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International Aerospace Discussion

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Viv S
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Viv S » 25 Dec 2016 08:38

Neshant wrote:You have not presented any facts to counter what I've said.

Like I said, you need to first do your research before making any assertions. Thereafter, we can have an informed debate on the issue.

The JSF program is a text book case of how not to develop the next generation fighter. It offers little in the way of new technology over existing late generation F-16 fighters at a hugely inflated program cost.

^Case-in-point. If you think the F-35 offers 'little in the way of new tech over the F-16', then there's little scope for discussion until you've done the necessary leg work.

The fact that Trump made it a point to highlight the JSF massive cost overrun and the Lockheed Martin chief boondoggler claims to see the light is almost comical. At this point everyone realizes the taxpayer HAS been taken for a ride but can do nothing about it.

Trump making a point, is in itself a pretty apt point about informed & uninformed commentary.

As of 2015 :

Cost issues have also plagued the program, with an increase of 68% from its original cost per plane. Current estimates have the price tag at 1.5 TRILLION dollars over the life of the program, and a jet will now cost the taxpayers an astounding 178 million average per jet.

A layman might find an average acquisition cost of $178 million 'astounding'. On a defence forum OTOH, one expects folks to have a frame of reference leading to less naivety. (Finding out the unit acquisition costs of its peers might be a good place to start, I suggest.)

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Neshant » 25 Dec 2016 14:25

You cannot provide anything that counters the fact that the JSF is an aircraft with a massively inflated development & deployment cost with little to show for it. If you could, you'd be listing off technological breakthroughs this aircraft brought forth to justify its price tag. New technology development on this aircraft approaches zero. Its a recycling of known and in some cases old technologies put into a new bottle. From vertical take off to angled geometry for reduced visibility to radar. From thrust vectoring to super-cruise, nothing is new on it that had not already been around for 15 to 40 years ago.

What is new is how the projected cost managed to get so out of control on a plane featuring yesterday's technology.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby TSJones » 25 Dec 2016 16:14

neshant, you are coming in on the end on a number of years on this forum of intensive debate and supporting documentation concerning the jsf.\

everybody is just about wore out about starting anew again on refuting somebody who hasn't done the home work necessary to reach the level knowledge already gained by long time debaters,

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... -specs.htm

review the above link if you want to really know about the jsf and its variants.

but right off the bat you should note that the jsf model A has...

over 1000 nm range on internal fuel storage

can carry a number of weapons in an internal storage bay

and thus has a miniscule frontal rcs aspect.

plus the plane is net centric and can coordinate adhoc, on the fly with extensive comm/software capabilities with other supporting weapons systems.

now start googling and come up with other planes at the same level.

the onus is on YOU to do that.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Manish_P » 25 Dec 2016 19:45

^ And in the right thread.

The JSF thread is a goldmine of information (in no small measure due to one particular poster :) )

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 26 Dec 2016 09:14

F-35 ‘Not Out Of Control’: F-35A Prices Drop 5.5%

_ 42 F-35As (26 US, 16 foreign), the vanilla variant used by the Air Force and most foreign partners, at $102.1 million apiece — 5.5 percent less than the previous lot, LRIP 8, and 60 percent below the first fighters bought under LRIP 1.
* 13 F-35Bs (6 US, 7 foreign), the “jump jet” variant used by the Marine Corps and the Royal Navy, the most technologically challenging model, at $131.6 million apiece — 1.8 percent below LRIP 8.
* 2 F-35Cs (both US), the US Navy variant reinforced for tooth-rattling aircraft carrier takeoffs and landings, at $132.2 million apiece — a 2.5 increase over LRIP 8, but that’s because the Navy slashed its buy in half (from 4 planes to 2), losing economies of scale.

In other words, if you want to reduce the cost per plane, you really don’t want to reduce the number you’re buying.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby TSJones » 28 Dec 2016 02:19

Manish_P wrote:^ And in the right thread.

The JSF thread is a goldmine of information (in no small measure due to one particular poster :) )


I acknowledge Phillip's masterful stroke of genius in promoting the JSF by creating that thread.

kudos to Monsieur Fowler!

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 28 Dec 2016 02:33

NRao wrote:F-35 ‘Not Out Of Control’: F-35A Prices Drop 5.5%

_ 42 F-35As (26 US, 16 foreign), the vanilla variant used by the Air Force and most foreign partners, at $102.1 million apiece — 5.5 percent less than the previous lot, LRIP 8, and 60 percent below the first fighters bought under LRIP 1.
* 13 F-35Bs (6 US, 7 foreign), the “jump jet” variant used by the Marine Corps and the Royal Navy, the most technologically challenging model, at $131.6 million apiece — 1.8 percent below LRIP 8.
* 2 F-35Cs (both US), the US Navy variant reinforced for tooth-rattling aircraft carrier takeoffs and landings, at $132.2 million apiece — a 2.5 increase over LRIP 8, but that’s because the Navy slashed its buy in half (from 4 planes to 2), losing economies of scale.

In other words, if you want to reduce the cost per plane, you really don’t want to reduce the number you’re buying.


LRIP-10, currently being negotiated to completion (handshake expected this fiscal year with long lead contracts, and a $1.5 billion contract awarded) and it should lower the cost by an even larger %age given its higher production volume (from 53 to 90 aircraft). Lockheed CEO and the JPO have in their separate presentations to Trump, promised to get the contract negotiations complete a lot faster which could mean that we could have the contract finalized by the middle of next year.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 29 Dec 2016 06:28

brar_w: your assessment into the article below will be greatly appreciated...

F-35’s CFIT: Controlled Flight Into Trump
http://www.livefistdefence.com/2016/12/f-35s-cfit-controlled-flight-into-trump.html

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 29 Dec 2016 07:03

Trump has promised to reduce F-35 cost and has met both LM CEO and the program EO head to determine the best way to do it. As the statements coming out of the meetings suggested, the negotiations need to be made faster and there are pragmatic ways to do this. For starters LM and its team have to increase their investment in line with the previous administrations Better Buying power proposals and they have already done this through the blue-print for affordability initiative but they'll probably be required to do more. Secondly there needs to be long term security in terms of timelines, negotiations and contracts so that contractors and sub-contractors can make the investments required to boost capacity and are assured of reasonably decent margins with high volume. Uncertainty breeds mistrust and if contractors fear that their orders in the out years aren't assured or are threatened they'll naturally seek higher margin to offset the risk.

At the end of the day big or small, most of these contractors/sub-contractors and small businesses are responsible to shareholders or private entities financing them and they go to the market to raise money to drive R&D and ultimately invest to grow their business both organically or otherwise (M&A's). If you are going to reduce requirements or introduce uncertainty you'll have anxious investors demand higher margins just as any other business.

As of LRIP-9 the URF of the F-35A is at $102 Million and there is a plan in place to get it to $85 Million by time the full-rate-production kicks in just a few more blocks away. To get there you'll need assured commitment into increasing the production rate beyond the 90/year that is now happening in LRIP-10 now that its long lead contracts, and initial final contracts have been signed. There was a possibility to reduce cost faster by joining a multi-nation block buy and placing a bulk order for something like 400 aircraft starting as early as FY18 (this would have been towards the end of 2017). All partner nations and FMS could do it, but the US laws prevent (without either a waiver or re-drafting of the block buy agreement) the US customers (USAF, USN, and USMC) from adding their orders to the pool. Since the US orders in this production phase account for 50-60% of total production the cost-reduction would have been to the tune of something like $2 Billion had these come through. Perhaps they could look at this now given that a new administration has identified faster contracting, and lower cost as its end goal.

These are pragmatic ways of reducing the cost. Keep in mind that even at $102 Million, the USAF pays URF comparable or less to what many nations around the world, including India are paying for advanced 4th generation aircraft and these nations do not have budgets anywhere near those of the USAF. At $85 Million this would be comparable to the cost of a late model F-18E/F in then year dollars and even if the difference is in the 20% range that's still tremendous value in F-35 compared to the legacy F-16 or F-18.

On the Advanced F-18, the USAF won't buy it for it makes ZERO sense to them, and the USMC cannot buy it for they have these L class ships that will be orphaned which will fly totally against what the USN itself has identified as the concept most likely to succeed given its diverse set of threats (distributed lethality). The only service that can move orders to the right and buy interim 4+ generation aircraft in decent quantity is the USN with the Super Hornets, but they are already planning to do that, not because they are reducing the F-35C's but because they are using their F-18E/F's at a faster rate than they planned when they developed the end-strength requirement for that enterprise.

But keep in mind that the Admirals have huge fleets to fund and manage so NAVAIR generally is asked to look at mature, low risk investments when it comes to recapitalizing its fleet. This was true when they bought way more F/A-18A-C's once that program was mature, and was still true when they cancelled the A-X and N-ATF programs and siphoned the money to buy a lower-risk Super Hornet program. In the 2020's the F-35 will be a NO RISK, mature, de-risked program so expect the Navy leadership to try to milk it as they move their 6th generation aircraft program to the right to pay for more attack submarines, the next generation cruiser etc. [ Things could obviously change if the threat changes]

Most that I know view this move by Trump as a negotiation tactic right after praising the F-35 PEO for being a good negotiator in his unilateral "take it or leave it" offer to Lockheed on the Low Rate -9 Contract.

I'd watch LRIP-10 negotiations. It's a massive order (90 aircraft) and they've determined the price ceiling..Order for 99 engines to support LRIP-10 has already been finalized, and the aircraft order is being negotiated after Lockheed was paid $1.5 Billion to continue to produce these aircraft as the final contract was being negotiated (this is common practice on this and other programs that have long drawn out negotiations). They are anticipating a 5-7% cost reduction from LRIP-9 (Which had F-35A URF at $102 Million) but the "Trump Factor" could lead to some more savings ;).

The F-18E/F Advanced Hornet is not a stealth aircraft anymore than the F-15 Silent Eagle is Silent. Boeing marketing is obviously changing even this tactic after sitting on this variant for 2 years without any sale. It offers some good upgrades in propulsion, mission systems but it does not make it a stealth aircraft by any means. Not even legacy F-117 level let alone F-22 and F-35 levels. If it's a stealthy design why did boeing go in for internal weapons bays and massive internal fuel and "embedded antenna" design on the X-32?

Why does Boeing's F-X/NGAD proposal look like this??

http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content ... 979777.jpg

At the end of the day, here is the projected international western fighter market between 17 and 21..timeframe that covers all of Trump's term -

Image

How do you make America Great Again in terms of Aerospace jobs if you end up unilaterally surrendering significant (as in majority) demand for combat aircraft to foreign competitors :). Remember that through late LRIP and early LRIP foreign partners and FMS customers make up between 40% and 50% of the total production...A reduction in US orders will most likely see a reduction in foreign orders on account of higher unit cost (which will happen due to reduced numbers)..

An interesting thing to look at that is that Northrop Grumman exceeds Dassault in term's of $$ value of fighter aircraft work even though they are just sub-contractors for Boeing and Lockheed on the F-18E/F, EA-18G and F-35.
Last edited by brar_w on 29 Dec 2016 08:25, edited 14 times in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 29 Dec 2016 07:05

brar_w: as usual, you don't disappoint...thanks.

Farewell, "Netz"
http://www.iaf.org.il/4454-48864-EN/IAF.aspx

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby GShankar » 29 Dec 2016 07:09

And if we are really serious about "natpu" with DTA (Donald Trump Administration), we should offer to buy and build a few of these.

We are "only" trying to help a friendly govt. to save some money, no? And also some Engine ToT as a goodwill? :mrgreen:

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby TSJones » 29 Dec 2016 15:07

one consequence of the f-35 is that it has to be one of most publicly examined and debated a/c programs in history.

I can think of no other a/c development that has received so much attention especially from potential foreign enemies. :)

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Neshant » 29 Dec 2016 15:43

The only new thing to have come out of the F-35 project is the innovative helmet which allows the pilot to look through the aircraft.
But even that comes at a disadvantage as the helmet is kind of bulky and the pilot cannot easily turn around to see where the enemy is.

Perhaps the internal weapons storage is new - but really.. is that high tech or something a 3rd rate mechanic could design.
Stealth body - not really new but OK its an advantage at the expense of aerodynamics.
The controls are a confusing mess of re-scaling screens and option selections that increase pilot work load.

The lesson here as illustrated by the F-16 is that sometimes less is more.

Shocking that even with its enormously powerful engine, its still considered sluggish with no weapon load.
_____

Test Pilot: The F-35 Can't Dogfight Worth a Damn
Why the new fighter can't hang with the trusty F-16

The F-35 is an impressive disaster. On the one hand, its high-tech helmet is a technological marvel. The F-35B's hovering tricks are awe-inspiring. On the other hand, the Joint Strike Fighter is just out-and-out bad at some really basic fighter jet stuff. A new report from a test pilot really lays it bare: The F-35 can't dogfight.

The issues are laid out in a previously private but now non-classified report obtained by War Is Boring. In it, a F-35 test pilot enumerates his issues with the aircraft after a series of mock close-range engagements with the older, trusty F-16 back in January.

The pilot was flying a single-seat F-35A with no weapons in its bomb bay or under the wings. Meanwhile, his wargame adversary in an F-16 was dragging around two extra fuel tanks. Even so, the pilot reported that the F-35 was far too sluggish to hold its own.

War Is Boring quotes the pilot's report as saying, "Even with the limited F-16 target configuration, the F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage for every engagement." The pilot lists various gripes such as insufficient pitch rate, a persistent energy deficit compared to his opponent, and a bulky helmet that made it hard to look backwards. He summed it all up saying, "there were not compelling reasons to fight in this region." In other words, the F-35 couldn't hack it.


http://www.popularmechanics.com/militar ... -dogfight/
Last edited by Neshant on 29 Dec 2016 15:55, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 29 Dec 2016 15:46

Neshant, there is a thread where we have discussed all this a year or so ago including this very report (it was not a dogfight but a crafted test to test-and tweak the control laws of the aircraft using non operationally configured, test-equipment kitted EMD aircraft) which has been rebutted by actual pilots flying the aircraft, and ex-pilots with thousands of hours on others. The F-35 thread here has a lot of this information already with higher levels of details then you'll find on popular mechanics, war is boring et al. Moreover, Heritage did a survey across a few dozen actual F-35, F-16 and F-15 pilots to gauge their opinion on the aircraft across the performance range. It was overwhelmingly favorable.

https://fightersweep.com/2548/f-35-v-f- ... e-garbage/

The F-35 does not employ the same performance and design principles of the F-16 designed around 1970's requirements. It's performance is actually more similar to the Super Hornet than the F-16. However once you actually get into realistic combat loads, including realistic fuel states and weapon configurations you're essentially achieving parity or superiority.

This was also seen in the acceleration data based on the KPP where the F-35 out runs an F-16 during all but the very extreme left of the possible configurations (no EFT's and light loads) and can actually go supersonic (all the way up to Mach 1.6) with 5000 pounds of payload, and a full internal gas tank (>18,000 pounds of fuel). Leave aside Mach 1.6, the F-16 in this configuration cannot even go supersonic.

I've often said that the F-35A is essentially taking an F-15 Block 50, or F-18E and asking the designers to bring everything inside, and make the design stealthy. So all those extra bags got transformed into bigger fuel tanks, larger size to accommodate that, all those weapons came into the bay and all the sensors that generally hang from them became internal as well. That's exactly what the USAF and USN wanted..a more survivable, better performing block 50/52 F-16 or F-18C that could go up against the latest generation IADS and fighters and do well. Besides massive signature improvement over these aircraft what they decided to invest in was size for sensors..The F-35's radar at 1500 T/R modules for example is not very much smaller than that of the F-22's unlike the F-16 which doesn't have room for such a large radar or all the avionics equipment to be brought internally.

The F-35 is not a mini-F-22 but a product carefully crafted requirements that eliminated certain requirements in the interest of mass production and large quantity buys ( for example - supercruise and being able to maintain signature despite a large supersonic envelope is a KNOWN COST DRIVER - so out it went compared to the ATF).

Last edited by brar_w on 29 Dec 2016 16:29, edited 3 times in total.

Neshant
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Neshant » 29 Dec 2016 16:04

I doubt it matters what anyone says in favor or against the F-35 now.
So much money has been sunk into it that there is no choice but to produce it in large numbers whether its wanted or not.

There's a lesson to be learnt with regards to runaway programs of questionable return-on-investment.
Hopefully the management of the AMCA program will be executed more carefully.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 29 Dec 2016 16:16

Neshant wrote:I doubt it matters what anyone says in favor or against the F-35 now.
So much money has been sunk into it that there is no choice but to produce it in large numbers whether its wanted or not.

There's a lesson to be learnt with regards to runaway programs of questionable return-on-investment.
Hopefully the management of the AMCA program will be executed more carefully.


Value for money is determined by what you get in terms of requirements that are satisfied and the price paid. The French spent upwards of $40 Billion on the Rafale development and acquisition program iirc over the decades. You can also see how much the partner nations paid for the Typhoon and what the USAF paid for the F-22/ATF program.

For comparison, the JSF's SAR currently puts the program at below $400 Billion (in TY $, much less in Base Year dollars) when it comes to the design, development, testing phase plus the military construction (base upgrades) and production of more than 2400 aircraft for the three US services including hundreds of STOVL F-35B's. Before we go chasing a phantom "Trillion Dollar" Price Paid, let me clarify that the $390 some Billion for R&D, Construction and Procurement is actually paid over a time period ranging from 2000, when the program started its EMD phase, to 2038 when the current SAR estimates the last of the F-35's to be procured by the USAF is to be contracted.

I'd encourage you to read up on the F-16A and what was being written about it and the program back int he 70's and even the early 80's. You can perhaps start by watching this video.

As an exercise, one can look at what nations around the world are currently paying for variants of the Typhoon, Rafale, Gripen-E, F-16 and F/A-18 fighters and then compare it to wha the URF, APUC and PAUC is of the F-35. With development included (all R&D divided by production lot) the per unit acquisition cost of the F-35 through its cycle is $106 Million (current estimate)..How does this figure compare to say an Indian variant of the Rafale? Or the Kuwaiti variant of the Typhoon??

Image
Image

Poor management and technical hurdles have been there. There is no denying that and the transparent nature of the program, and the congressionally mandated public disclosures and reporting requirements (as part of the NM breach) make sure that this program's financials and timelines are an open book. However from a technical perspective its incumbent on program managers in the industry and the services to tackle these issues and not play monday-morning quarterback. That's what was done despite the NM breach (exactly why the law exists) with the re-baselining of the program at the turn of the decade and what has happened since then.

The STOVL technical difficulties were put behind and the variant is arguably the most impressive of the three becoming the first to declare IOC last year. As I have tried to explain over the last few pages, quite a few problems on the program actually began before it even started with WRONG assumptions on technical risk (that dictated schedule) and cost. If you start with overly optimistic and faulty assumptions you're likely to get results that do not match to those assumptions. Again, one lesson learnt was to tackle the requirements process head on and the laws were created that required an ICE prior to any ACAT-1 program start.

Now days, thanks largely to the experience on this program a program manager, eager to start getting funded on a major big ticket program cannot provide a simple overly optimistic cost estimate on the overall program or individual phase. It has to go through an independent cost estimate process by law, and most services make sure to go to multiple independent sources and then pick the higher estimate and fund according to that.

The NM breach process DOES NOT exist to make sure any program that goes over budget gets whacked. It exists so that if such a breach occurs, the program's management is held accountable, fact finding is conducted and the matter gets escalated to the Congress and the OSD that then determines whether the increase in funding, and schedule is a viable strategy and in the best national security interest. If it's determined that it is, then it survives and the program is given a chance to overcome its technical challenges and is re-baselined. If not it is cancelled. That's how the process is supposed to work. In this case, replacing legacy cold war fleet was critical and the capability the first stealthy, supersonic STOVL strike fighter int he world offered was considered enough to warrant a program re-baseline.
Last edited by brar_w on 29 Dec 2016 19:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 29 Dec 2016 19:04

Just to build up on the SAR supplied APUC and PAUC figures. Here is the SAR for the Super Hornet, and the same document* for the F-22. The F-18E/F SAR has TY cost based on 2011 data so is close to the 2012 $ number for the F-35**. For the F-22 we have 2010 data but that's still pretty close to the F-35's 2012 and if anything would have to be adjusted up.

Image

As you can see the F-35's APUC is roughly 50% of the F-22A and this is due to a combination of the scale as well as the requirements factoring in affordability. The same scale also provides a very competitive APUC to the F-18E/F which was no F-22 as far as production volume was concerned. More than 600 aircraft of the type (including Growlers) have been produced and production is still ongoing.

The cost competitiveness on the JSF program that allows them to acquire 5th generation capability at or slightly above 4+ price point is the VOLUME and SCALE of the program. Take that away and it becomes expensive. That's the reason why even at Low Rate Initial Production (10) they are producing 90 aircraft a lot. It is precisely because of this that any strategy that looks to bring down acquisition cost has to factor heavily the volume production..The closer they are to the one a day capacity of the production line in Fort Worth the more the economies of scale kick in just as they did on the F-16. That's how the production has been designed for this program.

* The huge difference between the PAUC and the APUC of the F-22A compared to the JSF and Rhino programs is essentially because they developed a very high end aircraft for a requirement of 500 or more aircraft and ended up procuring only 180 odd examples. It resulted in a disproportional allotment of total program spend towards Research and development compared to procurement.

** The F-35 APUC and PAUC represents the cost to develop, test and procure more than 350 STOVL F-35B's which have no counterpart in the F-22 or F-18E/F programs. The APUC includes the cost of close to 400 Rolls Royce Lift-Fans which nearly double the F-35 propulsion contract compared to the baseline engines on the A. It's not easy to deduct that cost to get more of an apples to apples cost comparison between the F-35 and the F-18E/F but looking at URF (Unit Recurring Fly-Away cost) should do the trick.


The current URF for F-35A (CTOL variant) as of LRIP-9 is $102 Million and this is expected to be $85 Million by Full Rate Production. Even at a production rate of 3-4 Super Hornet's a month, you'll be lucky to get a block III Rhino flying off the St. Louis line for under $70 Million (URF) and a block III is no Advanced Super Hornet ++ as Boeing has been pitching. Start adding things like the F-35's mission systems and improving its survivability and you could well be looking at a cost at or higher than the F-35A's URF but without the capability it brings to the fight. You''ll also have to up your total acquisition numbers because they are based on capability and you'll also need a lot larger Electronic Attack footprint. You'll probably be forced to double the Growler fleet and look to revive the EF-111 capability set within the USAF. In short, lot's of more expenditure, a larger air-force to sustain and diminished capability on the whole.

Buying suped up 4th generation aircraft at or above F-35 prices will be idiotic when your closest competitors are investing heavily into 5th generation programs.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby TSJones » 29 Dec 2016 22:42

one thing is for sure, nobody's mind is going to change on the f-35 development aspect regardless of transparency and public debate.

and you know what's really strange? the Russian critics and their supporters.if the plane is so poor a performer, why worry about it?

the governments that have committed to it are pretty much set on the program unless the US starts changing its mind. and again, why worry about a poor performer.

is all of this russian concern just because they fear India will buy into the program?

quite frankly, I see little chance of that, it just won't happen.

so it's a lot of argle bargle from a potential enemy over a supposedly poor performer bankrupting the US.

which really is very amusing to me, especially knowing NAVAIR's budget and next year's 10 count gator navy warfare ships requirements. :D

heck, next up is the air force's long range stealth bomber program.

hot diggity dog! :D

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 29 Dec 2016 22:45


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 03 Jan 2017 16:02

Neshant wrote:
What the F-35 shows is that a load of investments in developing that plane has only produced marginal technological gains and poor bang for the buck. India should be cautious not to simply rush the AMCA project through.



As for China having a 5th gen aircraft, get real. Rolling out an angled body airframe and sticking it over a 3rd or 4th gen aircraft does not produce a 5th gen aircraft.


Taking each point separately :

1) One would be hard pressed to actually justify statement 1. By all accounts the JSF is quite a big leap ahead from the aircraft it is replacing. Mainly the F-18 C , F-16 and the Harrier. The USAF gets a 5th generation, low-observable supersonic aircraft that not only has a powerful AESA radar upfront but the most powerful EW suite available to its tactical fleet in addition to multi-spectral ( block 4) IR apertures through the 6 EODAS sensors, and the EOTS upfront that will soon get a short wave channel as well. Not only that but now they have a tactical fighter that can go supersonic with 5000 pounds of payload even when kitted out for a mission radius in excess of 600 nautical miles. Under those parameters the F-16 behaves mostly like an C-130 rather than a tactical fighter.

The Marines get a low observable, supersonic STOVL aircraft to replace the harrier that can not only take off with a heavy payload from an L class ship but can also carry more payload, farther than the F/A-18C - their "heavy" fighter. This alone is a remarkable capability when one looks at the fact that their HARRIER replacement can actually out range and out-carry the F/A-18C's by a fairly substantial margin allowing them to essentially do away with operating 2 fighter types to cover the STOVL and concrete launched strike duties.

The F-35 carries more, farther, with better sensors and with much higher levels of sensor capability and interoperability than the F/A-18C. In fact, the USN's F-18E/F has to be kitted in a subsonic-mission profile to outrange and out-carry the F-35. The USN finally get a penetrating strike fighter after failing to get one independently or through joint efforts on the A-X and N-ATF programs. It also allows them to hedge the Navy strike fighter fleet as was shown just a couple of weeks ago when they had to ground the entire Super Hornet and Growler fleet for a couple of days.

As far as technological gain, it has improved upon what was done on the ATF. To touch on only a few areas (we can go further), it begins with incremental improvement in the radar capability (something the F-22 piggy backed on with its V(1) upgrade) to the EW suite being able to shrink the number of embedded antennas in the *antenna farm* down to 10 from nearly 2 dozen on the F-22 while still covering all of the same portions of the spectrum. Similarly, MADL is a significant improvement over the LPI IFDL on the F-22A and the F-35 has significantly improved upon the sensor fusion given the number of sensor inputs it utilizes in its targeting (one can look at the SLOC footprint on the F-22 vs F-35) and the fact that it networks far more effectively with other F-35's and the rest of the fleet.

All in all it is a healthy upgrade of technology in many areas over the F-22 the most important being in low-observability, how that low-observability is maintained and how signature is retained over the life of the aircraft. So much so that the ACC boss (at the time) has publicly said that the F-35 offers a lower signature than the F-22A in the RF spectrum.

The F-35 was not an F-22 replacement. It was not supposed to fly faster, higher or longer (supersonic) than the F-22. It was meant to take over the missions of the F-16 block 50/52, F/A-18C, and the Harrier, none of which involve doing what the F-22A does. Unless all one focuses on is bombing ragtag militias and terrorists there isn't a mission area that these three aircraft cover where the F-35 does not offer a substantial leap in capability. In fact one can argue that with the F-35A the USAF can now seriously think about not only covering the F-16C mission set but also taking over some duties from the F-15C enterprise as it is reduced and upgraded aircraft moved to support gaps in the F-22 deployment requirement. You couldn't do that with ANY variant of the F-16..physical size and capacity being the biggest impediment to get there.

Why not go to see what someone that has actually flown extensively on 4th generation aircraft and fifth generation aircraft (F-22 and F-35) has to say? Maybe these pilots actually know something..but then again, may be not.



Regarding value for money/ bang for the buck : What defines value for money? Does the $9+ Billion deal for 36 Rafale's offer value for money? Does a $70 Million F-18E acquired in 2019 offer better "value for Money" than a $95 Million F-35A acquired in 2017/18? Is a $60 Million dollar F-16 V (hypothetical price) better than a $85 Million F-35A at FRP? Does having 150 F-16V's offer better value than 100 F-35A's?? As I have pointed out on a NUMBER of occasions, google F-35 2016 SAR and go through the URF prices over the batches for USAF and USN (B and C) acquisition and compare what the USAF spends on acquiring F-35A's vs what other modern air-forces are spending on acquiring advanced 4th generation aircraft at the moment. Do an 'honest' assessment going directly to the source (and not the popular mechanics, war is boring route) and tell me why it makes sense for nations around the world to spend upwards of $100 Million fly-away on a Rafale, Typhoon or advanced Hornet, while the F-35A at LRIP (9) price of $102 Million does not offer enough "bang for the buck".

2 ) From what little evidence we have, the Chinese have approached their 5th generation aircraft in a systematic fashion with dedicated front aspect low-observable treatment, attention to sensor development, a well thought out weapons bay design (given likely roles for the J-20 and J-31) and given the constraints of their technology. Given a defensive scenario they are unlikely to need the all-aspect stealth that the F-22 and F-35 design team had to bake in.

They also have serious propulsion constraints and can't rely on it to 'save the day' as Pratt and Whitney did on the ATF and again on the JSF programs allowing designers to seek improvements in propulsion to carry them over the last hurdles in requirements. Overall their work is quite impressive given where they stand vis-a-vis their aerospace sector and capability. Full marks to them for trying and for creating something that can be quite useful when put into their operational construct when it is finally ready.

Taking a 4th generation aircraft and sticking an 'angled' body over it (whatever that means) is actually what Boeing has tried to pull off with it's Advanced Super Hornet, and Silent Eagle concepts. 5th generation aircraft that come with stringent LO requirements have to be designed inside out with a lot of focus directed towards passive means of detection, It's pointless to cover the RF spectrum (signature) while not addressing other means of being detected (ESM and IR).

One area to look at is the nozzle, and the signature management and other measures used in the F-119, and F-135 engines. We've discussed it here a couple of times but one could get into how these two engines address this issue. Another aspect is to look at EMCON and design LPD-LPI sensors and data links while also allowing for proper interoperability within those constraints. The technology has to enable a viable operational construct and CONOPS and this is what has been refined over the decades given the USAF's experience with operating LO aircraft.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 05 Jan 2017 07:25

Neshant wrote:
NRao wrote:If they focus on the II, then the AMCA gets delayed. And, that to me, is unacceptable. IMHO, in all respects, the AMCA has got to be the crown jewel of air crafts in India.


Sorry i don't agree. The huge expense on the F-35 did not yield any major technological breakthroughs despite its claim to being a 5th gen aircraft. There is a rather weak case for spending tons of money for what is largely a 4+ gen aircraft covered with an angled surface airframe.


Honestly, what technological breakthroughs were you expecting that it did not deliver? If one actually went through the program requirements (there is an excellent AIAA article on the genesis of that aircraft). There were limited areas where they looked to expand upon the work that was done on the Advanced Tactical Fighter program.

Some of these areas were -

- Affordable, maintainable stealth RAM and coatings - Obtained through FiberMat which was actually in development for a future F-22 variant but was deferred to the JSF (they picked up where they left off)
- Avionics integration
- Mulit-spectral sensor integration
- Interoperability and Connectivity
- Man Machine Interface
- A cutting edge PHM system
- Open Mission Systems

By all accounts on each of these categories they have delivered a superior product (OMS is a block 4/5 capability given the delay in actually getting industry to agree to a set standard). The other requirements called for a strike fighter that largely kept all out performance between the two most prevalent aircraft in the USAF and USN in the F-16C and F/A-18C. This was done to stay at aproximately half (or better) the APUC of the F-22A.

Oh, and then there was a thing about packaging all of this capability on a variant that can fly supersonic like an F-16 or F/A-18, land vertically like a Harrier and yet get you a radius/payload in between the F/A-18C and the F/A-18E. Pretty simple right??

If you stack your performance to the extreme right of the multi-role fighter envelope while also demanding all of this you end up with an extremely expensive aircraft. High Altitude performance, high Mach supercruise (F-22A manages to get better than Mach 1.7 as per its KPP parameters vs a requirement of Mach 1.5) and overall supersonic radius comes at an economical cost, a price no one can afford for a "quantity" fighter that has to balance capability with cost in order to be acquired in the numbers.

If you expected something different, then you honestly need to read up on the program and what the USAF and USN wanted. Keep in mind that during the give-and-take between requirements, the USN insisted on a more capable aircraft in terms of a larger aperture radar and EOTS on each and every aircraft. The USAF did not want it in the interest on keeping the APUC low enough but it was a price they accepted given USN's involvement (>600 aircraft between them and the USMC).

Not a different approach from the F-15 and F-16 with one key difference - The F-35 does not compromise on range, payload, fuel state, and sensors size and numbers. The Radar is larger (T/R module count) than an F-18E/F and fits in between it and the F-22A's, the front Mid Band IR is expanding to get another Short wave infra red and the EODAS capability is designed to be sensitive enough to act as a short ranged 360 degrees IRST along with the ability to track blue and red forces in real time, continuously and simultaneously to other tasks.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Neshant » 05 Jan 2017 08:24

brar_w wrote: Some of these areas were -

- Affordable, maintainable stealth RAM and coatings - Obtained through FiberMat which was actually in development for a future F-22 variant but was deferred to the JSF (they picked up where they left off)
- Avionics integration
- Mulit-spectral sensor integration
- Interoperability and Connectivity
- Man Machine Interface
- A cutting edge PHM system
- Open Mission Systems



My man 90% of the above is just marketing hype.

- RAMS coating - can and has be applied to just about any aircraft & missile.
- Avionics integration - is what occurs on every aircraft known to man.
- Multi-spectral - multi wavelength optical sensors already exists as "ball/bubble" turrets on the front & underneath aircraft - and as a payload option. Used for aircraft/missile/threat detection as well as for ground/undersea recon & targeting.
- Man Machine Interface - its a mess in the J-35 with the bulky helmet and cluttered touch screen. The only progress here is that the helmet mounted sights allow the pilot to see through the aircraft.. but apparently its not easy for the pilot to turn his head around with all that bulk.
- PHM System - I'm not sure what PMH standands for. Pilot Helmet M...?
- Open Mission Systems - open in what way? The same can be done on any 4th gen aircrafts that has avionics that sit on a communications bus.

To me 5th gen should be one of either
- AI integrated - i.e. IBM Watson or Google Deep Mind type intelligence
- Hypersonic cruise for some distance
- Direct energy weapons that can take out an aircraft at "long" (5+km) range
- Self sealing/healing airframe or fibres
- Chameleon skin - Aircraft skin which optically cloaks the plane by projecting the background to the foreground.
- Metal 3D printed parts for 25% of the plane.

Otherwise may as well stick to 4+ gen aircraft until the above technologies and more mature.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 05 Jan 2017 08:57

My man 90% of the above is just marketing hype.


I suggest you read up on some of this stuff from actual academic work published on the matter. IEEE, AIAA and NTIS have some really good stuff on a lot of this. Additionally there has been some good reporting off and on by Aviation Week, IDR, and some detailed operator community accounts shared by SLD. If one want's to see how the JSF is different from the ATF in each of the categories I've mentioned one can get a very good idea by approaching these sources.

RAMS coating - can and has be applied to just about any aircraft & missile.


The material I'm referring to is not a "coating", it's baked in. Google - Fiber Mat. Coatings are over and above that. FiberMat reduces the need for coating and its reapplication compared to the F-22. Even the coatings on the F-35 is superior to that on the F-22, hence the F-22 program chose it a few years ago going forward.

They've tested panels and scaled vehicle constructed using it before and after fatigue, injury and actual structural damage and the results were miles apart from what happened to the ATF. It's quite a significant leap and was a requirement since you are no longer buying a silver bullet force but looking to field 1000+ stealth strike fighters around the globe.

Try to understand why the ACC Boss (at the time) said that the F-35 was the stealthiest fighter they have (and not the F-22) and why this was later stated again by a few others equally as influential and 'in the know'. There is some good reporting around this, especially of late. Some of it has been posted by others here. Again, a matter less talked about, buried in classification but there are nuggets floating around as to why this may be.

Some Help, AvWeek (a few months ago)

The low-observable materials developed for the B-2 and F-22 kept RCS small, but their maintenance burdens proved heavy. Their durability disappointed, necessitating frequent replacements that ballooned support costs and time while restricting aircraft availability. RAM fillers tend to be spherical, a few to tens of micrometers in size and densely packed, which is good for absorptive qualities but bad for durability. Bonding them to aircraft surfaces also proved troublesome.

From the beginning of the F-35 program, Lockheed’s goal was achieve acceptable stealth while reducing maintenance needs. Use of several RAM techniques continued, including S-curved, RAM-lined ducts, edge treatments and what appear to be picture frames abutting many gaps. Early reports also indicated the number of parts making up the skin would be minimized and laser-alignment would fit pieces so precisely “that 99% of maintenance requires no restoration of low-observable surfaces,” Lockheed says. The goal was likely to make the intensive gap-bridging procedures unnecessary.

But during development, something happened. First, program officials began hinting the F-35 might be stealthier than the F-22; hard to believe, given its less-disciplined shape. Then officials started referring to a material secret, a “conductive layer . . . where the magic happens.” In May of 2010, Tom Burbage, then executive vice president for the F-35 program, disclosed the incorporation of “fiber mat” technology, describing it as the “biggest technical breakthrough we’ve had on this program.”

The fiber mat would replace many RAM appliques by being cured into the composite skin, making it durable. Burbage further specified the mat featured a “non-directional weave”— which would ensure EM properties do not vary with angle. Baked into the skin, this layer could vary in thickness as necessary. Lockheed declined to provide further details, citing classification. Without further evidence, fiber mat would imply use of fibers, rather than particles, which would make for stronger surfaces and the word “conductive” points to carbon-based RAM.

But only a month before Burbage’s disclosure, Lockheed filed a patent claiming the first method of producing a durable RAM panel. The patent details a method for growing carbon nanotubes (CNT) on any kind of fiber—glass, carbon, ceramic or metal—with unprecedented precision in control of length, density, number of walls, connectivity and even orientation. The CNT-infused fibers can absorb or reflect radar, and connectivity among the CNTs provides pathways for induced currents.

Significantly, the CNTs can be impregnated with iron or ferrite nanoparticles. Fibers can have differing CNT densities along their lengths and homogenous fibers can be layered or mixed. The embodiments described include front layers with impedance matching air, use of quarter-wavelength depths for cancellation, stepped or continuous CNT-density gradients and continuously varying densities at specific depths for broadband absorption. The fibers can be disposed with “random orientation” in materials including “a woven fabric, a non-woven fiber mat and a fiber ply.”

The patent claims composites with CNT-infused fibers are capable of absorbing EM waves from 0.1 MHz to 60 GHz, a bandwidth unheard of in commercial absorbers, with particular effectiveness in L- through K-band. The patent does not quantify the absorptivity, but does say the panels would be “nearly a black body across . . . various radar bands.” Also, interestingly, a layer can be composed so an attached computer can read the induced currents in the fibers, making the layer a radar receiver.

While the patent mentions stealth aircraft, it does not mention the F-35 specifically, and the manufacturing readiness level of the material at the time it was granted is not known. But the proximity in timing and technology of the filing to the “fiber mat” disclosure is hard to ignore.



What Exactly the ACC Boss said (at a time he was still with the ACC)

The F-35′s cross section is much smaller than the F-22′s. “The F-35 doesn’t have the altitude, doesn’t have the speed [of the F-22], but it can beat the F-22 in stealth.” - Mike Hostage Commander, Air Combat Command (Retired January, 2015)


Avionics integration - is what occurs on every aircraft known to man.



Again, try to read up on how the integrated avionics architecture on the JSF is different from the ATF, what role the Mission Computers play and how they are kept up to date. I've supplied technical description of the difference here over the last few years. Go through it and try to understand why the SLOC footprint on the F-22 and F-35 mission vehicle differs by a factor of greater than 5x, and why the programatic footprint differs by > 10x.

Multi-spectral - multi wavelength optical sensors already exists as "ball/bubble" turrets on the front & underneath aircraft - and as a payload option. Used for aircraft/missile/threat detection as well as for ground/undersea recon & targeting.


Look at how it is integrated through the mission systems and how each and every sensor (6 EODAS, 1 EOTS, the Radar, 10 embedded EW arrays in the wings and tails, and the multiple MADL terminals are fused) not only provides a picture to be fused but cooperatively works with others onboard an aircraft, and through the CNI those onboard other aircraft to develop that common battlefield picture. How autonomy aids cooperative targeting in a JSF four ship (or more), how the CNI system assumes a critical role in actual targeting, detection, classification and SA build up etc.

For the ATF avionics architecture you can go straight to the horse's mouth HERE. For JSF consult the avionics magazine, microwave journal, SLD, Association of Old Crows (their Journal) and try to see if Amy Butler's (ex Aviation Week) older articles are still on their website.

Man Machine Interface - its a mess in the J-35 with the bulky helmet and cluttered touch screen. The only progress here is that the helmet mounted sights allow the pilot to see through the aircraft.. but apparently its not easy for the pilot to turn his head around with all that bulk.


Do you base this on your personal experience of the aircraft? I'm talking about Gen. 3 and 3+ helmet, the current MFD's and how the sensor fusion is displayed to the pilot. Again, SLD is full of actual pilot opinion on how it works. Unless you have flown the aircraft, or the simulator I'd rather read up on what those that are actually flying it have to say, and those that write and talk about have to tell.

Guess how future MMI is taken off in NG projects? SAAB borrowed the F-35 "Back-Up helmet" (Less capable) and virtually copied the cockpit display layout on the Gripen-NG. Boeing did the same on the Silent/Advanced F-15 and F-18. None of them offer the full extent of the capability that the JSF MMI offers but the influence is for all to see. Of course none of them can boast of having the ability to do short range IRST work, detect anything from a ground artillery to ballistic missile, classify it, put it on a track pass the information along and do it in the 360 degrees, all the while still looking (continuously and uninterrupted) for hostile aircraft, tracking friendlies, and warning against missiles etc.

PHM System - I'm not sure what PMH standands for. Pilot Helmet M...?


IF you read up on the program, I'm sure you'll come across what the term means.

pen Mission Systems - open in what way? The same can be done on any 4th gen aircrafts that has avionics that sit on a communications bus.


Don't confuse Open architecture with true OMS. They are different. OMS isn't a result of he JSF but it exists as an effort largely due to it and its investment.

Neshant wrote:To me 5th gen should be one of either
- AI integrated - i.e. IBM Watson or Google Deep Mind type intelligence
- Hypersonic cruise for some distance
- Direct energy weapons that can take out an aircraft at "long" (5+km) range
- Self sealing/healing airframe or fibres
- Chameleon skin - Aircraft skin which optically cloaks the plane by projecting the background to the foreground.
- Metal 3D printed parts for 25% of the plane.

Otherwise may as well stick to 4+ gen aircraft until the above technologies and more mature.



Good luck with that!

Otherwise may as well stick to 4+ gen aircraft until the above technologies and more mature.


Tell that to the more than dozen nations around the world currently operating, developing, acquiring or planning to acquire 5th generation capability in the form of the F-22A, F-35A,B,C, T-50, KF-X, ATD-X, J-20, J-31, T-X and AMCA. If only we had posted here about a *hypersonic-cruise capable*, *DEW firing*, *Self-healing*, *IBM Watson/Google Deep Mind type intelligence possessing* 5th generation fighter earlier they all could have saved a boat load of money and embarked on a 60 year development project to replace their F-16's, F-18's, Mig-29's, Mirage 2000's, Harrier's etc . Wonder why the idiots (professional airmen) around the world didn't think of these features to seek in a 5th generation aircraft.

I think if you can go Mach 10, and shoot lasers at long range you can do away with the chameleon skin in the interest of making the aircraft less complex. With all the requirements-discipline one has shown with NOT getting carried away with pie in the sky requirements, why splurge on some chameleon skin?? Let's leave that for 5.5 generation.

We don't wan't to be accused of the dreaded "Requirements Creep" now do we?
Last edited by brar_w on 05 Jan 2017 17:15, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby TSJones » 05 Jan 2017 14:40

its amazing that a program has drawn such stout opposition from those not even affected by it.

one wonders what the true motivation is.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 05 Jan 2017 21:38

One advantage of having 8 of them is that you could always use a few if you run out of bombs ;)


Engine Drops Out of B-52 During Training at Minot Air Force Base

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 06 Jan 2017 00:06

DARPA discloses endurance record for diesel-powered UAV
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced on 4 January a world-record breaking endurance flight for a diesel-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), with a nearly 56-hour sortie flown by a craft built by Vanilla Aircraft of Falls Church, Virginia.

The flight of aircraft VA001 began on 30 November 2016 at New Mexico State University's Unmanned Air Systems Flight Test Center near Las Cruces International Airport, and saw the UAV fly at an altitude of between 6,500 ft and 7,500 ft and averaging 57 kt before landing on the afternoon of 2 December.

A representative from the National Aeronautic Association - the organisation that verifies and tracks flight-related world records - certified the flight as achieving the world duration record for combustion-powered UAVs in the 50-500 kg subclass (FAI Class U-1.c Group 1). Moreover, the flight was the fourth-longest for any unmanned aircraft and the 11th-longest for an aircraft of any type (manned or unmanned, solar or fuel-powered).

According to DARPA, the event was actually terminated several days ahead of schedule due to incoming bad weather conditions, and VA001 landed with more than half a tank of fuel still onboard. It added that the UAV is capable of setting additional records for powered flight in its weight and power class, and could ultimately offer important new capabilities to ground forces and others.

As noted by the agency, current UAV designs offer relatively limited range and flight endurance, and their need for frequent refuelling, specialised launch and recovery equipment, and regular maintenance often limit them to flying from fixed bases close to the front lines. Vanilla's propeller-driven VA001 is designed to carry a 30 lb (13.6 kg) payload at 15,000 ft for up to 10 days without refuelling.

UAVs are said to be ideally suited to missions that are 'dull, dirty, and dangerous', and the long-endurance capabilities demonstrated by the VA001 would certainly stand it in good stead to take on many of the 'dull' roles, such as communications relay, surveillance, and maritime patrol.

A further asset of having a diesel powerplant is that operators would be able to use the same fuel that they would already be using for their vehicles and other support equipment, reducing logistics trains and easing operations.



Image

Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 06 Jan 2017 00:37

To me 5th gen should be one of either
- AI integrated - i.e. IBM Watson or Google Deep Mind type intelligence
- Hypersonic cruise for some distance
- Direct energy weapons that can take out an aircraft at "long" (5+km) range
- Self sealing/healing airframe or fibres
- Chameleon skin - Aircraft skin which optically cloaks the plane by projecting the background to the foreground.
- Metal 3D printed parts for 25% of the plane.


That would be a very dumb "plane".

Task Watson to use his intelligence to grow a pair of wings and flap them. A true next-gen product.

Rest of that list is trivial for Watson.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby TSJones » 06 Jan 2017 02:22

interesting discussion on why space x rocket exploded last year.

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

space x does their fueling different than everybody else.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Neshant » 06 Jan 2017 06:40

NRao wrote:
That would be a very dumb "plane".

Task Watson to use his intelligence to grow a pair of wings and flap them. A true next-gen product.

Rest of that list is trivial for Watson.


Optimal aircraft design is exactly what AI can accomplish but it needs a training set.

AI is already being tried to dynamically adjust the flight control laws in the event the aircraft is hit with a SAM/AAA/bullets.
The objective is to stabilize the aircraft sufficiently (even through it may have gaping holes in its wings & fuselage) to land it in one piece.

Also in learning how to accurately land dumb bombs right on target. i.e. moment of release based on airspeed, windspeed, momentum, angle of attack, altitude.. etc.

That however pales in comparison to AI's potential use in understanding and adapting to the overall battle field.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Neshant » 06 Jan 2017 07:15

The material I'm referring to is not a "coating", it's baked in. Google - Fiber Mat. Coatings are over and above that. FiberMat reduces the need for coating


Reduced radar signature from carbon composites as opposed to an all metal airframe is 4th gen technology.

Is fibremat a new technology beyond this or mere marketing hype. I guess we will never know.

why the SLOC footprint on the F-22 and F-35 mission vehicle differs by a factor of greater than 5x, and why the programatic footprint differs by > 10x.


What specifically is the difference - without the hype I mean.

Look at how it is integrated through the mission systems and how each and every sensor (6 EODAS, 1 EOTS, the Radar, 10 embedded EW arrays in


They embedded sensors around the aircraft and it feeds data to the main computer. Its evolutionary not revolutionary. The EODAS are just cooled IR sensors, the EOTS is available on most modern 4+ aircraft as part of the aircraft.

I'm talking about Gen. 3 and 3+ helmet, the current MFD's and how the sensor fusion is displayed to the pilot. Again, SLD is full of actual pilot opinion on how it works. Unless you have flown the aircraft, or the simulator I'd rather read up on what those that are actually flying it have to say, and those that write and talk about have to tell.


A lot of these guys are giving biased opinions for fear of not ever being invited again to review military gear. Or having their careers in the aerospace industry affected with a negative review. Consequently all reviews are positive. As to whether new ways of displaying info to the pilot actually makes a difference in combat or disorients him with needless info, it remains to be seen.

Don't confuse Open architecture with true OMS. They are different. OMS isn't a result of he JSF but it exists as an effort largely due to it and its investment.


Essentially you can have an open mission system on an open hardware architecture system. But you would not know that with the endless 3 and 4 letter acronyms & buzzwords being invented by this industry to dazzle & confuse customers.

capability in the form of the F-22A, F-35A,B,C, T-50, KF-X, ATD-X, J-20, J-31, T-X and AMCA.


None of these are real 5th gen aircraft.
Canada was smart enough to realize this and dropped out of the JSF project.
The rest are in it too deep to pull out. In that sense the only winner is LM which managed to rope taxpayers in so deep that there's no way out.

Good luck with that!
Wonder why the idiots (professional airmen) around the world didn't think of these features to seek in a 5th generation aircraft.


The idiots are currently the taxpayers.
Its the bad luck of taxpayers that this project began early when no solid 5th gen technologies had been matured.

why splurge on some chameleon skin??


The whole point of moving from 4th to 5th gen aircraft is to incorporate technologies of today & tomorrow, not yesterday.

The lesson here is not to rush into doing the next gen aircraft until next gen technologies have emerged.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 06 Jan 2017 10:06

Morphing wings for you. On a test bed.



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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 06 Jan 2017 15:53

Reduced radar signature from carbon composites as opposed to an all metal airframe is 4th gen technology.

Is fibremat a new technology beyond this or mere marketing hype. I guess we will never know.


This isn't your standard carbon composites but RAM that is baked right into it. There is a difference as the article describes. This isn;t simply upping the carbon fiber %age on the frame from X to X++ as anyone that reads up on it can deduce.

Again, go into carbon composite research in aerospace, and find me another example of FiberMat or similar RAM infused into the structure is applied on a large aerospace project. Post it here for all to see .

If this is 4th generation technology, you shouldn't find it hard to find examples of it going back to say the 1970's, 80's and 90's. Why then does the F-22 which must be 3rd or 4th generation (as per your writings) not include this?

The fiber mat would replace many RAM appliques by being cured into the composite skin, making it durable. Burbage further specified the mat featured a “non-directional weave”— which would ensure EM properties do not vary with angle. Baked into the skin, this layer could vary in thickness as necessary. Lockheed declined to provide further details, citing classification. Without further evidence, fiber mat would imply use of fibers, rather than particles, which would make for stronger surfaces and the word “conductive” points to carbon-based RAM.


What specifically is the difference - without the hype I mean.


I would suggest you read up on how sensor fusion works on the F-35. I've posted a lot of material here and there is plenty of stuff published. You can research it. There is a lot of misconception that one can develop if one only concentrates on tabloid sources for information on this and other program. One such example was when you claimed that $1 Trillion had been spent on the program as one would be expected to say if one read some of the click bait articles on it.

However, when it comes to how the combined picture is developed leveraging on-board and off board sensors through the CNI (through an automated process) and how the data files contribute to the joint picture one can realize why the software workload on the JSF program is so extensive even compared to the last 5th generation aircraft developed by the same OEM. There isn't an app store full of games in there. There is a reason why the F-22 has about 2 Million SLOC on its combat system, why the F-18E/F has around a Million and why the F-35 has close to 8 Million.

They embedded sensors around the aircraft and it feeds data to the main computer. Its evolutionary not revolutionary. The EODAS are just cooled IR sensors, the EOTS is available on most modern 4+ aircraft as part of the aircraft.


Nothing is revolutionary about any aircraft. We are talking about technology advancement over the ATF. Of course if your definition is so messed up as in requiring Hypersonic cruise, nothing will match expectations because it is so far removed from reality to make any difference...

I would recommend you read on how the EW, EODAS and EOTS are tied along with the radar and a very extensive CNI suite how targets are detected in the 360, classified handed off and continuously tracked. Most aircraft have MAWS perform missile warning functions..the difference with the F-35 is that it detects, classifies, tracks everything form ballistic missiles at long range, missiles launched at the aircraft and friendlies (and actually tells the aircraft based on missile launch characteristics whether it is directed at it or not), blue and red forces (constantly tracks your friendlies in a furball despite the clutter and confusion).

PID is developed leveraging these sensors, the EW suite and confirmed through the CNI in a multi-ship (autonomously)...THey've even been able to pick up ground artillery and arms fire..not only is the sensor sensitive enough to get that information the processing and fusion is adequate to turn that into a tactically useable set of information. There is a reason why the team that does the EW data files for the F-22 and B-2 programs is struggling with he workload on the F-35 program (Eglin EW labs)..the number of parameters are the largest they have been for them on any program.

A lot of these guys are giving biased opinions for fear of not ever being invited again to review military gear. Or having their careers in the aerospace industry affected with a negative review. Consequently all reviews are positive. As to whether new ways of displaying info to the pilot actually makes a difference in combat or disorients him with needless info, it remains to be seen.


Review military gear? Are you serious? These aren't cell phones we are talking about. There are also anonymous surveys taken among a fairly substantial cohort of actual pilots. But I guess we should read more from folks in the blogosphere who's only credible military experience is that they spent some time in Afghanistan as a journalist or not even that. What do you offer in terms of expertise that should put your opinion on MMI and how it is implemented above theirs?

And then there are other NG paths that have kind of clearly been inspired by the JSF layout. Gripen NG folks went to BaE and asked them to provide their F-35 backup helmet..the less ambitious backup to the current HMD that the program kept funded incase the current one did not go through. They've also gone with the same all touch, flat panel display philosophy on their NG offering and Boeing has done the same as well on their prototypes for the Silent Eagle and Advanced Hornet.

Lo and behold Sikorsky, and Bell have again adopted a similar approach on their FVL technology demonstrators. But of course they must be "biased" reviewers too. There's even a picture here somewhere of a proposed AMCA simulator layout with an all touch panel.

So why again should you're opinion be valued more than the actual pilots flying it, the designers designing these systems for not only the JSF but for practically every other next generation fighter, attack aircraft, or helicopter?

Essentially you can have an open mission system on an open hardware architecture system. But you would not know that with the endless 3 and 4 letter acronyms & buzzwords being invented by this industry to dazzle & confuse customers.


What does this even mean? Which customer is being confused here?

None of these are real 5th gen aircraft.


As per who? You? Here is what I think. You provided a definition of 5th generation. You created a set of requirements on you own. What is to stop someone from creating their own and calling your pie int he sky requirements as BS and only representing 4th generation technology?

[Troll Mode] Here is what I propose...Anything short of this is NOT 5th generation -

- Mach 50 Hypercruise fo 200 km
- Ability to regenerate after shoot down
- Hyperinteligence
- Invisibility across the visual and IR spectrum
- Long range DEW with minimum range of 200km
- At least 65% 3D printed components because 25% is so 4th generation...
- Ability to fly in space

On top of this I want it to come in at $60 Million a pop because $85 Million URF is too expensive [/Troll Mode].

Canada was smart enough to realize this and dropped out of the JSF project.


Canada has dropped out of the program? Really? Why then did they just pay $33 Million to the JPO this summer to remain a part of the program?

The idiots are currently the taxpayers.


Taxpayers do not define requirements, professional airmen and their air-force/services do. No professional air-force has yet outsource this to their public, or worst to forums where folks refuse to accept 5th generation unless it has IBM Watson level of inteligence, flies hypersonic, has chameleon like skin or shoots lasers.

he whole point of moving from 4th to 5th gen aircraft is to incorporate technologies of today & tomorrow, not yesterday.


And clearly the ability to package a long range DEW, Cruise at hypersonic speed, do the sort of self healing etc is something that is plug and play given today's technology. :((

Clearly that is what every 5th generation program should have done if only had they received this advise much earlier :(

Once you step back to reality, I suggest you read up on how advanced military programs are defined in the US, how the requirements process works and what defines capability maturity ( in the US for example they look at TRL and MRL at the time of program start ).
Last edited by brar_w on 06 Jan 2017 17:01, edited 1 time in total.

JayS
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JayS » 06 Jan 2017 16:55

Neshant wrote:To me 5th gen should be one of either
- AI integrated - i.e. IBM Watson or Google Deep Mind type intelligence
- Hypersonic cruise for some distance
- Direct energy weapons that can take out an aircraft at "long" (5+km) range
- Self sealing/healing airframe or fibres
- Chameleon skin - Aircraft skin which optically cloaks the plane by projecting the background to the foreground.
- Metal 3D printed parts for 25% of the plane.

Otherwise may as well stick to 4+ gen aircraft until the above technologies and more mature.


By this standard, we will not see a 5th Gen Fighter in operation before 2050.

The only possibility before that is the last one 3D printed parts on large scale - and per se its not really a system-level feature. I mean just 3D printing F-16 doesn't make it 5th Gen. It still remains 4th Gen, may be little lighter and more agile but 4th Gen nonetheless.

DEW would come in 6th Gen jets (conventional definition of generation) but before that we need 6th Gen engines which can enable those DEWs. All other techs are more or less still in labs or on paper.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 06 Jan 2017 17:05

Its the bad luck of taxpayers that this project began early when no solid 5th gen technologies had been matured.


Everyone should simply wait for 4 or more decades while the technology is developed that can make a stealthy aircraft cruise at hypersonic speeds, have chameleon like skin, can be 3D printed (at least a fourth of it), is powered by IBM Watson, can shoot lasers, and of course be affordable enough to replace F-16's.

In the interim, most should just shut up and keep flying legacy F-16's, Harriers, M2K's, Mig-29's and F/A-18's while their adversaries develop highly capable Integrated Air Defense Systems, Electronic Warfare capability and stealth of their own.

The JSF is too far into its program to have its requirements changed but you should suggest these features to folks in the AMCA thread for a potential 2080 IOC and see how folks take to it. In you're world the current AMCA proposals and design studies must be quite disappointing. Perhaps 3rd generation? Or maybe 4th if we are being generous?

JayS wrote:
DEW would come in 6th Gen jets (conventional definition of generation) but before that we need 6th Gen engines which can enable those DEWs. All other techs are more or less still in labs or on paper.


Possessing a DEW won't cut it. You can add that to a 4th generation aircraft too. It has to be able to sustain hypersonic speeds for prolonged periods and have chameleon like skin at the very least :D

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Neshant » 06 Jan 2017 17:45

A trillion plus dollars is a lot to spend for what is largely old wine in a new bottle.

There appears to be a diminishing rate of return on technological advancement with every dollar spent - at least in the case of large American aerospace corporations. It follows a trend I see all over the place - the larger a company gets, the less innovative it becomes.

If at all there has been a breakthrough, it's in extracting exponentially larger sums of money with slick marketing & lobbying to keep the program going. At one point these programs cross a Rubicon where so much money has gone into them that they are literally Too-Big-To-Fail.

The tragedy is America slowly loses its technological lead over its competitors due to the wastage of money & opportunity.

Hopefully with UCAVs, the future will see smaller companies breaking into the aerospace industry and putting an end to the monopoly of a few large aerospace corporations taking the taxpayer to the cleaners. If that happens, real innovation & competition will see what should have been 5th gen technologies emerge fairly rapidly.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Neshant » 06 Jan 2017 18:39

I have a suggestion for the Indian UCAV.

The same IBM Watson AI type technology developed by Wipro (called Holmes) should be examined for use in next generation UCAVs and the defence industry in general. Holmes is currently used for tech and business related analytics I believe. Its potential for use across a wide range of industries obviously exists since it is a learning machine. Alibaba (or is it Baidu) has a similar platform which they developed.

DRDO should begin the discussion early with Wipro, Tata and others on how their AI platforms can be adapted for use on design, war fighting and survllance platforms.

Assuming the babuz at DRDO are not asleep at the wheel that is. If they are asleep, India will fall behind by another 20 years on the technological front.

In other words, R&D should not be LM style where yesterday's technology is merely being recycled and passed off as innovation.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Viv S » 06 Jan 2017 18:57

Neshant wrote:Reduced radar signature from carbon composites as opposed to an all metal airframe is 4th gen technology.

No aircraft type relies on carbon composites to achieve VLO capability (incl. F-117, B-2, F-22). They all require extensive RAM application & re-application at the unit level (in addition to RAS & shaping). Carbon composites are employed primarily to reduce weight.

These are all basic confusions that can be cleared up with some reading (I'd suggest you start with the sources posted by Brar). Until you've done the legwork moving beyond 'Popular Mechanics'-style articles, an informed debate is simply not possible.

Also, for the record, the F-35's Fibremat is widely believed to be based on CNT-infused fibres. It also widely employs carbon nanotube reinforced polymer (in lieu of carbon fibre) in the construction of aerostructures.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JayS » 06 Jan 2017 19:35

Viv S wrote:
Neshant wrote:Reduced radar signature from carbon composites as opposed to an all metal airframe is 4th gen technology.

No aircraft type relies on carbon composites to achieve VLO capability (incl. F-117, B-2, F-22). They all require extensive RAM application & re-application at the unit level (in addition to RAS & shaping). Carbon composites are employed primarily to reduce weight.

These are all basic confusions that can be cleared up with some reading (I'd suggest you start with the sources posted by Brar). Until you've done the legwork moving beyond 'Popular Mechanics'-style articles, an informed debate is simply not possible.

Also, for the record, the F-35's Fibremat is widely believed to be based on CNT-infused fibres. It also widely employs carbon nanotube reinforced polymer (in lieu of carbon fibre) in the construction of aerostructures.


+1. If RAM was such panacea, USAF would have painted all its jets in RAM by now, including A10s. :lol: :lol:

LM is supposed to have developed the CNT-infused Composite Tech through its fully owned subsidiary Applied NanoStructures Solutions. They have a bunch of patents on it. Easy to find on Google patent - a good source of information on the Technology. The patents claim EM Shielding and Ballistic Protection capabilities for CNT-infused composites.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 06 Jan 2017 19:38

Neshant wrote:A trillion plus dollars is a lot to spend for what is largely old wine in a new bottle.




As with most things in life, details matter (or they should anyway).

As I have tried to explain through an easy to understand graphic a few pages back each advanced military system has a project period that can be divided into the following phases -

- Pre Development/Concept definition
- Development, Engineering, and Testing
- Procurement
- Sustainment
- Disposal

Except the first phase the remaining phases overlap each other. Development and testing of an aircraft requires procurement of infrastructure and test-aircraft and once delivered, they are required to be sustained. Similarly there are scenarios where you need to dispose off aircraft that have gone through their life-cycle while you could still be be procuring aircraft at the other end of the production cycle.

With that as our base let's look at some of these time-lines. Pre-Development/Concept definition is a requirements furnishing process and involves an academic study of what capability is in need of replacement, what technology is available to do so, how mature that technology is, and if the requirements process determines that some immature technology is required to absolutely fulfill requirements, what it will cost to get it to enough maturity so that it can be legally included in the production program.

Essentially, you look at the mission areas that you need to replenish, look at the threat and how it impacts the requirements and cost.

In the US, they measure this through Technology and Manufacturing Readiness Levels ( TRL's and MRL's).

https://s24.postimg.org/9kr8uc0at/trl.png

http://www.design-vantage.com/attachmen ... e/MRL2.jpg

As far as timelines, the first phase has no real start or end date and is usually a continuous process of looking at your technology base, the second phase lasts a decade or more, the third phase can be anywhere from a decade to 2+ decades while the substantiate phase is the longest, usually covering 50-60 years. Many fourth generation aircrfat that the F35 is replacing were designed for 6000 hours and would receive a SLEP/SLAP extending them first to 8 or 10,000 hours and if lucky to 12,000 hours. The F-35 is designed from the outset to be an 8000 hour frame so it's O&S phase is expected to last even longer.

The CAPE estimate of $1 Trillion has the following parameters that that 1 Trillion supports -

- First aircraft delivered in the early 2000's to support the test program
- Last aircraft delivered in 2040, retires in 2065 or later
- Total of 2400+ aircraft delivered between 2000 and 2040 covering the production phase of the program
- The training and deployment patterns of USAF, USN and USMC in 2020, 2030, 2040, 2050 and 2060 remain unchanged from the current deployment and training patterns of F-16's, F-15's, F-18's, A-10 and Harriers. There is absolutely ZERO factoring in of LVC which I'm sure will come down the road but this cost does not include that.
- Assumes the cost of fuel increase over 60+ years
- Assumes the manpower and support cost increases over 60+ years

So essentially the 1 Trillion dollar figure covers the O&S cost of 2400+ fifth generation aircraft (or 3rd generation as per your requirements) spread over 60+ years that covers the entire manpower (Item specific) and energy cost to support that fleet.

Now, how much has the USAF paid or will eventually pay to support the F-16, first of which was acquired in the 1970's, and the last of which will probably be retired in the late 2030's (60+ years) ? How much has the USAF paid to support the F-15, the first of which was acquired in the 1970's, and the last of which would be retired in the 2040's (70 or so years) ? How much will the USAF end up paying for the B-52 O&S cost given that it is widely expected to see 70-100 years of service?

It's ok if you do not know the answer to the question above. No one does. No one has ever looked into it, or has been required to do so. Simply put there is no reference $$ amount that one can use based on historic data to develop a "should cost" goal for sustaining nearly 2/3 of the entire combined tactical fighter fleet for the USAF, USN and USMC with a total budget of > $500 Billion a year.

Now, what information do we have based on actual HARD numbers? The same organization that has given us an estimated hard number on the O&S (not a range but a hard number) has also helped the program go back and look at FY08-FY10 F-16 O&S cost factoring in unique sub-systems that are not standard on the F-16 but are on the F-35.

Essentially, the CPFH of the F-16 (All US CPFH data includes global deployment and manpower cost (divided by total fleet hours) at the unit level) with a jammer and a targeting pod.

ViV provided you that a few pages back. Did you have a chance to look at it? Here is what that tells us. A 2014 USAF F-16 Block 50.52 with a center line jammer and a targeting pod costs approximately 20% less to operate and sustain per hour than the current cost to sustain an F-35A using the same factors (Fuel, spares, manpower, unique infrastructure cost etc).

What does this mean? This means that if we assumed that all of the 2400 F-35's acquired were the A variant and the Pentagon instead of going in for 2400 F-35's purchased 2400 block 50.52 F-16's and that the percentage difference in O&S between a smaller, lighter, and less capable F-16 and a larger, heavier and more capable F-35 followed similar trends to the CPFH, the O&S bill for an all F-16 fleet would probably be around $800 Billion over 60 or so years vs $1 Trillion for the F-35.

Sounds too much? should we go back and start acquiring F-4's, or even older aircraft because this number seems ridiculously large w/o any reference or appreciation of what it gets you?

Keep in mind that this is the cost of an F-16 that is not modded up. It's the standard USAF F-16 Block 50/52 with standard EW and IR gear. It's not an F-16++ like the F-16U or XL. Similarly 2400 F-16's cannot replace 2400 F-35's. You'll need more quantity for you are buying a less survivable asset. You'll need support since the survivability and capability inherent in the F-35A is not present on the block 50/52 Viper. Where does this take us? This takes us back to the Gulf War fleet that you have determined is unsustainable.

The USAF can simply not afford such a large fleet support commitment. Think 200 odd Growlers and the VAQ community with their unique range and lab expenditure is expensive? How about maintaining 300-500 of those on top of the 2400 F-16's. How about greater tanking resources given the F-35 is longer legged. These costs add up but Popular Mechanics, or War is Boring is unlikely to do such a cost analysis A) Because they aren't capable of doing it, and B ) Their readers are usually ignorant of such factors.

Of course as you could well be aware, the 2400 F-35's that form the basis of the $1 Trillion cost figure cover 600+ Non CTOL F-35C's and B's including hundreds of STOVL aircraft. Carrier borne and STOVL aircraft traditionally cost more to sustain for obvious reasons so that 20% difference is likely to be even smaller if you purchased say 1800 F-16's, 400 F-18E/F's and a few hundred STOVL aircraft sent from heaven (because there aren't any other left in production).

So I ask again, How much SHOULD an eventual fleet of 2400+ 5th generation aircraft COST to sustain over 6+ decades with these requirements?

Remember, you are advocating for the US and others to develop, produce and sustain a Hypersonic cruising, highly stealthy, chamelion skin wearing, Watson possessing, 3D printed, laser-firing 5th generation fighter. Care to elaborate what the impact of these requirements would have on the EMD, and O&S costs compared to aircraft with much modest, and frankly "realistic" requirements?

Neshant wrote:In other words, R&D should not be LM style where yesterday's technology is merely being recycled and passed off as innovation.


Neither Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman or DRDO, AdA, HAL etc offer products for phantom requirements. They are asked to respond to technology and product requests with the capability being demanded furnished by the customer which in this case is not a voter but the end-user of the product generally a service or a combination of the MOD/DOD and the service.

If you wan't pie in the sky capability you will have to pay for it. You must be willing to spend Trillions to sustain such high end capability, and hundreds of billions to develop it. Your phantom 5th generation aircraft will be many times more expensive to design, build and sustain even in the future if you spent 3 or more decades making sure the technology is ready to even build to those requirements.

And here you are talking about how the JSF is too expensive to sustain based on I don't know what.
Last edited by brar_w on 06 Jan 2017 21:40, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 06 Jan 2017 20:45

JayS wrote:
By this standard, we will not see a 5th Gen Fighter in operation before 2050.




And when they do eventually develop something that even remotely has these characteristics, sometime in 2060-2080 time-frame, the science fiction inspired requirements process driven folks will demand that it be immediately cancelled and something resembling this -

Image

be pursued instead


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