posted on Jan, 5 2005 @ 02:14 PM
Hi Limey, all good questions. A couple of things i'd add:
While the F-15C is one of the only recognised air superiority fighters in the US inventory, the effectiveness of other platforms shouldn't be
dismissed. The F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 are all capable in the air to air arena, especially when carrying AMRAAM. Even if on a bomb mission, if required
these aircraft can be re-rolled from an Air to Ground mission, punching off the bombs to achieve more manoeuvrability and thrust to weight. The Hornet
is often undersold as an air to air player, but in fact is very profecient, especially in a turning fight.
Spot on with the increased range capabilities with height. With the ability to supercruise, the F/A-22 will be very effective. Of course, to use BVR
missiles these days you still need to be able to identify the target, to avoid blue on blue, or even worse blue on civilian incidents. While I'm sure
the F/A-22 sensor suite will be able to overcome some of the deficiencies current generation aircraft have, it is still a consideration. Of course the
Raptor certainly looks most capable in the visual arena as well, especially with AIM-9X on board.
As for IRST, the current generation certainly don't give the adversary that much of an advantage as I understand it. At best, it will let the pilot
know something is out there moments before an AMRAAM hits home. Radar warning receiver information would be paramount for threat detection at the
ranges we are talking here, though the Raptor radar will also have a reduced signature. Future generation IRSTs will probably give an adversary pilot
a passive BVR capability, but nothing out there that I know of at the moment can do it.
There is a formula for the calculation of IR signature. I can't remember it off the top of my head, but it would be safe to assume that the F/A-22 IR
signature is much less than current aircraft such as the Hornet, or possibly even the F-117.
Hope this contributes to the discussion, this is my first post, it is great to be here and talking about this kind of stuff!