reply to post by WestPoint23
There's some pretty accurate stuff in these fighter threads....and things that musta sneaked over from Aliens forums. I really enjoy the exchanges
tho. Don't let up.
Unless someone has actually been in air-to-air it's really hard to convey the environment and the myriad of factors that go in to an engagement. Just
starting with minor differences in scenario, set up and ROE can get busy enuff. When you get to the dynamics of a knife fight, we aren't anywhere
near able to model the mental processes involved - too much goin on that happens too fast. But someday, as hard as it is for an old War Horse to say,
expect UCAVs to take over the air battle in the future. They will be expensive too. For now, the challenges are in developing a mental model, a
decision rule set, that can even approach a trained, rigorously selected human's abilities. Try to put a man in the loop with an array of wide-field
telemetered sensors on a UCAV and we still need to solve the challenges of link reliability and security plus the big one - signal latency. If you've
ever tried online first-person shooter games over satellite or thru a slow net conn, you already know about this.
Some other points that may contrib:
During ATF Dem/Val, my only hands/brains-on time, we resisted routine pressure to back off the agility/maneuver requirements. Same w/ the gun. The
same mentalities that gave us the F-4s' weapons suite were alive, well and vocal. We never lost sight of the damage to US/Free World forces, security
and warfighters if a MiG-21 class fighter could pop up out of the weeds and put BB's in our shiney new, world almost-beater jet. We retained that
possib in all of our threat and tactics discussions, ATF Standard Threat Assessment Report development, effectiveness study guidance to the
Contractors and systems trade-study sims.To dominate the air combat arena, you have to be able kill from as far away as feasible and carry the fight
all the way down to knives. Now, with that said, it doesn't mean some guy, whether thru luck, skill, good-guy goof or evil treachery, might not get a
piece of you some time. The only thing you can do is minimize that possibility to the greatest extent possible. Seems like our brothers and sisters
that carried the torch thru FSD and to IOC did a pretty fair job of it.
So you know, ATF was run against a wide variety of potential opponents including Super Eagles and Falcons with ATF motors and as much signature
reduction as they could take notionally advanced MiG-29s and SU-27's plus what we called ASF, Advanced Soviet Fighter. The ASF was especially nasty
to deal with cuz we didn't know which attributes the (then) Soviets would emphasize and be able to build - so we had to give it pretty much all of
them. In hind sight, we'd have probably been more accurate to give them good instantaneous and sustained maneuvering, excellent power and weapons,
but not quite as much sensor and VLO performance.
With F-22 EID capability, there won't be as many scenarios requiring gun or 'Winder battles as before, but they'll still happen so the jet needs to
be able to deal w/ folks in close. By the way, saying F-22 has "good" EID capability is like Custer at Little Bighorn saying, "Hey, these Natives
are rather unfriendly around here."
Derivative US sky fighters - F-15 w/ ATF motors and avionics, reduced signature, Tomcat 21 could supercruise a little once burnered thru the mach &
did okay against current gen threats and their projected derivatives. Didn't hang in w/ next-gen air threats or surface weapons very well at all w/o
augmentation. Super Falcons didn't carry the fuel, sensors or weapon load to be very serious. Super Hornet w/ only uprated motors didn't have the LO
or perf numbers to even put in the game. E/F prevailed on politics w/ fudged cost projections, but is still a darn good jet for today, ...