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MarkW

F-35 news roundup

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Basically the USMC shouldn't get another dime for a weapons system. They are the real culprit behind the failure of the F-35. By requiring V/STOL, they ensured it would be impossible to create anything close to resembling a truly capable plane. Maybe they'll have some accountability when a couple of LHDs are on the bottom of the Strait of Taiwan.

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Basically the USMC shouldn't get another dime for a weapons system. They are the real culprit behind the failure of the F-35. By requiring V/STOL, they ensured it would be impossible to create anything close to resembling a truly capable plane. Maybe they'll have some accountability when a couple of LHDs are on the bottom of the Strait of Taiwan.

This post is so incredibly ignorant, I have no idea how to respond. Hate to bother you with facts, but you really should study the history of the program. Really. Especially before suggesting completely defunding an entire US service.

While David Axe is an agenda driven hack, no argument there, the above WAS true and still IS true today. The StuporHornet is inferior kinematically to the legacy Hornets. It is a drag queen, and needs to hit tankers on go-arounds. This is not debatable.

No no, this airplane is awesome and the clear F-35 alternative.

stories-04-02.jpg

Now you've done it! Insulting the ultimate dogfighter I see!!! The greatest EM airplane ever constructed in the history of mankind!

Edited by TaiidanTomcat

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Have you not been following the news since 1-20-1960?---John

I'm talking about fighter jets.

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The media report on the F-35 and F-16 flight does not tell the entire story. The F-35 involved was AF-2, which is an F-35 designed for flight sciences testing, or flying qualities, of the aircraft. It is not equipped with a number of items that make today's production F-35s 5th Generation fighters.

Aircraft AF-2 did not have the mission systems software to use the sensors that allow the F-35 to see its enemy long before it knows the F-35 is in the area. Second, AF-2 does not have the special stealth coating that operational F-35s have that make them virtually invisible to radar. And third, it is not equipped with the weapons or software that allow the F-35 pilot to turn, aim a weapon with the helmet, and fire at an enemy without having to point the airplane at its target.

The tests cited in the article were done earlier this year to test the flying qualities of the F-35 using visual combat maneuvers to stress the system, and the F-16 involved was used as a visual reference to maneuver against. While the dogfighting scenario was successful in showing the ability of the F-35 to maneuver to the edge of its limits without exceeding them, and handle in a positive and predictable manner, the interpretation of the scenario results could be misleading. The F-35's technology is designed to engage, shoot, and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual "dogfighting" situations. There have been numerous occasions where a four-ship of F-35s has engaged a four-ship of F-16s in simulated combat scenarios and the F-35s won each of those encounters because of its sensors, weapons, and stealth technology.

The release of this FOUO report is being investigated. The candid feedback provided by our test community is welcomed because it makes what we do better.

The disclosure of this report should not discourage our warfighters and test community from providing the Program Office and Lockheed Martin with honest assessments of the F-35's capabilities.

https://www.f35.com/news/detail/joint-program-office-response-to-war-is-boring-blog?sf10503378=1

Didn't take long. also noticed that no publications like Aviation Week even touched it.

Edited by TaiidanTomcat

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This post is so incredibly ignorant, I have no idea how to respond. Hate to bother you with facts, but you really should study the history of the program. Really. Especially before suggesting completely defunding an entire US service.

No no, this airplane is awesome and the clear F-35 alternative.

Now you've done it! Insulting the ultimate dogfighter I see!!! The greatest EM airplane ever constructed in the history of mankind!

Explain how the V/STOL requirement isn't the main reason the F-35 is less capable than it otherwise would be if that wasn't a requirement the Marines insisted on?

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Explain how the V/STOL requirement isn't the main reason the F-35 is less capable than it otherwise would be if that wasn't a requirement the Marines insisted on?

Explain how it's less capable in the first place? please be specific.

Next JSF was the last iteration of several programs. Including ASTOVL, JAST, CALF.

It also was never an exclusively Marine program. Which brings us to the extremely important fact. The United Kingdom, (which you may have heard of) was the highest level partner in the program and had a STOVL requirement. Along with Italy which was also a partner (though not to the level of the UK) fun fact first x-35 hover flight was by a RN test pilot.

Amazingly enough there are actually more orders for the STOVL version of the F-35

Than the F-35C for examples with rumors of interest from a few other countries.

As for the Taiwan sea comment, the F-35B is vastly more capable than the Harrier it's replacing. Not to mention the fact that the long term plan is using interconnected forces to utilize AEGIS cruisers for example.

We also have F-35 pilots that explain that the old measures of performance don't apply as much. So that is neat.

All of this stuff had been dispelled many many times some in this very thread.

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https://www.f35.com/news/detail/joint-program-office-response-to-war-is-boring-blog?sf10503378=1

Didn't take long. also noticed that no publications like Aviation Week even touched it.

I a little surprised at this quote, though, because it seems to imply that the expectation is that the F-35 will not be as maneuverable as the F-16, which is a little different than what we've been hearing from the test pilots:

The F-35's technology is designed to engage, shoot, and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual "dogfighting" situations.

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Oh, one other glaring error that should put a lot of the credibility to rest. The gun, silly as it seems, is a 3F capability. Unless they were dogfighting with a very early release of 3F, how the heck was the F-35 guy supposed to use the gun? Which, BTW, is designed for A2G not A2A...

David Axe should have less than zero credibility, but hey, beat the drum, sell the book.

The disclosure of this report should not discourage our warfighters and test community from providing the Program Office and Lockheed Martin with honest assessments of the F-35's capabilities.

Translation: We will hunt the dog who released this to the ends of the earth and crush their career.

Edited by MarkW

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https://www.f35.com/news/detail/joint-program-office-response-to-war-is-boring-blog?sf10503378=1

Didn't take long. also noticed that no publications like Aviation Week even touched it.

The pr guys at lockmart are quick! Aviation Week did do a piece on this:

http://aviationweek.com/defense/f-35-flies-against-f-16-basic-fighter-maneuvers

The memo is up for those to read:

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/read-for-yourself-the-f-35-s-damning-dogfighting-report-719a4e66f3eb

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I a little surprised at this quote, though, because it seems to imply that the expectation is that the F-35 will not be as maneuverable as the F-16, which is a little different than what we've been hearing from the test pilots:

The F-35's technology is designed to engage, shoot, and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual "dogfighting" situations.

It's not really contradictory - an airplane can have a primary form of combat and still work in other arenas. The F-14 was made to defend the fleet against long range threats, but its pilots were still taught to turn against A-4's and F-5's in ACM training.

I don't think aircraft have been primarily designed with dogfighting in mind since WWI when they were still figuring this stuff out. Even then, the better pilots figured out quickly that victory is best achieved by knowing your situation, seeing the enemy before they see you, and attacking without being noticed. If we can do those things through technology, then that's what we should do.

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w00t.gifrofl.gif

Why not? Haters (many of whom can't see past their own prejudices) see an article that tells them what they want to hear, and it's gospel. Anything that contradicts it is dismissed as PR (a polte way of calling it a lie). But talk to people who actually might know a thing or two on the matter and the truth is something else, and sometimes, more interesting.

Why The “F-35 v F-16″ Article Is Garbage

As one of our followers here on FighterSweep, you’re probably someone that likes to keep track of the latest news on America’s m1ost advanced fighters–especially the stealthy, badass fifth-generation F-22 and F-35. More specifically, you’ve probably been keeping tabs on the development of the F-35–its setbacks, its achievements, and its march toward IOC. That also means you may have run across a very recent article that screams, “The F-35 can’t beat the plane it’s replacing in a dogfight!”

As a taxpayer, reading that probably pisses you off. After all, the F-35 acquisitions program is one of the most twisted and over-budget jobs programs in the history of the U.S. military. It’s late. It’s expensive. It’s bloated. It can’t even fly within twenty-five miles of a thunderstorm because they had to remove lightning protection to save on weight–a requirement for the Marines so they could take off and land vertically in the F-35B.

There are hundreds of valid complaints on this aircraft, but the latest clickbait headlines scattering social media aren’t among them; it’s as though suddenly everyone is Colonel John Boyd reincarnate and knows what the problem is.

Now, before we get into the why, let me first preface all of this by saying I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t work for Lockheed-Martin. I have nothing to do with the Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps acquisitions process. As I mentioned in my Hornet versus Viper comparison, the Viper is my first love–so naturally I smiled a little when I read the headline.

But at the end of the day, I–just like every other fighter pilot out there–have to be fair.

First, let’s talk about what really happened. According to the article, an F-35A and a two-bag Block 40 F-16D took off on Jan 14, 2015 to engage in Basic Fighter Maneuver setups to test “the overall effectiveness of the aircraft in performing various specified maneuvers in a dynamic environment…this consisted of traditional Basic Fighter Maneuvers in offensive, defensive, and neutral setups at altitudes ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 feet.”

English please?

Just like a normal 1v1 proficiency sortie, the two fighters did canned setups to practice basic dogfighting. In the offensive setups, the F-35 would start off behind the F-16. At the specified range, the F-35 pilot would call “Fight’s On” and maneuver to the F-16’s control zone to employ weapons. In the defensive setups, the F-35 would start off in front while the Viper maneuvered to the F-35’s control zone. And finally, in the neutral (high-aspect) setup, the two aircraft would start completely neutral and fight until whatever DLOs (Designated Learning Objectives) they had were met, be they valid gunshots, valid missile shots, or whatever.

So while this particular article may lead you to believe the two aircraft went out there mano y mano and duked it out, the reality is that we don’t know where each deficiency was found. My guess is the critiques on the pitch rates for gunning and abilities to jink happened in the canned offensive and defensive setups. But one has to remember this is a test platform and they were out to get test data, not find out who the king of the mountain is.

The article talks about energy bleed rates, high-Alpha maneuvering, and the F-35 pilot’s “only winning move” to threaten with the nose at high angle of attack. What does that sound like?

To me, it sounds like a Hornet fighting a Viper. Of course, a Hornet is not going to do well against an F-16 in a sustained rate fight. Its strength is to get slow and use its angle of attack advantage, much like the F-35 did here. It also bleeds energy rapidly and struggles to get it back once bled down. The fact the heavier, drag-encumbered F-35 had this problem is not surprising to me–despite its monstrous amount of available thrust, and it doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.

As for the helmet problem, I’m sure that’s an ergonomics issue that will be worked out in testing. It’s not “sneaking up” on anyone; the TTL driver likely went blind during the engagement. As they say, “Lose sight, lose the fight.”

This aircraft is still in its infancy. Tactics, techniques, and procedures that key on strengths and minimize weaknesses are just starting to be developed. Taking one report and proclaiming that the F-35 is a piece of FOD in the air-to-air arena is irresponsible and sensationalist at best. There are far too many other factors to look at.

For example, the test pilot was a former F-15E pilot. Two-bag Vipers do the same thing to Strike Eagles all day long. Maybe he was just used to it?1 I keed. I keed. But seriously, a guy with maybe 100 hours in the F-35 versus a guy with 1,500+ Viper hours? I’ve seen thousand-hour F-16 guys in two-bag D-models beat up on brand new wingmen in clean, single-seat jets. It happens. It’s the reality of the amount of experience in your given cockpit.

I’m sure internet debates will rage on. It’s fun to trash the new kid, especially the new kid that’s overweight, wears too much bling, and talks about how awesome it is all the time. It’s way too early to declare the F-35 the “worst fighter aircraft design ever imagined.” Please. Let’s see how it does when guys who are proficient in developed tactics do against guys with similar amounts experience–the realm of the bros in the operational test or Weapons School environment.

There’s plenty of room to criticize this program, but accuracy is important. The sky isn’t really falling, Chicken Little. And for the rest of you? Blow out your torches and hang up your pitchforks, for we have miles to go.

So yeah, pass the popcorn.

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Why not? Haters (many of whom can't see past their own prejudices) see an article that tells them what they want to hear, and it's gospel. Anything that contradicts it is dismissed as PR (a polte way of calling it a lie). But talk to people who actually might know a thing or two on the matter and the truth is something else, and sometimes, more interesting.

Why The "F-35 v F-16″ Article Is Garbage

So yeah, pass the popcorn.

Amen, brother. I hear you 271.gif !

And I totally agree.

Since there is a distinct history of U.S. a/c development and procurement, particularly the last 60 years, to compare with a/c development and procurement in just the last 20 years it shouldn't be a shock or an aw with the F-35 program as some attempt to lead us to believe.

Probably what's genuinely unprecedented about the F-35 program is the fact that no pilots have been killed, injured, or even needed to eject while flying the F-35.

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Why not? Haters (many of whom can't see past their own prejudices) see an article that tells them what they want to hear, and it's gospel. Anything that contradicts it is dismissed as PR (a polte way of calling it a lie). But talk to people who actually might know a thing or two on the matter and the truth is something else, and sometimes, more interesting.

Why The “F-35 v F-16″ Article Is Garbage

So yeah, pass the popcorn.

Moar (commenter on DoDBuzz) sums it up well:

Of course the JPO even missed the most important aspect.

The F-35 was specifically testing high angle of attack according to the report. It was not dogfighting in the sense that the F-35 pilot could do anything he wanted, but testing potential dogfighting methods using high AoA and large control changes. Reading comprehension must be dead in the world today. Since the F-35 can fly to 50deg AoA while the F-16 is limited to between 15-25 depending on Gs being pulled, they were not even testing the full capability of the plane, just a part of the envelope. Because, you know, it was a test flight to see how the plane reacts to high AoA and large control surface deflection. Don't believe me, read the first paragraph of the report. To extrapolate that to saying the F-35 cannot dogfight a F-16 is like saying that because the Zero was a better dogfighter than any allied fighter in WWII at 180kts, it was better period. The allies quickly learned to dogfight at 250kts where the Zero sucked and absolutely crushed them, even in F4Fs. Without knowing anything else about the maneuvering envelope, you don't know anywhere near enough to claim anything. And of course, it was a test flight. The test aircraft lacked much of the avionics suite of a production F-35.

"However, despite the F-35’s technologies and next-generation sensors – the JPO statements did not seem to necessarily contradict the central finding of the test-pilot’s assessment that, in terms of pure dogfighting maneuverability as its own variable, the F-35 did not perform as well as an F-16"

Maybe because that is not what the Testpilot actually said. That is what David Axe said, taking the test pilots remarks out of context. What the testpilot said, was at high AoA, you know, what they were actually testing in this exercise, the fighter needed more pitch control and also recommended the changing the blended regime for high AoA to more than 30 degrees. He also recommended a bunch of changes to the control laws to make the aircraft more responsive, since you know that was the purpose of the test. Finally, he said there was no benefit to utilizing that flight regime. This is kind of like saying there is no benefit to dogfighting a Zero at 180kts. He did note that there was plenty of stability and maneuverability, but the control laws delayed the required response. Of course, the obvious answer is to change the control laws but that is just too much to process for most people I guess.

David Axe was kind enough to post the entire report, it's worth reading. Just for laughs, try reading it first and then read what David Axe wrote. As expected, it really doesn't say what he wants it to say.

So it looks like Axe either A. Was unaware and thought he had some kind of smoking gun, or B. Knew it wasn't what he would like, but he could process a story out of it, and then get even more clicks when he posted the actual report.

Hope it was worth it to whoever leaked the report.

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https://www.f35.com/news/detail/joint-program-office-response-to-war-is-boring-blog?sf10503378=1

Didn't take long. also noticed that no publications like Aviation Week even touched it.

This almost belongs on Duffle Blog. If it helps, I'll translate:

Can't maneuver? It's all good because the F-35 is just simply awesome in every other regard. We're quite sure that no one will ever figure out a way to detect it or to jam it's radar, so it doesn't really matter if it can maneuver or not. Rest assured, the F-35 will forever have the ability to smite it's enemies, undetected, from 50 miles away. Trust us on this one.

Oh, and once we find the meanie, sorry - warfighter, that released this report, we'll put out another PR release with a 8x10 glossy of his/her head on a stake.

Lastly, we're going to have a frank discussion with the pilot who wrote this "candid" report. While we certainly strive to have honest feedback from the field, we thought it was made clear before that this only pertains to positive feedback. After our discussion, we'll begin releasing innuendos that questions this person's flying background (looks like this has already started), then we'll follow up with insinuations that he was just an agenda-toting F-35 hater who infiltrated our program.

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Reading the actual report versus what Axe wrote is amazing. He should be David Hatchet.

One thing that's keeps getting mentioned in passing is the F-35 is still tweakable. The control laws, including the engine, can be adjusted. That is what the test pilot was suggesting. The program can tweak it to twerk.

Now can we please get back to arguing over the A-10 cancellation?

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This almost belongs on Duffle Blog. If it helps, I'll translate:

Oh, and once we find the meanie, sorry - warfighter, that released this report, we'll put out another PR release with a 8x10 glossy of his/her head on a stake.

People complain that the airplane isn't being tested thoroughly. Thorough tests are then conducted. The findings (good bad and ugly) are then reviewed and actions taken, although not all of these tests and their results is released to the public. This is to encourage candor. By creating leaks its discourages candor. This is bad. You can see the "a-10 treason" fiasco as a wonderful example of such. Which sucks because it creates a toxic environment, double-speak from higher ups, micromangement, and encourages Yes men. It sucks even more because people assume these things already happen, as you allude to. But that isn't the truth, unless stupid S8it like this makes it so.

So its the old "if its not like that, report it like that until it is-- or people think it is!" Thanks David Axe.

And this is before we get into classification and/or non disclosure/confidentiality agreements for whomever leaked it. working with sensitive info myself I hope he is found. screw him/her.

Lastly, we're going to have a frank discussion with the pilot who wrote this "candid" report. While we certainly strive to have honest feedback from the field, we thought it was made clear before that this only pertains to positive feedback. After our discussion, we'll begin releasing innuendos that questions this person's flying background [/i](looks like this has already started), then we'll follow up with insinuations that he was just an agenda-toting F-35 hater who infiltrated our program.

The Pilot who wrote this report is LM's chief Test Pilot. And again Candor is appreciated so corrections can be made. Test pilots should feel like they can be honest as well, without their words being used OUT OF CONTEXT (crazy I know!), or against them and the program they are involved in.

I agree though it is like the Duffelblog in the sense that its phony reporting by fake news people. The Irony of people who take hatchets to this stuff then complain about lack of access, and we wonder why we "can't have nice things." or honest debate.

So its more sad than funny to me. (Mark I made a A-10 reference there for you BTW)

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Speaking of which, yet another example of the title of the article being click bait but not accurate.

Title: Killing A-10 will cost money!!

Article: Actually, the AF cost estimating is terrible and we aren't sure if it will or won't save money.

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Not sure it's been posted yet but here is the full report that caused so much angst.

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/read-for-yourself-the-f-35-s-damning-dogfighting-report-719a4e66f3eb

You can take from it whatever you want.

On a related note - Is it just me or do the arguments being presented on why maneuverability is not that important sound disturbingly similar to statements made about the F-4 prior to it's involvement in the Vietnam war?

Dogfighting is a thing of the past

If an F-35 pilot gets into a WVR fight, he did something wrong

The F-35 will kill it's opponents before they ever get close enough to engage

Hope it all works according to plan.

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Not sure it's been posted yet but here is the full report that caused so much angst.

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/read-for-yourself-the-f-35-s-damning-dogfighting-report-719a4e66f3eb

You can take from it whatever you want.

On a related note - Is it just me or do the arguments being presented on why maneuverability is not that important sound disturbingly similar to statements made about the F-4 prior to it's involvement in the Vietnam war?

Dogfighting is a thing of the past

If an F-35 pilot gets into a WVR fight, he did something wrong

The F-35 will kill it's opponents before they ever get close enough to engage

Hope it all works according to plan.

This entire thing has been blown out of all proportion. "The Dance" I mentioned earlier is playing out and it is not looking good for Axe's editorial.

Now that people with the actual knowledge to review the test and translate it for folks that don'w know are showing up, its looking like the F-35 was "defeated" while trying to test a specific part of the flight envelope, rather than "win" in some no hold barred slugfest:

First of all way too much is being made of this test and some players are taking things seriously out of context to grind axes. So, what is of primary importance is to understand what the test objectives were. The FLTS's out at Edwards don't fly unless they have a clear objective to gather technical data, that's what Developmental Test is all about. So, what were the objectives? From the report:

OBJECTIVE

The test was designed to stress the high AoA control laws during operationally representative

maneuvers utilizing elevated AoAs and aggressive stick/pedal inputs. The evaluation focused on the

overall effectiveness of the aircraft in performing various specified maneuvers in a dynamic

environment. This consisted of traditional Basic Fighter Maneuvers in offensive, defensive, and neutral

setups at altitudes ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 feet MSL. The Flying Qualities criteria were that the

aircraft response would be positive and predictable and that there should be no undesired, unexpected,

or unpredictable aircraft responses. Qualitative observations were made regarding the high AoA

capability, cues that the aircraft was entering a low energy state, as well as various human factors

considerations.

Please note that the object wasn't to see how the F-35 stacked up to the Viper as a dogfight, rather it was to press the limits of the high AoA control laws and then report out the flying qualities in that regime, using various specified maneuvers. The Viper was there to make things dynamic and unscripted. Also, please note "elevated AoAs and aggressive stick/pedal inputs" are also preludes to departing an aircraft, so the evaluation of the effectiveness was how does the anti-spin logic effect high AoA BFM. Of course that's exactly what the JPO statement said.

The tests cited in the article were done earlier this year to test the flying qualities of the F-35 using visual combat maneuvers to stress the system, and the F-16 involved was used as a visual reference to maneuver against.

Next take a look at the setups:

MISSION EXECUTION

The sortie consisted of standard administration to the Sea Test Range. Ranging exercises were

conducted to familiarize the target aircraft with F-35 visual cues. An offensive capture/tracking task was

completed by the F-35 from 6,000 feet slant range with a 3,000 foot vertical offset at 22,000' MSl and

400 kts. All other testing consisted of traditional BFM setups starting at 22,000' MSL and 440 kts for 6K

and 9K fights and 20,000' MSl at 380 kts for 3K fights. The neutral fights began at approximately

18,000' to 20,000' with no limitations on airspeed or altitude following the check away. The floor was

10,000' MSL. In all, there were seventeen engagements. No loads or other aircraft limits were

exceeded with unrestricted throttle, stick, and rudder inputs.

All I have handy right now are the Block 50/52 performance charts, but they're close enough to the 40 to show that the 3K, 6K and 9K setups are right at the sweet spots of the Viper's performance.

Two 370's Drag Index 70

22,000' MSL 440 KCAS is 0.96M

20,000' MSL 380 KCAS is 0.81M

Note assuming KCAS not KTAS since that's what displays in the HUD and the EM chart below

Click image for larger version.

Name: Block 50 20kft EM DI 50.jpg

Views: 12

Size: 273.6 KB

ID: 238893

Puts things in perspective here. So, the Viper was flying right around it's corner and max instantaneous, while the F-35 was supposed to go elevated AoA and see if the control laws would prevent the plane from departing when performing elevated AoA BFM. The Viper was at a clear advantage all along, but it wasn't there to win, it was there as a visual reference to maneuver against. The whole point was to put the F-35 in a bad position and see what the control laws did. Which is exactly what the JPO said.

While the dogfighting scenario was successful in showing the ability of the F-35 to maneuver to the edge of its limits without exceeding them, and handle in a positive and predictable manner, the interpretation of the scenario results could be misleading.

Turns out the early law are biased towards departure prevention(not a bad thing early in a program), not exactly an Earth shattering discovery, and that there's plenty of margin available to improve performance, again not exactly Earth shattering. At least a sizable subset of these critics aren't old enough to remember that the first wave of FBW A/C went through similar cycle or didn't pay attention/forgot that Super Bug and Raptor did also.

Now with the critic's original argument discredited they take something else out of context...Wash, lather, repeat, the cycle continues. They're always certain their right but curiously avoid making a stand in the face of a rigorous technical argument....

...Nearly half of my time in uniform was as an aircrew in the 412 TW, prior to that an engineering Master's Degree focused on flight test, flight dynamics and control system design, been a licensed pilot for 22 years and counting, and yes I've written my share of post flight reports, and test plans, and safety plans, and test information sheets, and test cards, even managed to get myself shot at a few times.

So perhaps I've erred, misread and got it wrong. Perhaps I'm just inarticulate, hobbled by my two engineering degrees or could be those pesky NDA's that force me to keep quiet and instead focus on fundamentals like test execution/conduct...As a professional flight tester it does rankle to see test executed as written, data collected as requested and then see that misused to support some (not so) hidden agenda.

I've written my share of DR's and found some really big Cat I's so I appreciate what the writer of that report has done.

From a post at keypubs

Dogfighting isn't going to go away but the nature of it is changing:

“In any practice engagement I have had in the last 20 years where I have turned with another aeroplane in a bigger picture environment – rather than the static one by ones, two by twos or four by fours – every time I have tried to do that I have ended up being shot by somebody else who actually is not in the fight. As soon as you enter a turning fight, your situational awareness actually shrinks down because the only thing you can be operating with is the aeroplane you are turning with. The person who has the advantage is the person who can stand off, watch the engagement and just pick you off at the time. So you got to be really careful about how you use those KPIs.”

...

“the ability to actually have that data fusion that the aeroplane has makes an incredible difference to how you perform in combat. I saw it first hand on a Red Flag mission in an F15D against a series of fifth-generation F22s. We were actually in the red air. In five engagements we never knew who had hit us and we never even saw the other aeroplane…. After that particular mission I went back and had a look at the tapes on the F22, and the difference in the situational awareness in our two cockpits was just so fundamentally different. That is the key to fifth-generation….the ability to be in a cockpit with a God’s-eye view of what is going on in the world was such an advantage over a fourth-generation fighter – and arguably one of the best fourth-generation fighters in existence, the F15. But even with a DRFM jamming pipe, we still had no chance in those particular engagements. And at no time did any of the performance characteristics that you are talking about have any relevance to those five engagements.” – Air Marshal Brown talking about an exchanged RAAF pilots experience.

...

“The difference is in what people understand is important in air combat. It is the situation awareness that you have is important—that is all important. Manoeuvrability is important when you are defensive and that is the only time when it comes to be important. Manoeuvrability since helmet-mounted sights has become far less important in offensive situations, because with a helmet-mounted sight and an off-boresight missile you do not have to manoeuvre to somebody at 6 o’clock. You can actually shoot them when they are in your 6 o’clock almost—that is the difference. I would say it is a difference in what is important in air combat capability.” –

--Air Marshal Brown

It simply too dangerous an environment to enter into. Its like a violent bar brawl that best is avoided. What frustrates me about some of this is people decide to compare which airplane can "fly better" in a dogfight using EM models. Boyd was not just about turning there was actually a much larger and more widely applicable "big picture" -- The OODA loop. IE situational Awareness. Boyd would be heaven in an F-35, but people decide to "forget" that part of the equation. Also, it constantly preached to "not force a bad position" and to "not fight his fight" and that also needs to be remembered. IE, if you got into a turning battle with a Zero, You dun goofed. Same concept today-- don't get into a dogfight if you can avoid it, it your advantage disappears. and I'm not just talking about F-35s. Even F-22s have been felled by F-5s, and Typhoons, and Growlers. And the F-22 is the king, and not by a little. Don't risk one of the 180 F-22s we have trying to get into a brawl where the advantage degrades.

What if the F-35 can't dogfight!? The flip side of the coin is that what if its true, and enemy aircraft that decided to play the dogfight game don't get anywhere near an F-35? Dogfights are getting more rare, this is a statistical fact. And of course if it comes to dog fighting at night (probably a safe bet that the west will prefer this early on) the F-35 will win thanks to its situational awareness and sensors, that helmet is a massive advantage over someone stuck with NVGs.

If the F-35 were to be 95 percent BVR, and 5 percent get into dogfights. and it goes 50/50, that still an airplane that wins 97 percent of the time.

I'll take that any day. The majority of US losses going back to Vietnam is not from other airplanes but SAMs and AAA anyway. The coalition in 1991 lost 52 airplanes, and only one is from an air to air kill. Vietnam is even more skewed, but since its not "sexy" no one bothers to mention the massive air defense battles there.

Dogfights are becoming an increasingly small slice of the threat. And we build things for the 90 percent of things they are likely to face, rather than the 10 percent. We may well lose F-35s in combat, We may also lose F-22s as well. And maybe some will be in dogfights, maybe none will be in dogfights.

Lastly comparing it to the F-4 and vietnam is a bit of misnomer. Air to Air practice (in all regimens), and things like Red Flag for example, are still going to go strong in the future. Training, is the difference maker. Acceptance that Air to Air and even dogfighting must remain sharp will ensure that Vietnam is not repeated. A complete lack of practice, training, doctrine etc is what caused the issues in Vietnam, it was not just a matter of having the "wrong" airplane. Take any key military skill, and ignore it and you get the same results no matter the subject. You can't ignore Vietnam no, but you must also acknowledge that you can't ignore the multiple advancements that have happened since.

F-35 will get plenty of chances over the next decades to dogfight against F-16s I promise.

Edited by TaiidanTomcat

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