CSBA Analyst Calls For F-35C Redesign

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quicksilver

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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 01:18

When the institutional Navy really wants something, obstacles melt gracefully away (e.g. LANTIRN on Tomcat). When it doesn’t, it will look for every reason why it “can’t...for reasons beyond its control.” Most forget or never knew how controversial Hornet was in its early days, owing in-part to the opposition in NAVAIR (including some of the alums).

Sometimes the Naval Services succeed in spite of themselves.

https://www.nytimes.com/1981/11/02/opin ... ogram.html

https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Requirem ... 0270374752
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 01:31

lbk000 wrote:I don't even have words for this study. There's just so much that makes me go "wut" that I can't even begin to pick at it.

You might as well prescribe a lobotomy to ward off the possibility of Alzheimer's.


170 pages of spaghetti thrown on the virtual walls of the Congress right in front of testimony season and the (somewhat delayed) budget release. Who knows what might stick...which is the intent, when someone else chooses to highlight but one item contained therein.
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 04:42

quicksilver wrote:When the institutional Navy really wants something, obstacles melt gracefully away (e.g. LANTIRN on Tomcat). When it doesn’t, it will look for every reason why it “can’t...for reasons beyond its control.” Most forget or never knew how controversial Hornet was in its early days, owing in-part to the opposition in NAVAIR (including some of the alums).

Sometimes the Naval Services succeed in spite of themselves.

https://www.nytimes.com/1981/11/02/opin ... ogram.html

https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Requirem ... 0270374752


Great links. One totally unrelated part of the second article caught my eye.

A comparison of requirements to fielded capabilities revealed that the F-14 was 5,000 pounds overweight, failed to meet required ranges, could not attain combat ceiling, and missed required maintenance and reliability as well as several other requirements. The F-14 did not meet its cost target either (F-18, 1975).
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 05:27

Well, here’s another classic —

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4xJBvKJht78

Note the on-camera with George Spangenberg (prominent NAVAIR alum) from about the 2:00 mark. One can search for his 1975 testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee for a fuller appreciation of his opposition to the program.
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 05:35

Wow - thanks for the video - it is uncanny how one could substitute F-35 for F-18 to hear the same negative DIATRIBE. :devil:
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 15:51

I definitely wouldn't minimize a capability of a fighter/combat aircraft just because its subsonic.
The last time someone did that which were the Argentinians over the Falklands in my memory doesn't fail me they paid deadly for that - The potentially superior supersonic Mirage IIIs got their asses kicked by the subsonic Sea Harriers.

It's not JUST the fact it was subsonic. The design didn't exactly speak to being a high energy fighter/able to defend itself. Or a fighter at all. If anything, it was a stealthed up A-6. Nothing more, nothing less IMO.

No?? Glove vanes doesn't ring you a bell? And how about the Tomcat needing 50 maintenance hours for every flight hour, while for example the Super Hornet requiring only 5-10 maintenance hours for every flight hour. Here:
https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/ch ... ory-02021/

Yes, I've heard about glove vanes... and the fact they eventually did away with them. Did the Tomcat ALWAYS require that many maintenance hours? If it did, shame on the Navy for accepting a fighter like that. Do you really think if that was the case though, Grumman wouldn't correct it in ST21?

You could be right when you say that the Navy won't go the A-12 route again however I would say that the chances of this would still and always be much higher (even if still very slim) than a Tomcat 21 or something along those line.

I'm saying that the Navy should have procured ST21 in lieu of the SH. Had it done so, it would have been a tremendous capability jump for the time, and in fact today as well (if they funded upgrades, same way the do the SH).

LoL. Lets see:
- Such Tomcat 21 even having a theoretical "better performance" it would be less capable and much less survivable and mission capable than the both the F-35C and the A-12. Heck it would be even less survivable than the Super Hornet - For example the huge F-14 RCS. I doubt that someone could reduce its RCS that much - there isn't much that can be done with an old design which it even has a sweep-wing design on top of that.

Never said it'd be less survivable than F-35 or A-12. Did say it would have run circles around the Super Hornet for fleet air defense, and run circles around the SH in the air interdiction mission. Hell of a lot faster, more range and bigger load carrying capability. Nor did I ever say it'd be stealthy. What I am saying, is that instead of SH's sitting on decks today there could be ST21's, and ST21 would have no problem performing the SH's roles with no small improvement in those areas where SH is lacking.

And I just can't see the Navy having a non-stealth aircraft in the future. If the F/A-XX is to happen you can bet that it will be stealth too.

You can't see the Navy having a non-stealth aircraft in the future? Then why is the Navy buying more SH's, ASH upgrade kits and telling the world the future carrier wing will consist of 2 squadrons of SH's and 2 squadrons of F-35C's???

I'm also puzzled with your "All we can hope for now is a more capable F-35C" comment. Really??
Even if you're talking about performance alone, could you mention a single and modern Carrier-based aircraft with better performance than the F-35C?? Cause I cannot see any...[/quote]

It's not that I don't think the F-35C is incapable of the mission. It is. But I don't compare "other carrier aircraft" vs. the F-35C. I consider all types of near peer adversary aircraft, land and carrier based. The J-20 concerns me, as does their efforts on the J-31. The J-20 concerns our pilots too, as evidenced by a recent discussion I had with F-15 and even 22 pilots at an air show last year.

BOTTOM LINE

I'm no fan of the SH, and think we could have done better for our pilots. It would be nice if the Navy had a super-cruising, ultra long ranged, monster AESA, AIM-120D/upgraded Phoenix/9x equipped fleet air defense/air interdiction powerhouse sitting on carrier decks today, but that's not what happened. Let's just get as many F-35C's as fast as possible, and hope it and the SH are "enough" to meet current and future threats.
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ricnunes

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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 20:12

mixelflick wrote:It's not JUST the fact it was subsonic. The design didn't exactly speak to being a high energy fighter/able to defend itself. Or a fighter at all. If anything, it was a stealthed up A-6. Nothing more, nothing less IMO.


mixelflick, can I ask you a favor?
When quoting me please leave the parts which I posted under quotation, just like I'm doing when quoting your post. This is because it becomes hard to interpret your post since I spend most of the time trying to figure what parts of the text was posted my me and what parts were posted by you instead to actually understanding your post/point.
Thanks in advance.

Well, regarding the part that I quoted above, yes the A-12 was more than able to defend itself. It was designed to carry the AMRAAM as one of its main self-defense weapons (the other being the HARM missile).
From what I could gather, the the A-12 usual and planned ordinance was to be something like 2xLarge air-to-ground weapons (likely 2000lb class weapons) plus 2xSelf-defense missiles (either AMRAAMs or HARMS) on the main weapon bays plus 2xSelf-defense missiles (either AMRAAMs or HARMS) on two small bays (dedicated for self-defense missiles).
So and for example it could carry
- 2xLarge air-to-ground weapons + 2xHARMS + 2xAMRAAMs
or,
- 2xLarge air-to-ground weapons + 4xAMRAAMs

It was planned to carry a multi-mode AESA radar (with air-to-air radar modes of course) and I would say that in an air-to-air mission it could easily carry something like 8xAMRAAMs, all internally of course.
And independently of what aircraft I would be flying I would certainly fear - and a lot! - an aircraft which not only is stealth but also carries 8 AMRAAMs (internally), this independently if such threat aircraft being subsonic.

So yes, the A-12 would definitely be more than able to defend itself and was to be something way more than a "stealthed up A-6".

Here:
Image

Image

In the image below, notice the lowermost-right profile:
Image


mixelflick wrote:The J-20 concerns me, as does their efforts on the J-31. The J-20 concerns our pilots too, as evidenced by a recent discussion I had with F-15 and even 22 pilots at an air show last year.


I agree with you that the J-20 (and J-31 if it ever materializes) will indeed be a major concern.
And that's another reason why a Tomcat 21 wouldn't make any sense IMO. The Tomcat 21 would be severely outclassed by such threats (J-20 and J-31).

mixelflick wrote:Let's just get as many F-35C's as fast as possible, and hope it and the SH are "enough" to meet current and future threats.


Here, I fully agree with you.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 20:28

disconnectedradical wrote:Tomcat 21 won't have survivability of F-35C or A-12 but I think it would be better than Super Hornet. Super Hornet isn't stealthy either, it doesn't have any real stealth shaping in the fuselage and wings and most of RCS reduction is from angled panels and radar blockers for the engines, which can easily be applied to Tomcat 21 airframe (both Super Hornet and Tomcat 21 airframe are pretty much new). Also Tomcat can have a much bigger radar and has built in IRST. Though Tomcat 21 would be much more expensive to maintain than Super Hornet, no denying that.


I tend to agree with your assessment above in general.

However I don't believe that the Tomcat 21 RCS couldn't be lowered to similar levels as the Super Hornet RCS.

The main culprit here would IMO be the sweep-wings, which as I'm sure you know in the case of the F-14 its wing angle varies automatically depending on factors such as the F-14's speed. As such, I would say that this is likely a source for a big RCS that probably can't be lowered at all.
And if I'm right about the potential cause and effect between sweep-wings and larger RCS then it's also important to notice that the same feature (sweep wings) is also one of the main culprits for the F-14 high maintenance requirements.

So the main problems of the Tomcat (-B or -D) would still be carried over to the Tomcat 21, this independently of how many improvements the Tomcat 21 could have had.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 20:49

tomcattech wrote:This lack of foresight has also effected the battle group's anti-sub capability to a great degree with the S-3 going away and a shifting focus on helo assets.


I absolutely agree with your last post (which I partly quoted above).
And I would like to comment on the part that I quoted you above - about the S-3 Viking.

It's "funny" that many people mention the need of having a (fast) carrier based fighter-interceptor when the F-35C is more than capable for such role when in fact the biggest threat that (again IMO) a US Navy aircraft carrier (or even any other USN warship) has is NOT from enemy aircraft which can launch anti-ship cruise missiles from afar or even these new Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles that everyone seems to talk about nowadays.
The biggest single threat that a US Navy aircraft carrier or even any other warship would have to face now and in the future are:
- Submarines (from all "colors and sizes", you name it :mrgreen: ).

As such if I was in any way related to the US Navy I would be far more worried about the demise of the S-3 Viking (retired without any replacement) than with the demise of the F-14 - which like it or not, did have a replacement.

Before someone (Xander, I believe) mentioned something about a tentative future A-6F variant. Well, I certainly agree with the logic of such variant. And if Sonobuoys and Torpedoes (and even a MAD if is isn't asking too much) could be put in such aircraft (A-6F) then it should become an interesting replacement for the S-3 (on top of already having good tanker capabilities).
Of course that an A-12 with all the above would be more interesting but...
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 20:57

ricnunes wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:Tomcat 21 won't have survivability of F-35C or A-12 but I think it would be better than Super Hornet. Super Hornet isn't stealthy either, it doesn't have any real stealth shaping in the fuselage and wings and most of RCS reduction is from angled panels and radar blockers for the engines, which can easily be applied to Tomcat 21 airframe (both Super Hornet and Tomcat 21 airframe are pretty much new). Also Tomcat can have a much bigger radar and has built in IRST. Though Tomcat 21 would be much more expensive to maintain than Super Hornet, no denying that.


I tend to agree with your assessment above in general.

However I don't believe that the Tomcat 21 RCS couldn't be lowered to similar levels as the Super Hornet RCS.

The main culprit here would IMO be the sweep-wings, which as I'm sure you know in the case of the F-14 its wing angle varies automatically depending on factors such as the F-14's speed. As such, I would say that this is likely a source for a big RCS that probably can't be lowered at all.
And if I'm right about the potential cause and effect between sweep-wings and larger RCS then it's also important to notice that the same feature (sweep wings) is also one of the main culprits for the F-14 high maintenance requirements.

So the main problems of the Tomcat (-B or -D) would still be carried over to the Tomcat 21, this independently of how many improvements the Tomcat 21 could have had.


I don't think swinging wing will make that much difference in RCS, I think the biggest contribution to RCS is usually the engine face. F-14 intake isn't swept like the Super Hornet's so that can be a problem. So I can agree Tomcat RCS can be reduced but probably not to Super Hornet level but it's not like the difference between a Tomcat 21 and Super Hornet is the same as the difference between Super Hornet and F-35.

From what I read, Lockheed NATF and A/F-X use swinging wing and when in stealth mode the wing is locked at a specific angle.
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 21:09

disconnectedradical,

Yes, I think you made a good point about the engine face.
The F-14 engines are "pod mounted", so any efforts to hide their "faces" should be very limited compared to for example the Super Hornet, this judging from pictures such as this:

Image


Image
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 21:20

Also the F-14 tails are pretty much vertical and not canted which I think is also not good for RCS. Anyways even with the RCS difference I think a Tomcat 21 would be more capable than a Super Hornet, more performance potential from that airframe. And their difference in RCS is not the same as the difference from an F-35.

But what USN really needed was the A/F-X, but that got canceled.

Also the A-12 was apparently not a good design at all with pretty bad stealth, and was part of the reason it got canceled. Apparently Northrop and Lockheed didn't want to bid for A-12 because they didn't think they can meet both the stealth and cost the Navy wanted, so Navy went with General Dynamics.
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 21:25

ricnunes wrote:
tomcattech wrote:The biggest single threat that a US Navy aircraft carrier or even any other warship would have to face now and in the future are:
- Submarines (from all "colors and sizes", you name it :mrgreen: ).



EMALS/AAG wind-over-deck reductions notwithstanding, CATOBAR operations are *loud* and unmistakeable.

It's much easier to get survivability-enhancing acoustic reductions on other surface ships or STOVL carriers.

Plus, the Navy just killed (for flimsy reasons IMHO) the countermeasure anti-torpedo effort for the CVNs.
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 22:41

'marauder20148' said: "... the Navy just killed (for flimsy reasons IMHO) the countermeasure anti-torpedo effort for the CVNs...." IIRC the 'reason' was it is not effective/reliable? I could look it up. Meanwhile also IIRC the USN P-8 is a long range ASW asset being procured in numbers also by allied air arms. Then the ROMEO helo with dipping sonar is very effective, also dispersed amongst CVNBG ships. ASW is a secret club that not many may enter unless in the business and like the BABY SEALS of F-35 renown - ASW is CLUBBING BACK! Can anyone see/hear the ATTACK shadowing NUKE SUBS?

Future ASW drones may be added to the mix. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Hunter

Story about the thing doan wurk: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/us-n ... ers-2019-2
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Unread post19 Feb 2019, 22:59

The flimsy reasoning was the high false target alarm rate which is solvable; the CATs were effective.

My top-level point is that the whole justification for the SSTDS was the notion that the
ASW assets would not detect a quiet submarine left-of-launch.

For a high-end opponent, sub-launched SAMs are the natural response to manned
low-altitude ASW assets; I think the P-8 would struggle in a high-threat environment so the last
CSBA study had them orbiting well away from the threat areas and then lobbing
HAAWCs at contacts designated (mostly) by unmanned assets.
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