Marines view F/A-XX as threat to F-35

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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maus92

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Unread post04 May 2012, 05:26

Senior official raises F/A-XX doubts while retired USMC Generals question USN’s F-35 commitment

".... retired US Marine Corps flag-officers say that the USN's nascent F/A-XX effort demonstrates the service's lack of commitment to the carrier-variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)."

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... nt-371442/
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Unread post04 May 2012, 06:12

Considering the F-35 can't do everything the Navy needs, not really.
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Unread post04 May 2012, 06:13

The F-35, however, Gardner says, is superior to any potential threat for the foreseeable future.

Trautman says that the USN might become more amenable to operating the F-35C once the first fleet aviators have a chance fly the jet. "What I predict will happen is that when the F-35C starts flying, they're going to fall in love with it," he says. "They're going to realize that it's so much better than the Super Hornet that they'll they're going to want more of them."
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Unread post04 May 2012, 06:14

Nice one-liner 'maus92'. Here is the news.

"...The US Navy has issued a request for information (RFI) for a new F/A-XX fighter that would start to replace the Super Hornet in the 2030s--effectively starting the search for that aircraft's successor. The USN says that the F-35C will replace the earlier Boeing F/A-18A to D-model jets, but not the larger Super Hornet.

...The USN, for its part, strongly defends its support for the F-35C.

"The RFI to which you refer does not affect in any way the Navy's continued strong support for our F-35 program of record," the USN says. "The AoA [analysis of alternatives] will study manned, unmanned, and optionally manned alternatives to fill capability requirements associated with a predicted 2030 threat and service life expiration of the Super Hornet airframes."

The service notes that the RFI specifically calls for an F/A-XX aircraft that is complementary to the F-35C. The USN adds that it takes about 20 years to develop a new aircraft....

...There are options to increase the F-35C's range, persistence and stealth, Gardner says.

The F-35C would give the USN the volume it needs to recapitalize its tactical fighter force and keep it relevant against future threats, says Gardner-himself a former naval aviator. It would also allow the navy to recapitalize its tactical aviation fleet before the bill comes due to pay for a new USN ballistic missile submarine in the 2020s....

...The F-35, however, Gardner says, is superior to any potential threat for the foreseeable future.

Trautman says that the USN might become more amenable to operating the F-35C once the first fleet aviators have a chance fly the jet. "What I predict will happen is that when the F-35C starts flying, they're going to fall in love with it," he says. "They're going to realize that it's so much better than the Super Hornet that they'll they're going to want more of them.""
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Unread post04 May 2012, 06:33

Very good article. It is amusing how the USN keeps claiming that the F-35C is only meant to replace the F/A-18 C/D. By the time it reaches IOC, how many legacy Hornets will even be left? Being single-engined and a non-Boeing product, the F-35C has a lot of cultural/institutional inertia to overcome in the USN, but I agree with the article's assessment that time will change that attitude. As the Navy was unable to replace the F-14 with the NATF, so will they be unable to replace the Superbug with the F/A-XX; my guess is that they will have to once again settle for an updated version of what's already in service.

That said, I'm still not happy with LM having a monopoly on fighter development/production for the next 30 years, and I want to see Boeing get back in the game; but F/A-XX isn't the way to do it. Boeing needs to think even more long-term here: toward a high-end, across-the-board replacement of the F-22, all F-15 variants, and SOME of the Superhornets (the rest could be replaced by a later-block F-35Cs).
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Unread post04 May 2012, 07:53

And so it begins. The great battle of our time. (Insert other ominous language here)

What I found interesting in this article is that the Marines were offering their ideas on the future of the Navy's air wing. They looked to be driving the discussion and there was not a single source from the Navy program office regarding their ideas about the F/A-XX. The only quotes there were the standard "we're committed to the program, etc." There is no comment from the Navy about why they are pursuing the F/A-XX, no comment about the Navy's conception for a future air wing, nothing. This is an extremely one sided article, which to my eyes at least suggest that one side very much wants to talk about it, and the other side does not.

To break out the Kremlinology, the Marines are scared. Otherwise, you wouldn't have 2(!) high ranking / experienced sources arguing for the Navy to not pursue the F/A-XX. The Marine sources are a former deputy commander for aviation and a retired lieutenant general. To me, it suggests that the Navy is behind the scenes doing something which the Marines do not like. Note, the Marines arguments. Don't go alone. Wait til you get true 6th gen capability. Don't hurt shipbuilding. You'll really like the F-35. (Side thought: What would happen if the Navy dumps amphibious lift to pay for the F-35 and the F/A-XX? Fun times..)

Remember, the Marines probably cannot afford the F-35B if they had to shoulder the cost by themselves. They've already built up a history of expensive 'one off' development programs, AAAV and V-22 (which, while it works, is still pretty expensive ). Were the Navy to dump the F-35C, the Marines would be in a host of trouble.

Finally, to me, this sort of argument encapsulates another problem with the JSF program. It has literally sucked all the fighter recapitalization money into a single airframe and a single development track. The Navy's air power requirements have changed in the past 15 - 20 years. But, given the sheer size of the F-35 program, the Navy is not able to free up funds to address current military requirements and continue in the F-35 program.

To those to dismiss it, spaz, this article is truly strange. Why are Marines offering so much thought and comment about Navy fighter purchase planes? And plans that "of today" are just in the theoretical stage? If the RPI were purely theoretical, then there is no reason for this article. 2030 is a long ways away, etc. But to have such Marine firepower come out shooting already, that suggests something completely different. I think this is a shot across the bow regarding the Navy entirely ditching the F-35C and I think that the RPI is purely 'pro forma.' Boeing already has a design the Navy likes and wants. Let me repeat, this article only makes sense in a world where the Navy is considering leaving the JSF program altogether.

This article puts to rest any idea that the Navy is fully committed to the F-35C, program office quotes non-withstanding. Why do I say that? Compare the detailed discussion by the Marines to the boilerplate from the Navy.... There's more to this story and one side isn't talking.
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Unread post04 May 2012, 08:37

I think that be AF and Navy will eventually have to come up with a joint effort if they hope to,acquire 6Gen aircraft. Given the low numbers to be procured by each service, it's going to be probibitive setting up,separate programs.
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Unread post04 May 2012, 08:40

One can never compete with a 'conspiracy theory'. I'd rather go on public statements and that is all you have also. Make of it what you will. Boilerplate or not. I do not actually care - being Australian and all. Australia will make its way as best it can with what is real rather than any conspiracy.
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Unread post04 May 2012, 08:55

Here is the DEWbiousLINE story - with a GRAPHIC! :D Same attached as at URL but from PDF.

Senior DoD official doubts US Navy F/A-XX effort By Dave Majumdar on May 4, 2012

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ts-us.html

LINK is for a PDF presentation:
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RADM-Carr-Chief-of-Naval-Research.pdf (2.3Mb)

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Unread post04 May 2012, 17:50

"a new F/A-XX fighter that would start to replace the Super Hornet in the 2030s", of course the Marines are opposed to this, they don't fly the Super Bug (or as we say. no dog in the hunt). :lol: This tail is not going to wag this dog! :wink: The Marines will fly the F-35B and the F-35C , the Navy will fly the F/A-18E/F/G and the F-35C. Does the F/A-XX become the F/A-35D, Super Lightning, maybe! :idea: Who says that Boeing or Northrup/ Grumman can't build the F-35D if the DOD bids it. :shock: A 40 to 50% commonality similar to the Hornet/ Super Bug would reduce development/ maintenance costs and yet add an evolution path for the "Sea" upgrades. :)
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Unread post04 May 2012, 19:48

I think Navy would like a super-cruise, low-bypass-rate engine, NATF sort of fighter.
After all, F-35 is an economic fighter, and more focused on striker/attacker role.
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Unread post04 May 2012, 21:29

Can't this be the navy's way of making sure they set the agenda? They where more or less forced to retire the Tomcat without a proper replacement, they didn't get something remotely as good as the F-22. If they have something that can be portrayed as the "Hi" vs the F-35 "Lo" fairly into development when the Air Force needs a replacement for the F-22 it might be the Air Force that's forced into accepting the navy bird? A bit like what happened with the F-4 back in the day. What the marine stake would be is beyond me though.
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Unread post05 May 2012, 00:41

muir wrote:Can't this be the navy's way of making sure they set the agenda? They where more or less forced to retire the Tomcat without a proper replacement, they didn't get something remotely as good as the F-22. If they have something that can be portrayed as the "Hi" vs the F-35 "Lo" fairly into development when the Air Force needs a replacement for the F-22 it might be the Air Force that's forced into accepting the navy bird? A bit like what happened with the F-4 back in the day. What the marine stake would be is beyond me though.


It is really strange to still see label "Lo mix" used in the same sentence as the F-35 with its cutting edge technology and price tag to boot. What current or planned aircraft would be a"hi mix" alternative for the US Navy? - Absolutely nothing.

Even if I haven't heard this term being used either from LM or the US government, signals like these from the US Navy can do nothing good for the program, for example in regard to the dilemma the brits find themselves in. Someone in the US Navy should be put in place before the really do some damage to the program and it's allies nations.
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Unread post05 May 2012, 02:34

The whole Hi/Lo thing may end up being a Fourth-gen US/USSR thing. I'm not sure it has shown up anywhere else other than the F-15/F-16 and Flanker/Fulcrum, and maybe the F-14/F-18. Even that ended up really being just a maximized air superiority vs. cost effective multi-role, rather than the expensive air superiority vs. cheep air superiority it was originally intended.
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Unread post05 May 2012, 03:48

The idea behind the high/low mix was to maximize the effectiveness of an air force by having strength in numbers with multi-role fighters to complement a smaller number of more specialized air superiority fighters. In regards to the F-35, this was completely thrown out the window, because they've made cutting-edge capability a more important point than cost-effectiveness.

They really should have given the F-22 the greater technological edge than the F-35 for the purpose being that it's the specialized and expensive fighter that you're not going to go bombing third world countries with. When you add mission capability and survivability into a fighter, you'd better ***** well be fighting a first-world air force. Anything less than that and you're diminishing what your air force can do.

To put this into perspective, if you're confronting a dozen Cold War-era Mig-29's, you're better off having six modern F-16's than two F-35's. The only times in which you're better off having fewer more advanced fighters is if the technological advantages outweigh strength in numbers.
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