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 post16 Jan 2020, 02:36

I don't know why PCA is being framed or defined by some as a B-21 escort. The thing that's driving PCA requirements is range, payload, and more survivability in contested airspace in the future, thus the "Penetrating" part of the name. It will need range and stealth that current F-22 or F-35 airframe even with engine upgrades won't meet, IMO. You'll need new aerodynamic innovations and also more broadband stealth.
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weasel1962

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 03:38

The downside risk of waiting for new tech to mature is delay. They got to go with what's maturing this decade to meet next decade deliveries. That means AETP engines (~45000lb *2 thrust). GE's XA100, PW's XA101.
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zero-one

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 06:51

disconectedradical wrote: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.

Well you can't recreate the F-22 as it was with the original computer boxes that are already out of production. So any restart will use current off the shelf components, as it is the F-22 is scheduled to have DAS capability with it's MLU upgrade by 2024.

disconectedradical wrote: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.

Yes of course a clean sheet design with a 20 year development cycle will be better. No doubt. But thats not what they want.

We have to stop thinking of PCA as a new jet with long dev cycles.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 07:14

zero-one wrote:
We have to stop thinking of PCA as a new jet with long dev cycles.


What source do you have than says the PCA is not going to be a new jet??? (clean sheet design)


What did I miss??? :|
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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 15:21

marsavian wrote: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.


The F-117 was shot down by a SAM not a fighter. It was shot down because it flew the same route each time, lacked threat detectors ...

Escorts would not have prevented it being shot down.

If the idea of the escort is to bomb the B-21 if it lands behind enemy lines to prevent technology transfer it would be better to have a build in self destruct system.

Flying more planes around the stealthy B-21 that is trying to hide just increases the chance of detection and giving away where they should concentrate their forces. They will be a limited force of PCA and they will have their own targets to attend to.

Even with near peer forces the PCA would be better off targeting the airfields and C3 assets.
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 15:33

zero-one wrote:Well you can't recreate the F-22 as it was with the original computer boxes that are already out of production. So any restart will use current off the shelf components, as it is the F-22 is scheduled to have DAS capability with it's MLU upgrade by 2024.


2024 is when funding is supposed to begin for MLU, not when MLU actually gets to the aircraft. I wish it's sooner but that's the time we have so far.

zero-one wrote:Yes of course a clean sheet design with a 20 year development cycle will be better. No doubt. But thats not what they want.

We have to stop thinking of PCA as a new jet with long dev cycles.


Why are you so stuck with clean sheet design = 20 year development? How long they want to take depends on how much risk they want. With F-22 you still have problems with range especially in the Pacific which is what PCA is supposed to address. Event ADVENT technology won't increase range that much, only about 18% and even being optimistic with 35% (you'll have to sacrifice supersonic performance for higher bypass to get this) you only get 810 nmi combat radius. And with PCA they're talking about over 1,000 nmi. It will need aerodynamics and propulsion beyond what F-22 airframe can do.

F-22 restart is at best an expensive bandaid solution considering you have little room for future upgrades compare to clean sheet, so in the longer term, fighter numbers should be made up of more advanced aircraft.

I don't know why you are so stuck on F-22 airframe since it's more than 20 years old and even a relatively low risk airframe can do better. Even F-23 probably would be better for great majority of F-22's missions.

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 15:59

Corsair1963 wrote:
What source do you have than says the PCA is not going to be a new jet??? (clean sheet design)



https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... n-5-years/

Roper calls the “Digital Century Series” would flip that paradigm: Instead of maturing technologies over time to create an exquisite fighter, the Air Force’s goal would be to quickly build the best fighter that industry can muster over a couple years,

Imagine “every four or five years there was the F-200, F-201, F-202 and it was vague and mysterious [on what the planes] have, but it’s clear it’s a real program and there are real airplanes flying.

“With the F-35, we had too much [emphasis on] systems and not enough [on the] air vehicle.
[/quote]
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zero-one

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 16:23

disconnectedradical wrote:Why are you so stuck with clean sheet design = 20 year development?

Well its hisrorically how long it takes.
F-22 was conceptualized in the 80s with IOC in 2005.
F-35 conceptualized in the 90s with IOC in 2015.

I think PCA will look more like the SuperHornet or F-20, an evolution of existing mature designs.

disconnectedradical wrote:With F-22 you still have problems with range especially in the Pacific which is what PCA is supposed to address.


The PCA won't be a 1 size fits all jet. Instead it will be a family of systems. Some planes in that family might be a dirivative of the B-21 that can address the long range escort duties. While other planes in the family can be derivatives of the F-22 that can fill the role of the traditional air superiority fighter that excels in both BVR and WVR.

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.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.


disconnectedradical wrote:I don't know why you are so stuck on F-22 airframe since it's more than 20

Its my interpretation of what USAF brass is saying that they want to use marure technologies.
So far all your interpretations of PCA revolves around a clean sheet design in a 1 size fits all jet. Exactly what AF brass is trying to move away from.

And lets not get into the YF-23 hole again. Because it was never built and because there so few details about it anyone can conjure up whatever they want about it. Plus the F-22 hasn't been used in actual air to air combat yet. So yes the YF-23 is more effective in the uneventful roles it has done so far, heck the Advanced Superhornet would have suficed.
Last edited by zero-one on 16 Jan 2020, 17:43, edited 2 times in total.
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quicksilver

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 17:03

Zzzzzz...

No one is addressing the cultural aversion to risk that is endemic to how the government has recently done aircraft development/acquisition. Most of the timelines cited for previous aircraft development ignore what kind of activity occurred in which stages of the program. Even if one looks at a milestone overview of the acquisition process and notes tech maturation and risk reduction, what gets ignored (or not realistically characterized wrt ‘time’) is risk aversion or acceptance in flight test and verification. Because we can instrument, monitor, download, and analyze more facets of an aircraft design and/or performance than ever before (by orders of magnitude), we thereby know more and learn more about what might be ‘wrong’ and consequently face far, far more decisions about not only how to address those ‘wrongs’ but to what degree we want to spend time and effort doing so. Those kinds of decisions are made by humans and, over time — the humans that occupy progressively higher levels of oversight in the various acquisition bureaucracies.

Thus, in the engrained culture and politics of risk, the aversion to same is not diminished, it is increased and intensified by the simple math of knowing more about what’s happening in the design. The consequence is one of time, and as we all know, time is money. Who are these new acquisition warriors that are going to sign up to the scale of risk acceptance that is necessary to meet some of these highly ambitious development timelines for new aircraft?
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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 17:38

quicksilver wrote:No one is addressing the cultural aversion to risk that is endemic to how the government has recently done aircraft development/acquisition. Most of the timelines cited for previous aircraft development ignore what kind of activity occurred in which stages of the program. Even if one looks at a milestone overview of the acquisition process and notes tech maturation and risk reduction, what gets ignored (or not realistically characterized wrt ‘time’) is risk aversion or acceptance in flight test and verification. Because we can instrument, monitor, download, and analyze more facets of an aircraft design and/or performance than ever before (by orders of magnitude), we thereby know more and learn more about what might be ‘wrong’ and consequently face far, far more decisions about not only how to address those ‘wrongs’ but to what degree we want to spend time and effort doing so. Those kinds of decisions are made by humans and, over time — the humans that occupy progressively higher levels of oversight in the various acquisition bureaucracies.

Thus, in the engrained culture and politics of risk, the aversion to same is not diminished, it is increased and intensified by the simple math of knowing more about what’s happening in the design. The consequence is one of time, and as we all know, time is money. Who are these new acquisition warriors that are going to sign up to the scale of risk acceptance that is necessary to meet some of these highly ambitious development timelines for new aircraft?


They are the ones who are looking over the fence, with jealousy, at the rapid state of commercial software development, and at SpaceX, saying "Why can't we..."

But until they look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves the hard questions QS raises above, it probably doesn't go anywhere.

  1. Rapid development cycle (new airframe + new systems every few years)
  2. Low cost
  3. Healthy industrial base

Pick two.
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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ricnunes

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 19:04

zero-one wrote: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.


My interpretation of their words is exactly what I personally believe to be the purpose of those same words: To justify the existence and keeping the F-22!
If that "fits my narrative", so be it.


zero-one wrote: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.


Yes, I kinda have a problem with that and I already told you why.
So and regarding this, what would you say about the F/A-18? Would you say that the "primary role" of the F/A-18 is A2A or A2G? And of course the question also extends to its "secondary role"? And what about the Rafale?

I have my opinion/answers to the questions above but I'll let you reply to them (if you wish, of course) while I develop about this further below.


zero-one wrote: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.


Of course that anyone would choose a F-15 over the F-86 for dogfights! The diference in terms of generational lead is massive between both aircraft. Heck, using the same logic I would choose a B-52H (armed with 20mm M61 Vulcan tail gun) over a P-51 in a dogfight :wink:


zero-one wrote: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.


Ok, I know where you're trying to get at and while your reasoning as some logic/merit, I simply don't agree with you that the F-35 has a "primary A2G role" and a "secondary A2A role". IMO, the F-35 was designed as "true multi-role" aircraft (like the two aircraft that I mentioned above) and as such A2A and A2G are both "primary roles" when it comes to the F-35.
I strongly believe that an aircraft (F-35) which was designed to surpass any other existing fighter aircraft in BVR combat/realm (perhaps even exceed the F-22 in this regard - BVR) and to have the combined agility of the F-16 and the F/A-18 wasn't designed to perform A2A roles/missions as a "secondary role" but also as a "primary role".

Yes, the USAF does plan to use their F-35's primarily in A2G while A2A roles will be secondary. But again this won't be the case for most of the other F-35 users. But even regarding the USAF, this is yet to be seen due to the low number of F-22s in existence, the F-15C needed to be replaced and a big question mark of what the PCA will end up being. Resuming, USAF F-35As may end up having A2A roles as their primary role as well.


zero-one wrote: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.


Neither bigger or more necessarily means better. You can have better with smaller and fewer (parts) if you use newer and more advanced technology and the F-35 does this.
Moreover the F-35 has EOTS/IRST and DAS while the F-22 does not. So any advantage that the F-22 could potentially have over the F-35 in the sensor department is far offset by the advantages that the F-35 has over the F-22 in this same department.


zero-one wrote: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


The problem is that you seem to ignore that the cost of the F-22 is prohibitive as it currently is - with less advanced technology and less sensors than the F-35 - so if you start building new and modified F-22s with among other things similar or more advanced technology/sensors as those found on the F-35, you'll have a PCA which like the original F-22 will be prohibitive in terms of cost which either means that only a fraction of PCA aircraft would/could be build compared to what it is planned or worse even, the program might get canceled like happened for example with the Comanche helicopter.

Like I previously said, I agree that a new sheet/designed PCA would be the best choice specially if this ends up being an easier design to be built and as such potentially cheaper (than a modified F-22) while more capable than existing 5th gen aircraft.
Regarding a tentative heavily modified F-35, IMO this would have the following advantages over a heavily modified F-22:
- The baseline design (F-35) has more range (and considerable so) which seems to be a major feature/requirement for the PCA.
- The baseline design (F-35) is cheaper to be build which could mean that a PCA design based on this could be cheaper than a PCA design based on the F-22.
- The baseline design (F-35) can carry heavier weaponry internally.
- etc...
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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ricnunes

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 19:17

disconnectedradical wrote: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.


Well, 25-30 years is way too long for anyone. And of course anyone that develops aircraft even today doesn't wish and neither "plans" that new sheet aircraft take so long to develop. But unfortunately "development schedule overruns" inevitably happen which means that development times always suffer delays and development times for the modern fighter/combat aircraft have been lasting this long.
You mentioned that the USAF wants the PCA until the late 2030's which basically means 2040 which by its turn means 20 years from now. Now add the usual "development delays/overruns" and you'll "easily" get a 25 year long development (something like 2045). And depending how much newer and groundbreaking technology is added to the aircraft (like for example built-in energy weapons, etc...) then IMO you could possibly have a 30 year development time for the PCA.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 19:31

For all the talk about ‘going faster’ in acquisition, the paucity of new programs is a disincentive to do so.
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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 19:36

ricnunes wrote: built-in energy weapons


This is the #1 reason I think a twin engine design is preferable. The F135 can extract a great deal of power but only at great cost to the available forward thrust. With a second engine you can extract twice as much power while having twice the previous amount of thrust, or extract the same amount of power and have much more thrust available, or have twice the thrust available when no power is needed. Plus it allows even greater ability to withold from using the afterburner on a heavier aircraft.

But now I look at the title of the thread and realize all PCA discussions are a bit off topic.
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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 19:48

Depends on how much you have to extract...
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