US vs Russian doctrine/philosophy

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icemaverick

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Unread post19 Apr 2014, 21:53

Reading the F-35 vs PAK-FA thread, it became quite apparent that the US and Russian strategic planners have somewhat differing views on air combat. This is reflected in the differences between the F-22 and F-35 vs. the PAK-FA.

It seems to me that the US places a great deal of importance on situational awareness: stealth, radar, sensors, electronic warfare equipment etc. Speed, maneuverability and acceleration are also quite important but those don't seem to be the determining factors as far as the US designers are concerned. Their aim is to take out the enemy from BVR if possible and if not, to gain the advantage in a WVR situation through better SA. Of course the Raptor's kinematics are second to none.

On the other hand, the Russians seem to give more importance to agility. They will stress the kinematic properties of their aircraft. The PAK-FA is intended to be less stealthy but have better acceleration, top speed and turning ability than its US competitors. Radar capabilities, data-linking, electronic warfare capabilities are not as emphasized by the official reports and fanboys alike. So the Russians' goals seems to be to close the distance and engage in a turning fight where they may have the advantage.

Does that sound about right?
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Unread post19 Apr 2014, 22:31

Perhaps if online there are Russian doctrines available that would be best to answer your question, rather than perhaps the informed guesswork here - which may well be informed by those Russian documents (secret or otherwise). To me it seems the Ruskies have only the agility, and other sometimes lacking in capabilities, bits and bobs to sell. Emphasise the positive - am I right? Same as it ever was. Then get clowns like BS to spruik for youse Sus at airshows and in print - oops forgot APA and ilk. :devil: Sell 'em cheap - who cares about reliability if they look good on the flight line and in occasional airshows. :roll: Ask the Indians "how good are your MiGs' U/S wise" (Un Serviceability - especially the avionics).
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Unread post19 Apr 2014, 22:55

spazsinbad wrote:Perhaps if online there are Russian doctrines available that would be best to answer your question, rather than perhaps the informed guesswork here - which may well be informed by those Russian documents (secret or otherwise). To me it seems the Ruskies have only the agility, and other sometimes lacking in capabilities, bits and bobs to sell. Emphasise the positive - am I right? Same as it ever was. Then get clowns like BS to spruik for youse Sus at airshows and in print - oops forgot APA and ilk. :devil: Sell 'em cheap - who cares about reliability if they look good on the flight line and in occasional airshows. :roll: Ask the Indians "how good are your MiGs' U/S wise" (Un Serviceability - especially the avionics).


Agreed without reservations to the above; the Russians haven't chosen agility over stealth. They are doing their best to get both, but simply do not have the resources, experience, infrastructure, etc. to build a cosmic US style machine at this point in time. How do you spin that? Well, it sounds dumb, but they just say they've "chosen" to focus on the kinematics. I guess Bill Sweetman eats that kind of thing up...what with his dancing magical SU-35s somehow fixing F-35s from afar and then charging them, through clouds of AMRAAM-Ds, without losing energy, altitude, positioning etc. to shoot them down. Patently absurd. China on the other hand has the resources and seems intent to build the experienced cadres and infrastructure, backed by their large industrial capacity. Can they do it? Remains to be seen.

Has anyone seen those side wing SRAAM "weapons bays" opened yet, btw? I find that idea dubious, but I'm open minded to it. Also, how is the software coming along for PAKFA? Never hear a damn thing about that or the integration of the what is it 5 AESA radars...

Russian doctrine? Simple, as far as the USA and the rest of NATO is concerned. Deterrence comes from nuclear weapons and oil/gas. This is a fairly effective strategy, but as to conventional power, there are worlds in between what the US has and what RU has... I want to see the #s. How many MRAAMs (modern ones) do they have on hand? Are they integrated to their aircraft? Refueling tankers? #s are low, just like AWACs #s. PGMs? How many?

I could go on and on with this, in spite of a strong push for modernization within Russia. Their doctrine must be to avoid conventional conflict with the West, deter through nukes and gas, fight proxy wars where their interests are under threat or can be promoted, information warfare and cyber, and to fight and win conventional wars in what they call the "near abroad". That includes a lot of the former Soviet Union, part of which is under Moscow influence and patronage, and part of which is now NATO or west oriented. I suppose there are plenty of opportunities for west and Russia collisions of interest in these areas, as evidenced by the situation in Ukraine.

Specific tactical doctrine I will leave to the better informed on here, but I guess some of it is Soviet style and some of it is based on observations of US/NATO campaigns and recent Ru experiences in Chechnya, Georgia etc.
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Unread post20 Apr 2014, 00:53

Russian doctrine?
Use propaganda to intimidate their opponents. Wars are contests of morale, and the world's most powerful military can be beaten by influencing the politicians in charge of it.
Einstein got it backward: one cannot prevent a war without preparing for it.

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Unread post20 Apr 2014, 02:47

"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post20 Apr 2014, 08:54

Nice subject and very relevant actually...here are some of my thoughts.

Doctrine is an imprtant part of the military institution. It is concetpual thinking of how a battle will unfold and how this battle will be won in what way. When the conceptual battle doctrine is developed, military forces can draw battle plans, adapt their training to it and develop tactical manauvers to meet the doctrine and eventually develop requirements on what weapon systems are needed, determine the role of this system and use them accordingly.

A very good example of doctrinal thinking is the Japanase Navy "decisive battle doctrine" of WW2, in which an enemy was supposed to be lured into one climaxic big decisive battle. To be able to fight such a seabattle and win, the Japanese developed exellent night fighting capabilities, required huge battleships (Yamato, Musashi) and developed long range torpedo tactics. You can see what happens with such a doctrine if things unfold a bit differently as happened. For example the submarine was also part of this doctrine, tech developed, crews trained and tactics completely devoted in supporting the big fleet as recon and if possble to destroy capital ships. So other roles for the sub where completely neglected, since it did not fit doctrine, like merchant shipping sinkings etc. If the doctrine does not materialize and the flexibility in upper command is not available, this results in a complete misuse of a system.

The same doctrinal thinking led to the defeat of the US Army in Vietnam: see "learning to eat soup with a knife". Here the US Army was trained to fight a conventional war and win with overwhelming firepower, and maneuver with battalion sized formations. When facing a different kind of war needing another doctrine, the Army refused to adapt and develop a doctrine in which they could win (like the British did in Malaya).

For the Air force part the US dctrine is pretty clear: gain air dominance as quickly as possible to be able to destroy the enemy from the air, both by hitting the (war)economy of the adversary, as to destroy the enemy forces beyond a point that their effectiveness is next to none. So what is needed for that? Air supremacy fighters to eliminate airborne threads, aircraft to detroy command and control and air defense assets in the first place, then aircraft which are able to destroy economic targets as oil, power, industry etc, and tactical weaponsystems to find and kill military ground units. So here you eventually find the need to have F-22 (air supremacy), F-35, LRS-B etc. For the Marine you'll see a different doctrine and therefore a focus on close air support as a result of their doctrine how to win an (amphibious) battle on a beachhead. Here you'll find the Harrier and F-35B as results of their tech specs: be able to operate close to the troops and from the see to support their shock troops.
For the navy again another doctrine, build around their carrier strike groups, to be able to give a big strike punch and to defend their ships and break up an attack on their ships. See here why they developed the E-2, F-18 etc.

For the Russian Airforce, as far as I read about it, their doctrine is based on fighting an enemy with big conventional ground forces, which are supported in a tactical sense by the Air Force. The fighter force is their to destroy threads to their own forces. So a big emphasis on air defence, ground support and the ability to operate close to the troops on forward bases. And with huge number to fight a war of attrition. See "Rising of the Phoenix" on their WW2 doctrine, which led to the wrong conclusions as well. They DID win with this concept, although with big costs. So historians just count air to air victories to conclude they where ineffective against the germans. But gaining solely kills was not the ultimate goal. see there why they produced the Il-2 etc.In modern times see here the reason they developed MiG-23, Su-22, Su-25 for CAS, and short range MiG-29 for air defence etc. The MiG-29 is a good example: can operate from rough fields, does not need "long legs" (since it is supposed to be close to the fight anyway), and is dircted from the ground to kill a thread, so also a state of the art tracking system is not required. Does that make it better of worse compared to others? No, not for the role it was developed for. And maybe it fits other roles as well in different scenarios of different doctrines. But this is the way you shoul look at the aircraft: they are instruments, build with requirements made by military for a role it is supposed to fulfill in the bigger picture, and will be used, the crew trained and the tactics devloped according to the predefined purpose it is purchased for. So questions about how fast, agile etc an aircraft is, may be answered when looking at the bigger picture, but comparing an aircraft one on one with another aircraft does not make sense if the complete picture of the military strategy is not known. and there a lot of the "experts" derail in their assessments.

A far more interesting discussion is if a doctrine is sound and will need threads for the next war, or ned to be changed, in time to develop the connecting tactics, and maybe even change technical requirements. Remember the Gulf War. There was a big discussion if the doctrine would hold in the Desert and if the weapon systems were suitable for the harsh desert environment. The doctrine proved to be sound there and a smashing military victory was achieved. If the doctrine should have been flawed, the war might as well have turned into distasster, no matter how agile, fast or cool aircraft x or y was...

Just look at US en Japanese aircrft in WW2 to see that a specific technical aspect does not say a thing: US naval planes (Wildcats, SBD) where slower, less agile and heavier than their Japanese opponents. But also more sturdy, had heavier firepower, and sound tactics, both offensive as defensive. US Naval fliers developed better teamwork, used Combat Information Centers (ground fighter control) and exploited radar and radios better. So when WW2 started there was a cry for better aircraft to cope with the Type 0 fighter (Zero), but officers went to work to see how to exploit the stronger points of the F4F Wildcat and developed tactics in which they actually were able to defeat Zeros and achieve the tactical goals like breaking up a strike package. For instance by avoiding maneuvering with a Zero but use dive and zoom past tactics to kill enemies, and the Thach Weave.

Experts of those days would have judged the Wildcat inferior to the Zero based of the tech specs. But in the end did it care? No, since good tactics covered some technical performance shortcomings, the survivibility of the Wildcat to avoid too great attrition of well trained pilots, and they had much better and teamwork of the crews superior, plus a focus on both defensive and offenive ops, opposed tot he Japansese over focus on offensive, therefore neglecting defense and count threads when receiving a punch rather than giving one (see self sealing tanks as a requirement for instance, or three ship formations versus 2 ship formations).

Platforms can be used for different roles in different doctrines though. Good example is using fleet subs for merchant shipping line interdiction (US sub use in WW2 to strangle Japans economy) instead of fleet engagements. Bad example is using B-52s as tactical bombers with much collateral damage (Vietnam)

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Unread post20 Apr 2014, 15:25

The US Army won derisively continuously in Vietnam -- the war was lost by politicians.
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Unread post20 Apr 2014, 18:50

Salute!

I caution all to avoid political issues and beliefs here. Ditto for getting into "sensitive" stuff. Ditto for specific doctrine unless you have a actual manual or policy reference. Therefore, I make at least one comment....


A great post over on the F-35 forum re: replacing the A-10

Anyone mind if an actual infantryman weighs in on the issue?
Personally, I think much of the hoopla is based on sentimentality and poor understanding of the bigger picture of airpower, of which some have come to have a skewed view after so many decades of bushfire wars. From a ground-pounder's perspective, allow me to list the USAF's priorities in order:

1. Make damned sure that I don't have to worry about enemy CAS.

2. Hinder the enemy's weapons/personnel from getting to me in the first place.

3. Make sure I can get myself and my *stuff* in and out of the battlespace.

4. CAS. Why so low on the list? If the USAF takes care of the first three items, I shouldn't need it that much (got plenty of my own). This isn't to say that I don't want CAS from the A-10; but when it comes to making the hard choices, I'd rather see the A-10s go away than lose core-capable aircraft that better support the overall mission.


This guy nails one big change in the U.S. doctrine since the time I was directly involved following "doctrine" both in combat and then during peacetime training later. Remember, most of my time was CAS and some interdiction.

Sometimes you can see the change by looking at the aircraft being developed and/or fielded. This shows with any national entity you choose. So the poster above showed a clear change in doctrine that resulted as threats and the operational environment changed since my time. Aircraft to implement the doctrine ( then strategy/tactics/etc) follow.

A2A doctrine for the U.S. has not changed significantly since WW2. The tools changed, as did the training. At least one national entity has moved a bit away from its A2A "employment doctrine" since the 70's, and you can see it with the aircraft developed and fielded. A2G doctrine has changed the most, IMHO. Hence the U.S. Warthog and the Soviet Frogfoot are going to museums.

Again, be careful about politics, O.K.?

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Unread post20 Apr 2014, 19:26

count_to_10 wrote:The US Army won derisively continuously in Vietnam -- the war was lost by politicians.


Counterinsurgency wars are lost when not won. The insurgents are winning when they do not lose (quote from eating soup with a knife). the US Army won all conventional battles, but they lost the war.
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Unread post20 Apr 2014, 20:18

joost wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:The US Army won derisively continuously in Vietnam -- the war was lost by politicians.


Counterinsurgency wars are lost when not won. The insurgents are winning when they do not lose (quote from eating soup with a knife). the US Army won all conventional battles, but they lost the war.


Err, I think the problems went beyond doctrine then wouldn't you think? Its odd to say "Your combat doctrine is wrong, but you win all your battles" If you can't set political policy (and the US Military can not) All you can do is play the hand you are dealt, and win when you can, which as you say above, they did "won all" to quote you.

Maybe something is lost in translation, I would just avoid Vietnam entirely because no one can agree on doctrine, politics, etc for winning and losing. its just not going to be a good demonstration of doctrine (winning or losing) no matter the side you take. There are better examples like some of the others you used.

to get semi back on topic, Fire in the sky does an amazing job of comparing not just American and Japanese aircraft, but the reasons (economical/technological) both sides designed the machines they did. The Author makes a great case that the Zero being lightweight was also a matter of saving materials, and the slow development of more powerful engines, in other words it had to be light.

I see the same issues with the PakFa Right down to the engine question marks. Russia is going to have excel in fields that is has struggled to excel in for years now, and thats a pretty steep climb. the biggest issue for the PakFa I see are:

Avionics/electronics-- not one the of the USSRs strong points, and the gap has only grown the last 20 years.

Precise, consistent manufacturing required for reduced RCS on a large scale.

RCS design itself (the ability to produce a comparable LO aircraft even with fine manufacturing)

Engines, A true 5th generation engine, preferably one that is reliable with a longer time between overhauls that does not run as hot as previous engines, with improved fuel efficiency, and measures taken to reduce IR signature

I think I had more but I am drawing a blank.

Pakfa is Russia's first post soviet design from scratch and to me it must meet or exceed the west in 3 key areas:

RCS

Manueverability

Sensors

Pakfa looks to have the advantage only in Manueverability which is something the USSR and Russia tend to do very well.

A manuverable pakfa that is hard to detect would be very dangerous.

A manueverable pakfa with excellent sensors that could nullify RCS advantages in the west would also be dangerous,

but as of right now it looks like it will be easily seen, have a hard time detecting LO aircraft, yet be manuevarble.

The problem is, people are looking at the future and seeing that manueverability may not be the factor it was (and of course as Joost pointed out, it wasn't the be all and end all, going way back to WWII) If manuever is nullified the Pak Fa is in trouble.

Hb Pencil and Smsgt mac seem to have a good gauge on Russia, they might weigh in.

TLDR:

Pakfa will be manueverable and do well in areas that are easy to acheive, but when the difficulty in sensors and reduced RCS is encountered it will suffer.
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Unread post20 Apr 2014, 20:33

Indeed Fire in the sky, as well as Touched with fire are a must read for people interesting in these subjects! I concure Xander. Also The First team and the first team and the Guadalcanal campaign, plus shattered sword will learn a great deal about this subject.

nd to add something to above: the conventional battles were won, the counter insurgent battle was lost.
Last edited by joost on 20 Apr 2014, 20:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post20 Apr 2014, 20:35

@popcorn

haha I will write a part two to that article eventually. A lot of what I'd say is in this article though, The Benefits of Stealth and Situational Awareness.

http://manglermuldoon.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-benefits-of-stealth-and-situational.html
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Unread post21 Apr 2014, 00:46

mangler-muldoon wrote:@popcorn

haha I will write a part two to that article eventually. A lot of what I'd say is in this article though, The Benefits of Stealth and Situational Awareness.

http://manglermuldoon.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-benefits-of-stealth-and-situational.html


No rush M-M, the Russians aren't changing doctrine any time i the foreseeable future. :D
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Unread post21 Apr 2014, 02:47

joost wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:The US Army won derisively continuously in Vietnam -- the war was lost by politicians.


Counterinsurgency wars are lost when not won. The insurgents are winning when they do not lose (quote from eating soup with a knife). the US Army won all conventional battles, but they lost the war.

The counterinsurgency was won during the Tet offensive.
Einstein got it backward: one cannot prevent a war without preparing for it.

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Unread post21 Apr 2014, 06:34

count_to_10 wrote:
joost wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:The US Army won derisively continuously in Vietnam -- the war was lost by politicians.


Counterinsurgency wars are lost when not won. The insurgents are winning when they do not lose (quote from eating soup with a knife). the US Army won all conventional battles, but they lost the war.

The counterinsurgency was won during the Tet offensive.


Aha, that is why the US left and the ARVN disintegrated eventually? In that case you should have the opinion that the Soviets actually won in Afghanistan as well.Tet was from a military standpoint a disaster for the Vietcong, but that is the whole point. An insurgency and counterinsurgency are not purely military matters. "The United States was never militarily defeated in Vietnam, but nonetheless lost the war because it failed to achieve its declared political objective: the preservation of an independent, non-Communist South Vietnam."

How hard you try to claim the opposite, it was and stays a loss. Just as the Dutch Indies operations in the late 40s was a defeat for the Dutch. The Dutch were not militarily defeated but lost anyway. One of the few countries able to first insurgencies successfully is the UK as a matter of fact. Because they are more flexible and adapt their doctrine accordingly.

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc ... oliath.pdf
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