Link dump September 2018

As usual, here are links and commentary on first Saturday of the month:

F-15X proposal
(I haven't found any definitive illustration of a F-15X.
This image is about the AMBER missile racks from 2015.)

Boeing pitched a new F-15 version to the U.S.A.F., presumably at a lower fly-away price than the F-35 and supposedly loaded with up to 22 air-to-air missiles as the most striking feature.

This looks like a design that takes a heavy strike fighter and adds a niche capability for air combat. This 'missile truck' approach fits well into a concept in which F-22's are up front on combat air patrol in an air war, and make use of farther to the rear F-15s as missile launchers. There aren't enough F-22s to maintain large numbers of them up front 24/7 (particularly not far from the air base, as in a pacific air war scenario) and they carry but eight missiles (only six AMRAAMs) each on an air superiority mission. Things such as towed decoys* ruin the probability of kill of such missiles, so the entire air superiority missile load of a F-22 may very well be worth less than one kill against sophisticated opponents.

There's a segregated hunter/killer approach with low observable F-22 up front detecting targets while trying to avoid detection and sending targeting data to farther behind F-15s that serve as killers (missile trucks). It's a tailored approach to compensate for the small quantity of missiles carried by F-22 (and F-35) inside and the small quantities of on-station F-22s. It might work because the missiles' no escape zones are much greater than the detection ranges against LO fighters. The F-15X would still be an all-round capable strike fighter in a 'let's beat up some poor small power again' scenario.
The high quantity of AMRAAMs carried may also allow for a routine launch of two or more missiles per target, in an effort to wear down the target's (towed) decoys and kinetic energy (the latter through its evasive manoeuvres) for a final, lethal missile approach.

This entire niche depends on the F-15X's ability to withstand the threat of long-range missiles itself. This and the likely quite high maintenance costs, obsolete looks (first flight 46 years ago) and unusually high RCS (apparently an order of magnitude bigger than of Typhoon or Rafale) of the F-15 will likely kill the proposal. It's also questionable how F-15Xs could help F-22s against LO fighters.

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This means some extra weight, but maybe there are at least some real world uses for this weird-looking tech.

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It's interesting to see them swarm the bull like bees swarm a hornet to overwhelm it in defence of the hive. I wonder if there's some hidden instinct left over from the prehistoric times. It may have been a random outcome, of course.

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Oldie, but goodie. I wish I had this file when I wrote the warship article series. It didn't add anything noteworthy to my knowledge, but it would have been a very nice link to offer.

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DIRCM (lasers that dazzle incoming infrared-guided missiles) have become really small. I think this size is OK for installation on the topside of combat aircraft.** The next generation of IR-guided missiles really needs to be able to deal with DIRCM (there are several countermeasures to lasers known).

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So the Chinese copied the German Troika approach of naval minesweeping (more accurately; "minebreaking") as well. I didn't know that so far.

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Quick mention (no link):
It's a blast from the 80's. Soft kill protection for airbases and such hasn't caught on as far as I know, but I suppose it should in light of conventional cruise missiles. This isn't the 80's when we thought an attack on an airbase would probably be done by a 20+ kt nuke on a ballistic rocket.
Isn't it weird that they had developed what it likely takes to defeat conventional cruise missiles in the 80's, but that kind of missiles really only became an issue to the West long after the Cold War?

related: smoke used to conceal targets from bombers in WW2
German smokescreen use at Wilhelmshaven in June 1943
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I wonder what kind of people such implausible Fox News propaganda does address.


*: Such as Lobushka towed decoy, more details on this kind of countermeasures are here if you can read it (or use an online translation service). A towed decoy can be considered to be a lure, but towed between missile and target it can also trigger the missile fuse at a safe distance (even if the missile is locked on the aircraft).
**: Such an installation could still defeat threats coming from below; simply roll the aircraft. The advantage of topside is that the field of view would not be obstructed by external payloads, the laser might be used as emitter for laser-based SATCOM and the topside is a less troublesome regarding the RCS of LO aircraft.


  1. "I wonder what kind of people such implausible Fox News propaganda does address."

    Fox News is entirely right-wing propaganda TV now.

    It preaches to the brainwashed. They show things like this to justify weakening the welfare state to people who actually need the welfare state and would benefit from its expansion.

    It's subtle class warfare justifying massive tax cuts and other efforts that primarily benefit the rich at the expense of the middle class and poor. Of course the Fox News viewer never hears that. They only hear Denmark = Venezuela.

    1. Yep, as opposed to the left wing coming CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, and CBS. The fact you don’t think it’s left wing propaganda just proves your brainwashed. And the not so subtle class and social warfare that takes place. Preaching centralized government, PC nonsense and high taxes.

    2. I noted that Americans seem to consider specific media outlets as "left" or right" wing depending on their own position. Progressives consider all those TV stations you mentioned to be fairly to very right wing-friendly. They think that the stations' criticism and exposing of the Trump administration is merely the absolutely unavoidable amount of critique and exposing of obviously unethical if not illegal behaviour.

      Your statement wasn't really about the stations or me; it was you showing off how far right wing you are yourself.

      That far right would easily qualify as "faschistisch" in Germany, that should give you pause to think because we kinda know something about the subject.

  2. I imagine the USAF is stuck on what to do with the F15.

    They are going to have to decide soon. Start getting rid of them all within 5 years or they'll have to drop some decent money on them to keep them in the fleet.

    I think I remember reading something that they would rather keep the F16s over the F15s. Going against Russia, that would make sense, the top tier could handle their top tier leaving the only requirement for the highest number of strike platforms. There F16s win. Against China, the reverse, but against China is insanity, so does it really matter?

    They might apply a multiplier to 15X to support an argument that the smaller number of deployed aircraft has the same capacity.

    Who knows, Trump may do a deal to buy some Sukhoi. Solves two problems.

  3. F-35 also has a DIRCM in the pipeline somewhere down the line:

  4. Re Denmark = Venezuela, this song really tickled me: