F-22A vs. 6th Gen Proposal

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mixelflick

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Unread post15 Dec 2015, 19:19

Saw this Northrup Grumman pic they just released today, of their proposal for a 6th gen fighter..

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... ealed.html

Note the reference to an airborne laser pod, to be carried by fighter sized aircraft "sooner than most people think..". It looks as if it'll be a lot bigger than the F-22, due to range requirements.
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sferrin

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Unread post15 Dec 2015, 19:47

It's likely just a place holder, not their actual design.
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mixelflick

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Unread post15 Dec 2015, 21:25

Yeah, I figured.

Any chance they'll be dusting this baby off, and beefing her up for their 6th gen?

Soooo ahead of her time... :mrgreen:
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cosmicdwarf

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Unread post15 Dec 2015, 21:30

The 6th generation fighters are likely to be larger than the YF-23/F-22.
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cosmicdwarf

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Unread post16 Dec 2015, 00:53

There's really no way a fighter jet can save you from terrorism. Need to be able to defend and penetrate into areas with air defenses to attack targets, yes.

Plus this is going to have, if the requirements are to be believed, more range and weappns than current fighters.
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charlielima223

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Unread post16 Dec 2015, 10:55

mixelflick wrote:Yeah, I figured.

Any chance they'll be dusting this baby off, and beefing her up for their 6th gen?

Soooo ahead of her time... :mrgreen:



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We can rebuild him. We have the technology...

*skips a few lins*

Better, stronger, faster...
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hornetfinn

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Unread post16 Dec 2015, 12:51

cosmicdwarf wrote:The 6th generation fighters are likely to be larger than the YF-23/F-22.


I think there might be chance of using good sized AESA side arrays in such a large 6th gen fighter instead of very small ones proposed for F-22 and PAK FA. Of course it depends on cost, but with new technology and thinning of antenna arrays, the side arrays might be as large as main array or even larger (especially wider which would be good for search modes). With GaN modules, the range performance could be 2-3 time better than the AN/APG-77 performance and radar coverage +-160 degrees or so instead of +-60-70 degrees. This would mean instantaneous radar coverage could be 5-10 times larger geographical area. This could open totally new possibilities to using radar arrays for ESM, EW and communications besides basic radar functionality. Especially so considering the wide instantaneous and total bandwidth capability of GaN technology.

Lasers could also be used for very high data rate communications as has been already demonstrated couple of years ago. Lasers could also illuminate many kinds of targets for weapons. How about laser illumination for air-to-air missile? Enemy stealth aircraft could be illuminated with laser wavelength the missile seeker can detect.

I think 6th gen fighters will carry very capable IRST sensors all around with much higher resolution and much longer range than F-35 DAS currently has. There are many ways this could be achieved like having large number of detectors or combined scanning and fixed sensors.
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mixelflick

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Unread post16 Dec 2015, 14:19

A 6th gen will be awful handy, in a situation as it relates today to what's going on in the South China Sea. There are too few Raptors, and the extra legs/VLO characteristics in that theater will be much welcomed. Just something to consider..
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KamenRiderBlade

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Unread post17 Dec 2015, 06:27

hornetfinn wrote:
cosmicdwarf wrote:The 6th generation fighters are likely to be larger than the YF-23/F-22.


I think there might be chance of using good sized AESA side arrays in such a large 6th gen fighter instead of very small ones proposed for F-22 and PAK FA. Of course it depends on cost, but with new technology and thinning of antenna arrays, the side arrays might be as large as main array or even larger (especially wider which would be good for search modes). With GaN modules, the range performance could be 2-3 time better than the AN/APG-77 performance and radar coverage +-160 degrees or so instead of +-60-70 degrees. This would mean instantaneous radar coverage could be 5-10 times larger geographical area. This could open totally new possibilities to using radar arrays for ESM, EW and communications besides basic radar functionality. Especially so considering the wide instantaneous and total bandwidth capability of GaN technology.

Lasers could also be used for very high data rate communications as has been already demonstrated couple of years ago. Lasers could also illuminate many kinds of targets for weapons. How about laser illumination for air-to-air missile? Enemy stealth aircraft could be illuminated with laser wavelength the missile seeker can detect.

I think 6th gen fighters will carry very capable IRST sensors all around with much higher resolution and much longer range than F-35 DAS currently has. There are many ways this could be achieved like having large number of detectors or combined scanning and fixed sensors.


If you use lasers for communication, how close will an enemy IRST have to be to see the communication beam?
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eloise

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Unread post17 Dec 2015, 07:20

KamenRiderBlade wrote:
If you use lasers for communication, how close will an enemy IRST have to be to see the communication beam?

:mrgreen: you could use the laser to damage their IRST too
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Unread post17 Dec 2015, 09:49

KamenRiderBlade wrote:If you use lasers for communication, how close will an enemy IRST have to be to see the communication beam?


IMO, it would be extremely difficult to see the communication beam. Laser beams are very directional (far more so than any radio communication systems) and very small amount of energy dissipates to other directions. Communication beams can use very small amounts of power. We are talking about about maybe 1 to 10 watts of transmitter power depending on range requirements. I'd say detecting laser comms would be far more difficult than detecting even the most advanced directional RF comms like MADL.

Some interesting info about laser comm:
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2013/January/Pages/Game-ChangingLaserCommunicationsReadyForFielding,VendorsSay.aspx

While rain, fog, clouds, snow and such atmospheric phenomena affect laser comms, they do affect it less than generally believed. Another thing is that such a 6th gen fighter would mostly fly above altitudes where those phenomena exist to be serious issue. There are difficulties in the tech as it requires very high precision and stability for working aircraft installation.
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popcorn

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Unread post18 Dec 2015, 02:45

Been discussed kn varoous threads already but not surprising NG chooses to highlight laser tech in it's 6Gen press release. Expect Boeing and LM to follow suit.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/17/polit ... index.html

Laser-armed fighter jets by 2020, U.S. Air Force says

The test beds for these kinds of weapons likely could be pod units installed aboard so-called fourth generation fighter jets, Hammett said. The commander of Air Force Combat Command, Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, revealed last May that a test is in the works involving an F-15 Eagle. "I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll see a prototype test case in the next year or two," Carlisle told Air Combat Command.

A mix of laser and conventional weapons could result in "a totally transformed battle space in 20 to 25 years," he said.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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zero-one

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Unread post07 Sep 2019, 10:13

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... air-combat

Still early but there are some proposals going around that I don't agree with.

U.S. Air Force Major General Scott Pleus, who is currently Director of Air and Cyber Operations for Pacific Air Forces, recently told Air Force Magazine. “A B-21 [Raider stealth bomber] that also has air-to-air capabilities” and can “work with the family of systems to defend itself, utilizing stealth – maybe that’s where the sixth-generation airplane comes from.”


This was what I was afraid of. A lumbering slow moving target that needs to rely on standoff weapons and escorts. If we're talking about going into operation in the 2060 time line to replace the F-22. Then this thing will most likely go up against upgraded variants of the J-20 and other stealth platforms which will also be VLO and will be faster and more maneuverable than it.

If anything, a heavily upgraded “F-35E” variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is far more likely to serve in the role of a future manned tactical fighter for the USAF based on fiscal constraints alone.


Why take a platform that is optimized for the strike role and spend truck loads of money "heavily modifying" it to fulfill an air to air role.

I know I'll be labeled a fanboy for this, but whatever. I think an F-22 will require less modifications to modernize and to restart production.

In the Air Force's mind, "this is not going to be a 2040 version of the F-22, an aircraft that can close almost any kill chain the Air Force has today all by itself," Steve Trimble, who has been actively following the evolution of the service’s aerial combat concepts, told The War Zone by Email. "This is going to be a family of aircraft, with each optimized to close one or two links of the chain. …


So does that mean the system is interdependent and cannot work alone.

Anyway, I understand its too early and that these are all ideas at this point.
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mixelflick

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Unread post07 Sep 2019, 12:51

"this is not going to be a 2040 version of the F-22, an aircraft that can close almost any kill chain the Air Force has today all by itself," Steve Trimble, who has been actively following the evolution of the service’s aerial combat concepts, told The War Zone by Email. "This is going to be a family of aircraft, with each optimized to close one or two links of the chain. …

A "family" of aircraft strikes me as potentially more expensive, vs. a do it all platform. Sure, each one will cost less than a full up Raptor type, but how many family members are needed? If it's any more than 2, I can see it getting pretty unwieldy and expensive. Logistics of supporting 2 or more types in a given combat theater? Lugging all those weapons and sensors to altitude isn't going to be cheap, even if its spread over 2 or more aircraft types.

And I'm concerned too this is going the way of the flying wing. Great solution for bombers, tankers and perhaps transport aircraft. Not so good for fighters IMO. Has there ever been an effective, standalone flying wing fighter platform?

None that I can recall, and I rather doubt Russia's Hunter drone will be the first...
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Unread post07 Sep 2019, 14:36

zero-one wrote:Still early but there are some proposals going around that I don't agree with.

This was what I was afraid of. A lumbering slow moving target that needs to rely on standoff weapons and escorts. If we're talking about going into operation in the 2060 time line to replace the F-22. Then this thing will most likely go up against upgraded variants of the J-20 and other stealth platforms which will also be VLO and will be faster and more maneuverable than it.

It may be just the need to publish a catchy entry, but the statements they have gathered indeed sound like if USAF had desisted from getting PCA, maybe it was not realistic, given the speed at which rival air forces are progressing too. Per-piece prices mentioned were insane and on the other hand, the requirement to develop and field it fast were also not credible. Even worse, they may end up with something already obsolete before entering operation, since the progress in unmanned aviation is so fast currently that it is difficult to know what will be possible in 15 years time. I would say technical possibilities are well ahead of operational doctrine and so, if AFs are in need to deploy UCAVs, they should be capable of shortened schedules. But getting advanced planes developed in three years as they are demanding is a pipe dream, unless the plane is some kind of standardised platform and hence not really optimized for performance. Maybe AI-boosted design can manage a breakthrough here, we don't know.
Why take a platform that is optimized for the strike role and spend truck loads of money "heavily modifying" it to fulfill an air to air role.

I know I'll be labeled a fanboy for this, but whatever. I think an F-22 will require less modifications to modernize and to restart production.

I tend to agree too, since they seem to ditch an advanced new platform, they will need to update F-22, but this may in fact be a better idea than wasting hundreds of billions in the next technological wonder that ends up being not so good and not so cheap, ten years late. Engine should be changed to an adaptive version of the F119, maybe some CFTs are developed, AAMs need a serious update, maintenance needs should be lowered. And if they are to be the pillar of US air power, then a restart of the production is a must I would say. It will maybe not support wet dreams about absolute air dominance but this is also good since it will reinforce restrain and diplomacy, which are way cheaper and more effective in the long run. F-15C is still a beast with its extremely light construction, I would not just retire it but rather give it some serious engines and avionics too.
mixelflick wrote:And I'm concerned too this is going the way of the flying wing. Great solution for bombers, tankers and perhaps transport aircraft. Not so good for fighters IMO. Has there ever been an effective, standalone flying wing fighter platform?

None that I can recall, and I rather doubt Russia's Hunter drone will be the first...

Okhotnik is not a fighter, at least that I know, and frankly I would be surprised if an aircraft with this design can perform that role effectively. To me it is an intelligence and strike platform to spare manned platforms (and crews!) the attrition of fighting within high end ADs. This approach makes sense for any air force and for US too. So, they will probably keep the current fighter fleet and upgrade it as much as they can while they keep adding U(C)AVs to the mix. The concept of the big flying wing with intelligence and A2A capabilities seems to be also acknowledged in Russia, PAK-DA seems to go that way too. This is reasonable, but it doesn't sound as optimist or rather triumphalist as PCA did. It is a more sober (and IMHO realistic) approach to use UCAVs than ultra-expensive manned platforms.
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