F-22 upgrades coming

Anything goes, as long as it is about the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
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wrightwing

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Unread post12 Aug 2022, 03:11

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/f ... ts-testers

Article highlights:
-new software/hardware with open architecture
-new datalink terminals
-stealthy IRST pods
-new coatings
-AIM-260 missiles
-working on helmet sights
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hornetfinn

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Unread post12 Aug 2022, 10:44

Definitely very important upgrades for F-22, making them even more lethal, much easier to upgrade in the future, connect to other assets and maintain. Block 4 F-35s flying alonside those upgraded F-22s will be really lethal force. :devil:
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BDF

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Unread post12 Aug 2022, 14:40

That article was great and surprisingly forthcoming on the Raptor upgrade path. Interesting that the IRST pods will not compromise the signature. My WAG is that they are willing to accept a larger spike along the 3/9 line as it seems to me that adding those pods will increase the db along those angles. I also found it interesting that interviewee was referencing the desire to retain single-ship kill chains with regards to the IRST. I wonder if both pods will have a IRST (which seems expensive) or just one. The pictures out at Edwards it appeared that the window was only on the left pod. The software development spiral is exciting as that is where the program has traditionally struggled.
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sferrin

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Unread post12 Aug 2022, 15:56

BDF wrote:That article was great and surprisingly forthcoming on the Raptor upgrade path. Interesting that the IRST pods will not compromise the signature. My WAG is that they are willing to accept a larger spike along the 3/9 line as it seems to me that adding those pods will increase the db along those angles.


"“The pods are going to be configured to ensure the F-22 retains its stealth capability,” Autrey confirms."

That could be interpreted many ways. Retains ALL of it? Part of it?
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BDF

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Unread post12 Aug 2022, 22:05

sferrin wrote:
BDF wrote:That article was great and surprisingly forthcoming on the Raptor upgrade path. Interesting that the IRST pods will not compromise the signature. My WAG is that they are willing to accept a larger spike along the 3/9 line as it seems to me that adding those pods will increase the db along those angles.


"“The pods are going to be configured to ensure the F-22 retains its stealth capability,” Autrey confirms."

That could be interpreted many ways. Retains ALL of it? Part of it?


Yeah that's what I was getting at. Perhaps they're defining "stealthy capability" by a more narrow definition. I find it hard to believe that the side aspect RCS won't increase with these pods.
When it comes to fighting Raptors, "We die wholesale..."
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charlielima223

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Unread post13 Aug 2022, 00:12

BDF wrote:
Yeah that's what I was getting at. Perhaps they're defining "stealthy capability" by a more narrow definition. I find it hard to believe that the side aspect RCS won't increase with these pods.


I would think that it cant be any worse than an F-35 with external sidewinders. The Raptor is already a very stealthy aircraft only being edged out by the F-35 RCS wise (I think that is debatable). Besides I would guess that the shape of these external IRST pods will change over time from the ones we have seen in testing.

I've seen people here claim the F-22 will start to be retired by 2030 time frame. These upgrades will take time to fully test, develop, and be pushed out to the fleet. Look how long it took for the F-22 to get the AIM-9X. Upgrades in new weapons (AIM-260) and more platform-to-platform connectivity gives the Raptor capabilities needed up to and beyond 2030. Why spend millions to upgrade the best air-to-air platform we currently have just to retire them the moment they become more capable? Doesnt make sense to me it would be like saying you just paid off your car and next week you're going to the dealership to look for and buy a new one to replace the one you just paid off... oh by the way your car is still in fine working order.

I am more curious as to what other helmet systems they looked into. So far all I know is that thet dabbled with the Scorpion HMCS before the Obama sequestration happened. The USAF introduced a newer lighter weight helmet that could more easily have additional attachments. It doesnt need to pipe in images from its AN/AAR-56 but something that enable 360 spherical tracking and cueing would be a seriouse benefit.
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madrat

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Unread post13 Aug 2022, 14:26

Rebuilt F-22 should be a new version. F-22C?
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Unread post13 Aug 2022, 18:30

madrat wrote:Rebuilt F-22 should be a new version. F-22C?


You'd think with this number of enhancements, re-designating would make sense. Not sure how that complicates things (or not). They did drop the "F/A-22A" thing pretty quick though, reverting to F-22A after Obama/Gates stopped production. Whatever the case - it's fantastic to see the Raptor being current/ahead of whatever else China/Russia has flying.

NGAD may or may not get here on time. The tech may or may not work out of the gate. And God only knows if USAF will learn from their mistake of not buying enough F-22's. Maximizing what we have (plus sticking to the F-35 buy) is the only smart play, until we find out if (and when) NGAD delivers...
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Unread post14 Aug 2022, 23:34

charlielima223 wrote:
BDF wrote:
Yeah that's what I was getting at. Perhaps they're defining "stealthy capability" by a more narrow definition. I find it hard to believe that the side aspect RCS won't increase with these pods.


I would think that it cant be any worse than an F-35 with external sidewinders. The Raptor is already a very stealthy aircraft only being edged out by the F-35 RCS wise (I think that is debatable). Besides I would guess that the shape of these external IRST pods will change over time from the ones we have seen in testing.

I've seen people here claim the F-22 will start to be retired by 2030 time frame. These upgrades will take time to fully test, develop, and be pushed out to the fleet. Look how long it took for the F-22 to get the AIM-9X. Upgrades in new weapons (AIM-260) and more platform-to-platform connectivity gives the Raptor capabilities needed up to and beyond 2030. Why spend millions to upgrade the best air-to-air platform we currently have just to retire them the moment they become more capable? Doesnt make sense to me it would be like saying you just paid off your car and next week you're going to the dealership to look for and buy a new one to replace the one you just paid off... oh by the way your car is still in fine working order.

I am more curious as to what other helmet systems they looked into. So far all I know is that thet dabbled with the Scorpion HMCS before the Obama sequestration happened. The USAF introduced a newer lighter weight helmet that could more easily have additional attachments. It doesnt need to pipe in images from its AN/AAR-56 but something that enable 360 spherical tracking and cueing would be a seriouse benefit.


While, the Raptor fleet will become even more expensive to maintain. So, while the Raptor may not retire right at 2030. I personally wouldn't be surprised. If it did in the early 2030s.
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Unread post15 Aug 2022, 00:31

New Cost Estimate to Upgrade and Operate Boneyard-Bound F-22s Due in September
Aug. 12, 2022 | By John A. Tirpak
The Air Force will have an estimate of what it would cost to upgrade 33 Block 20 training F-22s to operational configuration by mid-September, and it will likely be “a tremendous number,” Brig. Gen. Dale White, program executive officer for fighters and advanced aircraft, told reporters at an industry conference.

“We’re working closely with Lockheed” Martin to deliver the new cost estimate, and it should be ready “in the next 30 days,” White said at the Life Cycle Industry Days conference in Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 12.

In its fiscal 2023 budget request, the Air Force asked Congress to allow it to retire 33 Block 20 F-22s, which are used for training and aren’t up to the current 3.2B Block 30/35 operational configuration. The House, in its version of the defense bill, has instead directed the Air Force to upgrade the jets to operational configuration, in order to provide more combat capacity.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told the Senate in May that such an upgrade would cost about $2 billion, or “about $50 million apiece.” However, White said that number was based on a 2019 estimate.

“We’re in the process of validating that, and seeing what’s changed, if anything,” White said. “We don’t have the data back.”

“We have looked at this over the years,” he added. “This is a very different time in terms of supply chain” and inflation.

White said he fears that Congress doesn’t appreciate that simply upgrading the jets wouldn’t be the whole story.

“When you say, ‘bring it up to a certain level,’ you’re talking about bringing it up to the level the Raptor’s at today,” he explained. “And that costs X amount of dollars. When you think about where the Raptor is going from here to the end of the decade, though, there is a lot of capability development there.”

He continued, “So now, not only do you have to bring it to where it is today, you also have to carry those 33 jets [forward] with the combat fleet” as well. “Now you have a capacity issue.”

This is “the one thing that does concern me,” he said. If the 33 Block 20s in question are to stay “with” the rest of the fleet, “I have 33 additional jets I have to do sensor enhancement on,” as well as new low-drag pylons and other new capabilities.

Air Combat Command recently released concept art of F-22s flying with stealthy fuel tanks and unexplained slender, stealthy-looking pods under the outer wings, which experts have speculated could be an electronic warfare or infrared search-and track systems, or possibly both.

One of White’s F-22 program staff also noted that the funds to operate the 33 jets was taken out of the budget and the savings applied elsewhere. If they are restored, “we have to put that O&M (operations and maintenance funding) back in, to keep those healthy” he said. Something else would have to be cut to do that.

Congress has asked the Air Force to provide an estimate of the cost to bring the 33 jets up to operational currency. The Senate, in its version of the defense bill, has enjoined the service from doing anything that would reduce F-22 capacity.

Air Combat Command has looked at increasing the number of all-up F-22s a number of times since 2010, but former ACC commander retired Gen. James “Mike” Holmes told Air Force Magazine in June 2020 that the expense consistently knocked it out of consideration when measured against other, higher-priority projects.

“Tradeoffs have to be made” about “the best place to spend your counterair dollar,” Holmes said at the time, and upgrading the older Raptors never quite made the cut.

Retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, head of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, said upgrading the training F-22s is “an affordable way” to add “another squadron of fifth-generation capability and capacity” to the Air Force’s dwindling fleet, which he said is planned to shrink by 1,000 aircraft over the next five years. Taking them out would reduce the deployable Raptor fleet to 100 aircraft, and of those, only a third would be “in the fight” at any given time, with another third in maintenance and another refueling and re-arming.

https://www.airforcemag.com/new-cost-es ... september/
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Unread post15 Aug 2022, 04:23

Corsair1963 wrote:


While, the Raptor fleet will become even more expensive to maintain. So, while the Raptor may not retire right at 2030. I personally wouldn't be surprised. If it did in the early 2030s.

The F-22 isn't going anywhere until NGAD is available in large numbers, and with demonstrated maturity. Look how long it's taken the A-10 to retire. I doubt the F-22 retires before the 2040s.
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Unread post16 Aug 2022, 01:16

wrightwing wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:


The pressure will likely increase to buy more advanced versions of the F-35 past 2030. While, the Raptor fleet will become even more expensive to maintain. So, while the Raptor may not retire right at 2030. I personally wouldn't be surprised. If it did in the early 2030s.

The F-22 isn't going anywhere until NGAD is available in large numbers, and with demonstrated maturity. Look how long it's taken the A-10 to retire. I doubt the F-22 retires before the 2040s.



Hell, the 33 Block 20 Raptors that the USAF wanted to retire could still happen. Because of the high cost... :shock:

QUOTE:

Aug. 12, 2022 | By John A. Tirpak

The Air Force will have an estimate of what it would cost to upgrade 33 Block 20 training F-22s to operational configuration by mid-September, and it will likely be “a tremendous number,” Brig. Gen. Dale White, program executive officer for fighters and advanced aircraft, told reporters at an industry conference.

https://www.airforcemag.com/new-cost-es ... september/
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Unread post16 Aug 2022, 04:42

Corsair1963 wrote:QUOTE:

Aug. 12, 2022 | By John A. Tirpak

The Air Force will have an estimate of what it would cost to upgrade 33 Block 20 training F-22s to operational configuration by mid-September, and it will likely be “a tremendous number,” Brig. Gen. Dale White, program executive officer for fighters and advanced aircraft, told reporters at an industry conference.

https://www.airforcemag.com/new-cost-es ... september/

Could those aircraft do CONUS Air Defense? If so, why not give them to the Guard?
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Corsair1963

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Unread post16 Aug 2022, 05:18

daswp wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:QUOTE:

Aug. 12, 2022 | By John A. Tirpak

The Air Force will have an estimate of what it would cost to upgrade 33 Block 20 training F-22s to operational configuration by mid-September, and it will likely be “a tremendous number,” Brig. Gen. Dale White, program executive officer for fighters and advanced aircraft, told reporters at an industry conference.

https://www.airforcemag.com/new-cost-es ... september/


Could those aircraft do CONUS Air Defense? If so, why not give them to the Guard?


I think the problem is two fold. First, as time goes the unmodified Raptors just become more and more expensive to maintain. (i.e. 33 aircraft) While, upgrading them today again because of the limited numbers. Would be even more expensive!

Which, is likely the reason the USAF just decided to cut their losses!
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Unread post16 Aug 2022, 13:01

mixelflick wrote:
madrat wrote:Rebuilt F-22 should be a new version. F-22C?


You'd think with this number of enhancements, re-designating would make sense. Not sure how that complicates things (or not). They did drop the "F/A-22A" thing pretty quick though, reverting to F-22A after Obama/Gates stopped production. Whatever the case - it's fantastic to see the Raptor being current/ahead of whatever else China/Russia has flying.

NGAD may or may not get here on time. The tech may or may not work out of the gate. And God only knows if USAF will learn from their mistake of not buying enough F-22's. Maximizing what we have (plus sticking to the F-35 buy) is the only smart play, until we find out if (and when) NGAD delivers...


The F/A-22 designation was dropped in 2005 when it entered service as just the F-22.

With all the enhancements, possible that they might give it F-22C or a block number maybe?
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