Commander Naval Air Forces wants more F/A-18s

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marauder2048

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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 05:50

popcorn wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:
popcorn wrote:I give the Navy a pass on UCLASS. Crawl, walk then run.


Hang on. UCAV-N was initiated all the way back in 1999!
NG had its cranked-kite planform configuration by the Fall of 2000.

At this pace, only the evolution of bi-pedal hominids has taken longer.

All in good time. The Navy has a full plate and risks indigestion partaking too much, too soon of the tech buffet. Lots of priorities competing for finite resources. Stingray will advance the learning curve and mitigate risk for the day when UCLASS is resurrected and deemed ready for a primetime CAW role.



Too much, too soon? They spent 6 years on technology development/operational assessment followed
by a down select in 2007, first flight of the X-47B in 2011 and several years demonstrating (at sea, on the boat).

It's a priority if Navy leadership makes it a priority; I'm hopeful that Forbes gets the SecNav nod.
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 06:14

Now you get it 'marauder2048' - the USN TURTLE - slow and steady wins the race - no HARES here.
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popcorn

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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 06:18

They proved hey could land a UAV on a carrier. Great first toddler step...
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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sferrin

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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 06:25

popcorn wrote:They proved hey could land a UAV on a carrier. Great first toddler step...


And launch from a carrier, and aerial refuel, and strike targets. Sorry but "toddler step" is just showing your ignorance.
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 06:28

spazsinbad wrote:'marauder2048' said:

It seems to me you do not understand naval aviation priorities. Everyone gets a say and everyone involved gets to be as safe as possible in the circumstances. The USN NavAv safety record improvement bears this out. For example a crash on deck not only is hazardous for the aircraft & crew but also the deck crew. Therefore have none - good deal all round.

IIRC a ZUNI rocket misfiring into bombed up & fuelled deck park almost caused the loss of that aircraft carrier - NOT only aircrew waiting in said aircraft but deck crew and firefighters drawn from same crew. For the sake of saving a few minutes for each launch, aircraft were armed before going to the catapult; instead of being armed ON the catapult - a safety precaution waived for erroneous reasons. Where did I mention prioritising safety?

Sure operating smaller aircraft and an all Hornet fleet means something for the safety record however NavAv started more than 100 years ago so best look at the long view methinks. I'll find the graphic again.




Just consider one combat related advantage: there's no need to recover a battle damaged UCAV.
Surely, that's a plus for deck crew safety.

In reality, how much of the improved safety record is just due to to general trend of
improved mechanical, mission systems, weapons systems and avionics reliability/durability?

In other words, has better engineering has been the dominant driver of improvement and now
human factors are the major contributors to mishaps? If pilot error is a major contributor then
surely unmanned has the potential to help on that score.

The incident on Forrestal drove insensitive munitions (IM) requirements as much as anything else.
So a UCLASS would have an IM compliant weapons load, launch fuel-light for safety, hit a VARS equipped
CMV-22B and would then be target bound.

Stingray, a Tomcat-sized aircraft according to some reports, has to launch very close to MTOW i.e.
full of fuel. Surely, this is less safe to all involved.
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popcorn

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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 06:44

sferrin wrote:
popcorn wrote:They proved hey could land a UAV on a carrier. Great first toddler step...


And launch from a carrier, and aerial refuel, and strike targets. Sorry but "toddler step" is just showing your ignorance.

Ah... Reverting to form .. Oh well..
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 07:10

marauder2048 wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:Well well w e l l - despite all the moaning & groaning only recently the USN decided to fast track the STINGRAY (tanker/recon version of new UCLASS via X-47B). How about dem apples - still won't be fast enough for some but they don't count in overall scheme of things.... Go here: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=20468&p=356314&hilit=STINGRAY%21#p356314

And I forgot to 'quote' 'johnwill' and his experiences with the F-111B testing. The USN were 'infuriating' but for reasons I have outlined - ignore those reasons at your peril - which is not at peril Robotically but there are other humans involved as has been mentioned above. Read the thread mentioned for a goodly dollop of details about it - despite all else.

Bringing back the S-3 or acquiring the V-22 VARS would be fast tracking the tanker option but
that would mean admitting that most of the wear-and-tear on your Super Hornet fleet was
self-inflicted (the 5-wet, tanker configuration chews up airframe hours like you wouldn't believe).

The logistics support for the S-3 isn't there anymore, so putting the jets back into service would not be simply and cheap. Also, the S-3s were pretty old when they were withdrawn from the fleet. The V-22 VARS option aint cheap either.

One factor is that complicates things, especially for the Super Hornet, is that the budget for Operations & Sustainment is separate from the procurement. The strained maintenance budget results in less comprehensive depot maintenance programs, which ultimately increase maintenance costs in fleet. New jets were leaving the production line, while squadron jets are grounded due to depot backlog or parts delays.

This is slowly changing, with increases in depot funding, and squadron maintenance budgets. The Navy still needs more F/A-18E/F jets, as well as F-35Cs.
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 07:45

'marauder2048' likes to go off on irrelevant tangents:
"Just consider one combat related advantage: there's no need to recover a battle damaged UCAV. Surely, that's a plus for deck crew safety...."

Pretty broad brush question however battle damaged manned NavAv aircraft are recovered - and NOT recovered - all depends on the length of the piece of string and whatever else you seem to dream up that is irrelevant.

'marauder2048' said:
"...In reality, how much of the improved safety record is just due to general trend of improved mechanical, mission systems, weapons systems and avionics reliability/durability?

In other words, has better engineering has been the dominant driver of improvement and now human factors are the major contributors to mishaps? If pilot error is a major contributor then surely unmanned has the potential to help on that score...."

Wow. IF you want to guess then I'll guess the same - so? In other words the pilot is usually to blame and if not the pilot the maintainer and if not the maintainer/pilot the manufacturer and if not all those then the damn airplane designer. Having robotic navav aircraft does not remove humans from that chain - only from the aircraft itself.

'marauder2048' said:
"...The incident on Forrestal drove insensitive munitions (IM) requirements as much as anything else. So a UCLASS would have an IM compliant weapons load, launch fuel-light for safety, hit a VARS equipped CMV-22B and would then be target bound.

Stingray, a Tomcat-sized aircraft according to some reports, has to launch very close to MTOW i.e. full of fuel. Surely, this is less safe to all involved."

And weapons are live only on the catapult just before launch - plenty of hands on helmet videos show this aspect.

Now all of a sudden 'UCLASS' needs to air refuel from a manned CMV-22B. How about a STINGRAY. STINGRAY air refuelling from another STINGRAY sounds doable but why? Make the 'missionised STINGRAY follow on' mission capable off the catapult in the first place. Why does NOT fully fuelled have to do with it. In fact taking out the unnecessary support aircraft is what it is all about. That support aircraft has to be launched and landed also I'll assume - what are the odds?
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 08:25

neurotech wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:Well well w e l l - despite all the moaning & groaning only recently the USN decided to fast track the STINGRAY (tanker/recon version of new UCLASS via X-47B). How about dem apples - still won't be fast enough for some but they don't count in overall scheme of things.... Go here: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=20468&p=356314&hilit=STINGRAY%21#p356314

And I forgot to 'quote' 'johnwill' and his experiences with the F-111B testing. The USN were 'infuriating' but for reasons I have outlined - ignore those reasons at your peril - which is not at peril Robotically but there are other humans involved as has been mentioned above. Read the thread mentioned for a goodly dollop of details about it - despite all else.

Bringing back the S-3 or acquiring the V-22 VARS would be fast tracking the tanker option but
that would mean admitting that most of the wear-and-tear on your Super Hornet fleet was
self-inflicted (the 5-wet, tanker configuration chews up airframe hours like you wouldn't believe).

The logistics support for the S-3 isn't there anymore, so putting the jets back into service would not be simply and cheap. Also, the S-3s were pretty old when they were withdrawn from the fleet. The V-22 VARS option aint cheap either.

One factor is that complicates things, especially for the Super Hornet, is that the budget for Operations & Sustainment is separate from the procurement. The strained maintenance budget results in less comprehensive depot maintenance programs, which ultimately increase maintenance costs in fleet. New jets were leaving the production line, while squadron jets are grounded due to depot backlog or parts delays.

This is slowly changing, with increases in depot funding, and squadron maintenance budgets. The Navy still needs more F/A-18E/F jets, as well as F-35Cs.


Either way the USN doesn't need more Super Hornets. It needs more F-35C! How is it better to acquire more of the less capable Super Hornets. When the US Military needs to increase production of the more capable F-35A/B/C to get the cost down. Honestly, the logic for more Super Hornets is just not supported by the facts.

The future is the F-35 so it's survival is more paramount and let's not forget that a number of other countries are developing and fielding 5th Generation Fighters. Like China (J-20 and J-31) and Russia (PAK-FA)....

Another point if the Super Hornet is "good enough". Then why should anybody rush to buy the F-35 now???
Last edited by Corsair1963 on 05 Dec 2016, 09:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 09:01

neurotech wrote:The logistics support for the S-3 isn't there anymore, so putting the jets back into service would not be simply and cheap. Also, the S-3s were pretty old when they were withdrawn from the fleet. The V-22 VARS option aint cheap either.

One factor is that complicates things, especially for the Super Hornet, is that the budget for Operations & Sustainment is separate from the procurement. The strained maintenance budget results in less comprehensive depot maintenance programs, which ultimately increase maintenance costs in fleet. New jets were leaving the production line, while squadron jets are grounded due to depot backlog or parts delays.

This is slowly changing, with increases in depot funding, and squadron maintenance budgets. The Navy still needs more F/A-18E/F jets, as well as F-35Cs.


The Navy was going to buy either a C-3 (re-fuselage'd S-3) or a V-22 variant for COD anyway.
They've decided on a V-22 variant with extended fuel tanks. VARS is a very logical progression and
has the advantage of not being reliant on winds over the deck, CATOBAR or an open deck
at all for launch and recovery.

*If* the US had not retained bases in Iraq and Afghanistan as was the plan back in 2013 - 2014.
carrier aviation would have been needed and the O&S costs and burden would have fully justified.
But It hasn't been needed. After all, the Australians are managing to operate their legacy and
Super Hornets from land bases just fine.
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 09:19

So the USN have forgotten about STINGRAY? Puhleez. The VARS Osprey is for the USMC / F-35B air refuel or DSO Distributed STOVL Ops (or even refuelling other V-22s going on a mission with the F-35Bs - explained in other threads). Read all about the STINGRAY in the link provided.

BTW the robotic carrier aircraft will be always under the control of the mission pilot onboard the carrier, who will send commands to the robot as required which then decides how to carry out command in the circumstances. Once the robot is near the carrier it will also be controlled by ATC / Air Boss & LSO with the mission guy dropping out. Then, during carrier approach, the robot can be waved off by not only the LSO but the Air Boss with ATC dropping out. Safety Safety Safety. When the robot is on deck it may be controlled by means other than how X-47B was commanded by human directors, mimicking directions of ordinary human / aircraft directors on deck. Safety Safety Safety - HUMANS in the loop - UhOH.
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 09:32

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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 09:45

spazsinbad wrote:'marauder2048' likes to go off on irrelevant tangents:
"Just consider one combat related advantage: there's no need to recover a battle damaged UCAV. Surely, that's a plus for deck crew safety...."

Pretty broad brush question however battle damaged manned NavAv aircraft are recovered - and NOT recovered - all depends on the length of the piece of string and whatever else you seem to dream up that is irrelevant.


Just highlighting an obvious safety advantage of unmanned; you can ditch the aircraft without having to worry
about recovering the pilot. No crews are endangered.

'
Wow. IF you want to guess then I'll guess the same - so? In other words the pilot is usually to blame and if not the pilot the maintainer and if not the maintainer/pilot the manufacturer and if not all those then the damn airplane designer. Having robotic navav aircraft does not remove humans from that chain - only from the aircraft itself.


It's more of a limit argument; technology helps pilots, deck crew, maintainers and manufacturers improve safety.
But at some point it's diminishing returns so the question is: which factor starts to dominate? The figure you show
doesn't provide convincing evidence one way or the other.


Now all of a sudden 'UCLASS' needs to air refuel from a manned CMV-22B. How about a STINGRAY. STINGRAY air refuelling from another STINGRAY sounds doable but why? Make the 'missionised STINGRAY follow on' mission capable off the catapult in the first place. Why does NOT fully fuelled have to do with it. In fact taking out the unnecessary support aircraft is what it is all about. That support aircraft has to be launched and landed also I'll assume - what are the odds?


If the concern is deck safety then doing less on the deck, with a lighter aircraft is better.
Automatic manned-to-unmanned AAR has already been demonstrated with X-47B and the CMV-22B
is going to be there anyway and isn't dependent on CATOBAR.

The point of all of this is that in 1999 the Navy embarked on a high-end, first day of the war UCAV which
it has long needed and needs now more than ever.
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 10:30

I think the current path for the MQ-25 Stingray is the correct one. That is to develop it primarily as a tanker. Which, as it matures could expand to additional roles including but not limited to ISR, Network (relay communications) and of course Strike Missions.
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Unread post05 Dec 2016, 10:37

'marauder2048' responded:
"It's more of a limit argument; technology helps pilots, deck crew, maintainers and manufacturers improve safety.
But at some point it's diminishing returns so the question is: which factor starts to dominate? The figure you show
doesn't provide convincing evidence one way or the other."

The graph provided shows how safety has improved over the years with different milestones of change along the way. What more could you ask for? We all look forward to the increasing returns of the 'Magic Carpet' in the case of the Super Hornet (& similar results or even better with the F-35C). Three cheers for the little computer robot inside each aircraft. However you can be unconvinced as you wish - doesn't matter to me on a thread about USN wanting more Shornets.

'marauder2048' said:
"...If the concern is deck safety then doing less on the deck, with a lighter aircraft is better...."

WUT? How is a fuel heavy - designed to be so - robot on a deck better than a not so heavy? EMALS will be better than STEAM - steam is OK I imagine. We have to guess a lot because no details about STINGRAY extant except vague statements.

'marauder2048' said:
"...Automatic manned-to-unmanned AAR has already been demonstrated with X-47B and the CMV-22B is going to be there anyway and isn't dependent on CATOBAR...."

AAaah But... is CMV-22B going to be VAR ready? The manned tanker (not the robot tanker) needs stuff to allow the robot to make contact and take on fuel. Heard anything about that? What do your crystal balls say? IF the robot has to be catapulted then what is the problem with the air to air refueler being catapulted simultaneously?

Yes - what is the point of all this on 'the USN hankers after more Shornets apparently' thread.
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