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F-35 Combat Skills: "Between F-16 And F/A-18"  
User currently offlineAC788 From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 69 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 16539 times:

I found this interesting article on Aviation Week reporting on the "shortcomings" of the F-35 in an air to air combat scenario:

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...0Skills%20Analyzed&channel=defense

Anyone have any thoughts/comments in response to this article?

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDragon6172 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 1202 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 16451 times:

Love how it quotes a bunch of simulations and "on paper' etc etc. Send the damn thing up their and let it tangle with some other planes and then talk about all this crap.


Phrogs Phorever
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 16344 times:

Well, I guess we bstter go back to buying the F-15, maybe a G & H model? This is not a good report. The F/A-18 sucks at air to air, and the F-16 is good at it.

User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4775 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16215 times:



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
Well, I guess we bstter go back to buying the F-15, maybe a G & H model?

Unfortunately, the USAF wouldn't bite, however much Boeing peddled their ware.....

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...ile-boeing-f-15e+-super-eagle.html


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With Japan's sights set on the JSF, a Super Eagle order for its F-X requirement might also be hard to come by.....

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...agle-stays-near-the-top-perch.html

Quote:
"A version of the F-15E has been proposed to satisfy Japan's F-X requirement. Japan already has 200 F-15C/Ds in service and Boeing believes that its F-15FX proposal is well-placed, promising to fulfil Japanese aspirations for local manufacturing with an open architecture avionics system that will allow the integration of indigenous equipment, and with an AESA radar based on that of the F-15SG."



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4363 posts, RR: 19
Reply 4, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 16162 times:

Doesn't sound good, stealth is irrelevant once you are spotted, then manoeuverability, weapons load and power are vital.


So once the F35 is seen it sounds pretty vulnerable, and it can only carry two Amraams, even four is not much.

Seems like a great strike aircraft but air to air ? I think i'd prefer to be in an F16..



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 16122 times:



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
Well, I guess we bstter go back to buying the F-15, maybe a G & H model? This is not a good report. The F/A-18 sucks at air to air, and the F-16 is good at it.

At the same time, it begs the question: how would ordering modern F-15s counter-act the growing threat of networked air defense systems?

The whole point is this: during the 1960 and 1970s, surface to air missile technology reached "parity" with modern western fighters. Soviet missiles seriously degraded our ability to control the skies over the battlefield, but the pendulum swung the opposite direction during the 1980s and 1990s - aircraft, weapon systems, and defensive measures were all able to swing the pendulum back towards the aviator's favor.

...Now we're witnessing the missile technology begin to gain ground, once held by now aging counter-measures, and even the ability of stealth. But there is a problem: modern western air forces cannot absorb the same losses withstand the same losses, seen in Viet Nam and Yom Kippur wars. If missile technology is truly gaining new ground, and we are unable to suffer high losses... then we are in even more of a predicament.

The point being: the focus needs to be on either dominance of the airspace, or ceding that right and fielding larger numbers of aircraft to provide us the ability to absorb high losses.

-UH60


User currently offlineEBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 16034 times:



Quoting Max Q (Reply 4):
Seems like a great strike aircraft but air to air ? I think i'd prefer to be in an F16..

The comparison with the SU-30 and Typhoon isn't realistic. Bear in mind that while Typhoon puts up a credible performance in the air-to-ground role, it IS optimized for air-to-air, as is the SU-30. Rafale doesn't perform as well in the air-to-air role either because it too is optimized for air-to-ground. The F-35 is supposed to be the "do everything" fighter but it's already been admitted here that it too is optimized for the air-to ground role, at least so far as its service with the Air Force and Marines are concerned, and there's a world of difference between fleet air defense and air superiority so I'd guess that Navy doesn't see it as an air superiority airplane either.



Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 15762 times:

And that is why there is the F-22. There is no need for 2 Air Dominance Fighters... the F-22 rules the air, and the F-35 rules the ground. If the F-22 wasn't around, there might be a problem... but it is. The F-35 will do well for what it was primarily meant to do, ground attack. It can hold its own in a fight, but that is not what it is meant to do.

User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 15756 times:

Dogfights happen, and long range missile duels also happen. These battles get the most attention because they are the most exiting. But these are not representative of most air-to-air engagements. Since World War I, air combat has changed a lot. But one thing hasn't changed - about 80% of planes shot down never knew that the plane that shot them down was there. In the majority of air battles, one group of planes sees the other first and kills them. No furball, no fuss, nothing fancy. A sees B first and shoots B before B knows A even exists. Most air combat looks more like assasination than battle.

So it all comes down to finding the enemy before he finds you. That is all that matters, four times out of five. Everything else is secondary. That would seem to make stealth, sensors and processing capability more important than other factors. The F-35 seems to have been built with this in mind. Of course, the pilot and the rest of the system(AWACS, command, basing, etc) probably are more important overall than airframe choice - as long as we are not talking something extreme like F-15 vs P-51.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1675 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 15726 times:



Quoting Max Q (Reply 4):
So once the F35 is seen it sounds pretty vulnerable, and it can only carry two Amraams, even four is not much.

I think the issue for the F-35 is that although it has a very large internal weapons bay, the weapons racks are the primary reason why missile capacity is so low. With further development, 6 AIM-120's internally is possible.


User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4363 posts, RR: 19
Reply 10, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 15659 times:

They were saying the same thing before the Vietnam war, how air combat would never happen and all kills would take place without seeing the enemy, they even left the gun off the F4.

Well, that didn't work either, dogfights will happen still so relying on stealth and cybernetic warfare will only get you so far.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 15415 times:



Quoting Max Q (Reply 10):
They were saying the same thing before the Vietnam war, how air combat would never happen and all kills would take place without seeing the enemy, they even left the gun off the F4.

That was because in that era it was impossible to separate friendlies from enemies reliably beyond visual range. Now there are technologies such as NCTR(Non-cooperative target recognition), and more advanced AWACS, that may make it possible. We will not know if it will work in a real war until we have a real air to air threat.

But consistently, most air to air combats have been neither missile duals nor dogfights. Whether death came through a stream of bullets cutting a biplane in two - or an AMRAM slamming into a Mig 29 - the majority of planes shot down never had a chance to fight back. They died before they knew the enemy was there. The whole dogfight vs. beyond visual range misses the point. It only really matters in about 1 out of 5 cases. Most of the time, it is all about finding the enemy before he finds you - and that is reflected in the F35 design priorities.


User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3391 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 15384 times:



Quoting Oroka (Reply 7):



And that is why there is the F-22. There is no need for 2 Air Dominance Fighters... the F-22 rules the air, and the F-35 rules the ground. If the F-22 wasn't around, there might be a problem... but it is. The F-35 will do well for what it was primarily meant to do, ground attack. It can hold its own in a fight, but that is not what it is meant to do.

Wrong, the "high/low" concept is built around having a high cost system at the peak of technology and Air to Air capiblity backed by a cheap "POS" that can do passible Air to Air.

The expensive plane is to break the high threat assets and cordination of the assualt/defense and the cheap planes are to deal with the huge numbers of suddenly weakened planes left.

The F16 wasn't bought cause it was all that great of a fighter. It was bought on the assumption that it could be bought in enough numbers to counter the massed fighters of the USSR once the cordination of the opponent was broken. The F15 alone would get swamped by large numbers and thus be ineffective without this backup. The F15 also would be incapible of being aquired in large enough numbers to put them everywhere the US needed a fighter.

Now my problem with the F35 isn't its meh Air to Air, its the fact that it costs so much that it makes me doubt that its better not to find the maker in default and put all that money into the F22. The cost overruns make it simply too close to the cost of a F22 if you say dropped the same billions on more F22 frames bringing its unit costs down.


User currently offlineAirbusA370 From Germany, joined Dec 2008, 253 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 15270 times:

What about buying some Eurofighters instead?  duck  That comes with a few free A400Ms, of course...

User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7054 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 15056 times:



Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 12):
The F16 wasn't bought cause it was all that great of a fighter.

Only problem with that is that the F-16 is and was a great fighter plane, for many years it set the standard by which manuverability was judged, it is a 9g capable a/c. The US Air Force used it for air to ground probably because they so badly wanted to get rid of the A-10. The strength the F-15 had over the F-16 was it radar and range, I may be wrong here, but do they not have the same basic engine?

If you put a longer range radar and equipped a F-16 with AMRAM's, how potent a platform would it be?
Big question facing the US military today is that the America industry are producing weapons system which are so expensive that it is becoming difficult for the country to afford them, and no one is making any cheaper alternatives, at least not new designs. How capable are the F-15X that Boeing is pushing, a mix of F-22's and new build F-15's may provide the numbers required, it certainely does not look as if the govt. is going to fund the F-22's in the numbers wanted, exporting the technology only means that it will loose its edge much sooner.


User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4775 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 14979 times:



Quoting Par13del (Reply 14):
If you put a longer range radar and equipped a F-16 with AMRAM's, how potent a platform would it be?

About as much as this.....?

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/products/f16/f16in/index.html



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3391 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 14867 times:



Quoting Par13del (Reply 14):


Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 12):
The F16 wasn't bought cause it was all that great of a fighter.

Only problem with that is that the F-16 is and was a great fighter plane, for many years it set the standard by which manuverability was judged, it is a 9g capable a/c. The US Air Force used it for air to ground probably because they so badly wanted to get rid of the A-10. The strength the F-15 had over the F-16 was it radar and range, I may be wrong here, but do they not have the same basic engine?

The F16 wasn't all that for most of its life. It was a hanger queen early in its life. Even now its combat radius with payload is horrible. Its manuverablity is good on paper compared to the big fighters, but the tradeoffs are definitely there. The F15 has payload, radar, range, speed, etc over the F16. In many respects the F5 would have made more sense than the F16 since it was a hell of alot cheaper... but try selling congress and the defense contractors on doing the cheap and simple way....

More to the point the F16 was sold as multi-role to the bosses, and with the USSR break up, they had to find ALOT of new jobs to keep thier buddies in the defense world happy with more F16 orders. Good news is that if you don't have to hang around looking for stuff the F16 makes a good ground attack plane.

The A-10 is a whole different issue, and one we shouldn't get into since I doubt they thought much at all about it when doing the F16 development and contracts.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7054 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 14800 times:



Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 16):
The F16 wasn't all that for most of its life. It was a hanger queen early in its life.

As most new fighters are, remember the history of the F-15 early in its service life, but as with all good products, they mature and have very successful lives.
Agree that on a technical and economic basis the TigerShark upgrade from the F-5 (F-20)would have been a good a/c, the twin engines alone gave it more of an upgrade path, but as in all cases, politics plays a role and you end up having to make do.
Regarding the A-10, I did not mention it to take the thread off line, what I meant was that if the Air Force was committed to the a/c, they would not have placed so much emphasis on the F-16 being proficient in ground combat, the high lo mix of fighters would have been achieved.

It should be noted that quantity has a quality of it own, in cases where the F-22 will be needed - Russia / China - the a/c would be vastly out-numbered, loads of obsolete a/c will be thrown up against it, she carries only so much missiles and gun shots, and neither of those two opponents will sit back and let the US cherry pick when and where to engage in combat. Not proposing a war, but in planning, you should plan for what you can do, what you want to do and what your opponent may do, therein lies the problem, getting a handle on what you think the opponent will do, it gets political as well as military.

On the F-35 being designed mainly for ground combat, I guess I will never totally accept in this modern age having a single engine a/c dedicated to ground combat, gotta believe its a political and economic issue, which military pilot really wants to do CAS work in a high tech single engine a/c, with the current weight issues the a/c has, how much armour plating do you think she will have?


User currently offlineNavion From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1010 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 14613 times:



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
Well, I guess we bstter go back to buying the F-15, maybe a G & H model? This is not a good report. The F/A-18 sucks at air to air, and the F-16 is good at it.

Based upon the opinions of two separate U.S.A.F. fighter pilots I know this is a B.S. statement. The F-18 is a lot more potent in ACM than this statement would lead you to believe. I have two sources who have told me the F-18 will kick your ass if you aren't really careful. Their response was to my question about F15's & F16's beating up on F-18's and they each separately said that's a load of crap. These two pilots are 1) a former commander of the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis (and a former FWS instructor and Wing King of the 1st & 8th FW - yes, he's checked out in the F-22 also) and 2) former Thunderbirds Commander/Leader and a former instructor at the FWS etc. Just my $.02 FWIW.


User currently offlineAC788 From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 14591 times:



Quoting Navion (Reply 18):

Well it's certainly hard to disagree with a post like that! Thanks for that, it's always a good change when you have direct sources to back up your info.
 Big grin


On a side note, the forum seems to have strayed from it's original article regarding the operational capabilities of the F-35. Although information on the F-16 and F/A-18 were both cited in the original article, it would be nice to hear more opinions/information on the F-35.

Navion, maybe you could ask those same credible individuals what their opinions are of the F-35 (if they have an opinion yet)? Cause I (and I'm sure many others) would love to hear what they think about this a/c.

Thanks everyone for their opinions and keep up with the posting!


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7054 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 14516 times:

Unfortunately, until the F-35 get's deployed in any meaningful numbers and pilots get the chance to fly it in an "uncontrolled" manner, we will be stuck with the technical testing, economic and political numbers used to justify its existence. By uncontrolled I mean operating outside the bounds of excersize's being used to verify the a/c capabilities. Take the example of the F-18 comments above, the F-18 excels in slow speed combat, if you are in a more powerful a/c why exactly would you leave your strength to go to the opponents, the same applies to the F-15, F-22, F-16, and a/c of other countries. Training done today does not really throw two a/c against each other to see who wins, it is conducted to teach pilots of a/c the strengths and weakness's of the platforms they fly and those of potential adversaries, in this day and age with so much electronic monitoring, telling your wingman to have a go somewhere in the blue yonder is the fastest way to end your military service.
Once she is deployed, we will all get more info on the capabilities of the F-35, and since she will also be sold outside the US, the info will not be as closely guarded, we just have to wait.
Bummer  Smile


User currently offlineNavion From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1010 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 14486 times:



Quoting AC788 (Reply 19):
Well it's certainly hard to disagree with a post like that! Thanks for that, it's always a good change when you have direct sources to back up your info.

After reading AC788's comment, I realized my response to KC135 Top Boom was too strong and could seem rude. I apologize. I didn't mean to come off so strongly and ironically, I really enjoy Top Boom's posts. I should have been more aware of how my post came off so I apologize to Top Boom and to all for being less civil than this forum deserves.

I'll see if I can find out anything on the F-35.


User currently offlineAC788 From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 14454 times:



Quoting Navion (Reply 21):

Hey Navion, don't worry I wasn't trying to pick anyone out, just wanted to make sure the forum stayed on track  Smile
Thanks for your comments.


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