posted on May, 20 2006 @ 01:44 AM
The manoeuvre is simply one with an extremely high alpha, leading to a decrease in energy (and therefore airspeed). To achieve this, the initial
entry airspeed must be relatively high to maintain forward momentum, and the centre of gravity suitably aft for the plane to pivot.
Go much above 250-270 and the instantaneous radial G will black the pilot out, even wearing a water suit like the Libelle. IMO. At high altitudes
(which is the only place where we will officially let our flying monkeys engage in PSTM), there is probably a density modifier as well.
As most of the videos show, the rearward position isn't held that long, not long enough to get tone and pickle off a shot in my opinion as the
position isn't sustainable (even a Hornet pulling a high alpha move to get a shot off needs to make sure that he is going to win, because the loss of
energy will probably result in the other aircraft getting the advantage).
With HOBS the question is probably whether you want to let the missile do the work (AIM-9X with a 1980's motor) as well as why you haven't taken the
shot while the target is still FQ. It may be fuzing or gimbal rate limitered or an expression of tactical reluctance to fire weapons under potential
mad dog conditions of LOAL (ASRAAM and P5 are the only heat weapons _specifically_ stated in public text as being able to fly an IMU strapdown
interval which allows the trajectory to be shaped for an independent acquisition after firing).
That said, as far back as the CLAWS/'lady fingers' Concept rounds (during AIMVAL) I think it was, we have had weapons system integration capability
to allow the missiles to be consented off (in multiple) based on the pilot pulling /thru/ a LARS type pitch and yaw rate zone and the fire control
doing the solution decisioning on exactly when and where. In truth, it's not that much different from IFFC on guns and may actually be easier to
'match bearing and shoot!' with powered-round compensation.
As for the manoeuvre causing the adversary to fly-by, if you are BFMing an aircraft that may use the Cobra tactically (and again, I'd be really
surprised if anyone did), then you would be aware of this, and fly accordingly. One circle maybe, so that you can Rmin him when he pitches in, then
use energy to get around the circle as he sluggishly tries to accelerate, and hit him with your OBS missile. Depends on your own platforms
capabilities, weapons and aircrew training.
Keeping track of tiny airframe deflections as you walk the threat up the canopy has been a problem since F-5Es played with F-15As. It doesn't take a
Cobra, just a slow and or visually bio-limitered pilot squiting out the top of his jet at a dot half a mile or more away. Any system which can
(Monopulse) accurately assess angular variations in airframe displacement along it's flight vector can help but radar hits a gimbal limit and IRSTs
are usually not equipped to look for intra-airframe gradient contrast changes.
At the end of the day, and another thread covers this in more detail, WVR simply isn't an environment anyone wants to be in these days. BVR killing
is the goal, and this as much as anything makes the Cobra manoeuvre good for airshows, and little else.
At the end of the day, especially at altitude, it's likely that a 1-2MW ABL is effectively a line of sight system. Which means a capability to make
eyeblink kills for which any and all definition of maneuver is meaningless.
However; once you approach this level of capability, to beat it what you are really trying to do is stress either the:
1. Acquisition Capabilties.
2. Cooling Cycle.
3. Total Number Of Shots.
All of which presuppose the use of _cheap_, small, exceptionally high performance drones. Which can probably make use of PSTM from such high entry
and exit speeds as to literally beat the accelerative stall margin _and come back_ before all speed is lost. Or at least while maintaining a credible
(3-4 seconds) ability to get back to fighting smash.
If the ultimate PSTM machine is an AAM, the question becomes what can you do by dropping the fighting speed down to levels for which a longer
'impulse' (liquid fuel tank) period can sustain a 400-500 knot tactical game.
At this level, the ability to divorce the vector line from the fuselage one, either temporarily to employ weapons or spoof a conventional EM circle
fight. Or permanently to change larger aspects (plane and lane) of it will greatly reward the nation that can combine reasonable affordability (or
signature control) in getting beyond the BVR threat. To get INTO the merge condition at which hordes of cheap-small missiles or microlasers or even
conventional guns can do some good.
It will be like a Highland Charge motif all over again except there won't be any gutless pilots to suddenly realize they forgot to wash their 'other
car' in running away. So that fights will be made real by virtue of the numbers and _will_ to close (no matter what) of a robot dogfighter.
At which point, we'd better pray that ATL as an F-35 scaled system is not only small enough but also CHEAP enough to fit to enough formation aircraft
as to shoot down a veritable lemming horde of enemy.