The Comanche and the Albatross

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spazsinbad

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Unread post01 Jun 2014, 08:29

Lt Col Pietrucha has an eye for the catchy title eh... An Oldie But a Goldie...
Seeing the Whole Elephant Lt Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF 2010
Envisioning a Successful Light Attack Program for the US Air Force

"Strategically, purchasing the OA-X in large numbers was probably one of the best things the Air Force ever did. It allowed us to balance our Air Force properly; project persistent airpower capabilities to places in the world that were previously very difficult to reach; started the construction of modern, combat-capable regional and national air forces where none had existed before; and provided a multirole capability that extended the life of fourth-generation fighters while we waited for the bugs to be worked out of the F-35 program. The current strength of the combat air forces comes from many sources today, but it is fair to conclude that without the OA-X, not only would the United States still be fighting the Long War in many more places, but the Air Force would have unnecessarily shed a great deal of capability in the past decade.
—US Secretary of Defense - Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 21 April 2018"...

Source: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a532363.pdf (0.7Mb)
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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flighthawk128

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Unread post01 Jun 2014, 16:45

Hmm, been awhile since I came on here.
Ok, a bit off topic, but I seem to recall from somewhere that 160th SOAR was still using OH-6 Loaches (Little Birds).
That's not just post-Vietnam era, that's VIETNAM-era folks. I'm sure they updated it with newer avionics and parts and whatnot, but the body's still the same.
That said, it works for them and I don't believe they have any intention of retiring them anytime soon.
Kiowas are great at their role, but I thought the Army was conducting a contest to replace them.
http://aviationweek.com/awin/kiowa-repl ... r-fruition (a bit old I know)
The Comanche was cancelled due to huge cost overruns and problems with the engine, although I bet if they take the design and add new avionics to it, it'll be cheaper then it was way back when it was cancelled. Might be cheaper then buying brand new designs from Sikorsky. And it'll be the PERFECT replacement for the Kiowa (if Sikorsky's Raider concept goes through, then the Apaches might have a hard time keeping up with them :D ).
Just my 2 cents.
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Unread post12 Apr 2016, 10:48

Looks like Col Mike Pietrucha is continuing to bang the same drum, with a 2 part series on why pursuing stealth is the wrong move for the USAF. Haven't read in detail, but here is the link to part 1. http://warontherocks.com/2016/03/stuck- ... d-stealth/

The f-35 doesn't seem particularly compromised in range and pay-load if you are willing to sacrifice stealth to hang things off the wings. Anyway... curious on the thoughts of other readers.
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Unread post12 Apr 2016, 13:47

brucealrighty wrote:Looks like Col Mike Pietrucha is continuing to bang the same drum, with a 2 part series on why pursuing stealth is the wrong move for the USAF. Haven't read in detail, but here is the link to part 1. http://warontherocks.com/2016/03/stuck- ... d-stealth/

The f-35 doesn't seem particularly compromised in range and pay-load if you are willing to sacrifice stealth to hang things off the wings. Anyway... curious on the thoughts of other readers.


That was full of meaningless comparisons and half-truths or even totally bogus claims. Why compare F-15E to F-22? They have totally different missions and totally different capabilities. Why is it bad that stealth aircraft outer mold-line must stay stealthy. Why is one F-117 shot down bad but dozens of non-stealthy aircraft shot down during the same time period not an issue? This includes two or three F-15Es shot down by similarly old systems that shot down that F-117. Actually since F-15E is newer than F-117 and was shot down by even older systems (SA-2 and AAA), it's really crappy aircraft by his own logic...

I also love the logic that stealth has not been really needed in wars USA has fought during the last 17 years and then saying that USA has been technologically outmaneuvered by Russian and Chinese AD systems... Oh, really? He should have shown at least some evidence to support that claim. How on earth would F-15E or range and payload answer to modern and future AD systems?

F-35 is capable of almost equalling F-15E range and payload while being also capable of engaging really tough targets F-15E would get killed trying to engage.
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basher54321

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Unread post12 Apr 2016, 20:51

Strange article - not the way to promote low level you would think.

"Even over featureless desert or open water, curvature of the Earth sharply limits the detection range of sensors, which require a direct line of sight."

Until you need to get (a lot closer) to the target to employ the weapons of course.

After the Gulf War, stealth was in; low altitude was out.

Seemed more like Med altitude was in; low altitude was out. ?

Two Tornados were unfortunate to run across air defence batteries on egress and both were downed.

Cant imagine you can do much avoiding flying over unexpected AAA on the deck.

F-111s smoked in at low altitude against Libya to delay detection and engagement long enough to deliver weapons at point-blank ranges.

The accounts of the crews trying to find the targets on the deck at speed with Pave Tacks kind of explains some of the actual results.

The so-called medium altitude “sanctuary” is effective against IR SAMs and AAA, but requires effective suppression of radar-aided air defences — a capability that the Air Force largely divested itself of 20 years ago.

Guess he means EF-111A

It is no longer true that AAA accounts for 80 percent of all aircraft losses. And it hasn’t been true for decades.

Anything to do with mostly flying higher where AAA was less effective and jamming radar perhaps?
Maybe try flying through it at 2000ft to rediscover that 80 percent feeling!

Aircraft that loitered over the battlefield (CAS, FAC and BAI) suffered the most hits, mostly from AAA and IR SAMs.

You don't say
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brucealrighty

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Unread post13 Apr 2016, 03:08

And here's a link to part 2, focussing on return to low level flight.

http://warontherocks.com/2016/04/redisc ... o-stealth/

While it seems reasonable to me to keep low level as an option, perhaps so low band radars can't indicate to the defences that 'something' (F-35) is in the vicinity until very close to the target, the risk of AAA surely makes medium altitude plus jamming a better option in nearly all occasions.

I can't follow the logic of the author from his examples to his conclusions. The examples mostly argue against him.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post13 Apr 2016, 08:51

I agree the article was rather strange. Low altitude approach didn't work that well 25 years ago in Desert Storm where quite a few aircraft were shot down at low altitude although Iraqi systems were mostly 1960s vintage systems with relatively poor low altitude capabilities. While modern AD systems have better capabilities against stealthy targets than SA-3, they have relatively even better capabilities against low altitude non-stealthy targets than those used in Desert Storm. Of course F-15E now is much closer to 1991 F-15E in capabilities and survivability than F-35 or F-22 are to F-117. Good luck flying low in non-VLO aircraft over systems like NASAMS, Spyder, LFK NG, Tor M2, HQ-17, Pantsir-S1 or Sky Dragon for example.
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smsgtmac

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Unread post14 Apr 2016, 04:37

I've watched Pietrucha for quite a while. His writings are....well pretty much repackaged piles of non-sequiturs, strawmen, innuendo, and all other forms of misdirection that he trots out as if he somehow has made a point--which is usually 'stealth bad!'. I filed him under 'where you sit is where you stand' on this ages ago and moved on (Methinks we have a disaffected career EW spark thrower that resents the relegation of cranking out the 'trons to a secondary support function in 'certain' scenarios). I wonder if he's lasted as long as he has by being the HQ house contrarian.
This article tells me--again-- he either hasn't a freaking clue about the current state of the Low Observable art (tech OR operational technique) or he stuck his finger into one too many light sockets in the back seat. But it really pi**es me off how he slides right past the publically known aspects of the F-117 shootdown that have slipped out over the years and ignored the fact the B-2 operated pretty much with impunity every night it flew, as if these points were irrelevant. He either doesn't know about them which makes him an ignoramus, or he cherry-picked the facts just to 'urp out another "position paper" posing as analysis.

A more intelligent, though a little dated discussion about how air warfare is going forward, than you will ever hear uttered by Pietrucha.(AFA Mitchell link)
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lamoey

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Unread post14 Apr 2016, 19:24

brucealrighty wrote:And here's a link to part 2, focussing on return to low level flight.

http://warontherocks.com/2016/04/redisc ... o-stealth/

While it seems reasonable to me to keep low level as an option, perhaps so low band radars can't indicate to the defences that 'something' (F-35) is in the vicinity until very close to the target, the risk of AAA surely makes medium altitude plus jamming a better option in nearly all occasions.


I'm not a radar expert, but I do know that low frequency radio waves does curve to some extent. I remember seeing a documentary some years ago about a system being tested in Australia that was based on very low frequency. This system was supposed to be able to see over the horizon and give indication of approaching aircraft. If the same low frequency radar wave would also detect a stealth aircraft is another question.
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smsgtmac

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Unread post14 Apr 2016, 21:09

lamoey wrote:I'm not a radar expert, but I do know that low frequency radio waves does curve to some extent. I remember seeing a documentary some years ago about a system being tested in Australia that was based on very low frequency. This system was supposed to be able to see over the horizon and give indication of approaching aircraft. If the same low frequency radar wave would also detect a stealth aircraft is another question.

I believe the radar you are referring to is the Jindalee system, an over the horizon radar that bounces low frequency RF off the upper atmosphere. It can detect lots of things hundreds of miles away and close in but not in between. These are the kinds of radars that Sprey etal point to ad bring able to detect LO aircraft at long ranged but never mention they can't track worth a darn. It is also funny, because all the great LO shops understand radar including this kind of radar very well indeed. In fact, LM probably understands OTH in general, and the Jindalee system in particular, very well indeed: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/100yea ... /jorn.html
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lamoey

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Unread post15 Apr 2016, 00:29

smsgtmac wrote:
lamoey wrote:I'm not a radar expert, but I do know that low frequency radio waves does curve to some extent. I remember seeing a documentary some years ago about a system being tested in Australia that was based on very low frequency. This system was supposed to be able to see over the horizon and give indication of approaching aircraft. If the same low frequency radar wave would also detect a stealth aircraft is another question.

I believe the radar you are referring to is the Jindalee system, an over the horizon radar that bounces low frequency RF off the upper atmosphere. It can detect lots of things hundreds of miles away and close in but not in between. These are the kinds of radars that Sprey etal point to ad bring able to detect LO aircraft at long ranged but never mention they can't track worth a darn. It is also funny, because all the great LO shops understand radar including this kind of radar very well indeed. In fact, LM probably understands OTH in general, and the Jindalee system in particular, very well indeed: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/100yea ... /jorn.html


Thanks SMSGTMAC. I have practical experience with over the horizon radio from my childhood. My father was on ships in Asia and would call home once a month. He would then use radio!!! The radio wave bounced, as you described it, half way around the earth, to Rogaland Radio outside Stavanger, Norway, where they relayed it over to the public phone system and we received the call on the home phone. Needles to say the WHOLE world could listen in on the conversation.

I did a quick map search in the area around Moscow, Maine, and found these features that could be the disbanded OTH-B sites.
OTH-B site.png
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Unread post15 Apr 2016, 11:00

smsgtmac wrote:
lamoey wrote:I'm not a radar expert, but I do know that low frequency radio waves does curve to some extent. I remember seeing a documentary some years ago about a system being tested in Australia that was based on very low frequency. This system was supposed to be able to see over the horizon and give indication of approaching aircraft. If the same low frequency radar wave would also detect a stealth aircraft is another question.

I believe the radar you are referring to is the Jindalee system, an over the horizon radar that bounces low frequency RF off the upper atmosphere. It can detect lots of things hundreds of miles away and close in but not in between. These are the kinds of radars that Sprey etal point to ad bring able to detect LO aircraft at long ranged but never mention they can't track worth a darn. It is also funny, because all the great LO shops understand radar including this kind of radar very well indeed. In fact, LM probably understands OTH in general, and the Jindalee system in particular, very well indeed: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/100yea ... /jorn.html


Here is JORN/Jindalee system fact sheet:
https://www.airforce.gov.au/docs/JORN_Fact_Sheet.pdf

It can detect targets at ranges of 1000 to 3000 km from the radar. It can't detect them close in as it has to have very long pulse widths to have reasonable resolution and enough power over the huge areas it covers at any one time. The radar pulse length of such systems is hundreds of kilometers long and radar is blind to anything when it's transmitting a pulse. Also the receivers are situated so that they are not able to see things close by but rather those 1000 km and further away.

Btw, the fact sheet says this:
JORN is expected to detect air objects equivalent in size to a BAe Hawk-127 aircraft or larger and maritime objects equivalent in size and construction to an Armidale-class patrol boat or larger.


Object characteristics. For an aircraft or maritime vessel to be detected, it must possess a radar reflective (metal) surface of sufficient size so that sufficient HF radar energy is reflected back along the transmission path to the JORN receiver. For example:
∗ it is highly improbable that an OTHR will detect a small wooden boat
∗ OTHR is very unlikely to detect a hot air balloon or a glider constructed largely of wood


I think it's extremely likely that current OTH systems won't detect and track stealth aircraft reliably as they don't have metal surface and stealth shaping should also reduce low frequency radar returns. IMO, BAe Hawk very likely has significantly larger RCS in HF than F-22 or F-35, even though it's a small jet.
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Unread post15 Apr 2016, 12:42

smsgtmac wrote: In fact, LM probably understands OTH in general, and the Jindalee system in particular, very well indeed: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/100yea ... /jorn.html


Interesting - I must have missed this:

After successfully delivering the JORN Over the Horizon Radar to the Australian Government, Lockheed Martin, in partnership with the Over The Horizon Systems Program Office and BAE Systems, has continued to provide sustainment for the program and is currently developing enhancements under the JORN Phase 5 program.
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