The next jet: F-X & F/A-XX

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post15 Apr 2019, 08:17

zero-one wrote:Latest news on the F/A-XX


https://theaviationgeekclub.com/report- ... in-summer/
The F/A-XX air-dominance fighter will be a sixth-generation aircraft that eventually will replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter in the Navy’s carrier air wings.
Rear Admiral Scott D. Conn, director of Air Warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, said on Apr. 4 that the analysis of alternatives (AoA) for U.S. Navy next-generation air-dominance fighter aircraft (F/A-XX) will be complete during spring of 2019.


Interesting that they are calling it an "Air dominance fighter". Is he just throwing that around to sound cool or does it mean something. Like this new fighter will be tailored for A-A with secondary Strike capabilities.

Makes sense as the F-35 will be the undisputed king of Strike missions for a very very long time



Yet, the F/A-XX (NGAD) fighter is replacing the Super Hornet. Which, is also a "Strike Fighter". :wink:


That said, I would expect much of the Super Hornet Fleet to be replaced by F-35C's. Just like the Super Hornet did with the Hornet. As the F/A-XX is a very long ways off.....
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zero-one

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Unread post15 Apr 2019, 10:56

I think they may want to go back to their old Hi-Lo mix roots

60s - 70s Era
Hi F-4: Primarily air to air with secondary Ground attack
Lo A-7 Primarily Strike

80s - 90s Era
Hi F-14: Primarily air to air
Lo F/A-18: Primarily Strike with considerable A-A capabilities specially at short range

00s - 10s Era
Hi F/A-18C: Primarily Strike with considerable A-A capabilities specially at short range
Lo F/A-18E: Primarily Strike with considerable A-A capabilities specially at short and medium range

10s - 20s Era
Hi F-35C: Primarily Strike with considerable A-A capabilities specially at short and medium range
Lo F/A-18E: Primarily Strike with considerable A-A capabilities specially at short and medium range

The 00s and 10s era's combat environment has the USN's primary threat on the surface. But we may be going back to a time where the Navy air crews will find themselves out numbered in the air. Hence the navy wants to get back to fighters with primary emphasis on A-A
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mixelflick

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Unread post15 Apr 2019, 13:42

zero-one wrote:Latest news on the F/A-XX


https://theaviationgeekclub.com/report- ... in-summer/
The F/A-XX air-dominance fighter will be a sixth-generation aircraft that eventually will replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter in the Navy’s carrier air wings.
Rear Admiral Scott D. Conn, director of Air Warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, said on Apr. 4 that the analysis of alternatives (AoA) for U.S. Navy next-generation air-dominance fighter aircraft (F/A-XX) will be complete during spring of 2019.


Interesting that they are calling it an "Air dominance fighter". Is he just throwing that around to sound cool or does it mean something. Like this new fighter will be tailored for A-A with secondary Strike capabilities.

Makes sense as the F-35 will be the undisputed king of Strike missions for a very very long time


I thought that verbage odd too, although I'm happy to hear it. Air superiority/dominance has been little more than an afterthought on platforms other than the F-22, and its high time that changed.

How it will dominate is another matter. Likely differently than it has in the past. But the focus should be there IMO and it should over-ride other elements of the design (when it comes time to compromise).
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zero-one

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Unread post15 Apr 2019, 14:17

^^
Well as you guys may already tell, I'm not a big fan of subtracting capabilities in favor of others.
6th gen programs like F/A-XX, F-X and PCA will be driven by how combat will theoretically be and not by actual high end combat experience. The last time we made aircraft like that, we ended up with the F-4. Great plane but it dominated in ways it wasn't really designed for. So theres a lot of talk of forgoing speed and maneuverability for more Stealth and range.

I'm just not yet convinced we can totally rule out close range engagements just yet. So I would prefer a platform that can dominate in new ways but also have no problem fighting old school. The F-22 and F-35 are prime examples of those. These are the benefits of designs influenced by actual combat.

But there is hope:
Rear Admiral Donald Gaddis--comments that the next-generation fighter must have far better kinematic performance and range than existing fighters. That is particularly true in an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environment.

"If you look at the A2/AD environment, and that arc, overtime, is going to grow larger. We have to stay ahead of that," Moran says. "So the weapons have to be able fill that. And the only way you're going to do it is have greater kinematics."

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... xx-370854/
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blain

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Unread post15 Apr 2019, 19:55

A key requirement of the F/A-XX is supposedly much more range, a combat radius to at least 1,000 nm. The planform might need to be different, trading maneuverability and some performance for range. Flying wing? A "cranked" kite like the X-47B will produce long range and endurance but its hard to imaging an aircraft like this in a dogfight.

Or can they stay within the confines of a traditional fighter planform? The YF-23 supposedly had greater range than the F-22. China's J-20 prioritized stealth and range. But will 1,000 nm be enough? Will the threat force the requirement to grow to 1,500 nm. That will affect the number of sorties a CVW can generate.

The introduction of the B-21 in numbers and the development of a bomber with hypersonic technology will likely change the role of the CSG in a conflict with a nation with robust A2/AD capability.
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chucky2

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Unread post15 Apr 2019, 23:54

"...because of the sailing branch’s need to replace its F/A-18E/Fs in the 2030s"

Uh, that's the F-35C the taxpayer has already paid for, correct? Since the answer to that should be 'Yes', then WTF does Navy need F/A-XX for? How about getting F-35C done first...then they won't need F/A-XX...
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 00:05

No.

The F-35C was to replace the Legacy Hornets (F-18A/B/C/D) and FA-XX was to replace the Super Hornets.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Corsair1963

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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 01:36

chucky2 wrote:"...because of the sailing branch’s need to replace its F/A-18E/Fs in the 2030s"

Uh, that's the F-35C the taxpayer has already paid for, correct? Since the answer to that should be 'Yes', then WTF does Navy need F/A-XX for? How about getting F-35C done first...then they won't need F/A-XX...




The F/A-XX (NGAD) is a good twenty years off. Which, means by time it comes online in any real numbers. The early F-35C's will start to retire.....

Today you have the Hornet, Super Hornet, and F-35C. As they progress to the next generation. It will transit to the Super Hornet, F-35C, and NGAD. (F/A-XX)

Honestly, what's hard not to understand???
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chucky2

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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 01:42

SpudmanWP wrote:No.

The F-35C was to replace the Legacy Hornets (F-18A/B/C/D) and FA-XX was to replace the Super Hornets.


Then we're getting a great design, because the F-35C is not only better than A-D, it's better than then E/F as well. F-35's with advanced engines ought to be sufficient given we have pretty much overwhelming carrier superiority. Billions saved...
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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 01:54

Corsair1963 wrote:
chucky2 wrote:"...because of the sailing branch’s need to replace its F/A-18E/Fs in the 2030s"

Uh, that's the F-35C the taxpayer has already paid for, correct? Since the answer to that should be 'Yes', then WTF does Navy need F/A-XX for? How about getting F-35C done first...then they won't need F/A-XX...




The F/A-XX (NGAD) is a good twenty years off. Which, means by time it comes online in any real numbers. The early F-35C's will start to retire.....

Today you have the Hornet, Super Hornet, and F-35C. As they progress to the next generation. It will transit to the Super Hornet, F-35C, and NGAD. (F/A-XX)

Honestly, what's hard not to understand???


That at the rate the Navy is moving on F-35C, they can just finish rolling out F-35C+ and call it a day for a couple decades?
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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 02:13

chucky2 wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:
chucky2 wrote:"...because of the sailing branch’s need to replace its F/A-18E/Fs in the 2030s"

Uh, that's the F-35C the taxpayer has already paid for, correct? Since the answer to that should be 'Yes', then WTF does Navy need F/A-XX for? How about getting F-35C done first...then they won't need F/A-XX...




The F/A-XX (NGAD) is a good twenty years off. Which, means by time it comes online in any real numbers. The early F-35C's will start to retire.....

Today you have the Hornet, Super Hornet, and F-35C. As they progress to the next generation. It will transit to the Super Hornet, F-35C, and NGAD. (F/A-XX)

Honestly, what's hard not to understand???


That at the rate the Navy is moving on F-35C, they can just finish rolling out F-35C+ and call it a day for a couple decades?


YES The USN will acquire two squadrons of F-35C's per year over the coming decade for each CVW (Carrier Air Wing) as planned. Yet, my guess is the second that is complete. The USN will just continue F-35C Production. Which, would replace the remaining Super Hornets. Then post 2040 when the NGAD (F/A-XX) starts to come online. They would start to replace the oldest F-35C's.

Nothing surprising at all....
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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 07:36

This seems to be the poster child for the NGAD program. So if we do end up with a platform similar in nature to this what can you tell about it.

1. No tail, so that tells me it will have more broadband stealth, although it does have those canards.
2. They may incorporate 3D TVC to keep stability and yaw control.
3. If they do, then they could also use that same TVC for combat maneuvering.
4. Canards tell me there is still some requirement for good pitch authority.

This could be far from the final design we end up with. But what it tells me that at least from the time of rendering this could be Boeing's proposal to the Navy's initial requirements.
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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 12:35

Let's talk about the 800lb gorilla in the room, funding.

Does everyone here think our nation can afford two very high end air superiority platforms? PCA and F/A-XX aren't going to be cheap. Unless they considerably lower the specs, these are going to be big, heavy birds laden with pricey sensors, weapons etc..I don't even want to think about cost per flight hour. Where's the $ going to come from?

So here's how I see things going down: PCA will be big $, but the USAF has hopefully learned the hard lesson about truncating the F-22 buy - PCA will be built in number. Call it 350ish. The Navy's going to get into F/A-XX pretty deep, before ultimately realizing it can't afford it. Two squadrons per carrier plus training and aircraft to account for attrition is likewise going to be about 350, maybe 400 airframes.

A naval version of PCA will ultimately be pitched, but just like naval versions of the F-15 and F-22 before it, it will be rejected. The Navy will then just buy upgraded F-35C's and call it a day...
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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 13:48

mixelflick wrote:Let's talk about the 800lb gorilla in the room, funding.


Actually it's 3. Am I the only one who thinks the Air force's F-X and PCA are actually 2 separate programs.
The PCA seems to be a long range escort interceptor that can fly long distances with the B-21.
F-X is the actual potential replacement for the F-22 in the 2050 timeline.
https://www.businessinsider.sg/air-forc ... ?r=US&IR=T

Top Brass has hinted that these programs will use mature (cheaper) technologies instead of developing them from scratch which is what the ATF and JSF programs did. They also won't go through 10 year development cycles.

The reason why 5th gens were so expensive was because they were really a giant leap in technology, the USAF went from the F-15 to the F-22 which is superior in every imaginable way and more.

I think F-X or PCA will look more like the jump from an F-15 to a Typhoon. It will be less revolutionary and more evolutionary in nature.
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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 22:09

zero-one wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Let's talk about the 800lb gorilla in the room, funding.


Actually it's 3. Am I the only one who thinks the Air force's F-X and PCA are actually 2 separate programs.
The PCA seems to be a long range escort interceptor that can fly long distances with the B-21.
F-X is the actual potential replacement for the F-22 in the 2050 timeline.
https://www.businessinsider.sg/air-forc ... ?r=US&IR=T

Top Brass has hinted that these programs will use mature (cheaper) technologies instead of developing them from scratch which is what the ATF and JSF programs did. They also won't go through 10 year development cycles.

The reason why 5th gens were so expensive was because they were really a giant leap in technology, the USAF went from the F-15 to the F-22 which is superior in every imaginable way and more.

I think F-X or PCA will look more like the jump from an F-15 to a Typhoon. It will be less revolutionary and more evolutionary in nature.


I noticed the B-21 escort requirement for the PCA. The range requirement is key. Is the increase in combat radius to 1,000 nm or is it more in keeping with the B-21? Because if it is the latter then the planform will be a lot more like a flying wing or "cranked" kite than the F-22.

NG went back to the original B-2 design for something more affordable, trading off some capabilities for lower cost and a faster development time. I wondering if the USAF should go back to the F-23 for a fighter with greater range and potentially better stealth than the F-22 if it the former if the range requirement is modest.

Another option to protect B-21s is a long range UCAV loaded with AAMs/AARGM. The B-21 is suppose to optionally manned. Certain functions could be offloaded to a remote pilot. The onboard crew could control the UCAV through a stealthy data link like MADL, conducting EA, SEAD, or OCA/DCA.
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