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michael82

MiG-21 - still unpleasant surprise at Cope India exercise

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Draft copy of the exercise Cope India report says:

While the superb performances of IAF Sukhoi-30s were somewhat anticipated, the performance of MiG-21Bison came as a major “unpleasant surprise” to the USAF officials. It also validates the claim of the Russian officials that they are capable of successfully converting “second generation” late-model MiG-21bis fighters to “fourth generation combat platforms”. Inherently the significant positive attributes enjoyed by MiG-21s were their dog fighting ability in WVR (Within Visual Range) combat. Even the earlier models had a low corner velocity of 556 kilometers per hour and at Mach 0.5 had an instantaneous turn rate of 11.1 degrees per second. The MiG-21Bison with more powerful R-25 engines not only considerably bettered this performance but it may also be credited with “jackrabbit” acceleration, a very critical attribute in WVR combat.

Something in-line to:

http://www.amazon.com/Fighter-Performance-Practice-Unexploited-maneuverability/dp/8660210174/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356439329&sr=1-1

 

Among many fourth generations attributes added to the IAF MiG-21Bison design, the incorporation of HMS (Helmet Mounted Sight) and high-off-boresight R-73RDM2 NBVR/WVR (Near Beyond Visual Range/Within Visual Range) AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles) have turned it into a “Great Equalizer” in the WVR combat scenario. Conceptually a small number of MiG-21Bisons maintaining “radar silence” can be guided towards their aerial target by a couple of Sukhoi-30s by secure data links in accordance with MFFC (Mixed Fighter Force Concept). Upon entering into an WVR combat envelope the MiG-21Bisons armed with HMS and deadly NBVR/WVR missiles had the capability of destroying even fifth-generation fighters alike F/A-22 Raptor as assessed by high-profile Fighter Analyst Ben Lambeth of RAND Corporation. According to Lambeth “in visual combat everybody dies at the same rate.” F/A-22 also has to slow down if forced into a WVR combat scenario and loses the advantage of its super-cruise attributes. The situation further complicates if the IAF Sukhoi-30s have acquired the capability of providing target illumination for RVV-AE (AA-12 Adder) BVR missiles being launched from IAF MiG-21Bisons at extended ranges.

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Much as I respect the raw performance of the Bison and its upgraded avionics/armaments I have to point out that you cannot "force" an F-22 to slow down, if the pilot of the 22 wishes to extend and reposition for a BVR shot there is bugger all the Mig can do about it. As for vectoring onto the 22, it has to be detected in the first place, easier said than done.

 

Craig

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Hmmm, with all due respect for the MiG-21BIS (which I always considered a formidable proposition in its days), even a Spitfire with a couple of modern IR missiles and a helmet mounted sight can do a lot of damage in WVR conditions, just as a Meteor could carry a nuclear weapon and I defeated a Mig-17 in a Tiger Moth once.. (it stalled into the ground trying to get into a firing position :aggressive: )

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"Among many fourth generations attributes added to the IAF MiG-21Bison design, the incorporation of HMS (Helmet Mounted Sight) and high-off-boresight R-73RDM2 NBVR/WVR (Near Beyond Visual Range/Within Visual Range) AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles)"

 

This sentence alone is enough to turn any plane to a superfighter.But this:

 

"had the capability of destroying even fifth-generation fighters alike F/A-22 Raptor"

 

Unless it's raining that day, detecting a F-22, and let alone destroying it is impossible.The whole Bison formation will be on its way to the ground well before the slightest estimation of the Raptors' current position.

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Its just the usual words of wishful thinking you see from someone who really has no clue about what was tested in that exercise - oh it now has this capability so therefore must be just as good blah blah - flipping hilarious.

 

Wouldn't be complete without the usual comment about having some parameter of the flight envelope that will somehow play out despite all the other factors involved, and the fact you cant dictate what happens in a merge to that level (if you get to one). For example a hypothetical 11 degree turn rate that may happen with a clean jet at some altitude at some certain weight if you remember to use contingency thrust - (tbh its still sh**e )

 

The MiG-21 airframe is the major problem here and India are due to replace these relics over the next few years.

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The MiG-21Bison or the F-4F ICE, or the F-4E 2000 or or or are updated planes which can fight against an enemy over longer range. In close combat they have big problems against modern fighters. They had had their times. But this time is over.

The only chance the MiG-21/93 or Bison would have is to work as part of a network, where more modern fighters or AWACS or ground stations would detect the opponent. Via datalink the needed values could submitted to the MiG-21/93 which would launch the missiles without activating the own radar. Hit and run tactics.

 

You could uthe MiG-21Bison for air policing missions up today. For that job would be a MiG-21 a good choice for contries with low budget and low threat. For war activities the MiG-21 is outdated, as all of their competitors of their time.

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Any plane can win against a superior foe given the right circumstances and a bit of luck. Few MiG-21s are going to get that chance, and if they do it's likely because their opponent made a MAJOR mistake, not because they're that good.

 

It's not an impossible scenario, it's just unlikely.

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It was an exercise some years ago, short after the introduction of the Bison. Partners were the IAF and the USAF. The USAF used the F-15C and the indian side the MiG-21Bison, MiG-29 and Su-30. The USAF was aware of the power of the Su-30 and the agility of the MiG-29, but underestimated the Bison.

During the mock combat the US Boys heared the unexpected Fox-3 call which signals the simulated launch of a R-77 (AA-12 Adder) from unexpected direction from a unexpected enemy. They concentrated on the "big" radar targets (Su-30 and MiG-29 with over 14 m² RCS) and thought that the small dots (MiG-21 with 1 m² RCS) would be harmless over longer distances. So the 21Bison were ignored, got in launch range and killed the Eagles.

s**t happens.

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A Fishbed vs an Eagle....Plausible.But a Raptor???I believe the F-22 pilot in real combat won't even bother to engage a Mig-21,instead opting to go for the "Bigger Fish".

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It was an exercise some years ago, short after the introduction of the Bison. Partners were the IAF and the USAF. The USAF used the F-15C and the indian side the MiG-21Bison, MiG-29 and Su-30. The USAF was aware of the power of the Su-30 and the agility of the MiG-29, but underestimated the Bison.

During the mock combat the US Boys heared the unexpected Fox-3 call which signals the simulated launch of a R-77 (AA-12 Adder) from unexpected direction from a unexpected enemy. They concentrated on the "big" radar targets (Su-30 and MiG-29 with over 14 m² RCS) and thought that the small dots (MiG-21 with 1 m² RCS) would be harmless over longer distances. So the 21Bison were ignored, got in launch range and killed the Eagles.

s**t happens.

 

"unexpected"?I'd expect the greatest military force in the world to be better prepared for such a drill...and even if they failed, again I'm pretty sure they'd do their best to keep the results safe under the "classified" label.The USAF would certainly know what they were dealing with, since you can find that stuff all over the net.An Eagle or two may have fallen to bad luck.But Raptors, hell no.

 

 

Too hard to believe.Also a question :Aren't the results of such training exercises supposed to be kept secret?

 

Normally yes.Whether the personnel involved couldn't keep their mouths shut is hard to know, since no matter what they say, their sayings are not officially confirmed, and in turn their word eventually becomes nothing but a rumour.

 

A Fishbed vs an Eagle....Plausible.But a Raptor???I believe the F-22 pilot in real combat won't even bother to engage a Mig-21,instead opting to go for the "Bigger Fish".

 

Exactly.The MiGs would probably be rendered useless before they could even get within launch range.

 

100th post, yeayyy

Edited by thodouras95
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It's an exercise with a foreign power. There's no doubt they were holding their top capabilities in check along with a generally more relaxed attitude compared with what they'd do in the US during Red Flag for example. End result--they got surprised and took losses they weren't expecting.

 

While this taught the Eagle drivers to pay more attention, it also telegraphed how India might do things in a real major air conflict. In other words, the same trick rarely works twice, and those 21 pilots could find themselves taken down earlier in a real shooting war because their enemy would know they could do this.

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" the incorporation of HMS (Helmet Mounted Sight) and high-off-boresight R-73RDM2 NBVR/WVR (Near Beyond Visual Range/Within Visual Range) AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles) have turned it into a “Great Equalizer” in the WVR combat scenario. Conceptually a small number of MiG-21Bisons maintaining “radar silence” can be guided towards their aerial target by a couple of Sukhoi-30s by secure data links in accordance with MFFC (Mixed Fighter Force Concept). "

 

This is the part that I think some people are missing. They aren't saying that the Mig-21 is a Raptor Killer. They are saying that they can be the missile carriers running silent on the deck for the SU-30's and then engaging in visual ACM. The F-22 looses almost all of its advantages if they allow themselves to be engaged in that environment.

 

There is nothing that is invulnerable. We've had F-22's "killed" by F-18's in visual ACM.

 

Tactics are the key. The IAF is a very, very capable force and very innovative on tactical concepts. They've come up with one that could work against 5th generation fighters.

 

As someone else has already pointed out, complacency kills.

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What you have said therre is true in theory, however it would take one monumental screw up on part of the F-22 force to allow themselves to be detected and engaged visually under wartime conditions. In cases where the 22 has been defeated in excersises the opposing force has been privy to where and when to find the 22, not something thats going to happen in combat.

 

Craig

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Concur. That's what I meant by "if they allow themselves..."

 

As long as the Raptors fight their fight, they're pretty much unbeatable. If they get down and mix it up, the SU-30/Mig-21 combo could potentially eat them for breakfast.

 

Tactics are everything.

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But a mix up can't happen as the F-22 aircraft can easily engage from a safe distance.The stealth capabilities are a different story altogether.The only possible way a Raptor could even be damaged by the Su-30/Mig-21 combo is if it is out numbered 3:1 and that too only if the pilot makes a mistake.

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They shouldn't, I agree.

 

Reset back to the original post. The Mig-21 (and many other fighters of that era) remain fairly capable combat platforms with upgraded avionics and weapons. Anything can kill anything else given the right circumstances.

 

The upgrades include modern, advanced Within Visual Range (WVR) weapons and sighting.

 

Everything that gets into a visual range dogfight is essentially on equal terms. The F-22 has no inherent advantage in a visual range dogfight, particularly against a mixed fighter force with an advantage of numbers (which will almost always be the case against an opponent that justifies the deployment and employment of the F-22 in the first place).

 

All the report says, when boiled down to the bottom line;

 

1. is that the F-22 loses its advantages if the pilots are so stupid and inept as to allow themselves to get into a visual range dogfight.

 

2. the upgraded Mig-21 operating with SU-30's as a team is very capable in that visual environment.

 

Lesson to F-22 pilots - fight your aircraft on your terms, not the enemy's. That is the same basic principle of air combat no matter what you may be flying. The lesson to all is - don't think that any aircraft or combat system is invulnerable just because. Anything can be killed by anything else if one screws up.

Edited by Typhoid

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Did some further reading on the topic.It is speculated that there were severe restrictions on the use of the Aim-120 AMRAAM.The fire range limit was set to just 20 Nm hence completely degrading it as an active BVR.The raptors only carried 2 IRMs and without an HMS.In previous engagements,we saw the F-15C go down.This may be for two reasons:

The crews wanted to get a first hand look at the new Russian tech.Or maybe the F-15C was deliberately killed so as to scare the congress into providing funds for the F-22A.

This time though, the raptor went down so maybe it's another scare tactic?Only time will tell.

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A Fishbed vs an Eagle....Plausible.But a Raptor???I believe the F-22 pilot in real combat won't even bother to engage a Mig-21,instead opting to go for the "Bigger Fish".

That would be a major mistake, I don't care what machine is in question it could be a freakin' USS Voyager(with shields down however :D ) because what was described in that exercise was a typical saturation attack.

 

It's the same thing as attacking a ship with AEGIS system with anti-ship missiles, one is a laugh, five are no problem, 20 are still manageable but true saturation attack will come maybe with 50 or 80 missiles coming from multiple directions to over-stress the system capability and score a hit.

 

Basically anybody that thinks a flight of Raptors can just enter an airspace that is well covered with networked and multi-layered air defense and just own anything is playing too much video games...this of course does not mean that the air force equipped with planes like Raptor does not have a significant edge over the opponents that do not, but let's not go into fairy-tale country...

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Of course, to date the last time the US fought superior numbers of anything was during certain periods in Vietnam.

 

I'm hard pressed to imagine a scenario in which the US would enter hostile territory that has that large of a defense. Our so-called "leaders" only approve of attacks against largely inferior forces, so that they can "sell" the idea with minimal casualties.

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Of course, to date the last time the US fought superior numbers of anything was during certain periods in Vietnam.

 

I'm hard pressed to imagine a scenario in which the US would enter hostile territory that has that large of a defense. Our so-called "leaders" only approve of attacks against largely inferior forces, so that they can "sell" the idea with minimal casualties.

 

 

Well whats changed - we rarely used to colonize countries that could actually fight back it seems :beach:

nice quote from Blackadder:

"If you saw someone in a grass skirt you shot him and nicked his country"

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