posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 01:44 AM
I think the f-4 / aim-7 analogy is very pertinent to any judgements made about the raptor.
NO. Because BVR _did not fail_ only the tactics supporting a war-winning (destroy their air defense ON THE GROUND, _permanently_, whereever it is
found to be setting up) employment of it did.
The point was that pilot skill and aircraft maneuverability in close combat trumped the far superior technological edge that us phantoms had over
their mig opponents.
NO. Between 1965 and 66 we shot down something like 65 of their jets. Virtually wiping out the NVAF. We then came back in 67-68 and did it again.
And then again in 72.
The first time they were hacks. The second they were our equals if not betters. The third, 'half of us' had taken some lessons-learned remedial
steps as well and we hosed them right well and proper so that, again, by the time of the fall Linebacker progression, they had nothing left to fight
the B-52's with (ironic given this was the MiG-17/19/21's principal design mission).
But the fact remains that _by far and away_ the greatest number of losses occured to SAMs and Flak.
Would you say that a SAM is an 'instant ace out of the box'? No. Yet it performs at a significantly higher level of competency than 90% of most
pilots do, even with their initial '10 mission hump' out of the way.
FOR EITHER SIDE.
An AAM is little more than a short range SAM 'prelofted to altitude'.
The only question left to answer in making it truly a dominant killer is NOT signature resolve. But rather _persistence_.
i.e. Why have a 20ft, 1-4,000lb telephone pole on a transporter which is visible for MILES. Why have an interceptor which needs 10,000ft of runway
visible for HUNDREDS of miles.
When the very speed that the former's massive motor represents equates to ONE pass at the target. And a litteral hit-or-miss-ile throwaway. While
the latter is crippled not only by the need to be skillfully flown But by the COST of returning to do it again and again?
A 'plane' that could be fired off a catapult on the back of a truck and recover (if at all) via parachute. A missile that could /reattack/ with
roughly the same downrange capabilities as a plane (200nm and an hour).
Would be a terrifying hybrid indeed.
And they already exist. As target and recce drones.
You wanna talk 'unfair judgment of the skill vs. technology debate' you talk 25 drones coming at you with full intent to _formate_ (up alongside the
canopy) before pulling the pin on a self destruct charge.
Because you won't even see the first one (24" fuselage diameter). And if you DO, you won't beat much more than 4-5 others. Before you are bled
down completely. Out of energy, ideas, altitude and luck.
All for roughly the cost of ONE Su-27 Flanker. All with little or no more 'skill over doggedness' than an SA-2 Guideline straight from the
And engineers and generals at the time said that it would overmatch any jet in the world and that dogfighting was dead. That stalemate in the skies
over vietnam caused a huge shift in the way the us trained its pilots and equipped its jets as us pilots had horrible kill ratios against "inferior
jets". I take much of what I hear about the f-22 with a grain of salt because it is not proven in combat.
When they were doing the runup to AIMVAL, one series of studies (from _The Pentagon Paradox_) showed that an F-15 with AIM-82 coming out as something
like 800-900:1 in favor of the Eagle vs. a MiG-21 type threat.
Comparisons with the F-4 showed 400:1 as I recall.
Of course these numbers are ridiculous because the circumstantial proof of superiority has many more variables relative to numbers involved and other,
'outside' (weather, S2A, fuel, encounter mode) specific modifiers to the fight.
Yet the fact remains, take a time machine back to Vietnam and 'ask any fighter pilot':
1. And he will only choose an agile, gun equipped, dogfighter if he can reach the target and drop bombs on it. AS PART OF DOING HIS JOB.
2. While he will choose a HOBS missile over a gun OR agility where that means the ability to kill enemy 'dogfighters', dominantly in the front
quarter, /before/ beginning a circle fight.
3. Finally, he will choose an LDSD, BVR capable, RADAR MISSILE, platform, before either 1 or 2. So long as he can continue to employ it through the
merge and into the dogfight.
He would be stupid to do anything else because, where 'complexity' happens in air combat as a function of late detection and/or inadequate ability
to attrite threats before the dynamics of a 'dogfight' are _forced_ upon you; the more you can 'keep things simple' by seeing the threat leave
it's airbase. Seeing it try to 'sneak under the radar'. So that you can SHOOT IT as a _known bandit_ before the enemy pilot loops up around
behind you (again, typical for MiG-21 supersonic snapup into missile firing conditions).
The more likely it is that you will win a determinatively greater fraction of the fight.
What stealth, datalinks and SSC do is add to the likelihood that, even if you are not able to kill all of them. You can still refuse the accepted
merge. Have a 'contempt' of it if you will, by which to go home a killer of X-many of their trained pilots and working airframes.
Rome was not built in a day. But given the
And lockheed stands to gain alot from raptor propaganda. And before the us dumps so much more money into a fighter that was designed to be less
expensive than the f-15 and now cost 3 times more - I want to know that it is worth the money. I fear that basing the effectiveness of a jet purely
on small radar and heat profile - is a risky proposition. The way technology marches forward we will see some kid invent a device that makes its
stealth characteristics obsolete in no time. So I want to know that my air supremacy fighter is not one dimensional and that it can - with a well
trained pilot - shoot down anything in the sky. But I think the emphasis will always be on well trained pilot.
NO. The emphasis, as with everything is on the cheap and the quick. Because a good pilot can die when someone sends a GBU through his HAS as he
lights the fires. A good pilot can be /butchered/ from ranges and distances beyond the level to which his awareness and G-endurance can compensate
for with 'skill'. Because even the best pilot in the world, launching in 2's and 4's as remains typical for most states we encounter, is going to
be steamrollered on a 'first as last' mission basis with NO prior experience or ALL of the experience in the world.
What matters in warfare of almost any technologic nature are the four rules of FIREPOWER:
1. Shoot, Shoot, Shoot.
The more you fire for any given munition:kill statistical LER value, the more you will destroy your enemy.
2. Mass Fires Not Forces.
Since the /platform/ (that is a fighter airframe) actually doesn't destroy anything unless by chance attrition, putting it at direct risk as the
launcher of the kill mechanisms which DO make the kill is foolish.
3. Maneuver to Target, Not Engage.
Particularly in the age of stealth and netcentric tactics, flying down a groundtrack 'looking' for something is a great way to end up DEAD. At the
same time, if the majority of your system cost is inherent to the process of guaranteeing targeting superiority, even if you cannot kill /all/
threats. you can at least get those which are important.
4. Never associate your fires with your targeting.
Again, this is a value statement based on trading the ability to shoot well for the ability to shoot at all. It may actually be an exception which
defines the rule in AAW however because if you put sensor leveraging into the munition and not the launch platform and then /network the munitions/
you can theoretically make targeting come as a function of 'aggressive maneuver'.
If I could launch 100 drones which cost the same as two Su-27's and they swept down range at between Mach 1 and 1.4 (on turbine power) for 100nm,
finding only 4 F-35s as a function of 'duck duck GOOSE!' interleaved seeker FOV reporting (weapons spaced as say 1-2 miles) in the process, I would
have STILL made a statistical trade of 100 milloin vs. 400 million dollars.
At that level, not even the U.S. can afford to soak the loss. And they cannot find the basing mode to shut off the pipe for when I launch /another/
100 drones, tomorrow.