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Thread: Raptors debut at Red Flag, wield "unfair" advantage

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    Raptors debut at Red Flag, wield "unfair" advantage

    Raptor debuts at Red Flag, dominates skies

    Raptor debuts at Red Flag, dominates skies

    by Tech. Sgt. Russell Wicke
    Air Combat Command Public Affairs

    2/20/2007 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (ACCNS) -- The 94th Fighter Squadron deployed 14 F-22A Raptors and 197 personnel from Langley AFB, Va., to participate in the aircraft's first Red Flag exercise, which ran from Feb. 3 to 16 here.

    An official from the 65th Aggressor Squadron said the F-22s demonstrated an extremely lopsided advantage in their favor.

    Pilots from the 65th and 64th AS, including exchange pilots from the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Air Force, of Australia and England respectfully, expressed their frustration related to flying against the stealthy F-22.

    "The thing denies your ability to put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it through the canopy," said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, F-15 exchange pilot in the 65th AS. "It's the most frustrated I've ever been."

    According to Lt. Col. Larry Bruce, 65th AS commander, aggressor pilots turned up the heat on the F-22 using tactics they believe to be modern threats. For security purposes these tactics weren't released; nonetheless, they said their efforts against the Raptors were fruitless.

    "We [even] tried to overload them with numbers and failed," said Colonel Bruce. "It's humbling to fly against the F-22." This is a remarkable testimony because the Red Flag aggressor pilots are renowned for their skill and experience. Lt. Col. Dirk Smith, 94th Fighter Squadron commander, said the aggressor forces represent the most lethal threat friendly forces would ever face.

    "The training provided by the Red Flag adversaries is like no other on earth," said Colonel Smith. "Our pilots are experiencing a tremendous learning curve."

    Despite the F-22's "unfair advantage," Colonel Smith said flying against the Red Force aggressors of the 414th Combat Training Squadron was a demanding task.

    "These scenarios are not made to be easy," said Colonel Smith. "The [aggressor] pilots are well trained and good at their job." Aggressor pilots are made up of F-16 and F-15 pilots specially trained to replicate tactics and techniques of potential adversaries according Maj. Bill Woolf, 57th Adversary Tactics Group assistant director of operations.

    In addition, Red Flag opposing forces aren't limited to aggressor pilots. There is no shortage of ground threats at Red Flag. These include electronically simulated surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, communications jamming, Global Positioning System jamming and more said Maj. Woolf.

    In fact, the Red Flag exercise is now so intense one 414th CTS critique quotes a squadron commander saying "This ain't your daddy's Red Flag anymore."

    Although the Raptor did have an "unfair" advantage, Colonel Smith explained "Peyton Manning didn't make it to the Super Bowl by practicing against a scrub team." The goal of Red Flag, he said, is sharpening the Air Force - and that involves grinding away imperfections.

    The F-22's debut at the Red Flag exercise is a significant milestone for the jet, according to Lt. Col. Dirk Smith, 94th FS commander. Red Flag is an advanced, realistic combat training exercise designed for fighter pilots, and conducted over the vast Nellis Range Complex - measured 60 by 100 nautical miles.

    More than 200 aircraft participated in this Red Flag exercise. Among the foreign aircraft involved were the RAF's GR-4 and RAAF's F-111C. In addition, the F-22s flew with the B-2 Spirit and F-117 Nighthawk, the aircraft that pioneered stealth.

    Feature - Raptors wield 'unfair' advantage at Red Flag

    Raptors wield 'unfair' advantage at Red Flag

    by By Tech. Sgt. Russell Wicke
    Air Combat Command Public Affairs

    2/21/2007 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (ACCNS) -- "Undercover" is an understatement for the F-22A Raptor.

    A point clearly illustrated by pilots of the 94th Fighter Squadron, who delivered an aerial sucker punch to the seasoned Red Force opponents during the F-22A's debut at Red Flag here Feb. 3 -16.

    Among the Blue Force participants were foreign pilots from the Royal Air Force of England and Royal Australian Air Force, flying the GR-4 and F-111C respectively. In addition, the F-22s flew with the B-2 Spirit and F-117 Nighthawk, the aircraft that pioneered stealth.

    Though better known for its stealth capability, the F-22 packs a list of surprises cherished by Raptor pilots and coveted by others. In addition to radar evasion, this fifth-generation fighter features unmatched maneuverability, surprising power (supercruise) and integrated avionics or sensor fusion (multiple displays combined into one). Even aircraft maintainers said they enjoy superior logistics such as computerized technical orders, reduced trouble shooting and faster remove-and-replace components, such as engine changes. These Raptor advantages were demonstrated and sharpened at Red Flag.

    Fourteen Raptors and 197 people were present from the 94th FS. The F-22's debut at the Red Flag exercise is a significant milestone for the jet, according to Lt. Col. Dirk Smith, 94th FS commander.

    The exercise is an advanced, realistic combat training exercise designed for fighter pilots, and conducted over the vast Nellis Range Complex, which measures 60 by 100 nautical miles. The training involves air-to-air engagements as well as engagement with ground targets, such as mock airfields, convoys, and other ground defensive positions.

    Invisibility - even with eyes on

    When the Raptor finds itself in a dogfight, it is no longer beyond visual range, but the advantage of stealth isn't diminished. It maintains "high ground" even at close range.

    "I can't see the [expletive deleted] thing," said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, exchange F-15 pilot in the 65th Aggressor Squadron. "It won't let me put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it visually through the canopy. [Flying against the F-22] annoys the hell out of me."

    Lt. Col. Larry Bruce, 65th AS commander, admits flying against the Raptor is a very frustrating experience. Reluctantly, he admitted "it's humbling to fly against the F-22," - humbling, not only because of its stealth, but also its unmatched maneuverability and power.

    Turn and burn

    Thrust vectoring, internal weapons mounting and increased power all contribute to the Raptor's maneuvering advantage. From the cockpit of the F-22, Capt. Brian Budde, 94th FS pilot, explained the F-22 is able to sustain more than nine Gs for much longer than the F-15, without running out of airspeed. From the pilot's perspective, the F-22 "is more power than you know what to do with," said Captain Budde. So much power, in fact, the F-22 enjoys capabilities alien to legacy fighters.

    This boost of thrust enables the Raptor to take off with a full load of weapons and fuel. Furthermore, mach speeds are attainable without afterburners (supercruise) and coincidently, the F-22 features better fuel efficiency than legacy fighters. This increased fuel efficiency raises eyebrows considering the F-22 boasts 20,000 more pounds of thrust than the F-15 Eagle it's replacing.

    Sensor Fusion: 'One display vs. many'

    "The F-22 is an air-to-air machine compared to the legacy fighters [used today],"said Captain Budde.

    One of the Raptor's prized novelties is sensor fusion, or integrated avionics. Tech. Sgt. Al Perkins, 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron F-22 specialist, explained sensor fusion, or integrated avionics, as a computerized gathering of all information from each avionics system and consolidating them on one display for the convenience of the pilot.

    "[The F-15 pilot] has to gather his own data from different displays in the cockpit and draw his own conclusions about his situation, and then take action," said Sergeant Perkins. "But in the F-22, all the information is coordinated and available from a single source." He explained this capability frees the pilot from the tedious task of calculating and enables faster decisions making in the air.

    Not surprisingly, the Air Force is convinced that the F-22's integrated avionics system is one of the key elements that will give the F-22 the tactical advantage against threats of the future.

    Superior Logistics: A maintainer's friend

    "I've been to Red Flag before as an F-15 crew chief," said Senior Airman Ryan Thomas, 94th Aircraft Maintenance Unit F-22 crew chief, "and it's fast-paced and full of long hours - 12 plus hours every day."

    Not this time. For maintenance Airmen at Red Flag this year, shifts have eased back to less than nine hours a day. The reason: F-22 airframes are more "friendly."

    "This jet was designed to be maintenance friendly," he said. Systems, like hydraulic lines, are more accessible and the airframe is brand new, which makes it less susceptible to problems associated with the 25-year old F-15s. Not only this, but the F-22 enables "the fastest engine change I've ever seen," added Airman Thomas. "We change this engine in less than two hours, compared to six-hour engine change on the F-15." Engine changes, however, were none existent for Airmen in the 94th AMU - the Raptors required none.

    But perhaps the most obvious maintenance advantage utilized daily by crew chiefs is the Portable Maintenance Aide. This computer device keeps all the aircraft forms - electronically. The Raptor is a paper free airplane; they each have their own hard drive that stores computer-identified malfunctions and gives the crew chief an exact explanation of the problem.

    When the 94th FS flew F-15s at past Red Flags, maintenance crews faced longer hours because their jets broke so often, said Tech. Sgt. John Ferrara, 94th AMU avionics specialist. Plus, every broken jet required hours of trouble shooting. The F-22 is different.

    "This jet is diagnosing itself before it's breaking," said Sergeant Ferrara. "We're going right to the fix every time." Ironically, some maintainers feel the F-22 robs them of a challenge.

    "This thing takes the fun out of being a crew chief," said Staff Sgt. Jason Kraemer, 94th AMU crew chief. "You're not even dirty when you go home."

    At Red Flag, and at war, this advantage means a faster maintenance turnaround, and eventually faster engagement, said Airman Thomas.

    The Challenge - 'This ain't your daddy's Red Flag anymore'

    Despite the F-22's "unfair advantage," flying against the Red Force aggressors of the 414th Combat Training Squadron is no walk in the park, according to Colonel Smith. Aggressor pilots are made up of F-16 and F-15 pilots, specially trained to replicate tactics and techniques of potential adversaries said Maj. Bill Woolf, 57th Adversary Tactics Group assistant director of operations. In addition, he said the Red Flag is involved in a major reformation, designed to duplicate the world's most lethal threats.

    "These scenarios are not made to be easy," said Colonel Smith. "The [Red Force] pilots are well trained and good at their job."

    Also, Red Forces aren't limited to aggressor pilots. There is no shortage of ground threats at Red Flag. These include electronically simulated surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, communications jamming, Global Positioning System jamming and more said Major Woolf.

    We're training now against emerging threats," said Major Woolf. "We need to understand what tactics are real-world threats, and duplicate them [for the Blue Forces]."

    In fact, the Red Flag exercise is now so intense one 414th CTS critique quotes a squadron commander saying "This ain't your daddy's Red Flag anymore."

    Thus it is understood the people of the Blue Forces, like those in the 94th, are pushed to the limit, working 12-hour days and fighting two "wars" in a 24-hour period. Colonel Smith added that humans still operate the F-22 - and the human mind is fallible.

    The goal, he said, is sharpening the Air Force - and that involves grinding away imperfections. Is the exercise difficult for the F-22 pilots? "Yes," said Colonel Smith. "You bet it is. But [Peyton] Manning didn't make it to the Super Bowl by practicing against a scrub team."
    Posted by an EA-6B pilot who posts at the ARC forums:

    Overhead yesterday at the duty desk, from TOPGUN's BFM SME, who had the chance to fight a Raptor piloted by our exchange dude -

    "that thing is <expletive deleted> magic"

    "the laws of physics do not apply to that airplane"

    The crazy thing is, not even guns are very useful, unless you get lucky, because you can't get a lock on the F-22 at even close range for the lead indicator to work. You'd have to get very lucky to put the bullets in the right place.
    The black flag is raised: Ban them all... Let the Admin sort them out.

    I know I'm going to have the last word... I have powers of deletion and lock.

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    I've heard similar things from Viper pilots, but those articles are like condensed admiration/hate. Hahaha. God help the adversary if the US gets into an air war.

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    Field mechanik Senior Contributor omon's Avatar
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    no sh...t, that what it was designed to be, an air superiority fighter, better than anything else, i can't say i'm surprised, with so much money spent on development, it must be the best, as of today,
    i guess it's back to cannons for its foes,lots of cannons, from these articles, it looks like the best way to kill it would be a wall of lead, if a foe is still alive, to use them.

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    God help who ever tangles with a Viper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Horrido View Post
    The crazy thing is, not even guns are very useful, unless you get lucky, because you can't get a lock on the F-22 at even close range for the lead indicator to work. You'd have to get very lucky to put the bullets in the right place.
    OMGWTF! PWNAGE gauranteed if anyone goes up against the Raptor.
    Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    God help who ever tangles with a Viper.
    You mean Raptor?

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    Now, who says Raptor cannot be locked-on.

    Here are two images from a Superhornet which has managed to get a lock on the Raptor, with the gun-pipper on the plane. I don't know whether these pics are real or not, but here they do reiterate the fact that Raptor is not unbeatable.


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    Quote Originally Posted by omon View Post
    it must be the best, as of today,
    i guess it's back to cannons for its foes,lots of cannons,
    Or a better IR seeker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    Now, who says Raptor cannot be locked-on.

    Here are two images from a Superhornet which has managed to get a lock on the Raptor, with the gun-pipper on the plane. I don't know whether these pics are real or not, but here they do reiterate the fact that Raptor is not unbeatable.
    WHOA..nice find.Original link?

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    MR, the pic was posted last year, it's been discussed to death. Here's a funny thread on it though between some Navy and AF guys.

    Lol. I thought we were bad...

    HaloScan.com - Comments

    The consensus was that the Super Hornet broke the TR's by closing to 900ft. (1000' min per the rules) His speed was 180kts., which meant he was all used up. The Raptor had already broke off the engagement due to the loss of separation. Incidentally, one frame doesn't equal a kill- it takes 15.

    Raptor has had kills scored against it before, so this isn't anything extraordinary. No one claims it is invulnerable. This is why we have training exercises.
    Last edited by highsea; 26 Feb 07, at 20:42.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    Now, who says Raptor cannot be locked-on.
    Just a minor correction- that is not a lock. The pipper is not on the Raptor in the first frame. As the Hornet comes over, he got one frame where the pipper was on the Raptor. He was way out of shape to continue the engagament in any case.
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by highsea View Post

    Lol. I thought we were bad...
    HOOOO...that WAS fun! Thanks!

    Looks like everywhere the Navy and AF jocks fight amongst themselves.
    I liked these two comments..

    Way to go Navy, continuing your tradition of being the least professional, least competent, and least combat capable fighter pilots (excuse me, A-V-I-A-T-O-R-S) in existence. Oh, but you can land on a boat, so that makes it all better.
    Thought I was cruising past the maternity ward... I'm hearing a LOT of crying going on in here...
    .......
    The consensus was that the Super Hornet broke the TR's by closing to 900ft. (1000' min per the rules) His speed was 180kts., which meant he was all used up. The Raptor had already broke off the engagement due to the loss of separation. Incidentally, one frame doesn't equal a kill- it takes 15.
    With the gun,1 should be sufficient with missiles.

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    "The thing denies your ability to put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it through the canopy," said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, F-15 exchange pilot in the 65th AS. "It's the most frustrated I've ever been."
    That is scary.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarquezRazor View Post
    ...With the gun,1 should be sufficient with missiles.
    You have to keep in mind that this was an exercise. The TR's say 15 frames for a gun kill. IRL, the Hornet probably overshoots, and the Raptor comes back around and kills the Hornet, who has expended all his energy to get his nose on the Raptor (however briefly).

    If missiles were involved, the Raptor would most likely have already taken out the Hornet from BVR. It's not really possible to draw conclusions from a single frame.
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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