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Juno Beach

T-50 versus F-22 & F35

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Damian,

I would be carefull to call T-34/76 and T-34/85 series a good tank, this is still hard standing myth in west about that tank. It got so many design flaws that I still can't believe why they started to manufacter this piece of crap... eh probably costs, needs and capabilieties were main factors.

But to Your information, the best Soviet divisions by some period of war prefered to use that western piece of **** called M4 Sherman not the socialists super construction T-34! :cool: :rolleyes:

I would be interested to see your information on that.

As far as I know, the general Soviet policy was to equip tank brigades not with the tank the Soviet tankers chose, but whatever tanks fit best into the production plan. The Tank Armies, to give an example of the most elite ground force the Soviets fielded, were mostly equipped with T-34, but in some of the Tank Armies (4th Guards, for instance, if I recall correctly) some but not all of the tank brigades received Sherman. The Soviets certainly considered most western tanks not suitable for long-term fielding in the Tank Armies, for instance the Lee or Churchill.

I contend the T-34 tank is great because:

It was designed to run maybe 1,500 - 2,000 km. with practically no maintenance, after which it was either supposed to be destroyed or major overhauled.

It was equipped, for most of the war, with a cannon fully capable of defeating a German medium tank of the time, at normal combat ranges.

It was simple to operate, meaning shorter training times for crews.

It was mobile as hell, the Soviets traded weight for operational speed.

It ran on diesel, and was designed to carry enough fuel in drums to cover a single operational leap (maybe 300 - 400 km. in several months of campaigning, or again the 1,500 - 2,000 motor clock kilometers.

Its engine was designed to drink motor oil, making lubrication superfluous to a substantial extant. And the Soviet solution to motor oil supply was, if the T-34 carries three fuel drums, two are diesel, one is motor oil. Simple!

Sure the T-34 never could duke it out with Tigers, yes it is uncomfortable as Hell, definately it is a pain to keep running past 2,000 or so km. on the clock, no the optics are not up to German standards.

But so what? Would it have been an intelligent design decision for the Soviets, to make Panthers instead of T-34s? How many fewer Soviet tanks would there have been? Could the Soviets have managed, arguably, the most effective armored operations in history (the Volga to the Spree in about 18 months, and the opposition is the Wehrmacht), if they had several times less tanks, but tanks with more comfort and better soft systems?

The reason the T-34 was the best tank of the war was because its designers understood not just the priorities of tank vs. tank fighting, but what you need to convert industrial capacity into large-scale maneuver operations.

The Soviet tank designers avoided a classic trap the German tank designers fell into: Listening to the tankers and concluding that what the tankers want - almost always a bigger more expensive and comfortable tank impervious to everything - is always the best way to win the war. That kind of machine comes at a cost, and WW2 makes crystal clear that even if the German armor technical edge over T-34 in tactical capacity was substantial, it didn't have a prayer of dealing with the Soviet operational advantage. Time and again the Germans would concentrate their armor, win a battle here or there, get great armor vs. armo kill ratio, and in those places the panzers were not, the Soviet armor would go tearing into the German rear areas.

I suspect the Russian approach with the T-50, at least in their ideal plan, is roughly along the same lines. The plane is not going to be designed to compete with the F-22 in a single plane vs. plane dogfight, but rather in air combat where the F-22 is outnumbered, and among other threats is opposed by a Russian plane that is relatively difficult to detect, and at least as maneuverable; and at the same time is excellent at penetrating the opposition air space. I know if I was a Russian air war planner I would love to have a plane that could hunt down AWACS - maybe this plane is the ticket.

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The main point is not whether the T-34 was the best tank of WW2, but the fact that the Russians have consistently shown they can design weapons which are competitive with western designs, from the Yak 9/3, La-5/7 in WW2, Mig-15 in Korea, Mig-21 in Vietnam, the SU-35 now.

Historically, the main problem the Russians had was not in airplane designs/aerodynamics but in electronics where the West had a clear lead, for example the soviet ATOLL heat seeking missile was copied from the AIM-9 U.S. design. I don't know if this is still an issue, since Russia now appears to have caught up to the West, at least in software design.

The other point is: who says the T-50 is a threat to the West? :) I would think Russia is more worried about China than about the U.S.A.

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Damian90,

The T-34/76 gained the reputation it did because of its revolutionary sloped armor, powerful gun, high horsepower to weight ratio, superb cross country mobility through terrain impassable to the Panzers; its simplicity, ruggedness, mass producibility, repairability, reduced vulnerability to fires because of diesel fuel rather than petrol, its low consumption of strategic resources, and its ability to be built and maintained under the most horrific conditions. T-34s were produced in winter in roofless factories by semistarved workers, sometimes under fire, as in Stalingrad, where both production and repairs were carried out while being shelled and bombed. Did the tank have ergonomic and crew comfort issues? Absolutely, as ably detailed in this excerpt from Caidin's The Tigers Are Burning

http://www.thecombatreport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1096&Itemid=91

But you need to understand that the T-34 was the right tank for the Russians, at the right time, for a society only marginally mechanized. This is why so many of the Russian tanker memoirs mention kolkhozes, for there the men learned about machinery from farm tractors. Thanks to Lend Lease's provision of all manner of transport including ships, trains and planes, never mind the Studebaker trucks and all those jeeps, the Russian were able to concentrate very heavily on tank production, whereas the Germans had to make everything they didn't capture. The T-34 was a stunning technological surprise, something the Russians knew would be the case, thanks to defense agreements with Germany, and they took extreme measures to protect that secrecy until it went into battle. It forced a fundamental rethink of not just German tank design but of German force structure and armament, obsoleting most of the inventory at a stroke. It also led directly to the creation of the Panther.

I think you fundamentally misunderstand why the Lend Lease Russian Shermans were where they were. Simple. Put the best (Guards) in the best (M4A2), maintained by the most technically savvy armor mechanics and technicians in the Red Army, thus maximizing combat power and reducing load on a primitive logistics system. The M4A2 was a Cadillac compared to the T-34 Model T. Workmanship was superb, the optics, gun and ammunition excellent, outperforming even the T-34/85. Every tank had a radio and came with a Tommy gun, loaded magazines, hand grenades, a set of tools and spare parts. The tank had indirect fire capability, thanks to a clinometer, and it was so good it was often taken out and given to the artillery. I have the 1944 FM 17-12 Tank Gunnery and can confirm the Sherman was so equipped and the U.S. crews trained in the techniques of indirect fire. Unlike the T-34/76 in particular, the tank was roomy, with a rotating turret basket and the facilities to let the TC command and fight the tank. The seats were fantastic, with a covering so durable damaged Shermans had to be carefully guarded lest the seat covers be taken and made into boots! Recommend you read HSU Loza's account on Battlefield.ru and especially his books: Commanding Sherman Tanks In War and Defending The Soviet Motherland.

People,

To return to the main discussion, Russian design practice is to work from a set of proven technologies, innovate therefrom, using the best the homeland has to offer and what can be taken from the weapon manufacturers and military forces of the world. Russian design isn't American design. It's all about doing the least to get the most bang, as seen in the mostly steel MiG-25 FOXBAT, which had titanium only where essential and whose rivets were only flush where it mattered. The "backward" Russians had furnished it with "obsolete" vacuum tube radar which was EMP proof and so powerful it could burn through U.S. jamming. It also had a second radar on a different frequency, a radar we knew nothing about! Nor did we know the war reserve frequencies for either! The "dumb" Russians armed their intended B-70 killer (forcing us to build the hugely expensive F-15 as a counter to a fighter which was really a strategic interceptor) with huge AA-6 ACRID radar and IR guided AAMs, cleverly designed with the warhead in the rear to give the fuzing the maximum help in a hypersonic head-on intercept geometry. Speaking of hypersonics, the Russians were the world leaders during the Cold War. The same is true of combined cycle engines, integral rocket ramjets (SA-6 GAINFUL), explosives, high power jammers and more. The AS-4 KITCHEN (IOC 1962) was a mortal threat still to the U.S. Navy in the aftermath of the Falklands War, which was fought in 1982. Whereas Harpoon carried a ~200 kg warhead, Russian cruise missiles brought 500 kg or more to the party, often with a nuclear option (AS-4 had a 1 MT warhead when so configured). This is why we had to build the Aegis. And let's not forget the incredible technology of the super fast, deep diving ALFA titanium sub, the ET 65 "underwater cruise missile" torpedo, which could do 50 knots for 50 km or 30 knots for 100 km and the almost impossible to grok Shkval 200 knot rocket torpedo and its cousin the RVM rising mine.

The Russians are brilliant scientists, engineers and theoreticians, pragmatic designers and very focused on what gets the job done, no matter how bad the conditions. This is why I emphatically suggest that anyone interested in modern air combat read Kopp's brilliant analysis The Russian Philosophy of BVR Combat, which explicitly addresses both that kind of chaotic environment and engagements between Flankers and Super Hornet/F/A-22/F-35 http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Rus-BVR-AAM.html

Regards,

John Kettler

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JK, Interesting report.

The 2008 RAND study of the future of air combat pretty much came to the same conclusions, that the Russians or Chinese would try to use superior numbers of missiles, ground and/or air launched, to offset the western advantages of better pilots and aircraft:

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/files/2008_RAND_Pacific_View_Air_Combat_Briefing.pdf

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The Russians were actually surprised that the Germans were surprised by the T34 - remember these Russians were designing their heavy tanks in 1941 to have a 107mm gun because they expected the Germans to field something that could take out the KV-1!!

Those tank plans were quickly shelved when nothing bigger than a Mk-IV rolled across the border.

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Now would be a good time to buy Lockheed, BAE etc. stocks - no doubt their lobbyers will kindly remind politicians that there is a stealth fighter gap forming here, oh and we could bring a few thousand new jobs to your electoral district...

I really hope this is the case. Peace through Strength after all. Only 180-ish F-22s is simply not enough for USAF requirements.

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Damian90,

Russian design isn't American design. It's all about doing the least to get the most bang, as seen in the mostly steel MiG-25 FOXBAT, which had titanium only where essential and whose rivets were only flush where it mattered. The "backward" Russians had furnished it with "obsolete" vacuum tube radar which was EMP proof and so powerful it could burn through U.S. jamming. It also had a second radar on a different frequency, a radar we knew nothing about! Nor did we know the war reserve frequencies for either!

The Foxbat had several systems that were EMP proof, but arguably once strategic nuclear warfare had broken out there would be greater concerns among all involved. The radar was indeed very powerful but this did not translate into range, in fact it has a relatively short range compared to the APG-65 on the F-15A. That power is focused on burning through heavy ECM the interceptors might encounter. What second radar are you referring to BTW?

The "dumb" Russians armed their intended B-70 killer (forcing us to build the hugely expensive F-15 as a counter to a fighter which was really a strategic interceptor) with huge AA-6 ACRID radar and IR guided AAMs, cleverly designed with the warhead in the rear to give the fuzing the maximum help in a hypersonic head-on intercept geometry.

The USAF and intelligence agencies believed the Mig-25 to be something it was not. The "hugely expensive" F-15 did indeed have it's origins in the threat the Mig-25 was thought to be, yet it still turned out to be an excellent investment. And remember the Mig-25 primary target, the B-70 never emerged either. As far as the AA-6 goes, it was no doubt a capable missile but keep in mind the US had it's own long range air-to-air missile project in the form of the AIM-47 Falcon which would later be developed into the AIM-54 Phoenix.

Speaking of hypersonics, the Russians were the world leaders during the Cold War. The same is true of combined cycle engines, integral rocket ramjets (SA-6 GAINFUL), explosives, high power jammers and more. The AS-4 KITCHEN (IOC 1962) was a mortal threat still to the U.S. Navy in the aftermath of the Falklands War, which was fought in 1982. Whereas Harpoon carried a ~200 kg warhead, Russian cruise missiles brought 500 kg or more to the party, often with a nuclear option (AS-4 had a 1 MT warhead when so configured). This is why we had to build the Aegis. And let's not forget the incredible technology of the super fast, deep diving ALFA titanium sub, the ET 65 "underwater cruise missile" torpedo, which could do 50 knots for 50 km or 30 knots for 100 km and the almost impossible to grok Shkval 200 knot rocket torpedo and its cousin the RVM rising mine.

I disagree with some of your claims. The United States put a significant amount of research into testing hypersonic configurations, in fact I believe the X-15 still holds some records. Indeed the SA-6 was an impressive system and the current SA-17 is probably the most dangerous SAM to fighter sized aircraft that the Russians have. Yet don't think the US completely ignored the field of ramjets.

Anti-ship missiles were the Soviet Unions primary weapon against NATO naval forces and this did indeed lead to development of our F-14 interceptor wings, AEGIS, and other systems designed to deal with aircraft like the Tu-22M and hopefully only those missiles that leaked through. The reason the United States did not develop larger supersonic missiles like the Kitchen was not due to technological reasons, but rather other concerns.

In a WWIII scenario the Soviets would not need to worry about friendly merchant shipping, allied naval forces, and so forth. Pretty much anything large and floating that wasn't part of their own navy would be a target. Soviet cruisers and bombers would launch their missiles based on information gathered by reconnaissance aircraft using long ranged sensors. For NATO naval forces, much clearer identification would be needed and such long range missiles would be of questionable value. At the ranges NATO attack aircraft or ships would engage Soviet surface forces, the Harpoon and similar designs were enough. That said submarines and airpower would be used to engage Soviet surface forces, rather than our own ships which were focused on ASW and air defense roles.

US submarine builders largely choose to use high-strength steel over titanium for submarine construction due to cost concerns. The Alfa was quite an achievement and is in fact faster than most later Soviet submarines. Yet at such high speeds it was very noisy. It's high cost and problems associated with the complexity of the design ensured a small production run despite it's raw performance.

Regarding torpedoes the Mk.48 ADCAP and Spearfish are nothing to laugh at, even if they don't have the range of the larger 650mm Soviet torpedoes.The Shkval is a very interesting piece of equipment, but again I believe the reasons the US has never developed a counterpart was due to a lack of requirement.

The Russians are brilliant scientists, engineers and theoreticians, pragmatic designers and very focused on what gets the job done, no matter how bad the conditions. This is why I emphatically suggest that anyone interested in modern air combat read Kopp's brilliant analysis The Russian Philosophy of BVR Combat, which explicitly addresses both that kind of chaotic environment and engagements between Flankers and Super Hornet/F/A-22/F-35 http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Rus-BVR-AAM.html

I don't think anybody is trying to imply the Russians are stupid or lousy engineers, they have made many great designs over the years. But like everybody, they like to overstate the performance of their equipment at times.

Many people I have met have a relatively negative opinion of Carlos Kopp and think his more recent work is rather questionable. While his views are interesting, I would take what he writes with a grain of salt.

I highly doubt the T-50 is designed to outnumber the F-22. The Russians simply just can't afford such numbers at the time, although I would love to see the T-50 provide the incentive for more F-22s.

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And remember the Mig-25 primary target, the B-70...

I have read that the MiG-25 was developed to intercept the SR-71. Do you consider that not to be the case?

Yet don't think the US completely ignored the field of ramjets.

I agree. In the early '50s the US developed the Bomarc missile and it was fielded through the late '50s and early '60s. It was operational into the early '70s according to this page.

Michael

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I have read that the MiG-25 was developed to intercept the SR-71. Do you consider that not to be the case?

I have heard both the B-70 and SR-71 stated as the major focus of the Mig-25's development. The truth is probably somewhere in-between.

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US research into ramjets was sufficient to produce the J58 that powered the SR71 - it started flight as a "standard" turbojet, but gradually more and more of its thrust wa generated by the ramjet function - ie air bypassing the turbine engine core and going staight to the afterburner.

That was a pretty slick design for the 1950's

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While I work on answering my backlog here, I provide this to induce immediate Pavlovian responses amongst Russian avionics grogs. Covers radars, RWRs, jammers, LLTV, LRFs, etc. Those actively interested in the high off-boresight discussion and radar silent modes please see particularly the KOLS IRST/LRF found on the FULCRUM. Even has drawings from the manual showing scanning area, IFOV, etc. FLANKER and TA-50 have more advanced ILS-27. http://aerospace.boopidoo.com/philez/Su-15TM%20PICTURES%20&%20DOCS/Overscan%27s%20guide%20to%20Russian%20Military%20Avionics.htm

Regards,

John Kettler

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Lampshade111,

Can't get quote to work for unknown reasons.

"The Foxbat had several systems that were EMP proof, but arguably once strategic nuclear warfare had broken out there would be greater concerns among all involved. The radar was indeed very powerful but this did not translate into range, in fact it has a relatively short range compared to the APG-65 on the F-15A. That power is focused on burning through heavy ECM the interceptors might encounter. What second radar are you referring to BTW?"

The point here is that the Russians were in deadly earnest about conducting military operations in a nuclear environment and that advanced U.S. systems using ICs rather than vacuum tubes were particularly vulnerable to EMP. The FOXFIRE/Smerch AI radar (see entry in Russian avionic link previously given) wasn't intended for autonomous operations, hence didn't need all that much range in a full GCI environment. In terms of performance, it was on par with the F-4's radar. Here, from an SR-71 site, is a nice overview of what we found when we exploited Belenko's FOXBAT.

http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/mig25.html

The second radar I mentioned was a J/Ku band Range-Only-Radar and was reported in what's now the Journal of Electronic Defense.

"The USAF and intelligence agencies believed the Mig-25 to be something it was not. The "hugely expensive" F-15 did indeed have it's origins in the threat the Mig-25 was thought to be, yet it still turned out to be an excellent investment. And remember the Mig-25 primary target, the B-70 never emerged either. As far as the AA-6 goes, it was no doubt a capable missile but keep in mind the US had it's own long range air-to-air missile project in the form of the AIM-47 Falcon which would later be developed into the AIM-54 Phoenix."

Am well aware of not just the AIM-54 Phoenix, which I worked on personally, but also the earlier AIM-47 GAR 9, which was intended for the planned F-12 strategic interceptor. One of the guys I worked at Hughes with was directly involved with putting the AIM-47 on the YF-12, for which Hughes also built the ASG-18 radar, the AWG-9's predecessor.

http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/yf12~1.htm

Here's a launch. Speaking of which, one Hughes guy told me there was much excitement the first time they ran actual test releases from the missile bay while at design altitude and speed. Seems the slipstream trapped the missile, causing it to bounce around the missile bay! The problem was solved by using more powerful ejector cartridges.

You need to understand that there was a fundamental conceptual difference between the F-107/YF-12 strategic interceptors and the FOXBAT, in that the former were designed to do their own hunting, whereas the FOXBAT was on a very short and stiff leash.

"I disagree with some of your claims. The United States put a significant amount of research into testing hypersonic configurations, in fact I believe the X-15 still holds some records. Indeed the SA-6 was an impressive system and the current SA-17 is probably the most dangerous SAM to fighter sized aircraft that the Russians have. Yet don't think the US completely ignored the field of ramjets.

Anti-ship missiles were the Soviet Unions primary weapon against NATO naval forces and this did indeed lead to development of our F-14 interceptor wings, AEGIS, and other systems designed to deal with aircraft like the Tu-22M and hopefully only those missiles that leaked through. The reason the United States did not develop larger supersonic missiles like the Kitchen was not due to technological reasons, but rather other concerns."

Calling the Russians world leaders in hypersonics wasn't a slam on the U.S., merely the shocking truth. At a threat briefing I attended, we were told the U.S. had 1 hypersonic wind tunnel; the Russians had almost 10. I speak X-15, indeed worked for the former X-15 program manager. The longest range SAM kill in history was with the ramjet final stage Talos, fired from the U.S.S. Long Beach in the Gulf of Tonkin. Am further perfectly aware of the BOMARC. Weapons like the AS-4 completely outclassed the best intercept weapons the U.S. had and compounded it by operating outside of many defensive radar envelopes. For example, until the New Threat Upgrade was installed on Navy cruisers and destroyers, the AS-4 had a free vertical dive smack through a blind spot in radar coverage. We used to call such weapons "high divers." They were all but impossible to engage, basically skimming the top of the SAM envelope, but when we could shoot, the doctrine was terrifyingly simple: "Fire until the deck plates glow!" This was before Aegis and VLS.

Your point about the relative targeting problem is valid, but fails to mention RORSAT/EORSAT/HORMONE/BEAR/BADGER as part of the targeting system. As for subs, the ALFA literally ran away from a Los Angeles SSN after first passing through the GIUK gap without detection. The welding method on the sub the Russians called the "Golden Fish" was so revolutionary it put certain parts of the defense community into shock. Believe the production run was 7,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfa_class_submarine

but it led to the very nasty MIKE class, which was 335 meters down when a fatal fire broke out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_submarine_K-278_Komsomolets

Nor was I disparaging U.S. and British torpedoes, for my point was simply radical design to meet a specific requirement. The ET-65 was a wake homer intended to completely disable a carrier with one hit. I would be remiss, though, if I failed to note the radical replacement and upgrade programs caused by advanced Russian subs, with their double hulls, extreme operating depths and sometimes speeds: obsoleted Mk-37, forced development of Mk-50 ALWT (later found grossly inadequate), Mk-48 ADCAP, Spearfish heavy, deep diving high speed torpedoes, etc., some using precursor charges much like what antitank missiles had.

Am interested in the negative waves re Carlo Kopp. What are the issues people have with him and his work? I certainly don't find much to object to in this Mig-25/MiG-31 analysis.

http://www.ausairpower.net/TE-Foxbat-Foxhound-92.html

Stalin's Organist,

Sound like the turboramjet approach the MiG-25 used and discussed immediately above at the link.

People,

The A-11 went into detailed design development in 1959, with first flight in April 1962. the fourth prototype eventually became the misnamed (should've been R/S for Recon/Strike) SR-71. Read the comments by Gary Eubanks!

http://www.aviastar.org/air/usa/lok_bird.php

By contrast, the core XB-70 design requirement dates back to the mid 1950s, so I'd say it was the greater driver, especially since the A-11 program was totally black until LBJ blabbed!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XB-70_Valkyrie

Regards,

John Kettler

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