Jump to content
Sturgeon's House
Belesarius

Bash the F-35 thred.

Recommended Posts

Major Laurier had picked the wrong day to change meth dealers.

 

The sharp pounding in his head had started just as the scramble alert came on. A Russian Tupolev Tu-95 bomber had blatantly violated Canada's northern sovereignity and was headed for the strategic city of Yellowknife. It was up to his squadron, No. 420 Harper's Harriers to show those Slav bastards what-for with their state-of-the-art C-35 war machines... and peacefully escort them out of Canada's airspace. 

 

Now, he was alone. Captain Fraiser's C-35 had flown through a cloud and the moisture had torn its skin from its fuselage. The rookie, Lieutenant Dorian, had attempted a gentle banked turn and the strain on his engine was too great. His plane exploded in a hail of fire, cheap steel and packing peanuts. He didn't even have time to scream. Fucking hotshot, thought the Major.

 

The Tupolev was zooming southeast at a blistering Mach 0.3 but he was slowly closing in on his prey. He had already dropped his external fuel tanks, all four of his bullets and his missile to stay airborne, and the airframe was shuddering like his Chevy Cavalier on the Trans-Canada Highway. The radar app had crashed an hour ago and OnStar was useless. No, I don't want to find a fucking gas station, I'm trying to intercept a warplane! Nonetheless, he had followed the contrails left by the bomber in the northern sky. He knew he was close. And then there! On the edge of his horizon, a vast twenty miles away, were the Russians. He clenched his jaw and punched up the afterburners. The plane kicked and lurched like a mechanical bull with half the gears broken. He set course to ram his plane into the hulking turboprop. I knew I wasn't coming back from this mission, he thought. I'm a C-35 pilot. We don't come back. But at least I'll take these assholes with me. His squadron's motto, FUCK EVERYONE AND PISS ON THEIR ASHES, rang in his ears as his HUD flashed a 404 error. 

 

Meanwhile, on the Russian plane...

 

The Major was five miles from the bomber when he heard a new and unfamiliar bang. He tried in vain to look behind him, but from the corner of his eye, he could see a great crack forming on his left wing. He knew at once what it meant. The epoxy that kept the plane together was never meant for such extreme temperatures. His plane was literally coming apart at the seams. How he wished he was in an Avro Arrow now. With a sickening CRRRACK the wing tore itself free from the plane and the C-35 went into a death spin. The Tupolev continued on, oblivious.

 

Amidst the alarms, klaxons and spontaneous fire, Frasier bit his lip and thought of Maverick. Then suddenly he remembered his training. One of the Powerpoint slides had mentioned that the ejection seat was NOT made by Lockheed, but by a British company! Hope sprung in his breast; perhaps he might survive this ordeal, and achieve his dream of becoming a cyberathelete! In desperation he lunged at the ejector handle. The seat roared upward into the void and while the canopy didn't deploy, it didn't matter; the cheap glass was shattered easily by his hundred thousand dollar helmet. 

 

The Major breathed a sigh of relief as the chute deployed and slowed his descent. He took one last glance at his plane, which plummeted like a meteor into the ground and exploded. It was a bittersweet sight. At the very least, he thought, he had saved half a billion dollars from the clutches of the poor, the needy, the nonwhite and Quebec. The thought made him smile. 

 

The ejector seat landed with a soft thud on a river bank, narrowly missing some pine trees. He looked around at the bright sky, the green grass and river teeming with fish. This unfamiliar hellscape sent chills of fear down his spine. If I liked the outdoors, he thought, I would've joined in the army.

 

Thus began Major Laurier's desperate bid for survival in the harsh subarctic summer, where temperatures could drop to nearly below freezing. In the distance, a beaver roared.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Japan has plans to purchase 42 F-35As. The first 6 are to be payed for by the 2016 defense budget. Of the 42, the first 4 are being manufactured in the US. The rest will be licensed produced in Japan. That will come with a lot of technology transfers. Here are pictures of Japanese F-35As being built in the US.

 

zxcpoiopiopi.jpg

 

poioipiopiop.jpg

 

poioipi.jpg

 

piopiopip.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I've basically turned into Malal now, I feel the need to be contrarian regarding your F-35 contrarianism.

To whit: doesn't it bother you a bit that so many of the arguments for the program boil down to 'this is what was chosen, no going back now'. Or 'all the money is spent, no better options are possible'.

The fix being in doesn't say too much about the merits, after all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I've basically turned into Malal now, I feel the need to be contrarian regarding your F-35 contrarianism.

To whit: doesn't it bother you a bit that so many of the arguments for the program boil down to 'this is what was chosen, no going back now'. Or 'all the money is spent, no better options are possible'.

The fix being in doesn't say too much about the merits, after all.

 

I think your assessment is overly reductionist and misses a great deal of very important details like "the guys designing the F-35 know way the fuck more than we do about aerodynamics" and "military hardware configuration must exist within the context of the force utilizing it", so until you get an F-35 critic who comes along and slaps down detailed deconstructions showing why F-35 is a poor choice in either of those two respects, then yeah, all you can do is say "the program has eaten up a lot of money, but the folks at LockMart know their trade, and the train's already left the station, so let's maybe not kill it?"

 

Oh, also: F-35 introduces a comprehensive software suite, which is one of the primary reasons for its money and time consumption. So far as anyone can tell, this software suite is a necessity for a next-generation combat aircraft. So it doesn't really matter if we're talking F-35 or a budget version of F-22 or something else, a huge part of the program's cost and delay will still be there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be more willing to credit the various criticisms I've heard of the F-35 if there were strong indications that the soi-dissant defense journalists writing them had a pulse.

 

Take the "F-35 vs F-16 dogfight" report that came out and was widely heralded as damning.  Can these people read?

 

-Specific complaints about rearward visibility with the fancy new helmet, and specific complaints about the helmet (and its associated display) sliding around the pilot's head when they were pinned by Gs were translated into claims that the pilot cannot move their head around in a JSF, which is manifestly untrue if you look at a picture of one.

 

-This isn't a direct comparison of the performance of the JSF and the viper.  How do I know?  Because they specifically mention that this is a test of the high AoA performance of the JSF.  They mention bringing the JSF to forty degrees alpha, and the viper is software-limited to twenty five degrees!  So all the complaints about the controls being mushy and needing some tweaking refer to the quality of controls on the JSF when it's doing something that the viper already cannot do.  The second paragraph of the conclusions and recommendations also strongly suggests that the complaints about lack of energy maneuverability isn't a general complaint.  They're saying that the JSF lacks SEP when it's at absurdly high alphas that the viper can't even reach in the first place.  This is like bitching that the F-35B was test flown next to an F-86 to evaluate it's VTOL handling characteristics, and it had some problems, which shows that the F-86 was the better VTOL platform all along.  It's seriously that illogical.

 

JSF critics would be well within their rights to whip this document and say that it shows that the ultra-high alpha capability of the JSF is of limited air to air combat utility, and that the rear visibility isn't all that great and the helmet is a bit big.  That's basically what it says.

 

But no, that's not what they said it said.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not denying that the reportage on this thing has been dumb.

 

But the central issues that the reporters have raised; that the project tried to shove all the eggs in the same basket and essentially got too big to kill; is perfectly valid.

 

It doesn't matter at this point whether the F-35 works as advertised, or that it was flawed in its very conception (imo, of course). Because the US and partners are getting it anyway and there are no better options on the table. You can be thankful that it isn't bad, I guess. But it certainly isn't perfect, and it has sucked up all the other options which might have lead to something better.

 

In the end, this is just how military procurement works. It tends to be very large, very political and very inefficient in terms of resource use. But I hold that we should treat it as a sad fact of life, not a feature of the program or a reason to defend it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to explain my point, I'm going to cross-post a quote from Colli:

 

The legacy fleet is good-ish.  It won't stay that way forever.  Fatigue is already an issue, and it pops its ugly head up now and again.

 

If you cancel the F-35 there will be a a lot of other countries wondering what in the hell they're supposed to fly now.  There will be brief enthusiasm for Gripen NG, Rafale, etc. until people realize that those aren't that much better than upgraded F-16s, and not remotely a match for the likes of the PAK-FA and J-20.  

 

F-35 is also the closest thing to a "long range stealth boat with large internal capacity" that's being produced, and from a non-evil country.  F-35 has bigger internal bays than F-22 (and as of block 5 will match the internal missile capacity of the raptor), and it outranges the F-16 (which, let's not forget, had amazing range for a tactical aircraft of that size when it was introduced) once you start attaching weapons.

 

Note second and third paragraphs. Again, the arguments here are more along the lines of 'no better options' and 'could be worse' rather than anything superlative.

 

Which, as I said, is how military procurement tends to work. But, again, not exactly something that's going to convince many folk that all is well with the bird.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not denying that the reportage on this thing has been dumb.

 

But the central issues that the reporters have raised; that the project tried to shove all the eggs in the same basket and essentially got too big to kill; is perfectly valid.

 

It doesn't matter at this point whether the F-35 works as advertised, or that it was flawed in its very conception (imo, of course). Because the US and partners are getting it anyway and there are no better options on the table. You can be thankful that it isn't bad, I guess. But it certainly isn't perfect, and it has sucked up all the other options which might have lead to something better.

 

In the end, this is just how military procurement works. It tends to be very large, very political and very inefficient in terms of resource use. But I hold that we should treat it as a sad fact of life, not a feature of the program or a reason to defend it.

 

So basically:

Some Dumb Military Reformer: "We should cancel F-35 and replace it with Aerogavins!"

Me: "No, that is stupid. F-35 has way too much invested into it to cancel."

You: "Why do you act like that's a good thing!?"

See the problem?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So basically:

Some Dumb Military Reformer: "We should cancel F-35 and replace it with Aerogavins!"

Me: "No, that is stupid. F-35 has way too much invested into it to cancel."

You: "Why do you act like that's a good thing!?"

See the problem?

 

I keep having to say this, but I can disagree with both statements 1 and 2.

 

The Malal line wasn't entirely random, in other words.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep having to say this, but I can disagree with both statements 1 and 2.

 

The Malal line wasn't entirely random, in other words.

 

You're being obstinate. Cancelling the F-35 is stupid because much of the technology would have to be developed anyway, and it being a joint project, it has sucked up all the funding for anything that could fill its roles.

We can bluster and guess about what might have been better, but that doesn't change the fact that those who advocate for the program's cancellation are morons who think the A-10 is a multi-role aircraft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're being obstinate. Cancelling the F-35 is stupid because much of the technology would have to be developed anyway, and it being a joint project, it has sucked up all the funding for anything that could fill its roles.

We can bluster and guess about what might have been better, but that doesn't change the fact that those who advocate for the program's cancellation are morons who think the A-10 is a multi-role aircraft.

If the technology needed to be developed anyway, and has now been developed, why would it be an issue to simply transfer it to a new airframe?

 

In any case, my argument (see the same thread cited above) is for limiting an existing project (F-35) in favour of expanding/accelerating another existing project (LRSB), so your argument doesn't apply here.

 

As I said; I can disagree both with you and with the folks arguing for keeping the A10, F16 et al around for the foreseeable future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not denying that the reportage on this thing has been dumb.

 

But the central issues that the reporters have raised; that the project tried to shove all the eggs in the same basket and essentially got too big to kill; is perfectly valid.

 

It doesn't matter at this point whether the F-35 works as advertised, or that it was flawed in its very conception (imo, of course). Because the US and partners are getting it anyway and there are no better options on the table. You can be thankful that it isn't bad, I guess. But it certainly isn't perfect, and it has sucked up all the other options which might have lead to something better.

 

In the end, this is just how military procurement works. It tends to be very large, very political and very inefficient in terms of resource use. But I hold that we should treat it as a sad fact of life, not a feature of the program or a reason to defend it.

 

I think this is partially true.  F-35 is definitely what's for dinner, whether's it's superlative or crap or somewhere in-between.  But I don't think that's necessarily the fault of the enormous scope of the program.  There weren't going to be a plethora of options, one way or another.

 

In the 1950s everyone and their grandmother could design a jet fighter and there were oodles of choices.  Part of this is because they weren't as cripplingly bureaucratic back then, and part of it is because they didn't have any clue what they were doing and their designs would have been considered irresponsibly slapdash by today's standards.  Design considerations that are obsessed over now were totally unknown back then.  Allowances for good pressure recovery at high alpha?  What the hell is that?  Tuning the interaction of LERX/canards to the main wing to delay stall?  Nope, never heard of it.  Ensuring adequate rudder function to keep yaw authority when asymmetrical nose vortices form during aggressive turning?  They were totally innocent of knowledge of that problem as late as the F-4.  Oh, and stealth.  That's big too.

 

So it takes way, way more wind tunnel time, and computer simulation time and flight testing time to get a fighter into the air now.  This, coupled with the consolidation of the aero industry and the de-industrialization of considerable parts of Western Europe means that there simply cannot be that many options when it comes to combat aircraft.

 

Look at fighter aircraft engine makers.  There are something like seven options spread out over five polities.  There are two in the US (GE and P&W), one in France (Snecma), one in China (Xian/Shenyang), two-ish in Russia (Saturn/Lyulka and Klimov, not sure about Kuznetsov) and one joint UK/German (Eurojet, although technically the Italians, Spanish, and a bunch of other lazy and useless countries are involved as well).  Japan probably could design and produce their own fighter engines by developing their existing gas turbine industry with oodles of money.  India is trying and failing to design and make their own engines.  DRDO is staffed by inbreds.  The turbine manufacturers in Ukraine are probably too far gone to salvage at this point.

 

So, unless you're one of those countries, and you also know the secrets of AESA radar, stealth coatings, tight-stream multi-band datalinks, contemporary ECM, long-range electro-optical sensors, and all the other goodies that fighters need these days to be more than expensive flying coffins, any sort of fighter program you enter will necessarily be a joint project.  Hell, the Swedish know all about the aerodynamics of fighter design, and they can manufacture a fair amount of the electronics.  But they can't make their own engines; they'll always have to go shopping for someone else's motors, with all the design and political compromise that guarantees.

 

Add to that how expensive modern combat aircraft are, and how flexible avionics have become, and the trend towards multi-role aircraft is irresistible.  So, a does-everything, multi-national program was going to be the shape of contemporary fighter design with or without the JSF program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Similar Content

    • By LostCosmonaut
      Compared to the most well known Japanese fighter of World War 2, the A6M “Zero”, the J2M Raiden (“Jack”) was both less famous and less numerous. More than 10,000 A6Ms were built, but barely more than 600 J2Ms were built. Still, the J2M is a noteworthy aircraft. Despite being operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), it was a strictly land-based aircraft. The Zero was designed with a lightweight structure, to give extreme range and maneuverability. While it had a comparatively large fuel tank, it was lightly armed, and had virtually no armor. While the J2M was also very lightly built, it was designed that way to meet a completely different set of requirements; those of a short-range interceptor. The J2M's design led to it being one of the fastest climbing piston-engine aircraft in World War 2, even though its four 20mm cannons made it much more heavily armed than most Japanese planes.
       
       

       
      Development of the J2M began in October 1938, under the direction of Jiro Hirokoshi, in response to the issuance of the 14-shi interceptor requirement (1). Hirokoshi had also designed the A6M, which first flew in April 1939. However, development was slow, and the J2M would not make its first flight until 20 March 1942, nearly 3 ½ years later (2). Initially, this was due to Mitsubishi's focus on the A6M, which was further along in development, and of vital importance to the IJN's carrier force. Additionally, the J2M was designed to use a more powerful engine than other Japanese fighters. The first aircraft, designated J2M1, was powered by an MK4C Kasei 13 radial engine, producing 1430 horsepower from 14 cylinders (3) (compare to 940 horsepower for the A6M2) and driving a three bladed propeller. The use of such a powerful engine was driven by the need for a high climb rate, in order to fulfill the requirements set forth in the 14-shi specification.
       
      The climb rate of an aircraft is driven by specific excess power; by climbing an aircraft is gaining potential energy, which requires power to generate. Specific Excess Power is given by the following equation;
       
      (Airspeed*(Thrust-Drag))/Weight
       
       
       
      It is clear from this equation that weight and drag must be minimized, while thrust and airspeed are maximized. The J2M was designed using the most powerful engine then available, to maximize thrust. Moreover, the engine was fitted with a long cowling, with the propeller on an extension shaft, also to minimize drag. In a more radical departure from traditional Japanese fighter design (as exemplified by aircraft such as the A6M and Ki-43), the J2M had comparatively short, stubby wings, only 10.8 m wide on the J2M3 variant, with a relatively high wing loading of 1.59 kN/m2 (33.29 lb/ft2) (2). (It should be noted that this wing loading is still lower than contemporary American aircraft such as the F6F Hellcat. The small wings reduced drag, and also reduced weight. More weight was saved by limiting the J2M's internal fuel, the J2M3 had only 550 liters of internal fuel (2).
       
      Hirokoshi did add some weight back into the J2M's design. 8 millimeters of steel armor plate protected the pilot, a luxurious amount of protection compared to the Zero. And while the J2M1 was armed with the same armament as the A6M (two 7.7mm machine guns and two Type 99 Model 2 20mm cannons), later variants would be more heavily armed, with the 7.7mm machine guns deleted in favor of an additional pair of 20mm cannons. Doubtlessly, this was driven by Japanese wartime experience; 7.7mm rounds were insufficient to deal with strongly built Grumman fighters, let alone a target like the B-17.
       
      The first flight of the J2M Raiden was on March 20th, 1942. Immediately, several issues were identified. One design flaw pointed out quickly was that the cockpit design on the J2M1, coupled with the long cowling, severely restricted visibility. (This issue had been identified by an IJN pilot viewing a mockup of the J2M back in December 1940 (1).) The landing speed was also criticized for being too high; while the poor visibility over the nose exacerbated this issue, pilots transitioning from the Zero would be expected to criticize the handling of a stubby interceptor.
       

      Wrecked J2M in the Philippines in 1945. The cooling fan is highly visible.
       
      However, the biggest flaw the J2M1 had was poor reliability. The MK4C engine was not delivering the expected performance, and the propeller pitch control was unreliable, failing multiple times. (1) As a result, the J2M1 failed to meet the performance set forth in the 14-shi specification, achieving a top speed of only 577 kph, well short of the 600 kph required. Naturally, the climb rate suffered as well. Only a few J2M1s were built.
       
      The next version, the J2M2, had several improvements. The engine was updated to the MK4R-A (3); this engine featured a methanol injection system, enabling it to produce up to 1,800 horsepower for short periods. The propeller was switched for a four blade unit. The extension shaft in the J2M1 had proved unreliable, in the J2M2 the cowling was shortened slightly, and a cooling fan was fitted at the the front. These modifications made the MK4R-A more reliable than the previous engine, despite the increase in power.
       
      However, there were still problems; significant vibrations occurred at certain altitudes and speeds; stiffening the engine mounts and propeller blades reduced these issues, but they were never fully solved (1). Another significant design flaw was identified in the summer of 1943; the shock absorber on the tail wheel could jam the elevator controls when the tailwheel retracted, making the aircraft virtually uncontrollable. This design flaw led to the death of one IJN pilot, and nearly killed two more (1). Ultimately, the IJN would not put the J2M2 into service until December 1943, 21 months after the first flight of the J2M1. 155 J2M2s would be built by Mitsubishi (3).
       
      By the time the J2M2 was entering service, the J2M3 was well into testing. The J2M3 was the most common variant of the Raiden, 260 were produced at Mitsubishi's factories (3). It was also the first variant to feature an armament of four 20mm cannons (oddly, of two different types of cannon with significantly different ballistics (2); the 7.7mm machine guns were replace with two Type 99 Model 1 cannons). Naturally, the performance of the J2M3 suffered slightly with the heavier armament, but it still retained its excellent rate of climb. The Raiden's excellent rate of climb was what kept it from being cancelled as higher performance aircraft like the N1K1-J Shiden came into service.
       

       
      The J2M's was designed to achieve a high climb rate, necessary for its intended role as an interceptor. The designers were successful; the J2M3, even with four 20mm cannons, was capable of climbing at 4650 feet per minute (1420 feet per minute) (2). Many fighters of World War 2, such as the CW-21, were claimed to be capable of climbing 'a mile a minute', but the Raiden was one of the few piston-engine aircraft that came close to achieving that mark. In fact, the Raiden climbed nearly as fast as the F8F Bearcat, despite being nearly three years older. Additionally, the J2M could continue to climb at high speeds for long periods; the J2M2 needed roughly 10 minutes to reach 30000 feet (9100 meters) (4), and on emergency power (using the methanol injection system), could maintain a climb rate in excess of 3000 feet per minute up to about 20000 feet (about 6000 meters).
       
       
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
       

       
      Analysis in Source (2) shows that the J2M3 was superior in several ways to one of its most common opponents, the F6F Hellcat. Though the Hellcat was faster at lower altitudes, the Raiden was equal at 6000 meters (about 20000 feet), and above that rapidly gained superiority. Additionally, the Raiden, despite not being designed for maneuverability, still had a lower stall speed than the Hellcat, and could turn tighter. The J2M3 actually had a lower wing loading than the American plane, and had flaps that could be used in combat to expand the wing area at will. As shown in the (poorly scanned) graphs on page 39 of (2), the J2M possessed a superior instantaneous turn capability to the F6F at all speeds. However, at high speeds the sustained turn capability of the American plane was superior (page 41 of (2)).
       
      The main area the American plane had the advantage was at high speeds and low altitudes; with the more powerful R-2800, the F6F could more easily overcome drag than the J2M. The F6F, as well as most other American planes, were also more solidly built than the J2M. The J2M also remained plagued by reliability issues throughout its service life.
       
      In addition to the J2M2 and J2M3 which made up the majority of Raidens built, there were a few other variants. The J2M4 was fitted with a turbo-supercharger, allowing its engine to produce significantly more power at high altitudes (1). However, this arrangement was highly unreliable, and let to only two J2M4s being built. Some sources also report that the J2M4 had two obliquely firing 20mm Type 99 Model 2 cannons in the fuselage behind the pilot (3). The J2M5 used a three stage mechanical supercharger, which proved more reliable than the turbo-supercharger, and still gave significant performance increases at altitude. Production of the J2M5 began at Koza 21st Naval Air Depot in late 1944 (6), but ultimately only about 34 would be built (3). The J2M6 was developed before the J2M4 and J2M6, it had minor updates such as an improved bubble canopy, only one was built (3). Finally, there was the J2M7, which was planned to use the same engine as the J2M5, with the improvements of the J2M6 incorporated. Few, if any, of this variant were built (3).
       
      A total of 621 J2Ms were built, mostly by Mitsubishi, which produced 473 airframes (5). However, 128 aircraft (about 1/5th of total production), were built at the Koza 21st Naval Air Depot (6). In addition to the reliability issues which delayed the introduction of the J2M, production was also hindered by American bombing, especially in 1945. For example, Appendix G of (5) shows that 270 J2Ms were ordered in 1945, but only 116 were produced in reality. (Unfortunately, sources (5) and (6) do not distinguish between different variants in their production figures.)
       
      Though the J2M2 variant first flew in October 1942, initial production of the Raiden was very slow. In the whole of 1942, only 13 airframes were produced (5). This included the three J2M1 prototypes. 90 airframes were produced in 1943, a significant increase over the year before, but still far less than had been ordered (5), and negligible compared to the production of American types. Production was highest in the spring and summer of 1944 (5), before falling off in late 1944 and 1945.
       
      The initial J2M1 and J2M2 variants were armed with a pair of Type 97 7.7mm machine guns, and two Type 99 Model 2 20mm cannons. The Type 97 used a 7.7x56mm rimmed cartridge; a clone of the .303 British round (7). This was the same machine gun used on other IJN fighters such as the A5M and A6M. The Type 99 Model 2 20mm cannon was a clone of the Swiss Oerlikon FF L (7), and used a 20x101mm cartridge.
       
      The J2M3 and further variants replaced the Type 97 machine guns with a pair of Type 99 Model 1 20mm cannons. These cannons, derived from the Oerlikon FF, used a 20x72mm cartridge (7), firing a round with roughly the same weight as the one used in the Model 2 at much lower velocity (2000 feet per second vs. 2500 feet per second (3), some sources (7) report an even lower velocity for the Type 99). The advantage the Model 1 had was lightness; it weighed only 26 kilograms vs. 34 kilograms for the model 2. Personally, I am doubtful that saving 16 kilograms was worth the difficulty of trying to use two weapons with different ballistics at the same time. Some variants (J2M3a, J2M5a) had four Model 2 20mm cannons (3), but they seem to be in the minority.
       

       
       
      In addition to autocannons and machine guns, the J2M was also fitted with two hardpoints which small bombs or rockets could be attached to (3) (4). Given the Raiden's role as an interceptor, and the small capacity of the hardpoints (roughly 60 kilograms) (3), it is highly unlikely that the J2M was ever substantially used as a bomber. Instead, it is more likely that the hardpoints on the J2M were used as mounting points for large air to air rockets, to be used to break up bomber formations, or ensure the destruction of a large aircraft like the B-29 in one hit. The most likely candidate for the J2M's rocket armament was the Type 3 No. 6 Mark 27 Bomb (Rocket) Model 1. Weighing 145 pounds (65.8 kilograms) (8), the Mark 27 was filled with payload of 5.5 pounds of incendiary fragments; upon launch it would accelerate to high subsonic speeds, before detonating after a set time (8). It is also possible that the similar Type 3 No. 1 Mark 28 could have been used; this was similar to the Mark 27, but much smaller, with a total weight of only 19.8 pounds (9 kilograms).
       
       
       
      The first unit to use the J2M in combat was the 381st Kokutai (1). Forming in October 1943, the unit at first operated Zeros, though gradually it filled with J2M2s through 1944. Even at this point, there were still problems with the Raiden's reliability. On January 30th, a Japanese pilot died when his J2M simply disintegrated during a training flight. By March 1944, the unit had been dispatched to Balikpapan, in Borneo, to defend the vital oil fields and refineries there. But due to the issues with the J2M, it used only Zeros. The first Raidens did not arrive until September 1944 (1). Reportedly, it made its debut on September 30th, when a mixed group of J2Ms and A6Ms intercepted a formation of B-24s attacking the Balikpapan refineries. The J2Ms did well for a few days, until escorting P-47s and P-38s arrived. Some 381st Raidens were also used in defense of Manila, in the Phillipines, as the Americans retook the islands. (9) By 1945, all units were ordered to return to Japan to defend against B-29s and the coming invasion. The 381st's J2Ms never made it to Japan; some ended up in Singapore, where they were found by the British (1).
       

       
       
      least three units operated the J2M in defense of the home islands of Japan; the 302nd, 332nd, and 352nd Kokutai. The 302nd's attempted combat debut came on November 1st, 1944, when a lone F-13 (reconaissance B-29) overflew Tokyo (1). The J2Ms, along with some Zeros and other fighters, did not manage to intercept the high flying bomber. The first successful attack against the B-29s came on December 3rd, when the 302nd shot down three B-29s. Later that month the 332nd first engaged B-29s attacking the Mitsubishi plant on December 22nd, shooting down one. (1)
      The 352nd operated in Western Japan, against B-29s flying out of China in late 1944 and early 1945. At first, despite severe maintenace issues, they achieved some successes, such as on November 21st, when a formation of B-29s flying at 25,000 feet was intercepted. Three B-29s were shot down, and more damaged.

      In general, when the Raidens were able to get to high altitude and attack the B-29s from above, they were relatively successful. This was particularly true when the J2Ms were assigned to intercept B-29 raids over Kyushu, which were flown at altitudes as low as 16,000 feet (1). The J2M also had virtually no capability to intercept aircraft at night, which made them essentially useless against LeMay's incendiary raids on Japanese cities. Finally the arrival of P-51s in April 1945 put the Raidens at a severe disadvantage; the P-51 was equal to or superior to the J2M in almost all respects, and by 1945 the Americans had much better trained pilots and better maintained machines. The last combat usage of the Raiden was on the morning of August 15th. The 302nd's Raidens and several Zeros engaged several Hellcats from VF-88 engaged in strafing runs. Reportedly four Hellcats were shot down, for the loss of two Raidens and at least one Zero(1). Japan surrendered only hours later.

      At least five J2Ms survived the war, though only one intact Raiden exists today. Two of the J2Ms were captured near Manila on February 20th, 1945 (9) (10). One of them was used for testing; but only briefly. On its second flight in American hands, an oil line in the engine failed, forcing it to land. The aircraft was later destroyed in a ground collision with a B-25 (9). Two more were found by the British in Singapore (1), and were flown in early 1946 but ex-IJN personnel (under close British supervision). The last Raiden was captured in Japan in 1945, and transported to the US. At some point, it ended up in a park in Los Angeles, before being restored to static display at the Planes of Fame museum in California.
       
       

       
       
      Sources:
       
       
      https://www.docdroid.net/gDMQra3/raiden-aeroplane-february-2016.pdf#page=2
      F6F-5 vs. J2M3 Comparison
      http://www.combinedfleet.com/ijna/j2m.htm
      http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/japan/Jack-11-105A.pdf
      https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015080324281;view=1up;seq=80
      https://archive.org/stream/corporationrepor34unit#page/n15/mode/2up
      http://users.telenet.be/Emmanuel.Gustin/fgun/fgun-pe.html
      http://ww2data.blogspot.com/2016/04/imperial-japanese-navy-explosives-bombs.html
      https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m/3008.html
      https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m/3013.html
      https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m/3014.html
       
       
      Further reading:
       
      An additional two dozen Raiden photos: https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/japan/aircrafts/j2m-raiden/
       
       
    • By Belesarius
      Possible image of the H-20 bomber. Screengrab.  This will be the thread for the H-20 as more information becomes available.
       
      Anyone want to take a shot at translating what's on screen for us?
       
      Edit: This is a photoshop, as confirmed later in the thread where it was posted.
      But I'll keep the thread going for later stuff, and H-20 discussion.
       
       
       
    • By Alzoc
      Topic to post photo and video of various AFV seen through a thermal camera.
      I know that we won't be able to make any comparisons on the thermal signature of various tank without knowing which camera took the image and that the same areas (tracks, engine, sometimes exhaust) will always be the ones to show up but anyway:
       
      Just to see them under a different light than usual (pardon the terrible pun^^)
       
      Leclerc during a deployment test of the GALIX smoke dispenser:
       
      The picture on the bottom right was made using the castor sight (AMX 10 RC, AMX 30 B2)
       
      Akatsiya :
       

       
      T-72:
       


       
      A T-62 I think between 2 APC:
       

       
      Stryker:
       

       
      Jackal:
       

       
      HMMWV:
       

       
      Cougar 4x4:
       

       
      LAV:
       

    • By Collimatrix
      I found this interesting picture of the Yakovlev MFI design:
       

       
      Obviously, it was never built.  The MiG submission was the 1.44 and the Sukhoi submission was the SU-47.
×
×
  • Create New...