The USAF has built and flown a full-scale Next Gen Fighter

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jetblast16

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 15:50

“We’ve already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it,” Will Roper told Defense News in an exclusive interview ahead of the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference.


Oh do tell, Mr. Roper, DO tell LOL..
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 16:29

broke records for "concept development to first flight for jet aircraft" or something along those lines most likely.
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mixelflick

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 16:39

It sounds like more than just a demonstrator, which are typically sub scale designs. He went out of his way to say it's a full scale aircraft, and also that they've already "broken records" with it. I took that to mean it went from blueprint to a airworthy vehicle and FAST. Of course, it could be that it also set kinematic records, but that's unlikely. Pushing a prototype that hard doesn't really make much sense.

So good to see USAF finally building a dedicated air superiority machine again. This probably explains why the Russians decided to accelerate their SU-57 program, and "Hunter" drone too. This will put the heat on China to spend even more on an aircraft in the same class. I don't know how much $ they have over there, but it's possible they spend themselves into oblivion like the former Soviets and... collapse?

Anyway, this thing married to the AIM-260 and other things they're working on is going to be scary. Hopefully, they don't repeat the F-22 program's error and build enough of them this time...
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jetblast16

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 16:48

I agree with your sentiments about "records"; probably more along the lines of rapid prototyping, etc. The secrecy of the program doubtless stemming from Chinese and Russian eavesdropping..
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milosh

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 17:05

mixelflick wrote:So good to see USAF finally building a dedicated air superiority machine again. This probably explains why the Russians decided to accelerate their SU-57 program, and "Hunter" drone too. This will put the heat on China to spend even more on an aircraft in the same class. I don't know how much $ they have over there, but it's possible they spend themselves into oblivion like the former Soviets and... collapse?


You are kidding right?

USSR spend around 10% of GDP on military. PRC spend at max something like 2.5%. This is US think tank estimates, official they spend something 1.7%, so lets meet at middle.

With ~2% they spend they are doing quite fine. Look for example PLAAN growth.
Last edited by milosh on 16 Sep 2020, 18:05, edited 1 time in total.
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marauder2048

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 17:20

mixelflick wrote:It sounds like more than just a demonstrator, which are typically sub scale designs.


YF-22, YF-23, X-32 and X-35 were all full scale demonstrators.
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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 17:49

marauder2048 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:It sounds like more than just a demonstrator, which are typically sub scale designs.


YF-22, YF-23, X-32 and X-35 were all full scale demonstrators.


I don't want to belabor the point, but this may be helpful to us in properly referencing...

The 'Y' in YF stands for prototype according to the Tri-Service aircraft designation system*. The 'F' stands for fighter, so YF stands for prototype-Fighter. These aircraft are operated by the US Department of Defense (USAF or USN).

For example, YF-22 is the prototype (technology demonstrator) version of the F-22 Raptor.

The 'X' series is the name given for strictly experimental aircraft; i.e. they are not prototypes.


*http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/afji16-401.pdf
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marauder2048

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 17:57

mixelflick wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:It sounds like more than just a demonstrator, which are typically sub scale designs.


YF-22, YF-23, X-32 and X-35 were all full scale demonstrators.


I don't want to belabor the point, but this may be helpful to us in properly referencing...

The 'Y' in YF stands for prototype according to the Tri-Service aircraft designation system*. The 'F' stands for fighter, so YF stands for prototype-Fighter. These aircraft are operated by the US Department of Defense (USAF or USN).

For example, YF-22 is the prototype (technology demonstrator) version of the F-22 Raptor.

The 'X' series is the name given for strictly experimental aircraft; i.e. they are not prototypes.


*http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/afji16-401.pdf


Roper labeled the current effort a full scale demonstrator. YF-22, YF-23, X-32 and X-35 were full scale demonstrators.
The US had played fast and loose with the designation system over the years. There have been X-planes that were
full scale procurement programs ex: X-16. And some X-planes aren't under DOD auspices.
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tank-top

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 18:10

My bet is on a F-22 variant, possibly printed airframe (just making that up). With the Air Force already squeezed it would make sense that ground support is already somewhat in place. The F-22 with F-35 avionics and modern RAM coatings would be the most plausible rather than something from scratch.

Second plausibility is an air dominance version of the B-21 raider as an F-21... already broken records for LO and endurance (I’m assuming it’s already flown). We have dogfighters, why not medium long range fighter with stand off air to air weapons?
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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 20:28

What tech could this have demonstrated?
Could the next-gen engines (AETP?) be anywhere close to such a milestone?
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marauder2048

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 20:49

juretrn wrote:What tech could this have demonstrated?
Could the next-gen engines (AETP?) be anywhere close to such a milestone?


Novel control effectors for tailless, high AoA transonic or supersonic maneuvering?

The AETP/NGAP timelines don't suggest they'd be mature enough for inclusion at this point.
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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 21:48

juretrn wrote:What tech could this have demonstrated?
Could the next-gen engines (AETP?) be anywhere close to such a milestone?


It might be useful to recall that both GE and PW were each given $billion contract to build aetp engines on Jun 30, 2016. The contracts are due to be completed by Sep 2021.

https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contra ... le/822083/

Even if the prototypes aren't equipped with these, the production ones will likely be.
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jessmo112

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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 22:02

weasel1962 wrote:
BDF wrote:4. Twin engine because I'm guessing payload will be fairly large. Hard to tell what performance requirements there will be and I'm sure they've studied what the trade offs are for things such as super cruise. If that is still valuable that will probably push engine requirements towards a twin engine design.


The Roper hints of "records being broken" strongly hints at this. Twin adaptive cycle engines being most likely the case.

CBO has already highlighted the following DoD plans. "CBO's projection includes purchases of 414 PCA aircraft with an average procurement cost of about $300 million each. Procurement appropriations would begin in 2028, and the first PCA aircraft would enter service in 2030."

Clearly the likelihood of a 2030 service entry date is now realistic.


Will someone tell the Boys in the office of the Navy how it will benefit all parties if the Navy and AF used the same airframe! If we could get a Navy order for 200+ it could bring the price down significantly.
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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 22:05

I think 6G may not be restricted to just hardware improvements. Even Chinese 6G are hinting at the use of AI. I suspect AI may be a feature of new 6G fighters, supplementing 6G pilots.
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Unread post16 Sep 2020, 22:53

weasel1962 wrote:
juretrn wrote:What tech could this have demonstrated?
Could the next-gen engines (AETP?) be anywhere close to such a milestone?


It might be useful to recall that both GE and PW were each given $billion contract to build aetp engines on Jun 30, 2016. The contracts are due to be completed by Sep 2021.

https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contra ... le/822083/

Even if the prototypes aren't equipped with these, the production ones will likely be.


ATEP is exclusively an F135/F-35A compatible engine; it won't be finished until 2022.
There are, by definition, no production versions of technology demonstrators.

NGAD doesn't even have an approved acquisition strategy; Pratt and GE won't finish with
NGAP prelim work until 2022 and there won't be an assessment of the full scale engines until 2025.
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