Defense Issues

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Posts Tagged ‘aircraft’

Defining stealth

Posted by picard578 on March 1, 2017

Introduction

Word “stealth” has lately become a catchword used to define the weapon – mostly aircraft – as “superior”, with little or no thought as to what the term actually means. Stealth fighters, stealth bombers, stealth ships… even stealth tanks, the craze is in full swing. But how much do these weapons deserve the label? What is stealth? Is merely having low radar cross section enough – as commonly held – to define the weapon as “stealth”? Is USAF stuck on denial that no military advantage lasts forever, or even on denial that it never understood the true meaning of stealth? Every successful use of stealth aircraft had seen them acting as a support of, and being supported by, an array of nonstealthy aircraft – AWACS, standoff jammers etc. Yet USAF is now aiming for an all-stealth tactical fighter force, even though it will make the force less flexible and arguably less capable as well. How stealthy these aircraft really are, and what are their vulnerabilities? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in doctrine | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Fast jets as close air support (CAS) aircraft

Posted by picard578 on February 21, 2016

“‘Fast moving aircraft are not designed to support ground troops,’ said Army Sgt. First Class Frank Antenori. ‘As much as the Air Force and Navy would like to think that, fighter aircraft that travel at speeds can’t slow down to identify the targets.’ Antenori made this statement after witnessing a friendly fire incident, in which bombs dropped from one of USAFs fast movers killed 16 Kurds and injured 45. He also said that “With fast movers, I never had any success,”, and that senior decision makers often become so enamored with technology that they fail to see what troops on the ground really require. While A-10s never missed, F-18s needed two or three bombing runs to get them on target, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 65 Comments »

Military aircraft configurations overview

Posted by picard578 on February 11, 2016

Design goal Characteristics required Ideal planform
Dogfight fast transients (roll onset, pitch onset)

subsonic-transonic turn rates (instantaneous, sustained)

energy management (acceleration, climb)

cruise speed and endurance

close-coupled moderate-sweep canard delta
BVR combat energy management (acceleration, climb)

supersonic turn rates (sustained, instantaneous)

cruise speed and endurance

top speed

long arm moderate-sweep canard delta
BVR interception top speed

cruise speed and endurance

energy management (acceleration, climb)

tailless moderate-sweep delta

tailless high-sweep delta

Low-altitude strike low-altitude performance (speed, acceleration, range)

payload

tailed low-sweep wing
Long-range strike

Strategic bombardment

range

payload

optional: cruise speed, service ceiling

tailless moderate-sweep delta

tailed low-sweep wing

long-arm canard-delta

flying wing

Close air support fast transients (roll onset, pitch onset)

subsonic turn rates (instantaneous, sustained)

energy management (acceleration, climb)

cruise speed and endurance

combat endurance

damage tolerance

tailed no-sweep wing

close-coupled low/no-sweep canard wing

Reconnaissance high altitude performance (service ceilling, cruise speed, endurance)

range

payload

moderate-sweep delta wing
Patrol range

endurance

payload

tailed no-sweep wing
Transport range

payload

takeoff and landing

tailed low-sweep wing

tailed no-sweep wing

Read the rest of this entry »

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FAC aircraft camouflage patterns proposal

Posted by picard578 on January 11, 2016

OX1-standard Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in proposals | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Stealth – evolution of justification

Posted by picard578 on August 1, 2015

Radar stealth does not work very well against airborne threats for three very simple reasons. First, visual identification is necessary before engagement, which requires fighters to close in to either eyeball or optical sensor range. This means that larger fighter is at disadvantage, and stealth fighters are always larger than comparable non-stealth fighters. Second, pilots will always try to approach enemy or unknow fighter from the rear to maximize time avaliable for identification and minimize possibility of being detected. This requires higher cruise speed than the target, but also that fighter remains silent during the entire intercept. While fighter performing intercept might benefit from greater situational awareness, using onboard radar warns everyone in vicinity and significantly reduces a possibility of successful attack by either intercepting fighter itself or by any friendly fighters – even those not using the radar. Third, stealth assumes that aircraft will use radars but nobody will have competent RWRs. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 30 Comments »

Characteristics of aircraft types

Posted by picard578 on June 1, 2015

ROLE AIR SUPERIORITY BOMBER INTERCEPTION GROUND ATTACK CLOSE AIR SUPPORT
SIZE small (surprise, agility) large (range, missile load) medium-large (surprise vs range, weapons load) small-medium (surprise, agility vs endurance, weapons load)
NUMBER OF ENGINES single (agility, surprise, operating cost) twin (top speed) twin (damage tolerance) twin (damage tolerance)
COCKPIT/CANOPY TYPE bubble (situational awareness) sunk (drag reduction) sunk (drag reduction) bubble (situational awareness)
WING SWEEP moderate (maximum/cruise speed, turning performance, airfield perf.) moderate to high (high altitude performance vs maximum speed) low to moderate (low speed/altitude performance) none to low (low speed agility, airfield / low altitude performance)
WING LOAD low to moderate (agility) low to moderate (high altitude performance) high (gust sensitivity) low to moderate (low speed agility, airfield performance)
CREW 1 1-2 2 1-2
GUN CALIBRE 20-30 mm (firepower vs loadout) 25-30 mm (firepower vs loadout) 25-30 mm (firepower vs loadout) 25-30 mm (firepower vs loadout)
GUN TYPE revolver / linear action (response time) rotary (maximum rate of fire) rotary (maximum rate of fire) rotary (maximum rate of fire)
SENSORS IRST, RWR, LWR, MAWS radar, IRST, RWR, LWR, MAWS radar, FLIR, RWR, LWR, MAWS RWR, LWR, MAWS, (FLIR)
ENGINE TYPE afterburning turbojet / afterburning low bypass turbofan (speed, acceler.) afterburning turbojet / afterburning low bypass turbofan (speed, acceler.) afterburning turbofan (speed, endurance) nonafterburning high bypass turbofan (endurance)

NOTE: reason for selection of certain characteristics is explained in brackets. Aircraft that are intended for more than one of listed roles will have characteristics of several types.

Posted in weapons | Tagged: , , , , , | 233 Comments »

Missile and aircraft turn performance

Posted by picard578 on March 1, 2015

I have often encountered claims that testing proves performance of modern BVR missiles. Baloney.

Most if not all missile tests nowadays are against QF-4, which has 50% greater turn radius than the F-15 (itself hardly an agile aircraft compared to more modern fighters), and even QF-16 will be weighted down by necessary equipment added. None of them are anywhere as agile as modern fighters, and UAV always has inferior OODA loop compared to a manned fighter, even if operator is sitting right there, whereas drone can’t really compare. In other words, missile Pk based on testing is unrealistically optimistic, even if UAVs/drones used were equipped with modern onboard jammers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in weapons | Tagged: , , , , | 108 Comments »

Aircraft prices FY2014

Posted by picard578 on September 28, 2014

Aircraft costs FY2014

 

COMBAT:

A-4 – 11,2 million USD

A-6E – 38,3 million USD

A-10 – 20 million USD Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in spending | Tagged: , , , , | 55 Comments »

Forward air controller aircraft proposal revised

Posted by picard578 on August 16, 2014

Historical lessons

Since UAVs are very bad at actual observation (except maybe as an inexpensive help for individual infantry platoons, controlled by those same platoons), this aircraft will also be manned. Aside from this concern, UAVs are also not adaptable.

First airborne FACs appeared during World War I. In that war, aircraft were employed for surveillance due to ground commander’s difficulties in interpreting the unfolding battlespace. First aircraft used had a crew of two, a pilot and an observer who would sketch the situation for the ground commander; information was later used to make battlefield maps, and aircraft also helped in directing artillery barrages. This led directly to development of CAS fighters and interceptors: some observers started dropping small bombs from aircraft on enemy positions or strafe trenches with guns, and both sides tried to prevent the enemy scouting.

Observations made were often inaccurate – strength of enemy formations could be misreported by thousands. However, information was provided far sooner by airborne observers than by other means, though development of CAS (and thus FAC) doctrine was being neglected in favor of failed strategic bombing deep behind enemy lines; only in 1917 did France and Germany realize its true value.

Interwar period led to the separation of FAC and CAS duties, since performing CAS often led to the FACs neglecting their primary duty. Only US Marine Corps, having no separate air service, was able to concentrate aircraft on CAS duties. And while World War II led to many (soon forgotten) improvements in carrying out CAS missions, appearance of airborne forward air controller had to wait until Korean war. While doctrine did permit use of airborne FAC in air-to-ground operations, there was no equipment allocated for such function, nor was any training undertaken specifically for the mission. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in proposals | Tagged: , , , , , | 32 Comments »

Aircraft costs 2013-2015

Posted by picard578 on July 26, 2014

http://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2015/fy2015_p1.pdf

 

NOTE: Since spending does not include R&D or any associated equipment, it is a good indication of actual aircraft cost.

 

Pg.40:

 

FY2013

EA-18G: 967.725.000 USD for 12 aircraft – 80.643.750 USD Read the rest of this entry »

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