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Aircraft Vs Thread 5


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I'm not familiar with the way russian run their prototype programs, but it's is common for russian prototypes to be painted in service cammo/colors and given a squadron number?

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Su-27 prototypes were given squadron numbers.

And all of the Advanced Su-27 prototypes (Su-30, Su-35, Su-37) were all given rather elaborate (and sometimes impractical) camo schemes.

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Also on the subject of photoshoped paint jobs: Take a look at the latest concept art of the KC-767 from Boeing to see what you get when even a professional from a multi-billion dollar company tries to photoshop a new paint scheme (and in this case a few bits of equipment as well) on to an existing picture of an aircraft. Very attractive scheme though.

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What are the possibilities that a variant of the YF-23 is already being used in the role of the F-117 and it's just secret?

I find it... interesting that the performance of the YF-23 apparently remains classified to this day. It seems pretty well accepted that YF-23 was significantly faster than YF-22... it's stealthy characteristics are well suited to the attack role and it could also double as a fighter. The rapid dropping of the F-22 numbers tell me it's not an economic reason, but either the USAF has something else cooking, there's some possible critical flaw in the design, etc.

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What are the possibilities that a variant of the YF-23 is already being used in the role of the F-117 and it's just secret?

In a word... impossible. Sure there are black areas of the budget, but developing/manufacturing/maintaining an entire squadron of aircraft without any public scrutiny just can't happen. And why would they need it? Between the B-2, the F-22 and new GPS guided weaponry, there just isn't a need for a F-117 replacement.

I find it... interesting that the performance of the YF-23 apparently remains classified to this day. It seems pretty well accepted that YF-23 was significantly faster than YF-22... it's stealthy characteristics are well suited to the attack role and it could also double as a fighter. The rapid dropping of the F-22 numbers tell me it's not an economic reason, but either the USAF has something else cooking, there's some possible critical flaw in the design, etc.

Reading around, I'm not sure that the YF-23 was really "faster." Someone did an aerodynamic analysis of its design and suggested the that Black widow would have a lower top end speed (1.8 for the 23 vs 2.0+ for the 22.) They suggested that the 23 probably had a higher supercruise, but it wasn't significant. As for the 23's performance remaining classified, its partly because few people actually care anymore and that it has a lot of technologies that can still be used by foreign parties.

The lack of F-22s is the result of a number of factors. One is a strategic calculation; there isn't a foreseeable need for high performance manned fighters in the next fifteen years. The real need is in counterinsurgency operations like Afghanistan and Iraq. With the deficit as high as it is, the F-22 was a ripe target to cut. Within the Office of the Secretary of Defense there has been an increasing disdain for what are described as "cold war" projects. In the past five years you saw the Commanche and the Crusader cut, with the Osprey and the F-22 seeing huge reductions.

The USAF does have something else cooking, its UCAVs programs. Reading through last year's budget, the area that received the greatest area of funding was UAV development.

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GE estimated a 0.2M advantage for the -23 over the -22, in supercruise. The 2nd (faster) of the YF-23 prototypes still has nearly every speed specification classified. A lot of the YF-22 vs YF-23 speed comparisons are done using the faster of the -22's vs the slower of the -23's, which is kind of unfair...

As for aerodynamic analysis----how many "experts" say the SR-71 could go Mach 5 or some other equally ludicrous number? (plus, what were they working from---a 3-view line drawing? NOBODY has access to the full 3D shape of a YF-23, certainly not an accurate one)

PS---GE and WAPJ both estimated 1.8 in MIL POWER for an F120-powered YF-23---I sure hope it could do better in full burner.

PPS---much like the argument that the F-22 and F-35, while not having very high top speeds compared to the F-14/15, are actually "faster" in actual combat due to being able to reach top speed while fully loaded----the YF-23 has absolutely unsurpassed acceleration---I'd take that in a dogfight over top speed. (the F-15 never won a fight by being the fastest plane AFAIK---but it often does by having the best vertical acceleration and climb)

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GE estimated a 0.2M advantage for the -23 over the -22, in supercruise. The 2nd (faster) of the YF-23 prototypes still has nearly every speed specification classified. A lot of the YF-22 vs YF-23 speed comparisons are done using the faster of the -22's vs the slower of the -23's, which is kind of unfair...

Uh... don't you mean 0.02M advantage in supercruise with equivalent engines? I've never heard it to be as large as 0.2M. Regardless, I said as much in the first comment, but the top-end speed analysis examined the 23's mach cone. Now those figures are rough and probably puts the YF-23 above the Mach 2 as you say, but its not clear that at the top end the YF-23 is "faster" than the YF-22. I'm just saying its in dispute and probably really close (if its this close its really an insignificant factor in the government's assessment.)

As for aerodynamic analysis----how many "experts" say the SR-71 could go Mach 5 or some other equally ludicrous number? (plus, what were they working from---a 3-view line drawing? NOBODY has access to the full 3D shape of a YF-23, certainly not an accurate one)

Was this really necessary to say given you agreed with most of what I said and we're both in the same boat? They looked at the mach cone, which isn't an precise figure by any means but it gives an general indication of their various advantages. I know that its rough, but its a valid point that at the top end the 23 might not be faster than the 22, or only just.

Thats really my problem with the entire YF-22/23 debate. I've seen a lot of fluff about how the 23 was such a better plane than the 22 and that politics and maintenance was the reason for the latter's selection. I don't think much of it is accurate to be honest, which is kinda my point.

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PPS---much like the argument that the F-22 and F-35, while not having very high top speeds compared to the F-14/15, are actually "faster" in actual combat due to being able to reach top speed while fully loaded----the YF-23 has absolutely unsurpassed acceleration---I'd take that in a dogfight over top speed. (the F-15 never won a fight by being the fastest plane AFAIK---but it often does by having the best vertical acceleration and climb)

Quite possible. In reality I don't think speed mattered much at all in the competition, particularly if the actual difference was quite small.

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I did mean .2M, not .02M.

Anyways, everyone here should read this (yes, it's yet another case for the F-22, but it's just plain a good history/summary of why/how the high/low mix of fighters works and is necessary) http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/van...ir_superio.html (it does veer a bit political, but it's still flat-out good IMHO)

::edit:: Isn't this a news-worthy day. Here's the final* proposal from Boeing for the new tanker---it's a wingletted 762 with a 787 cockpit:

http://unitedstatestanker.com/splash/Launch

*snicker

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In a word... impossible. Sure there are black areas of the budget, but developing/manufacturing/maintaining an entire squadron of aircraft without any public scrutiny just can't happen. And why would they need it? Between the B-2, the F-22 and new GPS guided weaponry, there just isn't a need for a F-117 replacement.

Well as much as he's biased against the F-35, Koop echoes cautionary that is being claimed in other circles. IOW, it's not just the threat that the PAK-FA may or may not pose, or the SU-35, etc but it's also the SAM systems that the Russians continue to push out, upgrades of S-300 and S-400 that they are more than willing to sell to Iran, for example that 4th gen fighter/attack craft will be at critical risk against and that there just may not be enough F-22A and B-2 for. B-2 numbers are especially limited.

There was a period of a good 5 or 6 years between the F-117 reaching initial operating capability and it's actual public acknowledgement by the USAF IIRC.

There are definite strategic arguments against maintenance of a Cold War sized/capable force... just like US Army Europe doesn't exist and the number of US Army combat brigades is down ~40% from say... 1987. So yeah, there probably wouldn't be 300 F-23 attack craft, but a dozen or so doesn't sound all that unlikely with the budgets we're talking about. A big push and/or public announcement would just require the right politics. Huge budget deficits didn't stop procurement of the Super Bug, etc.

Reading around, I'm not sure that the YF-23 was really "faster." Someone did an aerodynamic analysis of its design and suggested the that Black widow would have a lower top end speed (1.8 for the 23 vs 2.0+ for the 22.) They suggested that the 23 probably had a higher supercruise, but it wasn't significant. As for the 23's performance remaining classified, its partly because few people actually care anymore and that it has a lot of technologies that can still be used by foreign parties.

Official data is still classified, of course. Unofficial anecdotes about. Most any board where you see people claiming insider experience seems to indicate that the YF-23 wasn't just a bit faster but very obviously faster. Here's an example:

http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB...p;p=55492#55492

There are similar quotes from guys claiming to have been ATC controllers and that YF-23 was very quickly outdistancing F-15's at full AB. They could be full of hooey, of course...

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Quite possible. In reality I don't think speed mattered much at all in the competition, particularly if the actual difference was quite small.

Beyond meeting certain benchmarks, I don't think exceeding one benchmark would have mattered particularly if the larger issue was confidence in the program management (I never really bought the politics angle in macro wrt ATF).

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I did mean .2M, not .02M.

Anyways, everyone here should read this (yes, it's yet another case for the F-22, but it's just plain a good history/summary of why/how the high/low mix of fighters works and is necessary) http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/van...ir_superio.html (it does veer a bit political, but it's still flat-out good IMHO)

LOL! This is about the level of thought I expect from American Thinker. Let's unpack this a little.

This time, the sound bite was, "Why do we need two fighter planes, anyway?"

The answer is even simpler: We need two fighters because we need two fighters.

I'm reminded of this comic.

The U.S. backed into the high-low mix out of desperation. The frontline fighter in 1943 was the Republic P-47, an excellent aircraft with one major drawback: Its combat radius was limited to 300 miles. That meant that it could not escort bombers to Germany and back, leaving the 8th Air Force's B-17s and B-24s at the mercy of German defenses. By sheer accident, a failing attack plane, the A-35, was mated with the British Merlin engine (the same as used by the Spitfire). The result was a magical airplane -- the P-51 Mustang, a fighter capable of flying deep into Germany and back while at the same time agile enough to outfly most opponents.

Wait so an aircraft proved technically deficient for a role that it was not originally designed for so a new aircraft was instead produced that could fulfill that role? That's a perfect example of a high-lo mix! Or trying to force data into a pre-conceived frame whether it fits or not, I can't remember which.

As the P-51 arrived in large numbers in the U.K. in early 1944, the P-47 was shifted to the fighter-bomber role. Fitted with wing racks for rockets and bombs, the P-47 flew constant escort over Allied tank spearheads as they moved across northwest Europe into the Reich, demolishing organized armored and artillery resistance. At the same time, the Jug, as the pilots called it, could more than hold its own against enemy fighters. Whenever some sorry remnant of the Luftwaffe attacked P-47 wings (as in Operation Bodenplatte, the Luftwaffe's January 1, 1945 last stand), they often got the worst of it.

So as a superior aircraft came into service, the plane it replaced was increasingly pressed into second line duties. That's not high-lo it's waste-not want-not.

Following the war, the high-low mix was carried on into the jet age. At the outbreak of the Korean War, a superb air-superiority aircraft, the F-86 Sabre, was entering service, while two first-generation fighter jets, the F-80 Shooting Star and the F-84 Thunderjet, covered the fighter-bomber role. As the war settled into an uneasy stalemate in 1951, USAF F-86s established a barcap (barrier combat air patrol) along the Yalu River to prevent communist MiG-15s flown variously by Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean pilots from attacking U.N. forces. Not a single successful incursion was made by communist air forces during the war. In the meantime, F-80s and F-84s continually harassed North Korean and Chinese forces.

Again as a more technologically advanced aircraft came into service, the planes it replaced were pressed into second line duties. I notice the author doesn't claim that the use of old F-51 Mustangs in the ground attack role as an example of a high-lo mix.

The high-low mix proved itself in both WWII and Korea. But it was abandoned during the era of specialization, the 1950s. The "century series" fighters were, excepting the F-100 Super Sabre, the pioneer supersonic fighter. The model was quickly superseded by more advanced aircraft, designed for certain specific, limited roles, with no attempt to cover either the air-superiority or fighter-bomber mission. The F-101B, the F-102, and the F-106 were high-speed interceptors, the F-105 a "fighter-bomber" designed to drop nuclear weapons, the F-104 an indescribable and dangerous oddity.

This wasn't an oversight it was the result of the strategic doctrine the US assumed at the time, which was geared toward fighting a massive nuclear war with the Soviet Union. That lead us to build planes designed to lob nuclear weapons at Russia or to stop the Soviet Planes from lobbing weapons at us. There wasn't a high-lo mix so much as a defensive-offensive mix. I'd also point out that the F-104 ended up forming the backbone of several allied air forces.

Contd..

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Coming into the '60s without a fighter to carry out its basic missions, the USAF was forced to purchase the F-4 Phantom II, developed on behalf of the enemy service, the U.S. Navy. While an excellent aircraft, the F-4 was in many ways the apotheosis of the fighter-bomber, too heavy and lacking the agility to fill the air-superiority role. This was discovered immediately over Vietnam, where American aircraft were hard put to match Soviet-supplied MiGs during the early years of the war. It required a suite of improved air-to-air weapons and a complete overhaul of tactics before U.S. air forces could dominate the skies in their accustomed manner.

This is flat out un-true, and is again an example of trying to force facts into a pre-made narrative whether they fit or not. The F-4 was chosen as the USAF's next fighter-bomber by Robert McNamara because it was also being flown by the Navy and McNamara was keen on the services flying the same aircraft. It's performance (or lack therof) in Vietnam had more to do with poor training in the air-to air role and the poor quality of the missiles available at the time than any deficiencies of the F-4 as a fighter. This is borne out by the fact that the F-4 was the backbone of the Air Force, Navy and Marines until at least the mid 70s. Much like the F-104 it was (and still is) the backbone of many allied air forces and is one of the most successful fighters ever made with over 5000 examples built.

This effort followed a fiasco involving the General Dynamics F-111, which might be called liberalism's attempt to build a combat aircraft. Though intended as a fighter, the production F-111 was a monster aircraft the size of a medium airliner, and just about as maneuverable. Though the F-111 eventually found its role as a precision bomber, a large hole remained where the USAF's future fighter aircraft was supposed to be. Boyd's job was to fill that hole.

This is a flat out lie. The F-111 was designed as a bomber for the Air Force and a fleet defense interceptor for the Navy. It was never intended to be used as an air superiority fighter by any service and never was used as such. But hey you got a dig at liberals (which since McNamara was a Republican working in a Democratic administration almost works)!

But Boyd was not quite satisfied. He was perfectly aware of the benefits of the high-low mix, and on his own, without permission from anyone, began development of the necessary "low"-end aircraft. Working out the design parameters to match a series of "Energy Maneuverability" curves he had formulated (in large part from reinterpreting the aircraft as a thermodynamic system), Boyd coaxed several aircraft companies to produce prototypes to compete in a flyoff. Unusually, both prototypes were successful. One became the Navy's standard fighter, the F/A-18 Hornet. The other became the F-16 Falcon (though most pilots call it the "Viper").

This is just dishonest instead of a lie. Boyd wanted to replace the F-15 with the LWF program. While the Eagle was very much his baby he came to believe that large technologically sophisticated fighter was useless in a modern war, mainly based on the experience in Vietnam. The F-16 was intended to be a "pure" fighter with a (very) secondary light bombing role to be built cheaply in huge numbers. It wasn't even supposed to have a radar for chrisakes! (Boyd was incensed when the the range finder in his specs was replaced by the APG-66). DoD eventually split the difference between these two visions, and the high-lo mix was born. The F-16 took over the fighter-bomber role of the F-4 and it's spent the overwhelming amount of its service life lugging around at least a pair of huge fuel tanks and some kind of air-to-ground ordinance in it's primary role as a ground attack plane.

The F-22 is the most effective air-superiority weapon ever devised -- the sole current operational example of the fifth-generation fighter. With its full stealth, supersonic cruise capability, and electronics that make the Starship Enterprise look like a birchbark canoe, it is utterly unmatched as a fighter aircraft. Its kill/loss ratio is estimated at 100 to 1 and is probably much higher.

It's electronics are it's achille's heel. They're complex and run software in an arcane proprietary language that makes it nigh impossible to fit some of the newest weapons or sensors. We're left with an aircraft that's stuck carrying weapons systems from over a decade ago with little hope of fitting new weapons to a sizable chunk of the fleet. Replacing the computer systems (say with the more advanced ones from the F-35) would cost nearly as much as a whole new Raptor (or several F-35s). Also the Raptor has never served in a combat mission so it has no kills (exercises are not kills).

The F-35 is a good little airplane, well-fitted for the swing role. It possesses partial stealthing ("forward stealthing," which prevents an enemy from knowing it's coming), performance matching most operational fighters, and a good electronics suite. It has several minor failings -- among them limited a internal weapons carriage, rendering underwing carriage necessary (thus negating most of its stealth advantages), along with an inability to fire its air-to-air weapons at maximum speed. All the same, when matched against current fighter designs, it would probably come out on top.

The F-35, while not as stealthy as an F-22, is still designed to be stealthy from all aspects, though like all VLO aircraft it's optimized for the front quarter. It's computer system is several times more advanced than the Raptor's, it carries a far more advanced sensor suite than the Raptor, and it's "limited" internal weapons capacity matches that of the F-16 (it gets closer the the much larger F-15E carrying external stores).

But the problem is that the F-35 will not be facing current designs. Technical superiority in all fields -- and in the military more than any other -- is the most ephemeral of assets. Even as the F-22 debate winds down, Sukhoi, Russia's premier aircraft company, is preparing to produce its own fifth-generation fighter, the PAK-FA. Fast, stealthy, and with state-of-the-art electronics, the PAK-FA is known as the "Raptor killer." It will probably have even better luck with the F-35. As for China, persistent rumors have been circulating concerning tests of a new fifth-generation fighter. (Interestingly, the Chinese have adapted the high-low mix for their own fighter force even as the U.S. seems about to abandon it.)

The Russians have no experience producing a VLO aircraft, they have never built an operational AESA radar, and they have yet to produce a full supercruise capable engine (which is why the T-50 flew with uprated versions of the SU-27's engines and doesn't look to get newer ones for 15 years). All this makes it likely the T-50's production will be protracted and expensive, almost ensuring that Russia will not be able to buy the full 150 they plan on. It will also make it nearly impossible for a a country without a very large GDP to afford any more than a token force of PAK-FAs.

roduction of the F-22 has been capped at 187. That's it as of next September, and there won't be any more. Furthermore, rule of thumb has it that at least a third of all high-performance aircraft are at any given time laid up for maintenance or refitting, which leaves us with approximately 120 F-22s ready for action at any given time. The Russians and Chinese, on the other hand, have a slaphappy habit of making more weapons than they actually need.

And yet the Russians are only planning on building 150 PAK-FA less than our planned purchase of 187 Raptors, and as I mentioned above they're unlikely to even afford that many.

Suppose, if things get hot, our 120 planes are facing five hundred, a thousand, or even more fifth-generation enemy fighters? (China today fields roughly 2,000 fighter aircraft.) What happens then?

If we're facing Russia or China, every one dies in nuclear hellfire long before we'll be able to care about who's wunder-plane could win in a fight. Also China's 2,000 aircraft (not fighters) Air Force still mainly utilizes Vietnam era technology.

Barack Obama has proven to have far more limited foresight than even the average American pol. The F-22 cancellation is a clear example of this. There will be plenty more to come.

That should be George W. Bush. It was his administration who made the decision to cap Raptor production, not Obama's.

Edited by Nied
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And yet the Russians are only planning on building 150 PAK-FA less than our planned purchase of 187 Raptors, and as I mentioned above they're unlikely to even afford that many.

I do think they will produce them. Probably similar to their numbers of T-90 tanks. Definitely small-fry compared to their Soviet numbers.

That should be George W. Bush. It was his administration who made the decision to cap Raptor production, not Obama's.

He definitely has agreed with it, since there was still Congressional effort and his threats to veto any bill that included further funding for it. If that's not agreement with that policy, I don't know what is.

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It wasn't until 1943 that a crash program involving direct flyoffs against a captured Zero resulted in the F-6F Hellcat, which outmatched the Zero in all factors and at last turned the tide in our favor.

Similarly, the Soviets, with the help of the British labor government that sold them the rights to the Rolls-Royce Nene engine

Not sure if I should smack my head or laugh at this guy!

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It looked so much better before I re-read it thoroughly... (though the WWII section seemed wrong even the first time through) (I freely admit I sometimes link to things without having read them fully--sorry)

I was going to say something about being surprised that you would recommend this rather poor article...but I see, as I had hoped you just linked it before really reading it. I am an aviation historian and can't say too much about his contemporary comments (although his assertion tha 100:1 kill ratios are likely to be drastic underestimations makes him pretty hard to believe on that front), but his historical analogies are really poor. And it doesn't seem any better in the analysis either.

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Regarding the YF-23 speed. I work with one of the FLight Test Engineers assigned to the YF-23 program, and he has given me access to some impressive stuff regarding that beauty. I related about a video on here before, which we are trying to get him to bring over to a digital format from VHS, and it shows the YF-23 with the more powerful engines at mil power easily pulling away from an F-15 at full burn. The video is great as the F-15 pilot realizes that there is no way in hades he can catch the YF-23 he starts doing rolls around its contrail saying, "I've always wanted to do this." SO yes the YF-23 really did out accelerate everything else out there, as for the top speed all I could get from him was wink and nudge.

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Get that digitized. I was converting a bunch of my wife's old VHS home movies into DVD on my VAIO. Set up the chapter breaks and all that. Was alot easier than I thought it would be.... only reason I keep the VCR around anymore (it's in the office/computer room closet). Just get that VHS if he won't do a digital form.

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Articles? Prolly not, but haven't really been looking, either. Do you think the F-35 can do the job of all the USAF F-117, F-16, and F-15 - 187 currently planned/produced F-22A?

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I think this is difficult to discuss without bringing in "external factors" not related to the military, namely that the Federal government is not exactly in the best financial shape right now. But yes, in a bubble where there are no constraints we should over 9000 F-22's!11!!!

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I think this is difficult to discuss without bringing in "external factors" not related to the military, namely that the Federal government is not exactly in the best financial shape right now. But yes, in a bubble where there are no constraints we should over 9000 F-22's!11!!!

Even without considering politics. I can imagine that more high tech air superiority fighters are considered a lower priority for the military when they have to deal with two guerilla style conflicts that put more pressure on ground forces.

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Soooo---anyone got any links to a GOOD article on why we need more F-22's? Preferably one that's carefully read before being linked to? blush.gif

Unfortunately I don't think there's a sane one to be found.

I think this is difficult to discuss without bringing in "external factors" not related to the military, namely that the Federal government is not exactly in the best financial shape right now. But yes, in a bubble where there are no constraints we should over 9000 F-22's!11!!!

God dammit I was saving that exact joke for the right moment!

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Regarding the YF-23 speed. I work with one of the FLight Test Engineers assigned to the YF-23 program, and he has given me access to some impressive stuff regarding that beauty. I related about a video on here before, which we are trying to get him to bring over to a digital format from VHS, and it shows the YF-23 with the more powerful engines at mil power easily pulling away from an F-15 at full burn. The video is great as the F-15 pilot realizes that there is no way in hades he can catch the YF-23 he starts doing rolls around its contrail saying, "I've always wanted to do this." SO yes the YF-23 really did out accelerate everything else out there, as for the top speed all I could get from him was wink and nudge.

So, the YF-23 out-accelerating the the "after-burnered" F15 easily is like the real counterpart of the scene in Macross Plus where the YF-21 basically did the same thing to the VF11-B during the test flight scene with the missiles. :lol:

Thanks guys for this thread and the info here. Pilots are a rare breed imo. And test pilots are the rarest of the rare. I mean, one is facing death everytime one flies in a test prototype. I'm actually surprised there are sane people that volunteers for this job, especially since one isn't getting a multi-million dollar paycheck for it.

p.s. My Singapore President gets paid US$2 million annually just for rubberstamping stupid money losing policies of the govt. and shaking hands with babies. :wacko:

p.p.s. We voted for them both (the president and govt). <FACEPALM> :wacko:

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Oh, and my YF-23 guy showed me something yesterday, but we don't have a flatbed scanner at work so I can't share yet, especially since he still has to find out if he can legally release the pictures. Let's just say if DH saw these photos he would probably give up his first few born children. Let's just say that it would have been a nice ride to sit in.

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Even without considering politics. I can imagine that more high tech air superiority fighters are considered a lower priority for the military when they have to deal with two guerilla style conflicts that put more pressure on ground forces.

What's the old saying that you're always fighting the last war, (instead of the one coming up)?

There can be no question that US air superiority capability is diminishing from the unquestioned ability to achieve that anywhere today. Does anyone think that the capability today is needlessly overstrength today's environment? The F-35 + 187 F-22 are expected to replace all of the USAF F-15, F-16, F-117, and A-10. I'm definitely not as down on the F-35 as some (I think it IS a good 5th gen replacement for the F-16), just that it's not THAT versatile, especially at the F-15 role. An F-23 derived craft would be MUCH better at matching/replacing the F-15 and F-117 strike role, in addition to serving as a great air superiority fighter. But the simple math of it doesn't appear that the F-35 can match it while the undeniably diminished number of F-22 must lead to either a diminishing capability or perhaps our allies stepping up to the plate and bearing some of the burden more.

The Brits new carriers look comparable... but what aircraft are they using? More F-35. :ph34r:

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I'm quite sure that there are a lot of intelligent cross-functional teams in the DoD that looked at the F-22/F-35 problem like this. Please bear with the silly example.

The New Year's has just rolled around, you have 3 big financial goals - one of which is to buy a new car. You really need a new car, because well A) your current vehicle won't last the year, it's about to literally fall apart and B) in this fictitious Universe, a really expensive car boosts the owner's attractiveness towards the opposite sex by 1000%. But then disaster strikes, you loose your job. However, you must still find a way to achieve your 3 goals.

You must also still get a new car, because a car is a necessity to live your life. So what's the best option? Don't buy the Beamer you were hoping for, but buy a cheaper family sedan. In this path, you will have met your objective that now you have a safe vehicle that is not falling apart, but you will not get the prestige bonus of driving a beamer.

Also, I agree with what Bri said. The current major missions in the military involve hunting down irregular militias who do not posses an Air Force to challenge us in a conventional way, but rely an asymmetric warfare to challenge the US military. The marginal benefit derived from spending an extra $1 on the F-22 program is less than:

1) Spending it on drones, which have been one of the most successful weapons in the current mission.

2) Training & Recruiting human intelligence assets

3) Bribing insurgents to make them play nice

Of course there is going to be some fictitious future war more reliant on Air Superiority, but military and civilian leadership cannot make decisions based on hypothetical future scenarios in the face of clear threats and missions that exist now and the limited availability of money.

Edited by Ghost Train
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Unless of course, that family sedan is still in testing, may turn out to have far worse MPG and handling than expected, and the development costs keep going up and up to the point that you're paying 95% as much as a BMW---but with far less amenities. :D

PS--nevermind that the new sedan cannot possibly replace your old pickup, yet the manufacturer (and congress) expect you to scrap it too and buy another of those new sedans.

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Unless of course, that family sedan is still in testing, may turn out to have far worse MPG and handling than expected, and the development costs keep going up and up to the point that you're paying 95% as much as a BMW---but with far less amenities. :D

Right, I was thinking more of a "good solid tested" award winning Sedan like the Ford Fusion, and not the "self-propelled" Toyota Camry. :p

As I'm a software engineer I can't argue the intricacies of each plane as well as the real aerospace guys here :) - just saying that not everyone that makes these decisions are out to torpedo our national security like some people imply (no one from this board), and there was a rational decision-making process involved. Perhaps I'm naive to think that some of our decision makers in the current administration earned their positions (the contrast would be "heck of a job Brownie"). I most certainly think that Robert Gates is 150% qualified to do the job.

But back on topic, other than getting off the ground, the F-22 has not been in actual combat yet (to my knowledge) in any role. I don't think that saying that 1 plane that has not seen combat is more useful than another plane that's being developed (and dur has not seen combat either) is a very strong argument.

If all the bad things about the F-35 were true, I'd can the program as well, and go buy some Block-60 F-16's and whatever variant of the F-15E that is being sold to Singapore/S.Korea, and just make a nice little fund to keep the few raptors that the USAF has in optimal condition and training.

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