FC-31 stealth fighter thread.

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post12 Apr 2021, 23:24

inst wrote:
I wouldn't see it as that difficult; the primary difficulty with 5th gens is that 5th gens are only stealthy in angles, and that the flight computer has to be programmed for emitters. The transition from F-35B to F-35A would have been relatively easy considering the primary difference would be lift fan and weapons bay length.

Another major plus is that if the F-35B had been enlarged, as opposed to keeping roughly the same size as the X-35, the weapons bay issue might never have popped up. The F-35 had a set size and the F-35B was crippled (lower fuel capacity, shorter weapons bays) simply because the F-35 design was baked it for all three variants. Once you had the F-35B done, the F-35A would simply have been a problem of removing the lift fan, replacing the empty space with fuel tanks, and adding a gun, alongside FCS programming for the different weight distribution.



In the case of the F-35B a 1,000 lbs class weapon is still pretty respectable for most missions. Plus, lower fuel capacity of the aircraft is exaggerated....

F-15C - 13,850 lbs
F-15E - 13,550 lbs
F-35B - 13,500 lbs
F/A-18E - 14,700 lbs
F/A-18F - 13,760 lbs
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hornetfinn

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Unread post13 Apr 2021, 07:16

inst wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Exactly. I was not saying that the Flanker approach was poor choice for the Soviets and later Russians but it (or Super Hornet approach) would not work well these days with 5th generation fighters with VLO requirements (RCS, thermal signature and RF signatures). It's just impossible to develop an airframe and then just bolt on avionics components while a being VLO 5th generation fighter.

I see concurrent development of three versions the only way of getting a VLO 5th generation fighter to replace AV-8B and Hornets/Super Hornets. There is no way there would've been enough money to develop F-35B level fighter. I also doubt that F-35C level aircraft could've been developed without sharing development and costs with F-35A which is acquired in far larger numbers by a lot of countries. I think F-35A might've been in service slightly faster if not for concurrency, but I doubt it would've been any better.


I wouldn't see it as that difficult; the primary difficulty with 5th gens is that 5th gens are only stealthy in angles, and that the flight computer has to be programmed for emitters. The transition from F-35B to F-35A would have been relatively easy considering the primary difference would be lift fan and weapons bay length.

Another major plus is that if the F-35B had been enlarged, as opposed to keeping roughly the same size as the X-35, the weapons bay issue might never have popped up. The F-35 had a set size and the F-35B was crippled (lower fuel capacity, shorter weapons bays) simply because the F-35 design was baked it for all three variants. Once you had the F-35B done, the F-35A would simply have been a problem of removing the lift fan, replacing the empty space with fuel tanks, and adding a gun, alongside FCS programming for the different weight distribution.


It's way more than that. For VLO stealth fighter you need an integrated avionics system with fully LPI/LPD and internal sensors (including targeting pod for multi-role aircraft), all antennas embedded with associated tranceivers, directional data links and all managed by advanced sensor fusion. There was no way of going the Super Hornet route as there was no suitable avionics system available anywhere which could've been used. Only F-22 at the time had something like that at all and it was not really suitable for F-35 requirements. They designed a totally new and complete avionics system instead which can be almost indefinitely improved and upgraded like they are doing in multiple Block upgrades. New aircraft will be new block standards and older aircraft can be upgraded to the same standard fairly easily. Of course they can also be left at where they are but with limited capabilties. I actually don't see that much difference in how F-16 was developed and kept up.

One major problem for going first to F-35B and then later to F-35A is the cost. It would've cost about the same to develop the avionics system for F-35B alone as it was for all three variants concurrently. There is no way in hell that USMC would find enough money to handle the costs alone and I don't think USAF and USN could cover most of the costs for an aircraft they might or might not develop their own variant later.

A real problem with enlarging the F-35B would be weight. Increasing size would definitely mean higher weight especially if it increases the size of weapon bays and more internal fuel. F135 is already easily the most powerful fighter engine ever developed. So it would need to be even more powerful (and significantly so) and so would the lift fan to support increased weight. Nobody has ever even tried two engined STOVL fighter aircraft as it would be very complex and expensive while likely being less reliable and safe (due to that increased complexity).
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mixelflick

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Unread post13 Apr 2021, 14:56

Corsair1963 wrote:
inst wrote:
I wouldn't see it as that difficult; the primary difficulty with 5th gens is that 5th gens are only stealthy in angles, and that the flight computer has to be programmed for emitters. The transition from F-35B to F-35A would have been relatively easy considering the primary difference would be lift fan and weapons bay length.

Another major plus is that if the F-35B had been enlarged, as opposed to keeping roughly the same size as the X-35, the weapons bay issue might never have popped up. The F-35 had a set size and the F-35B was crippled (lower fuel capacity, shorter weapons bays) simply because the F-35 design was baked it for all three variants. Once you had the F-35B done, the F-35A would simply have been a problem of removing the lift fan, replacing the empty space with fuel tanks, and adding a gun, alongside FCS programming for the different weight distribution.



In the case of the F-35B a 1,000 lbs class weapon is still pretty respectable for most missions. Plus, lower fuel capacity of the aircraft is exaggerated....

F-15C - 13,850 lbs
F-15E - 13,550 lbs
F-35B - 13,500 lbs
F/A-18E - 14,700 lbs
F/A-18F - 13,760 lbs


Right...

And let's not forget those other 4 aircraft are twin engined. In some cases they STILL have less thrust and all 4 also have much more drag (when loaded with 5,000lbs of external weapons, to keep things consistent). I still don't get why people rag on the F-35's range (any model). Chip Burke's comments about how many sorties can be flown vs. an F-15 were very telling. The F-35 was able to fly 2 legs of a combat mission to the F-15's 1 IIRC, or at least go back into the combat area twice, instead of having to hit the tanker. Being a marine - he may have been talking about the F-35B, not the A or C!

Either way, it has more range than most legacy birds. In some cases, a lot more range..
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Corsair1963

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Unread post14 Apr 2021, 01:24

mixelflick wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:
inst wrote:
I wouldn't see it as that difficult; the primary difficulty with 5th gens is that 5th gens are only stealthy in angles, and that the flight computer has to be programmed for emitters. The transition from F-35B to F-35A would have been relatively easy considering the primary difference would be lift fan and weapons bay length.

Another major plus is that if the F-35B had been enlarged, as opposed to keeping roughly the same size as the X-35, the weapons bay issue might never have popped up. The F-35 had a set size and the F-35B was crippled (lower fuel capacity, shorter weapons bays) simply because the F-35 design was baked it for all three variants. Once you had the F-35B done, the F-35A would simply have been a problem of removing the lift fan, replacing the empty space with fuel tanks, and adding a gun, alongside FCS programming for the different weight distribution.



In the case of the F-35B a 1,000 lbs class weapon is still pretty respectable for most missions. Plus, lower fuel capacity of the aircraft is exaggerated....

F-15C - 13,850 lbs
F-15E - 13,550 lbs
F-35B - 13,500 lbs
F/A-18E - 14,700 lbs
F/A-18F - 13,760 lbs


Right...

And let's not forget those other 4 aircraft are twin engined. In some cases they STILL have less thrust and all 4 also have much more drag (when loaded with 5,000lbs of external weapons, to keep things consistent). I still don't get why people rag on the F-35's range (any model). Chip Burke's comments about how many sorties can be flown vs. an F-15 were very telling. The F-35 was able to fly 2 legs of a combat mission to the F-15's 1 IIRC, or at least go back into the combat area twice, instead of having to hit the tanker. Being a marine - he may have been talking about the F-35B, not the A or C!

Either way, it has more range than most legacy birds. In some cases, a lot more range..


In that case the F-15C was carrying two external tanks. While, the F-35 had none.........
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inst

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Unread post14 Apr 2021, 04:47

hornetfinn wrote:
inst wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Exactly. I was not saying that the Flanker approach was poor choice for the Soviets and later Russians but it (or Super Hornet approach) would not work well these days with 5th generation fighters with VLO requirements (RCS, thermal signature and RF signatures). It's just impossible to develop an airframe and then just bolt on avionics components while a being VLO 5th generation fighter.

I see concurrent development of three versions the only way of getting a VLO 5th generation fighter to replace AV-8B and Hornets/Super Hornets. There is no way there would've been enough money to develop F-35B level fighter. I also doubt that F-35C level aircraft could've been developed without sharing development and costs with F-35A which is acquired in far larger numbers by a lot of countries. I think F-35A might've been in service slightly faster if not for concurrency, but I doubt it would've been any better.


I wouldn't see it as that difficult; the primary difficulty with 5th gens is that 5th gens are only stealthy in angles, and that the flight computer has to be programmed for emitters. The transition from F-35B to F-35A would have been relatively easy considering the primary difference would be lift fan and weapons bay length.

Another major plus is that if the F-35B had been enlarged, as opposed to keeping roughly the same size as the X-35, the weapons bay issue might never have popped up. The F-35 had a set size and the F-35B was crippled (lower fuel capacity, shorter weapons bays) simply because the F-35 design was baked it for all three variants. Once you had the F-35B done, the F-35A would simply have been a problem of removing the lift fan, replacing the empty space with fuel tanks, and adding a gun, alongside FCS programming for the different weight distribution.


It's way more than that. For VLO stealth fighter you need an integrated avionics system with fully LPI/LPD and internal sensors (including targeting pod for multi-role aircraft), all antennas embedded with associated tranceivers, directional data links and all managed by advanced sensor fusion. There was no way of going the Super Hornet route as there was no suitable avionics system available anywhere which could've been used. Only F-22 at the time had something like that at all and it was not really suitable for F-35 requirements. They designed a totally new and complete avionics system instead which can be almost indefinitely improved and upgraded like they are doing in multiple Block upgrades. New aircraft will be new block standards and older aircraft can be upgraded to the same standard fairly easily. Of course they can also be left at where they are but with limited capabilties. I actually don't see that much difference in how F-16 was developed and kept up.

One major problem for going first to F-35B and then later to F-35A is the cost. It would've cost about the same to develop the avionics system for F-35B alone as it was for all three variants concurrently. There is no way in hell that USMC would find enough money to handle the costs alone and I don't think USAF and USN could cover most of the costs for an aircraft they might or might not develop their own variant later.

A real problem with enlarging the F-35B would be weight. Increasing size would definitely mean higher weight especially if it increases the size of weapon bays and more internal fuel. F135 is already easily the most powerful fighter engine ever developed. So it would need to be even more powerful (and significantly so) and so would the lift fan to support increased weight. Nobody has ever even tried two engined STOVL fighter aircraft as it would be very complex and expensive while likely being less reliable and safe (due to that increased complexity).



There were serious issues with the F-35 during its airframe design; the Pentagon wanted 5.2G at transonic capabilities for the F-35, but these requirements were cut. Similarly, the F-35B and F-35C are seeing issues with the tail design limiting its interception capabilities due to an inability to sustain high Mach without requiring repair.

Likewise, the bulges on the bottom of the F-35 are not a good thing; there's continuous curvature, true, but on outside RCS studies what we see is that the bulges significantly reduce the F-35's stealth at the appropriate angles.

===

Avionics wise, recycling the F-35B's core avionics shouldn't be that much of an issue once it's developed. The biggest issue with the F-35B's avionics seems to have been the EODAS software, which likely was crippled by outdated hardware resulting in frequent glitches and bugs. Software should never be designed for the performance limits of the hardware.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post14 Apr 2021, 04:53

:doh:
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Unread post14 Apr 2021, 15:48

In the case of the F-35B a 1,000 lbs class weapon is still pretty respectable for most missions. Plus, lower fuel capacity of the aircraft is exaggerated....

F-15C - 13,850 lbs
F-15E - 13,550 lbs
F-35B - 13,500 lbs
F/A-18E - 14,700 lbs
F/A-18F - 13,760 lbs[/quote]

Right...

And let's not forget those other 4 aircraft are twin engined. In some cases they STILL have less thrust and all 4 also have much more drag (when loaded with 5,000lbs of external weapons, to keep things consistent). I still don't get why people rag on the F-35's range (any model). Chip Burke's comments about how many sorties can be flown vs. an F-15 were very telling. The F-35 was able to fly 2 legs of a combat mission to the F-15's 1 IIRC, or at least go back into the combat area twice, instead of having to hit the tanker. Being a marine - he may have been talking about the F-35B, not the A or C!

Either way, it has more range than most legacy birds. In some cases, a lot more range..[/quote]

In that case the F-15C was carrying two external tanks. While, the F-35 had none.........[/quote]

Says a lot, thanks for filling in those blanks. Now, do we know what model F-35 Burke was flying? If it was the F-35B, that's all the more impressive.

Finally, his comments (and yours, about F-15C) make total sense. It's often been said the F-35 has better legs than the F-22. And in the F-22 pilot interview on TFPP, he stated that its range on internal fuel was equivalent to the F-15C with 2 external tanks.

Finally, something that makes sense..
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Unread post15 Apr 2021, 08:06

...and the point of this whole page in respect of the FC-31 would be...
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Corsair1963

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Unread post15 Apr 2021, 08:31

weasel1962 wrote:...and the point of this whole page in respect of the FC-31 would be...




Point taken.....(easy to get sidetracked)
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