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    • Commander RayCav

      EVERYBODY READ - This is our new policy regarding spambots   02/04/2018

      Here's the thing about the spambot situation - it is literally physically impossible for me to catch up with them. I don't know what about this board attracts them so much (although this is a common problem with Spacebattles, Sufficient Velocity and other boards - they just don't actually post there for some reason, maybe they have better software or something) or what to do to control it. I don't have a lot of tools to deal with the situation, and even far, far less time. The *only* practical solution is to just tell you guys to ignore them and don't click on any links they post - *especially* when they're written in the style of a paragraph but bizarrely formatted in list format, and *especially* when they're written in Russian (or Turkish, or whatever language is unreadable for most Americans who don't hail from the oppressive side of the Iron Curtain or an international studies degree). In other words, I won't be doing any actions anymore. *Because I can't.* I apologize for the inconvenience. 

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First of all I agree with Brian's fundamental premise that one needs only have the tools available that can do the job that needs to be done.  Extras are just nice to have.  Nonetheless I do take issue with some of the statements he makes in his efforts to support this fundamentally sound theorem.

 

1) Having something is always better than nothing.

 

Provided the "something" in question is capable of fulfilling the tasks it is set this is true.  If it isn't, then there are circumstances in which it can be worse than useless.  The Husnok attack on Rana IV was one such situation - a Miranda close enough to reach the planet while the attack was in progress would have done nothing but get another two hundred people killed, just as the "live bait squadron" should never have been sent to patrol the Broad Fourteens in September 1914.

 

2) Lots of average ships/planes are better than a few great ones.

 

This depends on the definition of "average".  The TIE example works, because TIEs are clearly capable of engaging and defeating X-wings, and indeed have a far superior kill/loss ratio (partially because of the circumstances of the Death Star runs).  The Mustang example does not because it looks at one narrow situation, and fails to consider the range of threats the NORAD area has to be concerned about.  Yes, a swarm of Mustangs would have been more effective against AQ's method of attack than half a dozen modern fast jets.  Against Bears, Backfires, Blackjacks, Flankers and Fulcrums they would be useless, and the damage they are capable of inflicting is vastly greater than that inflicted on New York and Washington.

 

3) Speed vs manoeuvrability.

 

Brian is correct that speed kills, and is wrong to assert that a defensive mission changes that.  Forcing fighters to remain at low speed and within a certain distance of whatever they're defending is stupid, because it robs them of the initiative and leaves them sitting ducks.  It's ironic that he uses the US bomber offensive against Germany to support this point, because until early 1944 VIII Bomber Command used precisely the tactics he describes and was getting the shit kicked out of it as a result.  It wasn't until Jimmy Doolittle took command, took the fighters off close escort duty and ordered them to go and find the Luftwaffe and destroy it that the air war swung in favour of the 8th Air Force.

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DSG2k    4

Curiously, I find myself in general agreement. I'll be checking myself into the ER after this post. ;-)

 

I made a point not to read the thread before watching the video. The Mustang bit really threw me, as well. In a world of less-finite resources (including payroll) an armed Mustang wing of the Civil Air Patrol might be a nifty idea, but then so would air defense cannons around every town and an EMP-hardened grid and yadda-yadda-yadda. For that matter, why not build a thousand Constitution Class ships (here referring to copies of the wooden one) as a coast guard in addition to what we have now, so you have the same rationale.

 

Put simply, I am not completely clear on what exactly he was trying to argue, other than the general notion of applying modern combined (naval) arms to Trek so as to be able to claim deficiencies. The flipside would be to note that we hardly have any fighters anymore, opting instead for multi-role aircraft (e.g. the conversion of F-14s to bombers back in the day). By his apparent logic, I don't think he would accept multi-role starships as a viable 'strategery'.

 

I presume he was also trying to make excuses for some franchise's weak smaller vessels, but I'm not clear on whether he thought he was defending B5 (his favorite storyline) or Star Wars (his favorite military & tech). It was just sorta pointless.

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Ted C    12

1) Having something is always better than nothing.

 

Provided the "something" in question is capable of fulfilling the tasks it is set this is true.  If it isn't, then there are circumstances in which it can be worse than useless.  The Husnok attack on Rana IV was one such situation - a Miranda close enough to reach the planet while the attack was in progress would have done nothing but get another two hundred people killed, just as the "live bait squadron" should never have been sent to patrol the Broad Fourteens in September 1914.

 

2) Lots of average ships/planes are better than a few great ones.

 

This depends on the definition of "average".  The TIE example works, because TIEs are clearly capable of engaging and defeating X-wings, and indeed have a far superior kill/loss ratio (partially because of the circumstances of the Death Star runs).  The Mustang example does not because it looks at one narrow situation, and fails to consider the range of threats the NORAD area has to be concerned about.  Yes, a swarm of Mustangs would have been more effective against AQ's method of attack than half a dozen modern fast jets.  Against Bears, Backfires, Blackjacks, Flankers and Fulcrums they would be useless, and the damage they are capable of inflicting is vastly greater than that inflicted on New York and Washington.

 

I'm with you on 1: if all you can do by showing up is to just become an additional loss, you might as well not show up at all. Brian did argue, however, that a government that makes no effort to protect it's citizens, even if it's unlikely to succeed, is going to quickly lose favor with the populace.

 

2 deals with effective use of resources. In WW2, Germany kept trying to design and build newer and better tanks and planes, while the Allies concentrated on cranking out more of the tanks and planes they already had (making occasional tweaks where they could, such as figuring out how to up-gun the Sherman). It worked out for the Allies, obviously.

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2 deals with effective use of resources. In WW2, Germany kept trying to design and build newer and better tanks and planes, while the Allies concentrated on cranking out more of the tanks and planes they already had (making occasional tweaks where they could, such as figuring out how to up-gun the Sherman). It worked out for the Allies, obviously.

 

Indeed, because the Sherman, despite its numerous uncomplimentary nicknames, was good enough to get the job done, especially once the Firefly was available in large enough numbers to provide one per troop.  Brian uses the example of P-51s being better that F15/16s because you can produce far more of them, and they're just as effective against hijacked airliners.  That's the equivalent of building Bren gun carriers instead of Shermans because you can build far more of them and they're almost as effective against riflemen.

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Ted C    12

Indeed, because the Sherman, despite its numerous uncomplimentary nicknames, was good enough to get the job done, especially once the Firefly was available in large enough numbers to provide one per troop.  Brian uses the example of P-51s being better that F15/16s because you can produce far more of them, and they're just as effective against hijacked airliners.  That's the equivalent of building Bren gun carriers instead of Shermans because you can build far more of them and they're almost as effective against riflemen.

 

I think his point was more that having the best (and most expensive) equipment is not always in your favor situationally. On 9/11, having a dozen or more P-51s in the air would have been more useful than a few F-16s on the ground, because on that day, the P-51s could have intercepted the hijacked planes and shot them down.

 

It goes without saying that modern jets would obliterate P-51s in a fight.

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I think his point was more that having the best (and most expensive) equipment is not always in your favor situationally. On 9/11, having a dozen or more P-51s in the air would have been more useful than a few F-16s on the ground, because on that day, the P-51s could have intercepted the hijacked planes and shot them down.

 

It goes without saying that modern jets would obliterate P-51s in a fight.

 

I understand what his point was, and I agree with it to a certain extent.  The problem is that the example he used to try and illustrate the point is idiotic, to the extent of being counter-productive. Yes, having thousands of P-51s would be superior to a few F16s in dealing with that precise situation, but to do all the other jobs a modern air force has to do, and either do far more frequently, or for which the consequences of failure make 9/11 look trivial, P-51s are utterly useless.

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Ted C    12

I understand what his point was, and I agree with it to a certain extent.  The problem is that the example he used to try and illustrate the point is idiotic, to the extent of being counter-productive. Yes, having thousands of P-51s would be superior to a few F16s in dealing with that precise situation, but to do all the other jobs a modern air force has to do, and either do far more frequently, or for which the consequences of failure make 9/11 look trivial, P-51s are utterly useless.

 

Fair enough, but is it really all that unusual to see an extreme example used to illustrate a point?

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Brian Young    11,994

Howdy Captain, I stumbled in looking for a quote, and saw that you had some questions.

The example is not that complicated. I never said that using 70 year old planes was a good thing for NORAD to do in countering modern fighter jets. That's crazy. I said it would have been better on 9/11.

The point is effective for these reasons:

*It is an effective demonstration of how numbers and location are even more important than technology. It wouldn't matter if those 2 armed planes were X-Wings instead of F-15s, if they were too far away to help *in any way whatsoever*. An old plane that can accomplish the task (somehow you missed this), in greater numbers would be better in such a situation.

*P-51s are about 70 years old, which is very much like Excelsior Class ships or Miranda Class ships in the TNG era. Defending the use of those older ships in the Dominion War was part of the point in the video.

*As I said, in this situation, the plane could get the job done. You seem to have grown the argument a third arm to make it seem as if I was promoting the use of numbers of *anything*, over *anything*, and in *any* scenario. I said at least twice that the plane could accomplish the task, and of course that is key. I've ALSO said in the past that even the Red Barron couldn't defeat Maverick and Goose in an F-14, because the plane is too far outclassed.

*As Ted said, it is *meant* to be an extreme example, in hopes of making a point.

*It also sets the proper mindset to discuss TIE fighters, which immediately follows.

 

So, I'm sorry if the point was confusing. All the people who previewed it seemed to understand and approve.

 

Great to see you guys are still on here and still conversing. I'm terribly busy, and I don't know when I'd be able to participate regularly. I do miss you guys. I'm working 10-12 hours a day, and have even supplemented on weekends some. As I've mentioned before, I only get a few hours a week to myself, when the babies aren't here, and have to use it to the greatest effect.

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Commander RayCav    12,014
On 3/10/2015 at 3:25 PM, Captain Seafort said:

2) Lots of average ships/planes are better than a few great ones.

 

This depends on the definition of "average".  The TIE example works, because TIEs are clearly capable of engaging and defeating X-wings, and indeed have a far superior kill/loss ratio (partially because of the circumstances of the Death Star runs).  The Mustang example does not because it looks at one narrow situation, and fails to consider the range of threats the NORAD area has to be concerned about.  Yes, a swarm of Mustangs would have been more effective against AQ's method of attack than half a dozen modern fast jets.  Against Bears, Backfires, Blackjacks, Flankers and Fulcrums they would be useless, and the damage they are capable of inflicting is vastly greater than that inflicted on New York and Washington.

I'm way too super lazy to go back and actually read the original passage or the video or whatever the hell, but this does highly imply that Brian has a massive failure to understand and appreciate some serious fundamentals here. Now that's understandable given how he's an astrophysicist, not a military historian, except that this also represents a fundamental failure to appreciate certain basic aspects of, you know, physics.

But the physics aspect concerns very specific flight performance, and the direprency of flight performance between two dramatically different platforms, but an even more fundamental concept that needs to be explored is limits on diminishing returns, both regarding quality and quantity. As two opposing aircraft designs/pilots/whatever start to merge in terms of quality (mathematically/statistically merge, not merge in the actual air combat terminology) quantity will become a larger deciding factor. That is, if two designs/pilots/whatever start to have similar quality, the side with the larger quantity will start to have an advantage (N^2 law and all). If two opposing sides start to merge (again, mathematically on a chart/matrix, not in the air combat terminology sense) in quantity, quality will start to have a greater deciding factor and the side with the better quality will have an advantage. If both quality and quantity start to become too similar, a stalemate will be reached.

If both quality and quantity diverge greatly, it means two things: either one side is terriffically overmatched by an obviously superior opponent, in the same way you're in World of Tanks and you have a super-crappy "freemium" T-25 Pilot and you're a pathetic useless super-stupid on a team of muppets, and the enemy has a bunch of Objekt 252 Defenders and Chrysler K GirlFriend tanks and all of their shots pen right through you, or you're gonna need a fucking graph and chart to mathematically determine how the two sides match up.

Or you can take a third option and just make blanket dumb statements, which to Brian's credit is what most people do, because again most people are pathetic useless morons.

The thing about the TIE Fighter vs. the X-Wing is that when it comes to raw flight performance (going by a bunch of sources that's now considered apocrphal) both aircraft are actually very similar. Raw speed is similar, and various differences in other performance parameters more or less even out. We saw this play out in real life with the Japanese Zero vs. the American fighters (several types, I'm not going to name them all, you can do a Google search or go to Wikipedia on your own). The deciding factor ultimately became how the Japanese were overmatched in quantity as the Japanese actually ended up running out of high-quality pilots because of what turned out to be a super-stupid doctrine of training them, but the Americans also way overmatched them in raw production of fighters. Since the Empire can overmatch the Rebels in production of fighters, they should win, and mostly the Rebels win because movie.

Again, during WWII Mustangs either near-matched or even overmatched opposing fighters in raw performance (remember it is considered one of the most high-performance piston fighter designs for a reason). Although some Axis fighters did overmatch it in terms of production, in actual battlefield conditions Mustangs started to overmatch actual numbers of encountered enemies by the time it entered full US service. It performance was good enough it was able to compete against first-generation jet fighters, but even there it was becoming clear that the performance gap was starting to widen enough to be extremely problematic (most Me-262 kills were made by ambushing them upon landing - well after those Me-262s had been combat effective for that particular sortie - and most MiG-15 kills - if there were indeed any - were made against extremely poorly trained pilots; most of the high-scoring aces on the Communist side ended up being highly trained Russian or Chinese pilots flying North Korean-flagged aircraft). The specific example Brian made is, well, fucking stupid because most aircraft by the 60s, especially the ones that NORAD are concerned with, are fast enough that interception by a Mustang isn't even physically possible. That's why we spent so much money developing missiles there.

Or better yet, try intercepting an actual ICBM. We've spent the vast majority of the Cold War and since trying to figure this one out and we have exactly one or maybe two systems that aren't complete wastes of money to show for it, AEGIS and THAAD.

A better example would've been if, I dunno, waves of MiG-21s or MiG-23s against F-22s or F-35s. Even there there are nuances that can negate raw mathematical advantages, such as if there was a means for non-stealthy aircraft to strike objectives without ever meeting their stealthy opponents.

In the Star Wars world, ignoring the overexaggerated crappiness of the TIE Fighter, it makes sense for the Rebels to build lots and lots of X-Wings, Y-Wings and B-Wings because they have qualities that allow them to exploit weaknesses in large Imperial starships. That's...an entirely different issue that the raw economics of trying to quantitatively overmatch an opponent. That's like saying you're going to quantitatively overmatch an enemy's tank force by building more submarines.

I'm...honestly shocked this level of not-understanding is coming from Brian.

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Brian Young    11,994
On 11/6/2017 at 10:13 PM, Commander RayCav said:

I'm way too super lazy to go back and actually read the original passage or the video or whatever the hell,

 

Gosh, you could have watched the video in question in the amount of time it took to type that wall of text. Then you would have understood what it was about.

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Commander RayCav    12,014

Yeah I get that a lot. I'm not sure how that counters the substance of my post, though (which is something I say in turn a lot).

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Brian Young    11,994

Because nothing you said had anything to do with the video, which you yourself admitted right out of the gate you haven’t even seen.

Since you still haven’t seen it, I’ll sum up the point. On 9/11/2001, terrorits attacked the United States. They used 4 passenger planes. The mighty US Air Force only managed to get 4 planes in the air, and didn’t intercept any of the terrorist planes.

This is not a technology problem. It is not a capability problem. They were F15’s and F16’s. But they couldn’t get the job done. It is a logistics problem.

Case in point, a P51 could shoot down an *unarmed passenger plane*.

for the price of 4 modern jets, they could have used 4,000 P51’s, which could have defended the eastern seaboard. Because it flies as fast and as high as *an unarmed passenger plane*.

what that has to do with pitting the P51 against modern fighter jets is beyond me.

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IkaikaKekai    10,516

Chiming in here.  I also don't know what the original subject was about but I see some flaws in your thinking.

While P51s COULD have shot down a passenger jet on 9/11 there's more to it than that.  Top speed of a Mustang was around 440MPH, cruising speed of a jetliner is around 540. though they can go much faster.  Not only would they have needed to be in the air and actively patrolling, they would need to have orders to shoot down anything that looks suspicious.  Not something that would be likely in peacetime.  Let's say that the alarm did go out and a couple P51s did move to intercept, they would have only a minute or two to shoot down the plane once they got within range (assuming they are armed only with their .50s and not 'modernized' with a payload of Sparrows or Sidewinders).   You mention the problem of logistics, sure you could have 4,000 P51s in inventory, but how many qualified pilots do you think we had back then?  Today we're having problems with the airforce and navy having enough pilots for the more capable (and expensive) aircraft we have.

Now I do agree that older tech should not just be thrown away.  Some of our Spec Ops are using Aircraft that are currently on loan from the civilian programs they were 'retired' to to see if slower prop planes would make better ground attack/support craft than F15s and those super expensive F35s.  One of the 'replacement/not replacement candidates for the A10 is a turboprop that's used in pilot training with some helfires slung under the wings.  I myself often wonder how a Sailing Ship like the Constitution or Cutter rigged Sloop would do in a coast guard role (a pair of 76mm cannons and a torpedo/missile launcher on each side of the gun deck, M2s and Mk19s in place of swivel guns, ect)

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Brian Young    11,994

So you haven’t seen the video either?

http://www.scifights.net/usefulstarships.mp4

It’s all about logistics. The P51, which actually comes up twice in the video, is but one example I used to demonstrate that, in a lot of situations, having a less capable craft which is ON SITE is far better than having a more capable craft which isn’t.

Location, location, location.

The Mighty US Air Force, the most advanced in the world, didn’t intercept a single plane.

The argument is that even a P51 could shoot down a passenger plane, let alone an F15, assuming it was on site. There are lots of situations where an older or less capable craft can improve the logistical situation. There are lots and lots of things in warfare to do other than taking on the enemy’s most powerful craft head to head. In fact, unarmed freighters did more to win WWII than all the battleships combined.

it all leads up to defending older starships used by the Federation in DS9. Sure, Excelsiors and Mirandas can’t handle Jem’Hadar ships head to head, but there are hundreds of things they CAN do just as well as a Galaxy. Like rescue survivors. Like transport troops or supplies. They can be effective in making war, even if not in making combat.

Also, there are situations where different capabilities can make a craft superior, and I talk about Starfuries for defending convoys. It doesn’t make it a superior craft OVERALL, but it can certainly be useful, and even better at a thing or two here and there, simply because the capabilities are different.

It seems that most discussions revolve around direct head to head comparisons, when that is actually fairly rare in warfare. An awful lot of things happen in a war, and improving one’s logistical situation is usually a good idea. This seems to me a reasonable standpoint, and a reasonably clear commentary in the video. It is probably worth watching, at least as much as it is worth a critique.

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IkaikaKekai    10,516

Still watching the video and I do have to agree with you, just nitpicking the one example you used (more in that the hijackers had a heavy element of surprise).  Probably a better example to use would be say using F14s for patrols and escorts instead of the extremely expensive and probably overpowered F35 for the same role, you don't need Stealth and VTOL for a patrol.  As you mentioned with the A10, it's a good ground attack craft because it can go slower and loiter for a long time.  P51s would be well suited for a modern day ground attack role as opposed to an Air Superiority/intercepter role that you suggested.  They can get in fast, strafe soft/medium targets with it's .50s, launch modern munitions against hard targets, linger for a while then get out fast.  They can land on improvised airstrips that could be made with a bulldozer out in the desert instead of needing to launch/land from a carrier or air base with a runway that took days to build.

Putting older equipment into new/other roles is often used, like your NX01 example.  As a warship (which it was never intended to be) it'd be toasted by probably even a modern bird of prey.  Now if it's used as a hospital ship or a transport it'll do well.  M3 Lee tanks became outclassed early in WW2, so when they started producing Shermans, they used the Lee design with modifications to make Self Propelled Guns, Tank Destroyers, and Armored Recovery Vehicles, and as Lees were taken out of service they were either used in rear echelon role, parts, or converted to the new purposes.  In Star Wars the rebellion uses pretty much whatever they can get their hands on, sometimes they can get top of the line purpose built new stuff like Xwings, Bwings, Mon Cal Cruisers, but the majority of their equipment is usually surplus equipment or converted civilian equipment.  A stolen Yacht becomes a hospital ship, a container cargo vessel with a heavy gun welded to the hull becomes a destroyer, a 'air tugboat' gets a couple cannons mounted on it and it takes down something as heavily armored as a AT-AT (with its original tow hook, not the cannons that were added to it)

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Commander RayCav    12,014
21 hours ago, Brian Young said:

Because nothing you said had anything to do with the video, which you yourself admitted right out of the gate you haven’t even seen.

Since you still haven’t seen it, I’ll sum up the point. On 9/11/2001, terrorits attacked the United States. They used 4 passenger planes. The mighty US Air Force only managed to get 4 planes in the air, and didn’t intercept any of the terrorist planes.

This is not a technology problem. It is not a capability problem. They were F15’s and F16’s. But they couldn’t get the job done. It is a logistics problem.

Case in point, a P51 could shoot down an *unarmed passenger plane*.

for the price of 4 modern jets, they could have used 4,000 P51’s, which could have defended the eastern seaboard. Because it flies as fast and as high as *an unarmed passenger plane*.

what that has to do with pitting the P51 against modern fighter jets is beyond me.

There's a lot going on here that, quite frankly, represents some fundamental failures which - to be brutally honest here, I would figure would be pretty critical when the thing in question is precisely, literally and nothing but mathematical calculations.

I'll start with what I find to be the most glaring error - a P-51 *cannot* shoot down an unarmed passenger plane. This is physically impossible given the scenario described. It is not physically possible for a P-51 to intercept a modern commercial airliner given the scenario as the P-51 simply lacks the capability to even physically make this intercept.

Or to put it laconically, the passenger plane, regardless of armament, is too fast.

I'll get into greater details in the new year but...and I know appeal to authority is frowned upon, but Mike Wong's site is a ghost town, yes even worse than this so - I actually have a little bit of a college-level aeronautical engineering background. I know what I'm talking about here.

This might seem like nitpicking, but again in the new year I'll get into greater detail about how flawed the entire scenario is (regarding Rebellion vs. Empire overmatching) and yes I'll get around to watching the video. But in short: logistics is more than raw numbers. Fushita's Fleet (yes the WWII What If site) goes into this in greater detail, if you want to skip ahead to the end, but I'll give a greater detailed write-up in terms of how this applies to the Empire vs. Rebellion (and ultimately, how the only reason why the Rebellion won is because movie).

 

Again, due to New Year's plans (and job search) this will have to wait, but in the meantime I sincerely wish you a Happy New Year.

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Commander RayCav    12,014

Just to inform you a full analysis of Brian's video *may* be coming soon. In all fairness I don't want to just leave Brian hanging on forever like this with such accusations against the accuracy of his video un-elaborated, but I *do* have much higher life priorities going on right now (an emergency job search, for starters).

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IkaikaKekai    10,516

Speaking of 'Older Equipment', the US Military is now thinking about bringing back the F14 (with upgrades) for its original design/purpose, Air Superiority, as opposed to using more expensive and slower Multirole Craft like the F22 and F35 (although the F22 comes WAY closer to the F14's top speed, around 100 mph slower, opposed to the 4,000 mph slower with the F35)

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Commander RayCav    12,014

That's not going to happen. That's a logistical impossibility. I'll also address that when I compose my response to Brian's video.

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Commander RayCav    12,014

Ok, so I assumed I could find the video in question easily...and I can't.

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