Air Force

US President’s Vehicles throughout History

The vehicle of POTUS (President of the United States) perhaps is not the most luxurious car you will find, but in terms of safety, it is one of the best in the world. When a US president needs to move around, he does it in style, and he uses all means of transportation.

The presidential vehicles have always been expensive, no matter which president we refer to. Air Force has also contributed for state chiefs to ride comfortably with all the protections included. And safety does matter. So far, Americans have lost four presidents while they were holding the office, but many more actually dodged assassination attempts. One of the most notable presidents was Theodore Roosevelt who got shot during a speech, but he kept going on!

However, the task of transporting the president was taken seriously after 1963 when John Kennedy got assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

North Korea Wouldn’t Stand a Chance in Air Force Combat

Since we can agree that North Korea bears more similarities with Asian monarchies than it does with any former Eastern European country, we must not discard the possibility of their air forces acting like Japanese kamikaze in the Second World War. During the War, Japan used kamikaze quite effectively, and although airplanes like J-5 or J-6 cannot do serious damage in combat, when equipped with bombs they would be a tremendous threat. Of course, not all of them would reach their target, but a handful would satisfy the government officials and military leaders.

As you can imagine, KPAAF which stands for the Korean People’s Army Air Force or officially as Air and Anti-Air Force Command does not appear to be among the best air forces in the world.

Nevertheless, the army of North Korea believes in their president Kim Jong-Un and his regime and would do anything for their country. If they want their country to survive, the goal of North Korean forces is to maintain Kim Jong-Un’s regime which shares more values with a Confucian monarchy than Soviet communism. In that respect, who knows what kind of extreme war tactics KPAAF would use in combat.

North Korea has obsolete planes that can still be put to good use in the hands of extremists. The Shenyang J-5 is one of the oldest and out-of-date models in their air force. More than one hundred units, 106 to be exact of this Chinese copy of the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-17 Fresco manufactured in the 50s are expected to be in their possession. Another Chinese copy of the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-19 Farmer, the Shenyang J-6 is also at their disposal with 97 supersonic fighters ready for combat.

Even though the J-5 and the J-6 cannot be effectively used as fighters nowadays, they could serve as a tampon zone for American missiles and South Korean airplanes. This might be the best use for these antique fighters because the ammunition for AIM-120 AMRAAM and other similar weapons is expensive and the supply is short. In case of war, J-5 and J-6 would be shot down, but they would still be responsible for the decrease in enemy’s interceptor missiles.

In the event of North Korea attacking South Korea, J-5 would be easily destroyed, but the allies would suffer a significant financial loss as one Patriot PAC-3 missile stands at more than three million dollars. If we take into account that those missiles are usually fired in pairs, the U.S. would be relieved of six million dollars and a set of missiles that could serve a better use in protecting the country from a more dangerous weapon- a ballistic missile. More than a million dollars would cost to fire an AMRAAM missile in air-to-air battle particularly in the case of late model AIM-120D.

Nonetheless, the U.S. and South Korea would have to defend their territory and people in case of war. Shooting the planes down would be crucial because the allies wouldn’t know if North Korea’s target is a military base, or other facilities or even civilians. Dealing with these flying bombs is even more problematic if we take into account that the plane might be equipped with some kind of chemical or biological weapon.

So, the fact remains that North Korea might approach the war as Japan did in WWII. Even though their air force is weak, with a fanatical mindset and undoubting attitude to obedience North Korea poses a serious threat.


America’s F-35 Faces Similar Problems As F-105 Thunderchief Fighter-Bomber

According to an official test pilot report, published by War is Boring, the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which is added to the US military isn’t fast enough to beat a much older F-16 in mock air combat. The question is how is the F-35 going to survive against the nimble Russian and Chinese air force? Moreover, the F-35 is intended to be produced and used in high numbers.

To find the answer to that question, we need to look to the past. Fifty years ago, the United States Air Force was in the similar position. They threatened to defeat their enemies with the F-105 Thunderchief, which was a heavy, high-tech, ground-attacker which had the same goal as the F-35.

However, the same problem plagues both of these jets. They cannot turn too quickly to beat the enemy aircraft, such as the Russian-made MiG-21, which was the Thunderchief’s main rival back in the day. In order not to discontinue the production of the F-105, the US Air Force worked out special tactics to make things work, keeping the plane in the fleet. It is important to notice that the same thing needs to be done with the F-35.

The similarities between the two airplanes are striking, despite the age difference. Carlo Kopp, an Australian aerospace analyst, wrote in 2004: “Both the F-105 and JSF are large, single-seat, single-engine strike fighters, using the most powerful engine of the era … [and] with empty weights in the 27,000-pound class, and wingspans almost identical at 35 feet.”

“Both carry internal weapon bays and multiple external hardpoints for drop tanks and weapons,” Kopp continued. “Both were intended to achieve combat radii in the 400-nautical-mile class. Neither have by the standards of their respective period’s high thrust-weight ratio or energy maneuver capability favored for air superiority fighters and interceptors.”

Out of the 833 F-105 units the US Air Force acquired, 334 were lost in the war versus Vietnam between 1965 and 1970. MiGs North Vietnam army used, managed to take down 22 Thunderchiefs while the F-105s shot down at least 27 MiGs, as Kopp puts it.

However, this wasn’t enough for the Pentagon, and they wanted to improve its tactics. In 1969, the Air Force conducted mock air battles between an ex-Iraqi MiG-21 and an F-105 which was a part of the program called “Have Doughnut.” The experiment could have gone better for the American steel bird. The testers advised the F-105 crew to flee should they encounter the MiG-21. But if the F-105 was behind the MiG-21, and the crew didn’t notice them, the Thunderchief could attempt a high-speed ambush. This was the only scenario where the Thunderchief had an advantage.
In case they started out as equals, the American plane wouldn’t survive for a long time. The Air Force reported: “If the F-105 attacker attempts a prolonged maneuvering engagement, it becomes vulnerable to follow-up attacks as the offensive situation deteriorates due to loss of energy and maneuvering potential.”

The F-35 pilot in the JSF-on-F-16 test reported the similar issue: “Insufficient pitch rate.” During a turning fight “energy deficit to the bandit would increase over time.”

At least the F-105 had a straight-line advantage over the enemy jets, but that is not the case with the F-35. It is slower than today’s Sukhoi, Shenyang, and Chengdu fighters. Kopp says that the F-35 can survive in future wars but only if the Air Force is to create tactics which will give this plane an advantage. “The decisive factor for the JSF in this game will be its limited stealth performance,” says Kopp.