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"Vanishing American Air Superiority"



 
 
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  #11  
Old March 6th 10, 09:06 AM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
guy
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 44
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

On 5 Mar, 18:39, "Ray O'Hara" wrote:
"Ed Rasimus" wrote in message

...





On Fri, 5 Mar 2010 11:10:15 -0500, "Ray O'Hara"
wrote:


"Mike" wrote in message
...
http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/...an_air_superio...


Vanishing American Air Superiority


what a load of ****.


That's a difficult argument to refute. Penetrating analysis at its
finest.


What parts? Spit/Hurricane? Sabre/Thunderjet? Century series? Boyd and
hi/lo mix?


You've given us so much to think about Ray.


what better planes being planned never mind actually being built by anybody
else.

the points the author makes are false strawman types.

the Brits on 1940 didn't need two types, they needed more spits, they were
building them.


What utter rubbish, what the RAF needed in 1940 was more pilots.
Comparing the Hurri and Spit with the F-22 and F-35 is absurd, the
Hurricane was not a second string cheaper fighter.
The RAF had plenty of Hurricanes thanks to the foresight of Tom
Sopwith (and despite the Air Ministry - Keep building Hurricanes with
Fabric covered wings - and build plenty of metal wings to replace the
fabric covered ones - duh)
Everyone knows that the Spitfire won the Battle of Britain
Anyone with an interest in military aviation knows that the Hurricane
achieved more kills than all the other defenses put together during
the BoB
A few people know that 14000 Hurris achieved 50% of all RAF kills in
WW2, 24000 Spits achieved 33% RAF Kills (aprox figs)

Guy

maybe you can say we have "hurricanes" now but who is building 109s?
if there were no 109s then the Hurricane would have ruled the sky.

technology is moving past the manned fighter. building the most advanced
manned fighter now would be akin to building the most advanced bi-plane in
1935.

what we have is better now than what others have now, building a hugely
expensive "better" plane that will be obsolete in short order is a waste- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -


Ads
  #12  
Old March 6th 10, 03:06 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
Jim Wilkins
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 57
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

On Mar 6, 4:06*am, guy wrote:
...
Anyone with an interest in military aviation knows that the Hurricane
achieved more kills than all the other defenses put together during
the BoB
A few people know that 14000 Hurris achieved 50% of all RAF kills in
WW2, 24000 Spits achieved 33% RAF Kills (aprox figs)

Guy

....

Scroll down to (3)
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERbf109.htm
"...the Hurricane, though vastly more manoeuvrable than either the
Spitfire or the Me 109..."

jsw
  #13  
Old March 6th 10, 05:51 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
frank
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 105
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

On Mar 5, 8:52*pm, 150flivver wrote:
On Mar 5, 6:35*pm, Richard wrote:



On Mar 5, 12:39*pm, "Ray O'Hara" wrote:


"Ed Rasimus" wrote in message


.. .


On Fri, 5 Mar 2010 11:10:15 -0500, "Ray O'Hara"
wrote:


"Mike" wrote in message
...
http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/...an_air_superio...


Vanishing American Air Superiority


what a load of ****.


That's a difficult argument to refute. Penetrating analysis at its
finest.


What parts? Spit/Hurricane? Sabre/Thunderjet? Century series? Boyd and
hi/lo mix?


You've given us so much to think about Ray.


what better planes being planned never mind actually being built by anybody
else.


the points the author makes are false strawman types.


the Brits on 1940 didn't need two types, they needed more spits, they were
building them.


maybe you can say we have "hurricanes" now but who is building 109s?
if there were no 109s then the Hurricane would have ruled the sky.


technology is moving past the manned fighter. building the most advanced
manned fighter now would be akin to building the most advanced bi-plane in
1935.


what we have is better now than what others have now, building a hugely
expensive "better" plane that will be obsolete in short order is a waste


Worse. *Given the cost of the airframe, maintenance, crew training and
support vs Drones...its more like bldg BB in 1935 instead of carriers.


Aren't y'all making quite a leap saying UAVs have surpassed manned
fighters when to my knowledge, not a single UAV has ever successfully
engaged a manned fighter. *Suddenly manned fighters are obsolete.
There's a bit of difference between firing a hellfire or dropping a
GBU on an unsuspecting pickup truck and attacking an IADS. *UAVs may
be useful weapons but they hardly are close to having the speed,
range, flexibility or firepower of a manned aircraft.


Not to mention I'd trust Ed on scene far more than some throttle
jockey watching screens at Nellis. Or Yeager.

I've heard this we can do it unmanned before. Some stuff, maybe.
Dumping manned fighters for UAVs. Stupidity. And you know what, when
we need manned fighters in the future, its not a matter of going to
wal mart and taking 2 of them.
  #14  
Old March 6th 10, 05:56 PM posted to rec.aviation.military.naval
frank
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 105
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

On Mar 6, 2:22*am, "dott.Piergiorgio"
wrote:
Ray O'Hara ha scritto:

the points the author makes are false strawman types.


the Brits on 1940 didn't need two types, they needed more spits, they were
building them.


maybe you can say we have "hurricanes" now but who is building 109s?
if there were no 109s then the Hurricane would have ruled the sky.


OK plese try this:

Take one of the best and with the most refined flight models WWII a/c
sims, and try to fly spitfires and hurricane at low, medium and high
altitudes, doing also combat acrobatics, and notice the differences....

Best regards from Italy,
Dott. Piergiorgio

(mantained the X-post to competent NGs)


Be very careful young Skywalker about using sims. Real world much
different. Wind tunnel engineers blow much smoke as programmers.

Now have another glass of that great vino on me. Sigh, Italia....wine,
cheese, women - whoops, scratch the last, I'm married.......
  #15  
Old March 6th 10, 06:23 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
Jim Wilkins
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 57
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

On Mar 6, 12:51*pm, frank wrote:
..
Not to mention I'd trust Ed on scene far more than some throttle
jockey watching screens at Nellis. Or Yeager.

I've heard this we can do it unmanned before. Some stuff, maybe.
Dumping manned fighters for UAVs. Stupidity. And you know what, when
we need manned fighters in the future, its not a matter of going to
wal mart and taking 2 of them.


Never mind fighters, AI and remote control aren't nearly good enough
yet to drive a bus in city traffic.

jsw
  #16  
Old March 6th 10, 06:33 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
hcobb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 64
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

On Mar 6, 8:35*am, Ed Rasimus wrote:
Today our real concern is total numbers. With the Raptor buy
apparently over, we really don't have a nucleus of a globally
effective operational fleet. 187 aircraft, minus not-in-commission
frames, minus training aircraft, minus periodic maintenance aircraft
leaves you with roughly a half-dozen squadrons.

You've got to have more airplanes and that means F-35 numbers in the
absence of F-22s. The flexibilty of the F-35 with A/G optimization and
reasonable A/A capability makes it the next iteration of F-16 paired
with F-15 air superiority.


Against which nation will the USAF require more than six squadrons of
Raptors to shoot down all of their high end fighters? Either now or
anytime in the next two decades.

The F-16 comparison is apt. The F-15 and the F-22 were designed for
the BVR long range high speed interceptor mission that the USAF has
never ever done. The F-16 and the F-35 were designed for the swing
missions of dog fighting and ground support that have been very
common.

The T-50 is a stealth compromised airframe precisely in the way those
last generation engines are mounted onto that airframe. The PAK-FA
can either go forwards with some RAM spackled onto that cow or start
from scratch and have a fifth generation fighter ready to build in two
decades.

The F-35 will not fly as high, as fast or as far as the PAK-FA. It
won't out turn it and it won't be able to chase it down.

What will happen is that the F-35 will do its missions and when the
PAK-FA comes into range the only thing it will see are incoming
missiles mysteriously appearing from out of the blue. Sometimes it
may even spot these in time to evade them.

-HJC
  #17  
Old March 6th 10, 06:42 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
Jack Linthicum
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 301
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

On Mar 6, 1:33*pm, hcobb wrote:
On Mar 6, 8:35*am, Ed Rasimus wrote:

Today our real concern is total numbers. With the Raptor buy
apparently over, we really don't have a nucleus of a globally
effective operational fleet. 187 aircraft, minus not-in-commission
frames, minus training aircraft, minus periodic maintenance aircraft
leaves you with roughly a half-dozen squadrons.


You've got to have more airplanes and that means F-35 numbers in the
absence of F-22s. The flexibilty of the F-35 with A/G optimization and
reasonable A/A capability makes it the next iteration of F-16 paired
with F-15 air superiority.


Against which nation will the USAF require more than six squadrons of
Raptors to shoot down all of their high end fighters? *Either now or
anytime in the next two decades.

The F-16 comparison is apt. *The F-15 and the F-22 were designed for
the BVR long range high speed interceptor mission that the USAF has
never ever done. *The F-16 and the F-35 were designed for the swing
missions of dog fighting and ground support that have been very
common.

The T-50 is a stealth compromised airframe precisely in the way those
last generation engines are mounted onto that airframe. *The PAK-FA
can either go forwards with some RAM spackled onto that cow or start
from scratch and have a fifth generation fighter ready to build in two
decades.

The F-35 will not fly as high, as fast or as far as the PAK-FA. *It
won't out turn it and it won't be able to chase it down.

What will happen is that the F-35 will do its missions and when the
PAK-FA comes into range the only thing it will see are incoming
missiles mysteriously appearing from out of the blue. *Sometimes it
may even spot these in time to evade them.

-HJC


More you have to think of any mission/war in which the United States
will not be the attacking nation. The Pentagon has been looking for a
near-peer, a nation that might want to fight the U.S.. for about 20
years. There do not seem to be any. The F-22 and possibly even the
F-35 seem to be over designed for the real probable use, ground
support in a distant battlefield. Imagine the current situation in
Afghanistan with only those two aircraft for support. The FA-18 can do
that job, now.
  #18  
Old March 6th 10, 09:35 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
Paul J. Adam[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 31
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

In message
,
Mike writes
The high-low mix was pioneered during WWII. Both the British and the
U.S. stumbled onto the concept without quite realizing what they were
doing. In the years before the war's outbreak, the British embarked on
a crash program to build eight-gun fighters for the defense of the
home islands. The premier model was the Supermarine Spitfire, one of
the legendary combat aircraft of the 20th century. But the Spitfire
was supplemented by the lesser-known but still capable Hawker
Hurricane. The Hurricane could take on the primary German fighter, the
Messerschmidt Bf -109, only with difficulty,


Not particularly, as the histories show... the Spitfire 1A had the edge
on the 109E, the Hurricane 1A was "merely" its equal.

As the war went on and Spitfires appeared in more substantial numbers,
the Hurricane took on the fighter-bomber role.


So did the Spitfire and Seafi aircraft that had no value once the
enemy air force was defeated, were of limited utility.


I'd look with interest at the USN aircraft of the time: the newer air
superiority fighters (Hellcats and Corsairs, then Bearcats and
Tigercats) all got good at strafing, bombing and rocketing ground
targets once they had shot down every flyable enemy aircraft.


There's also the point that RAF procurement was far less linear of "high
and low end fighter". Even during the Battle of Britain we had the
Hurricane and Spitfire as fighters... plus unfortunate concepts that
didn't work well such as the Defiant and the Blenheim IF, and a few
Whirlwinds that were held back by engine trouble from their full
potential.

Later, we had "fighters" like the Beaufighter and Mosquito VI, which
were fighters in the same way the F-105 was: powerful strike aircraft
that were ill-advised to turn with a small, agile foe but could cruelly
punish any enemy careless enough to get into their sights. We also had
the Typhoon, designed as an air-superiority fighter but highly effective
as a strike aircraft, the Tempest (was it the "high end" or "low end"
compared to the Spitfire?)

Coming into the '60s without a fighter to carry out its basic
missions, the USAF was forced to purchase the F-4 Phantom II,
developed on behalf of the enemy service, the U.S. Navy. While an
excellent aircraft, the F-4 was in many ways the apotheosis of the
fighter-bomber, too heavy and lacking the agility to fill the air-
superiority role.


During the liveliest parts of 1972, USN Phantoms killed six NVAF MiGs
for every aircraft they lost to them, while the USAF managed a 2:1
ratio. (There are many factors in play for the difference, but it's
curious how smiting two enemy for every loss is considered
inadequate...)

Also strange is describing the F-104 as an "indescribable and dangerous
oddity" when it was the 1950s/1960s epitome of John Boyd's Light Weight
Fighter designed in response to user requests post-Korea: a pared-down
airframe optimised for speed, energy and agility, with useless wasteful
boondoggles like long-ranged radar, advanced countermeasures, or
sophisticated weapon-aiming systems left out to optimise the aircraft
for high-speed dogfighting.

Perhaps the USAF had no clear idea what it needed? The F-104 epitomised
most of Boyd's ideals, yet its limited combat service in US hands was
less than stellar. Similarly, the US operated the F-5, another austere,
cheap, agile fighter that should have delighted Boyd, yet chose not to
field it in large numbers at the frontline.

Together, the F-15 and F-16 stand as the most effective fighter team
on record. The F-15 compiled a kill ratio of 105 kills to zero losses.
While the F-16's record was only half that, it more than effectively
filled the swing role as the primary high-speed attack aircraft in
theaters including Serbia and Iraq. Neither aircraft ever suffered a
loss in air-to-air combat.


However, getting there involved breaking most of Boyd's rules.
Curiously, as late as "The Pentagon Paradox", Boyd's supporters were
bewailing the manner in which the F-16 and F-18 were "ruined" by putting
the "useless rubbish" back on them: the same useless equipment that
allowed them to be worldbeating combat aircraft rather than manned
target drones.

It would appear that the high-low thesis is as well established as any
military concept ever gets.


What's the "low" option for the US Army's armoured forces? They have a
very definite "high end" war-winner in the M1 Abrams, so where is the
"low end" tank?

Suppose, if things get
hot, our 120 planes are facing five hundred, a thousand, or even more
fifth-generation enemy fighters? (China today fields roughly 2,000
fighter aircraft.) What happens then?


Shades of the 1980s when analysts breathlessly counted every Soviet tank
that could possibly ever be fielded, looked at the latest and best, then
pronounced that we faced "fifty thousand T-80 tanks".

In fact we faced a few hundred T-80s, with a tail of older and less
advanced vehicles, and a notional swarm of warehoused T-34s left over
from the Second World War. Similarly, China's "2,000 fighters" are
largely outdated relics - MiG-21 copies and the like - and China has at
least the same constraints on replacing them one-for-one with modern
aircraft as the US does with maintaining its 1970s numbers while
increasing individual capability.

Many of these Chinese aircraft will have trouble flying to Taiwan, let
alone menacing any US interests less proximate. Unless the US plans to
invade China, then the swarms of elderly Chinese warplanes are prisoners
of their limited endurance.



The F-22 is a ferociously expensive beast, though very capable with it.
However, there is a good argument - though it falls apart against
traditional politicans' short-sightedness - that the design and
development is the key input to maintain capability, and that limited
procurement in the face of a limited threat (what aircraft in hostile
hands, flying today or in the next five years, can seriously discomfit a
F-22?) is a pragmatic response to reality.

The key, which will probably not happen, is to recognise that it's been
a quarter-century since work started on the Advanced Tactical Fighter
and that the next aircraft type needs to start work *now* to keep that
skillbase together and have a candidate ready to buy in 2020 (if
hurried) or 2030 (if no urgent issues arise).

But simply bleating "buy more F-22s!" reads as industry lobbying rather
than rational argument.


--
He thinks too much, such men are dangerous.

Paul J. Adam
  #19  
Old March 6th 10, 09:55 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
Jack Linthicum
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 301
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

On Mar 6, 4:35*pm, "Paul J. Adam"
wrote:
In message
,
Mike writes

The high-low mix was pioneered during WWII. Both the British and the
U.S. stumbled onto the concept without quite realizing what they were
doing. In the years before the war's outbreak, the British embarked on
a crash program to build eight-gun fighters for the defense of the
home islands. The premier model was the Supermarine Spitfire, one of
the legendary combat aircraft of the 20th century. But the Spitfire
was supplemented by the lesser-known but still capable Hawker
Hurricane. The Hurricane could take on the primary German fighter, the
Messerschmidt Bf -109, only with difficulty,


Not particularly, as the histories show... the Spitfire 1A had the edge
on the 109E, the Hurricane 1A was "merely" its equal.



As the war went on and Spitfires appeared in more substantial numbers,
the Hurricane took on the fighter-bomber role.


So did the Spitfire and Seafi aircraft that had no value once the
enemy air force was defeated, were of limited utility.

I'd look with interest at the USN aircraft of the time: the newer air
superiority fighters (Hellcats and Corsairs, then Bearcats and
Tigercats) all got good at strafing, bombing and rocketing ground
targets once they had shot down every flyable enemy aircraft.

There's also the point that RAF procurement was far less linear of "high
and low end fighter". Even during the Battle of Britain we had the
Hurricane and Spitfire as fighters... plus unfortunate concepts that
didn't work well such as the Defiant and the Blenheim IF, and a few
Whirlwinds that were held back by engine trouble from their full
potential.

Later, we had "fighters" like the Beaufighter and Mosquito VI, which
were fighters in the same way the F-105 was: powerful strike aircraft
that were ill-advised to turn with a small, agile foe but could cruelly
punish any enemy careless enough to get into their sights. We also had
the Typhoon, designed as an air-superiority fighter but highly effective
as a strike aircraft, the Tempest (was it the "high end" or "low end"
compared to the Spitfire?)

Coming into the '60s without a fighter to carry out its basic
missions, the USAF was forced to purchase the F-4 Phantom II,
developed on behalf of the enemy service, the U.S. Navy. While an
excellent aircraft, the F-4 was in many ways the apotheosis of the
fighter-bomber, too heavy and lacking the agility to fill the air-
superiority role.


During the liveliest parts of 1972, USN Phantoms killed six NVAF MiGs
for every aircraft they lost to them, while the USAF managed a 2:1
ratio. (There are many factors in play for the difference, but it's
curious how smiting two enemy for every loss is considered
inadequate...)

Also strange is describing the F-104 as an "indescribable and dangerous
oddity" when it was the 1950s/1960s epitome of John Boyd's Light Weight
Fighter designed in response to user requests post-Korea: a pared-down
airframe optimised for speed, energy and agility, with useless wasteful
boondoggles like long-ranged radar, advanced countermeasures, or
sophisticated weapon-aiming systems left out to optimise the aircraft
for high-speed dogfighting.

Perhaps the USAF had no clear idea what it needed? The F-104 epitomised
most of Boyd's ideals, yet its limited combat service in US hands was
less than stellar. Similarly, the US operated the F-5, another austere,
cheap, agile fighter that should have delighted Boyd, yet chose not to
field it in large numbers at the frontline.

Together, the F-15 and F-16 stand as the most effective fighter team
on record. The F-15 compiled a kill ratio of 105 kills to zero losses.
While the F-16's record was only half that, it more than effectively
filled the swing role as the primary high-speed attack aircraft in
theaters including Serbia and Iraq. Neither aircraft ever suffered a
loss in air-to-air combat.


However, getting there involved breaking most of Boyd's rules.
Curiously, as late as "The Pentagon Paradox", Boyd's supporters were
bewailing the manner in which the F-16 and F-18 were "ruined" by putting
the "useless rubbish" back on them: the same useless equipment that
allowed them to be worldbeating combat aircraft rather than manned
target drones.

It would appear that the high-low thesis is as well established as any
military concept ever gets.


What's the "low" option for the US Army's armoured forces? They have a
very definite "high end" war-winner in the M1 Abrams, so where is the
"low end" tank?

Suppose, if things get
hot, our 120 planes are facing five hundred, a thousand, or even more
fifth-generation enemy fighters? (China today fields roughly 2,000
fighter aircraft.) What happens then?


Shades of the 1980s when analysts breathlessly counted every Soviet tank
that could possibly ever be fielded, looked at the latest and best, then
pronounced that we faced "fifty thousand T-80 tanks".

In fact we faced a few hundred T-80s, with a tail of older and less
advanced vehicles, and a notional swarm of warehoused T-34s left over
from the Second World War. Similarly, China's "2,000 fighters" are
largely outdated relics - MiG-21 copies and the like - and China has at
least the same constraints on replacing them one-for-one with modern
aircraft as the US does with maintaining its 1970s numbers while
increasing individual capability.

Many of these Chinese aircraft will have trouble flying to Taiwan, let
alone menacing any US interests less proximate. Unless the US plans to
invade China, then the swarms of elderly Chinese warplanes are prisoners
of their limited endurance.

The F-22 is a ferociously expensive beast, though very capable with it.
However, there is a good argument - though it falls apart against
traditional politicans' short-sightedness - that the design and
development is the key input to maintain capability, and that limited
procurement in the face of a limited threat (what aircraft in hostile
hands, flying today or in the next five years, can seriously discomfit a
F-22?) is a pragmatic response to reality.

The key, which will probably not happen, is to recognise that it's been
a quarter-century since work started on the Advanced Tactical Fighter
and that the next aircraft type needs to start work *now* to keep that
skillbase together and have a candidate ready to buy in 2020 (if
hurried) or 2030 (if no urgent issues arise).

But simply bleating "buy more F-22s!" reads as industry lobbying rather
than rational argument.

--
He thinks too much, such men are dangerous.

Paul J. Adam


I got an email once from someone who had been at Nelles AFB when Boyd
was spreading his gospel, both on the ground and in the air. IIRC he
said Boyd was a really insufferable ass but a damn good pilot.
  #20  
Old March 6th 10, 10:24 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
hcobb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 64
Default "Vanishing American Air Superiority"

On Mar 6, 1:55*pm, Jack Linthicum wrote:
On Mar 6, 4:35*pm, "Paul J. Adam"



wrote:
In message
,
Mike writes


The high-low mix was pioneered during WWII. Both the British and the
U.S. stumbled onto the concept without quite realizing what they were
doing. In the years before the war's outbreak, the British embarked on
a crash program to build eight-gun fighters for the defense of the
home islands. The premier model was the Supermarine Spitfire, one of
the legendary combat aircraft of the 20th century. But the Spitfire
was supplemented by the lesser-known but still capable Hawker
Hurricane. The Hurricane could take on the primary German fighter, the
Messerschmidt Bf -109, only with difficulty,


Not particularly, as the histories show... the Spitfire 1A had the edge
on the 109E, the Hurricane 1A was "merely" its equal.


As the war went on and Spitfires appeared in more substantial numbers,
the Hurricane took on the fighter-bomber role.


So did the Spitfire and Seafi aircraft that had no value once the
enemy air force was defeated, were of limited utility.


I'd look with interest at the USN aircraft of the time: the newer air
superiority fighters (Hellcats and Corsairs, then Bearcats and
Tigercats) all got good at strafing, bombing and rocketing ground
targets once they had shot down every flyable enemy aircraft.


There's also the point that RAF procurement was far less linear of "high
and low end fighter". Even during the Battle of Britain we had the
Hurricane and Spitfire as fighters... plus unfortunate concepts that
didn't work well such as the Defiant and the Blenheim IF, and a few
Whirlwinds that were held back by engine trouble from their full
potential.


Later, we had "fighters" like the Beaufighter and Mosquito VI, which
were fighters in the same way the F-105 was: powerful strike aircraft
that were ill-advised to turn with a small, agile foe but could cruelly
punish any enemy careless enough to get into their sights. We also had
the Typhoon, designed as an air-superiority fighter but highly effective
as a strike aircraft, the Tempest (was it the "high end" or "low end"
compared to the Spitfire?)


Coming into the '60s without a fighter to carry out its basic
missions, the USAF was forced to purchase the F-4 Phantom II,
developed on behalf of the enemy service, the U.S. Navy. While an
excellent aircraft, the F-4 was in many ways the apotheosis of the
fighter-bomber, too heavy and lacking the agility to fill the air-
superiority role.


During the liveliest parts of 1972, USN Phantoms killed six NVAF MiGs
for every aircraft they lost to them, while the USAF managed a 2:1
ratio. (There are many factors in play for the difference, but it's
curious how smiting two enemy for every loss is considered
inadequate...)


Also strange is describing the F-104 as an "indescribable and dangerous
oddity" when it was the 1950s/1960s epitome of John Boyd's Light Weight
Fighter designed in response to user requests post-Korea: a pared-down
airframe optimised for speed, energy and agility, with useless wasteful
boondoggles like long-ranged radar, advanced countermeasures, or
sophisticated weapon-aiming systems left out to optimise the aircraft
for high-speed dogfighting.


Perhaps the USAF had no clear idea what it needed? The F-104 epitomised
most of Boyd's ideals, yet its limited combat service in US hands was
less than stellar. Similarly, the US operated the F-5, another austere,
cheap, agile fighter that should have delighted Boyd, yet chose not to
field it in large numbers at the frontline.


Together, the F-15 and F-16 stand as the most effective fighter team
on record. The F-15 compiled a kill ratio of 105 kills to zero losses.
While the F-16's record was only half that, it more than effectively
filled the swing role as the primary high-speed attack aircraft in
theaters including Serbia and Iraq. Neither aircraft ever suffered a
loss in air-to-air combat.


However, getting there involved breaking most of Boyd's rules.
Curiously, as late as "The Pentagon Paradox", Boyd's supporters were
bewailing the manner in which the F-16 and F-18 were "ruined" by putting
the "useless rubbish" back on them: the same useless equipment that
allowed them to be worldbeating combat aircraft rather than manned
target drones.


It would appear that the high-low thesis is as well established as any
military concept ever gets.


What's the "low" option for the US Army's armoured forces? They have a
very definite "high end" war-winner in the M1 Abrams, so where is the
"low end" tank?


Suppose, if things get
hot, our 120 planes are facing five hundred, a thousand, or even more
fifth-generation enemy fighters? (China today fields roughly 2,000
fighter aircraft.) What happens then?


Shades of the 1980s when analysts breathlessly counted every Soviet tank
that could possibly ever be fielded, looked at the latest and best, then
pronounced that we faced "fifty thousand T-80 tanks".


In fact we faced a few hundred T-80s, with a tail of older and less
advanced vehicles, and a notional swarm of warehoused T-34s left over
from the Second World War. Similarly, China's "2,000 fighters" are
largely outdated relics - MiG-21 copies and the like - and China has at
least the same constraints on replacing them one-for-one with modern
aircraft as the US does with maintaining its 1970s numbers while
increasing individual capability.


Many of these Chinese aircraft will have trouble flying to Taiwan, let
alone menacing any US interests less proximate. Unless the US plans to
invade China, then the swarms of elderly Chinese warplanes are prisoners
of their limited endurance.


The F-22 is a ferociously expensive beast, though very capable with it.
However, there is a good argument - though it falls apart against
traditional politicans' short-sightedness - that the design and
development is the key input to maintain capability, and that limited
procurement in the face of a limited threat (what aircraft in hostile
hands, flying today or in the next five years, can seriously discomfit a
F-22?) is a pragmatic response to reality.


The key, which will probably not happen, is to recognise that it's been
a quarter-century since work started on the Advanced Tactical Fighter
and that the next aircraft type needs to start work *now* to keep that
skillbase together and have a candidate ready to buy in 2020 (if
hurried) or 2030 (if no urgent issues arise).


But simply bleating "buy more F-22s!" reads as industry lobbying rather
than rational argument.


--
He thinks too much, such men are dangerous.


Paul J. Adam


I got an email once from someone who had been at Nelles AFB when Boyd
was spreading his gospel, both on the ground and in the air. IIRC he
said Boyd was a really insufferable ass but a damn good pilot.


Assholes are the fathers of invention.

Those that get along, don't rock the boat.

-HJC
 




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