F-22 in dogfights

Anything goes, as long as it is about the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

icemaverick

Active Member

Active Member

  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 21 Feb 2012, 23:05
  • Location: New York

Unread post22 Feb 2012, 04:21

I wanted to get clarification on something.

As I understand it, a helmet mounted sight allows you to lock up anything the pilot is looking at directly. From what I've read, the F-22 doesn't currently have the JHMCS and there are no current plans to install a helmet mounted sight system.

I've read about the Raptor beating multiple F-16s and F-15s in simulated WVR engagements. This was despite those aircraft being equipped with JHMCS and HOBS missiles.

How does that happen? Wouldn't the F-22 be at a huge disadvantage in dogfights due to its lack of JHMCS? The F-22 would have to put his nose on the adversary aircraft right? On the other hand, a pilot with JHMCS would only have to look at the Raptor to put an IR missile on it. Even a huge maneuverability disadvantage would be completely neutralized.

Obviously, the Raptor won't be engaging in a whole lot of close in dogfights. But doesn't the lack of a helmet mounted sight put it in a major disadvantage in dogfights against even some legacy aircraft? Or is there something else that allows the Raptor to dominate in WVR?
Offline

tacf-x

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 446
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2011, 02:25
  • Location: Champaign, Illinois

Unread post22 Feb 2012, 06:34

The way I see it is that the F-22's low observability actually causes the F-22 to get the F-16 or F-15 into its WEZ before the others can even track it with their radars.

IIRC F-16s and F-15s use their radar as the method of acquiring targets and the radar is slaved to the pilot's head via JHMCS. The fighter then uses radar data to cue the missile's built in inertial autopilot and that's how HOBS weapons work. The problem is that the range that the Raptor can be detected and tracked with radar is probably so small that before the HOBS and JHMCS equipped fighters can even see the Raptor, they are shot down WVR by the Raptor driver. Since the Raptor is a VLO fighter there stands the chance that even with inferior missiles and lack of JHMCS the F-22 actually has a greater engagement envelope vs. the others.

I could easily be talking BS but I seem to recall reading that pilots in mock engagements were able to see the Raptor before their radars could so that could help support my theory in the sense that it shouldn't be unheard of for a WVR engagement to end up like a BVR engagement with regards to fighting a Raptor.
Offline

cywolf32

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 619
  • Joined: 21 Nov 2005, 12:04
  • Location: USA

Unread post22 Feb 2012, 06:58

Here is the best answer I have found.

Quote:

Some interesting quotes from the wrap-up "The thing denies your ability to put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it through the canopy," said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, F-15 exchange pilot in the 65th AS. "It's the most frustrated I've ever been." ""We [even] tried to overload them with numbers and failed," said Colonel Bruce. "It's humbling to fly against the F-22." This is a remarkable testimony because the Red Flag aggressor pilots are renowned for their skill and experience. Lt. Col. Dirk Smith, 94th Fighter Squadron commander, said the aggressor forces represent the most lethal threat friendly forces would ever face." h**p://www.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123041725

It simply denies you the ability to engage it.
Online

delvo

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 559
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2011, 04:06

Unread post22 Feb 2012, 18:49

A helmet-mounted cuing system doesn't mean you can shoot at anything you can look at. It means you can shoot at anything you AND the plane's sensors can look at at the same time, for a long enough time. This has limits even against a non-stealthy opponent; it won't work if the opponent moves outside the edge of your plane's sensors' field of view too soon, or moves in a funny way that makes it hard for you to keep your eyes on it and coordinate your plane's systems to what you're seeing at the same time. These kinds of problems are more likely to present themselves if your opponent happens to have great acceleration and/or turning ability, which an F-22 does, even if stealth were no issue.
Offline

icemaverick

Active Member

Active Member

  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 21 Feb 2012, 23:05
  • Location: New York

Unread post22 Feb 2012, 20:40

Thanks for the answers guys. I have a few follow ups and clarifications.

With regards to that Aussie F-15 exchange pilot, he couldn't get a lock on the Raptor even WVR because its IR signature was too low for him to get good tone?

It seems that the F-22 is winning many WVR engagements because it can sneak up on opponents....by the time the adversary sees it, it's already in a great position. Is that right?

Finally, I know that the F-22 has superior maneuverability and acceleration to the F-16 and F-15, but wouldn't those advantages be significantly reduced with HOBS and JHMCS? I understand that the pilot AND sensors would have to be looking at the Raptor, but it's much easier to put sensors on an enemy with HMS, no? In a turning fight, the Raptor would have to put his nose on the enemy to lock him up.

One last question. I know this is unlikely to occur in a real combat situation, but what if the Raptor engaged in a classic merge with something like the Rafale or Typhoon? Would it be at a disadvantage if it came to that. Obviously, if the Raptor does what it's supposed to, it would destroy the enemy with a BVR shot or ambush the opponent. But what if the two planes engaged head on within visual range?
Offline

cywolf32

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 619
  • Joined: 21 Nov 2005, 12:04
  • Location: USA

Unread post22 Feb 2012, 23:03

Guess you have some thinking to do.
Offline

calel

Enthusiast

Enthusiast

  • Posts: 71
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2009, 22:57
  • Location: Puerto Rico

Unread post22 Feb 2012, 23:14

Icemaverick:

Great question! I’ll try to make myself understandable because English is my second language. I remember once reading that even a Mig-21 Bison with the JHMCS can be as deadly in the WVR arena as the F-22.

Another thing, the pilot testimonies mentioned above are super interesting, but do to the fact that the F-22 is still a classified project; we do not have certainty or clarity regarding the pilot’s testimonies.

I mean, they said that it was impossible to get a weapons system on the F-22, but in what sense do they speak? I mean, do they referred to the F-22 maneuverability or does the F-22 has something we don’t know that permits it to be untraceable to weapons systems in the WVR combat???

Super Maneuverability and superior electronic technology (as the JHMCS) is something I believe should be present in every 5 Gen. Fighter because one of the two could fail in real combat. We have experience of that in Vietnam. The f-4 Phantom; a more advance fighter, with better electronics and better missiles than the soviets, but lacked maneuverability.

As we know during the Vietnam air war our phantoms suffered many problems because its missiles didn’t “behave” as they were advertized. We thought that new technology would eradicate the use of guns and the design of a very maneuverable fighter. We paid the consequences…

It has been said that our Raptors will be fitted with the JHMCS; lets hope this turns out to be true.

My biggest concern now is if the JSF has enough maneuverability to engage successfully against modern Russian fighters in a WVR combat (if it develops) if its superior electronic technology (EODAS) by some reason malfunction.
Offline

firstimpulse

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 313
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2012, 18:21

Unread post22 Feb 2012, 23:31

Missiles have limits. And as it stands, HOBS missiles and HMCS are great, but even if the HMCS can see a target, HOBS have been found to be significantly less effective in combat than advertised- they can be dodged by aircraft just the same as any other missile, although HOBS missiles are harder to evade. But, given a good enough pilot and he/she knows the inbound missile is coming, the missile can be outmaneuvered. IIRC, a Flanker shot three HOBS missiles at an unarmed MiG-29 back in the Eritrean–Ethiopian War and the MiG was able to dodge them all (the MiG's pilot was an instructor). The Sukhoi had to chase the 29' down and down him with 30mm cannon.

I agree with Calel. And your english is dang good buddy. 8)
Offline

aaam

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 754
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2010, 22:52

Unread post23 Feb 2012, 04:21

firstimpulse wrote:Missiles have limits. And as it stands, HOBS missiles and HMCS are great, but even if the HMCS can see a target, HOBS have been found to be significantly less effective in combat than advertised- they can be dodged by aircraft just the same as any other missile, although HOBS missiles are harder to evade. But, given a good enough pilot and he/she knows the inbound missile is coming, the missile can be outmaneuvered. IIRC, a Flanker shot three HOBS missiles at an unarmed MiG-29 back in the Eritrean–Ethiopian War and the MiG was able to dodge them all (the MiG's pilot was an instructor). The Sukhoi had to chase the 29' down and down him with 30mm cannon.

I agree with Calel. And your english is dang good buddy. 8)



Couple of observations. AS I understand it, HOBS refers more to the ability to slew the seeker and achieve a lockon at a High angle Off BoreSight than to the kinematics of the missile itself. It also requires the fire control system to work with a HOBS capable missile. Much of the advantage of a HMCS is lost if you don't have a missile that can hack the turn off the rail. HOBS and the maneuverability of the missile are related, but not synonymous. For example, take the F-22. The AIM-9X has AIM-9X performance no matter what it's hung on. But, the F-22 presently can't use it in HOBS mode. Present plans are to add this capability to the Block 30s and 35s (if it isn't cut), but that's years away.

Any missile can be dodged if it's at the extreme edges of its envelope, but I would find it very surprising if an F-22 could dodge one if the Raptor was in the AIM-9's "no escape" zone. But then part of what makes Raptor the Raptor is the ability to usually avoid getting in there in the first place or staying around long enough fro the other guy to shoot. After all, even with a HMCS, if you don't know the other guy is there, you're not going to be looking where he is and so the HMCS does nothing.

Regarding the Flanker/Fulcrum anecdote, that sounds more like crappy missiles or poor technique (see: "no escape zone" above) than the Fulcrum really outmaneuvering them. Even if in the unlikely event he was able to dodge the first effective one, he's used up a lot of energy and here comes the second one. The fact that the MiG's pilot was an instructor may just mean he crashed less than some of the other members of the AF. Frankly, if you're at all good and given the performance of those two aircraft, you've got to work at it to get shot down by cannon unless the Flanker ran the notoriously short legged Fulcrum out of fuel, a not unlikely scenario, and the latter didn't have any 'oomph' left to keep dodging.
Offline

firstimpulse

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 313
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2012, 18:21

Unread post24 Feb 2012, 19:39

Very good observations. I remember the story from a book of the Su-27's exploits I purchased a few years back, although in hindsight I never should have posted information without a reference. I don't even have a copy of the book anymore.
:doh:

So, the trick to avoiding being killed by an AIM-9X/R-73 is making sure your craft is never in the other guy's firing envelope, therefore (if he is prudent and doesn't shoot) never letting him get a shot off in the first place? Why didn't I think of that... and yes, poor technique sounds like a very good explanation, as does the MiG running out of gas.

Just as clarification (although, once again, I don't have any references) I remember the Fulcrum's pilot actually being the Flanker pilot's instructor. He was Russian, and apparently was acting in the war as either an exchange pilot or a mercenary. Very strange scenario.

But, back to topic, if the sensor system on the enemy aircraft can barely detect the F-22, wouldn't that make it harder for the missile to track and kill the Raptor? Or perhaps make the missile's no escape zone significantly smaller?
Offline

wrightwing

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2109
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2008, 15:22

Unread post24 Feb 2012, 19:46

firstimpulse wrote: But, back to topic, if the sensor system on the enemy aircraft can barely detect the F-22, wouldn't that make it harder for the missile to track and kill the Raptor? Or perhaps make the missile's no escape zone significantly smaller?



^^^^^^This^^^^^^

you have a target that's hard to track, and is highly agile. This makes launch envelopes much smaller, especially if the F-22 is supercruising.
Offline

aaam

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 754
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2010, 22:52

Unread post25 Feb 2012, 01:32

wrightwing wrote:
firstimpulse wrote: But, back to topic, if the sensor system on the enemy aircraft can barely detect the F-22, wouldn't that make it harder for the missile to track and kill the Raptor? Or perhaps make the missile's no escape zone significantly smaller?



^^^^^^This^^^^^^

you have a target that's hard to track, and is highly agile. This makes launch envelopes much smaller, especially if the F-22 is supercruising.



Please excuse me if, in a desire to avoid ambiguity, I sound a bit pedantic. Here's how it was taught to me:

The Launch Envelope covers the myriad of things, all of which have to be in place, for a missile to successfully launch and guide. These include speed, altitude, parameters of the missile's guidance system, parameters of the aircraft's weapons control system, type of initial maneuver required, etc. For example, during Vietnam with some of the aircraft in use the radar couldn't hold lock and would tumble over 3 1/2g, so you had to be doing less than that in the final moments before launch. One of the reasons AIM-7 didn't do as well as hoped in Vietnam was because they often were fired out of envelope. That's also one of the explanations given for why USN had a better win/loss ratio, they were taught more to fly the missile as well as the aircraft.

The Launch Window, smaller than the Launch Envelope, is that period in time and space wherein (don't see that word around much) the missile can be launched and it's possible for it to arrive at a point at the same time the target does. It is not static or symmetrical and unlike the envelope is dependent on factors surrounding the target as well, For example, if you're taking a high subsonic-supersonic AIM-120 shot at a baddie at about the same speed and altitude (altitude has a big effect on missile range) at ~40nm heading directly away from you, you're really not in the Launch Window. On the other hand, if said evildoer is coming directly at you, you quite likely are.

The No Escape Zone refers to the area within which, assuming the missile continues to guide, there is no maneuver the target can make that can avoid the missile. Obviously this is smaller than the Window. With the advent of missiles like the dogfight IR types, AIM-120, Meteor, etc. this zone has been getting larger. It doesn't really refer to whether or not the missile can track, it's assumed track is maintained. After all, if you can't track the whole exercise is meaningless. Countermeasures can also get the missile to lose lock, in which case again the "no escape zone" concept disappears because then there's nothing to escape. My understanding is that it refers to aerodynamic performance and capabilities of hunter and hunted.

In the case of the F-22, its radar stealth makes the Window in which it can be targeted much smaller, especially if supercruising or at higher altitude. But IMHO it won't have affect the no escape zone that much. This would be even more applicable in the case of encountering a modern high-g missile as it seems that during the late '80s period when the F-22 was being designed, AF did not give that much priority to IR stealth (you can see in the designs of the YF-22 and YF-23 the difference the contracts placed on IR stealth in their designs.

The F-22 is super agile, no question, but compared to a missile that can do upwards of 50g or more turns, agility will not be the main way the F-22 gets away. In fact, it's my understanding that most, if not all of the F-22 "kills" (I'm not counting the one where the Bug driver broke the rules of the exercise) were by IR missiles.
Offline

sprstdlyscottsmn

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1643
  • Joined: 10 Mar 2006, 01:24
  • Location: Phoenix, Az

Unread post25 Feb 2012, 15:18

I think what first impulse may have been getting at is that if the F-22 has IR reduction measures then there is less of a target for an IR missile to find, likewise the low RCS would mean that an AMRAAM class missile that can normally track a fighter with it's own on board radar at say, 12 miles, now can only track at 1 mile. If a fighter sized radar has issues locking up an F-22 WVR then what chance does a missile sized radar have?

like aaam said, if you can't track the target, you cant hit it. That degree of VLO basically means the useful range of BVR missiles in well within WVR. The downside of this is that if a missile IS fired within parameters, then the Raptor has no chance of avoiding it. It will be a max speed/thrust and thus have maximum G available and sustainable.
"Spurts"

-Pilot
-Aerospace Engineer
-Army Medic
-Project Engineer
Offline

firstimpulse

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 313
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2012, 18:21

Unread post25 Feb 2012, 16:31

[quote="sprstdlyscottsmn"]I think what first impulse may have been getting at is that if the F-22 has IR reduction measures then there is less of a target for an IR missile to find,

Yes, that's my perspective. But here's a really interesting question - If, hypothetically, two stealth aircraft with rather basic sensors (no advanced IRST) engaged each other, wouldn't the lack of reliable missile shots turn the fight into something WWII or Vietnam-esque dogfight? Say, between an F-22 and J-20? If stealth turns out to be nearly as effective at close range as long range, that would be a bit of a game-changer, as missiles would suddenly only be as good as guns. From my perspective at least.

:whistle:
Offline

river_otter

Active Member

Active Member

  • Posts: 176
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2011, 09:42
  • Location: Arizona

Unread post25 Feb 2012, 18:58

firstimpulse wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:I think what first impulse may have been getting at is that if the F-22 has IR reduction measures then there is less of a target for an IR missile to find,


Yes, that's my perspective. But here's a really interesting question - If, hypothetically, two stealth aircraft with rather basic sensors (no advanced IRST) engaged each other, wouldn't the lack of reliable missile shots turn the fight into something WWII or Vietnam-esque dogfight? Say, between an F-22 and J-20? If stealth turns out to be nearly as effective at close range as long range, that would be a bit of a game-changer, as missiles would suddenly only be as good as guns. From my perspective at least.

:whistle:


It's an interesting hypothetical, but dogfight is the wrong species I think. I think the pilot's goal would be to keep it more akin to modern submarine games of cat and mouse, just at higher speeds. If your missile won't track in a dogfight, it's not as good as guns; it's inferior to guns. Missiles will be better than guns, though, because they will be fired at the extreme edge of detection range with a good probability of hit. They would need remote guidance like a wire-guided torpedo, but that's not really difficult to do even today. There would be an arms race for better sensors and better stealth. First to see can guide a shot in. Better ability to see or greater protection against being seen gives you the ability to see first. It just wouldn't be as completely lopsided as today's F-22 vs. everything else fights.

(Although it's pretty clear PAK-FA and J-20 are nowhere near stealth aircraft, just not the glaring radar frequency bull's-eyes their legacy aircraft are. At some later date, F-22 or its successors will probably fight true stealth aircraft, but that's way off in the future as things look now.)
Next

Return to General F-22A Raptor forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: delvo, rotosequence and 5 guests