The $74 Billion dollar question?

Sep-2014: Since the time of our original writing in 2009 F-22A program cost has climbed above $74-billion. Costs continue climbing because of additional fixes and modifications the Air Force says F-22A must-have. To silence critics the USAF has deployed the ($377-million-per-copy) aircraft in Syria to bomb ISIS/L Saudi-Qatari-backed Jadidists.
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor at 2010 Farnborough air show UK (below).

Since the time of this original writing nearly a year ago, the F-22 has over time, begun to do [to varying degrees] the aerial demonstration maneuvers of the Flanker family of airplanes from Russia. Pay close attention to afterburner usage, the sequence of the maneuvers, and [and this is key] the length of time (flown distance) between each maneuver. F-22 does not [yet?] display capability of the 720-degree “double summersault” or the zero airspeed roll-onto-back maneuvers of Flanker.

Due to the Raptors very high price tag, we might suggest that the USAF or Lockheed Martin publicly ‘max perform’ the aircraft to address any lingering concerns, or to resurrect F-22 production for export?

It should be noted that “departing the aircraft” has historically at times - been a necessity - to survive an engagement. Both U.S. and Russian engineers have largely supplanted this capability in exchange for ‘Super maneuverability’ (inherently unstable airfoils needing computerized flight control ‘fly-by-wire’ systems) that may no longer allow traditional departing. However,  this Flanker [below] appears to have retained this critical capability? See playback point 1:05:

[Below] Maneuvers one or two generations ahead of the the F-22:

With the additional concerned/doubts remaining regarding F-22 lack of helmet-sighting.


Now underscores :

  1. The immense closure rates of jet combat (attacker vs defender).
  2. Dogfight is almost a certainty. BVR hit probabilities of only up to ~50% (on all sides) per/engagement; regardless of number(s) of total aircraft involved.
  3. The greatly increased criticality of nose-pointing for Raptor (for which Flanker is superior) due to helmet-sighting issue*.
  4. Flanker ability to employ its gun (in a dogfight) and IR medium range missiles (BVR) using IRST, without needing its radar.
  5. Raptor may get helmet-sighting in the future for its two AIM-9 class short-range missiles. No true helmet-sighting possible for F-22 belly-bay primary weapons.
Remember when discussing the air-to-air engagement: an aircraft is moving thru three dimensional space (including over the ground). In order to detect another aerial object (also flying over the ground), say at lower altitude, your radar set must mask-out (reject) all organic returns 'moving' towards it, (including birds, hailstones, dragonflies, and the ground itself) at ~ your airspeed. The idea here is - only (man-made?) objects traveling at ‘other’ than your speed are ‘seen’ by your radar – everything else - is masked out. This is idea behind the defensive 'Doppler-turn'. The target closure rate all of a sudden “blends” into this Doppler masking of ones own radar object-filtration - and so can ‘disappear' off your radar set. [Google supplanted hyperlink]

F-22 proponents will sight that one can use supercruise performance to “exploit” immense closure rates. This assertion is likely based on the element of surprise.


All opposing aircraft can benefit from the very same closure rate?

1. F-22 in the radio-spectrum?
2. IRST equipped fighters in the infrared-spectrum?

Keep in mind that all aircraft (F-22/Flanker) will continuously emit IR energy from their leading edge surfaces, exhausts and after weapon release - on their own. Indeed the MiG-31 'Foxhound' could track-attack an SR-71 'Blackbird' (at speed) using only the MiGs IRST channel w/IR long range missiles.

The designers of F-22, F-35 and Flanker require that they have defensive chaff/flare systems. So the question might be; can F-22 Raptor change flight direction at a faster rate than Flanker can nose point? Based on video - this answer is self evident.


"...1-2-3-4 seconds"

Now add helmet-sighting and unobstructed missile seeker heads with the immense weapon loadout of Flanker-class.

F-22 in the HUD of F-18 during ACM training. Why the “dogfight” is so dangerous even to high-tech aircraft.







Additional F-22 concerns:
  • Primary AIM-120 weapon @ ~ 340 lbs w/medium-class rocket-motor burn-time(s) and so "range".
  • AGP-77 mid-course update(s) transmission(s), (1-2 second data-burst pulse) detection by defender; Data-pulse required by AIM-120 from AGP-77 for engagements at range.
  • F-22 contrail generation over ~24000ft of aircraft and primary weapon, and contrail RCS similar to SR-71.
  • detection by IRST  
  • IFF interrogation transmissions.
  • Sandblasting [off] of F-22 'stealth coating' with repeated excursions through the Mach.
  • Software instability: averaging 20 hrs between avionics software problems, up from 11 hrs.
  • USAF kill-ratio assertions against improper modern ‘integrated-sensor’ threat model.
  • F22 flyaway Costs.

Can Raptor be effective? - well I suppose it's possible. The leap that the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Falcon, and the F-18 Hornet had over their contemporaries is still astonishing.

The long-range Meteor Missile.











Russian aircraft designers knew they had a big problem after Bekaa Valley (Lebanon) in 1982.

A gap has closed in many respects with the retirement of the F-14/AIM-54 equipped Tomcat?

This is with near certainty the thinking behind the ducted ramjet FMRAAM from Raytheon and MBDA Meteor missiles; which cannot fit internally in the F-22.

Raptor will need to get its aircrews safely and consistently in closer than say F-14. Whether this is possible with newer-IRST equipped opponents like Flanker or Typhoon is the $62 Billion dollar question?


German pilots flying East German MiG-29s against NATO jets in exercises believed the MiG was nearly unbeatable in a dogfight when armed with the Russian R-73 “Archer” short-range missiles in conjunction with the MIGs helmet-sighting system. These results led to helmet-mounted sighting becoming standard equipment on most modern combat aircraft around the world.


Listen to Lt Randy Cunningham describe he and backseater Lt. Willie Driscoll engagement of 10-May 1972 to understand the immense impact of:
  • Proper aircrew training.
  • Aircraft able to employ large portions of its weapons load with helmet-sighting versus aircraft that can not.
  • Off-axis (yaw) very low-speed nose pointing.
  • Sufficient weapons load.
  • Sufficient ‘combat persistence’ fuel reserve.
  • Speed brake(s).
  • Energy recovery.
[Below] An obscure old video of a young Randy 'Duke' Cunningham describing his (with RIO Lt. Willie 'Irish' Driscoll) mission of Vietnam May 10, 1972. It is remarkable in its portrayal of the speed/lightning pace of events in air combat, with opposing pilots trying to move each others airplanes to its aerodynamic limit to get the noses of their aircraft pointed at one another. 


The video has been pulled for alleged copyright issues - typical of American content when it might not portray American dominance. I would remind parties that claim copyright infringement that the US taxpayer paid for Cunningham/Driscoll’s airplane, fuel, weapons, aircraft carrier, Top-Gun training, and war. Newer video content of the engagement is available (with computerized animation), but lacks the specifics/objectivity/maturity and so is not suitable here. 


We would strongly suggest reading Cunningham's account first published in 1974: 
"…And Kill Migs", Lou Drendel, Squadron Signal Publications (found in the research-material window at right). 



 
Also, Cunningham was consistently out-zooming (drifting out in front of) the MiG in the vertical, and each time the MiG would fire a burst of cannon at the Phantom. Cunningham (simply) had to employ speed brakes and go to idle - to avoid "running out of luck" in front of the MiG. Both Cunningham and Driscoll were disciples of the then brand new US-Navy ‘Top-Gun’ Fighter Weapons School. Cunningham said the only part of his Top-Gun training that almost got them killed was when he flew directly at the MiG-17 who’s “nose lit up like a Christmas tree”… in training Top-Gun instructor A-4s: “didn’t do that.”

It should also be noted that helmet-sighting may reduce (to some degree) a combat aircraft's computing power requirements – as the pilot can cue weapons as to where/when an aerial target: will/should/may (re)appear.

Your thoughts?

f22, Raptor, usaf

- All media found here is for descriptive purposes and is owned by their respective parties -

Comments

  1. hi, I am wondering if you saw the video of PAK-FA's first flight?

    Can you write an article about that plane?

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  2. For what it's worth, the SR-71 was not a "stealth aircraft", in the sense that we think of today. The Blackbird was built to include many stealth features when the technology was in its infancy, but it was never designed to be undetectable. It also didn't have to be - no missile or airplane of the time could catch it anyway.

    Accordingly, criticizing the SR-71 as a stealth failure is a lot like complaining that a truck didn't work well as a boat. It is also not a valid jumping-off point to invalidate modern stealth technology. Using IRST as the panacea for stealth threats assumes a great many enabling factors that are otherwise in a vacuum.

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  3. Hi Earlydawn,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Our understanding was that contrail formation has become detectible by radar. Certainly the SR-71 was not a Stealth aircraft. True, IRST is no panacea for countering Stealth at lower altitudes and thru inclement weather. However at altitudes over 40,000 ft - things change - IR energy propagation appears inductively (and in a historical context) sufficient to be militarily useful – and to create some uncertainties for Raptor in the high speed/altitude regime. It’s very (very) cold at high altitudes.

    All something to contemplate?

    The issue is described here:
    http://theboresight.blogspot.com/2009/07/airborne-infrared-and-supersonic.html

    Thanks for your input!

    - The Boresight

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  4. I might have missed part of the article, but i do not recall seeing the special LPI capabilities of the raptor's radar be reported.

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  5. Yes, page 56 of “Detecting and classifying low probability of intercept radar. Second Edition. By Phillip E. Pace” specifically denotes [Janes] the F-22A with AN/APG-77 LPI radar set.

    - Boresight

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  6. On LPI, the idea is the emitter changes frequency and power level at every pulse (so no transmitted pulses are alike) in the hope that a hostile RWR won’t recognize LPI as“air-intercept radar” and just think its something else.

    - Boresight

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  7. Hello Boresight,

    You commented in an earlier article about the incompatibility with the F/A-22's stealth/detection capabilities in that the shaping of the raptor inhibits most of its own radar emissions from reaching its radar set.

    I have 2 questions that result from seeing this in your article.

    1: Do radar sets absorb a notable amount of radar energy?

    2: How do the interactions of radar energy and solid matter determine how much radar energy is focused on a certain area of a plane (namely, the nose of the raptor).

    With these 2 questions comes a third:

    Haven't the designers of the Raptor already compensated for this problem you previously specified by taking the absorbancy of the radar and made the radome material sufficiently "radar transparent" in order for the radar set to receive radar energy and return a safely undetectable amount or radar energy to the opposing fighter?

    -Cameron

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  8. Hi Cameron,

    Take a look at our “Supersonic Radio-Spectrum Airfoils”
    http://theboresight.blogspot.com/2009/06/supersonic-radio-spectrum-airfoils.html

    and

    “Airborne Infrared and Supersonic Stealth”
    http://theboresight.blogspot.com/2009/07/airborne-infrared-and-supersonic.html

    Also “No Place To Be”
    http://theboresight.blogspot.com/2011/08/this-is-no-place-to-be.html

    They should shed some light on your questions. Yes – only a fraction of the radio energy transmitted to the target is received back. All radars need to “listen” for own radio wave echo.

    Indeed you pick up on a real issue. How do you make a “stealth fighter” use radar while not compromising own radar mechanics?

    - The Boresight

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  9. Regarding the F-22 vs Su-27 family demos.

    I think it has more to do with demo doctrines of both parties.

    Its not that the F-22 can't do the Su-35's maneuvers but American pilots are simply not very fond of what they term as "Ballistic maneuvers"

    This is where external factors such as Gravity, air resistance greatly influence the nature of the maneuver.

    Such maneuvers are mostly done at slower speeds and involve temporarily departing from controlled flight.

    One possible reason on why US pilots refrain from such maneuvers is due to the fact that the aircraft basically becomes an easy target, if ever such maneuvers are used in combat.

    However such post-stall or ballistic maneuvers are not totally absent on the F-22's demo routine, the tail slide, flat spin and J-turn are prime examples of such.

    F-22s mainly demonstrate the raw power of the raptor by displaying high speed and high G maneuvers. Again I'm not implying that high speed and high Gs are absent on Su demos.

    Take the F-22's maximum performance take off routine for example. I would reckon that no other plane exhibits such a violent take off demo. This is done while the F-22 is still carrying it's full load of internal fuel.

    (F-22s are required to perform demos with 100% internal fuel in order to be able to relocate to a friendly base in an emergency, most aircraft perform demos with 70-80% internal fuel.)

    Russian's on the other hand prefer performing slower, softer maneuvers which exhibits the Flanker's excellent post stall characteristics and departure recovery.

    Both the F-22 and Su-27 family (30,35) exhibit excellent demos and are at the top of my list, but they are simply admirable in different ways.

    F-22: High Speed & High G
    Su-27 Family: Low speed, high AOA

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Michel,

    We agree with what you’re saying, but if one looks at what happens under actual combat conditions - low speed handling becomes critical.

    Google “Sams over Iraq” link here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k_VslW5Rl4

    Or even better read our “No Place To Be” link here
    http://theboresight.blogspot.com/2011/08/this-is-no-place-to-be.html

    Under actual combat condition airspeeds easily drop to near stall speeds with repeated aggressive maneuvering.

    Thanks for writing!

    - Boresight

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  11. Thank you. I think maneuverability is important on both the high and the slow speed regime.

    In the Raptor's demo routine, what I find impressive is its ability to recover energy quickly after a slow speed maneuver (i.e. power loop, J-turn)

    I find ballistic demos impressive also as they show you the skill of the pilot and the faith that they have on their plane's ability to recover.

    But I think such maneuvers like the Double back flip, Super Cobra, even the Raptor's power loop, though extremely impressive have very few tactical implications.

    They pretty much demonstrate the engine's stall resistance characteristics and the FCS's ability to keep the aircraft under complete control at such maneuvers.

    There are impressive maneuvers from both the Raptor and the Flanker that I don't find on each other, or not as impressive on the other.

    Flanker:
    Super Cobra
    Double Back Flip

    Raptor:
    Power Loop
    Max performance take off

    are a couple of examples

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marlon,
      These maneuvers are simply indicators of what kinds of performance can be extracted from the aircraft. If one read first hand pilot accounts from the Arab-Israeli wars and Vietnam, Boyd-energy-management was only part of the story. One must build planes that can do the low-speed stuff. As history shows - you can not simply expect air combat to be restricted to (or remain in) the energy-management fight. To us – energy-recovery is just as important (if not more) than energy-management.

      Under actual combat conditions watch the airspeed indicator on the left side of the HUD in this video. Google “Sams over Iraq” link here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k_VslW5Rl4

      Or even better read our “No Place To Be” link here
      http://theboresight.blogspot.com/2011/08/this-is-no-place-to-be.html

      - The Boresight

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    3. Exactly, and may I add Stall resistance and Stall recovery as important factors as well.

      All these are demonstrated with astonishing precision in the Raptor's demo.

      Initially I was also amazed with Flanker back flips and Cobras, and I still am to a lesser degree than before.

      However talking to a pilot changed all that.
      He explained how the Russians rely too much on Ballistic effects on their airshow's

      All of these are possible in the F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 as well.

      In fact in Vietnam there were accounts of F-4 Phantoms performing Ballistics both accidentally and intentionally.

      Most of the time it causes the F-4 to depart.

      The ability of the Double Ugly to recover from departing was poor,
      a far cry from the FCS software that controls the
      F-22 and F-35 that have both auto and manual recovery modes.

      Infact the F-35 is extremely departure resistant according to pilots performing envelope expansion.

      Test data shows that the F-35 still has some form of yaw and pitch control at post stall.

      www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6XofdlfJ0k
      &
      www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfWHHuLILs0

      This means that America's air superiority fighters will have very little to fear from extreme slow speed fights.

      However in their demos, they simply like to be under control most of the time.

      Ballistic maneuvers are not absent, but are minimized in favor of High G maneuvers

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    5. I understand what you are saying – but the Russians have simply built (and improved) a better mousetrap as they were forced to counter the American super-fighters F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18 - something the F-22/F-35 wont really be able to overcome.

      Lockheed by definition has to make compromises for stealth. You don’t get one without the other. Flanker - no. It has evolved into what is effectively a stunt plane (Su-26/29/31 series) that exceeds Mach 2.

      Departing the aircraft has historical been one of the factors that determines the outcome of an engagement. All this means is that the F-4 drivers needed (wanted) super maneuverability but were piloting inherently stable airfoils. To extract the performance beyond that - from the aircraft – it had to be departed.

      The F-35 will be even worse as it will have a very limited un-refueled combat radius. Cheaper for tax-payers to keep the F-16, F/A-18 and put better jammers on them.

      Flanker missile seeker heads have vastly superior fields of view over both F-22/F-35 and the Russian carries more missile rounds to boot.

      Remember the guy who points his nose at the other guy first – wins.

      - Boresight

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    6. Compromising aerodynamic design in order to achieve LO (low observability) was the old way of producing Stealth aircraft.

      Back in the early 70s the only way they can think of was to make a very un aerodynamic diamond shaped design hence the name "hopeless diamond" was given for what would become the F-117.

      However today, new techniques in producing Stealth allowed engineers to find a common ground between (LO) and Aerodynamic excellence.

      the technique used today on 4th generation Stealth designs is called "planform alignment"

      This doesn't just make the aircraft very difficult to detect, but it also increases the aerodynamic efficiency of the airframe.

      Take the ATF program for example. The requirement was to create a VLO airframe that surpassed all previous American 4th generation fighters in speed and maneuverability.

      The resulting F-22 was able to achieve all that.

      The requirement for the JSF program on the other hand was marginally lower.

      It wasn't ment to exceed but simply to match the F-16 in acceleration and High G performance
      and the F/A-18 in slow speed and high AOA performance.

      I could go through endless links on how the critics that lable the F-35 as a turkey are mistaken.

      But I will just give out 2.
      These pilots are evaluators who have nothing to do with Lockheed Martin and have staked their reputation and credibility on the line for what the believe in:

      http://www.defensenews.com/article/20110516/DEFSECT01/105160302/F-35-Tests-Proceed-Revealing-F-18-Like-Performance

      "Operational pilots should be thrilled with the F-35's performance, Kelly said. The F-35 Energy-Management diagrams, which display an aircraft's energy and maneuvering performance within its airspeed range and for different load factors, are similar to the F/A-18 but the F-35 offers better acceleration"

      "Thomas, who is also an F/A-18 pilot and a graduate of the Navy's Top Gun program and the Marines' Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, agreed that all three variants should be lethal in the within-visual-range fight."

      and

      http://www.8newsnow.com/story/24245766/nellis-afb-f-35-lightening

      "Borrowing some of the best features of the F-16, F-18
      Fantastic to fly, very powerful, very maneuverable, easy to handle," Lt. Col O'Malley said.

      Lt Col O'Mally is from the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron

      His job is to scrutinize aircraft.

      Though I don't quite understand what you mean by the F-35's unrefuled range as the Range figures we see on sites like Wikipedia are simply the Range requirements for the JSF program and not the actual range figures.

      Plus all range and speed figures of aircraft are taken when clean, once armed the speed and range decrease mostly due to parasitic drag.

      For 5th gen aircraft like the F-22 and F-35, internal weapons bays eliminate drag

      http://www.defensenews.com/article/20110613/DEFFEAT04/106130302/F-35A-Testing-Moves-Into-High-Speeds

      "a combat-laden F-16 loses much maneuverability, whereas the F-35 is barely affected by carrying 18,000 pounds of internal fuel and 5,000 of internal weaponry.

      "It flies fantastic," he said."

      23,000 lbs and the F-35's maneuverability is barely affected.

      This is why in my opinion the F-35 is a good choice, but I will respect the opinions of others if they think otherwise

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    7. Hi Marlon,
      Actually, we don’t have a beef with the F-35 except for per unit cost is getting too high.

      It should be a good airframe replacement for our existing fleet. And F-35 may have a better than reasonable chance of being able to shoot down high-flying super-cruising F-22. How? F-35s IRST. Because the main radar can be slaved to what ever the IRST sees, F-35 should have little trouble targeting an approaching Raptor. Again how? Thermal dynamics in conjunction with IR propagation at high altitudes. This is an issue of simple physics that Lockheed and the air force have completely ignored (sidestepped) to promote “stealth” and strip tax-payer dollars.

      An IR sensor flown over 40,000 ft will see a supersonic stealth object flying at 50-60-70,000 ft at militarily useful ranges. Then you shoot and Meteor or other long range weapon at it.

      If F-22 operates and in the high-high (high speed-high altitude) regime it will be detected by modern IRST before Raptor can fire its primary weapon (the short-fined AIM-120).

      Please Google: “Airborne Infrared and Supersonic Stealth”

      Remember internal weapons bays in a minimum-size-concept fighter (for drag reduction) forfeits internal airframe space for fuel.

      The Flanker is a flying gas tank. Even the tail fins have fuel.

      When you put the weapons inside the aircraft – where’s the fuel going to go?

      Stealth fighters make too many of these trade offs. This is why we see F-22 operating with external fuel tanks (if drag reduction was so large why the need?). Short range fighters draws in your air-tanker fleet towards the fighting - a very dangerous game.
      - Boresight

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    8. I'm happy to hear that this site isn't one of those anti-F-35 sites.

      Because frankly, more and more people are starting to find those blog sites less credible as more information becomes available.

      Anyway, I am also concerned about the F-35's cost as well, so we are at the same page on that one.

      IRST is a dangerous asset for Radar Stealthy aircraft as it lessens their advantage to a certain degree.

      However, IRST systems are also more limited than Radars

      unlike modern PESA or AESA radars that can scan the 120 degree frontal arc of an aircraft within microseconds

      IRSTs are not as fast. its like looking through a periscope, you have to know where to look first before you can use it to its full effect.

      According to this picture of the OLS-35
      http://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/ols-35-irst/

      the Su-35's IRST can detect a Su-30 up to 90Km away from the rear and 35 km away from the front.

      This is well within the Aim-120s effective range.
      It is also important to note that the Su-30 has nowhere near the IR reduction methods of the F-22/35

      Supercruising will no doubt increase the chances of being detected by IRST, but this is more about a question of tactics.

      Super cruise will most likely be used on ingress to the AO instead of while on the AO.


      I have no beef with the Su-35 as well, in fact I think that behind 5th generation fighters,
      the Flanker S maybe the deadliest A-A aircraft in the World.

      The F-22 uses EFTs only on transcontinental flights or when Stealth is not required,

      I'd be very surprised if I found F-22s or F-35s conducting Strike or CAP missions while hauling EFTs,

      unlike 4th gens (except for Flankers) which are required to carry EFTs in combat, 5th gens are not allowed to carry them in an operation.

      Tankers have been used successfully in the past even with ultra short range fighters like the F-16, so they will be even safer now with the range improvements of fighters like the F-22/35.

      1. because you don't need them to be stationed as close as before
      2.You won't need as many of them because less fighters will be used to achieve the same effect

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    9. Yes. We have no agenda against the F-35 or the F-22. We just look at air power from a historical perspective.

      Actually the people who love the F-22 and hate the F-35 are DONALD KAGAN, GARY SCHMITT, and THOMAS DONNELLY who wrote the PNAC Plan for US Global Hegemony “Rebuilding Americas Defenses” in 2000.

      The F-35 should stay under $100 million each. Indian MKi Flanker cost around $30 million each.

      We don’t know how radar stealthy the F-22 and F-35 really are because Phased Array Radars can see objects as small hailstones and dragon flies.

      IRST systems are not more limited than radar (and actually approach the detect rages of radar) if the ISRT in flown over 40,000 ft looking for even high flying targets.

      IRST do not scan as fast as AESA/PESA but do scan airspace. And can operate passively looking for targets – so you DO NOT have to know where to look first before you can use it to full effect. This is false. Actually the IRST can cue targets for the radar.

      It not that simple my friend. (Though people wish it were) OLS-35 specs are just nominal values for marketing purposes. Performance increases with altitude.

      Aim-120s effective ranges figures are also nominal and vary greatly with target aspect and altitude.

      The F-22 IR reduction methods (or radar reduction methods) frankly are not convincing with two heated pitot-tubes sticking out the front of F-22 – never mind its afterburning engines and frictional heating of it skin at high speeds. The thermal reduction assertion of F-22/F-35 by Lockheed – are militarily irrelevant.

      Super cruise (at high altitude) will be used to extend the range of F-22s primary weapon in BVR.

      If you Google “F-22 T-95” you will see Raptor on operational intercepts with extra drop tanks.

      Tankers have been used successfully in the past only against a non-peer adversary. Were we to get into some type of confrontation with Russia (what the F-22 was really designed for) – the air tanker issue would emerge as a rude awakening and be primary targets of ultra long-range weapons – as would our AWACS.

      - Boresight

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    10. "as small as hailstones and dragonflies."

      Raptor on actual operational intercepts with drop tanks:
      http://rbiii.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/orig_1_9eaeb.jpg

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    12. Well It depends on the range of the hail stones and dragon flies.

      at less than 1 mile, virtually anything is detectable by modern radars.

      Question is, at what range can the Flanker's PESA detect the Raptor?

      I'm sure it can, but would it be at any significant ranges?

      I rarely quote APA (air power Australia) because of all the biased assessments they have, but they do have an estimate of how far modern radars can detect different RCS figures.

      This is one of the few tidbits from them that I find useful.
      http://www.ausairpower.net/XIMG/FA-22A-Radar-2007-DT-1.png

      here they estimate that both the F-22's and
      F-35's frontal RCS are only detectable by the
      NIIP NO11M at below 20km.

      Well within the range of the Aim-120 and even the Aim-9X.

      I have seen Thermal shots of the F-22 in an airshow, however the thermal signature of any object drastically decreases as range increases.

      So yes the F-22/35 are detectable by IRST, but at what ranges.

      Heat dissipates quickly at range, this is why BVR missiles are primarily equipped with RF seekers.

      The new Aim-9X Block 2 which approaches BVR ranges will mainly do so via data-link and mid course corrections before relying on its
      focal plane array seeker.

      Like I said the F-22 may use EFTs when Stealth is not required,

      I doubt intercepting a Bear would require Stealth from the Raptors.

      Infact it may be the opposite, you want the Bear to see you as soon as possible for them to change course.

      The same will not hold true when in a CAP mission.

      F-35A combat radius requirements are 580 miles loaded internally with only internal fuel.

      Latest figures are that its combat radius is 613 nautical miles with only internal fuel.

      This means that a large majority of its missions won't need EFTs

      Unless you are already pushing deep into Russia or China maybe

      P.S. I'm not an American, nor has my country have any plans to acquire the F-35.
      At least just for now, I hope.

      So this is not simply Patriotic blabbering, I've been researching about combat aircraft for as long as I can remember,

      and so far I can see that the 2 5th gens the US has developed, isn't all hype, they are really game changers, and would even dominate even if playing the old fashioned game.

      they are not perfect nor are they invincible, but they make it extremely difficult for the enemy to beat them.

      Cheers :)



      Delete
    13. Hi Marlon,

      Please read our “Airborne Infrared and Supersonic Stealth” – it addresses all this issues you raise.

      Phased Array Weapon Location Radars can see insects at militarily useful ranges.

      No Flanker doesn’t even need to see F-22 on radar - to target it. Only IRST is required. Remember OLS has its own range finding mechanisms. Actually pointing your radar at F-22 (and getting a strange or zero radar return) would act like IFF interrogation – (false-positive) and then just fox!

      Thermal signature of any object drastically decreases as range increases – except at high altitudes.

      One need to understand that IR transmittance INREASES with altitude. If F-22 is going to zoom around in the stratosphere it can be seen the great range with an IR detector. The is because not enough atmosphere (and water molecules) to absorb the IR waves being emitted off a warm target. Remember also environmental temps at those heights can be -70F below zero.

      MiG-25PD/PDS and MiG-31 regularly intercepted and targeted SR-71s over the Baltic in the late 1980s - from over 60mi away using only their IR channel (not wanting to turn on their main radars because RC-135s were lurking around to collect precisely these signals.

      The new Aim-9X Block 2 finally caught up to the Russian archer – 10 year later.

      Sure the raptor can punch off it tanks – but its fuel fraction may give it problems after contact with the enemy getting home (w/o tanks).

      American fighter all operate with extra tanks. All of them. It is revealing.

      The new IRST on the Saab Grippen claims it can see a target flying as slow as 300 knots – and they don’t publish range numbers because IR mechanics relationship with altitude(s).

      Thanks for writing!

      - Boresight

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    14. I think we may permanently disagree on the operational use of EFTs by modern 5th Gen fighters.

      I'll just respect your assessment but I will firmly stand by my take that the F-22/35 will not operate with EFTs when stealth is needed.

      the Archer is indeed respectable and capable, but in my opinion it is still below the 9X in over all capability.

      the HOBS capability of the current R-73M is 60 degrees compared to the 90 degrees of the 9X

      Russians were also ahead of the Americans in employing HMS, but their current Shchel helmet systems are now behind the most modern US systems like the JHMCS which allow 80 degree HOBS targeting on either side.

      or the F-35's HMD which allow near 360 degree thanks to the DAS sensors situated around the aircraft.

      Anyway, I think we are veering too far away from topic since the article that I enjoyed reading above is about maneuverability, specifically airshow maneuverability.

      Thank you for your replies.

      Delete
    15. Hi Marlon,

      Many of the observations conclusions we have drawn are uncomfortable for stealth fighter (stealth fighter) proponents.

      Indeed the similarities the F-22 has to the Lockheed YF-12 interceptor - are hard to ignore (including the internal weapon bays).

      Remember Kelly Johnson believed stealth simply would not work.

      Putting powerful afterburning engines and powerful radio spectrum emitters (radars) into something that is suppose go unseen in the electromagnetic spectrum – introduces paradox.

      One Lockheed official said “if we had tried fitting radar to the F-117 we’d still today be developing the aircraft.”

      Now we know F-117 packages required EF-111 protection during 1991.

      I agree that F-22/35 will punch-off their tanks when stealth is needed – but this still means they operate with tanks. What we mean is - if they leave the runway with tanks fitted to the aircraft – they ‘operate’ with tanks.

      It was the Russian Archer that propelled the development of 9X. Indeed the American weapon has the advantage currently.

      If one wants a good indicator of the future operational/combat record for F-22A - simply look at Lockheed’s previous jet fighter, the F-104 Starfighter. Excellent performance figures, a cult following, and would prove almost worthless as a combat aircraft. Startfighter was totally outclassed by MiG-21 and in the much anticipated showdown – the F-104 would fall to MiGs during Indo Pakistani war 1971 – for no MiG losses to Starfighters.

      The F-35 movie we’ve seen before – the development of the (one size fits all) F-111?

      The PRCs J-20 / J-35 will also prove to have little utility.

      We don’t see anything in F-22 aerial displays (either in maneuvers, distances between maneuvers, or less afterburner usage) that give confidence that it deserves a $400+ million/per copy price tag - or that it is the finest air superiority fighter in world.

      Neither did Robert Gates.

      A combat fighter - given sufficient combat persistence - is tasked to: search, locate, target, interrogate (IFF), coordinate, maneuver, and employ weapons - against other aerial objects.

      This is a vastly different mission than that of bomber, strike, observation, or reconnaissance - which are free to exploit "avoidance" - at all costs.

      The air force has confounded what stealth requires with what fighter pilots require.

      - The Boresight

      Delete
    16. Well we can't relate the F-104 or F-111 to the F-35

      1st the contractor such as Lockheed Martin simply develops aircraft according to the specification of the DOD.

      For the F-104 the main requirement was speed, it was never meant to dogfight or maneuver.

      though it does have pretty good instantaneous turn performance.

      the same was true for the F-111 which was developed by General Dynamics. It was never meant to dogfight.

      Ironically when asked to develop a pure breed dog fighter. the same company that developed the sluggish F-111 was able to develop the F-16, considered as one of the gold standards in agility even to this day.


      The requirement for the JSF program was simply to combine the best attributes of the F-16C block 50 and F/A-18C.


      The F-16's strength is in its incredible ability to retain energy, which helps it pull and maintain up to 8Gs when loaded (9Gs when clean).

      The F-35 can reportedly pull and maintain 9Gs with 60% internal fuel and full internal air-air weapons.

      This is slightly better than the Viper,

      Now with the F/A-18. the F-35 was required match it's high AOA and slow speed maneuvering capabilities.

      and like the link I posted before, even Topgun pilots are impressed.

      Virtually every pilot that has flown F-35s are commending its power and ease of handling.

      Test pilots are impressed at how it handles in the High AOA regime and departure resistance.

      Now combine that with Stealth and the F-35's near 360 degree HOBS capability thanks to DAS and data links.

      once Block 2B software is operational, regular pilots will be able to pull higher Gs and higher AOAs. and maximum performance will be available on block 3I.

      Basically what I'm saying is
      F-35's don't need to avoid dogfights, but they have the option to do so simply because they can.

      Infact the Topgun instructor said the exact opposite after evaluating the F-35 first hand

      "I think all 3 variants will be very lethal in the within visual range fight" were his exact words.

      I think they have come a long way from the mistakes of the F-4 and F-111.

      In performance parameters alone, the F-35 surpasses that of dedicated dog fighters like the F-16, and F/A-18. but it will offer so much more to the fight than raw performance.

      The F-22 on the other hand, is simply an F-35 on steroids,

      Delete
  12. Hi Marlon,

    Many of the observations conclusions we have drawn are uncomfortable for stealth fighter (stealth fighter) proponents.

    Indeed the similarities the F-22 has to the Lockheed YF-12 interceptor - are hard to ignore (including the internal weapon bays).

    Remember Kelly Johnson believed stealth simply would not work.

    Putting powerful afterburning engines and powerful radio spectrum emitters (radars) into something that is suppose go unseen in the electromagnetic spectrum – introduces paradox.

    One Lockheed official said “if we had tried fitting radar to the F-117 we’d still today be developing the aircraft.”

    Now we know F-117 packages required EF-111 protection during 1991.

    I agree that F-22/35 will punch-off their tanks when stealth is needed – but this still means they operate with tanks. What we mean is - if they leave the runway with tanks fitted to the aircraft – they ‘operate’ with tanks.

    It was the Russian Archer that propelled the development of 9X. Indeed the American weapon has the advantage currently.

    If one wants a good indicator of the future operational/combat record for F-22A - simply look at Lockheed’s previous jet fighter, the F-104 Starfighter. Excellent performance figures, a cult following, and would prove almost worthless as a combat aircraft. Startfighter was totally outclassed by MiG-21 and in the much anticipated showdown – the F-104 would fall to MiGs during Indo Pakistani war 1971 – for no MiG losses to Starfighters.

    The F-35 movie we’ve seen before – the development of the (one size fits all) F-111?

    The PRCs J-20 / J-35 will also prove to have little utility.

    We don’t see anything in F-22 aerial displays (either in maneuvers, distances between maneuvers, or less afterburner usage) that give confidence that it deserves a $400+ million/per copy price tag - or that it is the finest air superiority fighter in world.

    Neither did Robert Gates.

    A combat fighter - given sufficient combat persistence - is tasked to: search, locate, target, interrogate (IFF), coordinate, maneuver, and employ weapons - against other aerial objects.

    This is a vastly different mission than that of bomber, strike, observation, or reconnaissance - which are free to exploit "avoidance" - at all costs.

    The air force has confounded what stealth requires with what fighter pilots require.

    - The Boresight

    ReplyDelete
  13. What is Sensor Fusion?
    This former air force official started it is 'sensor fusion' that separates fifth generation from 4.5 or 4 generation.
    http://www.sldinfo.com/f-35-and-f-22-operational-integration-training-mission/

    Also can you please write an article about the F-35 series?

    --Xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sensor fusion is a marketing term used to tell congress the aircraft integrates various sensory inputs and displays this to the pilot in some useful way. Like using radar and IRST at the same time to leverage more of the electromagnetic spectrum.

    We may still write about the F-35, but frankly the aircraft is so boring and (now) over priced there isn’t much to say. It might be a good airframe replacement for the F-16 or F-18 but only if it stays below $85 million per copy. It should really be around $35 to 40 million per plane. It's only got one engine.

    Well anyway, thank you for writing!

    - The Boresight

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So it helps the pilot situational awareness or reduces the tasks he has to perform. That doesn't sound like a game changer. (It makes flying easier though).

      I thought it allowed an aircraft the ability to see his fellow allied aircrafts radar picture; in a way that fused multiple radar pictures from multiple aircrafts and displayed it for that one aircraft.
      I also thought it allowed a pilot the ability to control UAVs or cruise missiles.

      Thanks for clearing that for me.

      --Xx

      Delete

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