- Posts: 66
- Joined: 05 Jul 2005, 04:16
I haven't seen this design concept discussed here before. And I was unsure whether is better fit in this forum or the one for X Planes. But I suppose it could kinda go in either, being it really isn't yet more than a couple of artist renderings.
Nonetheless, just looking at those two images, one could infer a number of things. With the degree of sweep in those wings, as well as the overall size of the wings, such an aircraft should possess great agility and have the ability to go fast. Without any tail planes, it would have to have TVC, though those drawings don't seem conducive to 3D TVC. The design looks very stealthy. And it looks like it would be large enough to accommodate a decent weapons pay load and sophisticated systems. And something about the design just makes it look just simple enough so as to not cost $200 million each, meaning we might be able to buy more than a squadron's worth of them.
That said, beyond that, it is hard to infer much else. We don't even know if this is what the actual prototype would look like. But it is sufficient I suppose to at least start the discussion, when considering Boeing is trying to sell this idea to the Navy as an F-18 Super Hornet replacement, starting in about 10-15 years. And evidently the Navy is at least somewhat interested. The first flight of the PAK-FA prototype might make them even more interested.
Anyone heard any juicy rumors about what sort of performance capabilities this thing might be able to attain? Boeing is apparently referring to the concept as a "6th Generation" design, which goes beyond the current levels of stealth and actually takes it into new areas such as "visual stealth". It would also apparently have the option of being manned or unmanned. Quite interesting stuff. With the F-22 program being capped at 187 and with no manned fighter other than the F-35 on the horizon, I am kind of glad to see that someone is working on some other alternatives. The US Navy could really use something like this. And heck, who knows, depending on how things turn out with the F-35, the US Air Force might even have some interest a decade down the road.