Single-Seat Fighters: A Question Of Survivability AUTHOR Major Joseph A. Papay, USMC CSC 1989 SUBJECT AREA - Aviation EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TITLE: SINGLE-SEAT FIGHTERS: A QUESTION OF SURVIVABILITY I. Purpose: To educate the reader on the advantages of a single- versus dual-seat fighter, with emphasis on survivability and lethality of the F/A-18 Hornet II. Problem: The need for a replacement for the aging F-4 Phantom was overshadowed by the hype of the manufacturer's concept and design, and the Navy's attempt to solve the berthing problems aboard ship. The single-seat mentality of a few overwhelmed the cries of the tactically proficient, and convinced those in power that the advances in technology will counter the advantages of the dual -seat fighters. The end result is a fleet of single-seat fighters that are not as offensive or survivable as the same dual-seat fighter. III. DATA: The military's infatuation with the marvels of technology is continuously displayed by the plethoria of new hardware and software purchased every year. Marine aviation has recently completed a major purchase of 174 single-seat Hornets to replace the aging F-4 Phantom. The F/A-18 Hornet was to meet the multi-role requirements of the Marine Corps and also attack the berthing problems aboard ship. Technology was to provide the silver bullet. Overall, modern technology was to absorb the increased workload that was the task of the second crewman. Unfortunately, the cloud of enthusiasm for the return to the single-seat design disreguarded the advances that would reshape the battlefield that this single-seat fighter would face. The development and employment of third and fourth generation SAM's and AAA systems integrated into a sophfisticated command and control system would drastically increase the lethality of the threats' integrated air defense system. Therefore, reducing the survivability of the penetrating Hornet due to the increased workload on the weakest link in the Hornet's design, the pilot. IV. Conclusion: In the case of the F/A-18 Hornet, the dual-seat design, integrated with today's modern technology, has an significant advantage over the single-seat Hornet in the areas of mission success and survivability. V. Recommendations: That the Marine Corps take active steps to increase the survivability of the F/A-18 Hornet and other follow-on aircraft with a dual-seat design. SINGLE-SEAT FIGHTERS: A QUESTION OF SURVIVABILITY Survivability of our warfighting assets has always been a priority of our Marine Corps Leaders. Today, the fiscal battle cry has not changed. In fact, it has been emphasized with such resolve that even the Marine Private is aware of his responsibilities to safeguard and maintain his Marine Corps assets. In the case of Marine Aviation, how survivable are these assets? In particular, our fighter assets, now that we have adopted the single-seat design concept of the F/A-18 Hornet. Marine Corps fighters have for decades been tasked to assume a multi-role mission. This is due to the limited number of assets available and the large variety of missions that Marine aviation must support by doctrine. The F/A-18 Hornet, the Marine Corps newest land and carrier-based fighter, offers true multi-mission capabilities. It is both an air-to-air fighter and a ground attack aircraft with a 16,000-pound payload and Mach 1.7 top speed.1 With the F-4 Phantom reaching the end of its operational life, a replacement was required. The Navy as well as the Marine Corps, looked at the F-16 and F/A-18 as possible replacements, In the end, the single-seat F/A-18 Hornet won out. Based on the selection of the single-seat Hornet, the Marine Corps will replace all twelve squadrons of aging dual-seat F-4 Phantoms on both east and west coasts; a total buy of approximately 174 single-seat Hornets.2 The mission of the single-seat Hornet will not change from that of the dual-seat Phantom. It will be tasked in the fighter role to provide air superiority within the AOA and to provide fighter escort to attack aircraft, and assault transports. It will also provide airborne surveillance to augment the Integrated Air Defense System of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) in an Anti-Air Warfare role.3 In the Attack role, the single-seat Hornet will assume the missions of Close Air Support (CAS), Deep Air Support (DAS), and Battlefield Air Interdiction (BAI) missions in order to attack and destroy enemy personnel and equipment within and outside the A0A4. Associated with these mission requirements is the additional operational capability that the Marine Corps requires of its multi-role fighters. That being that the Single-seat Hornet must be able to execute all its missions in both day and night conditions to include an all-weather environment5. The F/A-18, like the F-4 Phantom, was designed to do just that. The primary difference though was that the Phantom was designed as a Dual-Seat fighter equipped with 1960 technology, while the Hornet using 1970 technology adopted the mind set that this advanced technology would eliminate the need for the second crewman. The Advanced Technology and Human Factor design that went into the F/A-18 Hornet cockpit has been optimized for a one-man operation in all air-to-air and air-to-ground modes. The advanced controls and displays using cathode ray tubes (CRTs) for computer generated flight and weapon system information allow a highly trained aviator to execute and accomplish his mission. 6 Since June 82', we have witnessed the overwhelming capabilities of this new technology embodied within the single-seat Hornet. Once a well trained pilot has strapped on this multi-role fighter he has displayed the aircraft capabilities and his peacetime proficiency with amazing success. The advantages that are afforded the Hornet over the Phantom are truly noteworthy. But is it survivable? Along with the technological advances afforded to U.S. aviation, comes the advance weapon systems that will shape today's battlefield. The Threat has also modernized its air defense systems, incorporating modern technology into the detection, identification, and destruction of hostile aircraft through the employment of third and fourth generation AAA and Surface-to-Air missiles.7 Previous Surface-to-Air threat environments generally left someplace to fly. Today's integrated Air Defense environments actually challenge the very nature of tactical airpower resulting in more pre-emptive philosophies; more reliance on night and in weather flying and, has required today's aircraft to be able to maneuver with heavy loads in order to increase their survivability on this modern day battlefield.8 The accuracy and lethality of these current systems far exceed the performance we last encountered in Southeast Asia. Considering that, at its strongest point, North Vietnam had over 200 prepared SA-2 sites and 30 active SAM battalions which included about 200 launchers. Out of this, from 1962 -1975, the United States lost approximately 200 aircraft. Fifteen percent of our aircraft were loss due to SAMs, seventy-nine percent to AAA and six percent to MIGs. The threats encountered were of the first and second generation design.9 Unlike Vietnam, today's fighters will be facing over 1800 ready surface-to-air missiles and approx. 1100 light and heavy machine guns, assigned to a Soviet Division Air Defense, occupying an area of approximately 30 Km square.10 As for the aircrews survivability, studies have shown that although the single-seat Hornet is superior to its predecessor in capabilities and reliability, the weak-link is found in the one man concept and that in the majority of scenarios, a well trained, dual-seat Hornet would be more survivable on the modern day battlefield.11 To quantify the argument of possible advantages of the dual-seat over the single-seat Hornet, an analysis was performed. In 1985, the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) was tasked by OP-50 to examine the issue of single versus dual seats with regard to their use in the F/A-18 Hornets. The initial buy of single-seat F/A-18s was based on the suspected penalty for an additional crewman in the cockpit, those being: * Reduced Fuel Capacity * Increased Carrier-habitability Problems * Costs In response, analysts performed an extensive literature search on the subject. It was determined that the annual maintenance costs for the two seat Hornet would be $14 thousand higher than the single seater. It would also cost an additional one time developmental cost of $800,000 per two seat aircraft.12 The effect of additional squadron personnel on carrier habitability was worth noting, but it does not seem to be significant enough to influence policy decisions. 13 The fact that the two seat Hornet carried 102 gallons less than the single seater14 was of concern. However, analysis has determined that in identical scenarios, the dual-seat Hornet burned less fuel than the single-seater.15 Once again chipping away at the single-seat mentality. Phase two was to determine the benefits, if any, provided by the presence of a second crewman. The decision was made to conduct a one- versus two-seat cockpit flight simulation. The simulation took place at the Manned Air Combat Simulator facility operated by McDonnell Aircraft Company. Each mission would be flown in a low, medium, and high threat environment with the aim of increasing the aircrews workload.16 To determine the degree of impact that the second crewman would have on the mission, five primary mission areas17 were singled out: * Day Strike * Strike Escort * Close Air Support (CAS) * Night Strike * Adverse Weather The results concluded that in the Night Strike and Adverse Weather missions the second crewman was able to relieve the pilot workload by providing dedicated attention to sensor operations18. The Escort and CAS missions also favored the dual-seat crew since these missions are highly dependant on visual contacts.19 The Day Strike missions greatly favored the dual-seat crew in the low and medium threat scenario by having a higher survival rate and delivery effectiveness than the single-seat hornet. The high threat day strike scenario favored the dual-seat hornet for survivability but scored the single seat crew with a higher delivery effectiveness.20 Overall the dual-seat crews were almost twice as survivable as the single-seat crews with a ranking of 51 to 27; while the single seat crews had a slight advantage in delivery effectiveness, with a rank of 48 to 30. This result confirms that there was an exchange of survivability for effectiveness while in the delivery phase for the single-seat Hornet21. To further determine specific advantages of the dual crew concept, five sub-mission areas were measured within each of the primary missions investigated. These factors were: * Avoidance to Ground Impact * Delivery Timeliness * Delivery Effectiveness * Survivability to the Ground Threat * Survivability to the Air Threat Ground Impact: During the simulation, it was possible for crews to suffer ground impacts. While there was no kill removal for ground impact, it was still a matter of interest in the analysis. The number of ground impacts was tabulated and examined to see if there was a difference between the single-seat crews and the dual-seat crews. No significant difference was found.22 Weapon Delivery Timeliness / Effectiveness: The weapon delivery analysis focused on the aircrews ability to arrive on target on time and with a high degree of effectiveness. The optimum score required bombs to be dropped on or near the target, with a hit or a near hit, within 30 seconds of the time-on-target. Data proved that the dual-seat crews were more timely using sensors more frequently. For sensor acquisitions, the dual-seat Hornets acquired their targets at a 33% longer average range than the single-seat crews. However, the single-seat crews were slightly more effective in their weapons delivery.23 A limitation of this data is that there was no kill removal prior to the target area, or within the target area. Since there was no kill removal, there is no data to determine the number of missions completed by either the single or dual-seat fighter. Survivability to the Ground Threat: The performance against the ground threat was evaluated in great detail. The simulated ground threat24 consisted of the following systems: * Sa-5 * Sa-6 * Sa-8 * Sa-9 * Zsu-23-4 Each aircrew had the ability to employ aircraft maneuvering, deceptive electronic countermeasures, and chaff and flare employment. They also had the option to utilize High Speed Anti Radiation Missiles (HARMS) in most missions to neutralize / destroy threat sites. Overall, the dual-seat fighter removed 6% more threats with HARM than the single-seat crews25. The overall comparison of survivability against the ground threats showed that, in 14 of the 15 scenarios, the dual seat aircraft were more survivable on the average than the single-seat aircraft26. Survivability to the Air Threat: The simulation set out to analyze the aspects of performance, including survivability of the aircrews. Both the single and dual seat Hornets were configured with AIM-7F radar guided missiles and AIM-9L heat seeking missiles. The threat aircraft were simulated MIG-23 and MIG-25 aircraft, carrying short range (SRM) and medium range missiles (MRM) similar to the AIM-9L and AIM-7F missiles, respectively. Performance against the SRMs and MRMs were evaluated separately to see if one type of crew performed better than the other against different types of Air-to-Air missiles. The overall results of the interactions of the single and dual-seat Hornets against the air threat favored the dual-seat Hornet both for survivability and lethality. It was found, for example, that the dual-seat crews were able to defeat a higher percentage of Short Range Missiles fired at them than the single-seat crews. Single-beat Hornets were 68% more likely to be hit per IR missile fired than the dual-seat fighter27. The lethality factor was also influenced by the dual-seat concept in that the dual-seat crews had a higher exchange ratio than the single-seat crews against the given threat28. Of note also was the fact that the dual-seat Hornets fired fewer missiles than the single-seat Hornets. Overall, the single seat fighter fired 30 missiles to 20 from the two-seat fighter29. Based on the requirements, doctrine and the research data, the determination of the survivability factor that a dual-seat fighter offers is significant. Overall, the dual-seat Hornet, exhibits an increase in survivability and lethality over the single-seat Hornet. The Hornet has for the first time not been the weak link in the Air Battle. In the evolution of Air Power the weak link has always been attributed to a piece of hardware. It began with a lack of power & maneuverability which later than moved to the restricted weapons envelopes. Through advances in technology the restricted envelopes for weapon delivery is almost non-existent. The design and development of the F/A-18 Hornet makes it the most advanced fighter in the world. But not the most survivable. The pilot for the first time is the weak link in this war fighting package. For the first time, the pilot is unable to exploit all the capabilities of the Hornet due to the workload level. Based on my twelve years of flying fighters, I believe the single-seat Hornet is more than capable of performing its mission, but only in a peacetime environment. The wartime variables that greatly influence the survivability and success of those missions are not present in our daily peacetime exercises. This therefore, builds a false sense of security into the already over rated single-seat concept. The development and designs of our modern aircraft should not be overshadowed by the sales pitch of the manufacturer. Instead, it should be driven by the lethality and survivability of the item. In fact, the Dual-Seat, F/A-18 integrated with today's modern technology, drastically increases the survivability of our Marine Corps Fighters on the modern battlefield. FOOTNOTES 1NATOPS Flight Manual, F/A-18A/B, A1-F18AC-NFM-000, 1 December 85, Chapter 1, p. 1-3. 2Smith, K.A., LtGen, USMC, "An Assessment of Marine Aviation," Marine Corps Gazette (May 1988), p.43. 3Smith, K.A.,LtGen, p. 43. 4U.S. Marine Corps, OH-2: The Marine Air-Ground Task Force, March 1987, p. 7-8. 5NATOPS, p. 1-3. 6McDonnell Douglas, F/A-18 Hornet Crew Station, Section 2, p.1. 7Taylor, John, Jane's Weapons Systems 1988, Section on the Soviet Union. 8General Dynamics, Fighter Weapons Symposium 88, Book 1, Fighters, p. 65. 9General Dynamics, Fighter Weapons Symposium 88, Book 3, Surface-to-Air Threat, p. 5, 9. 10U.S Army, FM 100-2-3, The Soviet Army (July 1984). 11CNA, CRM 86-105, Single- versus Dual-Seat Crew Simulation Results: Measures of Mission Success, (July 1986) p. 19. 12CNA, CRM 86-88, Dual-Seat F/A-18 Cost and Personnel Issues, (April 1986), p. 12. 13CNA, CRM 86-88, p. 13. 14NATOPS, p. 1-17, 1-103. 15CNA, 86-1802, F/A-18 Single- Versus Dual-Seat Crew Simulation Results: Project Briefing, (September 1986), p. 33. 16CNA, CRM 86-105, p. 1. 17CNA, CRM 86-105, p. 1. 18CNA, CRM 86-105, p. 19, 21. 19CNA, CRM 86-105, p. 18, 21. 20CNA, CRM 86-105, p. 23. 21CNA, CRM 86-105, p. 23. 22CNA, CRM 86-105, p. 6. 23CNA, CRM 86-105, p. 5. 24CNA, CRM 86-105, p4 3. 25CNA, CRM 86-1802, p. 33. 26CNA, CRM 86-105, p 4. 27CNA, CRM 86-1802, p. 17. 28CNA, CRM 86-105, p. 5. 29CNA, 86-101, F/A-18 Single- Versus Dual-Seat Crew Simulation Results: Escort Mission Analysis, (August 1986), p. 23. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. CNA, CRM 86-88, Dual-Seat F/A-18 Cost and Personnel Issues, (April 1986). 2. CNA, CRM 86-97, F/A-18 Single- Versus Dual-Seat Crew Simulation Results: Mission Design, Facility Description, and Aircrews, (August 1986). 3. CNA, 86-101, F/A-18 Single- Versus Dual-Seat Crew Simulation Results: Escort Mission Analysis, (August 1986). 4. CNA, CRM 86-105, Single- versus Dual-Seat Crew Simulation Results: Measures of Mission Success, (July 1986). 5. CNA, 86-1802, F/A-18 Single- Versus Dual-Seat Crew Simulation Results: Project Briefing, (September 1986). 6. General Dynamics, Fighter Weapons Symposium 88, Book 1: Fighters. 7. General Dynamics, Fighter Weapons Symposium 88, Book 3: Surface-to-Air Threat. 8. Hughes Aircraft Company, AFAL-TR-76-79, Crew Size Evaluation for Tactical All-Weather Strike Aircraft, (April 1977). 9. Karnow, Stanley, Vietnam: A History, (1983). 10. McDonnell Douglas, F/A-18 Hornet Crew Station, Section 2. 11. U.S. Marine Corps, OH-2: The Marine Air-Ground Task Force, March 1987. 12. Mlddleton, Drew, Air War- Vietnam, (1978). 13. NATOPS Flight Manual, F/A-18A/B, A1-F18AC-NFM-000, 1 December 85, Chapter 1. 14. Sherrod, Robert, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War Two, (1952). 15. Smith, K.A., LtGen, USMC, "An Assessment of Marine Aviation," Marine Corps Gazette (May 1988). 16. Taylor, John, Jane's Weapons Systems 1988, Section- Soviet Union. 17. U.S Army, FM 100-2-3, The Soviet Army (July 1984).
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