Side Bay Question

Anything goes, as long as it is about the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
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southernphantom

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Unread post25 Aug 2011, 01:08

I've heard various statements regarding the Raptor's fuselage-side weapons bays, basically between the 'one ''Winder per bay'' and ''two 'Winders per bay'' crowd. I personally believe that 2 AIM-9Ms sounds realistic, but would a future -9X upgrade provide the possibility of two missiles in each bay for improved knife-fighting ability?
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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post25 Aug 2011, 05:55

Looking at it....

Even the AIM-9X with it's smaller fins wouldn't allow an additional missile to fit.

There isn't the room for the launching hardware.

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Unread post27 Aug 2011, 09:38

Even if they removed/reduced the control surfaces ala ASRAAM I don't think there's enough space.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post27 Aug 2011, 18:01

They would be fine if they folded the wings (ala Standard missile)
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grinner68

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Unread post27 Aug 2011, 19:23

Would they not have to replace the trapeze and it's associated gear and strengthen the mounting points on the airframe to account for the increased weight of both the missiles and the trapeze?
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Unread post27 Aug 2011, 19:31

That's a given.
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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post27 Aug 2011, 23:12

grinner68 wrote:Would they not have to replace the trapeze and it's associated gear and strengthen the mounting points on the airframe to account for the increased weight of both the missiles and the trapeze?


That was our point, it won't all fit in that bay.

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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post27 Aug 2011, 23:29

Here's a fun question. Assuming that knife fights with IR missiles could be a thing of the past (when was the last US Sidewinder kill anyways?), would it not make sense to delete the side bays altogether and use the space/weight savings for more fuel/SEAD avionics? Please, don't freak out on me. I'm just brainstorming ways to make the F-22 more useful and versatile.
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Unread post27 Aug 2011, 23:48

If you did that you would forever remove that capability. For the SEAD role, how about a new trapeze/rail combo that would allow twin JAGMs (side by side)?
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Unread post28 Aug 2011, 00:46

SpudmanWP wrote:If you did that you would forever remove that capability. For the SEAD role, how about a new trapeze/rail combo that would allow twin JAGMs (side by side)?


Why would removing the side bays remove IR missile capability "forever"? If it's so critical, then why not the main bays? Raytheon is possibly already working on lock-on-after-launch for the AIM-9X, removing the need for Sidewinders to hang out the side (assuming that the F-22 eventually gets the JHMCS).

The F-22's all-aspect stealth and performance make it an ideal SEAD platform, even if it can't hump 2K weapons through the mud like the F-35. If that means giving up a pair of single-use weapon stations in exchange for more fuel or avionics, I'd be ok with it. If not, then keep the damned side bays and make them useful for something else if needed (whatever's short/light enough to fit). Given the nature of current and projected threats, it makes sense to modify the F-22 as a complete air-dominance fighter against both enemy aircraft and ground based defenses.

Of course, such modifications are unlikely because they would be ridiculously expensive for only 160 or so airframes. Still, it might be something for planners to keep in mind.
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Unread post28 Aug 2011, 01:06

What would be removed is 25% of your offensive weapons, which is a non-starter for me. It would cost a lot less money to develop newer, modular rail systems (like the JAGM example above), than to develop and pipe in new fuel tanks. Those bays are not that big so the benefit may only be 50nm or so.

The Aim-9s hang out the side because they are rail launched (as opposed to the AMRAAM being ejected). The Aim-9x Blk2, while being a LOAL missile, would still have to be moved into position to launch due to that (although the LOAL capability would mean less time waiting for lock prior to launch).

The thing to look for is the successor to the Aim-9. If they went with a folding-fin design then you could pack two (side-by-side).
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Unread post28 Aug 2011, 02:25

SpudmanWP wrote:What would be removed is 25% of your offensive weapons, which is a non-starter for me. It would cost a lot less money to develop newer, modular rail systems (like the JAGM example above), than to develop and pipe in new fuel tanks. Those bays are not that big so the benefit may only be 50nm or so.

The Aim-9s hang out the side because they are rail launched (as opposed to the AMRAAM being ejected). The Aim-9x Blk2, while being a LOAL missile, would still have to be moved into position to launch due to that (although the LOAL capability would mean less time waiting for lock prior to launch).

The thing to look for is the successor to the Aim-9. If they went with a folding-fin design then you could pack two (side-by-side).


Well, it's not a non-starter for me. The AMRAAM is both rail and eject launched.http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... au-127.htm I don't see why this couldn't be the case with the AIM-9X as well if necessary. As for the bay's volume, I don't know the exact numbers, but from the picture above, it looks rather substantial to my eye. If not fuel, one wonders what kind of EW equipment could match the footprint of a Sidewinder and its rail (Growler pods come to mind).

BTW, what do you mean by "newer, modular rail systems" and how would such a thing be helpful?
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Unread post28 Aug 2011, 02:46

An ejector launched Aim-9 would require a lot of redesign of the 9x (as it was not intended for that amount of lateral thrust).

Ask any F-22 pilot: Would you give up your Aim-9s for 50nm?

By modular racks I mean a way to use different weapons/systems in the side bays as needed.
1. Aim-9
2. Twin JAGM/Brimstone
3. Large cheek AESA arrays to act as VLO forward AWACS
4. EW equipment
5. Future Aim-9x follow-on weapons
6. Fuel pod

My point is to make it modular so that no capability is lost and more flexibility is introduced.
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Unread post28 Aug 2011, 04:30

SpudmanWP wrote:An ejector launched Aim-9 would require a lot of redesign of the 9x (as it was not intended for that amount of lateral thrust).

Ask any F-22 pilot: Would you give up your Aim-9s for 50nm?

By modular racks I mean a way to use different weapons/systems in the side bays as needed.
1. Aim-9
2. Twin JAGM/Brimstone
3. Large cheek AESA arrays to act as VLO forward AWACS
4. EW equipment
5. Future Aim-9x follow-on weapons
6. Fuel pod

My point is to make it modular so that no capability is lost and more flexibility is introduced.


Your idea sounds best, but given the choice between two old-a$$ Sidewinders and the extra fuel that could fit in their spots, my gut tells me that those side bays would give a lot more than an extra 50 nm. Of course there's no way to tell for sure unless we know what volume of space is dedicated to those bays. I'll also bet that an empty fuel tank in that spot would weigh less than the door and rail equipment.
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 14:32

1st503rdsgt wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:An ejector launched Aim-9 would require a lot of redesign of the 9x (as it was not intended for that amount of lateral thrust).

Ask any F-22 pilot: Would you give up your Aim-9s for 50nm?

By modular racks I mean a way to use different weapons/systems in the side bays as needed.
1. Aim-9
2. Twin JAGM/Brimstone
3. Large cheek AESA arrays to act as VLO forward AWACS
4. EW equipment
5. Future Aim-9x follow-on weapons
6. Fuel pod

My point is to make it modular so that no capability is lost and more flexibility is introduced.


Your idea sounds best, but given the choice between two old-a$$ Sidewinders and the extra fuel that could fit in their spots, my gut tells me that those side bays would give a lot more than an extra 50 nm. Of course there's no way to tell for sure unless we know what volume of space is dedicated to those bays. I'll also bet that an empty fuel tank in that spot would weigh less than the door and rail equipment.


Why do you think it'd be preferable to have a 6 missile load out. I'd rather utilize unused space within the airframe for upgrades, rather than lose 2 missiles. You're not even sure how much range that you'd gain from doing, so, but you're certain it'd be worth losing 25% of your offensive capability.
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