ComNavOps has frequently pointed out the dangerous trend in current military thinking of believing that everything we do will work perfectly and nothing the enemy does will have any effect. I’ve mentioned our emphasis on networking while ignoring enemy ECM, as one specific example.
I’ve now read several articles promoting the F-35 by describing how the aircraft will operate in groups of 4 thereby enabling a blanket of sensors to cover the targeted enemy aircraft. Articles describe how, now matter what the enemy aircraft does, it will always be covered by multiple F-35s and, therefore, be unable to escape detection or destruction.
Of course, this is just another example of the utterly one-sided thinking that pervades modern
Apparently, the enemy will obligingly allow us to operate in neat, tidy,
co-ordinated groups of four and will only engage our groups of four with a
single aircraft at a time of their own.
I guess they won’t come at us with, say a group of four of their own
aircraft and instantly disrupt our group cohesiveness and turn the combat into a
wild furball of multiple 1 v. 1’s. And,
of course, it’s utterly impossible that they might come at us with more
aircraft than we have! Apparently, they
won’t employ any ECM or use any extreme maneuvering. I guess they won’t launch missiles at us even
for purposes of breaking up our neat little groups (enemy aircraft generally
carry more missiles than ours so that would be a completely viable tactic!). Apparently, their stealth, networks, data
links, and sensors won’t be of any benefit to them, whatsoever, while ours will
ensure our total domination of the skies. US
Almost every air to air combat report I’ve ever read that wasn’t just a simple ambush against inept opponents, demonstrates that the preferred wingman tactics instantly breakdown when combat is joined. The lead and the wingman quickly get separated and become focused on their individual combats. There is no reason to believe that a flight of four F-35s won’t quickly deteriorate into four flights of one.
We just recently talked about Infrared Search and Tracking (IRST) capabilities. The
is well behind the curve on that technology with
European, Russian, and Chinese (? – not sure the status of their IRST efforts)
aircraft all carrying superior IRST systems compared to ours. Despite this and enemy stealth, we still
assume we’ll establish unhindered long range detection while the enemy will
never even see us. US
Our A2A tactics sound like they’re heavy on fantasy and wishful thinking and light on reality. This kind of thinking is going to get our pilots killed.
Hey, here’s a thought. Let’s put our invincible 4-aircraft tactical unit of F-35s up against four F-22s (simulating Russian PAK-FA and Chinese J-series stealth fighters) and see what happens. Let’s also do that with full ECM active and see if our vaunted networking and data sharing functions as advertised.
Another interesting experiment would be to put our F-35s up against some European fighters with IRST systems and see how that turns out. Will our F-35s operate their radars and give away their positions or will they attempt to operate “blind” with simple IR sensors versus more advanced IRST systems?
We need to stop making up these fantasy tactics and start applying some cold, hard reality to out tactical thinking.