Time - Unfriendly F-22 fire

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disconnectedradical

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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 07:35

http://nation.time.com/2012/11/02/unfriendly-f-22-fire/

Time gave an interesting interview to Lt. Colonel Christopher Niemi.
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haavarla

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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 14:56

What!!!
How dare the colonel, that commie traitor!
Com'on, lets crusify him to the wall for this!
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haavarla

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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 15:19

dp
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hobo

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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 16:29

Why would anyone call the author a commie traitor? This isn't that type of messageboard.

I thought it was a good report in most respects, but there was really very little news there.

You could pull out the excerpts that Time did, or you could pull out excerpts like these:


In terms
of performance, the initial operational test and evaluation in 2004
The F-22 Acquisition Program found the F-22 “overwhelmingly effective.”
Air Force analysts reinforced
this evaluation recently, estimating that the F-22 exchange ratio
is up to 30 times better than that for F-15s, F-16s, or F/A-18s in similar
high-threat scenarios. Although fourth-generation pilots are used to
“seeing” nonstealth fighters 50 miles or more away with their radars,
they typically fail to detect F-22s with their radar, visually or otherwise.

Today’s F-22 clearly excels at its originally designed air-to-air mission,
reinforcing the fact that stealth enables tremendous advantages
in the radar-dominated environment of modern aerial combat.

Further, the F-22 has demonstrated a capability to conduct air-toground
attack in high-threat environments where fourth-generation
fighters simply cannot survive.
Advanced surface-to-air-missile systems
such as the Russian S-300 (North Atlantic Treaty Organization
[NATO] designations SA-10 and SA-20) are the deciding factor in these
environments. The S-300, similar to the American Patriot surface-to-air
missile, has been operational since 1980. Although no Middle Eastern
country currently possesses S-300s, Iran has expressed interest, and
both China and Russia have fielded large numbers of them. This system
can engage fourth-generation fighters at ranges exceeding 100
miles. A single S-300 battalion has the potential to render F-15Es, F-16s,
and F/A-18s incapable of striking targets within a circle approximately
200 miles across.
Additionally, the follow-on S-400 (NATO designation
SA-21) further improves maximum engagement range. Fortunately,
F-22s can utilize their stealth to operate effectively well inside the
maximum engagement ranges of these systems.
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hobo

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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 16:35

When he talks about the limitations of the F-22, here is what he had to say:


However, F-22 performance is not without shortcomings, the two
most substantial of which include limited range and high maintenance
requirements. The aircraft’s maximum range is slightly superior to
that of the F-16 but significantly inferior to that of the F-15C, which it
was designed to replace.
This fact has three important consequences:
operational missions need more air-to-air tanker support, the F-22 has
a limited ability to deeply penetrate hostile airspace, and pilots cannot
take full advantage of the F-22’s supercruise capability. The aircraft has
also proven more difficult to maintain than originally anticipated. The
Air Force acknowledged that the F-22’s “radar-absorbing metallic skin
is the principal cause of its maintenance troubles, with unexpected
shortcomings.” The service needs to maintain these coatings continuously
to ensure the combat readiness of F-22s, thereby significantly increasing
the necessary maintenance manpower (and cost).
Moreover,
even traditional (non-stealth-related) maintenance rates proved initially
higher with the F-22 compared to those of older fighters. However,
rates have improved vastly as maintenance personnel have acquired
more experience. For example, the mean time between
maintenance amounted to .97 flight hours in 2004, but that for newer
F-22s has recently increased to 3.22 flight hours.
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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 16:41

One more last set of thoughts from the author:

If the service’s leaders had realized that surface-to-air-missile systems
were eclipsing air-to-air threats as the primary danger to future
air operations, they could have better leveraged the investment in ATF
demonstration/evaluation to counter weapons like the S-300. The
ATF’s stealth made the aircraft inherently more survivable against
these threats, but it lacked a robust air-to-ground attack capability to
target them.
Furthermore, niche air-to-air capabilities such as thrust
vectoring and some specialized avionics could have been eliminated to
reduce cost and weight. Range should have received more emphasis,
possibly even at the expense of supercruise.
In addition to JDAMs, the
Air Force should have added air-to-ground radar, Link-16 data-link
transmit capability, and an infrared targeting sensor.
These modifications
would have greatly enhanced the F-22’s utility in threat environments
dominated by surface threats without degrading air-to-air performance.
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hobo

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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 17:05

Summarizing:

From a performance standpoint:

The F-22 is a highly specialized aircraft that was designed to do a mission that the US has done very little of over the last 40 years.
-The F-22 excels at its mission, but does so by accepting serious trade-offs
-Range and limited sensors are major issues for the F-22 (but hey, it would be a -great- jet for Australia)
-From a maintenance standpoint the F-22's primary issue is its skin
-Supercruise and thrust vectoring are nice to have, but could potentially have been traded away for more useful capabilities

From a programmatic standpoint:

The F-22 was a disaster that misdirected immense resources during a period of scare resources.
-The Air Force prioritized the F-22 over a range of more useful capabilities
-The Air Force should not have stopped procuring multi-role aircraft in favor of a single-role aircraft.
-The F-22, while stunningly effective at what it was designed to do, doesn't do what we have spent the last couple decades doing well
-The Air Force bought far too few F-22s to replace the F-15C


Not one bit of this should be news to any regular reader here.

What I find odd is how these facts divide enthusiasts on the internet. One one extreme you have the kids at APA who believe only the F-22 can save them. These types believe that aerial jousting against a mythical horde of SU-35s is the only standard by which a fighter should be judged, with all other concerns distant secondary considerations. The other group are essentially budget shoppers and want to see fleets of Gripens, F-16s etc purchased to keep force structures filled out even at the cost of ceding the ability to operate in heavily defended airspace.
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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 17:26

Moving forward to today and where we go from here, now incorporating more of my personal thoughts:

From a design/performance standpoint:

The F-35 incorporates many of the lessons of the F-22.
-It is a multi-role/multi-service design from day-1
-Does not make unjustifiable trade-offs in pursuit of supercruise/supermaneuverability
-Includes a comprehensive set of sensors, radar modes, and datalinks that the F-22 lacks
-Does away with the F-22's maintenance intensive skin treatments
-Does not sacrifice range in comparison to the aircraft it is replacing

From a programmatic standpoint:

The bad news:
-F-35 is still a disaster from a budget/schedule standpoint
-Late
-Over-budget
-Concurrency approach a failure
-Still a far more capable platform than low-intensity wars require

The good news:
-The F-35 prioritizes the right capabilities
-Will still be ordered in extremely large numbers
-Appears to be over the hump developmentally
-Is on track to deliver a new level of multi-role performance
-New engines in development should extend combat range dramatically while improving the F-35s supercruise capability


When all is said and done most of the USAF fighter fleet will be F-35s, and that is a good thing.

The USAF will still need an air dominance platform in the future. This aircraft needs to prioritize range and endurance to a much greater extent than did the F-22. Development of this aircraft should begin soon and should not seek to achieve a quantum leap in performance in all areas or it will risk the same sort of budget and schedule issues that have afflicted the F-22 and F-35.

The USAF should consider purchasing a small but meaningful number of low-end fighters for use in air policing type roles as well as the inevitable counter insurgency/light attack role. These missions simply do not require F-22/35 performance and will not go away.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 18:30

Get T-50 for LIFT and F/A-50 for Air-Policing & Light Attack.

Use more drones for COIN, CAS, & Light Attack where appropriate.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 18:59

Get T-50 for LIFT and F/A-50 for Air-Policing & Light Attack.


Certainly this would be one good answer. Another would be the little discussed Gripen trainer variant or potentially Boeing's clean slate design.

With the steady stream of good news coming out of the F-35 program the future does not look nearly as dire as it did 2-3 years ago but of course continued execution is key.
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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 19:10

haavarla wrote:What!!!
How dare the colonel, that commie traitor!
Com'on, lets crusify him to the wall for this!

I'm guessing somebody above his pay-grade had reviewed this. It could be easily be career ending not to have command permission.

Without mentioning names, there was a case where a general was interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, was given "review" privileges before publication, and didn't exercise them. This basically ended his career, as he was "fired" by the President.
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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 19:22

hobo wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:Get T-50 for LIFT and F/A-50 for Air-Policing & Light Attack.

Certainly this would be one good answer. Another would be the little discussed Gripen trainer variant or potentially Boeing's clean slate design.

The problem with trainer requirements in the LIFT role is that its as much about the avionics as it is about the jet itself. If a T-X jet has the "glass cockpit" borrowed from a Cessna 182 then that won't cut it.

With a decent avionics package like in the F/A-50, it could give the T-X jet could actually give pilots a good introduction to 4.5th Gen and 5th gen strike fighter skills.

Boeing could fairly easily make an widescreen glass cockpit T-X jet, include basic AESA and FLIR/EOTS systems. I don't know much about the Gripen avionics upgrade potential.
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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 19:30

Obviously the T-50 & F/F-50 idea would not use the current versions of each as they would have to conform to the specs of the RFP.

Personally I do not see how Boeing could do a clean-sheet design and still beat the T-50 on time & price.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post07 Nov 2012, 20:09

SpudmanWP wrote:Obviously the T-50 & F/F-50 idea would not use the current versions of each as they would have to conform to the specs of the RFP.

Personally I do not see how Boeing could do a clean-sheet design and still beat the T-50 on time & price.

There is a few ways they could do it. CATIA is a lot better than it used to be and has reduced "clean sheet" design time considerably. They also have a considerable library of components from the T-45 and F/A-18E/F programs already available.

Going back 10 years ago, 3D "printing" of flight ready aluminum and titanium components was not available. Even the ceramic molds were not direct 3D printed for composite based material prototyping.
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Unread post17 Nov 2012, 03:59

Maybe he's not seeing the bigger picture. The cold war is over, but the world isn't getting any safer. In fact the US and its allies are facing even broader spectrum of challenges, from terrorism to a massively armed China who is itchy for expanding militarily, and the Russians are still touting their weapons and technologies everywhere.

The value from the deterrence of F-22 couldn't be more higher.
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