Re: we don't need no dirty stinking fighter planes...yes we do!.

Message posted by Magoo on March 28, 2001 at 21:16:50 PST:

They were thinking this very same thing in the late 1950's. They started fitting aircraft with longer ranging AAMs and more powerful radars, and deleting the guns off them. At the same time, the Americans and the British cancelled many promising fighter and bomber designs (B-70, F-108, TSR-2, P1154, Avro Arrow etc) because it was thought they would be obsolete before they saw the light of day.

Then came along the Vietnam war where the early F-4s were getting waxed in close by MiG-17s and MiG-21s because they had no gun, hence the rapid development of the F-4E model, and the subsequent installation of guns on the 'teen' series (F-14, F-15, F-16, F/A-18) of fighters in the 70's. You're not always going to be up against an enemy as sophisticated as you are.

There remains the ever present ROE (Rules of Engagement) that requires you to be able to positively identify the aircraft you're tracking as being an enemy aircraft. It is somewhat easier these days with IFF and radars and systems that are able to identify particular electronic and IR signatures of aircraft (e.g. F-22, F-16C Block 60, Typhoon), but I think it is still too hard to be able to make it an automatic system on a missile etc.

In the future, I believe we'll see missiles that are able to hover (either vertically or on a parachute) or patrol in a passive mode, that will automatically be 'tripped' by a passing enemy aircraft. In a similar way to the way magnetic anti-ship mines lie on the bottom of the sea waiting for a ship to pass, then fire a small torpedo at them as they pass overhead.

The British already use an air-launched anti-radar missile (called ALARM) that zooms up to 60,000+ feet, then pops a small parachute out and floats very slowly down while looking for an enemy radar to switch on. Once the radar lights up, the missile pops of the chute, and dives straight at the radar transmitter. Imagine a line of such missiles launched ahead of an attacking strike package. As the package approaches the enemy radars, they light up and are taken out before they can see any aircraft or know what hit them, thus clearing a path for the strike package.

Maybe in a generation or two such things will be possible, but for now, we still need the F-22 and its contemporaries.


In Reply to: we don't need no dirty stinking fighter planes.... posted by gary on March 28, 2001 at 20:29:44 PST:


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