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Aircraft Super Thread Mk.VII


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Any of those may help, and a good reliable power source is one of my criteria for a "successful" laser system. Stealth may become more important, or quickly obsolete depending on whose research paper you believe.

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Makes me wonder if it'll just swing the opposite way, and have EA-6B "flood" jamming----just put so much electronic noise out there that it's impossible to accurately locate and count/identify targets. Sure, you KNOW something's there---but you can't tell what, how many, or exactly where---all of which would cause issues with trying to aim/target a laser. Especially if there's a physical component added in---just massive amounts of chaff. Bombers actually have on-board chaff-making machines----they could just fill the air with trillions of pieces of chaff, to physically break up a laser beam.

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I wonder if someone could create a detection system based on disruption of an established signal net. I recall in the Balkan unpleasantness that our F-117s could be detected in way, not by actual radar detection, but because as they flew they disrupted cell phone service - they flew so low, and their paint was so effective at absorbing EM, they interfered with the cell towers. The opposition was then somewhat able to determine their vector.

Then I remember the Star Trek TNG episode where the Feds erected a tachyon net between starships to detect cloaked Romulus ships - the ships would break the tachyon streams between two ships. I wonder if something similar - not in technology, in concept - would be achievable here. If so, the aircraft in question would have to bend the signal around itself, not block or redirect it, which could be nigh-impossible.

David, mass ECM is one way to accomplish the goal, but then your enemy has the advantage, however small, of knowing exactly where and when you're going. Also, mass chaff may well diffuse a laser, but I doubt it'll be a surefire means of protection. It'd be worth developing though.

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Speaking of Gundam, anti-beam depth charges anyone?

A big cloud of refracting particles would be a dead identifier, but good luck getting a laser to have any effect through that. Combined with other countermeasures, to deal with physical ordinance, it could prove quite effective at keeping laser weapons systems at bay.

It's just too bad I had to watch Gundam SEED to get that idea.

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The discussion in the main forum about the PLZ-230 Skorpion got me thinking about another lightweight, low-cost attack aircraft project, the Scaled Composites ARES. From that, Wikipedia led me to another arachnid I'd never even heard of:

the Textron AirLand Scorpion. Anybody know much about this little beastie?

DSC2111.jpg

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Its a privately funded effort by textron. Didn't look look like it had much in the way of prospects (the lightweight market is highly saturated right now with no less than six different aircraft with similar capabilities) but it is possible that it might be bought by the USAF as a stopgap for a very lightweight CAS aircraft in light of the A-10 retirement. Its really a longshot though.

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Supposedly really cheap to fly though, Textron quotes $3000 per flight hour, less than $20 million each. 3,000 lb internal bay, up to 4,000 lb on six wing hardpoints.

Dunno, the USAF has historically shown no interest in CAS, I think they should change the Pace-Finletter agreement from restricting Army fixed-wing aircraft based on weight, to a restriction based on top speed, say, 450mph. This way the Army can have all the A-10s and equivalents they want, and the AF gets rid of a mission requirement they never had any interest in.

Edited by Sildani
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Supposedly really cheap to fly though, Textron quotes $3000 per flight hour, less than $20 million each. 3,000 lb internal bay, up to 4,000 lb on six wing hardpoints.

Dunno, the USAF has historically shown no interest in CAS, I think they should change the Pace-Finletter agreement from restricting Army fixed-wing aircraft based on weight, to a restriction based on top speed, say, 450mph. This way the Army can have all the A-10s and equivalents they want, and the AF gets rid of a mission requirement they never had any interest in.

Yes, because 200,000 sorties of CAS and 15,000 strikes over the last 15 years proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the USAF has no interest at all in this mission.

:rolleyes:

Edited by Noyhauser
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Yes, because 200,000 sorties of CAS and 15,000 strikes over the last 15 years proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the USAF has no interest at all in this mission.

:rolleyes:

It's amazing how persistent and pervasive that myth is, despite what history says.

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my second biggest anxiety moment for Anime Boston is over. For my panel on air combat I decided to bring an empty 30mm shell from the A-10's avenger cannon. Given how the convention hall is roughly a block from where those d-bags bombed the Boston Marathon I was afraid of being tackled by security, getting arrested, and missing the con or at worst getting the casing confiscated.

Thankfully it passed bag check, passed the cop inspection, passed the bomb sniffing dog, and passed prop inspection.

My first biggest anxiety moment. actually pulling this Air Combat panel off without a hitch.

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Good for you!

No interest in the CAS mission may have been a poor choice of words. No liking for it, no desire to have it, no wish to support it, may have been better.

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Bringing up the subject of the Plane-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named again, I can receive PBS America despite living in the UK. They've been running a series called "Air Warriors" lately, which looks at various U.S. military aircraft. The actual documentary aspect is a bit underwhelming (the MiG?) but they do have a lot of very neat archive footage (most of the time - I'm pretty sure at one point they were talking about F-15s whilst showing a low-light shot of MIG-29s on-screen) and have covered a few things I didn't know, like the time a few years ago Congress tried to cancel an expensive, underwhelming aircraft after it had already gone into production because it was, well, expensive, underwhelming, difficult to maintain, had had a couple of accidents and didn't work in the wet.

I thought it might be amusing to let you all guess which aircraft we're talking about, but for the impatient modern internet generation answer under the spoiler tag:

The AH-64A Apache... :)

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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Bringing up the subject of the Plane-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named again, I can receive PBS America despite living in the UK. They've been running a series called "Air Warriors" lately, which looks at various U.S. military aircraft. The actual documentary aspect is a bit underwhelming (the MiG?) but they do have a lot of very neat archive footage (most of the time - I'm pretty sure at one point they were talking about F-15s whilst showing a low-light shot of MIG-29s on-screen) and have covered a few things I didn't know, like the time a few years ago Congress tried to cancel an expensive, underwhelming aircraft after it had already gone into production because it was, well, expensive, underwhelming, difficult to maintain, had had a couple of accidents and didn't work in the wet.

I thought it might be amusing to let you all guess which aircraft we're talking about, but for the impatient modern internet generation answer under the spoiler tag:

My sense is that it's an unfair question, because those things are probably true of all recent US aircraft (maybe all military aircraft generally) - they've all been expensive, difficult to maintain and accident prone early in their careers, didn't work to spec under real conditions, and were underwhelming by at least somebody's expectations. If their cancellation hasn't been attempted by all Congress after the start of production, it's certainly been considered before production, and by at least some Congress-people afterwards.

That's basically just how obtaining something as complex, expensive, and important as a new military aircraft goes, and we shouldn't think it's a sign of inevitable failure. Which is, I think, exactly your point. :)

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My sense is that it's an unfair question, because those things are probably true of all recent US aircraft (maybe all military aircraft generally) - they've all been expensive, difficult to maintain and accident prone early in their careers, didn't work to spec under real conditions, and were underwhelming by at least somebody's expectations. If their cancellation hasn't been attempted by all Congress after the start of production, it's certainly been considered before production, and by at least some Congress-people afterwards.

That's basically just how obtaining something as complex, expensive, and important as a new military aircraft goes, and we shouldn't think it's a sign of inevitable failure. Which is, I think, exactly your point. :)

Pretty much. :) In fact, I can think of another aircraft that was nearly cancelled because it cost too much, had severe production difficulties, was hard to maintain and there were other options available, including older types [1] that could do the same job at less cost and were more agile and why do we need these new fangled things anyway?

It eventually went into RAF service as the Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire. :)

My stance on the matter is... well, I think I just get irritated by some of the things I see in comments, which are always very "black and white". My tendency is towards a more middle-ground view.

[1] Biplanes. :lol:

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As for lasers, I forsee that when truly effective and cheap-ish AAA lasers become a reality, the warplane as we know it will become almost instantly obsolete. No airplane can evade a beam of light, and if the laser can target the aircraft it can instantly punch a good-sized hole in it. No, it can't handle BVR, but in today's combat environment, area denial is the name of the game, and a AAA laser could deny a good 2-3 mile radius or perhaps more. The same laser would be quite effective at killing missiles, I think, depending on if its targeting system is quick and discerning enough. Compound this problem by a factor of five, if not more, if such a laser system becomes man-portable.

At that point, aircraft may well become BVR stand-off weapon platforms for stealthy ordnance. We'll see, I doubt a laser to my specs becomes a reality for 10-15 years yet.

This scenario reminds me of the Muv Luv series with the laser firing Beta. Next thing you know we'll start to develop Tactical Surface Fighters haha!

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Hey guys in case anyone was wondering I think my panel on Air Combat In Anime went over rather well this year. I got some great help from Veef who ended up being my co-panelist.

I think the best and most hilarious part of it was at the begining when I ended up using a slide featuring a Bristol Blenhiem from the Finnish airforce and trolled the attendees with what airforce did the plane belong to. The responses ended up looking something like this:

Germany? No.

England? No.

Luftwaffe? No.

SS? NO!

Luftwaffe? No. Again.

Sweden? What? No, but close.

Luftwaffe? No! No! No!

Finland? ding we have a winner.

I basically then went into explaining how Finland had the whirlwind(swatstika) on their planes due to the fact that it was the personal symbol of the man who donated the first plane to the fledgling Finnish Airforce during their civil war/independance from Russia. They kept it to honor that man and had been flying it long before Hitler rose to power. I kinda wanted to make the stand and do the "Apoligize to Finland!" thing from Girls Und Panzer.

Its also kinda interesting one of the Finnish Brewster F2A Buffalo's has the highest kill count of any single airframe in history with 42 kills spread among its three pilots given how crappy the plane was. Then again the plane itself wasn't bad untill you weighed it down with excess equipment and armor. Remove all that stuff(which is what the U.S. when exporting it to Finland) and it can nearly out turn a Zero. :p

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But... removing the excess armour and equipment is what they did with the Zero [1] and look how that eventually turned out... :) I think we're just going to have to accept that the whole Buffalo in Finnish service thing is just one of those oddities that crops up from time to time in war...

[1] Well... I say, "remove", what I really mean is that it wasn't there in the first place...

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(At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, but was inspired a bit after looking through an old military aircraft book today. A news story from parallel universe 199X... )

"The Russian Navy said today that it still plans to introduce a controversial jump-jet that can take off and land like a helicopter in two years time, despite claims from critics that it is too slow, doesn't carry enough missiles, and has already suffered a major crash in testing.

The Yak-141 is a supersonic jet fighter with a vertical take off and landing capability. Production has already started, with nearly a hundred airframes undergoing testing presently. The aircraft is to be a major component of the Russians fleets on-going moderisation efforts and is intended to ensure air dominance over its opponents for the next twenty years.

However, the programme has attracted strong criticism. The Russian military had trouble funding the development of the aircraft, which was only completed after an injection of cash was provided by another, foreign company. At least one prototype was destroyed in a serious landing accident on a navy vessel, an ominous development for a type intended to operate at sea for the majority of its service life. It has also attracted major criticism from military commentators as being more expensive than alternatives like the rival Su-27, only able to carry four air-to-air missiles, and for being too slow - the Yak-141 has a reported top speed of Mach 1.4, whereas Americas F/A-18 can do Mach 1.7, a significant difference. Other critics have additionally pointed out it is more complicated than the aircraft it is replacing, using a sophisticated combination of lift engines and a remarkable "lobster-back" swivelling nozzle to enable vertical capability. Some experts suggest that this is an overly complex arrangement that will increase the likelihood of mechanical failure... "

(stats from Wikipedia - the true figures are probably never going to be known; my original source lists Mach 1.8, which may well have been optimistic... ).

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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It was always an interesting design to me that disappeared almost as soon as it was revealed. Oddly enough, the same book that reminded me of it has a concept drawing for the Affordable Lightweight Fighter - the programme that eventually resulted in the F-35. The pictures shows a small canard delta with rounded edges and a flat engine nozzle, sort of like a stealthy Gripen, Whats interesting to me is that in the background, one of them is shown approaching, with wheels down, what appears to be a helicopter carrier, with choppers on board. There is no room on the deck for a conventional landing; its quite possible that the artist used a stock photo of the carrier (the fighter concepts are drawings but the carrier is either a photo of a real one or a a photo of a model), but it suggests to me that for all the griping about how the "B" ruined all the other variants, should have been developed separately, should have been nuked from orbit etc that S/VTOL was being considered at a very early stage, possibly instead of other variants (in other words, it could be argued that the "A" and "C" ruined the "B"! :) ).

Edit: correction to the development programme name.

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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As a kid who grew up in the 80's, I loved all airplanes especially military, Top Gun, Iron Eagle, Robotech, GIJoe, Transformers, whatever...didn't matter. My dad (RIP) always took me to the airshow at the Air Force base here in Fort Worth. Over the past months I have been scanning all his old pics and I thought I would share the air show pics with you guys. The 80's...when there were bad Russians and the planes were just.....better! B))


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Edited by derex3592
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