65th Aggressor Squadron F-35

F-35 unit & base selection, delivery, activation
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tobiascorbett

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Unread post03 Feb 2019, 03:55

Recently the Commander of the USAF's 57th Wing posted a rending on facebook of a new color scheme that will be worn by some of the 64th Aggressor Squadron's F-16s (Link: https://www.facebook.com/57WGCommander/ ... =3&theater).

In the background of one of the photos shows an F-35 in what looks like the color scheme of a Chinese J-31. More interestingly the rendering shows the words "65 AGRS" on the tail of the F-35. Does this mean that we could soon see F-35's being used as Red Air? and could the 65th Aggressor Squadron be reactivated to fly them?
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spazsinbad

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Unread post03 Feb 2019, 06:09

LOOKS like CGI (rendering as you say) to me also: https://scontent.fsyd8-1.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=5CBDD4C0
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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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zero-one

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Unread post03 Feb 2019, 13:54

Well what other candidates do we have for future ARGS platforms?
first we need to guess what types of aircraft adversaries will fly in the future. Advanced Flanker and Fulcrum variants, J-20s, Su-57s.

Replicating a bandit for BVR intercepts is easy, they even use T-38s to represent that at times. Replicating it for BFM is more challenging.

According to Ret Col Chip Burke "Dog fighting is something that you would want to avoid, but at the same time, you need to be very proficient at"

In reality I don't think the F-22 and F-35 will face significant challenges in a BVR match specially against the Flanker and Fulcrum series. Replicating the Su-57 for BVR can probably be replicated by a clean SHornet with some support. Replicating the J-20 on the other hand is tougher, maybe an F-22 or F-35 can do it.

Replicating them for WVR is the challenging bit.

https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/usafs ... 1633886869
The F-15C, with its powerful radar, gobs of thrust, unique handling and large visual signature is the best thing the USAF has for adequately playing the role of an enemy Su-27 Flanker and its many derivatives, which are largely the most feared aerial opponent for the USAF globally.


I always wondered how this was the case? ^^
I can understand how the Eagle can probably replicate the Flanker at BVR but once you get to the Merge their strengths are totally different.

As much as I love the Eagle, its not a Flanker in a dogfight, its a stable airframe without FBW and no LERX. I always thought a stripped down Hornet would be the best Flanker mirror.
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marsavian

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Unread post03 Feb 2019, 14:57

Maybe they could pick up a few FBW F-15X that Boeing are currently advertising. ;)
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Unread post03 Feb 2019, 18:21

zero-one wrote:As much as I love the Eagle, its not a Flanker in a dogfight, its a stable airframe without FBW and no LERX. I always thought a stripped down Hornet would be the best Flanker mirror.

For the purposes of training, F-15 more accurately assumes the most qualitatively significant characteristics of the Flanker's envelope.

Firstly, thrust characteristics matter a lot for how an aircraft fights. F-15 is an energetic design where you see a lot of 300s for your IAS and will accelerate up past 400kias in a hurry, which is something the Flanker likes as well but the Hornet not so much. With a Hornet, you're talking about a grovel king that will show you a lot of speeds in the 100s and 200s instead -- which is good because there's not enough juice to take you much past 300kt if not given a lot of slack (by the time a Hornet gets past 400kt the F-15 could be doing 600kt or something like that). Flanker is an aircraft that's most at home in the low 300s, so while it's better at the low end of the F-15's sweet zone, it has much more in common with it than the Hornet.

Secondly, when you're dealing with a high speed STR fight, the benefits of CCV and vortex control are generally diminished, as they are primarily devices to extract more authority at low airspeeds where there would otherwise be insufficient airflow for traditional designs.

My thoughts on the Flanker mysticism...
The Flanker design I would characterize as a very traditional STR-centric design focused on energy retention with high lift features tacked on afterwards to expand the lower end of its maneuvering band. F-16 is somewhat in the same vein. This is in contrast to the "new" school of EM-centric design which is less preoccupied about STR and energy retention and instead pursues angle generation through energy conversion (great I'm starting to retread my earlier post).
So the Flanker's "visibly modern" aerodynamic features do not actually offer it commensurately modern capabilities (i.e., high speed nosepointing threat). The Flanker's excellent energy retention actually plays against it at high speeds because it essentially puts a clamp on its maximum rate; try to pull a power slide and you'll ditch the wings. Flankers must bleed their energy down first to the low speed end before all their gimmick capabilities get unlocked.

In other words, the Flanker is either an F-15 or a Hornet, but never both at once. The predictability of its "mode switching" makes it less scary than it sounds.
Last edited by lbk000 on 03 Feb 2019, 18:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post03 Feb 2019, 18:50

Thank you very much lbk000.
I hope you don't mind if I have some questions related to your excellent post.

You may already be familiar with this video where Flanker recount beating F-15s quite easily in a defensive BFM set up.


The way he describes it, the F-15 is unable to maintain E in a climbing turn and after 1 and a half turns finds itself in front of the Flanker's HUD.

This was similar to a story a former Viper pilot told me. they perform a defensive BFM set up where the Eagle starts off behind the Viper, after 1 and a half turns the Viper is behind the Eagle and the assumes the offensive role.

It seems that the Eagle is really at a disadvantage against unstable, high T/W ratio designs.
So I'm skeptical as to how it can replicate an aerodynamically superior platform.
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Unread post03 Feb 2019, 21:59

- Flanker is not aerodynamically superior across the board.
- You're taking mock engagements out of context to shore up your argument.
- You don't seem to understand relaxed stability since you talk about it as if it automagically bestows more Ps on whatever you sprinkle it on.
- You seem to think BFM training is conducted in some freestyle manner.
- The significance of the concept of relative performance still seems lost on you.
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Unread post04 Feb 2019, 03:24

zero-one wrote:Thank you very much lbk000.
I hope you don't mind if I have some questions related to your excellent post.

You may already be familiar with this video where Flanker recount beating F-15s quite easily in a defensive BFM set up.


The way he describes it, the F-15 is unable to maintain E in a climbing turn and after 1 and a half turns finds itself in front of the Flanker's HUD.

This was similar to a story a former Viper pilot told me. they perform a defensive BFM set up where the Eagle starts off behind the Viper, after 1 and a half turns the Viper is behind the Eagle and the assumes the offensive role.

It seems that the Eagle is really at a disadvantage against unstable, high T/W ratio designs.
So I'm skeptical as to how it can replicate an aerodynamically superior platform.


F-15s routinely beat Su-30s in exercises. At higher speeds, the Eagle outturns the Flanker, as well as having better vertical performance, and acceleration.
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Unread post04 Feb 2019, 05:29

wrightwing wrote:
F-15s routinely beat Su-30s in exercises. At higher speeds, the Eagle outturns the Flanker, as well as having better vertical performance, and acceleration.


No doubt applying hard lessons learned going up against the Raptor. Learning is a 2-way street after all.
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Unread post04 Feb 2019, 08:29

lbk000 wrote:- Flanker is not aerodynamically superior across the board.


Never said it was.
Let me introduce myself, I'm 0-1, I almost religiously defend American fighters against Russian and European fan boys (I'm not an American by the way) specially when it comes to BFM capabilities.

In fact here is a sample turn chart that I usually post whenever someone says the Su-27 will make short work of an F-15
As we can clearly see, the Su-27 has the advantage in most of the subsonic envelope in a sustained turn, but there is a spot in the very high subsonic where the F-15 has the advanatge as well as in the supersonic.
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Last edited by zero-one on 04 Feb 2019, 08:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post04 Feb 2019, 08:34

lbk000 wrote:- You're taking mock engagements out of context to shore up your argument.

The context was a simple turn rate comparison, they wanted to see if the F-15 can stay behind the Su-27 if they both initiated the same type of maneuver, pilot skill was not put into the equation.
So when we say that F-22s or F-35s have beaten this type of plane in a mock engagement are we also taking it out of context?



lbk000 wrote:- You don't seem to understand relaxed stability since you talk about it as if it automagically bestows more Ps on whatever you sprinkle it on.

Well the way I understand it is, according to Sprts at least, Stability along with Wing loading, lift loading, thrust to weight and thrust to drag ratio are some of the main factors he takes into account when comparing kinematics. So yes Sprinkling instability will give you an advantage.

So far all unstable airframes seem to be superior than their more stable counterparts, but I'm aware stability is just a factor that contributes to that, a big factor but not the only factor.

lbk000 wrote:- You seem to think BFM training is conducted in some freestyle manner.
- The significance of the concept of relative performance still seems lost on you.


I apologize if you were hurt by my last post where it seems like I was taking the Flanker's side. But its obvious from your response that you don't like the Su-27 and saying it is superior to the F-15 was offensive.

I am aware of ROE's and set ups when it comes to BFM
But I don't understand why we can't entertain the idea that the Flanker being superior to the F-15 specially at close range but at the same time we emphasize the need for 5th gen fighters like the F-22 and F-35.
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Unread post04 Feb 2019, 09:23

No mention of the airspeeds was made. If an F-15 has to turn at the part of the envelope where a Flanker excels, then naturally the Flanker has the advantage. That's why a smart F-15 pilot won't try to turn with a Flanker at 300kts or slower. They'll use their superior vertical performance at that point. If the turn starts at 400kts or faster, it's a different story
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Unread post04 Feb 2019, 11:31

wrightwing wrote:No mention of the airspeeds was made. If an F-15 has to turn at the part of the envelope where a Flanker excels, then naturally the Flanker has the advantage. That's why a smart F-15 pilot won't try to turn with a Flanker at 300kts or slower. They'll use their superior vertical performance at that point. If the turn starts at 400kts or faster, it's a different story


This is actually the way I defend the F-15 against Flanker fans.
But going back to the Aggressor question.

If the Flanker has a substantial advantage over the Eagle on a big chunk of the Subsonic envelope (up to Mach 0.85 for STR and any speed for ITR) then wouldn't Flanker pilots try to exploit that advantage over everyone.

Just like how Hornet pilots are experts in dragging their victims down to the 300 KCAS region, wouldn't Flanker pilots be the same way.

How does the F-15 accomplish that in the aggressor role?
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Unread post04 Feb 2019, 13:08

zero-one wrote:I always thought a stripped down Hornet would be the best Flanker mirror.


There's not even a need to strip it. A fully-fueled F/A-18A with no stores already has better T:W than an Su27 with the same. Put three 330 gal bags and 6 AAMs on the Hornet and you have just about the same T:W everywhere

F/A-18A Clean
Fuel Load lb 10,860
Empty Weight lb 23,050
Weapon Weight lb 0
Full fuel Weight lb 33,910
Under MTOW lb 17,990
Dry Thrust lb 22,000
A/B Thrust lb 35,500
Dry Thrust 100% fuel 0.649
HP: lb Ratio 100% fuel 1.047
Dry Thrust 50% fuel 0.772
HP: lb Ratio 50% fuel 1.246

Su27SM Clean
Fuel Load lb 20,724
Empty Weight lb 40,045
Weapon Weight lb 0
Full fuel Weight lb 60,769
Under MTOW lb 6,331
Dry Thrust lb 33,820
A/B Thrust lb 55,120
Dry Thrust 100% fuel 0.557
HP: lb Ratio 100% fuel 0.907
Dry Thrust 50% fuel 0.755
HP: lb Ratio 50% fuel1.237

The clean F/A-18A always had the better T:W than a clean Su27SM, And when you put 3 bags and 6 AAMs on the Hornet and Su the Hornet still comes out evenly matched.

F/A-18C (3 x 330 US Gal)
Fuel lb 18,167
Empty Weight lb 23,050
Weapon Weight lb 1,795 (4 x AIM-120C7 + 2 x AIM-9X)
Full fuel Weight lb 43,011
Under MTOW lb 8,889
Dry Thrust lb 22,550
A/B Thrust lb 35,500
Dry Thrust 100% fuel 0.524
HP: lb Ratio 100% fuel 0.825
Dry Thrust 50% fuel 0.665
HP: lb Ratio 50% fuel 1.046

Su27SM
Fuel Load lb 20,724
Empty Weight lb 40,045
Weapon Weight lb 3,094 (9A1-4071K (GSh-301) 150x30mm, 2 x R-73, 4 x R-27)
Full fuel Weight lb 63,863
Under MTOW lb 3,237
Dry Thrust lb 33,820
A/B Thrust lb 55,120
Dry Thrust 100% fuel 0.530
HP: lb Ratio 100% fuel 0.863
Dry Thrust 50% fuel 0.632
HP: lb Ratio 50% fuel 1.030

That’s a very even match already, and the Hornet has only 2,537 lb less fuel than the Su27SM, and the drag of the extra three bags on the Hornet will take away the Hornet’s slight AB T:W advantage. No weight stripping required - both jets have 4 BVR, and 2 WVR missiles.

Unfortunately the likes of Carlo Kopp (in particular) provided everyone a fairly bent perception of the relative performance potential between the Hornet and Flanker, because the Hornet was generally the better jet in almost every area, except total fuel load.
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Unread post04 Feb 2019, 14:26

This is old, but rather interesting article about Su-27 and comparison with Western fighters, including F-15.

http://aviationweek.com/site-files/avia ... 202%29.pdf

It seems like F-15 and Su-27 are pretty closely matched in most performance metrics. I do think that F-15 is pretty good representative of non-TVC Su-27 models. Even TVC equipped ones are not that different except in slow speed close-in situations.
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