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Personally speaking, im having a job thinking of a situation when 4 ASRAAM wont be sufficient for most situations. You get inside the no escape zone, they just arent going to get away.

 

Would I like to see more missiles on the B? Sure. But I dont envisage Backfire raids are likely anymore, whatever stickshaking the Kremlin may indulge in. If nothing else at least in Meteor we have a missile with stand off capabilities in some ways comparable to Phoenix.

It all depends how high pk you can get. If it's 0.5-0.6 or more, no problem. If it's under 0.25, can be a problem. At some point, countermeasures might get smarter than the missil. Already, USA is developing anti-AAM interceptor missiles for self-protection. If they work as planned, modern paradigms of missile combat go out of the window.

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Well ill give you that the recent failure of the Aim9X in Syria gives pause for thought. OTOH, if you can get the kill before you know they are there and employ countermeasures, which is going to be the case with most legacy combat aircraft (im sure it will be different with Su57 if it arrives). As far ago as WW1 the greatest number of kills the aces go was some poor unsuspecting bastard who didnt even know they are there. We got lost in the Top Gun BFM view of air combat, that is not usually how it works. Even in Vietnam the NVAF were able to clobber Phantoms without any indications they were there. Not that often, but I can think of at least one example where it was done artfully.

 

Point taken about the US, but its one thing to say the US is developing it, to projecting the Russians and Chinese to have it. Thats going to be what, 20 years away at least. By then we might just have a workable combat laser.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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A single failure doesn't really tell us anything of any significance. If the missile was 0-for-10 or something you'd begin to wonder.

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The Americans historically have been good verifying that kind of thing. According to the Red Eagles book, they verified captive sidewinders against a mig21 they had fitted with authentic Soviet flare launchers they acquired in Afghanistan (now that is a story I want to hear), and were disconcerted to discover the flares worked as advertised. They learned a lesson from that, and with the greater availability of Russian kit these days, it's difficult to believe they don't still do it.

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We're not talking simple data links here, we're talking virtual reality 360 degree sensors and displays fed from multiple sources.

Again, not an American innovation. Data fusion has been done for decades in non-American fighter jets.

 

We're also talking RAM, panel joints, operational door edges, radar and sensors that are stealthy. Ask the Indians what they think of Russian stealth. There's a LOT more to it than just building a plane with smooth lines that looks futuristic. No one else has been able to accomplish even first generation stealth and we're on 3rd generation. It's time consuming, horribly expensive work.

What are these "first, second and third generation" stealth platforms? It's not like other countries never studied the technology. Finnish Navy built its first stealth trial vessel 40 years ago. Again, I repeat, China has a stealth fighter in operational squadron service - not as some vapourware project. They've built dozens of them already. Now, it's POSSIBLE it's not any good, it's all for show, but is it really something you want to bet your future on? "Don't worry lads, those Brewster Buffaloes are perfectly adequate. After all, we invented the aeroplane! The Japs are many years away from producing a high-performance carrier-borne fighter."

 

 

How many operational stealth jets have the rest of the world combined produced?

 

The US:

F-117

F-22

F-35

B-2

Not too mention the UCAVs being trialed and the new bomber well on it's way.

Compare the F-117 to the F-35, both stealth and electronics.

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The US has probably forgotten more about low RCS design that most any other country knows. That said the basic principles are well known and a lot of the technology in an older design like the F-117 is obsolete. But the US is probably still on the forefront of both fighter and bomber low signature designs and it clearly has had more operational experience with these types than anyone else possibly could. It would certainly be fair to say that the F-35 is a third generation stealth aircraft when you compare it's structure and coatings to the F-22, and the jump from the F-22 to F-117 is even more severe. I suspect the B-21, while externally resembling what the original B-2 design was supposed to look like, will probably have a markedly different composition compared to the previous aircraft. Another big element that the US has largely perfected is knowing where the radar emitters are radiating from, which allows the target aircraft to present low return angles to the transmitter. The B-2 was apparently somewhat problematic in this regard and the problem apparently was never completely fixed, however given the abilities of the F-35 one would assume this will be a non issue in the B-21.

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That isnt counting the ones we DONT know about. I wouldnt be surprised if there is as many tech demonstrators as there are actual aircraft that have been fielded that are still in the dark somewhere.

 

It also seems likely there are entire operational types. Didn't the USAF more or less admit to there being an 'RQ-180', even if that wasn't the actual designation?

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Id not heard that. I had heard there was speculation the US was developing/had developed a stealth aircraft in the medium range bracket, roughly in the area the F111 filled. There was lots of speculation about 20 years ago Northrop was developing an aircraft based around their yf23 demonstrator. But again, this is all speculation. Looking back of course, speculation about the F117 was not a million miles away from reality, and that was dark for over a decade.

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I doubt there is an operational manned type, or if there is/were, it would have to be something used for recon in sparing numbers. I'd bet almost anything that there are RQ types though.

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  • 4 weeks later...

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/counting-down-to-uk-carrier-strike-group-2021-deployment/

 

 

Counting down to the UK Carrier Strike Group 2021 deployment

In May 2021 the UK Carrier Strike Group will set sail on its first operational deployment. Here we look at the programme for the next 10 months to prepare the many participants involved in this landmark for UK defence capability.

 

 

Autumn rehearsal

After returning from two months at sea in early July, HMS Queen Elizabeth will spend the Summer alongside in Portsmouth preparing for an Autumn Group Exercise (GroupEx) which will be part of the Joint Warrior (JW202) construct. The Joint Warrior exercises are usually run twice each year in March-April and September-October off the West coast of Scotland. (There was no JW in April 2020). The GroupEx will also see a bigger surface escort group join the UKCSG and will include Dutch and US warships.

 

 

Ad by Valueimpression

 

The September GroupEx will be a big step-up in complexity from the modest scale of the recent exercise Crimson Ocean, consisting of 10 days of work-up, followed by two weeks of ‘free play’ in combat scenarios. The plan is to have an air group consisting of 5 UK and 10 USMC F-35 jets, plus 6 Merlin helicopters. With 15 jets on board, this will be the largest embarkation of F-35s afloat in the world so far.

 

US Marine Corps F-35B aircraft and personnel from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) will arrive at RAF Marham in the late summer for a period of quarantine and preparation before going to sea. The RN is keen to learn from the USMC who have considerable flying and sea-going experience with the F-35B. Captain Essenhigh said “I was fortunate enough to spend two years serving [on an exchange posting] with the US Navy and I’m keen to return their hospitality”. The Marine personnel who have already served onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth have fitted in very well and although the captain noted wryly they “love lifting lumps of metal, we will need to embark more gym equipment”.

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Air-To-Air missiles are used so infrequently (compared to the thousands of JDAM and Paveway weapons expended, for example) that a single failure (or success, even) is somewhat of an event to be studied.

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There is an interesting question whether the F35B and smaller carriers can fulfill some of the presence roles the USN insists on using super-carriers for. If this works, there is a large monetary saving and an awful lot of painful arguments coming the USN's way. Particularly considering the problems they are encountering with the Ford Class.

 

Not that I think the USN will ever go back to a Conventional Carrier. Although they arguably are already going that with the Gator carriers, so im not sure what the problem is for lesser roles.

 

Meanwhile Bojo and the Monkey make noises about cutting the F35 purchase. Considering how the RN is going all in to support the deployment (including a BBC TV series to be filmed on the deployment) then hopefully this will turn out to be as much pointless bluster as the threat by Cameron to cancel the Carriers 10 years ago. I guess we shall see which way the wind blows after the deployment.

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IMO, the only theater that requires USN CVs is the Pacific. The US has ample land bases in all other theaters, and outside Russia no one really poses much of a direct threat too them. And in the case of Russia, the relatively small number of aircraft that a CV brings to the table wouldn't be much of an influence. I think all of the USN's CVs should be focused on countering China.

Edited by Josh
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You can use CV's for other things though. They make highly useful ASW platforms, and disaster relief. And whilst based are more practical, they do have utility in soft power. The TH found its carriers have it presence in the caribean and the Med. If you think the best use of military force a deterrnce, turning up in someone's front yard with 60000 tons of steel is still a useful statement of intent.

 

The best way of cooling Russia's ardour is parking a carrier off the North Cape. Which is probably displaying my Cold War fixation, but what the hell, it worked.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As the article mentions, so far only 48 F-35s have been ordered and they are not only for the RN, but also the RAF, which has its own priorities. Furthermore, various experts mention that 70 F-35s only allow for a small number of planes on the active carrier, with possibility for brief surges to 24 or even 36 in times of crisis.

For the Tempest project most funds will still have to allocated in the coming years and it uncertain whether this project will ever come to fruition or produce a dud like the Tornado ADV series.

Edited by Daan
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Well, I am not at all certain that this is correct, but assuming the quotes are well informed for once, it seems to me 70 is adequate. I would prefer about 20 more for attrition (single engined aircraft operating over the sea get lost for a variety of reasons) but we can get by on 70. Thats still enough to give both carriers an air wing, and its difficult to conceive of a conflict today we wouldnt get in without American support. So we would probably have a squadron of marine F35's we could count on too. There is also a few European allies, for which it is also an option.

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17 minutes ago, Daan said:

As the article mentions, so far only 48 F-35s have been ordered and they are not only for the RN, but also the RAF, which has its own priorities. Furthermore, various experts mention that 70 F-35s only allow for a small number of planes on the active carrier, with possibility for brief surges to 24 or even 36 in times of crisis.

For the Tempest project most funds will still have to allocated in the coming years and it uncertain whether this project will ever come to fruition or produce a dud like the Tornado ADV series.

F-35B numbers trinkle in slowly though. By the time its 2030, the RAF may only have about 20 F-35Bs while the RN may have around 30. Instead of getting a whole program set up for training pilots for so few aircraft in RAF service, wouldn't it make sense to divert all 70ish F-35Bs to the RN, and use the money saved on cutting F-35B procurement and direct that towards Tempest development? The condition on the Typhoons shouldn't be that bad and SU-57 production won't be in high numbers even by 2030 with a stated goal of 78 by 2028.

Edited by JasonJ
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