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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popcorn

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Unread post03 Jan 2019, 01:32

weasel1962 wrote:I wonder whether sniper pods with IR sensors can make a difference for legacies vs 5G?

Radar is still the primary sensor in the A2A realm, the 4Gen pilot is a dead man flying long beforre he gets a sniff from his Sniper Pod.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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weasel1962

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Unread post03 Jan 2019, 02:49

May be the case against an F-22 or F-35 but equally ineffective against a PLA or russki "5G"? That's not I heard from pilots using sniper.
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element1loop

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Unread post03 Jan 2019, 04:50

mixelflick wrote: .. when ground control told them to look! "You have 2 F-35's, 12 miles away at your 1:00, 25,000ft".


I finally figured out how to defeat an F-35 ... ADS-B transponder code. :mrgreen:
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post03 Jan 2019, 04:53

May have to switch it on first.
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gideonic

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Unread post03 Jan 2019, 11:59

mixelflick wrote:I'm not so sure about the "bad" angles thing. Perhaps bigger than others, but I doubt they're "bad" per se. Bad (to me) implies a radar spike, thus jeopardizing its stealth. LM would have been crazy to spend all that money on low observable/stealth and then roll out.... an aircraft that could be detected from a certain angle? Not buying it...

Why not? If it would only be right below or above the aircraft at a near-90°angle for instance? With some, a lot smaller spikes from aligned edges in some unimportant directions.

That would only mean that the fighter is theoretically detectable at some obscure angles in a very tiny time window (let's not forget, that the aircraft moves). It still wouldn't be trackable or even really detectable. Especially when considering it also deals with signature management and is well aware of the radars trying to acquire (and at what angle).

Nothing will be directly above or below the aircraft (or facing the aligned-edges) for a meaningful amount of time. Especially as the pilot is well aware of the threats and "placing" the aircraft optimally.

Of course a mythical 100% undetectable "invisibility cloak" would be better. Real life engineering however is about tradeoffs and such miracle panacea's usually aren't possible. They also aren't necessary. Aforementioned fighters would still be "all-aspect stealth" in all operationally relevant meanings of the word.
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Unread post03 Jan 2019, 16:03

gideonic wrote:
mixelflick wrote:I'm not so sure about the "bad" angles thing. Perhaps bigger than others, but I doubt they're "bad" per se. Bad (to me) implies a radar spike, thus jeopardizing its stealth. LM would have been crazy to spend all that money on low observable/stealth and then roll out.... an aircraft that could be detected from a certain angle? Not buying it...

Why not? If it would only be right below or above the aircraft at a near-90°angle for instance? With some, a lot smaller spikes from aligned edges in some unimportant directions.

That would only mean that the fighter is theoretically detectable at some obscure angles in a very tiny time window (let's not forget, that the aircraft moves). It still wouldn't be trackable or even really detectable. Especially when considering it also deals with signature management and is well aware of the radars trying to acquire (and at what angle).

Nothing will be directly above or below the aircraft (or facing the aligned-edges) for a meaningful amount of time. Especially as the pilot is well aware of the threats and "placing" the aircraft optimally.

Of course a mythical 100% undetectable "invisibility cloak" would be better. Real life engineering however is about tradeoffs and such miracle panacea's usually aren't possible. They also aren't necessary. Aforementioned fighters would still be "all-aspect stealth" in all operationally relevant meanings of the word.


Yes, when you describe it like that it makes a lot more sense. Appreciate your input..
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citanon

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Unread post10 Jan 2019, 07:46

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Unread post10 Jan 2019, 16:58

citanon wrote:New write up by Kris Osborn on PCA:

https://defensemaven.io/warriormaven/ai ... xtPdROevw/


"Air Force Penetrating Counter Air program is looking at hypersonic weapons, unmanned flight, lasers..."

So much for "We don't want it to take 20 years to field something/do want to use off the shelf technologies etc", LOL. Precisely what I thought would happen. The USAF simply can't resist having the latest and greatest technologies built into their aircraft. Can't say that I'd do it any differently, but they could at least be honest with themselves/the vendors responding to their RFP's... Their history too, speaks to eschewing the simpler/cheaper alternative.

Consider the F-20 for example. Given its cost, reliability and low cost per flight hour... you'd think the USAF would have bought them by the squadron. But no dice. Yes, yes they would have been less capable vs. the fleet of multi-role F-16's we have today, but fact is - they had the option.

Be that as it may, I'm REALLY looking forward to see what LM, Boeing etc cook up. If they hurry, I might even be able to see it in service, before I make my way through the checkout line..
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Unread post14 Jan 2019, 05:45

mixelflick wrote:"Air Force Penetrating Counter Air program is looking at hypersonic weapons, unmanned flight, lasers..."

So much for "We don't want it to take 20 years to field something/do want to use off the shelf technologies etc", LOL. Precisely what I thought would happen. The USAF simply can't resist having the latest and greatest technologies built into their aircraft.


You're presuming that's what it means though, mixel.

The early PCA conception was to build an airframe with maximized adaptability allowance within the structures from the outset for the aircraft to be able to have such capabilities added to it later once in service, i.e. PCA can not be a 'finished' solidified capability for a well-defined role.

The emphasis was originally to get the aircraft into service first, with initial capability levels mirroring F-35 (or even lower), but then to be able to evolve in a highly flexible way once in service, as the role of penetration and OCA developes during the following decades. So of course people would be currently thinking about the prerequisites, design allowances and trade-offs for fitting and adapting PCA to, "hypersonic weapons, unmanned flight, lasers". But it's an assumption to think those items will be baseline capabilities, at FOC.

F-35 puts the entire networked kill chain in one aircraft, then add mucho VLO, range and payload, and a capacity for continuous radical systems plus weapons and sensor adaptations = PCA
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post14 Jan 2019, 16:39

Maybe, but I just can't see the USAF rolling out its new fighter with a baseline capability.... equal (or God forbid, lesser) than the F-35. I don't mean the F-35 is any slouch - it isn't. But it'd be the F-35 "Can't turn, can't climb, can't run..." chorus all over again. Besides, when was the last time the USAF rolled out a new aircraft that wasn't a quantum leap over the replacement airframe?

*The F-15 and F-16 were a LOT more effective/deadly than the F-4 they replaced

*The F-14 was a LOT more effective/deadly than the F-4/F-8 it replaced

*The F-22 was a quantum leap over the F-15, which it was SUPPOSED to replace

*The F-35 is a quantum leap over the F-16, F-18, A-10 and AV/8B it's replacing

The one aircraft you can (arguably) cite that wasn't much more capable than the aircraft it replaced is the F-18, when it assumed the fleet defense role of the F-14. Much upgraded into the Super Hornet, that aircraft/radar/AIM-120D combination is just now approaching the capabilities of late model F-14D's, and only in some metrics (not all).

So I suppose it's been done, but getting there wasn't easy and to this day, some capabilities remain sub-par vs. the aircraft it replaced. The F-14D could play in the vertical, had superior range and was equally adept at fleet air defense, air to ground and tactical recon. It had much greater legs than the Super Hornet, got there faster and could stay on station longer.

Hopefully, the Navy's F/A-XX will run the table and correct that situation. It is hard to imagine PCA won't, either...
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Unread post14 Jan 2019, 16:57

mixelflick wrote:Besides, when was the last time the USAF rolled out a new aircraft that wasn't a quantum leap over the replacement airframe?


Well that's that whole point. No one wants to wait 20 years to get another mega-jet, the whole intent of PCA was a rapid prototype and testing period to get the basic jet into service much faster, but also much less developed initially but with far greater designed-in adaptability, for later development, than the prior drawn-out 5th-gen jet development of a final envisaged capability. So there (ideally) won't be another 20 year long mega-jet development, because no one wants to do that this time.

Griffin etal., have been pushing the rapid prototype process pretty vigorously for a couple of years now to speed up development and fielding. They clearly want to short-circuit the process this time, so I presume they mean it.

And with respect to the F-35 criticisms, were ANY of those even valid? Did any of those whines make a difference? Except to annoy and piss everyone off? So why would it matter for PCA?
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post15 Jan 2019, 16:23

I understand your points, all very good ones.

On the whining thing, I think it does matter because at one point - the pig pile effect had the program in some very real jeopardy. It took appointing a new USAF program manager, who really took it to Lockheed to get the jet to where it is today. Remember, there's always the possibility it could have gone the other way like it did on the F-22. In fact, the F-22 is a perfect example of a next gen air dominance platform truncated buy. Granted, its performance was never in doubt but detractors (citing cost and lack of a mission) effectively made their arguments.

So according to what they say they want to do, PCA should be here in 10 or so years - not 20+? I have a hard time seeing that happen. So far as we know, the prototypes haven't even flown yet. That leaves the 10 years to test, refine etc and.... it goes IOC in 2030?

I hope so (I'm already standing in the checkout line), but I'm not very optimistic. Someone here said it's already behind schedule, and that's concerning. Until then, I'll be content to watch F-35's roll off the production line and keep a close eye on its performance. Recent videos of its 2019 demo do indeed indicate it's something special. Looks very Raptor like in its presentation..
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