posted on Dec, 17 2005 @ 03:09 AM
The F-15 'rule of thumb' for the MiG-25R intercept profile was-
"Clean up, sprint up, ramp up!" with the AIM-7 coming off as the jet hung, nose high, on the edge of a stall at around 1.89 and 50-60K. Whether or
not you could get the SARH flyout (maintained dish point) interval afterwards before flameout bunny hopping over the top is not made clear but the
pilot said that the only real assumption that could be made workable was if the Foxbat was either a radiobombing (LORAN equivalent) direct attack or
photorecce run which required overflight.
Because then the Eagles could stagger back multiple offset shooter-eyeball teams (the shooter zooms-passive) and hope to get the MiG-25 to slow up (in
a relative closure sense) as it 'deflected' off any contrail sightings as much as RWR detections of obstacles in it's direct objective ground
They could never catch the 'Bat-D if it used standoff SLAR or ELINT systems.
The SR-71 is roughly similar to the MiG-25 in that 'Warp 9' was rarely if ever used, both because of serious, never resolved, problems with fuel
efficiencies for range and some /nasty/ (especially in the first two decades of use before the digital integrated spike/engine/autopilot controls)
unstart behaviors if you tried to command thrust and vector change as a reactionary measure.
OTOH, where the Foxbat could only run at about Mach 2.34 in sustained cruise and took that up to about 2.65 for 15 minute sprints after a further 1-2
minute acceleration, the Habu would merrily gallumph along at about 2.61-2.79 with the 3.2 'official' max in reserve. And it's HUGE lifting body
effect on wingloading was such that it could do some things with the speed profile without sacrificing absolute ceiling performance (fully half the
MiG-25's effective 'lift' came off the inlets and then only in certain ramp/engine modes).
Of course the Blackbird also had a /vastly/ superior electronics suite.
Still there were a LOT of compromises for our mission profiles so that heading into an enclosed space like the Gulf of Bothnia or the Yellow Sea, you
didn't squeeze yourself between tanking issues (inshore, 'oblique' to the dipsydoodle and recce run flyup profile, but also visible and vulnerable
to long range intercept) and overflight.
These tended to make the jet a lot more vulnerable on egress than common sense said it should have been and is one of the reasons the Soviet
Foxbat/Foxhound platforms (themselves with massive external as well as internal fuel supersonic-time boosting and an AAR probe later) did so much to
shut down the BB's mission utility with pack tactics closing down the vector swing (The Acrid and Amos are both massively bigger than the Sparrow
'On a straight run', if you look at the shock patterns coming off the nose (draw a triangle) the SR-71 was good for about 3.7-4.0 and probably over
89,000ft. This should have been enough to limit A2A interception from anything outside +/- 20 degrees on the nose.
Whether it would be equally useful for the aircraft's original 'RS= SIOP' support mission is rather dubious IMO. Because even the Guild/Guideline
had nuclear tip options. And the S-300V in particular could also make kinematic cutoff by 'hanging a curtain' of multishot weapons which
rounded-the-top of a ballistic arc and then TVM'd their way into the SR-71's cockpit, from above.
Speed only really works when it is so high that you can make the rocket boosted alternative always have to slant /across/ as much as up to get you.
And that in turn means leaving the high-penalty region of 4.0-6.0 with an envelope expansion on both ceiling and range rate numbers up to the
'sunline' declinator on a 200-400,000ft range and /minimum/ Mach-8 to 12.
In this mode you are a minimum 1,000-1,500km out from target grazing angle horizon on your sensor suite and constantly crossing the margin between
waveriding and orbital insert behaviors which means your fuel burn goes back down towards a predictable and thermodynamically 'affordable' level
/once you get into the groove/.
Fruthermore, the only thing which can touch you is typically DEW weapons as any kind of mechanical intercept has to strain just to (Brilliant Eyes)
see you as it generates the kind of cross track collision-lead for a cuttoff.
The problem then being that the amount of power you need to put in to get out of the low hypersonics requires methane or slush-hydrogen in significant
quantities and the storage, fueling, expansion and structurals-cooling questions deriving from this makes a real mess of your takeoff and climbout
profiles. So bad in fact that you typically end up packaged as a 'Sanger' which, as the D-21 program showed, is also just not an easy or wise
solution for preaccelerating a PDWE or Scram type powerplant up to 'higher and faster enough'.
IF ever we get there, technologically, with systems approaches like Falcon, the solution will pose entirely new strategic difficulties however, not
least because the U.S. will no longer be an island continent or untouchable 'Arsenal Of Democracy'. It will be fully vulnerable to tactical,
-conventional-, (albeit rod from god) attacks from any other overseas power with a like tech base. This will in turn mean the Space Weapons Treaties
will have to go the way of the dinos. As you kill FOBS/TAV vehicles with lookdown/shootdown DEWs from orbital battlestations, not surface launch.
[edit on 17-12-2005 by ch1466]