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Thread: Place of the internal gun on A2A fighters

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    Place of the internal gun on A2A fighters

    Does the internal gun have a place in todays air supriority fighters?? I believe that a big gun is a must have for all mud movers (especially concerning the A-10), but with the advent of high technology in the areas of BVR (AESA radar, R-77, AIM-120, IRST) and WVR (IRST, JHMCS and variants, R-73, AIM-9X), the necessity for a gun in a strictly air to air fighter is severely limited.
    Will 4+, 5th generation aircraft really be able to get close enough for the 'knife fight in a phone box' scenario anyhow? And if the gun realy is necessary, what technology can it be improved with so that it's battlefiled utility really comes into play?

    p.s. I realise that this question was raised in the 60's and was thoroughly rubuked by airforce a while after, but my point is that technology has advanced to a point where that argument may be no longer feasible.

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    Hello, 1st post.

    From a technological sense, yes, I'd say the internal gun is fairly obsolete for the air superiority role with modern aircraft on both sides.

    However, fighters can (and most likely will) be operating while constrained by many rules of engagement that make the internal gun a viable, even essential weapon.

    Like the Vietnam era one requiring a visual ID before attacking.

    As well as lesser targets of opportunity.....

    Edit---lastly, aren't all fighters today also built with some air-to-mud capabilities in mind?
    Last edited by Tony_A; 15th September 2008 at 02:45.

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    I think a high caliber light weight gun with limited amount of ammunition is no wasted weight. The M61 with 800 rounds is wasted weight. The coupling of IRST and Radar data and own-ship position and movement allows for pretty good aiming.

    Current standard is one 27mm cannon with about 100 round of ammunition.

    Smart engineering probably would be to have the option to eliminate the cannon in favor of something needed more, let it be fuel (while doesn't make much sense due to piping and little volume) or rather defense electronics. And that on a mission-to-mission basis.
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    How many times and how many pilots does it take to have to relearn what history has proven over and over again?
    The aerial gun aboard a fighter does not have to be used in every air-to-air engagement!
    But if the need and circumstance arises, you can and will use it.
    Secondly as the Soviets/Russians have always preached and delivered - the aircraft gun/cannon is one of the most versatile and simple weapons, that can just as easily and effectively be used against ground targets.
    There is good reason that the Soviets/Russians have the most powerful/highest velocity and hard hitting aircraft-mounted guns in their fighters!
    No the aircraft-mounted gun/cannon is still alive and kicking - regardless of modern, high tech missiles

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
    How many times and how many pilots does it take to have to relearn what history has proven over and over again?
    The aerial gun aboard a fighter does not have to be used in every air-to-air engagement!
    But if the need and circumstance arises, you can and will use it.
    Secondly as the Soviets/Russians have always preached and delivered - the aircraft gun/cannon is one of the most versatile and simple weapons, that can just as easily and effectively be used against ground targets.
    There is good reason that the Soviets/Russians have the most powerful/highest velocity and hard hitting aircraft-mounted guns in their fighters!
    No the aircraft-mounted gun/cannon is still alive and kicking - regardless of modern, high tech missiles

    Regards
    Pioneer
    Please, as you know the history and we obviously don't, tell us:
    When was the last gun kill in aerial combat?
    How many gun kills in gulf 1991?
    How many gun kills in Lebanon 1982?
    How many gun kills in the Falklands 1982?
    How many gun kills during Iran-Iraq war 1980-88?
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    For pure anti-air use I really like the idea behind the Russian 9A-4071K. Taking into account the rather limited use a gun will see in a fighter, designing it as a kind of throw-away weapon to minimize dead weight is pretty smart. Could have a little higher muzzle velocity, though.

    For a fighterbomber the BK27 is the gun of choice, no question about it.

    The M61's problem is not so much weight (about the same as BK27, still twice as heavy as 9A-4071K), but volume (especially for the ammo drum) and the vast ammount of gases it produces when fired.

    And yes, you need a gun (hello F-35!).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer
    How many times and how many pilots does it take to have to relearn what history has proven over and over again?
    The aerial gun aboard a fighter does not have to be used in every air-to-air engagement!
    But if the need and circumstance arises, you can and will use it....
    Quote Originally Posted by Schorsch View Post
    Please, as you know the history and we obviously don't, tell us:
    When was the last gun kill in aerial combat?
    How many gun kills in gulf 1991?
    How many gun kills in Lebanon 1982?
    How many gun kills in the Falklands 1982?
    How many gun kills during Iran-Iraq war 1980-88?
    During the Iran-Iraq war there were quite a few gun kills. Of the rest of the examples you cited the US-Iraqi wars were turkey-shoots (at least in terms of A2A action) from whom I don't really think one can draw many useful conclusions about the value of internal guns. The last time America's military forces really broke a serious sweat was over Korea although they did get a pretty good workout in Vietnam despite their numerical superiority over the NVAF. The Beeka Valley incident was different but even there there was major technology gap between the two forces and the gap in competence between the command of the IDF and Syrian Air Force and their respective tactics was enormous. Call me when the USAF/USN/Marines have proven guns utterly, utterly, useless in a conflict against a worthy enemy able to match them on every level in terms of resources, tactics, technology, force multipliers, force size and force quality. I'm not holding my breath.

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    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty View Post
    During the Iran-Iraq war there were quite a few gun kills. Of the rest of the examples you cited the US-Iraqi wars were turkey-shoots (at least in terms of A2A action) from whom I don't really think one can draw many useful conclusions about the value of internal guns. The last time America's military forces really broke a serious sweat was over Korea although they did get a pretty good workout in Vietnam despite their numerical superiority over the NVAF. The Beeka Valley incident was different but even there there was major technology gap between the two forces and the gap in competence between the command of the IDF and Syrian Air Force and their respective tactics was enormous. Call me when the USAF/USN/Marines have proven guns utterly, utterly, useless in a conflict against a worthy enemy able to match them on every level in terms of resources, tactics, technology, force multipliers, force size and force quality. I'm not holding my breath.
    The Bekaa valley clashes were the first with all aspect missiles. They happened mostly within visual range and at low altitude (classic gun territory). In these engagements most kills were achieved with all-aspect IR-AAM, followed by SARH-AAMs (AR-AAM were not available). That it became a Turkey shoot is due to the fact that missiles were used. If the Israelis had relied on their guns instead the Syrians would have gotten more opportunities to fire.

    Conclusion: a gun can be a very important asset, but with current AAM technology a well trained pilot will never need it (as he wouldn't make circles around his targets). It may be useful when the aircraft is out of missiles but not out of targets. Normally, the normal pilot would have left the arena at this point.

    For a fighter bomber things may look different, but honestly, I can hardly think of a 100 million USD F-35 making gun runs and getting caught by a 0.01 million stinger or a 0.0001 million USD 37mm AAA bullet.
    Last edited by Schorsch; 15th September 2008 at 19:11.
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty View Post
    During the Iran-Iraq war there were quite a few gun kills. Of the rest of the examples you cited the US-Iraqi wars were turkey-shoots (at least in terms of A2A action) from whom I don't really think one can draw many useful conclusions about the value of internal guns. The last time America's military forces really broke a serious sweat was over Korea although they did get a pretty good workout in Vietnam despite their numerical superiority over the NVAF. The Beeka Valley incident was different but even there there was major technology gap between the two forces and the gap in competence between the command of the IDF and Syrian Air Force and their respective tactics was enormous. Call me when the USAF/USN/Marines have proven guns utterly, utterly, useless in a conflict against a worthy enemy able to match them on every level in terms of resources, tactics, technology, force multipliers, force size and force quality. I'm not holding my breath.

    In the case of A2A, despite the conventional wisdom, missiles have proved to be a superior weapon since before the Vietnam conflict, even with the requirement for positive ID. The reason that the statistics oft cited don't reflect this is because those stats are measuring the wrong thing. The reason ratios in the past showed that guns had a higher percentage of kills when they were used relative to missiles, is because in most cases, you never got into position to use the gun and so all those failed encounters never showed up in the ratios for gun. For example, if a jet crosses at 90 degrees in front of you a mile and a half away, the chances of a gun kill are almost nil. Similarly, a tail chase at three miles or so. Yet, in both cases you might try a missile shot. Take a scenario of 10 cases where the opponent is five miles ahead of you, and you have a lousy missile. You take 10 missile shots and get two kills, for a poor ratio of .2. Now, let's say that in two of those cases, the opponent has engine trouble, falls asleep, doesn't have situational awareness or is just plain dumb and lets you close to 1,200 feet astern. You use the gun twice and get one kill. The statistics will show that even though you got half as many kills for the same number of encounters, and in fact 80% of the time you were never able to in position to even try, the gun was more than twice as "good" as the missile. Missiles, of course are a lot better nowadays than they were.

    Different scenario: You are in your Typhoon, or whatever, and look to port and see a bad guy a half mile or so off your left wing flying a parallel course. Not a thing you can do with your gun, but with your ASRAAM, helmet aimed or no, you can launch and it will streak over and knock him down. Yes, with the gun you can go through a whole bunch of maneuvering to try and get in a firing position, but it will be very hard, and you’ll have had numerous missile launch opportunities while you're trying to get in position for your gun shot.

    Take another example. The F-22 carries a gun. But, to use it against another fighter the Raptor has to give up its stealth, supercruise and higher operating altitude to get into position. In other words, to use the gun the Raptor has to put itself on an even playing field with the opponent, which defeats the whole reason so much money was spent on the Raptor to begin with.


    Given the brevity of encounters and the performance of modern fighters, the internal gun is note terribly effective. They work, on occasion, but other weapons work a lot better.

    Of course, if the B-2 is sufficiently stealthy that a missile can't track it and can control its IR emissions well enough, maybe the only weapon you could use against it would be a gun.


    It'll never be proven that guns are, "...utterly, utterly, useless in a conflict against a worthy enemy ", because they'll always have some utility. However, are they worth their costs in weight, expense, damage to the airframe, design compromises necessary to accommodate them, waste disposal problems, etc. is the question. I would submit that in the overwhelming majority of cases, the answer is "No". It's no accident that the Marines' Harriers rarely fly even in combat with loaded guns, the British Harriers don't even mount guns, and the F-35B & C don't even have provisions for internal guns. Originally, the RAF was going to eliminate internal guns from their Typhoons, but now are keeping them for a/g work. Yes, it's hard to strafe with an A2A missile. In an urban environment, though, it looks like missiles or PGMs are the weapons of choice because guns cause too much collateral damage.
    Last edited by ST-21; 20th September 2008 at 21:06.

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    Yes, it's hard to strafe with an A2A missile.
    Well you've obviously never played Ace Combat. :diablo:

    I think what they did with the Typhoon was a good idea. Keep the gun installed in the aircraft in the off-chance that you need it, but just keep it empty for most missions. It's a nice compromise in between carrying the dead weight of bullets for 90% of missions and deleting the gun all together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ST-21 View Post
    It's no accident that the Marines' Harriers rarely fly even in combat with loaded guns, the British Harriers don't even mount guns, and the F-35B & C don't even have provisions for internal guns.

    Funny, the reports back from Afganistan showed the British Army preferred calling the USMC for air support over the RAF, specifically due to the AV-8B+ having loaded guns, and the GR7s NOT having them.

    The British Army sure feels guns are essential in a CAS aircraft.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bager1968 View Post
    Funny, the reports back from Afganistan showed the British Army preferred calling the USMC for air support over the RAF, specifically due to the AV-8B+ having loaded guns, and the GR7s NOT having them.

    The British Army sure feels guns are essential in a CAS aircraft.

    I mistakenly took the discussion a bit far afield using the Harrier, because the original question was internal guns as an A2A weapon. I do beliee the gun has a significant role in CAS, although whether it needs to be internal (in the Harrier it's not) is an open question. Even in CAS, though, since we care about minimizing civilian casualties, some of its usefulness is compromised in the urban environment (not the case in most uses in Afghanistan) because at least our side cares about collateral damage. Also, in defense of the RAF, it should be remembered that their use of the Harrier is more broad and so their crews' training has to cover more topics. With the USMC, dedicated CAS is the reason for the AV-8's existence and that role is the overwhelmingly what their training is geared towards and what they practice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoofahBoy View Post
    Well you've obviously never played Ace Combat. :diablo:

    I think what they did with the Typhoon was a good idea. Keep the gun installed in the aircraft in the off-chance that you need it, but just keep it empty for most missions. It's a nice compromise in between carrying the dead weight of bullets for 90% of missions and deleting the gun all together.


    Actually, the RAF's plan was to delete the gun entirely after the Typhoons already in production were completed and for those too far along, their internal guns were to be rendered inoperable and were not going to be maintained. That decision apparently has been reversed because of what's going on where it's being used and for lack of a suitable gun pod usable by Typhoon.

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    So what happens when two stealth fighters go face to face? Are either of them remotely likely to get radar locks at ranges worthy of BVR combat? And if they do, how likely is a missile seeker going to keep and maintain a lock?

    Unless there are major break-throughs in radar tech, air combat is going to get a whole lot more up close and personal in the future between near-peer world powers.

    And who can say what close-range defensive systems would be in place by then and what impact they will have on IRAAMs? But nothing short of making a plane invisible in the visible light frequencies will be able to spoof your standard issue 20-20 MKI eyeball. In a world of constant change and uncertainty, its the surest bet, and the cost is so low it really would be a no-brainer not to make it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by plawolf View Post
    So what happens when two stealth fighters go face to face? Are either of them remotely likely to get radar locks at ranges worthy of BVR combat? And if they do, how likely is a missile seeker going to keep and maintain a lock?
    I asked that myself.

    the cannon will ALWAYS be a useful weapon, I believe.
    right now I'm thinking about warning shots for an airliner in the night. :diablo:
    Last edited by Jolly07; 21st September 2008 at 17:26. Reason: lapse, I used the word "almost" instead of "always"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly07 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by plawolf View Post
    So what happens when two stealth fighters go face to face? Are either of them remotely likely to get radar locks at ranges worthy of BVR combat? And if they do, how likely is a missile seeker going to keep and maintain a lock?
    I asked that myself.

    the cannon will almost be a useful weapon, I believe.
    right now I'm thinking about warning shots for an airliner in the night. :diablo:
    Two VLO stealth airplanes would likely fly past each other without realizing the other was present.

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    Especially if you take into account what happened to the F-117 that got inbetween Michael Showers and the Mig-29 over Serbia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by plawolf View Post
    So what happens when two stealth fighters go face to face? Are either of them remotely likely to get radar locks at ranges worthy of BVR combat? And if they do, how likely is a missile seeker going to keep and maintain a lock?

    Unless there are major break-throughs in radar tech, air combat is going to get a whole lot more up close and personal in the future between near-peer world powers.

    And who can say what close-range defensive systems would be in place by then and what impact they will have on IRAAMs? But nothing short of making a plane invisible in the visible light frequencies will be able to spoof your standard issue 20-20 MKI eyeball. In a world of constant change and uncertainty, its the surest bet, and the cost is so low it really would be a no-brainer not to make it.
    The seeker-head of the AIM-9X does give the answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sens View Post
    The seeker-head of the AIM-9X does give the answer.
    And new countermeasures have never been brought out to deal with a new kind of seeker before.
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    Since there's no "A2A fighters" around at all... aircraft is more and more in support of other units and missions rather than for unlikely individual A2A combat.

    Another point is how supersonic fighter and its gun is excellent for downing cruise missiles and UAVs. Or rounds towards small boats.

    And it's always there. In fact how can you be sure you're loaded with decent AAMs (or more than a pair of sidewinders) when you're out on mission... you've been on a bomb mission and got nothing but a gun and countermeasures to fight... maybe you're rival is in equally bad shape... You know most real air missions is ground attack by nature and only a small number of fighters is used for escort and armed to the teeth with AAMs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schorsch View Post
    Please, as you know the history and we obviously don't, tell us: When was the last gun kill in aerial combat?
    That would be very probably May 2000 where Eritrean MiG-29 achieved a confirmed kill against Ethiopian MiG-21bis using GSh-30 cannon. There haven't been many aerial fights since then...

    Quote Originally Posted by Schorsch View Post
    How many gun kills in gulf 1991?
    Six.
    Three helicopter kills by Kuwaiti A-4KUs, one cargo aircraft kill by USAF F-15C, two helicopter kills by USAF OA-10A.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schorsch View Post
    How many gun kills in the Falklands 1982?
    Next to the famous Lynx kill by Pucara there were several damaged helos, even one SHAR hit by FAA Daggers. I have found no exact record for British gun kills but I seem to remember a C-130 kill by SHAR or Pucara kill by GR3(?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Schorsch View Post
    How many gun kills during Iran-Iraq war 1980-88?
    Many.. Something close to 35. Plus another 16 helo vs helo cannon kills.

    One helicopter kill by F-14A; two helos, one Su-20 and six MiGs by IRIAF F-4s; two Fitters, two Fishbeds and six helicopter kills by F-5E; four F-5s and one helo by MiG-23, two Phantoms and four helos by MiG-21MF plus one F-14 w/o by MiG-23's cannon (managed to perform emergency landing).

    Helo kills include six helicopters plus four fighters downed by AH-1 Cobras and five/six helos downed by Iraqi Hinds/Gazelles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schorsch View Post
    Conclusion: a gun can be a very important asset, but with current AAM technology a well trained pilot will never need it (as he wouldn't make circles around his targets). It may be useful when the aircraft is out of missiles but not out of targets. Normally, the normal pilot would have left the arena at this point.
    That's a very strong and less than well-thought statement. It is sufficient when a fighter encounters a helicopter, UAV, a drug trafficking aircraft or an ultralight dangerously approaching government building. All these targets might be difficult to acquire for your AAM, what will you do then? Ram a $60mil aircraft into a target worth $300,000?

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    Quote Originally Posted by flex297 View Post
    That would be very probably May 2000 where Eritrean MiG-29 achieved a confirmed kill against Ethiopian MiG-21bis using GSh-30 cannon. There haven't been many aerial fights since then...
    Eritrea is not a good example.


    Quote Originally Posted by flex297
    Six.
    Three helicopter kills by Kuwaiti A-4KUs, one cargo aircraft kill by USAF F-15C, two helicopter kills by USAF OA-10A.
    I do not dispute these numbers, but none of these targets can be called a real air combat situation. It is more turkey shoot, and I didn't deny the viability of a gun for turkey shoot.

    Quote Originally Posted by flex297
    Next to the famous Lynx kill by Pucara there were several damaged helos, even one SHAR hit by FAA Daggers. I have found no exact record for British gun kills but I seem to remember a C-130 kill by SHAR or Pucara kill by GR3(?)
    Again: for fight against helicopters we can generally skip stealth, BVR missiles and all that technology overkill.

    In the end: thanks for the detailed information, but I can't see how modern air-to-air combat is ruled by guns. My point was:
    Conclusion: a gun can be a very important asset, but with current AAM technology a well trained pilot will never need it (as he wouldn't make circles around his targets). It may be useful when the aircraft is out of missiles but not out of targets. Normally, the normal pilot would have left the arena at this point.
    And that is valid. For a fight versus another fighter (which has AAMs), the gun is no current weapon.

    Quote Originally Posted by flex297
    That's a very strong and less than well-thought statement. It is sufficient when a fighter encounters a helicopter, UAV, a drug trafficking aircraft or an ultralight dangerously approaching government building. All these targets might be difficult to acquire for your AAM, what will you do then? Ram a $60mil aircraft into a target worth $300,000?
    You don't need a 60 Million USD fighter for that mission.

    If the mission of a fighter is to kill other fighters and gain air dominance, than the gun is secondary and most of the time wasted weight. I do not deny that it adds flexibility to a platform for missions not anticipated, but reasoning its use with the necessity in air2air combat (and not turkey shoot) is false logic.

    Attack runs on helicopters are by the way very dangerous for fighter aircraft. I wouldn't do it on current helicopters.
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    RE: Reload this Page Place of the internal gun on A2A fighters

    Quote Originally Posted by Schorsch View Post
    I think a high caliber light weight gun with limited amount of ammunition is no wasted weight. The M61 with 800 rounds is wasted weight.
    The USA and USSR/Russia have always had different philosophies on the type of cannons needed in aerial combat. The Russians use larger caliber cannons with a slower rate of fire because their number one was always considered to be the enemy bombers. The USA on the other hand always considered enemy fighters as being a primary threat. That shots at the opponent will not be long lasting but rather 'snap shots'. In that situation, the great number of shells is what they desired.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
    the Soviets/Russians have always preached and delivered - the aircraft gun/cannon is one of the most versatile and simple weapons
    Not quite! The MiG-21 (like the F-4 Phantom and Mirage III) were designed without the cannon! The Soviet AF commanders were the first to lose faith in the missile, so a cannon was designed into the production MiG-21's. The Mirage III was also designed without the cannon. Israel was the first customer to order the fighter and insist upon having a cannon on their fighters. They wrangled over the point until the Israelis refused to purchase the fighters without a cannon. The F-4 Phantom II has a well known story about being produced without a gun for the US Navy. They figured their new interceptor was going to intercept bombers a long ways from the carrier.... the days of fighter combat were gone.


    IMHO, the gun being a waste on fighters is the same mentality as the bayonet being a waste for the infantry soldier!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by plawolf View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sens View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by plawolf View Post
    So what happens when two stealth fighters go face to face? Are either of them remotely likely to get radar locks at ranges worthy of BVR combat? And if they do, how likely is a missile seeker going to keep and maintain a lock?

    Unless there are major break-throughs in radar tech, air combat is going to get a whole lot more up close and personal in the future between near-peer world powers.

    And who can say what close-range defensive systems would be in place by then and what impact they will have on IRAAMs? But nothing short of making a plane invisible in the visible light frequencies will be able to spoof your standard issue 20-20 MKI eyeball. In a world of constant change and uncertainty, its the surest bet, and the cost is so low it really would be a no-brainer not to make it.
    The seeker-head of the AIM-9X does give the answer.
    And new countermeasures have never been brought out to deal with a new kind of seeker before.
    Imaging IR seekers still rely on contrast between various areas of the target and the background. If you can create a coating that can eliminate those contrasts, then the IIR seeker sees an nondescript blob. At distance where only one or two pixels within an imaging array are in play, a lack of contrast with the background means the target goes undetected.

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    Lets wait and see how the tactical laser mounted on the C-130 works. A miniaturized version might make a good gun replacement, especially since the mirrored reflector gives hemispherical coverage. The pilot no longer has to point the airplane's nose at the target to achieve a kill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly07 View Post
    I asked that myself.

    the cannon will ALWAYS be a useful weapon, I believe.
    right now I'm thinking about warning shots for an airliner in the night. :diablo:

    Some thoughts on this:

    1st, regarding stealth fighters, they aren't invisible. A sufficiently advanced missile will probably still be able to track them, especially if they get the righ angle, albeit at reduced range.

    2nd, they are still vulnerable to IR, again maybe at reduced range.

    3rd, stealthy or no, it's really, really hard, given the performance of modern fighters, to get in position for and hold on target long enough for a ballistic, non-maneuvering weapon such as a gun to actually hit the thing. A directed energy weapon is another story because, relative to the beam, the target is motionless.


    As far as an airliner at night, unless you waste rounds on tracer ammo, the airliner isn't going to see your warning shots anyway, and if you put the cannon pointing to close to the subject, you night start hitting it, which kind of kills the "warning" part of the exercise. It's simpler to use the technique practiced by F-14s when they would do that kind of intercept: Fly up alongside the airliner and then go to min. a/b. That lights up the sky for miles and really gets their attention!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian_44 View Post



    Not quite! The MiG-21 (like the F-4 Phantom and Mirage III) were designed without the cannon! The Soviet AF commanders were the first to lose faith in the missile, so a cannon was designed into the production MiG-21's. The Mirage III was also designed without the cannon. Israel was the first customer to order the fighter and insist upon having a cannon on their fighters. They wrangled over the point until the Israelis refused to purchase the fighters without a cannon. The F-4 Phantom II has a well known story about being produced without a gun for the US Navy. They figured their new interceptor was going to intercept bombers a long ways from the carrier.... the days of fighter combat were gone.


    IMHO, the gun being a waste on fighters is the same mentality as the bayonet being a waste for the infantry soldier!!!

    Adrian

    The question is not whether internal guns on a fighter are a pure waste for A2A, but rather whether they are worth the rather significant penalties incurred in having them.

    As for the F-4, in Vietnam the "2nd generation" F-4s, USAF's F-4E and USN's F-4J were deployed about the same time. The F-4E had an internal gun, he F-4J did not (the lack of which permitted the J to have a better radar). The F-4J did noticeably better in air-to-air combat.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian_44 View Post
    The USA and USSR/Russia have always had different philosophies on the type of cannons needed in aerial combat. The Russians use larger caliber cannons with a slower rate of fire because their number one was always considered to be the enemy bombers. The USA on the other hand always considered enemy fighters as being a primary threat. That shots at the opponent will not be long lasting but rather 'snap shots'. In that situation, the great number of shells is what they desired.
    The Eurofighter and Rafale use a ... correct, large caliber slow firing gun. Since invention of computer, IRST and radars and HUDs the gun can be so precise that you don't need the "fill the air with lead" M61. Remember, it was designed for the F-104A.


    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian_44 View Post
    IMHO, the gun being a waste on fighters is the same mentality as the bayonet being a waste for the infantry soldier!!!
    A gun with ammo weights about 400kg at minimum for an M61. That is in case of a F-15 about 3% of the OEW or 2% of the NTOW. Conventional wisdom says that if you put these 400kg out of the aircraft, the NTOW decreases to 18-19t.

    An average soldier weights empty 70kg and (with equipment, gun and stuff) 100kg "NTOW". So if a bayonet weights 2kg, I would consider it wasted weight. A bayonet does weight 0.2kg, which would be in F-15 terms about 40kg. For that weight I would take a gun any time.
    Publicly, we say one thing... Actually, we do another.

  30. #30
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    RE: Place of the internal gun on A2A fighters

    Quote Originally Posted by Schorsch View Post
    Since invention of computer, IRST and radars and HUDs the gun can be so precise that you don't need the "fill the air with lead" M61.
    As I said in posting #24, it is a philosophical perspective. It works for America and its needs. Maybe other countries have different needs and their requirements are different. As I also stated, the snap shot is the circumstance in which the M-61 is better than its competitors. Slower firing rates in this circumstance means the target aircraft might not be hit because the impact point is either in front or in back of the aircraft. The fifty or seventy-five rounds per second would mean multiple hits.
    The USAF looked at using another caliber cannon for the F-22A, such as the GAU-22/A -four barrel 25mm cannon (used on the F-35) and in the end for air to air combat decided to stay with the M-61 for a variety of reasons. It is not a matter of filling the air with lead, the cost of the ammo, or the additional fuel usage due to the additional weight. It is about have a badly needed weapon when all else fails.

    [QUOTE=Schorsch;1301672]An average soldier weights empty 70kg and (with equipment, gun and stuff) 100kg "NTOW". So if a bayonet weights 2kg, I would consider it wasted weight./QUOTE]
    Maybe in Japan and a few other countries the weight of the average soldier is 70kg (154lbs) but in the American Army it is well above 84kg (185lbs). (SEE NOTE) As late as the combat in Iraq -2003 showed, the bayonet was still needed in ground / hand to hand combat! When the 'fit hits the shan' that extra amount can make the difference between life and death. That is true whether the combat is on the ground or in the air.
    NOTE:
    In WW-2, Japanese Marines lost many hand to hand combat at because they were forty pounds on average lighter than the US Marines they faced, 140 (63kg) to 180 (82kg) respectively. Today's US Marines and soldiers are heavier than their WW-2 counter-parts.

    Adrian
    Adrian_44

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