Is there any system which can take the place of F35 at this stage if it is dropped by Trump?
He hasn't said he is going to cancel it. He has said that it's expensive and he wants to reduce its cost. As I have shown the F-35 APUC is currently super competitive to the F-18E/F program wise and nearly half that of the F-22. To get to $85 Million for a CTOL they have to increase production and Obama has already guaranteed the production rate of 90 in less than a year and a half (money already paid to Lockheed). They need to get from 90 a year to 150+. The total production tally doesn't impact the cost that much as annual production rate does. You can end the program in 2030 instead of 2038 and there won't be any impact on the APUC. Only overall impact would be that the divestment costs will be borne 8 years earlier and when the bean counters divide the R&D cost the denominator (total aircraft built) will be smaller.
The Recurring Flyaway cost of an aircraft rolling out from Fort Worth is determined by the economies of scale and how many you buy a given year and how you buy. Aggressive block buys will no doubt get you the lowest possible price when coupled with the planned production rates. Again, the SAR already has the planned production rates included. IN FY 2021 for example (Orders placed in CY20, with long lead order placed in 2018-19) the US services order 105 aircraft. Add about 40 from partners and FMS customers and you'll be at or close to the 150 mark. Similarly, the very next purchase block they plan on upping the USAF+USN orders to 125..That's the full rate production path. And keep in mind that it's not just arbitrarily set..You have that many Harriers, F/A-18's, and F-16's leaving active duty.
LRIP-10 contract price could be available to us by the summer. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if they are close to $95 Million a pop for the CTOL variant with the Engine (URF). Egypt would be buying more expensive Rafale's then that.
Silent Eagle? F22 is already not in production and as per the reports requires large levels of cost and maintanace etc. which makes it a viable for a mass production and deployment around the world.
Silent Eagle cannot replace the F-35 which is an F-16 replacement. The USAF looked at potential F-16 requirements back in the late 1990's and looked at the F-16U which would have been much better suited compared to the F-15 SE. They rejected it on account that it would be inadequate for the type of missions and the type of threats they are likely to encounter. This was before the full nature of the Chinese IADS and 4th and 5th generation capability has come to the light.
One forgets why they want to go to a smaller highly survivable fleet. LO and self-defense suits increase your survivability. If you reduce that you have to bring this in from outside. This would mean that the USAF can no longer rely on the USN Growlers providing SO jamming and EA to them. They would need to revive their dedicated EA fleet like they had back in the day. You'll revert back to being a much larger force and this is what they want to avoid because then manpower cost gets them.
The F-22 can be restarted. A few sane men that remained at the Pentagon (that weren't fired by Gates) had asked that each and everything on the production side be preserved in a warehouse in California and education materials including production process recordings be retained to train future techs in its production. Having said that, much of the F-22's O&S cost is attributed to the small fleet size but regardless if they do decide to re-start it would not be simply the F-22 produced in the last decade.
The F-35's maintain friendly stealth concept (FIBERMAT) actually was supposed to be on the F-22B or whatever followed the F-22A. There will be far too many things to list here that could be taken from the F-35 program and put on a potential F-22 restart.
However, again look at what Trump said..He want's to reduce cost..The F-22 re-start will have an EMD component in the double digit Billions just to develop, test and start the production again. This before a single aircraft rolls out. The APUC and the PAUC will again most likely be 2X the F-35's. So how will this option be cheaper? It won't. The USAF does not wan't the F-22 ++. It wants the PCA which it's finally put a team to chart the requirements. Currently they expect this capability to come close to 2030. If you re-start the F-22 it'll be pushed by a decade at the very least. Again, you'll end up paying more for fewer aircraft while moving your modernization plans closer to 2040 as opposed to 2030 when you want them.
Force structure planning if disrupted can take decades to get back to normal. The F-22 isn't your bulk fighter any more than the F-15 was. You couldn't build an all F-15 fleet then and you can'd build an all F-22 fleet now. Again, any disruption would have near, mid and long term impact on the capability of the USAF and the USMC with the USN bearing less of the brunt on account of having the Super Hornet and the USAF to back up over it's responsible mission areas. Remember, much the way the USAF has offloaded the tactical Electronic Attack duties to the VAQ community, air superiority and similar mission areas are very much the domain of the ACC. The USN has money left over to do other things because the ACC has this mission area. You disrupt that and it messes everything up for everyone.
The idea however isn't to totally disrupt the USAF and USN fleet plans and to go back to 4th generation aircraft when the world is moving towards 5th generation and unmanned aviation. However sexy and nostalgic it may sound you can't afford to maintain hundreds of dedicated aircraft with specialized skills requirement for crews that train for just that specific missions. You surely can do that (even with 5th generation) but it costs money which you have to appropriate. These things are even beyond a Trump 8 year two-term stint. The impact and ramification of changing the very course of modernization will have long term impact. Just look at what a few years delay in F-35 IOC did to the USAF and USMC plan and amplify that by a few times.
From what read, F35 production areas located in most of the states ensuring a lot of political support to it. Even DT finds it tough to scrap.
Not just the F-35, all big ticket production systems are done like that now to make sure there is political continuity.