Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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marauder2048

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Unread post15 Dec 2018, 02:10

weasel1962 wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:
weasel1962 wrote: because its the first instance official doc discussing numbers.


It's pure speculation and extrapolation on CBO's part. Nothing more.


It's a bit more than that. It's long term budget planning. Good idea to start parcelling out priorities. That will influence eventual project definition. I read it as more signalling limits on affordability. That appears to be the intent of the paper, not just on PCA but overall replacement strategy.


They are pulling unit cost estimates and quantities out of thin-air.
An actual exploration of the affordability of different schemes for achieving air dominance would
have been useful in motivating projection definition. But they don't even attempt that.
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element1loop

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Unread post15 Dec 2018, 06:25

mixelflick wrote:Much depends upon just how good the F-35 is air to air, as its ability to "pinch hit" is vital. Like the 1,000 swing role F-16's we have today, the F-35 may be needed in the air superiority role in the future. Personally, I think it'll do just fine.


Australia and Japan are both to use the A as their primary A2A. Why would anyone doubt the A2A dominance capacity of it, at this point?

mixelflick wrote:And yes, PCA will have to be sold as mult-mission. It'll have a stated primary function of air to air, but also air to ground, forward AWACS/ISR and flying magazine platform.


The Counter-Air part implies its an airforce killer plus strategic SAM + sensors killer, so will require a heavy strike-fighter with exceptional stealth, power, agility, range, payload and weapons bay size. Basically everything the F-35 is, but around twice that capability seems to be the implied objective.

They can only get that 'cheap' and in service by ~2030 via re-using a lot of the F-35's sensors, avionics, computers and code. So it's the airframe stealth+aero optimization, bay size and engines they need to focus on. And frankly I can't believe they've not been working that up in detail for several years already, i.e. you already have the team that created the outstanding F-35 airframe trade-off, so you set them the new task and concept. That would have occurred some years ago. Plus newer propulsion options exist already.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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mixelflick

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Unread post15 Dec 2018, 19:17

element1loop wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Much depends upon just how good the F-35 is air to air, as its ability to "pinch hit" is vital. Like the 1,000 swing role F-16's we have today, the F-35 may be needed in the air superiority role in the future. Personally, I think it'll do just fine.


Australia and Japan are both to use the A as their primary A2A. Why would anyone doubt the A2A dominance capacity of it, at this point?

Well, couple of things..

On the one hand, we have certain F-35 detractors which (still) question its air to air prowess. Not as maneuverable as an SU-35, could get run down by an SU-57 etc.. So until there's actual combat data showing its superiority, that question will always remain.

OTOH we have the result of several Red/Green flags showing it's 15:1, some say 20:1 air to air combat record. The problem is these results are mired in a web of confounding factors. Did the F-22 assist? What were the ROE's? Until those are laid bare, there will always be questions.

What I think is most telling though are Israel's and Japan's actions. Shortly after getting their hands on the bird, they either talked about or formally requested larger numbers. I can only imagine 1.) practical/combat experience and/or 2.) being privy to classified briefings showing its capabilities explain this interest in buying more.

Don't get me wrong: I think it'll prove to be a superior air to air platform. It really irks certain people though that it was compromised somewhat by the swing role. I know, I know. That's what the customer ordered. Hopefully years from today we'll have reams of data showing F-35's AMRAAM shots/kills vs. all kinds of adversary aircraft like J-10's, J-11's, SU-30's, SU-35's etc.. Maybe even a few WVR 9x/gun kills.

I am looking forward to that day...
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wrightwing

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Unread post15 Dec 2018, 20:26

mixelflick wrote:





OTOH we have the result of several Red/Green flags showing it's 15:1, some say 20:1 air to air combat record. The problem is these results are mired in a web of confounding factors. Did the F-22 assist? What were the ROE's? Until those are laid bare, there will always be questions.





All of the kill ratios in the major exercises have been >20:1. It's not a "some say" situation. Additionally, the kill ratios are strictly F-35 kills. They weren't combining the total number of kills, and just attributing them to F-35s. In Red Flag 17-1, F-35s had 145 kills and 7 losses (due to WVR respawns.) As for ROE, they've flown neutral merges, as well as defense and offense. The OPFOR had 3:1 numerical advantages, as well as the ability to respawn 3 or 4 times (as long as they had fuel, they could stay in play.) It's been stated over and over, that the difficulty levels have been increased well above any in past exercises, to provide challenging training, for F-35 pilots. These were not scripted exercises, for marketing purposes. There have been other training exercises where kill ratios exceeded 25:1 (and some were >27:0.) F-35s aren't just a little bit better than 4th generation jets. They've been dominating, in the same way F-22s do.
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Unread post16 Dec 2018, 03:25

These have also been 3i jets only carrying two AMRAAM.
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white_lightning35

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Unread post16 Dec 2018, 03:58

mixelflick wrote:
element1loop wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Much depends upon just how good the F-35 is air to air, as its ability to "pinch hit" is vital. Like the 1,000 swing role F-16's we have today, the F-35 may be needed in the air superiority role in the future. Personally, I think it'll do just fine.


Hopefully years from today we'll have reams of data showing F-35's AMRAAM shots/kills vs. all kinds of adversary aircraft like J-10's, J-11's, SU-30's, SU-35's etc.. Maybe even a few WVR 9x/gun kills.

I am looking forward to that day...


Ah yes, I'm sure you would love to have lots of data about how good the F-35 is by engaging in what will definitely be major wars that will cause untold death and destruction. Because if the F-35 is shooting down that many planes, that's what will happen.

How about building enough F-35's that the US and allies have such a quantitative and qualitative advantage that our adversaries won't even think about trying to shoot any down, and wars can be won without firing a shot? Or is that not cool enough for the little wargames you like to play out in your head?
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element1loop

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Unread post16 Dec 2018, 06:52

wrightwing wrote:They've been dominating, in the same way F-22s do.


So an operational sqn of 24, with 18 nominally available:

(18 x F-35A) x 20 = 360 (A2A kills per sqn)

Ignoring other factors, such numbers are deterring, they can wipe-out most medium size air forces and demolish most of some of the larger ones in A2A. Much more impressive and useful than kill ratios that were being predicted even 5 years ago. I never doubted it would be a lot higher than the presumed 4:1. So that's sorted as far as I'm concerned, as such a scale of air to air is very unlikely.

So I'm hoping the remaining intended jet numbers to be procured by RAAF consists of a two-tier 28 x PCA acquisition a bit later, rather than 28 more F-35s sooner. That would hold PLAAF bombers at risk at much higher radius and limit the reach and effectiveness of their weapons. Thus creating a more deterring force with deep-reach into the northern-arc's approaches with less tanker exposure. If Japan does similar to this then PLAAF/PLAN would be feeling it especially with USAF B-21 numbers building at the same time USAF PCA does, and thousands of F-35s have proliferated with the F-22A finally fully updated.

More reach with F-35 like capabilities is definitely what's called for, in this region. If we have to get it through PCA plus tankers and long-range VLO standoff weapons, rather than a carrier, so be it. Plus PCA would be able to support the surface fleet to higher radius.
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mixelflick

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Unread post16 Dec 2018, 15:12

Ah yes, I'm sure you would love to have lots of data about how good the F-35 is by engaging in what will definitely be major wars that will cause untold death and destruction. Because if the F-35 is shooting down that many planes, that's what will happen.

How about building enough F-35's that the US and allies have such a quantitative and qualitative advantage that our adversaries won't even think about trying to shoot any down, and wars can be won without firing a shot? Or is that not cool enough for the little wargames you like to play out in your head?


Easy there champ.

I spoke about aircraft, not people. Everybody punches out and gets to go home.Feel better now?
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Unread post16 Dec 2018, 23:02

Just speculation on my part but think the PCA will have large enough weapon bays to accommodate more than (2) 2000lb class weapons. Think the trade studies will show that providing enough volume and weight carrying capacity for a greater number of air to air missiles needed will alternatively allow you to carry more air to ground stores. Think they'll size the bay(s) larger also to carry Hypersonic weapons for greater stand-off. The CBO report appears to support replacing the F-15E with the F-35. Based on the above think the PCA would be a more reasonable replacement for the Strike Eagle. In any event the CBO report will hopefully get the AF to define what when and maybe where we'll see the PCA.
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marauder2048

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Unread post17 Dec 2018, 02:00

DEWS, EA, EW are as big a motivator as conventional stores for aircraft sizing/configuration.
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element1loop

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Unread post17 Dec 2018, 04:47

wolfpak wrote: Think they'll size the bay(s) larger also to carry Hypersonic weapons for greater stand-off.


If you have greater standoff from a bigger VLO weapon you don't even need to carry it internally.
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Unread post17 Dec 2018, 05:44

marauder2048 wrote:DEWS, EA, EW are as big a motivator as conventional stores for aircraft sizing/configuration.

1 Mw? wow, my lord
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Unread post17 Dec 2018, 11:34

As I have said many times before. We don't even know a tenth of what the F-35 will be ultimately capable of. So, hard to say what a future PCA and/or NGAD would even look like....
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Unread post17 Dec 2018, 12:32

Corsair1963 wrote:As I have said many times before. We don't even know a tenth of what the F-35 will be ultimately capable of. So, hard to say what a future PCA and/or NGAD would even look like....


You do like to push F-35 as the solution to all ills, but there are real limits to its capability, and adding "ultimately" to your sentence doesn't change that. We have a reasonably good idea where the limits fall when it comes to what matters in a 'Penetrating Counter-Air' strike role post-2035, such as stealth, reach, speed, weapons and payload.

'Penetrating Counter-Air' implies offensive counter-air, and that means hard-killing of ground targets, which will be at least as important as new A2A capability weapons. The carriers are not the place to launch such attacks from, using F-35C or B, so that means its down to the forward bases and they're subject to substantial return-fire attempts. So the first deep Counter-Air strike wave had better be overwhelming and persistent, and not require tankers to get close. The F-35s would thus necessarily be limited to operating in support, nearer to the margins of such initial Offensive Counter-Air attack.

Experts Outline Steps to Address Threats to Aircraft Carriers - 12/12/2018
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... t-carriers

Until major threat systems go down the carriers also need to stay back and likewise support attacks around the margins.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post17 Dec 2018, 15:39

"So the first deep Counter-Air strike wave had better be overwhelming and persistent, and not require tankers to get close."

Unless some kind of warp drive is invented in the next ten years, every (reusable) asset will require tanking -- all of 'em -- because you can't otherwise afford 'overwhelming' or 'persistent' or the range implied in getting 'close' (or 'close enough' to go along with the other two).
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