Fighter of the fifth generation — a mistake the Pentagon?

The fifth generation fighter in the world became a kind of symbol of absolute power in their performance is not customary to doubt, they made proud. They are trying to build all the countries that claim to be a great aviation power. Perhaps the only thing they sometimes blame is a very high cost. The program is developing the American F-22 group of companies led by Lockheed Martin was worth more than $ 60 billion, F-35 cost a little less.

The US President-elect Donald trump in December, wrote in his Twitter that are extremely dissatisfied with the cost of the project F-35, which immediately dropped the shares of Lockheed Martin.

In his first press conference after the election, he again criticized the project, saying that it’s not whether to organise a competition, considered as alternatives, the Boeing F/A-18E/F the previous fourth generation.

American military aviation analyst Pierre Sprey in the 1970-ies was part of a group of military pilots, engineers and experts in the Pentagon, which developed the “theory of power-maneuverability” (energy-maneuverability theory), which led to the creation of the mathematical model of calculation of parameters of a fighter.

On the basis of this model developed the concept of a light fighter, in which in the 1970-ies was built by the famous F-16. Spray also participated in the development of technical specifications for A-X, which resulted in the creation of attack aircraft A-10.

Spray known for the fact that he’s one of the few in the world and in the United States criticized the idea of developing a technologically sophisticated, but expensive aircraft to conduct air combat, which led to the creation of the fifth generation fighter F-22 and F-35.

Correspondent of Russian service bi-Bi-si Pavel Aksenov has talked to an expert, asking whether the cost of these two aircraft the money invested in them.

Pierre Sprey: It was a huge mistake. Each new F-22 that we buy each new F-35 weaken the combat capability of the U.S. air force. The reason is very simple. They are not so good. The F-22 some characteristics is quite high, and the F-35, there is nothing outstanding, it’s just a huge disaster. But in both cases they invested the money that could be spent on better planes. When you consider all the hidden cost of project, not just the official cost of each F-22 costs about half a billion dollars.

Over half a billion dollars to buy at least ten fighters that will be much better. Yes, they just destroy the BBC, taking the money for the plane, which in General is not bad, but just extremely expensive! As for the F-22 and F-35, both of them, and so difficult to maintain that they will not represent any special forces in the air — their effectiveness in wartime will be very low.

Even given the fact that the F-22 have high agility, they are quite a bit. You see, it is no coincidence that we were able to buy only 183 units — they’re just too expensive. But in order to have real force, we need thousands of fighters, not 183. In addition, it should be the fighters, which fly at least twice a day. Frequency of flights F-22 and F-35 — from once per four days to once a week. They simply are not in the air. When the aircraft is on the ground — he’s a target when he flies — he is a weapon.

Bi-bi-si: You’re talking about maneuverability of the F-22 as some of its dignity.And that this quality can still be useful to fighters? Do you think that in the case of a great war in the air will be maneuverable fighting?

— It was a great dream. She was born, if memory serves, in the early to mid-1950-ies. The great dream of aerial combat beyond the line of sight. The term “air combat beyond visual contact with the target” [beyond visual range combat]. In other words, you see someone on your radar at a distance of much more than visible to the naked eye. You’re looking at a point on the screen, capture the target, press the button and after 30 seconds, the point disappears.

It was a great dream. It remains so to this day. But it didn’t work then, so it’s not working now. Well, except that some of the technology has changed. The main problem here is that dot on the radar screen is not painted in red or blue color. It’s just a point. In this aerial war — I’m not talking about the war with small countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and so on, I’m talking about a serious force — and so, in battle during a serious war in the air will involve hundreds of aircraft. On both sides.

And they will mix. In aerial combat, there is no front line in this battle will not be our airspace and the airspace of the enemy. And when you see the dot on the screen among hundreds of other points, it can be as your aircraft and the enemy aircraft.

Of course, people are constantly inventing new and better systems of recognition of friend or foe, but so far, for each was created and the system counter. None can guarantee safety. And as soon as they are unsafe, will have to identify the enemy more reliably. Such methods, there are two.

First — if you’re stupid enough, it will turn on the radar. If you turn on the radar in the presence of technically equipped enemy, then all at once it becomes clear who you are. This is how to enable the beacon to signal: “I’m here, I’m Russian, I’m Chinese, I’m American, I’m British.”

This is determined by the radar signal. The signal can be seen to trace its source at a much greater distance than with the help of your radar — this radiation is very powerful. You know? The source of the radar radiation is visible at a distance three to five times greater than the distance at which the radar is able to observe the target. Every serious country produces missiles, homing on a source of radar radiation. Anti-radar missiles of a class “earth-air”, “air-ground” and “air-air”.

And now you turn on the radar in modern warfare against a technically well-equipped enemy and instantly get in the face rocket. In my opinion, in modern air combat with prepared enemy (not in case of war with small countries) simply cannot enable the radar. The conclusion is that stealth technology does not make sense. You just won’t be missed by the radar — except for those who are sitting on the ground. And they can do it with “stealth.” There is no “stealth” for large ground-based radars.

And look where we ended up. Because anti-radar missiles we cannot identify the enemy, unless, of course, he’s not stupid enough to turn on the radar, because in this case it can be down at a distance of 250 kilometers, is wanted. And if he’s not that stupid, you have to get close to him and see it his or someone else’s. And when you’re that close, and we’re talking about distance from a mile and a half, depending on weather conditions, you’re already engaged in battle, to Dodge will not work.

— Melee, agility is a key property.So, right, those who continued to develop it, for example, Russian designers?

— Yes, of course. In a situation when the enemy is so far advanced in tracking radar signals when it has anti-radar missiles, nothing remains but to rely on maneuverability. This is a key quality of any modern fighter. And those planes that we have, in consequence of Hobbies to those characteristics which were noticed in the development of fifth generation fighter, not very maneuverable.

The best modern fighters — F-22, Rafale, Typhoon and Russian aircraft, which could be better if were not so massive, so — characteristics of modern aircraft is not as good as the YF-16 aircraft, which served as the prototype F-16. This aircraft, first took to the air in 1973, was much more maneuverable than the modern so-called fifth generation fighter.

The fifth generation is just a marketing ploy. It has nothing to do with efficiency, it is irrelevant to the invincible fighter [how it is positioned developers]. And this term was not used except as a marketing tool. It did not exist before that never until the mid-1990s. It was invented by Lockheed and the U.S. air force to “sell” the F-22 and then F-35.

So, the rights of Donald trump when he criticizes the project F-35?

I have no idea. I don’t know who advises him. Still the talk was about how to make the F-35 is cheaper, but it’s not a good idea. Much better to just turn the project. Every F-35 we buy, even if it is five per cent cheaper, helps to kill the combat capability of the U.S. air force.

— So what should do now?

— To turn the F-35 program and invest money in upgrading those aircraft, which we already have. In early versions of the F-16 [now produce Lockheed Martin] F-15 [Boeing], to develop new engines for them to close the gap in fighter the Park that exists now. This allows you to quickly nractice the number of air force instead of cutting it every time we buy the F-35. This is the plan for the coming years. However, you need to immediately begin developing a new aircraft, guided by the principles of military efficiency, not politics sales of high technology companies, which doesn’t work.