Out of the Naval Box-Destroyers & Very Light Carriers

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steve2267

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Unread post09 Dec 2016, 23:55

The F-35B has revolutionized military fighter aviation. Yes, the Harrier was the first successfully mass-produced VTOL / STOVL aircraft, but the Harrier is
  • NOT stealthy
  • Difficult / dangerous to land vertically
  • subsonic-only

The combination of supersonic, stealth, and vertical landing is something naval forces should capitalize on more than what has been done to date.

Just as basing helos on destroyer-sized ships revolutionized anti-submarine warfare, smaller sea faring nations would revolutionize their naval fighting ability by basing one-four F-35B's (or a future variant) on destroyer-sized ships. Existing destroyers, though requiring aviation facility modifications, could potentially base one or two F-35Bs per ship. These ships would cost far less than a conventional pocket carrier (e.g. LHA). I propose a new ship that could base a flight, i.e. an F-35 fourship. One or two F-35B's would shape the naval battlespace thusly:
  1. Greatly increase the SA of the naval commander.
  2. Potentially increase striking distance to hundreds of nautical miles
  3. Potentially revolutionize anti-submarine operations (yet again over helo borne sub-hunters)

A new class of ship, not much larger than existing destroyers, that is, in the 10-20000 ton range, launching four new F-35Ds, a variant which would be a cross between an F-35B and an F-35C, would give a smaller seafaring nation such as Norway, Singapore a potentially fearsome offensive naval punch. I don't see why the idea might not apply to Japan or Australia as well.

I am not discussing ideas here that are 5-10 years out. These ideas are more like 10-20 years out. If the F-15 / F-16 have been around since early / mid '70s (40+ years and going strong), it is not inconceivable that the F-35 will be around for 50-60+ years. Therefore, I am proposing some ideas about how this platform can be used and/or improved upon to shape the battlefield in the decades to come.

Launching from a destroyer-sized ship would require the F-35 to take-off vertically from existing ships (or modified ships). Leaving all weapons, except possibly a pair of AIM-120s, behind, and flying with as much internal fuel as possible, The F-35B may be able to range several hundred nautical miles away from it's launch point. The combination of altitude and range with its excellent sensors would permit the F-35 to perform an invaluable ISR role for the future naval strikeforce commander, especially if space-based assets are degraded or destroyed. In this role, the F-35 would not be too different from the scout planes of yore catapulted off battleships. With an empty weight of approx 32,300lb, and around 42-43000lbs vertical thrust, the current B may be able to takeoff, sans any armament, and loiter at a subsonic speed at 20-40000ft altitude a few hundred miles away from its homebase. As an ISR asset, this could be game changing.

If the same ship could host one or two V-22's with a refueling capability, range and loiter times could be greatly extended and weapons carriage (e.g. 2xAIM-120 and 2xJSM) enabled. With the Konsberg / Raytheon JSM, an F-35 equipped destroyer task force could put much larger naval forces in jeopardy upwards of 4-600 nm away. Even without any anti-ship cruise missiles, just as in a recent test where an F-35B successfully cued a an SM-6 to intercept a target, an unarmed (or AMRAAM-only) F-35B could identify targets hundreds of nautical miles away and cue vertically launched LRASMs to service those threats.

Sonobuoy's are approximately 4-5" in diameter, 36" long and weigh 17-22lbs. (AN/SSQ-47B, AN/SSQ-553G). If a suitable weapons bay carrier / deployment mechanism could be developed, it may be possible to put 30+ sonobuoys on an F-35B. The possibility of a surface combatant to rapidly deploy ASW sonobuoy lines hundreds of miles from the surface ship could potentially revolutionize ASW warfare as we know it without a nation-state having to invest in a CV / S-3 combination.

What future improvements in the F-35B would enhance these naval tactics? A weapons bay large enough to hold the JSM, and increased vertical lift. Gen Bogdan stated that if they re-design the weapons bay, they will only do it one time. Any such weapons bay re-design should strongly consider being able to hold at least the JSM. Bonus points for anything larger. Increased thrust, esp. vertical lift. If future F135 Block upgrades include increasing the lift-fan capacity to match any increased thrust, the greater vertical lift will either increase range by permitting more fuel to be carried, or enable the deployment of a minimal anti-ship weapon set from a vertical takeoff mode. Increased fuel efficiencies that P&W have touted will also range and loiter times.

Lastly, since I am dreaming outside the box... I envision a ship around 600' long, which recovers aircraft via a vertical landing area astern, moves the aircraft inside a hangar-like structure, and, as the aircraft move towards the bow, they are refueled, and rearmed. After refueling/rearming, the aircraft are catapulted out of the superstructure (yes, Battlestar Galactica-like) using an EMALS-type catapult. To keep size / weight / expense down, there would be only one EMALS catapult per ship. A second landing pad above the hangar/superstructure, just ahead of the primary, stern vertical landing pad, would be used to service / launch / land helos and/or tilt-rotors. During bad weather, the helos / tilt-rotors would land aft and be moved forward into the superstructure. Eight celled vertical launch systems could be positioned around the periphery of the ship fore and aft.

Hosting four F-35BC's, this light carrier could shape the naval battlespace for a thousand nautical miles around itself as the F-35BC would be able to takeoff with much more fuel / armament than a VTO-only Bee.

Here is my (quasi) techical question for you aircraft structures gnomes: How many pounds of structural weight would be required to be able to EMALS catapult launch a Bee? Since the aircraft is going to land vertically (in my scenario), you do not have to add all the weight to enable an arrested landing, but it is going to require strengthening to be catapulted.

One additional thought: STO-catapult. The need here is to increase the fuel and weapons that an F-35B can takeoff with. Perhaps this F-35BC could takeoff in STOVL mode-four, but using an EMALS-lite cat to make it an assisted STOVL launch.

(Thus endeth my daydream. Nomex civvies are in place.... fire away.)
Last edited by steve2267 on 10 Dec 2016, 02:37, edited 1 time in total.
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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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 00:22

As a broad concept it would seem to me you have been imbibing 'sea control' ideas from the ether. When the Hairier first came into view there were many concepts about how to land / take off from small deck spaces. Would you believe my 4.4 humungous gigglebites PDF has some relevant pages; whilst this very F-35 forum has these concepts in a very long thread (wot I started when first arrived). What is nice about the F-35B is that a 'lot' of flat deck ships can use it IF the 'bees that power' allow it. So for starters you can read backwards from this VL where VL = VERY LONG thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=12631&p=357849#p357849

And guess what now?! A PDF is onway.... small one now attached - didna wanna bore youse....

[addition to your addition] I thought we had just covered STOcatapults? UK CVF with ski jump and 800 feet (includes ski jump length) can operate at maximum payload (one assumes with adequate WOD also). Why build a 'catapult enabled F-35B' for an EMALS enabled ship when simple ideas as explained work and have been tested already?

EMALS catapulting a Mode 4 STOVL F-35B seems to be a waste of resources. 'Through Deck Cruisers' were a great idea for the Hairier. Japan has Flat Deck DESTROYERs and on and on. The political/military will seems to be lacking in Japan/ Australia to allow F-35B ops from their flat decks (some with jumpskis). Perhaps Singapore will go with a flat deck and some F-35Bs. Simple concept - flat deck suitable for F-35Bs - maybe add a dollop of ski jump for extra performance - and your uncle is bob.

This VeryLong thread starter started: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=20426

This thread is more about JumpSkis: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=14082

UK MoD Puddle will have info: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=15969

Back in the day one of the best 1970s Oz bands was the 'SKYHOOKS' - nothing to do with:

http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/attachment.ph ... 1376311105

Related explanation of 'SkyHooking' (new midshipmen were asked to "find the skyhook" in the RAN)
From 'rabid stoat AUS':
‘The Harrier story’
P. Davies & S. Thornborough

“An even more radical proposal to establish the need for a dedicated flight deck was proposed by BAe/Dowty Boulton-Paul in the late 1980s. SkyHook's origins apparently lay in a conversation between two BAe test pilots and a designer. John Farley had just returned to Dunsfold from an unpleasant deck landing on the French carrier Foch. The rolling motion of her slippery deck had almost caused his Harrier to slip overboard after the landing was completed. Farley expressed rather strongly to designer John Fozard his feeling that there should be some means of 'grabbing' a V/STOL aircraft once it had made deck contact and securing it immediately in heavy seas and bad-weather landings. Test pilot Heinz Frick said, 'Why not grab it while it's still in the hover?'. He worked on the notion and formulated a shipborne crane device which could swing out over a ship's side. Its 'hook' end was stabilized over the sea bed and a Harrier simply had to be hovered in its usual pre-deck landing position, but immediately beneath the end of the gantry. Frick designed a simple visual aid, giving the same visual cues that all pilots use in close-formation flying, for the pilot to position his aircraft within a couple of feet of the 'hook-on' location. The crane then lowered and locked on to the Harrier using similar space-stabilizing principles to the Boeing 'Flying Boom' aerial refuelling system.

Having securely 'caught' the Harrier, using sensors which extended a jack-rod to lock into a fixed pick-up probe built into the aircraft's spine, the crane then swung it inboard and placed it, either on its undercarriage or 'wheels up', on a trestle which could be pre-loaded with weapons or fuel tanks ready for immediate attachment to its pylons. Once the aircraft had been swung over the deck the SkyHook's robotics switched from 'space stabilisation' (over the sea bed) to stabilisation relative to the ship. Mobile trestles with aircraft aboard could be moved easily to hangar spaces, on or be-low decks, and 'parked' more tightly than conventionally stowed aircraft.

'Take-off' from the SkyHook was accomplished by swinging the aircraft over the side, starting up and running cockpit checks. With nozzles pointing down, the pilot then signalled for the central jack-rod of the supporting gantry, connected to his aircraft's pylon, to extend the suspended Harrier downwards and away from the four sway-brace pads which steadied it on the gantry. At full power, the Harrier was gently 'pushed up' a little. The crane, sensing an up-load, unlocked and withdrew its extending jack-rod upwards, leaving the aircraft in the hover and free to move away. Two SkyHook assemblies could be installed on larger ships to increase the sortie rate. The technology used to stabilize and operate SkyHook was well established - essentially a flight simulator motion base (upside down), and a velocity sensor. Land-based trials with G-VTOL and other Harriers, conducted by Heinz Frick and two other pilots, with the hover 'visual aid' device mounted on a fire service hydraulic turntable, showed that it was quite easy to position a Harrier in the correct 'grab' situation, even in gusty conditions.”

Source: http://warships1discussionboards.yuku.c ... eply-50592
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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 01:09

I thought about creating a new thread:

The CVN is dead, LONG LIVE the CVN!

But that idea, as I thought more about it, is closely related to this thread.

The F-35 is a revolutionary aircraft. There, I said it. It has combined many elements that have been implemented individually in separate aircraft. It is the first sensor-fused aircraft. A pilot climbs in and fires it up. Instantly the displays are telling the pilot who/what/where/when is around him and above him in the traffic pattern. (Some may argue the F-22 first implemented sensor fusion - it's not a point I am going to get hung up over.) While it is NOT the first stealth aircraft, it is the first day-to-day stealth aircraft where the stealth is baked (built-in) and does not need (nearly as much) manpower intensive work to maintain its stealth characteristics. The F-35 possesses everyday stealth (ok, low obserevability), sensor fusion, gobs and gobs of power, great agility, tremendous avionics.

That's great. But that's not the revolution. The true revolution is the combination of the dual-cycle lift-fan propulsion system with advanced flight control laws and control systems that enable easy, precise vertical recovery of aircraft. While the following argument can be applied to air forces, it is the naval forces that really need to embrace the vertical lift capabilities of the F-35B.

Why? Because in the next large conflict, carriers just might get sunk. In the last near peer war, WWII, the US lost carriers. When carriers get sunk, the fixed wing aircraft can either land on another carrier, ditch, or find terra firma. China is investing in A2/AD weapons... ballistic missiles targeting carrier groups. Hypersonic cruise missiles. Russia and Iran have reportedly developed super-cavitating torpedoes with velocities allegedly in the hundreds of knots. Russia continues to invest in newer and quieter submarines. The latest generation of diesel electric submarines are getting damn quiet -- quieter than nuke boats -- when running only electric. Some of these subs run not on batteries, but on fuel cells -- and can do so for days or weeks.

Let's face it: the world is getting increasingly dangerous as technology continues to improve and new technologies are invented and created. As such, large carriers have HUGE bullseyes painted on them.

Am I arguing that large carriers be abandoned as a concept? NO. Not necessarily. I AM arguing that the revolution created by the dual-cycle lift-fan propulsion system be embraced and taken full advantage of. How? By using vertical lift for recovery. Retain the catapults so that you can maximize the takeoff or throw weight. Develop UCAVS to automate aerial tanking. But recover the aircraft vertically. Why? Because if you build vertical ops into all your ships going forward, all your aviation eggs are not in one basket. Keep the carriers, but be able to recover your aircraft on all your vessels.

The other key feature that I haven't really discussed here, but is really no less revolutionary than the dual-cycle lift-fan propulsion system, is the advance control laws and flight controls that make landing the F-35B vertically so simple.

In the first post of this thread, I was not describing a "sea control ship" so much as I was trying to describe an evolved destroyer with a true VTOL aircraft. That is, just as helos were added to destroyers, add a supersonic VTOL aircraft to destroyers. Sea control ships as I understand them, were more like a poor man's carrier -- more like take a supertanker type ship, throw a deck on top, a hangar, and base aircraft out in the middle of the ocean. I am arguing, rather, in dispersing your fixed wing aviation assets across a large number of fighting ships. Take a Burke, stretch her out a bit, enhance / improve the landing area astern, modify / improve space to be able to base 1-2 F-35B's and 1-2 V-22s.

For the destroyer carrier, maybe take something like a San-Antonio sized ship, make the superstructure "drive-through", have 1-200' EMALS-lite cat so that you can cat-assist an F-35BC take-off in STOVL mode at full weight, but at a greatly reduced length compared to the 400' +/- that a Bee normally uses for a STOVL takeoff. This ship would still retain Mark 41 VLS boxes, but you would take advantage of the VLS design and have multiple, smaller 8-cell boxes located around the periphery of the ship -- say two forward, port/starboard and four aft, port/starboard. You'd still have a CIWS fore and aft, but maybe they are a Bofors 40mm or a 76mm rapid fire Otero. You could still have 25mm chainguns amidships, possibly remote controlled, still have torpedo tubes, still retain AEGIS. This mythical boat is probably a lot heavier than a Burke -- I'm probably describing something more akin to what used to be a heavy cruiser. But the idea was to add a fixed wing, supersonic STOVL capability to a fighting ship -- disperse your air assets. Or, if you are a small nation, add a modest air asset that has a BIG punch. These (looney tune) ideas enabled by the dual-cycle, lift-fan propulsion system and advanced flight controls that make vertical recovery simple.
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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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 01:11

As Spazsinbad pointed out, it's called "Sea Control Ship". See below:

8126230168_9641f19652_b.jpg


That's the Convair Model 200 (and a CL-84 derivation in the rear). It's also how we got the XFV-12A:

xfv12_10.jpg


And now, as it was then, as it will ever be- no. Just, no.
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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 01:16

spazsinbad wrote:
[addition to your addition] I thought we had just covered STOcatapults? UK CVF with ski jump and 800 feet (includes ski jump length) can operate at maximum payload (one assumes with adequate WOD also). Why build a 'catapult enabled F-35B' for an EMALS enabled ship when simple ideas as explained work and have been tested already?



Because I am arguing about dispersing the fixed wing asset across multiple, smaller ships in a 10-20000 ton class, rather than a larger 40-70000 ton ship.

In a sense, I am saying technology has enabled aviation to come full circle and return to the days when ships had one-two aircraft on board: the scoutplanes that launched off the big battlewagons. But I am arguing that technology has not only made it possible to once again base (service / launch / recover) 1-2 fixed wing aircraft on a ship, but that the ship can be much smaller than the battleships of yore, and these modern, supersonic strike aircraft are far more capable and deadly in the naval realm (to other ships) than the scoutplanes of old were.

An EMALS-lite combined with mode 4 STOVL (call it mode 5?) could possibly launch a full weight F-35BC in 1-200' -- a LOT less deck space than an 800' flattop, even one equipped with a ramp.
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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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 01:20

Maybe you have not had time to digest the SKYHOOK idea above?

My view is that you should change the title of this thread so that 'car' at end becomes 'carrier'. Delete 'the' and make and '&' to fit the new title in space available. Do this before EDIT function quits.

I think too much is made for 'vulnerability of flat decks in vast oceans'. A topic that is raised a lot much the same as vast hordes of Russian / Chinese stealth fighters being just over the horizon. Yeah right. And what about these magical ships with F-35Bs times one on them? Helicopters were designed to VTOL from beginning with a suitable payload - notso F-35Bs.

OK I see now you have two F-35Bs onboard. Let YOU not forget the F-35B needs to land back. Sure in relatively calm seas that may be possible on a suitable small space. You have seen Bs do this on video in relatively calm seas on an LHA of some 45,000 tonnage. Find some videos of helos landing on destroyers in high sea states. OMG. IS the F-35B designed for those conditions. So on and on we go redesigning / retesting an already 'suitable for purpose' aircraft - how do you think this idea will go over with those who don't even like/understand what the F-35B brings today?

Those old time catapult scout battleship aircraft landing back on water on floats on relatively calm water made by the large battleship (doing a swift turn) was possible because those aircraft were designed for that role - and cheap at that.

Even cheaper were the CAM ships of WWII escorting convoys in Atlantic. These HURRICATS (Hurricanes catapult enabled) were ditched at the end of the mission - deterring large German scout/bombers. The Nazis got the idea to stay away.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... _c1941.jpg

Your last paragraph does not acknowledge the weight penalty of the 'EMALS enabled' F-35B to then VL back onboard - we can guess with no weapons and minimum fuel to do so?
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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 01:56

Here was a similar concept from BAE....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UXV_Combatant
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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 02:25

And another device enabling safe helo landing operations on small decks has been the RAST - stands for something - Rasberry & Strawberry Tarts? So anyway look it up. The RAN operation of Seahawks with RAST has been exemplary.

https://www.curtisswrightds.com/product ... /rast.html [VIDEO THERE ALSO]
&
http://ftp.rta.nato.int/public//PubFull ... V22-P2.pdf (no longer there?)
&
RAST ME UP! http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2007test/Fischer_SessionH4.pdf (6.4Mb)



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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 05:16

spazsinbad wrote:Maybe you have not had time to digest the SKYHOOK idea above?

Was reading it. Then parents stopped by for dinner and some rounds of Apples to Apples afterwards.

Finished reading it. Very valid points. This land lubber had given not nearly enough thought to aircraft recovery in heavy weather. Given the high velocity downflow from F135 exhaust nozzle and the lift-fan, a RAST type recovery would probably be foolhardy. The last thing anyone needs is a cable getting flailed around let alone sucked down an inlet. The SKYHOOK idea could probably be made to work... but at what expense?

spazsinbad wrote:My view is that you should change the title of this thread so that 'car' at end becomes 'carrier'. Delete 'the' and make and '&' to fit the new title in space available. Do this before EDIT function quits.

Done. Thks for the suggestion. I didn't realize the thread title could be edited. I thought once the thread was created, that was it and I was stuck with "Very Light Car." <sigh>

spazsinbad wrote:I think too much is made for 'vulnerability of flat decks in vast oceans'.
If space assets are still functional? A space based radar can probably cover large swaths of ocean. Can a boat move far enough in a 90 minute orbital period to avoid an orbit? What about multiple birds in orbit? Your the nautical one in this argument. I am going to have to defer to your judgement / opinion.
spazsinbad wrote:A topic that is raised a lot much the same as vast hordes of Russian / Chinese stealth fighters being just over the horizon. Yeah right.

Agreed - no argument here.
spazsinbad wrote:And what about these magical ships with F-35Bs times one on them? Helicopters were designed to VTOL from beginning with a suitable payload - notso F-35Bs.

Part of my argument was just to use the F-35B itself as an ISR asset to establish / maintain naval SA. In that scenario, no payload other than fuel required. The other half of the argument was to be able to launch/recover a V-22 to serve as a tanker for the F-35B.
spazsinbad wrote:OK I see now you have two F-35Bs onboard. Let YOU not forget the F-35B needs to land back. Sure in relatively calm seas that may be possible on a suitable small space. You have seen Bs do this on video in relatively calm seas on an LHA of some 45,000 tonnage. Find some videos of helos landing on destroyers in high sea states. OMG. IS the F-35B designed for those conditions. So on and on we go redesigning / retesting an already 'suitable for purpose' aircraft

Is the "F-35B designed for those conditions"? You got me there. What are the requirements? As an engineer, I design and analyze to the requirements. I don't know what the Bee's landing requirements are. However, I am going to guess they do not include pitching / heaving / rolling anywhere near what that video of the MH-60 recovery onto the back of that frigate/destroyer depicted. That deck must have been moving vertically (heaving?) +/- 10'. Roll must have been on the order of +/- 10°!?
spazsinbad wrote: - how do you think this idea will go over with those who don't even like/understand what the F-35B brings today?

Not very well. I was considering invoking General Mitchell and how his aerial bombardment ideas were far ahead of his time. But there's no point as I cannot win against the requirements and poor weather recovery points.
spazsinbad wrote:Your last paragraph does not acknowledge the weight penalty of the 'EMALS enabled' F-35B to then VL back onboard - we can guess with no weapons and minimum fuel to do so?

Actually, go back to my first post:
steve2267 wrote:Here is my (quasi) techical question for you aircraft structures gnomes: How many pounds of structural weight would be required to be able to EMALS catapult launch a Bee? Since the aircraft is going to land vertically (in my scenario), you do not have to add all the weight to enable an arrested landing, but it is going to require strengthening to be catapulted.

I was hoping someone like johnwill might be able to estimate how many pounds of structure would have to be added to the Bee to enable it to handle an EMALS-lite cat-assisted STO --or-- just an EMALS launch (no STO mode 4). My thinking was that weight would not be terribly restrictive as EMALS should impose less of a dynamic weight penalty than a steam-driven catapult, and since the aircraft would be VL, the beefier structure for arrested landings could be avoided. I also reference potential future F135 Block upgrades that might increase the VL capacity of the aircraft through increased engine power/thrust.

Thanks for suffering this poor fool of a land lubber. At least this conversation was more stimulating (for me anyway) than arguing about / whining over / mocking the Canadians and their screwed up political mess of an aircraft acquisition. :mrgreen:
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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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 05:28

That's a very pricey approach to ISR ie. F35Bs and Ospreys. The Navy is pursuing TERN to provide LCS-class ships and larger with that capability.
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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 06:02

'steve2267' said:
"...also reference potential future F135 Block upgrades that might increase the VL capacity of the aircraft through increased engine power/thrust."

This aspect was covered recently with the question/comment: How is the extra engine power going to be harnessed in an unredesigned F-35B? To my knowledge this roll post tubes/liftfan/driveshaft melt with extra engine power in an F-35B never commented upon. Dunno.
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post10 Dec 2016, 06:12

spazsinbad wrote:'steve2267' said:
"...also reference potential future F135 Block upgrades that might increase the VL capacity of the aircraft through increased engine power/thrust."

This aspect was covered recently with the question/comment: How is the extra engine power going to be harnessed in an unredesigned F-35B? To my knowledge this roll post tubes/liftfan/driveshaft melt with extra engine power in an F-35B never commented upon. Dunno.

When commenting about increased thrust / power in future F135 block upgrades, the P&W program manager (or VP?) stated with regard to the Bee that any increase in vertical lift would necessitate revisiting the lift fan and associated hardware / software / firmware. I am not asserting that a few lines of code can be changed and more vertical thrust magically appears. I am asserting that if the F135 grows, that VL can be increased. It will take time and money, but engineers will find a way, almost assuredly, especially with such a (relatively) young vehicle / program.
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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