F-35B and internal AAMs?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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popcorn

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Unread post06 Jun 2013, 16:58

The benefit of stealth, advanced sensor fusion and cooperative targeting via a networked COP is in allowing the 5Gen aircraft to launch it's missile earlier and from the most advantageous speed, altitude and position to maximize the missile's NEZ. And, for good measure, more than one missile may be allocated per target. Better to be the former than the latter.
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Unread post06 Jun 2013, 18:53

I think that's also why Cuda is such a big deal. Designers have realised that from over 35km it's statistically likely to take more than one missile to guarantee a kill. With AMRAAMs current combat statistics suggest 2-3 kills with 6 missiles from BVR (where BVR here means over 5nm), maybe less from 35+km and <1 kill with 2 AMRAAMs from that range. With 12 Cudas it becomes 1-2 kills with 4 missiles or 5-6 kills with 12 missiles assuming similar Pk. But of course DACT will also improve things.
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Unread post07 Jun 2013, 01:56

There is another factor -- when the target detects the income missile. If a stealthy missile can close on the target without being detected, then KP will be much larger, as it won't have to deal with countermeasures.
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Unread post07 Jun 2013, 05:01

Data links and GPS help ensure the missile is in the right place at the right time when it's seeker goes active.
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Unread post08 Jun 2013, 00:26

popcorn wrote:Data links and GPS help ensure the missile is in the right place at the right time when it's seeker goes active.

That helps, but what about active radar and IR systems like DAS? They might be able to pick up the missile before it goes active.
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Unread post09 Jun 2013, 15:47

If an External/Encapsulated Weapons Pod (EWP)-

(Super Hornet International Roadmap, Time Index 1:30)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE3h8yImm4U

With LO design features and four internal weapons stations (2 GBU-54 or 4 GBU-53 plus 2 AIM-120 class weapons for instance or 4 AIM-120 alone) is added to the outboard pylons of the F-35 (thereby reducing tunnel interactions with the fuselage and possible vibration/thermal issues with the STOVL roll control systems) while giving the equivalent of all six current parent-load stations at half the total parasite/interference drag using only two pods; it may well be that trying to cram a gallon jug into a pint cup of the weapons bays is not necessary or indeed (mission reconfiguration as rapid turn) wise.

The questions of course will be whether the added drag further compromises accelerative and/or topend performance of the F-35 in terms of both intercept geometry control and missile F-pole boosting as well as how much the overall RCS is penalized.

Which are in turn determined by effective engagement range of the weapons from a 'static' (Mach .9 and 25,000ft) engagement condition.

My take on this is that you have a missile like AMRAAM with, say, a total flight time of 120 seconds and an impulse time of 60 seconds vs. the Meteor with a flight time of 200 seconds and an impulse time of 130 seconds, you can take the engagement distance out beyond 40 or even 50nm with constant endgame performance while some basic measures (support jam from NGJ) will augment innate radar cross section reduction to the point where the F-35 is 'invisible' to fire control wavelengths regardless (so possibly would be a Have Glass F-16 or F/A-18E/F with full pylon LO kits and similar EWP encapsulation).

Which is kinda neat when you consider that, using the existing system of 2+2 internal carriage you can start to see numbers along the lines of 10 missile plus 8 SDB or 6 missile plus 16 SDB you -don't- have to challenge kinematically superior platforms to a nose:nose pole fight from inside 20nm where IRST will likely see the fighter and certainly see it's burner plume and missile firings anyway.

I say again that the program definition of the F-35 in the wake of the F-117s performance as a direct overflight (laydown LGB) interdictor in Desert Storm has had an absurd effect upon tactical assumptions in the F-35's own mission profile. If glide kits mean you only have to approach to within 25nm for hardened or 50nm for a surface (non-moving) point target in the primary A2G mission, then it is that distance as BRL which should set how /willingly/ you accept engagement from other threats. Conveniently IRST and HPAR detection of the F-35 also come to roughly this level which means that those air and surface threats which have these systems must be engaged before then. But ONLY those threats, not the SA-2/3/6/11/15/19/17/22 etc. which are all effectively non events vs. VLO or kinematically limited in their defense of high value targets.

Since F-35s are most likely going to be tasked as SEAD/DEAD weapons carrier platforms in an FNOW rollback condition in which throwaway UAVs form the forward spotter/decoy reaction triggering element (CMs doing any residual deep attack), numbers of shots count in taking down mobile S-300/400 class systems as complete batteries and standoff is more useful to reducing RCS threshold breach than internal carriage of limited weapons.

Conversion of the AIM-120D or Meteor to a powered IAM with Blk.II seekering would give you the engagement radar. The SDB counts, especially if rocket boosted, give you the TELs.

And the morning of Day 2, the legacy platforms or cheap UCAVs flow in to start the heavy OBAS kill box interdiction campaign in support of advancing ground elements.
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