Pressure increases on [Canada] to stay or leave F-35 program

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marsavian

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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 02:16

ricnunes wrote:
lukfi wrote:
ricnunes wrote:the F-35 is (and by far) the aircraft with the longest range of all competitors (aircraft still in the Canadian competition).

Really? I mean, internal fuel capacity is one thing but you can put a lot of drop tanks on a Super Hornet, plus it has buddy refueling capability.


Below you can read that the Super Hornet combat radius for an interdiction mission armed with 4x1000lb bombs, 2xAIM-9 Sidewinders, FLIR pod and two (2) drops tanks is 390 nautical miles:
https://web.archive.org/web/20111026182 ... r/f18.html

Similarly a F-35A combat radius for an interdiction mission armed with 2x2000lb bombs and 2xAIM-120 AMRAAMs (and of course internal fuel only) is proven to be at least 669 nautical miles. Here:
https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Docu ... c_2017.pdf

So this is at least 279 nautical miles more than the Super Hornet and as you can easily imagine (specially after reading sprstdlyscottsmn's post) that a 3rd drop tank won't compensate such very big (just not to say huge) diference.


Combat radius specification:

Interdiction with four 1,000 lb bombs, two Sidewinders,
and two 1,818 liter (480 U.S. gallon: 400 Imp gallon) external tanks (total fuel = 20,800 lb) ,
navigation FLIR and targeting FLIR: Forward Looking Infra-Red
hi-lo-lo-hi

390 nm


From your same link with three tanks (total fuel = 24,000 lb) it's 520nm but are any draggy navigation/targeting pods carried ? Remember though that any Super Hornets bought now would be Block III including an extra 3500lb fuel in CFTs (no drag penalty) which adds 130nm to radius.

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spazsinbad

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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 06:26

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:Having done a drag analysis on the Super Hornets drop tanks I can tell you that three tanks gets you almost nothing more than two gives you, and five gives you less range than three.

This was the same situation (but depending upon variables often such as winds at altitude) the Skyhawk A4G was sometimes better off with two 300 gallon drop tanks instead of three 300 gallon. We did not have the 400 gallon centre-line drop tank which would have been useful. The KIWI RNZAF A-4Ks found 400 useful for their long ferry flights to SEA.
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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madrat

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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 14:55

Is there enough drag to justify active drag cancellation using some sort of engine? If you only have to run a few hours at a time you should be able to justify an extra hundred pounds to exchange fuel lost to drag to something more useful.
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steve2267

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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 15:45

Active drag cancellation.... wow there's a term I'd not heard of before. :doh:

Active drag cancellation == Thrust, which costs mo gas, which is why you were carrying the tanks in the first place. But now you are suggesting burning gas "for a few hours" to cancel drag.

OK, you're idea is not totally crockpot, though it is not far off. There is something called "base bleed" whereby you inject a gas into the base region (i.e. the trailing edge region of a body; on an aircraft, typically the blunt(er) aft end of the fuselage, or, in this case, the aft end of external fuel tanks.) You can burn fuel to create an exhaust case to try to inject into the base region. Or you could have (heavy) compressed bottles of gases stored somewhere. Or you could try engine bleed air. The issue with bleed air is that you are taking energy away from your engine, so you are making it less efficient (for a few hours). Then you have all the plumbing required to get that bleed air to where you need it... which means in this case, snaking lines from the engine through the fuselage, out the wing to the pylon, down the pylon and out the back of the fuel tank. Sound fraught with peril? A real maintenance nightmare? Yup. McDonnell Douglas initially tried blown flaps on the F-4 Phantom. Was a real maintenance headache. Navy didn't like them.

So... I'm almost 99% sure this idea is a non-starter, not even worth looking at performing a trade study on, though one could do that to put numbers to it to kill it for good.

One of the other problems you are dealing with is that External Fuel Tanks create drag in a multitude of ways. Drag is not just "drag", rather drag is made up of
  1. base drag
  2. pressure drag -- high pressure on the front, low pressure (base drag) on the back
  3. skin friction drag
  4. wave drag (rises quickly as you approach the speed of sound)
  5. interference drag (thing struts and pylons and stuff)
  6. lift-induced drag (producing lift is not drag free; more lift means more drag; add weight --> more lift --> more drag)
and I've probably left some off. You typically address all of these things by shaping -- the whole "it looks more aerodynamic" thing. So you can try to create more gee-whizz shapes. OR you can, like, you know... carry all the gas you need in the ultimate aerodynamic gas can, the aircraft fuselage and wings itself.

In summary, burning gas to "offset" drag, while technically might offset or alleviate base drag in some small areas, is not going to help you overall. That and "active drag cancellation" usually means THRUST.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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lbk000

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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 18:25

Lmao "just add more thrust" you act like it's so simple you can just muse your way out but here you are already guilty of the most elementary engineering mistake of the bandaid solution deathspiral. Have you so soon forgotten the original premise that somehow you could (key word) trivially slap on more range with more gas? Now you want more engine, where are you going to put it? Whats the added r&d and maintenance cost? Are you gonna fight with all this baggage?
This is a runaway train that will result in something that completely fails the objective of affordability and competency.

I think you're struggling to defend an idea that inherently lacked merit.
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steve2267

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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 21:38

lbk000 wrote:Lmao "just add more thrust" you act like it's so simple you can just muse your way out but here you are already guilty of the most elementary engineering mistake of the bandaid solution deathspiral. Have you so soon forgotten the original premise that somehow you could (key word) trivially slap on more range with more gas? Now you want more engine, where are you going to put it? Whats the added r&d and maintenance cost? Are you gonna fight with all this baggage?
This is a runaway train that will result in something that completely fails the objective of affordability and competency.

I think you're struggling to defend an idea that inherently lacked merit.


Hey, no problemo... just get some of those little teeny weeny model aircraft gas turbine engines... okay okay... maybe need something a little bigger, though... maybe a CAE J402-CA-100 turbojet (Harpoon), P&W CAE TJ-150 (MALD), or Microturbo TRI-40 (JSM). Of course, these are turbojets, not turbofans, so their gas mileage sucks, and not sure they are designed for thousands of hours of a lifetime of service (more like an hour, if that, before KABOOM!). So... even if they were reliable enough... probably gonna need more gas, ya know... to decrease the drag because you were carrying more gas to begin with.

Ain't engineering trade-offs a bitch?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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lukfi

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Unread post17 Jan 2020, 22:00

steve2267 wrote:Out of curiousity, when you wrote this, and perhaps even now, what aircraft that is still in production do you think would make the best choice for Canada? And why?

I'll admit, the selection for Canada is a tough one. My detailed analysis below, TL;DR at the bottom.

The Super Hornet would be an easy upgrade from the CF-18, with minimal pilot training. I hear Australia is happy with theirs. But after what Boeing did to the Bombardier C-series, I can understand if Canada's willingness to buy American jets, and specifically Boeing jets, is not high. You want to buy weapons from a reliable partner that offers industry offsets, not one that tries to kill your aviation industry.

The F-35A would probably be a good fit capabilities-wise. But it is expensive to operate and Canada's defense budget is tight. Case in point: Austria bought 15 Eurofighters and then didn't have the money to fly them. Had they bought cheaper planes instead (used ones included), they would have been better off. By the time Canada's new jets are delivered, the F-35 should already reach full operational capability, and chances are the issues with spare parts supply and the ALIS software will have been solved as well. Canada supplies some parts for the F-35 so local industry would get some benefits.

The Eurofighter has powerful engines and powerful radar but other than that I don't see a good reason to get it instead of the Rafale, which seems to me is usually one technological step ahead. It had an AESA radar first, and back in 2008 when the Swiss tested it, the Rafale was better in all of their tests (the EF was particularly bad at air-to-ground back then), reportedly had better sensor fusion, and pilots liked it the most. CFTs are an option so it would have good range. Rafale is said to be cheaper to operate than the EF. But otherwise still relatively expensive, plus at the moment is incompatible with American weapons like the AMRAAM, so that's extra cost to integrate it or to buy missiles from MBDA.

Finally, the Gripen E has disadvantages in its lower range (currently no CFT option) and payload, but I would not discount it entirely. It still has all the bells and whistles of a modern fighter, is easy to maintain and built for harsh winter conditions. It's designed mainly to defend Sweden against air threats, but its ability to operate with simple equipment makes it an interesting choice for foreign missions. Saab is able to offer technology transfer and industry participation that the U.S. won't do, and if they can deliver on the promise of low cost, according to this article Canada could use the money for their navy.

In my opinion, the best course of action for Canada would be to buy some more used legacy Hornets (Finland may have some available after 2025, and they were built 1995-1999) and postpone the selection of their replacement by a few years. They will get trolled relentlessly for it, but by 2023 both the F-35 and Gripen E will have reached full operational capability, and the F-35 might be a much more mature aircraft that it now isn't.

TL;DR Need a mature plane now? Get the Rafale, because f*** Boeing. Can keep the Hornets flying for a few more years? Wait until 2023-2024 and then pick between F-35 and Gripen E.
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ricnunes

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Unread post18 Jan 2020, 02:01

marsavian wrote:Image



Yes, I seem to have missed the picture above, this in my last post.
The values (390nm and 520nm) are indeed conflicting and it seems odd (I would say almost impossible) that a 3rd and centerline mounted external fuel tank could increase the SH's range in 130 nautical miles - this like you said would basically be the "range boost" that less draggier CFT's would give to the SH.
So I would say that one of the values is wrong or most likely, they use different "metrics".

But even so and even if the 520 nautical miles values is lets say the "most accurate value for the comparison" then it's still quite/much lower than the F-35A's 669 nautical miles combat radius.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post18 Jan 2020, 03:08

They've created zero drag automobiles by essentially creating fans to warp the air around the car body with some net thrust. Not exactly legal on the road in practice. It works very well in practice although age old rules prevent it from being used. Propellers and turbines are perfectly legitimate for aircraft, though, so to me it's just another common problem dying for a simple solution. Hell, there was a time when barrel shaped aircraft were impossible and a waster of time. Then jets came around and that was the dominate way to approach fast jet designs for a decade. But then we found new shape and new engine technology made barrel shaped designs impractical. Life moves in cycles and I'm not so sure your premise is sound.

You are saying that you couldn't create an aerodynamic shape using controlled thrust around an object that creates a controlled drag form that would offset the losses because the airflow of the existing designs is already too much. And you could easily engineer it in such a way as to make the idea look improbable to ever be efficient. I get it. I hope this isn't some 'boomer' thing.

I've met plenty of people that shoot down ideas only for someone elsewhere to tweak it a little bit and become successful. The world is full of failure by design and not so full of guys that actually want to fix inherent problems.
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Unread post18 Jan 2020, 09:27

steve2267 wrote:Out of curiousity, when you wrote this, and perhaps even now, what aircraft that is still in production do you think would make the best choice for Canada? And why?

I have to admit it's not an easy choice. I thought about it for a bit, wrote down my thoughts on each candidate, and I wasn't able to post it for some reason... though it still counted towards my daily limit as a forum newbie so I wasn't able to try again :D

So anyway, this is the "TL;DR". I'm more than happy to share my detailed thoughts if the forum lets me.
Need a new fighter now? Get the Dassault Rafale.
Can keep the Hornets flying for a few more years? (Buy more used ones from Finland.) Wait until 2023-2024, by then the F-35A and Gripen E will have reached full operational capability and current logistics/maintenance issues of the F-35 may be solved. Then pick between F-35A, Gripen E and Rafale F4.
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Unread post18 Jan 2020, 11:13

Seeing as the replacement of the Finnish Hornets won’t begin until 2030 at the earliest, I doubt they will have any airframes to sell https://www.defmin.fi/en/administrative ... m_timeline
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Unread post18 Jan 2020, 22:33

krieger22 wrote:Seeing as the replacement of the Finnish Hornets won’t begin until 2030 at the earliest, I doubt they will have any airframes to sell https://www.defmin.fi/en/administrative ... m_timeline


Deliveries commence 2025, end 2030.
I'm sure the idea would generate sympathy if they are still needed around 2023. Finland does a ton of second hand deals anyway (though it nearly always buys, like Hawks from Switzerland, Grobs from the UK). Handing off a limited batch of the least worn out could work. Probably JASSMs too could be sold too since they would need factory refreshing near that point.
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lukfi

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Unread post18 Jan 2020, 22:50

Both Finland and Switzerland expect deliveries of new aircraft to start in 2025 and finish by 2030, assuming they pick a winner and sign the contract in 2021.
Hypothetically, if Canada waited until 2024 to award a contract, deliveries would take place between 2028 and 2033. Canada currently expects to fully retire their Hornet fleet in 2032. Although they would get trolled relentlessly for it, bolstering the ranks with some ex-Finnish or Swiss F-18C/Ds could be just enough to postpone the full retirement by 1-2 years.
Even more hypothetically, if you buy a plane that will be delivered in 4 years but you need it now, there is the option of leasing it from a foreign air force, though I am not aware of anyone else that routinely offers this except Sweden.

// Oh look, the forum did not eat my long post why I recommended the Rafale to Canada, it was pending moderator approval and now it appeared here viewtopic.php?p=433298#p433298
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Unread post20 Jan 2020, 09:47

lukfi wrote:
steve2267 wrote:Out of curiousity, when you wrote this, and perhaps even now, what aircraft that is still in production do you think would make the best choice for Canada? And why?

I have to admit it's not an easy choice. I thought about it for a bit, wrote down my thoughts on each candidate, and I wasn't able to post it for some reason... though it still counted towards my daily limit as a forum newbie so I wasn't able to try again :D

So anyway, this is the "TL;DR". I'm more than happy to share my detailed thoughts if the forum lets me.
Need a new fighter now? Get the Dassault Rafale.

Can keep the Hornets flying for a few more years? (Buy more used ones from Finland.) Wait until 2023-2024, by then the F-35A and Gripen E will have reached full operational capability and current logistics/maintenance issues of the F-35 may be solved. Then pick between F-35A, Gripen E and Rafale F4.


You may need to rethink this. Australia and Canada have already agreed for Canada to buy Australia's Legacy Hornets. Some have already been delivered.

Dassault has withdrawn from the competition, it's not an option. It can't meet the specifications.
Aussie fanboy
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Unread post20 Jan 2020, 11:32

If, Canada really wanted a 4.5 Generation Fighter. They would have already selected one. Fact is Trudeau fumbled the ball badly on this one. Now he can't find a way to save face!

:shock:
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