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

X-39

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I mean so was the Raptor
Sounds like an individual 6th gen will cost no less than 200-300mil according to the article. Not that it hadn't been predicted in the past. https://www.defensenews.com/air/201...pensive-price-tag-for-next-air-force-fighter/
By comparison, the F-22 cost roughly $135 million per tail, making it the most expensive fighter the U.S. Air Force has ever developed. NGAD, according to Kendall’s estimate, will dwarf those costs
 

X-39

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The primary aircraft of NGAD is likely to fly at least as high and fast as the F-22, meaning an upper ceiling of about 65,000 to 70,000 feet and a top speed of about Mach 2.8
Hmmm, is intending to give the Mig-31 a run for it's money believable in the 21st century?
Now retired, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said in 2019 that NGAD will be comprised of “five key technologies” that would not all “come together on a single platform” and would not all mature simultaneously. Goldfein did not enumerate the five technologies, but he later alluded to them including engines, weapons, sensors, artificial intelligence, and connectivity.
NGAD is likely to remain highly classified as long as the Air Force can keep it that way. Kendall, taking a page from Cold War practice, has said he’s reluctant to share the shape and features of future combat aircraft lest the U.S. provide its opponents with a “head start” on developing countermeasures.
Good. Keep it secret, keep it safe!
 
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Flyaway

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The primary aircraft of NGAD is likely to fly at least as high and fast as the F-22, meaning an upper ceiling of about 65,000 to 70,000 feet and a top speed of about Mach 2.8
Hmmm, is intending to give the Mig-31 a run for it's money believable in the 21st century?
Now retired, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said in 2019 that NGAD will be comprised of “five key technologies” that would not all “come together on a single platform” and would not all mature simultaneously. Goldfein did not enumerate the five technologies, but he later alluded to them including engines, weapons, sensors, artificial intelligence, and connectivity.
NGAD is likely to remain highly classified as long as the Air Force can keep it that way. Kendall, taking a page from Cold War practice, has said he’s reluctant to share the shape and features of future combat aircraft lest the U.S. provide its opponents with a “head start” on developing countermeasures.
Good.
The problem with this is you have to be able to match the cyber warfare capabilities of your opponents, let alone more conventional elements of spy craft. Look at Australia they literally had to cancel a whole major drone program to finance additional cyberwarfare capabilities.
 

FighterJock

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The primary aircraft of NGAD is likely to fly at least as high and fast as the F-22, meaning an upper ceiling of about 65,000 to 70,000 feet and a top speed of about Mach 2.8
Hmmm, is intending to give the Mig-31 a run for it's money believable in the 21st century?
Now retired, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said in 2019 that NGAD will be comprised of “five key technologies” that would not all “come together on a single platform” and would not all mature simultaneously. Goldfein did not enumerate the five technologies, but he later alluded to them including engines, weapons, sensors, artificial intelligence, and connectivity.
NGAD is likely to remain highly classified as long as the Air Force can keep it that way. Kendall, taking a page from Cold War practice, has said he’s reluctant to share the shape and features of future combat aircraft lest the U.S. provide its opponents with a “head start” on developing countermeasures.
Good.
The problem with this is you have to be able to match the cyber warfare capabilities of your opponents, let alone more conventional elements of spy craft. Look at Australia they literally had to cancel a whole major drone program to finance additional cyberwarfare capabilities.

The answer to that problem is not to have any computers that are involved in top secret aircraft programs connected to the internet, then any hostile country cannot gain access to that information.
 

GTX

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Look at Australia they literally had to cancel a whole major drone program to finance additional cyberwarfare capabilities.
The issue in Australia with the reallocation of funds from AIR 7003 Ph1 MQ-9B SkyGuardian buy for Project REDSPICE is more to do with the Govt over-committing themselves on multiple fronts. It is also not necessarily a done deal yet given there is an election underway.
 

Flyaway

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The primary aircraft of NGAD is likely to fly at least as high and fast as the F-22, meaning an upper ceiling of about 65,000 to 70,000 feet and a top speed of about Mach 2.8
Hmmm, is intending to give the Mig-31 a run for it's money believable in the 21st century?
Now retired, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said in 2019 that NGAD will be comprised of “five key technologies” that would not all “come together on a single platform” and would not all mature simultaneously. Goldfein did not enumerate the five technologies, but he later alluded to them including engines, weapons, sensors, artificial intelligence, and connectivity.
NGAD is likely to remain highly classified as long as the Air Force can keep it that way. Kendall, taking a page from Cold War practice, has said he’s reluctant to share the shape and features of future combat aircraft lest the U.S. provide its opponents with a “head start” on developing countermeasures.
Good.
The problem with this is you have to be able to match the cyber warfare capabilities of your opponents, let alone more conventional elements of spy craft. Look at Australia they literally had to cancel a whole major drone program to finance additional cyberwarfare capabilities.

The answer to that problem is not to have any computers that are involved in top secret aircraft programs connected to the internet, then any hostile country cannot gain access to that information.
Problem is I am not sure even air gaping computers these days means you can be free of espionage.
 

FighterJock

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The primary aircraft of NGAD is likely to fly at least as high and fast as the F-22, meaning an upper ceiling of about 65,000 to 70,000 feet and a top speed of about Mach 2.8
Hmmm, is intending to give the Mig-31 a run for it's money believable in the 21st century?
Now retired, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said in 2019 that NGAD will be comprised of “five key technologies” that would not all “come together on a single platform” and would not all mature simultaneously. Goldfein did not enumerate the five technologies, but he later alluded to them including engines, weapons, sensors, artificial intelligence, and connectivity.
NGAD is likely to remain highly classified as long as the Air Force can keep it that way. Kendall, taking a page from Cold War practice, has said he’s reluctant to share the shape and features of future combat aircraft lest the U.S. provide its opponents with a “head start” on developing countermeasures.
Good.
The problem with this is you have to be able to match the cyber warfare capabilities of your opponents, let alone more conventional elements of spy craft. Look at Australia they literally had to cancel a whole major drone program to finance additional cyberwarfare capabilities.

The answer to that problem is not to have any computers that are involved in top secret aircraft programs connected to the internet, then any hostile country cannot gain access to that information.
Problem is I am not sure even air gaping computers these days means you can be free of espionage.

To stop espionage these day's they should check potential employees political backgrounds thoroughly with a fine tooth comb and ban them from working on sensitive programs for good if they find anything suspicious, problem solved.
 

TomS

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You're saying we should do background investigations for people with security clearances?

I should have said before they got security clearances.

You're not getting my point. People with clearances do get investigated before getting cleared and periodically thereafter. But it doesn't stop espionage. People are motivated to spy for so many reasons (money, ideology, blackmail, intimidation, deception, frustration, etc.) And people are very good at concealing their motives.

The level of effort and intrusiveness required to catch every single potential compromise is mind-boggling (read every cleared person's email every day, scan every single social media post, eavesdrop on all of their personal conversations, etc.)
 

FighterJock

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You're saying we should do background investigations for people with security clearances?

I should have said before they got security clearances.

You're not getting my point. People with clearances do get investigated before getting cleared and periodically thereafter. But it doesn't stop espionage. People are motivated to spy for so many reasons (money, ideology, blackmail, intimidation, deception, frustration, etc.) And people are very good at concealing their motives.

The level of effort and intrusiveness required to catch every single potential compromise is mind-boggling (read every cleared person's email every day, scan every single social media post, eavesdrop on all of their personal conversations, etc.)

Thanks TomS.
 

Avimimus

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You're saying we should do background investigations for people with security clearances?

I should have said before they got security clearances.

You're not getting my point. People with clearances do get investigated before getting cleared and periodically thereafter. But it doesn't stop espionage. People are motivated to spy for so many reasons (money, ideology, blackmail, intimidation, deception, frustration, etc.) And people are very good at concealing their motives.

The level of effort and intrusiveness required to catch every single potential compromise is mind-boggling (read every cleared person's email every day, scan every single social media post, eavesdrop on all of their personal conversations, etc.)

It is also easier to fake being 'ideologically pure' than it is to fake a complex set of political and ethical beliefs. In some cases it is easier for a spy to pass political background checks than it is for a loyal citizen to.

It also occurs to me that someone with a simplistic 'my side right-or-wrong' perspective might be loyal when hired, but if they do switch sides, might go over entirely to the other side. Someone with more complicated loyalties might be less likely to completely go over to the other side after a personal crisis.

It isn't simple to do that kind of vetting.
 

sferrin

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The primary aircraft of NGAD is likely to fly at least as high and fast as the F-22, meaning an upper ceiling of about 65,000 to 70,000 feet and a top speed of about Mach 2.8
Hmmm, is intending to give the Mig-31 a run for it's money believable in the 21st century?
Now retired, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said in 2019 that NGAD will be comprised of “five key technologies” that would not all “come together on a single platform” and would not all mature simultaneously. Goldfein did not enumerate the five technologies, but he later alluded to them including engines, weapons, sensors, artificial intelligence, and connectivity.
NGAD is likely to remain highly classified as long as the Air Force can keep it that way. Kendall, taking a page from Cold War practice, has said he’s reluctant to share the shape and features of future combat aircraft lest the U.S. provide its opponents with a “head start” on developing countermeasures.
Good.
The problem with this is you have to be able to match the cyber warfare capabilities of your opponents, let alone more conventional elements of spy craft. Look at Australia they literally had to cancel a whole major drone program to finance additional cyberwarfare capabilities.

The answer to that problem is not to have any computers that are involved in top secret aircraft programs connected to the internet, then any hostile country cannot gain access to that information.
Problem is I am not sure even air gaping computers these days means you can be free of espionage.

To stop espionage these day's they should check potential employees political backgrounds thoroughly with a fine tooth comb and ban them from working on sensitive programs for good if they find anything suspicious, problem solved.
We had a guy years ago that could barely string two words of English together (even his emails were attrocious). He got caught poking his nose where it didn't belong, and shown the door, but it left a number of us wondering if ANYBODY had bothered looking into his background. Given you were supposed to be a US citizen to even work for the company it was inexcusable. There have been a number of individuals since then that made one ask "WTF?" and they also ended up getting shit-canned. And yes, they were all Chinese.
 

Zoomer

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Okay I have a question.
Since NGAD won't have to dogfight or intercept, why not make it a flying wing? Stealth would be dramatically improved.
 

Bounce

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Okay I have a question.
Since NGAD won't have to dogfight or intercept, why not make it a flying wing? Stealth would be dramatically improved.
They can't do supersonic speeds, would need some form of retracting vert stabs I guess it adds complexity/weight etc.

Someof the 6th gen concept images floating around have this, lots of Chinese fan art too.
 

Zoomer

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Okay I have a question.
Since NGAD won't have to dogfight or intercept, why not make it a flying wing? Stealth would be dramatically improved.
They can't do supersonic speeds, would need some form of retracting vert stabs I guess it adds complexity/weight etc.

Someof the 6th gen concept images floating around have this, lots of Chinese fan art too.
Yeah, not flying wing. More like a tailless design. Most concept images are tailless btw. For a tailless design you probably need canards or retractable vert stabs. Or you can build a more conventional design with a wide V-tail like the F-23.

But some concepts are completely tailless. Is this really possible?
 

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X-39

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(Paywall AWIN subscription required)
View: https://twitter.com/beverstine/status/1521231076873621507?s=20&t=ZO2F7836uoAAN7SCFswARw


Among Kendall’s seven operational imperatives are uncrewed aircraft that will escort manned aircraft. “I want to go directly to EMD [engineering and manufacturing development] on that,” he said. “The technology is mature enough that we can gamble on that, take some risks there, and move out quickly. So we’re not going to wait for a round of risk reduction experiments. We will conduct them in parallel with the work we need to do to get a platform moving forward.”
 
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Bounce

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Okay I have a question.
Since NGAD won't have to dogfight or intercept, why not make it a flying wing? Stealth would be dramatically improved.
They can't do supersonic speeds, would need some form of retracting vert stabs I guess it adds complexity/weight etc.

Someof the 6th gen concept images floating around have this, lots of Chinese fan art too.
Yeah, not flying wing. More like a tailless design. Most concept images are tailless btw. For a tailless design you probably need canards or retractable vert stabs. Or you can build a more conventional design with a wide V-tail like the F-23.

But some concepts are completely tailless. Is this really possible?

At this stage im still half expecting it to come out with conventional vert stabs, and China would have spent years wasting time with disinfo.
 

totoro

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Among Kendall’s seven operational imperatives are uncrewed aircraft that will escort manned aircraft. “I want to go directly to EMD [engineering and manufacturing development] on that,” he said. “The technology is mature enough that we can gamble on that, take some risks there, and move out quickly. So we’re not going to wait for a round of risk reduction experiments. We will conduct them in parallel with the work we need to do to get a platform moving forward.”
Huh? One would think that all the little nuggets of info, news about demonstrators, increasing budgets over the last several years were exactly that, - risk reduction. If so, then of course the next phase would be emd. Providing there has been some internal, secret competition between offered designs.
 

X-39

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Okay I have a question.
Since NGAD won't have to dogfight or intercept, why not make it a flying wing? Stealth would be dramatically improved.
They can't do supersonic speeds, would need some form of retracting vert stabs I guess it adds complexity/weight etc.

Someof the 6th gen concept images floating around have this, lots of Chinese fan art too.
Yeah, not flying wing. More like a tailless design. Most concept images are tailless btw. For a tailless design you probably need canards or retractable vert stabs. Or you can build a more conventional design with a wide V-tail like the F-23.

But some concepts are completely tailless. Is this really possible?

At this stage im still half expecting it to come out with conventional vert stabs, and China would have spent years wasting time with disinfo.
Imagine China develops what they think a 6th Gen fighter will be, going through all the trouble of designing and making a flightworthy JX-44 MANTA like aircraft with TVC and ACE, having to compensate for the inherent instability at supersonic speed, to prevent it from nosediving, then crashing and burning ... only for the US NGAD turning out to be NOT tailless. :cool:
QUICK!.. ADD A TAIL!
FAxlfdTXMAAjC6H
 

sferrin

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Okay I have a question.
Since NGAD won't have to dogfight or intercept, why not make it a flying wing? Stealth would be dramatically improved.
They can't do supersonic speeds, would need some form of retracting vert stabs I guess it adds complexity/weight etc.

Someof the 6th gen concept images floating around have this, lots of Chinese fan art too.
Yeah, not flying wing. More like a tailless design. Most concept images are tailless btw. For a tailless design you probably need canards or retractable vert stabs. Or you can build a more conventional design with a wide V-tail like the F-23.

But some concepts are completely tailless. Is this really possible?

At this stage im still half expecting it to come out with conventional vert stabs, and China would have spent years wasting time with disinfo.
Imagine China develops what they think a 6th Gen fighter will be, going through all the trouble of designing and making a flightworthy JX-44 MANTA like aircraft with TVC and ACE, having to compensate for the inherent instability at supersonic speed, to prevent it from nosediving, then crashing and burning ... only for the US NGAD turning out to be NOT tailless. :cool:
QUICK!.. ADD A TAIL!
FAxlfdTXMAAjC6H
Would be like most ATF artwork in the 80s having a canard, Rafale, Eurofighter, Gripen, Mig 1.44, all get canards, then none of the actual ATF concepts have canards.
 

X-39

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Okay I have a question.
Since NGAD won't have to dogfight or intercept, why not make it a flying wing? Stealth would be dramatically improved.
They can't do supersonic speeds, would need some form of retracting vert stabs I guess it adds complexity/weight etc.

Someof the 6th gen concept images floating around have this, lots of Chinese fan art too.
Yeah, not flying wing. More like a tailless design. Most concept images are tailless btw. For a tailless design you probably need canards or retractable vert stabs. Or you can build a more conventional design with a wide V-tail like the F-23.

But some concepts are completely tailless. Is this really possible?

At this stage im still half expecting it to come out with conventional vert stabs, and China would have spent years wasting time with disinfo.
Imagine China develops what they think a 6th Gen fighter will be, going through all the trouble of designing and making a flightworthy JX-44 MANTA like aircraft with TVC and ACE, having to compensate for the inherent instability at supersonic speed, to prevent it from nosediving, then crashing and burning ... only for the US NGAD turning out to be NOT tailless. :cool:
QUICK!.. ADD A TAIL!
FAxlfdTXMAAjC6H
Would be like most ATF artwork in the 80s having a canard, Rafale, Eurofighter, Gripen, Mig 1.44, all get canards, then none of the actual ATF concepts have canards.
Huh? Many early ATF concepts included canard configs
6715c5b8a62443be4d130efbfc10648c--abandoned-projects.jpg
6e472b68db7c2d43a2f8a5b93ab6eb4c.jpg
 

sferrin

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Okay I have a question.
Since NGAD won't have to dogfight or intercept, why not make it a flying wing? Stealth would be dramatically improved.
They can't do supersonic speeds, would need some form of retracting vert stabs I guess it adds complexity/weight etc.

Someof the 6th gen concept images floating around have this, lots of Chinese fan art too.
Yeah, not flying wing. More like a tailless design. Most concept images are tailless btw. For a tailless design you probably need canards or retractable vert stabs. Or you can build a more conventional design with a wide V-tail like the F-23.

But some concepts are completely tailless. Is this really possible?

At this stage im still half expecting it to come out with conventional vert stabs, and China would have spent years wasting time with disinfo.
Imagine China develops what they think a 6th Gen fighter will be, going through all the trouble of designing and making a flightworthy JX-44 MANTA like aircraft with TVC and ACE, having to compensate for the inherent instability at supersonic speed, to prevent it from nosediving, then crashing and burning ... only for the US NGAD turning out to be NOT tailless. :cool:
QUICK!.. ADD A TAIL!
FAxlfdTXMAAjC6H
Would be like most ATF artwork in the 80s having a canard, Rafale, Eurofighter, Gripen, Mig 1.44, all get canards, then none of the actual ATF concepts have canards.
Huh? Many early ATF concepts included canard configs
6715c5b8a62443be4d130efbfc10648c--abandoned-projects.jpg
6e472b68db7c2d43a2f8a5b93ab6eb4c.jpg
Re-read what I said.
 

X-39

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Re-read what I said.
Ok, got it, i overlooked the "actual" word in your post. Anyways, i was thinking it's easy to get hyped over the futuristic depictions we've been fed for the last 13 years decades, but at this point, i don't really care anymore if it's tailless or not, after all, maybe the tradeoff of a bit smaller RCS over stability isn't worth it. For example, Carlo Kopp was predicting similar notional fighters since the 80's, and the final product was something more traditional in appearance. History repeats itself it seems:
apa-jpg.44952

01.png331F2B9D-39FC-4224-89AE-FBD0CF35771ELarge.jpg
 

sferrin

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Re-read what I said.
Ok, got it, i overlooked the "actual" word in your post. Anyways, i was thinking it's easy to get hyped over the futuristic depictions we've been fed for the last 13 years decades, but at this point, i don't really care anymore if it's tailless or not, after all, maybe the tradeoff of a bit smaller RCS over stability isn't worth it. For example, Carlo Kopp was predicting similar notional fighters since the 80's, and the final product was something more traditional in appearance. History repeats itself it seems:
apa-jpg.44952

01.png331F2B9D-39FC-4224-89AE-FBD0CF35771ELarge.jpg
That top one was from back when they thought "swoopy" mean stealthy.

14316-3cca83100a7024d7b946345bd0b373d7.jpg

14317-34b141670ad327ac2235f3fc5a97f71a.jpg
 

rooster

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The (successful) X-36 demonstrator which flew 25 years ago, had canards and no tails.
Yes but it had the split flaperon like the b2 ton make up for lacking a tail. Idk if that's a performance penalty or not to maneuvering but I would lean towards it being a penalty for a fighter to have a flight control surface that could be used for maneuvers acting as a drag surface. Someone else who knows aerodynamics is better to remark.
 

SparkyDinosaur

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The (successful) X-36 demonstrator which flew 25 years ago, had canards and no tails.
Yes but it had the split flaperon like the b2 ton make up for lacking a tail. Idk if that's a performance penalty or not to maneuvering but I would lean towards it being a penalty for a fighter to have a flight control surface that could be used for maneuvers acting as a drag surface. Someone else who knows aerodynamics is better to remark.
The program manager Gary Jennings is on record saying it was more maneuverable than a hornet. How much of this is company spit polish is debatable, but the program was regarded as a success in all aspects it set out to achieve.

 

Foo Fighter

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Dreamfighter

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The (successful) X-36 demonstrator which flew 25 years ago, had canards and no tails.
Yes but it had the split flaperon like the b2 ton make up for lacking a tail. Idk if that's a performance penalty or not to maneuvering but I would lean towards it being a penalty for a fighter to have a flight control surface that could be used for maneuvers acting as a drag surface. Someone else who knows aerodynamics is better to remark.
The program manager Gary Jennings is on record saying it was more maneuverable than a hornet. How much of this is company spit polish is debatable, but the program was regarded as a success in all aspects it set out to achieve.



Also, X-36 was unstable in pitch & yaw and had fluidic advanced (*) TVC (yaw only).

(*): edited/corrected

From Flight International, March 1996:

"The aircraft's fly-by-wire FCS will integrate control inputs, using split ailerons and a still-classified thrust-vectoring system to compensate for the absent tail surfaces. The thrust-vector nozzle will provide the initial control input until its limits begin to be reached, at which point the split ailerons will gradually take over. "
"Three ailerons are mounted on the trailing edge of the wing, which is sharply "cranked" towards mid-span in the familiar low-observable characteristic of recent stealth designs. The two outboard sections function independently and split to provide yaw control (using drag), while the inner section acts like a "typical flaperon", for pitch and roll control"
Foreplanes were added to increase pitch-down control authority and move through +10¡ to -80¡ to compensate for the large pitch-up moment generated by the chined fore-body at high angles of attack. "They needed to be large to help destabilise the aircraft"
"The thrust-vectoring system, which was hidden from view during the roll-out is based on a design proposed by MDC engineers in 1989"
"It is understood that the system deflects engine exhaust in the yaw axis only, probably through a set of vertically mounted vanes. The gases exit through a flattened exhaust nozzle, which is recessed slightly beneath the aircraft's broad "beaver" tail."



"This Tailless Fighter Agility Research Aircraft demonstrated the feasibility of future tailless fighters to achieve levels of agility superior to today's best military fighter aircraft."

"In a follow-on effort, the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) contracted Boeing to fly AFRL's Reconfigurable Control for Tailless Fighter Aircraft (RESTORE) software as a demonstration of the adaptability of the neural-net algorithm to compensate for in-flight damage or malfunction of effectors, i.e., flaps, ailerons and rudders. Two RESTORE research flights were flown in December 1998, proving the viability of the software approach."
"It
was designed to fly without the traditional tail surfaces common on most aircraft. Instead, a canard forward of the wing is utilized, in addition to split ailerons and an advanced thrust-vectoring nozzle for directional control. The X-36 is unstable in both the pitch and yaw axes; therefore, an advanced, single-channel digital fly-by-wire control system, developed with some commercially available components, stabilizes the aircraft."


Edit: Fluidic TVC was NOT used on X-36, therefore info below changed to a smaller font
More about fluidic TVC (research):
 
Last edited:

Dreamfighter

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Hmm... I just carefully re-read everything I posted & linked above with regard to the X-36, and also googled a bit around, but nowhere I can find the word 'fluidic' with regard to the X-36´s TVC-control. Everything (now) only seems to mention 'advanced TVC-system' at most.
Does anyone else remember the X-36 for (being described as) having/using some form of 'fluidic TVC'?
 
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X-39

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Here is a proposed hybrid approach to solve the stability problem on a further iteration of Lockheed's ESAV, funny how they came with a creative way of recycling the MANTA acronym one more time:


Abstract:
Tailless aircraft offer advantages such as increased aerodynamic efficiencies through reductions in weight and parasitic drag. However, the advantages associated with the removal of the vertical tail are stymied by a loss of stability and control authority, which is particularly detrimental during the low-speed flight regime of take-off and landing. To address instability issues and reestablish control authority, this study explores the addition of an articulated “tail” to a tailless aircraft, instead of a vertical tail. As a conceptually designed aircraft, the Multi-Articulated Nodal Tailed Aircraft (MANTA) concept is investigated using the Air Force Research Lab’s Computational Aircraft Prototype Syntheses (CAPS) system.

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