Tuesday, December 9, 2014

F-35 Attacks Burke!

F-35 Attacks Burke!

This just in – F-35s were seen attacking a Burke destroyer.  Actually, no they weren’t but they should have been. 

The Chinese are developing the J-20 and J-31, counterparts to the F-22 and F-35.  That means that our naval air defenses will be facing the equivalent of F-22s and F-35s (setting aside the fact that we have no idea what the actual performance of the Chinese aircraft will be).  Thus, it would be a good idea if we exercised our naval air defenses against our own F-22s and F-35s as surrogates for the Chinese aircraft.

We should be conducting simulated attacks against our Ticonderogas and Burkes to find out what the detection ranges are and what kind of defensive tactics we need. 

I previously stated that we need to conduct multi-carrier doctrinal and tactical training and this ties in with that quite nicely.  Let’s turn a squadron of F-35s loose to attack a carrier group using whatever tactics they can come up with – none of those useless, set piece exercises that the Navy is so famous for.  Turn a bunch of creative pilots loose and let them expose the weaknesses in our air defense now, before we actually go into combat.  This is the kind of thing pilots would go wild for!  We can simultaneously develop attack tactics, useful against Chinese surface groups and their eventual carriers, and defensive tactics.

I’ve got to be fair, here.  I have no idea whether we’re doing this type of thing or not.  Maybe we are.  I hope we are.  Based on everything I know, including feedback from active duty surface and aviation personnel, I highly doubt we’re doing anything even remotely like this.

Peacetime is a gift bestowed on the warrior to allow him time to prepare for war.  Use the gift!  Start training realistically.


  1. totally agree. the lack of real world experimentation has gone the way of the dodo bird in the US military. instead of coming up with concepts and then testing them, we see concepts, agreement that its the best thing since ice cream and then we see them being put into the fleet and no one knows what to do with it.

    MLP is the perfect example with at least half the production run being converted to floating bases for SOCOM instead of their original mission.

    1. The phrase is "confirm assumptions."

      Literally, we do not test we "confirm assumptions"

      It goes back to the JCIDS process where this new piece of equipment is required to fill this validated capabilities gap, and if it fails then there goes your requirement for this new piece of equipment and then your piece of equipment. Thus we "confirm assumptions" instead of testing operating concepts in conjunction with acquisition of new material.

  2. This type of training is done regularly (2-3 times per week) during work-ups and deployment, including multiple axis strikes, hi low profiles, and electronic attack against a CG or DDG.

    Aviators will often helo over to the surface ship to observe these events as the AEGIS can provide good insight as to how modern adversary systems will perform against various tactics.

    1. Trons Away, I'm not talking about simple tracking exercises. I'm talking about all out attacks using large numbers of aircraft with co-ordinated ECM, decoys, and whatever other aids an attacker might use combined with realistic attack tactics.

      Further, I directed this post specifically to the use of F-22/35s. Unless you have specific knowledge of these aircraft being used for this purpose, I'll continue to assume that it hasn't been done.

  3. A pair of fighters attacking a destroyer is better than nothing.
    But if you want real results, you would have a pair of full carrier battle groups engaged in a simulated battle.

    At the end of the day, a pair of fighters attacking a Burke can only really be done if the Burke knows when(ish) the attack is going to happen and the fighters know where (ish) the attack will occur.

    And really that's the hard bit

  4. do we even have a squadron worth of F-35s, and, if we do, do we have enough fuel trucks painted the right color to even fuel them all at once for a coordinated strike?

    besides, since we deliberately stopped the F-22 acquisition waaaaayyyy short, we don't really have enough of them to risk for anything more than the occasional photo op, do we?


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