Military Plane discussion thread - Let’s talk Fighter/Attacker planes.

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nfys nst

almost became interesting
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I wanted to write a little about the Me 163 rocket fighter because of how comically dangerous it was to everyone involved, but then I saw that Greg made a video about it and he can explain things better than I'll ever be able to, so I'll just link it. Keep your eyes peeled for the second part.
If you're interested in WW2 aircraft and don't mind some occasionally quite intense autism (the good kind, the guy REALLY loves aircraft), definitely watch his videos, they're extremely in-depth and well-researched. His series on the P-47 really is outstanding work.
 
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Doctor Placebo

Solidarity, my niggas.
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Biafran Baby.jpg

During the Nigerian Civil War the Biafrans were known for having a surprisingly effective air force despite it consisting of less than two dozen planes cobbled together from literally anything they could get their hands on that would fly. These little puppies were known as "Biafra Babies" and they were repurposed Swedish MFI-9 light planes with rocket launchers added under the wings. The Biafran Air Force had five of them and was the only air force in the world to use the normally civilian planes for military purposes.
 

CDWLTY

kiwifarms.net
View attachment 1155351

During the Nigerian Civil War the Biafrans were known for having a surprisingly effective air force despite it consisting of less than two dozen planes cobbled together from literally anything they could get their hands on that would fly. These little puppies were known as "Biafra Babies" and they were repurposed Swedish MFI-9 light planes with rocket launchers added under the wings. The Biafran Air Force had five of them and was the only air force in the world to use the normally civilian planes for military purposes.
It's so depressing to think they had figured out some CAS solutions in vietnam with the bronco and the Bird Dog only to throw it all away in favor of more slick jets. If they had slots open for T-6's or tucano's, they'd have lines out the door at the recruiter from the nerds who wanted to fly a WWII fighter. It's as close as you can get in the modern age, and it would've saved a lot of money in the sandbox having some dude winding a little turbine to strafe goat farmers with .50. Instead we were dropping super expensive JDAM's from airframes with higher time.
 

Doctor Placebo

Solidarity, my niggas.
kiwifarms.net
It's so depressing to think they had figured out some CAS solutions in vietnam with the bronco and the Bird Dog only to throw it all away in favor of more slick jets. If they had slots open for T-6's or tucano's, they'd have lines out the door at the recruiter from the nerds who wanted to fly a WWII fighter. It's as close as you can get in the modern age, and it would've saved a lot of money in the sandbox having some dude winding a little turbine to strafe goat farmers with .50. Instead we were dropping super expensive JDAM's from airframes with higher time.
Defense contractors and backdoor deals, yo. The military industrial complex is real.

Anyway, here's more Biafran Air Force:
Biafran B-26 Invader.jpg

A B-26 Invader that was flown by WW2 flying ace Jan Zumbach while he worked for the Biafrans as a mercenary going by the alias John Brown. Zumbach and several Swedish flying mercenaries helped train the native Biafran pilots and provided invaluable expertise that only someone who's been flying in combat zones for years can know, which probably contributed heavily to making them so effective despite their small numbers and resources.
 
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BONE_Buddy

Still Alive.
kiwifarms.net
It's so depressing to think they had figured out some CAS solutions in vietnam with the bronco and the Bird Dog only to throw it all away in favor of more slick jets. If they had slots open for T-6's or tucano's, they'd have lines out the door at the recruiter from the nerds who wanted to fly a WWII fighter. It's as close as you can get in the modern age, and it would've saved a lot of money in the sandbox having some dude winding a little turbine to strafe goat farmers with .50. Instead we were dropping super expensive JDAM's from airframes with higher time.
It is a bit of a meme that JDAMs are wildly expensive, the average price for the full featured workhorse model (with laser designation capability) is only about $21,000 dollars. It is a very cheap and effective precision system.

Here is a recently aquired list of some of the USA's price per unit costs:

As for your dream of US owned and operated light attack aircraft, you may still get your wish:

The problem with the light aircraft is as it has always been, you have a fundamental disadvantage in two areas:

1. Pilot survivability. If you are ever in a situation where you aren't bombing some third world tribal asshat, then you are putting lives at a rather high risk if you operate these kinds of aircraft. MANPADs and auto-cannons are a standard in most standing armies these days, and many of these prop aircraft are bigger sitting ducks than even gunship helicopters.

2. weapon capacity. If you want more than a couple of bombs, and a box of auto-cannon ammo, then you are going to have to either put on multiple engines, or switch it out for a jet engine. It it really worth the cost of training up a group of specialist maintainers and pilots, as well as a separate supply chain, just to give an overwatch capability that can be done by your recon drones who are already doing overwatch already.

I am not deaf to the arguments of the light aircraft fans. I have made the same case several times. I do think that there is a place for Turboprop CAS in counter-terrorism operations. I especially like the idea of training our allies to use these easy to maintain and fund aircraft to their advantage. I also think that the US needs a dedicated CAS aircraft, but I do not think that light turboprop is a good solution when we are trying to return to being able to fight Nation States.

I will continue to push for a light attack aircraft program with the idea of being able to farm out day to day counter-terrorism operations to our allies in the region.

any opinions on the Mitsubishi X-2?
View attachment 1150088
is 3D Thrust Vectoring a joke?
Interesting little plane. As for my opinions:

I think they are going to just end up buying more F-35As and F-15(insert latest model designation here)s.

The Japanese have been pushing for American stealth fighters since the F-22 came about. We refuse to sell them the aircraft (for not irrational reasons). So Japan embarked on a program of developing their own stealth fighter program. It has been half hearted as it is fucking expensive, but the real reason why they were doing this was to convince the American government to sell the most high end fighters to Japan. This is part of the reason why the F-35 was developed the way that it was, it was meant to be a stealth fighter that we could sell to our allies.

And so it came to pass that Japan has bought 147 of the F-35 family.

I still don't think that they will replace as many of the F-15Js with stealth fighters as they think they are going to. While the F-15 was meant to be a fighter first, it turned into one of the more effective bomb-trucks and missile boats on the market. It has a heavy carrying capability, is able to get to the target and back quickly, Additionally, due to being a very mature platform, it has a very well developed parts and maintenance market. It makes a very capable tactical bomber, and is still a very viable strategic intercepter.

So, they may replace one F-15 with another, but I do not see them phasing them out anytime soon. They are going to be retiring the last of their F-4 Phantoms though. That is a bit sad, if not entirely unwelcome.

As for 3D Thrust Vectoring? Not a joke, very good for close dogfighting.

How much close dogfighting will the Japanese actually be doing? Probably not much, but there are always surprises.

Is it worth the maintenance sink, reliability issues, and stealth compromise? Probably not.
 
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