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

GTX

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In_A_Dream

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So you are claiming the F-35 partner nations will be used by China somehow?
It's not a claim, it's a fact. China has trade relationships with everyone, they can hurt or influence anyone they choose at the lowest levels of supply, which are often the overlooked factors.
 

GTX

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It's not a claim, it's a fact.
I'd like to see your 'facts' in relation to the F-35 program. Supplying into this is not a simple thing and comes with many checks. In fact, i would hazard a guess that any perceived risks would impact US suppliers just as much, if not more so, any non-US suppliers.
 

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The F-35, pragmatically, thrives in a world where there are no economics barriers.

On the contrary, there are economic (and even more so now, political) incentives for F-35.

The United States is about to experience the post WWI/pre WWII period with Corporate America within the next couple years.

That's an interesting thought. Politically, I've been thinking this more mimics the pre-WW1 era. Please elaborate.


It's the inevitable result with having a corporate enterprise so heavily invested in a foreign power.

We've just seen at least 500 corporations cease operations in Russia. The Russian economy will contract between 10-20% this year. This will eradicate at least 15 years of gains with perhaps another 5 years of sanctions likely still to come.

Re PRC, many manufacturers have been leaving for a decade bc of rising costs. Recent Trump-era (which Biden kept in force) tariffs and Covid have informed entire industries that manufacturing in North America and Europe offer benefits that were not readily obvious on the balance sheet.

Of the 29 semiconductor fabrication plants under construction, 21 are outside the PRC. Pegatron India is starting iPhone 13 production this month bc of the Shenzhen lockdown and Foxconn is already there. Others are likely to follow. In general, those staying with the CCP are manufacturing for the local population.

I imagine that CCP leaders are as nervous as long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs. If there is a set of leaders more scared of their population revolting than the Russians, it's the CCP. And they can't feed their population. What the world is witnessing in Ukraine has not yet translated to the affects of its reliance on the CCP.

I agree there is an over reliance on the CCP. Upsetting that apple cart would disrupt $6T in trade - an order of magnitude greater than Russia. Not something any politician wants to deal with. But if the CCP is perceived as assisting Russia, the world's eye may swing to the East. The body politic and the corporate enterprise you mention may remove the decision from them. In fact, you might say the shift has already begun.

It's just my opinion, but I expect F-35 is fine.
 

In_A_Dream

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That's an interesting thought. Politically, I've been thinking this more mimics the pre-WW1 era. Please elaborate.

Corporate America helped build up Germany after its destruction during World War 1. When Germany began to become more assertive, Corporate America was still doing a lot of business with them and it was difficult for Washington to dissolve those relationships. Eventually it took powerful anti-trust legislation to put an end to it. We still see various industries of America heavily invested in China and fighting to protect their interests by helping fund the politicians that allow them to keep operating there.
 

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'Brown brushed that notion aside, however, saying the Next Generation Air Dominance family of systems, intended to operate inside an enemy integrated air defense system (IADS), will have “the range to go where it needs to go” and that an escort tanker is probably not needed. Brown specifically said, “I wouldn’t call [KC-Z] an escort tanker.”'

It sounds like NGAD could be huge (F-111?) or subsonic.
 
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I think its quite possible for the NGAD to be the size of an F-111. This is just my speculation, but perhaps it may be a tailless supersonic design, powered by two adaptive cycle engines scaled from the 45,000-lbf class XA100/101. This can have substantial range and persistence, while still allowing for a reasonable level of fighter-like maneuverability with a thrust/weight ratio of ~1 and +7.33 g at combat or loaded gross weight.
 
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rooster

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I think its quite possible for the NGAD to be the size of an F-111. This is just my speculation, but perhaps it may be a tailless supersonic design, powered by two adaptive cycle engines scaled from the 45,000-lbf class XA100/101. This can have substantial range and persistence, while still allowing for a reasonable level of fighter-like maneuverability with a thrust/weight ratio of ~1 and +7.33 g at combat or loaded gross weight.
Probably more like a f-23a than anything else. Tailless is still expensive with complicated and weighty and $$$ thrust vectoring and CAN kill the rear aspect LO and diminish mission capability rate. It still needs to be a fighter which means tail. Horizontal tail.... No. Probably 7 to 8 aim260 or combo with 9x\perrigrine\cuda. Probably capable of more than 700nm range supercuise with the new engine tech
 

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Whatever did happen to that Gen 4.5/5- idea that was floated last year? Dead on arrival, presumably?
Bit late of a reply, but it's definitely not dead; the premise of the MR-X ("F-16 replacement") program is that there was a study being undertaken to look into what the USAF's future fleet should look like, and that the results of that study would inform the FY2023 budget request, which has since been released, with a lot of money going to R&D. The final decision on the MR-X program however is expected to take place in around 2028, as for now the USAF has other priorities (NGAD, B-21, AWACS, tankers, etc). The 2028 date will also give Lockheed a chance to try and enact the sustainment cost reductions that they claim can be achieved. If Lockheed gets their way the MR-X program might just turn into more F-35As.
 

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I have been thinking about sustainment cost for NGAD, particularly cost per flight hour. How, and from whom are these numbers are calculated? Has anyone seeing a breakdown of per flight hour flying costs for F-35? All I keep seeing is a number. I would like to know how that number breaks down, and be able to compare that breakdown to other aircraft.

I'm puzzled by Lockheed Martin saying they can attain certain cost per hour by a certain date. How is that possible? Is this just a contract price that is paid?
 
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Dragon029

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So first of all, there is no universal definition for cost per flight hour; there's a classic SAAB presentation for example where they claimed (around a decade ago IIRC) that the F-16C (when comparing it to the Gripen C) cost $7,000/hr. In contrast, the USAF generally claims the F-16C costs around $25,000K/hr. The vast difference between those two numbers comes from what's being included / excluded in those figures.

Here's a graphical comparison for example of CPFH types used with regards to the F-35; you can find a greater breakdown of these different cost elements in this CAPE document: https://www.cape.osd.mil/files/os_guide_v9_march_2014.pdf
Total ownership / total O&S can be a bit odd in that, while it does ultimately capture the total cost of operating a fleet, it includes things you might not have thought of, such as (under "Indirect costs" / "indirect support") medical support / services, initial recruit / officer training, etc.
1650376445981.png
For the SAAB $7K/hr F-16C figure, they'd be talking about something akin to the Reimbursable CPFH described above (and for comparison's sake, here's the FY2021 reimbursable figures for the US services' fleets), whereas the USAF and a number of other military services around the world are generally referring to ownership or total ownership CPFH.

As for how CPFH itself is calculated, it's generally just the annual sustainment cost for a fleet, divided by the annual flight hours. The "fleet" in equation can be individual squadrons / units, but generally it's for an entire service's fleet of that aircraft type. For the F-35A CPFH figures you see it's generally just the USAF's F-35A total ownership CPFH; other F-35A operators that publicly report sustainment costs (like Australia) have had fairly similar costs, sometimes lower.

And as for how Lockheed can claim a certain CPFH by a certain date; the short answer is that they can't be 100% certain, but with the F-35 and Lockheed they were awarded a 3-year sustainment contract by the US last year, and so now Lockheed has the power to tell their suppliers that X amount of work has been secured and certain efficiencies can be gained by optimising logistics, investing in tooling and equipment, etc. However, Lockheed and its contractors / suppliers / partners do not perform all F-35 maintenance.

Out of the $33K/hr CPFH that we see for an F-35A today, Lockheed only controls around 39% of that while Pratt & Whitney (who contract to the US independently of Lockheed) owns another 11% and the US military is responsible for the other ~50%. So when Lockheed says that it's going to drop the CPFH of an F-35A from $33K to $30K by 2023, they're talking about what they can achieve by reducing their 39% of sustainment costs. In contrast, the "$25K/hr by 2025" F-35A CPFH goal that Lockheed was talking about a year or two ago is what Lockheed claims is possible, but is reliant on both P&W and the USAF reducing their F-35A sustainment costs by around 15% (from around $20K/hr [of the $33K/hr total] today to around $17K/hr [of the $25K/hr total]). Lockheed can influence USAF costs a little bit (eg: if ALIS / ODIN is less buggy then the USAF spends fewer man-hours fixing the jet and can fly the jet more frequently), but it's mostly not up to them.
 

NeilChapman

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So first of all, there is no universal definition for cost per flight hour; there's a classic SAAB presentation for example where they claimed (around a decade ago IIRC) that the F-16C (when comparing it to the Gripen C) cost $7,000/hr. In contrast, the USAF generally claims the F-16C costs around $25,000K/hr. The vast difference between those two numbers comes from what's being included / excluded in those figures.

Here's a graphical comparison for example of CPFH types used with regards to the F-35; you can find a greater breakdown of these different cost elements in this CAPE document: https://www.cape.osd.mil/files/os_guide_v9_march_2014.pdf
Total ownership / total O&S can be a bit odd in that, while it does ultimately capture the total cost of operating a fleet, it includes things you might not have thought of, such as (under "Indirect costs" / "indirect support") medical support / services, initial recruit / officer training, etc.
View attachment 677102
For the SAAB $7K/hr F-16C figure, they'd be talking about something akin to the Reimbursable CPFH described above (and for comparison's sake, here's the FY2021 reimbursable figures for the US services' fleets), whereas the USAF and a number of other military services around the world are generally referring to ownership or total ownership CPFH.

As for how CPFH itself is calculated, it's generally just the annual sustainment cost for a fleet, divided by the annual flight hours. The "fleet" in equation can be individual squadrons / units, but generally it's for an entire service's fleet of that aircraft type. For the F-35A CPFH figures you see it's generally just the USAF's F-35A total ownership CPFH; other F-35A operators that publicly report sustainment costs (like Australia) have had fairly similar costs, sometimes lower.

And as for how Lockheed can claim a certain CPFH by a certain date; the short answer is that they can't be 100% certain, but with the F-35 and Lockheed they were awarded a 3-year sustainment contract by the US last year, and so now Lockheed has the power to tell their suppliers that X amount of work has been secured and certain efficiencies can be gained by optimising logistics, investing in tooling and equipment, etc. However, Lockheed and its contractors / suppliers / partners do not perform all F-35 maintenance.

Out of the $33K/hr CPFH that we see for an F-35A today, Lockheed only controls around 39% of that while Pratt & Whitney (who contract to the US independently of Lockheed) owns another 11% and the US military is responsible for the other ~50%. So when Lockheed says that it's going to drop the CPFH of an F-35A from $33K to $30K by 2023, they're talking about what they can achieve by reducing their 39% of sustainment costs. In contrast, the "$25K/hr by 2025" F-35A CPFH goal that Lockheed was talking about a year or two ago is what Lockheed claims is possible, but is reliant on both P&W and the USAF reducing their F-35A sustainment costs by around 15% (from around $20K/hr [of the $33K/hr total] today to around $17K/hr [of the $25K/hr total]). Lockheed can influence USAF costs a little bit (eg: if ALIS / ODIN is less buggy then the USAF spends fewer man-hours fixing the jet and can fly the jet more frequently), but it's mostly not up to them.

That, sir, was a most excellent answer. I am very appreciative of the effort you put into helping me understand some of the issues involved.
 

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My money on it doing something similar to Yhudia Lights.

Makes it harder for eyes and cameras to distinguish it from the sky.

Handy with how all new weapons have advanced image processors to track shit...
 

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Enough range to not need a tanker!!
Hmm..


Brown brushed that notion aside, however, saying the Next Generation Air Dominance family of systems, intended to operate inside an enemy integrated air defense system (IADS), will have “the range to go where it needs to go” and that an escort tanker is probably not needed. Brown specifically said, “I wouldn’t call [KC-Z] an escort tanker.”
 

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View: https://twitter.com/MIL_STD/status/1517722479615037440


Maybe that shiny coating we saw on the F-22 was actually a first hint of the surfacing we will see on the NGAD?
That skin looks mighty interesting, what does it do?
My guess is they're lights to adjust the brightness of the vehicle to match the scattered light at whatever alt it is at. AKA, active camo. The reason I think you see this being tested, and the "chrome" being tested, is they're testing active systems versus passive systems to determine which is more effective. I'm sure they're aimed at NGAD, as noted at TWZ, but wouldn't be surprised to see the tech end up on F-22s and F-35s, especially since we've seen both sporting some from of the passive variant of the camo.
 

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View: https://twitter.com/MIL_STD/status/1517722479615037440


Maybe that shiny coating we saw on the F-22 was actually a first hint of the surfacing we will see on the NGAD?
That skin looks mighty interesting, what does it do?
My guess is they're lights to adjust the brightness of the vehicle to match the scattered light at whatever alt it is at. AKA, active camo. The reason I think you see this being tested, and the "chrome" being tested, is they're testing active systems versus passive systems to determine which is more effective. I'm sure they're aimed at NGAD, as noted at TWZ, but wouldn't be surprised to see the tech end up on F-22s and F-35s, especially since we've seen both sporting some from of the passive variant of the camo.
About 14 years ago on some science show, they showed electro luminescent panels nearly as thin as a thick paint coat that would glow extremely bright with applied voltage... Practically any color. They showed it on a car but the implication was clear it could of would be used in aircraft..... It seems to have gone black because I cannot find hide nor hair of it online anyplace with any browser or key words. Looks like it's been applied to the raptor if I guess at what those panels are. Its the21st century project "yahooti". But they could also be just a new type of ram because those panels require a lot of wires added to the raptor which may not be feasible after the airframe is complete
 
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Avimimus

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A tailless design with a weird tiled chrome ram would make this aircraft look... well... as scifi as it is revolutionary.
 

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View: https://twitter.com/MIL_STD/status/1517722479615037440


Maybe that shiny coating we saw on the F-22 was actually a first hint of the surfacing we will see on the NGAD?
That skin looks mighty interesting, what does it do?
My guess is they're lights to adjust the brightness of the vehicle to match the scattered light at whatever alt it is at. AKA, active camo. The reason I think you see this being tested, and the "chrome" being tested, is they're testing active systems versus passive systems to determine which is more effective. I'm sure they're aimed at NGAD, as noted at TWZ, but wouldn't be surprised to see the tech end up on F-22s and F-35s, especially since we've seen both sporting some from of the passive variant of the camo.
About 14 years ago on some science show, they showed electro luminescent panels nearly as thin as a thick paint coat that would glow extremely bright with applied voltage... Practically any color. They showed it on a car but the implication was clear it could of would be used in aircraft..... It seems to have gone black because I cannot find hide nor hair of it online anyplace with any browser or key words. Looks like it's been applied to the raptor if I guess at what those panels are. Its the21st century project "yahooti". But they could also be just a new type of ram because those panels require a lot of wires added to the raptor which may not be feasible after the airframe is complete
View: https://youtu.be/499TkWOl4PM


BMW showed it off a few months ago.
 

Josh_TN

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I suspect the coating is aimed at the IR spectrum, not the visible light spectrum. If you want to make an aircraft hard to spot in visual light all you would need is some LED white lights to drown out the background light; this was experimented with as far back as WWII.
 

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Maybe that shiny coating we saw on the F-22 was actually a first hint of the surfacing we will see on the NGAD?
That skin looks mighty interesting, what does it do?
My guess is they're lights to adjust the brightness of the vehicle to match the scattered light at whatever alt it is at. AKA, active camo. The reason I think you see this being tested, and the "chrome" being tested, is they're testing active systems versus passive systems to determine which is more effective. I'm sure they're aimed at NGAD, as noted at TWZ, but wouldn't be surprised to see the tech end up on F-22s and F-35s, especially since we've seen both sporting some from of the passive variant of the camo.
About 14 years ago on some science show, they showed electro luminescent panels nearly as thin as a thick paint coat that would glow extremely bright with applied voltage... Practically any color. They showed it on a car but the implication was clear it could of would be used in aircraft..... It seems to have gone black because I cannot find hide nor hair of it online anyplace with any browser or key words. Looks like it's been applied to the raptor if I guess at what those panels are. Its the21st century project "yahooti". But they could also be just a new type of ram because those panels require a lot of wires added to the raptor which may not be feasible after the airframe is complete

Nope, video is still there. And it's probably not what you think. It's electroluminescent PAINT. It lights up when a charge is applied but it can't change color.

 

Hood

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I remember there being an article in Flight International about 10 years ago about that kind of visual camouflage technology, so its certainly something that has been worked on/desired for some time (well its been the holy grail since 1915 with early transparent plastics replacing the canvas).
 

sferrin

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I remember there being an article in Flight International about 10 years ago about that kind of visual camouflage technology, so its certainly something that has been worked on/desired for some time (well its been the holy grail since 1915 with early transparent plastics replacing the canvas).
In theory you could apply that EM paint to a panel as a grid (think the RGB pixels on a monitor) and have a unique voltage controlling each "pixel". Like "digital camoflage" but one that could be changed.
 

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The manned fighter aircraft that will form the centerpiece of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance program will cost hundreds of millions of dollars per plane, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told members of Congress on April 27—but the service can reduce costs in development and sustainment.


Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee on the fiscal 2023 budget request, Kendall specified that the main NGAD fighter would cost “multiple hundreds of millions of dollars … on an individual basis,” acknowledging that such a price tag “is a number that’s going to get your attention.”
o_O
 

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The manned fighter aircraft that will form the centerpiece of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance program will cost hundreds of millions of dollars per plane, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told members of Congress on April 27—but the service can reduce costs in development and sustainment.


Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee on the fiscal 2023 budget request, Kendall specified that the main NGAD fighter would cost “multiple hundreds of millions of dollars … on an individual basis,” acknowledging that such a price tag “is a number that’s going to get your attention.”
o_O
I mean so was the Raptor
 
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