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

dark sidius

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USAF speak about a capacity of mach 3 with the F-15 EX to launch futur hypersonic missile do you think its possible ?
 

kaiserd

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USAF speak about a capacity of mach 3 with the F-15 EX to launch futur hypersonic missile do you think its possible ?
Doubt there was any reference to the F-15 itself hitting Mach 3; what was the source for that?
 

kaiserd

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They speak about this capacity in more than one article. https://www.airforcemag.com/article/f-15ex-careful-what-you-dont-ask-for/ a capacity abble to reduce the size of the booster for hypersonic glide vehicle.
Way back when the original requirements that ultimately lead to the F-15 had Mach 3 as a goal but later versions dropped this requirement and any where near the revised max speed of Mach 2.5 is seldom if ever used/ reached in service, especially in a theoretical scenario where carrying a likely quite likely hefty substantial and draggy hypersonic glide vehicle to launch speed. Sounds like a writer getting a bit over enthusiastic.
However given the potential clearance and weight capacity of at least 3 of it’s pylons (each of main wing pylons and the centreline) and it’s Mach 2 plus and altitude capacities then the F-15 likely to still be better suited to that task than alternatives like the F-22, F-16 and F-35.
 

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So Pratt and Whitney get the contract for the F-15EX engines at the expense of General Electric, sheer utter madness. :mad:
 

Moose

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What are the odds that whatever new contract that is written up for the engines costs more than the one they just cancelled?
The potential is there, and historically F110 has been able to beat F100 on both cost and power. But Pratt seems to have yanked on someone's string to force a competition, so maybe they have a plan to beat GE. At least, it seems like a waste to force a competition you don't think you can win.
 

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About the only possible benefit that I can see is that they might be able to use existing F-15C/E infrastructure to support the F100s. Frankly, even that is a stretch given that F110s are widespread in the F-16 fleet, and that even aside from the engines, the F-15EX is considerably different from current USAF F-15s in internal structure and mission systems.

I believe the F110-GE-129 has better dynamic thrust than the F100-PW-229, based on the performance differences between the F-16C Block 50 and 52.
 
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FighterJock

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About the only possible benefit that I can see is that they might be able to use existing F-15C/E infrastructure to support the F100s. Frankly, even that is a stretch given that F110s are widespread in the F-16 fleet, and that even aside from the engines, the F-15EX is considerably different from current USAF F-15s in internal structure and mission systems.

I believe the F110-GE-129 has better dynamic thrust than the F100-PW-229, based on the performance differences between the F-16C Block 50 and 52.
It is like the ATF engine competition all over again.
 

sferrin

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Given that everybody buying Eagles these days is getting them with F110s I'd think that tells the tale. (Then again maybe they're just doing that for commonality with their F-16 fleets.)
 

bring_it_on

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They seem to be slowly putting together the elements they need to get to Milestone A (assuming this follows the path of a traditional MDAP).
 

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I hope that the "digital century series" Roper is championing works out. I'm skeptical that it will work the way he is intending. One of the big problems with the AF's O&M budget is with the large number of small platform fleets. This would seem to exacerbate the problem. Hope I'm wrong.
 

bobbymike

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I hope that the "digital century series" Roper is championing works out. I'm skeptical that it will work the way he is intending. One of the big problems with the AF's O&M budget is with the large number of small platform fleets. This would seem to exacerbate the problem. Hope I'm wrong.
Would “digital” more mean much internal electronic updates out of the same airframes? I don’t think multiple aircraft types will work
 

BDF

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Would “digital” more mean much internal electronic updates out of the same airframes? I don’t think multiple aircraft types will work
From what I've read its a rapid development and production initiative. Roper wants to rapidly develop and field smaller batches of airframes. So as new capabilities and technologies mature, say TRL 7 or 8, then a new design is initiated. I think he wants to also look at airframes that have shorter airframe life on them as well. Its a throwback to 50s and the century series of fighters than were rapidly developed and acquired.
 

bring_it_on

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I hope that the "digital century series" Roper is championing works out. I'm skeptical that it will work the way he is intending. One of the big problems with the AF's O&M budget is with the large number of small platform fleets. This would seem to exacerbate the problem. Hope I'm wrong.
Would “digital” more mean much internal electronic updates out of the same airframes? I don’t think multiple aircraft types will work
The "digital" in the digital century series refers to utilization of digital design tools and the digital thread, Kubernetes and agile software development. What the AF is looking at is developing and funding the capability to rapidly develop high fidelity designs for systems (manned or unmanned) and then trying to bend the cost curve by maturing the design and making manufactering easier and efficient independent (to some extent) of scale. That's the goal or what I've been able to comprehend anyway.
 

BDF

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The "digital" in the digital century series refers to utilization of digital design tools and the digital thread, Kubernetes and agile software development. What the AF is looking at is developing and funding the capability to rapidly develop high fidelity designs for systems (manned or unmanned) and then trying to bend the cost curve by maturing the design and making manufactering easier and efficient independent (to some extent) of scale. That's the goal or what I've been able to comprehend anyway.
Yes that's essentially my understanding, you've elucidated it better. I hope its viable, we can't keep taking 20yrs to develop a system. That being said, there's considerable skepticism both inside and outside the service that its viable. We certainly need a stand-in penetrator replacement or supplement to the F-22 fleet. Its interesting that CSBA believe it must be a manned standalone system. They content that any UAS that can supplement or support a PCA vehicle will require similar levels of survivability and range; ergo it will be big and expensive. If Roper is right then maybe that UAS stand-in vehicle will be more reasonable in cost for the capability. Time will tell...
 

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Yes that's essentially my understanding, you've elucidated it better. I hope its viable, we can't keep taking 20yrs to develop a system. That being said, there's considerable skepticism both inside and outside the service that its viable. We certainly need a stand-in penetrator replacement or supplement to the F-22 fleet. Its interesting that CSBA believe it must be a manned standalone system. They content that any UAS that can supplement or support a PCA vehicle will require similar levels of survivability and range; ergo it will be big and expensive. If Roper is right then maybe that UAS stand-in vehicle will be more reasonable in cost for the capability. Time will tell...
Also have to think about when the DoD is going to start increasing its misinformation/disinformation campaign to cloud its future developments. There's been enough acknowledgment by defense officials, legislature, and think tanks about how transparent we are with where we are going and that's not always a good thing when someone is trying to +1 you.
 

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Could there be an "ideal" scalable airframe and propusulor which generally could not be outpaced for +20yrs which is "peer reviewed" and agreed upon as baseline aircraft? Science not sizzle setting the pace.
The main problem you run into there is the mission profiles for the U.S. Navy and USAF tend to be vastly different. In general, the Navy wants a fighter that can fly a certain distance from a carrier and then loiter in a racetrack pattern for a couple of hours, but be capable of dashing at supersonic speeds towards a target. Whereas the USAF generally wants an aircraft that can cruise at supersonic speeds and penetrate deep into enemy airspace. Those are very different mission profiles, in terms of what the propulsion needs to do. Now, I'm not saying they couldn't use variations of the same power-plant to do so, but it would still depend on how close the mass flows, etc, are to each other to be able to achieve that much commonality.

I think it will be interesting to see the trades on how much super-cruise and how much subsonic loiter ability the USAF wants, given the pivot to the Pacific.
 

rooster

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Could there be an "ideal" scalable airframe and propusulor which generally could not be outpaced for +20yrs which is "peer reviewed" and agreed upon as baseline aircraft? Science not sizzle setting the pace.
The main problem you run into there is the mission profiles for the U.S. Navy and USAF tend to be vastly different. In general, the Navy wants a fighter that can fly a certain distance from a carrier and then loiter in a racetrack pattern for a couple of hours, but be capable of dashing at supersonic speeds towards a target. Whereas the USAF generally wants an aircraft that can cruise at supersonic speeds and penetrate deep into enemy airspace. Those are very different mission profiles, in terms of what the propulsion needs to do. Now, I'm not saying they couldn't use variations of the same power-plant to do so, but it would still depend on how close the mass flows, etc, are to each other to be able to achieve that much commonality.

I think it will be interesting to see the trades on how much super-cruise and how much subsonic loiter ability the USAF wants, given the pivot to the Pacific.
But it still seems like you could have a common airframe with different wings like the 35A and C and save billions. Heck you could even divide the production between 2 companies to maintain the industrial base.

I know the USAF wants a super-cruise machine but that doesn't mean it can't fly the navy profile outlined above.

Say what you will about the tomcat versus eagle debate, I think the know-how exits today to build a somewhat common aircraft for both services.
 

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sferrin

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Could there be an "ideal" scalable airframe and propusulor which generally could not be outpaced for +20yrs which is "peer reviewed" and agreed upon as baseline aircraft? Science not sizzle setting the pace.
The main problem you run into there is the mission profiles for the U.S. Navy and USAF tend to be vastly different. In general, the Navy wants a fighter that can fly a certain distance from a carrier and then loiter in a racetrack pattern for a couple of hours, but be capable of dashing at supersonic speeds towards a target. Whereas the USAF generally wants an aircraft that can cruise at supersonic speeds and penetrate deep into enemy airspace. Those are very different mission profiles, in terms of what the propulsion needs to do. Now, I'm not saying they couldn't use variations of the same power-plant to do so, but it would still depend on how close the mass flows, etc, are to each other to be able to achieve that much commonality.

I think it will be interesting to see the trades on how much super-cruise and how much subsonic loiter ability the USAF wants, given the pivot to the Pacific.
But it still seems like you could have a common airframe with different wings like the 35A and C and save billions. Heck you could even divide the production between 2 companies to maintain the industrial base.

I know the USAF wants a super-cruise machine but that doesn't mean it can't fly the navy profile outlined above.

Say what you will about the tomcat versus eagle debate, I think the know-how exits today to build a somewhat common aircraft for both services.
The F-14D, with -132s could have made an awesome Strike Tomcat in the vein of the Strike Eagle.
 

jsport

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I hope that the "digital century series" Roper is championing works out. I'm skeptical that it will work the way he is intending. One of the big problems with the AF's O&M budget is with the large number of small platform fleets. This would seem to exacerbate the problem. Hope I'm wrong.
Would “digital” more mean much internal electronic updates out of the same airframes? I don’t think multiple aircraft types will work
The "digital" in the digital century series refers to utilization of digital design tools and the digital thread, Kubernetes and agile software development. What the AF is looking at is developing and funding the capability to rapidly develop high fidelity designs for systems (manned or unmanned) and then trying to bend the cost curve by maturing the design and making manufactering easier and efficient independent (to some extent) of scale. That's the goal or what I've been able to comprehend anyway.
is Kubernetes going to be safe given who the developer is? These designs must be remain TS or above clearance.
 

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So instead of only taking something to D or F, like the F-teens, go all the way to S or more like the F-4, F-104, etc?
Literally like the F100, F-101 etc. Roper has spoken about buying as few as a wings worth of jets at a time. He want's the AF to be more "like a tech company" trying to rapidly innovate and push out a product, with perhaps a small production run, then as new technologies emerge, start production on the next system. They may have quite a bit in common in terms of subsystems but as you iterate further down away from the first design, the commonality may be substantially reduced. So we may see a hypothetical F-36 in 2032 (fingers crossed!), then maybe a F-37 in 2036, a F-38 in 2040 etc etc. It sounds innovative but as I've mentioned, one killer for the AF's budget has been the O&M Our O&M budget is now 35% of the topline which is insane. We have dozens on small fleet types n the inventory which really drives up budget. This doesn't address some other considerations with such small fleets , such as combat readiness , MCR rates, the training pipelines for pilots and maintainers etc.
 
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sferrin

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So instead of only taking something to D or F, like the F-teens, go all the way to S or more like the F-4, F-104, etc?
Literally like the F100, F-101 etc. Roper has spoken about buying as few as a wings worth of jets at a time. He want's the AF to be more "like a tech company" trying to rapidly innovate and push out a product, with perhaps a small production run, then as new technologies emerge, start production on the next system. They may have quite a bit in common in terms of subsystems but as you iterate further down away from the first design, the commonality may be substantially reduced. So we may see a hypothetical F-36 in 2032 (fingers crossed!), then maybe a F-37 in 2036, a F-38 in 2040 etc etc. It sounds innovative but as I've mentioned, one killer for the AF's budget has been the O&M Our O&M budget is now 35% of the topline which is insane. We have dozens on small fleet types n the inventory which really drives up budget. This doesn't address some other considerations with such small fleets , such as combat readiness , MCR rates, the training pipelines for pilots and maintainers etc.
With all the work gone into improving reliability, maintainability, etc. has it even made a dent? Or has added complexity sucked all that up? Compare say an F-4 to an F-35 in those regards.
 

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With all the work gone into improving reliability, maintainability, etc. has it even made a dent? Or has added complexity sucked all that up? Compare say an F-4 to an F-35 in those regards.
Its not clear to me at least what impact those factors may have or had. CSBA did an analysis of the problem and determined that fleet age and sophistication have no correlation. What is interesting is that the MITRE report and CSBA did find a correlation between fleet size and total ownership costs (fixed + variable costs.) IOW as the fleet got smaller, the cost per unit (TAI) goes up. The equation is TOC = $160M X Sqrt(TAI). So as an example we're at 183 F-22s and our TOC for the fleet is $160 X Sqrt(183)= $2.1B. Or $11.8M per jet. If we get the F-35 fleet up to the full 1,765 buy for the AF, that's a TOC of $6.7B or $3.8M per jet.

Now looking forward to Roper's idea of small fleet buys, if we look at 4 wings worth of jets and break it down into 4 distinct types the TOC is $1.36B per wing or $18.8M per jet. For the total fleet of 288 that's $5.4B. If we were to buy two types that is a TOC of $1.9B each ($13.3M per jet) for a total $3.8B for the same 288 jets. If it we just buy one type and build 288 of them it drops to $2.7B or $9.4M per jet. So splitting the buy into 4 distinct types doubles the TOC for the same amount of airframes if we were to buy just one type. This is also indicative of why we need to accelerate the F-35 buy in addition to getting unit cost down from manufacturing efficiencies. I'd also argue we shouldn't be buying F-15EXs for the same reason, despite their supposed lower operating costs.
 

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So instead of only taking something to D or F, like the F-teens, go all the way to S or more like the F-4, F-104, etc?
Literally like the F100, F-101 etc. Roper has spoken about buying as few as a wings worth of jets at a time. He want's the AF to be more "like a tech company" trying to rapidly innovate and push out a product, with perhaps a small production run, then as new technologies emerge, start production on the next system. They may have quite a bit in common in terms of subsystems but as you iterate further down away from the first design, the commonality may be substantially reduced. So we may see a hypothetical F-36 in 2032 (fingers crossed!), then maybe a F-37 in 2036, a F-38 in 2040 etc etc. It sounds innovative but as I've mentioned, one killer for the AF's budget has been the O&M Our O&M budget is now 35% of the topline which is insane. We have dozens on small fleet types n the inventory which really drives up budget. This doesn't address some other considerations with such small fleets , such as combat readiness , MCR rates, the training pipelines for pilots and maintainers etc.
It's about getting to the next F-4. They're trying to build small batches of planes in an iterative process, until one actually lives up to the hype. I wonder how many export opportunities there will be.
 

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@BDF : I think you forgot to factor-in the effect of having shared sub-systems and software across different airframe. That will translate into substantial cross-fleet economies. IMOHO you should add a K factor into the above equation and add fleet numbers:

With Ni the N number of airframe of type i fleet, TOC = $160M * K*Sqrt(N1+N2+...+Nn).
With K a function of the level of cross-integration of sub-systems (K>1 and lim(K) =1 when integration is fully optimal). K is an indice of Quality.
 
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BDF

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@BDF : I think you forgot to factor-in the effect of having shared sub-systems and software across different airframe. That will translate into substantial cross-fleet economies. IMOHO you should add a K factor into the above equation and add fleet numbers:

With Ni the N number of airframe of type i fleet, TOC = $160M * K*Sqrt(N1+N2+...+Nn).
With K a function of the level of cross-integration of sub-systems (K>1 and lim(K) =1 when integration is fully optimal). K is an indice of Quality.
So I didn't derive this equation, this came from Todd Harrison from a CSIS lecture featuring a panel with members from the CSBA and MITRE orgs. You are certainly right that one should have a coefficient in there to account for that but I haven't seen any data on that and would thus be speculative. They did discuss this however and it sounded like the cost savings are minimal.

Just messing around with some numbers, the annual TOC for the F-15C and F-22A fleets is currently $4.6B. For the same TOC, we could have 832 Raptors. Granted the acquisition costs would have to be factored in but one point they made during the lecture is that we never had a spike in acquisition for the introduction of 5th Gen fighters. We're spreading it out over decades instead of trying to acquire them rapidly. This is what killed the F-22. The production line was designed for 48, but could run effectively as low as 36 but we went on to average 20/yr. We need to get F-35's annual numbers up.
 

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You can watch the video from which those articles are sourced. Digital century series talk starts on 30 minute mark.
 

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Around 27':
"Next Gen pilot will Instinctively understand AI"
This is excellent when you think at it. Both humans and machine capitalizing on shared expectations to make AI relevant into the operational sphere "as a synergistic team".

Amazing also that the digital plane achievement milestone praised so much by Roper was reached on the T7 with the Swedes and not the Frenches with Dassault.
OK Swedes have one of the best multiphasics software outhere with Comsol but still.
 
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