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Companies struggle to fill adversary void against Fifth Gen

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posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 08:47 PM
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A new interview with the head of ATAC LLC highlights the problem the US is having with adversarial training with the F-35 and F-22.


“Nothing gets close to these things [the F-35s]” said Jeffrey Parker, a former Air Force fighter pilot and chief executive of ATAC LLC, a Textron company that provides opposing aircraft for U.S. fighter squadrons and electronic threat simulation against Navy strike groups. “I’ve flown against the [Marine] F-35Bs down at [Marine Corps Air Station] Beaufort [S.C.] It’s an impressive airplane. Even in the hands of students, it’s a very capable fighter.”


For every private Red Air aircraft that flies 250 hours in that mission, the Navy can save one F-18 for the same amount of time in the fleet. The services are all turning to civilian Red Air more and more, but they're struggling against the newest fighters. The Air Force wants at least 12 adversaries for every two F-22s that they launch from Langley.

The Navy has issued a draft RFP for adversarial training, but the requirements are for a fourth generation platform (F-16 or Su-27 like performance), with an upgraded radar. That means AESA systems. Under US law, private firms can't just go to the Boneyard and buy a bunch of fourth gen platforms, so they have to go to nations like Israel, and buy them as those nations retire them.


The Navy “has a shortage of readiness training, so they’re reaching out to industry to try to solve that problem,” Parker said. “They’re using too much ‘gray air’ [warfighting aircraft].”

He said each adversary aircraft that flies 250 hours a year is the equivalent of freeing an F/A-18 Super Hornet for fleet use for a year. Ten ATAC aircraft in use for 250 hours each can extend the lives of 10 Super Hornets per year.

The Navy has three squadrons of dedicated adversary aircraft with third-generation F-5 or fourth-generation F/A-18 fighters and the Marine Corps fields one squadron of F-5s. The Navy’s Topgun school also uses F/A-18 and F-16 adversary aircraft. The Air Force operates two adversary F-16 squadrons. Companies like ATAC use foreign-built aircraft such as the supersonic F-21 Kfir and slower Hawker Hunter to supplement with adversary services.

“The Navy squadrons are hurting on aircraft,” Parker said. “They don’t have enough. They’re also trying to upgrade their training from third-generation aircraft like F-5s to fourth-generation aircraft like F/A-18s and F-16s.

“The aircraft shortages in training are made worse by the F-35 fifth-generation aircraft, which you need a lot of ‘bad guys’ for,” he said.

seapowermagazine.org...




posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:17 PM
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this is one of the reasons i have a hard time taking the statistics they give on the effectiveness of these planes seriously when they always pit them against old technology. i want to see how they handle a threat that is generally equal to their capabilities
edit on 18-4-2017 by TheScale because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:21 PM
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Pakistan?



posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:22 PM
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a reply to: TheScale

The F-35A went up against AESA equipped F-15s at the Red Flag they were at earlier this year, as well as F-16s and others.



posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:26 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: TheScale

The F-35A went up against AESA equipped F-15s at the Red Flag they were at earlier this year, as well as F-16s and others.


yeah but they still arent the full package. have they ever done drills pitting f-22's against themselves or the f-35?



posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:28 PM
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a reply to: TheScale

It is really simple math.

If you can't see them, you can't shoot them down.

No one can see the F22 or the F35. To all intents and purposes, they are invisible.

On the other hand, the F22 and F35 can see the opposition and can shoot them down as has been happening in all war games.

They are the world's leading platform.

I think that they need to buy a lot of Chinese J20s. At least train against some 5th gen aircraft.

Although ... why? At the moment the F22 and F35 rule the skies.

If you read between the lines of the report Zaph is providing then it becomes obvious that the kill ratios are extremely comforting if you are a pilot of either the F22 or F35. If not, then you get shot down an awful lot.

P



posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:30 PM
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originally posted by: pheonix358
a reply to: TheScale

It is really simple math.

If you can't see them, you can't shoot them down.

No one can see the F22 or the F35. To all intents and purposes, they are invisible.

On the other hand, the F22 and F35 can see the opposition and can shoot them down as has been happening in all war games.

They are the world's leading platform.

I think that they need to buy a lot of Chinese J20s. At least train against some 5th gen aircraft.

Although ... why? At the moment the F22 and F35 rule the skies.

If you read between the lines of the report Zaph is providing then it becomes obvious that the kill ratios are extremely comforting if you are a pilot of either the F22 or F35. If not, then you get shot down an awful lot.

P


no i get that. im just looking forward into the future when they meet an enemy craft that is just as capable as they are. id like to know how they handle that situation so we can maybe find flaws in our planning and remedy them. atm they rule the skies but it wont always be that way
edit on 18-4-2017 by TheScale because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:32 PM
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a reply to: TheScale

At this point there is no reason to. China has only just put the J-20 into service and in very limited numbers. Until they have a better idea of what its capabilities are they don't have a good simulation to go up against.

The J-20 is the only other aircraft flying even close to a fifth generation, and it's closer to the F-117 than the F-22 in terms of stealth.

The F-15 with AESA is theclosest approximation to anything the F-35 will go up against right now and for the next 5-10 years.



posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:36 PM
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a reply to: TheScale

There's currently nothing else that will come close to either of them in development. The T-50, J-20, and J-31 from all the evidence seen to date are LO or barely into VLO, as opposed to both the F-22 and F-35 being VVLO. The T-50 will give them a run for their money if it can get into WVR, but they're not buying them in any kind of numbers for several more years at least.



posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:42 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: TheScale

There's currently nothing else that will come close to either of them in development. The T-50, J-20, and J-31 from all the evidence seen to date are LO or barely into VLO, as opposed to both the F-22 and F-35 being VVLO. The T-50 will give them a run for their money if it can get into WVR, but they're not buying them in any kind of numbers for several more years at least.


yeah but its always good to stay ahead of the curve. id love to see them pit the f-22 and f-35 against themselves just to see how that all goes down. would be interesting and im sure they would gather some useable info. maybe they have and it just something they cant talk about. which is perfectly reasonable.



posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 10:51 PM
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a reply to: TheScale

They are staying ahead. They're in the process of determining the requirements for PCA/F-XX. They will formally start the program in 2-3 years, and are taking steps to fast track development.



posted on Apr, 19 2017 @ 12:19 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: TheScale

They are staying ahead. They're in the process of determining the requirements for PCA/F-XX. They will formally start the program in 2-3 years, and are taking steps to fast track development.


i remember reading about that recently and being quite happy to see the Navy finally getting a plane more inline with what they like.



posted on Apr, 19 2017 @ 07:55 AM
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a reply to: TheScale

They do. F-22 pilots train against other F-22's. I would image the F-35's do the same.



posted on Apr, 19 2017 @ 08:02 AM
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Man. I need to get me one of those civilian Red Air jobs. Sounds like the best job ever.

Friend: "What did you do today?"
Me: "Eh, slept in. Drove to the airport, 15 minute brief, launched as a 4-ship, got shot after 10 minutes, hit my regen spot, Got shot on the egress, landed, got lunch. Did that again 3 hours later. Hit the bar. Asleep by 10pm"

Good gig.



posted on Apr, 19 2017 @ 06:04 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: TheScale

At this point there is no reason to. China has only just put the J-20 into service and in very limited numbers. Until they have a better idea of what its capabilities are they don't have a good simulation to go up against.

The J-20 is the only other aircraft flying even close to a fifth generation, and it's closer to the F-117 than the F-22 in terms of stealth.

The F-15 with AESA is theclosest approximation to anything the F-35 will go up against right now and for the next 5-10 years.


The right adversary threat then is high-performance missiles tracked by a E-2D with the latest low frequency APY-9 radar.
edit on 19-4-2017 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



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