Wednesday, July 22, 2015

P.W. Singer and August Cole? 'Game Show' Quality Defense Analysis

(Apologies to Game Shows Everywhere)

Ersatz sound-bite providers cum defense 'thinkers' P.W. Singer and August Cole have piled even more B.S. on the F-35 non-story that was made up out of whole cloth earlier over at 'Axe is Boring'.

To summarize the authors (in sequence):
  1. Help propagate the disinformation cascade by repeating the nonsensical hit-piece-on-a-report that neither they nor the original author propagating such drivel apparently are capable of understanding. 
  2. Misrepresent the official response to said hit-piece and critique their own misrepresentation. 
  3. Repeat a tired old ‘we tried missiles only’ trope. (Only interceptors designed to engage nuclear-armed bombers at a distance were ever ‘missiles only’ armed). 
  4. Misrepresent the Navy’s actual design objective of the F-4, which was as a "Fleet Interceptor" of aforementioned bombers, and armed with A2A missiles designed to intercept those same less-than-maneuverable bombers and at very high altitudes (unlike how the ROEs shaped SEA combat). BTW: The Air Force ALWAYS wanted a gun on its F-4s in the fighter role. Robert the ’Strange’ said ‘NO’ to the AF until the F-4E. 
  5. Provide a cartoon snapshot of the fighter pilots' post-1968 experience in SEA. 
  6. Then reassert the bogus F-35 hit-piece masquerading as ‘reporting’ and analysis as if there were 'facts' involved.

So then.... 

Q: What IS there about the rest of the authors' so-called ‘analysis’ that would make their ‘blog post’ anything other than 'intellectual' booger-flicking?

A: Nothing.

By way of a palate cleanser, lets compare Singer and Cole's B.S. with some, y'know...FACTS.

Contrary to what some might believe, I try not to just point at the stupid people and their stupidity without also providing some positive and countervailing content. So in passing, let us review some information that at least provides some information as to what that 'test' Axe & Co. got their beta-boy panties in a wad over  REALLY means -- instead of what they want it to mean (apparently just because it fits their preconceived life-positions).

The Testing in Question was Described Ahead of Time Last Year 

From the 2014 AIAA paper "F-35A High Angle-of-Attack Testing"[1], authored by a Mr. Steve Baer, (Lockheed Martin "Aeronautical Engineer, Flying Qualities" at Edwards AFB), and presented to the Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference held between 16 and 20 June 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia we find that F-35 High AoA testing was designed to follow in the following progression: 
The test objectives for high angle-of-attack testing are as follows:
1) Characterize the flyqualities [sic] at AoAs from 20° to the control law limit regime with operationally representative maneuvers. 
2) Demonstrate the aircraft’s ability to recover from out of control flight and assess deep stall susceptibility 
3) Evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of the automatic pitch rocker (APR) 
4) Evaluate departure resistance at both positive and negative AoA with center of gravity (CG) positions up to the aft limit and with maximum lateral asymmetry. 
5) Assess the handling qualities of the aircraft in the High AoA flight
Now, in case a 'punk journalist' or other factually-challenged reader wanders by, we need to be clear that #5 has nothing to do with "dogfighting". We know this because Mr. Baer makes two points shortly thereafter within the paper. 

The first point is relevant to the state of the testing at the time of his writing. I observe that this paper was written during Objective #4 testing and published at about the time it concluded. This observation is supported by the passage [emphasis/brackets mine]:
With intentional departure testing [Objective #4] wrapped up, the team will soon move into departure resistance [Objective #4] and plan to remove the SRC now that these systems have been verified. In this phase of testing, the jet will test the CLAW limiters with much higher energy and rates than previous testing, fleshing out and correcting areas that may be departure prone. Lastly, select operational maneuvers [Objective #5], such as a slow down turn and a Split-S, will be used to gather handling qualities data on high AoA maneuvers. With the completion of this phase, the F-35 will be released for initial operational capability in the high AoA region.
   Note: 'CLAW' is Control Law and 'SRC' is Spin Recovery Chute.
Clearly the testing was not yet at step #5 at the time of writing but to emphasize same, the author followed the above paragraph with [emphasis mine]: 
While the flight test team will explore legacy high AoA maneuvers for handling qualities, it will be the Operational Test and Evaluation team that will truly develop high AoA maneuvers for the F-35. In the operational world, a pilot should rarely be taking the F-35 into the high angle-of-attack regime, but the ability to do so could make the difference between being the victor or the victim in air-to-air combat....
So with this paragraph, not only does the author expound on the exploring of "legacy high AoA maneuvers" (the 'legacy' part is important) that is to come, he specifically assigns the kind of testing that will "truly develop high AoA maneuvers for the F-35" (vs. 'legacy' which may be differed from) to the Operational Testers and NOT part of the Edwards AFB Developmental Test Team activities. 

In a nutshell, just within these two paragraphs that Baer wrote in early/mid 2014 is precisely what the JPO/LM stated in their official response to Axe's B.S.
Therefore the "reasonable man" may logically and confidently conclude the JPO response:
  1. WAS NOT simply something that was contrived in response to Axe's made up bullsh*t  but...
  2. WAS accurately asserting what the testing was truly about...
....debunking all and any claims to the contrary.

[1] AIAA #2014-2057

Minor changes for clarity, readability and typo corrections made 23 July 15 @ 1944 hrs.  


Phil T said...

Thanks for your regular debunking posts. It's really annoying that the armchair experts opinions are touted as fact. Here's a new piece that's started doing the rounds. Of course the guy is self promoting and linking it everywhere in the hope it gets picked up in the mainstream media

SMSgt Mac said...

Hi Phil T.
That was pretty sad. I note here the good 'Doctor' Malcolm Davis of Bond University has zero technical training in the area he's writing about, but has apparently been a 'policy' cog in several defense-oriented organizations. There he may have rubbed up against people who probably knew something about modern radars and mistakenly assumed some knowledge rubbed off on him. The critical mistakes in his rather weak assertions are many, but none so damning to his position as (in no particular order) 1. failure to recognize the same vulnerabilities in any complex China defense system or 2. Not accounting for/ignoring that the current defense planning allows for the kinds of counterstrategies he speaks of 3. he's not privy to EW techniques/knowledge that those who do defense planning are (not tha he would understand them if he did) and 4. the fact he apparently suffers from Thomas S. Amlie blindness syndrome. ( For the F-35's radar, like much of where air defense (and airborne) systems are going is a Low Probability of Intercept Radar (LPIR) direction. The funny thing about LPIR is that it 'knows' what type it is, knows the carrier frequency used at any point in time, knows the modulation bandwidth used at any point in time, knows the modulation period, knows the scan timing that determines where the radar beam(s) is/are pointed at any one time, and knows when the radar modulation pattern used begins. Any system trying to detect them know none of these things, which creates the 'low probability' in LPIR.