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The future of fighters?


Marty_d
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I was chewing over this question last night - what's the future of fighter aircraft, and more importantly, IS there a future for them?

 

As far as I can work out, (and happy to be corrected here), the age of dog-fighting with guns is over. Most "fighter" planes these days seem to be multi-role platforms with strike capability more important than aerial jousting.

 

With drone technology proving extremely adept at surgical strikes and SAM/CWIS for swatting objects out of the air, what's the job for today's fighter pilots? Is there anything a manned strike fighter can do that a remotely operated drone can't, especially as the weakest part of the drone is no longer the human occupant, so maximum G is only limited to what the airframe will take?

 

The other contributing factor is the cost. Quite apart from the purchase price (unit price over 100 million for most new fighters, well those in the West anyway) - there's years of training and ongoing practice to keep the pilot's skills honed.

 

On the other hand drones can be built much smaller, cheaper, more specialised, and can be flown by civilian contractors in complete safety (with perhaps one or two instructor-level pilots on site to take over if manual control is needed).

 

I'd be interested to hear your views on this.

 

 

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At the price of $100 million per aircraft, you could have about 1200 Jabirus instead. Flown one-up, you could carry a couple of missiles instead of the passenger.

 

Or you could make it into a drone.. and double the range because who cares if it doesnt come back.

 

Afterwards, you could get cheap Jabiru parts from fishermen.

 

On a related topic, does anybody know what sort of mission the brass have in mind for the new submarines? I reckon they are no good against Jihadists, and against a sophisticated enemy they would have to contend with lots of homing torpedoes dropped from aircraft, maybe even from drones.

 

 

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We haven't come very far since the end of the 19th century; to be taken seriously, nations needed to have a battleship or three. Most of those warships never fired a shot in anger. Their function seemed to be prestige as much as deterrent.

 

If Australia really wants a defence capability we should be investing in skills and industrial capacity, not exporting jobs.

 

 

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Enemy drones will sink the battle ships and the submarines would have to be nuclear to have the range. To answer the first question I think manned fighters are a thing of the past. Satellites will eventually be in the equation of we can't get over the Madness which is war. You could fix this cheaply. Get the ones who want wars together and drown them. Nev

 

 

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"Blesed are the Peacemakers". Making war seems to be a part of our DNA. It's like domesticating DOGS. You breed from the nicest mannered ones and a wolf turns into something that almost licks you to death, after a few generations. Nev

 

 

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"Blesed are the Peacemakers". Making war seems to be a part of our DNA. It's like domesticating DOGS. You breed from the nicest mannered ones and a wolf turns into something that almost licks you to death, after a few generations. Nev

...but after 100,000 generations of selective breeding the wild animal is still there. Our mild-mannered sheppie is a great kid's/guard dog, but lost it when he first saw a kangaroo. He ignored all human instructions and brought it down.

Even Buddhist monks can become a violent mob.

 

 

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I think there will always be a place for manned fighters. The main reason I can see for that is control. There are quiet a few nations capable of downing satellites or hacking into systems which would cause a nation that 100% relied on drones some very big headaches.

 

War is stupid, but it is even more stupid to not be prepared for it. (Just made that up)

 

 

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There is still a big problem with drones - you either make them autonomous, but then you're letting a machine decide who lives and who dies (most of the drones operate on loitering basis, not in and do the job like say a cruise missile).

 

The alternative is remote control, but that involves a communications link which can be jammed or overtaken.

 

In that situation you still need a pilot who has to be trained and who has to maintain currency.

 

Plus the current generation of drones only works once you establish air superiority , otherwise they're just target practise for normal fighters.

 

 

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"Blesed are the Peacemakers". Making war seems to be a part of our DNA. It's like domesticating DOGS. You breed from the nicest mannered ones and a wolf turns into something that almost licks you to death, after a few generations. Nev

Colt made a gun called a Peacemaker once. Who says the Yanks don't get irony.

 

 

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Interestingly, the American military just landed one of their drones at Avalon for the airshow static display. I believe it came in from Guam. It looked like it was a night landing, here.

 

 

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There is still a big problem with drones - you either make them autonomous, but then you're letting a machine decide who lives and who dies

Yep already at that stage:

 

We Can Now Build Autonomous Killing Machines. And That’s a Very, Very Bad Idea

 

and

 

The Air Force wants a futuristic swarm of exploding autonomous warbirds

 

 

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I know it can be done to a point now. The question is should and would we.

One of the more plausible scenarios I have seen was a manned fighter (or other plane) accompanied by a couple of drone wingmen.

 

In a situation like that the main pilot has the situation awareness (which is often lacking in a remote control operations) and command ability plus you have the bonus of shorter and more robust links between the controller and the drones so harder to jam or take over.

 

 

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What did he say? I wasn't listening. Blessed are the cheesemakers? That'll go down well in Tassie...............

"Sit down big nose!!"

On a slightly off thread note, I've been thinking about what's going on with these ISIS retards.

 

The problem is, we've sent some mega million dollars fighters, armed with multi thousand dollar missiles, being guided by mega dollar AWAC's, so they can find-track-arm and destroy --------- a stolen five thousand Toyota Hilux (the ute of war) and a couple of goat f****rs.

 

I reckon the military should ask all serving members that fly R/C models, if they would like to do their bit for humanity and go to wherever the problem is, be issued with half a dozen mass produced medium sized foamies fitted with FPV gear and half a kilo of C4, and have at it !!

 

Even if these things cost 4~5 thousand dollars each, the kill/cost ratio has got to be in our favour, instead of straining the taxpayers budget.

 

As for fighter pilots, there will always be a need for knuckleheads in real wars, even if they are really only being directed from the ground (or AWACs), and even their comms could be compromised....

 

OK, sorry about some of the language, rant over, putting on my flame suit and retiring to my bunker for the night. big_gun.gif.bf32cf238ff2a3722884beddb76a2705.gif

 

 

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The demise of manned fighters has been predicted before - and yet we are still seing them being designed, developed and produced.

 

Back in the mid fifties, a certain government minister called Duncan Sandys in the UK famously called for the cancellation of all manned fighter development in England because "all future wars will be fought with misiles." England at the time was a world-leader in fighter development. As a result, it lost the lead to the Americans, who had (correctly) decided future wars would still require fighters with a man inside them. The infamous UK Defence White Paper is now widely regarded as a classic example of someone totally ignorant of a subject taking the best advice of his coterie of experts and completely "screwing the pooch". The British have so thoroughly screwed the pooch so many times there should be a special category at Crufts for "screwed pooches".

 

The Americans are not immune to screwing the pooch either. In the 1970s, the they decided that although they had fighters with one (or often two) men in them, a gun on a fighter was a stupid idea because" all future jet combat will be done with missiles." A few years later in the skies over Vietnam, US Navy and USAF F4s repeatedly found themselves well within gun-range of the Mig 15s and 17s used by the NVAF, but were completely unable to engage them because they were too close for a missile shot (the missiles wouldn't even arm in the short flight-time) and their modern fighters did not carry a gun, and were never designed to carry a gun. So the Migs survived, and some shot down USAF and USN aircraft as a result.

 

The lesson was learned with the F15 and the F16...both had guns integral to the design. The F/A-18 likewise has integral guns. They all carry missiles too. So does the British Typhoon and the French Rafaele. Russian designs have had guns and missiles in every incarnation.

 

So I am immediately sceptical about any so-called "expert" who predicts we will not need fighters in future air-combat scenarios, and that future air warfare will be carried out by UAVS, UCAVs and what are generically called "drones". Likewise I have reservations about experts who tell us all future wars will be fought with sub-calibre assault-rifles simply because back in 1944 a bunch of beleagured Germans fought their way out of Stalingrad using the STG44, the first true assault-rifle which (by definition) fired a reduced-length, reduced-charge cartridge at a high cyclic rate-of-fire. Ask the soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq how well their sub-calibre assault-rifles function against determined opponents, then ask them what calibres and weaponry are being used by the precision marksmen and snipers. They are anything but sub-calibre.

 

About all the experts really excel at is re-equipping armies, navies and air forces to fight the last war, with weapons systems so expensive they may as well be gold-plated, which are designed to fight the next war - which is probably going to be totally different to the last one. Every time we re-invent the wheel we seem to have this enormous argument about what colour it should be.

 

The Australian Defence Material Organisation has one of the most dismal histories in this regard (it has been re-named a few times to try and sanitise its tarnished image); the Wamira project, the Collins-class submarines, the SeaSprite Helicopter to name just a few. It's probably full of experts, most of whom didn't participate in the last war anyway, who have unlimited funds and unlimited time to re-equip our defence forces with gold-plated weapons systems which cost incalculable amounts of money - and not so long ago the Army was short of ammunition for the Steyr assault-rifle. No idea of what the man on the ground really needs, but lots of pie-in-the-sky ideas about systems and logistics and buzz-words. I'll bet the grunts were really impressed.

 

About all a defence expert is really good for is being a speed-hump in a Woolworths car-park - and there's a queue of fifty-thousand school-leavers in front of him. Listen to the expert who says there is no future for fighters and ignore him completely - he'll get everything so wrong it will be risible.

 

 

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We hear reports our troops are buying their own equipment because the issued stuff is crap... how do our leaders respond?

 

1. listen to those in the firing line and sack the people who stuff up,

 

or

 

2. ban our front line people from talking to the media?

 

Perhaps those in the firing line should be on the panels selecting new equipment.

 

 

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I completely agree with you Dieselten about defence procurement, in fact I'd question our need for submarines at all. But I'm not an expert. As OK says, listen to the troops on the ground as to what they need - something that goes for all organisations not just defence.

 

Perhaps those in the firing line should be on the panels selecting new equipment.

Or those selecting new equipment be sent to the firing line...

 

 

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We hear reports our troops are buying their own equipment because the issued stuff is crap... how do our leaders respond?1. listen to those in the firing line and sack the people who stuff up,

 

or

 

2. ban our front line people from talking to the media?

 

Perhaps those in the firing line should be on the panels selecting new equipment.

Yep we were buying our own gear when I joined in 1976. I spent $1000.00s of Dollars kitting my son out before he went to Afganistan. Nothing change just the names. I was on the trials team when the system bought the Mack and Unimog. We were hamstrung not only with what we decided on but with what we started with. It was a waste of time us being there when the decisions had already been made in Canberra. Just another greasy pocket lined I suspect. Don't for a minute think it doesn't happen, the snouts have been in the trough for a long time and not just the public trough but the graft and corruption trough as well.

 

As for not needing fighters/tanks/subs, it is irrelevant. We will continue to buy these types of things as long as defence contractors continue to grease palms. Just my humble opinion mind you. But after having sent a son to war and seeing the appalling way they were treated before they went and the worse way they were treated after coming home I have no respect left for the Brass or the Pollies that support them.

 

 

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Yep we were buying our own gear when I joined in 1976. I spent $1000.00s of Dollars kitting my son out before he went to Afganistan. Nothing change just the names. I was on the trials team when the system bought the Mack and Unimog. We were hamstrung not only with what we decided on but with what we started with. It was a waste of time us being there when the decisions had already been made in Canberra. Just another greasy pocket lined I suspect. Don't for a minute think it doesn't happen, the snouts have been in the trough for a long time and not just the public trough but the graft and corruption trough as well.As for not needing fighters/tanks/subs, it is irrelevant. We will continue to buy these types of things as long as defence contractors continue to grease palms. Just my humble opinion mind you. But after having sent a son to war and seeing the appalling way they were treated before they went and the worse way they were treated after coming home I have no respect left for the Brass or the Pollies that support them.

Reminds me of the small arms contest between the Colt M16 and the F88 that we currently have. By all sources I had in the Army ( I was Airforce) the M16 shat all over the F88. But low and behold, the F88 won, why ? Simply because it could be built under licence here in Oz where as the M16 couldn't.

Luckily I joined and the SLR was currently still in service. I liked it, being 308 cal, it was accurate, the F88 was a politicians choice not the Armies.I had to qualify on the F88 a few years after I joined IMO it was a piece of crap but women could reload it and shoot it though.

 

 

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