Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

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

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Unread post22 Jan 2020, 16:42

zero-one wrote:They're asking for more capability that can be delivered by existing or mature systems, not more capability at the cost of another 10 year dev period.


You won't get something shorter than 10 year development period with any aircraft program. Even F-15 and F-16 took 8 years.

zero-one wrote:If it was possible then great, if it was possible then someone would have done it by now. Right now the fastest programs to develop are the ones that are derivatives of existing designs.
i.e.
F-15E: (ETF Program announcement 1981, IOC - 1989)
F/A-18E (Proposed as a replacement to the A-12 program in 1991, IOC - 2001)

These 2 programs seems more in line with what the USAF wants. No clean sheet design in recent memory has come close to those 2 in development time periods


Your examples even show that a derivative (Super Hornet is actually a new airframe) will have a development cycle approaching 10 years. Even Super Hornet had roots in the Hornet 2000 program by McDonnell Douglas in 1985.

I don't know how F-22 derivative PCA is supposed to be more viable in the long term, unless it's just for the sake of more F-22s. You might end up with IOC in early 2030s, but it will be compromised from the start by older technology, less room for growth, less capability, and require much more support assets, and you'll need a replacement program sooner since they reach obsolescence sooner. So do you really end up saving money?
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post22 Jan 2020, 16:45

zero-one wrote:If this is true then the B-21 can be called somewhat a derivative of the B-2, maybe thats why its called the B-21 or B-2.1 instead of B-3


B-21 is completely new airframe, the dimensions are all different, the air vehicle design is completely new, only the overall shapes are similar. Calling B-21 a B-2 derivative is just wrong and shows frankly fundamental lack of understanding in aircraft design and engineering. It's like calling the Boeing 777 a Boeing 767 derivative, which it's not.

Honestly if your understanding of aircraft programs is so shallow to the point of calling B-21 a B-2 derivative to prove your point, this discussion is not being productive and waste of time.
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marsavian

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Unread post22 Jan 2020, 17:19

zero-one wrote:How many times have we heard the statement "the aircraft is limited to X Gs by the CLAWS but the aircraft is capable of much much more than that. I've heard that from Raptor, Typhoon and Rafale pilots, aircraft that were designed for just 9Gs to protect the pilot from GLOC. With an unmanned system, whats stopping them from doubling that?

An aircraft maneuvering at 9G will always be harder to hit than an aircraft at 3Gs, now imagine hitting something at 13 or 15Gs.


What's stopping them mostly are structural limits. Most aircraft G ratings are 2/3 of their structural limit and it's true going past 7g has led to more g-loc incidents but GCAS systems can alleviate that. Further more because of higher structural limits the Rafale's actual emergency g-rating is 11g ( http://rafalefan.e-monsite.com/medias/f ... t-2011.jpg ). Eagles have exceeded 10g in combat without harm to plane or pilot. Now you could increase structural limits but that will require weight which would detract from the range aspect of PCA. Also these sustained high g-loads are obtained at low to medium altitudes which is not where I expect the PCA to be in combat.

What's more important is how close you can get to and sustain your g-rating at medium to high altitude and that's down to the lift of your wing overcoming the drag of your airframe. This is how the 7.5g F-35C can usually sustain a turn better than the 9g F-35A. This is why I have consistently believed that a large flying (delta) wing tail-less design with TVC nozzles is the best clean sheet design for PCA. The large wing area will create more lift and hold more fuel and allow more maneuverability with extra weight. The SR-71 although designed for speed showed what could be done with fuel capacity and wing loading for such a heavy design. In the 2020s aircraft designers can go way beyond that with modern materials, advanced AETP engines and computer design technology, they only need to be given the actual requirement from the DoD in terms of stealth, combat radius, payload and maneuverability to start designing prototypes.

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zero-one

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Unread post22 Jan 2020, 17:57

Okay first we don't know for sure what the B-21 looks like all we have are artist impressions, so saying that it is a completely new airframe is simply unfounded.

Second I sent a link for that. Did you read it? I'm not saying this is true but if its true then great.
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-b ... mber-15352
The B-21 design—which is similar to the original high-attitude optimized B-2 design


If PCA can get design queues from the F-22 just like the Rhino did from the Bug or the B-21 from the B-2 then fine, they can call it a clean sheet design.

What I can't wrap my head around is how you can envision a clean sheet design with all the new technologies you want to keep the aircraft relevant for the next 40 years with an IOC of 2030??? Am I missing something? How can that be possible.

marsavian wrote:What's stopping them mostly are structural limits

I'm familiar with the 150% structural limit rule, however, I don't think ~13Gs is the limit of what modern aerodynamic sciences, structural engineering and engine technology is capable of. I think its a limit due to the fact that all fighters designed to date have a human pilot involved. If the aircraft would be unmanned, what could the limits be? still ~13Gs? we've reached that 40 years ago.
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post22 Jan 2020, 20:10

zero-one wrote:Okay first we don't know for sure what the B-21 looks like all we have are artist impressions, so saying that it is a completely new airframe is simply unfounded.

Second I sent a link for that. Did you read it? I'm not saying this is true but if its true then great.
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-b ... mber-15352
The B-21 design—which is similar to the original high-attitude optimized B-2 design


B-21 is completely new airframe, only the configuration and role is similar, which can result in some similarity in design features. That does NOT make it a derivative. Go make that statement to any engineer and then see how hard you get laughed at. You have fundamental differences including number of engines, internal structure, CG and aerodynamic properties, etc.

zero-one wrote:If PCA can get design queues from the F-22 just like the Rhino did from the Bug or the B-21 from the B-2 then fine, they can call it a clean sheet design.

What I can't wrap my head around is how you can envision a clean sheet design with all the new technologies you want to keep the aircraft relevant for the next 40 years with an IOC of 2030??? Am I missing something? How can that be possible.


IOC in 2030 isn't happening, don't care what management says, and I don't know why 2030 is specifically such important date. IOC in 2030 just for the sake of it seems dangerously shortsighted.

zero-one wrote:I'm familiar with the 150% structural limit rule, however, I don't think ~13Gs is the limit of what modern aerodynamic sciences, structural engineering and engine technology is capable of. I think its a limit due to the fact that all fighters designed to date have a human pilot involved. If the aircraft would be unmanned, what could the limits be? still ~13Gs? we've reached that 40 years ago.


What will you sacrifice for 13g? Even with 9g you only get that at low altitude even with F-22, up high the air is not dense enough to sustain that.
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zero-one

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Unread post23 Jan 2020, 08:54

@disconnectedradical

Both our arguments are substantially flawed, if you think about it.

You're making the argument that no variant of the F-22 will meet PCA requirements
I'm making the argument that a modernized version can meet the requirements for at least 1 of the components of PCA.
particularly the one that needs speed, maneuverability and some form of low observability. -Col Alex Grynkewich

Problem is PCA requirements have not been finalized yet. yes we know they want more range but by how much?
A Raptor with a 750 nmi combat radius cannot go to China and back with 1 tank of gas but it will significantly reduce tanker requirements.

The argument that a Raptor is too limited because it's 20 years old holds no water as well. The F-15X is basically a rehash of a 50 year old design, we (myself included) literally laughed at Boeing for even proposing that to the USAF, touting that the F-35 is better in every way shape or form, but it looks like Boeing is laughing back at us now.

That should give you an idea of the mentality the USAF has now. Grynkewich said it perfectly " This generational paradigm is outdated. We needed that integrated network of capabilities; there is no silver bullet"

Developing every single component of the PCA from scratch, its just too costly and time consuming. Specially with the 2030 time frame they want.

disconnectedradical wrote:B-21 is completely new airframe, only the configuration and role is similar, which can result in some similarity in design features. That does NOT make it a derivative. Go make that statement to any engineer and then see how hard you get laughed at.


Neither I nor they know the final B-21 design so no one is laughing anytime soon. But if the B-21 is indeed partially influenced by the original B-2 in any way, then thats my point, call it clean sheet, call it whatever, PCA can get it's design queues from the Raptor, just like F-15X, F/A-18E, F-2 and F-21

But all of this relies on the final requirements for PCA, until it gets finalized, any back and forth bantering here is pointless
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jetblast16

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Unread post24 Jan 2020, 21:51

Range, speed, low-observables, sensing, maneuverability would be my approach for the PCA/ NGAD
Have F110, Block 70, will travel
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wrightwing

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Unread post24 Jan 2020, 22:48

zero-one wrote:To be perfectly honest. I'm not ruling out the possibility of a clean sheet design.
I just can't imagine how it can be achieved in the kind of time frame the USAF is saying.
5 years?
they got the Mud hen in 8 years, the Shornet in 10 years and the Lightning and Raptor in around 20+ years from concept to IOC.

But taking an existing design and upgrading it to modern standards is a more feasible way then starting from the ground up.

In fact, there are rumors that the B-21 seems to have taken it's design from the original high altitude version of the B-2.
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-b ... mber-15352

If this is true then the B-21 can be called somewhat a derivative of the B-2, maybe thats why its called the B-21 or B-2.1 instead of B-3

There's a big difference between what the "USAF is saying," and what "individuals in the USAF have suggested." We're not returning to a Century series fighter acquisition, no matter what General XYZ might have suggested. The first letter of PCA stands for penetrating. This implies range and stealth. More tankers isn't the solution. We're trying to reduce our dependence on tankers, due to threats. The USAF has already said no to super duper F-22s, so that is completely off the table. Whatever PCA ends up being, range and stealth will play much higher roles, than 18G maneuvers.
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Unread post26 Jan 2020, 09:27

wrightwing wrote:There's a big difference between what the "USAF is saying," and what "individuals in the USAF have suggested."

The only way to know the difference between the 2 is if the USAF released an official statement. So far the PCA doesn't even have officially released requirements yet.

So anyone who says the PCA will be a clean sheet design or a directive of the F-22 or something is simply suggesting, that includes you, me and any USAF general.

wrightwing wrote:More tankers isn't the solution. We're trying to reduce our dependence on tankers

Exactly my point, thats why my suggestion of an F-22 with ADVENT engines and more fuel will REDUCE tanker requirements.

Rememeber, not even the B-1 heavy strategic bomber can get to China and back with 1 tank of gas and its so big and long that it is limited to 3Gs even if the aircraft itself is capable of much more and trainees are sometimes prone to over G. (watch podcast tT66OVATvJs) So tankers will be a part of future air superiority strategy specially if maneuverability will still have its place in it.

wrightwing wrote:The USAF has already said no to super duper F-22s, so that is completely off the table

Like I said, unless there is an official statement regarding the PCA, we can't say.
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Unread post26 Jan 2020, 17:02

zero-one wrote:
wrightwing wrote:There's a big difference between what the "USAF is saying," and what "individuals in the USAF have suggested."

The only way to know the difference between the 2 is if the USAF released an official statement. So far the PCA doesn't even have officially released requirements yet.

So anyone who says the PCA will be a clean sheet design or a directive of the F-22 or something is simply suggesting, that includes you, me and any USAF general.

wrightwing wrote:More tankers isn't the solution. We're trying to reduce our dependence on tankers

Exactly my point, thats why my suggestion of an F-22 with ADVENT engines and more fuel will REDUCE tanker requirements.

Rememeber, not even the B-1 heavy strategic bomber can get to China and back with 1 tank of gas and its so big and long that it is limited to 3Gs even if the aircraft itself is capable of much more and trainees are sometimes prone to over G. (watch podcast tT66OVATvJs) So tankers will be a part of future air superiority strategy specially if maneuverability will still have its place in it.

wrightwing wrote:The USAF has already said no to super duper F-22s, so that is completely off the table

Like I said, unless there is an official statement regarding the PCA, we can't say.

The USAF has officially said no super duper F-22s. That study was concluded several years ago. The reason being that the money was better spent on the PCA. Whatever PCA ends up being, it will absolutely not be an F-22 derivative. There's no upgrade, that will get the kind of range or RCS, that will be required. The PCA isn't being developed to deal with threats of the 2020s to 2040s. It's being developed to deal with threats beyond what the F-22 was designed to handle (i.e. 2050 to 2100.) Advent engines and avionics upgrades aren't going to be sufficient. To be worth the trouble, it's gonna need to be stealthier in all frequencies/spectrums, have more magazine depth, and likely have an unrefueled combat radius of >1000nm. The entire point is to reduce dependence on tankers, due to the ever increasing range of SAM/AAMs, not to mention ballistic missile, etc... threats on bases. I don't see agility requirements exceeding F-22/35 level.
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Unread post26 Jan 2020, 17:39

“The USAF has officially said no super duper F-22s. That study was concluded several years ago. The reason being that the money was better spent on the PCA. Whatever PCA ends up being, it will absolutely not be an F-22 derivative. There's no upgrade, that will get the kind of range or RCS, that will be required.“

x2
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Unread post27 Jan 2020, 03:01

quicksilver wrote:“The USAF has officially said no super duper F-22s. That study was concluded several years ago. The reason being that the money was better spent on the PCA. Whatever PCA ends up being, it will absolutely not be an F-22 derivative. There's no upgrade, that will get the kind of range or RCS, that will be required.“

x2



Developing a 5.5 Generation version of the F-22 and/or F-35. Would not maintain the US vast technological advantage over it's adversaries. Which, is not to say the former aircraft won't receive upgrades. Just not a major redesign.....
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zero-one

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Unread post27 Jan 2020, 08:53

All these blanket statements ignores the fact that PCA is not finalized yet.
Remember how we were also all so sure that the F-15X and to some extent the F/A-18E block 3 would never amount to anything.

All I'm saying is that a Super Duper F-22 is on the table. And my claims are actually rooted on proposals like this
https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... -jet-cost/
Congressional Budget Office warns that the PCA jet could become so expensive, Alternately, the Air Force could choose to modernize the F-22 airframe with newer F-35 electronics


Remember the super F-22 will only be one component of PCA, air dominance will not rest on it, it could simply be a part of a family of systems designed for traditional air superiority missions.

Everyone against this proposal is getting hung up on the fact that no version of the F-22 will be able to fulfill the range requirements for PCA. A fact that I totally agree on. But it doesn't have to, there will be other platforms for that specific mission. There are so many other missions that don't require aircraft to go to China and back.
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Unread post27 Jan 2020, 12:01

Clean sheet or just an up-rated F-22 with F-35 sensors, it's going to be expensive as hell.

I think to be realists, we need to acknowledge this fact. Less expensive maybe under some guises, but expensive nonetheless. We'll be lucky to buy 200 of them, and that's if they specify 800 - 1000 are needed. Crazy, but that's how procurement operates in America.
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Unread post27 Jan 2020, 18:16

zero-one wrote:All these blanket statements ignores the fact that PCA is not finalized yet.
Remember how we were also all so sure that the F-15X and to some extent the F/A-18E block 3 would never amount to anything.

All I'm saying is that a Super Duper F-22 is on the table. And my claims are actually rooted on proposals like this
https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... -jet-cost/
Congressional Budget Office warns that the PCA jet could become so expensive, Alternately, the Air Force could choose to modernize the F-22 airframe with newer F-35 electronics


Remember the super F-22 will only be one component of PCA, air dominance will not rest on it, it could simply be a part of a family of systems designed for traditional air superiority missions.

Everyone against this proposal is getting hung up on the fact that no version of the F-22 will be able to fulfill the range requirements for PCA. A fact that I totally agree on. But it doesn't have to, there will be other platforms for that specific mission. There are so many other missions that don't require aircraft to go to China and back.

No new F-22s of any kind are on the table. It was looked at, and they (USAF) specifically said no, as it would take funds from PCA due to its extreme cost.
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