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

bobbymike

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pw-ge-submit-proposals-for-next-gen-fighter-engine-416754/
 

bobbymike

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http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/f-xx-the-us-navys-6th-generation-strike-aircraftin-2035-13896
 

Triton

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bobbymike said:
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/f-xx-the-us-navys-6th-generation-strike-aircraftin-2035-13896
The U.S. Navy needs to start conducting an analysis of alternatives (AOA) this year if intends to field a successor to the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet by 2035. If one were to assume a best-case scenario, that would be the earliest a new clean sheet F/A-XX aircraft design could be developed and built, multiple industry sources agreed.

“2035, if you started right away, would be your best case IOC [initial operational capability],” one senior industry official said. “That means get this AOA started right away.”

The Navy is hoping to start an F/A-XX AOA this fall, but there is no set official start date yet, the industry source noted. The outgoing chief of naval operations, Adm. Jon Greenert has signed the F/A-XX initial capabilities document. But the document still has to clear the Joint Requirements Oversight Council and undergo a Materiel Development Decision (MDD) Defense Acquisitions Board (DAB) review before an AOA can formally kick-off. “The DAB has not been scheduled the last I heard,” the industry official said.

If the Navy managed to get a formal AOA underway this fall, then the service could enter into a Milestone A technology development phase somewhere between 2018 and 2019. Following an optimistic timeline, the F/A-XX program could reach a Milestone B source selection decision in 2025, one industry source said. Then, the engineering and manufacturing development phase would take about ten years.

That would allow for a 2035 entry into service date for the new aircraft. But, the industry source cautioned, that’s a best-case scenario. “That’s being optimistic,” the industry official said. “If you apply F-22 or F-35 timelines to that, it’s even worse.”

The problem for the Navy is that by 2035, the service’s existing Super Hornets will have burnt through most of their allotted 6000 hour airframe lives. The average age of the F/A-18E/F fleet will be more than 25 years old—ancient for a carrier-based strike aircraft.

The F-35C, assuming the Navy buys the its entire allotted number of aircraft, will only make up half the carrier air wing at that point. If the current trend continues, the Navy could end up being short by up to 12 fighter squadrons worth of tactical aircraft. That’s more than 140 aircraft.

The Navy expects to extend the service lives of the F/A-18E/F fleet to 9000 hours for the entire inventory. But the industry source notes that the Navy’s existing depot maintenance facilities were never intended to extend the lives of this many aircraft. Extending the life of the entire Super Hornet fleet is going to be expensive, and moreover, as the jets age they cost exponentially more to maintain per flight hour. “But even with a 9000 hour Super Hornet, you don’t make it to 2035 with enough of your inventory,” the official said. “There is a still a deficit there.”

There is already a massive backlog of jets that need servicing—but that’s a problem that mainly impacts the U.S. Marine Corps’ geriatric classic model Hornet fleet, Navy, Marine Corps and industry officials agreed. The industry official said that the Navy has avoided much of the backlog by converting fighter squadrons over to the Super Hornet without holding any F/A-18E/F airframes back as an attrition reserve.

The industry official said that the Navy should try to keep a hot production line for tactical fighter aircraft until the F/A-XX, enters production. “You don’t stop producing Super Hornets until you’re ready to produce F/A-XX,” the industry official said. “You never go out of production on a type-model series till whatever is replacing it is ready to come into production. You certainly can’t take a 25-year gap in production and expect your inventory to survive that long.”

It’s too early to say what a potential future F/A-XX might look like—but it is likely to be a family of systems rather than a single aircraft, Navy and industry officials agreed. It will likely include a combination of networked standoff weapons, unmanned aircraft, manned or even an optionally manned aircraft, the industry official said.

What it likely won’t include is an ultra long-range, deep penetrating unmanned bomber, but it might include a handful of very long-range penetrating intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to identify and provide targeting data to the rest of the fleet. “Maybe you build a new high-end UAV that can get in there and do targeting. Targeting is your biggest problem, not deep penetrating strike,” the industry official said. “Once you know the target and have a weapons quality track, you have lot of different options to hit it in an anti-access environment.”

But until the AOA is complete, exactly what form the F/A-XX will take is an open question. The AOA won’t develop a fighter or even the requirements for the F/A-XX, it will however inform the capabilities development document from which the request for proposals to industry will be derived. “That just takes so much time,” the official said. “Best case scenario is a Milestone A in 2019, and if you at the Navy’s budgets that’s going to be a hard thing to do.”
 

sferrin

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Any chance the F/A-XX could end up being the Strike Eagle replacement down the road?
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
I wonder if the United States Navy will buy the Boeing F-18 Advanced Super Hornet between now and F/A-XX.
Shall we make a small wager? ;)
 

Triton

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sferrin said:
Triton said:
I wonder if the United States Navy will buy the Boeing F-18 Advanced Super Hornet between now and F/A-XX.
Shall we make a small wager? ;)
If I could predict the future I would have already made a fortune at stock and commodity speculation. ;)
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
sferrin said:
Triton said:
I wonder if the United States Navy will buy the Boeing F-18 Advanced Super Hornet between now and F/A-XX.
Shall we make a small wager? ;)
If I could predict the future I would have already made a fortune at stock and commodity speculation. ;)
I hear ya. ;D
 

DrRansom

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sferrin said:
Any chance the F/A-XX could end up being the Strike Eagle replacement down the road?
That is something I wonder about, does the USAF see a value in a strike fighter with range / payload in between F-35 and LRS-B? There's definitely a kinematic gap between the two and less tanking requirements are good.

It does depend upon the final shape of a F/X-AA, is it a long range missileer?
 

Triton

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From 2012:

flateric said:
Navy issues RFI for F/A-XX or whatever should come as follow-on to Super Bugs and Growlers
http://defensetech.org/2012/04/16/the-navy-kicks-off-the-search-for-its-next-fighter/
http://www.scribd.com/doc/89726577/Navy-FA-XX-RFI-1

The intent of this research is to solicit Industry inputs on candidate solutions for CVN based aircraft to provide multi-role capability in an A2AD operational environment. Primary missions include, but are not limited to, air warfare (AW), strike warfare (STW), surface warfare (SUW), and close air support (CAS). Also consider the ability of your concept to provide other capabilities currently provided by strike fighter aircraft, such as organic air-to-air refueling (AAR), Tactical Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA), and airborne electronic attack (AEA). The trade space refinement activity will characterize a broad tradespace, to include unmanned, optionally manned and manned aircraft. System attributes and system capabilities will be considered in the context of cost and affordability. Concepts that are derived from legacy aircraft, “clean sheet” new design aircraft, as well as innovative technology concepts specifically tailored for the operational context are all relevant. Please provide a separate white paper for each technology concept or family of related and complementary technology concepts; multiple white papers may be provided.
Additional:

As a top level summary of some of the required system capabilities, the air vehicle should be capable of addressing the following needs:

1. Capable of operating from CVN 68 and CVN 78 class aircraft carriers, as part of the Carrier AirWing (CVW), with minimal impact on the ship configuration and the operations of the rest of the CVW.

2. This aircraft will be a complementary CVW asset to the F-35C and an unmanned persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) vehicle with precision strike capability.

3. The ability to conduct persistent, penetrating operations in an A2AD operational environment.

4. The ability for an IOC in the 2030 timeframe. If a spiral approach to incorporation of systems and/or technology to achieve full operational capability is employed, provide the timeline to achieve full capability.
 

marauder2048

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DrRansom said:
sferrin said:
Any chance the F/A-XX could end up being the Strike Eagle replacement down the road?
That is something I wonder about, does the USAF see a value in a strike fighter with range / payload in between F-35 and LRS-B? There's definitely a kinematic gap between the two and less tanking requirements are good.

In other words, the gap the A-12 was supposed to fill for both services. Nice job, Navy! Congress should kill this AoA in
the cradle until the Navy can at least articulate a coherent conops for an A2/AD capable UCLASS.
 

Triton

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marauder2048 said:
In other words, the gap the A-12 was supposed to fill for both services. Nice job, Navy! Congress should kill this AoA in
the cradle until the Navy can at least articulate a coherent conops for an A2/AD capable UCLASS.
Don't forget the later A/F-X program that was cancelled in the BUR released on September 1, 1993. The United States Navy probably wouldn't have joined JAST if they had A/F-X, perhaps the Lockheed-Boeing AFX-635. Lockheed continued to try and sell the AFX-635 for a number of years after A/F-X was cancelled.

Currently, there is no information that the United States Air Force is interested in F/A-XX as a F-15C Strike Eagle/F-111 Aardvark replacement. From what I have read so far, the United States Air Force and the United States Navy will collaborate on engines, avionics, and weapons, but not a common airframe. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the DARPA Air Dominance Initiative.
 

bobbymike

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Triton said:
marauder2048 said:
In other words, the gap the A-12 was supposed to fill for both services. Nice job, Navy! Congress should kill this AoA in
the cradle until the Navy can at least articulate a coherent conops for an A2/AD capable UCLASS.
Don't forget the later A/F-X program that was cancelled in the BUR released on September 1, 1993. The United States Navy probably wouldn't have joined JAST if they had A/F-X, perhaps the Lockheed-Boeing AFX-635. Lockheed continued to try and sell the AFX-635 for a number of years after A/F-X was cancelled.

Currently, there is no information that the United States Air Force is interested in F/A-XX as a F-15C Strike Eagle/F-111 Aardvark replacement. From what I have read so far, the United States Air Force and the United States Navy will collaborate on engines, avionics, and weapons, but not a common airframe. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the DARPA Air Dominance Initiative.
What would 2 X 45,000 lbs ADVENT engines give you in an air dominance?
 

tacitblue

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bobbymike said:
Triton said:
marauder2048 said:
In other words, the gap the A-12 was supposed to fill for both services. Nice job, Navy! Congress should kill this AoA in
the cradle until the Navy can at least articulate a coherent conops for an A2/AD capable UCLASS.
Don't forget the later A/F-X program that was cancelled in the BUR released on September 1, 1993. The United States Navy probably wouldn't have joined JAST if they had A/F-X, perhaps the Lockheed-Boeing AFX-635. Lockheed continued to try and sell the AFX-635 for a number of years after A/F-X was cancelled.

Currently, there is no information that the United States Air Force is interested in F/A-XX as a F-15C Strike Eagle/F-111 Aardvark replacement. From what I have read so far, the United States Air Force and the United States Navy will collaborate on engines, avionics, and weapons, but not a common airframe. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the DARPA Air Dominance Initiative.
What would 2 X 45,000 lbs ADVENT engines give you in an air dominance?
At least Mach 5 based on what the Russians did with 2 50,000lb thrust engines back in 1982. Likewise look at the -35 with the world's most powerful engine in a fighter. :-\
 

Triton

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tacitblue said:
At least Mach 5 based on what the Russians did with 2 50,000lb thrust engines back in 1982. Likewise look at the -35 with the world's most powerful engine in a fighter. :-\
How could you do infra-red signature reduction for an aircraft going Mach 5? ??? I understand that they are looking at hypersonic weapons and supercruise for F/A-XX.
 

markfward

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Triton said:
tacitblue said:
At least Mach 5 based on what the Russians did with 2 50,000lb thrust engines back in 1982. Likewise look at the -35 with the world's most powerful engine in a fighter. :-\
How could you do infra-red signature reduction for an aircraft going Mach 5? ??? I understand that they are looking at hypersonic weapons and supercruise for F/A-XX.

I believe that was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the film "Firefox", and its fictional MiG-31.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59kcEzkRzFI
 

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bobbymike

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XP67_Moonbat said:
"Think in Russian!" :p
They should have a remake called 'Firedragon' where they steal China's newest Stealth bomber. :eek:
 

Moose

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It would just end up like Red Dawn where they change the enemies to North Koreans. And nobody would buy NK as being able to produce something Firefox-ish.
 

kaiserd

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I think the utter (commercial and creative) failure of the 2005 film Stealth will ensure we will never see a Chinese themed Firefox-like film.
And if we did China would have to be a major market for it....
(More likely a Chinese film about stealing an American F-X.....)

Maybe we'll get a Top Gun 2 depending how badly Tom Cruise's career goes (in a Tom Skerritt-like role, if missing the moustache, which would be too bad :) )
 

DrRansom

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Re: F/A-XX development time scale, I have seen a USAF PPT slide, from an advisory board scientist, stating that the current development timelines for fighter planes are unsustainable. F-22 / F-35 development cycles are making it nearly impossible to maintain a defense industry base.

With that in mind, I find it very disappointing that USAF / USN aren't making an effort to accelerate development or decrease development timeline for their next fighter.
 

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What can really be done though? Shorten test programs at the risk of returning to lawn-dart days? Spend billions to develop AI / neural network based aircraft design / optimisation software?
 

DrRansom

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I don't know what can be done, the presentation mentioned the need to improve simulation / modelling. Recall that the F-35 was supposed to have discovered everything with computer design and that flying would be validation. Clearly current tools are inadequate and possibly future tools will fix that.
 

kcran567

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kaiserd said:
I think the utter (commercial and creative) failure of the 2005 film Stealth will ensure we will never see a Chinese themed Firefox-like film.
And if we did China would have to be a major market for it....
(More likely a Chinese film about stealing an American F-X.....)

Maybe we'll get a Top Gun 2 depending how badly Tom Cruise's career goes (in a Tom Skerritt-like role, if missing the moustache, which would be too bad :) )
The Chinese could hire Vin Diesel or Paul Walker to steal the F-X, and then the Navy can send Tom Cruise up in an f-35 to go get 'e...
although the way Vin Diesel mumbles his way through the English language I couldn't imagine how entertaining it would be to hear him "Think in Chinese".
 

CiTrus90

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kcran567 said:
The Chinese could hire Vin Diesel or Paul Walker to steal the F-X, and then the Navy can send Tom Cruise up in an f-35 to go get 'e...

Highly improbable, unfortunately.

Regards.
 

ynm

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I remember reading a paper of RAND about low observable aircraft designs, but can only google this
www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA314256

The paper I referred to is similar, but contains more designs. And it is not only about fighter but bomber (IIRC). It also compares trade off between low observable and agility. But I can not google it. Does anyone have a clue about it?
 

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I don't remember a Rand paper, as such, but I do remember a Boeing paper, which I think is linked up thread, comparing various designs with regard to maneuverability and level of lo tech. The baseline looked like stealthy F-18, while the advanced designs were had different tails, including tailless, and one was basically a flying diamond wing.
 

bring_it_on

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There is this NASA paper that studies agility, low-observability etc on designs..

https://www.scribd.com/doc/273847968/Fighter-Agility-Aircraft?secret_password=IERNzh0m6mLxOPhPOCx7
 

Triton

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"Carriers Crucial In War With China – But Air Wing Is All Wrong: Hudson"
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on October 08, 2015 at 4:00 AM

Source:
http://breakingdefense.com/2015/10/carriers-crucial-in-war-with-china-but-air-wing-is-all-wrong-hudson/

Selected quote:

The air wing is the carrier’s main weapon and it’s also the main target of the report’s critique. The big problem is short range. As long as they can get mid-air refueling — mainly provided by vulnerable Air Force tankers — F-18 Hornets from a carrier in the Indian Ocean can hit targets in Afghanistan. Without aerial refueling — all too probable in high-threat airspace — “the striking range of a modern aircraft carrier is about what it was in World War II,” McGrath said.

The Navy’s standard F-18 Hornet can hit targets roughly 600 miles from the carrier without refueling. Against China, that’s not enough: Chinese anti-ship missiles like the DF-21 and DF-26 have ranges between 2,000 to 2,500 miles. As a result, “the air wing is what drives much of the carrier’s vulnerability,” McGrath said. “If we create… an air wing that buys some of that range back, then the aircraft carrier operates in a less risky profile,” striking from greater and safer distances.

Central to this long-range future air wing is the UCLASS drone, Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance & Strike. There’s been a fierce debate over whether UCLASS should be optimized for long-duration surveillance patrols, with strike secondary — the Navy’s position — or for deep-penetration strikes, with surveillance secondary — the position of Rep. Forbes and Sen. John McCain. McGrath and his colleagues say that we need both, even if that means buying two kinds of UCLASS aircraft.

“I had been for the longest time a strike-oriented-UCLASS guy,” McGrath said. “We have plenty of surveillance with P-8 [Poseidon] and [MQ-8C Triton, aka] BAMS.” But while writing this report, he said, he realized the Poseidons and Tritons are unstealthy, unmaneuverable, vulnerable aircraft that might not be make it from their distant land bases to provide surveillance inside an A2/AD zone. That puts a premium on a survivable scout drone that can fly from the carrier itself.

Two kinds of UCLASS would be just a start. The Navy has spent decades getting rid of specialized airplanes — the S-3 Viking sub-hunter, the F-14 Tomcat interceptor — in favor of multi-purpose fighter-bombers, the F-18 and future F-35. But it’s time to bring back the specialists, the report argues. For example, the next Navy fighter, the still-notional F/A-XX, needs to be a thoroughbred air superiority machine rather than a fighter-bomber.

UCLASS, F/A-XX, and “sea control” sub-hunters make a formidable shopping list, especially in a time of sequestration. Even in flush budget times, it would take decades to implement the new air wing. But then aircraft carriers are proverbial for how long they take to turn around.
 

Triton

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Sharpening the Spear: The Carrier, the Joint Force, and High-End Conflict
by Seth Cropsey , Bryan McGrath & Timothy A. Walton

Sharpening the Spear addresses the question of whether it is worthwhile to continue to build large, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVN), given their considerable cost and mounting Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) threats to sea-based operations. The report concludes that the emerging threat environment increases the need for aircraft carriers, and that none of the alternatives to the CVN offer an equal or better capability and capacity across the range of military options from peacetime presence through major power war.

The following report surveys the history of the carrier and its embarked air wing, a history marked by wide swings in public and defense elite opinions as to the utility of the carrier. The authors note the consistency of the criticisms against the carrier over time, and the operational imperatives that consistently overcame them. The study continues with a discussion of the role of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in the Joint Force, which evaluates how CSGs support U.S. strategy and how they might be employed in key scenarios. The section concludes with a detailed effects chain analysis designed to examine the capabilities and vulnerabilities of the CSG.

These vulnerabilities track closely with many of the criticisms levied against the CVN, and serve as the basis for a series of recommendations on how to improve the CSG as a system to mitigate the mounting risks while ensuring CSG support for future warfighting needs. The study concludes with an analysis of some of the alternatives to the CVN and an assessment of the number of carriers necessary to support national strategy.
http://www.hudson.org/research/11731-sharpening-the-spear-the-carrier-the-joint-force-and-high-end-conflict
 

bring_it_on

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From earlier this year, but I think it hasn't been posted here before -

HOUSE PANEL WANTS EARLY ACCESS TO DOD PLANS FOR FUTURE AIR DOMINANCE - Inside the Pentagon - Inside Air Force/Inside Defense

House lawmakers are demanding early insight into the Defense Department's nascent efforts to identify a future air dominance capability, directing the Pentagon to brief Congress by September on preliminary findings of an internal DOD initiative that aims to identify what will follow the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The House Appropriations Committee has indicated that it is not content to wait until the fiscal year 2017 budget submission next year for the Pentagon to update Congress on a newly launched project -- the Aerospace Innovation Initiative (AII) -- which, among other things, aims to develop and fly two "X-plane" prototypes to demonstrate advanced technologies for future aircraft.

"The committee understands that the department will complete an AII technology transition plan by July 2015," a report accompanying the committee's mark of the Pentagon's fiscal year 2016 spending bill states. "The committee directs the under secretary of defense (acquisition, technology and logistics) to submit the transition plan to the congressional defense committees not later than September 30, 2015."

The July goal to develop a technology transition plan was not previously public information. Pentagon officials hope the AII will yield a "technological surprise" that catches potential adversaries off guard and provides U.S. forces leap-ahead capabilities.

This spring, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) established the Aerospace Projects Office to oversee the AII. The office "aims to ensure that the United States can maintain air dominance in future contested environments," according to an online DARPA description of the effort.

As part of the project, DARPA -- in conjunction with the Air Force and Navy -- plans to "develop and demonstrate technologies that enable cost-effective air warfare capabilities for defeating near-peer threats," according to the agency.

The new AII initiative consists of two components: developing and flying two X-plane prototypes and the Adaptive Engine Transition Program, under which the Pentagon plans to award two development contracts in FY-16. The X-planes are not intended to be prototypes with residual operational capability but rather help inform future decisions about aircraft system development.

The Navy and Air Force are both in the early stages of exploring what capabilities will be required in the 2030s to retain air dominance. The Navy is seeking $5 million in FY-16 for research and development of a Next-Generation Fighter to eventually replace its F/A-18E/F and EA-18G fleets and the Air Force requested $8.8 million in FY-16 for its corollary project, the Next-Generation Air Dominance Program.

The AII is building on a DARPA program that concluded last summer, the Air Dominance Initiative study, which explored what might be needed to continue U.S. military air dominance with fast-moving potential adversary capabilities, particularly in China and Russia.

That study "determined that no single new technology or platform could deter and defeat the sophisticated and numerous adversary systems under development," Alan Schaffer, principal deputy assistance secretary of defense for defense research and engineering, said in written testimony prepared for a March 26 hearing of a House Armed Services subcommittee.

"Instead, future U.S. capabilities will build on an integrated system of ISR, weapons, communications, electronic warfare, cyber, and other advanced technologies," Shaffer said. "We are excited about the probability that AII offers in demonstrating new capabilities through prototypes."
More from DARPA's Aerospace Projects Office -



DARPA launched the Aerospace Projects Office (APO) in 2015 in response to a new Defense Department initiative, the Aerospace Innovation Initiative (AII), which aims to ensure that the United States can maintain air dominance in future contested environments. The AII includes a new program, AII-X, tasked with designing and demonstrating advanced aircraft technologies. The AII-X program is being led by DARPA, and the APO is its home.

In addition to investing in critical platform technologies for future operations in contested environments, AII-X aims to reduce the lead time for future systems while also strengthening the nation’s critically important defense-industrial-base design teams. Under the program and in partnership with the Air Force and the Navy, DARPA will develop and demonstrate technologies that enable cost-effective air warfare capabilities for defeating future near-peer threats.
The Agency also occasionally stands up temporary special projects offices focused on coordinating, developing and/or deploying advanced capabilities on an accelerated time scale. These efforts fall outside of DARPA’s typical program structure and leverage the Agency’s unique organization and skill sets to make rapid progress in technology areas that are critical to national security. DARPA currently operates two special projects offices: the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile Deployment Office (LDO) and the Aerospace Projects Office (APO).


Harry Berman is the director of the APO -

Mr. Berman has over 25 years of experience leading and developing Department of Defense systems and technology programs. Over the course of his career he has specialized in the development, manufacturing, integration and test of airborne systems. He is currently the Director of the Aerospace Projects Office at DARPA. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Engineering Solutions (SES, LLC). Prior to forming SES, LLC he was the Chief Operating Officer of Airborne Technologies. Mr. Berman has worked on all aspects of systems and technology program development: advocacy, technical performance, cost, and schedule. He has worked on a wide variety of systems and technologies including: air and ground vehicles, prototype manufacturing, software, sensors (radar, EO/IR), ground stations (C2, ISR), system integration, and system test. Over the past 20 years he has worked on the following systems programs in various capacities: ATS, ISIS, HELLADS, Network Challenge, Urban Challenge, Grand Challenge 2005, Grand Challenge 2004, Heliplane, Oblique Flying Wing, J-UCAS, UCAV (A), UCAV (N), UCAR, DarkStar, Global Hawk, Condor, and Broomstick.
 

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Anyone who thinks these two prototypes are just for research doesn't know crap about the LWF program or the JSF program.
 

TomS

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Care to elaborate? The LWF and JSF demonstrators were linked to specific acquisition programs. This isn't.
 

LowObservable

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The LWF wasn't linked to an acquisition program when it started.
 

TomS

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Technically true, but the writing was on the wall by the time the LWF prototypes flew - it became ACFalmost immediately. The current DARPA project isn't comparable.
 

sferrin

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The wording makes me thing something more like X-29/X-31 but applied toward the future aircraft. What I'm curious about is what is there to test that hasn't been tackled by an existing aircraft? Fluidic TVC? Adaptive aeroelastic tailoring? ???
 

Sundog

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TomS said:
Care to elaborate? The LWF and JSF demonstrators were linked to specific acquisition programs. This isn't.

No, they weren't. The LWF started off as demonstrator of what a lightweight fighter could be. The two best configurations weren't even chosen, as a result. The two best configurations were the GD design and the Boeing design, but they were considered too similar, so instead of going with the second choice, the Boeing design, they went with one of the options offered by Northrop, the third choice, and they chose the one least like the F-16. They chose the one with the two YJ-101's as opposed to the configuration with the single F-100 engine as they thought that would also help them see greater performance differences that the different configurations offered. In the end, going with the two engines did help the Northrop design get chosen as the Navy's new fighter, but it didn't help them the USAF choice, which would have been the case if it had been the single F-100. I'm not saying they would have won, but the fact that the YF-16 had the same engine as the F-15 certainly factored into the decision.


Also, with regard to JSF, orginally LM and Northrop were awarded contracts to study shaft driven lift fan technology versus tip driven fan technology. Normally, the government would fund such research, put together the findings, and distribute them to the industry and then ask for designs. Instead, the technology demonstration program turned into a production program instead of a research program and when Northrop realized the penalties were too high for tip driven fan technology they switched to the separate lift engine design which wasn't considered part of the program. From my perspective, that isn't competitive design selection, that's rigged from the start. It isn't any different then telling the companies they have to use different engines for their designs.


As such, my point about two demonstrators to different companies is to point out that whenever there are two different designs in some sort of a comparison, it usually ends up as a production contract and the aerospace companies should treat it as such. Because if it wasn't going to be a competition, then there isn't a need for two demonstrators. There weren't two different X-29's flying, and there wasn't two different X-31's flying, etc.
 
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