I wonder why
Because people don't think. Consider, the whole argument about greater engine thrust has to do with gaining the upper hand in a dog fight where greater power allows one to gain lost KE and thus gain an advantage over the adversary. But this isn't the philosophy behind LO and VLO warplanes. The philosophy here is to be as silent as a thief and to do unto your enemy before he would do unto you. This philosophy is built on the assumption that air to air missile tech have supposedly have grown dependable enough that it can be used from afar. This is why the F35 has the dogfighting characteristics of a cow. Follow me so far?
Now, if you don't need power to pull up or ahead of an enemy in a dogfight and regain KE faster than he can, do we still need to mandate the requirement for a powerful engine capable of reheat thrust and whatever? And consider this. The plane is built around that gas guzzling engine with and its fuel tanks occupying most of the space on the body and the wings, kind of like how the battleships were built around their humongous guns. Follow me thus far?
Take out that engine and reduce the fuel requirements, and all else being equal, you reduce the size of that plane. This reduces the radar signature. Since you don't have to support a large weight of fuel, your wings can be built lighter, which again reduces weight. The stresses on the body and the wing surfaces will be less and so you don't have to use very high strength material. Your plane would become easier to manufacture and maintain. And since you're using a propeller engine, which is technologically easier to build, run and maintain without need for SCBs and whatnot that your high power jet engine needs, it becomes and cheaper faster to produce. Heat signature would be reduced. With careful application of composites embedded with convex cones that scatter radar energy incident on them - and you don't have to use cutting edge composites because the thermal and load stresses aren't going to be that high - you can reduce RCS. This reduction, along with size and shaping of the air craft would make the propeller plane LO or even VLO.
A plane built thus would be equipped with good enough or even cutting edge sensor packs. Ordnance - both air to air and air to ground - would be carried within the main body of the airplane, which space would now be massively increased. We can build dedicated sensor platforms, weapons platforms, recon platforms, EW platforms, et al and they would all be specially built for their specific roles which would give them a heads up on multirole jet engined warplanes that try to do too many things and aren't really good at anything.
My planes will most likely not have a 1:1 or better exchange ratio, but training to fly a prop plane is easier so the potential pilot pool increases, my pilots will get more time in the air as operational and maintenance expenses will be low, my planes will have high availability rates because being sufficiently low tech, they are easier to maintain, my planes will have very high sortie generation rates - a function of maintainability and availability among other things...
Do you understand now? I have put quite a bit of thought into my plane. Why don't you put your brain to use instead of blindly following the party line?
Meanwhile, you claim 1 F-35 = 10 Rafales on cost. I think it is best to let others here decide who is pushing BS claims here.
Here's my original statement: Rafale development program was 45.3 billion Euros. F35 development was almost a magnitude larger. Were the technologies developed for F35 so advanced that 1 F35 packs the same fighting and bombing process as 10 Rafales? As for F35 and Rafale costs, you have it wrong. Flyaway cost of F35 is upwards of 100 mil USD for B and C variants, but less than 90 mil USD for Rafale B and C. USAF could have built how many more thousand Rafales for the price of the F35? Quantity does matter.
Now, tell me, where do I say that 1 F35 = 10 Rafales on cost. Please do point out. You can't because I did not. Either you failed to comprehend or you intentionally misunderstood.
brar_w wrote:You've already modeled that out have you? So the only way to prove your point wrong is to wait, perhaps indefnitely, for a near peer conflict to arrive and stealth to be proven wrong.
I don't have to model anything. History on my side. Simpler and easier to build and fight wins. Complex and harder to build and fight loses. Clearly, you haven't studied war.
brar_w wrote:But meanwhile, folks around the world, who actually know their stuff..aren't waiting for that. They're fast at work developing, fielding, or refining stealthy combat fighters.... And it's not a linear growth. Besides the F-22/F-35, there are now a DOZEN VLO fighter aircraft projects in one stage or the other around the world. That's one dozen times those with actual grasp of the subject matter, those possessing actual technical information, and those having the most relevant data on stealth and counter stealth (compared to keyboard warriors), have looked at the the capability requirement and decided to invest in VLO technologies and capabilities across the entire gamut of tactical fighter missions. Including India and spanning the entire gamut of Science and Technology related SME's (AdA/HAL etc) and the operator community in the IAF.
Are you trying to awe me with authority here? Please don't The same class of staff officers who envisioned, shepherded and saw the F35 through to its end with horrible cost escalations are the same ones that gave the US Armed Forces the Littoral Combat Ship - which idiot thinks that two separate metals in contact or near to each other in salt water was a good idea? - turned your infantry into donkeys laden with armor, tied their hands with horrible ROE, have been trying to create a infantry weapon for maybe forty years without success, thought that the F16 and then the F35 could do the job of the A10... This is the same set of officers, none of whom have been fired for cause in nearly twenty years of war. The same class of officers who ****** their subordinates, or their subordinate's wives...
brar_w wrote: But what do they all know.
Indeed. What can a bunch of morally bankrupt, micromanaging, fight war with lawyers asses know?
brar_w wrote:Look the argument that stealth is expensive...not worth it..and the same can be spent to acquire 2X of "my proposed aircraft" ignores the basic fact that those that have developed it, or those currently developing it, are capable of doing a thorough cost-benefit analysis informed with a ton of more data, information, and relevant facts than you ever will be. We can have a quick race to the bottom as anyone can draw up a fighter that is half or less the price of whatever Cesna variant you are proposing..and then someone else can advocate of even ditching that in favor of gliders and men armed with hand-grenades and parachutes.
Relevant information is in the public domain. LO and VLO aircraft are tracked by weather stations, for example. So what if those radars can't guide a missile on target? The enemy knows where you are and while you may be harder to shoot down, you can and will be shot down. End of story. Spending so much on LO tech with attendant maintenance headaches in aircraft is a high cost, low return strategy. The staff are apparently aware of it as they did not want Turkey to operate Russian AD with multiple wavelength radars that can see your precious VLO cow. Missiles with dual sensors will make the VLO cow easier to kill. Human ingenuity will find a way.
brar_w wrote:I have provided you actual demonstrated SGR performance data. What else do you want me to do?
The fleet wide availability numbers don't gel with yours. One is incorrect. Since smaller data sets are easier to falsify and armies go to extraordinary lengths to make bad ideas look good - women in SF with vastly relaxed fitness and other requirements, for example or the navy and its persistent problem with pregnant enlisted - I'll discount yours, which I assume was taken from an exercise. I will believe you if you can supply me what was the downtime of the sample F35s after said exercise as well as the average sortie generation rates for a few months before the exercise but this data is likely not available publicly. You see, Brar, context matters and the numbers you provided need the other data I ask for to provide context. If the SGR after the exercise is the same as before, then the numbers are right and I'll have to eat crow for calling F35 a 1 sortie every 3 days wonder, but if not, and I suspect are chances are high this is the case, the USAF or whichever branch of the armed forces went to extraordinary lengths to get a brief but unsustainable spike in sortie generation rates.
brar_w wrote:No, but how is that relevant now? In the 2010-2012 time-frame the USAF had to hedge because the F-35 was not operational and it had not successfully come out of its re-baselining. The third lifetime structural tests on the F-16 had been delayed for well over a decade. The USAF had purchased about 100 F-16's over a decade or slightly more leading up to the F-22A IOC. Those aircraft are good for about 40 years...perhaps even longer.. In addition to that, plenty more can go on till 12K. Certainly there are roles within the ANG and Reserve where the F-16's are perfectly suitable or even preferred. The 1763 F-35A number is quite large but it is still a balance between other priorities including combat fighters that need to replace other types (like F-15's and F-22's in the future), bombers and Unmanned aircraft etc. Like I said earlier, that number can very easily be changed as the aircraft will be in production for decades. There is nothing stopping future USAF leadership to adjusting it either way..
Context. The USAF, which could not wait to get rid of the A10, though they had been only recently upgraded, wants to keep a fifty year old design upgraded with modern sensors alive for another thirty years. Politics or lack of confidence in the F35? I'd say a bit of both.
The F-16 structural program was re-started as a hedge yes. But they are being upgraded because it makes a lot of sense to do so and because as aircraft are pushed out of the AA through to the ANG and AFR there are good, sound economic and operational reasons to invest in a life-extension. Then there are also issues about right sizing the air-force. The USAF is committed to 1763 F-35A's. When they retire their F-16's or how and when they are pushed down to ANG and the Reserve component is entirely dependent on when they think they fail to deliver value to the AF. A SLEP on an F-16 along with a new mission computer and an AESA radar is still plenty of capability for those combat units especially considering their mission focus and how many training hours they get. Its a fairly affordable way of buying capability for them. I certainly do not advocate not going down that path. It makes sense because there are also other USAF priorities even in the combat fighter sphere, beyond just the F-35.
NGAD/PCA investments are trickling up and it will be transitioning from RDT&E to procurement in the late 2020's so yes that is a good balance to strike with majority of the F-16's in the Active AF being replaced by F-35A's and a mix of both F-35A's and SLEP'd and upgraded F-16's in the Reserve and Guard component. How the USAF wants to grow is also one consideration. If the USAF determines it needs more figther squadrons, then a great way to acheive that in the short term is through a combination of buying F-35's and SLEP'ing F-16's. As it is, there are limits to how many F-35A's the USAF can buy per year (for various reasons). The ceiling is closer to 80 but more realistically in the 70 range any plans to accelerate that beyond 70-80 will cause operational disruptions. Any short-medium or long term fighter squadron growth beyond that would have to come from elsewhere. One way to do that is by adding about 12-15 years of operational life on your existing fighters..especially if they are being re-tasked and being pushed down to the ANG and reserve where they both deploy less and fly less than the Active AF component.
This obviously does not mean that the Guard and the Reserve will become an exclusively fourth gen. or F-16 force. They will continue to maintain a mix of F-35's, F-15's and F-16's among other aircraft. The first F-35A for an ANG unit was handed over just last month and the USAF has already announced additional Air Force Reserve bases that will be getting the F-35A starting next summer. All in, the Active AF will be predominately F-35 heavy (compared to F-16) while the Guard and Reserve will see a mix and may even be legacy heavy through the 20's, 30's and even early 40's.This too is not atypical. The last operational sortie flown by a USAF F-4 was in 1995-96 just a year before the F-22A first flew (5-6 years after the YF22 and YF23 flew). The USAF was buying F-22's, F-15's and F-16's concurrently through a period of 1990's and early 2000's. You never wipe the slate clean and have a clearly demarcated transition. Usually it is a process that is spread over many decades.And there are sound operational reasons to do it this way besides just purely economic ones.https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your ... n-vermont/https://www.military.com/defensetech/20 ... th-fighter
Entirely missing the point that the F16 was originally meant to be retired decades before 2048 and that the USAF has proven quite willing to retire old birds to cut down on operational costs so as to free up budget for new ones.