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Is fighter agility overrated?

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posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 10:18 AM
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Well, I didn't say that WWR is dead, just maneuvrability is not very necessary. The reason for it was that in past you needed to turn your nose to the oponents direction, now it is not needed. So you can build a fighter that flies like a brick, but if you give him 360 degrees IR sensors coverage and missiles with lock after launch he doesn't even need to maneuvre - he will just flight straight and fire short range missiles - they will do all the maneuvring work alone.
Also while some BVR weapons have lover hit chance, I think the hit probability of modern short range missiles is much higher.
Also how many shots you have with cannon? 3 bursts maybe? And what's the probabilty of cannon hitting it's target?




posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 10:23 AM
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And then you'll sit there wondering what happened to all your fighters, when I sneak my SU-27s into WVR range with you, where I'm inside your short range missile range, and your flying bricks can't manuver enough to shoot them down.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 04:29 PM
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Ok, so what are the details of the above scenario? The full flow will at least give me some sort of idea why you think an Su-27 is going to get into R-73 range.

Again, for those who keep on harping on the whole Vietnam thing, the limitations in Vietnam were brought about due to:

1. Missiles being still in their infancy technology wise. And active missiles were still a ways off. In the same way that I don't think there will be much WVR action in the future, I don't think there will be much SARH action either.

2. The aircrew couldn't employ their missiles because of ROE upgrade issues. VID was a requirement, and at the ranges we are talking, AIM-7 became next to useless. But I can now use a decent air to ground targeting pod to get a VID on an adversary fighter BVR today. As well as rely on the the host of terrestrial and space based asssets that give me point of origin, type, speed, altitude, direction of flight, even load-out in some cases. Makes you a lot more confident to pickle off a shot BVR. The only real issue is where are my friendlies, which is where an effective, recognised COP comes into play.

3. Aircrew had developed a mindset that BFM was dead. Weapon Schools changed this mindset. BFM are the fundamental building blocks that fighter combat skills are based on. This will not change as I have mentioned before. However, it is unlikely that you will see any US pilot risk his multi-million dollar machine (and themselves) in a WVR fight. It would be stupid to the nth degree.

So much has changed since Vietnam that you cannot reference the limitations of that time with now. Hell, so much has changed since Desert Storm. Rather than taking away from Vietnam that agility is important, maybe the lessons to take away are that good ROE and NCW support, along with improved tech, will also solve the problems of Vietnam. Back then though this wasn't possible. This is not the case now.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 05:36 PM
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Originally posted by longbow
So you can build a fighter that flies like a brick...


The USAF's next project....

The Flying Brick

Sorry, I couldn't resist!



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 09:19 PM
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Forget it. I give up. You're right, we don't need to make anything manuverable anymore. We'll just train our pilots to eject when a missile is shot.


[edit on 9/8/2006 by Zaphod58]



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 11:25 PM
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Hey, don't get so defensive. I asked for your opinion on how an Su-27 gets into the WVR arena. I'm still interested. And once again, if you read my posts fully, I didn't say that WVR would never happen. I've offered an opinion based on personal experience and professional knowledge. If you don't like what I say, that's fine. But the eye-rolling really isn't necessary.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 11:43 PM
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Well effectively the way it would get into WVR range would be by extended missile use. In order to shoot a missile most effectively the idea would be to point oneself at the target. Since a plane moves forward in order to fly you would therefore move toward the enemy jets. Assuming the other jets are also attacking with missiles and/or coming with full burner the distance can close fairly fast. Fairly.

I imagine that also depending on who was intercepting what, the WVR-inducing jets would come in low level so that detection is a tad harder. If you can't see it coming, then you may or may not have an issue.



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 01:17 AM
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My personal feeling is that fighter agilty is very highly necessary. As the U.S. gets involved in more of these large-scale, politically sensitive wars, there are going to be far more restrictions on what U.S. aircraft can target. As a result, I think we'll be seeing fewer and fewer BVR engagements. Which is not bad, because the Sidewinder is actually the best AAM in the inventory, despite all the propaganda you've heard about the Sparrow and the AMRAAM. Missiles are always better at shorter ranges, no matter how lesser they are technology-wise than radar-guided medium-range AAMs.

And before WestPoint23 and others decide to go on a rant about how ROEs are stupid and for sissy liberals, realize that ROEs prevent fratricide, killing of innocent civilians, and most importantly, it makes sure missiles aren't wasted on unnecessary targets.



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 02:56 AM
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This is your problem. You take everything for granted. Yes, most likely the missile will hit the plane and destroy it. But what if it doesn't. Do you really wanna sit in your chair at home and think, "we should have spent more money on manoverability".



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 08:08 AM
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People, again I never said that future planes should concentrate only on BVR. I just think even in WVR the maneuvrability will be not longer necessary. First generation IR missiles could "see" only engine exhaust that meant you needed to get behind enemy. Second generation could see the IR signature also from forward hemisphere so all you needed was to point your nose to enemy. Todays generation has HMS and 90 degrees of boresight so you don't even need to turn you plane completely - you just turn your head. And the future generation will have 360 degrees coverage and lock after launch, that means you'll not need to make any move with aircraft, it doesnt matter where he is, the sensors will detect and lock your enemy EVERYWHERE, even if he flies behind you, side by side or over you. And after detection you'll just launch next gen Sidewinder and it will do all the work for you, you'll not need to even change your course.
And considering the possibility to use agility for evasive manuvers agaist missiles - it is not even possible with today, current most advanced short range missiles can make 100 Gs and have much higher speed and acceleration than every manned aircraft. Current planes can make 9 Gs at most, so you can easily see what are your chances - zero.



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 10:30 AM
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Originally posted by longbow
I just think even in WVR the maneuvrability will be not longer necessary.


That's exactly where it all goes wrong.



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN

That's exactly where it all goes wrong.


What he said. Missiles may be more maneuverable than a plane, but they have to guess as to where it's gonna go. Meaning the plane still has a fair chance. Combine this with flares, and we may or may not have an effective chance. While the missiles may get better tracking systems, you might be discounting that the flares will get better too.



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 01:35 PM
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Flares are innefective against next gen missiles (like Python 5 or newest Sidewinder). Those missiles can recognise the contours of an aircraft, flares have no chance.



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 01:38 PM
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And as I quoted earlier, new decoys are being developed that ARE effective. They have decoys in testing now that are like a decoy torpedo used with a sub. The plane fires it off, and it gives a huge radar and IR signature to distract a missile.



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
And as I quoted earlier, new decoys are being developed that ARE effective. They have decoys in testing now that are like a decoy torpedo used with a sub. The plane fires it off, and it gives a huge radar and IR signature to distract a missile.


But how does it help against seeker that sees the plane in visible light spectrum?



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 03:13 PM
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There are no A2A missiles that see the plane in the visible light spectrum that I'm aware of that have been deployed. You have heat seeking missiles that see in the IR, and you have radar missiles that see in the EM range.

AIM-9X:

The AIM-9X is a supersonic, air-to-air, guided missile which employs a passive IR target acquisition system, proportional navigational guidance, a closed-loop position servo Control Actuation Section (CAS), and an AOTD. The AIM-9X is launched from an aircraft after target detection to home in on IR emissions and to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft. The missile interfaces with the aircraft through the missile launcher using a forward umbilical cable, a mid-body umbilical connector and three missile hangars. The AIM-9X has three basic phases of operation: captive flight, launch, and free flight.

The AIM-9X utilizes the existing AIM-9M AOTD, warhead, and rocket motor, but incorporates a new Guidance Section (GS), new hangars, a new mid-body connector, new harness and harness cover, new titanium wings and fins, and a new CAS. The missile is propelled by the AIM-9M solid-propellant rocket motor, but uses a new Arm and Fire Device (AFD) handle design. Also, the AIM-9M rocket motor is modified to mount the CAS on its aft end. Aerodynamic lift and stability for the missile are provided by four forward-mounted , fixed titanium wings. Airframe maneuvering is accomplished by four titanium control fins mounted in line with the fixed wings and activated by the CAS, which includes a thrust vector control system that uses four jet vanes to direct the flow of the rocket motor exhaust. The AIM-9X is configured with the AIM-9M Annular Blast Fragmentation (ABF) warhead, which incorporates a new Electronic Safe and Arm Device (ESAD) to arm the warhead after launch. The AIM-9M AOTD is used to detect the presence of a target at distances out to the maximum effective range of the missile warhead and command detonation.

Guidance Section. The GS provides the missile tracking, guidance, and control signals. It consists of three major subassemblies: (1) a mid-wave IR Focal Plane Array (FPA) seeker assembly for detecting the target, (2) an electronics unit that converts the detected target information to tracking and guidance command signals, and (3) a center section containing the cryoengine, contact fuze device, two thermal batteries, and required harnesses and connectors. The coolant supply for the GS is provided by the twin-opposed-piston, linear drive, Stirling cryoengine.

www.globalsecurity.org...

The Python 5 uses an optical seeker, but there are new countermeasures under development to jam it or even a small laser countermeasure to blind it. The game is played by devloping new technology, and then new technology to defeat it, then new technology to defeat that. You will ALWAYS need to have manuverable fighters.

[edit on 9/9/2006 by Zaphod58]



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 07:58 AM
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You all need to know that back in the 1st gulf war the latest version of the sparrow hit 9% of the time and the latest version of the sidewinder hit 23% of the time. That means even if the hit chances are more than doubled since then that still leaves a under 50% chance for that kind of missles to hit.



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 06:12 PM
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Well effectively the way it would get into WVR range would be by extended missile use. In order to shoot a missile most effectively the idea would be to point oneself at the target. Since a plane moves forward in order to fly you would therefore move toward the enemy jets. Assuming the other jets are also attacking with missiles and/or coming with full burner the distance can close fairly fast. Fairly.

I imagine that also depending on who was intercepting what, the WVR-inducing jets would come in low level so that detection is a tad harder. If you can't see it coming, then you may or may not have an issue.



While aircraft point at each other initially, once missiles are shot they offset (or crank) to radar gimbals. This has the effect of slowing the intercept down. So, my point of view is the F-22 is going to detect and launch well before an Su-27 (or even Su-30MKI) has any idea that the 22 is there. I also think that the adversary aircraft is going to have zero clue that it has been launched on, but let's, for the sake of argument, assume that it has. The adversary aircraft is going to hit the beam (or go 90 degrees to the intercept) and chaff like crazy. While this is happening, the 22 is advancing, and takes a second AMRAAM shot inside RNE, keeping the adversary defensive the whole way. If he recommits or runs away, he becomes a target again and dies. If he stays side-on trying to beat the second AMRAAM, our 22 has probably closed to within AIM-9X range. And will have a shot. All without the need for any type of super manoeuvrability. And I haven't even included multi-ship tactical missile support gameplans here, just a very basic flow. And I acknowledge my two main assumptions which I believe to be true:

1. F-22 will not be seen by the adversary prior to AMRAAM Rmax shot
2. AMRAAM outpoles AA-12 in all instances

But also, once again, I think the Flanker goes boom well before WVR, and in reality the 22 retrogrades at A-pole.





My personal feeling is that fighter agilty is very highly necessary. As the U.S. gets involved in more of these large-scale, politically sensitive wars, there are going to be far more restrictions on what U.S. aircraft can target. As a result, I think we'll be seeing fewer and fewer BVR engagements. Which is not bad, because the Sidewinder is actually the best AAM in the inventory, despite all the propaganda you've heard about the Sparrow and the AMRAAM. Missiles are always better at shorter ranges, no matter how lesser they are technology-wise than radar-guided medium-range AAMs.

And before WestPoint23 and others decide to go on a rant about how ROEs are stupid and for sissy liberals, realize that ROEs prevent fratricide, killing of innocent civilians, and most importantly, it makes sure missiles aren't wasted on unnecessary targets.



I don't see why air to air is restricted due to political sensitivities. If the adversary has an air combat capability, it is a legitimate target under the protocols of armed conflict. There aren't going to be too many war zones where an A330 is going to be flying through if air to air is going on.

As for propoganda on the missiles involved, I've fired two of the three missiles discussed, so I'm not going off gunrunner publications. Yes, missiles are more effective the closer you get, but for an AMRAAM this is much further out than an AIM-9. Rne (or Range No Escape) is where it is calculated that the target cannot kinematically defeat the missile. All that can cause it to fail is a fusing problem (quite rare, and the bandit will be defensive anyway), guidance malfunction (which will be evident quite quickly, and you can fire a second rocket), or an extremely lucky last ditch manoeuvre (which will result in a bleed in airspeed and loss of SA, which is all bad when you are already defensive).

Thanks for putting words into our mouths about ROE. No-one here said ROE isn't necessary. What I said was it is easier to obtain ROE upgrades now (due to NCW support systems) than it was in Vietnam. Having assisted writing ROE for actual operations (both air to air and air to surface), I fully understand why ROE must be restrictive (proportionality, military necessity, undue suffering, self-defence etc). And I have taken this into account when deciding if fighter agility is over-rated.




This is your problem. You take everything for granted. Yes, most likely the missile will hit the plane and destroy it. But what if it doesn't. Do you really wanna sit in your chair at home and think, "we should have spent more money on manoverability".




I haven't taken anything for granted. I've taken into account everything from initial hits on the radar, through target ID, ROE upgrade, multiple shots, and manoeuvres. If there is one thing I have learned in life in this arena, it is to take nothing for granted. Hope for the best, plan for the worst is a pretty good motto. And you say it yourself. Most likely the missile will hit. It is a game of risks. And agility is not a defensive mechanism, it was developed as an offensive capability.




You all need to know that back in the 1st gulf war the latest version of the sparrow hit 9% of the time and the latest version of the sidewinder hit 23% of the time.


Where did you got your figures? Not saying they are wrong, just would like to know. From what I know, AIM-7 accounted for 22 enemy aircraft and three helicopters in Desert Storm, while AIM-9 accounted for six (from USAF White Paper on Performance in ODS). So nearly four times the number for AIM-7. Now consider that since that time we are now close to our fourth distinct iteration of AIM-120. Also, missile effectiveness numers are such that longer range shots may miss (unless you shoot at Rne, the bad guy can kinematically defeat the missile). But as I said before, they have to go defensive (otherwise the missile will be able to kinematically prosecute the target). And once he's defensive, you can close and follow up with a higher Pk (probability of kill) shot.

All this will be academic once DEWs and swarming UAVs become operational, but I can't see this happening for quite a few years yet. But when it does happen, manoeuvrability will mean even less than it does now.



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 11:10 PM
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Originally posted by longbow
I don't understand why are the fighter manufacturers still bothering to make aircrafts highly manuvrable (Cobra, Thrust vectoring etc.). I don't say it because of new stealth designs, but because of new missiles. With current missiles and HMS it doesn't matter where enemy is relative to your aircraft you can hit him everywhere especially with lock after launch. I've also heard that russian newest short range missiles can hit aircraft flying BEHIND you - in first phase before IR lock they are guided by small rear radar.



No it is not.

Not if...

1. You differentiate between agility and maneuverability.
Agility being the ability to rapidly change a given airframe state, whether loaded or cruise. It is typically a function of the FLCS acting in concert with airframe controls and CofG/total weight/airspeed/height limiters. Maneuverability is the sufficiency of specific excess power (lift off the wings + thrust out the back) to sustain a given state. Agility is to Quick what Maneuverability is to Fast.

2. You pull the pilot as the principle limiter to the use of agility AS maneuverability. The presence of pilots keep the superman stuff in a single axis with roll-unload lag between pointing excursions and most importantly, below 300 knots. While, since the AFTI experiments of the early 80's we have known that even conventional airframes can generation more sideforce and negges than any human can take, even with further assists like watersuits, pressure breathing and reclined/side braced seating. Since _defensive_ agility which occurs so rapidly that you do not bleed down before 'pointing back forwards' along the velocity vector to reenergize ALSO requires minimum inertial mass and maximum thrust loading (3:1 or more) this also argues against the presence of pilots.

3. You differentiate what the alternatives are, whether you have the technology base to develop them and if the systems you use to enable them are single point of multi-synergistic in their leveraging. Hunting a LO asset with radar that can't detect him before he kills you is pointless. There goes the requirement ($$$) for _radar missiles_ which cost twice as much as EO ones. Hunting an asset which is holds such a sustained energy+ceiling advantage that it can /go around/ your cone and still convert or deliver standoff weapons is pointless if the amount of damage he can do before commiting assets much lower and slower (easier to kill) is minimal. Launching a small force of (20-40 at most) defensive fighters from a fixed point which is vulnerable to _prestrike_ and _continuing strike_ by cruise weapons which do not 'dogfight' at all is pointless. Because even if you evacuate the fighters, you will not be able to sustain operations away from your base infrastructure. Fighting 400-700 jets with even 100 (as a mix of topline and reroled secondary attack/fighters) is pointless. Because _NOT EVEN OUR GUYS_ are 'that good'.

ARGUMENT:
Even today it is relatively simple to continually humiliate even old hand drivers with target drones whose design goes back to the 1949. Indeed with these basic (BQM-34 Firebee and 74 Chukar) systems and a _6G limiter_ fighter:missile weapons systems have proven UNABLE to hit the target without augmentation and even with it, extreme 'fight to ego boost not test to prove capability' restraint has to be constantly used to prove out scenarios based on specific 'flow' of orchestrated conditions.

Simply because pilots are not competent to defeat a small threat whose sub 2 million dollar cost and technology base is sufficient to beat ANY manned aircraft when properly flown /by a drone controller on the ground/ (looking out a peephole camera in the nose with a secondary TACTS display for 'global SA').

Pilots live a lie of existence that is based on a sky knight principle of dueling each other as equals. Because they are secretly cowards they employ just enough 'technology leverage' to scam their way to a Fight Club dominance over each other based on financial pecking order.

But they will never accede to maxing out the engineering capabilities available to ANY industrialized country to defeat WHO THEY ARE as a false symbol of a perilously wasteful warfighter whose existence is a function of biologic limitations deriving from monkey baseline anatomy utterly unsuited to flying.

The day that this changes, you will indeed see agility come to mean a very great deal. Because it will occur at 600-800 knots in all axes with more akin to maneuvering in space than in air. And once their obsolescent presence is eliminated from the battlespace and thus sport war conditioned jousting changes to a TOTAL WAR desire to /win/ (at less rather than any cost), just about every nation on the planet will have the potential ability to put 500-1,000 'airframes' into the sky at 1/100th the equivalent cost of manned airframes. Without going near a single airfield.

These robots could be built today but they won't. Because DEWS are still 'just far enough away' (until their use in missile defense outweighs the protectionist rhetoric of pilot mafia) that the ability to rapidly, continuously, randomly, shift spatial locations (direct vertical and side force control) in denying aimpoint and/or missile terminal trackind and warhead blast volumes is underestimated.

CONCLUSION:
Stalin said once: "Victory is not defined by how many you kill before losing. But rather how many losses you can take while still winning."

The sad part is that too many people apply this logic to a Terminator/Skynet type scenario and yelp at the notion of admitting that not only will they never be able to displace their pathetic existence onto some 'heroic persona' of a fighter pilot. But that even if they /were/ such a caricature of the warrior within, they would not be 1/10th as good as truly 'energetically agile' robotic combat would require.

Instead, they prefer to be the wage slaves of a militarist state that is too embarrassed to acknowledge what it is (an Empire desperate for secure resources) and thus end war by indulging in overwhelming victory.

Preferring instead to 'leverage continued security' through a false, paranoid, peace that expends more money on the ability to fight a conflict 'against anybody' than would ever be required to SUSTAIN LOSSES until the other side gave up.

We are losing the current cold war by doing exactly what the Russians once did. Buying into anachronistic warfighter capabilities en-masse that are utterly worthless for the OOTW conditioned actions we truly fight in the GWOT.

And equally inappropriate for the high intensity conflicts that a REAL threat could bring against us in defending /their/ turf.

It is the most high priced hollywood staged melodrama in existence. And in believing in the lie of MANNED AIRPOWER UBER ALLES, we are truly winning only until we lose.


KPl.



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 04:16 AM
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I like the idea that the F-22 etc need not be manouverable as it will never get into visual range of the enemy.


So, what happens when the PAK-FA comes out, or the Russians perfect plasma stealth?

Two aircraft, with very low radar cross sections, and with all their fancy passive instruments... However, since neither is putting out any emissions, their best form of detection will be an IRST... or if the two are not approaching head-to-head, it'll be the old MK 1 eyeball.



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