F35 - Money well spent.

All these complicated technical considerations are very interesting. But how many of them have actually been put to the test of combat?

Forgive me for saying so, as someone who has never been in the Armed Forces, but it all sounds a bit "unreal". Like designing a video-game, where simulated "planes" fire at simulated "ships". As if it's all about, as cokecan very strikingly remarks: "software integration in the 2021 block 4 upgrade".

This reference to computers makes me feel that modern weapons development is getting increasingly divorced from reality. I mean the bloody physical reality of actual war. This is understandable, because there hasn't been a really big war for over half a century (thank goodness!)

But if there was such a war, might it be decided not by sophisticated "software upgrades" but by very basic things, like the sheer speed of your aircraft, whether they're reliable, and how many of them you have.
And above all - the skill, courage and guts of the pilots flying them. In other words the human factor.

This human factor seems to be almost entirely ignored in modern discussions. Am I right in feeling uneasy about that?
 
All these complicated technical considerations are very interesting. But how many of them have actually been put to the test of combat?
You might want to ask the crew of HMS Sheffield, USS Stark (Exocet), the Libyan Air Force and Libyan Army, the Iraqi Air Force and the Iraqi Army. Consider SCOTS DG utterly destroying an Iraqi Armd BG attack in 1991 - at a range of 4km. TOGS, IFCS, and CHARM meant that the Iraqi tanks couldn't even see what was killing them.

If you get a glass-bottomed boat, you should be able to find both the 1991 Iraqi Navy, and the 2003 Iraqi Navy (Lynx + Seaspray + Sea Skua).

So... in a word, lots.
 
...This human factor seems to be almost entirely ignored in modern discussions. Am I right in feeling uneasy about that?
No.

There will always be surprises but aircraft are tested far more thoroughly these days and training is far more realistic.

Regards,
MM
 
But the human factor is a big chunk of the F-35's design: It's about giving the pilots the information they need, in a form they can absorb, in order to be able to fight the 'battle', whilst doing as much as possible to make the aircraft easy to fly. That's what the clever software and "sensor fusion" is there for. There's no point in being fastest if the other guy has seen you and killed you before you see him.
 
Well lets hope the RR design department read ARRSE so that that can take on board their obvious incompetence and get a quick fix in place.
Must resist.....
 
All these complicated technical considerations are very interesting. But how many of them have actually been put to the test of combat?

Forgive me for saying so, as someone who has never been in the Armed Forces, but it all sounds a bit "unreal". Like designing a video-game, where simulated "planes" fire at simulated "ships". As if it's all about, as cokecan very strikingly remarks: "software integration in the 2021 block 4 upgrade".

This reference to computers makes me feel that modern weapons development is getting increasingly divorced from reality. I mean the bloody physical reality of actual war. This is understandable, because there hasn't been a really big war for over half a century (thank goodness!)

But if there was such a war, might it be decided not by sophisticated "software upgrades" but by very basic things, like the sheer speed of your aircraft, whether they're reliable, and how many of them you have.
And above all - the skill, courage and guts of the pilots flying them. In other words the human factor.

This human factor seems to be almost entirely ignored in modern discussions. Am I right in feeling uneasy about that?
You need to ask the Iraqi AD network just how unreal it was in 1990 and 2003. HTH.
 
You need to ask the Iraqi AD network just how unreal it was in 1990 and 2003. HTH.
You might want to ask the crew of HMS Sheffield, USS Stark (Exocet), the Libyan Air Force and Libyan Army, the Iraqi Air Force and the Iraqi Army. Consider SCOTS DG utterly destroying an Iraqi Armd BG attack in 1991 - at a range of 4km. TOGS, IFCS, and CHARM meant that the Iraqi tanks couldn't even see what was killing them.

If you get a glass-bottomed boat, you should be able to find both the 1991 Iraqi Navy, and the 2003 Iraqi Navy (Lynx + Seaspray + Sea Skua).

So... in a word, lots.
Yes, but the Libyan and Iraqi armed forces weren't very difficult to beat, were they? They were mostly demoralised conscripts only too willing to surrender. That seems too easy an enemy. Compare it with Afghanistan.

The USSR put loads of modern military effort into Afghanistan. Hi-tech weaponry and all. But the Sovs had to pull out.

Why? Because the Afghans kept fighting.

.
 
But the human factor is a big chunk of the F-35's design: It's about giving the pilots the information they need, in a form they can absorb, in order to be able to fight the 'battle', whilst doing as much as possible to make the aircraft easy to fly. That's what the clever software and "sensor fusion" is there for. There's no point in being fastest if the other guy has seen you and killed you before you see him.
It's all about being able to process and react to the data you're presented with. Sometimes, even in a laid back situation, when you have so many variables and you are dealing with moving and fluid scenarios, easy to get overwhelmed.
 
But the human factor is a big chunk of the F-35's design: It's about giving the pilots the information they need, in a form they can absorb, in order to be able to fight the 'battle', whilst doing as much as possible to make the aircraft easy to fly. That's what the clever software and "sensor fusion" is there for. There's no point in being fastest if the other guy has seen you and killed you before you see him.
Point taken, and if the US Air Force had 1,000 F-35's they'd be omnipotent. But how many will they actually get.

Consider what happened to the F-22 Raptor. That was supposed to replace the 600+ F-15 fleet But it didn't because the numbers of F-22's purchased were (I haven't checked) less than 200. What good is that?
 
Yes, but the Libyan and Iraqi armed forces weren't very difficult to beat, were they? They were mostly demoralised conscripts only too willing to surrender. That seems too easy an enemy. Compare it with Afghanistan.

The USSR put loads of modern military effort into Afghanistan. Hi-tech weaponry and all. But the Sovs had to pull out.

Why? Because the Afghans kept fighting.

.
You appear to be confused. The Iraqi AD network in 1990 was neither ran by conscripts nor demoralised. Afghanistan didn't have a functional AD network when the USSR went in.

Are you trying to articulate something?
 
Yes, but the Libyan and Iraqi armed forces weren't very difficult to beat, were they? They were mostly demoralised conscripts only too willing to surrender. That seems too easy an enemy....
The Iraqi Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) was amongst the best in the World and more demanding than those of the Warsaw Pact in some regards because it employed fibre optic C2 networks and a mix of Soviet and Western systems.

Coalition aircraft initially had to defeat and penetrate a complex ‘Venn diagram’ of overlapping SAM, radar-guided and other AAA as well as MANPADs.

Similarly, throughout the 90s we faced the Serbs who were probably the best SAM operators in the World at the time.

Afghanistan was an entirely different scenario but Libya was a confused picture which included strategic SAMs which could initially reach well out into the Med.

Point taken, and if the US Air Force had 1,000 F-35's they'd be omnipotent. But how many will they actually get...
The USAF are planning on procuring 1763 F-35As.

Meanwhile, the USN are planning to have 247 F-35Cs and the USMC 353 F-35Bs and 80 F-35Cs.

...Consider what happened to the F-22 Raptor. That was supposed to replace the 600+ F-15 fleet But it didn't because the numbers of F-22's purchased were (I haven't checked) less than 200. What good is that?
Sadly, F-22 procurement was occurring when Russian power was at a nadir due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Chinese ambitions had yet to emerge and politicians were myopically following the COIN ball.

Nevertheless, although F-22 procurement was halted at only 187, operational experience over Syria and elsewhere has demonstrated the disproportionate effect they can have.

Ultimately, if you don’t believe F-35s and F-22s are the answer to the question, what in your opinion is?

All of which was possible by US Army Apache’s and an Air Airforce CH-53, in the first dust up.
I think it’s a tad of an exaggeration to say that the AH-64s and USAF MH-53Js were so critical. They punched a useful hole in the Iraqi AD network for the initial strikes but this could easily have been achieved by other methods.

Regards,
MM
 
All of which was possible by US Army Apache’s and an Air Airforce CH-53, in the first dust up.
I have read about that action somewhere. Surely the Air Force aircraft was a Special Operations variant.

More importantly, during the period between the invasion of Kuwait and operations kicking of, the coalitions had time to study Iraqi air defences. SIGINT assets such as the RC-135 and Nimrod R1, and satellites, and land and sea based platforms, meant the coalition pretty much knew where Saddam's assets were.

Additionally many Western companies that had done work for Saddam willingly turned over blueprints of things they had built, such as aircraft shelters, and many companies around the World went to the media and US Government with details that they had supplied him with all sorts of stuff on a ' buy now - pay later' basis, and all the payment they had received was a few packets of dates and a mustache care kit.

The West needs to be aware of the possibility of conflict without several months' warning.
 
I think it’s a tad of an exaggeration to say that the AH-64s and USAF MH-53Js were so critical. They punched a useful hole in the Iraqi AD network for the initial strikes but this could easily have been achieved by other methods.

Regards,
MM
They did free up other assets, which were already well inside Iraqi airspace, to do their job.
 
The Iraqi Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) was amongst the best in the World and more demanding than those of the Warsaw Pact in some regards because it employed fibre optic C2 networks and a mix of Soviet and Western systems.

Coalition aircraft initially had to defeat and penetrate a complex ‘Venn diagram’ of overlapping SAM, radar-guided and other AAA as well as MANPADs.

Similarly, throughout the 90s we faced the Serbs who were probably the best SAM operators in the World at the time.

Afghanistan was an entirely different scenario but Libya was a confused picture which included strategic SAMs which could initially reach well out into the Med.



The USAF are planning on procuring 1763 F-35As.

Meanwhile, the USN are planning to have 247 F-35Cs and the USMC 353 F-35Bs and 80 F-35Cs.



Sadly, F-22 procurement was occurring when Russian power was at a nadir due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Chinese ambitions had yet to emerge and politicians were myopically following the COIN ball.

Nevertheless, although F-22 procurement was halted at only 187, operational experience over Syria and elsewhere has demonstrated the disproportionate effect they can have.

Ultimately, if you don’t believe F-35s and F-22s are the answer to the question, what in your opinion is?



I think it’s a tad of an exaggeration to say that the AH-64s and USAF MH-53Js were so critical. They punched a useful hole in the Iraqi AD network for the initial strikes but this could easily have been achieved by other methods.

Regards,
MM
Sorry MM but I must stick up for the rotor heads!
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
But our lifespans don't match, the thousands of years of rich European history...

So for us mere mortals 2003, was a while ago. If you figure my life expectancy here in "Murica" is 79 years...and 2003 was 16 years ago, that is about 20 percent of my lifespan gone. A few major milestones later, and realizing that my mates and I were playing Halo in 2003 waiting for Halo 2 to come out and I feel old as ****.
I got very drunk with a group of USAF and USMC in India a year or so go, and enjoyed winding them up by pointing out the Indian Army has regiments older than the United States.

Good blokes though, the USAF guys were very switched on.
 
I got very drunk with a group of USAF and USMC in India a year or so go, and enjoyed winding them up by pointing out the Indian Army has regiments older than the United States.

Good blokes though, the USAF guys were very switched on.
I am surprised the Airmen could be bothered to drop their protein shakes and drink alcohol. The Marines will drink anything.

Everybody has things older than the US, they should not have been surprised.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I am surprised the Airmen could be bothered to drop their protein shakes and drink alcohol. The Marines will drink anything.

Everybody has things older than the US, they should not have been surprised.
The Airmen's Hindi was brilliant, mine is none existant, and my Sanskrit is basic but great fun getting drunk and teaching Americans and Indians Indian History.
 
All these complicated technical considerations are very interesting. But how many of them have actually been put to the test of combat?

Forgive me for saying so, as someone who has never been in the Armed Forces, but it all sounds a bit "unreal". Like designing a video-game, where simulated "planes" fire at simulated "ships". As if it's all about, as cokecan very strikingly remarks: "software integration in the 2021 block 4 upgrade".

This reference to computers makes me feel that modern weapons development is getting increasingly divorced from reality. I mean the bloody physical reality of actual war. This is understandable, because there hasn't been a really big war for over half a century (thank goodness!)

But if there was such a war, might it be decided not by sophisticated "software upgrades" but by very basic things, like the sheer speed of your aircraft, whether they're reliable, and how many of them you have.
And above all - the skill, courage and guts of the pilots flying them. In other words the human factor.

This human factor seems to be almost entirely ignored in modern discussions. Am I right in feeling uneasy about that?
You might also consider that in many instances it is precisely the software capabilities that are the game-changers - or, more precisely, the systems that they drive.

You simply cannot go into contested airspace these days with electronic support. You simply won't last. And, in many respects, air warfare has passed more into the cerebral domain. It's more like 3-D chess than one-on-one guns and manoeuvring.

Yes, there is an element of manoeuvre but it is more about getting your assets to positions where their systems can do their work than some form of aerial sword-fight.

Inevitably, therefore, some of 'combat' is going to read like a form of video gaming.

The reality, however, is that people still get killed and it's the unwary, incompetent or ill-equipped that die.
 
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