Clean sheet F-16 replacement?

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jessmo112

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Unread post18 Feb 2021, 15:16

The study will include a “clean sheet design” for a new “four-and-a-half-gen or fifth-gen-minus” fighter to replace the F-16, Brown elaborated. Rather than simply buy new F-16s, he said, “I want to be able to build something new and different, that’s not the F 16 — that has some of those capabilities, but gets there faster and uses some of our digital approach.”

Brown explained that the idea would be to build on the lessons learned in digital engineering for the “e-series” T-7A Red Hawk trainer, and the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD). In particular, Brown said he would like to see any F-16 replacement sport “open-mission systems” that would allow near-real-time software updates to meet new threats.

The idea of the tactical aircraft (
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basher54321

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Unread post18 Feb 2021, 19:57

Suspect another one to live in the F-16 conceptual replacements that never left paper folder. 8)


https://www.airforcemag.com/brown-launching-major-tacair-study-with-cape-considering-5th-gen-minus/

USAF needs a fifth-gen capability, comparable to the F-22 and F-35, and a “sixth-gen” capability such as the Next-Generation Air Dominance fighter, but it also needs “a mix for the lower-end fight,” Brown told reporters on Feb. 17.

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Although he acknowledged that former Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper opened the possibility of buying more F-16s for this purpose, Brown waved away that idea. The F-16, he said, lacks open mission systems capability, and gets operational flight program updates—new software—too infrequently. The aircraft was designed in the 1970s, and he is more interested in a “clean sheet design,” which he referred to as a “fourth-and-a half/fifth-gen minus” aircraft. The TacAir study will decide just what is needed, and in what numbers.

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“I want to … get as close as I can to a 386 capability with the force size I have and [the] dollars available,” he said, but there has to be solid analysis for the resulting force mix. He’s told the Air Staff and major commands, “I have a degree in engineering; it’s all about numbers and facts … That’s what I expect from the Air Staff, don’t give me emotion, bring me the facts.”

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Not every mission will have everything it needs, Brown said. “That means tough choices.” The Air Force has to “look across portfolios.”

Brown acknowledged the F-35 is having engine wear issues, and said this will play in the TacAir review. The Air Force has the largest and “most mature” F-35 fleet, and is seeing F135 engines “failing a little faster in certain areas,” due to their “high use rate” and heavy deployment pace, given their relative newness in the fleet, he said.

Options are being looked at in maintenance and depot to mitigate the problem, Brown said, noting he has three- and four-star generals studying the issue.

But one big solution could simply be to use the F-35 less, Brown reported.

“I want to moderate how much we’re using those aircraft,” he said. “You don’t drive your Ferrari to work every day, you only drive it on Sundays. This is our ‘high end’ [fighter], we want to make sure we don’t use it all for the low-end fight … We don’t want to burn up capability now and wish we had it later.”

There’s “going to be some tension associated” with that approach, and “I fully expect that,” he said.
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marauder2048

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Unread post20 Feb 2021, 07:40

Here's the actual transcript from the Defense Writers Group.
Nowhere does Brown talk about an F-16 replacement.

He does talk about a "5th gen minus" capability gap that might be filled by
some "son of NGAD."

That he wants this study done in conjunction with CAPE is convenient since Congress
is ring fencing funds for NGAD until CAPE reports that NGAD is sweetness and light.
Attachments
Defense-Writers-Group-with-General-Charles-Q.-Brown-JR.-1.pdf
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Fox1

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Unread post21 Feb 2021, 20:45

I thought the F-35 was supposed to be the F-16 replacement? The fact we are now buying the F-15EX, have discussed potentially buying new build F-16's and are now talking about developing a 4.5 to 5th Gen fighter that isn't an F-35 in which to replace the F-16 is a bit concerning. Do these moves indicate that the Air Force thinks the operational cost of the F-35 is going to be so great that they can't afford to operate a large force of them? Considering the flyway cost of the F-35A is now less than $80 million, yet we are still talking about developing an all new aircraft to do the job the F-35 was supposed to do, that is kind of the direction I think this is leaning.

It almost sounds like what they are requesting is an American equivalent of the South Korean KF-X. But again, what is wrong with the F-35 that would make them want to undertake such a project at this point in time? It is unlikely whatever they would develop would be significantly cheaper to buy. So are they looking at something that will be cheaper to actually operate? Again, the fact that we are even having this discussion at this point in time is very troubling to me. Something stinks here.
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Unread post21 Feb 2021, 21:17

Fox1 wrote:I thought the F-35 was supposed to be the F-16 replacement? The fact we are now buying the F-15EX, have discussed potentially buying new build F-16's and are now talking about developing a 4.5 to 5th Gen fighter that isn't an F-35 in which to replace the F-16 is a bit concerning. Do these moves indicate that the Air Force thinks the operational cost of the F-35 is going to be so great that they can't afford to operate a large force of them? Considering the flyway cost of the F-35A is now less than $80 million, yet we are still talking about developing an all new aircraft to do the job the F-35 was supposed to do, that is kind of the direction I think this is leaning.

It almost sounds like what they are requesting is an American equivalent of the South Korean KF-X. But again, what is wrong with the F-35 that would make them want to undertake such a project at this point in time? It is unlikely whatever they would develop would be significantly cheaper to buy. So are they looking at something that will be cheaper to actually operate? Again, the fact that we are even having this discussion at this point in time is very troubling to me. Something stinks here.


The reason they bought F-15EX was so they could plug into the existing nuclear weapons infrastructure.

The rumored F-16's are more then likely going to Taiwan.

You need to remeber that hardware is only half the equation of a fighter jet, the other half is software which took over twenty years to write for the F-35 and is currently being updated to block 4.

So their will never be a clean sheet replacement for the F-16. Every new fighter jet going forward is going to be a variant of the F-35 software and hardware just because it takes to long to write all new software.
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Unread post22 Feb 2021, 00:43

So the AF will need

1. New training pipeline for a new type.

2. A new development process

3. New engine and development testing

4. An entirely new logistics train

If your going to Use the F-135 or the F-100 engine then
You may as well just buy or build New F-35s or F-16s
This guy is either smoking wacky tabacky, dumb, trying to make a name for himself, or trying to twist Lockeeds arm to get CPFH down. Because going through another fighter dev competition isn't happening right now.
Lets not forget that once upon a time there was a winner take all competition that picked the F-35.
I also take issue with trying to paint the F-35 as the Hi in the Hi lo mix. If you really want to talk about sustainability, look at the F-22
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Unread post22 Feb 2021, 19:52

What would you sacrifice?

Stealth: LOAN nozzle, Divert less intake, stealth refinements and coatings, stealth weapon pod

Range: F2 variant, stealth weapon pod, conformal fuel tanks, engine modifications

Avionics: F2 variant, F-35 equipment

FCS: Agile Falcon, F2 variant

Speed: F2 variant, new engine

No doubt, this endeavors rational for a new or legacy plus design that will be roughly comparable to the F-35 cost only to have marginal performance gains.

The need for a low cost alternative when compared to overwhelming superiority of the F-35 against all comers, is not factored into the equation. A low cost F-35 variant, sans all the above characteristics would be an option and could be upgraded, should the need arise.

The "first week" of war argument is very compelling, as well, the difference between pear, near and low tier conflicts. Using a McLaren to deliver Ikea, is an obvious absurdity. The F-16 is beautiful and capable, but still a bomb truck, for the US. The "silver bullet" option is attractive for the ever evolving air combat environment, with 50 year gestations, it makes sense not to "put all your eggs in one basket" (F-35)
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Unread post24 Feb 2021, 18:42

strykerxo wrote:, it makes sense not to "put all your eggs in one basket" (F-35)



Yeah but we don't even with F-35s. The US Military is the largest, most powerful, and most expensive in the world. The eggs in one basket thing is a joke. We are talking about necking down from F-16s and Legacy F-18 and Harrier and Prowler, to "only":

Super Hornet
Growler
F-15EX
F-22
A bevy of teen fighters that won't start really going away until the 2030s.
F-15E's until 2040
The f**king A-10

and finally our "one and only basket" F-35s of THREE variants.

We have Adversary/aggressor forces alone that dwarf a lot of the worlds air forces. but we are always "poor" always stuck with "only" a half dozen plus fighter types. barely scraping by with 700+ billion annual budgets for nearly 20 years straight. I swear the place is falling apart... hey lets start a new fighter program! And this time it will save for real! not like the other dozen times.

and If this stupidity comes to fruition, a "Gen 4.5 plus/5th gen minus" fighter that won't show up for ten years, and won't start "saving money" for 20. The US has more depth than a lot of nations by a wide mile.

The eggs in one basket thing is ridiculous, and theres no point in "spreading baskets" if you then never have enough anyway. so I want 5 one egg baskets? or at one point do I want one that carries 15? Risk assessment and efficiency is always fun.

Oscar: Look, it doesn’t take a genius to know that any organization thrives when it has two leaders. Go ahead, name a country that doesn’t have two presidents. A boat that sets sail without two captains. Where would Catholicism be without the popes?

The "all the eggs in one basket" argument that I've seen countless time is ridiculous. All over the internet I've seen nations with just one type of fighter aircraft already (Like Canada with CF-18 or Norway and Belgium with F-16) whine about eggs in one basket. :roll: They already do that. No if they want to, in todays retarded business/military sloganeering, "diversify their combat portfolio" by all means they can buy more airplanes and I encourage them to! Then the second that comes up they suddenly "remember" they're "poor". Dont put them all in obe basket... unless of course you are too cheap to buy more baskets, in which case they need to carry all the eggs.

I strongly encourage everyone to go full Australia: Buy tankers, Wedgetails, F-35s, SH, Growlers. Go nuts. Enjoy the bill.

my favorite was some half drunk on BF4C who said that the F-35 was bad because its dumb to "put all the eggs in one basket" with a single type replacement, and he preferred the Rafale, Which of course is replacing no less than SIX other "baskets" in France (all the mirage types plus the navy's super etendard) every fighter in the French inventory navy and air force, with just one type "basket"-- the Rafale.


“I have a degree in engineering; it’s all about numbers and facts … That’s what I expect from the Air Staff, don’t give me emotion, bring me the facts.”


no its not LOL I can't tell if hes lying or naive to the point of absurdity. The issue has never been "engineering" F-22 and F-35 are marvels of engineering. The problem is beurcracy, testing, politics, and funding among other things. We had X-35 demonstrating hover with the STOVL lift fan in 2001. And if you read the pressers back then it was all extremely promising and high tech and awesome. if it was a matter of making a working prototype, this is easy and already perfected. Hes talking about "solutions" for problems, that don't exist. The issue is not getting from the airplane from "paper to sky" the issue is that is not the finish line but only the beginning. Lacing up your shoes is the easiest part of the Marathon.

Wheres the "engineering" solution to the DOT&E? GAO? and any number of the dozens of "oversight" agencies who are designed to slow everything to a crawl and subvert constantly? oh and this is before the contractor disputes... hey there guy, we need a chance to compete!! You can't just give a contract to that other company for billions! we need to talk this out! Even the F-15EX ran into the PW vs GE motor fight. Whoa whoa there, bud. You can't just build something and put it into service! F-35 should have been sole sourced. The X-32 did nothing, and X-35 verified the original concept from the start-- but at least it wasted 3 years.

The issue is not the engineering of the airplane, the issue is the system that impairs progress in getting it into combat service. a full quarter of the JSF program's time is spent just filing reports. 1 in every 4 days of the JSF program is purely paperwork.

its not a f**king engineering problem...

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Last edited by XanderCrews on 24 Feb 2021, 22:11, edited 1 time in total.
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steve2267

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Unread post24 Feb 2021, 19:45

Simple solution really.

What if I could promise you an aircraft that turns almost as good as an airshow clean F-16, pirouettes pretty like an F/A-18, accelerates like a skeered jackrabbit, and has tons and tons of gas? And I can do it cheaper than new Vipers, and cheaper than the F-35?

I give you the F-35V... just rip out the EOTS, DAS, get rid of the helmet and put a good old fashion HUD in it. Comes with basic stealth built in, but don't bother maintaining the VLO surfaces (let it age natchrahlee).

If you want to save even more money... just go back to the X-35 airframe that was thousands of pounds lighter. Sure, you only get 1000lb internal bombs, but who cares! With the current F135 power, you can prolly derate the F135 slightly to improve durability, and still gain performance.

Maybe to sell it, call it the F-47 or F-51.

[/rant=off]

Good grief. I've got an engineering degree. This guy needs to get rid of all his emotion. Whaddadumbass.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post24 Feb 2021, 22:04

steve2267 wrote:Simple solution really.

What if I could promise you an aircraft that turns almost as good as an airshow clean F-16, pirouettes pretty like an F/A-18, accelerates like a skeered jackrabbit, and has tons and tons of gas? And I can do it cheaper than new Vipers, and cheaper than the F-35?

I give you the F-35V... just rip out the EOTS, DAS, get rid of the helmet and put a good old fashion HUD in it. Comes with basic stealth built in, but don't bother maintaining the VLO surfaces (let it age natchrahlee).

If you want to save even more money... just go back to the X-35 airframe that was thousands of pounds lighter. Sure, you only get 1000lb internal bombs, but who cares! With the current F135 power, you can prolly derate the F135 slightly to improve durability, and still gain performance.

Maybe to sell it, call it the F-47 or F-51.

[/rant=off]

Good grief. I've got an engineering degree. This guy needs to get rid of all his emotion. Whaddadumbass.



Even the F-35V idea is gonna take some time to implement, and it doesn't solve the F135 wear/depot problem. even ripping out those systems is no gaurantee of savings. When the "exportable" F-22 was being pitched people in the know were pointing out that messing with all the avionics was basically like starting from scratch, it actually cost more money to "water it down" than to sell it as is. Even F-15EX has to go through verifired testing protocols. We've been flying F-15s for decades but we aren't sure about this one... :D

Don't get me wrong I like the F-35V idea, and its the least worst option, but it would still have loads of trouble, not least of which is "splicing" it into the current production line or starting more lines.

The most successful implementation of the Gen 4.5 fighter is the super Hornet. and that took a lot of "service push" clever accounting, naming conventions and about 6 years from first flight to IOC-- and that was with the Block I avionics already found in the F-18C/D, and we still had some surprises. One can look at CH-53K, and S-92 as another example (fatal with S-92) of taking the old and just reworking it. Engine explosion before its first carrier testing, The wing drop problem, stores separation questions, the very wild AOA tests. via SMSGTMac:

The F-18E/F program objectives Hanley describes were rather admirably met in the end, but Hanley also cogently summarizes the REALLY big surprise that the F-18E/F designers had to overcome.

Every flight test program encounters some “unknown unknown, “things that were not planned, thought of, or considered possible to occur in flight-testing. The Super Hornet was no exception. Early in the flight test EMD program, the aircraft experienced uncommanded “wing drop” during wind up turns and straight and level accelerations. As the program matured and the envelope expanded, it became clear that this was a serious problem that would impact aircraft performance if not corrected.
Over an eight-month period from August 1997 through March 1998, maximum resources were brought to bear to solve this problem. In all, over 10,000 wind up turns were executed on over 100 wing configurations before a solution was found. This effort required use of up to 4 of the 7 flight test aircraft to solve, causing significant rework to an already tight EMD schedule. The “wing drop” phenomenon was a rapid, uncommanded bank angle change of up to 180 degrees (if left unchecked by the pilot) that would cause a pilot to lose a guns-tracking solution on a threat aircraft. Wing drop occurred at all altitudes and from about 0.55 Mach to approximately 0.95 Mach. Extensive wind tunnel, simulation and CFD testing and analysis was conducted coincident with the flight-testing. (Hanley Et Al, p. 32-8)
I’m told that the total time to ‘fix’ the problem was close to 3 years. The Hanley paper doesn’t quite get into the root cause, and the authors’ explanation of the “fix” is really a list of corrective actions progressively tried and applied:
Some of the flight test “fixes” assessed included modified snag locations, vortex generators, grit, stall strips, modified flap scheduling, control surface biasing, fences and porous wing fold fairing covers. Eventually, the porous wing fold cover proved to be the most effective solution to the “wing drop” phenomenon, by dissipating adverse pressure gradients fore and aft of the shock forming on the wing and reducing the effect of the asymmetric stall.


At best lets imagine the newfangled 2020 engineering cuts out the 3 years it took to get from SH approval to first flight, and cuts that in half. I'm still 8 years from my first squadron IOC, and 4 years after that for Block II, which is the "real" Super Hornet. Assuming nothing wild crops up, no delays, no cost overruns (I know but playalong) I don't see what will be accomplished and as always a lot of the first tranche, wave, block, variant, whatever are gonna be "mulligans" like usual. have to avoid "mission creep" and "system Creep" keep the bad press at bay, survive cancellation (every program gets its chance to be killed off in spectacular fashion) and try not to be yet another example of the old "it will be different this time! honest!" that I'm betting will turn into the same clusterscrew, again not because of some unsolvable engineering issue, but because some guy in washington DC doesn't like the way you're testing all the way out there in Edwards AFB California, and is going to slow you down, tie you up, and get you to expend your budget, turning your smart program and plan into a quagmire that would make Al Qaeda or the Viet Cong envious.

Gripen E, giving it a very generous timeline is going from a 2013 order by the Swedes (After the swiss but before they cancelled, before brazi picked Gripen as well) first flight 2017, and "in service" 2021 via software and not squadron level IOC like the US requires, and thats after the Gripen NG demo flew in 2008, using COTS products, and trying to keep it as similiar to Gripen with the software dreams the boss here desires. thats an 8 year timeline again. and its still years from Full operational

again I just don't see this as realistic in any sense, the guy suggesting it is either the best poker player at the table or the dumbest guy in the room. I really hope he's bluffing, and its the first part. Because there is simply no way they're going to get an in service airplane combat capable on budget faster than it will be to simply keep working the F-35 problem (Amiright Mr Engineer? we see problems to solve, not issues to worry about?) Hes just playing some role "I'm an engineer and I just need a budget!" LOL priceless.

Time to dust this old chestnut off:

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Unread post24 Feb 2021, 22:41

"
my favorite was some half drunk on BF4C who said that the F-35 was bad because its dumb to "put all the eggs in one basket" with a single type replacement, and he preferred the Rafale, Which of course is replacing no less than SIX other "baskets" in France (all the mirage types plus the navy's super etendard) every fighter in the French inventory navy and air force, with just one type "basket"-- the Rafale.
"
There are the F-8 Crusader, the Jaguar, the etendard 4P, the Mirage 2000N, the mirage 2000C, the mirage F1CR and the Super Etendard. The mirage 2000-5 and 2000D are partially replace to date.
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Unread post25 Feb 2021, 01:31

Give me the basket that contains about 500 F-22 Raptor eggs and 2000 or so F-35 Lightning eggs. That is the basket I want. That basket would kick the a$$ of any other basket anyone currently has or will ever have.

Yet somewhere deep within the bowels of the Pentagon lurks someone who goes home every night and rubs one out to the notion of getting an American aviation company to partner with Korean Aerospace Industries to bring to the U.S. a version of the K-FX, which sounds precisely to a T what the folks promoting this idea are describing. They can claim it will be much cheaper to operate and that the Koreans have already done most of the development work. Yet I can't see the design being significantly cheaper to build and buy than the F-35 which is sitting here ready to go into full rate production with a price tag now below $80 million, a bargain considering how revolutionary it is. Would it not make more sense to work out the remaining bugs in it and try to bring down operating costs rather than starting a whole new fighter program? Even if such a program succeeds, we still lose because we'd end up buying an aircraft vastly inferior to the F-35. And it would surely be purchased at the expense of the F-35.

I can understand buying some F-15EX new builds. I could even live with buying a few new F-16V's. I agree that we need a degree of variety and that there is still a place for lower end capabilities within the force. But neither the F-15 nor the F-16 would ever pose any real threat to the F-35 program in the long term. They are solutions for near term shortfalls and would eventually end up being replaced by the F-35 anyway somewhere down the road. But some sort of "budget" 5th Gen fighter just might look appealing enough to the dense to become a legitimate threat to the F-35.

Again, as I have said before in other discussions about this matter, I can only hope the talk of developing a clean sheet design as an F-16 replacement is nothing more than a ploy by the Air Force to get Lockheed Martin to work on lowering the operating cost of the F-35. And maybe that is all it is. I certainly hope so, for the future of our nation. Given developing threats, we need aircraft like the F-22, F-35, PCA/NGAD and the B-21, not an Americanized version of this...

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Placing an order for a bunch of Block III Super Hornets would make more sense than going that route.

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