US Air Superiority in flux?

Rez O. Lewshun

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http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200903/air-force

American air superiority has been so complete for so long that we take it for granted. For more than half a century, we’ve made only rare use of the aerial-combat skills of a man like Cesar Rodriguez, who retired two years ago with more air-to-air kills than any other active-duty fighter pilot. But our technological edge is eroding—Russia, China, India, North Korea, and Pakistan all now fly fighter jets with capabilities equal or superior to those of the F-15, the backbone of American air power since the Carter era. Now we have a choice. We can stock the Air Force with the expensive, cutting-edge F‑22—maintaining our technological superiority at great expense to our Treasury. Or we can go back to a time when the cost of air supremacy was paid in the blood of men like Rodriguez.
 

CatfishVT9

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Could you put a teenage driver into Tony Stewart's car and expect him to win Daytona?

Could you buy snow skis just like Bode Miller and become an olympic skier?

You put an Iranian in an F-14 and you still have a dead Iranian when he faces a US Navy or USAF pilot. Training is the big difference. Now if the Obamessiah cuts the training budget............
 

ATR-DRIVR

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Could you put a teenage driver into Tony Stewart's car and expect him to win Daytona?

Could you buy snow skis just like Bode Miller and become an olympic skier?

You put an Iranian in an F-14 and you still have a dead Iranian when he faces a US Navy or USAF pilot. Training is the big difference. Now if the Obamessiah cuts the training budget............[/quote]


Just wait....it's coming...
 

talondriver

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here's a thought...

Our pilot community in general has been going through a lot of political correctness within the last fifteen years (at least). I believe this has also helped in the erosion of that ol' stick and rudder quality pilot that used to be a prerequisite to flying fighters. Not to say that there are none left, but those that "rate" have to tolerate those who do not. I saw it in SUPT, I've heard the frustration from IFF IPs. People that didn't belong ended up getting a gazillion mulligans to get what they wanted and that's gotta have an effect. You've heard of the "dumbing down" of the US schools...
Also, we've all heard that the "shwacking" of the eagles by the IAF was a smooth move by the USAF to show the need for the raptor.
IMHO of course.
 

AirCobra

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The Air Force leadership is chock full of fighter pilots. They don't care about the aircraft actually fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the tankers, cargo aircraft and helicopters they just want more fighter jets. Its painful for them with the advent of the JADAM that one 40 year old B-52 can loiter over the battlefield for 10 hours and perform as many percison strikes as a whole squadron of F-16's.

The article also overlooks the capability of the AAMRAM, look-down shoot down radar, and superior command and control. Even if our potential enemy came up with Firefox or the Millineum Falcon with our three generation edge in missle and radar technology, even if their aircraft made it off the ground they would probably be shot down from 20 miles away.

We can field great numbers of Super Hornets, F-16's and F-15's. The F-16 may have been designed in the Carter era, but todays Block 60 F-16 is nothing like a Block 1 F-16, no more than a 737-200 is like a 737-800. Also quantity has a quality all its own. Look at World War Two. The Me-262 was jet powered and superior to the P-51, P-47, and P-38 in everyway. Problem is its tough to fight 100 P-51's in one jet.

The fighter pilot mentality that prevades the Air Force and the way the Air Force does things needs to be put to rest. There is only so much money to go around and we need to procure more of the aircraft we need to fight the wars we are in, rather than a war 20 years from now that supposes our potential enemy will make some huge leap in technology.

The Navy does air to air, bombs, does EW, and tanks with one airframe. The Air Force requires five different airframes to do the same missions. I think once again the Air Force will put all it eggs in one basket and try to get the F-22 even though what it really needs are tankers, lift, helicopters and UAV's. Keep puttting fighter guys in charge and this is what you get.
 
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USMCAirWinger

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They don't care about the aircraft actually fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the tankers, cargo aircraft and helicopters they just want more fighter jets.

They DO care. It's a matter of do we fill our forces to fight todays war or do we get ready for tomorrows?

Its painful for them with the advent of the JADAM that one 40 year old B-52 can loiter over the battlefield for 10 hours and perform as many percison strikes as a whole squadron of F-16's.

Again the Buff is great provided that we have air supremacy. Try to send said Buffs into downtown Pyongyang and see what happens.

The article also overlooks the capability of the AAMRAM, look-down shoot down radar, and superior command and control. Even if our potential enemy came up with Firefox or the Millineum Falcon with our three generation edge in missle and radar technology, even if their aircraft made it off the ground they would probably be shot down from 20 miles away.

There's some nasty ******************** out there...'nough said


We can field great numbers of Super Hornets, F-16's and F-15's. The F-16 may have been designed in the Carter era, but todays Block 60 F-16 is nothing like a Block 1 F-16, no more than a 737-200 is like a 737-800. Also quantity has a quality all its own. Look at World War Two. The Me-262 was jet powered and superior to the P-51, P-47, and P-38 in everyway. Problem is its tough to fight 100 P-51's in one jet.

I agree with this.

The fighter pilot mentality that prevades the Air Force and the way the Air Force does things needs to be put to rest. There is only so much money to go around and we need to procure more of the aircraft we need to fight the wars we are in, rather than a war 20 years from now that supposes our potential enemy will make some huge leap in technology.

Again that's one opinion. I disagree.

The Navy does air to air, bombs, does EW, and tanks with one airframe. The Air Force requires five different airframes to do the same missions. I think once again the Air Force will put all it eggs in one basket and try to get the F-22 even though what it really needs are tankers, lift, helicopters and UAV's. Keep puttting fighter guys in charge and this is what you get.
"Jack of all trades, master of none". You clearly don't understand the capabilities of the Air Force specialized assets.

As to no more Fighter guys in leadership positions, yes let put shoe clerks and cargo pilots in charge of deciding what the Combat Air Force fighter mix should look like.

YGTBSM
 
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ExAF

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Navy

I thought the Navy's primary mission was boats. It's a little tough to put a B-52, KC-135 or C-17 on a boat. That's why they do so much with one airframe. That's also why the AF mentality is to have specialized air frames. It is good to have the capability to one thing really well rather than a lot of things OK. Not saying there isn't a good case for "jack of all trades," (I did fly the F-4 after all) just that it isn't always the best solution or capability.
 

AirCobra

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F-15, F-15E, F-16, F-22, and the F-35. These aircraft all can basically the same thing. Not to mention there is also the A-10 which is perpetually being eliminated that also has many of the same missions. Now we have B-1, B-2's and B-52's doing CAS because of the JADAM too.

The Navy used to have seperate aircraft for all its missions (A-4, A-7, A-6, EA-6, F-4, F-14, RC-5, RF-8, KA-3D) but now with better avionics and weapons systems they combined it all into one aircraft. Maybe the FA-18 is the master of none of its missions but what kind of a budget drain is the Air Force going to be on the rest of the armed forces when it tries to maintain 9 airframes for CAS, 3 for Air to Air, and 3 to deliver nukes. Everyone like fancy jets but Marines need socks and body armor, the army needs armored vehicles, everyone needs UAV's, and the Navy is back to fighting pirates so a littoral combat ship may be a good idea.

If the Air Force wants new planes how about more tankers and lift especially since we are being denied use of airfields by the Russians. How about some helicopters that can do CSAR in hot and high conditions and insert SOF. In the seven years of the war on terror the Taliban Air Force (there isn't one) and the Iraqi Air Force have not sortied a single aircraft. Do they even have any F-15C's doing anything in Afghanistan? We are engaged in two conflicts right now. Lets try to concentrate on what is actually going on instead of worrying that the Chinese may jump 20 years ahead in missle and radar technology overnight.
 

AirCobra

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"Jack of all trades, master of none". You clearly don't understand the capabilities of the Air Force specialized assets.

As to no more Fighter guys in leadership positions, yes let put shoe clerks and cargo pilots in charge of deciding what the Combat Air Force fighter mix should look like.

YGTBSM
Wars are 1% combat 99% logistics. Those who do better at logistics win the battle. You can't get a fighter to the battle without a tanker, especially in places like Afghanistan. A UAV can shoot a missle and stay aloft 12 hours, a fighter can't fly to a target without gas. Are fighter jets inserting SOF, tanking C-17's, flying in ammo, or food? Do you want fighter guys trying to take all the budget for a future super fighter so expensive we will be lucky to procure a few squadrons worth when its the tankers, lift and helo guys that are doing the real work right now. YGTBSM
 

MasterOfYaw

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Wars are 1% combat 99% logistics. Those who do better at logistics win the battle. You can't get a fighter to the battle without a tanker, especially in places like Afghanistan. A UAV can shoot a missle and stay aloft 12 hours, a fighter can't fly to a target without gas. Are fighter jets inserting SOF, tanking C-17's, flying in ammo, or food? Do you want fighter guys trying to take all the budget for a future super fighter so expensive we will be lucky to procure a few squadrons worth when its the tankers, lift and helo guys that are doing the real work right now. YGTBSM
AirCobra, you seem to believe we will never again face off against a s[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']ophisticated enemy. Americans thought the same thing in the 1930's. The sailors, soldiers and airman of 1941 paid a heavy price for our ceding control of the skies to contries we considered to be poverty stricken backwaters in 1931. Americans will no longer tolerate the types of loses we will sustain under enemy controled skies. If we do not act to ensure our control of the skies in the future, we might as well shut down our military, bend over, and take whatever the UN or any adversary wants to give us to keep the peace. The price of the F-22 is huge, but the cost of everything else in the budget is a waste without it.[/FONT]
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif'][/FONT]
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']Wars are the result of wishful thinking coupled with weakness.[/FONT]
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif'][/FONT]
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']MofY[/FONT]
 

USMCAirWinger

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F-15, F-15E, F-16, F-22, and the F-35. These aircraft all can basically the same thing.

Sure, however some do it better than the others. Like I said before, each airframe brings different capabilities to the fight. Moreover, there's some really nasty stuff out there (google SAM systems and look at the ranges of latest designs).

Not to mention there is also the A-10 which is perpetually being eliminated that also has many of the same missions.

The Air Force is spending millions to upgrade them to the C model and fly until around 2030. Once again, this is a specialized CAS asset that does it better than all.

Now we have B-1, B-2's and B-52's doing CAS because of the JADAM too.

They do this now because its a NO threat environment.

The Navy used to have seperate aircraft for all its missions (A-4, A-7, A-6, EA-6, F-4, F-14, RC-5, RF-8, KA-3D) but now with better avionics and weapons systems they combined it all into one aircraft. Maybe the FA-18 is the master of none of its missions

So do tell why the Navy wants F-35s.

What kind of a budget drain is the Air Force going to be on the rest of the armed forces when it tries to maintain 9 airframes for CAS, 3 for Air to Air, and 3 to deliver nukes.
First, the strategic bombers are just that. They happen to be doing CAS but their real mission is NOT CAS . That leaves 3 that do CAS. Of these 3, 1 is really good at it. The other 2, not so much.
 
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AirCobra

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AirCobra, you seem to believe we will never again face off against a s[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']ophisticated enemy. Americans thought the same thing in the 1930's. The sailors, soldiers and airman of 1941 paid a heavy price for our ceding control of the skies to contries we considered to be poverty stricken backwaters in 1931. Americans will no longer tolerate the types of loses we will sustain under enemy controled skies. If we do not act to ensure our control of the skies in the future, we might as well shut down our military, bend over, and take whatever the UN or any adversary wants to give us to keep the peace. The price of the F-22 is huge, but the cost of everything else in the budget is a waste without it.[/font]
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif'][/font]
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']Wars are the result of wishful thinking coupled with weakness.[/font]
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif'][/font]
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']MofY[/font]
In 1931 we were not at war, we are right now. We did not field fleets of jets in WW2 because a 100-1 advantage of P-51's could make sure very few Germans jets could get off the ground. So we did not expend resources on something unnecessary for victory in the war we were in. Finally in 1931 American aircraft had no significant advantage in technology over our potential enemies, now our missles and radar are 20 years ahead. If in 1931 the Germans had biplane fighters and we had F-86's, would you be advocating spending a large portion our limited Depression damaged defense budget on small squadrons of more advanced aircraft.
 

AC560

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Again the Buff is great provided that we have air supremacy. Try to send said Buffs into downtown Pyongyang and see what happens.
Or just have them drop cruise missiles from a very safe distance.

AirCobra, you seem to believe we will never again face off against a sophisticated enemy. Americans thought the same thing in the 1930's.
We didn't have a rather robust nuclear arsenal in the 1930's. Anyone who is going to pose a real threat to us near term (China or Russia) isn't going to be decided with F-22's it will be decided Dr. Strangelove style.

Could you put a teenage driver into Tony Stewart's car and expect him to win Daytona?

Could you buy snow skis just like Bode Miller and become an olympic skier?

You put an Iranian in an F-14 and you still have a dead Iranian when he faces a US Navy or USAF pilot. Training is the big difference.
And this is where we would be smarter to put our money. You can train a hell of a lot of great pilots, sailors, and soldiers for the price of 1 F-22. Fundamentally I couldn't agree more with CatfishVT9's comments.

Thanks to all on the thread who protect the right for us to have this argument.
 

Wanderlust

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Dunno.
I don't see an air superiority fighter being a priority in today's theaters. It's an expensive toy that's essentially obsolete. "Pork", I think you call it?
 

atpcliff

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Hi!

I think we should get rid of the AF, and the certain assets, especially the A-10 should go to the Army, and other assets to the Navy. If we need a separate service, we should have a Space service.

The new air-superiority airframes ARE too expensive. We can modify the airframes we have, both physically and with software, to create a much better aircraft, just like the Israeli's do with our airframes (and I've heard the Iranians have done with the F-14s we gave them-IDIOTS!!!).

I was a victim of the short-sightedness with cancelling the SAR helo buy, to fund more fighters. Someone needs to be in charge of the military who is look after the best interests of AMERICA, and not even just the military, not to mention the Air Force or the fighter community.

The correct question is: What is the most efficient use of our money governmental units that will help America the most, to include an EFFECTIVE military?

NOT an easy question to answer.

cliff
GRB
 

CatfishVT9

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A buddy of mine sent me this. Don't know if it's true or not, but never let the truth get in the way of a good story..........

The conversation went something like this...

" Iranian Air Defense Radar: 'Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace Identify yourself.'

Aircraft: 'This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.'

Air Defense Radar: 'You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!'

Aircraft: 'This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter Send 'em up, I'll wait!'

Radar: (no response ... total silence)
 
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Wanderlust

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Dunno.
A buddy of mine sent me this. Don't know if it's true or not, but never let the truth get in the way of a good story..........

The conversation went something like this...

" Iranian Air Defense Radar: 'Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace Identify yourself.'

Aircraft: 'This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.'

Air Defense Radar: 'You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!'

Aircraft: 'This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter Send 'em up, I'll wait!'

Radar: (no response ... total silence)

Air Defense Radar: 'Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace Identify yourself.'

ICBM: *silence*

Air Defense Radar:
'Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace identify yourself immediately!!'

ICBM: *silence*

Air Defense Radar: 'Unknown aircra- *static*

*silence*
 

Mamma

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"Jack of all trades, master of none". You clearly don't understand the capabilities of the Air Force specialized assets.

As to no more Fighter guys in leadership positions, yes let put shoe clerks and cargo pilots in charge of deciding what the Combat Air Force fighter mix should look like.

YGTBSM

USMCAirWinger,
They put a fighter guy in charge of deciding what the mobility Air Force mix would look like and he did pretty well (Gen Fogelman). I would guess he knew absolutely jack about mobility assets (in the detail needed) when he assumed the job, but he had smart mobility pilots to draw from to get his information. He then used his exceptional leadership skills to get it done. I don't know if this is the best way to do things normally but maybe it brings a fresh point of view in. A lot of folks believe the Air Force was run by fighter guys since inception when the truth of the matter is they only came into running things from the top (CSAF) in the 1980s. It was bomber and mobility pilots running the show (CSAF) for the 30+ years prior to that. I think they did a pretty good job on appropriations. F-4, F-15, A-10, F-16 and so on.
I understand what you are saying, but I think history might disagree.
 
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