JASDF may be in the market for more F-35s

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Dragon029

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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 12:14

Very interesting; I wonder how much range is enough for Japan? Fukuoka is a little under 800NM away from Beijing for example; with one of the new adaptive cycle engines that would be within the F-35A's unrefuelled air-to-ground combat radius; Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, etc are also all within range, which should be sufficient to maintain a decent offensive defence and enable further strikes supported with tankers.

If they were going to modify the F-35 to hold more missiles they'd probably have to do something like make the bays bulge out more and put a rail on the outer doors; or maybe with SACM and 6x internal air-to-air AMRAAM capability they could offer a compromise of 4x Meteor equivalents and 4x AIM-120C / AIM-9X equivalents. Maybe even if MSDM has enough range they could look at squeezing 6x Meteors into the bays and saying that a few MSDMs in the towed decoy bay is equivalent.

Or hell, maybe they can pull an ASH and look at doing stealthy external weapon pods, or maybe they could do weird conformal weapon housings on top of the fuselage for rail-launched SRAAMs, like a mix of the SEPECAT Jaguar and F-16's CFTs. For extra separation safety put them on trapeze launchers like with the F-22's side bays (except where they point them upwards).
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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 15:33

The proposed large Japanese fighter for the 2030s is similar in class to a candidate for the Penetrating Counter Air program for the USAF.
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ricnunes

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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 20:36

bring_it_on wrote:
...Their concept for an all-new aircraft includes internal carriage of six long-range air-to-air missiles, such as MBDA Meteors, and two of short range. Looking for great range and endurance, they have produced concept designs for a fighter larger than the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and much larger than the F-35.
...


Isn't the F-35 going to carry six long-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM-D) with Block 4?

Of course it won't carry the two of short range internally at the same time as the six long-range air-to-air missiles but is this that much of a difference?
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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 20:47

ricnunes wrote:Isn't the F-35 going to carry six long-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM-D) with Block 4?


That's the plan but it looks like Japan wants something the range of Meteor which is too wide to put in 3 per bay.
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bring_it_on

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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 21:06

Meteor might be but a VFDR AMRAAM leveraging the Mustang II inlets could very well since it was purposely designed to take up the same volume as the AMRAAM. Granted that this is not a known program of record, but it is much easier funding a missile upgrade then making wholesale fighter design trades for just that reason alone.
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ricnunes

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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 23:11

SpudmanWP wrote:
ricnunes wrote:Isn't the F-35 going to carry six long-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM-D) with Block 4?


That's the plan but it looks like Japan wants something the range of Meteor which is too wide to put in 3 per bay.


Yes indeed, that's why I mentioned the -D version of the AMRAAM.
Doesn't the -D version of the AMRAAM have a considerable extended range from latest -C variant (-C7 if I'm not mistaken) and if yes, shouldn't it (AIM-120D) be considered a "long range AA missile" as well?
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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 23:49

Well, Japan is collaborating to develop an advanced seeker for Meteor.
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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 01:40

ricnunes wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:
ricnunes wrote:Isn't the F-35 going to carry six long-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM-D) with Block 4?


That's the plan but it looks like Japan wants something the range of Meteor which is too wide to put in 3 per bay.


Yes indeed, that's why I mentioned the -D version of the AMRAAM.
Doesn't the -D version of the AMRAAM have a considerable extended range from latest -C variant (-C7 if I'm not mistaken) and if yes, shouldn't it (AIM-120D) be considered a "long range AA missile" as well?


The -D has the same motor as the -C5 and the only range increases that it gets is from it's GPS INS that allows for an accurate high arching profile that has gravity assisted end-game maneuver energy. I think the idea of "considerable range increase over the C7" came from rumors that the D was getting a new motor. Given the press that we have, the rumor perpetuated until it became "common knowledge".
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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 10:19

The D does get a range bump but it is nowhere near the level of what the Meteor will get on account of the fact that its design specified longer range and better end game kinematics over the AMRAAM. Aim-120D was to be a better missile, and significantly so over the C but it was to be a hold over until the next generation of weapons were developed. I guess after doing nothing for 4-5 years we are now finally looking to invest in a NG weapon for these platforms.
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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 16:12

The "triple the NEZ of the missile it is replacing" was specifically targeting the AMRAAM-B, not the C and certainly not the new motor of the C5 & beyond.
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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 19:10

Right but regardless the Meteor will have longer range and better kinematics against the D which is essentially a C flying a more efficient trajectory. For the F-35 that would be less important since it carries both and you could potentially develop a 2 meteor and 4 Aim-120D configuration (perhaps) plus the fact that it isn't forced to go defensive at range. But yeah if one wants a longer range AMRAAM one will have to design one in such a way where it doesn't add to the bay space issue like the meteor i.e. still 6 inside the raptor and still a growth to 6 inside an F-35.
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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 19:32

Keep in mind that the quote is about NEZ and not absolute range.

The AIM-120-D's 2-way datalink and GPS INS make it VERY accurate at long range.
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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 19:46

Of course it does and I don't think this is being disputed, but a ducted ramjet can also extend range by throttling back and this is one way of extending the range of the weapon and why the USAF and DAPRA both narrowed down on it for the Boeing and Raytheon demonstrator. As far as pure rocket motor performance is concerned the Aim-120D will be similar to the C but of course it will be more accurate and will have more efficient and precise trajectory hence likely greater effective range and kinematic performance. A ramjet on the other hand has higher specific impulse so is more effecient,

As I had mentioned earlier, it makes little sense to go for 4 meteors vs 6 aim-120Ds as part of the expanded capability but if one wants a longer ranged Aim-120, there are ways to get that without sacrificing bay carriage. The VFDR AMRAAM looked into that very thing and this dictated the design of the inlets for that weapon concept. It will be far easier and many times cheaper to upgrade a missile as opposed to creating a brand new fighter for that one requirement alone.
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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 19:58

You are right on the absolute range issue and it being far cheaper to develop e new missile vs redesigning a plane just to get a 6+2 config.

Personally, I have always liked the GD AAAM Proposal for not only increasing magazine size, but also increasing range and multi-mode seeker. I am lucky enough to live near the March AFB Museum where their F-14 has the GD AAAM Mock-up installed.

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ricnunes

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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 23:56

Thanks for the heads up about the AIM-120D :)
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