, to prevent FARPs in the area, plus recoverable tactical drones to recon nearby islands to target them.

F-35B CAP would need to prevent initial successful PLA paratroop deployment that way, and F-35A and F-35B to recon and strike to defang and prevent resupply to such islands taken and held by PLA, there's no specific tactical need to retake those islands, just need to take away their food, fuel and equipment, and keep them on ice - bypass them. The Chinese will attempt resupply by unmanned surface craft. Teen-fighters could quickly take the burden off F-35A/B and F-22A in this area.

Allied troops with runway repair kit, engineers, runway defense with a SAM, need to deploy early and hold preferred islands, so the FARP operations can begin from those bases. C-130J and C-27J move and provision the ground FARP supporting force. Re-supply could mostly be achieved via reuse-able GPS/INS guided parachute deliveries.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 06:51
by weasel1962
Sounds like the making of a Tom Clancy/Larry Bond book there....

SEAD to take out the Patriots, ground based EW radars. Y-20/Y-9s then do paradrops so agreed!

The recent China military parade also showed off the ~700km ranged 2 seat SOF gyrocopters. The gyrocopters are themselves missile armed (hellfire equivalent), and can switch off their engines to glide in at low altitudes. Old Ming class subs can deliver SOFs as well that cause problems on the defended islands.

There's a lot of islands. It will really depend on the Japanese themselves to defend since US can't station troops on these except on Okinawa itself (and even then with a lot of brouhaha).

US Marines with ATACM armed himars guided by UAV spotting do have a quick reaction response.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 07:47
by weasel1962
Logistically, for B farp ops, each B sortie will require ~13000 lbs of fuel. A KC-130J can ground offload ~50000 lbs which would provide 4 Bs enough fuel for 1 sortie each. Offloading this at 4000lbs a min only requires less than 30 mins on the ground using hot fuel. So I'd pair 4 Bs for every herc. Each herc would carry 16 AAMs with maybe 32 SDBs which is another 14,000 lbs or other munition load. 6 would be between 4-8 so maybe FARP ops will likely Bs will be operated in groups of 4.

So all 4 Bs and herc lands at the same time, loads, takes off in opposing directions (B towards the enemy, herc for home base). Max time on ground = 30mins. Every other min, the runway is empty. Quick repair kits on the ground just to make sure 1km of runway is maintained.

53Ks can do fat cow ops as well but fuel loads appear to be more for helos.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 08:05
by weasel1962
F-35As or Cs can in theory do distributed ops but its less efficient. A & C fuel load is 18000 lbs & 19700 lbs respectively.

With the larger size, KC-46 or KC-135s will need longer runways to land/takeoff. With larger fuel load, there will be excess fuel which either means larger flight packages or excess fuel. Larger flight packages means more time to refuel on the ground. KC-130s will not match the A & C internal fuel loads so need more KC-130s.

Got to give USMC credit for their F-35Bs specs designed. Exactly tailored to meet ops requirements from day 1.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 08:24
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:F-35As or Cs can in theory do distributed ops but its less efficient. A & C fuel load is 18000 lbs & 19700 lbs respectively.

With the larger size, KC-46 or KC-135s will need longer runways to land/takeoff. With larger fuel load, there will be excess fuel which either means larger flight packages or excess fuel. Larger flight packages means more time to refuel on the ground. KC-130s will not match the A & C internal fuel loads so need more KC-130s.

Got to give USMC credit for their F-35Bs specs designed. Exactly tailored to meet ops requirements from day 1.


The tankers don't need to land. A KC-30A is after all an efficient long-haul airliner to begin with. The FARP concept described by Blain's linked document has F-22A being hot-fueled on the ground from the C-17A's fuel. The C-17A could AAR on the way back if it needs to.

https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portal ... -Davis.pdf

And if the F-35A/B refuel just before landing, and again off a fresh tanker when they launch from the FARP, do they even need more fuel on the ground - or just more weapons? If it's just more weapons you could preposition weapons (by parachute?) a week earlier, and not need a C-17 at all, just crew and equipment on the ground to load the weapons. Even less conspicuous, lower concentration of forces, less time on ground, lower-risk overall. All the enema sees is a single contact, the tanker, and they don't know what it is.

Fly the tanker below the radar horizon to PLA sensors and they don't see anything, VHF is likely on the blink, and OTHR hit.

The tanker can just move eastward for 45 to 60 mins then turn west or NW behind the fighters as they launch off the FARP, and cruise in to reach an orbit station for their return, and await with 2 x F-35A escorts, with a backup tanker halfway back to the base.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 10:02
by weasel1962
Air tankers are going to be target number one in any air war. Hercs are tactically trained for low level penetration flights at 300ft which minimizes sortie time. Noted C-17s have performed FARP ops but each C-17 carries 230k lb internal fuel. Add every C-17 being a precious asset and transport ops are going to be also a priority. Its not efficient to be used as ground tankers. Its going to take a lot of asset juggling for the 222 C-17s to satisfy both USAF ground fuel and transport needs. USMC has 79 KC-130Js supporting 353 B (Cs being CVN bound) which is a ratio of 4.5 to 1.

Most important is that whilst the C-17 has short field capability, USAF fighters generally do not*. Big base ops only for USAF fighters. Big bases tend to already have fuel farms. Distributed ops to only longer runways isn't really highly distributed. Unlike the USMC, imho the USAF still needs time to think this through and obtain the right asset mix if it intends to embark on distributed ops.

*I'm not talking about operating on minimums here.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 11:41
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:Most important is that whilst the C-17 has short field capability, USAF fighters generally do not*. Big base ops only for USAF fighters. Big bases tend to already have fuel farms. Distributed ops to only longer runways isn't really highly distributed. Unlike the USMC, imho the USAF still needs time to think this through and obtain the right asset mix if it intends to embark on distributed ops.


Yup, B on short fields, A from the longer fields.

Systematic investments can be made to encourage improving lengths of a number of currently marginal fields that are in advantageous locations.

C-17A is the better choice early when the threat is high, to get both in and out fast.

As threat level declines and confidence increases mix C-130 in as demands on C-17 require that.

If possible C-130 takes over most aspects of FARPs as CVN and LHDs come fully into play.

EDIT: Hot, wet and heavy is going to be routine so agree viable locations will be smaller.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 12:57
by vm
zero-one wrote:
vm wrote:Expensive? Chinese planes are cheap. End result no change.

Too bad aren't facing the Indians. Don't do anything, they crash on their own. Fight them, they shoot down their own.


vm wrote:Chinese products are cheap and of low quality.


I tried to do some research on this and it seems that PLAAF aircraft have very low crash rates. So far no J-11 has been reported to crash yet and only 1 J-10 has.

This is far lower than Russian, Indian and even American counterparts. I'm not saying China has better quality, What I'm saying is, we need to base our assessments on something.

Chinese hide their failed rocket crashes. Planes are very small in comparison.If their quality was so good, their iron friends wouldn't be buying Russian engines for the Jf17.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Oct 2019, 20:52
by Tiger05
zero-one wrote:I tried to do some research on this and it seems that PLAAF aircraft have very low crash rates. So far no J-11 has been reported to crash yet and only 1 J-10 has.

This is far lower than Russian, Indian and even American counterparts. I'm not saying China has better quality, What I'm saying is, we need to base our assessments on something.


At least 10 J-10s have been lost in crashes since 2005:

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/type/J10

And i suspect that there were more crashes, just unreported. China isnt exactly renowned for its transparency after all, especially regarding its armed forces.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2019, 01:35
by weasel1962
vm wrote:Guess your trolling here is your heritage from PDF. Some Indian has caused you a lot of grief.


You don't really post anything supported by facts. Many Indians are actually quite knowledgeable and I dont' have a problem with Indians. I have Indians on my staff. No idea what is PDF. I will admit to the odd bad taste jokes but I've done that to everyone.

My comment on this thread is supported by Indian sources. My opinions are facts based.

You on the other hand have come to this forum with several intent. To spread fake news and insult forumers. You assert I am a racist? lol. I've made over 1000 posts on CDF and over 1700 here only a proportion relate to India all of which can be viewed. If anyone else feel any of that is racist, do point out and I will gladly consider either deleting or amending.

However, your character and insults clearly show your true colors and real intent. You have come to this thread with the sole intention of character assassination, obviously with a long history of monitoring. Nothing new from your ilk. I've seen too many of your kind over the years.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2019, 01:48
by weasel1962
vm wrote:Chinese hide their failed rocket crashes.


Source please.

vm wrote:Planes are very small in comparison.


After all the posts talking about how big planes like J-20, J-16, H-6, this is the end result?

vm wrote:If their quality was so good, their iron friends wouldn't be buying Russian engines for the Jf17.


That explains why all the pakistani J-7 engines are wopengs. Your prejudices are showing. You do realise that if we adopt your standard, what does that mean for the Tejas quality? Are you saying the Tejas is a bad plane because it uses a foreign engine?

You are clearly best at insulting people with your level of intelligence.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2019, 07:06
by marauder2048
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.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2019, 07:35
by element1loop
marauder2048 wrote:The big issue with FARPing is that OTH radars readily detect aircraft landings; they are rather unmistakable events.


That was my first thought as well.

    OTHR is degraded by VLO aircraft with JASSM-XR.

    OTHR is degraded by GLCM (potentially from other threat axis).

    OTHR is degraded by ballistic weapons.

    OTHR is degraded by protected mobile strategic and tactical jamming aircraft.

For the initial FARP prep, 2 x C-17A land in advance, vehicles with everything needed drive off, time on ground 15 minutes. Such aircraft are not needed on the ground after this.

Palletized resupply by flyover and GPS/INS guided parachute drop from C-17A, C-130, C-27, etc.

People moved in and out fast with V-22 or C-27.

Tankers never land at FARPs.

VLO fighters are not refueled on the ground. (refueled before descent and again after FARP launch)

VLO fighter hot weapon replenish with immediate launch.

Such restrictions can all alter dynamically as the status of such active sensors and satellites change.

I think that'll work.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2019, 08:43
by element1loop
A recently published F-35A operational range analysis series highlights how important it is to forward-deploy to well defended foreign FOBs, in places like the northern Philippines for an 'A' force like RAAFs to contribute, sans a couple of dedicated F-35B RAN carriers plus some more KC-30A for hose refuel support.

Projecting power with the F-35 (part 1): How far can it go?
https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/proje ... can-it-go/

Projecting power with the F-35 (part 2): going further
https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/proje ... g-further/

Projecting power with the F-35 (part 3): operational implications
https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/proje ... lications/

That said;

Unrefueled F-35A strike range with JASSM-ER = 1,525 nm, 2,825 km.

2 refuel max strike range (1 out, 1 back) = 2,125 nm, 3,935km.

4 refuel max strike range (2 out, 2 back) = 2,725 nm, 5,047km.


2,725 nm strike range is the great circle distance from:

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Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2019, 11:34
by element1loop
F-35A + JSM minus tanker support:

Unrefueled F-35A strike range with JSM = 900 nm, 1,667 km.

Image
Image
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Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2019, 16:59
by wrightwing
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.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2019, 22:23
by weasel1962
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.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 12 Oct 2019, 01:57
by element1loop
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.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 12 Oct 2019, 06:20
by eloise
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

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 12 Oct 2019, 07:22
by marauder2048
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.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 12 Oct 2019, 12:28
by madrat
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?

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 13 Oct 2019, 16:31
by sferrin
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.)

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2019, 01:52
by element1loop
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

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2019, 03:34
by weasel1962
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.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2019, 06:17
by element1loop
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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Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2019, 06:33
by weasel1962

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2019, 07:06
by element1loop
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.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2019, 11:20
by weasel1962
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.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2019, 17:31
by wrightwing
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.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2019, 04:05
by element1loop
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/

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2019, 08:54
by element1loop
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Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2019, 11:36
by weasel1962
….but...but... I thought the consensus on f-16.net, other than apparently myself, is that the F-35A can go 3000nm on internal fuel alone.....why would they need CFTs esp on just less than 2200nm ferry rides...lol.

On a more serious note, might not need CFTs. 2 x 600 gal tanks may take the range beyond 2000nm. No issue for the F-22s which can carry 4x 600 gal tanks.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2019, 14:41
by sferrin
weasel1962 wrote:No issue for the F-22s which can carry 4x 600 gal tanks.


No, it can't. It was designed to but they never flew it in that condition in testing. When China published pictures of the J-20 with four tanks it was a bit of a thumb in the eye.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2019, 14:54
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:….but...but... I thought the consensus on f-16.net, other than apparently myself, is that the F-35A can go 3000nm on internal fuel alone.....why would they need CFTs esp on just less than 2200nm ferry rides...lol.

On a more serious note, might not need CFTs. 2 x 600 gal tanks may take the range beyond 2000nm. No issue for the F-22s which can carry 4x 600 gal tanks.


I'm sure they can go a long way but there needs to be margins to reverse a course on those long legs, and the combat range is of course very conservative for such contingencies. Depending on seasons a westward track even at FL450 could still run into a significant head-wind at that level. There's probably enough margin for coming back eastwards faster, at say FL400.

Not sure of the correct SG but 1,200 US Gal of Jet-A SG is ~7,860 lb or 26,110 lb of total fuel load. That should provide plenty of margin. A smaller tank with lower diameter but longer would probably suffice as well.

A low drag VLO CFT would definitely be preferable (as long as VLO was not compromised by it) given the fully combat loaded payload margins and the potential for more thrust and better fuel efficiency to come. Definitely preferable at that time. Not aware if F-35A/C were ever tested with bags, never read of it or saw images of it so I suppose we can presume it does have a lot of over-water range without them.

The tanker locations are of course not just for F-22A and F-35A, specifically, but needed for any number of other aircraft in transit and support. If that sort of dependable tanker presence can be put in place in those mid-points and kept there protected indefinitely, that changes the whole tactical air power dynamics in a western Pacific fight, along with the FARP-ing.

If I was a CHICOM facing that sort of enabling potential for 5th-gens (and everything else) I'd be a lot more flexible and better behaved, that's for sure.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2019, 15:18
by weasel1962
Probably still bring a tanker along for emergencies but I think the tanker fuel requirements would drop significantly with external tanks.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2019, 06:00
by element1loop
Mobility Guardian Builds an Efficient Five Eyes Force

(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued Oct 03, 2019)

The Royal Australian Air Force’s biggest airlifters and key personnel have returned home after dominating air mobility goals over Washington for Exercise Mobility Guardian in the United States. More than 110 personnel from both Air Force and Army were tested from September 8-28 in mass casualty, natural disaster response, crucial airdrops, air-to-air refuelling and austere environment operations as part of the training to enhance joint interoperability. Air Force’s C-17A Globemaster and KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft completed missions out of Fairchild Air Force Base outside Spokane in Washington, alongside more than 300 international personnel from nine other nations.

The exercise tested interoperability in air-to-air refuelling of the KC-30A, the sharing of the Five Eyes nation’s aeromedical equipment and knowledge, and large-scale formation air drops out of the C-17A, partner C-130 Hercules models and C-5 Galaxy aircraft. The contingent was also comprised of aircrew, engineers, logisticians and supporting roles, as well as air drop riggers from Army’s No. 176 Air Dispatch Squadron. Combat Support Group also played a key role, with deployment of No. 383 Contingency Response Squadron to Travis Air Force Base in California where they projected to two other austere airfields to provide operational support.

“Mobility Guardian has enabled us to blend our capabilities together by teaching and using the same, or similar, processes.” Wing Commander Sarah Stalker, RAAF Mobility Guardian Detachment Commander and Commanding Officer No. 33 Squadron ... “Following this training and standardisation with our counterparts, we can now select resources from anywhere around the world and bring together an international and efficient team with the appropriate level of support to complete short-notice coalition tasks. ” ...

... “Mobility Guardian has enabled us to blend our capabilities together by teaching and using the same, or similar, processes and agreed TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) ,” Squadron Leader White said. “As the geopolitical landscape shifts in the Indo Pacific, it is paramount that the Australian Defence Force and NZDF are supported by the right allies, people and skills to secure our region.”

https://www.defense-aerospace.com/artic ... force.html

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2019, 06:18
by element1loop
USAF looks for expeditionary precision landing system for Pacific

18 October, 2019

SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Garrett Reim Los Angeles

The US Air Force (USAF) is looking for a precision approach landing system to enable its aircraft to land at expeditionary air strips on islands in the Pacific Ocean. The service is asking military contractors to submit white papers that outline component-level designs and trade-off analyses to determine the right mix of requirements necessary for a Small Footprint Precision Approach and Landing Capability (SF-PALC) system, it says in an online notice on 17 October.

The USAF would use information from the white papers to set requirements for a separate contract to fund development of prototypes from one or more manufacturers. A production contract could follow the prototyping phase, says the service. The expeditionary precision approach landing system is needed to help the USAF carry out its Agile Combat Employment (ACE) strategy in the Pacific Ocean. The strategy is a response to China’s precision, long-range missiles, which could hit US aircraft parked on the tarmac. To avoid losses on the ground, the USAF plans to fly from a greater number of air bases, of sizes small and large, so as to increase the number of targets an adversary would need to attack.

However, the agile-basing plan requires the service to constantly keep its aircraft on the move, so that the Chinese military doesn’t have time to spot and attack US jets. “The ACE concept is basically having a jet land [at a remote location], then a team of maintainers re-arms and refuels the jet, and sends it back into the fight as quickly as possible,” says Master Sargent Edmund Nicholson of 67th aircraft maintenance unit, which is based at Kadena air base in Japan. He explained the concept via an USAF media release about an agile combat exercise at Fort Greely, Alaska in August 2019.

In order for a jet to land at a remote island air strip – a runway without the usual navigation and air traffic control infrastructure – the USAF needs portable equipment. The service wants its SF-PALC system to be small enough to fit onto one 463L pallet, which would be airlifted inside one Lockheed Martin C-130H cargo transport. The system must also be able to be setup and operated in a GPS-denied environment, says the USAF. The SF-PALC system requirement comes after the US Navy awarded Raytheon a $235 million contract for 23 Joint Precision Approach and Landing Systems (JPALS) in May 2019. JPALS is a differential, GPS-based precision landing system that guides aircraft to a landing spot, typically on an aircraft carrier deck, though a land-based expeditionary unit is in development as well.

The navigation equipment is integrated into the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and will be installed on the in-development Boeing MQ-25A Stingray unmanned in-flight refuelling vehicle. Raytheon has said it plans to demonstrate expeditionary versions of JPALS to the USAF.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... te-461599/


463L pallet (with 7,710 lb of 4 x BLU-109)
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Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2019, 23:39
by marauder2048
weasel1962 wrote:Probably still bring a tanker along for emergencies but I think the tanker fuel requirements would drop significantly with external tanks.


Do you really want to carve up scarce payload/volume onboard the transport aircraft for CFT or EFT handling equipment?

At some point, it probably makes more sense to develop a roll-on/roll-off JASSM-XR launcher for the C-17 and C-130
and compatible pylons/hardpoints for the KC-46. The opening part of the campaign, where the agile concept is
being pitched, is going to be focused on the existing target list which is probably going to be mostly
fixed in nature anyway.

I do like the agile concept for OCA/DCA since it allows fighter cover to show up in unexpected places;
if the Air Force got serious about air-launched BMD that would be a plus.

But looked at programmatically, the agile concept is attractive to the Air Force because it doesn't require them
to spend any real money; hardening and active defenses are expensive and would siphon off money from
other programs.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2019, 02:12
by weasel1962
I meant the dedicated tankers e.g kc-46s or kc-10s of which fewer can now support more. As to transports which can double up as tankers, those handling equipment are already procured, form part of the inventory and its use is well practiced. Not new.

There are/will be enough jassm shooters at the frontline without needing transports to take on that role.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2019, 02:42
by element1loop
marauder2048 wrote:At some point, it probably makes more sense to develop a roll-on/roll-off JASSM-XR launcher for the C-17 and C-130 and compatible pylons/hardpoints for the KC-46.


As with LRASM unless a missile is bought in high volumes the price will remain very high. It'll be interesting to see how much the price of LRASM drops with an increase in numbers produced (or is the annual rate still too low to drop the price much anyway, meaning an investment would need to be made in extra annual production volume in order to drop LRASM unit price much).

At present JASSM-XR is for only 40 air-delivered weapons, so until JASSM-XR turns into an Army and/or Marines GLCM program for a thousand or more rapidly acquired missiles, the predictable high-price is going to look prohibitive and will probably be deferred a few years.

An argument will need to be made that higher rates of production, for a larger number of JASSM-XR, will dramatically lower missile unit price, and add much more capability to defeat A2D2, plus adds a very strong deterrent value that is difficult to defeat for those dollars. I can see Japan and Australia being very interested in such a weapon if the price is right for the capability.

Obtaining JASSM-XR in large numbers will take a while as legacy cruise missiles are going to hang around for years as money is sunk into a range of non-stealth hypersonic-gliders. It was confirmed last week that 3 out of 4 MDA kinetic defensive missiles proposed to defeat hypersonic-gliders will be hit-to-kill. The 4th missile proposal (by Boeing) is most likely hit-to-kill as well. But hopefully it's realized that as soon as the Chinese master hit-to-kill technology, US hypersonic-gliders would become targets and JASSM-XR will be seen as the missile that's needed in larger numbers, fast.

Personally I'm hoping JASSM-XR turns out to have a long-range booster which throws it out much higher on a theater ballistic arc before coming down like a VLO BM warhead to deploy wings at say 90 K feet, then fast-glide into a high-altitude transonic efficient turbine-powered VLO cruise phase. That should get it out as far as 5,000 km (2,700 nm) thus covering all of western China from a GLCM launcher within the first Island chain (and/or from the expanded SSGN capability, as Tomahawk is replaced).

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2019, 03:23
by element1loop
I looked for other existing paths for F-35A/C to get from Hawaii to Japan without using AAR tankers.

Midway route:
Image
Open in new tab for a clearer view
https://i.ibb.co/5jxk4Wm/Midway-Route-1366.png

Southern route:
Image
Open in new tab for a clearer view
https://i.ibb.co/4sWcxQS/Southern-Route ... pdated.png

This southern route has 6 legs but all are within existing range limits, and with some diplomatic persuasion and fuel bladder deliveries this sort of option exists now. The "7,200ft runways" all plot as being ~2.2km long when zoomed-in, and measured. I checked their published lengths below, all were shorter than indicated, but as I understand it all are listed as tarmac IFR International runways.

USA Hawaii
Hickam AFB

Kirabati Ronton Is.
Cassidy Rway 6,900 ft

Kiribati Kanton Is.
Tebaronga Rway 6,230 ft

Kiribati - South Tarawa Is.
Bonriki Rway 6,598 ft

Fed-States Micronesia - Palikir Is.
Pohnpei Rway 6,001

Fed-States Micronesia - Colonia Is.
Yap Rway 6,000 ft

Japan Okinawa
Kadena AFB

--

There are other viable paths across besides these, which don't require AAR support, with a bit of runway investment and diplomacy. At present the Chinese are angling to cut-off these paths via diplomacy and soft-loans to gain leases of Pacific islands from broke and poorly-developed Pacific states. The CHICOMS will subvert them with promises of copious tourism money flowing from new runways and deep water ports, on soft-credit loans for long-term island leases (and are doing so).

If these Islands can be defended from missile attacks, continuous 24/7 AAR tanking would only be essential in between USA's mainland and Hawaii (where they're easiest to defend and hardest to attack) in order to get VLO strike-power quickly from USA to the eastern Pacific basin's viable FARP sites.

EDIT1: checked published runway lengths and corrected them.
EDIT2: Southern route's runway lengths updated with published numbers, within the graphic.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2019, 05:13
by marauder2048
weasel1962 wrote:I meant the dedicated tankers e.g kc-46s or kc-10s of which fewer can now support more. As to transports which can double up as tankers, those handling equipment are already procured, form part of the inventory and its use is well practiced. Not new.


You have to be able to remove/reattach/move the EFTs and CFTs when you get to your FARP;
that equipment will physically displace something else aboard the transport.

weasel1962 wrote:There are/will be enough jassm shooters at the frontline without needing transports to take on that role.


Which is why RAND et al have been projecting a JASSM shooter shortage for years; hypersonics and the
large penetrators are going to displace a large quantity of JASSM capacity from the bomber fleet
which will have its own availability rate issues.

It makes no sense to tanker chain a fighter with large, draggy stores across the expanse of the Pacific;
offloading JASSM onto the transport aircraft for FARP will require the larger munitions handling
equipment which is heavy and bulky.

It does make sense to tanker chain the F-35 with SiAW since the presence of stealthy SEAD
aircraft greatly complicates defense against cruise missile and hypersonic weapons.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2019, 11:00
by weasel1962
marauder2048 wrote:You have to be able to remove/reattach/move the EFTs and CFTs when you get to your FARP;
that equipment will physically displace something else aboard the transport.


Not really, the EFTs will just be left at the FARP. Why is there a need to shift it anywhere else, esp when EFTs are technically disposable. CFTs, although removable, tend to stay on.

marauder2048 wrote:Which is why RAND et al have been projecting a JASSM shooter shortage for years; hypersonics and the
large penetrators are going to displace a large quantity of JASSM capacity from the bomber fleet
which will have its own availability rate issues.


That would be surprising since they've made almost every single fighter, bar F-22 & A-10s to be a jassm shooter. That includes Polish F-16s and Australian F-18s. Having a shooter shortage would literally mean a fighter shortage at the front.

marauder2048 wrote:It makes no sense to tanker chain a fighter with large, draggy stores across the expanse of the Pacific;
offloading JASSM onto the transport aircraft for FARP will require the larger munitions handling
equipment which is heavy and bulky.


What the KC-46s could carry is also a whole bunch of AIM-120s, SDBs and JSOWs. Enough to conduct attrition. There is no need to be able to take out the entire chinese air force, navy and army in a single blow. The key is a logistical train to meet sortie rates.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 21 Oct 2019, 02:28
by marauder2048
weasel1962 wrote:
Not really, the EFTs will just be left at the FARP. Why is there a need to shift it anywhere else, esp when EFTs are technically disposable. CFTs, although removable, tend to stay on.


Unless you are suggesting the entire flight is going to jettison the tanks on the way in you are going
to need the equipment to remove and move them. Same with the CFTs since a malfunction in one tank
means the loss of 25% of your combat power.



weasel1962 wrote:That would be surprising since they've made almost every single fighter, bar F-22 & A-10s to be a jassm shooter. That includes Polish F-16s and Australian F-18s. Having a shooter shortage would literally mean a fighter shortage at the front.


If they were confident in their ability to mass a large number of fighters at the front (esp.
with heavy armament like JASSM ) they wouldn't need the Agile/mobility approach in the first place.


weasel1962 wrote:What the KC-46s could carry is also a whole bunch of AIM-120s, SDBs and JSOWs. Enough to conduct attrition. There is no need to be able to take out the entire chinese air force, navy and army in a single blow. The key is a logistical train to meet sortie rates.


Only mass raids (esp. cruise missile) are likely going to convince the defense to unmask.

Are you talking about the KC-46 launching JSOW-ER? I can't see anyone bringing a
widebody commercial aircraft to within SDB range in the Pacific and

Sortie rates will collapse under the Agile/Mobility scheme relative to the surge spec KPP at a MOB/FOB.
That's an explicitly stated and accepted drawback.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 21 Oct 2019, 08:07
by weasel1962
Nope, Tanker ops are merely tanker ops. Not going to put any missiles on tankers. The KC-46s however can transport cargo together with fuel, and that includes munitions.

The EFTs will be removed from the fighters at the farp. There is no need to move them anywhere else.

CFTs won't be removed. They'd just be tanked at the farp. However, I don't see any other fighters than F-15s (any maybe next time F-18s) with CFTs.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 21 Oct 2019, 12:54
by madrat
With a Chinese lease of a Solomon's island in the works, how far could Flankers push out to sea?

https://images.app.goo.gl/8E4pzEoNbUSgUXvg7

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2019, 02:13
by element1loop
Tulagi Island is 4 km long and has no runway, the topography is not suitable to create a fighter length runway without a major engineering effort.

Image
Image

For range illustration purposes, Su35 unrefueled operating radius (970 nm). Su35 does of course have a drogue-and-hose air refueling available.

Image

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2019, 02:24
by weasel1962
Tulagi used to be a seaplane base. AG600/BE200 anyone?

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2019, 02:40
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:Tulagi used to be a seaplane base. AG600/BE200 anyone?


Given OTHR and RAAF AAR reach from Australia or else USAF or USN responses to any sea-plane operations, that's not going to last long in a conflict. Though the PLA could insert SF before hostilities to create a presence plus a GLCM in containers via ship. Ships and fighter basing won't last with JORN-Longreach operating. PLA could reach that with a long-range GLCM or SLCM. If the JORN network is on the blink PLAAF counter FARPing becomes possible. That's probably the bigger threat of such Chinese SW Pacific or SEA island leasing arrangements.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2019, 03:23
by madrat
Thanks element1loop for illustrating the Flanker range. I guess it isn't such a great location for air assets. GLCM and radar sensors would be problematic if stationed there. But it would also be a stepping stone to move unorthodox forces through to Australia via naval assets.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2019, 06:11
by element1loop
Plot of non-refueled H-6J + YJ-12 ALCM strike (2,105 nm) plus Su35 fighter operating range (970 nm) to contrast:

Image

China’s Navy Deploys New H-6J Anti-Ship Cruise Missile-Carrying Bombers
By Franz-Stefan Gady
October 12, 2018
https://thediplomat.com/2018/10/chinas- ... g-bombers/


It would be a high priority to remove targeting data plus tanker support early and quickly fill the western Pacific with F-35A/B/C DCA and strikers to limit the range and damage these 160 to 180 bombers could do to ships and bases.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 24 Oct 2019, 08:27
by element1loop
Marine Corps Defining New Operating Concept

10/22/2019

By Connie Lee

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Marine Corps is experimenting with teams through December to determine how it will structure its new expeditionary advanced base operations, or EABO, concept, a service official said Oct. 22. ... The idea was outlined in Berger’s Planning Guidance document that was released over the summer, which put forth a vision of expeditionary bases that are able to be moved quickly and perform a variety of tasks.

"EABO is not a 'thing' — it is a category of operations," Berger said in the document. "Saying we will do EABO is akin to saying we will do amphibious operations, and as with amphibious operations, EABO can take many forms. ... EABO are designed to restore force resiliency and enable the persistent naval forward presence that has long been the hallmark of naval forces. Most significantly, EABO reverse the cost imposition that determined adversaries seek to impose on the joint force." EABO bases could be made up of 40 Marines, or perhaps many more, Smith added.

"It's all going to be threat dependent,” he said. However, it must be “very temporary." These bases will be versatile enough to be used for multiple tasks, he noted. For instance, they could be employed for reconnaissance or forward-arming and refueling. ...

https://www.techapeek.com/2019/10/22/ma ... g-concept/

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 29 Oct 2019, 01:47
by element1loop
Regarding the Solomon Islands lease, the whole thing has been disallowed and overturned. The deal was made without central government approval.

Solomons vetoes China ‘lease’ on Pacific isle
By AT CONTRIBUTOR
OCTOBER 25, 2019

The prime minister of the Solomon Islands said on Friday that a Chinese company’s attempt to lease an entire island in the Pacific archipelago was unlawful and would not be allowed to go ahead. The deal between the Solomons’ Central Province and the state-owned China Sam Group was “unlawful, unenforceable and must be terminated with immediate effect”, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s office said in a statement. It said the provincial government did not have the power to negotiate the agreement regarding Tulagi island, which has the type of deep-water harbour coveted by military chiefs.

In addition, the statement said China Sam did not have foreign investor status in the Solomons and no deal could be finalised without the approval of Attorney General John Muria. “It is settled practice that all agreements involving the Solomon Islands government, which includes the provincial governments, must be vetted by the Attorney-General before it is executed,” it said. “The agreement was not vetted by the Attorney General’s chambers before signing.” Central Province signed the “strategic cooperation agreement” on September 22 – a day after China and the Solomons officially established diplomatic relations following the impoverished Pacific nation’s decision to sever ties with Beijing’s arch-rival Taiwan. But it only became public earlier this month when the media obtained copies of the agreement.

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/10/artic ... ific-isle/

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 14:02
by weasel1962
Rand did a study which I thought is a good read and draws more realistic parameters over how USAF can carry out distributed ops.

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... RR2959.pdf

The FARP concept (4 fighters + 1 C-17) reflects similarly what was previously mentioned regarding potential B ops relying on mobility for survivability. I draw some positives from the report on the feasibility for such ops in the USAF conops.

The Air Force has been exercising the current Fighter FARP concept since 2009. One analysis found that there are at least 163 airfields in the Western Pacific that have sufficient runway length and weight-bearing capacity to accommodate the F-22s and C-17s.50 That said,FARPs create a significant demand on mobility aircraft and political access; therefore, they
would likely be a supplementary rather than primary type of operating location.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 22:11
by marauder2048
weasel1962 wrote:
The Air Force has been exercising the current Fighter FARP concept since 2009. One analysis found that there are at least 163 airfields in the Western Pacific that have sufficient runway length and weight-bearing capacity to accommodate the F-22s and C-17s.50 That said,FARPs create a significant demand on mobility aircraft and political access; therefore, they
would likely be a supplementary rather than primary type of operating location.


Which is just taken from the Davis paper cited above: "Forward Arming and Refueling Points for Fighter Aircraft."
There's no notion either in the Davis paper or the RAND paper of FARP turnaround times measured in minutes.

And the RAND report strikes me as fairly lukewarm on the concept; not a great deal of analysis devoted
to FARPs underscored by the recurring theme of "they are supplementary."

Being totally dependent on political access, heavy lift, local security conditions and degraded enemy ISR
it's not surprising RAND doesn't really do a deep dive there. Not that FARPs don't have utility particularly as a means
of surging counter cruise missile or other OCA/DCA capacity into an area.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 01:09
by weasel1962
The length of time on the ground depends upon the amount of fuel and munitions needed by the fighters. If it needs few munitions, a four-ship of F-22s can be back in the air 60 minutes after landing. In most situations, arming/refueling the fighters takes 60 to 120 minutes (fig. 5).


Above is the quote from Davis.

The objective of a FARP is to minimize response time and decrease turnaround time in support of sustained operations. Minimizing flight time to and from the FARP and reducing the refueling and rearming time within the FARP achieves this objective. Fueling and arming of assault support aircraft can be accomplished in about 20 to 30 minutes,while processing an attack aircraft may take up to 45 to 50 minutes. In both instances, fueling takes 10 to 15 minutes and ordnance uploading takes up the rest of the time. The overriding factor in estimating FARP processing time revolves around the ordnance requirements. The processing times depend on environmental factors, aircraft armament, and support personnel proficiency.


Above is the extract from MCWP 3-21.1 Chapter 7 (which is not reproduced in the update MCTP 3-20B).

The write ups in RAND and Davis are both consistent and the write up on FARPs are sufficient in length. USAF fixed wing has significant constraints on FARP operations including legacy operational preferences that favors large base operations. Same considerations in earlier posts have been highlighted and that's not new.

On turnaround times, operationally I understand there are several strategies that have been tested that reduce turnaround times. Some instances have been reported though not posted on this site. They include methods like arming and refueling at the same time during a hot refuel.

Posts like the below are not new
https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your ... uel-f-35s/

“Our old equipment is persisting and performing up to the hot-pits gold standard of 13 minute turnarounds,” said Tech Sgt. Zachary J. Kiniry, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 366th LRS fuels service center, according to an Air Force news release.....Hot-pit refueling means that the aircraft is refueled and takes off again while the engine remains on, and can occur under 15 minutes in the best circumstances. In contrast, standard refueling could take more than 2 hours.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 01:17
by weasel1962
On political access, is that really a barrier?

In a war with China, will Japan and Korea stay out? If yes, then its not just FARPs that's affected. That will be the equivalent of Saudi Arabia staying out of Desert storm. The reality at least at this time is likely to be different.

The 163 bases cited by Davis is an overestimation. Once one takes out bases in SE Asia and those outside of the likely war zone outside of 800nm, the number of 6000 ft runways will be significantly reduced. Notionally, the F-35B is still the ideal weapon to take advantage of distributed ops, not the USAF. My opinion on this still stands.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 02:31
by element1loop
I formulated some devil's-advocate counter views to the FARP operations presumption.

We can probably agree less-efficient, lower-tempo but more-or-less strategically effective distributed standoff strikefighter operations are doable from supplemental FARPing. It's tempting to take that aspect of distribution of strike effort somewhat for granted. But what can not be taken for granted is hinted at in these few paragraphs:

" ... During discussions with USAF personnel, we heard frustrations from both the operations and support communities. Operators are driving many of the concepts for distributed operations and, in some cases, are frustrated with what some perceive as resistance from the combat support communities. At the same time, some in the combat support community are concerned that the distributed operations concepts are being developed without a realistic understanding of support constraints, burdens, and resource demands they create. If the Air Force continues to develop distributed operations concepts, operators will spend more time thinking about logistical constraints while sustainment professionals will spend more time thinking about warfighting. ..." (page 11)

"... To develop a refined distributed operations concept and fully evaluate the viability of distributed operations concepts more generally, the Air Force will need to conduct additional analysis for nonfighter forces. ..." (page 24)

" ... This report focused on distributed fighter operations. Operating fighter forces in this way would create many implications for Air Force forces such as intelligence, reconnaissance, EW, mobility, and tanker aircraft that were not analyzed in detail here. If these forces operate in a distributed way as well, there would be additional consequences for C2, support, and protection. The Air Force will need to consider these additional implications as it develops concepts for and assesses the viability of distributed operations. ..." (page 114)


What bothers me most about this is where to survivably park these strikefighter's 'enablers' such as KC-XX, C-17A, MQ-4, C-130, on the ground within the vulnerable forward operating areas in such a way that they're not converted to smoke and oxidized metal before their next mission? It's easy to imagine defended 'dispersal' as the proposed solution to this but how can you practically disperse and park 200 such aircraft on the ground and have them survive around the clock, for a month or so? Not to mention the decline in efficiency and rise of support and defense costs of a comprehensive dispersal of heavy jets.

There are only so many viable parking areas for such aircraft, and those are already known and surveyed by the enemy in advance of the fight. There will be daily anti-materiel cruise-weapon attacks. Those parking areas will be among the highest priority areas and will be hit repeatedly. In that case destroying/disrupting enemy targeting sensors and data won't work as large aircraft can't be parked anywhere else in a hurry. If you merely send cruise missiles to those parking locations and dispense cluster munitions a few times a day they're going to destroy numerous support aircraft and their crews.

SAM defenses commonly fail. We know they can be systematically overcome via smart attack tactics, electronics and weapons. It has to be presumed such missile attacks on parked support aircraft will be effective, to an unknown extent, but potentially shockingly effective at degrading strike capabilities.

The same of course applies to forward based bomber parks.

You can park strikefighters under rock to protect them better from attacks. Which is fine if a KC-46 and C-17A are not essential ingredients to striking an enemy, but in the western Pacific they are essential for Lightnings or Raptors to attack, patrol or intercept. Once VLO strikefighter enablers are destroyed and communications relays are reduced in numbers so is the capacity to launch strikes via strikefighter, or to coordinate and escort arriving bombers coming in from further out of range to deliver standoff weapons. So the tempo of delivery of weapons to targets will drop away sharply if support aircraft are being destroyed fairly easily on the ground.

In which case long-range bombers with long-range standoff weapons operating from outside the region offer the most compelling and credible strike potential, but there are nowhere near enough of these.

Consequently an escorted supplemental 'bomber' in the form of an ad-hoc cheap long-range refuelable "arsenal-plane", becomes highly desirable. Because it will need AAR capability for loaded reach and speed, and to keep it out of range such an 'arsenal' aircraft will need to be a military logistic type with a rear ramp (possibly a couple of escorted logistics types to launch weapons in the first week).

Per the "Arsenal Aircraft Concept" thread:
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=56319.

Until support aircraft can be demonstrably provided survivable parking options the 'distributed operations' and tactical FARPing concepts may not be supportable, and need to fallback on long-range heavy bombers, using stand-off weapons, long before distributed VLO strikefighters can be bought to bare in large numbers.

Which implies Marine's F-35Bs may be operating out in front for a lot longer than currently presumed. It may be weeks before FARPs can relieve pressure on Marines, and begin to provide a forward air dominance presence and suppression effects.

In which case PLAAF and PLAN fighters and bombers would have much more time to operate and accumulate strike effects.

So, somewhat counter-intuitively, during the first week of the battle it may be wiser to divert time, resources and a good sized chunk of the C-17A and C-130 logistics force to do two things:

(1) Resupply and support forward Marine F-35B, GLCM and anti-ship operations (of course).

(2) Pound PLAAF fighter and bomber bases and their support enablers, using ramp-dispensed long-range cruise munitions.

After that is achieved begin to move forwards more support aircraft to enable FARPing and air dominance operations right up to the Chinese mainland. This also provides time for construction of alternative parking areas for support aircraft to move in and survive on the ground while naval forces arrive and aggregate naval airpower against a then much-diminished PLAAF and PLAN force (otherwise PLAAF bombers and tankers may still be operating when carrier groups arrive).

I'd want to hear what the logistics/support aircraft operators think of their capacity to operate under fire from forward bases in a high-end fight plus survive on the ground before presuming distributed strikefighter operations and FARPing are realistic within the opening week. Such may not be possible for a week to weeks without very high losses that greatly weakens the post conflict force.

Those same issues affect fixed-installations at bases essential to heavy support aircraft being able to operate. Fixed installation operations need to be unfixed. As long-range targeting sensors are taken down alternate parking areas for heavy aircraft need to be laid down fast.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 05:17
by weasel1962
With due respect, that's not how a FARP works. What is critical is that FARPs are the key feature of distributed operations. Its to avoid permanent bases that can be targeted. Downplaying FARPs for the USAF is basically saying distributed ops don't work in their context.

FARPs, including fighter FARPs are thus not meant to be permanent bases. They are meant to be temporary runways for use from hours to days max. As forward points, they are closer to the target i.e. no air tankers required. The set-up of a FARP may require transports but these are transient. They land, offload and take off. Not parked at the base. Otherwise, no permanent basing of support aircraft either...

I can understand the resistance expressed from the USAF support communities. Do so much work to set up something that's gone in a few hours or days. Is that really efficient or effective use of resources? I think the appeal to the USMC who have expeditionary ingrained cultural thinking and resources are a bit different.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 06:47
by marauder2048
weasel1962 wrote:
The length of time on the ground depends upon the amount of fuel and munitions needed by the fighters. If it needs few munitions, a four-ship of F-22s can be back in the air 60 minutes after landing. In most situations, arming/refueling the fighters takes 60 to 120 minutes (fig. 5).



So an average of an hour and a half. There are crew changes and mission planning involved that are not a
typical component of other FARP types. For reference, typical Air Force turnaround times for combat missions
at well provisioned, permanent bases average 45 - 60 minutes.

weasel1962 wrote:The write ups in RAND and Davis are both consistent and the write up on FARPs are sufficient in length.

The Davis paper actually takes a stab at estimating sortie generation rates, persistence, maintenance intervals etc.
The RAND write up is cursory by comparison.

weasel1962 wrote: USAF fixed wing has significant constraints on FARP operations including legacy operational preferences that favors large base operations.

Because sortie generation rate is a first order approximation of combat power.

weasel1962 wrote:On turnaround times, operationally I understand there are several strategies that have been tested that reduce turnaround times. Some instances have been reported though not posted on this site. They include methods like arming and refueling at the same time during a hot refuel.

Posts like the below are not new
https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your ... uel-f-35s/


They are contrasting fueling from a hydrant system to refueling from trucks. They aren't taking either of those on the C-17.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 07:19
by marauder2048
weasel1962 wrote:On political access, is that really a barrier?


In was repeatedly highlighted as a constraint in the paper you cited. Feel free to defend it.

weasel1962 wrote:The 163 bases cited by Davis is an overestimation. Once one takes out bases in SE Asia and those outside of the likely war zone outside of 800nm, the number of 6000 ft runways will be significantly reduced. Notionally, the F-35B is still the ideal weapon to take advantage of distributed ops, not the USAF. My opinion on this still stands.


With the F-35B you aren't really at the mercy of a runway blockade due to ballistic missile delivered runway penetrators.
The enemy can't really pin you In hardened shelters to be destroyed by cruise missiles or prevent you from
recovering back to the base due to UXO in inconvenient places.

So distributed isn't buying you what it does for the non-STOVL force.
Various CSAFs have talked about acquiring the F-35B over the years. Definitely time to revisit that thinking.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 09:16
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:With due respect, that's not how a FARP works. What is critical is that FARPs are the key feature of distributed operations. Its to avoid permanent bases that can be targeted. Downplaying FARPs for the USAF is basically saying distributed ops don't work in their context. FARPs, including fighter FARPs are thus not meant to be permanent bases. They are meant to be temporary runways for use from hours to days max.


I know what a temporary FARP is and what it is meant to do.

weasel1962 wrote: As forward points, they are closer to the target i.e. no air tankers required. The set-up of a FARP may require transports but these are transient. They land, offload and take off. Not parked at the base. Otherwise, no permanent basing of support aircraft either...


Maybe I wasn't clear enough. The RAND document you've linked says this:

" ... Since the concepts for distributed air operations are still emerging [published in 2019], this report is necessarily exploratory and conceptual. We synthesize and expand on existing concepts for distributed operations in order to identify possible capabilities for distributed operations as a starting point for identifying implications for force presentation. We focus in this study on presenting forward deployed fighter forces. ..." (page 20)


In other words, there's no right or wrong way to do this laid out in technical formality, it's a developing concept of operating and what makes the best practical, tactical and achievable sense is what will be done, to enable the most effective survivable FARPing with the available geography. Adaptation to what works will be the rule, and nothing will be unchanging in a fight.

So firstly, your initial linked document from 2013 cites using a C-17A as the refueling source for a flight of 4 x F-22A on the ground, so tanking is involved in FARPing, the only question is where and when does it take place? And that ground refuel consumes more time on the ground. Which as I think you said earlier can be as long as 60 minutes. The reaction and flight time of a BM to a FARP is shorter than that, so the main benefit of FARPing is lost if it takes approximately 1 hour to get everything back into the air due to fueling jets on the ground.

Tanking is involved in getting to the FARP Island (at least one refuel). It is involved again on the return to a base, from the FARP strikes.

The 2013 document cites F-22A, with JDAM bombs - not with JSM or JASSM-ER standoff margins added. So Raptors must fly to the Chinese mainland and perhaps over it for a distance before it drops JDAMs. Meaning it would need close coordination with an escorted tanker waiting for it on the way out. Look at the distance involved. You can't do this without considerable tanking support.

To thus shorten the time on the ground, and exposure to BM strikes you could just refuel the four F-35s after they takeoff from the FARP strip, prior to the strike leg, via using a tanker. The tanker has 2 F-35A escorts protecting it, and also detecting any threats to the FARP, while aircraft are on the ground, and providing real time warning data to the ground.

That makes FARPing much more viable as only 4 x F-35 need hot-reload of weapons on the ground and no fuel. But you would not fly all the way to a FARP and perform just one strike. The key benefit of FARPing is to be closer to the action, to enable more strikes per day, not just one of them. FARPs are not usually operated from the very beginning of a conflict. But in this case it would be hoped they can begin early and continue through out the conflict.

But you'd want to get in at least two strikes per FARP mission before the fighters head back to a base further to the west, say to Guam, or perhaps as far as Wake Island. While most of the tankers must head further eastward to Midway or Hickam to survive on the ground.

This is how I see it occurring: 6 x F-35A takeoff from Guam and head west towards China, 4 of them carry long-range strike weapons, two of them carry A2A weapons (escorts). They meet up with a tanker between Guam and China and tank. The two A2A F-35A stay with the tanker and protect it, the 4 x F-35A with strike weapons attack Chinese targets with Cruise weapons, then return to a FARP Island for a reload. Meanwhile the tanker and its escorts move towards this FARP Island, just as the 4 x F-35A have reloaded with strike weapons and are now ready to launch from the FARP runway. They launch and meet up with the Tanker and escorts near to the FARP Island and refuel, then again attack Chinese targets. The two escorts stay with the tanker and refuel off it as needed. Once the 4 strike F-35A return eastwards, they meet up with the escorted tanker and top-off their tanks, and all 6 x F-35A return to Guam, then the Tanker continues on to Midway, to a more survivable parking area. It's easier for the F-35As to operate and park survivably on Guam (off base). Else they can refuel in Guam, and head for Wake Island before staging from there for the next double-strike FARP attack.

i.e. one FARP double-strike attack every two days (the reason is made clear below).

The closer a FARP Island is to the Chinese mainland the shorter Chinese weapon flight times, and the more important it is to refuel the jets in the air, after reload and launching off the FARP Island, refueling from the escorted tanker.

If you do that you don't need a C-17A involved on the ground to operate a FARP, as the weapons for the second strike's hot-reload can be delivered by over-flight and GPS/INS-guided parachute drop, days in advance of the attack.

This sort of double-strike with a FARP reload in between, would be a fairly standard way to do it (perhaps a triple strike is possible) and may require two tankers to deliver at least two full loads of fuel plus a contingency margin to 6 x F-35A.

weasel1962 wrote:I can understand the resistance expressed from the USAF support communities. Do so much work to set up something that's gone in a few hours or days. Is that really efficient or effective use of resources? I think the appeal to the USMC who have expeditionary ingrained cultural thinking and resources are a bit different.


And with equal respect I don't think you're taking the point on board. Are tankers going to come from San Francisco each mission? Of course not. They will be mostly located on Hawaii and West of Hawaii. And not only tankers. I mentioned several larger aircraft types but presume I refer to every large aircraft type used in the theater. They must be parked somewhere and it will be as close as survivably possible to the battle zone.

Can you imagine flying a fighter or a heavy half way across the Pacific, into battle and back each day? It's not possible without constantly rotating in fresh crews. For example; it's 9,700 nm from Hickam to Kadena and return. At 450 knots (ignoring winds) that's 20.8 hours flying to support each FARP double-strike, not including the time for the strikes, plus the time on the ground, before and after the flight.

So each FARP-supporting refuel flight is at least 24 hours of aircrew duty, i.e. you need 2 crews on each FARP tanker to do it, then crew recovery time after the mission. The FARPs predictably must happen at night and with these constraints it implies 1 tanker can probably support one half of a 6-ship FARP attack, only once every two days, if operating from Hickam or Midway for survivability reasons.

And frankly, the heavy loaded FARP tanker must also receive AAR support to the FARP. So this requires at least two tankers per 6-ship FARP double-strike. And that's without contingency needs. So it will probably require at least 3 tankers to launch a 6-ship FARP strike, if large aircraft (i.e. of all types) have to park at Hickam just to survive the first weeks of the fight.

And yes, there are more Islands with >6,000 ft runways in the mid-western Pacific region but these are still very sparse, and parking is still going to be heavily concentrated at those.

So given those numbers the support aircraft are going to be parked closer to the action, i.e. mostly west of Hawaii and closer to PLAAF bomber weapons and PLA BM artillery. As will be everything else that needs to be close to the fight. To get the effects sooner a higher risk of losses must be taken, Distributed Operations paradigm, or not.

The potential will exist for significant support aircraft losses on the ground.

Thus bombers become the platform of choice to pour in strikes when fighters are being held back for a time by the anti-access/area denial implications. Once PLAAF bombers and tankers are dealt with the situation relaxes, and parked aircraft less vulnerable, if Patriot and Aegis can deal with the BMs and hyperbole-weapons.

Thus using a logistics type, as a supplemental 'bomber' (ramp-shooter), to speed up taking out PLAAF bombers and C4 sooner, means support aircraft and FARPs can operate much more efficiently thereafter.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 13:20
by madrat
With F-35B the dispersal is not a problem. Battlespace management is the big picture problem.

You can drop bladders and do all sorts of rapid deployment accommodations to scatter forces. There are quite a few short haul V/STOL options for getting F-35B near an enemy. What you cannot afford to do is over-extend beyond the limits of communications, datalinks, and intelligence gathering.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 00:58
by element1loop
madrat wrote:Battlespace management is the big picture problem. ... What you cannot afford to do is over-extend beyond the limits of communications, datalinks, and intelligence gathering.


Another reason support aircraft have to remain as far forward as possible (with the risk of losing them in large numbers). The sooner PLAAF bombers, tankers, C4 and targeting data are degraded, the sooner you can get information dominance and air superiority in place, well into the Chinese hinterland, supported by comms-relay aircraft, such as MQ-4, tanker, AWAC, etc., to provide the real-time area SA and enable battlespace management.

HALE MQ-4 and RQ-4 (plus MALE types) have the range, endurance and landing options elsewhere to overcome the anti-access effect, and provide continuous data-relay services. While tankers and AWAC/C2 provide same by their presence. But tankers and AWAC crews are going to have to do a lot of flying to get to and from their station.

Which makes clear why PLAAF put the emphasis on A2A J-20 to disrupt data relays and tankers, rather than VLO strike (which is coming with their long-range VLO bomber development). They would love to have F-35B in this situation, their bases are facing the same OCA problem, it's just they have so many more bases and off-base operating options to compensate.

The biggest problem with being forced into Distributed-Ops by anti-access is this large drop in efficiency and the rising cost, complexity, coordination management and resources, to develop a much enfeebled strike-capability every 24 hours. And that's without considering the effects of Chinese counter-air strikes.

Bombers are so much more attractive (B-21 as C4ISR plus OCA/Strike platform) but it makes clear why an all new very long-range and fast Penetrating Counter-Air aircraft is essential in future (like now!).

In the meantime we really would be screwed without US and Allied F-35B and the ability to seed the whole western Pacific region's Islands with them, and on LHD (or light carriers).

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 05:33
by element1loop
I've identified most air bases in the West Pacific region US air forces have Joint access to (including South Korea). There are some further air bases on Okinawa that I've not bothered to list here (given within the link below). The unrefuelled coverage of China by US F-35A and F-35C using a VLO cruise weapon like JASSM-ER is daunting for Chinese air bases, C4, and IADS. Most fighter and bomber bases can be readily reached and could be repeatedly hit (even if F-35s operate away from such bases). There's not much that makes a difference which can't be hit by F-35s without using a tanker. A lot of strikefighter pressure can be applied parallel to USAF bomber strikes, even if FARPing were stymied during the first week or perhaps first two.

US Bases in Japan:
https://militarybases.com/overseas/japan/

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I see no reason why USAF F-35A and USN F-35C could not operate from Japan, even if these airbases were hit. It's not just the F-35B that can beat-back the horde in such a fight. And this serves to make the inability to FARP in the early stages a bit "meh". And represents a variation on the 'Distributed-Ops' theme of operating from more locations to enhance options and survival.

Once naval air forces arrive in greater numbers in the western Pacific and higher-tempo FARP triple-strikes get rolling the pile-on of airpower would break the back of PLAAF and PLAN. As that occurs tankers can move into Japan and apply air dominance over China.

Distributed-Ops may be an ideal concept in a contested western Pacific but geography is going to interfere with the degree to which the paradigm can be applied. It will be more effective in areas with geography and diplomatic access more suitable for it. It would be easy to utilize the concept if regional political support was widely available, but much harder to make use if political support isn't forthcoming. Distributed-OPs can help with survivability and keep China off balance, from more directions, if able to be fully implemented, but it's not a real game-changer, it's just a survivability aid that leads to time imposts, costs and necessary inefficiencies. But frankly, anti-access weaponry has made those imparted inefficiencies unavoidable anyway.

VLO bombers, VLO strikefighters and modern VLO weapons with a secure comms relay network through support aircraft will be the game-changer in that fight, when combined with a comprehensive missile defense and protection of support-aircraft and naval units. Comms-relay and tanker support aircraft are the soft underbelly, sure to be high-priority item for SLCM attack throughout a fight.

Re: High cost of survival in an air war with China

Unread postPosted: 10 Nov 2019, 00:41
by element1loop
Non-refueled strike radius operating from surrounding countries.

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