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What is the best Facts, Theory and Ideas that create a fighter?

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posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 11:06 AM
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Well its been awhile since I wanted to start a thread based on theory and ideas as opposed to facts but I think it would be a good idea to get people talking about what makes the ultimate Air supremacy fighter. This tactics, ideas and theories apply to all aircraft from the sopwith camel to the spit to the F-22 and its the combination that makes the plane work or fail. I want to get your insights (all of you) on which of these facts are correct which don't matter and what I may be forgetting (its possible you know
).

Anyways in the past bit I've been doing a fair bit of reading and watching of fighter books and shows and have started trying to complie this guide to the ultimate fighter. The following are the key points that I believe that must be taken into account when creating a fighter and also the points on which all fighter past and present are judged.


-Speed- is life and its no joke. A fighter who has more speed then his enemy will be able to engage or disengage at will and also be able to get into the best position to attack.


-Firepower- what you use to attack is just as important. Will it work or will it jam all the time or fly unguided. range of the attack and strength of the warhead. ablity to track a target I feel should be included here.


-Manuverblity- A straight arrow attack never is guarrented and the ablity to out dogfight your opponent is key. max angle of attack, turn radius and ablity to conserve energy is the key here. Also training comes into play here in the pilot so where do we draw the line on what its capable of or the airforce?

I feel the top three points are undeniable but try to deny me if you will. The next points are important as well but also start to infringe on other areas out side of the classic fighter possibly.


-Endurance- well not so out of place but still is open to debate on how the aircraft is to be fielded. Attack or defend? or both? What is needed here and is it a matter of longest range wins or the right range for the plane... so what is that range?


-Situational Awareness- This subject may have the same issue as the manuverblity question. Its a matter of what the pilot takes in and what is there to use. The plane and its built in systems to help the pilot manage the biz that is Air-combat and how to handle the info is key. So what systems are in place and does ease of use and pilot training come into play?

And finally

-Invisablity- This broad subject has been a nessary creatation due to tech and its advancement is the radar area but also the size of plane and the ablity to see ti with the naked eye. The eye is old tech but still needed at times with the pilot so ablity for the plane to be seen a issue. Also the issue of stealth the cost to produce it as opposed to defend againest it. But the incease of surviablity is still undeniable I think and the problem it for other planes to overcome.

Wheew one of the longest posts I've made but I really think that alot of the newer posters would enjoy and learn something from the feed back of the other members and we may just be able to come down to a number of key points and issues on other aircraft or agree on a "measuring stick" to look at figthers at from now on. For me at this point I think I would address any performance fo the F-35 F-22 Mig-29 or foxbat.

So what do you think? (be nice
)

[edit on 22/08/06 by Canada_EH]




posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 10:24 AM
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Looks like there is not to many takers on this one.

There is no 'ultimate fighter' Canada_EH, because basically everyone wants an aircraft to do a particular job for them, which may be completely different to the job you, or someone else wants done.

The resulting aircraft is a balance of the things you mention, plus political real-world ramifications, not to mention how much the whole thing is going to cost.

Ultimately the aircraft may end up a failure, not because it didn't do what it was designed to do, but because it wasn't the 'right' solution for the battle that ended up being fought.

As an example, most European fighters of WWII would have been totally useless in the Pacific because of the much greater range requirements in that theatre, and attempting to give Spitfires or Me 109s the required range would have made them heavier, slower and less maneuverable.

An aircraft or weapons system is a tool for use on the battlefield - the design of the tool and its capabilities (to be successful) is defined by the nature of the battlefield. A tool designed for one battlefield may not work as well on a different battlefield.

Like, tanks work really well in the open, but even the 'best' tank has problems with field of fire and the ability to use a speed advantage in a swamp or a jungle!

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 18/8/07 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 10:28 AM
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Missiles and radar need to be up there.


Other than that, awsome!



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 03:38 PM
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Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
Looks like there is not to many takers on this one

There is no 'ultimate fighter' Canada_EH, because basically everyone wants an aircraft to do a particular job for them, which may be completely different to the job you, or someone else wants done.


The resulting aircraft is a balance of the things you mention, plus political real-world ramifications, not to mention how much the whole thing is going to cost.

Hence thank you for the reply since I feel as though the balance you mention is sometimes overlooked by 80% of the people the post of fighter vs fighter threads on ATS. The cost is something that you mention that I feel I should add to my list of features for a fighter. Produceablity is key and on that note the tank anogly is a good one. A tiger tank against the T-33 of the Russians is a good example of say a F-22 vs a swarm mentality.


Ultimately the aircraft may end up a failure, not because it didn't do what it was designed to do, but because it wasn't the 'right' solution for the battle that ended up being fought.


Interesting point. So is the F-22 the right solution? Well it depends on the typs of battle I guess and how did the British know then the type of battle they were going to fight hence the design of the Spit. Is the US the same or did they make the mistake like the Tiger?


As an example, most European fighters of WWII would have been totally useless in the Pacific because of the much greater range requirements in that theatre, and attempting to give Spitfires or Me 109s the required range would have made them heavier, slower and less maneuverable.


Great point that I feel prove the importance of two of the elements I listed "endurance & manuverbility" and the task of balancing the two. So how does the design of the aircraft effect this? Well is it a interceptor or a air-supremancy fighter. A example of the in the RCAF is the CF-86 (Canada Air version since its the best
) vs the CF-100. The arguement has been brought up a number of times and I would argue is it possible to use a CF-100 to do a dogfight. I would answer yes as long as you us your advantage to the enemies disadvantage.


An aircraft or weapons system is a tool for use on the battlefield - the design of the tool and its capabilities (to be successful) is defined by the nature of the battlefield. A tool designed for one battlefield may not work as well on a different battlefield.

But a great tool is able to adapt to its enviorment. now you can't turn a poddle into a pitbull very easy, but you can change a greyhound maybe into a pitbull. A fighter should have the ablity to adapt to a changing enviorment even if its slight but the less slight and more complete the better the fighter...?


Like, tanks work really well in the open, but even the 'best' tank has problems with field of fire and the ability to use a speed advantage in a swamp or a jungle!

The Winged Wombat

lol Well I already piggy backed on that anogly. Feedback or insight on furthering the idea behind how perfect a fighter can be or compared to another or even pit to another in the context of balance is welcome even F-22 vs any Russian fighter as long as it is keep in the relm of strengths vs weakness and civil. Heck or F-22 vs Eurofighter and which is the better in what type of battle. Or does it matter?

[edit on 18/8/07 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 03:39 PM
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reply to post by C0bzz
 


They are! They would be put under Firepower. Or are you being more indepth? What about Missiles and Radar?



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 06:23 PM
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All of the items mentioned make a fighter what it is.

However, the dynamic has changed somewhat and "situational awareness" I feel is the real overriding factorin fighter ops today. The whole concept of network centric warfare and being able to intergrate all of the senors on the modern battlefield in addition to the sensor package organic to the aircraft into one seemless data flow (Also being able to share the take with other a/c in the field.



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 06:41 PM
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if your talking good all round aircraft i would rate the f16 and f18 up there, good range, fast, can carry a wide range of firepower, but it would seem that today its a case of send a plane out to do a job and no room for mid combat adaptabillity, you dont get many true multi role aircraft anymore.

and it is all about the firepower more than the plane if the enamy can hit you with a missile before you can see him then you lost before you have started tbo the f22 maybe fast and stealthy and the f35 maybe just as advanced but i cant see the 22 being sent out with the randge of ordanence that a f16 can. and id rather have a upgraded harrier than a f35.

to make the best ever fighter you would need, mach 2.5+, stealth, an avenger 30mm gun
and be able to carry asraam's amraam maverick, paveways and rockeyes all at the same time, or put some sort of energy weapon that can do the job of all of them, so i think we are a long way off from the best ever fighter.....

i think i went a bit of on 1 there sorry



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 07:19 PM
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Originally posted by FredT
The whole concept of network centric warfare and being able to intergrate all of the senors on the modern battlefield in addition to the sensor package organic to the aircraft into one seemless data flow (Also being able to share the take with other a/c in the field.


According to that statement Fred wouldn't you say that the F-22 seems to escel in this area more then others?



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 07:23 PM
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reply to post by talon
 


Haha thats ok talon. Your rant is good to get the mind thinking. A weapon that can do the role of all the current weapons on a fighter would be revolution array and maybe one of the next steps that could change air warfare but the concepts in the public are too big and blky so I think unless there are black projects that will effect the next gen we are stuck looking into Fire Power as it is today.



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 07:24 PM
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Originally posted by Canada_EH
[According to that statement Fred wouldn't you say that the F-22 seems to escel in this area more then others?


100%. According to open source literature, this type of data sharing etc is already been part of several exersizes. One AWST article noted the lack of chatter among the F-22 pilots. The data links fed them all the information they needed so there was little need to talk on the radios to each other. Alot of the debate here on the Raptor has centered around its air superiority mission as that is what it was concieved for. Along the way it has become much more than that. You are looking at a a/c that can utilize multi source data, conduct electronic attack with its AESA radar etc etc.

More to the point the F-22 is also able to take in all that data and then share it to other a/c like the F-15/16 etc.

[edit on 8/20/07 by FredT]



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 08:24 PM
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Originally posted by FredT
More to the point the F-22 is also able to take in all that data and then share it to other a/c like the F-15/16 etc.


Actually, the F-22A Raptor is severely lacking in the area of Net Centric warfare. While it has a very capable two way "stealthy" data link (IFDL) with other Raptors (hence the reduced Radio chatter amongst F-22 drivers) it can only currently receive information from other systems via a data link. It has a receive only Link 16 capability coupled with JTIDS. All information to other systems (non F-22) have to be sent via the limited ,"non stealthy" and not very secure radio. There is work underway to improve the F-22's capability in this area to truly make it an incredible force multiplier and airborne data terminal for all. The current Link 16 is seen as too limited and work is underway to implement very high speed, secure and low observable communication via the AN/APG-77 AESA radar, amongst other means. This will allow the F-22 to share a much larger (and much more detailed) picture of the battlefield to any system in the region, not just to other F-22's.

Interesting Read
Airborne Wi-Fi
TTNT Technology
F-22 And The Global Information Grid
Future TSAT System

The F-35 on the other hand is much more capable. Not only does it have a built in next generation two way data link but it will probably have the AESA system programmed into as well. Converting AESA radars for communication is mostly a matter of software.

P.S. What category do sensors, avionics, technology and defensive systems fall under?

[edit on 20-8-2007 by WestPoint23]



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 09:31 PM
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Canada_EH,

At any given time there is a level of technology that exists with which designers are able to work. They then attempt to come up with the best compromise to achieved the desired result (ie:- the specification). Sometimes the specification doesn't match the available technology and the designer can produce a system which, while meeting all the requirements of the specification, exceeds many of the parameters as well (eg:- The A-4 Skyhawk). However, as often as not the designers are unable to meet the requirements of the specification using available technology, hence the vast number of paper designs and prototypes that never entered production. That's not to say that all of the prototypes that didn't enter production didn't meet their specification. For instance the XB-70 would have met its specification, but the scenario changed so radically (the advent of SAMs) that the specification no longer reflected the real-world scenario.

You ask, how did the Brits and the Germans end up with fighter aircraft of similar attributes during WWII - basically they were designing to the same specification - an air superiority fighter, based on the best engine technology of the time, with similar range (based on the perceived area that they would have to fight in - ie the threat that the planners envisaged when they wrote the specification) and hitting power. That the range requirement was insufficient to escort bombers from Britain to Germany and back (or vise versa) was not a failure of either the Spitfire or the Bf 109, but a failure of the planners to understand that the bombers needed to be escorted (a view shared almost universally at the time - the bombers will always get through). However, when fighters of WWII are discussed and compared this deficiency is a black mark against both types.

Now before everyone jumps in and mentions the Mustang, I have to say that the Mustang is an advance over either the Spitfire or the Bf 109, because the laminar flow wing (and the radiator duct design which produced net thrust rather than drag) which enabled the Mustang to achieve the range without adding undue bulk was a technological advance over those aircraft.

To be fair, the US built aircraft which were brought into the fight to escort the bombers (the P-38 Lightning and the P-47 Thunderbolt) were designed around the same technology as the Spit and the 109, but to a different specification reflecting US requirements for range. You can easily see, by comparing these aircraft with the Spit or the Me 109, the compromises required to achieve that added range - basically bulk and weight. With equal propulsion technology, weight and bulk mean less acceleration, speed and manoeuvrability - unless that can be cancelled by better aerodynamics (technological advance) or the ability to dictate the engagement using selective tactics (only engaging when the situation favours the advantages of your platform).

The reason I use these examples is that in 1941, life was much simpler for the designer than it is today - basically the engine was going to be either a radial or in-line piston engine driving props and the weapons were going to be guns, either machine guns or cannon. This in turn dictated the tactics that had to be employed in combat to a great extent.

Today, of course, there is much greater choice. The specification writer, and thus the designer must decide if they want a BVR or WVR specialist, (remember, to be both is a compromise in itself due to weight and bulk), the tactics or battlefield scenario that the planners envisage (ie:- whether to use stealth technology to gain an advantage, or to go for outright speed at the expense of LO, to use passive detection in preference to a powerful radar that will make the aircraft stand out like a lighthouse). All these choices need to be made on the basis of what the battlefield is going to be like in, say 20 years and that means guessing what your opponents (whoever they might be in 20 years) are going to plan for.

Looking back to the early 60's, some thought that the 'best fighter' would be large, not very fast, not very maneouvrable and would carry large long range air-to-air missiles. That would have been the Douglas F6D Missileer. (a somewhat larger F3D Skyknight type of aircraft).

Bringing that concept into the modern day, and conceding that laser weapons small enough to fit into a 'fighter' sized airframe are somewhat in the future, the 'best' fighter might well be a variation of the Boeing AL-1, or indeed a larger aircraft! Such an aircraft would be able to carry the largest, most powerful sensors, be multi-role in the sense that it could do the combined job of AWACS, J-Stars AND the air superiority fighters (plus SEAD)!. If you could make such a thing stealthy as well (highly doubtful given the powerful radars), what an awesome package you would have - just cruising around at Mach 0.8!

While perhaps this could be an interesting scenario, once again it is just another compromise, as the usefulness of such a platform relies on the operator of this aircraft type being the only combatant on the battlefield possessing the laser weapons - ie;- planning, building and fielding a weapon system on the basis that you will maintain the technological advantage (for long enough to make the investment worthwhile).

Does this all sound far too silly? Consider that this is EXACTLY the situation with full on stealth technology ala F-117 and B-2 (ie:- aircraft that rely solely on stealth for their protection and the ability to do their jobs). It is only worth the investment if you can maintain the technological advantage for a useful period of time.

The other often overlooked factor is numbers vs technological advantage. Every system, whether electronic or simply the number of defending missiles able to be put into the battle at a given time, can be overwhelmed. I think it would be fair to say that an attack by (for the sake of a number) 250 MiG-19s on an AWACs defended by (once again for the sake of a number) 12 F-22s is probably going to result in the loss of the AWACS. Sure the loss in MiG-19s would be pretty high, but the overall result is dependent on the aim of the exercise and whether the benefit outweighs the resulting loss of the MiG-19s. If the aim of the exercise was to cover the advance of an armoured column to engage the opponent in a decisive battle then it could be worth the loss.

The Winged Wombat



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 09:46 PM
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Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
...to use passive detection in preference to a powerful radar that will make the aircraft stand out like a lighthouse...


In some cases you can use both and still remain "low observable", this technology is not only possible but operational.

[edit on 20-8-2007 by WestPoint23]



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 10:01 PM
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Sure Westy, I was merely pointing out the multitude of choices that have to be made before the specification for a 'fighter' in all its interpretations and applications is even written.

So would it be fair to say that remaining LO while fielding the most powerful radar is, in itself a compromise? That is, if one ignored LO would the radar be more powerful, or lighter, or indeed less bulky?

Unless I'm totally off, I would suggest that radar power is still generally proportional to antenna size and the most powerful airborne radars are still fielded in AWACS platforms, due to the size of the radar antenna, and hence a radar in a 'fighter' is a compromise reached in consideration of bulk, weight, aerodynamics and radar performance.

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 20/8/07 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 10:11 PM
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Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
So would it be fair to say that remaining LO while fielding the most powerful radar is, in itself a compromise?


Yes that is fair, case and point, the AN/APG-77 is less "powerful" while operating in LPI mode compared to when it's not. Nothing really comes without some sort of compromise...

EDIT: Yes currently AWACS do have the most powerful airborne radars but that too is a compromise seeing as how even our largest aircraft are of limited size. Future airborne airships which will be much larger than aircraft and have their surface covered with synthetic TR modules will surpass current AWACS capability.

[edit on 20-8-2007 by WestPoint23]



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 10:15 PM
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Sorry Westy, I was editing while you were replying!



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 10:49 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
P.S. What category do sensors, avionics, technology and defensive systems fall under?

[edit on 20-8-2007 by WestPoint23]


Well sensors and avionics sounds like situational awareness right? Defensive systems if we are talking about electronics still it probably a good idea to try and see if we can narrow down the field to what it provides the pilot with and see if it needs a new catagory.



posted on Aug, 21 2007 @ 08:06 AM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
P.S. What category do sensors, avionics, technology and defensive systems fall under?


As far as designers are concerned, sensors and the instruments that display them all fall under the umbrella of avionics.

Of course, it is sub-broken down again... a pitot meter for reading airspeed is quite different from a radar tied into an IRST and RWR.


I think countermeasures would also be an avionics subsystem, things like the RWR etc.


Not sure where chaff/flare dispensers etc would fall though.




Dunno what you mean by "technology" - that term could cover anything on the airframe



posted on Aug, 21 2007 @ 09:18 AM
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i would actually like to see a move away from RDAR and a move to LiDAR to be honest - far more capable and opens up a whole new theory to warfare (cloaked aircraft anyone
)



posted on Aug, 22 2007 @ 02:27 PM
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reply to post by WestPoint23
 


Is it fair to assume Westpoint that since this capablity is being built into the F-35 that the F-22 will recive this in a block upgrade in the near future?

Its interesting trying to view a fighter in this light with these capablities and viewing them on a scale of effective to ineffective.


[edit on 22/08/06 by Canada_EH]





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