I wonder how they will solve it, Meteor is larger and more "bulky" than amraam. Maybe 4 of them will fit into the JSF bays, but not six I think.
No, the BVRAAM's chief difficulties lie in it's sidemounted inlet ducts and as these are canted (and the tail fins are of reduced span on the lower
sides and midbody wings absent altogether) the volumetrics remain essentially the same (a little deeper I think).
More importantly, the BVRAAM cannot be fitted into the F-35 in more than pairs because the upper outboard, 'heavy weight' munition bay probably has
a trapeze, it will be like that of the F-117 in being extendable only sufficient to facilitate loading. Smaller AAMs will not extend into the
airstream and the ejector may not have enough oomph to ensure breakout past the boundary layer.
The primary air-to-air armament of the JSF, in U.S. service, is a pair of Raytheon AIM-120 advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs),
carried on launchers built intothe inboard weapons bay doors. The details of this installation are significant. Two AMRAAMs constitute a defensive
load, not armament for a fighter sweep, and there is no provision to carry more AAMs internally, replacing the bombs. AMRAAM itself, without a
short-range AAM to back it up, is mainly a defensive weapon.
Bill Sweetman, _Ultimate Fighter, Lockheed Martin F-35 Strike Fighter_
For Meteor it was either adapt or face possible extinction.
Actually, I imagine it was rather the opposite. If you read on the India Defense site's continuation article describing the BVRAAMs options, there
are some key elements of functionality described:
Born out of the multi-national Project S225X examining the future BVRAAM technologies such as ram-rocket propulsion, two way data-links, dual-band and
dual-type seekers, stealth technology and improved resistance to Electronic Counter Measures (ECM), MBDA Meteor sports a stealthy, low drag,
lightweight body with two wings mounted centrally on the upper body and four fins mounted at the rear. The missile radome encloses the MBDA/Thales X
or Ku-band radar seeker following the “fire-and-forget” Active Radar Homing (ARH) mode.
However Meteor is sure to “posses” provisions for the futuristic concept of “Cooperative Fighter Operations” or Mixed Fighter Force Concept
(MFFC) that is essential for future BVR engagements and optimum performance and results. Pairs of aircraft will be data-linked; as one illuminates the
other launches the missiles against the targets. In such engagements the “striker” fighter will be able to impart the greatest kinetic energy to
the Meteor BVRAAM by accelerating up to Mach 2 and then manoeuvring out of the engagement. The illuminator fighter such as the Sukhoi-30MKI with
powerful radar capable of performing like a mini-AWACS would remain firmly subsonic keeping a decent distance from the target, and providing either
command-guidance updates or illuminating the target. The IAF have absorbed the MFFC well and superbly demonstrated his during Cope India 2004 air
exercise with the United States Air Force (USAF).
The implications are clear. The Meteor (for which I have seen range estimates as high as _250km_ can effectively be used like a wireguided torpedo.
The parent aircraft using it's own or another airframes (offboard) sensor data to fire the weapon down a bearing line towards a target which will
only become visible when the weapon itself is within Xnm (say 6nm for RF and 10 for IIR).
If you believe what is being qouted for detectables on some of the late generation European IRST (EUROFIRST/Pirate=60km, IR-OTIS= 'more than the
PS-05 at high altitudes' etc. etc.) then the question becomes one of absolute F-pole range versus NEZ and APole handoff variables.
In this, the JSF with a military thrust to weight ratio of about .5:1 (a real slug compared to the F/A-22) _cannot_ afford to play sprint games on the
wrong end of a 500-700nm or greater combat radius. Most especially if the tankers if not AEW&C assets themselves are pushed back these newer
Hence the JSF with all of two shot per airframe cannot _afford_ to engage in what the magazine article calls 'striker/illuminator' games because
every jet had better be online and firing when that DIVISION (flight of four or more) comes across the nose.
And since, for both ingress/recovery fuel (a mission kill is still a kill), signature bloom (AB -quadruples- even nose one detection distances) and
enemy feint-tactics reasons (you shoot, I see the shot as an IR bloom, I run away, you lose your missiles, I come back. like a shark no longer afraid
of a swimmer beating the water), the F-35 cannot do what is illustrated as a principle Su-30MKI tactical method.
Which is where the radar VLO, wideband IFDL and and offboard or potentially EOTS cue comes to the for. Because if the JSF is front-sector safe to say
40nm off the Flanker's nose, and the Flanker (even to the small APG-81) is visible at 80; _even if_ the ADGE or threat AEW is providing high
power/rear quarter tracking of the F-35's the JSF should be able to get first shot off and running, from a subsonic start.
'Mach 2' supersprint games take time and distance. And if the enemy has superior pole dominance vs. your more limited (Q-factors vs. Inertial G)
maneuvering ability on your fighter, the result is what I call a 'boar spear' engagement in which the very speed you close at, acts to increase my
firing range while impaling you for geometry setup and (chainsaw or similar) recovery time windows.
I also fully believe that the Meteor almost certainly has an upper end limit on how much ram the VFDR inlets can stand before plateau chemistry
efficiency flattens out or the nozzle simply doesn't give any more 'thumb over garden hose' improvements. It may well also be that the nose
ceramics on the radome and certainly on any IIR seeker have absolute material or plasma wash limits. Which means that expecting a Mach 2 initial
boost state (parent airframe) to grant a Mach 4 'class' missile a totalized speed of Mach 5-6 is probably unrealistic.
Again, especially if you are not entirely sure where the enemy is but because of the rangepoint efficiencies of RF, he knows _exactly_ where your
hulking 4-5m2 frontals Sukhoi is located.
AIM-120C7 and D probably won't give the JSF enough total envelope dominance if the enemy (even random=tac turn) complicates the engagement geometry.
But the Meteor offers the potential of firing at say 40nm and having the weapon run the enemy down as he goes oblique and extends out to 60-65.
Because the Ramjet (even at a lower average Mach of say 3.5) gives you that constant impulse right through the terminal endgame.
Funny, the piece quoted above mentions this weapons integration as key to exports, as if MBDA has just thought of it, but doesn't seem to realise
that this integration was required by the RAF and RN from the day the UK entered the programme and thus was always going to happen anyway, Duh!
The RAF and RN are fools. The F-35B is little more than a toy. And no desire to replace the 'fighters at sea must always be!' SHAR with another
AAW platform will change the fact that the STOVL penalty (about 300nm) on gas, added to the lack of an adequate internal carriage munition (right now
they are looking at GBU-22 as a 'Paveway IV' with GPS improvement) set means they cannot bomb worth a darn either. The USMC is in similar straits,
not being able to keep up with the conventional strike packages for either pace or distance out. Except that their move to go for an 'All STOVL Air
Force' is going to hurt the USN which depends on them for Reserve Air Group generation of additional F-18A/C aircraft so that we never hit another
post-9/11 slump in coverage some 30 days long.
I don't see the significance of this post. The F-16 is the most widely exported plane in the world and it carries armaments from all over the world,
not just the US. The F-35 will inevitably do the same thing. I don't think that quote has anything to do with US armament inferiority, it's just
saying, that to be more marketable, the JSF should carry armaments such as Meteor, Brimstone, ASRAAM, etc.
With a few exceptions, there are a lot of foreign weapons /envelope cleared/ on the F-16 (MBD DWS-39 export variant, ASRAAM and Magic all come to
mind) simply because it is a high energy platform and a native of the Eglin/Tyndal AFWC. Yet actually _very few_ that are integrated with the jet.
Almost entirely due to proprietary source code commercialism.
The ROCAF wanted to qualify MICA and despite the non-NATO standardized bus system it would have been relatively simple. But the U.S. said no.
Officially because such compatibility would mean that other customers could demand an equivalent configuration and that could destabilize a lot of
areas where 'no first ARH' was a mandate. Not-so-officially it is purely because spares and munitions (see Polish list of F-16C.50+ addons) almost
double the official sales values for the jet.
About the only weapons that I can think of which don't apply are the Israeli's (who are forbidden to sell to U.S. F-16 users most of their AAM/PGM
systems and have to use U.S./German intermediaries even for the LITENING targeting pod). And the Pakistani's who integrated ATLIS II and AS-30L (as
well as GBU-10) back in the early 80's to counter Indian TBM silos I believe. Oh, I think the F-16E also has IRIS-T and maybe PGM-500 on it. But
that is effectively another one-off (nobody else can buy them, nobody can /afford to/) 'local arrangement'.
The only reason that MBD (Euromissile) is likely being allowed to do this is because the U.S. had effectively dropped all their AAAM and ACIMD
research work back in 1990 and so were caught flat footed when their 'wonder weapon' AIM-120 proved to be a lot less perfect than advertised.
Raytheon was authorized to practically offer to pay for the British FMRAAM program through 'cooperative development funding' (the whole MOU thing
again) if the Brits would agree to a staged improvement effort via an interim ERAAM (11" motor extension) process that /led to/ the FMRAAM (U.S.
Meteor equivalent with AMRAAM frontend) around 2015 or so. The Brits laughed in our faces, as well they might after AMRAAM/ASRAAM went south. And
the U.S. capitulated by allowing Euromissile to both build and sell the latest AIM-120C5 to 'whomever they wished' as an element of Eurofighter
sanctionless marketing. We in turn got access to the French ramjet technology and 2-way datalink stuff.
All this being done to ensure that nothing competed with the F/A-22 for 'air dominance justification'. Now that the Raptor is a dead duck, we are
starting to see what commiting to effectively an F-117 with radar and afterburner is going to do to our conventional force enablement capabilties.
And there is nothing left in the U.S. technology base (look at the AMSC HSAD and tell me that's not 'scaled Meteor technology') after the
Clintonian Sell Off to make up the difference as we go overseas for weapons purchases ourselves.
Given the F/A-18E/F is our only other conventional platform in multiyear procurement, we are in a truly sad way if things heat up in SWA.