Wired was not the only outlet to document the engagement, Flightglobal i believe amongstothers, made an excellent post on the exercises that was both clean andbalanced offering both sides to the tale, and from their perspective the F-22sperformance was certainly not as clear cut at this article seems to make outand indeed very much helps counter the arguments of those who have blindlyargued in the past that even within the WVR envelope that the Raptor would bestall comers including the Typhoon.
Furthermore,this version of events here fails to note that the Typhoons in question werefrom Luftwaffe units of Fighter Wing 74 (JG74). it is well known and evencommented upon in the article by the OC of JG74 that the Typhoons operated bythe RAF are by far and away more developed and indeed more advanced in a numberof aspects, than those operated by any of the consortiums partner nations orexport customers thus far. Therefore in effect meaning that the F-22 had infact been opposed by lesser Typhoons if you will. Whilst the proficiency of theLuftwaffe pilots is also not in question here, one may also point out thegreater premium upon which the RAF have placed in training their pilots fordogfighting and WVR engagements as opposed to their partners, this may alsoplay some part in the overall result, which i will now finish upon the fact,that seemingly it did not turn out too rosy for the F-22 after all even againstthese "lesser" Typhoons.
But once gain the result is disputed by both sides, JG74 said they faired favourably,the USAF claimed that they were the clear victors. frankly, and not as a resultof bias, i would prefer to trust the Germans on this one at the end of the daythat have not all too much to gain through manipulating results, well that isas opposed to what the USAF would stand to lose in terms of the prestige of theRaptor.
I definitely agree with this perception of surprise as being, well, wholly unsurprising. maybe it’s just that I become so used to being bombarded by posts seen all over the net by the dedicated Raptor/VLO fanclub that i may havestarted to inadvertently believe such propositions myself, or at least doubt my own logical counter argument. But as you pointed out, surprise seems to be rife elsewhere. i would indeed also agree with your statement that both performed as expected.
The Raptor, whilst by no means a slouch was seemingly in many respects equalled by the Typhoon across the whole regime, whilst each individual aircraft maintained some advantages in certain areas, the Raptor with its TVC and the Typhoon with its excellent acceleration and turn rates. the Raptor would ideally like to avoid a dogfight where possible as BVR is where its true advantage lies,it has at least proven it can survive against what is acknowledged by many to be the finest dogfighter in the air.
Maybe the USAF still wants to keeps its cards close to its chest, not wishing to divulge the secrets of its dream machine to even NATO allies. Maybe, from the other side of the coin, they are uncertain themselves. it would bevery embarrassing if the multibillion dollar Raptor didn’t perform quite as expected, or even if it were to flunk entirely (unlikely, but who can say for certain) against a plane that had long been denounced by Lockheed Martin. Are they aware of some deficiencies about the Raptor and or the true advantages of stealth? Have they found weaknesses that could be exploited? Maybe they think that the Raptor can’t live up to marketing expectations. alternatively maybe the Raptor is fine,but perhaps the Typhoon is just a tad better than first thought as many in the Typhoon fanclub would love to see happen. Or maybe it its none of those things, maybe the USAF is supremely confident in their platform, thus see no need totest what the feel it is absolute strong point, and instead wish to refine the platform in its one truearea of weakness against the most worthy opponent in service currently.
For me, it is not about how the Raptor will perform, i am confident in its abilities without having to have Lockheed Martin or the Raptor club tell me just how “amazing” it is. I’m however, keen to find out the marginsof performance between the 5 and 4.5 gen aircraft. The Typhoon is the latter generations best shot against Gen 5 platforms; therefore i am entirely curious to see just how good it really is. it has bags of promise, and all margins for measuring 5th gen performance thus far have been made against legacy fighters like the F15 and F 16, margins which the Typhoon itself has exceeded.
I am a little dubious as to the supposed all defeating superiority of VLO, and advocate that there are a number of ways with which to best it using platforms such as the Typhoon and equivalents, yet without a proper BVR engagement between a 5th gen stealth platform and a Typhoon (that we know of) we can only continue to blindly guess and speculate using what information we have or claim to have, with the pot ever more being stirred by the manufacturers and sales teams.
However, Reactive, if i may i would like your personal opinion on the last point I raised within my original post, that being in regards to the performance margins within the Typhoon consortium, chiefly being that the RAF platforms, are far ahead of their colleagues. With this being the case, how do you think the turnout would have been should they have been RAF Typhoons at the Red Flag exercise against the Raptors? Perhaps a more defined margin in favour of the Typhoon? Just how much better are the Typhoons of the RAF to their European counterparts, and what kind of advantage would this offer the RAF when challenging 5th gen platforms.
Secondly, to further expand on this point. do you feel that the new wave of updates coming online for the Typhoons, including the AESA CAPTOR E (CAESER) radar (with gimbal if I’m not much mistaken), Meteor BVRAAM and enhanced software updates including enhancements to the DASS countermeasures system among others, that the Typhoon could start to challenge 5th Gen platforms more effectively? Would it even be deemed a significant threat to the likes of the Raptor even within BVR to a degree?
Thanks in advance
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