Short of new tooling(a given cost and time) all of the test and eval is done on a F-16E/XL. With all the cost over run and delay on the F-35. If the power that be where to say GO. how long would it take to put it from go to IOC?
Unfortunately bringing back the F-16XL would be more trouble than it's worth. Sure we've done all the tests and evaluations of the F-16XL and all that other good stuff but how long ago was it? You're asking us to reach back into the '80s to grab an airframe design that was worked on by people that are probably old and retired now. We need something that was developed recently and people have recent experience working with.
Don't get me wrong, the F-16XL was awesome and I think it should have won, but its time is gone, let it go.
It depends on whether or not there is an USAF requirement for a mid-term capability upgrade, in case of a full F-35 suspension. If NASA and DARPA got involved and a fast-track order was given, probably 5 yrs to achieve an increment 7.1 IOT&E completion (FY15 procurement delivering initial operational jets). If it was a purely MIC development program and left up to them though, probably until 2020.
Thank you Elite 2k. The point was a little what if. I am quit clear on the age of the people involved and the design( if it make sense it will never happen)! Just wanted to know from people that do R&D and have fast tracked thing, what kind of real world time frame one would be looking at.