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Archive for November 17th, 2012

Cleaning up Red Flag Alaska F-22 vs Typhoon debate (2)

Posted by picard578 on November 17, 2012

Author claims quite a few false things in the article linked above. I’ll counter them one by one.

  1. Exercises were 1 on 1 WVR BFM sorties. There was no need for AWACS or AIM-120D, and F-22 had to use radar to try and achieve a lock on Typhoon.
  2. Thrust vectoring is effective at speeds below 150 knots and above Mach 1. In entire envelope between these two speeds, TVC-equipped aircraft is no more agile than non-TVC one – and it is precisely there that 90% of air engagements happen.
  3. Neither aircraft did or could have used decoys, chaff or flares to “spoof” the missiles as these were completely simulated. Same goes for MAWS.
  4. At least some F-22s did use TVC in attempts to get nose on Typhoons and, thus, a simulated missile shots; this left them lacking in energy and thus vulnerable to Typhoons.
  5. Single engagements are most representative of individual qualities of the aircraft; as number of aircraft on both sides increases, coordination and quality thereof becomes more and more important.
  6. F-22 is inferior to Typhoon in medium- to high- -subsonic and transsonic agility, situational awareness (no IRST), cost, sortie rate, maintenance demands and gun quality.
  7. Typhoon’s pilots comments were referring to the training exercises where both Typhoon and F-22 were on the blue force, and while it is true that F-22 is peerless at BVR, unrealistic missile Pk and numerical difference assumptions call value of that superiority in question
  8. Air combat between peer opponents has historically been fought at visual range, and proliferation of advanced jammers, along with anti-radiation missiles, and long-range IR missiles coupled with cueing by launch platform, make it tactically prudent to remain completely passive
  9. Meteor BVR missile about to be used by Typhoon is shorter-ranged but offers far greater no-escape zone than AIM-120D, thus making it more effective – wether it will turn around dismal performance of BVR missiles remains to be seen.
  10. F-22 cannot escape detection, as it has to radiate in order to penetrate jamming; and even LPI radars can be detected by advanced RWRs at far longer distance than they themselves can detect target. Typhoon’s PIRATE IRST can detect subsonic fighters from 90 km head-on
  11. BVR missiles, when used against targets that were similar in numbers and capability to launch platforms, never went above Pk of 10%. It is not prudent to assume that it will change.
  12. F-22 weights 24 579 kg with 50% fuel, 2 Sidewinder and 4 AMRAAM, and has 31 751 kgf of thrust on afterburner, giving it TWR of 1,29. In same configuration, Typhoon weights 14 427 kg and has 18 144 kgf of thrust on afterburner, giving it TWR of 1,26. Thus, while F-22 has TWR advantage, it is not as large as author claims, and is not enough to offset its disadvantage in wing loading. Nor will thrust vectoring help it evade missiles, for energy loss is too great and leaves it vulnerable to further attacks even if first missile is evaded.
  13. While F-22 has reduced temperture of exhaust – a very useful thing – it did come at cost of performance, and it did nothing to adress the IR signature of aircraft as a whole.
  14. While weapons advance over time, so do countermeasures, and new weapons and technologies very quickly cease to give a noticeable advantage. As such, visual-range dogfights being thing of the past is not a reliable assumption.
  15. In visual range, F-22 provides neither numerical nor qualitative performance required for securing a victory, or coming close to securing it. F-35, on the other hand, is a sitting duck in a visual range fight, leaving F-22s to fend for themselves once F-16s and F-15s numbers are reduced sufficiently.
  16. F-22 is 19 meters long, has a wing span of 13,4 meters and weights almost 20 tons when empty. Closest-sized aircraft it may face one day, Su-35, is 22 meters long, has 15,3 meter-wingspan, but weights little less than 18,5 tons when empty. Versus Typhoon, a smaller aircraft with lower wing loading, F-22 is at disadvantage as it takes longer to transit from one maneuver to another, and cannot turn as tightly as Typhoon can. While F-22’s superior TWR will provide it with slight energy advantage as fight drags on, assuming it does not use thrust vectoring, Typhoon’s lower wing loading, smaller size and superior aerodynamics will make a victory for F-22 far from guaranteed even in a prolonged fight.
  17. BVR IFF system is yet to prove reliable, and F-22 has neither advanced IRST or optical suite that may make reliable BVR ID possible.
  18. PAK FA, with its wide lifting body, low drag, IRST, and thrust-to-weight ratio only slightly worse than F-22s, will prove a dangerous opponent to F-22, assuming these two aircraft ever go face-to-face – a highly unlikely scenario.

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JSF issues

Posted by picard578 on November 17, 2012

From Eric Palmer’s blog:

JSF issues

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