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Author Topic: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA  (Read 785088 times)

Offline Matej

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Boeing is touting an even newer version of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet that, paired with an advanced sixth-generation fighter in the works at the company, would give customers what Boeing deems a better package of capabilities than Lockheed Martin's combination of the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The idea is that customers could buy 4.5 generation Super Hornets (perhaps 4.75 generation with the planned extra forward stealth and extra range of Block 3 aircraft) and then switch to a new, sixth generation faster than if they bought the fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter. To be available circa 2024, the sixth generation aircraft would feature a combat radius of more than 1,000 miles and stealth against a much wider spectrum of radars.

"The [Navy] C-version of the F-35 doesn't buy you a lot that the Super Hornet doesn't provide," says Bob Gower, Boeing's vice president for F/A-18 and EA-18G programs. "Our strategy is to create a compelling reason for the services to go to the next [sixth] generation platform. How do you bridge F/A-18E/F to get us there? We want to convince customers to stay with [Super Hornet] a few years longer -- by adding advanced capabilities and lowering price -- so that they can get to the sixth generation faster. If you go to JSF first, it's going to be a long time."

Another part of Boeing's argument is that the "Navy is comfortable with the Super Hornet against the highest [enemy] threat through 2024, with the [improved] capabilities we have in the flight plan," Gower says. "The ability to counter the threat gets you to about the point that [Boeing's] sixth generation is available."

It's part of Boeing's counterattack on Lockheed Martin's claim that the decreasing price of the F-22, which is now at $140 million each, will make it so attractive that Australia may reconsider its buy -- already being paid for -- of 24 two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornets. Until Australia's recent change in government, a number of U.S. officials said the government was considering a second lot of 24 Super Hornets and a six-plane squadron of EA-18G Growlers.

Boeing makes the argument that a sliding in-service date for the JSF is worrying both the Australians and the U.S. military.

"The U.S. Air Force and Navy are now talking a lot more about where they need to go with sixth generation to get beyond JSF," Gower says. "It could be unmanned, but I think you will see a combination of missions -- some manned, some unmanned."

For Boeing, the real discriminators are going to be extended range (1,000-1,500 miles), a small radar signature against low-frequency radars, expanded awareness through connections with the network, and the ability to carry a number of bombs internally.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/6THG013008.xml&headline=Boeing%20Plans%20Sixth%20Generation%20Fighter%20With%20Block%203%20Super%20Hornet&channel=defense

Seems that probably we will see very interesting competitors fight.

Bizarre aviation expert.

Offline lantinian

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2008, 04:03:35 pm »
Well, seams like a good time to bring in an old link again:
Its regarding an advanced fighter research done by Boeing. Clearly the homework was done before building X-36

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19960000737_1996900737.pdf

I doubt they will go for a completely new and never considered design if its going to be a self financed program.
It's also interesting how are they planing to protect their sales.

The new design will definitely have to be carrier capable.


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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2008, 10:05:29 pm »
and probably able to take off from from a STOBAR carrier 
« Last Edit: February 05, 2008, 02:27:53 am by avatar »

Offline Woody

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On the Flight Global website. Spotted at last week's AUVSI North America show in San Diego.

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2008/06/navy-unveils-first-official-gl.html

Anyone reckon this is real program or just a space filler?

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Offline Pioneer

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Finally and hopefully a capable replacement for the Grumman A-6 Intruder?
The US Navy’s obsession with the F/A-18 Hornet family has put all its eggs in the one basket, while still lacking range and payload capability of a design (the A-6 Intruder) that was supposed to be obsolete! ???
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Offline GTX

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I believe you will find that it isn't a real proposal but rather simply a representative concept to match against the UCAS-D which is the unmanned platform.  In other words, they use the conceptual F/A-XX manned one to show how much better the unmanned one will be - happens quite a bit, e.g. Boeing did it with their Sonic Cruiser a few years back (i.e. they had a conceptual conventional aircraft design of the same generation to compare against).

Regards,

Greg
« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 12:49:16 pm by GTX »

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NUCAS wing evolution is quite close to what I've heard, so new wing/body/tail configuration is can be judged as not fan-art (in a way it's not pure imagination of clerk making another presentation ppt)
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Offline CammNut

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F/A-XX is the US Navy's notional replacement for the F/A-18 from 2025. It has publicly stated that N-UCAS will be F/A-XX, but it has to go through a formal analysis of alternatives to determine whether that will actually be what happens. Meanwhile the Navy is thinking of cancelling the X-48B UCAS-D demonstrator to save money for shipbuilding. If it succeeds, N-UCAS will never happen.

The designs shown in Flight are merely generic designs used in mission simulations to illustrate the potential benefits of a tailless N-UCAS in terms of range and persistence. They in no way represent "real" F/A-XX designs - those are still years away.

Offline CammNut

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Here are the graphics from the US Navy presentation at AUVSI. Basically they show how long each of the four designs can stay on station over the target area with the carrier 500nm off shore, or 1,500nm to stay out of range of ballistic missiles (the scenario is a US favourite, war against China).

Offline GTX

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Meanwhile the Navy is thinking of cancelling the X-48B UCAS-D demonstrator to save money for shipbuilding.

I think you might mean the X-47B rather than X-48B.  Hopefully they won't cancel the UCAS program - it has been though enough already when you go to the start with the X-45.  Plus they're so close now.

Regards,

Greg

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2008, 10:00:44 am »
New images of Boeing F/A-XX concepts from Darryl W. Davis (President, Boeing's IDS Advanced Systems) report maiden at Farnborough, 2008 in July.
X-45C and Lockheed/Boeing NGB family shapes are apparent.

One can clue that ones posted at the top of the thread are NG concepts (I bet I've seen almost same operations charts style in NG J-UCAS ppt's).
« Last Edit: November 08, 2008, 10:21:57 am by flateric »
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Offline GAU-8 Avenger

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2008, 11:09:15 pm »
In my opinion this design should be manned, although a seperate UCAV should still be developed.

Considering the A-12 Avenger II, I am a bit wary of the tailess design, plus the alternative would probably be better for air-to-air combat.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2008, 02:50:05 pm »
In my opinion this design should be manned, although a seperate UCAV should still be developed.

Once the US Navy have the UCAS-D in service the massive increase in sortie effectiveness thanks to endurance should make it clear to even the most blighted pro-pilot perspective that their is no future for manned combat aircraft. That is even without factoring in the huge cost savings of having no need for any peactime flying training.

Considering the A-12 Avenger II, I am a bit wary of the tailess design, plus the alternative would probably be better for air-to-air combat.

The A-12's problems had nothing to do with having a tail or not. And in contemporary and future air to air combat (including within visual range) a tail for high G, slow speed manoeuvring is pretty meaningless. FA-XX is conceived as post F-35 (ie 2030) weapon system so will bear as much resemblance to the 1970s fighters (F-15/16/18/FLANKER/FLUCRUM) as they did to the Sopwith Camel.
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Offline Just call me Ray

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2008, 10:12:15 am »
And in contemporary and future air to air combat (including within visual range) a tail for high G, slow speed manoeuvring is pretty meaningless.

I know I'm putting myself on the line here, but I think UCAVs will make air to air combat meaningless. Rather than realizing the high-G capabilities of UCAVs, future commanders and designers will instead prefer to see the cost savings of a very lightweight, very small and very cheap semi-expendable UCAV that will forgo the extra complexity of a reinforced, stressed structure and complicated programming and instead depend on stealth, careful flight planning and its own expendability to to survive or at least swarm a target. Most "air interception" will in fact take place on the ground by attacking the enemy's airfield infrastructure, and surface-to-air missiles will take care of the rest (or stealth technology will simply make air interception difficult to impossible, once again necessitating destruction on the ground).

EDIT: And just some other thoughts I've had.


I wouldn't necessarily discount manned combat aircraft as being completely dead, but I would say that their actual role in combat would be greatly transformed and that they wouldn't take part in actual direct combat. I know a lot of future manned combat aircraft designs are designed as acting as command nodes for unmanned aircraft, which makes sense. As far as I see it, it could go one of two ways - a glorified AWACS on an airliner platform, or some sort of "super-fighter" ala F-22 with impressive sensors and command relay capability with impressive combat performance, but this performance was designed with the aim of self-defense and as more of a secondary capability. Either option would probably be equally expensive or close enough to it given the complexity of the computer equipment they carry, and either way, I would be surprised if there are more than 100 "combat" pilots/manned combat aircraft in the USAF at this time, or say more than two assigned to intra-theater operations.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2008, 10:35:27 am by Just call me Ray »
It's a crappy self-made pic of a Lockheed Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (UCAR), BTW
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Offline fightingirish

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Graham Warwick from Ares, the Defense Technology Blog at AVIATION WEEK posted this morning the lastest Boeing concept for F/A-XX (US Navy) program.
Well, it looks much more better than "UnManned Combat Air Vehicle" posted before. The intakes look more similar to them of the F-14 than F-22.  B)
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{..) It's Boeing's latest artist's conception of the U.S. Navy's proposed F/A-XX replacement for the F/A-18E/F, notionally needed on carrier decks around 2025. It's described as "6th generation", but quite what that means I'm not sure - expect that it's tailless for all-aspect broadband stealth, like that other F/A-XX candidate, Northrop Grumman's N-UCAS.
I'm also not sure whether it owes more to Boeing's Phantom Works advanced designers or the graphic artists of Hollywood, particularly those that worked on the movie Stealth. But it looks more like a 6th-gen fighter than earlier impressions from Boeing.
Meanwhile don't hold your breath. The Navy is still in the early days of evaluating its requirements for an F/A-18E/F replacement. It's planning to fly the X-47B UCAS demonstrator from a carrier around 2011, and that will do a lot to shape its thinking about whether the next naval strike aircraft should be manned or unmanned, or both.

Source: Ares - A Defense Technology Blog -      
Picture: Sneak Peek at 6th Gen? - By Graham Warwick at 5/5/2009 3:38 PM
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 10:25:32 am by fightingirish »
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