posted on Feb, 13 2007 @ 07:15 AM
NOW you have a platform which is not only able to out-pole the threat but which can theoretically flyup from bare bones road bases to preposition
itself in the ground track of an incoming raid while denying initial detection and shoot down by your miraculous Raptor (flew right on by before you
took off) and even your shotgun escort F-15/16 (looked and did not see) so that you have a survivable force /before/ missile launch. Which means you
can further multiply the SSPK by waiting to optimize your pole. While allowing for the Americans to blow up as many MOBs as they well please without
necessarily denying you the ability to continue to challenge their raids.
If you can thumb your nose at the Americans using dispersal tactics on even a semi-LO platform, vs. anyone else, the advantage becomes almost
overwhelming, even using a conventional basing mode posture.
The key remains the better bullet and the targeting. If you can station enough Giraffe or similar (simple) mast-mount sector radars around the
country. And backstop them with an SA-15 for at least half (say 30 of 60) while giving your missiles the range they need by lofting them above the
draggiest (low altitude) segment of the envelope, you can essentially invest 20-25 million dollars in a radar and 10 million in an escort vs. 60-100
million dollars in a 'fighter' and thus /still have cash left over/ to afford the simple bus vehicle.
Similarly, if that bus vehicle fires a shot that has only one chance at a kill, then assuming a ridiculously high .5 SSPK; will still only result in 2
kills per missileer equipped with 4 such LRAAM. OTOH, if your missile is in fact turbine propelled and airplane control configuration enabled, to the
extent that it can make TWO passes at a target, each with a .5 SSPK, then each bus vehicle gets a true 4 kills per jet and even if you can only put up
4 total airframes (2 standing CAP orbits), you are looking at as many as 16 kills vs. only 8. Either number is serious attrition to the attacker.
But 16 from a 40 aircraft package equates to 40% attrition. And that is something even the Americans cannot sustain for more than a mission or
Nobody has ever won a defensive airwar, though many nations have lost offensive ones due to own-stupidity in applying tactics to overcome technical or
strategic overmatch. Similarly, no 'fighter' is worth a damn for being able to fly the least useful of modern day missions simply to glorify the
white scarf crowd as 'the few' who fail to protect the many. You have to be able to survive the _missile count_ onboard each threat while
leveraging your own. And that has very little to do with absolute performance levels which are what cost so much in a 'fighter'.
Furthermore, you always have to consider the need to do 'operations other than war' as a justification beyond that of combat which is engaged in
once every 10-20 years at most. Unfortunately, these _useful_ mission sets (resource mapping, EEZ monitoring, CSAR, insurgency/crime overwatch) have
_even less_ to do with the assumptive realities of 'fighter' design and so you are in a position where, to adequately kill the most likely threat to
your nation's sovereignity (commercial piracy or terrorist type insurgency actions) you must 'also buy' enough airframes to do a mission which _IS_
common. Further soaking the budget available to invest in economies of scale for any given platform.
Fortunately, there are commonalites for the optimum mission capability for a fighter that never plans to engage a threat directly is round-and-round
the CAP orbit, slowly, for hours if not days at less than 2,000 dollars per flight hour.
And that is the same capability which, in a surveillance/attack platform lets you drop 1-2 guided bombs onto a high value, fleeting, target that only
shows it's ugly head once during the entire mission.
The 'fighter' which the USAF defines as an aircraft primarily designed to shoot down other aircraft while 'also' attacking ground targets is
utterly inept at this role. Indeed, even dedicated 'attack' platforms are crippled by legacy inheritances which a clean-sheet of paper design would
Take the A-10 Thunderbolt. A 42-45,000lb takeoff weight airframe with two 9,000lbst TF34 engines. It needs that thrust to heft some 8,000lbs of dead
weight inherent to the GAU-8 cannon. And another 6,000lbs of ARMOR to protect it. That's right, with an empty weight of some 25,000lbs, over half
the A-10 is dedicated to that gun system. And why?
Because, in the early 70s when A-X was being designed, the USAF was lowballing it to ensure that there was minimum competition with the F-X (15)
'fighter' funding and this, coupled to an admittedly primitive state of the art in targeting and visionics technologies, meant that the A-10 fired
it's cannon with a fixed reticule HUD sight that was little more than a projected aiming cross with leadmark hashes like a WWII iron sight on a 20mm
Now, 'despite rumor' most pilots are near-blind in comparison with powered optics so the combination of a primitive weapon and primitive targeting
meant that you had to be inside 4,000ft to get good hits on hard and/or moving targets and seldom more than 10,000ft slant ranges (at 3,500ft
altitudes) to score soft-top kills. Such firing distances could and were compromised further by weather and heavy S2A threats so in fact, many shots
were delivered under overflight conditions from _UNDER_ 2,500 ft away.
Good A-10 gunners who lived long enough could bag between 20 and 30 vehicles per mission this way yet compare this with a modern rocket like the CRV-7
in a modern 19 shot pod in the 500x series, equipped with a modern guidance group along the lines of LCPK or APKWS, and you quickly find that _the
same number of kills_ can be achieved with 1,500 pounds worth of two FFAR pods and a targeting pod to point them. Which amounts to hard -or- moving
target kills from in excess of 6,000 and even 8,000 METERS standoff. So far out that the trashfire cannot typically even touch you.
Bye bye armor and massive ammo capacity gun platform.
'Weather Permitting' this type of weapons system would allow a 45,000lb A-10 to be replaced by 16,000lb Rutan Model 151 ARES and even though the
latters single JT5D-5 engine (from the Jayhawk business jet rated at a mere 3,000lbst) results in a T/Wr of less than .2, still achieve a brochure top
speed which is actually some 15 knots faster that of the Hog.
_ALL BECAUSE_ there is no 'flying tank' emphasis on surviving heavy AAA and Man Portables defenses. And indeed, with some redesign, you could
remove the pilot vulnerability consideration altogether which means exposure to high altitude capable threats (Roland, SA-8/9/13/15 etc.) is not such
a problem in the target area.
Pilots are in lust with their own perfected little worldview of their own existence. They don't want anything to challenge that, only incremental
improvements to their dominance of the kill chain as an 'officers club as much as profession'. The problem is that if we completely redefined _The
Missions_ that they undertake, starting from the radome aft, we could rapidly come up with vastly superior platforms that cost only
pennies-on-the-pound worth what the current equivalents do. Simply because they can trade up inventory diversity of _precision_ at-cost specification
in abandoning absolutes of pilot-centric (multirole as 'flexibility', even when they compromise non-related missions forceably mutated together) as
an excuse for aerial Ferrariism when a Buick would do fine.
Until you accept how flawed the manned presence is for 90% of today's design roles relative to biologic limits, cowardice vs. functionality and
needless redundancy of design; you cannot properly begin to create cheap OR functional replacements.
[edit on 13-2-2007 by ch1466]