LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby saje » 01 Jun 2014 12:10

shiv wrote:I doubt if the LCA wil carry anything more than 150 to 250 rounds of ammunition - enough for about 3-4 seconds of shooting with a Gsh23


I've been a flight sim addict for the past 13 years and one of my favourite & frequent games is the 'Wings over... series' particulary the game 'Wings over Israel'. This game has some pretty realistic flight models and very light 'gizmotronics'. So based on my experience playing this game, I've found that usually I hardly get enough time or opportunity to put a steady stream of bullets on the bogies because of a variety of factors -- high G manouevres by the boggie, SAMs firing at me, the bogie's wingman trying to shoot my **s off, my wingman screaming his head off, my fuel level going down, the mission window closing etc. So more often than naught I invariably land with enough of my bullet load remaining even after having shot down a few boggies.

For.e.g, just after having read this discussion today, I opened the game and flew a Nesher fighter mission against two Mig-21MFs, shot down both of them and after I switch off the mission, the mission statistics screen shows the gun stats as 104 bullets fired, 3 hit, 2 kills, 2.88% accuracy. I've had similar experience vice versa, flying the Mig-21 and shooting down Nesher/Mirages. And mind you, this is without a gun computer to aid my aiming (this game simulates Israel-Arab aircombat in the 1960s & early 1970s). In the same game while flying F-15s & F-16s with computer aided sights, my accuracy is better. So I guess with a gun computer 150-200 rounds are more than enough for an average aircombat sortie... straffing ground targets? Better left to attack helicopters these days. JMO.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby shiv » 01 Jun 2014 13:27

saje wrote:Better left to attack helicopters these days. JMO.

That is the theory. But if you read Jagan's book (Eagles over Bangladesh) you see how every available air asset was used every single day to pound, pound and keep on pounding every single available target. This included transport aircraft and even Gnats and Hunters - sometimes armed with guns only and fuel on all available pylons.

Air dominance will mean that sort of hit, hit, hit again, hit yet again and keep on hitting - so guns on fixed wing aircraft cannot be wished away as an asset for ground attack.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby member_25400 » 01 Jun 2014 20:04

vsunder : "one should go ahead and grant FOC to the LCA without cannons, BVR and retro-fit. This is an intrinsically bad idea, even historically."


Not intrinsically historically. After all, the F-16 and many other planes started life without BVR missiles and had them retro-fitted later. The F-4 Phantom started without guns and had them fitted in later. Versions of the F-35 have guns in an (add-on) pod. It might turn out to be a bad idea to add on cost for retro fitting or to set additional precedents of sliding standards, but it might also turn out to be a good way to arrest the fall in squadrons. The IAF needs to get into a habit of planning and working with incremental upgrade 'blocks' that add capability. (Their very indian mentality of grab everything they can up front can be historically justified given they mostly worked with foreign designed planes, uncertain economy, vicissitudes of Raksha Mantri political priorities and uncertain procurement processes.)

"Vietnam showed two things. First, cannons were important, aircraft armed by missiles do not rule the skies and second, close in dogfighting skills are absolutely necessary. Thus the US set up its Topgun school"


Vietnam was fought in the early missile/radar age where effectiveness of early generation missiles had been greatly overestimated. Training had been poor, with the USAF sticking to Korean era tactics which were very different from the actual battles that they found themselves in. The USAF had prioritized safety over realistic/DACT training. The Rules of Engagement typically required visual identification of friend or foe; small wonder that the USAF, which had not planned well for close in tactics did poorly. Many missiles were loosed at the edge of their kill envelope. By contrast, US Navy F-4s (which too had no guns), had a ~6:1 kill ratio (3:1 in the beginning rising up to a 12:1 ratio by the end) while USAAF F-4s had ~ 3:1 kill ratio overall. In short.....Navy F-4's with no guns did better than USAF F-4's with guns as an option at a certain point in time."

A few F-4s received the secret "Combat Tree" (APG 80) radar which allowed for BVR IFF, which drastically improved their chance of success.

The Navy had Top Gun where a few elite from the squadrons got trained and disseminated knowledge to their colleagues on their return. The USAF learnt the lessons from Operation Linebacker and came up with Red Flag and other DACT training."

Only USAF dinosaurs swear by lead, the modern pilot takes it as just another tool in his armory. USAF has spent hundreds of billions on systems that emphasize BVR over WVR; while the professional warrior recognizes that merge skills are also an important facet and trains accordingly. "

Source : Innumerable threads and a couple of books;
Example of Thread : http://forum.keypublishing.com/archive/ ... 98858.html
I recommend this dissertation : http://etd.auburn.edu/handle/10415/595
Last edited by member_25400 on 01 Jun 2014 21:19, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby shiv » 01 Jun 2014 20:29

barath_s wrote:Though it is fashionable to state this, it is not exactly the right lesson.
<snip>
Only USAAF dinosaurs swear by lead, the modern pilot takes it as just another too in his armory. USAAF has spent hundreds of billions on systems that emphasize BVR over WVR; while the professional warrior recognizes that merge skills are also an important facet and trains accordingly. "


I would dispute this based on what a lot of fighter pilots have told me, plus general reading. By using the term "modern pilot" and claiming that the view is what the "professional warrior" thinks you are generalizing all pilots and all air force experiences into one narrow viewpoint that sounds very American/western to me, derived from their tactics, equipment and philosophy. There is more to air war than that.

The USAF (what is USAAF?) operates with numerical superiority over every air force in the world other than the erstwhile USSR. The USAF also operates with AWACS cover and network based warfare and operates on the doctrine of achieving air dominance early - partly by shooting down at BVR any aircraft that is seen within a designated war zone. These tactics have worked beautifully with air forces that are greatly inferior in strength and technological advancement. The US has never fought an equal or superior adversary and that is what the IAF may need to fight

These USAF tactics are fine for an air force with the numbers and technological wizardry of the USAF. When India fights a war - there can be no assurance that we will set up air dominance by BVR targeting of all adversary air targets. That means there will be close in warfare where guns will come into play.

Having been through this discussion several times in the last 15 years, the usual response I hear is that "Oh the IAF will anyway be shot down at BVR ranges". That is the sort of talk I read on internet forums. That might happen if we are at war with the USAF. But that is far less likely with China or shitland air force. Guns are not going away anytime soon. War is less predictable that discussions we have here and it is the lessons of war that the IAF has learnt that make them think in a particular way - no matter what other air forces may have learned in their wars.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby member_25400 » 01 Jun 2014 21:13

shiv wrote:. Guns are not going away anytime soon.


Shiv, I don't disagree with you. But you underestimate the impact of missiles for WVR work. In the merge, guns AND missiles are effective; and high off boresight missiles are now becoming common. Combined with multiple kinds of sensors, it makes them more lethal. There's a saying "in a knife fight, everyone ends up dead". It's not quite that bad yet here. Pakistan has been denied the latest versions of the air to air missiles. China not so sure, while Russia is probably a few years away from refresh of it's air to air missile technology. access to french weapons will also help India.

Training, tactical circumstance, numbers, good equipment, electronic jamming, networked warfare, AWACS all can tip the balance either way here.

shiv wrote:. What is USAAF


corrected/fixed

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby vsunder » 01 Jun 2014 22:29

Also any war that India fights possibly will be short, 2 weeks or 3 weeks. There will be no time to make changes in tactics, retro-fit anything if it does need to be. This possibly guides IAF thinking. Vietnam was a very long war and all parties had the luxury of changing tactics, adding guns and cannons etc etc. whenever and wherever the need was felt.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 01 Jun 2014 22:48

shiv wrote:These USAF tactics are fine for an air force with the numbers and technological wizardry of the USAF. When India fights a war - there can be no assurance that we will set up air dominance by BVR targeting of all adversary air targets. That means there will be close in warfare where guns will come into play.


The issue is not really BVR v WVR. Its that even within WVR combat, a pilot forced to fight with guns will be far more likely to get shot down than his foe.

Breaking it down (non-scientifically) by level of development -

Level 1: Guns. Narrow Field-of-View. High degree of maneuvering reqd.

Level 2: Older gen missiles. All-aspect. Medium FoV. Heavy maneuvering reqd.

Level 3: High Off-Boresight Missiles. Large FoV. Cued by HMS. Maneuvering reqd esp for foes at very oblique angles.

Level 4: Latest gen missile. LOAL capability (incl. over-the-shoulder shots). IIR seeker. May be coupled to imaging helmet (eg. EF's 'Striker'). May require maneuvering to increase pK.

Level 5: 360 deg cueing system. Data-linked WVR weapon. Little to no maneuvering reqd. (Operational only on the F-35 i.e. EO-DAS for the near future.)


There's some overlap between Level 3 & 4, but the basic point still stands. Most PLAAF fighters are already equipped with effective HOBS-HMS combos and though it may take time, the J-20 and/or J-31 will eventually be equipped with some type of DAS analogue.

The only reason for a pilot to switch to guns, is if he's run out of missiles. And the only reason for a pilot who's out of missiles, not to leg it home lickety-split, is if its critical to delay, deter or attack the enemy, to the point of becoming an expendable asset.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby jamwal » 01 Jun 2014 23:15

https://twitter.com/livefist/status/473091101444694016

More fuselage camera photos of the LCA Tejas as it soared over Ladakh in Feb this year. | pic.twitter.com/KFn4GYL7VY

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 01 Jun 2014 23:19

Gun kills have to be taken in context. When was the last time a gun kill occurred (out of curiosity)? As viv mentioned you have to exhaust your BVR missiles, then WVR missiles and then resort to the gun in the hope that you live to see that scenario i.e. you yourself survive what is dished out at you. Secondly, you have to hope and pray that the opponent is willing to engage you in a gunfight with the same degree as you wish to engage him. This assumes a kinematic, fuel state parity between your notional fighter and his notional fighter. Any sort of superiority in kinematic and fuel state would give a credible alternative to the opponent (or to you), that of hitting the burners and exiting the fight. This is of course with everything being equal. Even a slight advantage in battlefield situational awareness to either side would render such a scenario vulnerable since the side with the better SA would be able to better allocate resources to the threat and do so in a timely manner. Such a scenario also brings the nature of warfare to play. Are we attacking china, or are they attacking us. In a latter scenario we'll have our entire air defense network to bring to the game. Not only will the chinese pilot have to deal with our fighters but also our SAM's. Not only will our boys have SA through the AEW but also through ground radars. Given the cost of modern defense systems (fighters, weapons, subsystems and pilot training) large or even medium scale gun combat is extremely unlikely. Air forces will simply invest to keep this scenario out of play. As exciting as it sounds, with a 100 million dollar PAKFA the pilot would have to think twice before engaging the enemy in a gun fight, better option may be to bolt using supercruise and live to fight another day.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby jamwal » 01 Jun 2014 23:24

AAMs during Vietnam war were highly unreliable and in most cases failed to perform. Comparing utility of guns in this context will not help much.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 01 Jun 2014 23:31

jamwal wrote:AAMs during Vietnam war were highly unreliable and in most cases failed to perform. Comparing utility of guns in this context will not help much.


Absolutely correct. Someone somewhere has to break the mould. Today you have IR seekers doing MRAAM ranges paired with Data links (Mica IR, Aim-9x B2,and B3 9x in development) so you have a backup if your primary RF missile is not up to the mark. You have alternatives like you never did earlier. Not to say that the guns are dead, just that are an extremely unreliable way to map out an aerial campaign.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Manish_Sharma » 02 Jun 2014 01:57

barath_s wrote:Shiv, I don't disagree with you. But you underestimate the impact of missiles for WVR work. In the merge, guns AND missiles are effective; and high off boresight missiles are now becoming common. Combined with multiple kinds of sensors, it makes them more lethal. There's a saying "in a knife fight, everyone ends up dead". It's not quite that bad yet here.


http://aircraft.wikia.com/wiki/MBDA_Meteor
Meteor Unit cost 900,000 EUR 9 lakh euros = Rupees 72000000/- 7 crore 20 lakh rupees

Even a 1000 of these BVRs are going to be 7 thousand + crore rupees (Rs. 72000000000/-)

In a two front war these R-77, MICA, Meteor, Python are going to be spent soon.

Maybe home made Astra I, II will be stocked up well by 2020 at much lower cost, I guess at 40-50 lakhs each but still. In case enemies notice part of our a/c inventory are without guns they'll calculate that as soon as we run out of missiles + money our Tejas squadrons will be out of war.

Pakistan has been denied the latest versions of the air to air missiles. Access to french weapons will also help India.

amraam c7 is hardly an old or incapable missile, were they not supplied 500 or these by 2007 plus many more over the years. Against our AA-12 archer stock they are much more newer.

As for french again the MICA + Meteor will be too expensive to last a 3 weeks war against both lizardland and suaristan.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 02 Jun 2014 02:08

Dhananjay wrote:http://aircraft.wikia.com/wiki/MBDA_Meteor
Meteor Unit cost 900,000 EUR 9 lakh euros = Rupees 72000000/- 7 crore 20 lakh rupees

Even a 1000 of these BVRs are going to be 7 thousand + crore rupees (Rs. 72000000000/-)


Don't go by the website's number. The Meteor will cost much more.

In a two front war these R-77, MICA, Meteor, Python are going to be spent soon.


You'll also lose aircraft and inflict losses over the same period. The inventory of missiles will shrink but so will the inventory of launch platforms.

The Astra is absolutely necessary though. A greater stock of BVR missiles will allow the pilots to employ them more liberally with the service thus suffering a lower attrition rate.

amraam c7 is hardly an old or incapable missile, were they not supplied 500 or these by 2007 plus many more over the years. Against our AA-12 archer stock they are much more newer.


C5 not C7. The C7 and Aim-9X exports were blocked. And this is back during the relatively cozy Musharraf years. Today in contrast, the US is stonewalling requests for even second hand OHP class frigates that are over three decades old.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Philip » 02 Jun 2014 02:47

To add to what Shiv has said,has anyone examined the cost factor of having an "unlimited" stock of BVR and WVR missiles? Even the US has in some of is conflicts found it running out fast of missiles like Tomahawaks. In a war where it encounters an adversary equipped with a 1000+ inventory of 4++ fighters like China,it will be expending missiles like "Hu Flung Dung" after an overdose of Sczechwan food! For 5th-gen aircraft,their internal bays can hold around 6 AAMs max.If they're on a strike op. this results in just 2,perhaps 4 AAMs. The advances in EW,decoys,etc., have all made it harder for a first look,first shot certainty.The first few weeks will be crucial in any future major war for India.Aircraft that possess a gun will find it a most valuable asset as BVR encounters descend into WVR dogfights.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Manish_Sharma » 02 Jun 2014 04:23

OT alert /

Viv S wrote:
C5 not C7. The C7 and Aim-9X exports were blocked. And this is back during the relatively cozy Musharraf years. Today in contrast, the US is stonewalling requests for even second hand OHP class frigates that are over three decades old.

Philip saar just posted this news in PAK FA thread:

Billions to Upgrade and Up-arm Pakistan’s F-16s
| May 22, 2014 15:23 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff |

On June 28/06, the US DSCA notified Congress via a series of releases of its intention to provide Pakistan with a $5.1 billion Foreign Military Sales package to upgrade the F-16s that serve as the PAF’s top of the line fighters. Some of these items had been put on hold following the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan & Kashmir, but the request for 36 new F-16 Block 50/52s is now going ahead, along with new weapons, engine modifications, and upgrade kits for Pakistan’s older F-16 A/Bs. The buy went through, and was accompanied by the supply of 26 older F-16s from USAF surplus stocks. Then, a 2014 sale added 13 machines from from Jordan.

These items are detailed below, along with controversies the proposed sales have created, and some of the conditions attached to the sale by the US government….

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/51b-proposed-in-sales-upgrades-weapons-for-pakistans-f16s-02396/#more-2396

long article would probably fill two brf pages with the list

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 02 Jun 2014 04:40

Dhananjay wrote:OT alert /

Philip saar just posted this news in PAK FA thread:

Billions to Upgrade and Up-arm Pakistan’s F-16s


^^ Old Article.

Duly responded to on the same thread.

BTW the Jordanian sale was known back in February. Hardly 'breaking news'.



The article would. The news would NOT.

Scroll down to 'Contracts and Key Events'.

Only two news headings are relevant. Feb 19 declaring the sale and Apr 29 announcing the start of deliveries.

The rest of the DID article relates to the old F-16 deal back in 2006 and some follow-on contracts.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Cain Marko » 02 Jun 2014 04:47

Just out of curiosity:

What happens when two stealth fighters with virtually equal sensor/VLO profile face each other? Will they even detect each other at BVR ranges?

If not, the HMDS + HOBS + Gun might become crucial. So will super maneuverability.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby NRao » 02 Jun 2014 05:02

OT alert /

Philip saar just posted this news in PAK FA thread:

These items are detailed below, along with controversies the proposed sales have created, and some of the conditions attached to the sale by the US government….

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/51b ... #more-2396

long article would probably fill two brf pages with the list


That $5 billion was made public when the first UPA government was in "power" - elected by the Indian people. LoL.

Philip Ser has a way of making very, very old news very, very current.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 02 Jun 2014 05:10

Cain Marko wrote:Just out of curiosity:

What happens when two stealth fighters with virtually equal sensor/VLO profile face each other? Will they even detect each other at BVR ranges?

If not, the HMDS + HOBS + Gun might become crucial. So will super maneuverability.


If they're both out of missiles and yet want to squabble... it would.

Also, related to the running debate on the other thread, so I've posted a reply there as well.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Indranil » 02 Jun 2014 06:32

Viv S wrote:If they're both out of missiles and yet want to squabble... it would.


Actually that is the point.

As countermeasures become more and more sophisticated, and in an arena with multiple planes, it might happen that two planes are left to fight with just their guns. And at that point, you don't want to be caught with your pants down.

This has been studied quite deeply (and not published). Hence, even the stealthiest of planes with the best of BVR and WVR missiles come with guns.

P.S.
Hakim, It is always a spread because the plane is turning firing. I am pretty sure, you have seen the video of tracer bullets.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby shiv » 02 Jun 2014 07:18

The role of an Air Force in a war is both attack and defence.

Defence is usually air defence alone so that opens up the opportunity for air combat - either BVR or WVR wih missiles or guns

Offence/attack is of two types - one is to suppress enemy air defences by taking out C&C, radar and airfields. The second is to support a ground war.

An adversary will normally defend his airfields vigorously and unless those airfields can be rendered unusable by some magic they will need to be actively attacked by aircraft. Airfields are hard targets to disable and they can also be repaired in hours. If aircraft are sufficiently well protected by dispersal, camouflage and in hardened pens and attacking force may not disable an adversary air force in the early days of a war.

Ideally we should be able to achieve air dominance by a combination of destruction of enemy aircraft on the ground, disabling his airfields, rendering his aircraft blind by destroying radars and C&C centers and by shooting down at BVR any aircraft that take off. This is what was done by the US/NATO against Iraq, Serbia, and Libya. In every case the NATO/US forces were able to achieve an ideal air dominance situation. This minimized air combat to a few BVR air kills

India is unlikely to be in such a situation vis a vis Pakistan or China. That means that air combat will be very likely in such a conflict. the Indian Air Force has a tradition of attacking furiously and there is no guarantee that all Indian aircraft will be shot down by an adversary at BVR because India is not as defenceless against China/Pak as Iraq and Libya were versus NATO. Indian aircraft sooner or later will have to tangle with enemy fighters in a scenario where there may be 15 or 20 fighters in the air within a radius of 20 to 30 km -and it may not be possible for either Indian aircraft or opposing aircraft to exactly identify who is who. This is the sort of confusion that has occurred in past India Pakistan wars as several waves of Indian aircraft are entering or leaving enemy air space that also has several enemy CAPs in the area. While AEW/AWACS , IFF etc may be of some utility - the use of BVR missiles in such a situation is fraught with danger. Even shooting down one aircraft of your own side is a big loss either for India or for an adversary, It may be ideal not to get into such a situation at all - but that requires the kind of numerical and tech superiority over an adversary that NATO had over Iraq and Libya. US versus China or Russia would be different.

With the air forces of two nations together conducting 2000 or more sorties per day over each others assets in the first days of a war several things are likely to occur early in the war
1. WVR encounters
2. WVR encounters after missiles have been expended
3. Blue on Blue BVR kills/near misses
4. Reduction of stocks of BVR and short range AA missiles ensuring that fewer are carried per sortie to be used sparingly

If such an intense war goes on for more than a week or two and two similarly powerful adversaries still have considerable aircraft left as assets the need for guns is likely to get acute. That is the time when the side with gun armed aircraft will kick ass.

This sort of war would be totally different from NATO versus Serbia. NATO plus versus Iraq or NATO versus Libya. In all those wars kick ass air forces with virtually unlimited stocks backed by western Industrial economies were fighting despot led states with imported aircraft and missiles and limited stocks.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby srai » 02 Jun 2014 08:08

Defense Issues - Usefulness of BVR combat
Posted by picard578 on April 27, 2013

United States, as well as many of its allies, have always looked towards increasing range of combat as much as possible. Just as often, it failed, especially in the air, where technologists’ dream of destroying enemy air force before it reaches visual range remains unfulfilled to this day. Main reason for it is that BVR combat is, conceptually, operationally and technologically, massively complex affair. Exact extent of visual range depends on size of aircraft – while maximum visual detection range for MiG-21 is 8,5 kilometers, it is 15,37 kilometers for F-14. Smoke can extend that range by over 5,6 kilometers; while by other info, definition of BVR combat considers “BVR” to be anything beyond 37 kilometers. Optical devices such as IRST or TV cameras can extend range of visual identification of aircraft – PIRATE can identify enemy aircraft at 40 kilometers in ideal conditions.

BVR theory states that future air combat will be comprised of large “missile truck” aircraft flying at supersonic speeds, launching radar-guided missiles at targets that are way too far to be identified visually. This has resulted in development of aircraft that are very heavy (most weight little less or more than 15 metric tons empty – for example, Tornado ADV weights 14,5 metric tons, and F-22 weights 19,7 metric tons), carry large amounts of missiles, and are far more expensive and much less reliable than aircraft with bias towards visual-range combat. Yet BVR combat still has not taken lead role in air-to-air combat.

We can in fact draw paralels between modern air-to-air combat and modern infantry combat. While infantry has access to sniper rifles that allow ranges of around two kilometers, and old battle rifles had ranges of 500-1000 meters, most combat happens at ranges no greater than 100 meters, and never involves single shooters. In Vietnam, M-14 proved basically useless as basic infantry weapon when compared to AK-47. Reason for this is that, while large battle rifles were useful in static warfare of World War I, World War II and later wars saw mobile warfare develop with combat happening at low ranges, thus requiring lighter, faster-firing weapons. Result was development of sub-machine guns, as well as first assault rifles (such as German MP-44, renamed StG-44, which was world’s first assault rifle and provided inspiration for very successful AK-47; both were used by Vietcong).

In air-to-air combat, BVR missiles fill the niche of old battle rifles and modern sniper rifles, WVR missiles fill the niche of modern assault rifles, while gun fills niche of combat knife. While gun is most versatile weapon of the lot – it can be used for air-to-air work, close air support, firing warning shots towards aircraft violating forbidden airspace – it is not often used in air-to-air combat and is treated purely as fallback weapon in case missiles have been expended.

It is often forgotten is that g forces in tracking turn are a square of speed. Thus, in WVR combat, if missile travels at Mach 3 and fighter aircraft travels at Mach 0,5 (corner speed of many modern fighters) and can pull 12 g maneuvers, then missile needs to pull 432 g to hit fighter aircraft, or 133 g if fighter is travelling at Mach 0,9. This gives a Pk of 14 – 45 % for WVR missiles, as even IRIS-T can “only” pull 60 gs. But even that is only from ideal position (directly behind enemy aircraft, nose pointed towards opponent’s engine nozzles), which means that attacking fighter aircraft must be capable of putting itself into said position. Lower Pk is more likely due to nature of WVR combat, which is fought at corner speed whenever possible, and especially when countermeasures such as flares and jammers are taken into account In fact, it is possible that actual Pk may be even lower than 14%, though it most likely won’t be, as increased survivability provided by countermeasures will be countered by the fact that IR missiles themselves are passive, and aircraft does not need to use active sensors to use them, so some pilots simply won’t notice they are attacked until they get blown off the sky; this however is assuming that aircraft does not have 360*360 degree coverage with missile warners, be it IR-based, radar-based, UV-based or combination. If missile is fired outside ideal position, it has to maneuver in order to point its nose towards the target, thus lowering probability of kill; there is also a danger of targeted aircraft simply flying out of missile’s field of view. This danger is also present with active-seeker BVR missiles. In BVR, AIM-120 travels at Mach 4, and can pull 30 g within its NEZ, yet it would need 768 Gs to reliably hit a modern fighter which is maneuvering at corner speed of Mach 0,5, or 237 Gs if target is still at standard cruise speed of Mach 0,9, giving Pk between 3 and 13%; this fits perfectly with 8% Pk demonstrated against (mostly) maneuvering aircraft without ECM to date. If fighter is maneuvering at corner speed, but is still limited to 9 g by FCS (is not in override), BVR missile Pk is 5,2%.

Further, even though BVR missiles have maximum range of over 100 kilometers, their effective range against aircraft in attack is 1/5 of that – around 20 kilometers – and target beyond 40 kilometers can feel free to maneuver without even taking any possible missile shots into account, as only way these would hit is luck. One of reasons is that BVR missiles follow ballistic trajectories – AIM-120C-5 allegedly has motor burn time of 8 seconds, which gives range of around 10 kilometers before motor burns out. At ranges greater than 8 kilometers, attacking fighter can still choose wether to outmaneuver or outrun the BVR missile; at distances less than that is missile’s no-escape zone, where aircraft cannot outrun the missile, it has to outmaneuver it, but such distances automatically mean that combat is not longer beyond visual range. Ranges stated are also only true at high altitude against aircraft in attack; at low altitude, effective range of BVR missile is reduced to 25% of its range at high altitude, and range against aircraft in flight is 1/4 of that against aircraft in attack.

Proximity fuses on missiles can trigger explosion of missile if anything (like a bird) flies nearby. Warhead itself has lethal radius of 10-12 meters for late AIM-120 variants.

Missiles are not the only problem with BVR combat. There are also questions of reliable IFF, penalties for using active sensors in combat, weight, cost and complexity penalties on weapons systems caused by systems required for BVR combat, as well as training penalties caused by aforementioned penalties on weapons system.

Training penalties are probably most damaging. In 1940, Germans – outnumbered 1,5 to 1, and using inferior tanks – overran France in three weeks because they had superior personnell – both commanders and soldiers. On the Eastern Front, German Panther and Tiger I tanks achieved favorable exchange ratios against more numerous – and in many aspects superior – Soviet T-34-85, IS-I and IS-II tanks, and General Guderian favored increased production of Panzer IV equipped with long cannon over production of more capable, but more expensive, less reliable and less strategically mobile Panther (for each Panther, Germany could have produced two Panzer IVs; for Tiger I, ratio was four Panzer IVs for each Tiger). After Gulf War I, General Schwarzkopf said that the outcome of Gulf War I would have been the same if the U.S. and Iraqi armies had exchanged weapons, a statement similar to one given by IAF General Mordecai Hod after 1973 war, in which he stated that IAFs 80-1 victory against Arabs would have remained the same if both sides had exchanged the weapons. Yet BVR-oriented aircraft, low in number and hugely complex, cannot be used for training often enough. While technologists typically counter this argument by pointing to increased ability of simulators, that argument is not realistic: simulation is never perfect, as quality of the end result is never better – and is often lot worse – than quality of data used to compute it. Simulators often misinterpret reality, and support tactics that would get pilots killed in real combat. Further, simulators cannot prepare pilot for handling of shifting g forces encountered during both dogfight and BVR combat maneuvering.

Meanwhile, using active sensors is outright suicidal in combat. Aircraft using active sensors will be quickly detected and targeted by modern defense and EW suites, and unique radar footprint may allow for BVR IFF identification. This can allow passive aircraft to launch BVR infrared or anti-radiation missile, and/or to use data acquired to achieve optimal starting position and speed for following dogfight. Only countermeasure is to turn radar off and rely solely on passive sensors. IRST is especially useful here, as while air temperature at 11 000 meters is -56 degrees Celzius, airframe temperature due to air friction can reach 54,4 degrees Celzius at Mach 1,6 and 116,8 degrees Celzius at Mach 2. It is also very difficult to impossible to jam, and offers greater angular resolution than radar. Result is that flying from cloud to cloud is still a viable combat tactic; but it is not perfect either, as clouds are not always present and may not be close enough for aircraft to avoid detection in the mean time.

As for IFF issue, only reliable IFF method is visual one, especially since pilots often turn IFF transponders off to avoid being tracked. Visual IFF, unless assisted by optical sensors (be it camera or IRST), usually requires two aircraft to approach within one mile or less (sometimes as close as 400 meters), whereas minimum range of AIM-120D is 900 meters. But even when assisted by visual sensors, it may not always be reliable, as opponent may be using fighters of same type or at least of very similar visual signature.

Aircraft designed for BVR combat are significantly more complex and costlier than aircraft designed for WVR combat; I will demonstrate this on examples. F-15 was designed for BVR, and F-16 for WVR, but with similar technology; F-15C costs 126 million USD whereas F-16A costs 30 million USD, a 4:1 difference. F-15s successor, and currently most capable BVR platform in the world is F-22, whereas Gripen C is F-16s successor (in idea and aerodynamics, not in lineage), though with far more BVR capability. F-22A costs 262 million USD, compared to Gripen C’s 44 million USD, or 6:1 cost difference (all costs are unit flyaway costs in FY-2013 USD). Aside from smaller number of units bought, increased complexity means that these units fly less often: F-22s maintenance downtime is 45 MHPFH, compared to Gripen’s 10. Thus for 1 billion USD, one will have 3 F-22s flying 11 hours per week, or 22 Gripens flying 336 hours per week. Even Gripen’s cost per flight hour is 1/13 of F-22s, 4 700 USD vs 61 000 USD. Older fighters also follow this outline, with F-5E costing 940 FY1980 USD per hour compared to F-4Es cost of 2 733 FY1980 USD per hour, a 3:1 difference. Weapons are more expensive too: while AIM-120D costs 1 470 000 USD per missile, IRIS-T costs 270 000 USD, a 5:1 difference.

Weight difference is also significant. Gripen C weights 6 622 kg empty, compared to 19 700 kg empty for F-22; F-16A weights 7 076 kg compared to 12 700 kg for F-15C. It can be seen that WVR fighters are significantly smaller and lighter than contemporary BVR fighters. And with cost of 6 645 USD per kg, Gripen C is significantly cheaper per unit of weight than F-22 which costs 13 300 USD per kg, whereas F-16A costs 4 240 USD per kg, which when compared to F-15Cs 9 921 USD per kg gives similar ratio to F-22/Gripen one.

Even if previous shortcomings are disregarded, BVR combat is not always possible. If fighters are tied in defending a fixed point, or if enemy attack is not noticed on time (distance between air fields is too low, enemy manages to sneak up by using the terrain) only option is engaging in visual-range combat.

Past air-to-air combat experience also suggests that days of BVR combat being primary form of air-to-air combat are still far away, if they ever come. First BVR craze happened in 1950s, when USAF procured the “century series” fighters, and USN bought F-6D Missileer and F-4H-1 Phantom II, latter of which carried Sparrow missile; former used huge Eagle missile, similar to F-14 with its Phoenix missile. Phantom was also adapted into USAF as F-4C Phantom II. Soon, other BVR fighters – F-111, F-14, F-15 – followed. Soviets, in an arms race that was actually more about prestige than about military capability, decided to counter this development with BVR fighters of their own: Yak-28, Tu-28 and MiG-25 as counters to 3rd generation BVR fighters, with F-15 being countered by Su-27.

These fighters all followed logic of “bigger is better”. Bigger radar – focus of the logic – required bigger airframe, which in turn required bigger engines. Both weight and complexity spiralled upwards, creating fighters that were costly, flew very few sorties and had maneuvering capabilities more typical of strategic bombers than of fighter aircraft – logic being that they will not have to maneuver, as they will destroy the enemy far before it comes to the merge. Exception to this as far as US fighters are concerned are F-15 and F-22, but even that was only due to influence of Boyd’s Fighter Mafia; Su-27, being designed to counter F-15 and built with same requirement of high BVR capability and high maneuverability, also follows basic logic of large but very agile aircraft with large radar. All aircraft mentioned as being agile were developed after Vietnam War, in which failure of BVR-only logic was aptly demonstrated; yet they all relied on using superior range and technology to defeat superior numbers of “less capable” WVR fighters.

But in practice, BVR promise fell short. During the entire Cold War, 407 kills were made with missiles in eight conflicts, with reliable data for ninth conflict, Iran-Iraq war, not being avaliable. Only four saw use of radar-guided BVR missiles: Rolling Thunder and Linebacker in Vietnam, Yom Kippur War, and conflict over Bekaa Valley. In total, 144 kills were made with guns, 308 with heat-seeking missiles and 73 with radar-guided missiles. What is interesting to notice is that, while percentage of gun kills in the latest conflict, Bekaa Valley, was lower than in any other, it also held second-lowest percentage of radar-guided missile kills, and highest percentage of IR missile kills. Out of 73 radar-guided missile kills, 69 were scored within visual range, with remaining four being carefully staged outside combat. Out of these kills, two were made by Israel under intense US diplomatic pressure to establish BVR doctrine, and two were made by US in Vietnam, with one of US kills being a freindly-fire incident, a F-4 mistakenly identified as MiG-21. As there were 61 BVR shots during entire Cold War, this results in Pk of 6,6%, compared to 15% for IR missiles, and to promised BVR missile Pk of 80-90%. Even though majority of BVR missile shots in Vietnam were made from visual range, Pk was still 9,6%. While F-4 and F-105 did score numerous aerial victories in Vietnam, all except two mentioned BVR kills were made within visual range, and of these, many were achieved by gun after Top Gun course was established, securing USAF an unquestionable pilot superiority. In fact, F-4 consistently underperformed until it was given gun and pilots were taught how to dogfight, and Navy F-8, with its far lower wing loading and mass, performed far better against MiGs. And even today, missile tests are carried out against drones with limited maneuvering capability, as these are usually rebuilt old aircraft (for example, QF-4 which is a rebuilt F-4).

Further, in these 407 kills, most targets were unaware and fired at from the rear, and there were almost no head-on BVR shots due to high closing speeds of aircraft involved. This shows that good rearward visibility from cockpit is still important despite all technological advancements.

Two post-Cold War wars in Iraq are offered as examples that BVR theory has finally reached maturity and that BVR combat now is prevalent form of aerial combat. Out of 41 kills in Desert Storm, 16 involved use of BVR shots, but only five kills are known to have been made at BVR. Even then, longest-ranged kill of these five certain BVR kills was made at distance of 29,6 kilometers, and one of remaining BVR shots was made at night from what would have been visual range in daytime. Desert Storm was first conflict where more kills were made by radar-guided missiles than by IR missiles – 24 vs 10. While 24 radar-guided missile kills out of 88 shots gives Pk of 27%, F-15s killed 23 targets in 67 shots with AIM-7 (Pk 0,34), while Sidewinder launches from F-15 resulted in 8 kills from 12 shots (Pk 0,67). While F-16s launched 36 Sidewinders and scored 0 kills, at least 20 launches were accidental due to poor control stick ergonomy; F-16s in question themselves were overweight F-16Cs, so-called “more capable” variant equipped with BVR capability and tons of electronics. Iraqi Freedom was likely similar in this aspect. AIM-120, meanwhile, demonstrated BVR Pk of 0,46 in Iraqi Freedom and Allied Force (6 kills out of 13 shots).

Navy and USMC themselves achieved 21 Sparrows and 38 Sidewinders in the Desert Storm, achieving one kill with Sparrow (Pk=4,76%) and two with Sidewinders (Pk=5,26%). Reasons for such low Pk are unclear, though given F-16s problems it is possible that most launches from F-18 were accidental.

Claim that USAFs combat record proves maturity of BVR combat or even missiles in general is misleading, however. Targets that were fired at were in vast majority of cases unaware they were being fired at and thus did not take any evasive action; no targets had electronic countermeasures, support from stand-off jammers, nor comparable BVR weapon (be it radar-guided, IR or anti-radiation BVR missile). When targets were aware they were targeted and thus did take evasive action – such as when two Iraqi MiG-25s illuminated two F-15Cs with BVR radar in 1999 – BVR shots were ineffective (in example cited, US fighters made 6 BVR shots to no effect). There was also constant AWACS avaliability in both Gulf Wars, and in all wars US/Coalition aircraft had numerical superiority. Iraqi pilots also were badly trained, and most Iraqi jets did not have bubble canopy like F-16, but one that did not provide rearward visibility and was in many cases heavily framed, limiting pilot’s ability to acquire missile visually in addition to total lack of warning devices.

I will also note here a report by Air Power Australia group, found here. Some assumptions have to be fixed: missiles have demonstrated 0,34 – 0,46 Pk against non-maneuvering opponents with no ECM; 0,46 figure is for AIM-120 and is one I will use here. Thus 54% miss value is attributed to factors that have no connection to ECM or maneuvering. Out of remaining 46%, there is 93% for chance of miss. Thus BVR missile Pk against aware, maneuvering opponent using modern ECM suite is around 3%. Considering that most opponents shot at by BVR missiles during Cold War had no ECM, and some at least did not notice a missile, thus failing to take evasive action, this can be considered to be in line with demonstrated Pk.

Latest BVR craze has resulted in F-22 and F-35, both of which are utterly expensive and maintenance intensive, and latter of which is in its major characteristics more similar to century series than modern fighter aircraft. F-35 in itself is utterly incapable of handling itself in close combat due to large weight, high drag, high wing loading and low thrust to weight ratio. It can also carry at most 4 BVR missiles in internal bays. With this in mind, claims by manufacturer that F-35 is 4 times as effective in air-to-air combat as next best fighter in the air would require probability of kill for BVR missiles of 80-90%, and opponent’s complete inability to engage F-35 itself at BVR range. Track record of BVR missiles to date as well as development of infrared BVR missiles and long range QWIP IRST sensors mean that any such assumptions are nothing more than wishful thinking on part of sales department and high technology addicts.

Result is that eye remains most important sensor on the aircraft, and pilot who looses sight of the opponent during maneuvers is likely to be quickly shot down. Secondary are onboard passive sensors such as IRST and RWR, followed by offboard sensors – both passive and active – whereas onboard active sensors take last place. Human factors still trump technology, and higher cost does not mean more capability in a real world combat scenario – even with missiles, both BVR and WVR, pilot has to know how to achieve ideal firing solution, and more electronics means more weight, which hurts airframe performance.

Considering that BVR missiles generally cost 2-5 times as much as IR WVR missiles, yet are 44% as effective, it is easy to calculate that they are only 8,8-22% as cost-effective as IR missiles, while in most cases not offering noticeable advantage in engagement range, and at same time incurring cost and capability penalties on aircraft designed to use them.

For end, I will adress an argument that is obviously invalid but very often does come up anyway: one of exercises in which F-22 “dominates” against “legacy” fighters, with kill ratios between 10:1 and 30:1. But these exercises are bogus, as they depend on incorrect assumptions about air combat to produce results. In them, most kills are achieved at BVR as BVR missiles are assigned Pk of 90%, despite never achieving such performance; enemy anti-radar measures such as anti-radiation missiles or missile cueing with RWRs are not allowed; most F-22s opponents went without avionics upgrade for a very long time and thus likely don’t have ability to jam AESA radar; Red Force simply charges in, from known vector; and real fleet cost and fleet readiness are not represented, which means that F-22 doesn’t face force ratios it would face in real world. Due to that, exercises are only useful as a propaganda tool, having no connection to reality of air combat, and using them to argue for usefulness of stealth and BVR combat is nothing more than a circular logic.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 02 Jun 2014 09:53

Cain Marko wrote:Just out of curiosity:

What happens when two stealth fighters with virtually equal sensor/VLO profile face each other? Will they even detect each other at BVR ranges?

If not, the HMDS + HOBS + Gun might become crucial. So will super maneuverability.


A very good question although the answer may purely be an academic one as its highly unlikely that two opposing air forces have absolutely the equal degree of stealth, equal degree of battlefield situational awareness, equal degree of tactics and equal degree of sensor performance so as to have absolute parity at medium range combat (BVR should be regarded as medium range combat). Even though this may be highly unlikely we can discuss what according to us is likely to happen. Lets say we buy 300 PAKFA's, and china does the same. Medium range combat then is more likely to come to the IR domain as stealth on stealth means RF degradation (hopefully the Russians are smart enough not to add 360 degree active sensors on the PAKFA like the Su-35) so your IRST or any broad DAS like systems and your Medium range IR weapons come into play. Western air forces have built up the IR domain with MRAAM like missiles. The Mica-IR was the first to do so (despite being extremely expensive to acquire like most european weapons) and the USAF and USN decided to take the 2 way data link from the Aim-120C Amraam and add it to the Block 2 Aim-9x which has extended range compared to the previous sidewinder. The block 3 adds a new motor, and from reports it will boost range by 60% and put the Aim-9x block 3 into the MRAAM class of weapons (even the block 2 is called a beyond WVR weapon). The ASRAAM requires a data link but does not have it yet, but it is also technically a longer ranged WVR weapon. So the air forces that can afford it, are diversifying their Medium range weapons so that there is not an over reliance on one sort of targeting. The argument also assumes that the "stakeholders" will be happy to concede the BVR and WVR domains and plan for gun combat. This is also not likely to happen so you'll have advances in weapons, advances in AEW capability, and advances elsewhere to ensure that the scenario of SA, Stealth and sensor parity does not play out in real life. As the COPE exercises have shown, a 4th gen aircraft has no "real" advantage in BFM compared to a 3rd gen aircraft. In the Rafale vs F-22 exercises and in the Typhoon vs F-22 exercises the conclusion was that the 4.5 gen aircraft need not fear the TVC F-22 at BFM. Parity is quickly achieved through weapons, thinks like HMS's and tactics despite of having older aircraft. What this tells us that Close quarter fighting with expensive aircraft has to be avoided at all costs unless the air force concerned with trading losses. No modern air force would be willing to trade fighter pilot for fighter pilot, it degrades morale, inventory and basically ensures that the air force with more money and quantity wins.

To add to what Shiv has said,has anyone examined the cost factor of having an "unlimited" stock of BVR and WVR missiles? Even the US has in some of is conflicts found it running out fast of missiles like Tomahawaks. In a war where it encounters an adversary equipped with a 1000+ inventory of 4++ fighters like China,it will be expending missiles like "Hu Flung Dung" after an overdose of Sczechwan food! For 5th-gen aircraft,their internal bays can hold around 6 AAMs max.If they're on a strike op. this results in just 2,perhaps 4 AAMs. The advances in EW,decoys,etc., have all made it harder for a first look,first shot certainty.The first few weeks will be crucial in any future major war for India.Aircraft that possess a gun will find it a most valuable asset as BVR encounters descend into WVR dogfights.



Well, stock and inventory have to be tactically built up according to the air force's doctrine of operating at the various notional scenarios. The "logistical train" to get the required stuff is also very important. Secondly offense trumps defense in this case, when you have to deal with depleting inventories on a defensive force. Thats where your Ground missiles, your tactical strike aircraft, your heavy bombers (for the US and Russia), your intercontinental strike fleet, and things like prompt global strike come into play. The best way to prevent your Air to Air missile stock from depleting is to make a big nasty hole in the enemy's runways. If you talk to various experts on nordic defense, they'll tell you that its fashioned to make it extremely painful for USSR/Russia to attack it, meaning that its going to HURT them a lot to attack. No one doubts that if russia has the (hypothetical) desire to take over the nordic countries that it will, even their defenses rely on the fact that NATO and the US will jump in and do something about it. No matter what capability a defensive force builds up weapon depletion is a serious concern and the best way to ensure that this is not a case is to be have an offensive capability you can inflict disproportionate damage on an enemy. Destroying aircraft with aircraft from the air is a rather inefficient way of going about degrading an enemy air force ;)

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby shiv » 02 Jun 2014 09:59

Could huge inline images please be avoided? It makes reading very difficult and it makes it easier to ignore what might be a valuable post.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 02 Jun 2014 10:04

shiv wrote:Could huge inline images please be avoided? It makes reading very difficult and it makes it easier to ignore what might be a valuable post.


I have reduced the size of the image, didn't realize how large they were until i had posted them.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby shiv » 02 Jun 2014 10:07

brar_w wrote: The best way to prevent your Air to Air missile stock from depleting is to make a big nasty hole in the enemy's runways.

Have you read Jagan's book "Eagles over Bangladesh"? It is highly relevant in this regard.

Making holes in runways is not enough because they can be repaired overnight and planes formerly hidden away will make holes in our runways. So the holes we made yesterday have to be reopened today, and tomorrow and the day after. Ten previously unused runways that were not attacked because our entire air force was attacking the 20 usable runways will be brought into action.

After this goes on for some time someone is going to fall short of inventory of something - either holemaking bombs, AAMs or SAMs.

Thanks for the size reduction of images.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 02 Jun 2014 10:10

Have you read Jagan's book "Eagles over Bangladesh"? It is highly relevant in this regard.

Making holes in runways is not enough because they can be repaired overnight and planes formerly hidden away will make holes in our runways. So the holes we made yesterday have to be reopened today, and tomorrow and the day after. Ten previously unused runways that were not attacked because our entire air force was attacking the 20 usable runways will be brought into action.

After this goes on for some time someone is going to fall short of inventory of something - either holemaking bombs, AAMs or SAMs.

Thanks for the size reduction of images.


The point of bringing up "holes on runways" was to be able to limit the enemy from taking off with its defense fighters and UAV's which enables you to send your tactical strike fighters in to take care of the rest of the airbase including hangers, command and control, aircrafts in the open etc. Even a few hours of uncontested (from the fighters) ops would go a long way in degrading the fighters and their ability to effectively conduct an aerial campaign once they are back up in the air. Destroy an ammo dump, fuel etc and you extend that from a few hours to a few days, have large bombs to take care of hangers and you extend that by even longer. It all depends upon how much offensive punch an air force has and how effective it is from the sensor and weapon point of view. The point being that in an aggressive air force scenario, the air force that takes the initiatives from an offense standpoint will always try to engage the opponent in the air so as to stretch the defensive air force's logistical chain and deplete its resources through rapid offensive ops. The counter to such tactics is not to buy an "unlimited" amount of BVR and WVR missiles but to develop potent offensive capability so as to destroy the enemy's tactical aircraft on the ground through your own strike capability. Here the ability to penetrate air defenses and seize the initiative is very important, so are things like cruise missiles, UAV's, Precision munitions and targeting sensors that can discriminate and provide valuable Damage assessment. Like I said the best AIR DOMINANCE aircraft or weapon is the one that can "remove" the most enemy fighters from the fight and the best way to do so is through asymmetrical means such as cruise missiles, PGM's and strike aircraft through offensive ops. This is obviously from a large scale war point of view where inventories of missiles will be stretched and so will other things like aircraft (down times are important in high intensity prolonged conflict), pilot workload, support, fuel etc

The outcome of the war was determined during its first hours, as the result of a devastating attack against Egyptian air bases. Later that morning, as additional Arab states entered the war, the IAF quickly responded by striking Syrian, Jordanian and even Iraqi airfields. By day's end, IAF Commander Mordechai (Motti) Hod proudly announced that the Arab air forces had been destroyed.


A few statistics reveal the extent of Israel's air superiority: with only 200 fighters, the IAF destroyed 391 enemy planes on the ground and 60 in dogfights.

In three hours in June, 1967, the IAF achieved one of the most spectacular victories in the history of modern warfare. During these fateful moments, Israeli fighters struck a crippling blow to the Egyptian Air Force by destroying most of its aircraft on the ground. During the tension-filled weeks that preceded the war, all efforts were focused on the operation. As Arab leaders whipped their populations into a militant frenzy, IAF maintenance forces whipped their aircraft into shape.

The planners concentrated on Egypt, the leader of the Arab world. They risked nearly all of the IAF's 200 fighters on the attack. Only 12 planes were held back to protect Israel's skies. The first wave struck precisely at 07:45, the daily change-over time at Egyptian air bases. Eleven fields were initially targeted. Special emphasis was placed on destroying the Tupelov and Ilyushin bombers which posed a strategic threat to Israel.

As the attack began, fighters dropped bombs designed to crater the runways, preventing enemy aircraft from taking off. This was followed by an intricate pattern of strafing runs, which caught scores of planes trapped on the ground. The perfect execution of this difficult aerial “choreography” was the result of countless hours of training. The first wave was a brilliant success: 189 planes, nearly half the Egyptian air force, lay burning. The second wave pressed the advantage against Egypt. Fourteen bases were hit and 107 more planes destroyed.

Later that morning, Syrian Migs and Jordanian artillery attacked Israel. Within one hour, Israeli planes were on their way to these countries, catching Migs and Hunters on the ground and in the air. By the end of the first day, the IAF controlled the skies, paving the way to victory. Not since the Battle of Britain had so many owed so much to so few.



http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jso ... 67iaf.html

As this shows, the best anti-fighter weapon was not an a2a missile or a cannon but the good old a2g munition coupled with highly trained pilots on a daring strike mission. The IDF removed the looming threat of having a limited number of fighters and air to air missiles, not by a massive build up of weapon inventory by through seizing control of the enemy through an effective air to ground campaign. Training,planning, execution and the good old strike mission was used to compensate for numerical inferiority.
Last edited by brar_w on 02 Jun 2014 13:48, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Austin » 02 Jun 2014 10:16

The big advantage that guns have is that they are jam proof you can spoof or use countermeasure against bullet that is perhaps flying towards you at 900 m/sec

For all the virtues of Missile ( BVR/WVR ) they have sensitive electronics that can be jammed or spoofed , if you know you are under attack via ESM/EO system you can out monouver the missile and start taking countermeasure early on.

All BVR/WVR missile have certain probability of kill under certain conditions, change the conditions the Pk value changes changes drastically , things like atmospheric condition also affects its sensors. Even if fired in volley against a target the missile can be spoofed , jammed or out manouvered.

All in All even though the BVR/WVR missile is much better than what we saw in Vietnam/Gulf War/Kosovo , the ESM/EW/ECCM also also kept pace and its any ones guess how one system will operate against the other in complex battle field varient with so many variables put into picture.

Hence Gun is a Safe Bet and Training with Gun in CCM/BFM as much critical as it was in WW 2 , Its a passport to safety when all the whee bang fails.
Last edited by Austin on 02 Jun 2014 11:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 02 Jun 2014 10:23

Austin has it about right. Its something you can fall back upon in case the "worst" case scenario actually becomes a reality. Its not much apart from that, as an aerial campaign that has to rely on broad gun fighting due to its missiles being rendered impotent has an entire set of other troubles that it will have to face. Just imagine the resources that an air force would have to employ to protect a zone or an air base if it only had to rely on guns to do so, that is why air forces around the world spend a ton of money on developing newer versions of their missiles and capabilities.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Austin » 02 Jun 2014 11:28

^^ I wouldnt call it is Worst Scenerio or Plan B , It part of Plan A in context of Indo-Pakistan we would see far more Gun Kills compared to missile kills.

From what I read and heard from Pilots the IAF trains all its fighter pilot aggressively for gun combat and there is very good reason for that.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 02 Jun 2014 11:34

It all depends upon when the air combat takes place (time frame), what aircraft are involved and what is our level of capability at that point. Say we acquire the rafale in the required numbers. Have the ASTRA cleared for all fighters, have the R-77 and the latest IR missiles. Would gun kills still be the dominant way to achieve kills in a potential conflict with the pakistanis? Why would be not use the resources that we have at our disposal? (from our AEW fleet to our networks, Ground radars, SAM's, BVR and WVR missiles). Training is something that all forces do for both BVR and WVR with the latter having the gun fighting in the syllabus.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Indrajit » 02 Jun 2014 13:28

Good points but the R-73 & Python IV/V will have a huge impact in all the merges.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Austin » 02 Jun 2014 13:47

If i recollect correctly the news out of the French and US Airforce during exercise with IAF seems to be lacking in close combat battle as they had focused on BVR combat but IAF pilots scored well over both in WVR combat and the kills for MKI was very lopsided in IAF favour during DACT.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 02 Jun 2014 13:58

The doctrine in the US has shifted in the last 5-6 years with the arrival of HOBS missiles and JHMCS into the legacy fleet. Post cold war a large amount of tactical training and doctrine was to leverage the huge Situational awareness advantage against its immediate threats so as to be extremely potent at BVR. Investments into WVR both from a systems point of view and a training point of view took a back seat. With the arrival of things like the Aim-9x, JHMCS this has changed the basic ability of the air force to conduct close combat. Mutual exercises and even red flags are all well and good but they are more for interoperability and mutual proximity than a hardcore evaluation of invited air-forces or to showcase your own tactics to invited forces in a completely transparent capacity. This obviously applies to both sides. It could be said in the late nineties and early 2000's that the western air forces were putting WVR in the back burner however that can no longer be said now given that the Aim-9x block 2 and block 3 are far more ambitious projects compared to the Aim-120C7 and D variants, the state of the JHMCS adoption in the USAF and USN and the HMS that is now operational with the French rafales, and the fact that sensors that aid close combat such as DAS are being incorporated into newer aircraft from the get go. Even the F-22 is getting a "fitting" for a new HMS for its next few block increments.

http://news.usni.org/2014/05/16/air-for ... -22-raptor

Even the local incorporation has been extensive in addition to the strong 9x sidewinder procurement, and the strong commitment to procuring block 2 and developing block3. The JHMCS is already in its second version

VSI has produced more than 4,500 joint helmet mounted cueing systems (JHMCS) for the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft


http://jhmcsii.com/

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Austin » 02 Jun 2014 14:32

^^ US has hardly fought with an equal enemy far less a superior one and more ever they have fought with crushing Numerical and massive Technology superiority over its adversary often than not with the combined power of NATO countries.

We dont have that luxury and have to fight an enemy on which we may not enjoy massive technology superiority far less a numerical one and likely with political constrains so that it doesnt cross a certain threshold ( like Kargil ) , So we need to tune the warfare within these and other constrains and that is what IAF would be doing as well in its Doctrine, Planning and operations.

I guess I have digressed far away from LCA discussion so lets keep this for some other thread and other times.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 02 Jun 2014 14:49

Austin, with the technology upgrade curve that the IAF is on, and the technology depletion that the Pakistani air force is going to get i see no difference in 10 years time between our technological superiority over the pakistanis compared to that of the USAF vis-a-vis iraq in the original gulf war with the added advantage to us of fighting from home. The only way i see pakistani recover is if they are given the J20 or the 31 by china, they are unlikely to be able to afford it so it practically has to be handed down.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Austin » 02 Jun 2014 15:07

brar_w wrote:Austin, with the technology upgrade curve that the IAF is on, and the technology depletion that the Pakistani air force is going to get i see no difference in 10 years time between our technological superiority over the pakistanis compared to that of the USAF vis-a-vis iraq in the original gulf war with the added advantage to us of fighting from home. The only way i see pakistani recover is if they are given the J20 or the 31 by china, they are unlikely to be able to afford it so it practically has to be handed down.


Yes thats the argument I have been hearing since early 90's that I have followed them but the point I am making is PAF is not as technologically backward and IAF does not have a Crushing Numerical and Massive Technological superiority this has been the hallmark of US led operations in past 2 decades ( not to mention the many years of sanctions preceeding the war that makes the enemy economically weak )

PAF is gradually adding to its fleet via F-16 , BVR ,SHORDS , JF_17 and who knows in future J-10 ... and War is just too complex with many variable and IAF would be operating with its hand tied by political constrains in future ( unless ofcourse insanity prevails and we all go nuclear )

And just because some one is massively superior does not guarantee any thing as the Kosovo air has shown that having both Technology and Numerical Superiority Serbia managed to persist in many areas by just improvising and learning thing out of box to adapt as war proceeded , You never know Shit Airforce might learn too , might want to read the link below by what i mean.

http://www.ausairpower.net/APJ-Lambeth-Mirror.html
http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-04.html

Also do not forget none of the NATO Countries or US ever faced the challenge of bombs and missile falling in their own hearland which were well protected by virtue of being 1000 of miles aways from any known enemy BM or Aircraft threats .....when bombs fall on your own Malls , Cities and other civilan/military areas then the dynamics changes too ........we dont have that luxury.
Last edited by Austin on 02 Jun 2014 15:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby brar_w » 02 Jun 2014 15:10

Of course that is a given, and no where did i advocate getting out of gun combat. All i said was that as a planning and warfighting level the plan to use just guns is for most if not all air forces the last resort scenario unless those air forces have to rely on a lack of technology, a weapons crunch or simply bad tactics. If we think that the future conflict with the PAF will be mostly through gun kills then perhaps its time to arm our fighter fleet with gun pods for greater battlefield persistence ;) Heck even the good old B-52 managed to get a gun killon a mig 21 once :)

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby shiv » 02 Jun 2014 15:38

brar_w you have made a point about the ability to attack enemy air bases from the air which has the following attributes:
1. You are 100% correct in my view
2. Your view will get little or no traction in most of the internet discussion forums that I read on and off simply because the average aircraft enthusiast is a sucker for "air combat" and anything that aids air combat becomes a "must have" over and above anything else - with the attack/mud moving ability being relegated to some kind of second class role and the "fighter jocks" and top guns being portrayed as heroic Brad Pitts. This is a recurring theme in a whole lot of discussions of air combat.

In reality attack/mud moving is not a second class role at all. It is THE primary role and air combat comes up only for self defence of our attackers and for defence of our assets. Even so the defence in many cases is often ground to air guns and missiles. It is only the PAF and Paki enthusiasts who talk as if air defence and air combat is all that combat aircraft are meant for and discussions go on for years and hundreds of pages about WVR/BVR or manoeuvrability and CAPs. The latter things are important but in real war they will form less than 50% of sorties flown

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Austin » 02 Jun 2014 16:04

brar_w wrote:Of course that is a given, and no where did i advocate getting out of gun combat. All i said was that as a planning and warfighting level the plan to use just guns is for most if not all air forces the last resort scenario unless those air forces have to rely on a lack of technology, a weapons crunch or simply bad tactics. If we think that the future conflict with the PAF will be mostly through gun kills then perhaps its time to arm our fighter fleet with gun pods for greater battlefield persistence ;) Heck even the good old B-52 managed to get a gun killon a mig 21 once :)


Which is fine , Its just that your post on US and Western warfighting doctrine under different Geopolitical and Military context would have little to no relevance to IAF ..... so things that works just well for US and its allies will not be the same for IAF or vice verse.


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