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 post19 Dec 2018, 01:36

quicksilver wrote:Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.


That price surely must include the amortized development costs ? However I suspect the money will be found eventually as the extra range capability provided by an aircraft with two ~ 50 klbf engines will be too hard to ignore. Israel/Japan will certainly buy some too. A stealth fighter-bomber than can reach all of Iran without refueling is what Israel want for this century.
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jetblast16

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 02:13

Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford


I wonder if they thought that when they were thinking about the ATF...the cutting edge rarely comes cheap. You can bet military planners, engineers, and scientists at Wright Patty and other places are thinking about such things as: high sustained super cruise, long range at high speed, possible combined cycle, frequency agile RAM coatings that are also heat tolerant, automation with advanced heuristics, conformal apertures, solid-state directed energy on-demand, etc, for the next fighter platform(s) to supersede the F-22 and F-15.
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wolfpak

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 02:23

The $300M is just a guess on the CBO's part. They said it would be 3 times the cost of a F-35. If you want to humor a semi-retired auto-industry engineering consultant here is a way to get a better number. Construct a graph with empty weight on the x-axis and range on the y. Use the empty weights and ranges of the: F-22, F-15E, F-111 and SR-71 to develop 4 points on the chart and fit the curve. It won't be a straight line, Excel is your friend. Then take the 2018 cost for a F-35A and divide it by it's empty weight. Do the same for the F-22A but first determine the 2010 cost and bring it to 2018 by using the compound interest formula set at 3% per year. Next find the costs of the engines and their weights. Once again use he formula to bring the F119 cost to 2018. Using the cost per pound of the engines determine how much more(if it's the case) that a supercruise engine costs than a subsonic one.

Now you can go to the range/empty weight graph and for a given range requirement determine the aircraft weight and it's total cost for performance similar to the F-35 or F-22. Using the difference of costs between the engines and the ratio of engine weight to aircraft weight you can determine the cost per pound of an aircraft with the avionics of the F-35 and supercruise capability of the F-22. Plug that into the range/weight curve as well.

It's called parametrc modeling and is used a lot in the auto industry. Think L-M uses it as well. Should get you within 20% of the real number and I'll bet it's less than 300M. I wouldn't submit a bid to the AF based on this and I'm sure Blindpilot and Johnwill are raising eyebrows but for a forum on the internet it's good enough.
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marauder2048

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 02:26

marsavian wrote:
quicksilver wrote:Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.


That price surely must include the amortized development costs ?


It's an APUC they plucked out of thin air.
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crosshairs

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 03:27

marauder2048 wrote:
marsavian wrote:
quicksilver wrote:Fantasy...and an expensive one that the USAF cannot afford; $300M per pony, and they’re still choking on $85M F-35s in the numbers they need to recap the majority of the force.


That price surely must include the amortized development costs ?


It's an APUC they plucked out of thin air.


And keep in mind the economy of scale. The US needs to replace 175 F-15c/d, 220 strike eagles and 180 raptors. Even if we get 70% of the requirement, that is still 400 copies.

I am going to open a hornets nest, but I think PCA should also be shared by the USN. Being able to conduct what I will term PCA Missions from the flat tops would be a hell of a tool. Imagine if Eldorado Canyon could have been done with a couple carrier battle groups OTH instead of our pilots flying metaphorically speaking half way around the world and being fatigued when they reached their targets. And I also include in that a2a missions. Carriers eliminate requirements for fixed bases.

From what I read PCA will have A2G capability - how much idk.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 04:29

crosshairs wrote:
And keep in mind the economy of scale. The US needs to replace 175 F-15c/d, 220 strike eagles and 180 raptors. Even if we get 70% of the requirement, that is still 400 copies.





The F-15C's won't last until the PCA is ready. As a matter of fact the USAF already has a plan to retire them and replace them with F-35's. It's also questionable that the F-15E's could make it that long either....

Honestly, unless both future 6th Generation Programs (PCA and NGAD) find partners. I question if two programs are even viable for the US....(i.e. developing both at same time)
Last edited by Corsair1963 on 19 Dec 2018, 08:43, edited 1 time in total.
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element1loop

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 07:01

IMO, one of the points of emphasizing penetrating is the Chinese will necessarily disperse forces into the interior and operate from there, if they think its more survivable and defendable location. Obviously smaller VLO tactical tankers and a longer-range JASSM type weapon would be another dimension to obtaining the reach and to reduce penetration depth for those purposes. But regardless you will still want F-35 like sensor coverage into the mainland interior to provide data to joint platforms and weapon systems in near real time. Such is the paradigm. And perhaps a penetrating 5th-gen drone is the better option for that, as then you get the range, the endurance and the loitering and targeting.

In which case. the B-21 becomes the attacker with long-range VLO weapons.

In which case, the F-22A is probably not enough to support it as is, and it needs another type to provide F-22A capability, but with better legs.

In which case, a VLO drone tactical probe tanker would suffice to provide it for F-22A.

In which case, all you need is a deep ISR drone type, and a VLO tactical tanker type, to get results similar to "PCA"'s intended role, but on the B-21 delivery time table.

Not to mention that a VLO tactical probe tanker is a massive shot in the arm for the F-35A/B as well.

--

From back in April:

Future of Air Tanking: The Perspective of the 86th Wing Commander

04/11/2018

Robbin Laird

“The future of a large tanker will be to support more distributed and dispersed operations and we will be looking at small tactical refuelers providing fuel to tactical air combat assets – these tactical assets will likely be cheaper, unmanned and more expendable.

“That is where A3R comes in.

“I see an advantage in the automatic boom because it reduces the workload on the operator who in the future may be managing or controlling formations of UAV during AAR.

“As we learn to use this technology, it will be part of shaping the skill sets to transition to the next phase, of a large tanker replenishing smaller, automated tactical refuelers.

Another aspect of change associated with KC-30A is part of the evolution within the battlespace as seen by Group Captain Pesce.

Namely, the proliferation of communications and sensor technology throughout the air combat force will include larger platforms such as C-17 and KC-30A, by including new SATCOM and other linkage technologies.

This is designed to support not only a dispersed force but also provide network redundancy in a disrupted and contested EM spectrum.


https://sldinfo.com/2018/04/the-kc-30a- ... commander/


This is hinting at the exploration of a forwards tactical probe drone auto-tanking capability, with a secondary data relay function, in or very close to contested air (i.e. flying in and out of it, as required to tank forward jets and drones then refuel from a KC-30A once more). Given it's RAAF that's doing this exploration of the concept they're looking into using an auto-tanking probe drone system for forward F-35A servicing to keep KC-30As out of reach (of J20s) but give the F-35A the legs it needs.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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weasel1962

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 09:44

Difficult to size a USAF MQ-25. If its supposed to escort the PCA deep, then it probably will be KC-sized to provide the kinds of fuel loads. Otherwise, the UAV tanker will need to be forward based. USAF will need a bit of time to figure this out. Tanker strategy right now is very dated, focused on big tankers. Beyond KC-X, I think there is an increasing recognition that a 1-1 replacement of KC-135s may not be the best way forward.

That's another chunk of the future USAF budget to factor.

I don't think the USAF needs to fight in the Chinese interior. If they can force the PLAAF to cede the Chinese coast, that's an effective win already since that basically concedes all the contended areas i.e. Taiwan, SCS.
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element1loop

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 10:42

weasel1962 wrote:Difficult to size a USAF MQ-25. If its supposed to escort the PCA deep, then it probably will be KC-sized to provide the kinds of fuel loads. Otherwise, the UAV tanker will need to be forward based. USAF will need a bit of time to figure this out. Tanker strategy right now is very dated, focused on big tankers. Beyond KC-X, I think there is an increasing recognition that a 1-1 replacement of KC-135s may not be the best way forward.

That's another chunk of the future USAF budget to factor.

I don't think the USAF needs to fight in the Chinese interior. If they can force the PLAAF to cede the Chinese coast, that's an effective win already since that basically concedes all the contended areas i.e. Taiwan, SCS.


Not quite sure if you understood my point Weasel, I'm effectively saying OK then, forget about a PCA airframe, as such, and go with a system-of-systems and a mix of platforms to skin the same cat, via other methods, and at much lower cost.

You may be right about not needing to go very deep past the hinterland much, especially with sufficient standoff reach and a decent 5th-gen-like ISR drone platform to target deep. But there are many targets deep in there that you must hit hard to degrade early (OCA being a biggie, bombers, strategic sensors, bunkers, plus military production lines etc., which you do want to disrupt big time), and without a PCA that falls to the B-21 to get it done, and the B-21 would not be in a happy place without F-22As to escort it in and out, during those instances. Hence the need for tactical boom auto-tanking drone to support of the F-22A on the way in and out.

So two VLO drone types is all you'd minimally need to still get in and kill those targets.

And I suspect that VLO boom-tanking drone would sell like hot-cakes for decades to come, and become highly relevant to boosting the capabilities of the ~4,000 F-35A/B as well.

i.e. thus reducing the need for other platforms and their numbers. (such as F/A-XX, etc.)
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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sferrin

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 13:01

weasel1962 wrote:I don't think F-22s are currently too short ranged. This depends on basing. On south china sea, what the CVs can deploy is way more than the PLAAF/PLAN basing capability in that locality. F-22s from Guam can already reach that locality w tanker support.


The need to drag tankers everywhere it goes significantly limits it, especially since J-20s, and long range SAMs on the man-made islands will be looking to shoot them down.
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marauder2048

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 19:30

OTOH, big tankers can accommodate deeper magazines of kinetic (DEWS, kicm) and non-kinetic
countermeasures (expendable/towed decoys) without much degradation to fuel offload.
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sferrin

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 20:58

marauder2048 wrote:OTOH, big tankers can accommodate deeper magazines of kinetic (DEWS, kicm) and non-kinetic
countermeasures (expendable/towed decoys) without much degradation to fuel offload.


When's the last time the US flew a tanker where there was a real anti-air threat?
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marauder2048

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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 22:25

sferrin wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:OTOH, big tankers can accommodate deeper magazines of kinetic (DEWS, kicm) and non-kinetic
countermeasures (expendable/towed decoys) without much degradation to fuel offload.


When's the last time the US flew a tanker where there was a real anti-air threat?


GW1; there were instances where tankers strayed into Iraqi SAM rings to refuel stragglers.
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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 22:30

sferrin wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:OTOH, big tankers can accommodate deeper magazines of kinetic (DEWS, kicm) and non-kinetic
countermeasures (expendable/towed decoys) without much degradation to fuel offload.


When's the last time the US flew a tanker where there was a real anti-air threat?


Lugging tankers into or even off the coast of China cannot possibly be a real consideration. Yeah, let's refuel our fighters 25,000ft over Guangzhou. Sure. No problems there!

PCA simply has to have the long legs of a supermodel. I would trade weapons capacity for fuel, up to a point, if PCA could penetrate China.

The question is, are we ever going to get a new airframe? The 15c/d's are not going to last much longer. The strike eagles have quite a bit of life left in them, or so I have read their airframes are holding up better than expected.

An all F-35 fighter force supplemented with a handful or Raptors would not be a good idea.

Why can't the Navy and USAF team up on a common system and better ensure we get something and something in real numbers rather than nothing but more F-35s? There would a lot of benefit to a PCA being carrier capable and not relying on fixed bases with cooperating nations.

Say what you will, but the Phantom was a hell of fighter. The Tomcat could have met the needs of the USAF. Many of you will disagree, but compromise isn't a bad word in today's budgetary climate.
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Unread post19 Dec 2018, 23:05

crosshairs wrote:Lugging tankers into or even off the coast of China cannot possibly be a real consideration. Yeah, let's refuel our fighters 25,000ft over Guangzhou. Sure. No problems there!


Please try to keep up :)

https://govtribe.com/opportunity/federal-contract-opportunity/wide-body-aircraft-hard-kill-self-protection-countermeasure-system-n0042118norfp418000a0001
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