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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marsavian

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Unread post10 Feb 2020, 17:56

Zero-one, F-22 is a bad fit for PCA not only for range reasons but for payload and sensor reasons. If Lockheed wants to use an existing derivative it would be better stretching and widening an existing F-35 like Spurts theorised and modeled because at least the bomb bay size would be sufficient as would be the sensors (EOTS/DAS Mk 2s), computers and network capabilities and a production line exists. F-22 is so expensive that getting the early blocks up to later block standard is prohibitively expensive (tens of millions) and so hasn't yet been authorised. Its internal technology is now obsolete and would require wide scale updating. A clean sheet design or enlarged F-35 derivative with two engines is the way to go.
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post10 Feb 2020, 18:18

I don't think derivative is the way to go, F-35 airframe may have newer technology baseline but the base airframe won't have the kinematics that PCA will need, namely supercruise. Also the internal air to air payload is even less than F-22, so any F-35 derivative will need even more modifications, and at that point it might be better to start new and be free of any limitation of F-22 and F-35 airframe.
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Unread post11 Feb 2020, 17:31

disconnectedradical wrote:I don't think derivative is the way to go, F-35 airframe may have newer technology baseline but the base airframe won't have the kinematics that PCA will need, namely supercruise.


There is nothing wrong with F-35 airframe for supercruise. It would just need an engine with more powerful core, engine optimized for supercruise isntead of subsonic cruise and afterburning thrust; High bypass ratio(lots of bypass air) of F135 is nice for subsonic thrust and afterburnning thrust, but useless for supercruise.
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post11 Feb 2020, 20:03

hkultala wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:I don't think derivative is the way to go, F-35 airframe may have newer technology baseline but the base airframe won't have the kinematics that PCA will need, namely supercruise.


There is nothing wrong with F-35 airframe for supercruise. It would just need an engine with more powerful core, engine optimized for supercruise isntead of subsonic cruise and afterburning thrust; High bypass ratio(lots of bypass air) of F135 is nice for subsonic thrust and afterburnning thrust, but useless for supercruise.


F-35 airframe isn't designed for supercruise, the fineness ratio and wing design is not optimized for sustain supersonic flight. Even with an engine cycle more like F119 I doubt F-35 will have as much supersonic endurance as F-22 or F-23. Sure you can modify the airframe and make it longer, but at that point you'll have to redesign the structure anyways, why not start from new? Just use the same mission systems to save cost.
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Unread post11 Feb 2020, 20:16

I have a suspicious feeling the PCA is going to more resemble to YF-12A size than the F-35...
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XanderCrews

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Unread post11 Feb 2020, 21:31

madrat wrote:I have a suspicious feeling the PCA is going to more resemble to YF-12A size than the F-35...



I actually wouldn't mind that. They are not confined to the restrictions of space and weight etc that the US Navy is for CVN use. at one point the aircraft carriers wing will have hit its limit, while also trying to balance crash landing onto a ship/ fitting on and in things on a ship.
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marsavian

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Unread post11 Feb 2020, 21:45

hkultala wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:I don't think derivative is the way to go, F-35 airframe may have newer technology baseline but the base airframe won't have the kinematics that PCA will need, namely supercruise.


There is nothing wrong with F-35 airframe for supercruise. It would just need an engine with more powerful core, engine optimized for supercruise isntead of subsonic cruise and afterburning thrust; High bypass ratio(lots of bypass air) of F135 is nice for subsonic thrust and afterburnning thrust, but useless for supercruise.


Remember that F35's existing F135 has 28klb of dry thrust which is already broadly equivalent to F16C *wet* thrust. How much dry thrust would the F35 need to go supersonic, 30klb+ at least ? Typhoon supercruises easily with 27klb dry thrust.
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Unread post11 Feb 2020, 22:04

XanderCrews wrote:at one point the aircraft carriers wing will have hit its limit...

I don't think they have operated (not counting tests) an aircraft bigger than the A-3. 76.33ft long, 72.5ft wide, nearly 23ft tall, 82,000lb. In service from 1956 to 1991. I don't think we would be far off in assuming those are some upper limits. The F-14D with a 44,000lb empty weight may be the heaviest trap at 54,000lb per "F-14D Tomcat Standard Aircraft Characteristics - July 1985"
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Unread post12 Feb 2020, 03:38

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:at one point the aircraft carriers wing will have hit its limit...

I don't think they have operated (not counting tests) an aircraft bigger than the A-3. 76.33ft long, 72.5ft wide, nearly 23ft tall, 82,000lb. In service from 1956 to 1991. I don't think we would be far off in assuming those are some upper limits. The F-14D with a 44,000lb empty weight may be the heaviest trap at 54,000lb per "F-14D Tomcat Standard Aircraft Characteristics - July 1985"


Guess it depends if you want to factor in what AAG and EMALS can potentially achieve.

AAG has been tested to over 70,000 lbs
EMALS has a design goal of 100,000 lbs (couldn't find max test loads).

CVN-X/CVN-21/Ford was designed to accommodate larger/heavier aircraft than its predecessors.
How much got traded off in the various cost saving efforts and have to be updated is another matter.
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Unread post12 Feb 2020, 03:55

disconnectedradical wrote:
Probably the bigger reason for getting F-15EX is for industrial base reasons, making sure Boeing's St. Louis division (old McDonnell Douglas) is still in business so we still have 2 fighter manufacturers active. I personally don't like it but there's is political and industrial justifications for that. I guess Pentagon thinks it's worth keeping Boeing St. Louis alive so Lockheed Martin won't be the only fighter manufacturer left, which would be bad for competition.


We clearly want and need a healthy industrial base. Which, must include Boeing as part of the mix. Yet, building more F-15's does little to help the latter keep in the fighter game! As the overall design dates back to the 1960's!

Which, is why the US Government. Would be far better off to buy additional F-35's short-term. While, fully funding the development of the PCA/NGAD.

In the short term just invest more in the T-7A Redhawk and MQ-25A Tanker. Until the latter 6th Generation Programs mature...

The F-15EX is nothing but Corporate Welfare for Boeing. Nothing more and nothing less. Which, is not in the interest of the US Taxpayer or Warfighter!

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Unread post12 Feb 2020, 03:57

The USAF isn't going to develop a 5.5/6 Generation version of the F-22. That is pure "bunk"....So, honestly have no idea what some are talking about???

Nor, have I seen anything to suggest. The PCA/NGAD Programs are in jeopardy.... :?
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Unread post12 Feb 2020, 10:03

Where some people need to be consistent.

Spending a $1 billion on a few jets = tighter budgets will kill it.
Spending $130 billion on a new fighter jet program = tighter budgets don't matter.
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Unread post12 Feb 2020, 15:11

I don't see either an F-22 or F-35 modification being do-able. For reasons already stated, the F-22 re-start would be prohibitively expensive and come up short given known requirements. The F-35 (were it to be modified) would look entirely different: 2 engines vs. 1, stretched and in need of bigger + side mounted internal weapons bays etc... No current F-35 production line is going to easily "port over" to building super F-35's.

PCA absolutely must be a new clean sheet design, but this will likely mean a new airframe only. I actually think a scaled up YF-23a is their best bet. Lots of room for fuel/weapons/sensors, two huge engines and presumably at least some of the flight test data from the original prototypes could be leveraged. Ditch the tiled exhausts for something better, as they were the most problematic part of the airframe. The actual guts of it (engines, avionics and sensors) will be evolved versions of what's flying in the F-22/35 today, married to the AIM-260/Perigrine.

I think they'd save a lot of time and money going that route, although anything less than a 10 year developmental period is a pipe dream. Unless there's another Kelly Johnson out there able to cut through the gov't red tape, there will be no more ultra-abbreviated developmental timelines...
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Unread post12 Feb 2020, 15:46

marauder2048 wrote:
Guess it depends if you want to factor in what AAG and EMALS can potentially achieve.

AAG has been tested to over 70,000 lbs
EMALS has a design goal of 100,000 lbs (couldn't find max test loads).

CVN-X/CVN-21/Ford was designed to accommodate larger/heavier aircraft than its predecessors.
How much got traded off in the various cost saving efforts and have to be updated is another matter.

I did not know that. Those are big weights.
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Unread post12 Feb 2020, 18:38

marsavian wrote:A clean sheet design or enlarged F-35 derivative with two engines is the way to go.


The F-35 is primarily designed for Strike and other ground operations not air to air. Yes it is capable on air to air, I would even say better than most but the design is tailored for A-G.

Modernizing the F-22 and changing all the obsolete parts plus upgrading existing systems is said to cost around 40 -50 billion. Heavily modifying the F-35 to be tailored for A-A will be far far more expensive, much better to have a clean sheet design.

Now if your clean sheet design needs to have the range requirements in excess of 1000 nmi radius and deep magazine, my question becomes can it be achieved within an airframe that has the size and weight which will still enable it to have the Kinematic performance on par or better than the Raptor?

Remember this thing needs to be able to hold its own against other VLO platforms, detection and tracking will be more difficult for all parties. The gun was kept on the Raptor and the F-35 in part as a fall back weapon of sorts. I think Kinematics should still be a part of PCA as a fall back as well.
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