air-to-air, air-to-ground
Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: JCavilia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    14,708

    air-to-air, air-to-ground

    The F-35 discussion got me thinking about a question I'd like to pose to all you fight-plane history buffs. We talk about planes designed primarily or exclusively for the air-to-air role, but answer me this: how many successful fighter plane designs (I mean produced in substantial quantity) that started as air-to-air ships were NOT successfully adapted to the air-to-ground role at some point in their careers?

    The only ones I can think of are pure "interceptor" designs (F-102, F-106), and some that seem to fit that profile were nonetheless adapted successfully (e.g., the F-104G flown by Canada and several Euro airforces). Some took substantial modifications (F-15B/D to F-15E), some assumed the role only very briefly (the Bombcat F-14 program).

    My impression is that since WWII, nearly every "fighter" turned into an "attack" plane or multi-role fighter eventually.

    I wonder how many hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted because Air Force people who still cling to the romance of the dogfight insisted on developing "pure" air-to-air machines, only to spend extra money late in development to add air-to-ground capability.

    Tell me what I've missed.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

  2. #2
    donuts?
    Reputation: asciibaron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,945
    are you asking what became a bomber that was a dogfighter in design?
    -Steve
    Quote Originally Posted by Chain
    Next time, save your energy for tomorrows ride and try not to come in 6th.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: WaynefromOrlando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    837
    The F-14 was a pure air to air fighter but it was briefly tested as an air to ground (or sea in this case) multi-role aircraft just before it was phased out of service.

    Most aircraft have been designed, either before production or afterward in post production modifications, to do more than one aircraft function or role. When aircraft costs exceeded $1M it became necessary for that multi-role concept to prevail because it was too expensive to buy two aircraft when one aircraft could do the job, even if the one aircraft did not do it as well as a sole function aircraft would.

    Even in the non air superiority aircraft that was true, many bombers became electronic warfare platforms or cargo aircraft, others became tankers or reconnaissance aircraft. Even the C-130 has been modified to be a night ground attack platform and a tanker for fixed and rotary wing aircraft long after it was designed as nothing more than a cargo aircraft.
    As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities. Voltaire

    A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government. Thomas Jefferson

  4. #4
    Darling of The Lounge
    Reputation: Retro Grouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    4,568
    Stand-off weaponry in air-to-air combat has made traditional dogfighting obsolete. In the USAF, the fight pilot reigns supreme. In fact, with the exception of Gen Norton Schwartz, I cannot recall a recent Air Force Chief of Staff who wasn’t a fighter pilot. As long as these guys remain top dog, there will always be a need for some type of dog fighting capabilty.

    It does seem the Air Force takes great strides to advocate for multi-role platforms. For example, putting an F-16 in a close air support mission to take the place of the A-10. IMHO…the A-10 excels in this mission better. Ground troop love to hear that unique sound the Warthog makes and know it will take care of business. Just like using the analogy of the triathlete: they have to be good at different disciplines versus just focusing on one area and being the best they can be at it.

    These days, asymmetrical warfare with a near-peer opponent will require more capability in the cyber, space realms as information dominance takes on a more prominent role. While not a sexy as dog fighting, it will win (or lose) a future engagement.

    As for the best fighter to morph into a weapon to drop iron on target, I have to give props to the F4-U Corsair.


  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    704
    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    The F-35 discussion got me thinking about a question I'd like to pose to all you fight-plane history buffs. We talk about planes designed primarily or exclusively for the air-to-air role, but answer me this: how many successful fighter plane designs (I mean produced in substantial quantity) that started as air-to-air ships were NOT successfully adapted to the air-to-ground role at some point in their careers?

    The only ones I can think of are pure "interceptor" designs (F-102, F-106), and some that seem to fit that profile were nonetheless adapted successfully (e.g., the F-104G flown by Canada and several Euro airforces). Some took substantial modifications (F-15B/D to F-15E), some assumed the role only very briefly (the Bombcat F-14 program).

    My impression is that since WWII, nearly every "fighter" turned into an "attack" plane or multi-role fighter eventually.

    I wonder how many hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted because Air Force people who still cling to the romance of the dogfight insisted on developing "pure" air-to-air machines, only to spend extra money late in development to add air-to-ground capability.

    Tell me what I've missed.
    I guess 'successful' is a relative term, but the English Electric Lightning was pure interceptor. MiG-21 seems limited in A-G role.

  6. #6
    Not Banned
    Reputation: atpjunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    49,013
    The Tornado was predominately A-G as is the Warthog
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    704
    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    The Tornado was predominately A-G as is the Warthog
    Tornado had two versions. One version was A-G. Other was A-A - used different avionics.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: JCavilia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    14,708
    Quote Originally Posted by mrcreosote View Post
    I guess 'successful' is a relative term, but the English Electric Lightning was pure interceptor. MiG-21 seems limited in A-G role.
    Those are good examples.

    Wayne, the bombers-become-transports are an interesting category. B-24 to C-87, B-29 to C-97. And the transports turned to gunships, like the AC-130 (and its predecessor the AC-47 Spooky) are another.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    634
    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    The only ones I can think of are pure "interceptor" designs (F-102, F-106), and some that seem to fit that profile were nonetheless adapted successfully (e.g., the F-104G flown by Canada and several Euro airforces).
    +1 to the English Electric Lightning being classed as a pure interceptor but not so sure about "adapted successfully" description for the F104 (aka the Flying Coffin), as deployed by Germany. Many regarded the F104 in that configuration as unacceptably unstable (It certainly wasn't a problem with the skills of the German pilots).

  10. #10
    a little too stoked
    Reputation: SystemShock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    34,070
    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    My impression is that since WWII, nearly every "fighter" turned into an "attack" plane or multi-role fighter eventually.

    I wonder how many hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted because Air Force people who still cling to the romance of the dogfight insisted on developing "pure" air-to-air machines, only to spend extra money late in development to add air-to-ground capability.
    I'm no expert, but what I've heard is exactly the opposite... I remember Sprey (the guy who designed the F-16 and A-10) bemoaning the fact that in the decades between either the P-51 Mustang or the F-86 Sabre (forget which) and the F-15, no US fighter plane was really designed with maneuverability/dogfighting as its big priority.

    As example, you can look at something like the F-4 Phantom, which wasn't very maneuverable (even for its time) and had only a 1:1 kill ratio vs the MIGs it faced in Vietnam during most of its time there. Which was far less than great, especially considering said MIGs were a quarter of the cost of the Phantom, and a downed Phantom would potentially lose two crewmen to the MIG's one.

    Late in the conflict, we apparently started using new tactics that helped the F-4 achieve better kill ratios against the enemy, but still... can you imagine if we'd been flying F-15s in the Gulf War and had only a 1:1 kill ratio for any real length of time against the Iraqi air force? We'd probably see that as a dismal failure, and an expensive one, in terms of lost pilots and money.

    I don't think Sprey is a "dogfighting uber alles" guy either, he likes close-support aircraft too, he just thinks in terms of 'the right tool for the right job' as opposed to planes that are designed to do EVERYTHING and do none of it terribly well.

    Love Sprey or hate him, his kind of thinking has lead to some pretty terrific and effective designs... such as his A-10 Thunderbolt. From his explanation of the design parameters and specialization they went with (video below) you can see why it turned out so well.

    You can also start to see, from the parameters of what makes a great close-support aircraft, why something like the F-35 will never be able to do that job as well as a close-support-specialist aircraft (despite costing something like 12 times what the A-10 does):








    The A-10 was used in combat for the first time during the
    Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces, making it by far the most effective aircraft of the war.

    .
    Last edited by SystemShock; 06-19-2014 at 03:46 AM.
    MH: I want to go like my Dad did, peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    Sys: Fake news?? Trump's a Fake President for God's sake.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    Homer: I believe that the children are our future. Unless we stop them now.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  11. #11
    Not Banned
    Reputation: atpjunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    49,013
    Quote Originally Posted by mrcreosote View Post
    Tornado had two versions. One version was A-G. Other was A-A - used different avionics.
    but the A-A was typically outmatched by other A-A fighters. A great plane regardless.
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  12. #12
    Not Banned
    Reputation: atpjunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    49,013
    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    I'm no expert, but what I've heard is exactly the opposite... I remember Sprey (the guy who designed the F-16 and A-10) bemoaning the fact that in the decades between either the P-51 Mustang or the F-86 Sabre (forget which) and the F-15, no US fighter plane was really designed with maneuverability/dogfighting as its big priority.

    As example, you can look at something like the F-4 Phantom, which wasn't very maneuverable (even for its time) and had only a 1:1 kill ratio vs the MIGs it faced in Vietnam during most of its time there. Which was far less than great, especially considering said MIGs were a quarter of the cost of the Phantom, and a downed Phantom would potentially lose two crewmen to the MIG's one.

    Late in the conflict, we apparently started using new tactics that helped the F-4 achieve better kill ratios against the enemy, but still... can you imagine if we'd been flying F-15s in the Gulf War and had only a 1:1 kill ratio for any real length of time against the Iraqi air force? We'd probably see that as a dismal failure, and an expensive one, in terms of lost pilots and money.

    I don't think Sprey is a "dogfighting uber alles" guy either, he likes close-support aircraft too, he just thinks in terms of 'the right tool for the right job' as opposed to planes that are designed to do EVERYTHING and do none of it terribly well.

    Love Sprey or hate him, his kind of thinking has lead to some pretty terrific and effective designs... such as his A-10 Thunderbolt. From his explanation of the design parameters and specialization they went with (video below) you can see why it turned out so well.

    You can also start to see, from the parameters of what makes a great close-support aircraft, why something like the F-35 will never be able to do that job as well as a close-support-specialist aircraft (despite costing something like 12 times what the A-10 does):








    The A-10 was used in combat for the first time during the
    Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces, making it by far the most effective aircraft of the war.

    .
    yup. one of the greatest built. sad to see it go
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  13. #13
    Not Banned
    Reputation: atpjunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    49,013
    which is the rub
    they'd rather keep an inferior lemon that keeps $ flowing into their districts
    than superior craft that better support our troops
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    704
    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    but the A-A was typically outmatched by other A-A fighters. A great plane regardless.
    No argument from me there. As a product of the last days of the cold war it was more for shooting down bombers than dog-fighting.

  15. #15
    Roll Out Jeremy
    Reputation: Fordy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,785
    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    The F-35 discussion got me thinking about a question I'd like to pose to all you fight-plane history buffs. We talk about planes designed primarily or exclusively for the air-to-air role, but answer me this: how many successful fighter plane designs (I mean produced in substantial quantity) that started as air-to-air ships were NOT successfully adapted to the air-to-ground role at some point in their careers?

    The only ones I can think of are pure "interceptor" designs (F-102, F-106), and some that seem to fit that profile were nonetheless adapted successfully (e.g., the F-104G flown by Canada and several Euro airforces). Some took substantial modifications (F-15B/D to F-15E), some assumed the role only very briefly (the Bombcat F-14 program).

    My impression is that since WWII, nearly every "fighter" turned into an "attack" plane or multi-role fighter eventually.

    I wonder how many hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted because Air Force people who still cling to the romance of the dogfight insisted on developing "pure" air-to-air machines, only to spend extra money late in development to add air-to-ground capability.

    Tell me what I've missed.
    The F35 is a cardboard cannon. Never intended to actually work.....
    Ollie Ollie Oxen Free
    "Don't believe everything you think"

  16. #16
    Not Banned
    Reputation: atpjunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    49,013
    Quote Originally Posted by mrcreosote View Post
    No argument from me there. As a product of the last days of the cold war it was more for shooting down bombers than dog-fighting.
    great in ground support roles as well. (not as good as the warthog)
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  17. #17
    Not Banned
    Reputation: atpjunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    49,013
    Quote Originally Posted by Fordy View Post
    The F35 is a cardboard cannon. Never intended to actually work.....
    replacing the A-10 with that POS is gonna suck for our ground troops and calvary (tanks)
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    1,830

    air-to-air, air-to-ground

    No question that the A10 is and has been a great aircraft and I am of the opinion that the AF should keep the aircraft and modernize it as needed. The figure is 3.7 billion to keep it operational from 2015 thru 2019, or just under a billion a year. Over 10 years that's equal to buying 75 F35's, so a hard decision for the AF.

    Note though that since 2001 approx. 80% of all CAS missions have been flown by other aircraft, so it's obvious that with PGM's, the mission can get done. The Marines know this well, which makes a single mission aircraft a hard sell.

    Certainly the F35 isn't going to get the job done, so maybe the AF will invest in add'l F15E's.
    Last edited by Steve B.; 06-20-2014 at 02:28 PM.

  19. #19
    waterproof*
    Reputation: Creakyknees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    41,590
    THIS THREAD NEEDS MORE PIX

    * not actually a Rock Star

  20. #20
    Not Banned
    Reputation: atpjunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    49,013
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    No question that the A10 is and has been a great aircraft and I am of the opinion that the AF should keep the aircraft and modernize it as needed. The figure is 3.7 billion to keep it operational from 2015 thru 2019, or just under a billion a year. Over 10 years that's equal to buying 75 F35's, so a hard decision for the AF.

    Note though that since 2001 approx. 80% of all CAS missions have been flown by other aircraft, so it's obvious that with PGM's, the mission can get done. The Marines know this well, which makes a single mission aircraft a hard sell.

    Certainly the F35 isn't going to get the job done, so maybe the AF will invest in add'l F15E's.
    the F35 will suck at ground support they aren't maneuverable enough, can't stay over the battlefield enough nor aren't armed and armored for the job . My guess is they'll use more Apaches.
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  21. #21
    Not Banned
    Reputation: atpjunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    49,013
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    No question that the A10 is and has been a great aircraft and I am of the opinion that the AF should keep the aircraft and modernize it as needed. The figure is 3.7 billion to keep it operational from 2015 thru 2019, or just under a billion a year. Over 10 years that's equal to buying 75 F35's, so a hard decision for the AF.

    Note though that since 2001 approx. 80% of all CAS missions have been flown by other aircraft, so it's obvious that with PGM's, the mission can get done. The Marines know this well, which makes a single mission aircraft a hard sell.

    Certainly the F35 isn't going to get the job done, so maybe the AF will invest in add'l F15E's.
    75 F35s or how many A-10s? I think there are a couple hundred in service.

    plus A-10 is a proven winner vs a POS with no service record

    good article

    A-10 vs. F-35: The Air Force's Latest Budget Bungle | Mother Jones
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  22. #22
    Not Banned
    Reputation: atpjunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    49,013
    1 F-35 = double the $ spent annually on NPR and Planned Parenthood combined
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  23. #23
    a little too stoked
    Reputation: SystemShock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    34,070
    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    75 F35s or how many A-10s? I think there are a couple hundred in service.

    plus A-10 is a proven winner vs a POS with no service record

    good article

    A-10 vs. F-35: The Air Force's Latest Budget Bungle | Mother Jones
    IIRC, there are currently about 300 A-10s in service.

    Additionally, the estimate of getting about 75 F-35s for $10 billion is probably too optimistic. The F-35 has suffered cost overruns throughout its development, and many commentators think the final price will be more in the $200-300 million range per plane.

    And that's just the cost of buying those F-35s, doesn't really include the cost of operating or maintaining them throughout any time period.

    Even ignoring the costs of F-35 operation and maintenance, this means having more like an additional 35 to 50 F-35s in lieu of about 300 A-10s, with the latter being far better at CAS (close air-support) missions.

    Yeah, doesn't really make sense.
    MH: I want to go like my Dad did, peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    Sys: Fake news?? Trump's a Fake President for God's sake.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    Homer: I believe that the children are our future. Unless we stop them now.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


Similar Threads

  1. Why does Ground Zero still look like Ground Zero
    By Opus51569 in forum Politics Only
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 09-12-2009, 08:13 AM
  2. from the ground up
    By MyersCaad8 in forum Cannondale
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-24-2008, 05:00 PM
  3. from the ground up
    By MyersCaad8 in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-17-2008, 07:28 PM
  4. I am mad at FedEx Ground
    By paint in forum The Lounge
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 03-22-2007, 10:40 PM
  5. In-ground sprinklers
    By funknuggets in forum The Lounge
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-05-2006, 09:41 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT ROADBIKEREVIEW

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.