Among the important problematic issues that require priority consideration by the scientific community and the adoption of appropriate decisions, first of all, is the rationale for the rational appearance of the aviation branches (operational-tactical, long-range, military transport, military). This is especially true for the future up to 2025 of the year, that is, for the duration of the next LG and beyond.
Not only the generalized quantitative and qualitative characteristics of each individual aviation complex achievable in this perspective, but also possible options for the formation of the appearance of each complex, taking into account its place in the military construction system as a whole, in the implementation of long-term state policy should be subjected to a detailed scientific analysis. aspects (economy, geopolitics). Let us highlight the key issues: the appearance of a promising light fighter and its place in the front aviation (PAK FA), the appearance of a promising long-range aviation complex (PAK DA), taking into account the development of the entire heavy aircraft fleet, including naval aviation, the role and place of the promising attack aircraft, taking into account the rapid development of high-speed helicopters and fire systems of the SV, the concept of a prospective UAV subsystem and its place in the military aviation system.
To determine the appearance of a promising light fighter, the most important is the term "dimension". The current regulatory and technical documents do not provide for the classification of combat aircraft by mass. However, its absence significantly complicates the conduct of various kinds of research, the organization of design work, the adoption of important decisions that have a national and even international level. An integrated approach to the substantiation of a rational fleet of aircraft of various types of aviation required a new approach to the classification of the fighter fleet complexes. A thorough analysis of the tasks of fighter aviation in operations and combat operations at various theaters and the cost indicators of the factions led to the conclusion that it was expedient to separate front-line fighters into light and heavy ones. With the head role of the 30 Central Research Institute of Defense, the TTT was justified for each of the selected classes of fighters, according to which the tasks of air supremacy were assigned to the light fighter mainly by covering troops and front facilities, and providing air force strike cover territory of the enemy to the full depth of action and the solution of air defense tasks.
With this concept, the light fighter should have been used mainly in the conditions of information support from the ground and had an appropriate range of actions, and a heavy one - to operate outside the field of ground control information systems. In full accordance with the specified conceptual provisions, the requirements for the onboard equipment and the composition of the means of destruction of aviation complexes were formed. The strength of each class of fighters in the general grouping of front-line fighters had a 1: 2 ratio, that is, about 1 / 3 heavy fighters and 2 / 3 light.
The fourth-generation fighter fleet classification adopted in our country had a counterpart in the form of American fighters F-15 and F-16, although the airborne armament of the F-16A did not initially include medium-range guided missiles (UR) and, therefore, long-range air combat was maintained, and the maneuverability characteristics of the aircraft did not allow for close maneuver combat. At the same time, the composition weapons class "air-surface" included a very wide range. As a result, F-16А, by our classification, was more related to fighter-bombers.
Of the number of foreign fighters of the fifth generation, the F-22 rightfully belongs to the heavy one. The F-35, being developed to replace the F-16, has several modifications and can be considered with great caution as a lightweight fighter. The above said has a very noticeable semantic load in the comparative assessments of various options for aviation complexes. For example, our fifth-generation fighter, the PAK FA, can be compared with its foreign counterpart F-22, and not with the F-35.
The lack of a unified approach to the concept of dimension makes it much more difficult to obtain adequate estimates in the consumer properties of AC both in the domestic and foreign markets. Go to analysis historical aspects of the dimension of the modern fleet of fighters requires consideration of the terms (concepts) "multifunctional aviation complex" (MFAC), "fifth generation AK" and "AK dimension". The Military Encyclopedic Dictionary gives the following definition of the MFAC: an aircraft capable of solving somewhat different tasks from each other - the defeat of ground (surface targets), air combat and aerial reconnaissance.
As can be seen from the definition, the concept of "MFAK" refers only to aircraft without a pilot (crew). This is very important, because it is difficult to imagine a pilot even of a very high class, capable of equally successful modern high-maneuver air combat, as well as in a tactical group and at the same time possessing the skills of searching, target detection, anti-aircraft maneuvering, aiming and striking disguised targets. the use of aircraft cannons, unguided short-range, medium and long-range missiles, aerial bombs, one-time bomb cassettes.
Unambiguously agreeing with the IFAC definition given in the dictionary, we can immediately state the fact that the overwhelming majority of front-line (tactical) fighters developed in the world were created as multifunctional, and the development of highly specialized ones was practically not done. The main reasons for this were, on the one hand, a fairly broad commonality of requirements for strength, thrust-to-weight, on-board equipment for general use and the desire to reduce the cost of creating AKs of a given class, solving a wide range of tasks, on the other. For example, the onboard equipment of all modern MFAKs being developed or upgraded includes a multifunctional radar and an optical-electronic sight-sight system, which usually includes a television system, a laser range finder target indicator and a laser spot finder, ensuring the use of AKs as for air targets , and on ground (surface) objects. Armament MFAK close in composition and differs, as a rule, only by the number of aviation weapons of destruction (TSA) and their total weight. The armament complex usually includes short-range and medium-range air-to-air missiles, general-purpose air-to-air missiles, air-to-craft and air-radar missile systems, as well as aerial bombs, including number and adjustable. A common thing is also the equipping of joint stock companies by means of electronic warfare and electronic communications.
The term "fifth-generation fighter" appeared in the middle of the 90-ies and most likely in connection with the deployment of work on a new generation of on-board electronic equipment (RDB) fighters, including such as the F-22, F-35, PAK FA. Today, the fifth generation fighter most often refers to an aircraft that combines the implementation of Stealth technology, supersonic cruising speed and super-maneuverability, as well as an integrated modular avionics structure with an open architecture, involving the integration of data from various sensors and a global element information and combat system.
The term "dimension" is commonly understood as the normal take-off mass of the aircraft, that is, the mass at which the requirements of its main performance characteristics are met. As additional indicators, dimensions often use the mass of an empty aircraft and the mass of the combat load. In the 30-th Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense, performed at the end of 60-x and the beginning of 70-s, all combat aircraft were conventionally divided by the normal take-off mass (G0) into four groups: ultra-light (G0 ≤ 10 tons), light (from 10 to 17,5), medium (from 17,5 to 23) and heavy (more than 23).
This approach to the weight classification of combat aircraft of front-line (tactical) aviation by weight is generally mechanistic in nature. It is based on the consideration of the entire set of airplanes with different missions (fighters, attack, attack aircraft, training), built in different countries at different times. This, in particular, can explain the wide range of dimensional changes in each weight class. Consideration of this issue in relation to a specific fleet of fighters requires consideration of a number of important additional factors. Among the latter, first of all, there is a target-oriented analysis and consideration of global trends in the development of combat capabilities of promising IFACs of one or another weight class.
From this point of view, the ultralight class should be excluded from further consideration, since it primarily includes combat AKs created on the basis of training aircraft, and they can hardly be considered promising fighters even considering that they are capable of close air combat. If the fighter’s mass is less than ten tons, it’s impossible to achieve a level of efficiency that allows it to withstand potential enemies in air battles. From the same standpoint, it is quite acceptable to unite the middle and heavy classes into one heavy class. The absence of differences in the middle class of a fundamental nature, which determine their separation into an independent class, speaks in favor of such a union. For example, they practically do not differ in maneuverability, and a heavy fighter, as a rule, surpasses the average one in flight range and composition of weapons.
The analysis shows the admissibility of the following classification, established for the fourth generation in determining the dimension of promising combat fighters. Light class - normal take-off weight up to 18 tons (“Mirage-2000”, “Rafale”, F-16С, ITS 2000, F-35А, Russian versions MiG-29). Heavy - normal take-off weight over 18 tons (Tornado, F / A-18C / D, F-35C, F-15, E / I, F-14D, F-22, Russian versions MiG-31, Su-27 and Su-30). The proposed delineation takes into account the most important factors by areas of combat use, zones, tasks and conditions of information support, and makes it possible to emphasize the need to consider a two-component fleet of front-line fighters from both the country's needs and the position of our combat vehicles on the world market, taking into account the reality of the fifth generation fighters .
Let us return to the reasonable two-component fighter fleet and the ratio of the number of heavy to light 1: 2. Military expediency is due to real needs in the park (number) of consumers and maintenance costs.
If we confine ourselves to system-wide considerations, it is unlikely that anyone would object to the assertion that the total fleet of front-line fighters in our country should be about a thousand airplanes (with normal development of the situation in the world and the state of the country's economy). In this case, each of the three strategic areas will have about three hundred aircraft. It seems that this is a very reasonable figure for approximate calculations. And if we consider that the length of our borders is over 60 thousands of kilometers, then 60 fighters for a thousand kilometers is a very modest figure.
A thousand fighters in the Russian Air Force can be considered the minimum necessary (expedient) also for reasons of internal needs. This refers to the maintenance of trained flight and technical personnel, the content of educational institutions that ensure the continuous flow of personnel to combat units, the maintenance of the entire infrastructure of combat training and comprehensive support.
Of considerable interest is the analysis of the results of a comparative assessment of the effectiveness of various types of foreign-made fighter aircraft in their solution to one of the most important tasks — the destruction of the air defense system of a potential enemy. Estimates were obtained by IABG (Germany) and DRA (United Kingdom) based on simulation modeling, and the effectiveness of air combat was evaluated by RAND Corporation (USA). The main (integrated) indicator of efficiency was the cost of the aircraft fleet, capable of solving the task, which is the product of the cost of the basic version of the considered carriers and their combat equipment without the cost of logistics, training of flight personnel, and the required number of aircraft to destroy the enemy’s air defense system.
The results obtained convincingly enough confirm the fact that a light fighter of the type “Rafale”, “Eurofighter”, possessing high combat effectiveness, with good reason can take its rightful place in the composition of any group.
From the standpoint of military expediency, the rational balance of light and heavy fighters is unlikely to change significantly compared with the figures relating to the fourth generation, and if they are possible, only towards the light. Two provisions speak in favor of such a hypothesis. The first is that, based on the provisions of our Military Doctrine, it does not follow the necessity of escorting large masses of bomber aircraft to a depth of 2000 kilometers in the conditions of a powerful enemy air defense. We are not going to fight at the same time with the whole world. The second is that the air defense of troops from the enemy’s air in border areas with the help of long-range fighters from the depth of their territory has never been and will not be rational both in terms of flight time and fuel consumption, and in terms of the organization of hostilities and the management of existing ones aviation forces.
One of the most difficult and crucial tasks in the field of air defense - the interaction of ground and air forces - must be carried out in each specific direction by a clearly oriented force composition. At present, even the thinning network of airfields in our country allows us to successfully solve the tasks of basing the required number of light fighters on the main routes. But where this problem is acute (areas of the Arctic), heavy fighters really should play a leading role - today it is MiG-31, in the future - PAK FA.
From the standpoint of the economy (reducing the cost of creating and maintaining a fleet of light and heavy fighters), the arguments are again only in favor of the light one. There are estimates of the cost of one kilogram of modern Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters - from 3,5 to 4,5 thousands of dollars, F-22 - 10 thousands of US dollars. It seems that our PAK FA has these numbers no less, so for simplicity of reasoning we take 10 thousand dollars as the basis for one kilogram of the mass of the equipped fighter aircraft with a full range of weapons. Then we get very simple, but very convincing indicators. The cost of purchasing a fleet of thousands of heavy fighters, the average mass of which is 25 – 30 tons, will average 275 billion dollars, for lightweight ones with an average weight of 17 – 18 tons - an average of 175 billion, and purchasing a mixed fleet in the proportion 1: 2 - 210 billions. Thus, the savings in procurement alone amount to 65 billions of dollars or 30 percent. Considering the fact that one hour of a heavy fighter flight today costs one and a half times more expensive than a light one, and the average flight time of a second class pilot cannot be lower than 130 – 150 hours per year, it is quite understandable that the cost of annual AK operation is also proportional to the weight of the aircraft. Savings due to the operation of a mixed fleet for the AK life cycle (30 years) - 25 – 30 percent. In absolute terms, this is a very impressive amount.
In terms of their combat capabilities, the classes of fighters in question differ less and less. This is largely due to the rapid pace of miniaturization of the electronic equipment of both the aircraft and the means of destruction. At the same time, the task of achieving such indicators characterizing a promising fighter as super-maneuverability, supersonic cruising speed and low visibility is solved on a light fighter with less cost than on a heavy one. It is enough here to recall the problem of the engine.
The analysis of the feasibility of creating a light fighter for the foreign market is also associated primarily with the cost of the AK. The vast majority of buyers from among relatively small countries (both in territory and in economy) are already striving to acquire first and foremost AK light-class companies. In the near future, this trend will only intensify. Among these countries are both our partners in the CIS and other traditional buyers. This is explained by the cost of procurement and operation, as well as military expediency. It is from these positions that our MiGs have become so widespread, and it is with these positions that the main aircraft manufacturers (USA, China, Brazil, South Korea, Turkey) as part of the fifth-generation programs today intensively develop light-class AKs.
Today, the proportion of fighters of two classes in terms of size and development costs is 2: 1, that is, two heavy ones per light one. The bias in the development of our fighter aircraft is obvious. The main reason is a clear disregard for the scientific approach to the formation of important conceptual aspects of the substantiation of weapons systems of any kind (kind). The period of rapid growth in the number of various kinds of early-maturing concepts while simultaneously eliminating the head role of research organizations of the Ministry of Defense and the defense industry has ended. It would be right to recall the achievements of the national military science during the formation of the fourth generation of aviation complexes, when decisions on the quantitative and qualitative composition of the fleet of front-line fighters were not only rational, but also unique. Rationality, in particular, consisted in substantiating the fleet, capable of solving the entire scope of tasks assigned to front-line fighter aircraft, with minimal expenses for its creation and maintenance, and uniqueness in securing two schools to create effective world-class aviation equipment on a competitive basis.
As a result, today there is hardly any country in the world that is not familiar with our brands - Su and MiG. In fairness, it should be noted that the MiG brand is generally more familiar to states with relatively small territory and limited economic opportunities. And this is quite understandable from the standpoint of the expediency of spending on ensuring the security of a country, taking into account geopolitical and economic factors. Such an understanding gave us an invaluable opportunity to be present in dozens of countries around the world. With the Su brand, as a rule, larger states are familiar. It makes no sense to compare the importance or value of these global brands, for both are our national treasure and should be cherished.