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From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: F-22 vs. Su-37, guns-only
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 18:40:03 GMT wrote:

>For some reason USAAF planes have always tended to be lightly gunned -
>the Sabres in Korea still used .50"s until late on.  With a grand total
>of 7,200 rounds per minute from the 6xM3s they had no trouble hitting the
>MiG-15, but knocking them down was a different matter - I have figures
>somewhere of the average number of rounds it took, and it was colossal.
>The gun you use MATTERS.
>I can't understand why the USAAF hasn't adopted the 25mm GAU-12/U fitted
>to the Marines' AV-8B; it is readily available and the ammo has double
>the hitting power of the 20mm.

This is difficult to understand, but despite the "historical error" of
the ungunned F-4C/D, the fact is that in modern (i.e. post Korea) air
combat, the gun is a weapon of last resort. It's the aeronautical
equivalent of boiling oil being poured at the attackers climbing the
castle ramparts.

Air combat starts BVR. It depends upon detection and sorting and
identification. Then it requires the political will to establish
meaningful and effective ROE. Long range missilry is the first weapon
of choice. It isn't dramatic and there is no scarf-in-the-wind turning
and burning, but it can be effective. (If this sounds like the
stock-in-trade of a Raptor, you've got the point.)

Then if closer flight is necessary, an all-aspect medium to short
range missile is second choice. It has high Pk, doesn't require energy
dissipation and allows maximum second target potential for the
fighter. Still no turn/burn and still not even in the opponent's gun

Building big guns with heavy barrels, large/heavy projectiles and high
killing power into agile, high performance air superiority fighters is
a poor solution to kill enemy aircraft.

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

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