JSF Kills Best SAMs Too: Heinz

JSF Kills Best SAMs Too: Heinz

The argument that more F-22s must be bought because it is is the only fighter that is truly effective against advanced surface to air missiles got shot down (sorry about the pun) here at the Paris Air Show by the top Joint Strike Fighter official Marine Brig. Gen David Heinz.

Advocates such as Rebecca Grant, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, argue that the F-22 is needed principally because it is the premier weapon against the sophisticated S-300 ground-to-air missiles that the Russians have developed and are trying to sell.

So I asked Heinz if the JSF could kill advanced SAMs. His answer: “While I will do the mission differently, I am still delivering first day of the war capability.”

We’ll see if that puts the nail in the coffin of the F-22 supporters or if there are good counter-arguments to this. Of course, Heinz is a fierce advocate for this program and must be expected to defend it, but he’s also known as a very straight shooter. If he did not believe the plane’s ability to handle the SAM threat I think we would have gotten a very different answer.

On the industrial base side of the program, Heinz told reporters here that the program could reasonably generate an astonishing 6,000 sales. He based his estimate on the 4,425 F-16s sold around the world in various development blocks, combined with 600 F-18 E/Fs and Typhoons. “As these airplanes aqe out, I believe my airplane will be competitive,” he said.

The United States and the eight foreign partners are expected to order about 3,100 planes. Add 1,000 sales to prospective buyers such as Israel, Singapore, Spain, Japan, Finland and South Korea. Then top up the rest of the world and you get to Heinz’ figure of 6,000.

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Per the article above, it seems that General Heinz believes that the difference between F-22 and the JSF are not that great. If so, why not sell the F22 to the Japanese and other close allies, if they want it?

With all due respect to Gen Heinz, he got where he is by fiercely championing “his” program whether of not it is the right program for the warfighter. Certainly he believes in his program but predicting sales of 6000 airframes is enormously optimistic.
By forcing everyone to buy the F-35 it would reduce the cost to the US. But it is not the right answer for every country in every situation.

As expensive as the F-35 is going to be, forcing alternative US aircraft out of the market is going to leave the market to less expensive, more reliable, more easily maintained foriegn aircraft. The F-35 could be good news to makers of fighters all over the world — it means a lot of sales of aircraft if you don’t need all those bells and whistles.

Rebecca Grant is one of the biggest advocates for the F-22 out there, that doesn’t work for the Air Force.

I believe the F-22 has a lower radar signature and it definitely has more advanced avionics. Not to mention its super cruise at extreme altitude capabilities, if the Russian’s have figured out a way to track and engage our stealth the F-22 by far has the greatest chance of survivability. Not to mention the F-22 is an air superiority fighter first and a ground-attack fighter second.

” “While I will do the mission differently, I am still delivering first day of the war capability.”“
While the Raptors are busy doing counter air, the JSF + UCAV’s will take on the SAM threat.

“F-22 is needed principally because it is the premier weapon against the sophisticated S-300 ground-to-air missiles ”

S-300 is DECADES old, what of S-400?

JSF is indeed primarily a “Strike” aircraft and optimized for these missions. F-35 is also candidate for the “next generation” jammer. The USMC is looking to the F-35 to provide a successor EW and electronic attack capability to that of the EA-6B Prowler/ALQ-99 combination. So its SEAD capabilities should be sufficient.

This is the problem with building weapon systems that are so expensive you have to go to Congress and beg. There are emerging technologies that can will soon begin to chip away at the efficacy of radar absorbing materials and low radar cross section.

Like the S-400, as Travis mentioned.

Then what?

I like the concept of the F-35 more than the F-22. The F-35 may end up being the AK 47 of strike aircraft, low maintenance, reliable performance, fairly reasonable cost. And let’s face it, surface to air missile technology killed the big high altitude long range bomber, and missile technology may soon destroy the current model for air supremacy by making it possible to eliminate fighter aircraft efficiently from the ground.

Frankly we should be putting our money in pushing forward the only frontier in aerospace that we still have a slight head start on-UAVs and other robot warfare.



The S-400 is still a long ways from being fully operational…perhaps 6 years or more. That gives our IC lots of time to collect information about the system and develop effective countermeasures/counterstrategies.

But I agree with Daniel that we need to push forward UAVs as much as possible — at some point we should not be sending manned aircraft into denied airspace. Stealth cruise missiles with standoff capability is also an important technology that we need to push forward.


The S-400 has been operational & deployed around Moscow since 2007.

So what if only one pwerplant gets knocked out on an F-22…could it still make it home on the other?

And what if a single pwerplant on an F-35 got knocked out…could it make it home?

Sorry, I’m thinking of the SA-X-21 SAM. Even if the S-400 can track our stealth planes, it is useless if we can destroy the SAM sites with standoff weapons. The SA-21 is what will make the S-400 a threat to our standoff capabilities.

You realize that the response you got was a non-answer, don’t you?

Congress just included about $400 million for advanced funding of more F-22’s. Good we need 381 or more of them. NGB would be nice as well.

No war has ever or ever will be won by a plane… it’s takes boots on the ground to plant your flag and stand there and say this is mine now and you are going to have to kick my arse to get it back!!!
With that said, there is no way to win that war if you don’t have the best pilots and equipment backing up that dirty grunt on the ground!
Ask the Marines how hard it was to win in WWII when the US Navy couldn’t support them on the ground. If the Marines didn’t have thier own planes for air to air combat and ground attack missions… we wouold have lost to Japan !!!

With all the sat. intelligence why can’t we use a sat. in space to kill the SAM Sites and let the F 22 or whatever do it’s job. I think the F 22 is a awesome tool in war. Why fix it if it isn’t broken. There is always that someone that wants to make a name for himself or herself. Let the Brig. talk to a mirror and let his words bounce back to “him”. Catch you around a cloud general.

As for the 6,000 sales, that is pure b.s. fantasy. Each generation of fighters sells fewer than the last, because they’re never replaced 1 for 1. Perhaps the fact that costs rise faster than inflation for each new generation has something to do with that.

You can see the dynamic at work in existing F-35 orders. How big was the Dutch F-16 fleet, to be replaced by 85 aircraft? Israel flies a few hundred F-16s. They’ll have 100 F-35s. Etc. Etc. Meanwhile, I’d be pleased to bet $1,000 that the USA does not order 2,400 F-35s as planned, and cuts the total numbers as it has cut every other fighter (And how many F-16s, F/A-18s, and Harriers was even that number trying to replace? More than 2,400).

So, if the F-16 sold 4,425 over 3+ decades, then that’s the absolute ceiling. 6,000 is so off the mark as to be either alarmingly misinformed — or an untruth told in the belief that if people accept it now, it will have served its purpose. A professional should know better, and act better.

But the history of American weapons programs is replete with that. The wonder is that reporters covering the industry would buy such claims uncritically.

Really, they’ll do well to sell half that number: 3,000 F-35s would be a good over/under line as the final total for the program.

And when it comes time to replace platforms like the Eurofighter, around 2040–2050, the general bet out there is that those replacements will be unmanned. The F-35, which has limited ability to improve its radar signature, limited ability to improve its powerplant and hence performance, and limited ability to take full advantage of design changes allowed by unmanned aircraft… it’s a huge stretch to say, with a straight face, that it would be a serious competitor to replace 4+ generation aircraft like the Eurofighter that far out.

I can understand why someone tasked with making sure their program wins the budget wars would say such things. The duty on the other side is to examine such claims against trends and evidence.

Both planes are in the pipeline. Roll with the F-35 but lets also build and develop the Raptor
as an ace in the hole. What we should stop doing is being indecisive after doing the R&D.

Hey guys,

Kinda off topic…Did you hear the latest news of the F-22? They allocated funds for 12 more F-22’s! Possibly more down the line.

The F-35 has made a great may promises that it will have to deliver. The F-22 is a known quaatity since it is now operational, but at a high cost. Without thrust vectoring, I doubt the F-35 will be able to out manuever the latest Russian fighters. Without supercruise, the F-35 will have a speed disadvantage over new Russain fighters. There is one number that stands out, 6,000 aircraft to be built. Quantity has a quality of it’s own and was a Russian approach to warfare when there is a technological disadvatage. The pilots will be happy, the US Air Force will need alot of them to fly all these F-35’s. We’ll use the F-35 like we did the M-4 Sherman in WWII, we’ll surround the Russian fighter with four F-35’s and one of them is bound to be able to shoot it down.

@Tony Conner
It’s not so much about the Airplane, then Pilot and weapons payload. The AIM-120,AIM-x9, and Joint Strike Missile will almost eliminate dogfights. Hell, you can fire a missile, and it will lock onto your enemy at your six-o’clock. Stealth is nice, but not invincible. Though, it does give you an advantage allowing you to get closer to the enemy, before emptying your payload

Look, the F-35 is probably a decent aircraft, but there is no way you can convince me that it is so great that it can replace and do everything that the F-16, F-18, AV8B, and A-10. As a matter of fact nothing so far can replace the A-10. When these F-35s are finally deployed, we will all have buyer’s remorse. I also don’t believe that the F-35 has all that great stealth capabilities. Maybe the Russian aircraft don’t have stealth, but they can probably fly circles around the F-35 and they have awesome weapon systems. I am sure that the Russians will or already do, have our stealth secrets considering whose in the White House right now. The only version of the F-35 we should even consider is the Marine one, and we should give it an engine with super cruise capability.

In case you didn’t know, they 2+ billion to repair and upgrade the A-10. It will not be replaced, because they wouldn’t be spending billions on an asset they are not going to use. They are fixing the air-frame (cracks), and giving it additional weapons enhancements, such as enhanced electronic warfare systems.

Plus, how do you know the detailed specs on the F-35, isn’t that classified? Wait till they are deployed before passing judgments on F-35, compared to Russian fighters. On a side note, Russia doesn’t have the funds to build 100+ SU-35 fighter planes. Now that the funding is in place for 12 additional F-22’s, total of 199, with possibly more down the line, in addition to the F-35’s.

The F-35 specifications were drawn up prior to the competition between Lockheed and Boeing for a lightweight strike fighter with good stealth (relative to 4th generation fighters like the F-16) to AUGMENT the F-22 fleet in the high/low mix that was used for the F-15/F-16 combination. Cancelling the F-22A after 187 aircraft doesn’t fit the requirements layed out for the F-35 in it’s expected combat role. Now the F-35 must achieve air supremecy in many combat scenarios on it’s own merit, which is not what it was designed for in the first place. The US Navy is counting on UCAV’s as the next generation fighter, maybe the DOD has already made the same decision for all of the services. THe UAV’s have made a good impression on SecDef Gates already.

They didn’t cancel at 182, they approved 12 more additional fighters, along with the 4 approved by Robert Gates. So, if the F-35 doesn’t cut it, they can always go back to the F-22…At least, the production will be open in the coming months, giving people jobs, along with National Security. Ditto on the UCAV’s, the X-47B is a sweet fighter, looking forward to seeing it in action in the coming years. More stealthier, and cheaper, it’s a win-win.

Sorry, 187.

There should be more than 187 built. It should also be sold to close allies like Japan. We are gonna need capable allies in the Far East. Sell them the F-22’s.

Crap, I mean the X-45B…(Need to slow down when typing…)

Have any of you folks actually been around the A-10 when she was doing her thing? It is a sight to behold, esp. if you are a ground pounder or an old Cav. man needing help.

The biggest selling point for the F-35 is that we finally will have an aircraft more or less common to all services that operate fixed wing combat airfleets. The F-111A/B fiasco provided many valuable lessons that are only now being applied. These lessons were not applied when the Navy selected the F-14 and F-18, while the Air Force selected the F-15 and F-16, all of which were/are fine aircraft. Unfortunately, the lack of commonality inflates the logistics footprint and total costs. Discussion on the number of F-16s built should be tempered by the fact that the F-16 was built domestically and under co-production agreements with numerous allies, and the F-18 was not. To a limited extent, the F-15 had some co-production, notably with Japan, while the F-14 did not.

Another point that needs to be considered is mission. Essentially, there are four combat mission profiles: air to air, air to ground, close support of ground forces, and SEAD. There is no one solution at this time to deal with all four. We’re getting closer, but we’re not there yet. Mission creep has the same negative effect as code creep does when writing software: you will have trade offs. The F-14, before being retired, was given a rudimentary air to ground capability. The F-15, on the other hand, was spun off as a different model for air to ground (F-15E). The F-16 was inherently an air to air platform and an air to ground platform from the beginning, while the F-18 essentially followed the F-15E model and spawned the F/A-18 Superhornet, a distinctly differently model than its earlier cousin.

The F-35 provides significant commonality and all around mission profile capability, while trading off some top end performance. The F-22 is purpose built for air superiority, as were the F-15 and F-14. It all comes down to getting the biggest bang for the buck. Yes, quantity has its own quality, but the trade off is pilots lost because you need more airframes to counter superior capabily. This was the case with the Sherman tank in WWII. We built over 50,000 Shermans to the Germans less than 2000 Tigers. Guess who lost the most crews? In the air combat arena, few consider the cost of lost aircrew, except for ORSA folks. The cost of training aircrew to full combat competence overshadows the cost of a given airframe. It has been estimated that the cost of training up a single infantryman is in excess of $100,000. It’s a pretty safe bet that the cost of competent and capable aircrew will be magnitudes of cost higher.

These comments are provided to put a different slant on the conversation. As a logistician, I have to look at real costs versus gained capabilities. To this day, there are few operational airframes that can do battle with a healthy F-14 and survive, but keeping it healthy for one operational hour requires over 40 hours of maintenance. Personally, if my birdfarm has incoming vampires, I don’t want my first line of defense in the hangar deck pulling maintenance!

Having said that, while the F-22 is operational and has a high maintenance requirement (expensive), the F-35 has not yet reached initial operational capability. Initial cost aside, one has to consider if the F-35 will be less expensive to operate than the F-22. All factors indicate it will be, but we will have to wait and see.

If 6000 F-22’s were built they would cost an average of $80M (or less) instead of $110M. By the time the F-35 goes operational they will cost $90M a piece. F-35 is a lot less capable than an F-22 and would cost pretty much the same on an economy of scale plus existing tech versus tech still under development. It’s economics 101. Also, one F-22 could probably jam every UAV within 200 miles …

So far the Gen is only insterested in sales to other countries, almost like he has a “vested stake” in the company that makes the JSF, er..in the future of course. I’ve seen what the F-22 can do, but I’ve only heard what the JSF can do, based on what I have seen, I will put my money on the F-22 every time. I think the only way to solved this dilema is to let them go head to head, and we buy the one that win.

The ORIGNAL argument postulated by the Air Force for a robust F-22 buy was that it was to defeat advanced Chinese fighters. Apparently the story has changed. No surprise… jobs, jobs, jobs…if the American defense industry remains as “nimble” as the American auto industry did, their future will be easy to predict.

The spewage from the F-35 program office is unbelievable. How does the press let them get away with it?

1. The aircraft buy is going down in a big way. It’s hard to buy $100+M aircraft in quantity. 6000 sales is just BS based on F-35 driving all other competitors out of busines (not through competition but through DoD budget cuts to pay for F-35 over-runs) and nobody is able to respond to the market need for an affordable fighter.

2. F-35 Jammer — yeh sure. After you build the 2 seat variant for billions more.

3. You don’t need maneuvability. Doesn’t the supposed stealth shrink the weapons engagement envelope so that knife fights will still happen? The F-35 will get slaughtered. Oh yeh, I’m sure the IFF issue is solved forever. We’ve never had a problem ID’ing folks BVR. The 260 degree sensor will all be perfect too. Oh yeh, F-35 will run out of weapons very quickly with its limited internal loadout. How do you shoot bad guys down without missiles? F-35B & C don’t even have an internal gun.

4. How do you believe any of this from the folks that said they learned all the lessons from F-22 therefore no significant problems will happen on F-35. Flight test is stuck at 99 flights, about 2% of SDD flight testing. What about the cost savings for putting all other TACAIR suppliers out of business. SDD was supposed to be $20B (which is about what it would cost for 3 separate SDDs) and is now heading over $46B. What a bargin. Maybe if we put $1T into SDD we can get the price down to the promised $40M.

5. I guess you can claim anything as long as all that is flying is a view-graph.

Face it, the F-35 is going to be (already is?)the biggest failure in procurement history and is going to cripple the Air Force and permanently impair our ability to defend our country.

No war has ever or ever will be won by a plane?
what delivered the final blows to Japan, a ballon?

The proof is in the pudding. Canceling a existing capability for future one is mixing apples with oranges. The F22 has already been through both developmental and operational testing and the JSF has been through the testing so what is designed to do sells manship and marketing to keep the multi-national program in place. I understand the tradeoffs and arguments on both camps because of the limited economic conditions we are facing in US and impact accross the world. It all comes down to dollars and sense. Comparing something that works to something under development is taking on a lot of risk to the national security of our country. Once I see the JSF and F22 performing side by side in comparative testing and meeting all the same operational requirements which will change after it completes developmental testing is where the real argument will be won. Until then this discussion is only at best to support jobs and and contracts each other’s congressional district. We need to keep sharping the technology saw, but we also have to look at all the alternatives for fighting a more lean war and take care of our people who need jobs today and not tomorrow. Demonstrations at airshows don’t tell the real story of long term performance and reliability that only comes from flight testing all factors in all environmental conditions the aircrafts will be used under. We have not even got into true cost over the life of the program that usally double and kills a program.

The real answer is Stealth. Missiles guided by radar do not “see” Fifth Generation jets. That means F-22 and F-35. Even the rudimentary stealth F-117 fighter showed an interesting facet. A bat, with its sonic ranging, flew into the side of the black jet sitting in a hangar.
The F-35 is a bomb carrier just like the F-117. Once the necessity for stealth is over, after the beginning of a conflict, you put the pylons on and hand bombs all over it, like the F-16. That’s 2,000 lb bombs for the F-35A and C models. Or a whole lot of Small Diameter Bombs. The F-22 can handle more SDBs than F-35 in their stealth modes. If you hang pylons on F-22, it can still carry more. The Marines are getting the F-35B which carries 1,000 lb bombs internally in its normal, stealth mission. Any discussion of jets like these need to consider stealth vs conventional modes of using them. Not every mission will be in stealth mode. In a non-stealthy conventional mission, the modern avionics suite of either jet is hands-down better than any other existing jet. It’s like comparing a 2009 CTS Cadillac vs a 57 Chevy.
And yes, I have worked and am working on both 5th Gen jets!

@JSF Mike
I don’t know if this is classified but, does the F-22 and F-35 have Electronic Weapons? For example, if a missile is within 5 miles, can the F-22/35 destroy it’s on-board sensors, so it can’t lock-on? Thanks

JSF Mike said: “Missiles guided by radar do not “see” Fifth Generation jets.”

Tell that to the F-117 diver that got shot down while he was invisible.

This is just more spin from the F-35 program. ‘Yeh I’m invisible and untouchable.’

F-35 has a radar signature and an IR signature. I’m sure from some angles the F-35 is pretty good. Based on the fact that they had to dumb down the signature requirements (DUE TO COST OVER-RUNS)and based on public reports it is nowhere near as good as F-22, the F-35 will not be invisible or invulnerable. Even the Assocition of the Air Force said that the F-22 was the only aircraft that will be able to penetrate the latest threat defenses. And with JASSM (also brought to you by Lockheed Martin) being a failure there won’t be enough missiles that actually work to bring those defenses down to the point where F-35 is survivable.

As a civilian and taxpayer, I have been lied to by the best. Gen Heinz is no better. People, stick with what got you there. Don’t come at me because you can’t deal with what I’ve given you. Stop the second guessing and put them head-to-head. Determine configurations and chart a winner. Build that one. Quit your public bitching. And stop the backbiting! Defend MY country as if it were yours!

That F-117 got caught in a flak trap. The fatal mistake was flying the same route night after night. if you thow enough metal into the air where there’s an airplane flying, something is going to connect. As far as I can find, there’s never been a missle shoot-down, nor even an effective “paint”, of an F-117. Outside of this flak trap, they’ve flow with impunity over everything they’re flow against. The F-22 is a good bird. I don’t know that I can say that about the F-35. Of course I just work in an F-22/JSF flight test center so what do I know?

My understanding of the story is that the F-117 was in fact tracked and engaged by a modified Russian radar. The biggest problem was that they were too cocky and flew the same route night after night, so the attackers were lying in wait. There is a lot of speculation as to how the radar was able to track the jet though, and most of it falls on the fact that one of the bomb bay doors on the jet may not have closed properly, effectively eliminating its stealth capability. It is not easy keeping these aircraft stealthy, and one small bump on the airframe can make it look like a barn door instead of a bumble bee on radar. The fact remains that after thousands of sorties, that F-117 is the only one to have ever been shot down. That’s a pretty impressive record even if stealth does not mean complete invisibility.

Get both, and in numbers, we cannot rely on one system for the general defense needs of our country. And i agree if the f-22 is not all that the f-35 claims to be. Export it to friendly countries starting with Japan and Australia.

Where are the figures stating the F-16’s history as a lawn dart… do you want one engine or two. Speed or not? full stealth or frontal stealth only. Time on target?

First day capability does not mean it can even accomplish what the now retired f-117 could do.
It means they expect to fly, doesn’t say offensive missions, they could just be in the air.

I am amazed at all the pointless responses to an article about a general doing what he’s paid to do or believes in. Doesn’t mean he’s right of course. Heinz is the JSF cheerleader and what else should we expect?

I was at Tahkli RTAB when the first F-111s came over from Nellis (Harvest Reaper) to show, as their fast-burner Wing King posited publically and loudly, that one F-111 had the effectiveness of fifteen F-105s. After three (or 45 Lead Sleds) never returned to base, the rest went home and their cheerleading Wing King’s career ceased to be.

Stuff happens and will happen again. We don’t know and maybe they don’t either. It’s their job and their choice though. Not ours. Chill.

The last time I was stationed at FT.Carson, The little hill that had a radar gun under it was shortly to be eliminated. Ha!. Well most people beleive what they want. In all actuallity the money pumped into the military for defence weapons and or research of such, should not be information for lamen, because they will not undrstand what they are fighting against. But when they here a person talking about something they know nothing about, they jump on the bandwagon of the “smart Person that knows stuff about things that my family and friends never understood and makes me sound smart” brainless horseman. Its really not their fault, they just want to sound smart. NOW, the F22, what is its purpose? Well you can call it what u will but it is a nice little bird. It will be great if one day, people will look back and say, I cant believe the military did not stop those people from doing this to our homeland, murphy should have told us about the LAW of MURPHY. My rambling if for a reason. See what it does? The defence of the U>S> should have no impact on our $$$ because it is our protection. I know that we will have anyone attack us EVER. But


I don’t understand why we are paying all this money for companies to develope technology, then some Junior Senator thinks he is going to make a name for himself by cancelling a program and weend up with a less capable aircraft. If we have the best of the best, why throw it out? I also have seen too many allies end up with first line equipment, only to turn on us and we end up sacrificing good men and women becasue they are going up against equal capabilities. Our entire doctrine is based on having superior equipment and training. Why give them a leg up. Maybe if our allies didn’t have the top line stuff, they wouldn’t be so damn ready to start conflicts that the US ends up finishing and paying for.

Retired old rotor head Blackhawk guy, and worked most airframes on the Army Aviation scene also as a secondary, since retirement been in Fighter/Bomber Acquisition stuff, a little bit of everything including still (believe it or not) spares for B-57 Canberra (still a few around). Anyways,currently working airframes acquisition spares F-15/F-22. Everyone has their pet aircraft, it’s understandable. Fact of the matter is the F-22 is a fantastic aircraft, but the OR rate (not giving away anything here, it’s already been published) is a pitiful 62%. And, it has yet to drop a bomb in anger. Anyone with contacts/in the biz (especially Langley) knows what the problems are. Not to mention the “ahem” problem on the first deployment to Kadena causing an RTB over the Pacific for the entire group. We’ve been here before folks. The F-22 will go down as a revolutionary aircraft and a platform for future developments, but will not be produced in mass quantities. Like the F-117, it will be used as best it can and may score some great victories, but will eventually fade off into AMARC (F-117 actually went back to original base for storage). It’s just the way things cycle :)

Thanks for the input Hoot, certainly more informational than the rest of the know-it-alls screaming about how the F-35 is better, cheaper, blah blah. I would certainly be curious to know what some of the problems are ;) buttt I don’t think they want our enemies to know! In any case, this is a new aircraft and everyone knows that stealth like this is tough to keep OR, but I imagine they should be able to get the OR much higher once they work out all the kinks and get into a rhythm in their deployments?

Weaponhead, re: “Don’t need maneuverability,” that actually has more basis in fact than the SAM and production boasts.

Here’s the concept. We know that missiles have much wider seeker cones (boresight) these days, and are hard to decoy thanks to twin improvements in computing power and imaging quality seekers. We also know, and air forces have proven, that if you can cue missiles like Python 5, ASRAAM, or AIM-9X to fly using inertial navigation to a point that puts a fighter behind you in their seeker cone (and better still, update that via 2-way datalink), you can kill over the shoulder.

The RAAF did it with their F/A-18A+ Hornets and ASRAAM recently, so nothing revolutionary there.

The F-35 has embedded sensors, of many types, all around the plane. They include staring infared, sensors that can pick up electromagnetic waves (radar, comm, etc.), and more. The F-22 also uses this unique embedded approach, but in fairness, the F-35 goes farther with it.

Now, if the F-35’s sensors can “see” aircraft in a 360 field of view around the plane (and they’ll project this data onto the HMDS helmet), and 2-way datalinks let you target missiles in a 360 degree sphere… then you may not have to maneuver into position when dogfighting. And beyond visual range, maneuverability won’t matter much anyway.

So, that’s the theory. Unlike the production numbers, it’s not a lie. But it is untested against modern hyperspectral countermeasures, the vagaries of combat, and other things we’d have to experience before we could tell whether this was the real deal, or a repeat of the “unbeatable missiles” fiasco of the 1960s that got guns eliminated from the F-4, and ended up killing pilots over Vietnam because those unbeatable missiles, were. A mistake that the Israelis, to their credit, never made.

DID has covered the F-35’s air to air capability controversy in some depth:


Why not buy the Boeing propose F-15SE (Silent Eagle), an upgraded F-15E utilizing F-22 like Stealth technology at only 100M a copy? It has upgraded avonic systems, phased array radar and the missles come out from modified CFT’s (Conformal Fuel Tanks). Google F-15SE and you’ll see what I mean. Technology is there. The Vertical Stabilizers (fins) have been angled 15 degrees to lower the radar signiture.

All this talk is silly, I have known some vry excellent engineers that tell me if a person can find the frequency and pulses (time and width), nothing fancy using O-scopes and Reflectometers, he can build a decent, just ask Northrop Grummann with their ALQ’s.

Sorry (decent Jammers)

why not buy stealth eagles? ’cause the F-35 will be cheaper and provide more capability.

Seems like there is worry when it comes to the Russian S-300/400. On the 1st nite of a strike, there has to be SEAD. The F-4 was used in ’91, wat aircraft will deliver this capability? The JSF is not ready yet, so for now wat do we use? The F-22? I imagine it could. Air superiority? That too. The non-stealth aircraft will have to be used too. Boeing’s F-15SE is a darkhorse, maybe a good stopgap before JSF is ready. As for the A-10, no aircraft can provide the CAS that it does. It is truly a scary sound when that cannon is fired. This plane is so valuable to guys on the ground, and the enemy truly fears it. Let’s spend, but spend wisely. The F-117 downed in Serbia, was picked up by modified low-frequency radar, plus as said above, using the same routes will eventually get you killed.

Kevin it’s not that simple any more. Radar/missile seekers don’t just go on one frequency, they have complex (nearly impossible to crack) algorithms that make the frequencies jump around so that you can’t just jam it. We spend a lot of time intercepting these radar signatures and trying to crack the algorithms so we can jam them.


Do some research about how that one F-117 was shot down. And note that that ‘miracle’ (was not really a miracle but until you learn how it actually happened it might as well be) had never been accomplished in hundreds of provious F-117 sorties & has ot been repeated since.

The s-300 has been marketed and sold to many countries that usa/nato might have conflicts with in the future, this is a threat that has to be taken into account. Dogfighting capacities are still required, especially in Europe during peace time where airspace violators are escorted out. The eurofighter was made för this.

There are 2 main issues that people are overlooking
1. Air dominance — without it a ground war becomes a battle of attrition rather than a crushing winning effort.
The F-22 is the 5th generation air dominance aircraft and without enough to carry on a battle against large numbers of 5th generation fighters produced by China and/or Russia then our dominance will be lost in short order.
2. Once an industrial base is lost due to shut down of a production line the price to restart generates skyrocketing costs as well as time lost.

F-35 is a very good airframe and has its place as a replacement for the F-16 but it is NOT a replacement for the F-22 and it was designed as a compliment to the F-22 not an either/or aircraft.

Cannot afford both; especially in this era.

Fortunate to get JTF, if?

Pilots make the difference.….….…..

It is unlikely we will ever engage China or Russia in a war where air dominance is a factor. They don’t want a piece of us as much as we don’t want a piece of them. More likely, is an assault will be made on our over reliance on command and control from space assets, and cyber assets. It is far cheaper and just as effective if not more so. Virtually every piece of our resource base (military, power distribution,etc) is data dependent. Both China and Russia are fully engaged in data and intel disruption strategies. We have no defence against an assault on our power grid, which is already far too vulnerable. Our biggest concern would be anti-air missle and gun technology transferred to proxy states. We have the technology to deal with that now. We would be building an aircraft with not much effect in the outcome of asymetric war fighting.

BTY there is serious discussion about returning prop driven air assests to our arsenal. Long loiter times, cheaper to build, and great payload capacity. Updated guns and missles hanging off them would be a fine weapons platform. Too bad the AF can’t get off their mental set that everything has to be faster and have more gadgets. The A-10 is a great tank buster but not sexy enough for the fighter jock mentality.

Heinz also thinks the USMC will see IOC with the F-35 by 2012. Program management via the crack pipe.

It seems that this entire chain of commentary was initiated by Brig. Gen David Heinz’s response: “While I will do the mission differently, I am still delivering first day of the war capability.” It is amusing that only one of you picked up on the fact that this response was a non-response to the question: ‘So I asked Heinz if the JSF could kill advanced SAMs.’ Actually, first day of the war capability should consist primarily of killing SAM sites and only killing SAMs if you are detected (SEAD). This naturally begs the question of actually detecting a stealthy platform. One must remember that the basic premise of stealth is that the configuration reflects radar energy away from the transmitter. Unfortunately, recent developments in radar technology could reduce the effectiveness of this basic concept. Two developments in particular could achieve this; bistatic radar and low-frequency radar transmission. It has been indicated that low frequency transmissions reflect more strongly than higher frequencies and bistatic radars are those in which the transmitter and receiver are not co-located. Therefore, a low frequency bistatic radar system stands a better chance of detecting a stealthy platform. Not that this better chance will be significantly better, just better than current systems. As to the ‘all over the map projections’ of F-35 production quantities, based on recent experience, I would not bet on a domestic production run of over 200, if that many. This is not to say, however, that license production will not exceed this value.
As a totally unrelated matter, I recently found an interesting item out on the web to the effect that proofreading seems to be a lost art.

Well put, sir, well put. I’ll cretlainy make note of that.


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