F-35 and X-47B

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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Unread post28 Aug 2015, 19:19

Why Navy Pilots Hate The KC-135
25 Aug 2015 fightersweep.com

"...As seemingly low-stress and effortless as that may look, I can assure you it is not so with the Iron Maiden, as Naval Aviators have come to call the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker. Unless the -135 is equipped with wingtip pods and long hoses, it can be one of the least pleasant portions of any given sortie.

The brilliant design has a single hose coming out of the boom, less than ten feet long, and very rigid. While it’s often easier to get plugged in compared to other drogues, staying in is an entirely different ball game. In this system, the boom operator actually has quite less to do compared to when they top off USAF aircraft. I don’t know if this design was a conspiracy by frustrated boom operators to keep themselves amused or not, but I’m sure watching a rookie in the basket is entertaining for them.

The process entails roughly ten minutes of continuous, intense concentration. Not your ordinary intense concentration, but more like a surgeon’s concentration when operating. To get fuel to flow, the receiver must push the hose forward enough to cause a bend or “kink”. Since the hose is so short, any sudden movement in any direction means you are a half second away from breaking your airplane and the tanker; the most likely result is ripping the refueling probe off your aircraft–definitely not something you want to happen over Indian Country.

The problem can be exacerbated if there is an overzealous boom operator. The boom can still be controlled and moved by the operator. Depending on his/her experience level, this can be a great help or a nightmare. In my experience, the operators that just let me do my own thing often gave me the best time while plugged in. For example, if you are lined up left while trying to plug in, and you make your correction to the right, it’s not uncommon for the operator to make his/her own correction at the exact same time. This will leave you now lined up right of the basket…and the dance continues. This kind of out-of-phase scenario can also happen anytime there is a course deviation while already plugged in.

“Basket slaps” on the aircraft are not uncommon; it is hard to dance with the Maiden and not get roughed up. While I love the Hornet, there’s some questionable design philosophy when it comes to tanking. The probe is on the right side of the nose. Also, on the right side is an AOA (Angle Of Attack) probe. There are two hydraulic systems on the aircraft and each are run off of its respective motor. All of the hydraulic services besides flight controls (landing gear extension, brakes, anti-skid, etcetera) run off the right motor. Murphy’s law says you will have a basket slap on the right side and the AOA probe will be forcibly removed. Where would it go? You guessed it: straight down the right engine intake!

Now you are looking at a potential single-engine scenario with degraded AOA information going to your air data computer and flight control computers. Not the kind of airplane you want to bring back to das boat.

The only silver lining is that the KC-135 has the highest flow compared to any other tanker. Still, on a combat sortie where up to 40 minutes can be spent plugged into her basket, she’s definitely earned her nick-name of “Iron Maiden”."

Source: http://fightersweep.com/2881/why-navy-p ... he-kc-135/

Turbulent Tanking
Uploaded on Jul 19, 2009 Spencer Abbot

"This is a video of a Navy F/A-18 Hornet tanking from Air Force KC-10's and KC-135's (the KC-135 is particularly challenging-- pilots call it the "Iron Maiden"). In turbulent weather, especially at night, tanking can be even tougher than landing on the ship. The basket is heavy, and it can damage the plane if it strikes it, to include shattering the canopy. One can only imagine the amusement of the tanker crews (to whom we're very grateful) as they watch us flail around on a bumpy day."

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Unread post05 Sep 2015, 14:21

Good explanation of the 'bow wave' phenomena and relevant to any HOSEyDrogueY refuellin' effort manned / unmanly.
X-47B Passes Unmanned Refueling Test
Summer 2015 [or 29 Jul 2015] Jeff Newman [NAN] Naval Aviation News

"The U.S. Navy’s X-47B is the first unmanned aircraft to successfully refuel mid-flight—a feat test pilots found more challenging than landing it on an aircraft carrier.

"THE AIRCRAFT ONLY HAD A MATTER OF INCHES IN WHICH IT COULD MOVE versus a number of feet on the aircraft carrier,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff McLean, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 project officer for the X-47B, the Navy’s demonstrator for a future carrier-based unmanned aircraft. “The aircraft carrier can move with the ocean, but it’s still relatively stable, whereas the [drogue] basket can just move so wildly and unpredictably in space that it’s the real challenge.

Despite the challenges, the X-47B linked with an Omega KC- 707 tanker and received more than 4,000 pounds of fuel during three days of testing in April over the Chesapeake Bay using the Navy’s probe-and-drogue method—the same one used by Navy pilots when refueling manned aircraft.

An F/A-18 pilot by training, McLean was one of two operators during the first two days of testing, a task he said amounted to pushing buttons that initiated the aircraft’s takeoff and, once it had positioned itself behind the tanker, prompted the refueling process.

The probe-and-drogue method requires the refueling aircraft to insert a fixed probe into a drogue, or basket, attached to a tanker’s fuel hose.

The chief difference between a manned and unmanned refueling, McLean said, comes in accounting for the constant bobbing motion of the drogue—which resembles a badminton shuttlecock—as it trails behind the tanker.

Whereas human pilots can instinctively anticipate the drogue’s movement, the X-47B has cameras that track the basket and perform calculations to predict where it will be at the moment of connection.

“The drogue bounces around in space, so a pilot can make tiny little corrections in real time, whereas the X-47B is doing a whole bunch of computations and essentially sets up a time and space where it thinks the basket is going, and if the basket is bouncing up and down, that can be difficult,” McLean said.

The plane uses GPS to approach the tanker until it is about 20 feet from the drogue, at which point the optical system takes over, McLean said.

Like any aircraft, the X-47B also produces a thin, forward pulse of air known as a “bow wave,” which can move the basket just as the probe is approaching, similar to a speeding car pushing falling snowflakes over its hood.

“That’s why it’s such a huge achievement, because of all those unknowns, and when you’re talking about inches of precision required, any bump the tanker hits only magnifies movement for the basket, like the whip of a tail,” McLean said.

Another challenge is that, with its probe out on the right wing, the X-47B has to fly with a focus on keeping that part of the plane stable while refueling. While landing on a carrier, the X-47B can keep its center mass steady as in normal flight.

The first day of testing was spent calibrating how the drogue would react to the X-47B’s bow wave. The team programmed the aircraft to approach the basket from a certain position, but found that the bow wave moved the basket up and to the right far enough that the X-47B could not chase it. So they offset the approach up and to the right by one foot, and achieved a successful plug on their last attempt of day one.

“The next day we went back and we nailed it because we’d figured out where the plane should be positioned to make the basket predictable and it was pretty much automatic,” McLean said. “Before the optical system takes over for the fine movements of the basket, the plane is flying by GPS at a relative position to the tanker, so we had to figure out how high up and down the plane should start that approach to reduce the bow wave’s effect.”

McLean contrasted the refueling of an X-47B with that of an F/A-18, which has its probe far back enough on the nose that pilots are able to easily anticipate the plane pushing the basket up. “It’s a very predictable movement. We basically know where the basket is going to move,” he added.

Turbulence remains mid-air refueling challenge
McLean said the team had three objectives during testing: three successful plugs, to stay connected for five minutes, and ultimately transfer 3,000 pounds of fuel. It accomplished the first two goals during the second day, and wrapped up the third in short order on day three.

“It didn’t last very long,” McLean said of the third day of testing. “Pretty straightforward. It was quick because it was successful right away.”

“Pretty straightforward” only applies when the refueling is conducted amid clear skies and the basket is affected by minimal turbulence.

“It is predictable, but the challenging variable is turbulence,” McLean said. “If there’s turbulence, then the unmanned refueling becomes much, much harder. I think that is something that with more testing they could improve the system, but I think it’s always going to be a challenge. That’s the challenge for manned refueling too, is the motion of the basket.”

The Navy is examining a range of potential follow-on activities involving the X-47B air vehicles, which remain in flyable stand-by status at Patuxent River, Maryland.

Jeff Newman is a staff writer and contributing editor to the Naval Aviation News magazine."

PHOTO: http://navalaviationnews.navylive.dodli ... 73_web.jpg

Source: http://navalaviationnews.navylive.dodli ... 5-web1.pdf (6.6Mb)
OR
http://navalaviationnews.navylive.dodli ... ling-test/
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X-47BbehindOMEGAtanker.jpg
Last edited by spazsinbad on 05 Sep 2015, 15:45, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post05 Sep 2015, 15:09

BOOM BOOM BABY!

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Unread post10 Sep 2015, 03:11

UCLASS in ‘acquisition hell’ awaiting requirements redemption
09 Sep 2015 James Drew

"The long-running debate over the mission of the US Navy's carrier-launched unmanned surveillance and strike aircraft might have set the "UCLASS" competition back few years, but the maritime force's acquisition chief says getting the requirements right from the beginning is vital.

“This programme is in acquisition hell right now. It’s been inside the building for three years, just trying to get out and see the light of day,” Navy assistant secretary Sean Stackley said at a Navy League forum in Washington 9 September. “We’ll debate on it some more this fall (September to November) with OSD to determine whether or not we have the right programme, not just for the navy, but the nation.”...

...“It will be five to 10 years before [UCLASS] is operational, and then it will be flying for another 20 to 25 years. We’ve got to get it right,” he says. “We’re all being patient. Industry is being patient. The navy views this as a critical programme and we’ve got to leverage what unmanned offers to our [carrier] air wing sooner rather than later.”...

...A request for proposals release to launch the competition is now expected in 2016 pending an ongoing top-level requirements review by the Office of the Secretary of Defence (OSD). The navy has pushed back the anticipated fielding date for UCLASS to 2023.

An OSD spokeswoman tells Flightglobal that the top-level review will inform the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2017 budget submission to Congress in February 2016. She would not discuss when the review would be complete or any of the preliminary results.

Asked how UCLASS was being factored into the navy’s 2017 budget request, Stackley says a request for information has been issued to industry seeking an update on their respective programmes, and the feedback would influence ongoing budget discussions...."

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -r-416585/
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Unread post10 Sep 2015, 03:45

Just shows the UCLASS is a long ways off... :(
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Unread post10 Sep 2015, 08:32

spazsinbad wrote:
UCLASS in ‘acquisition hell’ awaiting requirements redemption
09 Sep 2015 James Drew

"The long-running debate over the mission of the US Navy's carrier-launched unmanned surveillance and strike aircraft might have set the "UCLASS" competition back few years, but the maritime force's acquisition chief says getting the requirements right from the beginning is vital.

“This programme is in acquisition hell right now. It’s been inside the building for three years, just trying to get out and see the light of day,” Navy assistant secretary Sean Stackley said at a Navy League forum in Washington 9 September. “We’ll debate on it some more this fall (September to November) with OSD to determine whether or not we have the right programme, not just for the navy, but the nation.”...

...“It will be five to 10 years before [UCLASS] is operational, and then it will be flying for another 20 to 25 years. We’ve got to get it right,” he says. “We’re all being patient. Industry is being patient. The navy views this as a critical programme and we’ve got to leverage what unmanned offers to our [carrier] air wing sooner rather than later.”...

...A request for proposals release to launch the competition is now expected in 2016 pending an ongoing top-level requirements review by the Office of the Secretary of Defence (OSD). The navy has pushed back the anticipated fielding date for UCLASS to 2023.

An OSD spokeswoman tells Flightglobal that the top-level review will inform the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2017 budget submission to Congress in February 2016. She would not discuss when the review would be complete or any of the preliminary results.

Asked how UCLASS was being factored into the navy’s 2017 budget request, Stackley says a request for information has been issued to industry seeking an update on their respective programmes, and the feedback would influence ongoing budget discussions...."

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -r-416585/


...out of town.. One wonders if this is another instance of the recent FFs? Perhaps there is enough common requirements to design/ develop a basic air form/ propulsion (advent) and add wings and weapons for the event. Shirley, GAG can dial-up for maintenance what task should appear on the flight deck. :)
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Unread post30 Sep 2015, 01:10

House, Senate Armed Services Committees Agree to Support UCLASS, Additional Aircraft Procurement
29 Sep 2015 Megan Eckstein

"...The Navy had originally requested $134.7 million for its Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system, and while the House bill would have authorized that spending, the Senate had concerns that the Navy would face delays while awaiting the Department of Defense Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Strategic Portfolio Review. Instead, the Senate included in a Defense Department-wide research and development fund “$350.0 million for continued development and risk reduction activities of the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS–D) aircraft that would benefit the overall UCLASS program, and $375.0 million to be used for a competitive prototyping of at least two follow-on air systems that move the Department toward a UCLASS program capable of long-range strike in a contested environment,” according to the joint statement.

“The conferees believe that the Navy should develop a penetrating, air-refuelable, unmanned carrier-launched aircraft capable of performing a broad range of missions in a non- permissive environment. The conferees believe that such an aircraft should be designed for full integration into carrier air wing operations—including strike operations—and possess the range, payload, and survivability attributes as necessary to complement such integration,” according to the statement.

“Although the Defense Department could develop land-based unmanned aircraft with attributes to support the air wing, the conferees believe that the United States would derive substantial strategic and operational benefits from operating such aircraft from a mobile seabase that is self-deployable and not subject to the caveats of a host nation.”

The document goes on to state the committees agreed on the $350 million for UCLASS, and though the $375 million for competitive prototyping did not make it into the bill, language directs the Navy to apply some of the $305-million plus-up towards prototyping.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the HASC seapower and projection forces subcommittee, praised the funding increase in a statement Tuesday, saying that “as access-denied environments proliferate, the Carrier Air Wing of the future must contain a mix of manned and unmanned aircraft capable of striking in contested airspace. Integrating an unmanned aircraft fully into the Air Wing must be a priority in the years ahead.”..."

Source: http://news.usni.org/2015/09/29/house-s ... rocurement
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 12:13

Carriers Crucial In War With China – But Air Wing Is All Wrong: Hudson
08 Oct 2015 Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

"WASHINGTON: At $4.7 billion over budget, Ford-class aircraft carriers have taken a beating in Congress. This morning, though, the House Seapower subcommittee chairman will roll out a report from the conservative Hudson Institute that’s a ringing defense of the carrier — but which also contains a stinging indictment of the aircraft that fly from it. The report calls for upgrading current multi-mission planes for longer range and building multiple new types of more specialized aircraft, potentially including two different models of UCLASS drone.

Nuclear-powered super-carriers are irreplaceable, co-author Bryan McGrath told me, and the Ford is a good design. But, he said, “the air wing will have to be completely rethought…to win and deter the war we cannot lose.”...

...The Navy’s standard F-18 Hornet can hit targets roughly 600 miles from the carrier without refueling. Against China, that’s not enough: Chinese anti-ship missiles like the DF-21 and DF-26 have ranges between 2,000 to 2,500 miles. As a result, “the air wing is what drives much of the carrier’s vulnerability,” McGrath said. “If we create… an air wing that buys some of that range back, then the aircraft carrier operates in a less risky profile,” striking from greater and safer distances.

Central to this long-range future air wing is the UCLASS drone, Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance & Strike. There’s been a fierce debate over whether UCLASS should be optimized for long-duration surveillance patrols, with strike secondary — the Navy’s position — or for deep-penetration strikes, with surveillance secondary — the position of Rep. Forbes and Sen. John McCain. McGrath and his colleagues say that we need both, even if that means buying two kinds of UCLASS aircraft.

“I had been for the longest time a strike-oriented-UCLASS guy,” McGrath said. “We have plenty of surveillance with P-8 [Poseidon] and [MQ-8C Triton, aka] BAMS.” But while writing this report, he said, he realized the Poseidons and Tritons are unstealthy, unmaneuverable, vulnerable aircraft that might not be make it from their distant land bases to provide surveillance inside an A2/AD zone. That puts a premium on a survivable scout drone that can fly from the carrier itself.

Two kinds of UCLASS would be just a start. The Navy has spent decades getting rid of specialized airplanes — the S-3 Viking sub-hunter, the F-14 Tomcat interceptor — in favor of multi-purpose fighter-bombers, the F-18 and future F-35. But it’s time to bring back the specialists, the report argues. For example, the next Navy fighter, the still-notional F/A-XX, needs to be a thoroughbred air superiority machine rather than a fighter-bomber.

UCLASS, F/A-XX, and “sea control” sub-hunters make a formidable shopping list, especially in a time of sequestration. Even in flush budget times, it would take decades to implement the new air wing. But then aircraft carriers are proverbial for how long they take to turn around."

Source: http://breakingdefense.com/2015/10/carr ... ng-hudson/
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 16:03

Is the DF-26 in service? I've heard of the Chinese testing the DF-21 against stationary targets, at much less than their max range (930 miles). I've yet to hear of any tests/deployments of ASBM with a 2500 mile range.
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 17:07

wrightwing wrote:Is the DF-26 in service? I've heard of the Chinese testing the DF-21 against stationary targets, at much less than their max range (930 miles). I've yet to hear of any tests/deployments of ASBM with a 2500 mile range.



China has yet to demonstrate the ability to hit a moving target with any ballistic missile.
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 17:32

Chinese newspaper: Spy Satellites Will Target US Carriers
08 Oct 2015 Wendell Minnick

BEST READ AT SOURCE. "...The DF-21D is operational and deployed; the status of the DF-26 is unclear."

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /73568146/
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 20:44

Given that SM-3 was able to knock down a satellite, I'll bet GBI could reach quite a few. :wink: And considering the Mod to the SM-3 ASAT was a software mod, is there any reason to believe SM-3 Block IIA wouldn't be just what the doctor ordered for dealing with those targeting sats?
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 00:16

And McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Serves Committee, went straight to Defense Secretary Ash Carter to make his case in a letter today.

The Navy is in the midst of developing a final Request for Proposal for UCLASS — a process which has been delayed several times in the face of serious question about the balance between range, weapons payload size the reconnaissance mission — and McCain clearly wants the Navy to change direction.

As a former Navy congressional liaison, the chairman certainly knows how to work the system. He isn’t alone in pushing for the navy to change direction. Rep. Randy Forbes, chairman of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee, has also weighed in on UCLASS. However, Forbes pushed for a smaller payload of at least 1,000 pounds.

The senator was pretty specific in his letter. He said the Navy should build a system: “unrefueled endurance several times that of manned fighters; a refueled mission endurance measured in days; broadband, all-aspect radar cross-section reduction sufficient to find and engage defended targets; and the ability to carry internally a flexible mix of at least 4,000 pounds payload.”

On top of all that, MCCain urges the Pentagon to actually use the UCAS-D — better known as Northrop Grumman’s X-47B — to learn more about how to use carrier-based drones.



http://breakingdefense.com/2015/03/mcca ... ike-plane/

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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 00:28

AS IF ONLY (the spew - so that she didn't become drug addled) but also UCLASS seems to want to become a gold plated heavier than thou doer of all things and more so that it becomes so expensive, heavy and complicated it ain't neva gonna get bilt. I wish them well - the X-47B demoed some amazing abilities but nothing other than that. Now the pollies seem to want to demo their creepy requirements creep so that.... see above/here same on this thread at time 24 Mar 2015: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=20468&p=287874&hilit=Clark#p287874
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 01:01

spazsinbad wrote:
Carriers Crucial In War With China – But Air Wing Is All Wrong: Hudson
08 Oct 2015 Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

Source: http://breakingdefense.com/2015/10/carr ... ng-hudson/


Sharpening the Spear: The Carrier, the Joint Force, and High-End Conflict
by Seth Cropsey , Bryan McGrath & Timothy A. Walton
viewtopic.php?p=305107#p305107
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