From the TEDBF thread:
Manish_Sharma wrote:Eyes of the world are opening towards farce of 5th generation stealth scam.
Study what the US Air Force is saying carefully. They are still fielding an Air-Wing worth (60-80 aircraft per year) of F-35A's a year through the end of the program (in the 2030s), but what this study is going to focus on is primarily around what to do with the low end fleet i.e. Do They:
Option 1/X- Upgrade older aircraft to newer baselines which gets you X (higher performance) but misses out on Y (like life-cycle-cost savings)
Option 2/X- Buy new old aircraft as was done on the F-15EX approach led by Secretary of Defense and CAPE (you get higher performance but it misses out on some of the things they are doing that can help them sustain aircraft better)
Option 3/X- Buy new types not yet in service like a T-7A derived light attack aircraft which is a long standing need of the US Air Force that has been getting deferred over the last 3-5 years (Textron literally self-funded a completely new aircraft to meet that need) etc. etc.
It is a fleet mix study. You need to replace the Active AF units. The Air National Guard needs to modernize, and same for the Air Force reserve squadrons. What does that modernization mix look like? Do you upgrade older aircraft, or retire them as planned and replace them with new old aircraft. How does this fit into the announced growth plans for the tactical fleet? Can you grow squadron strength using an acquisition approach developed before the need to grow was identified? These are the things he wants to study.
Not that "stealth is a scam" or anything as absurd as the claim being made.
Proof - F-22, NGAD, F-35, B-21, RQ-180 and probably other classified platforms either fielded, in development or planned. Expand the list to cover international efforts. Why do you think the AMCA and Ghatak exist?What the USAF Chief is saying is that there is value in exploring competing the low-end fighter, unlike what they did when they decided to (or were asked to) simply stop the F-15C upgrade program, retire those aircraft, and transition the Air National Guard units to the F-15EX.
Similar decisions need to be taken by the ANG's F-16 fleet and the future of the US Air Force in general since they need about 100-120 new tails a year to both modernize and grow, and with the the F-35A and F-15EX mix they will only get to about 80-90 aircraft at best. Even if they don't aim to grow their fighter fleet, they still need about 100 new aircraft deliveries a year to make a sizable dent on the fleet-age i.e. retire 800-1000 older aircraft in the coming 10 years and replace them with new build aircraft.
There are a few Guard and reserve units that you want to have for the "high-end fight" or focused on missions that are absolutely critical (like intercepting enemy aircraft, and Cruise missile defense of the homeland). This will be reflected in their training, and mission focus. But besides those, the vast majority of them are generally single mission focused oriented. Whether that is sitting on alert and launching to intercept Russian bombers off of Alaska, or doing the homeland defense mission and overwatch mission. A bulk of them are generally just training for light ground attack with some Air to Air mixed in. They aren't training for high end SEAD, or trying to defeat very advanced threats. So how do you modernize these units? Do they need a spanking new highly capable multi-role fighter (like F-22, F-35, or even F-15EX)? Can they use these platform to its full capacity given how they train and how they are equipped and manned? If not, is a new build F-16 V the best solution or can even more "lower-end" / cheaper / easier to sustain options be considered? If you have to chose between the Textron Scorpion and the F-16V the latter is going to be preffered because it gets you more options. But if you throw a Boeing T-7 derived light attack aircraft in the mix then that decision wouldn't be that clear cut as it were if you were evaluating the options that you had a few years ago. In 2023 (study year) they will have options. If they decide to (say) upgade 150 less F-16's and retire them and replace them, they need not just buy new build F-16V's because it is the only such aircraft currently in production.
The NGAD approach of very rapidly creating new designs, or variants of existing designs, is an approach he wants to study not only for the high end aircraft (like a 6th gen. fighter, B-21 variants etc) but also to lower end needs (like what to replace Guard and Reserve units with). This is a good approach. You have invested a lot in validating your OMS and digital design tools and have built a spanking new 6th gen demonstrator in record time. No reason not to apply the same approach and validated tools on solving some of the lower-end problems.