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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sferrin

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Unread post21 Dec 2018, 19:20

crosshairs wrote:
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.

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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's WAY smaller than a Bone. Just because it's got an enclosed rear cockpit doesn't mean it's huge. There are many aircraft like that. A-5, B-58, Blackbird, XF-108, etc.

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mixelflick

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Unread post23 Dec 2018, 18:43

jetblast16 wrote: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:


On the contrary, keep dreaming!

We need "dream like" qualities to make sure this thing takes names and kicks a$$. To my mind, an "F-23 like" airframe is the best application for PCA. You've got your two engines, along with enough space for bigger motors. Internal fuel capacity of 30,000lbs? Maybe, with fuselage plugs or simply scaling up the design. New, lightweight materials to keep the empty weight below 50,000lbs (I'm working on them as we speak :)). New, 50,000lb thrust class ADVENT/Variable Cycle engines. The one problematic area may be carrying "enough" AAM's internally (those will be new too, hopefully ramjet powered). I'm working on that too, LOL. Sensors and SA that would make an F-35 blush.

It won't need thrust vectoring, because its speed/stealth, SA and new BVR AAM's will carry the day. One thing that's pretty clear about PCA is that.... "super-maneuverability" will be way down the list. Give it to the Russians, they can ride that horse until they find out the hard way stealth, SA and sensors are what matters now. The only thing more difficult than building a machine to meet these specs will be.... funding it.

A new administration less friendly to the defense establishment (ahem, usually Democrats) are the biggest threat to its existence..
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wrightwing

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Unread post23 Dec 2018, 20:16

The requirements will drive everything else. We're getting wrapped up talking about dimensions, weight, fuel, etc.... without regard to the requirements.

A few things that we can be reasonably certain of are long range/loiter time, greater signature reduction, greater use of AI, exceptional sensor/data bandwidth capabilities, and a larger internal payload. We just don't know what sort of range/payload requirements might be looked at (i.e. 1,000nm/5,000+ lb payload vs 1,500nm/10,000lb payload, or somewhere in between.)

We also don't know what sort of speed/agility requirements will be looked at (i.e. must be as fast/faster than F-22, must have similar agility between F-35 and F-22, etc....)
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element1loop

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Unread post24 Dec 2018, 06:53

mixelflick wrote:
(I'm working on them as we speak :))

A new administration less friendly to the defense establishment (ahem, usually Democrats) are the biggest threat to its existence..


Eggnog's got a kick, eh? :wink:

Keep in mind the rising threat and challenge - not just the political winds. A Donkey win brings their tirade against Russia even as Russia is STILL ratcheting up its 'hybrid-[endless-outrageous-lies]-war' approach, and China has become increasingly draconian (i.e. got worse at hiding it). And a deep-penetrating stealth OCA attack aircraft may be just the ticket to show the stick to them.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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jetblast16

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Unread post24 Dec 2018, 15:47

@mixelflick Teh, he, he, he :D

Some more dream-like qualities I've been musing: sustained Mach 2 in level flight in full dry thrust with 8 internal AAM missiles; high-degree of automation throughout the jet; 100-125 Kilowatt solid-state infrared fiber laser with conformal aperture for "hard kills" against air-to-air threats out to 3-4 miles; possible ramjet capability via combined cycle approach using common inlets, ejectors, and fuel; engine sustained sea level thrust in military power...34,000 LBS.

To me, the PCA is a "no compromise" design; it must be the total package. By definition, it can't be cheap, as it will represent the very tip of the spear, so to speak, of the United States Air Force's global projection of power. A plane with the above capabilities could actually act as a type of (strategic) deterrent.
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geforcerfx

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Unread post24 Dec 2018, 16:08

jetblast16 wrote:.

To me, the PCA is a "no compromise" design; it must be the total package. By definition, it can't be cheap, as it will represent the very tip of the spear, so to speak, of the United States Air Force's global projection of power. A plane with the above capabilities could actually act as a type of (strategic) deterrent.


Those 30 jets we could afford would be a great deterant.

We can make the most capable combat aircraft ever, but can we afford enough of them? Especially while buying bulk 5th gens at 80-125 million a piece and a new stealth strategic bomber, two types of tankers and a new airlifter? All of those programs are taking priority over PCA at the moment. As awesome as your jet sounds it sounds unattainable, unless the Navy gets no new surface vessels for a few years ( which would be bad). Something based off the F-35s engines using the F-35's avionics suite and having 2-3 times the range and stealth payload would still be one hell of a deterrent.
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marsavian

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Unread post24 Dec 2018, 21:53

If F-15X is going to replace F-15C and F-22 is going to be extended to 2060 it sounds like PCA will be replacing F-15E one for one eventually. There has to be enough to escort B-21 as well as be able to do their own stand alone long range attacks. Sounds like an initial production run of 200-300 with exports on top of that. Internal fuel range of 50-100% greater than a F-35A, it's straight in the mudhen/aardvark mold and like the mudhen and bombcat it will be able to take care of itself despite being a heavy fighter.
Last edited by marsavian on 25 Dec 2018, 10:21, edited 1 time in total.
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citanon

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Unread post24 Dec 2018, 23:53

What would you actually need PCA to do? You would need it to penetrate and attack over IADS but you'd also need it to defend against the J20s of the world over the Pacific.

It sounds like you need something with significantly higher sustained speed and better engines and better long wavelength stealth than the F35, and perhaps better sensors.
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element1loop

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Unread post25 Dec 2018, 04:15

geforcerfx wrote:Something based off the F-35s engines using the F-35's avionics suite and having 2-3 times the range and stealth payload would still be one hell of a deterrent.


And a fairly cheap tactical VLO probe tanker program would provide that, plus would sell in big numbers to F-35 operators everywhere, dramatically extending allied airpower ... and deterrence.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post26 Dec 2018, 02:26

element1loop wrote:
geforcerfx wrote:Something based off the F-35s engines using the F-35's avionics suite and having 2-3 times the range and stealth payload would still be one hell of a deterrent.


And a fairly cheap tactical VLO probe tanker program would provide that, plus would sell in big numbers to F-35 operators everywhere, dramatically extending allied airpower ... and deterrence.


That's what I've been thinking too. However, I wonder how vulnerable the fighters and takers will be during refueling.
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element1loop

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Unread post26 Dec 2018, 03:44

citanon wrote:
element1loop wrote:
geforcerfx wrote:Something based off the F-35s engines using the F-35's avionics suite and having 2-3 times the range and stealth payload would still be one hell of a deterrent.


And a fairly cheap tactical VLO probe tanker program would provide that, plus would sell in big numbers to F-35 operators everywhere, dramatically extending allied airpower ... and deterrence.


That's what I've been thinking too. However, I wonder how vulnerable the fighters and takers will be during refueling.


In the midst of other F-35, within the context a major F-35 attack, with all that incredible SA and auto-prioritization and coop-engagement, they would not be that exposed IMHO, especially with EA/EW support from F-35 and Growler.

Sim it out in various realistic scenarios with J20, Su57, S400, VHF, develop some guideline 'CONOPS', roles and tactics. I'm betting they'll survive their tasks ... plus preserve the big tankers.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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mixelflick

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Unread post26 Dec 2018, 14:14

jetblast16 wrote:@mixelflick Teh, he, he, he :D

Some more dream-like qualities I've been musing: sustained Mach 2 in level flight in full dry thrust with 8 internal AAM missiles; high-degree of automation throughout the jet; 100-125 Kilowatt solid-state infrared fiber laser with conformal aperture for "hard kills" against air-to-air threats out to 3-4 miles; possible ramjet capability via combined cycle approach using common inlets, ejectors, and fuel; engine sustained sea level thrust in military power...34,000 LBS.

To me, the PCA is a "no compromise" design; it must be the total package. By definition, it can't be cheap, as it will represent the very tip of the spear, so to speak, of the United States Air Force's global projection of power. A plane with the above capabilities could actually act as a type of (strategic) deterrent.


Now we're talking! I honestly believe the F-22 is already capable of sustained mach 2 supercruise. Even if it's not, mach 1.8 is close enough. Granted it uses more fuel etc. but insofar as lofting AMRAAM's further and faster.. Speaking of which, I think8 AMRAAM's would be the absolute minimum. I'm thinking more like 10-16. We don't want to have it fly with missile trucks, we want it to be a missile truck.

The laser weapon is enticing, but given its weight and cost considerations, I rather doubt it'll make it into production. I could be wrong.. I forsee total augmented thrust being in the neighborhood of 100,000lbs, as the aircraft itself will likely weigh as much (full internal fuel and weapons load). The engines may well even give it 120,000lbs. As someone else here said, no compromises.

Since it'll be so expensive, the point about not being able to afford many is a valid one. The real question: How few could make a difference? 30? 50? 100??. If for the express purpose to putting out fires in short conflicts, 50 may suffice. But the focus now is on China so yeah, I think 300 - 400 would be the bare minimum.This is a question of $ and guts. Does the USAF have the guts to pursue a primarily air to air powerhouse and fund it with $ that'll be taken away from other programs?

And will Congress do the same?

Those are the real questions that need to be answered IMO...
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jetblast16

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Unread post26 Dec 2018, 17:55

@mixelflick Some more thoughts :devil:

The sustained Mach 2 (M2) cruise would be in its fully armed (maximum stealth) configuration, where the jet could sustain that Mach number in full dry thrust, just before military power...giving it deep, penetrating range at ~1,300 mph.

The 8 AAM internal load-out is a conservative estimate; it could potentially hold more, but I wanted to emphasize a serious internal fuel load, a plethora of internally-mounted sensors, tons of internally-concealed offensive/defensive/communications equipment, and an internal laser of high average output power.

The laser, in my opinion, is a must have for the baseline jet...imagine placing a golf ball size spot at 50-60 Kilowatts onto an incoming air-to-air missile, with automatic cueing and aiming by the jet's computers/ sensors:)

Another thought I had was for an internally mounted, high-velocity, arming-piercing 20mm cannon, using sabot rounds with a 700 round magazine.

Some designations for my "paper airplane" :devil:

F-24A (Condor?)
F-36A (Vanguard)?
F-36A (Defender)?
Bringing BLAST since 2004...(In my opinion)
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mixelflick

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Unread post26 Dec 2018, 18:51

Man, you are cooking with gas now. These capabilities sound mouth watering.

The name "Condor" is taken.. If I'm not mistaken, that's the NATO code name for the Russian cargo jet the AN-124. "Vanguard" is a great name however, just like the financial services firm. The laser deal.... I still have difficulty imagining it, as I'm not aware of any current, operational laser weapon on an aircraft - especially a fighter .It would be a real head turner though, that's for sure. I sort of figured the first airborne laser on a fighter type aircraft being defensive in nature. But hey, we're dreaming so why not.

This is fun. Sort of like working for Sputnick News and writing fiction about Russian super weapons :mrgreen:
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element1loop

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Unread post27 Dec 2018, 16:26

jetblast16 wrote:The 8 AAM internal load-out is a conservative estimate; it could potentially hold more, but I wanted to emphasize a serious internal fuel load


Tardis weapon bay? (bigger inside than out)

F-36A Terminator :P
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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