With F-35 do we need F-22 anymore?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post14 Jan 2020, 18:28

Why keep talking about F-35 or F-22 derivative? IMO clean sheet for PCA makes a lot more sense for a few reasons. The most expensive part of 5th gen fighters is actually their mission systems, not the airframe, so a new airframe itself isn't contributing to the expense as much as you might think. Also, modifying existing airframe is not as cheap as you might think especially if you want to add more capability.

With new airframe, you can start with a newer baseline of technology. Also, with new airframe you avoid having to figure out how to make parts that are out of production or components that are outdated like on F-22, and at the same time you avoid the inter-service limitations of F-35 design like limits on length or wingspan. And of course with new airframe you can easily have better performance and stealth than F-22 and F-35.

If they want lower risk, they can probably do something like a v-tail (with or without TVC). If they want to go really ambitious, they can go supersonic flying wing. And before someone starts ripping on v-tail for not being maneuverable, Paul Metz himself said YF-23 has high AoA capabilities at least as good as a Hornet.
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steve2267

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Unread post14 Jan 2020, 18:36

It'll be easy! Just do such and such!

Famous last words.

I suggest starting with a trade study to see if it is worthwhile.

Spurts makes good points about excess thrust of the -A etc. And while the DSI design has been tested to 2.0 Mach on the F-16, it's implementation on the F-35 may be specifically for 1.6 Mach as a design point. Want to go faster? May need to re-design (and re-test etc) that DSI inlet for more speed. And you'll probably give up something, somewhere else to get it.

The trapezoidal planform of the F-35 appears pretty stiff, still you'll need to clear the flight envelope with additional flight testing. Maybe the wing doesn't flutter, but the vertical tail does, or the stabs run into an issue, or what if the outer portion of the LEF ran into flutter issues? Gums didn't seem to care much for the time his LEF bent upwards nearly 90°. 2.0 Mach... LEF flutters and probably rips off due to high Q... well, might be best if it departs the airframe rather than stay attached. But that's the sort of thing you need to make sure doesn't happen.

And why does everyone want to go faster?

It was the advent of the radio in the patrol car that gave police the upper hand over the likes of Pretty Boy Floyd and other gangsters 80-90 years ago. In tactical air combat, it is sensors + fusion + interconnected network of nodes. Going 2.0 Mach or 2.5 Mach in a re-designed F-35 could be done (technically), but why? Gonna cost a ton of money, and what does that get you? Lots of thermodynamic problems, that's what. And stress / structural problems. And gonna cost LOTS of gas.

The F-22 can supercruise at 1.5 Mach, correct? But how far can it go at that speed? 200nm? 400? It's not like LM can wave a magic wand and suddenly the F-35 XLT can supercruise @ 1.4 Mach for 800nm...

Would you be willing to give up 9g kinematics for a combat radius of 1000nm?

IMO, I'd be interested in trade studies that looked at things like:
  • Increase fuel capacity for 1000nm combat radius. (Heck, may need to do a trade study to see what the "correct" combat radius should be. 1000 just sounds like a nice, long, round number. Maybe that number should be 825nm. Or 1260 or something.
  • Is a modest supercruise speed required or desirable? If so, what should it be? 1.2 Mach? 1.4? How far do I need to fly at that speed? Can that even be done by modifying the F-35?
  • If this uber-35 is to be an Air-to-Air machine, do I still need to lug 2000lb bombs around? Can I slim down the fuselage any by redesigning (expen$ive!) the weps bays?
  • am I willing to relax 9g capability to 7.5g if that gets me the gas for 1000nm range? Or Supercruise @ 1.x Mach for y00 nm? What if I can get that range with only 7g? or 5g?

What if what I really need is to be able to lug a 5000lb penetrating munition 1000nm... May have to lengthen the weps bays to 20ft, or 24ft... If so, do I only want one weps bay? If so, wouldn't it make more sense to have that axisymmetrically located along the vehicle centerline? Or do I have two, 22ft weps bays, but have the ability to fill one with gas on a mission basis?

It might be possible to simply stretch the F-35, the additional length giving more volume for gas and maybe the ability to carry GBU-28's internally, or new hypersonic strike weapon, or an air launched ABM... Probably can get more range, but that additional structure is going to weigh more, so probably lose the 9g capability, probably cannot VL a stretched -B (but again, trade studies). A modest supercruise may be possible with a better finesse ratio, but you're adding weight and skin friction drag, so I'm guessing supercruise would be achieved by slimming down the -A, NOT making it longer (and bigger and heavier), unless you can get P&W to cough up that extra 25% thrust or whatever they have. What if P&W can get you the thrust... BUT you have to give up hundreds or thousands of hours on the life of the motor?

It's fun to play what if's, but the devil and expen$e is in the detail$.
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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disconnectedradical

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Unread post14 Jan 2020, 22:45

I don't think it's worth trying to modify F-35 airframe. It has too many limitations built in and trying to length it or change control surface you'll have to redo all your structural calculations and tests you might as well start fresh.

A new design with v-tails or no tails for lower drag, better stealth, and also bigger size with 2 ADVENT engines is where I think PCA should be going.
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ricnunes

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Unread post14 Jan 2020, 22:58

zero-one wrote:The F-35 is originally designed as a ground attack aircraft with considerable A-A prowess.
Kinematically it will always be inferior to the Raptor.


If I earned a dime for each time I hear/read such argument I would be millionaire (perhaps billionaire) by now!

So and again, no the F-35 was not "designed as a ground attack aircraft"!
It was "designed as a multirole aircraft" and as such to be equally as capable as an air-to-air fighter aircraft and an air-to-ground fighter aircraft and not to be worse or secondary on one role while better on the other. This is possible due to advancement in technology and by the way the F-35 is definitely not the first aircraft designed from scratch to be like this. The F/A-18 and Rafale before it were also "designed as a multirole aircraft" from the start.

I believe it would be in the best interest to "kill" this rumor/urban legend/whatever... once and for all!
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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ricnunes

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Unread post14 Jan 2020, 23:07

disconnectedradical wrote:Why keep talking about F-35 or F-22 derivative?


Cost saving measure. (solely)

disconnectedradical wrote:IMO clean sheet for PCA makes a lot more sense for a few reasons.


I'm not disagreeing that a clean sheet for PCA would be better compared to a F-35 or F-22 derivative. But it would likely be more expensive to develop.
Not that a F-35 or F-22 derivative would be cheap by any measure but IMO it would be considerably cheaper to develop a F-35 or F-22 derivative (and also faster to develop which again leads to cheaper) compared to a clean sheet for PCA.

So, if money isn't a problem then yeah, go for the clean sheet for PCA. But something tells me that money will indeed be a problem in the future.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 01:30

zero-one wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:What have we seen to support such a claim???


Obviously only people with high level clearance can answer that.
Right now its mostly the aircraft developers who talk about going through another clean sheet design which will take years to develop.

However, for airforce brass, theres a lot of talk about moving away from the traditional development cycle of creating a clean sheet design and more about using mature systems and mature technologies. Think of the F/A-18 Advanced Super Hornet concept. It took Boeing like a few months to conjure that up. The F-15X also seemingly came out of nowhere and so did the F-21.

Using mature or existing platforms and upgrading them to meet the PCA's requirements can be done much quicker than starting from scratch.

For all we know the PCA program could be:
-Modified F-22 as the shooter component
-Modified B-21 as the Stealthy sensor node, while some will operate as stealthy refueling tankers and other will act as missile trucks.


We are only now "starting" to scratch the surface of what 5th Generation Fighters can do. So, considerable maturity is going to happen over the next decade. So, hard to even guess what the next stage in fighter development is at this stage.

Which, is likely why the USAF and USN aren't in a massive hurry to develop 6th Generation Fighters in the first place...
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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 01:51

Corsair1963 wrote:
zero-one wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:What have we seen to support such a claim???


Obviously only people with high level clearance can answer that.
Right now its mostly the aircraft developers who talk about going through another clean sheet design which will take years to develop.

However, for airforce brass, theres a lot of talk about moving away from the traditional development cycle of creating a clean sheet design and more about using mature systems and mature technologies. Think of the F/A-18 Advanced Super Hornet concept. It took Boeing like a few months to conjure that up. The F-15X also seemingly came out of nowhere and so did the F-21.

Using mature or existing platforms and upgrading them to meet the PCA's requirements can be done much quicker than starting from scratch.

For all we know the PCA program could be:
-Modified F-22 as the shooter component
-Modified B-21 as the Stealthy sensor node, while some will operate as stealthy refueling tankers and other will act as missile trucks.


We are only now "starting" to scratch the surface of what 5th Generation Fighters can do. So, considerable maturity is going to happen over the next decade. So, hard to even guess what the next stage in fighter development is at this stage.

Which, is likely why the USAF and USN aren't in a massive hurry to develop 6th Generation Fighters in the first place...


ATF RFP was just 10 years after F-15 introduction and RFI was only 5 years and technology development like engines and studies were Ben before that. They’re always looking ahead so if they’re looking for F-22 successor, they’re in the early phase of the program now.

Maybe you don’t think so but USAF and USN are making next gen fighter more important than you think. F-22 and F-35 aren’t magic aircraft.
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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 02:09

ricnunes wrote:
disconnectedradical wrote:Why keep talking about F-35 or F-22 derivative?


Cost saving measure. (solely)

disconnectedradical wrote:IMO clean sheet for PCA makes a lot more sense for a few reasons.


I'm not disagreeing that a clean sheet for PCA would be better compared to a F-35 or F-22 derivative. But it would likely be more expensive to develop.
Not that a F-35 or F-22 derivative would be cheap by any measure but IMO it would be considerably cheaper to develop a F-35 or F-22 derivative (and also faster to develop which again leads to cheaper) compared to a clean sheet for PCA.

So, if money isn't a problem then yeah, go for the clean sheet for PCA. But something tells me that money will indeed be a problem in the future.


US clearly needs to develop future 6th Generation Fighters. If, it is to maintain it's level of Technological Superiority over the competition...

Also, I see a lot of advantages of not hurrying such designs. As upgraded models of the F-22 and F-35. Should be adequate until they arrive. Thereby not making the same mistake as Europe did with the Typhoon and Rafale.
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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 07:49

ricnunes wrote:If I earned a dime for each time I hear/read such argument I would be millionaire (perhaps billionaire) by now!


I'm sorry, but its just the truth
https://www.airforcemag.com/article/0102jsf/
the JSF will “provide an air-to-air capability second only to the F-22 air superiority fighter.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITCerewkIQE
Maj John Searcy wrote:We're complementing the Raptor as our Air dominance fighter
We were designed for a different mission set. More of the Supression of enemy air defenses or destruction of enemy air defenses, or just kind of the long range strike or interdiction. We were designed more as that multi role fighter and not as a dedicated air superiority fighter.


We need to stop looking at the F-35 as the best for everything.
PCA is an air dominance program
Why would you adopt a design that was "designed for a different mission set. More for the Supression of enemy air defenses " for an air dominance fighter.


disconnectedradical wrote:Why keep talking about F-35 or F-22 derivative?

Because according to AirForce brass they want to move away from long development cycles and focus on Existing or mature designs. There is nothing existing or mature about a clean sheet design.

I'm not ruling out clean sheet designs. I'm just saying, If the AF wants a family of aircraft to form the PCA system, then a derivative of the F-22 will be a good candidate.
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marsavian

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 10:24

zero-one wrote:I'm not ruling out clean sheet designs. I'm just saying, If the AF wants a family of aircraft to form the PCA system, then a derivative of the F-22 will be a good candidate.


Replace the F-119 with more powerful more fuel efficient advent engines, plumb/test the outer pylons for fuel tanks so it carries over 30klbs fuel in total like the F-15E, update the sensors/network/computers so it has MADL and IRST capability. It wouldn't be sexy like a brand new design but it would get the job done albeit with the proviso that stealth would be compromised at the start of long range missions. LM might even put it forward as a cheap option.

p.s. the ACM performance would be off the charts with ~50 klb engines. It should also be made exportable.
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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 12:31

ricnunes wrote:If I earned a dime for each time I hear/read such argument I would be millionaire (perhaps billionaire) by now!

So and again, no the F-35 was not "designed as a ground attack aircraft"!
It was "designed as a multirole aircraft" and as such to be equally as capable as an air-to-air fighter aircraft and an air-to-ground fighter aircraft and not to be worse or secondary on one role while better on the other. This is possible due to advancement in technology and by the way the F-35 is definitely not the first aircraft designed from scratch to be like this. The F/A-18 and Rafale before it were also "designed as a multirole aircraft" from the start.

I believe it would be in the best interest to "kill" this rumor/urban legend/whatever... once and for all!


I think what former ACC Gen. "Hawk" Charlisle said about the F-35 when responding to dumb POGO question is the most accurate...



Air-to-air wasnt designed as the F-35's main mission set. Multi-role aircraft are good at what they do but we all heard and know the saying, "Jack of all trades master of none" (or something similar to). The late F-14 will always edge out the Hornet in air to air much like how the Typhoon could start to edge out the Rafale in certain envelopes and regimes. Has the capability gap between pure air-to-air breeds and multirole aircraft gotten smaller over the years? Yes, I wont deny that. If you have a mix fleet of aircraft of air to air, multi-role, air-to-ground etc, I am sure you would want to use the aircraft best suited for the intended job/mission.

We all agree that the F-35 is a superb aircraft that is proving many of its naysayers wrong, but let us not think that it is the end all be all.
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ricnunes

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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 13:57

zero-one wrote:
ricnunes wrote:If I earned a dime for each time I hear/read such argument I would be millionaire (perhaps billionaire) by now!


I'm sorry, but its just the truth
https://www.airforcemag.com/article/0102jsf/
the JSF will “provide an air-to-air capability second only to the F-22 air superiority fighter.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITCerewkIQE
Maj John Searcy wrote:We're complementing the Raptor as our Air dominance fighter
We were designed for a different mission set. More of the Supression of enemy air defenses or destruction of enemy air defenses, or just kind of the long range strike or interdiction. We were designed more as that multi role fighter and not as a dedicated air superiority fighter.



Guess that I would be a billionaire by now :wink:

Look, what you posted is (or was) what the USAF intends to use their F-35, which is primarily in Air-to-Ground roles or more precisely as a direct replacement of the F-16 (an aircraft which the USAF uses primarily in Air-to-Ground roles).

However many and I would even dare to say most of the F-35 users will use it primarily in Air-to-Air roles, I'm pretty sure of. Examples of this are Dutch, Danish, Norwegian Air Forces, etc... and perhaps even the US Navy.

Of course that the USAF intends to use their F-35s primarily in Air-to-Ground, afterall they need more aircraft in this roles as opposed to Air-to-Air and since they have F-22s there's not so much of a need for the F-35 to perform primarily Air-to-Air roles/missions, this and again just like they do with their F-16 fleet.

But then again, this doesn't mean that the F-35 isn't equally designed and capable to perform Air-to-Air missions as its primarily mission, this again just like the F-16.


zero-one wrote:We need to stop looking at the F-35 as the best for everything.
PCA is an air dominance program
Why would you adopt a design that was "designed for a different mission set. More for the Supression of enemy air defenses " for an air dominance fighter.


No aircraft is the best for everything. Not even the F-22!
But taking all things into account the F-35 is probably the best, most advanced and effective fighter aircraft in all roles that a fighter aircraft can perform including Air-to-Air, this in existence today (and in the foreseeable future).
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 14:01

disconnectedradical wrote:I don't think it's worth trying to modify F-35 airframe. It has too many limitations built in and trying to length it or change control surface you'll have to redo all your structural calculations and tests you might as well start fresh.

A new design with v-tails or no tails for lower drag, better stealth, and also bigger size with 2 ADVENT engines is where I think PCA should be going.

It's no secret that the future will see fewer exposed articulating joints and lean towards non-traditional active technologies emphasizing electromechanical solutions for actuators and active vectoring that is likely not directly derived from engine thrust. Less drag in a straight line. Internalized loads. Emphasis on passive sensors. It will be to the F-35 what Sea Wolf design is to the Los Angeles submarine.
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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 16:12

I think the F-35 is a brilliant design, and will perform admirably in both roles (and for the record, quite a few more like recce and EW work). However, what I think is fair to say is the following...

A bigger (heavier) fighter designed first and foremost for air to air is almost always more capable in a swing role (air to ground) when modified appropriately. Case in point: The F-15E vs. the F-16XL. The Eagle starts off with many advantages.. bigger nose for bigger radar. Two engines vs. 1 for more power. Bigger airframe again leading to more room for internal fuel, more weapon stations and in general, more room for everything. The Russians built off the original Flanker airframe to get the SU-34. There's a reason they didn't do so with the Mig-27 or even Mig-29. Smaller, less powerful aircraft with less room for upgraded engines, weapons, sensors and fuel. The downside to modifying a big air to air platform for air to ground work? Primarily cost. You can't build as many. And they're more expensive to operate.

When you try and go the other way (F-16A to F-16XL, YF-17 to F/A-18 to SH), it's just not as capable an all around platform IMO...
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Unread post15 Jan 2020, 16:27

ricnunes wrote:However many and I would even dare to say most of the F-35 users will use it primarily in Air-to-Air roles, I'm pretty sure of. Examples of this are Dutch, Danish, Norwegian Air Forces, etc... and perhaps even the US Navy.

Just because most users will use it as their primary A-A, that doesn't mean it has been modified to be somehow as good as the Raptor in A-A.

It has always been designed to have a robust A-A capability, in fact it is supposed to be 2nd only to the Raptor, that effectively makes it the best A-A platform available for export which by default makes it the best option in A-A for everyone except for the USAF

ricnunes wrote:this doesn't mean that the F-35 isn't equally designed and capable to perform Air-to-Air missions as its primarily mission

Didn't you read the links sent to you by charlielima223 and myself?

Gen. "Hawk" Charlisle wrote:Air-to-air wasnt designed as the F-35's main mission set.

I believe the figure 60/40 (60% for A-G and 40% for A-A) has been thrown around here a few times already.

Think of it like the F-4, the designed primary mission was an interceptor, but most users used it as an air superiority fighter even if it was never designed for that role. yes it was good at it too but it will never be as good as a dedicated air superiority fighter in that role.

ricnunes wrote:But taking all things into account the F-35 is probably the best, most advanced and effective fighter aircraft in all roles that a fighter aircraft can perform including Air-to-Air, this in existence today (and in the foreseeable future)

I'll have to disagree with that last part,
is it the best for SEAD/DEAD? sure,
interdiction? yes,
strike? you bet,
but A-A well, since you wont listen to me, at least listen to actual F-35 pilots or Air Force Generals

We were designed for a different mission set We were designed more as that multi role fighter and not as a dedicated air superiority fighter
-Maj John Searcy

The F-22 is to the F-35 what the F-15 is to the F-16, the former are kings of air to air combat.
-General Mike Hostage

So again, IF (and its a big If) the PCA will use directives of existing designs to incorporate into their family of systems, using an airframe that was designed "more for SEAD/DEAD and Strike" according to Maj Searcy, doesn't make sense .
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