Thursday, March 02, 2017

F-35 wins 24-0? Why do we need so many?

via Australian Defense.
LTGEN Davis, who had been an instructor and also commander of the USMC air weapons school, said he had not seen anything like what the pilots were doing with this airplane in his 37 years as a Marine pilot.
He compared the fighter to a quarterback: “it sees everything, it's very bright, it controls the play”. But whereas in traditional mission scenarios there were aircraft performing different roles (he used the analogy of linebackers, running backs, receivers), the F-35 more closely represented a soccer player: “every single player in that match is empowered to score, it's very agile and can put iself in a position to score so it's a very dynamic fight.”
At the annual Exercise Red Flag recently, in which elements of the RAAF participated, the USAF had reported kill ratios of at least 15:1 with the F-35A according to the General.
“In our own analysis we're seeing a consistent ratio more like 24:0 – we're not losing aircraft at all in our scenarios, and we set the conditions for other legacy fighters to be successful where we can.”
The USMC will be equipped with 16 and four squadrons of the B and C variants respectively. LTGEN Davis said he expected to see the same maturation occurring with the F-35 as happened with the F/A-18, three squadrons of which have been earmarked for imminent replacement by the F-35B.
This is the usual boilerplate that I've come to expect from General Davis.  He talks all the time about the plane being so freaking awesome that it probably pleasures the pilot while he or she flies it (does that make the F-35 a hermaphrodite?) but he never tells how it's accomplishing this amazing feat.

Put that aside.  That's his usual stump speech.

Focus on the kill claims.  The USAF came out with that 15-1 claim at Red Flag and  then bumped it up to 20-1.  Now we're hearing Davis claiming 24-0.  If that's the case then why do we need so many?  If it can play quarterback then we can get by with far fewer of them and save the money to bolster our other defense related needs!

I was monitoring a conversation and one of the respondents said this...
In the presentation, Lt Gen Davis and Lt Gen Harris collectively claim that the final Loss-Exchange-Rate (LER) from 145 kills and 7 losses (all WVR) was 1: 20.7 (1:21 rounded).  Lt Gen Davis claims that the F-35B was making most of the kills.
Let's take this at face value for a moment.  Strategists use a carefully researched LERs to 'size' the number of combat aircraft and the number of missiles required - they need to because of the high costs of the platforms and weapons.  Too many aircraft = lost money, too few = lost Nation.
AW&ST 20 Feb - 5 Mar 2017 'Flanker Fixation' has the Chinese Fighter Force size at 1,438, so dividing by the LER (as we do) sizes the required F-35  at 1,4,38 / 20.7 = 69.4 or 70 rounded.  Double that to 140 to allow some margin of error, and add another 60 to account for the rest of the world and the 'required' JSF fleet is 200.  Somewhat less than the planned US fleet of 2,443.  DJT will be pleased at the potential savings!
Lt Gen Davis describes the result as 'incredible'.  Probably one of the truer words of the presentation, as the oft misused word 'incredible' literal meaning is 'impossible to believe'.
All the more incredible when contemplating ACC's Gen Mike Hostage's assessment: 'The F-35 was not designed as an air superiority platform', and 'The problem is, with the lack of F-22s, I’m going to have to use F-35s in the air superiority role in the early phases as well, which is another reason why I need all 1,763. I’m going to have some F-35s doing air superiority, some doing those early phases of persistent attack, opening the holes, and again, the F-35 is not compelling unless it’s there in numbers,” the general says. “Because it can’t turn and run away, it’s got to have support from other F-35s. So I’m going to need eight F-35s to go after a target that I might only need two Raptors to go after.' 
The person (note the gender is nonspecific) went on to say this.
The JSF Joint Operational Requirements Document of 2002 was drawn from the air combat environment that existed at the time.  When the JSF Project breached the Nunn-McCurdy provisions, an update of the JORD to reflect current and future air combat environments was declined - so the JSF JORD is firmly rooted in the long-gone world of 2002.
Here is list (comprehensive but by no means complete) of what in now deployed (or close to) and hence what our future war-fighters must contend with: Su-35S, T-50 (not the trainer), J-20, J-31, Su-30MKx, J-10A&B, R-172, R-27 AR/IR/PH&HOJ, R-77 AR/IR/PH&HOJ, R-73/74, PL-12, PL-10, PL-21, DRFM Jammers, Towed Decoys, Forward-Firing chaff in the GSH-301, HF Skywave, HF Surface Wave, Nebo-M, Nebo-SVU, Kolchuga, Vera-E, S-300VM, S-300PMU2, S-350, S-400, S-500, HQ-9, HQ-12, Pantsir -S1 - you get the picture.
So, it it fair to wonder if the Red Flag 2017 was scripted using a JORD 2002 environment, not a realistic 2022 environment.  If it was, why waste a lot of money ( these exercises are very expensive) emulating a world that no longer exists.  
Could DJT's threat of changing the air combat mix to include a sizable number of F/A-18XTs in the US's future air combat fleet created a need to conduct a phony Red Flag to 'prove' the superiority of the 'not designed as an air superiority platform' JSF?  Seems like they have over-egged the exercise, by 'proving' that a fleet of 200 JSFs will rule the world.  
I am constantly told to listen to the experts and to believe the generals.


So if we're to believe General Davis, Harris, Hostage and Bogdan about the capabilities of the F-35.  If we're suppose to honestly believe them when they tell us that the F-35 can achieve kill ratios of as high as 24-0 and assuming it's actually as reliable as Bogdan has alleged (remember he blamed poor reliability rates on early production F-35's) then why do we need so many?

Please tell me why we need almost 2000 F-35 for the USAF alone if its capable of 15-1 loss ratios (help me out cause my math is terrible but doesn't this mean that 133 flag waving F-35's could easily knock down 2000 enemy fighters...want a kick in the nuts?....this means that taking Davis' ratio of 24-0 and assuming a nugget is gonna fuck it up so we make it 24-1, means that the USMC needs only 250 of these ass kickers to KILL 6000 enemy planes!!!!)?  By that math the United States God Bless Marine Corps alone could take on the combined air fleets of the entire world and lose only a few dozen airplanes at worst!

Don't be shy.  Tell me why I'm wrong to believe the Generals now!

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