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OT Call: Military Question Thread

Military History 2004

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#161 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 11:11 PM

View PostTalkie Toaster, on Jan 19 2007, 10:29 AM, said:

I don't know about the inital Lightnings but later models (in combat configurations, btw) definately had TTW ratios above 1.
Do you have any references that I can look up on that one?  Everything I'm finding gives one of less than 1 unless it was stripped down or getting empty on fuel.  The most generous reference I've found in its favor was that it would eventually achieve a 1:1 ratio while in flight as it burned off fuel.  That it was later when fighters were designed that could have a 1:1 ratio on takeoff with full fuel and combat configuration.  

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TT: the Lightning had supercruise abilities decades before any general USAF fighter
As far as I know only the prototypes could supercruise rather than the operational fighters.  Impressive for a fighter of the day but still not a operational option.

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TT: Not bad for such an old aeroplane.
Can't argue there.  I would have liked to of seen the F-108 Rapier and Avro Arrow get the same shot the Lightning had.  So many great aircraft what ifs.

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 19 January 2007 - 11:18 PM.

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#162 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 12:43 PM

View PostCJ AEGIS, on Jan 20 2007, 04:11 AM, said:

Do you have any references that I can look up on that one?  Everything I'm finding gives one of less than 1 unless it was stripped down or getting empty on fuel.  The most generous reference I've found in its favor was that it would eventually achieve a 1:1 ratio while in flight as it burned off fuel.  That it was later when fighters were designed that could have a 1:1 ratio on takeoff with full fuel and combat configuration.

My primary source is an aerospace engineer, although I think it is also mentioned in "Testing Early Jets" by Roland Beaumount.

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As far as I know only the prototypes could supercruise rather than the operational fighters.  Impressive for a fighter of the day but still not a operational option.
All production Lightnings (except, perhaps, the Saudi F53s?) could go supersonic in level flight without after burners *and* with missiles aboard. I don't know if the the F6 could go supersonic without reheat while carrying a full missile load and the over-wing tanks, but the earlier versions (belly tank, no over-wing tanks) seem to have had no problem doing it. The Lightning was very short-ranged but it could and did supercruise.

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Can't argue there.  I would have liked to of seen the F-108 Rapier and Avro Arrow get the same shot the Lightning had.  So many great aircraft what ifs.

BAC's BSR-2 for me.  British defence procurement is enough to make you cry.

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 20 January 2007 - 06:47 PM.

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#163 Delvo

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:11 PM

OK, I still don't get how a lightweight fighter program that was supposed to create a light plane with a HIGH thrust-weight ratio resulted in a LOWER thrust-weight ratio than its predecessors, but anyway...

This is a whole new bit of contradiction here. If "supercruise" (ability to cruise at supersonic speeds without afterburners) was around such a LOOOOONG time before the F-22, then why is that feature touted as one of the "new" things that makes the F-22 so cool compared to other planes since other planes don't have it? Even if those older planes didn't have it in the production runs but only in prototypes, that would still mean it was at least possible way back then... which would mean that there's nothing special about it now because it could have been included in any other plane since at least the following generation after that. (So if other planes have had it for the years since then, then there's nothing special about the F-22 having it, and if other planes haven't had it for the years since then, then the feature must not be very important, in which case there's nothing special about the F-22 having it because it was available all along and people chose not to bother with it on other planes!) The only way for the F-22's supercruise ability to be a big deal is if it's a recent invention...

#164 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 06:38 AM

The big difference is that the F-22 can supercruise for a useful amount of time.

i.e. It can travel to its destination at supercruise without (a) the inefficency of re-heat (b) running out of fuel or ( c) melting

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 24 January 2007 - 06:38 AM.

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#165 Delvo

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 08:35 PM

What could have kept it from becoming more practical for such a long time after its initial invention, and what was the point of it in the first place if it was so troublesome? And why would the first plane with that ability have run out of fuel so fast?

And what is "re-heat"?

#166 tennyson

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 09:01 PM

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OK, I still don't get how a lightweight fighter program that was supposed to create a light plane with a HIGH thrust-weight ratio resulted in a LOWER thrust-weight ratio than its predecessors, but anyway...
It was not a lower thrust to weight ratio than its predessors. I have quoted a wide variety of thrust to weight ratios of the F-16s predessors and aircraft after it and it was better than any other fighter on the planet when it entered service in 1976 except for the F-15, which was designed to do more everything than it in the first place.  The F-15 was in service in 1975, the F-14 in 1972, the F-16 is of the same generation, those are not its predessors. It's predessors would be the F-101s, F-8s, F-102s, F-5s and so on that it replaced and outperformed to a ridiculous degree.


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What could have kept it from becoming more practical for such a long time after its initial invention, and what was the point of it in the first place if it was so troublesome? And why would the first plane with that ability have run out of fuel so fast?
The plane in question, the English Electric Lighting had very inefficient engines by today's standards, even without afterburner and a low fuel capacity. Supercruising didn't have a point then, it was an accidental design feature since no one imagined combat happening without the use of afterburners then. It had a very short range and was a pure interceptor with lower manuverability. The F-22 is not.

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And what is "re-heat"?
A term for a variation on afterburning, more of a path taken to true afterburning.  

It wasn't until the late 1970s that designers started to see the value of supercruising and began to try to design fighters with this capability. Very few aircraft could do it, the Lightning is the only pre1990s aircraft that wasn't either experimental or heavily modified that I've heard about that might have been able to do it. Designers were looking at other things rather than endurance in the air at the time like raw speed and ability to reach altitude because of the need for interceptors to down enemy high altitude bombers. They were supposed to operate as part of an integrated air defense system where thier low range and manuverability weren't such issues. They got to thier firing point fast and then launched thier missiles and that was that. As it was this design might have been able to do it in a configuration that wasn't militarilly useful. The F-22 can do it at will, at any payload range and hold it for hours.  
Right now only two aircraft can supercruise, the F-22 and the Eurofighter Typhoon and it was more of a happy accident in the Typhoon's design rather than an intentional feature. It can only cruise at lower mach numbers and for a shorter amount of time than the F-22. Supercruising saves fuel since you're not using afterburners to exceed the speed of sound so you can save fuel and afterburning time for combat. There is a vast difference between being able to do something under conditions biased in your favor and being able to do something when it is in the field a practical number of times. Some World War II aircraft like the Me 263 could hit supersonic speeds in a dive if it didn't to tear them apart but reliable, effective supersonic speed in level flight took nearly a decade to develop after the war.
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#167 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 10:02 PM

View Posttennyson, on Jan 25 2007, 09:01 PM, said:

It wasn't until the late 1970s that designers started to see the value of supercruising and began to try to design fighters with this capability. Very few aircraft could do it, the Lightning is the only pre1990s aircraft that wasn't either experimental or heavily modified that I've heard about that might have been able to do it.
Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144 both could hold supersonic speeds for hours without burners.  The Israeli Super Phantom could do it but it was only a prototype.  I have to mention the XB-70 Valkyrie even though it was a prototype too. ;-)
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#168 Peridot

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 01:30 PM

I was wondering....can I ask a question about different branches of the military?  Most of the questions I saw seemed to be more about technical things, so I just wondered.


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#169 tennyson

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:40 PM

Sure, go ahead.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

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#170 Peridot

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:01 PM

^ ^

Thanks! :)

Okay, here is my question:  

What are the essential differences between the Reserves and the National Guard?

Both are theoretically part-time, yet I know we have NG units in Iraq that are hardly there on a part-time basis.  I also know that the Guard can be Army National Guard or Air National Guard, and I assume there are Reserve Units for different branches as well.

And I read some article recently that mentioned a change in, IIRC, the limits for active deployment.  But I don't know how to interpret that exactly. :confused:

What are the active duty limits for NG, and for the Reserve?  And are there websites--other than recruiting sites, which naturally tend to emphasize the positive and play down the negative--where I could look for specific information?

And last, but certainly not least... :unsure:....is there a difference in which one is more likely to have units--and the people that comprise them---sent to Iraq?

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#171 tennyson

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:50 PM

I'll start with a general overview then try to go into each question in turn. Each service branch(Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy) has a reserve component that is designed to only be activated in the event of war. These are whole units manned by reservists who still train and practice regularly but on a different schedule than the National Guard.
The National Guard(the only service branches who have associated Guard units are the Air Force and the Army) was until the late 1980s/early 1990s a more seperate organization that tended to recieve hand me down equipment from the active services and was not seen as a direct mobilization force for war. Each state has its own National Guard units that can be activated by the governor of that state to serve in emergencies there and is at least nominally tasked with a job to do when called upon by the Federal government. Since the late 1980s/early 1990s the National Guard has been seen as a more integral pat of warfighting and in lieu of maintaining full strength regular units the service branches had a national guard unit assigned to them to fillout thier listed strength when it was mobilized. For example an active duty armoured division would be short a brigade that would be called up from the National Guard to fill out its strength during wartime. The National Guard units started recieving te same equipment as thier active duty counterparts and training with them more.
But after the 1991 Gulf War this didn't end up working out as it was originally intended, important core capabilities like inflight refueling tankers and transports in the air force for example were shifted to Guard units to cut down on expenses. So you had the need to constantly activate what had been meant mearly as a wartime callup force to keep your regular forces in operation. So it became standard proceedure to callup say Air National Guard tankers when a unit was deployed overseas.  So the Guard has been used a whole lot more than it was intended to be.

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What are the active duty limits for NG, and for the Reserve? And are there websites--other than recruiting sites, which naturally tend to emphasize the positive and play down the negative--where I could look for specific information?
It's been a while and I'll have to look this up for you. Most of my information is from books not websites but the various Guards for each state have home pages  and that would be a good start.

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And last, but certainly not least... ....is there a difference in which one is more likely to have units--and the people that comprise them---sent to Iraq?

It really depends upon what the individual unit does. If you are a Naval or Coast Guard reservist then your chances of being in Iraq are pretty slim while for Army National Guard your chances are pretty high especially if your unit focuses on something other than combat operations like military police, psychological operations or engineering.  Also Air Force Guard tanker and transport units are pretty heavily tasked supporting thier respective units.
But really it would depend upon the job the individual unit does and how needed it is seen as whether they would be called up.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#172 Peridot

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:12 PM

Thank you, Tennyson.  This definitely gives me a start.  

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It's been a while and I'll have to look this up for you. Most of my information is from books not websites but the various Guards for each state have home pages and that would be a good start.
Any information you can find will be appreciated.  I will try the home pages also.  I'm trying to find information to help someone I know who is interested in joining the service....so the questions aren't just academic.

Peridot

#173 Palisades

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 08:01 PM

In an age where our primary naval power is projected by carriers and their aircraft, what are the roles of our other surface ships? I know some surface ships are used to escort the carriers to protect against submarines and enemies that make it past the air wing. Also, some surface ships patrol for piracy, and some are used to launch missiles at land-based targets. What else do we use our non-carrier surface ships for?

Also, in a modern naval battle, would our surface ships seek to engage the enemy's surface ships, or would that ideally be done by the aircraft?

I think my question boils down to "How is our non-carrier surface fleet used?"
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#174 tennyson

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 12:37 AM

Just staying with combat surface ships since that seems where your question is most focused there are generally three recognized classes of surface combatant in the US Navy and these divisions more or less apply to other major world navies. They are in descending order of size; the cruiser, destroyer and frigate.
The only cruisers left in American service are the Ticonderogo class AEGIS cruisers. They are large multipurpose warships whose primary tasking is air defense with Standard Surface to air missiles of whatever group they are attached to. Some provide air defense for carriers, some provide air defense for amphibous groups or groups of surface ships called surface action groups. They are also capable of engaging submarines with thier SH-60B Seahawk antisubmarine helicopters, ASROC antisubamrine rockets and antisubmarine torpedo tubes. They also carry Tomahawk missiles to attack land targets and Harpoon antiship missiles to destroy other surface ships. A few have been upgraded to perform ballistic missile defense with the Standard SM-2 Block IV surface to air missile. The cruiser is a multirole ship designed to perform all the combat roles required of a surface ship including serving as a command ship for other surface warships.  
Then we have the Arleigh Burke class destroyers that are really more like cruisers in capability. They have all the same weapon systems including the AEGIS system of the Ticonderogas but in a more compact package. Originally thier were specialized destroyers like the Spruance class that was optimized to serve as an antisubmarine ship and others that were designed to serve as air defense ships but with the Burkes that distinction has become blurred as they can do both equally well.
Then we have the frigates, in this case the Oliver Hazard Perry class. They were originally designed as escourt ships with a primary antisubmarine tasking using antisubmarine helicopters and torpedo tubes. They had a minimal antisurface and antiaircraft capabiity to allow them to defend themselves but mainly they would rely upon the larger ships to provide air defense.  So they can't perform as many jobs as the larger ships, but they are cheaper to build, crew and operate so you can have more of them. They are generally the ones sent on antipiracy or general patrol missions. The USS Stark, for example, was escourting reflagged Kuwaiti tankers in the Persian Gulf in 1987 when it was hit by an Iraqi air-launched Exocet antiship missile.
The majority of our current surface ships were concieved when the single greatest threat against our Navy was massive Soviet cruise missile attacks, designed to destroy our aircraft carriers by saturating thier defenses with dozens to hundreds of missiles at a time. So a system was developed using concentric layers of defense to blunt, disrupt and absorb these attacks. At the farthest out were the airbourne warning and control aircraft from the carrier with fighters flying combat air patrol more than 200 miles out. Thier job was to locate and ideally destroy any enemy bombers before they launched thier missiles.
Then you have the AEGIS ships with thier air defense missiles. The AEGIS system is a radar command and control system that links each of the ships in the battle group or convoy, and can automatically control thier weapons systems to attack incoming targets. At up to 150 miles out the AEGIS would use the Standard missiles on the cruiser to start engaging any missiles that got through the outer layer. Then any missiles that go through that would be engaged by shorter ranged versions of the Standard missile and Sea Sparrow on other surface warships.
Anything that got through that would then be engaged by the individual Phalanx point defense systems on each individual ship or now the RAM point defense missiles we use in addition to them. Each layer was designed to absorb and destroy enemy antiship missile attacks to protect the carrier at the center.
Now that this threat has dissipated the tactic is still on the books but surface ships have became more than cogs in carrier defense. They gained the capability to launch thier own attacks on land targets with the Tomahawk missile and train to operate more independently in wartime.
As for fighting a modern naval battle, if the carrier wasn't around then the surface ships would try to engage the enemy ship with Harpoon antiship missiles and if they didn't destroy the target they would then either attempt to flee or close to engage with thier main guns(5inch guns on the cruisers and destroyers, 3inch on the Frigates) and fight a conventiional gun battle. It all depends upon what they are fighting, a single American cruiser engaging a Russian Kirov class battlecruiser would be suicide for excample.  That hasn't happened in a long time. The last large scale naval battle the US Navy fought was in 1988 when Iran sent thier two most modern frigates against the US Navy Persian Gulf force that had just destroyed two oil platforms they had been using to launch attacks on oil tankers. One was sunk by laser-guided bombs from A-6 Intruders and the other badly damaged. The suface ships just provided gunfire support to the special forces who took the oil platforms.
In 1991 the Iraqi Navy was pretty much annihilated from the air and in all other American conflicts since then the naval threat has been minimal.

Edited by tennyson, 05 March 2007 - 12:42 AM.

"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#175 Palisades

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 10:20 AM

^ Thanks, tennyson.
"When the Fed is the bartender everybody drinks until they fall down." —Paul McCulley

"In truth, 'too big to fail' is not the worst thing we should fear – our financial institutions are now on their way to becoming 'too big to save'." —Simon Johnson

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