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dov
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Hallo

 

Something to read, interesting thoughts: from Forbes

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpeck/2020/09/15/60-b-52s-shot-down-in-one-day-todays-us-air-force-cant-survive-world-war-ii-losses/?sh=5eaaa3ad50a2

 

Research platform of China Aviation Technology: from ACTA (Aeronautica et Astronautica Sinica)

 

http://hkxb.buaa.edu.cn/EN/column/column79.shtml

 

Get just a clue what is on, short description in English is available.

 

Happy modelling

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Interesting first article there but on reading I did think "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

 

Attrition problems remain for all combatants today, the main difference from about the early 1960's, being how quickly replacements can be made available to continue the conflict.  the days of manufacture and training being a period counted in months are gone and one could see that in a prolonged conflict the participants revert to simpler systems requiring less training and quicker manufacturing than those in use at the beginning.

 

The worry is the conventional phase in any major conflict now will be over quickly as conventional weapon systems are used up and without replacements it would be a great temptation to use any available weapons of mass destruction in a limited way at first but that is a slip at the top of a very slippery and steep incline.

 

The other worry is that if one actor with hostile intent can see the weaker opponent cant fight on for long and that they would win an attrition war in two-three weeks they could be tempted to start a conflict calculating that they would win as the defender runs out of ability to continue due to attrition.  I guess the Romans had it right - si vis pacem, para bellum.

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Attrition is a problem as soon as major powers clash  or smaller powers run out of support.

See e.g. Israel/ Egypt in 1973...

 

That is why the US has sites like AMARG, where they store equippment in a regenerative manner. That way at least some more perseverance can be expected...

This practice seems to have gone out of fashion un Europe at least.. everything is immediately "regenerated"/ aka scratched.... :(

 

 

Apart from that, 60 B-52 is simply 100% of all potentially operational, no chance all would even take off in a single day. This article is not realistic enough! The same is true for Russian and China, that means numbers need to be put into perspective first! 

 

But yes, heavy attrition would happen.. the question is: who suffers worse and starts the inevitable countdown to eternal sunshine first? ( of course that also depends where and why this war starts...)

 

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One more aspect you can read: the limitation of any conflict without getting close to the edge of considering the nuclear option. This is today the most fearsome aspect. Like today, it was and is the nuclear fear, after 20 years warfare without achieving a goal.

 

Second aspect for developement: The Russian & Chinese option is to wait. What the US is developing. The answer will be always later and better. See article link concerning F-22.

 

Interesting approach!

 

Happy modelling 

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15 hours ago, dov said:

The Russian & Chinese option is to wait. What the US is developing. The answer will be always later and better.

This strategy only work out as long is you do not need this "better" equippment already before.... if you can afford to wait 15 years of course..  . ..

 

F-15, and -16 s entering the scene in Israel e.g., or F-14 in Iran... those were kind of game changers!

As would have been the F-22 10 years ago presumably! Maybe the F-35 in numbers is now! We will hopefully not find out ;)

 

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I'm quite puzzled by the article and really this looks more like a piece of propaganda from someone trying to get more funding than a proper analysis...

It is impossible to compare air warfare in the middle of WW2 with today! For a starter the US in 1943 was a country fully mobilised for war, today the US is a country with an economy only partly devoted to the needs of the war machine. The US in 1935 could have not sustained such losses either...

With the way wars are fought today, it's not even sure that any major future war will give the contenders time to fully mobilise and turn their economy to the war effort before anything. I believe, the only "recent" war that saw this was maybe the Iran-Iraq war of the '80s but then these two countries were mostly dependant on external suppliers for major military equipment.

Not to mention that the wars are fought today, there would be no need to send massed formations of B-52s anywhere...  it happened in Vietnam and it was already clear back then that it was not a viable option anymore. Today the kind of damage that the B-17s inflicted on the German infrastructures can be achieved much more effectively with cruise missiles and air assets like the old Buffs only enter airspace if certain defences have been destroyed. WW2 ended over 70 years ago, airwar has evolved quite a bit since then.

With all the above in mind, why should the US prepare today to be ready to accept WW2 style losses tomorrow ? Who is going to pay for thousands of bombers, their crews and all the related infrastructure when these thousands bombers would not be used in certain way anyway ?

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I agree Giorgio.  No modern war will require the use of massed bombers - and anyway they don't exist. Sure there are some spare airframes stored in the desert. Getting any number of them back in operation would be a long slow task; they don't have the equipment  required and I doubt if adequate spares exist.

 

Attrition will be  a major issue in any war. The days of Air Forces holding 75% to 100% war reserves are long gone. I seem to recall  the Harrier force in Germany reckoned on having three days of effective action only before attrition stopped effective response, backed up the Jaguars and later Tornados for deeper interdiction behind FEBA. The idea was  to slow down the 'Red hordes' long enough for the Army to get in position to defend the Fulda gap.  Three days was thought to be just enough. And in those days we still had serious numbers of aircraft - not now !

 

Penny packet operations using precision weapons - that's all we could do now. 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, John B (Sc) said:

 

Penny packet operations using precision weapons - that's all we could do now. 

At least precision would be high initially, so would be damage.. until either aircraft or precision weapons were no more... or suitable targets

 

And forget any kind of reliable information for the general public.... no Internet, no GPS ,.... hardly any reliable electricity....

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1 hour ago, John B (Sc) said:

I agree Giorgio.  No modern war will require the use of massed bombers - and anyway they don't exist. Sure there are some spare airframes stored in the desert. Getting any number of them back in operation would be a long slow task; they don't have the equipment  required and I doubt if adequate spares exist.

 

Attrition will be  a major issue in any war. The days of Air Forces holding 75% to 100% war reserves are long gone. I seem to recall  the Harrier force in Germany reckoned on having three days of effective action only before attrition stopped effective response, backed up the Jaguars and later Tornados for deeper interdiction behind FEBA. The idea was  to slow down the 'Red hordes' long enough for the Army to get in position to defend the Fulda gap.  Three days was thought to be just enough. And in those days we still had serious numbers of aircraft - not now !

 

Penny packet operations using precision weapons - that's all we could do now. 

 

 

Wise words from Giogio and John here.  On reading their posts I find myself in agreement and am reminded of the quote often attributed to Joseph Stalin for obvious reasons but no source material has been found to validate the attribution as far as I am aware.  However it sounds like the sort of thing he may well have said - "Quantity has a quality all its own" and quantity is something we wont have when the next crisis occurs.  I'll leave that thought as it gets one to the top of the road that leads to politics and the topic is really about whether the article is right in making the comparisons.  I don't think it is for the reasons posters have set out above but if read as meaning that attrition rates will bring any conflict to a quick end then I suspect that's right.  Sadly that wont necessarily translate to fewer deaths and the temptation to go nuclear or chemical will be irresistible as the weapon of last resort.

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1 hour ago, JohnT said:

Wise words from Giogio and John here.  On reading their posts I find myself in agreement and am reminded of the quote often attributed to Joseph Stalin for obvious reasons but no source material has been found to validate the attribution as far as I am aware.  However it sounds like the sort of thing he may well have said - "Quantity has a quality all its own" and quantity is something we wont have when the next crisis occurs.  I'll leave that thought as it gets one to the top of the road that leads to politics and the topic is really about whether the article is right in making the comparisons.  I don't think it is for the reasons posters have set out above but if read as meaning that attrition rates will bring any conflict to a quick end then I suspect that's right.  Sadly that wont necessarily translate to fewer deaths and the temptation to go nuclear or chemical will be irresistible as the weapon of last resort.

 

The problem with "quantity" is that this parameter can not be simply changed by deciding to do so. Quantity, particularly in the terms attributed to Stalin, is function of the production system behind an air force/army/navy ! You can only achieve quantity if the economic system of a country has the fiancial, natural, human and industrial resources to achieve this. The Soviet Union in WW2 could build and man thousands of aircraft and tanks. Britain on the other hand could build thousands of aircraft but by the end of the war struggled to find enough men to keep army divisions at the desired strength.

Of course there's the option to focus the industrial system on producing more items of lower cost (where cost must be seen in the wider meaning), but is this really the solution ? Should, say, the RAF field 250 cheaper and less capable aircraft instead of the current fleet ? Debatable, and something I rate negatively since the whole concept of a "cheap and simple" fighter has never really led to anything capable of competing in seriously contested airspace. And of course, there's the small problem that no matter the cost of a fighter, certain components of the infrastructure required to field an aircraft does not change, so 3 times the number of aircraft means that certain costs are multiplied by 3 regardless of the type.

Quantity should also be defined according to the requirements: what are the air force /army/navy requirements ? Is the air force expected to be able to bomb Bejing with conventional bombs ? You would need certain numbers for that. Is the same air force only expected to take part in multinational missions ? You can live with much smaller numbers. If a country then hopes to be able to compete with another with much larger economic resources, well then no matter how many aircraft you try to build, you'll bleed your economy white without achieving anything.

 

Edited by Giorgio N
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I desperately hope we never have to find out, because I believe if any major conflict were to occur between the West and East (Russia or China), it would quickly escalate to being fought from under the sea, and there can be no winners.

 

If anyone hasn’t watched ‘Threads’ yet, you should. I wish world leaders would watch it.

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While to a large extent I agree with Giorgio about undefined quantity and the challenge of more but less capable aircraft, I think there is potential benefit in looking at the results of some DACT exercises some years back. Several examples but one I recall is that the RAF in Cyprus used a combination of Tornado and Hawk aircraft against the US Navy. I believe the USN was still using F-14s at the time.   

 

The combination of the two dissimilar types was quite hard for the USN to counter. The Hawk was small, hard to spot visually or on radar and nimble.  Although much lower in sheer speed performance, mixing it into a fight between two much more capable machines really made for tricky complexities.  I know the FAA's Sea Harriers also caused  much difficulty, being small, agile and equipped with missiles good enough that you couldn't just run away from the fight. If they got in close enough to start with, very hard to deal with.

 

A mixed force has many benefits if you know how to use it. 

 

That said, Lord Riot is right - I hope we don't ever again have to get into that ! 

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Hello

 

If we want to understand this statement in the magazine, I think one should also understand the writer's point of view:

Forbes is primarily about economics.

To remind you, or to be clear:

 

The First World War was won by the Allies.

But remember that Great Britain was the bank of the world in 1914.

Already bankrupt in 1916.

After that, the largest debtor in the United States.

Already akmost insolvent in 1918. The banks could not lend more.

These Inter allied war debts have never been paid to this day. The nominale was doublefold already in 1980!

The attempt to collect the money via Germany resulted in a political catastrophe.

 

World War II cost so much that Britain had to pay the US approx.. until 2006.

 

Economically, the Second World War was already lost by Germany in 1943.

There was a German economic conference on this in 1943, I think that was in Strasbourg.

Then the transfer of money and means of production to third countries began.

 

The economic side of every war is completely hidden from the people who take care of military aspects, operate military systems or build aircraft or tank models.

There have been many victors on the battlefield in the past who were then crushed by the debts of the victorious campaigns. Entire peoples, too, were often subjugated under the mountain of heavy debts.

Clausewitz was the first to question the determined logic that is common to some generals.

The logic of the enemy is never the logic you think with. The logic of the economy is absolutely alien to most of the military!

Remember: In some countries it is hardly possible to man these complex weapon systems today.

Above all Israel.

Anyone who fails to recognize this overwhelming reality lives in an ivory tower!

 

Happy modeling

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20 hours ago, John B (Sc) said:

While to a large extent I agree with Giorgio about undefined quantity and the challenge of more but less capable aircraft, I think there is potential benefit in looking at the results of some DACT exercises some years back. Several examples but one I recall is that the RAF in Cyprus used a combination of Tornado and Hawk aircraft against the US Navy. I believe the USN was still using F-14s at the time.   

 

The combination of the two dissimilar types was quite hard for the USN to counter. The Hawk was small, hard to spot visually or on radar and nimble.  Although much lower in sheer speed performance, mixing it into a fight between two much more capable machines really made for tricky complexities.  I know the FAA's Sea Harriers also caused  much difficulty, being small, agile and equipped with missiles good enough that you couldn't just run away from the fight. If they got in close enough to start with, very hard to deal with.

 

A mixed force has many benefits if you know how to use it. 

 

That said, Lord Riot is right - I hope we don't ever again have to get into that ! 

 

There is always a problem when looking at the result of exercises: that these are most of the times constrained in one or more ways, Exercises are devised to train and learn as for this reason tend to force one or both opponents to deal with a certain scenario. How open is this scenario will depend on the scope of the exercise. So finding that aircraft X has beaten aircraft Y may be useful or not.

Said that, I am well aware of the good results obtained by the Hawk when used in conjunction with the Tornado in a number of occasions. However, even allowing for the combination to be equally effective in a real war (and this is debatable), the use of the Hawk or any similar aircraft as "low" component of a high-low mix may not make much sense in terms of value.

The RAF Hawks had a secondary air defence mission but they were aircraft in service with a different primary mission. As such they were already part of the force anyway and air defence would have been a mission in case of a serious threat to Britain. The RAF would have never deployed Hawks as part of an expeditionary force to complement the ADVs  or if the mission was to achieve air superiority. The use of trainers for secondary missions is not uncommon, in Italy for example the MB.339s have a secondary ground attack mission in case of war and instructors train for this mission... however the majority of the time is spent in their primary mission and nobody would dream of sending them to say Afghanistan.

Different story would be to specifically purchase something like the Hawk with air defence as primary mission. In this case the force would have to absorb all the extra costs of the additional fighters and while some costs would undoubtedly be lower than the ones of a Typhoon, others would be the same. With the limitation that the lower spec types may not be able to perform all the missions of the main types, so impacting the potential numbers of the main battle force. Just throwing some figures around, would we prefer to have a force of 100 Typhoons and 100 Hawks or a force of 130 Typhoons ? Personally I'd go for the latter in terms of capabilities but I can undersand how in certan situations the extra 70 Hawks may have their value.

 

The Sea Harrier is a very different story: regardless of the results of the many exercixes that BAe published to promote the aircraft, the reality is that Harriers in general are quite expensive aircraft so they can not be considered in the same cathegory of the Hawk 200, Gnat or the many other light fighter projects of the past. A Sea Harrier used to cost more than a fully equipped top level F-16 so would have never been considered as the cheap component of an air force. Even when it comes to operating costs the Harrier was never cheap: today's USMC AV8B+ cost 30% more than a Super Hornet per flying hour, a difference that can only be justified if the Harrier unique capabilities are absolutely necessary

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On 9/13/2021 at 3:39 PM, JohnT said:

attrition rates will bring any conflict to a quick end

No  I do not think so.

Conflicts do not end due to attrition  but lack of resources/ manpower. Just because no high quality arms are available any longer on both sides does not mean the conflict ends... :(

 

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22 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

Even when it comes to operating costs the Harrier was never cheap: today's USMC AV8B+ cost 30% more than a Super Hornet per flying hour, a difference that can only be justified if the Harrier unique capabilities are absolutely necessary

Hmmm .... also 30% more when the carrier training needs for the Super Hornet are included? Meaning total cost of having an operational carrier capable fighter? Fixed wing carrier aviation definitely is very expensive! ( although probably more capable ) 

There are lots of pros and cons, also see the British QE carrier class development ordeal.....

 

The (Sea ) Harrier definitely was the cheapest and best fighter that could be operated from very short decks up until the arrival of the F-35B... :D

 

 

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On 9/14/2021 at 8:53 PM, exdraken said:

Hmmm .... also 30% more when the carrier training needs for the Super Hornet are included? Meaning total cost of having an operational carrier capable fighter? Fixed wing carrier aviation definitely is very expensive! ( although probably more capable ) 

There are lots of pros and cons, also see the British QE carrier class development ordeal.....

 

The (Sea ) Harrier definitely was the cheapest and best fighter that could be operated from very short decks up until the arrival of the F-35B... :D

 

 

 

Of course not but we are comparing aircraft here, particularly as types like the Hawk T.1 were mentioned that never flew off a carrier. An F/A-18E/F can be afterall seen as an option for a land based air force and the type has been selected by a number of these.

 

Clearly if we look at naval aviation the cost of carriers must be considered and is much higher than whatever difference may exist in the aircraft costs. Of course it may also be interesting to look at the effectiveness of a proper carrier compared to that of the many through.deck cruisers/SCS or whatever we may call them but then most countries can't afford proper large carriers.

This is the reason why in the end the Harrier concept was only embraced by navies and no land based air force outside the RAF selected the type: the Sea Harrier may have been expensive to buy and operate but at least allowed the smaller navies to have something to put on their smaller ships while for the air forces it was something that brought the debatable advantage of VTOL operation at a very high cost compared to the overall capabilities of the aircraft.

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Hello

 

If we look at aviation and especially the military, let us look at a few thought models, ideas:

 

Five centuries ago, the military technician Leonardo da Vinci built war machines.

Part of it didn't work at all.

But before a possible campaign they were impressively demonstrated to the enemy.

The desired result was that the enemy became fearful and the campaign failed to materialize.

 

That would be a suggestion for today that doesn't sound so unreasonable after all.

 

The second proposal in accordance with our worries and problems with our environment.

Wars should be considered in view of this situation.

If I just make a rough calculation of the resources used in both world wars, I get dizzy.

Especially when you consider that this gigantic economic machine can only accelerate!

We will have to leave our old thought worlds behind us if the planet is to continue to exist.

 

The resources that one of the great modern aircraft carriers needs to function operationally for a year would be interesting to learn.

And then there are the resources for production, too, of course.

The bad thing nowadays is the fact that this area is an economically successful area.

Economical in the conventional sense, in money.

 

The ability of some states to have such carriers and deploy them operationally is a hard-to-learn job.

It is the triumph of strength.

But what happens when a new player suddenly appears on the ocean?

Then you are afraid, uncertainty but hardly the courage to accept a new player on an equal footing.

That is then very unsporting.

 

A probably lonely idea comes to me:

 

Similar to regulations in car racing, the F1, to create regulations for military aircraft.

And then let the best of the best compete against each other over a restricted area.

We could minimize the costs and unnecessary suffering!

And as a modeler, we would also get nice models to build in future!

 

Happy modelling

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20 minutes ago, dov said:

Five centuries ago, the military technician Leonardo da Vinci built war machines.

Part of it didn't work at all.

But before a possible campaign they were impressively demonstrated to the enemy.

The desired result was that the enemy became fearful and the campaign failed to materialize.

 

That would be a suggestion for today that doesn't sound so unreasonable after all.

Actually that pretty much sums up Reagan's 'Star Wars' initiative - good enough to convince the USSR it might be possible, and push them towards an unsustainable arms development program.

 

22 minutes ago, dov said:

Similar to regulations in car racing, the F1, to create regulations for military aircraft.

And then let the best of the best compete against each other over a restricted area.

We could minimize the costs and unnecessary suffering!

Well we sort of had that with SALT, but of course unlike F1 these is no policing authority capable of enforcing the rules. And as all F1 fans know, the teams spend huge amounts of resources to find and exploit loopholes in the regulations - which has been successfully done on numerous occasions.

 

When it comes to warfare, it seems mutual fear is the only real deterrent. If for example you could somehow limit arms to conventional weapons of a certain capacity, I fear that would make war more rather then less likely.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/13/2021 at 5:19 PM, John B (Sc) said:

While to a large extent I agree with Giorgio about undefined quantity and the challenge of more but less capable aircraft, I think there is potential benefit in looking at the results of some DACT exercises some years back. Several examples but one I recall is that the RAF in Cyprus used a combination of Tornado and Hawk aircraft against the US Navy. I believe the USN was still using F-14s at the time.   

 

The combination of the two dissimilar types was quite hard for the USN to counter. The Hawk was small, hard to spot visually or on radar and nimble.  Although much lower in sheer speed performance, mixing it into a fight between two much more capable machines really made for tricky complexities.  I know the FAA's Sea Harriers also caused  much difficulty, being small, agile and equipped with missiles good enough that you couldn't just run away from the fight. If they got in close enough to start with, very hard to deal with.

 

A mixed force has many benefits if you know how to use it. 

 

That said, Lord Riot is right - I hope we don't ever again have to get into that ! 

Sea vixen radar was particularly good 👍

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On 9/20/2021 at 4:47 PM, dov said:

 

Similar to regulations in car racing, the F1, to create regulations for military aircraft.

And then let the best of the best compete against each other over a restricted area.

We could minimize the costs and unnecessary suffering!

There is one BIG  difference! Nobody wants war to being fair!

It is about having the upper hand at ALL cost.....

The only thing mankind agreed on is that war should not be unneccessarily cruel to soldiers and less so civilans. ( Geneva convention, etc...)

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Nobody wants war to being fair!

Oh her you must be more distinctive!

We had to learn in the western world that all wars started by the west are for humanity, civil rights, laws and all the most valuable ethics we know.

I play stupid, and if I follow this words, starting from GW1, GW2, Lybia etc. to Afghanistan.

If we are the creators of good so we can set up such a rule.

THe UN should help.

What you say, Exdraken, if the good Western is not fair, yes in this unbelivable case we would create a major problem.

But I believe in the good spirit in each human!

Curious thoughts....

Happy modelling

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