Navy 6th Generation Fighter

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

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Unread post22 Apr 2021, 05:40

ricnunes wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Of course at some point we will likely end up with full fighter sized UCAV with even better capabilities than F-35C.


I basically agree with your post except for the part that I'm quoting above.
The problem is that a "full fighter sized UCAV with even better capabilities than F-35C" would be more expensive than a F-35C while at the same time still being more limited than a manned F-35C (specially when/if backed up by 'AI'), this in the foreseeable future.


I was thinking and referring to distant future, like after F-35. UCAV sizes will likely increase in the future due to need to carry certain amount of weapons that are of certain size (like 2,000 pound weapons). They will also carry larger and wider variety of sensors and other systems. Range/endurance requirements are also likely to increase. Basically I think they will go through somewhat similar evolution as jet fighter aircraft. Of course that requires that AI gets to the point where humans are no longer needed except possibly for mission planning and tasking. We are far from that currently and technology can lead to totally different solutions than my prediction. But I think current trends will lead to AI operated current fighter jet sized aircraft as the mainstay. There will likely be smaller UCAVs for different roles to complement those. I think manned aircraft will then have the role of AWACS but probably without own radar. Sensors will likely be onboard those UCAVs.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post22 Apr 2021, 06:32

steve2267 wrote:The Navy babbling on about a Growler replacement suggests to me that the USN still doesn't get stelph nor truly understands 5th (or 6th) gen ops. Since 5th / 6th gen, by definition, includes VLO technology in the baseline, and since SH/G will be going away, and since jamming power required drops with stelph, where is the need for a super duper jamming machine? What do the admirals propose to do with their Growler follow-on... drive downtown Bejing bouncing trons off all the buildings?


I think there will be need for something that replaces Growlers at some point. It might not be a single machine but a collection of capabilities though. EW is still needed with stealth aircraft, but a single jammer can cover far larger geographical area. Low frequency radars need to be addressed and they are better served with dedicated jamming systems as they need large antennas and more power. Growler also does communications jamming, which will also be needed capability. I think both of these could be done using UCAVs like KQ-58 or even MQ-25 derivative or something in between in size. Those would definitely be better at supporting stealth aircraft than current Growler as they could get closer themselves due to being stealthy and unmanned.
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ricnunes

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Unread post22 Apr 2021, 22:26

hornetfinn wrote:I was thinking and referring to distant future, like after F-35. UCAV sizes will likely increase in the future due to need to carry certain amount of weapons that are of certain size (like 2,000 pound weapons). They will also carry larger and wider variety of sensors and other systems. Range/endurance requirements are also likely to increase. Basically I think they will go through somewhat similar evolution as jet fighter aircraft. Of course that requires that AI gets to the point where humans are no longer needed except possibly for mission planning and tasking. We are far from that currently and technology can lead to totally different solutions than my prediction. But I think current trends will lead to AI operated current fighter jet sized aircraft as the mainstay. There will likely be smaller UCAVs for different roles to complement those. I think manned aircraft will then have the role of AWACS but probably without own radar. Sensors will likely be onboard those UCAVs.


I don't know. Perhaps your prediction could end up happening in a quite distant future. Perhaps not or perhaps this will only happen in a very far (more than 'simply distant') future.
IMO, I believe that the current silicon technology won't allow what you're saying or at least won't give any advantages over manned (together with 'AI' assistance) combat aircraft.
Perhaps a "post silicon" technology could allows such thing?
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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jetblast16

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Unread post23 Apr 2021, 03:17

Range/endurance requirements are also likely to increase.


It's looking like the jet engine itself is becoming the limiting factor for significant range improvements. A large super-cruising optionally manned 6th gen fighter might have a combat radius of ~1,000 miles...but that may not be enough for certain scenarios. In order to increase range, you typically carry more fuel, which does a number of things. Improvements in air/fuel/bypass mixtures bring evolutionary changes in range, maybe on the order of 30% or so.

Who knows, maybe by 2100 they'll have UCAVS or whatever they will call them at that time that are hypersonic and powered by neural networks, running on top of quantum computers, propelled by exotic propulsion techniques.
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michaelemouse

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Unread post23 Apr 2021, 05:09

hornetfinn wrote:
steve2267 wrote:The Navy babbling on about a Growler replacement suggests to me that the USN still doesn't get stelph nor truly understands 5th (or 6th) gen ops. Since 5th / 6th gen, by definition, includes VLO technology in the baseline, and since SH/G will be going away, and since jamming power required drops with stelph, where is the need for a super duper jamming machine? What do the admirals propose to do with their Growler follow-on... drive downtown Bejing bouncing trons off all the buildings?


I think there will be need for something that replaces Growlers at some point. It might not be a single machine but a collection of capabilities though. EW is still needed with stealth aircraft, but a single jammer can cover far larger geographical area. Low frequency radars need to be addressed and they are better served with dedicated jamming systems as they need large antennas and more power. Growler also does communications jamming, which will also be needed capability. I think both of these could be done using UCAVs like KQ-58 or even MQ-25 derivative or something in between in size. Those would definitely be better at supporting stealth aircraft than current Growler as they could get closer themselves due to being stealthy and unmanned.



It seems a no brainer (about which I might still be wrong) that a dedicated jammer will be (at least optionally) unmanned. A jammer's job is to emit. That sounds like a job for a wingman. That same wingman could also handle the job of emitting search/tracking pulses while the manned aircraft/missile receive them.

Having several unmanned platforms could be especially useful for blinking/intermittent jamming, as that would presumably increase survivability even more.

Or maybe I'm wrong and jammers can be kept safe but I'd like to know how.
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steve2267

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Unread post23 Apr 2021, 05:13

jetblast16 wrote:
Range/endurance requirements are also likely to increase.


It's looking like physics is becoming the limiting factor for significant range improvements. A large super-cruising optionally manned 6th gen fighter might have a combat radius of ~1,000 miles...but that may not be enough for certain scenarios. In order to increase range, you typically carry more fuel, which does a number of things. Improvements in air/fuel/bypass mixtures bring evolutionary changes in range, maybe on the order of 30% or so.


FIFY

Someone recently posted somewhere here abouts a true corollary to the well known aerospace rule: 1) cost 2) schedule 3) performance -- pick two:

  1. range
  2. speed
  3. maneuverability
Pick Two

I will grant you that if someone develops the quantum inertia drive it is likely to change everything. But not sure how that is the fault of thermodynamics and aerodynamics of the Brayton cycle.
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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hornetfinn

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Unread post23 Apr 2021, 09:40

jetblast16 wrote:
Range/endurance requirements are also likely to increase.


It's looking like the jet engine itself is becoming the limiting factor for significant range improvements. A large super-cruising optionally manned 6th gen fighter might have a combat radius of ~1,000 miles...but that may not be enough for certain scenarios. In order to increase range, you typically carry more fuel, which does a number of things. Improvements in air/fuel/bypass mixtures bring evolutionary changes in range, maybe on the order of 30% or so.

Who knows, maybe by 2100 they'll have UCAVS or whatever they will call them at that time that are hypersonic and powered by neural networks, running on top of quantum computers, propelled by exotic propulsion techniques.


I agree. I was thinking about range/endurance requirements of future UCAVs actually carrying significant amount of weapons. Current UCAVs have good range but still have fairly low payload capacity due to their size and don't have high flight performance. Latest UCAV demonstrators are already almost the size of current fighter aircraft but they are meant mostly for ISAR and very limited strike applications. Some future UCAVs will probably have higher flight performance, somewhat longer range and similar or somewhat higher payload than current fighter manned jets. Without cockpit and human inside, they can carry more fuel for longer range although I'm sure AI hardware will take up so much volume that the difference won't be huge.

But like I said, I could be totally wrong with my predictions... :wink:
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jetblast16

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Unread post23 Apr 2021, 14:31

will grant you that if someone develops the quantum inertia drive it is likely to change everything. But not sure how that is the fault of thermodynamics and aerodynamics of the Brayton cycle.


Nothing that exotic lol.. I stand by my original statement, though perhaps I should have been clearer: the jet engine of today burning grades of kerosene (liquid-based hydrocarbon fuel). Unless we gain significant understanding of the chemical combustion process, any improvements in range of a tactical fighter (or uninhabited combat drone) will be evolutionary, not revolutionary.

What I really was hinting at in my prior statement was stuff like: IGE-powered airplanes, etc., not inertia cancelling drives, mass reduction..
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jetblast16

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Unread post23 Apr 2021, 14:32

I pick innovation always
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ricnunes

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Unread post27 Apr 2021, 14:22

hornetfinn wrote:Without cockpit and human inside, they can carry more fuel for longer range although I'm sure AI hardware will take up so much volume that the difference won't be huge.


Indeed. The space taken by the human pilot would be taken (or partially taken) by all the electronics needed for the AI and other advanced avionics and even sensors.
Heck, I would even bet that the fuel gained even if you could simply swap a cockpit by a fuel tank won't be that much or that relevant in terms of (considerably) expanding an (unmanned) aircraft's range.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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madrat

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Unread post28 Apr 2021, 00:13

Plenty of hardware there in the FCS. So you're suggesting software must be heavy.
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jetblast16

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Unread post29 Apr 2021, 19:27

https://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2021/ ... =116779669

(could also go in the elusive NGAD thread for the USAF as well)
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Unread post30 Apr 2021, 14:32

WRT that last point (ability to dogfight, or no?)...

I think USAF will finally go all in on BVR by compromising on dogfighting capability. They have to compromise somewhere, and I can't see them doing so on range, weapons carrying capability, stealth or speed. That latter point is important I think, and goes hand in hand with the range requirement. A platform with a 1,000 plus mile combat radius doesn't do much good if it takes forever to get there.

USN OTOH will likely still require agility/maneuverability if for no other reason than size. Hard to imagine their bird will be the size of USAF's, or any bigger than say the F-14 or R/A-5C. As such, it'll lend itself better to dogfighting. It may be last on the list, but I do think it'll be more of a "requirement" per se, vs. USAF's PCA...
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steve2267

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Unread post30 Apr 2021, 14:50

Have you thought this through?

An R/A-5C sized "dogfighter?" Seriously?

You do know that air forces buy aircraft by the pound, correct? The USAF is crying they cannot afford the F-35A, but they need an NGAD? That can fly out at least 1000 miles, and, what -- get there in an hour? Yeah, it won't be much of a dogfighter, but if they can not afford the Lightning II, how are they going to afford something that size?
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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element1loop

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Unread post01 May 2021, 04:11

madrat wrote:Plenty of hardware there in the FCS. So you're suggesting software must be heavy.


This is why flying saucers don't exist, they would require 9th-gen software code ... QED.

Would you trust Ai to write its own code? ... [/ 2-second pause to consider the implications] ... er, no thank you.

The bigger question is could we stop an Ai inventing a programming language, in its own time, and plotting to takeover the universe at our expense?

OK, so maybe some formerly living dimwitted race of aliens was dumb enough to allow that, and there are now actually Ai controlled flying saucers roaming around the solar system.

But the Navy's F/A-XX will be an F-35D in the interim.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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