US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


SlothmanAllen

New Member
Registered Member
Prior to this they were talking about investigating different approaches to next generation combat aircraft ala the Century series in the late 1950s. I wonder what happened to that. Maybe budgetary constraints?
Who knows?

I am just speculating based off the statement that members of congress have already seen this aircraft. That just makes me think it is much further along in development that previously estimated. I just don't see why members of congress would need to be shown some prototype plane that isn't representative of the final aircraft may be. Are members of congress routinely shown prototypes of potential future aircraft? That would be pretty cool if true!
 

siegecrossbow

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Who knows?

I am just speculating based off the statement that members of congress have already seen this aircraft. That just makes me think it is much further along in development that previously estimated. I just don't see why members of congress would need to be shown some prototype plane that isn't representative of the final aircraft may be. Are members of congress routinely shown prototypes of potential future aircraft? That would be pretty cool if true!

Not when F-117/F-22 was being developed.
 

voyager1

Captain
Registered Member
Prior to this they were talking about investigating different approaches to next generation combat aircraft ala the Century series in the late 1950s. I wonder what happened to that. Maybe budgetary constraints?
They are going the "digital design" e-Series route. This new approach has enabled US Airforce to make the first NGAD flight demonstrator fly in such a short period of time.
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Who knows, maybe they already had an internal (digital) competition and decided very quickly on what they wanted

IMO they are closer to rolling it out than many of us expect that it will take. We will see
 

quantumlight

Junior Member
Registered Member
They are going the "digital design" e-Series route. This new approach has enabled US Airforce to make the first NGAD flight demonstrator fly in such a short period of time.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Who knows, maybe they already had an internal (digital) competition and decided very quickly on what they wanted

IMO they are closer to rolling it out than many of us expect that it will take. We will see
The first fully digital computer designed aircraft was Boeing 777 back in 1995
 

voyager1

Captain
Registered Member
The first fully digital computer designed aircraft was Boeing 777 back in 1995

You should read the article I linked, it gives more details
Dr. William Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, released a sequel essay that establishes criteria for digitally-engineered programs
“Digital engineering takes computer creation technology to the next level, rendering not just the design of complex systems, but their assembly, environment and even physical performance in high-powered virtual reality,”
While computer-aided design has existed since the 1960s, Roper states new virtual reality technology is vastly superior because of today’s computing power.
“A trillion-fold boost in computer processing has morphed those early blueprint tools into today’s powerful digital engineering models — called digital threads and digital twins — that replace real-world prototyping and testing with authoritative virtual sources of truth,”
 

quantumlight

Junior Member
Registered Member
You should read the article I linked, it gives more details
My RTX3090 GPU has more TeraFLOPs performance than even the world's fastests supercomputers back in early 2000s. Going back to the technology of 1960s thats not saying much that its trillions of times faster nowadays...

Authoritative virtual sources of truth? Who's authority? What standards? What exactly is meant by high-powered virtual reality anyway? I guess they are using something better hardware than a Facebook Oculus Quest 2?

Or they talking about some version of CFD like
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?

So I guess wind tunnels are out of style? If so what about this
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siegecrossbow

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
They are going the "digital design" e-Series route. This new approach has enabled US Airforce to make the first NGAD flight demonstrator fly in such a short period of time.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Who knows, maybe they already had an internal (digital) competition and decided very quickly on what they wanted

IMO they are closer to rolling it out than many of us expect that it will take. We will see

Yes, but development of combat aircraft is based on lessons from previous generations. Lessons of the Vietnam War helped engineers nail the design for fourth generation jet, Gulf War/Bosnia shaped the fifth, and so and so forth. The problem with crafting a next generation aircraft, in my opinion, is that no fifth generation aircraft has actually engaged other fighter aircraft, let alone peer or near peer opponents, in actual combat. We don’t know which design philosophy is in actuality the best approach.

I have a feeling that any so-called “sixth generation” fighter aircraft rushed into service by The U.S., China, Russia, etc. may not fare that much better against the previous generation, perhaps not even as good as the F-4 or Century series initially.
 

MarKoz81

New Member
Registered Member
Prior to this they were talking about investigating different approaches to next generation combat aircraft ala the Century series in the late 1950s. I wonder what happened to that. Maybe budgetary constraints?

They called it a Digital Century Series. I think we were meant to take the "digital" part literally.

This is the Century Series along with experimental designs:
  • North American F-100 Super Sabre - a swept-wing, single-engine, Mach 1.4, MTOW 15.8 t fighter - 2,294 built
  • McDonnel F-101 Voodoo - a swept-wing, twin-engine, Mach 1.7, MTOW 23.7t fighter - 807 built
  • Convair F-102 Delta Dagger - a delta-wing, single-engine, Mach 1.2, MTOW 14.3t interceptor - 1000 built
  • Republic XF-103 - a stub-wing, single-engine, Mach 3+, MTOW 19.4t interceptor - mockup
  • Lockheed F-104 Starfighter - a stub-wing, single-engine, Mach 2.0, MTOW 13t fighter-bomber - 2578 built
  • Republic F-105 Thunderchief - a swept-wing, twin-engine, Mach 2.0, MTOW 24t fighter-bomber - 833 built
  • Convair F-106 Delta Dart - a delta-wing, single-engine, Mach 2.3, MTOW 15,8t interceptor - 342 built
  • North American XF-107 - a swept-wing, top-intake (!), single-engine, Mach 2.0, MTOW 18.8t fighter-bomber - 3 built
  • North American XF-108 Rapier - a delta-wing, twin-engine, Mach 2.5, MTOW 46,5t incerceptor - 1 mockup
  • Bell XF-109 - a tilt-rotor, eight-engine, Mach 2.3, MTOW 10.8t nonsense - 1 mockup
  • McDonnel XF-110 - became McDonnelDouglas F-4 Phantom with 5057 built
Six full-production designs from five companies, each producing at least 800 aircraft. At the time there were other companies manufacturing other designs like Douglas, Grumman or Vought.

Let's compare with today. Outside of NGAD the American aerospace industry produces a single current design (F-35), three legacy designs from the 80s (F-15, F-16, F-18) and is working on one future design (B-21). They can't even put the F-22 into the mix because the production lines are gone. There are three companies with capabilities to lead a project and Lockheed Martin is officially selected as the "lead company" for NGAD.

I really don't think that you can get the same results as you got in the 1950-1970s period from an industry that exists today.

They can stage a few mockups but it won't be Century Series unless all the variation will be on the screen - hence "digital". You can't experiment in metal because there's nothing left with which to experiment. Lockheed struggles with F-35 delays, Northrop is rushing B-21 and Boeing can't do it because it only does legacy.

I think all that Century Series talk and all those demonstrations were a show to convince people who only understand donations and votes (and in that order) that F-35 won't do but NGAD will. If you ask me I'm expecting a rather conservative design with some future potential. I think the biggest challenge that USAF has to face is avoiding being cornered into another F-35 and concurrency hell. If they do that, at least they have a fighting chance.

Or maybe there is a "century series" just not for the manned part. Maybe it's all about companion drones. That would be plausible since already there are several potentially useful designs that could be developed further. It's just that staging a presentation of a digital century series of drones is not very impressive in the media which is why the politicians get the show but not the public.
 

siegecrossbow

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
They called it a Digital Century Series. I think we were meant to take the "digital" part literally.

This is the Century Series along with experimental designs:
  • North American F-100 Super Sabre - a swept-wing, single-engine, Mach 1.4, MTOW 15.8 t fighter - 2,294 built
  • McDonnel F-101 Voodoo - a swept-wing, twin-engine, Mach 1.7, MTOW 23.7t fighter - 807 built
  • Convair F-102 Delta Dagger - a delta-wing, single-engine, Mach 1.2, MTOW 14.3t interceptor - 1000 built
  • Republic XF-103 - a stub-wing, single-engine, Mach 3+, MTOW 19.4t interceptor - mockup
  • Lockheed F-104 Starfighter - a stub-wing, single-engine, Mach 2.0, MTOW 13t fighter-bomber - 2578 built
  • Republic F-105 Thunderchief - a swept-wing, twin-engine, Mach 2.0, MTOW 24t fighter-bomber - 833 built
  • Convair F-106 Delta Dart - a delta-wing, single-engine, Mach 2.3, MTOW 15,8t interceptor - 342 built
  • North American XF-107 - a swept-wing, top-intake (!), single-engine, Mach 2.0, MTOW 18.8t fighter-bomber - 3 built
  • North American XF-108 Rapier - a delta-wing, twin-engine, Mach 2.5, MTOW 46,5t incerceptor - 1 mockup
  • Bell XF-109 - a tilt-rotor, eight-engine, Mach 2.3, MTOW 10.8t nonsense - 1 mockup
  • McDonnel XF-110 - became McDonnelDouglas F-4 Phantom with 5057 built
Six full-production designs from five companies, each producing at least 800 aircraft. At the time there were other companies manufacturing other designs like Douglas, Grumman or Vought.

Let's compare with today. Outside of NGAD the American aerospace industry produces a single current design (F-35), three legacy designs from the 80s (F-15, F-16, F-18) and is working on one future design (B-21). They can't even put the F-22 into the mix because the production lines are gone. There are three companies with capabilities to lead a project and Lockheed Martin is officially selected as the "lead company" for NGAD.

I really don't think that you can get the same results as you got in the 1950-1970s period from an industry that exists today.

They can stage a few mockups but it won't be Century Series unless all the variation will be on the screen - hence "digital". You can't experiment in metal because there's nothing left with which to experiment. Lockheed struggles with F-35 delays, Northrop is rushing B-21 and Boeing can't do it because it only does legacy.

I think all that Century Series talk and all those demonstrations were a show to convince people who only understand donations and votes (and in that order) that F-35 won't do but NGAD will. If you ask me I'm expecting a rather conservative design with some future potential. I think the biggest challenge that USAF has to face is avoiding being cornered into another F-35 and concurrency hell. If they do that, at least they have a fighting chance.

Or maybe there is a "century series" just not for the manned part. Maybe it's all about companion drones. That would be plausible since already there are several potentially useful designs that could be developed further. It's just that staging a presentation of a digital century series of drones is not very impressive in the media which is why the politicians get the show but not the public.

It feels awfully like the bitcoin of aircraft design -- lots of time, energy, and computation power used but only a digital product to show for it and they expect people to take it seriously.
 

gelgoog

Captain
Registered Member
The main difference is today the aerospace industry uses software like NASTRAN to do FEA stress analysis and other things like that.
The software is quite old, the main difference is you no longer need a supercomputer to do the calculations on the most basic models.
With regards to CFD it was already used with the Shuttle program. The main difference is how reliable the results are and once again you no longer need a supercomputer to run the tests. Modern CFD also allows them to run the simulations for more turbulent flow in complex environment like rocket engines where this previously was not possible.
 

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