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Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor

sferrin

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Okay that's just the supercruise portion not the entire specification of which supercruise is but a part. And it doesn't sound like he wrote it but more like came up with "here is one way it can be achieved". The USAF writes the spec. companies have to meet. And if he worked for Northrop that could account for some of his bias. In the end though the USAF is more than happy with the F-22 so Riccioni and Sprey come across sounding like a case of sour grapes.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Woody said:
As to rediculous procurement overspends, performance shortfalls and missed delivery dates, we all know this would be called coruption or at least incompetence in the real comercical world. If you want a prime example just look at the the Nimrod MRA4. An ungrade to an existing aircraft of 1950s design started in 1992 and still nowhere near completion. It's not just the American system that's in trouble.
In the real commercial world? There is no difference between defence procurement and civilian procurement. Except one thing. Many defence projects are for new technology development. While the MRA4 may appear to be an upgrade but it is actually the development of a brand new combat system by Boeing and the integration of new engines into an airframe. These are things that had never been done before. When the civilian commercial world indulges in new technology development they have just as much problems as defence.

If in the "commercial" world you go to Ford and say build be 10,000 F350 trucks they say no problem it will cost you $190,000 and we will have them to you next Thursday. That is because they have already built millions of these vehicles have an established production line, its simple as. To reduce it down even further this would be like you mowing your own lawn. You've done it lots of times, have all the equipment and know how big the lawn is and how long it takes.

Now if you turn to Ford and say build be an amphibious, hybrid bus and I want 10,000 of them things get a bit more complex. You can sign a contract based on everyone's best estimates of how much it will cost and how long it will take. But at the end of the day these are just predictions and when you start to do something for the first time you may find it is a lot harder (or even easier) that you thought. The same if you were told you had to go mow the lawns of Hyde Park. You might find it much harder to predict how much work it would take than doing your own lawns.

So I guess in this post-modern world where facts and knowledge are replaced by perspectives anyone can sit back in the comfort of a knowledge poor and emotionally charged point of view and call all this corruption. But in what remains of the fact based reality that some of us still cling too a little leeway and tolerance of just how hard it is to do something brand new is fair and reasonable.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
Okay that's just the supercruise portion not the entire specification of which supercruise is but a part. And it doesn't sound like he wrote it but more like came up with "here is one way it can be achieved". The USAF writes the spec. companies have to meet. And if he worked for Northrop that could account for some of his bias. In the end though the USAF is more than happy with the F-22 so Riccioni and Sprey come across sounding like a case of sour grapes.
I think you really need to understand more about the ATF program and its history to be making those kind of calls. The basic specification for the ATF was written in then 1970s outlining what USAF wanted it to be. As to the USAF being happy with the F-22, don’t believe the hype... You can learn some more:

http://pogowatercooler.org/m/dp/dp-fa22-Riccioni-03082005.pdf
 

sferrin

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Abraham Gubler said:
sferrin said:
Okay that's just the supercruise portion not the entire specification of which supercruise is but a part. And it doesn't sound like he wrote it but more like came up with "here is one way it can be achieved". The USAF writes the spec. companies have to meet. And if he worked for Northrop that could account for some of his bias. In the end though the USAF is more than happy with the F-22 so Riccioni and Sprey come across sounding like a case of sour grapes.
I think you really need to understand more about the ATF program and its history to be making those kind of calls. The basic specification for the ATF was written in then 1970s outlining what USAF wanted it to be. As to the USAF being happy with the F-22, don’t believe the hype... You can learn some more:

http://pogowatercooler.org/m/dp/dp-fa22-Riccioni-03082005.pdf
POGO and Riccioni are NOT the USAF.

As for the ATF requirement *as it existed when RFPs were released* it had changed significantly from what was being toyed with in the 70's. I'd recommend the book "Advanced Tactical Fighter to F-22 Raptor: Origins of the 21st Century Air Dominance Fighter" and Jay Miller's book on the F-22. As for Ricionni and POGO's opinions I won't comment on them for Paul's sake. ;) Suffice it to say about all they're lacking are the torches and pitchforks.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
POGO and Riccioni are NOT the USAF.
Of course but the argument put forward by Riccioni about the F-22 is a strong reason as to why the USAF received a new Chief of Staff and DepSec last year. The huge campaign (failed) put on by elements of the USAF's leadership (now purged) for the F-22s when the aircraft would have provided marginal combat power improvements and a range of other far more critical programs were allowed to implode (CSAR, MRTT, etc) was so misguided it ended in huge backlash onto USAF. While the industry that wants further F-22 work will continue to lobby for it I very much doubt we will see anything like the last few years again in its favour.

sferrin said:
As for the ATF requirement *as it existed when RFPs were released* it had changed significantly from what was being toyed with in the 70's. I'd recommend the book "Advanced Tactical Fighter to F-22 Raptor: Origins of the 21st Century Air Dominance Fighter" and Jay Miller's book on the F-22. As for Ricionni and POGO's opinions I won't comment on them for Paul's sake. ;) Suffice it to say about all they're lacking are the torches and pitchforks.
Well the spec can change from conception to RFP to contract to CCPs and so on. But the ATF concept from which all the specs were derived was the four point Ricionni/Boyd Fast Transient concept:

1. Extremely High Airbattle Maneuverability and Performance
2. Very High Stealth
3. A Significant Supersonic Cruise Combat Radius
4. Exceptionally Modern High-Technology Avionics to support lethality and to provide pilot awareness for survivability

This is what the F-22 was meant to be. While no. 3 has been provided for on paper an all supercruise radius of 200 NM (30 minutes) is not significant.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
"Raptor Rocks
Airspacemag Aug-Sept 2006

For their performance, which started at 2:40 p.m., Shower and Bergeson took off from Langley, 800 miles away, at about 1:25. "We were going slow," Shower says. "We were only doing about .9 Mach. Over the continental United States, there’s only a couple of places we’re allowed to go supersonic so we don’t scare everybody. But we did the math and figured we could be there if we supercruised in about 25 or 30 minutes. "
Langley AFB to Oshkosh (716 NM) in 25 minutes would require a true air speed of Mach 3 at 40,000 feet. However they could have flown 360 NM in 25 minutes at Mach 1.5. So maybe they didn't come from Langley? Which BTW is in the distance category for Dayton, Ohio (Wright-Patterson AFB) from Oskhosh (331 NM). So I suspect they got the airbase wrong.
 

lantinian

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This link
http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopic-t-11567.html
seams to give some good numbers for the F119 engines.

I would like to apply some common sence maths here to get the max pure
supercruise radius of the F-22. If anyone has better data and/or math
skills, please feel free to enlighten me.

So I accept the trust levels of the F119 at full milittary power to be
2x0.8 lb of fuel per pound of trust per hour SFC. That is 100% trust
without afterburner or 2x25,000 lb of trust. At that trust we expect
the F-22 to fly at max of Mach 1,82 at 40,000+ ft.

But supercruise speed probably means flying at Mach 1,5. That speed
needs about 18% less trust and the engines SFC is 18% from max dry.
So that's about 2x21,500 lb trust, at 2x0,664 SFC to fly at Mach 1,5

If the F-22 used 20% of it's fuel to take off, accelerate to Mach 1,5,
decelerate back after the mission and land, we are left with 14,400 lb
of fuel left to spend for supercruise.

0,664 pounds of fuel per pounds of trust per hour, at 2x21,500 lb of
trust from 14,400 lb of available fuel will allow the two Raptor
engines to run for roughly 30 minutes total.

Mach 1,5 at 40,000 ft translates in about 1,600 km/h. 30 min dash at
that speed will give us a range of 800 km. Add 100 more to get to Mach
1,5 from take of and 100 back needed to land and we have a max Mach
1,5 supercruise combat radius of 500km which is about 270nm.

May not sound like much but how good will the F-15C do in the same
circumstances? It has less internal fuel and twice the SCF to keep the same speed :)

I Know the YF-23 would have done a lot better but that's another story.

BTW, wasn't the original requirement for about 350nm supercruise radius?

P.S. Using the figure of 20,650 lb for internal fuel, I get a 44 min of supercruise for a combat radius of 687km or 370nm.
 

Abraham Gubler

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lantinian said:
May not sound like much but how good will the F-15C do in the same
circumstances? It has less internal fuel and twice the SCF to keep the same speed :)
Yeah but no one would ever fly the F-15C on an all supersonic profile, it would cruise at transonic and accelerate to supersonic for missile launch, positioning and evasion.

Another source for calculating the supercruise endurance is the publicly released figures form USAF and Lockheed Martin. Which are a mission radius of 410 NM involving a 310 NM subsonic cruise with a 100 NM supersonic cruise. And an all subsonic cruise mission radius of 600 NM. Which aligns with Lantinian's engine SFC figures.

In contemporary conflicts an all supercruise mission is going to mean you are airborne for about 30 minutes. Talk about being tanker tied! Having to hit the tank every 30 minutes is not a good idea.

In a network centric environment with AEW&C and other broad area sensors transmitting, processing and sharing you such a strong picture of the enemy why will anyone need to cruise at such high speed?
 

lantinian

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May not sound like much but how good will the F-15C do in the same
circumstances? It has less internal fuel and twice the SCF to keep the same speed

Yeah but no one would ever fly the F-15C on an all supersonic profile, it would cruise at transonic and accelerate to supersonic for missile launch, positioning and evasion.
I agree than full supercruise mission profile makes little operational sense, just like full VTOL fighter.

My point is this.
If the F-15C cannot measure up to one of the mission profiles the F-22 is designed to perform, why should people assume that it does better than the F-22 on the others.

F-22 has a bit more SFC than the F-15C yes, but a bit more fuel and a lot less drag on a typical configuration. It should be able to outperform the F-15C in every single scenario.
So, the hell with these fuel fractions and Col Ricconi. The truth is that when comparing just Range/Speed performance, the F-22 is a superior aircraft.

As far as I can remember the initial baseline requirement was the ATF to have 15% greater range than the F-15 on a similar mission profile. I think they have got that.

Besides, the F-15C puls only 7,5Gs right
 

Abraham Gubler

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lantinian said:
So, the hell with these fuel fractions and Col Ricconi. The truth is that when comparing just Range/Speed performance, the F-22 is a superior aircraft.
Yeah of course it is. But considering that this differential in range/speed is much lower than originally programmed is the F-22 improvements worth spending $70 billion on for just 180 airframes? For that money USAF could have brought over 700 brand new Super Hornets... or 70 more B-2 bombers? 70 extra B-2s all in service by 2005 if USAF had canceled F-22 in 1997? Both would be far more useful than the F-22...
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
lantinian said:
So, the hell with these fuel fractions and Col Ricconi. The truth is that when comparing just Range/Speed performance, the F-22 is a superior aircraft.
Yeah of course it is. But considering that this differential in range/speed is much lower than originally programmed is the F-22 improvements worth spending $70 billion on for just 180 airframes? For that money USAF could have brought over 700 brand new Super Hornets... or 70 more B-2 bombers? 70 extra B-2s all in service by 2005 if USAF had canceled F-22 in 1997? Both would be far more useful than the F-22...
Not in 2020 when both PAK-FA and J-XX are in service, the F-15s are falling out of the sky and so forth. If anything we should buy MORE F-22s so the investment doesn't go to waste. Better to get the required number now than to cancel it and discover in 15 years we need more and have to fund an entirely new program at even more money. Short-sightedness seems to be the national pass time these days.
 

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One thing I get from reading all the Books written about the F-22 ( I have have all of them) is that the F-22 is a Force Multiplyer. It increases the effectiveness all all friendly forces. So, you cannot measure its effectiveness on the battlefield without considering the operations of all friendlies involved. Ground Forces included.

No other fighter in the world at the moment has that quality. The only other aircrafts that are force multiplayers are the AWACS and other of that sort.
Flying uninterrupted high and fast with a sensor fusion, data links and big displays sounds like a mini AWAKS to me. Except that its over enemy territory and you can shoot enemy aircraft and defend yourself with the F-22 at the same time.

So, yes. The F-22 might have fallen a bit short of a few requirements along the way, but it exceeded others that did not exist untill people using it discovered they do such stuff.

I also remember one USAF general saying something like: F-22 is a lot more affordable being the best than being second best.

Another general was saiyng something like: While the F-15 works well today, the F-22 was designed to fight tomorrows battles, where its 16 times more survivable.

I think people fail to realize that yesterdays aircraft have yet to conduct combat operations against a foe armed with todays best defenses.

And to those saying the it can't fight terrorists: The F-22 is the fastest strike aircraft at service. It has the best intelligence gathering suite. It's the first platform being able to conduct a digital attack and the only one that can operate over the enemy's location without being notices. Its wing stations are yet to be utilized by the addition of stealthy pylons doubling its combat load/fuel. It's the only fighter currently in service that has enough power, cooling and space to house a fighter size laser cannon as the one being developed.

The best summary of the requirements placed upon the Raptor by the USAF is summed in just one sentence.
"It need to be twice as effective as an F-15". In my view its has far exceeded that one. So talking about F-22 not meeting its performance requirements far more pointless than talking about what else it can do besides what we already know.
 

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lantinian said:
0,664 pounds of fuel per pounds of trust per hour, at 2x21,500 lb of trust from 14,400 lb of available fuel will allow the two Raptor
engines to run for roughly 30 minutes total.
Maybe someone can back me up on this, but 0.664 lbm/lbf/hr seems like a rather low value for the F119 SFC cruise, just based on comparison with other engines.
For example, a CFM56 (bypass ratio ~ 5), is quoted at about 0.6 lbm/lbf/hr at M0.8/35,000' and ~0.35 sealevel static (and this may be the manufacturer's uninstalled value!). With a "leaky" turbojet (bypass <1), SFC is bound to be significantly higher.
 

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Yes, it does. The EJ200 which is roughly equivalent in cycle and technology manages only a bit under 0.8 (target was 0.74, IIRC it missed it slightly).
 

sferrin

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lantinian said:
0,664 pounds of fuel per pounds of trust per hour, at 2x21,500 lb of
trust from 14,400 lb of available fuel will allow the two Raptor
Where do you get the 14,400 lbs of fuel from? According to Technical Order 00-105E-9 Segment 12 it's ~20,700lbs of internal fuel (3082 gallons). ??? (Yeah, I've seen the 18,500 figure too but don't know the original source of that.)
 

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Where do you get the 14,400 lbs of fuel from? According to Technical Order 00-105E-9 Segment 12 it's ~20,700lbs of internal fuel (3082 gallons). (Yeah, I've seen the 18,500 figure too but don't know the original source of that.)
I was using the 18,000 lb figure. However, for the purpose of being accurate I assumed the aircraft to spend 10% of its fuel for take of, acceleration to Mach 1,5 before the mission. Then after on return to use 5% for landing and 5% for emergency situation.

14,400 is 18,000 - 20% ;)
Its the actual fuel you have available for super-cruise assuming you do not have a tanker to help you.

0.664 lbm/lbf/hr seems like a rather low value for the F119 SFC cruise, just based on comparison with other engines.
As I explained in my post, I believe the F-22 is on about 82% throttle setting when doing Mach 1,5 at 40,000 feet. SFC is bond to be at most 88% from the full dry setting of 0,8 lbm/lbf/ht, hence 0,664.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
Not in 2020 when both PAK-FA and J-XX are in service, the F-15s are falling out of the sky and so forth. If anything we should buy MORE F-22s so the investment doesn't go to waste. Better to get the required number now than to cancel it and discover in 15 years we need more and have to fund an entirely new program at even more money. Short-sightedness seems to be the national pass time these days.
The F-35s will more than deal with the PAK-FA/J-XX. If Government's were forced to buy everything for the future on worst case spec rather than accurate prediction there would be not enough money to go around.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
lantinian said:
0,664 pounds of fuel per pounds of trust per hour, at 2x21,500 lb of
trust from 14,400 lb of available fuel will allow the two Raptor
Where do you get the 14,400 lbs of fuel from? According to Technical Order 00-105E-9 Segment 12 it's ~20,700lbs of internal fuel (3082 gallons). ??? (Yeah, I've seen the 18,500 figure too but don't know the original source of that.)
The 18,500 lbs figure is from USAF. While the fire fighting TOs say 20,700 lbs they are wrong. Most likely because a fuel tank has been deactivated - its there in the aircraft but you can't fill it with fuel but the fire fighters take note of it anyway.
 

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Actually, sfc @ M = 1.5 and 35-40 kft would be around 1.2 - 1.3. But then, military thrust under these conditions would only be half of the static sealevel value, so both mistakes cancel. (Data from D.P. Raymer. Aircraft Design, Appendix E, p.855)

Best regards and a happy new year,

Frank M.
 

lantinian

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The F-35s will more than deal with the PAK-FA/J-XX.
In many ways yes, but in others....perhaps no.

There is at least one very respected author/engineer who will very much disagree with you. His name is Dr. Carlo Kopp and he's got plenty of analysis of the case for/against F-35 to justify his point of view.

I would sugest reading http://ausairpower.net/jsf.html before stating how much more "bang for the buck" is F-35 compared to F-22.

The 18,500 lbs figure is from USAF. While the fire fighting TOs say 20,700 lbs they are wrong. Most likely because a fuel tank has been deactivated
This is a very interesting speculation. Because of weight concerns the USAF deactivated/removed several of the fuel tanks so the aircraft can meet a certain performance requirements. That means if additional engine power if obtained trough upgrades, the fuel tanks can be activated/instaled.

Sort of like an internal fuel expansion slot. Very clever. I hope its true.
 

sferrin

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Abraham Gubler said:
sferrin said:
Not in 2020 when both PAK-FA and J-XX are in service, the F-15s are falling out of the sky and so forth. If anything we should buy MORE F-22s so the investment doesn't go to waste. Better to get the required number now than to cancel it and discover in 15 years we need more and have to fund an entirely new program at even more money. Short-sightedness seems to be the national pass time these days.
The F-35s will more than deal with the PAK-FA/J-XX.
And that claim is based on what exactly?
 

sferrin

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Abraham Gubler said:
The 18,500 lbs figure is from USAF.
If it's from a public consumption document from the gov those things are mostly BS. They have the Seawolf at 800 foot diving capability and 25 knots speed. HARM at Mach 2 at 25 mile range, and so forth. I'd be far more inclined to believe a TO than a sanitized, guaranteed-not-to-get-anybody-fired doc released to the public on a government home page.




Abraham Gubler said:
While the fire fighting TOs say 20,700 lbs they are wrong. Most likely because a fuel tank has been deactivated - its there in the aircraft but you can't fill it with fuel but the fire fighters take note of it anyway.
What source do you have that is better than a TO?
 

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There is at least one very respected author/engineer who will very much disagree with you. His name is Dr. Carlo Kopp and he's got plenty of analysis of the case for/against F-35 to justify his point of view.
Some would strongly dispute this comment. Please remember that CK is extremely biased.

Regards,

Greg
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
What source do you have that is better than a TO?
USAF's offical statements and those from Lockheed to Congress... There are many different types of technical orders. That people like APA cling to a TO for firefighters as the basis of their capability analysis of the F-22 is not a good idea. If the F-22 could carry 20,000 lbs of fuel it would have better range than it does now.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
sferrin said:
What source do you have that is better than a TO?
USAF's offical statements and those from Lockheed to Congress... There are many different types of technical orders. That people like APA cling to a TO for firefighters as the basis of their capability analysis of the F-22 is not a good idea. If the F-22 could carry 20,000 lbs of fuel it would have better range than it does now.
I'd be interested in the relevant cites.
 

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sferrin said:
I'd be interested in the relevant cites.
USAF Requirements Office confirming that the data on the F-22 fact sheet http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=199 is correct and the Fire Fighting TO is wrong. Of course you can think this is all a conspiracy to fool the North Koreans just like the moon landing...

Fuel Capacity: Internal: 18,000 pounds (8,200 kilograms); with 2 external wing fuel tanks: 26,000 pounds (11,900 kilograms)
However the clincher is of course the publicly released radius of action figure http://www.f22-raptor.com/technology/data.html

Combat Radius (NM) Mission 1 (Sub+Super) 310+100nm
Which one hopes the F-22 can perform with 18,000 lbs of fuel rather than the more thirsty 20,000 lbs...

However if you do wish not to accept this or any of the other data released by USAF and think its all lies (which I'm sure Congress would not be so happy to hear about) then I can refer you to somewhere you may be happy:

http://worldwidewarpigs.blogspot.com/2008/10/air-force-association-takes-5th.html

In this fantasy world of F-22ism you can feel free to edit the flight envelope as you see fit.

Had to fix this one. I added the red part. The graphic is an approximation, but much closer to the aircraft's real envelope.
When you believe in something so much anything can happen...

http://www.tm.org/sidhi/conflict.html
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
Is there a reason you need to be an ass about it? Is there something wrong with asking for your sources?
Don't think its an attack targeted at you. This issue (F-22s vs the World) has been so heavily coloured by misrepresentation it has actually become so ridiculous I thought a nice post summing up some of the best craziness would be appropriate.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
sferrin said:
Is there a reason you need to be an ass about it? Is there something wrong with asking for your sources?
Don't think its an attack targeted at you. This issue (F-22s vs the World) has been so heavily coloured by misrepresentation it has actually become so ridiculous I thought a nice post summing up some of the best craziness would be appropriate.
Alright. The thing about the F-22 though is you get it on both sides of the fence. You have people claiming it's worthless because it doesn't bomb camels and others who think it's so good we only need a couple. Neither opinion of which has anything to do with planet Earth. Anyway it'd be interesting to know the circumstances around the 20,700 / 18,500 discrepancy. It'd also be interesting to know exactly why we've never seen it fly with four tanks. (It's got the hard points and plumbing for it.)
 

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I suggest we take a break and come back when there's some new actual information to discuss.
 

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Four tanks question was discussed with one of raptor drivers at f-16.net forum - was reading this recently. F-22 has the ability, but will never fly with four tanks in his words.
 

sferrin

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flateric said:
Four tanks question was discussed with one of raptor drivers at f-16.net forum - was reading this recently. F-22 has the ability, but will never fly with four tanks in his words.
I'd read on F-16.net that there was a problem. Something like the additional tanks stressed the wings more than expected but I don't know if the source was in a position to actually know or just guessing.
 

flateric

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believe me, he's the one *in a position*
 

AeroFranz

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lantinian said:
As I explained in my post, I believe the F-22 is on about 82% throttle setting when doing Mach 1,5 at 40,000 feet. SFC is bond to be at most 88% from the full dry setting of 0,8 lbm/lbf/ht, hence 0,664.
Lantinian, SFC actually gets worse when you throttle back. Gas turbine engines like running at close to maximum rpms, when you run them at less than say 75% you start seeing an increase in SFC, which gets worse and worse until it's pretty bad at idling. Unfortunately it's hard to model and strongly dependent on the cycle.
So when you fly slower, for example by throttling back to 50%, you decrease your thrust needs (good: need less fuel) but you could be increasing your SFC (bad! need more fuel). A more insightful way of thinking about speed/range performance is looking at fuel burn, which is the product of the Thrust*SFC [lbm/hr].

hope this helps ;)
 

donnage99

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I've seen the f-22 nozzles from its underbelly view many times, but only until today did I see this (don't know what's wrong with my eyes). It's a small tube shape right between the 2 exhaust nozzles. Does anyone know what it is and what's its function?
 

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http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopic-t-8589.html
 

donnage99

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http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/aw020909p2.xml&headline=F-22%20Design%20Shows%20More%20Than%20Expected

F-22 Design Shows More Than Expected

Feb 8, 2009
By David A. Fulghum

Hoping to win support for F-22 production beyond the current 183 aircraft, Lockheed Martin is revealing proprietary data that show performance in several areas is better than baseline requirements.

Moreover, the U.S. Air Force is taking the fighter to the Paris air show for the first time this summer, says Larry Lawson, executive vice president and general manager of the F-22 program. The promise of additional U.S. and, possibly, foreign sales has removed any obstacles.

The problem confronting the company is that Raptor backing is splintered. Senior Pentagon acquisition officials want to shut down production to cut defense spending. Congress wants more production to keep aerospace industry jobs going. Air Force leadership is setting on a new minimum requirement for 240-250 aircraft (about another 60 F-22s) but hasn't made the new number public, apparently waiting to introduce it as part of the Quadrennial Defense Review.

Another emerging issue is that some of the early, 550 low-rate-production F-35 Joint Strike Fighters will cost more (roughly $200 million each) than the $142 million it takes to buy a Raptor. That puts the Air Force in the position of spending its near-term fighter recapitalization money on aircraft they can't deploy until about 2014.

In addition, the secrecy-obscured question of just how good the F-22 is as an air-to-air combat design remains unanswered. It's a complex issue that involves the world of electronic surveillance and attack, information operations, network-centric roles and advanced radar. Right now, the F-22 is one of only two stealth fighters being flown. That may change in a decade as Russia and China introduce new designs. Advanced F-15 radars have a slightly greater range, but the F-22 can use its stealth to move closer to targets. U.S. aggressor pilots work daily to find ways to outmaneuver F-22s, but so far they've only accomplished a few kills, always by some fluke, says Lawson.

The F-22's newly revealed areas of overperformance include a radar cross section that officials will only characterize as "better" than what was asked for. Pentagon officials have said privately that the desired signature from certain critical angles was -40 dBsm., the equivalent radar reflection of a steel "marble." By comparison, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has a signature of -30 dBsm., about the size of a golfball.

Supercruise is at Mach 1.78 rather than Mach 1.5. Acceleration - although company officials would not say from what speed or at what altitude - is 3.05 sec. faster than the requirement of 54 sec. In nonafterburning, full military power, the Raptor can operate at slightly above 50,000 ft. However, it is known that the F-22 opened its aerial battles at about 65,000 ft. during its first joint exercise in Alaska, apparently using afterburner. There is also a mysterious admission that the range of the Raptor's Northrop Grumman/Raytheon active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar has a range 5% greater than expected. That means a cushion of an additional 5-6 mi. of detection range against enemy aircraft and missiles.

Ranges of the new lines of AESA radars are classified. But they are estimated at about 90 mi. for the smallest (aimed at the F-16 radar-upgrade market). The F/A-18E/F and F-35 (with radar ranges of 100 mi.) are followed by the F-22 (110-115-mi.). The largest is carried by the upgraded F-15Cs and Es (125 mi.). By comparison, the range for a mechanically scanned, F-15C radar is 56 mi. according to Russian air force intelligence. U.S. aerospace officials agree that an AESA radar "at least doubles" the range over standard military radars.

When coupled with the electronic techniques generator in an aircraft, the radar can project jamming, false targets and other false information into enemy sensors. Ranges for electronic attack equal the AESA radar plus that of the enemy radar. That could allow electronic attack at ranges of 150 mi. or more. The ability to pick out small targets at a long distance also lets AESA-equipped aircraft find and attack cruise missiles, stealth aircraft and small UAVs.

Lockheed Martin also makes an economic argument for continuing Raptor production. The F-22 unit cost in a USAF multiyear purchase is $142.6 million (average unit flyaway cost). Initial unit cost of the F-35 will be around $200 million and then start dropping as production continues. In Japan, the decision to indigenously build small numbers of F-15Js and F-2s (a larger F-16 design) drove their cost to roughly $100 million each. The Eurofighter Typhoon would likely cost even more in a small production run.

"If the [U.S.] wants to do a foreign military sale or sustain those [high-tech F-22 production] jobs longer or wanted to keep its [stealth fighter] insurance policy in place longer, it would have an option" if it continued production until 2014, says Lawson. "We're hoping for a positive decision to keep production going and allow the [U.S.] administration the time it needs to study the problem further to make a decision about what the ultimate quantity is. If you build more, they cost less."

The operational arguments focus on combat effectiveness against top foreign fighter aircraft such as the Russian Su-27 and MiG-29. Lockheed Martin and USAF analysts put the loss-exchange ratio at 30-1 for the F-22, 3-1 for the F-35 and 1-1 or less for the F-15, F/A-18 and F-16.

The speed of pilot training also has offered surprises. The first class of four first lieutenant F-22 pilots - with no experience in another operational fighters - has graduated from Raptor training, says David Scott, Lockheed Martin's director of F-22 business development. In addition, a second, full class of 13 pilots, just out of advanced jet training, has been selected for direct transition to the Raptor. Scott says the new pilots have far fewer habits to unlearn, and they adapted more quickly to improvising with the F-22's advanced network-centric capabilities.

Another element of the formula is that 183 Raptors - with production ending in 2011 - provide the U.S. with only 126 combat-coded (capable) aircraft, says Lawson. Of those, only about 100 would be operationally available. A fleet of 183 F-22s would require the Air Force to continue using 177 F-15s through 2025 for air superiority roles, and the end of production would kill any chance for a foreign military sale, he says.

However, if production were extended by three years to 2014, when planners hope the U.S. economy will be stronger, company analysts say the number of operational F-22s would grow to 180, says Lawson. They would be supplemented by the first 68 F-35s, and foreign military sales of the F-22 would become feasible, he adds. While Australia has definitely dropped out of the chase for F-22s, Japanese and Israeli officials say even a single squadron would provide a large boost in deterrence to other military forces.

Russian opinions of the F-22's capabilities vary from awestruck to dismissive, according to a Jan. 26 article in Pravda (english.pravda.ru/world/americas/107010-raptor-0).

The stealthy fighter poses a "great danger to any modern missile defense system," says Konstantin Sivkov, vice president of the Academy for Geopolitical Sciences, with a "wide range of opportunities to defeat [air defenses]. Enormous speed . . . maneuverability and its airborne equipment . . . make it a very powerful and dangerous aircraft." However, the Raptor "should not be overestimated," says Alexander Khramchikhin, a specialist with the Institute of Military and Political Analysis. "It is radar-detectable and it is destructible." The Pravda article says the U.S. considers Russia and China as its "first and foremost threats [and] that the two countries may have "fifth-generation fighters during the upcoming 5-10 years."

Advanced air defense systems - called SA-20 and SA-21 by NATO and S-300 and S-400 by the Russians who export them - can only be penetrated by stealthy aircraft, say U.S. experts. The Russians note that their missiles are purely defensive (although that would be a tough argument to make in the Middle East) and that the S-300 is exported to a only few countries. In addition, the S-400 cannot be found outside Russia, and it equips only two divisions within the country, they assert. However, exports of such high-threat, "double-digit" surface-to-air missiles have been made to China, Vietnam and Syria, and are on order for Iran.

Lockheed Martin planners want to parlay the Raptor's operational enticements into support from the Obama administration, which would have to approve further fighter production by March. The pressure is on to find support for continued F-22 Raptor production of at least 20 more aircraft - for which Congress has approved long-lead funding - and as many as 60 total if the Air Force restates its requirement for the aircraft.

Some senior Air Force officials, while looking longingly at a larger fleet, think the odds are poor for funding beyond the next increment of 20 F-22s. They say internal Pentagon calculations are that Lockheed Martin has an adequate base with the C-130J and C-5B upgrades that will sustain their business while F-35 ramps up to a high-rate production of 110 aircraft per year.
 

lantinian

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There is quite a bit of new "official information" in this article. Releasing more specific data about it actual capabilities is one way to go making case for more F-22s.

It seams now from statements from the USAF, Lockheed-Martin, the Pentagon, the Congress and the Senate, only the Congress opposes more F-22s with the other players starting a lobbing effort to continue production. It would be interesting to see, what will the Obama administration decide before March first.

In the mid 90's BAe published exchange ration from simulated fighter battles between various western fighters and the latest MiG-29 and SU-27 variants. Back then it was all in support for the Eurofighter which came out with exchange ration of 4-1 and the F-22 with 10-1.
I suspect BAe used the the requirements for the F-22 as a base, since the later had not flown yet.

Now Lockheed Martin publishes a figure of 30-1 for a similar scenario presumably using more up to date performance figures.

These are of course the for and against the argument of buying more F-22s. Still the new figure shows the F-22 to be considerably more effective than originally planned underscoring its better than specified key performance parameters.

The F-22 will visit the this summer's Paris Air show for the first time in its career. It will be interesting to see if more information will be presented at this event.
 
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