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

sferrin

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Grey Havoc said:
What wasn't buggered to fit (pardon my French) was broken down into components for the repair of existing production line equipment or the creation of new tooling. The loss of aircraft components & raw materials set aside for production of new F-22s (or at least the repair of existing ones) in an emergency was in some ways even more devastating, I should note.
I guess I would have to be familiar with specific examples, because this doesn't make a lot of sense. You can't really repurpose things like forgings, layup and trim tools, assembly monuments, etc. For one thing those tools would be owned by the government, not Lockheed, so they'd have had to buy off on any plan, if it was even possible. I could see things like hand tools, bought with F-22 funds, go walking to the F-35 program, but that's another matter.
 

jsport

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marauder2048 said:
marauder2048 said:
Thank you for attaching the RAND study marauder2048. After a light skimming ..am more convinced that if SK or Taiwan are to be protected someday
RAND's latest on the air defense of Taiwan is especially grim reading; they argued that Taiwan should largely abandon fighters
(scale down to a small F-35B or, more politically feasible, a smallish retrofitted F-16 force) in favor of a layered IADS.

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1000/RR1051/RAND_RR1051.pdf

There's some especially good analysis of the survivability of a layered IADS against a variety of SEAD weapons/techniques.

Given the above, it strikes me that some of the late Cold War very long range SAM/fighter pairing concepts
might be worth revisiting; INF doesn't say anything about SAMs.
A Spartan size SAM would be great range given where energetics are going.

Depending on these various cruise missiles and submunitions suppressing these hardened facilities and w/ these levels of IADS is not a sure plan for success. More like recovering many pilots, w/ few facilities destroyed. Hardened facilities are going to require a more guaranteed hard kill not to mention all the AAA guns needing suppression.
All current FA-XX proposals seem more like a technological/intellectual exercises rather than an effective solution in the Pacific. Maybe a PBW fighter w/ KE like effects from a DE weapon.
 

sferrin

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jsport said:
marauder2048 said:
marauder2048 said:
Thank you for attaching the RAND study marauder2048. After a light skimming ..am more convinced that if SK or Taiwan are to be protected someday
RAND's latest on the air defense of Taiwan is especially grim reading; they argued that Taiwan should largely abandon fighters
(scale down to a small F-35B or, more politically feasible, a smallish retrofitted F-16 force) in favor of a layered IADS.

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1000/RR1051/RAND_RR1051.pdf

There's some especially good analysis of the survivability of a layered IADS against a variety of SEAD weapons/techniques.

Given the above, it strikes me that some of the late Cold War very long range SAM/fighter pairing concepts
might be worth revisiting; INF doesn't say anything about SAMs.
A Spartan size SAM would be great range given where energtics are going.

Depending on these various cruise missiles and submuntions suppressing these hardened facilities w/ these levels of IADS to not well thought out. All current FA-XX seem more like a technological/intellectual exercises rather than an effective solution in the Pacific.
I always thought Nike Zeus A would have been a good Hercules replacement. These days though, SM-6 might do the trick. They really need to jump on THAAD-ER too.
 

marauder2048

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sferrin said:
Grey Havoc said:
What wasn't buggered to fit (pardon my French) was broken down into components for the repair of existing production line equipment or the creation of new tooling. The loss of aircraft components & raw materials set aside for production of new F-22s (or at least the repair of existing ones) in an emergency was in some ways even more devastating, I should note.
I guess I would have to be familiar with specific examples, because this doesn't make a lot of sense.
Yeah. It's hard to reconcile most of the above claims with the data that's in the 2017 F-22A Production Restart Assessment.
The overall concern about raw materials is in the context of a restart given the titanium intensive nature of the F-22 and F-35 (plus other programs).
 

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For part of my day job, I work in a realm of tools and tooling and i kickoff subsuppliers on cutting tools... and what I hear here is bullshit. The 22 tooling was 100% owned by Uncle Sam, and not Lockheed to do with as they pleased. The DoD bought and paid for those tools and that can’t be disputed. Repurposing the tooling for the 22 into the 35 would be like Repurposing the tooling for a Silverado into a Dodge Challenger. Maybe some literal hand tools could be reused, but that's it. Considering the 35 has zero percent 22 in it, save for nuts and bolts and helicoils nothing about this story adds up. Maybe the USAF refueling receptacle is common, so perhaps there is 1% carry over components.

Just like when dumbass ordered the destruction of the 14s tools, the governemt could do that because it was THEIR tools that THEY owned.
 

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https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/rgs_dissertations/2011/RAND_RGSD267.pdf


" The United States learned during the Cold War the nuclear deterrence needs to be survivable against a first strike: a similar lesson could be applied to conventional deterrence. If conventional deterrence is not survivable, it would be more destabilizing than deterrent. If a force were not survivable, a different approach to deterrence would be
necessary.

This observation also suggests that U.S. forces need to be balanced for offensive power and survivability. In other words, spending on new aircraft does not deliver a credible capability if those aircraft do not have secure locations from which to operate. It is important to realistically consider where new aircraft will be deployed and how to
protect them once there.

The corollary to this observation is that, given the choice between new weapons and defenses, the next marginal dollar should be spent on defenses. The implications of PLAAF sortie generation potential and relative tactical flexibility remind us that better technology does not necessarily lead to air dominance. Singly dominant fighters in low numbers may not be enough to overcome large numbers of less-capable aircraft.

A strategic adversary can devise ways to “pose problems without catching up.” The USAF needs to consider the trade-off between quality and numbers. In the Cold War, this tradeoff motivated the development of the F-16, which was to be available in large numbers at relatively low cost, complementing the higher-capability but more expensive F-15. This was also the initial vision for the F-35, but with unit costs rapidly approaching the unit costs of the F-22, it is uncertain whether affordability will be able to compensate for its admittedly lower air-to-air capability.

Despite the remarkable capabilities of USAF fifth-generation aircraft, pitting relatively few fifth-generation aircraft against very large numbers of fourth generation fighters is, at best, and untested strategy. We also note that the success of USAF fighters is highly dependent on the ability of USAF air-to-air missiles. While this effort does not make an effort to predict the AMRAAM’s Pk Price per kill) precisely, we note that when employed against maneuvering adversaries using decoys and countermeasures, its performance would probably be well under its historical average (tallied largely against non-maneuvering adversaries with inoperable or wholly inadequate avionics).

Large investments in highly capable fifth-generation aircraft must be balanced with investments in air-to-air weapons which complement the platforms’capabilities. Without an air-to-air missile that can reliably hit targets, each USAF aircraft would not be able to destroy enough PLAAF aircraft to overcome their superior numbers. In effect, the USAF would have a large number of largely invulnerable raptors, (sans talons?).

If, indeed, attacks on staging areas combined with a PLAAF raid CONOP could deny U.S. air superiority in a Taiwan conflict, strategies for that conflict would need to include an expectation – or at least a contingency plan – for a lack of U.S. air superiority. This would be a very difficult change, as the U.S. military has never really had to fight without at least some measure of air superiority over the battlefield.

We also find that if Guam were rendered unusable by attacks (or the threat of attacks), defending Taiwan directly would become a nearly impossible task. Only long-range options would be feasible, and any plan to that effect would rely heavily on coercion and punishment. A worst-case fallback would be to wait for the PLA to expend its missile magazine before moving forces forward, but it is far from clear that Taiwan could defend itself that long, or that the PLA would not hold a sizeable portion of the missile magazine in reserve, preferring to keep enough of an inventory to hold U.S. forward deployments at risk indefinitely. p-197 "



"Aircraft parked in underground hangars at the handful of superhardened PLA facilities would be very difficult to destroy, and certainly require sorties capable of employing GBU-28 or better penetrating warheads. This would demand putting fixed-wing aviation directly above these targets – and in the air defense environment that China will present, the risk-reward ratio of doing so would just not be worth it.

Less effective (standoff) attacks could pin these aircraft in shelters temporarily, but only until the base mobilized enough labor to clear the rubble and perform rudimentary (if any) runway repairs. Specialized weapons like fuel air explosives could be used to create large overpressures over large areas. This would be useful for damaging ventilation infrastructure: valves, intakes, etc. Such attacks could force certain actions – like running aircraft engines – to occur outside the tunnel shelter. This would further degrade the efficiency of operating out of a tunnel. The extent that electromagnetic weapons could penetrate into underground shelters and the extent that PLA airbases are electromagnetically hardened is unknown...." p 176-7


a high performance craft w/ an HV, recoil compensated, liquid propelled gun firing numbers of guided rds might defeat fighters at distance in larger numbers, and defeat runways w/ just too many, too large craters and or even defeat hardened structures directly from the horizontal at distance, especially given the few USAF & USN sorties even allowed in the Taiwan scenario as specified in the report.

Bombers and Bombs are too few and dangerous to aircraft, missiles are too few both for Air engagements and against IADS including shelters. This situation will only worsen over time. A 6th generation fighter becomes obsolete in range and useful armament before it ever enters service w/o a pretty radical approach also specified in the report.
 

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Where is the 22 that cost as much as a brand new 35? Where are the new built 4th gen fleet that cost significantly less than a brand new stealthy F-35 with its unmatched performances in offensive and defensive warfare?

Taiwan also has significant underground parking spots. What about PLAAF loss ratio over those bases?

It's not because you read it in RAND that it makes senses.*


*And by the way, nobody says that this student graduated...

This document was submitted as a dissertation in May 2010 in partial fulfillment
of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee
RAND Graduate School.


;)
 

sferrin

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The takeaway seems to be: PLA aircraft are survivable and very hard to kill. US aircraft are obsolete, even if they haven't been built yet.
 

marauder2048

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TomcatViP said:
Taiwan also has significant underground parking spots. What about PLAAF loss ratio over those bases?
Very low since the PLA has deep enough SRBM inventories and ISR (for look-shoot-look) to keep the runways
under attack during attempts by the ROCAF to sortie out.


TomcatViP said:
*And by the way, nobody says that this student graduated...
This document was submitted as a dissertation in May 2010 in partial fulfillment
of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee
RAND Graduate School.
Most doctoral dissertations have that line since there's typically coursework and other
requirements to satisfy; institutions don't tend to publish your dissertation unless you graduate.
 

sferrin

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marauder2048 said:
TomcatViP said:
Taiwan also has significant underground parking spots. What about PLAAF loss ratio over those bases?
Very low since the PLA has deep enough SRBM inventories and ISR (for look-shoot-look) to keep the runways
under attack during attempts by the ROCAF to sortie out.
Problem is they're so close it doesn't take much of a rocket to get there.
 

jsport

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There is talk and alternatively there are solutions.
EMRGs are too heavy for tactical vehicles let alone aircraft as discussed below.
The paper also speaks to the inability of solid propellant high velocity missiles to fit in the then Future Combat Systems (FCS) vehicle form factor, a comparison which would apply to even a relatively large projected FA-XX internal payload.

http://www.arl.army.mil/arlreports/2000/ARL-CR-446.pdf
 

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marauder2048

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EMRGs do have some major advantages in terms of recoil* in the hypervelocity realm.
Not that people haven't proposed recoilless regenerative liquid propellant cannons or
recoilless mechanisms for traveling charge cannons.

* some large, high efficiency muzzle brakes do have the potential to eliminate powder gun
recoil at > 2.4 km/s but it's not clear that the overpressure would be tolerable for an aircraft
 

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jsport

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marauder2048 said:
EMRGs do have some major advantages in terms of recoil* in the hypervelocity realm.
Not that people haven't proposed recoilless regenerative liquid propellant cannons or
recoilless mechanisms for traveling charge cannons.

* some large, high efficiency muzzle brakes do have the potential to eliminate powder gun
recoil at > 2.4 km/s but it's not clear that the overpressure would be tolerable for an aircraft
Maybe the diameter of gun can be brought down and the rpm brought up. The ARL article mentioned even a HV .50 cal. The RAVEN gun, or advanced micro-valve tech already explored or other various, even electromagnetic fluid based recoil mitigation from the 90s could be re-explored. The original Harvey aluminum recoil compensated for the previous program appeared to be nearly recoilless and large caliber. There is also Hybrid Electro Thermal Light gas gun tech.
 

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How would such a gun be employed? Air to ground and air to air?

Would it need to be automatically (computer/AI) aimed at longer ranges and need minimal (one shot) usage to conserve the magazine (as compared to high rate of fire guns on current aircraft)?

Could it supplement or compete with a medium or even long range missile?
 

jsport

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jsport said:
marauder2048 said:
_Del_ said:
Basically a more powerful, air-fo-air MALD for intercepting cruise missiles with off-board guidance provided via data-link. I suspect it'd be used just as likely against high-value force-multipliers like AWACS, tankers, etc who are not exactly nimble. But the story is cruise-missiles from everything I've seen.
RAND envisioned a two-stage version with a MALI first stage (JP-10 turbojet) and an AMRAAM-derived second stage.

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/rgs_dissertations/2011/RAND_RGSD267.pdf
Thank you for attaching the RAND study marauder2048. After a light skimming ..am more convinced that if SK or Taiwan are to be protected someday then the number of threats and targets is so high and difficult and w/ such stand-off issues that this concept from the late Paul Cyzsz et al should certainly be considered.

A renewed program could make great use of current processing and material advances.
a new program could pick up where this one left off.
 

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In regards to this gun discussion - in one of Anthony William's books he mentions a proposed liquid propellant gun armarment for interceptors. This USAF (?) project of the early 1950s was to be of the Gatling gun configuration and had a caliber of 53 mm with a high rate of fire. Does anyone have more information about it?
 

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Please retain on topic. For liquid propellant gun discussion, if you want to continue, please start a new topic.
 

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https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/air-force-association/2018/09/12/air-force-not-considering-new-f-15-or-hybrid-f-22f-35-top-civilian-says/?utm_campaign=Socialflow+AIR&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com

WASHINGTON — The two biggest manufacturers of military aircraft have been busy marketing new versions of their fighter jets to the U.S. Air Force, but the service’s top official told Defense News in an exclusive interview that it’s not actually interested in purchasing either of them at the current moment.

This summer, Defense One broke two major stories about sales pitches from Boeing, which is proposing an advanced version of the F-15 to the Air Force, and Lockheed Martin, which has been pushing a hybrid version of the F-22 Raptor and F-35 joint strike fighter similar to what it is reportedly offering Japan.

But just because those companies are offering new jets, doesn’t mean that the Air Force wants them.

In an exclusive Sept. 5 interview, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said she believes the service needs to expend its precious financial resources on stealthy, fifth-generation platforms — specifically the F-35 — and thus buying even an advanced fourth generation fighter like the so-called F-15X is not in the cards.
Then go hard with PCA!!
 

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bobbymike said:
https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/air-force-association/2018/09/12/air-force-not-considering-new-f-15-or-hybrid-f-22f-35-top-civilian-says/?utm_campaign=Socialflow+AIR&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com

WASHINGTON — The two biggest manufacturers of military aircraft have been busy marketing new versions of their fighter jets to the U.S. Air Force, but the service’s top official told Defense News in an exclusive interview that it’s not actually interested in purchasing either of them at the current moment.

This summer, Defense One broke two major stories about sales pitches from Boeing, which is proposing an advanced version of the F-15 to the Air Force, and Lockheed Martin, which has been pushing a hybrid version of the F-22 Raptor and F-35 joint strike fighter similar to what it is reportedly offering Japan.

But just because those companies are offering new jets, doesn’t mean that the Air Force wants them.

In an exclusive Sept. 5 interview, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said she believes the service needs to expend its precious financial resources on stealthy, fifth-generation platforms — specifically the F-35 — and thus buying even an advanced fourth generation fighter like the so-called F-15X is not in the cards.
Then go hard with PCA!!
We have the oldest fleet in history because every new system was curtailed. What makes anyone think PCA won't suffer the same fate? The USAF had better have a fall back plan, but it sounds like once again its all or nothing on a new airframe.

At least they will have a trainer that can carry some weapons if the going gets tough enough. :-\
 

LowObservable

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We have the oldest fleet in history because every new system was curtailed.

That is incorrect. We have the oldest fleet in history because the DoD bet the future of the force on one program, which is late in development and over-budget on procurement (so that it has not been and most likely will not be acquired at planned rates). By comparison, the impact of the F-22 cutback (152 aircraft) is small.

It's a simple matter to look at 2001, or even 2010, program plans and see that the force today (and for most of the 2020s) would look very different if the schedule and unit cost/production rate goals had been achieved.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
We have the oldest fleet in history because every new system was curtailed.

That is incorrect. We have the oldest fleet in history because the DoD bet the future of the force on one program, which is late in development and over-budget on procurement (so that it has not been and most likely will not be acquired at planned rates). By comparison, the impact of the F-22 cutback (152 aircraft) is small.

It's a simple matter to look at 2001, or even 2010, program plans and see that the force today (and for most of the 2020s) would look very different if the goals had been achieved.
What was the alternative? Keep building F-16s until they aren't worth their weight in dirt? Wait until all the Harriers literally fall out of the sky? The main reason we have "the oldest fleet in history" isn't because of the F-35 boogieman. It's because of the huge peace dividends procurement holidays of the 90s where we bought relatively few jets, ships, missiles, etc.. Pick your poison; surface fleet, bombers, fighters, tankers, submarines, tanks, ICBMs, etc. etc. etc. they're ALL the "oldest fleet in history" for this very reason.
 

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sferrin said:
LowObservable said:
We have the oldest fleet in history because every new system was curtailed.

That is incorrect. We have the oldest fleet in history because the DoD bet the future of the force on one program, which is late in development and over-budget on procurement (so that it has not been and most likely will not be acquired at planned rates). By comparison, the impact of the F-22 cutback (152 aircraft) is small.

It's a simple matter to look at 2001, or even 2010, program plans and see that the force today (and for most of the 2020s) would look very different if the goals had been achieved.
What was the alternative? Keep building F-16s until they aren't worth their weight in dirt? Wait until all the Harriers literally fall out of the sky? The main reason we have "the oldest fleet in history" isn't because of the F-35 boogieman. It's because of the huge peace dividends procurement holidays of the 90s where we bought relatively few jets, ships, missiles, etc.. Pick your poison; surface fleet, bombers, fighters, tankers, submarines, tanks, ICBMs, etc. etc. etc. they're ALL the "oldest fleet in history" for this very reason.
100% correct, all your eggs in one basket when they only give you money for one egg.
 

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We have the oldest fleet in history because every new system was curtailed. What makes anyone think PCA won't suffer the same fate? The USAF had better have a fall back plan, but it sounds like once again its all or nothing on a new airframe.
R&D work on the NGAD is running concurrently to fleet recapitalization. In FY19 alone, the USAF, USMC and USN are buying around 120 fighter aircraft. Modernization is happening and will continue at this or higher pace until next gen. systems are ready.
 

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I don't think 1990s decisions can be blamed for today's aging force, unless one concedes that the reliance on JSF was a foreseeable mistake.

As long as you believed the projections and predictions of 1995, including the widely accepted forecasts of the world environment, the JSF program made a good deal of sense at its inception. The FSU was a basket case; JSF was projected to be entering service by the time it could re-emerge as a military competitor. Nobody saw China coming.

In that environment the forces were oversized, and since downsizing was starting with older aircraft (F-111s and F-4Gs) and the F-15/16 lines had been going full blast at the end of the Cold War, the force was quite youthful. There would be a fleet-age increase, peaking in the late 00s, but afterwards, 110 JSFs per year would reverse it. Moreover, it was predicted to be both the cheapest and most capable solution.
 

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A FA-XX must significantly contribute to missile defense, counter-hardened facilities, in addition to air superiority (for instance artillery sized munitions equals more fuel, more range) more than those currently proposed for the status quo to be exceeded.

from the previous rand study
IMPLICATIONS OF CONTINUING THE STATUS QUO
One possibility, of course, is to not do anything to improve force projection capabilities. This means allowing the status quo in terms of vulnerabilities at Kadena AB especially, but Andersen AFB as well. This approach certainly has inertia on its side, but it entails some very important implications for U.S. power in the Pacific.
If the status quo approach is taken, the United States must recognize its vulnerabilities in the Pacific .... For example, if there is some sort of provocation from China, the United States cannot pursue its normal course of action – which is to deploy aircraft and aircraft carriers to the western Pacific as a deterrent force. While this may have worked in 1950 and again in 1996, the approach would be less deterrent today.
Recall from Cold War era nuclear deterrence studies that in order for deterrent to be credible, it must be survivable against a first strike. However, we have seen that a Chinese first strike on U.S. airbases in Okinawa or the main islands of Japan would be a devastating blow to U.S. airpower. Carrier-based airpower is also vulnerable to PLAN attack submarines and the expected modified CSS-5 anti-ship ballistic missile....

Thus, if the United States pursues its normal course of action, what once may have been a deterrent may become a temptation. If we do nothing to enhance the survivability of our forces, we must manage crisis stability differently.
Further, failing to address the power projection challenges the USAF faces sends strong signals to allies. If the United States is not willing to make the investment to stay preeminent in the western Pacific, it would clearly concern U.S. allies in the region and around the world. Old security commitments would likely be worth less. Allies may begin to hedge. U.S. power would be seen as less credible. The effects of decreased prestige would not be limited to the Pacific. U.S. influence could decrease worldwide. Prestige is the ability of a country to gain favorable conditions from its power without actually having to use it. U.S. prestige would certainly take a blow –
the United States could find itself choosing between having to use force or settling for less. Either option is clearly undesirable. ...

Continuing the status quo therefore would present problems to U.S. power and prestige in the region and globally. In the short-term, until operational problems are fixed, the United States is better off avoiding presenting vulnerable targets (and potentially losing much of its airpower in the process). In the medium- or longer-term, it behooves the United States to consider options to address the access problem or ameliorate its consequences. These options may reduce the vulnerability of close-in airbases, increase the effectiveness of aircraft at standoff airbases, or reduce the air threat by targeting PLA operations.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
Moreover, it was predicted to be both the cheapest and most capable solution.
And that is almost certainly still the case. Or do you still believe three separate, completely different, designs would have been cheaper?
 

LowObservable

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Or do you still believe three separate, completely different, designs would have been cheaper?

Probably not. However, as in all questions of what-if history and adult incontinence, the answer is "it depends".

Given where we were in 1993, there were many possible ways forward. But three separate and completely different designs were not an easy option, because there was no strategic or business case for a USMC/RN supersonic STOVL. The USN did not need or want it as long as it could sustain its CATOBAR infrastructure, and that was not effectively challenged. The theory behind DARPA's CALF was that a ~500 nm radius STOVL could be adapted into a ~700 nm radius CTOL, the USAF at the time being interested in the latter. However, CALF depended on optimistic assumptions and the idea that USAF could be persuaded to accept compromises such as lower max G.

CALF was not initially a three-mode aircraft, although Boeing (not part of the early DARPA studies) had a tri-service vision with its aircraft.

The USN and USAF could certainly have implemented either a two-service program (a bigger Rafale with internal weapons) or a "cousin" program with common avionics architecture, CNI, and LO systems. It would have been less expensive in development because they could have avoided developing two new engines and they would have avoided the 2003 weight crisis and its aftermath. Given the F-35A/C differences, would it have cost much more to procure?

That would have left ASTOVL out in the cold. The UK would have discovered earlier rather than later that STOVL does not automatically mean a smaller/less costly ship. In fact they realized that in ~2003. The US would have had to assess the strategic value of six jets per deployed MEU and whatever other FARP-like concept could be devised. (Q - Where do you need a multirole LO combat aircraft, but don't need the EA and AEW provided by the CSG?)

So three separate programs including a LO ASTOVL might have cost more. But leaving LO ASTOVL out could have (I believe) reduced the cost of meeting USAF/USN requirements, and allowed a realistic assessment of the cost and benefit of ASTOVL.
 

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I thought that cost was one of the reasons that the CALF/JAST and ASTOVL were merged into the JSF.
 

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So three separate programs including a LO ASTOVL might have cost more. But leaving LO ASTOVL out could have (I believe) reduced the cost of meeting USAF/USN requirements, and allowed a realistic assessment of the cost and benefit of ASTOVL.
Fact is that LO applied to the STOVL is the biggest earnings of the F-35 program.

Moreover there is no room anymore for a non-stealthy STOVL aircraft out there in the real world battlefield (frontline aircraft / IADS / restrictions in the naval warfare resulting from for a non-stealth asset on a diminutive carrier group...).
Think also that the Bee was the long term guardian of the low cost concept in an industry that generally sells airframe by weight. The investment by the pubic all around the partner's nations probably wouldn't have been possible without that.

So no, there was no cost cut to expect if the program have had to be split. The A and C would have looked like something else and probably their program terminated in the low threat years.

Today taxpayers will even see the benefits of JSF promises of mass effect by the induced tactical deterrence brought to their nation and the fact that they can only be difficultly out-budgeted in the air by an opponent as they are positioning themselves today.
 

LowObservable

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I thought that cost was one of the reasons that the CALF/JAST and ASTOVL were merged into the JSF.

Not quite. The origin of JAST was the cancellation of the USAF's MRF and the Navy's A-X, in favor of a joint solution, which was expected to save money in the near term. CALF, which had risen from the ashes of ASTOVL, was first brought under the JAST umbrella, since JAST was originally envisaged as a group of focused technology demonstrations.

TomcatVIP:

Fact is that LO applied to the STOVL is the biggest earnings of the F-35 program.

Can you quantify that? Because the B is the lowest-performing and most costly member of the family, is planned to be built in far lower numbers than the A and is a smaller player in terms of global interoperability.

Moreover there is no room anymore for a non-stealthy STOVL aircraft out there in the real world battlefield

Every air force still taking delivery of, or actively modernizing non-VLO jets, which is most of them (including the USN, RAF and PLA) believes those aircraft are relevant. But I'm sure you're correct.

Think also that the Bee was the long term guardian of the low cost concept in an industry that generally sells airframe by weight.

Permit me to chuckle at that claim. The gross weapon system unit cost for US B models in FY19, at full rate, is $132m. The idea that the STOVL requirement constrained the weight is also dubious, since even the F-35A OEW is 80 per cent of that of an F-15E. Requirements (primarily internal weapon load, range and 9g) drive weight and cost.
 

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Can you quantify that?
I assume you are living in Britain, hence... look around. How much would have been the cost of such a comparable 21st capability based on the old infrastructure (V-Bombers, hundreds of Harrier, dozen of ISR birds, costly satellites and all the cost induced by a higher vulnerability...) ; then add the redundancy needed to cope with of higher attrition rate... et voilà!
 

LowObservable

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I assume you are living in Britain, hence... look around. How much would have been the cost of such a comparable 21st capability based on the old infrastructure (V-Bombers, hundreds of Harrier, dozen of ISR birds, costly satellites and all the cost induced by having to cope with a higher vulnerability...) ; then add the redundancy of higher attrition rate... et voilà!

I'm not sure what I am supposed to be looking at. The UK's F-35 force is located at a former V-force and Tornado base, and I am not aware of plans to exploit STOVL for dispersed operations. Even so, I don't understand "hundreds of Harrier" since there never were hundreds of Harriers - the RAF had just over 100 Harrier IIs, or what ISR or satellites have to do with it.
 

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Simply put, you'll need more to reach the same effect on the the same concept. Old story you know...
 

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Simply put, you'll need more to reach the same effect on the the same concept.

If you're talking about LO in general, and about deep attack, I tend to agree in principle - although for maximum benefit you might want a less compromised design rather than something that tries to be an F-16/F-18. If you're still talking F-35B versus F-35A then I don't agree at all.
 

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Thing is there would be no F-35B without JSF. The USN would be out of the STOVL business once the Harriers ran out of life. And there go 11 ships you can operate fixed wing fighter from at a stroke. (BTW, an F-35 equipped LHA, the Essex, is currently the only aviation ship in range of Syria at the moment. https://www.businessinsider.com/f-35-aircraft-carrier-middle-east-after-russia-threatens-us-forces-syria-2018-9?r=UK&IR=T)

The existence of the F-35C, without JSF, is also debatable. (Especially if you don't want a design that "tries to be an F-16/F-18".)

The best "alternate history" scenario is the Convair Model 200 is chosen over the Rockwell XFV-12 and it goes on to replace the Harrier. Then you could have an F-16/F-18 replacement that isn't "compromised" by the need for a STOVL variant. (Of course that means the USMC gets short-changed as a Convair Model 200 would not come close to replicating the capability of the F-35B. . .)

All things considered (hindsight included) the JSF, as it currently exists, was the best way to go. That there have been hurdles to overcome should come as absolutely no surprise to anybody. It's not as though the Russians and Chinese have had smooth sailing with their T-50 & J-20, and they only have a land-based variant to figure out. And it didn't even destroy European fighter production capability. Hell, Rolls even trotted out a 3-stream engine concept.
 

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LowObservable said:
If you're talking about LO in general, and about deep attack, I tend to agree in principle - although for maximum benefit you might want a less compromised design rather than something that tries to be an F-16/F-18. If you're still talking F-35B versus F-35A then I don't agree at all.
Sea Harrier, although a great success at the end, was a highly compromised design and puts initially a hard bargain on every sailor of the Home fleet. A Bee today can face any competitor and still own the best chances out of the two to succeed. At the age of permanent war, this might be the most quantifiable earning you were looking for ;)

If the Malouines/Falklands war scenario would be reenacted today, there no ways that the Argentinian side would play the same warmonger partition.
 

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Thing is there would be no F-35B without JSF. The USN would be out of the STOVL business once the Harriers ran out of life.

Well, true. Keeping the USMC in the STOVL business is projected to cost $47 billion in procurement, roughly equal to the projected cost of 80 B-21s. Development? In addition to the direct cost of the lift system, there's the bill for developing the F135 and F136 (two F414s would have done for the A and C, at less cost and lower weight) and some more for the weight overrun and the consequent production chaos.

So my answer would be: if you want more aviation ships, build more aviation ships rather than plugging a very expensive blade into the LHA/LHD Swiss Army knife. Ships that can carry enough air to protect themselves and perform offensive missions at the same time, including AEW, ISR and EA. However, the Rulers of Uncle Sam's Navee have been insistent for the last 50 years that they want nothing to do with anything that dilutes or competes with a numerically small force of CVNs.

The existence of the F-35C, without JSF, is also debatable.

A prospect over which the Big Deck Navy would doubtless weep bitter tears. /sarc

TVIP -

Sea Harrier, although a great success at the end, was a highly compromised design

That's because it was the result of a series of low-cost, quick-turn developments that started with a technology demonstrator.
 

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Again, not to get too off topic, but how effective is the F-35 going to be "dispersed."
Does anybody really think that the F-35 is going to be operating in an unprepared location?
There is going to be unbelievable amounts of support requirement for the F-35, and hi levels of preparation that the F-35 will require. Is the fact that it has some STOVL capability a neat gimmick or will it actually be even worse of a compromise than the Harrier.

There will not be a 6th gen manned short takeoff platform. BUT, it might be workable in future low cost yet capable drones or unmanned strike variants.
 
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