World's Modern Aicraft's: Comparison


Note:This taken from Weapons and Technology,Publishing for public knowledge,no modifications to this article done so far



This page compares their capabilities as air superiority fighters, that is, fighting other fighter aircraft, which is generally a harder task than shooting down aircraft which are not fighters.

In general, because of the lack of reliable information about the fighters themselves, and the lack of actual combat between them, it is extremely hard to judge how they will perform in combat. The bodies in the best position to know — aircraft manufacturers and air forces — keep secret much of the real capabilities of their aircraft, but simultaneously often try to present them in the best possible light by claiming superiority over other comparable vehicles.

Aircraft included

For conciseness, this page considers only fighter aircraft manufactured in 2000 and those that are planned to be manufactured later in the decade. Older aircraft are likely to be less capable than the aircraft in this survey. Two promising Russian aircraft, the MiG-35 and Sukhoi Su-47 Berkut will also not be included as MIG-35 is deadend and SU-47 is only prototype.


The aircraft included are:

France: Dassault Aviation Rafale manufactured 2001

Germany/UK/Italy/Spain: Eurofighter Typhoon manufactured 2003

Russia:

Mikoyan MiG-29 'Fulcrum' manufactured 1983

Sukhoi Su-27 'Flanker' and derivatives such as Sukhoi Su-33: manufactured 1982

Sukhoi Su-30 'Flanker', manufactured 1996

Sweden/UK: Saab/BAE Systems JAS-39 Gripen manufactured 1996–
Taiwan: AIDC Ching Kuo, based on the F-16, manufactured 1994–2000

USA:

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle manufactured 1973–2000
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon manufactured 1978–2002
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet manufactured 1980
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor manufactured 2003
USA/UK: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter 2008


What makes a good fighter?

Performance

In short-range (within visual range or WVR) air-to-air combat conducted to date, fighters have had to get into a good position to fire their weapons upon the enemy fighter, and this is likely to continue to be an air-combat requirement. 

If a fighter can turn faster than its opponent, it will find it easier to get into a favorable position, -- generally, behind that opponent. An airplane's ability to turn can be roughly gauged by its wing loading. This is the mass of the aircraft divided by the area of the wings. The bigger the wings, the easier it is for them to push the aircraft in a direction other than that in which it is currently traveling. Note that some aircraft use thrust vectoring, where the jet exhaust from the engines doesn't always go straight backwards but can be tilted up or down (and sometimes also left to right) to increase maneuverability.

Engine power also confers advantages in air combat. Most simply, high overall speed can allow a pilot to choose to disengage an opponent by simply outrunning it. This ability to disengage may also apply to incoming missiles, allowing escape from what would be a fatal shot to a slower airplane.

A high-powered fighter is also more likely to maintain a crucial overall energy advantage over its opponent. All air combat maneuvers (ACM) require a certain amount of physical energy, most simply thought of as airspeed plus altitude. When fighters perform the high-g maneuvers common in air-to-air combat, they must sacrifice one or both of these qualities, and there are fundamental limits to how much of each can be sacrificed. Altitude can obviously not go below the ground level, and airspeed can not fall below the stall speed of the fighter. If a pilot attempts a maneuver at too low an initial total energy level, he/she will likely stall the airplane and become an easy target for a missile or gun kill. The fighter's engines add energy at a certain rate; the higher this rate, the greater can be considered the fighter's ability to manoeuver. Higher engine power allows the airplane to maintain a high energy level and therefore engage in more aggressive ACM.


A good comparative measure of acceleration is a plane's thrust to weight ratio (note that if this is greater than 1, the aircraft is capable of accelerating while flying straight up).

Thrust/Weight Ratiowing loading kg/m²notes
Rafale F21.133045300 l fuel internal
Typhoon1.183004700 l fuel internal
F-20.89430
MiG-29SM1.13411
Su-27
Su-30Indian Su-30MKI has thrust vectoring
Gripen0.94341
F-22A1.234213000 l fuel internal and 2D thrust vectoring
F-35A0.83446



In exercises using the new missiles, pilots report using only a small fraction of their available maneuverability, and that in WVR (within visual range) combat "everybody dies at the same rate", and "F-5 or a MiG-21 with a high-off-boresight missile and HMD is as capable in a 1-v-1 as an F-22" . As to the validity of this argument, it is worth noting that the F-22 (on the basis of the estimates presented here) has a very high thrust-to-weight ratio, low wing loading, and thrust vectoring to improve maneuverability; but whether this maneuverability is simply a remnant of its 1980's genesis is open to question. 

Conversely, on the basis of published thrust-to-weight ratios and wing loading the F-35 is likely to be little more maneuverable than the F-16.

Super-cruise

The Typhoon, the Rafale, and particularly the F-22 have a considerable performance advantage over the other craft in the list in that they have the ability to travel at supersonic speeds without the use of afterburners, an ability known as supercruise. As afterburners use a huge amount of fuel, most fighters can use them for only a few minutes. Therefore, an aircraft with supercruise should theoretically have a huge advantage in pursuing or evading a non supercruise-capable plane, in that the supercruise-capable aircraft will have a higher speed and thus a higher amount of maneuvering energy. Supercruise will also allow these planes to spend more time in combat, particularly at longer ranges, rather than in transit.


Stealth

Recent American fighter aircraft development has focused on stealth, and the recently deployed F-22 is the first fighter designed from the ground up for stealth. However, the stealthiness of the F-22 from angles other than head-on is not clear. The in-development F-35 is also regarded as stealthy, but some reports claim it is significantly less so than the F-22, particularly from the rear. .

Furthermore, the export JSF is claimed to be significantly less stealthy than the US/UK version.

The Rafale and Typhoon are not ground-up stealth designs, but since the disclosure of the F-22 and earlier stealthy bomber designs they have undergone substantial detail refinement to reduce their radar cross section (RCS). How much effect this has on detection range is unclear. Effective detection range by radar is usually approximated as proportional to RCS^0.25 and therefore even reducing an aircrafts RCS by 50% does little to reduce detection range. The Mitsubishi F-2 and the Indian Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) are also reported to have been equipped with radar-absorbing material in parts. 

Neither the MiG-29 nor the Su-27 and its derivatives have any known stealthy features, nor do the F-16 derivatives produced by Taiwan. Similarly, there are no reports on the stealthiness of the Chinese aircraft.

Actual figures of the stealthiness of the various aircraft are unsurprisingly highly classified.

There are some reports that the Rafale's avionics, the Thales Spectra, includes "stealthy" radar jamming technology, a radar cancellation systems analogous to the acoustic noise suppression systems on the De Havilland Canada Dash 8. Conventional jammers make locating an aircraft more difficult, but their operation is itself detectable; the French system is hypothesised to interfere with detection without revealing that jamming is in operation. In effect, such a system could potentially offer stealth advantages similar in effect to, but likely less effective than, the F-22 and JSF. However, it is unclear how effective the system is, or even whether it is fully operational yet.


Avionics

The avionics systems of the various fighters vary considerably. In general, Western avionics are viewed as by far the most technologically sophisticated. The F-22 and F-35 have a unified avionics design, with most processing performed in a central aircraft computer and with very high-speed interfaces to individual components. The Rafale and Eurofighter have slower main computers and internal data networks. How much difference this actually makes, of course, is open to conjecture; the "devil is in the detail" of the software and special-purpose used to process sensor and positioning information which is in any case classified. Russian and other nations' avionics are also generally regarded as less technologically sophisticated than American ones at this point in time. However, it should be noted that it is possible to upgrade avionics architecture without changing the airframes, and that governments tend to classify their avonics (particularly their newest versions available) thus making it difficult to gather accurate data.

A fundamental part of a fighter's avionics is its radar. In terms of individual aircraft, the AESA. This is reportedly regarded as highly secret technology, and it is unlikely to be exported. Neither the Rafale (PESA RBE2) or Eurofighter have such an advanced radar (the Eurofighter is equipped with the Euroradar CAPTOR), but a next-generation radar system, the AMSAR, is under development, and has a design similar to the American radars. It may eventually be fitted to both aircraft . All fighters are generally equipped with a passive device that "listens" for radars targeted at them. The F-22 and F-35's radar is designed to be difficult to detect (given the acronym Low Probability of Intercept - LPI), while maintaining superior ability to find other aircraft to conventional designs.

Another factor to consider is the sophistication of other sensors, such as passive infra-red and passive radar detectors, as well as radar jamming capabilities. Few specific details of these are in the public domain.

All of the modern European and American aircraft are capable of sharing targeting data with allied fighters and from AWACS planes (see JTIDS). The Russian MiG-31 interceptor also has some datalink capability, so it is reasonable to assume that other Russian planes can also do so. The F-22 and particularly the F-35 are reportedly much more able in this area.

Given the existence of LPI radars and some basic knowledge (or at least intelligent guesses) as to the methods used, the question arises as to whether countermeasures have yet been developed to allow their detection. This is unclear from published sources.

Comparatively little is known about the avionics of the new Indian and Chinese planes. It is generally assumed that they are well behind Western standards. However, reports from the recent Indian-American exercise suggest that India, at least, has begun to develop their own expertise in the area. Furthermore, thanks to its homegrown LCA program and a burgeoning computer industry, India has fielded a range of avionics items built around the accepted international standards. Recent Indian aircraft all incorporate homegrown Open Architecture computers using Commercial off the shelf (COTS) processors.


Cost effectiveness and availability

Rafale More than €50m, depending on export sales

Typhoon Austrian version: '03 €62m

Mitsubishi F-2 US$ 100m

MiG-29 about '98 US$ 27m
Sukhoi Su-27US$ 24m
Sukhoi Su-30 US$ ~38m (Several variants)
Sukhoi Su-30K for Indonesia: '98 US$ 33m
Sukhoi Su-30MKI for India, highly specified version: '98 US$ 45m
Sukhoi Su-30MKM for Malaysia, a variant of the Indian version: '03

Gripen about '98 US$ 25m

Ching Kuo initially large order put cost per unit at US$ 24m

F-15 '98 US$ 43m
F-16 late models about '98 US$ 25m
F-18 E/F model '98 US$ 60m
F-22A '03 US$ 152m, based on production run of 276 aircraft costing
F-35 planned costs, based on version, in '94:
F-35A US$ 28m
F-35B US$ 35m
F-35C US$ 38m

Actual costs of the F-35 JSF are:

F-35A US$ 45m
F-35B US$ 60m
F-35C US$ 55m

Range and runways

range,int fuel kmrange,ext fuel kmferry range kmtakeoff,landing mnotes
Rafale F280018503850400, 300
Typhoon ?13893706300, ?
F-2 ?834 ? ?, ?
Gripen800834 ?400, 500
F-22A ? ?3850 ?, ?
F-35A ?1300 ? ?, ?
F-35B ?920 ? ?, 0STOVL
F-35C ?1480 ?carrier



Servicing

How many hours of servicing does the aircraft require per hour of flight?

While it may be tempting to focus on the dogfighting capabilities of an individual aircraft, other military equipment has a considerable bearing on the likely outcome of air-to-air combat, particularly for long-range
engagements.

Perhaps the most obvious items to consider are the aircraft's air-to-air missile systems. For instance, while the Eurofigher is almost certainly easier to detect on radar than an F-22, the British version is intended to be upgraded to replace the AMRAAM missiles for initial deployment with the MBDA Meteor. The Meteor has a far greater range than the AMRAAM, and is claimed to be much more maneuverable at the limits of its range.
Therefore, the Eurofighter pilot may be able to fire their missiles much earlier. Missile systems are upgraded more often than the planes themselves. As discussed earlier, the development of short-range missiles that can fire at targets not directly in front of a plane seems to have radically changed the nature of short-range combat, making the performance of the missile, not the aircraft, the key factor. Similarly, radar systems, and electronic countermeasures, can also be upgraded. It is not unknown for the combat systems on exported planes to be substantially inferior to the ones supplied to the manufacturer's home air force.

Systems not physically located within the aircraft can also make a substantial difference to combat effectiveness. Radar systems, such as AWACS planes, as well as shipboard and ground-based radars, can
inform fighters of the location of opponents that they cannot detect with their own radars, and do this without the fighters having to use their own radars and thus give away their position. Even the availability of airborne refuelling can make a big difference to combat effectiveness by extending the distance and time fighters can spend in the air.

Finally, the human factor cannot be ignored, as pilot ability and training is still believed to play a large part in the results of air combat. This favours air forces who select their pilots on merit and have the resources to allow extensive training exercises.

DERA study

Britain's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (now split into QinetiQ and DSTL) did an evaluation (simulation based on the available data) comparing the Typhoon with some other modern fighters in how well they performed against an expected adversary aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-35. Due to the lack of information gathered on the 5th generation combat aircraft and the Su-35 during the time of this study it is not meant to be considered official.

The study used real pilots flying the JOUST system of networked simulators. Various western aircraft supposed data were put in simulated combat against the Su-35. The results were:


AircraftOdds vs. Su-35
Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor10.1:1
Eurofighter Typhoon4.5:1
Dassault Rafale C1.0:1
Sukhoi Su-35 'Flanker'1.0:1
McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle0.8:1
Boeing F/A-18+0.4:1
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C0.3:1
General Dynamics F-16C0.3:1


These results mean, for example, that in simulated combat, 4.5 Su-35s were shot down for every Typhoon lost. Critics have pointed out though that it is unclear about whether todays advanced Flankers were actually factored in.

These have far more advanced radar (BARS on the MKI and MKM, with further improvements planned as Russia continues to field improved radars) and avionics than the Su-35 of that time. Plus Russia has longer range missiles currently in development, but which could be fielded by advanced Flanker variants in the future. Missiles such as the KS-172 may be intended for large targets and not fighters, but their impact on a long range BVR engagement needs to be factored in.

The "F/A-18+" in the study was apparently not the current F/A-18E/F, but an improved version. All the western aircraft in the simulation were using the AMRAAM missile, except the Rafale which was using the MICA missile. This does not reflect the likely long-term air-to-air armament of Eurofighters (as well as Rafales), which will ultimately be equipped with the superior MBDA Meteor (while carrying the AMRAAM as an interim measure).

Details of the simulation have not been released, making it harder to verify whether it gives an accurate evaluation (for instance, whether they had adequate knowledge of the Sukhoi and Raptor to realistically simulate their combat performance). Another problem with the study is the scenarios under which the combat took place are unclear; it is possible that they were deliberately or accidentally skewed to combat scenarios that favoured certain aircraft over others; For instance, long-range engagements favour planes with stealth, good radar and advanced missiles, whereas the Su-35's alleged above-average manoeuverability may prove advantageous in short-range combat. Nor is it clear whether the Su-35 was modeled with thrust vector control (as the present MKI's, MKM's have).

Eventually, we shall not forget that the DERA simulation was made in the mid 90's with limited knowledge about the Radar Cross Section, the ECM and the radar performances of the actual aircrafts : indeed, at that time, the 4th/5th generation fighters were all at the prototype stage.


Exercise reports

Friendly air forces regularly practice against each other in exercises, and when these air forces fly different aircraft some indication of the relative capabilities of the aircraft can be gained.

The results of an exercise in 2004 pitting USAF F-15 Eagles against Indian Air Force Su-30MKI's, Mirage 2000's, MiG-29's and even the elderly MiG-21 have been widely publicized, with the Indians winning "90% of the mock combat missions" . Another report  claims that the kind of systemic factors mentioned in the previous section were heavily weighted against the F-15s. According to this report, the F-15's were outnumbered 3-to-1. The rules of the exercise also allowed the Indian side the use of a simulated AWACS providing location information, and allowed them to use the full fire-and-forget active radar of simulated MBDA Mica and AA-12fire-and-forget mode (rather relying on the F-15's internal radar for the purpose). 

None of the F-15's were equipped with the latest AESA radars, which are fitted to some, but not all, of the
USAF's F-15 fleet. The report concludes that despite all these mitigating factors, the quality of the IAF opposition was a considerable surprise to the USAF pilots and observers, and revealed a weakness in USAF tactics in dealing with "launch-and-leave" tactics by opposing aircraft missiles. The F-15's, by contrast, were not permitted to simulate the full range of the AMRAAM (restricted to 32 km when the full range is claimed in the report to be over 100km), nor to use the AMRAAM's own radar systems to guide itself in.

In June 2005, a Eurofighter pilot was reportedly able, in a mock confrontation, to avoid two pursuing F-15s and outmanoeuvre them to get into shooting position.


Combat performance

Combat between modern jet fighters has been very rare.

In combat involving the US and its military allies factors extraneous to the quality of the individual aircraft (such as weight of numbers, ability to train pilots properly, presence of radar systems etc) have typically overwhelmingly favoured them, making a realistic assessment difficult.

In any case, air combat involving the aircraft discussed are as follows:

During the Gulf War, USAF F-15s shot down 5 Iraqi MiG-29s
On January 17, 1993, a USAF F-16 shot down a MiG-29 in Iraqi no-fly zone. (Some sources claim it was a MiG-23.) 
In February 1999, during the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, Ethiopian Su-27s shot down 2 Eritrean MiG-29s. )
During the 1999 Kosovo War, a Netherlands F-16 shot down 1 Yugoslavian MiG-29; USAF F-15s shot down 4 MiG-29s and a USAF F-16 shot down 1 Mig-29, the last aerial victory scored against the Mig-29.


Pak Army denies presence of US military trainers




Pakistan Army has rejected media reports claiming the presence of US military trainers in Pakistan.
Earlier, the United States had claimed that it has sent a handful of military trainers back into Pakistan in a sign the two nations may be able to achieve some low-level cooperation against militants despite a string of confrontations that have left Washington’s relations with Islamabad in crisis.
Fewer than 10 US special operations soldiers have been sent to a training site near the border city of Peshawar, where they will instruct trainers from Pakistan’s Frontier Corps in counter-insurgency warfare, a US official said.
The number of American military instructors in Pakistan dropped to zero after US aircraft killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in late November.
“I wouldn’t call this a watershed moment (but) it’s not insignificant that this is happening,” the US official said on condition of anonymity.
“At a strategic level, the relationship is still at a very rough place,” the official said.
“There’s a lot more we want to do to improve it, but (the trainers’ return) is an important sign that at least in some areas we’re getting a healthy sense of normalcy.”
Meanwhile Pakistan Army has denied media reports claiming the presence of US military trainers in Pakistan.
According to ISPR, all American military trainers were sent back after the Abbotabad raid after which no trainer retuned back, adding that there is no truth in the news of presence of US trainers in Pakistan.

US Air Force's secret space plane to return to Earth next month






The US Air Force's top secret X-37B space plane will return to Earth sometime next month after spending over a year in orbit. 

The X-37B, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle 2, or OTV-2, was launched in March 2011 atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. 

It is due to land at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base sometime in early- to mid-June, with the exact date dependent on technical and weather conditions, the military said. 

"The men and women of Team Vandenberg are ready to execute safe landing operations anytime and at a moment's notice," Col. Nina Armagno, 30th Space Wing commander, said in a statement issued Wednesday. 

The military originally said the 29-foot-long (8.8-meter-long), eight-foot-wide (2.4-meter-wide) craft, which is shaped like a small space shuttle, was only supposed to spend up to 270 days in space. 

The Boeing-build OTV-2, funded through the Pentagon's budget, was performing classified experiments for the Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office. 

Its landing will mark the third automated runway landing for a space plane -- the first was achieved by the former Soviet Union's Buran space shuttle, and the second was completed by the OTV-2's sister vehicle, the OTV-1, which was launched in April 2010 and landed later that year.




US DOD first non-test pilot qualifies on F-35



The US Department of Defense's first non-test pilot finished his qualification to fly the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on 31 May.
"I was excited not only to complete my flight to become an F-35 instructor pilot, but also for the rest of the initial cadre since this opens the door for them to also become qualified in the F-35," says US Air Force Lt Col Lee Kloos, commander of the 58th Fighter Squadron (FS).
 
 ©USAF
To qualify as an F-35 pilot, Kloos had to fly a transition course that consisted of six flights in the jet. As part of the first batch of instructors for the new fifth-generation fighter, Kloos will help train the rest of the initial cadre of F-35 pilots at the seaside base.
The 33rd Fighter Wing (FW), the 58th FS's parent unit, needs to have four instructor pilots trained in order to start the F-35's Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE) in the summer. The OUE will determine if the 33rd FW and the F-35 are the ready to train new pilots to fly the F-35. If the OUE is successful, Air Education and Training Command will approve the unit to formally start training.
The USAF currently only has two F-35 instructors at the base, Kloos and his director of operations, test pilot Lt Col Eric Smith. Smith was Kloos's instructor pilot having long ago qualified to fly the aircraft at Edwards AFB, California.
The USAF says there are additional two pilots who are awaiting approval to start their flight training. Once those two additional instructors are qualified to fly the F-35, they will teach four new "students" for the OUE.
Student, however, is a relative term. The four students are highly experienced fighter pilots who are transitioning to the F-35. Two are 33rd FW initial cadre pilots while two are from the elite 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron.
"These four students have not flown an F-35 before and this will count as their check-out," the USAF says. "The OUE will evaluate our ability to qualify these four individuals."

Japan to send destroyers to China’s doorstep



Tokyo claims beefed up presence is due to North Korea’s rocket launch 


By Jung Nam-ku, Park Byung-soo and Ha Eo-young, staff reporters
Japan is considering dispatching Aegis destroyers from its Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) to international waters west of the Korean Peninsula in the event of another rocket launch by North Korea. Though the MSDF claims the vessels would be sent to gather intelligence, some are concerned that sending destroyers equipped with a cutting edge maritime battle system onto China’s doorstep and near the two Koreas could cause backlash and further raise tensions in the West Sea area.
On Wednesday, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported information from a recently drafted report by an investigation team at Japan’s Ministry of Defense (JMD). The report identifies problems with Japan’s response to North Korea’s attempted launch of a long-range rocket in April. The report reads, “[JMD will] Consider dispatching destroyers to ‘waters in the vicinity of the launch site’ in order to more easily detect the course of the missile if North Korea gives advance warning of a missile (or rocket) launch.”
The Asahi Shimbun reported, “Although the report does not directly mention the West Sea as the place to which the destroyers would be dispatched, a Ministry of Defense official explained that the southwestern part of the West Sea was being considered, saying, ‘waters in the vicinity means the West Sea’.” The report, which was approved on Monday by defense minister Naoki Tanaka, is due to be officially announced after final discussions at the prime minister’s official residence.
These plans from the JMD are part of its response to public displeasure with Japan’s failure to rapidly detect North Korea’s long-range rocket launch. At the time, Japan had dispatched three destroyers equipped with SM3 interceptor missiles to the East Sea and the South China Sea. In spite of this, the JMD only announced that the rocket launched by the North at 7:39am on April 13 had crashed into the sea straight away at around 8:20am, while Korean media reported the fact 15 minutes after the event, quoting intelligence agencies.
Japan may be using this domestic criticism as a pretext to increase the Japanese navy’s area of activity. Although the vessels to be dispatched differ according to type, they generally possess strong information detection capabilities, with radar ranges of around 1,000 kilometers. If Aegis destroyers are dispatched to the West Sea, this would enable Japan to easily see missile training at military bases on China’s eastern coast and assess the training of China’s air force.
South Korea and the United States planned in July 2010 to send the USS George Washington into the West Sea as part of joint military exercises in response to the sinking of the Cheonan, China objected strongly and the exercises were relocated to the East Sea.
Last year, in order to monitor China’s maritime expansion, Japan amended a Defense White Paper to change the MSDF from a defensive to an offensive force. On April 30, at a summit meeting in Washington, US president Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda redefined the character of the US-Japan alliance as one that aimed to balance China‘s growing presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Chinese government has yet to issue an official response, but it is more than likely to object if Japan sends Aegis destroyers into the West Sea. “Japan’s Aegis destroyers have a very wide combat radius, so that China falls within it even when [the destroyers] are in international waters,” said Kim Jong-dae, editor of the online military journal Defense 21+. “Conflict may arise, because China’s official stance is that there are no international waters in the West Sea.”
The South Korean government’s stance is that there are no grounds to prevent Japan from sending its destroyers into the West Sea if they remain in international waters. An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, “We have not yet received notice of anything from Japan. We will try to determine whether or not this is true.”

“Delicate Dance” for Panetta in China’s Backyard



Reuters
REUTERS
A Philippines Navy Hamilton-class cutter was dispatched to inspect Chinese fishing vessels in the disputed Scarborough Shoals, setting of an armed confrontation.
When U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrives in Singapore this week to talk about containing China – and that’s really what this trip is all about — he’ll find plenty of support from friends in the region. But that might not make his job any easier. Allies old and new will be looking for assurances that America’s “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region is more than just rhetoric and that the U.S. will help them stand up to an increasingly powerful and demanding China.
“It’s going to be a delicate dance,” says Brad Glosserman, executive director of the Pacific Forum CSIS, in Honolulu.  “You want to send a message to your allies that you support them, but without emboldening them. We don’t want to send the signal that we are using proxies to bait the bear. But at the same time, we don’t want to give the impression that we are somehow deferring to China. So Panetta’s job will be to walk that fine line.”
Panetta and other top U.S. defense officials will arrive as an armed standoff between China and the Philippines over a disputed fishing reef enters its seventh week.  China claims sovereignty over vast tracts of the South China and East China seas already claimed or controlled by six other countries.
A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine made a highly publicized port stop at Subic Bay earlier this month, and Philippines officials are expected to ask Panetta for a squadron of F-16 fighters, a Coast Guard cutter, and other concrete demonstrations of support when they meet at the Shangri-La Dialogue defense conference in Singapore.
Panetta is also scheduled to meet with defense leaders from Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and other nations during the conference, which begins Friday and last through the weekend. He may meet there with officials from China. After Singapore, Panetta is scheduled to spend two days each in Vietnam and India.
It will be his first trip to the region since the Pentagon announced its “pivot” to Asia earlier this year. He’ll be accompanied by the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command — next to a presidential visit, that’s about as high-powered as it gets.
China’s rising ambitions and territorial claims throughout the region, and planned cuts in U.S. defense spending, will provide the backdrop for the talks. While regional officials will be looking for Panetta to say all the right things, they’ll be looking for actions, as well.
The U.S. has already agreed to station Marines in Australia and new Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore. Talks are underway with the Philippines to allow access to bases there for U.S. troops and ships.  Vietnam is expected to ask for radar and anti-aircraft defenses and for defense-related infrastructure and training. India may ask for an increase in joint-training exercises and to re-open talks to buy F-35 fighters planes.
The U.S. will have to decide case-by-case what’s in the U.S. and partners’ best interests, but already Panetta appears to be setting a tough tone. With a clear nod towards China, he told graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy this week that despite planned defense cuts, the U.S. is prepared to “defeat any opponent, any time, any where.”
“America’s future prosperity and security are tied to our ability to advance peace and security along the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean and South Asia,” Panetta said.
That does not mean Panetta will be looking to ring the region with U.S. bases, however, or that every country in the region would welcome that, says Raoul Heinrichs, of the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, in Canberra.
“It’s a complicated picture out here.  In broad terms, people want from the U.S. what they’ve had for a long time – that is, to prevent the domination of the region by any other power, and now that’s increasingly China,” Heinrichs says. “But it would be a mistake to think that everybody is simply lining up behind the U.S. and that they will accommodate every U.S. preference.”
And that could make for a full dance card for Panetta
.

Beijing Exhibiting New Assertiveness in South China Sea




 In tropical waters off the coast of the Philippines, a standoff between half a dozen Chinese fishing boats, two Chinese law enforcement vessels and an aging Philippine Navy ship recently attracted a lot of attention in Washington, Beijing and other capitals across Asia.

Superficially, the squabble was over some rare corals, clams and poached sharks that Philippine Navy seamen were trying to retrieve in early April from the fishing boats operating in the Scarborough Shoal of the South China Sea until two Chinese Marine Surveillance craft intervened. After two tense days, the Philippine ship — a refitted Coast Guard cutter sent by the United States last year to beef up its ally’s weak defenses — withdrew.
But the stakes were much larger, as the insistent claims ever since of sovereignty over the shoal by both the Philippine and Chinese governments made clear. The incident intensified longstanding international questions over the strategically critical, potentially energy-rich South China Sea that have become more urgent this year as the long-dominant United States and fast-growing China both seek to increase their naval power in the region.

“We’re just pawns,” said Roberto Romulo, a former foreign secretary of the Philippines who argues that China is flexing its muscles in a bid to gain unimpeded access to vast reserves of natural gas and oil believed to be buried under the South China Sea. “China is testing the United States, that’s all it is. And China is eating America’s lunch in Southeast Asia.”
More recently, a senior Chinese military officer even dismissed any legitimate role for the United States in the South China Sea. “The South China issue is not America’s business,” Gen. Ma Xiaotian, the deputy chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, said in an interview broadcast Monday by Phoenix TV in Hong Kong. “It’s between China and its neighbors.”
The general’s statement appeared to throw down a challenge to the Obama administration, which has sought in the past six months to enhance United States military strength around the western Pacific and East Asia, where the South China Sea serves as an essential waterway for not only the United States Navy but also for a large portion of the world’s trade.
From placing Marines in the northern Australian port city of Darwin to increasing military relations with Vietnam, a country with an uneasy relationship with China, Washington has signaled its intention of staying, not leaving.
In the latest sign of its resolve to stand firm on Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, the administration sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta to testify last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the need for the United States to ratify the United Nations treaty that is intended to govern the world’s oceans.
China is one of 162 countries that has ratified the Law of the Sea treaty. But the United States has not done so, holding back from formal approval ever since President Ronald Reagan refused to sign it when it was completed in 1982.
A major goal of the joint appearance, administration officials said, was to strengthen the legal hand of the United States so that its navy can be assured the freedom of navigation that the treaty recognizes beyond any nation’s territorial limit of 12 nautical miles.
In contrast, Western diplomats say, China argues that freedom of navigation comes into force only 200 nautical miles from a nation’s coast, an argument that contravenes the Law of the Sea and, if put into effect, would basically render the South China Sea Beijing’s private preserve.
While China may have no interest in blocking shipping in the South China Sea, there is also no doubt that it has begun to project its power in the area. Vietnam, for example, claims that Chinese boats twice sabotaged oil exploration efforts last year by deliberately cutting ship cables in its waters. China said one of the cable-cutting incidents was accidental.
Meanwhile, China is expected to deploy its first aircraft carrier this year.
Two-thirds of the world’s natural gas trade passes through the waters of the South China Sea, according to a report by Yang Jiemian, president of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. The sea is the main passageway for oil from the Middle East to China, Japan, South Korea and the rest of Asia.
Now the sea itself is believed to hold a substantial reservoir of energy, with some experts predicting that under the seabed lies as much as 130 billion barrels of oil and 900 trillion cubic feet of gas

Spratly Islands Occupation status



.






Possibly and hopefully the South China Sea will be a productive energy source,” Xu Xiaojie, a former director of overseas investment for China National Petroleum Corporation, said in an interview. The Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources has done studies on the energy resources in the sea, Mr. Xu said, but detailed results have not been released.
In May, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which until now has only had the technical ability to drill in shallow water, began its first deep-sea drilling project in an undisputed area of the South China Sea south of Hong Kong.
For China, the South China Sea is an integral part of its history. Days after the incident at Scarborough Shoal, known as Huangyan Island in China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry outlined some of the basic facts as interpreted by China. In 1279, the Chinese astronomer Guo Shoujing was commissioned by Emperor Kublai Khan to survey the seas around China. Huangyan Island was chosen as the starting point for the survey, the ministry said.
Mr. Romulo, the former foreign secretary, recalled that Zhou Enlai, the longtime second-in-command to Mao Zedong, had once pulled out a map to show his father, Carlos P. Romulo, who also served as a Philippine foreign secretary, that the Philippines rightfully belonged to China.
Aside from China and the Philippines, three other countries in Southeast Asia — Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam — make claims to islands in the sea. So does Taiwan.
Most perplexing to some claimants is China’s insistence on what is referred to as a nine-dash map that Beijing says shows its territorial claims. The nine dashes were originally drawn as 11 in 1947, before the Communist victory, and then amended to nine in the early 1950s to bypass the Gulf of Tonkin as a courtesy to the Communists in Vietnam.
By some estimates the nine dashes incorporate about 80 percent of the South China Sea. The line encompasses the Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands, which Vietnam also claims. The two nations fought sporadically over their competing claims in the 1970s and 1980s.
From each land feature within the nine-dash line — some of them little more than small rocks — China claims a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone that it says gives it the rights to the resources there according to the terms of the Law of the Sea.
According to officials here in Manila, China’s line runs inside the 80-nautical-mile stretch of water between Palawan Island and Reed Bank, where a Philippine company says it has found significant deposits of natural gas. The Philippine government of President Benigno S. Aquino III backs a plan to begin drilling off Reed Bank in the next few months.
How China will react is an open question. Nationalist sentiment within China is riding high on the South China Sea, and the government itself seems divided, on tactics at least.
Western diplomats say the Foreign Ministry, while remaining firm, would like to find a solution to the quarrel with the Philippines, perhaps involving joint ventures between companies from both countries. But People’s Liberation Army Daily, the military newspaper, has published strident editorials, stating that China will not stand for the Philippines or any other country claiming what is rightfully China’s.
“If China’s leaders follow the Chinese people, the policy on South China Sea and Southeast Asia will become very militant,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing.
Reflecting Washington’s rising concern about the South China Sea, Mr. Panetta, the defense secretary, plans to deliver what is being billed as a major policy speech on Saturday at an annual conference sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, based in London, which is bringing together an influential audience of Asian officials in Singapore this weekend.
Others will be paying close attention to what Mr. Panetta has to say as well. After China warned India this year about exploration by an Indian company in waters off Vietnam, the company pulled out, citing technical reasons. But that was not the last word from India.
“The South China Sea,” said S. M. Krishna, India’s foreign minister, “is the property of the world.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

World's Modern Aicraft's: Comparison

Note:This taken from Weapons and Technology,Publishing for public knowledge,no modifications to this article done so far



This page compares their capabilities as air superiority fighters, that is, fighting other fighter aircraft, which is generally a harder task than shooting down aircraft which are not fighters.

In general, because of the lack of reliable information about the fighters themselves, and the lack of actual combat between them, it is extremely hard to judge how they will perform in combat. The bodies in the best position to know — aircraft manufacturers and air forces — keep secret much of the real capabilities of their aircraft, but simultaneously often try to present them in the best possible light by claiming superiority over other comparable vehicles.

Aircraft included

For conciseness, this page considers only fighter aircraft manufactured in 2000 and those that are planned to be manufactured later in the decade. Older aircraft are likely to be less capable than the aircraft in this survey. Two promising Russian aircraft, the MiG-35 and Sukhoi Su-47 Berkut will also not be included as MIG-35 is deadend and SU-47 is only prototype.


The aircraft included are:

France: Dassault Aviation Rafale manufactured 2001

Germany/UK/Italy/Spain: Eurofighter Typhoon manufactured 2003

Russia:

Mikoyan MiG-29 'Fulcrum' manufactured 1983

Sukhoi Su-27 'Flanker' and derivatives such as Sukhoi Su-33: manufactured 1982

Sukhoi Su-30 'Flanker', manufactured 1996

Sweden/UK: Saab/BAE Systems JAS-39 Gripen manufactured 1996–
Taiwan: AIDC Ching Kuo, based on the F-16, manufactured 1994–2000

USA:

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle manufactured 1973–2000
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon manufactured 1978–2002
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet manufactured 1980
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor manufactured 2003
USA/UK: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter 2008


What makes a good fighter?

Performance

In short-range (within visual range or WVR) air-to-air combat conducted to date, fighters have had to get into a good position to fire their weapons upon the enemy fighter, and this is likely to continue to be an air-combat requirement. 

If a fighter can turn faster than its opponent, it will find it easier to get into a favorable position, -- generally, behind that opponent. An airplane's ability to turn can be roughly gauged by its wing loading. This is the mass of the aircraft divided by the area of the wings. The bigger the wings, the easier it is for them to push the aircraft in a direction other than that in which it is currently traveling. Note that some aircraft use thrust vectoring, where the jet exhaust from the engines doesn't always go straight backwards but can be tilted up or down (and sometimes also left to right) to increase maneuverability.

Engine power also confers advantages in air combat. Most simply, high overall speed can allow a pilot to choose to disengage an opponent by simply outrunning it. This ability to disengage may also apply to incoming missiles, allowing escape from what would be a fatal shot to a slower airplane.

A high-powered fighter is also more likely to maintain a crucial overall energy advantage over its opponent. All air combat maneuvers (ACM) require a certain amount of physical energy, most simply thought of as airspeed plus altitude. When fighters perform the high-g maneuvers common in air-to-air combat, they must sacrifice one or both of these qualities, and there are fundamental limits to how much of each can be sacrificed. Altitude can obviously not go below the ground level, and airspeed can not fall below the stall speed of the fighter. If a pilot attempts a maneuver at too low an initial total energy level, he/she will likely stall the airplane and become an easy target for a missile or gun kill. The fighter's engines add energy at a certain rate; the higher this rate, the greater can be considered the fighter's ability to manoeuver. Higher engine power allows the airplane to maintain a high energy level and therefore engage in more aggressive ACM.


A good comparative measure of acceleration is a plane's thrust to weight ratio (note that if this is greater than 1, the aircraft is capable of accelerating while flying straight up).

Thrust/Weight Ratiowing loading kg/m²notes
Rafale F21.133045300 l fuel internal
Typhoon1.183004700 l fuel internal
F-20.89430
MiG-29SM1.13411
Su-27
Su-30Indian Su-30MKI has thrust vectoring
Gripen0.94341
F-22A1.234213000 l fuel internal and 2D thrust vectoring
F-35A0.83446



In exercises using the new missiles, pilots report using only a small fraction of their available maneuverability, and that in WVR (within visual range) combat "everybody dies at the same rate", and "F-5 or a MiG-21 with a high-off-boresight missile and HMD is as capable in a 1-v-1 as an F-22" . As to the validity of this argument, it is worth noting that the F-22 (on the basis of the estimates presented here) has a very high thrust-to-weight ratio, low wing loading, and thrust vectoring to improve maneuverability; but whether this maneuverability is simply a remnant of its 1980's genesis is open to question. 

Conversely, on the basis of published thrust-to-weight ratios and wing loading the F-35 is likely to be little more maneuverable than the F-16.

Super-cruise

The Typhoon, the Rafale, and particularly the F-22 have a considerable performance advantage over the other craft in the list in that they have the ability to travel at supersonic speeds without the use of afterburners, an ability known as supercruise. As afterburners use a huge amount of fuel, most fighters can use them for only a few minutes. Therefore, an aircraft with supercruise should theoretically have a huge advantage in pursuing or evading a non supercruise-capable plane, in that the supercruise-capable aircraft will have a higher speed and thus a higher amount of maneuvering energy. Supercruise will also allow these planes to spend more time in combat, particularly at longer ranges, rather than in transit.


Stealth

Recent American fighter aircraft development has focused on stealth, and the recently deployed F-22 is the first fighter designed from the ground up for stealth. However, the stealthiness of the F-22 from angles other than head-on is not clear. The in-development F-35 is also regarded as stealthy, but some reports claim it is significantly less so than the F-22, particularly from the rear. .

Furthermore, the export JSF is claimed to be significantly less stealthy than the US/UK version.

The Rafale and Typhoon are not ground-up stealth designs, but since the disclosure of the F-22 and earlier stealthy bomber designs they have undergone substantial detail refinement to reduce their radar cross section (RCS). How much effect this has on detection range is unclear. Effective detection range by radar is usually approximated as proportional to RCS^0.25 and therefore even reducing an aircrafts RCS by 50% does little to reduce detection range. The Mitsubishi F-2 and the Indian Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) are also reported to have been equipped with radar-absorbing material in parts. 

Neither the MiG-29 nor the Su-27 and its derivatives have any known stealthy features, nor do the F-16 derivatives produced by Taiwan. Similarly, there are no reports on the stealthiness of the Chinese aircraft.

Actual figures of the stealthiness of the various aircraft are unsurprisingly highly classified.

There are some reports that the Rafale's avionics, the Thales Spectra, includes "stealthy" radar jamming technology, a radar cancellation systems analogous to the acoustic noise suppression systems on the De Havilland Canada Dash 8. Conventional jammers make locating an aircraft more difficult, but their operation is itself detectable; the French system is hypothesised to interfere with detection without revealing that jamming is in operation. In effect, such a system could potentially offer stealth advantages similar in effect to, but likely less effective than, the F-22 and JSF. However, it is unclear how effective the system is, or even whether it is fully operational yet.


Avionics

The avionics systems of the various fighters vary considerably. In general, Western avionics are viewed as by far the most technologically sophisticated. The F-22 and F-35 have a unified avionics design, with most processing performed in a central aircraft computer and with very high-speed interfaces to individual components. The Rafale and Eurofighter have slower main computers and internal data networks. How much difference this actually makes, of course, is open to conjecture; the "devil is in the detail" of the software and special-purpose used to process sensor and positioning information which is in any case classified. Russian and other nations' avionics are also generally regarded as less technologically sophisticated than American ones at this point in time. However, it should be noted that it is possible to upgrade avionics architecture without changing the airframes, and that governments tend to classify their avonics (particularly their newest versions available) thus making it difficult to gather accurate data.

A fundamental part of a fighter's avionics is its radar. In terms of individual aircraft, the AESA. This is reportedly regarded as highly secret technology, and it is unlikely to be exported. Neither the Rafale (PESA RBE2) or Eurofighter have such an advanced radar (the Eurofighter is equipped with the Euroradar CAPTOR), but a next-generation radar system, the AMSAR, is under development, and has a design similar to the American radars. It may eventually be fitted to both aircraft . All fighters are generally equipped with a passive device that "listens" for radars targeted at them. The F-22 and F-35's radar is designed to be difficult to detect (given the acronym Low Probability of Intercept - LPI), while maintaining superior ability to find other aircraft to conventional designs.

Another factor to consider is the sophistication of other sensors, such as passive infra-red and passive radar detectors, as well as radar jamming capabilities. Few specific details of these are in the public domain.

All of the modern European and American aircraft are capable of sharing targeting data with allied fighters and from AWACS planes (see JTIDS). The Russian MiG-31 interceptor also has some datalink capability, so it is reasonable to assume that other Russian planes can also do so. The F-22 and particularly the F-35 are reportedly much more able in this area.

Given the existence of LPI radars and some basic knowledge (or at least intelligent guesses) as to the methods used, the question arises as to whether countermeasures have yet been developed to allow their detection. This is unclear from published sources.

Comparatively little is known about the avionics of the new Indian and Chinese planes. It is generally assumed that they are well behind Western standards. However, reports from the recent Indian-American exercise suggest that India, at least, has begun to develop their own expertise in the area. Furthermore, thanks to its homegrown LCA program and a burgeoning computer industry, India has fielded a range of avionics items built around the accepted international standards. Recent Indian aircraft all incorporate homegrown Open Architecture computers using Commercial off the shelf (COTS) processors.


Cost effectiveness and availability

Rafale More than €50m, depending on export sales

Typhoon Austrian version: '03 €62m

Mitsubishi F-2 US$ 100m

MiG-29 about '98 US$ 27m
Sukhoi Su-27US$ 24m
Sukhoi Su-30 US$ ~38m (Several variants)
Sukhoi Su-30K for Indonesia: '98 US$ 33m
Sukhoi Su-30MKI for India, highly specified version: '98 US$ 45m
Sukhoi Su-30MKM for Malaysia, a variant of the Indian version: '03

Gripen about '98 US$ 25m

Ching Kuo initially large order put cost per unit at US$ 24m

F-15 '98 US$ 43m
F-16 late models about '98 US$ 25m
F-18 E/F model '98 US$ 60m
F-22A '03 US$ 152m, based on production run of 276 aircraft costing
F-35 planned costs, based on version, in '94:
F-35A US$ 28m
F-35B US$ 35m
F-35C US$ 38m

Actual costs of the F-35 JSF are:

F-35A US$ 45m
F-35B US$ 60m
F-35C US$ 55m

Range and runways

range,int fuel kmrange,ext fuel kmferry range kmtakeoff,landing mnotes
Rafale F280018503850400, 300
Typhoon ?13893706300, ?
F-2 ?834 ? ?, ?
Gripen800834 ?400, 500
F-22A ? ?3850 ?, ?
F-35A ?1300 ? ?, ?
F-35B ?920 ? ?, 0STOVL
F-35C ?1480 ?carrier



Servicing

How many hours of servicing does the aircraft require per hour of flight?

While it may be tempting to focus on the dogfighting capabilities of an individual aircraft, other military equipment has a considerable bearing on the likely outcome of air-to-air combat, particularly for long-range
engagements.

Perhaps the most obvious items to consider are the aircraft's air-to-air missile systems. For instance, while the Eurofigher is almost certainly easier to detect on radar than an F-22, the British version is intended to be upgraded to replace the AMRAAM missiles for initial deployment with the MBDA Meteor. The Meteor has a far greater range than the AMRAAM, and is claimed to be much more maneuverable at the limits of its range.
Therefore, the Eurofighter pilot may be able to fire their missiles much earlier. Missile systems are upgraded more often than the planes themselves. As discussed earlier, the development of short-range missiles that can fire at targets not directly in front of a plane seems to have radically changed the nature of short-range combat, making the performance of the missile, not the aircraft, the key factor. Similarly, radar systems, and electronic countermeasures, can also be upgraded. It is not unknown for the combat systems on exported planes to be substantially inferior to the ones supplied to the manufacturer's home air force.

Systems not physically located within the aircraft can also make a substantial difference to combat effectiveness. Radar systems, such as AWACS planes, as well as shipboard and ground-based radars, can
inform fighters of the location of opponents that they cannot detect with their own radars, and do this without the fighters having to use their own radars and thus give away their position. Even the availability of airborne refuelling can make a big difference to combat effectiveness by extending the distance and time fighters can spend in the air.

Finally, the human factor cannot be ignored, as pilot ability and training is still believed to play a large part in the results of air combat. This favours air forces who select their pilots on merit and have the resources to allow extensive training exercises.

DERA study

Britain's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (now split into QinetiQ and DSTL) did an evaluation (simulation based on the available data) comparing the Typhoon with some other modern fighters in how well they performed against an expected adversary aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-35. Due to the lack of information gathered on the 5th generation combat aircraft and the Su-35 during the time of this study it is not meant to be considered official.

The study used real pilots flying the JOUST system of networked simulators. Various western aircraft supposed data were put in simulated combat against the Su-35. The results were:


AircraftOdds vs. Su-35
Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor10.1:1
Eurofighter Typhoon4.5:1
Dassault Rafale C1.0:1
Sukhoi Su-35 'Flanker'1.0:1
McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle0.8:1
Boeing F/A-18+0.4:1
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C0.3:1
General Dynamics F-16C0.3:1


These results mean, for example, that in simulated combat, 4.5 Su-35s were shot down for every Typhoon lost. Critics have pointed out though that it is unclear about whether todays advanced Flankers were actually factored in.

These have far more advanced radar (BARS on the MKI and MKM, with further improvements planned as Russia continues to field improved radars) and avionics than the Su-35 of that time. Plus Russia has longer range missiles currently in development, but which could be fielded by advanced Flanker variants in the future. Missiles such as the KS-172 may be intended for large targets and not fighters, but their impact on a long range BVR engagement needs to be factored in.

The "F/A-18+" in the study was apparently not the current F/A-18E/F, but an improved version. All the western aircraft in the simulation were using the AMRAAM missile, except the Rafale which was using the MICA missile. This does not reflect the likely long-term air-to-air armament of Eurofighters (as well as Rafales), which will ultimately be equipped with the superior MBDA Meteor (while carrying the AMRAAM as an interim measure).

Details of the simulation have not been released, making it harder to verify whether it gives an accurate evaluation (for instance, whether they had adequate knowledge of the Sukhoi and Raptor to realistically simulate their combat performance). Another problem with the study is the scenarios under which the combat took place are unclear; it is possible that they were deliberately or accidentally skewed to combat scenarios that favoured certain aircraft over others; For instance, long-range engagements favour planes with stealth, good radar and advanced missiles, whereas the Su-35's alleged above-average manoeuverability may prove advantageous in short-range combat. Nor is it clear whether the Su-35 was modeled with thrust vector control (as the present MKI's, MKM's have).

Eventually, we shall not forget that the DERA simulation was made in the mid 90's with limited knowledge about the Radar Cross Section, the ECM and the radar performances of the actual aircrafts : indeed, at that time, the 4th/5th generation fighters were all at the prototype stage.


Exercise reports

Friendly air forces regularly practice against each other in exercises, and when these air forces fly different aircraft some indication of the relative capabilities of the aircraft can be gained.

The results of an exercise in 2004 pitting USAF F-15 Eagles against Indian Air Force Su-30MKI's, Mirage 2000's, MiG-29's and even the elderly MiG-21 have been widely publicized, with the Indians winning "90% of the mock combat missions" . Another report  claims that the kind of systemic factors mentioned in the previous section were heavily weighted against the F-15s. According to this report, the F-15's were outnumbered 3-to-1. The rules of the exercise also allowed the Indian side the use of a simulated AWACS providing location information, and allowed them to use the full fire-and-forget active radar of simulated MBDA Mica and AA-12fire-and-forget mode (rather relying on the F-15's internal radar for the purpose). 

None of the F-15's were equipped with the latest AESA radars, which are fitted to some, but not all, of the
USAF's F-15 fleet. The report concludes that despite all these mitigating factors, the quality of the IAF opposition was a considerable surprise to the USAF pilots and observers, and revealed a weakness in USAF tactics in dealing with "launch-and-leave" tactics by opposing aircraft missiles. The F-15's, by contrast, were not permitted to simulate the full range of the AMRAAM (restricted to 32 km when the full range is claimed in the report to be over 100km), nor to use the AMRAAM's own radar systems to guide itself in.

In June 2005, a Eurofighter pilot was reportedly able, in a mock confrontation, to avoid two pursuing F-15s and outmanoeuvre them to get into shooting position.


Combat performance

Combat between modern jet fighters has been very rare.

In combat involving the US and its military allies factors extraneous to the quality of the individual aircraft (such as weight of numbers, ability to train pilots properly, presence of radar systems etc) have typically overwhelmingly favoured them, making a realistic assessment difficult.

In any case, air combat involving the aircraft discussed are as follows:

During the Gulf War, USAF F-15s shot down 5 Iraqi MiG-29s
On January 17, 1993, a USAF F-16 shot down a MiG-29 in Iraqi no-fly zone. (Some sources claim it was a MiG-23.) 
In February 1999, during the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, Ethiopian Su-27s shot down 2 Eritrean MiG-29s. )
During the 1999 Kosovo War, a Netherlands F-16 shot down 1 Yugoslavian MiG-29; USAF F-15s shot down 4 MiG-29s and a USAF F-16 shot down 1 Mig-29, the last aerial victory scored against the Mig-29.


Pak Army denies presence of US military trainers



Pakistan Army has rejected media reports claiming the presence of US military trainers in Pakistan.
Earlier, the United States had claimed that it has sent a handful of military trainers back into Pakistan in a sign the two nations may be able to achieve some low-level cooperation against militants despite a string of confrontations that have left Washington’s relations with Islamabad in crisis.
Fewer than 10 US special operations soldiers have been sent to a training site near the border city of Peshawar, where they will instruct trainers from Pakistan’s Frontier Corps in counter-insurgency warfare, a US official said.
The number of American military instructors in Pakistan dropped to zero after US aircraft killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in late November.
“I wouldn’t call this a watershed moment (but) it’s not insignificant that this is happening,” the US official said on condition of anonymity.
“At a strategic level, the relationship is still at a very rough place,” the official said.
“There’s a lot more we want to do to improve it, but (the trainers’ return) is an important sign that at least in some areas we’re getting a healthy sense of normalcy.”
Meanwhile Pakistan Army has denied media reports claiming the presence of US military trainers in Pakistan.
According to ISPR, all American military trainers were sent back after the Abbotabad raid after which no trainer retuned back, adding that there is no truth in the news of presence of US trainers in Pakistan.

US Air Force's secret space plane to return to Earth next month





The US Air Force's top secret X-37B space plane will return to Earth sometime next month after spending over a year in orbit. 

The X-37B, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle 2, or OTV-2, was launched in March 2011 atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. 

It is due to land at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base sometime in early- to mid-June, with the exact date dependent on technical and weather conditions, the military said. 

"The men and women of Team Vandenberg are ready to execute safe landing operations anytime and at a moment's notice," Col. Nina Armagno, 30th Space Wing commander, said in a statement issued Wednesday. 

The military originally said the 29-foot-long (8.8-meter-long), eight-foot-wide (2.4-meter-wide) craft, which is shaped like a small space shuttle, was only supposed to spend up to 270 days in space. 

The Boeing-build OTV-2, funded through the Pentagon's budget, was performing classified experiments for the Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office. 

Its landing will mark the third automated runway landing for a space plane -- the first was achieved by the former Soviet Union's Buran space shuttle, and the second was completed by the OTV-2's sister vehicle, the OTV-1, which was launched in April 2010 and landed later that year.




US DOD first non-test pilot qualifies on F-35


The US Department of Defense's first non-test pilot finished his qualification to fly the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on 31 May.
"I was excited not only to complete my flight to become an F-35 instructor pilot, but also for the rest of the initial cadre since this opens the door for them to also become qualified in the F-35," says US Air Force Lt Col Lee Kloos, commander of the 58th Fighter Squadron (FS).
 
 ©USAF
To qualify as an F-35 pilot, Kloos had to fly a transition course that consisted of six flights in the jet. As part of the first batch of instructors for the new fifth-generation fighter, Kloos will help train the rest of the initial cadre of F-35 pilots at the seaside base.
The 33rd Fighter Wing (FW), the 58th FS's parent unit, needs to have four instructor pilots trained in order to start the F-35's Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE) in the summer. The OUE will determine if the 33rd FW and the F-35 are the ready to train new pilots to fly the F-35. If the OUE is successful, Air Education and Training Command will approve the unit to formally start training.
The USAF currently only has two F-35 instructors at the base, Kloos and his director of operations, test pilot Lt Col Eric Smith. Smith was Kloos's instructor pilot having long ago qualified to fly the aircraft at Edwards AFB, California.
The USAF says there are additional two pilots who are awaiting approval to start their flight training. Once those two additional instructors are qualified to fly the F-35, they will teach four new "students" for the OUE.
Student, however, is a relative term. The four students are highly experienced fighter pilots who are transitioning to the F-35. Two are 33rd FW initial cadre pilots while two are from the elite 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron.
"These four students have not flown an F-35 before and this will count as their check-out," the USAF says. "The OUE will evaluate our ability to qualify these four individuals."

Japan to send destroyers to China’s doorstep


Tokyo claims beefed up presence is due to North Korea’s rocket launch 


By Jung Nam-ku, Park Byung-soo and Ha Eo-young, staff reporters
Japan is considering dispatching Aegis destroyers from its Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) to international waters west of the Korean Peninsula in the event of another rocket launch by North Korea. Though the MSDF claims the vessels would be sent to gather intelligence, some are concerned that sending destroyers equipped with a cutting edge maritime battle system onto China’s doorstep and near the two Koreas could cause backlash and further raise tensions in the West Sea area.
On Wednesday, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported information from a recently drafted report by an investigation team at Japan’s Ministry of Defense (JMD). The report identifies problems with Japan’s response to North Korea’s attempted launch of a long-range rocket in April. The report reads, “[JMD will] Consider dispatching destroyers to ‘waters in the vicinity of the launch site’ in order to more easily detect the course of the missile if North Korea gives advance warning of a missile (or rocket) launch.”
The Asahi Shimbun reported, “Although the report does not directly mention the West Sea as the place to which the destroyers would be dispatched, a Ministry of Defense official explained that the southwestern part of the West Sea was being considered, saying, ‘waters in the vicinity means the West Sea’.” The report, which was approved on Monday by defense minister Naoki Tanaka, is due to be officially announced after final discussions at the prime minister’s official residence.
These plans from the JMD are part of its response to public displeasure with Japan’s failure to rapidly detect North Korea’s long-range rocket launch. At the time, Japan had dispatched three destroyers equipped with SM3 interceptor missiles to the East Sea and the South China Sea. In spite of this, the JMD only announced that the rocket launched by the North at 7:39am on April 13 had crashed into the sea straight away at around 8:20am, while Korean media reported the fact 15 minutes after the event, quoting intelligence agencies.
Japan may be using this domestic criticism as a pretext to increase the Japanese navy’s area of activity. Although the vessels to be dispatched differ according to type, they generally possess strong information detection capabilities, with radar ranges of around 1,000 kilometers. If Aegis destroyers are dispatched to the West Sea, this would enable Japan to easily see missile training at military bases on China’s eastern coast and assess the training of China’s air force.
South Korea and the United States planned in July 2010 to send the USS George Washington into the West Sea as part of joint military exercises in response to the sinking of the Cheonan, China objected strongly and the exercises were relocated to the East Sea.
Last year, in order to monitor China’s maritime expansion, Japan amended a Defense White Paper to change the MSDF from a defensive to an offensive force. On April 30, at a summit meeting in Washington, US president Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda redefined the character of the US-Japan alliance as one that aimed to balance China‘s growing presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Chinese government has yet to issue an official response, but it is more than likely to object if Japan sends Aegis destroyers into the West Sea. “Japan’s Aegis destroyers have a very wide combat radius, so that China falls within it even when [the destroyers] are in international waters,” said Kim Jong-dae, editor of the online military journal Defense 21+. “Conflict may arise, because China’s official stance is that there are no international waters in the West Sea.”
The South Korean government’s stance is that there are no grounds to prevent Japan from sending its destroyers into the West Sea if they remain in international waters. An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, “We have not yet received notice of anything from Japan. We will try to determine whether or not this is true.”

“Delicate Dance” for Panetta in China’s Backyard


Reuters
REUTERS
A Philippines Navy Hamilton-class cutter was dispatched to inspect Chinese fishing vessels in the disputed Scarborough Shoals, setting of an armed confrontation.
When U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrives in Singapore this week to talk about containing China – and that’s really what this trip is all about — he’ll find plenty of support from friends in the region. But that might not make his job any easier. Allies old and new will be looking for assurances that America’s “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region is more than just rhetoric and that the U.S. will help them stand up to an increasingly powerful and demanding China.
“It’s going to be a delicate dance,” says Brad Glosserman, executive director of the Pacific Forum CSIS, in Honolulu.  “You want to send a message to your allies that you support them, but without emboldening them. We don’t want to send the signal that we are using proxies to bait the bear. But at the same time, we don’t want to give the impression that we are somehow deferring to China. So Panetta’s job will be to walk that fine line.”
Panetta and other top U.S. defense officials will arrive as an armed standoff between China and the Philippines over a disputed fishing reef enters its seventh week.  China claims sovereignty over vast tracts of the South China and East China seas already claimed or controlled by six other countries.
A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine made a highly publicized port stop at Subic Bay earlier this month, and Philippines officials are expected to ask Panetta for a squadron of F-16 fighters, a Coast Guard cutter, and other concrete demonstrations of support when they meet at the Shangri-La Dialogue defense conference in Singapore.
Panetta is also scheduled to meet with defense leaders from Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and other nations during the conference, which begins Friday and last through the weekend. He may meet there with officials from China. After Singapore, Panetta is scheduled to spend two days each in Vietnam and India.
It will be his first trip to the region since the Pentagon announced its “pivot” to Asia earlier this year. He’ll be accompanied by the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command — next to a presidential visit, that’s about as high-powered as it gets.
China’s rising ambitions and territorial claims throughout the region, and planned cuts in U.S. defense spending, will provide the backdrop for the talks. While regional officials will be looking for Panetta to say all the right things, they’ll be looking for actions, as well.
The U.S. has already agreed to station Marines in Australia and new Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore. Talks are underway with the Philippines to allow access to bases there for U.S. troops and ships.  Vietnam is expected to ask for radar and anti-aircraft defenses and for defense-related infrastructure and training. India may ask for an increase in joint-training exercises and to re-open talks to buy F-35 fighters planes.
The U.S. will have to decide case-by-case what’s in the U.S. and partners’ best interests, but already Panetta appears to be setting a tough tone. With a clear nod towards China, he told graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy this week that despite planned defense cuts, the U.S. is prepared to “defeat any opponent, any time, any where.”
“America’s future prosperity and security are tied to our ability to advance peace and security along the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean and South Asia,” Panetta said.
That does not mean Panetta will be looking to ring the region with U.S. bases, however, or that every country in the region would welcome that, says Raoul Heinrichs, of the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, in Canberra.
“It’s a complicated picture out here.  In broad terms, people want from the U.S. what they’ve had for a long time – that is, to prevent the domination of the region by any other power, and now that’s increasingly China,” Heinrichs says. “But it would be a mistake to think that everybody is simply lining up behind the U.S. and that they will accommodate every U.S. preference.”
And that could make for a full dance card for Panetta
.

Beijing Exhibiting New Assertiveness in South China Sea



 In tropical waters off the coast of the Philippines, a standoff between half a dozen Chinese fishing boats, two Chinese law enforcement vessels and an aging Philippine Navy ship recently attracted a lot of attention in Washington, Beijing and other capitals across Asia.

Superficially, the squabble was over some rare corals, clams and poached sharks that Philippine Navy seamen were trying to retrieve in early April from the fishing boats operating in the Scarborough Shoal of the South China Sea until two Chinese Marine Surveillance craft intervened. After two tense days, the Philippine ship — a refitted Coast Guard cutter sent by the United States last year to beef up its ally’s weak defenses — withdrew.
But the stakes were much larger, as the insistent claims ever since of sovereignty over the shoal by both the Philippine and Chinese governments made clear. The incident intensified longstanding international questions over the strategically critical, potentially energy-rich South China Sea that have become more urgent this year as the long-dominant United States and fast-growing China both seek to increase their naval power in the region.

“We’re just pawns,” said Roberto Romulo, a former foreign secretary of the Philippines who argues that China is flexing its muscles in a bid to gain unimpeded access to vast reserves of natural gas and oil believed to be buried under the South China Sea. “China is testing the United States, that’s all it is. And China is eating America’s lunch in Southeast Asia.”
More recently, a senior Chinese military officer even dismissed any legitimate role for the United States in the South China Sea. “The South China issue is not America’s business,” Gen. Ma Xiaotian, the deputy chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, said in an interview broadcast Monday by Phoenix TV in Hong Kong. “It’s between China and its neighbors.”
The general’s statement appeared to throw down a challenge to the Obama administration, which has sought in the past six months to enhance United States military strength around the western Pacific and East Asia, where the South China Sea serves as an essential waterway for not only the United States Navy but also for a large portion of the world’s trade.
From placing Marines in the northern Australian port city of Darwin to increasing military relations with Vietnam, a country with an uneasy relationship with China, Washington has signaled its intention of staying, not leaving.
In the latest sign of its resolve to stand firm on Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, the administration sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta to testify last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the need for the United States to ratify the United Nations treaty that is intended to govern the world’s oceans.
China is one of 162 countries that has ratified the Law of the Sea treaty. But the United States has not done so, holding back from formal approval ever since President Ronald Reagan refused to sign it when it was completed in 1982.
A major goal of the joint appearance, administration officials said, was to strengthen the legal hand of the United States so that its navy can be assured the freedom of navigation that the treaty recognizes beyond any nation’s territorial limit of 12 nautical miles.
In contrast, Western diplomats say, China argues that freedom of navigation comes into force only 200 nautical miles from a nation’s coast, an argument that contravenes the Law of the Sea and, if put into effect, would basically render the South China Sea Beijing’s private preserve.
While China may have no interest in blocking shipping in the South China Sea, there is also no doubt that it has begun to project its power in the area. Vietnam, for example, claims that Chinese boats twice sabotaged oil exploration efforts last year by deliberately cutting ship cables in its waters. China said one of the cable-cutting incidents was accidental.
Meanwhile, China is expected to deploy its first aircraft carrier this year.
Two-thirds of the world’s natural gas trade passes through the waters of the South China Sea, according to a report by Yang Jiemian, president of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. The sea is the main passageway for oil from the Middle East to China, Japan, South Korea and the rest of Asia.
Now the sea itself is believed to hold a substantial reservoir of energy, with some experts predicting that under the seabed lies as much as 130 billion barrels of oil and 900 trillion cubic feet of gas

Spratly Islands Occupation status



.






Possibly and hopefully the South China Sea will be a productive energy source,” Xu Xiaojie, a former director of overseas investment for China National Petroleum Corporation, said in an interview. The Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources has done studies on the energy resources in the sea, Mr. Xu said, but detailed results have not been released.
In May, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which until now has only had the technical ability to drill in shallow water, began its first deep-sea drilling project in an undisputed area of the South China Sea south of Hong Kong.
For China, the South China Sea is an integral part of its history. Days after the incident at Scarborough Shoal, known as Huangyan Island in China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry outlined some of the basic facts as interpreted by China. In 1279, the Chinese astronomer Guo Shoujing was commissioned by Emperor Kublai Khan to survey the seas around China. Huangyan Island was chosen as the starting point for the survey, the ministry said.
Mr. Romulo, the former foreign secretary, recalled that Zhou Enlai, the longtime second-in-command to Mao Zedong, had once pulled out a map to show his father, Carlos P. Romulo, who also served as a Philippine foreign secretary, that the Philippines rightfully belonged to China.
Aside from China and the Philippines, three other countries in Southeast Asia — Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam — make claims to islands in the sea. So does Taiwan.
Most perplexing to some claimants is China’s insistence on what is referred to as a nine-dash map that Beijing says shows its territorial claims. The nine dashes were originally drawn as 11 in 1947, before the Communist victory, and then amended to nine in the early 1950s to bypass the Gulf of Tonkin as a courtesy to the Communists in Vietnam.
By some estimates the nine dashes incorporate about 80 percent of the South China Sea. The line encompasses the Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands, which Vietnam also claims. The two nations fought sporadically over their competing claims in the 1970s and 1980s.
From each land feature within the nine-dash line — some of them little more than small rocks — China claims a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone that it says gives it the rights to the resources there according to the terms of the Law of the Sea.
According to officials here in Manila, China’s line runs inside the 80-nautical-mile stretch of water between Palawan Island and Reed Bank, where a Philippine company says it has found significant deposits of natural gas. The Philippine government of President Benigno S. Aquino III backs a plan to begin drilling off Reed Bank in the next few months.
How China will react is an open question. Nationalist sentiment within China is riding high on the South China Sea, and the government itself seems divided, on tactics at least.
Western diplomats say the Foreign Ministry, while remaining firm, would like to find a solution to the quarrel with the Philippines, perhaps involving joint ventures between companies from both countries. But People’s Liberation Army Daily, the military newspaper, has published strident editorials, stating that China will not stand for the Philippines or any other country claiming what is rightfully China’s.
“If China’s leaders follow the Chinese people, the policy on South China Sea and Southeast Asia will become very militant,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing.
Reflecting Washington’s rising concern about the South China Sea, Mr. Panetta, the defense secretary, plans to deliver what is being billed as a major policy speech on Saturday at an annual conference sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, based in London, which is bringing together an influential audience of Asian officials in Singapore this weekend.
Others will be paying close attention to what Mr. Panetta has to say as well. After China warned India this year about exploration by an Indian company in waters off Vietnam, the company pulled out, citing technical reasons. But that was not the last word from India.
“The South China Sea,” said S. M. Krishna, India’s foreign minister, “is the property of the world.

back to top