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

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
"Trying to kill" is overstated. However, recall that the Advent concept basically dates to the mid-1990s and was mostly constrained by funding (I am not aware of any critical enabling technologies that have been made possible in the meantime). Once the F-35 was planned as the only fighter until the 2020s, with an ATF-derived engine, the VCE had no sponsor.


The fact that many aircraft have gone through their lives with one engine type may reflect shorter production and service lives in the past. The 737 is on its third engine.
There was always going to be a next generation engine after the F119/F135. I would hardly expect the DoD to do nothing in the engine dept. I also wouldn't ever have expected it to be significantly larger than the F135 as the preference seems to be "big enough for a single-engine fighter to use but not so big that two of them would be too big for a twin". And given the DoD doesn't seem to be crazy about F-20/Gripen sized aircraft that's going to set the lower limit on engine size. All that said, it seems logical it would end up in a size range that would fit in an F-35. (Though that LM notional 6th gen looks big enough to need a pair of NK-32s. :eek:
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
The fact that many aircraft have gone through their lives with one engine type may reflect shorter production and service lives in the past. The 737 is on its third engine.
Could be. Though the F-4 is still flying on J79s and the F-5 on J85s. Some Skyhawks got F404s, the U-2 got the F118, B-52 got the TF33s. . . Off the top of my head though I can't think of another fighter aside from the F-16 that had two separate engine options so early in it's life cycle.
 

red admiral

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sferrin said:
Until DFE there was no second engine for the F-16 (or any other fighter for that matter). Also, the F136 wasn't "arbitrarily" cancelled. There was no money to keep it going and GE didn't feel like their design was good enough to garner sales if they funded it on their own dime.
That isn't true. GE/RR offered to self-fund F136 to IOC but the JPO said no and retained all relevant materials to prevent them from doing so.

Political decision
 

sferrin

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red admiral said:
sferrin said:
Until DFE there was no second engine for the F-16 (or any other fighter for that matter). Also, the F136 wasn't "arbitrarily" cancelled. There was no money to keep it going and GE didn't feel like their design was good enough to garner sales if they funded it on their own dime.
That isn't true. GE/RR offered to self-fund F136 to IOC but the JPO said no and retained all relevant materials to prevent them from doing so.

Political decision
Source? GE themselves said they stopped on their own:

http://breakingdefense.com/2011/12/f136-rest-in-peace-ge-rolls-formally-declare-its-over/

"The decision, reached jointly by GE and Rolls-Royce leadership, recognizes the continued uncertainty in the development and production schedules for the JSF Program."

Don't see anything in there about the DoD preventing them from funding it on their own.
 

LowObservable

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Dang, I'd have thought that _someone_ would have bitten on the "fighter family with seven different engine types" line.
 

RadicalDisconnect

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I'm curious if the new engine will make its way to the F-22. Wonder what kind of performance we'll see then.
 

bring_it_on

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Whatever path they choose it would still take them a lot of time to get it tested and ready for the fleet in any decent numbers. This is pretty much a 2030's engine for the F-35 if they go ahead with it. We heard of this 'class' of engine being spoken about even last year under the AETP iirc.
 

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Surely it makes sense to have upgrades 'in the pipeline'? If this platform has to have the sort of length of service life it looks like it will have, it will need all sorts of upgrades along the way to remain relevant. Engine being but one...


Also, do remember that engines are significantly more complex than they were at some mythical time in the past so therefore lead times have stretched.
 

LowObservable

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Right, Arjen... J35, J47 dry, J47 A/B, J73, J65, Avon and Orenda. And six were production installations.
 

Arjen

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Eight engines if you count the F-93's RR Tay/J48.
 

phrenzy

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Triton said:
Avimimus said:
Funny how we look down upon nationalised aviation-military industries (e.g. France and Russia). Yet we *allow* such monopolies to develop.


I wonder if modern military jets can only be made by effective monopolies (or two bidder systems) due to their complexity and expense??
So what happens to Boeing's military airplane business once it no longer produces F-15 and F-18 fighters? Will it continue to fund development of F/A-XX/NGAD? Or will it close the rest of the McDonnell Douglas legacy assets, such as Phantom Works, and just concentrate on the commercial airliner market?

Conceivably, Lockheed Martin could be the last contractor standing in the United States fighter business.
It sounds to me like Ray is talking about an end to winner takes all. How you actually go about that on such an advanced program without giving away trade secrets is a bit of a mystery but a fighter monopoly isn't going to help anyone.
Maybe the USAF will start doing the design work in house or with contacted engineers for development then portion out the build work? Not likely of course but a monopoly on combat aircraft is a very serious shift that they should be making consciously and not by happenstance.

The Boeing/Lockheed lrs-b cooperation might point the way forward, perhaps they will mandate that submissions be made by teams of corporations instead if individual companies but at this stage your basically down to a duopoloy for fighters anyway.
 

Grey Havoc

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sferrin said:
red admiral said:
sferrin said:
Until DFE there was no second engine for the F-16 (or any other fighter for that matter). Also, the F136 wasn't "arbitrarily" cancelled. There was no money to keep it going and GE didn't feel like their design was good enough to garner sales if they funded it on their own dime.
That isn't true. GE/RR offered to self-fund F136 to IOC but the JPO said no and retained all relevant materials to prevent them from doing so.

Political decision
Source? GE themselves said they stopped on their own:

http://breakingdefense.com/2011/12/f136-rest-in-peace-ge-rolls-formally-declare-its-over/

"The decision, reached jointly by GE and Rolls-Royce leadership, recognizes the continued uncertainty in the development and production schedules for the JSF Program."

Don't see anything in there about the DoD preventing them from funding it on their own.
They stopped when it was made quite clear that their engine would not be procured in any form by the US/UK; no use in throwing good money after bad.

Also, I'll just note that the current proposal is not a company initiative. Which is suggestive in itself.
 

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Navy, Air Force May Team Up On Joint Analysis Of Options For Next-Generation Fighter


The Navy and the Air Force may team up on a joint analysis of alternatives to examine options for the service's next-generation fighter jet, according to a top official.
A joint analysis would leverage the knowledge bases of both the Navy and the Air Force to determine where the services' future fighter jet needs overlap, Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, director of air warfare, told reporters March 26 after a hearing of the House Armed Services tactical air and land warfare subcommittee.
However, a joint AOA does not necessarily mean the next-generation fighter jet, dubbed F/A-XX, will be a joint program, Manazir noted.
"We are looking at doing a joint analysis of alternatives, definitely, so we can look at -- similarities and differences," Manazir said. "We are allowed to take a joint AOA and then define a service solution that will be good for each service. It might not be a joint airplane, but we certainly will use a joint foundation for going forward."
The Navy has requested $5 million in research and development funding in fiscal year 2016 to begin work on the AOA, which will address the anticipated fighter gap beginning in the mid 2020s with the retirement of the service's F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-16G Growlers. The AOA will begin in FY-16 and is planned to last one year, Manazir said.
The AOA will examine the capabilities the Navy loses with the retirement of the Super Hornets, and will consider a variety of options from one replacement airframe to a "family of systems," according to Manazir.
"The thing I want to highlight for you both is, people think that F/A-XX is going to be an airplane," Manazir told reporters. "What we are doing an analysis of alternatives on is the capabilities that we lose when the Super Hornet goes away, and so we would look at everything from an airframe to a family of systems to continuing something we already have flying to capabilities that we already have in the air wing or the joint world, to assess what we really need to replace the Super Hornets."
Right now, the Navy is partnering with industry, academia and the other services -- including the Air Force's planned replacement F-X program -- to advance technology for the future fighter project, Manazir said. These efforts include investments in achieving faster speed, greater stealth and ways to better dominate the electromagnetic spectrum, he noted.
Manazir ticked off other areas of investment: "We're also advancing technology in outer-mold lines for airframes, in faster air speeds for traditional airframes, trying to make them go faster for the fight, obviously broadband stealth and IR stealth, capabilities we could put into coatings, ways that you can use electromagnetic energy, ways that you can dominate the EM spectrum a little bit better, all of those things that are so vexing now."
The Navy is pressing forward with the project, subject to guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Pentagon's office of cost assessment and program evaluation, Manazir noted. -- Lara Seligman
http://insidedefense.com/defensealert/navy-air-force-may-team-joint-analysis-options-next-generation-fighter
 

Triton

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"F-35 Needs a Bigger, More Powerful Engine"
by Dave Majumdar and Chris Kjelgaard

March 27, 2015

Source:
http://www.nationalinterest.org/feature/f-35-needs-bigger-more-powerful-engine-12491

Upgraded future versions of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could replace the stealthy jet’s Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan with a new adaptive cycle engine. The current F135 engine is at the limits of its capabilities and can’t push the jet out to the outer edges of its airframes capabilities—especially at low speeds.

“Our adaptive cycle design architecture is designed around F-35, and we’re designing it somewhat more aggressively than today’s standard F-35 requirements,” Dan McCormick, general manager of General Electric Aviation’s Advanced Combat Engine program, told The National Interest. “They want higher speeds and they just can’t get the heat off the airplane. They’ve told us they want unrestricted flight envelope operation.”

Basically, the F-35 airframe gets too hot at lower flight levels because of the limitations of the F135—which has to run at high temperatures to generate maximum power. The F135 generates 28,000 lbs of thrust normally, but produces over 43,000 lbs of thrust with the afterburner engaged. “Today the F-35 has flight restrictions at low altitude because of thermal management,” an industry source told The National Interest.

Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst with the Virginia-based Teal Group, told The National Interest that it is obvious that the F-35 would need a bigger engine. “It's clear that the F-35 would need more power for faster speeds and greater payloads,” he said. “It's far from clear that the F135 can be grown the way the [Pratt & Whitney] F100 and [General Electric] F110 were on the F-15/F-16. Therefore, a future F-35 variant with a new engine is a strong possibility.”

The U.S. Air Force is funding the development of next-generation engines under the Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) and Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP). These new motors—which are called variable cycle or adaptive cycle engines—will be able to optimize their performance for various combinations of speeds and altitudes for maximum efficiency.

In other words, that means at high speeds, it will act like a turbojet with high jet velocity thrust for good supersonic performance while at lower speeds it would act more like an airliner’s engines. Both the Pratt & Whitney and General Electric designs accomplish that by adding a so-called “third stream,” which can be opened and closed depending on how fast or how high the aircraft is flying.

While the F-35 would be a retrofit, the real goal of the adaptive engine program is to power next-generation fighters and bomber. Both the Air Force and U.S. Navy have begun nascent efforts that would ultimately lead to new sixth-generation fighters.

The Air Force is focusing its F-X sixth-generation fighter efforts on replacing the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and Boeing F-15C Eagle for the air superiority role. Meanwhile, the Navy is looking for a replacement for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in the 2030s under a program dubbed F/A-XX.
 

Triton

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"Navy and Air Force Planning Joint Exploration of Next Generation Fighter Follow Ons to F-22 and F/A-18E/F"
by Sam LaGrone

March 27, 2015 4:40 PM

The Navy and the Air Force could team up for their early look into their next crop of fighters due out in 2030, the Navy’s director of air warfare told USNI News on Thursday.

Starting next year, the two services are in a position to set out on a joint analysis of alternatives (AoA) for the follow on to Navy’s Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter, said Rear Adm. Mike Manazir to USNI News following a House Armed Service Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces hearing on combat aviation.

“We’re partnering with the Air Force in their F-X program,” he said.
“We are pressing forward — subject to guidance from [Office of Secretary of Defense] (OSD) — and we are looking at doing a joint analysis of alternatives (AoA) so we can look at similarities and differences. We’re allowed to take a joint AOA and then define a service solution that would be good for each service.”

As part of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, the Navy has set aside $5 million to start the F/A-XX work — planned to replace the Super Hornets in the 2030s.

“We feel we need a replacement for the gaps that will occur when the F-18 E and F Super Hornet — and somewhat the [EA-18G Growler] as well — start to go away from their service life perspective in about 2030,” he said.

The AoA — for the Navy — will focus replacing the capabilities of the fighter with a wide-range of options.

“So what we would look at is everything — from an airframe, to a family of systems, to continuing something we already have flying, to capabilities that we already have in the air wing or the joint world — to asses what we really need to replace the Super Hornet,” Manazir said.

The AoA will run in parallel with several other design and technology efforts across several agencies.

“We’re advancing engine technology. We’re working with academia, industry, other services — the weapons labs in the services to advance that technology. We’re also advancing technology in outer mold lines for airframes for faster air speeds from traditional airframes — trying to make them go faster for the fight. Obviously broadband stealth and IR stealth, the capabilities we could put into coatings, ways you could use electromagnetic energy, ways that you could dominate the EM spectrum a little better,” Manazir said.
“All of those things are so vexing now, we’re advancing the technology to the point where we get into the development phase and evaluating alternatives — those technologies the hardest are advanced to a point to where we can start to use them.”

While a plethora of options exist for the program, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert expressed an outlook for a next generation fighter that would not be as dependent on stealth and speed but more on its ability to field future weapon systems.

“It has to have an ability to carry a payload such that it can deploy a spectrum of weapons. It has to be able to acquire access probably by suppressing enemy air defenses, Greenert said in February.
“Today it’s radar but it might be something more in the future.”

Part of the F/A-XX calculus will be based on how the Lockheed Martin F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will function in the Navy’s carrier air wings.

The F-35C is understood to be a critical node in the Navy’s Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air (NIFC-CA) concept as a forward sensor node for the rest of the carrier strike group (CSG).

“We don’t even quite know what the F-35 is going to bring to us — that fifth generation capability — and when we start to integrate it with the other things we have in the air wing — the Growler, with E-2D, with Super Hornet — that integrated capability is greater than just what the platform can do,” Manazir said.
“It might be that we find things in the F-35 that will lend itself to the generation after that.”
 

bring_it_on

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Some relevant resources -

http://www.acq.osd.mil/chieftechnologist/resources.html
 

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bobbymike

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DARPA Investigating Novel Air Superiority Architectures

3/31/2015

DARPA has launched an initiative to develop and demonstrate concepts for maintaining air superiority through novel architectures of interoperable manned and unmanned platforms, weapons, sensors, and mission systems, announced the agency on Monday. The vision of the System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation program is to integrate new technologies and airborne systems with existing systems faster and at lower cost than near-peer adversaries can counter them, states DARPA's release. “If we are successful, the services will be able to add or swap out capabilities across existing manned and unmanned platforms at lower cost and in shorter time," said John Shaw, SoSITE program manager. "The goal is to plug modules that perform different airborne functions into any type of airborne platform and have them work seamlessly,” he added. DARPA has awarded contracts to Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman to develop and analyze promising system-of-system architectures. These companies are also designing plans for flight experimentation with these architectures, states the release. Apogee Systems, BAE Systems, and Rockwell Collins are developing tools and technologies to enhance open system architectures.
 

bring_it_on

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DARPA Uses Open Systems, ‘Plug and Fly’ to Boost Air Power





http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=128493
 

fightingirish

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Offtopic, but if fits to the last post.
DARPA's System of Systems (SoS) Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) program


DARPA's System of Systems (SoS) Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) program aims to develop and demonstrate concepts for maintaining air superiority through novel SoS architectures--combinations of aircraft, weapons, sensors and mission systems--that distribute air warfare capabilities across a large number of interoperable manned and unmanned platforms.
The vision is to integrate new technologies and airborne systems
with existing systems more quickly and at lower cost than near-peer adversaries can counter them.
SoSITE is being developed by DARPA's Strategic Technology Office.
https://youtu.be/77gTSr07Jqs
Code:
https://youtu.be/77gTSr07Jqs

Article: War is Boring - DARPA’s Vision of Future War — Swarms of Missiles and Drones - SoSITE project wants to overwhelm air defense systems by ROBERT BECKHUSEN


I like the "modified C-130” but a "DC-17" would be better. ;) B)
 

gTg

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As far as i know a "DC-17" would only be a drone carrier/mothership.
To replace that drone Herk in the video a "QDC-17" would be needed.
 

BioLuminescentLamprey

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LowObservable said:
I'm glad we have our top innovative thinkers on this.
Did you see something I didn't see?

This is not what our "innovative thinkers" are up to. They're not going backwards to pre-Link-16, Soviet methods.
 

DrRansom

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If fighters are going to be controlling drones, doesn't this make a strong argument for a two seat airplane?

Much easier to have a second pilot than to make the drone system so easy a pilot could do it while maintaining SA.


Also, the drones will still need to be long range, order of hundred miles, at least, because of ADN ranges. (SA-400 or semi-stealthy interceptors) I'm not sure how that matches cheap and expendable.
 

Triton

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DrRansom said:
If fighters are going to be controlling drones, doesn't this make a strong argument for a two seat airplane?

Much easier to have a second pilot than to make the drone system so easy a pilot could do it while maintaining SA.
The F-35 computer systems contain 8 million lines of software code, estimated to be four times as many lines as the F-22. Can you imagine the millions of lines code that have to be written, tested, and debugged for the DARPA SoSITE system to work? This presumes that all the bugs have been worked out of the computer software when the system is deployed. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that technology is cheap while human beings are expensive, but is this supposition accurate as these systems become more and more automated?
 

DrRansom

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Triton - I agree. If we look at the F-35 program, that is showing that for a sufficiently advanced combat software, software is harder to design and produce than hardware. For example, the software for the F-35 combat system is still incomplete and, if latest reports are accurate, faces some significant problems without clear answers. (How do you choose if a close targets, resolved by different sensors, should be merged or not?)

I don't know how DARPA thinks it can get a combat control system, as envisioned in that video, cheaply or quickly. Adding a second human seems like it'd be by far simpler. Getting a combat system like that video is a "Manhattan Scale" project. That is multi-generation total effort by DARPA, not something which can happen quickly and flexibly.
 

Triton

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The DARPA SoSITE proposal with a "UAS truck" looks a lot like the Boeing B-1R missile truck proposal. The B-1 already has hard points and internal storage for cruise missiles. Couldn't a UAS be attached to external hardpoints on the B-1? The DARPA SoSITE proposal seems to be an attempt to get "virtual payload" for the F-35 and I presume the F-22 as well. Why couldn't the F-35 and F-22 share targeting data with the men aboard a B-1 instead of all this complex software that needs to be written and debugged to have the mission automated? Further, wouldn't drone assets be in the area relaying target information? I am confused why it is necessary to take a C-130 from the boneyard and retrofit it into a "UAS truck." Why should the decision to direct the engagement be made by the fighter pilot? Why can't commands be relayed to human beings over radio or datalinks?
 

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DrRansom

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The DARPA system hinges on command and control, they plan to replace effectively an AWACs with software. That is a hugely ambitious task.

If DARPA wants stand-in C&C, why not build a LRS-B variant? It can be modded to get internal space for 3 - 4 people, presumably, making everything much easier.
 

quellish

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Triton said:
Further, wouldn't drone assets be in the area relaying target information? I am confused why it is necessary to take a C-130 from the boneyard and retrofit it into a "UAS truck." Why should the decision to direct the engagement be made by the fighter pilot? Why can't commands be relayed to human beings over radio or datalinks?

"SoSITE leverages advances in algorithmic, software and electronics technology to:

Distribute kill chain functions across networks of manned and unmanned platforms
offering favorable capability-cost tradeoffs (Figure 1);
Rapidly integrate advanced mission systems onto manned and unmanned platforms using
open system architectures;
Apply warfighter-managed autonomy to coordinate distributed effects; and
Enable system heterogeneity to reduce common-cause vulnerabilities, and provide system adaptability.

The objective of Phase 1 is to develop architectures for distributing functionality across networks of manned and unmanned platforms for future experimentation, and to develop tools to enable this distribution to be done quickly and reliably."

The program is intended to develop technologies that allow a force of different platforms - manned and unmanned - to synthesize a cohesive picture of the airspace with different sensors. It's the "networked situational awareness" that has been talked about in the last few years. The technology to create this network does not currently exist - different platforms communicate in different ways and creating a coherent model from that data is not trivial.
 

bobbymike

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This seems apropos of the SoSITE issue:

http://www.defensenews.com/story/military/2015/04/03/reaper-targets-boat-training-first/25233861/

RPA pilots at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, controlled the Reaper on the mission. During the flight, the drone flew with A-10s, F-16s and F-35s, according to the Air Force.

"It's the first opportunity for us to fly with the F-35, talk to each other and coordinate attacks between the two platforms and ensure de-confliction while we're doing that," Capt. Ryan Cross, training officer with the 26th WPS, said in the release.
 

bring_it_on

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From feb. 15..

Gen. Welsh Reviving Spirit Of 'Systems Command' For Air Dominance


The Air Force is reviving the capability development planning process championed during the Cold War by the now-defunct Air Force Systems Command to produce the next generation of aircraft and technologies needed for air dominance in the 2030s.
Speaking at the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, FL, last week, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh lamented that the service diminished its long-term developmental planning ability when Systems Command was deactivated in 1992, just one year after the United States demonstrated its technological superiority during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq and Kuwait.
"We have pockets of it, but institutionally we gave it away," Welsh said. "We have to bring it back."
The test case, he said, has already started through the concept known as Air Superiority 2030 -- a wide-ranging effort to produce the next generation of weapon systems to succeed the F-22 and F-35 fighter jets, including bombs and munitions. The second and third test cases will examine the future of the land-based nuclear force and electronic warfare.
Welsh said developmental planning is a way of "looking down the road" 20 or 30 years to identify capability gaps and assess the world environment, emerging threats, needs, programs of record, strategies, concepts of operation, emerging technologies, and costs. "It's a constant re-look at the issues that affect you over time," he said.
The service's desire to improve development planning is almost wholly in response to an urgent need to modernize the force and revive the Air Force's spirit of innovation, which officials believe has atrophied over the past 25 years.
"We must modernize the Air Force," Welsh said. "This isn't optional. We must do it. And it will be painful because we have to make difficult choices to get the money inside our top line at current funding levels to do it."
Welsh said during Desert Storm the Air Force had 188 fighter squadrons and in the fiscal year 2016 budget will shrink that force to 49 squadrons, and from 511,000 active-duty airmen to 313,000.
"I'd love to be able to tell you that that smaller force is more modern, more capable and younger, but can't," the general said. "We made Operation Desert Storm look ridiculously easy. It wasn't that easy, but we were that good and that large."
Speaking at a Feb. 12 media roundtable during the conference, Gen. Herbert Carlisle said Air Dominance 2030 supplants talk of a single sixth-generation F-X or F/A-XX to instead focus on multi-domain capabilities. He pointed to air, space and cyber capabilities as well as new munition loadouts.
"With the F-22 and F-35, two fantastic airplanes, air dominance in that [2030] time frame may not solely be an aircraft; it's the family-of-systems discussion," Carlisle said. "Stealth is wonderful, but you need to have more than stealth. Speed and maneuverability, sensor fusion, staying inside the decision OODA loop -- there's a portion of stealth that is hugely important and is part of it, but it's certainly not the only thing."
The general said long-range standoff munitions and even new air-to-air missiles to replace the AIM-120D AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder would be included in the air superiority discussion.
He said the capabilities being developed by America's potential adversaries, such as the Chinese PL-15 air-to-air missile, are "incredible."
"I believe if we look at this as we have in the past, we can figure out how to change the game and be better at it," Carlisle said, adding that high-powered lasers and microwave weapons are technical areas showing great promise.

'Planning for success'


According to Welsh, part of the capability development planning process involves being ready to exploit an emerging technology once it arrives. He said the current model involves waiting for a technology to emerge and then going out and looking for money to spin it into a program of record. Developmental planning, he believes, will allow the Air Force to look further ahead and make room in future budgets to capture that technology upon arrival.
"It may be laser applications for directed energy, new engine technology, one hypersonic test program," Welsh explained. "If we know that directed energy program is due to report something out in 2018 we should plan for success, have resources aside so we can immediately invest and exploit the success the program just gave us. Create a strategic pivot point for ourselves, don't wait for one to open the door and beat us in the face."
Welsh said industry must be consulted more, and must have greater oversight of the process so it knows where to direct its resources and efforts. At the moment, he said, industry is "behind the power curve" because the Air Force does not express what it plans to do if a technology succeeds.
"You should be part of this transition planning; you should be part of the capability collaboration team process and developmental planning," Welsh told industry during his conference presentation.
The Air Force's fiscal year 2016 budget delays the Next-Generation Air Dominance program's planned entry into the technology development phase by one year to the end of 2016. Commonly referred to as the sixth-generation fighter project, the program receives $8.3 million in the FY-16 budget request for operational concept studies, technology assessments and to mature air superiority-related technologies. -- James Drew
http://insidedefense.com/inside-air-force/gen-welsh-reviving-spirit-systems-command-air-dominance
 

bobbymike

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Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments Trends in Air to Air Combat Implications for Future Air Superiority

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/04/should-future-fighter-be-like-a-bomber-groundbreaking-csba-study/

Download at the link

Kind of speaks closely to the LM concept up the thread.
 

DrRansom

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CSBA takes the DARPA program to its logical conclusion: if networked air warfare is the future, then basing it on a manned fighter doesn't make a ton of sense.

Though, I don't know how well to take their predictions, as there hasn't been an equal power air combat since perhaps Bekka Valley shoot-out, and that was nearly visual range. We just don't know how good new generation jammers are against long range shots nor does there to appear to have been as much work with jamming IRSTs (IR Laser Jammer?).
 

Void

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BioLuminescentLamprey said:
Did you see something I didn't see?

This is not what our "innovative thinkers" are up to. They're not going backwards to pre-Link-16, Soviet methods.
A better question is why when the US military, and USAF in particular, can't stop bragging about their capabilities to penetrate and exploit their adversaries networks they seem to want to bet their own future on systems that could be completely nullified if an adversary were ever to compromise their network...
 

BioLuminescentLamprey

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Void said:
BioLuminescentLamprey said:
Did you see something I didn't see?

This is not what our "innovative thinkers" are up to. They're not going backwards to pre-Link-16, Soviet methods.
A better question is why when the US military, and USAF in particular, can't stop bragging about their capabilities to penetrate and exploit their adversaries networks they seem to want to bet their own future on systems that could be completely nullified if an adversary were ever to compromise their network...

You think that the USAF doesn't believe anyone is going to try to compromise their C4 systems...and that not only are they stupid, they're also so completely bereft of reason that they've bet the entire enterprise on the notion that their networks are invulnerable, all while openly "bragging" that they plan to exploit vulnerabilities in opfor C4?

I do not share your views.
 

bobbymike

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Time for Air Dominance

—John A. Tirpak

4/10/2015

The Air Force’s forecast that the F-22 will last into the 2040s helps explain why the service seems in no rush to launch a sixth-generation fighter program. Reporters have been peppering the Air Force and DOD leadership with queries as to why there’s no F-22 replacement in the budget, since it took 20 years to develop the Raptor from drawing board to initial operating capability, and the F-22 was thought to be retiring in about 2035. The Pentagon and USAF leaders have responded that they are undertaking an “Air Dominance 2030” study that will analyze such technologies as hypersonics and directed energy to determine what mix of attributes will give the US air superiority/air dominance 15 years hence. Apparently, the clock will not run out on the Raptor before its replacement capability is in hand. Asked about a sixth-generation fighter at the AFA Air Warfare Symposium in February, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said, “I don’t know what it looks like,” and “it may not be a single platform,” but a family of systems, not unlike the service’s concept for long-range strike.
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This doesn't make sense to me don't we need 6th Gen to also replace F-15s in the air superiority role or in 2030 we will have 180 or so F-22s to cover the whole planet? And back to an earlier observation I will live to only see one more generation of aircraft and probably no hypersonic aircraft (maybe a weapon or two) either :'(
 

DrRansom

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It is almost like the USAF wants to repeat the problems of the F-22 / F-35 program, namely: wait too long to start replacement, have it be incredibly technologically ambitious, and then be faced with simultaneous needs to upgrade the new aircraft and upgrade the old aircraft because of program delays.

At this point, I think it'd almost be better to go for a 5+ gen fighter to replace F-15 + Es, incorporate the F-35 program advances and ADVENT, and save the USAF from another decade gap in fighter performance in the future.

Also, perhaps separate systems from aircraft some more? If systems are advancing at about twice the rate of airframes, move away from integrated 'system of systems' approach and more towards: build a good aircraft and then upgrade it.
 

TomS

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DrRansom said:
Also, perhaps separate systems from aircraft some more? If systems are advancing at about twice the rate of airframes, move away from integrated 'system of systems' approach and more towards: build a good aircraft and then upgrade it.
It sounds like LRS-B is headed that way, with talk of competition on system upgrades over the life of the aircraft.
 
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