With F-35 do we need F-22 anymore?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 16:47

zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:Why keep talking about F-35 or F-22 derivative?

Because according to AirForce brass they want to move away from long development cycles and focus on Existing or mature designs. There is nothing existing or mature about a clean sheet design.

I'm not ruling out clean sheet designs. I'm just saying, If the AF wants a family of aircraft to form the PCA system, then a derivative of the F-22 will be a good candidate.


Why do you keep insisting mature is mainly about airframe? These days the mission systems and engines cost as much as airframe itself. I think you're underestimating how much it cost to have a derivative especially if you want additional capability that needs fundamental changes to airframe structure. In the F-22 restart study it cost $10 billion just to start up production for the existing aircraft, not even adding in more capability. F-22 development was $30 billion, so just start production up against will cost a third of that. And you still end up with same limitations of the existing airframe.

Another way to use mature technology is mating existing mission systems with a new airframe and also ADVENT engines. You get much more benefits that way. Also with a new airframe, you can have a lot more room for growth and future upgrade compare to F-22 derivative. So it might cost more upfront but in long term it also able to accept more upgrade. Not to mention from the start you can avoid the limitations of F-22 and F-35.
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ricnunes

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 17:27

zero-one wrote:
ricnunes wrote:this doesn't mean that the F-35 isn't equally designed and capable to perform Air-to-Air missions as its primarily mission

Didn't you read the links sent to you by charlielima223 and myself?


Yes, I read the link that you and charlielima223 posted.
But all those links are from USAF officials and what I'm reading from them is that they are arguing and giving reasons/arguments to keep the F-22. They know that the F-35 is extremely good so they must staunchly defend the F-22 (with compelling arguments) or else there's a risk of the F-22 being retired in favor of (more) F-35s, this due to the "political power"

Actually you seem to be somehow agreeing with my previous main point in which the F-35 was equally designed for A2A, this by reading the following paragraph posted by you:
zero-one wrote:It has always been designed to have a robust A-A capability, in fact it is supposed to be 2nd only to the Raptor, that effectively makes it the best A-A platform available for export which by default makes it the best option in A-A for everyone except for the USAF


IMO, I doubt that if the F-35 was designed mainly as an A2G fighter aircraft (and not equally designed for A2A) there would be so many nations interested in it.

Actually the "F-35 was designed mainly as an A2G fighter aircraft" has been one of the main arguments by the F-35 critic crowd, an argument which I believe has been clearly dismissed by now.


zero-one wrote:
ricnunes wrote:But taking all things into account the F-35 is probably the best, most advanced and effective fighter aircraft in all roles that a fighter aircraft can perform including Air-to-Air, this in existence today (and in the foreseeable future)

I'll have to disagree with that last part,
is it the best for SEAD/DEAD? sure,
interdiction? yes,
strike? you bet,
but A-A well, since you wont listen to me, at least listen to actual F-35 pilots or Air Force Generals


Look, I'm not disagreeing with you that the F-22 has a set of features that make it better for A2A roles and even I dare to say, even better in some (or many?) A2G roles!
The F-22 would definitely be an all-around better/superior plane compared to the F-35 if the F-22 carried the same/similar sensor and avionic suite (DAS, EOTS/IRST, more advanced sensor fusion, much more advanced Helmet, etc, etc, etc...).
But the truth is that it doesn't (the F-22 doesn't have such equipment)!
And as such even with inferior sensor and avionic suite the F-22 is still much more expensive (and almost prohibitively so) which means that only a handfull of such aircraft could be purchased.
As such I imagine that a more advanced F-22 would be even more prohibitive, this cost wise.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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quicksilver

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 17:31

“I suggest starting with a trade study...” (steve)

Amen, and I would bet we can all bank on the idea that trades have been going on for years already.

Re: design “compromises” (which, as a reminder to some, ALL designs are an amalgam of...) — a favorite from somewhere in my distant past — a colleague once told me that an early JSF trade suggested that it would cost a half-million dollars of URF per every .1 IMN above 1.6 — this back in the day when the URF projections were in the $30-40M range. Not small change.

Now let’s imagine a design that has to go very very fast while concurrently traveling very very far with very low signatures and all kinds hi-end sensor and networking capabilities. And they need it starting in 5 years in not-insignificant numbers with budget projections flat or decreasing.

Giddyup fellas.
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ricnunes

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 17:38

disconnectedradical wrote:So it might cost more upfront but in long term it also able to accept more upgrade. Not to mention from the start you can avoid the limitations of F-22 and F-35.


For what's worth, I trend to agree more with the view above. IMO, the PCA should be a true next gen (a true 6th gen fighter aircraft) unlike those projects being developed by the Russians, British, European, etc... which are again and IMO 5th gen fighter aircraft (I don't believe you can skip a generation "just like that").
So the PCA would be something whose research could start soon and come to fruition in 25-30 years from now.

What I previously meant is that for some reason a new aircraft - the PCA - would be needed rather sooner than later then a possible solution could be a modified F-35. However I also trend to agree with those that this won't likely be needed because both the F-35 and F-22 are more than capable now and superior to the competition as well as in the foreseeable future.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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zero-one

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 17:46

disconnectedradical wrote:Why do you keep insisting mature is mainly about airframe?


I'm not insisting anything. I'm saying if the PCA will want to use existing platforms, then the F-22 is a good choice. Sure they can go clean sheet. but will it cost less than the F-22 restart estimate, will it be produced in the 5 year time frame they want? I highly doubt that.
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 17:55

ricnunes wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:So it might cost more upfront but in long term it also able to accept more upgrade. Not to mention from the start you can avoid the limitations of F-22 and F-35.


For what's worth, I trend to agree more with the view above. IMO, the PCA should be a true next gen (a true 6th gen fighter aircraft) unlike those projects being developed by the Russians, British, European, etc... which are again and IMO 5th gen fighter aircraft (I don't believe you can skip a generation "just like that").
So the PCA would be something whose research could start soon and come to fruition in 25-30 years from now.

What I previously meant is that for some reason a new aircraft - the PCA - would be needed rather sooner than later then a possible solution could be a modified F-35. However I also trend to agree with those that this won't likely be needed because both the F-35 and F-22 are more than capable now and superior to the competition as well as in the foreseeable future.


25-30 years is probably way too long for USAF, from all the statements it seems like they want this new aircraft in the mid to late 2030s, which is when F-35 procurement is ending. So they have to decide how ambitious they want to make PCA. For lower risk, they can go with a v-tail design like the Lockheed Martin concept art from a few years ago. If they want to be riskier, they can go for tailless supersonic which is what all the companies and USAF have been suggesting in their latest releases.

But again a huge part of the program cost will be mission systems, so do we know where USAF wants to go with that? Also, where do we go from F-35 mission systems? If they can be used on PCA, that's a LOT of money that can be saved.

zero-one wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:Why do you keep insisting mature is mainly about airframe?


I'm not insisting anything. I'm saying if the PCA will want to use existing platforms, then the F-22 is a good choice. Sure they can go clean sheet. but will it cost less than the F-22 restart estimate, will it be produced in the 5 year time frame they want? I highly doubt that.


5 years and $10 billion to restart F-22 without any additional capabilities, and also much less room to grow for future upgrades. You are also stuck with same limitation of an airframe designed in 1990s, when current state of the art can do much better.

Much better to upgrade existing F-22 and F-35, and process with clean sheet design for PCA. The whole point is that PCA using "mature" system doesn't mean airframe, it can mean mission systems or propulsion system which cost just as much.
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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 18:13

ricnunes wrote:But all those links are from USAF officials and what I'm reading from them is that they are arguing and giving reasons/arguments to keep the F-22.


You're interpreting their words to fit your narrative, I simply read it and accept it for what it is.
what about Maj. Searcy's statement, is it also politically motivated? I highly doubt it.

ricnunes wrote:Actually you seem to be somehow agreeing with my previous main point in which the F-35 was equally designed for A2A,

I think you have a problem with the term "secondary role" as you seem to think we are implying that it is not good at A-A because it is simply a secondary role. Thats not what we are saying at all.

I always put this example to F-35 critics, the F-86 is a dedicated dog-fighter while the F-15 is an air superiority fighter with emphasis on BVR and secondary WVR. But I can guarantee you, any pilot and their gandma will choose the Eagle over the Sabre in a dogfight.

Like wise the F-35's Secondary A-A role, though not it's primary design, is still far more effective than any 4th gen out there.

ricnunes wrote:Actually the "F-35 was designed mainly as an A2G fighter aircraft" has been one of the main arguments by the F-35 critic crowd, an argument which I believe has been clearly dismissed by now.


No one dismissed that, in fact it has been further reinforced recently by Maj. Seacy's statements that they were designed for a different mission set which puts more emphasis on SEAD and Strike. Just read it as it is and don't put a spin on it.

ricnunes wrote:if the F-22 carried the same/similar sensor and avionic suite (DAS, EOTS/IRST, more advanced sensor fusion, much more advanced Helmet, etc, etc, etc...).
But the truth is that it doesn't (the F-22 doesn't have such equipment)!


But the F-22 has a bigger radar and more Passive EW receivers, 30 nodes against the F-35's 10.
The F-22 still has some advantages in some areas over the F-35 in the sensor department as well.

If the AF decides to choose between the F-22 and F-35 to incorporate in their PCA family of systems
any selected design will have the latest in sensor and avionics technology and in that regard an upgraded Raptor will be a better choice than an upgraded and possibly heavily modified F-35
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marsavian

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 22:25

It fundamentally boils down to what is the primary requirement of PCA, is it excess stealthy range to escort B-21 in and out, say something SR-71 sized ? Is it an efficient super cruising long range fighter/bomber say YF-23 sized which will have self-merits beyond just escorting ? Or is it to have the highest SEP fighter ever made, something that tends to a P/W ratio of 2 when fuel is low e.g. a super Raptor with advent F135 engines that can satisfy the range requirement by using 4 large external fuel tanks. The point is B-21 will need escorting at least on the way out when it's chugging along at subsonic speeds after bomb delivery and enemy fighters are looking for it using optical sensors and attempting to close off the expected exit routes using sheer numbers. The requirement will drive the PCA design and eventual choice but it will need enough differentiation from F-35 to justify its purchase and existence.
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steve2267

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 23:02

marsavian wrote:It fundamentally boils down to what is the primary requirement of PCA, is it excess stealthy range to escort B-21 in and out, say something SR-71 sized ? Is it an efficient super cruising long range fighter/bomber say YF-23 sized which will have self-merits beyond just escorting ? Or is it to have the highest SEP fighter ever made, something that tends to a P/W ratio of 2 when fuel is low e.g. a super Raptor with advent F135 engines that can satisfy the range requirement by using 4 large external fuel tanks. The point is B-21 will need escorting at least on the way out when it's chugging along at subsonic speeds after bomb delivery and enemy fighters are looking for it using optical sensors and attempting to close off the expected exit routes using sheer numbers. The requirement will drive the PCA design and eventual choice but it will need enough differentiation from F-35 to justify its purchase and existence.


I agree that requirements will drive the design -- as they should.

However, first I note that "efficient super cruising" and "long range" in the same sentence (i.e. as a requirement) may be contradictory... or drive the design so far in one dimension, that it does not meet other requirements.

Second, I question whether or not the B-21 "will need escorting"... does the B-2 require escorting? Not that I have heard. If you're thinking is strictly 2nd / 3rd / 4th gen in that "bomb bay doors open / bombs away", then I suppose enema fighters will be looking for the B-21 after things go kaboom... but I don't think that is how it works in todays environment of JDAMS with tens of miles of range, let alone JSOWs and JASSMs, and (allegedly) soon-to-be hypersonic weapons. The concept of "escorting" bombers may be dead.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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marsavian

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 23:18

B-2s have not been used against peer air forces which the B-21 must do as a last resort as a prime requirement e.g. China and escorting B-21s was the initial narrative when the PCA/NGAD concept was made public. Escorting subsonic stealthy bombers will be required as you really can't lose one due to the technology transfer that would then occur and I expect F-22/F-35 to do that even now at the limit of their range. Certainly if Iran flares up again into a major air campaign I expect F-22/F-35 to be there in escort as well as bombing/intercept roles. If an Iranian F-14A stumbles on an egressing B-2 without an escort it will be shot down. They only have to get lucky once.

As for efficient super cruising that's a question of drag and how important that is to the requirement i.e. can the escorting be at a distance that allows speedy efficient closure when required. It's not the cost argument that is important here in this thread but what is fundamentally required from PCA. If the USAF is prepared to spend a billion on each B-21 it will spend if necessary $200-300m on an efficient escort for it. If it is not used as a bomber escort what is the point then of PCA, is it a stealthy F-15E with more range than F-35 ? Or is just a two engined F-35 ? Precise requirements will drive the specific direction of the competing designs.
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steve2267

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 00:42

Past "stealth doctrine" and tactics suggest stealthy penetrators will be flying solo sorties. F-117's did not fly in groups, nor were they escorted (duh), they flew alone. I would be interested in any references that suggest the PCA was to operate as an escort for stealth bombers. IMO, "escorting" stealth strike aircraft is soooo 2nd and 3rd generation thinking.

Regarding cost, the USAF seems pretty adamant about holding B-21 costs to $560M (maximum) per flyaway airframe. I do not think spending $2-300M on an "escort" is politically feasible. People were choking down the F-35 at $150-200M per airframe several years ago. And that cost "estimate" may not be far off what it would cost to create such an aircraft. B-21 is suggested to have a payload on the order of 30,000lb. A PCA probably needs to carry at least 2000lb of ordnance, if not upwards of 5000lb. While payload of a PCA is small compared to the B-21, the range requirement remains. Just to carry enough gas to go 2500nm to be able to escort a B-21 will require a large airframe. Start requiring that airframe to be able to supercruise will require copious quanties of additional gas, and the size starts to increase exponentially. Add maneuvering requirements (5g? 7g? oh lordy, 9g?) and it's going to get bigger still. So $2-300M per "escort" may be the minimum you will spend.

F-22's or F-35's as escorts for B-21's? You did suggest that, didn't you? (Or am I mistaken? I'm probably mistaken.) So you're going to compromise the stealth of the B-21 with less-stealthy escorts? (Yeah, didn't happen with the F-117 either.) Then there is the range thing... Maybe if the B-21 can IFR it's escorts on the way in? Y'know... about 4-500nm from the target... tank up the escorts... hang a big "HERE WE ARE" sign out the window while you tank. Regarding that point of a "less stealthy escort..." The size and shape of the B-21 is reportedly driven by the 1/4 or 1/2 wavelength requirement to defeat VHF band radars. I admit I do not understand it all. The gist of what I recall is that the F-35 and F-22 are too small to defeat VHF band search radar. So the B-21 minimum size is driven by VLO (ELO?) requirements. If true... then... your PCA escort is going to have to be on the same order of size as the aircraft it is escorting, correct? $2-300M each may be too low.

If you really need an escort, maybe it is better to have one B-21 be the escort and a second B-21 be the strike aircraft. OR each B-21 could be self-escorting... carry some of its own AIM-120D's or AIM-260s plus those miniature self-defense suckers (I forget that acronum -- MSDM ?).... and have it's own APG-81 (or the next one to come out)... you know, that whole 5th / 6th generation system-of-systems idea, every sensor a shooter... get sensor data from somewhere from the combat cloud that there is a bad guy over there... and you need to shoot him in 3-2-1...
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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marsavian

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 01:17

I think F-117 helps my argument rather than yours, one was spotted and shot down and by old technology too. You really can't afford to let B-21 technology be transferred in this way. No, I really did mean F-22/F-35 escorts for B-2s and eventually B-21s, they can form defensive screens around the bombers especially on egress. They don't have to be in line formation, just in the general area sweeping ahead, around and looking back for fighters. Iranian S-300 is not going to spot F-22/F-35 which take evasive measures. PCA can be smaller than B-21 because it won't need the big bomb bay plus it can be tuned for low drag with a more streamlined shape. Here's one of the many links on the PCA concept introduction ...

https://www.airforcemag.com/Defining-th ... -Platform/
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=53264

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.

Brig. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, Deputy Director for Global Operations on the Joint Staff, who just a year ago headed up USAF’s enterprise capability collaboration team effort on Next-Generation Air Dominance, speaking at a joint Mitchell Institute/“War on the Rocks” symposium said the ECCT deliberately avoided using terms like “fighter” or “F-X” in its study of what’s needed to achieve air superiority in 2030, not wanting to prejudice the outcome.

This new aircraft is needed to penetrate enemy air defenses and keep all the other fighters relevant, he said, calling it mainly a sensor platform but one that could “finish” enemy targets “as long as it’s in the area anyway.”

Col. Tom Coglitore, who succeeded Grynkewich and is now the lead for Air Superiority 2030 concept development, said the PCA concept is six months into an 18-month analysis of alternatives that will refine the platform’s attributes, under the budgetary program element “Next Generation Air dominance.” He added that the PCA’s missions will include air escort, fighter sweep, suppression of enemy air defenses, and defensive counter-air. It fills a “gap” identified in the late 2020s that neither the F-22 nor F-35 can adequately fill, Coglitore said, and it will “enable the joint force” as well.

Grynkewich said the long range is necessary to both permit basing beyond the range of enemy ballistic or cruise missiles, and to allow “persistence” in the target area.

The sensors onboard will also provide coordinates for standoff weapons. The sensors and the ability to target for standoff weapons are “the key pieces” of what the PCA is all about, Grynkewich asserted. While there may be some overlap with the Strategic Capabilities Office “arsenal plane” concept, they’re not the same and will likely fulfill different roles, he added.
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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 01:38

If we assume that engines drive plane design, twin F-135s at 43,000 lbs each would be 22% higher than the F-22's F-119s. This means 22% more fuel that can be carried whilst maintaining the aero-dynamics of the plane, translating into a 22,000 lbs internal fuel capacity. Adding potential engine thrust advances, I would hazard a guess that 22-25k internal fuel could be a sweet spot, with a potential 2-4 600 gal drop tanks. 22.5k lbs would be what the F-15E with CFTs carry.
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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 01:51

2015 ECCT resulted in this public discussion in the summer of 2016 —

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2016/08 ... uirements/
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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 01:58

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