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Friday, September 7, 2012

Red Flag 2012: Did the Raptor Seriously Just Get Owned?

Image 1: Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoons (Image Credit: Copyright Eurofighter - Geoffrey Lee - retrieved 2012)

In the American training exercise, Red Flag Alaska 2012, scores of pilots and fighter aircraft took part in a series of intense simulated combat scenarios. This year marked the first appearance of the Luftwaffe's advanced 4.5 generation Eurofighter Typhoons. The Germans did not disappoint. In mock dogfights between single Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoons and USAF F-22A Raptors, the Luftwaffe claimed several aerial victories over their American counter parts. One German pilot went so far as to say, "Yesterday we had Raptor salad for lunch" Many American news networks and even some defense related news sites reported the complete failure of the Raptor. The following was taken from ABC news:

"The United States has spent nearly $80 billion to develop the most advanced stealth fighter jet in history, the F-22 Raptor, but the Air Force recently found out firsthand that while the planes own the skies at modern long-range air combat, it is 'evenly matched' with cheaper, foreign jets when it comes to old-school dogfighting." - Lee Ferran, ABC News, 2012

The Eurofighter Typhoon is no doubt an exceptional aircraft and maintains its position as the premiere 4.5 generation fighter. Yet, from the perspective of one who is familiar with the capabilities of both aircraft, these results seem questionable for many good reasons. I did my own "investigation" into these reports and tried to determine exactly what happened, if the Luftwaffe claims in regard to the Eurofighter's performance were genuine, and the circumstances in which the F-22 and Eurofighter pilots fought, and why the results occurred the way they did. This is what I found.   

According to German pilots, the Eurofighter's and Raptors squared off in one vs. one engagements (Basic Fighter Maneuvering or BFM) at visual range. Luftwaffe pilots got as close to the raptors as possible and squared off in the merge. 

"As soon as you get to the merge … the Typhoon doesn’t necessarily have to fear the F-22”- Major Marc Grunene 

Luftwaffe pilots claim that they were able to achieve several Raptor kills in mock dogfights at visual range. At visual range, the Luftwaffe pilots noted that they were fairly evenly matched with the Raptor. Using their HMD's and simulated off bore sight missiles, the German pilots were able to score several Raptor kills. It is unknown how many Raptors the Germans actually managed to "kill" and how many Eurofighter's were lost in the effort. At least four Raptors were killed (three Raptor kill markings on one Eurofighter and a single kill marking on the second) judging from photographs taken by Dietmar Fenners posted on the The Aviationist website.



Image 2: A Luftwaffe Eurofighter with three Raptor kill markings painted near the canopy. (Image Credit: Dietmar Fenners, 2012; retrieved via The Aviationist) 

Nearly every mainstream media account of the engagements did not feature the input of American pilots. The American media has a tendency to report what will get attention and sell newspapers which is not necessarily the truth. The only reporter to get the input of American Raptor pilots that I found was Flight Global reporter Dave Munjar. Not surprisingly, American accounts differ substantially from their German counterparts.  

"It sounds as though we have very different recollections as to the outcomes of the BFM [Basic Fighter Maneuvering] engagements that were fought...We ended up with numerous gunshots" -  Unnamed USAF pilot

"I did review the HUD footage, a lot of gun shots from the F-22's to the Eurofighters and not a whole lot coming back" - Unnamed USAF pilot

"USAF sources say that the Typhoon has good energy and a pretty good first turn, but that they were able to outmanoeuvre the Germans due to the Raptor's thrust vectoring. Additionally, the Typhoon was not able to match the high angle of attack capability of the F-22." - Dave Munjar 

Without the rules of engagement, complete list of step by step maneuvers employed by both aircraft in every engagement, kill ratios, HUD cam footage, etc. being reported, these results are of limited use in determining the effectiveness of the Eurofighter vs. the Raptor. More broadly, arguments contending to use this series of mock dognfights as evidence that 4.5 generation fighter are able to counter 5th generation fighters are moot until more details are known. 

The American accounts suggest that the Raptors inflicted a heavy toll on the Eurofighters. Even if the Typhoons and Raptors exchanged evenly (which I doubt), it would indicate the strength of the base Raptor configuration rather than its weakness. From what is known about the rules of engagement, the Eurofighter was given every possible advantage. No beyond visual range missile shots were allowed. Subsequently the Raptors were forced to get in close to the Typhoons which thereby negated the Raptor's stealth advantage. At visual range, the stealth of the F-22 becomes much less of a factor meaning the Eurofighter can either attempt a IR guided missile lock or position itself for a gun kill. Furthermore, the Raptor in its current configuration is not equipped with a helmet mounted display (HMD) meaning it cannot make full use of off boresight missiles e.g. the AIM-9X. I cannot overstate the importance of the helmet mounted display and off bore sight missiles. The combination of these two technological developments makes the Eurofighter considerably more lethal in vr engagements than earlier 4th generation fighters. Despite the lack of an HMD and having to engage in visual range, the Raptors killed off many Eurofighters. (Once again, no kill ratios released)



Image 3: Eurofighter pilot equipped with HMD system.

Despite the strength of the base Raptor configuration, it can and must be improved. It should be noted that many view the F-22A with God like attributes in terms of aerial combat prowess. Although the Raptor is the culmination of nearly a century's worth of American aerospace engineering, it is not invincible. This is not the first incident in which a Raptor was "shot down" by other less capable aircraft. (At least two prior to Red Flag Alaska 2012) With a fleet of only 187 Raptors in the USAF arsenal, every single plane will matter in a future air war. Though no amount of upgrades will make the Raptor invulnerable, the implementation of an HMD system for the Raptor is a necessity. At the moment, no plans are underway to upgrade the Raptor with an HMD. It is possible that the HMD will be proposed as part of the possible increment 3.3. upgrade package which if pursued would take effect some time after 2020. (Defense Industry Daily, 2012) Plans to upgrade the F-22 with an HMD should be accelerated. In addition, the Raptor needs an IRST. With the advent of other 5th generation fighters, an IRST will prove to be an invaluable tool for the Raptor. Plans to equip the Raptor with an IRST were shelved as part of an initiative to save costs. Given the already expensive price of the Raptor, a few extra million dollars to make them significantly more effective against 5th generation fighters is a worthwhile investment.

As a ending note, the ABC news reporter quoted in the beginning of this article had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

Related Articles: 

The Benefits of Stealth and Situational Awareness
Quick Thoughts: F-22s in Syria
The Uncertain Future of America's Raptors - Part I Introduction
The Uncertain Future of America's Raptors - Part II Adaptations to Budget Cuts
The Uncertain Future of America's Raptors - Part III Upgrades

Sources

1.) http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/in-focus-german-eurofighters-impress-during-red-flag-debut-373312/
2.) http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/07/f-22-germans/
3.) http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Eurofighters-EUR-9B-Miltinational-Tranche-3A-Contract-05674/
4.) http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/f22-raptor-procurement-events-updated-02908/
5.) http://theaviationist.com/2012/07/23/f-22-raptor-kill-markings/
6.) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/07/f-22-fighter-loses-79-billion-advantage-in-dogfights-report/


32 comments:

  1. "Despite the strength of the base Raptor configuration, it can and must be improved..."

    I agree, but prior to adding new capabilities to the Raptor, the airplane itself should be fixed. In particular, the problems with pilots losing their consciousness during flight haven't been fixed yet. Yes, the raptor lacks several key technologies like a helmet mounted display (HMD) Inrared search and track (IRST). But, this is all of no avail if the pilot suddenly loses consciousness.

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    1. Its true, the oxygen problems are a concern but steady progress has been made. Changes to the pilot's G-suit in conjunction with the new back up oxygen system should remediate the hypoxia symptoms. Within a year I believe the USAF will have resolved the problem for the most part. Thus OBGS troubles were omitted in this article. The intent of the conclusion was to bring up potential performance deficiencies a decade or so from now.

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    2. Hello Matt,

      From what I understand the oxygen problem is not due to hypoxia, but rather, contamination. Unfortunately I cannot recall the article or media in which it was mentioned, but the problem was that the coatings were being sandblasted off the raptor (as you might expect from multiple re-entries into Mach) and into the intakes and OBGS of the aircraft. Normally I do not know what the OBGS filter out from the air but it would seem that is was an unseen consequence of Lockheed.

      Cameron

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    3. My understanding is the issue has been resolved. The two theories at the time were hypoxia and toxic contaminants and the latter was determined not to be the cause. They did add a filter as a stopgap measure but the filter made it worse so it was removed.

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  2. There are multiple mistakes in this article; I'll refer you to my analysis of exercise:
    http://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/cleaning-up-red-flag-alaska-f-22-vs-typhoon-debate/

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    1. Thank you, I highly value constructive criticism. However, you did not list your sources. I'd like to know where you got your info e.g. how you knew the Luftwaffe Typhoons had no IRST (PIRATE IR).

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. https://www.google.hr/search?q=eurofighter+typhoon+at+red+flag+alaska&hl=hr&tbo=d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=b-ewUOa3MMfNswbnvoDIDA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAA&biw=1440&bih=766

      One of images is this:
      http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-n_t9OIkBA5Q/T_WWKUbi23I/AAAAAAAABTU/6zXyGUKU0dE/s1600/Red+FlagAK49.jpg

      If you compare with Luftwaffe Typhoon at exercise:
      http://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/closeup1.jpg

      you will see number "3". These are, in fact, same Typhoons (30-29 and 30-30 flew sorties against F-22s), and both photos were taken during the exercise.

      Regarding HMD issue, that can be verified by comparing helmets (as I did on my blog) but also by comparing dates - while Luftwaffe did trial HMD quite some time ago, it was only put into service after the exercise.

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    5. YOU ARE A MORON I READ YOUR ARTICLE! IRIS-T DOES NOT MAKE AN AIRCRAFT INVINCIBLE AND WILL ONLY MATTER IF THE PILOT CAN ACTUALLY BEAT ANOTHER WITH IRIS-T ACTIVATED! "BVR only works when you can win against your opponent" Okay? Now tell me SINCE WHEN! The F-22 can beat the eurofighter in BVR combat and the German pilots acknowledged it. The F-22 can be beat at the MERGE yeah the merge and that doesn't happen often because you cannot lock an F-22 on BVR with IRIS-T. I didn't see that in any of your articles. Sure you can detect it with IRIS-T but not radar because long range missiles operate on radar. If you sent a heat seeker out with IRIS-T it still wouldn't hit anything because heat sensors do not go as far as radar sensors. Oh yeah and the F-22 is in fact invisible to the eurofighter. I don't know where you got your evidence because even if it could detect it. The F-22 was still hard to see on radar nonetheless. "The SU-35 is getting IRIS-T" Okay you can detect missiles so what? You MAYBE can see the F-22 with IRIS-T again that doesn't make it invincible. If you're wondering about why I am making such a big deal about IRIS-T its because you are doing it. I do agree on one thing though we should bring the F-15 back it may be able to perform better than the F-22. Boeing has the F-15SE which is only 100 million and Canada should buy one to fill their air defense gap. Also if the F-22 is really that bad at dogfighting then whats this video?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW2Hvu_mUdU
      The F-22 did lose AT DOGFIGHTING but won at BVR let me get that cleared up. Also maybe the F-22 Raptor had an inferior pilot if the F-22 pilot had the same skill as the eurofighter pilot it would have won. That sums it up.

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    6. There was no BVR fight between the two, and in the real world merge will happen more often than you think because of IFF issues and because radar missiles are unreliable. And PIRATE can detect the F-22 well outside the effective (not maximum) missile range.

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  3. The Typhoon could only achieve some kills, because the f22 allowed it! Just think of it, the Typhoon might be able to track the Raptor with its PIRATE sensor but when is the F22 going to track the unstealthy Typhoon with its radar? Far before! Within WVR combat, the Typhoons HMD is a clear advantage, but the F22 is more maneuverable or the Germans are just better pilots...

    Fortunately, the F22 will be upgraded with an HMD.

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  4. Hello Matt,

    At what altitude did the dogfight occur?

    Cameron

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    1. The specifics of the dogfights were not released to the general public so unless you have the necessary clearance, there is no way to know.

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  5. Even if BVR combat were allowed, to the best of my knowledge, the AIM 120 uses active seeking techniques to home in on a target. This means that the missile functions independently of the Raptor's radar making it easier to jam. Also another interesting problem with the Raptor that someone else picked up is the radar-stealth/radar-detect paradox that all stealth fighters must overcome: if a stealth fighter is fitted with a radar with the same frequency that the fighter is meant to be VLO in, how much of its own radar return does this fighter pick up, then ascertain the vectors/positions of enemy aircraft before the merge is suddenly attainable?
    Cameron

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    1. Hey Cameron, thanks for the comment (sorry I as unable to respond quickly). The AIM-120 has a combat probability kill of 46% and its not because the AIM-120 is a bad missile, its just really easy to decoy a missile. The Raptor's APG-77 has a low probability intercept mode (LPI) to avoid the situation you just described (if I understand you concerns correctly). F-15's and F-22's are practicing situations were the Raptors completely turn off their radars and use data from the F-15's instead to be as "quiet as possible".

      http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/01/old-school-jet/

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    2. On LPI someone has published an article concerning the overall effeciveness of the LPI mode of radar, please see the Boresight:
      http://theboresight.blogspot.com/2011/08/this-is-no-place-to-be.html
      The author is Obrescia, and he has some fascinating things to say about the Flanker, Raptor, Missiles/Radar, and IRST.
      He has worked with the Intel corporation that produces computer chips and has had to sign some non-disclosure forms.

      Sincerely,
      Cameron

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    3. I haven't seen any reason to conclude that the USAF has little faith in the LPI mode of the APG-77 as Obrescia concludes. And, even if the Raptor pilot decides to shut of his/her radar entirely, they still have the ALR-94 RWR which is the most powerful RWR mounted on a fighter aircraft.

      "High-priority emitters -- such as fighter aircraft at close range -- can be tracked in real time by the ALR-94. In this mode, called narrowband interleaved search and track (NBILST), the radar is used only to provide precise range and velocity data to set up a missile attack. If a hostile aircraft is injudicious in its use of radar, the ALR-94 may provide nearly all the information necessary to launch an AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile (AAM) and guide it to impact, making it virtually an anti-radiation AAM." - Bill Sweetman - http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9268

      The view that the F-22 is inferior to the 4.5 generation Flankers is certainly a minority view. Its clear that from the Russian perspective, they certainly respect the F-22's capabilities. Its also worth pointing out that the US has both Mig-29's and Su-27's it has bought since the collapse of the USSR and we've thoroughly assessed their capabilities relative to our own. But more importantly, pilot training and combat experience greatly favors the US over Russia. Authors almost always cite aircraft capabilities vs other aircraft capabilities without taking into account the pilot. I'll refer you to "Divergent Thinking: How Best to Employ Fighter Aircraft" which details that.

      http://manglermuldoon.blogspot.com/2013/09/divergent-thinking-how-best-to-employ.html

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  6. Hey Matt,

    I actually got some first hand info regarding the actual results of the exercise, after talking to some guys from the Luftwaffe, the truth is, that Typhoon did achieve those kills (what a surprise haha), but the F-22 dominated, I can't give exact numbers for Red Flag, but what I know is that in a different exercise the F-22 achieved 30-1 kill ratio against the Typhoon in BFM. What surprised me actually, is that the F-22's thrust vectoring is actually one of the main advantages of it, as the Typhoon is limited in doing certain turns by its flight control computer to prevent it from stalling, the F-22 is not restricted in this way due to its thrust vectoring (post-stall manoeuvring). Furthermore, in one on one engagements, the F-22's ability to stop mid-air, while having an enemy on its tail is also a great advantage and then the enemy (Typhoon in this case) just passes it (I was surprised about that, as I originally thought that this kind of manoeuvring is only good for airshows, but in some situations, it actually isn't). Another thing that I would like to mention is tha the claim that the Typhoons were able to detect the F-22 using their IRST is very dubious, because not a single German Typhoon actually is equipped with one to the present day. Also claims such as "Yesterday, we had Raptor salad for lunch" have been heavily denied by the JG 74.

    Most of this is inofficial info of course. It would be appreciated if you could leave your thoughts on this.

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    1. Raptorzilla22 was the different exercise called Western Zephyr? A meet up with Langley Raptors with RAF XI squadron Typhoons to learn how to integrate EF2K with 5th Gen AC. Comments from this articular seem to match your statements.

      ' The agility of the F-22 is what first jumped out to Wells, he said.
      “Raptor has vector thrust: Typhoon doesn’t,” he said. “What the aircraft can do, it’s incredible. The Typhoon just doesn’t do that.”

      The Typhoon’s strength, however, is in both carrying weapons and deploying them.'

      http://archive.defensenews.com/article/20130211/TSJ01/302110009/U-K-U-S-Prep-Red-Flag

      Nick

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    2. The common flaw claiming the German Luftwaffe's Typhoons were able to detect the F-22 with a Pirate IRST might come from a confusion with the name of the missile used by the German Luftwaffe IRIS-T.

      I could not fonr 100% reliable information wether the Luftwaffe does not employ the Pirate IRST system at all, or wether only a few planes are being equipped with this system. What seems to be most reliable, is that the German Typhoons definetely did not have any IRST at the time of the NATO Red Flag exercise and that the German Luftwaffe has opted to employ the so called LITENING III pod instead of the Pirate IRST system. Some sources do indeed claim that a few Eurofighetrs equipped with the Pirate IRST have been delivered, but I do not believe them to be very reliable and guess it's just another confusion of the two different IRST systems, the Pirate and the Litening.

      Back to the main topic:
      The so called IRIS-T heatseeking air to air missile (IRIS-T= "Infra Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled") can indeed be fired in a so called "Lock-on-after-launch-modus" (LOAL). When doing this, the missile can be fired even when the target is outside of it's 180° sensor range, meaning even more than 90° off the missiles/ planes axis thus leaving a very small "blind spot". In this case the IRIS-T missile gets the necessary target vector information from the Eurofighters missile approach warning systems via MIDS ("Multifunctional Information Distribution System") and then locks on automatically after launch, as soon as the missiles infrared sensor can see the target. In the Typhoon, the pilot does not even need to turn his head or be able to see the target, because targets can ve selected by voice control. So a Helmet mounted display does not even seem to be necessary at all for a pilot to fire the IRIS-T missiles even at high off-boresight angles.

      Now, because of the rules of the Nato exercise where it is assumed that any missiles used have a maximum efficiency of a 100% kill ratio, the only thing that is essential to scoring a kill is the successfull target lock on process within the weapons effective range.

      So to hopefully clarify how the German Typhoons were able to score these kills, it is most likely not a Helmet mounted display or the Pirate IRST system, but a successful target lock on the F-22'S via the Typhoons very sophisticated missile approach warning systems which are sctually part of its so called "EuroDASS Pretorian" defense systems.

      Now all this may of course sound very surprising that the Typhoons might most lilkely have managed to target the F-22 via its missile approach warning systems, but these systems in the Typhoon are very sophisticated and are supposed to employ antennas in various frequency ranges which are capable of detecting, locating and jamming active and passive radar emitters, as well as employing doppler radar in the range of millimeterwavelength.

      It seems, the F-22 is not as stealthy a plane as most believe it to be after all. Not for modern radar technologies and certainly not for Infrared.
      But who would really be completely surprised by this, if even the Serbian Air Defense managed to shoot down one F-117 stealthfighter with their modified russian SAMs in the Kosovo war.

      Julian

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    3. By the way, something else to be kept in mind about the Red Flag Exercise:

      The Rules of the exercise where it is assumed that a fired missile has a 100% kill ratio unrealistically tilt the kill ratios in favor of the F-22 because it shifts the kill scoring from realistic aspects like weapons efficiency and chances of evading missiles to a mere "targetlock competition".

      But the Typhoon and the F-22 do actually follow completely different combat survival strategies.
      The F-22 being a stealth plane relies on not being detected or located and on firing it's own weapons before the enemy can fire theirs.

      The Typhoon on the other hand relies on sophisticated radar jamming and decieving technologies. Countermeasures like projecting multiple targets, jamming or "blinding" opponents sensors, ejecting chaff and flares and so on and so on.
      And it also relies on it's own (hopefully) superior sensors, weapons and avionics to dominate encountered enemies and thus hopefully win.

      The rules of NATO exercises,where weapons effectiviveness with unrealistically high 100% kill ratios are assumed, just about completely void the entire purpose and meaning of these various missile attack countermeasures, since every successful targetlock results in a sored kill.

      And this naturally greatly plays into the hands of the F-22s philosophy and strategy and to some extend this will most likely tend to lull US armed forces into a false sense of security.
      And at the same time also means that the Eurofighters combat survival strategies relying on sophisticated radar jamming etc are being completely neglected and unrealistically lowered in these type of exercises.

      If a realistic weapons effectivene kill ratio could be asumed to be somewhere between maybe 50% to 75% then the number of scored kills will also directly drop down by this percentage and survival ratio of the Typhoons on the other hand would directly increase by 25" to 50%.

      And should it realistically be a general necessity to fire more than one single missile at any enemy target, just to minimize the risk of being shot down oneself: Then the number of potential kills drops right down to half or even less (in comparison to firing just one missile per successful targetlock) and with the very limited weapons load capability of the F-22, this also directly means that the risk of being forced into WVR combat greatly increases accordingly (especially when fighting against Typhoons which happen to have a higher official top speed and a superior maneuverability, as well as identical - or in the case of the German IRIS-T even superior - short range missiles).

      Julian

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  7. Hi, thank you for the comment and I apologize for the delay. Are you referring to Pugachev's Cobra with respect to stopping mid air? Yes, I am aware of the IRST issue within the article but I keep forgetting to edit the article appropriately (as of now it has been corrected), thank you. In general, I think the Typhoon is a very capable aircraft but its certainly got a lot of press simply because its a sensationalist claim when the underdog defeats the expected winner. The fact that many European governments are now investing in stealth UAVs and thinking about generation programs to catch up is indicative of their underestimation of fifth generation capabilities.

    I do not know if you have read my article, the benefits of stealth and situational awareness, but I also discuss the maneuverability of the Raptor extensively as well as the alleged defeat as a result of French Rafales in UAE exercises:

    http://manglermuldoon.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-benefits-of-stealth-and-situational.html

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    1. sixth generation programs*

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    2. Thank you, Yes I was referring to the Cobra manoeuvre, and I also have read the article found in the link before. I think that there is a lot of propaganda regarding the EuroCanards since they are not that successful on export market, while the F-22 is not meant to be sold and thus its true performance is kept in secrecy or is at least not overhyped (by official sources, what the public rumours about its capabilities, is a different story of course).

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    3. Thrust vectoring is in fact really not necessary at all for a modern fighter to be able to do the Cobra Maneuver.

      The first fighter to perform this maneuver in an airshow was the Suchoi SU27 Flanker and this type plane did and still does not have thrust vectoring.

      The only thing that really is absolutely necessary to perform this cobra maneuver is a sufficient thrust to weight ratio which many (if not to say most - or nearly all) modern fighter jets happen to have.

      The advantage of thrust vectoring regarding the aircrafts maneuverability mainly results from two aspects:
      (It actually also helps increasing fuel efficiency by reducing the overall drag when cruising and more importantly also helps reduce the planes effective RCS because it allows for triming and steering the aircraft without constantly moving tail and rudder or other control surfaces. And exactly this may surprisingly in fact very well be the biggest advantage of thrust vecoring for the F-22 because a minimized RCS is absolutely critical for it's stealth capabilities.)

      Thrust vectoring on one hand simply helps increase the maneuverability, especially at low airspeeds, due to favorably directing the jets propulsion force.

      The other aspect is, that thrust vectoring allows controlling the plane even in states when rudders or flaps or elevons have little to no (or even adverse) effect due to stall.

      These two advantages naturally have the biggest effect at slow airspeeds, but can of course also help when stalling the planes wings due to high angles of attac. But stall always means increased drag and thus a lot of energy loss.

      During high speed maneuvers (High airspeed naturally guarantees a sufficient airflow over the wings and control surfaces to be effective and no stall occurs) the limiting factor for turn and roll rates will naturally be the maximum g force the entire airframes structure (and not to forget the pilot) can endure. So in high speed dogfight situations the advantage of thrust vectoring will not have much - if any positive effect at all.

      And whenever the advantage of thrust vectoring really comes into noticeable effect during dogfight maneuvers (and not airshows at ridiculously low speeds) it will be at the cost of slowing down the aircraft rapidly due to increased drag, which in most cases will be rather undesireable because it a slow aircraft tends to be a rather "lame duck" usually becoming an easy target.

      Julian

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  8. One more thing:

    Interesting about the Eurofighters layout is the fact that it (unlike most other common modern jet fighters) doesn't steer with elevators at the rear or tail of the aircraft but using it's canards at the front instead.

    This has the following beneficial effects for the Typhoon:
    When "pulling up" the aircrafts nose other aircraft will usually move elevators on the tail that actually generate a force to "push down the tail" (creating the necessary momentum to turn the planes nose upwards).
    The Typhoons canards though do really generate a force "pushing up" the nose when "pulling" he nose up. This is indeed a more fuel and energy efficient way of generating the momentum turning the nose upwards, since the upward forces of the canards beneficially add to the uplifting forces generated by the wings.
    Common elevators that push down the rear of the plane when turning the planes nose upwards generate a downward force that needs to be additionally compensated by the wings uplifting forces. And this in turn again means the planes wings normally need to be constructed accordingly sturdier and heavier because the resulting forces and stresses on the wings are accordingly higher.

    So the Typhoons canards do indeed help construct the aircraft a littlebit lighter and more maneuverable because this layout is aerodynamically more energy efficient and the resulting stresses in the wings and airframe are a little bit lower.

    Also, using the canards at the front to steer means, they will (speaking of regular flight states) usually always be in an undisturbed airflow and not end up in turbulences from stalled aiflow of the wings. (Exceptions may occur very rarely as for example during extreme maneuvers shown at airshows with the plane dropping backwards and simmilar situations) This means the canards will potentially remain effective and allow steering and controlling the aircraft up to high angles of attack. (presuming the canards are dimensioned large enough.)

    So as a conclusion, the Eurofighter really shows and proves that it really does not necessarily need thrust vectoring to be highly maneuverable in combat situations.
    Even without thrust vectoring does the Typhoon turn tighter and more agressively than the F-22. And when it does fly within it's stall limits it efficiently keeps it's speed and thus kinetic energy high.

    Stalling an aircraft using thrust vectoring is in a sense kind of similar to spectacularly drifting through a curve with a car.
    It looks awesome and impressive and can in some few rare cases indeed be a fast technique for ralleycars to use.
    But you won't ever see a Nascar or Formula 1 racecar ever drift through curves, because they would then end up being far slower than with the less spectacular looking common way of driving.

    Julian

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  10. If I understand correctly : The shot number isn't officially know, and it depends on what side you believe. And yet this article is trying to give us the answer... Thank you.
    I may add that when it comes to F22 in competition with a foreign aircraft, the USAF use to lie...

    Example: ATLC 2009 against Rafale, on 6 rounds, 5 tie and a single shot at last for the Raptor.
    Being unable to shot the Rafale on 5 rounds was a hard one for the Raptor. So an USAF officer said in a media that the Raptors had external fuel tanks decreasing their maneuverability. A simple photo of the Raptor coming from the Rafale OSF proved him wrong.
    Nice try.

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  11. "I did review the HUD footage, a lot of gun shots from the F-22's to the Eurofighters and not a whole lot coming back"
    This sentence can be used in every context, because it depends on the unnamed USAF pilot appreciation. (What HE did see in the HUD footage). "a lot", "not whole lot" ...

    "USAF sources say that the Typhoon has good energy and a pretty good first turn, but that they were able to outmanoeuvre the Germans due to the Raptor's thrust vectoring. Additionally, the Typhoon was not able to match the high angle of attack capability of the F-22."
    This sentence can be used in every context, because it's an appreciation of performance and not results. This sentence could be used even if 20 Raptors were killed.

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  12. Unknown USAF pilots (yawn) thrust vectoring loses ENERGY (Yawn) F-22/F35 SALES pitch. They are relying on systems and the plane is below average. Any Energy fighter will be too much for these planes and ALL planes in real combat will reach the point of merge.

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