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  • nastle
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Feb 2005
    • 523

    Multi role vs single mission aircraft

    Which one is more useful in the setting of big war of attrition involving intense combat over a number of weeks to months

    Alternatively which is more useful in a more limited conflict
  • obligatory
    Senior Member
    • Oct 2008
    • 7043

    #2
    i think a huge AF can benefit from having specialized types,
    but smaller AF are better off with one size fits all

    Comment

    • SpudmanWP
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Jan 2009
      • 5189

      #3
      There are many factors which govern this question like "Is there a limit to the number of aircraft available?"

      If the answer is no then by all means, specialized aircraft all the way. Unfortunately that is not the case, ever.

      In actuality the limit of aircraft can be quite pronounced, especially for countries with limited resources or unique situations like a US Naval action where they are limited to what can be on a carrier.

      There is a reason why the world's top defense departments have been concentrating on multirole fighters for the past 30+ years.
      "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

      Comment

      • paralay
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Aug 2005
        • 1371

        #4
        Practice-criterion of truth

        1940 - 1945

        light fighters Як-1 (8734), Як-3 (4848), Як-7 (6399), Total 19981
        heavy fighter ЛаГГ-1 / ЛаГГ-3 (6598), Ла-5 (9920), Ла-9 (1882), Total 18400
        interceptors МиГ-1 (100), МиГ-3 (3178), Total 3278
        multirole fighter Як-9 - 16769

        Click image for larger version

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        Last edited by paralay; 7th February 2017, 17:44.

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        • Sens
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Jan 2000
          • 12289

          #5
          The F-35, SH, Eurofighter, Rafale, Gripen a.s.o. give the answere. In a high threat war it is about air-superiority at first. It has to be done with the fighters at hand and is decided within a short time. An air campaign will not last more than a month in most cases or gone nuclear.

          Comment

          • sandiego89
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Feb 2008
            • 352

            #6
            Perhaps it is not one or the other, but a mix is likely best. It is important to consider why you are suffering from high attrition in your hypothetical scenario. If it is to superior air and surface based defenses defeating your single mission aircraft then you have the wrong mix- you need multirole that can fight and protect themselves, or or a better mix of complementary aircraft that can deal with the threat. In WWII sending certain single mission aircraft unescorted into enemy airspace proved suicidal (il-2, JU-87's B-17's....) Things improved when proper escorts were assigned to handle the air-to-air threat. Same lesson in Vietnam. Attack/bomber packages did much better when dedicated air-to air and SEAD resources were assigned to go with the attack aircraft.

            Frankly there is something to be said about complementary aircraft that allow more specialized aircraft to do what they excel at- but it is expensive as you need multiple types and larger numbers. If you can have the high mix go in and gain air superiority and defeat/suppress enemy air defenses, then you can go in with lower mix single mission aircraft. Multi/Omni role aircraft have blurred this distinction.

            In you more limited conflict, whatever can do the mission is good enough. In many instances a simple COIN aircraft would have sufficed against enemies with zero or limited defenses- but no one wants to invest in aircraft that can only fight an unsophisticated enemy.

            Also important to consider training. All tasks require training and are perishable skills. How much time can you afford to spend on each mission skill? Some of the best air-to-air crews spend most of their time on air-to-air skills. Same goes for other missions.

            I say if you can afford it, a complementary fleet is ideal.

            Comment

            • Sens
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Jan 2000
              • 12289

              #7
              In a high-low mix, the older ones can be effective in single missions as well. It makes no economical sense to have the highend ones for all missions always. In an asymmetrical war or peace-time it will prohibited to do so the related cost in mind.

              Comment

              • obligatory
                Senior Member
                • Oct 2008
                • 7043

                #8
                come to think of it, time also influence in favor of multirole,
                nowadays there is no time to start up production of any fighter after war started,
                it just takes too long, so what you got in your inventory is what you have to your disposal in the conflict

                Comment

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