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Flying for Navy, Marines or Air Force?

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
Thats fair Pags. I hope in 20 years we can sit back and agree that happened here too, really.
Yeah, me too.

Just as another thought I remember being told that the Hornet failed OT. The tomcat guys thought it sucked as a fighter and the Sluf drivers didn't like the AG capability. And now 30yrs on the hornet is heralded as a fantastic idea and had been proven to be successful.

At some point the fleet will manage with what they have despite how much it differs from what was promised in the glossy brochure.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
It wasn't that long ago that there were scads of articles about what a shitty gold-plated Cadillac the F-22 was. Now those same voices are the ones agitating to dump the JSF and reopen the Raptor line because it's the greatest air superiority fighter ever.

...In 2014 the USAF started the debate that the "last fighter pilot" has already been born. I was in the room at National Harbor last year when the SecNav said, quite clearly, that F-35 Lightning fighter "should be, and almost certainly will be, the last [crewed] strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly."...
I'll see your quote and raise you:

"Admiral, the Navy is on its way out. There’s no reason for having a Navy and a Marine Corps. General Bradley tells me amphibious operations are a thing of the past. We’ll never have any more amphibious operations. That does away with the Marine Corps. And the Air Force can do anything the Navy can do, so that does away with the Navy." - Louis Johnson, Secretary of Defense, 1949

We've been fighting limited interventions and counter-insurgencies for the last 25 years. Now the Chinese and Russians are building up their forces and they aren't doing it for giggles - they're both moving out and testing the waters of how they can expand and exert influence on their neighbors. In other words, the vacation from peer competition is over. UAS are great for some things, but as with so many other warfighting innovations, they are neither the answer to everything nor an unbeatable advantage.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
It wasn't that long ago that there were scads of articles about what a shitty gold-plated Cadillac the F-22 was. Now those same voices are the ones agitating to dump the JSF and reopen the Raptor line because it's the greatest air superiority fighter ever.



I'll see your quote and raise you:

"Admiral, the Navy is on its way out. There’s no reason for having a Navy and a Marine Corps. General Bradley tells me amphibious operations are a thing of the past. We’ll never have any more amphibious operations. That does away with the Marine Corps. And the Air Force can do anything the Navy can do, so that does away with the Navy." - Louis Johnson, Secretary of Defense, 1949

We've been fighting limited interventions and counter-insurgencies for the last 25 years. Now the Chinese and Russians are building up their forces and they aren't doing it for giggles - they're both moving out and testing the waters of how they can expand and exert influence on their neighbors. In other words, the vacation from peer competition is over. UAS are great for some things, but as with so many other warfighting innovations, they are neither the answer to everything nor an unbeatable advantage.
A fine quote Uncle fester and well worth considering. There are, however, two big differences, Will and Technology. There has always been significant jealousy between the services of money, thus the desire to cut the Navy and Marines but there was not the technology and certainly not the will. Louis Johnson knew in his heart and analytical mind that the USAF absolutely did not have the technological capability to deliver atomic weapons around the globe. Even the development of ICBM could do nothing about the wandering nature of ships at sea...and a ship at sea is as meaningful as a government in a post-apocalyptic land-based capitol. So, in the wet dreams of a mid-century Air Force planner they looked at ways to destroy navies. Seeing this, navies looked at ways of destroying ship-killers. In short, an inter-service rivalry (will) bouncing off the threat of the USSR allowed each service to constantly modernize (technology). Today those changes are everywhere. What passes for a cruiser in the fleet today has about the same "gun" power as a Know Class frigate in the 1980's. It does, however, have a remarkable technological advantage in missiles and rockets. The F-18 series has allowed the Navy to clear the decks of several different aircraft types (F-14, A-6, EA6, A-7,[not sure what happened to the S-3]) while the H-60 series has replaced the H-3, SH-2, and the CH-46. All of this because of technological improvements. As I mentioned before, there will always be aviation forces but fewer and fewer airframes will be manned - because of technology...and the will to keep human combat losses as low as possible.

But...back to my first post on the topic. This entire debate seems to be centered around the truth that flying is changing. When I started in 1986 it was all "steam gauges" and crazy dials. Today it seems (and please note, I have absolutely zero experience in current airframes) that everything is glass and sensors. I can't even imagine what my father, who started out in F4F Wildcats would think of these changes. But, to imagine that the rapid rise of unmanned fighting platforms is not going to continue is simply denial.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
...What passes for a cruiser in the fleet today has about the same "gun" power as a Kno[x] Class frigate in the 1980's.
Which had the same 'gun power' as a WWII destroyer escort and so on. What the Knox-class didn't have was the ability to shoot down aircraft or destroy a land target hundreds of miles away.

...As I mentioned before, there will always be aviation forces but fewer and fewer airframes will be manned - because of technology...and the will to keep human combat losses as low as possible....to imagine that the rapid rise of unmanned fighting platforms is not going to continue is simply denial.
There will be a gradual reduction in numbers but not a dramatic one over the next generation or two at least. Why? Unmanned platforms will still have significant weaknesses, mainly in how they are controlled. As I mentioned just a week or two ago, there are two ways to control a UAV; through a link or preprogramming it, or a mix of the two. If it has a link it can be jammed or destroyed, preprogramming one will only give you limited utility.

Since we rely so much on our information and technological dominance in today's combat our 'near peer' adversaries have poured enormous resources in trying to counter that advantage and those enemy capabilities will severely impact UAV operations among other things. If anyone thinks we will be able to operate our UAV's in a 'near peer' fight at anything more than the margins they don't know what they are talking about, that includes folks much higher up the food chain than any of us here.

UAV's will continue to grow in capability and utility but they will be limited in what they can do for a very long time. Aerial refueling off the boat, ISR and carrying cargo are all great jobs for UAV's but autonomous combat capability is far in the future.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
As noted, I am a distant observer in this and do agree with you completely that before anything I am predicting comes to light, the capability must be absolute.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
A fine quote Uncle fester and well worth considering. There are, however, two big differences, Will and Technology. There has always been significant jealousy between the services of money, thus the desire to cut the Navy and Marines but there was not the technology and certainly not the will. Louis Johnson knew in his heart and analytical mind that the USAF absolutely did not have the technological capability to deliver atomic weapons around the globe. Even the development of ICBM could do nothing about the wandering nature of ships at sea...and a ship at sea is as meaningful as a government in a post-apocalyptic land-based capitol...
Gonna disagree with your analysis there. Yes, interservice rivalry was certainly a part of all that - the United States and the "Revolt of the Admirals," etc. Truman and Johnson had a big hate-on for the USMC in particular (supposedly some Marines were assholes to Truman in France during WWI and he never forgot it) and anyway service rivalry through and well after WWII was at a level we'd consider insane today.

However, the argument about overconfidence in new technology was my point. After the war it was all atom bombs and atom bombers. Truman wanted to greatly reduce the size and expense of the military and why would you need anything other than the One Bomb and the planes to deliver it? In 1949 we were still years away from Lemay's SAC, the SIOP, overkill, and the Airborne Alert Force, but nevertheless the USAF absolutely did have the capability to deliver a worldwide nuclear attack, whereas the Navy absolutely did not, and wasn't expected to any time soon. ICBMs were entirely theoretical. In short, the thinking was, all we'd ever really need is the Bomb. Maybe a few Army guys to guard the air bases and occupy any irradiated remains of our enemies, but certainly no Marines. We can get rid of everything but the bombers, because why would we ever fight land wars when all we have to do is toss a few bombs in? And it's not like the Admirals felt differently; the Navy tried very hard to get in on the atomic game, in the name of political survival - eventually that bore fruit with miniaturized nukes for carrier aircraft and the SSBN program.

Nobody expected a war which necessitated conventional bombing, heavy infantry and armor fighting, widespread use of tactical carrier aviation, and a large amphibious assault, and one started only a year after Johnson confidently predicted we'd never need any of those things again. Nobody anticipated a war where it would be politically and strategically impossible to use the Bomb.

So that comes back to the Drone Revolution everyone's confidently predicting now. History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme. UAVs have been very useful for the wars we've been fighting, and we've come to rely on them in a lot of ways. And our adversaries know that, and are working to counter it. Our mania for drones has not been tested against a peer or near-peer adversary. I do not think UAVs are going away, but I definitely do not think the "last manned fighter has been built".
 

MIDNJAC

is clara ship
pilot
You guys keep going back to talking about the "JSF isn't worth it" crowd, and/or relating that to the F-22 and other programs. I'm fully in agreement with you there. They are fantastic aircraft that we absolutely should buy. My point is that Washington, the DoD, and especially the American people can't have them without actually committing to expanding the budget. We have been dicking around for years now by trying to fund these things, by borrowing from other very important *coughOperationalcough* items. THAT is the hollow force I am worried about us creating in the meantime. If you are going to do it, and I think the answer is both that we should and that we already are, you need to do it right, not at the sacrifice of the rest of the DoD infrastructure/equipment/manning. That isn't really our fight though, at least short of the most senior leaders in the DoD. But what we DO need from those folks is not being "yes" men to Congress and others. Tell them they have a choice. Cutting training and operational flight hour budgets, cutting maintenance and supply availability, cutting service member benefits……..not one of those is an acceptable compromise just to get our F-35's and other high end programs.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
DoD isn't responsible for the budget. All they can do is make requests. Ultimately it's up to the Congress.
 

MIDNJAC

is clara ship
pilot
Totally agree. Perhaps folks closer to the beltway and pentagon can enlighten me, but from this JO's perspective, it seems like when Congress says we need to make cuts, there aren't a whole lot of senior uniformed members saying that we can't do that AND execute their global tasking right now AND buy these programs for the near future that they and their constituents are so dependent upon. I know it isn't just one guy in DC that makes these decisions, but we have to collectively cry uncle at some point. I know flag officer careers end when people say "no" to Washington, but at the end of the day, the thousands of the rest of us could give a shit about their careers. How about some loyalty to the service(s) for a change? How about some leadership…...

DoD isn't responsible for the budget. All they can do is make requests. Ultimately it's up to the Congress.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Totally agree. Perhaps folks closer to the beltway and pentagon can enlighten me, but from this JO's perspective, it seems like when Congress says we need to make cuts, there aren't a whole lot of senior uniformed members saying that we can't do that AND execute their global tasking right now AND buy these programs for the near future that they and their constituents are so dependent upon. I know it isn't just one guy in DC that makes these decisions, but we have to collectively cry uncle at some point. I know flag officer careers end when people say "no" to Washington, but at the end of the day, the thousands of the rest of us could give a shit about their careers. How about some loyalty to the service(s) for a change? How about some leadership…...
There are plenty of senior uniformed folks who have been telling Congress from the beginning that sequestration and other budget shortfalls are severely impacting operations but it hasn't made as big an impact, obviously. A recent example is the testimony last month to the House Armed Services Committee of the condition of our Hornet fleet. Going back further there are numerous examples of the service chiefs and other senior military leaders testifying to Congress or publicly talking about the impacts of budget shortfalls in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and this year. That is just the public pronouncements, there has been quite a bit of pushback internally as well which I have seen plenty of firsthand.

So why are there still issues? I think the biggest issue we have is that we still been able to do the mission and that is all most folks see. With a lot less military experience in Congress, the administration and the public at large very few folks realize the longer term impacts to cannibalizing parts and people from the left hand to keep the right hand working, they just see bombs hitting targets. If we can still deploy the same number of ships, troops and aircraft then what is the problem? A lot of the impacts don't happen until long after a budget is passed, years in a lot of cases, so it is easy not to see the impact until it is way too late and folks forget the reason why it happened in the first place. It is also easy to blame easy outs like the JSF delays for much broader issues like pilot retention in the USAF and Hornet maintenance shortfalls.

Another factor is the more partisan atmosphere in government and in the public in general, criticizing one side or another for issues in the military or the VA is one of the surest ways to get the public riled up and score some political points. That has always been the case, the 'missile gap' in 1960 comes to mind, but there seem to be less folks who are willing to be more serious about fixing budget issues with the military on both sides of the aisle and the military suffers as a result.

So there is plenty of leadership on this issue, it is just most JO's and other sailors don't pay as much generally don't pay as much attention to these sorts of things as someone who is in DC. It also gets lost in the noise when some in Navy leadership advocate for things that frankly matter little to the average sailor, military readiness or operations but get good press outside the service.
 

landthief

New Member
Any update on what the relative state of AF vs. Navy is for aspiring military pilots at the moment? As far as lifestyle, flight hours, mission, amount of 'queep', and all of the other QOL indicators.

It is always to hard to get a good grasp off the internet, as it seems most who post online are either disillusioned (65%) or enamored (35%..ballpark). Would love to hear someone's first-hand experience.

[I should also probably try to get on the phone with some pilots in each force and do my own research.]
 

zippy

Freedom!
pilot
Contributor
Any update on what the relative state of AF vs. Navy is for aspiring military pilots at the moment? As far as lifestyle, flight hours, mission, amount of 'queep', and all of the other QOL indicators.

It is always to hard to get a good grasp off the internet, as it seems most who post online are either disillusioned (65%) or enamored (35%..ballpark). Would love to hear someone's first-hand experience.

[I should also probably try to get on the phone with some pilots in each force and do my own research.]
Roll the dice... There are trials and tribulations in both. Apply to all and take the best offer you get.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
My guess is that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 50% of the people hate it and 50% love it. Those who hate it on M,W,F are 50% more likely to love it on Tuesdays and Thursday's while those who love it tend to hate it....at a rate close to 50%. On Saturday's all parties tend to trend toward ambivalence because Sunday is often reserved for golf or trips to places like Hooter's.
 
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