posted on Nov, 28 2006 @ 08:57 AM
If you're flying an unimproved LANTIRN pod* with poor stabilization and little or no 'digital zoom' (slew a search box over a given area of
interest and have the processor expand the area around it before designating an aimpoint) and a Gen-2 thermal well which is vastly better than Navy
systems but still only about X8-X12 effective compared to the X64 or better magnification available today.
Now further imagine you are in a single seat airframe with a 5X5 inch green screen heads up display down by your kneecap. You are using ballistic
ordnance (either GBU-12 or 38, possibly 70mm FFAR) to 'keep collaterals low' relative to ballistic slant and literal /time/ that a lost-spot
munition can go downrange or suffer from crosswinds.
And so you are down around 3,500-5,000ft, flying a linear path right over the target, easy meat for even the SA-7 class and all it's
Chinese/Egyptian/Iranian hybrids. Heck, even flak becomes an option.
And when you come down, you come down too close to get away from the highly irritated insurgents which you were CASing to death but moments before.
Indeed, 'Somewhere around here' there is a specific video of an F-16 calling out a group of militia men wandering down a street (more mob than
warriors) and getting the G-FAC authorization to butcher them. He does. Releasing a GBU-12 while continually adjusting the aimpoint towards the
front and then middle of the crowd.
Boom. Maybe 20-30 men are dead. And because the flight path (no 'designator turn' to keep the pod FOV unmasked) was level and given the countdown
on the munition TOF and angle of the pod, he had to be under 10,000ft. And probably under 350 knots.
If that is what they are doing over there then it is just a matter of time until somebody twigs to the notion of how easy it would be to kill one.
Even as it highlights my own belief that it's time to switch to UCAVs.
Because a UCAV can have a thimble or a scab window that looks STRAIGHT DOWN instead of being forward-biased along the flight path (complete lower
hemispheric coverage). And because of the resolution and mark/retrack/zoom functions on those optics (EOTS level, Gen-3/4) it will be able to see to
roughly the same level from 20K and 10nm as a fast mover does raising their toupees.
P.S. There is STILL no confirmed sighting of IR/UV based MAWS systems on Iraqi theater jets. Despite multiple options (PIDS+ and TERMA driven
inserts in the dead space of ALQ pods) to fast-track a hangable solution. As such, what little effect flares might have on late generation MANPADS at
this envelope point (heart of the envelope vs. skirted edge of it) is further degraded by the need to have a wingman on one half of the CAS wagonwheel
look down on his buddy to keep a MOB level 'eyes out' scan for dust devils and smoke trails while himself 'out of the way' of any secondary
Again, given the massive amount of _HEADS DOWN_ work involved in running any overhead CAS platform from a single seat and a primitive pod, the
reaction time lag inherent to spotter-talks-victim-pops EXCM use is going to become critical at lower altitudes.
Again, if true, once again we have direct evidence that the only thing the USAF is interested in is sustaining itself as a manned uber alles
fools-to-the-fore force. Not one which can fight even a minor war with really useful systems.
*This is admittedly a guess-and-gosh assumption based on the F-16 block number. Some LANTIRNs have been improved with elements of the Navy and
'2000' program upgrades. Some F-16CGs are now flying with Sniper. And at least in the Guard, there is equally a chance for LITENING on the .42s.
But generally the Block 40 is a LANTIRN ship and given a working PGM shooter option, they haven't fixed what IS broken while busy supplying the
better pods to the .30 fleet and the 15E community among Reserve/Active users. Indeed, at least as of the mid-90s we were still woefully short of
LDPs for the majority of the 16 inventory overall fewer than 1 in 8 I think it was. The ATP program was supposed to generate 600 Sniper pods but I
heard that they chopped that number (and gave half to the otherwise useless .50s) so as to 'not threaten the JSF'.
[edit on 28-11-2006 by ch1466]