International Aerospace Discussion

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SaiK
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby SaiK » 05 Dec 2014 19:31



awesome!! excellent narration.. poor on-board cameras.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 06 Dec 2014 18:46


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 06 Dec 2014 21:53

An informative talk given by Alton Remig, Currently the head of the Skunk Works (A position previously occupied by the likes of Ben Rick, kelly Johnson etc) on Future Trends, Opportunities & Challenges at the Nexus of Aviation, Aerospace and Energy

[youtube]3fOzcNda0Cw&list=UUQUxcIsXCZuwCa34u1J5COw[/youtube]

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 12 Dec 2014 19:03

GE's proposal/roadmap for Future Korean fighter .


Image


Typhoon, Meteor launch :

http://vimeo.com/114340275

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 13 Dec 2014 02:15


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 13 Dec 2014 21:59

From the Indian Military Aviation Thread:

Bajwa saab, even in the US (ignoring drones), there are just the two fighter aircraft companies : Boeing & LockMart.
This despite spending more on their air force and navy than next x countries put together


As far as the companies that can on their own bid as PRIMES for a fighter you have the big tree in Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. At any given time it is tough for more than 2 to be actually producing a fighter, so you would have collaborations across the board between these three. Northrop for example has a sizable work-share on both the F-18E/F program and the F-35 program (in dollar volume the latter is a HUGE work-share). Boeing had a sizable share in the F-22A and the ATF proposal, while Northrop had their own proposal ( out of the OEM's that exist as of TODAY) in the YF23 and NATF competitions. BaE could most likely do so as well, but they cannot be treated at the same level as the big three since their US devision is structurally separate form the European devision and as an independent company lacks any fighter experience (although they bid as a prime for previous 5th generation efforts).

The current state of affairs in the Prime Contractors capable of making a complex fighter is due to consolidation post the Cold-War and that was particularly accelerated with the ATF and especially the JAST/JSF competitions. McD was acquired by Boeing and with it also their Phantom Works devision which is now Boeing's go to devision for advanced capability (aircraft and weapons). Lockheed acquired General dynamics and with it tremendous fighter building interests through their Fort Worth facility (the California devision of GD went to Boeing). So while the number of physical companies with experience and capability to bid as PRIMES for advanced fighter aircraft has shrunk from the cold war days, the individual companies have grown in size, capacity and capability through the consolidation that occurred in the 90's and beyond. Ultimately, the Pentagon takes a back seat and lets the market dictate how the M&As pan out, interfering only when there is some strategic loss in capability etc. Such was the case when in the late 90's (97 or 98) the merger between Northrop Grumman (itself formed by a merger in the early to mid 90's) and Lockheed Martin was opposed by the Pentagon. Consolidations occur when the projected demand is insufficient to support all the players in the market. It became tough to sustained 3 or 4 or 5 design teams for fighter aircraft, when you did not have a threat that warranted huge expansion or en mass replacement of legacy fighters or strategic bombers. Without work, these companies could only flourish through consolidation and that is what they did. Northrop grumman had its own strategic acquisitions and has now taken a lead in Unmanned Vehicles, Lockheed has a lead in fighters but both Boeing and NG have plenty of fighter work on their hand (The Super Hornet project is bigger than the Eurofighter project so far, and Both Boeing and NG have 5th gen fighter workshare in the F-22 and F35 programs respectively) to keep well funded fighter design teams even on their own.

The major driver for consolidation has been the ability for companies to predict future investment trends. The fact that post-cold war the services could not afford the sheer number of fighter programs most definitely played a part. Furthermore, the writing was clearly on the wall that advanced aerospace programs would involve a very tight knit collaboration between traditional airframe OEM's and those working on electronics, sensors, computing etc. All the big players beefed up their electronics and sensor portfolio. Unmanned systems were to exponentially increase in demand over the next decade and as such a lot of acquisitions were focused on positioning companies to be more competitive there. If for some reason, there is a totally 180 degree change in fighter demand projections, you would see companies like General Atomics, BaE USA, perhaps even smaller players like Textron, or heck even MUSK invest billions to build up capability to be competitive for future work. This is unlikely to happen because fighter projects would most likely be overshadowed by other projects and the fact that in order to be a strong international fighter jet OEM, one needs a lot of time and money to be able to gain market share in international markets (for sustainment and diversification purposes). Foreign markets are a tough nut to crack.

US defense forces flourished post 1950's due to competition driven choice and are languishing for last decade because of consolidation in the sector.


Competition spurred by demand. You do not need (nor can afford) to have 5 different fighters being operated all catering to a high capability demanded by each service and or requirement. Boeing's work-share in the F-22 and F-18E/F (where it was a prime) has given them plenty of money to keep their fighter R&D flowing as they prepare for the next round of competitions.
No one needs a Mach 3 fighter operating at 60K feet, a All round Air superiority fighter operating between 30-50K feet, and a strike fighter for A2G, a dedicated harrier replacement and a Naval interceptor...Had that need still remained you would have had potentially more programs to fight for, and consolidation may not have looked as attractive as it did when they consolidated. The era of having a large portfolio of manned fighter is gone (the golden age of fighter development) replaced by an era of having a lot of airframes in the Unmanned category.

been the only capable supplier as Boeing has very limited experience in stealth planes (plenty of designs but nothing in production from Boeing).


Boeing was involved in the F-22/ATF, Boeing/Lockheed NATF, McD/Northrop ATF, NATF (McD is now Boeing Owned), J-UCAS/ as an independent Prime, B-2 Bomber, JSF/JAST competition as a prime. They also acquired McD that was a prime for all of those stealth aircraft and through its Phantom Works had considerable R&D and S&T pipeline injection over the years. Furthermore, research and development particularly in the sphere of S&T is not project or even OEM specific. Things like stealth, RAM, coatings, embedded electronics etc are all worked and developed independent of program demand. Even otherwise, some of the coatings for stealth on the ATF (F-22 bid) were Boeing patents. Boeing through its phantom works has presented to the Pentagon, both through purely internal efforts (Bird of Prey) and through program funded projects, the capability to produce advanced stealth aircraft's. Of course the real deal is often in the lab and need not be brought out in public every time. It could be argued that the Boeing of Now is much stronger than the Boeing that bid for the JSF with the X-32. McD has given them a tremendous experience in advanced aircraft, materials and prototyping through the phantom works.

Interestingly while Northrop grumman (considered the leader in stealth) pursued a "stealth representative" (not stealthy but something that could be made stealthy if sent into production solution in the X-47B, Boeing invested its own money on top of the funding it received from the joint office to develop a fully stealthy vehicle in the Phantom Ray. Also Boeing was working on internal funds and money received under the 2020 bomber (NGB) program and this was what they proposed (next to the vide) (again lockheed let them take a lead)

Image

Boeing's Experience in stealth is good enough for Lockheed Martin to take a back seat and let them be the PRIME for the most important stealth project for the US over the next 30-50 years (LRS-B) Boeing has also decided (for now) to go it along for the FA-XX and F-X efforts, while Northrop Grumman has also for now decided to at least enter by itself for the USAF's F-X competition. Northrop grumman has also decided to independently pursue the LRS-B competition which is a contrast to what they did for the B-2, when they partnered with Boeing that at the time had a ton of bomber experience. Lockheed incidentally, has gone in as a partner with Boeing and has let them take the position as the Prime (and thus the largest work-share if they win). The T-X competition is also showing similar patterns with All three deciding to bid independently or through collaboration with foreign OEM's (Boeing with SAAB, Northrop with BaE and Lockheed with KAI)

The JSF program was always going to be a "winner takes all" kind of a thing, because neither the Marines, nor the USN (and pretty much nor the USAF) could afford to develop independent 5th generation aircraft and still have cash left with them to make sizable procurement for fleet replacement purposes. Boeing lost out because they had a poor design on many levels and did not manage the program as well as the Skunk Works. McD lost out because they undervalued the importance of STOVL and showed a disregard for the USMC requirement of not going hot air upfront. One must remember that the JSF program was WON by SKUNKS and the design was further developed and the program transitioned onto Forth Worth which was primarily the General Dynamics devision (or what would have been GD back in the day).

Bajwa saab, even in the US (ignoring drones), there are just the two fighter aircraft companies : Boeing & LockMart.


Edit: Northrop Grumman as a Principle Partner on the F-35, has a work-share that in dollar amount is 50 Billion( as a comparison Dassault Rafale's overall program spent (not all of this goes to Dassault btw) is at 64 Billion USD as of 2013 - which shows how respectable NG's work-share is on the JSF) So yes, they are very much in the fighter business, just not as a prime which means little since their fighter business is healthy and projected to sustain those values for the next decades. They are also the Principle partner on the Super Hornet, were a tier 2 partner on the ATF (eventually through their Westinghouse devision) and are an independent PRIME for the T-X, and are going to be submitting designs as a PRIME for future programs. So even though they are not a PRIME at the moment, they have the capacity to act as a prime on a fighter, on a bomber (which they are doing) and on unmanned systems.

Northrop Grumman's F-35 Facility:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRqTuPTBSvY

They are not looking to exit the airframe market anytime soon and have in fact become more aggressive in independently pursuing projects (B-3). They have a very strong heritage in Aviation, especially in naval aviation and even lockheed highlighted Northrop's involvement since it itself has no naval aviation (fighter) experience. The design, S&T and R&D pipeline required to reach the ATF, JAST/JSF level was achieved through dedicated funding in stealth and other components over the 80's and 90's. The technology superiority that was achieved in this areas was due to these very investments made decades ago.

Just a few years after the Su-27PMU first flew (1989), Lockheed flew the PAV1 (1990), and soon after that Northrop/McD flew the Spider and Black Widow. They as a company achieved this in the early 90's, and have since grown as a company and have a very good future ahead of them. Don't expect them to have lost any capability because of not winning PRIME on the ATF or the JSF...They are a very confident lot at Redondo Beach ( have a few friends who have worked for their electronics devision over the years and speak of the company as a whole) and are proud of achieving this 23 years ago:

[youtube]UdIM5xbEcl0&index=68&list=WL[/youtube]

Fighters are a different form of investment compared to many other components. programs in the design and development phase stretch over a decade if not more, and production itself goes into decades. Bombers on the other hand require teams to be maintained by the Pentagon, since you may only need one project every 3 decades or so but need to sustained very high end investment. So if you look at the now cancelled NGB it was supporting 2 to 3 independent teams (3 became two towards the end of that program), and the LRS-B publicly is supporting at least 2 teams that we know of. The focus has shifted to Unmanned aviation, because that is what all OEM's see as a major component of airframe acquisition and developmental programs in the next half a century. You'll see more number of programs, with shorter developmental timelines and all this would require a very different skill set. General Atomics is a player here, and as this company grows in this aspect of its business it can scale up its ambitions to compete in other non-traditional aspects of airframe development and production. The Pentagon is more interested in how many teams can work on advanced airframes, be it fighters, bombers, unmanned etc and as long as that number is healthy they will let the market dictate the course these companies take. You do have GA and BaE that can "step up" if there is some magical increase in demand for manned aviation in the next 3-4 decades, but beyond the LRS_B and JSF, most of the combat aircraft (weapons enabled) demand is projected for Unmanned aviation and this is where most of the major primes would concentrate their resources.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Dec 2014 23:08

Northrop Grumman Celebrates First APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar Engineering, Manufacturing and Development Delivery

Image

This is the third AESA radar cleared for the F-16. The -80 is operational and the RACR is also available and on order (south korea)

^^ Edit: On my previous post about Boeing's R&D on stealth I totally forgot to mention this (Picture courtesy Stephen Trimble)

Image
Last edited by brar_w on 15 Dec 2014 06:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Victor » 15 Dec 2014 00:06

This is going to be common pretty soon and change the whole J&K, Maoist equation if we use it. I like this guy.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby alexis » 15 Dec 2014 10:24

^^
This can be used by terrorists against us too!

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 16 Dec 2014 13:15

Both the Korean and Japanese projections/concepts for their future fighters are undergoing change. The Japanese have realized that a "heavy" fighter which has longer range/endurance is better than a fast lighter fighter when facing superior numbers.It can also carry more missiles,launching them while retreating too. The 25DMU design is the latest avatar,with 6 Med-range AAMs in internal bays.The Koreans are examining upgraded F-18SHs as an option,looking at the cost of developing a new fighter on its own.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 16 Dec 2014 18:34

Philip wrote:Both the Korean and Japanese projections/concepts for their future fighters are undergoing change. The Japanese have realized that a "heavy" fighter which has longer range/endurance is better than a fast lighter fighter when facing superior numbers.It can also carry more missiles,launching them while retreating too. The 25DMU design is the latest avatar,with 6 Med-range AAMs in internal bays.The Koreans are examining upgraded F-18SHs as an option,looking at the cost of developing a new fighter on its own.


None of the technologies being spoken off for 6th generation fighters are compatible with light, zippy, sleak fighters. Expect 5.5 generation efforts to mirror 6th generation efforts.

The big defining feature for 6th generation fighters would be the ability to carry out front end offensive ops which the fifth generation fighters can do only in a limited fashion. One of the most succinct explanation of the concept of operations for the 5th generation fighters (f-22 and f-35) in the USAF's roadmap was given by Sect. Wynn (retd.) at the ASC a few months ago. Basically the current 5th generation fighters are operated in a concept where the goal is " To be the last shooter in an offensive enterprise, and be the first shooter in a defensive enterprise" (A direct quote). The Aim with this is for the stealthy assets to penetrate into enemy territory, seek to maintain that level of stealth and penetration and launch their weapons only as a last resort. The goal is that of a "scout" where they transfer through LPI/LPD comms targeting information to legacy and other 5th generation jets that stays behind the Forward Edge of the Battle-space. This is due to many reasons. Firstly, they do not want to loose the tactical advantage of having penetrated the enemy's OODA loop or the physical edge of battle-space. Furthermore, with 6 AMRAAM's or future AMRAAM class missiles, and 4 for the F-35 (for now), there are magazine depth issues, because replenishment is not as easy when it comes to securing the stealthy advantage after the bad guy knows someone is in the area. An F-15C with a METEOR class missile for example can be the shooter, while the F-22 with its distributed sensors, ALR-94 and closely coupled with the comprehensive Passive suite on the F35 can be the scouts. The weapons being spoken of in the roadmap i had posted a few days ago clearly aim at taking into consideration the magazine depth issues. The CUDA that is a response to a SACM program of the USAF and DARPA is clearly meant to concentrate on magazine depth while not looking at increasing the range beyond what an Aim-120C possibly delivers now. The tradeoff being carry 12 missiles that can shoot at 50 Km as opposed to 4-6 missiles that can shoot at 100 km. The advantage obviously comes from their confidence to develop a "Hitile" and the fact that medium range generally translates to greater PK's. In the end they would probably carry a mix of CUDA's and conventional AMRAAM class missiles (whatever they call it) so your magazine depth may be 8 CUDA's and 2 Long range missiles or a different mix.

The ultimate solution for the magazine depth would be through Directed Energy Weapons, and given how much focus both AFRL and DARPA is giving to them (ABC solution for fighter aircraft flew this year) expect a 50-100 KW class DEW on a 6th generation fighter (proper 6th generation fighter not the USN FA-XX program). To get that sort of a fighter, one would need power and cooling, both of which are maxed out at the moment. Power is somewhat easy given the patents that Lockheed Martin (and the DOD) holds for the F-35B. All they have to do is take out surplus power from the engine, use a gear shaft and instead of driving it to a fan drive it to power the generator. Of course for a fighter this would mean a lot of surplus power which kind of explains why the USAF is currently running an AETD/AETP program for a 45,K pound thrust class Variable cycle engine for an F-22 replacement that (F-22 has 70K thrust). Very large and powerfull engines would mean very large aircraft with a LOOOOT of fuel. Pacific is also VERY large so lots of range and lots of sensors to cover it. My guess would be an ideal aircraft that is larger than the F-111, not a super cruiser, but ELO, ability to fire DEW therefore stay in the fight for a lot longer. So essentially, a design similar to an F-35 but much bigger, twin engined, and with 6th generation advances in sensor fusion, stealth and other capabilities.

One of the interesting Tid bits that came out from the Lockheed Martin's limited release on the data on the CUDA was that they are concurrently working on a more conventional AMRAAM class missile just like Raytheon and Boeing (Both of these firms have a solid variable ducted ramjet missile that was tested by DARPA last year) and that for both that missile and the CUDA, they are looking at increasing or improving on the Max speed of the missile to get it to the target quicker.

The only proposal out of the general RFI submissions that looks somewhat like that was the northrop grumman proposal:

Image

Ultimately the way nations like Japan and South Korea can maintain a strong conventional deterrence is through holding a qualitative advantage. Here the biggest area to exploit is integration and training. This area is the least talked about by journalists and bloggers, while the most spoken off by tacticians, strategists and those planning the future. On his departing address recently Mike Hostage, one who isn't known to mix his words was clear on the transformational impact of LVC and that it wasn't a "nice thing to have" , but an absolute NEED to have given that you cannot exploit 5th generation and other advanced weaponry at places like Red Flag for various reasons. Ultimately it is a process of getting pilots in 5th generation, having tactics developed for 5th generation that are being hammered out by a diverse group and having the ability to modify them to one's own force structure. This is an edge that Japan would enjoy since they have access to most of the Western World and can factor in best-practices and exploit generational shifts in training, LVC and other integrated networks. Same applies for the ROKAF. Integrating 5th generation fighters into an air-force, integrating it with 4th generation, incorporating weapons advances to develop best collaborative strategies is no easy task...and many times harder then simply ordering X number every few years. Those that have the right investments, and have a lead in terms of getting these machines out to the tacticians would enjoy a sizable qualitative advantage that would only broaden as they take these lessons learnt and incorporate them into the next generation of aircraft.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 17 Dec 2014 05:35

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 17 Dec 2014 18:39

Under pressure, Lockheed opens up about secret weapons unit

(Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon's No. 1 weapons supplier, has rarely felt the need to blow its horn about its secrecy-shrouded crown jewel - until now.

"Skunk Works," Lockheed's business for developing weapons outside the company's main chain of command, is starting to lift the veil in a sign of fierce pressure to win new orders and protect its brand as military budgets shrink.

The pride of Lockheed, Skunk Works has been celebrated since it developed the first jet fighter in 143 days during World War Two to battle the Nazis. But its logo was kept off buildings and employees were barred from saying where they worked.

Now, the company has published a glossy brochure with a 10-point “Skunk Works 2015” agenda focused on keeping costs down, working closely with government, and building prototypes. Its officials are meeting in small groups with all 3,300 employees, or "Skunks" as they are known, to underscore the importance of staying competitive.

Over the past year Skunk Works has invited a few journalists to its most secure facilities, including Palmdale, a site in the high desert 60 miles (100 km) from Los Angeles, where new products range from next-generation unmanned systems to a hypersonic aircraft twice as fast as its Blackbird SR-71 spy plane that could fly across country in just over an hour.

Most of the 100 buildings and 3 million square feet of floor space at the site are off-limits, and photography and audio recordings are strictly forbidden, but a tour last month offered a glimpse of some projects.

In one building, Lockheed is using the world's largest gantry machine and 3-D printing to build aircraft. Across campus, Lockheed has a giant airship that could deliver cargo to remote areas, and a compact nuclear fusion reactor that could revolutionize power generation.

PRESSURES MOUNT

The decision to go public with Skunk Works, albeit modestly, reflects the unprecedented pressures Lockheed faces from tight budgets, nimble smaller competitors and shareholders who prefer dividends and share buybacks to long-term projects.

Challenging Skunk Works are such newcomers as Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX, which operate more like commercial firms than legacy weapons makers. Their costs are lower due to a younger staff - the average age of SpaceX's engineers is 27, while Lockheed expects half its employees to retire in the next five years - and their ability to leverage commercial orders.

Defense consultant Jim McAleese said Skunk Works needed to win orders and cut costs given lower profits in the aeronautics division, where margins fell by about 10 percent last quarter. Aeronautics sales fell 6 percent to $14.1 billion last year.

Skunk Works has survived over the years because it is not only an advanced research arm, but also makes money by managing a few signature programs, including the F-22 stealth fighter and other classified programs, general manager Rob Weiss told Reuters. He gave no numbers.

Bucking an industry trend, Lockheed is boosting internal R&D spending by 5 percent this year after a 13 percent increase to $697 million in 2013, its highest percentage of sales ever, CEO Marillyn Hewson told analysts in October. She said the rate would rise again in 2015.

The Skunk Works outlook could dim if Lockheed loses out on the few big programs up for grabs: a new bomber, a carrier-based drone, and a new Air Force training jet, analysts say.

Skunk Works officials say they also need to be more open to strategic partnerships, such as those it has with GenCorp unit Aerojet Rocketdyne and Boeing Co, and new business models, such as fee-for-service deals.

Pentagon officials often say they see Lockheed's Skunk Works and Boeing Co's Phantom Works as models for rapid development of weapons and ensuring U.S. military superiority.

Deputy Vice President Steve Justice, who has 30 years with Skunk Works, said its historical focus on speed and affordability was more relevant than ever given the tough budget climate. The proof, he said, came in recent requests from the Navy and others that want to set up similar groups.


Image

The world’s largest gantry for automated fiber placement is seen at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in this undated handout photo provided by Lockheed Martin.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 17 Dec 2014 19:10

JLENS being inflated (Time Lapse)


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 20 Dec 2014 19:17

NASA has decided to provide Sead-Funding for the Skunk Works Hypersonic SR-72 propulsion concept for an unmanned ISR vehicle.

NASA launches study for Skunk Works SR-72 concept

NASA has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to study the feasibility of building a hypersonic propulsion system for a concept intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft dubbed the SR-72 using existing turbine engine technologies.

The $892,292 contract “provides for a parametric design study to establish the viability of a turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) propulsion system consisting of integrating several combinations of near-term turbine engine solutions and a very low Mach ignition Dual Mode RamJet (DMRJ) in the SR-72 vehicle concept,” the award document says.

A spokeswoman for Lockheed’s Skunk Works development laboratory declined to comment on the contract award..



If the study is successful, NASA wants to fund a demonstration programme. Lockheed would test the dual-mode ramjet in a flight research vehicle, and try to find solutions to issues like engine packaging and designing the thermal management system, Bartolotta says.


Also found an interesting video describing the 71's TurboRamjet J58 engine:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3ao5SC ... 75&list=WL

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 20 Dec 2014 20:31

Looks like same ideas will be used by 40yrs newer tech.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 20 Dec 2014 20:44

^^
Given that the LRS-B (Long Range Strike) is being developed as a constantly evolving "capability' rather than a platform as per most reports, this could be a 2030-2040 option for an element of Long Range strike with the 2025 bomber being the stealthy, mass produced Long range strike bomber. As has been mentioned in the media, this was an internal lockheed concept that they have been developing for a while and now they have secured funds to further study it and if anything positive comes out of that they may even get a shot at building an air vehicle in the future.

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/f ... sr-72.html

Image

Looks like same ideas will be used by 40yrs newer tech.


The SR had much older tech. The A-12 first flew nearly 53 years ago with the 50th anniversary of the SR's first flight is incidentally on Monday (22nd December 2014). It was an amazing era for "speed", you went from flying P80 (First real operational jet fighter for the USAF) in 1944 to flying the A-12 in 1962. The J58 power run was around 1958 iirc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7EhdaPo5W8

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby SaiK » 22 Dec 2014 09:51

alexis wrote:^^
This can be used by terrorists against us too!

da $h!t needs lot more precision, range, and controls than the shown demo. real life scenario no terrorist on the mountain will consider him/herself as lame duck!


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby deejay » 23 Dec 2014 18:26

@brar_w both your above(^^^) links leading to strange places for me. No Blackbird on those!!!

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 23 Dec 2014 18:46

deejay wrote:@brar_w both your above(^^^) links leading to strange places for me. No Blackbird on those!!!


Try:


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Ashtram » 23 Dec 2014 21:29

Interesting!! - Direct to Geostationary Orbit

Russia test-launches new space eco-rocket Angara right into geostationary orbit
http://www.rt.com/news/216663-angara-he ... er-launch/

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby KrishG » 23 Dec 2014 22:14

Ashtram wrote:Interesting!! - Direct to Geostationary Orbit

Russia test-launches new space eco-rocket Angara right into geostationary orbit
http://www.rt.com/news/216663-angara-he ... er-launch/


Angara A5 is a VERY powerful rocket. It's capabilities are currently limited by it's launch site (Plesetsk). This site is way north. For GSO orbits, the closer you launch to the equator, the bigger the advantage (because of additional velocity imparted by earth's rotation).

The Russians are building a new cosmodrome at Vostochny which is further south, almost at a similar latitude to Baikonur. And they plan to build a new upper stage for the rocket based on GSLV's upper stage. All this is a few years away but make no mistake this still is a damn powerful rocket. Currently, it's only second to the Delta-4 H when it comes to payload to LEO.

We are still a good 8-10 years away from building a rocket of this class.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Shreeman » 25 Dec 2014 01:26

what makes lawn darts give up their ghosts (err pilots) even when no one shoots at them?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 25 Dec 2014 08:57

NRao wrote:
deejay wrote:@brar_w both your above(^^^) links leading to strange places for me. No Blackbird on those!!!


Try:



Thanks for correcting that. Have been catching up on a lot of reading and on the topic of the SR, it was amazing that it was something that the Kelly Johnson presented as an unsolicited proposal.

Since Monday was the 50th anniversary of its first flight, here is a nice write up on it including pictures

SR-71 Blackbird: A Fast History

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 26 Dec 2014 08:00

Darpa/Northrop Grumman Team Boost Chip Speed (Aviation Week & Space Technology - Defense Technology Edition Nov 17, 2014 ( Subscription )


The Guinness Book of Records has recognized the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (Darpa) Terahertz Electronic program for creating the fastest solid-state integrated amplifier ever measured. After five years of work and steps through 670 and 850 GHz, a Darpa/Northrop Grumman team succeeded last summer in demonstrating 10 dB of low-noise amplification at 1 THz (1 trillion cycles/sec.) and 9 dB at 1.03 THz.
The result eclipses the previous record of 850 GHz that was set in 2012.


Darpa program manager Dev Palmer says that applications for the new technology are in the early stages, “because until now the work has suffered from a lack of high-power sources.” However, terahertz opens up a previously inaccessible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, between radiofrequency (RF) and infrared bands. An early application could be high-rate data links. (This is because in terahertz bands, a 150-GHz bandwidth is relatively small, but still large in absolute terms; 1 GHz is equivalent to 1 billion cycles/sec.) The technology would also move critical military communications out of overcrowded RF bands.

Terahertz also has potential applications for remote imaging, yielding resolution close to infrared but with a much greater ability to penetrate smoke or obscurants. The indium phosphide high-electron-mobility transistor components developed by Darpa and Northrop Grumman are described as “the size of a grain of kosher salt” and are produced on wafers half as thick as human hair.

A version of this article appears in the November 17 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Gerard » 26 Dec 2014 23:41

Russia test fires Yars intercontinental ballistic missile
“On December 26, 2014 at 11:02 am, Moscow time, the solid-propellant RS-24 Yars mobile ground ICBM with a multiple warhead was test fired from the Plesetsk state test cosmodrome by a combined combat crew of the RVSN and Aerospace Defense Forces,” the official said

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 28 Dec 2014 01:21

Falcon 9 landing in a test flight:

[youtube]DgLBIdVg3EM#t=267[/youtube]


(@4:22, watch the cattle in the foreground)



The autonomous ship it is expected to land on:

Image

must have an appropriate landing surface.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 30 Dec 2014 08:29

nik wrote:^^ That is heartening news to hear from folks with first hand experience.

Now will IAF close the year with a big bang 200 MK1 jet order - to be delivered in 4 years flat? Things will move fast when the ball lands squarely in HAL's court - or they will risk dissolution.

Continuing on the 'lame' canard pitch for Rafale\Gripen, have thrust vectoring been considered for LCA. Here is why this is of interest http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dy ... F-16_VISTA and http://theaviationist.com/2013/09/10/vista-f-16/ - last comment is key Thanks to its centre and the side stick installed in the front cockpit the F-16 VISTA can be re-configured after the take off to fly like a delta wings aircraft, like a canards one or like a large cargo airplane.

The weight penalty is an unknown factor though the paddle arrangement is better than Su-30 ball joint as quoted -This system is the cleanest mechanical design, aerodynamically speaking, and also reduces the nozzles’ radar signature (http://critical-me.blogspot.com/2007/12 ... a-was.html), maybe we can substitute it for the ballast - wishful thinking.


VISTA was an easy way to run tests and get data on TVC. The eventual design did not use Paddles like some other USAF/NASA test beds such as the X-31 and the F-18 HARV for TVC. It used a full 360 degrees Asymmetrical Nozzle capable of 20 degrees deflection. The Nozzle itself (Pitch/Yaw Balanced Beam nozzle) was something that Pratt and Whitney pitched to the DOD in the 80's.

The aircraft has demonstrated a steady angle of attack of as much as 86 degrees and a transient angle of attack of up to 180 degrees.



From way back:

EVERY WHICH WAY YOU CHOOSE
Source: International Defense Review, 1994-04-01 (Janes/IDR Subscription)

TEXT: Pratt & Whitney's multi‐directional thrust‐vectoring nozzle will provide agility enhancements for fixed‐wing fighters. If, as proclaimed by a 1980s airshow sticker, ``happiness is vectored thrust,' then US aircraft‐engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney (P&W) has every reason to be pleased with itself. The company's government‐engines & space‐propulsion division in West Palm Beach, Florida, is working on a retrofittable three‐dimensional (3‐D) thrust‐vectoring nozzle design with great promise.


P&W's Pitch‐Yaw Balanced Beam nozzle (PYBBN) is a lightweight, low‐cost design foreseen primarily as an enhancement for the F100‐PW‐229 engine, but which provides a common replacement/retrofit upgrade option for all F‐15s and F‐16s (the F100 engine powers all in‐service F‐15 aircraft, and many F‐16s; Saudi Arabia selected the ‐229 for its F‐15 buy, while Taiwan ordered the PW‐220 for its F‐16s in 1993).


Based on the current F100 nozzle, the PYBBN is of a similar size and weight (adding only 150lb to the total), but enables the pilot to carry out axisymmetric, multidirectional thrust vectoring of his aircraft in flight. A convergent‐divergent design (see figures on p.59), the PYBBN has only three functional changes over the present nozzle, but due to the use of more advanced materials, for example, has over 10% fewer parts ‐ a maintenance and endurance plus. One of the company's strengths is its alloys and other materials research and engineering. The exit area of the PYBBN, as can be seen at right, can perhaps best be described as a metal lattice which opens wider and closes to a narrower aperture as required, and vectors by up to 20° in any direction virtually instantaneously, as IDR was able to ascertain. Vector slew rate is in fact 45°/s (thus the variation between the maximum 40° position change is less than one second); vectoring can not only be used to affect pitch and yaw (up/down, side‐to‐side) but, as a result of the combination of these, can be operated diagonally and circumferentially. Mainly during 1992, P&W has conducted over 80h (650+ vectoring cycles) of tests at all power levels ‐ some 10% of test time in afterburner ‐ and including vectoring during transients and with simultaneous jet‐area changes. The design is mounted on an F100‐PW‐229 engine for static tests at sea level and, while it has been tested up to rate of motion of 45°/s, is thought capable of 80°/s (and possibly as high as 200°/s) at maximum power. As indicated, vectoring of 20° in any direction has been achieved, both during engine transient conditions and with simultaneous jet‐area changes. The PYBBN needs fewer reinforced load‐bearing structures (which add to aircraft weight) and also reduces control‐actuation loads, because of its ``balanced‐beam' design. This uses air available in and around the nozzle as a counterbalance to the forces exerted on the front and rear of the flap assembly (see figure opposite). Other advantages of the PYBBN for fighter aircraft include: reduced drag, both during manoeuvres and at cruise speeds; greater range and speed; greater pitch/yaw control; early nose‐wheel lift off. Furthermore, since the engine becomes de facto part of the control system of the aircraft instead of just an impeller, control surfaces will be able to be reduced, thus further lowering both drag and radar signature and hence increasing platform survivability. At the heart of the design is the operation of the synchronization rings which, when moved axially (= symmetric translation of effectors/actuators), change the ratio of the exit and throat areas to each other; when moved asymmetrically (= asymmetric translation of actuators), they vector engine thrust in the desired direction. The design is thus dependent on high‐precision engineering of the control approach that modulates the nozzle throat and thrust‐vectoring mechanisms. It was on such classic engineering skills that the Harrier vectored‐thrust engines depended; today the advanced computing power is also available to reduce reaction time in control functions and to monitor and if necessary moderate manoeuvres to keep them within the performance capability of the rest of the system ‐ the airframe, for example. This the early Harriers lacked and it made them very tricky to operate. However, the debate on how much of the control function should be turned over to black boxes still continues in the industry, with P&W believing that it has the currently correct mix of mechanics/electronics. It was this consideration that influenced the choice of actuation systems for the vectoring nozzle ‐ pneumatics for the throat and hydraulics for the vectoring mechanism, both ultimately governed by digital electronic controllers. The choice of precision mechanics in the right place allows maintenance and repair much further forward in the field. P&W (a subsidiary of United Technologies) tested vectoring‐nozzle technologies during the Short Take‐off and Landing/Maneuver Technology Demonstrator (STOL/MTD or SMTD) program, using a PW‐220‐powered F‐15 testbed in a series of evaluations from 1984‐1991, and is also incorporating similar technology in the Pratt & Whitney F119‐PW‐100, which was selected for the US Air Force's F‐22 next‐generation fighter (see IDR 2/1992, pp.116‐121). SMTD flight‐testing began in March 1990 and was completed in August 1991 after 250h of nozzle flight; operations tested included not only STOL and 20° pitch vectoring, but thrust reversal of 60% and thrust reversal at supersonic speeds (up to Mach 1.6). Results shown were 33% improvement in pitch, 53% improvement in roll, 29% reduction in take‐off roll, and 72% reduction in landing roll. Response time registered was one second. This program demonstrated the principle of 2‐D vectoring, which is to be used for the F119; 2‐D vectoring affects pitch only but still allows great performance improvements in STOL (the SMTD test bed was able to achieve nose‐wheel lift at 30kt instead of 90kt). It also improves agility by means of augmenting control‐surface functions. P&W's 2‐D nozzles can be distinguished from the 3‐D PYBBN by their rectangular, rather than circular exit area (see pictures above). A production‐ready version of the multi‐directional PYBBN is expected to be flight‐tested, with joint NASA/US Air Force/Pratt & Whitney/McDonnell Douglas effort, in the fourth quarter of 1994. It will be operated by an integrated flight/propulsion control system developed under the SMTD program mentioned above. The flight controller manages all control‐surface and nozzle functions, analyzing inputs from throttle, rudder and stick and determining how a manoeuvre can be effected most efficiently and safely. Additional computing power will enable a greater degree of flexibility in flight‐control changes. P&W PYBBN program manager Roger Bursey stresses that the nozzle is designed for full flight‐envelope operation. The evaluation will be conducted by a team formed by NASA, the USAF, McDonnell Douglas and P&W. The test‐bed aircraft, once again an F‐15, but powered by ‐100 engines, made its first flight in June 1993. It is expected that these engines will be replaced with F100‐PW‐229s later in 1994. Known as the ACTIVE2 flight‐research aircraft, it is, in the words of company officials, ``going to be the hottest airplane out there ‐ the premier flight‐test vehicle for NASA and the air force through the end of the decade.' An important feature of the PYBBN are the independent controls of the throat exit (exhaust) area ‐ the convergent actuator is independent of the divergent actuation system even while vectoring, so that if one were to fail, the other enables the aircraft to carry on and land safely. This safety redundancy extends to all critical controls and functions. It was earlier estimated that flight testing of the PYBBN would start as early as late 1993, a whole year earlier than will actually be the case. P&W engineers stress that they could have got a development nozzle into the air earlier, but decided to wait for a number of reasons: they wanted to be sure that their design was ready for a USAF program known as PACIR3 and also ready for production for single‐engine aircraft. To that end, redundancies in the actuator and servo systems had to be increased, and high MTBF (mean time between failure) rates of flight‐critical systems had to be achieved. Aircraft‐supplied hydraulics, which run the divergent systems (aft of the throat) are already dual‐redundant where required; the throat (convergent) systems employ selective redundancy, such as drive cables and electronic devices. The ACTIVE aircraft will retain its canards, in order to act as a test‐bed to simulate other aircraft, such as the F‐15E and F‐18 updates.The canard and re‐configurable flight‐control law software allows for ease of duplicating stability and handling characteristics of other aircraft designs, including destabilization of the existing aircraft to demonstrate the full benefits of thrust vectoring for flight safety. Notes 1. The F100‐PW‐100 was selected for the F‐15 in the early 1970s. Later, the derivative PW‐200 was developed for the F‐16; the ‐220 of the early 1980s improved safety, reliability and durability; the 29,000lb‐thrust ‐229 is its 1990s' successor for F‐15 and F‐16 aircraft. 2. active=Aircraft Control Technology‐Integration Vehicle. 3. pacir=Propulsion Aeronautical Control Integration Research.


Unfortunately Janes has not archived illustrations and photos from this 1994 article. From what I remember from the time the MATV and VISTA was brought up, Lockheed that needed to signal a willingness to incorporate TVC into what would have been the original F-16E, or F-16U (The original F-16 for the UAE, which the UAE only wanted to buy if the USAF committed to procuring as well) which they did not given the feedback they received from the customers at that point. Of course the AVEN and many other technologies developed or lessons learnt went into the F-22 and F-35 programs.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 31 Dec 2014 19:54

Boeing, Airbus, Korean Air Join To Bid For KF-X

SYDNEY – Airbus and Boeing are jointly attempting to unseat Lockheed Martin from South Korea’s KF-X indigenous fighter program, offering technology from Europe that could not be supplied from U.S. sources, industry officials say.

With Korean Airlines as the local partner, the pair are likely to be proposing the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as a base design for the KF-X.

The defense ministry’s procurement office, the Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA), issued a request for proposals for KF-X development on Dec. 23.

The Boeing-Airbus KF-X proposal should be an economical alternative to a fighter design of the defense ministry’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) that Korea Aerospace Industries has been expected to build with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin.

The U.S. limits the technology that its companies can transfer abroad. South Korea lacks technology in many fields, such as active, electronically scanning radar. But Airbus, as an airframe company, is probably involved in the Boeing bid as a supplier of stealth know-how that the U.S. company is not authorized to provide.

A budget of 8.6991 trillion won ($7.9171 billion) approved by the finance ministry this month must be intended to pay for development of the ADD KF-X. But parliament has not yet authorized that spending or the launch of full-scale development, nor can it do so before it votes on the government’s 2016 budget next December. In the meantime, KAL looks likely to submit the cheaper alternative, based on the Super Hornet, to DAPA in response to its request for proposals.

Industry officials previously told Aviation Week that Boeing was proposing the Advanced Super Hornet, an update of the F/A-18E/F with a weapons pod and conformal tanks. Other industry officials said Boeing was working with Korean Airlines. Now different officials say that Airbus is also on the team.

This is not the first time that Boeing has offered non-U.S. technology to South Korea. When proposing an advanced F-15 version called the Silent Eagle for the separate F-X Phase 3 fighter program, Boeing suggested technology transfer from Israel Aerospace Industries, an industry official says. Lockheed Martin won F-X Phase 3 with the F-35 and in return is supposed to back KF-X development.


With a 7 Billion Dollar budget, they can pretty much self-fund GE for all its plans for the F414 if they choose the engine.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 02 Jan 2015 06:44


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 02 Jan 2015 07:55

Never seen such bad helo pollution:






Jump start:


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 02 Jan 2015 08:03

^^

It gets the job done!

Want a sexier launch? Watch this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZIGKwhQ8dw#t=60

-------------

Musk @ MIT

[youtube]yx3auTD85Fw#t=87[/youtube]

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Manish_P » 04 Jan 2015 10:54

Good video of a pair of French Air Force Jaguars in very close formation

[youtube]?v=mieYuDB5zLM[/youtube]


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Shreeman » 14 Jan 2015 08:11

Image

Hwat, is the miltary market for these moskwitoes?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 15 Jan 2015 04:27

A few interesting videos from youtube:




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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby pankajs » 16 Jan 2015 21:53

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/new ... 910659.cms
Russian firm seals $1 billion deal to supply US rocket engines
MOSCOW: A Russian manufacturer on Friday announced a $1 billion deal to supply engines for the US Antares rockets making deliveries to the International Space Station.

Russian producer Energia said in a statement that it had signed the bumper deal to build 60 engines with private US firm Orbital Science, which has a $1.9 billion contract with NASA to supply the space station.

Deliveries of the new RD-181 engines would start in June, the statement said.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Austin » 20 Jan 2015 13:06

Shrouded in Mystery, New Bomber Makes Waves

WASHINGTON — In late spring or early summer, the US Air Force will decide who will build its next-generation bomber. Yet, despite all the hype and public interest, the program remains shrouded in mystery.

The Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program is stealthy, literally and figuratively. Few details are actually known about the bomber's capabilities or design. But the program's impact is already being widely felt throughout the Pentagon and its industry partners.

The half a dozen analysts and experts interviewed by Defense News for this piece all agree on one thing: the LRS-B has the chance to shape American military aerospace for the next 20 years. Whichever competitor wins will reap a windfall of development money; the loser could find itself out of the military attack airframe business entirely.

And while the program appears to be on track, Congress is waiting in the wings for any sign of cost overrun or technological problems.

"This is crunch time," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group. "It's the biggest single outstanding DoD competition by a very wide margin. That makes it important in and of itself."

Known Unknowns


The program is targeting a production line of 80-100 planes. It will replace the fleet of B-52 and B-1 bombers. It will be stealthy, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and optional manning has been discussed. A down-selection will be made this spring or early summer, with initial operating capability planned for the mid-2020s. Nuclear certification will follow two years after that.

The target price, set by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is $550 million a copy. To keep the price down, the Air Force is looking to use mature technologies that are available now, rather than launching new developments. At the same time, the program will have an open architecture approach for future technologies.

Unless there is a secret competitor still unknown — highly unlikely, but like many things with the program, impossible to rule out — there are two teams are bidding for the contract. One is Northrop Grumman, which developed the B-2 stealth bomber. The other is a team of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Together, those companies represent three of the top five defense firms in the nation.

Breaking down the rest of the program is a master class in the classic "known unknowns" phrase coined by Donald Rumsfeld. What equipment will it carry? Will it be in a flying wing shape? What is more important, stealth or speed? Will the planes, like the B-2, be so classified that they cannot be stationed abroad? If so, does that affect the range vs. payload tradeoff?

A source with knowledge of the program said the Air Force is likely looking at something smaller than a B-2, perhaps as small as half the size, with two engines similar in size to the F135 engines that power the F-35, so enhancement programs can also be applied to the bomber.

"They should go bigger [in terms of airframe], but Gates threw that $500 million figure out there without thinking through the overall effect and requirement," the source said.

Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, former deputy chief of staff for ISR, agreed that the focus on the $550 million figure may end up hurting the bomber's capabilities by driving the discussion from what the plane does to what can keep the price down.

"One of the biggest concerns is that this is going to turn into a cost shootout, and whomever can produce a 'technically acceptable' airplane at the lowest cost will be the winner, without any judgment or look at the ability for growth, the ability to connect to new technologies," he said. "That is a big concern amongst folks out there who are involved in this evolution."

And then there are the theories that the bomber is further along in its development cycle than it appears. Last year, J.J. Gertler, an analyst with the Congressional Research Service penned a memo noting that the bomber's budget profile looks more like a production than a research and development program, hinting that much of the technological development and testing has already occurred behind the scenes.

One analyst noted that some of that work could be based on technologies developed for the previous bomber recapitalization, which was canceled in 2009.

Mark Gunzinger, a retired Air Force official and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, argued that the mystery around the jet isn't a bad thing.

"We don't know performance specifics in terms of range, payload, low observability, what weapons, what missions, radar capabilities — all these specific performance details," he said. "Nor should we. Those should not be announced publicly. It is a black program and those kind of details now would do nothing but give our potential enemies more time to develop countermeasures."

Industrial Impact

One of the larger unknowns is how much weight the Air Force — or higher ups at the Pentagon — is putting on industrial base impact. The answer to that question could seriously affect on which of the Boeing/Lockheed or Northrop teams win.

Deptula said industrial base considerations "absolutely" need to be part of the calculus.

"It has been a factor in other segments of our defense architecture, and one could make the case that in the aerospace industry, it is perhaps even more important than in the shipbuilding industry," he said.

Asked about that topic on Jan. 14, William LaPlante, the civilian acquisition head for the service, indicated that while industrial base concerns are something the Pentagon is aware of in a broad sense, that is not specifically one of the criteria for the bomber program.

"There is a bigger picture of just making sure we understand when will [different programs] have a downselect, what will come out of that — it's almost like a game theory thing to understand the implications," LaPlante said. "It's at the strategic level. Occasionally you might put it into a single competition. I don't think that's the case on the LRS-B."

The stakes are high for all three companies, Aboulafia said. After this contract, the next attack airplane will be a new fighter in the 2030s, and then a follow-on bomber sometime after that.

If Northrop loses, the chances of it still having the infrastructure to compete for a jet 15 years from now, or on a bomber longer out, seem slim. Losing the contract now would essentially end that part of their business.

Boeing, too, is coming to the end of its time as an attack aircraft manufacturer, despite the company's best efforts to keep the F/A-18 Super Hornet line humming. While the KC-46A tanker remains a Boeing program, it, and many other products from the company, are commercial derivatives rather than a brand new design.

Awarding Northrop the bomber would spread out the US Air Force's three top recapitalization priorities among three companies. On the flip side, giving the contract to the Lockheed/Boeing team would mean that Lockheed Martin, the producer of the F-35, essentially has full control over Air Force combat aviation production.

Analysts are divided as to who would be favored if the industrial base is a high priority. On the one hand, an industrial base angle should benefit Northrop, as it would spread the major programs among competitors.

"If you want Northrop to stay in the game as a prime, and you don't want to see the entire combat air forces at Lockheed, you have to go with Northrop," noted the first source familiar with the program.

Aboulafia, however, questions whether there is truly enough work available to spread among the three firms.

"That presupposes the Pentagon has this illusion that there can be three military airframers, and that's living in a fantasy land," he said, adding that strengthening the two military primes in Boeing and Lockheed would be "appealing" to DoD.

Aboulafia also points out that the contract could have major implications for one long rumored transaction among aerospace analysts — the potential sale of Northrop's aerospace group to Boeing.

"If Northrop loses, it could tip things to being bought by Boeing because it would not have a new airframe to build," Aboulafia said. "If Northrop wins, it could make them a more attractive target, and do the same."

Once the primes are settled, the subcontractor battle is likely to be just as fierce, Aboulafia noted.

Spokespeople for both teams expressed confidence that they were offering the better option to the Air Force.

Another thing to keep an eye on is the fight over the engine. If F135-maker Pratt & Whitney wins that competition, it would give it a stranglehold on the US military engine market. Whether the Pentagon be OK with that, or look to award a contract to General Electric instead, is another known unknown.

Challenges Ahead?


Right now, the program is humming along, with strong support from inside the Pentagon.

Last week, outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel threw his weight behind the new bomber in a speech at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

"I think the Long-Range Strike Bomber is absolutely essential for keeping our deterrent edge," Hagel said. "We need to do it. We need to make the investments. We'll have it in the budget. It's something I have particularly put a priority on."

That commitment was echoed by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James at a Jan. 14 speech.

"When we roll out the FY16 budget, the budget line will be similar to what you saw in '15 projected into '16," James said. "We're on track for our competition, it remains a top priority and it is truly the future of our bomber force."

But some foresee challenges ahead as the bomber moves from a black, hypothetical program to one actually bending metal — and one that can become a high profile target for government spending watchdogs and the nonproliferation community.

"As the F-35 gets spun up, LRS-B will become a new target, especially with the arms control people," said the source with knowledge of the program. "This a big airplane, and it will cost a lot."

Several experts agreed that the larger threat to the program comes from internal budgetary pressures, as the bomber will be competing not just with other service priorities, but with programs like the Navy's Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine replacement, something Rebecca Grant of ISIS Research says the Navy is positioning as a "national asset" on Capitol Hill.

"The black program status makes it harder in my opinion to build support for the bomber," Grant said. "With new [Senate Armed Services Committee] leadership, the program will come under additional scrutiny as the first big budget wedges appear this year and beyond. So the USAF had best have its act together on why the bomber they pick is the right bomber now, in the hands of the right manufacturer."

Congress could also interfere with the program in another way. The loser could protest the award, which could set up not only a battle at the Government Accountability Office, but a public relations fight. High profile contract protests often result in each company tapping its preferred congressmen to lobby on its behalf.

According to public data analyzed by the non-profit OpenSecrets.org, Lockheed ($4 million), Northrop ($3.9 million) and Boeing ($3.1 million) were the top three contributors to congressional campaigns and affiliated political action committees from the defense sector in 2013-2014. All three companies also rank in the top 25 of US companies in terms of dollars spent on lobbying.

Drawing a direct line from dollars spent on campaigns and lobbying and results for certain programs is always a bit risky, especially given the breadth of each company's portfolio. After all, Boeing and Lockheed traditionally work against each other, while both companies work with Northrop on different programs.

But those figures illustrate how strong the ties are between industry and members of Congress, even before the key issue of industrial base in various districts comes into play. After all, representatives will always rally around whichever side will bring jobs to their constituents.

While Boeing and Lockheed each have their own local supporters, Northrop may be able to call on the California and Florida delegations following its decision to expand facilities at Melbourne International Airport, on Florida's Space Coast.

While a company official did not confirm that Northrop plans to work on a potential LRS-B in Florida, Sen Bill Nelson, D-Fla., told media in May that the company plans on using the facility for that purpose.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 20 Jan 2015 18:18

Nice article except the part about the "market guy" (Richard Aboulafia) calling for some sort of merger among Boeing and Northrop's integrated frame division. Northrop was not allowed to merge with Lockheed earlier, and if they try to spin off just their airframe division it is likely to also face stiff resistance from the regulators. Besides, they are already doing very well in unmanned systems and are in fact leading the other two in larger projects and are most likely to win the UCLASS program as well. Their production work on the JSF is second only to Lockheed itself, and they have had a lead on the principle for the F-18 program as well. They have positioned themselves as indispensable partners in advanced airframe projects thanks to their integrated approach to design, and as such they can probably get a lot of concessions as there really isn't another principle that the prime contractors can seek that brings such levels of expertise in integrated systems to the table. Although this program would be extremely important for them given that they are sort of the incumbents (Boeing could claim as well) but they have a host of other things on their table and plenty of planned things in the unmanned domain. The thing about the Long range Program is that if they have the intention to pick a company this year, they ought to have had designs on the pole by 2013 and must have had prototypes in the air by last year before sending out the final RFP's. Unlike the analyst or his employer, the US department of defense measures industrial strength through the amount of air-frame work you have currently going and what processes you are adopting to achieve a level of expertise in advancing techniques. There is no separate account to see how many fighter design teams are working as these are the same teams that would work on a potential fighter, or a potential next generation bomber, or an unmanned vehicle etc etc. You have the same challenges to solve there in materials, thermal management, aerodynamics, electronics, weight management, RCS management etc. This is the biggest myth flying around and no doubt perpetuated by interested parties. Boeing is going to benefit and play the " only one fighter manufacturer left" card when the F-18 orders dry up (soon)..yet when it comes to the next round of competition they would no doubt take a 180 degree position and claim to have the largest expertise on the matter having designed the F-22, F-18, B-2, X-32, YF-23, X-36, X-45 to name just a few.

Here is a fairly decent history on the last time there was a competition in the Long Range strike mission -

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/lockhe ... 1534057907
Last edited by brar_w on 20 Jan 2015 19:20, edited 1 time in total.


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