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Japanese next generation fighter study (aka i3, F-3)

bobbymike

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Japanese technologists are committed to including a pilot in their proposed i3 sixth-generation fighter, regarding the need for onboard decision-making as indispensable in a combat aircraft for at least the next three decades. Among the range of technologies intended for pre-development for the prospective fighter, artificial intelligence has been left out. The agency leading the effort, the defense ministry’s Technical Research & Development Institute, will not discuss specific designs, but there are indications that it is studying an aircraft of about the size of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

So far, the i3 is only intended as a technology acquisition effort. Full-scale development is far from being funded and would not begin until 2021, and even then only if Japan chose to build its own aircraft to replace Mitsubishi Heavy Industries F-2s in the 2030s. The timeframe coincides with that of the Next-Generation Tactical Aircraft, for which the U.S. Air Force released a request for information on Nov 3. While a very low-resolution concept drawing issued to illustrate the i3 does not necessarily represent the design that the institute has in mind, some of its features are considered to be realistic, notably the stealthy shape of the forward fuselage and absence of tail fins. Still, the drawing should not be taken too seriously. It may not be much more than a logo for the program.

The institute, which described its i3 technology development plan at a seminar here on Nov. 9 and 10, cannot specify such basics as the weight and thrust of the aircraft, because those figures will depend on the requirements of the air force. But thrust in the vicinity of 30,000 lb. is understood to be a realistic figure.

Assuming that the fighter has two engines and that it follows the trend toward higher thrust/weight ratios, it could emerge at about the size of the Super Hornet, whose empty weight is about 14 tons (31,000 lb.) and is not highly powered by current standards.

The experience of engine maker IHI is considered to confirm Japan’s ability to build such powerplants of its own design. IHI has independently developed the XF7-10 engine for the XP-1 maritime patroller, proving its integration skills, and it builds the General Electric F110 engines for Japan’s F-2s, showing that it has the manufacturing technology for engines of the required size. The F110 for the F-2 develops 29,000 lb. thrust.

The institute wants slimmer engines, to reduce drag, although there is no consideration so far of supercruise—supersonic flight without afterburner. To shrink the engines, it is researching materials that could stand higher temperatures: single-crystal turbine rotor blades and ceramic matrix composite (a ceramic reinforced with fiber, such as carbon fiber) for stator blades. A related effort will aim at making an advanced combustor. Higher temperatures in the engine will also improve efficiency, but the main aim is to reduce frontal area. The technologies could shrink diameter by more than 10% for a given level of thrust, so the frontal area of the engine could be cut by more than 19%.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?topicName=Check6&id=news/awst/2010/11/15/AW_11_15_2010_p37-268697.xml&headline=Japan%20Keeps%20Pilot%20In%20Sixth-Gen%20Concept&channel=&from=topicalreports
 

Nik

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Might they go flap-less with vectored thrust per BAE's DEMON UAV demonstrator ??
 

ouroboros

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The main aircraft image appears to have certain coloring/shaping artifacts that makes me highly suspicious, since they are associated with y's flight, a consumer grade flight simulator developed in japan, and a frequent favorite of defense hawks and armchair generals. Just saying.
 

Dragon029

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ouroboros said:
The main aircraft image appears to have certain coloring/shaping artifacts that makes me highly suspicious, since they are associated with y's flight, a consumer grade flight simulator developed in japan, and a frequent favorite of defense hawks and armchair generals. Just saying.
Do you mean YS Flight by Soji Yamakawa or something else?
 

Grey Havoc

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Any 6th Gen fighter effort may end up in limbo for a quite a while, with the current situation.
 

dannydale

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Dragon029 said:
ouroboros said:
The main aircraft image appears to have certain coloring/shaping artifacts that makes me highly suspicious, since they are associated with y's flight, a consumer grade flight simulator developed in japan, and a frequent favorite of defense hawks and armchair generals. Just saying.
Do you mean YS Flight by Soji Yamakawa or something else?
I think he did, since google returns hits like www.ysflight.com which clearly state it's YS Flight. I had no idea of its issues with Armchair General and Keyboard Kommando culture.
 

Dragon029

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Fair enough, I've been with the english YSF community for a few years and didn't know this either.

That said, the Japanese and Western YSF communities are somewhat segregated unintentionally due to plain old language barriers.
 

bobbymike

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It’s an arms race Beijing claims it doesn’t want, Russia can’t afford, the United States believes it can’t afford and Japan probably isn’t prepared for on its own.
All the same, the intensifying competition to build radar-evading jet fighters has had a powerful effect on the politics, industry and military forces of the Pacific's four greatest powers – and none more so than Japan’s.
The most recent chapter in a tale that began in 2005 opened with a grainy photograph of a black-painted warplane, published on an Internet forum six months ago. On Christmas Day, Chinese government Internet censors allowed the first amateur photo of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s new J-20 stealth-fighter demonstrator to linger online.
http://the-diplomat.com/2011/06/23/japan%E2%80%99s-stealth-fighter-gambit/
 

blackkite

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Japanese Ministry of Defence opened next generation fighter study to the public in defence technology symposium in 2013.(29/October and 30/October)
 

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blackkite

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Japanese Ministry of Defence is designing conceptual three dimentional digital mockup using CAD software called 23DMU and 24DMU and doing several simulations.
23DMU is based on ATD-X Shinshin. 24DMU looks like YF-23 except wing shape. 25DMU is under development.
Source : J Wings 1/2014 No.185,Ikaros Publishing, Ltd. Tokyo.
24DMU's merit is small side direction RCS same as YF-23.
 

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hesham

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Wow,great find my dear Blackkite.
 

Trident

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It almost looks as though somebody went back to the drawing board after January 29, 2010. While the rest of configuration 24DMU is obviously very different to the T-50, the tandem-bay/tail-sting/spaced-engine layout certainly seems to take inspiration from it.
 

blackkite

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中距離空対空ミサイル : medium range air to air missile, 短距離空対空ミサイル : short range air to air missile. レーダーアンテナ : radar antenna, 前方 : forward direction, 側方 : side direction. 受信 : receive. 並列配置 : side by side installation, 縦列配置 : tandem installation.
24DMU has the ability to carry one anti ship missile and has aft looking radar. F-2 successor(F-3)?
 

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blackkite

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Trident said:
It almost looks as though somebody went back to the drawing board after January 29, 2010. While the rest of configuration 24DMU is obviously very different to the T-50, the tandem-bay/tail-sting/spaced-engine layout certainly seems to take inspiration from it.
Please expect the shape of 25DMU. ;)
 

blackkite

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Deino

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Nice, verry nice ... but isn't this a fan-art ?? (even more since a tail of this configuration does not make any sense in comparison to the YF-23-style one ... at least IMO) :eek:
 

Deino

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Thanks (as alway for Your posts on Japanese news ! ;) ) ... but what's the benefit of having such a tail ? ???
 

Avimimus

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For those of us who don't understand Japanese - it can be a bit hard to tell which artistic impressions are closest to the R&D effort and which ones are just very good fan art. :)
 

Deino

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Just another question: What's the current status of the ATD-X Shinshin ??? Any recent images available ??Deino
 

flateric

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If I understand correctly, initially leaked 24DMU internal configuration image screenshot was quickly wiped out from the original web-source...
 

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Triton

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Conjectural war over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands)?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuWIaifuMN4&feature=share&list=PLK16mMvtcpZqRzhCtoeBXEfEfQG44ZGTP

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku112uQbhqs&feature=share&list=PLK16mMvtcpZqRzhCtoeBXEfEfQG44ZGTP&index=1
 

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Blitzo

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Pretty sure those two videos and every other depiction of the "tailless" F-3 concept is derived from that lone i3 fighter in reply 11
 

blackkite

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Hi!
http://www.mod.go.jp/trdi/research/dts2010.files/S3/S3-1.pdf
There is a opinion in Japan that "China is a provocative dangerous state.
Since Chinese people's dissatisfaction to internal affairs is growing very much, the Chinese government will want to make Chinese people's interest turned to a foreign country".
 

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Deino

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blackkite said:
Hi!
http://www.mod.go.jp/trdi/research/dts2010.files/S3/S3-1.pdf
There is a opinion in Japan that "China is a provocative dangerous state.
Since Chinese people's dissatisfaction to internal affairs is growing very much, the Chinese government will want to make Chinese people's interest turned to a foreign country".
Sorry but I don't understand what this statement has do do with the new type ... it is however surely related to the new CHinese ADIZ, which again can also be understood as a reaction to the Japanese expansion of their own ADIZ close to Chinese territory !

As such it can surely be disussed who provoked, who reacted and who made whatever again ... on the other side in China several think, that the Japanese government also only want to turn away from internal affairs and problems by this situation.

As uch back to topic please.

Deino
 

Avimimus

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Not to mention the ongoing arms-race with India. Anyway, I think Blackkite was explaining the videos? - now returning to topic...
 

sferrin

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blackkite said:
Sorry for political post.
These images are the artistic impressions for F-3E strike Shinshin. ;D
Where have I seen that before. . .oh yeah:
 

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FighterJock

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Interesting designs for the Shinshin F-3, my favorite is the strike ShinShin F-3E, though I am surprised that they have gone with the tailless delta design with Thrust Vectoring.
 

blackkite

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FighterJock said:
Interesting designs for the Shinshin F-3, my favorite is the strike ShinShin F-3E, though I am surprised that they have gone with the tailless delta design with Thrust Vectoring.
Me,too. BTW this is only the artistic impression as you already know.
 

Blitzo

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blackkite said:
FighterJock said:
Interesting designs for the Shinshin F-3, my favorite is the strike ShinShin F-3E, though I am surprised that they have gone with the tailless delta design with Thrust Vectoring.
Me,too. BTW this is only the artistic impression as you already know.

An artists impression not associated with the government or their contractors in any way, mind.
So basically, a magazine's speculation.
 

Triton

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"Japan Prepares Designs For Its Next Fighter"
Japan is looking at a big, long-range fighter to defeat superior numbers
Nov 21, 2014 Bradley Perrett | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/japan-prepares-designs-its-next-fighter

Flying far is more important than flying fast, Japanese fighter technologists have found in studies aimed at defining their country’s next combat aircraft. Looking for ways for their air force to fight outnumbered, researchers are also emphasizing that Japan’s next fighter should share targeting data, carry a big internal load of large, high-performance missiles and be able to guide them while retreating.

The results of this work may be committed to full-scale development within four years. Japan is holding open the possibility of a joint international program, which the finance ministry would surely prefer, but the defense ministry looks wary of being trapped in a late-running cooperative effort over which it has little control. Specifically national requirements such as the preference for range over speed may also nudge Japan toward going it alone.

Engineers from the defense ministry’s Technical Research & Development Institute (TRDI) and IHI Corp. are well into preliminary development of a surprisingly powerful turbofan for the twin-engine fighter, which would enter service around 2030 as the F-3. TRDI is also handling the studies into the airframe, probably with strong engineering support from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which would build the airframe, and Mitsubishi Electric, the country’s dominant military electronic systems supplier.

The work is intended to give Japan the option of developing a fighter to replace the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries F-2, says the ministry. The country is not committed to doing so, but by the fiscal year beginning April 2018, “the final decision for development will be made and necessary measures will be taken,” the ministry says in answer to Aviation Week’s questions.

The most likely, perhaps only, candidates for joint development are the still undefined U.S. Air Force and Navy ambitions for fighter programs to succeed the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning. But the ministry says that, in contemplating a joint effort, “it needs to be considered whether the development would be concluded by the time F-2 retires.” It is obviously thinking of the huge delays in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

About ¥120 billion ($1 billion) has been spent since fiscal 2010 on preliminary work for the F-3, with ¥41.2 billion requested for fiscal 2015. In this effort, which has been called i3, TRDI and industry are preparing key technologies for a future fighter, extending the progress made in developing the ATD-X stealth demonstrator, which is due to fly this fiscal year (AW&ST July 21, p. 32).

A further ¥14.2 billion yen is requested for fiscal 2015 to fund development of the F-3’s engine, which is moving ahead well in advance of the airframe. In 2012, its thrust was known to be a lavish 33,000 lb., a figure that has probably not changed, at least for the preliminary development stage (AW&ST Feb. 14, 2011, p. 33).

25DMU is the latest annual iteration of TRDI’s design studies for the F-3. Credit: TRDI
Prototypes of the engine’s combustor, high-pressure compressor and high-pressure turbine are in testing. Evaluation of the turbine, at least, is supposed to be completed next financial year. Prototypes of the low-pressure compressor and low-pressure turbine will be tested until fiscal 2017. A full prototype engine should be demonstrated in fiscal 2018.

Key aims of the engine project are to achieve the extremely high temperature of 1,800C (3,272F) and to keep the powerplant slim in order to reduce airframe frontal area. The latter point is one of several features that suggest an intention to build a supercruising fighter, which now looks doubtful amid the emphasis on range over speed.

Whether Japan will build the aircraft at all is another question. On the one hand, the country feels its security is increasingly imperiled by rising and bellicose China. On the other hand, developing a heavy stealth fighter would have to cost tens of billions of dollars.

“The expense necessary for development of the fighter aircraft hasn’t been determined at all at this moment,” says the ministry, adding that although the air force has 90 F-2s, the number of successor aircraft is also not settled. And no specification for the next fighter has been set.

Still, TRDI’s work, most recently presented at an official seminar this month, gives a pretty good indication of the direction in which Japan wants to go.

TRDI produced annual concepts in 2011, 2012 and 2013, successively designated 23DMU, 24DMU and 25DMU. (The number in each designation is the corresponding regnal year of Emperor Akihito; “DMU” stands for “digital mock-up.”) Judging from the modest 40-deg. leading-edge sweep of their mainplanes, none of these designs is intended to supercruise—to fly supersonically without afterburning.

The designers have moved back and forth in balancing stealth and other characteristics, but appear to have consistently rejected the challenging measure of eliminating vertical tail surfaces, a move that would help defeat radars operating at lower frequencies. Size seems to have varied, lately moving up, and is probably not at all modest, considering the thrust of the engine. Two engines of 33,000 lb. each imply an aircraft approaching the class of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. Conceivably, the engine might be scaled down, however.

The 2014 airframe concept has not been revealed, but by last year TRDI’s work had evolved a design, 25DMU, that emphasized large internal missile stowage and especially range, with an unusually big wing of high aspect ratio (span relative to average chord). The results of studies presented at the seminar endorsed the 25DMU’s emphasis on range, so this year’s undisclosed 26DMU concept may not be much different. Design 25DMU is at least still relevant, since it will be used as a benchmark next year for assessing 26DMU. Altogether, it sounds as if the Japanese are zeroing in on a final configuration.

The 2011 design, 23DMU, looked somewhat like a scaled up ATD-X. As is common in stealth aircraft, snaking inlet ducts shielded the engine faces from radar energy, which they would otherwise reflect strongly. The tail of 23DMU had the usual four surfaces, with the fins angled outward.

Internal, side-by-side weapons stowage would have accommodated four “medium-range missiles”—which TRDI’s drawings show to be very large, implying more than medium range. Douglas Barrie of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London notes that the missiles in all TRDI’s drawings have inlets for ramjet propulsion, suggesting a greater kill probability than offered by weapons with only rocket engines. All TRDI’s published designs also include two short-range missiles in the sides of the fuselage, large passive radio receiver arrays on the sides of the fuselage, supplementing the nose radar, and infrared sensors below and forward of the cockpit.

The result of the 23DMU design effort was quite a deep fuselage and a lot of radar-reflecting side area, which the designers sought to reduce in 24DMU by flattening the aircraft. They moved the engines outboard and fed them with straighter ducts, relying on blockers—radial baffles mounted ahead of the engines—to help obstruct radar energy. The four medium-range missiles were carried in tandem pairs. Just two stabilizers were mounted as a V-tail much like that of the Northrop YF-23, the aircraft that the U.S. Air Force rejected when it chose the F-22.

Having produced 24DMU, TRDI assessed the impact of these changes in a simulated engagement. It found that a pilot flying a 24DMU instead of a 23DMU would be able to fire about 13% more missiles and the enemy about a third fewer. (These figures are judged from a bar chart, without numerical values, which TRDI presented at the seminar.) The time available for taking a shot was shorter for both, but the enemy’s firing interval suffered more. A modified 23DMU with a different sweep angle produced intermediate combat results. TRDI comments: “Different sweep angles have little effect on peak radar cross section.”

Credit: Colin Throm/AW&ST
In the next step, devising 25DMU last year, the developers restored the fully snaking ducts but kept the side area lower than in 23DMU. They moved the engines inboard and left a broad space for side-by-side stowage of six medium-range missiles under the ducts, which twisted upward and inward. The additional missiles, even at the expense of greater size and cost, make good sense for a country that must contemplate fighting against far more numerous enemy forces, Barrie says.

In another change, the four tail surfaces reappeared in 25DMU, but the fins remained highly canted and were kept shorter than those of 23DMU, while the tailplanes were angled down, perhaps to provide a sufficient vertical component for the tail.

Wingspan and aspect ratio increased markedly—the latter to 3.8-3.9 from 3.2-3.3 in 24DMU, judging from the imprecise drawings that are available. The aspect ratio of the F-35A is 2.4; the Boeing F-15’s is 3.0. If TRDI’s drawings are to scale, as they appear to be, span increased almost 20% in 25DMU. Clearly, the point of these wing changes was to increase range with an improved ratio of lift to drag and a greater volume for fuel. The fuselage looks larger, too, offering more space for fuel. Consistent with that, TRDI confirms that range has increased, although it gives no figures. Speed and acceleration must have suffered, especially if 25DMU is at least 10% larger than its predecessors, as it appears to be. These changes reflect the results of studies that show extreme flight performance will have less effect on winning battles than range and, implicitly, endurance on station, at least under Japan’s strategic conditions.
 

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