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

yasotay

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"One eyed man is king in the land of the blind" - that's my analogue for today.
 

Sundog

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My god, I can't believe there are still people who think an F-16 could equal an F-35.View attachment 643115

They're just talking about ACM. The reason the F-35 is stealthy is so it doesn't have to engage in ACM. The F-16 would easily outmaneuver the F-35, it's just basic physics. Not to mention, the F-16 can drop the bombs and drop tanks to be even more maneuverable and have faster acceleration. The F-35 could drop the bombs, but since it was designed to have all of the equivalent fuel internally, it can't just drop it's larger girth. But it misses the point. Yes the F-16 has better maneuverability, but the USAF never wanted the F-16 to be an air combat fighter, that's what they had the F-15 for and is why the F-16s primary mission is attack. The F-35 performs that mission much better. It just costs much more to do it, but stealth has never been cheap and never will be.
 

fredymac

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F-16V block 70 price isn't much lower than F-35A. Stealth is not a cost option if you want to win and survive against peer adversaries. In the long run, nobody is going to outmaneuver an AA missile with AI dogfighting software loaded into it.
 

jsport

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F-16V block 70 price isn't much lower than F-35A. Stealth is not a cost option if you want to win and survive against peer adversaries. In the long run, nobody is going to outmaneuver an AA missile with AI dogfighting software loaded into it.
Finally a reasonable response. The idea block 70/72 and most likely 21 are near the cost of an 35 speaks for itself. They are of nearly equal value in their offering. The 16 has a deflected intake option similar to the 35. Stealth coatings continue to evolve, but yes edges will remain. Simply use the best stealth composites in building the unbuilt 70/72-21s. The USG has 10 yr contract for FMS builds, just add some USAF builds.

After AESA, the DAS is the most important and it is proposed to be added to helicopters, therefore no great shakes for fitting on 70/72-21s or even 16 retrofits. Datalink upgrades are/should be standards anticipated. Likewise, counter-ballistic/hypersonic is a thing, so dual IRST (not stealthy) might be good option for 16s.

The F-35 cant even fly low enough w/ sufficient stores to accomplish CAS. A AFTI 16 would sure have more RCS but again (umpteenth time) low altitude BAI/CAS is the primary High Intensity Conflict mission. Lots of craft are needed to accomplish these missions.. (w max # wing hardpoint) If an A-10 is not to be replaced, the plentiful 16s upgraded seems to be the only option

35 is great for STOVL for what is left of the new mini-Marine Corp but they aint contributing much .

F-35s have their place for SEAD/ stealth drone (where is the stealth loyal wingman? tube and wing ..not) mothership..but maybe so few (in the end) as too be somewhat boutique.
 

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MihoshiK

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F-16V block 70 price isn't much lower than F-35A. Stealth is not a cost option if you want to win and survive against peer adversaries. In the long run, nobody is going to outmaneuver an AA missile with AI dogfighting software loaded into it.
Finally a reasonable response. The idea block 70/72 and most likely 21 are near the cost of an 35 speaks for itself. They are of nearly equal value in their offering. The 16 has a deflected intake option similar to the 35. Stealth coatings continue to evolve, but yes edges will remain. Simply use the best stealth composites in building the unbuilt 70/72-21s. The USG has 10 yr contract for FMS builds, just add some USAF builds.

After AESA, the DAS is the most important and it is proposed to be added to helicopters, therefore no great shakes for fitting on 70/72-21s or even 16 retrofits. Datalink upgrades are/should be standards anticipated. Likewise, counter-ballistic/hypersonic is a thing, so dual IRST (not stealthy) might be good option for 16s.

The F-35 cant even fly low enough w/ sufficient stores to accomplish CAS. A AFTI 16 would sure have more RCS but again (umpteenth time) low altitude BAI/CAS is the primary High Intensity Conflict mission. Lots of craft are needed to accomplish these missions.. (w max # wing hardpoint) If an A-10 is not to be replaced, the plentiful 16s upgraded seems to be the only option

35 is great for STOVL for what is left of the new mini-Marine Corp but they aint contributing much .

F-35s have their place for SEAD/ stealth drone (where is the stealth loyal wingman? tube and wing ..not) mothership..but maybe so few (in the end) as too be somewhat boutique.
Fredymac was saying that ultimately, maneuvrability is of questionable utility, and that Stealth is NOT optional.

And you're NEVER going to make an F-16 as stealthy as an F-35.
 

Josh_TN

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F-16V block 70 price isn't much lower than F-35A. Stealth is not a cost option if you want to win and survive against peer adversaries. In the long run, nobody is going to outmaneuver an AA missile with AI dogfighting software loaded into it.
Finally a reasonable response. The idea block 70/72 and most likely 21 are near the cost of an 35 speaks for itself. They are of nearly equal value in their offering. The 16 has a deflected intake option similar to the 35. Stealth coatings continue to evolve, but yes edges will remain. Simply use the best stealth composites in building the unbuilt 70/72-21s. The USG has 10 yr contract for FMS builds, just add some USAF builds.

After AESA, the DAS is the most important and it is proposed to be added to helicopters, therefore no great shakes for fitting on 70/72-21s or even 16 retrofits. Datalink upgrades are/should be standards anticipated. Likewise, counter-ballistic/hypersonic is a thing, so dual IRST (not stealthy) might be good option for 16s.

The F-35 cant even fly low enough w/ sufficient stores to accomplish CAS. A AFTI 16 would sure have more RCS but again (umpteenth time) low altitude BAI/CAS is the primary High Intensity Conflict mission. Lots of craft are needed to accomplish these missions.. (w max # wing hardpoint) If an A-10 is not to be replaced, the plentiful 16s upgraded seems to be the only option

35 is great for STOVL for what is left of the new mini-Marine Corp but they aint contributing much .

F-35s have their place for SEAD/ stealth drone (where is the stealth loyal wingman? tube and wing ..not) mothership..but maybe so few (in the end) as too be somewhat boutique.

Again, you are asking to completely rework an F-16 with new avionics and assuming it can hit the same price point it is now. That is a laundry list of avionics to add to that platform - things like 360 ESM, EO/IR, directional datalink antennas all add up in terms of cost and complexity. You also seem to think a couple of minor changes will have a significant effect on RCS compared to a purpose built design. In a clean configuration the F-16 will have better acceleration, but other than that I fail to see what it brings to the table. If you want to put more stuff on the F-35, it has the same number of pylons - plus the internal bays, and a similar range without using EFTs.

As far as 'Lots of craft are needed', you realize that the USAF alone now operates over 250 F-35s, right?
 

bring_it_on

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The NGAD/FA/XX-PCA thread is probably not a great place to discuss the pivot from 5th generation fighters to developing yet another version of the Viper and buying it for the 2030-2060 time-frame. Just my 2 cents. I'm sure there is an F-16 thread somewhere.
 

jsport

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F-16V block 70 price isn't much lower than F-35A. Stealth is not a cost option if you want to win and survive against peer adversaries. In the long run, nobody is going to outmaneuver an AA missile with AI dogfighting software loaded into it.
Finally a reasonable response. The idea block 70/72 and most likely 21 are near the cost of an 35 speaks for itself. They are of nearly equal value in their offering. The 16 has a deflected intake option similar to the 35. Stealth coatings continue to evolve, but yes edges will remain. Simply use the best stealth composites in building the unbuilt 70/72-21s. The USG has 10 yr contract for FMS builds, just add some USAF builds.

After AESA, the DAS is the most important and it is proposed to be added to helicopters, therefore no great shakes for fitting on 70/72-21s or even 16 retrofits. Datalink upgrades are/should be standards anticipated. Likewise, counter-ballistic/hypersonic is a thing, so dual IRST (not stealthy) might be good option for 16s.

The F-35 cant even fly low enough w/ sufficient stores to accomplish CAS. A AFTI 16 would sure have more RCS but again (umpteenth time) low altitude BAI/CAS is the primary High Intensity Conflict mission. Lots of craft are needed to accomplish these missions.. (w max # wing hardpoint) If an A-10 is not to be replaced, the plentiful 16s upgraded seems to be the only option

35 is great for STOVL for what is left of the new mini-Marine Corp but they aint contributing much .

F-35s have their place for SEAD/ stealth drone (where is the stealth loyal wingman? tube and wing ..not) mothership..but maybe so few (in the end) as too be somewhat boutique.

Again, you are asking to completely rework an F-16 with new avionics and assuming it can hit the same price point it is now. That is a laundry list of avionics to add to that platform - things like 360 ESM, EO/IR, directional datalink antennas all add up in terms of cost and complexity. You also seem to think a couple of minor changes will have a significant effect on RCS compared to a purpose built design. In a clean configuration the F-16 will have better acceleration, but other than that I fail to see what it brings to the table. If you want to put more stuff on the F-35, it has the same number of pylons - plus the internal bays, and a similar range without using EFTs.

As far as 'Lots of craft are needed', you realize that the USAF alone now operates over 250 F-35s, right?
1200 1300 is start for two MRCs which is very likely since they PRC Rus are allied. Again where is the CAS..since 35 falls out of sky if it flies slow enough to tank plink.
 
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jsport

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Again, you are asking to completely rework an F-16 with new avionics and assuming it can hit the same price point it is now. That is a laundry list of avionics to add to that platform - things like 360 ESM, EO/IR, directional datalink antennas all add up in terms of cost and complexity. You also seem to think a couple of minor changes will have a significant effect on RCS compared to a purpose built design. In a clean configuration the F-16 will have better acceleration, but other than that I fail to see what it brings to the table. If you want to put more stuff on the F-35, it has the same number of pylons - plus the internal bays, and a similar range without using EFTs.

As far as 'Lots of craft are needed', you realize that the USAF alone now operates over 250 F-35s, right?
You seem to be ignoring Block 70/72 and 21 are to be built over the next 10 yrs, plenty of time for upgrades for more than FMS. again again and again ESM systems are increasing rendering stealth barely worth the cost.
PS Turkish non stealth UAVs flying for the Azeris seemed to have little problem against working multiple Sa-8s.
 
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jsport

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The NGAD/FA/XX-PCA thread is probably not a great place to discuss the pivot from 5th generation fighters to developing yet another version of the Viper and buying it for the 2030-2060 time-frame. Just my 2 cents. I'm sure there is an F-16 thread somewhere.
Thank you and you are correct. Thank you mostly for piling on though as usual.
 

Woody

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Seams you guys are still fighting the last war but in the vain hope that influential people read this, here's a rant I sent to a friend :-

Yeah. I bet the the Israelis, Poms, Aussies are pissed. But it's a brilliant move. Loyalties aside, the rest of the world follows (sometimes bettering) the US in fighter planes so it seems logical for the US to capitalise on its strength in innovation rather than numbers. By using rapid prototyping and frequent small batches, they can keep the opposition wrong-footed and guessing (and spending heaps to keep up) rather like the Russians are doing to the west in hypersonic weapons. A bit like formula 1. Incredibly small production runs but best tech wins the day.
 
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Fluff

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I'm not seeing the problem, aircraft just like cars, move on. UK has bought F35 and bought into the program, no-one said it was the last ever fighter, or indeed the best fighter. We will buy updates as they come.

Only US/China and maybe Russia have the $$ to build a couple of SQN of a type. And really we dont know what is coming yet. Personally im expecting F22+ aerodynamics, a lot of F35 systems, more fuel, more data, maybe 2 seats.
 

bring_it_on

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I'm sure the numbers of "pissed off" F-35 partners or customers would be very similar to the number of pissed off F-16 partners/customers back when the ATF program was launched or when the YF22 and YF23 demonstrators flew.
 

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I also would not be surprised if its a B21 raider, with enough radar and ESM to sit over Bejing, and carries enough AAM to down 10% of the chinese air force in one mission.
 

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From the October 2020 issue of Rivista Italiana Difesa, one of the best (maybe the better!) Italian military magazine:

NGAD.jpg
Translation, with Google help (I am lazy on saturday morning):

The American Sixth Generation fighter is already flying
USAF Assistant Secretary Wil Roper said during the Air, Space & Cyber Conference that a demonstrator of the USAF's Sixth Generation fighter - NGAD (Next Generation Air Dominance) - has already started a test campaign in flight. The revelation shows that the program is quite ahead. After all, many American programs, especially aeronautics, for many years, especially in the demonstration and risk reduction phases, remain surrounded by an aura of secrecy and "jealously" guarded in the "cauldron" of Pentagon "black" initiatives. This is what happened for the F-117, for the RQ-170 SENTINEL and for its bigger and more performing "brother" RQ-180, just to name a few. It would therefore not be a novelty and the writer for some time maintains that the demonstrator of the "sixth" fighter has been in flight for some time, just as he believes that the demonstrators of the new B-21 RAIDER bomber flew for years. The USAF, however, has decided to come out into the open by sending the world, read China and Russia, a pretty clear message. Some renderings circulated so far, show a Next Generation Air Dominance as an all compound wing aircraft, with "crancked" trailing edge, rigorously buried dorsal air intakes, stealth exhaust, also buried in the aircraft structure, and direct energy weapons. USAF and US Navy will carry out 2 different programs for the sixth generation - good news for the American aeronautical sector, especially for Boeing, which remained dry-mouthed with F-35 and RAIDER - thus not retracing the path taken with the F -35.
 

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dark sidius

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Basing the futur on the poor capabilities of the F-35 with his little legs and poor air-air capacity is realy giving China the advantage they want.
 

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Basing the futur on the poor capabilities of the F-35 with his little legs and poor air-air capacity is realy giving China the advantage they want.
The poor capabilities of the F-35!

Disappointing to see people still recycling this nonsense from social media and poorly researched online articles. Especially to see it on this forum.
 

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Barely hitting M1.6 is based on "poor research"?

Not all capabilities are based on making tight loops. As system F-35 might be quite good thanks to hefty equipment, but as airframe for air duty it stays poor nonetheless.
 

Foo Fighter

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One of the reasons I suggested an F-22 with F-35 systems might still be viable is range/speed. Surely a known product with that kind of ability will remain an great asset for decades. Not like I am asking for the F-35 systems on a Gypsy Moth is it?
 

fredymac

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Barely hitting M1.6 is based on "poor research"?

Not all capabilities are based on making tight loops. As system F-35 might be quite good thanks to hefty equipment, but as airframe for air duty it stays poor nonetheless.


It's not the hefty equipment. It's the stealth and data fusion as has been explained ad infinitum and demonstrated in actual use. High speed is valuable for a dedicated interceptor so if you need to get somewhere really fast, the F-35 is probably not the best choice. I doubt this is going to cause second thoughts among all the countries lined up to buy it.
 

Flyaway

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Barely hitting M1.6 is based on "poor research"?

Not all capabilities are based on making tight loops. As system F-35 might be quite good thanks to hefty equipment, but as airframe for air duty it stays poor nonetheless.
What a sixties way of looking at things. The F-35 is far more than the simplistic basis of things that you appear to be using here.
 

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Physics haven't changed since sixties. If you have good set of equipment on a good aiframe, you are in better position than one that has good set of equipment on flying chubber. F-35 is good for its job, even great one might say. But not as something that can be proudly called NGAD.
And yes, as was mentioned above F-22 airframe with F-35 set of equipment would be THE thing to be proud of.
 

dark sidius

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Fusion sensors and all the things like that are beautiful capabilities but you still need speed and long range in a Pacific theater, and a need to intercept a Tu-160 at high speed still exist this days and I don't thing a F-35 is capable off. NGAD is near and I can't understand why politics don't support it a lot, with a demonstrator flying by now .Something flying high speed , long range with stealth and fusion sensors is surely more capable than a F-35. The horrible mistake was stopping F-22 for F-35 .
 
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TomcatViP

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C'mon guys, you might not like it but most services adore their F-35, across a wide range of combat domain or nationalities.
 

Bhurki

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C'mon guys, you might not like it but most services adore their F-35, across a wide range of combat domain or nationalities.
Sure , may be, but instead if they could have an advanced F-22 like could they prefer F-35 ?
Any 'advanced F22' would cost 2-3x that of F35.

F35 offers good capabilities for what it costs. Sure it doesn't cover them all, but it can strike without being hindered by ground based area denial and doesn't require escorts to sanitize the area.
So its a strike plane that doesn't require any other major asset to conduct mission.
That, in and of itself, is a pretty big cost saver and capability advancement.

Considering that 80+% of missions in a war consist of ground pounding, i don't see why anyone would spend anymore than they are on F35 to get that niche 'advance F22' for the same job.
 
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ReprobateJoeshmoe

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I don't think any F-35 signatories are remotely angry or pissed off. The Air Force operates two fighter types, a light weight and heavy fighter. The F-35 is the light weight fighter and eventual F-16 replacement. NGAD is a heavy fighter and more likely to replace the F-15 and potentially the F-22.
Isn’t the Air Force planing to keep the f-16 and the f-15ex until 2048?
 

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C'mon guys, you might not like it but most services adore their F-35, across a wide range of combat domain or nationalities.
Sure , may be, but instead if they could have an advanced F-22 like could they prefer F-35 ?
Any 'advanced F22' would cost 2-3x that of F35.

F35 offers good capabilities for what it costs. Sure it doesn't cover them all, but it can strike without being hindered by ground based area denial and doesn't require escorts to sanitize the area.
So its a strike plane that doesn't require any other major asset to conduct mission.
That, in and of itself, is a pretty big cost saver and capability advancement.

Considering that 80+% of missions in a war consist of ground pounding, i don't see why anyone would spend anymore than they are on F35 to get that niche 'advance F22' for the same job.
A quick look at the different aircraft requirements for a “strike package” during Desert Storm between F-117s and non-stealthy aircraft tells how effective/efficient an all stealth fleet of F-35s can be.
 

Josh_TN

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I don't think any F-35 signatories are remotely angry or pissed off. The Air Force operates two fighter types, a light weight and heavy fighter. The F-35 is the light weight fighter and eventual F-16 replacement. NGAD is a heavy fighter and more likely to replace the F-15 and potentially the F-22.
Isn’t the Air Force planing to keep the f-16 and the f-15ex until 2048?

The new F-15s sure, but I assume the F-16 fleet is very tired? When is the last time USAF bought a new one?
 

dark sidius

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There is not just the ground attack mission , there will be soon a lack in air superiority missions, China J-20 and Su-57 may be surely superior to unstealthy f-15 EX , and in air-air combat I have a little doubt of the superiority of the F-35, and the F-22 fleet is realy too small in a conflict case.
 
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