Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 13 Apr 2019, 14:49
by krieger22
https://breakingdefense.com/2019/04/a-n ... he-future/

AIR FORCE ASSOCIATION, ARLINGTON: Future Air Force programs must look less like the Joint Strike Fighter and more like the iconic Century Series from the 1950s, when the newly independent Air Force fielded six new fighters from five different manufacturers in just five years.

That’s the word from the ebullient assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics, Will Roper. He’d just returned to Washington from the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs and was brimming with the kind of excitement you rarely see in the often-dreary acquisition world.

“Every day I get my mind blown by what people are doing because we’re empowering them,” Roper said, rattling off a list of innovative Air Force teams: “Space Camp” in Colorado Springs, Kessel Run in Boston, and Bespin in Alabama (There’s also a Kobayashi Maru). All of these, interestingly, are software projects, using young airmen to code rapidly in response to requests from operational units — a military version of a commercial method called DevOps (Development & Operations).

Yes, big IT projects have been the bane of several federal agencies, but these aren’t big. Coding is well-suited to small, agile teams, since it doesn’t require expensive specialized infrastructure to test, build, deliver, and maintain its products, in stark contrast to actual aircraft programs.

But Roper says this high-speed approach isn’t limited to code. “It’s not just software,” he said at the Air Force Association HQ here. “People are taking time out of their programs” across the board: Air Force programs using the new Section 804 middle-tier acquisition have collectively shortened their schedules by a total of 60 years, he said, while programs operating under traditional DoD 5000 regulations have cut another 30.

This isn’t cutting corners, Roper emphasized, but it does mean taking more risk — and leadership needs to have the innovators’ back when they make a worthy try and fail. He’s even created a “Spectacular Learning Event Award” for particularly interesting failures, because he sees success and failure are just opposite ends of the same bell curve. “If I’m not seeing those failures, then I’m not going to see the big successes,” he said, “so we’re going to keep encouraging people to take risk because it will pull time out of our programs.”

“The Pentagon tends to trust in process over people,” Roper said, “[but] people beat process every day. I trust the people in Air Force acquisition.”

“We are going to give the reins to people and not over-encumber them with a centralized process,” he said, just as combat commanders don’t try to micromanage their pilots from the ground. “If you can’t delegate more than your enemy, you will lose,” he said. Empowering your people means letting them screw up, but it also frees them to excel beyond any plan you’d come up with on your own. “Yes,” Roper said, “you may make the occasional mistake, but overall, statistically, you’ll win.”

“We’ve got to kill the major defense acquisition program as it is today,” Roper said, “and replace it with something that looks more like the Century Series development of the early Air Force.”

Even some of the mass-produced Century aircraft were arguably lemons. The F-104 in particular made so many compromises to reach Mach 2 that it was dubbed “the missile with a man in it” by its own manufacturer, Lockheed, which was less than reassuring. The actual Starfighter pilots came up with less friendly nicknames like “lawn dart,” “aluminum death tube,” and, in the German air force, witwenmacher — “widowmaker.” The F-105 Thunderchief suffered such heavy losses in Vietnam — almost half the total ever produced — that it was withdrawn from frontline service.

“All the Century aircraft weren’t successful,” Roper acknowledged, “but enough were.”

The willingness to take risk led to aviation breakthroughs as well as disasters, revolutionizing the US Air Force in just five years. By awarding lots of smaller contracts rather than a single gigantic one, the Air Force also kept multiple contractors in business and in vigorous competition. That gave industry incentives to innovate quickly and the Air Force alternatives when one design did poorly.

As the Cold War dragged on, however, acquisition programs started taking longer and costing more. Those trends only got worse after 1991 when most contractors either consolidated through mergers or went out of business.

The ultimate example is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. That’s a single aircraft, albeit in three variants, from a single manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, that will make up at least half of the Navy’s future fighter fleet, most of the Air Force’s, and all of the Marine Corps’. It has also taken 12 years from the F-35’s first flight in December 2006 — 18 years from the X-35 prototype’s first flight in 2000 — for all three variants to achieve what the military calls Initial Operational Capability.

The F-35 needed that time in part because it did several remarkable things. It’s only the second aircraft ever, after Lockheed’s closely related F-22, to combine stealth with agility — the older F-117 “wobblin’ goblin” and the B-2 stealth bomber paid an aerodynamic price to hide from radar. The F-35 also has sensor, communications, and cyber/electronic warfare capabilities its advocates say will revolutionize air warfare. And it even has a jump-jet variant, the Marines’ F-35B, that can take off and land vertically like a helicopter, which imposed design constraints even on the runway (F-35A) and carrier-launched (C) versions.

This kind of slow advance on multiple fronts, with a long development culminating in a great leap forward, is pretty typical of post-1950s aircraft programs, Roper said. By contrast, the Century Series hammered repeatedly and rapidly at the same few problems — especially supersonic speed but also fire control. It made quick progress on a narrow front by introducing one aircraft after another after another, all similar but each advancing the state of the art. The slow-but-broad model helped win the Cold War, Roper argued, but it’s dangerously antiquated for a world when civilian innovation is outpacing military and revolutionary technologies are readily available to the US and its adversaries alike. We’re in a world where the Century Series approach makes more sense.

A Four-Year Fighter Program?

China and Russia have had decades to study a largely unchanged US military since its Gulf War triumph of 1991 and to come up with counters. But instead of taking decades to field a new fighter, Roper asked, “what would an adversary do facing an Air Force that it knew could design a new airplane every four years?”

That pace is not possible today, he said — “we’ve got a lot of work to do to prep for that” — but it is achievable. It would require new tools like digital engineering, which allows engineers to model the impact of design changes, not just on performance but on cost and even long-term maintenance and sustainment, and to try different iterations “about two billion times in a day.”

Even with digital engineering and a less risk-averse acquisition culture, Roper said, you wouldn’t be mass-producing hundreds of each design, the way even the mediocre Century Series fighters did. But you could create a family of aircraft or other weapons systems that shared design principles; common components, allowing economies of scale in both production and maintenance; common control systems, allowing pilots to transition from one to the next without extensive retraining; and above all a common modular open architecture, which would allow you to easily plug-and-play new components without extensive and expensive redesign. (It’s similar to the way your iPhone or Android has the same operating system software as all the others but lets you pick and choose from thousands of apps).

Instead of finalizing one design and then building hundreds of identical aircraft, you’d design a basic plane or satellite or other weapons system, build some, make improvements, build some of the improved model, improve that, and on and on. “You just keep spiraling,” Roper said. While the physical products wouldn’t look like the Century Series fighters, they would have a similar way of building on each others’ achievements in rapid succession.

You can’t apply this approach retroactively to a weapons system already in production, Roper acknowledged, but “this is what should happen for our next generation of programs.”

That vision, Roper said, “is my happy place.”


I have some opinions on getting pilots killed and airframes wrecked because the planes turned out to handle really nasty on the limit, but since it appears to be a long stream of obscenities, I'll just leave them out

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 05:05
by ford2go
It would be great to hear comments from Gums here. He has a lot of first hand knowledge.

Rapid development vs traditional has always been a hot topic. I personally think that it's somewhat like air combat -- the better pilot often wins there and the better development team can often make the difference.

As for the century series, I just checked to see what it includes - these remarks are from an amateur
F-100 - early problems -- not sure that it was well regarded, but I don't know. It had a fairly brief role in Vietnam if I have my facts straight.
F-101 -- a fairly brief career
F-102/106 -- intereceptors that I don't know much about.
F-104 -- seem to be some great differences of opinion
F-105 -- probably not the right aircraft for Vietnam , but it was what was available. Might have been good in its intended role.


I'm not sure that this constitutes great success. But, as I said, I'm no expert. Would really like to hear from others.

hj

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 05:24
by madrat
F-106A/B?

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 08:22
by Corsair1963
Honestly, I think we need to see the F-35 mature much more. Before we have any real idea what a future 6th Generation Fighter should look like??? :roll:


"IMHO"

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 10:37
by hornetfinn
Development of pretty much everything takes now a lot longer than in 1950s. This is because then everything was totally mechanical and didn't have many functions or features. Nowadays everything is far more complex and filled with features. If we take phones for example, 1950s phones were 100% mechanical and had only one function. Nowadays mobile phones are the standard and even the cheapest ones have thousands of functions and making phone calls is just one of them. I'm sure nowadays developing a phone takes 100 times longer than developing 1950s phones.

Aircraft are very similar. 1950s jets didn't have any software and everything mechanical and analog systems. Even then the avionics systems were very simple (by modern standards) and didn't have many functions as anything else was impossible. Flight controls were very straightforward as were aerodynamics of the aircraft. Nowadays fighter jets have millions of line of code and dozens of computers. They need extensive flight control software to keep them in the air in the first place and then maneuvers in ways that could not be imagined in 1950s. This hugely increased complexity for all functions and capabilities is the reason for why modern programs are so big and complex themselves.

Not to say that there isn't something we can't learn (or re-learn) from those old development programs. However I think JSF program has been marvellous success considering how complex and multi-functional and capable the end product is. I think it's one of the, if not the most successful fighter program ever even if there have been some problems to get where we are now. But similar or much worse problems have been encountered in pretty much all fighter programs.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 10:46
by hornetfinn
Corsair1963 wrote:Honestly, I think we need to see the F-35 mature much more. Before we have any real idea what a future 6th Generation Fighter should look like??? :roll:


"IMHO"


Fully agree. I think many people are rushing 6th gen far too early. Sure there are some development effort to reach that, but there was similar efforts during early 1980s for 5th gen fighter technology. It took about 25 years to get first 5th gen jet into service. I bet 6th gen will take longer as current 5th gen fighters are so capable and have so much room for improvements. I bet F-35 will be something totally else in 2040 even when it looks exactly the same externally as it does now. I think the difference will be much bigger than between early and late block F-16s.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 13:54
by mixelflick
Return to Century Series?

I like the concept, but not the end result. Century series were some of the most unsuccessful birds that ever flew. Not a one of them carried big enough performance improvements (usable, anyway) over their designated adversaries. Quite a few of them ('cept the 106 and arguably, the 104) led very brief, unremarkable careers.

And virtually all of them had high losses. Or such limited ones (like the F-102), because it was so poorly suited to the war that we were fighting.

That's not a vision I want to go back to..

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 15:06
by sferrin
Corsair1963 wrote:Honestly, I think we need to see the F-35 mature much more. Before we have any real idea what a future 6th Generation Fighter should look like??? :roll:


"IMHO"


Why?

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 15:07
by sferrin
mixelflick wrote:Return to Century Series?

I like the concept, but not the end result. Century series were some of the most unsuccessful birds that ever flew. Not a one of them carried big enough performance improvements (usable, anyway) over their designated adversaries. Quite a few of them ('cept the 106 and arguably, the 104) led very brief, unremarkable careers.

And virtually all of them had high losses. Or such limited ones (like the F-102), because it was so poorly suited to the war that we were fighting.

That's not a vision I want to go back to..


Ye Gods. :roll:

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 22:45
by outlaw162
F-103 no combat losses
F-107 no combat losses
F-108 no combat losses
F-109 no combat losses

F-106 no combat losses.....no combat

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2019, 23:24
by sprstdlyscottsmn
The F-110 and the F-111 were the only ones with long careers.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 16 Apr 2019, 00:28
by sferrin
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:The F-110 and the F-111 were the only ones with long careers.


Neither of which were of the Century series. (Neither was the F-117.)

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 16 Apr 2019, 00:30
by sferrin
A lot of people seem to be missing the point. The Century series moved the state of the art ahead very quickly.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 16 Apr 2019, 03:20
by edpop
The F-100 Super Sabre had a very long career with the ANG after leaving the Active air force and many European countries used it as their main fighter for quite a few years. Saw the Sabre fly CAS when I was in Vietnam.

The F-101 Voodoo was very succesful especially as a Recon platform during the Vietnam war. Canada flew it for many years as an interceptor.

Same for the F-105 as an attack bomber and as a Wild Weasel during the Vietnam war.

The F-104 had a very long career with the Germans (30 years) and the Italians. The "G" model for the Germans and the "S" model with the Sparrow equipped Starfighters for the Italians. Canada flew the Starfighter for over 20 years.

The F-111 served with the Air Force for about 25 years and the Aussies used the F-111 for almost 30 years

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 16 Apr 2019, 13:17
by madrat
F-101 was evolved to F-110. And the F-110 was actually very successful. No doubt F-15 was a true evolution of it. And F-22A seemed to build upon the F-15 experience.

F-104 was pretty successful, too. F-16 seemed to evolve from the experience gained. And F-35 seems to be a well-suited F-16 replacement.

Can anyone really say F-105 was a dud? I saw them still flying out of Lincoln, Nebraska in the 80's! And F-111 was more or less a worthy replacement for Tacair. F-15E hasn't been a terrible replacement of F-111.

F-102 evolved to F-106, of which NORAD relied on for decades. Would have been nice to see it get modern, but gas was cheap and speed-endurance performance marginalized by leadership eventually killed it off. The airframe was no frills and rugged. Probably could have been modernized to live on like they did with the B-52s. Fly it for a century...

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 16 Apr 2019, 14:11
by sferrin
madrat wrote:F-101 was evolved to F-110.


The "F-110" was derived from a different lineage (Demon, not the XF-88/F-101).

viewtopic.php?f=38&t=54161&start=55

madrat wrote:And the F-110 was actually very successful.


The "F-110" was nothing more than a number slapped on the side of an F-4C Phantom II for about five minutes. The USAF didn't call it the F-110. Nor was it one of the "Century series". And yes, the F-4 was very successful.

F-110-696x394.jpg

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 16 Apr 2019, 18:59
by sprstdlyscottsmn
My apologies, I threw in F-110 with an un-flagged dose of sarcasm.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 01:20
by johnwill
madrat wrote:
Can anyone really say F-105 was a dud? ..


I won't make that call, but during early stages of F-111 development, USAF brought an F-105 into Fort Worth. Many F-111 engineers were given an inspection tour of the airplane with all panels, doors, etc. open. Our instructions were to look at everything we could and then be sure the F-111 did not have anything like that.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 02:07
by quicksilver
...Except the ‘go like hell down low’ thing. :wink:

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 03:01
by fbw
Reading into what Dr. Roper is saying, I think the allusion to the century series is more about spiral development, programs building off each other rather than starting from a blank page, and pushing forward advances that are at a low TRL.

The century series built off of spiral developments in propulsion: Pratt’s J57 on the F-100, F-102, F-101 evolved into J75 on the F-105 and F-106. The GE line led to the J79 on the F-104, F-4.

Several shared developments built of the Hughes series of fire control systems each building off the previous, mostly air force century series, the others, like the F-4’s AN/APQ-75 from the Westinghouse lineage going all the way back to the Skyray’s radar.
In regards to using a similar development program going forward:
They’ve already split the ATEP program for sizing to a possible F135 replacement and a future engine for whatever comes out of NGAD. Also, while CPU and LRU have to be updated regularly, all the software coding could be reused and refined from different projects.
Considering the time and complexity involved in programming files and developing algorithms, I’d say that’s why he specifically mentioned this.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 03:22
by outlaw162
Our instructions were to look at everything we could and then be sure the F-111 did not have anything like that.


Like the stop drilled hair-line cracks in the wing skin. :shock:

Actually JW, our AFRES MX guys didn't fully appreciate the relative ease of working on the F-105.....until we got the F-4, 'scuse me, F-110. :D

From a pilot POV, the F-105 handled like a big T-38, reasonably docile.....once you used enough runway to finally get the thing airborne.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 03:27
by h-bomb
ford2go wrote:It would be great to hear comments from Gums here. He has a lot of first hand knowledge.

Rapid development vs traditional has always been a hot topic. I personally think that it's somewhat like air combat -- the better pilot often wins there and the better development team can often make the difference.

As for the century series, I just checked to see what it includes - these remarks are from an amateur
F-100 - early problems -- not sure that it was well regarded, but I don't know. It had a fairly brief role in Vietnam if I have my facts straight.
F-101 -- a fairly brief career
F-102/106 -- intereceptors that I don't know much about.
F-104 -- seem to be some great differences of opinion
F-105 -- probably not the right aircraft for Vietnam , but it was what was available. Might have been good in its intended role.


I'm not sure that this constitutes great success. But, as I said, I'm no expert. Would really like to hear from others.

hj


Other then the F-104 they all had decent service for the USAF/ANG. I always wonder why people call the F-104 the flying coffin but not the F-105.

Years of service excluding any QF time.

F-100 25 years 1954-1979
F-101 25 years 1957-1982
F-102 23 years 1956-1979
F-104 17 years 1958-1975 46 year total service from USAF 1958 utill Italian retirement in 2004.
F-105 26 years 1958-1984
F-106 32 years 1956-1988

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 03:31
by h-bomb
madrat wrote:F-101 was evolved to F-110. And the F-110 was actually very successful. No doubt F-15 was a true evolution of it. And F-22A seemed to build upon the F-15 experience.

F-104 was pretty successful, too. F-16 seemed to evolve from the experience gained. And F-35 seems to be a well-suited F-16 replacement.

Can anyone really say F-105 was a dud? I saw them still flying out of Lincoln, Nebraska in the 80's! And F-111 was more or less a worthy replacement for Tacair. F-15E hasn't been a terrible replacement of F-111.

F-102 evolved to F-106, of which NORAD relied on for decades. Would have been nice to see it get modern, but gas was cheap and speed-endurance performance marginalized by leadership eventually killed it off. The airframe was no frills and rugged. Probably could have been modernized to live on like they did with the B-52s. Fly it for a century...


Me thinks someone has the GE F101 and its derivatives F110, J101 (F404) and F118 confused with the McDonnell Douglas F-101 and F-4D(F-110)...

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 04:03
by quicksilver
I think the ‘Century Series’ is a potentially fatal misreading of history; a romantic but dangerous, revisionist reading of the times. Which design proved to be prescient relative to the eventual need? How much did it all cost and for what end(s)? Back in the day, the US was spending ~8% of GDP on defense; where are we today? Three (3)??

How does a comprehensive test program work for each type, including timelines for component qualification and structural durability? Who gets to sign off on the assumed risk to air worthiness inherent in abbreviated testing in an age where every pimple in the paint job gets reported as a fatal flaw? Is there some kind of hidden repository of leaders willing to sign up to this kind public scrutiny on behalf of the institution?

How do you keep a significant portion of your fighter force (that includes the maintainers not just pilots) in a near perpetual state of transition from one type to another, while meeting operational commitments?

Just for starters...

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 04:37
by edpop
h-bomb wrote:
ford2go wrote:It would be great to hear comments from Gums here. He has a lot of first hand knowledge.

Rapid development vs traditional has always been a hot topic. I personally think that it's somewhat like air combat -- the better pilot often wins there and the better development team can often make the difference.

As for the century series, I just checked to see what it includes - these remarks are from an amateur
F-100 - early problems -- not sure that it was well regarded, but I don't know. It had a fairly brief role in Vietnam if I have my facts straight.
F-101 -- a fairly brief career
F-102/106 -- intereceptors that I don't know much about.
F-104 -- seem to be some great differences of opinion
F-105 -- probably not the right aircraft for Vietnam , but it was what was available. Might have been good in its intended role.


I'm not sure that this constitutes great success. But, as I said, I'm no expert. Would really like to hear from others.

hj


Other then the F-104 they all had decent service for the USAF/ANG. I always wonder why people call the F-104 the flying coffin but not the F-105.

Years of service excluding any QF time.

F-100 25 years 1954-1979
F-101 25 years 1957-1982
F-102 23 years 1956-1979
F-104 17 years 1958-1975 46 year total service from USAF 1958 utill Italian retirement in 2004.
F-105 26 years 1958-1984
F-106 32 years 1956-1988

The Germans used the F-104 as a fighter-bomber. They received 917 aircraft and lost 252 aircraft to various means.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 13:18
by sferrin
outlaw162 wrote:
Our instructions were to look at everything we could and then be sure the F-111 did not have anything like that.


Like the stop drilled hair-line cracks in the wing skin. :shock:


That's a common repair method. Certainly not F-105 specific.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 13:22
by sferrin
quicksilver wrote:I think the ‘Century Series’ is a potentially fatal misreading of history; a romantic but dangerous, revisionist reading of the times. Which design proved to be prescient relative to the eventual need? How much did it all cost and for what end(s)? Back in the day, the US was spending ~8% of GDP on defense; where are we today? Three (3)??

How does a comprehensive test program work for each type, including timelines for component qualification and structural durability? Who gets to sign off on the assumed risk to air worthiness inherent in abbreviated testing in an age where every pimple in the paint job gets reported as a fatal flaw? Is there some kind of hidden repository of leaders willing to sign up to this kind public scrutiny on behalf of the institution?

How do you keep a significant portion of your fighter force (that includes the maintainers not just pilots) in a near perpetual state of transition from one type to another, while meeting operational commitments?

Just for starters...


The 40s-50s would have probably scared the hell out of you by comparison. Roper's point is that it's almost to the point that by the time a thing is fielded it's obsolete. Even "back in the day" things were changing so fast that was a danger. Compare the F-100 to the YF-12A. 10 years apart. Less than the time it took to go from the X-35 to the F-35.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 13:46
by vilters
The F-104 was designed as a pure interceptor. Get there, shoot, and get home.

Looking at its long track record, and looking at what all customers did with that aircraft?
I can only admire it.

And then staying the prime aircraft for so many countries for so long? => WHAW !!

Just like the F-16 : From pure dogfighter to bomb truck?
They have had pretty similar lives.


Germany is/was/will always be a special F-104 case:
They came "from close to nothing" to the F-104 (designed as pure high level interceptor) but flown in a very high speed low level bomber role in a misty, cloudy, rainy Europe.

WHAW!

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 14:31
by quicksilver
sferrin wrote:
quicksilver wrote:I think the ‘Century Series’ is a potentially fatal misreading of history; a romantic but dangerous, revisionist reading of the times. Which design proved to be prescient relative to the eventual need? How much did it all cost and for what end(s)? Back in the day, the US was spending ~8% of GDP on defense; where are we today? Three (3)??

How does a comprehensive test program work for each type, including timelines for component qualification and structural durability? Who gets to sign off on the assumed risk to air worthiness inherent in abbreviated testing in an age where every pimple in the paint job gets reported as a fatal flaw? Is there some kind of hidden repository of leaders willing to sign up to this kind public scrutiny on behalf of the institution?

How do you keep a significant portion of your fighter force (that includes the maintainers not just pilots) in a near perpetual state of transition from one type to another, while meeting operational commitments?

Just for starters...


The 40s-50s would have probably scared the hell out of you by comparison. Roper's point is that it's almost to the point that by the time a thing is fielded it's obsolete. Even "back in the day" things were changing so fast that was a danger. Compare the F-100 to the YF-12A. 10 years apart. Less than the time it took to go from the X-35 to the F-35.


I flew the AV-8A for several years. Few things scare me...

I get it. They wanna go faster and (for the sake of learning) profess a willingness to accept the risk that comes as a consequence. Engineers know how to do that; bureaucrats/politicians do not. When we start talking MDAPs (instead of what amounts to small science projects), there are some things that 'going faster' programmatically does not resolve -- like keeping the training systems aligned with the systems and capabilities in the aircraft, and shortening the timelines necessary to bring humans (whether they be pilots or maintainers) up to speed in those systems -- all in the context of fielding combat-ready, deployable units. There's no Cold War and there is no major air war going on the other side of the planet (yet). Thus, if there is any compelling need, it is certainly less evident to the average tax-paying/voting American.

Of course there are the two large elephants standing in the corner -- money and the ubiquity of public information sources about what's being built, why and at what expense. Together they drive limitations on the art of the possible wrt the pursuit of any 'shiney new thing' and the amount of risk acceptance that the government tacitly asks the public to accept. Much different than the 40s, 50s or 60s...

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 14:52
by sferrin
quicksilver wrote:There's no Cold War and there is no major air war going on the other side of the planet (yet). Thus, if there is any compelling need, it is certainly less evident to the average tax-paying/voting American.


It's just getting started. Worse, there are TWO players on the other side.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2019, 22:58
by vilters
[/quote]It's just getting started. Worse, there are TWO players on the other side.[/quote]

So sorry to disagree.

- Russia does not have the tech yet, and at this point? No money either.

- China can rebuild engines, but can not build "new engines".

- India is the same as China. They can not build "new" engines either.

While Russia and China try their best at stealth, they are not even close.
India still has to Google what steath means.

We have time, lots of time. We are at least 50 years or so in the clear.


Europe should have kept some F-104.
That's more then good enough to go say "hallo" to wandering bears who's pilots are reading Playboy and drinking Coca-Cola. :devil:

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2019, 05:05
by madrat
sferrin wrote:The "F-110" was derived from a different lineage (Demon, not the XF-88/F-101).

viewtopic.php?f=38&t=54161&start=55


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The only real resemblence is the F3H and F-4 both fired Sparrow missiles, employed a high appendage tail arrangement, flew with hydraulic controls, and had swept wings. The missiles available for F-101 during it's design phase was Falcon, and it was meant for internal carriage in F-101. The F-101 was probably more similar to the F-4 overall. Put the Sparrow missiles on the F-101 and we have more than a little passing resemblance.
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The F3H design was experimented with on the drawing board and that led to the F-4 when they opted twin engines. But if that is it's qualifier that the F3H evolved into F-4, then I may as well claimed the F-4 was a copy of the Blackburn Buccaneer.
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sferrin wrote:The "F-110" was nothing more than a number slapped on the side of an F-4C Phantom II for about five minutes. The USAF didn't call it the F-110. Nor was it one of the "Century series". And yes, the F-4 was very successful.


That's news, because the USN called the Phantom prototypes at the time the designation of "F4H-1". President Kennedy ordered the USAF to evaluate two prototypes under the designation of "F-110". So McDonnell repainted airframes 149405 and 149406 in USAF colors and provided them to Langley with that famous "F-110A" label on January 24, 1962. The USAF even called it 'Spectre', not the 'Phantom II' designation of the Navy. The Defense Department didn't begin the unified naming convention for fighters until September.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2019, 08:09
by marauder2048
The Century Series would suffer a 100% attrition rate against LFT&E and DOT&E.

Nobody knew how to build supersonic fighters in the period (where nuclear offense and defense
were the main motivators) but the threat was such that large expenditures in money and lives were
deemed acceptable in the learning process.

Roper comes from a missile defense background where modularity and commonly in interceptors
and sensors are more readily attainable as are compressed timelines.

This is possible, in part because you have an agency that gets around LTF&E and DOT&E
and has large autonomy in terms of what it chooses to develop and deploy.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2019, 14:15
by sferrin
madrat wrote:The F3H design was experimented with on the drawing board and that led to the F-4 when they opted twin engines. But if that is it's qualifier that the F3H evolved into F-4, then I may as well claimed the F-4 was a copy of the Blackburn Buccaneer.


That's not how it works. Go read the history of the F-4. It didn't descend from the F-101. If you want to continue to insist it did that's your prerogative.

"The design of what was eventually to emerge as the McDonnell F-4 Phantom began in August of 1953. The McDonnell design team was headed by Herman Barkley. Initially, the goal of the team was to extend the production life of the F3H Demon single-seat carrier-based fighter by boosting its performance and improving its versatility.

Several quite different design concepts emerged, all of them being informally designated by the company as F3H-X since they were all viewed as a natural follow-on to the F3H Demon.

The first of these preliminary designs was the F3H-C or the "Super Demon". The F3H-C was to be powered by a single Wright J67 turbojet and was to be capable of reaching Mach 1.69 at high altitude. The J67 was a license-built version of the British-built Bristol Olympus turbojet engine, and was untried and unproven at the time.

The F3H-E project (also known as Model 98A by the company) was similarly powered, but dispensed with the nose-high attitude of the Demon and stood level on a tricycle undercarriage. It had a 45-degree swept wing of 450 square feet in area. In the event, the J67 engine never did materialize as a realistic powerplant for American aircraft.

The Model 98B (F3H-G) project was to be powered by a pair of Wright J65-W-2 (or W-4) turbojets rated at 7800 lb.s.t. each. The twin-engined configuration was attractive to many in the Navy, because of the increased amount of safety it offered over a single-engined aircraft. The engines were to be fed by a pair of side-mounted air intakes. A low-mounted swept wing and an all-flying straight tailplane were to be used. This wing was slightly larger than that of the F3H-E, with a 530-square foot area. The fuselage was to be designed in conformance with the area rule, in order that minimum transonic drag be achieved.

The F3H-G aircraft was to be equipped with an Aero 11B fire control system and an AN/APQ-150 radar. Armament was to consist of four 20-mm cannon, but provision for a retractable pack carrying 56 two-inch FFAR rockets was also proposed. A heavy load of bombs and fuel tanks could be carried on up to nine external stores stations (four under each wing and one underneath the fuselage). A maximum speed of Mach 1.52 was envisaged.

The J65 was a license-built version of the British-designed Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engine, and was already in production at the time. Although at that time the Navy was experiencing a good deal of trouble with the J65 engine installed in its North American FJ-3 Fury single-engined fighter, the McDonnell team fully expected that these problems would be resolved by the time that their F3H-G proposal was ready for production.

The F3H-H was similar in overall configuration to the F3H-G, but was to be powered by a pair of higher-thrust General Electric J79 turbojets. The J79 was at that time a new and untried engine. Assuming that the J79 performed as promised, a maximum speed of Mach 1.97 was envisaged.

The Model 98F was the photographic reconnaissance version of the Model 98C.

Models 98C and D were to be fitted respectively with delta and straight wings, and were to be powered either by a pair of Wright J65s or two J79s.

The Model 98E (F3H-J) was to have been similar to Models 98C and D, but with a larger and thinner delta wing.

Herman Barkley's design team decided that the Model 98B with its twin J65s offered the best potential and they abandoned work on all the other configurations. A full-sized mockup of the Model 98B (F3H-G) was built. The company hedged its bets by designing the right side of the mockup for a J79 engine and the left for a J65.

On September 19, 1953, McDonnell submitted its Model 98B project to the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) in the form of an unsolicited proposal. Since the Navy as yet had no official requirement for such an aircraft, McDonnell tried to cover all bases by developing interchangeable single- and two-seat noses that could be accommodated to widely different roles. Noses were designed that could carry search radars, missile fire-control systems, mapping radars, cameras, or electronic reconnaissance equipment.

Although the Navy was favorably impressed by the Model 98B proposal, the Grumman XF9F-9 Tiger and the Vought XF8U-1 Crusader which had been ordered respectively in April and June of 1953 appeared to satisfy all the Navy's immediate requirements for supersonic fighters. Nevertheless, the Navy encouraged McDonnell to rework its design into a single-seat, twin-engined all-weather attack aircraft to compete against designs being worked on by Grumman and North American.

McDonnell submitted a formal development proposal for the F3H-G/H to the Navy in August of 1954. The Navy responded in October of 1954 by issuing a letter of intent for two prototypes and a static test aircraft. The Navy assigned the designation AH-1 to the project, reflecting its intended ground attack mission. The AH-1 was to have no less then eleven weapons pylons. Armament was to consist of four 20-mm cannon.

On December 14, 1954, the multirole mission of the aircraft was formally abandoned by the Navy, and McDonnell was requested to rework the proposal as an all-weather interceptor. McDonnell was instructed to remove the cannon and all hardpoints except for a centerline pylon for a 600-US gallon fuel tank. In addition, troughs were to be added for four Raytheon Sparrow semi-active radar homing air-to-air missiles. A Raytheon-designed APQ-50 radar was added, this installation being essentially that installed in the F3H-2 Demon. A second seat was added to accommodate a radar operator.

On April 15, 1955, in a formal letter from the BuAer to the Commander of Naval Operations, the J79 engine was formally adopted, and all work on the J65-powered version was dropped.

On May 26, 1955, after further review of Navy requirements, the BuAer requested that the designers complete the two prototypes (BuNos 142259 and 142260) as two-seat all-weather fighters carrying an entirely missile-based armament. On June 23, 1955, the designation was changed to YF4H-1, a fighter designation. A day later, McDonnell issued a new model number for the project--98Q."


Do you see anything about the F-101 in there anywhere? Me either.

madrat wrote:
sferrin wrote:The "F-110" was nothing more than a number slapped on the side of an F-4C Phantom II for about five minutes. The USAF didn't call it the F-110. Nor was it one of the "Century series". And yes, the F-4 was very successful.


That's news, because the USN called the Phantom prototypes at the time the designation of "F4H-1". President Kennedy ordered the USAF to evaluate two prototypes under the designation of "F-110". So McDonnell repainted airframes 149405 and 149406 in USAF colors and provided them to Langley with that famous "F-110A" label on January 24, 1962. The USAF even called it 'Spectre', not the 'Phantom II' designation of the Navy. The Defense Department didn't begin the unified naming convention for fighters until September.


You'll note the "F-110" was not painted on F4H-1s. So yeah, the "F-110" was nothing more than an F-4 with "F-110" slapped on the side. It was certainly not part of the "Century series". And neither were the F-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -116, or -117.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2019, 19:18
by blain
I really don't know if you can repeat the approach of the Century Fighters in today's environment. Even if you took an incremental approach to certain expensive technologies - avionics, engines, and stealth developing and producing fighters today is much more expensive proposition than in the past - even adjusted for inflation. Small production runs are also a recipe for disaster.

Both issues were highlighted in Rand report on the rising cost of fixed winged aircraft.

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... _MG696.pdf

A smarter approach might be to make derivatives of existing aircraft like developing an F-35 with a counter air focus if you rearrange the weapons bay to carry more AAMs. Could LM develop a longer range derivative of the F-35 like General Dynamics did with with the F-16XL?

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2019, 20:53
by marauder2048
Even YF-16 delivery to F-16 IOC was nearly 7 years. And that was for an F-16 variant that didn't live very long
and wouldn't have lived very long in the ETO had war broken out.

F-16XL from SCAMP to first flight was 6 years. The estimates for F-16E FSD were at least 5 years from there.


blain wrote:A smarter approach might be to make derivatives of existing aircraft like developing an F-35 with a counter air focus if you rearrange the weapons bay to carry more AAMs. Could LM develop a longer range derivative of the F-35 like General Dynamics did with with the F-16XL?


I think the core issue is Lockheed's dominance which is just reinforced daily by more data coming in from an
ever expanding 5th gen fleet.

Lockheed ran away with ATF and JSF and the ensuing years have not shown that NG or Boeing can credibly
build a modern fighter for the high-end environment.

And you have Lockheed's near complete dominance of hypersonics; both munitions and future air vehicle concepts.

The only way to get the other entrants (including say General Atomics) competitive and credible would be
small production runs of air vehicles.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2019, 01:57
by crosshairs
marauder2048 wrote:Even YF-16 delivery to F-16 IOC was nearly 7 years. And that was for an F-16 variant that didn't live very long
and wouldn't have lived very long in the ETO had war broken out.

F-16XL from SCAMP to first flight was 6 years. The estimates for F-16E FSD were at least 5 years from there.


blain wrote:A smarter approach might be to make derivatives of existing aircraft like developing an F-35 with a counter air focus if you rearrange the weapons bay to carry more AAMs. Could LM develop a longer range derivative of the F-35 like General Dynamics did with with the F-16XL?


I think the core issue is Lockheed's dominance which is just reinforced daily by more data coming in from an
ever expanding 5th gen fleet.

Lockheed ran away with ATF and JSF and the ensuing years have not shown that NG or Boeing can credibly
build a modern fighter for the high-end environment.

And you have Lockheed's near complete dominance of hypersonics; both munitions and future air vehicle concepts.

The only way to get the other entrants (including say General Atomics) competitive and credible would be
small production runs of air vehicles.


NG and Boeing haven't shown they can credibly build a modern fighter? How many fighter programs have their been in the USA in the last 35 years? 2. SH hardly counts as a competition. And of the 2 programs NGs concept for the ATF would have been better suited to today's and tomorrow's needs than the raptor. And the Lockheed artwork for 6th gen is essentially a ripoff of the yf23 outer moldline.

You make sound as if NG and Boeing have failed at a number competitions other than ATF and JSF. I would take the NG JSF over the flying hippo any day. That was a stupid decision to choose Boeing in the JSF despite Northrop's use of a lift engine.

Lockheed is a powerhouse, but there is a lot of things we don't know about that I would imagine has at least been demonstrated someplace in the desert. You can't hardly evaluate these suppliers capabilities on 2 programs, one of which could have easily gone to the company that wasn't Lockheed.

Northrop is also currently smaller with fewer engineers and can't go after everything under the sun.

Boeings ATF entrant could have easily made it to the Dem val phase. They were very advanced with stealth more so than most people widely know.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2019, 11:52
by sferrin
crosshairs wrote:Boeings ATF entrant could have easily made it to the Dem val phase. They were very advanced with stealth more so than most people widely know.


Boeing's was ranked fourth. Hardly an endorsement of superiority.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2019, 20:05
by marauder2048
crosshairs wrote:
NG and Boeing haven't shown they can credibly build a modern fighter? How many fighter programs have their been in the USA in the last 35 years? 2. SH hardly counts as a competition. And of the 2 programs NGs concept for the ATF would have been better suited to today's and tomorrow's needs than the raptor. And the Lockheed artwork for 6th gen is essentially a ripoff of the yf23 outer moldline.


Concepts are just that. So is Dem/Val where you are really demonstrating the maturity of your tools to
predict the performance of your prototype; NG failed there and their final submission had elements
of the YF-22 on it.

McAir dropped the ball there as well and many of the same issue with respect to poor predictions
(wing drop, stores separation) would e-emerge on the Super Hornet.

I'm sure the 6-gen concept artwork is about as representative as the concept artwork was for ATF.

crosshairs wrote:You make sound as if NG and Boeing have failed at a number competitions other than ATF and JSF.


Boeing and NG didn't even place in LRSO. And Lockheed ran away with X-59.
Same with hypersonics. That really goes to the maturity of design tools and processes
for a wide variety of flight envelopes and threat environments.


crosshairs wrote:I would take the NG JSF over the flying hippo any day. That was a stupid decision to choose Boeing in the JSF despite Northrop's use of a lift engine.


Northrop couldn't convince anyone that their tailless lambda was structurally buildable. And I'd argued that
actually MDC's gas-coupled lift fan was the better architecture than anything other than shaft-driven.


crosshairs wrote:Lockheed is a powerhouse, but there is a lot of things we don't know about that I would imagine has at least been demonstrated someplace in the desert. You can't hardly evaluate these suppliers capabilities on 2 programs, one of which could have easily gone to the company that wasn't Lockheed.


The competitions were not even close. And demonstrated someplace in a desert is a far cry
from the maturity level that would convince anyone that they are capable of producing and sustaining
something at reasonable production volumes.


crosshairs wrote:Northrop is also currently smaller with fewer engineers


A point Boeing made in the GAO protest over the bomber.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2019, 21:29
by XanderCrews
quicksilver wrote:I flew the AV-8A for several years. Few things scare me...




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I get it. They wanna go faster and (for the sake of learning) profess a willingness to accept the risk that comes as a consequence. Engineers know how to do that; bureaucrats/politicians do not. When we start talking MDAPs (instead of what amounts to small science projects), there are some things that 'going faster' programmatically does not resolve -- like keeping the training systems aligned with the systems and capabilities in the aircraft, and shortening the timelines necessary to bring humans (whether they be pilots or maintainers) up to speed in those systems -- all in the context of fielding combat-ready, deployable units. There's no Cold War and there is no major air war going on the other side of the planet (yet). Thus, if there is any compelling need, it is certainly less evident to the average tax-paying/voting American.

Of course there are the two large elephants standing in the corner -- money and the ubiquity of public information sources about what's being built, why and at what expense. Together they drive limitations on the art of the possible wrt the pursuit of any 'shiney new thing' and the amount of risk acceptance that the government tacitly asks the public to accept. Much different than the 40s, 50s or 60s...



Yep. We can go full century series, you just have to be willing to spend gobs of money and not mind crashes and fatalities. you also have to have some balls on your politicians so they don't cancel the whole shebang when something like Apollo 1 happens. bipartisanship is a nice thing to have to so it continues with changes of power.


I don't know if people realize just how risk averse everything is. The massive amount of testing on modern programs and the long development times are consequences of the "wild west" days. The pendelum swung back, the cold war ended, programs became fewer and far between and companies disappeared or conglomerated.

One of the things I'm not noticing all around, are people and politicians calling for these big times in history to emphasize importance, but none of the other factors are involved. Maybe one of the reasons things don't have the urgency of world war II, is because there isn't a world war happening. when people call for these big urgent moments without urgency I just go back to scratching my balls and surfing my phone.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2019, 21:32
by XanderCrews
crosshairs wrote:SH hardly counts as a competition.




SH hardly counts as Boeing. McD won that contract. McD did all the leg work. Boeing just bought the company up.

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Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2019, 21:40
by sferrin
XanderCrews wrote:
quicksilver wrote:I flew the AV-8A for several years. Few things scare me...




Image


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That was a good one. :lmao: :notworthy:

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2019, 22:00
by h-bomb
XanderCrews wrote:
crosshairs wrote:SH hardly counts as a competition.




SH hardly counts as Boeing. McD won that contract. McD did all the leg work. Boeing just bought the company up.

Image


LOL This is great. I remember the "Boeing Innovations Commercial"

BAE/MCD AV-8B, MCD F-15, F/A-18, C-17 and Delta Rocket family
Rockwell B-1 and Space Shuttle
Boeing 777

If you cannot innovate, purchase those who did!

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 20 Apr 2019, 15:51
by mixelflick
I made this GIF is hilarious.

Thanks for the chuckle :)

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 23 Apr 2019, 17:43
by USMilFan
As hornetfinn has pointed out, the prevalent trend in the history of aircraft development has followed a path of increased complexity, and has required ever more time and expense to implement. It is logical, therefore, to expect that future systems will continue to increase in complexity, and will very likely require exponential increases in time and expense. Hoping to change this trend seems as improbable and impractical as reversing the flow of the Mississippi River.

While a more incrementalized approach would likely reduce the risks associated with longer development phases, it does nothing to solve the problems introduced by increased complexity. Solving those problems inevitably takes more time and more expense. And though increased complexity is extremely expensive and risky to design, develop, test, build, and make operational, it offers the kind of revolutionary advances in capability that easily justify those efforts and their substantially greater costs and risks. A more incrementalized development process merely forfeits the chance to capture those revolutionary advancements in capability that ultimately save both lives and dollars when wartime comes. These considerations motivate the historical evolution towards ever lengthier and costlier phases of development and implementation.

Finally, we should keep in mind that every time that our people and institutions avoid taking risks and bearing costs, those risks and costs ultimately fall upon the shoulders of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who take the ultimate risk to do our bidding. It is our responsibility, therefore, to eliminate as much risk and cost to them as possible. That is the unfair bargain (to them) that military members make with us when they sign up.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 23 Apr 2019, 21:58
by sferrin
USMilFan wrote:As hornetfinn has pointed out, the prevalent trend in the history of aircraft development has followed a path of increased complexity, and has required ever more time and expense to implement. It is logical, therefore, to expect that future systems will continue to increase in complexity, and will very likely require exponential increases in time and expense. Hoping to change this trend seems as improbable and impractical as reversing the flow of the Mississippi River.

While a more incrementalized approach would likely reduce the risks associated with longer development phases, it does nothing to solve the problems introduced by increased complexity. Solving those problems inevitably takes more time and more expense. And though increased complexity is extremely expensive and risky to design, develop, test, build, and make operational, it offers the kind of revolutionary advances in capability that easily justify those efforts and their substantially greater costs and risks. A more incrementalized development process merely forfeits the chance to capture those revolutionary advancements in capability that ultimately save both lives and dollars when wartime comes. These considerations motivate the historical evolution towards ever lengthier and costlier phases of development and implementation.

Finally, we should keep in mind that every time that our people and institutions avoid taking risks and bearing costs, those risks and costs ultimately fall upon the shoulders of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who take the ultimate risk to do our bidding. It is our responsibility, therefore, to eliminate as much risk and cost to them as possible. That is the unfair bargain (to them) that military members make with us when they sign up.


They could probably shrink the cycle time by doing more in parallel. For example, they're well down the road with PCA's engine. Why haven't they started working on the radar? The IRST? The OML?

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 24 Apr 2019, 08:24
by marauder2048
sferrin wrote:They could probably shrink the cycle time by doing more in parallel. For example, they're well down the road with PCA's engine. Why haven't they started working on the radar? The IRST? The OML?


In some cases, the underlying tech funding is coming from other sources.

Example: Advanced EODAS is coming from the Army sponsored VISTA effort that advanced Type 2 superlattice
detector tech at L3, Lockheed and Raytheon.

IMHO, the big question is DEWs or no DEWs since that's going to dictate so much of the design of a clean sheet.

All of the issues they ran into trying to power and cool NGJ are a cautionary tale for high power pulsed/continuous systems.

Re: Dr. Roper wants a return to the Century Series days

Unread postPosted: 25 Apr 2019, 02:35
by USMilFan
sferrin wrote:They could probably shrink the cycle time by doing more in parallel. For example, they're well down the road with PCA's engine. Why haven't they started working on the radar? The IRST? The OML?

I hope that I didn't give the impression that I argue in favor of lengthier and costlier development just for its own sake. If it's at all possible to implement parallel development, I'll join you, sferrin, in advocating in favor of it as a logical step towards reducing development times and costs. Clearly, parallel development makes good sense regardless of whether one favors incrementalized implementation or "big-leap" implementation.

But neither did I mean to give the impression that I favor big-leap cycles just for their own sake, or simply because that seems to be the prevalent trend. I'm a pragmatist with no ideological tendency when it comes to this question. I'm just not convinced that it is possible to achieve significant advances without spending the time and money necessary to solve the woes of complexity. Complexity is risky and costly, but without it, meaningful advancement doesn't seem possible. At least that is the lesson that history seems to be trying to teach us.