Navy admiral hints at jettisoning F-35 fighter

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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sewerrat

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Unread post12 Jul 2012, 20:38

“We appear to be reaching the limits of how much a platform’s inherent stealth can affordably get it close enough to survey or attack adversaries,” Adm. Greenert says in a magazine that serves as a sounding board for active and retired officers. “And our fiscal situation will continue to require difficult trade-offs, requiring us to look for new ways to control costs while remaining relevant.”


“The Navy has been sending signals for a long time,” said Winslow Wheeler, an analyst at the Center for Defense Information, a budget reform group. “The most recent Greenert comments in Proceedings shows that longstanding information, available for decades, about the vulnerability of stealth to long-wavelength radars is beginning to sink in as the realizations of the gigantic dollar, tactical and reliability costs escalate.”


http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/201 ... 5-fighter/
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Unread post12 Jul 2012, 23:23

The "Boss with Dolphins" has a different slant on the view for platforms of the future. CNO has written, "To more efficiently match platform to mission in the future we will need to treat capabilities as being inherent in the payloads a platform carries and employs, rather than capabilities being inherent (integrated) in the platform itself." In this forum (F-16.net) the F-35 is a platform and "AW" is one of several mission payloads. His early experience as a pre-LA nuke boat officer with attack and boomer tours gives him a unique background for commanding the world’s most formidable navy and one of the largest air forces. That experience with missiles and watching the technological development of the LA boats into the Seawolf and now Virginia classes should give him an appreciation of what mission module capabilities can be, thus his belief in the payloads of the platforms. With an average office stay of only 3.75 years (@ 9 mths. and counting), he has a brief time in his 36 year career to impact the future, without developing a legacy. IMHO he will continue the F-35 program "as is", but will refocus future developments into the "Payload" concept. :2c:
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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 00:32

IMHO he will continue the F-35 program "as is", but will refocus future developments into the "Payload" concept. Two Cents

That was my impression as well.
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sewerrat

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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 14:15

count_to_10 wrote:
IMHO he will continue the F-35 program "as is", but will refocus future developments into the "Payload" concept. Two Cents

That was my impression as well.


IDK, but from reading things here and there, I get the impression that USN isn't sold on the idea of the JSF or stealth in general except in building a new breed of faceted boats and investing in UCAVs. I get the impression that if they could re-engine the superbug they'd be content until 2030 with their flying decoys (superbugs), which ain't bad for the USAF since they'd draw fire away from our boys in blue and nomex.
When was the last time the Navy lost a F/A-18 in combat? 1991? I wonder if that has anything to do with that mentality.
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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 15:40

sewerrat wrote:When was the last time the Navy lost a F/A-18 in combat? 1991? I wonder if that has anything to do with that mentality.


2003. Friendly fire loss to a Patriot battery, resulting in the death of Lt. Nathan White.
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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 16:00

sewerrat wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:
IMHO he will continue the F-35 program "as is", but will refocus future developments into the "Payload" concept. Two Cents

That was my impression as well.


IDK, but from reading things here and there, I get the impression that USN isn't sold on the idea of the JSF or stealth in general except in building a new breed of faceted boats and investing in UCAVs. I get the impression that if they could re-engine the superbug they'd be content until 2030 with their flying decoys (superbugs), which ain't bad for the USAF since they'd draw fire away from our boys in blue and nomex.
When was the last time the Navy lost a F/A-18 in combat? 1991? I wonder if that has anything to do with that mentality.



I'll speak for myself, but I can't be the only one who finds the notion that the USN acting as "flying decoys" for the USAF to be not only beyond rediculous, but borderline insulting? Tell me, what of the fleets of F-15Es's, A-10s, Golden Eagles, and upgraded F-16s that will remain in the fleet for some years yet, are they decoys too? How about the E-3s, RC and KC-135s, C-17s, and U-2s-simply decoys?


The truth of the matter is that Stealth is only of so much utility for the Navy. Your stealth is somewhat hampered by the fact that your mobile airfield has the RCS of a small nation-state. They have stated that they remain committed to the F-35C to phse out the legacy Hornets. While the Super Hornet may not be 5th Generation, I think you are significantly underestimating the most capable 4th generation Aircraft in the US' arsenal.


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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 16:32

Um, you are not flying the carrier in denied space so its RCS is irrelevant.

If VLO for the nave was not important, then why are they lamenting the loss of the A-12 so much?
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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 18:07

http://defense.aol.com/2012/07/13/navy- ... nitiative/

Just to stir the pot a little more. Oh and Spud or spaz might want to start a new thread with this article.

Basically, F/A-XX has a decent chance of being a F-35C+ (F-35D?) Super Lightning II. The budget for a new design is harder to come by than the budget to finish the F-35 development.

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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 21:09

A curious artefact of being on dialup speed is that on AOL only headline text loads and no article text at all. This applies to any article on this website. Curious indeed but demsdebreaks for next few days. Any chance someone can post the text of this article please? Tah. http://defense.aol.com/2012/07/13/navy- ... nitiative/
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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 21:41

It would not bother me at all if F/A-XX is an F-35 derivative. Just how much a derivative would be interesting as that can mean a lot of things. I am curious if they could do a derivative with two engines. I posted this elsewhere on what I would like out of F/A-XX but put simply I think a two-engined F-35 basically sums up what I would be after.

For me I think you see about a 90% chance that the USAF and USN are told that their next generation whatever it is needs to work for both of them. Since you are looking at a combined replacement for the F-18E and F-22 you have a variety of missions to fill in the 2030 time frame. Feel free to go nuts but personally I think this generation of aircraft is something that needs to come in on schedule and on budget as much as possible. That to me means limiting the degree to which you are reaching. Here is about what I would be looking at in terms of priority of characteristics from greatest to least.

Range/Loiter Ability
Low Radar Cross Section
Payload (Internal and External)
Speed
Agility

In short if I have to give things up in favor of something else to make budget I would rather trade speed and agility for the top 3 so long as they are all within reason. What I am looking to build is much more an interceptor/strike asset than it is a modern F-15. I want all speed and agility I can get, but not at the price of blowing the cost out of the water. Super-cruise would be nice and I think could be achieved with a minimum of fuss if you go a two engine route which would seem almost certain but again I would not trade that for range or RCS at all.

Technologically I think what makes the most sense to see is something that leverages a lot of the F-35's technology towards a mission goal much more like an F-15E. You would see a two engined aircraft that was a more high end on the RCS front and would be bigger. I don't have any issue with porting the F-35 weapons bays almost straight over to this, particularly provided you can get the 6 AMRAAM capacity in the main bays that should be coming down the development road. Add two side bays for short range missiles and I think the weapons fit is just fine for the likely missions. You would have an aircraft that could carry internally on an air superiority mission exactly what the F-22 can now or could carry what an F-35 can now plus two internal short range AAM's. If things work out so extra length is there for the bays then by all means take advantage of it. If you can stuff more into the space with minimal cost then so be it as well.

The additional thrust from the two engines would be mostly dedicated to allowing you to carry a heavier fuel fraction into the air than the F-35 can. The F-35 carries either 62% or 57% of its empty weight in fuel internally. The F-22 carries 41%. Our goal would be to get somewhere in the F-35 range of fuel fraction on a bigger aircraft. That would mean if we had something in the 45,000 pound range for empty weight we would have around 27,000 pounds of fuel and a MTOW of say around 85,000 pounds. We probably have to trade top end speed and agility for the range and persistence but it seems a very worthwhile tradeoff in my view. A good deal of the F-22's structure is driven by the super-cruise requirement. Again, if we can work that in without blowing the budget or other necessities I say do it, but it is not a deal breaker to me. This is something built for the US and the US has plenty of tankers if you need to do some dashing about with afterburners.

I would take most of my avionics right off the F-35. It will integrate the majority of the weapons I would want and by reusing the weapons bays I am ahead of that game. It also gives me a larger pool to work with on future developments. In a way the F-35 weapons bay becomes a lot like the MK-41 VLS. Everything is designed with that in mind and without a compelling reason things won't be bigger. Has some drawbacks but it would enforce some discipline on the system. I can use the F-35 skin solutions to avoid F-22 like problems. In fact there are not many things I would not suggest just flat taking from the F-35. The more we can pilfer from the F-35 the simpler our life will be on the sharp end really.

Stated most simply my goal is to take the F-35 solutions to avoid the major F-22 problems (small weapons bay, maintenance heavy on the skin) and then try to back out a few of the F-35 compromises that lead to a higher RCS and were present to allow for things like the lift fan. There may be future technology you need to provision for but honestly that would not be my focus as that will lead to huge cost issues. What I would want to do is build a compliment to the F-35 that serves as a nice high end complement that will be more reliable and versatile than the F-22. I am going to leave the long-range strike stuff to things like the X-47.
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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 21:41

They must get paid by the word!, now shrunk!

1- The.. F/A-XX initiative has been “depicted” as an ultra-advanced "sixth generation" aircraft … ….the most likely candidate for the F/A-XX is, in fact, an upgraded F-35.
2- "We're not chasing the next shiny object," a Navy official …"We're looking to what is the art of the possible with regard to affordable warfighting capability."…. It's the Navy's need to replace Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets that will start reaching the end of their projected service life after 2025..
3-The service's Request For Information sent out to aerospace companies this spring explicitly solicited concepts – no one is at the stage of submitting actual proposals – both for "new design aircraft" and for "concepts derived from legacy aircraft."….Lockheed Martin has submitted one of each: an all-new, advanced, "sixth-generation" design and a derivative of its F-35C…
4- But "you have to sprinkle affordable in there," he emphasized. "Affordability is a huge concern."..So can the Navy afford a major new development program for the F/A-XX? Presumably the current budget crunch will end sometime… in the next ten years that the R&D cash can be found for a sixth-gen fighter, and technologically there's a lot you can do," ….
5- It's not impossible to field an all-new fighter design by 2030 if the Navy starts soon – but that would require finding significant funding in the next few years, when budgets are tightening. .
"I don't think it's any secret that the Department is committed to F-35," said the Navy official. "It's a given: Some level of F-35 inventory at this point has to be assumed." That's where planning for the F/A-XX has to start.
6- .. let the F-35 evolve. Not everything envisioned for a "sixth-generation" fighter could fit onto a future version of the F-35, but a lot could. ..Perhaps most important, the existing airframe could be outfitted with more advanced, fuel-efficient engines to get the extra range that's critical to the Navy's AirSea Battle concept…
7- We're shooting to get to an AOA by this fall or winter," said the Navy official. When would that analysis be finished, and the Navy ready to decide which alternative to pursue? Given the complexities, he said, "our initial guess is a couple of years right now."

..as you say jump it! :)
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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 22:08

Thanks 'neppie'.
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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 22:34

A stretched body using the F-35C wings should do wonders. Too bad they cannot use pods for a pair of engines to make removal relatively lightning fast. Treat the design like a NASCAR racer, pitstop time to minimum and maximum time spent out on the track. Too much emphasis has been on VLO and too little on big picture affordability.
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Unread post13 Jul 2012, 23:57

neptune wrote: Presumably the current budget crunch will end sometime… in the next ten years that the R&D cash can be found for a sixth-gen fighter, and technologically there's a lot you can do," ….


I hate to be too negative, but facts are facts, and the budget crunch ending in the foreseeable future is a huge presumption. 1)We're starting off $15 trillion in the hole. 2)Social Security and Medicare are approaching their tipping points. 3)We now have a brand new and ginormous bureaucratic entitlement in Obamacare. 4)The baby boomers are just starting to reach retirement in strength. 5)Everyone is living longer. 6)Nearly 1/2 the eligible voters now receive some type of entitlement and the trend is increasing. Unless we wean ourselves off the entitlement addiction (a near political impossibility) the budget crunch will only get worse over the next 25 years.


neptune wrote:It's not impossible to field an all-new fighter design by 2030 if the Navy starts soon – but that would require finding significant funding in the next few years, when budgets are tightening.


That funding would likely be at the expense of the F-35C. I don't see that happening unless the Navy REALLY believes in UCAV and Growler supported F-18 E/Fs as the interim solution. To pass on the F-35C in spite of the economic facts stated above would be very bold.


neptune wrote:Perhaps most important, the existing airframe could be outfitted with more advanced, fuel-efficient engines to get the extra range that's critical to the Navy's AirSea Battle concept…


That approach makes sense. In fact, if the F-35 program had been run well, i.e. was near on-time and on-budget, then the F-35(D) concept or twin engine F-35C derivative might make a lot of sense. It might still if Lockheed can start executing here late in the 3rd quarter (a football reference, not fiscal year).
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