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Thread: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

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  1. #1
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    dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    This subject keeps appearing in several other threads. I think it's time we dedicate a new thread to this subject:

    What do you prefer: dedicated or multi-role a/c?

    Personally I'm in favour of dedicated a/c. I focus a lot on performance/effectiveness and generally spoken dedicated a/c are more effective in their role than multi-role a/c doing that same role. For example: I think an A-10A or AV-8B is better at CAS/BAI than the F-16.
    To me the only real advantage of multi-role a/c is cost-effectiveness, with emphasis on cost. Which is probably why multi role a/c are so popular in this time of shrinking defence budgets.

    Any thoughts?

    Ference.

  2. #2
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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    I would rather go for multirole aircraft as the effectiveness in air to air and air to ground depends more and more of the weapons.

    And multirole aircrafts and are cheaper to acquire (bigger series) , maintain. Finally a common transformation/training structure allows other economies to be done.

  3. #3
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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    "I would rather go for multirole aircraft as the effectiveness in air to air and air to ground depends more and more of the weapons."

    Who's to say ur multi-role will be suitably equipped to carry those weapons? An example, the AGM-142s, the RAAF's only land attack stand off weapon, can ONLY be carried on the F-111s, F/A-18s are currently NOT able to carry it, and integration is not planned...
    Another, multi-role aircraft are almost always of the smaller variety (look at the specialized fighter, ie Su-27, F-15, F-14, all designed originally as fighters/interceptors. Also look at strike aircraft, like the F-111), and thus unable to carry the heavier types of weapons (i'd like to see an F-16 or Hornet carrying, say, a GBU-15!!!), or a great enough payload. Also, the smaller size does lead to smaller ranges, and higher wing loadings. Compromises, compromises, but of course the cost savings are substantials, so it just becomes an issue of the government balancing what is more important, the capability, or the cost. In this day and age, the cost unfortunately wins 9 times out of 10...

    MinMiester

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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    What bothers me is that multi-role aircraft are always developed from fighters or are fighter first and bomber second. Whereas most of these fighter-bombers are actually used as bombers most of the time. Look at the Gulf War, all of the F-16s were tasked as bombers, as were most of the F/A-18s. What would've happened if those two types would've been replaced by a dedicated light bomber (i.e. A-7 class, but more modern). That would've made the bombing campaign more effective. And it wouldn't have hurt the air-to-air battle much. Most of that fighting was done by F-15s. Well we wouldn't have seen the Hornets kill those MiG-21s, but I'm sure some other plane (most likely an F-15) would have killed those.
    A lot of people talk about the success of self-escorting strike fighters as an example of why we should use multi-role a/c. But what has resulted from this capability? Not much, only the Hornet scored kills while on a strike missions and the F-16CJs scored while on an escort mission (other F-16 kills were made while on fighter missions). The much vaunted F-15E never scored an air-to-air kill, so it wouldn't have mattered if it had been a dedicated strike a/c (well maybe better strike results). The dedicated F-15Cs still did most of the killing.

    Best regards,

    Ference.

  5. #5
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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    It seems to me that this is rather a consequence of opportunity than of capability.
    If multi role aircrafts are designed from fighter type it is probably because the air to air role is seen as the most demanding task. That could change with the availability of advanced systems like S-400, PAC-3, ASTER ...
    On the other hand, stealth is a primary requirement of the JSF design and is more important for air to ground operations. So JSF seems designed as a multirole aircraft with an emphasis on air to ground role.

  6. #6
    SuperFlanker Guest

    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    It depends on the need of AF. The bigger ones like USAF can afford to have dedicated panes for every task..how ever the majority need an all purpose good plane. One of the reasons the f16 has been sold so much. It ofers good aa ability and very respectable ag ability.

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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    "It seems to me that this is rather a consequence of opportunity than of capability."

    Very good point indeed. My counter is: Do those few opportunities for air-to-air fighting during strike missions warrant the development of self-escorting strike fighters???? Personally I don't think so.
    These "limited" conflicts nowadays are characterised by few air-to-air fights. A decent sized force of dedicated counter air fighters/interceptors should be able to handle that threath alone. You need more bombers than fighters today. I for one am happy that the JSF is designed with more emphasis on strike.

    Regards,

    Ference.


  8. #8
    Juan Guest

    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    >The much vaunted F-15E never scored an
    >air-to-air kill, so it wouldn't
    >have mattered if it had
    >been a dedicated strike a/c
    >(well maybe better strike results).
    >The dedicated F-15Cs still did
    >most of the killing.
    >
    >Best regards,
    >
    >Ference.


    And there is a very good reason why. Being the dedicated AA aircraft it is positioned in places where it is more likely to encounter bandits. That IS the mission they are tasked with. The mission of a multirole aircraft on a bombing mission is to put bombs on a target, not seek out engagements with enemy fighters. If they see a fighter they will avoid as posible, if they can't they will engage. This results most of the time in jettisoned A/G weapons and this way the interceptor has achived it's mission even if it is shot down.

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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    You're right,

    But I just said this to show that it wouldn't have mattered if the multi-role F-15E would have been replaced in these scenarios by a dedicated bomber (like the F-111).

    The F-15E has a tremendous air-to-air capability, but it has never been called upon to use it, so in my opinion it was just a waste of effort (so far!!!). A/c design is always a compromise, if you add air-to-air capability in the form of good maneuvrability that has a cost in other capabilities, namely you have to sacrifice a little bit of air-to-ground capability in the F-15E's case. The F-15E doesn't fly very well at very low level, which used to be the traditional altitude for bombers when it was developed and first used in combat. Now it flies more often at medium altitude of course. But it has other disadvantages over dedicated strike a/c.

    Ference.

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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    I do agree with Ference, that single-tasked mission aircraft are better suited to their mission rather than multi-mission aircraft which i consider to be able to do everything to some extent.

    Minnie (how's Mickey, BTW?), i don't agree with your statement that dedicated aircraft are by definition logistically inferior. I think the Russians have set an excellent example with their series of Su-27/30 fighter/interceptor platforms, and the Su-34 attack/bombing and possibly recce/EW aircraft. While every aircraft stays within a fixed mission, basic maintenance and training can stay the same.

    I don't agree with the argument that multi-role aircraft by definition have a better range. After all, the F-111 was originally designed as a multi-mission platform, and the F-14 has taken up a multi-mission role too. I'll leave it to Tom to discuss the value of the F-14 as a Bombcat, although it is possibly a better replacement to the A-6E than the F/A-18.

    Regards,

    Arthur
    Regards,

    Arthur
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
    Bertrand Russell

  11. #11
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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 17-Jan-01 AT 04:26 PM (GMT)[/font][p]
    There is a considerable economic advantage once in service, however in a conflict multi-role are seldom suited to just that, multi-role. Without a succession of dedicated aircraft. It shows up in strategy and tasking.



  12. #12
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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    I already mentioned that fact in another thread but a common aircraft doesn't oblige you to have the same task for each of your squadrons. Weaponry and training will vary from squadron to squadron according to their primary task.

    One other advantage of communality is a highest availability : when in external operation it is frequent that aircrafts from different units are deployed for the same task in order to spread the fatigue on different aiframes. With a higher proportion of one aircraft in your fleet you can deploy a greater number of these aircrafts hence you enhance the life of your assets.

  13. #13
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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    Look, i think u've completely misunderstood me (as far as i know, my sytax is okay, so why do ppl keep misunderstanding me???). I'm one for the DEDICATED aircraft. Please read my post again, i was in fact pointing out that multi-role aircraft are almost always smaller, and thus have less range, less payload, and less overall capability than their *specialized* cousins.

    MinMiester

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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    Apologies, i stand corrected.
    Still, size hasn't got anything to do with being dedicated or multi-mission. In my eyes, the F-15 (any version) is a multi-task design while it is rather long legged. On the other hand, the A-4 is definately an attack aircraft although it has a short range.

    Regards,

    Arthur



    Regards,

    Arthur
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
    Bertrand Russell

  15. #15
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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    Ah, but the S-4 is not really an deep strike aircraft in the sense of a Tornado or F-111 (more light attack). What I'm saying is, look at the size of specialized aircraft. F-15, obviously much more multi-sized nowadays, but designed as an air-superiority fighter, is large. F-14, designed as an interceptor and fleet defence fighter, is large. Mig-25/31, designed as high altitude interceptors, are large. Su-27, designed as an air-superiority fighter, but taking on more and more roles nowadays, like the F-15, is also large. F-111, designed as deep penetration strike, is large. Tornado, more strike than fighter, is relatively large. Su-24, strike aircraft, is also relatively large. In comparison, F-16 and F/A-18, two of the most popular multi-role jets, are quite small, especially in the case of the F-16, which can't really hide the fact that it was originally designed as a lightweight, daylight, WVR fighter (much in the vein of the original Mig-21), and is thus limited at best as a deep strike aircraft. F-15E, although probably the best replacement for the F-111, simply cannot match completely the combination of speed, accuracy, range and payload offered by the F-111. The Mig-29, now also considered a multi-role jet, is also a small aircraft, same goes for the Mirage2K series of multi-role fighters. In conclusion, the specialized aircraft always seem to be larger than the multi-role ones, and thus do not compromise payload or range.

    MinMiester

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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    Sorry, mistype, S-4 should read A-4 (but i think u would have figured that one out for urself)

    MinMiester

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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    OK, maybe there is something wrong with my syntax!!!
    Multi-sized for F-15 should obviously read multi-role.

    MinMiester

  18. #18
    elpalmer Guest

    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    Thats OK. I understood what you meant.

    elp
    usa

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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    Well Min, it seems you're proving my point here.

    The F-111 was designed as a multi-role platform, remember the F-111B naval carrier-born interceptor?
    The MiG-25 is definately a multi-role platform. From the outset, it was decided that
    Regards,

    Arthur
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
    Bertrand Russell

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    RE: dedicated vs multi-role aircraft

    I think you need them both.
    And say, where do you draw the line between dedicated and MRF's?
    I mean, some books describe the F15E is a dedicated striker, while others describe it as a the best multirolefighter ever made. The jsf will also be multirole and is going to replace a lot of dedicated fighters (like the BAI A/10's and CAS AV'8B+'s, but also the F15E and ofcourse the F16-F/A 18)

  21. #21
    elpalmer Guest

    Multi-role

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 17-Jan-01 AT 11:18 PM (GMT)[/font][p]I just like multi-role. No facts or figures to back it up. And then no big strike ability like in a Tornado, F-111 or F-15E. Modest strike ability is OK for me. Grippen, Mirage 2000, Rafale, Mig29 (newer w/ 8 hardpoints and custom avionics), F-16 (just easy to teach people to do basic things with it). F-18 (I am also over time developing more of a preference for single engine jets).
    Those are my favs. Just call me Commendante Palmero, leader of a small air force in a nice tropic environment. Once my pilots put in 40 good flying hours a month, they get the rest of the month off. Air Force? Maybe 20 jets. No possible enemy within 2000 miles. Funded by a huge tourist industry.

    elp
    usa

  22. #22
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    RE: Multi-role

    I agree with Geforce that ideally you need both. I propose a core of dedicated fighters (F-22) and dedicated bombers (A-17?) and maybe a dedicated CAS/BAI plane (A-10A/AV-8B successor) backed up by huge numbers of swing-role fighters (JSF). Support a/c like recce, SEAD etcetera can be developed from one of these a/c. You'd have four different a/c, that's not too much for a relatively large AF, like the USAF. And you have alot of capability. Best of both worlds I believe. Just a thought.

    Ference.

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    RE: Multi-role

    Maybe dedicated fighters aren't so necesarry anymore because new MRF can replace what old dedicated strikers and fighters did. THe USAF is not planning to buy a successor for the F15E - i think


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    RE: Multi-role

    Not replacing the F-15E??? That's a bad move. It would leave a huge hole in USAF deep strike capabilities. It was bad enough that the F-111 was retired early (F-15E was originally designed to complement the F-111, this was then changed to an *interim* replacement, and now it IS the replacement), but to retire the sole remaining deep penetration strike aircraft in the USAF arsenal??? Obviously, F-117s can fill some of the void, but there aren't enough of them, and in any case, payload for the F-117 is inadequate at best. JSF is not a suitable replacement, it is far too short legged to replace the F-15E, and the F-22 doesn't look like getting larger internal weapons bays, and 2 JDAMs internally is simply NOT good enough (external carriage of weapons on the F-22 would be dangerous, which CINC (with budgets in mind) is going to send a $150million F-22 into an area bristling with SAMs???).
    I hope the A-17 proposal, if it even exists, gets off the ground.

    MinMiester

  25. #25
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    F-15E replacement

    The F-15E WILL be replaced eventually, at least that is what the USAF plans to do. They just haven't decided by which plane it will be replaced. Supposedly a black project exists, called A-17 (see A-17 thread), which is designed as an F-111 replacement. If this doesn't exist or if it doesn't work:
    well the USAF is also seriously considering a multi-role or strike version of the F-22, much like the F-15E. This is still a paper project, but it will be designed with a bigger bomb bay, likely to have a longer (or maybe even wider) fuselage. I don't know if it will be a two-seater, but my guess is it will.

    Ference.

  26. #26
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    RE: F-15E replacement

    It would have to be a two-seater...
    Single seat deep penetration strike aircraft are simply not going to work, even with the help of the F-22s substantial avionics and excellent man-machine interface.

    MinMiester

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    RE: F-15E replacement

    The A-17 would be a favourable option, but those are just plans. The F15E can stay in service for another 10-15 years and by that time JSF will already be in service (in huge numbers). But about the F22 with internal loads i would want to say this : that is just necessairy for "first-day-of-the-war" scenario's. Stealh is an option, but not standard. Afterwarts, it can function like the strike eagle (or beagle) of today, with external weapons.


  28. #28
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    Dedicated training

    I'm actually rather for dedicated training, and - in connection with that - dedicated assets.

    To clear this a bit: currently USD 60-million planes are being introduced to service in different air forces. All of them are supposed to fight air combats and drop bombs. But, will their pilots have enough time and get enough funding to train for both of these tasks? I don't think so.

    There's no way, that any pilot ever will manage to train for both things equally. Either he lacks the funding, or time. Some are simply better in bombing, others are better in air-to-air. Or, some have more training in air-to-ground, others in air-to-air. That's not negative, but a "simple" fact.

    Consider a clash of two oposing air forces, which both have reasonable assets, and champs of the side "D" flying bomb-laden aircraft are jumped by interceptors of the side "C" inbound to the target. The "D's" will have to jettison ordnance to survive - nobody can ignore closing AAMs - and then comes the point when the outcome depends on many variables as well as which side got more training in air combat. Even if "Ds" manage to defend - and even if they down one or two defending interceptors - who is the winner? Of course, the side "C", because strike was aborted and target not hit.

    That's the reason why I say: dedicated types of aircraft are OK, but not necesarily needed: fast, well-built, manoeuvreable allrounders will do it as well, but only if flown by pilots which got dedicated training, and used for dedicated tasks.

  29. #29
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    RE: Dedicated training

    A good point. After all, most modern strike aircraft (F-15E, F-16CJ, Su-34 {? please confirm}, retain the air to air capabilities of the fighters they're derived from.

    I would think the best solution would be to train predominantly air to air to win air superiority. If your subsequent air to ground isn't the greatest, it's still better than your enemy's.

  30. #30
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    RE: Dedicated training

    I think you're wrong Tom.
    Go to post 8 to see why.

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