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    F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

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    max steel

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  max steel on Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:20 am

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    Militarov

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Militarov on Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:13 am

    nemrod wrote:
    Militarov wrote:

    IRST is often largely useless sensor ...
    It is of course an opinion. I largely have been providing enough arguments against this POV. But as every opinion, it deserves to be mentioned in this forum.

    Well, i will quote retired Serbian MiG-21/MiG-29B pilot from my city: "In combat situations it proved as useless".

    Now, we knew that already from the that long interview with German Luftwaffe pilot from few years ago that flew on their Migs, you did not need me here really.

    IRST technology did envolve though last 3 decades, however its still far from wonder sensor i am afraid.

    But surely we can dismiss all that since we got onboard an expert.
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  AlfaT8 on Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:14 am

    Militarov wrote:
    nemrod wrote:
    Militarov wrote:

    IRST is often largely useless sensor ...
    It is of course an opinion. I largely have been providing enough arguments against this POV. But as every opinion, it deserves to be mentioned in this forum.

    Well, i will quote retired Serbian MiG-21/MiG-29B pilot from my city: "In combat situations it proved as useless".

    Now, we knew that already from the that long interview with German Luftwaffe pilot from few years ago that flew on their Migs, you did not need me here really.

    IRST technology did envolve though last 3 decades, however its still far from wonder sensor i am afraid.

    But surely we can dismiss all that since we got onboard an expert.

    Very surprising, i always thought that the IRSTs could be extremely useful especially in this age of stealth aircraft, if not in the air, than possibly a 360dgr ground based multi-channel IRST for ground based AD.
    Do you believe the same could be said about the IRST on current fighters?
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    Isos

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Isos on Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:52 am

    For dog fight with R-73/74, it's a very good equipement. Of course for detecting targets at 90km away, it won't be as good as a radar. Without it you need to see the target on your HUD, while with it you just look at the target with you eyes.

    What did he said much about Mig-29, your friend ? Did he particpate against nato ?


    Look at 15:30, it's from DCS, it is a well known russian simulation game. The map represent I think Europe with it's mountainous area where a Mig-29 is the most Dangerous and where stealth is not that important.

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    Militarov

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Militarov on Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:34 am

    Isos wrote:For dog fight with R-73/74, it's a very good equipement. Of course for detecting targets at 90km away, it won't be as good as a radar. Without it you need to see the target on your HUD, while with it you just look at the target with you eyes.

    What did he said much about Mig-29, your friend ? Did he particpate against nato ?


    Look at 15:30, it's from DCS, it is a well known russian simulation game. The map represent I think Europe with it's mountainous area where a Mig-29 is the most Dangerous and where stealth is not that important.


    No, he did not directly participate in 1999. combat, he was still fairly young pilot that had due to well known reasons less than 150 flying hours on 29 at that point. He was one of the last pilots in Yugoslavia to switch from MiG-21 to MiG-29. But he was witness of everything that happened naturally.

    Well he said alot, not only about MiG-29 but all the aircraft he flew on before, but nothing i could post in some form of article, you know how conversation goes. But i dont think he found IRST on our Bs satisfying at all.

    He praised flight characteristics and ease of flying compared to MiG-21BiS that he flew before it however.
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    Militarov

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Militarov on Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:38 am

    AlfaT8 wrote:
    Militarov wrote:
    nemrod wrote:
    Militarov wrote:

    IRST is often largely useless sensor ...
    It is of course an opinion. I largely have been providing enough arguments against this POV. But as every opinion, it deserves to be mentioned in this forum.

    Well, i will quote retired Serbian MiG-21/MiG-29B pilot from my city: "In combat situations it proved as useless".

    Now, we knew that already from the that long interview with German Luftwaffe pilot from few years ago that flew on their Migs, you did not need me here really.

    IRST technology did envolve though last 3 decades, however its still far from wonder sensor i am afraid.

    But surely we can dismiss all that since we got onboard an expert.

    Very surprising, i always thought that the IRSTs could be extremely useful especially in this age of stealth aircraft, if not in the air, than possibly a 360dgr ground based multi-channel IRST for ground based AD.
    Do you believe the same could be said about the IRST on current fighters?

    IRST is useful, there is no doubt about that, but i wouldnt call it "wonder sensor" as many ppl are trying over and over to portrait it, i mean in general, not only on this forum but everywhere.

    We advanced in every field possible in last 30+ years, you can expect that IRSTs made a long way too. When they appeared in quantities, IRST was very, very troubled device.

    Good article on the topic if you are interested: https://defenseissues.net/2015/06/16/airborne-irst-properties-and-performance/
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    Isos

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Isos on Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:49 am

    Yugo Mig-29 are not the best, that's sure. They were pretty old, not reliable due to maintenance and they are monkey export version. Soviet/Yugo relations were not that good as we can think, it's doubtfull that they give them decent version of an aircraft widely used by their airforce and that could end in US hands.

    IRST is a well known techno today so last version on Mig-35 Su-35 Rafale must be very good. Rafale's OSF can identify an Aircraft from 50 km ...

    It's like every technology on fighters. It should be used as a tool not as a super power like US are doing with "stealth" and take away every other systems.
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    GarryB

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:02 pm

    MiG-29B got inferior IRSTs to any other fitted to standard Russian MiGs.

    The IRST on the MiG-29B was no better than the one on the late model MiG-23s.

    It is actually very useful for an interceptor because targets can be coming towards you or retreating from you... when closing with your aircraft the radar is a much more effective sensor to detect and track but most radars have rather worse performance against receeding targets... and if you think about it... a receeding target has its engine exhausts pointed directly at you.

    For most NATO countries IRSTs are nice to have but not that useful because the longest range missile they have are ARH or SARH so they need a radar track anyway.

    For France and Russia who have large IR guided missiles it is something different.

    There are systems and there are tactics... with the wrong tactics and training even an excellent piece of kit is useless...

    To say IRSTs are useless makes me wonder why every Soviet fighter or interceptor of the last 40 years has been equipped with one... MiG-23, MiG-29, MiG-31, MiG-35, Su-27, Su-30, Su-34, Su-35... even the Yak-141 had one...

    Obviously you would not replace a radar with one, but just as an IRST can't replace a radar a radar can't completely replace an IRST either.

    Note most modern US and NATO fighter aircraft have an IRST or a targeting pod including IR optics


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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Militarov on Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:27 pm

    Isos wrote:Yugo Mig-29 are not the best, that's sure. They were pretty old, not reliable due to maintenance and they are monkey export version. Soviet/Yugo relations were not that good as we can think, it's doubtfull that they give them decent version of an aircraft widely used by their airforce and that could end in US hands.

    IRST is a well known techno today so last version on Mig-35 Su-35 Rafale must be very good. Rafale's OSF can identify an Aircraft from 50 km ...

    It's like every technology on fighters. It should be used as a tool not as a super power like US are doing with "stealth" and take away every other systems.

    Actually they were quite new, however they were due to overhaul in 1997. and they still flew into 1998. and 1999. with maintenance that crews on airfrield could provide. If they were not destroyed they would been still flying with 10+ years in them.

    50-90km, you can see hear different values around, i personally doubt them all. IRST is heavily affected by weather too, which makes it very often of very limited value.

    Stealth is just another advantage, its not ultimate answer, nothing really is.
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Militarov on Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:15 pm

    GarryB wrote:MiG-29B got inferior IRSTs to any other fitted to standard Russian MiGs.

    The IRST on the MiG-29B was no better than the one on the late model MiG-23s.

    It is actually very useful for an interceptor because targets can be coming towards you or retreating from you... when closing with your aircraft the radar is a much more effective sensor to detect and track but most radars have rather worse performance against receeding targets... and if you think about it... a receeding target has its engine exhausts pointed directly at you.

    For most NATO countries IRSTs are nice to have but not that useful because the longest range missile they have are ARH or SARH so they need a radar track anyway.

    For France and Russia who have large IR guided missiles it is something different.

    There are systems and there are tactics... with the wrong tactics and training even an excellent piece of kit is useless...

    To say IRSTs are useless makes me wonder why every Soviet fighter or interceptor of the last 40 years has been equipped with one... MiG-23, MiG-29, MiG-31, MiG-35, Su-27, Su-30, Su-34, Su-35... even the Yak-141 had one...

    Obviously you would not replace a radar with one, but just as an IRST can't replace a radar a radar can't completely replace an IRST either.

    Note most modern US and NATO fighter aircraft have an IRST or a targeting pod including IR optics

    OLS-27 has head-on detection range of basically useless 14km range, in good weather pilot can see alot further than OLS/IRST basically. In pursuing scenario abit below 50km aganist another Su-27P. how much it would degrade aganist aircraft that have LO IR spectrum systems applied is questionable.

    Only real advantage devices like this allow is fact that they are completely passive, so you can exploit that in some situations.
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:01 pm

    OLS-27 has head-on detection range of basically useless 14km range, in good weather pilot can see alot further than OLS/IRST basically.

    Ummm... head on detection range is worst case for IR... tail on would be double and in AB double that...



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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Militarov on Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:37 am

    GarryB wrote:
    OLS-27 has head-on detection range of basically useless 14km range, in good weather pilot can see alot further than OLS/IRST basically.

    Ummm... head on detection range is worst case for IR... tail on would be double and in AB double that...


    Ofc, that is taken as granted. Expected detection range in adequate atmospheric conditions aganist pursuing aircraft is about 25km (i belive they used another Su-27P as etalon).
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  nemrod on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:24 am


    For a few years, I have been providing enough arguments showing that if the stealth technology could work very well against an old fashionned country -taliban in Afghanistan for example-, or countries under harsh embargoes as there were the cases against Iraq, Libya, however this technology is pointless against modern countries like Russia, China, Germany, France, Japan etc....

    Moreover, the myth of air to air missiles technology survives only by the hype, it could not resist in front of the facts. An air to air missile could be easily dodged by a good and skilled pilot, because it is the machine against the human. An human will in nearly all the case triumph against the machine. I talk about WVR, no use to tell more about the other stupid myth and fantasy as it is BVR.

    Well the F-22 rely mostly on its supposed stealth assets -if it never existed one day-, and its AMRAAM AIM 120 C/D. Neither the two supposed assets could last in a real air to air combat.

    The most decisive way to win an air battle is still and for a long time the dogfight. Regarding this last F-22 Raptor's asset we could say it is not bad. The problem is still its huge weight, availlibilty. Moreover, the training was reduced for evident budget's cost and cut.

    The Mig-29 in its first version-A/B- is largely capable -if a good pilot is inside- to down a F-22. No use to talk about the Mig-35 and its amazing capacities.

    The stealth and the air to air missiles could help in a a significant way the US air force against a poor, old fashionned countries, under embargoes, nevertheless, not enough to achieve a decisive victory.
    However there are pointless against modern armies.
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:09 pm

    Ofc, that is taken as granted. Expected detection range in adequate atmospheric conditions aganist pursuing aircraft is about 25km (i belive they used another Su-27P as etalon).

    Well I agree that detecting a target from behind at 25km at night is pretty useless for a US fighter because the only weapon they could possibly use to shoot at such a target is the AMRAAM which does not use IR energy to find targets, but for a Soviet aircraft having both IR and radar guided weapons of BVR range means detecting retreating target that is 25km away means potentially a shot with an R-24T or R-27ET with a reasonable chance of a hit.

    At higher altitudes above the weather the performance should be even better.

    There were reports that MiG-25s were actually able to detect SR-71s with their IRSTs before they could detect them with their radar... the figure I remember reading was from a US source and suggested 120NMs.


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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Militarov on Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:54 am

    GarryB wrote:
    Ofc, that is taken as granted. Expected detection range in adequate atmospheric conditions aganist pursuing aircraft is about 25km (i belive they used another Su-27P as etalon).

    Well I agree that detecting a target from behind at 25km at night is pretty useless for a US fighter because the only weapon they could possibly use to shoot at such a target is the AMRAAM which does not use IR energy to find targets, but for a Soviet aircraft having both IR and radar guided weapons of BVR range means detecting retreating target that is 25km away means potentially a shot with an R-24T or R-27ET with a reasonable chance of a hit.

    At higher altitudes above the weather the performance should be even better.

    There were reports that MiG-25s were actually able to detect SR-71s with their IRSTs before they could detect them with their radar... the figure I remember reading was from a US source and suggested 120NMs.

    There are Sidewinders, IRIS-T, AIM-132... depends what is integrated on questioned aircraft, IRIS-T might not be ideal to be launched aganist pursuing aircraft on 25km distance as it would fall short but other who are adequate. All depends on situation.

    SR-71 was one extremly "hot" bird so yeah, i assume detection range for it would be quite significant.

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  nemrod on Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:26 am

    GarryB wrote:

    Well I agree that detecting a target from behind at 25km at night is pretty useless for a US fighter because the only weapon they could possibly use to shoot at such a target is the AMRAAM which does not use IR energy to find targets, but for a Soviet aircraft having both IR and radar guided weapons of BVR range means detecting retreating target that is 25km away means potentially a shot with an R-24T or R-27ET with a reasonable chance of a hit.

    At higher altitudes above the weather the performance should be even better.

    There were reports that MiG-25s were actually able to detect SR-71s with their IRSTs before they could detect them with their radar... the figure I remember reading was from a US source and suggested 120NMs.

    There are things call cold war. Cold war means war. There were several SR-71 shot down by the Mig-25, however for evident geopolitical reasons US could not acknowledged a such thing. In that case, I agree, the AA-X-6 acrid could easily down an SR-71. Nevertheless, a Mig-25 was very hard to down.
    Tom Cooper in his site related several incidents involving the Mig-25, one among them during the no-fly-zone between 1991-2003. One Iraqi Mig-25 crossed the airspace of Saudy, immediately US launched against the intruder, its F-15, F-14, F-16. After a considerable launch of air to air missiles including aim-7 sparrow, aim 54 phoenix, and even their state of the art AIM-120 C Amram none of them reached the iraqi fighter. The Mig-25 managed to quietly return to its basis.
    What does it means ?
    All the noise about BVR, Amraam etc...are mere hype. Their claimed effectiveness is more than doubtful.
    I won't say that a Mig-25 could down a F-22, because the Mig-25 was designed around the end of 50's. The F-22 the end of 90's. But who know ? However, the Mig-31 is able.
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Militarov on Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:35 am

    nemrod wrote:
    GarryB wrote:

    Well I agree that detecting a target from behind at 25km at night is pretty useless for a US fighter because the only weapon they could possibly use to shoot at such a target is the AMRAAM which does not use IR energy to find targets, but for a Soviet aircraft having both IR and radar guided weapons of BVR range means detecting retreating target that is 25km away means potentially a shot with an R-24T or R-27ET with a reasonable chance of a hit.

    At higher altitudes above the weather the performance should be even better.

    There were reports that MiG-25s were actually able to detect SR-71s with their IRSTs before they could detect them with their radar... the figure I remember reading was from a US source and suggested 120NMs.

    There are things call cold war. Cold war means war. There were several SR-71 shot down by the Mig-25, however for evident geopolitical reasons US could not acknowledged a such thing. In that case, I agree, the AA-X-6 acrid could easily down an SR-71. Nevertheless, a Mig-25 was very hard to down.
    Tom Cooper in his site related several incidents involving the Mig-25, one among them during the no-fly-zone between 1991-2003. One Iraqi  Mig-25  crossed the airspace of Saudy, immediately US launched against the intruder, its F-15, F-14, F-16. After a considerable launch of air to air missiles including aim-7 sparrow, aim 54 phoenix, and even their state of the art AIM-120 C Amram none of them reached the iraqi fighter. The Mig-25 managed to quietly return to its basis.
    What does it means ?
    All the noise about BVR, Amraam etc...are mere hype. Their claimed effectiveness is more than doubtful.
    I won't say that a Mig-25 could down a F-22, because the Mig-25 was designed around the end of 50's. The F-22 the end of 90's. But who know ? However, the Mig-31 is able.  

    "There were several SR-71 shot down by the Mig-25"...

    lol!
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Isos on Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:01 am

    GarryB wrote:
    Ofc, that is taken as granted. Expected detection range in adequate atmospheric conditions aganist pursuing aircraft is about 25km (i belive they used another Su-27P as etalon).

    Well I agree that detecting a target from behind at 25km at night is pretty useless for a US fighter because the only weapon they could possibly use to shoot at such a target is the AMRAAM which does not use IR energy to find targets, but for a Soviet aircraft having both IR and radar guided weapons of BVR range means detecting retreating target that is 25km away means potentially a shot with an R-24T or R-27ET with a reasonable chance of a hit.

    At higher altitudes above the weather the performance should be even better.

    There were reports that MiG-25s were actually able to detect SR-71s with their IRSTs before they could detect them with their radar... the figure I remember reading was from a US source and suggested 120NMs.

    I don't know who wrote this but on wiki it's said that the effective range of the R-27ET is 12.5 tail-on. For a target at high altitude high speed it's possible that these claims are legit. Unless you fire head-on, downing a Mig-25/31 or Sr-71 from behind is impossible unless you are in a Mig-31 and already in patrol or you have detecting the target since long ago with radar. ==> Iraqi Mig-25 and the 10 AMRAAM fired at it.

    How do they know the range when they are just using IRST and not the radar ?
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:08 pm

    There are Sidewinders, IRIS-T, AIM-132... depends what is integrated on questioned aircraft, IRIS-T might not be ideal to be launched aganist pursuing aircraft on 25km distance as it would fall short but other who are adequate. All depends on situation.

    There would be very few WVR based IR guided missiles able to tail chase from 25km at any altitude.

    There were several SR-71 shot down by the Mig-25, however for evident geopolitical reasons US could not acknowledged a such thing.

    No there were not.

    After several U-2s were shot down US policy was no overflights of the Soviet Union... the SR-71 never entered Soviet airspace and therefore were never shot down by anything.

    Several MiG-31s got missile locks over Europe... and the system would only lock if the target was within valid parameters for a launch, but that means nothing.

    I don't know who wrote this but on wiki it's said that the effective range of the R-27ET is 12.5 tail-on. For a target at high altitude high speed it's possible that these claims are legit.

    The only target too fast for a tail shot is the SR-71 at near full speed... and at near full speed such a target is actually much easier from the front where the R-27ET can hit a normal fighter from about 80km and likely an SR-71 from a much greater distance.

    [qutoe] Unless you fire head-on, downing a Mig-25/31 or Sr-71 from behind is impossible unless you are in a Mig-31 and already in patrol or you have detecting the target since long ago with radar. ==> Iraqi Mig-25 and the 10 AMRAAM fired at it.[/quote]

    Impossible for an F-4 or MiG-23 era aircraft but not impossible for a F-15 or MiG-29 or Su-27 family with a late model missile like R-27 or R-77 or MiG-25/31 with an R-40TD?R-33/37.

    How do they know the range when they are just using IRST and not the radar ?

    Because ground radar has radar tracks for both objects and the MiG will report detection...


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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Isos on Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:26 am



    Impossible for an F-4 or MiG-23 era aircraft but not impossible for a F-15 or MiG-29 or Su-27 family with a late model missile like R-27 or R-77 or MiG-25/31 with an R-40TD?R-33/37.

    Well none of these would have speed to reach the target and be close to shoot at it. Even if they do they will go bingo fuel very fast and they could neither destroy the target neither go home. But for an interception which is more likely to happen, they could.

    The only target too fast for a tail shot is the SR-71 at near full speed... and at near full speed such a target is actually much easier from the front where the R-27ET can hit a normal fighter from about 80km and likely an SR-71 from a much greater distance.

    A Mig-25 have outran 10 missiles and not at full speed. These missile are Mach 4 class. Iris-t is Mach 3, it won't be better for the job against a target flying mach 2.5 and 25 km in front of you. If you know where the oponent is and what system he has, it's not that hard to stay at safe distances.
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:47 pm

    You don't have to match flight speed with the target... a zoom climb and launch at the peak from the correct position is sufficient for a chance of a kill.

    The R-27ET and R-27ER already climb to altitude in a lofted trajectory to hit long range targets, and so does the R-33 and R-37.


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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  nemrod on Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:17 am

    GarryB wrote:
    ...the SR-71 never entered Soviet airspace and therefore were never shot down by anything.

    Several MiG-31s got missile locks over Europe... and the system would only lock if the target was within valid parameters for a launch, but that means nothing.

    It is the official version. A couple of years ago, I've seen a document in the french television, where it was explained that the SR-71 with its 26-30.000 meters 's ceiling, and mach 3.5's speed -if not mach 4- was specially intended to fly over soviet air space, hence, the aircraft penetrated several times -or tried to- above the soviet's airpace. It was explained in this document that Soviet air force, air defense launched several dozens, if not hundreds of missiles but none reached the SR-71. However....several lost due to the magic word of "Accident".

    In that time the U-2 was largely enough to fly over China, Algeria, Egypt or any anti imperialist's country poorly defended by air defense. On contrary the SR-71 was intended to challenge the Mig-25. As I said before, the Mig-25 was equiped with powerful IRST, radar, and air-air missile AA-X-6 Acrid-mach 6 speed -. Once the quantity of Mig-25 became enough the SR-71 was useless above the Soviet Union, as the risk to be downed was high. After the middle 70's the SR-71 ceased many of its missions against countries equipped with Mig-25, and sophisticated air defense.
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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  nemrod on Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:48 am


    For Garry
    As U could read, SR-71 was especially intended to fly above the Soviet Union. It was likely the case during periods, small or very limited durations. US attempt more and more audacious tries, until they likely have more and more losses. Once the Mig-25 became massively deployed, the threat became lethal for the Black Bird, hence the SR-71 became useless.
    This was the cold war, declassified documents are not for the moment. In the next future we will learn how much SR-71 were downed by the Mig-25.
    As it was for the Kursk, the Kursk was sank by US submarine, for political reasons Russia abstained to acknowledged the event.


    http://in.rbth.com/articles/2012/09/03/foxhound_vs_blackbird_how_the_migs_reclaimed_the_skies_17363


    Swedish air defence had a vantage view of these aerial manoeuvres. On their radar screens they could see the much older but faster MiG-25 screaming in towards the Blackbird. Shortly after the MiG-31s had harried the SR-71 in the Arctic area, a lone MiG-25 Foxbat stationed at Finow-Eberswalde in the former GDR would intercept it over the Baltic. The Swedes observed the SR-71 would always fly at 72,000 ft and the MiG-25 would reach 63,000 ft before completing its stern attack 2.9 km behind the Blackbird. “We were always impressed by this precision, it was always 63,000 ft and 2.9 km behind the SR-71," a retired Swedish Air Force flight controller told Crickmore.





    Foxhound vs Blackbird: How the MiGs reclaimed the skies
    3 September 2012 RAKESH KRISHNAN SIMHA
    Exactly 30 years ago a potent new combat aircraft appeared in the skies over Russia. Without firing a shot in anger, the MiG-31 achieved what Soviet air defence had been attempting for years – send the SR-71 spy plane into early retirement.

    From its first flight in 1972 to its retirement in 1989, the SR-71 Blackbird was the highest flying and fastest air breathing aircraft in operation. Flying at Mach 3.3 (4042 kph) the CIA-operated SR-71 initially flew unchallenged over trouble spots such as Vietnam and the Middle East, and also conducted highly provocative flights close to the Soviet Union’s borders, spying on submarine activity in the Arctic seas.

    Although the Mach 3.2 MiG-25 Foxbat could in theory have shot it down with its air to air missiles, in reality the Foxbat could not sustain a Mach 3 chase for long.

    Early in the year 1982 the Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau started deliveries of a new combat aircraft to the Protivo Vozdushnoy Oborony or PVO – the Air Defence Forces of the Soviet Union. This new aircraft was the multi-functional MiG-31– an airborne weapons platform with the principal task of hunting down US Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombers and stealthy, low flying air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs). According to the authoritative defence website, Air Power Australia, the Foxhound’s unique ability for sustaining supersonic cruise up to 722 km, increasing to 2200 km with inflight refuelling, “is a capability with no equivalent in the West”.

    Enter the Foxhound



    In September 1983, a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 was shot down by a Sukhoi-15 after the airliner intruded deep into Soviet air space. What remained unknown to the world was the night of the incident had been a particularly tense time for Soviet air defence forces, as the SR-71 was conducting a spy flight in coordination with other American aircraft and a Big Bird spy satellite.

    German aviation journalist Stefan Buttner has given a gripping account of what happened next, in the October 2010 issue of the magazine Combat Aircraft: “Following the event, a special-purpose group comprising four MiG-31s under the command of Vladimir Ivlev, was despatched to Sokol Air Base in Sakhalin later that month.

    “The group's main task was to combat incursions by the SR-71. With Moscow's authorisation the four crews set up demonstrations sorties with the new aircraft, using their radar to prevent the Blackbird from flying along the Soviet border.

    "The crew would fly out on an intercept course to close with the target, and then switch the radar to radiation mode and report to their ground controllers when they had detected the target at around 300-320 km. They would then continue to close with the target, and at 120-150 km target lock-on would be achieved, whereupon the crew would report readiness to attack."

    At this point the SR-71's missile approach warning system would trigger; the crew would find themselves the hunted, and unable to hold their nerve, there was no course of action for them other than to engage afterburner and run for home.

    Arctic patrol



    Prior to that, says Buttner, a squadron in Monchegorsk Air Base near the Arctic port of Murmansk had been equipped with the MiG-31, at the end of April 1983 and the first MiG-31 sortie scrambled against an SR-71 on the following day. The Monchegorsk MiGs were assigned the task of intercepting the SR-71s flying in from the UK’s Mildenhall Air Base.

    Captain Mikhail Myagkiy was among the elite fighter pilots chosen to fly these new MiGs. Over a period of four years, Myagkiy alone executed 14 successful intercepts of the SR-71 near the borders of the Soviet Union in the far north.

    The spy plane usually appeared from the direction of Norway, tearing in toward the White Sea and then north toward Novaya Zemlya before turning around on a reverse course to the west over the Arctic Ocean.

    It must be mentioned that the missile defence forces possessed the capability to successfully destroy the 'intruder'. In an interview to Russian aviation expert Valery Romanenko for Paul Crickmore’s gripping book Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond The Secret Missions, Myagkiy says Soviet counter-intelligence secretly hoped the American plane would cross the borders. For, that would have given them the perfect excuse to shoot it down with SAMs.

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    Precision attack



    Myagkiy says intercepting a superfast aircraft like the SR-71 required precisely coordinated actions. “The scheme for intercepting the SR-71 was computed down to the last second, and the MiGs had to launch exactly 16 minutes after the initial alert. During this period of time the ground vectoring station determined what route the SR-71 was following,” he says.

    On his eighth intercept, on January 31, 1986, here’s what happened: “They alerted us for an intercept at 11.00. They sounded the alarm with a shrill bell and then confirmed it with a loudspeaker. The appearance of an SR-71 was always accompanied by nervousness. Everyone began to talk in frenzied voices, to scurry about, and react to the situation with excessive emotion.”

    Taking off with Aleksey Parshin, his Weapons Service Officer, their aircraft broke the sound barrier at 26,000 ft. At 52,000 ft, the MiG achieved infrared lock on the SR-71 and a target indicator showed the distance – 120 km – in the head up display. The aircraft’s computer automatically fed the data to the missiles, and four green triangles appeared on the target illuminated in the head-up display. A computerised female voice named Rita inside Myagkiy’s earphones announced – “Attack”.

    At 65,676 ft the computer announced the “Attack” order again. The Blackbird was flying a mere 8000 ft above him and Myagkiy had a visual sighting of the aircraft. “Had the spy plane violated Soviet airspace, a live missile launch would have been carried out. There was practically no chance the aircraft could avoid an R-33 missile,” says Myagkiy.

    The intercepts had their intended effect. The SR-71’s missions were now planned farther from Soviet airspace because of the MiG threat. Renowned film maker Peter Ustinov also confirms this outcome in his documentary Wings Over Russia.

    Swedish view

    Swedish air defence had a vantage view of these aerial manoeuvres. On their radar screens they could see the much older but faster MiG-25 screaming in towards the Blackbird. Shortly after the MiG-31s had harried the SR-71 in the Arctic area, a lone MiG-25 Foxbat stationed at Finow-Eberswalde in the former GDR would intercept it over the Baltic. The Swedes observed the SR-71 would always fly at 72,000 ft and the MiG-25 would reach 63,000 ft before completing its stern attack 2.9 km behind the Blackbird. “We were always impressed by this precision, it was always 63,000 ft and 2.9 km behind the SR-71," a retired Swedish Air Force flight controller told Crickmore.

    Raising the stakes



    However, the Soviet brass weren’t satisfied. They wanted the SR-71 out of the skies entirely. By now, the success achieved by MiGs had given a boost to the Foxhound programme. One by one the forward air bases of the country were beefed up with the new fighter. In October 1986, MiG-31s were despatched to the Komsomol'skii Air Base. In 1985, Archangel and Kamchatka got upgraded to the MiG-31. Yugorskii Peninsula in the White Sea and Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan got theirs in 1986.

    The Soviets now raised the stakes. On June 3, 1986 they sent up not one but six MiG-31s to intercept the SR-71 over the Barents Sea. The six Foxhounds performed a co-ordinated intercept that would have subjected the SR-71 to an all-angle AAM attack.

    The intense pressure paid off – the SR-71 never came close to Soviet borders after that incident. Just three years later the spooks at the CIA cancelled the SR-71 programme (although it was reactivated briefly in other theatres).



    Satellites vs SR-71



    The premature retirement of the SR-71 seems mysterious but not if you look at the MiG-31’s record against it. However, Western military commentators have said the SR-71 became redundant after the arrival of powerful spy satellites. This argument has no legs. Satellites have orbital limitations and it may take up to 24 hours to position a satellite over a certain area, whereas spy planes can be brought into play quickly and repeatedly.

    Also, strange as it sounds, spy planes are stealthier than satellites as orbital information is freely available on the internet so the enemy can hide assets when they know the satellite is overhead.

    Indeed, the limitations of satellites were exposed when the U2 was brought out of retirement to operate over Iraq.

    Ageless wonder



    Air Power Australia says given the Foxhound’s principal role was the hunting down of SAC bombers and ALCMs, it is questionable whether the aircraft is relevant in a radically changed political environment.

    But until the new Russian fifth generation PAK-FA becomes available, the MiG-31, with its massive radar and unique ability to engage six enemy aircraft, is the perfect solution to a uniquely Russian problem – covering its vast air space with limited aircraft.

    In fact, after a major upgrade the MiG-31 is even more potent today than it was 30 years ago. It is a measure of its mystique that the MiG-31 was the inspiration behind the Cold War novel Firefox, which was later made into a hit motion picture of the same name starring Clint Eastwood – another ageless wonder.


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    GarryB

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:31 pm

    It is the official version. A couple of years ago, I've seen a document in the french television, where it was explained that the SR-71 with its 26-30.000 meters 's ceiling, and mach 3.5's speed -if not mach 4- was specially intended to fly over soviet air space, hence, the aircraft penetrated several times -or tried to- above the soviet's airpace.

    Well lets question the quality of the document because the SR-71 could never operate at 30km altitude.

    Equally mach 4 was not possible either.

    The shape of the SR-71 and the way it generates lift in flight means it is not ideal for altitude... the MiG-31 holds the world altitude records at a little over 30,000m.

    The SR-71 holds records for speed but not altitude.

    There is no point in having a secret altitude capability if you never use it... and when the SR-71 is flying the Soviets were tracking it and would know if it could go higher than about 80,000ft. It didn't. It can't.

    It was explained in this document that Soviet air force, air defense launched several dozens, if not hundreds of missiles but none reached the SR-71. However....several lost due to the magic word of "Accident".

    The Soviets have never claimed to have shot down an SR-71.

    About 6 U-2s were shot down including 2 over Cuba and a couple over the Soviet Union and China, but the SR-71 was carefully kept away from Soviet air space.

    As it was for the Kursk, the Kursk was sank by US submarine, for political reasons Russia abstained to acknowledged the event.

    How?


    From its first flight in 1972 to its retirement in 1989, the SR-71 Blackbird was the highest flying and fastest air breathing aircraft in operation.

    Not true. Not the highest flying aircraft. The long nose does not generate enough lift for level flight above 80K ft or about 26K metres... if it tried to fly higher than this it would stall and its nose would drop like a rock... and it would likely enter a dangerous high speed spin and crash.


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    Militarov

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

    Post  Militarov on Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:52 am

    Why is this forum attracting these UFO and "Aliens did it" guys...

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    Re: F-22 Raptor: News and Discussion

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