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mikeespo

OT: F-35 lightning II

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LOL it is not the Governments job to provide health care.  Get a job, stay in shcool, come up with a great idea, build your own business, do something other than depend on an undependable Gov that ruins everything it touches.  Government always corrupts what it is involved with.  The founding fathers of this USA would vomit on the spot if they could see what our society is like today. 

 

All signs right now are pointing to the F-35 making vast improvements.  However I do agree with your argument that it the cost overuns are crazy.

  

This is a fun discussion when it concerns the new aircraft and tech, less so when it comes to politics.  No matter how much is spent or not spent on defense, there will be those who think it is too much or too little.  However, let us inject some reality here.  The idea that the USA is unwilling to spend money on education, alleviating poverty, or providing healthcare is insane.  The USA spends more money per person on all of these things, and by a very, very wide margin.  The USA goes through money like water, the problem is that we fail so utterly to get value for the money we spend.

For the record, I did not mean to offens anyone.

Europe and the US politics traditionally have some different views on social security, let's leave it at that. I do not have a preference for either way. My main point was to try to emphasize the thoughtless spending on militairy hardware which get's more expensive by the month but we still buy it. Willing to spend billions on 84 planes, because we need them. But after one year of costs going sky high, suddenly 36 are enough for the Defense Profile? Whatever that may mean...

I support spending on the militairy, it just would be nice if the people who need to use the equipment are taken in consideration...

/rant ends

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Defense industry is a cancer on humanity, no matter what country you are from.
 

 

 

Imagine if we spent that money on ensuring impoverished individuals could get health care, right?

 

He's a Commie! Lynch him!! :P

 

 

*ahem*

But yes, it's always confused me how the US can have such a hard on for socialised military, but be so dead set against socialised medicine.
 

 

Socialisation and government protection for the rich and free market capitalism for the poor.
 

LOL it is not the Governments job to provide health care.  Get a job, stay in shcool, come up with a great idea, build your own business, do something other than depend on an undependable Gov that ruins everything it touches.  Government always corrupts what it is involved with.  The founding fathers of this USA would vomit on the spot if they could see what our society is like today. 

 

All signs right now are pointing to the F-35 making vast improvements.  However I do agree with your argument that it the cost overuns are crazy.

The founding fathers would be laughed at today for having extremely backwards morals.

Edited by Breaking The Law

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Defense industry is a cancer on humanity, no matter what country you are from.

Yeah we really don't need high tech planes to fight people with ak-47s, if China wants to attack they call in our debt and crash the economy, Russia turns off its gas supply etc.

Look we are a short tempered violent bunch of apes that have advanced tech more that we have our society there will be wars, but it's hard to imagine another conventional world war.

You need a military that's a sad truth but the American defender budget is bigger than the next fifteen countries combined and all of them are allies it's insane.

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And also for the record, for my part no offense was taken by anyone's comments.  I just wanted to (gently) get us back to talking about gee-whiz techie stuff that seems like it should be a part of Star Wars not the present day.  :-)

I applaud your plan!

To stay in theme with the OP and the talk of Wonder Weapons.

An F-35 and an E-Wing both seem to be fancy machines, but a tadd expensive?

What to think of the drone technology? Will they surpas and replace manned fighters like the F-35? Should an E-Wing be replaced by droid Fighters? Hmmm, didn't this happen the other way round in Star Wars history? :-)

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Defense industry is a cancer on humanity, no matter what country you are from.

Yeah we really don't need high tech planes to fight people with ak-47s, if China wants to attack they call in our debt and crash the economy, Russia turns off its gas supply etc.

Look we are a short tempered violent bunch of apes that have advanced tech more that we have our society there will be wars, but it's hard to imagine another conventional world war.

You need a military that's a sad truth but the American defender budget is bigger than the next fifteen countries combined and all of them are allies it's insane.

 

China won't attack us, they don't have the same sort of aggressive worldview The Western World does. And if they crash our economy, which is something I don't think a country can just do, they will ruin their own.

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Honestly guys, as interesting and fruitful as political disagreements always are, ahem, isn't anyone as fascinated as I am by the fact that the USA plans to field autonomous stealth drones with laser cannons, both as aircraft and ground forces, in the next 15-20 years?

Edited by KineticOperator

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Oh it'd be stupid but they could do it, the commies have hung in their for a long time but they've allowed too much of the west inside now I think we are past the tipping point where eventually they'll be more like us.

Typically insane human logic people will take oppression but if you threaten to take their iPods away you get revolution.

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Defense industry is a cancer on humanity, no matter what country you are from.

Yeah we really don't need high tech planes to fight people with ak-47s, if China wants to attack they call in our debt and crash the economy, Russia turns off its gas supply etc.

Look we are a short tempered violent bunch of apes that have advanced tech more that we have our society there will be wars, but it's hard to imagine another conventional world war.

You need a military that's a sad truth but the American defender budget is bigger than the next fifteen countries combined and all of them are allies it's insane.

 

China won't attack us, they don't have the same sort of aggressive worldview The Western World does. And if they crash our economy, which is something I don't think a country can just do, they will ruin their own.

 

 

Apparently you don't read the news. China has been more aggressive as their economy has grown. They have been aggressive towards their claim of the South China Sea, their reaction to Tibet and their aggression toward Japan on south east asia and India, and their attacks on various electronic systems run by infrastructure and businesses.

 

We've already embargoed Russia and China can't crash our economy if they try to collect debt we refuse to pay.

 

As for military spending, check out where China will be by 2045:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

 

So much misinformation in this thread it hurts.

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Honestly guys, as interesting and fruitful as political disagreements always are, ahem, isn't anyone as fascinated as I am by the fact that the USA plans to field autonomous stealth drones with laser cannons, both as aircraft and ground forces, in the next 15-20 years?

Wait wait and some Asian countries are making clones.

All we need now is a trade dispute...

 

No. I meant Kevlar. I am not so stupid that I call every body armor type Kevlar. I know the differences between an M-16A2 and an A4. I know what the men we're fighting use. Old AKMs and rags, with the occasional rocket or other munitions. Our kevlar won't do anything more than small shrapnel and small rounds. It's worthless for military use.

Completely worthless. You're better off without it.

Sorry, my mistake. Even in the military, some people call all armor "Kevlar." And kevlar is a common synonym for "helmet" now.

 

M4s, M16s, they're alright. But they're horrible for the environments we use them in. Jungle? Awful.

Incorrect. You're using Vietnam-era knowledge and experiences and applying it to the current weapon.

Here's the exhaustive list of the parts that haven't changed between the M4A1 and the Vietnam-era M16 (off the top of my head):

Front takedown pin / spring / detent

Rear takedown pin / spring / detent

Trigger guard

Gas tube roll pin

Maybe the bolt catch/release / spring / detent

That should be it. Every other part has seen an upgrade including receivers, all furniture, the front sight base itself, barrel, pistol grip, stock, fire control group, buffer spring, buffer, bolt carrier, bolt, extractor, ejector, and even the chamber/barrel extension is different.

They're still interchangeable from the Vietnam-era weapon and thus count as the same family of weapons, but very few parts (minor inconsequential parts) have changed.

 

Desert? Awful.

Untrue. The absolute only problem we have in the desert is when troops don't oil their weapon. It's a machine, it needs oil. This is coming from someone who not only lives in a desert and owns and shoots AR-15s regularly, but also as someone who as issued and deployed with it.

If you don't believe me and you're bored, here are some videos:

This one is sponsored by a arms company, but it's hosted by a retired Delta Force member and one of the developers of the HK416, his integrity has been proven and if it failed the tests, he wouldn't put his name out there. The DDM4 is not in any measurable way different than a standard M4 (gas tube is longer and the port is further down the barrel, that's about it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCBcV2Nb2Wo

A NY Times article saying much the same thing:

http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/examining-the-complaints-about-american-rifle-reliability/?_php=true&_type=blogs&hp&_r=1

 

Put the thing underwater, take it out, the receiver damned explodes.

If you shoot it while water is still in the system. If you give it a second or two to drain, it works perfectly fine. But this is probably the only somewhat legitimate concern with the weapon and is why the HK416 exists at all. But even then, the situations in which a service member will be completely submerged in water and have to breach the surface and shoot within a second or two are extremely rare and probably limited to specific SOF units.

 

They're great for urban combat and long range, they're accurate and everything about them is lightweight, low recoil. Honestly that's fantastic for something like a police force.

Dreadful for a military, however.

In the environment we've been fighting in for the last decade, namely the Middle East, there's little chance of being submerged. Besides that, there isn't a compelling argument that the modern M4A1 needs replacing.

 

The ACR and SCAR all have 7.62x51mm NATO variants. They also have 6.8 variants as well, a round very much proving itself to be extremely effective in many situations. I'd argue 6.5, 6.8, should become the global standard for infantry weapon rounds.

The ACR has a 7.62x51 design, but it never made it out of the prototype stage. At least one working weapon exists, I've seen it. But again, not in large numbers. The SCAR 17 is the only SCAR worth having as it actually brings something to the table over existing 7.62x51 platforms at the time.

The 6.8 is literally a bolt and barrel change. It was designed to work in the AR platform, so saying that any 5.56 weapon has a 6.8 variant is almost not worth saying. I'd argue more in favor of the 6.5 grendel as a better replacement for the 5.56 - if everyone in NATO switched over. But there isn't enough of a difference that it's worth doing. I have no problems going into combat with 5.56.

 

Know why we use 5.56x45mm NATO. We use it due to the STANAG magazine, NATO, and so on. We use it for flexibility purposes. "Oh hey you have a 5.56 NATO STANAG mag? Wonderful, that'll work in my gun too!" which is just dandy except for the fact that 5.56 doesn't cut it.

Look up 5.56 terminal ballistics. It leaves an ugly gigantic hole. The reason? It fragments. Not by design, because that would be breaking the Hague Conventions. But it nevertheless fragments. As it enters flesh, the bullet rotates, then rips apart at the cannelure. It doesn't always happen as it requires a certain velocity when hitting as well as a certain amount of flesh to go through or it'll exit before finishing the rotation. But it's very nasty.

 

Armor wise, I didn't know about ESAPI. That's much better than Dragonskin.

Really? We've been using ESAPI plates since 2005. A set of 4 ESAPI plates in medium size runs about 15 lbs. Adding a plate carrier makes it a definitely manageable 16 lbs or so.

 

But trust me when I say I know a lot of these things.

I write Science Fiction. In my work, for a long time in a long-standing draft, ballistic weapons were used, and I studied modern weapons quite a bit. I've not yet decided if they'll still be used, but it doesn't matter. The point is, I studied the living crap out of this stuff. I know the pros and cons to many of these things. I also know that you don't want any dirt in your M4.

See previous videos regarding dirt.

Have you published anything? I'd be interested to read whatever you have!

Edited by Koshinn

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If anything the US Military / Govt. could simply switch over to the HK 416 and everybody would be better off for it. It's an issues-ironed-out AR-15 variant co-developed by Heckler & Koch, a weapons manufacturer that really knows how to do their job.

It's heavier, more expensive, and doesn't provide a benefit for the vast majority of use cases to switch over. But it is a fine weapon.

H&K though... man, they have problems at times. The G3 was great. The G36 was terrible. Their pistols until the more recent P30 and VP9 were... OK at best. Good reliability and accuracy, but not designed for a human being. The triggers are horrendous, and trigger squeeze is the most important factor for hitting anything with a pistol.

 

Our men and women deserve better than they have. Significantly better. The fact we're still using, for the most part, Vietnam Era Technology for our infantry, really bothers the crap out of me.

Not "for the most part" Vietnam era technology. I can't think of really anything that a modern US soldier or marine uses now that was in actual use in Vietnam and hasn't gone through significant upgrades since then, and significant upgrades since the start of the GWOT. Even undershirts and uniforms, regardless of pattern, are vastly different from a materials perspective than what was used in Vietnam.

It's mostly electronic systems that don't change to be honest. Everything else is cheap to replace and upgrade components as they wear out.

 

Sorry if I come off as standoffish or defensive. I'm not some CoD player that bases his knowledge off how the guns operate in the game nor a battlefield player. I've spoken to servicemen and researched these weapons quite a lot- all I've not done is used them personally. (I have fired only handguns, this is mainly due to a lack of opportunity and finances. I'm quite the firearms enthusiast. For reference, I come from a conservative background.)

No problem, although you did come off as very defensive. If you're near the Las Vegas area, I'd be happy to let you shoot my ammo. There's nothing like seeing a reliability demonstration for yourself and getting hands-on time with a system.

If you want to learn more about the AR-15 FOW, I'd suggest reading and posting on m4carbine.net or lightfighter.net. They're both very good resources on other small arms as well. Right now though, even without hands-on experience, you need to do a lot more research into the AR-15 FOW as what you're writing is largely factually incorrect.

 

I just want to see our soldiers treated better than they are.

Because right now the administration values dead metal and lines of code more than hearts and minds, and that bothers me.

I completely agree.

 

EDIT: It should also be noted that I am an advocate of the M-14, which, while an older weapon, is far more suitable to the environments we engage these insurgents in. Longer range, higher firepower, and while they have shallower magazines, they're hardier and less finicky. And we've no shortage of 7.62x51mm NATO rounds for those guys to use, not in the slightest. Also incredibly, the wooden ones are just as viable as the modern ones, and it is also noteworthy that the, "Juggernaut Rogue" chassis modification to make it bullpup (Something I strongly advocate) is seeing more use by operators of the weapon system.

That's what the staple of our military should be.

Not a weapon that is responsible for many allied deaths by flaw of design in its first war.

At risk of seeming contrary just to be contrary... I actually do not like the M-14. It's very heavy, not easy to make accurate, not easy to clean, there isn't a great way to mount optics, and it's not ergonomic nor is it adjustable for people of different body sizes. The longer range isn't needed because again, most engagements are within 300m. The ammo is bigger and heavier so you carry less ammo for the same weight and less ammo per magazine. They're not any more reliable than a modern M4. The increased recoil of the 7.62x51 on a full auto rifle is hard to control, but not impossible. Wood furniture expands and contracts with humidity and moisture, again negatively impacting accuracy and possibly reliability.

Basically the M-14 is heavier, bigger, less ergonomic, has less ammo per mag, has less mags, is less accurate, is no more reliable, and can't easily mount modern accessories (optics, lasers, lights, grenade launchers, etc). You gain the 7.62x51mm. I'd rather have a SCAR 17 in every way than an M14.

The bullpup modification is great on paper, but its problems are about bullups in general. Bullpups put the chamber of the weapon next to your face, meaning if there's a catastrophic failure of some sort, there's an explosion going off millimeters from your cheek and eyes. Bullpups are harder / take longer to reload. Bullpups are generally terrible for left-handed shooters because of how far back the rounds are ejected. They aren't anywhere near as adjustable for people of differing body types. And for the most part, they have terrible triggers. There's a reason that SOF units who can choose what rifle they want generally choose the AR-15 FOW (including the 416) for most missions while units who are issued rifles via politicians often have bullpups.

Australia issues the bullpup AUG - their SAS uses the AR-15 FOW.

Britain issues the bullpup SA80 - their SAS uses the AR-15 FOW. They generally use the SA80 only when they want to blend in with regular troops.

Israel issues the bullpup Tavor - their SOF uses the AR-15 FOW.

Hell, even American SOF can use whatever they want... and they avoid bullpups.

France is the only nation I can personally think of that issues bullpups to regular infantry and whose SOF chooses to use them as well. Assuming French SOF has a choice.

And to be honest, the only advantage to a bullpup design is that your weapon is shorter. That mainly matters when you're entering and exiting a vehicle. It isn't hard to clear a building with a 14.5" M-4, but it's a bit more difficult with a 20" M-16. But that's why the 10.5" Mk18 and 10.5" HK416 exist, for such specialty work.

Edited by Koshinn

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The problem with the B-52, even a super B-52, is it requires absolute control of the airspace to function.  In order to control the airspace, you need a superiority fighter, an air-to-ground penetrator to disable AAA, and usually a large number of reconnaissance assets as well.  So that B-52 becomes significantly less "cheap" in practical application than a single stealthy strike aircraft that can penetrate hostile airspace and prosecute its mission without such a large scale support system.  This is the main criticism of the A-10, by the way, it is perfectly capable of defending itself from airborne threats (including fighter aircraft) while in controlled airspace because recon assets can identify incoming hostiles and the A-10s can turn to fire missiles.  The issue is that an A-10, like a B-52, cannot survive in enemy controlled airspace and thus requires a very large support structure to function.

 

The theory behind this Megafortress concept (at least in the books) was that it could fulfill these roles by themselves mostly because of load out options, loaded with a half-dozen AMRAAMs (or whatever the most advanced version is) and anti-radar cruise missiles and you have the ability to cover these multi-roles effectively.  Granted this brings up the Specialization debate again and whether it is more efficient to have dedicated aircraft or these super planes.

 

One thing that is an argument for this concept is a problem is the range difference between heavy bombers and fighters, (again I think this was brought up in the books) is that F-15s/16s are relatively short range compared to our strategic bombers so they would require tanker support to escort the bombers all the way, so if you had essentially a strategic bomber loaded for escort duty (loaded up with those AMRAAMs and anti-radar missiles) you don't need to tank the fighters at some point or leave the bombers vulnerable.

 

Like you said though KO the current military doctrine seems to focus more on drone warfare and less on the need for strategic bombers so there is less need for a strategic bomber escort.  Bonus note: the Dreamland Series by Dale Brown seems to focus a lot on using these Megafortresses as a potential means to air launch and guide drones, these drones are less strike based and serve more as interceptors to keep fighters at arms length from the "mothership"

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Lockwit: You have some interesting opinions on the country, tactics, and weapons. Just out of curiosity, would you happen to have any combat experience? Your comments come off like they were learned in the call of duty forum.

Someone said earlier an A-10 was unmanueverable. This is a very common misconception, they can actually turn on a dime, they just lack the top end speed. I've seen a fast mover make the mistake of engaging an A10 at sub sonic speeds and low altitude. The A10 is just like the old p47 in that you could blow half the plane away and it will still bring the pilot home safely.

We used to have a squadron of A10s that were our reserved air support with direct radio contact, they were and are near and dear to our hearts still. We had our own helo gunships too.

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I hear they're also decommissioning A-10s in favor of F-35s and Q drones.

I think it's a foolish move. There's no better CAS fighter than an A-10.

 

I heard recently that they're delaying the decommissioning again. I know this goes back and forth a lot, but the current environment favors keeping them. There are a lot of factors to consider on both sides. The fleet is not exactly scalable or future-proof, and maintaining it will only get more expensive. But still, nothing does CAS like an A-10.

 

It's a tough call either way, but I know for a fact that the guys on the ground will be relieved for now.

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What amazes me is the antipathy towards the F-22.  Strangely, one of the primary reasons the F-22 is so expensive is that it is SO incredibly powerful that exports of the thing have been banned, making it very hard to have an economy of scale to reduce its cost.

 

The thing is stealthier than a B-2, with a radar signature smaller than a dime (10 cent piece) thrown in the air.  It has baffles to reduce turbulence (making it faster, more fuel efficient, and harder to locate with doppler or other air sensing technologies), IR and thermal baffles, can take off from a short runway go straight up and break the sound barrier before hitting its ceiling without using afterburners, fly backwards, fight itself if the pilot is unconscious, has the most powerful radar on an air platform that it doesn't need to switch on because it can use the reflected energy from ANY radio/radar/IR/Thermal source in the airspace to locate targets, receive and give telemetry to any allied platform from submarines to satellites, and does all this with an enormous operational range.

 

If it were a Star Wars ship it would have 15s across the board, cloak, every maneuver on the dial (all of which would be green), and 10 of every upgrade slot.

 

But it sure is expensive.  In X-Wing it would probably cost 100k points but be replaced by a Rookie for 50 points  :-)

 

My understanding is the intention was always for the F-22 to be US exclusive and the F-35 designed as a plainly less-capable export fighter to recoup some of the costs. Also I understand the current idea is to have several F-35s flying in concert to multiply their effectiveness. That's a good approach in theory, although the incredible expense per fighter and logistical challenge of reliably fielding several per engagement really casts a shadow of doubt.

 

The newly-revealed Chinese knockoff is far inferior even to the F-35, but that's hardly the point. The Chinese can manufacture and deploy cheap fighters en masse in a manner that would quickly overwhelm a defending force of F-35. I have a feeling there will be more programs greenlit to breathe new life into our fourth-gen fighters.

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Lockwit: You have some interesting opinions on the country, tactics, and weapons. Just out of curiosity, would you happen to have any combat experience? Your comments come off like they were learned in the call of duty forum.

I'm overweight, unemployed and 22, what do you think? As for CoD stuff ew I'm not that bad.

 

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The newly-revealed Chinese knockoff is far inferior even to the F-35, but that's hardly the point. The Chinese can manufacture and deploy cheap fighters en masse in a manner that would quickly overwhelm a defending force of F-35. I have a feeling there will be more programs greenlit to breathe new life into our fourth-gen fighters.

Do you have a source for the inferiority of the J-31?

http://www.ibtimes.com/chinas-new-stealth-fighter-jet-can-take-down-american-counterpart-developer-says-1753916

http://news.usni.org/2014/11/05/u-s-pilots-say-new-chinese-stealth-fighter-become-equal-f-22-f-35

I'm pretty sure the J-31 will surpass the F-35 by the time it's fielded. I cannot back up my statements besides to point to articles - I'm not a pilot.

I don't see anything on any nation's horizon that can match the F-22. Although the F-22 isn't invincible, and has lost dogfights:

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2009/02/growler-power-ea-18g-boasts-f-/

http://www.wired.com/2007/07/first-f-22-rapt/

http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2014/09/23/when_the_french_shot_down_an_f-22_107455.html

df_3029_neuburg_18-07-12.jpg

Edited by Koshinn

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Most of the 4th gen aircraft can maneuver as good or in some cases even better than the F-22. the problem is that ALL the newer aircraft are limited by what the pilot can withstand. Even the F-16 was pilot limited and in some areas even the 15. So it would boil down to which aircraft can get off the firstlook/first shot.. and in THAT area ALL the non-stealth aircraft loose. If your flying a raptor and get into a dog fight with a non-stealth aircraft you did something wrong...  also having a high cruse speed helps with missile range AND being able to do that with out using burner helps the aircraft range.

The f-22 is STILL a great dog fighter the reason they make such a big deal about it being shot is because it is so rare. at least on paper. or on the ACMI/ DACT electronic board!! however no matter how maneuverable your aircraft is its NOT more maneuverable than a missile that can pull 20 or 30 Gs with no problem!! also all the 4th gen aircraft have external carry of munitions which increases drag and if the munitions are on the wings then they limit/hinder maneuverability as well.. Bottom line is that stealth limits what the enemy can shoot at you while allowing YOU to shot at them.. 

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Thanks Swedge. Finally someone gave the correct response.

This is exactly the point. Dogfighting is a thing of the past. The airspace will have been cleared before the F 35s even get there.

Russkie Su-35s will be just as dead, despite their dazzling maneuverability. Which incidentally looks like a very plausable scenario with tensions with the Russians on the rise.

Thank god we did not cave to naiveté that there would never be a conflict with Russia or China and kept this system alive. Eventually all problems will be solved and the F-35 will be a great weapons system.

ALL modern aircraft have development problems. Nature of the beast.

Edited by mikeespo

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Lockwit: You have some interesting opinions on the country, tactics, and weapons. Just out of curiosity, would you happen to have any combat experience? Your comments come off like they were learned in the call of duty forum.

I'm overweight, unemployed and 22, what do you think? As for CoD stuff ew I'm not that bad.

So you are forming some of those opinions on no experience. I'm referring to the hardware stuff. The order tips I certainly don't agree with much of what you have said but that's fine. Age and experience have a way of I influencing the positions of youth.

I will save the flight talk for the pilots. This is not the first or last time political intervention in military hardware development resulted in FUBAR. Watch the Pentagon Wars for a good laugh.

Most of our current issue vehicles and all of our issue body Armor, helmets, and infantry weapons are good to go. Training and experience make the difference in competing the mission, not gear. I can clear a room using a MP5 or a SKS, there is no difference as long as both are serviceable. The is nothing wrong with preference, but it in the end it just doesn't matter what great you are carrying. You can do the job or you can't.

I laugh when I see a soldier in Iraq squeaking about how the AR platform sucks for the dessert. Try maintaining your weapon and it won't! These are the same butt munches who have dirt clogged in their trigger well and walk by cement gabbons scraping their barrel along it like it was a stick and a fence. I'm serious.

Just the ever so humble and non opinionated commentary of a 40 something veteran of Gulf War 1 and 2, with a few years as a security contractor with some infamous PMC's to top it off.

I'm a bad boy and even have a warning point from FFG to prove it. :)

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Well, this is hardly the first time that dogfighting has been declared dead.  It is unlikely to be the case even now because stealth properties and a very heavy electronic environment can make long range engagements difficult.  It will never again be the primary engagement range/type, or even terribly common, but to make fighter aircraft that are disadvantaged in a dogfight would be a mistake.

 

The F-22 theoretically cannot "maneuver" classically as well as 4th Gen fighters or the "5th Gen" fighters coming from Russia and China, though that is mostly a fictional metric anymore since all of these air frames are perfectly capable of pulling Gs that would kill their pilot.  What it can do is perform alternative maneuvering that allows it to outperform those aircraft.  The single biggest advantage is that the F-22 can fly and fight (in other words, maneuver and stay under control) while pointing its nose off vector.  It can "fly backwards", and is able to engage targets at any angle, so it doesn't need to "dogfight" in the classic sense even while engaging at very close range.  Most aircraft with some level of vectored thrust can go backwards, but very few (any?) aircraft other than the F-22 can still maneuver effectively while doing so.  The other advantage it has is that it is capable of fighting itself in the absence of pilot control.  If a pilot loses consciousness the aircraft is able to deploy countermeasures and evasive flight for the few seconds it takes for the pilot to regain his senses.  Absent of this capability it is very, very unlikely that the aircraft would survive, which means this is a huge advantage.  One of (the?) biggest challenges facing a fighter pilot is knowing how to push the edge of the envelope, because turning to loose means you lose the fight, but turning to tight means you grey/black out for precious seconds and lose the fight as well.  The F-22 allows the pilot to maneuver more aggressively, a very significant edge.

 

On the technology front, the thing most fail to fully appreciate is the multiplicative effect of multiple technological advantages.  The F-22 has a radar cross section of less than 0.001 sq meters.  That is a square millimeter, making it effectively invisible to radar.  By comparison, the J-31 as shown would have at best a cross section of somewhere between 0.1 and 0.05 meters, which is small enough to dramatically reduce detection range but is far from undetectable.  This is due mostly to engine and materials technology, it is extremely difficult to "stealth up" engine intakes, and this is not something easily plundered through industrial espionage.  In addition, engine technology means the F-22 has supercruise, allowing it to fly supersonic without generating the enormous heat of afterburners.  It also has IR baffles that the J-31 does not have, meaning the J-31 will stick out like a flare in the dark to an IR sensor suite where the F-22 is again nearly invisible.  The F-22 (still because of engine technology) is also very low turbulence, making detection through secondary effects far more difficult, where the J-31 leaves a signature in the air that can be spotted as well.  Finally, the F-22 uses very low probability of intercept radar, assuming it even turns it on, but is also capable of integrating radar/electronic returns from any source.  Briefly, a radar works by putting a large radio signal out, and detecting the echo that bounces back from anything that signal hits.  The F-22 can use echos that return from any source, due to software advantages that allow it to determine and correct for signal source location in real time, so it doesn't necessarily need to emit signals in the first place.

 

All of this means that the F-22 is many orders of magnitude more Stealthy in practice than the equivalent aircraft (at least the examples shown so far) from China or Russia.  The F-35 compromises on many of these advantages, so the new J-31 and equivalents may be much closer to parity when compared to the Lightning II, but the F-22 is an aircraft that won't be matched for several decades, even with espionage.

Edited by KineticOperator

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Kinetic. Mostly agree. You make some great points.

I think that the F-35 naysayers will be proven wrong in a few years. Once the bugs are ironed out, I think we will all be impressed with the F-35

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I was just about to ask how many times dogfight has died now, but Kinetic beat me to that point.

One thing to keep in mind though: Whilst the technology may allow for first-shot capabilities, the ROE often seems to interfere with that particular idea. I seem to remember that Tomcats armed with Phoenix missiles had the same problem - they were perfectly capable of beyond visual range engagements, but ended up in engagements whereby the ROE required visual confirmations on potential targets anyway. This will only become more true as we move away from clear cut engagements between competing superpowers.

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