Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Stupid ideas...flawed assumptions...crazy risk....the story of the F-35 dogfight as taught by history....

via War is Boring...
The aerial dogfight was not supposed to happen. On May 20, 1967, eight U.S. Air Force F-4C fighters were patrolling over North Vietnam when they spotted as many as 15 enemy MiG-17 fighters a short distance away.
Fog and the MiGs’ low altitude had prevented the F-4s from detecting the North Vietnamese jets from farther away.
Diving to attack, the twin-engine F-4s fired a staggering 24 Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles, shooting down just four of the single-engine MiGs. The North Vietnamese jets reacted quickly, forming into a tight-turning “wagon wheel,” with each pilot watching the tail of the man in front of him.
As the heavy, twin-engine F-4s tried to out-turn the nimble, single-engine MiGs, a North Vietnamese pilot peppered one of the American planes with cannon fire, igniting it and forcing the two crewmen to eject.
“The turning ability of the MiG-17 is fantastic,” one F-4 flier recalled later. “It must be seen to be believed.”
But the Air Force had assumed that wouldn’t be a problem — that its then-brand-new twin-seat F-4s would never even get into a close-range dogfight. Instead, the F-4s — and other Air Force and Navy fighters — would always destroy their enemies from long range, using the Sparrow and other air-to-air missiles.
It was a flawed and dangerous assumption that got scores of American aviators shot down over Vietnam. But 49 years later, the Air Force is assuming the same thing … with regards to its new F-35 stealth fighter.

The failure to identify the Chinese as future enemies is a mistake.  Good enemies focus the mind, cause those that will face them on the battlefield to harden their bodies and resolve...cause leadership to dispense with nonsense and to laser beam on the idea of defeating the best that they can throw at us.

China's military leadership is doing all of the above.  Our's isn't.

Once I believed that our military leaders would not act stupidly, would do their absolute best to craft winning solutions AND would give us the best gear that the nation could afford to help defend the nation.

I no longer believe that.

One thing is certain though.  China's leaders are reading these articles and their scientists and strategist are working on solutions to negate the BVR advantage that the F-35 MIGHT have and force it into a close range dogfight.

What form will their efforts take?

I don't know.

We can probably assume that the electronic warfare fight will be something that we've never seen before.  We might see massed missile shoots at whatever bearing they think F-35's might be on with a second wave of fighters trying to zoom high and fast and dive down on the fleeing US fighters once they start making counter moves to avoid the missile barrage by the Chinese jets that
would have already turned for home while their comrades attempt to close.

We might even see the Chinese version of a large (meaning modified transport) missile truck that carries upwards of 30 odd missiles each.

We've seen stupid ideas, flawed assumptions and crazy risk before.  The reason why things were turned around is because of leaders like General Olds.

I don't see anyone with the tactical genius, courage or leadership qualities of General Olds in service today.

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