USAF wants a new fighter to fill in for the F-35?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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Corsair1963

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Unread post15 Mar 2021, 23:39

XanderCrews wrote:
omelet1978 wrote:Just out of curiosity, would the people on this forum support getting F-16V Block 70s kind of like the F-15EX purchase?

They have ordered 8 F-15EX's with an eventual goal of buying 144, so a similar buy of F-16V Block 70s. Retire some of the older F-16s and continue with the service life improvements on the F-16 fleet. I've researched the F-35 over the years and given everything I've seen out there I believe there is a definite need for the F-35. However to get to 1763 F-35s by the mid 2030s they'd have to buy over 100 F-35s a year which the Air Force doesn't seem to be able to afford.


Other than as Corsair1963 points out, that the f-15EX is more pricey to buy, and more pricey to fly, yet somehow "more affordable" and "cheaper" -- we sure do live in an interesting world don't we?-- It seems like the smarter thing to do would be to simply expand the F-15EX buy. I we are determined to buy Gen 4.5 fighters, I have no idea why we would buy 2 fleets of them.

So my first answer is "no" and then when I think about it for a second its "oh hell no" on Block 70 Vipers. Neck down to one gen 4.5 fleet at least. and seeing as the plan was always to replace F-16, while hanging onto strike eagles for longer, this makes a lot more sense. F-15s are too, in difference to the Viper Mafia (of which I ascribe to) more capable, the f-15EX has more utility too in terms of weapons carriage, size, etc.

Why not just expand the EX order to 250?? Why do I have to buy 2 fleets of airplanes that will be white elephants by 2030 when I can buy just 1?


Yes, we won't even get the majority of the F-15EX's until 2030. Which, have a life of 30+ years. So, we really going to be flying the Eagle until 2060+....
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 00:42

"...I don't even like giving avweak my precious clicks..." Yep same here but wot can you do? Some stuff is free and some stuff BEHIND a PAYWALL (wot I cannot see) is made available for FREE later. FlightGlobular has gone that way mostly too.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 03:14

Corsair1963 wrote:The media only makes money with doom and gloom. So, most everything these days is some sensational headline. Followed by things taken Out of Context, Exaggerations, Assumptions, and Half Truths!


F-35 was so far ahead of the curve on modern media. Proud dad moment. F-35 brought so many things into the 21st century.

Corsair1963 wrote:Yes, we won't even get the majority of the F-15EX's until 2030. Which, have a life of 30+ years. So, we really going to be flying the Eagle until 2060+....


I'm sure we can re-sell them to Bulgaria or something


Here is what I am saying distilled into some bullet points

*nearly every major US "bleeding edge" aviation program and even some of the "easy" ones have encountered problems, overruns and delays.

*everything that they're saying about NGAD I was already told about JSF in the 1990s.

*If we can't master 5th generation, I have a really hard time believing we will master 6th generation

*even if the F-35 was to "fall short of future capabilities" its still going to be needed as a bridge system between the teen series and NGAD-types. Think Super Hornet. Had the Navy decided to just "wait" for F-35 they would be basically flightless at this point, no serviceable airplanes. So at a minimum youre going to need F-35 to serve as the "backbone" for attrition purposes.

*T-7 has a great story. NGAD is not a T-7. its going to need far more testing and certification

*the CSAF is talking buying 5th gen, but also talking a clean sheet design that will be "fast" if it takes only 10 years. NGAD is the same story. so we are years away from an actual "f-35 rival" meanwhile:

*ACC commander is screaming that they don't have enough aircraft. I guess he can wait, there's games to be played

*unlike Vietnam which actually ended so we could begin rebuilding after some serious thought, The US Military is attempting to do a kind of Reagan style 1980s rebuild amongst a giant sucking maw of ongoing GWOT deconstruction. This is like bailing out one bucket just to have your shipmate bail another bucket of water back into the boat. we are attempting to reconstruct as we are still deconstructing. if you want to get out of hole you have to stop digging.

*The military is talking about hard choices, while not making a single hard choice. Milley is crying about Afghan girls, and Mattis Resigned over Kurds. So the brass is not interested in trading dumb little war for important big war. You'll note how hard retired flag ranks came out against the last POTUS in the summer of 2020, but I never saw an open letter signed by that many stars about say Afghanistan or any forever war for that matter. priorities are funny that way, i guess.

*theres no guarantee whatsoever that any F-35 "supplement" will be better, cost less, or both.

*its not to have sour grapes, but if the USAF flubs up F-35 they deserve everything they get, and it won't be pleasant. its been 11 years since the axe came for the F-22 and people still lament it.

* I don't have much faith in leadership. I realized they were out of touch I had no idea just how bad it was. Tucker Carlson just cleaned their clocks. (in other news the military has far too many twitter accounts. Not every command needs a social media presence-- they can't even organize on Twitter. Sad)

* The military seems more sensitive than usual, they're making mistakes, or maybe there's just more "glasnost" now but they stuff theyre putting out there seems wild and uncontrolled, and its going to cause them some pain. They're under budget pressure and theyre not making it better with their PR lately
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Gums

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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 04:02

Salute!

The axe for the F-22 was political. And I can see it coming for the F-35.

For some reason. the defense department and the generals can't seem to educate the pols that these new systems really are "cheaper by the dozen".

During the F-22 debacle, I was on a personal level with the USAF chief - Fogleman. He predicted maybe 300 or so planes, and finally settled on 200 - 250. And then the folks that want to give all your money to the warlords, domestic and foreign, decide you only need less than 200 planes.

Only program I ever saw that abandoned the original plan for a plane was the 'vaark. It did not become multi-service and was not produced in the massive quantities envisioned. The Double Ugly and Sluf filled the gap until that neat little jet came along -the Viper.

If we cut the F-35 buy, it will be political and not based on potential combat effectiveness and other factors.

This whole thing stinks of politics

Gums sends...
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Corsair1963

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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 04:16

Gums wrote:Salute!

The axe for the F-22 was political. And I can see it coming for the F-35.

For some reason. the defense department and the generals can't seem to educate the pols that these new systems really are "cheaper by the dozen".

During the F-22 debacle, I was on a personal level with the USAF chief - Fogleman. He predicted maybe 300 or so planes, and finally settled on 200 - 250. And then the folks that want to give all your money to the warlords, domestic and foreign, decide you only need less than 200 planes.

Only program I ever saw that abandoned the original plan for a plane was the 'vaark. It did not become multi-service and was not produced in the massive quantities envisioned. The Double Ugly and Sluf filled the gap until that neat little jet came along -the Viper.

If we cut the F-35 buy, it will be political and not based on potential combat effectiveness and other factors.

This whole thing stinks of politics

Gums sends...



I spoke to John McCain a couple times around that time. My impression was the F-22 was being cut in order to fund the F-35. Which, could be produced in numbers and was much more versatile.

Of course a number of other programs and the overall budget to consider too....(complex issue)
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 04:21

XanderCrews wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:The media only makes money with doom and gloom. So, most everything these days is some sensational headline. Followed by things taken Out of Context, Exaggerations, Assumptions, and Half Truths!


F-35 was so far ahead of the curve on modern media. Proud dad moment. F-35 brought so many things into the 21st century.

Corsair1963 wrote:Yes, we won't even get the majority of the F-15EX's until 2030. Which, have a life of 30+ years. So, we really going to be flying the Eagle until 2060+....


I'm sure we can re-sell them to Bulgaria or something


Here is what I am saying distilled into some bullet points


All comes down to Politics, Jobs, and Money! ($$$) Which, the Media exploits to sell the news...... :shock:

Honestly, no wonder it is such a mess!
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 04:37

So the F-35 line stays open for the alsorans (overseas buyers) whilst the line closes for the USofA? O/S pool will be limited.
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 05:09

U.S. Air Force: F-35 is the ‘Cornerstone’

"The F-35 is the cornerstone of the U.S. Air Force fighter fleet” today and in the future, said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown.

Senior U.S. Air Force leaders recently reemphasized their support for the F-35, calling the 5th Generation fighter the “cornerstone” of the Air Force’s tactical capability. The remarks were intended to clarify recent erroneous media coverage claiming that the “Air Force has admitted the F-35 program has failed.”

During a Feb. 25 news conference at the Air Force Association’s Aerospace Warfare Symposium, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, debunked this claim, stating that “the F-35 is the cornerstone of the U.S. Air Force fighter fleet” today and in the future.

Brown, the U.S. Air Force’s top uniformed officer, confirmed that the Air Force’s program of record is 1,763 F-35As, and clarified that the Air Force is “not going to take money from the F-35” to fund the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) plans.

On Feb. 26, Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth added that the F-35 is “the core airplane going forward.”

The Centerpiece of 21st Century Global Security

The F-35 is delivering transformational capabilities today, and the program is mature and growing. The vital interoperability of the 5th Generation F-35 links 13 allies and partners with the United States in air dominance and enabling critical joint capabilities.

The F-35 is more than a fighter jet, it’s a powerful force multiplier with advanced sensors and communications suites that enhance the capabilities of networked airborne, surface and ground-based platforms – sharing critical information in the Joint-All Domain Operations (JADO) battlespace.

To date, Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 620 F-35s and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 365,000 flight hours. Nine nations are currently operating F-35s on home soil; 10 services have declared F-35 Initial Operational Capability; six services, including the U.S. Air Force, have employed the F-35 in operational missions.

The 5th Gen Imperative

The F-35 is the only fighter in production capable of surviving in contested environments and deterring or defeating near-peer adversaries. As the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter aircraft in the world, the F-35 delivers unmatched combat capability, while strengthening and growing global alliances. As adversaries advance and legacy aircraft age, the F-35 is critical to maintaining air dominance for decades to come.


Lt. Col. James Christensen, commander of the U.S. Air Force’s 356th Fighter Squadron, said the F-35 enables his unit to “protect and enhance the lethality of the entire air package with the world’s most advanced sensors, weapons and avionics suite available on any fighter—with increased sortie range, enemy detection capability and low observable lethality. We can rapidly deploy and seamlessly integrate with sister services and partner nations to bring peerless military options to our commanders.”

Powering Economic Growth

The F-35 also creates more than 254,000 direct and indirect high-paying, high-tech jobs for American workers across the country and abroad, generating more than $49 billion annually in economic impact. The F-35 program teams with nearly 1,900 U.S. suppliers – including more than 1,000 small business suppliers – in 45 states and Puerto Rico.

Suppliers in partner countries produce components for all aircraft, not just those for their country. In addition to Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas, there are two Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facilities outside the United States: one in Cameri, Italy; and another in Nagoya, Japan.

Reducing Costs, Increasing Readiness

Lockheed Martin continues driving down the cost of the F-35 to provide 5th Generation capability at the same or less cost of 4th generation aircraft. Over the last five years, Lockheed Martin has reduced its portion of the F-35 cost per flight hour by 40%, lowering the cost for F-35 customers around the globe.

Meanwhile, the F-35’s reliability also continues to improve, with the global fleet averaging greater than 70% mission capable rates. There has been sustained improvement in readiness metrics over the last 18 months, while adding 120 aircraft in 2020. Lockheed Martin also continues to see improvements in other F-35 maintenance metrics and is receiving positive feedback from customers, most recently from the U.S. Air Force which deployed to the CENTCOM AOR for 18 consecutive months.

The U.S. Air Force’s 34th Fighter Generation Squadron recently completed exercise Red Flag 21-1 without losing a single sortie to a maintenance issue. The U.S. Air Force also recently flew F-35As more than 4,700 miles from Alaska – from negative 30 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit – to Guam for exercise Cope North 2021, where F-35s conducted training on an austere airfield. Ninety-two percent of the parts flying on the F-35 today are performing at or better than specification.

Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with the Air Force to deliver this combat proven aircraft to the airmen who fly and maintain it.

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/03/u-s ... rnerstone/
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steve2267

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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 06:22

Gums wrote:If we cut the F-35 buy, it will be political and not based on potential combat effectiveness and other factors.

This whole thing stinks of politics

Gums sends...


Concur.

I distinctly recall a story that very pointedly stated that SecDef Gates, in exchange for LM not contesting or making waves when he cancelled the F-22, would guarantee LM the full of F-35's. Now, how could he "guarantee" sh*t? But LM went along, played ball. (What else could they really do?) Now, if the F-35 is cut back (or cancelled :doh:), what then? Why should LM have worked so hard to cut acquisition price from $95M a few years ago to the unheard of price of $78M? Why should any contractor do so in the future?

This is why, when contractors spend their own monies (called IRAD -- Independent Research and Development) they retain the Intellectual Property (IP) rights on what they developed. This is why LM is correct in maintaining IP claims to various F-35 tech if they were contractually entitled to it.

This is why we can't have nice things.
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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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 06:23

If F-35 production numbers are slashed or the program cancelled, who benefits the most?

China.

There, I said it.

Well played CeeCeePee. Well played.
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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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 07:59

I think its a bit premature to even suggest a drop in F-35 numbers. Budgets in the near term will likely continue to fund F-35s at roughly projected rates (or more). In the longer term, if NGAD were to replace some F-35 numbers, I don't see any benefit for the CCP but I would guess LM would prefer NGAD on top of the full program F-35 numbers.
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 09:21

Corsair1963 wrote:U.S. Air Force: F-35 is the ‘Cornerstone’
"The F-35 is the cornerstone of the U.S. Air Force fighter fleet” today and in the future, said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown...." https://breakingdefense.com/2021/03/u-s ... rnerstone/

I thought I had seen this LM PR SPONSORED at BRAKEdaFENCE post before. YEP - here it is:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=57716&p=450890&hilit=cornerstone#p450890 [05 Mar 2021]
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 09:45

spazsinbad wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:U.S. Air Force: F-35 is the ‘Cornerstone’
"The F-35 is the cornerstone of the U.S. Air Force fighter fleet” today and in the future, said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown...." https://breakingdefense.com/2021/03/u-s ... rnerstone/

I thought I had seen this LM PR SPONSORED at BRAKEdaFENCE post before. YEP - here it is:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=57716&p=450890&hilit=cornerstone#p450890 [05 Mar 2021]



Pretty sneaky..... :wink:
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 10:09

Within the next few years, the Air Force plans to start replacing a fleet of so-called “pre-block” Lockheed F-16s, which includes 211 Block 30s, 37 Block 32s and 20 Block 25s, according to Aviation Week’s Military Fleet Discovery Database. Since 2001, the F-35A has stood officially as the service’s only replacement option for the pre-block F-16 fleet, but that is no longer the case.

As the internal Pentagon reviews progress, a wide range of alternatives to the F-35A are in consideration for replacing pre-block F-16s, including unmanned aircraft systems to perform a subset of the adversary air mission, new-build F-16s and a clean-sheet fighter that U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., has described loosely as either a “fourth-generation-plus” or “fifth-generation-minus platform.”


A few paragraphs further on:
“In terms of [my] confidence level of getting to $25,000 [cost per flight hour] by 2025, I’m not brimming with confidence,” Air Combat Command Chief Gen. Mark Kelly said at the Air Warfare Symposium in late February, adding: “I haven’t lost confidence.”

The F-35A’s operating cost problem is now impossible to ignore. With the first 12 lots of low-rate initial production delivered, the F-35A now counts as the second-most numerous fighter fleet in the Air Force inventory behind only the F-16C/D, with an hourly operating cost more than 50% higher.

https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... -air-force?
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 11:32

aussiebloke wrote:
Within the next few years, the Air Force plans to start replacing a fleet of so-called “pre-block” Lockheed F-16s, which includes 211 Block 30s, 37 Block 32s and 20 Block 25s, according to Aviation Week’s Military Fleet Discovery Database. Since 2001, the F-35A has stood officially as the service’s only replacement option for the pre-block F-16 fleet, but that is no longer the case.

As the internal Pentagon reviews progress, a wide range of alternatives to the F-35A are in consideration for replacing pre-block F-16s, including unmanned aircraft systems to perform a subset of the adversary air mission, new-build F-16s and a clean-sheet fighter that U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., has described loosely as either a “fourth-generation-plus” or “fifth-generation-minus platform.”


A few paragraphs further on:
“In terms of [my] confidence level of getting to $25,000 [cost per flight hour] by 2025, I’m not brimming with confidence,” Air Combat Command Chief Gen. Mark Kelly said at the Air Warfare Symposium in late February, adding: “I haven’t lost confidence.”

The F-35A’s operating cost problem is now impossible to ignore. With the first 12 lots of low-rate initial production delivered, the F-35A now counts as the second-most numerous fighter fleet in the Air Force inventory behind only the F-16C/D, with an hourly operating cost more than 50% higher.

https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... -air-force?
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I really don't get the fixation on a flight hour cost by individual aircraft by USAF top brass for example. A single F-35A delivers several times (very conservative estimate IMO) the military impact compared to a single F-16. Even with conventional metrics like payload and range it's no contest. Let alone things like ISR, survivability, EW and SEAD/DEAD capabilities. It's like comparing F-16 to F-86 Sabre and complaining about higher operating costs... :roll:

I think they USAF are totally shooting themselves on the feet with so many weapons currently that I can't possibly understand. They might end up with relatively low number of capable 5th gen jets accompanied with legacy jets and armed trainers if they keep this up.
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