F35/A10 Flyoff xontroversy

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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ford2go

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Unread post16 Jul 2018, 05:48

I don't know how this congressionally mandatd flyoff is set up, but there is apparently some concern.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... ogo-report

Don't know how true any of this is -- hope somebody here can clarify.

Thanks,

hj
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Corsair1963

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Unread post16 Jul 2018, 06:15

ford2go wrote:I don't know how this congressionally mandatd flyoff is set up, but there is apparently some concern.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... ogo-report

Don't know how true any of this is -- hope somebody here can clarify.

Thanks,

hj



Already posted and not considered a serious source....(i.e. POGO)
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spazsinbad

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Unread post16 Jul 2018, 06:44

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 post16 Jul 2018, 11:39

ford2go wrote:I don't know how this congressionally mandatd flyoff is set up, but there is apparently some concern.
https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... ogo-report
Don't know how true any of this is -- hope somebody here can clarify.


That article doesn't have many details so i will correct POGO articles: http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/weapo ... farce.html

Both aircraft are given an equal one hour to attack targets, when in fact the A-10 has more than twice the F-35’s endurance over the battlefield, a key capability when friendly troops urgently need support in battles that last many hours, or even days.

They are given the same amount of time so that they can judge their relative efficiency in CAS, while A-10 may have longer endurance, it can only fly in a permissive environment, in which case, F-35 can rely on tankers to refuel.


Testing both planes’ critical ability to support troops under low cloud cover by imposing a 10,000-foot ceiling is irresponsibly unrealistic and clearly intended to mask the unmaneuverable and thin-skinned F-35’s inability to operate under the far lower 1,000-foot ceilings so common in Europe, Southeast Asia, Korea, Africa, and South America. The armored A-10 was specifically designed to be able to maneuver and survive the kind of ground fire expected during attacks under 1,000-foot ceilings. A-10s have demonstrated this on numerous occasions in Afghanistan, even in dangerous mountainous terrain.

This is stupid, why should F-35 operate under 1000 ft when it has 360 degrees IIR automatic target detection/tracking + SAR? imagine having a death match between a cowboy and a medieval knight and someone complain that the cowboy doesn't get close.


The weapons load assigned to the F-35—a single 500-pound guided bomb instead of the (still inadequate) two it can carry

Reagarding, the so-called "inadequate loadout", internally, F-35 can carry 8 SDB II, when the threat of IADS isn't very high, F-35 can carry 24 SDB II ( SDB II can be replaced by the same number of SPEAR or JAGM-F )


unrealistically lightens the F-35 in an attempt to give it a maneuverability advantage during these tests

With or without 2 bombs, F-35 still has advantages in acceleration, sustained turn rate, instantaneous turn rate, roll rate, climb rate, speed over A-10.

Equally artificially, the testers loaded the A-10 with two unguided 500-pound bombs, weapons it never carries in combat because they are too inaccurate and too dangerous to friendly troops.

their earlier paragraph literally said they loaded A-10 with laser-guided bombs


The absence of specialized testing equipment to determine the accuracy of anti-aircraft gun-aiming against the evasive maneuvering flight path of the attacking plane makes it impossible to gain useful insights about relative hits on the F-35 versus the A-10—and invites the use of highly biased, speculative figures to favor a predetermined outcome. Similarly, for the shoulder-fired small surface-to-air missiles, there was not instrumentation of the precise missile launch or guidance control, no precise tracking of the attacking aircraft’s trajectory, and no validated shoulder-fired missile simulation to determine the relative success of the A-10 and F-35 in defeating or surviving shoulder-fired missiles.

Hmm, how can they know whether there is any specialized testing equipment?, iam skeptical of that. Anyway, unlike A-10, and F-35 can easily stay outside the engagement envelope of AA canon and shoulder-fired missile, even when F-35 is inside the engagement envelope of AA canon and shoulder-fired missile, DAS let pilot know immediately when he is being attacked.


Using only uncamouflaged targets—usually painted dark military green and placed in flat, open, light-colored desert terrain and thus easily seen from 15,000 feet above—completely contradicts the stark realities of actual combat, in which the enemy always has a life-and-death motivation to do whatever it takes to remain unseen as long as possible. Anyone with access to Google Earth can quickly find dozens of these targets in satellite imagery.
By testing only against highly visible targets, the test completely masks the much more restricted view out of the F-35 cockpit as compared to the A-10—along with masking the surprisingly poor video and infrared image resolution of the F-35 helmet’s display compared to the high definition of the A-10’s instrument panel display when it’s coupled to the plane’s sniper and lightening pods

Ironic, because A-10 canopy looks like this
Image
while F-35 canopy looks like this
Image
Furthermore, DAS can find and track targets for pilots, unlike MK-1 eye ball of A-10 pilots, color doesn't affect infrared sensor ,and as the process can be automatic, it doesn't increase pilot work load.

F-35.JPG

DAS 2.JPG



n the contrary, our enemies, in wars past and present, often choose to attack in bad weather just to offset American airpower advantages. There is no reason to believe they will not do so in future wars. Because of our desert wars, we’ve forgotten that low-hanging clouds and poor visibility are the conditions at least one day out of three in most parts of the globe that aren’t deserts, where we might have to face far bigger fights than we face today. It is a travesty to pretend that a simulated cloud layer at 10,000 feet in clear desert air in any way tests what our troops need from bad-weather support.

In bad weather, the MK-1 eye ball of A-10 pilot will be utterly useless while SAR and GMTI of APG-81 will be just fine as normal

The medium-range missile defenses in this test do not incorporate the currently deployed Russian and Chinese stealth-defeating long-wavelength search radars now being used to cue their shorter-wavelength medium-missile radars. That means the F-35’s stealth will be much more effective against China Lake’s simulated medium missiles than against real-world missiles, thus severely skewing the test’s survival assessments in favor of the F-35 over the A-10.

F-35 have measure against low-frequency radar, moreover, against any kind of average air defense, then A-10 is as good as flying targets
Last edited by garrya on 16 Jul 2018, 14:40, edited 1 time in total.
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mk82

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Unread post16 Jul 2018, 11:58

Spot on Garrya! Thanks for reminding me that the losers at POGO are f*cking idiots.

Funny how the USMC (CAS is their bread and butter!) found the F35 to be better at performing bad/crap weather CAS in comparison to their legacy platforms (and the A10 doesn’t even have a radar!).
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shania

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Unread post16 Jul 2018, 13:20

Example of Dutch using SAR in CAS.
Dutch F-35As OUT of the SHADOWS - Combat Aircraft May 2018

While technicians have gained valuable experience of turning spanners on theF-35, the four Dutch Lightning II pilots have striven to understand the aircraft from a tactical perspective. ‘We worked on getting a better understanding of how we can execute the D-SEAD [destructive suppression of enemy air defenses] mission — it’s a new mission set theF-35 brings to the RNLAF,’ adds De Smit.‘ Additionally, we have been looking at how we can execute mission concepts that are very familiar to us like close air support [CAS]. The new variable message format [VMF] is the new datalink protocol that we use to talk to ground forces. VMF is fully digital and enables us to send, in addition to voice commands, imagery back and forth to the JTACs [joint terminal attack controllers]. In addition, the synthetic aperture radar can make images from a long distance through the weather. This is a whole new aspect in the CAS mission and will be a game-changer in the dialogue between JTAC and pilot because it offers a new way of finding and verifying targets.’

Within the detachment, the 323rdTest and Evaluation Squadron (TES)commander Lt Col Ian ‘Gladys’ Knight is leading the way when it comes to Dutch experience with the F-35. ‘In CAS’, he says,‘VMF gives us options for supporting ground forces in a way we never had in the F-16. Instead of using voice radios and getting eyes on the target using a targeting pod close-in, we’re able to use the SAR to make images of the target area and generate very accurate target co-ordinates. We pass these to the ground forces and confirm a target location using VMF from beyond visual range, assuring that enemy forces are not alerted to our air presence. All the while we can be flyingin pretty bad weather with long on-station times. This would have been impossible to do with our F-16s.’
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Unread post17 Jul 2018, 00:56

"New" and "VMF" don't belong in the same sentence......probably not even the same paragraph :)
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Unread post17 Jul 2018, 01:02

It's likely new in context to a Dutch F-16 pilot.
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35_aoa

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Unread post17 Jul 2018, 01:53

SpudmanWP wrote:It's likely new in context to a Dutch F-16 pilot.


Yeah possibly so, though I'm surprised it wasn't exported a long time ago if that is indeed the case. 1980's technology, fielded in the 1990's, and the folks running the program have been searching for a use ever since to justify their paychecks.....VMF is extremely outdated, somewhat cumbersome to use, not very reliable, and I can count the times on zero fingers that a JTAC has ever used it with me, other than a very occasional training flight where it was basically a VMF familiarization for student JTACs.
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Unread post17 Jul 2018, 21:31

SpudmanWP wrote:It's likely new in context to a Dutch F-16 pilot.

In Dutchland we are a tad behind, when USA already had those fancy small radio's we were still carrying the fridge-sized variant to give you an idea. 8)
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Unread post17 Jul 2018, 23:23

VMF capability was included at least in the Australian Anzac frigate + Canberra LHD update around 2009.
The upgraded Saab 9LV CMS, together with the Northrop Grumman DLP, will likely make the Anzac and Canberra classes of ships the only fully integrated platforms in the world with this list of TADIL capabilities - on a par with the US's Common Link Integration Processing program which includes:
• Link-11 for legacy and BLOS comms;
• Link-16 for coalition interoperability;
• VMF for interoperability with land forces;
• JREAP-A and -B for full reach-back via satellite;
• JREAP-C for connectivity to Global Command and Control System;
• JREAP-C for connectivity to other on board common operating pictures;
• Link-22 expandability to meet future requirements.

For example the Anzac class will utilise VMF for Naval Gunfire Support, whereas the Canberra class will use VMF as an aid to controlling the Army's watercraft.

http://www.australiandefence.com.au/41E ... 50568C22C9

The Finnish Navy has had at least Link 11, 16, 22 and JREAP operational since the end of 2014 in four (all relevant) ship classes. Not sure about VMF, possibly included.

Tweet from a Dutch F-35 VMF test. https://twitter.com/ianknight35/status/ ... 4344327169

Article about the VMF & F-35: https://www.f35.com/news/detail/f-35-pi ... ity-trials
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Unread post20 Jul 2018, 00:18

The DOT&E has and indeterminate time to submit a report to congress on:

(e) REPORTS REQUIRED.— (1) The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report that includes—
(A) the results and findings of the initial operational test and evaluation of the F–35 aircraft program; and
(B) a comparison test and evaluation that examines the capabilities of the F–35A and A–10C aircraft in conducting close air support, combat search and rescue, and forward air controller airborne missions.

Note that it's not just about CAS.

After that report is submitted, the SecAF has 6 months to submit a report on his plans going forward.

(2) Not later than 180 days after the date of the submission of the report under paragraph (1), the Secretary of the Air Force shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report that includes—
(A) the views of the Secretary with respect to the results of the initial operational test and evaluation of the F–35 aircraft program as summarized in the report under paragraph (1), including any issues or concerns of the Secretary with respect to such results;
(B) a plan for addressing any deficiencies and carrying out any corrective actions identified in such report; and
(C) short-term and long-term strategies for preserving the capability of the Air Force to conduct close air support, combat search and rescue, and forward air controller airborne missions.
Attachments
PLAW-114publ328[1].pdf
FY2017 NDAA
(2.55 MiB) Downloaded 329 times
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Unread post01 Aug 2018, 23:46

SpudmanWP wrote:The DOT&E has and indeterminate time to submit a report to congress on:

(e) REPORTS REQUIRED.— (1) The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report that includes—
(A) the results and findings of the initial operational test and evaluation of the F–35 aircraft program; and
(B) a comparison test and evaluation that examines the capabilities of the F–35A and A–10C aircraft in conducting close air support, combat search and rescue, and forward air controller airborne missions.


Remember the 1974 A-10 vs. A-7D fly-off?

Full juice here:

A-10/A-7 AIRCRAFT FLYOFF EVALUATION BRIEFING
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... up;seq=247

A few other tidbits - ok, going to be a loong one. :mrgreen:


http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a442118.pdf
Despite the A-7’s excellent combat record as an interdiction aircraft, the USAF
argued that it wasn’t the answer for CAS. A month prior to the fly-off the USAF stated before
the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) that even if the A-7 won the test, the USAF was
not going to buy more A-7’s. The A-10 had been designed for the CAS mission, the A-7 had
not.
Furthermore, the USAF had not asked for the fly-off. The HASC also uncovered the fact
that the USAF had programmed production money for the A-10 but none for the A-7. This put
the USAF in a posture of prejudging the fly-off before it occurred.
In any event, the fly-off used worst-case weather conditions that “stacked the deck” against the
faster A-7 aircraft.
The A-10 won the fly-off because the USAF rigged the test, despite strong Senate backing (from
Texas).
Why? The real issue was the fact that the A-7 was a Navy airplane. The
Schlesinger-Brown deal for the A-10 was holding.



http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a530838.pdf
3.5.2 The A-10/A-7D Fly-off
During review of the FY74 RDT&E budget in September 1973, Congress raised concerns
about the A-10 production cost and its lack of versatility. The A-7D had performed well during
its deployments to Vietnam, and budgets for fighters were being stretched by development and
production of multiple fighter and attack aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marines (not to
mention Army helicopters).

Underpinning this concern was a rivalry between Fairchild (the A10
contractor from Long Island, NY) and LTV Corporation (the A-7 contractor from Dallas, TX)
and their congressional supporters. Congress wanted a fly-off between the A-10 and the A-7D
(in production for the Air Force since 1967), but the Air Force and the OSD did not believe that a
fly-off would produce meaningful information beyond what was being obtained from ongoing
A-10 testing. The Air Force also stressed that extensive studies had shown the superior
survivability of the A-10, and that both the A-7D and F-4 lacked characteristics they were
looking for in the A-10.72 The A-10 contractor was also opposed to a fly-off stating, among
other reasons, concern over the “ability of anyone to convince special interest Congressmen of
the need for specific flight handling characteristics for performing the close air support mission,
survivability, and other close air support performance parameters, especially when they are not
directly evaluated through flying.”73 Nonetheless, in September 1973 the Air Force agreed to
comply with Congressional recommendations.

The main point of the fly-off was to have experienced pilots fly both the YA-10
prototype and the A-7D and provide an assessment of which aircraft they would prefer in a
combat environment. The new DDR&E, Malcolm Currie, and the Deputy Director of Defense
Research and Engineering for Test and Evaluation (DDT&E) worked with the Weapons System
Evaluation Group (WSEG) to develop guidance for the fly-off.
The Air Force was to conduct
the fly-off in a realistic combat environment (scenarios, terrain, weather) and the Army was to
provide realistic ground equipment (targets, surrogate Air Defense systems, and related support).
The flights were scheduled for the Spring of 1974 by which time the A-10 was expected to be
qualified for maximum load factor at some (but not all) gross weights, qualification tests for
some ordnance carriage would be complete, and limited communication equipment and the
depressed reticle sight would be installed.
Missing from the prototype, however, was the GAU8/A
gun, a head-up display, the Maverick missile system, and various IR and electronic
countermeasure equipment. Probably because of the limitations of the prototype A-10, the
DDR&E added a second purpose to the evaluation by directing that: Using the fly-off results,
together with other pertinent data, the Air Force and the WSEG will each develop for the
DDT&E an analysis of the test results and overall evaluation of the relative effectiveness of the
A-7 and A-10 in close air support.


The fly-off was conducted between 15 April and 9 May 1974. Four experienced pilots
were chosen, none of which had previously flown either the A-7D or the YA-10. The aircraft
operated out of McConnell AFB, Kansas, and the ground targets and simulated air defenses were
located at Fort Riley, Kansas. Fort Riley was chosen due to similarities with the European
theater, and it had adequate air space and range instrumentation.
The fly-off tested three aircraft
configurations: heavy (12 MK 82 500 lb bombs), medium (6 MK 82’s) and clean. Bomb release
as well as missile release and gun firing were simulated. Weather ceilings simulated included
unlimited, 5,000 ft, 3,000 ft, and 1,000 ft. Each aircraft flew a total of 160 passes over the
simulated battlefields.
Data collected for the flights included Range Measurement System II,
Cooper Harper (handling quality) ratings, and pilot summaries.

The flight test results confirmed the Air Force’s belief that a specialized close air support
aircraft offered distinct advantages.

While all the test pilots preferred the A-7D to the YA-10 for
situations of unlimited ceiling/unlimited visibility, for low ceiling/low visibility conditions the
maneuverability of the A-10 allowed them to operate and maintain visual contact with the target.

The conclusion of the evaluation report was: “On the basis of the Fort Riley test, the analysis
produced the observation that the YA-10 prototype was the overall more effective aircraft. This
observation is based on calculations of relative lethality in the attack of targets and relative
attrition to defenses experienced by both aircraft used in the test.”75 With respect to the
secondary purpose: “This analysis produced the observation that the A-10A will be a more
effective and more cost-effective close air support aircraft than the A-7D in a combined arms
conflict. T
he high cost effectiveness was a result of higher lethality, lower attrition and higher
expected sortie rates for the A-10A. The report noted that the A-10A was less costly than the A7D
both in terms of acquisition cost as well as life cycle cost. Of note, the GAU-8/A gun was a
significant factor in the evaluation as the 20 mm gun in the A-7D was ineffective against
armored targets.



https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?q1= ... 0;orient=0

Four pilots fly each aircraft an equal number of sorties. They fly the aircraft
using similar ordnance loads under various, simulated weather conditions. Each
aircraft makes an equal number of trials simulating delivery of the same ord-
nance.
Tactics are varied to allow use of optimum aircraft characteristics. The
avionics suite of the A-7 is used appropriately. The test site and aircraft are
instrumented so that quantitative data is being obtained.
The flight evaluation includes assessments of the following: (1) aircraft
handling characteristics; (2) ability of the pilot/aircraft combination to acquire,
attack, and renttack the targets under various conditions; (3) pilot/aircraft
evasive maneuvering effectiveness; (4) ground defenders' ability to track the
attacking aircraft; and (5) cockpit visibility. The Air Force will prepare a
report to include pilot opinions on the results of the flyoff.
In addition, the Air
Force and the Weapon Systems Evaluation Group will use the data acquired
during the flyoff and other pertinent data to conduct independent, separate
evaluations of the relative capability of each aircraft to perform the close air
support mission.
In comparison to the production configuration, the A-10 prototype used in
the flyoff is not equipped with the GAU-8 gun, gunsight headup display, and
Maverick missile and is limited to 80 percent of its design limit load factor.
Neither aircraft carry the Maverick, chaff/flare dispensers or an ECM pod
during the flyoff: however, Maverick attacks are simulated. These limitations
aire being accounted for in two ways during the flyoff. First, the pilots flying
the aircraft have been thoroughly briefed on these differences. Second, to the
extent possible, these limitations will be included in the above analysis to more
accurately assess the capability of the production model A-10.



https://books.google.no/books?id=psb2rd ... -7&f=false

We had pilots before the full Committee last year who testified the A 7 was their preference for close air support down about a 1,000 foot ceiling point and that with that limited Europe weather zone for 1.000 feet and below they prefer the A 10.
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Unread post01 Aug 2018, 23:55

IMHO the tech, place, and time that the A-10 was to be used, a below 1000 ft ceiling and low vis environment was the environment that they were planning on. It makes sense that the tests centered around that arena.

Modern PGMs and sensors allow today's fighter to no longer have to do that which is why the latest A-10 v F-35 test did not setup the test for that config.
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Unread post02 Aug 2018, 01:57

Routine delivery from 40Kft? Isn't that the profile in the ME these days in high threat areas? I'd like to see an A-10 doing not below FL390, against the same target types as F-35s. Plus time from wheels up, to killing all targets, to shutdown.
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