USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA, ASFS

Firefinder

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Aren't development contracts usually cost plus?
That is a recent thing, post 2000 outside of some NO FAIL programs.

For the most part Development Programs were fix budget allotment with the company having to explain why they need more money when they did.

Cost price was one of those things ment to save money but since that been failing there is a solid push back to go to the old system by everyone who is not the companies.
 

aonestudio

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NavAir commander says the next-gen plane will be designed around certain cutting-edge technologies.​


The U.S. Navy plans to design a new-generation fighter jet around different types of technology—as opposed to designing an aircraft and then trying to pack it with technology after the fact, a top admiral said.

Vice Adm. Dean Peters, the Naval Air Systems Command commander, described a shift in the design philosophy of high-performance fighter jets.

“The most important thing that's going to happen with this with Next Generation [Air Dominance] is that we're going to take all of those technologies that we've developed, those enabling technologies, and instead of picking a platform and then figuring out how to wedge those enabling technologies into it, or not be able to wedge those into it, we're gonna start with the enabling technologies, and make that part of the criteria for what the aircraft looks like on the other end,” Peters said at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space convention in National Harbor, Maryland.

Called the Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD, the plane is to eventually replace the aircraft carrier-based F/A-18 Super Hornet. The Air Force also has a next-generation fighter jet project by the same name.

“I can tell you that although...the program is different than the Air Force, there is a very tight integration between the Air Force and the Navy, or what this platform is going to be,” Peters said.

 

Cordy

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Well, considering navy's vision of replacing super hornets and compliment the f-35 fleet after 2020, I think air superiority will be a requirement.
Navy CNO Gilday launched a thinly veiled attack on Boeing at SNA 2021 yesterday for lobbying Congress to fund more F-18s and keep the production line open whereas Gilday wants funding for a 6th Gen a/c, whether a F-14 replacement or attack a/c unknown.

 

Josh_TN

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USN NGAD will almost certainly be a dual role aircraft mixing interdiction and interception. There’s really almost no reason not to combine the roles on a single long range platform given that air to ground or air to air mode is now literally abutton click for different radar and display modes. Basically what F-111 was originally intended to be.
 

TomcatViP

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I am not sure of that. External shapes might be similar on overall but an attentive look would see them different. IMOHO it's most of the systems that could be identical (engine, radar, bomb bay etc...) but wings, tails and fuselages could be altered from one to another to better match each service's specifications.

It's easy also to see, taking for example the Japanese design, that for once, size might be constrained on the USN version, with for once, a similar size for both. Idem for the weight when measured devoid of any navalized items.
 

Josh_TN

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I meant the USN will use its airframe for those two roles, not that the USN and USAF will share airframes. In fact they most certainly will not due to the requirements of CATOBAR flight.
 

trose213

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USN NGAD will almost certainly be a dual role aircraft mixing interdiction and interception. There’s really almost no reason not to combine the roles on a single long range platform given that air to ground or air to air mode is now literally abutton click for different radar and display modes. Basically what F-111 was originally intended to be.
There's also the fact that short and medium range AAMs will be carried on drones, in addition to the drones performing offboard sensing. So NGAD will probably be able to do those roles simultaneously.
 

Josh_TN

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I took it to mean they are going for off the shelf tech to truncate development time and cost. I believe the B-21 was designed in a similar fashion. Whatever results from that program, it will be one of the first USAF aircraft programs that’s on time and budget in my lifetime.
 

paralay

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The recipe is known, the US and NATO always use it. When the army has no "Fighting Spirit", quantitative superiority is used. Try to surpass China in this ;)
Operation "Allied Force". NATO - 1031 aircraft, Yugoslavia 14 combat-ready MiG-29[4] and 34 serviceable MiG-21, NATO superiority by 21 times The 2003 Iraq War, NATO 1801 aircraft, Iraq serviceable no more than 50-MiG-23, MiG-25 and MiG-29. NATO superiority-36 times
 

Hydroman

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Sounds like they can't afford the plane.
The Navy needs a good mix of aircraft again like when I was in and on CVN-65 (F-14, A-6, EA-6, S-3, E-2, A-7). A good naval mission air superiority fighter (similar to the Tomcat) but you now have the strike fighter assets now (F-35, F/A-18) for their roles like the USAF F-16. MQ-25, I'm on the ropes regarding this one but the Navy has always needed a good, purpose built tanker, don't know if MQ-25 is it though. No USN and USAF sharing a common fighter design derivative, different missions.
 

isayyo2

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Sounds like they can't afford the plane.
The Navy needs a good mix of aircraft again like when I was in and on CVN-65 (F-14, A-6, EA-6, S-3, E-2, A-7). A good naval mission air superiority fighter (similar to the Tomcat) but you now have the strike fighter assets now (F-35, F/A-18) for their roles like the USAF F-16. MQ-25, I'm on the ropes regarding this one but the Navy has always needed a good, purpose built tanker, don't know if MQ-25 is it though. No USN and USAF sharing a common fighter design derivative, different missions.
At least with MQ-25 we're not burning Super Hornet hours on buddy refueling, they're piloted by Warrant Officers to boot. I do hope they explore further payloads beyond the tanking gear and internal ISR gear too. What's still needed unfortunately is a S-3 replacement, multipurpose and long duration maritime patrol aircraft organic to the Battlegroup. Leverage development from the P-8s with sized down APS-154 MTI/ISAR system and operator consoles to control drones. Maybe based off the E-2 ASW concepts of yesteryear?
 

Sundog

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NavAir commander says the next-gen plane will be designed around certain cutting-edge technologies.​


The U.S. Navy plans to design a new-generation fighter jet around different types of technology—as opposed to designing an aircraft and then trying to pack it with technology after the fact, a top admiral said.

Vice Adm. Dean Peters, the Naval Air Systems Command commander, described a shift in the design philosophy of high-performance fighter jets.

“The most important thing that's going to happen with this with Next Generation [Air Dominance] is that we're going to take all of those technologies that we've developed, those enabling technologies, and instead of picking a platform and then figuring out how to wedge those enabling technologies into it, or not be able to wedge those into it, we're gonna start with the enabling technologies, and make that part of the criteria for what the aircraft looks like on the other end,” Peters said at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space convention in National Harbor, Maryland.

Called the Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD, the plane is to eventually replace the aircraft carrier-based F/A-18 Super Hornet. The Air Force also has a next-generation fighter jet project by the same name.

“I can tell you that although...the program is different than the Air Force, there is a very tight integration between the Air Force and the Navy, or what this platform is going to be,” Peters said.


I had no idea the Navy has been designing airplanes incorrectly all of these years, as what he is talking about is exactly how I was taught to design aircraft decades ago. Well, that certainly explains the Super Hornet.
 

Bhurki

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I had no idea the Navy has been designing airplanes incorrectly all of these years, as what he is talking about is exactly how I was taught to design aircraft decades ago. Well, that certainly explains the Super Hornet.
He has to make it sound distinct, new and exciting to secure funds or he might get stuck with an F35, or an NGAD derivative with canards.
 

Flyaway

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Out of interest just who decides what should and shouldn’t be disclosed about a program, do they loop the president in on such decisions or is it just the senior brass in the USAF?

What does it say about things when us in the U.K. and Australia will be operating a far more up to date airframe for our AWACS requirements.
 

shin_getter

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Hmm, a Idea just hit me.

Given that 6th gen may not have traditional aerodynamic control surfaces for stealth reasons, with control dependent on thrust vectoring and blown air methods....

Perhaps 6th gen can support near zero velocity post-stall (tail-sitting) landing/takeoff operations with only a small design change? With effective means of low speed control and Thrust to weight ratio >>1 (likely at low fuel states).

It seems not too difficult to manage a near zero velocity tail sit touch down with modern controls, the actually tricky part is how to get the aircraft horizontal on the ground again. A propulsor to lift/gently drop the nose and specially designed landing gear could do the job.

Not like visibility is a issue in the era of virtual cockpits necessary to deal with lasers.

Not sure if this sort of operation would be considered reliable enough for navy use.
 

rooster

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Hmm, a Idea just hit me.

Given that 6th gen may not have traditional aerodynamic control surfaces for stealth reasons, with control dependent on thrust vectoring and blown air methods....

Perhaps 6th gen can support near zero velocity post-stall (tail-sitting) landing/takeoff operations with only a small design change? With effective means of low speed control and Thrust to weight ratio >>1 (likely at low fuel states).

It seems not too difficult to manage a near zero velocity tail sit touch down with modern controls, the actually tricky part is how to get the aircraft horizontal on the ground again. A propulsor to lift/gently drop the nose and specially designed landing gear could do the job.

Not like visibility is a issue in the era of virtual cockpits necessary to deal with lasers.

Not sure if this sort of operation would be considered reliable enough for navy use.
Do you want a fighter or a lunar lander that will spend half its time undergoing repairs? I would prefer a plane with a high readiness rate and not weighted down with 7,000 lbs of thrust vectoring plumbing. Maybe one day they will discover the element 115 isotope for vtol ops
 

shin_getter

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Hmm, a Idea just hit me.

Given that 6th gen may not have traditional aerodynamic control surfaces for stealth reasons, with control dependent on thrust vectoring and blown air methods....

Perhaps 6th gen can support near zero velocity post-stall (tail-sitting) landing/takeoff operations with only a small design change? ....
Do you want a fighter or a lunar lander that will spend half its time undergoing repairs? I would prefer a plane with a high readiness rate and not weighted down with 7,000 lbs of thrust vectoring plumbing. Maybe one day they will discover the element 115 isotope for vtol ops
Normally, it wouldn't be worst than F-35B, though some would say that experience is enough show it is a bad idea.

With the desire for very long range, large internal bay, and space for directed energy weapons, it is going to be so heavy that getting it on a carrier is going to be hard and some ESVTOL features may be necessary. It is not like carriers will grow bigger.
 

TomcatViP

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IMOHO it would be safe to say that we could reasonably dismiss the risk given that something as big as an A-5 or A-3 have operated for decades aboard similar sized aircraft carrier.

1920px-USS_Constellation_%28CVA-64%29_flight_deck_1967.jpeg
 
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Firefinder

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IMOHO it would be safe to say that we could reasonably dismiss the risk given that something as big as an A-5 or A-3 have operated for decades aboard similar sized aircraft carrier.
Yup both the Nimitz and now the Fords elevators are STILL designed to carry two of them from using them, the Nimitzs, and for just in case, Fords.

Look like that ability and foresight is going to come in handly once again...
 

shin_getter

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Just because an aircraft is large does not mean it is heavy.

A-5: 28tons MTOW
F-35C: 31tons MTOW
F-14: 33ton MTOW
A-3: 37tons MTOW
F-111B: 40tons MTOW (get into trouble here, or so the navy claims: note this is a variable geometry aircraft)

Lower landing speed in any case helps with weight (structure to withstand slowing down in a fixed distance), airframe life, safety and likes. The question is whether the trade off in adding systems to achieve this is worthwhile.

The thought is that if you are already using blown air and thrust vectoring for stealth purposes, it can be retooled for STOL as well so you are not paying the full penalty of adding those systems.
 
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Firefinder

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Just because an aircraft is large does not mean it is heavy.

A-5: 28tons MTOW
F-35C: 31tons MTOW
F-14: 33ton MTOW
A-3: 37tons MTOW
F-111B: 40tons MTOW (get into trouble here, or so the navy claims: note this is a variable geometry aircraft)

Lower landing speed in any case helps with weight (structure to withstand slowing down in a fixed distance), airframe life, safety and likes. The question is whether the trade off in adding systems to achieve this is worthwhile.

The thought is that if you are already using blown air and thrust vectoring for stealth purposes, it can be retooled for STOL as well so you are not paying the full penalty of adding those systems.
I feel the need to point out that those weights are their max take off weights.

AKA the weights of being fully fuel and loaded with weapons as they are toss by the Catapults.

Which is not done in the Hanger deck but on the Flight deck cause of Safety reasons written in blood. And Landing weight is far lighter, like I believe the Max is like 20 tons for carriers. Know that the Tomcat could not land with 6 AIM54s onboard.

And out of all the Planes you listed only the F111 and A5 had any issues with landing. The F111 because it was a land plane rather badly shoehorn into being a carrier plane and the A5 because it was one of the first Mach 2 long range bombers designed in the 1950s with terrible visibility. And the Vigi did have blow flaps to decrease it landing speed like the F4 did. And all three designs had something in common.

They were 1950s early 60s era designs with all that implies. Tech and aerodynamics has march on. We know tricks that the designers in that time will gladly sell their soul with their first born bundled in for free for them. When the F111 and A5 was design lifting bodies designs were basically not a thing yet, something that helped the F14 out immensely when it was design ten years later.

Between the A5 and the F4 the navy apperantly learn to HATE blow flaps cause of their maintance cost since when it came time to design the F35C...

Well Lockheed wanted to use the Bs engine with the puffers it used for VTOL maneuverability modified to be blow flaps. That way it will increase the part commonity between the Naval versons.

The Navy Veto that with a quickness and said give it longer wings or something else cause they do not want to deal with blowflaps again. So that is why the F35C has longer wings.
 

Manuducati

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Minor correction Firefinder: the F-14 could land with a full load of AIM-54, but the fuel margin was low. And this configuration was exceptional for both practical and financial reasons.
 

TomS

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And Landing weight is far lighter, like I believe the Max is like 20 tons for carriers.

The new Advanced Arresting Gear is good for up to 55,000 lbs (27.5 tons, 25,000 kg). The old Mk7 is a bit less at 50,000 lbs (25 tons, 22,700 kg).
 

TomcatViP

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You also don't have to worry too much when several factors today are positively influencing the landing weight:
- F/A-XX structural weight fraction will be less than today achievements thanks to a better knowledge in design sciences (better material, better in-design simulations, better integration of systems...)
- Long range means more fuel hence a greater portion of it expended b/w takeoff and landing phases (the fuel reserve for landing fraction would be less than for a short range fighter)
- Generalized offload of weaponry on other aircraft and system (UAS, Distributed targeting etc...) and the miniaturization of weapons would mean that the bring back load would be less of a concern.

All in all, it would make the next generation naval fighter easier to integrate with the landing requirements.
 
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