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Janxy

US Stealth Air Fleet mostly grounded?

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But it is not what was originally promised nor is it the model of perfection that some people are claiming. It has serious flaws in its design.

I think it falls into the same category as "Abrams is the best tank in the world!"

Here you have an F-22 turning its tail for the T-38 student who needs practice. That's all there is to that one.

I enjoy that every time the F-22 gets shot down it was because the pilot wanted to be, or the opponent was cheating. :j:

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As far as I'm aware, the pilots only have a couple of problems with the F-22 currently.

Now, I don't hear a whole lot, but what I have heard ( ... and not from your described propaganda ) is that the pilots don't really complain about the aircraft being 'fundamentally flawed'.

Heaps of official reports and expert analyses on one side and some personal assumptions on the other...

As far as I'm concerned, it's no different than any other fighter development, but at the same time it just happens to kill stuff in the air better than other fighters.

Has it killed some stuff for real?(well, except its own pilots..)

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I did warn you, LOL.

As far as I'm concerned the F-22 is a white elephant. If I was building an air force and the F-22 was out for export, I would happily decline it simply because it is not cost effective.

Also Rock, I'd like to know what you think about the state of the F-35 program, specifically what it means for the RAF and RN. From a bystander's point of view, I think a CATOBAR Typhoon would do the job... :p

I did see a rumour a year or so ago about the option of getting Super Hornets instead of F-35s. It makes me wonder if the F-35 actually is worth the price tag and inevitable trouble it might bring.

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...Also Rock, I'd like to know what you think about the state of the F-35 program, specifically what it means for the RAF and RN.

I'm on the fence on the UK use of the F-35. My own concern is that it will mirror the F-22's development. I do know that the F-35 has benefited from the F-22. Lessons learnt etc. The issues surrounding the Raptor's stealth coating led to a fundamental change in the use of RAM (Radar Absorbent Materials) in the F-35 design. But for me personally I still have concerns about the decision to buy it.

I see the need for the stealthy aspects. I especially see the need for the improved sensors and data integration (EOTS is very impressive on paper) but I'm a bit cynical about its performance in the real world. I also have some serious doubts about the UK government's unfailing commitment to buy the F-35 no matter what given the current state of Defence spending in the MoD. I understand the political motivators and the business drivers but I have to wonder if can the UK or anybody else really afford it in any practical numbers.

I'm also a bit wary of the capability gap. I've been discussing this with WLD427, he's a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan and as such been assisted by more than a few CAS calls. As a "grunt" he wants an aircraft that carries lots of bombs, can loiter for extended periods and then place those weapons on the exact spot marked every time. I clearly see his point.

Now the in Afghan scenario, where its operating from a land base relatively close to the action the F-35 has a reasonable loiter time in the clean configuration. Its got - on paper at least - fantastic sensor and data/network integration. And in theory it can see pretty much everything going on around it and be fed real time imagery and targeting data from many sources making hitting the right target a lot easier but it can only carry 2x 1000lb class weapons internally. And the moment you hang external stores off it your loiter time reduces to something similar to a Harrier GR9. So is it really worth it when an F-35 costs ~6x that of a Harrier.

WLD427's issue with the F-35 is the same as my concern. Is it really value for money? The Typhoon FGR4 with the latest software can carry 6x 1000lb weapons and 6x AAMs and still loiter for nearly 2 hours longer. It costs about 40-50% of the value of the F-35C at it current price (depending on who's figure you want to believe - much like the quoted F-35 or F22 prices). As a complement to the Typhoon it allows for more flexibility in the RAF/RN's bag of tricks but is it worth the price, honestly i'm not too sure. I'm not sure that we wouldn't be better off with more Typhoons.

The F-35C does open up some interesting possibilities though. Off the shelf integration with US aircraft - something that has been lacking for some time. The return to conventional carrier capability opens the doors to operate from US and French carriers. It also gives the UK the capability - eventually - to project some serious air power around the world again. A capability we arguably haven't had since the 1970's. The Sea Harrier had rather short legs so could really only operate close to its carriers without tanker support. Something the Royal Navy never had. A failing that led to the RN's operations in later years in Bosnia and Kosovo being run from a land based airfield. A fact which also helped kill off the carriers and Harrier in UK use. The F-35C on the other hand allows the RN a more flexible basing solution so there is a major plus point in its favour.

So to round up, I kinda like the promised spec. I love the idea of the RN and RAF returning to conventional carrier ops. I'm concerned about the practicality of the weapons loads and I don't like the price. Nor do I like my own government's "we'll buy it at any price policy". But right now, the F-35C is the only show in town for the UK's next gen fighter. Simply put there is no other aircraft out there that has a planned upgrade life past 2050 that can be delivered before 2020.

From a bystander's point of view, I think a CATOBAR Typhoon would do the job...

I did see a rumour a year or so ago about the option of getting Super Hornets instead of F-35s. It makes me wonder if the F-35 actually is worth the price tag and inevitable trouble it might bring.

Let's not start with that again. Navalised Typhoons etc.

Re the F-18 I read a guy's thesis a while ago from Shrivenham. It had a well thought out section analysing the future of UK's air power linked with industry. It examined the relationship between the UK and the F-35 and then went through the alternatives. F-18E, the Silent Hornet, Rafale and yes a Navalised Typhoon. The F-18s and the Rafale just worked out to be politically and commercially limited. The projected manufacturing Offset and the benefits to UK business' and the UK economy were minimal. His conclusion was that the F-35C was actually the cheapest option. Admittedly he was using figures from 2009 but it made for a good read. And I have to concede made a lot of sense.

you just have to remember that capability is only part of the equation. Unfortunately it's really only these possible capabilities that capture the public's imagination. The reality is nearly always different.

---------- Post added at 02:19 ---------- Previous post was at 02:17 ----------

I'll leave the rest be and say this: As far as I'm aware, the pilots only have a couple of problems with the F-22 currently - that would be the troubles with the OBOGS, and the fact that they (and probably the Golden Eagle crews, too) are under a microscope. Now, I don't hear a whole lot, but what I have heard ( ... and not from your described propaganda ) is that the pilots don't really complain about the aircraft being 'fundamentally flawed', but everyone who can blow hot air without a jet engine seems to. I'd say you're just taking this propaganda thing in the other direction. As far as I'm concerned, it's no different than any other fighter development, but at the same time it just happens to kill stuff in the air better than other fighters.

So you have no verifiable sources and no response to the documented links? And I'm guilty of spouting "described propaganda"?

WOW.

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I enjoy that you made yourself a poster child for the quote you followed up with :)

I enjoy that every time the F-22 gets shot down it was because the pilot wanted to be, or the opponent was cheating. :j:

---------- Post added at 09:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:53 PM ----------

No, after reading what you wrote I think you're looking at it from a different perspective. I still disagree with you; I wouldn't call the aircraft flawed.

So you have no verifiable sources and no response to the documented links? And I'm guilty of spouting "described propaganda"?

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I'm on the fence on the UK use of the F-35. My own concern is that it will mirror the F-22's development. I do know that the F-35 has benefited from the F-22. Lessons learnt etc. The issues surrounding the Raptor's stealth coating led to a fundamental change in the use of RAM (Radar Absorbent Materials) in the F-35 design. But for me personally I still have concerns about the decision to buy it.

It's another one of those multinational jobs.

Which is both a recipe for construction problems and also a one size fits all solution rather than a custom fit for the job we want. It's trying to please a hell of a lot of people all at the same time.

I'm not sure about Rafale, but the other alternative, the one the yanks currently use is the one I am in two minds about.

It's proven and probably competatively priced but the range is no great shakes I thought.

But I don't think we need to buy the higest tech plane EVAR.

The point about carrier based air power to my mind is that you deploy where the enemy isn't defending. At his weakest point.

Any solid workhorse will do.

The tactical advantage of a naval air arm is in the manouvre phase rather then the combat phase.

And lets face it, given that we currently have nothing at all, even a Fairey Swordfish would be a significant improvement. A navalised Apache is another serious option in my mind. I'm not unconditionally married to the concept of fixed wing at all.

I have the uncomfortable feeling that it's fighting the last war and not the next, or in this case, WW2.

Almost like how building dreadnoughts in the carrier age was.

F-35 would be sweet, but I'd ditch it on the spot if it isn't going to be ready in time for the carriers.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

Capability>vanity.

Edited by Baff1

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yeah, as even USN Admiral admitted than all "stealth"-related in aerospace is actually WAY scam/psyops/corruption-related, more than with anything PRACTICALY handy for national security:

http://www.economist.com/node/21559607

http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2012-07/payloads-over-platforms-charting-new-course

and urge to roll-back concept to similar to employed by SU/Russia for long time :)

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Yea but now the F-22 pilots will figure how to beat the EF and next time round be all "Oh we knew the raptor was the best blah blah etc."

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ROE = visual range exercise with 1v1 merge combat. Typhoon would probably win most of the time under those circumstances. Is that a full and correct assessment of how the F-22 would fight a real war?

The F22's strength is supposed to be in the high altitude BVR arena. I guess in real life it's a question of how survivable the Typhoon is in BVR combat as in theory the F22 will usually be able to fire 1st, if it survives, can the F22 be engaged with the MBDA Meteor missile which is superior to even the AIM-120D in performance, provided the F-22 can be detected in time?

The Typhoon is estimated to have a frontal RCS of 0.75sq m in clean config Vs Raptors 0.0001 sq m. These engagements are often a game of chicken as you have to fire, then turn away to avoid running into your opponents missiles which changes the RCS. There are other factors such as mid course guidance for missiles being provided by datalink from other aircraft such as AWACS.

It's a very complex debate as there are so many things to consider.

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IIRC, the Meteor has similar range to AIM-120, and the Raptor would have to reveal itself while launching the missile by locking onto the Typhoon (having no IRST). Also, I don't know how long the Meteor requires external guidance, but the Raptor would have to keep Typhoon locked on until the AMRAAM is in terminal phase. If the Meteor has a better on-board radar than the AMRAAM, the Typhoon would be able to drop the lock earlier than the Raptor, and focus entirely on ditching the ARMAAM. Also, we don't really know if the Meteor would be able to keep it's lock on Raptor once it's in the terminal phase and after the Raptor turns off it's radar. Also, keep in mind that the Typhoon, while not very stealthy, could not turn it's radar on at all, thanks to having IRST. If the Meteor can be guided from it, and if the Raptor is caught on IRST (a very big if), the Meteor would essentially turn into a heatseeker, and the Raptor would be notified about it when it turns on it's own radar and enters terminal phase (at which point, it's usually a bit late for starting evasive maneuvers).

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My view, counter measures will make missiles less effective then it's back to the good old days of the Dogfight.

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IIRC, the Meteor has similar range to AIM-120, and the Raptor would have to reveal itself while launching the missile by locking onto the Typhoon (having no IRST). Also, I don't know how long the Meteor requires external guidance, but the Raptor would have to keep Typhoon locked on until the AMRAAM is in terminal phase. If the Meteor has a better on-board radar than the AMRAAM, the Typhoon would be able to drop the lock earlier than the Raptor, and focus entirely on ditching the ARMAAM. Also, we don't really know if the Meteor would be able to keep it's lock on Raptor once it's in the terminal phase and after the Raptor turns off it's radar. Also, keep in mind that the Typhoon, while not very stealthy, could not turn it's radar on at all, thanks to having IRST. If the Meteor can be guided from it, and if the Raptor is caught on IRST (a very big if), the Meteor would essentially turn into a heatseeker, and the Raptor would be notified about it when it turns on it's own radar and enters terminal phase (at which point, it's usually a bit late for starting evasive maneuvers).

Not locked, but in track-while-scan mode.

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Well, tracking a target in TWS mode is sometimes called "locking", even though it's not (and at least in F-16, the interface for doing both is somewhat similar). That's what I was referring to. Anyway, the result in this situation is the same: Raptor lighting up like a Christmas Tree on Typhoon's RWR. The point was, without IRST or AWACS uplink, the Raptor has to use it's radar to guide the missile, which compromises it's stealth.

If you were referring to Typhoon dropping the lock on Raptor to evade the AMRAAM, it's radar antenna isn't omnidirectional, so even in TWS mode, it has to keep it's target somewhere in the general "forward" area in order to guide the Meteor. When the Meteor goes autonomous, the Typhoon can turn away and stop thinking about tracking the Raptor.

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IIRC, the Meteor has similar range to AIM-120, and the Raptor would have to reveal itself while launching the missile by locking onto the Typhoon (having no IRST). Also, I don't know how long the Meteor requires external guidance, but the Raptor would have to keep Typhoon locked on until the AMRAAM is in terminal phase. If the Meteor has a better on-board radar than the AMRAAM, the Typhoon would be able to drop the lock earlier than the Raptor, and focus entirely on ditching the ARMAAM. Also, we don't really know if the Meteor would be able to keep it's lock on Raptor once it's in the terminal phase and after the Raptor turns off it's radar. Also, keep in mind that the Typhoon, while not very stealthy, could not turn it's radar on at all, thanks to having IRST. If the Meteor can be guided from it, and if the Raptor is caught on IRST (a very big if), the Meteor would essentially turn into a heatseeker, and the Raptor would be notified about it when it turns on it's own radar and enters terminal phase (at which point, it's usually a bit late for starting evasive maneuvers).

Before writing this did you look up the capabilities of the AN/APG-77 and precisely what it does? The US doesn't seem particularly interested in an IRST for the F-22 and mentions it only as a possible future upgrade and it will be a defensive system as on the F-35. Ever consider the possibility that it doesn't need it? The whole point of an AESA is the stealth qualities and the speed with which the radar beam can be shaped and directed. The radar changes frequency 1000's of times a second (it can be changed during a single pulse making it very difficult to detect) and is difficult to detect against the background RF noise. If the AN/APG-77 can detect with a single sweep at +125 miles, it's likely the opposing aircraft will either not detect the emission or not be able to determine a position from it. The F-22 doesn't actually need to keep the Typhoon 'locked on', it can update the missile (AIM-120D) via data link with 2-3 single radar pulses during the missile's flight until the AMRAAM switches to autonomous self-guidance. (Usual BVR engagement, not boresight mode)

The Typhoon still has a mechanically steered radar and will not get an AESA till 2015 possibly later. Estimates for detecting an F-22 RCS with the current radar are:

CAPTOR(EF-2000 Tranch 1 and 2):

For RCS 0.0001 m2 class target: 12 km+

For RCS 0.001 m2 class target: 22 km+

The meteor is more capable than the AMRAAM, having greater range and more intelligent attack profiles. The Typhoon with it's current radar does not have the long detection and engagement range of the F-22-AN/APG-77. The F-22 would be able to shoot 1st every time. It's possible the IRST could pick up the F-22 at long ranges but that would be down to luck and the F-22 being at high altitude and showing a rear aspect. Clouds and weather obscure IR. Ranging with IRST is a problem and it would be unlikely that accurate range data could be supplied to the missile reducing significantly the chances of a kill. The missile needs range data to know when to turn on the radar, it's battery operated so can't be used for the entire period of a long range flight.

Discussion is very hypothertical as this 1v1 situation, excluding all 3rd party radar guidance and data links would probably never occur. Air combat is conducted using a large team, I don't think any simulation game has captured what it's really like.

Edited by PELHAM

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Note, the RCS estimates are for optimal angles (i.e. frontal) for the Raptor, and most likely inaccurate (the real values are classified). The point of radar pulses is valid, I didn't think of doing this like that. I'm somewhat skeptical about Typhoon's RWR not being able to detect the Raptor's radar against background noise though, and the position estimate should be accurate enough to know where to turn. Raptor operates mostly at high altitude (well, at least it used to...), so IRST should be able to pick it up, though rangefinding with it is indeed somewhat lousy, and if Raptor turns around to engage (hiding it's engines), it could completely lose track of it (though at that point, it's usually safe to turn on the radar, since that means you've been noticed anyway). Clouds at those altitudes are rarely a problem.

Considering all this, the 1v1 engagement would pretty much come down to three things: initial conditions, pilot skill and, most importantly, luck. On balance, the planes are pretty much even, though focused on different things. Also, different kinds of pilots would favor either Typhoon or the Raptor.

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Raptor has a significant advantage with BVR and everyone who can understand the data knows it. The lack of an AESA radar on the Typhoon is hurting the sales, Singapore publicly listed the delay in radar upgrades as a factor in the decision not to buy a few years back, the Typhoon is the winner WVR as previously stated, with stealth and better avionics the F22 is king of BVR at the moment.

Regarding the AN/APG-77 and RWR the phrase you will want to search for is 'Low Probability of Intercept', you will notice the F-22 ticks all the boxes and will defeat RWR's:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_probability_of_intercept_radar

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/systems/an-apg-77.htm

The Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) capability of the radar defeats conventional RWR/ESM systems. The AN/APG-77 radar is capable of performing an active radar search on RWR/ESM equipped fighter aircraft without the target knowing he is being illuminated. Unlike conventional radars which emit high energy pulses in a narrow frequency band, the AN/APG-77 emits low energy pulses over a wide frequency band using a technique called spread spectrum transmission. When multiple echoes are returned, the radar's signal processor combines the signals. The amount of energy reflected back to the target is about the same as a conventional radar, but because each LPI pulse has considerably less amount of energy and may not fit normal modulation patterns, the target will have a difficult time detecting the F-22.

Your vision of the 1v1 WVR scenario would require the F-22 pilot to fly in a rather retarded manner. Why would he dumbly amble along at high alititude when facing Typhoon leaving a heat signature against the coldness of space? As the F-22 can detect the Typhoon from +125km why would it not engage with the frontal RCS properly orientated and attack from below? The F-22 needs to be at altitude to use supercruise but that doesn't mean it is required to fly that way for the entire mission. Best to think in 3 dimensions when visualising this.

Edited by PELHAM

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Discussion is very hypothertical as this 1v1 situation, excluding all 3rd party radar guidance and data links would probably never occur. Air combat is conducted using a large team, I don't think any simulation game has captured what it's really like.

I never really understand arguments like this. I wonder how the probability of a 1 vs. 1 fight in modern air combat compares with the probability of the United States entering into an air war with Britain or Germany in the first place. Of course this is hypothetical discussion. But, I think the point is less of a Raptor vs. Eurofighter 1 vs. 1 engagement, and more of how the Raptor fairs vs. ANY sort of IRST, or if the Eurofighter is any use against ANY aircraft with a LPI Phased Array radar.

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I never really understand arguments like this. I wonder how the probability of a 1 vs. 1 fight in modern air combat compares with the probability of the United States entering into an air war with Britain or Germany in the first place. Of course this is hypothetical discussion. But, I think the point is less of a Raptor vs. Eurofighter 1 vs. 1 engagement, and more of how the Raptor fairs vs. ANY sort of IRST, or if the Eurofighter is any use against ANY aircraft with a LPI Phased Array radar.

Partially answered above, if you use the Raptor correctly it will easily defeat IRST. AESA Radar + stealth is a very good combination as you can't detect the aircraft or it's emissions. Typhoon would be able to detect a non stealthy aircraft with an AESA in the usual way. Limitation of all these things is you have to have them pointing in the right direction, the new Radar for the Typhoon is described here, acronym is CAESAR:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euroradar_CAPTOR

I read somewhere that the CAESAR will include manual steering along with AESA to give a greater scanning area than the 120 degs of the F-22's fixed antenna. Gives the Typhoon another edge as it lacks stealth.

Edited by PELHAM

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The way you answered leads me to believe that you may have missed the point. I'm really not participating in this F-22 vs. Typhoon discussion because I lack the interest in it necessary to sustain a discussion. I am interested in how people form their arguments, though. The argument that this discussion is pointless because 1 vs. 1 engagements never happen neglects the idea that this discussion is for fun, is based on information that is largely secret, and is imagining a scenario that is not only impossible because vs. engagements never happen, but also these two jets will never meet in anger for any reason in the first place. A 1 vs. 1 engagement discussion is not a poor measurement of a fighter's capability because they are rare, but because a multitude of impossible scenarios would have to take place well before any fighters were ever launched. And yet, everyone still wants to talk about fighters in a vs. scenario because it's easy to understand... so, I think for the sake of analogy, a vs. discussion is quite alright because the likelihood of the scenario is not a relevant part of the discussion.

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Of course this is hypothetical discussion. But, I think the point is less of a Raptor vs. Eurofighter 1 vs. 1 engagement, and more of how the Raptor fairs vs. ANY sort of IRST, or if the Eurofighter is any use against ANY aircraft with a LPI Phased Array radar.

That's a well formulated question. Modern air combat usually boils down to whoever spots the opponent first, and comparing the sensors is about the only sensible thing to do here.

Your vision of the 1v1 WVR scenario would require the F-22 pilot to fly in a rather retarded manner. Why would he dumbly amble along at high alititude when facing Typhoon leaving a heat signature against the coldness of space? As the F-22 can detect the Typhoon from +125km why would it not engage with the frontal RCS properly orientated and attack from below? The F-22 needs to be at altitude to use supercruise but that doesn't mean it is required to fly that way for the entire mission. Best to think in 3 dimensions when visualising this.

I assumed that neither aircraft is aware of one another, neither do they know what they're facing. Let's say that the Raptor is supercruising at high altitude (as it usually does en route to target), and the Typhoon notices the contrail and approaches from the rear or from the side (or the Raptor overflies a much lower flying Typhoon without noticing it). Now, the Raptor can't detect the Typhoon with it's radar, because it's outside it's detection cone. On the other hand, Typhoon has a great view of the Raptor's engines on IRST (and should see the contrails if it was overflown, allowing it to turn around and check). I don't think how likely is such a situation, but the Raptor would be at a big disadvantage here.

Raptor, if approached from the side or the rear, in supercruise, would light up on IRST. On the other hand, there'd be nothing that would betray the Typhoon's position except the IR signature (and Raptor happens to be missing IRST...) and possibly a contrail. Since the Typhoon usually flies lower than the Raptor, it's contrail would be harder to spot from the Raptor.

On the other hand, if the Typhoon was caught by the Raptor in the 120 degree front arc, it'd quickly get detected and fired upon. I'm still a bit skeptical about this whole LPI concept, but let's assume it works, since the Typhoon's RWR was designed with normal radars in mind. That would indeed give it a rather short period for evasive maneuvers, though they wouldn't be impossible to perform against the AMRAAM. Also, I'm not sure about it, but since the Raptor would be flying above the Typhoon, the latter could notice the missile's smoke trail against a clear sky background. That might be nitpicking though, AMRAAM's trail might not be that visible.

Edited by Dragon01

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The way you answered leads me to believe that you may have missed the point. I'm really not participating in this F-22 vs. Typhoon discussion because I lack the interest in it necessary to sustain a discussion. I am interested in how people form their arguments, though. The argument that this discussion is pointless because 1 vs. 1 engagements never happen neglects the idea that this discussion is for fun, is based on information that is largely secret, and is imagining a scenario that is not only impossible because vs. engagements never happen, but also these two jets will never meet in anger for any reason in the first place. A 1 vs. 1 engagement discussion is not a poor measurement of a fighter's capability because they are rare, but because a multitude of impossible scenarios would have to take place well before any fighters were ever launched. And yet, everyone still wants to talk about fighters in a vs. scenario because it's easy to understand... so, I think for the sake of analogy, a vs. discussion is quite alright because the likelihood of the scenario is not a relevant part of the discussion.

Wasn't interested in discussing your 1st point, didn't miss it at all, what I said is simply factual, can't help if it isn't understood. You asked something about the F-22 and I responded to your other musings. If someone wants to imagine a scenario with an F-22 flying stright and level at high altitude in combat for an extended period leading to an easy shoot down by an aircraft approaching from the rear well that's just fine and dandy with me ;). The imagination is an excellent tool, used properly of course.

If you want to leave GCS, intelligence resources, defensive sensors, AWACs, Missile Launch Detectors etc out of it for fun, well hell, whatever floats yer boat.

Edited by PELHAM

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I know Yanks are fond of shooting Brits..but why are we talking about 2 allied aircraft fighting each other? Shouldn't it be Raptor and typhoon V Su-35 and pak-fa?

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