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  #76  
Old 27 Apr 12, 20:55
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Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
I bet that some new F-16 and F-15 fighters will more than fill the "gaps" until they finally fix the F-35. What other countries have Generation 5 Fighters and why would we even fight them?

Pruitt
You're focused on A2A. The greater threat comes from advanced SAMs.. any hostile 3rd world country with money in the bank or willing to starve their people can seriously threaten legacy jets.
You invest in a legacy jet today and you'll have to live with it for the next 30 or 40 years.not really smart if in the view of the AF it's going to become increasingly ineffective by 2018.
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  #77  
Old 27 Apr 12, 22:34
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Of course I focus on Air to Air! You can use your 5th Generation jets to create a hole in the enemy defenses and then go through that hole! My focus is on creating a proper mix of aircraft types. Using a 5th Generation type Fighter to provide Close Air Support against an enemy like the Taliban is a waste of resources.

While this is being done you can use the F-22's in the Air Defense role with F-15 back ups! You don't use billion dollar aircraft to deliver $500K bombs to destroy a $500 target.

The generals can do the job well with generation 4 Fighters. They just don't want to lose a share of the defense budget.

Pruitt
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  #78  
Old 28 Apr 12, 00:22
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Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Of course I focus on Air to Air! You can use your 5th Generation jets to create a hole in the enemy defenses and then go through that hole! My focus is on creating a proper mix of aircraft types. Using a 5th Generation type Fighter to provide Close Air Support against an enemy like the Taliban is a waste of resources.

While this is being done you can use the F-22's in the Air Defense role with F-15 back ups! You don't use billion dollar aircraft to deliver $500K bombs to destroy a $500 target.

The generals can do the job well with generation 4 Fighters. They just don't want to lose a share of the defense budget.

Pruitt
The latest Gen 4+ jets are at parity or superior to US legacy jets. The USAF beat the Indian Air Force at Red Flag several years back but they admitted this was due superior piloting and tactics and once the IAF learned how to fly their Flankers,the right way, the outcome would be different. (Add edit : the USAF actually hosted the IAF contingent at Mountain Home AFB 2 weeks prior to RF2008 and this is where the engagements took place not at Nellis.)
Unfortunately, planners,don't have the luury of assuming Taliban-level of opposition in the future.,They have to consider the likelihood of advanced IADS double-digit SAMs,Gen 4.5 and even possibly Gen 5 hostile aircraft. They are looking at 30-40 years int o the future remember and the threats will,only get more,lethal from hereon.
Definitely, use the legacy jets for as long as they can productively serve and while you can afford to pay their increasing maintenance costs. It's the iPod age and buying new legacy jets designed when 8-track tape were in vogue can only be comforting to future adversaries.

Last edited by kuma; 28 Apr 12 at 06:07..
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  #79  
Old 28 Apr 12, 10:16
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I am not planning for the next 30 or 40 years. I am trying to get the Air Force through the next 10 years without breaking the budget. We need numbers of affordable aircraft to finish a conflict and replace some losses. I don't have a problem with some low level buys of 5th Generation aircraft over say, the next ten years and then we can ramp up the buy with the aircraft working properly.

I do not want or expect 5th Generation aircraft to be used where we can use cheaper aircraft. If we don't have any such left, we are screwed. The generals want us to be in a position where we HAVE to use 5th Gen whether it is prudent or not. The 4.5th Generation aircraft we can buy now are not equipped with 8 track tapes and are not so far behind the 5th Gen on equipment.

We also should be looking at replacing the A-10. An update on the design would be permissible unless they try to make it a $200 million dollar aircraft. The F-35 is not sturdy enough and armored enough to replace the A-10. Look at the announced program to buy a cheap COIN aircraft! They are not going with the right aircraft there either. A buy of some advanced Hawker trainers would be a better buy.

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  #80  
Old 28 Apr 12, 12:15
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Production of the F-35s may be delayed even further. Union workers at LM went on strike on April 23 and are planning on a long work stoppage over benefits.

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Lockheed F-35 Workers Ready For Long Strike
By Andrea Shalal-Esa/Reuters
http://www.aviationweek.com/Article...._p0-451534.xml
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Old 28 Apr 12, 12:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuma View Post
The latest Gen 4+ jets are at parity or superior to US legacy jets. The USAF beat the Indian Air Force at Red Flag several years back but they admitted this was due superior piloting and tactics and once the IAF learned how to fly their Flankers,the right way, the outcome would be different. (Add edit : the USAF actually hosted the IAF contingent at Mountain Home AFB 2 weeks prior to RF2008 and this is where the engagements took place not at Nellis.)
Unfortunately, planners,don't have the luury of assuming Taliban-level of opposition in the future.,They have to consider the likelihood of advanced IADS double-digit SAMs,Gen 4.5 and even possibly Gen 5 hostile aircraft. They are looking at 30-40 years int o the future remember and the threats will,only get more,lethal from hereon.
Definitely, use the legacy jets for as long as they can productively serve and while you can afford to pay their increasing maintenance costs. It's the iPod age and buying new legacy jets designed when 8-track tape were in vogue can only be comforting to future adversaries.
The only operational 5 gen fighter in service is the F22 so I would think that we could get by with modernized 15s, and 16s. The Navy was tired of waiting on the 35s and went ahead with the Super Hornet pissing off congress in the process. I would also add that any airframe is as modern as its avionics to some degree so I am not sure if your analogy is 100% on the money. Most of all I tend to believe that it is a monetary matter. The 15s, 16s, and 18s are still being produced and would not cost nearly as much as the 35s and the fact is that the 35 program has been a soup sandwich. The bird should have been operational ten years ago, but thanks to our convoluted procurement process it is still stuck on idle and the cost of the plane has shot through the roof; we shall see what happens.
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  #82  
Old 28 Apr 12, 18:16
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Originally Posted by Bass_Man86 View Post
The only operational 5 gen fighter in service is the F22 so I would think that we could get by with modernized 15s, and 16s. The Navy was tired of waiting on the 35s and went ahead with the Super Hornet pissing off congress in the process. I would also add that any airframe is as modern as its avionics to some degree so I am not sure if your analogy is 100% on the money. Most of all I tend to believe that it is a monetary matter. The 15s, 16s, and 18s are still being produced and would not cost nearly as much as the 35s and the fact is that the 35 program has been a soup sandwich. The bird should have been operational ten years ago, but thanks to our convoluted procurement process it is still stuck on idle and the cost of the plane has shot through the roof; we shall see what happens.

Re the SH purchase a few years back, the Navy had to do what it had to do to maintain capabi l lity given it's particular situation. Note that the AF and Marines have successfully fought all attempts to spend money on more new legacy jets nd be saddled with less capable aircraft for the next 30-40 years. IIRC The Pentagon (not LM w/c says they can do it for less) is now projecting FRP cost of around $83M per F-35 which is in the ballpark for current gen jets. The current projected IOC for AF and Navy is 2016 using Blk 3 Mission Software and 2014 for the Marines using an earlier software version. With the recent decision to reduce production rates, perhaps these could shift to the right once again.

In terms of capabilities, the F-35 mission systems are significantly more capable than on the SH or are being offered on an aircraft for the first time such as EODAS. Down the,road, the bird is slated to get DIRCM,which 360-degree protection vs IR missiles. No comparison in terms of stealthiness and how this directly makes the F-35 survivable and able to operate in hostile airspace vs advanced SAMs and enemy fighters. The continued viability of the SH, like all legacy jets, by the admission of the military higher ups, will be in serious doubt of carrying out it's mission and surviving in such a threat environment.

Last edited by kuma; 28 Apr 12 at 18:39..
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  #83  
Old 28 Apr 12, 22:48
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Kuma,

It does not matter how capable the F-35 is if it is too expensive to go low and slow. I would also beware of Generals and Admirals making statements. They will say anything to protect their share of the defense budget. Instead follow what they do! Offer the Marines and Air Force some SH (Marines) and enhanced F-15 and F-16's and I bet they will take them!

I doubt the Generals will let any F-35's down where auto weapons can hit them. We will still need some A-10's to do this work.

Pruitt
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  #84  
Old 29 Apr 12, 00:13
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Kuma,

It does not matter how capable the F-35 is if it is too expensive to go low and slow. I would also beware of Generals and Admirals making statements. They will say anything to protect their share of the defense budget. Instead follow what they do! Offer the Marines and Air Force some SH (Marines) and enhanced F-15 and F-16's and I bet they will take them!

I doubt the Generals will let any F-35's down where auto weapons can hit them. We will still need some A-10's to do this work.

Pruitt
n
Who says it has to go low and slow? It makes no sense to do interdiction or CAS the old fashioned way when you have the precision targeting capability of the F-35. Times have changed. In low intensity conflicts you can get away with low level strafing attacks. Against a capable air defense, not a good idea no matter how much armor you carry. Standoff CAS has been successfully proven for years using a variety of platforms not traditionally used to do CAS. Even the A-10 has now been upgraded with the ability to strike from afar using precision munitions.
1

The AF has sensibly opted to upgrade 350 F-16s for $2.8Billion to tide them over until F-35 production ramps up. They are avoiding new legacy jets like the plague.

The Marines have purchased the UK's Harrier fleet plus warehouses full of spare parts, at a bargain price. Another sensible decision to tide them over till the F-35B (240 STOVL jets) and C (80 jets they bought for basing on the CVNs)come online. The Corps has an even greater aversion to new legacy jets than the AF. For years, the Marines resisted Navy pressure for them to buy SHs to fly off the Navy's supercarriers. They aren't about to change their mind now.

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Old 29 Apr 12, 01:11
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You still going to need to go low and slow. One all those long rang guided bombs can be jammed or even shot down and they not what you call cheap and common. The claim that low and slow mud movers are gone is like the claim that guns where not needed on fighters any more.
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Old 29 Apr 12, 16:15
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No end in sight to how smart these robots are getting.. GPS, tri-mode seeker (SAL, IIR, mmW) 2-way data links

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Old 29 Apr 12, 18:54
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Kuma,

Until the A-10, the Air Force has a rather dismal record at Interdiction and CAS. They really don't want the CAS job. The image of Fighter Jocks as the "Great Santini" is still alive. On the other hand the Air Force does not dare get out of either job. To offer UAV's as the solution to CAS is a bit of a distraction tactic. If you can use UAV's for Interdiction and the CAS roles, we don't need the F-35 as the UAV will also do those roles. Never mind the possibility of cyberwarfare to jam the controls or electronic jamming. Remember the UAV that crashed in Iran?

Pruitt
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Old 29 Apr 12, 21:24
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Quote:
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Kuma,

Until the A-10, the Air Force has a rather dismal record at Interdiction and CAS. They really don't want the CAS job. The image of Fighter Jocks as the "Great Santini" is still alive. On the other hand the Air Force does not dare get out of either job. To offer UAV's as the solution to CAS is a bit of a distraction tactic. If you can use UAV's for Interdiction and the CAS roles, we don't need the F-35 as the UAV will also do those roles. Never mind the possibility of cyberwarfare to jam the controls or electronic jamming. Remember the UAV that crashed in Iran?

Pruitt
No benefit to rehashing this issue lengthily covered in previous threads re A-10 and changing nature and alternatives to traditional CAS. Just to note that UAVs in offensive roles have been limited to very selective but effective predator strikes and the B-1s and B-52 carry the heavy CAS burden and have for years now. The direction and money are away from low-and-slow as evidenced by A-10 cuts and fitting of standoff capability to the Warthog fleet. Don't be surprised,if they are first in line should further cuts be needed.
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Old 29 Apr 12, 22:18
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Kuma,

Don't worry, I won't try to convert you to the "Dark Side". The deletion of the A-10 Fleet has nothing to do with its effectiveness. They have been trying to kill the aircraft for years, but it is a bit like the energizer bunny, it keeps going and going!

I don't think the use of B-1's and B-52's is a cost effective use of resources. It is a bit like using the B-1 to buzz people and then claim it was "shock and awe". If he was a Taliban, kill him, don't scare him! If you look at it realistically, it is a bit like the Bomber Lords are desperately trying to find a use for their aircraft so THEY don't get stood down as useless. How much fuel does a B-1 or B-52 use to stay aloft hoping a target will appear?

What is overlooked is the Air Force needs a MIX of aircraft doing different tasks that they are good at.

I fully expect the Air Force generals to try to kill the A-10. The aircraft was not exactly their idea to begin with and they thought it would be killed off years ago. That does not make them right.

Pruitt
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Old 29 Apr 12, 22:26
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And the counterargument to that is that CAS has not been as responsive or effective, rather it has been more and more relegated to pre-planned strikes from medium/high altitude, and is overly reliant on highly expensive equipment not suitable to the mundane jobs it has to do. It's like hunting deer with a M777.....sure you can do it.....why would you want to? However, with the USAF's complete and utter endemic hatred of CAS (despite not being willing to give the Army the capability to do the job itself), they continue to insist that fixed wing CAS failures like Anaconda are abberrations and that despite our nearly supreme ability to suppress all air defenses save MANPADs and HMGs to ineffectiveness, we should rely on high altitude operations, PGMs, and pre-planned strikes exclusively.

IMHO it puts far to much emphasis on high-echelon micromanagement, has a very low capability to verify target before engagement, and emphasizes planning and ground TAC over pilot initiative.

The second reason that the USAF assertion is BS is that while they claim the F-35 will replace the A-10 (and it will replace the plane....but not the capability because the USAF is staffed by Air-oriented people), they've put out for bid and accepted a Light Attack Aircraft. Not Light Trainer that can be used as an attack bird in a pinch, a Light Attack Aircraft. Now if UCAVs and the F-35 are supposed to replace CAS because a plane like the A-10 is unsurvivable in modern warfare, and CAS can be done just as well from stand-off or high altitudes, then why are they spending money on a prop plane with less than a third of the capability, and far less survivable than the A-10? It only makes sense if you read that they agree CAS is needed, but are unwilling to spend any money on it and would rather purchase high-end fighters and then shoehorn attack roles into them and call it CAS-equivalent.

The final reason that I generally call bull at any USAF concept that claims CAS is outdated or replaced by other means is that over and over again since 1945 the USAF (or USAAF) has made the same claim, and it has been proven to be false.
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