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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f-16adf

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 00:57

If the PCA is going to have 'all this range' and stealth than one must expect a rather large if not very large aircraft. Something on the order of 70ft if not more. If the jet turns out to be that large (that is if it ever becomes a reality, and IF and a very big IF there is no change in 2020 on the political side) and without rudders or TVC I would not expect an overtly agile aircraft. Oh no, here we go again about dog-fighting :doh: :roll: :shock: :( :o 8)

Also, if PCA turns out to be that big, it probably will never be a USN carrier reality.
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element1loop

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 01:06

crosshairs wrote:
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!


No one is saying "no problems". If you want tanking in close to the fight you can't send in a KC-30A. And that doesn't mean having the boom-tanking drone over the mainland interior, it just means being a lot closer to the fight than a KC-30A can get to and survive. So the VLO drone can fill up the Raptor at the margin (i.e. within airspace F-35 dominates) as they go in, and then on the way out again. So on egress the refuel drone and F-22A are covered by F-35s and the F-22A only needs enough gas from the drone to cruise back to the large manned tankers, and the drone can go back and refill at the KC-30A along with the Raptors. Raptors RTB and the refilled drone goes back to near the edge of the fight (in airspace covered by F-35).

All the F-22A has to do here is take the B-21 in to release the weapons, and then immediately take it out again. It's the ISR-targeting drone that does the loitering. So the total exposure is a lot less than you'd think for the tactical tankers. They have VLO, now add decoys, EA/EW support, and DIRCM, etc.

Plus this can be a protected pipeline that provides the comms relay redundancy to get data out to weapons within other services and allies.

Future of Air Tanking: The Perspective of the 86th Wing Commander - 04/11/2018

“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.


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

I am wondering what you see the problem is with having F-22A and a whole lot of F-35s (and such tactical drone tankers to extend them) as opposed to having a manned PCA aircraft and others in the mix. If the tanker can much more cheaply provide the range-boosting, and most of these tactical tankers survive the fight, who cares if there's a specific PCA platform at all?

All that matters are results from affordable dollars.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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element1loop

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 01:36

Perhaps the only real advantage here that an expensive new platform like a dedicated PCA airframe could bring to the penetration and fight is the possibility of HF/VHF signature reduction, thus reduced tracking and early warning, consequently less chance of interception or losses, or distractions from the OCA task once in there.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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sferrin

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 04:12

f-16adf wrote:If the PCA is going to have 'all this range' and stealth than one must expect a rather large if not very large aircraft. Something on the order of 70ft if not more. If the jet turns out to be that large (that is if it ever becomes a reality, and IF and a very big IF there is no change in 2020 on the political side) and without rudders or TVC I would not expect an overtly agile aircraft. Oh no, here we go again about dog-fighting :doh: :roll: :shock: :( :o 8)

Also, if PCA turns out to be that big, it probably will never be a USN carrier reality.


A former, aged USN aircraft:

Wingspan 53 feet, length 76 feet 6 inches, , height 19 feet 4 3/4 inches, wing area 753.7 square feet. Weights: 37,498 pounds empty, 65,590 pounds gross, 79,588 pounds maximum takeoff.

RA-5C.jpg


Besides, PCA has never been meant as a USN aircraft anyway.
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f-16adf

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 09:45

Thanks for the correction, i also forgot to include the A-3. Granted i cannot remember just how many Vigilantes were in a RVAH squadron. I don't think there were many. But man that was one beautiful jet

One thing, the Vigi was 38k empty and the A-3 was about as heavy as the B/D Tomcat. I'd be willing to bet a NPCA would easily be in the 50,000lbs class empty if not more. After all, the F-22 is 40k empty. That combination of size plus weight probably would cancel it from Navair. (max cat limit). Say 55k empty +30k fuel + weapons= 85~95,000lbs. And it doesn't have anything to escort.
Last edited by f-16adf on 20 Dec 2018, 14:05, edited 3 times in total.
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crosshairs

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 13:07

Let's not forget about this "beauty" either. Also on the same flight deck of the Vigilante.

A-3 Skywarrior.jpg

I'm not asking about whether PCA is being designed for carrier ops. I'm saying there is a lot of merit in the USAF and USN sharing the costs and buillding them in real numbers and another 180 unit run. With carriers, we do not need cooperating nations who just so happen to be within range.
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wolfpak

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 16:56

The B-58 super cruised and had a wingspan of 56'-9". Combat radius of 1,510 nautical miles and 41,600 lbs. dry thrust (4 engines) with 61,200 lbs. in afterburner. Empty weight around 56,000 lbs. The wing span of an A-10 is 57'-6" and it fits into a TABV shelter so a large PCA similar in size to a B-58 would also. With 2 engines each at 50,000 lbs. of thrust in afterburner with a mid mission weight of 100,000 lbs. you would still have a thrust to weight ratio of 1:1. Maximum take-off weight of 150,000. Do you think you could design a PCA to these numbers today with the technology at hand and would it be maneuverable enough?
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f-16adf

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 17:41

Ask the designers that. Do they want to eliminate rudders? Will it have TVC or a stab? I doubt a jet that large without rudders, TVC, and a horizontal tail will have maneuverability similar to an F/A-18 Hornet.


Frankly PCA is a pipe-dream. It is probably doubtful with the current administration. And I can tell you that if the Dems get back into office in 2020 it will be one of the first things they cancel. Anybody remember what good old Barack had to say about the F-22 years ago?
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crosshairs

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 18:51

wolfpak wrote:The B-58 super cruised and had a wingspan of 56'-9". Combat radius of 1,510 nautical miles and 41,600 lbs. dry thrust (4 engines) with 61,200 lbs. in afterburner. Empty weight around 56,000 lbs. The wing span of an A-10 is 57'-6" and it fits into a TABV shelter so a large PCA similar in size to a B-58 would also. With 2 engines each at 50,000 lbs. of thrust in afterburner with a mid mission weight of 100,000 lbs. you would still have a thrust to weight ratio of 1:1. Maximum take-off weight of 150,000. Do you think you could design a PCA to these numbers today with the technology at hand and would it be maneuverable enough?

Totally irrelevant. Do you know the inefficiency of those engines? How about the drag of the pod and what it added to fuel consumption? I did not know we are in 1955.

A large complicated swing wing Ardvark came in around in the high end of 40s. Get rid of the heavy and complex swing wing mechanism, add in composite materials, fixed inlets and you get the idea for PCA.

Say for sake of argurment it's 50k empty. 25k for fuel (nearly a raptor with 2 drop tanks). 4k for AAMs (I'm being generous there) and you have a sub 80k machine with (being conservative) 90,000lbs thrust in AB. I don't see any great issues with maneuvering. Look at the loaded weight of a Raptor. It's not a slush dog to my knowledge. And it will be a highly efficient airframe.

Also, maneuvering should no longer be the driving requirement. John Boyd came along at the right time and we got the F-15. But aerial combat isn't about yanking and banking anymore.

Remember when the decks were full of these and Vigilantes?? People forget.

EA-3B_VQ-2_CV-63_1987.JPEG
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wolfpak

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Unread post20 Dec 2018, 19:59

The B-58 analogy sets a lower limit on what can be achieved. We know we're 4 generations beyond that. What I'm saying is that you should be able to design an aircraft with a greater than 1000 nautical mile radius of action that will fit in a TABV shelter and have the attributes to dominate the Asian landmass.
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weasel1962

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Unread post21 Dec 2018, 03:13

How much fuel did the B-58 carry to reach 1500nm? 60k lbs?
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madrat

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Unread post21 Dec 2018, 13:32

Wouldn't an FB-111A performance 'analogy' be better suited to PCA than a B-58? Fewer engines, streamlined, internal carry, and built for a balance of speed & range.
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sferrin

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Unread post21 Dec 2018, 16:24

madrat wrote:Wouldn't an FB-111A performance 'analogy' be better suited to PCA than a B-58? Fewer engines, streamlined, internal carry, and built for a balance of speed & range.



This could have been a PCA.

FB-23-1.jpg


northrop_FB-23_e-bay.jpg


1bfade70772ecf0e211d08e9ba5cfd63.jpg


Not sure why anybody is worried about it fitting on a carrier. Unlike the ATF/NATF, the PCA has never been meant to fly from a carrier.
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crosshairs

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Unread post21 Dec 2018, 16:54

sferrin wrote:
madrat wrote:Wouldn't an FB-111A performance 'analogy' be better suited to PCA than a B-58? Fewer engines, streamlined, internal carry, and built for a balance of speed & range.



This could have been a PCA.

FB-23-1.jpg


northrop_FB-23_e-bay.jpg


1bfade70772ecf0e211d08e9ba5cfd63.jpg


Not sure why anybody is worried about it fitting on a carrier. Unlike the ATF/NATF, the PCA has never been meant to fly from a carrier.


Much too large. That's looks like a little smaller than a Bone. It does need some yanking and banking ability. Not to out turn a F-15, but to be a credible threat for bandits not wanting to get up close and personal. And again, its too large. We actually want to produce around 400 for the USAF. A plane that sized, we will end up getting 47.

The point of carrier operations is that A) it is the united state military that has to project air dominance around the globe, and b) the US does not always have friendly nations willing to allow strikes launched from their homeland. And I can add a C) which is spreading the costs over 2 branches of the service and the combined forces of the USA actually buying more than 187 copies. I think that is far more important than worrying about USAF/USN rivalries and you can't tell me the USN has no need for a long legged air dominance + ground attach aircraft. If nothing else than fly CAP and prevent the bad guys from daring to get gear off the tarmac to challenge the F-35s.

The Navy used to have their sh*t together. Today it's all light attack aircraft. Not good.

Heard of Eldorado Canyon? Our guys had to take the LONG LONG way around Europe because of their liberal defeatist politics. Would not have happened like that if the USN had aircraft to replicate the Ardvarks. No Bombcats back in the 80s.
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jetblast16

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Unread post21 Dec 2018, 18:17

Here are my (personal numbers) for the PCA, or whatever the heck they call it in the future :D

Full operational empty weight "A" model: 46,000 LBS
Internal fuel capacity: 30,000 LBS
Internal weapons capacity: 5,000-6,000 LBS
Engines (each) max wet power sea level: 50,000 LBS
*Engines advanced variable cycle in form

The jet would be completely vertical and horizontal tailless, with emphasis on reduced wave drag. All sensors, communications equipment, offensive / defensive electronics would be buried in a low-observable airframe. The baseline jet would carry, not just provide space, power, and cooling for, a solid-state infrared fiber laser with 100 Kilowatts of output power, with exceptional beam quality.

Combined cycle? Is it possible with today's technology or within the next 10 years? Have common inlets and ejectors, where, the two variable cycle afterburning jet engines would push the PCA to ~Mach 2.5, then inlet doors would close-off the turbomachinery, allowing ramjets to kick-in, for speeds up to 2,500 mph... That would enable the jet to cover large distances at high speed, possibly undetected.

I'll stop dreaming :mrgreen:
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