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Author Topic: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA  (Read 736933 times)

Offline jsport

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2625 on: September 15, 2018, 12:56:10 pm »
 A FA-XX must significantly contribute to missile defense, counter-hardened facilities, in addition to air superiority (for instance artillery sized munitions equals more fuel, more range) more than those currently proposed for the status quo to be exceeded.

from the previous rand study
IMPLICATIONS OF CONTINUING THE STATUS QUO
One possibility, of course, is to not do anything to improve force projection capabilities. This means allowing the status quo in terms of vulnerabilities at Kadena AB especially, but Andersen AFB as well.  This approach certainly has inertia on its side, but it entails some very important implications for U.S. power in the Pacific.
 If the status quo approach is taken, the United States must recognize its vulnerabilities in the Pacific ....  For example, if there is some sort of provocation from China, the United States cannot pursue its normal course of action – which is to deploy aircraft and aircraft carriers to the western Pacific as a deterrent force.  While this may have worked in 1950 and again in 1996, the approach would be less deterrent today. 
Recall from Cold War era nuclear deterrence studies that in order for deterrent to be credible, it must be survivable against a first strike. However, we have seen that a Chinese first strike on U.S. airbases in Okinawa or the main islands of Japan would be a devastating blow to U.S. airpower.  Carrier-based airpower is also vulnerable to PLAN attack submarines and the expected modified CSS-5 anti-ship ballistic missile....

  Thus, if the United States pursues its normal course of action, what once may have been a deterrent may become a temptation.  If we do nothing to enhance the survivability of our forces, we must manage crisis stability differently.
 Further, failing to address the power projection challenges the USAF faces sends strong signals to allies.  If the United States is not willing to make the investment to stay preeminent in the western Pacific, it would clearly concern U.S. allies in the region and around the world.  Old security commitments would likely be worth less.  Allies may begin to hedge.  U.S. power would be seen as less credible.  The effects of decreased prestige would not be limited to the Pacific.  U.S. influence could decrease worldwide.  Prestige is the ability of a country to gain favorable conditions from its power without actually having to use it.  U.S. prestige would certainly take a blow –
the United States could find itself choosing between having to use force or settling for less.  Either option is clearly undesirable. ...
 
  Continuing the status quo therefore would present problems to U.S. power and prestige in the region and globally.  In the short-term, until operational problems are fixed, the United States is better off avoiding presenting vulnerable targets (and potentially losing much of its airpower in the process).  In the medium- or longer-term, it behooves the United States to consider options to address the access problem or ameliorate its consequences.  These options may reduce the vulnerability of close-in airbases, increase the effectiveness of aircraft at standoff airbases, or reduce the air threat by targeting PLA operations.

Offline sferrin

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2626 on: September 15, 2018, 03:01:08 pm »
Moreover, it was predicted to be both the cheapest and most capable solution.

And that is almost certainly still the case.  Or do you still believe three separate, completely different, designs would have been cheaper? 
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline LowObservable

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2627 on: September 15, 2018, 04:35:23 pm »
Or do you still believe three separate, completely different, designs would have been cheaper?

Probably not. However, as in all questions of what-if history and adult incontinence, the answer is "it depends".

Given where we were in 1993, there were many possible ways forward. But three separate and completely different designs were not an easy option, because there was no strategic or business case for a USMC/RN supersonic STOVL. The USN did not need or want it as long as it could sustain its CATOBAR infrastructure, and that was not effectively challenged. The theory behind DARPA's CALF was that a ~500 nm radius STOVL could be adapted into a ~700 nm radius CTOL, the USAF at the time being interested in the latter. However, CALF depended on optimistic assumptions and the idea that USAF could be persuaded to accept compromises such as lower max G.

CALF was not initially a three-mode aircraft, although Boeing (not part of the early DARPA studies) had a tri-service vision with its aircraft.

The USN and USAF could certainly have implemented either a two-service program (a bigger Rafale with internal weapons) or a "cousin" program with common avionics architecture, CNI, and LO systems. It would have been less expensive in development because they could have avoided developing two new engines and they would have avoided the 2003 weight crisis and its aftermath. Given the F-35A/C differences, would it have cost much more to procure?

That would have left ASTOVL out in the cold. The UK would have discovered earlier rather than later that STOVL does not automatically mean a smaller/less costly ship. In fact they realized that in ~2003. The US would have had to assess the strategic value of six jets per deployed MEU and whatever other FARP-like concept could be devised. (Q - Where do you need a multirole LO combat aircraft, but don't need the EA and AEW provided by the CSG?)

So three separate programs including a LO ASTOVL might have cost more. But leaving LO ASTOVL out could have (I believe) reduced the cost of meeting USAF/USN requirements, and allowed a realistic assessment of the cost and benefit of ASTOVL.




« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 02:19:36 am by LowObservable »

Offline FighterJock

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2628 on: September 16, 2018, 03:28:10 am »
 I thought that cost was one of the reasons that the CALF/JAST and ASTOVL were merged into the JSF.

Offline TomcatViP

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2629 on: September 16, 2018, 06:46:32 am »
Quote
So three separate programs including a LO ASTOVL might have cost more. But leaving LO ASTOVL out could have (I believe) reduced the cost of meeting USAF/USN requirements, and allowed a realistic assessment of the cost and benefit of ASTOVL.

Fact is that LO applied to the STOVL is the biggest earnings of the F-35 program.

Moreover there is no room anymore for a non-stealthy STOVL aircraft out there in the real world battlefield (frontline aircraft / IADS / restrictions in the naval warfare resulting from for a non-stealth asset on a diminutive carrier group...).
Think also that the Bee was the long term guardian of the low cost concept in an industry that generally sells airframe by weight. The investment by the pubic all around the partner's nations probably wouldn't have been possible without that.

So no, there was no cost cut to expect if the program have had to be split. The A and C would have looked like something else and probably their program terminated in the low threat years.

Today taxpayers will even see the benefits of JSF promises of mass effect by the induced tactical deterrence brought to their nation and the fact that they can only be difficultly out-budgeted in the air by an opponent as they are positioning themselves today.
   
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 06:48:38 am by TomcatViP »

Offline LowObservable

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2630 on: September 16, 2018, 07:04:45 am »
I thought that cost was one of the reasons that the CALF/JAST and ASTOVL were merged into the JSF.

Not quite. The origin of JAST was the cancellation of the USAF's MRF and the Navy's A-X, in favor of a joint solution, which was expected to save money in the near term. CALF, which had risen from the ashes of ASTOVL, was first brought under the JAST umbrella, since JAST was originally envisaged as a group of focused technology demonstrations.

TomcatVIP:

Fact is that LO applied to the STOVL is the biggest earnings of the F-35 program.

Can you quantify that? Because the B is the lowest-performing and most costly member of the family, is planned to be built in far lower numbers than the A and is a smaller player in terms of global interoperability.

Moreover there is no room anymore for a non-stealthy STOVL aircraft out there in the real world battlefield

Every air force still taking delivery of, or actively modernizing non-VLO jets, which is most of them (including the USN, RAF and PLA) believes those aircraft are relevant. But I'm sure you're correct.

Think also that the Bee was the long term guardian of the low cost concept in an industry that generally sells airframe by weight.

Permit me to chuckle at that claim. The gross weapon system unit cost for US B models in FY19, at full rate, is $132m. The idea that the STOVL requirement constrained the weight is also dubious, since even the F-35A OEW is 80 per cent of that of an F-15E. Requirements (primarily internal weapon load, range and 9g) drive weight and cost.



« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 07:19:56 am by LowObservable »

Offline TomcatViP

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2631 on: September 16, 2018, 07:19:53 am »
Quote
Can you quantify that?

I assume you are living in Britain, hence... look around. How much would have been the cost of such a comparable 21st capability based on the old infrastructure  (V-Bombers, hundreds of Harrier, dozen of ISR birds, costly satellites and all the cost induced by a higher vulnerability...) ; then add the redundancy needed to cope with of higher attrition rate... et voilà!


Offline LowObservable

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2632 on: September 16, 2018, 07:32:01 am »
I assume you are living in Britain, hence... look around. How much would have been the cost of such a comparable 21st capability based on the old infrastructure  (V-Bombers, hundreds of Harrier, dozen of ISR birds, costly satellites and all the cost induced by having to cope with a higher vulnerability...) ; then add the redundancy of higher attrition rate... et voilà!

I'm not sure what I am supposed to be looking at. The UK's F-35 force is located at a former V-force and Tornado base, and I am not aware of plans to exploit STOVL for dispersed operations. Even so, I don't understand "hundreds of Harrier" since there never were hundreds of Harriers - the RAF had just over 100 Harrier IIs, or what ISR or satellites have to do with it.

Offline TomcatViP

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2633 on: September 16, 2018, 07:38:22 am »
Simply put,  you'll need more to reach the same effect on the the same concept.  Old story you know...

Offline LowObservable

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2634 on: September 16, 2018, 08:00:45 am »
Simply put,  you'll need more to reach the same effect on the the same concept.

If you're talking about LO in general, and about deep attack, I tend to agree in principle - although for maximum benefit you might want a less compromised design rather than something that tries to be an F-16/F-18. If you're still talking F-35B versus F-35A then I don't agree at all.

« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 08:02:56 am by LowObservable »

Offline sferrin

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2635 on: September 16, 2018, 08:13:01 am »
Thing is there would be no F-35B without JSF.  The USN would be out of the STOVL business once the Harriers ran out of life.  And there go 11 ships you can operate fixed wing fighter from at a stroke.  (BTW, an F-35 equipped LHA, the Essex, is currently the only aviation ship in range of Syria at the moment. https://www.businessinsider.com/f-35-aircraft-carrier-middle-east-after-russia-threatens-us-forces-syria-2018-9?r=UK&IR=T)

The existence of the F-35C, without JSF, is also debatable. (Especially if you don't want a design that "tries to be an F-16/F-18".)

The best "alternate history" scenario is the Convair Model 200 is chosen over the Rockwell XFV-12 and it goes on to replace the Harrier.  Then you could have an F-16/F-18 replacement that isn't "compromised" by the need for a STOVL variant.  (Of course that means the USMC gets short-changed as a Convair Model 200 would not come close to replicating the capability of the F-35B. . .)

All things considered (hindsight included) the JSF, as it currently exists, was the best way to go.  That there have been hurdles to overcome should come as absolutely no surprise to anybody.  It's not as though the Russians and Chinese have had smooth sailing with their T-50 & J-20, and they only have a land-based variant to figure out.  And it didn't even destroy European fighter production capability.  Hell, Rolls even trotted out a 3-stream engine concept.

« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 08:24:58 am by sferrin »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline TomcatViP

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2636 on: September 16, 2018, 08:42:26 am »

If you're talking about LO in general, and about deep attack, I tend to agree in principle - although for maximum benefit you might want a less compromised design rather than something that tries to be an F-16/F-18. If you're still talking F-35B versus F-35A then I don't agree at all.

Sea Harrier, although a great success at the end, was a highly compromised design and puts initially a hard bargain on every sailor of  the Home fleet. A Bee today can face any competitor and still own the best chances out of the two to succeed.  At the age of permanent war, this might be the most quantifiable earning  you were looking for  ;)

If the Malouines/Falklands war scenario would be reenacted today, there no ways that the Argentinian side would play the same warmonger partition.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 10:17:09 am by TomcatViP »

Offline LowObservable

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2637 on: September 16, 2018, 10:32:38 am »
Thing is there would be no F-35B without JSF.  The USN would be out of the STOVL business once the Harriers ran out of life.

Well, true. Keeping the USMC in the STOVL business is projected to cost $47 billion in procurement, roughly equal to the projected cost of 80 B-21s. Development? In addition to the direct cost of the lift system, there's the bill for developing the F135 and F136 (two F414s would have done for the A and C, at less cost and lower weight) and some more for the weight overrun and the consequent production chaos.

So my answer would be: if you want more aviation ships, build more aviation ships rather than plugging a very expensive blade into the LHA/LHD Swiss Army knife. Ships that can carry enough air to protect themselves and perform offensive missions at the same time, including AEW, ISR and EA. However, the Rulers of Uncle Sam's Navee have been insistent for the last 50 years that they want nothing to do with anything that dilutes or competes with a numerically small force of CVNs.

The existence of the F-35C, without JSF, is also debatable.

A prospect over which the Big Deck Navy would doubtless weep bitter tears. /sarc

TVIP -

Sea Harrier, although a great success at the end, was a highly compromised design

That's because it was the result of a series of low-cost, quick-turn developments that started with a technology demonstrator.

Offline AeroFranz

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2638 on: September 16, 2018, 12:07:35 pm »
We're getting seriously off-topic here...nonetheless, i wanted to bring up an excellent article by Graham Warwick in this week's AvWeek. It relates some of the discussions that took place at AIAA Aviation in June, at the F-35 panel. Kind of a historical recap / how we got here / lessons learned

behind paywall:
http://aviationweek.com/air-dominance/how-f-35-experience-could-reduce-hurdles-developing-fighters
All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics.   TSR.2 got the first three right - Sir Sydney Camm

Offline kcran567

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Re: USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA
« Reply #2639 on: September 16, 2018, 05:09:07 pm »
Again, not to get too off topic, but how effective is the F-35 going to be "dispersed."
Does anybody really think that the F-35 is going to be operating in an unprepared location?
There is going to be unbelievable amounts of support requirement for the F-35, and hi levels of preparation that the F-35 will require. Is the fact that it has some STOVL capability a neat gimmick or will it actually be even worse of a compromise than the Harrier.

There will not be a 6th gen manned short takeoff platform. BUT, it might be workable in future low cost yet capable drones or unmanned strike variants.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 05:11:09 pm by kcran567 »