Skip to comments.F-22 Fighter Loses $79 Billion Advantage in Dogfights: Report
Posted on 07/31/2012 9:26:07 AM PDT by moonshot925
The United States has spent nearly $80 billion to develop the most advanced stealth fighter jet in history, the F-22 Raptor, but the Air Force recently found out firsthand that while the planes own the skies at modern long-range air combat, it is "evenly matched" with cheaper, foreign jets when it comes to old-school dogfighting.
The F-22 made its debut at the international Red Flag Alaska training exercise this June where the planes "cleared the skies of simulated enemy forces and provided security for Australian, German, Japanese, Polish and [NATO] aircraft," according to an after-action public report by the Air Force. The F-22 took part in the exercise while under strict flying restrictions imposed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in light of mysterious, potentially deadly oxygen problems with the planes - problems that the Pentagon believes it has since solved.
The Air Force said the planes flew 80 missions during the event "with a very high mission success rate." However, a new report from Combat Aircraft Monthly revealed that in a handful of missions designed to test the F-22 in a very specific situation - close-range, one-on-one combat - the jet appeared to lose its pricey advantages over a friendly rival, the Eurofighter Typhoon, flown in this case by German airmen.
"We expected to perform less with the Eurofighter but we didn't," German air officer Marc Grune said, according to Combat Aircraft Monthly. "We were evenly matched. They didn't expect us to turn so aggressively."
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Should give it the advantage in BVR combat.
I agree, but it would seem to me that you’ve only got so many long range air to air missiles. If ten of our aircraft are challenged by hundreds of an opponent, doesn’t that make them vulnerable?
I’m asking because I don’t know that answer. Hopefully you’re going to alleviate those concerns.
Stealth is only useful when the enemy is using RADAR. When the enemy is using visual guidance, various non-visual sensors, etc. and can shoot lasers, the F-22 is dog food.
No enemy is there yet...yet.
I saw this article yesterday. Basically, if an enemy aircraft can teleport into close proximity of an F22, there’s a 50/50 chance of the enemy aircraft winning the engagement.
Yep, that sure is disconcerting.
Let the F-22’s ‘fence’ with the enemy BVR and blow up ten each. Then retire onto a wing of less-capable-but-cheaper friendlies who can take up the slack.
OR build a frack-tonne of F-22s and reduce their unit price.
Stealth goes away in a dogfight? Well, duh! At least until you get a cloaking device. Isn’t the whole point to clear the skies BEFORE going bare knuckle in visible contact? The good news is that there’s still a need for the United States Air Force Weapons School.
Journalists are such morons. It isn’t a 79 billion dollar advantage, it is 220 million per plane over the Typhoon. With that 220 million you get a plane the Euro pilots said they could not get within 20 miles of, and within in that they were evenly matched. Looks like it is still worth the advantage.
Yeah, we should just scrap the F-22s and replace them with more F-35s, because that’s been working out well for us. /sarc
Wait’ll they start remotely piloting them. They’ll be able to turn a bit tighter.
Huh. Is that true, this is the first time they had them at Red Flag? That doesn't seem right.
That’s right. YEARS ago, during my senior year cadet summer at the Air Force Academy, I got sent to an F-4 squadron at Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC, for three weeks. While there, the Aggressor squadron from Nellis showed up to teach some DACM to the F-4 jocks. They were flying painted-up T-38’s (yep....not even F-5’s for F-20’s; plain ol’ ‘38’s that we all later flew in UPT).
These guys were unreal. They took me with ‘em for a fair number of sorties out past the NC coastline. They positively kicked the living s**t out of the F-4 drivers.
I learned first-hand, then and there, that the quality of the pilot is as important or MORE important than the aircraft. True, speed, acceleration, avionics, etc. ALL count in a big way.....but a far superior pilot in a lesser aircraft can still kick yer ass.
When you can blow up a plane at the end of your enemy’s runway from 40 miles out... what the hell do you need to dog fight for?
Problem is that most aerial combat doesn't take place at BVR, but at ranges of two miles or less. They made the same incorrect assumptions that the USAF made in the 1950s, until MiG-17s, MiG-21s, and perpetually stupid ROEs made a mockery of U.S. fighters during the Vietnam air war.
These people never learn.
I loved your reply. As they said - they were specifically scripted dog-fights, i.e. they were forced to close to visual distances to see what would happen.
My understanding is that the F-22 flights use a tactic of flying in pairs, with one well behind the second. The tail-end guy is a radar emitter, i.e. he can be found if they can track the F22 radar. The plane in front gets a telemetry feed of the radar image from the back-end plane and shoots his missiles. The aggressor never knows where the missiles came from!
Then there is the bit where you don’t know you are in trouble until you ARE in visual range - with the F22 on your six because you didn’t see the F22 move to sun-ward and come at you because it’s invisible to radar. Whoops!
It sounds very much like any engagement really - you use your platforms best features effectively and stay out of the profile that gives the other guy an advantage over you.
At least one, that I can think of.
In Vietnam, after a “bombing pause”, first mission headed North got a BVR kill because it could be known for certain that the target was not friendly.
I guess I’ve kind of made your point, haven’t I? ;-P
It’s the right question, because its how the Russians eventually beat the Germans. The Russians churned out 1000’s of cheap tanks, while the Germans churned out dozens of very good, very expensive tanks with better range.
Quantity has a quality all its own. We’ve also made this aviation mistake before - eschewing dogfighting - thinking that dogfighting was a thing of the past.
The F-22 is a scary airplane. It can kill other aircraft before it shows up on the other guy’s radar. It’s a good weapon for what it does. Maybe it needs to be accompanied by cheaper dogfighters.
“The F-22 took part in the exercise while under strict flying restrictions imposed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta”
Would love to know what those restrictions were and how the F-22 would perform without them. The F-22 is tremendously powerful and maneuverable with it’s thrust vectoring. Foreign pilots flying against them in earlier simulated encounters basically said, “It’s not fair, we can’t see it on radar and we can’t lock it up when in visual range.
Panetta is part of the administration that cancelled the F-22 and is a POS in general. I have to wonder if he wasn’t attempting to sabotage the F-22’s performance to justify the Kenyan’s ending the F-22 project.
Vietnam/Rolling Thunder, Yom Kippur War and Beaaa Valley
Love this picture of the F-22, too bad we had to retire the shuttle in the background.
we need the NOT THIS AGAIN pic. sounds like the ‘60s with the F-4C all missile no guns. as for BVR hell ROE says you can’t even shoot at a bad guy until he fires first. i can see iran sending up attack aircraft and put some civilian passenger planes in the mix. we shoot BVR in self defense and shoot a few of them down in the mix they get propaganda. we wait gor visual and it could be too late.
Modified B-1B’s fly behind the first flight of Raptors. Housing up to 100 air to air missiles each. Those missiles are slaved to the Raptors radar and can be fired one at a time or fired in series. Only two B-1B’s set-up for this air superiority mission could defeat any potential foreign air force.
A Growler, eh? How does that work?
This is not really a big shock. The Eurofighter is a very capable airframe and has some darn good missiles to go with their helmet-mounted sights. It is just not stealthy. If the pilot can see the F-22 it can get off an IR missile.
But I’m pretty sure the judges are “cheating.”
Because of stealth, the F-22 gets to CHOOSE if it wants to engage at close range; it can see the enemy but they can’t see the F-22. If it doesn’t want to fight close, it salvoes its AMRAAMS, a bunch of enemies fall out the sky, and the F-22 goes home. End of fight.
But the judges are probably starting the fight with fighters in visual range where the F-22s advantages are negated. So you have two equally matched airframes with equally well trained pilots trying to get each other to angle where they can get off an IR missile. Fifty-fifty is about right.
There we go again.. Advertising our military vulnerabilities. It’s an 0bama past time!!!!
BVR doesn't seem to happen as much as burn and turn up close.
Thank you. Good point. Someone else mentioned B1-Bs, saying they carry up to 100 air to air missiles, that can be slaved. Now that’s an interesting option.
He was also not too proud and would disengage when the other guy got eyes on and showed some skill. Smart guy.
The not seeing him part is correct, but not the long range. One of the amazing things about Hartman was the extremely low number of rounds per kill he used. He prescribed filling his windshield with the enemy aircraft before firing.
That said, long range at the time was 1,000 yd.
I’m surprised that Obama’s ROE don’t mandate the use of beanbag rounds for air-to-air combat.
That sounds like a good resolution to the problem. Thanks for the mention.
Actually, the Russkis had better tanks than the Germans, such as the KV-12 and the T-34. The German tank pitted against the T-34 was the PKW-III with a 37mm or 50mm main gun. They had to change the role of the PKW-IV and equip it with a “long” 75mm to match it.
The PKW-V Panther was an attempt to copy the T-34 but Germans screwed it up by making it over complicated. The T-34-85 was probably the best tank of the war, in terms of numbers and capabilities.
What the Germans had was a DOCTRINE that used tanks in a more effective way than any of of their opponents, not to mention a radio transceiver in every tank (In Soviet tanks, only the platoon leader had a transceiver - the rest had receivers only, if they had radios...). They were able mass their firepower against the “decisive point” better than anyone else. The Russians eventually put an end to this with superior quantities of equipment. German fuel shortages did not help, either.
In addition, the Iranians apparently found the Phoenix, launched from the F-14, to be very effective during the Iran-Iraq War.
This is how we develop tactics. Place the aircraft in undesirable situations and figure out which tactics are best. When I flew the f-4 in the late 70’s we deployed to Nellis and achieved at least 50% kills against f-15’s, untill they developed tactics to mitigate their vulnerabilities.
Modern fighter pilots consider a multitude of variables and the AOB in real time to succeed. We can’t know what ROE they may have been dealing with to test their tactical options.
If the big balloon ever goes up I doubt visual ID will be required.
Sure you aren’t confusing Hartmann with Jans-Joachim Marseille? He was the one noted for uncanny accuracy, very few rounds per kill, and deflection shooting, not Hartmann.
Personally, with all of his 158 kills vs. the British, I think he was the greatest fighter pilot of all time. Marseille’s kills vs. Hartmann’s is like comparing Div. I and Div. II football records.
geez at least two of you guys have explained critical elements of airware strategy. Is this type of info on Janes and other pulbic military sites or are we getting some great insider “stuf”
I saw them at an air show in Tucson, AZ. I can see why they scare the pants off the diaper head terrorists overseas.
They sometimes seemed like they could just hover and deliver a blast like a firehose on a target
In January 1941 the Soviets had over 23,000 tanks.
By December they had slightly less than 6,000.
The Germans completely annihilated the Soviets during Barbarossa and it would take awhile to recover.
I read Hartman’s biography. He was a fascinating person.
One thing I remember is tho all the other German aces said Hartman was the best long range shot, Hartman stressed getting as close as possible.
He said the guns were so much more effective at close range. He also continued to fly the BF-109 long after it was probably obsolete. He probably was just used to it and also he probably got the best equipment, latest improvements, best engines, ground crew etc..
Another interesting tid bit is his parents were missionaries to China. Erich grew up there.
IIRC, Hartman was shot down by American P-51s in May 1944.
They should have shot him up in his parachute.
One thing to “learn” is that technologies improve. Big difference between vacuum tube BVR missiles of Vietnam like the early Sparrow (that would malfunction if you sneezed within 10 feet) and a modern solid-state BVR missle.
IFF has also improved.
Technologies that don’t live up to their billing in one conflict can be a different story 40 years later. History is useful, but to proclaim that because of Vietnam, BVR will not work till the end of time is silly.
Hartmann was never shot down. He survived many crashes, crash landings etc. but was never shot down, ever.
It's not a technology problem. It's a political problem.