You'll be pleased to note that 2 F-404's for "engining" up the X-45C have just been delivered. Although it has been detuned to run at Mach .8, it will still be a decent spear carrier. 1200km range, 40,000ft and 4500lbs of loadout. In addition, if they elect to do it, then can get the sig on it to sing and act like any aircraft in the fleet. Any OPFOR sensor system will then be obliged to send up either a missile or an interrogator, either way, the loss of an unmanned if confronted is still more desirable than losing a $2m pilot, plus an $nnn million dollar platform.B. Universal purchase of 'light' fighter interceptors, even down to the projected 25 million dollar A-50 and MAKO-F variants for maintenance of ADIZ security more or less means that strike can be undertaken exclusively by either cruise based systems or unmanned interdiction which is itself both vastly less expensive and MAGNIFICENTLY more capable than any existing manned penetrator. Up to and including the Raptor in many ways. INF and MTCR be hanged, the ability to fly a jet 1,000nm with 4,000lbs of ordnance, loiter for 2-3hrs and come home -without training- is simply too useful to ignore. Even as the presence of multiple outside-U.S. sourced expert system integrators (France, Sweden and Israel among many others) is just not to be ignored. Targeting will not be a problem either as line of sight microwave datalinks are effectively unjammable and prewar intelligence gathering will allow most nations, even without U.S. overhead assistance to generate sufficient GPS-as-signature databases through nothing more than EOS or walkabout espionage as to hit critical infrastructure targets which our own 'no collateral' policies will not frag. But which could easily rip a threat nation's economy apart, no matter what the condition of martial victory or defeat.
Frames are currently sitting on the 100 mark. What is now not defined is whether Australia will go the interim solution. That could well see 20-24 aircraft separately purchased as lead ups. They would be to replace theKurt Plummer said:C. Despite their covert bloodthirst in proving an ability to conduct ranged strike warfare against the Phantom Menace which is Indonesia; Australia is in much the same state as the EU in that their massive water barrier, Jindalee and Wedgetail will effectively GIVE THEM 'friendly neighbor' warning of any Su-30 type inbound threat /hours/ before arrival. While the clustering of much of their society along the coastal plains requires vastly more airframes than a mere 60 JSF could provide.
Kurt Plummer said:Indeed, the only real advantage which the JSF brings: stealthy-at-range intercept is itself invalidated if the type's crossroling to interdiction interferes with or denies adequate DCA coverage. While a system like the A-50 with a modernized APG-68 or Grifo or Elta alternatives, integrated by passive datalink into a nationwide ADGE and operating with silent-BVR tactics would likely provide equal if not better (by numbers) air defense capabilities, even against the monster Flanker 'variants' with their purported AESA's and LRAAM etc. Certainly a combined Aster equipped Frigate and landbased SAM force would be superior to either in providing both terminal high-density (supersonic and multi-cruise) and 'self defending' approaches (missile trap) capabilities. At lower yearly costs.
But, there is an attempt to reduce platforms with the new all in one. That is (supposed to) merge Compass, Rivet and other loose platforms into a multi. What's your take on that?Kurt Plummer said:The EA-18 is too vulnerable and single-strobe sourced inept while ICAP-III and AARGM have both been cancelled and the EB-52 is just so much Big Crow vaporware. A palletized system, even if it's just a paiir of ALQ-xxx gangwired around a common set of technique encoding options and a satcomm link back to an RC-135/M2CA would give /vastly/ wider penetration of layered IADS and truly help exploit the VLO option to operate beyond the notion of a narrow raid corridor.
Taking a recidivists view, do you really need a hyper athletic unmanned spear carrier when it's cheaper to work on throwing hypersonics at the target?Kurt Plummer said:Especially Post-C, I frankly don't think the J-UCAS airframe has the energy factoring to be useful as a jink weasel and would rather they put that kind of money into ASARM or some equivalent (FRSW) hypervelocity standoff weapon with a smart enough seeker or submunition as to be able to snuff a physical signature against a decoy-dense background rather than 'follow the lobe, or is it a strobe?' chase increasingly sophisticate blink-to-blank RF.
I can only counter with last weeks copy of DefenseNews - so I'm open to criticism on range - and I didn't actually do a protracted search. I threw it into the mix as bait.Kurt Plummer said:I should like to object to your range categorization though-
All seem to support a general specification of 2-3hrs at 1,000nm and a maximum in/out radius more on the order of 1300-1500nm (2400km anyway, I'm tired...).
There is the view that with 1000 plus spare F-16's coming up, that it's cheaper to convert them into UCAV's. IIRC the conversion costings were approx 1/10th the value of an X-47. It's not as if the experience isn't there to do the changeover. I would have assumed that QF-16's were already being trialed as the QF-4's were being reduced.Kurt Plummer said:All of which looks to become even better when/if the AAR program takes differential GPS into formation keeping.
You absolutely /cannot/ shortchange anything about the UCAV 'promise' lest the manned community dogpiles the least little weakness. Most especially when Flug Review now has the super-Cized vehicle running at around 3,000 dollars per kilogram for the airframe and 17 grande for the mission systems.
i.e. They will prolong, stretch out and 'improve' the DARPA UDS spec to the point where it costs as much as a 'real' airplane and then, ho ho, you'd better be ready to tout the 'no training' advantages of a 40 million dollar UCAV.
Again, taking a different recividists view - wouldn't a QF-16 keep the load out issues to a minimum. take out the pilot and with the weight saved you can then start adding weasel packages etc... It's not sexy, but it's short term deliverable. That all hinges on whether you want to make a clear statement about 21st century change.Kurt Plummer said:Which is exactly the /opposite/ road I wanted to take because I always KNEW that the 2Klb munition capability was bogus with SDB and intelligent ARM as your principle D1/R1 and COP munitions:mission set.
That's true enough, but this is a quantum leap in change, the only way you will get this pushed through so that you have an ideal and sensible logistics and capability matrix that is universal is if you have someone like Rumsfeld prepared to mix it up with the uniforms - I suspect that this is way out of his league at the momentKurt Plummer said:The only way anybody will purr is if they acknowledge the Pure Waste inherent to three tactical air forces for one nation and attempt to design a 'pool' system whereby not only are aircrews replaced outright (currency and deployment/tactical training) but ships OR lubberized airpower can surge or go on constant rotation cruise intervals without worry about 'whose airwing is it this turn around?'. Because you have 1,500 airframes which are _truly_ basing mode common and can define your 'reserve' component airpower by the ability to cross-uniform deploy whereever necessary or access-denied available.gf0012-aust said:Logistically it should make the GAO purr like a kitten, common support train, common spares with some existing fixed wingers. All in all, an evolutionary step.
Yes, I have seen you foam on this before.Kurt Plummer said:Sigh, I hate it when I start to foam at the mouth like this...;-)
I think you'll find that the ADF is not working on the JSF being the sharp end of the spear from day 1. The philosophy in all the war games has been to draw out the "enemy" and engage on your terms. There is little need for the RAAF to go local and mix it up.Kurt Plummer said:I would prefer to go in with Storm Shadow, TIALD/AASM and Meteor on a CFT'd Flubber than play mind-over-matter games with close approach on JDAM and a pair of AMRAAM.
Sorry but as much as I /don't think/ highly of the Typhoon, it's better to be able to sling long range munitions and force the enemy to come to you to prevent losing their IADS in-situ than it is to go blundering over their homedrome AND S-300 site looking for trouble without a stealth-internal hypervelocity DEAD option and all of 2 BVR shots.
No objections from me. People can argue all they like about the reliability of singles, but the reason why we went to twins in the first place was redundancy.Kurt Plummer said:Not to mention 800nm overwater radii in a single-glowing-hole jet is just /begging/ for trouble. The USAF, up to 1993, had Cat-A lost about 237 F-16's (the F-15 total was something like 25) and of those _35%_ had been due to engine failure of one sort or another. 83 jets X 25 million each = 2.07 BILLION dollars in hardware rightoffs.
By comparison, they had lost FIVE jets, total, in combat.
Now, even given you have a better engine in the F135 (an order of magnitude better at 25% X 15% of comparitive 237/1500 production total), losing 15 (of 100) 60-70 million dollar JSFs is gonna run about 900 million bucks. Of which the 25% = 225 million is roughly sufficient to buy you the tanker you need to support the F/A-22 or Typhoon or indeed /any/ twin hole alternative 'guzzler'.
and that is sympathetic with what I'm stating about ADF actions on Day 1. Long range strike doesn't necessarily have to be the exclusive province of a spear throwing fixed wing combat platform.Kurt Plummer said:In any case, I wouldn't send a raid that didn't both saturate threat defenses with no-learning-curve relevant aimpoints (i.e. the potential to hit every prominent node in the ADGE) left. And put the enemy at dire risk of being out sortied in the air by continual 'creeping' raid intervals that eventually caught his Zulu force in a combat turn.
And given the absolutely crappy internal carriage volumetrics of the F-35, that means that I will want at least 2X24 /planned/ (16X2= 30 aimpoints per mission for JDAM leaving 4X4 Sweep and 4X2 SEAD) raid forces with about 2-4 ramp reserves incase somebody redballs. So we are talking 60 airframes per day.
True,the wedgies are also tasked as battlefield management - so AWAC's, AEW&C are functional elements, but not necessarily the tasking de rigeur of the platform. They are more likely to be assisting skimmers and subs than directing air strikes.Kurt Plummer said:NOT including escorts for the Wedgetail, Tanker or ADIZ reentry delousing.
Can you imagine trying to maintain a decent CONTINENT wide QRA force with the remaining 20 or so airframes?
Which is the perennial "eggs in one basket" syndrome. It's why I'm sympathetic to a force mix and balance that is has relevant tasking flexibility - you can't turn the JSF into a long range striker - not matter what weaps it has in place. The further out you are to launch, the easier it can become for said weapons to be intercepted by IADS.Kurt Plummer said:Even if you 'bias west' on the basis of no terrorist hijackings to slam an airliner into the Opera House or what have you; it just doesn't make sense to me to both buy an airframe that is so comparitively lousy at A2A. And to 'prepare for the worst' of a covertly justified longrange interdiction campaign with a system of systems that further stretches that airframes' abilities to operate in it's /design/ mission. More than a simple stock of standoff munitions and converti-bombtrucks would better accomplish.
Don't quote me on Sadral. it was thrown into conversations recently, but I'm unsure how committed the comments were.Kurt Plummer said:Sadral, hmmm, okay, I guess I was thinking Simbad as an 'SA/N-5' laughable equivalent instead of an openframe RAM pedestal. Either way, I have to doubt the utility of a MANPADS based system for dealing with overwater glint at inner-zone reaction time (slew to track to shoot to slew) distances. I don't think much of RAMs seeker either but at least that's an AIM-9 motor with LOAL RF as an 'option'.
Thats true, but it's also an issue of combined arms. striking long range platforms that have to breach our Sea/Air gap means a greater reliance on subs and specwarries at day 1.Kurt Plummer said:ESSM, no matter how big a motor they stick on it is always going to be a dated-SARH-concept so long as that fancy launch-to-bearing TVC cannot in fact include a predesignated (ARH or IR) TVM handoff (S-Band Datalink) to a truly autonomous homing runup-the-lane mode.
With hybrid and all-supersonic propulsion out to 100-200km now /the standard/ for both coastal defense and air launch AShM; you simply can't wait for the enemy to cross the horizon with a threat weapon. You HAVE TO go git'im. 50G airframe and 10" motor be damned SARH just screws up the game plan completely.
Speaking of which, even with the bigger backend, ESSM is little more than a midzone weapon with what, 30 klicks of downrange touch-someone? Not enough for a missile trap system in the deep-blue approaches IMO.
this starts to get into other areas which are inapprop to talk about in here. but the capacity and advantage to detect LR VLS launches and landbased launches already exists. In real terms we do have the capability to detect VLS from ships, and certainly can detect SLBM launches.Kurt Plummer said:I myself liked RIM-156 as SM-3/6 as both a starting point for upper tier (300km motor equals midcourse/crosstrack defense on IRBMs) and as the best (ERAM) means for an OTH (Hawkeye 2K or GHawk/RTIP with AESA and big bore IRST) snapdown cue into lane on any and all kinds of subhorizoning threats. In this, a GAINS midcourse out to a tangential oblique angle off and turn down and retrograde curve /back/ if need be to run the inbound down from a favorable ARH trough glint and fuzing angle gives you some interesting loft-for-lane reach options.
Even if (late acquisition from helo-AEW) you have to bite a big chunk out of the total downrange kinematic and endgame speeds (say 45km at Mach 2.8 for a low parabola trajectory shape instead of the optimum M4+ to 100km) it's still the ONLY way to 'my 1,600lb SAM vs. your 2,500lb AShM!' max out the useful volume of the shipborne VLS in a way that makes the airlaunch or boxshot alternatives seem anemic.
Aster-15/30 offers similar capabilities though they don't advertise them as such.
In terms of landlaunch, the way forward is again 'over hill' with silent launch boxes and remote emitters ala JLENS. If the enemy can back trace your weapon doppler or launch plume to spike the box (or nail a 100+ km refused emitter behind it) then he is truly more sophisticated than /any/ of the current +20 and +40 year models are now predicting for PacRim roadmap threats.
Fundamentally agree, but I do get frustrated with Kopp - he is a bit of a technical prima donna.Kurt Plummer said:One of the things Carlo Kopp mentions in the preceding briefs is that the Su-27's own ability to engage from supercruise or 'equivalent pole' (R-37/Ks-172) distances is not 'fixed in stone'. With some materials updates to the airframe and a ramp reschedule, the Flanker will likely supercruise on the AL-41 or a derived technology insert to existing engines. This would effectively ensure that it WILL come after you in the 'deep blue' of any strike on Jakarta. And with all of 2 AMRAAM and 2 JDAM, you would be hard pressed to keep it from breaking past the support mission escorts, even if it can't actually /see/ the JSFs.
Which brings us right back to justifying a defensive posture based on a 600+nm interdictor which needs more 'enablement' than it's worth and which is a /lousy/ alternative DCA jet compared to say a Meteorized Flubber.
While adopting fewer (= smaller spares tail and larger pilot manning ratio) F/A-22 is the sneaky pete way out of things because even 20-40 such jets not only can come off the tanker /further out/ (making the total area coverage by a sophisticated flanker ADI that much larger) but are themselves much more able to bay-configure and SSC option their way to a penetration strategy that a 'faster but still blind' Uber Flanker couldn't match.
All the while maintaining that your Super Jet is "No, Reeeallly!" just a means to cover your extended EEZ and provide wide-island air defense on a limited budget.
I think you'll find the RAAF is going to move into sympathetic and symbiotic unmanned solutions pretty quickly - in fact I'd be betting that we are probably going to do it at a speed that closely follows the US, sooner than the UK and probably in sync with the french timeline. The downside for the french being that they want autonomous and indigenous solutions. We learnt long ago that the technology we don't have but need we can share by exchanging ours. We do that pretty effectively now. Most Australians really have no idea how much technology we engage in developing, and how much of that goes to allies. So the issue of identifying approp technology and getting it in place is not restricted by problems of technical ludditeness, but decision making intertia. The concept of BAM's was fundamentally Australian, but we needed US synergies to bring it to fruition. Once the US gets hold of the ball - then things move at a pace that we can hardly envision - but it gets going.Kurt Plummer said:EVERYONE I read, from Roche to O'Hanlon, says that the CTOL JSF is going to take as much as a 1/3rd hit in numbers, even if J-UCAS is late or crib killed. Just as a consequence to the notion that nobody fights back and IAMs are able to go 1-for-1 or even (SDB) many-for-many on allocateable vs. taskable aimpoints per mission basis.
If that happens, the JSF price guarantee will crumble and you WILL be looking at, not 60-80 but 80-100 million dollars per airframe as the USAF buy nosedives into the 1,000-1,200 airframe levels.
At that price, the Flubber and Rafale both look frankly /better/ to me. Because they fulfill a wider range of tasks in a permissive (defensive) environment and bring a superior penetration option (Scalp/SS) to the 'first day of war' table.
If you remain seduced by the sales pitch that Lunchmeat and FMS Club-Fed throw at you for JSF, you will regret it.
Not least because the natural European response to price war JSF denial of home sales is to drop their own Gen-4, skip our Gen-5 and head right on into Gen-6 which _will be uninhabited_.
'They Have The Technology'... Because it is cheap.
Hi Kurt, welcome to DT. When was ICAP III cancelled? I was under the impression that it was alive and well, with the first Prowler ready to deploy.Kurt Plummer said:... while ICAP-III and AARGM have both been cancelled
It's damn good thing that the F-117's days are "numbered" then. The problem also is that the fail safe technology doesn't always work as it should.highsea said:Thanks for the reply Kurt, I will still hope ICAP III is alive.
My concern with an all UCAV EA fleet is that the Pentagon may be reluctant to deploy them when they are really needed. They will be lost at some time, and you know they will end up in Russia or China and get dissected.
So then we need something up there protecting the UCAV's, or at least blowing them to hell when they do go down in someone elses backyard. IIRC, this was one of the stumbling points when we first started working on the Tier III programs. Fear of compromising the technology when something goes wrong or they get knocked down. (F-117 in Yugoslavia)
The upgrade program (Project Kahu) for the A-4K used the AN/APG-66 radar. These were developed for the early F-16A/B's, and were never used on F-15's. The F-16C/D's (Block 25 and on) use the APG-68, which is a derivative of the APG-66. E/F's use the APG-80 AESA.nz enthusiast said:...the skyhawks radar, this radar is the same used on the top F16s and said to be on some F15.