5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 30 Mar 2017, 18:22
by tomcattech
Long time lurker... First Post...

Thinking outside the box here...

Considering the lag time and cost of aircraft development these days I'm wondering if we should take a piece of playbook from the Russians and build upon what we know for a "possibly" quicker\less expensive turn around.

We know that the F-22 is a kinematic beast

We know that the F-35 is a revolution in aircraft systems, upgrade ability and Situational Awareness.

One might think it would be less expensive to somehow put the systems of the F-35 in an F-22 package.

Throw in even more powerful AETD engines and re-think the stealth coating, you may have a winning package for years for a cost that is less and a time frame that may be quicker.

I know I'm missing tons of minutia, and there are tons of barriers in the vein of making things fit that weren't designed in.... but on a 5,ooo foot level, it may make sense.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 30 Mar 2017, 20:31
by neptune
Great minds think alike!

search here: Military Aviation Forum

USAF Air Combat Command PCA 2017
:)

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 30 Mar 2017, 21:10
by alloycowboy
Putting the F-22 back into production is just a bad idea as it doesn't have stealth baked into it like the F-35 does. It also has a short combat radius. You would be better off coming out with a Hot Rod varient of the F-35 with revamp air intakes, three stream engines and modified wings. This would save you from having to write and test 8 million lines of code for the F-22 which would take ten years.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 30 Mar 2017, 23:23
by quicksilver
alloycowboy wrote:Putting the F-22 back into production is just a bad idea as it doesn't have stealth baked into it like the F-35 does. It also has a short combat radius. You would be better off coming out with a Hot Rod varient of the F-35 with revamp air intakes, three stream engines and modified wings. This would save you from having to write and test 8 million lines of code for the F-22 which would take ten years.


This.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 00:20
by strykerxo
Depending on the requirements for an AX design, the F-22 might not have room for that kind of growth. Hypersonics would require air-frame redesign and materials, it may also degrade stealth, although trade-offs between hypersonics and stealth still could make it very survivable.

The F-22C (where's the "B") could be a formidable option.

1. F-35 like skin better stealth maintenece
2. latest engines greater wet and dry thrust
3. elimination of stabs saving weight and drag
4. multi axis thrust vectoring
5. fuselage plug for additional fuel and weapons
6. F-22/35 EW suite including cheek arrays

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 00:48
by neptune
alloycowboy wrote:Putting the F-22 back into production is just a bad idea .....



.... the size of the F-22 is a minimum as referenced; this may be an unmanned B-21 missile truck .... :wink:

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 02:49
by citanon
I don't think so, the brief of PCA is penetrating persistent surveillance and attack against air and surface to air threats.

Considering the uncertainty of communications in the required operating environment the brief dictates a manned platform that is able to direct unmanned partners.

So maybe an f22 sized b21 or some merger of the two designs, if that's even possible.

Also, me thinks 2 crews. One pilot + self defense, one offensive warfare officer to manage the drone swarm and cyber ops. :D

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 04:03
by icemaverick
It has already been determined that putting the F-22 back into production is prohibitively expensive. This is the main hurdle. Furthermore, the F-22 uses PowerPC microprocessor architecture (long out of production) and its code was written in ADA whereas the F-35 was written in C++. So you would have to upgrade the entire computer system and I don't think it's as simple as simply porting the F-35's computer and software over. You would probably have to re-write millions of lines of code.

At best you could upgrade the F-22s that are already in service. To some extent, this is already being done. For example, the F-35 coatings are being incorporated into the F-22.

As others have said, it would probably be cheaper to build a more A2A optimized F-35:
1. The F-35 will soon hit full rate production
2. The production line will be open for a very long time
3. There will be thousands of F-35s eventually in service so you can take advantage of the existing logistical infrastructure
4. It makes more sense economically to use an already open production line
5. You would possibly have export customers (e.g. Israel, Japan etc.)
6. Any new tech developed for this A2A-optimized F-35 could possibly be incorporated into some of the existing F-35s

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 06:09
by neptune
citanon wrote:I don't think so, the brief of PCA is penetrating persistent surveillance and attack against air and surface to air threats.

Considering the uncertainty of communications in the required operating environment the brief dictates a manned platform that is able to direct unmanned partners.

So maybe an f22 sized b21 or some merger of the two designs, if that's even possible.

Also, me thinks 2 crews. One pilot + self defense, one offensive warfare officer to manage the drone swarm and cyber ops. :D


Sorry to ask this but.....the link to the PCA brief document, please.
Thanks in advance.
:)

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 08:04
by citanon
It's not a brief, but I assume the AF will tread close to the vision from Grynkewich's articles:

https://warontherocks.com/2017/01/the-f ... 0-problem/

Notice in particular the role he outlined for PCA in the context of all the other capabilities.

In order to evaluate various innovations in an operational context, our team organized viable concepts into several conceptual frameworks for further analysis. The first conceptual framework included robust modernization of the planned force of 2030, but had few additional capabilities added to the mix. As such, this provided a base case for our analysis, showing us the maximum amount of capability we could extract from the force without starting major new acquisition programs. The force in this conceptual framework achieved control of the air the old-fashioned way, by rolling back an adversary’s integrated air defense system over time from the outside in until air superiority was attained over a desired geographical area.

Our second and third conceptual frameworks were a standoff force and attritable force, respectively. The standoff force broadly consisted of non-penetrating platforms delivering large volumes of weapons (including non-kinetic effects) from beyond the lethal range of threat systems. The attritable force consisted of a large number of platforms with modular payloads (either kinetic or non-kinetic) that could be reused multiple times, but that were also inexpensive enough that losing some in a high-threat environment was acceptable. Importantly, the attritable force we assessed in this conceptual framework did not just exist in the air domain, but in cyberspace and space as well.

Broadly speaking, we expected both the standoff and attritable forces to achieve air superiority through the high volume of weapons, effects, and/or attritable platforms swarming and converging in the desired space at the desired time to overwhelm enemy defenses. Yet deeper analysis revealed that neither force was able to generate enough awareness of targets much beyond the edge of an adversary’s defenses. Each could only achieve air superiority on the outskirts of an integrated air defense system. Over time, air superiority could extend deeper into the adversary system — but to get to that point the scheme of maneuver ended up resembling yet another traditional roll-back operation, albeit with cyberspace and space capabilities in play as well.

Our fourth conceptual framework centered on what many would describe as a sixth-generation fighter: a highly survivable, highly lethal platform supported by cyberspace and space capabilities.While our analysis showed this conceptual framework would be highly effective at the tactical level, it was hobbled at the operational level by an insufficient quantity of capability due to the high cost of the platform. Additionally, to achieve the effectiveness needed, the development program postulated for this program would carry a significant degree of technical risk, creating a very real possibility that this sixth-generation fighter would not field until well past 2030. In short, we concluded that the exquisite capabilities in this conceptual framework would cost too much and arrive late to need.

At this point in our study, the problem seemed intractable: we could not modernize our way out of the problem, multi-domain standoff weapons and attritable forces failed to achieve air superiority, and our only successful operational capability was unrealistic both in terms of cost and timeline. As we reviewed the analysis conducted on the conceptual frameworks in greater detail, however, several important insights came to light that would guide us as we developed courses of action.

First, we learned that modernization of some current platforms would allow them to perform some parts of the counter-air mission, including as defensive counter-air over friendly forces and suppression of enemy air defenses on the edge of the integrated air defense system. Second, we learned that we knew how to launch standoff weapons over long distances — the challenge would be giving them enough information to hit a target. We also learned that while we did not have access to the all information necessary to provide that targeting information today, we could significantly improve our ability in this area by fusing cyberspace intelligence with new space-based capabilities (such as using cubesat or nanosat technology to blanket an area of interest with overhead coverage).

If we could develop these capabilities and pair them with new and existing air-domain data sources, we would significantly improve the effectiveness of standoff weapons. Doing this, however, would require getting the right sensors in the right places, meaning sometimes deep in adversary territory. Attritable assets with the right sensor payloads provided one option, as did networking together current or upgraded airborne sensors, including fifth-generation aircraft and dedicated ISR platforms. Still, attritable assets lacked persistence, and fifth-generation assets could not go everywhere we needed them to go. We still would need a capability to penetrate and persist in the adversary air defense system. Such a capability was not just needed to employ weapons or project effects, but just as importantly to serve as a key node in what was emerging as a new conceptual multi-domain battle network.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 08:36
by hornetfinn
I don't get where this perceived need for air-to-air optimized fighter aircraft comes from. F-22 is so overwhelming in capabilities that even the current amount will be more than sufficient especially with all the 4th gen force backing them up. Then F-35 is very capable air-to-air fighter as it currently is and will be extremely capable when it gets to FOC. It will also have the advantage of being by far the most numerous fighter aircraft for the foreseeable future. I'm pretty sure there will be very little air-to-air combat as F-35s will turn enemy airfields to rubble very quickly in the conflict. If there will be air-to-air combat, F-35s will have very lopsided kill ratios against their enemies. IMO, air-to-air optimized fighter aircraft would be just waste of money and would actually reduce combat capability compared to just acquiring F-35s and B-21s with the same money. Let's take a look at it after 20 years or so...

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 11:03
by citanon
hornetfinn wrote:I don't get where this perceived need for air-to-air optimized fighter aircraft comes from. F-22 is so overwhelming in capabilities that even the current amount will be more than sufficient especially with all the 4th gen force backing them up. Then F-35 is very capable air-to-air fighter as it currently is and will be extremely capable when it gets to FOC. It will also have the advantage of being by far the most numerous fighter aircraft for the foreseeable future. I'm pretty sure there will be very little air-to-air combat as F-35s will turn enemy airfields to rubble very quickly in the conflict. If there will be air-to-air combat, F-35s will have very lopsided kill ratios against their enemies. IMO, air-to-air optimized fighter aircraft would be just waste of money and would actually reduce combat capability compared to just acquiring F-35s and B-21s with the same money. Let's take a look at it after 20 years or so...


I think if you look at what they are talking about, the primary focus of the PCA is still in taking down IADS. They see F35 as sufficient for the traditional peeling back layers of an onion style campaign but want PCA to go right into the heart of the enemy defenses to change the fight.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 17:42
by talkitron
citanon wrote:I think if you look at what they are talking about, the primary focus of the PCA is still in taking down IADS. They see F35 as sufficient for the traditional peeling back layers of an onion style campaign but want PCA to go right into the heart of the enemy defenses to change the fight.


Yeah, I think the PCA is supposed to be able to fly into the interior of mainland China. It probably needs to be bigger to fit the fuel and weapons required for such long range penetrations.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 19:34
by tomcattech
It's good to see some well thought out responses in this thread.

The PCA link\info is awesome. (Thanks for that)

My overall thought was thus:

The F-35 is a revolutionary aircraft in many respects and I'm glad it is finally here, but the birthing process was long\complicated\expensive and protracted.
(With many missteps along the way)

IMO its time for an EVOLUTIONARY aircraft, which takes in what we have learned and builds upon it using a more aggressive time frame and low"ish" cost considerations.

Whether that means:

A. An established kinematic beast of an airframe\engine combo like the F-22 with F-35 systems
B. Taking the F-35 to the next level air to air (if possible within an F-35 airframe)
C. New F-23 with F-35 systems
D. Something else we haven't thought of

Point is, let's take what we have and make it better (if it makes sense) instead of starting from the ground up.
(We have F-22 tooling, F-23 designs, infrastructure and fabrication assets for the F-35.)

Time to think outside the box....

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 19:46
by nutshell
The code issue is GROSSLY overestimated.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 14:57
by mixelflick
Sounds like it's time to dust off the YF-23a EMD diagrams... :)

It just seems perfect for the requirements. Big, lots of range, ability to carry large payload, fast, stealthy, maneuverable. And maybe, unlike the F-22.. they didn't "lose" the tooling LOL

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2017, 17:55
by PhillyGuy
You're thinking that far ahead huh? Here I am just hoping to finally have the SAR and EA features of the avionics fully unlocked and harnessed with the 3.2b increment update, in addition to the Block II 9X and AMRAAM-D. That automatic ground warning and collision avoidance system would also be good to have finalized as no joke but the AF really can't afford to lose any more airframes or pilots. Maybe an engine upgrade for the F-119s as well at some point, it's been 12 years since IOC already. Not sure where the TNNT AT&T Verizon or whatever the hell it's called is at (I can't keep up with all the acronyms) as relaying data via voice or radio isn't really a good option when that matters since the other guy can also pick it up. And now this re-coating/LO painting maintence is about to start, that would be nice to keep on track for sure.
I won't even bitch about the HMD system or lack of follow on to the AIM-120. We'll kick that can down the road some more I guess.

And last but not least, won't happen now but it would have also been nice if the F-22 had been produced with the AESA chin arrays attached and the wing root IRST pods fitted. Sour grapes at this point but I'd like to see these things squared away first before I can even allow myself to hope for anything more with how dragged out and cluster Fd development and procurement is these days.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2017, 21:08
by h-bomb
icemaverick wrote: Furthermore, the F-22 uses PowerPC microprocessor architecture (long out of production) and its code was written in ADA whereas the F-35 was written in C++. So you would have to upgrade the entire computer system and I don't think it's as simple as simply porting the F-35's computer and software over. You would probably have to re-write millions of lines of code.


Exactly when did the PowerPC processor go out of production? Give I support multiple E Series IBM server with a PowerPC processors. Also the PS3 uses a PowerPC chip. Must be news to IBM, wonder when they will find out they no longer make these chips......

FYI C++ code works fine on a PowerPC based system, just recompile...

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2017, 00:07
by nutshell
If it has to be an IBM cpu, it's a power1 based and not a gen1 powerpc.

Anyway, its really a non issue, considering you can ask GloFo or TSMC to bin a 22nm cpu capable of executing ADA code(or bruteforce it via encode/decode) for dirty cheap.
From there on, you could slowly rewrite a software package in complete relax.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2017, 21:19
by botsing
h-bomb wrote:FYI C++ code works fine on a PowerPC based system, just recompile...

I see potential issues there with timing. Also any CPU specific code will not work.

nutshell wrote:Anyway, its really a non issue, considering you can ask GloFo or TSMC to bin a 22nm cpu capable of executing ADA code(or bruteforce it via encode/decode) for dirty cheap

I highly doubt you will get a jet fighter grade CPU from them that easily (EMP and high G stress resistant with a wide temperature and pressure delta).

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2017, 00:55
by nutshell
You cannot make the die of a chip emp proof. You can build a case strong against electragnetic forces tho.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2017, 18:26
by botsing
nutshell wrote:You cannot make the die of a chip emp proof. You can build a case strong against electragnetic forces tho.

That's why I used the term "resistant" and not "proof", I guess I should have made it clearer by using the term "radiation hardened".

There is a direct relation between the thickness of a casing and the level of EMP protection. This means that you have to find a compromise between weight, size and EMP protection level for your aircraft. In this a radiation hardened CPU helps to balance things out and probably makes the complete package less costly (both to procure and maintain).

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 20 Apr 2017, 00:10
by nutshell
botsing wrote:
nutshell wrote:You cannot make the die of a chip emp proof. You can build a case strong against electragnetic forces tho.

That's why I used the term "resistant" and not "proof", I guess I should have made it clearer by using the term "radiation hardened".

There is a direct relation between the thickness of a casing and the level of EMP protection. This means that you have to find a compromise between weight, size and EMP protection level for your aircraft. In this a radiation hardened CPU helps to balance things out and probably makes the complete package less costly (both to procure and maintain).



Nothing stops LM to ask for a new processor based on the upcoming 12 or 7 nm node tech, shrink it (if needed) to match raptor's cpu so you don't incur into a form-factor mismatch. At that point, no issues with its protective shell.

Given, its LM and the US lacking the will to male such a move.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2017, 15:23
by steve2267
As has been noted, F-22 production line restart would appear to be prohibitive. If you are going to spend that kind of money, you may as well (re)consider the YF-23 design as a starting point. Since everyone is broadstroking this idea and ignorning all the nagging little details... why not an F-23 using the F-35 VLO skin tech, F-35 systems, with the AETP engines? Range / endurance may be key here -- 1000nm or maybe even 1500nm mission radius. Gonna have to carry a lot of gas.

Alternatively, if the F-135 Block 1 upgrade does yield +10% thrust and +5-7% better fuel efficiency could be a super-cruise stepping stone. If a follow-on 3-stream AETP engine could fit the F-35... a 1.2M super-cruising F-35D with 800nm range (maybe that could be stretched to 900-1000nm?) could be a less expensive 5.5Gen approach? Especially if DIRCM or a laser weapon could be integrated into the airframe. This approach would build off all the avionics / software / systems that has been invested in the F-35.

I wonder if the F-35 will be the stepping stone to an airframe-agnostic avionics systems approach. In the future, the avionics system would be competed / developed / produced separate from the airframe and engine. When a new airframe is required, it will be the airframer's responsibility to integrate the already proven / produced avionics system into their vehicle. Radar / IR sensors etc would be akin to computer peripherals (printers, modems etc) and only new drivers (radar driver <-> printer driver) would need to be created to integrate new 'dars or other avionics into the system.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2017, 16:35
by rheonomic
Regarding all the posts about modifying F-22/YF-23: I think clean sheet is going to be the best approach for a new air superiority fighter. Don't think you gain much by reusing an old airframe, and by the time you do all the rework you might as well design a new aircraft leveraging the 30+ years of technological development we've had since.

steve2267 wrote:I wonder if the F-35 will be the stepping stone to an airframe-agnostic avionics systems approach. In the future, the avionics system would be competed / developed / produced separate from the airframe and engine. When a new airframe is required, it will be the airframer's responsibility to integrate the already proven / produced avionics system into their vehicle. Radar / IR sensors etc would be akin to computer peripherals (printers, modems etc) and only new drivers (radar driver <-> printer driver) would need to be created to integrate new 'dars or other avionics into the system.


In some ways this approach is similar to what ODASD(SE) is pursuing with the Modular Open Systems Approach initiative:
The Department of Defense’s (DoD) modular open systems approach (MOSA) is to design systems with highly cohesive, loosely coupled, and severable modules that can be competed separately and acquired from independent vendors. This approach allows the Department to acquire warfighting capabilities, including systems, subsystems, software components, and services, with more flexibility and competition. MOSA implies the use of modular open systems architecture, a structure in which system interfaces share common, widely accepted standards, with which conformance can be verified.

DoD is actively pursuing MOSA in the life-cycle activities of its major defense acquisition programs (MDAP) and major automated information systems (MAIS), in large part due to the rapid evolution in technology and threats that require much faster cycle time for fielding and modifying warfighting capabilities. As part of a comprehensive systems engineering strategy, MOSA can accelerate and simplify the incremental delivery of new capabilities into systems.


There's an interesting brief on this from ~3 years ago: http://www.acq.osd.mil/se/briefs/16943- ... OSA-vF.pdf

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2017, 19:06
by steve2267
Thanks for the link to the MOSA pdf.

rheonomic wrote:Regarding all the posts about modifying F-22/YF-23: I think clean sheet is going to be the best approach for a new air superiority fighter. Don't think you gain much by reusing an old airframe, and by the time you do all the rework you might as well design a new aircraft leveraging the 30+ years of technological development we've had since.


You may very well be correct on this point. However, before going the clean sheet route (Gen 6?), as many military pilots have noted we are only scratching the surface of what the F-35 can do, and since it is just about to enter full production / conclude testing... perhaps a better 5.5gen solution is the F-35:
  • uprated engine (either F-135 block improvements) or 3-stream AETP end-product
  • possible fuselage stretch for additional fuel, possible 2nd crewmember
  • possible directed energy weapon integration: either laser (kinetic-like effects) or emp (offensive EW)
  • internal carriage of hypersonic standoff missile

I think the key is going to be engine development. +10% thrust improvement may get a modest supercruise capability in the Lightning. But to get a large range increase, the AETP 3-stream tech needs to deliver. With it, 1000nm mission radius may be possible. (And with it, either better piddle packs or sustained 1.5M performance may be required! :D )

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 30 Mar 2018, 20:45
by ignorantnewb
Tomcattech's original posts were 'thinking outside the box' 'build upon what we know' 'something we haven't thought of'

So I present the F-35D Death Adder, a fully automated (room for more fuel) tweaked F-35C, in Defender mode optimised for short strike a2a but capable of swapping weapons for other missions. This is for stealth on stealth ending up in the merge.
As a spaghetti mess of fighters without an easy weapons lock it brings guns back into vogue. A sure kill from the rear isn't next gen thinking, to take advantage of all that SA and computing power that in some situations is better than a pilot, so...

1) 3 stealth gunpods! Longer for more punch centreline stealth gunpod, across two inner hard points another stealth gunpod. So we have 3 dimensional shots with the 3 gunpods covering an area.
This allows the computer to take quality predictive/guesstimate bbrrrts, in combination with inhuman reflexes and unique attacking patterns it makes for some interesting possibilities.
2) Backed up by a slightly faster/longer ranged bullet, with a shredding/penetrative effect capable of disabling a fighter in a small number of hits :drool:
3) To help the F-35D in Defender mode take the most dangerous central position:
Swivel stealth MSDM pods on the outer wings, MSDM in place of chaff optimised to target the canopy of a fighter trying to come in behind for a sure kill. Extra SACM in the internal bays for attack and defense against incoming missiles. False canopy to confuse the enemy by blending in with F-35C's. (No lazer pod for stealth priority.) Self-healing properties with redundant/safety wiring, 'plumbing' etc.

A superior number of J-31/20 enter the merge against a squad of F-35C with a few F-35D blending in, only to have reds dropping from the sky for no apparent reason, and in the face of a swarm of SACM many reds turn to flee!..

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 30 Mar 2018, 22:24
by ignorantnewb
The original poster's follow-up had
'A. Kinematic beast F-22 + F-35
B. F-35 to next level a2air with F-35 airframe
C. New F-23 with F-35 systems
D. Something else we haven't thought of'

So I just posted on points B. and D. But seeing as this is the F-22 forum (respect to Steve2267's excellent post re engines), an F-35D could really use a kinematic/engine upgrade to bring it closer to F-22 manoeuvrability - token F-22 reference

I chose the F-35C for an upgrade as it would be more useful against China and can be used in the airforce too, while don't really need more a2a superiority against Russia. (p.s. to exponentially increase the NEZ of guns, I'd prefer 4 guns in a square shape, but a triangle will have to do.)

Re an upgraded F-22 for something completely out there, I'd prefer its manoeuvrability to deliver an attacking microwave weapon if that's even possible? If stealth on stealth ends up in a wvr spaghetti mess, could it zap both incoming missiles and enemy planes out of the sky? I doubt it's possible I'm just curious why... Not effective, not powerful enough, zaps itself too?

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2018, 07:32
by element1loop
talkitron wrote:
citanon wrote:I think if you look at what they are talking about, the primary focus of the PCA is still in taking down IADS. They see F35 as sufficient for the traditional peeling back layers of an onion style campaign but want PCA to go right into the heart of the enemy defenses to change the fight.


Yeah, I think the PCA is supposed to be able to fly into the interior of mainland China. It probably needs to be bigger to fit the fuel and weapons required for such long range penetrations.



Yes, agree with you both, the comments of the past two years are clearly along those lines, the only question is what ingredients to use in that PCA evolution.

One other point is the rejection of 5th-gen or 6th-gen paradigms in this as that way of thinking was deemed unhelpful, to more or less pointless.

They only want what will assure forced deep penetration over a near-peer's airspace, strong stealth, deep loiter, data node conduit and long range. The quotes below make clear it will replace F-22A as the deep penetrator.

So to rehash 2016 to present, and get away from suped-up megadeath gunfighters, here's the concept as actually envisaged (as per what tom and citanon said):
----
Air Force Prepares to Hash Out Future Fighter Requirements

By: Valerie Insinna
August 28, 2016

/ ... I would make them operationally realistic, relevant prototype. 'Fieldable' prototypes is the term I would like to use. Whether we go there or not will be another tradespace discussion," he said. "You get it as mature as you can. You get these prototypes, you fly them around for a while. You do some testing on them.

"If you do something like that, if you don't change your requirements, if you don't set your sights on technologies that you know aren't going to mature on the timeline required," he said, "then you'll be in decent shape."

Penetrating Counter Air

The Air Force is trying to flush the words "sixth generation fighter" from its lexicon, Grynkewich said. Even the service’s initial terminology for an F-35 follow on — Next Generation Air Dominance — is being eschewed in favor of the label "Penetrating Counter Air."

"You start to have an argument over what does 'sixth gen' mean. Does it have laser beams, is it hypersonic? What is it? What does it look like? That’s not a useful conversation," he explained. "The more useful conversation is, what are the key attributes we need in order to gain and maintain air superiority in 2030?"

The Air Force is looking at incorporating sophisticated, cutting edge technologies like directed energy in the initial version of Penetrating Counter Air (PCA) or a future block upgrade. But ultimately, the service does not want to hold up the program so that a particular sensor or weapon can mature.


https://www.defensenews.com/air/2016/08 ... uirements/

---

Air Force: $147M funding increase needed to keep future fighter on schedule

By: Valerie Insinna
March 22, 2017

/ ... The Air Force has been extremely tight-lipped on what kinds of capabilities it is exploring under the PCA effort. Grynkewich had previously identified that range and payload would be two of the aircraft’s core characteristics, and it will be optimized for an air superiority role like the F-22.

Beyond that, little is known about the technology development efforts contained under the NGAD funding umbrella.

"It's mission systems, it's EW [electronic warfare], it's weapons, it's everything about having a platform to go into that kind of [high-end] environment," Bunch said, declining to say more about how the service would direct the additional $147 million.

Rob Weiss, executive vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, said Tuesday that the company is already engaged with the Air Force on PCA. Like Bunch, Weiss would not comment on specific technologies the service is considering, but said the next fighter would have longer range and be stealthier, with improved signature management "across a wide spectrum, not just radar cross section."

"It is clear, in our mind, what they are asking for," he said. "We are having a very good back and forth conversation about this desire to have this deployed quickly."


https://www.defensenews.com/air/2017/03 ... -schedule/


Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2018, 14:12
by ignorantnewb
Having ticked off the 'thinking outside of the box' request, and stepping firmly back in the box, it may be impossible for a F-22C or YF-23 to be turned into 6th gen/PCA by all the descriptives available (like the one above). Things have moved on requiring a clean sheet design (as rheonomic said). The problem with the hot production line of the F-35 is that the plane is too small to significantly upgrade - it's already near its limits. More range, EA, more room for next gen weapons/capabilities? Might get to the threads 5.5 gen request if one removes the pilot and goes fully automated (to make room).

Otherwise we're looking at 5+ gen through better engines for the F-35/22, allowing a tweak of the weapons bays for next gen weapons (without sacrificing range). Tweaked EW with broader aspect stealth coatings, with the F-35 optionally manned. IRST? Both planes are locked out of lazers without sacrificing stealth (with all the talk of PCA they'll likely build a new platform before 'stretching' the old one, though the Israelis want a two seater F-35). And I doubt they'll put laze in the B's vertical lift shaft, short range airfield only? I could be wrong.

The other possibility is the F-35 tweaked for an additional role, like protecting AWACS from the J-20. More long range hypersonic missiles to fire back (when available), combined with more defensively minded missiles that can take out incoming missiles. Otherwise it's jumping back out of the box...

p.s. No disrespect intended to element1loop, I agree but the thread was asking for interim solutions until PCA i.e. 5.5 gen. I don't know if this is presuming a delay in PCA or wanted it pushed back, so I went for complementary capabilities as well. An optionally manned F-35 could be a software upgrade and a little hardware away, and new stealth gunpods (plural) are a weapon, so 'megadeath gunfighter'?..

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 31 Mar 2018, 23:30
by FlightDreamz
Anyone else remember the Lockheed X-44 Mantra? Or how about the FB-22 Raptor?

I think these F-22 derivatives would need to be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to hold more fuel (and maybe bigger weapon bays). Remember The YF-22 didn't originally have the "cheek" sidewinder bay's . Or as already suggested blow the dust of the YB-23 Black Widow blueprints.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/road-ne ... es-1370381

Image

The YF-23 DID have deeper weapon bays than the F-22.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 01 Apr 2018, 06:09
by element1loop
I just wonder how an F-22B concept, stretched more, fits in with this;

" ... and it will be optimized for an air superiority role like the F-22. ... "

A big stretch will need much more engine grunt for a platform at >100 k lb, so seems to imply a large clean-sheet fighter, using current F-35 concepts, but taking multispectral VLO even further than the F-35 (which is a must to loiter deep)

The F-22-like A2A performance guideline rules out a B-2.1 bomber derived type.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 01 Apr 2018, 18:29
by Fox1
I think the PCA mission would require an aircraft that is broadly similar to the FB-22/FB-23 concepts. A Mach 2ish capable, low observable strike aircraft with the range of an F-111 and payload of a small bomber would certainly be a good starting point for a design. The PCA mission will require a big aircraft that has lots of range,decent speed, large missile payload, powerful radar and other sensors, yet it will need to be faster and more agile than a subsonic bomber like the B-21. If you split the difference between aircraft like the F-22/F-35 and the B-21 you basically end up with something resembling the FB-22/FB-23.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2018, 05:34
by geforcerfx
The more I see what the air force wants from PCA the more it sounds like a small change to the B-21. I know it's not that simple, but think about it. Large payload, great range, sensors, very stealthy, shares tech with F-35. I know the B-21 can't fill the role they want, but I wonder if they could make PCA fill the B-21's role, unless I am underestimating how large the B-21 is going to be (seems to be a lot smaller than our current bombers though).

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2018, 21:00
by tomcattech
I love it when an old thread gets new life around here...

Fox1 wrote:The PCA mission will require a big aircraft that has lots of range,decent speed, large missile payload, powerful radar and other sensors, yet it will need to be faster and more agile than a subsonic bomber like the B-21.


Kind of like a stealthy, 21st century Tomcat?

I kid, I kid....

Seriously, I truly believe the day of the "turn and burn"\"knife fight in a phone booth" days are rapidly coming to an end.

We were obviously wrong during the days of Vietnam when weapon and system advancement weren't quite where they needed to be, however we may now be a decade or two away from Point Defense\Offense directed energy weapon systems on fighter sized aircraft.... these weapons may be what 6th Gen is all about if we can figure out the usability and power consumption issues.

That being said, a fighter will always need to be able to be maneuverable and have a gun\point defense\weapon of last resort.

Every once in a while, everything goes to hell and you find yourself off-script and the pilots (or remote drivers) of the future will still need to deal with those situations.

However, (decades ago when I kept up with things such as ACM\BFM\Historical Conflicts on a tactical level) I believe a very large segment of aircraft kills in all conflicts come from a source that the pilot didn't even know was there until he came under attack. And in many cases not until parts of aircraft started coming apart.

History has shown us that Situational Awareness is king in ANY battle space, be it in the air or under the waves.

Being able to stand your aircraft on end and point your nose post-stall does you no good if you don't know where to point it. (while also being a fixed reference point in the middle of the air doing a pirouette is a lovely target for a short range missile shot)

As long as we continue to develop the systems of the F-35 for new and as yet un-thought of challenges, I believe the F-35's unparalleled SA will prove itself time and time again.

I'm rambling.... to the point.

I believe that just about everyone can agree that while the F-35 is a great aircraft, the cost/management/time waste on the government accounting\planning side has been abysmal, and this is not the way we want to approach the PCA program.

We should be focusing on small changes to existing resources that maximize effectiveness.

Why does the F-22 STILL not have an HMS\HMD? (money.. money.. money) From my sources even the Thales Scorpion was a good interim low cost solution.... but still here we are.

An upgraded engine that gets the F-35 squarely in the Air Defense \ Air Dominance role should also be a priority.

Smaller, more exact and time constrained programs that greatly expand performance of existing assets in the battle space would be a good ongoing goal as we reach into the next big thing (PCA\6th Gen\Klingon Cloaking Device\Star Wars Blasters)

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 03 Apr 2018, 01:01
by wrightwing
ignorantnewb wrote:Having ticked off the 'thinking outside of the box' request, and stepping firmly back in the box, it may be impossible for a F-22C or YF-23 to be turned into 6th gen/PCA by all the descriptives available (like the one above). Things have moved on requiring a clean sheet design (as rheonomic said). The problem with the hot production line of the F-35 is that the plane is too small to significantly upgrade - it's already near its limits. More range, EA, more room for next gen weapons/capabilities? Might get to the threads 5.5 gen request if one removes the pilot and goes fully automated (to make room).

Otherwise we're looking at 5+ gen through better engines for the F-35/22, allowing a tweak of the weapons bays for next gen weapons (without sacrificing range). Tweaked EW with broader aspect stealth coatings, with the F-35 optionally manned. IRST? Both planes are locked out of lazers without sacrificing stealth (with all the talk of PCA they'll likely build a new platform before 'stretching' the old one, though the Israelis want a two seater F-35). And I doubt they'll put laze in the B's vertical lift shaft, short range airfield only? I could be wrong.

The other possibility is the F-35 tweaked for an additional role, like protecting AWACS from the J-20. More long range hypersonic missiles to fire back (when available), combined with more defensively minded missiles that can take out incoming missiles. Otherwise it's jumping back out of the box...

p.s. No disrespect intended to element1loop, I agree but the thread was asking for interim solutions until PCA i.e. 5.5 gen. I don't know if this is presuming a delay in PCA or wanted it pushed back, so I went for complementary capabilities as well. An optionally manned F-35 could be a software upgrade and a little hardware away, and new stealth gunpods (plural) are a weapon, so 'megadeath gunfighter'?..



1) The PCA won't be an F-22, F-23, or F-35 variant.
2) F-35s are getting significant upgrades in range, persistence, and kinematics in the 2020s. (i.e. 20% more thrust, 35% more range.) They're also getting 3 new missiles, DIRCM, directed energy weapons, new EOTS, new computers, new EW, new displays, more A2G weapon integration.
3) Defense of high value assets (i.e. AWACS, Tankers) is a current role.
4) New guns are not a priority, nor is optional manning. Stealthy EFT/CFT, external weapons pods might be in the cards. F-35s controlling unmanned drones is something being developed.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 03 Apr 2018, 03:30
by element1loop
tomcattech wrote:... History has shown us that Situational Awareness is king in ANY battle space, be it in the air or under the waves.

Being able to stand your aircraft on end and point your nose post-stall does you no good if you don't know where to point it. ...

As long as we continue to develop the systems of the F-35 for new and as yet un-thought of challenges, I believe the F-35's unparalleled SA will prove itself time and time again.


Agree your emphasis on A2A SA here, i.e. continue to develop the F-35's A2A SA systems, then put that system into a large very long-range but agile VLO fighter. Add directed energy weapon, if/when mature.

2 x ~60 K lb engine thrust, to furnish the needed agility and accel, but optimised for high-transonic high-alt efficient cruise for long-range loiter and maintaining thermal VLO. i.e. even near idle thrust will need to be high-ish.

An advanced missile will always be needed for when conditions are sub ideal for laser use, or failures.

PCA would also make a natural interceptor, to deal with aircraft approaching maritime boundries, so a 'gun' weapon may be essential, if only for use in peace time.

A sufficently energitic 'multi-role' DIRCM might do as a 'gun' (for less weight) if you demonstrate in advance, what it can do to a wing tip, engine, plexiglass, or drone. i.e. something pilots will definitely notice--with scaleable effects.

i.e. provide a fighter 'DIRCM' system with plenty of kilowatts of growth potential.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 05 Apr 2018, 15:17
by mixelflick
So we're in agreement it'll be a clean sheet design.

Where I think the air force will fall down is in sticking with (largely) off the shelf or existing technology. The USAF has always had the latest and greatest baked into its new fighters from the get go. The F-22 is only the most recent example. Prior to that, the F-15 broke all new ground - especially in radar and engines. The F-4 Phantom was a quantum leap over the fighters it replaced, and it just goes on and on.

What's more interesting to me is their reluctance to push the envelope on new air to air weapons. The F-15 had new radar and engines, but shot the same sidewinder and sparrow missiles as the Phantom did (albeit upgraded versions). The AMRAAM was a step up, but only arrived later in the F-15's life cycle. The F-14 really pushed the air to air weapons envelope, and real or perceived it certainly held the enemy at a distance.

PCA isn't likely going to be a hyper-sonic, so shooting the AIM-120D isn't going to loft it any farther. I've heard rumors that a new AAM is in development, but they're just that - rumors.

Long story short: I'll be surprised if they can resist adding every new gizmo and gadget - except when it comes to air to air weapons LOL.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 05 Apr 2018, 20:44
by wrightwing
mixelflick wrote:So we're in agreement it'll be a clean sheet design.

Where I think the air force will fall down is in sticking with (largely) off the shelf or existing technology. The USAF has always had the latest and greatest baked into its new fighters from the get go. The F-22 is only the most recent example. Prior to that, the F-15 broke all new ground - especially in radar and engines. The F-4 Phantom was a quantum leap over the fighters it replaced, and it just goes on and on.

What's more interesting to me is their reluctance to push the envelope on new air to air weapons. The F-15 had new radar and engines, but shot the same sidewinder and sparrow missiles as the Phantom did (albeit upgraded versions). The AMRAAM was a step up, but only arrived later in the F-15's life cycle. The F-14 really pushed the air to air weapons envelope, and real or perceived it certainly held the enemy at a distance.

PCA isn't likely going to be a hyper-sonic, so shooting the AIM-120D isn't going to loft it any farther. I've heard rumors that a new AAM is in development, but they're just that - rumors.

Long story short: I'll be surprised if they can resist adding every new gizmo and gadget - except when it comes to air to air weapons LOL.


There are 3 new AAMs in development. It's a lot more than just rumors, at this point. LREW/SACM/MSDM. The 2020s are going to look different, in terms of load outs, and capabilities.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 06 Apr 2018, 11:11
by element1loop
mixelflick wrote:What's more interesting to me is their reluctance to push the envelope on new air to air weapons. ... PCA isn't likely going to be a hyper-sonic, so shooting the AIM-120D isn't going to loft it any farther.


I do wonder about the tactical practicality of an A2A missile with >2.5 minute fly-out time. They need to be FAST to be useful at that range. Much changes in 3 mins. Maybe the greatest utility at long-range would be rapid ground moving-target attack on high-value popups.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 06 Apr 2018, 13:07
by mixelflick
Yeah for once, it would be nice to have new airframe AND missile combo that allows for maximum potential of the platform to be realized. I suppose it happened with the F-14/AWG-9/Phoenix, but that was a loooong time ago...

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 20 Apr 2018, 21:29
by tomcattech
Interesting new info on this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=33&t=54041

Close enough to merge threads maybe? Maybe not...

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2018, 03:55
by omelet1978
Just my two cents from reading this thread...Maturing the F-35 platform and getting more of them into service and getting the B-21 to IOC around 2030 is probably the priority for the next decade.

I also think there is no money for the Air-to-Air version of the F-35 or bringing the F-23 back from the dead (even though it would be awesome). An Air-to-Air optimized version of the F-35 is probably the most easily achievable, but I would guess it would come out of the funding for the 1700+ F-35s on order...so wouldn't that mean that the price is going to go up?

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2018, 19:05
by mixelflick
Remember, PCA is spooling up and they've earmarked quite a bit for funding. So there is money, we're just not sure what it'll be yet. An evolution of the F-22, F-35 or even the F-23? Those are all possibilities.

But it's not going to be as easy as taking the airframe of an YF-23A and bolting on the F-35's sensors. It's going to be a big bird, at least as big as the YF-23A and likely a lot bigger. I know the USAF is claiming they want off the shelf XYZ to shorten the developmental cycle, but I'm not buying it.Witness all the AAM's currently in development. That's a lot of separation/live fire testing and the envelope is likely going to be bigger than the F-22's. By how much, we don't know. But it'll likely be bigger, and qualifying these new AAM's is going to take time and $.

When was the last time we designed a fighter that wasn't significantly better than the current yardstick (F-22)?

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 04 Jun 2018, 16:00
by p33lmybanana
This is a great question. I think a generation 5.5 fighter using everything that we learned the last 20 years would be significant upgrade, even if we use mostly off the shelf equipment or current engineering techniques.

Off the top of my head I would add the below attributes.

1. It would need to be longer/bigger. So that it can include more fuel in order to accommodate a greater range. The Chinese are already planning on taking out AWACS and tankers with J-20's. Why rely on them less?

2. Build it with more stealth baked into the airframe, like the f-35. The f-35 has much less stealth coating maintenance time and issues vs the f-35

3. Modern IRST, datalink systems and etc built into it from the beginning. And ample room to add more equipment in the future. The raptor is till waiting for a HUD?

4. The airforce keeps telling us that long range engagements are more likely than close range knife battles. So why not lose the tails? HUD's should be able to make up for the slight lost of agility.

5. Why not build an airframe from scratch that is intended to be stealth with CFT? Why not figure that out during the design phase instead of retroactively trying to do design a tank that would compromise the signature and drag of the plane?

6. Drop thrust vectoring. this will enable us to buy cheaper engines, that will also require less maintenance.

I know these things are easier than done, however, this was a really cool question.

Re: 5.5\6th Gen Fighter - F-22C?

Unread postPosted: 04 Jun 2018, 23:22
by Corsair1963
omelet1978 wrote:Just my two cents from reading this thread...Maturing the F-35 platform and getting more of them into service and getting the B-21 to IOC around 2030 is probably the priority for the next decade.

I also think there is no money for the Air-to-Air version of the F-35 or bringing the F-23 back from the dead (even though it would be awesome). An Air-to-Air optimized version of the F-35 is probably the most easily achievable, but I would guess it would come out of the funding for the 1700+ F-35s on order...so wouldn't that mean that the price is going to go up?



The F-35 will be upgraded with time...just as every fighter is and the large volume and number of partners. Will easy fund such improvements.