Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
That F-22 Vs. F-35 'Dogfight' In Norway Was Not What Everyone Thinks
A pair of stealthy fifth-generation U.S. Air Force Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor air superiority fighters squared off against a pair of Royal Norwegian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighters during a one-day training exercise over Norway on August 15 .
There are very few details available about the exercise, but some inferences can be made about the type of training the two sides undertook.
The Norwegians, for their part, were impressed by the Raptor’s fearsome air-to-air prowess.
The Norwegians told Shalal that practicing with the American F-22s provided the stealthy new jets with training opportunities that would not normally be available since the F-35s are usually able to surprise and “overpower” conventional non-stealthy aircraft.
Unsurprisingly, as a professional air force, the Norwegians refused to discuss which side “won” during the training exercises. Generally, such discussions are held in confidence during a debrief after a sortie between the participants.
In general, there are a few assumptions that can be made based on how U.S. and NATO alliance air forces operate. Professional air forces do not engage in the sort of chest-thumping bravado one might see in movies such as Top Gun, rather the entire affair is about building professional competence. That includes developing aircrew skills, practicing and refining tactics, techniques and procedures among other things.
Further, when there are air forces from different allied states participating, those air forces are often trying to develop professional relationships between their aviators and building interoperability between their forces. That is so they are familiar with each other’s tactics and procedures in the event of a war. Aircrews from different NATO partners—Norway and the United States in this case—may find themselves fighting alongside each other during a contingency operation as they did in 2011 during Operation Odyssey Dawn. Indeed, interpersonal relationships between allied aviators are amongst the most valuable gains from international air exercises.
Two F-22 Raptors from the 95th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly in formation and conduct training operations with two Royal Norwegian air force F-35A Lightning II aircraft during an air refueling over Norway, Aug. 15, 2018.U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Preston Cherry
Because these air forces are not training to go to war against each other, during most exercises, aircraft will be divided between friendly Blue Air forces and adversary Red Air forces. Friendly Blue forces will fly using the tactics and procedures they would use during real combat operations—accounting for the limitations of airspace and ranges etc.—while Red Air will replicate the tactics and techniques of the enemy. Thus, during an exercise such as this in Norway, it could have been a situation where the F-22s might have emulated enemy aircraft such as a Russian Su-35s while the F-35s would have flown as Blue Air or vice versa. The idea is to learn and familiarize each other with their tactics and procedures—within security limitations of course.
Security limitations are a serious issue for the F-22 community. Raptor pilots are often not allowed to utilize the full capabilities of their jets during international exercises. “F-22 units are often directed to participate in exercises as part of Air Force efforts to build relationships with partners,” notes a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. “However, due to security concerns regarding exposing the F-22’s unique capabilities, F-22 pilots may be restricted from flying the aircraft the way they would in combat, according to Air Force officials. As a result, the value of the training is reduced and these types of exercises can result in the F-22 pilots developing bad habits that must be corrected in future training, according to Air Force officials.”
The only time during air exercises where the gloves come off (to an extent), so to speak, is during basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) training—or the typical within visual range dogfights that are often depicted in movies and other media. While aircraft and weapons capabilities are important, during BFM engagements—and depending on the precise setup (defensive, high-aspect, offensive perch), victory often comes down to individual pilot skills and luck. A more maneuverable aircraft with more thrust and with better missiles might often win those engagements, but even the most capable fighter in the hands of a highly capable pilot can lose if they are having a bad day. The bottom line, however, is not about thumping ones’ chest, it is about learning and doing better next time.
This article originally appeared on The National Interest
Read more from The National Interest:
- Imagine a U.S. Air Force That Never Built the B-52 Bomber
- Russia's Next Big Military Sale - To Mexico?
- Would China Really Invade Taiwan?
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"