First a couple of disclaimers and or notifications on subject: I do not have any knowledge what the HX scenarios used in evaluation might be. Thus this scenario is just my personal view what HX scenario OCA/Deep Penetration scenario might be. This scenario is called Walz in Carelia
Second I have used commercial simulation program Command Modern Warfare to run these scenarios, so there is problems with accuracy of the software. I suspect it gets things about 50-65% right. So you would get around 2-3 out of six level of performance in school. So OK, but not good.
Third: I do not have NATO weaponeering manual, so there might be cases of wrong kind of ordnance used to targets, so
And to the business
This scenario should play well into the strengths of Lockheed Martins F-35 A platform: it is low observable, it is designed to be penetrating asset, it should be able to penetrate modern Russian Area Denial systems namely S-350 and S-400 systems. In this scenario named systems are supported by numerous BUK M-1 and Pantsir systems. Targets are numerous railroad and road bridges used to supply fighting north of Viipuri.
The F-35 Lightning II carries quite limited selection of AA missiles. 4 AMRAAM D’s and 2 Sidewinders in Air Superiority configuration, which leads to problems when trying to achieve the dominance over contested aerospace: you need more sorties to carry the needles into firing position. Almost all other HX-hopefulls carry 6 BVR missiles and 2 WVR missiles into the fray. Thus 10 other HX fighters in CAP patrol will be carrying 60 missiles and 10 Lightnings carry 40. This is of course partly amended by the fact that even when carrying other ordnance two bays are dedicated to AMRAAM D missiles.
This shows in this scenario, because the OCA element of attack need to fly in from within Finnish home territory. Even when you fly in three pairs for the beginning, the attrition takes its toll, and you have quite little air to air fighting power left quite soon. (This might be problem with Command, as there is development in Lockheed Martin to up the carrying capacity to six)
On the first run I tried to go through the scenario “as it should be run” with BLU-109 2000lb bombs for bridges, and SDB-53s in as SEAD munitions. This worked quite well, but there was quite a few bridges standing after the sortie, and six fighters lost out of 40. (AMG-88ER is not configured to F-35 as of yet in Command)
Second run I carried only SDB-53s for all targets, this was not really satisfactory, and Small diameter bomb II is still only 100 kg (200lb) weapon and 48kg (100lb) of explosives. so you need multiple hits on bridges to bring them down. As one F-35A carries 8 in SEAD configuration, and uses 7 of those against single air defense system, you see that you seem to need a lot of SDBs around to get effect.
Third time I changed 2 BLU-109s to 6 GBU-12 Paveways. So in I had to drop two bombs per bridge, but as I got three salvoes, it made possible to get more targets with same amount of fighters. As a rule of thumb 500kgs ordnance seems to be the right way to go per bridge. The exploding part of Paveway 12 is 227kg or (500lb) mark-82 low drag bomb, which is in itself rather inexpensive, but carries 87kgs (127lbs) of tritonal explosive. SDB-53 is about half of that (93kg/48kg explosives) plus it is of shaped charge type and is not as well suited for concrete buildings. Shaped charge is of course bees knees for bunkers and such, but nice round hole on driving surface is not too devastating a problem.
Really the problem here is the amount of SDB-IIs shot down by S-350 and 400 systems in defense of A2A and AD assets in area. This necessitates destruction of said systems. (As noted in round 2.) Even with jamming the S-350/400 systems you do not get too reliable effects on them. On the other hand they do not really bother the F-35s as long as they keep their distance. But as F-35 is not very highly maneuverable fighter, the BUK M-1 and Pantsir systems are dangerous to them in close range (dropping Paveways)
AS you can see from the scorecard, F-35 really did well again against the VVS. The Suhois don’t really get into position for shooting, but when they do get into position F-35 is really vulnerable. Greatest problem from S-350/400 systems was their ability to shoot down SDB IIs from the air before they got to BUK and PANTSIR system on ground. Through attrition you got to point that you could destroy the named systems, but it really took rounds to achieve that. After accomplishing the SEAD mission one could bring in the mud splashers to take care of the bridges.
In the third round, loss of F-35’s could have been 5, but I decided to try to push against bridges on Svir river. But as there was VVS assets close by and they managed to avoid AMRAAMs, we lost two more Lightnings. This would have bumbed kill/loss ratio up to 4,3.
I did not have time yet to edit the video, so that will be available in next few days. So look again in a few days.