Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2017, 19:33
by talkitron
It seems like USAF's next generation Penetrating Counter Air may not be manned:

The next air superiority platform—the Penetrating Counter Air aircraft—is “not a fighter,” insists the Air Force officer whose team came up with the concept, but will rather be a key flying sensor platform with lots of weapons and long range that will enable USAF’s existing fighters.


http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... tform.aspx

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Jul 2017, 17:15
by mixelflick
To my mind, this is really odd...

One would think the "existing fighters" situation circa 2030 would be borderline desparate by then: Aging F-22's and F-15's that are geriatric. The F-35? Thought we were using those for air to ground. This would be a fundamental (HUGE fundamental) shift in how air superiority is defined.

If so, they must REALLY think the age of the dogfight is over. Not sure I'd be making that assumption until F-22's are dropping Sukhoi's and Migs wholesale, from many KM away and in multiple theaters...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Jul 2017, 18:47
by southernphantom
Talkitron, we're reading this differently. You take "not a fighter" to mean unmanned; I take it to mean something to the effect of a B-21 variant designed to support fighters with sensors and additional munitions, basically a VLO Megafortress-like platform. Remember the 'arsenal ship' concept?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Jul 2017, 02:16
by tacf-x
southernphantom wrote:Talkitron, we're reading this differently. You take "not a fighter" to mean unmanned; I take it to mean something to the effect of a B-21 variant designed to support fighters with sensors and additional munitions, basically a VLO Megafortress-like platform. Remember the 'arsenal ship' concept?


The article did say that the PCA aircraft has some overlap with the B-21. However, it also said that they will not be the same aircraft.

I do agree though. This aircraft seems to have a requirement for incredible range and endurance. As such it would likely be quite different in general dimensions to that of a classical 'fighter' even with miniaturized munitions and AETP-derived engines.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Jul 2017, 13:17
by neptune
PCA: bomber vs. fighter, strategic vs. tactical, 3-500klbs. vs. <100klbs., global vs. local(<1000mi.)

B-52@500Klbs., B-1@400Klbs., B-2@370Klbs., B-21@???
F-22@83Klbs., F-15E@81Klbs., etc.

bomber vs. fighter 4-6x weight of fuel(range) and weapons

PCA/ tactical,
-Similar engines to B-21 (1or2 vs. 4)

-Similar avionics to B-21 (F-35)

-Similar weapons to B-21; (few vs. many)

-Similar weapons; (missiles; cruise vs. close range (Aim-9,120, AGM-88,etc.)
-Similar weapons; (bombs; gliding(standoff, 200-500Lbs.) vs. large(2+Klbs.)
-Similar weapons; JASSM cruise missile(1KLb); capacities (32/24/16(strategic) vs. 2-4(tactical))

PCA while similar to a strategic bomber, it will not be a strategic bomber. PCA while similar to the fighter will not be a F-22 (Red Baron/ air-air combat) fighter.

PCA should be unmanned/autonomous with drone pilot intervention.
IMHO
:)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Jul 2017, 17:14
by wolfpak
IMHO The PCA will be a 21st Century F-4. If you read the AFA mag article it will be multi-role and as the article mentions not an arsenal plane. I don't think AI software is anywhere near the point on taking on the replacement of a human making decisions on such missions. The use of autonomous air vehicles (other than cruise missiles) in denied air space has yet to be seen.

What the PCA may do is truncate the F-35 buy. If they hold off the replacement of the dedicated Wild Weasel units until the late 2020's they PCA may be the aircraft of choice. That is not to say that the F-35 units can't perform the mission today and in the 2020's but if the AF wants to procure the PCA in sufficient numbers think they will need to highlight it's multi-mission capabilities to prevent what happened to F-22 procurement.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Jul 2017, 20:38
by talkitron
The link to the Air Force Magazine page I originally posted is messed up. Here is the correct link, hopefully.

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... tform.aspx

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Jul 2017, 20:39
by talkitron
southernphantom wrote:Talkitron, we're reading this differently. You take "not a fighter" to mean unmanned; I take it to mean something to the effect of a B-21 variant designed to support fighters with sensors and additional munitions, basically a VLO Megafortress-like platform. Remember the 'arsenal ship' concept?


Yeah, I agree that a manned B-21 derivative is possible based on the article. Sorry for leaping to unmanned.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Jul 2017, 15:24
by mixelflick
It sounds like a big (real big) change in fundamental assumptions...

We're hearing about it possibly being unmanned, possibly NOT being a fighter sized aircraft. The range and payload specs speak to that. Artificial intelligence, possible directed energy weapons... This sounds like a bigger jump forward than the F-22 was vs. the F-15 (and that should scare some people)!

Personally, I'd love to see an enlarged YF-23a. Something around 25% bigger with a 2nd crewman for those long duration, high workload/demand missions over the South China Sea. Maybe even 50% bigger! The airframe was so ahead of its time... Would still look futuristic if it were rolled out today. In theory it'd have new, more powerful engines that would allow it to super-cruise the entire mission (like the old YF-23a did). As far as payload, all they'd need to do is stretch it a bit and a 16-20 AMRAAM load out wouldn't be out of the question.

Since the YF-23a has already flown, it's not like they'd be starting from scratch. Precisely what the Air Force specified. You also already have a top notch sensor platform (F-35) to build off of. Only the engine would be brand new, and that's assuming they don't resurrect GE's variable cycle engine that again, which flew several decades ago.

I just hope she's built in numbers this time. Make it a slam dunk for 500 airframes, and prevent anyone from pulling a Gates on us...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Jul 2017, 16:08
by tacf-x
mixelflick wrote:It sounds like a big (real big) change in fundamental assumptions...

We're hearing about it possibly being unmanned, possibly NOT being a fighter sized aircraft. The range and payload specs speak to that. Artificial intelligence, possible directed energy weapons... This sounds like a bigger jump forward than the F-22 was vs. the F-15 (and that should scare some people)!

Personally, I'd love to see an enlarged YF-23a. Something around 25% bigger with a 2nd crewman for those long duration, high workload/demand missions over the South China Sea. Maybe even 50% bigger! The airframe was so ahead of its time... Would still look futuristic if it were rolled out today. In theory it'd have new, more powerful engines that would allow it to super-cruise the entire mission (like the old YF-23a did). As far as payload, all they'd need to do is stretch it a bit and a 16-20 AMRAAM load out wouldn't be out of the question.

Since the YF-23a has already flown, it's not like they'd be starting from scratch. Precisely what the Air Force specified. You also already have a top notch sensor platform (F-35) to build off of. Only the engine would be brand new, and that's assuming they don't resurrect GE's variable cycle engine that again, which flew several decades ago.

I just hope she's built in numbers this time. Make it a slam dunk for 500 airframes, and prevent anyone from pulling a Gates on us...



YF-23 flew so long ago that it pretty much would be like building a brand new aircraft. The average age of the people that worked on that prototype is going to be pretty high. As such the tribal knowledge affiliated with that airframe will likely be gone. The same goes for the YF-120.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Jul 2017, 17:13
by SpudmanWP
I always like this FB-23 concept

Image

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Jul 2017, 06:34
by neptune
tacf-x wrote:....YF-23 flew so long ago that it pretty much would be like building a brand new aircraft. The average age of the people that worked on that prototype is going to be pretty high. As such the tribal knowledge affiliated with that airframe will likely be gone. The same goes for the YF-120.


PCA-???
....with new CNRF+ type materials, new F-135+ engines, and 2,000 mi. range (in/ out) MTOW 150Klb.?? (how big?)
....stealth (vlo) with "IR" design concern; Mach 1 or 2 / or subsonic?? (how fast?)
....SA Maximum, total passive ISR+?? (F-35+?)
....autonomous (F-35 mission computer+) with one crew (backup with a thermos/ box lunch?)
....FB-23 style?
....2-4hr. flight time (duration?)
....refueling (after launch (top-off) and before recovery (minimums) "Only")
....other???
:)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Jul 2017, 19:02
by geforcerfx
Well I guess I got what I wanted, with the way our weaponry is going the "traditional" fighter values won't count for as much. Sound's like PCA will be something that the USAF can launch from Guam and maintain air dominance in the south china sea without the help of tankers, that will make the Chinese sweat a little bit. Should be a good replacement for the F-22 and F-15E, but by 2030 there won't be many existing fighters left, seems like the USAF is damn impressed with the F-35A.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Jul 2017, 23:33
by arian
It's going to be a dead-end project, in my opinion. No clear role, no clear advantage. Technology in weapons, sensors, etc. is moving too fast to start thinking of an airplane today. I think you need to let some of these technologies mature so that you can figure out how to use them and integrate them into an airplane. By 2030 lasers, miniature AAMs, multi-band AESAs may be places we can't predict today. Especially when its not clear that one large airplane would provide an advantage over a swarm of smaller UAVs controlled by fighters.

The idea here seems to provide a platform for sensors which can survive "deep" in enemy territory and support 5th gen fighters. Basically a combat AWACS. The armed component is probably secondary.

This is the same thing that swarms of UCAVs with sensors would also aim for. I don't think big, expensive and rare is going to be the winning combination here.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Jul 2017, 23:42
by arian
geforcerfx wrote:Sound's like PCA will be something that the USAF can launch from Guam and maintain air dominance in the south china sea without the help of tankers, that will make the Chinese sweat a little bit.


In my opinion, this is the sort of thinking that renders an aircraft project DOA. Single mission, single use, against a fictional enemy that is hyperbolized, and which in reality will never face. The military may love this sort of thinking because it can justify just about anything by coming up with lots of "what ifs", but this sort of thinking won't survive the first signs of scrutiny. South China Sea? Isolated island outposts hundreds or 1,000 miles away from China? I'm pretty sure that doesn't require much in new assets to deal with (not from us anyway. China would need a heck of a lot of new technologies however)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2017, 01:07
by popcorn
Form follows function ie. the platform is secondary to the capabilities the AF will prioritize. IIRC Gen. Hostage said the 6Gen could be a button that you press and the enemy blows up. :mrgreen: That's a lot of leeway for designers to play with.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2017, 07:22
by archangel117
Is it remotely possible that a 6th gen system could be partly space based?

I ask simply because by 2020 space X will have a launch platform capable of putting the mass of a small naval corvette in orbit (roughly 1 million lbs). To not leverage that capability for our military would be a waste imo.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2017, 08:17
by Dragon029
Well NGAD is meant to be a family of systems and the F-35 + F-22 already utilise space assets, so I wouldn't be surprised if the PCA incorporates increased sensor fusion with space-based assets.

As for SpaceX's ITS / BFR, it definitely could be useful for the USAF / the Space Corps, but it'll be a while until it's proven to be reliable enough to carry the kinds of government payloads that would require its thrust.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2017, 17:10
by talkitron
arian wrote:South China Sea? Isolated island outposts hundreds or 1,000 miles away from China? I'm pretty sure that doesn't require much in new assets to deal with (not from us anyway. China would need a heck of a lot of new technologies however)


China's plans for the 2035-2070 timeframe are a little unclear. :)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2017, 23:27
by arian
talkitron wrote:
arian wrote:South China Sea? Isolated island outposts hundreds or 1,000 miles away from China? I'm pretty sure that doesn't require much in new assets to deal with (not from us anyway. China would need a heck of a lot of new technologies however)


China's plans for the 2035-2070 timeframe are a little unclear. :)


Maybe we can get some climate scientists on this. They seem to be able to come up with accurate predictions 100 years into the future.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2017, 23:49
by juretrn
arian wrote:Maybe we can get some climate scientists on this. They seem to be able to come up with accurate predictions 100 years into the future.

Huh?
No one ever claimed they can make accurate predictions for centuries in the future, but they DO have models with some predictive power.

On topic: the Chinese plan to dominate the SCS and if the US will want to have a say in that, they would prefer to stay out of AShM range when things get too hot, so PCA will definitely need lots of range.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2017, 03:03
by arian
juretrn wrote:Huh?
No one ever claimed they can make accurate predictions for centuries in the future, but they DO have models with some predictive power.

You won't know if they have any predictive power until you observe the outcome and compare with the prediction. So, in 20 years. But yes, lets get back on topic. I posted that as a joke.

juretrn wrote:On topic: the Chinese plan to dominate the SCS and if the US will want to have a say in that, they would prefer to stay out of AShM range when things get too hot, so PCA will definitely need lots of range.


SCS isn't the place such an asset would be used, or useful, or planned for in my opinion. SCS is a lot of island chains, some close to China and some very far away from China, but most within range of several other countries as well. So on the flip side, the Chinese would also need stuff with a lot of range and endurance if they intend to keep them in a full-scale war scenario (a highly unlikely scenario)

But, more importantly, SCS is not a place where an enemy can have convincing "area denial" capability. A few isolated islands cannot prevent much from moving around that area, regardless how many SAM batteries one puts on them.

In my opinion, this PCA concept is for countering future 5th gen fighters. If in the future an enemy will have a comparable 5th gen fighter (and eventually someone will), then your existing sensors on your 5th gen fighters may be insufficient to counter them. So you'll need a platform that will be able to carry all sorts of additional sensors to augment your own, and operate with your 5th gen planes deep in an enemy's territory. You may need AESAs with different bands, more powerful EO or IR sensors, more powerful ESM sensors etc. All of that takes too much space for a fighter-sized plane, so this thing would need to be big and mostly full of sensors.

However, the swarm UAV concept aims to do the same by distributing sensors across multiple UAVs controlled by 5th gen planes, flying ahead of it and giving it an advantage over a 5th gen opponent lacking these additional sensors.

Personally, I think the best idea would be a combination of the two. UAVs may not have the range to operate too far, or the speed to keep up with the 5th gen planes. But a UAV mother-ship can deploy them when needed, and have the ability to operate "deep" with the 5th gen fighters.

PS: As to the geopolitical implications of SCS, I never understand why we get involved in their disputes. Who cares if China wants to squabble with Vietnam and the Philippines over that area? There are some things not worth fighting over.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2017, 06:14
by popcorn
arian wrote:PS: As to the geopolitical implications of SCS, I never understand why we get involved in their disputes. Who cares if China wants to squabble with Vietnam and the Philippines over that area? There are some things not worth fighting over.


As I understand it the US is taking no sides and encourages the parties to work issues out diplomatically. The military posturing has everything to do with reminding China that their pop-up islands don't carry any weight as far as restricting the US' Freedom of Navigation rights in the area.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Dec 2018, 03:09
by weasel1962
This article will probably be posted later in other threads but I thought I place this in PCA because its the first instance official doc discussing numbers.

CBO: 414 PCA with service entry in 2030 to start replacing the F-15C/D and F-22 by 2050.

https://www.cbo.gov/system/files?file=2 ... unding.pdf

The 2 most relevant paragraphs.
Penetrating Counter Air Aircraft
The PCA aircraft is one component of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance effort to develop systems that will eventually fill the air-superiority role that the F-15C/D and F-22 occupy today. The Air Force has not determined the characteristics of the PCA aircraft, but the Air Force Air Superiority 2030 Flight Plan indicated the need for a highly advanced air-superiority aircraft to be fielded in the early to mid-2030s. CBO’s projection includes purchases of 414 PCA aircraft with an average procurement cost of about $300 million each. Procurement appropriations would begin in 2028, and the first PCA aircraft would enter service in 2030. (In light of the long development times associated with F-22s and F-35s, however, that projection of the PCA aircraft’s delivery schedule may be optimistic.) CBO projects that, by 2050, the PCA aircraft would replace the roughly 400 F-15C/Ds and F-22s that the Air Force operates today.

CBO’s projected procurement unit cost for the PCA aircraft is based on two factors. First, the PCA aircraft would probably have a greater range and payload, as well as improved stealth and sensor capabilities, than today’s F-22; those characteristics would help it operate in the presence of the high-end air defenses that DoD believes China, Russia, and other potential adversaries may have in the future. (Stealth capabilities reduce the chance of detection by radar and infrared sensors.) Second, other stealthy aircraft, such as the B-2 bomber and the F-22 and F-35A fighters, have experienced cost increases that resulted in lower production rates and decreased total purchases. Containing costs for the PCA aircraft may be similarly difficult.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Dec 2018, 04:28
by sferrin
If they want 414 they'd be better off asking for 2000.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Dec 2018, 05:31
by citanon
CBO report shows the limitations of projecting the past into the future. Industry and DOD have learned to contain costs on stealth after f22 f35 and b21. PCA might just as well come in on budget and on time.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Dec 2018, 16:43
by mixelflick
sferrin wrote:If they want 414 they'd be better off asking for 2000.


^^^THIS^^^

Time and again, asked for numbers get whittled down. Look at the F-22: Original requirement? 750. Then every few years/Congressional reviews, down to 330 or so. We wound up with a silver bullet fleet of 187, which is really more like 120 combat coded (perhaps 150, if they fund upgrades to some of the "lesser" aircraft). It happens every time..

So yeah, we're going to have to ask for at least 1,500 - 2,000 to wind up with 414. That number itself I feel is insufficient, especially when you consider where a lot of the other $ is going. The USAF desperately needs an aircraft with a combat radius of at least 1,500 miles (each way), to minimize Chinese threats to our tankers, AWACS etc..

The F-15/F-22 fleet (tiny as it is) is probably adequate for most conflicts, minus the SCS. Much depends upon just how good the F-35 is air to air, as its ability to "pinch hit" is vital. Like the 1,000 swing role F-16's we have today, the F-35 may be needed in the air superiority role in the future. Personally, I think it'll do just fine. But even the F-35's legs will be insufficient in the SCS, at least without tankers.

And yes, PCA will have to be sold as mult-mission. It'll have a stated primary function of air to air, but also air to ground, forward AWACS/ISR and flying magazine platform.

Like an aircraft carrier in the sky.,..

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Dec 2018, 20:38
by marauder2048
weasel1962 wrote: because its the first instance official doc discussing numbers.


It's pure speculation and extrapolation on CBO's part. Nothing more.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Dec 2018, 23:30
by sferrin
mixelflick wrote:
sferrin wrote:If they want 414 they'd be better off asking for 2000.


^^^THIS^^^

Time and again, asked for numbers get whittled down. Look at the F-22: Original requirement? 750. Then every few years/Congressional reviews, down to 330 or so. We wound up with a silver bullet fleet of 187, which is really more like 120 combat coded (perhaps 150, if they fund upgrades to some of the "lesser" aircraft). It happens every time..

So yeah, we're going to have to ask for at least 1,500 - 2,000 to wind up with 414. That number itself I feel is insufficient, especially when you consider where a lot of the other $ is going. The USAF desperately needs an aircraft with a combat radius of at least 1,500 miles (each way), to minimize Chinese threats to our tankers, AWACS etc..

The F-15/F-22 fleet (tiny as it is) is probably adequate for most conflicts, minus the SCS. Much depends upon just how good the F-35 is air to air, as its ability to "pinch hit" is vital. Like the 1,000 swing role F-16's we have today, the F-35 may be needed in the air superiority role in the future. Personally, I think it'll do just fine. But even the F-35's legs will be insufficient in the SCS, at least without tankers.

And yes, PCA will have to be sold as mult-mission. It'll have a stated primary function of air to air, but also air to ground, forward AWACS/ISR and flying magazine platform.

Like an aircraft carrier in the sky.,..


so far the F-15 and F-16 have been the only ones that went the other way. The original plan for F-15s was 729 and F-16s was 1388.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Dec 2018, 01:39
by weasel1962
marauder2048 wrote:
weasel1962 wrote: because its the first instance official doc discussing numbers.


It's pure speculation and extrapolation on CBO's part. Nothing more.


It's a bit more than that. It's long term budget planning. Good idea to start parcelling out priorities. That will influence eventual project definition. I read it as more signalling limits on affordability. That appears to be the intent of the paper, not just on PCA but overall replacement strategy.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Dec 2018, 02:10
by marauder2048
weasel1962 wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:
weasel1962 wrote: because its the first instance official doc discussing numbers.


It's pure speculation and extrapolation on CBO's part. Nothing more.


It's a bit more than that. It's long term budget planning. Good idea to start parcelling out priorities. That will influence eventual project definition. I read it as more signalling limits on affordability. That appears to be the intent of the paper, not just on PCA but overall replacement strategy.


They are pulling unit cost estimates and quantities out of thin-air.
An actual exploration of the affordability of different schemes for achieving air dominance would
have been useful in motivating projection definition. But they don't even attempt that.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Dec 2018, 06:25
by element1loop
mixelflick wrote:Much depends upon just how good the F-35 is air to air, as its ability to "pinch hit" is vital. Like the 1,000 swing role F-16's we have today, the F-35 may be needed in the air superiority role in the future. Personally, I think it'll do just fine.


Australia and Japan are both to use the A as their primary A2A. Why would anyone doubt the A2A dominance capacity of it, at this point?

mixelflick wrote:And yes, PCA will have to be sold as mult-mission. It'll have a stated primary function of air to air, but also air to ground, forward AWACS/ISR and flying magazine platform.


The Counter-Air part implies its an airforce killer plus strategic SAM + sensors killer, so will require a heavy strike-fighter with exceptional stealth, power, agility, range, payload and weapons bay size. Basically everything the F-35 is, but around twice that capability seems to be the implied objective.

They can only get that 'cheap' and in service by ~2030 via re-using a lot of the F-35's sensors, avionics, computers and code. So it's the airframe stealth+aero optimization, bay size and engines they need to focus on. And frankly I can't believe they've not been working that up in detail for several years already, i.e. you already have the team that created the outstanding F-35 airframe trade-off, so you set them the new task and concept. That would have occurred some years ago. Plus newer propulsion options exist already.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Dec 2018, 19:17
by mixelflick
element1loop wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Much depends upon just how good the F-35 is air to air, as its ability to "pinch hit" is vital. Like the 1,000 swing role F-16's we have today, the F-35 may be needed in the air superiority role in the future. Personally, I think it'll do just fine.


Australia and Japan are both to use the A as their primary A2A. Why would anyone doubt the A2A dominance capacity of it, at this point?

Well, couple of things..

On the one hand, we have certain F-35 detractors which (still) question its air to air prowess. Not as maneuverable as an SU-35, could get run down by an SU-57 etc.. So until there's actual combat data showing its superiority, that question will always remain.

OTOH we have the result of several Red/Green flags showing it's 15:1, some say 20:1 air to air combat record. The problem is these results are mired in a web of confounding factors. Did the F-22 assist? What were the ROE's? Until those are laid bare, there will always be questions.

What I think is most telling though are Israel's and Japan's actions. Shortly after getting their hands on the bird, they either talked about or formally requested larger numbers. I can only imagine 1.) practical/combat experience and/or 2.) being privy to classified briefings showing its capabilities explain this interest in buying more.

Don't get me wrong: I think it'll prove to be a superior air to air platform. It really irks certain people though that it was compromised somewhat by the swing role. I know, I know. That's what the customer ordered. Hopefully years from today we'll have reams of data showing F-35's AMRAAM shots/kills vs. all kinds of adversary aircraft like J-10's, J-11's, SU-30's, SU-35's etc.. Maybe even a few WVR 9x/gun kills.

I am looking forward to that day...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Dec 2018, 20:26
by wrightwing
mixelflick wrote:





OTOH we have the result of several Red/Green flags showing it's 15:1, some say 20:1 air to air combat record. The problem is these results are mired in a web of confounding factors. Did the F-22 assist? What were the ROE's? Until those are laid bare, there will always be questions.





All of the kill ratios in the major exercises have been >20:1. It's not a "some say" situation. Additionally, the kill ratios are strictly F-35 kills. They weren't combining the total number of kills, and just attributing them to F-35s. In Red Flag 17-1, F-35s had 145 kills and 7 losses (due to WVR respawns.) As for ROE, they've flown neutral merges, as well as defense and offense. The OPFOR had 3:1 numerical advantages, as well as the ability to respawn 3 or 4 times (as long as they had fuel, they could stay in play.) It's been stated over and over, that the difficulty levels have been increased well above any in past exercises, to provide challenging training, for F-35 pilots. These were not scripted exercises, for marketing purposes. There have been other training exercises where kill ratios exceeded 25:1 (and some were >27:0.) F-35s aren't just a little bit better than 4th generation jets. They've been dominating, in the same way F-22s do.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Dec 2018, 03:25
by sprstdlyscottsmn
These have also been 3i jets only carrying two AMRAAM.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Dec 2018, 03:58
by white_lightning35
mixelflick wrote:
element1loop wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Much depends upon just how good the F-35 is air to air, as its ability to "pinch hit" is vital. Like the 1,000 swing role F-16's we have today, the F-35 may be needed in the air superiority role in the future. Personally, I think it'll do just fine.


Hopefully years from today we'll have reams of data showing F-35's AMRAAM shots/kills vs. all kinds of adversary aircraft like J-10's, J-11's, SU-30's, SU-35's etc.. Maybe even a few WVR 9x/gun kills.

I am looking forward to that day...


Ah yes, I'm sure you would love to have lots of data about how good the F-35 is by engaging in what will definitely be major wars that will cause untold death and destruction. Because if the F-35 is shooting down that many planes, that's what will happen.

How about building enough F-35's that the US and allies have such a quantitative and qualitative advantage that our adversaries won't even think about trying to shoot any down, and wars can be won without firing a shot? Or is that not cool enough for the little wargames you like to play out in your head?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Dec 2018, 06:52
by element1loop
wrightwing wrote:They've been dominating, in the same way F-22s do.


So an operational sqn of 24, with 18 nominally available:

(18 x F-35A) x 20 = 360 (A2A kills per sqn)

Ignoring other factors, such numbers are deterring, they can wipe-out most medium size air forces and demolish most of some of the larger ones in A2A. Much more impressive and useful than kill ratios that were being predicted even 5 years ago. I never doubted it would be a lot higher than the presumed 4:1. So that's sorted as far as I'm concerned, as such a scale of air to air is very unlikely.

So I'm hoping the remaining intended jet numbers to be procured by RAAF consists of a two-tier 28 x PCA acquisition a bit later, rather than 28 more F-35s sooner. That would hold PLAAF bombers at risk at much higher radius and limit the reach and effectiveness of their weapons. Thus creating a more deterring force with deep-reach into the northern-arc's approaches with less tanker exposure. If Japan does similar to this then PLAAF/PLAN would be feeling it especially with USAF B-21 numbers building at the same time USAF PCA does, and thousands of F-35s have proliferated with the F-22A finally fully updated.

More reach with F-35 like capabilities is definitely what's called for, in this region. If we have to get it through PCA plus tankers and long-range VLO standoff weapons, rather than a carrier, so be it. Plus PCA would be able to support the surface fleet to higher radius.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Dec 2018, 15:12
by mixelflick
Ah yes, I'm sure you would love to have lots of data about how good the F-35 is by engaging in what will definitely be major wars that will cause untold death and destruction. Because if the F-35 is shooting down that many planes, that's what will happen.

How about building enough F-35's that the US and allies have such a quantitative and qualitative advantage that our adversaries won't even think about trying to shoot any down, and wars can be won without firing a shot? Or is that not cool enough for the little wargames you like to play out in your head?


Easy there champ.

I spoke about aircraft, not people. Everybody punches out and gets to go home.Feel better now?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Dec 2018, 23:02
by wolfpak
Just speculation on my part but think the PCA will have large enough weapon bays to accommodate more than (2) 2000lb class weapons. Think the trade studies will show that providing enough volume and weight carrying capacity for a greater number of air to air missiles needed will alternatively allow you to carry more air to ground stores. Think they'll size the bay(s) larger also to carry Hypersonic weapons for greater stand-off. The CBO report appears to support replacing the F-15E with the F-35. Based on the above think the PCA would be a more reasonable replacement for the Strike Eagle. In any event the CBO report will hopefully get the AF to define what when and maybe where we'll see the PCA.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Dec 2018, 02:00
by marauder2048
DEWS, EA, EW are as big a motivator as conventional stores for aircraft sizing/configuration.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Dec 2018, 04:47
by element1loop
wolfpak wrote: Think they'll size the bay(s) larger also to carry Hypersonic weapons for greater stand-off.


If you have greater standoff from a bigger VLO weapon you don't even need to carry it internally.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Dec 2018, 05:44
by eloise
marauder2048 wrote:DEWS, EA, EW are as big a motivator as conventional stores for aircraft sizing/configuration.

1 Mw? wow, my lord

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Dec 2018, 11:34
by Corsair1963
As I have said many times before. We don't even know a tenth of what the F-35 will be ultimately capable of. So, hard to say what a future PCA and/or NGAD would even look like....

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Dec 2018, 12:32
by element1loop
Corsair1963 wrote:As I have said many times before. We don't even know a tenth of what the F-35 will be ultimately capable of. So, hard to say what a future PCA and/or NGAD would even look like....


You do like to push F-35 as the solution to all ills, but there are real limits to its capability, and adding "ultimately" to your sentence doesn't change that. We have a reasonably good idea where the limits fall when it comes to what matters in a 'Penetrating Counter-Air' strike role post-2035, such as stealth, reach, speed, weapons and payload.

'Penetrating Counter-Air' implies offensive counter-air, and that means hard-killing of ground targets, which will be at least as important as new A2A capability weapons. The carriers are not the place to launch such attacks from, using F-35C or B, so that means its down to the forward bases and they're subject to substantial return-fire attempts. So the first deep Counter-Air strike wave had better be overwhelming and persistent, and not require tankers to get close. The F-35s would thus necessarily be limited to operating in support, nearer to the margins of such initial Offensive Counter-Air attack.

Experts Outline Steps to Address Threats to Aircraft Carriers - 12/12/2018
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... t-carriers

Until major threat systems go down the carriers also need to stay back and likewise support attacks around the margins.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Dec 2018, 15:39
by quicksilver
"So the first deep Counter-Air strike wave had better be overwhelming and persistent, and not require tankers to get close."

Unless some kind of warp drive is invented in the next ten years, every (reusable) asset will require tanking -- all of 'em -- because you can't otherwise afford 'overwhelming' or 'persistent' or the range implied in getting 'close' (or 'close enough' to go along with the other two).

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 00:39
by weasel1962
The extra range does mean tanking occurs further back which either gives tankers a safer zone or allows counter-air more time to intercept.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 01:39
by wrightwing
It may also give the option of only needing to tank on the return trip, while keeping tankers at a safer distance. That also preserves a greater element of surprise.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 02:38
by element1loop
quicksilver wrote:"So the first deep Counter-Air strike wave had better be overwhelming and persistent, and not require tankers to get close."

Unless some kind of warp drive is invented in the next ten years, every (reusable) asset will require tanking -- all of 'em -- because you can't otherwise afford 'overwhelming' or 'persistent' or the range implied in getting 'close' (or 'close enough' to go along with the other two).


One of the original touted aims of PCA was the ability to loiter within enemy airspace. High-altitude loiter-speed (i.e. barely within envelope low-speed, minimum drag possible) engine efficiency and stealth design emphasis gets that. Popcorn pointed out that the propulsion planned is not an engine we know about.

The challenge then is penetrating via not being tracked early (i.e. HF/VHF). Speed is not a priority, stealth will be. I expect wedge-shaped with shorter wings, large wing area and high body-lift (operating well above mid-latitude jetstream loiter inefficiency, but can still take advantage of it for cruising) for very low drag levels with M~0.7 loiter with airliner-like low fuel burns for the size and weight of aircraft. Very much like evolving an F-117A approach of sneaking in slow, unnoticed, then pole-axing an opponent in a couple of minutes. While the larger more obvious external air operation gets rolling, then PCA hangs around to take on targets of opportunity and to kill with A2A then get out past the incoming F-35 lines to find a tanker and RTB.

At the same time the next waves of PCA are going in deep to take out what your ISR detected and prioritized.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 03:19
by weasel1962
If the intent is also to incorporate longer-ranged AAMs, then launch speed will still be a factor.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 03:29
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:If the intent is also to incorporate longer-ranged AAMs, then launch speed will still be a factor.


Yes, but the beauty of this is ...

I expect wedge-shaped with shorter wings, large wing area and high body-lift (operating well above mid-latitude jetstream loiter inefficiency, but can still take advantage of it for cruising) for very low drag levels


... that it's also the ideal shape for going fast at high altitude so the engine gets that capacity also. An observer just looking at the shape (on the ground) would presume it's optimized for very high speed, when it's actually optimized for low-speed loitering as well (much like the F-22A is in that respect).

I should also mention the trading of altitude for speed, rather than relying on a throttle alone to get the launch parameters, thus minimizing fuel burn and heating while allowing for a gradual climb back to the prior level. If you have strong stealth and the long-range sensors for it, you will also have the time to do that (plus coordinate with other PCAs and their data to get A2A kills).

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 03:46
by jetblast16
PCA -> laser-armed, Mach 2+ super cruiser, vertical tailless, AAM lobber, all-aspect stealth, multi-spectral sensor packed, sensor fusion beyond F-35

Of course it won't be affordable :bang:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 03:52
by element1loop
jetblast16 wrote:PCA -> laser-armed, Mach 2+ super cruiser, vertical tailless, AAM lobber, all-aspect stealth, multi-spectral sensor packed, sensor fusion beyond F-35

Of course it won't be affordable :bang:


Again, the original PCA idea was to rapid-prototype and produce a basic airframe in service [i.e. with less capability than an F-35A] but with a lot of adaptability and flexibility allotted to the design fielded, then develop, evolve and add to it incrementally, over decades, as the penetration requirements and the role evolved. i.e. cheaper and shorter into service.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 06:14
by quicksilver
Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 11:07
by element1loop
Regardless, in a period when strategic assessments indicate Great Power conflicts could realistically occur, the budget constraints, thinking and assumptions of the prior period of low-levels of threat are no longer applicable.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 14:18
by quicksilver
Sweeping generalizations do not erase geography and the laws of physics.

Do the math. Where do they have to come from? Where do they have to go? How long do they have to stay there (airborne)? Where do they have to return to? What weapons will they carry and how many (internally, no less). By your claims they have to be overwhelming (ie numbers) and persistent (stay for a while) in the middle of contested airspace. And the systems cimmands overseeing the project are oh-for-three on delivering the newest shiney object on time and on budget, while Congressional oversight says the unit cost will ONLY be 300% of what the most recent government acquisition ordeal comes to.

How’s that B21 thing going? How’s that new tanker going? How about a new land-based strategic deterrent?

To geography and lop, let’s add money, politics and government bureaucracy.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 16:20
by mixelflick
quicksilver wrote:Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.


As excited as I am for PCA, I have to agree - thing is going to be hella expensive.

The USAF is in real jeopardy of not being able to afford 1,700 F-35's, and a truncated order just drives the per unit cost up (for everyone, not just the USAF). I agree the capability is nice to have, but what's more important?

1.) Fielding small numbers of USAF "superfighters" to gain air superiority over a foreign country's mainland, or...
2.) Fielding an air force full of cutting edge strike fighters, vs. continuing to fly geriatric F-15's and 16's?

As much as I'd like both, I think #2 is more important. It may mean we're not able to impose air dominance over the Chinese mainland, but is that really necessary? To my mind, it's more important to checkmate them outside of their borders. Build an Air Force that can hold and keep Japan, S.Korea, Guam, Taiwan etc.. Besides, what kind of foreign policy demands we take China altogether?

Let the Chinese have China. We'll take everything else..

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 19:16
by crosshairs
mixelflick wrote:
quicksilver wrote:Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.


As excited as I am for PCA, I have to agree - thing is going to be hella expensive.

The USAF is in real jeopardy of not being able to afford 1,700 F-35's, and a truncated order just drives the per unit cost up (for everyone, not just the USAF). I agree the capability is nice to have, but what's more important?

1.) Fielding small numbers of USAF "superfighters" to gain air superiority over a foreign country's mainland, or...
2.) Fielding an air force full of cutting edge strike fighters, vs. continuing to fly geriatric F-15's and 16's?

As much as I'd like both, I think #2 is more important. It may mean we're not able to impose air dominance over the Chinese mainland, but is that really necessary? To my mind, it's more important to checkmate them outside of their borders. Build an Air Force that can hold and keep Japan, S.Korea, Guam, Taiwan etc.. Besides, what kind of foreign policy demands we take China altogether?

Let the Chinese have China. We'll take everything else..


You have to define what expensive means. To me and my salary, a brand new Cessna SKylane is hella expensive.

The F-15s and F-16s are wearing out. The US has something like 175 F-15C/D and roughly 200 of the Strike Eagle. The C/D are irrelevant in a modern battlefield and far, far too out numbered.

Don't forget what the best defense is: a strong offense. Fielding a force of aircraft to keep the Chinese and (ahem the North Koreans) from trying to expand is a losing strategy because the Chinese will challenge the US every change it gets. Look at what's going on with freedom of navigation in the world's free oceans because the Chinese decided to build some islands with runways and missiles on them.

To counter the Chinese, you need a variety of systems that can penetrate their airspace. The B-21 will be one "hella" important asset when it comes to that.

If the US can field an ultra long legged PCA that can penetrate their homeland, that will shift their focus from expanding overseas to defense of the homeland. We WANT to stop them from developing overseas bases.

The US needs to contain the Chinese threat from expanding. The way to do that is to threaten their homeland.

B-21
PCA
LO ALCMs
Hypersonic ALCMs

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 20:12
by marauder2048
quicksilver wrote:Congressional oversight says the unit cost will ONLY be 300% of what the most recent government acquisition ordeal comes to.


Completely invented numbers and they don't even bother to use Air Force (or even Navy) inflation indices
for fixed-wing aircraft for outyear estimations. So it's useless even as a budgetary guide.

quicksilver wrote:How’s that B21 thing going?

Fixed-price acquisition

quicksilver wrote:How’s that new tanker going?

Fixed-price acquisition

quicksilver wrote: How about a new land-based strategic deterrent?

Essentially fixed because ICBM cost is 80% determined by propulsion stack which is more or less
shared between the Navy, NASA and commercial/DOD space.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2018, 20:13
by sferrin
mixelflick wrote:
quicksilver wrote:Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.


As excited as I am for PCA, I have to agree - thing is going to be hella expensive.

The USAF is in real jeopardy of not being able to afford 1,700 F-35's, and a truncated order just drives the per unit cost up (for everyone, not just the USAF). I agree the capability is nice to have, but what's more important?

1.) Fielding small numbers of USAF "superfighters" to gain air superiority over a foreign country's mainland, or...
2.) Fielding an air force full of cutting edge strike fighters, vs. continuing to fly geriatric F-15's and 16's?

As much as I'd like both, I think #2 is more important. It may mean we're not able to impose air dominance over the Chinese mainland, but is that really necessary? To my mind, it's more important to checkmate them outside of their borders. Build an Air Force that can hold and keep Japan, S.Korea, Guam, Taiwan etc.. Besides, what kind of foreign policy demands we take China altogether?

Let the Chinese have China. We'll take everything else..


It's not just over China's mainland. The China Sea theater is huge and the F-22 doesn't have the legs.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 01:13
by weasel1962
Budgets are not completely invented. What the CBO, which is the budgeting office, does is to lay down markers on affordability. I think the fact that they have incorporated this into projections suggest its affordable at $300m a pop, if there isn't massive cost overruns and a second point. That second point being that if its going to be at $300m a pop with current F-35 acquisition, there needs to be an increase in budget (or consequently some movement in F-35 acquisition). Some read the 2nd part as unaffordable, others would read that it merely needs some planning.

I don't think F-22s are currently too short ranged. This depends on basing. On south china sea, what the CVs can deploy is way more than the PLAAF/PLAN basing capability in that locality. F-22s from Guam can already reach that locality w tanker support. For Taiwan and China near shores, the main available bases are in Korea and Japan. If deployed from those bases, the range of the F-22 is enough, even without significant tanker support. What would require significantly more tanker support would be basing from Guam.

How would PCA change the above w added fuel? On basing from Guam, it will still need tanker support, just less. However, current tanker support from Guam is relatively safe because its a long way from China so in my mind, its not really that useful. On basing from Korea/Japan, it increases loiter. Whether that's worth the added fuel carried is a question mark. Convince the Philippines to open a base and problem solved.

Overall, I'm not currently convinced a massive increase in fuel load for PCA is useful. An increase corresponding to the higher thrust next gen engines that would preserve the current combat radius would be logical but beyond that, I'm not sure. I'm not a F-22 pilot either so there would be operational issues that I won't be aware of but based on public info, I don't see the value for a china context.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 01:36
by marsavian
quicksilver wrote:Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.


That price surely must include the amortized development costs ? However I suspect the money will be found eventually as the extra range capability provided by an aircraft with two ~ 50 klbf engines will be too hard to ignore. Israel/Japan will certainly buy some too. A stealth fighter-bomber than can reach all of Iran without refueling is what Israel want for this century.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 02:13
by jetblast16
Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford


I wonder if they thought that when they were thinking about the ATF...the cutting edge rarely comes cheap. You can bet military planners, engineers, and scientists at Wright Patty and other places are thinking about such things as: high sustained super cruise, long range at high speed, possible combined cycle, frequency agile RAM coatings that are also heat tolerant, automation with advanced heuristics, conformal apertures, solid-state directed energy on-demand, etc, for the next fighter platform(s) to supersede the F-22 and F-15.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 02:23
by wolfpak
The $300M is just a guess on the CBO's part. They said it would be 3 times the cost of a F-35. If you want to humor a semi-retired auto-industry engineering consultant here is a way to get a better number. Construct a graph with empty weight on the x-axis and range on the y. Use the empty weights and ranges of the: F-22, F-15E, F-111 and SR-71 to develop 4 points on the chart and fit the curve. It won't be a straight line, Excel is your friend. Then take the 2018 cost for a F-35A and divide it by it's empty weight. Do the same for the F-22A but first determine the 2010 cost and bring it to 2018 by using the compound interest formula set at 3% per year. Next find the costs of the engines and their weights. Once again use he formula to bring the F119 cost to 2018. Using the cost per pound of the engines determine how much more(if it's the case) that a supercruise engine costs than a subsonic one.

Now you can go to the range/empty weight graph and for a given range requirement determine the aircraft weight and it's total cost for performance similar to the F-35 or F-22. Using the difference of costs between the engines and the ratio of engine weight to aircraft weight you can determine the cost per pound of an aircraft with the avionics of the F-35 and supercruise capability of the F-22. Plug that into the range/weight curve as well.

It's called parametrc modeling and is used a lot in the auto industry. Think L-M uses it as well. Should get you within 20% of the real number and I'll bet it's less than 300M. I wouldn't submit a bid to the AF based on this and I'm sure Blindpilot and Johnwill are raising eyebrows but for a forum on the internet it's good enough.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 02:26
by marauder2048
marsavian wrote:
quicksilver wrote:Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.


That price surely must include the amortized development costs ?


It's an APUC they plucked out of thin air.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 03:27
by crosshairs
marauder2048 wrote:
marsavian wrote:
quicksilver wrote:Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.


That price surely must include the amortized development costs ?


It's an APUC they plucked out of thin air.


And keep in mind the economy of scale. The US needs to replace 175 F-15c/d, 220 strike eagles and 180 raptors. Even if we get 70% of the requirement, that is still 400 copies.

I am going to open a hornets nest, but I think PCA should also be shared by the USN. Being able to conduct what I will term PCA Missions from the flat tops would be a hell of a tool. Imagine if Eldorado Canyon could have been done with a couple carrier battle groups OTH instead of our pilots flying metaphorically speaking half way around the world and being fatigued when they reached their targets. And I also include in that a2a missions. Carriers eliminate requirements for fixed bases.

From what I read PCA will have A2G capability - how much idk.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 04:29
by Corsair1963
crosshairs wrote:
And keep in mind the economy of scale. The US needs to replace 175 F-15c/d, 220 strike eagles and 180 raptors. Even if we get 70% of the requirement, that is still 400 copies.





The F-15C's won't last until the PCA is ready. As a matter of fact the USAF already has a plan to retire them and replace them with F-35's. It's also questionable that the F-15E's could make it that long either....

Honestly, unless both future 6th Generation Programs (PCA and NGAD) find partners. I question if two programs are even viable for the US....(i.e. developing both at same time)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 07:01
by element1loop
IMO, one of the points of emphasizing penetrating is the Chinese will necessarily disperse forces into the interior and operate from there, if they think its more survivable and defendable location. Obviously smaller VLO tactical tankers and a longer-range JASSM type weapon would be another dimension to obtaining the reach and to reduce penetration depth for those purposes. But regardless you will still want F-35 like sensor coverage into the mainland interior to provide data to joint platforms and weapon systems in near real time. Such is the paradigm. And perhaps a penetrating 5th-gen drone is the better option for that, as then you get the range, the endurance and the loitering and targeting.

In which case. the B-21 becomes the attacker with long-range VLO weapons.

In which case, the F-22A is probably not enough to support it as is, and it needs another type to provide F-22A capability, but with better legs.

In which case, a VLO drone tactical probe tanker would suffice to provide it for F-22A.

In which case, all you need is a deep ISR drone type, and a VLO tactical tanker type, to get results similar to "PCA"'s intended role, but on the B-21 delivery time table.

Not to mention that a VLO tactical probe tanker is a massive shot in the arm for the F-35A/B as well.

--

From back in April:

Future of Air Tanking: The Perspective of the 86th Wing Commander

04/11/2018

Robbin Laird

“The future of a large tanker will be to support more distributed and dispersed operations and we will be looking at small tactical refuelers providing fuel to tactical air combat assets – these tactical assets will likely be cheaper, unmanned and more expendable.

“That is where A3R comes in.

“I see an advantage in the automatic boom because it reduces the workload on the operator who in the future may be managing or controlling formations of UAV during AAR.

“As we learn to use this technology, it will be part of shaping the skill sets to transition to the next phase, of a large tanker replenishing smaller, automated tactical refuelers.

Another aspect of change associated with KC-30A is part of the evolution within the battlespace as seen by Group Captain Pesce.

Namely, the proliferation of communications and sensor technology throughout the air combat force will include larger platforms such as C-17 and KC-30A, by including new SATCOM and other linkage technologies.

This is designed to support not only a dispersed force but also provide network redundancy in a disrupted and contested EM spectrum.


https://sldinfo.com/2018/04/the-kc-30a- ... commander/


This is hinting at the exploration of a forwards tactical probe drone auto-tanking capability, with a secondary data relay function, in or very close to contested air (i.e. flying in and out of it, as required to tank forward jets and drones then refuel from a KC-30A once more). Given it's RAAF that's doing this exploration of the concept they're looking into using an auto-tanking probe drone system for forward F-35A servicing to keep KC-30As out of reach (of J20s) but give the F-35A the legs it needs.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 09:44
by weasel1962
Difficult to size a USAF MQ-25. If its supposed to escort the PCA deep, then it probably will be KC-sized to provide the kinds of fuel loads. Otherwise, the UAV tanker will need to be forward based. USAF will need a bit of time to figure this out. Tanker strategy right now is very dated, focused on big tankers. Beyond KC-X, I think there is an increasing recognition that a 1-1 replacement of KC-135s may not be the best way forward.

That's another chunk of the future USAF budget to factor.

I don't think the USAF needs to fight in the Chinese interior. If they can force the PLAAF to cede the Chinese coast, that's an effective win already since that basically concedes all the contended areas i.e. Taiwan, SCS.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 10:42
by element1loop
weasel1962 wrote:Difficult to size a USAF MQ-25. If its supposed to escort the PCA deep, then it probably will be KC-sized to provide the kinds of fuel loads. Otherwise, the UAV tanker will need to be forward based. USAF will need a bit of time to figure this out. Tanker strategy right now is very dated, focused on big tankers. Beyond KC-X, I think there is an increasing recognition that a 1-1 replacement of KC-135s may not be the best way forward.

That's another chunk of the future USAF budget to factor.

I don't think the USAF needs to fight in the Chinese interior. If they can force the PLAAF to cede the Chinese coast, that's an effective win already since that basically concedes all the contended areas i.e. Taiwan, SCS.


Not quite sure if you understood my point Weasel, I'm effectively saying OK then, forget about a PCA airframe, as such, and go with a system-of-systems and a mix of platforms to skin the same cat, via other methods, and at much lower cost.

You may be right about not needing to go very deep past the hinterland much, especially with sufficient standoff reach and a decent 5th-gen-like ISR drone platform to target deep. But there are many targets deep in there that you must hit hard to degrade early (OCA being a biggie, bombers, strategic sensors, bunkers, plus military production lines etc., which you do want to disrupt big time), and without a PCA that falls to the B-21 to get it done, and the B-21 would not be in a happy place without F-22As to escort it in and out, during those instances. Hence the need for tactical boom auto-tanking drone to support of the F-22A on the way in and out.

So two VLO drone types is all you'd minimally need to still get in and kill those targets.

And I suspect that VLO boom-tanking drone would sell like hot-cakes for decades to come, and become highly relevant to boosting the capabilities of the ~4,000 F-35A/B as well.

i.e. thus reducing the need for other platforms and their numbers. (such as F/A-XX, etc.)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 13:01
by sferrin
weasel1962 wrote:I don't think F-22s are currently too short ranged. This depends on basing. On south china sea, what the CVs can deploy is way more than the PLAAF/PLAN basing capability in that locality. F-22s from Guam can already reach that locality w tanker support.


The need to drag tankers everywhere it goes significantly limits it, especially since J-20s, and long range SAMs on the man-made islands will be looking to shoot them down.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 19:30
by marauder2048
OTOH, big tankers can accommodate deeper magazines of kinetic (DEWS, kicm) and non-kinetic
countermeasures (expendable/towed decoys) without much degradation to fuel offload.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 20:58
by sferrin
marauder2048 wrote:OTOH, big tankers can accommodate deeper magazines of kinetic (DEWS, kicm) and non-kinetic
countermeasures (expendable/towed decoys) without much degradation to fuel offload.


When's the last time the US flew a tanker where there was a real anti-air threat?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 22:25
by marauder2048
sferrin wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:OTOH, big tankers can accommodate deeper magazines of kinetic (DEWS, kicm) and non-kinetic
countermeasures (expendable/towed decoys) without much degradation to fuel offload.


When's the last time the US flew a tanker where there was a real anti-air threat?


GW1; there were instances where tankers strayed into Iraqi SAM rings to refuel stragglers.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 22:30
by crosshairs
sferrin wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:OTOH, big tankers can accommodate deeper magazines of kinetic (DEWS, kicm) and non-kinetic
countermeasures (expendable/towed decoys) without much degradation to fuel offload.


When's the last time the US flew a tanker where there was a real anti-air threat?


Lugging tankers into or even off the coast of China cannot possibly be a real consideration. Yeah, let's refuel our fighters 25,000ft over Guangzhou. Sure. No problems there!

PCA simply has to have the long legs of a supermodel. I would trade weapons capacity for fuel, up to a point, if PCA could penetrate China.

The question is, are we ever going to get a new airframe? The 15c/d's are not going to last much longer. The strike eagles have quite a bit of life left in them, or so I have read their airframes are holding up better than expected.

An all F-35 fighter force supplemented with a handful or Raptors would not be a good idea.

Why can't the Navy and USAF team up on a common system and better ensure we get something and something in real numbers rather than nothing but more F-35s? There would a lot of benefit to a PCA being carrier capable and not relying on fixed bases with cooperating nations.

Say what you will, but the Phantom was a hell of fighter. The Tomcat could have met the needs of the USAF. Many of you will disagree, but compromise isn't a bad word in today's budgetary climate.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2018, 23:05
by marauder2048
crosshairs wrote:Lugging tankers into or even off the coast of China cannot possibly be a real consideration. Yeah, let's refuel our fighters 25,000ft over Guangzhou. Sure. No problems there!


Please try to keep up :)

https://govtribe.com/opportunity/federal-contract-opportunity/wide-body-aircraft-hard-kill-self-protection-countermeasure-system-n0042118norfp418000a0001

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 00:57
by f-16adf
If the PCA is going to have 'all this range' and stealth than one must expect a rather large if not very large aircraft. Something on the order of 70ft if not more. If the jet turns out to be that large (that is if it ever becomes a reality, and IF and a very big IF there is no change in 2020 on the political side) and without rudders or TVC I would not expect an overtly agile aircraft. Oh no, here we go again about dog-fighting :doh: :roll: :shock: :( :o 8)

Also, if PCA turns out to be that big, it probably will never be a USN carrier reality.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 01:06
by element1loop
crosshairs wrote:
sferrin wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:OTOH, big tankers can accommodate deeper magazines of kinetic (DEWS, kicm) and non-kinetic
countermeasures (expendable/towed decoys) without much degradation to fuel offload.


When's the last time the US flew a tanker where there was a real anti-air threat?


Lugging tankers into or even off the coast of China cannot possibly be a real consideration. Yeah, let's refuel our fighters 25,000ft over Guangzhou. Sure. No problems there!


No one is saying "no problems". If you want tanking in close to the fight you can't send in a KC-30A. And that doesn't mean having the boom-tanking drone over the mainland interior, it just means being a lot closer to the fight than a KC-30A can get to and survive. So the VLO drone can fill up the Raptor at the margin (i.e. within airspace F-35 dominates) as they go in, and then on the way out again. So on egress the refuel drone and F-22A are covered by F-35s and the F-22A only needs enough gas from the drone to cruise back to the large manned tankers, and the drone can go back and refill at the KC-30A along with the Raptors. Raptors RTB and the refilled drone goes back to near the edge of the fight (in airspace covered by F-35).

All the F-22A has to do here is take the B-21 in to release the weapons, and then immediately take it out again. It's the ISR-targeting drone that does the loitering. So the total exposure is a lot less than you'd think for the tactical tankers. They have VLO, now add decoys, EA/EW support, and DIRCM, etc.

Plus this can be a protected pipeline that provides the comms relay redundancy to get data out to weapons within other services and allies.

Future of Air Tanking: The Perspective of the 86th Wing Commander - 04/11/2018

“The future of a large tanker will be to support more distributed and dispersed operations and we will be looking at small tactical refuelers providing fuel to tactical air combat assets – these tactical assets will likely be cheaper, unmanned and more expendable.


https://sldinfo.com/2018/04/the-kc-30a- ... commander/

I am wondering what you see the problem is with having F-22A and a whole lot of F-35s (and such tactical drone tankers to extend them) as opposed to having a manned PCA aircraft and others in the mix. If the tanker can much more cheaply provide the range-boosting, and most of these tactical tankers survive the fight, who cares if there's a specific PCA platform at all?

All that matters are results from affordable dollars.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 01:36
by element1loop
Perhaps the only real advantage here that an expensive new platform like a dedicated PCA airframe could bring to the penetration and fight is the possibility of HF/VHF signature reduction, thus reduced tracking and early warning, consequently less chance of interception or losses, or distractions from the OCA task once in there.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 04:12
by sferrin
f-16adf wrote:If the PCA is going to have 'all this range' and stealth than one must expect a rather large if not very large aircraft. Something on the order of 70ft if not more. If the jet turns out to be that large (that is if it ever becomes a reality, and IF and a very big IF there is no change in 2020 on the political side) and without rudders or TVC I would not expect an overtly agile aircraft. Oh no, here we go again about dog-fighting :doh: :roll: :shock: :( :o 8)

Also, if PCA turns out to be that big, it probably will never be a USN carrier reality.


A former, aged USN aircraft:

Wingspan 53 feet, length 76 feet 6 inches, , height 19 feet 4 3/4 inches, wing area 753.7 square feet. Weights: 37,498 pounds empty, 65,590 pounds gross, 79,588 pounds maximum takeoff.

RA-5C.jpg


Besides, PCA has never been meant as a USN aircraft anyway.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 09:45
by f-16adf
Thanks for the correction, i also forgot to include the A-3. Granted i cannot remember just how many Vigilantes were in a RVAH squadron. I don't think there were many. But man that was one beautiful jet

One thing, the Vigi was 38k empty and the A-3 was about as heavy as the B/D Tomcat. I'd be willing to bet a NPCA would easily be in the 50,000lbs class empty if not more. After all, the F-22 is 40k empty. That combination of size plus weight probably would cancel it from Navair. (max cat limit). Say 55k empty +30k fuel + weapons= 85~95,000lbs. And it doesn't have anything to escort.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 13:07
by crosshairs
Let's not forget about this "beauty" either. Also on the same flight deck of the Vigilante.

A-3 Skywarrior.jpg

I'm not asking about whether PCA is being designed for carrier ops. I'm saying there is a lot of merit in the USAF and USN sharing the costs and buillding them in real numbers and another 180 unit run. With carriers, we do not need cooperating nations who just so happen to be within range.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 16:56
by wolfpak
The B-58 super cruised and had a wingspan of 56'-9". Combat radius of 1,510 nautical miles and 41,600 lbs. dry thrust (4 engines) with 61,200 lbs. in afterburner. Empty weight around 56,000 lbs. The wing span of an A-10 is 57'-6" and it fits into a TABV shelter so a large PCA similar in size to a B-58 would also. With 2 engines each at 50,000 lbs. of thrust in afterburner with a mid mission weight of 100,000 lbs. you would still have a thrust to weight ratio of 1:1. Maximum take-off weight of 150,000. Do you think you could design a PCA to these numbers today with the technology at hand and would it be maneuverable enough?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 17:41
by f-16adf
Ask the designers that. Do they want to eliminate rudders? Will it have TVC or a stab? I doubt a jet that large without rudders, TVC, and a horizontal tail will have maneuverability similar to an F/A-18 Hornet.


Frankly PCA is a pipe-dream. It is probably doubtful with the current administration. And I can tell you that if the Dems get back into office in 2020 it will be one of the first things they cancel. Anybody remember what good old Barack had to say about the F-22 years ago?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 18:51
by crosshairs
wolfpak wrote:The B-58 super cruised and had a wingspan of 56'-9". Combat radius of 1,510 nautical miles and 41,600 lbs. dry thrust (4 engines) with 61,200 lbs. in afterburner. Empty weight around 56,000 lbs. The wing span of an A-10 is 57'-6" and it fits into a TABV shelter so a large PCA similar in size to a B-58 would also. With 2 engines each at 50,000 lbs. of thrust in afterburner with a mid mission weight of 100,000 lbs. you would still have a thrust to weight ratio of 1:1. Maximum take-off weight of 150,000. Do you think you could design a PCA to these numbers today with the technology at hand and would it be maneuverable enough?

Totally irrelevant. Do you know the inefficiency of those engines? How about the drag of the pod and what it added to fuel consumption? I did not know we are in 1955.

A large complicated swing wing Ardvark came in around in the high end of 40s. Get rid of the heavy and complex swing wing mechanism, add in composite materials, fixed inlets and you get the idea for PCA.

Say for sake of argurment it's 50k empty. 25k for fuel (nearly a raptor with 2 drop tanks). 4k for AAMs (I'm being generous there) and you have a sub 80k machine with (being conservative) 90,000lbs thrust in AB. I don't see any great issues with maneuvering. Look at the loaded weight of a Raptor. It's not a slush dog to my knowledge. And it will be a highly efficient airframe.

Also, maneuvering should no longer be the driving requirement. John Boyd came along at the right time and we got the F-15. But aerial combat isn't about yanking and banking anymore.

Remember when the decks were full of these and Vigilantes?? People forget.

EA-3B_VQ-2_CV-63_1987.JPEG

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2018, 19:59
by wolfpak
The B-58 analogy sets a lower limit on what can be achieved. We know we're 4 generations beyond that. What I'm saying is that you should be able to design an aircraft with a greater than 1000 nautical mile radius of action that will fit in a TABV shelter and have the attributes to dominate the Asian landmass.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Dec 2018, 03:13
by weasel1962
How much fuel did the B-58 carry to reach 1500nm? 60k lbs?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Dec 2018, 13:32
by madrat
Wouldn't an FB-111A performance 'analogy' be better suited to PCA than a B-58? Fewer engines, streamlined, internal carry, and built for a balance of speed & range.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Dec 2018, 16:24
by sferrin
madrat wrote:Wouldn't an FB-111A performance 'analogy' be better suited to PCA than a B-58? Fewer engines, streamlined, internal carry, and built for a balance of speed & range.



This could have been a PCA.

FB-23-1.jpg


northrop_FB-23_e-bay.jpg


1bfade70772ecf0e211d08e9ba5cfd63.jpg


Not sure why anybody is worried about it fitting on a carrier. Unlike the ATF/NATF, the PCA has never been meant to fly from a carrier.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Dec 2018, 16:54
by crosshairs
sferrin wrote:
madrat wrote:Wouldn't an FB-111A performance 'analogy' be better suited to PCA than a B-58? Fewer engines, streamlined, internal carry, and built for a balance of speed & range.



This could have been a PCA.

FB-23-1.jpg


northrop_FB-23_e-bay.jpg


1bfade70772ecf0e211d08e9ba5cfd63.jpg


Not sure why anybody is worried about it fitting on a carrier. Unlike the ATF/NATF, the PCA has never been meant to fly from a carrier.


Much too large. That's looks like a little smaller than a Bone. It does need some yanking and banking ability. Not to out turn a F-15, but to be a credible threat for bandits not wanting to get up close and personal. And again, its too large. We actually want to produce around 400 for the USAF. A plane that sized, we will end up getting 47.

The point of carrier operations is that A) it is the united state military that has to project air dominance around the globe, and b) the US does not always have friendly nations willing to allow strikes launched from their homeland. And I can add a C) which is spreading the costs over 2 branches of the service and the combined forces of the USA actually buying more than 187 copies. I think that is far more important than worrying about USAF/USN rivalries and you can't tell me the USN has no need for a long legged air dominance + ground attach aircraft. If nothing else than fly CAP and prevent the bad guys from daring to get gear off the tarmac to challenge the F-35s.

The Navy used to have their sh*t together. Today it's all light attack aircraft. Not good.

Heard of Eldorado Canyon? Our guys had to take the LONG LONG way around Europe because of their liberal defeatist politics. Would not have happened like that if the USN had aircraft to replicate the Ardvarks. No Bombcats back in the 80s.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Dec 2018, 18:17
by jetblast16
Here are my (personal numbers) for the PCA, or whatever the heck they call it in the future :D

Full operational empty weight "A" model: 46,000 LBS
Internal fuel capacity: 30,000 LBS
Internal weapons capacity: 5,000-6,000 LBS
Engines (each) max wet power sea level: 50,000 LBS
*Engines advanced variable cycle in form

The jet would be completely vertical and horizontal tailless, with emphasis on reduced wave drag. All sensors, communications equipment, offensive / defensive electronics would be buried in a low-observable airframe. The baseline jet would carry, not just provide space, power, and cooling for, a solid-state infrared fiber laser with 100 Kilowatts of output power, with exceptional beam quality.

Combined cycle? Is it possible with today's technology or within the next 10 years? Have common inlets and ejectors, where, the two variable cycle afterburning jet engines would push the PCA to ~Mach 2.5, then inlet doors would close-off the turbomachinery, allowing ramjets to kick-in, for speeds up to 2,500 mph... That would enable the jet to cover large distances at high speed, possibly undetected.

I'll stop dreaming :mrgreen:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Dec 2018, 19:20
by sferrin
crosshairs wrote:
sferrin wrote:
madrat wrote:Wouldn't an FB-111A performance 'analogy' be better suited to PCA than a B-58? Fewer engines, streamlined, internal carry, and built for a balance of speed & range.



This could have been a PCA.

The attachment FB-23-1.jpg is no longer available


The attachment FB-23-1.jpg is no longer available


The attachment FB-23-1.jpg is no longer available


Not sure why anybody is worried about it fitting on a carrier. Unlike the ATF/NATF, the PCA has never been meant to fly from a carrier.


Much too large. That's looks like a little smaller than a Bone.


It's WAY smaller than a Bone. Just because it's got an enclosed rear cockpit doesn't mean it's huge. There are many aircraft like that. A-5, B-58, Blackbird, XF-108, etc.

Capture.PNG

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2018, 18:43
by mixelflick
jetblast16 wrote:Here are my (personal numbers) for the PCA, or whatever the heck they call it in the future :D

Full operational empty weight "A" model: 46,000 LBS
Internal fuel capacity: 30,000 LBS
Internal weapons capacity: 5,000-6,000 LBS
Engines (each) max wet power sea level: 50,000 LBS
*Engines advanced variable cycle in form

The jet would be completely vertical and horizontal tailless, with emphasis on reduced wave drag. All sensors, communications equipment, offensive / defensive electronics would be buried in a low-observable airframe. The baseline jet would carry, not just provide space, power, and cooling for, a solid-state infrared fiber laser with 100 Kilowatts of output power, with exceptional beam quality.

Combined cycle? Is it possible with today's technology or within the next 10 years? Have common inlets and ejectors, where, the two variable cycle afterburning jet engines would push the PCA to ~Mach 2.5, then inlet doors would close-off the turbomachinery, allowing ramjets to kick-in, for speeds up to 2,500 mph... That would enable the jet to cover large distances at high speed, possibly undetected.

I'll stop dreaming :mrgreen:


On the contrary, keep dreaming!

We need "dream like" qualities to make sure this thing takes names and kicks a$$. To my mind, an "F-23 like" airframe is the best application for PCA. You've got your two engines, along with enough space for bigger motors. Internal fuel capacity of 30,000lbs? Maybe, with fuselage plugs or simply scaling up the design. New, lightweight materials to keep the empty weight below 50,000lbs (I'm working on them as we speak :)). New, 50,000lb thrust class ADVENT/Variable Cycle engines. The one problematic area may be carrying "enough" AAM's internally (those will be new too, hopefully ramjet powered). I'm working on that too, LOL. Sensors and SA that would make an F-35 blush.

It won't need thrust vectoring, because its speed/stealth, SA and new BVR AAM's will carry the day. One thing that's pretty clear about PCA is that.... "super-maneuverability" will be way down the list. Give it to the Russians, they can ride that horse until they find out the hard way stealth, SA and sensors are what matters now. The only thing more difficult than building a machine to meet these specs will be.... funding it.

A new administration less friendly to the defense establishment (ahem, usually Democrats) are the biggest threat to its existence..

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2018, 20:16
by wrightwing
The requirements will drive everything else. We're getting wrapped up talking about dimensions, weight, fuel, etc.... without regard to the requirements.

A few things that we can be reasonably certain of are long range/loiter time, greater signature reduction, greater use of AI, exceptional sensor/data bandwidth capabilities, and a larger internal payload. We just don't know what sort of range/payload requirements might be looked at (i.e. 1,000nm/5,000+ lb payload vs 1,500nm/10,000lb payload, or somewhere in between.)

We also don't know what sort of speed/agility requirements will be looked at (i.e. must be as fast/faster than F-22, must have similar agility between F-35 and F-22, etc....)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2018, 06:53
by element1loop
mixelflick wrote:
(I'm working on them as we speak :))

A new administration less friendly to the defense establishment (ahem, usually Democrats) are the biggest threat to its existence..


Eggnog's got a kick, eh? :wink:

Keep in mind the rising threat and challenge - not just the political winds. A Donkey win brings their tirade against Russia even as Russia is STILL ratcheting up its 'hybrid-[endless-outrageous-lies]-war' approach, and China has become increasingly draconian (i.e. got worse at hiding it). And a deep-penetrating stealth OCA attack aircraft may be just the ticket to show the stick to them.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2018, 15:47
by jetblast16
@mixelflick Teh, he, he, he :D

Some more dream-like qualities I've been musing: sustained Mach 2 in level flight in full dry thrust with 8 internal AAM missiles; high-degree of automation throughout the jet; 100-125 Kilowatt solid-state infrared fiber laser with conformal aperture for "hard kills" against air-to-air threats out to 3-4 miles; possible ramjet capability via combined cycle approach using common inlets, ejectors, and fuel; engine sustained sea level thrust in military power...34,000 LBS.

To me, the PCA is a "no compromise" design; it must be the total package. By definition, it can't be cheap, as it will represent the very tip of the spear, so to speak, of the United States Air Force's global projection of power. A plane with the above capabilities could actually act as a type of (strategic) deterrent.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2018, 16:08
by geforcerfx
jetblast16 wrote:.

To me, the PCA is a "no compromise" design; it must be the total package. By definition, it can't be cheap, as it will represent the very tip of the spear, so to speak, of the United States Air Force's global projection of power. A plane with the above capabilities could actually act as a type of (strategic) deterrent.


Those 30 jets we could afford would be a great deterant.

We can make the most capable combat aircraft ever, but can we afford enough of them? Especially while buying bulk 5th gens at 80-125 million a piece and a new stealth strategic bomber, two types of tankers and a new airlifter? All of those programs are taking priority over PCA at the moment. As awesome as your jet sounds it sounds unattainable, unless the Navy gets no new surface vessels for a few years ( which would be bad). Something based off the F-35s engines using the F-35's avionics suite and having 2-3 times the range and stealth payload would still be one hell of a deterrent.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2018, 21:53
by marsavian
If F-15X is going to replace F-15C and F-22 is going to be extended to 2060 it sounds like PCA will be replacing F-15E one for one eventually. There has to be enough to escort B-21 as well as be able to do their own stand alone long range attacks. Sounds like an initial production run of 200-300 with exports on top of that. Internal fuel range of 50-100% greater than a F-35A, it's straight in the mudhen/aardvark mold and like the mudhen and bombcat it will be able to take care of itself despite being a heavy fighter.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2018, 23:53
by citanon
What would you actually need PCA to do? You would need it to penetrate and attack over IADS but you'd also need it to defend against the J20s of the world over the Pacific.

It sounds like you need something with significantly higher sustained speed and better engines and better long wavelength stealth than the F35, and perhaps better sensors.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 25 Dec 2018, 04:15
by element1loop
geforcerfx wrote:Something based off the F-35s engines using the F-35's avionics suite and having 2-3 times the range and stealth payload would still be one hell of a deterrent.


And a fairly cheap tactical VLO probe tanker program would provide that, plus would sell in big numbers to F-35 operators everywhere, dramatically extending allied airpower ... and deterrence.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 26 Dec 2018, 02:26
by citanon
element1loop wrote:
geforcerfx wrote:Something based off the F-35s engines using the F-35's avionics suite and having 2-3 times the range and stealth payload would still be one hell of a deterrent.


And a fairly cheap tactical VLO probe tanker program would provide that, plus would sell in big numbers to F-35 operators everywhere, dramatically extending allied airpower ... and deterrence.


That's what I've been thinking too. However, I wonder how vulnerable the fighters and takers will be during refueling.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 26 Dec 2018, 03:44
by element1loop
citanon wrote:
element1loop wrote:
geforcerfx wrote:Something based off the F-35s engines using the F-35's avionics suite and having 2-3 times the range and stealth payload would still be one hell of a deterrent.


And a fairly cheap tactical VLO probe tanker program would provide that, plus would sell in big numbers to F-35 operators everywhere, dramatically extending allied airpower ... and deterrence.


That's what I've been thinking too. However, I wonder how vulnerable the fighters and takers will be during refueling.


In the midst of other F-35, within the context a major F-35 attack, with all that incredible SA and auto-prioritization and coop-engagement, they would not be that exposed IMHO, especially with EA/EW support from F-35 and Growler.

Sim it out in various realistic scenarios with J20, Su57, S400, VHF, develop some guideline 'CONOPS', roles and tactics. I'm betting they'll survive their tasks ... plus preserve the big tankers.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 26 Dec 2018, 14:14
by mixelflick
jetblast16 wrote:@mixelflick Teh, he, he, he :D

Some more dream-like qualities I've been musing: sustained Mach 2 in level flight in full dry thrust with 8 internal AAM missiles; high-degree of automation throughout the jet; 100-125 Kilowatt solid-state infrared fiber laser with conformal aperture for "hard kills" against air-to-air threats out to 3-4 miles; possible ramjet capability via combined cycle approach using common inlets, ejectors, and fuel; engine sustained sea level thrust in military power...34,000 LBS.

To me, the PCA is a "no compromise" design; it must be the total package. By definition, it can't be cheap, as it will represent the very tip of the spear, so to speak, of the United States Air Force's global projection of power. A plane with the above capabilities could actually act as a type of (strategic) deterrent.


Now we're talking! I honestly believe the F-22 is already capable of sustained mach 2 supercruise. Even if it's not, mach 1.8 is close enough. Granted it uses more fuel etc. but insofar as lofting AMRAAM's further and faster.. Speaking of which, I think8 AMRAAM's would be the absolute minimum. I'm thinking more like 10-16. We don't want to have it fly with missile trucks, we want it to be a missile truck.

The laser weapon is enticing, but given its weight and cost considerations, I rather doubt it'll make it into production. I could be wrong.. I forsee total augmented thrust being in the neighborhood of 100,000lbs, as the aircraft itself will likely weigh as much (full internal fuel and weapons load). The engines may well even give it 120,000lbs. As someone else here said, no compromises.

Since it'll be so expensive, the point about not being able to afford many is a valid one. The real question: How few could make a difference? 30? 50? 100??. If for the express purpose to putting out fires in short conflicts, 50 may suffice. But the focus now is on China so yeah, I think 300 - 400 would be the bare minimum.This is a question of $ and guts. Does the USAF have the guts to pursue a primarily air to air powerhouse and fund it with $ that'll be taken away from other programs?

And will Congress do the same?

Those are the real questions that need to be answered IMO...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 26 Dec 2018, 17:55
by jetblast16
@mixelflick Some more thoughts :devil:

The sustained Mach 2 (M2) cruise would be in its fully armed (maximum stealth) configuration, where the jet could sustain that Mach number in full dry thrust, just before military power...giving it deep, penetrating range at ~1,300 mph.

The 8 AAM internal load-out is a conservative estimate; it could potentially hold more, but I wanted to emphasize a serious internal fuel load, a plethora of internally-mounted sensors, tons of internally-concealed offensive/defensive/communications equipment, and an internal laser of high average output power.

The laser, in my opinion, is a must have for the baseline jet...imagine placing a golf ball size spot at 50-60 Kilowatts onto an incoming air-to-air missile, with automatic cueing and aiming by the jet's computers/ sensors:)

Another thought I had was for an internally mounted, high-velocity, arming-piercing 20mm cannon, using sabot rounds with a 700 round magazine.

Some designations for my "paper airplane" :devil:

F-24A (Condor?)
F-36A (Vanguard)?
F-36A (Defender)?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 26 Dec 2018, 18:51
by mixelflick
Man, you are cooking with gas now. These capabilities sound mouth watering.

The name "Condor" is taken.. If I'm not mistaken, that's the NATO code name for the Russian cargo jet the AN-124. "Vanguard" is a great name however, just like the financial services firm. The laser deal.... I still have difficulty imagining it, as I'm not aware of any current, operational laser weapon on an aircraft - especially a fighter .It would be a real head turner though, that's for sure. I sort of figured the first airborne laser on a fighter type aircraft being defensive in nature. But hey, we're dreaming so why not.

This is fun. Sort of like working for Sputnick News and writing fiction about Russian super weapons :mrgreen:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 27 Dec 2018, 16:26
by element1loop
jetblast16 wrote:The 8 AAM internal load-out is a conservative estimate; it could potentially hold more, but I wanted to emphasize a serious internal fuel load


Tardis weapon bay? (bigger inside than out)

F-36A Terminator :P

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 27 Dec 2018, 17:26
by mixelflick
element1loop wrote:
jetblast16 wrote:The 8 AAM internal load-out is a conservative estimate; it could potentially hold more, but I wanted to emphasize a serious internal fuel load


Tardis weapon bay? (bigger inside than out)

F-36A Terminator :P


That's the trick though with PCA: It has to carry both an astronomical fuel and weapons load. I don't see what the point is if you can penetrate/loiter all day with just... 8 missiles? We already know from some war sims the F-22's 8 missiles are too few. Sure, they can hang around longer to provide targeting/SA to other assets but... what other assets are going to go as far as PCA and stay on station for any length of time?

They're either going to pony up huge $ to get those capabilities or... accept some compromises.I tend to think it'll be the latter, given the USAF is going to have all it can handle in buying adequate numbers of F-35's, B-21's, new tankers, trainers and God knows what else. This is another reason why I don't think the F-15X has a snowball's chance in hell of coming to fruition...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Dec 2018, 04:39
by wrightwing
mixelflick wrote:
element1loop wrote:
jetblast16 wrote:The 8 AAM internal load-out is a conservative estimate; it could potentially hold more, but I wanted to emphasize a serious internal fuel load


Tardis weapon bay? (bigger inside than out)

F-36A Terminator :P


That's the trick though with PCA: It has to carry both an astronomical fuel and weapons load. I don't see what the point is if you can penetrate/loiter all day with just... 8 missiles? We already know from some war sims the F-22's 8 missiles are too few. Sure, they can hang around longer to provide targeting/SA to other assets but... what other assets are going to go as far as PCA and stay on station for any length of time?

They're either going to pony up huge $ to get those capabilities or... accept some compromises.I tend to think it'll be the latter, given the USAF is going to have all it can handle in buying adequate numbers of F-35's, B-21's, new tankers, trainers and God knows what else. This is another reason why I don't think the F-15X has a snowball's chance in hell of coming to fruition...


The F-35, KC-46, and B-21 buys should be close to ending, by the time PCS starts ramping up, though. PCA is a 2035-2040s timeframe entry date.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Dec 2018, 05:43
by strykerxo
Not a fighter? Maybe not a F-? but a new or old designation, P-50 Penetrator, "P" for Pursuit.

If the PCA is to work alongside of the B-21 Raider and "not a fighter" and in support of legacy AC. Characteristics that have not been seen for generations of AC, a vehicle that can protect a bomber all the way to its target. The B-17/P-51 combination during WW2 dramatically impacted the war, no other fighter could do it at the time. Generations of jet fighters have had one glaring shortfall, legs, the PCA may change this?

Intruder, Prowler, Raider - good but taken, P-50 Invader, nickname "Vader"

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Dec 2018, 02:45
by firebase99
strykerxo wrote:Not a fighter? Maybe not a F-? but a new or old designation, P-50 Penetrator, "P" for Pursuit.

If the PCA is to work alongside of the B-21 Raider and "not a fighter" and in support of legacy AC. Characteristics that have not been seen for generations of AC, a vehicle that can protect a bomber all the way to its target. The B-17/P-51 combination during WW2 dramatically impacted the war, no other fighter could do it at the time. Generations of jet fighters have had one glaring shortfall, legs, the PCA may change this?

Intruder, Prowler, Raider - good but taken, P-50 Invader, nickname "Vader"


Wow, I was about to write pretty much the exact same thing.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Dec 2018, 02:59
by jetblast16
F-24A (F-36A) Shadow Hawk
F-24A (F-36A) Shadow Bolt
F-24A (F-36A) Penetrator

:)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Dec 2018, 03:06
by jetblast16
Mixel, the laser "cannon" is a bit of a stretch...now, but maybe not in 10 years. Remember, this platform will be designed to counter threats in the 2030s timeframe, and beyond.

As long as there is kerosene or fuel onboard to run the engines, to spin the generators, to make the electricity...the solid-state laser can fire. You had raised concerns about "8" AAMs internally; I have raised the stores count to 10, PLUS the laser :mrgreen:

With 50+ Kilowatts, the right beam management, and pointing, the F-24A could potentially down other fighters within visual range, along with air-to-air missiles. I suppose with the right atmospherics, beam pointing, and output power, the laser could engage certain ground vehicles, like trucks, cars, etc.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Jan 2019, 17:34
by mixelflick
Given the timeline and what's been spent, where do you feel it is in the development cycle?

I'm thinking prototypes have to be flying soon. The F-22/YF-23A first flew in what, 1990? And the F-22 wasn't operational until 15 years later. Granted, I know they deliberately slow walked it due to the "peace dividend", but assuming 5 years to test and another 5 to refine, that brings us to about the 2030 timeframe.

I know the USAF SAYS they want it to be less revolutionary vs. evolutionary to accelerate the process, but let's be honest: When was the last time the USAF ever did that? It's almost always "we want the latest, greatest tech" in the bird - and nothing less. I just don't see them using much "off the shelf" tech to get this done. Without a doubt, the airframe is going to be new. The weapons will have to be new (AIM-120D will be old by then), and ditto for the engines. Only the sensor suite from the F-35 could be ported over in my mind, and that too will likely be "new and improved".

It's clear an F-22 on steroids isn't going to cut it. First flight needs to be soon, and boy oh boy am I looking forward to seeing the first pics of this beast... :mrgreen:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Jan 2019, 21:41
by jetblast16
Given the timeline and what's been spent, where do you feel it is in the development cycle?


I believe it is somewhat behind schedule now. The DOD / USAF, possibly the Navy, need to decide if the PCA will be comprised of a single platform or a networked set of stealthy platforms. Seeing as to where the world is going technologically, if based on a single platform, my prior fantasies may not be so far off base, as its current name implies, the PCA will need range and possibly speed to defeat (penetrate) a Tier 1 IADS in the 2030s-2040s.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Jan 2019, 21:42
by jetblast16
Only the sensor suite from the F-35 could be ported over in my mind


Or a multi-spectral DAS / EOTS :wink:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Jan 2019, 23:12
by fidgetspinner
I have heard the frontal RCS is the smallest, back is the next smallest, sides of an aircraft can appear 1000 times more huge in size than compared to the front. But it appears to me that the ventral RCS or underside of an aircraft has the highest RCS because of alot of surface area.

1. Can someone give me a reference of the size estimation the underside would be than compared to the front of a aircraft?

2. Does anyone have sources on the angle approach of aircraft, altitude height, angle view of a SAM radar to determine the distance the aircraft would be tracked along with what percentage the ventral or frontal RCS is being viewed?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Jan 2019, 08:42
by wrightwing
fidgetspinner wrote:I have heard the frontal RCS is the smallest, back is the next smallest, sides of an aircraft can appear 1000 times more huge in size than compared to the front. But it appears to me that the ventral RCS or underside of an aircraft has the highest RCS because of alot of surface area.

1. Can someone give me a reference of the size estimation the underside would be than compared to the front of a aircraft?

2. Does anyone have sources on the angle approach of aircraft, altitude height, angle view of a SAM radar to determine the distance the aircraft would be tracked along with what percentage the ventral or frontal RCS is being viewed?

The F-22, F-35, and eventually PCS, are all aspect VLO. There's no angle where they have an RCS 1000x larger than head on. There's also no angle, where a fire control radar will detect/track them at long ranges.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Jan 2019, 09:41
by gideonic
wrightwing wrote:The F-22, F-35, and eventually PCS, are all aspect VLO. There's no angle where they have an RCS 1000x larger than head on. There's also no angle, where a fire control radar will detect/track them at long ranges.


While I agree with the second part wholeheartedly, I find it hard to believe the first part. It would make more sense if you added "operationally relevant or useful angles". I'm pretty sure that the RCS of a stealth fighter at a 90 degree angle straight down is at least 2-3 orders of magnitude greater than head on - simple physics should still apply. The problem is that the window during which you could track/target the aircraft at those angles is ridiculously tiny, so not really useful.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Jan 2019, 12:28
by hornetfinn
I think that 1000x RCS comes from some public RCS models that have been done about F-22 and F-35. There are naturally problems with these models as they are made assuming that aircraft in question is made from fully reflective material (like polished aluminum) for simplicity. That's naturally not the case as modern aircraft are made from carbon fiber composites which have far lower reflectivity. Another thing is that most reflective angles are well known and can be remedied using thicker RAM in the right places. Also we have to remember that while F-35 and F-22 likely have some "bad" angles, they themselves know these angles exactly and all the time and can avoid showing them to enemy radars.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Jan 2019, 18:00
by mixelflick
I'm not so sure about the "bad" angles thing. Perhaps bigger than others, but I doubt they're "bad" per se. Bad (to me) implies a radar spike, thus jeopardizing its stealth. LM would have been crazy to spend all that money on low observable/stealth and then roll out.... an aircraft that could be detected from a certain angle? Not buying it...

It doesn't square up with pilot comments about the F-22/35 either. Several F-15/16 pilots I've spoke to have said, "we can't see them. even when they're close". One F-16 pilot told me they couldn't even see it with their radar when ground control told them to look! "You have 2 F-35's, 12 miles away at your 1:00, 25,000ft". Pilot said he pointed the radar there, nothin' doin'.

12 miles!

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2019, 01:21
by weasel1962
I wonder whether sniper pods with IR sensors can make a difference for legacies vs 5G?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2019, 01:32
by popcorn
weasel1962 wrote:I wonder whether sniper pods with IR sensors can make a difference for legacies vs 5G?

Radar is still the primary sensor in the A2A realm, the 4Gen pilot is a dead man flying long beforre he gets a sniff from his Sniper Pod.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2019, 02:49
by weasel1962
May be the case against an F-22 or F-35 but equally ineffective against a PLA or russki "5G"? That's not I heard from pilots using sniper.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2019, 04:50
by element1loop
mixelflick wrote: .. when ground control told them to look! "You have 2 F-35's, 12 miles away at your 1:00, 25,000ft".


I finally figured out how to defeat an F-35 ... ADS-B transponder code. :mrgreen:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2019, 04:53
by weasel1962
May have to switch it on first.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2019, 11:59
by gideonic
mixelflick wrote:I'm not so sure about the "bad" angles thing. Perhaps bigger than others, but I doubt they're "bad" per se. Bad (to me) implies a radar spike, thus jeopardizing its stealth. LM would have been crazy to spend all that money on low observable/stealth and then roll out.... an aircraft that could be detected from a certain angle? Not buying it...

Why not? If it would only be right below or above the aircraft at a near-90°angle for instance? With some, a lot smaller spikes from aligned edges in some unimportant directions.

That would only mean that the fighter is theoretically detectable at some obscure angles in a very tiny time window (let's not forget, that the aircraft moves). It still wouldn't be trackable or even really detectable. Especially when considering it also deals with signature management and is well aware of the radars trying to acquire (and at what angle).

Nothing will be directly above or below the aircraft (or facing the aligned-edges) for a meaningful amount of time. Especially as the pilot is well aware of the threats and "placing" the aircraft optimally.

Of course a mythical 100% undetectable "invisibility cloak" would be better. Real life engineering however is about tradeoffs and such miracle panacea's usually aren't possible. They also aren't necessary. Aforementioned fighters would still be "all-aspect stealth" in all operationally relevant meanings of the word.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2019, 16:03
by mixelflick
gideonic wrote:
mixelflick wrote:I'm not so sure about the "bad" angles thing. Perhaps bigger than others, but I doubt they're "bad" per se. Bad (to me) implies a radar spike, thus jeopardizing its stealth. LM would have been crazy to spend all that money on low observable/stealth and then roll out.... an aircraft that could be detected from a certain angle? Not buying it...

Why not? If it would only be right below or above the aircraft at a near-90°angle for instance? With some, a lot smaller spikes from aligned edges in some unimportant directions.

That would only mean that the fighter is theoretically detectable at some obscure angles in a very tiny time window (let's not forget, that the aircraft moves). It still wouldn't be trackable or even really detectable. Especially when considering it also deals with signature management and is well aware of the radars trying to acquire (and at what angle).

Nothing will be directly above or below the aircraft (or facing the aligned-edges) for a meaningful amount of time. Especially as the pilot is well aware of the threats and "placing" the aircraft optimally.

Of course a mythical 100% undetectable "invisibility cloak" would be better. Real life engineering however is about tradeoffs and such miracle panacea's usually aren't possible. They also aren't necessary. Aforementioned fighters would still be "all-aspect stealth" in all operationally relevant meanings of the word.


Yes, when you describe it like that it makes a lot more sense. Appreciate your input..

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Jan 2019, 07:46
by citanon

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Jan 2019, 16:58
by mixelflick
citanon wrote:New write up by Kris Osborn on PCA:

https://defensemaven.io/warriormaven/ai ... xtPdROevw/


"Air Force Penetrating Counter Air program is looking at hypersonic weapons, unmanned flight, lasers..."

So much for "We don't want it to take 20 years to field something/do want to use off the shelf technologies etc", LOL. Precisely what I thought would happen. The USAF simply can't resist having the latest and greatest technologies built into their aircraft. Can't say that I'd do it any differently, but they could at least be honest with themselves/the vendors responding to their RFP's... Their history too, speaks to eschewing the simpler/cheaper alternative.

Consider the F-20 for example. Given its cost, reliability and low cost per flight hour... you'd think the USAF would have bought them by the squadron. But no dice. Yes, yes they would have been less capable vs. the fleet of multi-role F-16's we have today, but fact is - they had the option.

Be that as it may, I'm REALLY looking forward to see what LM, Boeing etc cook up. If they hurry, I might even be able to see it in service, before I make my way through the checkout line..

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Jan 2019, 05:45
by element1loop
mixelflick wrote:"Air Force Penetrating Counter Air program is looking at hypersonic weapons, unmanned flight, lasers..."

So much for "We don't want it to take 20 years to field something/do want to use off the shelf technologies etc", LOL. Precisely what I thought would happen. The USAF simply can't resist having the latest and greatest technologies built into their aircraft.


You're presuming that's what it means though, mixel.

The early PCA conception was to build an airframe with maximized adaptability allowance within the structures from the outset for the aircraft to be able to have such capabilities added to it later once in service, i.e. PCA can not be a 'finished' solidified capability for a well-defined role.

The emphasis was originally to get the aircraft into service first, with initial capability levels mirroring F-35 (or even lower), but then to be able to evolve in a highly flexible way once in service, as the role of penetration and OCA developes during the following decades. So of course people would be currently thinking about the prerequisites, design allowances and trade-offs for fitting and adapting PCA to, "hypersonic weapons, unmanned flight, lasers". But it's an assumption to think those items will be baseline capabilities, at FOC.

F-35 puts the entire networked kill chain in one aircraft, then add mucho VLO, range and payload, and a capacity for continuous radical systems plus weapons and sensor adaptations = PCA

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Jan 2019, 16:39
by mixelflick
Maybe, but I just can't see the USAF rolling out its new fighter with a baseline capability.... equal (or God forbid, lesser) than the F-35. I don't mean the F-35 is any slouch - it isn't. But it'd be the F-35 "Can't turn, can't climb, can't run..." chorus all over again. Besides, when was the last time the USAF rolled out a new aircraft that wasn't a quantum leap over the replacement airframe?

*The F-15 and F-16 were a LOT more effective/deadly than the F-4 they replaced

*The F-14 was a LOT more effective/deadly than the F-4/F-8 it replaced

*The F-22 was a quantum leap over the F-15, which it was SUPPOSED to replace

*The F-35 is a quantum leap over the F-16, F-18, A-10 and AV/8B it's replacing

The one aircraft you can (arguably) cite that wasn't much more capable than the aircraft it replaced is the F-18, when it assumed the fleet defense role of the F-14. Much upgraded into the Super Hornet, that aircraft/radar/AIM-120D combination is just now approaching the capabilities of late model F-14D's, and only in some metrics (not all).

So I suppose it's been done, but getting there wasn't easy and to this day, some capabilities remain sub-par vs. the aircraft it replaced. The F-14D could play in the vertical, had superior range and was equally adept at fleet air defense, air to ground and tactical recon. It had much greater legs than the Super Hornet, got there faster and could stay on station longer.

Hopefully, the Navy's F/A-XX will run the table and correct that situation. It is hard to imagine PCA won't, either...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Jan 2019, 16:57
by element1loop
mixelflick wrote:Besides, when was the last time the USAF rolled out a new aircraft that wasn't a quantum leap over the replacement airframe?


Well that's that whole point. No one wants to wait 20 years to get another mega-jet, the whole intent of PCA was a rapid prototype and testing period to get the basic jet into service much faster, but also much less developed initially but with far greater designed-in adaptability, for later development, than the prior drawn-out 5th-gen jet development of a final envisaged capability. So there (ideally) won't be another 20 year long mega-jet development, because no one wants to do that this time.

Griffin etal., have been pushing the rapid prototype process pretty vigorously for a couple of years now to speed up development and fielding. They clearly want to short-circuit the process this time, so I presume they mean it.

And with respect to the F-35 criticisms, were ANY of those even valid? Did any of those whines make a difference? Except to annoy and piss everyone off? So why would it matter for PCA?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Jan 2019, 16:23
by mixelflick
I understand your points, all very good ones.

On the whining thing, I think it does matter because at one point - the pig pile effect had the program in some very real jeopardy. It took appointing a new USAF program manager, who really took it to Lockheed to get the jet to where it is today. Remember, there's always the possibility it could have gone the other way like it did on the F-22. In fact, the F-22 is a perfect example of a next gen air dominance platform truncated buy. Granted, its performance was never in doubt but detractors (citing cost and lack of a mission) effectively made their arguments.

So according to what they say they want to do, PCA should be here in 10 or so years - not 20+? I have a hard time seeing that happen. So far as we know, the prototypes haven't even flown yet. That leaves the 10 years to test, refine etc and.... it goes IOC in 2030?

I hope so (I'm already standing in the checkout line), but I'm not very optimistic. Someone here said it's already behind schedule, and that's concerning. Until then, I'll be content to watch F-35's roll off the production line and keep a close eye on its performance. Recent videos of its 2019 demo do indeed indicate it's something special. Looks very Raptor like in its presentation..

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 05:40
by element1loop
What to Expect from Sixth-Gen Aircraft

9/16/2019

By Jon Harper

Image
Illustration: Scott Rekdal / Turbosquid

... A mockup of a Franco-German-Spanish stealth jet, part of the Future Combat Air System, or FCAS, was unveiled at the Paris Air Show in June. ... the U.S. Air Force and Navy are planning to develop their own “next-generation air dominance” capabilities.

Survivability against sophisticated enemy air defenses is expected to be a key requirement of sixth-generation systems that might have to square off against advanced adversaries such as China or Russia. “It has to be able to penetrate the worst potential defenses we could be up against,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in a recent interview with National Defense. ...

... While fifth-generation platforms such as the F-35 and F-22 are low-observable against today’s X-band radars, the concept of stealth will likely be broader for future systems, said retired fighter pilot Gen. Hawk Carlisle, president and CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association and the former commander of Air Combat Command.

“It has got to try to be stealthier across more of the radar spectrum. It has to be stealthy in the IR spectrum. It has to be stealthy in the electromagnetic spectrum and how much it emits. It has to be stealthy in other ways,” he said. “When we talk about sixth-gen, it’s multispectral stealth across as many sensor capabilities as exist out there.

Another way to improve survivability is to suppress enemy air-defense systems with electronic warfare tools or shoot down their missiles and fighter jets, analysts have noted. “Navy leaders intend [the future fighter] FA-XX to be survivable in highly contested environments, which it might achieve through a combination of sensor countermeasures and self-defense weapons rather than aircraft shape and coatings alone,” said a report published last year by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments titled, “Regaining the High Ground at Sea: Transforming the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Air Wing for Great Power Competition.” ...

[The only difference I see here is better stealth and self-defence against missiles via small missiles, DIRCM, and offensive directed-energy]

... European missile-maker MBDA envisions platforms armed with interceptors.

Even if aircraft are stealthy, “we think that in the end game you will still have the threat of incoming missiles,” said Jean Dupont, the company’s head of media relations. “The only way to get rid of these very sophisticated threats will be to have … self-defense missiles onboard the aircraft.” An Air Force Research Laboratory video released last year titled, “Air Force 2030: Call to Action,” included a computer-generated F-X fighter shooting down an enemy aircraft with a laser. Carlisle said he anticipates lasers being integrated onto U.S. fighters once size, weight, power, thermal management and beam control challenges are solved. “We’re not there yet. It’s going to take a little bit of time,” he said. But “that capability is not too far in the future.

Other possibilities for directed energy weapons include high powered microwaves or an electromagnetic pulse-type of capability, he said. “If you can do something to disrupt the microelectronics in an adversary system, then you potentially can render it combat ineffective,” he explained. [If you see it first, i.e. if your stealth tech is the best] “We’ve demonstrated we can do it with a couple of different systems, so I think that’s another … capability that could come forward before too long.”

Another factor to consider is the need for speed. Carlisle noted that historically there has been a tradeoff between speed and stealth because quicker aircraft tend to have higher infrared signatures. However, cooling technologies could potentially enable next-gen systems to fly faster without sacrificing low-observability. Range and endurance are other key characteristics of any aircraft. Some observers have raised concerns about existing platforms’ combat radius. “One of the hits on fighters is you spend a lot of time going to the tanker because of range” limitations, Carlisle said.

The CSBA report said the Navy’s FA-XX is expected to emphasize range and speed. Future naval aircraft might need to provide offensive counter-air support from carriers that are located as far as 1,000 to 1,200 nautical miles away from enemy missile launchers, the authors said. [The right weapon should allow a strike radius of 1,800nm with MQ-25 support]

Another CSBA report commissioned by Congress and published earlier this year titled, “An Air Force for an Era of Great Power Competition,” said the service needs a penetrating counter-air platform that has greater range, endurance and payload capacity than contemporary fighters. Such a plane must be capable of conducting electronic warfare attacks to help suppress threats and enable other penetrating aircraft to survive and perform their missions.

A future system or family of systems “has to be able to have the legs to persist in that environment for long as we need it to persist,” Goldfein said. It must also have the ability to punish U.S. adversaries with its firepower, he noted. The service is pursuing a next-gen air-to-air weapon, as well as highly maneuverable hypersonic strike missiles. “You can make a missile pretty low-observable,” Carlisle said. “Now you look at a hypersonic missile that’s doing Mach 5, Mach 8, Mach 12, … even if the adversary knows it’s there as it passes through a weapons envelope so quickly, their ability to react and do something is very limited.”

Meanwhile, MBDA is planning to create a new series of smart missiles that could be networked with other systems. ... “We want to build synergies between those programs … in the weapon set,” Dupont said.

Nations must also decide if they want their next-generation fighters to be manned, unmanned or optionally manned. Unmanned systems can operate without the limitations of the human pilot, such as fatigue and being able to handle G forces, Carlisle noted. They also keep airmen out of harm’s way. However, officials still see value in having a human in the loop to make decisions.

“We all know that technically, of course, it’s feasible” for a next-generation fighter to be unmanned, said Florian Taitsch, head of media relations for Airbus Defense and Space. “But as far as I understand, the European nations … [prefer] having a man sitting there in the cockpit.” ...

[With a man in the loop your entire airforce won't jet jammed and made ineffective. Since when has having a human in a fighter led to ineffective capabilities or unsurvivability? Better to team with a drone that's agile and faster and can go deeper LOS while still human controlled. That's a long way at mutual altitude of 45k ft.]

... For certain scenarios and certain mission sets, an autonomous platform might be able to get the job done, she said during a panel at this year’s Navy League Sea-Air-Space Symposium. “But we’re seeing a lot more ability to leverage some of that … autonomy but still be in the loop with the manned system,” she added. That was one of the focus areas that the service looked at in its next-generation air dominance analysis of alternatives.

Sixth-generation fighters may be accompanied by robotic wingmen when they go into battle. Taitsch said the future combat air system is expected to include a manned fighter that will function as a mothership for drones called remote carriers.

Christie said manned/unmanned teaming and artificial intelligence will be a key component of next-generation air warfare. “One of the challenges is working out what the man does and what the machine does,” he noted.

The Pentagon is gung-ho on the concept, envisioning a family of systems cooperating to accomplish their mission. “The Air Force is talking a lot about loyal wingman … where there’s a manned platform and then there’s a group of unmanned capability that is either semi-autonomous, totally autonomous or totally controlled,” Carlisle said.

“You may have a man in the loop that’s maybe back in the rear so he’s less threatened, but he controls things in front of him,” he explained. “You may have that penetrating capability with man in the loop that goes forward … but he has the ability to control the rest of the systems from his place. Or you could have it all forward and unmanned” with a human overseeing the mission from much farther away.

The Air Force Research Lab is already testing a low-cost Valkyrie drone that could be paired with the fighter fleet. Future fighters might even be able to carry unmanned aerial vehicles that could be deployed from the mothership. “Our idea is to have something so compact, light [that it would be] completely compatible with the launchers,” said Sebastien Palaprat, an engineer with MBDA. The systems could operate in swarms and be networked with other weapons.

The Pentagon has experimented with this concept. In 2016, a swarm of more than 100 Perdix micro drones were deployed from three F/A-18 Super Hornets at China Lake, California. Data processing and sharing, enabled by automation and artificial intelligence, will be key to next-generation air dominance, officials and other observers say.

The FCAS will include an “air combat cloud” to enable fighter jets and other military forces to share “all the information available on the battlefield in real time with anybody,” Taitsch said. That would be a major leap in situational awareness capability, he noted. Anybody who claims that this level of information sharing is already happening has “seen too many films that are coming out of Hollywood,” he added. Christie said situational awareness will be a key feature of any future force. “The next generation will be all about … information dominance.”

Carlisle expects sensor fusion capability will be radically improved in next-gen systems. “We have to learn to DANCE,” he said, using an acronym which stands for data, algorithms, networks, cloud and edge computing. “You need the data. You need the algorithms, which is the AI or machine learning. You need the networks so that you can pass this around. You need the cloud for that data accessibility. And then you need computing at the [tactical] edge,” Carlisle explained. “I think that’s going to be where the sixth-gen is going to take us.”

Some Air Force and Navy officials are now shying away from using the term sixth-generation fighter, and have adopted the phrase next-generation air dominance, or NGAD, to describe their future systems, which will be supported by space, cyber and other capabilities. Goldfein said the Air Force could develop multiple types of sixth-gen aircraft. “I don’t know right now whether it’s a single platform [or] it’s a number of platforms,” he said. “I want to keep that wide open so we can really drive towards game changing technology as we go forward.

[Sounds like nothing soon then]

Next-gen aircraft might not look like today’s fighters, Carlisle said. “In people’s mind when they think fighter, they think F-22, F-35, F-18, F-15, F-16 — but it may not be a fighter in the traditional sense,” he said. “It may have different attributes. It may be a bigger airplane with a bigger internal storage and bigger payload.

The mockups unveiled by European powers, on the other hand, have a more traditional look. The Tempest “will probably still be an iconic fighter aircraft but with lots of related systems,” Chrisitie said. Countries are moving forward with their sixth-gen plans. By the end of next year, the Tempest project is expected to shift from a concept phase to an assessment phase. The U.K. Defence Ministry aims to have the aircraft operational by 2035.

[Oh come off it, 2035 is approaching mid-life for the 5th-gen development era. Tempest is clearly a variation on the 5th-gen airframe theme. :roll: When I look at Tempest all I can think is, why? What's next generation about it? What's its compelling reasons to be? Why would you spend hundreds of billions on that reinvention/duplication of the 5th-gen wheel?]

Later this year, the FCAS program will move from a joint concept phase to a demonstrator phase. The new fighter is expected to be ready for action by 2040. The U.S. Air Force and Navy are planning to field new platforms in the 2030s. Analyses of alternatives have already been conducted, and billions of dollars for next-generation air dominance capabilities are included in the future years defense program.

The Air Force is doing risk reduction and prototyping, which is expected to run through fiscal year 2024, according to budget documents. The Navy is planning to initiate a concept refinement phase in fiscal year 2020, according to Capt. Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James “Hondo” Geurts. The race is on to develop the most cutting edge systems. “We have a very strong industrial base that’s bringing lots of new ideas to us,” Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord told reporters. “We might have a very good competition there.”

— Additional reporting by Connie Lee

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org ... n-aircraft

They need to get practical with all those options, and reject the 'not-necessary' proposals. That 5-year proposition looks a lot more like 15 years (20 for Tempest). No change.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 11:17
by southerncross
element1loop wrote:What to Expect from Sixth-Gen Aircraft
It has to be able to penetrate the worst potential defenses we could be up against,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in a recent interview with National Defense. ...

Odds are that they will not be capable of that through technological superiority. They would spend their money and serve the security of US better in other ways instead of searching for the new miracle weapon, the technological gap to countries like China is closing very fast.
“It has got to try to be stealthier across more of the radar spectrum. It has to be stealthy in the IR spectrum. It has to be stealthy in the electromagnetic spectrum and how much it emits. It has to be stealthy in other ways,” he said. “When we talk about sixth-gen, it’s multispectral stealth across as many sensor capabilities as exist out there.

US knows how to counter current VLO technology and knows that their opponents know too. Without denying its advantages, don't get me wrong.
“Navy leaders intend [the future fighter] FA-XX to be survivable in highly contested environments, which it might achieve through a combination of sensor countermeasures and self-defense weapons rather than aircraft shape and coatings alone,” said a report published last year by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments titled, “Regaining the High Ground at Sea: Transforming the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Air Wing for Great Power Competition.” ...

Navy leaders have said they expect to use missiles or call the USAF if they need to penetrate certain ADs. They are toning down the hype and seem to want something soon, even when it is not alien tech.
Even if aircraft are stealthy, “we think that in the end game you will still have the threat of incoming missiles,”

Makes sense, no doubt. It is fundamentally different to "trust" your stealth is going to work than actually having a solution in case it doesn't.
We’re not there yet. It’s going to take a little bit of time,” he said. But “that capability is not too far in the future.

It depends on what we call 6th gen in the end and when it will be implemented.
Another factor to consider is the need for speed. Carlisle noted that historically there has been a tradeoff between speed and stealth because quicker aircraft tend to have higher infrared signatures. However, cooling technologies could potentially enable next-gen systems to fly faster without sacrificing low-observability. Range and endurance are other key characteristics of any aircraft. Some observers have raised concerns about existing platforms’ combat radius. “One of the hits on fighters is you spend a lot of time going to the tanker because of range” limitations, Carlisle said.
The CSBA report said the Navy’s FA-XX is expected to emphasize range and speed

Speed, range are valuable. Your guys are saying it, not me.
The right weapon should allow a strike radius of 1,800nm with MQ-25 support

Such distances start making one think if navy brings anything to the fight. The increased tanking effort and reduced strike tempo is going to stress the carriers and put in question their ability to degrade the opponent's military.
“Now you look at a hypersonic missile that’s doing Mach 5, Mach 8, Mach 12, … even if the adversary knows it’s there as it passes through a weapons envelope so quickly, [b]their ability to react and do something is very limited.”

Sorry, but I cannot help noticing that it is "the enemy" that has such weapons as of now. Do such defence limitations apply to US or only to the enemy, when US fields hypersonic weapons?
[With a man in the loop your entire airforce won't jet jammed and made ineffective. Since when has having a human in a fighter led to ineffective capabilities or unsurvivability? Better to team with a drone that's agile and faster and can go deeper LOS while still human controlled. That's a long way at mutual altitude of 45k ft.]

Autonomous systems don't get jammed. But I agree it is a long way until such are capable to operate free of failure and the way is to have them learn from humans in the first place.
... For certain scenarios and certain mission sets, an autonomous platform might be able to get the job done, she said during a panel at this year’s Navy League Sea-Air-Space Symposium. “But we’re seeing a lot more ability to leverage some of that … autonomy but still be in the loop with the manned system,” she added. That was one of the focus areas that the service looked at in its next-generation air dominance analysis of alternatives.

Sixth-generation fighters may be accompanied by robotic wingmen when they go into battle. Taitsch said the future combat air system is expected to include a manned fighter that will function as a mothership for drones called remote carriers.
...
“You may have a man in the loop that’s maybe back in the rear so he’s less threatened, but he controls things in front of him,” he explained. “You may have that penetrating capability with man in the loop that goes forward … but he has the ability to control the rest of the systems from his place. Or you could have it all forward and unmanned” with a human overseeing the mission from much farther away.

IMHO this applies to the Su-57 - Okhotnik perfectly.
[Oh come off it, 2035 is approaching mid-life for the 5th-gen development era. Tempest is clearly a variation on the 5th-gen airframe theme. :roll: When I look at Tempest all I can think is, why? What's next generation about it? What's its compelling reasons to be? Why would you spend hundreds of billions on that reinvention/duplication of the 5th-gen wheel?]

Agree. If you come late to 5th gen you call your plane "6th gen" and hope nobody notices there is nothing revolutionary about it. Of course it will include improvements that are not present in current gen AC but from what we have seen, there is little an improved F-35 is not going to be capable of doing from what has been stated for Tempest. Let's wait and see whether there is something significant.
The race is on to develop the most cutting edge systems. “We have a very strong industrial base that’s bringing lots of new ideas to us,”
...
They need to get practical with all those options, and reject the 'not-necessary' proposals. That 5-year proposition looks a lot more like 15 years (20 for Tempest). No change.

Exactly, and it is going to be extremely expensive if people do not realize they cannot keep pursuing absolute military dominance over peer rivals, in their own territory (!). Contractors will certainly know how to make military salivate with their proposals (and rip them off in the process), but nothing real and usable will come out of it if the goals are not more down to earth.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 14:17
by element1loop
southerncross wrote: ... blah blah blah ... Russia Stronk!


The topic is "Penetrating Counter Air/Next Generation Air Dominance", it isn't about your pet spin topics and favourite bits of Russian junk.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 14:48
by botsing
element1loop wrote:
southerncross wrote: ... blah blah blah ... Russia Stronk!


The topic is "Penetrating Counter Air/Next Generation Air Dominance", it isn't about your pet spin topics and favourite Russian bits of junk.

:thumb:

It would be nice if topics can be discussed on a rational base again, instead of the constant FUD injections from certain governmental parties (mainly Russian and since that one incident also Indian and Pakistani).

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 18:00
by southerncross
element1loop wrote:The topic is "Penetrating Counter Air/Next Generation Air Dominance", it isn't about your pet spin topics and favourite bits of Russian junk.

You posted an article an I commented on that. If you don't find any interesting topic in my answer just walk on and don't try to dictate me what I can think.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 18:26
by charlielima223
southerncross wrote:You posted an article an I commented on that. If you don't find any interesting topic in my answer just walk on and don't try to dictate me what I can think.


Maybe its because people think that there is nothing meaningful in your opinions on the subject.

For instance you claim this...
US knows how to counter current VLO technology and knows that their opponents know too. Without denying its advantages, don't get me wrong


Yeah well thats just your opinion and it would seem that there is no evidence supporting this. Are there counters to VLO platforms? Yes. Are they as effective as people claim them to be? Simply put, no...

Then theres is this bit that almost made my morning orange juice come out of my nose from laughing...
IMHO this applies to the Su-57 - Okhotnik perfectly.


Yeah well that like your opinion, doesnt make it true.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 19:02
by inst
What's your view on metric wave radar? In my view, metric wave makes anything less than a pure flying-wing fighter impractical for 6G; it's been claimed to have tracked F-22 out at 300-400km. Of course, getting a missile to actually hit the F-22 (stealth is much more powerful against small, high-band missile radars than fighter, AEW&C, or surface/naval radars) is another thing, although sending in IR/UV/Tri-Mode seeker missiles is a way around this. The US is working on UV flares, however.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 19:07
by southerncross
charlielima223 wrote:Yeah well thats just your opinion and it would seem that there is no evidence supporting this. Are there counters to VLO platforms? Yes. Are they as effective as people claim them to be? Simply put, no...

Fact is your planers see the need to increase the levels of stealth of your platforms, specially in the lower radar frequencies. Fact is US markets certain equipment as counter stealth. I am not questioning the usefulness of low RCS, I am saying that new platforms need to progress in that regard too. These statements come from your guys, this should give you a bit of trust in the people among us that are reminding that counter stealth actually exists and cannot be simply ignored. I am not making any claim about how capable it is in a concrete situation BTW.
Then theres is this bit that almost made my morning orange juice come out of my nose from laughing...
IMHO this applies to the Su-57 - Okhotnik perfectly.


Yeah well that like your opinion, doesnt make it true.

There was some discussion in the corresponding thread about exactly these topics. I was just mentioning that the approach for all air forces re. pairing manned and unmanned platforms is going to be pretty similar, with AI playing a fundamental role and how the evolution from manned to unmanned needs a roll-out phase where machine learning needs training from actual humans, until it is mature and capable enough. Do not know what on earth made you laugh like that but yeah, whatever...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 19:28
by garrya
southerncross wrote:Fact is your planers see the need to increase the levels of stealth of your platforms, specially in the lower radar frequencies. Fact is US markets certain equipment as counter stealth

Already happen on F-35
1BD5B40E-1B3C-49B1-9A00-89DB70B2A4CC.png

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 00:26
by southerncross
garrya wrote:Already happen on F-35

Interesting source as usually, thanks garrya

I am sure lower frequency radars have not been ignored while designing the F-35. The issue is, to what extent a fighter plane of conventional aerodynamic layout, whose design features have the rough physical size of some radar's wavelengths, can effectively manage to control backscattering in the right direction. It is not by chance that designs where broadband stealth is a must are tail-less or flying-wings.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 02:39
by element1loop
garrya wrote:Already happen on F-35


Yes, certain Russia-stronk fans sprout the fluff from decades of habituated inferiority-complex, where Russia failed to recognise and seriously address the issue primarily due to being broke from prior and also newer failures, and still haven't fielded even one production and operational VLO stealth attack jet in the past 40 years. But seem to want to disruptively repeatedly preach in the threads about the wonders of anti-stealth tech (as if we don't know or pay attention to this, put a freakin' sock in it) while Russia goes about trying to emulate actual stealth air frames, in unconvincing but suddenly 'fundamentalist' ways?

Anyway, if F-35's all aspect tactical advantage was only half of what it is in thermal and X-band, that would still be a fully exploitable tactical winning hand, even with 4.5-gen era weapons, but that also is moving on fast to reduce missile signature while greatly improving performance.

I suppose we'll learn more about what can be done at the other bands for the NGAD (mix) as they become gradually operational, same as we have with F-22 and F-35's move to operational service. B-21 is certainly being kept firmly under wraps to maintain its wide-band design feature advantages for as long as possible. I guess at some point we'll get similar statements about its relative place in the VLO spectrum and observable pecking-order, and the engineering and tactical logic will gradually become apparent.

In the meantime it appears from remarks in the article that a wide-band PCA is still considered essential (though possibly not just one thing). I can see how shorter VHF wavelength can interact with tail surfaces. All the 'futuristic' designs seem to think the tail must go, and older up-scale designs like the B-2 drew the same conclusion. I'm presuming a tail-less sleek body-lifting 'wing' shape, with TVC and serpentine intakes and two engines. Potentially it uses cold outer-stream bleed-air to the outer-wing to augment and impart serious agility at high altitude, and for cruise stability in the absence of any sort of tail structure, plus vents for cross-wind landing stability and direction holding.

... The Air Force is doing risk reduction and prototyping, which is expected to run through fiscal year 2024, according to budget documents. The Navy is planning to initiate a concept refinement phase in fiscal year 2020, according to Capt. Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James “Hondo” Geurts. The race is on to develop the most cutting edge systems. ...


So Air Force is still early-days with its PCA learning-machine based drone mix and USN is much further along in defining a high-end replacement for the Superhornet (presumably they already have at least one prototype flying if they're 'refining' the concept). The navy say they're emphasising speed and range so intending to go for long-range escort with some deep strike. Or is it primarily a counter-air fighter, and the F-35C with up-rated engine evolves to become a fast self-defending high-altitude strike-jet, that takes full advantage of the bigger wing and larger fuel load. Navy's equivalent of the F-15E, very dangerous in BVR, doesn't need an escort, but much more dangerous to what's on the ground (maybe with a CFT).

In which case PCA and F/A-XX are both big fast fighter-killers, and especially bomber and maritime-patrol killers that can also escort/support penetrating USAF bombers.

Both USAF and USN aiming for mid-2030s service entry.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 03:05
by inst
Just because the F-35 has multi-band RAM doesn't mean that it has RAM that works in key counterstealth bands. The US reported that the F-35 became visible to E-2Ds running on UHF. The Russians and Chinese prefer ground-based radars that work in VHF (metric) bands, which are even longer and provide for even more capable counterstealth.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 05:59
by element1loop
inst wrote:Just because the F-35 has multi-band RAM doesn't mean that it has RAM that works in key counterstealth bands.


:doh: What utter nonsense!

The KEY "counterstealth bands" in practice are the ones sensors and hard-kill missiles use for target-grade tracking, and the reports we have from pilots in actual WVR ACM with F-15 and F/A-18 are that the F-22A excels at preventing lock occurring within the relevant KEY weapon bands for killing which could defeat an F-22A.

Plus their VLO advantage in those bands is all-aspect.

The same applies to the F-35, except it has more advanced stealth design features and even lower signature.

Diverterless intakes.
Stealth built into the airframe.
Stealth also built into the skin.
Low RCS not merely from shaping.
Not merely RAM coatings either.
Cool fuel surrounds the engine to reduce skin IR emissions.
Cool bleed-air is ducted through the nozzle facets to reduce IR emission.
Low thermal transmissivity materials used extensively on the jet especially the areas that normally get hot due air friction.
These also cool down fast when slowing down.
Shielding of the hot-section with a combined RCS and thermal blocker.
High bypass bleed-air spiral-mix with hot core gas prior to exiting nozzle.
Much bigger nozzle diameter spreads temp over a larger area to reduce thermal transient, making detection more difficult from rear aspect.
Much lower temp within bypass cooled exhaust gas mixing aids IR CM effectiveness.
It's the smallest jet it can possibly be to reduce NET IR emission and NET RCS detectability - moreso even than F-22A.
Has outstanding sensors for detectability warnings and pilot and system cues in the KEY detection and weapon bands.
It has outstanding aspect control avionics and powerful control surfaces to react to popups.
No external stores except a VLO version of Sidewinder (AIM-9X-3) mounted on a low-observable rail.
Sensors are integrated and also RCS shielded with no external pods.
Same applies to canopy RCS shielding.
Has a dry thrust level so high it rivals an F-16 with full AB engaged, so has no need to use burner when not tactically essential, so no high thermal transients are emitted to detect.

Your suggestion that F-22A and F-35A may not have VLO at the KEY frequencies that matter to an actual air power battle could not be more incorrect.

Not to mention MADL LPI/LPD directional datalinking for constant theatre SA, and YATO warning generation if VLO is compromised.

inst wrote:The US reported that the F-35 became visible to E-2Ds running on UHF.


This is hardly a 'revelation' or new. VLO aircraft are not invisible they have reduced signatures and are harder to detect and track until they get closer. Or in the case of an E-2, if the platform has wattage to sufficiently illuminate, to get a detection further out. A brighter spotlight pointed at you.

So you take note of the energy received and add that data to the mission-data-file for that platform saying we know it can emit at this energy level in this band and get a contact, so do not proceed to inside this radius using this aspect, against this ID-ed platform. So a pilot sees a cue in the helmet display to manage the aspect to avoid a detection or track. Or else can choose tactically when to be seen, and when they don't want to be seen any longer (which is no doubt what was going on).

inst wrote:The Russians and Chinese prefer ground-based radars that work in VHF (metric) bands, which are even longer and provide for even more capable counterstealth.


Why do you think the B-2 was designed in 1981 as a flying wing with no tail? None of this is new or a surprise. Why do you think long-range VLO cruise missiles dropped by a B-2 exist? Why do you think USAF want a 2,000 km range 5,000 lb JASSM-XR in the middle of next decade? Why do you think tactical laser weapons on VLO aircraft are close to being fielded at around the same time-frame?

Detection is not a track, and a track in HF, VHF and UHF radio bands are not going to kill you. But JSOW, JSM, JASSM-ER or swarming drones will kill such sensors, and/or mask your location, while increasing your own SA, and your targeting capacity.

The point of stealth is not to never be detected, which is quite impossible, at least in the initial stages of a conflict. The point is to make it extremely difficult to kill you, or to maintain a contact or weapon track long against an uncooperative VLO aircraft and pilot.

If you are detected it's not enough, if you get tracked it is very temporary, if a missile is fired, you can break a lock early with EA, control aspect, and extend radial distance.

If your enemy detects you repeatedly but can't attrite aircraft or forces, but you use two cruise weapons or 8-glide bombs per jet, and come back to do it every day until a ceasefire, who wins this battle?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 07:39
by inst
I think in the context it's obvious I'm referring to counterstealth radars. I'm perfectly aware that most radar missile seekers work in X or Ku-band and are well-negated by current stealth technologies. Likewise, the point of the E-2D all of a sudden detecting its own escorts compared to a E-2C isn't that stealth makes aircraft invisible, but that the F-35 seems to have mediocre UHF stealth, implying that it also has poor VHF stealth.

I'm not with the "stealth is worthless" contingent, I'm just pointing out the limitations of the F-35 vs future 6th / 5.5th gen aircraft that don't have significant vulnerability to VHF detection. Yes, I'm aware that the B-2 and B-21 (most likely) aren't vulnerable to VHF detection due to their flying wing structure. And I'm also aware that to hit a stealth aircraft you'd likely need a dazzler- and flare-resistant IR-seeker (better yet if it's multimode) on a missile that can reach it, or a missile guided by a radar tracking the target.

And yes, I'm also aware that low-band radars tend to have poor targeting resolution, but this is resolved by having really large low-band AESA (iirc, the Chinese have VHF, their preferred term is "metric-wave", radar that fill hundreds of square meters with enough T/R modules to provide decent resolution).

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 11:55
by southerncross
@element1loop:
funny how we are saying the same thing yet you get so triggered when it is me saying it. Amazing:
In the meantime it appears from remarks in the article that a wide-band PCA is still considered essential (though possibly not just one thing). I can see how shorter VHF wavelength can interact with tail surfaces. All the 'futuristic' designs seem to think the tail must go, and older up-scale designs like the B-2 drew the same conclusion.

Also interesting how you say F-35C is going to be long range, high speed and not in need of escort yet F/A-XX is intended to have such qualities and specialize in OCA role... why to bother at all if F-35C can take care?

I give up understanding your logic. So much F-35-bashing has apparently made some people so hyper-reactive that pointing out even a slightest downside or improvement possibility in the plane has become taboo for them. It is quite boring and of course incompatible with any healthy discussion.

@inst:
your point re. 5th gen vs 5.5 or 6th gen broad-band stealth is perfectly clear and just follows the logic of the services, but it is unacceptable as a talking point for some since it implies F-35 is less than perfect, simple as that.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 12:09
by element1loop
inst wrote:I think in the context it's obvious I'm referring to counterstealth radars. I'm perfectly aware that most radar missile seekers work in X or Ku-band and are well-negated by current stealth technologies. Likewise, the point of the E-2D all of a sudden detecting its own escorts compared to a E-2C isn't that stealth makes aircraft invisible, but that the F-35 seems to have mediocre UHF stealth, implying that it also has poor VHF stealth.

I'm not with the "stealth is worthless" contingent, I'm just pointing out the limitations of the F-35 vs future 6th / 5.5th gen aircraft that don't have significant vulnerability to VHF detection. Yes, I'm aware that the B-2 and B-21 (most likely) aren't vulnerable to VHF detection due to their flying wing structure. And I'm also aware that to hit a stealth aircraft you'd likely need a dazzler- and flare-resistant IR-seeker (better yet if it's multimode) on a missile that can reach it, or a missile guided by a radar tracking the target.

And yes, I'm also aware that low-band radars tend to have poor targeting resolution, but this is resolved by having really large low-band AESA (iirc, the Chinese have VHF, their preferred term is "metric-wave", radar that fill hundreds of square meters with enough T/R modules to provide decent resolution).


By which you mean digital UHF/VHF Early-Warning radars. Russians calling them "Counterstealth" and Chinese calling the "Metric-Wave" changes nothing. They don't "counter" stealth they provide early warning of detectable aircraft.

Better resolution at UHF does not guide missiles so they counter nothing, all they do is what EW has always done, alert an IADS. Illuminate an F-35A with UHF/VHF EW and it will send a much smaller VLO missile at the radar antenna. VHF is unlikely to detect or track a small missile heading straight at it. And a UHF radar will only see it when line of sight. If the UHF is not defended, it will die just as easily as the VHF does, unless it shuts down and hides.

UHF is a directional radar - line of sight (plus multipath reflections off terrain and buildings).

VHF is both directional and non-line-of-sight, it can hug terrain and propagate beyond the horizon, around the Earth's curvature if atmospheric ducting conditions support it. But this also limits VHF, as VHF propagation tends to stay within a duct layer, and will not sufficiently illuminate an aircraft above the duct. At which times VHF works best in the lower half of the troposphere. It behaves completely differently to UHF radar in that regard, so it's not correct to make the assumption you have that detected LOS reflectivity of an F-35 at UHF will have similar gain or response to shape and detectability at VHF wavelength.

The behaviour from longer than 1 meter wavelengths (into VHF) is very different to the shorter UHF wavelengths, and your extrapolation's assumption has no validity.

VHF propagation polarisation and the length of the objects aligned with that polarity, tend to govern the reflective coupling with the object, and thus to its detectability. So a horizontally polarised wave coupling with a stealth fighter that is flying wings-level means the fighter could break the track via changing the aircraft's orientation (presenting a shorter thickness for the horizontally polarised wave to struggle to couple with).

i.e. An F-35A climbing vertically could break a VHF track via presenting the radar with a different shape. It's just another form of tactical aspect management. ESM and computer can definitely tell you immediately what aspect to present to it to defeat or avoid a track. And if you climb above the duct it doesn't matter if you fly wings level as it won't detect you. It probably will will track you however once you're direct line-of-sight with it, though aspect can still be managed, but hopefully a missile is terminally homing on it if you are that near to it.

As you may have gathered, this means you could still skirt around VHF radars without killing them outside of its LOS volume, or even within it, if managing aspect and altitude. The atmosphere is often more layered at night, and each layer attenuates VHF as VHF reflects or refracts easily off atmospheric condition changes within those layers.

As stealth attacks usually occur at night, this means VLO jets would be able to exploit weather conditions to defeat VHF tracking, for skirting around systems, then approaching behind them and destroy them with an ESM derived precision target location on an unalerted VHF radar than failed to provide EW.

"AESA, meet SDB."

It's fair to say that 1 meter down to 30 meter radars are a vulnerable temporary feature of the onset of combat as the fight transitions to much less active EW radar and a lot more noise.

Defeating VHF and making it ineffective is entirely possible without even using noise. UHF is line-of-sight and would be better dealt with by a fast AARGM-ER, or AIM-260 snapshot.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 12:15
by element1loop
southerncross wrote:I give up understanding your logic.


I genuinely hope so.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 18:54
by wrightwing
inst wrote:I think in the context it's obvious I'm referring to counterstealth radars. I'm perfectly aware that most radar missile seekers work in X or Ku-band and are well-negated by current stealth technologies. Likewise, the point of the E-2D all of a sudden detecting its own escorts compared to a E-2C isn't that stealth makes aircraft invisible, but that the F-35 seems to have mediocre UHF stealth, implying that it also has poor VHF stealth.

I'm not with the "stealth is worthless" contingent, I'm just pointing out the limitations of the F-35 vs future 6th / 5.5th gen aircraft that don't have significant vulnerability to VHF detection. Yes, I'm aware that the B-2 and B-21 (most likely) aren't vulnerable to VHF detection due to their flying wing structure. And I'm also aware that to hit a stealth aircraft you'd likely need a dazzler- and flare-resistant IR-seeker (better yet if it's multimode) on a missile that can reach it, or a missile guided by a radar tracking the target.

And yes, I'm also aware that low-band radars tend to have poor targeting resolution, but this is resolved by having really large low-band AESA (iirc, the Chinese have VHF, their preferred term is "metric-wave", radar that fill hundreds of square meters with enough T/R modules to provide decent resolution).

Define mediocre UHF stealth. No detection/tracking ranges vs F-22/F-35 have ever been given, to come to that conclusion, much less poor performance vs VHF. I know other posters here have done some radar calculations for Nebo VHF radars, and the numbers were considerably lower than the stand off ranges of A2G weapons.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Oct 2019, 06:47
by inst
The claim being made by the Chinese is about 350km vs a F-22 with tracking. We can claim the result is merely the result of Luneberg lenses, but given the sheer size of the radar involved, they'd be better off claiming 700km or higher if it were simply picking up Luneberg lenses.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-b ... f-22-15261

There's also Chinese stuff with scientists bragging about their "awesome" radar equipment at conferences.

===

Let me make something clear, I'm not suggesting VHF as a silver bullet against F-22 / F-35 stealth, i.e, stuff VHF on fighters, missiles, etc, as a way to track F-22 / F-35. What I think you guys are missing is the sheer scale of the VHF radars involved. Radars come in various sizes, from missile seekers, to varying fighter radar, to AEW&C radar, to ground-based defensive radar, to naval radars. The claim being made by the Chinese currently isn't that they have a ground-based defensive radar capable of tracking the F-22, but rather that they networked a complete trailer park full of VHF AESA together to get an AESA antenna the size of a football field. For a comparable American system, I'm sure you're familiar with American Sea-Based X-Band Radar that has 22000 T/R modules and whose base measures 381 feet by 381 feet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea-based_X-band_Radar

And if you're familiar with statistics, the greater the sample size (i.e, the more antennas you have), the greater the accuracy. That allows networked VHF arrays to bypass the resolution issues that plague low-band radars compared to their higher-band cousins.

See source:

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/cgi-bi ... 2848&cat=3

Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times that older meter wave radars could only see roughly an object's general direction, not its exact location.

Wu solved the issue by designing the world's first practical meter wave sparse array synthetic impulse and aperture radar, according to the magazine.

Wu said that his radar has multiple transmitting and receiving antennas tens of meters high, scattered in a range of tens to hundreds of meters. They can continuously cover the sky as the radar receives echoes from all directions.

Wei said that this significantly enhances the radar's ability to track an aerial target, pinpointing the stealth aircraft's exact coordinates by synthesizing parameters and data gathered by the radar under the support of advanced algorithms.


===

The SBX is also a good reference point for how potent massive radars can be.

https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/fi ... ndix-2.pdf

If you check page 4, the SBX system is supposed to be able to detect a -23 dBsm object at 4000 km. This implies its base detection range against 0 dBsm is about 15,000 km. Vs a -40 dBsm object in the absence of jamming, this goes out to 1500 km.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Oct 2019, 11:55
by element1loop
inst wrote:... supposed to be able to detect a -23 dBsm object at 4000 km. This implies its base detection range against 0 dBsm is about 15,000 km. Vs a -40 dBsm object in the absence of jamming, this goes out to 1500 km.


So they've cancelled the J-20?

Of course not. They won't. They'll build more J-20's as fast as they can, no matter how apparently 'obsolete' and fruitless spending on a stealth airforce now is. Same way they keep planning to build more carriers in the face of the unstoppable ubiquitous hype-weapon.

I'll believe it when they stop spending a fortune on VLO platforms and flat tops.

It's an authoritarian state with 100% information control. If they had a supa-poopa radar that showed all the plumbing do you think they'd be talking about it in the open? If you were in their position would you tell everyone? Give all a head's up on how to spotlight a J-20? (already can btw)

What these propaganda makers would like is if people came to believe the anti-stealth voodoo to build momentum toward getting the program slowed, curtailed or even cancelled. That would be worth the investment in yap.

In the meantime, making bigger arrays to improve gain and angular resolution is not new, nor is geometric overlap, and nor is long baseline interferometry. But as Hornetfinn just pointed-out, in another thread, they're large and immobile, easily targeted, cost a fortune, and therefore impractical and unaffordable.

Unless you're suggesting the PLA are combining an S400 radar with naval AESA via interferometry to create an all seeing multi-band radar eye that can guide missiles out to 1,500 km on an oblivious F-35A I don't see how building a giant (sitting-duck) AESA, as a one-off technical experiment, changes anything tactically in battle.

Can it grow giant legs and prance out of the way of a flock of JASSM-ER approaching from multiple axis, simultaneously?

An Australian OTHR was able to observe and accurately track the passage of a USAF F-117A during the 1990s, from thousands of kilometers away. Ten years or so later RAAF ordered a stealth fighter. But didn't they know stealth was already 'obsolete'? Are they just overcome with complacency and hubris?

In the real-world, sad dejected S300 operators sit about in the Syrian wasteland hoping to detect, track and lock a 5th-gen fighter one day. :shrug: :oops: :(

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Oct 2019, 13:04
by madrat
They enjoyed expansion of the economic base while it was largely unregulated.

As the state asserted control all growth was strangled. There is no infinite economic base in China.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Oct 2019, 00:16
by inst
element1loop wrote:
inst wrote:... supposed to be able to detect a -23 dBsm object at 4000 km. This implies its base detection range against 0 dBsm is about 15,000 km. Vs a -40 dBsm object in the absence of jamming, this goes out to 1500 km.


So they've cancelled the J-20?

Of course not. They won't. They'll build more J-20's as fast as they can, no matter how apparently 'obsolete' and fruitless spending on a stealth airforce now is. Same way they keep planning to build more carriers in the face of the unstoppable ubiquitous hype-weapon.

I'll believe it when they stop spending a fortune on VLO platforms and flat tops.

It's an authoritarian state with 100% information control. If they had a supa-poopa radar that showed all the plumbing do you think they'd be talking about it in the open? If you were in their position would you tell everyone? Give all a head's up on how to spotlight a J-20? (already can btw)

What these propaganda makers would like is if people came to believe the anti-stealth voodoo to build momentum toward getting the program slowed, curtailed or even cancelled. That would be worth the investment in yap.

In the meantime, making bigger arrays to improve gain and angular resolution is not new, nor is geometric overlap, and nor is long baseline interferometry. But as Hornetfinn just pointed-out, in another thread, they're large and immobile, easily targeted, cost a fortune, and therefore impractical and unaffordable.

Unless you're suggesting the PLA are combining an S400 radar with naval AESA via interferometry to create an all seeing multi-band radar eye that can guide missiles out to 1,500 km on an oblivious F-35A I don't see how building a giant (sitting-duck) AESA, as a one-off technical experiment, changes anything tactically in battle.

Can it grow giant legs and prance out of the way of a flock of JASSM-ER approaching from multiple axis, simultaneously?

An Australian OTHR was able to observe and accurately track the passage of a USAF F-117A during the 1990s, from thousands of kilometers away. Ten years or so later RAAF ordered a stealth fighter. But didn't they know stealth was already 'obsolete'? Are they just overcome with complacency and hubris?

In the real-world, sad dejected S300 operators sit about in the Syrian wasteland hoping to detect, track and lock a 5th-gen fighter one day. :shrug: :oops: :(



Actually, J-20 production has been unusually slow, it's been rumored that they have less than 50 J-20s after years of production. In theory, it wouldn't be too challenging for the Chinese to cash dump onto the J-20 to get 600 units in the air within 5 years. But they don't, because the J-20 is a partially obsolete platform and is more useful as an operational research experiment.


As for counterstealth, as I've said before, my point isn't that stealth is worthless. Put another way, there's ATGMs large enough or sophisticated enough to punch through an Abrams and kill its operators. Yet even the Russians continue to produce tanks; they're the ones with the next-generation vehicles, however limited in production they might be. The point is more that the F-35 has a relative vulnerability, i.e, it can be tracked by networked VHF / UHF radars, and that part of the point of upgrading to "6th" or 5.5th generation aircraft is to get rid of that vulnerability. But then there's articles talking about the Chinese working on networked HF radars to track "perfect" stealth aircraft like the B-2 or B-21, as well as everyone's work on photonic radar (which is just jamming-resistant conventional radar).

As for networked long-wave radars being impractical ways of countering stealth aircraft, just as there's ways to reduce the stealth advantage of stealth aircraft (in a realistic jamming environment, long-wave radars are going to have a tough time), there are also ways to disable large radar arrays from the air. And there are also ways to stop incoming missiles from targeting large radar arrays, such as by using highly redundant large radar arrays (more targets than you have missiles), using CIWS and similar capabilities to shoot down incoming missiles, and so on.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Oct 2019, 01:08
by weasel1962
I think the "stealth" propaganda is overshadowing tactics. More than 3/4 of the USAF/USN today are still non-stealth. Its like saying the current fleet is irrelevant. The point is that legacies will still kick the door down, it just takes more effort. Same thing goes if F-35s "stealth" doesn't work, the rest of the system still does. And the system is not just restricted to the plane.

Looking at China, can't assume they will stay static. They will invest in more capabilities. The advantage of being number 2 is that they can see what number 1 is doing and copy. That's what number 2s tend to do. Like the US, they also keep some capabilities behind closed doors, revealing it when it suits them e.g. in military parades. There's no such thing as 100% information control. Even photos do appear e.g. the 075 that just launched had its construction process photographed. All boats leak, metaphorically.

Stealth will be incorporated into NGAD and its going to be a superbly capable plane even without stealth.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Oct 2019, 01:58
by Corsair1963
inst wrote:

Actually, J-20 production has been unusually slow, it's been rumored that they have less than 50 J-20s after years of production. In theory, it wouldn't be too challenging for the Chinese to cash dump onto the J-20 to get 600 units in the air within 5 years. But they don't, because the J-20 is a partially obsolete platform and is more useful as an operational research experiment.



Sorry, doesn't work that way as it takes time to ramp up production. Just throwing money at it won't change things....


As for counterstealth, as I've said before, my point isn't that stealth is worthless. Put another way, there's ATGMs large enough or sophisticated enough to punch through an Abrams and kill its operators. Yet even the Russians continue to produce tanks; they're the ones with the next-generation vehicles, however limited in production they might be. The point is more that the F-35 has a relative vulnerability, i.e, it can be tracked by networked VHF / UHF radars, and that part of the point of upgrading to "6th" or 5.5th generation aircraft is to get rid of that vulnerability. But then there's articles talking about the Chinese working on networked HF radars to track "perfect" stealth aircraft like the B-2 or B-21, as well as everyone's work on photonic radar (which is just jamming-resistant conventional radar).


We've seen nothing at this stage to support a real serious Anti-Stealth Technology. Just wild speculation and rumor. Nor, do any of the major powers seem to take it seriously. As they continue develop Stealthy 5th and 6th Generation Types. Honestly, doubt they would spend "Billions" to develop a technology. Then expected would soon be countered...

As for networked long-wave radars being impractical ways of countering stealth aircraft, just as there's ways to reduce the stealth advantage of stealth aircraft (in a realistic jamming environment, long-wave radars are going to have a tough time), there are also ways to disable large radar arrays from the air. And there are also ways to stop incoming missiles from targeting large radar arrays, such as by using highly redundant large radar arrays (more targets than you have missiles), using CIWS and similar capabilities to shoot down incoming missiles, and so on.


More speculation with no hard facts to support it....

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Oct 2019, 14:51
by mixelflick
"So Air Force is still early-days with its PCA learning-machine based drone mix and USN is much further along in defining a high-end replacement for the Superhornet (presumably they already have at least one prototype flying if they're 'refining' the concept)..."

If the Navy is really that much further along than USAF is on PCA, why not just "de-navalise" the prototype? They both require great range, armament, speed and stealth. Drop the twin nosewheel, beefed up under-carriage, arresting hook etc. and leverage the Navy's experience with the aircraft.

This isn't without precedent. The F-4 was originally a Navy bird, then adopted by USAF. Besides, going from a USAF fighter to a Navy bird has almost never worked. Witness the F-111 to F-111B, total disaster. Nor was the Navy very enamored with a navalised F-22 or F-23. Only the YF-17 was successfully morphed into a naval variant. Actually, that was quite a mis-characterization/misconception. The resulting F/A-18 and certainly SH were considerably different aircraft vs. the YF-17A, or even F-18L.

Surely, some of what the Navy's learned (maybe a lot of it) can be transferred to PCA?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2019, 00:18
by inst
weasel1962 wrote:I think the "stealth" propaganda is overshadowing tactics. More than 3/4 of the USAF/USN today are still non-stealth. Its like saying the current fleet is irrelevant. The point is that legacies will still kick the door down, it just takes more effort. Same thing goes if F-35s "stealth" doesn't work, the rest of the system still does. And the system is not just restricted to the plane.

Looking at China, can't assume they will stay static. They will invest in more capabilities. The advantage of being number 2 is that they can see what number 1 is doing and copy. That's what number 2s tend to do. Like the US, they also keep some capabilities behind closed doors, revealing it when it suits them e.g. in military parades. There's no such thing as 100% information control. Even photos do appear e.g. the 075 that just launched had its construction process photographed. All boats leak, metaphorically.

Stealth will be incorporated into NGAD and its going to be a superbly capable plane even without stealth.


Legacies can't kick the door open; the entire point of stealth is that it crushes when it comes to both air superiority and SEAD missions. Once stealth has SEAD everything, legacies can begin A2G roles. In the US's case, the F-35 is also capable of non-stealth ground attack with "Beast" mode. In the Chinese case, the intended force mix seems to be more J-20s dedicated to air-to-air (the J-20's EOTS is unlike the F-35 EOTS and is optimized for counter-air) with legacies to do the bombing.

I'd also disagree with claims that China is content to be #2. The US's game is to lead the pack and continue to push forward generational changes that are completely superior to that of the last generation. This creates extreme uncertainty; the Soviet Union's "-1 -.5 generations behind, but greater mass" strategy wouldn't have worked given how qualitatively superior the next generation (stealth) was to the preceding generation.

China wants a sorpasso, economically and technologically. They can't win by simply throwing qualitatively inferior equipment in hopes that quantity has a quality of its own; they need to have qualitatively superior equipment and push through with that.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2019, 01:17
by weasel1962
Legacies can take down even higher gens. Same way with how Shermans took down Tigers/Panthers, with guts and losses. That's why can't under-estimate China either even if China is a generation behind. They have guts and willing to take losses. That's why pilots prefer to be the F-35 rather than legacies, because no one wants to be in a Sherman forced to take on tigers/panthers. Same goes for the Chinese. A Chinese J-20 pilot is not going to under-estimate an F-16.

Number 1 will of course prefer to be a generation ahead of number 2 but can't assume that it will always be a generation ahead. Even in parity situation, the idea is to design to the best (and forward looking) capabilities, and build more. Those are motherhood statements.

What's reality is that USAF/USN has undertaken studies to assess what's the best capabilities that can go into PCA/NGAD. What's a plus is that they are smart enough to keep their cards close without revealing the capabilities because others are also developing 6G fighters. It'd be interesting to see what shows up eventually.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2019, 09:31
by viper12
weasel1962 wrote:Same way with how Shermans took down Tigers/Panthers, with guts and losses.


I'd suggest reading Zaloga's books and checking out The Chieftain's articles and videos about the Sherman, because it's definitely not clear-cut that Shermans were inferior or a generation behind.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2019, 12:58
by sferrin
weasel1962 wrote:Legacies can take down even higher gens. Same way with how Shermans took down Tigers/Panthers, with guts and losses.


How'd that work out for Iraq in the air?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2019, 15:39
by weasel1962
sferrin wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:Legacies can take down even higher gens. Same way with how Shermans took down Tigers/Panthers, with guts and losses.


How'd that work out for Iraq in the air?


No guts, just losses. Just because something can, doesn't mean it would. Any piece of equipment still depend on the operator.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2019, 16:15
by weasel1962
viper12 wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:Same way with how Shermans took down Tigers/Panthers, with guts and losses.


I'd suggest reading Zaloga's books and checking out The Chieftain's articles and videos about the Sherman, because it's definitely not clear-cut that Shermans were inferior or a generation behind.


Of course, it's not clear cut. The Shermans had bigger guns, better armor thickness, more powerful engines and the tankees were thoroughly fearless. It was really the Brits who screwed it up.

https://militaryhistorynow.com/2017/09/ ... 4-sherman/

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2019, 17:04
by mixelflick
Fighters of an older generation aren't always at a disadvantage.

During GW1, you had the incident where a Foxbat downed an F-18. Sure, you can argue his ECM wasn't working etc. but fact remains - a Mig-25 downed a jet designed a generation later. They fared much worse vs. F-15's, but there are also documented cases of Mig-25's out-running Eagles (and their missiles), chasing down EF-111's at low altitude causing them to dis-engage, etc...

When it comes to stealth vs. non stealth in air to air though, that chapter hasn't been written yet. Per results from Red Flag, stealth aircraftshould dominate their non stealthy peers. All of the data we have supports that. And I for one, am glad F-35's are filling out squadrons around the globe. Put yourself in the enemy's shoes...

Would you rather be flying into battle with Flankers or F-35's? The Russians would have us believe Flankers are more than adequate to take the F-35 down. But if that's true... why are they building the SU-57?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2019, 17:23
by knowan
weasel1962 wrote:
viper12 wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:Same way with how Shermans took down Tigers/Panthers, with guts and losses.


I'd suggest reading Zaloga's books and checking out The Chieftain's articles and videos about the Sherman, because it's definitely not clear-cut that Shermans were inferior or a generation behind.


Of course, it's not clear cut. The Shermans had bigger guns, better armor thickness, more powerful engines and the tankees were thoroughly fearless. It was really the Brits who screwed it up.

https://militaryhistorynow.com/2017/09/ ... 4-sherman/


It's going off-topic, but that's a really bad article from a bad author. He cherry-picks sources to fit his narrative and ignores contrary evidence.

Check out the 1 and 2 star reviews of his book to see the sorts of errors and bias of that author: https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/ ... filter-bar
https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/ ... filter-bar

This WW2 manual indicates the troops didn't think the Sherman was nearly as bad as that article does: https://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/tankers/index.html

And this article on the other side of the argument, and which does a better job at providing a factual discussion too: http://www.theshermantank.com/sherman/h ... mporaries/

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 01:00
by weasel1962
The Tunisia manual does indeed explain how successful the tankees were in Kasserine. When one can't argue on factual metrics like gun size, don't focus on it. Some commanders will never openly acknowledge the other side's technical superiority. Not the right message for the troops before a fight. Same thing with the Chinese. They are not going to acknowledge the F-35/F-22's superiority. They will say the J-20 can handle the F-35 and the F-22 even if it can't.

Everyone is designing their next gen.The point being no one wants to be in an inferior piece of equipment tackling anything, much less a technically superior aggressor. That's why no one will wait for US to develop PCA/NGAD.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 11:22
by knowan
weasel1962 wrote:The Tunisia manual does indeed explain how successful the tankees were in Kasserine.


Kasserine Pass was due to failures in leadership, not equipment. Most of the American tank casualties occured when they were lured into 88mm AT guns, and there wasn't a tank in the world in 1943 that would have stood up to 88mm gunfire, even Tiger Is would have suffered similar losses in those circumstances.

The Tankers in Tunisia manual is stated as consisting of interviews in April 1943; Kasserine Pass took place months earlier in February. The interviews took place shortly after the Battle of El Guettar, where US forces successfully fought off a German armored counterattack.


weasel1962 wrote:When one can't argue on factual metrics like gun size, don't focus on it.


The 75mm M3 gun was more powerful than the armament of the vast majority of German and Italian tanks in North Africa.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 11:43
by element1loop
Older gen are unlikely to win air battles or to manage to destroy most of the other guy's air power, and if that's lost you get hammered to defeat. I don't care if you can see me but not fire, except in less than ideal circumstances then hope for the best against all the unknowns the LM 5th-gens bring.

At present the US plus allies in Asia have the real potential to demolish the opposing air force's top and second tier plus most of their navy in its 'own' waters, and land mass, hence A2D2 and the aspiration to move out, but deterred from such over-reach (or are they?). The reverse is not the case, for now. But a few effective weapons, tactics and surprise attacks could change the geography quicker than anticipated. The Axis powers of WWII all did that for awhile.

It will be good to have NGAD / PCA and F/A-XX moving forwards quicker than past programs. And I think one of the better moves is to keep specifics under wraps.

The biggest PITA with F-35 gestation came from 25 years of antagonistic blah-blah invented about it. Other than that I think it went fairly well in an era of lower strategic threat. But given the history, scale and ambition of the CHICOM espionage effort it's time to keep stuff properly hidden anyway.

If development still takes 15 years to do it right, doesn't that apply to everyone? Hence very low rates of production of other aspirants to being all-aspect VLO multirole strikefighters?

If it still takes 15 to 20 years so be it, and the timeline in the article admits it.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 19:57
by inst
element1loop wrote:Older gen are unlikely to win air battles or to manage to destroy most of the other guy's air power, and if that's lost you get hammered to defeat. I don't care if you can see me but not fire, except in less than ideal circumstances then hope for the best against all the unknowns the LM 5th-gens bring.

At present the US plus allies in Asia have the real potential to demolish the opposing air force's top and second tier plus most of their navy in its 'own' waters, and land mass, hence A2D2 and the aspiration to move out, but deterred from such over-reach (or are they?). The reverse is not the case, for now. But a few effective weapons, tactics and surprise attacks could change the geography quicker than anticipated. The Axis powers of WWII all did that for awhile.

It will be good to have NGAD / PCA and F/A-XX moving forwards quicker than past programs. And I think one of the better moves is to keep specifics under wraps.

The biggest PITA with F-35 gestation came from 25 years of antagonistic blah-blah invented about it. Other than that I think it went fairly well in an era of lower strategic threat. But given the history, scale and ambition of the CHICOM espionage effort it's time to keep stuff properly hidden anyway.

If development still takes 15 years to do it right, doesn't that apply to everyone? Hence very low rates of production of other aspirants to being all-aspect VLO multirole strikefighters?

If it still takes 15 to 20 years so be it, and the timeline in the article admits it.


The F-35's biggest problem was that it was late; the aircraft took way too long to develop. Its stealth advantage would have been significantly more devastating in 2013 than 2017 or 2019, with enemy stealth aircraft hitting LRIP or IOC now. The attempts to get PCA / NGAD up at accelerated speeds (2025, 2030) are very positive for the United States, as are the rapid subsystems development of AIM-260, MSDM, SACM, and laser dazzlers.

But I think with recent political changes in the United States, the United States is way more oriented to fighting near peer powers instead of letting military budgets shrivel or focus on counter-insurgency.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Oct 2019, 21:12
by wrightwing
inst wrote:



The F-35's biggest problem was that it was late; the aircraft took way too long to develop. Its stealth advantage would have been significantly more devastating in 2013 than 2017 or 2019, with enemy stealth aircraft hitting LRIP or IOC now. The attempts to get PCA / NGAD up at accelerated speeds (2025, 2030) are very positive for the United States, as are the rapid subsystems development of AIM-260, MSDM, SACM, and laser dazzlers.

But I think with recent political changes in the United States, the United States is way more oriented to fighting near peer powers instead of letting military budgets shrivel or focus on counter-insurgency.


Too late? The Russians and Chinese are nowhere near parity, with their 5th generation jets, and the F-35 is only getting started. The gap will only widen with Block 4/5/6.... There have been no developments since 2013, that have eroded the F-35's stealth advantages, nor will there be for decades to come. The PCA/NGAD aren't being sped up due to F-35 short comings. They have completely different roles to fill.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Oct 2019, 00:20
by weasel1962
400+ F-35s delivered. 180+ F-22s. 90+ F-35s building every year, soon to breach the 100 mark. Eventually 3000+ F-35s built will not result in stealth numbers parity even if there is no PCA/NGAD.

It's stunning to think F-22s may be replaced without ever losing its reputation as an unsurpassed air dominance fighter. Something the F-15 couldn't achieve.

Ps.The Sherman is only inferior to the 88 but not the tiger whilst it carried the 88? Mind boggling. Apparently now we are supposed to believe very tankee in ww2 relished going up against panthers and tigers in a Sherman? How refreshingly different history becomes after 70 years.

Tactics and doctrine are exactly why legacies can kill superior equipment whether superior technically or in numbers. The Germans proved it. That is the lesson of Kasserine pass.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Oct 2019, 01:47
by inst
wrightwing wrote:
inst wrote:



The F-35's biggest problem was that it was late; the aircraft took way too long to develop. Its stealth advantage would have been significantly more devastating in 2013 than 2017 or 2019, with enemy stealth aircraft hitting LRIP or IOC now. The attempts to get PCA / NGAD up at accelerated speeds (2025, 2030) are very positive for the United States, as are the rapid subsystems development of AIM-260, MSDM, SACM, and laser dazzlers.

But I think with recent political changes in the United States, the United States is way more oriented to fighting near peer powers instead of letting military budgets shrivel or focus on counter-insurgency.


Too late? The Russians and Chinese are nowhere near parity, with their 5th generation jets, and the F-35 is only getting started. The gap will only widen with Block 4/5/6.... There have been no developments since 2013, that have eroded the F-35's stealth advantages, nor will there be for decades to come. The PCA/NGAD aren't being sped up due to F-35 short comings. They have completely different roles to fill.


There are ways for a Su-57 or J-20 to beat an F-35, and the F-35 has distinct disadvantages in certain regards (lack of supercruise, poor performance at high speeds, average STR).

Put another way, in the 2000s, the US was the only country utilizing 5th generation aircraft. The best any of its competitors could do would be to skeet up Flankers, MiGs, etc. Now, the F-35 could possibly be superior to its rivals where it counts (given superior US experience in air warfare), but is the divide between a F-35 and Su-57 greater or less than the divide between a F-22 and a Su-27?

@weasel1962

The Chinese put up their J-20s with counterstealth AEW&C up against their J-10s and J-11s. The end result was something like a 4:1 or 8:1 kill ratio.

Likewise, why believe that the US might be inferior in terms of doctrine or tactics? The US armed forces are the most experienced and best-funded on the planet. It, likewise, controls something like 8 of the world's best universities, excepting Cambridge and Oxford. If the point is that if you put American equipment into the hands of, say, an Arab army, they'll get killed, well, Iraqi Abrams have been getting shot up as much as Iraqi T-72s got shot up by the Americans. That's trivial. But it is very hard to get a doctrinal superiority on the present American military.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Oct 2019, 04:21
by element1loop
inst wrote:
element1loop wrote:The F-35's biggest problem was that it was late; the aircraft took way too long to develop.


The early mid-noughties projected first IOC target was within a range of years between 2012 thru 2014 with USMC initially hoping for 2012. First IOC slipped 7 months past that early projected IOC window.

DoD Announces Services’ F-35 IOC Dates - Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy announce their F-35 Initial Operating Capability dates.
May 31, 2013

"... Based on the current F-35 JPO schedule, the F-35B will reach the IOC milestone between July 2015 (Objective) and December 2015 (Threshold). Should capability delivery experience changes or delays, this estimate will be revised appropriately. ... "

https://www.f35.com/news/detail/departm ... l-services


F-35B entered USMC service on 31st July, 2015.

"During 2008, a Pentagon Joint Estimate Team (JET) estimated that the program was two years behind the public schedule, a revised estimate in 2009 predicted a 30-month delay. Delays reduced planned production numbers by 122 aircraft through 2015 ... "
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_ ... al_history


This is not much delay on such a large ambitious program. F-111 had worse delays in an era when new types were being churned out rapidly. This was just one more log on the fire of the anti-F-35 (it's already obsolete!!!) cohort.

X-35A first flight 24 October 2000
F-35A first flight Dec 2006 = 6.2 years
F-35A IOC August of 2016 = 9.6 years
Total = 15.8 years

X-35B first flight 23 June 2001
F-35B First flight 11th June, 2008 = 7 years
F-35B IOC July 2015 = 7.1 years
Total = 14.1 years

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Oct 2019, 09:13
by wrightwing
inst wrote:


There are ways for a Su-57 or J-20 to beat an F-35, and the F-35 has distinct disadvantages in certain regards (lack of supercruise, poor performance at high speeds, average STR).


Su-57/J-20s aren't going to beat F-35s through kinematics. The situational awareness advantages of the F-35 far outclass the other jets. If you've paid attention to 5th gen pilots, they've clearly stated that speed/kinematics are the least important capabilities that F-22s and F-35s bring to the table. It's certainly nice to have, but it's no substitute for sensor fusion/situational awareness. Now to address each of these claims.
-supercruise. You do realize that all jets (F-22 included) spend the vast majority of the time subsonic. This remains true for the Su-57/J-20. They'll speed up once they detect a threat, to add missile kinematics, while mitigating opponent missile kinematics. Of course with the F-35s first look/first shoot/first kill advantages, the F-35 will be accelerating long before the opponents.
- define poor performance at high speeds, in operational terms. M1.6+ is the speed most every friend/foe will be limited to, given fuel considerations.
-average STR- if by average you mean similar to a clean F-16 (which is hardly average, by the way,) then yes. The ITR, along with high pitch/roll/yaw rates, pedal turns/nose pointing, 360° spherical engagement, and rapid regaining of energy, will give any foe difficult time.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Oct 2019, 13:15
by mixelflick
[quote="weasel1962"]400+ F-35s delivered. 180+ F-22s. 90+ F-35s building every year, soon to breach the 100 mark. Eventually 3000+ F-35s built will not result in stealth numbers parity even if there is no PCA/NGAD.

Agree 100%. I see nowhere in the world where any country is pumping out large numbers of stealth fighters. Russia may or may not build SEVENTY SIX. Far less is known of the Chinese J-20, but it's doubtful its production run will be north of 500. It certainly won't be in the 1,000's. The J-31? Tough to say. In theory it could be built in greater numbers, but every day it languishes is another day it'll arrive behind the 8 ball. Advanced F-35's, PCA and F/A-XX will likely entirely outclass it..

It's stunning to think F-22s may be replaced without ever losing its reputation as an unsurpassed air dominance fighter. Something the F-15 couldn't achieve.

I'm not sure I agree with you on this one. The F-15 has been met/surpassed on paper by a number of Russian and European designs. But in the real world, it's still 104-0. It should have retired to the boneyard with this record, but it is what it is. Perhaps with the new F-15EX, it's kill record will go even higher. Or a few kills could ruin its undefeated streak. Whatever the case, it's final chapter is yet to be written...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 23 Oct 2019, 14:50
by element1loop
Air-launched Missile Interceptors For Fighters Make Comeback

Oct 23, 2019

Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Mini-Missiles

In an era of air-launched, offensive missiles featuring ever greater range, one program set to enter a new stage of development is bucking the trend and creating a defensive, extremely short-range interceptor.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) held a classified “industry day” at Eglin AFB in Florida on June 19 for an “upcoming Miniature Self-Defense Munition (MSDM) competitive effort,” according to a May 23 meeting notice. ...

... The Strategic Planning and Integration Division of the AFRL’s Munitions Directorate used the half-day meeting to brief about 120 industry representatives on the scope of work for “continued development of the MSDM,” an acronym pronounced as “Miz-dem.” The closed-door event suggests the air-launched, defensive interceptor program is moving closer to reality. In 2015, the last time U.S. Air Force officials talked about the program openly, the AFRL forecast the MSDM would enter service in fiscal 2023. The current schedule for the program has not been disclosed, but a series of active contract awards with four companies suggests it continues to make progress.

The AFRL first awarded concept studies for the MSDM in 2015, then followed up a year later with multiple concept refinement contracts. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are under contract for missile development work that includes the MSDM through early 2021. Northrop Grumman also has a contract award that extends through late 2020 for seeker and technology maturation of the MSDM. The MSDM, if fielded, promises to change how fighters defend themselves from missile attack as the Air Force plans to field a new generation of air-dominance aircraft. In early October, the service’s Next-Generation Air Dominance program established a Digital Century Series initiative, invoking the innovative period in the 1950s that led to the introduction of a string of second-generation jet fighters.

To support the future fleet, the Air Force has launched related programs for advanced propulsion, sensors and weapons. In the latter category, the service has already disclosed plans to field the Lockheed Martin AIM-260 ultra-long-range missile in 2022.

Meanwhile, development work quietly continues within the AFRL’s Counter-Air Science and Technology (CAST) program. Originally known as the Small Advanced Capabilities Missile (SACM), CAST has broadened to encompass the SACM concept and MSDM. The former may have inspired a competition between the newly unveiled Raytheon Peregrine missile and Lockheed’s six-year-old Cuda concept. Unlike the AIM-260, Peregrine or Cuda, the role of the MSDM program is not to develop an offensive missile, but instead a defensive interceptor. Along with ongoing investments in defensive directed-energy systems, the MSDM represents the AFRL’s response to increasingly sophisticated air defense systems, along with developments in long-range air intercept missiles, such as China’s new PL-15.

“Since the end of the Cold War give or take, Western combat aircraft survivability has been supported by a pretty benign air environment. The air threat was not, in general terms, at all great. The surface-to-air missile threat also tended to go away,” says Douglas Barrie, a missile expert at the Royal United Services Institute. The Air Force’s interest in the MSDM, in fact, harks back to similar concepts conceived at the height of the Cold War but never introduced into service. British Aerospace Dynamics, one of the corporate parents of the modern MBDA missile house, started developing a short-range, air-launched interceptor for incoming missiles, but it never moved into service, Barrie says.

More recently, he noticed that a Russian company displayed a seeker for a small-diameter missile. “It raises some questions about what they might be thinking about,” Barrie says. MBDA itself revealed a 10-kg (22-lb.), hard-kill anti-missile interceptor less than 1 m (3 ft.) long at the Paris Air Show. The company is concerned about the rapidly growing capability and proliferation of advanced surface-to-air missiles. They argue that chaff, flare and other advanced infra countermeasures will only be effective for so long, as new guidance systems and advanced seekers are introduced. The hard-kill approach, using a small missile dispensed like a decoy to shoot down the attacking missile, may be the only way to defend future fighters against such threats.

For such a system to work, the aircraft’s systems will need to “detect, identify the threat and then react, first by defining a maneuver to counter it and launching the missile,” say MBDA officials. Such a system would require a “tight integration” and take into account the aircraft’s surroundings and other friendly aircraft. “This is a serious topic, and with the support of [artificial intelligence] and the miniaturization of sensors, it will be possible to integrate a system like this into the airframe,” officials say. Such a system would also be an option for larger platforms such as tankers and transports. Indeed, the Navy published a request for information in 2018 for a hard-kill anti-missile countermeasure system for large cargo or patrol aircraft such as the Boeing P-8A. So far, the Navy has taken no further action in public to develop the concept beyond the call for white papers last year.

The AFRL also no longer comments on details of the MSDM concept, but some official information is still available. An overview of AFRL programs in 2015 by Col. Nathan Smith, then-deputy director of the Munitions Directorate, remains online. Two slides in the lengthy presentation address the MSDM concept, describing it as an “affordable,” close-in, all aspect kinetic platform [for] self-defense.” It is one of the technologies that “enables penetration into a contested [anti-access/area denial] environment.” The MSDM requires a “very low-cost passive seeker” and will cause “minimal impact to platform payload capacity.”

Measuring one-third the size of the Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder, a fighter could carry three MSDMs on every station now occupied by the within-visual-range air-to-air missile. Finally, the MSDM would serve as one of two hard-kill defense systems, targeting short-range threats. It would complement a directed-energy system, or laser, that could intercept targets at longer range. The AFRL also is developing the Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator with the goal of proving a podded, defensive laser sized for a fighter aircraft is feasible.

https://aviationweek.com/defense/air-la ... e-comeback

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Oct 2019, 15:12
by mixelflick
That's an interesting concept for self protection, hope they can work something out.

Yesterday, I was watching the Smithsonian Channel's Air Warriors show, on the F-16. It was apparent that in most cases, they could evade SA-2/3 etc. class missiles if detected early enough. In order to allow for that, this F-16 strike force flew at 38,000 feet. But when you consider S-300/400 systems use of hypersonic missiles with extreme range and agility, you can see now why the need for the F-35 is so pressing. Even if they detected a launch, they'd be run down so fast and out-maneuvered so hard it would all be over very fast.

In any case, these new technologies for PCA/NGAD are exciting to read about. I just hope this time, we build enough of them to make a difference.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2019, 07:56
by quicksilver
http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... -Time.aspx

“This finding in the MITRE report on operation and sustainment costs appears to be in conflict with the Air Force’s acquisition strategy for the Next-Generation Air Dominance program, which calls for developing small batches of multiple types of aircraft in rapid succession,” Harrison wrote. “The ‘Digital Century Series’ approach for the next-generation fighter could leave the Air Force with more costly small fleets of aircraft that exacerbate growth in O&S costs and force difficult tradeoffs between capability and capacity.”

“...Total ownership costs drop as fleets get larger. Harrison found that five fleets of 72 aircraft (or 360 total), as could be designed under the Digital Century Series, would cost about $6.8 billion a year to operate and sustain—the same as a 1,800-piece fleet. In comparison, buying 360 of the same airframe would cost $3 billion annually in operations and maintenance.“

“...While small fleets may be desirable for rapid integration of new technologies into the force and maintaining competition in the industrial base, this approach would likely lead to higher operation and sustainment costs and a smaller force than the Air Force could otherwise afford,” he said.

If you miss the link in the Air Force magazine article Harrison’s “Air Force of the Future” here —

https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs ... WEB_v3.pdf

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2019, 11:03
by element1loop
Combine that with this, and it's dead as a dodo...


Study says USAF faces unsustainable budgetary and force structure challenge

Pat Host, Washington, DC - Jane's Defence Weekly

30 October 2019

A new study found that the USAF is requesting larger budgets than ever with its smallest force structure because of rapid growth in O&M costs. The study said an increase in operational tempo cannot be blamed as this has largely been focused on a handful of aircraft including the Boeing B-1B Lancer (pictured). Source: US Air Force Rapidly growing operations and maintenance (O&M) costs are forcing the US Air Force (USAF) to request record budgets despite having an all-time low force structure, a scenario that a Washington, DC, think-tank believes is unsustainable.

The Center For Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said in its 29 October report, 'The Air Force of the Future: A Comparison of Alternative Force Structures', that the USAF's fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) budget request of about USD205 billion would bring its total budget to a level that is higher in real terms than the peak reached at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in FY 2010 and the second highest ever in the service's 72-year history.

When the USAF budget reached its all-time high in FY 1985 of USD210 billion in FY 2020 dollars (or USD99.4 billion in then-year dollars), it had a total active inventory (TAI) of more than 9,400 aircraft, with an active duty strength of 602,000 and 264,000 civilian full time equivalents. The USAF in FY 2020 is similar in size but only supports about 5,300 aircraft, 330,000 active duty service members, and 179,000 civilian FTEs.

For roughly the same level of funding as it received at the height of the Cold War, the USAF currently has just half as many aircraft and active duty service members. This is because the costs of operating, staffing, and equipping the force have become increasingly expensive over time. "Progressively more funding is needed to support a shrinking force, and this trend is not likely to be sustainable in the long term," the CSIS report said.

(319 of 926 words)


https://www.janes.com/article/92277/stu ... -challenge

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2019, 20:35
by milosh
wrightwing wrote:If you've paid attention to 5th gen pilots, they've clearly stated that speed/kinematics are the least important capabilities that F-22s and F-35s bring to the table. It's certainly nice to have, but it's no substitute for sensor fusion/situational awareness. Now to address each of these claims.


Something similar Bogdan said for Su-57. He decribe SA and sensors as biggest leap forward which pilot see when it fly Su-57. Something similar you could hear from MiG-31 pilots decades ago, I mean that thing have extraordinary SA for decades.

wrightwing wrote:-supercruise. You do realize that all jets (F-22 included) spend the vast majority of the time subsonic.


Nope. MiG-31 most of time fly supersonic, it need to cover huge land mass fast. Su-57 based on info and calculations will have similar capability which is logical because it fly over Russia too.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Nov 2019, 21:26
by wrightwing
milosh wrote:


wrightwing wrote:-supercruise. You do realize that all jets (F-22 included) spend the vast majority of the time subsonic.


Nope. MiG-31 most of time fly supersonic, it need to cover huge land mass fast. Su-57 based on info and calculations will have similar capability which is logical because it fly over Russia too.

The Mig-31 can spend a lot of time supersonic, but its range suffers. There's absolutely no evidence of Su-57s having the ability to spend the majority of its time supercruising. Everybody, F-22, J-20, Su-57s.... will be flying subsonic 80 to 90% of the time.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 01:00
by sferrin
milosh wrote:Nope. MiG-31 most of time fly supersonic, it need to cover huge land mass fast. Su-57 based on info and calculations will have similar capability which is logical because it fly over Russia too.


Not a chance.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 03:31
by Corsair1963
wrightwing wrote:
inst wrote:



The F-35's biggest problem was that it was late; the aircraft took way too long to develop. Its stealth advantage would have been significantly more devastating in 2013 than 2017 or 2019, with enemy stealth aircraft hitting LRIP or IOC now. The attempts to get PCA / NGAD up at accelerated speeds (2025, 2030) are very positive for the United States, as are the rapid subsystems development of AIM-260, MSDM, SACM, and laser dazzlers.

But I think with recent political changes in the United States, the United States is way more oriented to fighting near peer powers instead of letting military budgets shrivel or focus on counter-insurgency.


Too late? The Russians and Chinese are nowhere near parity, with their 5th generation jets, and the F-35 is only getting started. The gap will only widen with Block 4/5/6.... There have been no developments since 2013, that have eroded the F-35's stealth advantages, nor will there be for decades to come. The PCA/NGAD aren't being sped up due to F-35 short comings. They have completely different roles to fill.


I agree the US still has a substantial lead over all the major powers in 5th Generation Fighters and Bombers. Yet, they're not resting on their laurels. As they want to maintain the qualitative edge well into the future! :wink:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 12:58
by knowan
milosh wrote: Something similar you could hear from MiG-31 pilots decades ago, I mean that thing have extraordinary SA for decades.


Because their only reference before the MiG-31 were other Soviet fighters with such terrible radar and cockpit systems they were completely reliant on GCI, making them effectively 'manned missiles'.


milosh wrote:Nope. MiG-31 most of time fly supersonic, it need to cover huge land mass fast. Su-57 based on info and calculations will have similar capability which is logical because it fly over Russia too.


Please stop regurgitating Russian propaganda. The Su-57 doesn't have a hope in hell of having such huge internal fuel capacity.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 18:20
by mixelflick
SU-57: New NATO Codename revealed - FELON

https://theaviationist.com/2019/11/01/n ... be-better/

Interesting choice IMO. Almost seems as if they're alluding to the fact it "stole" some Western technology. That's what I got out of it anyway. Well, I suppose our intelligence people must think it's a real thing now, or soon will be. I'll be interested to see how many they build/are able to sell!

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 19:06
by sprstdlyscottsmn
dang, I was hoping for Flapjack

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Nov 2019, 01:50
by weasel1962
That's already reserved for the XF5U that really looked like a pancake.

Next up, J-20 "jailbird"?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Nov 2019, 03:47
by Corsair1963
mixelflick wrote:SU-57: New NATO Codename revealed - FELON

https://theaviationist.com/2019/11/01/n ... be-better/

Interesting choice IMO. Almost seems as if they're alluding to the fact it "stole" some Western technology. That's what I got out of it anyway. Well, I suppose our intelligence people must think it's a real thing now, or soon will be. I'll be interested to see how many they build/are able to sell!


NATO has not confirmed it.......(i.e. name)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Nov 2019, 19:00
by milosh
knowan wrote:
milosh wrote: Something similar you could hear from MiG-31 pilots decades ago, I mean that thing have extraordinary SA for decades.


Because their only reference before the MiG-31 were other Soviet fighters with such terrible radar and cockpit systems they were completely reliant on GCI, making them effectively 'manned missiles'.


Which is why they developed excellent (for that era) SA for MiG-31 and later for Su-27 (advanced datalinks).

milosh wrote:Please stop regurgitating Russian propaganda. The Su-57 doesn't have a hope in hell of having such huge internal fuel capacity.


Propaganda? No. Just math.

MiG-31 carry 16tons, Su-57 10tons (lowest data for fuel capacity I find for Su-57) so it is 1.6times more fuel but it use afterbuners to fly supersonic while Su-57 don't and that complicate thing a lot (you burn at least twice more fuel on afterburner). So I think supersonic range is similar for both (lets say economical supersonic range) while MiG-31 can fly much faster and longer on max speed.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 15:25
by mixelflick
Corsair1963 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:SU-57: New NATO Codename revealed - FELON

https://theaviationist.com/2019/11/01/n ... be-better/

Interesting choice IMO. Almost seems as if they're alluding to the fact it "stole" some Western technology. That's what I got out of it anyway. Well, I suppose our intelligence people must think it's a real thing now, or soon will be. I'll be interested to see how many they build/are able to sell!


NATO has not confirmed it.......(i.e. name)


Aviationist now reporting it's been confirmed...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 16:57
by sprstdlyscottsmn
milosh wrote:Propaganda? No. Just math.

MiG-31 carry 16tons, Su-57 10tons (lowest data for fuel capacity I find for Su-57) so it is 1.6times more fuel but it use afterbuners to fly supersonic while Su-57 don't and that complicate thing a lot (you burn at least twice more fuel on afterburner). So I think supersonic range is similar for both (lets say economical supersonic range) while MiG-31 can fly much faster and longer on max speed.

Okay, let's talk Math.

We will go with your 2x TSFC for AB over mil for the sake of discussion. For the sake of discussion we will say MiG-31 flys at 2.5M at 75,000ft and Su-57 flys at 1.6M at 55,000ft. For the sake of discussion we will say the Su-57 has a supersonic drag coefficient between 67-50% that of the MiG, for a Drag Area of 86-64% that of the MiG.

MiG-31 listed combat range is 390nm at 2.35M and 59,000ft, this is not 2.5M at 75,000ft. Comparing dynamic pressures tells us That relative to the listed MiG value, the "nominal" MiG has 53% of the dynamic pressure, while the Su has 56% of the dynamic pressure.

Multiplying drag areas by dynamic pressures we see that relative to the listed MiG, the nominal MiG has 53% of the drag and the Su has between 48-36% of the drag.

Multiplying relative drags by relative TSFCs we see relative to the listed MiG, the Nominal MiG has 53% of the pph and the Su has between 24-28% the pph.

Adjusting pph to nm/lb we get that relative to the listed MiG, the nominal MiG has 2.04x the nm/ln and the Su has between 2.83-3.79x the nm/lb.

As a first order approximation (will result in ranges that are too great as nothing is accounting for the additional fuel needed for accelerations and climbs) we see that relative to the listed MiGs 390nm, the nominal MiG would have a range of 794nm and the Su would have a range of between 689-924nm.

Now, here is why all those estimated numbers are NOT accurate. We don't know how much fuel and distance was covered by the listed MiG in getting up to it's cruise speed, nor do we know how much more fuel and distance is needed to get higher and faster. It will have a lower cruise fuel flow, but it will also have less fuel available for cruise. Likewise we have no idea what the Su needs to get to it's cruise condition.

Of note, the Su is listed as having 810nm range at 1.6M at "altitude". This is in line with my estimates. The lighter, cleaner, greater T/W Su should have no issues getting to a lower and slower cruise condition on less fuel than the MiG, leaving more of it's fuel for the cruise phase.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 19:41
by quicksilver
It’s behind a paywall so I can’t post it, but if recent AvWeek reporting on this topic is accurate, pcap isn’t gonna happen until they sort out a new acquisition model by which they will develop, procure, operate and sustain whatever it is they build. The reporting suggests that half of the funding originally set aside for the program (~$13.2B) will be used for the ends I described above.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 19:46
by sprstdlyscottsmn
So, not building anything until the full lifecycle costs are estimated and approved?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 20:10
by quicksilver
I think it’s bigger than that — i.e. a new model for acquisition, soup to nuts. The notional drivers are ‘speed’ and altered risk acceptance. The mantra has been ‘how do we do this faster?’ I think they realized that they didn’t have a model to follow (the existing system being incapable of such things). My own opinion is they don’t truly appreciate the degree of risk intolerance that exists in the system...the one that everyone participating has grown up within. Talk about a ‘counter-culture’ program... :wink:

Some may recall that JSF was intended to do something similar wrt ‘a new model for acquisition.’ It was similarly championed by key high-level players in OSD, but when those champions went away the acquisition bureaucracies went about ‘normalizing’ the program, and thereby nearly hen-pecked it to death (with a big assist from the new info/media environment we live in).

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 06 Nov 2019, 23:23
by knowan
milosh wrote:Which is why they developed excellent (for that era) SA for MiG-31 and later for Su-27 (advanced datalinks).


Su-27 had awful SA thanks to the terrible radar display.


milosh wrote:Propaganda? No. Just math.

MiG-31 carry 16tons, Su-57 10tons (lowest data for fuel capacity I find for Su-57) so it is 1.6times more fuel but it use afterbuners to fly supersonic while Su-57 don't and that complicate thing a lot (you burn at least twice more fuel on afterburner). So I think supersonic range is similar for both (lets say economical supersonic range) while MiG-31 can fly much faster and longer on max speed.


F-22 has 8 tons of fuel; Su-57 with 10 tons has 25% more fuel, but that isn't enough to be flying around supersonic all the time, or even most of the time, so Su-57 will still be limited to primarily subsonic flight regimes.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 12:39
by hornetfinn
knowan wrote:
milosh wrote:Which is why they developed excellent (for that era) SA for MiG-31 and later for Su-27 (advanced datalinks).


Su-27 had awful SA thanks to the terrible radar display.


I think that's also because they had rather poor signal processing system compared to Western fighters of the era. I'm sure that affected the display part also. Of course it was likely a good deal better than what they had before in MiG-21/23/25 or Su-15. But it might not look too hot to F-14/15/16 pilots at the time. And of course F-22 and F-35 pilots would find even F-14 and F-15 really lacking in SA department.

Anyway, improving SA has always been extremely important part of developing fighter aircraft. They got bubble canopies, radios and then radars and other sensors (like IRST and RWR/ESM). In new fighters those systems were much better than in the previous aricraft. There was also constant effort to deny enemy SA. Aircraft got low-vis paintings and ECM/EW systems. Now they are buing built to be VLO in radar frequencies and also difficult to be seen with all other sensors.

In the 5th gens the SA part is really the most important thing as it potentially can give the largest advantages against the enemy. Having 10% tighter turn capability is nice, but having 100 times better SA than enemy is priceless.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 13:29
by madrat
As if Brewstee Buffaloes could ever take on Yaks with better SA. Oh, wait. :)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 15:43
by mixelflick
hornetfinn wrote:
knowan wrote:
milosh wrote:Which is why they developed excellent (for that era) SA for MiG-31 and later for Su-27 (advanced datalinks).


Su-27 had awful SA thanks to the terrible radar display.


I think that's also because they had rather poor signal processing system compared to Western fighters of the era. I'm sure that affected the display part also. Of course it was likely a good deal better than what they had before in MiG-21/23/25 or Su-15. But it might not look too hot to F-14/15/16 pilots at the time. And of course F-22 and F-35 pilots would find even F-14 and F-15 really lacking in SA department.

Anyway, improving SA has always been extremely important part of developing fighter aircraft. They got bubble canopies, radios and then radars and other sensors (like IRST and RWR/ESM). In new fighters those systems were much better than in the previous aricraft. There was also constant effort to deny enemy SA. Aircraft got low-vis paintings and ECM/EW systems. Now they are buing built to be VLO in radar frequencies and also difficult to be seen with all other sensors.

In the 5th gens the SA part is really the most important thing as it potentially can give the largest advantages against the enemy. Having 10% tighter turn capability is nice, but having 100 times better SA than enemy is priceless.


This is why I think the F-14 really excelled. Though not a stealth bird, it was a quantum leap in sensor capability over Russian and even US fighters.

First, you had the AWG-9. Outrageously powerful radar for the time and could see farther than virtually any other mounted on a fighter. The infra red (IR) search and track system was an early addition to the standard ECM antenna and position light. The later addition of a tactical camera system (TCS) enabled the F-14 crew to visually identify hostile aircraft at ranges of about 10 miles. There's a video on youtube showing how that camera tracked Libyan Mig-25's in one engagement, which were trying to evade it by going into/out of burner. Didn't matter what they did, the F-14's TCS followed.

I'm not aware of another US fightet that fielded all 3 of those capabilities, at least until the F-35 came online. Hopefully PCA has all of that and more.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 16:30
by sprstdlyscottsmn
mixelflick wrote:
This is why I think the F-14 really excelled. Though not a stealth bird, it was a quantum leap in sensor capability over Russian and even US fighters.

First, you had the AWG-9. Outrageously powerful radar for the time and could see farther than virtually any other mounted on a fighter. The infra red (IR) search and track system was an early addition to the standard ECM antenna and position light. The later addition of a tactical camera system (TCS) enabled the F-14 crew to visually identify hostile aircraft at ranges of about 10 miles. There's a video on youtube showing how that camera tracked Libyan Mig-25's in one engagement, which were trying to evade it by going into/out of burner. Didn't matter what they did, the F-14's TCS followed.

I'm not aware of another US fightet that fielded all 3 of those capabilities, at least until the F-35 came online. Hopefully PCA has all of that and more.

Eh, yes it had systems galore, but the MMI was still 3rd Gen.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 18:12
by quicksilver
“3d Gen MMI”

Amen. Most don’t realize (or have forgotten) what a revelation the Hornet cockpit was in the early 80s.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 18:34
by sprstdlyscottsmn
The F-15 was a quantum leap compared to the F-14. Same idea (big powerful radar with advanced capabilities) but all controlled by a single person. The F-14 has the IRST/TCS, yes, but it had to be controlled by the non-pilot AND the RIO could only operate one system at a time. If the RIO wanted to use the TWS mode of the AWG-9 they couldn't even see the TCS image. The F-16 improved on the MMI from there with more HOTAS capability. The F/A-18 was the penultimate 4th-gen MMI. In some ways the cockpit of the F-22 has more in common with the F/A-18 than with the F-35.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 18:44
by milosh
knowan wrote:
milosh wrote:Which is why they developed excellent (for that era) SA for MiG-31 and later for Su-27 (advanced datalinks).


Su-27 had awful SA thanks to the terrible radar display.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQkGkwZTeRM

I don't see what terrible is there (compared to F-15 from 1980s), and capability of data sharing between fighters in 1980s is superb (btw MiG-31 had it in 1970s). I don't know when F-15 fleet got similar capability? I know in 1980s was plan to install additional display for datalink (and of course datalink) in F-15C but that was canceled. Maybe in 1990s?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 21:06
by knowan
milosh wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQkGkwZTeRM

I don't see what terrible is there (compared to F-15 from 1980s), and capability of data sharing between fighters in 1980s is superb (btw MiG-31 had it in 1970s). I don't know when F-15 fleet got similar capability? I know in 1980s was plan to install additional display for datalink (and of course datalink) in F-15C but that was canceled. Maybe in 1990s?


The radar system only provided limited and imprecise information on contact speed and altitude.
The radar functions were split between the HUD and HDD, forcing the pilot to constantly look between both to use the system.
The HUD radar function is unintuitive to read and use. Other HUD modes such as navigation cannot be used at the same time as conducting a radar search.

On top of all that, the Su-27's N001 radar was quite limited in performance, inferior to the AWG-10/APG-59 introduced on the F-4J in 1966.

Further, the radar warning receiver display is terrible; unintuitive and lacking in information it provides.

Overall, situational awareness in the Su-27 was quite bad by Western standards of the 1980s. However, the 'Westernized' cockpits of modern Flanker variants have eliminated much of these flaws.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Nov 2019, 22:22
by wrightwing
knowan wrote:



F-22 has 8 tons of fuel; Su-57 with 10 tons has 25% more fuel, but that isn't enough to be flying around supersonic all the time, or even most of the time, so Su-57 will still be limited to primarily subsonic flight regimes.

The F-22 carries 9 tons (18,000lbs) of fuel, so the Su-57 doesn't even have 25% more fuel. There's no evidence of Su-57 motors having better TSFC, etc.... Just like F-22s, they'll be spending most of the time at subsonic speeds, and using supercruise when the tactical situation dictates.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 04:52
by knowan
wrightwing wrote:The F-22 carries 9 tons (18,000lbs) of fuel, so the Su-57 doesn't even have 25% more fuel. There's no evidence of Su-57 motors having better TSFC, etc.... Just like F-22s, they'll be spending most of the time at subsonic speeds, and using supercruise when the tactical situation dictates.


I'd heard the F-22 had an internal fuel capacity of 8,200 kg, but looking into it further reveals a higher capacity:
Image

That comes in at 3082 gallons / 20,649.4 lbs / 9,366.4 kg, so you are correct about 9 tons of fuel.

The Su-57 is claimed to have 10,300 kg of internal fuel, so it has only 10% greater fuel capacity.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 12:21
by milosh
8200kg on LM site:

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/pr ... tions.html

I found 410nnm is F-22 super cruise combat radius so supersonic combat radius > 750km mentioned for Su-57 v1.0 is realistic. It would need type 30 to have noticeable better supersonic combat radius then F-22.

@knowan

Su-27 had digital data link Lazur which would provide Su-27 radar info from ground control, A-50 and MiG-31s. I think MiG-31 and Su-27 had intra fighter link capability also because their fighter links are more less same. So even though N001 wasnt good pilot still had impressive SA.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 16:43
by mixelflick
So back on topic...

If we know the F-22/35 both carry around 18,000lbs of fuel (more in the C, less in the B), what do we think PCA will carry?

I'm thinking 30,000lbs minimum, unless some super fuel saving breakthrough has been made. There's a chance (some think a good chance) internal PCA fuel will be at least double the F-22/35. I tend to agree, given they want it to escort B-21's deep into Western China.

Thoughts?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 18:03
by sprstdlyscottsmn
Fuel fractions.

The F-22 in an AA mission is around 64,000lb TOW with 18,000 in fuel for a 0.28 fuel fraction.
The F-35A in an AA mission is around 49,600lb TOW with 18,500 in fuel for a 0.37 fuel fraction.

Even with a fuel fraction of 0.37, a 30,000lb fuel load would be a TOW of 81,000lb. That is a HUGE plane.

Remember that range is a function of cruise speed, weight, cruise L/D, cruise TSFC, and fuel fraction. If you keep speed, L/D, TSFC, and fuel fraction the same, and just increase the weight, you will not see an improvement.

If we say 20% of the internal fuel is used on takeoff and climb to cruise and 15% is reserved for descent,landing, and reserves, then we can get the aircraft weight at the beginning and ending of the cruise phase. Combining this with cruise L/D and we get drag, and that combined with TSFC we get fuel flow, for the cruise phase for the begging and ending of the cruise phase. Combine that with cruise speed and we get range over the cruise phase.

So we will initially hold cruise speed constant at 0.95M, TSFC at 1, and L/D at 12 for all aircraft. Fuel fraction is the only variable.

F-22 goes 697nm on 11,648lb of cruise fuel on an average of 4,549pph dropping from 60,416lb to 48,768lb
F-35 goes 975nm on 11,929lb of cruise fuel on an average of 3,330pph dropping from 45,930lb to 34,001lb
PCA goes 975nm on 19,500lb of cruise fuel on an average of 4,549pph dropping from 75,081lb to 55,581lb

So in that first run we can see that having more fuel weight does nothing if everything else is equal. Now, let's say that the F-22 has an L/D of 15 as its size allows optimizations for wave drag, and that the PCA also gets this advantage. This would give the PCA the F-22s design wave drag optimizations and the F-35s fuel fraction.

F-22 goes 871nm on 11,648lb of cruise fuel on an average of 3,639pph dropping from 60,416lb to 48,768lb
F-35 goes 975nm on 11,929lb of cruise fuel on an average of 3,330pph dropping from 45,930lb to 34,001lb
PCA goes 1219nm on 19,500lb of cruise fuel on an average of 4,355pph dropping from 75,081lb to 55,581lb

Now, what is important is the PCA fuel FRACTION not the fuel LOAD. The design question becomes how small of an aircraft can we build that has the drag optimizations we need, the power and payload we need, and can still hit a 0.37 fuel fraction.

This is why a G650 has nearly the same max range as a 747-8.
G650ER
cruise speed 0.85M
fuel fraction 0.465 (48,200 / 103,600)
L/D (Wing Loading 80.7 - Aspect Ratio 7.73 - Sweep Angle 36deg LE)
TSFC (Engine BPR 4.1 - OPR 43)
Range 7,500nm

747-8I
cruise speed 0.86M
fuel fraction 0.43 (426,109 / 987,000)
L/D (Wing Loading 165.6 - Aspect Ratio 8.43 - Sweep Angle 37.5deg LE)
TSFC (Engine BPR 8.0 - OPR 52)
Range 8,000nm

So the Boeing has a slight edge in cruise speed and a huge edge in TSFC, but the Gulfstream has the advantage of fuel fraction. L/D overall likely goes in Gulfstreams favor as the wing sweeps are very similar and while the Boeing has a somewhat better aspect ratio the Gulfstream crushes it in Wing Loading which impacts Cruise CL which squares for the Drag.

So here we have two aircraft with very similar flight profiles and shockingly close ranges given that one has nearly 10x the fuel of the other.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 19:03
by marsavian
mixelflick wrote:So back on topic...

If we know the F-22/35 both carry around 18,000lbs of fuel (more in the C, less in the B), what do we think PCA will carry?

I'm thinking 30,000lbs minimum, unless some super fuel saving breakthrough has been made. There's a chance (some think a good chance) internal PCA fuel will be at least double the F-22/35. I tend to agree, given they want it to escort B-21's deep into Western China.

Thoughts?


Spurts has done the math but it will ultimately be driven by what the USAF specify as internal fuel radius and the L/D efficiency of the competing airframes. 30 klb minimum is a good shout as it will give about 1200nm internal fuel radius for PCA for an optimized airframe but what if they specify say 1500nm radius, that will require more fuel. I have a gut feeling it will be around 40-50 klb to give a noticeably larger range than F-35 as it has to be differentiated enough to justify the much greater expense. I wouldn't be surprised if the radius it takes for Israel to cover all of Iran stealthily or the US too from friendly Gulf states was the hidden driver. Iran is the big long term threat not China.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 23:13
by knowan
milosh wrote:8200kg on LM site:

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/pr ... tions.html

I found 410nnm is F-22 super cruise combat radius so supersonic combat radius > 750km mentioned for Su-57 v1.0 is realistic. It would need type 30 to have noticeable better supersonic combat radius then F-22.


The entire F-1A fuel tank would have to be unused for 8,200 kg to be correct.

Also, you're talking about 80% greater supersonic combat radius for at best 25% more fuel (assuming 8,200 kg of fuel is the correct figure).
While combat radius vs fuel isn't an exact correlation, 80% greater range is still way too high for 25% more fuel.



milosh wrote:Su-27 had digital data link Lazur which would provide Su-27 radar info from ground control, A-50 and MiG-31s. I think MiG-31 and Su-27 had intra fighter link capability also because their fighter links are more less same. So even though N001 wasnt good pilot still had impressive SA.


It doesn't make up for the terrible cockpit setup, as the datalinks contacts are still displayed with limited in the HDD, with all the limitations.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 23:28
by milosh
knowan wrote:
milosh wrote:8200kg on LM site:

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/pr ... tions.html

I found 410nnm is F-22 super cruise combat radius so supersonic combat radius > 750km mentioned for Su-57 v1.0 is realistic. It would need type 30 to have noticeable better supersonic combat radius then F-22.


The entire F-1A fuel tank would have to be unused for 8,200 kg to be correct.

Also, you're talking about 80% greater supersonic combat radius for at best 25% more fuel (assuming 8,200 kg of fuel is the correct figure).
While combat radius vs fuel isn't an exact correlation, 80% greater range is still way too high for 25% more fuel.


410nm not 410km, big difference. Su-57 with 117 have better supersonic range then F-22 but difference isn't huge, I mean if Pogi talked about at least 1500km that would be +750km radius which is little more then 740km of F-22.

I found earlier on net some text about supersonic flights of F-22, it look like USAF start flying them faster then speed of sound were it is possible (because of sonic boom) because it is more efficient then subsonic flights. If someone can google that text it would be quite interesting for read.

knowan wrote:It doesn't make up for the terrible cockpit setup, as the datalinks contacts are still displayed with limited in the HDD, with all the limitations.


I posted here how it look on HDD it isn't terrible at for that era. Btw I think datalink info would be display on HUD too which helps a lot.

And it would be nice to know about datalink capability of F-15 from 1980s which was Su-27 direct competitor.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 09 Nov 2019, 05:32
by knowan
milosh wrote:410nm not 410km, big difference. Su-57 with 117 have better supersonic range then F-22 but difference isn't huge, I mean if Pogi talked about at least 1500km that would be +750km radius which is little more then 740km of F-22.

I found earlier on net some text about supersonic flights of F-22, it look like USAF start flying them faster then speed of sound were it is possible (because of sonic boom) because it is more efficient then subsonic flights. If someone can google that text it would be quite interesting for read.


Ah my mistake, I missed the nm vs km.


milosh wrote:I posted here how it look on HDD it isn't terrible at for that era. Btw I think datalink info would be display on HUD too which helps a lot.


Datalink info doesn't display on the HUD in the DCS video you linked, so it probably doesn't IRL. And while the HDD doesn't look terrible at first glance, it only provides rough speed and altitude for contacts.

And speaking of DCS, players of that simulation agree the Su-27's situational awareness is definitely inferior to that of the F-15, even though that simulation models the Su-27's datalink capability.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Nov 2019, 09:09
by milosh
knowan wrote:Datalink info doesn't display on the HUD in the DCS video you linked, so it probably doesn't IRL. And while the HDD doesn't look terrible at first glance, it only provides rough speed and altitude for contacts.

And speaking of DCS, players of that simulation agree the Su-27's situational awareness is definitely inferior to that of the F-15, even though that simulation models the Su-27's datalink capability.


DCS is right, I ask guy how read official manual and it doesn't display on HUD.

So I agree about small display could be problem especially in single seater but I dont think (maybe F-18 had bigger radar display in 1980s) any other fighter had noticable bigger display (doesn't count two seaters)

Interestingly Su-27 display could use to show navigation way points something which I wouldn't expect in soviet fighter. So it wasn't just simple radar display but first soviet MFD.

Good video of fighter datalink fuction in 1980s Su-27, pilots would know which target is illuminated and or attacked by other fighters in formation. I didn't know Su-27 had that capability at all back then (for MiG-31 I knew it had):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOxV8Lg ... =emb_title

DCS opions are different, most people agree overrall SA is better for Su-27, many F-15 pilots are bitching why Su-27 had datalinks (not just fighter datalink but also Lazur) because F-15 don't have one BUT on other hand Su-27 combat SA against F-15 is awful because of SPO-15 which don't work against AIM-120 in DCS. In 1980s SPO-15 had much easier job because of SARH missiles.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2019, 14:39
by quicksilver
More from Roper on Century series. Still trying to reconcile how the semantics of ‘cool science project‘ translate to a working business model, never-mind the sustenance of a robust force structure for the worlds greatest Air Force.

Nice socks... :roll:

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... rd%20Brief

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Jan 2020, 23:40
by marsavian
Thanks Spurts for providing such detail on what a legacy derivative version of PCA could look like, it takes so much from F-35/F-22 that it would take half the time and half the cost to develop and procure compared to a clean sheet design as long as the USAF were happy with the clean stealth combat radius of about 1200nm. Seeing as the F-22 wing is already plumbed for 600 gal tanks this could be increased even further for non-stealth starts. The only thing I would add is the F-22 TVC nozzles for greater AoA and supersonic efficiency. Such a design could replace all the old F-15E and I am sure F-15 export users would be interested too. Twice the stealth payload of F-35 for nearly twice as far, very very tempting ;). Nice work !

viewtopic.php?p=433309#p433309

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:44 pm

Okay, I am going to imagine a twin-engine (ADVENT), lengthened F-35. Lengthened by how much? Enough to carry two internal GBU-28s, so 6+ft. The only puts the new plane around 56ft so lets add another 6ft for a fuel plug. Now we are the length of an F-22. Now let's put the wings of an F-22 on it.

Let's say it weighs 50,000lb empty (to the F-22s 44,000) as the "holes add weight" thing applies. With the bigger wing and longer body... an F-22 has 6.5lb of fuel per square foot (length x wingspan) while an F-35A has 10.5. As I am "scaling up" an F-35 to Raptor levels of size in effect, this would give an internal fuel load of 28,700lb. Consider that a 6ftx5ftx6ft box (the 6ft fuel plug with room for intakes/engines to go by) is about 1,350 gallons by itself, or 9,180lb of that 10,200lb fuel increase.

So, now we have an aircraft that could have a gross (stealth) weight of a bit under 90,000lb. ADVENT should be, 15% more thurst, dry and wet we will assume (32.2k and 49.5k respectively, with a TSFC 20% lower? (0.71). At take off, T/W is in the range of .715 dry and 1.1 wet (0.53 and 0.81 for the F-35). This is with two 5,000 bombs. Fuel fraction is on the order of 0.32 (0.35 for the F-35 with two GBU-31s) and a wing loading of 107 (115 for the F-35). The "wing of the F-22" is good for 585,000lb lift, so this plane at take off is 6.5G.

The greater T/W and lower wing loading mean this aircraft can fly higher than an F-35 for cruise (which is already 10,000-15,000 higher than a combat configured F-16) and the improved fineness ratio (near F-22 level) means it should have no problem with high speed cruise (say in the 0.95M range). So we have this plane cruising along at 50,000ft and 0.95M with an L/D of...12 (CFT only strike eagle is around 10). This gives a cruise fuel flow between 5,000pph and 3,850pph for 18,700lb cruise fuel, or 4.2hrs. At 544.5KTAS thats 2,280nm of cruise (assuming 5k used in climb and 5k saved for decent and reserves). That is a radius of 1,140nm with two big a$$ bombs.

Now, my cruise TSFC and L/D are WAGs, but as a rough draft I created an aircraft that could be capable of 1,000nm range, 7G maneuver in combat, and some super cruise ( say 60% more weight is 60% more drag but with 130% more thrust).

Is in that simple? heck no! can it be done? Yes. Expect FRP price to be $140M current year dollars based on the F-35s cost per pound.

"Spurts"

-Pilot
-Aerospace Engineer
-Army Medic
-FMS Systems Engineer

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jan 2020, 14:50
by quicksilver
”So, now we have an aircraft that could have a gross (stealth) weight of a bit under 90,000lb.“

You may wanna rethink your size and weight assumptions. Max gross for a Mud Hen is just over 80K, and it’s size/weight only allow for the carriage of one (1) GBU—28 — externally. Youre suggesting internal carriage of two separate weapons that are 18’ long, with guidance fins that span ~3’, inside a fuselage that must also accommodate space for serpentine ducts feeding two engines (of what thrust class??) placed aft of the weapons bays.

Hmmm...F-22/Eagle size? Really? :whistle:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jan 2020, 16:33
by sprstdlyscottsmn
quicksilver wrote:
You may wanna rethink your size and weight assumptions.

I don't mind a call to review my assumptions and estimations, but I don't appreciate the snark.

Let's break your concern down.

1. Mudhen weighs 80k gross and only carries one GBU-28 externally.

2. Increase in length of 12 ft isn't enough to fit the GBU-28 internally.

3. Body won't be wide enough to handle passage of these weapons bays and air ducts.

Okay, on to review.

1. Mudhen is cleared to carry GBU-28 on all three stations that are cleared for External fuel tanks, and it certainly has the weight available to do it. A full internal+CFT fuel Mudhen with 4 AAMs, targeting pods, and 15,000lbs of GBU-28s is right around 80,000lb.

2. The GBU-28 is 6ft longer than a GBU-31. That was the first 6ft of lengthening I added.

3. This is where the real nuance of design is, isn't it. How does an F-35 do it already? How does an F-22 do it already? Maybe a more dense internal structure is needed so that less volume is used? I did assume an empty weight 6,000lb higher than the F-22. An F-35 has a weapon "pressure" (lbs of internal munitions per square foot of airplane footprint) of 3.11. My theoretical plane is at 3.62, so you have a valid concern here. So while the weapons may fit in my theoretical design they do seem to push into the plane design more complicating the intake design. The body would have to be made a bit wider.

So the carriage of the weapons is not in of itself the issue, they can fit. The issue is ducting two ADVENT air streams around it when the F-22 is not much wider than the F-35 in the body. All I can say is that this is part of why I assumed such a high empty weight. If we drop to L/D to 10 to say the design is a bit more bulky than initially estimated and drop cruise speed to 0.9M then...

average cruise fuel flow goes to ~5,300pph and speed drops to 516KTAS meaning 18,700lb cruise fuel gets 3.53hrs and 1,820nm, dropping radius to 910nm in a perfect hi-hi-hi profile with no loiter or combat allowances.

again, these are all educated guesses. I spent zero minutes actually designing any of the nuances here.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jan 2020, 17:00
by madrat
Wouldn't that be more like an FB-111A class?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jan 2020, 17:10
by quicksilver
“I don't mind a call to review my assumptions and estimations, but I don't appreciate the snark.“

Not sure where you find the snark. This is ready room conversation, not a preliminary design review. Bar napkin rules apply.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jan 2020, 17:13
by quicksilver
madrat wrote:Wouldn't that be more like an FB-111A class?


That would be my guess.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jan 2020, 17:31
by quicksilver
My other question would be about the amount of structural offset required between the weapons bay and the inlet ducts as they wind their way rearward to the face of the engine. How much can we bend the ducts and sustain stabilized flows to the face of the engines?

I don’t know. I’m asking. :wink:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Jan 2020, 17:40
by quicksilver
My other curiosity would be about asymmetric release and where the limits would be for lateral offset of the weapon(s) from the longitudinal axis of the jet.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2020, 01:14
by marsavian
Spurts, I wonder if similar range/kinetic/payload performance to your original calculation model can be achieved by starting from an F-22 base rather than a F-35 one where it's lengthened to add at least 50-60% more fuel and maybe even scaling up the wing to match the length increase ? The F-22 seems to have the most performance of existing stealth aircraft to spare in the search for greater payload/range as befits the PCA requirement.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2020, 04:25
by wrightwing
marsavian wrote:Spurts, I wonder if similar range/kinetic/payload performance to your original calculation model can be achieved by starting from an F-22 base rather than a F-35 one where it's lengthened to add at least 50-60% more fuel and maybe even scaling up the wing to match the length increase ? The F-22 seems to have the most performance of existing stealth aircraft to spare in the search for greater payload/range as befits the PCA requirement.

There are more requirements for the PCA than just an increase in range. They're probably going to want an ELO airframe to deal with future threats, in addition to whatever other capabilities are featured.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2020, 13:32
by zero-one
wrightwing wrote:There are more requirements for the PCA than just an increase in range. They're probably going to want an ELO airframe to deal with future threats, in addition to whatever other capabilities are featured.


Those requirements will not be confined to just 1 platform.
https://www.flightglobal.com/usaf-backs ... 34.article
develop a “family of systems” – including longer-range, higher-payload platforms to launch volleys of weapons at targets from “standoff” distances and others that will swoop in for direct attacks.


So the fighter sized component of PCA, weather a derivative of the F-22 or clean sheet may not be required to have extreme range at all. There may be a dedicated platform for that. Or there may be a Stealthy tanker as part of the PCA's family of systems.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12
by sferrin
zero-one wrote:So the fighter sized component of PCA, weather a derivative of the F-22 or clean sheet may not be required to have extreme range at all. There may be a dedicated platform for that. Or there may be a Stealthy tanker as part of the PCA's family of systems.


What would be the point of a fighter lacking the range to be useful? Sounds like the USAF is trying to emulate the "success" of the Army's Future Combat System.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2020, 15:42
by wrightwing
sferrin wrote:
zero-one wrote:So the fighter sized component of PCA, weather a derivative of the F-22 or clean sheet may not be required to have extreme range at all. There may be a dedicated platform for that. Or there may be a Stealthy tanker as part of the PCA's family of systems.


What would be the point of a fighter lacking the range to be useful? Sounds like the USAF is trying to emulate the "success" of the Army's Future Combat System.

Exactly. There won't be any components of PCA that don't have significant improvements in range, magazine depth, and low observabiilty. Those are pretty much a given. What remains to be seen are speed/agility requirements, along with whatever other features are included.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2020, 17:23
by mixelflick
So assuming a 2030ish IOC date, shouldn't prototypes be flying now?

I know the USAF wants to avoid 27 year developmental histories, but we're just 10 years away now. Off the shelf components or not, they need to get moving. If it really is still on the drawing board, there's a lot of work to do. In fact, I can't recall the last fighter that took under 10 years from RFP to IOC?

Unless they're flying something now, its doubtful IMO 2030 is realistic. More likely 2035-2040. I just hope I see it before I die LOL. To see something so capable it makes the Raptor look feeble. Also, I think I read where the Navy's funding got cut on their F/A-XX. That doesn't bode well for a program I've long thought isn't plausible.

But back to PCA... does anyone really believe they're going to use off the shelf tech, at least in the final version? I just can't see it. Too much temptation for the latest and greatest, which of course will add to timeline and ultimately, cost. I suppose they have a responsibility/obligation to include the best tech possible for the warfighter..

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2020, 20:00
by wrightwing
mixelflick wrote:So assuming a 2030ish IOC date, shouldn't prototypes be flying now?

I know the USAF wants to avoid 27 year developmental histories, but we're just 10 years away now. Off the shelf components or not, they need to get moving. If it really is still on the drawing board, there's a lot of work to do. In fact, I can't recall the last fighter that took under 10 years from RFP to IOC?

Unless they're flying something now, its doubtful IMO 2030 is realistic. More likely 2035-2040. I just hope I see it before I die LOL. To see something so capable it makes the Raptor look feeble. Also, I think I read where the Navy's funding got cut on their F/A-XX. That doesn't bode well for a program I've long thought isn't plausible.

But back to PCA... does anyone really believe they're going to use off the shelf tech, at least in the final version? I just can't see it. Too much temptation for the latest and greatest, which of course will add to timeline and ultimately, cost. I suppose they have a responsibility/obligation to include the best tech possible for the warfighter..


I don't see a 2030 IOC being plausible. They haven't even identified the specific requirements yet. 2035-2040 Is far more likely, whatever they may be wishing for.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 02:52
by Corsair1963
wrightwing wrote:
I don't see a 2030 IOC being plausible. They haven't even identified the specific requirements yet. 2035-2040 Is far more likely, whatever they may be wishing for.



Exactly, this talk of vastly speeding up the development and production of the PCA/NGAD is just that....."TALK". :roll:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 08:41
by zero-one
wrightwing wrote:
sferrin wrote:
What would be the point of a fighter lacking the range to be useful? Sounds like the USAF is trying to emulate the "success" of the Army's Future Combat System.

Exactly. There won't be any components of PCA that don't have significant improvements in range, magazine depth, and low observabiilty. Those are pretty much a given. What remains to be seen are speed/agility requirements, along with whatever other features are included.


But thats exactly what the AF brass is saying:
https://www.flightglobal.com/usaf-backs ... 34.article
Grynkewich says range and payload are critical, but some studies show that speed, manoeuvrability and some level of low-observable shaping or stealth still have their place

develop a “family of systems” – including longer-range, higher-payload platforms to launch volleys of weapons at targets from “standoff” distances and others that will swoop in for direct attacks


So clearly, the PCA is not looking for all it's components to have extreme range. Not everything needs to cross the pacific in 1 tank of gas.

Like I said before, you can add range mid flight, via aerial refueling, but you can't add speed or maneuverability. The question is how much aerial refueling will you need. If the Raptor needs 10 to cross the Atlantic, reducing that to just 6 will be an improvement.

The AF has given no indication that all components of the PCA are required to be unreliant on Aerial refueling. So fighter sized components are still a possibility.

Regarding PCA candidates:
The planning chiefs did not rule out building derivatives of existing aircraft or even the Northrop Grumman B-21 bomber. Modest investments will also be made to upgrade and life-extending fourth-generation aircraft and modernise the F-22 Raptor.


So maybe my idea of having a modernized Raptor to fill out some roles within the PCA family isn't so far fetched after all.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 09:06
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:But thats exactly what the AF brass is saying:
Grynkewich says range and payload are critical, but some studies show that speed, manoeuvrability and some level of low-observable shaping or stealth still have their place

develop a “family of systems” – including longer-range, higher-payload platforms to launch volleys of weapons at targets from “standoff” distances and others that will swoop in for direct attacks


So clearly, the PCA is not looking for all it's components to have extreme range. Not everything needs to cross the pacific in 1 tank of gas.

Like I said before, you can add range mid flight, via aerial refueling, but you can't add speed or maneuverability. The question is how much aerial refueling will you need. If the Raptor needs 10 to cross the Atlantic, reducing that to just 6 will be an improvement.

The AF has given no indication that all components of the PCA are required to be unreliant on Aerial refueling. So fighter sized components are still a possibility.

Regarding PCA candidates:
The planning chiefs did not rule out building derivatives of existing aircraft or even the Northrop Grumman B-21 bomber. Modest investments will also be made to upgrade and life-extending fourth-generation aircraft and modernise the F-22 Raptor.


So maybe my idea of having a modernized Raptor to fill out some roles within the PCA family isn't so far fetched after all.


Literally the first part of the sentence is that range is critical. They won't be satisfied with just an 18% range increase like the ADVENT slides are showing for F-22. You might be able to get better range by increasing bypass and use a smaller core but then you'll probably sacrifice supersonic performance.

Also there are limits to bow much broadband stealth you can get with F-22 airframe from basic physics of the configuration. Aerodynamics and stealth has improved a lot since the 1990s F-22 airframe design, it's not hard to create something better with relatively low risk.

The plan was always to modernize the F-22 and F-35 fleet anyways, since EW is constantly evolving.

I just don't get why your plans keep going back to the F-22.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 09:43
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:
Also there are limits to bow much broadband stealth you can get with F-22 airframe from basic physics of the configuration. Aerodynamics and stealth has improved a lot since the 1990s F-22 airframe design, it's not hard to create something better with relatively low risk.


well they don't have to. some components of the PCA can go nuts with stealth and sacrifice speed and maneuverability to have broadband stealth and extreme range. They can go tailess and be bomber sized which they will most likely be.

disconnectedradical wrote:I just don't get why your plans keep going back to the F-22.


Because thats what they said. Derivatives of existing designs or modernized versions of existing aircraft can be incorporated into the PCA family of systems.

We have to stop thinking that PCA will be another new jet that does everything. It could still be that, don't get me wrong, but the AF seems to be leaning towards a family of existing and clean sheet designs that complement each other.

If it were up to me, I would also want a clean sheet design that has 1,200 nmi radius and can pull 18Gs in an unmanned configuration with up to 10 AAMs and DI weapons for short range engagements.

But that just screams 10+ years of development and testing, something the AF has explicitly said over and over and over that they don't want. They want existing technologies that can be modernized and integrated into a family. I don't understand why you think a modernized F-22 a modified B-21 and some drones won't fit that description.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 10:33
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:well they don't have to. some components of the PCA can go nuts with stealth and sacrifice speed and maneuverability to have broadband stealth and extreme range. They can go tailess and be bomber sized which they will most likely be.


You're making this "family of systems" idea more complicated than it needs to be and it feels like you're trying to force F-22 into the role. If you put F-22 into the role you'll need tanker support for longer range, missile aircraft for more magazine depth, and more EW assets to compensate for older stealth technology. You can split your 2030-2040 PCA capabilities into different platforms in a way that makes sense, but right now you're basically wanting F-22 to the fighter role, which needs all these supporting assets and it still won't be optimal.

A clean sheet fighter itself will cost more and take longer to make, but you get much more capability and you can also reduce how much supporting asset you need. If you want to go lower risk and better stealth, something like a v-tail like some of Lockheed Martin's concepts for 6th generation fighter can fit that bill. A tailless supersonic airplane will be riskier and more expensive.

zero-one wrote:Because thats what they said. Derivatives of existing designs or modernized versions of existing aircraft can be incorporated into the PCA family of systems.


No, that's what YOU want. They just say they're not ruling out existing aircraft derivatives, not that it must be F-22 derivative.

zero-one wrote:We have to stop thinking that PCA will be another new jet that does everything. It could still be that, don't get me wrong, but the AF seems to be leaning towards a family of existing and clean sheet designs that complement each other.


So your idea is to have clean sheet support aircraft instead of fighter so that you can have more F-22s? Because that's what it seems like you want. Sounds great if you're F-22 fan but then you may need more support aircraft to support F-22 than if you support a clean sheet fighter. Is that really more effective or cheaper?

zero-one wrote:If it were up to me, I would also want a clean sheet design that has 1,200 nmi radius and can pull 18Gs in an unmanned configuration with up to 10 AAMs and DI weapons for short range engagements.


Great strawman. Nowhere did I say we need some new magic plane. But a clean sheet design with much more range and payload, better stealth, and with mostly same performance as F-22 is not that hard to achieve especially with F-22 being more than 20 years old now.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 11:00
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote: If you put F-22 into the role you'll need tanker support for longer range, missile aircraft for more magazine depth, and more EW assets to compensate for older stealth technology.

Basically how the USAF has always operated.

disconnectedradical wrote:
A clean sheet fighter will cost more and take longer to make,

You mean exactly what they're trying to avoid

disconnectedradical wrote: but you get much more capability

Which is not really what they're asking for.

disconnectedradical wrote:
No, that's what YOU want.

Except its not. I already told you what I want. 1.2k nmi range and 18Gs maneuverability. No Raptor can do that.

disconnectedradical wrote:
So your idea is to have clean sheet support aircraft instead of fighter so that you can have more F-22s?


No.
B-21 derived long range interceptor,
B-21 derived long range tanker,
B-21 derived EW platform
and
F-22 derived air superiority fighter.
all of this, are just how I interpret the USAF's statements.
Just a possible outcome.

For what its worth, I honestly like your idea below better
disconnectedradical wrote: clean sheet design with much more range and payload, better stealth, and with mostly same performance as F-22 is not that hard to achieve especially with F-22 being more than 20 years old now.


But this is exactly what the USAF is trying to move away from. Another 16 year Dev period.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 11:53
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote: If you put F-22 into the role you'll need tanker support for longer range, missile aircraft for more magazine depth, and more EW assets to compensate for older stealth technology.

Basically how the USAF has always operated.

disconnectedradical wrote:
A clean sheet fighter will cost more and take longer to make,

You mean exactly what they're trying to avoid

disconnectedradical wrote: but you get much more capability

Which is not really what they're asking for.


Really, USAF is not asking for more capabilities? Why are they putting so much emphasis on range and payload then? The whole point is a clean sheet fighter itself will cost more but need less supporting asset and is more survivable, so in the long run it may be better value than just using derivatives or only making clean sheet support aircraft.

zero-one wrote:Except its not. I already told you what I want. 1.2k nmi range and 18Gs maneuverability. No Raptor can do that.


I don't know why you're putting out these absurd numbers like 18g unless you're trying to make strawman on purpose.

zero-one wrote:But this is exactly what the USAF is trying to move away from. Another 16 year Dev period.


The huge development period is because F-22 and F-35 are developed as a SYSTEM, with airframe being just one part, the other two big parts are mission systems and engines. It's creating a whole system that's causing the long development times. Roper mentioned more emphasis on airframes, which can be sped up by decoupling mission systems and propulsion from airframes. I don't know if that is the way to do it or if that will actually make things more affordable, but new airframe is not the same as having a long development cycle.

For example, if your focus is just on airframe, create a clean sheet v-tail fighter with 1,200 nmi radius, Mach 1.5 supercruise, 7.5g maneuverability, 50% more magazine depth, and then use mature technology like F-35 avionics and also engine that has high enough TRL like ADVENT. Something with numbers like what sprstdlyscottsmn put out, though with a clean sheet rather than F-35 derivative you might get slightly lower gross weight for same capability. You might save a lot of time and money buy focusing on airframe while using existing or nearly ready avionics and engines.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 13:35
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:Really, USAF is not asking for more capabilities?

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.


disconnectedradical wrote:I don't know why you're putting out these absurd numbers like 18g unless you're trying to make strawman on purpose.

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.

disconnectedradical wrote:You might save a lot of time and money buy focusing on airframe while using existing or nearly ready avionics and engines.


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

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 15:50
by mixelflick
Interesting discussion..

I don't believe "more range and payload" are capable by modifying current airframes. Even a "stretched" F-22 isn't going to get to where USAF wants. That's even moreso true for the F-35. What we do know is that advanced derivative engines are being developled for each, with more info being availabe on the F-135. I've long thought the F-119's vague, "35,000lbs class" afterburning turbofans was suspect. Meaning I think they've been tinkering with it behind the scenes and have an up-rated, perhaps 45,000 - 50,000lb version (at least on the stand). Hell the F-135 can put out 43,000lbs, 2 to 7,000lbs more shouldn't be an issue. Fuel burn might, but that will come down with time. As for the avionics, I think those will be ported over from the B-21.

So with those 2 out of the way, we need an airframe. I don't think there's any question it has to be new build - no current American fighter is large enough to hold the necessary fuel/weapons. I don't think it's the B-21, as that's widely considered to be a subsonic design. I do think it'll be B-21 sized, but more along the lines of the YF-23's outline and with 0, 1 or 2 crewmembers.

But there's no way it gets here before 2030, or at least IOC by then. Until that time, modifying F-35's/22's with up-rated engines, sensors and especially the AIM-260/Perigrine will be crucial. And if USAF intends for the F-15C/EX to soldier on, that platform will need the same attention.

Would love to be a fly on the wall at Skunk Works... :)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 16:13
by sprstdlyscottsmn
zero-one wrote: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)


From my perspective the two programs are nearly opposites. The F-15E was an evolution of the F-15B/D to the point that the first F-15B was modified into the demo unit for the F-15E, much like how an existing F-15E was modified with a Conformal Weapons Bay to be a demo aircraft for the F-15SE.

This would be like throwing CFTs on an F-35A to see what happens.

The F/A-18E was a brand new airframe with a familiar visual form using off the shelf systems and a derivative engine.

This would be like building a bigger F-35A with F135 upgrade path 2.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 16:32
by zero-one
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

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 16:42
by disconnectedradical
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?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 16:45
by disconnectedradical
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 17:19
by marsavian
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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Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 17:57
by zero-one
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Jan 2020, 20:10
by disconnectedradical
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2020, 08:54
by zero-one
@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

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Jan 2020, 21:51
by jetblast16
Range, speed, low-observables, sensing, maneuverability would be my approach for the PCA/ NGAD

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Jan 2020, 22:48
by wrightwing
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 26 Jan 2020, 09:27
by zero-one
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 26 Jan 2020, 17:02
by wrightwing
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 26 Jan 2020, 17:39
by quicksilver
“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

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 27 Jan 2020, 03:01
by Corsair1963
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.....

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 27 Jan 2020, 08:53
by zero-one
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 27 Jan 2020, 12:01
by mixelflick
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 27 Jan 2020, 18:16
by wrightwing
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 27 Jan 2020, 22:59
by disconnectedradical
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Jan 2020, 03:18
by Corsair1963
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Jan 2020, 03:26
by Corsair1963
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??? :?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Jan 2020, 04:28
by marsavian
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Jan 2020, 06:09
by Corsair1963
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:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 28 Jan 2020, 08:55
by zero-one
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 01:24
by wrightwing
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 07:21
by marauder2048
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).

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 07:36
by Corsair1963
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.... :|

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 08:51
by zero-one
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 10:43
by Corsair1963
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!

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 10:55
by zero-one
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,

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 11:06
by Corsair1963
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"

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 16:21
by disconnectedradical
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.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 18:48
by mixelflick
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..

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 19:13
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote: 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.


Thats what I'm saying.
-Airframe
-Engines
-Avionics

Engines: we know ADVENT is in development and has been for some time so we can start with that. Slap it on existing airframes, ow say the F-22....

Avionics, Current F-22 avionics are formidable but far from cutting edge, You don't need to develop new ones. just the latest ones available or are in mature stages of development. Advanced DAS and EOTS perhaps with a new GaN bassed AESA .

Airframe: there is no new airframe anywhere in the horizon, so this will probably be the last to come up, unless they kept it a secret after all this time.

In my opinion this Super Raptor can fly by 2027 and reach iOC in 2030 or 31. This new plane can hold the floor for another 40 years with proper upgrades.

Apply the same to a modified B-21 that will act as long range stealth interceptor, target iOC could be 2035.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 20:47
by wrightwing
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,

That article represented a minority view point, and certainly not the USAF as a whole. We're not going back to a Century series approach..

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 21:00
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote: 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.


Thats what I'm saying.
-Airframe
-Engines
-Avionics

Engines: we know ADVENT is in development and has been for some time so we can start with that. Slap it on existing airframes, ow say the F-22....

Avionics, Current F-22 avionics are formidable but far from cutting edge, You don't need to develop new ones. just the latest ones available or are in mature stages of development. Advanced DAS and EOTS perhaps with a new GaN bassed AESA .

Airframe: there is no new airframe anywhere in the horizon, so this will probably be the last to come up, unless they kept it a secret after all this time.

In my opinion this Super Raptor can fly by 2027 and reach iOC in 2030 or 31. This new plane can hold the floor for another 40 years with proper upgrades.

Apply the same to a modified B-21 that will act as long range stealth interceptor, target iOC could be 2035.

Once again, the USAF has unequivocally stated that no new F-22s of any kind are in the cards. Current F-22s will be upgraded and kept in service thru the 2060s, F-35s will be bought in the proper numbers and receive continuous upgrades. The money that would be spent on new F-22s will be spent on PCA development. There's no upgrade to the F-22 that will allow it to meet the (P)CA requirement. If the new planes aren't at least >1000nm combat radius and .00001m^2 (or better) it's probably not worth the trouble.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 30 Jan 2020, 03:23
by madrat
For all we know they might be able to make PCA into a 737 sized (but stealth) aircraft with lots of standoff capacity supported by a fleet of drones. Kind of like an AWACS of sorts, sifting through the data supplied by the fleet of drones. For targets near a particular drone a localized weapon might be employed. For fast reaction to a threat that drones cannot touch there might be some mule aircraft in figure-8 patterns ready to deploy bigger or more specialized weapons. But for the really serious threats the PCA might direct energy weapons or whatnot.

Instead of thinking about a fleet of a uniform airframe, might want to consider that to be obsolete in the sixth generation.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 30 Jan 2020, 07:27
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:Engines: we know ADVENT is in development and has been for some time so we can start with that. Slap it on existing airframes, ow say the F-22....


I'll post this picture of ADVENT/AETP again, look at the improvement.

Image

Only 18%. Unless you want to sacrifice supersonic performance by giving the engine smaller core so there is room for 3rd stream.

F-22 airframe is too limited and not enough, do you not understand?

zero-one wrote:Avionics, Current F-22 avionics are formidable but far from cutting edge, You don't need to develop new ones. just the latest ones available or are in mature stages of development. Advanced DAS and EOTS perhaps with a new GaN bassed AESA .


That's what F-22 MLU will hopefully bring. But funding for that doesn't start until 2024, and also F-22 is getting more limited on electrical power now. More reason why the airframe is reaching the limits.

https://www.aviationtoday.com/2018/10/1 ... rnization/

Merchant said the F-22 is “good” on weight still with these changes because the new racks tend to be lighter, though it’s starting to get “a little bit limited on power” as capabilities are added. Certainly, with the goal of keeping the Raptor in service until 2060, more electrical power will be needed at some point.


zero-one wrote:Airframe: there is no new airframe anywhere in the horizon, so this will probably be the last to come up, unless they kept it a secret after all this time.

In my opinion this Super Raptor can fly by 2027 and reach iOC in 2030 or 31. This new plane can hold the floor for another 40 years with proper upgrades.

Apply the same to a modified B-21 that will act as long range stealth interceptor, target iOC could be 2035.


:doh: It takes 6.5 years just to restart F-22A production, since the production line is gone. You want to keep using this old airframe for another 40 years? The airframe is already reaching the limits.

So what is cheaper then, a super F-22 that needs a bunch of stealth tankers because of range, a bunch of missile carrying escorts for magazine depth, and have to operate further from contested airspace because it's less stealthy, or a clean sheet that might take a few more years but will be vastly more capable and does not need nearly as much supporting assets. Do you really save money with some super F-22 then? What sense is there to delay a new airframe so you can spend a TON of money to make a bunch of older and more limited ones that gets obsolete much sooner? Again as dubious as the F-15X is, at least it has an active production line, while there is NONE for F-22 right now.

F-22 started development 10 years after F-15 entered service and entered service 30 years after F-15. It's 15 years after F-22 entered service and you want it to "hold the floor" for another 40 years? Europe is already developing 5.5 gen FCAS and Tempest which will probably be more capable than F-22, so you rather keep upgrading that airframe?

You're too passionate and biased towards the F-22 (I don't know why you are so into this airframe), and even though it's a good aircraft, it has limitations that won't make it suitable for what USAF wants in 2030+ timeframe.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 30 Jan 2020, 07:45
by Corsair1963
Honestly, I doubt the ACE technology would be adapted to existing engines. Like the F100, F110, or even F119. My guess it would only be used for the new 6th Generation Fighters (PCA/NGAD) and/or as a replacement for the F135 in the F-35.


"IMHO"

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2020, 09:03
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote: You want to keep using this old airframe for another 40 years? The airframe is already reaching the limits.


I'll repeat this over and over and over until it sinks in.
Its not about what I want, its about what the USAF requires. They have repeatedly said, they don't want another 15 year development cycle. And that PCA could be several different platforms specializing in different mission sets

You're view that a new clean sheet design will take just a "little more time" than the F-22's 6.5 year restart is hyper optimistic in my opinion, You're asking for a new airframe that combines the wide broadband stealth of the B-21 and the Kinematics of the F-22 (maybe a little less in some areas) the magazine depth of the F-15X, maybe more and double or triple the range of the Raptor

2 questions there,
1. Would this design actually need to be a family of systems, coz to me it looks like this can stand on its own as the new Silver bullet super air dominance fighter. Something the USAF said they're moving away from.

2. How can this be done in the kind of time line the USAF is gunning for, 5 years.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2020, 13:51
by marsavian
How can this be done in the kind of time line the USAF is gunning for, 5 years.


It can't, 15+ is more realistic, when the bulk of F-35 production is over.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2020, 16:37
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:I'll repeat this over and over and over until it sinks in.
Its not about what I want, its about what the USAF requires. They have repeatedly said, they don't want another 15 year development cycle. And that PCA could be several different platforms specializing in different mission sets


It all depends on how much risk they want with a new airframe, if they want lower risk they can get a new airframe that’s better in some ways than F-22 without being extremely risky or expensive. Problem is clean sheet may be expensive but F-22 restart is not much cheaper because again ]F-22 production line is gone. A low risk clean sheet like a v-tail aircraft that Lockheed Martin showed in some concept art can be done for not much more than restarting F-22 production. There are airframe concepts existing right now that could offer better performance than F-22, even something like F-23.

zero-one wrote: 2 questions there,
1. Would this design actually need to be a family of systems, coz to me it looks like this can stand on its own as the new Silver bullet super air dominance fighter. Something the USAF said they're moving away from.

2. How can this be done in the kind of time line the USAF is gunning for, 5 years.

Nothing will be here in 5 years, not even F-22A restart. So I don’t know why you’re so caught up with this time to try to justify more F-22. Do you really want to bet on this airframe against the FCAS, or upgraded Su-57, or J-20 in 2040s?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2020, 20:02
by wrightwing
disconnectedradical wrote:

You're too passionate and biased towards the F-22 (I don't know why you are so into this airframe), and even though it's a good aircraft, it has limitations that won't make it suitable for what USAF wants in 2030+ timeframe.

This may be going a little too far, though your other sentiments are correct. I think that it'd be more accurate to say that a variant of the F-22 isn't what the USAF wants, to replace the F-22. Whether the PCA is a platform or family of platforms, range and further signature reduction are going to be very high priorities. Sure, there are band aid approaches to get more than 18% range improvements (i.e. CFT/EFT,) but then you start getting into issues with maintaining the current level of signature reduction. It's going to take a clean sheet design to get more range, and a smaller signature.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2020, 20:07
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote: You want to keep using this old airframe for another 40 years? The airframe is already reaching the limits.


I'll repeat this over and over and over until it sinks in.
Its not about what I want, its about what the USAF requires. They have repeatedly said, they don't want another 15 year development cycle. And that PCA could be several different platforms specializing in different mission sets

You're view that a new clean sheet design will take just a "little more time" than the F-22's 6.5 year restart is hyper optimistic in my opinion, You're asking for a new airframe that combines the wide broadband stealth of the B-21 and the Kinematics of the F-22 (maybe a little less in some areas) the magazine depth of the F-15X, maybe more and double or triple the range of the Raptor

2 questions there,
1. Would this design actually need to be a family of systems, coz to me it looks like this can stand on its own as the new Silver bullet super air dominance fighter. Something the USAF said they're moving away from.

2. How can this be done in the kind of time line the USAF is gunning for, 5 years.


The USAF has never stated a timeline of 2030 (or earlier) for IOC of a new aircraft. There have been a few USAF officers that have opined on the matter, but that's not the official USAF position. The official USAF position is still a 2035-2040 time frame, for whatever comes after F-22. The primary budget priorities right now are F-35, B-21, and KC-46.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Feb 2020, 10:56
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote: A low risk clean sheet like a v-tail aircraft that Lockheed Martin showed in some concept art can be done for not much more than restarting F-22 production. There are airframe concepts existing right now that could offer better performance than F-22, even something like F-23.


But That just a concept art, historically speaking most concept arts require major redesigns, decades of development time and billions of dollars in testing. Nobody is even sure if it will actually fly or have RCS returns better than the F-22.

Yes having less control surfaces and protruding surfaces will improve RCS? But exactly by how much? We don't know. The saying goes, "if it was so good, everyone would be doing it". So far, no pelican tail design has made it passed the prototype stage.

In the X-32, engineers agreed that 2 tails will offer better RCS returns than 4, but it will also be heavier
https://www.airspacemag.com/military-av ... c=y&page=2
The bigger hydraulic pumps and cylinders needed to operate the larger surfaces would end up adding at least 200 pounds to the design.


Wait, you're saying they went back to traditional 4 tail designs just because of a minuscule 200 pound weight gain?
That tells me that the perceived RCS advantages of the pelican tail is so small that its not even worth the 200 pounds in weight. (maybe this is just for the X-32's case or maybe its for all Pelican tail designs, we don't know)

Using older aircraft designs to fulfill future roles is nothing new.
The F/A-18E fulfills the role that the A-12 and NATF should have filled
It was done due to budget restrictions for the Navy at the time, exactly what the USAF is facing now.
but it's worked pretty well so far.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 02 Feb 2020, 21:12
by eloise
zero-one wrote:Wait, you're saying they went back to traditional 4 tail designs just because of a minuscule 200 pound weight gain?
That tells me that the perceived RCS advantages of the pelican tail is so small that its not even worth the 200 pounds in weight. (maybe this is just for the X-32's case or maybe its for all Pelican tail designs, we don't know) .

That 200 pounds can have a big impact on STOVL ability, especially if it make X-32 tail heavy. If STOVL was one of the criteria then I can see why they think 200 lbs weight gain is important issue

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2020, 07:29
by marauder2048
So much of the lead time in reconstituting the F-22 line is in rebuilding the titanium processing and
forging capacity for an aircraft that required 50 metric tons of titanium per airframe (~ 10 lbs for every 1 pound
that ended up on the aircraft).

I would think that a major goal of PCA would be to design an aircraft that doesn't
depend on materials where:

a. the US is heavily reliant on imports from the PRC and Russia
b. DOD is susceptible to pricing/scheduling competition from commercial aerospace
c. there are long material lead times for processing/finishing

Not to say you couldn't use additive titanium where the buy-to-fly ratio is better on the F-22 restart
but that's probably tantamount to doing redoing the entire structures/loads campaign.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2020, 08:34
by zero-one
marauder2048 wrote:a. the US is heavily reliant on imports from the PRC and Russia
b. DOD is susceptible to pricing/scheduling competition from commercial aerospace
c. there are long material lead times for processing/finishing


A. Well Canada is a good source, but you know what, the US is actually the World's top Titanium exporter despite not being the top Titanium producer.
Read here: https://oec.world/en/profile/hs92/8108/

B. Pretty sure the US can produce it's own Titanium for sensitive defense projects.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2020, 09:15
by zero-one
Came across this article regarding Lockheed's new CNT based RAM
https://patents.google.com/patent/US20100271253
The composite is capable of absorbing radar in a frequency range from between about 0.10 Megahertz to about 60 Gigahertz.The CNT-infused fiber material forms a first layer that reduces radar reflectance and a second layer that dissipates the energy of the absorbed radar


If I'm getting this correctly, then there is a way to improve the effective frequesncy range of current VLO platforms's RCS with regards to their effect on different radar bands. The new material is said to be effective from 100 KHz (LF band) all the way to 60 GHz (EHF band)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2020, 10:07
by marauder2048
zero-one wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:a. the US is heavily reliant on imports from the PRC and Russia
b. DOD is susceptible to pricing/scheduling competition from commercial aerospace
c. there are long material lead times for processing/finishing


A. Well Canada is a good source, but you know what, the US is actually the World's top Titanium exporter despite not being the top Titanium producer.
Read here: https://oec.world/en/profile/hs92/8108/

B. Pretty sure the US can produce it's own Titanium for sensitive defense projects.


The US is 80% dependent on titanium imports. There's one vulnerable domestic supplier of titanium sponge
and the National Defense Stockpile that was to have to provided 30,000 tons (about a year of production)
was sold off a decade ago.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2020, 14:22
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:But That just a concept art, historically speaking most concept arts require major redesigns, decades of development time and billions of dollars in testing. Nobody is even sure if it will actually fly or have RCS returns better than the F-22.

Yes having less control surfaces and protruding surfaces will improve RCS? But exactly by how much? We don't know. The saying goes, "if it was so good, everyone would be doing it". So far, no pelican tail design has made it passed the prototype stage.


Dassault NGF? Japanese F-3? And all US concepts are pushing it further by having no tails at all. It's ridiculous that you think one tail configuration is better just because of a popularity contest from historical aircraft without considering all requirements and design considerations.

zero-one wrote:Using older aircraft designs to fulfill future roles is nothing new.
The F/A-18E fulfills the role that the A-12 and NATF should have filled
It was done due to budget restrictions for the Navy at the time, exactly what the USAF is facing now.
but it's worked pretty well so far.


And the F/A-18E/F airframe is pretty outclassed by likes of Rafale, Typhoon, maybe even Su-35, only the avionics and training kept Super Hornet competitive. Is that the situation you want to risk having by making some super F-22 face off against European FCAS, or Tempest, or improved Su-57s?

zero-one wrote:Came across this article regarding Lockheed's new CNT based RAM
https://patents.google.com/patent/US20100271253
The composite is capable of absorbing radar in a frequency range from between about 0.10 Megahertz to about 60 Gigahertz.The CNT-infused fiber material forms a first layer that reduces radar reflectance and a second layer that dissipates the energy of the absorbed radar


If I'm getting this correctly, then there is a way to improve the effective frequesncy range of current VLO platforms's RCS with regards to their effect on different radar bands. The new material is said to be effective from 100 KHz (LF band) all the way to 60 GHz (EHF band)


This material is useful if your aircraft is large enough to exploit it, otherwise if the wavelength is same order of magnitude as your aircraft or major parts of it, then it won't matter because Rayleigh scattering has to do with relationship between physical size and wavelength. Looking at the date of the patent it might have to do with Boeing/Lockheed LRS-B design that lost to Northrop Grumman's B-21.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2020, 17:07
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:Dassault NGF? Japanese F-3? And all US concepts are pushing it further by having no tails at all. It's ridiculous that you think one tail configuration is better just because of a popularity contest from historical aircraft without considering all requirements and design considerations.


Have you seen the F-3 or it's X-2 Prototype? That's basically an F-22's tail. Yes its a popularity contest, if it works everyone will follow. That's how the military is. thats why everyone is on the Stealth wagon in the first place.

So far, no one has used that design beyond the prototype stage which just tells me the advantages are just not enough to outweigh the disadvantages

disconnectedradical wrote:And the F/A-18E/F airframe is pretty outclassed by likes of Rafale, Typhoon, maybe even Su-35

Maybe, but PCA is a family of systems, so outclassing one component of the PCA doesn't mean the PCA family itself is outclassed as a system.

The F-22 is like the F-15, the F-15C still holds its own pretty well against the Typhoon, Rafale and Flanker. Imagine if the
F-22 never existed and instead we went with Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle. A modernized, Eagle with no pound for air to ground and reduced RCS with PW-229 motors and all the latest avionics.

I'd say that jet would still be the best A-A platform today, the margin won't be as large as the Raptor's but certainly still the best. That's how a modernized Raptor could be, I believe it will still hold its own against the Tempest and any version of the Su-57 or J-20. And its just 1 part of the PCA family.


disconnectedradical wrote:This material is useful if your aircraft is large enough to exploit it, otherwise if the wavelength is same order of magnitude as your aircraft or major parts of it, then it won't matter because Rayleigh scattering has to do with relationship between physical size and wavelength.


The material is used on the F-35 and may be used on the F-22 as well. Why would they bother if there are no advantages
https://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-F35-in ... lth-planes
Lockheed filed a patent in 2010 about a CNT based RAM (used in F-35) capable of absorbing EM waves from 0.1 MHz to 60 GHz with particular effectiveness in L through K-band. So modern VLO aircraft like F-35 are a lot stealthier at Low Frequency bands than their shaping implies.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2020, 20:50
by marauder2048
disconnectedradical wrote:This material is useful if your aircraft is large enough to exploit it, otherwise if the wavelength is same order of magnitude as your aircraft or major parts of it, then it won't matter because Rayleigh scattering


That would actually be resonance scattering where RAM would be useful.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2020, 21:31
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:Have you seen the F-3 or it's X-2 Prototype? That's basically an F-22's tail. Yes its a popularity contest, if it works everyone will follow. That's how the military is. thats why everyone is on the Stealth wagon in the first place.

So far, no one has used that design beyond the prototype stage which just tells me the advantages are just not enough to outweigh the disadvantages


December 2019 JASDF paper which showed the latest F-3 design.

https://www.mod.go.jp/j/yosan/yosan_gai ... 191220.pdf

Image

That tail is nothing like F-22's.

zero-one wrote:Maybe, but PCA is a family of systems, so outclassing one component of the PCA doesn't mean the PCA family itself is outclassed as a system.

The F-22 is like the F-15, the F-15C still holds its own pretty well against the Typhoon, Rafale and Flanker. Imagine if the
F-22 never existed and instead we went with Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle. A modernized, Eagle with no pound for air to ground and reduced RCS with PW-229 motors and all the latest avionics.

I'd say that jet would still be the best A-A platform today, the margin won't be as large as the Raptor's but certainly still the best. That's how a modernized Raptor could be, I believe it will still hold its own against the Tempest and any version of the Su-57 or J-20. And its just 1 part of the PCA family.


On what grounds do you say F-22 will hold its own against the new European fighters? Even then you prefer to have a situation similar to F-15SE against Typhoon, Rafale, Su-35. And then start developing actual next gen at the same time as China and Russia? This would be throwing away our lead just for more F-22s. For how much you tout F-22's maneuverability over other aircraft, it's strange you want to have PCA be a super F-22 where the kinematic advantage over Tempest or FCAS will probably be gone, like F-15 against Typhoon or Rafale or Su-35.

marauder2048 wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:This material is useful if your aircraft is large enough to exploit it, otherwise if the wavelength is same order of magnitude as your aircraft or major parts of it, then it won't matter because Rayleigh scattering


That would actually be resonance scattering where RAM would be useful.

I'll defer to people who know more about the physics but my understanding is RAM is mainly useful for non-resonant edge and surface diffraction, since resonant RAM usually is optimized for single frequency.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2020, 01:32
by wrightwing
disconnectedradical wrote:


I'll defer to people who know more about the physics but my understanding is RAM is mainly useful for non-resonant edge and surface diffraction, since resonant RAM usually is optimized for single frequency.

RAM can be effective against a broad range of frequencies, as the CNT based RAM has demonstrated. This is why folks that believe F-22s/F-35s are only stealthy vs X band are wildly misinformed. Shaping is still the most important aspect, but modern RAM can offer significant broadband signature reduction.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2020, 01:47
by Corsair1963
[quote="disconnectedradical"]

December 2019 JASDF paper which showed the latest F-3 design.

https://www.mod.go.jp/j/yosan/yosan_gai ... 191220.pdf

How many time do we have to say it??? There is no F-3 and the above picture is just a "possible" concept! :bang:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2020, 09:16
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:
December 2019 JASDF paper which showed the latest F-3 design.

Is there official statements from the Japanese that this is an actual final design. Because if not, then this is another concept art.


disconnectedradical wrote:On what grounds do you say F-22 will hold its own against the new European fighters?

Depending on how they develop it for PCA...If they will use it for PCA. I am not pushing for the F-22 to be PCA, All I'm saying is that its a good option if they want to meet their time table and budget.


disconnectedradical wrote: For how much you tout F-22's maneuverability over other aircraft, it's strange you want to have PCA be a super F-22 where the kinematic advantage over Tempest or FCAS will probably be gone, like F-15 against Typhoon or Rafale or Su-35.

I already said that if it were up to me, I want a clean sheet design too, but its not up to me, its up to an organization that wants to have PCA ready by 2030. If we're going with that, the F-22 will have to do. I just don't see any clean sheets done in that time frame.

Having said that, most recent designs seems to have more emphasis on broadband stealth than sheer performance, which could explain why there are more concept arts using the pelican design over 4 tail designs.

Personally I believe the difference isn't much to begin with, but if you want to stack as many advantages as possible, then I suppose every square millimeter in reduction is welcome.

I don't think Tempest will have eye watering performance at all, The wing design is similar to that of the X-32 which was supposed to be redesigned to 4 tails and according to Battle of the X-Planes by Nova, the X-32's wing design isn't particularly maneuverable.

The F-3 and Dasault NGF, if they will in fact go with those concept art styles, seems to be akeen to the YF-23, which according to Northrop executives themselves is not as maneuverable as the Lockheed's design. So at the very least the F-22A should have comparable performance to those designs. Neither you or I have the performance figures of these new prototypes so we're both guessing here.

Again, I am for a clean sheet design, but with the demands of the USAF, I can't see it happening. An F-22 with all the advancements in engine, RAM coatings and avionics, complemented by other aircraft from the PCA family will hold its own against anything the Chinese or Russians throw at it

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2020, 14:51
by mixelflick
I honestly think we're going to see a scaled up YF-23 derivative used, that's been flying for some time already. As many know, that was sort of alluded to in prior comments from a (Northrop?) executive. Something to the effect of, "the YF-23 may still be flying in some form or fashion" or some such claim.

If someone was smart enough to say, "wow, this thing really has potential. Let's build a few more copies to flight test under a black program", good for them. At the very least, it would have been an option had the Raptor run into difficulties. At the time, it wasn't a certainty full scale production would go swimmingly. Both aircraft were put through their paces, but significant design changes ensued. Look at the difference between YF-22A and the production F-22A. Big changes in moving the air intakes back, clipping the wings and reducing the size (imagine that) of the vertical tails. The horizontal tails are entirely different. What emerged was a much more pleasing outline IMO, but more importantly - any one of those changes could have given them major problems.

What's really needed now is a catalyst, like the Mig-25 was to the F-15. Lacking that, we're going to see a mix of F-15EX's, F-22's and F-35's carry the load until PCA gets here. I hope its enough...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2020, 16:19
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:




I already said that if it were up to me, I want a clean sheet design too, but its not up to me, its up to an organization that wants to have PCA ready by 2030. If we're going with that, the F-22 will have to do. I just don't see any clean sheets done in that time frame.


The USAF doesn't have a 2030 timeline for the PCA to enter service.


Again, I am for a clean sheet design, but with the demands of the USAF, I can't see it happening. An F-22 with all the advancements in engine, RAM coatings and avionics, complemented by other aircraft from the PCA family will hold its own against anything the Chinese or Russians throw at it

F-22s can handle Su-57s and J-20s. What they can't handle is a >1000nm combat radius. There are no USAF demands for a 2030 IOC, so let's stop repeating an air force O-6, that doesn't make those kinds of decisions.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2020, 17:07
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:
December 2019 JASDF paper which showed the latest F-3 design.

Is there official statements from the Japanese that this is an actual final design. Because if not, then this is another concept art.


And the X-2 demonstrator is not the final design either, and considering that even after the X-2 they were still exploring 2 tails vs 4 tails, premature of you to use F-3 as example of having F-22 type tail.

zero-one wrote:I already said that if it were up to me, I want a clean sheet design too, but its not up to me, its up to an organization that wants to have PCA ready by 2030. If we're going with that, the F-22 will have to do. I just don't see any clean sheets done in that time frame.


Stop repeating 2030 IOC, only some people in USAF have suggested that date, it's not the official position. And if the only goal is 2030 IOC at the cost of long term air superiority strategy then it's an empty plan.

zero-one wrote:Having said that, most recent designs seems to have more emphasis on broadband stealth than sheer performance, which could explain why there are more concept arts using the pelican design over 4 tail designs.

Personally I believe the difference isn't much to begin with, but if you want to stack as many advantages as possible, then I suppose every square millimeter in reduction is welcome.

I don't think Tempest will have eye watering performance at all, The wing design is similar to that of the X-32 which was supposed to be redesigned to 4 tails and according to Battle of the X-Planes by Nova, the X-32's wing design isn't particularly maneuverable.

The F-3 and Dasault NGF, if they will in fact go with those concept art styles, seems to be akeen to the YF-23, which according to Northrop executives themselves is not as maneuverable as the Lockheed's design. So at the very least the F-22A should have comparable performance to those designs. Neither you or I have the performance figures of these new prototypes so we're both guessing here.


Wow, you're quick to propose than European fighter designs 20 years newer than F-22 won't be as maneuverable, just by eyeballing the wing planform. I guess if we want to use your logic of extrapolating Northrop executive's comments, F-22 won't be as fast or stealthy either.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2020, 21:12
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:Wow, you're quick to propose than European fighter designs 20 years newer than F-22 won't be as maneuverable, just by eyeballing the wing planform.

But didn't you say
disconnectedradical wrote:Its strange that you want PCA to be a super F-22 when the Kinematic advantage over the Tempest and FCAS will probably be gone

So what makes your eyeball exam valid and mine not?

Whenever YF-23 folks talk about their beautiful airplane, I take it with a grain of salt. For one thing Paul Metz said that nobody outside of the decision pannel knew the results for both aircraft, by design and by intent it was done that way.

But here we have Northrop guys saying their airplane was "much faster" and "much stealthier".
In contrast to publicly released reports and even graphs shown by Paul Metz, the YF-23 was only marginally faster, in fact the YF-22 was tested to a faster absolute top speed according to Metz's slide.

On the other hand any admission of inferiority from either side is another story. You can see this when Jim Sandberg says Thrust vectoring will "add a few increments in post stall controlability" which was not deemed tactically necessary.

Sorry, but I don't see how the YF-23 can perform post stall maneuvers at 0 forward air speed that we see the Raptor does. I dont see how it can match the Sursonic trim where TVC is used for when cruising.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2020, 22:21
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:So what makes your eyeball exam valid and mine not?


I didn't "eyeball exam", I just said that the FCAS or Tempest being 20 years newer can very well exceed the kinematics of F-22, considering how the newer Typhoon and Rafale beats F-15 (especially Typhoon).

These new European fighters will probably be designed from start to use ADVENT-type engines.

Image

zero-one wrote:Whenever YF-23 folks talk about their beautiful airplane, I take it with a grain of salt. For one thing Paul Metz said that nobody outside of the decision pannel knew the results for both aircraft, by design and by intent it was done that way.

But here we have Northrop guys saying their airplane was "much faster" and "much stealthier".
In contrast to publicly released reports and even graphs shown by Paul Metz, the YF-23 was only marginally faster, in fact the YF-22 was tested to a faster absolute top speed according to Metz's slide.

On the other hand any admission of inferiority from either side is another story. You can see this when Jim Sandberg says Thrust vectoring will "add a few increments in post stall controlability" which was not deemed tactically necessary.

Sorry, but I don't see how the YF-23 can perform post stall maneuvers at 0 forward air speed that we see the Raptor does. I dont see how it can match the Sursonic trim where TVC is used for when cruising.


But when F-22 folks talk about their airplane you don't doubt any of it? You should see what Paul Metz said in this book.
https://www.amazon.com/Northrop-YF-23-A ... 0989258378

Page 73, "Their [Northrop engineers’] consolation was that the eventual decision was apparently not made on the basis of the aircraft but rather on the perception of management of an F-23A development and production program."

You seem to very quickly accept any positive claims about F-22, but when there's anything said that can exceed it you get very defensive. Sorry, this bias is hard to have a reasonable discussion with.

And since you've clearly not studied aerodynamics or an engineer, I don't care if you don't "see" how an airplane can or can't do something. Regarding trim drag, the main factor is position of CG relative to aerodynamic center, and F-23 EMD drawing shows CG aft limit of 42% of MAC, which means very low trim drag. And if you knew about aerodynamics you'll know that the most important part of drag when supersonic is wave drag. If you look at the cross section drawings and volume distribution as shown on the drawings, you'll see just how smooth and optimized for wave drag F-23 really is. Maybe F-22 can match that, but it also lost 7,000 lbs of fuel, so what is actually a good trade?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Feb 2020, 09:18
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:I didn't "eyeball exam", I just said that the FCAS or Tempest being 20 years newer can very well exceed the kinematics of F-22, considering how the newer Typhoon and Rafale beats F-15 (especially Typhoon).

But you're basing it off your eyeball and historical trends. what if we never had the 22 and instead went with the a Super F-15. Something with PW-F100-232 motors, TVC and APG-63(v3), would it still be kinematically inferior by this margin?

I don't have enough info on the Agile Falcon to comment on it, but it was supposed to be a low cost alternative to the ATF
http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article21.html
But kinematicaly it may hold its own against the Typhoon as the current F-16 is still competitive against it at certain altitudes

disconnectedradical wrote:You seem to very quickly accept any positive claims about F-22, but when there's anything said that can exceed it you get very defensive. Sorry, this bias is hard to have a reasonable discussion with.


Actually I don't doubt Northrop guys when they say how good their plane is, I believe it. However whenever they say their plane is better than the YF-22, thats a different story.

I tried to look for a counter from Lockheed and their claims on why theirs was better and to my surprise there was very little, actually I couldn't find anything substantial. Just a side comment that they wanted to focus more on maneuverability.

It seems that they conformed to the fact that they actually don't know because as Metz said, nobody outside of the decision panel had access to the side by side comparisons.

disconnectedradical wrote: consolation was that the eventual decision was apparently not made on the basis of the aircraft but rather on the perception of management of an F-23A development and production program."

Thats why the decision was made but that doesn't automatically translate to the YF-23 being better. Its possible that the YF-22 was better in some or most aspects and Lockheed was also better suited to manage the program, it was a win win.


disconnectedradical wrote:And since you've clearly not studied aerodynamics or an engineer, I don't care if you don't "see" how an airplane can or can't do something.

You know, you don't need to be this up-tight, I'm here to learn and discuss with you, not to win an argument, When I'm wrong, hey I'm wrong, I'm not afraid to say it. If I'm getting in your nerves, I apologize, you don't need to reply.


disconnectedradical wrote:Regarding trim drag, the main factor is position of CG relative to aerodynamic center, and F-23 EMD drawing shows CG aft limit of 42% of MAC, which means very low trim drag.

The way I understand trim drag is that its the drag caused by control surface deflection. Now the YF-23 with it's massive tail relies on that for almost everything, people have made the argument that because its very large, it doesn't need to move much.

However, I would think that the amount of Trim drag would still be the same, you'll need to produce the same amount of trim to achieve the same results (correct me if I'm wrong)

disconnectedradical wrote:optimized for wave drag F-23 really is. Maybe F-22 can match that, but it also lost 7,000 lbs of fuel, so what is actually a good trade?


Well we don't know that for sure, from what has been made public, the YF-23 has marginal advantages in super-cruise speed while the YF-22 was tested to a higher absolute speed, Does the YF-23 have a placard limit at Mach 2+, I don't know.
Is it tactically usable, I think yes, the F-15's procedure to intercept Mig-31s is to punch out everything and leave just 4 Sparrows and accelerate to their absolute top speeds

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 05 Feb 2020, 22:39
by boogieman
wrightwing wrote:
zero-one wrote:I already said that if it were up to me, I want a clean sheet design too, but its not up to me, its up to an organization that wants to have PCA ready by 2030. If we're going with that, the F-22 will have to do. I just don't see any clean sheets done in that time frame.


The USAF doesn't have a 2030 timeline for the PCA to enter service.


Again, I am for a clean sheet design, but with the demands of the USAF, I can't see it happening. An F-22 with all the advancements in engine, RAM coatings and avionics, complemented by other aircraft from the PCA family will hold its own against anything the Chinese or Russians throw at it


F-22s can handle Su-57s and J-20s. What they can't handle is a >1000nm combat radius. There are no USAF demands for a 2030 IOC, so let's stop repeating an air force O-6, that doesn't make those kinds of decisions.


Exactly. The Raptor doesn't have the legs needed for PCA.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 06 Feb 2020, 07:24
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:But you're basing it off your eyeball and historical trends. what if we never had the 22 and instead went with the a Super F-15. Something with PW-F100-232 motors, TVC and APG-63(v3), would it still be kinematically inferior by this margin?


If you're gonna just list what might go on a Super F-15, then you also have to consider Typhoon upgrades that are offered but not funded. EJ200 engine also has thrust growth of 20% and TVC, but it's unfunded. There's also Captor-E AESA radar which might finally happen after all these years. Even as is, Typhoon can supercruise Mach 1.4 with just A2A load, something I doubt even a F-15 with F110-GE-132 can do, Typhoon supersonic aerodynamics is really a league of its own other than F-22.

zero-one wrote:The way I understand trim drag is that its the drag caused by control surface deflection. Now the YF-23 with it's massive tail relies on that for almost everything, people have made the argument that because its very large, it doesn't need to move much.

However, I would think that the amount of Trim drag would still be the same, you'll need to produce the same amount of trim to achieve the same results (correct me if I'm wrong)


No, different aircraft will have different trim drag depending on the aerodynamics and CG. Trim drag exist because you always need to your tail to create pitch to balance the aircraft when flying since aerodynamic center is not at the CG. For normal stable aircraft CG is in front of aerodynamic center so you have what's called positive static margin. When you go supersonic the center of pressure usually moves back so your static margin increases, that means you need more pitching moment from the tail so that's why trim drag can be pretty big for stable aircraft.

For unstable aircraft like F-16, F-22, F-23, CG is behind aerodynamic center (negative static margin) so when the center of pressure moves back when you go supersonic the absolute value of static margin won't increase as much as with stable aircraft. For some aircraft like F-16 the aircraft actually becomes stable supersonic because of change in center of pressure to the back, but it still less trim drag than it would have if it was stable. Also F-14 glove vanes are specifically meant to reduce trim drag when supersonic because when they pop out they're another aerodynamic surface toward front of aircraft so it moves aerodynamic center forward a bit so you don't need as much moment from the tail, so less trim drag.

So trim drag really depends on how you design your static margin, where your tail is located, and tail size, etc. because the further back your tail is from your CG the less you need to deflect it since you have longer moment arm, etc. Obviously F-22 and F-23 tail designs are very different with different CG and tail volume and so on. So you can't just say Aircraft A has less trim drag than Aircraft B just because A has TVC. You can only say that with certainty if everything else about them are the same. But unstable aircraft like F-16, F-22, YF-23 suffers a lot less from trim drag than stable aircraft like F-14, F-15 in the first place, and when supersonic the biggest part of drag is usually wave drag.

zero-one wrote:Well we don't know that for sure, from what has been made public, the YF-23 has marginal advantages in super-cruise speed while the YF-22 was tested to a higher absolute speed, Does the YF-23 have a placard limit at Mach 2+, I don't know.
Is it tactically usable, I think yes, the F-15's procedure to intercept Mig-31s is to punch out everything and leave just 4 Sparrows and accelerate to their absolute top speeds


Again, based on what Metz said in the book on page 63, "The YF-23 was not flown to its maximum speed during test program as the flight envelope was opened only enough to do supercruise testing. It was capable of much higher speeds."

Reading what Metz said in the book, it didn't seem marginal, and he said in page 59 "...the GE powered YF-23 achieved a higher top supercruise speed which remains classified but was shown publicly as "Very Fast". It was indeed." And this was published in 2016. YF-23 with YF120 might very well flew as fast as Mach 1.7, and F-23A would refine the aerodynamics by smoothing the big square nacelles on the prototypes since thrust reversers weren't needed anymore.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 06 Feb 2020, 10:45
by zero-one
boogieman wrote:F-22s can handle Su-57s and J-20s. What they can't handle is a >1000nm combat radius. There are no USAF demands for a 2030 IOC, so let's stop repeating an air force O-6, that doesn't make those kinds of decisions.

Exactly. The Raptor doesn't have the legs needed for PCA.


Well it doesn't need to.
Whatever they end up with PCA, if they will indeed go with a family of different airplanes, I don't think each one will have the requirement to go >1000 nm,

https://www.flightglobal.com/usaf-backs ... 34.article
Instead, the air force will proceed with many parallel technology development efforts, like new propulsion systems, airframes, directed energy weapons and hypersonic missiles, to develop a “family of systems” – including longer-range, higher-payload platforms to launch volleys of weapons at targets from “standoff” distances and others that will swoop in for direct attacks.


If....again "If", this is what they will go with, notice how he described at least 2 different types of aircraft.
1 platform with longer range and high payload that will rely on standoff ranges and others that will swoop in for direct attacks.

The latter looks like a conventional air superiority fighter, the F-22X is simply a cheap and easy...or rather easier to build alternative than a clean sheet variant. It doesn't need to fulfill all the roles of PCA, just the traditional air superiority role, which is basically engaging targets within a ~100 Km bubble around the aircraft.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Feb 2020, 01:40
by boogieman
zero-one wrote:Well it doesn't need to.
Whatever they end up with PCA, if they will indeed go with a family of different airplanes, I don't think each one will have the requirement to go >1000 nm,


I'm not convinced. Both peer adversaries (China & Russia) have developed a robust and evolving ability to disrupt, target and possibly even kill our AAR assets. This puts a premium on the range of our fighter aircraft. When the rubber hits the road I expect PCA to deliver something that can take some of the load away from our aerial refuelers. A Raptor derivative simply won't do that.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Feb 2020, 07:55
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:
boogieman wrote:F-22s can handle Su-57s and J-20s. What they can't handle is a >1000nm combat radius. There are no USAF demands for a 2030 IOC, so let's stop repeating an air force O-6, that doesn't make those kinds of decisions.

Exactly. The Raptor doesn't have the legs needed for PCA.


Well it doesn't need to.
Whatever they end up with PCA, if they will indeed go with a family of different airplanes, I don't think each one will have the requirement to go >1000 nm,

https://www.flightglobal.com/usaf-backs ... 34.article
Instead, the air force will proceed with many parallel technology development efforts, like new propulsion systems, airframes, directed energy weapons and hypersonic missiles, to develop a “family of systems” – including longer-range, higher-payload platforms to launch volleys of weapons at targets from “standoff” distances and others that will swoop in for direct attacks.


If....again "If", this is what they will go with, notice how he described at least 2 different types of aircraft.
1 platform with longer range and high payload that will rely on standoff ranges and others that will swoop in for direct attacks.

The latter looks like a conventional air superiority fighter, the F-22X is simply a cheap and easy...or rather easier to build alternative than a clean sheet variant. It doesn't need to fulfill all the roles of PCA, just the traditional air superiority role, which is basically engaging targets within a ~100 Km bubble around the aircraft.

No new aircraft with short legs, will be part of PCA. The acronym PCA pretty much answers that question. Whatever PCA entails, will have longer legs than F-22s or F-35s ADVENT or otherwise. Range and stealth will be priorities, and likely improved supercruise endurance.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 07 Feb 2020, 08:19
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:
boogieman wrote:F-22s can handle Su-57s and J-20s. What they can't handle is a >1000nm combat radius. There are no USAF demands for a 2030 IOC, so let's stop repeating an air force O-6, that doesn't make those kinds of decisions.

Exactly. The Raptor doesn't have the legs needed for PCA.


Well it doesn't need to.
Whatever they end up with PCA, if they will indeed go with a family of different airplanes, I don't think each one will have the requirement to go >1000 nm,


What role is F-22 supposed to play if it doesn’t have the range to “penetrate”? All articles about PCA talking about family of systems always say that in context of sensor, electronic warfare, network with drones, etc. But range is always integral to the platform, which F-22 doesn’t have enough.

zero-one wrote: If....again "If", this is what they will go with, notice how he described at least 2 different types of aircraft.
1 platform with longer range and high payload that will rely on standoff ranges and others that will swoop in for direct attacks.

The latter looks like a conventional air superiority fighter, the F-22X is simply a cheap and easy...or rather easier to build alternative than a clean sheet variant. It doesn't need to fulfill all the roles of PCA, just the traditional air superiority role, which is basically engaging targets within a ~100 Km bubble around the aircraft.


This F-22X would have role so limited and need so many support assets that calling it “cheap and easy” seems inaccurate. What’s cheaper, a super F-22 that needs a new stealth tanker, or a new clean sheet fighter that doesn’t need that?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 08 Feb 2020, 07:06
by marauder2048
disconnectedradical wrote:What’s cheaper, a super F-22 that needs a new stealth tanker, or a new clean sheet fighter that doesn’t need that?


Would rather depend on how achievable/affordable stealth tankers would be in the PCA timeframe.
I tend to think you'd be willing to tradeoff a clean-sheet fighter for derivatives since an affordable
in quantity stealth tanker would be such an enormous joint force enabler.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 09 Feb 2020, 09:20
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:This F-22X would have role so limited and need so many support assets that calling it “cheap and easy” seems inaccurate. What’s cheaper, a super F-22 that needs a new stealth tanker, or a new clean sheet fighter that doesn’t need that?


we don't know,
we don't know what the requirement for PCA is
we don't know how much a clean sheet design will be.

Heres what we do know,
We know that regardless of what they pick, there is already a Stealth tanker in the works in the KC-Z program
We know that the Raptor modernization and restart study concluded that it would cost $40B.
We know the Raptor's Stealth is extremely effective in the higher frequency ranges
We know that Lockheed's new CNT bassed RAM is effective in the lower L band ranges even up to VHF

So how much will an F-22X that has the benefit of ADVENT, CNT bassed Ram, advanced avionics, cost. and will it meet the requirement for time and schedule.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 09 Feb 2020, 20:23
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:This F-22X would have role so limited and need so many support assets that calling it “cheap and easy” seems inaccurate. What’s cheaper, a super F-22 that needs a new stealth tanker, or a new clean sheet fighter that doesn’t need that?


we don't know,
we don't know what the requirement for PCA is
we don't know how much a clean sheet design will be.

Heres what we do know,
We know that regardless of what they pick, there is already a Stealth tanker in the works in the KC-Z program
We know that the Raptor modernization and restart study concluded that it would cost $40B.
We know the Raptor's Stealth is extremely effective in the higher frequency ranges
We know that Lockheed's new CNT bassed RAM is effective in the lower L band ranges even up to VHF

So how much will an F-22X that has the benefit of ADVENT, CNT bassed Ram, advanced avionics, cost. and will it meet the requirement for time and schedule.

We do know that no variant of the F-22 will have long enough legs, to meet the (P)CA, given that the Pacific theater and long range SAMs/AAMs are what will drive the requirements. The goal is range/persistence, while minimizing enabler requirements. The (P) also entails improvements in signature reduction in all spectrums, as threat sensors will be continually improving (especially 2040 and later.)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 03:38
by madrat
The Space Force will be critical to PCA. Think of 300+ LEO satellites with equivalent of EODAS on a global scale to early detect and track bogies, and possibly even have a satellite based system to identify and sort threats for passive targeting.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 08:01
by disconnectedradical
marauder2048 wrote:Would rather depend on how achievable/affordable stealth tankers would be in the PCA timeframe.
I tend to think you'd be willing to tradeoff a clean-sheet fighter for derivatives since an affordable
in quantity stealth tanker would be such an enormous joint force enabler.


Sure, it's a force multiplier for existing F-22s and F-35s, I don't see the combination being a substitute for clean sheet fighter, even with stealth tanker the idea should not be to increase dependency on them, especially if we end up needing more of them to cover range problems of some super F-22.

zero-one wrote:we don't know,
we don't know what the requirement for PCA is
we don't know how much a clean sheet design will be.

Heres what we do know,
We know that regardless of what they pick, there is already a Stealth tanker in the works in the KC-Z program
We know that the Raptor modernization and restart study concluded that it would cost $40B.
We know the Raptor's Stealth is extremely effective in the higher frequency ranges
We know that Lockheed's new CNT bassed RAM is effective in the lower L band ranges even up to VHF

So how much will an F-22X that has the benefit of ADVENT, CNT bassed Ram, advanced avionics, cost. and will it meet the requirement for time and schedule.


It takes $50 billion just to restart F-22A. In fighter pilot podcast for F-22, Col. Terry Scott even said that it will cost about as much to start new as it is to restart F-22.
https://www.fighterpilotpodcast.com/epi ... 22-raptor/

When it comes to using and upgrading existing airframe, there are many things to consider. For example suppliers for parts, avionics that don't exist, or sometimes the vendor/suppliers don't exist anymore, and having to redesign or modify the airframe to accept substitutes. Then you need to do new calculations on power, cooling, to see if the airframe can accept whatever substitute is out there. Then you also have the fact that F-22 will be using older generation of air vehicle tech, like hydraulics instead of EHAs. All these costs add up, and in some cases starting new with an airframe designed from the start to take advantage of what is available is not much more expensive. Speaking as someone who has been involved in aircraft modernization and maintenance, retrofits and upgrades to existing platforms aren't always the cheapest or best value.

I don't see Super F-22 as likely for PCA, based on statements USAF puts out. Sure, they're looking for family of systems, but all indications are stealth and range are inherent to PCA. Air vehicle design has advanced past F-22 airframe, and we can do better for not much more than F-22 restart. It helps if the goal isn't to try to overtake the F-22 as much as the F-22 did with F-15 (trying to develop what's possible in 2000s starting in 1980s) and use more technology that's available or quickly becoming available.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 09:30
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:It takes $50 billion just to restart F-22A. In fighter pilot podcast for F-22, Col. Terry Scott even said that it will cost about as much to start new as it is to restart F-22.
https://www.fighterpilotpodcast.com/epi ... 22-raptor/


He was probably basing that on the $66B that was the total program cost for the ATF program. I wonder if he adjusted that for inflation.
Official figures for the restart and modernization study is between 40 - 42B.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... ver-a-year

Historically this will undoubtedly go over budget. so $50B sounds about right. But what about a new one? 80? 90? 100B maybe.

disconnectedradical wrote:It helps if the goal isn't to try to overtake the F-22 as much as the F-22 did with F-15 (trying to develop what's possible in 2000s starting in 1980s) and use more technology that's available or quickly becoming available.


well if that will indeed be the goal (which we don't know yet), wouldn't an upgraded F-22 achieve that at a cheaper price.
The reason why an upgraded F-15 was not considered for the ATF was because the demands of the ATF were too far out of reach.

If the demands of the PCA are not that far, then upgrading several existing may meet those requirements

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 09:41
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:It helps if the goal isn't to try to overtake the F-22 as much as the F-22 did with F-15 (trying to develop what's possible in 2000s starting in 1980s) and use more technology that's available or quickly becoming available.


well if that will indeed be the goal (which we don't know yet), wouldn't an upgraded F-22 achieve that at a cheaper price.
The reason why an upgraded F-15 was not considered for the ATF was because the demands of the ATF were too far out of reach.

If the demands of the PCA are not that far, then upgrading several existing may meet those requirements


Again the problem is F-22 production line is gone, which is why it costs so much and may not be much cheaper than a new clean sheet. With Super F-22, you can save money by not doing development of new airframe, but then you spend additional money with engineering work on how to replace parts that are out of production (or supplier no longer existing) and also if you want more capabilities or sensors, how do you fit that into existing airframe and how to accommodate extra electrical power and cooling. With clean sheet you can design all that in from beginning.

Aircraft modernization is not trivial at all, and again when you factor in that the production line is gone a Super F-22 might not be much cheaper than a clean sheet that's not super aggressive in how much it beats F-22. And with 25 years of aerodynamic advancement it's not hard for clean sheet to beat F-22.

I get you really like F-22, and we need more aircraft like that, but more F-22s should have happened in 2010 when there was still a production line. Now the line is gone. You can "thank" Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates and also War on Terror for that.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 13:06
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:
Again the problem is F-22 production line is gone, which is why it costs so much and may not be much cheaper than a new clean sheet. With Super F-22, you can save money by not doing development of new airframe, but then you spend additional money with engineering work on how to replace parts that are out of production (or supplier no longer existing) and also if you want more capabilities or sensors, how do you fit that into existing airframe and how to accommodate extra electrical power and cooling. .


Well those were all covered in the study and they concluded that it would take $40B. Optimistic in my view but I don't have the kind of info they have. They still manage to make super F-15s despite having the primary contractor gone. At the very least I'm pretty sure not all of the primary contractors of the F-15A are still existing. Yes finding new ones will be a challenge, but the whole restart study said it will be possible, and it should cost 40 - 42B

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 14:23
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:
Again the problem is F-22 production line is gone, which is why it costs so much and may not be much cheaper than a new clean sheet. With Super F-22, you can save money by not doing development of new airframe, but then you spend additional money with engineering work on how to replace parts that are out of production (or supplier no longer existing) and also if you want more capabilities or sensors, how do you fit that into existing airframe and how to accommodate extra electrical power and cooling. .


Well those were all covered in the study and they concluded that it would take $40B. Optimistic in my view but I don't have the kind of info they have. They still manage to make super F-15s despite having the primary contractor gone. At the very least I'm pretty sure not all of the primary contractors of the F-15A are still existing. Yes finding new ones will be a challenge, but the whole restart study said it will be possible, and it should cost 40 - 42B


No, situation with F-22 and F-15 is not the same. F-15 primary contractor and production line still exists, it's just Boeing's St. Louis division, which is McDonnell Douglas after the merger with Boeing in 1997. F-15s are being made for international customers namely Qatar and Saudi Arabia. F-15EX does have new avionics compared to F-15C and have new suppliers, but that and most of actual development was paid for by the Qataris when they ordered F-15QA, so in a sense the F-15EX is piggybacking off the work done for Qatar. But even then the value of F-15EX is pretty dubious, unit cost is about the same or even a bit higher than F-35 but a lot less capable.

Probably the bigger reason for getting F-15EX is for industrial base reasons, making sure Boeing's St. Louis division (old McDonnell Douglas) is still in business so we still have 2 fighter manufacturers active. I personally don't like it but there's is political and industrial justifications for that. I guess Pentagon thinks it's worth keeping Boeing St. Louis alive so Lockheed Martin won't be the only fighter manufacturer left, which would be bad for competition.

By the way that $40 billion is just for procurement, setting up the production line takes another $10 billion which is why total cost of F-22 restart is $50 billion.

Side note, the Boeing-McDonnell Douglas merger arguably damaged Boeing, in terms of corporate culture. Merger also had interesting combination because McDonnell Douglas was Northrop's partner for YF-23, while "original Boeing" (Boeing Seattle) is Lockheed Martin's partner for F-22 (Boeing Seattle made F-22 wings, aft fuselage, and integrated the avionics, they were 33% of the program).

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 17:56
by marsavian
Zero-one, F-22 is a bad fit for PCA not only for range reasons but for payload and sensor reasons. If Lockheed wants to use an existing derivative it would be better stretching and widening an existing F-35 like Spurts theorised and modeled because at least the bomb bay size would be sufficient as would be the sensors (EOTS/DAS Mk 2s), computers and network capabilities and a production line exists. F-22 is so expensive that getting the early blocks up to later block standard is prohibitively expensive (tens of millions) and so hasn't yet been authorised. Its internal technology is now obsolete and would require wide scale updating. A clean sheet design or enlarged F-35 derivative with two engines is the way to go.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 10 Feb 2020, 18:18
by disconnectedradical
I don't think derivative is the way to go, F-35 airframe may have newer technology baseline but the base airframe won't have the kinematics that PCA will need, namely supercruise. Also the internal air to air payload is even less than F-22, so any F-35 derivative will need even more modifications, and at that point it might be better to start new and be free of any limitation of F-22 and F-35 airframe.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 11 Feb 2020, 17:31
by hkultala
disconnectedradical wrote:I don't think derivative is the way to go, F-35 airframe may have newer technology baseline but the base airframe won't have the kinematics that PCA will need, namely supercruise.


There is nothing wrong with F-35 airframe for supercruise. It would just need an engine with more powerful core, engine optimized for supercruise isntead of subsonic cruise and afterburning thrust; High bypass ratio(lots of bypass air) of F135 is nice for subsonic thrust and afterburnning thrust, but useless for supercruise.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 11 Feb 2020, 20:03
by disconnectedradical
hkultala wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:I don't think derivative is the way to go, F-35 airframe may have newer technology baseline but the base airframe won't have the kinematics that PCA will need, namely supercruise.


There is nothing wrong with F-35 airframe for supercruise. It would just need an engine with more powerful core, engine optimized for supercruise isntead of subsonic cruise and afterburning thrust; High bypass ratio(lots of bypass air) of F135 is nice for subsonic thrust and afterburnning thrust, but useless for supercruise.


F-35 airframe isn't designed for supercruise, the fineness ratio and wing design is not optimized for sustain supersonic flight. Even with an engine cycle more like F119 I doubt F-35 will have as much supersonic endurance as F-22 or F-23. Sure you can modify the airframe and make it longer, but at that point you'll have to redesign the structure anyways, why not start from new? Just use the same mission systems to save cost.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 11 Feb 2020, 20:16
by madrat
I have a suspicious feeling the PCA is going to more resemble to YF-12A size than the F-35...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 11 Feb 2020, 21:31
by XanderCrews
madrat wrote:I have a suspicious feeling the PCA is going to more resemble to YF-12A size than the F-35...



I actually wouldn't mind that. They are not confined to the restrictions of space and weight etc that the US Navy is for CVN use. at one point the aircraft carriers wing will have hit its limit, while also trying to balance crash landing onto a ship/ fitting on and in things on a ship.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 11 Feb 2020, 21:45
by marsavian
hkultala wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:I don't think derivative is the way to go, F-35 airframe may have newer technology baseline but the base airframe won't have the kinematics that PCA will need, namely supercruise.


There is nothing wrong with F-35 airframe for supercruise. It would just need an engine with more powerful core, engine optimized for supercruise isntead of subsonic cruise and afterburning thrust; High bypass ratio(lots of bypass air) of F135 is nice for subsonic thrust and afterburnning thrust, but useless for supercruise.


Remember that F35's existing F135 has 28klb of dry thrust which is already broadly equivalent to F16C *wet* thrust. How much dry thrust would the F35 need to go supersonic, 30klb+ at least ? Typhoon supercruises easily with 27klb dry thrust.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 11 Feb 2020, 22:04
by sprstdlyscottsmn
XanderCrews wrote:at one point the aircraft carriers wing will have hit its limit...

I don't think they have operated (not counting tests) an aircraft bigger than the A-3. 76.33ft long, 72.5ft wide, nearly 23ft tall, 82,000lb. In service from 1956 to 1991. I don't think we would be far off in assuming those are some upper limits. The F-14D with a 44,000lb empty weight may be the heaviest trap at 54,000lb per "F-14D Tomcat Standard Aircraft Characteristics - July 1985"

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 03:38
by marauder2048
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:at one point the aircraft carriers wing will have hit its limit...

I don't think they have operated (not counting tests) an aircraft bigger than the A-3. 76.33ft long, 72.5ft wide, nearly 23ft tall, 82,000lb. In service from 1956 to 1991. I don't think we would be far off in assuming those are some upper limits. The F-14D with a 44,000lb empty weight may be the heaviest trap at 54,000lb per "F-14D Tomcat Standard Aircraft Characteristics - July 1985"


Guess it depends if you want to factor in what AAG and EMALS can potentially achieve.

AAG has been tested to over 70,000 lbs
EMALS has a design goal of 100,000 lbs (couldn't find max test loads).

CVN-X/CVN-21/Ford was designed to accommodate larger/heavier aircraft than its predecessors.
How much got traded off in the various cost saving efforts and have to be updated is another matter.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 03:55
by Corsair1963
disconnectedradical wrote:
Probably the bigger reason for getting F-15EX is for industrial base reasons, making sure Boeing's St. Louis division (old McDonnell Douglas) is still in business so we still have 2 fighter manufacturers active. I personally don't like it but there's is political and industrial justifications for that. I guess Pentagon thinks it's worth keeping Boeing St. Louis alive so Lockheed Martin won't be the only fighter manufacturer left, which would be bad for competition.


We clearly want and need a healthy industrial base. Which, must include Boeing as part of the mix. Yet, building more F-15's does little to help the latter keep in the fighter game! As the overall design dates back to the 1960's!

Which, is why the US Government. Would be far better off to buy additional F-35's short-term. While, fully funding the development of the PCA/NGAD.

In the short term just invest more in the T-7A Redhawk and MQ-25A Tanker. Until the latter 6th Generation Programs mature...

The F-15EX is nothing but Corporate Welfare for Boeing. Nothing more and nothing less. Which, is not in the interest of the US Taxpayer or Warfighter!

:|

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 03:57
by Corsair1963
The USAF isn't going to develop a 5.5/6 Generation version of the F-22. That is pure "bunk"....So, honestly have no idea what some are talking about???

Nor, have I seen anything to suggest. The PCA/NGAD Programs are in jeopardy.... :?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 10:03
by weasel1962
Where some people need to be consistent.

Spending a $1 billion on a few jets = tighter budgets will kill it.
Spending $130 billion on a new fighter jet program = tighter budgets don't matter.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 15:11
by mixelflick
I don't see either an F-22 or F-35 modification being do-able. For reasons already stated, the F-22 re-start would be prohibitively expensive and come up short given known requirements. The F-35 (were it to be modified) would look entirely different: 2 engines vs. 1, stretched and in need of bigger + side mounted internal weapons bays etc... No current F-35 production line is going to easily "port over" to building super F-35's.

PCA absolutely must be a new clean sheet design, but this will likely mean a new airframe only. I actually think a scaled up YF-23a is their best bet. Lots of room for fuel/weapons/sensors, two huge engines and presumably at least some of the flight test data from the original prototypes could be leveraged. Ditch the tiled exhausts for something better, as they were the most problematic part of the airframe. The actual guts of it (engines, avionics and sensors) will be evolved versions of what's flying in the F-22/35 today, married to the AIM-260/Perigrine.

I think they'd save a lot of time and money going that route, although anything less than a 10 year developmental period is a pipe dream. Unless there's another Kelly Johnson out there able to cut through the gov't red tape, there will be no more ultra-abbreviated developmental timelines...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 15:46
by sprstdlyscottsmn
marauder2048 wrote:
Guess it depends if you want to factor in what AAG and EMALS can potentially achieve.

AAG has been tested to over 70,000 lbs
EMALS has a design goal of 100,000 lbs (couldn't find max test loads).

CVN-X/CVN-21/Ford was designed to accommodate larger/heavier aircraft than its predecessors.
How much got traded off in the various cost saving efforts and have to be updated is another matter.

I did not know that. Those are big weights.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 18:38
by zero-one
marsavian wrote:A clean sheet design or enlarged F-35 derivative with two engines is the way to go.


The F-35 is primarily designed for Strike and other ground operations not air to air. Yes it is capable on air to air, I would even say better than most but the design is tailored for A-G.

Modernizing the F-22 and changing all the obsolete parts plus upgrading existing systems is said to cost around 40 -50 billion. Heavily modifying the F-35 to be tailored for A-A will be far far more expensive, much better to have a clean sheet design.

Now if your clean sheet design needs to have the range requirements in excess of 1000 nmi radius and deep magazine, my question becomes can it be achieved within an airframe that has the size and weight which will still enable it to have the Kinematic performance on par or better than the Raptor?

Remember this thing needs to be able to hold its own against other VLO platforms, detection and tracking will be more difficult for all parties. The gun was kept on the Raptor and the F-35 in part as a fall back weapon of sorts. I think Kinematics should still be a part of PCA as a fall back as well.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 21:14
by hkultala
marsavian wrote:
hkultala wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:I don't think derivative is the way to go, F-35 airframe may have newer technology baseline but the base airframe won't have the kinematics that PCA will need, namely supercruise.


There is nothing wrong with F-35 airframe for supercruise. It would just need an engine with more powerful core, engine optimized for supercruise isntead of subsonic cruise and afterburning thrust; High bypass ratio(lots of bypass air) of F135 is nice for subsonic thrust and afterburnning thrust, but useless for supercruise.


Remember that F35's existing F135 has 28klb of dry thrust which is already broadly equivalent to F16C *wet* thrust. How much dry thrust would the F35 need to go supersonic, 30klb+ at least ? Typhoon supercruises easily with 27klb dry thrust.


Only about 22-23 klbs of that 28k is thrust from the core, and works at supersonic speeds. The rest 5-6 klbs comes from bypass air, which is only adding drag, not thrust, at supersonic speeds without afterburner. (because the air has to be slowed down to subsonic speed at the inlets, but the fan cannot accelerate it back to supersonic speed).

EJ200 engines of EF Typhoon has lower bypass ratio, giving them together about equal core thrust, and less drag from the bypass air. But EF Typhoon is a smaller plane, with less drag on clean configuration.

With an engine with core thrust of something like 25 klbs, F-35 would have no trouble of supercruising.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 22:18
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:
marsavian wrote:A clean sheet design or enlarged F-35 derivative with two engines is the way to go.


The F-35 is primarily designed for Strike and other ground operations not air to air. Yes it is capable on air to air, I would even say better than most but the design is tailored for A-G.

Modernizing the F-22 and changing all the obsolete parts plus upgrading existing systems is said to cost around 40 -50 billion. Heavily modifying the F-35 to be tailored for A-A will be far far more expensive, much better to have a clean sheet design.

Now if your clean sheet design needs to have the range requirements in excess of 1000 nmi radius and deep magazine, my question becomes can it be achieved within an airframe that has the size and weight which will still enable it to have the Kinematic performance on par or better than the Raptor?

Remember this thing needs to be able to hold its own against other VLO platforms, detection and tracking will be more difficult for all parties. The gun was kept on the Raptor and the F-35 in part as a fall back weapon of sorts. I think Kinematics should still be a part of PCA as a fall back as well.


I suspect the agility requirements will be lower priority to range, payload, speed, signature reduction, and situational awareness. By the time it enters service, the gun will likely be replaced by directed energy weapons with unlimited magazine capacity, as well as greater missile capacity.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 22:21
by wrightwing
hkultala wrote:



Only about 22-23 klbs of that 28k is thrust from the core, and works at supersonic speeds. The rest 5-6 klbs comes from bypass air, which is only adding drag, not thrust, at supersonic speeds without afterburner. (because the air has to be slowed down to subsonic speed at the inlets, but the fan cannot accelerate it back to supersonic speed).

EJ200 engines of EF Typhoon has lower bypass ratio, giving them together about equal core thrust, and less drag from the bypass air. But EF Typhoon is a smaller plane, with less drag on clean configuration.

With an engine with core thrust of something like 25 klbs, F-35 would have no trouble of supercruising.

How are we defining supercruise? >M1.5 or >M1? With the current thrust, the F-35 is already capable of >M1 in dry thrust

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 22:32
by hkultala
wrightwing wrote:
hkultala wrote:



Only about 22-23 klbs of that 28k is thrust from the core, and works at supersonic speeds. The rest 5-6 klbs comes from bypass air, which is only adding drag, not thrust, at supersonic speeds without afterburner. (because the air has to be slowed down to subsonic speed at the inlets, but the fan cannot accelerate it back to supersonic speed).

EJ200 engines of EF Typhoon has lower bypass ratio, giving them together about equal core thrust, and less drag from the bypass air. But EF Typhoon is a smaller plane, with less drag on clean configuration.

With an engine with core thrust of something like 25 klbs, F-35 would have no trouble of supercruising.

How are we defining supercruise? >M1.5 or >M1? With the current thrust, the F-35 is already capable of >M1 in dry thrust


I previously thought so also, but it does not.

The "dash" means that it accelerates to supersonic speed with an afterburner, then it turns afterburner off, starts to slowly decelerate, until it finally slows down to subsonic speed. But it cannot sustain flying at supersonic speed without afterburner, it will eventually fall back to subsonic at max military thrust.

But it can sustain flying at supersonic speed at very low afterburner level.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 12 Feb 2020, 23:26
by sprstdlyscottsmn
The pilot report on that is AB up to 1.2M, then back to Mil, then it either slows down or the pilot goes 1-2 degrees nose down to hold 1.2M. It is darn close.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2020, 00:29
by milosh
wrightwing wrote:
How are we defining supercruise? >M1.5 or >M1? With the current thrust, the F-35 is already capable of >M1 in dry thrust


Above transonic range:
https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Fil ... _Range.png

so super cruise would be >M1.2 Mach but probable >M1.5 is what air forces consider as super cruise, because it is at least twice faster then subsonic cruise so difference is noticeable.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2020, 02:49
by Corsair1963
wrightwing wrote:
How are we defining supercruise? >M1.5 or >M1? With the current thrust, the F-35 is already capable of >M1 in dry thrust



Clearly, anything over Mach 1 on Military Power (sustained) would have to be considered "Supercruise".

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2020, 03:00
by quicksilver
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:The pilot report on that is AB up to 1.2M, then back to Mil, then it either slows down or the pilot goes 1-2 degrees nose down to hold 1.2M. It is darn close.


x2

This description too —

“I previously thought so also, but it does not.

The "dash" means that it accelerates to supersonic speed with an afterburner, then it turns afterburner off, starts to slowly decelerate, until it finally slows down to subsonic speed. But it cannot sustain flying at supersonic speed without afterburner, it will eventually fall back to subsonic at max military thrust.

But it can sustain flying at supersonic speed at very low afterburner level.“

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2020, 04:02
by Corsair1963
We have just one old quote about the F-35's ability to "supercruise". Which, was very vague and was subject to considerable interpretation.


Much has changed since then.....So, I would be "cautious" about drawing any serious conclusions one way or another.


"IMHO"

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2020, 16:16
by wrightwing
Corsair1963 wrote:We have just one old quote about the F-35's ability to "supercruise". Which, was very vague and was subject to considerable interpretation.


Much has changed since then.....So, I would be "cautious" about drawing any serious conclusions one way or another.


"IMHO"

Actually there have been several. One said 150nm dash at M1.2 in military. The others were more vague.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2020, 16:49
by quicksilver
The jet does not sustain supersonic speed in mil thrust in level flight at any altitude. Period.

And, don’t trot out the Steve O’Bryan second-hand anecdote from 8 years ago. He was wrong or misunderstood by the reporter (I vote for the latter). If you want a public pronouncement from someone who flew the jet, find the whole Hank Griffiths quote on the subject; Griffiths was CO of the test squadron at EDW.

FWIW, not one of the many F-35 guys I know and have spoken with about the topic — very specifically — have ever suggested otherwise.

This subject is like one of those gag birthday candles that you can’t ever blow out...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2020, 19:41
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:The F-35 is primarily designed for Strike and other ground operations not air to air. Yes it is capable on air to air, I would even say better than most but the design is tailored for A-G.

Modernizing the F-22 and changing all the obsolete parts plus upgrading existing systems is said to cost around 40 -50 billion. Heavily modifying the F-35 to be tailored for A-A will be far far more expensive, much better to have a clean sheet design.

Now if your clean sheet design needs to have the range requirements in excess of 1000 nmi radius and deep magazine, my question becomes can it be achieved within an airframe that has the size and weight which will still enable it to have the Kinematic performance on par or better than the Raptor?

Remember this thing needs to be able to hold its own against other VLO platforms, detection and tracking will be more difficult for all parties. The gun was kept on the Raptor and the F-35 in part as a fall back weapon of sorts. I think Kinematics should still be a part of PCA as a fall back as well.


It's $50 billion just to restart production and build another 194 F-22A, not even an upgraded version. Super F-22 will require more engineering work and be even more expensive.

A clean sheet that takes advantage of new materials and aerodynamics advances since F-22 should be able to roughly match the performance while also giving better range. For example F-22 composites is only 25%, while F-35 is 35% and PCA can be higher than that. Also clean sheet can be designed from the start to take advantage of ADVENT engines.

To save weight they can probably lower g to 7.5g, since unless you're at about 10,000 ft or below no one is sustaining 9g. Hornet does 7.5g and there aren't many complaints about its turning, mainly the lack of acceleration. But with immense power PCA can just go vertical instead of just doing horizontal turning.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2020, 11:47
by hkultala
zero-one wrote:
marsavian wrote:A clean sheet design or enlarged F-35 derivative with two engines is the way to go.


The F-35 is primarily designed for Strike and other ground operations not air to air.


No, it's not. It's equally-designed for air-to-air and air-to ground.

About the only feature in F-35 which is more made to air-to-ground than air-to-air are the weapons bays, which are made deep enough to handle those 2000lb bombs, but which initially cannot carry 3 missiles each (later they will, first 3 AMRAAMs each and them 6 pegerines each).

But when those new missile racks and Pegerines appear and it then carries for example 2 Meteors, 2 AMRAAMS and 4 Pegerines internally, I see no big inefficiences with the bays for air-to-air use.

Modernizing the F-22 and changing all the obsolete parts plus upgrading existing systems is said to cost around 40 -50 billion. Heavily modifying the F-35 to be tailored for A-A will be far far more expensive, much better to have a clean sheet design.


No amount of modernizing of F-22 will bring it's range to even close to what is required for PCA.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2020, 16:17
by sprstdlyscottsmn
hkultala wrote:
No, it's not. It's equally-designed for air-to-air and air-to ground.

About the only feature in F-35 which is more made to air-to-ground than air-to-air are the weapons bays,

And the aspect that shows it is still designed for air to air is that it is the only plane on earth cleared for 9G with two 2,000lb munitions. They wanted to make sure it could be a dominant A-A plane even on a bombing mission.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2020, 17:33
by steve2267
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
hkultala wrote:
No, it's not. It's equally-designed for air-to-air and air-to ground.

About the only feature in F-35 which is more made to air-to-ground than air-to-air are the weapons bays,

And the aspect that shows it is still designed for air to air is that it is the only plane on earth cleared for 9G with two 2,000lb munitions. They wanted to make sure it could be a dominant A-A plane even on a bombing mission.


I'll add to Spurts' comment... Gums told me that only the very beginning of an air-to-air fight in a Viper was at 9g, maybe the first 2-4 seconds, for like 90° of turn, occasionally (rarely?) up to 180° of turn. The vast majority of the fight was like at 5-6g. So how much advantage do you really get from being able to honk it over at 9g? Well, you are trying to gain as much of an initial angles advantage as you can right off the bat... so by specifying that 9g capability, even if it could not be sustained at most altitudes (a bit of conjecture on my part), tells me the Air Force was trying to wring as much air-to-air performance as it could out of the airframe. In light of QS recent comments in an F-35 thread, with the advent of all-aspect HOBS missiles, the fight has shifted to whoever gets the nose on first, wins. So that initial 9g ability is important at the higher speeds.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2020, 20:37
by f119doctor
hkultala wrote:Only about 22-23 klbs of that 28k is thrust from the core, and works at supersonic speeds. The rest 5-6 klbs comes from bypass air, which is only adding drag, not thrust, at supersonic speeds without afterburner. (because the air has to be slowed down to subsonic speed at the inlets, but the fan cannot accelerate it back to supersonic speed).

EJ200 engines of EF Typhoon has lower bypass ratio, giving them together about equal core thrust, and less drag from the bypass air. But EF Typhoon is a smaller plane, with less drag on clean configuration.

With an engine with core thrust of something like 25 klbs, F-35 would have no trouble of supercruising.


That is not really how modern mixed flow afterburning turbofan engines work. The bypass flow and core exit flow are mixed at roughly equal pressures and exit through the exhaust nozzle together to make thrust. The fan pressure ratio essentially sets the engine pressure ratio, and you can’t say the bypass air is not making thrust during supersonic flight.

An engine pressure ratio of 2 gets you sonic flow from the exhaust. A F100-220 and the F110-100 have an EPR of approximately 3, which gets you a supersonic exhaust, so you can make some Mil thrust above M1, but not enough to maintain above the transonic range. You have to push the fan / engine pressure ratio significantly higher than that to get supercruise thrust at Mil power.

To supply the extra power to drive the fan at the higher pressure ratio take more core power. You can run the core harder and hotter, or you can make it bigger (I.e. lower bypass ratio).

The other issue with supercruise as traditionally defined as 1.5M, 40K has a 100F inlet temp on a standard day. Most engines make their maximum thrust at 60F -70F inlet temp. They run into turbine speed and temperature limits as the inlet temp increases, and the thrust declines as the inlet get hotter. So to maintain that supercruise thrust, the engine has to be designed with enough rotor speed and temperature margin to produce full thrust under that 100F inlet condition.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2020, 15:52
by zero-one
wrightwing wrote:
I suspect the agility requirements will be lower priority to range, payload, speed, signature reduction, and situational awareness.

That's my problem with the whole 1 size fits all design, you need range, speed, stealth and deep magazines and you would like to squeeze in some agility and speed too,

some of these cannot co exist. Range and deep magazines require size and weight which is the enemy of agility and speed. Since Agility and speed may be less required, your PCA will probably be a step backwards in performance over the aircraft it will eventually replace.

Even today with the F-22 and F-35 the USAF says this
Colonel Charles Moore wrote:
Given all of these considerations, it’s not hard to imagine the
F-35 finding itself in an environment where it is out of missiles or not within missile
parameters and completely dependent upon its gun system to defend itself and complete
its mission.
[/quote]

Capabilities should be added without the sacrificing other capabilities. The F-22 was more capable than the F-15 in every tactically relevant scenario so was the F-15 over the F-4.

The F-4 was pushed into an air superiority role despite being originally designed as a fleet interceptor and less capable than the F-8 in traditional close range engagements. We all know how many painful lessons that gave us.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2020, 16:07
by zero-one
hkultala wrote:
No, it's not. It's equally-designed for air-to-air and air-to ground.

According to F-35 pilot Maj. John Searcy
The F-35 is not really designed for air to air (although it is capable of it) however, emphasis on the design is put on SEAD/DEAD and deep strike capabilities.

Listen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITCerewkIQE

Early in the JSF program the figure 60/40 was thrown around a lot. 60% for A-G and 40% for A-A was the design goals. However that 40% should still be more than enough to combat any potential adversary out there


hkultala wrote:No amount of modernizing of F-22 will bring it's range to even close to what is required for PCA.

What ever they choose to go with PCA, the KC-Z Stealth tanker will still push through.
So you don't need to have heavy bomber like range. You simply need to reduce tanker requirements to a degree.

And like I said, any fighter PCA proposal will only make up one component of the PCA family, another component may be a large Stealthy missile truck that will rely on stand off weapons.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2020, 18:42
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:
wrightwing wrote:
I suspect the agility requirements will be lower priority to range, payload, speed, signature reduction, and situational awareness.

That's my problem with the whole 1 size fits all design, you need range, speed, stealth and deep magazines and you would like to squeeze in some agility and speed too,

some of these cannot co exist. Range and deep magazines require size and weight which is the enemy of agility and speed. Since Agility and speed may be less required, your PCA will probably be a step backwards in performance over the aircraft it will eventually replace.



I didn't say that agility wouldn't be a consideration, it just won't take precedence over the more important considerations. We're not talking about designing a new plane that has F-105/F-111 agility. It just won't have to be equal/superior to F-22 agility, to be useful. By the time the PCA enters service, it will very likely have directed energy weapons in addition to a larger missile magazine. This combined with greater range, lower RCS/IR signatures, greater supercruise endurance, will be far more important than any °/second factors. Superior situational awareness combined with HOBS/360° spherical engagement, have made other factors moot.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2020, 19:19
by sferrin
zero-one wrote:That's my problem with the whole 1 size fits all design, you need range, speed, stealth and deep magazines and you would like to squeeze in some agility and speed too, some of these cannot co exist. Range and deep magazines require size and weight which is the enemy of agility and speed.


Which would you say is more agile, a P-80 or a Su-27?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2020, 19:53
by madrat
PCA maneuverability is about evading missiles, not engaging in dogfights. There is zero reason to engage in a dogfight. There is plenty of reason to plan for successful disengagement when they fail to approach undetected, engage annd unsuccessfully prosecute their target, or perhaps get jumped by chance opportunity by the enemy.

The more talk about PCA that I hear, the more I believe this design is going to be a combination of drone command & control combined with supercruise spyplane mated to the shoot & scoot concept. I'm also thinking these will be strategic assets, not tactical.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2020, 04:20
by sferrin
madrat wrote:PCA maneuverability is about evading missiles, not engaging in dogfights. There is zero reason to engage in a dogfight. There is plenty of reason to plan for successful disengagement when they fail to approach undetected, engage annd unsuccessfully prosecute their target, or perhaps get jumped by chance opportunity by the enemy.

The more talk about PCA that I hear, the more I believe this design is going to be a combination of drone command & control combined with supercruise spyplane mated to the shoot & scoot concept. I'm also thinking these will be strategic assets, not tactical.


Think something like a stealthy YF-12 / XF-108 to today's F-106.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2020, 12:02
by zero-one
sferrin wrote:Which would you say is more agile, a P-80 or a Su-27?


I don't have enough information on the P-80, but i guess there will be speeds where the P-80 has the upper hand. However I would also guess that the Su-27 has the advantage in most of the flight envelope.

If PCA will be at a disadvantage against the F-22 in most parts of the envelope then it will be an issue. Specially with the proliferation of Stealthy adversaries. The need to kill them before they get within range goes through the roof.

To me a very large aircraft that can go to China and back in one tank of gas from Hawaii with a very deep magazine seems to be an accurate description of the B-1, even the B-1 would need tankers for that, so it'll be bigger than a B-1. How that can be done while maintaining anywhere close to fighter like kinematics. It will most likely be a stealthy subsonic bomber like plane with dozens of missiles.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2020, 16:45
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:
sferrin wrote:Which would you say is more agile, a P-80 or a Su-27?


I don't have enough information on the P-80, but i guess there will be speeds where the P-80 has the upper hand. However I would also guess that the Su-27 has the advantage in most of the flight envelope.

If PCA will be at a disadvantage against the F-22 in most parts of the envelope then it will be an issue. Specially with the proliferation of Stealthy adversaries. The need to kill them before they get within range goes through the roof.

To me a very large aircraft that can go to China and back in one tank of gas from Hawaii with a very deep magazine seems to be an accurate description of the B-1, even the B-1 would need tankers for that, so it'll be bigger than a B-1. How that can be done while maintaining anywhere close to fighter like kinematics. It will most likely be a stealthy subsonic bomber like plane with dozens of missiles.

Where are you getting an intercontinental range requirement from? Absolutely nobody has ever suggested that sort of range for the PCA. It's not going to be a B-1B sized aircraft, nor does it need to exceed F-22 level agility. It's as if there have never been posts with F-22/35 pilots talking about what's important in modern aerial combat, whenever you start opining. Superior situational awareness is the single most important factor, in determining outcomes in combat. Not who has the highest °/second performance. SA combined with HOBS/spherical engagement has rendered that a moot point. SAMs will always be the biggest threat, and A2A combat of stealthy aircraft will be increasingly like sub warfare, not Red Baron dogfights.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2020, 17:17
by sferrin
zero-one wrote:
sferrin wrote:Which would you say is more agile, a P-80 or a Su-27?


I don't have enough information on the P-80, but i guess there will be speeds where the P-80 has the upper hand. However I would also guess that the Su-27 has the advantage in most of the flight envelope.

If PCA will be at a disadvantage against the F-22 in most parts of the envelope then it will be an issue.


Whether accidentally, or on purpose, you got my point exactly backwards.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2020, 17:45
by madrat
But if they push parameters that F-22 cannot engage then its fundamentally an apples to oranges comparison no different than P-80 being compared to Su-27. F-22 is high altitude and supercruise, but that doesn't mean it is potentially the highest and fastest. If PCA somehow is able to reach 100,000 feet and flies at say Mach 2 under a supercruise, it makes the F-22 only a threat in very limited parameters. Now imagine the PCA engaging the F-22; it is not so limited in its ability to engage on these terms.

The one destabilizer is directed energy weapons. If PCA needs to operate high, do directed energy weapons neutralize its potential? I'd hate to spend $100 billion on vaporware.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2020, 19:12
by sferrin
madrat wrote:But if they push parameters that F-22 cannot engage then its fundamentally an apples to oranges comparison no different than P-80 being compared to Su-27. F-22 is high altitude and supercruise, but that doesn't mean it is potentially the highest and fastest. If PCA somehow is able to reach 100,000 feet and flies at say Mach 2 under a supercruise, it makes the F-22 only a threat in very limited parameters. Now imagine the PCA engaging the F-22; it is not so limited in its ability to engage on these terms.

The one destabilizer is directed energy weapons. If PCA needs to operate high, do directed energy weapons neutralize its potential? I'd hate to spend $100 billion on vaporware.


My point was that larger size/weight doesn't automatically mean inferior maneuverability. That said, we're not talking about PCA even needing to be a dog-fighter. I'd want more maneuverability than a Blackbird but I don't see the need for 9 gs. If you could get it without sacrificing range and payload (and not breaking the bank), sure. But I'd put it as more of a "nice to have" rather than "must have".

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2020, 00:50
by madrat
At extreme height and speed you can reach 9G rather quickly.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2020, 15:35
by sferrin
madrat wrote:At extreme height and speed you can reach 9G rather quickly.


True enough. The Tomcat had the glove vanes so it could maintain the ability to pull high-ish Gs over Mach 2.

"These vanes are automatically deployed when the speed exceeds Mach 1.4 in order to push up the nose and unload the tailplanes, giving them enough authority to pull 7.5 g at Mach 2."

Let me rephrase. I don't think it needs to be able to turn 28 deg/sec.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2020, 16:02
by quicksilver
madrat wrote:At extreme height and speed you can reach 9G rather quickly.


Yeah, and with a turn radius the size of Montana...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2020, 03:01
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:
wrightwing wrote:
I suspect the agility requirements will be lower priority to range, payload, speed, signature reduction, and situational awareness.

That's my problem with the whole 1 size fits all design, you need range, speed, stealth and deep magazines and you would like to squeeze in some agility and speed too,

some of these cannot co exist. Range and deep magazines require size and weight which is the enemy of agility and speed. Since Agility and speed may be less required, your PCA will probably be a step backwards in performance over the aircraft it will eventually replace.


If PCA is a 7.5 g aircraft but can supercruise twice as far, accelerate much better, and with 1,000 nmi combat radius, is it really overall step backward in performance from F-22? Nothing sustains 9 g unless you're at low altitude anyways.

zero-one wrote:I don't have enough information on the P-80, but i guess there will be speeds where the P-80 has the upper hand. However I would also guess that the Su-27 has the advantage in most of the flight envelope.

If PCA will be at a disadvantage against the F-22 in most parts of the envelope then it will be an issue. Specially with the proliferation of Stealthy adversaries. The need to kill them before they get within range goes through the roof.

To me a very large aircraft that can go to China and back in one tank of gas from Hawaii with a very deep magazine seems to be an accurate description of the B-1, even the B-1 would need tankers for that, so it'll be bigger than a B-1. How that can be done while maintaining anywhere close to fighter like kinematics. It will most likely be a stealthy subsonic bomber like plane with dozens of missiles.


When people say more range it doesn't mean intercontinental, I don't know why you keep saying that. They're looking for a big leap over what F-22 can do, something like 1,000 nmi combat radius. You can do that and still have good maneuverability with advances in aerodynamics, but it's not something an F-22 derivative can do.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2020, 03:08
by disconnectedradical
https://www.defensenews.com/smr/federal ... t-request/

PCA/NGAD funding is getting substantial, $1 billion requested. Wondering if we'll see prototypes before end of decade.

What I really wonder is if they can really make supersonic tailless fighter happen. If it does it can be a massive leap in stealth and also aerodynamic effectiveness.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2020, 11:15
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:When people say more range it doesn't mean intercontinental, I don't know why you keep saying that.


Because as it is the Raptor already has nearly 600 nmi radius on subsonic cruise. With Advent's 18% increase thats around the 700 nmi ballpark. your clean sheet proposal is just a 30% increase in radius at the cost of billions upon billions and years of dev/test and will still need support from KC-Z

I'm not going to argue with whats more capable because I'll be the first to say that a clean sheet design will be more capable in almost all aspects if not all. But the cost and schedule is my problem. There is just no way it can be done in the kind of timetables they are implying at.

Ultimately this new cleansheet proposal looks like another single platform that will replace the F-22, something the USAF has hinted that may not be the case. PCA could be a family of aircraft, each filling a niche in the overall combat system.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Feb 2020, 19:15
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:When people say more range it doesn't mean intercontinental, I don't know why you keep saying that.


Because as it is the Raptor already has nearly 600 nmi radius on subsonic cruise. With Advent's 18% increase thats around the 700 nmi ballpark. your clean sheet proposal is just a 30% increase in radius at the cost of billions upon billions and years of dev/test and will still need support from KC-Z

I'm not going to argue with whats more capable because I'll be the first to say that a clean sheet design will be more capable in almost all aspects if not all. But the cost and schedule is my problem. There is just no way it can be done in the kind of timetables they are implying at.

Ultimately this new cleansheet proposal looks like another single platform that will replace the F-22, something the USAF has hinted that may not be the case. PCA could be a family of aircraft, each filling a niche in the overall combat system.

The USAF is NOT suggesting an IOC by 2030, nor are they suggesting intercontinental range. They are suggesting something with more range (and likely a larger supercruise radius), a larger magazine, and a lower signature (i.e. ELO vs VLO), than can be achieved by F-22 variants, with an IOC closer to 2040. A 400nm increass in radius over an F-22 isn't insignificant, and it may end up being a 600 to 900nm increase, for all we know.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 23 Feb 2020, 04:24
by disconnectedradical
zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:When people say more range it doesn't mean intercontinental, I don't know why you keep saying that.


Because as it is the Raptor already has nearly 600 nmi radius on subsonic cruise. With Advent's 18% increase thats around the 700 nmi ballpark. your clean sheet proposal is just a 30% increase in radius at the cost of billions upon billions and years of dev/test and will still need support from KC-Z


30% range increase is a major improvement. Also, I don't know how you got 30%, 1,000 nmi is 43% more than 700 nmi. The point is that this kind of range is not possible with F-22 airframe, you need more fuel and more advanced aerodynamics.

zero-one wrote:I'm not going to argue with whats more capable because I'll be the first to say that a clean sheet design will be more capable in almost all aspects if not all. But the cost and schedule is my problem. There is just no way it can be done in the kind of timetables they are implying at.

Ultimately this new cleansheet proposal looks like another single platform that will replace the F-22, something the USAF has hinted that may not be the case. PCA could be a family of aircraft, each filling a niche in the overall combat system.


USAF is not glued to the idea of 2030 IOC, some suggested it but trying to get that date for the sake of it can be counterproductive. Since PCA funding is at 1 billion per year now, there might be prototypes by 2030. Having a platform to replace F-22 doesn't mean it won't be part of a family of aircraft.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 23 Feb 2020, 05:31
by Fox1
The more I hear the PCA described, the more I envision a revamped YF-23 type design. The F-23A EMD was going to be a big aircraft, about 70 feet in length. It carried considerably more fuel than the F-22. With ADVENT, I could see such an aircraft having the ability to achieve a 1,000 nm combat radius. But in order to retain that capability and have a deeper magazine, the design might need to grow even more. But I'd be willing to bet that whatever they come up with to meet these requirements of exceptional range, speed, super cruise, stealth and fighter like agility will result in something that shares lots of traits with the F-23.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 23 Feb 2020, 08:11
by disconnectedradical
Fox1 wrote:The more I hear the PCA described, the more I envision a revamped YF-23 type design. The F-23A EMD was going to be a big aircraft, about 70 feet in length. It carried considerably more fuel than the F-22. With ADVENT, I could see such an aircraft having the ability to achieve a 1,000 nm combat radius. But in order to retain that capability and have a deeper magazine, the design might need to grow even more. But I'd be willing to bet that whatever they come up with to meet these requirements of exceptional range, speed, super cruise, stealth and fighter like agility will result in something that shares lots of traits with the F-23.


A v-tail aircraft would be a "low" risk design and some of Lockheed Martin's early PCA concepts look quite a bit like F-23 actually. The latest French/German FCAS model has v-tail and so does the latest model of Japanese F-3. Looking at F-23 EMD drawings, it carries a LOT of fuel, at least as much as YF-23 while with F-22 they lost fuel unfortunately compared to YF-22 when they slimmed down the fuselage especially at the rear.

But if they want to go really aggressive and with "high" risk, they may want to try supersonic tailless, which would be more efficient, lower drag, and stealthier. Apparently it's very difficult because of lateral stability issues, so far there are no aircraft like that.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 23 Feb 2020, 09:15
by zero-one
disconnectedradical wrote:30% range increase is a major improvement. Also, I don't know how you got 30%, 1,000 nmi is 43% more than 700 nmi.
.
sorry, you're right, 30% less than 1000 nmi seems like a better fit for that statement

disconnectedradical wrote:USAF is not glued to the idea of 2030 IOC, some suggested it but trying to get that date for the sake of it can be counterproductive. Since PCA funding is at 1 billion per year now, there might be prototypes by 2030

Maybe not 2030, but the idea is not to have another protracted development schedule like the ATF and JSF programs.
They're also looking at the idea that PCA will not be one new airplane, rather it could be a family of different airframes for different mission sets.

So the idea of PCA being a new airplane with:
-1000 nmi combat radius
-deep weapons magazine
-Wide broadband Stealth
-better or equal supersonic and super cruise performance to the Raptor
-At least F-35C like agility (7.5Gs with high AoA and probably better acceleration and EM)

Would probably cost much much more than the $50 billion estimate for a modernized F-22 restart. What will be left for the other airplanes that will make up the PCA family?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Feb 2020, 14:13
by madrat
I'm not so sure you could get away with more than 100 airframes if the aircraft gets to the 75-80 feet length. It would need to justify its life by having ridiculous combat radius, like 2,000nm. It should be considerably shorter airframe if 1,000nm is the target. The bigger it gets the less of an offensive counter-air role it will play. It would approach sizes that you won't overcome with even the most modern of engineering.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Feb 2020, 15:46
by wolfpak
Think the PCA would be in service before the European 6th Gen jets Don't think even Congress would want to see us behind a generation in jets.

As for size not sure of the length but the wingspan would be around 57'-6" max. That's the wingspan of an A-10 and would allow the PCA to fit in most existing hardened aircraft shelters.

Wonder if DARPA has developed a flying wing super-cruising fighter size demonstrator to confirm the needed aerodynamics and controls?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Feb 2020, 16:27
by mixelflick
I don't see any type of "family of systems" due to.... $. Whatever they decide on for range, magazine depth, stealth... it's going to be supremely capable, which equals expensive. It's a pipe dream it'll be multiple airframes, at least as we know them today.

Now, could a "family of systems" be the aircraft itself, a loyal wingman and the AIM-260/Perigrine? Sure, if you define things that way. But multiple airframes as in one for the parent aircraft carrying the radar, another to serve as a flying magazine and still another as a longer ranged, buddy tanker? No way, IMO.

We'll be lucky to produce 200 airframes, and they'll need more like 350 to do it justice. They'll have to push this thing as hard as they did the F-35, to build what they really need...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Feb 2020, 17:12
by wrightwing
zero-one wrote:



Maybe not 2030, but the idea is not to have another protracted development schedule like the ATF and JSF programs.
They're also looking at the idea that PCA will not be one new airplane, rather it could be a family of different airframes for different mission sets.

So the idea of PCA being a new airplane with:
-1000 nmi combat radius
-deep weapons magazine
-Wide broadband Stealth
-better or equal supersonic and super cruise performance to the Raptor
-At least F-35C like agility (7.5Gs with high AoA and probably better acceleration and EM)

Would probably cost much much more than the $50 billion estimate for a modernized F-22 restart. What will be left for the other airplanes that will make up the PCA family?


It would be much more capable than a super F-22, and the PCA isn't going to necessarily be a family of planes. Think unmanned
(i.e. Loyal Wingman) assets being part of the PCA program, rather than multiple types of manned platforms.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Feb 2020, 17:15
by wrightwing
mixelflick wrote:I don't see any type of "family of systems" due to.... $. Whatever they decide on for range, magazine depth, stealth... it's going to be supremely capable, which equals expensive. It's a pipe dream it'll be multiple airframes, at least as we know them today.

Now, could a "family of systems" be the aircraft itself, a loyal wingman and the AIM-260/Perigrine? Sure, if you define things that way. But multiple airframes as in one for the parent aircraft carrying the radar, another to serve as a flying magazine and still another as a longer ranged, buddy tanker? No way, IMO.

We'll be lucky to produce 200 airframes, and they'll need more like 350 to do it justice. They'll have to push this thing as hard as they did the F-35, to build what they really need...

Hence the timeline they're looking at. Most of the F-35, B-21, and KC-46 buys will have been finished by the time PCA needs those funds.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2020, 05:30
by Corsair1963
Yeah, I love it when the France says that Germany and Spain shouldn't acquire the F-35. As it would lead to the death of the FCAS...


Yet, that is absurd as the FCAS won't arrive for 20 years. Even then it would first replace the Rafales and Typhoons. Which, will take years in itself....


In short the F-35 is no threat to the FCAS. Yet, Germany needs the F-35A to replace it's Tornados. While, Spain needs the F-35A/B to replace their Hornets and Harriers.

Sometimes it hard to tell who side France is on............. :?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2020, 06:49
by madrat
FCAS is actually in the same weight class as F-35, so it most certainly is a threat to the program.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2020, 08:27
by Corsair1963
madrat wrote:FCAS is actually in the same weight class as F-35, so it most certainly is a threat to the program.



No as they belong to different "Generations" and are decades apart in development.


Germany and Spain can't wait 20-30 years for a replacement for their 4th Generation Fighters. (Tornados, Hornets, and Harriers) Nor, does replacing them with F-35's compete with the forthcoming FCAS. As the latter won't be ready for 20 years and would replace the Typhoons in the Air Superiority Role first. (i.e. Germany and Spain)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 17 Mar 2020, 12:56
by cn
I am 18 pages in so i have not read everything.
My question is why is a b21 a bad pca
I want real and argued reasons.

The only ones i can see are:
* Cost. But this really should be measured as $/kgOfPayload
* time to engagement. But against this is the speed and legs of the missiles it can carry

Thanks

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Mar 2020, 11:37
by mixelflick
Because it's a bomber, not a fighter. As such, it's not optimized for air to air missions.

It'll have good range and excellent stealth. But the radar will be optimized for air to ground, not air to air. The weapons bays will need to be completely re-wired and whatever new AAM's they're using will need to be re-qualified. Completely new training/tactics to effectively perform the air to air mission will need to be developed.

Add to this the fact it's only a subsonic bird, and things get even worse. Launching AMRAAM's or AIM-260's at subsonic speed sure isn't optimal, but the B-21 will have no other choice. No, the PCA launch platform will have to fly a lot higher and faster than the B-21.

All of these things make it a non-starter. I do hope they give it a self defense capablility - even just 2 AAM's would go a long way IMO. But it will not be part of PCA, there are just too many deficiencies...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Mar 2020, 12:30
by cn
Thanks mixelflck
mixelflick wrote:Because it's a bomber, not a fighter. As such, it's not optimized for air to air missions.

It'll have good range and excellent stealth. But the radar will be optimized for air to ground, not air to air. The weapons bays will need to be completely re-wired and whatever new AAM's they're using will need to be re-qualified. Completely new training/tactics to effectively perform the air to air mission will need to be developed.

Add to this the fact it's only a subsonic bird, and things get even worse. Launching AMRAAM's or AIM-260's at subsonic speed sure isn't optimal, but the B-21 will have no other choice. No, the PCA launch platform will have to fly a lot higher and faster than the B-21.

All of these things make it a non-starter. I do hope they give it a self defense capablility - even just 2 AAM's would go a long way IMO. But it will not be part of PCA, there are just too many deficiencies...


the optimisation of the radar makes good sense but remember the system has to avoid lots of aircraft but i suppose it is not for targeting
The lack of kinetics to assist missile launch is also a good point but remember some of these missiles have rocket boosters to launch from the surface
The reorganisation of the weapons bay is a good point. But that seems to happen regularly with other aircraft especially the B 52.
However, i am sure you are right. thanks again for your answer

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 18 Mar 2020, 18:52
by wrightwing
cn wrote:I am 18 pages in so i have not read everything.
My question is why is a b21 a bad pca
I want real and argued reasons.

The only ones i can see are:
* Cost. But this really should be measured as $/kgOfPayload
* time to engagement. But against this is the speed and legs of the missiles it can carry

Thanks

The PCA will be the follow on air superiority platform. It's priority is counter air, and as such will need much greater kinematic performance than a bomber could ever achieve (think agility that's competitive with F-35 and F-22, with superior combat radius, persistence, and supercruise range.) The plans I've seen are for ~400 aircraft, which would be out of the question for a B-21 platform. The speed and legs of missiles are related to the speed and altitudes, which they're launched at (i.e. the same missile fired by an F-22 at >M1.5 and 60k feet, will have ~50% more range, than if fired at M.8/35k feet.) You can forget about subsonic intercepts, too. A subsonic bomber is simply not suitable for an air superiority platform, no matter how many missiles it could carry.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Mar 2020, 02:13
by weasel1962
To add the lay-weasel's view, a strategic bomber frame (e.g. B-21) is structurally optimised for heavy payloads i.e. fuel and weapons, particularly many very heavy weapons. That means the airframe would have to be strong (and thus heavier).

An air superiority fighter (e.g. F-22) would want to be as light as possible to increase maneuverability and take advantage of engine power. Due to the development of more powerful engines plus a requirement for greater range/endurance, fighters have grown heavier to carry more fuel but the principles probably remain the same. The F-22 was only intended to carry AMRAAMs (but added SDBs later to try and make it more relevant to the requirement for multi-role fighters today)

Strike fighters (known previously as FGA or fighter ground attack but now also called multi-role fighters) is the compromise between the 2. An example would be the F-35. The airframe would need to strengthen to carry more weight (beyond just fuel but also more heavier weapons) but not as much as to lose its maneuverability.

It is because the F-35 due to its later development has such a powerful engine that its TW (on A2A loadouts) or thrust weight ratio makes it more effective in the A2A role. Even then the F-22 still has the advantage due to its twin engine even though it has less powerful engines but which are more powerful than the F-15 ones that it was intended to replace. Hence a PCA can actually take advantage of the engine developments to maximise the potential of an air superiority fighter much better than the aging F-22.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Mar 2020, 05:22
by eloise
wrightwing wrote:The PCA will be the follow on air superiority platform. It's priority is counter air, and as such will need much greater kinematic performance than a bomber could ever achieve (think agility that's competitive with F-35 and F-22, with superior combat radius, persistence, and supercruise range.) The plans I've seen are for ~400 aircraft, which would be out of the question for a B-21 platform. The speed and legs of missiles are related to the speed and altitudes, which they're launched at (i.e. the same missile fired by an F-22 at >M1.5 and 60k feet, will have ~50% more range, than if fired at M.8/35k feet.) You can forget about subsonic intercepts, too. A subsonic bomber is simply not suitable for an air superiority platform, no matter how many missiles it could carry.

But they don't need to use the same type of missile. A bomber can carry much bigger missile, imagine putting SM-6 on bomber. And you can put high power laser on the bomber to intercept incoming missiles.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Mar 2020, 11:41
by cn
Thanks to all those who gave answers to my b21 suggestion
Interestingly the first page of posts on this topic also discusses the b21
I was surprised that manoeuvrability was brought up. i don’t understand why that is needed at all.
Getting to the fight fast ie super cruise was also not that compelling

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 19 Mar 2020, 21:12
by wrightwing
cn wrote:Thanks to all those who gave answers to my b21 suggestion
Interestingly the first page of posts on this topic also discusses the b21
I was surprised that manoeuvrability was brought up. i don’t understand why that is needed at all.
Getting to the fight fast ie super cruise was also not that compelling

Maneuverability and speed are pretty compelling to the folks who understand what capabilities are necessary, going forward. A subsonic bomber is entirely unsuitable for OCA/DCA missions, no matter how many missiles it could carry. There's a reason why no air force has ever considered it. It's the same reason we didn't send up B-17s on A2A missions vs Me-109s, even though they could carry a lot more guns/ammo.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2020, 01:40
by f119doctor
Actually, the AAF did try with the B-17 to self escort in WW2. See the YB-40 version of the B-17.

It was not terribly successful, although I believe it as the first use of the forward chin turret that was incorporated in later versions of the B-17.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2020, 02:47
by wrightwing
f119doctor wrote:Actually, the AAF did try with the B-17 to self escort in WW2. See the YB-40 version of the B-17.

It was not terribly successful, although I believe it as the first use of the forward chin turret that was incorporated in later versions of the B-17.

I'm talking about OCA/DCA missions, not self escort. The RAF didn't launch Lancasters to fight Me-109s and FW-190s, in the Battle of Britain. It doesn't matter how many guns (or in the case of the B-21, missiles) a bomber carries. It's no substitute for a fighter. The PCA isn't a self escorting bomber. It's a post F-15/22 air supremacy platform.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2020, 07:59
by weasel1962
Mosquitos? That's probably the closest I can think of where a bomber design ended up as a fighter.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2020, 13:40
by falcon.16
Corsair1963 wrote:
madrat wrote:FCAS is actually in the same weight class as F-35, so it most certainly is a threat to the program.



No as they belong to different "Generations" and are decades apart in development.


Germany and Spain can't wait 20-30 years for a replacement for their 4th Generation Fighters. (Tornados, Hornets, and Harriers) Nor, does replacing them with F-35's compete with the forthcoming FCAS. As the latter won't be ready for 20 years and would replace the Typhoons in the Air Superiority Role first. (i.e. Germany and Spain)



Yes, few days ago a Spanish Admiral told will be F-35B by 2027 for replacing Harrier II, and its possible F-35 A for Air Force. They are studying to buy all together B and A versions.

In 2022 or 2023 will take a final decition.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Mar 2020, 14:08
by mixelflick
falcon.16 wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:
madrat wrote:FCAS is actually in the same weight class as F-35, so it most certainly is a threat to the program.



No as they belong to different "Generations" and are decades apart in development.


Germany and Spain can't wait 20-30 years for a replacement for their 4th Generation Fighters. (Tornados, Hornets, and Harriers) Nor, does replacing them with F-35's compete with the forthcoming FCAS. As the latter won't be ready for 20 years and would replace the Typhoons in the Air Superiority Role first. (i.e. Germany and Spain)



Yes, few days ago a Spanish Admiral told will be F-35B by 2027 for replacing Harrier II, and its possible F-35 A for Air Force. They are studying to buy all together B and A versions.

In 2022 or 2023 will take a final decition.


Given their requirements (and if they want to stay in the STOVL business), they don't really have a choice. The F-35B is the only game in town. Luckily for them, it and the F-35A are easily the best too.

The F-35 really is re-defining air combat/strike fighters. Previously, NATO and non-NATO allies bought plenty of F-15's, 16 and 18's (although more of the latter 2). This brought them to parity insofar as performance with Russian Flankers and Fulcrums. Buying and fielding F-35's gives them a dramatic advantage. Mostly stealth, but also SA that'll run circles around those previous aircraft.

Pre-F-35 Red Flags went well for the blue forces if they scored 2:1, maybe 3:1 over red air (air to air arena), or took "acceptable" (read, more than a few) losses to red SAM's and integrated air defense networks. Flying the F-35, blue force achieved up to 20:1 air to air records, along with few if any losses taking out red SAM's, attacking key targets etc..

That's a BIG difference. They will (almost overnight) out-class much larger air arms, including (in some cases), Russia itself. Lemme put it this way: Russia would take it on the chin were it to send its Flankers, Fulcrums, or what have you into Israel. Every day that ticks by, more F-35I's arrive. And with them, out the door goes any perceived Russian advantage. They can fly their best SU-30SM's/35's into Israel, including their best pilots.

Most of them won't be coming home...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Mar 2020, 19:13
by wrightwing
mixelflick wrote:



Pre-F-35 Red Flags went well for the blue forces if they scored 2:1, maybe 3:1 over red air (air to air arena), or took "acceptable" (read, more than a few) losses to red SAM's and integrated air defense networks. Flying the F-35, blue force achieved up to 20:1 air to air records, along with few if any losses taking out red SAM's, attacking key targets etc..

That's a BIG difference. They will (almost overnight) out-class much larger air arms, including (in some cases), Russia itself. Lemme put it this way: Russia would take it on the chin were it to send its Flankers, Fulcrums, or what have you into Israel. Every day that ticks by, more F-35I's arrive. And with them, out the door goes any perceived Russian advantage. They can fly their best SU-30SM's/35's into Israel, including their best pilots.

Most of them won't be coming home...

The >20:1 was the first Red Flag F-35s participated in, and with 3i software/envelope limits. 3F jets have had even better performance at Red Flag.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Mar 2020, 14:44
by mixelflick
wrightwing wrote:
mixelflick wrote:



Pre-F-35 Red Flags went well for the blue forces if they scored 2:1, maybe 3:1 over red air (air to air arena), or took "acceptable" (read, more than a few) losses to red SAM's and integrated air defense networks. Flying the F-35, blue force achieved up to 20:1 air to air records, along with few if any losses taking out red SAM's, attacking key targets etc..

That's a BIG difference. They will (almost overnight) out-class much larger air arms, including (in some cases), Russia itself. Lemme put it this way: Russia would take it on the chin were it to send its Flankers, Fulcrums, or what have you into Israel. Every day that ticks by, more F-35I's arrive. And with them, out the door goes any perceived Russian advantage. They can fly their best SU-30SM's/35's into Israel, including their best pilots.

Most of them won't be coming home...

The >20:1 was the first Red Flag F-35s participated in, and with 3i software/envelope limits. 3F jets have had even better performance at Red Flag.


That is really astonishing when you think about it...

Red air is often described as having "the best pilots", many flying damn near clean F-16's with absurd thrust to weight ratios. Until just recently, F-15C's were also assigned to Red Air and their pilots are arguable the best in the air to air business. Throw in the speculated use of F-117's and soon, early block F-35's and what Blue Air faces is nothing short of terrifying.

Yet, we get stories of brand new F-35A/B pilots cleaning their clocks!

So if I'm the USAF, I want this exact dynamic for PCA - but on steroids. It will be much faster and fly much higher than the F-35, launch energy being paramount. It will carry many more AAM's than what the F-35 currently carries - I'm guessing 12 will be the bare minimum. And it will have legs to spare, something on the order of a 1,000 mile combat radius, maybe more.

As for maneuverability, I suspect it'll be on par with the F-22. Some design compromises will have to be made, this being one of them. In exchange for such, it'll have the best stealth seen on an aircraft to date. Perhaps even better than the B-21, depending. 400-500 sound like the right number, but we all know what usually happens... they'll be lucky to wind up with 200 so better to request 750 of them. We'll probably wind up with half of that, that's just how things work in D.C..

When arguing for more, I sincerely hope USAF cites the pickle we're in as a result of stopping F-22 production. That was a BIG mistake, and not learning from it will be an even bigger one...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 22 Mar 2020, 20:34
by count_to_10
But it may well be that the overwhelming dynamic they are looking for will be found in a stealthy drone controller than an all-in-one fighter.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 23 Mar 2020, 10:57
by weasel1962
count_to_10 wrote:But it may well be that the overwhelming dynamic they are looking for will be found in a stealthy drone controller than an all-in-one fighter.


I think Elon Musk is onto something but it could take many more years of research. Not that it can't be done but I think that the controls are currently very susceptible to jamming especially over long distances.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2020, 02:32
by weasel1962
What would be imho the most spectacular feature of a PCA (or a future drone) would be if someone is able to design a way to get planes rearmed in the air.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2020, 04:35
by Corsair1963
wrightwing wrote:
The >20:1 was the first Red Flag F-35s participated in, and with 3i software/envelope limits. 3F jets have had even better performance at Red Flag.


Honestly, the 20 to 1 number is likely on the low side even without the more capable 3F/+. As the Red Flag Aggressors and the ROE (tilted against the F-35) are not representative of the real threat. Which, in most cases is far less......

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2020, 06:52
by wrightwing
Corsair1963 wrote:
wrightwing wrote:
The >20:1 was the first Red Flag F-35s participated in, and with 3i software/envelope limits. 3F jets have had even better performance at Red Flag.


Honestly, the 20 to 1 number is likely on the low side even without the more capable 3F/+. As the Red Flag Aggressors and the ROE (tilted against the F-35) are not representative of the real threat. Which, in most cases is far less......

The 3F jets were doing better than 28:1. The >20:1 (145:7) as well as current losses, were either entirely or in large part due to respawned aggressors, that were already in WVR. That would translate to zero losses, were they real world kills (which don't respawn.)

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2020, 07:19
by Corsair1963
wrightwing wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:
wrightwing wrote:
The >20:1 was the first Red Flag F-35s participated in, and with 3i software/envelope limits. 3F jets have had even better performance at Red Flag.


Honestly, the 20 to 1 number is likely on the low side even without the more capable 3F/+. As the Red Flag Aggressors and the ROE (tilted against the F-35) are not representative of the real threat. Which, in most cases is far less......

The 3F jets were doing better than 28:1. The >20:1 (145:7) as well as current losses, were either entirely or in large part due to respawned aggressors, that were already in WVR. That would translate to zero losses, were they real world kills (which don't respawn.)


Which, supports why 4th Generation Fighter are becoming "obsolete" so quickly...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2020, 12:09
by mixelflick
wrightwing wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:
wrightwing wrote:
The >20:1 was the first Red Flag F-35s participated in, and with 3i software/envelope limits. 3F jets have had even better performance at Red Flag.


Honestly, the 20 to 1 number is likely on the low side even without the more capable 3F/+. As the Red Flag Aggressors and the ROE (tilted against the F-35) are not representative of the real threat. Which, in most cases is far less......

The 3F jets were doing better than 28:1. The >20:1 (145:7) as well as current losses, were either entirely or in large part due to respawned aggressors, that were already in WVR. That would translate to zero losses, were they real world kills (which don't respawn.)


Truly astounding. If the F-35 can achieve even half this metric in the real world the long, painful developmental period of F-35 gestation will have been worth it. It took a LOT of $ and a LOT of time, but they finally got it right...

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 23:14
by juretrn
mixelflick wrote:Truly astounding. If the F-35 can achieve even half this metric in the real world the long, painful developmental period of F-35 gestation will have been worth it. It took a LOT of $ and a LOT of time, but they finally got it right...

You would think the world's biggest defense contractor would be able to attract top talent, and use it in a world class design team with amazing record such as Skunk Works.
And to think there are people out there that think not only the F-35 is not a world class aircraft, but is in fact subpar... :bang:

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2020, 03:35
by steve2267
I thought this article oughta go in the F-35 forum, but I found this thread already running.

It would seem the USAF is already flying an actual 6th gen air dominance fighter prototype. Unclear how this might affect the F-35 program. IMO, hopefully it will not affect the F-35. As I recall, the USG "promised" Lockheed Martin the F-35 will be produced in full, (in exchange for -- ?) LM promising not to make waves or noise when the F-22 was cancelled.


Air Force Flying New Fighter Prototype

Kate O'Connor September 16, 2020

The U.S. Air Force is testing a new fighter jet prototype designed and built under its Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program. The mystery aircraft has already been flown, although it has not been made public how many prototypes have been built or how much flight time the design has accrued. Details about the fighter’s potential performance and capabilities are also being kept classified.

“We’ve already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it,” Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper told Defense News. “We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before.”

It has been reported that the demonstrator was engineered and tested digitally before the physical prototype was constructed, allowing the design to take flight much more quickly than seen with previous fighter programs. NGAD funding for fiscal year 2021 comes in at around $1 billion. How a sixth-generation fighter program might affect fifth-generation jets like the F-35 is not yet clear.

https://www.avweb.com/aviation-news/military-aviation/air-force-flying-new-fighter-prototype/

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2020, 17:59
by mixelflick
If NGAD continues to move quickly through its development, it could cut short the F-35's production run. At least in USAF service. The Navy/Marines would still need the F-35C/B respectively to make due.

Which might not be a bad thing (and might not hurt total F-35's produced), provided there are many more export orders. It's entirely possible USAF truncates their F-35 buy by say, 250 or so airframes to help pay for this thing. And given its doubtful NGAD will be exported, the best countries will be able to do will be... up-rated, call it generation 5++ F-35's.

It sure sounds like they made a breakthrough somewhere. They got a demonstrator (full scale, if I'm not mistaken) into the air in record time. If they can do something similar for production aircraft.... something's got to give. This thing isn't going to be cheap, so... Flight testing though could take awhile, especially given the speculated kinematic envelope.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2020, 18:04
by madrat
weasel1962 wrote:What would be imho the most spectacular feature of a PCA (or a future drone) would be if someone is able to design a way to get planes rearmed in the air.


Automatons probably are the only way to do it safely. I can imagine the loads would need to be in packets that can provide neutral buoyancy in the air until safely attached to the recieving aircraft. The packet would need some sort of retractable or detachable wing. Maybe the transport could deploy them on a string and the receiving aircraft could snag them in the nose with some sort of telescoping crane that can be retreated into the recieving aircraft as th e package is secured, which means the reciever needs a relatively large internal bay. Think flying wing drones resembling Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2020, 18:10
by madrat
mixelflick wrote:If NGAD continues to move quickly through its development, it could cut short the F-35's production run. At least in USAF service. The Navy/Marines would still need the F-35C/B respectively to make due.


Unless F-35 is slated to be mostly produced beyond 2035 then it really won't touch it. NGAD is about quality for overwhelming air dominance whereas F-35 is more of a force in numbers approach to project force. Those are not usually the same units.

Besides, this is just the demonstration phase. They will aim for far loftier goals now that the technology demonstrator using current technology has been implemented.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2020, 21:57
by hkultala
mixelflick wrote:If NGAD continues to move quickly through its development, it could cut short the F-35's production run. At least in USAF service. The Navy/Marines would still need the F-35C/B respectively to make due.

Which might not be a bad thing (and might not hurt total F-35's produced), provided there are many more export orders. It's entirely possible USAF truncates their F-35 buy by say, 250 or so airframes to help pay for this thing. And given its doubtful NGAD will be exported, the best countries will be able to do will be... up-rated, call it generation 5++ F-35's.

It sure sounds like they made a breakthrough somewhere. They got a demonstrator (full scale, if I'm not mistaken) into the air in record time. If they can do something similar for production aircraft.... something's got to give. This thing isn't going to be cheap, so... Flight testing though could take awhile, especially given the speculated kinematic envelope.


It took 15 years from X-35 first flight to F-35 introduction, and almost 20 years from X-35 first flight to F-35 until F-35 became really an operational plane that could perform real missions.

That there is "some prototype flying" does not mean the plane will be in service soon. Not in this decade. Not in the beginning of the next decade.

Also, PCA is supposed to be MUCH bigger and more expensive plane than F-35A. F-35A and PCA will complement each others.

It does not make much sense to decrease F-35A orders to buy more PCA's;

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 20 Sep 2020, 23:24
by quicksilver
Let’s all remember that F-35 was going to be a model for how to do a major defense acquisition differently — faster, more efficient, etc, etc. The program champions were at the top of the acquisition pyramid in OSD, and everyone aligned to the ‘vision‘ of those leaders. When those leaders in OSD left the system (for a variety of reasons), the praetorians of the acquisition, systems engineering/development, and test/verification/validation strictures that existed before F-35 re-emerged to normalize (hen peck) the program back to the status quo — and nearly killed it in the process.

‘Change’ is hard — it is even more so in the acquisition bureaucracies of the government. It remains to be seen what will happen when Roper and other like-minded leaders depart OSD.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Sep 2020, 03:03
by jetblast16
Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance - the twin-engined flying tail-less dorito?

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Sep 2020, 04:05
by quicksilver
Back in the day, a professional colleague was always running off on TAD trips (known as TDY in the USAF) to unnamed locations for unspecified purposes. Much later (when it became public) we learned that he had been part of an ASAP-like (aircrew systems advisory panel) group for an aircraft development program — A-12. We busted his jimmies from sunrise to sunset every day about his great fortune in avoiding the ignominy of having to stroll into happy hour anywhere on the planet and admit he was a ‘Dorito‘ pilot.

Still tickles me to think about it.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Sep 2020, 04:23
by marauder2048
hkultala wrote:
mixelflick wrote:It took 15 years from X-35 first flight to F-35 introduction, and almost 20 years from X-35 first flight to F-35 until F-35 became really an operational plane that could perform real missions.

That there is "some prototype flying" does not mean the plane will be in service soon. Not in this decade. Not in the beginning of the next decade.


But if you look at the YF-22 to F-22 IOC it was more reasonable and some of the delay there was attributed
to industrial base/partnership issues (the move to Marietta was particularly disruptive).

And many of the other issues that contribute to program delay are AF controllable to some extent.

What the Air Force can't control is DOT&E but what they can do is radically constrain the
armament, flight envelope and mission perf reqs in order to bound the test plan.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Sep 2020, 08:14
by hkultala
You should fix the broken quotes in your message. I wrote the text quo are quoting.

marauder2048 wrote:
hkultala wrote:It took 15 years from X-35 first flight to F-35 introduction, and almost 20 years from X-35 first flight to F-35 until F-35 became really an operational plane that could perform real missions.

That there is "some prototype flying" does not mean the plane will be in service soon. Not in this decade. Not in the beginning of the next decade.


But if you look at the YF-22 to F-22 IOC it was more reasonable


It was 15 years from YF-22 first flight to F-22 IOC.

and some of the delay there was attributed to industrial base/partnership issues (the move to Marietta was particularly disruptive).

And many of the other issues that contribute to program delay are AF controllable to some extent.


And you seriously believe PCA will not encounter any unexpected delays? Do you know a SINGLE high-tech weapon system that has not had "unexpected delays" during the last 50 years?

What the Air Force can't control is DOT&E but what they can do is radically constrain the
armament, flight envelope and mission perf reqs in order to bound the test plan.


... and then you have a plane that reaches IOC with much less capability than originally planned, and you will still need many years until it achieves the capabilities originally planned for it.

Not a good position to shift production from another, fully tested, much cheaper and more capable plane to your new (crippled) wunderwaffe.

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Sep 2020, 15:54
by jetblast16
:mrgreen:

Pilot unofficial nickname: Cool Ranch.. (Maybe that's the official cover name for the project lol)

73rd-Anniversary-hi-rez-scaled.jpg

Re: Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Unread postPosted: 21 Sep 2020, 17:15
by marauder2048
hkultala wrote:
It was 15 years from YF-22 first flight to F-22 IOC.



see:

and some of the delay there was attributed to industrial base/partnership issues (the move to Marietta was particularly disruptive).



hkultala wrote:And you seriously believe PCA will not encounter any unexpected delays? Do you know a SINGLE high-tech weapon system that has not had "unexpected delays" during the last 50 years?


As much as I hate to say it: the Super Hornet.


hkultala wrote:... and then you have a plane that reaches IOC with much less capability than originally planned, and you will still need many years until it achieves the capabilities originally planned for it.

Not a good position to shift production from another, fully tested, much cheaper and more capable plane to your new (crippled) wunderwaffe.


If you focus very narrowly on A2A in the 25,000ft and above envelope with AIM-260.
Based on what they are guided to, these look like small batches in the 2030s.