- Jul 14, 2008
- Reaction score
As they´re thinking/talking about a clean sheet (4.5 generation) replacement for the F-16, to complement ( = not have to utilize) the F-35 on the (much) less demanding missions where stealth is not required, like in conflicts with (somewhat) 'permissive' airspace and/or the homeland defense mission, something like a KF-21 (first block) pops to my mind.
They don´t want the operating and maintenance costs that come with the (stealth-requirements of) the F-35 , but certainly they still want advanced radar, sensors, awareness, weapons, etc. When you then decide not to go forward with the latest/new variants of existing designs (because those have no or not enough open architecture or can´t be updated enough to what you really want) and you decide to proceed with a clean sheet design, you might want one which doesn´t have the advanced skin and/or coatings and internal weapons-bay of the F-35 but you might still want to make use of the opportunity to have a reasonable degree of stealth-shaping incorporated into your new design, just for in case you´d later want or would need to upgrade the result of your clean sheet design for use in scenarios/operations/conflicts which you didn´t have in mind at first.
So you might want to go with something alike a 'KF-21' design, which does not come with the extravagant costs of an F-35 but which nevertheless offers the option to change it into a more advanced version (with e.g. an internal weapons bay and possibly other enhancements) over a relatively short time-period without having to start from scratch again. Unless you have nothing much more then something like Irak/Afghanistan-conflicts and air-policing scenarios in mind, then I guess something resembling a 'Boeing/Saab F-7' would do just fine.
Just my 2 cents.