Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Double 0" POGO and the F-35: Update

POGO's operative in South Korea. MIA or asleep at the wheel?

Posted Earlier:
So While POGO’s Freeman is claiming the Defense Industry is employing ‘Guerilla Tactics”, I’ve noticed a marked uptick in the foreign blog and online alternative newspapers containing references to POGO’s pet ‘expert’ commentators. POGO ‘special operators/fellow travelers’ seem to be most active in F-35 Partner nations where economic conditions are tightest and in countries that represent existing or emerging markets for F-35 Foreign Military Sales (FMS). What a surprise (Not!). The most recent one to catch my eye was an English-version of a Korean ‘alternative’ paper article by one delightfully named ‘Stuart Smallwood’ who also mirrored most of his piece at his own blog....
Smallwood’s entire post reads like a POGO press release, and it is quite obvious from his phrasing and the conclusions surrounding his commentary that Mr. Smallwood (a ‘grad student’ in "Asian Studies" out of Canada now mucking around in other people’s cultures, Eh?) that he hasn’t a freakin’ clue as to what he is writing about. In the comments thread of his ‘blog’ last night I posted a challenge...

(see thread graphic below)

The first and last lesson provided to POGO's Man-In-South-Korea, Stuart Smallwood, was provided 2 days ago, but has not yet been posted in his thread.  Whether he has not had time to review the comment, is formulating his response prior to posting, or awaiting further guidance from CINC POGO, I have no idea (or really care). If POGO/Reformer modus operandi holds in this case, expect either no response or emphatic misdirection or mischaracterization on some related point.
I provided Mr. Smallwood with the following, as I believe it was the second-lowest hanging fruit and I'm rather pressed for time these days. I believe the only changes are those that allow me to format and link differently in a post vs. a thread elsewhere. If I DO eventually 'fisk' the total drivel POGO spoon-fed him, I will probably do so in the larger context of the battle of ideas and as battlefield prep for deflating future POGO spewings.  The remainder of this post is what I commented on at Smallwood's blog.

Note: I am somewhat curious as to how South Korea views foreign nationals trying to influence South Korean policy decisions while they are guests within South Korea. While not a big deal in the US (Apart from 'shut up--you stupid foreigner!' criticisms), in many countries that kind of activity is taboo (Mexico comes to mind).

RE: “ Wheeler says the complex radar systems and stealth coating on the aircraft make it too heavy to be a close-up fighter airplane.”
First– some background since you are new to the subject.
WW has been peddling this ‘too heavy’ trope ever since the Fighter Mafia failed to keep more advanced systems off the F-16. If the Mafia had their way, the F-16 would still be a one-trick-pony-day-fighter. WW and Co. habitually frame air combat as either BVR or ‘close-in’, magically moving past that period of initial closure where “who detects and targets who first” is paramount.

Actual Debunking:
We don’t even have to get to the parts WW/POGO never talk about here. Let’s debunk the ‘too heavy’ notion up front.

 ONCE you are in a furball, the ability to maneuver and sustain energy (see Boyd’s Energy-Maneuvering theory) is important. It’s importance varies by the relative ability to place weapons (point at) on the target while maneuvering among other things. Let us note here that the F-35 can fire missiles at aircraft that are behind it, but ignore this for the ‘maneuvering’ discussion.  The F-35A is planned to replace the F-16, and it is designed to have equal or better kinematics in a combat configuration than an F-16. The public is beginning to be told this by sources other than Lockheed Martin or 'Test Pilots' (link):
The veteran F-16 operational tester and Weapons School grad shared some of his impressions the F-35. The jet is powerful, stable and easy to fly… 
...A combat-configured F-16 is encumbered with weapons, external fuel tanks, and electronic countermeasures pods that sap the jet’s performance. “You put all that on, I’ll take the F-35 as far as handling characteristic and performance, that’s not to mention the tactical capabilities and advancements in stealth,” he says. “It’s of course way beyond what the F-16 has currently.” 
The F-35′s acceleration is “very comparable” to a Block 50 F-16. “Again, if you cleaned off an F-16 and wanted to turn and maintain Gs and [turn] rates, then I think a clean F-16 would certainly outperform a loaded F-35,” Kloos says. “But if you compared them at combat loadings, the F-35 I think would probably outperform it.”
The F-16, Kloos says, is a very capable aircraft in a within visual range engagement–especially in the lightly loaded air-to-air configuration used during training sorties at home station. “It’s really good at performing in that kind of configuration,” Kloos says. “But that’s not a configuration that I’ve ever–I’ve been in a lot of different deployments–and those are the configurations I’ve never been in with weapons onboard.”
So there you have it. The first operational pilot to qualify on the F-35A, who is also a Weapons School grad, and has been an F-16 OT&E pilot... gives a big ‘thumbs up’ to what LM and the JSF program have been telling us all along.

Expect more glowing pilot reports. From this operational pilot we receive confirmation that the F-35 is only about as ‘bad’ as the aircraft it is replacing, which is exactly what it was designed to be, and OBTW means it is on par with an aircraft that is still one of the world’s premier dogfighters (F-16 is especially ‘hot’ below 20000 ft).

Now let me add just a little of my own aeronautical (BSc, MSc, Decades of flight test, etc.) knowledge for your ruminations. What LtCol Kloos didn’t mention (because he probably doesn’t know) is the true F-35 effective wing area and loading. Neither does WW, any other so-called ‘reformer’, or any outsider. Because the fuselage itself creates lift and adds to the effective wing area. Wing area is the 'denominator' in the wing-loading figure of merit. Outsiders can only make WAGs as to the wing loading and in turn the maneuvering capabilities of the F-35. They are even bigger WAGs if they don’t know the Lift/Drag ratio, total drag, or installed thrust of the engine at varying power settings and airspeeds. Also, because the F-35 will fight ‘clean’ without external pylons and weapons on ‘Day 1’ of a conflict, when it enters into a tight turn it will have a fraction of the parasitic drag of an F-16 or any other non-LO aircraft. In all likelihood, the F-35 will bleed off a lot less speed performing the same turn as an F-16.

It would have been a shorter lesson If I had just chosen to debunk the “It’s too fast to find targets or distinguish enemies from friends on the ground” canard (I can provide if desired). But the Fighter Mafia ‘simple is better’ talking point mindlessly parroted by a long-disenfranchised Congressional staffer with ZERO technical qualification always deserves a good smack-down.

I may just take down every-stinking ‘point’ the POGO boys fed you at my place later, but I’m getting bored with exploding their logical fallacies.
Sorry it took so long to respond. Work, family, and a Crankshaft Position Sensor took up the bulk of my time this week.

1 comment:

Nuno Gomes said...

Very well put ...I really like the way you write and expose your ideas...I couldnt agree more whit what you write...there are still a few concepts that the reformers talk about that i would like you to write about...like the too fast to find targets(the A-10 being the only platform capable of effective CAS and all that).Continue the good work ...-sorry for the bad english but remenber i am Portuguese...