Strategic Deterrence...: The Coming Impact of the F-35B

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Unread post22 May 2012, 01:30

The answer to the 'min fuel' question depends on whether we're talking about the technical details of 'how much does it take', or the policy matters of how much risk do we want to assume in either routine training operations or combat.

The SHARs in the South Atlantic assumed a higher level of allowable risk (frightfully low recovery fuel states as a matter of routine) because it was combat. Similar recovery fuels states in routine training would be irresponsible because they would be an unjustifiable risk of both personnel and machine. The risk assessment for SHARs included not just the combat necessity but also, pilot skill and proficiency (typically, the pick of the litter); fuel system accuracy and tolerances (very, very good down to less than 100lbs a side); and the probability of safe recovery (near 1.0 with the ship in sight). The diciest variables came from mother nature -- low cloud, high winds, and horrific sea states -- and would put several of elements of the risk assessment in doubt very rapidly, without warning, fairly regularly. In some cases they were tossing flares off the fantail into the wake so there would be trail to follow on final approach in the fog. For reference, those Mks of Pegasus burn about 200# a minute in jetborne flight. Recoveries with less than 1 minute of flight remaining was very righteous stuff both by those who made the call to do it, and those who where good enough to do it successfully.

IIRC, peacetime training on both sides of the Atlantic typically allowed for 1200# abeam, and 1000# on deck. Press-ups from a pad allowed with no less than 800#, with 600# on deck.
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Unread post22 May 2012, 01:49

Yes, from the 'very long thread' I was going to post info from a book (gleaned third hand) that SHAR pilots once alongside in a hover have enough fuel for 60 seconds to land vertically. Yet one can make what one can at however a VL aircraft is operated. The USMC seem to want to emulate conventional carrier aircraft ops due to the influence of conventional LSOs apparently. The USMC Major Shorter asked that the USMC emulate RN SHAR ops. I won't try to replicate that now largely irrelevant plea but it might be relevant for the coming F-35B ops i.e. for USMC to emulate whatever the RN FAA cooks up for the F-35B. Different strokes for different folks. Bearing in mind that the F-35B by all accounts so far is a piece of p..s to land vertically. The excerpt below would be on the 'very long thread' with related material somewhere. I'll look - anyhoo...

Similar (including bits of below) are seen in this thread page: http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... ett#191357

V/STOL SHIPBOARD RECOVERY: “IT’S NOT JUST ANOTHER CARRIER LANDING”
by Major A. G. Shorter, USMC, 12 April 2002

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Lo ... =ADA407726

“...The greatest difference between the V/STOL environment and the CTOL environment would be in the final approach and landing itself. The historical documents referenced above have related to this subject, but the following passage by LCDR Robert Bennett, a U.S.Navy F-18 pilot, qualified LSO, and former Sea Harrier exchange pilot with the Royal Navy, provides an additional perspective to consider. His perspective bears on the differences in training, particularly with regard to landing at sea, which V/STOL pilots require as opposed to those flying in conventional carrier operations. According the LCDR Bennett:

‘In exploring the difference [between landing a Sea Harrier and an F-18 onboard an aircraft carrier], the logical place to begin is the basic manner in which the aircraft is flown. In conventional carrier operations, the pilot is taught early on to always fly his approach at optimum angle of attack (AOA), holding this condition all the way to touchdown. In practical terms, this means that airspeed must be held within + or - 5 knots, the attitude of the aircraft must be held within + or – 2 degrees of pitch while the control rate of descent within a tolerance of roughly + or – 50 feet per minute. Thrust must be continuously adjusted to hold optimum AOA. The pilot is taught to religiously fly this AOA throughout the approach and to be capable of making the required changes to rates of descent without varying the AOA or the aircraft’s airspeed, all the while responding to changing conditions. Flying optimum AOA ensures two things: first, that the closure airspeed does not exceed the ability of the ship’s arresting gear engines to stop the aircraft and, second, it ensures that the tailhook and main gear impact the deck at roughly the same moment. Too shallow an AOA could mean the hook flies over the wires with the main gear on deck, too great and (sic) AOA could mean the tailhook engages the wires while all landing gear are still in flight, a potentially disastrous condition.

V/STOL flying does not require anywhere near the same technique. AOA must be monitored within wide limits, but absolute precise control of AOA or airspeed is not required. This greatly reduces training requirements’....

...In the past, there was seldom a mention of instrument or night recoveries with respect to the Harrier. That is not because these recoveries were not executed early in the aircraft’s development; on the contrary, history is replete with examples of Harriers recovering in weather conditions that would have normally grounded CTOL aircraft. This fact is best described by a passage from V/STOL in the Roaring Forties, dealing with the RN’s experiences during the Falkland War of 1982:

‘For much of the task force’s time in the South Atlantic, the weather was almost a second adversary. It was not without good reason, in the heyday of the sailing ship, that these ports of the southern ocean became known as the roaring forties. The flight decks of the carriers were moving vertically at times through 30 feet and the weather produced cloud bases typically [down to] 200 feet and often down to 100 feet during flying operations. Visibility was typically ½ nautical mile and often much less. One Harrier recovered to the deck of the [HMS] Hermes in horizontal visibility of 50 meters [on] one notable occasion. The timehonoured carrier trick of dropping flares at intervals into the ship’s wake was used, but it was the Sea Harrier’s facility to approach the ship using its internal approach aid & Blue Fox radar at part jetborne [slow] closing speeds of a few tens of knots which primarily provided the safety and hence the success in bad weather recovery.

No conventional fixed-wing naval aircraft could have operated with adequate safety in such conditions, thus supporting the claim that the greatest military contribution made by the V/STOL and STOVL aircraft is in the vertical landing phase of operation. In the Harrier, this phase is made safer, easier and more flexible than in any other combat aircraft’....”

And will be even safer in the F-35B especially with new fangled JPALS and computer contolled approaches to automatic landings. 8)
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Unread post22 May 2012, 03:16

Salute!

Don't know how many de-briefs many here have heard from those Sea Harrier folks in the Falklands, but we got a good one at Hill after the battle.

Besides their praise for the AIM-9 Lima, they described some hairy landings in the fog and such.

Can you believe flying up the wake of the boat and having folks throw flares out to lead them in?

Gotta hand it to those brave Brit aviators.

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Unread post22 May 2012, 04:05

Weren't 2 Harriers lost and were assumed to have collided in bad weather?
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Unread post22 May 2012, 04:43

Weren't 2 Harriers lost and were assumed to have collided in bad weather?
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Unread post22 May 2012, 04:45

'popcorn' asked: "Weren't 2 Harriers lost and were assumed to have collided in bad weather?"

Yes - pilots lost also. Circumstances not clear - perhaps trying to rejoin after splitting up? I don't think anyone knows exact details.
_________________

http://www.naval-history.net/F63braircraftlost.htm

"Thursday 6th May
[b5, b6] - Two Sea Harriers of No.801 NAS, HMS Invincible lost in bad weather, presumably by collision, south east of Falklands (9.00 am). Lt Curtiss and Lt Cmdr Eyton-Jones RN lost."
____________

"Losses: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/801_Naval_Air_Squadron

801 NAS lost four aircraft and two pilots during the conflict.[8]

6 May 1982 - Two aircraft collided in bad weather while flying a night sortie south east of East Falkland, investigating a radar contact close to the burnt-out wreck of HMS Sheffield. Both pilots were killed and no trace of either aircraft found.
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Unread post23 May 2012, 03:24

Please keep challanging what I am writing about it is important and I accept criticism, in fact if I have to further explain my point it is totally my fault-

I could have given many AV-8 examples on V/STOL con-ops--e.g. Desert Storm quick turns because of closer basing, the recent USMC TRAP mission to rescue an AF crewmember, Kandahar being single runway ops and AV-8s being very flexable in not tying up the field-- BUT I wanted to avoid many comparisons with the F-35B being seen as the "son or daughter of AV-8" as much as possible.

--The F-35B is much different in performance. It is a state-of-the-art Fighter/Attack and EW aircraft -just like the F-35A & C--I do know the airframe and flight characteristic differences--BUT C4 (or "5"-they keep changing that number) ISR-D cockpit is the same--My one point that I want to drive home is that the recovery in the vertical if Homeplate, taxieways, and divert fields are cratered by bomb or missile damage, that capability is an important feature if needed in high intensity combat.

That unique attributive, recovering in the vertical, makes the F-35B more survivable in order to live to fight another day--also, at sea it can be a huge factor. The tragedy of the Forestall was that a lot of good men were killed and the carrier was taken out of action but not sunk -but when the flight deck was hurt it became a significant mission kill. Ifnecessary any aircraft airborne could successfuly bingo to safety because South Vietnam bases were close-- I just do not remember if they had any of the airwing already launched.

--If an USN/USMC or Royal Navy or Italian F-35B V/STOL carrier is hit, then F-35Bs may have a chance of finding a lilly pad on a surface ship with a rear helo deck in an emergency. I have been on the new MSC T-AKE ship and if a MV-22 could land, then it could take F-35B aboard in an emergency. It is no hype that "Tinman" USMC test pilot put the F-35B nose down in a one square foot box on the Wasp during sea trials- you do what you have to do to save ships and planes-in combat.

The F-35B "V" landing gives the Air Boss on land or sea more flexibility--On the point about WHY -what can possibly destroy all the bases?? I can think of Israel and Tawain as countries that will take significant incoming fire in the event of war.

"Easy" Former CO VMFA-321
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Unread post23 May 2012, 23:49

Very valid points Easy.. I also would add that the F-35B once deployed aboard the aviation ships of the Gator fleet should allow the Navy more flexibility in allocating and scheduling resources, including the CVN fleet which is coming under increasingly heavy strain
Having an additional 10 or more platforms from which to deploy 5Gen aircraft can only be a good thing .

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Unread post24 May 2012, 18:48

spazsinbad wrote:Yes, from the 'very long thread' I was going to post info from a book (gleaned third hand) that SHAR pilots once alongside in a hover have enough fuel for 60 seconds to land vertically. Yet one can make what one can at however a VL aircraft is operated. The USMC seem to want to emulate conventional carrier aircraft ops due to the influence of conventional LSOs apparently. The USMC Major Shorter asked that the USMC emulate RN SHAR ops. I won't try to replicate that now largely irrelevant plea but it might be relevant for the coming F-35B ops i.e. for USMC to emulate whatever the RN FAA cooks up for the F-35B. Different strokes for different folks. Bearing in mind that the F-35B by all accounts so far is a piece of p..s to land vertically. The excerpt below would be on the 'very long thread' with related material somewhere. I'll look - anyhoo...

Similar (including bits of below) are seen in this thread page: http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... ett#191357

V/STOL SHIPBOARD RECOVERY: “IT’S NOT JUST ANOTHER CARRIER LANDING”
by Major A. G. Shorter, USMC, 12 April 2002

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Lo ... =ADA407726

“...The greatest difference between the V/STOL environment and the CTOL environment would be in the final approach and landing itself. The historical documents referenced above have related to this subject, but the following passage by LCDR Robert Bennett, a U.S.Navy F-18 pilot, qualified LSO, and former Sea Harrier exchange pilot with the Royal Navy, provides an additional perspective to consider. His perspective bears on the differences in training, particularly with regard to landing at sea, which V/STOL pilots require as opposed to those flying in conventional carrier operations. According the LCDR Bennett:

‘In exploring the difference [between landing a Sea Harrier and an F-18 onboard an aircraft carrier], the logical place to begin is the basic manner in which the aircraft is flown. In conventional carrier operations, the pilot is taught early on to always fly his approach at optimum angle of attack (AOA), holding this condition all the way to touchdown. In practical terms, this means that airspeed must be held within + or - 5 knots, the attitude of the aircraft must be held within + or – 2 degrees of pitch while the control rate of descent within a tolerance of roughly + or – 50 feet per minute. Thrust must be continuously adjusted to hold optimum AOA. The pilot is taught to religiously fly this AOA throughout the approach and to be capable of making the required changes to rates of descent without varying the AOA or the aircraft’s airspeed, all the while responding to changing conditions. Flying optimum AOA ensures two things: first, that the closure airspeed does not exceed the ability of the ship’s arresting gear engines to stop the aircraft and, second, it ensures that the tailhook and main gear impact the deck at roughly the same moment. Too shallow an AOA could mean the hook flies over the wires with the main gear on deck, too great and (sic) AOA could mean the tailhook engages the wires while all landing gear are still in flight, a potentially disastrous condition.

V/STOL flying does not require anywhere near the same technique. AOA must be monitored within wide limits, but absolute precise control of AOA or airspeed is not required. This greatly reduces training requirements’....

...In the past, there was seldom a mention of instrument or night recoveries with respect to the Harrier. That is not because these recoveries were not executed early in the aircraft’s development; on the contrary, history is replete with examples of Harriers recovering in weather conditions that would have normally grounded CTOL aircraft. This fact is best described by a passage from V/STOL in the Roaring Forties, dealing with the RN’s experiences during the Falkland War of 1982:

‘For much of the task force’s time in the South Atlantic, the weather was almost a second adversary. It was not without good reason, in the heyday of the sailing ship, that these ports of the southern ocean became known as the roaring forties. The flight decks of the carriers were moving vertically at times through 30 feet and the weather produced cloud bases typically [down to] 200 feet and often down to 100 feet during flying operations. Visibility was typically ½ nautical mile and often much less. One Harrier recovered to the deck of the [HMS] Hermes in horizontal visibility of 50 meters [on] one notable occasion. The timehonoured carrier trick of dropping flares at intervals into the ship’s wake was used, but it was the Sea Harrier’s facility to approach the ship using its internal approach aid & Blue Fox radar at part jetborne [slow] closing speeds of a few tens of knots which primarily provided the safety and hence the success in bad weather recovery.

No conventional fixed-wing naval aircraft could have operated with adequate safety in such conditions, thus supporting the claim that the greatest military contribution made by the V/STOL and STOVL aircraft is in the vertical landing phase of operation. In the Harrier, this phase is made safer, easier and more flexible than in any other combat aircraft’....”

And will be even safer in the F-35B especially with new fangled JPALS and computer contolled approaches to automatic landings. 8)


On the contrary, the RN might want to learn from the Marine Corps for the F-35B. Vertical landings are a great fall back, but the F-35B and the large QE deck are capable of much more. NAVAIR training ironically might have Marine pilots better prepared for the large QE decks while the RN/RAF are better prepared for the VL-only Gators.

easy wrote:Please keep challanging what I am writing about it is important and I accept criticism, in fact if I have to further explain my point it is totally my fault-

I could have given many AV-8 examples on V/STOL con-ops--e.g. Desert Storm quick turns because of closer basing, the recent USMC TRAP mission to rescue an AF crewmember, Kandahar being single runway ops and AV-8s being very flexable in not tying up the field-- BUT I wanted to avoid many comparisons with the F-35B being seen as the "son or daughter of AV-8" as much as possible.

--The F-35B is much different in performance. It is a state-of-the-art Fighter/Attack and EW aircraft -just like the F-35A & C--I do know the airframe and flight characteristic differences--BUT C4 (or "5"-they keep changing that number) ISR-D cockpit is the same--My one point that I want to drive home is that the recovery in the vertical if Homeplate, taxieways, and divert fields are cratered by bomb or missile damage, that capability is an important feature if needed in high intensity combat.

That unique attributive, recovering in the vertical, makes the F-35B more survivable in order to live to fight another day--also, at sea it can be a huge factor. The tragedy of the Forestall was that a lot of good men were killed and the carrier was taken out of action but not sunk -but when the flight deck was hurt it became a significant mission kill. Ifnecessary any aircraft airborne could successfuly bingo to safety because South Vietnam bases were close-- I just do not remember if they had any of the airwing already launched.

--If an USN/USMC or Royal Navy or Italian F-35B V/STOL carrier is hit, then F-35Bs may have a chance of finding a lilly pad on a surface ship with a rear helo deck in an emergency. I have been on the new MSC T-AKE ship and if a MV-22 could land, then it could take F-35B aboard in an emergency. It is no hype that "Tinman" USMC test pilot put the F-35B nose down in a one square foot box on the Wasp during sea trials- you do what you have to do to save ships and planes-in combat.

The F-35B "V" landing gives the Air Boss on land or sea more flexibility--On the point about WHY -what can possibly destroy all the bases?? I can think of Israel and Tawain as countries that will take significant incoming fire in the event of war.

"Easy" Former CO VMFA-321


You could land one on a helipad, trick is getting it back off. Vertical takeoff weights are going to be severely limited to the point of almost needed a tanker overhead to immediately refuel. Compared to the Harrier, the F-35B is a considerably better fighter, but it may not be as good a "helicopter"
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Unread post24 May 2012, 21:09

'bjr1028' it is clear that F-35B ops are different compared to Harrier ops. The RN FAA and USMC will learn from each other. It remains to be seen how their F-35B ops will differ in practice. A vertical landing is a vertical landing is a vertical landing. How they might approach the flat deck to carry out a vertical landing may differ perhaps. SRVLs will require some work now.
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Unread post28 May 2012, 16:18

Runways are short term tactical targets that can be repaired quickly. The more strategic target at an airfield is its POL infrastructure. Take that out, and it doesn't matter if your runways are operational or not. F-35Bs - like more conventional aircraft - cannot fly without fuel.
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Unread post28 May 2012, 16:28

So 'maus92' you are claiming to know the tactics regarding dispersion of POL assets? Please enlighten us. Thanks. And if you have thought of it - why have not they done so?
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Unread post28 May 2012, 19:52

maus92 hits on the key problem with distributed ops: how do you plan to resupply the airstrips. The F-35 will use more fuel per sortie than the Harrier, hence it'll need better infrastructure to maintain its ability to conduct sorties from 'distributed sites.' That logistical train will have knock on effects: less air lift to support other air mobile attacks; greater exposure to the air lift units to enemy action; and easier spotting of the F-35B's airstrips through the activity of the re-supply aircraft. Individual elements can be minimized by creative flying, placing the airstrips further away from the line of battle, etc., but that only reduces the overall supply flow to the F-35B's bases and reduces the F-35B's sortie rates.

Then we have to consider the vulnerability of these distributed airbases. Their strength lies in their ability to move across the map and avoid fixed locations. In order to do so, the Marines will need to dedicate significant logistical support to enable such distributed operations, as mentioned above. That logistical support will help the enemy locate the airbases, and give the enemy spots to launch ballistic missile / cruise missile strikes. If the Marines respond by deploying better air defenses, they will not only increase the logistical demands caused by the F-35B's basing arrangement, the Marines will also make the enemy's job of locating and fixing the airbases easier. The other option is to totally hide the F-35B bases, which can only be achieved through elaborate logistical and camouflage efforts and low sortie generation. Even then, a lucky enemy find could catch the base unprepared and destroy the F-35B's on the ground.

Worse case scenario, the F-35B's distributed ops becomes a self-licking ice cream cone. It consumes so much auxiliary support that its effects, while perhaps significant, are cancelled by the opportunity lost through the necessary support mechanisms.

Long story short, the distributed ops, while offering significant capability upgrades, need to be considered in a more balanced light. Especially if they are being considered in the context of a full spectrum conflict against an equally capable opponent.

(what has changed since the Cold War, when Harriers were all the rage? I'd say its the increase in recon capabilities (UAVs, etc.) as well as long range precision guided munitions. In the olden days, the opponents would have had to conduct a large scale air attack to have the hope of hitting a small-ish target. Today, highly mobile tactical ballistic missiles can hit the base with minimal warning and preparation.)
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Unread post28 May 2012, 22:03

'arkadyrenko' and 'maus92' must be 'thought twins' speaking for each other. However they paint a one sided view that the enemy missiles are unlimited and not affected by our F-35Bs and other assets. I believe the 'land based strategic value of the F-35B' is inclined to small land countries, which need such basing flexibility. Taiwan perhaps with Israel, Singapore and Italy have already prepared for such 'distributed basing' contingencies over a long period of time and have exercised that capacity. Also Israel has atomic weapons which will give pause to any concerted missile attack on it from the region.

Why the 'Marines' are suddenly a focus of attention is odd but their opponents always want to tie them down to austere land bases. The USMC do not want to operate solely in that fashion. Sea Bases and OMFTS are their preferred strategy. They do not want to be a second land army. Yes, things have changed since the Cold War and so has the USMC and the strategy of other countries.
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Unread post28 May 2012, 23:31

We were merely responding to the article's statement that the F-35B represents a massive strategic capability, "strategic deterrence" as the title states. Previous discussions ignored the logistical weaknesses of the F-35B's dispersed basing operations. The flip side of preparing for highway operations is that those bases themselves become targets for enemy cruise / ballistic missiles. And there are many more missiles than interceptors. (Israel is not about to adopt a launch on warning posture for its nuclear forces, especially when faced with many conventional tactical ballistic missiles).

The Marines are focused on here because they'll be the biggest operator of the F-35B. Any discussion about the F-35B's capabilities will naturally involve the Marines. And, if the Marines don't intend to use the F-35B from rough field strips, one has to ask why the went through all of the trouble of making them STOVL. Why not just short field capable?
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