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On Rafale vs F-22 BFM

Posted by picard578 on December 21, 2013

First, I will note this comment:

http://www.arabianaerospace.aero/article.php?article=raptor-rules-the-desert-roost&section=defence

“During an official press conference the commanding officer of the French Rafale detachment at Al Dhafra, Colonel Fabrice Glandclaudron, claimed that in six within-visual-range ‘dogfight’ engagements with the F-22A, only one resulted in the virtual destruction of a Rafale. He said the other four engagements were ‘inconclusive’, or terminated due to a lack of fuel, or approaching the pre-determined height limit.”

What does it tell? There were six WVR engagements, gun-only; one resulted in a destruction of Rafale while other four were draws. What this means is that one engagement remains unaccounted for, and it must be Rafale’s victory since both F-22 victory and draws have been accounted for. So score is: 1 F-22 victory, 1 Rafale victory, 4 draws.

It should also be noted that while F-22 is almost exclusively air superiority fighter, Rafale is a multirole fighter and AdlA pilots train far more than F-22 pilots in air-to-ground role. Majority of 1/7 pilots (a squadron that did BFM with F-22s) came from Jaguars and Mirage 2000 D/N, and were air-to-ground specialists previously (engagements with F-22s may have been scheduled precisely for that reason).

Second comes this capture:

capture2ak

This is a capture of an OSF camera showing proximity warning. As it is video camera and not an IRST, it means that Rafale must have had its nose pointed in general direction of the F-22, diving on it while F-22 is climbing using its afterburner. It obviously did not result in a kill, though it may have resulted in one in an actual combat, depending on wether F-22 was within engagement envelope of MICA IR, and wether the missile hit. In fact, French have stated that, had they been able to simulate use of MICA IRs, it would have resulted in several F-22 kills.

Lastly, here is a youtube video of one of engagements:

Actual video begins at 2:15. Rafale’s speed at beginning is 360 knots, and it is turning at cca 6 g. It continues turning, with a bit of rolling, at 4-6 g, entire time keeping the speed above 300 knots and even getting it up to 500 before executing a semi-vertical turn and achieving over 8 g at 2:46. At 2:49, F-22 flies into the view from right, and Rafale rolls, pulling up and gaining altitude afterwards, loosing F-22 at 2:54. Afterwards, Rafale turns around, pointing nose towards the F-22 flying below it at 3:04 and achieving a lock-on and a missile launch at 3:07. Rafale’s speed at time of missile launch was 157 kts. At 3:10, gun targeting outline appears. At 3:23, F-22 is again in view, though it does not result in either gun or missile kill, and Rafale pilot does not roll to follow the F-22. Rafale continues turning until nose is pointed upwards at 3:35, after which it turns towards the ground. At 3:59, it again has nose pointed mostly upwards, and turns sideways towards the ground. At 4:10, F-22 is again in sight, and Rafale turns inside the F-22. At 4:20 lock-on is achieved but Rafale pilot does not call a missile kill, with low speed warning appearing at 4:26 (speed cca 120 kts) and disappearing at 4:28, to reappear at 4:29; low fuel warning appears at 4:26. At 4:29, Rafale rolls, with speed at 4:31 being 91 knots, staying below 100 knots for next few seconds, causing low speed warning to blip. At 4:35, Rafale is turing towards the ground and speed has gone above 100 knots again. Rafale gets F-22, which has regained the energy, in its view at 4:40; F-22 is turning hard for next few seconds, and at 4:50, Rafale is directily behind the F-22 and has achieved the missile lock. At 4:50 and 4:52 gun piper comes across F-22 twice in a row but Rafale pilot does not call a kill. At 4:54, F-22 flies out of view and Rafale makes no attempt to follow; at 5:00, Rafale has returned to level flight, and at 5:23 Rafale pilot is heard requesting termination of engagement.

As exercise was guns-only, missile kills were not counted. It is still clear that French statement about Rafale achieving several missile kills against the F-22 is correct. At around 4:40, Rafale pilot has missed an opportunity for another gun kill, but is otherwise mostly in control of the fight, with F-22 never gaining the initiative. Video does show that Rafale has good low-speed maneuvering performance and is capable of regaining lost energy at adequate rate.

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142 Responses to “On Rafale vs F-22 BFM”

  1. darhengel said

    So in a war the 90 million dollar Rafale would have probably had a 1 to 1 exchange ration against the 240 million dollar F-22. Now if I were an USAF general right I’d be going for my brown pants thinking that India is going to have the same number of Rafales as the US has F-22.

    Like

    • picard578 said

      It would probably not be 1-1, since Rafale squadron in question were air-to-ground specialists, and as I noted, pilot in video made some mistakes.

      Like

      • Chris said

        “It would probably not be 1-1, since Rafale squadron in question were air-to-ground specialists, and as I noted, pilot in video made some mistakes.”

        In that case, as you’ve noted, air to air should favor the French aircraft. What we need is an air to air specialist comparison.

        I’m curious then as to why the French sent ATG specialists?

        Like

      • Chris said

        “Most probably training, engagement between F-22s and Rafales wasn’t official, just a “friendly show-down”, they did participate in exercises but that was different.”

        Yep, it looks like it.

        “In that case, as you’ve noted, air to air should favor the French aircraft. What we need is an air to air specialist comparison.”

        I should correct that air to air should favor the French aircraft with – should favor the French air to air pilots (technically speaking).

        Out of curiosity, how well trained are the French pilots? I’ve heard pretty good things about their pilots.

        “EDIT: Squadron in question are 1/7 Provence, who come mainly from strike aircraft and train primarly for strike, 2/2 Cote d’Or would certainly have performed better.

        EDIT2:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Serval – there is info on 1/7 participation in Libya
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1/7_fighter_squadron_Provence – about squadron itself, you can notice they transferred from Jaguars”

        I always found it fascinating that the French developed strike aircraft like the Jaguar and yet never bothered to develop a CAS aircraft.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “Out of curiosity, how well trained are the French pilots? I’ve heard pretty good things about their pilots.”

          I can’t tell you exactly, those that train primarly for air-to-air are probably on level with US equivalents (F-22 and F-15 pilots).

          “I always found it fascinating that the French developed strike aircraft like the Jaguar and yet never bothered to develop a CAS aircraft.”

          That is a common failling, they like many others seem to think that hellicopters are enough for CAS. It is telling however that in Mali, they tasked hellicopters with CAS, and not fast jets.

          Like

      • Chris said

        “That is a common failling, they like many others seem to think that hellicopters are enough for CAS. It is telling however that in Mali, they tasked hellicopters with CAS, and not fast jets.”

        Pretty much this.

        I mean there’s only 2 real CAS aircraft in service, the A-10, which the USAF is fighting hard to retire, and Russian Su-25.

        I think that they have their own attack helicopters. Honestly, I suspect that in the next couple of decades, attack helicopters will become obsolete as more and more MANPADs find themselves in the hands of well, everyone. As it stands, a 12.7mm MG has no issues bringing down an attack helicopter.

        The other European nations too do not want a CAS plane. Instead they built a “multirole” plane, the Panavia Tornado, which is to be replaced by the Eurofighter, also a multirole. Gripen too is multirole. It seems all jets are now multirole. The F-16 is essentially a being made more and more into a bomb truck, the F-15E “Strike Eagle” is a tactical bomber. The F-18 Super Hornets are multirole. In Russia, some of the Su-27 variants like the Su-34 are bombers.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “I mean there’s only 2 real CAS aircraft in service, the A-10, which the USAF is fighting hard to retire, and Russian Su-25.”

          There is also L-159, Tucano, Super Tucano, though they’re not as good.

          “Honestly, I suspect that in the next couple of decades, attack helicopters will become obsolete as more and more MANPADs find themselves in the hands of well, everyone.”

          That is a possibility.

          “It seems all jets are now multirole.”

          Indeed. Less capability for more cost.

          Like

        • Chris said

          Latest I heard was that the Eurofighter was now over $200 million flyaway. Raptor I think before the cancellation was something in the $250-$300 million range.

          “Not only would it have implications against the F-22 and F-35, but against the entire USAF philosophy of “more expensive is better”.”

          They just want as much money flowing to them as possible.

          I mean they’re message has always been, give us the bombers we need and some high end ultra-costly fighters (like the F-22), and you will not need ground forces because well, their slogan has always been “victory through air power alone”.

          “I didn’t know it, but it is not surprising.”

          American submarine captains (and officers) have to keep quiet about this one, or else from what I hear they’d be hurting their careers for blowing the whistle on just how vulnerable US carriers are. But unofficially, they would have “sunk” a US carrier many times over.

          It’s not just the 2006 incident that should be of concern where a Chinese submarine got close. There have been many naval exercises with foreign navies and the SSKs often do manage to “sink” a carrier (and often nuclear submarines as well). I believe Roger Thompson, a defense reformer has written the most in depth about the problems the USN faces.

          On a different note, I suspect you may be aware of the situation that the USN’s navy aviation has been facing. The end of the Cold War has seen retirements of several aircraft, the F-14, a naval tanker, some attack craft (which were supposed to be replaced by the failed A-12), and various EW jamming aircraft. That, and many of the aircraft have been replaced by the F-18 “Super Hornet”. A lot of the future of the USN’s carriers is weighing heavily the F-35 JSF. However, more substantially, I have heard that the quality of the pilots is in decline.

          Like

      • syntaxerror9 said

        You’re right, but for shooting decision only.

        Like

      • picard578 said

        Chris:

        “Latest I heard was that the Eurofighter was now over $200 million flyaway. Raptor I think before the cancellation was something in the $250-$300 million range.”

        AFAIK, Typhoon is 140 million USD flyaway for latest variant, 200 million USD is unit procurement cost.

        Like

    • HGR said

      If the F-16 had slipped into the competition he would have won hands down which leads to the same repetitive argument that I have made over and over here which is that these exercises are designed to test and stress certain things do not really present a full picture. If one insist on visual range fighting you get one result but if you do nighttime you get another, etc.

      I am impressed by the arguments that have been made by South Korea, Japan and Taiwan who all praise the deterrence that the F-35 Stealth brings to the table. Used early on in a conflict it could knock out North Korea’s launch sites, etc. Stealth is something that has its own dynamics and those seem to be excluded from all calculations. So what if with in visual range is not as good as a Rafale… question is whether they F-22 will fight fight the Rafale with in visual range or will the F-16 be the one doing that type of fighting?

      Like

      • picard578 said

        “Used early on in a conflict it could knock out North Korea’s launch sites, etc.”

        F-117s got detected by Serbian radar, possibly Iraqi radars too, so value that F-35 brings to the table is questionable.

        “So what if with in visual range is not as good as a Rafale… question is whether they F-22 will fight fight the Rafale with in visual range or will the F-16 be the one doing that type of fighting?”

        BVR missiles have never worked against competent opponents.

        Like

  2. Andrei said

    The link sends me to the homepage of arabian aerospace not to the article. What’s up with that?

    Like

    • picard578 said

      It works for me, if it continues to send you to homepage, search for “Raptor rules the desert roost”

      Like

      • Andrei said

        Jesus Christ! The article has such a strong pro Raptor bias that it goes to outright omission by not giving the full statement of the french official. I mean they completely ignore the victory of the Rafale, in the citation that they give, and only from the defensive statements of the USAF officer we can infer that the full statement also refers to a Rafale victory. They also do not mention anything about what other sources state, that the Raptor was also killed by a UAE Mirage 2000.
        And it seams to me that the American pilots have big hate for the Rafale. I mean they say it’s equal to F-16 and F-15 when only in avionics the Rafale is superior and if we take the aerodynamics in consideration there is absolutely no comparison, the Rafale blows them out of the sky. This is in complete contrast with declarations American pilots make about Typhoons, especially British Typhoons, which they praise and they usually say that they are almost equal to Raptor. Then how can they say that the Rafale is worst when in the same exercise in UAE in two 4 on 4 fights, stacked against the Rafale, the Rafale won both scoring a total of 8 kills (shooting down all four Typhoon in both engagements) and the Typhoons scored only one kill in the second engagement, which was stacked the most against the Rafale?
        Seems to me that the Americans should study their own history a little bit better and maybe acknowledge the fact that they would still be British if it weren’t for the French.

        Like

      • Chris said

        Yeah I had to search as well. It’s odd.

        @Andrei

        A lot of websites these days have a strong bias.

        I get the impression that the USAF officer does not want to admit that the fight amounts to a draw.

        “I mean they say it’s equal to F-16 and F-15 when only in avionics the Rafale is superior and if we take the aerodynamics in consideration there is absolutely no comparison, the Rafale blows them out of the sky.”

        All things considered, I would say that with an equal cost force of F-16Cs and F-15Cs (and remember the latest F-16 are pretty much overweight and a far cry from the YF-16), I’d bet on the Rafale.

        Costs (and this is from this blog):
        70 million USD F-16C in 2013 (Boyd would be appalled)
        108,2 million USD per plane for F-15C in 2006
        2013 – 94,49 million USD flyaway cost (75,97 million USD without VAT) for Rafale C

        So let’s say that the F-15C costs say, $120 million a copy with inflation flyaway, so that means:

        F-16C would outnumber Rafale by about about 1.35 to 1
        F-15C would be outnumbered by the Rafale about 1.27 to 1
        F-16C would outnumber F-15C by about 1.71 to 1

        Well, I’d put it as Rafale > F-16C > F-15C

        “Then how can they say that the Rafale is worst when in the same exercise in UAE in two 4 on 4 fights, stacked against the Rafale, the Rafale won both scoring a total of 8 kills (shooting down all four Typhoon in both engagements) and the Typhoons scored only one kill in the second engagement, which was stacked the most against the Rafale?”

        Either they are biased against the Rafale, or they have totally different criteria for what makes a good plane (namely they value only BVR capability on paper).

        Like

      • picard578 said

        Andrei:

        “And it seams to me that the American pilots have big hate for the Rafale.”

        It is better than F-22, so it’s just natural.

        Chris:

        “F-16C would outnumber Rafale by about about 1.35 to 1
        F-15C would be outnumbered by the Rafale about 1.27 to 1
        F-16C would outnumber F-15C by about 1.71 to 1”

        This is only partly correct, since force presence is number of aircraft * sortie rate, so:

        Unit flyaway costs (FY2013 USD):
        F-15C: 126,2 million USD
        F-16C: 70 million USD
        Rafale C: 94,5 million USD

        Number of aircraft for cca 1 billion USD:
        F-15C: 8
        F-16C: 14
        Rafale C: 11

        Sorties/day/aircraft:
        F-15C: 1
        F-16C: 1,2
        Rafale C: 2

        Sorties per day per billion procurement USD:
        F-15C: 8
        F-16C: 17
        Rafale C: 22

        So F-16C outnumbers F-15C by 1,75:1, and Rafale C outnumbers F-16C by 1,29:1.

        Like

      • Chris said

        “This is only partly correct, since force presence is number of aircraft * sortie rate, so:”

        Oops my bad – forgot to add that in.

        Is the Rafale’s sortie rate that high? Hmm, checking. You mentioned 8 on your website so I’ll go with that.

        “So F-16C outnumbers F-15C by 1,75:1, and Rafale C outnumbers F-16C by 1,29:1.”

        There are some interesting things worth noting when comparing presence over time:

        1. The attrition rate per sortie per plane type.

        2. Percentage of planes lost on the ground (when you outnumber the enemy you have the advantage). Not sure if any of these planes can operate off dirt strips.

        3. Should we account for Lancaster square in the air when accounting for attrition rates?

        4. Most difficult to evaluate of all of course is tactics and pilot quality.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “Is the Rafale’s sortie rate that high?”

          That was its target capability, and Rafale is designed for easy maintenance. Westher it is achieved, though? No idea. I know that Gripen achieves it, but that’s it.

          Like

  3. Andrei said

    “I get the impression that the USAF officer does not want to admit that the fight amounts to a draw. ”

    Especially since they would have to admit that the fight amounting to a draw against french pilots specialized in ground attack not air-superiority would imply one of two things: either the F-22 is superior and then the french ground attack pilots are better trained in air combat then US air superiority pilots to compensate for the deficiencies of the Rafale or that the Rafale is superior to the F-22 to compensate for the lower skill of french ground attack pilots compared to US air superiority pilots.
    Either way it dose not bode well for the USAF either in training or in acquisition practices.

    Like

    • Chris said

      I think it’s driven by a mentality of “keep the money flowing” to the USAF. If the other planes were given a serious examination, it would mean justifying the F-22’s price. I think one reason why they might be willing to say the Eurofighter is “almost as good” is because the latest “tranche” of the Eurofighter has reached near F-22 prices. Rafale and Gripen, if they are found to have a chance – that could have implications against the F-22. Even worse, it would beg the question how badly the F-35 would perform against these fighters.

      Have you ever read up on the US Navy’s exercises? In those exercises, you are not “allowed” to sink a carrier as part of the rules of engagement.

      Like

      • picard578 said

        “I think one reason why they might be willing to say the Eurofighter is “almost as good” is because the latest “tranche” of the Eurofighter has reached near F-22 prices.”

        Even latest Eurofighter tranche is half as expensive as the F-22, that being said, USAF heavily understates F-22s cost.

        “Rafale and Gripen, if they are found to have a chance – that could have implications against the F-22. Even worse, it would beg the question how badly the F-35 would perform against these fighters.”

        Not only would it have implications against the F-22 and F-35, but against the entire USAF philosophy of “more expensive is better”.

        “In those exercises, you are not “allowed” to sink a carrier as part of the rules of engagement.”

        I didn’t know it, but it is not surprising.

        Like

      • Chris said

        Oops my rely got sent to the wrong thread.

        Like

      • Chris said

        This is a copy of the reply below that I think got sent to the other thread.

        Latest I heard was that the Eurofighter was now over $200 million flyaway. Raptor I think before the cancellation was something in the $250-$300 million range.

        “Not only would it have implications against the F-22 and F-35, but against the entire USAF philosophy of “more expensive is better”.”

        They just want as much money flowing to them as possible.

        I mean they’re message has always been, give us the bombers we need and some high end ultra-costly fighters (like the F-22), and you will not need ground forces because well, their slogan has always been “victory through air power alone”.

        “I didn’t know it, but it is not surprising.”

        American submarine captains (and officers) have to keep quiet about this one, or else from what I hear they’d be hurting their careers for blowing the whistle on just how vulnerable US carriers are. But unofficially, they would have “sunk” a US carrier many times over.

        It’s not just the 2006 incident that should be of concern where a Chinese submarine got close. There have been many naval exercises with foreign navies and the SSKs often do manage to “sink” a carrier (and often nuclear submarines as well). I believe Roger Thompson, a defense reformer has written the most in depth about the problems the USN faces.

        On a different note, I suspect you may be aware of the situation that the USN’s navy aviation has been facing. The end of the Cold War has seen retirements of several aircraft, the F-14, a naval tanker, some attack craft (which were supposed to be replaced by the failed A-12), and various EW jamming aircraft. That, and many of the aircraft have been replaced by the F-18 “Super Hornet”. A lot of the future of the USN’s carriers is weighing heavily the F-35 JSF. However, more substantially, I have heard that the quality of the pilots is in decline.

        Like

  4. Andrei said

    “A lot of the future of the USN’s carriers is weighing heavily the F-35 JSF. However, more substantially, I have heard that the quality of the pilots is in decline.”

    I heard that to. They concentrate so much on “being able to land on a storm tossed carrier deck at night” that they forget basic ACM. Specifically I heard about two air-combat excises involving whole carrier air-wings one in the 80 against Chile and another in the 90 against Israel Air Force. In Both the kill ration was 10:1 against the USNavy. That is both the Israeli pilots and Chilean pilots shot down 10 US aircraft for every one of their own shot down. While the results against Israel wouldn’t be unexpected seeing as they have the best pilots in the world and had F-15 and F-16 against F-14 and F-18, the Chileans were flying F-5s against F-18 and F-14.

    Like

  5. Andrei said

    ““Is the Rafale’s sortie rate that high?”

    That was its target capability, and Rafale is designed for easy maintenance. Westher it is achieved, though? No idea. I know that Gripen achieves it, but that’s it.”

    I talked with a Rafale maintenance NCO while I was siting in the cockpit of one at the Berlin Airshow in 2006 or 2008. 😀 I asked him specifically about how easy was the maintenance on Rafale. He and that particular aircraft had just returned from deployment in Afghanistan, and he said compared to Mirage 2000 ,that he had worked on before, the workload is significantly smaller and downtime of the aircraft is also smaller. Also he said that they had absolutely no problem with the austere conditions in Afghanistan, the aircraft were always available on time and there were no surprises regarding spare parts supply (as in something getting broken and needing replacing before schedule 😀 ).

    Like

    • Chris said

      Increasingly I get the overwhelming feeling that the French made the right decision when they opted to leave the EADS program that resulted in the Eurofighter and made their own fighter, the Rafale.

      I think it’s inevitable that this sort of thing would happen. Different nations have different needs.

      “He and that particular aircraft had just returned from deployment in Afghanistan, and he said compared to Mirage 2000 ,that he had worked on before, the workload is significantly smaller and downtime of the aircraft is also smaller.”

      Very impressive. Typically aircraft these days seem to be getting more complex (and higher man hours of maintenance per hour of flight than before). If the Rafale has managed to reverse the trend, that’s quite something.

      “Also he said that they had absolutely no problem with the austere conditions in Afghanistan, the aircraft were always available on time and there were no surprises regarding spare parts supply (as in something getting broken and needing replacing before schedule 😀 ).”

      That is a another very substantial achievement in and of itself.

      That says several things:

      1. They have good logistics
      2. Their maintenance technicians are really good (and maintenance workers are really underrated I find)
      3. The plane is easy enough to maintain even in such conditions

      Yet another thing I find noteworthy. Their combat units are also their airshow units. In the US, the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds fly specially modified aircraft for shows. The Russians I believe for their Knights and Swift are fully combat capable. Not sure about other nations though.

      Like

      • syntaxerror9 said

        In France, there is only one airshow unit: “La patrouille de France” flying a jet trainer, the Dassault Alphajet.
        Pilots join that airshow unit for about 3 years, and they all come from operational units (where they come back after that period).
        Only solo display pilots are in operational squadrons.

        In the french air force, there is a deap love for dogfight. Even air to ground units pilots perform pretty well in dogfight/canon.
        And most of the pilots in France change twice (or more) of squadron types during their operational life.
        For example:
        5 years in a air defense.
        3 years in flight school unit.
        7 years in a air to ground squadron.

        I would add that every sqadron has a primary task and a secondary one that could be the opposite of the main one.

        The Rafale, as noticed by picard, has very good flight caracteritics at low speed; but not only.
        The Rafale is, in my opinion, the fighter that keeps best its energy in manoeuvers.
        It’s impressive to watch a Rafale wasting so few energy when performing an airshow!
        I’ve never seen such qualities in any fighter before.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          And now you realize that Rafale’s thrust-to-weight ratio is lower than Typhoon’s or F-22s, Basically, it looses little energy because it has very low drag.

          Like

      • Chris said

        ” In France, there is only one airshow unit: “La patrouille de France” flying a jet trainer, the Dassault Alphajet.”

        Ah thanks for the clarification.

        “In the french air force, there is a deap love for dogfight. Even air to ground units pilots perform pretty well in dogfight/canon.”

        That would explain it. I think that’s an effective way to run an air force.

        Like

      • The Typhoon is also built by… the French, in part: EADS = Airbus (new name!) The whole fight had to do with making the aircraft as small as possible (harder to detect than a giant thing on IR, radar and visual). It was pretty much Airbus versus Dassault. Dassault argued that they knew how to build fighter-bombers, and that Airbus had experience building… Air buses.

        Like

  6. syntaxerror9 said

    My previous post was an answer to picard578 about french pilot mistakes.
    (Don’t understand why my post came to the wrong place, sorry for that.)

    Like

  7. HGR said

    Chris, the submarine critique that you make is not what gossipers makes it seem. These convectional submarines are quietest when they are not moving and therefore one of their favorite tricks is to lay still in ambush at a location where ships are expected to pass. But that requires some cooperation from the prey.

    Conventional submarines have many drawbacks including low endurance and even lower speed. Also, their boosters fail to publicize the full range of shortcomings that stem from their lack of energy to run its sonar and sensors if active or run the computer if passive. If the conventional submarine is actively doing anything that drains the batteries they will soon become ineffective.

    Similarly if a conventional submarine has to operate in open waters which is where the carrier is likely to be then it would be exhausted very soon.

    Also military exercises are not always designed to be fair. Many are design to be un-fair as a mean to learn and train. A naval task force with 4 destroyers would posses 380 heavy missiles that can be shot at the enemy’s airports. So if you tell the admiral that he can’t use those then you level the playing field some. If you order the destroyers to turn off their Aegis systems then you level it a little more. Goes on and on.

    In the Falklands the Argentinian aircrafts went in with out fighter escorts and where reaped by the Harriers. If they had flown unarmed with anti-ship missiles but well armed with air-to-air missiles then they would have performed well in dog fights but not sank any ships. The ideal vs. the real.

    I do not want to minimize the results of some of these reports that you cite but rather place them in perspective so their validity and usefulness can be understood.

    Like

    • picard578 said

      Two ancient Argentine conventional submarines basically checkmated Royal Navy for a period of time.

      Like

      • Andrei said

        And the Gotland managed to penetrate the defenses of Carrier Strike Group 7 and “sink” USS Ronald Regan when it was leased by the US Navy. Seeing as the point of the exercise was to determine just how vulnerable US carrier strike groups were to modern AIP submarines I doubt it that the Rules of Engagement handicapped the Carrier Strike Groups defenses. I mean they leased the Swedish sub and it’s crew because at the moment they were the most experienced in using AIP subs. The Americans probably threw everything they had at the poor Gotland and the results scared them that is why they leased it for another year to determine ways to prevent that from happening again.

        Like

    • Chris said

      @HGR
      Actually interestingly enough, many of the exercises handicap the abilities of diesel submarines. One exercise for example wanted diesel submarines constantly running (and therefore noisy). The Americans actually complained when the target did not follow their rules and managed to get a “kill”.

      “Conventional submarines have many drawbacks including low endurance and even lower speed. Also, their boosters fail to publicize the full range of shortcomings that stem from their lack of energy to run its sonar and sensors if active or run the computer if passive. If the conventional submarine is actively doing anything that drains the batteries they will soon become ineffective.”

      True, but if they stay passive for a few days, they are very quiet. That’s their advantage. True, you do have to recharge every now and then, but at the same time, for the most part they are quiet, and they only need to listen.

      “Similarly if a conventional submarine has to operate in open waters which is where the carrier is likely to be then it would be exhausted very soon.”

      Do you not see what you are saying?

      Conventional submarines are at their best in littoral waters. They are a sea denial weapon in that regard.

      Out in the blue water, yes, nuclear has it’s advantages too, but for smaller navies, it gives them a sea denial ability. Combine this with the fact that the F-18 Super Hornet and the F-35 are not particularly long ranged fighters and well, you have severely limited the effectiveness of a carrier.

      “I do not want to minimize the results of some of these reports that you cite but rather place them in perspective so their validity and usefulness can be understood.”

      Interestingly enough the US found the results alarming enough to lease an SSK from Sweden. A good move on their part.

      Like

      • HGR said

        Chris, everyone that has conventional would like to have nuclear powered submarines. Something that is not given enough publicity is that sensors and computers dedicated to the sonar consume significant amounts of energy. It is simply not true that these conventional submarines can cavalierly move around searching for a fast moving carrier group in open waters.

        The carriers themselves are defenseless with out their on-board weapons and escorts. The USA main airborne sub-hunter is the land based P-8 Poseidon and the carrier borne one are its helicopters as well as the helicopters of its escorts. So when you talk about an exercise where a carrier was sunk one would need to know what assets where involved on the side of the carrier.

        As a side bar the used to have a dedicated sub hunter called the Viking. These specialized aircrafts who share the same power plant with the A-10 used to be the carrier’s primary sub hunters. They have been mothballed. We still have about 80 of them in some base in the middle of the Southwest. There has been talks of modernizing them and bringing them back for South Korea to use. In the meantime the carrier is dependent on helicopters.

        Yes, the swedes have leased the USA a conventional submarine for practice. It is not the first time. And the USA also practices with unwilling Chinese subs all the time which is why we know they are noisy and easy to track. And since the Chinese subs are copies of Russian subs they are also prone to accidents. We map the ocean floor in the areas around China and record sonar noises for analysis and future reference.

        But the carrier’s best defense are open waters and speed.

        Like

      • Chris said

        “Chris, everyone that has conventional would like to have nuclear powered submarines.”

        True.

        “Something that is not given enough publicity is that sensors and computers dedicated to the sonar consume significant amounts of energy. It is simply not true that these conventional submarines can cavalierly move around searching for a fast moving carrier group in open waters. ”

        They aren’t meant to “chase” carriers. See my reply to Andrei.

        “As a side bar the used to have a dedicated sub hunter called the Viking.”

        They’ve been put out of active service. That’s a huge problem. If a war broke out, you cannot simply assume that they will be available. It’s not the equipment that makes the difference, it is the quality of your ASW crews as well.

        I gotta admit I disagree with the way the Navy has been going about with making everything so F-18 Centric.

        One issue with helicopters is that they often have a high maintenance to flight time spent ratio. That’s a problem in war. They also don’t have the range and performance of fixed wing craft.

        “But the carrier’s best defense are open waters and speed.”

        It’s not that simple. For a carrier to be effective it’s gotta be able to launch it’s planes. Otherwise it’s going to be only useful to tie down a proportion of an enemy fleet (like the Tirpitz did in WWII).

        But the fact that you say this “open waters”, means that in places where diesels are suspected to operate, carrier operations will be somewhat restricted. In essence, the diesel is operating in what can be called a “sea denial” strategy.

        To do this, it has to be able to launch the aircraft close enough to make a difference in war, but the carrier has to be far enough from shore to stay away from shore based threats (like anti ship missiles, which will continue to grow more sophisticated with each generation).

        The issue is that the neither the F-18 Super Hornet nor the F35C are very long ranged fighters. That could in my opinion be a huge problem in a war. What other options are there? Become a drone launching platform? Drones still have their limitations.

        Like

        • HGR said

          The Vikings where taken out of service because there where not enough Soviet Subs to chase and land based aircrafts where doing a good job. But we now have the Chinese and few bases near them and maybe we need a Viking type aircraft back.

          The carrier is really a fleet weapon. It is conceived to fight other ships and ideally could be positioned places like the the Indian Ocean to disrupt vital Chinese communications with their sources of energy. In decades back when you saw the carrier being used for attacking land targets or the Soviet Union what you where looking at was a political battle for relevance… with ballistic missiles in silos and subs and an hegemonic adversary like the Soviet the carrier was thought to be irrelevant. That has changed… now it is seen as several acres of sovereign USA territory that can go anywhere there is enough water.

          When ever there is passionate criticism in a political organization like the military there are interest behind it. Some are industry but others are simply factions with in the services. The surface fleet is seeing the decommissioning of Frigates and that has the community on the about 90 or so very large ships who have large crews and many heavy missiles worried. What they are seeing getting built instead are LCS, forward deployed bases and the possibility of small stealth ships coming in the future. So they are complaining and finding all kind of flaws on what is changing.

          Aircrafts is a big reason why the Navies are smaller. England needs fewer ships today because a substantial part of their sea borne security is derived from aircrafts around the Island. We need fewer ships because the ones we have are more lethal. But Navies that are designed to protect long distance commerce can easily develop gaps in competencies when it comes to coastal waters that Nations that depend on small bodies of waters like the Baltic or the Mediterranean such as the Swedes or the Italians can help fill. There is nothing wrong with that. You are learning from your friends.

          Like

  8. HGR said

    Andrei, yes, the rules handicap the carrier. Just from simple logic the submarine needs to snorkel and run engines from time to time as well as avoid dashes to keep its battery from being depleted so in these exercises the carrier comes to the submarine like if it is trying to break into. And the exercise is in coastal waters. Many restrictions.

    Like

    • Andrei said

      Simple logic would imply, dear HGR, that if the US Navy went to the trouble of leasing a whole submarine and it’s crew to test the effectiveness of their carrier battle groups defenses that they would want to determine the limit of their effectiveness and thus not handicap themselves.
      And while it’s true that AIP subs can not cavalier around chasing carrier it’s also true that in real life carriers have objectives to meet and that limits how much and how fast they can run around. An AIP sub can ambush a carrier in a variety of real world situations, such as when it’s recovering aircraft or when it’s replenishing ammunition or even scarier when it’s escorts are refueling. And in most situations a nuclear sub will not be able to counter conventional for the simple reason that a nuclear sub standing still is far more noisier then a conventional sub moving, because of the pumps of the nuclear reactor.

      Like

      • HGR said

        Andrei, you need to look at the entire system and not just its individual components. The carrier’s are least effective where the conventional submarines are the most effective; littoral or coastal waters. You are assuming that because in an exercise near the coast of California a carrier was lost to a coastal submarine that this would be their mode of fighting elsewhere. Nothing further from the truth.

        The USA Navy is committed to alternative way of fighting in coastal regions. One where all major ships are removed from the danger area and the fighting takes place via smaller ships and off-board vehicles. LCS, Street Fighter, Sea Shadow are just a few of those developments.

        And these conventional submarines you mentioned can be very stealthy but they also have short comings. Like I mentioned earlier, they do need to move to reach station and they do need to re-charge and if threatened by an off-board vehicle they can’s simply stay there. Their consumption of energy to run the active sonar or the computers for the passive sonar is high and their endurance low. They do need to return to port every so often… after all they do not have a Nuclear reactor supplying more energy than they need or stores and supplies that will last forever. Do you think they will do the Naval equivalent of having a carrier come to them like it happens in these exercises? They are good deterrence for a while and then what happens after?

        Like

        • picard578 said

          It is not so much that carriers should be abandoned as that US are taking the wrong approach with nuclear-powered supercarriers. Diesel carriers with no more than 30 aircraft each should be the norm.

          Like

    • Chris said

      Diesel submarines are not meant to “chase” carriers in a sense. They wait for the carrier group to come to them. It’s not hard. You simply analyze the likely locations that a carrier is going. You then send a submarine there and wait. Sure every say, 10-15 days the battery has to be recharged, but at the same time, the submarine hardly has to move. You already know a carrier’s approximate destinations. In fact, the arrival of a carrier is often publicly announced.

      You would use nuclear submarines to chase. The noise of a carrier can hide the more noisy nuclear submarine (especially if the submarine hides in its wake). The Soviet Union did this several times during the Cold War.

      Like

      • HGR said

        Chris, I just saw your post about sending a submarine “there” to wait. Where precisely is “there”?

        So many times that people say that a submarine was waiting for and sank a carrier it happen on gaps from one body of water to another body of water like from the North Atlantic to the Norwegian Sea, etc. These locations are themselves dangerous to submarines because are constantly patrolled by sub-hunting aircraft who have sensors galore. In many of these exercises the sub hunting aircrafts are not allowed to patrol at all until the exercise starts. This is clearly not normal and designed to give the submarines an edge.

        But the most important thing is that in a real war the carrier will not be there. Sub hunters will.

        And let us not get started with Soviet or Chinese seamanship. This is a nation famous for having a submarine get “lost” and trapped in a Norwegian fiord… had be towed out. Or had another surface in front of a carrier and was rammed by it; the sonar has a blind spot to the back and the soviet captain “forgot” to check with his periscope before surfacing. A Chinese sub was lost because they forgot to turn off the diesel motor when submerging killing the entire crew in a matter of minutes. And fires, accidental sinking, etc. Ask the Indians about loosing a Kilo while in port doing repairs; there was an unexplained fire. The Soviets had a way of making big wonderful things that look impressive and dangerously messing up small things that are equally important. I think the Chinese imitators can be even worst.

        Right now the USA is studying how best to fight in littoral waters and island chains. It is not a done deal. They are still experimenting.

        Like

  9. 51SAG . said

    Hello sir , I am an Indian and a regular reader of your blog. I find your blog very informative.
    I was wondering if you could provide a detailed analysis of HAL Tejas . It would be very kind of you.
    Thanks ,

    Regards.

    Like

  10. Excellent! I do not understand why the USA does not forget about the F22, the F35 (although the Marine version is clearly without competition at this point, so could be retained?), and just build a new version of the Rafale under license. The USA could concentrate on its drone strength, and sell that to the Europeans in exchange for the Rafale/Meteor system.
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/5483/

    Like

  11. Hi picard.
    Don’t know if you have this link, so, in case of…
    The armaswiss report about Rafale/Typhon/Gripen.
    Swiss are known to be precise and neutral:
    http://files.newsnetz.ch/upload//1/2/12332.pdf

    Like

    • picard578 said

      No, I don’t have it, thanks.

      Like

    • Chris said

      Was this the report where the Rafale won, but they ended choosing the Gripen due to cost?

      I think Brazil was the other case of this happening.

      Like

    • The basic story is that the Swiss Air Force wanted the Rafale. However the right wing of the Swiss government is clearly at war with France about taxes (France wants to tax its escaped plutocrats claiming financial residence in Switzerland under special contracts while enjoying the high life somewhere else, and France wants to tax the 2.5% of the Swiss population who live in France, while working in Switzerland, and also escape French taxation). Evidence is that France is going to use force, so little Switzerland would rather dream of other things.

      Like

      • HGR said

        Patrice, the French has done this before. They did it to Monaco.

        The Swiss have a dependence on foreign capital that they feed by maintaining banking secrecy and non-cooperation with other countries. While on a small scale this behavior is often ignored there are tipping points. At the end of the day the Swiss will loose with out any need to threaten war or any violence… the country where the income producing assets are residence at holds all the aces in this sort of squabbles and in this case it is France who will win.

        We live at a time of shrinking military budgets and with out a threat to a country’s existence hanging around their neck the choices of weapons are very often what can do the job for the least amount of money.

        Like

      • HGR: All what you said is entirely correct on all points.
        The only thing I can add is that the Swiss themselves are perfectly aware of all this. Just the “National” (Swiss Parliament) is infuriated, and common people in Switzerland are actually amused… Because they side with the French Republic! “Votation” after votation are proposing new laws to crack down on plutocrats. The next “votation”, going in the sense of France, is in a few weeks, or months.

        The Swiss president actually signed the Treaty that later the “National” threw out in rage. She was made to wait nearly an hour in the antechamber of Moscovici, the French finance minister… for the signing of the acts of surrender. Next of course is going to be Germany, who will follow in goose step the French lead (how things change…)
        PA

        Like

        • Chris said

          It’s politics ….

          But yeah, political considerations seem to often take precedent over the quality of each fighter. When you buy a fighter, you’re not just buying a fighter, you are buying the goodwill of the vendor nation and perhaps the consternation of the nations that lose the bid.

          I suppose in this case, financial considerations did as well.

          Like

        • HGR said

          Chris, the opposite happens too. The Indians resent USA support of Pakistan’s military as well as the strings we attach to our sales and avoid buying military gear or weapons from the USA… at least until recently. I have seen land system sales as well as maritime patrol aircraft sales from the USA to India. They (the Indians) have a sizable Muslim population and internal politics prevented them from buying arms from the Israelis… until recently too. Now they are using Israeli technology in their upgrades of their Soviet era equipment.

          But threats that keep growing, disappointments with their legacy suppliers and sluggish development of their aeronautical industry is making the Indians more flexible about setting aside these political issues.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          Especially since Rafale is too large for Swiss aircraft shelters, so indirect costs of buying it might well have been as great as direct procurement costs.

          Like

  12. In the times of Munich, Churchill wanted to mass produce old airplane types, and go to war. PM Chamberlain wanted to wait until new types (Spitfire and Hurricanes) could be mass produced. Chamberlain’s call was the right one… for air superiority, but not strategically.

    Now, it seems to me, the F35 is a huge mistake. I see no advantage to the type whatsoever, except, as Picard said it, as corporate welfare (or, ironically, in its Marine version). In case of conflict with the PRC, the F35 will encourage the dictatorship to be nastier, as it will perceive weakness.

    Like

    • Chris said

      @Patrice

      Pretty much. The scary part is that in many ways, it’s a step back from the F-16 or the fighter that the YF-16 should have been.

      If it ever does come down to a fight with a competent enemy, as you’ve noted, the JSF will be a huge liability rather than a weak point. Worse, it will take money from projects that could become acceptable warplanes.

      Like

    • HGR said

      Patrice, On the Chamberlain and Churchill comment I will just say that Chamberlain was an air force enthusiast and backed it with budget increases. Biggest problem Britain faced in the late 1930 was that it lacked the financial means to match the threats that where looming… Britain eventually went broke fighting the war and had to beg the USA for help. Chamberlain negotiations where an attempt to buy time and divide his enemies… which did not work.

      The F-35 debacle is reduced to price. If this aircraft goes into production and can be built for say $70 million or so it will be a success.

      Pilots that vouch for for the F-35 say that dog-fighting one-on-one is misleading. That when many aircrafts are present and two of them merge for a dog fight they are usually hit by someone else that is around them that they can’t even see because they are concentrating on the dog-fight. That this sort of “sniping” (their word) is what is really dangerous and that the F-35 will do better in that environment than the others.

      Also, that the aircraft’s performance numbers are misleadingly low because it carries so much weight of fuel. That if you make the comparison without accounting for this as well as the degradation in performance that its rivals suffer from carrying external tanks and ordinance you are comparing apples to oranges.

      The fuel issue is very interesting because you can load the aircraft with less fuel when using it in a combat air patrol role and enjoy the benefit of more thrust to weight, etc. or loading it with more fuel when using it in the strike mode and enjoying the advantage of range. All of this with internal weapons means it is stealthy and suffers no penalty like the others that carry everything in hard points.

      So this is not an easy question to answer.

      By the way… I wish the F-35B could solve all the problems the Marines have. Not even close… many problems.

      Like

      • picard578 said

        Problem is that F-35 has comparably slow cruise speed, so it will usually NOT be the one doing the jumping…

        Like

      • Chris said

        “Problem is that F-35 has comparably slow cruise speed, so it will usually NOT be the one doing the jumping…”

        Compounding the issue, you have high wing loading AND low TW, combined with the fact that it’s not really aerodynamic. That and it’s very vulnerable (because it’s near it’s maximum takeoff weight as is).

        I mean, this is one of those issues where:
        1. Less wing loading and less TW then enemy: You have a chance
        2. Higher wing loading and higher TW then enemy: You have a chance

        But
        3. Higher wing loading and lower TW – Uhh, this is bad. Granted it’s all in the pilot, but this is a complex plane, so pilot training will not be what it should be.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          Exactly. In fact, people often talk about aircraft’s ability to suprise the opponent or maneuver better than some other aircraft, but in reality, pilot training dominates both of these characteristics.

          Like

        • hgr said

          Are you talking about an F-35 in a strike mission with a full fuel load that will fly 1000 miles or an F-35 flying combat air patrols that are 200 miles and will carry far less fuel. The performance of the aircraft is different. So which one are thinking off.

          And when they merge… what are the flying characteristics of the F-35 opponents with their hard point loaded. My understanding is that there is significant degradation in performance.

          The F-35’s competitiveness in air-to-air combat is still an open debate and not a slam dunk like the Sukhoi, Euro-fighter, Boeing and Rafale crowd will like you to think. Every one is doing their PR and no one is fair about the comparisons. The LM people included… they tout some things that are more common than they would like you to think.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          1. F-35s performance is low at either 100% or 50% fuel.

          2. There is no significant degradation in performance when carrying external air-to-air missiles, and no degradation at all if missiles are carried on conformal wingtip stations (F-16, Gripen, Rafale) – which will be the only missiles remaining post-merge.

          3. F-35s performance is far from being an open questions, and I never read any PR. It is fact of physics that F-35 won’t perform well – high wing loading combined with fairly classic aerodynamical configuration means less than good turning capabilities, low thrust to weight ratio means that it can’t retain or regain the energy during vertical maneuvers, low thrust to drag ratio means that it looses energy quickly when turning and does not have good ability to regain the energy.

          Like

      • Chris said

        “Are you talking about an F-35 in a strike mission with a full fuel load that will fly 1000 miles or an F-35 flying combat air patrols that are 200 miles and will carry far less fuel. The performance of the aircraft is different. So which one are thinking off.”

        Air superiority.

        “And when they merge… what are the flying characteristics of the F-35 opponents with their hard point loaded. My understanding is that there is significant degradation in performance. ”

        It is a slam dunk for reasons discussed in other threads – overweight, underpowered, low TW, low thrust loading, and the aircraft is a flying brick. The other issue is that even after firing all it’s missiles, they’re in internal bays, which enlarge the airframe.

        The issue is that it was built as a bomber that can also fire air to air missiles, not an air superiority aircraft first. That’s why it’s a poor choice for an air superiority fighter.

        Like

        • HGR said

          Chris, just to show you how difficult it is to disperse with “noise” that is being put out by detractors of the F-35 just look at the trust-to-weight ratio which is important in the air superiority role.

          If you put 50% fuel in the F-35 it has a trust to weight ration of 1.07 and that is very close to the 1.095 that the F-16 has… EXCEPT the F-16 carries its missiles on externally and suffers a degradation in performance when loaded for fighting that the F-15 does not suffer… so they are almost par in theoretical numbers with the F-35 enjoying a certain advantage in practice.

          This would apply to all others such as the Rafale who has a 0.988 trust to weight ration with 100 percent fuel vs. the F-35 0.87 trust to weight ration with 100% fuels EXCEPT… in the strike mode which is presumed they would be doing the F-35 can fly further with more weight than the Rafale. And if dog-fighting the Rafale’s external missiles will induce a drag that the F-35 does not have,

          The price cited for the F-35 is based on 2012 and 2013 production numbers which are a consequence of low volume production runs while the Rafale’s cost for example is predicated on a mature design with development / production runs that have already been amortized by the french government’s past purchases. Apples to Oranges.

          On paper it looks like the F-35 is quite a little aircraft and the only thing still pending is the cost once production is cranked and fix costs amortized.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          @HGR

          “If you put 50% fuel in the F-35 it has a trust to weight ration of 1.07 and that is very close to the 1.095 that the F-16 has (…)”

          F-16 is designed to perform with two air to air missiles carried in a wingtip configuration, F-35 is designed to perform with 4 AAMs in internal stations, and Eurocanards are all designed to perform with 6 AAMs. So you’re kinda comparing apples to oranges here. And considering that even overpriced, overweight F-16C is half as costly as F-35A, number of missiles carried by a total force is identical.

          “This would apply to all others such as the Rafale who has a 0.988 trust to weight ration with 100 percent fuel vs. the F-35 0.87 trust to weight ration with 100% fuels”

          This is wrong on several levels:
          1) Rafale C, which is an F-35A equivalent, has thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,02 at air-to-air takeoff weight and 1,22 with 50% fuel
          2) F-35A has thrust-to-weight ratio of 0,87 at air-to-air takeoff weight and 1,07 at combat weight.
          >>> so it can be seen that F-35A has significnatly lower thrust-to-weight ratio than Rafale equivalent
          3) Rafale M has thrust-to-weight ratio of 0,988 at air-to-air takeoff weight and 1,16 at air-to-air combat weight
          4) F-35C has thrust-to-weight ratio of 0,75 at air-to-air takeoff weight and 0,93 at air-to-air combat weight
          >>> again, F-35C has significantly lower thrust-to-weight ratio than its Rafale equivalent

          “And if dog-fighting the Rafale’s external missiles will induce a drag that the F-35 does not have,”

          F-35 has permanent drag and weight penalty with its internal weapons bays, and Rafale will only carry wingtip missiles in visual-range dogfight (others will have been fired pre-merge) which are not even taken into account for drag calculations.

          “The price cited for the F-35 is based on 2012 and 2013 production numbers which are a consequence of low volume production runs”

          It is not going to drop much.

          “On paper it looks like the F-35 is quite a little aircraft”

          Especially when helped by dishonest accounting.

          Like

        • HGR said

          Picard, I am going to deffer my judgement for now since I do not understand well enough the consequences on drag that from carrying missiles externally vs internally or what range an aircraft has vs. another when on 50% fuel load.

          But I will accept that with minimum armament and with in visual range Stealth provides no advantage when compared to aircrafts that where designed with out stealth but with more focus on maneuverability.

          Below is a link to a well written article that I found browsing around. I found it very interesting and objective and clearly written. The end has tables and comparisons between aircrafts and their guns.

          http://aimt.unob.cz/articles/07_02/07_02%20%283%29.pdf

          Like

        • picard578 said

          I’ve already read that articlem and it’s quite good.

          Like

      • Dear HGR: When FDR decided to embark on an astounding 24 carrier program in 1933, he did not have the money, either. Moreover, FDR devalued the dollar by 33% or so (while closing all the banks, etc.). But we use fiat money, anyway. Thus FDR said: “Let it be!” And ordered the carriers built. A nice touch, as 7 of the 8 carriers of 1941 were soon at the bottom of the sea (and were smoothly replaced by the Essex class: thus the Lexington scuttled at the Coral Sea, was soon replaced by a new flag ship, the Essex class Lexington… Now carriers are apparently named for unpopular, never elected “presidents”).

        Great Britain was managed differently from FDR’s USA. More like a poodle. So when the USA decided to ruin Britain by requiring payment of a war debt, the treacherous British leaders obeyed with alacrity. True, Churchill was Anglo-American… The proper course would have been to tell Washington to go cook itself an egg.

        The F35 is a perpetually swollen balloon in empty cavities inside that tries to play fighter blimp. A plane like the Rafale would have dumped all its tanks and long range missiles, before shooting holes in those aggressive blimps, floating over common sense like the proverbial one million dollar Air Force toilet seat…

        And I did not talk about the F35’s Infra Red signature, which is bigger, the bigger the blimp, especially if supersonic, and, in any case, as stealthy as the sinking sun…
        PA

        Like

        • HGR said

          Patrice, you might be unfurling your true colors with comments like “Great Britain was managed differently from FDR’s USA” and “FDR devalued the dollar by 33% or so (while closing all the banks, etc.). But we use fiat money, anyway.”

          When Britain when to war it took over all of its citizens assets abroad and proceeded to sell them in order to raise cash to finance the war… the American investors being in an unique position to pick up the goods in a fire sale. Before you criticize this please let me tell you that USA law is the same and we are all subject to have our assets both register as well as unregistered (held on bank boxes) such as gold and jewelry taken away from us in the same circumstances. by the way… precedence for this dates all the way back to Roman times who also required that from its citizens.

          Then the war raged in Europe for quite a while with out USA involvement. Germany was severely weakened during that period of time by her adventures in the East. When the USA got involved in WW2 we where looking at enemies that where already overcommitted and strategically wobbly.

          Now let us look at Great Britain right after Dunkirk, virtually defeated having lost an immense amount of war material in the early part of the campaign and dependent on its colonies and dominions for raw materials was being mercilessly isolated by submarine warfare… who was going to lend her any money to continue a fight that seemed lost at that time? The USA did… and then eventually took over the entire war.

          Churchill was of mix parentage and that has been cited more than once as a possible motivation for handing over to the USA technologies such as those applicable to Nuclear war but the reality was that Britain at the time lacked the resources to develop them and was on a race for survival. The USA was their only hope.

          Finally Japan. The strategy there was driven by the fact that Europe came first and there was never enough. That war was fought very economically in both men and material.

          War was paid with debt… and the USA ended the war with debts that totaled over 140% of its gross domestic product… while that seems like a lot it really was not. The part that is obscured in this equation was the benefit of being the only industrial economy left intact from the conflict and becoming the supplier of all kinds of goods to the rest of the world during a prolonged almost twenty year period of time.

          And the USA monetary policy remains one of a currency who’s value is determined by market forces and not spice… demand for the currency. We have just 30 billion $ in foreign reserves… just what is necessary to do business.

          Like

    • picard578 said

      In WWII, producing fighters was quite easier than today, so they could afford the wait. But today, if wrong procurement decision is made in peacetime, you’re stuck with it for duration of the war.

      Like

      • HGR said

        Amen.

        Life cycles… they used to be short and now aircrafts are expected to last 25 to 50 years.

        Like

      • Chris said

        “In WWII, producing fighters was quite easier than today, so they could afford the wait. But today, if wrong procurement decision is made in peacetime, you’re stuck with it for duration of the war.”

        That does beg an interesting question – the role of piston and turboprop powered aircraft today. You could mass produce them in war and overwhelm the enemy with them, when combined with some jet powered fighters.

        “Life cycles… they used to be short and now aircrafts are expected to last 25 to 50 years.”

        Look at how long the B-52 has lasted.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “You could mass produce them in war and overwhelm the enemy with them, when combined with some jet powered fighters.”

          That certainly is a possibility. Especially since F-86 or P-51 with Sidewinders can still be dangerous to modern fighters in hands of a skillful pilot.

          Like

        • Chris said

          Options are a cheap jet fighter like the F-5 or F-86, with some modernizations, or alternatively, a high end turboprop driven aircraft. Combine this with something like the FLX that you proposed and you should have air superiority through sheer weight of numbers. The other bonus is that with this combo, you may be able to destroy a substantial amount of enemy aircraft on the ground.

          The other thing to do is to mass produce a turboprop driven CAS aircraft, like the A-1. Produce them in quantities not seen since WWII. They may not be able to destroy the 70,000 kg MBTs that many nations are fielding, but pretty much everything else is fair game. And in the quantities that they could be built, they could keep the enemy pinned down.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          @Chris Yes, one of main failures of any military is that they focus on platform capability, and destroying enemy “high end” systems, while ignoring “low end” systems that are even more important for proper functioning of the military.

          Like

        • hgr said

          Chris, regarding turbo-prop planes… I am not an expert but the Marines are and they believe that if you can operate a helicopter in a certain environment you can also operate a turbo-prop with the advantage of being able to deliver all sort of ordinance that helicopters can’t deliver. The problem is taking off from an amphibious… in the past this was done but newer planes can’t do it.

          Cost is crazy… a turbo-prop deal between the AF and Embraer for 20 Super Tucano was valued at $355 million. That is $17.5 million per aircraft. The only competition was the T-6 Texan. The Super Tucano is not that great but it has a low operating cost so you can fly it a lot for very little money. We need something better than that… along the lines of a super charged version of the OV-10 that can take off from amphibious and dirt strips. They could also fly sensors, suppress enemy helicopters, etc. They are vulnerable to small missiles… that is their big drawback.

          Like

      • Chris said

        @HGR

        The issue with avoiding incoming missiles is not raw speed. It’s maneuverability that will save you.

        To be honest, I’m not sure the Super Turcano is a great CAS aircraft because it’s not as durable as say, the Su-25 or the A-10.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          @Chris Super Tucano is an excellent observation / light attack aircraft but I don’t think it can replace dedicated CAS fighters such as A-10 and Su-25. It is primarly optimized for COIN.

          Like

        • HGR said

          The Super Tucano is OK but it is not great. A purpose driven US design would certainly be better but who will buy it?

          All we are buying of these Super Tucano’s are 20 for a ton of money but if we made our own much better one we will need to buy 300 to maintain the line on cost.

          The OV-10 with its cabin placed forward and blunt nose for visibility plus 3000 Lbs. payload was a better plane. They stopped making it but hopefully it will come back in some sort of version. It was always capable of carrier or amphib operation with a 3 to 4 hour endurance.

          Like

  13. “Rafale is too large for Swiss aircraft shelters, so indirect costs of buying it might well have been as great as direct procurement costs.”
    Is not Rafale more compact than the F18?

    Like

  14. HGR: Thanks for the Canadian Report. I saw no typo. Syria was indeed attacked by Israel (and still is, without losses). It’s pretty clear that F35 style stealth will perfectly not work. Computing power can be expected to augment relentlessly in the next few years (CPU plants costing on the order of 20 billion using lithography are planned). MICA style IR missiles will pick the slow F35 out of the sky like juicy plums. At least the Rafale and Eurofighter can flee, thanks to superior speed…

    Stealth has a long history, and EM stealth was already used in WWII. IR stealth does not exist, and can’t be expected to do so, except by flying blimps. Wait…
    PA

    Like

    • Chris said

      It’s not going to stop the establishment though from procuring the F-35 more. It’s alarming how broken procurement here is in Canada. Most politicians are not going to question the usefulness of stealth. Rafale seems like the best choice among the current generation of fighters for Canada, although it’s not compatible with existing munitions. Hopefully our current government loses the next election.

      I suspect that computing power may be reaching a barrier in the next 10 years due to simple laws of physics – we’re starting to reach a point where transistors are on an atomic scale. Below 5nm, it’ll be interesting to see if heat and leakage can still be combatted, or if it’s economical to do so. Barring another invention that can lead to new advances in computing power, we could be reaching a cap.

      Like

    • HGR said

      Patrice, if one reads more forums and blogs one comes out of them with a far muddier impression than if you read this one. There are many who believe the F-22 and the F-35 are the only solution to penetrating space that is protected by radar guided missiles. When they talk about the F-35 not being guaranteed superiority after 2030 they might be referring to developments in infrared technology where by then the infrared guided weapons might have far longer range than they do now but I want to make clear that I really do not know that is the reason.

      In that context the talk of one side having more aircrafts than another side has to take in consideration that many of those aircrafts can actually survive the air defenses and get through.

      And there is a cost. It seems that once in full production the F-35 will be an $85 million dollar aircraft and will be cost competitive at least in price if not in operating cost.

      Close air support is another story. In particular because air defenses are not ubiquitous and in undefended areas certain types of aircrafts can deliver mayhem from the air on entrenched and concealed positions that are close to “friendlies”. The F-35 can’t do this and that will be a debate with the Army.

      And we are already seeing developments in missiles that look at both radar signature and infrared for guidance. I said this earlier in another post but the Navy is looking at this because it will allow the missile to discern between decoys and the real thing… a ship has to have a radar signature and be hot too or else it is a decoy.

      Like

  15. Chris: Upper reaches of government in Canada are immensely corrupt. Mafia money is even been recycled, to Italy’s anger. I can’t wait until Harper goes. His ecological policies are a threat to the planet.

    Rafale uses heavily MICA, a BVR IR missile, in connection with IIR. In other words, a F22/F35 BVR killer. So of course that would have to be stocked on. Rafale can carry TEN of these missiles (and still fly supersonic cruise with them attached!)

    Now for the physics: I’m optimistic. Intel is gearing up towards 14 nanometers (they are at 22). For reasons not well understood (at least by me), Quantum effects are limited (although they are major with much larger MEM). You could say that we cannot go below one nanometer. Yet, there are many avenues out, and they are been explored. An obvious one is to build three dimensional circuits. Imagine… Further down the line, but already being developed: self assembling circuits and various Quantum computation strategies (Boson sampling, etc.)

    In any case, there is plenty of improvements immediately ahead, that will make the F22/35 completely obsolete in 5 years, if not so already.

    Combat BVR between a single ten MICA equipped Rafale and a couple of F22s is not in doubt.

    Thus this case of large scale corruption known as the F35, is most troublesome. For the entire West.

    Like

    • Chris said

      “Chris: Upper reaches of government in Canada are immensely corrupt. Mafia money is even been recycled, to Italy’s anger. I can’t wait until Harper goes. His ecological policies are a threat to the planet.”

      Yeah, as a Canadian, I really want Harper elected out of office. He’s an embarrassment.

      Increasingly, I feel like Western society is dominated by a one-party state, the neo-liberal party.

      “Now for the physics”

      There is one issue though. You cannot make transistors smaller than an atom. It’s going to level off, eventually unless something new gets discovered. For example, the jump between 32 nm to 22 nm Tri-Gate led to comparatively lower yields than say, the jump from 130 to 90 or 90 to 65 did.

      Either way though, it’s enough that radar stealth is of limited usage. Modern IR sensors can easily find it. Officially the justification is that the variants of the Su-27 family are the justification for the purchase of these weapons. In practice, all Su-27 variants are armed with IRST and the latest one, OLS-50M QWIP will be able to find it.

      “Thus this case of large scale corruption known as the F35, is most troublesome. For the entire West.”

      I’m more interested right now as to how so many Western governments ended up choosing the F-35 JSF without a competitive tendering process. There’s something we don’t know right now, something that happened behind closed doors beyond the usual politics. I would hesitate to guess that some money changed hands throughout many nations.

      Now though, economic realities are beginning to force many to question the decisions made. Likewise, the fact that the F-35 is not the fighter that it was promised to be is another issue.

      Like

      • Yes Chris, we entirely agree. Another case of no public debate was Obamacare. It was all done behind closed doors. Why? A hint: one of the men put in charge by Obama to provide health care to all Americans, had a salary of more than 100 million last year. That’s just a salary, not what the owners, above, make. The upper reaches of the US government (I know Obama, so I saw the inside stuff), is all about incredible wealth and power.
        http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/obamascare/

        Calling that Party which governs us the “liberal Party” is too flattering. It has nothing to do with liberty, more to do with slavery and monopoly. So I call it by its true name, the plutocratic party.

        Like

      • Chris said

        “Calling that Party which governs us the “liberal Party” is too flattering. It has nothing to do with liberty, more to do with slavery and monopoly. So I call it by its true name, the plutocratic party.”

        Fair comment. This whole “neo-liberal economics” seems to be all about re-distributing wealth to the very top.

        There are some very, very alarming parallels between modern society and the decline of Rome. All we need it seems is a modern equal to Tiberius Gracchus.

        Regarding US healthcare, it’s just plain corrupt. The insurance and pharmaceutical are in control here.

        Like

        • HGR said

          “Regarding US healthcare, it’s just plain corrupt. The insurance and pharmaceutical are in control here.” – Amen

          Obama Care was conceived in an environment of unequal political power where the health insurance industry had the economic power to bribe the legislature into inaction. To act with out recognizing that overwhelming reality would have been fatal.

          We do have hope… not that the current generation will change their mind but rather that the future one as it slowly displaces it in power will bring along a different expectation.

          Like

  16. HGR said

    “Upper reaches of government in Canada are immensely corrupt.” – It is surprising to me for how little you can purchase a USA congressman or Senator. Bribing has been legalized in the form of political contributions and junkets by lobbyist but sometimes the politicos get greedier, careless or arrogant which ever way you prefer and they end up in jail… but those are just a fraction of the whole body of politicians that is sold here in the USA for a remarkably low price.

    The USA has comparable IR technology and getting better. The F-35 load in an non-stealth environment is higher than that of an F-16. As a matter of fact the F-35’s performance at 50% fuel looks a lot like the F-16’s. Is not that bad.

    And how many Rafale will survive the radar guided defenses? I mean, that statement you made to Chris takes for granted that he does not have to worry about that and that this will take place in a space that is sanitazed. The USA just thinks that it should worry about radar.

    Like

    • At Benghazi, Qaddafi launched his tank army fully surrounded by country wide and local, mobile missile batteries, as he expected strikes from the French.

      Rafale is equipped both by passive and active stealth (SPECTRA). SPECTRA, made by Thales (also provider of electronics for the Typhoon Eurofighter, and the Queen Elizabeth class carriers) completely surrounds Rafale, and can completely neutralize radar emission with a precision of less than one degree. If radar is scrambled, radar does not work, as the Israeli Air Force continually demonstrates, just ask aghast Assad, who can see Israeli jets bomb in impunity from his palace.

      So, at Benghazi, the Rafales provided cover against missiles, 12 hours before the USA cruise missile and B2 attack runs against Qaddafi’s missile defenses. The Rafales protected Mirages below. It worked splendidly: Qaddafi’s armor got shattered in the approaches and suburbs of Benghazi, and the French announced to the peace conference in Paris that bombing had started, and Benghazi was saved.

      Active stealth becomes more performing, the more performing the electronics. Not so with passive stealth. That, BTW. is why, very large planes such as the F22 and enormous ones like the SU27, are red hot jokes in the sky.

      Like

    • Yes, Obama would go to Silicon Valley, and spend days there “raising money” there in private mansions. I told him that, at the very least, he ought to stop sleeping (at the homes endowed) with these plutocrats.

      There are many countries, even Britain, where this sort of behavior sends politicos to jail. Anyway, the result is the F35, the priciest , probably most ineffective defense program. Ever.

      Like

      • HGR said

        “the result is the F35, the priciest , probably most ineffective defense program.” – Patrice, there many who disagree with this statement. Many are pilots that fought in Iraq and they say that dog-fighting has changed a lot and that the F-35 is the right plane.

        Patrice, earlier you mentioned something about Libya. I have heard over and over that the Electronic Warfare version of the F-18 is the standard by which this sort of work is measured. I have not heard a dissenting voice in this matter. Since those types of F-18 where present in Libya I wonder if you would concede that maybe they should share a degree of credit for the suppression of the Libyan defenses.

        Like

  17. excellent publish, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not
    understand this. You should continue your writing. I’m sure,
    you have a huge readers’ base already!

    Like

  18. picard578 said

    @HGR

    “There are many who believe the F-22 and the F-35 are the only solution to penetrating space that is protected by radar guided missiles.”

    They’re overestimating radar-guided missiles and underestimating IR ones.

    “In that context the talk of one side having more aircrafts than another side has to take in consideration that many of those aircrafts can actually survive the air defenses and get through.”

    F-35 is no more survivable against enemy air defenses than Rafale is.

    “As a matter of fact the F-35′s performance at 50% fuel looks a lot like the F-16′s.”

    It is inferior to F-16C Block 50. Not by much, but F-16C is hugely overmatched by just about every modern fighter (F-22, Rafale, Gripen, Typhoon, PAK FA).

    “And how many Rafale will survive the radar guided defenses?”

    They’ll perform better than F-35s will. F-35s only defense is stealth, if it is defeated by say VHF or multi-static radars, it becomes useless.

    “Many are pilots that fought in Iraq and they say that dog-fighting has changed a lot and that the F-35 is the right plane.”

    Key words: fought in IRAQ. In short, they do not have a realistic picture as they fought utterly incompetent opponents. F-86 with Sidewinders would have been more than enough to handle Iraqi air force as it was in both 1990 and 2003. Does it mean F-86, or even F-5, is the right choice for the future?

    Like

  19. HGR: The fact is that the initial strikes in Libya were the most effective: they burned to a crisp Qaddafi’s armor army, next to, or in the suburbs of Benghazi. This was done exclusively with Rafales and Mirages. The Rafales used Spectra to dazzle and raze the enemy missile batteries. After that was done, Qaddafi’s army was decapitated.

    American strikes started the following night. An F15 went down.

    Like

    • HGR said

      Patrice, this post of yours sounds a little desperate to prove the point… the F15 you mentioned was lost to? Enemy fire? What caused its down?

      I think Serbia is interesting too. The mobile SAM batteries and how they affected the battle. This is why despite all the calculations and effort spent proving that the F-35 is a waste of a plane I still believe there is a story behind Stealth.

      And while you are at it… in air defense over your own territory you might be able to use a certain aircraft if you are an intruder in some one else air space you might need another type… one with a little more range, better radar and maybe. just maybe you might want stealth too.

      In all these analysis stealth is valued at zero. Nothing. But aircrafts must travel to their targets, must try to do so undetected or at lest provide as little warning as possible and finally deliver their ordinance and if confronted be a good enough fighter aircraft to fight your way out.

      And I hear that a Rafale is $140 million USD and that in full production the F-35 will be $80 million USD so it is two F-35 for every Rafale… and how many Rafale are there in the whole wide world?

      Like

  20. HGR said

    Picard, the new post about stealth is no showing up.

    Like

    • picard578 said

      I changed it into draft. I’ll see wether there is something to add and then I’ll publish it tomorrow.

      Like

      • HGR said

        Stealth fights at night… bombing at night, etc. No visual fighting possible at night. Any evaluation of stealth needs to account for this.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          Except stealth fighters are meant to fight during day too, and in any case even with all modern technology night combat is comparatively rare. And stealth isn’t really stealth, F-22 is stealthy to X-band radar, but on IRST it lights up like a Christmas tree. F-22 is stealthier than Gripen in some ways, in others Gripen is stealthier than the F-22.

          Like

        • Chris said

          Air superiority is mostly a daytime activity yes.

          But dogfights have happened at night. In fact they did during WWII. With modern IR equipment being what it is, I expect it will happen more often in the future.

          Like

        • HGR said

          Chris, most countries defend themselves against intruders using radar guided missiles and stealth aircrafts are intruders designed to penetrate someone else’s airspace and the first critical strikes usually take place at night. So you would need to find these intruders with infrared and knock them out one by one using guns or short range missiles… which will take time and what will you do with the others that are getting in and destroying everything in their path?

          This why Taiwan, South Korea and Japan are looking at stealth… and of course the situational awareness which if you are dog-fighting with one F-35 how do you keep him from firing the missile from another nearby one at you? That type of snipping against aircrafts that are engaged is something the F-35’s are built to do.

          Most arguments against F-35 assume that almost all their new technologies will collapse and the enemies’ technologies will work as advertised… not realistic.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          @HGR

          “So you would need to find these intruders with infrared and knock them out one by one using guns or short range missiles…”

          It is entirely possible to find them with VHF radars or infrared and knock them out by using medium-range missiles. Though these were never really good.

          “Most arguments against F-35 assume that almost all their new technologies will collapse and the enemies’ technologies will work as advertised…”

          Complex technologies usually do collapse. Not completely, but they never perform nearly as well as simpler technologies do. (radar guided vs IR missiles, BVR vs WVR combat, etc)

          Like

        • HGR said

          The success of a defense against a coordinated attack by stealth aircrafts can’t be predicated on how a single stealth aircraft was downed in a mountainous country if all the others got through.

          And yes, old technologies for no other reason than maturity tend to be more robust but they also tend to produce mediocre results where you trade aircrafts one-for-one. The way the F-35 will fight the enemy will be snipped at by who ever is in the best position to do so even if he is engaged in chasing another completely different aircraft. In order to deride the F-35 you must hold the premise that this will not happen as advertised.

          Like

        • Chris said

          “And yes, old technologies for no other reason than maturity tend to be more robust but they also tend to produce mediocre results where you trade aircrafts one-for-one. ”

          Radar guided missiles have historically had a poor Pk.

          The other thing you’ve failed to note is that in the case of IR technology, you’re thinking about IR technology as it was decades ago. Modern QWIP IRST sensors are a far cry from older IR sensors.

          “In order to deride the F-35 you must hold the premise that this will not happen as advertised.”

          The thing is, the F-35 already has not happened as advertised.

          1. It’s been subject to cost overruns
          2. The project is several years behind schedule
          3. The Pentagon has been forced to lower the bar on the performance of the fighter

          That does not sound like a program that has delivered so far. Yes, they will eventually get it in service. But no, it will never enter service with the promises made when the program was first started.

          Like

        • HGR said

          Blogs by pilots say that missiles have improved dramatically. And the defenses have too.

          And there are years of stealth behind us now. So this technology while not mature is at least known to us and improving.

          The helmet and the situational awareness works. So the idea that if someone gets in your tail your only recourse is to outmaneuver him might be a thing of the past. You can snipe at him with another aircraft’s missiles who happens to be in a better position. So how are you going to defend against that?

          Chris, you can’t base a battle plan on hardly anything about your adversary’s weapons working… that is reckless.

          Like

        • Chris said

          A few problems:

          “Blogs by pilots say that missiles have improved dramatically. And the defenses have too.”

          1. BVR Radar Guided missiles that are new have not been tested in combat. If I were to read professional reports prior to the Vietnam War, the Pk of such missiles would be 90%. Real combat showed otherwise.

          “And there are years of stealth behind us now. So this technology while not mature is at least known to us and improving. ”

          2. You’re not getting what me and Picard are saying. Radar stealth does not give IR stealth. If you respond asymmetrically to your enemy, you’ve got an advantage.

          That’s why for example, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has not been winning. Despite a massive advantage in firepower, numbers, resources, etc, the opponent remains. That’s because they refuse to engage on the US terms. They don’t go out in the open and let themselves get slaughtered.

          “The helmet and the situational awareness works. So the idea that if someone gets in your tail your only recourse is to outmaneuver him might be a thing of the past. ”

          3. The helmet on the F-35 is not fully functional at the moment. In fact, it’s one of the biggest source of problems on the aircraft.

          “You can snipe at him with another aircraft’s missiles who happens to be in a better position. So how are you going to defend against that?”

          4. If you are more maneuverable than an F-35, you will have a better firing position to fire your missiles than the F-35.

          How will you defend against the F-35’s missiles? By maneuvering back. Read up on Picard’s articles of missiles for example. Pk of BVR AAMs may very well be much lower than expected.

          “Chris, you can’t base a battle plan on hardly anything about your adversary’s weapons working… that is reckless.”

          5. Yet the F-35 does exactly that. It bases itself on the idea that:

          A. Stealth works against everything including QWIP IRST technology
          B. That the enemy will not respond asymmetrically
          C. That BVR AAMs have a high probability of a Pk
          D. Inferior numbers (caused by high unit costs of stealth fighters and low sortie rates) can be made up for via stealth
          E. In the case of the F-35, that dogfighting is not needed

          That’s a lot of “ifs”. There’s no fallback if the technology doesn’t deliver.

          Like

        • HGR said

          We can go in circles. All I am saying is that the same arguments you are making could have been made about the first jet aircrafts and any other number of technologies. Even gun power.

          Here you are assuming that practically the entire premise of the F-35 way of fighting will fail to materialize and that they will succumb to the older but more reliable technologies and methods. No one will draft a plan based on assuming such a premise. It is more a hope.

          The F-35 biggest enemy is its price. And even then I am not sure. Just today I read that Singapore is up-dating its F-16 at a cost of $40 million per aircraft. Right now no aircraft is cheap and if the F-35 comes in at $70 million per unit then it will be a big success.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          HGR

          “Blogs by pilots say that missiles have improved dramatically. And the defenses have too.”

          Missiles have improved, but so have aircraft (in terms of oth airframe performance and countermeasures).

          “So this technology while not mature is at least known to us and improving. ”

          Stealth is a scam.

          “So how are you going to defend against that?”

          Outmaneuver the missiles.

          Like

      • Chris said

        “We can go in circles. All I am saying is that the same arguments you are making could have been made about the first jet aircrafts and any other number of technologies. Even gun power. ”

        First guns were unreliable weapons and often killed their users. It took hundreds of years for that to work..

        The problem is, gun power offered something that arrows and swords could not offer. Same with jet power. Stealth doesn’t offer anything – it can be countered asymmetrically.

        “Here you are assuming that practically the entire premise of the F-35 way of fighting will fail to materialize and that they will succumb to the older but more reliable technologies and methods. No one will draft a plan based on assuming such a premise. It is more a hope. ”

        I would argue that the F-35 was built on a hope. The specifications for the F-35 have already been lowered. If the stealth technology fails – then the plane is a sitting duck. It is a poor dogfighter, if it’s detected, it’s not a maneuverable aircraft (important not just to dogfight, but to dodge incoming missiles).

        It is a matter of physics. The F-35 has a massive engine at the back. That will be detected by QWIP IRST systems from a pretty big distance.

        “Right now no aircraft is cheap and if the F-35 comes in at $70 million per unit then it will be a big success.”

        How much do you think the aircraft costs right now?

        Would you believe me if I said the F-35 costs over $210 million USD for FY 2014? That’s how much it costs right now.

        Here is the office of the comptroller’s budget:
        http://comptroller.defense.gov/defbudget/fy2014/FY2014_Weapons.pdf

        Go to page 14.

        You will see about $3 billion allocated to R&D costs. There’s also another $6,149.4B for 29 F-35s. So $6.15 billion for 29 airplanes. That’s a sobering reality right now.

        In order to meet LM’s claimed $85 million goal, the costs would have to drop by 60% once production ramps up. That’s a pretty big target, even with full scale production.

        Like

        • HGR said

          Dropping cost 60% is not as unachievable as you think. The entire development and manufacturing base is in place and being amortized over a meager production rate. That is why these planes built in small batches cost so much. What you need is an analysis that takes into account variable increases productions… if we build 1000 planes, if we build 2000 or 3000, etc.

          Stealth is proven and improving. Not a risky concept any longer.

          And the most risky developmental issues like the helmet are behind. It is like when the critics wanted you to believe that the entire carrier based F-35 was doomed because of tail-hook issues. Right now we are on the downward slope on most serious F-35 issues.

          What I do think is risky is to rely on infrared to detect these planes and target them. I do not see anyone doing that with SAM batteries. they all use radar. And just today I read a Taiwanese internet article that clearly thought the Chinese SAM batteries could not stop the F-35. So many professionals do think that.

          Another risky thought is to think that aircrafts engaging the F-35 will be able to concede the long and medium distance combat, survive those to then efficiently gun down the F-35 with cannon or heat seeking missiles. It will be like bayonets fighting rifles.. most of the time the rifles will win and the F-35 will get through.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          “Stealth is proven”

          Against incompetent opponent against whom A-10 was, for all intents and purposes, a stealth aircraft. Against competent opponent, F-117s suffered greater losses in terms of losses per number of sorties than either F-16 or A-10.

          “they all use radar.”

          SAM batteries can use VHF radars, which can detect stealth fighters. And it is true that Chinese SAM batteries can’t stop the F-35… what that Taiwanese article failed to mention is that same holds true for F-15, F-16, F-18, Gripen, Rafale and Typhoon. Especiallly F-18G and Rafale.

          “Another risky thought is to think that aircrafts engaging the F-35 will be able to concede the long and medium distance combat, survive those to then efficiently gun down the F-35 with cannon or heat seeking missiles.”

          It is what usually happened, historically, but is also not entirely relevant – radar stealth doesn’t work against IR BVR missiles.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          “The problem is, gun power offered something that arrows and swords could not offer.”

          Main reason guns started being used over bows and crossbows is a) they were easier to use, b) they were easier to maintain. But up to 19th century bows were superior to guns in most characteristics.

          Like

        • HGR said

          I will agree about the bow and its derivative the crossbow… it was a relevant weapon until the 1600. It was more difficult to master and required lifetime training where in contrast the guns of these days while inaccurate when firing in mass volleys could be mastered by almost any able bodied soldier.

          We have been living for about 200 years now in an age of rapid technological change where the evolution of everything (not just warfare) occurs faster than ever before. There is a danger in dismissing technological advances and favoring older proven technologies… specially when it is done dismissively.

          If Stealth was such a dud they would have downed far more than just one F-117. As it was it took the equivalent of an ambushed on a semi-cooperative foe to down just one aircraft. The aircrafts where coming along predictable paths.

          Here is how I see it… Stealth is for offensive aircrafts… they are coming at you. You will not stop a mass of aircrafts that you are having a hard time locating by time consuming dog fights near their objective. You have to find them and start whittling them away at the longest possible range… A defense that relies on dog-fights will allow these fast moving jets to get through and destroy your base… then what?

          It is not as easy as saying my aircraft with-out missiles can outmaneuver yours with missiles or avoid getting downed by your compadre who because of interconnection can snipe at me while I am chasing you.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          “If Stealth was such a dud they would have downed far more than just one F-117.”

          No. F-117 was only used against Iraq and Serbia. In Serbia, it was less survivable than the F-16. In Iraq, it operated only at night and was as survivable as the A-10 in same circumstances.

          “You will not stop a mass of aircrafts that you are having a hard time locating by time consuming dog fights near their objective.”

          HF and VHF radars can relatively easily detect any modern stealth fighter. And you don’t need radar to fight at BVR either.

          Like

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