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The (rigged?) ACEVAL/AIMEVAL air combat evaluations 1975 -1978

overscan (PaulMM)

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There's a lot of conflicting information on the ACEVAL and AIMEVAL programs in published accounts.

ACEVAL was focused on the relative effects of force size with a red force of F-5s versus blue force F-14 and F-15s. It was limited to visual engagements only and the AIM-54 was prohibited. Importantly, and often not mentioned, red force were given simulated all aspect missiles. The official conclusion was a kill ratio of 2:1 was the best that could be expected in visual engagements when outnumbered even with the high quality F-15 and F-14.

However, according to Navy participants, every time the Blue Force figured out tactics to give them an advantage (at one stage achieving 6:1 kill ratio) the rules were changed or Red team given an advantage to bring the kill ratio down. The conclusion appeared to have been predetermined that quality fighters alone weren't going to be a winning strategy - hence the F-16.

AIMEVAL tested 5 different simulated potential short range missile designs including actual AIM-95 Agile seekers. The recollections of some Navy pilots is that the high-off-boresight capable missiles were obviously and definitely superior in the tests, and were surprised (to say the least) that the official findings were that there was no real advantage to be had in the high-off-boresight designs.

Both these results were advantageous for Air Force interests. ACEVAL said they should stay out of visual range arena and Sparrow sucked - this helped secure funding for the AIM-120 AMRAAM - and that numbers mattered - so buy F-16s. AIMEVAL said there was no real advantage to the Navy's AIM-95 Agile type missile, which was canned. 3 strikes for the Air Force.

It'd be interesting to find some more pilot's opinions on this topic.


ACEVAL/AIMVAL (Air Combat Evaluation/Air Intercept Missile Evaluation) was a series of exercises (the exercises lasted from 1975 to 1978 and comprised of nearly 1500 engagements) designed to test the efficiency of the then-latest front line fighters, the F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle, against inexpensive, small (F-5) opponents carrying all-aspect air to air missiles, and would serve as a means to justify the development of new systems for the air combat environment (and kill off some others). It was also a highly aggressive situation; the pilots participating (12 Tomcat crews, 6 Eagle pilots and a handful of both Navy and Air Force Aggressors) were hand-picked, being some of, if not the very best pilots either service had at ACM at the time.

The rules, most basically, were:

1. No AIM-54 for the F-14. (The AIM-54 had an active ACM mode that proved useful against maneuvering targets even at dogfight range)
2. Positive VID must be had before shooting an opponent.
3. (Not actually a rule, but a truism) The rules will change every time the blue force figures out how to get a kill ratio lopsided in their favor.

That third non-rule rule wound up being one of the most frustrating, but best rules the blue force would have to deal with, because it forced them to think up new tactics; to find new ways to kill opponents while keeping themselves alive. The blue force did have a few things going for them, however:

1. Bigger aircraft with powerful radars, better wing loading and thrust-to-weight ratio gave good advantages in target detection and dogfighting.
2. Radar guided TVSU in F-14 gave positive VID at 8 miles on average or more (the later TCS was zoomable for further range)
3. VTAS - The Visual Target Acquisition System, predecessor to the JHMCS, was used by both F-14 and F-15 crews and accounted for 90% of all off-boresight AIM-9 shots. Why didn't we develop it back in the 1970's? More on that later...

What should also be noted is that with regard to airframes, there were no G limits briefed, and every prohibited maneuver in the manuals was exploited by at least the F-14 and Navy F-5 side, from over-alpha to asymmetric thrust, to landing flaps used in "non-landing configuration."

"Hoser" provides: "At AIM/ACE, 'g' restrictions were not mentioned. "what ever it takes" was the unwritten rule. When the Turkey first hit the street, Mr. & Mrs. Grumman said it was pilot limited. The TACTS range recorded 12.2 g's symmetrical during a Guns 'D' break (mentioned way back [in the forum]). The high 'g' hurt Hill Billy's neck and he was was out of the hunt for a few days. We had the brand new Blk 90 Turkey x-rayed, inspected and gone over by a team of Grummanites...... not a lose rivet, zero skin wrinkles, perfect engine mounts, no hyd or fuel leaks; Just a broke RO. NAVAIR kept slapping new 'g' restrictions on the Turkey cause they figured them to last 100yrs. Hell, they would have lasted a hunnert and fifty years with a symmetrical 9.5 'g' guidance doctrine."

The combat was fierce. The 1000' gunshot bubble was violated countless times by both the blue and red force, in some instances, so that the pilot of the a/c being gunned had both a pipper on their head, and their name clearly visible in the gun footage. This matter of pride and competition was very unsafe, but surprisingly the only loss was a collision between a Blue Force F-15 and Red Force F-5 (no fatalities). Typically if the F-5's got into a gunfight, they were at a big disadvantage because both the F-14 and the F-15 have huge lift bodies, better wing loading and better T:W; Tomcat pilots would (if possible) get slow, drop flaps and drag the F-5's into rolling scissors to get on the Tiger's tail quickly.

But getting into such engagements would only happen if the Tomcat or Eagle wasn't killed with Sidewinder shots by the F-5's, which was one of the key points of the exercise: the ability to VID at long range, and splash the enemy aircraft without getting killed. The problem was that the AIM-7 is a semi-active homing missile, and so if the F-14 or F-15 shot at R-Op (8 miles) they'd have to keep the target painted, flying towards the F-5's. By 4 miles, the F-5 would have a positive ID on the F-14/F-15 and shoot an all-aspect infrared missile back, resulting in a 1:1 kill to loss ratio.

Early on, this spawned a bunch of ideas; the "Booker T. Washington Shuffle," the "Piston," the "Spincter" just to name a few. The BTW was designed to work with 2, 4, or 6-plane formations, where one/two/three of the F-14s would fly ahead of the other one/two/three, VID at 5-8mi, break and run, then the following F-14's would all fire at the F-5's from well beyond the AIM-9L's range, ensuring kills while staying out of the Sidewinder envelope, and then kill any survivors with their own AIM-9's or with GUNS, failing the former. The kill-to-loss from the BTW was better than 6:1. "Hawk" Smith came one weekend and found a way to ruin the BTW (after a few flights), so the "Piston" was developed, which caused a resurgence in K:L. The "Spincter" has to do with passing off a target lock to a weapon in flight. Can it be done? Can't say, but given the BTW, you can see it was of prime interest to the Blue Force.

As time went on, more and more rules were instated, and the findings processed after roughly 1500 engagements with a scant 2:1 (or about 2.5:1 depending on source)overall kill to loss ratio in favor of the "Big" fighters (both F-14 and F-15) against the small ones and average mission survivability of 3 missions. Hoser explains (also found in RADM Gilchrist's book "Tomcat! The F-14 Story")

"The basic final cold hard facts were/are:
1. In the visual arena, 'A small' supersonic, highly maneuverable fighter, packing all aspect heaters/guns 'against' a 'large', highly maneuverable fighter packing "all" aspect radar / heat missiles/dual seat VTAS and guns.. survives better, cost wise, than the 'big boys'.
2. If the 'Big Boys' can 'not accept a kill ratio of 2 to 1, they best stay out of the visual arena.
3. Wahlla! Solution for higher 'Big Boy' survivabilty/kill ratio= "AMRAAM" type weapon! Launch and leave and never subject your Big, High $$, Aerospace War Machine to the visual arena! Just can't have no fun no more! Of course there are a few alternatives, but that' a whole nother story."

"Turk" is still somewhat bitter about the way the test was run and the conclusions drawn...

"They [The Air Force blue force] undermined the validity of the tests by having moles tell them when intruders were going to be in their engagements. The intruders were intended to ensure that the both Blue Forces complied with the requirement to visually ID bandits before launching missiles. The Eagle drivers tried to justify their average 7 NM head on ID range by installing Weaver rifle scopes in the F-15 cockpits. Ahhhhhbbbulll****. Pardon me; I sneezed. That was greater than the average head on ID range of the TVSU [radar-slaved for precise tracking] equipped Tomcats. I get a little emotional about that.

Later, the Eagle ONC, Lt. Col Joe Griffith, lied in his final report about the recommendations of the Joint Services Operational Requirements (JSOR) for the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM). No, he didn't slightly misrepresent the results; he outright lied. I was the Tomcat representative on the committee. After the tests, "Boomer" was successful in getting the report of the JSOR corrected to reflect the actual recommendation for a high off boresite capability, more like Hey Joe's Agile than the 30 degree off boresite, low capability Lady Finger that Griffith had been directed by the Air Force to endorse. Griffith and those who directed his activities committed fraud.

The published statistics were as Hoser described, but their validity was diminished by some dishonest individuals who were more interested in furthering their own careers than adopting effective future weapons technology."

The high-off boresight AGILE missile was axed and the VTAS was never developed further until Russia, who had high interest in ACE/AIM, developed their own high off-boresight missiles and Helmet Mounted Cuing system. The result to counter those is the AIM-9X and JHMCS, but it took another 20 years to get these capabilities into service. On the bright side, the AMRAAM was a direct development of ACE/AIM, and "Turk" seemed pretty happy with that.
 
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Archibald

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Oh my God ! USAF shenanigans to humiliate rival service to its advantage... I'm not really shocked, by the way.

Because this is nothing compared to their attitude during what I call "the battle for the ultimate nuclear delivery system" that raged between 1949 and 1959 and was kind of won in the end, by the Polaris submarines (General Lemay already had kittens when his beloved B-52 and B-70 bombers were outclassed by Atlas, Titan and Minuteman; now imagine his face when the Navy stole the Minuteman thunder and created the Polaris out of it... he must have blown a fuse !)

A good case could be make that circa 1960-63 the Air Force was at war with
a) the Army, over IRBMs (Redstone) SAMs (BOMARC) and ABMs (Nike vs spaceborne systems)
b) the Navy, because Polaris (and that very nasty feud between USS America vs B-36 in 1948-49)
c) ARPA, over the military space program (Tommy Power Orion NPP)
d) NASA, related to the civilian space program (LUNEX lunar base, DynaSoar vs Gemini)
e) the CIA, because spysats (and the NRO later, in 1962)

Talk about pissing-off a lot of federal and/or military agencies !

So that turf war with the Navy over AAMs was just a minor clash in the Air Force never-ending shenanigans to dominate the entire US military - and beyond.

I stop there not to hijack the thread further. The Air Force certainly had a knack to create evil plans to humiliate the Navy.
 
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DWG

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There's a lot of conflicting information on the ACEVAL and AIMEVAL programs in published accounts.

ACEVAL was focused on the relative effects of force size with a red force of F-5s versus blue force F-14 and F-15s. It was limited to visual engagements only and the AIM-54 was prohibited. Importantly, and often not mentioned, red force were given simulated all aspect missiles. The official conclusion was a kill ratio of 2:1 was the best that could be expected in visual engagements when outnumbered even with the high quality F-15 and F-14.

However, according to Navy participants, every time the Blue Force figured out tactics to give them an advantage (at one stage achieving 6:1 kill ratio) the rules were changed or Red team given an advantage to bring the kill ratio down. The conclusion appeared to have been predetermined that quality fighters alone weren't going to be a winning strategy - hence the F-16.

AIMEVAL tested 5 different simulated potential short range missile designs including actual AIM-95 Agile seekers. The recollections of some Navy pilots is that the high-off-boresight capable missiles were obviously and definitely superior in the tests, and were surprised (to say the least) that the official findings were that there was no real advantage to be had in the high-off-boresight designs.

I think the question you have to ask, even if you're sympathetic to the Navy participants' line, is why the Navy let the AF get away with it? Was there horsetrading going on at a higher level that the pilots weren't party too? Or was the influence of the Fighter Mafia within OSD still irresistible? Or something else?

It's actually reasonable to exclude the AIM-54 and require visual ID, if all you want to evaluate is dogfighting scenarios. But that would have been far simpler to achieve by simply limiting everyone to AIM-9 loadouts. By imposing restrictions that hamstring AIM-54 and AIM-7, it becomes clear that there was an agenda at work - one intending to show the supremacy of dogfighting over stand-off missile shooters (which is pure Fighter Mafia ideology).

'studies' that have predefined acceptable outcomes aren't exactly unknown, whether in the military or in wider government. Changing the rules everytime Blue Force found a way to be effective isn't a surprise given the initial starting point.

What I do find surprising is the antipathy towards AIM-95 Agile. It was intended to be an even better dogfight weapon than AIM-9, which should have made it a dream come true for the Fighter Mafia. But someone clearly wanted it canned. Whether that was the AF because it was a Navy weapon, or some narrower clique is unclear, but it seems to be driven by a different agenda than the rest of the testing.

And while I'd not heard of VTAS before, not developing it further also argues for multiple agendas at work because it's another system that would have greatly aided a pure dogfighting supremacy agenda.
 

GARGEAN

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I can kinda understand first two points USAF achieved with this speculated rigging. But how they benefited from AIM-95? Just being happy that they shitted under USN pillow? Sounds... Fishy.
 

Maro.Kyo

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it becomes clear that there was an agenda at work - one intending to show the supremacy of dogfighting over stand-off missile shooters (which is pure Fighter Mafia ideology).
I kinda read the opposite, since the result of those "rigged" evaluations were in favor of AIM-120. ie just avoid ACM engagement in the first place. From this standpoint it is understandable that AIM-95 was evaluated as "providing not much significant advantage over the AIM-9". You direct that funds towards the AIM-120 rather than using it for the WVRAAM missile, regardless of HOBS or not.

On the other hand, the argument for the F-16, that the numbers matter, is quite understandable since that would mean even more pilots. If you're the AF, you wouldn't be against having more pilots and planes, wouldn't you?
 

DWG

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I kinda read the opposite, since the result of those "rigged" evaluations were in favor of AIM-120. ie just avoid ACM engagement in the first place. [...]

On the other hand, the argument for the F-16, that the numbers matter, is quite understandable since that would mean even more pilots. If you're the AF, you wouldn't be against having more pilots and planes, wouldn't you?
By the time ACEVAL/AIMVAL started it was already decided that the LWF procurement was going ahead and would be multi-role, not the pure dogfighter the Fighter Mafia wanted. And before it was half done the decision that LWF would be F-16 had already been taken and the F-16 was rolling off the production lines. The AF didn't need to prove that numbers were superior, because it had already won the production numbers it wanted.

But the F-16, particularly in the form desired by the Fighter Mafia, would not have been AIM-120 capable, and even the real-world version wasn't capable of using AIM-120 until the C model came along.

So the powers driving ACEVAL/AIMVAL was simultaneously trying to prove :
1) that pure dogfighters were superior to big radar equipped MRAAM shooters
2) that all-aspect dogfight missiles and helmet mounted sights were useless to dogfighters (which I'm still not seeing a justification for outside of AF NIH syndrome, which is problematic in a joint project unless someone is gagging USN)
With a hypothesized
3) we need an all-aspect, active homing MRAAM to make up for the inadequacies of F-15.

The problem is this opens up the scenario in which Congress decides:
a) we don't need F-15, the F-16 will do
b) we don't need AIM-95/VTAS, AIM-9 will do.
With the potential for
c) we don't need AMRAAM because F-15s are no good and F-16s can't use it (and that's assuming it even recognises the question exists)

The risk to the AF in this scenario is huge, and the gains of opening up those risks aren't obvious.

IMO portraying ACEVAL/AIMVAL as an attempt to bolster the case for AMRAAM doesn't entirely make sense because while it portrayed the results as showing that semi-active guidance on AIM-7 forced Blue Force shooters into the Red Force AIM-9 envelope, it forbade the USN Blue Force using AIM-54, which would have demonstrated the advantage of a missile able to engage without ever entering the SRAAM envelope, which is exactly what they were trying to sell.

If you're trying to sell A is better than B, you don't just show the customer that C is better than B. A salesman can't just run down the opposition, he has to make the case that his product is better, and ACEVAL/AIMVAL doesn't do that for radar-guided MRAAMs, or for all-aspect SRAAMs, it instead claims to show that existing AIM-9s are adequate.
 

Maro.Kyo

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I kinda read the opposite, since the result of those "rigged" evaluations were in favor of AIM-120. ie just avoid ACM engagement in the first place. [...]

On the other hand, the argument for the F-16, that the numbers matter, is quite understandable since that would mean even more pilots. If you're the AF, you wouldn't be against having more pilots and planes, wouldn't you?
By the time ACEVAL/AIMVAL started it was already decided that the LWF procurement was going ahead and would be multi-role, not the pure dogfighter the Fighter Mafia wanted. And before it was half done the decision that LWF would be F-16 had already been taken and the F-16 was rolling off the production lines. The AF didn't need to prove that numbers were superior, because it had already won the production numbers it wanted.

But the F-16, particularly in the form desired by the Fighter Mafia, would not have been AIM-120 capable, and even the real-world version wasn't capable of using AIM-120 until the C model came along.

So the powers driving ACEVAL/AIMVAL was simultaneously trying to prove :
1) that pure dogfighters were superior to big radar equipped MRAAM shooters
2) that all-aspect dogfight missiles and helmet mounted sights were useless to dogfighters (which I'm still not seeing a justification for outside of AF NIH syndrome, which is problematic in a joint project unless someone is gagging USN)
With a hypothesized
3) we need an all-aspect, active homing MRAAM to make up for the inadequacies of F-15.

The problem is this opens up the scenario in which Congress decides:
a) we don't need F-15, the F-16 will do
b) we don't need AIM-95/VTAS, AIM-9 will do.
With the potential for
c) we don't need AMRAAM because F-15s are no good and F-16s can't use it (and that's assuming it even recognises the question exists)

The risk to the AF in this scenario is huge, and the gains of opening up those risks aren't obvious.

IMO portraying ACEVAL/AIMVAL as an attempt to bolster the case for AMRAAM doesn't entirely make sense because while it portrayed the results as showing that semi-active guidance on AIM-7 forced Blue Force shooters into the Red Force AIM-9 envelope, it forbade the USN Blue Force using AIM-54, which would have demonstrated the advantage of a missile able to engage without ever entering the SRAAM envelope, which is exactly what they were trying to sell.

If you're trying to sell A is better than B, you don't just show the customer that C is better than B. A salesman can't just run down the opposition, he has to make the case that his product is better, and ACEVAL/AIMVAL doesn't do that for radar-guided MRAAMs, or for all-aspect SRAAMs, it instead claims to show that existing AIM-9s are adequate.
Those are some very valid points, but since according to Overscan, the results indeed did help to secure funding for the AIM-120 so somehow they were able to argue that A is better than B by showing C is better than B I guess? Who knows what happened in their minds.
 

Archibald

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What a loosy and dishonest business we have here !!!
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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I kinda read the opposite, since the result of those "rigged" evaluations were in favor of AIM-120. ie just avoid ACM engagement in the first place. [...]

On the other hand, the argument for the F-16, that the numbers matter, is quite understandable since that would mean even more pilots. If you're the AF, you wouldn't be against having more pilots and planes, wouldn't you?
By the time ACEVAL/AIMVAL started it was already decided that the LWF procurement was going ahead and would be multi-role, not the pure dogfighter the Fighter Mafia wanted. And before it was half done the decision that LWF would be F-16 had already been taken and the F-16 was rolling off the production lines. The AF didn't need to prove that numbers were superior, because it had already won the production numbers it wanted.

But the F-16, particularly in the form desired by the Fighter Mafia, would not have been AIM-120 capable, and even the real-world version wasn't capable of using AIM-120 until the C model came along.

So the powers driving ACEVAL/AIMVAL was simultaneously trying to prove :
1) that pure dogfighters were superior to big radar equipped MRAAM shooters
2) that all-aspect dogfight missiles and helmet mounted sights were useless to dogfighters (which I'm still not seeing a justification for outside of AF NIH syndrome, which is problematic in a joint project unless someone is gagging USN)
With a hypothesized
3) we need an all-aspect, active homing MRAAM to make up for the inadequacies of F-15.

The problem is this opens up the scenario in which Congress decides:
a) we don't need F-15, the F-16 will do
b) we don't need AIM-95/VTAS, AIM-9 will do.
With the potential for
c) we don't need AMRAAM because F-15s are no good and F-16s can't use it (and that's assuming it even recognises the question exists)

The risk to the AF in this scenario is huge, and the gains of opening up those risks aren't obvious.

IMO portraying ACEVAL/AIMVAL as an attempt to bolster the case for AMRAAM doesn't entirely make sense because while it portrayed the results as showing that semi-active guidance on AIM-7 forced Blue Force shooters into the Red Force AIM-9 envelope, it forbade the USN Blue Force using AIM-54, which would have demonstrated the advantage of a missile able to engage without ever entering the SRAAM envelope, which is exactly what they were trying to sell.

If you're trying to sell A is better than B, you don't just show the customer that C is better than B. A salesman can't just run down the opposition, he has to make the case that his product is better, and ACEVAL/AIMVAL doesn't do that for radar-guided MRAAMs, or for all-aspect SRAAMs, it instead claims to show that existing AIM-9s are adequate.
Those are some very valid points, but since according to Overscan, the results indeed did help to secure funding for the AIM-120 so somehow they were able to argue that A is better than B by showing C is better than B I guess? Who knows what happened in their minds.
AMRAAM has its origins as a lighter weight BVR missile suitable for the F-16 touted by I think Mike Loh (affiliated to the Mafia) as opposed to the heavier (and requiring of additional avionics equipment) Sparrow. F-15 lobby would have preferred ARH Sparrow which wouldn't be as usable on the F-16 to AMRAAM which reduced the "high/low" capability gap.

And no AIM-54 makes sense as demonstrating an existing Navy missile the Air Force was studiously ignoring would actually fix the problem is not helpful to the Air Force case for spending lots of money developing AMRAAM.
 

TMA1

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This all smells like it's part of the spirit of the fighter mafia/f35 spat.
 

Bruno Anthony

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Reading accounts of how the Navy representatives in the Lightweight Fighter program were treated makes it clear who the AF regarded as "the threat" and it wasnt the VVS or PVO.
Remember that by this time ~1973, the AF had to use 2 Navy Jets (F-4, A-7), 2 Navy missiles (Sparrow & Sidewinder). Their pride supposedly being the premier Air Power arm must have been badly bruised.
VVS/PVO were relatively neutral.
 

DWG

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AMRAAM has its origins as a lighter weight BVR missile suitable for the F-16 touted by I think Mike Loh (affiliated to the Mafia) as opposed to the heavier (and requiring of additional avionics equipment) Sparrow. F-15 lobby would have preferred ARH Sparrow which wouldn't be as usable on the F-16 to AMRAAM which reduced the "high/low" capability gap.

And no AIM-54 makes sense as demonstrating an existing Navy missile the Air Force was studiously ignoring would actually fix the problem is not helpful to the Air Force case for spending lots of money developing AMRAAM.
Which would make sense in an AF project, I'm just not understanding what was in this for the USN contingent and why they didn't dissent from conclusions that cost them AIM-95 for apparently no gain.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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AMRAAM has its origins as a lighter weight BVR missile suitable for the F-16 touted by I think Mike Loh (affiliated to the Mafia) as opposed to the heavier (and requiring of additional avionics equipment) Sparrow. F-15 lobby would have preferred ARH Sparrow which wouldn't be as usable on the F-16 to AMRAAM which reduced the "high/low" capability gap.

And no AIM-54 makes sense as demonstrating an existing Navy missile the Air Force was studiously ignoring would actually fix the problem is not helpful to the Air Force case for spending lots of money developing AMRAAM.
Which would make sense in an AF project, I'm just not understanding what was in this for the USN contingent and why they didn't dissent from conclusions that cost them AIM-95 for apparently no gain.
Guy in charge of the joint evaluation was Air Force. Participating Navy pilots were unhappy at the conclusions, but it was done, and maybe other people in the Navy were OK with the conclusion (Saving money? Avoiding development issues? Dislike of China Lake? More interested in AIM-54C than AIM-95?) even if the pilots weren't.
 

red admiral

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Everyobe has biases depending on their experience. It more depends on your logic chain. E.g here's a different take

USN and USAF operational environment quite different. Sure take BVR shots vs the only contacts on your scope that are doing supersonic towards your carrier. But over Central Europe with 1,000+ aircraft in the sky, many threat radar systems, jamming etc. There was a strong case for VID to prevent significant fratricide.

Tactics / rules change as blue TTPs evolve. This is pretty obvious - massively biased results if you don't allow red tactics to also change in the trial. You implement some of these through how red air are flying, and others through rules e.g. a hard deck might be used to represent the ZSU-23-4 / MANPADs threat rather tgan trying to explicitly represent those threat systems.

WVR combat where both sides have most/all aspect missiles results in low exchange ratios. Higher off boresight weapons might make this better but still don't fundamentally change this. On the other hand an ARH MRAAM means red can't shoot back and you take less risk and have a higher exchange ratio. If you can make that ARH MRAAM work.

How good was AIM-54 vs fighters at <10 miles? And its big = fewer weapons
 

drejr

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Guy in charge of the joint evaluation was Air Force. Participating Navy pilots were unhappy at the conclusions, but it was done, and maybe other people in the Navy were OK with the conclusion (Saving money? Avoiding development issues? Dislike of China Lake? More interested in AIM-54C than AIM-95?) even if the pilots weren't.

I thought RADM Tissot was the joint test director?

A lot of the constraints on AIMVAL/ACEVAL were due to limited ACMI space - the Air Force wasn't particularly happy with them either.

Were any actual sorties flown until 1977? I'm not sure how these tests influenced the AIM-95 cancellation.
 
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overscan (PaulMM)

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Guy in charge of the joint evaluation was Air Force. Participating Navy pilots were unhappy at the conclusions, but it was done, and maybe other people in the Navy were OK with the conclusion (Saving money? Avoiding development issues? Dislike of China Lake? More interested in AIM-54C than AIM-95?) even if the pilots weren't.

I thought RADM Tissot was the joint test director?

Yes sorry that was my mistake in the Navy pilot story:

Later, the Eagle ONC, Lt. Col Joe Griffith, lied in his final report about the recommendations of the Joint Services Operational Requirements (JSOR) for the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM). No, he didn't slightly misrepresent the results; he outright lied. I was the Tomcat representative on the committee. After the tests, "Boomer" was successful in getting the report of the JSOR corrected to reflect the actual recommendation for a high off boresite capability, more like Hey Joe's Agile than the 30 degree off boresite, low capability Lady Finger that Griffith had been directed by the Air Force to endorse. Griffith and those who directed his activities committed fraud.

The published statistics were as Hoser described, but their validity was diminished by some dishonest individuals who were more interested in furthering their own careers than adopting effective future weapons technology."


A lot of the constraints on AIMVAL/ACEVAL were due to limited ACMI space - the Air Force wasn't particularly happy with them either.

Were any actual sorties flown until 1977? I'm not sure how these tests influenced the AIM-95 cancellation.

I'm not saying the Navy pilot version is correct, but AIMEVAL was widely reported as showing that off-boresight IR AAMs weren'tworth bothering with.

I think the takeaway was actually that high off boresight AAMs are a levelling technology in WVR reducing the high tech fighter advantage, so the priority should be BVR.
 

drejr

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There's a DTIC report around somewhere that details the Navy's simulated missile - it certainly used AIM-95 technology but the actual AIM-95 was cancelled before the AIMVAL exercises, which started in January 1977.

The results from these evaluations seem to be so ambiguous that they could be and were used to justify almost anything, but I get the impression that the unexpected lessons learned about human factors, tactics, and ACMI were much more useful.

(edit) Here it is: https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA074603.pdf

Basically an AIM-95 with a smaller diameter body.

It's actually reasonable to exclude the AIM-54 and require visual ID, if all you want to evaluate is dogfighting scenarios. But that would have been far simpler to achieve by simply limiting everyone to AIM-9 loadouts. By imposing restrictions that hamstring AIM-54 and AIM-7, it becomes clear that there was an agenda at work - one intending to show the supremacy of dogfighting over stand-off missile shooters (which is pure Fighter Mafia ideology).

Pretty sure the agenda was set by the 30 mile diameter of the ACMI range at the time. It seems doubtful AIMVAL was about selecting specific missiles or aircraft.
 
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