Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interesting Scenario from APA...

APA has an interesting scenario of a mythical encounter between the F-35 and the SU-35S.  Go to their site to read the whole thing but here are some excerpts....
Number 3 of the F-35C sweepers gets a contact from his APG-81 radar, and the four inbound bogeys are shown across the network. Analysis of signals from the bogeys identifies them as Russian built Su-35S, previously seen moving on Woody Island by satellite recon. All the F-35Cs arm their four AIM-120D missiles and prepare for a ‘turkey shoot’, expecting to get ‘first-look, first-shot, first kill’. ‘Ah’, thinks Charlie, ‘this will be like the AN/AAQ-37 EO DAS advertisement: ‘manoeuvrability is irrelevant …let the missiles do the turning’.
Sounds good so far...the F-35 is operating exactly as advertised!

The Flankers with their extreme agility come in range at 60 miles, and the F-35C flight sorts targets and fires a pair of AIM-120Ds at each Flanker. The seconds tick by agonisingly slowly as the missiles fly out to their targets, and each pilot watches for the tell-tale radar bloom of a kill. The AN/ASQ-239 “Barracuda” Electronic Warfare system shows considerable activity from each Flanker and then …. a single bloom indicating one Flanker has been hit.
Ok, we just hit our first WTF moment.  The AIM-120D is suppose to have a 50% greater range than the long range AIM-120C-7.  That would put it at the 100 mile range.  Something is fishy here.  These guys are pilots and engineers.  It couldn't be bias could it...lets let this play out and see what happens.

Range is now 40 Nm and closing at 1,100 Nm/hr. The F-35C’s EO DAS detects four missile launch “flares” from each Flanker, twelve in all, and APG-81 radar detects missiles inbound. The F-35Cs each fire their two remaining AIM-120Ds and turn sixty degrees to maintain datalink command guidance of their missiles via the APG-81 AESA antenna. The cockpit MFDs show that the Flankers have broken away though 120 degrees, with the IRBIS-Es' swivelling antenna heads maintaining guidance contact. The AIM-120Ds, now chasing a retreating target, will fall short. The F-35Cs are not so lucky and they all break as the EO DAS senses the incoming R-77M missiles. Small active radiofrequency decoys and flares are ejected. One JSF is killed with an R-77ME missile with an active radar seeker, another with a tail-pipe hit from an R-77TE with an infrared seeker. Charlie’s JSF is now on full burner, heading for the deck and passing Mach 1.3 when ‘whoomp’ – the back-end explodes, and the cockpit is shrill with alarms and festooned with red displays of failure warnings. There is no response from the stick and he reaches for the ejection handle. A blast and excruciating pain as large chards of the shattered canopy knife into his upper body, then silence as the ‘chute’ opens.
Ok, we just hit our second WTF moment.  These Chinese are shot at but keep barreling through.  Additionally the AIM-120D is fire and forget with the added benefit of lock on jamming.  SOmething ain't right here.  But wait there is more!  Why would our intrepid F-35 pilot have to maintain lock to guide the missile?  They can do that while running away at full speed.  Third WTF moment.  Ok, I'm sorry we have a fourth WTF!  How can only one of our missiles prove effective but everything they throw at us hit with stunning accuracy???????

I could go on but you get the point.

Its become a game of spin.  Of interests that I can't discern.  Of motivations I can't fathom. 



  1. APA is the other polar end of extreme.

  2. Dude, your being a tad disingenuous again - did you read the whole article ? If so then you know that the point they are trying to make with their fictitious scenario is that the F22 and F35 'appear' to abandon active ECM in favor of low observable 'stealth' technology.

    They may have the range of an AIM120D wrong, although I guess that's classified anyway, but they have a fair point about an agile enemy with considerable active ECM being able to dodge the shot.

    The last part of the article has a number of arguements ref missile end game kinematics, and long range missiles with different seeker options (e.g. they suggest a Meteor version with the IIR seeker from the AIM 132 ASRAAM).

    So can you really not fathom their interests or motivations - it seems simple to me, they are suggesting just relying on stealth alone is bad.

  3. @Anonymous 11:21

    They also suggest that without buying [a lot more] F22, there is no game. That's their extreme.

  4. no comment on the aim-120d range that i corrected for them?


  5. A few things:

    1. The 120D has a GPS-based INS system. It is much more accurate than today's gyro-based one. The 120D does not have to go active till it is very close to the target. This allows for very little reaction time.

    2. The 120D has HOJ functions.

    3. How were the SU's directed to the F-35s.

    4. No mention of equipment that will likely be part of the F-35's arsenal in 2018: Full FOV DIRCM (Blk5), AIM-120D+ (ATK is working on a new advanced, dual-pulse motor, new nozzle, etc), Cooperative EW, etc.

    5. No mention of the F-35's Active EW APG-81 functions.

    6. How did the SU's get a lock on the F-35s to take a shot. The 120Ds were launched outide the detection range of the SU's MLD (50km+). The OLS on the SUs has a range of 15km from the front (based on "Viktor Sumerin, NII PP deputy general designer: “During the OLS tests we got MiG-29 detection ranges up to 45 km from the tail and 15 km from the front. Ranging device effective range for the aerial targets is 15 km, for the ground targets - more then 20 km.). Even if you doubled that to 30km.. that is nowhere near the 40nm in the article.

    7. Why are the Super Hornet's caring C5 instead of 120Ds?

    8. Since this is a combined stealth/non-stealth package, where is the F/A-18G?

    9. Why did they not use the JSOW-ER and launch from over 450km away. There is no way to put up a fighter CAP to stop that. Even the regular JSOW can be launched from over 120km away.

    10. Better yet, since this was a ground strike using JSOWs, why use the SH at all? The F-35 can carry the JSOW internally (x2) along with the AIM-120D.

    Epic comparison FAIL.

  6. SpudmanWP!!!

    That's why you're my hero!

    You can slice through the bullshit and get to the facts! Way to go!

  7. So apart from missile range, the range at which an LO aircraft can be detected, the weapons options the various Western Aircraft will actually be able to carry, the known open-sourced EW capability of the Western aircraft, the ECCM capabilities of Western aircraft, the networked system the USN fights in, as opposed to 1 v 1 or 4v4 "biggles" styled fights that APA describes (seriously, SU-35's are being launched against USN assets from an Island with a single runway and no complementary offensive action will be taken against the place the SU-35's are launched from? FFS these guys are amateurs) then I suppose you could consider this scenario likely.

    Of course you'd have to be a moron to believe it but still...

  8. Hey Aussie Digger!

    Welcome to my little slice of the world. Nice to have informed opinions. Keep me honest and visit often.


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