F35 - superfighter or lame duck?

Discussion in 'Military' started by Indofred, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. SteadyMercury
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    SteadyMercury Gold Member

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    I'm fairly skeptical that getting a harrier from a 300 mile combat radius to 450+ is as simple as redesigning wings and throwing a new engine in there, you're still stuck with the same design of all your your thrust coming from four little rotating nozzles, and retrofitting the distributed aperture system, EOTS, and AESA radar would add weight.

    The ability go fast and go stealthy is always better than not having that ability, dismissing that as useless because the harrier was limited in capability doesn't make sense to me. If an amphibious ship carrying F-35s instead of Harriers suddenly has the ability to fly CAP against modern air threats or carry out strike missions in contested airspace that is a win.

    I still don't see how the harrier remains better even if it did match the F-35s range and you retrofitted all the electronics. You'd have two VSTOL aircraft, one of which is much faster, can carry more ordinance, can also function as an air superiority fighter, and has the ability to fly strike missions into airspace the Harrier could not. That sounds like the better one to me.
     
  2. westwall
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    westwall Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I'm not saying it's useless but it's not needed in the CAS role. The A-10 has taken hits from IR missiles but I can't think of a single hit from a guided missile. As far as range go's the lengthened airframe allows a redesign of the two forward nozzles to a single mid-mounted as in the F-35, and the re-profiled wings get you the increased fuel. The avionics upgrades are no more difficult than it was to replace my old steam gauges with the Aspen Evolution 2500 Flight Display. It's just money, and it is way cheaper to do that then buy the F-35 at 165 million a pop.

    Also, to carry as much as they say it can, the F-35 would have to hang the ordnance on external hard points so your stealthyness just disappeared anyway.

    Air superiority is not the job of CAS. It just isn't. That being said, the Harriers were more than a match for the Mirages that the Argentines were fielding. All of which were much faster than the Harrier. The British didn't lose a single aircraft in air to air combat.
     
  3. Mushroom
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    Mushroom VIP Member

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    I would think that is pretty obvious to be honest.

    The F-22 is not carrier capable.

    The Air Force can easily adapt any Navy or Marine aircraft, since they work entirely from the ground. But the Navy and Marine Corps can only use aircraft designed form the ground up to work off of a carrier.

    The F-4 Phantom II was developed for the Navy, as a carrier based fighter from the start. You can't convert the F-22 into a carrier based aircraft, without completely rebuilding it.

    Yea, pretty much what I thought also.

    The Harrier is really only good for giving CAS in an uncontested airspace, and giving some fighter support to a Marine Amphibious group.

    And also he is missing a key factor, that the F-35 is not just for domestic use. The UK is also heavily invested in this program, and this is to be their replacement aircraft for their naval forces as well. Kill this, and we are also stabbing an ally in the back.

    And finally, he is basically talking about a complete redesign of the Harrier. How much does the think that will cost? And how long will it take? I would be the cost would be huge, essentially it is the creation of an entirely new aircraft.

    As for external hardpoints and stealth, stealth does not mean invisible. The only invisible jet in the world is flown by Wonder Woman. But even with external hardpoints, a stealthy aircraft is still harder to detect then a non-stealthy one.

    These are basic points I find I have to make to people over and over and over again. No matter how good the "stealth" is, no aircraft is invisible. Even Saddam in 1990 was able to see our F-117s approaching. They simply could not get enough of a RADAR fix to lock on and engage them.

    And without a hard RADAR lock, anti-air missiles will not fire. Se they were reduced to firing radar controlled guns, not much different then those used in WWII. Stealth aircraft are not, have not, and never will be designed to make the aircraft invisible. The sole purpose is to reduce the RADAR profile to such a small degree that missiles can't lock onto them.

    And let me give a quick example. Suppose a fighter jockey is moving at a fast clip towards a target, ordinance hanging outside of his fighter and raising the profile. His detection equipment goes haywire, informing him he has multiple SAM launches. He can simply pop flare and chaff, dump the ordinance, and boogie onto another vector. His RADAR cross-section has just been reduced dramatically, and now the missile has much more interesting targets to go after.

    Simple tactics here, this is not rocket science.
     
  4. Mushroom
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    Mushroom VIP Member

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    And why do you keep obsessing over the CAS role?

    Let me see if you can get this. We are talking about Naval Aircraft. Not some Air Force CAS aircraft, Naval Fighters. And even more specific, Marine Corps fighters.

    Marine fighters are first and foremost tasked with defending the ships in it's group. Be it the Carrier in a Carrier Group, or the Amphibious transports if it is an Amphibious group.

    That is their primary mission. Period.

    Any CAS is a completely secondary mission, if needed and the fighters can be spared for that mission.

    And do not even begin to go into the Malvinas conflict, I have studied it for decades, even while it was going on.

    The Harriers were largely a non-issue. Their ranges were so short and speeds so slow that it cost the British dearly.

    And as for the Mirages, not only were they operating at extreme range. And they were operating from Argentina, barely having the fuel to make a single run and return. So they were hardly in a position to do much.

    Primarily what the Harriers shot down were aircraft of a similar age. The predominant "Mirage" was the Israeli made copy of the Mirage 5, a 1971 era fighter. Then you had the Mirage III, a mid-1950's era fighter. And a bunch of A-4s, another 1950's era fighter.

    So are you really trying to make your case stick, because the UK was able to shoot down lots of 1950's and 1960's era fighters with another 1960's era fighter? And yea, the Argentines were not really to concerned in trying to engage in air to air combat. They were to freaking busy corn holing the Royal Navy at the time.

    The entire Malvinas incident was a gross embarrassment for the Royal Navy, loosing 7 ships, including one of their proudest ships, the HMS Sheffield. And you are obsessing over air to air combat.

    The Brits came dangerously close to loosing that war, and you are actually saying we should keep using the fighter that was used in that conflict.

    Insanity.
     
  5. SteadyMercury
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    SteadyMercury Gold Member

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    You're still in this mindset that CAS is all the marines will use an F-35B for. I believe you're thinking backwards, it is all they used the Harrier for because that is all the Harrier could do.


    Harrier was designed small and light for a reason, I'm still skeptical than you can tinker with the wings and lengthen it to almost double the range and still get the same VSTOL plane. You can play with the nozzles all you want you aren't going to make it anything like the F-35 which doesn't use little nozzles on the sides to fly forward it uses a traditional full sized jet exhaust.

    Yes, but when both are using hard points the F-35 can carry far more ordinance than the Harrier.

    No, air superiority is not the job of the Harrier, because it cannot perform the mission against modern fighters. F-35 can do CAS, and air superiority, and SEAD, and strike/bombing sorties into contested airspace. As recently as Libya in 2011 the USN used Harriers in a role that would have been much better suited to a true multi-mission fighter bomber.

    Falklands is hardly an endorsement of their capabilities over 30 years later, the shot down one Mirage (the rest were A4s and Daggers), they had the AIM-9L, and they were dogfighting against planes performing bombing runs at the limits of their combat radius. The Brits flew great, the Harriers performed well, but we both know the Harrier is not a reasonable choice for controlling airspace against modern fighters.

    Either way I still don't get how you take two planes, one of which is faster and can do far more missions, and declare the other one the superior VSTOL aircraft.
     
  6. Mushroom
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    Mushroom VIP Member

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    Simple.

    He really does not know what he is talking about. He is looking at Wikipedia and taking faulty logic to try and figure something out to justify killing the program. Nothing more and nothing less.

    The moment he tried to say that there is no reason the Navy and Marine Corps could not use the F-22, I realized I was dealing with somebody that had absolutely no idea what they were talking about whatsoever.
     
  7. westwall
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    westwall Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Because speed is bad for CAS. Having a fast aircraft in that role is counterproductive. Fast movers are great for air superiority but the idea that a fast mover is going to replace a CAS specialist aircraft is ridiculous. I haven't flown in an A-10 but I have flown in a two seat SU-25 and that thing is a tank. It can take hits that would turn an F-35 inside out and I am sure the A-10 is likewise protected.

    I actually had the privilege of speaking with the project director on the F-35 project at Tailhook this year (they had a F-35 simulator there too) and he and I spoke at length about the capabilities and lack thereof of the F-35. He absolutely agreed that the A-10 is better by far than the F-35 in the CAS role. He also tacitly admitted that the F-22 is a better air superiority aircraft for the reasons I stated earlier, namely the airframe design limitations based on the multi role requirements.
     
  8. westwall
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    westwall Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Wrong. I never use wiki but I actually do fly airplanes and know a whole hell of a lot about them having been a pilot for over 40 years now. I also count MANY fighter pilots as friends and have been able to bend their ears on many occasions. Most are of the WWII area and they are now getting fragile with age (those who remain with us) but I also knew Robin Olds very well and Bill Driscoll. I am also friends with quite a few A-6 drivers and other mud moving specialists so have that angle covered as well.

    Here's my goody bag from Tailhook so you can see I'm not full of shit and and, as you can see, they are flogging the F-35 very heavily.
     

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  9. SteadyMercury
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    SteadyMercury Gold Member

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    This was true decades ago, modern targeting systems and precision guided weapons have mitigated this. The overwhelming majority of A-10 support in Iraq and Afghanistan has been from guided munitions and a targeting pod, F-35 can do the same without the targeting pod.

    Not getting hit > hoping to survive getting hit


    I wouldn't consider getting someone to admit that an F-22 is a better air superiority aircraft than an F-35 to be a major intel coup, who would say otherwise? The F-22 is designed primarily as an air superiority plane and is by the far the best one in the world, is there someone in the thread claiming the F-35 is comparable in that role?
     
  10. SteadyMercury
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    SteadyMercury Gold Member

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    Cool story dude, but what you post is a far better judge than some appeal to authority with who you know and what nifty patches you have. You've thrown out enough ridiculous claims (like Harrier better than F-35) for me to be fairly skeptical of any claims of expertise.
     

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