US F/A-XX and F-X 6th Gen Aircraft News Thread

Discussion in 'World Armed Forces' started by Jeff Head, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. bd popeye
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    bd popeye The Last Jedi
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    Amen...

    A few years ago a retired US Navy captain who has gone on to his great reward posted this at skyscrapercity about aircraft carriers...

    https://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=122345244&postcount=2885

     
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  2. Air Force Brat
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    Air Force Brat Brigadier

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    Thanks big Daddy!
     
  3. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    because F15C wings are going to start calling off soon and not enough F22 to go around.
    that's Just like your opinion man.
    Although they have been very conservative fact is if the Navy wanted to back out they would only have to tell Congress.
     
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  4. anzha
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    anzha Junior Member
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    The F-15 and F-35 stuff is pretty OT, tbh...
     
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  5. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    The two aircraft types are intended for differing missions. And before some one says which ones I say all of them.
    EA18G/F35C, FA18E-F block 3/F35C, FA18E-F/EA18G, FA-XX/F35C, FA-XX/F-X

    FA-XX and FA-18 is or it was last I checked the navy's next hornet the replacement of the Super Hornet and likely Growler but it's not the mission of the F35C or F-X.
    The F35C is partially to keep the USMC on carrier decks sure. But its also taking missions lost when the Navy handed off it's Hornets and taking on mission capabilities not had by the Navy.
    That may be the case however if the Navy fleet arm is not able to project power then what's the point it?

    Growler offers jamming but right now it's main jammer is old until the NGJ comes online it's not doing the job as well as it should. And by blasting the electromagnetic spectrum as it does, against passive sensors it's loud as heck.
    Farther more it's not a capabilities set organic to the strike package.it has to be added in.
    F35C can do its own jamming if need be or plot and map radar emissions and cross through weakpoints in the first phases of a conflict.

    The Navy however isn't the USAF as such it doesn't want "Super Raptors" the USAF wants that capabilities set. A beyond raptor Air superiority fighter to neutralize enemy air forces well lightning come in and strike ground targets.
    The Navy wants interceptors to defend its carriers when needed but the best defence is to keep them Carriers moving.
    They want strike abilities but are not looking for a pure bomber.
    I have no doubt that the Navy FA-XX or whatever the buzz name is of the moment it will have stealth in the mix.
    I suspect that the results of the Navy program will be a fighter that can intercept, bomb but at the base line has both VLO and electronic/ cyber warfare built in more than the Lightning which is saying a lot.
    F35 has an intigrated jammer and electronic warfare capabilities that rival most jammers. It has fully intigrated towed decoys "little buddies" and a reconiscance capabilities sensor suit. To get those on a legacy bird you have to remove parts and bolt on mount on a large number of pods on hard points leaving barely any weapons load. Yet A-C models will do all that at base line. With options for 6 internal weapons (4 for the B) and external options.
    For the Airforce they will want that offensive capabilities of Electronic and cyber but also across the airspace.
     
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  6. anzha
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    anzha Junior Member
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    The USAF NGAD and the USN NGAD are very different beasts, as you have noted.

    The USAF has been emphasizing, at least publicly and not just there if rumors are true, very high stealth for the penetrating counter air/penetrating electronic attack. Very long ranges have been discussed. Very bleeding edge tech. Very little has sounded like a Super Raptor.

    The USN seems to be looking for a relatively straight forward F/A-18E replacement. The USN has stated they would want an interceptor as well, but have remarked they doubt they will get that soon. The USN has, on multiple occasions, stated stealth is less important to them. That doesn't mean stealth technology won't be used, just that it will not be on the order of the PCA/USAF bird(s). One of the biggest drivers for the Navy is COST. They are not buying the same bird as the USAF. They need to be able to afford as much as they can. The era of 36 to 48 birds on a flight deck only is ending; however, it's very unlikely the USN will get 4 different combat aircraft unlike the cold war, unless they find a way to massively reduce costs.

    And, as I said, there are multiple ways to go about projecting power. It means a massive change though and one the USN doesn't seem to be embracing. It's a bit funny the bubbleheads and skimmers seem to 'get it' when it comes to unmanned tech and the airdales are recoiling in horror.
     
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  7. Lethe
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    Lethe Senior Member

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    Budgets are limited and the development of modern systems is far more expensive than in the past and we can expect that trend to continue into the next generation.

    The services are not an end unto themselves, they exist to serve the nation, and part of that involves exercising due care with the funds provided by taxpayers and working with other services to deliver optimal outcomes for all.

    Of course there are foolish compromises and political interventions, but there are also sensible ones. The F-4 Phantom was "dictated" to USAF and yet was a highly successful aircraft. The model I am thinking of is that considered for NATF, where different airframes would be outfitted with the same systems. And when I google for information/links to provide, the very first link I come across makes the same point that I did:

    The earlier the political system intervenes, the better the outcomes will be.

    The Navy has a brand new "penetrating strike aircraft" in the F-35C, but lacks a first-class fleet defence interceptor. The Navy's priority is A2A, which is entirely reasonable.

    I already acknowledged that different airframes will likely be required to serve different requirements. The point is not to allow the services to go down entirely bespoke paths duplicating extraordinarily expensive systems development when small compromises can deliver large cost savings.

    But certainly it's no skin off my nose if the Americans want to pour vast sums of money into entirely bespoke and incompatible development programs, only to have Congress balk at the last hurdle and force a train-wreck of a compromise that results in nothing good for anyone. As a disinterested observer, it'll be fun to watch!
     
    #357 Lethe, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  8. Brumby
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    Brumby Captain

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    Since your choice of word is “suspicion” I assume your premise is not grounded on facts. Stealth features do add a layer of complexity in maintenance but that is the price of admission. Performing maintenance at sea adds further challenges but that has always been intrinsic to carrier aviation. However, your assertion that the cumulative effect makes stealth cost prohibitive at sea makes it a bridge too far. I have never seen any argument or empirical data that backs up such type of assertion.

    I don't disagree with the general nature of your statement. In the words of Robert Kaplan “Never provide your adversary with only a few problems to solve because if you do, he’ll solve them”.

    However, I disagree with the end picture you are attempting to draw. My view is stealth is central to any high end fight and not just one of the option for consideration. It’s centrality dictates procurement policy on type of weapons; it determines tasking for effect;, the nature of training executed and in the development of CONOPS. We are talking about developing a kill chain. Such capabilities do not generate from after thought but are sustained through a coherent military doctrine to acquire those capabilities.

    So let’s take your example of a future scenario and apply it to reality and the facts that go with it. In order to put the conversation in perspective, we are discussing a sustain engagement (for obvious reason) and not a one-off type.

    The first 72 hours aim points will naturally be high value targets such as command and control, communications; long range sensors and key infrastructures et al.

    Typically, they are guarded by capable IADS such as S400 and possibly S500 if you are talking an age of hypersonic. In Operation Iragi Freedom, it is well established that for every aim point, the requirement is to deliver 1.5 PGMs (precision guided missile). Against a capable adversary with dense IADS, the probability will likely decrease. A 50 % reduction in success rate raises the requirement to 7.5 PGMs for every aim point. Against an adversary like Iran, it is estimated there are at least 300,000 aim points (from memory). Standoff weapons are expensive. TALM/CALM cost $2 and $3 million respectively. If we are talking about hypersonic, the surrogate we have today is the SM-3 which has a Mach speed of >5. The average cost is close to $20 million each. In contrast, a JDAM (including guidance kit) cost approximately $30,000 plus. In a high-end fight, if the US was to use stand off weapons as you proposed it will likely run out of its entire inventory of standoff weapons within the first week. Most of the delivery will have to be way of stand in weapons and why stealth is central to such delivery. This is not an opinion. It is based on the air strikes the US had conducted in the last 20 years using PGMs against a target rich environment .

    In particular against mobile S400, you need to use stand in weapons because they are highly mobile and have a limited time window before they move location. The sensor shooter has to operate within the threat bubble. Stealth is critical to their survivability.

    The technology of UAS with strike capability operating in a dense environment has not mature sufficiently to say with certainty the cost effectiveness of such an approach. Studies have been conducted regarding the cost structure between manned vs unmanned. While there is savings in weight due to the removal of life support systems this is contra out by the need to build in multiple redundancies in an unmanned system. The increasing cost of planes is due to the increasing capabilities of avionics and weapons system. Unmanned systems don’t change the cost equation, it is mostly risk reduction in pilot lives and possibly greater reach..
     
    #358 Brumby, May 10, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  9. Air Force Brat
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    Welcome back Mr. Brumby, you are on your game brother, and DEAD on! sorry Anzha, I love you man, but I'm gonna stick with Mr. Brumby's very superior logic... damn, I wish I could put it together the way you do Brother!

    Mr. Brumby, you should be working for DOD Brother, I'd say your analysis didn't miss a trick....

    In any regard 5 Gen L/O is likely to be surpassed by the 5+ or 6-, lol, L/O should not be underestimated, it is in fact the "Game Changer" at present, lets not sell our 5+ concepts short, and NO we do not have enough development to call anything a 6 Gen at present... nothing at all....

    When our most potent adversary is flying 20 5 gen aircraft, and #2 is flying 10 5 gen birds, its a little arrogant to propose we are designing/building 6 gens in the near future...... don't lower the bar, but lets flesh out the 5 Gen Gold mine while we are here digging!!

    anyway the op-for is operating 90% 3+ and 4+ generation aircraft, all manned, and we are operating all manned 5 Gens, with a majority of 4+ gen aircraft,,,, so lets not get the cart ahead of the pony!
     
    #359 Air Force Brat, May 10, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  10. anzha
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    anzha Junior Member
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    Gentlemen,

    I actually agree with you stealth is necessary: I even said the scenario I described works even better with stealth.

    However, frankly, my opinion and your opinion amounts to a hill of beans. :)

    This isn't the first time the US Navy has stated they are not interested in a high end stealth fighter for their next gen aircraft. This has just happened and even back a couple years ago: an admiral stated that stealth was pretty pointless if you could detect the IR from the airstream over an airframe. I wish could find the cite for that, but my google-fu is failing me. Finally, look at the budget numbers. The USN's next gen fighter costs are significantly lower than the USAF. You can't do that if you're pursuing the bleeding edge of tech.

    US Air Force:

    https://apps.dtic.mil/descriptivesum/Y2020/AirForce/stamped/U_0207110F_4_PB_2020.pdf

    US Navy:

    https://apps.dtic.mil/descriptivesum/Y2020/Navy/stamped/U_0605285N_6_PB_2020.pdf

    The US Navy's costs to this point have been less than $50M and their AOA will be done this summer:

    https://news.usni.org/2019/04/04/42424

    The USAF will have spent nearly a billion dollars up to this point and next year will spend as much again. The total for the next five years for the US Navy will be less than $900M.

    That strikes me as a radically different capability set.

    But then again, that's just my opinion.

    As for UCAVs, there's plenty out there to have a back and forth on, but the public programs are wildly suggestive when taken with the comments of various CEOs about expected orders and known missions by Avengers.

    But then again, that too could be interpreted as my opinion.

    Seems I need to look into the exchange rate for beans to money.

    A bit more seriously, we are just going to have to wait and see.
     
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