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Question about F-14&AIM-54


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Does AIM-54 have its own radar like amraam?

It is stated that F-14 could attack 6 targets simeultanously with its missiles, that could only be the case with ARH missiles right? Or it can do this in TWS mode with semi-active missiles? I looked all over the internet and found no mentioning of AIM-54 having active radar guidance. In lockon F-14 engages only 1 target at a time. Little confused here... if someone can help.

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the radar will update the target's coordinates (thus illuminate the target) for up to six missiles, but, since the F-14 doesn't have a phased array radar, it does the update sequentially, so one guidance update at a time, for 6 tracked targets.

 

Crap, I think you're right. The AWG-9/APG-71 radar does not seem to operate like TWS mode when guiding multiple AIM-54s to multiple targets, and instead of a datalink to provide mid-course correction updates, the missiles use semi-active radar tracking it seems.

 

Anyone have anything else to suggest otherwise?

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Crap, I think you're right. The AWG-9/APG-71 radar does not seem to operate like TWS mode when guiding multiple AIM-54s to multiple targets, and instead of a datalink to provide mid-course correction updates, the missiles use semi-active radar tracking it seems.

 

Anyone have anything else to suggest otherwise?

 

Actualy its full active radar. It becomes active 10 miles from target. The missile wich was thought of beint active but its passive is the AA-9 Amos.

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Crap, I think you're right. The AWG-9/APG-71 radar does not seem to operate like TWS mode when guiding multiple AIM-54s to multiple targets, and instead of a datalink to provide mid-course correction updates, the missiles use semi-active radar tracking it seems.

 

Anyone have anything else to suggest otherwise?

 

OMG, I thought it is a well known fact that the Phoenix is active radar homing missile. F-14 does have a TWS mode to guide multiple missiles at the same time.

 

As Pilotasso said, the Mig-31 with its phased array can guide up to four semi-active radar homing R-33S Amos missiles simultaniously (it carries 4 of those missiles max anyway).

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OMG, I thought it is a well known fact that the Phoenix is active radar homing missile. F-14 does have a TWS mode to guide multiple missiles at the same time.

 

As Pilotasso said, the Mig-31 with its phased array can guide up to four semi-active radar homing R-33S Amos missiles simultaniously (it carries 4 of those missiles max anyway).

 

I obviously know that it is an active radar missile :icon_roll

 

But I didn't know that the AIM-54 is semi-actively guided to within 10 miles of its target for active radar acquisition. It doesn't seem to have a datalink. Without a datalink, how is it going to recieve mid-course guidance updates?

 

Lesson of the day: Read other people's entire posts ;)

 

Actualy its full active radar. It becomes active 10 miles from target. The missile wich was thought of beint active but its passive is the AA-9 Amos.

 

Apparently not "full" active radar ;)

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BTW I payed sepecial interest for the Mig-31 the past weeks. Could it track targets high angles off the nose? I think long range fast interceptors of that power could be quite an efective plane. Dunno if the AA-9 corresponded though. I know little about that missile.

 

I say this because in the recent years its older brother the Mig-25 was the only plane capable of provocating western fighters and lived to tell the story. Imagine that with capable missiles and a radar to match.

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In the F-14 firing test of the six AIM-54s in 1973, it's not as bad as it seems. 4 out of 6 targets were hit, but one missile failed just seconds after launch and self detonated, one of the target drones lost agumentation which caused the AWG-9 to break lock which cause the missile to not find the failed drone which crashed.

 

The remaining 4 scored direct hits or passed within lethal distance. The AIM-54Cs are active within 14 miles of the target

 

The AA-9 (R-33) was not close to the abilities of the AIM-54 with a range of around 62 miles, but it's replacement the R-37 which would have armed the MiG-31M is, with at least a 95 mile range and six could be loaded on a MiG-31M along with 4 R-77s. The MiG-31M would have been a very impressive interceptor.

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In the F-14 firing test of the six AIM-54s in 1973, it's not as bad as it seems. 4 out of 6 targets were hit, but one missile failed just seconds after launch and self detonated, one of the target drones lost agumentation which caused the AWG-9 to break lock which cause the missile to not find the failed drone which crashed.

 

The remaining 4 scored direct hits or passed within lethal distance. The AIM-54Cs are active within 14 miles of the target

 

What they didn't tell you was the fact the firing conditions/target profile were pretty much perfect for the Tomcat ;)

 

And according to the following site, the range of the active radar is 20 000 yards, or roughly 10 nm.

 

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/phoenix.htm

 

And according to the following sites, the AIM-54A/C is guided semi-actively up to the point of radar activation:

 

http://www.anft.net/f-14/f14-detail-aim54.htm

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/aim-54.htm

http://navysite.de/weapons/phoenix.htm

 

Just a snippet from the "Navy Training plan for the AIM-54 Phoenix", http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/docs/ntsp-aim-54.pdf:

 

The Phoenix Missile is a radar guided air-to-air missile consisting of a guidance section, armament section, propulsion section, control section, interconnecting surface cables, wings, and fins. The missile is designed for ejection launch using the LAU-93 or LAU-132 launchers. Semi-active and active homing radar and hydraulically operated fins direct and stabilize the missile on course to the target.

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I have just found some bits of data on Jane's "How to Fly and Fight in the F-14 Tomcat"

 

"A great benefit of the active-homing Phoenix is that it needs no radar lock - unlike the Sparrow"....[cut] "The missile's autopilots initially follows a pre-programmed course and only begins tracking its target only when it begins the descent. It then goes into semi-active radar homing (SARH) mode and steers toward periodic reflected transmissions from the Track-While-Scan AWG-9. When several missiles are in the air, target illumination is even less frequent, since it must be shared between all missiles in flight. At 10-15 nm from the target, the Phoenix's own DSQ-26 active radar takes over and guides it to impact."

 

I think it's a fairly good description of how it works. A strange mix of inertial guide, SARH and ARH... a really complex system, like its carrier...

 

What they didn't tell you was the fact the firing conditions/target profile were pretty much perfect for the Tomcat

Well the Tomcat was designed to kill bombers and sea skimmers, the drones were depicting that scenario. Each weapon system has its own limitations, and is obvious that in leaflets those are minimized.

The Phoenix LAR (Launch Acceptable Region) varies with target speed, aspect and height (like for every missile), but is said (in the same book) to be 52 nm range for multiple targets, about 100 nm for a single target. It's obvious that if targets were Backfires fleeing at Mach 1+, the LAR would be greatly reduced.

Since Tomcat's mission was BARCAP, it was accepted that bombers would have been flying towards the carrier (and towards the 'Cat).

The fact that the Phoenix has an optimal range of 80-90 nm was (and is) staggering, so most people (in particular newbies) are expecting that it achieves that range even against a Foxbat running away at full speed!

 

But IRL every missile has a particular launch envelope, which is mostly classified, and is usually far smaller than what's advertised in company leaflets.

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BTW I payed sepecial interest for the Mig-31 the past weeks. Could it track targets high angles off the nose? I think long range fast interceptors of that power could be quite an efective plane. Dunno if the AA-9 corresponded though. I know little about that missile.

That weapon system is very little known. It recalls the AWG-9 /Phoenix weapon system, but there are some people who say that they're really different. Dunno.

Yet the AWG-9/Phoenix was fielded in late '60s, the R-33 was fielded in early '80s, AND after a Persian 'Cat was acquired by Soviets. I think they had some opportunity to see how it worked ;)

Furthermore, I don't think the Soviets had problems to put their hands on the full NATOPS manual. I wish I knew a KGB officer! :)

 

I say this because in the recent years its older brother the Mig-25 was the only plane capable of provocating western fighters and lived to tell the story. Imagine that with capable missiles and a radar to match.

 

Because "Speed is life"! It's an old motto, but it still holds true. They also implemented it in the Superbug :D :D :D ("one of the slowest jet fighters ever flown")

 

"Speed is life" because if you can avoid to be hit, you can have all the weapons of this world locked at you, but they simply won't work. We know (even if we don't know what it looks like exactly) that even the most modern AAM has a limited launch envelope, especially when fired against fast and fleeing targets.

It's just a matter of fact. Two of the least intercepted aircraft are the Mig-25 and the SR-71. I'm not saying that an aircraft must fly at Mach 10 in a straight line, but speed is helpful and I'm not sure that some modern designs like F-35 and F-18E are the way to go in a tricky scenario.

 

The F-35 would have been more useful in a Central European scenario during Cold War, where NATO airbases were clearly at risk and a STOL aircraft was needed. Today the US can deploy everywhere, so I don't see the need for a STOL if that means sacrifice speed. Given the data I know I wouldn't fight the Su-27 or the Mig-31 if I had an F-35.

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It's just a matter of fact. Two of the least intercepted aircraft are the Mig-25 and the SR-71. I'm not saying that an aircraft must fly at Mach 10 in a straight line, but speed is helpful and I'm not sure that some modern designs like F-35 and F-18E are the way to go in a tricky scenario.

 

The two least intercepted aircraft would be the U-2 and the SR-71. Even the MIG-25RBT (? the recon version) which was by far the fastest Foxbat, was shot down once by Israeli HAWKs and an F-15A combo, while four MiG-25 fighters have been destroyed by F-15A/Cs.

 

And speed is only useful if the aircraft can use it to evade/turn away from its attackers. Try going Mach 2.8 head on at an F-15 with AMRAAMs ;) I recall that the MiG-25 has a turning radius of about 40 miles at full speed (that's a circle 80 miles wide). If an Eagle suddenly popped up in front of it at 40 miles (very likely considering an F-15 would be operating with AWACs and the Foxbat would not), the Foxbat would be dead meat.

 

And running away won't get the mission accomplished ;) MiG-25/31 fighters may be good for evasion, but if you want air supremacy, you're gonna need a good active radar missile and situational awareness so you can't shoot, guide your missiles until pitbull, then run away.

 

The F-35 would have been more useful in a Central European scenario during Cold War, where NATO airbases were clearly at risk and a STOL aircraft was needed. Today the US can deploy everywhere, so I don't see the need for a STOL if that means sacrifice speed. Given the data I know I wouldn't fight the Su-27 or the Mig-31 if I had an F-35.

 

I'm not sure an F-35 won't be able to supercruise. It actually has the single most powerful jet engine developed as of yet - with AB, it's estimated that it produces almost 50 000 lbs of thrust. The Eurofighter wasn't designed to supercruise either, yet it's been proven it can fly at Mach 1.3 without AB in tests. Generally, the next generation of fighter engines have proven to be extremely successful; for example, although it's been a design goal that the F-22's engines produce 35 000 lbs each, some sources actually speculate that each may produce up to 39 000 lbs of thrust, with good reason to think so. People originally thought the Raptor cruises at Mach 1.5; so far, it can do at least Mach 1.7, or almost as fast as the airframe can permit.

 

In any case, the JSF has been designed from the outset to be shielded from the most dangerous threats by supercruising F-22s, which with stealth and speed should be able to get in a fight, massacre their opponents, and disappear.

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I obviously know that it is an active radar missile :icon_roll

But I didn't know that the AIM-54 is semi-actively guided to within 10 miles of its target for active radar acquisition. It doesn't seem to have a datalink. Without a datalink, how is it going to recieve mid-course guidance updates?

Lesson of the day: Read other people's entire posts ;)

Apparently not "full" active radar ;)

 

Ok, ok, (unloads a bucket full of ashes on himself). The entire thread was going in a way that Phoenix didn't have ARH guidance and I just jumped on it missing your point (as you didn't counter their statements).

 

I remember reading about this SARH mid-course guidance but it was so long ago that I forgot all about it in the meantime :) The Russians probably found ARH unnecessary as it only makes the missile much more expensive and complicated (they would probably have problems with the development of the ARH seeker in short notice) and their new phased array is more than capable enough to precisely guide the multiple SARH missiles to their targets.

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The two least intercepted aircraft would be the U-2 and the SR-71. Even the MIG-25RBT (? the recon version) which was by far the fastest Foxbat, was shot down once by Israeli HAWKs and an F-15A combo, while four MiG-25 fighters have been destroyed by F-15A/Cs.

I disagree... the U-2 was shot down in 1960 as soon as SAMs were fielded in USSR. The next time it tried to fly over a SAM-protected area (Cuba) it was shot down again. The U-2 can fly only where the threat is very little and its ECM are capable to defeat it. Yet its altitude is quite unreachable for many fighters...

 

As far as the Mig-25, I must disagree too. There are known successful interceptions, but they are very few, if compared to the "traps" laid by NATO or Israel and which were usually evaded. I remember reading an article about Recon Mig-25 dashing accross Europe without problems before F-15s were introduced as interceptors.

I'd also like to comment on the score you report. Yes there are a couple of known US victories (one with -120 after the Gulf War ended) and maybe a couple by Israel, but you must also consider that US and Israel were operating with a total air supremacy achieved. And that Syrian and Iraqi pilots are not known for their skills or their proficiency ;)

 

And speed is only useful if the aircraft can use it to evade/turn away from its attackers. Try going Mach 2.8 head on at an F-15 with AMRAAMs ;) I recall that the MiG-25 has a turning radius of about 40 miles at full speed (that's a circle 80 miles wide). If an Eagle suddenly popped up in front of it at 40 miles (very likely considering an F-15 would be operating with AWACs and the Foxbat would not), the Foxbat would be dead meat.

And running away won't get the mission accomplished ;) MiG-25/31 fighters may be good for evasion, but if you want air supremacy, you're gonna need a good active radar missile and situational awareness so you can't shoot, guide your missiles until pitbull, then run away.

 

I'm not saying you have to run at Mach 3 (even the MIg-25/31 can't sustain that speed for all the mission). I'm not even a Foxbat/Foxhound fan. I don't like them very much.

I'm just saying that speed is very helpful in some parts of the air combat and pilot reports confirm that. (apart from Kosovo when pilots appreciated the A-10 capability to fly slow as a FAC). Speed is good for example to achieve quickly a good position before combat begins, or to disengage quickly if the enemy is not totally destroyed. Outmaneuver an opponent means also gaining a tactically good position before him, not only pointing your weapons at him.

 

Supercruise is ok, is a very useful "weapon". What I mean is also that in many discussions some A/C features are a bit exaggerated... for example supermaneuvrability... "my aircraft can turn 1000°/s" or "is better because can outturn yours by 2°/s"

If you look at combat records you see that REAL air combat is a bit different from what many people believe it to look like.

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And speed is only useful if the aircraft can use it to evade/turn away from its attackers. Try going Mach 2.8 head on at an F-15 with AMRAAMs ;)

 

That's like saying "try going Mach 2.whatever with an F-15 with AMRAAMs on a Su-27 with R-27ER which is F-Poling". Why would anyone do this? :)

 

Although, Mach 2.4+ might be the only viable way for a MiG-25 to score in a head on duel against F-15 w/AMRAAM.

 

And running away won't get the mission accomplished ;) MiG-25/31 fighters may be good for evasion, but if you want air supremacy, you're gonna need a good active radar missile and situational awareness so you can't shoot, guide your missiles until pitbull, then run away.

 

I don't see why MiG-31 doesn't satisfy this requirement. It's missiles' range and speed advantage outweighs the negative aspects of the necessity to guide them all the way home. MiG-31M w/R37 missiles is even more powerful. Too bad (or maybe not :) ) that this wonderful interceptor isn't in service (who knows if it'll ever be)..

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And running away won't get the mission accomplished ;) MiG-25/31 fighters may be good for evasion, but if you want air supremacy, you're gonna need a good active radar missile and situational awareness so you can't shoot, guide your missiles until pitbull, then run away.

 

True but then were talking about the Mig-25's in there just to provocate were its airforce was already defeated. There were alot more encounters where the Mig-25 wasnt shot down. It makes a definitive contrast with all the other types wich were repeatedly shot down. There was only one other aircraft that had some successes and it was the Mig-21, precicely in hit and run tactics.

 

The Mig-31 is a litle slower but has a longer range, is more manueverable, and has a much better weapons systems. In early years of its deployment, the russians were feeling pressure from flights of american and japanese aircraft. The Mig-31 was deployed to a base somewhere near the Kurile islands were it was able to fly intercept missions, puting away many of those flights.

 

In a conflict I believe, a flight of MIg-31's could very well disrupt oposing air operations successfuly by flying into the vicinity of the enemy aircraft, F-pole AA-9 shots and then get the hell of a dodge in full afterburners. It would make them extremely hard to catch.

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The meteor will, and the russians are rumoured to be on a ramjet version of the R-77. The meteor is well on its development and its on carrial trials in Gripen fighters. Firing tests are scheduled to take place soon. It suposed to have a 100 Mile range.

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That's like saying "try going Mach 2.whatever with an F-15 with AMRAAMs on a Su-27 with R-27ER which is F-Poling". Why would anyone do this? :)

 

Okay, true. But my point was that the MiG-25 would be on a recon flight, and since it's operating over enemy territory, there is a good chance an F-15 might catch it streaking along at Mach 3.

 

I don't see why MiG-31 doesn't satisfy this requirement. It's missiles' range and speed advantage outweighs the negative aspects of the necessity to guide them all the way home. MiG-31M w/R37 missiles is even more powerful. Too bad (or maybe not :) ) that this wonderful interceptor isn't in service (who knows if it'll ever be)..

 

Well, I don't think the R-37 is in service yet (and if it is, not in widespread use), or the MIG-31 upgrade to use such a missile has been implemented. Correct me if I'm wrong ;)

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Dunno how many of them exactly are in service, but there are something in the vicinity of 20 mig-31BM variants operating in the RuAf, featuring the R-33E, the official designation of the missile you all call "R-37", yes, it has an ARH warhead. For details, use google or aviation magizines. I have a cdrom somewhere with a nice article on the mig31, but I'm too lazy to put it into the drive.

 

EDIT: Found also that the Mig-31M can carry the R-33S missile

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... after a Persian 'Cat was acquired by Soviets. I think they had some opportunity to see how it worked ;)

 

As far as I know no IIAF/IRIAF F-14A ever got into soviet hands. One IRIAF Tomcat defected to Iraq, but the USA took care of that airframe.

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As far as I know no IIAF/IRIAF F-14A ever got into soviet hands. One IRIAF Tomcat defected to Iraq, but the USA took care of that airframe.

 

There has been oh-so-much speculation that at least one did, after the Revolution when the Iranians and the Soviets were cuddling up together ;)

 

 

Somewhere there's a Tomcat fansite that talks in detail bout the Iranian Tomcat situation . . . .

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