Originally posted by BillHicksRules
Lets take a point by point look at the items you feel make the Raptor "a quantum leap forward"
Supercruise - You get where you need to go faster or you get to bug out quicker. Nice to have but hardly a "quantum leap". Concorde had supercruise
in the 60's.
As it was pointed out, Supercruise is the ability to fly at supersonic speeds WITHOUT afterburner. The concorde needed to use it's afterburner to get
up to speed.
The reason that this is such a leap forward is not so much the fact that it is traveling at the speed it does, but that it manages to do this while
also staying stealthy.
Generally, stealth shapes do not mix well with fast shapes, and likewise traveling quickly usually involves more heat which does not mix well with a
The idea isn't so much that it can travel at Mach 1+, it's that it does this WHILE staying stealthy.
Thrust Vectoring - Technology has been around for 15-20 years and in that time many new aircraft have been created and only one using it. Makes me
think that it is not all it is cracked up to be. Look at UAV and UCAV development. Less than half of them plan to include it.
TVC is still a state of the art aspect of modern fighters - the first production fighters in the world with it are just coming out.
And again, I believe that what makes the Raptors TVC so impressive is that it manages to have it while also not giving up anything in it's RCS and
it's thermal stealth.
Stealth - Great at BVR useless at visual range engagements. The US has always had a political problem with authorising large scale BVR engagements and
quite rightly so given the errors it has made and the friendly fire incidents it has had.
I believe you are wrong in your assumption that stealth only aplies to BVR engagements. First of all, the Raptor uses a stealth paint scheme to hide
it from visual protection.
Secondly, A2A missles still use radar and heat as the means of tracking an enemy. The Raptor does not give off these signatures in the way normal
As Intelgurl pointed out, an F-15 didn't even have the Raptor on radar untill it flew over top of him. Well obviously the missles are going to need a
lock BEFORE the Raptor passes overhead don't ya think? I'm no pilot, but I would recon that it might be too late to fight back if my enemy has
already flown over me.
Another point to consider is that the weapons deployed on the Raptor are those currently available to the existing USAF fleet so no "quantum leap"
in capabilities there.
Actually, there ARE new weapons planned for the Raptor including a specialised anti cruise missle missle. The AMRAAM is the main weapon, but I fail to
see how that is a bad thing. If my memory serves me right, it has a 93% kill ratio. Also, one has to keep in mind that the AMRAAM keeps in line with
the stealth aspect of the raptor.
With the AMRAAM, the Raptor may fire on it's target and the AMRAAM will use the Raptors radar to navigate. This prevents the enemy from ever getting
a warning untill the AMRAAM turns on it's own radar, at which point the enemy will have just seconds to react.
I see the raptor is more like a evolution of the F-15 and F-16 than a quantum leap forward.
Well I would beg to differ, but you are entitled to your own opinion. However, I believe we were speaking about "generations" of fighters. The
Raptor represents THE LARGEST leap in technology ever in fighter aircraft, adding THREE technological developements never before used (Stealth, TVC,
Supercruise) so if this is not a new generation, then we are still on the first one.