F-35's vs Flankers: AMRAAM's vs Russian AAM's.

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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meatshield

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Unread post24 May 2016, 07:03

These posts have got me thinking.

Would the name "PREDATOR" be a good fit for the F35? :devil:
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Unread post24 May 2016, 08:11

mixelflick wrote:Flankers have all sorts of BVR AAM's with radar, infra red, electro optical etc seeker heads. Meaning the Flankers need only understand how to counter 2 missiles, whereas the F-35 will have to contend with half a dozen.


There are basically four types of seeker heads in use for AAMs. There are Semi-Active Radar Homing (SARH), Active Radar Homing (ARH), Infrared Homing and Passive Radar Homing. Optical seeker heads have been tested but not really used as they have some serious weaknesses and we can leave them out as nobody is really using them.

Flankers have Passive Radar Homing version of R-27P1/EP1 but that would be useless against modern AESA radar like AN/APG-81. IMO, it might be useful against older and larger EW and AEW aircraft which radiate with a lot of power all around and in predictable pattern. Fighter AESA radiation pattern and power levels would be such that there is very little such missile could detect, let alone lock on to. I doubt any Flanker has capability to have a firing solution against F-35 with such a missile or even detect AN/APG-81 at useful ranges. So I say that these missiles are useless against F-35.

Other missiles would need having reliable tracking from some sensor before launching missiles. Launching blind might be possible but would just be waste of missiles. Flanker would need to detect and track F-35 using either radar or IRST system. Flanker IRST systems have pretty modest range against large non-stealthy targets in best conditions and F-35 has many IR suppression measures and systems. I'd say Flanker IRST would be useless against F-35 until close to WVR range and even then it would only give cue that there is some heat source at some direction. It's not an imaging system, so Flanker pilot would not know if it was F-35, F-22, F-15C or ballistic missile and would not know the range to it until within LRF range.

Using Radar homing missiles would also require having solid track for firing solution and that would be problematic against VLO target like F-35. Since F-35s would have not much trouble knowing where Flankers are, they would maneuver themselves in a way which minimizes the change of Flankers even detecting them, let alone shooting. Even if engaged, the small RCS of F-35 would make it really troublesome for missile seeker to lock on to it and maintain lock. Even if that happened, the small RCS would magify the effect of EW and chaff. IMO, killing F-35 would be difficult with radar homing missiles and probability of kill would be low.
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Unread post24 May 2016, 10:45

meatshield wrote:These posts have got me thinking.

Would the name "PREDATOR" be a good fit for the F35? :devil:


http://www.defensetech.org/2014/03/11/f ... th-reaper/
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Unread post24 May 2016, 11:12

Who said the F-35 will be the shooter?
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Unread post24 May 2016, 12:59

All very interesting/insightful Thank you!

Is there ANY scenario in which the SU-35/like Flanker holds the advantage?

I'd imagine getting to the merge would be their best case scenario. That depends on surviving the AMRAAM onslaught, I'm guessing via a combination of E/W and super-maneuverability. I'd be curious to know if a clean F-35 could out accelerate a loaded Flanker, and whether or not the F-35's post stall/high alpha capability would be on par.

If LM's theory of "barreling though" and taking over the shoulder AMRAAM shots is true, a lot depends on those AMRAAM's connecting. Not many more left, at least coming out of the F-35 that shot them. As you pointed out though, they may be coming from elsewhere. I really hope they get a 6 AMRAAM configured F-35 up and running fast..
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Unread post24 May 2016, 14:27

mixelflick wrote:All very interesting/insightful Thank you!

Is there ANY scenario in which the SU-35/like Flanker holds the advantage?

I'd imagine getting to the merge would be their best case scenario. That depends on surviving the AMRAAM onslaught, I'm guessing via a combination of E/W and super-maneuverability. I'd be curious to know if a clean F-35 could out accelerate a loaded Flanker, and whether or not the F-35's post stall/high alpha capability would be on par.

If LM's theory of "barreling though" and taking over the shoulder AMRAAM shots is true, a lot depends on those AMRAAM's connecting. Not many more left, at least coming out of the F-35 that shot them. As you pointed out though, they may be coming from elsewhere. I really hope they get a 6 AMRAAM configured F-35 up and running fast..


Getting into merge would be problematic for Flankers:

1. F-35 will fly in "formations" separated by tens of nautical miles. At best they'd be able to merge with one F-35 at a time.

2. Other F-35s and other assets would be able to shoot at the Flankers at will as they'd close in to that single F-35 which would give targeting info to at least remaining F-35s around.

3. This assumes most of the Flankers survived the AMRAAM shots and managed to stay coherent force afterwards. It also assumes F-35s using pretty stupid tactics to engage Flankers.

4. This also assumes the Flankers had pretty good information about where the F-35s are. A low frequency radar might give some indication but requires that such radar was close enough to do so. Even then the information would be quite inaccurate and updated slowly (increasing inaccuracy) even with latest systems.

5. Even within WVR F-35 has some serious advantages due to having vastly superior SA. F-35 would track every single Flanker (or any other non-stealthy aircraft) with high precision. Flanker systems or pilot could maybe track that one F-35 if it got close enough. They would not know for sure if there is a flight of F-35s just around the corner or some other shooter nearby.

6. F-35 has very impressive performance in air-to-air configuration and I'd say at least comparable to combat loaded (even air-to-air) Flanker. It has equal or better T/W ratio, higher AoA limits and possibly even lower drag characteristics than most Flanker variants do in that configuration. I don't think either one has clear advantage in performance.

I think it would require a situation where Flankers were flying near several powerful surveillance radars, had fully operational IADS to support them, had serious numerical superiority and had a lot of luck. Even then it would require pretty poor tactics and execution from the F-35s. Otherwise the Flankers would be at serious disadvantage. IMO, real world kill statistics will be something else than 4-6:1 earlier claimed for the F-35s.

Otherwise I think the best way against F-35s would be to have large numerical superiority and capabilities to attack their airbases and keep them shut down. Beating them in the air is very hard IMO for any foreseeable enemy force.
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Unread post24 May 2016, 15:28

Dragon029 wrote:
meatshield wrote:These posts have got me thinking.

Would the name "PREDATOR" be a good fit for the F35? :devil:


http://www.defensetech.org/2014/03/11/f ... th-reaper/


:offtopic: In light of the F-35's impressive sensors and ability to locate its foes, I would say a fitting name would be "TRACKER". A tracker keeps a light load of weapons, just in case, but mostly stays out of sight. It then directs other resources in to make the kill.
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Unread post24 May 2016, 18:21

:mrgreen: This is a TRACKER S-2E/G (going supersonic - noice - in yur dreams). :devil:
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Unread post29 May 2016, 20:04

mixelflick wrote:Now I know APA is ridiculous, but I did read something in one of their write ups that made sense..

The F-35 is going to carry 1 (AMRAAM), maybe 2 AAM's (9x) in most configurations. Flankers have all sorts of BVR AAM's with radar, infra red, electro optical etc seeker heads. Meaning the Flankers need only understand how to counter 2 missiles, whereas the F-35 will have to contend with half a dozen.

Sure, the Flanker has to find the F-35 first. But isn't having multiple missiles/seeker heads a distinct advantage, at least insofar as in air to air combat? With it's heavy load, a Flanker could send 3-4 volleys of multi-seeker missiles the F-35's way. The reverse wouldn't be true...

Just seeking knowledge, not looking to stir anything up.


In APA world where 1 vs 1 combat reigns. :roll:

Flankers are going to get shot at more, because they are more visible. The end. F-35s will be shot at less because they are less visible. In the off chance a Flanker catches sight of an F-35, it will theoretically have a lot of missiles to fire at it, but this will also be rare, and still only against an individual F-35. This would be the "exception" and not the rule though. If the bad guys want to trade 10 flankers for 1 F-35, I'm fine with that. We lose 10, they lose 100.
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Unread post30 May 2016, 04:34

AIM-120C7 only has nine ways to home in on their target. Russian kit is usually purpose built for some role.
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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 00:57

hornetfinn wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Flankers have Passive Radar Homing version of R-27P1/EP1


As with everything Russian, one needs to ask how many do they have? This passive-homing R-27 version has been around since the 1980s, but from all accounts is a very minor version. If it ever was in service with the Russians, is not even known. Or if it has any capability against fighter sized targets.

The same for R-77. Looks good on paper. Actual experience with the Indians hasn't been all too positive, and as far as actually being in service the Russians? Maybe they finally got a few in service this year. Compared to an AIM-120C or D? Probably far behind in capability. And the US acquires several hundreds of these missiles per year (in 2016 alone they bought 430 AIM-120, 420 planned for 2017). So not only is the US inventory much larger, but I'm not sure the Russian AAMs have any comparable capabilities (outside of kinematic performance on paper). So far they haven't demonstrated any serious capability when used in conflicts beyond AIM-7 performance during Vietnam (about 15% kill ratio in Ethiopia, reportedly)
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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 13:22

6. F-35 has very impressive performance in air-to-air configuration and I'd say at least comparable to combat loaded (even air-to-air) Flanker. It has equal or better T/W ratio, higher AoA limits

F-35 has higher AoA vs Flankers?

I admit I'm not well versed in AoA, though I've read where the F-35 has up to 50 degree AoA. Yet, I've seen Flankers yank their noses not just straight up, but back even farther - then returning to point forwards. Am I missing something, or is this not beyond 50 degrees?

Of course, I have no idea if any operational Flanker variant can do this with an A2A loadout. All I recall on that score was this: Supposedly someone commented on a Flanker's supermaneuverbility display as, "pretty impressive but couldn't do that loaded". This so incensed the Flanker pilot that he ordered the aircraft loaded next day for the display, then flew the same demo.

See here. Heavy (real heavy) air to air load out. Provided these AAM's are true to weight, absolutely incredible..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-VNSJMiNt0
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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 13:35

mixelflick wrote:6. F-35 has very impressive performance in air-to-air configuration and I'd say at least comparable to combat loaded (even air-to-air) Flanker. It has equal or better T/W ratio, higher AoA limits

F-35 has higher AoA vs Flankers?

I admit I'm not well versed in AoA, though I've read where the F-35 has up to 50 degree AoA. Yet, I've seen Flankers yank their noses not just straight up, but back even farther - then returning to point forwards. Am I missing something, or is this not beyond 50 degrees?

Of course, I have no idea if any operational Flanker variant can do this with an A2A loadout. All I recall on that score was this: Supposedly someone commented on a Flanker's supermaneuverbility display as, "pretty impressive but couldn't do that loaded". This so incensed the Flanker pilot that he ordered the aircraft loaded next day for the display, then flew the same demo.

See here. Heavy (real heavy) air to air load out. Provided these AAM's are true to weight, absolutely incredible..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-VNSJMiNt0


The FBW system in a Flanker is limited to ~28 degrees. There is an override switch. This switch is triggered, the pilot pulls back hard, pushes the nose back down, resets the switch. Likewise the F-35 is limited to 50 degrees, but has pulled 110 degrees in testing when the limiter was turned off.
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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 14:01

Amazing, thanks so much for the insight.

110 degrees huh? Something tells me when they finally take the gloves off these airshow freaks/F-35 haters are going to be eating their words. It may be a "strike fighter" but I'd think twice before jumping something like that. I can recall the F-15 hate from back in the day. Too big, too easy to see and too complex to work. Today, it stands undefeated in air combat, with over 100 air to air victories.

I think we're at the same point with the F-35..
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Unread post07 Jun 2016, 12:01

arian wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Flankers have Passive Radar Homing version of R-27P1/EP1


As with everything Russian, one needs to ask how many do they have? This passive-homing R-27 version has been around since the 1980s, but from all accounts is a very minor version. If it ever was in service with the Russians, is not even known. Or if it has any capability against fighter sized targets.

The same for R-77. Looks good on paper. Actual experience with the Indians hasn't been all too positive, and as far as actually being in service the Russians? Maybe they finally got a few in service this year. Compared to an AIM-120C or D? Probably far behind in capability. And the US acquires several hundreds of these missiles per year (in 2016 alone they bought 430 AIM-120, 420 planned for 2017). So not only is the US inventory much larger, but I'm not sure the Russian AAMs have any comparable capabilities (outside of kinematic performance on paper). So far they haven't demonstrated any serious capability when used in conflicts beyond AIM-7 performance during Vietnam (about 15% kill ratio in Ethiopia, reportedly)


I agree with your assessment. I don't think passive radar homing version of R-27 was ever meant to be used against fighter targets and would likely have very poor performance against such target. It might be usable against huge targets emitting megawatts of RF power constantly like AWACS or big jammer aircraft. Even then I'd bet that regular radar or IR homing missiles would be better in killing said targets. Hell, even HARM has shown pretty poor hit and kill probability against stationary targets in real life, although it has been effective suppressing said targets. R-27P might be usable in such cases as it's said to have longest launch range of all R-27 missiles. I agree it's likely rather specialized weapon and might not have been adopted by any air force. Interestingly R-27P1/EP1 missiles have maximum target G-load as 5 Gs compared to 8 Gs for other variants. This is one indication that they were never intended against fighter aircraft.
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