Exercise Northern Lightning Overview [F-35As + others]

Variants for different customers or mission profiles
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steve2267

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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 06:45

Regarding the 27 kills and [implied / alleged] lack of missile carrying capacity...

Is it possible a two ship was forward deployed with 4 slammers each, and another two ship was much further back -- out of radar range of the red force thread -- each loaded to max AA capability with 8 slammers each. Well, that gets you to 24 missiles. Make it a four ship in reserve with eight each gets you to 40 total missiles.

The haters are just getting their panties in a knot.

Are there any threads here that discuss these tactics of one a/c targeting threats while other a/c shoot? Has the technology really advanced to the point where the illuminator / scout out front doesn't have to worry about getting shot by one of his teammates back behind him?
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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35_aoa

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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 06:49

for what it is worth, a "slammer" is a SLAM-ER. A "rammer" is an AIM-120. Not that either is a proper term :)
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mrigdon

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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 07:19

Did the Air Force ever specify how many F-35s were in the air during the mission that claimed 27 kills? They sent 14 planes to the exercise. If twelve were in the air at one time, they would be carrying 48 missiles between them, all internally. It doesn't seem unreasonable that they could claim 27 kills. Hey, even just eight planes can carry 32 missiles. Granted, 27 kills out of 32 missiles is an 85% success rate, but why not? The AMRAAM is supposed to be the premier air-to-air missile. If you don't get any warning that you've been targeted until the missile's seeker goes live, then you have even less time to respond.

It's a simulated exercise, as well. I would imagine (but I don't know) that the Pentagon wants to simulate CURRENT capabilities, but is there any chance that the exercise allowed the F-35 to fly with 6 AMRAAMs internal?
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krorvik

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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 07:54

steve2267 wrote:The F-35 is downright tiny compared to the Sbug. That can't be right. That photo must be fake. :shock:


The F-35 is not as big as some will have it. Adding to that, it doesn't take a whole lot of distance difference between the two craft to disturb our perception of size. No reason to be shocked.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 08:33

steve2267 wrote:...each loaded to max AA capability with 8 slammers each. Well, that gets you to 24 missiles.


Block 3i max is 4 internal
Block 3F max is 4 internal PLUS 8 external and 2 Aim-9x for good measure :roll:


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hornetfinn

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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 08:47

Dragon029 wrote:I sent the editor an email and got a response; the italics black text is from the article, the dark blue text is my email to him and the quote boxes are his itemised replies:
"while adding two AIM-9X on wing pylons destroys its “stealth,” and makes it clearly visible to enemy radar."

I said underwing missiles make the F-35 "clearly visible to enemy radar," which is a statement of fact.
I made no claims about whether "the F-35 has an RCS advantage or not over 4th gen adversaries."


I hate comments like this. It's not a statement of fact that underwing missiles make F-35 or any other fighter "clearly visible to enemy radar". That would depend on RCS of the missile itself, RCS of pylon/launcher it is attached to and how each of these components interact with each other. Even old IR guided missiles without any thought about lowering RCS had RCS of about 0.1 to less than 0.01 square meters from most aspect angles (with large spike of up to tens of square meters from directly perpendicular due to wings and fins acting as corner reflectors).

I'd say AIM-9X is vastly better than that as there is definitely some thought put on RCS of that missile (also ASRAAM and IRIS-T). The large spikes totally disappear due to positioning of wings and fins and their shape being far better for low RCS than in older missiles. Materials are very likely selected to lower RCS and imaging seekers very likely have far lower RCS than reticle seekers used in older missiles. IIR seekers are much smaller and have less reflective surfaces and corners. I'd say AIM-9X and ASRAAM likely have at least an order of magnitude smaller RCS than older missiles from most aspect angles and totally avoid the large spikes.

So it depends on RCS of pylon/launcher combo and interaction with airframe. I'd say both have been considered in design and likely do not increase RCS that much. Pylons are clearly shaped for low RCS and I doubt they increase RCS much. I doubt other factors increase RCS much, but that'd require some pretty highly classified information to know for sure. However there is nothing warranting underwing missiles making it "clearly visible to enemy radar". They definitely increase RCS, but I don't think it's that much and that they'd still likely be considered highly stealthy with external AIM-9X or ASRAAMs.

"Contrary to what is claimed above, the F-35’s sensors do not yet have “the ability to process and share information with other players in the battle space” because of technical faults."

The USAF story claims that the F-35 can "process and share information with other players in the battle space."
This is only true between two F-35s, as an F-35 cannot today fully transmit tactical data to 4th-gen aircraft.

"But, even if they did, the F-35 could not transmit sensor data to previous-generation aircraft because its Multifunction Advanced Data Link is not fully operational, and in any case is not compatible with datalinks used by legacy aircraft."

The "Dutch have talked about it," and have had some success in some exercises, but the US Air Force statement mentions what is a hypothetical future capability as it existed today as an operational capability. That is wrong.
You have a point here: I should have stated more clearly that the Rockwell contract is intended to "improve the sharing of mission-critical data," which exists in a limited volume, as you rightly noted: "Link 16 is also just incredibly slow for when it comes to things like sharing imagery or video"


I like how he is moving goal posts as soon as faults in his knowledge and logic are shown. F-35 definitely has a lot of ability to share tactical information with other players in the battlefield. It may not be as good as planned for Block 3F, but of course it's not supposed to be there yet. Like you wrote, that has been demonstrated already and not just talked about:
http://airheadsfly.com/2016/02/09/f-35- ... t-numbers/

Last year, the Dutch F-35s flew complex missions with their F-16 predecessors. The main focus was fourth and fifth generation fighter integration and interoperability. “It was a great experience and good to see the added value of the F-35. One F-16 pilot even described our F-35 capability as flipping on a light switch: without F-35s in the fight they were struggling in the dark, with F-35s by their side they had very high situational awareness.”


Similar statements are also coming from Norwegians and US services.

Besides, Link 16 is very fine system for sharing things like tracks, friendly platform information, commands etc. You know, tactical information. It's not nearly as good for sharing sensor level information for sensor fusion processes as MADL or IFDL but for sharing processed data there is likely not much difference besides that it isn't stealthy. You can also transmit imagery pretty easily through it, but streaming videos will take up almost all of the currently available bandwidth and would likely be used very selectively. But how often straming video would be really beneficial compared to imagery for example?

Besides, sensors themselves do not "process and share information with other players in the battle space” as he claimed. It's done through sensor fusion and data links.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 08:53

The original comparison was between USN aircraft so the F-35A to scale is superimposed as shown with real stats under.

SOME LINKS: http://www.amdo.org/JSF_Program_and_33_FW_Updates.pdf
http://www.nps.edu/Academics/Institutes ... ighter.pdf
http://www.cdi.org/pdfs/stevenson%20f-22%20brief.pdf
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F-35AsizeComparisonHORNETs.jpg
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 12:01

Those who fly the jet say that F-35 can send more L16 messages than many other aircraft can swallow -- today -- and such capability is used routinely when the opportunity arises, as some of the reporting accurately states.
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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 12:06

steve2267 wrote:The F-35 is downright tiny compared to the Sbug. That can't be right. That photo must be fake. :shock:


No, that picture is accurate. Notably, as configured, the jet on the left has more fuel capacity than the one on the right. Spaz has provided a link above.
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mk82

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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 15:14

Awesome result for the F35As at Northern Lightning.

Ahh...the stupidity of basement dwellers and "journalists" rises again....at Mountain Home - herp derp...those F15Es (Red Air) are only good for Air to Ground missions...herp derp. Meanwhile at Volk Field, where the F16 red air was smashed - Herp derp herp derp...F35A has supernatural abilities (oh thank you :mrgreen: )....other irrelevant reasons....herp derp. These F35 haters are truly getting desperate.

Oh yeah, that Editor should know that the F35's supernatural abilities = networked sensor fusion + VLO + multiple F35s + pilots who know how to exploit the F35's strengths....what a simple and wonderful equation :mrgreen:
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krorvik

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Unread post01 Sep 2016, 19:08

quicksilver wrote:No, that picture is accurate. Notably, as configured, the jet on the left has more fuel capacity than the one on the right. Spaz has provided a link above.


The body of the super bug is super slim...
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Dragon029

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Unread post02 Sep 2016, 03:30

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/208740/f- ... yment-date

F-35A completes largest deployment to date

VOLK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, WI, UNITED STATES
09.01.2016
Story by Senior Airman Stormy Archer
33rd Fighter Wing/Public Affairs

The 33rd Fighter Wing wrapped up the largest F-35 deployment to date at this year’s Exercise Northern Lightning Aug. 31 at Volk Field, Wis.
Northern Lightning is a tactical-level, joint training exercise which serves as a combat rehearsal for both legacy and modern aerial and ground assets in a contested, degraded environment.
The 33rd FW deployed over 150 personnel and 14 F-35As for two weeks to train to a realistic threat level and develop how to deploy and sustain a squadron of F-35s.
The Air Force announced the fighter jet was initially capable of combat operations in August of this year. With the service’s shift in focus to full operational capability for the aircraft, the lessons learned from this exercise will shape future real-world deployments of F-35A squadrons.
“The aircraft and program still have maturing left to do, but that is a scary thought for our adversaries,” said Lt. Col. Brad Bashore, 58th Fighter Squadron commander. “The performance here proves this aircraft is combat ready, even in its infancy.”
The 33rd FW scored over 110 kills against “enemy aircraft,” supported a surge of 138 sorties and dropped 24 GBU-12 bombs during Northern Lightning.
During the exercise, 33rd FW pilots were able to execute offensive counter air, suppression of enemy air defenses, destruction of enemy air defenses, and employ GPS-guided munitions for close air support.
“This exercise has increased my confidence in the F-35,” Capt. Mark Schnell, 33rd FW pilot said. “Believing that you are invisible is hard. (But) to come out and fly against fourth-generation assets and really see that the stealth capabilities of the F-35 are as advertised has been awesome. It makes our job easier knowing that we are (stealthy), and we can arrive at a position of advantage without (our adversary) knowing.”
Crews from the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron were able to support operational demands of the exercise by executing a high-tempo maintenance schedule, and preparing aircraft to drop munitions in a deployed location with less manning and resources than afforded to them at home station.
“This is the first time the program has supported such an extensive aircraft deployment,” 1st Lt. Krista Wooden, 33rd AMXS Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in charge, said. “We were able to simulate a deployed priority on our supply system, (and) successfully gauge the logistics of how a deployment will successfully run its course.”
The F-35A pilots practiced joint operations with F-16 Fighting Falcons, F/A-18 Super Hornets, E/A-18 Growlers and E-3 Sentries to create a more lethal and survivable strike package. The experience gained from deploying as a total force will shape how the units work together in future combat operations.
“Working with the F-35A really provides a unique capability for us,” Capt. Austin Kennedy, E/A-18 Growler electronic warfare officer, said. “They allow us the opportunity to train against more advanced threats that a fourth-generation aircraft wouldn’t be able to go after.
“The (low observable) characteristics of the jet make our jamming more effective, and it makes it easier for us to do our job.”
The dynamic threat environment of the 115th Fighter Wing’s Northern Lightning exercise provides a unique training ground for the fifth generation fighter with surface to air threats, a large air space that extends up to 50,000 feet, inter-service training and an expansive range for live and inert weapons drops.
“Thanks to the Air National Guard, and their herculean efforts to make this exercise happen,” said Lt. Col. Brad Bashore, 58th FS commander, said. “Thank you to the Deluth and Maddison Guard for being our adversaries during this exercise. It’s not always fun being red air and flying against us when you’re at a disadvantage. We couldn’t have done this without you.”
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Unread post02 Sep 2016, 07:55

Dragon029 wrote:https://www.dvidshub.net/news/208740/f-35a-completes-largest-deployment-date

The F-35A pilots practiced joint operations with F-16 Fighting Falcons, F/A-18 Super Hornets, E/A-18 Growlers and E-3 Sentries to create a more lethal and survivable strike package. The experience gained from deploying as a total force will shape how the units work together in future combat operations.
“Working with the F-35A really provides a unique capability for us,” Capt. Austin Kennedy, E/A-18 Growler electronic warfare officer, said. “They allow us the opportunity to train against more advanced threats that a fourth-generation aircraft wouldn’t be able to go after.
“The (low observable) characteristics of the jet make our jamming more effective, and it makes it easier for us to do our job.”


This is what I've been trying to tell for a long time and a lot of people have trouble understanding. Low RCS of F-35 makes jamming so much more effective than it does for legacy fighters. Jamming aircraft can sit way further back in far safer areas and also have effective jamming coverage over far larger distances. F-35 even makes it possible for jamming aircraft to concentrate on certain frequency bands (most likely lower frequencies) and let F-35 do the high frequency jamming themselves when needed. This helps them put more jamming power on reduced number of threats which further enhances their effectiveness. All this makes it far more difficult for enemy to detect that there even is jamming going on as the power levels would be very small.
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popcorn

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Unread post02 Sep 2016, 08:13

hornetfinn wrote:
This is what I've been trying to tell for a long time and a lot of people have trouble understanding. Low RCS of F-35 makes jamming so much more effective than it does for legacy fighters. Jamming aircraft can sit way further back in far safer areas and also have effective jamming coverage over far larger distances. F-35 even makes it possible for jamming aircraft to concentrate on certain frequency bands (most likely lower frequencies) and let F-35 do the high frequency jamming themselves when needed. This helps them put more jamming power on reduced number of threats which further enhances their effectiveness. All this makes it far more difficult for enemy to detect that there even is jamming going on as the power levels would be very small.

No doubt the use of legacy jamming platforms will be highly choreographed so as not to mess with the 5Gens' sensors and comms. The last thing they want is to degrade the SA picture when operating in a hostile battle space.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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sferrin

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Unread post02 Sep 2016, 14:23

More whining from the usual suspects:

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of its habit of selectively releasing details and figures, the US Air Force makes it impossible to understand whether the F-35A’s performance during the deployment was as impressive as it sounds.
For example:
-- a “surge” of 138 missions by 14 aircraft over two weeks may sound impressive, but it averages out to less than one (precisely, 0.7) mission per aircraft per day, which is rather pedestrian.
-- The story does not say how many of those 138 missions were aborted.
-- The story says the squadron scored 110 kills against “enemy” aircraft, but again that averages out to 0.56 kills per aircraft per day, which is not really impressive.
-- how many of the “suppression of enemy air defenses, destruction of enemy air defenses” missions were assisted by EG-18F electronic attack aircraft?
-- how many “offensive counter-air” missions were assisted by E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft, and/or F-16 and F/A-18 Super Hornets fighters?
More details are needed to determine the F-35A’s real performance during this simulated deployment.)


http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... -date.html
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