Belgium considers Lockheed F-35 to replace F-16s

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SpudmanWP

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Unread post20 Jun 2018, 16:31

loke wrote:Furthermore, designing and building a 5. gen fighter today should be simpler than 25 years ago since materials technology and software technology has matured quite a lot since then.


Given how long it took them to do Rafale & Eurofighter and the fact that LM had experience with the F-117 & F-22 to draw upon, I don' think that they will able to develop and field a true 5th gen fighter that is equal to the capabilities of the F-35A in anything less than 15-20 years.
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Unread post20 Jun 2018, 16:39

8) 'Steven of much Wondering' apparently the USMC did exactly almost what you envisage with their V-22 OzoneSprays. There are an incredible number of variations in that lot that USMC now wants to fix to ONE STANDARD - to rool them all. :roll: The USMC want to save money NOT having to have maintainers trained and pubs published for all those variants.
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Unread post20 Jun 2018, 16:50

Always tradeoffs. Always plusses and minuses.

The state of military aircraft design and production in Europe is abysmal. In the US, there are what -- only three viable companies capable of such undertakings anymore -- LM, Boing, and NG.

As systems of systems is the new paradigm in military combat aircraft with the advent of 5th gen aircraft, why not design and build them that way, especially if one could get back to smaller production lots -- more design cycles to keep the engineers on their toes, and their (conceptual) design skills sharp.

I see where the maintenance / parts pipeline end of things get a little more complicated... but hasn't Amazon and big data demonstrated there are solutions to those sorts of problems as well? Make design for maintainability as well as reliability and durability one of the factors or requirements of new aircraft.
Last edited by steve2267 on 20 Jun 2018, 17:03, edited 2 times 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 post20 Jun 2018, 16:53

Italics are not easy to read on a computer screen - especially small ones. HTML text formatting begins [ ] and ENDS [/ ].
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Unread post20 Jun 2018, 17:03

Better for ya now, spaz? :poke: :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 post20 Jun 2018, 18:27

loke wrote:True, on the other hand, this program will most likely produce only 2 very similar version (land and carrier based) whereas the F-35 project included also the F-35B which clearly made the F-35 program much larger and much more complicated.




Seeing as the F-35B and F-35A have more commonality, and fewer problems than the F-35C, along with the fact that the STOVL Variant and the lift fan are techincally the "original" part of the F-35. I make the argument that the F-35C has actually been the more difficult, unique, complex variant. Its actually easier to make an airplane (espeically in terms of structure) stop in mid air and gently set down than it is to crash land onto a ship and get shot off it repeatedly
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Unread post20 Jun 2018, 19:22

XanderCrews wrote:
loke wrote:True, on the other hand, this program will most likely produce only 2 very similar version (land and carrier based) whereas the F-35 project included also the F-35B which clearly made the F-35 program much larger and much more complicated.




Seeing as the F-35B and F-35A have more commonality, and fewer problems than the F-35C, along with the fact that the STOVL Variant and the lift fan are techincally the "original" part of the F-35. I make the argument that the F-35C has actually been the more difficult, unique, complex variant. Its actually easier to make an airplane (espeically in terms of structure) stop in mid air and gently set down than it is to crash land onto a ship and get shot off it repeatedly

So the French created the more difficult variant with their carrier launched Rafale?
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Unread post20 Jun 2018, 19:27

SpudmanWP wrote:
loke wrote:Furthermore, designing and building a 5. gen fighter today should be simpler than 25 years ago since materials technology and software technology has matured quite a lot since then.


Given how long it took them to do Rafale & Eurofighter and the fact that LM had experience with the F-117 & F-22 to draw upon, I don' think that they will able to develop and field a true 5th gen fighter that is equal to the capabilities of the F-35A in anything less than 15-20 years.

The timelines for Rafale and Typhoon were driven not just by technological constraints but also very much by economical and political constraints... Especially due to the end of the cold war it became very difficult for the Rafale/Eurofighter teams to push their projects forward.


No doubt politics will again slow things down -- unless Trump keeps driving the European "allies" crazy and they decide to really step up their investments in European defence. Which is probably highly unlikely (but then again, several highly unlikely events have happened the last couple of years!)
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Unread post20 Jun 2018, 19:39

loke wrote:The timelines for Rafale and Typhoon were driven not just by technological constraints but also very much by economical and political constraints

Do you think these will not happen again? Don't forget, they had 4th gen experience to guide them with those programs but none to draw upon for a 5th gen program in the areas of VLO, full data fusion, etc.
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Unread post20 Jun 2018, 20:50

spazsinbad wrote:Italics are not easy to read on a computer screen - especially small ones. HTML text formatting begins [ ] and ENDS [/ ].

:devil: TOO! TIMES to GEDDIT RITE?! I SEE RED! :devil:
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Unread post20 Jun 2018, 21:07

loke wrote:True, on the other hand, this program will most likely produce only 2 very similar version (land and carrier based) wh
So the French created the more difficult variant with their carrier launched Rafale?


I rather agree with crews,in the case of the F-35. The “B” dictated the length. The transonic drag issues of the “C” are in large part the approach speed requirement, large, moderately swept wings on a relatively compact fuselage. Once commonality went out the window with the “C”, and it is the least common variant, sticking to the dimensions common with the other two made little sense. That and 2.5+ tons.

The Rafale M didn’t have the requirement for folding wings, has shorter range than the AdlA aircraft. The CdG’s cats were the limiting factors. The two versions share a high degree of commonality (different landing great, etc.) The same cannot he said of the F-35A and “C”.The USN F-35C have a requirement for longer range, same payload, folding wing, and high bring back weight. Adds lots of structural weight
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Unread post21 Jun 2018, 00:05

loke wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:
loke wrote:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-france-defence/france-to-lead-joint-fighter-jet-program-with-germany-idUSKBN1JF2UJ

2040...! I am surprised they are not aiming for a somewhat earlier introduction.

Seems the German/French new fighter is still well into the future! So not an option for Belgium I would think.

Also interesting that Dassault will be in the driving seat. Probably a wise decision, looking at history...


I don't think that's really surprising given this quote
The Franco-German agreement calls for work on the project to begin before the end of the year, starting with a study phase, the ministry said


They are basically where F-35 was in the early 1990s when JAST/JSF studies were planned and made. It took almost 25 years for first production aircraft flying and it might well take similar amount of time for this proposed aircraft. Especially since France and Germany have less money and other resources to pour into their program.

True, on the other hand, this program will most likely produce only 2 very similar version (land and carrier based) whereas the F-35 project included also the F-35B which clearly made the F-35 program much larger and much more complicated.

Furthermore, designing and building a 5. gen fighter today should be simpler than 25 years ago since materials technology and software technology has matured quite a lot since then.

Of course there is a counter-argument to my last point which is pretty strong -- LM had already built the F-22 when they started the F-35....

Anyway, we all know that large development projects with large software components tend to be delayed... So if they aim for 2040 then 2045-2050 is more likely to become the end result.... IMHO they should plan for 2035, perhaps that would increase the probability of actually having something in 2040!


Clearly, the Franco/German Fighter will be a 6th Generation Fighter not a 5/5.5 Generation Fighter. As I doubt they would make the same mistake over as the did with the Rafale and Typhoon. (i.e. 4.5 Gen) Just saying..... :wink:
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Unread post21 Jun 2018, 00:20

It will be a 5th gen fighter advertised as a 6th gen fighter that is delayed until after the US 7th gen space mechabots enter service.
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Unread post21 Jun 2018, 01:37

If one looks at 4G, the Europeans managed to mask their engine tech by using dual thrust engines on a lightweight platform to try to outdo the single engine jet. This takes advantage of the composite material manufacturing that the Europeans to create a lightweight platform. What I suspect the Europeans will try and do is to achieve a 30+k lb thrust engine to try to create a 60+k lb thrust platform whilst retaining the lightweight component to try and differentiate the product. There are advantages of a later design e.g. designing a bigger weapons bay.

The issue with that is like the Typhoon and Rafale, dual engine means higher maintenance costs, added to the higher manufacturing costs in Europe will create the same cost compete issues they had on all the earlier fighter comps which they lost. The same marketing strategy of saying the F-16 is an older platform will apply in future comps to state F-35 is an older platform will likely be used.

The downside to a new European project is the F-35 would have matured into a cost-effective platform. However, the EU may insist on European nations buying the European product much like how the Typhoon panned out. An F-16 upgrade by Belgian could lead to this. If I was the Belgian Government, I’d take this into consideration that the true upgrade cost would be to risk being pushed into a much higher cost fighter later.
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Unread post21 Jun 2018, 03:13

XanderCrews wrote:Its actually easier to make an airplane (espeically in terms of structure) stop in mid air and gently set down than it is to crash land onto a ship and get shot off it repeatedly


From a structures point, sure. But I'd say that, from a flight controls perspective, it's easier to do a CV landing than STOVL (well, good STOVL, at least; you can always go open-loop and pass the buck to the poor bastard flying it).

I think overall I'd characterize the STOVL variant as more technically challenging than the CV variant.

fbw wrote:Once commonality went out the window with the “C”, and it is the least common variant, sticking to the dimensions common with the other two made little sense. That and 2.5+ tons.


I mean, the CV version had a different planform from the start of the X-35 program...

Not to mention the important stuff is largely common (engine, avionics, etc.).
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