F-35 Production ready to soar in 2019!

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Corsair1963

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 11:06

Boeing is wasting her energy on the F-15. As now that the Gulf States are full up the prospects are poor to say the least. Honestly, the Super Hornet has far more potential and will be around for another decade or two. As the USN upgrades it to the latest Block III....

As a matter of fact the Super Hornet has a good shot of winning in the Indian Navy Contest and moderate chance with the Indian Air Force. So, a win there could spark additional interest elsewhere.

Considering Boeing has a very good relationship with the USN. I would leverage that to sell the Indian Navy.... :wink:
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quicksilver

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 11:18

“In the past I have argued or suggested that DoD would be better served by smaller production lots of designs that turn over every five years or so. Leveraging computer database advances, just-in-time delivery technology, ALIS-like maintenance software with big data / AI algorithms to predict problems, additive manufacturing (e.g. Amazon distribution "stuff") should manage, if not suppress, what in the past has been higher maintenance and sustainment costs associated with lower production numbers.“

Ah yes...the promise of more technological fairy dust. “It will all work perfectly because we have these new tools...”. Until it doesn’t. You might recall that F-35 was supposed to do things similar to what you suggest above. Now, if the gov’ment’s engineers had their way, the early production lot F-35s would just now be rolling off the line.

Just in time is rarely in-time because it has to exist in a world where “efficiency” (cost) is not the measure of merit, “effective” IS (cost be damned...there is shooting going on. Or st least we’re training for that). That world is also infinitely stochastic, not deterministic and the opposition gets to try to inhibit your support system by killing it or at least the people who run it.

Which suppliers do we see running up to the government eagerly awaiting the opportunity to invest in small lot/short duration production runs, with very large capital investment requirements up front? Not many, and those that do will be making very expensive stuff because they have to recover the cost of the capital investment (and make profit) on very short timelines ( your aforementioned small/short production runs).
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quicksilver

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 11:41

“Certainly not by rolling obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing source refreshes into
decades old designs and then branding them with names like F-15X and Advanced Super Hornet.”

Seems to be working so far...

“Just gotta get to the next competition.”

I was in St Louis some years ago and was amazed at the visible level of deterioration at the McBoeing plant. Far cry from the heydays of the 80s. Grass was getting long...lotsa weeds. We all thought the end was near...

Not so much any more.
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steve2267

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 16:46

quicksilver wrote:“A $300M dollar fighter? How does that sustain your force structure/ability to support war plans? Here’s what we can do for...(100, 120, whatever short of 150)”. Or at least that’s your claim.


The quote (") in front of A $300M dollar fighter? has me confused. I do not recall ever stating $300M dollar fighter anywhere?

I understand your description of how BA is pitching the F-15X, and how that marketing plan is similar to or the same as the Super Duper marketing plan. It worked once, why not again? That's smart business from the BA perspective.

Yes, as a taxpayer, but also as an observer, and possibly as a military person with a bag of money, I do not see how buying a less capable aircraft (F-15X vs F-35A) for more money ($100M vs $89.2M and dropping) makes tactical sense or fiduciary sense. It would seem a return to the business practices of the 1950s where a manufacturer comes up with a nifty, gee whizz aircraft, convinces some general he or the Air Force needs it, and gets that general to write an RFP. Boom...sale! I don't see how the tail wagging the dog is good for the country here. (May be very good for BA shareholders.)
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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quicksilver

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 17:32

You didn’t. I can see where that post might be tough to follow.

“A $300M dollar fighter? How does that sustain your force structure/ability to support war plans? Here’s what we can do for...(100, 120, whatever short of 150)”. Or at least that’s your claim.”

I was playing a seller with a notional underlying rationale for some morphed something or other to the usaf. Elsewhere some have noted (and I agree) that pca is going to be very, very expensive (high end capability, small numbers). So much so that other alternatives will be required if the usaf wants to preserve fighter numbers. Will keep/put LM in a good place for more F-35s of some kind but, BA is not going to go quietly away, and their case will be strongly engineered/supported politically.
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quicksilver

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 18:07

"Yes, as a taxpayer, but also as an observer, and possibly as a military person with a bag of money, I do not see how buying a less capable aircraft (F-15X vs F-35A) for more money ($100M vs $89.2M and dropping) makes tactical sense or fiduciary sense. It would seem a return to the business practices of the 1950s where a manufacturer comes up with a nifty, gee whizz aircraft, convinces some general he or the Air Force needs it, and gets that general to write an RFP. Boom...sale! I don't see how the tail wagging the dog is good for the country here. (May be very good for BA shareholders.)"

"I dont see how...". It's about politics -- interest, perception, narrative and belief. Politics doesn't always make rational sense.
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steve2267

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 18:45

Fair enough.

Thinking out loud... While I do not pretend to understand PCA requirements (have they even been publicly stated?), if the USAF wants beaucoup range, that means lots of gas, which means lots more structure (compared to F-35 or F-22), which means lots more weight. If the USAF still buys aircraft "by the pound," then beaucoup anything means beaucoup bucks. Now if they want speed to go with that range... this sucker is going to be VERY 'spensive. If you're talking Mach 3 for an hour or more... you've gotta be in the Blackbird-size category. At today's prices... $300M might be cheap.

So I see where you are from a BA-perspective, "Here's what we can do for you..." A neat trick would be if BA could somehow leverage F-15 underlying structure (since tooling already exists) as the basis for a twin blower, tailless tactical aircraft. But...

From a practical, "Here's what we can do for you" Lockheed Martin angle... I could see an F-35A stretch and an AETP-derived blower. That should get you range with lots of gas, and some sort of dash speed, maybe even a modest supercruise capability. One blower would help keep the cost down. If you could stretch the weps bays out to 22' long, somehow, someway... now you have the possibility of stealthily carrying two hypersonic weapons... maybe genuine ABM shots (e.g. SM-2 BlkIIB). You would probably have to give up your supermaneuverability, high AOA, but this would be a penetrating air weapon, possibly to accompany or sweep ahead of B-21's. If LM could make the F-35X tailless, or with only four aero surfaces (ala YF-23), then you might further decrease it's RCS, possibly even against the VHF dars.

A similar stretch might be accomplished with the F-22, and incorporating F-35 avionics (incl. software) and durable stealth materials... but I would think such an F-22X would be far more expensive than an F-35X stretch.

FWIW.
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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quicksilver

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 19:08

“Thinking out loud... While I do not pretend to understand PCA requirements (have they even been publicly stated?), if the USAF wants beaucoup range, that means lots of gas, which means lots more structure (compared to F-35 or F-22), which means lots more weight. If the USAF still buys aircraft "by the pound," then beaucoup anything means beaucoup bucks. Now if they want speed to go with that range... this sucker is going to be VERY 'spensive. If you're talking Mach 3 for an hour or more... you've gotta be in the Blackbird-size category. At today's prices... $300M might be cheap.”

I agree.
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marauder2048

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 19:42

quicksilver wrote:“Certainly not by rolling obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing source refreshes into
decades old designs and then branding them with names like F-15X and Advanced Super Hornet.”

Seems to be working so far...


In the most recent competitions (LRS-B, LRSO, Gremlins, Grey Wolf) for platforms that must contend
with modern defenses they lost.

If you are arguing that Boeing's niche is producing relatively expensive second/rear-line and attrition
reserve platforms and that's an important capability to maintain then that's a very different argument.

But it's not clear that that ability helps in designing front-line platforms.
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marsavian

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 19:56

From a practical, "Here's what we can do for you" Lockheed Martin angle... I could see an F-35A stretch and an AETP-derived blower. That should get you range with lots of gas, and some sort of dash speed, maybe even a modest supercruise capability. One blower would help keep the cost down. If you could stretch the weps bays out to 22' long, somehow, someway... now you have the possibility of stealthily carrying two hypersonic weapons... maybe genuine ABM shots (e.g. SM-2 BlkIIB). You would probably have to give up your supermaneuverability, high AOA, but this would be a penetrating air weapon, possibly to accompany or sweep ahead of B-21's. If LM could make the F-35X tailless, or with only four aero surfaces (ala YF-23), then you might further decrease it's RCS, possibly even against the VHF dars.


I think LMT will stretch F-35 anyway in a decade or so to produce this type of aircraft. They will marry a F-35C type wing with a stretched less draggy F-35A fuselage and they will have a successor to F-35A to sell in direct competition against Tempest/SCAF, say called F-35D.

However the PCA will probably be as you also suggest a stealthy maneuverable blackbird sized aircraft to get maximum range out of two engines. It's going to be the successor to F-111/F-15E and so range will be key to hit long and hard. The distances in the Pacific are huge and you would want something at least 1000-1200nm in combat radius with internal fuel and this would also be ideal for Israel to reach most of Iran on a stealthy unrefueled mission. Japan will pick up some too, maybe Australia, any country with a large distance to defend/strike.
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quicksilver

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 20:43

marauder2048 wrote:
quicksilver wrote:“Certainly not by rolling obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing source refreshes into
decades old designs and then branding them with names like F-15X and Advanced Super Hornet.”

Seems to be working so far...


In the most recent competitions (LRS-B, LRSO, Gremlins, Grey Wolf) for platforms that must contend
with modern defenses they lost.

If you are arguing that Boeing's niche is producing relatively expensive second/rear-line and attrition
reserve platforms and that's an important capability to maintain then that's a very different argument.

But it's not clear that that ability helps in designing front-line platforms.


The point is (if you go back to my opening comments and follow on this topic) that BA has stayed in the game and built fighters in St Louis in spite of losses. They have been politically deft in the effort, and they are not yet finished. Obtw, their stock was up ~6% yesterday after the earnings call.
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 20:49

marsavian wrote:They will marry a F-35C type wing with a stretched less draggy F-35A fuselage and they will have a successor to F-35A to sell in direct competition against Tempest/SCAF, say called F-35D.

The fuselage of the F-35A is no different from the fuselage of the F-35C from an OML standpoint.
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steve2267

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 21:29

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
marsavian wrote:They will marry a F-35C type wing with a stretched less draggy F-35A fuselage and they will have a successor to F-35A to sell in direct competition against Tempest/SCAF, say called F-35D.

The fuselage of the F-35A is no different from the fuselage of the F-35C from an OML standpoint.


True, but if the fuselage is stretched, then the larger C wing may make sense. I'm sure something like that would fall out from the many trades that would have to be considered.
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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steve2267

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 21:31

marsavian wrote:However the PCA will probably be as you also suggest a stealthy maneuverable blackbird sized aircraft to get maximum range out of two engines. It's going to be the successor to F-111/F-15E and so range will be key to hit long and hard. The distances in the Pacific are huge and you would want something at least 1000-1200nm in combat radius with internal fuel and this would also be ideal for Israel to reach most of Iran on a stealthy unrefueled mission. Japan will pick up some too, maybe Australia, any country with a large distance to defend/strike.


I did say "blackbird-sized" aircraft. Did I also say maneuverable? If I did, I probably mis-typed. If you want an airframe to go Mach 3, maneuverable it probably will NOT be. If you specify Mach 3 AND maneuverable... might as well toss COST and TIMETABLE / SCHEDULE out the window. High Mach and maneuverability are antithetical.
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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marsavian

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Unread post31 Jan 2019, 21:48

I doubt it will be greater than Mach 2 dash speed as very high speed is anti-stealthy too from an IR POV. Stealth, range, payload, maneuverability, speed in that order of priorities. This will probably be the last designed manned USAF stealth aircraft built before the 6th generation hypersonics arrive.
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