Lockheed Proposes 40% F-35A fuel increase with EFTs

F-35 Armament, fuel tanks, internal and external hardpoints, loadouts, and other stores.
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alloycowboy

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Unread post28 Apr 2021, 01:00

Everyone's favorite Aerospace & Defense reporter David Axe released a news report on drop tanks and conformal formal tanks for the F-35. David could have at least gave me credit for doing the math for him. :P

For War With Iran And China, The F-35 Stealth Fighter Needs More Gas

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2 ... 6b3906c86d
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Corsair1963

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Unread post28 Apr 2021, 03:56

Please, don't get us going about David Axe............ :?
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Unread post05 Dec 2021, 15:13

Corsair1963 wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:I was thinking about larger twin-engined MQ-25 looking aerial refueling drone to supplement manned tankers on some (more dangerous) missions. I know it's not a quick solution for anything and definitely not going to be easy. However I think aerial refueling is among things that are first going to be autonomous at least partially. But it will take several year before MQ-25 becomes operational and at least a decade before a new larger tanker drone could become operational. So EFTs and even CFTs would be far quicker solution for increased range needs for really long distance penetration attacks over hostile environments (like Israel to Iran).



I think they should develop a tanker based on the new B-21 Stealth Bomber. This would greatly increase the numbers produced and help drive down the unit price of each. Maybe to the point we could sell some to out Allies!


I asked this question a while ago on reddit and I think dragon replied but I was wondering why the US didn't get the A's with the retractable refueling probe. It'd be way easier to convert existing designs to use the drogue as a refueling plane and you have a lot more existing options like the 130's, v-22's etc.

My thought was to convert the B-2's to tankers by just stuffing a huge fuel tank in their bomb bay and a door to lower the drogue/hose from so you could retract it and be stealthy again. But it'd probably be cheaper to just build more B-21's since the sustainment cost of older airframes gets so huge.

It just seems like, in the Pacific, the range of fighters will be a huge problem if the Chinese are able to target our current fleet of tankers, either on the ground or with J-20's and having other options to keep our planes fueled and in action near possible hotspots like Taiwan or the SCS would be nice.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post05 Dec 2021, 23:50

reaper wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:I was thinking about larger twin-engined MQ-25 looking aerial refueling drone to supplement manned tankers on some (more dangerous) missions. I know it's not a quick solution for anything and definitely not going to be easy. However I think aerial refueling is among things that are first going to be autonomous at least partially. But it will take several year before MQ-25 becomes operational and at least a decade before a new larger tanker drone could become operational. So EFTs and even CFTs would be far quicker solution for increased range needs for really long distance penetration attacks over hostile environments (like Israel to Iran).



I think they should develop a tanker based on the new B-21 Stealth Bomber. This would greatly increase the numbers produced and help drive down the unit price of each. Maybe to the point we could sell some to out Allies!


I asked this question a while ago on reddit and I think dragon replied but I was wondering why the US didn't get the A's with the retractable refueling probe. It'd be way easier to convert existing designs to use the drogue as a refueling plane and you have a lot more existing options like the 130's, v-22's etc.

My thought was to convert the B-2's to tankers by just stuffing a huge fuel tank in their bomb bay and a door to lower the drogue/hose from so you could retract it and be stealthy again. But it'd probably be cheaper to just build more B-21's since the sustainment cost of older airframes gets so huge.

It just seems like, in the Pacific, the range of fighters will be a huge problem if the Chinese are able to target our current fleet of tankers, either on the ground or with J-20's and having other options to keep our planes fueled and in action near possible hotspots like Taiwan or the SCS would be nice.



The B-2 Fleet is already extremely expensive to maintain and operate. So, can't see them as a viable option to convert into an Aerial Tanker.

The B-21 on the other hand is already planned for in far greater numbers. Which, a Tanker Version would have further push down the price tag.

Maybe even to the point to "export" some....
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reaper

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Unread post15 Jan 2022, 18:24

OK, it's settled then! Let's just let the AF know that we have a solution to their tanker survivability problem and we can drive B-21 costs down at the same time by making use of the basic airframe, while leaving out all the other stuff the actual bomber needs like radar, targeting computers, weapons data links, etc. It's a win-win. Now they just need to start integrating the retractable refueling probe on future "A" lots. :D
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jessmo112

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Unread post16 Jan 2022, 04:54

Bear in mind, it took four USAF KC-135s to drag four Misawa-based F-16s to the South China Sea south of Taiwan during one recent exercise.

Tankers are big, slow and vulnerable. Combine the F-35’s short radius on internal gas with the constraints on tankers and you’ve got a problem. In a war between, say, the United States and China over Taiwan, the F-35 as currently outfitted might end up playing ahome!

This isn't a fair and accurate argument. We know know that on long over seas flights that the fighters are constantly tanking every 15-30 minutes so that in the event of an emergency, they can divert. In the last video on this thread, I heard the quote "gas is life".
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Unread post16 Jan 2022, 08:38

jessmo112 wrote:Bear in mind, it took four USAF KC-135s to drag four Misawa-based F-16s to the South China Sea south of Taiwan during one recent exercise.

Tankers are big, slow and vulnerable. Combine the F-35’s short radius on internal gas with the constraints on tankers and you’ve got a problem. In a war between, say, the United States and China over Taiwan, the F-35 as currently outfitted might end up playing ahome!

This isn't a fair and accurate argument. We know know that on long over seas flights that the fighters are constantly tanking every 15-30 minutes so that in the event of an emergency, they can divert. In the last video on this thread, I heard the quote "gas is life".

It didn't "take" 4 tankers. 4 tankers were used. In war there would be relaxed safety margins.
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Unread post16 Jan 2022, 08:58

I also don't know where the idea of short range in coming from. In A2G with 2x 2,000lb ordnances, it has similar or better range that 4/4.5 with tanks and same ordnances. The F-15 would be the exception.
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Unread post16 Jan 2022, 17:18

optimist wrote:I also don't know where the idea of short range in coming from. In A2G with 2x 2,000lb ordnances, it has similar or better range that 4/4.5 with tanks and same ordnances. The F-15 would be the exception.


Perhaps compared to an F-15E with external tanks. But compared to "the F-15", the F-35 has much, much longer legs:

https://youtu.be/QTgDTC8_PM0?t=945
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 Jan 2022, 23:50

It seems, I'm as guilty as some. I assumed the F-15 would have been further than the F-35. The F-15 had 2 tanks in that interview. In fairness it can have 3 tanks with 2x2k ordinances. 2 conformal and 1 external. I don't know how much difference that would make. It would still make the F-35 with 2x 2k bombs good. As you know, the F-35 has M1.6 and 9g with that load too.g

There is also the flight profile. The F-35 may be at 35k ft. Where the F-15 may be trying to stay below the horizon on ingress, for as long as possible. That would add even more to the F-35's distance.
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steve2267

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Unread post17 Jan 2022, 04:53

For those of us who have never piloted military fast movers, it is probably hard to understand just how much gas 18,500lb of JP-8 stuffed into an airframe the size of an F-16 is. The other thing we probably do not appreciate is that much gas is stuffed into a jet that is flying slick -- no external tanks, pods, racks etc. So not only is the Panther carrying as much (if not more) gas as an F-15C with bags... it does not have the drag of those bags and everything else the Eagle is slogging away with. In the video clip above, Lt Col Gunn was pretty emphatic about how the jet has "really, really long legs." To me they are just words, maybe with some range numbers tossed in that my engineering brain "registers." But to someone like Gums, or Outlaw, or QS... that description may have got their attention the first time they heard a .mil pilot describe that attribute.

But even with all that gas, with two 2000lbers tucked inside along with a pair of slammers, and 9g capability, a monster motor, incredible acceleration, "eye watering" maneuverability, a bonafide disappear switch... the most impressive capability? All the information the jet collects and makes available to the pilot. :drool:
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 post17 Jan 2022, 12:38

steve2267 wrote:For those of us who have never piloted military fast movers, it is probably hard to understand just how much gas 18,500lb of JP-8 stuffed into an airframe the size of an F-16 is. The other thing we probably do not appreciate is that much gas is stuffed into a jet that is flying slick -- no external tanks, pods, racks etc. So not only is the Panther carrying as much (if not more) gas as an F-15C with bags... it does not have the drag of those bags and everything else the Eagle is slogging away with. In the video clip above, Lt Col Gunn was pretty emphatic about how the jet has "really, really long legs." To me they are just words, maybe with some range numbers tossed in that my engineering brain "registers." But to someone like Gums, or Outlaw, or QS... that description may have got their attention the first time they heard a .mil pilot describe that attribute.

But even with all that gas, with two 2000lbers tucked inside along with a pair of slammers, and 9g capability, a monster motor, incredible acceleration, "eye watering" maneuverability, a bonafide disappear switch... the most impressive capability? All the information the jet collects and makes available to the pilot. :drool:


Very well said. Most other fighters can get close to F-35 range/endurance by carrying all the EFTs they can. But that significantly reduces their payload and flight performance. Only aircraft that can get close to having similar payload and range is F-15E and some later Su-27 derivatives which are significantly larger aircraft and totally non-stealthy. Of course we don't know what Su-57 and J-20 can do, but I don't think either is better than F-35 when it comes to payload and range and definitely not when it comes to stealth.
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Unread post17 Jan 2022, 15:40

Neither Su-57 nor J-20 has a proven missile against VLO targets, let alone against one deploying independent decoys and jamming... and lock on after lunch... and buddy targeting... and using naval and land assets to shoot... and the list goes on and on.
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Unread post18 Jan 2022, 01:23

jessmo112 wrote: Combine the F-35’s short radius on internal gas with the constraints on tankers and you’ve got a problem..


Please stop mixing your imaginary false facts with the performance of real planes.

There is no such thing as "f-35"s short radius on internal gas".
F-35a/c has excellent range on internal gas, and f-35b has good range on internal gas.

The only fighter planes which can challenge f-35a/c in range with internal gas are flanker, felon, foxhound and j-20. All the other fighter planes have much shorter range on internal fuel than f-35a/c.
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Unread post18 Jan 2022, 10:06

madrat wrote:Neither Su-57 nor J-20 has a proven missile against VLO targets, let alone against one deploying independent decoys and jamming... and lock on after lunch... and buddy targeting... and using naval and land assets to shoot... and the list goes on and on.


Sure but I was only comparing just the payload and range. Neither Su-57 or J-20 has proven to have any better range or payload than F-35 either. They might (and likely) have better supersonic performance but that's about it when it comes to their advantages. I think it's miraculous that a fighter with same external dimensions as F-16 can carry equal amount of fuel and air-to-ground weapons and targeting system totally internally that almost all other fighters are close to or over their MTOW.
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