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 post27 Jan 2020, 22:59

zero-one wrote: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 point is you need much more supporting assets to make an upgraded F-22 meet PCA requirements especially in shortcomings in range and stealth, compare to clean sheet design, so do you really save money by going with F-22?

750 nmi is not enough of increase over current F-22 combat radius, that's only as much as F-35A subsonic combat radius. And it makes sense because F-35A carries same amount of fuel as F-22 with only one engine, F-22 airframe is too compact and limited, unless you go back more like YF-22 and make fuselage bulkier, but then you lose supersonic performance.

zero-one wrote: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.


The whole F-15X idea dubious and I don't think USAF should go for it, but if the goal is to just get more airframes quickly, there is at least one thing with F-15 you don't have with F-22, and that is active production line. Some decision maker in Pentagon sees active F-15 production as a chance to do get more airframes at not too much cost. Personally I don't agree with that since the better should be put in increased F-35 production (not much different in price from F-15X) and in PCA, but I guess for missions that don't require stealth like basic air policing F-15X might be enough.

zero-one wrote: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.


Are we saying 2030 just for sake of 2030? Nearsighted focus on just 2030 will cost more in the long run especially if PCA is sacrificed. And like I said if you want some super F-22 to do PCA mission you need a lot more support assets so in the end do you really save money? And what about threats beyond what F-22 can handle since you delayed PCA?

zero-one wrote: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


We know enough to know B-21 has fundamentally different engine arrangement, intake, size, materials, etc. To even say B-21 is a derivative of B-2 with these differences is laughable.

zero-one wrote: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 version of F-22 can meet RCS requirements either. You need to make so many changes like different tail arrangement, longer fuselage, different wing, that you're better off starting new, and ESPECIALLY since F-22 production line doesn't exist anymore. F-22 is also behind in things like electrical power and having hydraulics instead of more modern actuators, these aren't trivial to replace since you also have to redo cooling and other stuff.

I don't get why you're so into F-22. It's a great aircraft, and we should have more of it, but that should have happened when the production was still open. Now it's totally different situation. Developing PCA and upgrading existing F-22 and F-35 can give consistent edge over adversaries from now to 2050 and beyond. Delaying PCA for some F-22 derivative which will be less capable will just give adversaries more time to catch up for no good reason.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post28 Jan 2020, 03:18

disconnectedradical wrote:
zero-one wrote: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.


The whole F-15X idea dubious and I don't think USAF should go for it, but if the goal is to just get more airframes quickly, there is at least one thing with F-15 you don't have with F-22, and that is active production line. Some decision maker in Pentagon sees active F-15 production as a chance to do get more airframes at not too much cost. Personally I don't agree with that since the better should be put in increased F-35 production (not much different in price from F-15X) and in PCA, but I guess for missions that don't require stealth like basic air policing F-15X might be enough.


The F-15EX is dubious indeed. Because if the USAF just wanted more airframes. Which, could work with the existing infrastructure. Then it would make far more sense. To just upgrade existing F-16C's to replace the F-15C's as a short-term solution. As the Viper (F-16) is available in large numbers, upgrade program is on going with an AESA Radar, and already shares existing infrastructure.
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Unread post28 Jan 2020, 03:26

disconnectedradical wrote:
zero-one wrote: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 version of F-22 can meet RCS requirements either. You need to make so many changes like different tail arrangement, longer fuselage, different wing, that you're better off starting new, and ESPECIALLY since F-22 production line doesn't exist anymore. F-22 is also behind in things like electrical power and having hydraulics instead of more modern actuators, these aren't trivial to replace since you also have to redo cooling and other stuff.

I don't get why you're so into F-22. It's a great aircraft, and we should have more of it, but that should have happened when the production was still open. Now it's totally different situation. Developing PCA and upgrading existing F-22 and F-35 can give consistent edge over adversaries from now to 2050 and beyond. Delaying PCA for some F-22 derivative which will be less capable will just give adversaries more time to catch up for no good reason.


Honestly, it's critical for the US to develop the PCA/NGAD. As it is the only way for the US to maintain it's technological advantage over the competition.

Why would the US want to make the same half a Generation (4.5 Gen) mistake that Europe did with the Eurofighter/Rafale/Gripen??? :?
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marsavian

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Unread post28 Jan 2020, 04:28

Corsair1963 wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:
zero-one wrote: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.


The whole F-15X idea dubious and I don't think USAF should go for it, but if the goal is to just get more airframes quickly, there is at least one thing with F-15 you don't have with F-22, and that is active production line. Some decision maker in Pentagon sees active F-15 production as a chance to do get more airframes at not too much cost. Personally I don't agree with that since the better should be put in increased F-35 production (not much different in price from F-15X) and in PCA, but I guess for missions that don't require stealth like basic air policing F-15X might be enough.


The F-15EX is dubious indeed. Because if the USAF just wanted more airframes. Which, could work with the existing infrastructure. Then it would make far more sense. To just upgrade existing F-16C's to replace the F-15C's as a short-term solution. As the Viper (F-16) is available in large numbers, upgrade program is on going with an AESA Radar, and already shares existing infrastructure.


F-16C are all going through SLEP and acquiring the APG-83 anyway. F-15EX purchases are on top of this. There is also no comparison of the missile load, fuel capacity, APG-83 of the F-16C to the missile load, fuel capacity and APG-82 of the F-15EX. Only in lower RCS is F-16 superior.
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Unread post28 Jan 2020, 06:09

marsavian wrote:
F-16C are all going through SLEP and acquiring the APG-83 anyway. F-15EX purchases are on top of this. There is also no comparison of the missile load, fuel capacity, APG-83 of the F-16C to the missile load, fuel capacity and APG-82 of the F-15EX. Only in lower RCS is F-16 superior.



Regardless, of the PR your not going to see the F-15EX flying around with 14+ Missiles. Regardless, the F-16V with AESA Radar and CFT's is more than adequate for the role. Plus, the USAF has a vast number of surplus examples. With the New F-35's coming online everyday.

Either type (F-15EX or F-16V) is nothing but a stop gap anyways. Which, is why it's crazy to buy new F-15's with a 30-40 year life span. When the type will be obsolete within the next decade!
:doh:
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Unread post28 Jan 2020, 08:55

disconnectedradical wrote:I don't get why you're so into F-22


It's because its one of the best options I can see where the USAF can meet their ~5 year development program.
All you're arguments against the F-22 upgrade are based on the fact that it is too limited for all the perceived requirements of the PCA and I'm not disputing that.

But again the PCA will likely be a Family of aircraft, the F-22X will not need to do everything.
For missions requiring range and wide broadband stealth = B-21 long range interceptor derivative
For missions requiring "speed, maneuverability and some form of low observability" = F-22X
Those were their exact words.
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Unread post29 Jan 2020, 01:24

zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:I don't get why you're so into F-22


It's because its one of the best options I can see where the USAF can meet their ~5 year development program.
All you're arguments against the F-22 upgrade are based on the fact that it is too limited for all the perceived requirements of the PCA and I'm not disputing that.

But again the PCA will likely be a Family of aircraft, the F-22X will not need to do everything.
For missions requiring range and wide broadband stealth = B-21 long range interceptor derivative
For missions requiring "speed, maneuverability and some form of low observability" = F-22X
Those were their exact words.


There isn't a 5 year development window. Even restarting the regular F-22 production line would take 5 years, much less some hybrid/super F-22 version.
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Unread post29 Jan 2020, 07:21

The Air Force F-22 restart study estimated 6.5 years from F-22 EMD contract award to first operational aircraft delivery.
That's with redesign/modernization of the F-119, APG-77, EW and CNI subsystems (possibly with F-35 derivatives).
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Unread post29 Jan 2020, 07:36

marauder2048 wrote:The Air Force F-22 restart study estimated 6.5 years from F-22 EMD contract award to first operational aircraft delivery.
That's with redesign/modernization of the F-119, APG-77, EW and CNI subsystems (possibly with F-35 derivatives).



Then add at least a couple years to that.... :|
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Unread post29 Jan 2020, 08:51

The argument that a super F-22 won't take ~5 years is valid. Even In my optimistic view it will take closer to 10. (maybe 7)
But it does nothing to help any argument for a clean sheet design.

If they can't upgrade a 20 year old design in the 5 year window the USAF wants then there is absolutely no way in the high heavens that they can make a new one in a shorter time.

A weapons program isn't just about capabilities, its also about budgets and schedules. We've seen many great programs that were scrapped in favor of less capable alternatives simply because they couldn't meet the latter. (i.e. A-12, NATF )

So its not about being hung up on the F-22, its about meeting USAF demands in most if not all aspects, including time tables and budgets.
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Unread post29 Jan 2020, 10:43

zero-one wrote:The argument that a super F-22 won't take ~5 years is valid. Even In my optimistic view it will take closer to 10. (maybe 7)
But it does nothing to help any argument for a clean sheet design.

If they can't upgrade a 20 year old design in the 5 year window the USAF wants then there is absolutely no way in the high heavens that they can make a new one in a shorter time.

A weapons program isn't just about capabilities, its also about budgets and schedules. We've seen many great programs that were scrapped in favor of less capable alternatives simply because they couldn't meet the latter. (i.e. A-12, NATF )

So its not about being hung up on the F-22, its about meeting USAF demands in most if not all aspects, including time tables and budgets.



I just don't see them cutting off much time in the development of any new 6th Generation Fighter. Especially, considering we have just scratched the surface of 5th Generation Fighters!
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Unread post29 Jan 2020, 10:55

Corsair1963 wrote:I just don't see them cutting off much time in the development of any new 6th Generation Fighter. Especially, considering we have just scratched the surface of 5th Generation Fighters!


Well in one of the articles I posted, they did say that the Generation concept was outdated and that they were looking into going in a "Century series model" where a new aircraft with the latest technologies may be churned out every decade.
If we think about it, they've been applying that system with the block buy model,
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Unread post29 Jan 2020, 11:06

zero-one wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:I just don't see them cutting off much time in the development of any new 6th Generation Fighter. Especially, considering we have just scratched the surface of 5th Generation Fighters!


Well in one of the articles I posted, they did say that the Generation concept was outdated and that they were looking into going in a "Century series model" where a new aircraft with the latest technologies may be churned out every decade.
If we think about it, they've been applying that system with the block buy model,



The Century Series was at time when the US Aerospace Industry was vastly larger and had much more competition. Which, doesn't take into account the technologies of the modern era. That is really an Apples and Oranges comparison...."IMHO"
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post29 Jan 2020, 16:21

zero-one wrote:If they can't upgrade a 20 year old design in the 5 year window the USAF wants then there is absolutely no way in the high heavens that they can make a new one in a shorter time.

A weapons program isn't just about capabilities, its also about budgets and schedules. We've seen many great programs that were scrapped in favor of less capable alternatives simply because they couldn't meet the latter. (i.e. A-12, NATF )


A new airframe alone will take longer than F-22 restart but difference isn't as big as you think because F-22 production line has stopped. Also, the 18 year development for F-22 is when they want to make big jumps in airframe, engines, and avionics. It's combining all 3 into a system that makes F-22 and F-35 development so long. If those 3 can be separated then you can make development of each shorter. But then it will be more expensive to integrate everything together. It's all about tradeoffs.
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Unread post29 Jan 2020, 18:48

Corsair1963 wrote:
zero-one wrote:The argument that a super F-22 won't take ~5 years is valid. Even In my optimistic view it will take closer to 10. (maybe 7)
But it does nothing to help any argument for a clean sheet design.

If they can't upgrade a 20 year old design in the 5 year window the USAF wants then there is absolutely no way in the high heavens that they can make a new one in a shorter time.

A weapons program isn't just about capabilities, its also about budgets and schedules. We've seen many great programs that were scrapped in favor of less capable alternatives simply because they couldn't meet the latter. (i.e. A-12, NATF )

So its not about being hung up on the F-22, its about meeting USAF demands in most if not all aspects, including time tables and budgets.



I just don't see them cutting off much time in the development of any new 6th Generation Fighter. Especially, considering we have just scratched the surface of 5th Generation Fighters!


Agree 100%.

I (and probably others) WISH it would be faster, but I just don't see it happening. At least not how fighters are built today. Some defense contractor like LM would need to make a breakthrough somewhere. But new tooling, new robotics and new techniques will all cost $ and lots of it. There is no magic wand, no more Kelly Johnson to pull a rabbit out of a hat and deliver a wonder fighter in just a few years time.

I just don't see it happening..
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