F-35 useless against Iran?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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arkadyrenko

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Unread post24 Jan 2012, 17:21

hb_pencil

I'm not arguing that China will be able to indefinitely keep the US away, what I'm saying is that China is working quite hard on developing the capability to keep the US away for a period of time. In a US/China conflict, I think the crucial point will be right after the initial Chinese attack where the goal will be to prevent a fait accompli. By having the majority of the USAF be highly reliant on Tanker support for airstrikes, the USAF will find itself in a poor position to conduct a ranged battle after an initial attack. The crucial part of a US China war will be when the first invasion ships leave harbor in the minutes after a surprise attack. If the US can defeat or just sufficiently degrade that fleet while it is at sea, and with only a fraction of the total US military power, then China won't be able to successfully seize objectives in a single assault. That fact alone should be enough to deter China.

As for surprise attacks, in the article I linked to, the AF General mentioned that the Iraqis were able to mobilize 70,000 troops and 1,000 tanks before local commanders could respond. And this is during the NATO no fly zone! The fact of the matter is that in order to overcome the US military's advantage, China must begin the conflict with a surprise attack, thus all realistic warplanning should anticipate a surprise attack initiated by the Chinese.

Second, about the EF-111. You argued that in the past 20 years the USAF and USN have shifted towards using EW predominantly for strike packages. Thus, the EF-111, which represented long range high powered EW capability was no longer necessary. I think that the USAF's pursuit of EW drones indicates that the USAF wants to regain its long range EW capability. Hence, the numerous stories about drones being paired with the bombers:
http://defensesystems.com/articles/2011/08/29/agg-bomber-program-unmanned-systems.aspx

Yes, the USAF is changing how it will conduct the EW mission, but it still wants that long range EW capability.

Finally, my overall complaint about the lack of medium range strike depends on the region. With regards to Iran, the US will be forced to rely on the allies air bases. That means that the US will only fight Iran when the allies agree that Iran needs to be fought, because in other situations the USAF will be by and large neutralized. That is a clear loss of American military power.

With regards to China, I think the key military question in terms of China is how to maintain sufficient striking power after a surprise attack against airbases within range of the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea. Medium strike aircraft will have a better shot of reaching cruise missile launching range of those two areas, compared to the standard fighters. This is especially important when you consider the probability that large planes, sitting outside on the tarmac, may be destroyed by cruise missiles. Thus, the US military should plan for its initial strikes to have the minimum of tanking support.

In 10 years, the USAF will only have the 1 - 2 Ohio subs and whatever bombers on station. A dedicated medium strike plane, which would be cheaper than the NGB, can be purchased in greater numbers than the NGB. Right now, the USAF will trade 5 - 6 JSF for a NGB, a F-XXX will cost only 2 - 3 JSF. That allows the USAF to get a wider range of capability and fix the problems outlined above.
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wrightwing

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Unread post24 Jan 2012, 17:27

arkadyrenko wrote: The NGB will help with this imbalance but it does reveal a slight pathology in the USAF: the USAF has a fighter to hit targets <600 nm from the last tanking point and the USAF has a bomber to hit targets <2000>600nm from its coast. They've yet to demonstrate the ISR capabilities needed to track the CBG at extended ranges, much less to engage moving targets at those ranges.



But, to the meat of the problem. Currently, the USAF has to either use cruise missiles or bombers to hit targets deep in an enemy country. As you said, wars are expensive, but the problem extends beyond mere expense. This situation means that the USAF can only conduct a deep campaign as long as its stock of cruise missiles lasts. In Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan the USAF was lucky that the hostile country's capability to defend its airspace could be destroyed before the USAF's war stocks were depleted. Against a more capable and well equipped country, that becomes a much more questionable proposition. We all know that the US military as a rule doesn't build sufficient war stocks of nearly any munition, what makes people think that this will change in the future, especially as currently the USAF doesn't need its JASSMs?

Second, about base defense. The THAAD and PAC cost significantly more than their threat missiles, hence the USAF / Army will buy fewer interceptors than their are targets. (I saw somewhere that there are fewer PAC-3 interceptors than the Chinese have short range missiles and cruise missiles)

The primary threat that PAC 3/THAAD are addressing, are TBMs, not short range cruise missiles. Against that threat, you'd likely see short range defenses/manned fighters with AMRAAMs, being the primary responders.

Finally, you, and sadly it appears many people here, make the mistake to directly compare the different technologies from different eras when the correct comparison is relative levels of different technologies from different eras. (Yes, sometimes direct comparison is warranted, other times it isn't) The question is not: is the Growler better than the EF-111, that's obvious, the Growler has newer technology. The question is: is the Growler better than the modern equivalent of the EF-111? I don't think so, a modern EF-111 would have a longer range and a better power capacity than the growler (courtesy of the larger airframe).


What do you suppose the maintenance costs would be, to operate EF-111s? Every spare part would have to be fabricated, as there is no logistical supply support for that aircraft.

The military's ability to better network shooters and sensors is truly a marvel, but it doesn't solve the problems outlined above, that the USAF and USN do not have a method of hitting targets between 600 nm and intercontinental distances that doesn't require expensive cruise missiles.


Can you name a military that doesn't have similar or worse limitations?
In terms of technology, the US military is advancing marvelously in some areas but it is regressing in others. Right now, the notional USAF for 2030 consists of 150 5th gen A2A fighters, 2400 5th gen fighter bombers, and 100 - 200 aging F-15Es, 170 F-15Cs, 200 A-10Cs, 300+ F-16s, and 100 bombers. That is an incredibly lopsided force, its either short range or super long range, nothing in between, and nothing the USAF is doing today signals they're actually addressing that.


Fixed that for you. You're ignoring the fact that the USAF plans on getting ~150 NGBs, and both the USAF are working on UCAVs, long range hypersonic cruise missiles, conventional ballistic missiles, etc... to address the ability to hit time critical targets, at long range.
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arkadyrenko

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Unread post24 Jan 2012, 18:23

wrightwing - last time I checked the SLAMRAAM was canceled. (The real solution is either Iron Dome or David's Sling. Those two weapon systems are cheap 50k to 300k per shot, thus the US can beat the Chinese on cost of defense v cost of offense). And using fighters to defend a base, especially the future the USAF will be using F-35s (!!) to defend a base, is a magnificent waste of resources. If that is the defense strategy, and it could work, the proper choice is to build a cheap lightweight interceptor and save the better aircraft for the missions they were designed for.

What do you suppose the maintenance costs would be, to operate EF-111s? Every spare part would have to be fabricated, as there is no logistical supply support for that aircraft.



As for the EF-111, of course the plane would have super high maintenance costs, what I was arguing for was a modern equivalent of that plane (not the same airframe).

Can you name a military that doesn't have similar or worse limitations?


Other nations have the same limitations as the US, the difference is that other nations don't claim to have a globally capable military.

Finally, about the military force for the 2030s. I left out the older airframes because, as people here so strenuously and continuously argue, 4th gen fighters don't matter in future wars and so they really don't count, unless they're being assigned to base cruise missile defense. But the weapon systems you propose, I believe, actually support my point. Long range UCAVs are being developed to bridge the gap between the NGB and the F-35, the problem with that is long range UCAVs have not been proven in a conflict between technological equals. Hypersonic cruise missiles and prompt global strike in part are designed to compensate for the fact that the USAF doesn't have an aircraft that can find a target at those distances. If you remember during Gulf War 1, F-15Es were sent out to hunt SCUDs. That plane had a capacity to independently find targets behind enemy lines. The missile has to be fast in order to get there before the target changes location, whereas a fighter sent out there could respond with a much cheaper munition (a 50nm hypersonic weapon costs < 300 nm hypersonic weapon). (And if you really think the US military will build an operationally relevant supply of ballistic missiles, I have a bridge to sell you. What is worth a $20 million 2000 lb bomb?) As for the NGB, if the USAF pursued a F-XXX, it could supplement the NGB with 2 times as many medium range airframes. The F-15E, the modern equivalent of the F-XXX, costs far less than the NGB, therefore it could be purchased in greater numbers.

The fact is that the USAF doesn't deny the need for medium range penetrating strike; it has just currently outsourced that capability to cruise missiles. I don't think that is a sufficient strategic or logical choice, the cruise missiles provide the enemy with a single threat type and the logistics of cruise missiles (their cost) mean that the USAF's combat capacity at medium ranges is limited to the pre-war stocks. And in every armed conflict in the last 20 years, munition expenditure has been higher than anticipated (and the DoD has systemically proven that it doesn't buy enough weapons. I mean, the US Navy may not have enough Standard Missiles to fill its own VLS tubes(!), a trend that will only be reinforced as the cost per shot increases).
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wrightwing

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Unread post24 Jan 2012, 19:39

arkadyrenko wrote:wrightwing - last time I checked the SLAMRAAM was canceled. (The real solution is either Iron Dome or David's Sling. Those two weapon systems are cheap 50k to 300k per shot, thus the US can beat the Chinese on cost of defense v cost of offense).


Land based- CIWS. Sea Based- ESSM, RAM, CIWS, Standard

And using fighters to defend a base, especially the future the USAF will be using F-35s (!!) to defend a base, is a magnificent waste of resources. If that is the defense strategy, and it could work, the proper choice is to build a cheap lightweight interceptor and save the better aircraft for the missions they were designed for.


One of the prime missions for A2A fighters against advanced foes, is cruise missile defense.



As for the EF-111, of course the plane would have super high maintenance costs, what I was arguing for was a modern equivalent of that plane (not the same airframe).


That'd be a rather expensive undertaking, considering the budget climate.


Other nations have the same limitations as the US, the difference is that other nations don't claim to have a globally capable military.

Finally, about the military force for the 2030s. I left out the older airframes because, as people here so strenuously and continuously argue, 4th gen fighters don't matter in future wars and so they really don't count, unless they're being assigned to base cruise missile defense.

It's not that they don't matter, so much as they have significant limitations. Once the threat from SAMs/late model fighters is gone, then they can still function as bomb trucks, etc... Cruise missile defense is another good function for them, as stealth isn't needed to enhance that role.


But the weapon systems you propose, I believe, actually support my point. Long range UCAVs are being developed to bridge the gap between the NGB and the F-35, the problem with that is long range UCAVs have not been proven in a conflict between technological equals.

We're talking about the 2030-2040 time frame, in which time presumably major technological advances have occured. The plan is to phase in weapons/technologies, as they become available/mature.
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thestealthfighterguy

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Unread post26 Jan 2012, 05:02

That_Engine_Guy wrote:S Phantom 2012!

BTW - That program worked for President Reagan; space shuttles, more super carriers, B-1s AND continued ATB work, MX Missiles, F-16s for the WORLD, SDI, etc etc...

May have increased the deficit, but at least when the checks cleared we had something to show for it; unlike giving it to Wall Street and the banking industry.

:doh: TEG


Your a wise man TEG.
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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post27 Jan 2012, 02:19

Anyone else old enough to remember the criticism that Pres Reagan would get for the deficit, but then have a press conference standing in front of something 'state of the art' that the US Taxpayer funded and developed to not only keep our military or space program at the cutting edge of technology, but further the industrial and technological edge of the United States of America?

(Thinking now they should replay some of those reruns....)

:shrug:
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sferrin

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Unread post27 Jan 2012, 17:26

That_Engine_Guy wrote:Anyone else old enough to remember the criticism that Pres Reagan would get for the deficit, but then have a press conference standing in front of something 'state of the art' that the US Taxpayer funded and developed to not only keep our military or space program at the cutting edge of technology, but further the industrial and technological edge of the United States of America?

(Thinking now they should replay some of those reruns....)

:shrug:
TEG


Zero ain't Reagan. Remember, we're talking about the guy who specifically asked that F-22's be removed from a hangar he was speaking in lest he be seen with them.
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sewerrat

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Unread post27 Jan 2012, 22:43

sferrin wrote:
That_Engine_Guy wrote:Anyone else old enough to remember the criticism that Pres Reagan would get for the deficit, but then have a press conference standing in front of something 'state of the art' that the US Taxpayer funded and developed to not only keep our military or space program at the cutting edge of technology, but further the industrial and technological edge of the United States of America?

(Thinking now they should replay some of those reruns....)

:shrug:
TEG


Zero ain't Reagan. Remember, we're talking about the guy who specifically asked that F-22's be removed from a hangar he was speaking in lest he be seen with them.


Yeah, and Zero also hung General Mao decorations on his christmas tree in the White House. And of course he also bowed in front of the rolling cameras when he met the Saudis. And of course Zero also snubs the Brits every chance he gets. Then he also politely took a book presented to him by Hugo Chavez. And then Zero also refused to wear an American flag lapel pin until his advisors finally talked some sense into him about appearances. Man, if Zero is there after the next election, god help us, because our leader(s) won't.

Can anyone imagine that if during the Regan administration that if Iran planned to assasinate a Saudi diplomat inside DC, that we'd just shrug it off as 'there goes those crazy Iranians again..." ?? Look what Libya got for attacking a nightclub in Europe. At this rate, the Iranians are going to have nukes, and then we'll (zero) will just be like, 'Well, its too late for military action now. More Sanctions!"

All I can say is, Aye Carumba!
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Unread post28 Jan 2012, 01:01

sewerrat wrote:
sferrin wrote:
That_Engine_Guy wrote:Anyone else old enough to remember the criticism that Pres Reagan would get for the deficit, but then have a press conference standing in front of something 'state of the art' that the US Taxpayer funded and developed to not only keep our military or space program at the cutting edge of technology, but further the industrial and technological edge of the United States of America?

(Thinking now they should replay some of those reruns....)

:shrug:
TEG


Zero ain't Reagan. Remember, we're talking about the guy who specifically asked that F-22's be removed from a hangar he was speaking in lest he be seen with them.


Yeah, and Zero also hung General Mao decorations on his christmas tree in the White House. And of course he also bowed in front of the rolling cameras when he met the Saudis. And of course Zero also snubs the Brits every chance he gets. Then he also politely took a book presented to him by Hugo Chavez. And then Zero also refused to wear an American flag lapel pin until his advisors finally talked some sense into him about appearances. Man, if Zero is there after the next election, god help us, because our leader(s) won't.



Its demagoguery like this that just makes me sick. Certainly you can criticize a number of the policies and have reasonable disagreements. But to question the Presdient's commitment to the national security of the United States is just plain ignorant.

sewerrat wrote:Can anyone imagine that if during the Regan administration that if Iran planned to assasinate a Saudi diplomat inside DC, that we'd just shrug it off as 'there goes those crazy Iranians again..." ??



No, after they took 100 americans hostage and their proxies in Lebanon took another 8, his administration sold them TOW and Hawk Missiles. So yeah, they would shrug it off.

I don't raise this because I seek to criticize Regan; every administration needs to make these deals in order to achieve their foreign policy objectives. However to say that Reagan was a principled leader and Obama by comparison is not, is just ridiculous.

sewerrat wrote:Look what Libya got for attacking a nightclub in Europe. At this rate, the Iranians are going to have nukes, and then we'll (zero) will just be like, 'Well, its too late for military action now. More Sanctions!"


Well in a way the US and Israel have taken some forms of action to damage the Iranian nuclear program. This includes assassinations, hacking and conventional sabotage.

And frankly, it was too late to undertake military action five years ago, unless you completely want to ruin any positive influence the United States has in the region. Attack now and you'd strangle the tenuous roots of democracy in places across the Middle East. In 2007 almost every single Bush advisor was against military action at the time, except Cheney (who wanted to also bomb Syria at that time too.)

As a final point, recent IAEA and US NIEs suggest that Iran's actual movement towards obtaining a bomb has slowed considerably. There is unlikely they will obtain a bomb for another five years at least... and their current enrichment activities fall under the NPT treaty.
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Unread post28 Jan 2012, 03:55

sad day for america when you're criticized for not wearing a lapel pin. as if that alone somehow validates your dedication to the country. what a display of ignorance by the user above.
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Unread post28 Jan 2012, 07:50

Agreed
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Unread post28 Jan 2012, 17:35

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:I can't belive it took so long to call it an FB-111


USAF tactical aircraft were tagged as "F" for their basic mission, except for attack aircraft (A-7, A-10, etc.) The F-111 was never really a fighter, although it could carry AIM-9s.
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Unread post28 Jan 2012, 19:23

Even still it couldn't use them very well as they lacked the fire control radar to tell them which enemy their missiles had locked on to once they were uncaged and tracking their targets.
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Unread post29 Jan 2012, 02:40

maus92 wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:I can't belive it took so long to call it an FB-111


USAF tactical aircraft were tagged as "F" for their basic mission, except for attack aircraft (A-7, A-10, etc.) The F-111 was never really a fighter, although it could carry AIM-9s.


9'ers on a F-111 were for static display reasons only ... trust me, I was there. Hang weird sh*t on my jet and I ask questions!!!!!
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Unread post31 Jan 2012, 23:16

VarkVet wrote:
maus92 wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:I can't belive it took so long to call it an FB-111


USAF tactical aircraft were tagged as "F" for their basic mission, except for attack aircraft (A-7, A-10, etc.) The F-111 was never really a fighter, although it could carry AIM-9s.


9'ers on a F-111 were for static display reasons only ... trust me, I was there. Hang weird sh*t on my jet and I ask questions!!!!!


I've heard similar things about -9Ls on RF-4Cs. I know that the Spanish had them hung and wired, but have only seen pictures of armed ANG birds.
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