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#3923231 - 03/11/14 03:32 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: Stratos]  
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Originally Posted By: Stratos
Deacon thanks for sharing your point of view on the subject.


It's harder to get me NOT to share it! biggrin

Deacon

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#3926978 - 03/19/14 03:35 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: RANSs9]  
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Thanks for sharing, Deacon.
I'm partial to the two-seater concept. Whether you call him RO, GIB, that extra set of eyes and brains saved many a mission. It may go against the "fighter pilot" mentality, but the mutual support of complementary skills of a good one is more than worth his weight in gold.

Last edited by Fittop; 03/19/14 03:37 PM.
#3927022 - 03/19/14 04:47 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: RANSs9]  
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Not according to the air forces of the world. Some applications require a two-man crew, but your line fighter/striker does not.

That second set of eyes is sitting in another fighter, so it's not just another pair of eyes, it is another platform. That's what mutual support is about.

Last edited by GrayGhost; 03/19/14 04:48 PM.

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#3927178 - 03/19/14 09:06 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: RANSs9]  
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That's a pretty general statement, GrayGhost.

While advancements in avionics certainly allow modern multi-role fighters to be single seat, task saturation is high even outside of a combat environment. Being able to drop a JDAM at standoff instead of a low level ingress using LANTIRN or radar certainly makes the equation simpler for a single seat, but there is a reason the F-15E and Tornado are two seat aircraft.

While the 3rd generation fighters may have needed a second seat to operate avionics, the advanced avionics of 4th and 5th generation fighters may have replaced the GIB as a RIO for basic intercepts, but two seat strike aircraft use the WSO for more than "a second set of eyes". More bluntly, the pair of eyes in the other fighter on your wing can't share in your workload or alleviate the task saturation. And even with the avionics of today there are still some very labor-intensive tasks on aircrew (exhibit A: the AGM-65). Operationally (albeit 15 years ago) we would employ buddy-lasing using the F-14 as the laser platform and either other Tomcats or Hornets as the LGB droppers. This would allow the RIO to keep the laser on target, the F-14 pilot to keep the bird in the air, and the other aircraft to "launch and leave".


-Home Fries

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
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The average naval aviator, despite the sometimes swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy, and caring. These feelings just don't involve anyone else.

#3927188 - 03/19/14 09:27 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: HomeFries]  
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Originally Posted By: HomeFries
That's a pretty general statement, GrayGhost.


It isn't and here is why - well, my opinion, anyway:

Quote:
While advancements in avionics certainly allow modern multi-role fighters to be single seat, task saturation is high even outside of a combat environment. Being able to drop a JDAM at standoff instead of a low level ingress using LANTIRN or radar certainly makes the equation simpler for a single seat, but there is a reason the F-15E and Tornado are two seat aircraft.


The Tornado and F-15E are deep-strike/penetration fighters. They are not multi-role fighters no matter how much you might want them to be. The F-15E can take on an air to air role, but in order for it to do so in a competitive manner against high capability threats it would have to strip the A2G stuff off, including the conformal tanks - and then it could deal with air threats on the level of an F-15C. At this point, you don't really need the GIB, though you will have him anyway.

Notice that the RIOs back in the day were all about operating things that today are operated by a single person. The WSOs today operate more complex countermeasures and do other work while letting the pilot do other things (like actually flying the plane instead of trying to figure out the EWAR around him) in an environment that would normally be very task-saturated for a single person. As for cooperation with lower capability machines or launch and leave tactics, yeah, sure. But that's something else, and that sort of action can be done by drones. The guy in the back is used best in the deep strike role.


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#3929870 - 03/25/14 07:51 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: RANSs9]  
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I don't quite agree with that, though you are welcome to the opinion. :-)

In short, the aircraft doesn't care what kind of mission it's on when you are in that seven second tracking run. All the targeting tasks that occur in delivering ordnance to one target set, must occur for the other... and that can be a handful of work. In the pre-litening pod Harrier, you had about three of your seven second tracking time to sweeten your targeting solution. If you switch pigged the box off the tank, or if the contrast locker started running away, your choice was to revert to a lower level bombing solution, or you aborted.

Arguably, CAS is actually much more switch intensive than DAS or even BAI. As likely as not, your DAS target is developed and probably stationary. After all, you aren't going to penetrate 100 miles of IADs to hit a tank. Your going to penetrate 100mi of IADs to hit a tank park, a POL site for the tanks, etc. Even BAI missions are likely to target larger targets: artillery formations, tank columns, mech formations. CAS suffers from the triple limitations of the targets being deployed, of being in an area with lots of stuff blowing up already, and of being close to other, near identical looking things, that you definitely don't want to hit.

So CAS can be an effort of swinging your toilet paper tube FOV around the target area trying to find what the heck the FAC is talking about. In DAS, the target area will be under the diamond. In CAS, it will almost never be.

It's easy to say that your wingman can provide that extra set of eyes that you don't have with a back seater. But once you "action", he's prosecuting his attack and you are prosecuting yours. He may see you throughout the attack. He may not see you again until you meet at the bar if the feces really hits the oscillating unit. The guy in your back seat, on the other hand, has a vested interest in keeping you alive...you're his ride home!

Surely some of this is altered by the latest and greatest of modern avionics. I got to work just a little on the JSF program and some of it looks like magic. But, in reality, it's never as simple as firing and forgetting. Whether a GIB is worth the cost of several hundred pounds of gas, or an increased 20kt/sec bleed rate is ever up for debate. But I still think if I had the option of having a guy to do my targeting, run my countermeasures, and watch my six...

(Incidentally, I once got zapped by a Hornet that passively targeted me while I was on a strike and I never knew he was there until the kill call)

...and the cost in range and maneuverability wasn't too great, I'd take Goose anyday.

Deacon

P.S. Don't tell the damn Navbags I said this...I wouldn't want them to get uppity. wink

Last edited by Deacon211; 03/25/14 08:30 PM. Reason: Damn Autocorrect
#3929876 - 03/25/14 08:10 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: Deacon211]  
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Do you believe that your GIB would have known? smile

Originally Posted By: Deacon211
(Incidentally, I once got zapped by a Hornet that passively targeted me while I was on a strike and I never knew he was there until the kill call)


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#3929886 - 03/25/14 08:32 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: GrayGhost]  
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Originally Posted By: GrayGhost
Do you believe that your GIB would have known? smile

Originally Posted By: Deacon211
(Incidentally, I once got zapped by a Hornet that passively targeted me while I was on a strike and I never knew he was there until the kill call)


Not that time, since he got me with a heater. But he would have prevented him from gunning me, which I just think would add insult to injury. biggrin

#3930849 - 03/27/14 05:00 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: Deacon211]  
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Originally Posted By: Deacon211

P.S. Don't tell the damn Navbags I said this...I wouldn't want them to get uppity. wink


Too late. This 200lb of self-loading baggage already has to walk sideways through a doorway. biggrin


-Home Fries

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
- Robert A. Heinlein

The average naval aviator, despite the sometimes swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy, and caring. These feelings just don't involve anyone else.

#3932970 - 04/01/14 10:47 AM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: HomeFries]  
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Originally Posted By: HomeFries
Originally Posted By: Deacon211

P.S. Don't tell the damn Navbags I said this...I wouldn't want them to get uppity. wink


Too late. This 200lb of self-loading baggage already has to walk sideways through a doorway. biggrin


Damn! wink

#3933651 - 04/02/14 10:27 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: Deacon211]  
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Originally Posted By: Deacon211
CAS can be performed at almost any altitude and range as long as you can overcome any inherent obstacles. Remember that the "close" in Close Air Support refers to how close the friendly troops are to the target, not to how close the aircraft is from the target.


This fact seems to elude the hordes of people who claim nothing can replace the A10.

Frankly, if the desired target explodes when the ground element requesting CAS wants it to, mission accomplished. How it is exploded is largely irrelevant.

#3934006 - 04/03/14 05:56 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: Floydii]  
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Originally Posted By: Floydii

This fact seems to elude the hordes of people who claim nothing can replace the A10.

Frankly, if the desired target explodes when the ground element requesting CAS wants it to, mission accomplished. How it is exploded is largely irrelevant.

This is true to some extent, but the primary difference between CAS and Strike is that CAS by its' very definition means dropping ordinance near friendly troops in contact. If you're bagging a unitary target like a tank from 12000ft, a F-16C dropping a GBU-12 works just as well as an A-10C doing the same thing.

Once you start talking about soft targets, though, you're usually dealing with "area targets", or trying to bag multiple soft targets on a single pass. This is especially true when targeting infantry. Area targets usually mean cluster munitions, and even guided cluster bombs only guide the cannister until the bomblets are released, and the bomblets all fall in the standard unguided parabolic arc (exception is the CBU-97/105, which is a specific anti-armor cluster munition, but even then the skeets don't differentiate friend from foe). The only real way to control the pattern of guided cluster bombs is with the burst altitude (higher BA = larger, less saturated pattern). While you can also do this at altitude, it is often easier to make such judgments at lower altitude prior to release. A slower speed at release will also cause a steeper ballistic arc for the bomblets, making the pattern more predictable. Again, not as big of a deal when the enemy in contact is a ways out, but certainly a bigger deal the closer the enemy gets to the friendly line.

Finally, the closer the CAS, the more likely that the cannon will be a factor. Cannon rounds can be placed as precisely as the operator can perform, with minimal drift or fragmentation patterns, thereby making the cannon both a decent precision and area weapon in the right hands. US Marines, the masters of CAS, specifically requested the 20mm cannon to replace the 7.62mm minigun on the AH-1J when they got their own Cobra contract (as a derivative from the AH-1G). When it comes to CAS, it may ultimately come down to the cannon and its delivery platform.

Last edited by HomeFries; 04/03/14 06:06 PM. Reason: grammar

-Home Fries

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
- Robert A. Heinlein

The average naval aviator, despite the sometimes swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy, and caring. These feelings just don't involve anyone else.

#3934170 - 04/03/14 10:06 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: Floydii]  
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Originally Posted By: Floydii
Originally Posted By: Deacon211
CAS can be performed at almost any altitude and range as long as you can overcome any inherent obstacles. Remember that the "close" in Close Air Support refers to how close the friendly troops are to the target, not to how close the aircraft is from the target.


This fact seems to elude the hordes of people who claim nothing can replace the A10.

Frankly, if the desired target explodes when the ground element requesting CAS wants it to, mission accomplished. How it is exploded is largely irrelevant.




The Marines are good example of doing all fixed wing CAS with the FA-18 and AV-8.

F-16s got some SOF guys out of a tight spot on a few occasions in 2003 low level at night - the SOF troop were all over the place and running in a firefight. After getting sense from the ground guy they dropped a GBU-12 unguided in an agreed location which did the trick and scared the Iraqi force off.

They risked it by coming below the authorized altitude but kept their speed up to ensure they had a far better survival chance against any MANPADs.


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#3934582 - 04/04/14 04:45 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: RANSs9]  
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Well, the A-10 has several things going for it in the CAS arena. It carries a crap load of ordnance, a crapload of gas and it has that gun. As long as it can stay away from the threat, it's hard to beat as a CAS platform.

On the other hand, as the threat increases, the A-10 becomes increasingly challenged in surviving. It's not remotely stealthy and it's not fast. Certainly, there are various defense mechanisms that offset these shortcomings. But, by the same token, they would offset them more on a faster, lower signature airplane.

Of course, the A-10 can soak up some serious damage. But airplanes are generally not as well served by surviving hits as they are by avoiding them. Naturally, you don't want a plane that folds like a house of cards when you direct strong language at it either, but "airborne tank" is really more a euphemism than a viable strategy.

As long as you can manage the threat through SEAD of one form or another however, the A-10 can remain a perfectly viable platform, upgrading whatever systems necessary to ensure that its reach always exceeds its adversary's. Note, I'm not saying that the A-10 must always stay outside every threat envelope, just that as threat weapons improve (and they always do) an A-10 pilot's life expectancy is going to get ever shorter if he trolls around in the enemy's WEZ for very long.

Now, this strategy does pose some question as to the long term viability of the gun. The gun, as with all weapons, is restricted by a mil dispersion limitation. The farther the gun is shot, the more dispersed the gun rounds will be. It will also mean that each round will have less energy. You're going to have to talk to an A-10 guy about the max effective slant range of their weapon, but, as the low level air defense threat becomes more robust, the gun becomes less useful as weapon unless you are willing to go down into the threat. For the sake of completeness, this situation also applies to unguided bombs and technically laser guided bombs as well, provided that the aircraft is doing the lasing. The farther the aircraft is from the target, the less effective any weapon system is going to be...as long as it can't correct itself.

This is the virtue of GPS weapons as the weapon is seeking a point in space rather than guiding on a laser spot or relying on the angular accuracy of the firing platform. I'm no JDAM expert, so it's almost certainly more complicated than that, but I think the point is fair enough.

As for area targets, CBUs are great but are not without limitations. CBUs tend to have very high bomblet dud rates, which turn target areas into potential minefields if the friendly troops are in the advance. Also, depending on how far the friendlies are from the enemy, cluster bombs may be a bit less precise than the ground guys are comfortable with. This doesn't mean that a FAC would turn down a section of CAS aircraft if they were to be carrying CBUs. But he might move that target grid just a little bit farther from him, just for mom and the kids.

Much maligned in sims, good old fashioned Mk-82s are still a perfectly good weapon...especially if you are talking about area bombing. A brace of slicks or snakeyes dumped on someone's head are going fill the air with lawnmower blade sized chunks of steel for several hundred meters, which is surely going to annoy the owner of the head...that is providing of course that the person has survived having all his internal organs squirted out his rectum by the overpressure and explosive effects. In this case, the quantity, multiple, and interval will dictate the size of the area affected. Naturally, dumb bombs will be affected most by increased standoff range. But that should be less of a problem if you are planning to mulch a hilltop or trenchline.

Below is a highly censored standard bombing page from an old Tactical Pocket Checklist. Note at the bottom the table used for selecting between various target sizes.








Well the most difficult part of CAS for the CAS pilot is finding the target that the FAC is referring to

#3934635 - 04/04/14 05:49 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: Deacon211]  
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Originally Posted By: Deacon211


Well the most difficult part of CAS for the CAS pilot is finding the target that the FAC is referring to


Nice post - thanks

I expect most CAS has to be directed by the troops themselves - in the above case the SOF guy was holding up a covert night light they could see with NVGs so used that as an initial reference to determine where to drop.

They also had troops lazing for them or passing GPS coords. Its stated the ground troops could pass the F-16s coordinates directly to data link (SADL) so they just appeared on the MFD (I think A-10C has SADL also). You could then just slave the TGP to point directly at the location.

A-10 is proven to be able to get home after MANPAD hits - but some were blown out of the sky after only one hit in 91 - so defo agree that not getting hit in the first place is a better strategy.

The gun should be more accurate due to PAC - although not convinced it was the primary weapon even in the 70s against Soviet Shilka and co.

Have noticed that the Mk-82 airburst has been regularly used for the past decade by allied jets - looks like the modern day version of the fuse extender in Nam - very effective you would think.


Thought some work had gone into ensuring cluster bombs went off - maybe just marketing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKdFCsycYm8


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#3934662 - 04/04/14 06:24 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: RANSs9]  
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Well, first let me apologize about the last line...meant to get back to it and it got forgotten on the bottom of the reply box!

Yeah, things like SADL are a huge improvement over what we had before. Still the limitations are getting an accurate grid in the first place...which is a bit of guesswork since no one wants to pop their heads up for a good look...and the mil dispersion of the weapons. I don't know what the accuracy of the PAC is, but there will still be some inherent limitation of the weapon system itself; reduced perhaps but always increasing with range.

The big hurdle was going from INS to GPS in the early 90s. When I first arrived in the fleet, even a well maintained INS would drift about 0.5-0.8 miles per hour. So that meant that, even if the coordinate was right on the target, the diamond wasn't. Once we had GPS, that thing was spot on...whatever was at the coordinate. Now, with a auto datalink, you can at least hope to pound the ground under the diamond.

Still, the best case is having a good targeting pod and sweetening up the FAC's coordinate. Even if the FAC can narrow down the corner of the building that he wants to hit or can give a good reference like "100m NW of the crossroad" a good targeting pod might be able to pick up something that looks bomb worthy.

The Harrier ARBS had a magnification of only 6x IIRC and it was difficult to really get a good look at what you were targeting until you were in your run. If you discovered that you had targeted a burned out hulk rather than the camouflaged tank next to it, you could try to revert from Auto (CCRP in other planes) to CCIP or just hope that the bombs were close enough, but it was less than optimum for high altitude target recognition.

#3934764 - 04/04/14 09:51 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: Deacon211]  
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Originally Posted By: Deacon211
This is the virtue of GPS weapons as the weapon is seeking a point in space rather than guiding on a laser spot or relying on the angular accuracy of the firing platform. I'm no JDAM expert, so it's almost certainly more complicated than that, but I think the point is fair enough.

This is a very common misconception about GPS weapons: that they'll hit exactly the coordinates they are given. GPS-guided weapons will guide to the target coordinates as best they can, but will still have a spread hit pattern, based on a number of error factors: GPS measurement errors, navigation errors, control errors, etc. GPS errors alone are 5 meters, so you have a ~15ft radius of error to the intended coordinate even with a perfect weapon otherwise. The much-vaunted JDAM, for example has a CEP50 of about 11-13 m, depending on where you want to get your declassified performance numbers[1][2]. That means that if you dropped 100 GPS-guided JDAMs, only 50 of them would hit within 36 ft of the target! Hardly perfect.

In contrast, publicly available CEP values for a laser-guided Paveway are less than 6m, or about 20ft [3][4][5]. Still not into a pickle barrel, but almost half that of a GPS JDAM.

[1] http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/jdam.htm
[2] http://www.f-16.net/f-16_armament_article9.html
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GBU-12_Paveway_II
[4] http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app5/paveway-2.html
[5] http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/pavewayIIenhancedlaserguidedtraininground.html

Last edited by EinsteinEP; 04/04/14 09:59 PM.

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#3934788 - 04/04/14 11:06 PM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: Deacon211]  
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Originally Posted By: Deacon211

The Harrier ARBS had a magnification of only 6x IIRC and it was difficult to really get a good look at what you were targeting until you were in your run. If you discovered that you had targeted a burned out hulk rather than the camouflaged tank next to it, you could try to revert from Auto (CCRP in other planes) to CCIP or just hope that the bombs were close enough, but it was less than optimum for high altitude target recognition.



Ex AV-8B flyer? - always good to have insight from the guys in the know! I would have thought the ARBS was hot stuff in 1991 - I do have a recent book about the AV-8 flyers from that era and it does mention that they think it worked better in the AV-8B over the late A-4Ms.

Although the AAQ-14 was about in limited numbers (for a few types) it was probably not used in the way it is now - then you also had binoculars, or the Seeker video from the AGM-65!

The AV-8s have been doing CAS over Iraq/Astan for years - but haven't looked into any upgrades (possibly carry TGPs) or whether they still do it the same way.


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#3934827 - 04/05/14 01:26 AM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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Average accuracy last I saw figures that were not on the internets(tm) indicated that GPS guided munitions would happily display an average CEP of less than 5m. That was a while ago though.

Originally Posted By: EinsteinEP
This is a very common misconception about GPS weapons: that they'll hit exactly the coordinates they are given. GPS-guided weapons will guide to the target coordinates as best they can, but will still have a spread hit pattern, based on a number of error factors: GPS measurement errors, navigation errors, control errors, etc. GPS errors alone are 5 meters, so you have a ~15ft radius of error to the intended coordinate even with a perfect weapon otherwise. The much-vaunted JDAM, for example has a CEP50 of about 11-13 m, depending on where you want to get your declassified performance numbers[1][2]. That means that if you dropped 100 GPS-guided JDAMs, only 50 of them would hit within 36 ft of the target! Hardly perfect.

In contrast, publicly available CEP values for a laser-guided Paveway are less than 6m, or about 20ft [3][4][5]. Still not into a pickle barrel, but almost half that of a GPS JDAM.

[1] http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/jdam.htm
[2] http://www.f-16.net/f-16_armament_article9.html
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GBU-12_Paveway_II
[4] http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app5/paveway-2.html
[5] http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/pavewayIIenhancedlaserguidedtraininground.html

Last edited by GrayGhost; 04/05/14 01:26 AM.

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#3934832 - 04/05/14 01:37 AM Re: Close Air Support not possible in peer/peer modern conflict ? [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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Originally Posted By: EinsteinEP
Originally Posted By: Deacon211
This is the virtue of GPS weapons as the weapon is seeking a point in space rather than guiding on a laser spot or relying on the angular accuracy of the firing platform. I'm no JDAM expert, so it's almost certainly more complicated than that, but I think the point is fair enough.

This is a very common misconception about GPS weapons: that they'll hit exactly the coordinates they are given. GPS-guided weapons will guide to the target coordinates as best they can, but will still have a spread hit pattern, based on a number of error factors: GPS measurement errors, navigation errors, control errors, etc. GPS errors alone are 5 meters, so you have a ~15ft radius of error to the intended coordinate even with a perfect weapon otherwise. The much-vaunted JDAM, for example has a CEP50 of about 11-13 m, depending on where you want to get your declassified performance numbers[1][2]. That means that if you dropped 100 GPS-guided JDAMs, only 50 of them would hit within 36 ft of the target! Hardly perfect.

In contrast, publicly available CEP values for a laser-guided Paveway are less than 6m, or about 20ft [3][4][5]. Still not into a pickle barrel, but almost half that of a GPS JDAM.



Interesting. Actually I consider that pretty decent accuracy compared to dropping a Mk-82 at 10k. Correct me if I'm wrong also, but that accuracy is largely range independent providing you are giving that weapon enough energy to make the corrections it needs to? Is that LGB number self-lased or ground lased? An LGB can be very accurate, provided that the laser spot is small, but I have lost an LMAV to laser spot spillover from the 18D who was lasing for me and my buddy lost an LGB and we didn't get to fire very many of them, compared to the number of dumb bombs we dropped

I wouldn't know without doing some research, but I wonder how the accuracy drop-offs compare between the two PGMs over increased slant range with self-lasing assumed.

As for the ARBS, I can't say how well it worked over the A-4 model, but it actually gave us a tighter bombing system than the radar...it sounds like it was actually better than the JDAM. The problem with the ARBS was that it was either a laser spot tracker (with the associated considerations involved) or a contrast tracker. So, a target with good contrast would give you a good lock and a great bomb solution. A low contrast target or one obscured by haze or smoke on the other hand, might not accept a lock (or the lock might run away) and you were left reverting to some lower order mode.

Also, as I said the magnification wasn't great by itself, so it wasn't the best for recce; although it would probably give you one decent look shortly before release altitude.

After I left the fleet, the Harrier got the Litening pod, which really revolutionized CAS for us. Now not only could you see the target way out at the CP. you could also self-lase.

My buddies who got to use it said it was a game changer, the kind that could keep you in the CAS game if you needed to bump up your release altitude to the teens.

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