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A Canadian Airborne EW Capabiilty? Split from The RCAF's Next Generation Fighter (CF-188 Replacement

SupersonicMax

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Good2Golf said:
For the significant incremental cost, the bang for a dedicated EA capability fits nowhere within Canadian Defence Policy.
Agreed.
 

dimsum

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SupersonicMax said:
For the backseaters, you’d need a different trade than ACSO.  What 402 offers has nothing to do with what the Growlers do.  If we were to get Growlers, we should send our backseaters to USN for ab-initio training  and Growler conversion.

I'm just saying what the USN and RAAF do with their WSOs and EWOs.  I agree that 402 wouldn't really be relevant for those folks.

Maybe SKT can confirm/deny this, but I recall a Sea King TACCO telling me that very little of what 402 gives applies to MH as well. 

Again, tangent...
 

SeaKingTacco

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Dimsum said:
I'm just saying what the USN and RAAF do with their WSOs and EWOs.  I agree that 402 wouldn't really be relevant for those folks.

Maybe SKT can confirm/deny this, but I recall a Sea King TACCO telling me that very little of what 402 gives applies to MH as well. 

Again, tangent...

Pretty much none of Nav Trg was applicable to the MH TACCO course. i could literally have gone straight there without the  year long stay in Winnipeg to absolutely no detrement.
 

SupersonicMax

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SeaKingTacco said:
Pretty much none of Nav Trg was applicable to the MH TACCO course. i could literally have gone straight there without the  year long stay in Winnipeg to absolutely no detrement.

Perhaps 402 Sqn needs to re-look at what the fleets do and re-evaluate their syllabus?
 

DonaldMcL

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402 still, IMHO, has it's place as it teaches the fundamentals of being aircrew. Their syllabus is being revamped to put it more in-line with the CP140 Block IV (and by extension the Cyclone) as we speak.
 

kev994

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We recently learned that they don’t teach map reading at 402 anymore. Bit of a shock for a SAR unit.
 

Sub_Guy

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kev994 said:
We recently learned that they don’t teach map reading at 402 anymore. Bit of a shock for a SAR unit.

I just left 402...  I used maps. 🤷🏼‍♂️
 

kev994

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Dolphin_Hunter said:
I just left 402...  I used maps. [emoji2373]
Rumour squashed. Interesting, we heard they didn’t do VFR navigation there now.
 

Sub_Guy

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kev994 said:
Rumour squashed. Interesting, we heard they didn%u2019t do VFR navigation there now.

Interesting.  Perhaps in the new courses?  I was there when they were transitioning from the old to the new.  Our first 4 basic flights were low level VFR radar navigation flights. Perhaps they removed it? Our tactics flights were of a similar flavour too. SAR search patterns (dropping simulated SKAD) and surveillance.

I%u2019d be shocked if they did away with VFR navigation. It%u2019s a basic concept that we all need. However, stranger things have happened.

Edited to add - They did eliminate the Portage portion of the course.
 

dimsum

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Dolphin_Hunter said:
I%u2019d be shocked if they did away with VFR navigation. It%u2019s a basic concept that we all need. However, stranger things have happened.

While it is a basic concept, most ACSOs are in an aircraft with 2+ flight deck crew members.  *Maybe* the H-Herc has the Nav do that but otherwise the Pilots do it.  Same with fuel planning (FE or Pilot does that depending on fleet) and approach monitoring.  I'd argue that approach monitoring is probably something the folks at the back should also be backing them up with, but given the ergonomics, it's not like we have all of the instruments to do so effectively in the back anyway.
 

Good2Golf

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Dimsum said:
While it is a basic concept, most ACSOs are in an aircraft with 2+ flight deck crew members.  *Maybe* the H-Herc has the Nav do that but otherwise the Pilots do it.  Same with fuel planning (FE or Pilot does that depending on fleet) and approach monitoring.  I'd argue that approach monitoring is probably something the folks at the back should also be backing them up with, but given the ergonomics, it's not like we have all of the instruments to do so effectively in the back anyway.

Egos might not support it, but if there ever was a case made for Growlers, the most reasonable COA, particularly given Dimsum’s note about pilots doing more/most flying duties, is an all-pilot manning model.  Short straw gets the back seat.
 

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Good2Golf said:
Egos might not support it, but if there ever was a case made for Growlers, the most reasonable COA, particularly given Dimsum%u2019s note about pilots doing more/most flying duties, is an all-pilot manning model.  Short straw gets the back seat.

When the USAF fielded the F-4C they initially manned it with two pilots. The original USN F-4B was manned with a pilot and a Naval Flight Officer filing the Radar Intercept Officer role. The USN versions of the F-4 had no flight controls in the rear seat, much like the EA-18G, and the NFOs were not trained as pilots but as system operators. The USAF added flight controls for its dual pilot manning. Due to eventual shortages of fighter pilots in the mid-later 1960s the USAF reversed its decision and began to man its F-4s with Navigators from other fleets (B-52s, C-130s, etc). A study was conducted in 1968 evaluating the difference in combat performance between two-pilot crews and pilot-WSO/Nav crews and found there was no discern able difference in performance ("Analysis of Aircrew Performance Personnel Flying Out of Country Interdiction Missions," AWC Report #3651, April 1968". This report used to be online but I can no longer find it.

Marshall Michell's (A Vietnam F-4 Pilot) book Clashes which studies every US air-to-air engagement during the Vietnam War has a pretty comprehensive discussion/analysis on the topic. On pg 166/167 he goes into the USAF F-4 manning in detail. He explains the problems encountered by having dual pilots "...there was no chance to develop a solid long-term program to train GIBs in F-4 systems operations or in working as a team with the front seaters, because all the back seat pilots wanted was to upgrade as quickly as possible to the front seat." He later goes on to describe that once the navigators were placed as WSOs: "The WSOs were quickly accepted and were generally better trained and more proficient than the pilot back seaters." Without quoting the entire passage it also describes the problem of lower proficiency front seat pilots with high proficiency back seat pilots that led to a slew of crew coordination problems. Again these are not my thoughts but those of a F-4 pilot based on his combat experience flying tactical jets and extensive documented research. I admit that this is ~50 years dated but it still seems applicable to the current discussion.

Likewise the idea that the RCAF's preferred solution to man two-seat EW aircraft would be dual pilots or a new trade altogether would be counter to the practice of the USAF, USN, and RAAF all of which man their  back seat fighters/tactical EW jets with aircrew from their ACSO equivalent trades (Combat System Officer (CSO) - USAF, NFO (Naval Flight Officer) - USN, Air Combat Officer (ACO) - RAAF). To put some perspective the USAF CSO trade crews traditional NAV positions on legacy C-130H as well as WSO positions on the F-15E and a whole host of other platforms in between. Likewise a USN NFO crews the TACCO position on the P-8 as well as the EWO and WSO on the SH and Growler aircraft. Much like RCAF's current ACSO streaming there is very little cross flow between the different platforms in the USAF and USN schemes. Why would the most reasonable solution be counter what existing operators already do?

Certainly this would require changes to ab-initio training at 402 Sqn with likely some intermediate training step beyond the CT-142 and before a fleet tactical jet. Alternatively outsourcing the training to the USN would make sense particularly if it was to support a small fleet. Historically CFANS provided Air Intercept Navigators to RCAF Air Defence Command and Fighter Group for 35+ years, some of which went on to be CF188 pilots following the retirement of the CF101. I am not entirely sure why there is a feeling is that Canadian ACSOs with the appropriate selection, training and experience couldn't man a Tactical EW aircraft in the same manner as every other Western AF. This doesn't even address the cost of training a pilot to fill a crew position where there is no expectation to conduct pilot tasks on a aircraft that has been clearly demonstrated to be able to be flown single pilot.

Though at the end of the day the discussion is purely hypothetical as stated there is no current intention/requirement to man or equip the RCAF with anything other than single seat tactical jets. 
 

Good2Golf

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h3tacco said:
Though at the end of the day the discussion is purely hypothetical as stated there is no current intention/requirement to man or equip the RCAF with anything other than single seat tactical jets.

:nod:

The (non-)issue of how to support such a niche capability as an EWO In a custom, dedicated-role airborne electronic attack platform such as the Growler is well beyond what sane minds should be thinking about.  Dedicated SEAD-only assets in the RCAF?  Sure, along with SSNs and SSBNs. ;)
 

MilEME09

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Good2Golf said:
:nod:

The (non-)issue of how to support such a niche capability as an EWO In a custom, dedicated-role airborne electronic attack platform such as the Growler is well beyond what sane minds should be thinking about.  Dedicated SEAD-only assets in the RCAF?  Sure, along with SSNs and SSBNs. ;)

It would require the RCAF to first actually recruit enough people, and second expand by about 1/4 to increase the number of pilots, ground crew etc... to support a nieche fleet like the Growler.

We are too small for a lot of a capabilities we have, let alone the ones we want. The army alone barely can do tanks or arty. Given articles I've read about shortages of pilots and ground crew,I can only imagine the RCAF is struggling like the rest of us.
 

Colin Parkinson

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With the advent of more sensors and semi-autonomous aircraft as "wingman" I wonder if pilot overload will become an issue again?
 

dimsum

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MilEME09 said:
Given articles I've read about shortages of pilots and ground crew,I can only imagine the RCAF is struggling like the rest of us.

At the risk of over-generalizing, yes.

Colin P said:
With the advent of more sensors and semi-autonomous aircraft as "wingman" I wonder if pilot overload will become an issue again?

Oh, I bet it will.  Ironically, the networked environment will allow more people to be the peanut gallery and inject their opinion on how the mission should be going.  If the CAOC and the General(s) can see near-real-time, it would take a *lot* of self-control for them (or more likely a staffer in between) to say "shift the camera over here - the Comd wants to see something." 

The overload will partially be dealing with external things like that.
 

Old Sweat

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Dimsum said:
Oh, I bet it will.  Ironically, the networked environment will allow more people to be the peanut gallery and inject their opinion on how the mission should be going.  If the CAOC and the General(s) can see near-real-time, it would take a *lot* of self-control for them (or more likely a staffer in between) to say "shift the camera over here - the Comd wants to see something." 

The overload will partially be dealing with external things like that.
For whatever it is worth, and it is only relevant as an example of senior commanders inserting their oars, the advent of the command and control helicopters carrying "9erTAC" in Vietnam was not necessarily a good thing. It led to senior officers, who could see how operations were unfolding, trying to control the ground battle by micromanaging platoons and companies on the ground. In some cases, a tier of C&C birds appeared with battalion, brigade, division, and so on commanders each trying to run the battle. I'm not making this up. It was widely reported in the media and any number of American officers would discuss the issue, usually in very profane terms.
 

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We have seen this to some extent during Op IMPACT where everything was controlled (even during mission execution) by the CAOC.  It was pretty disappointing to see and experience, especially coming out of Op MOBILE where mission command was effectively employed.
 

MilEME09

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SupersonicMax said:
We have seen this to some extent during Op IMPACT where everything was controlled (even during mission execution) by the CAOC.  It was pretty disappointing to see and experience, especially coming out of Op MOBILE where mission command was effectively employed.

What would in your experience be an over arching reason for this? Lack of proper training? Ego?
 

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h3tacco said:
Historically CFANS provided Air Intercept Navigators to RCAF Air Defence Command and Fighter Group for 35+ years, some of which went on to be CF188 pilots following the retirement of the CF101.
The Navigators on the CF-101 didn’t just navigate, they also operated the fire control system which controlled, and launched, the Voodoo’s nuclear weapons. If we were capable of training Air Navs to operate nuclear weapons from fast jets, we are certainly able to train ACSO to serve in EW fast jets.

The question is, will we? The Australians have long sought to maintain an ability to conduct a limited regional air campaign independently. They didn’t have dedicated EW aircraft during the F-111 days, but they assess they need them now, probably because their neighbours have also upped their game. But we aren’t Australia. An airborne EW platform won’t be in the fighter replacement project. But if not fighter, would an EW capability be possible within the JUSTAS/RPAS UAV or the eventual MMA/CP-140 replacement?

 
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