Penetrating Counter Air / Next Generation Air Dominance

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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weasel1962

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Unread post04 Oct 2019, 01:00

The Tunisia manual does indeed explain how successful the tankees were in Kasserine. When one can't argue on factual metrics like gun size, don't focus on it. Some commanders will never openly acknowledge the other side's technical superiority. Not the right message for the troops before a fight. Same thing with the Chinese. They are not going to acknowledge the F-35/F-22's superiority. They will say the J-20 can handle the F-35 and the F-22 even if it can't.

Everyone is designing their next gen.The point being no one wants to be in an inferior piece of equipment tackling anything, much less a technically superior aggressor. That's why no one will wait for US to develop PCA/NGAD.
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Unread post04 Oct 2019, 11:22

weasel1962 wrote:The Tunisia manual does indeed explain how successful the tankees were in Kasserine.


Kasserine Pass was due to failures in leadership, not equipment. Most of the American tank casualties occured when they were lured into 88mm AT guns, and there wasn't a tank in the world in 1943 that would have stood up to 88mm gunfire, even Tiger Is would have suffered similar losses in those circumstances.

The Tankers in Tunisia manual is stated as consisting of interviews in April 1943; Kasserine Pass took place months earlier in February. The interviews took place shortly after the Battle of El Guettar, where US forces successfully fought off a German armored counterattack.


weasel1962 wrote:When one can't argue on factual metrics like gun size, don't focus on it.


The 75mm M3 gun was more powerful than the armament of the vast majority of German and Italian tanks in North Africa.
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element1loop

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Unread post04 Oct 2019, 11:43

Older gen are unlikely to win air battles or to manage to destroy most of the other guy's air power, and if that's lost you get hammered to defeat. I don't care if you can see me but not fire, except in less than ideal circumstances then hope for the best against all the unknowns the LM 5th-gens bring.

At present the US plus allies in Asia have the real potential to demolish the opposing air force's top and second tier plus most of their navy in its 'own' waters, and land mass, hence A2D2 and the aspiration to move out, but deterred from such over-reach (or are they?). The reverse is not the case, for now. But a few effective weapons, tactics and surprise attacks could change the geography quicker than anticipated. The Axis powers of WWII all did that for awhile.

It will be good to have NGAD / PCA and F/A-XX moving forwards quicker than past programs. And I think one of the better moves is to keep specifics under wraps.

The biggest PITA with F-35 gestation came from 25 years of antagonistic blah-blah invented about it. Other than that I think it went fairly well in an era of lower strategic threat. But given the history, scale and ambition of the CHICOM espionage effort it's time to keep stuff properly hidden anyway.

If development still takes 15 years to do it right, doesn't that apply to everyone? Hence very low rates of production of other aspirants to being all-aspect VLO multirole strikefighters?

If it still takes 15 to 20 years so be it, and the timeline in the article admits it.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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inst

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Unread post04 Oct 2019, 19:57

element1loop wrote:Older gen are unlikely to win air battles or to manage to destroy most of the other guy's air power, and if that's lost you get hammered to defeat. I don't care if you can see me but not fire, except in less than ideal circumstances then hope for the best against all the unknowns the LM 5th-gens bring.

At present the US plus allies in Asia have the real potential to demolish the opposing air force's top and second tier plus most of their navy in its 'own' waters, and land mass, hence A2D2 and the aspiration to move out, but deterred from such over-reach (or are they?). The reverse is not the case, for now. But a few effective weapons, tactics and surprise attacks could change the geography quicker than anticipated. The Axis powers of WWII all did that for awhile.

It will be good to have NGAD / PCA and F/A-XX moving forwards quicker than past programs. And I think one of the better moves is to keep specifics under wraps.

The biggest PITA with F-35 gestation came from 25 years of antagonistic blah-blah invented about it. Other than that I think it went fairly well in an era of lower strategic threat. But given the history, scale and ambition of the CHICOM espionage effort it's time to keep stuff properly hidden anyway.

If development still takes 15 years to do it right, doesn't that apply to everyone? Hence very low rates of production of other aspirants to being all-aspect VLO multirole strikefighters?

If it still takes 15 to 20 years so be it, and the timeline in the article admits it.


The F-35's biggest problem was that it was late; the aircraft took way too long to develop. Its stealth advantage would have been significantly more devastating in 2013 than 2017 or 2019, with enemy stealth aircraft hitting LRIP or IOC now. The attempts to get PCA / NGAD up at accelerated speeds (2025, 2030) are very positive for the United States, as are the rapid subsystems development of AIM-260, MSDM, SACM, and laser dazzlers.

But I think with recent political changes in the United States, the United States is way more oriented to fighting near peer powers instead of letting military budgets shrivel or focus on counter-insurgency.
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Unread post04 Oct 2019, 21:12

inst wrote:



The F-35's biggest problem was that it was late; the aircraft took way too long to develop. Its stealth advantage would have been significantly more devastating in 2013 than 2017 or 2019, with enemy stealth aircraft hitting LRIP or IOC now. The attempts to get PCA / NGAD up at accelerated speeds (2025, 2030) are very positive for the United States, as are the rapid subsystems development of AIM-260, MSDM, SACM, and laser dazzlers.

But I think with recent political changes in the United States, the United States is way more oriented to fighting near peer powers instead of letting military budgets shrivel or focus on counter-insurgency.


Too late? The Russians and Chinese are nowhere near parity, with their 5th generation jets, and the F-35 is only getting started. The gap will only widen with Block 4/5/6.... There have been no developments since 2013, that have eroded the F-35's stealth advantages, nor will there be for decades to come. The PCA/NGAD aren't being sped up due to F-35 short comings. They have completely different roles to fill.
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weasel1962

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Unread post05 Oct 2019, 00:20

400+ F-35s delivered. 180+ F-22s. 90+ F-35s building every year, soon to breach the 100 mark. Eventually 3000+ F-35s built will not result in stealth numbers parity even if there is no PCA/NGAD.

It's stunning to think F-22s may be replaced without ever losing its reputation as an unsurpassed air dominance fighter. Something the F-15 couldn't achieve.

Ps.The Sherman is only inferior to the 88 but not the tiger whilst it carried the 88? Mind boggling. Apparently now we are supposed to believe very tankee in ww2 relished going up against panthers and tigers in a Sherman? How refreshingly different history becomes after 70 years.

Tactics and doctrine are exactly why legacies can kill superior equipment whether superior technically or in numbers. The Germans proved it. That is the lesson of Kasserine pass.
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inst

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Unread post05 Oct 2019, 01:47

wrightwing wrote:
inst wrote:



The F-35's biggest problem was that it was late; the aircraft took way too long to develop. Its stealth advantage would have been significantly more devastating in 2013 than 2017 or 2019, with enemy stealth aircraft hitting LRIP or IOC now. The attempts to get PCA / NGAD up at accelerated speeds (2025, 2030) are very positive for the United States, as are the rapid subsystems development of AIM-260, MSDM, SACM, and laser dazzlers.

But I think with recent political changes in the United States, the United States is way more oriented to fighting near peer powers instead of letting military budgets shrivel or focus on counter-insurgency.


Too late? The Russians and Chinese are nowhere near parity, with their 5th generation jets, and the F-35 is only getting started. The gap will only widen with Block 4/5/6.... There have been no developments since 2013, that have eroded the F-35's stealth advantages, nor will there be for decades to come. The PCA/NGAD aren't being sped up due to F-35 short comings. They have completely different roles to fill.


There are ways for a Su-57 or J-20 to beat an F-35, and the F-35 has distinct disadvantages in certain regards (lack of supercruise, poor performance at high speeds, average STR).

Put another way, in the 2000s, the US was the only country utilizing 5th generation aircraft. The best any of its competitors could do would be to skeet up Flankers, MiGs, etc. Now, the F-35 could possibly be superior to its rivals where it counts (given superior US experience in air warfare), but is the divide between a F-35 and Su-57 greater or less than the divide between a F-22 and a Su-27?

@weasel1962

The Chinese put up their J-20s with counterstealth AEW&C up against their J-10s and J-11s. The end result was something like a 4:1 or 8:1 kill ratio.

Likewise, why believe that the US might be inferior in terms of doctrine or tactics? The US armed forces are the most experienced and best-funded on the planet. It, likewise, controls something like 8 of the world's best universities, excepting Cambridge and Oxford. If the point is that if you put American equipment into the hands of, say, an Arab army, they'll get killed, well, Iraqi Abrams have been getting shot up as much as Iraqi T-72s got shot up by the Americans. That's trivial. But it is very hard to get a doctrinal superiority on the present American military.
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Unread post05 Oct 2019, 04:21

inst wrote:
element1loop wrote:The F-35's biggest problem was that it was late; the aircraft took way too long to develop.


The early mid-noughties projected first IOC target was within a range of years between 2012 thru 2014 with USMC initially hoping for 2012. First IOC slipped 7 months past that early projected IOC window.

DoD Announces Services’ F-35 IOC Dates - Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy announce their F-35 Initial Operating Capability dates.
May 31, 2013

"... Based on the current F-35 JPO schedule, the F-35B will reach the IOC milestone between July 2015 (Objective) and December 2015 (Threshold). Should capability delivery experience changes or delays, this estimate will be revised appropriately. ... "

https://www.f35.com/news/detail/departm ... l-services


F-35B entered USMC service on 31st July, 2015.

"During 2008, a Pentagon Joint Estimate Team (JET) estimated that the program was two years behind the public schedule, a revised estimate in 2009 predicted a 30-month delay. Delays reduced planned production numbers by 122 aircraft through 2015 ... "
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_ ... al_history


This is not much delay on such a large ambitious program. F-111 had worse delays in an era when new types were being churned out rapidly. This was just one more log on the fire of the anti-F-35 (it's already obsolete!!!) cohort.

X-35A first flight 24 October 2000
F-35A first flight Dec 2006 = 6.2 years
F-35A IOC August of 2016 = 9.6 years
Total = 15.8 years

X-35B first flight 23 June 2001
F-35B First flight 11th June, 2008 = 7 years
F-35B IOC July 2015 = 7.1 years
Total = 14.1 years
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post05 Oct 2019, 09:13

inst wrote:


There are ways for a Su-57 or J-20 to beat an F-35, and the F-35 has distinct disadvantages in certain regards (lack of supercruise, poor performance at high speeds, average STR).


Su-57/J-20s aren't going to beat F-35s through kinematics. The situational awareness advantages of the F-35 far outclass the other jets. If you've paid attention to 5th gen pilots, they've clearly stated that speed/kinematics are the least important capabilities that F-22s and F-35s bring to the table. It's certainly nice to have, but it's no substitute for sensor fusion/situational awareness. Now to address each of these claims.
-supercruise. You do realize that all jets (F-22 included) spend the vast majority of the time subsonic. This remains true for the Su-57/J-20. They'll speed up once they detect a threat, to add missile kinematics, while mitigating opponent missile kinematics. Of course with the F-35s first look/first shoot/first kill advantages, the F-35 will be accelerating long before the opponents.
- define poor performance at high speeds, in operational terms. M1.6+ is the speed most every friend/foe will be limited to, given fuel considerations.
-average STR- if by average you mean similar to a clean F-16 (which is hardly average, by the way,) then yes. The ITR, along with high pitch/roll/yaw rates, pedal turns/nose pointing, 360° spherical engagement, and rapid regaining of energy, will give any foe difficult time.
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Unread post05 Oct 2019, 13:15

[quote="weasel1962"]400+ F-35s delivered. 180+ F-22s. 90+ F-35s building every year, soon to breach the 100 mark. Eventually 3000+ F-35s built will not result in stealth numbers parity even if there is no PCA/NGAD.

Agree 100%. I see nowhere in the world where any country is pumping out large numbers of stealth fighters. Russia may or may not build SEVENTY SIX. Far less is known of the Chinese J-20, but it's doubtful its production run will be north of 500. It certainly won't be in the 1,000's. The J-31? Tough to say. In theory it could be built in greater numbers, but every day it languishes is another day it'll arrive behind the 8 ball. Advanced F-35's, PCA and F/A-XX will likely entirely outclass it..

It's stunning to think F-22s may be replaced without ever losing its reputation as an unsurpassed air dominance fighter. Something the F-15 couldn't achieve.

I'm not sure I agree with you on this one. The F-15 has been met/surpassed on paper by a number of Russian and European designs. But in the real world, it's still 104-0. It should have retired to the boneyard with this record, but it is what it is. Perhaps with the new F-15EX, it's kill record will go even higher. Or a few kills could ruin its undefeated streak. Whatever the case, it's final chapter is yet to be written...
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Unread post23 Oct 2019, 14:50

Air-launched Missile Interceptors For Fighters Make Comeback

Oct 23, 2019

Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Mini-Missiles

In an era of air-launched, offensive missiles featuring ever greater range, one program set to enter a new stage of development is bucking the trend and creating a defensive, extremely short-range interceptor.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) held a classified “industry day” at Eglin AFB in Florida on June 19 for an “upcoming Miniature Self-Defense Munition (MSDM) competitive effort,” according to a May 23 meeting notice. ...

... The Strategic Planning and Integration Division of the AFRL’s Munitions Directorate used the half-day meeting to brief about 120 industry representatives on the scope of work for “continued development of the MSDM,” an acronym pronounced as “Miz-dem.” The closed-door event suggests the air-launched, defensive interceptor program is moving closer to reality. In 2015, the last time U.S. Air Force officials talked about the program openly, the AFRL forecast the MSDM would enter service in fiscal 2023. The current schedule for the program has not been disclosed, but a series of active contract awards with four companies suggests it continues to make progress.

The AFRL first awarded concept studies for the MSDM in 2015, then followed up a year later with multiple concept refinement contracts. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are under contract for missile development work that includes the MSDM through early 2021. Northrop Grumman also has a contract award that extends through late 2020 for seeker and technology maturation of the MSDM. The MSDM, if fielded, promises to change how fighters defend themselves from missile attack as the Air Force plans to field a new generation of air-dominance aircraft. In early October, the service’s Next-Generation Air Dominance program established a Digital Century Series initiative, invoking the innovative period in the 1950s that led to the introduction of a string of second-generation jet fighters.

To support the future fleet, the Air Force has launched related programs for advanced propulsion, sensors and weapons. In the latter category, the service has already disclosed plans to field the Lockheed Martin AIM-260 ultra-long-range missile in 2022.

Meanwhile, development work quietly continues within the AFRL’s Counter-Air Science and Technology (CAST) program. Originally known as the Small Advanced Capabilities Missile (SACM), CAST has broadened to encompass the SACM concept and MSDM. The former may have inspired a competition between the newly unveiled Raytheon Peregrine missile and Lockheed’s six-year-old Cuda concept. Unlike the AIM-260, Peregrine or Cuda, the role of the MSDM program is not to develop an offensive missile, but instead a defensive interceptor. Along with ongoing investments in defensive directed-energy systems, the MSDM represents the AFRL’s response to increasingly sophisticated air defense systems, along with developments in long-range air intercept missiles, such as China’s new PL-15.

“Since the end of the Cold War give or take, Western combat aircraft survivability has been supported by a pretty benign air environment. The air threat was not, in general terms, at all great. The surface-to-air missile threat also tended to go away,” says Douglas Barrie, a missile expert at the Royal United Services Institute. The Air Force’s interest in the MSDM, in fact, harks back to similar concepts conceived at the height of the Cold War but never introduced into service. British Aerospace Dynamics, one of the corporate parents of the modern MBDA missile house, started developing a short-range, air-launched interceptor for incoming missiles, but it never moved into service, Barrie says.

More recently, he noticed that a Russian company displayed a seeker for a small-diameter missile. “It raises some questions about what they might be thinking about,” Barrie says. MBDA itself revealed a 10-kg (22-lb.), hard-kill anti-missile interceptor less than 1 m (3 ft.) long at the Paris Air Show. The company is concerned about the rapidly growing capability and proliferation of advanced surface-to-air missiles. They argue that chaff, flare and other advanced infra countermeasures will only be effective for so long, as new guidance systems and advanced seekers are introduced. The hard-kill approach, using a small missile dispensed like a decoy to shoot down the attacking missile, may be the only way to defend future fighters against such threats.

For such a system to work, the aircraft’s systems will need to “detect, identify the threat and then react, first by defining a maneuver to counter it and launching the missile,” say MBDA officials. Such a system would require a “tight integration” and take into account the aircraft’s surroundings and other friendly aircraft. “This is a serious topic, and with the support of [artificial intelligence] and the miniaturization of sensors, it will be possible to integrate a system like this into the airframe,” officials say. Such a system would also be an option for larger platforms such as tankers and transports. Indeed, the Navy published a request for information in 2018 for a hard-kill anti-missile countermeasure system for large cargo or patrol aircraft such as the Boeing P-8A. So far, the Navy has taken no further action in public to develop the concept beyond the call for white papers last year.

The AFRL also no longer comments on details of the MSDM concept, but some official information is still available. An overview of AFRL programs in 2015 by Col. Nathan Smith, then-deputy director of the Munitions Directorate, remains online. Two slides in the lengthy presentation address the MSDM concept, describing it as an “affordable,” close-in, all aspect kinetic platform [for] self-defense.” It is one of the technologies that “enables penetration into a contested [anti-access/area denial] environment.” The MSDM requires a “very low-cost passive seeker” and will cause “minimal impact to platform payload capacity.”

Measuring one-third the size of the Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder, a fighter could carry three MSDMs on every station now occupied by the within-visual-range air-to-air missile. Finally, the MSDM would serve as one of two hard-kill defense systems, targeting short-range threats. It would complement a directed-energy system, or laser, that could intercept targets at longer range. The AFRL also is developing the Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator with the goal of proving a podded, defensive laser sized for a fighter aircraft is feasible.

https://aviationweek.com/defense/air-la ... e-comeback
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Unread post24 Oct 2019, 15:12

That's an interesting concept for self protection, hope they can work something out.

Yesterday, I was watching the Smithsonian Channel's Air Warriors show, on the F-16. It was apparent that in most cases, they could evade SA-2/3 etc. class missiles if detected early enough. In order to allow for that, this F-16 strike force flew at 38,000 feet. But when you consider S-300/400 systems use of hypersonic missiles with extreme range and agility, you can see now why the need for the F-35 is so pressing. Even if they detected a launch, they'd be run down so fast and out-maneuvered so hard it would all be over very fast.

In any case, these new technologies for PCA/NGAD are exciting to read about. I just hope this time, we build enough of them to make a difference.
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Unread post02 Nov 2019, 07:56

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... -Time.aspx

“This finding in the MITRE report on operation and sustainment costs appears to be in conflict with the Air Force’s acquisition strategy for the Next-Generation Air Dominance program, which calls for developing small batches of multiple types of aircraft in rapid succession,” Harrison wrote. “The ‘Digital Century Series’ approach for the next-generation fighter could leave the Air Force with more costly small fleets of aircraft that exacerbate growth in O&S costs and force difficult tradeoffs between capability and capacity.”

“...Total ownership costs drop as fleets get larger. Harrison found that five fleets of 72 aircraft (or 360 total), as could be designed under the Digital Century Series, would cost about $6.8 billion a year to operate and sustain—the same as a 1,800-piece fleet. In comparison, buying 360 of the same airframe would cost $3 billion annually in operations and maintenance.“

“...While small fleets may be desirable for rapid integration of new technologies into the force and maintaining competition in the industrial base, this approach would likely lead to higher operation and sustainment costs and a smaller force than the Air Force could otherwise afford,” he said.

If you miss the link in the Air Force magazine article Harrison’s “Air Force of the Future” here —

https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs ... WEB_v3.pdf
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Unread post02 Nov 2019, 11:03

Combine that with this, and it's dead as a dodo...


Study says USAF faces unsustainable budgetary and force structure challenge

Pat Host, Washington, DC - Jane's Defence Weekly

30 October 2019

A new study found that the USAF is requesting larger budgets than ever with its smallest force structure because of rapid growth in O&M costs. The study said an increase in operational tempo cannot be blamed as this has largely been focused on a handful of aircraft including the Boeing B-1B Lancer (pictured). Source: US Air Force Rapidly growing operations and maintenance (O&M) costs are forcing the US Air Force (USAF) to request record budgets despite having an all-time low force structure, a scenario that a Washington, DC, think-tank believes is unsustainable.

The Center For Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said in its 29 October report, 'The Air Force of the Future: A Comparison of Alternative Force Structures', that the USAF's fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) budget request of about USD205 billion would bring its total budget to a level that is higher in real terms than the peak reached at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in FY 2010 and the second highest ever in the service's 72-year history.

When the USAF budget reached its all-time high in FY 1985 of USD210 billion in FY 2020 dollars (or USD99.4 billion in then-year dollars), it had a total active inventory (TAI) of more than 9,400 aircraft, with an active duty strength of 602,000 and 264,000 civilian full time equivalents. The USAF in FY 2020 is similar in size but only supports about 5,300 aircraft, 330,000 active duty service members, and 179,000 civilian FTEs.

For roughly the same level of funding as it received at the height of the Cold War, the USAF currently has just half as many aircraft and active duty service members. This is because the costs of operating, staffing, and equipping the force have become increasingly expensive over time. "Progressively more funding is needed to support a shrinking force, and this trend is not likely to be sustainable in the long term," the CSIS report said.

(319 of 926 words)


https://www.janes.com/article/92277/stu ... -challenge
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post03 Nov 2019, 20:35

wrightwing wrote:If you've paid attention to 5th gen pilots, they've clearly stated that speed/kinematics are the least important capabilities that F-22s and F-35s bring to the table. It's certainly nice to have, but it's no substitute for sensor fusion/situational awareness. Now to address each of these claims.


Something similar Bogdan said for Su-57. He decribe SA and sensors as biggest leap forward which pilot see when it fly Su-57. Something similar you could hear from MiG-31 pilots decades ago, I mean that thing have extraordinary SA for decades.

wrightwing wrote:-supercruise. You do realize that all jets (F-22 included) spend the vast majority of the time subsonic.


Nope. MiG-31 most of time fly supersonic, it need to cover huge land mass fast. Su-57 based on info and calculations will have similar capability which is logical because it fly over Russia too.
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