Twin Seat F-35 Parent / Drone???

Variants for different customers or mission profiles
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Corsair1963

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Unread post29 Jul 2019, 03:05

While, a twin seat version of the F-35 was quickly put to bed many years ago. With the recent development of a number of Combat Drones. Could such a version possibly gain some traction??? As a second crew member could far better manage a group of drones. Than the single pilot in a F-35A/B/C.

:|


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steve2267

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Unread post29 Jul 2019, 03:37

Playing devil's advocate here...

Why?

You're question pre-supposes that the present day F-35 pilot is too overwhelmed to handled the drone swarm. But the many articles written about the F-35, how the pilot is more of a "battle manager" already, combined with the plethora of statements from pilots about how easy the F-35 is to fly... and the coming advent of AI... I am thinking that drone swarm manager is just another walk in the park for the F-35 pilot...
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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outlaw162

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Unread post29 Jul 2019, 03:56

a twin seat version of the F-35 was quickly put to bed many years ago


Why would you need a big bubble canopy like that anyway....for someone who doesn't really need to look outside. You could give 'em a little porthole like the A-5 Vigilante so he/she wouldn't get airsick, and leave them to their MFDs.

All you grounded USMC WSOs, not so fast. :D
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Corsair1963

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Unread post29 Jul 2019, 05:09

steve2267 wrote:Playing devil's advocate here...

Why?

You're question pre-supposes that the present day F-35 pilot is too overwhelmed to handled the drone swarm. But the many articles written about the F-35, how the pilot is more of a "battle manager" already, combined with the plethora of statements from pilots about how easy the F-35 is to fly... and the coming advent of AI... I am thinking that drone swarm manager is just another walk in the park for the F-35 pilot...


Well, that would depend on the capabilities of the drones and how many each F-35 would have to manage. Yet, the more the better to overwhelm the defender....
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Corsair1963

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Unread post29 Jul 2019, 05:11

outlaw162 wrote:
a twin seat version of the F-35 was quickly put to bed many years ago


Why would you need a big bubble canopy like that anyway....for someone who doesn't really need to look outside. You could give 'em a little porthole like the A-5 Vigilante so he/she wouldn't get airsick, and leave them to their MFDs.

All you grounded USMC WSOs, not so fast. :D



Why would you want to restrict the visibility of the second crew member??? What advantage would that hold???
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Corsair1963

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Unread post29 Jul 2019, 05:45

Europe, U.S. Targeting Robotic Wingman Programs

the U.S. Air Force is moving forward with its own robotic wingman project. During the Paris Air Show, Kratos announced that its XQ-58A Valkyrie drone completed its second successful test flight at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, that lasted 71 minutes.

The XQ-58A demonstrator, developed by Kratos in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, is part of the low-cost attritable strike demonstrator program. The goal of the initiative is to “break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft,” Kratos said in a press release.

The Valkyrie is a multi-mission, runway-independent unmanned aerial system capable of long-range flights at high-subsonic speeds, according to Kratos.

It is the first technology of its kind that will “change the way we fly and fight, and build and buy,” AFRL program manager Doug Szczublewski said in a press release.

A total of five test flights are planned for the Valkyrie to evaluate system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems.

“We’re very happy with the performance,” Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper said during a meeting with reporters at the air show.

“That was our first foray into attritable aircraft,” he said. “It’s expensive enough to be lethal but cheap enough to be used in an aggressive, non-risk averse way. … It’s certainly not a throwaway but it’s cheap enough that you can take a level of risks that we couldn’t take with a manned platform.”

Warfighters want the service to buy 20 to 30 aircraft for a series of experiments that would team Valkyries with the fighter force, he said. “I’m now looking at ways to do that and what the cost would be.”

“Depending on what comes out of that campaign the idea would be to look to do ... a program of record or to start spiraling the development to get something better,” Roper said.

A program of record could be included in the 2021 program objective memorandum, he added.

Greg Ulmer, vice president and general manager of the F-35 program at Lockheed Martin, said the joint strike fighter could be a prime candidate for networking with drones.

“The data sensor fusion approach to the airplane, as well as our relationship with our brethren at the Skunk Works [division of the company], I think very well align relative to unmanned teaming and the F-35’s ability to play in that realm,” he told reporters at the air show.

If the green light is given, the Valkyrie could go into production and fielding relatively quickly in two to three years, Roper said. “What I’m really pleased to say is we’re getting strong buy-in, strong appetite and pull for attainable systems by our pilots.”


https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org ... n-programs
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ricnunes

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Unread post29 Jul 2019, 15:06

Corsair1963 wrote:
outlaw162 wrote:
a twin seat version of the F-35 was quickly put to bed many years ago


Why would you need a big bubble canopy like that anyway....for someone who doesn't really need to look outside. You could give 'em a little porthole like the A-5 Vigilante so he/she wouldn't get airsick, and leave them to their MFDs.

All you grounded USMC WSOs, not so fast. :D



Why would you want to restrict the visibility of the second crew member??? What advantage would that hold???


My (main) guess would be better aerodynamics.
Being a better/lower RCS solution could perhaps, be another reason (very important on the case of the F-35).
If we look more closely into military aviation, we can see that the A-5 Vigilante isn't the only one using that solution with small windows/portholes for the second crew member. The SR-71 and Mig-31 (the later still in service today) are other examples which shares a similar solution.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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outlaw162

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Unread post29 Jul 2019, 15:12

Why would you want to restrict the visibility of the second crew member??? What advantage would that hold???


Less drag, less LO degradation.....what would there be for this dude to see anyway outside of his/her bleeps and squeaks world of drone management?

Example, E-3 mission crew do not exactly have a panoramic vista, their relevant world is presented via the big frisbee. However, they do have coffee.

edit: ricn beat me to it...don't forget the B-58, one guy didn't even have a window (burp) :mrgreen:

edit #2: oops, I guess the third guy did have a window on the production Hustlers, my error. F-105F/G are other examples, although an F-105E with a big bubble canopy was proposed for pilot training and rejected
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usnvo

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Unread post30 Jul 2019, 05:18

A better idea would be to take the F-35C, add a section with a canopy (flush with the fuselage, think EA-6B or SR-71 back seater) for the drone controller forward of the wings behind the cockpit and another section behind the wings to balance it out. So you get a longer aircraft with room for the second pilot/drone controller but still have a degree of commonality with the really expensive parts (Engines, Avionics, weapons, forward cockpit, etc). You might even be able to use the F-35C wing, landing gear, tailplanes, and tailhook as is since it will be operating from land. You would lose some maneuverability and G limits but not really important for a drone controller. You could even shrink the bomb bay and leave just the self-protection missiles on the door allowing for greater fuel carriage.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post30 Jul 2019, 09:09

outlaw162 wrote:
Why would you want to restrict the visibility of the second crew member??? What advantage would that hold???


Less drag, less LO degradation.....what would there be for this dude to see anyway outside of his/her bleeps and squeaks world of drone management?

Example, E-3 mission crew do not exactly have a panoramic vista, their relevant world is presented via the big frisbee. However, they do have coffee.

edit: ricn beat me to it...don't forget the B-58, one guy didn't even have a window (burp) :mrgreen:

edit #2: oops, I guess the third guy did have a window on the production Hustlers, my error. F-105F/G are other examples, although an F-105E with a big bubble canopy was proposed for pilot training and rejected


Honestly, I just photoshopped an image of hypothetical twin seat F-35. Just for the basis of this debate. The real aircraft could use whatever design best fits the mission. I doubt it would matter to anyone here either way....
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Corsair1963

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Unread post30 Jul 2019, 09:16

usnvo wrote:A better idea would be to take the F-35C, add a section with a canopy (flush with the fuselage, think EA-6B or SR-71 back seater) for the drone controller forward of the wings behind the cockpit and another section behind the wings to balance it out. So you get a longer aircraft with room for the second pilot/drone controller but still have a degree of commonality with the really expensive parts (Engines, Avionics, weapons, forward cockpit, etc). You might even be able to use the F-35C wing, landing gear, tailplanes, and tailhook as is since it will be operating from land. You would lose some maneuverability and G limits but not really important for a drone controller. You could even shrink the bomb bay and leave just the self-protection missiles on the door allowing for greater fuel carriage.


I am sure the best option would be to limited the physical changes to the airframe to as few as possible to keep costs low and development time down.

I think a good question is how much room would it need for the additional avionics for the new mission??? As that space would likely have to come out of one of the Weapons Bays.
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wrightwing

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Unread post30 Jul 2019, 09:43

There is no twin seat model, nor will there be.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post30 Jul 2019, 13:35

There are other possibilities for this as well. One would be using the sensor fusion engine to control drones using some AI. This would naturally need some serious software work and hardware upgrades, but might well be doable in the future. This would have the advantage that sensor fusion engine could directly use the data from the drones and could also control them within milliseconds. For example it might be interesting to add EW capabilities to those drones and have F-35 sensor fusion engine to control several widely separated drones doing simultaneous EW. Or drones could have ESM and EO DAS systems to detect and track air and ground targets and fuzing that with F-35 sensor fusion engine.

Another possibility is using F-35 as network node to relay control and information to and from drones. The controllers could be in some large aircraft or even on the ground well back. This would be easier to implement but has some serious drawbacks like latency time and reduced data transfer rate especially at longer ranges.

Possibly both of these should be combined with controllers doing drone tasking and F-35 sensor fusion engine actually controlling the drones according to what is wanted from them.
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blindpilot

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Unread post30 Jul 2019, 14:22

hornetfinn wrote:... control drones using some AI. This would naturally need some serious software work and hardware upgrades, but might well be doable in the future...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcP66syzQls
Guys this was already demonstrated and proven by Kratos back in 2015 in the UTAP 22 project using a SINGLE SEAT AV-8B Harrier II. Yeah I'd say it could be done without stretch and second seat machinations.

MHO
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outlaw162

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Unread post30 Jul 2019, 15:49

Re: the video

Is 'autonomous' formation flight with the AV-8B the same as being controlled and tasked by the single-seat AV-8B? The video was somewhat vague as to how much actual 'control' was exercised by the Harrier compared to the ground facilities that were referenced.

Nice landing. :shock:
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