Monday, July 30, 2012

F-22: Journalism vs. Punk Journalism

Is David Axe a ‘Punk’?

If only ‘Punks’ practice ‘Punk Journalism’, we would have to say… yes. Otherwise?

Before you answer the question, let us first illustrate some of the key differences between ‘Journalism’ and ‘Punk Journalism’ to perhaps help you make up your mind.

(Note: all bold emphasis and brackets ‘[]’ are mine)

Journalism Title: IN FOCUS: German Eurofighters impress during Red Flag debut

Punk Journalism Title: “How to Defeat the Air Force’s Powerful Stealth Fighter

F-22 Raptor (Source ACC)
Journalism is an attempt to provide a balanced story:

As part of the Distant Frontier exercise, F-22s from the USAF's 525th Fighter Squadron faced off against the German fighters in visual-range basic fighter manoeuvres (BFM) combat training... 
While Grune [Luftwaffe] does not directly say that the Eurofighters emerged as the overall victors, he strongly implies it. "I put out some whiskey. If they come back with some good performances, and if you know what the goal is from a BFM setup, and you achieve that, then I will pay you whiskey," he says. "And I paid quite a lot of whiskey."... 
That account, however, is strongly disputed by USAF sources flying the F-22. "It sounds as though we have very different recollections as to the outcomes of the BFM engagements that were fought," one Raptor pilot says….  
USAF sources say that the Typhoon has good energy and a pretty good first turn, but that they were able to outmanoeuvre the Germans due to the Raptor's thrust vectoring. Additionally, the Typhoon was not able to match the high angle of attack capability of he F-22. "We ended up with numerous gunshots," another USAF pilot says….  
Regardless of their differing accounts, the USAF was grateful for the chance to train with the Luftwaffe. "We optimise the opportunities we get to participate in dissimilar air combat training, as those opportunities are all too rare," says Lt Col Paul Moga, commander of the 525th Fighter Squadron. "Our recent BFM hops with the German air force Typhoons were outstanding….

‘Punk Journalism’ tries to sell you a single POV that supports a predetermined meme:

In mid-June, 150 German airmen and eight twin-engine, non-stealthy Typhoons arrived at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska for an American-led Red Flag exercise involving more than 100 aircraft from Germany, the U.S. Air Force and Army, NATO, Japan, Australia and Poland. Eight times during the two-week war game, individual German Typhoons flew against single F-22s in basic fighter maneuvers meant to simulate a close-range dogfight....  
The results were a surprise to the Germans and presumably the Americans, too. “We were evenly matched,” Maj. Marc Gruene told Combat Aircraft’s Jamie Hunter. The key, Gruene said, is to get as close as possible to the F-22 … and stay there. “They didn’t expect us to turn so aggressively.” ... 
Gruene said the Raptor excels at fighting from beyond visual range with its high speed and altitude, sophisticated radar and long-range AMRAAM missiles. But in a slower, close-range tangle — which pilots call a “merge” — the bigger and heavier F-22 is at a disadvantage. “As soon as you get to the merge … the Typhoon doesn’t necessarily have to fear the F-22,” Gruene said. ... 
This is not supposed to be the sort of reaction the F-22 inspires. For years the Air Force has billed the Raptor as an unparalleled aerial combatant. Even former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who in 2009 famously cut F-22 production to just 187 copies, called the stealth jet “far and away the best air-to-air fighter ever produced” and predicted “it will ensure U.S. command of the skies for the next generation.”

Eurofighter Typhoon (Source: Wikipedia)
Journalism will present valuable information to help the reader understand the story in the larger context:

While certain uncontrollable factors such as weather and manoeuvring limitations did not allow for full-up engagements, it is suffice to say that there was much learning across the board. The details of each set-up are privy only to the pilots that flew them, as that is the sacred standard among fighter pilots... 
"Its [F-22’s] unique capabilities are overwhelming from our first impressions in terms of modern air combat," [Commander of JG74, Colonel] Pfeiffer says. "But once you get to the merge, which is only a very small spectrum of air combat, in that area the Typhoon doesn't have to fear the F-22 in all aspects."...

The Typhoons were stripped of their external fuel tanks and slicked off as much as possible before the encounter with the Raptors, says Grune, who adds that in that configuration, the Typhoon is an "animal". [How ‘slick’ is still a feasible Air-to-Air configuration?]

Punk Journalism will contain known falsehoods when it is believed it will advance the meme:

And it’s [F-22 is] slowly getting taken off the probation it incurred after seemingly suffocating pilots... [Combat Edge Flight Ensemble has been determined to be the problem and (wait for it)….it is NOT part of the F-22]  
Despite the historical facts, there persists in Air Force circles “a hypothetical vision of ultra-long range, radar-based, air-to-air combat,” to quote air power skeptic Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the brute-simple F-16 and A-10 warplanes. [Sprey is not a co-designer of either the A-10 or F-16. He participated in the development of the initial REQUIREMENTS. BTW: This is called a “fallacious appeal to authority”.]


I now put it to the reader: How ‘Punk’ does the ‘Journalism’ have to be before it can only be written by a punk? Or perhaps David Axe is just phoning in POGO talking points these days?

8 comments:

Solomon said...

oh i'm linking to this! another good one!

JeffB said...

I don't see it. He reports what the Germans claimed, how is that being a punk? And the stuff the Germans said isn't that odd either, you always get guys saying "yeah, we'll you should see the other guy" after they've been in a dust up. The truth will be somewhere imbetween, it actually sounds like the Eurofighters did pretty well.

SMSgt Mac said...

JeffB, I don't know how I could have made it any plainer:
A. Punk Journalism’ tries to sell you a single POV that supports a predetermined meme vs, a balanced and more complete story.
B.Punk Journalism will contain known falsehoods when it is believed it will advance the meme instead of (in fact often to obsfuscate) facts that do not support the meme.
Both articles indicated the Typhoons did well. The real 'Journalism' piece cited an AF participant as saying it.
Would it help if we noted that the JOurnalism piece was published and in the piblic record well before the Punk Journalism Piece?
Don't tell me you don't see any facts or quotes in the real, Snark free Journalism piece that contradict or at severely attenuate the assertions made in the Punk Journalism piece.

SMSgt Mac said...

I shouldn't comment from phone. Too easy to fat finger.;-)

Nuno Gomes said...

SMSgt Mac ,do you think that the F-35 will fair well against the eurocanards or the SU-35S ?Sites like APA(I know...)makes you belive that in a dogfight the F-35 will be killed...Of course they dont talk about pilot abilatie (or lack off)or the sensors and weapons of the F-35...I would love the know your take on this ...

SMSgt Mac said...

Nuno,
Yes I do think the F-35 will do well against any opponent on the drawing boards or in the sky. It's clear that the F-35 (A model anyway) will be a peer to the F-16 in maneuverability just from what the pilots are saying about it already. With Low Observables and the systems on board, it is clear it will have first look-first shot opportunities the majority of the time. Combine these features with superior training (something the services MUST insist on now and in the future) and evolved team tactics, and I wouldn't want to fly against it in anybody else's shoes. I've been toying with doing a comprehensive series (kind of like what I did with close air support) on what Low Observables and F-35 systems mean to the entire engagement sequence. If I did write it up, I could use it to spank the so called 'reformers' and journalistas. I'm wading through a few of my more recent Radar/LO textbooks now in search of unclassified support info. I've found quite a bit, but the difficulty is in trying to relate complex subjects to people who either 1. Really haven't the intellectual rigor to grasp such a complex topic (even without the math) or 2. Will use any wiggle room they get to cling to their denial -- you have to cut off every tautological escape route, and even then they'll employ a 'yes but' Transactional Analysis game to save their sorry faces. Lots of work, but I may do it if I can tie it into some work I'm currently doing.
I've got everything I want except enough time these days.

Nuno Gomes said...

I will be looking ansiously for your words on subject...again sorry for the bad english,and keep up the good work...it is time for somebody to write scientifically about this...

8ad5b0fc-dcaf-11e1-a1d3-000bcdca4d7a said...

Wondering if there were any flight restrictions on the F22s (due to the who combat edge suit) that may have impacted the performance here.

Another musing... does that Typhoon have a radar signature of a freight train, or am I just showing what a novice I am?