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How a smart Flanker operator can deal with the F-35 JSF

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posted on Sep, 9 2007 @ 07:40 AM
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Some of you switched on types may recall my recent thread How to kill Super Hornets Russian style This involved an article found here. In it a retired Russian airforce officer detailed how an integrated Russian sourced air defence system and air force equiped with Flanker's would deal with the FA-18E/F. Putting aside the usuall and traditional Russian boasting and bluster it made for a very informative read.

Well our retired Colonel of Aviation Grigoriy "Grisha" Medved is back. And in his latest article SUKHOI'S LIGHTNING STRIKES THE F-35 JSF he details how a smart operator using Russian air defence systems, and equiped with members of the Flanker or even Fulcrum family could deal with the F-35. Again putting aside the usuall oneup manship, it makes for an interesting insight into how air forces that could potentially face the F-35 one day are going about planning for such an eventuality. Put yourself in their position for a moment, what would you do?
1) Sit on your hands and hope for the best.
2) Give up and demillitarise.
3) Try developing an extremely expensive aircraft or anti aircraft system that is even stealthier and/or more lethal?
4) Work with the best equipment you have or can get and use clever tactics, training and original ideas. And hit them where they didn't plan and least expect it.

I'll guess the last one, they don't say "necessity is the mother of invention" for nothing do they?

Now lets see a good debate on this one guys, Im expecting Westy and Darkpr0 to sink their teeth into this one, albeit from opposite sides.


LEE.

[edit on 9-9-2007 by thebozeian]




posted on Sep, 9 2007 @ 07:52 AM
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hm it amuses me.old russian planes taking on the news generation usa aircraft ha?we know usa has even more advanced aircraft that is secret but so does russia,and if russian planes can take out the new usa ones then what can the really space tech planes of russia do?

whats funny is f22 pilots thinking su-27s are easy pickets then entercepting them and get wooped.those may look bu su-26 but whats inside he?inside is a very more advanced tech then what used to be in them^^
it may look like su-27 but...
hope russian agents dont kill me now^^
usa proabably knows about this allready^^



posted on Sep, 9 2007 @ 12:03 PM
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Originally posted by thebozeian
Now lets see a good debate on this one guys, Im expecting Westy and Darkpr0 to sink their teeth into this one, albeit from opposite sides.



And into this the teeth shall be sunk. Excellent.

Anyway, how to deal with the JSF? Of course, we've got to look at the likely state it will be in when it is used. Firstly:Chances are also pretty good that the external pylons will not be occupied in order to preserve that stealthiness which is touted left and right. And since it is a multirole, we can expect that its primary mission is not air superiority. Thus, we can fairly assume that it will possess a few internal bombs.

Armament can consist of two AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missiles and two precision-guided air-to-surface weapons internally with two additional air-to-air missiles and up to 15,000 pounds of ordnance on seven external hardpoints.


Source

Theoretically, it can carry up to 4 missiles internally, but I don't suspect that you'd be sending F-35's to clean up an area when you have F-22's around to do that particular job. However, I do not deny the possibility that this could be done. Of corse, let us assume that the AIM-120's are the D's considering that the theoretical time at which any conflict would take place is a fair few nicks into the future. For the record, that's about 180 km at Mach 4.

Moving on with the theory, let us take the Flankers position. Since the F-35 is still in late development and pre-production, let's take a Russian counterpart in similar stages. This would, in fact, be the Su-35. Note that this is not the Su-35 legacy version, but the new-and-improved Su-27BM-gone-Su-35 version (Which, technically, gives birth to the Flanker-G). This thing is made for pheasant hunting. Aside from increased sex appeal, it even has a convenient 14 hard points to work with. Now, the outside 2 on each wing only carry the R-73 (AA-11 Archer) SRMs, but that still leaves a painful 10 hard points that can be put towards the R-77 (AA-12 Adder) as a nasty piece of pain. Of course, moving along with our future-versions-of-missiles theme, this would have to be the R-77RVV-AE-PD (It's like their Flanker upgrades, except rather than giving it an entirely new name, they just tack on another couple of letters!), which conveniently has a range very similar to that of the AIM-54 (which I'm seeing is supposed to be over180 km) at over Mach 4 (due to the presence of a funky solid-fuel ramjet rather than the usual engine). Unfortunately, these overs are undefinable, so let's assume that the two missiles are about at the same level.

So, then, to recap, let us say that the F-35's will be carrying:
-2 AIM-120D
-2 JDAM (weight is irrelevant)

This loadout is logical since the F-35's will likely be on a strike mission: If they were not, there would be F-22's inbound rather than these.

And the Su-35's would be carrying:
-4 R-73 (AA-11 Archer)
-10 R-77 (AA-12 Adder)

This loadout is likely as the Flanker is made primarily for air superiority and just generally being nasty to aircraft of any kind.

So, now we have the theoretical aircraft, let's take a look at our likely situation.

Since our F-35's have been equipped with bombs, it is logical that there is something they want to destroy. Let us say, some high-value target (maybe a particular admin building or a weapons facility, I don't know.). In this event, SEAD is likely to have been carried out on several local SAM sites. Let us assume that there are no resident air defenses left to hinder the flight of F-35's, and keep it fair. Also, let us us say that there are 4 F-35's in the particular group.

Of course, since SEAD has been performed, it would be logical that those defenses were between enemy X and objective Y. Putting aircraft in between those two things seems logical, so sending a patrol of aircraft to take care of any unwanted visitors seems like a good idea. Thus, we will have 4 Su-35's on CAP.

This is the end of the preparation post. Moving on, I'll cover a couple of scenarios in which a few factors play a role. Please note that I'm trying to be as logical as possible here, and if something doesn't make sense or something I've said is not factual, tell me ASAP so I can see how this impacts the scenario. I'm expecting controversial thoughts on the armament and other things that are not constant. But let us move on to the Simulation post.



posted on Sep, 9 2007 @ 12:08 PM
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Why bother they will just take it out with a 9M96E Missile as part of their S-400 System, it can take out planes up to 35km in altitude out to 120km with a .9 probability against manned craft, and a .8 probability against unmanned craft...

Read all about the latest advanced missile systems the S-400 Missile system, and how they want to rush it to Iran to 'even the playing field' I guess...

www.anomalicresearch.com...



posted on Sep, 9 2007 @ 01:03 PM
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Moving on to the (insert fanfare here) Simulation post.

Recap: We have 4 F-35's inbound to perform a Strike on a high-value target, but in between them and their objective are 4 Su-35 (BM series), and we'll see how it turns out.

What I'm going to do here is representative of what I would do, not the official procedures used by either side.

Situation 1: Let us assume that both sides are aware of each other (through whatever means, they are aware of each other's presence and a general direction, but neither has a radar or visual lock). The F-35's will be cruising toward the target with LPI active. The Su-35's will be in standard patrol formation.

As both sides miraculously become aware of the other's presence, they each shift to prepare for combat. The F-35's will decrease altitude as much as possible to avoid further detection. The Su-35's will split into what I would call a Double-Double formation (Specifically, two of the 35's descend to very low altitude, only a few hundred feet from the ground, while two of the other's ascend to high altitude, Flight Level 250 to 300) and engage the data link. The idea of this particular formation is to allow the high-altitude aircraft to act as spotters for the low-altitude aircraft.

In this situation, if the F-35's get a lock on either of the two groups, missiles will likely be launched. By doing this, they will reveal their position to the Flanker group due to the weapons bay opening, which will then deploy its own munitions. The only difference is that each F-35 has only two missiles to spare, while each Flanker can ripple-fire 2 R-77s at every aircraft, which is nasty, and still have two more to spare on each BM. Not including the R-73's. Forgive my cynicism, but I think the pigeons have had their gooses cooked in that particular position. Of course, even if the F-35's are struck down, assuming all missiles hit, we are still down 2 Flankers. 2:1 Kill ratio isn't too bad for going after what is the latest-and-greatest American jet.
If the Flankers detect the F-35's first, it becomes even less fun for the Lightning IIs. The high group will fire ordinance first so that when the F-35's pull up to engage and pull evasive maneuvers, their bellies are exposed for the lower group to let missiles fly, come in closer, and let some more missiles fly. Ow. It is possible, however, that an F-35 pilot will uncage munitions against a Flanker or two, but this will basically guarantee their own transformation into a cloud of grey, RAM-coated mist.

It seems that in either situation the Flankers have the upper hand due to the huge amount of missiles carried on them. Of course, both of these situations includes possible losses for the Flankers. Still, a win is a win, and destroying an equivalent enemy force while retaining some of your own force seems like a win to me.

Situation 2: The F-35's are aware of the presence of the Su-35's, but our Flanker friends are not aware of the inbound forces. The F-35's will be at low-level flight to avoid detection, LPI active. The Su-35's will be in standard patrol pattern facing in the general direction of enemy forces, but not specifically looking in any particular direction.

In this situation, the Flankers have a problem. The F-35's will detect, engage, and splatter. Each Flanker will have to deal with at least 1 missile, likely 2, and maybe more depending on how unlucky they are. The only report they would get would be a nasty missile launch signal. Chances are pretty good that all Flankers will be splashed. Although it is worth mentioning that if even 1 lives, every F-35 could go down since they'd be out of A2A ordinance, while the Flanker has enough ordinance to fire 2 R-77's at every Lightning II, Fire 2 more at a single survivor (or 1 R-77 at two survivors), and go in for the nasty kill with the R-73's (1 for every F-35). Assuming all Flankers are splashed, F-35's win. Which is so likely, I'll just say the F-35's would pretty well win this round. But it is worth saying that a surviving Flanker is very, very, dangerous.

Situation 3: In this situation, the Flankers are aware of the F-35's, but the F-35's are not aware of any patrolling Flankers. The Flankers start in standard patrol position facing the F-35's, the F-35's are inbound with LPI active, blah, blah, blah. You get the idea.

This one won't turn out well for the F-35's. The Su-35's will deploy into the Double-Double position I talked about, the high-altitude providing radar spotting for the low-altitude and sharing the fun through the data link. Missiles are launched on the F-35's (which will be detected at shorter range than the F-35's would have normally detected the Su-35's at, but since LPI is active the detection range of the radar on the Lightnings is down pretty far) and pain is abound. The problem for the F-35's in this situation is that survival is very, very, very unlikely. While the F-35's have a very limited A2A supply, the Su-35's supplies are pretty well made to crush any survivors that may have evaded the many, many missiles launched at them. Again with the Ow.

Situation 4: The cool one. Neither of the two parties is aware of each other. F-35's are inbound, Su-35's facing general enemy direction.

In this situation, detection will happen at short range. Grisha says detection at 95 km, I say that asking a Russian company to tell us how far its radar can detect a as-of-yet somewhat-classified American aircraft is going to give us some generous estimates, much the same as asking an American company about Russian aircraft detections. So the range, I think, would be a fair bit shorter, compensating for reality. This brings us dangerously close to WVR, particularly for the F-35's whose radar cone is very small with LPI active. Since the Su-35 radars are fully active but trying to detect a stealthed aircraft, and the F-35 radars are attempting to detect a somewhat-stealthy aircraft (but whose radar is on full blast), a mutual detection at short range is likely.
Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a statistic impossibility according to nearly every thread concerning it on this site: WVR combat (Oh, the humanity!). And in this, we have a nasty, nasty problem for the Lightnings: They have no adequate WVR ordinance while each Flanker has 4 R-73's each. Ow. One Flanker to every F-35, going in with its short-rangers is a bad situation for the Pigeons. Fried chicken, anyone?

I think that the situations I've provided are possible and logical. Granted, there are a great many different factors included in every sortie, but I've tried to remain as realistic as possible. It just appears that the Flankers have advantages in the BVR and WVR department. Why? Because they're doing what they are made to do. Flankers are made for air-superiority and just generally causing havoc for anything possessing wings. The F-35 is made for multirole missions (including ground targets, since an air-superiority like the F-22 or Typhoon would be deployed for anti-air missions). Don't discount the F-35's abilities, though, it's made to be (relatively) cheap and do many jobs at once. It's just that in the situations of air combat, it's just not able to perform in its niche as the Flanker can.

Let's keep the discussion civil, and fun.

[edit on 9/9/2007 by Darkpr0]



posted on Sep, 9 2007 @ 02:03 PM
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reply to post by Darkpr0
 



One thing to remember USN F-35C's may not have the benifit of F-22A Raptor overwatch:

So Naval Strike Packages

I would expect AESA F/A-18E/F's flying the CAP role and the F-35's in a strike config.

However, if the target requires it I would expect a mixed package of F-35's configured for Air Sup, Strike, and SEAD



posted on Sep, 9 2007 @ 06:16 PM
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Originally posted by FredT
I would expect AESA F/A-18E/F's flying the CAP role and the F-35's in a strike config.







The JSFs would be safer going it alone than with "Super" Hornets running escort.



Best bet would be to try and get the F-18s to draw the enemy away with a diversionary fighter sweep a couple of hundred miles away or so.



posted on Sep, 9 2007 @ 09:37 PM
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I'd have to agree that the USN would or will have a problem of the super bus is as bad as so many people claim. The USAF on the other had. Not so much with F-22 to fly support you would have a high chance for the USAF coming out on top. Really the problem of when and where to deploy the planes is a problem for both sides that never even gets addressed. As the IAF as proved (argue if you will I have my openon) that where and when you deploy can make the difference. The chances of the A senairo of Darkpros is low in my openion.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 01:49 AM
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Before I begin I want to repeat the obvious that virtually anything can happen and that anything flying can be shot down. However barring unforeseen circumstances and or chance happenings I'd like to focus on the obvious and the likely. Still, given that this is such a broad topics there are too many variables to consider such as countries, weapons, systems etc... So to make this easy I'll limit myself to the USAF or USN. Modern history has also shown that in today's battlefield there will also be other asserts and factors which can and will influence a particular scenario. One on one versus another aircraft is not a very likely scenario for large, capable and organized forces. As such, they too must also be taken into consideration...

The F-35 Lightning II is by it's nature designed to be a multi role fighter, that means it will carry out a host of mission, even thought it may not be the primary aircraft dedicated to any one of those missions. As such it is important to consider the load out, most F-35 attack packages will include aircraft with mixed load outs. Four or eight ship formations, some air to ground primary other air to air. If an F-35 from the USN or USAF is used in a situation where enemy aircraft are still highly present than you can expect the following to occur. For the USAF this means it will not fly deep strike missions unescorted and unsupported, i.e. no, AEW, EW or "top cover" support. So unless something unexpected happen to the USAF's AWACS,
"Jammer" and Raptor fleets anything less is unlikely. Same thing applies for the USN although the Raptor scenario is somewhat more understandable. But for the sake of discussion we will limit the above as much as possible...

The year 2017 is interesting, by that time the US may have the (JDRADM) in IOC. That would change the situation somewhat significantly but that is too far out to predict with any certainty. Still, the AIM-120D will have a 50% increase in range over the current model, that translates to an absolute range of 190-200Km. It will also feature an enhanced seeker, two way data link, and GPS aided navigation. Point being increased survivability (i.e. countermeasures), increased lethality (i.e. a larger NEZ and enhanced sensors), and an increase in low observability (i.e. two way datalink).

Here is my most likely scenario for either the USAF or USN involving only the F-35 and no other complimentary fighters...

F-35A four ship, two fighters loaded out with four AIM-120D's and two loaded out with eight SDB Block II's each and a pair of AIM-120D's. Thus the number of total missiles available is eight. The four ship is flying in a common Finger Four formation and has AEW support, to make it fair no Raptors are included in this scenario. The Su-35BM will already have a relatively large radar signature but coupled with a full, or almost full, weapons load out that signature can only increase. This means both the AWACS and the F-35's themselves will be able to detect and track the Flankers at a considerable distance. As if that is not enough the passive detection of the ESA radar would be more than adequate for detection. And depending on the output even before the Flanker may be in radar detection and or tracking range it could be detected passively first.

So what does this translate to? Well right off the bat the F-35's will have the advantage in situational awareness. They will be aware of the Flankers presence and location as soon as it gets airborne and enters the AEW bubble. The Flankers will be aware of the AWACS but not the F-35's. If they decide to focus on the AWACS then they become that much more predictable. At this point the F-35's primary mission will switch to addressing the Flanker threat. The formation will start to break up and try to position themselves at an advantage. This means moving away from the Flankers radar cone and splitting up in two elements for a flanking engagement. An increase in altitude for a boarder coverage, or field of view, or for an increase in munitions kinematics, i.e. missile range is likely.

The F-35's estimated RCS (frontal hemisphere figures) is good enough to get within AIM-120D range without being detected or tracked by the Flanker radar, this will allow first shot capability. The pneumatic actuators are designed to launch the missile within a fraction of a second from within the weapons bays. This means that there is not enough time to track an F-35, i.e. get range, bearing, altitude etc... It will only be detected if it's in the Flankers radar field of view at that time, and even then it will only be apparent for a very brief moment. It might alert the OPFOR that something else it out there but they will not be aware that it indeed was a missile launch. In any case their first indication will be when the AIM-120D is within radar or IRST detection, which for a missile of that size that wont have it's motor burning will be a shot range. And even that figure depends on the missiles vector and angle to target.

Now once the Flankers realize that missiles are inbound they will likely take immediate defensive action, this could be in the form of evasive maneuvering and hard or electronic countermeasures. Given the chances we can assume some will be lost in this first engagement. The F-35's can then continue to position themselves in an area where they can dictate the terms of engagement and reduce the possibility of detection. Keeping the OPFOR in a constant defensive state and not letting them organize an effective offensive counter response is key. The F-35's can continue firing missiles from BVR outside of Flanker tracking range due to superior situational awareness. Side Note: Both the F-35 and F-22 feature a unique system which allows the pilots to quickly asses the tactical picture and it allows them to better position themselves at an advantage. (I can elaborate if needed).

There is also one thing I negated to mention. If the USN is involved, depending on the engagement point (.i.e sea or gourd), the F-35C will have not only AEGIS plus AEW help but also ship based SAM systems as well. This scenario virtually ensures that the Lightning's win as it is a very powerful combination, which I why I purposely did not include it.

Summary:

In this most likely scenario the F-35’s dominate BVR without parallel due to stealth, advanced avionics and weapons which ultimately translated to increased situational awareness.

The scenario listed above is very likely to happen if US forces are involved, and because of that a US backed force of 5th generation Lightning's will almost always have the upper hand in kill ratios or effectiveness against an opposing force of legacy Flankers. However having said that I acknowledge that both the F-35 and future Flanker variants will be exported to a large number of countries. Each presenting a unique combination of tactics, support assets, weapons, technology etc... Thus an immense amount of scenarios against the equally large list of Flanker costumers is possible. And if we consider Russia Vs. The US then the point becomes somewhat moot as the F-35 vs. Flanker topic is but a small potion of the variables that will determine the outcome of that conflict. A conflict of such scale and complexity that it's not even worth trying to "predict" due to the sheer number of scenarios...

Next Page...

[edit on 10-9-2007 by WestPoint23]



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 01:53 AM
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Anyway, overall based on pure performance specifications and weaponry I still give the edge to the F-35 when it comes to aerial combat versus advanced Flankers. This does not mean that the F-35 can't be shot down under the right circumstances, which may very well come true, or that they will win every engagement. It just means that one would have to invest in less effort, support and rely really on less "luck" if equipped with the F-35 rather than the Flanker. So I have no real problem with the Darkpr0's scenarios or the Colonels for that matter. Other than some specific performance data given and the scenario that result from it. So I will address these below.


Originally posted by Darkpr0
The F-35's will decrease altitude as much as possible to avoid further detection.


The F-35 is optimized for stealth, even if there were SAM systems present it would not cruise at very low latitude. This is not standard USAF doctrine for legacy fighters let alone VLO ones. Likely cruise altitude will be FL 30-35. Raptors cruise at FL 60-65, given that altitude means more options and better situational awareness. As such I fully expect a flight of F-35 on a strike mission to cruise at near the maximum operational altitude.


Originally posted by Darkpr0
By doing this, they will reveal their position to the Flanker group due to the weapons bay opening, which will then deploy its own munitions.


As I mentioned before this action by itself is not even a guarantee that the enemy fighter will clearly detect and identify you. And it is virtually impossible for the OPFOR to be able to track and launch against you because of it. In simulated combat Raptor do actually open their bay doors to simulate a missile launch, the results prove it is not a massive handicap.


Originally posted by Darkpr0
...but since LPI is active the detection range of the radar on the Lightnings is down pretty far...


LPI mode does reduce tracking range but not that significantly, the AN/APG-81 is not a weak radar by any stretch of the imagination. And LPI or not when you have a 5-10M2 square target it does not really matter as the difference is largely negated.


Originally posted by Darkpr0
This brings us dangerously close to WVR, particularly for the F-35's whose radar cone is very small with LPI active. Since the Su-35 radars are fully active but trying to detect a stealthed aircraft, and the F-35 radars are attempting to detect a somewhat-stealthy aircraft (but whose radar is on full blast), a mutual detection at short range is likely.


This does not really brings us near close WVR, and the Su-35BM is not LO nor will it be "somewhat-stealthy" fully loaded with munitions. That pretty much ensures a very large radar signature, in this case it really does not matter how much it specifically is. The issue of LPI is also not so great and it would only be a severe handicap if facing an opponent with a similar LO design. Seeing as how the Flanker will have a conventional signature it will not be a problem as even an LPI AN/APG-81 is likely to detect and track a Flanker beyond or near AIM-120D range. And far beyond the range at which the F-35 will be detected and tracked in return, ensuring a comfortable "cushion".

[edit on 10-9-2007 by WestPoint23]



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 06:28 AM
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That's it, I'm refering to the Flanker (Yes the Flanker, not F-35) as a pidgeon from now on.
Damn Pidgeons.


Nice posts guys.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 11:20 AM
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reply to post by FredT
 


except the navies AESA super hornets don`t work properly - and they only have 28 of them anyway and random shutdowns of the radar are still plageing the programme

www.janes.com...



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 01:11 PM
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Well for a proper simulation for a true 1v1 you need to eliminate all force multipliers.

Stealth is very handy but the biggest reason of its success is its combination with awacs. This allows the stealth aircraft to keep theire less stealthy area's of the plane out of radar sight. If there is no awacs then the F35 might be dectected from a very large range.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 02:25 PM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
...except the navies AESA super hornets don`t work properly...


These are common software glitches that will eventually be fixed as the production run expands. And eventually all the USN's operational Super Hornets will be upgraded to the Block II+ standard with the Block III version not far behind that...



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 02:30 PM
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Originally posted by tomcat ha
Well for a proper simulation for a true 1v1 you need to eliminate all force multipliers.


True but what would be the point of that? An intellectual exercise? It certainly is not a realistic scenario.


Originally posted by tomcat ha
Stealth is very handy but the biggest reason of its success is its combination with awacs. This allows the stealth aircraft to keep theire less stealthy area's of the plane out of radar sight.


I don't think I understand this point, could you elaborate on it? AWACS have more impact on conventional aircraft than they do on VLO ones. AWACS is a nice asset to have but for a VLO fighter like the F-22 or F-35 it is not a necessity. Either way LO in combination with advanced sensors offers exceptional situational awareness which allows you to dictate the terms of engagement.

[edit on 10-9-2007 by WestPoint23]



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 04:04 PM
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Putting aside the usuall and traditional Russian boasting and bluster it made for a very informative read.

Most Russian boasting was actually true, it was U.S. reaspons to those boasting that were "Boasting chest beatings." haven't you learn anything from the sources Steller posted



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 04:48 PM
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reply to post by XR500Final
 


Assuming of course the S-400 can detect stealth at the proper range to intercept...

Do they even produce the Su-35 (BM) in significant quantities to make any of these excersizes realistic?

Shattered OUT...

[edit on 10-9-2007 by ShatteredSkies]



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 06:32 PM
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My point is that stealth planes are just very stealthy from one side. If you get behind one it will be much much easier to dectect one. Because of awacs like systems the stealth planes know where the enemy planes are and thus will be able to proceed to keep themselves in a stealthy position.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 10:49 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
The F-35's estimated RCS (frontal hemisphere figures) is good enough to get within AIM-120D range without being detected or tracked by the Flanker radar, this will allow first shot capability.


You may be selling the Flankers short. Just because they are running Russian tech does not mean that they will be completely oblivious to the F-35's. The Irbis is a high-powered radar, and even if it is not AESA the European CAPTOR has proven that PESA is still a factor in many combat equations.

Also, you seem to be disregarding Russian tinkering with the RCS. Although it's not a completely new airframe made with stealth directly in mind as the F-35 is, it has had many of its previous problems alleviated. First off, the original Su-27 was huge. A beast. The Su-35 BM has had a serious decrease in the size of its empennage, so the RCS logically therefore becomes smaller. The actual amount of decrease in the area has yet to be fully measured, but it certainly can't hurt. Also, the Russians had known that a big issue with frontal detection is the monstrous engine ducts reflecting back radar waves. Solution? Lengthen the ducts a bit, and lather the inside with a heavy coat of RAM. It may not be a fully-stealth airframe, but it does work. A mixture of the new radar and stealth improvements does give the Flanker a smaller RCS, so the F-35 may not detect it at such ranges with the certainty you express.

Also, the BM does have a nice new set of heavy-duty jammers in the wingtips which may be useful in hurting the radar detect ranges of the F-35, but I assume that any missile that can be launched can be switched to "Home on Jam"



In any case their first indication will be when the AIM-120D is within radar or IRST detection, which for a missile of that size that wont have it's motor burning will be a shot range. And even that figure depends on the missiles vector and angle to target.


Remember, that the Irbis is going to be a fair improvement over current Russian radars. Also, the AIM-120 is a pretty big missile. So the detection of that missile launch could be at a longer range than you are giving credit for. While the detect may not be the second the F-35 launches it at ~200km away, it wouldn't be prudent to assume the American tech so amazing as to be detected mere moments before destruction, especially since missiles are not made with quite as much stealth in mind as was the Lightning II.



Now once the Flankers realize that missiles are inbound they will likely take immediate defensive action, this could be in the form of evasive maneuvering and hard or electronic countermeasures.


Chances are pretty good on both, but the new Flanker does have quite a potent ECM package. The Khibiny-M is reported to have very good effects, and I'm not entirely sure what the F-35 has in the realm of dedicated ECM of its own, so I can't pass judgment. But it is pretty well-accepted that the Flanker has some nifty ECM capabilities.



Given the chances we can assume some will be lost in this first engagement. The F-35's can then continue to position themselves in an area where they can dictate the terms of engagement and reduce the possibility of detection. Keeping the OPFOR in a constant defensive state and not letting them organize an effective offensive counter response is key. The F-35's can continue firing missiles from BVR outside of Flanker tracking range due to superior situational awareness.


Just out of curiosity, what would make you think that the F-35's have instant situational awareness that is immediately superior to all possible Russian counterparts? It is quite possible that some AA radars may very well be intact, and there are non-AmericanAWACS platforms as well. As well, the Flankers likely would not have to be scrambled from base. In a combat situation there are most likely going to be patrols going up constantly. If you mean that there was no prior warning to any type of attack whatsoever, than the F-35's will win regardless of their A2A abilities relative to the Flanker, so I don't think that's what you mean.



The scenario listed above is very likely to happen if US forces are involved, and because of that a US backed force of 5th generation Lightning's will almost always have the upper hand in kill ratios or effectiveness against an opposing force of legacy Flankers.


Thing 1: If the USAF want to strike down Flankers, they will probably not figure to send the F-35's. In fact, I would place my money that a few F-22's would be put into the mix rather than any F-35's. I say this for two reasons: a) because the F-22 is made primarily for air superiority, and will indubitably do better at it, and b) regardless of the denial of this, the USAF would really like to show off its greatest toy. In that light, I'd say that with the F-35's particular mission role in mind, heavy resistance from dedicated A2A enemy machines would not be expected.

Thing 2: Now, this is where it gets ambiguous. By legacy, do you mean Flankers such as the Su-27, Su-30, etc? In such a case, I would immediately say that is an unfair comparison. By US standards, the Su-35 BM is only a 4++ Gen fighter whereas the F-35 is a full-fledged 5th Gen. How could a lowly Su-27 or even an older-version Su-30 compete?



However having said that I acknowledge that both the F-35 and future Flanker variants will be exported to a large number of countries. Each presenting a unique combination of tactics, support assets, weapons, technology etc...


Ah, okay. Common ground. If we are going to have a debate (and it sure looks like it), perhaps it would be prudent to first define and balance the countries involved so that we can include other factors like supporting a/c et al into our calculations. I'd first like to hear your thoughts on which countries the F-35 would most likely be deployed from so we can discover the ground on which our discourse will stand.


As I mentioned before this action by itself is not even a guarantee that the enemy fighter will clearly detect and identify you. And it is virtually impossible for the OPFOR to be able to track and launch against you because of it. In simulated combat Raptor do actually open their bay doors to simulate a missile launch, the results prove it is not a massive handicap.


First off, "Virtually Impossible" is a pretty big claim. As you've already said, anything flying can be shot down. I would very much like to see (as we all do) documented exercises between the US and foreign aircraft makers (Eurofighter, Sukhoi, Mikoyan, Saab, Dassault, etc.) where they try actual scenarios (Rather than Red Flag which was responsible for the regeneration F-22 kill, or the Waddington Su-30 MKI vs. EF-2000 where the MKI's radars had to be off) in full combat readiness. I know it won't happen, but we can hope. Simulated combat, while better than theory, is also still rather limited.


The F-35 is optimized for stealth, even if there were SAM systems present it would not cruise at very low latitude. This is not standard USAF doctrine for legacy fighters let alone VLO ones.


Whoops. That statement was definitely a mistake on my part; I was misapplying different tactics from different situations. My bad. Definitely my bad.


LPI mode does reduce tracking range but not that significantly, the AN/APG-81 is not a weak radar by any stretch of the imagination. And LPI or not when you have a 5-10M2 square target it does not really matter as the difference is largely negated.


True, but the idea behind LPI is to decrease radar output to decrease likelihood of successful enemy tracking. So there will be some sort of decrease (I believe it's a heavy thinning of the beam, so that you have to aim it pretty directly to gain full lock?). As well, the RCS of the Su-35 has been heavily decreased in its upgrades.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 10:54 PM
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Just as an aside (and also since my upper post has hit the character limit dead on), could we define some parameters for any further simulated encounters? What I'd like at this point is some sort of situation and a map that will help us all kind of get our bearings. WestPoint, I'd really appreciate your input on a theoretical situation, map, and likely objectives of an F-35 flight. However, in the interest of retaining direction with the idea of the thread, I would request that you stick to assigning F-35's (rather than including support aircraft at this point, perhaps later an expansion is a good idea), and I shall stick only to the Su-35 (which I think is our currently defined "Flanker").

My goal here is to establish a common situation which is tactically feasible, and so that we all know what's going on in the giant cybernetic RISK table. Perhaps a simulated game with our planes as pieces would be fun and a bit more accurate than reporting statistics and specifications of aircraft, eh?

Also, I saw someone's question: Will the BM be put into production on any respectable timeline? Answer: Yep. RuAF specifically asked for them as a stopgap for PAK-FA, and there's a really hefty rumour going around that not only is the Venezuelan AF interested, but money is in the reserve for a purchase.



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