Senate The Weekly Discussion of Military Technology

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

  1. thebeanpole Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2013
    star 2
    Yes it seems to be the case. If a jet can perform it's fundamental purpose well, and it's computer and weapon technology remains up to date, then there's probably no reason to scrap it. Of course, eventually militaries reach a point where it's more practical to just get a new jet than to keep modifying and upgrading an older one that's going to be inferior to other jets anyway.
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  2. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    More news from Asia:

    South Korea probably going to adopt F-15SE

    This is of course less of a big deal than Indian nuclear missile subs and Japanese sort-of-aircraft carriers, but (I think) it's the first Asian nation to get a low-observable design, and also further cements Boeing's hold on the fighter market-Lockheed may have gotten the JSF contract, but Boeing is very well-placed with the Super Hornet and now the Silent Eagle either in service or about to be adopted; it's an interesting circle from when all this started in the 1930s, when Boeing was very definitely uncompetitive in the fighter market against, well, virtually everybody.
  3. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    That's a good call for South Korea. If I remember, the F-15K that Korea bought not to long ago was kind of the 1st incarnation of the Silent Eagle itself, minus the special coatings. But regardless, both will fit well together.

    I think the Silent Eagle is a real dark horse among fighters. Most countries don't need to spend the money on the F-35, especially if the Silent Eagle does 90% of what the F-35 does.
  4. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Not really too familiar with the F-15K.

    We'll see about the Silent Eagle-I'd imagine most countries with current F-15s are waiting for the if and when of the F-22 being available for export.
  5. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I remember Korea going through a similar process back then-oh around 2004 or so- when the F-15K was built for them. That's when the Silent Eagle was a prototype. I'm sure it's an over-simplification, but basically, the K model has the computers, radars, and fly-by-wire systems of what they were putting in the Silent Eagle back then. (minus the stealth) . Which is why the K is not really an "E," but not really a full blown SE.

    I'm not sure the US is going to lift its export ban of the F-22 beyond Tier 1 allies (ie the UK and Australia) in the foreseeable future, at least in a time where it would matter. (Hey! It's 2040 and the Raptor is finally on the secondary market!) I remember when the Japanese Defense Forces expressed interest in it, and I don't think it ever did clear all the hurdles to go there, but I don't know how far along the interest was. I don't even think Israel can get F-22's, even under the table, which is rather telling in relation to US policy. Of course, the Raptor is so distinct, it kind of quashes any covert procurement programs. It's not like the US State Department could plead ignorance or feign plausible deniability if the IDF suddenly attacked a target with a shiny new fleet of Raptors.
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  6. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I imagine they eventually will lift the export ban-like we've been talking about for a few weeks now other countries generally upgrade more slowly than we do, and given how much of a giant step the F-22 is over anything else being made today it's not going to be wholly obsolete for quite a while.
  7. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    44, Boba - just had a work conference last week and Maj. Gen. Jim Molan (ret) was the guest speaker. Familiar with him?
  8. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Actually, no. He and I were nearly in Iraq at the same time in 2005, though.
  9. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Sort of. He's kind of like the Aussie version of R Lee Ermy, correct? (except accounting for the fact he's an officer, not an NCO)

    I know Molan wrote a book about how the Australian military had lost it's warrior ethos...Kind of like a modern day Gallipoli, but then gained it. But I haven't read it, so I might be off on the extent of the specifics.

    I imagine he was a dynamic speaker.
    Last edited by Mr44, Sep 17, 2013
  10. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    I was in Iraq in March & April '05. They had us flying out of Tallil AB in southern Iraq for a while; that's the place with the 6000 year old ziggurat and Abraham's home, known as Ur in Biblical times. Then they moved us to Kuwait and we flew missions out of there to Iraq for the rest of the year.
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  11. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I went to the ziggurat once, iirc; most days I was driving around with a company of Iraqi infantry.
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  12. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    So today, in what is actually a pretty bizarre move, the South Korean government rejected the Silent Eagle under the current "FX-III" bid to replace its remaining obsolete F-4 and F-5 fighters.

    It's bizarre because SK had already rejected the other contenders, and Boeing's F-15 model was the last remaining product. The Silent Eagle was supposed to be a lock for the contract. Although the F-35 was one of those looked at, and which SK originally wanted, but was determined to be too expensive for SK's needs. The Silent Eagle would have seamlessly fit with SK's current model of the F-15, even though it's more of a 4.5 generation fighter. The reason given was that the Silent Eagle was not "stealthy enough" for operations against North Korea. The issue then becomes I don't think that there is any plane that will meet South Korea's specifications, filtered for cost, depending on any internal political struggles going on.

    Because this could be a ploy by the ROK forces to actually go after the F-35 they always wanted. South Korea 1) either will have to increase the budget of the program or 2) buy less planes for the same amount of money to get a actual 5th generation fighter.

    Interesting none the less.
  13. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, I saw that. Barring something crazy like them buying the Rafale, it'll be the F-35.
  14. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    What standard are they going by? A Romulan cloaking device? Even that isn't stealthy enough when you're facing the Jem'Hadar (and their anti-proton scans).

    Maybe a flock of swallows carrying explosive coconuts would work better for their needs.
  15. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, that's why the announcement was so eh....loaded... Because if you wrapped a bathtub in tin foil and catapulted it across the border, it would still be stealthy enough to have an even chance against the North's radar.

    The military wanted the F-35. The civilian government balked at the price. Personally, I think the F-15 SE version would have been perfect for South Korea. Yeah. Not a true "5th Gen" fighter, but still well beyond what SK would have used it for, and it would have fit right along SK's existing F15's. Japan did the same thing. Japan ambitiously wanted the F-22 but couldn't get it. It then looked at the Silent Eagle as an alternative, but finally settled on the F-35 as well for the prestige, despite the higher cost.

    So really, the F-35 again seems to be the only fighter that fits South Korea's specs. Odds say that South Korea is using this as a bargaining chip to get the F35 at a lower price, but since the F35 costs have escalated for top tier allies, I seriously doubt that SK is going to get a break here. So the only option seems to be to wrangle more money out of the government for the overall project in order for the air forces to get the F35. That sucks, because the Silent Eagle is a great fighter that Boeing self produced. If South Korea truly drops it, then I think the only other contender is Saudi Arabia, and I wonder if it would be cost effective for Boeing to continue it?
  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
  17. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    And that Wikipedia entry seems to indicate that the Saudis didn't go with the SE either.... Oh well.
  18. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Not really a surprise, I guess. There's not that gigantic a gap between Generation 3 fighters and Generation 4, hence lots of countries keeping the Phantom around til this decade...but the jump from 4 to 5 is a huge one. Digital computers, stealth, supercruise-that's three giant leaps and I'd imagine a lot of countries are like "why buy modest improvements to generation 4 when Generation 5 will be commercially available before long?"
  19. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, I agree with you about that. I just don't think it makes sense for nations like South Korea, or even Japan, and so on... I mean, from a cost standpoint, it barely makes sense for the US to spend 150 million dollars each for an F-22 Raptor. But since the US is still viewed as the world's only hyperpower, for the most part, there are other political considerations about leading from the front, and zero defect/losses and such that justify this.

    Even if North Korea were to invade tomorrow, South Korea will never take action against North Korea without the US. And the reality is, while North Korea has large numbers of MiG 21's, it still uses the MiG 17 from 1952, for Pete's sake. (and even the MiG 21 is more 2nd Gen than it is truly 3rd generation fighter) As a result, a fighter like the F-15 Silent Eagle, which is really generation 4.5 than it is gen 5, would still be more than adequate against any threat from the air or from ground to air missiles that the South would have to face.

    So while I completely agree about the "wait until gen 5 is available" mentality you illustrated above. It's rather like South Korea waiting and spending more money on a flamethrower to start a BBQ because it's cool, when a Zippo lighter would complete the job just as well.
  20. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    South Korea seems to take a very scorched-earth aspect approach to its military, though-it aims to try to have the same advantage in regards to North Korea that we had in relation to Iraq in 1991; just no possible way for North Korea to win. Just as an example-they could in a war rain conventionally-armed ballistic and cruise missiles literally anywhere in the DPRK, and also take shelter behind the American BMD shield. They field M1 equivalents to well, whatever 1960s technology the DPRK travels around in, and spend 24 billion a year on their military-not very much compared to us or China, but it's something like four times what the DPRK spends, and I'm not sure buying a fighter with decent, but ultimately modest improvements to a platform they already own (and owns MiG-21s and -29s anyways) don't make sense in terms of their usual defense decisions, which tilt very high technology as a general rule.
  21. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I suppose you can't blame them, since technically, after being invaded by the North, the Korean War is still only in cease fire mode, not a true peace agreement.....

    The Desert Storm comparison is an interesting one. Since Desert Storm was so land/maneuver based, I'd say that the Abrams was the standout of the conflict in relation to the former Soviet garbage Iraq used as armor. But the decisive victory was the result of other tried and true factors. (tactics, integration, command and control...) The Abrams of 1991 wasn't a super high tech example. It was simply the definitive version of armored warfare, which came from a tank designed in 1980 and given incremental improvements. Kind of like how the M16A4/M4 family is now considered to be the definitive infantry rifle to the point that all replacement programs aren't worth the cost. The Patriot was the high tech darling of Desert Storm, and even factoring in teething pains/performance issues, the Patriot's victory was much more in the morale realm, as it gave the illusion of US invulnerability.

    There is nothing that South Korea would face right now that couldn't be handled by their current F-15K. (and so on- as you pointed out, SK uses a version of the M1 built under license, etc..) So even if the F-15 Silent Eagle is really an incremental improvement over the regular F-15, it would still be overkill.South Korea would be well served by having a mixture of F-15K's and F-15SE's. But that's not good enough, because the F-35 represents prestige issues, not really capability concerns.
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  22. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Sure, but there's also that the -SE is as good as the F-15 will ever get; there really isn't much development left to do on the platform. The F-35 OTOH is a new design that's pretty wide open for future variants, and it moves the ROK Air Force from "well, maybe they'll get lucky and shoot down an F-15" to "MiG-21s are going to be like the crew of the Nostromo in an air battle". The ROK wants it for the same reason we wanted the F-22: Crushing superiority.

    And with the Desert Storm comparison I meant more how just hopelessly outmatched Iraq was not in one or two or even three categories, but in virtually all of them. When its getting to the point that we can use B-52 carpet bombing as psychological warfare and announce times they'll be bombing specific units, it's at the level of "we will end you" South Korea is trying for.
  23. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Oh, I agree with all of that. My point is more along the lines of South Korea will never achieve that level, even continuing along the course they currently are.

    Even when they were buying the F-15SE, they were only going to purchase 60 of them. How many F-35's will they be able to buy? Half of that? Does the F-35 have enough technology to overcome 10 to 1 odds? How much of that is the result of pilot skill/training and not simply tech? Desert Storm and following conflicts show that this is certainly possible, but at some point the F-35 represents too big an investment for South Korea to loose. Remember when the F-117 was shot down over Serbia back in 1999? That incident illustrates the same thinking, as the general reaction then was that an F-117 Stealth fighter was too valuable to loose during what was supposed to be a peacekeeping operation and not all out warfare. Apaches were held back during that conflict for the same reason. Of course, the US military just swapped alternatives. It was a psychological blow to NATO to have the Federal Yugoslav forces get lucky and shoot down a stealth. Such things happen during armed conflict. But the US could just send in A-10's, and F-15 Strike Eagles and do the job just as well without having to worry about loosing a big ticket item.

    The US has the luxury of having F-22's, and F-35's, and F-18 SuperHornets, and stealth bombers along with B-52's...Basically, it's a hungry kid poised over a cookie jar filled with all kinds of cookies. That's a luxury that a country like South Korea doesn't have, and so much of that "no hope, we will end you" psychological effect is lost, even if it has the latest toys.
  24. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Your comparisons to Serbia is leaving out one important thing: that was a war we conducted at our leisure. If it wasn't successful, fine; our national security wasn't at risk in any particular way. That would not be the case in a Korean War Part 2; there wouldn't be a too expensive to risk in a war where the enemy's objective is the total destruction of your society. Sure, they might not be able to buy sixty, but I think the -35 is perfectly in line with the big priorities SK has set security-wise, especially recently, where they've heavily focused on ballistic and cruise missiles-not cheap items obviously, but its a threat paradigm the North can't really defend against; the F-35 fits into that category.
  25. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I say the F-22 should be considered a 6th-generation fighter, while the Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale, Su-35, F-16 Block 60, etc get bumped up to 5th generation. We skipped a generation!