Rand Study: Air Combat Past, Present and Future

Discuss air warfare, doctrine, air forces, historic campaigns, etc.
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tank_top

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Unread post10 Dec 2008, 19:03

This is a little disheartening. Hopefully we never find out how accurate Rand is... Anyone have a more optimistic view?


http://www.scribd.com/doc/7774389/Rand- ... Air-Combat
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Guysmiley

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Unread post10 Dec 2008, 21:28

The main assumption that VHF radar doing GCI for fighters is a silver bullet against stealth is pretty optimistic.

That strikes me as saying a blind person can make an excellent sniper provided they have someone who can see tell them where to aim via walkie-talkie.
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tank_top

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Unread post10 Dec 2008, 21:57

I'm aware of that. And I'm sure our Navy would send in enough cruise missiles serriously hamper their radar and reduce the number of aircraft they could send up. What bothered me is running out of missiles and not being able to protect AWACS and KC's. I think that's more what the study was aiming at. They would destroy our ability to protect our bombers, and I'm sure we wouldn't dare send B-2's into an environment like that. They would have enough airpower to get a visual at the very least. Even without Nukes I'm sure we would come out on top, but it wouldn't be pretty. I question, if it came down to it, would we just let 'em have the island? Not the military isn't willing, but what about Washington?
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Unread post26 Jan 2009, 23:43

Thanks for the link – I finally managed to open most of it. I agree, the scenario does look pretty bleak but only when taken at face value. I assume RAND was limited by its mandate, but we don’t have to be. I certainly would not draw any conclusions about Taiwan’s political future based on this.

In addition to the obvious methodological missteps of looking at systems in isolation, handicapping the AMRAAM/F-22/F-35 but not the equivalent Chinese systems, or just ignoring major systems all together (like the ABM capabilities in Japan, Taiwan, at sea, and in the air), the study I think misses the larger point.

By limiting itself to force-on-force/like-with-like options, it presents a very confined vision of warfare and ignores (again probably by mandate) the fact that airpower is best understood at the operational/strategic level of war. Tactics are obviously important, and I think here the US has China beat anyways, but airpower is inherently strategic and it is inherently offensive (or so eighty years of US airpower history would have us believe).

Examples? John Warden’s “enemy as a system “ model / the Berlin Airlift / the ACTS ideas of the 1930s are all exemplary models of a holistic/strategic conception of airpower – all achieving their goals to a lesser or greater extent without engaging in unimaginative force-on-force thinking and by largely bypassing fielded armies.

If war was a simple calculus of the combined capabilities of the systems involved, as this study would have us believe, then it would be all “science” and no “art” and I refuse to believe that. In modern warfare materiel obviously matters but so does the game plan, the audacity of its execution and the moral fiber and preparedness of the troops executing it.

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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post27 Jan 2009, 00:53

All I can say is; leave it to the power-point warriors!?! :wtf:

From that report I take away these top things:

1. The US needs to buy MORE F-22s and F-35s to cope with the massive numbers of bad guys.
2. Missiles don't always work; no kiddin'
3. Maybe we should be buying Flankers if they're so good and selling Raptors to the bad-guys 'cause they'll never work?
4. Assumes that the bad-guys can actually employ anything in the report to a degree greater than the USAF; good luck with that!

..and who ever said that turbine engines in the Mig-15 were less susceptible to combat damage than WWII piston engines? I guess they've never seen a PW radial with jugs blasted completely off during combat and still running when they return home? I'd take the radial any day!

Keep 'em flyin' :thumb:
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skyhigh

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Unread post11 Mar 2009, 06:52

If the ChiCom air force were to send a swarm of J-11 Flankers in the direction of a flight of Raptors, they will be sitting in the business end of a nuclear-tipped air-to-air rocket and when they do, there will be mushroom clouds and nuclear dust in the sky.

Just one flight of Raptors can eliminate a massed formation of Flankers and strategic bombers.

Introduce yourselves to the AIR-2 Genie.
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Guysmiley

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Unread post11 Mar 2009, 14:22

Nope. The Genie was removed from operational service in 1988 when the last F-106s were retired.
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Unread post11 Mar 2009, 15:44

Salute

Yeah, Genie is really old.

Would need new motors.

Form factor destroys OL features of Raptor, as would have to be carried external.

The sucker has a short range. It's a no-kidding unguided rocket. So you fire it like a gun [only shot one down at Tyndall, but it looked like a huge "tracer" heh heh]. So let's figure five to ten miles when head-on.

The Genie didn't have a real big warhead. Sure, it took out a cubic mile of air, but you could fly thru the shock wave head on in a "modern", supersonic fighter design.

Best thing about a Genie is that it would likely blind the other guy. maybe even you, if you didn't have an eye patch or two.

Naaaahhhhhh, I'd take the Phoenix or Slammer these days.

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skicountry

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Unread post11 Mar 2009, 20:51

The Genie was crazy. IIRC it had something like 36,000 lbs of thrust but as Gums has noted, the range wasn't all that great (probably because it was shaped like a beer can).

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skyhigh

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Unread post17 Mar 2009, 23:46

Maybe the AIM-120N (N for nuclear warhead) AMRAAM should do the trick. It's basically an AIM-120D with a 1.25 kT warhead, the same yield as that of the AIR-2 Genie. That should help annihilate a massed formation of Russian or ChiCom fighters and bombers when fired in a salvo of four, maybe six.
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Guysmiley

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Unread post18 Mar 2009, 02:09

:roll:
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PhillyGuy

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Unread post20 Mar 2009, 00:22

Maybe the military really has those super duper speculated EMP missiles. No nuclear blast, ideally, but the same result.
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Unread post21 Mar 2009, 04:12

Maybe the military really has those super duper speculated EMP missiles. No nuclear blast, ideally, but the same result.


Like 007:GoldenEye? Nah, to be effective, an EMP has to go off pretty high to get a good enough radius, but then you're risking wiping out the good guys's electronics. I don't think something like this is going to be fielded, risking a wider confrontation is too risky to employ weapons like that, and since WWIII prolly isn't going to be kicking off with nukes anytime soon, it's better not to be wiping out vast swaths of airspace with nuclear-tipped Slammers.

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Gums

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Unread post21 Mar 2009, 05:23

Salute

The "author" has it wrong, sorry, but I got to say it.

You don't need a nuke-u-lar gadget to create a massive EMP field.

Trust me, I know about these things. A few pounds of explosive and a large capacitor and some copper or silver wires wound correctly can make things really tough for those dudes with their stereo thumpers at the stop signal.

You can make a neat doofer that fits within the form factor of a Slammer real easy.

Some testing at one high-tech outfit in California about ten years ago or so ruined many of the Beamers and Audis and such in the parking lot. They all had to get new engine computers.

My idea has been to fire an EMP Slammer, then just wait for the other guys' electronics to fry. Then close in and gun the sucker.

Works for me.

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Unread post21 Mar 2009, 05:42


The "author" has it wrong, sorry, but I got to say it.


Figures, I trust your judgement Gums, you know your sierra.

In all fairness, I know very little about EMP, I was unaware of non-nuclear EMPs, and from all I ever saw the burst of a nuke would have to be high enough to make the pulse cover a wide area.

I've always wanted a thingamabob that would stop people with loud music from making the ground shake, but not something like what you're saying--something without explosives that can be put on the market for civilians.

I just noticed skyhigh's post about an AIM-120N--would that even be possible to build W54-type warheads and mate them to the AMRAAM?? Seems like it wouldn't work for some reason.....even if it was possible, the yield skyhigh posted seems a bit high, comparable warheads for the Falcon missiles didn't yield a kT and they had a bigger diameter.
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