F-35A to Red Flag

Production milestones, roll-outs, test flights, service introduction and other milestones.
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count_to_10

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Unread post28 Mar 2017, 23:28

spazsinbad wrote:

Adversaries
When it comes to manoeuvrability and range the F-35 is by far outmatched by its modern Russian rivals, such as the Sukhoi Su-35BM/S equipped with trust-vectoring (movable) engines. The Lightning II flies only a two-thirds (1,200 mls / 2,200 km) of the distance the Su-35 (1,980 mls / 3,600 km), while having tankers in a bandit-rich environment is not considered a likely scenario.

Not that idiotic Wikipeadia "1,200 nm range" canard again (these guys didn't even get the nautical mile part right).
I wouldn't be surprised of the F-35 has a longer range with a combat load than the Su-35 has clean.
Einstein got it backward: one cannot prevent a war without preparing for it.

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Unread post29 Mar 2017, 00:13

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Unread post29 Mar 2017, 00:38

steve2267 wrote:I was not saying the AIM-120 is not capable WVR -- clearly it is. However, the AIM-9X would be the WVR weapon of choice, no? Therefore, if the F-35 was getting WVR kills with AIM-120s, how much more effective / deadly will it be WVR when 3F arrives and AIM-9X is an option, mission dependent?


BVR is the arena where the great majority of engagements are expected to occur so going with a BVR weapon that is also capable of WVR seems to be a more advantageous loadout.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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mk82

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Unread post29 Mar 2017, 12:40

spazsinbad wrote:Just when you thought it was safe to WAVE the (name your colour) FLAG along comes AIRHEADS with 'inside' guesswork....
Will this F-35 survive its enemy? We doubt it
11 Mar 2017 AIRheads/MB

"The survivability of the future main combat jet of the US armed forces and many of their allies is again in doubt. Despite praising Red Flag Exercise after-action reports on deployed US Air Force and US Marine Corps F-35s, Airheadsfly.com feels the effectiveness in tomorrow’s air war against – let’s say – Russian or even Swedish fighter jets is not as rosy as we are “made” to believe....

...how realistic the scenarios played at Red Flag are. We have no doubt they do mirror future war situations, but we do question if the more capable enemy aircraft are really put into play. ... But can it match the Russian Sukhoi Su-37s or Swedish SAAB JAS 39C/D Gripen MS20s? [buttgripping stuff indeed]

Adversaries
The “professional adversaries” (Aggressor aircraft) during the Red Flag 2016-3 were above all 1980/1990s-era F-16s of the US Air Force 64th Aggressor Squadron as well as 1960s-era McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawks flown by the Draken International paramilitary organisation. Hardly comparable to the most modern aircraft of today.

When it comes to manoeuvrability and range the F-35 is by far outmatched by its modern Russian rivals, such as the Sukhoi Su-35BM/S equipped with trust-vectoring (movable) engines. The Lightning II flies only a two-thirds (1,200 mls / 2,200 km) of the distance the Su-35 (1,980 mls / 3,600 km), while having tankers in a bandit-rich environment is not considered a likely scenario.

JAS 39 Gripen MS20
True, the F-35 has the stealth advantage but according to sources within Swedish SAAB and the Swedish Air Force the newest MS20 software upgrade of the JAS 39 Gripen jet enables the aircraft’s radar and other systems to detect and counter these stealthy aircraft quite well. Although it is unlikely American jocks will fly against Vikings the new Meteor missile has given the JAS 39 Gripen – as well as the French Rafale – a lethal weapon against enemy aircraft over the 60 miles (100 km) range.

The Swedes have fielded the upgraded Gripen MS20 and Meteor mainly to cope with the Russian Sukhoi PAK A/T-50 stealthy air-supiority fighter and the non-stealthy Flankers of the 4+ generation. But the technology as such can – in the wrong hands – quite likely turn a F-35 into a smoking hole in the ground as well. [more clenching buts]

S-400...
...Moreover, Russia is traditionally keeping a better pace between aircraft and missile technology, while US puts more money into its aircraft technology and let its pilots often fly with somewhat antiquated anti-air weaponry and having its ground forces operating with less-good-than-what-the-Russians-have missile batteries. [???? more in the URL text]

Believe vs Make-believe
We do believe the F-35s state-of-the-art sensors give its users a great asset in any war scenario, but with still lacking basic things as stand-off weapons, the ability to bring just four air-to-air missiles to the air war in order to remain stealthy (all weapons internal) and with the newest electronic counter and detect developments made by other defence manufacturers worldwide the survivability as advertised by the Red Flag after-action reports may very well be nothing more than make-believe." [geebus that is sad indeed]

Source: http://airheadsfly.com/2017/03/11/will- ... -doubt-it/


F*ck, the stupidity in this article is astounding and my IQ has just dropped 50 points just reading it. Airheads indeed (how apt)!

So much hilarious stupidity....you know that the article is f*cked when it mentions the SU 37....a currently non existent 1990s Flanker variant.

Let's see....hmmmmm.....I think the cretinous author of this trashy article didn't realise that those "1980s" USAF aggressor F16s have been upgraded with pretty Gucci kits such as modern/up to date IRST and EW pods. And USAF aggressor pilots from the 64th AGRS can make any Flanker or Gripen flying jock look extremely stupid/incompetent (this cretinous author forgot that success in air combat ain't just about the kit)

Hahahaha......way to underplay the F35A and inflate the SU 35 range. Frankly, it doesn't matter if the SU 35 has XXXX range as it will be eating AMRAAMs in the face (fired from VLO platforms) 10 to 20 Nm from its airbase.

What absolute b*llshit about the Gripen's MS20 upgrade making the Gripen the super detector of VLO platforms.....SAAB itself didn't even bang on about this mythical capability because its obviously blatantly untrue (unsurprisingly MS 20 upgrades can't bend the rules of physics). SAAB did bang on hard about MS 20 upgraded Gripens being able to use Meteor air to air missiles, small diameter bomb (SDB I), needing less frequent maintenance, having upgrades to Link 16, having upgrades to CBRN protection, having a digital CAS datalink, new TGP and new ISTAR capabilities as well as auto GCAS.....but not a pip squeak about super detection capabilities against VLO targets. The cretinous author seems to be oblivious to the fact that SAAB is developing the Super Gripen (Gripen E/F) because the Gripen C/D frankly just ain't all that great from this point in time. This cretinous author is also not aware that Finnish Air Force F/A 18 fighter jocks has been making Gripen pilots look ordinary since the 1990s!

What is this about the West having inferior SAM systems to the Russians!? There is only one result for fighter pilots using Russian platforms flying into a top notch IADS consisting of competently operated and interconnected (including NIFC-CA) Patriot/MEADS/Aster/Standard Missile systems -> an eye wateringly bad day!

That article was a masterclass in FUD.
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Unread post29 Mar 2017, 12:59

mk82 - didn't you know the Su-35 has magic DRFM jammer pods that make AMRAAMS pack up and go home? Sheesh...
:roll:
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Unread post29 Mar 2017, 13:27

Oh, forgot about that! :doh: Those wily Russkies! Oh wait, the AMRAAM D has a two way datalink providing enhanced ECCM and an alternate mode of guidance. Those magic Russian DRFM jammers don't "bedazzle" LPI AESA radars very well.....Ruh oh!!! Looks like the SU 35 pilot wouldn't be the one going home then :mrgreen:
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 10:32

On page 26 of this thread there are comments about DRAKEN Skyhawks specifically the A-4K with KAHU upgrade. Attached is a 2Mb 8 page story about DRAKEN aggressor aircraft including the Skyhawk - with an A/A radar & avionics similar to F-16 around the upgrade time of early 1990s, from AirForces Monthly May 2017 Number 350 magazine.

Last photo (of KAHU radar APG-66) by Don Simms - co-author of an excellent history of the RNZAF Skyhawk A-4K Kahu.

viewtopic.php?f=57&t=52723&p=363648&hilit=Skyhawk#p363648
Enter the Dragon
May 2017 Joe Copalman

"One of the leading names in the rise of contract Red Air support is Draken International. Joe Copalman examines the
company’s work....

...Kahu Skyhawks
The current mainstay of the firm’s contracts is the A-4 Skyhawk, with a mix of six ex-Israeli A-4Ns and seven ex-Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) A-4Ks. The A-4Ks, in particular, are what separate Draken from other contract air services. The company’s Director of USMC Operations Jeff Scott said: “The A-4K was the RNZAF ‘Kahu’ variant. It was their primary air defence aircraft, which they upgraded to earlier-model F-16-type avionics. It has an APG-66 radar, HUD [head-up display], multifunction displays, HOTAS [hands on throttle and stick controls], and a digital databus. So it’s got a lot more than the standard A-4s used to have back in the day.”

Of critical importance to the Red Air mission is the Skyhawk’s radar. Jeff Scott explained: “There are Red Air platforms that go out there with no radar, but it’s hard to punish the Blue mistakes in those aircraft. Really, at the end of the day, we’re targets, and if they do everything right, we shouldn’t be able to shoot them. But if they do something wrong and they don’t get shot, that is reinforcing a bad habit. So if they do something wrong and they get shot, then they take it back to the debrief and then go fix it and not do it again.”...

Source: AirForces Monthly Magazine May 2017 No.350
Attachments
DRAKEN A_M_2017_05 pp8.pdf
(1.97 MiB) Downloaded 590 times
A-4KcockpitKAHUwideHUDtif.jpg
KAHUschematicFO-01pdf2col.gif
A-4KkahuRadarUpgradeAPG-66.jpg
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post05 May 2017, 16:52

So I'm going back and forth with this guy who claims that the reason why F-35's were so successful in Redflag 17-1 is because Red air is simply obsolete, he says in fact no red air has ever won against blue force in any exercise because they were simply designed to loose.

Of course I told him that pilot testimonies claimed that Redflag 17-1 was designed to be realistic and this Redflag was stacked with "advanced air threats". But what exactly constitutes advanced?

As far as I know, all aggressors were F-16Cs (block 50/52) so no AESA, or what not. Were they equipped with IRST pods? what kind? did they have AEWACS support?

If anyone has any links, it would be useful, just how good is the 64th Aggressor Squadron and their support? How can they accurately replicate and advanced Flanker/Fulcrum force? and for WVR training, how can they replicate the high Alpha capabilities of the Flanker? Do they need to use SHornet aggressors for that specific scenario?
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Unread post05 May 2017, 17:21

Your friend has a very convenient argument. Essentially, he's saying the F-35 was matched against less advanced aircraft so it had an unfair advantage. So really he wants the F-35 pitted against other F-35s. But if they did that he could then correctly say it proves nothing. Even if they used F-22s for Red Air, he could say the lack of IR sensors gave the F-35s an unfair advantage. Of course, the flip side of the coin is that the basis for his argument is that the F-35 is superior to the adversaries its training against. I'd just agree with him and discuss sports.
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Unread post05 May 2017, 17:28

What mm just said. But here is some insight into how aggressor pilots try to simulate threat aircraft

zero-one wrote:If anyone has any links, it would be useful, just how good is the 64th Aggressor Squadron and their support? How can they accurately replicate and advanced Flanker/Fulcrum force? and for WVR training, how can they replicate the high Alpha capabilities of the Flanker? Do they need to use SHornet aggressors for that specific scenario?


I'd pay good money to see your opponent get into an argument with a real fighter pilot from the 64th AS in a bar somewhere. I'm not sure I'd get more of a kick watching the guy lose his teeth, or downing an afterburner for the first time with Jeremiah Weed.

You can't argue (and win) with stupid, nor with people who have already made up their mind, or who know it all, already.

But you may find this web article interesting. A fellow that was a Topgun instructor flew the F-16N, which sounds like it was a real hotrod:

What It Was Like Flying And Fighting The F-16N Viper, Topgun’s Legendary Hotrod
By Paul Nickell And Tyler RogowayMay 9, 2016

...

Tactically, the A-4’s performance was very similar to the MiG-17, although not quite as good. In the mid ‘80s, the MiG-17 was definitely no longer a front line Soviet fighter, but it was still operational in many third world countries that we considered threats. The same things could be said for our F-5s that simulated MiG-21s, although there were large numbers of the ‘21s still operational in the world at that time.

The F-5 could also simulate the MiG-23 if it stayed fast and made large arcing turns, and the ‘23 was operational all over the world. However, neither the A-4 or F-5 could properly simulate the fourth generation threats (Mig-29, Su-27 etc). The beauty of the F-16N was that it could simulate all of these threats well if flown properly by the adversary pilot. To simulate the MiG-17 or a similar threat, we simply flew the F-16 full up, except we never used the afterburner. To simulate the MiG-21, we flew it full up, except we would select more than zone two (zone five being the max) afterburner. To simulate the MiG-23 we flew the F-16N at the speed of heat and made no turns greater than about four G. On top of that, we could simulate the fourth generation Soviet fighters, the SU 27 and MIG 29, if we flew it full up, full burner and at any speed.

...

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3383/what-it-was-like-flying-and-fighting-the-f-16n-viper-topguns-legendary-hotrod


No, you can't entirely duplicate a Flanker, but apparently you can get close enough for really good training.

I read recently that the US had purchased a bunch (10? 20?) of used Mig-29's, I believe from Poland in the mid to late '90s. For all I know they bought some SU-27's as well. Anyone know if aircraft such as these are ever used in exercises? I'm going to guess not, as they are probably (assumption on my part) not as reliable as US aircraft and the maintenance upkeep could get pricey.
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 May 2017, 18:42

Thanks for your answers guys, I guess his argument is, what the USAF terms as "advanced air threats" is nothing more than propaganda because the aggressors themselves are pretty obsolete even when compared to the real world adversaries.

I remember Col. Fornlof on that leaked Redflag 08 video where their F-15s and F-16 kicked Su-30MKIs around, but in the end he did admit that the MKI was already quite better than the current 4th gen fleet of the USAF, which is why acquiring 5th gen assets was critical to maintain a technological edge.

So how can you accurately replicate adversaries if you're using inferior equipment than theirs?

Well my last response was this link,
https://theaviationist.com/2014/02/21/r ... ed-nellis/

here in Redflag 13-3 it shows Aggressor aircraft carrying AN/AAS-42 targeting pods to at least replicate the Flanker's
IRST capabilities.

Sadly the most effective link I could find is from War is boring
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the-pe ... cf9d25cd44

Here the author indicates all the different IRST systems installed on 4th gen aircraft when training against 5th gens.
But I don't want to use war is borring as a source so I went with the aviationist link instead even though it only mentioned the IRST systems in passing.

I'd like to know if AEWACs were used by the Aggressors? or GCI maybe?
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Unread post05 May 2017, 19:51

mikemag wrote:Essentially, he's saying the F-35 was matched against less advanced aircraft so it had an unfair advantage.


For the moment, that just might be precisely what the F-35 is - more advanced than current threats. The difficulty of matching threats to it has been voiced by the USAF themselves.

That might not always be true, so indeed - the Red Flag folks did their best to challenge it using their current threats. We don't know the exact red air rules, but judging by comments and sources, they would be very unfair for any other than 5th gen blue air assets.
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Unread post05 May 2017, 20:18

FWIW, while I am unsure if the RF 17-1 Red Air was AESA equipped, the F-35 has flown in other excercises against Red Air that was AESA equipped. By all news accounts, it didn't help the Red Air at all. Witness the losses the F-15E's out of Mountain Home suffered against the F-35's in exercises in 2016. I'm fairly confident I read those Strike Eagles were AESA equipped.
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 May 2017, 20:54

steve2267 wrote:FWIW, while I am unsure if the RF 17-1 Red Air was AESA equipped, the F-35 has flown in other excercises against Red Air that was AESA equipped. By all news accounts, it didn't help the Red Air at all. Witness the losses the F-15E's out of Mountain Home suffered against the F-35's in exercises in 2016. I'm fairly confident I read those Strike Eagles were AESA equipped.


It's because F-15E is bomber, silly! Anyone can beat a bomber in dogfight.
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Unread post05 May 2017, 21:19

hythelday wrote:
steve2267 wrote:FWIW, while I am unsure if the RF 17-1 Red Air was AESA equipped, the F-35 has flown in other excercises against Red Air that was AESA equipped. By all news accounts, it didn't help the Red Air at all. Witness the losses the F-15E's out of Mountain Home suffered against the F-35's in exercises in 2016. I'm fairly confident I read those Strike Eagles were AESA equipped.


It's because F-15E is bomber, silly! Anyone can beat a bomber in dogfight.

The F-15E in A2A configuration, is a formidable dogfighter. They weren't carrying JDAMs, etc...during the dogfights. Just AIM-9/AIM-120.
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