Senate The Weekly Discussion of Military Technology

Discussion in 'Community' started by Mr44, Nov 27, 2003.

  1. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    No, I didn't mean to come off as negative about the actual drop, Boba. I'm more negative about the reactions after the operation in Mali. I think it might have been Strategy Review, but there was an article about how all the EU nations were now looking an increasing airborne capabilities as a way to consolidate and streamline because the French FL jumped into Mali to hunt terrorists. I didn't mean to suggest that the airborne operation itself wasn't successful, but that just because it was, it doesn't mean air dropped expeditionary forces suddenly become the cure all for these militaries precisely because of the limitations, the most important of which is the support requirements once the initial forces are dropped (for the NATO countries that don't have extensive projection capabilities)
  2. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Oh, ok, I get you. Mind linking to the Strategy Review article, if it is online?
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, this is interesting:

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-navy-hopes-to-increase-aim-9x-range-by-60-388468/

    Basically, the Navy is planning to bump AIM9X range to overlap more with the AMRAAM. The article says it's predominantly because of jamming that can affect the AMRAAM but I think it's actually more with leveraging the stealthiness of the JSF and (eventually) their F/A-XX: Conventional fighters have very little BVR ability against stealthy aircraft, but sensor invisibility is less relevant at short range where you could conceivably score a gun kill. It makes sense, to me at least, to increase the number of weapons a fighter can carry that allow for engagement at long range.
  4. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    Sidewinder: man's best friend in a dogfight.
    I'd like to see AMRAAM equipped with a secondary IR guidance system that kicks in if the radar is jammed, but there's probably not enough room to install an IR seeker next to the radar.
  5. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, given just how compactly built the AMRAAM is I kinda doubt it myself. I think there's an AMRAAM replacement in the pipeline, not sure though.
  6. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    When it comes to BVR combat, how do you make absolutely sure that the object you're firing on is an enemy aircraft rather than a civilian plane or an aircraft from a neutral country? Or do you just say "we saw it flying out from this direction at this airspeed, so we're about 80% sure it's a MiG-29..." and take a bit of a risk?
  7. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    That's what IFF is for: Identification Friend or Foe. It's a coded radar transponder. Military radars automatically query the target and if the target doesn't respond with the correct coded signal, we know it's not one of ours. IFF codes and the details of how they work are classified. I could tell you more, but you have no need to know.
  8. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    There's also levels of ROE, typically. For example-in short of war situations, an airplane intruding on a carrier group would get a warning, then probably visual identification by a fighter or two from the group, and things would go from there.

    In wartime, there'd probably be no warning, is the main difference.
  9. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Yeah but as far as I know, IFF only tells you if something is friendly...lack of an IFF doesn't necessarily mean it's hostile though.

    But it's not like our carriers advertise their position to tell civilians to keep away. I thought the way carriers battle groups operate was to remain at EMCON so that the enemy has no idea which part of the ocean you're at. Well if the enemy can't find you to attack you, what's to stop an airliner from randomly wandering into you?
    Last edited by Alpha-Red, Jul 20, 2013
  10. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    It's tough for me to say, but an airliner flying in a contested area in a serious war between peer competitors isn't going to be a thing that happens, I think.
  11. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I suppose, but isn't the point of a carrier that it can be anywhere, that it can show up from an unexpected quarter and hit the enemy where and when he least expects it? If so then an airliner flying over what it thinks are safe waters could find itself in the middle of a warzone and at the complete mercy of whatever ROE the carrier group is operating on. Might get even worse if a country presses airliners into service as long-range maritime scouts and raises the chance of mistaken identity incidents.
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    It's still exceedingly unlikely to happen. You can what-if things endlessly, but the bottom line is that airliners are either going to be a) rerouted in wartime or b) not flying at all. Also, carrier groups don't travel under electronic blackout unless there's something unusual going on-can't very well use your air-defense ships when their radars are off. They might do it under certain circumstances, but all the time? No.
  13. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Alpha, just to piggyback what Boba just said. The blunt catch-all "what if" answer to your above question is that such a incident would be labeled as collateral damage and the US government would pay out the $200,000 "oops bounty" for the passengers on the plane. (or whatever the amount is these days) Because yes, you can't cover every situation.

    But your scenario is still exceedingly unlikely. First off, you can generally tell the class of a target by the amount of reflection given back to a radar. The US at least, trains their radar operators to recognize different classes of targets based on the return signature. So at the console, while you wouldn't be able to get so specific as to differentiate between a MiG-23 and a French Jaguar, for example, you could tell the difference between a 747 and a MiG, or a B-52 and an F-15 because they are of different classes.

    But did you know that newer tech is even eliminating the human factor from the radar interpretation? The F-22 has literally hundreds, if not thousands, of pre-programmed radar reflection signatures in its internal processor. So when a Raptor pilot locks a long range/BVR missile onto a target, the Raptor itself knows what the target is. And it can get as specific as telling the difference between a MiG-17 and a MiG 29 and so on. In addition, Raptors can "data link" amongst themselves, so there might be a forward Raptor that conducts a flyby of a target to "paint" it, but a different Raptor that fires an extreme range missile based on the sensor and visual information of the other.

    So yeah, if a civilian airliner refused hailing identification, the radar operator misjudged the signature, and there was a breakdown in positive identification from the firing interceptor, a civilian jet most certainly could be shot down. That's the nature of the "fog of combat." I mean, the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger jet flying over the Persian Gulf back in 1988. But there is also some context to that as well. Previously, a different ship in the Gulf- the USS Stark- had been attacked, which killed 37 sailors and damaged that boat. Not only that, the Iranian jet refused identification and did not respond to radio, which would tend to support an idea that the Iranian jetliner was not as "accidental" as it claimed. Besides, there is now 30 odd years of technology improvements since then.
  14. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, I guess that's settled. :p

    In other news, the Fire Scout program has a new model, the MQ-8C, which is basically an unmanned Kiowa/Bell 407:

    USN receives first MQ8C

    [IMG]

    This is an especially big deal for the Littoral Combat Ship, which is seemingly almost being treated as a miniature aircraft carrier-the Navy refers to it as a "mother ship" a lot, and it doesn't have a great deal of direct-fire weapons aboard. The current MQ8B has a combat radius of 110 nautical miles and a maximum endurance of about 5 hours. Which is...decent, but not all that amazing, especially in terms of crew relief-assuming an LCS has 4 B-models onboard, you'd need about sixteen sailors to be able to keep them in the air near-continually with 12 hours on/12 hours off for rest breaks. That's a pile of people for a ship that, iirc, has a crew of forty or so.

    The MQ8C, on the other hand, has a combat radius of about 160 miles, and with a 600-pound payload, has 11 hours endurance. This greatly reduces your crew manning needs-it literally halves what you'd need for a long-term "surge" with all four MQ8Cs in the air. Eight sailors could keep two MQ8Cs in the air and distinctly maximize their down time to having only 11 out of 48 hours on-station, and even with four birds operating continually there'd still be about 11 hours between shifts.
  15. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Heh, well thanks for clarifying somewhat. It's just that I've been playing this computer game (Jane's Fleet Command) and while I'm not too sure how well it simulates reality I found that the only practical way to defend my ships was to blindly lob missiles at unidentified air contacts and hope that what I'm blowing up is a bomber rather than an airliner. I also got quite annoyed when I sent fighters to visually ID a contact only to be rewarded with a missile shot to the face because the AI wasn't nearly as scrupulous as I was about ROE (either that or it cheats)...and also got me wondering whether the game was encouraging me to shoot without identification.
    Last edited by Alpha-Red, Jul 21, 2013
  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Sounds like the game is unbalanced to make it challenging...the same way it takes a SAW a full drum of ammo to kill one guy in Battlefield 2 :p Lord I hated that damn game, lol.
  17. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    So, here's an interesting article about India's experience with the MiG 21:

    Janes Basic Here

    The distilled version of the article is that a Indian air force officer is suing the Indian government on the grounds that the MiG 21 is so dangerous to fly that it violates his fundamental right to life. Kalia, the pilot, survived a MiG 21 crash himself. Now, on the surface, this seems rather silly. But the full article goes on to outline that since India started using the MiG 21, it has lost 482 MiG 21's due to crashes (which is just about half of the total of all the MiG 21's in Indian service) which also resulted in the death of 218 personnel. (including 8 pilots from other countries who were visiting India to train)

    Now, the MiG 21 is an old plane, which the former Soviet Union continued to produce and export well past its prime all the way to 1985, precisely because it could dump them on countries like India. It's known for having really poor low level/slow speed handling characteristics, but out of all its users, from Romania to Poland to Yemen, it's not really known as an unsafe fighter, even if it is a marginal one. I think what this probably illustrates more is the deficiencies of India's pilot training program. But whatever the reason, it's startling to think that the MiG 21 in Indian service has a 50% non-hostile failure rate...
  18. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Hmmm...your link isn't working somehow. :/

    Anyway, it's just another layer on just how much work India faces in the modernization of their military-especially when you consider that Germany retired it's last few F-4 Phantoms on June 29 of this year. They're about the same age for the design entering production, but the 21s joined the IAF in bigger numbers in 1965-barely 4 years prior. The Luftwaffe's obviously a great deal better at keeping old airframes flying.
  19. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    Luftwaffe had serious issues with its F-104 fleet. I don't remember if their accident rate was as horrific as India with the 21, but I know it was not something to be proud of.
  20. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    F-104s were hellishly maintenance-intensive in general, IIRC.
  21. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I think the major difference is the respective resources that could be devoted to replacing and/or fixing such examples though. I'm not looking it up at the moment, so I might be off by a year or two, but the US only used the F-104 for a decade at best precisely because of the maintenance issues. But that was also during the hey-day of pioneering jet fighter development. From probably 1949-1960, I'd bet easy money that 3, 4 or more new fighter lines were developed per year...So the point back then, at least in the US, was to take a concept, design a plane around the idea, and then see how it held up. If it didn't, then another design was waiting in line behind it. Because also, during that heyday, you probably had half a dozen or so different models serving in active duty at once. So one squadron would consist of F-104's, one squadron would consist of F-101's, and still another would have F-106's, all overlapping in service and fostering competitive rivalry. The situation with the Luftwaffe and the F-104 would be closer to India, because Germany took the 104 and crammed just about as much capability into it as possible (probably more capability that it could handle) because Germany wanted a plane that did it all.

    I think the Indian pilot's concern is that the MiG 21 is the result of cutting corners on everything, and then dumping it into the export market, where the end users can't really afford to fix the problems and/or seek out alternatives.
    Sarge likes this.
  22. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    Yup. The 104 was designed as a high-altitude interceptor and the Luftwaffe adapted it for low-level ground strike missions. Those tiny little wings just weren't cut out for that sort of flying.
  23. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    This spilled onto the web yesterday:

    Queen Elizabeth's World War Three speech

    It is, of course, not written by her personally, but it's still utterly chilling.



    People talk a lot about the technology of the Cold War (as we've been doing the last few posts...feels like I should be rocking a NASA 1960s white shirt and black tie ensemble, maybe :p), but the psychology isn't touched upon much. I honestly wish I could wrap my head around an era following a war that had been so bad that MAD was the only possible solution to keep it from happening again.
  24. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    It seems like India is hogging all of the defense related news this month. This week, the Indian government is entering into final trials for its replacement assault rifle, which will be standardized across the Indian Defense Ministry. Although it's being phased out, the Indian military is equipped with the INSAS, which was the first locally produced small arm by the Indian MOD. True to form though, the INSAS was wrought with problems from the beginning, attributed mostly to the fact that it was kind of a Frankenstein's Monster mix of the Soviet-era AK, FN FAL, and M16 family. Except it took the weaknesses of all three with very little of the strengths of any. India's final contenders are all produced outside of India:

    1)Italy's Beretta ARX160-This would be a solid choice, as the newer ARX is Beretta's answer to the SCAR. The downside is that it has very little exposure outside of the Italian military. (Egypt uses a limited version, as well as a couple of small countries)

    2)the Czech Republic's CZ 805- I don't know about this one. It's basically still a prototype, as it is just starting to be fielded by the Czech military. India would be investing in an untested design, but it's probably the least expensive of all of the choices.

    3) Israel Weapon Industries IWI ACE 1- Don't know about this one either. There would be huge political fallout if India selected a rifle produced in Israel. Not only that, but IWI's favorite baby is the Tavor. I don't know if Israel won't sell the rifle that the IDF uses, but the ACE has a standard layout. It's kind of like the old Galil but with a rail. I think the Tavor might have been a contender at one time, but it was pulled.

    There are 2 contenders from the US:
    4)SIG Sauer SG551- This is interesting, because India is not soliciting bids from the actual German/Swiss company, but from the Sig USA factory in New Hampshire, to be exported by the US. This version will be similar to the US law enforcement-marketed SG551 with select fire. It's the heaviest example in the trials.

    5) Colt's version of the m16A1 called the " Indian Combat Rifle" with specs specifically made for the Indian MOD- Even with my own bias, I think this is the most intriguing. Colt built this version specifically for the Indian government's rifle trials. But basically, it's a light barreled, full auto M16A1 with a rail system as well.

    Unofficially, it looks like the Beretta ARX is favored to win, with the Colt in second place. On Beretta's side, I think it will deeply discount the rifles to get more exposure. On Colt's side, Colt has been aggressively marketing within India. Several police forces, including the VIP quick-reaction team, just bought the Colt M4CQB, which is the shortest M4 version Colt makes.

    India is expected to buy at least 300,000 of whichever rifle wins, so it's a pretty large contract.
  25. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    India's military transformation in general is interesting news-especially how they're doing it on a pretty limited budget. Might be wrong, but wasn't it less than 50 billion dollars last year?

    I'd trust the Czech rifle offhand; long history of well-made rifles from that country-the BRNO for example.