The next jet: F-X & F/A-XX

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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maus92

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Unread post17 Nov 2013, 02:40

Yes, There Will Be a New Jet Fighter After the F-22 and F-35
Dave Majumdar | WIB

"America’s next jet fighter—a so-called “sixth-generation” warplane— could be fundamentally different than the current fifth-generation F-22 and F-35. But it’s not clear yet what exactly that means.

In fact, terms like “fighter” or “bomber” might be holding the Pentagon back from taking full advantage of new technology.

“The technology has taken us to a point that has exceeded the vocabulary and semantics that have described aircraft in the past,” says David Deptula, a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence chief and former F-15 pilot...."

-Or otherwise redefining the form and roles between what is traditionally considered a fighter or bomber.

"What technologies might be included in the new warplane is still an open question. “It’ll be some type of game-changing capability,” Hostage said earlier this year. “It’s not going to be an iterative growth of this [current] capability.”"

-So not a F-35 derivative as thought earlier.

"The Pentagon’s fringe-science Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has already started working on that problem alongside the Air Force and Navy. The two services each have their own sixth-generation fighter studies underway—the “F-X” and “F/A-XX,” respectively.

The Navy project appears to be running somewhat ahead of the Air Force project because of the sailing branch’s need to replace its F/A-18E/Fs in the 2030s.

In any event, for the next decade or so the Pentagon will build the F-35—the F-22's newer, smaller and more compromised cousin—just to keep up numbers."

- F-35 compromised, check.

"If future U.S. national security policy calls for operating over the vast reaches of the Pacific, a future fighter aircraft might be fundamentally different from anything that has come before. “We need to stop thinking about combat aircraft as bombers and fighters or ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] platforms for that matter,” says Mark Gunzinger, an air power analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

- Another example of role blending of future aircraft.

"To that end, the Pentagon needs to stop thinking in terms of simply replacing existing fleets of jets, Deptula says. “We need to think less about a one-on-one replacement of a particular type of aircraft and think more about the effects that we want those aircraft to be able to achieve,” Deptula says..."

-A concept that could be (re)introduced and tweaked with LRS-B/F-35 next decade.

"And whatever new plane the Pentagon buys should be capable of doing lots of different things—not just shooting down other fighters. “In the case of the F-X, F/A-XX, or whatever designation you are using, what they are focusing on is the need to achieve and maintain air dominance, and that’s fine, we will need that capability,” Deptula says..."

"Data-sharing will be vital, Deptula argues. Advanced aircraft of the future could be “critical nodes” of a much larger “combat cloud” architecture that further blurs traditional divisions within air power. He says diverse missions such as air-to-air combat, bombing and reconnaissance should be “integrated into a single platform,” something that today’s warplanes already do, to an extent...."

- ibid

"A full-scale technological conflict could prohibit U.S. aircraft from using large, fixed bases near the front lines, as these facilities could be vulnerable to enemy attack. Instead, warplanes would fly into battle from far away, carrying with them all the fuel and weapons they might need for a sustained fight.

“You might begin to conclude that we might want a future air-superiority platform that has more range than we typically think a fighter has,” Gunzinger says. “Maybe a lot more range. And, frankly, we might want something that carries a great deal more payload.”"

- Range is crucial, and so is payload. The need and complexity of tanking, and sorties are reduced.

"As such, the “the next-generation fighter might look more like a bomber,” Gunzinger points out.

""But a sixth-gen warplane probably will not look like the Air Force’s new Long Range Strike-Bomber, Deptula says. The bomber is likely to be long-legged but slow. By contrast, a new fighter will still need to be fast in order to do battle air-to-air.

“Speed is going to be a critical piece,” Deptula insists. Not coincidentally, the U.S. aerospace industry is working hard on advanced new engines that could operate efficiently at subsonic and supersonic speeds.

Meanwhile stealth is not going anywhere—advanced low observables are going to be as important as ever, Deptula says. But he grants that the ability to avoid detection by radar is no “silver bullet,” as Air Force leaders have sometimes portrayed it in the past.


"The Pentagon is likely to want a new fighter with wide-band stealth effective against the latest crop of low-frequency radars, which are better able to detect current stealth jets, including the F-22 and F-35. “I’m talking about something that is highly survivable,” Gunzinger says of a sixth-gen plane."

-Great article by DM
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/125212bd17b
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rotosequence

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Unread post17 Nov 2013, 04:29

So by this author's opinion, the next generation of US combat aircraft are going to be huge, complex, and designed to do anything and everything? If that turns out to be the case, I expect this program to be about as successful as the F-111 was.
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popcorn

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Unread post17 Nov 2013, 05:14

It will be a flying compromise, like every aircraft that came before and that will come after it.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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Unread post17 Nov 2013, 08:16

I suspect a rather cynical effort on Dave's part to psych-up the fanboy's into idiotic frenzies that an F-35 substitute is somehow right around the corner. If not, he's a complete f^cking moron. IOC by the 2030s means that a competition should already be well underway, with contestants already selected for a fly-off and demonstrators under construction. No such program exists.

But hell, let's give him maximum benefit of doubt and assume that 2039 qualifies as "the 2030s." That still means demonstrators have to be in the air by 2024 for an aircraft that has more range, more engines, and more weapons than the F-35 while somehow weighing around the same or less... did someone stumble upon deposits of mithril, adamantium, or some other unobtainium?

Sorry to disappoint the kids, but F/A-XX in unlikely to be anything more than a later-block F-35C, and the F-22 has a better chance of reentering production than being replaced in Dave's ridiculous time-frame.
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post17 Nov 2013, 10:10

The 6th gen Navy F/A-XX is in the RFI stage, which is where ATF is in 1981. Using the same time scale, IOC will be achieved in the mid to late 2030s (2037 to be "exact"). Then again, defense budget environment isn't quite like how it was back then.
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rotosequence

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Unread post17 Nov 2013, 10:27

lookieloo wrote:But hell, let's give him maximum benefit of doubt and assume that 2039 qualifies as "the 2030s." That still means demonstrators have to be in the air by 2024 for an aircraft that has more range, more engines, and more weapons than the F-35 while somehow weighing around the same or less... did someone stumble upon deposits of mithril, adamantium, or some other unobtainium?


Thanks to a patent that's about to expire on titanium refining and the development and proliferation of laser sintering and other additive manufacturing technologies, it should be possible to create aircraft structures of a given strength at lighter weights, more quickly, and more affordably, than ever before.
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lookieloo

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Unread post18 Nov 2013, 06:03

disconnectedradical wrote:The 6th gen Navy F/A-XX is in the RFI stage, which is where ATF is in 1981. Using the same time scale, IOC will be achieved in the mid to late 2030s (2037 to be "exact"). Then again, defense budget environment isn't quite like how it was back then.
More frustrating is the fact that it doesn't have to be this way. The development-cycles of modern, all-new fighters can basically be divided into two eras: Pre-DOT&E (4-5 years from prototype to IOC)... and post-DOT&E (~15 years from prototype to IOC). This is also why I find the IOC timeline for UCLASS to be such a joke, especially now that the USN has switched back to a full-on TACAIR requirement.
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Unread post18 Nov 2013, 20:47

Ironically an unobtainium has been acquired called generically 'grown metal' which is a cross between metal alloy technology, foam metal matrix technology, and electrolysis. It's akin to turning steels into Kevlar. Extreme fatigue resistance with equally extreme weight reductions.
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rotosequence

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Unread post19 Nov 2013, 02:14

madrat wrote:Ironically an unobtainium has been acquired called generically 'grown metal' which is a cross between metal alloy technology, foam metal matrix technology, and electrolysis. It's akin to turning steels into Kevlar. Extreme fatigue resistance with equally extreme weight reductions.


Do you have any links you can direct us to for the mechanical properties of said materials?
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Unread post19 Nov 2013, 08:42

A few companies are racing to provide the best materials. Two I can think of Nanosteel and Modumetal.
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rotosequence

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Unread post22 Nov 2013, 13:09

The Air Force Research Lab has issued a solicitation for F-X laser systems development.

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity ... e&_cview=0

Synopsis:
Added: Nov 15, 2013 12:00 pm

The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) is requesting information describing concepts for airborne laser systems for future air dominance platforms. The emphasis of this effort is to identify potential laser systems that could be integrated into a platform that will provide air dominance in the 2030+ highly contested Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) environment. Of particular interest are laser systems that are expected to be at TRL 4 or higher by October 2014 and could be demonstrated at TRL 5 or higher by 2022. Laser and beam control systems are being investigated independent of platform in the flight regime from altitudes Sea Level to 65kft and speeds from Mach 0.6 to 2.5
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Unread post25 Nov 2013, 22:21

madrat wrote:Ironically an unobtainium has been acquired called generically 'grown metal' which is a cross between metal alloy technology, foam metal matrix technology, and electrolysis. It's akin to turning steels into Kevlar. Extreme fatigue resistance with equally extreme weight reductions.

Do you have a reference for the specific type of unobtainium your referring to?

I'd heard scuttlebutt of similar but the details remain vague.
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Unread post03 Dec 2013, 12:01

When these jets start flying, is the sequential naming convention going to pick up from 23 or 35?
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Unread post03 Dec 2013, 14:36

More like the 50s range.
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Unread post15 Apr 2019, 07:45

Latest news on the F/A-XX


https://theaviationgeekclub.com/report- ... in-summer/
The F/A-XX air-dominance fighter will be a sixth-generation aircraft that eventually will replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter in the Navy’s carrier air wings.
Rear Admiral Scott D. Conn, director of Air Warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, said on Apr. 4 that the analysis of alternatives (AoA) for U.S. Navy next-generation air-dominance fighter aircraft (F/A-XX) will be complete during spring of 2019.


Interesting that they are calling it an "Air dominance fighter". Is he just throwing that around to sound cool or does it mean something. Like this new fighter will be tailored for A-A with secondary Strike capabilities.

Makes sense as the F-35 will be the undisputed king of Strike missions for a very very long time
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