Restarting F-22 production

Anything goes, as long as it is about the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
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sferrin

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Unread post11 May 2016, 03:39

durahawk wrote:
accessdenied wrote:No. Easy. Mundane. Dull.

What don't you understand that the designs are complete, fully dimensioned, fully spec'd out, and it's a matter of producing new tools, fixtures and gauges, for a minority, not a majority, of components.

Difficult is creating something from nothing. Difficult is what was done in the late 80s and the 90s.

Most pilot-engineers, you could hand them a fully dimensioned drawing and CAD model for a wing spar, and they would be clueless about how to even to go about running an effect supplier source selection process. You may know your thermal dynamics equations with your BS and MS, but have no experience or knowhow in how to build something. I doubt any of you have done a stack up analysis on mating components or have done a worse case circuit analysis, let alone visited an electronics assembly line.

First off, talking down to people won't get you anywhere on this forum, or you know, life in general. There are plenty of talented engineers, pilots, and mechanics that frequent this forum that have a wide variety of experience within the Aerospace Industry, including some in the very areas you mentioned. Show respect and you might just get some back.

The Raptor line could be up and running before the end of the next US presidency.

Ya, we could probably be cranking out XB-70 Valkyries in 5 years too, anything is possible if you throw some serious cash at the problem. That doesn't make it an intelligent or rational decision. If you do in fact work in the Aerospace Industry, I probably don't need to tell you that F-35 suppliers have a lot on their plate already in meeting the increased capacity required for full rate production for that aircraft. Production yields on certain complex parts are still low, and will require process improvements and redesigns going forward. Oh by the way, as you probably know we are also seeing a significant ramp in quantities on the commercial side as well. Evidently the Asian airlines are buying up jets like crazy.

Fabricating a CNC part from a CAD drawing is one thing, producing a quality cast or forged part in mass quantities is quite another. As someone who deals with out of production spares on a regular basis, producing anything out of production, be it years or decades, is not a trivial task and requires a great deal of re-learning on the production floor. It seems more often than not the original tooling can't hold the part within it's original tolerances anymore so either new tooling must be acquired (costly and time consuming, always a fight over who is paying for it) or a revision needs to be done to the print (also a pain) in order to get the part to pass first article. This is particularly true with castings and forgings.


Yep. Hell, even stuff you'd think would be on the shelf can have long lead times simply because demand has tapped current production. As for the XB-70 in five years that thing used a lot of specialized manufacturing processes that I'd be surprised if ANYBODY is left that could do it. How about ceramic tooling for brazing stainless steel sheet to formed stainless honeycomb? Or "painting" an aircraft with a ceramic coating that had a "cure" temp of god knows how high? Who even makes stainless steel honeycomb aircraft structures? I was shocked they were even able to find anybody who could make the RATTLRS airframe. (Wouldn't surprise me at all if the reason it failed is because there was simply no industrial base to support production of the thing.)
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cosmicdwarf

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Unread post11 May 2016, 16:16

Sometimes it's easier to start over than to try and bring something back that hasn't been worked on or produced in a while.
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Unread post13 May 2016, 07:14

I think this is all just a difference in what the two camps are thinking of in reference to whether it's easy or hard: engineering in one case, and paying for it in the other case. In the engineering, there's no challenge left at all; every single engineering problem was already solved and we have records of what the solutions were. But getting enough money for a project can be difficult or impossible even if all of the project's engineering is already done... especially when it includes paying contractors the extra that it would take to get them to revert to old systems that would cost them more than just using something more current.

accessdenied wrote:That's right keep dreaming about gen 6 with it's particle beam weapons 20+ years out in the future.
I'm not sure what the connection is supposed to be between that and the subject. Do you think that people who say a restart of F-22 production either won't ever happen, or shouldn't, are basing that conclusion on the idea of switching to the next generation "instead"?

arl8733 wrote:Perhaps the next biggest challenge would be to prevent design creep to the extent that most of the bird is internally re-designed blowing the cost out of the water.
Design creep/alteration would be the only way it could happen at all, the only way making any more could be "justified" to the right people. For starters, they'd demand things like a more F-35-like ground-attack abilities and longer range, which would require lengthening the body to fit in both more gas and longer internal bays and possibly more sensors or fancy communication/networking gear or laser designators or such that's hard to find places for currently. It would be a bit like what happened with F-18s.

But then even that would still go nowhere because it would start sounding more like a couple of other planes we already have anyway (F-35 and B-3/21).
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sferrin

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Unread post13 May 2016, 12:20

delvo wrote:I think this is all just a difference in what the two camps are thinking of in reference to whether it's easy or hard: engineering in one case, and paying for it in the other case. In the engineering, there's no challenge left at all; every single engineering problem was already solved and we have records of what the solutions were.


Easier does not mean easy. It is in no way shape or form as simple as flipping the power switch back on and the assembly line starts back up. The line is gone, the people are gone, documentation', tooling, etc. is in an unknown state. Yes, unknown. There was a case a while back where they were going to build a spare widget for the F-22, they went to get the tooling, and the shipping container it was suppose to be in was EMPTY. It's a virtual certainty they didn't just happen to get the only empty/otherwise-f--ked up container of tooling. Anybody who thinks restarting production would be easy really has no idea what they're talking about. Would it be as hard as doing it the first time? Obviously not. That does not mean it would be easy.

delvo wrote:I'm not sure what the connection is supposed to be between that and the subject. Do you think that people who say a restart of F-22 production either won't ever happen, or shouldn't, are basing that conclusion on the idea of switching to the next generation "instead"?


That's exactly what should happen. The USAF is already deep into the development of the F-22's replacement. Were F-22 production to start back up what do you think would happen? Where do you think the money would come from? I can already hear it, "well if the F-22 was in production we wouldn't NEED the next gen". Just don't even say it.

delvo wrote:Design creep/alteration would be the only way it could happen at all, the only way making any more could be "justified" to the right people.


The only way it could happen at all, "justified" or not. Some of the F-22 components are out of production and are going to stay that way. All the more reason it's a stupid idea that's never going to happen. Do I wish they'd bought more at the get go? Obviously. But that ship has sailed.
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durahawk

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Unread post13 May 2016, 15:17

delvo wrote:I think this is all just a difference in what the two camps are thinking of in reference to whether it's easy or hard: engineering in one case, and paying for it in the other case. In the engineering, there's no challenge left at all; every single engineering problem was already solved and we have records of what the solutions were. But getting enough money for a project can be difficult or impossible even if all of the project's engineering is already done... especially when it includes paying contractors the extra that it would take to get them to revert to old systems that would cost them more than just using something more current.

Actually, putting parts back into production can and frequently does require extensive engineering redesign. Lapsed manufacturing processes are a main driver. The new A-10 wings currently being made by Boeing/KAI required extensive design changes off the original A-10 wing because nobody can make a wing today the same way they made it in the late 70's... the equipment has changed, the tooling is long gone, most of the skilled workers have long since retired (or deceased), and the achievable manufacturing tolerances have changed. Now, the F-22 certainly hasn't lapsed out of production as long as the A-10 has, but this problem will only get worse as the time goes on.

It is clear that we learned a lot from manufacturing the F-22 and rolled those improvements into the F-35. For one thing, the F-22 used a crap ton of titanium, something like 39% by weight, a metal that is notoriously difficult and costly to machine. The F-35 uses substantially less titanium (17% by weight) and more composites. Could F-35 titanium manufacturing process improvements be rolled back to the F-22? Sure, but I'm almost certain some F-22 parts would require extensive redesign in order to realize any cost savings. The point of the matter is that instead of spending all this money trying to turn out new F-22's using the F-35's manufacturing enhancements, DAS, sensor fusion, networking, etc, why not just simply order more F-35s? Once the F-35 can fire off six AMRAAMs internally, I think the difference will be even more moot.

F-22 production was terminated far too early, and we will be likely be living with Gate's folly for quite some time, but there is little we can do about it now.
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Unread post13 May 2016, 16:46

delvo wrote:
arl8733 wrote:Perhaps the next biggest challenge would be to prevent design creep to the extent that most of the bird is internally re-designed blowing the cost out of the water.
Design creep/alteration would be the only way it could happen at all, the only way making any more could be "justified" to the right people. For starters, they'd demand things like a more F-35-like ground-attack abilities and longer range, which would require lengthening the body to fit in both more gas and longer internal bays and possibly more sensors or fancy communication/networking gear or laser designators or such that's hard to find places for currently. It would be a bit like what happened with F-18s.


I think design creep would naturally occur, and I think you would run into sunk cost stuff too. "Well if we are going to spend X many billions of dollars to build new ones, might as well build em right! whats a billion more here or there to add X, Y, Z?" By the time you get the bill for the "super Raptor" you can buy 90 of them, not 200, and the only thing they have in common are the engines and the nose.

One my friends wrote his masters thesis on the amount of hours a B-52 hits before its cheaper to just buy a new B-52 than repair the old. But of course its a paradox, because we wouldn't build a Circa 1962 B-52 complete with paper blueprints. It would be manufactured with 21st century techniques, and if you are starting from scratch everytime new tech and safety features will naturally find their way in since you are just redesigning so much anyway...
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Unread post13 May 2016, 17:00

Im still just wondering why we dont just upgrade the current F22/F15C combo to last till we have a 6th gen replacement? Im sure its a whole lot cheaper to gut an F15C and stuff it back up with new sensor tech. The only thing it needs that it doesnt already have/will have is a good cockpit design to tell the pilot whats going on with all the new sensors.
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Unread post13 May 2016, 20:40

The f-15c is getting upgraded with a new electronic warfare suite and most already have the apg-63 v3 aesa. The f-15 will soon have a "5th gen" ew capability and will use the talon-hate pod to see what the raptor sees. The f-22/f-15 combo is still the most formidable air dominance tandem in the world.

No one is looking forward to facing that combo.

I don't understand how people don't see the recurring trend that happens with military equipment procurement.
By the end of a generation like the "4th" for example, people have grown to have a sentimental relationship with a certain piece of equipment. Then when the better more expensive new generation comes out "5th gen" they say, it's too expensive and untested. Then after a decade of operating the new equipment, it is proven that the "5th gen" is so much better than the 4th gen, and everyone who was against 5th gen pretends like they were a supporter from the start.

Rinse and repeat.... but the fact is there will always be a new generation. Otherwise you get left in the dust by some other country who wasn't procuring military equipment based on emotion and sentimental value.
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Unread post13 May 2016, 22:41

F-22A teamed to F-35A will likely offer a better pairing.
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Unread post13 May 2016, 22:58

For the cost to restart the line, and add technology refreshes for ~200 new F-22s, we could probably buy 350 to 400+ F-35s.
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Unread post14 May 2016, 04:09

yes madrat, of course the f-35 w/ the f-22 would be better but at the moment the f-35 isn't operational and isn't intended to be a pure air superiority platform like the f-15. And they have no other use for the f-15c until it goes to the junkyard. It doesn't have another job besides air to air and they are upgrading it for the 2020's. In the future the f-35 will take over for the f-15 alongside the raptor.
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Unread post14 May 2016, 21:13

Came into thread rooting for F-22 re-start, leaving rooting for 6th gen.

The minds on here presented a very convincing argument; Re-starting production will take huge $ and more importantly, suck 6th gen dollars out of the budget. We have an operational 5th gen fighter and getting a 2nd. Russia/China will be lucky to have fielded something similar by 2020.

Sixth gen is supposed to hit circa 2030 by which time we'll have thousands of F-35's, 120 or so F-22's and (I'm guessing) a few hundred F-15C's (heavily upgraded). Much will depend on the F-35's ability to handle the air to air mission. I'm betting teamed with a few Raptors, they'll be more than up to the job...
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Unread post14 May 2016, 23:09

les_paul59 wrote:yes madrat, of course the f-35 w/ the f-22 would be better but at the moment the f-35 isn't operational and isn't intended to be a pure air superiority platform like the f-15. And they have no other use for the f-15c until it goes to the junkyard. It doesn't have another job besides air to air and they are upgrading it for the 2020's. In the future the f-35 will take over for the f-15 alongside the raptor.


That's just it, the F-15C has to be incorporated into F-22A doctrine whereas the F-22A has to be in support of F-35A doctrine. The F-35A drives the doctrine, whereas F-15C has to be integrated. I think F-22A, in a role to augment F-35A, gets freedom of movement independent of its partners. It has to fly cover for the F-15C, limiting its role.
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Unread post14 May 2016, 23:27

The raptor is the ultimate air to air machine, so it is going to fly top cover for everyone in reality, but I get your point. The f-35 is changing the way the air force fights as a organization all together. At this point they are going to upgrade and fly the f-15 because it has hours left on the airframe, and they need it to fill a short term gap in fighters.
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Unread post15 May 2016, 00:20

Good that the home teams are the only ones with F35 because F-15 is not survivable against it.
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