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    Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

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    Total Votes: 56

    nightcrawler
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  nightcrawler on Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:40 am

    A serious comparison b/w F-35 & EF-2000




    SerbNationalist
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  SerbNationalist on Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:28 pm

    UMC wrote:Victor than we would not have blown so many migs out of the sky through the last 50 years or so.

    Second F-35 cant be compared with these aircraft since its not meant to be an air superiority aircraft Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

    Well all the MIG's that you have blown out of the sky for the last few years were old and obsolete MIG's, usually MiG-21, 17 and in some cases really bad shape MiG-29, wich were, compared to "your" aircraft that attacked, obsolete, ill maintained and ill equipped or even not functioning! US and NATO have never encountered an enemy equal to them and fought and won??? NEVER! The best you did is shoot down Yugoslav MiG-29 out of wich some had no radars, some had malfunctioning ones, some were old and not maintained and had old 60's missiles with a range of 40km compared to your missiles with the range of 100-200km...so please don't make such stupid remarks!

    When did you fight a serious army? Never! You attacked Yugoslavia and didn't have the balls to launch a land invasion! You attacked Vietnam and suffered heavy losses by rebels and N. Vietnam army that had very small amount of planes and were all obsolete comared to yours, and if they werent then you had at least 100 more then they did in the field!

    Question is MiG-35 against any F airplane one on one, or 10 on 10...not 10 MiG's against 100 F's...even if your's were old and pathetic and old planes they would win by the sheer number and saturation!

    GarryB
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  GarryB on Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:19 am

    US and NATO have never encountered an enemy equal to them and fought and won??

    The US and NATO countries got that opportunity when Germany was reunified and NATO suddenly got their hands on some Mig-29Bs which are the downgraded models sold to Warsaw Pact allies. Not as bad as the export Mig-29s a country outside the WP would have gotten with IRST and missiles taken from the Mig-23, but certainly not as good as the aircraft the Russian airforce were flying that could at least carry more than just the R-27R BVR missile like the East German aircraft.

    Still the High Off Boresight R-73 and the HMS in the Mig-29B they flew against kicked their asse$ every single time.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  SerbNationalist on Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:12 pm

    Exactly, so until US and NATO troops encounter a real army, not a barely literate muslim firing and AA gun until he's hit by a missile and leaving their radars on until they are hit, not even bothering to move them, you have no right to say that your aircraft or any piece of equipment is better than anyone else's! Because in every war they've been in they had overwhelming numbers, firepower and technology...and only an absolute moron doesn't win in that kind of situation, wich kinda proves the stereotype of Us being stupid, because you lost against Vietnam, you're forced out of Iraq (please don't deny it, because your work that you've said that you will do, isn't half way done, Iraq is far from anything that starts with a P, not to mention the whole word peace), you will be forced out of Afghanistan, you don't have the balls to take it to another level with Pakistan's insurgents, because if it bothers Pakistan at one point, they do have nukes! And if you attack Iran, even a pussy surprise attack, well let's say that it will be very interesting to watch!

    IronsightSniper
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  IronsightSniper on Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:38 am

    I'm going to have to disagree with you in that a powerful sensor suite is inferior to superior kinematics. In my opinion, Sukhoi aircrafts only need to be more Stealthy, and there's a reason for that, and that reason is the initiative. If a F-15 can't see a Su-35 but the Sukhoi can see the F-15, the Sukhoi gets to decide when, where, and how the fight will go down. For example, if they're both cruising into each other at Mach 0.8 and 10,000 meters and the Sukhoi spots the F-15 but not the other way around, the Sukhoi can climb up, increase speed, and fire it's R-77 and maximum range. I'm not saying that having superior kinematics isn't good, but stealth is very important to.

    Never the less, my vote went to the Su-35.

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    F35 thoughts

    Post  Hoof on Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:30 am

    Here are my thoughts on F35...

    I don't think F35 is horrible, but I do think that its too expensive for its class, it meant to replace F16, which is a light multirole fighter thats meant to save some money... of course stealth is nice and everything, but i think it sacrifices a lot of maneuroability because of that... Also they are planning to replace both A-10s and F-16s with it, but i think F35 cant take as nearly as much punishment as A10...

    As far as project goes right now, I read that Air Force reduced their order of F35s and Navy canceling their order altogether, they just gonna stick to F/A-18s for now... I havent heard anything about marines, but i think they gonna stick to harriers for now as well...

    Logistical support... When we gonna start getting F35s somwhere around 2015, wait time for new parts will be around 1 year, so if UHF-R/T or something breaks, it will take a year to get a new one, unless they can repair it...

    ahmedfire
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  ahmedfire on Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:58 am

    Vladimir79 wrote:I am going to hold my vote until Su-35BM gets AESA.
    when will su35bm get AESA ???

    Vladimir79
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  Vladimir79 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:00 am

    ahmedfire wrote:
    Vladimir79 wrote:I am going to hold my vote until Su-35BM gets AESA.
    when will su35bm get AESA ???

    Once it is made for PAK FA it can be adapted. Post 2018...

    GarryB
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  GarryB on Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:16 am

    The Russians have invested in AESA module production facilities and I would expect that in addition to the ten preproduction prototypes of the T-50 they will also use the Su-35 as a testbed for new AESA radars as well.

    I am expecting their first AESA radars to be good but not great, and as they get more experience with them they will further improve like they have with PESAs.

    Most of their SAMs will likely move to AESA radars too as will Naval Radars so the demand for AESA modules will be enormous.

    Fighter radars have the advantage of being relatively small, with only 1,000 to 2,000 elements. For a huge S-400 radar they might need 10 or 20 times that number.

    Early production will have to deal with efficiency issues and quality control with the number of dud TR modules hopefully being low and to get lower over time.

    Ogannisyan8887
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  Ogannisyan8887 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:03 pm

    Pentagon May Cancel STOVL Version Of F-35

    By Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor


    Air Force and Navy variants of the F-35 fighter are progressing, but the Marine Corps' short takeoff and vertical landing version has been put on a two-year probation and may be canceled altogether if concerns aren't met. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters, "If we cannot fix this variant during this time frame, and get it back on track in terms of performance, cost and schedule, then I believe it should be canceled." Citing a Pentagon document, Reuters reported Thursday that the military has reduced its order for the Lockheed jet from 449 aircraft to 325 F-35s through fiscal year 2016, and "cost-cutting efforts were still needed." The order reduction could save the government more than $10 billion, Reuters reported, and nearly half of that money would head right back into the program's development to offset cost overruns. Airframes (without engines) are currently priced in the ballpark of $130 million. But that's nothing compared to the program's overall cost, which sets a high water mark for Pentagon arms programs.

    The jet program is the Pentagon's largest arms program, involves eight partner countries and has a cost somewhere near $380 billion. The Pentagon estimates it has invested $37 billion to develop the jet and the development program will cost nearly $14 billion more to complete. The current two-year probation and order reduction means slower delivery and the Pentagon has said it will buy more than 40 Boeing F/A-18s over the next three years to offset the later adoption of the Lockheed effort. Lockheed's F-35 was meant to be produced in three variants and account for nearly a quarter of Lockheed's annual revenue. Lockheed says it is still committed to delivering each variant -- including the Marine's STOVL jet.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  zraver on Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:40 pm

    I think the Silent Eagle proposal offers better bang for the buck. Much longer range, higher speed, higher ceiling, more room for electronics and sensors and enough RCS to operate effectively under an F-22 umbrella.

    Vladimir79
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  Vladimir79 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:55 pm

    Report Reveals Undisclosed F-35 Problems
    By DAVE MAJUMDAR
    Published: 18 Jan 2011 17:12



    The F-35 Lightning II strike fighter has previously undisclosed problems with its handling, avionics, afterburner and helmet-mounted display, according to a report by the Pentagon's Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.
    An F-35B Joint Strike Fighter descends to a vertical landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., on Jan. 6. A report says more problems have been found with the F-35 program, but officials say they are well on their way to fixing the issues. (Phaedra Loftis / Lockheed Martin)

    Both the U.S. Air Force F-35A variant and U.S. Marine Corps' F-35B model experienced "transonic wing roll-off, [and] greater than expected sideslip during medium angle-of-attack testing," the report said.

    The report also says that various components are not as reliable as expected.

    Additionally, the Pratt and Whitney F-135 engine has encountered an afterburner "screech," in which airflow disruptions cause severe vibrations, preventing the engine from reaching maximum power. That problem has delayed some required testing.

    According to the report, the program has already begun efforts to fix the problem. Pratt and Whitney officials were not immediately available for comment.

    Further, the report indicates problems with the aircraft's helmet-mounted display (HMD). Unlike many previous aircraft, the F-35 does not have a cockpit-mounted head-up display; the pilot instead views critical data projected on the helmet visor.

    The report does not elaborate on the nature of the problems, but says they must be solved before the Block 2 mission systems software can be tested. Currently, the program is testing preliminary Block 0.5 and Block 1 mission systems software. Block 2 would incrementally increase the aircraft's capabilities and would be followed by the fully mission-capable Block 3 software.

    A Lockheed Martin official could not immediately describe the technical problems with the display.

    "The F-35 air system advances Helmet Mounted Display technology to capabilities not flying today on any other tactical platform. With this advancement in technology come challenges that the program is actively managing. The challenges are being worked with the supplier," said Lockheed Martin spokesman John Kent.

    "While there are no current plans to change suppliers, options are being considered in parallel that mitigate the most stressing issues. Flight testing is proceeding with the HMD installed and used with no safety of flight concerns."

    The report also calls for the Block 3 mission system software to be tested on a simulated battlefield because existing test ranges are not adequate to test the F-35's sensor arrays.

    "Open-air testing is constrained by range limitations that are incapable of providing realistic testing of many key capabilities provided by Block 3 aircraft," the report says.

    The report also calls for the aircraft's On-Board Inert Gas Generations System, which generates inert gases to prevent oxygen building up inside the fuel tanks, to be redesigned.

    "The OBIGGS system fails to inert the fuel tank ullage spaces throughout the combat flight envelopes evaluated," the report says.

    The report recommends program officials redesign the OBIGGS system "to ensure that the fuel tank ullage volume oxygen concentrations are maintained below levels that sustain fire and/or explosion throughout the combat flight envelopes."

    These issues are in addition to the known difficulties with the B-model aircraft's insufficiently strong structural bulkhead and problems with auxiliary air inlet doors on the aircraft's top surface.

    Ogannisyan8887
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  Ogannisyan8887 on Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:11 pm

    India to buy F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter

    WASHINGTON: The United States may allow India to participate in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme and eventual purchase of its fifth generation F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, according to a top Pentagon official.

    "There is nothing on our side, no principle which bars that on our side, Indian participation in the Joint Strike Fighter. Right now, they're focused on these aircraft which are top-of-the-line fourth-gen fighters," Pentagon acquisitions Chief Ashton Carter said Wednesday.

    However, the decision to pursue the F-35 is India's alone, he said speaking at the release of a report by the Carnegie

    Endowment's Ashley Tellis on India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft ( MMRCA )) programme.

    Later Pentagon spokesperson Cheryl Irwin told DefenseNews.com in an e-mail that "If, at some point down the road, India were interested in purchasing JSF from us, then we would engage the Indians in an open, transparent manner at that time.

    "But this would obviously be something that the Indian government would have to decide it wanted or needed."

    The Indian contract calls for the purchase of 126 fighters and is valued at more than $10 billion, Carter said. Competitors include the Lockheed Martin F-16IN Super Viper, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Saab JAS-39 Gripen and the Mikoyan MiG-35.

    Carter touted the American-built F-16 and F/A-18 as being the most technologically advanced aircraft in the competition.

    "I think that, without saying anything disparaging about the other entrants, both F/A-18 and the F-16 offers include the best technology," he said.

    Tellis echoed Carter's comments, saying the two US competitors offered the best capability for the lowest price. Of particular interest to India are the American fighters' Active Electronically Scanned Array radars (AESA), he said.

    The European and Russian aircraft do not currently have operational AESA radars available. The US military, meanwhile, is currently operating its second generation of AESA radars.

    The most important factors in any Indian decision will likely be technology transfer and industrial participation, Carter said.

    Carter also stressed the importance of lifecycle costs because 70 percent of a weapon's total cost resides in not in the initial purchase price, but rather in sustainment. According to Tellis, both the F-16 and F/A-18 offer the lowest lifecycle costs out of the aircraft on offer.

    Carter also stressed the importance of transparency. "I'm committed to in our process, both with respect to India and in our own internal processes, an open and transparent process, and I think we can promise the Indian government that," he said.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  Viktor on Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:27 pm

    India already declined the offer.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  GarryB on Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:12 am

    I think the Silent Eagle proposal offers better bang for the buck. Much longer range, higher speed, higher ceiling, more room for electronics and sensors and enough RCS to operate effectively under an F-22 umbrella.

    I agree, I think new build F-15s offer far more flexibility and performance than the F-35, potentially at much less cost... as long as they don't try to make it some sort of super plane with the latest of everything... it will increase costs without an equivalent increase in performance.

    India already declined the offer.

    Indeed, after signing to joint develop a 5th gen fighter with Russia why would it join the F-35 program as a junior partner in a plane India will have little control over the direction of development of?

    The Indians will basically direct the development of the joint aircraft they are Russia design much like the Russians developed the Su-30MK and then the Indian requirements led to the Su-30MKI being created. This it seems will be the same with the T-50, the question is how many Indian and international components will go into the T-50MKI, as that will likely determine whether the Russian AF will get a T-50MKI or a Su-55 with only Russian and possibly Indian components. (My opinion only of course).

    An offer to Brazil of Su-35s with the option of a joint development of the PAK-FA later on might introduce Brazilian technical expertise into the Russian aircraft industry too... though one would have to say the Rafale is a favourite there the French have no follow on aircraft to offer.

    The Russian AF will likely eventually have to replace all its Su-27s and it seems Mig-29s with Su-35s so perhaps it might be better if Brazil does not order Su-35s any time soon.

    Of course if Brazil orders Su-35s will Venezuela want some too?

    nightcrawler
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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  nightcrawler on Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:42 pm

    zraver wrote:I think the Silent Eagle proposal offers better bang for the buck. Much longer range, higher speed, higher ceiling, more room for electronics and sensors and enough RCS to operate effectively under an F-22 umbrella.

    Totally agree thumbsup
    but Garry won't a combination of F-15 & F-35 would be more lethal>>

    F-35 sneaking onto the Sukhois then directing F-15 [a bomb truck] to fire a missile on the located Sukhoi coordinates & then F-15 escaping away. The AMRAAM whole flight then be watched over by [not yet detected] F-35

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  GarryB on Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:39 pm

    Would require the F-35 to find some way of being invisible to the Su-35, which with a large nose mounted radar likely eventually an AESA of significant power plus L band wing root mounted radar antenna to detect data link transmissions and further an IRST and long range IR guided missiles too I don't see the US superiority they like to rely on in conflicts.

    It makes rather more sense to operate the F-15s with F-22s and leave the F-35s to strike missions... and with T-50s on the way they are going to have to develop an alternative to the AMRAAM with an IR seeker.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  IronsightSniper on Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:29 pm

    Question comes, "Why would we (or our export partners) expect a Su-35 to chase the F-35? It's quite obvious, no, it's even admitted that the U.S. Military is gearing for asymmetrical warfare, not symmetrical warfare. Carlo Kopp along with many other people are right, the F-35 will be annihilated by competent Sukhois. But no one is expecting to fight with any nation with competent Sukhois/Pilots/Numbers. Therefore, the F-35 does well for what it's intended.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  GarryB on Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:54 am

    First of all right now we haven't even heard of deliveries of Su-35s to the Russian AF let alone any other, but as they do start to sell and spread then the issue becomes if they are a real threat to an F-35 then why buy the F-35?

    The F-35 is not junk and is a very sophisticated aircraft system, however it is also very expensive and any export model will not be as impressive as the model the USAF will be operating though it is likely to be even more expensive for foreign operators.

    The US itself is looking at bringing the F-15 back from the dead... and that can only be at the expense of F-35s being purchased... should the other F-35 customers also consider doing the same... picking a previous generation large fighter aircraft with a large nose for a big powerful radar and lots of weapon points for missiles and pod jammers and other bits and pieces?

    Russia, China, India, and the US seem to be doing that with large updated versions of flankers or F-15s. The question is which backup plane will each country pick... would France go for an F-15 or an Su-35 or just develop something else?

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  IronsightSniper on Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:24 pm

    A F-15 Silent Eagle would be nice but it's RCS is probably still big enough to be killed by S-300s, so therefor I wouldn't prefer it as a front line fighter.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  Viktor on Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:45 pm

    IronsightSniper wrote:A F-15 Silent Eagle would be nice but it's RCS is probably still big enough to be killed by S-300s, so therefor I wouldn't prefer it as a front line fighter.

    But what makes you think F-35 will stay invisible to AESA L/K band radar that comes along double digit SAM-s, or perhaps its ECM? suite will blinde the radars on its

    destructive path? F-15SE on the other hand will still retaine better kinematic.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  GarryB on Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:58 pm

    A F-15 Silent Eagle would be nice but it's RCS is probably still big enough to be killed by S-300s, so therefor I wouldn't prefer it as a front line fighter.

    The S-300 series SAMs have been in service since the late 1970s so for 30 plus years the USAF has managed to operate aircraft very vulnerable to such systems reasonably well so far.

    Of course they haven't faced any yet, but then they haven't lost anything to them either.

    If the F-15 SE can be made in a nongold plated version that is affordable to buy and use then it makes sense to buy a thousand of them and use them with F-35s in places where an F-22 is overkill and simply keep the F-22s to protect CONUS and to be "the best" in internet arguments. Twisted Evil

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  Pervius on Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:54 am

    F-35 is being made to destroy Russia tank/armor because A-10's can't do it anymore. Likely it's sole real purpose.

    F-35 will do that role well.

    F-35 over the Pacific Ocean will be no better than F-18 Super Hornet's because it will need external fuel pods to get past a few hundred miles from Guam. No stealth with external fuel pods and enough missiles under the wings for combat.

    F-35 has "self healing" computer system with sensors on control surfaces. If it detects damage it will auto correct to try and keep plane flying. Pilot no longer has to provide counter input to control surfaces to keep plane flying. So if sensors fail a perfectly good F-35 will crash into the ground due to faulty sensor saying control surface is damaged and sending F-35 into the ground.


    That is what Russian Army is likely looking at to exploit. Get sensors in control surfaces to read faulty data and F-35 will crash like $2 Billion B-2 bomber. Faulty data from sensors= crash. No shots needed.

    A-10 was a better plane than the F-35. Pilots controlled it.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  GarryB on Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:14 am

    F-35 is being made to destroy Russia tank/armor because A-10's can't do it anymore. Likely it's sole real purpose.

    F-35 will do that role well.

    They already tried to replace the A-10 with the A-16, which was an air to ground dedicated F-16.
    It didn't work.
    It was too vulnerable to battle damage.
    The F-35 doesn't have the capacity to carry enough weapons to properly replace the A-10 and its anti radar focus is largely wasted at low level.
    Against third world countries it will be fine... though a bit like using a rolls royce to pull a plow.

    F-35 has "self healing" computer system with sensors on control
    surfaces. If it detects damage it will auto correct to try and keep
    plane flying. Pilot no longer has to provide counter input to control
    surfaces to keep plane flying. So if sensors fail a perfectly good F-35
    will crash into the ground due to faulty sensor saying control surface
    is damaged and sending F-35 into the ground.

    That is what Russian Army is likely looking at to exploit. Get sensors
    in control surfaces to read faulty data and F-35 will crash like $2
    Billion B-2 bomber. Faulty data from sensors= crash. No shots needed.

    A directed EM weapon would make fairly short work of such an aircraft... I suspect the big new AESA radar used with the S-400 called Mars with a range of several thousand kms could probably be used to burn high tech aircraft out of the sky.
    Either that or hacking into the NATO network to feed false data to them and lead them into traps.

    A-10 was a better plane than the F-35. Pilots controlled it.

    I think troops on the ground would prefer to see an A-10 roll in and fire a few Mavericks, than hear that F-35s are on their way from 500km away in a different country because they couldn't risk having US stealth aircraft in the country they are currently fighting in.

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    Re: Your thoughts about F-35. Comparisons with other fighters

    Post  ahmedfire on Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:59 am


    South China Sea, 16N, 114E, 2018. Captain Charles (Charlie) Brown is flying Number 2 in a battle formation of four F-35Cs acting as Offensive-Counter-Air ‘sweepers’ for a flight of four Super Hornets inbound for a JSOW strike on Woody Island. A large military deployment on the Island is denying free passage throughout the South China Sea, and several new oil drilling platforms have been active around the Spratly and Paracel Islands. The United Nations is not amused by this claim of sovereignty over the region, and has resolved to remove the deployment by force.

    The task has been assigned to the USN, and a Carrier Battle Group lead by CVN-76 Ronald Reagan is in the area. The plan is to cut the runway and disable the port facilities, then force a withdrawal from the Island under terms dictated by the UN/USN coalition task force.

    Number 3 of the F-35C sweepers gets a contact from his APG-81 radar, and the four inbound bogeys are shown across the network. Analysis of signals from the bogeys identifies them as Russian built Su-35S, previously seen moving on Woody Island by satellite recon. All the F-35Cs arm their four AIM-120D missiles and prepare for a ‘turkey shoot’, expecting to get ‘first-look, first-shot, first kill’. ‘Ah’, thinks Charlie, ‘this will be like the AN/AAQ-37 EO DAS advertisement: ‘manoeuvrability is irrelevant …let the missiles do the turning’.

    What Charlie Brown doesn’t realise is that such marketing hype was only partly right. In today’s day and age, manoeuvrability becomes irrelevant when faced with high agility, more particularly extreme agility, defined as extreme manoeuvrability + extreme controllability – a deadly combination best achieved with 3D TVC engines, widely spaced, interoperated with rapid response dynamic digital flight controls in airframes with highly relaxed static stability in the longitudinal and, in the case of the PAK-FA, directional axes.

    The Flankers with their extreme agility come in range at 60 miles, and the F-35C flight sorts targets and fires a pair of AIM-120Ds at each Flanker. The seconds tick by agonisingly slowly as the missiles fly out to their targets, and each pilot watches for the tell-tale radar bloom of a kill. The AN/ASQ-239 “Barracuda” Electronic Warfare system shows considerable activity from each Flanker and then …. a single bloom indicating one Flanker has been hit.

    Range is now 40 Nm and closing at 1,100 Nm/hr. The F-35C’s EO DAS detects four missile launch “flares” from each Flanker, twelve in all, and APG-81 radar detects missiles inbound. The F-35Cs each fire their two remaining AIM-120Ds and turn sixty degrees to maintain datalink command guidance of their missiles via the APG-81 AESA antenna. The cockpit MFDs show that the Flankers have broken away though 120 degrees, with the IRBIS-Es' swivelling antenna heads maintaining guidance contact. The AIM-120Ds, now chasing a retreating target, will fall short. The F-35Cs are not so lucky and they all break as the EO DAS senses the incoming R-77M missiles. Small active radiofrequency decoys and flares are ejected. One JSF is killed with an R-77ME missile with an active radar seeker, another with a tail-pipe hit from an R-77TE with an infrared seeker. Charlie’s JSF is now on full burner, heading for the deck and passing Mach 1.3 when ‘whoomp’ – the back-end explodes, and the cockpit is shrill with alarms and festooned with red displays of failure warnings. There is no response from the stick and he reaches for the ejection handle. A blast and excruciating pain as large chards of the shattered canopy knife into his upper body, then silence as the ‘chute’ opens.

    Charlie has a bird’s-eye view as the Flankers tear into the Super Hornet Strikers. JSOWs are jettisoned and they hurriedly fire their AIM-120C5s – all miss. The Super Hornet’s defensive ALE-55 decoy does a good-job on the R-77MEs with active radar seekers, but not those with modern imaging-infrared seekers. Two Super Hornets are lost to these BVR missiles. The three Flankers close, and rapidly dispatch the remaining two Strikers. One is killed with a pair of infrared R-73 Archers, and the other with a burst from the GSH-301 30mm cannon.

    And the final count: one Flanker killed, four F-35Cs and four Super Hornets killed for a Flanker vs USN Loss-Exchange Rate of 1:7.

    Fiction or Prediction? In the rapidly evolving world of future air combat, costly combat capabilities are being countered before the aircraft become operational. Those combat aircraft built to an obsolete specification are effectively dead before they fly.

    Take ‘stealth’ as an example. The original concept remains very sound, but can lead, through intellectual laziness, to several design and development consequences that will, if not addressed, lose future air combat fights.

    Stealth is incompatible with classical “endgame” active electronic countermeasures for two reasons: firstly radiating large amounts of power ‘gives the game away’ and secondly, large wideband wide-angle radiofrequency power emissions require large low-loss apertures, which are difficult to make highly stealthy. So the F-22A and the JSF are not reported to currently carry all aspect active electronic defences. Unless equipped with internal endgame radio-frequency countermeasures, if they are detected, their defences are limited and their loss rate can be high, especially if they are unable to defeat the inbound weapon kinematically1.

    Long-range missiles are also considered “not important” by many planners, because stealth allows a medium range missile shot before the adversary is aware you are there. Unfortunately, ‘Low-Observability’ is not the same as ‘No-Observability’. As fighter radars on large aircraft like the Su-35S and the PAK-FA deploy increased antenna size and much increased emitted radiofrequency power, and adopt advanced signal management though Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESAs), the formerly invisible tennis ball becomes a bright star. And a jet engine producing 40,000 lbs of thrust, is another bright star to a modern staring focal plane infrared sensor.

    The mantra ‘manoeuvrability is irrelevant … let the missiles do the turning,’ is another dangerous misconception popular in the contemporary planning community. If the enemy does not have stealthy aircraft, they have to rely on several layers of countermeasures, manoeuvre being one. And it works. Blasting a simple-minded missile with clever deceptive waveforms, putting a towed decoy in its path and confusing it with forward and rear firing chaff can hide the true target, making it miss. Simple Newtonian physics shows that an aircraft at Mach 0.9 with a 9G turning capability can easily out-turn and avoid Mach 3.6 missiles with a 40G turning capability. Another miss.

    Those who believe in the absolute impenetrability of ‘stealth’ create a deadly delusion: ‘you can’t see me, so you can’t fire at me, so I don’t need to care about terminal endgame countermeasures’. The problem is, the enemy can see the F-22A close up, can see the F-35 from quite a range, especially side and rear on, and can fire missiles with radar and infra-red seekers. So when these missiles close on an aircraft without effective terminal endgame countermeasures, they kill. The F-22A’s kinematics give it a fair chance of escaping a missile shot – the F-35 JSF very little chance. How does a Mach 1.5 JSF (JORD spec is Mach 1.5 S&L @ 30 kft ISA) escape a Mach 2.25 Sukhoi, especially when the Sukhoi has fuel to burn?

    So, the foregoing description of a future air combat fight tells the story of changing capabilities, changing tactics, and changing Loss-Exchange-Ratios.

    Why are we observing such a single-minded rejection of the need for effective endgame defences on Western combat aircraft? It is a direct by-product of a steadfast belief in Western military bureaucracies that most if not all future air combat will occur in the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) domain. There is no real evidence to support this idea, as the heavily “asymmetrical” conditions observed in air campaigns fought from 1991 through 2003 were unique and very unlikely to be repeated in the future. The advent of very long range “anti-AWACS” missiles, advanced conventional fighters like the Su-35S, and the stealthy PAK-FA, will result in far more “symmetrical” air campaigns, where the conditions permitting frequent or predominant Beyond Visual Range missile engagements will arise infrequently. Most air combat engagements will devolve into close combat, where “traditional” fighter virtues will be paramount. What follows then?

    How the effects of stealth, countermeasures and agility play out depends on the combatant’s relative capabilities and the tactics employed. However, there is certainty about this: it is better to have superior agility; it is better to have effective countermeasures; but it is best to have both!

    The US Navy is putting its fragile eggs in the F-35 JSF and the Super Hornet basket. This is tactically very dangerous.

    F/A-18E/F/G: This aircraft has excellent countermeasures, but if the adversaries have equally good or better countermeasures and can out-manoeuvre the Super Hornet’s missiles and airframe, then the inevitable result of any engagements will be the destruction of the Super Hornets; and,

    F-35 JSF: Because of the paradox of a stealthy aircraft actively jamming missiles, it is vulnerable to attack, especially within the rear-quarter from radar and infra-red guided missiles; once the aircraft is detected, then escaping from a much faster, more agile enemy is unlikely; high loss rates are predicted.

    The F-22A’s Raptor countermeasures capabilities have not been disclosed publicly. The passive sensors and systems are listed, but no public information is available, as it is for other types, on active, terminal countermeasures. The logic - or illogic if you will – that a stealth aircraft does not need them suggests there are none. However to remain effective, the F-22 needs to maintain its margin of superiority over newcomers like the PAK-FA and the Su-35S and actives countermeasures will be part of the capability solution, especially when engagements are closer, faster and at ranges where even VLO aircraft can be detected and tracked.

    Following the example of a very successful and cost-effective development of the F-15E from the F-15A&C, the F-22A needs to be developed along the lines of the Strike Eagle – a two-place, much enhanced “F-22E” fighter with the rear seat Weapons System Officer monitoring sensor feeds, advising the pilot and managing the passive and active terminal countermeasures – and, yes, it must have the agility and persistence to overmatch both the PAK-FA and the Su-35S.

    What they will also need is effective countermeasures that don’t compromise stealth. This capability must be deployed only when needed. The ALE-55 is a good example – a towed decoy that emits signal waveforms derived from the on-board RFS/ESM and countermeasures generator, with a fibre-optic cable that could be reeled out to meet threats and retracted or jettisoned after the threat has passed. Small, powered ‘smart’ air-launched decoys with an aircraft-like infra-red or radio-frequency signature are another.

    Manufacturers make stealthy gun-port openings and the F-22 has stealthy countermeasures bays on the fuselage sides, so they should be able to make stealthy electronic warfare openings large enough for effective countermeasures systems – the small and stealthy RFS/ESM antennas can collect the enemy’s signals continuously, the internal countermeasures generator forms the jamming waves for radar seekers, and directed energy for infrared seekers. The countermeasure bays open, ports blast out disruptive radiofrequency and infrared energy as needed, then the bays close and allow the fighter to fade back into the ether

    One advantage of true stealth aircraft is that their much lower radar signatures reduce the emitted power demands for an endgame electronic countermeasures suite. Rather than emitting kiloWatts, such a system can be viable emitting less than 100 Watts of power. While this has the enormous benefit of removing the need for large thermionic transmitters and supporting waveguides, it does not remove the need for jammer receiver hardware, processor hardware, techniques generator hardware, and embedded software, all of which incur maintenance, weight, volume, power and cooling demands.

    Large stealth fighters like the F-22 and PAK-FA are big beneficiaries, insofar as they are large enough to incorporate internal endgame countermeasures without significant performance and capacity penalties. The much less stealthy F-35 would require much more emitter power to protect its more vulnerable beam and tail sectors, while it is severely challenged in weight, volume, power and cooling, making integration of a robust all aspect endgame electronic countermeasures suite a difficult engineering challenge, for which a genuinely satisfactory design solution may not exist2.

    Some argue that the AESA radars fitted to the F-22A and the F-35 will be effective ‘Directed Energy Weapons’ (DEWs) that will destroy incoming missiles. There are three ‘difficulties’ with this notion. Firstly, AESA modules can only steer the energy beam within a cone angled about 120 degrees centred on the AESA boresight – leaving the remaining 240 degrees of the sphere unprotected. Secondly, AESA radars cover a limited bandwidth – how will its directed energy negate ‘out-of-band’ missile seekers, especially infra-red? Thirdly, ‘hardening’ missiles against DEW attack is a relatively simple and low cost exercise – there are already signs that this is taking place, e.g. active laser proximity fuses replacing radio-frequency fuses on Russian missiles.

    Finally, a ‘blinding glimpse of the bleeding obvious’. If the enemy can out-manoeuvre your missiles, then the converse of that infamous advertisement is: ‘if your missiles can’t do the turning, then smart aircraft are irrelevant’. What the F-22E needs is better missiles. The MBDA Meteor is a good start, as its throttleable ramjet lets it slow to a pace where it can do the required turning in the terminal stage. However, this missile needs an alternate seeker such as the Infra-red sensor in the AIM-132 AMRAAM. Future missiles need longer range – not necessarily to kill at greater distances, but to position to end-game places where its target has poor active defences or poor stealth performance.

    To conclude, resting on the laurels of the F-22A is not an option. The Su-35S has seriously dangerous and effective capabilities, even against an F-22A. The stealthy PAK-FA, albeit in an early phase of development, is showing naked air combat power in the form of extreme plus agility and persistence that, with the addition of advanced sensors, countermeasures and weapons, will likely soundly defeat the Raptor but will certainly annihilate the F-35 and the Super Hornet. Work on the F-22E needs to start immediately and be undertaken with the urgency required of a grave threat to the national defence and security of the USA and its Allies.

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-NOTAM-300310-1.html

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