Wednesday, August 28, 2013

F-35 Critics: Same Sh*t, Different Century

Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One Before

(Update with the missing bits filled in and additional content after the original post below)

Fill in the Blanks:

Despite its ability to dominate the XX arena, the F-XX attracted a vocal and influential group of detractors who continued to fight a battle for small, cheap dogfighters. Gathering advocates from several walks of life, a splinter group of congressmen, journalists, aircraft designers, former fighter pilots, and military analysts marched under the banner of XX XX XX XX to demonstrate the folly of the F-XX…
...The XX who focused on money saw the F-XX as too expensive at $XX million, seven times the cost of an F-XX and twenty times the cost of an F-XX. They further argued that the airplane was XX XX and easy to XX that the pilot of a XX F-XX XX fighter could easily get inside the F-XX pilot’s OODA loop and wreak havoc. Ironically, the very argument XX XX used proved the case against them. The XX was XX, but its XX and superb XX not only gave the F–XX pilot the first chance to observe, orient, and decide, they also gave him the first chance to act. The XX had good arguments, but they were based on old information. A new paradigm XX XX, and it was the paradigm of a very large battlefield, with reliable missiles that could truly “reach out and touch someone.”
Hint: There is no correlation to word length and number of X's, 'XX' was used for every blank.

I’ll fill in the gap and blanks, along with the paragraph that followed and a link to the source tomorrow night.
Everything about warfare changes over time,,,,except 'man' 
And yes, I meant for the panorama pic to 'go wide'. Everything was too small otherwise

*********End of Original Post :: Update Below*********
  
The original of the excerpt above at the source reads:
Despite its ability to dominate the aerial arena, the F–15 attracted a vocal and influential group of detractors who continued to fight a battle for small, cheap dogfighters. Gathering advocates from several walks of life, a splinter group of congressmen, journalists, aircraft designers, former fighter pilots, and military analysts marched under the banner of the Military Reform Caucus to demonstrate the folly of the F–15. James Fallows eloquently expressed their credo in his best-selling book, National Defense. The reformers who focused on money saw the F–15 as too expensive at $20 million, seven times the cost of an F–4 and twenty times the cost of an F–5. They further argued that the airplane was so big and easy to see that the pilot of a small F–5-sized fighter could easily get inside the F–15 pilot’s OODA loop and wreak havoc. Ironically, the very argument the reformers used proved the case against them. The Eagle was big, but its radar and superb missiles not only gave the F–15 pilot the first chance to observe, orient, and decide, they also gave him the first chance to act. The reformers had good arguments, but they were based on old information. A new paradigm was emerging, and it was the paradigm of a very large battlefield, with reliable missiles that could truly “reach out and touch someone.”  
From: SIERRA HOTEL: FLYI NG AIR FORCE FIGHTERS IN THE DECADE AFTER VIET AM  by C.R. Anderegg., Pg 164.
What immediately followed the above was of interest as well:
This did not mean that the day of the dogfight was over—far from it.

Aggressors often found a way to deceive and befuddle Eagle pilots, and the huge F–15s could end up in a tiny furball with the little F–5s. Nonetheless, the battle arena was getting larger, and the training was improving as dissimilar air combat training spread to every Air Force fighter unit. To many, the issue was starting to change from who had the best hands to who had the best head. A new fighter force with new jets, new missiles, and new ideas was starting to define the parameters for aerial combat at the end of the twentieth century.
I've never heard anyone knowledgeable on the subject ever claim that the close in dogfight will never happen - It's just that now it will happen only after a lot of other things that you have to worry about first, that will kill you first, just to even get to the 'merge'
“If you come straight down the snot locker today, I will shoot two Sparrows at you and call you dead. If I am out of Sparrows, I will rip your lips off with a Lima [AIM-9L]before you can get to the merge. Questions?”
In reading Anderegg's accounts (written in 1999) of the relative dogfighting capabilities of the F-4, F-16 and F-15, there is a passage (pg.163) of particular interest to me:
At the F–4 Fighter Weapons School, Larry Keith and his band of radical, firebrand tactical thinkers—led by Joe Bob Phillips, Ron Keys, John Jumper, Dick Myers, Buzz Buzze, Tom Dyches, Jack Sornberger, Dave Dellwardt, and others—pressed hard to devise scenarios that honored the threat of a Sparrow streaking out at long range. Theirs was a losing battle, though, because the Sparrow’s record was dismal on the F–4. In the early 1970s, if an F–4 pilot briefed his adversary that a Sparrow shot from ten miles would be counted as a kill, he would be laughed out of the briefing room with hoots of “Get a grip,” or “You need a tally on reality.”
Gradually, though, the impact of the F–15’s combat capabilities started to sink in across the fighter forces. When F–15s from Langley went to Eglin to shoot missiles in WSEP over the Gulf, the AIM–7F success rate was four to five times higher than it had been on the F–4. Even more astounding was the success rate for the AIM–9L, which confirmed the engineers’ hopes for a one-shot-one-kill weapon.
It was a good thing the F–15 systems proved to be reliable at long range, because the aircraft sometimes did not do well in the classic, roiling dogfights. The F–15 was more powerful and more agile than any other fighter in the world. However, it was also the biggest fighter and very easy to see. When nose on, it had a relatively low visual profile, but as soon as it began turning, its enormous wing could be seen for miles. Some called it the “flying tennis court;” others called it “Big Bird.” F–4 pilots and WSOs licked their chops at the opportunity to get in a fight with Eagles before the F–15 got the Lima. The WSOs especially made no effort to hide their disdain for the new, single-seat jet. One Langley F–15 pilot went on a tour of F–4 bases to brief crews on what the new Eagle could do.
He was stunned to find that F–4 back-seaters at every stop could only focus on how the new jet would die wholesale in combat because it did not have that extra set of eyes to watch for threats.
Ultimately, the Eagle pilots could not be denied. They started walking into briefing rooms and telling their adversaries, “If you come straight down the snot locker today, I will shoot two Sparrows at you and call you dead. If I am out of Sparrows, I will rip your lips off with a Lima before you can get to the merge. Questions?"
In response, adversaries studied the lessons learned by AIMVAL-ACEVAL pilots on how to survive in an all-aspect missile environment. As the reliability of the missiles improved, the culture of long-range missiles slowly spread throughout the fighter force. Of course, clever pilots developed ways to defeat some of the long-range shots, but as they devised one counter, the F–15s developed new techniques based on the lessons of formation discipline, radio discipline, radar discipline, and shot discipline learned in the weapons schools and at ACEVALAIMVAL. The cycle of counter vs. counter vs. counter continued, but the fight did not start at 1,000 feet range as in the days of “40-second Boyd.” The struggle was starting while the adversaries were thirty miles apart, and the F–15 pilots were seriously intent on killing every adversary pre-merge.
The above (and the rest of Sierra Hotel) was interesting to me this time around for different reasons than the first time I read it. It is a fair summary of the difference between air combat capabilities in John Boyd's era and the present. If you read the whole book and a few other sources, you come to start clicking off in your mind things about the F-22 and F-35 that bring the fight to an even higher level. Things like what enables F-16s to even find F-15s in the first place to get a first visual is the radar and ground/AWACs control. This is not an option against the F-22 or F-35 if you are not flying in a 5th Gen fighter. Another is the ability of the F-35 to track, sort, an maintain contact with far more targets at one time without losing lock in the merge: the F-35's sensor fusion removes the ability of one 'Red Force' opponent to 'sneak by' while their opponents are otherwise occupied. I've said elsewhere that a plane with the F-35's capabilities (systems, range, stealth) won't be 'fought' like fighters of the past. Think of F-35s being fought as a pack of "wolves" or "velociraptors": the opponents will see what the F-35 drivers want them to see... and get shot down by the F-35 they don't see.

I 'do' game theory.

One of the most important facets of any game is 'who gets the last move?' Low observability, while employing techniques and hardware that enable you to keep situational awareness at all times, virtually assures you get the 'last move', and outside of bad luck or negligence you should get the first move as well.


Bonus! Know Your Reformer Sidebar:

James Fallows: Just another Liberal, Know-Nothing, Blowhard.

If you had to pick one person to blame for the lingering after effects of the so-called Military Reform Movement, you might have to pick James Fallows, I am in agreement with these parts (and most of the rest) of Marshall L. Michel III's  Doctoral Thesis as it frames James Fallows' role in bringing the Reformer Pox into the public domain and upon us (emphasis mine):
The problems with the F-15 led to heavier and heavier criticism from a small but vocal group of defense Critics who maintained America needed larger numbers of less costly systems, but their calls generally went unheeded until the liberal journalist and neoliberal James Fallows joined the Critics’ ranks in 1979. Fallows was anti-military and a perfect example of Samuel Huntington'’s thesis of significant tension between American liberal beliefs and the naturally conservative military establishment. At the time, Fallows was researching an article for The Atlantic Monthly considering new ideas about how to cut the military budget, and to find those who agreed with this view he went out on the “fringes” of the defense establishment. He became interested in the Critics, whom he found “kookie but convincing.” In the resulting October 1979 article, “Muscle Bound Superpower,” and later works Fallows decreed the Critics were military combat “experts” and unquestioningly took up their basic arguments: the American national defense strategy was flawed because the military leadership was incompetent, the weapons acquisition process corrupt, and high defense budgets were linked to high inflation; what America needed was a new strategy that embraced a much greater number of simple, reliable, and less expensive systems. Unspoken was the idea that the money saved would go into social programs. (Pgs 8-9)
and...
Because Fallows believed that the large defense budgets were caused by “experts,” he eschewed anyone who was seriously associated with the defense establishment because they would understand, if not agree with, the philosophy behind the weapons the military was procuring. He also knew -- or sensed as a reporter that as Samuel Huntington noted, Americans love “defense iconoclasts and military mavericks.” To find them, Fallows later said he “deliberately left the mainstream of defense analysis and moved towards the fringe.(Pgs 295-296)

What a schmuck.

4 comments:

Unknown said...

I know where the paragraph is from and comparing the aircraft mentioned in it with the F-35 is like night and day.

The other aircraft would eat the F-35 for lunch every day of the week.

SMSgt Mac said...

1. Yes, the paragraph is from a rather well known (in certain circles) source so it is no surprise you may have read it before. I read it about 10 years ago, but am rereading it with new eyes.
2. Bzzzt. Sorry, though no doubt you wish otherwise, there is NO authoritative information available to support your claim. There IS significant information to the contrary (exchange ratios anyone?)... But you're getting ahead of me ;-)

sferrin said...

Sounds like the F-15. The same jokers who attacked the F-22 for being too, well, everything a fighter is, and attack the F-35 regularly, got their start on the "Gold Plated" F-15. Those would be Sprey, and Riccioni.

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

Have to love people like Fallows. What we need are large numbers of crappy weapons. Just like the Commies. I guess they want to turn every part of the country into a Marxist Paradise. (The beets & toilet paper line starts over there, sir.)

Seems our gold-plated weapon systems have done fairly well. The armchair generals with zero military, engineering or technical experience really get old sometimes.

New rule, no more commenting on military aircraft without the most basic grasp of physics, or, logistics for that matter. As we all (should) know wars are really won through logistics not a given weapons system.

-LP