Saturday, June 24, 2017

WHOA!!!! We need to reconsider everything with regard to air to air combat since the SU-22 evaded our AIM-9X!

Thanks to MicMac80 for the link!

via Aviation Week Blog by Bill Sweetman ( here to follow the link)
"We had 210 maintainers," Manclark recalled. "They were dedicated, just unbelievable, tech sergeants and master sergeants. The CIA gave us a flare dispenser from a Frogfoot [Su-25] that had been shot down in Afghanistan. We gave it to maintenance – it was just a thing with wires coming out of it. Four hours later they had it operational on a MiG-21."

That proved to be a very important test. "In 1987 we had the AIM-9P, which was designed to reject flares, and when we used US flares against it would ignore them and go straight for the target. We had the Soviet flares – they were dirty, and none of them looked the same – and the AIM-9P said 'I love that flare'.

"Why’d that happen? We had designed it to reject American flares. The Soviet flares had different burn time, intensity and separation. The same way, every time we tried to build a SAM simulator, when we got the real thing it wasn’t the same.

"I use the AIM-9P because it is out of the system and I can talk about it. The same thing happened to a lot of things that are still in the system and that I can’t talk about."
Now this from Combat Aircraft (click here to follow the link).
At approximately 18.43hrs local time on June 18, a US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet operating over Syria shot down a Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) Su-22M4 ‘Fitter’ fighter-bomber near Tabqah, Syria.

The F/A-18E (reported as BuNo 168914/AJ304) was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 ‘Golden Warriors’ (also known as ‘War Party’), which is assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8.

Its pilot engaged the ‘Fitter’ and initially fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder close-range heat-seeking missile from a range of about half a mile, which was defeated by flares launched by the Su-22 pilot. The Super Hornet then re-engaged and fired an AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile), which hit the ‘Fitter’ despite being fired from relatively close range.

The pilot was able to eject and was later recovered safely, according to local sources.

It marked the first shootdown of a manned fighter by a US aircraft since May 4, 1999, when Lt Col Michael ‘Dog’ Geczy, US Air Force, downed a Serbian MiG-29 with an AIM-120 fired from his F-16CJ during Operation ‘Allied Force’.

However, the engagement poses some interesting questions, not least; how was a 1980s-era ‘Fitter’ able to defeat a cutting-edge US air-to-air heat-seeking missile?
Go to both pages and read them in their entirety!

Now back on task.

I originally dismissed this news.  I thought nothing of it.  Then I saw MicMac80 in the open comments section today and it hit me square between the eyes.


Think about it.

Maneuvering is irrelevant.

We all had been led to believe that modern dogfighting would result in mutual suicide because close range missiles were just that accurate.

We have read stories about the Navy wanting to get a bit more range out of the AIM-9X to make it into a medium range missile.

And then we have that old Rand Study that claimed that the F-35 would be clubbed like baby seals.

But what if even that dire report is overly optimistic?  What if between electronic attack, active/passive countermeasures and super maneuverability we're actually, unknowingly behind our potential foes?

What if risk was assumed and that risk has already cost us our once vaunted aerial superiority?

I'm just asking some questions.  It's up to you to decide what's right and wrong.  Have at it in the comment section.

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