What was old, is new again... Lufbery anyone?

F-35 Armament, fuel tanks, internal and external hardpoints, loadouts, and other stores.
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steve2267

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Unread post05 Dec 2019, 03:41

I thought about posting in the F-35 unconventional tactics - your ideas? thread, but this isn't really an unconventional tactic, just an old one... a century old, in fact, harkening back to WWI, the Great War. Then I thought, what other, "old" tactics are new again with the application of the technology fused together in the Lightning?

Several of the other threads at this time are arguing the merits of intercepting Mach 2 Tu-160's, or the "dogfighting" ability of the AMRAAM etc. Tu-160 aside... this dogfighting meme recurs over and over. "Won't happen! Cuz the F-35's J-turn will stomp your stoopid Rafale (or Typhoon or Su-27 or Mig-29 or...)" "The Panther accelerates like a Block 50 Viper, but turns better than a Super Duper Boing!" And of course, "if an F-35 pilot ever gets in a dogfight, the pilot is going to have some 'splaining to do."

Actually, that last bit is probably most accurate.

With regard to the dogfight / nextgen missile arguments, and Su-this-or-that surviving to the merge... what merge? If one side doesn't want to play, will there even be a merge?

Lufbery anyone?

It's going to be pretty dang hard for any Sukhoi driver, or Chengdu rider to merge with a Panther -- first you gotta find one. And if these Panthers, hunting in packs, with their omniscient, distributed SA..., set up a 40nm, or 80nm diameter Lufbery circle... life's gonna be a b*tch, well, short anyway for the unlucky one's sent to hunt the Panther. The "lucky" one that stumbles across a Panther in the front quarter and thinks he's made it to the merge... yeah, that guy will eat a slammer in the snot locker from the Panthers pride 20+nm away... next guy in the circle.

Maybe the 3D equivalent to the WW1 Lufbery is the school of fish. Just like trying to catch a minnow by hand, the school scatters and flows through your fingers. So too, the Panther's flow around the enema, picking him off one by one.

Why merge and get wrapped up in gut wrenching (and tiringly painful) high-G turns, when you can stay at best high cruise speed, with the occasional 2-3g turn (my supposition) to target an enema? I mean, work on your ace-to-be tally and enjoy that latte or frappuccino?

There can't be a merge if one side just blows on through.

System-of-systems and networking and all that.

What other, older tactics have new twists with the advent of what the F-35 brings to the fight? (One could argue the F-22 should be in here as well, and maybe it should. BUT, the F-22 cannot play MADL with the Panther pride, and even Lt Col Burke has stated the F-35 has far superior SA than even the Raptor, and I think it is this superior SA that makes the F-35 such a hard nut to crack.)
Last edited by steve2267 on 05 Dec 2019, 04:03, edited 1 time in total.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post05 Dec 2019, 03:50

Chainsaw, lufberry, the concept has never really changed. Just a question of scale.

But this is the right way of thinking. Less honor, more profit.
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steve2267

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Unread post05 Dec 2019, 04:00

lbk000 wrote:Chainsaw, lufberry, the concept has never really changed. Just a question of scale.


True, and the F-35 with it's fused sensors and DAS, all internetworked via MADL...the scale just grew immensely. Why bother turning or reversing if one happens across a merge when you're buddy can bag him without trouble from tens of miles away? Worse it'll cost you you is a few beers at the o'club. Etiquette would dictate (s)he return the favor next time.

Actually, speaking of o'clubs... the smart Viper or Super Duper driver would be wise to buy beers for the Panther tamers... Possibly the best chance for those 4th gen guys to get in on a kill and live to tell about it... is to have an F-35 jockey remember the kindness back at the bar... and ask to "borrow" one of their missiles...
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post05 Dec 2019, 05:55

While I think this is the right way to look at it, you do have to have a plan B, C, D etc. If the rollback of OPFOR IADS doesn't proceed favourably - leaving OTHR/VHF installations behind, if our own ISR network faulters in the face of OPFOR attacks, if enemy EW disrupts our datalinks, if sensors malfunction... unlikely scenarios perhaps but still possible, hence our Panther pilots will still practice their BFM.

I'd add that if a single F35 was to find itself merged with a bandit, having his wingman take a ~20nm missile shot at the bandit would generally be a no-no. With the two aircraft in such close proximity it's generally not considered safe to allow a Fox 3 to go pitbull in a pocket of airspace that contains a friendly aircraft. I do get what you are saying though - CONOPS are key and really have to be considered alongside pure technical capabilities.
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steve2267

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Unread post05 Dec 2019, 07:10

boogieman wrote:While I think this is the right way to look at it, you do have to have a plan B, C, D etc. If the rollback of OPFOR IADS doesn't proceed favourably - leaving OTHR/VHF installations behind, if our own ISR network faulters in the face of OPFOR attacks, if enemy EW disrupts our datalinks, if sensors malfunction... unlikely scenarios perhaps but still possible, hence our Panther pilots will still practice their BFM.


I am decidedly NOT saying BFM practice should be foregone. Even if it were never to be employed, or the chances are rare, I believe a fighter pilot should be proficient, if not expert, in ACM, BFM, and DACT.

boogieman wrote:I'd add that if a single F35 was to find itself merged with a bandit, having his wingman take a ~20nm missile shot at the bandit would generally be a no-no. With the two aircraft in such close proximity it's generally not considered safe to allow a Fox 3 to go pitbull in a pocket of airspace that contains a friendly aircraft. I do get what you are saying though - CONOPS are key and really have to be considered alongside pure technical capabilities.


I guess the answer is, as always, "it depends." The F-35 is designed to work as part of a team, a network of aircraft. While I am no expert on CONOPS, I believe the fourship is the basic element of tactics for the Lightning, though it might be a twoship. Either way, unless the F-35 has lost some friends, it should not be alone. I posit that instead of maneuvering after the merge (i.e. instead of turning or going vertical), with the capabilities created by DAS / sensor fusion / distributed networking via MADL, the best tactic may simply be to blow through, maybe even unload the aircraft and punch it, or just punch it. How quickly can the enema reverse? If it takes 15 seconds to reverse, at 600 kts, that should create on the order of 2.5nm of separation. If that is not enough separation for another Lightning to target the enema, then my "blow through" idea may not have merit. Also, I do not have the training, knowledge, nor experience to judge whether "blowing through" is dangerous in terms of presenting a hot, juicy target to an enema IR missile. Initially the blower might be used to gain extra speed, then pull back out of blower and change aspect to decrease the IR signature.

Other threads have bandied about terms such as TVM (track-via-missile), two-way datalinks etc. Then you have IFF -- do missiles such as AMRAAM have an IFF capability?

The engineer in me says that with the power of today's computers, with two-way datalinks, TVM, DAS + APG-81 + EOTS fusion + MADL + GPS & Interial Reference units... the entire battlespace could be modeled in real-time from a geometric point of view. The system-of-systems should know where all friendly aircraft are located in 3D space, what their nose vector is, velocity vector is, where all missiles are in 3D space, their nose / velocity vectors, where their sensors are pointing and at what the missile thinks it is looking or onto what target it is locked. Being able to model all sensors of friendly aircraft and weapons, it seems to me that it is within the capability to know if it is safe to let the pitbull go, or to be able to call the pitbull off.

To a certain extent, this must have already been done for these simulators we have been reading about to be able to simulate battlespace to the fidelity that is required to be a useful training aid.

The pilot in me, even if of only single engine piston poppers, understands the reluctance to let "smart" weapons loose amongst friends.

As if the 3D chess match that was BFM / DACT prior to F-35 with its internetworkededness wasn't hard enough to visualize and prosecute then... today's F-35 drivers may be having to visualize a much larger furball and think in real-time how aircraft need to maneuver so that just a 10nm or 20nm or 30nm shot can be taken without putting a friendly dangerously close to the pitbull with its hair on fire.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post05 Dec 2019, 08:50

steve2267 wrote:I guess the answer is, as always, "it depends." The F-35 is designed to work as part of a team, a network of aircraft. While I am no expert on CONOPS, I believe the fourship is the basic element of tactics for the Lightning, though it might be a twoship. Either way, unless the F-35 has lost some friends, it should not be alone. I posit that instead of maneuvering after the merge (i.e. instead of turning or going vertical), with the capabilities created by DAS / sensor fusion / distributed networking via MADL, the best tactic may simply be to blow through, maybe even unload the aircraft and punch it, or just punch it. How quickly can the enema reverse? If it takes 15 seconds to reverse, at 600 kts, that should create on the order of 2.5nm of separation. If that is not enough separation for another Lightning to target the enema, then my "blow through" idea may not have merit. Also, I do not have the training, knowledge, nor experience to judge whether "blowing through" is dangerous in terms of presenting a hot, juicy target to an enema IR missile. Initially the blower might be used to gain extra speed, then pull back out of blower and change aspect to decrease the IR signature.


I'd say it's pretty contextual. In a lot of cases it may work well. In others blowing through might amount to getting shot in the butt by a bandit who has the gas and the speed to run you down, or careening toward a wall of SAM sites. That said you could simply modify the idea to involve one shot pre merge (say it misses - dud round - whatever - nose on merges are going to be rare as hell), one shot over the shoulder (to keep the bandit nose-cold while you extend), and then another to make the kill after you turn back into him. Certainly many ways of skinning this cat.

steve2267 wrote:Other threads have bandied about terms such as TVM (track-via-missile), two-way datalinks etc. Then you have IFF -- do missiles such as AMRAAM have an IFF capability?


I don't think so.

steve2267 wrote:The engineer in me says that with the power of today's computers, with two-way datalinks, TVM, DAS + APG-81 + EOTS fusion + MADL + GPS & Interial Reference units... the entire battlespace could be modeled in real-time from a geometric point of view. The system-of-systems should know where all friendly aircraft are located in 3D space, what their nose vector is, velocity vector is, where all missiles are in 3D space, their nose / velocity vectors, where their sensors are pointing and at what the missile thinks it is looking or onto what target it is locked. Being able to model all sensors of friendly aircraft and weapons, it seems to me that it is within the capability to know if it is safe to let the pitbull go, or to be able to call the pitbull off.

To a certain extent, this must have already been done for these simulators we have been reading about to be able to simulate battlespace to the fidelity that is required to be a useful training aid.

The pilot in me, even if of only single engine piston poppers, understands the reluctance to let "smart" weapons loose amongst friends.

As if the 3D chess match that was BFM / DACT prior to F-35 with its internetworkededness wasn't hard enough to visualize and prosecute then... today's F-35 drivers may be having to visualize a much larger furball and think in real-time how aircraft need to maneuver so that just a 10nm or 20nm or 30nm shot can be taken without putting a friendly dangerously close to the pitbull with its hair on fire.


Agreed!
Last edited by boogieman on 05 Dec 2019, 10:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post05 Dec 2019, 09:46

I think the mental geometric conceptualization of a ‘merge‘ tends to be defined by the geographic limits of training airspace and how we train. When you’ve been to the ‘same area’ 20 times — whether it’s in the real world or otherwise — there is a natural tendency to game the scenario because there’s only so many ways to bake the cake and you’ve tasted em all; red force over here...blue force over there...gotta stay in these corridors and these blocks...ready, set, fights on...and it culminates, when, where and how? To the degree that we go to different ‘geographic’ areas or scenarios, simulation begins to expand those conceptual boundaries.

Battlespace ambiguities (the fog of war, if you will), will tend to drive opposing forces closer together in the real world; anyone remember the airliner and the USS Vincennes? We are a technological galaxy afar of that time, but the question of allowable risk vs how much trust we grant ‘technology’ will remain in-play.
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Unread post05 Dec 2019, 14:37

Did the tactics used in Operation Bolo by Col Olds have a name? Was it just a "fighter sweep"? I am guessing it was something Olds had seen or flown or devised during WW2.

I could see Operation Bolo "sweeps" work rather well with the internetworked Lightning. As with the Lightning Lufberry, scale would (or could) be greatly expanded. There would be ample opportunity to mix in Vipers, Super Dupers, and Eagles (the ones who appropriately groveled at the O'club :mrgreen: ) both to expand the available missile magazine, as well as to provide some "bait."

One potential benefit of whacking the enema hard when they thought they were bouncing the 4th genners... whenever the enema in the future see 4th gen aircraft, they might hesitate to attack, thinking it was a trap, and thus extending some "5th gen cloaking" aura around the 4th genners. Dunno if that would really be an effect, but any time one can get the enema to hesitate or 2nd guess himself sounds like a good thing.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post05 Dec 2019, 23:52

I find this kind of strange.

With the F-35 , you are flying around with a complete "bubble" where you have full and unlimited situation awareness.

And still some continue to think in WW1 1V1 tail chase situations.

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