Could the Raptor escort Felix B/Altitude and Ceilings

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phantasm

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Unread post08 Oct 2012, 17:33

Naturally, if this goes into OPSEC or whatever regarding ceilings, disregard this.

So , as of the time of this posting, Felix Baumgartner will be jumping on Tuesday, Oct 9, at... about 5 PST(2 a.m. EST for us on the East) , if i've got the time correct. this trip - was planned to be on Monday but got moved due to a cold front.


He will be jumping from a altitude of 120,000 ft.


Anyway, I got to thinking- they aren't doing it, but if the airforce wanted to provide his balloon cover/a escort while it goes for the height record for balloons- could they send Raptors to do it? Or could the Air force even do much at these high-altitudes?

I know these days, between costs and the lack of competition, things like top speed and absolute height aren't paramount and thus aren't really pursued..

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10 ... 47554.html

For something like this- i imagine the only way to even get close today for the Raptor, would be to (time to show my ignorance on this i guess) maybe get to max speed at 40,000 ft, then try a nose up profile angled or not, and see if it could get to 120,000. Of course, the Raptor would then tip and just fall back down- if it did this as Felix jumped, I dont know if the Raptor could attempt to slow that descent hard after the flip- to keep from going too fast(hey, Felix would then be faster than the Raptor for a second :P)
In that thin air, low engine power and airbrakes might not do the job, and he'd plummet pretty fast until reaching thicker air.

I know the Raptor probably can't fly around at ...anywhere near that height. I hear 60,000 and 80,000 tossed around for absolute ceiling all the time for the plane.
And the ceiling, if i'm correct is what maximum height a plane can fly at full or any thrust, and not have it's path dip below the horizon. AKA level flight.

if we still had the SR-71, it might be able to hang around there once that balloon got to that height. That camera would come in handy....

The F-15 , back when it carried that ASAT missile, would do a hard climb somehow to 90,000, then release.

The Russians have the Foxbats and perhaps the Foxhounds which could try to cover something that high.

When Raptors were doing CAP of the Shuttle launches, I know they didn't try to stay with the shuttle as long as they could while it was going up- probably because very few weapons could take down or catch the shuttle on ascent. Maybe the AIM 54 and perhaps a SM have a brief window(even jury rigging a SM , I don't think would be easy to attempt a shuttle shot). Hah, maybe we need to toss some AMRAAMs on the (sadly now retired) shuttles)

But I always wondered how long they could stay with it.

One thing is for sure- that positive T/W ratio isn't going to keep in a straight up profile through thinning air- so planes can't use spacecraft profiles to get up there.



ANYWAY, As for a 120,000 high balloon though...U2's I dont think can even do it.

Hah, that's one way to attack any country- make a plane that can fly well over 100,000 ft. And can bomb or lob AMRAAMS/AIM-54 esque missiles from heights nobody can reach.

So, thoughts? If we wanted to cover Felix at those heights, how could/would we do it? What would a Raptor pilot have to do to get close- or , could he only get close on a free-fall arc as i suspect? I know combat ceiling isn't absolute ceiling in all cases- so what do you do when you need to fight at altitudes like that?

And would we be in trouble if a opponent started making fighters/bombers that could operate at 120,000 or 150,000?

*I know there's a few very powerful SAMs we and the Russians have that , for a little of thisheight regime, can operate in- but they have hard limits themselves. Minus jury-rigging (like rigged Standard Missiles 8) )

Perhaps it's time to pull out the J58's again and start coming up with planes that can do this :P



/they say top speed and height are outdated concepts - it certainly isn't cost effective, but it actually would still get the job done.
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Unread post08 Oct 2012, 17:48

:wtf:
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phantasm

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Unread post08 Oct 2012, 18:53

I knew I was going to get that.

Overall, I'm curious as to the Raptor's(and to a extent, other fighter plane's)ability to attempt to operate at altitudes no planes really operate at in the modern world.

I know that post was all over the place...sorry about that.
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southernphantom

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Unread post08 Oct 2012, 23:40

The F-4 could do that after the first 20,000 feet or so with old J79-15 turbojets. I'd hazard a guess that a Raptor could zoom-climb to 120,000 so long as the pilot had a pressure suit. (Does the Raptor have pressure suit support? No clue.)
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Unread post09 Oct 2012, 01:17

Zoom climbing (even if it could reach that altitude, and I have a healthy amount of doubt) would hardly enable it to do any escorting. All that fuel burn later and odds are you would have accomplished nothing. Might as well stay somewhere lower and do pop-up shots at targets at higher altitude. Not like anybody is up there regularly or otherwise anymore...
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phantasm

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Unread post09 Oct 2012, 02:42

southernphantom wrote:The F-4 could do that after the first 20,000 feet or so with old J79-15 turbojets. I'd hazard a guess that a Raptor could zoom-climb to 120,000 so long as the pilot had a pressure suit. (Does the Raptor have pressure suit support? No clue.)
Hm- so the F-4 could ht it's max speed at 20,000 ft eh? It'd try to get to mach 2.5 then zoom climb? That sounds a bit low, but i guess in the thicker air- the more thrust helps.

Since Raptors operate at 60,000 ft at the least- they'd have to have pressure suit support, no? Unless the cockpit is pressurized...and few planes have those(IMO that should be changed)

With the F-15's hitting 90,000 using the ASAT missile launch profile, I figure the Raptors can breach 100,000 easily at the least.


@HaveVoid Fair enough. I take it shooting up wouldn't be inherently more difficult than shooting down....

Not like anybody is up there regularly or otherwise anymore.

Do you think that'll change at some point in the long term future?
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Unread post09 Oct 2012, 02:50

What if rocket boosters were strapped to the external pylons, sort of like fat albert?
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Unread post09 Oct 2012, 04:37

PhillyGuy wrote:What if rocket boosters were strapped to the external pylons, sort of like fat albert?


Thats close, I was thinking that you just weld 4 cruise missiles to the external wing pilons and let them all rip. 6 engines pushing should allow you to get good photo shots of that diver, well worth the effort.
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Unread post09 Oct 2012, 18:24

PhillyGuy wrote:What if rocket boosters were strapped to the external pylons, sort of like fat albert?


I am no expert, but one would have to wonder if the wings and airframe would be able to handle something pushing all the way out there on the wings. It's not a simple matter of "Here is some more thrust, let's go!"

Phantasm- as for whether or not I think people will be operating up there regularly, I'd say that it's hard to say. I don't see the need for manned aircraft to be up there on a regular basis, no. It is going to be far more expensive to engineer an aircraft with the capability to do that than it would be to simply expand weapon capabilities to engage targets in that area. I could see unmanned aviation expanding to ultra-high altitudes, and if hypersonic weapons ever become a reality, them as well.

To me, it would seem a niche capability for a manned fighter. However an unmanned AWACS-type asset could likely leverage that altitude advantage.

HV
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Unread post09 Oct 2012, 20:37

Wow. This is as absurd as I have ever heard. Who would try to shoot down a person trying to break a world record in the first place? Is he trying to carry a bomb vest in the hopes of some crazy idealism? The Shuttle is no comparison by any means. Get a grip people. Altitude and speed ranges for the F-22 is a subject of nondisclosure anyways. Moderators need to do a better job here.
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Unread post09 Oct 2012, 20:50

^^ Amen, sir.


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Unread post09 Oct 2012, 21:46

phantasm wrote:With the F-15's hitting 90,000 using the ASAT missile launch profile,


Try 36,000 feet.
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Unread post10 Oct 2012, 00:20

Streak Eagle got to 103,000 feet, but they had to strip off the paint to do that...

Streak Eagle: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsh ... asp?id=621
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phantasm

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Unread post10 Oct 2012, 00:45

cywolf32 wrote:Wow. This is as absurd as I have ever heard. Who would try to shoot down a person trying to break a world record in the first place? Is he trying to carry a bomb vest in the hopes of some crazy idealism? The Shuttle is no comparison by any means. Get a grip people. Altitude and speed ranges for the F-22 is a subject of nondisclosure anyways. Moderators need to do a better job here.


...I never said once"shoot down felix". At all. Seriously?

Although that's an interesting thought experiment(fi a fighter pilot can target a man-sized object falling through the sky from high altitude) -I specifically mentioned ESCORT ,and the shuttle CAP ops that happened, because I was curious if they could attempt to get up to where his balloon will be topping out at, and do anything up there.




Bomb vest?....What?
I wasn't comparing the shuttle to Felix directly. Comon man.

Altitude and Speed I know are mostly not talked about and likely OPSEC, but that's why i wanted speculation, if nothing else. Heck, it didn't even really have to be for the Raptor(although I'm curious how the Raptor compares to the Eagle in high-altitude handling since the Raptors are touted as being able to operate from 60,000 ft with ease, while F-15's aren't)





@Prinz Eugn Thanks- that's pretty awesome. I'm not surprised that it was a
A Model that did that..

HV wrote:I am no expert, but one would have to wonder if the wings and airframe would be able to handle something pushing all the way out there on the wings. It's not a simple matter of "Here is some more thrust, let's go!"

Phantasm- as for whether or not I think people will be operating up there regularly, I'd say that it's hard to say. I don't see the need for manned aircraft to be up there on a regular basis, no. It is going to be far more expensive to engineer an aircraft with the capability to do that than it would be to simply expand weapon capabilities to engage targets in that area. I could see unmanned aviation expanding to ultra-high altitudes, and if hypersonic weapons ever become a reality, them as well.

To me, it would seem a niche capability for a manned fighter. However an unmanned AWACS-type asset could likely leverage that altitude advantage.

HV

You said it's not as simple a matter of adding more thrust- in his example, strapping rockets to a Raptor(LOL), that is true- but in general.
I know they can slightly "tune" many modern airplane engines to output slightly more thrust. If a plane has a ceiling, and they want to make it go higher- if you increase it's engine output ability at altitude - shouldn't that be a factor in obtaining more lift in that thin air?

""It's not a simple matter of "Here is some more thrust, let's go!"" perhaps not ,but surely when rockets aren't involved, doing this would provide a marginal increase?




To me, it would seem a niche capability for a manned fighter. However an unmanned AWACS-type asset could likely leverage that altitude advantage.
Hm. Strike capability from a manned fighter would be ...quite crazy at altitudes of this magnitude, but of course then the argument for making X platform unmanned comes up. ...

I imagine a radar platform at heights like that- that'd be a interesting idea. A AWACS that high, or higher? It'd be a good ABM asset as well as have a pretty impressive radar range.

Reminds me of the attempts they're making to get high-altitude airships to do just that. I'm hoping those succeed...
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Unread post10 Oct 2012, 01:55

@ phantasm,

What would be the purpose of providing such escort using an F-22 otherwise? It's a rediculous waste of time and money unless national security is at risk. Had the USAF demanded such a requirement, it would have been tested already and not require a stunt such as this to prove your theory.

I know you did not imply it directly in your statement, but from a military point of view it serves no purpose. A U-2 would be a better platform for "escorting" as you say rather than an F-22, but again serves no purpose. Sorry if I sound harsh, but logically it makes no sense to do so. That's what I am saying.
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