Germany plans to develop new fighter jet to replace Tornado: Airbus NGWS

muttbutt

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Germany plans to develop a new fighter jet to replace Tornado jets in the long term and it aims to hold initial talks with European partners in 2016 about what features they want in the aircraft, according to a document seen by Reuters on Sunday.

A draft document from the Defence Ministry on 'military aviation strategy' said it was still unclear whether the new jet would be manned or unmanned. It said it was also possible that the jet would be designed for both options and then be flown with or without a pilot depending on the type of deployment.

As it would be a European project, it is likely that one or more European companies would be chosen to develop the jet. The Tornado jet, which Germany has been using since 1981 - although it now also has the newer Eurofighter jet - was also made in an international consortium called Panavia.

At the same time, Germany's armed forces are looking into whether it would be possible to extend usage of the Tornado jets into the mid-2030s, the paper said.

The Tornado jets had been due to be phased out in the mid-2020s.

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said the document had not yet been agreed with the other ministries so he could not comment on it.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-germany-defence-jet-idUKKBN0U30PS20151220
 

FighterJock

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muttbutt said:
Germany plans to develop a new fighter jet to replace Tornado jets in the long term and it aims to hold initial talks with European partners in 2016 about what features they want in the aircraft, according to a document seen by Reuters on Sunday.

A draft document from the Defence Ministry on 'military aviation strategy' said it was still unclear whether the new jet would be manned or unmanned. It said it was also possible that the jet would be designed for both options and then be flown with or without a pilot depending on the type of deployment.

As it would be a European project, it is likely that one or more European companies would be chosen to develop the jet. The Tornado jet, which Germany has been using since 1981 - although it now also has the newer Eurofighter jet - was also made in an international consortium called Panavia.

At the same time, Germany's armed forces are looking into whether it would be possible to extend usage of the Tornado jets into the mid-2030s, the paper said.

The Tornado jets had been due to be phased out in the mid-2020s.

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said the document had not yet been agreed with the other ministries so he could not comment on it.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-germany-defence-jet-idUKKBN0U30PS20151220
Interesting news. I have always wanted a new European fighter to replace the Tornado properly, and yes I am old enough to remember the British led FOAS development program.
 

sferrin

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I wonder if the USN F/A-XX could fill this role.
 

marauder2048

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sferrin said:
I wonder if the USN F/A-XX could fill this role.
Probably but it wouldn't satisfy the
As it would be a European project, it is likely that one or more European companies would be chosen to develop the jet.
requirement.
 

GTX

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Unless the primary focus is European industrial support here, dare I say that the F-35 is the perfect option to replace their Tornadoes in the foreseeable future... ;)
 

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I was wondering when such a program would begin...

Without a next generation fighter/bomber program, European Aerospace companies would outright go out of the development business.

For the F-35 replacement, there is probably still the issue that the F-35's range isn't as good as a dedicated strike fighter could be. A Tornado replacement which begins as a pure strike fighter could possibly get a 2 x 2000lb bombload out to 800nm+. Considering that Europe is finding a requirement for bombing missions at range in the Mediterranean and North Africa, that extra range would be very helpful.
 

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Interesting... range is quite the question - European strike aircraft traditionally tended to need a bit less range since Europe isn't that big - but post Cold War thinking might emphasize other uses than defending against a Russian attack (as you mentioned).

A twin engined dedicated strike aircraft might have potential as a long range patrol aircraft or interceptor as well. It might lack the super-cruise capability, and it might lack manoeuvrability for WVR, but the airframe might have potential as an Arctic interceptor (aimed primarily at engaging intercontinental bombers and naval assets).

The big question would be how much the design would emphasize payload compared to interceptors - or how much it would emphasize smaller size, reduced costs, and supersonic performance at low altitudes. I suspect that the Mach 1.1 low altitude performance would be fairly achievable with modern engines (and anything higher than that would be prevented due to heating concerns). So, the really question is how big it would be ...and thus how much potential it has for development into a long range variant.

P.S. Of course, I'm thinking of Canadian requirements
 

Avimimus

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Btw. It'd be interesting to start a thread on possible design influences. I know the British had a lot of 5th generation strike aircraft studies (although these are mostly still classified).
 

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One of my idle daydreams concerns a major development of the Tornado design in around 2000, mainly intended to increase the range by substantially increasing the internal fuel load as follows:
- split the central fuselage down the centreline and pull the engines apart to create a bay for internal weapons stowage and extra fuel
- lengthen the nose to provide space for more fuel
- add LERX to balance the longer nose, and fill them with sensors and illuminators
- fit a multi-function radar
- once flight-tested, make a new central fuselage (and maybe more) from carbon fibre to bring the weight back down again.

The intended result would be to allow the plane to fly most missions without any external weapons or fuel, thereby greatly reducing the drag (and incidentally the radar signature).
 

JFC Fuller

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This is so far from ever being a project as to barely be worth talking about.
 

muttbutt

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JFC Fuller said:
This is so far from ever being a project as to barely be worth talking about.
When has that ever stopped us before? ;)
 

red admiral

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Given that Germany puts military spending in such low priority its barely maintaining or developing the Typhoons it has, this announcement is firmly in the fantasy region for now. I don't see Germany spending $10-20bn on this soon.
 

marauder2048

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Tony Williams said:
One of my idle daydreams concerns a major development of the Tornado design in around 2000, mainly intended to increase the range by substantially increasing the internal fuel load as follows:
- split the central fuselage down the centreline and pull the engines apart to create a bay for internal weapons stowage and extra fuel
- lengthen the nose to provide space for more fuel
- add LERX to balance the longer nose, and fill them with sensors and illuminators
- fit a multi-function radar
- once flight-tested, make a new central fuselage (and maybe more) from carbon fibre to bring the weight back down again.

The intended result would be to allow the plane to fly most missions without any external weapons or fuel, thereby greatly reducing the drag (and incidentally the radar signature).
Careful! The guys over at APA have a proposed F-111 variant that you are wilfully infringing on with this thought exercise.
 

sferrin

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marauder2048 said:
Tony Williams said:
One of my idle daydreams concerns a major development of the Tornado design in around 2000, mainly intended to increase the range by substantially increasing the internal fuel load as follows:
- split the central fuselage down the centreline and pull the engines apart to create a bay for internal weapons stowage and extra fuel
- lengthen the nose to provide space for more fuel
- add LERX to balance the longer nose, and fill them with sensors and illuminators
- fit a multi-function radar
- once flight-tested, make a new central fuselage (and maybe more) from carbon fibre to bring the weight back down again.

The intended result would be to allow the plane to fly most missions without any external weapons or fuel, thereby greatly reducing the drag (and incidentally the radar signature).
Careful! The guys over at APA have a proposed F-111 variant that you are wilfully infringing on with this thought exercise.
We could call it the FB-111H. ;) Add some stealthification. . .:

 

Ifor

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Forgive me, this would be fifth generation? We wouldn't be interested would we, F35? Would the French or Italians?
 

GTX

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sferrin said:
marauder2048 said:
Careful! The guys over at APA have a proposed F-111 variant that you are wilfully infringing on with this thought exercise.
We could call it the FB-111H. ;) Add some stealthification. . .:

Please note that the drawing above (which I did a few years back - it is pure fantasy!) had absolutely nothing to do with the clowns at APA.
 

marauder2048

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Avimimus said:
The big question would be how much the design would emphasize payload compared to interceptors - or how much it would emphasize smaller size, reduced costs, and supersonic performance at low altitudes. I suspect that the Mach 1.1 low altitude performance would be fairly achievable with modern engines (and anything higher than that would be prevented due to heating concerns).
I thought Gulf War One was the deathride of low-altitude supersonic when the Tornado crews mutinied due to high loss rates.
 

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They can barely afford the Typhoon. The only way they're getting 5th gen is if it's the F-35 or a development of the Taranis and the Neuron. The only possible new aircraft to replace the Tornado that they might be able to afford would be a stretched Typhoon. Anything else just isn't happening and many of their neighbors are already going with the F-35.
 

marauder2048

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Sundog said:
They can barely afford the Typhoon. The only way they're getting 5th gen is if it's the F-35 or a development of the Taranis and the Neuron. The only possible new aircraft to replace the Tornado that they might be able to afford would be a stretched Typhoon. Anything else just isn't happening and many of their neighbors are already going with the F-35.
But if the Russians abrogate or break-out of the INF treaty, range and responsiveness (i.e. dashing away from your far western airbase before it's blow'ed up) become a major issue.
 

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The most obvious reason for this program is that without it, Europe is done as an independent aircraft designer. Without a fighter concept underway, Europe has nothing to keep it's design times active until 2040 time frame. For that reason alone, an independent project is justified.

I think that the range issue is going to start driving concepts again. For two and a half decades, the USAF has not had to worry about serious threats to it's operating bases. That is coming to an end very quickly and quite decisively. In that case, we should expect to see future aircraft and basing concepts returning to those developed in the late 80s. For Europe, combined requirement for bombing missions in the region and conventional threat to bases from Russia will probably lead them to pursuing a longer range aircraft than F-35.

Heck, were I the USAF I'd be looking at a futuristic Strike Fighter. (A moment of silence for the FB-22/23 concepts) F-35 range is sufficient for a tactical fighter, but USAF needs more power at range than just the LRS-B.
 

sferrin

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GTX said:
sferrin said:
marauder2048 said:
Careful! The guys over at APA have a proposed F-111 variant that you are wilfully infringing on with this thought exercise.
We could call it the FB-111H. ;) Add some stealthification. . .:

Please note that the drawing above (which I did a few years back - it is pure fantasy!) had absolutely nothing to do with the clowns at APA.
It was meant as a joke. I'd googled "FB-111H" and that popped up. :D
 

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Sundog said:
They can barely afford the Typhoon. The only way they're getting 5th gen is if it's the F-35 or a development of the Taranis and the Neuron. The only possible new aircraft to replace the Tornado that they might be able to afford would be a stretched Typhoon. Anything else just isn't happening and many of their neighbors are already going with the F-35.
The Taranis/Neuron are focused on developing a sixth generation air superiority vehicle for the UK/France not some imaginary fifth generation strike aircraft that will probably never get anywhere. Unlike Germany at least us & French still seem to have some interest in maintaining European air vehicle development.
 

sferrin

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Flyaway said:
Sundog said:
They can barely afford the Typhoon. The only way they're getting 5th gen is if it's the F-35 or a development of the Taranis and the Neuron. The only possible new aircraft to replace the Tornado that they might be able to afford would be a stretched Typhoon. Anything else just isn't happening and many of their neighbors are already going with the F-35.
The Taranis/Neuron are focused on developing a sixth generation air superiority vehicle
Uhm, wut?

Taranis
From the BAE site:

"The aircraft was designed to demonstrate the UK’s ability to create an unmanned air system which, under the control of a human operator, is capable of undertaking sustained surveillance, marking targets, gathering intelligence, deterring adversaries and carrying out strikes in hostile territory."

Neuron
From the Dassault site:

"The aim of the nEUROn programme is to demonstrate the maturity and the effectiveness of technical solutions, but not to perform military missions.

The main technological challenges addressed during the development phase of the nEUROn were:

– the shapes of the air vehicle (aerodynamic, innovative composite structure, and internal weapon bay),

– the technologies related to low observability issues,

– the insertion of this type of aircraft within the test area,

– the high-level algorithms necessary to the development of the automated processes,

– as well as the place of the human factor within the mission loop.

The last, but certainly not the least, important technology which will be demonstrated is the capability to carry and deliver weapons from an internal bay. Today, European aircraft are designed with external loading capabilities for bombs and missiles.

The following goals were achieved during in-flight trials:

– demonstrating an air-to-ground mission, with the detection, localization and reconnaissance of ground targets in autonomous modes,

– assessing the detectability of a stealth platform facing ground or aerial threats, in terms of radar cross section and infrared signature.

It is clear that through these demonstration missions, the goals are to validate technologies around command and control of an unmanned air vehicle of a size similar to a combat aircraft, with all back-up modes insuring necessary safety and security.

The nEUROn system is network-centric capable."
 

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Sounds to me like some vague policy document, probably is a wishlist of improbable stuff.
I can't see Germany spending the R&D money needed for such an aircraft, or persuading BAE Systems, Airbus, Dassault and Alenia to part with the investment such an aircraft would require. Even a beefed up Typhoon would require all the partner nations to get on board, but the focus is on F-35 now, and given Germany's defence cuts have afflicted Typhoon, Eurotiger, NH90 and other multinational programmes before, I can't see them taking the risk unless it was an aircraft wanted by all the major Western European nations.

The UK MoD are up to the same crystal ball gazing: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/uk-predicts-more-stealthy-and-stand-off-ops-by-2035-420125/
"hypersonic strategic air-lift" by 2035... more pie in the sky stuff, though that idea has been around since the 1960s.
 

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DrRansom said:
Considering that Europe is finding a requirement for bombing missions at range in the Mediterranean and North Africa, that extra range would be very helpful.
Indeed, using Tornados for such missions is punishing on the crews and inefficient in cost-per-payload delivered once you start adding-up fuel-burn, cost of routing around civilian operations, cost of tankers etc And with the death of low-level supersonic penetration in the 1990s there's really no need to invent a New Tornado.

Something in the bizjet size-class, with a good wing to loft it above most civilian traffic, sensible degree of LO, lots of EW and perhaps mild supercruise, and a proper shirt-sleeves working environment, would seem ideal. Not a traditional 'fighter jet' beloved of the media but achievable by European companies with only a small push ahead in technology.

Maybe a 'B-2 Lite' but not as stealth-optimised.
 

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After the mess that he Germans made of late Eurofighter procurement and the farce of their (and the French) ordering of the military transport I just can't take this seriously.

The only thing that the British/French/Germans want from any such programme is the technological knowledge of the R & D, and IF POSSIBLE the payments for a new factory or ten (!) - oh! and for the other countries to pay for the honour.

Each country will be looking back at how previous co-operative ventures have been ruined by the politicians and eventually they will buy American.

It is OBVIOUS that Europe needs a competitive aerospace industry, but each country is too greedy or too political .
.
 

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-germany-defence-jet-idUKKBN0U30PS20151220

cheers
 

muttbutt

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RavenOne said:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-germany-defence-jet-idUKKBN0U30PS20151220

cheers
Already a thread in Aerospace mate ;D
 

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The British looked at replacing Tornado in the 90s and what we now have is Typhoon and F35 (in the medium term) with a likely UCAV to support them from 2030.

There is a requirement to replace Typhoon and Rafale from 2040 (with the Taranis/Neuron fed FCAS programme feeding in to that as well as the UCAV) and no reason to think that Germany will be able to get its act together to begin a parallel programme.

If Germany needs more airframes it should buy more Typhoon (oh the irony) and buy in to FCAS (but not delay it).
 

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FCAS is currently nothing but a make-work study-exercise for Dassault and BAE. They might build yet another UCAV demonstrator but its not going to lead to any real development programme for years.
 

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I don't want to get into a "nothing's been signed, so nothing is happening" debate- it's Christmas.

It is obvious that FCAS will lead to a UCAV by 2030. I think that there are some in the UK who are quite happy with Taranis and not keen to share too much with the French (because BAE et al have tried for decades to keep their work secret).

The other fact is that Typhoon bow out around 2040. The French are likely to keep their Rafale going that long, again because they have no alternative. If these are not replaced by a European design then the industry is dead. I would suggest that Airbus is struggling to fit in to these plans and consequently we see the call for a Tornado replacement which they might be able to do something about.
 

mrmalaya

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As much as I would love FCAS to be aimed at replacing Typhoon/Rafale, I have yet to read anything saying this is the case.

You will however find lots and lots of statements and articles about it being a UCAV programme:

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/show-daily/paris-air-show/2015/06/15/drone-combat-britain-france-italy-germany-study-fighter-jets-male-uav/71113960/

"BAE Systems, Dassault Aviation, Rolls-Royce, Safran, Selex and Thales signed up for the two-year Anglo-French study for the UCAV."

That said, there is the occasional muttering from the UK about manned versus unmanned mix. FCAS is not however influenced by a theoretical commitment not to cut the F35 buy, and FOAS was supposed to be looking at manned/unmanned and look where that got us!

Also an AW article repeating the same but talking about airframe and propulsion choices for the UCAV:

http://aviationweek.com/defense/fcas-study-decide-ucav-planform-engine-year
 

marauder2048

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mrmalaya said:
I don't want to get into a "nothing's been signed, so nothing is happening" debate- it's Christmas.
Speaking of Yuletide Glow, will this Tornado replacement be dual capable?
 

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Ian33 said:
The Americans bless them have asked many times for certain technology, because we have answers to some of their more troublesome conundrums.
Given the vast disparity in experience I'd be curious what this might be related to.
 

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Ian33, your Taranis sources says what we all think if you ask me. Whilst Europe produces flashy videos and shows the world what it has achieved, BAE says little.

The only detailed article on the project was in AW, with Bill Sweetman offering some thoughts as to why it might be different from other publicly acknowledged UCAV programmes.

One of the above articles notes that an airframe selection is imminent with UK and France continuing to develop parallel aircraft!

Marauder2048, I don't see why not, Santa has a long way to go before Germany gets the present they want.
 

red admiral

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sferrin said:
Given the vast disparity in experience I'd be curious what this might be related to.
Likely specific areas rather than general advancement. Difference in experience is related to what the US has brought to service. The UK has had LO design and development activities for many decades (back to 50s) - just not need, funding or political will to bring them to serbice.

There's got to be a benefit for the US in cooperating with the UK on this subject e.g. Project Churchill, new activity now.
 

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JFC Fuller, lets not argue (neither of us is in possession of all the facts and in the interests of festive harmony I have no wish to bang on). Either way its all to the good, provided they don't decide to stick with the F35 beyond what is currently needed.

It will be interesting to see what shape the UCAV designs take imminently and if they proceed to a demonstrator it has to be assumed that it will offer significantly more than the current two.

Perhaps an optionally manned design keeps all doors open. Will the propulsion duo manage to make the leap forward in energy generation that a 2030s airframe will require?

Answers which Germany may discover in 2016.
 

mrmalaya

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A development in the realm of FCAS (although if there is a better place to post this, please let me know).

The UK MOD yesterday confirmed the following:

“We will work with France to develop an advanced Unmanned Combat Air System technology demonstrator, and with the United States to mature other high-end technologies,” it says. “Additionally, we will pursue a national technology programme to maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in this area.”

What are "high-end technologies" I wonder?

Article here:

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/life-of-raf-tornado-squadron-further-extended-to-201-420923/
 

mrmalaya

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Everyone a cynic! :)

Building a demonstrator for the technology is surely logical though and was always part of the plan? New distributed sensors, engines and airframe planform for the UCAV all need a thorough demonstration.

To me, this is confirmation that the plan is progressing as originally suggested when they signed the agreement.

I think it's still sensible to see this as an extension of the FOAS Tornado replacement (and therefore eminently relevant to the topic) its just that its a Typh-ado replacement mixed in with post 2010 politics.

This from HM Government in March 2014:

The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme will subsequently be responsible for the development of a UCAV capability. A two year national FCAS programme has been launched which aims to inform the forthcoming SDSR on the most appropriate force mix of platforms and systems in order to meet the future combat air requirement from 2030. A UCAV along the lines of Taranis is one potential element of this force mix, along with an additional buy of Lightning II, a Typhoon life extension or an alternative new-build manned aircraft. This will allow a decision to be made at the next SDSR about whether to commit to a UCAV development programme.

Lessons from the Watchkeeper programme have been applied to both the Taranis TDP and the national FCAS programme. The need to develop an early understanding of airworthiness certification requirements was a key lesson from the Watchkeeper programme. A specific package of work has been included within the national FCAS programme to address this challenge.

Any follow-on operational UCAV, which forms part of the future combat air force mix, would contribute to the UK's combat air and ISTAR capabilities. Key attributes of a UCAV would include the ability to undertake long range missions and to provide high levels of persistence and survivability in a contested environment featuring advanced air and ground threat systems. These attributes of range, persistence and survivability coupled with an advanced suite of sensors and weapons should permit a UCAV to make a major contribution to the provision of precise attack and ISTAR capabilities for the UK."

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmdfence/611/61104.htm
 

mrmalaya

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Yes FOAS is dead and replaced by FCAS (in spirit if not specific use of letters in its title).

The big delay (because the technology and political will was not there) happened under FOAS and now progress is being made.

If they are not ready to build it, then the industry must be sustained. So we are in agreement.

The Cameron government are big fans of RPAS and I expect the only significant change in the timing is that they have committed to supporting the next phase of FCAS (a flying UCAV) a few months early.
 
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