If you are playing in the same airspace (and while I understand you don't think other nations should, unfortunately for you that is the way things
are going to be for a few years yet) then you need to understand how the other platforms operate.
Why? During all of IOT&E the Raptor _has not_ trained with other nation's airframes in the GSTF role. Even from amongst our own inventory, it has
ONLY really operated in conjunction with the B-2, EA-6B and F-117. With the F-16 as a Dorito SEAD asset (crunch all you like, we'll send more).
McGettrick: We plan to use the Aggressor F-16s out of Nellis as our primary adversaries. They will augment their force with other units. We will
protect B-2, F-117, and F-16 aircraft as part of our own strike packages. We may have AWACS, if available, and tankers. Other than the EA-6B Prowler,
we don’t plan to use assets from other branches of the military or from other air forces.
This is because the F-22 doesn't have the munitions options, sensorization, or NUMBERS to accomplish the hand holding (close escort) mission and is
indeed _dependent_ on the signature threshold of true LO aircraft to /allow it the freedom/ to operate on it's own, ahead of them. It doesn't have
the ARMs to suppress for a package. It doesn't operate in the same altitude bands to be bothered by their shots (though F-15 drivers have shot
through F-117 packages). Since there are _very few_ aircraft with the same performance and NONE with the same signature, IF you see it at all, you
don't need to concern yourself with it's presence. Because, after all, 'you're one of the good guys'. Snicker.
I'm not going to (be?) escorted by a UAV, but when mission planning I need to understand how it fits into the bigger picture.
Don't try to molly coddle me with the word unmanned. A UAV may well be operating in the target airspace, at or through the path that a munition if
not airframe has to pass. 'Look out for X' as a mission planning element of doctrine thus is justified when the Predator has the potential to get
in the way without realizing it and lacks the performance to scoot out from under on short notice.
The F-22 operates alone. Just as the 117 did. Just as the B-2 does.
Sure, the 22 is going to take out the high level anti-access systems before anything else even considers a fence check, but once the door is open, if
the F-22 is still in the airspace, you need to understand where it will be, what it is doing, and how it is doing it.
Why? Modern munitions _hit within inches_. Unless you are so partnered up that you can convince China to burn out the optics of satellites over YOUR
airspace (since we probably fenestrate them over theirs now) the number of threats which will last more than a day or three at 4-5 sorties per day X 8
bombs per airframe from a 90 plane force (2,880-3,600 DMPIs) of F-22s comes down to just the Big Two Tier 1 Threats. Neither of which can be attacked
without devastating consequences for the globe.
AFTER this initial roll back effort, aircraft will be little more than DUMB TRUCKS. In which pilots tool about a kill box or hold in CAS stacks
'waiting and hoping' for a chance to butcher someone before their gas runs out and they are forced to go home so that the tankers can accomodate the
/next/ bunch of airframes coming in (such is exactly how the Iraqi 'East and West' OIF campaigns ran and it was an /incredible/ waste of
Again, particularly with glide-IAM carried in multiple because they are so accurate that they can be lightweight, _We_ _Don't_ _Need_ to have
multiple aircraft types going into unreduced threat airspace. We need to have three: Jammers (EA-18). Targeters (MQ-1/9) and Twenty Twos. The sole
exception being those instances where there isn't an airfield within 1,500nm of the target area and...gassssp! We have the better strategic, carrier
air and cruise options there as well.
Civilian industry generally isn't an acceptable target these days unless there is a direct military advantage to be gained that outweighs the impact
on the civilian population.
Other than the fact that it's about the only target that the military can hit reliably without being handheld through multiple levels of air-to-JAG
coordination, I'll leave you to talk to the Serbians about their Yugo Factory.
Wars where you don't plan on going in are won by making the lives of innocents and rich men 'unbearable' from outside. OAF is thus more likely to
be representative than OIF and there we did indeed hit water, power, oil refining, industry, bridges, schools. All at once.
'Pure' Air Warfare without the media on the ground is least as important to the overall strategy of campaigning because it lets the Black SOF
operate more freely and there are a lot fewer opportunities for undeniable as much as unbiased reporting on what exactly IS being crippled.
Once again, like it or lump it, but that's the way it is. And as for the allies not supporting, how about some examples? During CAS in OIF there were
very few times that bombs weren't dropped when needed, and most non-drops were due to piss poor terminal controlling or C2 screw-ups. Coming home
with bombs in a war zone is a crap feeling, especially when in many cases it was needless.
Canadian pilots in the first Gulf War flew ONLY Air Superiority missions because they were afraid of being perceived as 'the other ugly Americans'.
Ozzian pilots in OEF said they would not bomb what wasn't clearly identified as hostile, even though the SOF troopies callind down the shots often
could ONLY describe 'second hut from the left' as the Northern Alliance pushed through Afghan villages. Spanish pilots in OAF several times ignored
U.S. fragged targets in 'civillian centers' of Pristina and Nis. Again, /even though/ they were being fragged to kill paramilitary regional HQs and
'waystations' which SOF had done incredible legwork to build rapport and confirm.
And that's just the Hornet community!
By comparison, useless as it is with the A2A optimized gun, when a Beagle pilot hears the call he WILL come down to strafe in support of a unit on the
ground. He just won't take less than 26 minutes to arrive and confirm targeting for his precious GBU-12. Such would change if UCAVs were a
permanent fixture over every foot slogging ground force, large or small.
Does every post of yours have to turn into this? Those who have been here long enough know your thoughts on the matter. I've certainly posted that
UAVs and DEW are the way of the future, though I disagree with your timeline. But the whole pilot bashing is getting a little old. It cheapens your
argument more than anything.
The reason is simple: You all assume that 'by the time Tranche 3 arrives' and thus 'when Meteor and AMSAR level the playing field'. As if
measuring the effectiveness of an airframe subsystem or weapons package (available in 5-10 years for 5-10 billion) justifies the extreme cost of the
overall new, _manned_ design which will malinger for 30-40, driving doctrine unfairly to support it's own vulnerability while /raping/ the
acquisition accounts. At 100 billion or more. Costs which can only be recouped through export of a system which itself drives the escalatory
technology spiral, ever upwards.