posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 03:06 PM
Originally posted by waynos
different plane, different role emile. its not a case of it being 'not as good'. It is that the RAF specified a two seater for the role, it was
designed as a long range interdictor not a close support fighter. The F-15E is also a two seater.
R&M changes. Lolo is no longer as great a guarantee of safety as it once was in comparison with the use of standoff munitions with glide kits. The
Tornado could readily be fitted out for single seat operations from this standpoint but the problem would be that the TI GMR is not really a multimode
radar and this plus the Fins notable lack of high altitude performance (VG limited transonic performance, massive wingloading, low internal fraction,
huge tanks with limited G capability and engines that aren't worth the powder to blow them up thanks to the 'triple spool' effects on thrust
retention) would inhibit the types survivability in all but the most moderate of threat regimes.
It would be cheaper to buy used F-16A/B and fit them out with MLU+ electronics as then you get HARM and AMRAAM for a start.
The EA-6B was pretty much a tour bus for the front right seater last I heard. ADVCAP would have reduced rear seat operator loads to the point where a
single EWO could do the job. ICAP 3 may be different because the bus systems and total automation levels are reduced while increased emphasis on
COMINT and other 'exotics' is replacing much of the fire control and surveillance roleback mission. That said, a glass cockpit and things like an
automated terrain database to make sure 'all three observers' don't screw up again and ram a skitram will also have an effect.
Here too, the big problem with the Queer is that it's ancient technology baseline which exists in so many year and systems production blocks (they
/insist/ on buying them '10 at a time') as to be uneconomical to maintain fleet availability by remaining fatigue life and upgrade requirements
(i.e. you can no longer play canbird on one-of-six because each is effectively it's own build standard, even in basic systems). If they wanted to
keep the EA-6B in service, they really needed to stick with the A-6F/G program and cross pollenate to increase serviceability overall.
Now, with double digit systems, extremely capable networking and LO ('deeper and deeper'), I doubt if the type has enough ERPs to do the SOJAM
mission and I frankly wouldn't send it as a penetrating asset without a pretty big firewall of DEAD and OCA to run interference.
Don't 'improve' junk. Replace it and start the fatigue cycle over again. Making sure that what you bring online, especially in 'specialist
enabler' limited numbers, is not cross-roled to a mission which destroys airframe hours or mission capability (Heavy Gas on constant loft = lots of
TAC and high wing spar fatigue, Whale or Electronic Attack = 'die coming home or die in the target area' on mission trades).
Myself, the only way forward is with a mixed fleet of light and heavy UCAV to act more as ISR/Relay platforms and network (stand-forward)
jam-on-contact assets which 'oh yeah' also carry SDB or HSARM to kill what they dazzle. Anything else, with typical 2-decade development times and
the NEED for DEWS to protect against missiles and rockets, is just going to men dead pilots and lost wars.