RIP Raptor in 2025?

SOC

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There have been rumors that a new fighter concept will begin to be looked at this year, with a mind to replacing the Raptor starting in 2025. Anybody heard about this? Is this related to Boeing's "6th Generation" fighter stuff, or something totally different?
 

Skybolt

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It would make sense, would be even a little late in a "normal" replacement planning cycle. A new fighter entering inventory in 2025 will be 25 years after the previous one's IOC. After all, the Raptor has been ten years late due to funds cut in the 90s.
 

sferrin

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SOC said:
There have been rumors that a new fighter concept will begin to be looked at this year, with a mind to replacing the Raptor starting in 2025. Anybody heard about this? Is this related to Boeing's "6th Generation" fighter stuff, or something totally different?


I'd be surprised if it were related to Boeings. I can't imagine a replacement program for the F-22 that didn't include NG and LM. Also it wouldn't surprise me if they started something soon (if they haven't already been testing technologies) because if history is any indicator it will take a long time to field. Given all the new construction at Groom Lake, the stated goals of VATTE, and the truncated F-22 program, well, I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't a few "interesting" technology demonstrators flying out there. My question is what are they going to make it out of? VAATE suggests something capable of very high speeds but at the same time high heat and stealth don't seem to go well together from a materials standpoint.
 

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Air Force Association has also reported this after they reviewed the Air Force's Long Range Aviation plan. Knowing how long these programs take I am assuming some work is being done now in the "black world" There was a quote from a Lockheed VP talking about "6th Generation" fighter programs. He stated "There are a couple of programs I can't even talk about".

While I would have kept building the F-22 for a few more years as a hedge against F-35 delays, this is good news, if true.
 

lantinian

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Never heard of that one, but seeing how things are changing in the world of technology I do not expect anything conventional to replace the Raptor. The 6th gen would not be about the same things just more and better. It would need a new paradigm.
Think about it, every generation of fighter aircraft had added something fundamentally new, while ever so slightly improving the legacy features.

1st - Get Engine
2nd - Get Engine + Speed
3rd - Get Engine + Speed + Guided Missiles
4th - Get Engine + Speed + Guided Missiles + Maneuverability
5th - Get Engine + Speed + Guided Missiles + Maneuverability + Stealth
6th - Get Engine + Speed + Guided Missiles + Maneuverability + Stealth + ???

So what would be the rosseta stone of the 6th gen fighter. Here is my proposal, just conjured out of thin air.

The platform:
F-35 sized, tailless, 1 engine (F136 based), high-performance unmanned fighter. It will have 6-8 dual range air to everywhere missile and a 1 MW optical laser as weapons. It will have supersonic performance to rival the YF-23 but be able to withstand much higher G-forces.

Control:
Pilots can be located either on the ground or on a VLO flying command post hundreds of miles away awaiting in conform for any action. Communication can be done via lasers guaranteeing high bandwidth and extremely low probability of intercept.
The fighter will be brought to the battle zone completely automatically via on board intelligence. When fuel is low, it will automatically refuel and return to station. It may be possible to even rearm in mid-air, if the weapons payload is made truly modular and flexible. Laser, needs only electricity so they just need more fuel to the engines which generate it.

Operation:
If a situation arrises the pilots, can just pick up the closest fighter available to respond to the battle needs and take tactical control. They will only tell the fighter what targets to engage as if in a computer game and the AI of the craft would pick the the best situation and launch parameters for the weapons, with the pilots issuing the final shoot order. If and when WVR combat is required the pilots can take full control but be able to chose viewing as if it was a flight sim. By this time full 360 degrees visual/sensor coverage should not be an issue at all. Pilots will be able to view the battle in full 3D in real time and just draw maneuvers on the screen, that the fighter can perform.

Conclusion:
I do believe the Unmanned option to be the true enabled of the 6th generation fighter. While it has value on its own, it serves to benefit all other 5 features of the aircraft by removing the need of a "on board pilot" requirement.

Every experienced fighter pilot can tell that the most demanding part of the flight is the battle when humans are actually needed is just mere minutes, sometimes seconds. The rest is boring and exhausting routine. If I had to design a 6 gen fighter, I would create a cheap but capable platform (not a mutirole fighter) that can be available over the battlefield 24/7. Obi Wan, said it best "Flying is for droids". The pilots should be working as a team in the same room making tactical decisions together and not worrying about their lives.

This actually turned rather nicely, for a first draft. B)
 

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I can't remember the name (Acronym's) of one of the two new engine tech tests going on, but they are supposed to be complete around 2018 or 2020, just in time for making a production engine for an aircraft in the mid '20's it would seem to me. One of them is the IPHTET program. As I said, I can't recall the name of the other.
 

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Sundog - VAATE, Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engine? Here's a AIAA document.
 

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RyanC

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It will be interesting to see if we go back to the path we were on in the 1950s and 1960s, before the God of Manouverability and Saint Boyd derailed it -- something that cruises at high supersonic speeds (Mach 2+) with a very long range at very high altitudes.
 

sferrin

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RyanCrierie said:
It will be interesting to see if we go back to the path we were on in the 1950s and 1960s, before the God of Manouverability and Saint Boyd derailed it -- something that cruises at high supersonic speeds (Mach 2+) with a very long range at very high altitudes.

A modern, stealthy F-108 or F-12B? The biggest question I have there is what do they make it out of? Seems to me, not only is there a fixation on manueverability but also composites. Even BMI isn't happy at high supersonic speed. (Though one project I'm familiar with used it in for a pressure vessel at 400 degree temps and I saw a blurb a few years back about BMI at 650 degrees or so. )
 

Sundog

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bobbymike said:
Sundog - VAATE, Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engine? Here's a AIAA document.

Yeah, that's the other program I was thinking of, thanks.
 

Just call me Ray

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I see the 6th generation of combat aircraft going several routes, many of which involve splitting off into various platforms of different capabilities, with less likely routes of either everything having high performance or everything having low performance. In any case, at least for the majority of these vehicles, the defining characteristic will be a lack of onboard pilot.

Non-combustion engine propulsion may be another defining characteristic, at least for lower-performance aircraft.
 

ubiquitous08

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I agree with lantinan on the future air vehicle. Given computational power and the availability of lasers for ultra secure comms and the by then cultural acceptance by the military of manned uavs (by which I mean on the ground pilots) from Iraq and other wars (how bleak, I'm predicting them already) between now and 2025 I think this makes a great deal of sense not to mention it leverages U.S advantages in software, computers , AI and databasing and historically the U.S likes to leverage its advantages against others in fielding new systems (Computers, relaxed stability / FBW, high bypass turbofans, pulsedoppler technolgy in 4th gen fighters for example (almost all this had to developed from scratch by the U.S.S.R) and with the fifth generation fighters, stealth, supercooled turbine technology enabling supercruise, computational design / manufacturing processes, very advanced databasing.
 

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I can't help of thinking about MiG-31 Firefox.... (To those who don't know: the fictitious Soviet Mach 7 stealth strike fighter with thought controlled weapons in Graig Thomas' novel and Clint Eastwood's film. :p )

Poor British pilots who will have to think in American English... ;)
 

bobbymike

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Technologies that "might" be available and ones actually used are a different story. IMHO Gen 6 fighters will have ultra-stealthy designs, 360 degree situational awareness (possible "computer co-pilot") and possibly DEW with advanced air to air air to ground capabilities.
 

kcran567

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all new type of engine technology such as Frictionless magnetically spun turbine engine for higher blade speeds, less heat, better fuel consumption rates.

unpiloted versions

trans-atmospheric capability

laser type weapon for missile, aircraft and ground target engagement

visual stealth
 

Lauge

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kcran567 said:
trans-atmospheric capability

Not sure about that one. It would probably be possible in the timeframe being discussed, but unless there are some MAJOR breakthroughs in engine and/or material technologies, a transatmospheric capability would, in my optics, enforce too many compromises on other elements of the design to make it worthwhile.

Just my 5 Eurocents worth.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
Technologies that "might" be available and ones actually used are a different story. IMHO Gen 6 fighters will have ultra-stealthy designs, 360 degree situational awareness (possible "computer co-pilot") and possibly DEW with advanced air to air air to ground capabilities.

"Pilot's Associate"? ;)
 

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sferrin said:
"Pilot's Associate"? ;)

Pilot: "INCOMING! Computer: Activate ECM, IRCM, laser PDS and all offensive systems. Enable full air-to-air and air-to-ground modes and give me manual fire control".
Computer: "Look, Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over. I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you."
;D

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg
 

kcran567

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Anyone have any pictures or artists renderings of a 6th Gen besides Boeing's?

Thanks
 

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It will be interesting to see if we go back to the path we were on in the 1950s and 1960s, before the God of Manouverability and Saint Boyd derailed it -- something that cruises at high supersonic speeds (Mach 2+) with a very long range at very high altitudes.
Kelly Johnson complained at the time of the intro to the F-15 that we were ceding the high ground. I’m sure he meant his YF-12.
Considering how much respect Eagle pilots gave the MiG-25 & 31, Johnson wasn’t all wrong.
 

kaiserd

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It will be interesting to see if we go back to the path we were on in the 1950s and 1960s, before the God of Manouverability and Saint Boyd derailed it -- something that cruises at high supersonic speeds (Mach 2+) with a very long range at very high altitudes.
Kelly Johnson complained at the time of the intro to the F-15 that we were ceding the high ground. I’m sure he meant his YF-12.
Considering how much respect Eagle pilots gave the MiG-25 & 31, Johnson wasn’t all wrong.
No, he was just approx. 99 percent wrong.
All those high speed fighters faster than the F-15 that entered service after the F-15.
Like the MIG-31 (no faster than MIG-25, really built with focus on shooting down sub-sonic cruise missiles). And all the rest (none in approx. 50 years).
 

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It will be interesting to see if we go back to the path we were on in the 1950s and 1960s, before the God of Manouverability and Saint Boyd derailed it -- something that cruises at high supersonic speeds (Mach 2+) with a very long range at very high altitudes.
Kelly Johnson complained at the time of the intro to the F-15 that we were ceding the high ground. I’m sure he meant his YF-12.
Considering how much respect Eagle pilots gave the MiG-25 & 31, Johnson wasn’t all wrong.
The didn’t. It was all hype. After Bilenko flight they know that Mig25 is not real threat. Mig 31 was born to solve B1B/ALCM problem over Siberia. Never designed to fight F15. Paradox is that F15 was born because hypothetical Mig25 capabilities and then USSR designed Su27 and MiG 29 to counter F15/F16.
 

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It will be interesting to see if we go back to the path we were on in the 1950s and 1960s, before the God of Manouverability and Saint Boyd derailed it -- something that cruises at high supersonic speeds (Mach 2+) with a very long range at very high altitudes.
Kelly Johnson complained at the time of the intro to the F-15 that we were ceding the high ground. I’m sure he meant his YF-12.
Considering how much respect Eagle pilots gave the MiG-25 & 31, Johnson wasn’t all wrong.
No, he was just approx. 99 percent wrong.
All those high speed fighters faster than the F-15 that entered service after the F-15.
Like the MIG-31 (no faster than MIG-25, really built with focus on shooting down sub-sonic cruise missiles). And all the rest (none in approx. 50 years).
Yeah, the pilots quoted in these books (one by a Ret Col USAF) really sound like facing the Foxbat or Foxhound was considered a joke by Eagle pilots.

 

Bruno Anthony

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It will be interesting to see if we go back to the path we were on in the 1950s and 1960s, before the God of Manouverability and Saint Boyd derailed it -- something that cruises at high supersonic speeds (Mach 2+) with a very long range at very high altitudes.
Kelly Johnson complained at the time of the intro to the F-15 that we were ceding the high ground. I’m sure he meant his YF-12.
Considering how much respect Eagle pilots gave the MiG-25 & 31, Johnson wasn’t all wrong.
The didn’t. It was all hype. After Bilenko flight they know that Mig25 is not real threat. Mig 31 was born to solve B1B/ALCM problem over Siberia. Never designed to fight F15. Paradox is that F15 was born because hypothetical Mig25 capabilities and then USSR designed Su27 and MiG 29 to counter F15/F16.
High speed, high flyers like Foxbat & Foxhound were considered threats to be respected.
Whatever those 2 planes were designed to engage, shooting them down with F-15s was not considered an easy task. In the Duel book, F-15 tactics did NOT include a lot of radar scanning above 40K ft.

https://www.amazon.com/F-15C-Eagle-Units-Combat-Davies/dp/1841767301https://www.amazon.com/F-15C-Eagle-MiG-23-25-Iraq/dp/1472812700
 

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-The F-15 Streak Eagle zoom climbed to 95 000 feet.

-In 1977 IRIAF Tomcats painted Soviet MiG-25R with their AWG-9 and scared the shit out of them.

-In 1981 the Israelis shot down a handful of MiG-25s

-The MiG-31 was many times better but was never exported

The didn’t. It was all hype. After Bilenko flight they know that Mig25 is not real threat. Mig 31 was born to solve B1B/ALCM problem over Siberia. Never designed to fight F15. Paradox is that F15 was born because hypothetical Mig25 capabilities and then USSR designed Su27 and MiG 29 to counter F15/F16.

Welcome to the silly paranoid world of Cold War. It is amazing, the number of fat, expensive aerospace programs that were started for the wrong reasons on both sides of the Iron Curtain - because of such paranoid idiots like the 1976 "Team B" in America or Yuri Andropov's KGB.

The most astonishing example of all this being Buran, don't start me on this

("hey, the US Shuttle must be a nuclear space bomber
"Whaaaat ?
"It's economic case make no sense yet they will launch it 600 times in 12 years in the 80's; there must be a military mission hidden somewhere for those 18 000 metric tons of payloads to make sense... hey, look, it takeoff from Vandenberg and lands after a single orbit after overflying Moscow... oh damn, nuclear decapitation strike from space ! We must build a Soviet equivalent !" - matematician Keldysh to Brezhnev, circa 1975 - I kid you not).
 

kaiserd

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It will be interesting to see if we go back to the path we were on in the 1950s and 1960s, before the God of Manouverability and Saint Boyd derailed it -- something that cruises at high supersonic speeds (Mach 2+) with a very long range at very high altitudes.
Kelly Johnson complained at the time of the intro to the F-15 that we were ceding the high ground. I’m sure he meant his YF-12.
Considering how much respect Eagle pilots gave the MiG-25 & 31, Johnson wasn’t all wrong.
No, he was just approx. 99 percent wrong.
All those high speed fighters faster than the F-15 that entered service after the F-15.
Like the MIG-31 (no faster than MIG-25, really built with focus on shooting down sub-sonic cruise missiles). And all the rest (none in approx. 50 years).
Yeah, the pilots quoted in these books (one by a Ret Col USAF) really sound like facing the Foxbat or Foxhound was considered a joke by Eagle pilots.

Who’s saying facing the MIG-25 or MIG-31 was/ is a joke? Literally nobody.
And it is arguable that while the likes of the F-22 and Su-57 don’t expand on the upper limits of the F-15s level of speed or altitude performance they do expand out the time spent and “real world” usability of that level of performance.
But apart from the MIG-31 there is literally no “higher” performance (approaching or over Mach 3) fighter aircraft anywhere that has got anywhere near hardware or entering service in the last 50 years and their are many good reasons for that; other qualities are simply far more important and the costs/ trade-offs simply aren’t worth it 99.99 percent of the time.
 

Michel Van

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I think there a point in Rumor
That USAF phase out the F-22 Raptor in 2025

The plane has 20 years of service in 2025.
The USAF has only 187 aircraft, as production was terminate in 2011, do high cost of $200 million per aircraft (including weapons).
and allot of issues with F-22, like the oxygen supply for Pilot...

i guess
allot Too expensive modification and maintenance and Limit combat capability for today, makes the F-22 obsolete for USAF (also the very expensive F-35).
It replacement ?

modernize newly build F-15EX and F-16V with better electronics and newest Missiles
they far cheaper compaire to F-22 and F-35
 

uk 75

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The game changer for the F16 and Sea Harrier if I remember right was replacing Sidewinders with Amraams in the 90s.
If I had to design a fighter from scratch I would want the smallest possible platform that can carry a decent radar and as many missiles as possible. Pilot optional.
 

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