International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

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brar_w
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 Mar 2020 06:05

U.S. Navy hoisted up the real aircraft for jammer pod developmental tests


Engineers of the U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command hoisted up the real EA-18G Growler carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft undergo testing of Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) pod in the Air Combat Environmental Test and Evaluation Facility anechoic chamber at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

The NGJ-MB Engineering Development Model (EDM) pods, developed by the Raytheon Company in El Segundo, California, completed more than 400 hours of basic functionality, Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) data collection and performance testing over a period of three months.

“This chamber test period was instrumental to the NGJ-MB Developmental Test program, and its success was the direct result of outstanding teamwork among the Program Office, Integrated Test Team, and Raytheon stakeholders,” said Capt. Michael Orr, Airborne Electronic Attack Systems (PMA-234) program manager. “Data captured during this period not only supports our initial flight clearance, but also provided lessons learned that will benefit the entire NGJ-MB test program moving forward.”

The NGJ-MB system consists of two pods, referred to as a shipset, which will be loaded onto EA-18G Growler aircraft. The system will provide significantly improved Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) capabilities against advanced threats in the mid-band frequency range through enhanced agility and precision within jamming assignments, increased interoperability and expanded broadband capacity for greater threat coverage against a wide variety of radio frequency emitters.

Unlike most capabilities that instantly replace its predecessor, the NGJ-MB systems will initially augment the legacy ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System until the low- and high-band components are ready to deploy.

NGJ-MB will enter flight testing at the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 this spring. The program’s Milestone C is projected for the end of this fiscal year.

PMA-234 is responsible for acquiring, delivering and sustaining AEA systems, providing combatant commanders with capabilities that enable mission success.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 24 Mar 2020 03:32

From AW&ST

Clearly an AESA derived from the experience that Elta had with the 2052 AESA radar. However, this one is a GaN based AESA.


ADD, Hanwha Close To Testing KF-X Radar Prototype


Bradley Perrett Kim Minseok March 23, 2020

SEOUL, BEIJING—Radar development for the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-X is moving toward production of a prototype, following evaluation of a technology demonstrator in Israel and South Korea.

The program, led by the government’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD), is planning to ground test the production-representative prototype by the end of May, manufacturing subcontractor Hanwha said.

Since Elta worked on the technology-demonstration phase, that company may also be supporting full-scale development, which appears to have begun in May 2019 when the intended production sensor passed its critical design review. Hanwha is also contributing to development.

A terrain-following mode, formerly a notable omission from the sensor’s capabilities, is reportedly being added. No name for the radar has been published.

Radar development is 50% complete, Hanwha researcher Hong Yoon-Sung told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, adding that the prototype would be tested within months.

A prototype radar is due to be fitted in a KF-X for flight tests in 2023. Development is scheduled for completion in 2026, the year in which deliveries of the fighter are supposed to begin.

Software for air-to-air and air-to-surface modes is due to be developed by October 2021.

The design includes an active electronically scanned array (AESA) and, according to a government research institute statement in 2014, gallium-nitride components. In several countries the latter are superseding gallium-arsenide technology, formerly the standard for AESAs. The demonstrator also uses gallium-nitride technology, according to the South Korean news outlet Today Defense.

Cooling power provided to the demonstrator radar is 7.7 kW, Hanwha said. This is a hint at its maximum average output power, which is related to cooling power according to the overall efficiency of the system—though guessing that efficiency requires several difficult assumptions. Analyzing the gallium-arsenide Northrop Grumman APG-83 radar, Hellenic Air Force researchers last year worked on the basis of 5.6 kW cooling and found an average antenna output of up to 1 kW. So the South Korean demonstrator should exceed that figure.


Hanwha said in November that evaluation of demonstrator hardware had been completed. This leaves open the possibility that demonstrator software is still being worked on.

The demonstrator radar was installed in an Elta-owned Boeing 737 testbed and flew 10 times in Israel and six times in South Korea, the ADD said in October. Elta was chosen in 2017 to support the demonstration phase. The demonstrator includes an antenna and software from the ADD and Hanwha and signal processors and software from Elta.

But South Korean officials and industry leaders have a strong tendency to play up the role of indigenous engineering work and downplay the extent of foreign support. It would not be surprising, therefore, if Elta helped in design or at least refinement of the demonstrator. Similarly, the Israeli company may be quietly helping, or standing by to help, with development of the production sensor.


South Korea has not developed a fighter radar of any sort before, let alone one with an AESA and gallium-nitride technology.

In December the ADD announced a contract with Hanwha to add the terrain-following function. Pictures and models of the KF-X have previously shown it with a navigation pod, like the U.S. AAQ-13, implying that the radar lacked terrain following, which is used for low-altitude flight.

Using the pod brought significant disadvantages: loading the aircraft with additional weight and drag; and transmitting at a higher, and therefore more detectable, power level than would be necessary if the much larger nose array were used.

A video presentation made by Hanwha shows the demonstrator radar was tested in three air-to-air modes: all-aspect search and track, nose aspect search and track, and air combat maneuvering. Tested air-to-surface modes were stationary and moving target indication, synthetic aperture, ranging and air-to-sea.


The demonstrator also has no known name.

In winning KF-X radar work, Hanwha beat LIG Nex1, which had done preliminary development at its own expense and had worked on fitting foreign radars to aircraft of the Republic of Korea Air Force. Despite the setback, LIG Nex1 is persisting with developing a radar at company expense for other aircraft.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 26 Mar 2020 20:18

Germany narrowing on a F-18 + EA-18 and New Typhoon mixed buy. Both the technical evaluators (who wanted the F-35 to be reconsidered) and the unions (who wanted new variants of the Typhoon to be created for nuclear and SEAD/DEAD) are likely to be equally unhappy.

Bundeswehr relies on partial solution


Tornado fleet Bundeswehr should by up to 90 more from 2025 to Euro Fighter will be replaced, and 45 F-18 fighter planes from the US manufacturer Boeing. The model is to be procured for electronic aerial combat and Germany's "nuclear participation" in American weapons. This is provided by internal plans by the Ministry of Defense, which according to dpa information have already been discussed at the political level and with industry representatives. Defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) has yet to approve the plan, it said in parliamentary space.

Union faction vice Johann Wadephul (CDU) has called for a swift decision to replace the tornado in response to the plan. It must be prevented that the Bundeswehr loses capabilities "if only for a limited time," warned the CDU defense politician on Thursday. "The military needs of the Air Force must be in the foreground when making the decision," Wadephul said. He spoke of a "clear commitment to the European aviation industry". “At the same time, you would have a proven and reliable model for the special tasks of the Air Force that could be procured at short notice. This solution would span the time to launch the Future Fighter Aircraft (FCAS). ”

The Bundeswehr currently has a total of 234 combat aircraft, including 141 Eurofighters from the European manufacturer Airbus and 93 tornadoes. The tornado, which was launched almost 40 years ago, is intended for the tasks of air attack, tactical aerial reconnaissance and electronic warfare - and for nuclear deterrence. 83 aircraft are in flight operation, and ten more aircraft are used for training on the ground and for technical defense tests. Germany is one of the last users of this type of aircraft. The company will soon face the cost of additional billions, if only because spare parts become manufacturing work.

There has been a long struggle for the successor decision, which involves a double-digit billion amount over the years. The plan now being negotiated is intended to reconcile security policy requirements with industrial policy, which among other things involves strong Bavarian interests. The Airbus armaments division has its headquarters in Bavaria, Eurofighters are finally assembled in Manching. Either way - a future federal government will only make the final decision on the timeline.

The project is also politically difficult because of the "special role" of the tornado: NATO's nuclear deterrent concept provides that allies have access to nuclear weapons in the United States in the event of war, ie must be able to carry the bombs to their destination. Officially never confirmed, but still a kind of open secret: 20 thermonuclear B61 gravity bombs from the American armed forces are to be stored in Büchel in the Eifel, which can be latched on under German tornadoes.

A two-fleet concept


The topic is central to the support obligations in the transatlantic alliance, but: You cannot score points in Germany with it, especially not as a SPD politician. The SPD has not shaken it since 1958. “Nuclear deterrence will remain an integral part of the European security architecture for the foreseeable future. Nuclear participation ensures Germany a greater influence on NATO's nuclear strategy, ”SPD defense politician Fritz Felgentreu told dpa in October. And: "We shouldn't give it up lightly - especially not if we want to enforce arms control and disarmament."

In the case of a replacement for the Tornado, military planners recently referred to the need to guarantee operational safety with two different aircraft. Strategies speak of a two-fleet concept.

Also a replacement for old Eurofighters


A solution should now look like this: Around 30 F-18s of the "Super Hornet" version are to be procured for nuclear participation. The model speaks for the fact that certification by the United States appears to be easier than with the Eurofighter, after all, Washington can set the pace even here. For the electronic dogfight - disturbing, holding down and fighting enemy air defense positions - 15 F-18s in the "Growler" version are also procured.

The new Eurofighters take on the other tasks of the Tornado fleet: aerial reconnaissance, the use of conventional bombs and as a fighter plane. The relatively large number of at least 78 Eurofighters - but possibly more than 90 - comes about because planes are also to be bought as replacements for older Eurofighters in Tranche 1.




Last edited by brar_w on 26 Mar 2020 22:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 26 Mar 2020 21:01

Kartik wrote:Cooling power provided to the demonstrator radar is 7.7 kW, Hanwha said. This is a hint at its maximum average output power, which is related to cooling power according to the overall efficiency of the system—though guessing that efficiency requires several difficult assumptions. Analyzing the gallium-arsenide Northrop Grumman APG-83 radar, Hellenic Air Force researchers last year worked on the basis of 5.6 kW cooling and found an average antenna output of up to 1 kW. So the South Korean demonstrator should exceed that figure.


This is a good illustration of why GaN hasn't really proliferated in compact and high demand/priority small high frequency airborne radar systems. With just a linear growth, you unlock just a very few elements of what makes GaN work. You get better efficiency, some improvement in life cycle cost and relatively (to the potential) small improvements in performance. This is good for applications that only desire that much (like ISR or SAR mapping etc) but not when the threat is shrinking RCS exponentially. What many operators demand is a giant leap in capability (this is what the threat would dictate) which is something like 2 to 3 times the power density, for example, that current state of the art X-band GaN on SiC can deliver. That is what will be required in a post 2030/40 environment when stealth has proliferated to a point where everything from enemy fighters, to missiles, UAV's, and even ISR aircraft will be incorporate some degree of LO. And the desire to continue to reduce the RCS of future crafts would provide less and less space and more and more design challenges to sensor designers.

This requires a fundamental shift in the way your radars are architectured and the choices you make to baseline industrial capacity on the materials required to make it happen. When that shift happens, it will be more significant than the shift towards electronically scanning arrays that happened in the 80s and 90s. I suspect we'll begin to see this in the middle of the 2020's but more significantly in the early 2030's. At the component level, these things seem to be at some pretty high technology readiness level (5+) but these concepts are at a relatively low IRL right now. I suspect in reality advanced demonstrators are being developed as we speak. The biggest bottleneck is manufacturing so scaling will require some time and lots and lots of money.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 26 Mar 2020 21:57

It seems the number of F-35's in the US FY21 enacted budget is going to be 98 as a large number of congressman/senators are willing to grant the requested F-35's in the services' unfunded priorities list -

130 House members want 24 percent more F-35s procured in FY21


If this stands, the # will be (overall 19 more than officially included in the budget but about as much as the services included in the budget + UPL) -

- 60 F-35A's for the USAF
- 12 F-35B's for the USMC
- 26 F-35C's for the US Navy
Last edited by brar_w on 27 Mar 2020 01:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Chinmay » 26 Mar 2020 23:39

brar_w wrote:Germany narrowing on a F-18 + EA-18 and New Typhoon mixed buy. Both the technical evaluators (who wanted the F-35 to be reconsidered) and the unions (who wanted new variants of the Typhoon to be created for nuclear and SEAD/DEAD) are likely to be equally unhappy.


A solution should now look like this: Around 30 F-18s of the "Super Hornet" version are to be procured for nuclear participation. The model speaks for the fact that certification by the United States appears to be easier than with the Eurofighter, after all, Washington can set the pace even here. For the electronic dogfight - disturbing, holding down and fighting enemy air defense positions - 15 F-18s in the "Growler" version are also procured.

The new Eurofighters take on the other tasks of the Tornado fleet: aerial reconnaissance, the use of conventional bombs and as a fighter plane. The relatively large number of at least 78 Eurofighters - but possibly more than 90 - comes about because planes are also to be bought as replacements for older Eurofighters in Tranche 1.


[/quote]


This sounds like a half-assed solution. I'm not aware whether the Shornet is B61 qualified, but surely if that is a priority, then the F-15 is a much better bet? Much more capable than the F-18, and already B61 qualified. An ECR version of the Typhoon was also in the works, which is possibly a better solution than the Shornet + Growler + Typhoon?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 27 Mar 2020 01:05

Chinmay wrote:
This sounds like a half-assed solution. I'm not aware whether the Shornet is B61 qualified, but surely if that is a priority, then the F-15 is a much better bet? Much more capable than the F-18, and already B61 qualified. An ECR version of the Typhoon was also in the works, which is possibly a better solution than the Shornet + Growler + Typhoon?


The ideal solution from an operational perspective - Interim (leased or purchased) F-35A Blk 4 - Would handle both the nuclear and ECR duties till such time that the FCAS is ready by the 2040 time-frame where it could then begin replacing both the Typhoon and F-35A. This is what their last Air Chief proposed before he was threatened with termination if he mentioned that again. The Merkel - Trump relationship made the F-35 a political non-starter.

F-15 would be expensive and no type commonality with the EA-18G and no ECR variant. Most of qualification work on the SH has been done so it only needs a re-certification unlike the Typhoon. Same with the ECR variant of the Typhoon. No other user wants it, and it would have been expensive to develop and buy and would have been inferior (as proposed by its OEM). So spend billions to create something that is, as envisioned, inferior. R&D also doesn't mean a lot of jobs s just buying new Typhoons.

They should do what the Australians did in that have their Super Hornets wired for the Growler mission set. This would then allow them to have an All Growler fleet towards the second half of the fleet life as the FCAS begins to come online and takes over other mission sets from the Super Hornets. This is probably what the Australians will do once they have all their F-35A's fielded.

That said, Germany could well be the first export customer for the Block-II EA-18G :

New capabilities for the Growler Block II


“The Growler Block II will take a lot of what we have done on the Super Hornet Block III, including the Advanced Cockpit System and conformal fuel tanks,” Tebo says, adding that remaining upgrades will be specific to the electronic attack suite. It is to note that in the Growler the shift from drop tanks to conformal ones not only will increase the time on station and reduce the radar cross section, but it will also avoid interfering with the central EW pod. The mission system will also be upgraded in order to improve the information distributing process, reducing the crew workload thanks to the new software and the cockpit touch screen. The Growler Block II will also integrate a number of programmes of record, such as the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) that is split in three different systems, the Mid-Band, 2-6 GHz, already in development, the Low-Band (100 MHz-2 GHz) which Request for Information was issued in early June, and the High-Band (6-18 GHz), which has yet to be started. These systems should be ready by 2025, when Boeing expects to deliver the first Growler Block II. The Tactical Targeting Network Technology will definitely be installed, in order to exchange information with Block III Super Hornets as well as E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.


The article doesn't mention two other known upgrades coming to the Block II. One is on the AN/ALQ-218(V)2 which is going to initially start with an upgrade and later come in with completely new receiver sets. The second is the Cognitive EW capability that is coming online as an upgrade to Block I and as a baseline on Block II.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 27 Mar 2020 01:32

Gripen E/F shifts focus from flight to sensor tests

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Saab has shifted the focus of its Gripen E/F testing away from basic flight trials towards the aircraft's tactical and sensor suites as the programme ramps up ahead of the first upcoming deliveries to Sweden and Brazil.

Speaking at Saab's annual Gripen Seminar on 26 March, the company's head of the programme, Eddy de la Motte, said that, with flight-characteristic tests having proceeded to plan, the focus is now on validating the aircraft's mission systems.

"We have six aircraft currently in flight testing and we passed 300 hours a couple of weeks ago. Flight testing is proceeding to plan and now the tactical suite and sensor systems are the testing focus - the radar, the infrared search and track [IRST], the electronic warfare [EW], and other mission systems," de la Motte said.

The Gripen E/F is fitted with the Selex ES-05 Raven active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the Selex ES 60 Skyward G-IRST. The internal EW suite comprises a very low-band antenna; an EW central unit; a quadrant receiver and transmitter on each wingtip; a receiver and power supply unit on each wingtip; and a forward and aft transmitter on the vertical stabiliser. Externally, the aircraft will be provisioned to carry a podded EW system to afford the Gripen E/F (or any other modern combat aircraft) an electronic attack (EA) capability analogous to the Boeing EA-18G Growler aircraft. The Arexis EA Jammer Pod provides forward and aft coverage to support the ingress, strike, and egress of a package of strike aircraft. It utilises a VHF/UHF surveillance and acquisition radar in the L and S bands that incorporates gallium nitride (GaN) AESA technology.

As de la Motte noted, the early results so far received have shown the systems to be performing "much better than expected".

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 27 Mar 2020 01:52

It is not comparable to the EA-18G which carries a stand-off jammer system and is able to execute that mission using its ability to detect, geolocate and discriminate emmitters of all kinds using its receiver systems which is designed to handle the target volume and fidelity required to handle this mission (as opposed to self-protection). And the system works through jamming. The Gripen's EA pods are to support and self protection. Each of AN/ALQ-249 pods on the Block II Growler generate 65 kW of power. The low Band pods will generate more than 30 kW while the preliminary requirements for the HB pods were closer to 100 kW (hence why it is the last to be developed and fielded). Arexis packs both Mid and Low band system into one small pod and, to the best of knowledge, utilizes the reserve power being generated by the aircraft which is going to be minimal. Hence it is basically a more elaborate self-defense and escort system. While the Growler is designed to take on Air Defense systems as a primary mission. Physics and engineering don't change because SAAB has a well staffed and competent PR shop. Those puny pods and the lack of power is not going to transform the smallish Gripen into a Growler-Lite against any sensor and C2 systems. It won't do the same missions. This explains why there is a wide gap between what SAAB promises and prints on its brochures and their actual backlog and customer count.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Indranil » 27 Mar 2020 21:56

That's Saab speak!

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 27 Mar 2020 23:27

Saab commences production of first Brazilian Gripen F

Saab has cut metal on the first two-seat Gripen F for the Brazilian air force.

The first part cut for the aircraft will form part of the jet’s air duct section, just behind the fighter’s cockpit, says Saab.

“This milestone is important for the Gripen project because it demonstrates that the development phase is proceeding properly,” says Colonel Renato Leite, head of the Monitoring and Control Group (GAC-Saab) at the Brazilian Air Force.

“This signals the beginning of the production of the two-seater aircraft, Gripen F, which is much anticipated by the Brazilian Air Force.”

The two-seat version of the fighter will have two modes: a training mode for the tuition of one crew member, and a mode in which the crew share the workload with different display settings.


Brazil has 28 single-seat Gripen Es on order with deliveries starting from 2021, and eight Gripen Fs with deliveries starting from 2023.

Separately, Saab announced that it signed a 24-month, SEK4 Billion ($403 million) revolving credit facility with three Swedish banks.

“The facility will strengthen the company’s financial flexibility, and if needed, be utilised to refinance upcoming and future loan maturities,” says Saab.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 28 Mar 2020 00:04

USAF tests engine for new Gray Wolf low cost cruise missile

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The US Air Force (USAF) has tested a new low-cost turbojet engine to power air-launched cruise missiles being developed under the Gray Wolf programme.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) announced on 19 March that, along with Northrop Grumman and Technical Directions Inc. (TDI), it had for the first time flight-tested the TDI-J85 engine. This test, the AFRL said, involved multiple inflight engine starts, as well as operation at high altitude.

“The engine met performance expectations for thrust and surpassed fuel efficiency expectations. The engines tested accumulated sufficient inflight operating time, building confidence in the design durability,” the AFRL said.

As noted by the AFRL, the engine design focuses on affordability and ease of manufacture. “It is the first engine in its class and price point to successfully operate at altitude. With the success of this test, AFRL is [a] significant step closer to launching a low-cost cruise missile,” the laboratory said.



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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 28 Mar 2020 04:37

USMC begins AESA upgrade for ‘classic’ Hornets


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The US Marine Corps (USMC) has begun the process of replacing the radars of some its Boeing F/A-18 legacy Hornet combat aircraft with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system, with the first procurement contract awarded on 26 March.

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded Raytheon USD30.2 million to procure AN/APG-79(V)4 AESA radar systems for the first nine USMC F/A-18C/D Hornets, with deliveries to be completed by May 2022.

This first contract comes 14 months after Raytheon announced that it had been selected to fit the AN/APG-79(V)4 AESA radar to 98 of the USMC's F/A-18C/D fleet, replacing its own AN/APG-73 mechanically scanned radar. According to the company's statement at the time, deliveries will run from 2020 through to 2022. No contract value was disclosed.

Jane's first reported the USMC's plans to upgrade the radar on its Hornets when the NAVAIR issued a request for information (RFI) in March 2018. At that time it was noted that the change to an AESA system was needed due to the increased reliability and sustainability requirements, as well as the associated capability improvements. The 98 AESAs and 14 spare systems are being procured to cover seven fleet squadrons of 12 aircraft each.

The AN/APG-79(V)4 is a scaled version of the AN/APG-79 AESA radar already fitted to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and shares 90% commonality for synergies in maintenance and support. The USMC will benefit from the same global sustainment and upgrade path already in place for the AN/APG-79.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 28 Mar 2020 09:18

Boeing's update on the T-7A Red Hawk program -

BOEING UPDATES T-7A RED HAWK TRAINER PROGRAM STATUS & FUTURE


* Boeing has been working on the T-7A EMD Phase contract for 17 months and the program passed a Critical Design Review (CDR) last Fall.

* The T-7A is hitting all scheduled test points in its developmental test phase in more than 160 test flights.

* Boeing is “just about done” with its engineering releases and began building the EMD aircraft about a month ago. In parallel, test pilots have been flying the “production representative” jets that Boeing used as part of the T-X competition to expand the T-7A’s flight envelope and to see how the subsystems perform in different conditions.

* Saab, for its part, is providing the aft section of the T-7A’s for integration at Boeing’s production facility in St. Louis.

* The EMD program and the USAF operational testing is to culminate in initial T-7A aircraft deliveries to Randolph Air Force Base in 2023 leading to T-7A Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2024.

While underscoring that the company’s “No. 1 laser focus is on getting the T-7A through the Air Force’s qualification and certification process” Dabundo confirms that Boeing is studying different configurations for attack aircraft and notes that the T-7’s design provides “a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can put on it to adapt to different types of missions.” He notes that the company is “integrating all that information and trying to really think through where can we go in the future.”

As to specific sales prospects for such an attack variant with the USAF recently announcing that it would not be launching a Program of Record for a light attack aircraft, Dabundo confirmed that Boeing has “seen a lot of interest with a number of different countries who have requested information and given us some input on the kinds of features they think would be relevant for their missions.”

Dabundo also notes that Boeing has talked “a number of times” with the Navy about that Service’s looming requirement to replace its venerable T-45 jet trainer.

In summing up the T-7 program’s status and prospects, Dabundo concludes: “We’re we are making great progress. It’s a very capable aircraft, I think it’s going to really serve the Air Force’s needs for training pilots in the future. And there are a lot of, I think, variations of the aircraft as we look in the decades ahead that will serve our international customers.”


Also, a few weeks ago Boeing was able to give an early demo on sortie generation and turn around using its two prototype aircraft -

Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Indranil » 28 Mar 2020 11:48

Expecting about a 1000 T-7 of different variants to be sold is not unfounded at all.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 28 Mar 2020 14:01

Indranil wrote:Expecting about a 1000 T-7 of different variants to be sold is not unfounded at all.


Yeah 1000 is a reasonably number and is pretty much reflected in the Full Rate production rate (60 aircraft/yr) which should allow for about a decade to twelve years of rate production (this is how Boeing likes to spread its programs). 350-500 for the USAF, and a 100-150 for the USN along with about a 50 or so for SOCOM/USAF/US-Congress in the light fighter department and about as many for the organic aggressor units. That leaves a couple of hundred for export which Boeing/SAAB should be able to pull despite a lot of competition and because the production stretches out this far which is unlikely to be the case for some of its competition.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 29 Mar 2020 19:46

Indranil wrote:
brar_w wrote:^^ I don't understand, why wouldn't they carry those Missiles? The F-22, Su-57, and the J-20 can carry CCM's internally in addition to the BVRAAM's. The F-35 and other 5th gen concepts can do that, at the moment, externally and the AIM-9 replacement will be an MRAAM ranged missile which is IWB compliant so it too will have 6+ missiles internally with 4 being LRAAM's and the remaining MRAAM's (possibly 4 more).

I was not talking about external carriage (I don't think HVT was speaking of that either). But, I had forgotten about the side bays on the F22. J20 and the wingroot ray of the PAKFA.


I think there needs to be enough room, even in medium stealth aircraft, to carry at least 6 MR missiles (not 4). This allows you to carry at least 2 types of missiles in the future. Future CCM's will look different. Enough for 2, 2-missile salvos and then a decision to engage or disengage, and 2 shorter ranged weapons if the pilot decides to re-engage.

The AIM-9 is going to be replaced by a non rail launched weapon that is probably closer to the initial AIM-120 (A/B) in its range but with initial and end-game agility that is at par or superior to the AIM-9X-II+. Plus it is a 2 for 1 replacement (2 AIM-X in the same space occupied by one AIM-120/260) so future BVR and CCM loadouts for something like the F-35A/C is going to look like 4 x AIM-120D's / 4 x AIM-260 + 4 x AIM-X for a total of 8 internal missiles.

Even 12 (14) AIM-X load outs might not be out of question given what the future holds (companion UAV's and cruise missiles/decoys flying around all over the place)

Image

I would be surprised if those side-bay rails don't come out of the F-22 towards the second half of its life once the AIM-X is fielded.

https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/p ... ir-missile
https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... le-flights
Last edited by brar_w on 29 Mar 2020 21:47, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Indranil » 29 Mar 2020 20:00

I have seen official ADA renditions with 4 and 6 BVR weapons. India is also moving to a MLRAAMs rather than CCMs. A version of Astra with a IIR seeker is rumored to be in the making.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 30 Mar 2020 09:47

From AW&ST

Original estimates for costs, schedules and quantities of the Lockheed Martin F-35 upon contract award in October 2001 proved highly unreliable over the fighter program’s nearly two-decade life span, but one critical number did not: 1,763.

That four-digit figure represents program of record quantity for the U.S. Air Force—the F-35’s largest customer by far—accounting for more than half of all projected orders by U.S. and international customers. The Navy and Marine Corps, the second- and third-largest buyers of the combat aircraft, respectively, downsized their planned F-35 fleet by 400 aircraft in 2004. But the Air Force’s quantity never budged.

Although the Air Force’s official number remains unchanged, the F-35A is facing a new credibility test after a series of public statements made by Gen. Mike Holmes, the head of Air Combat Command (ACC).
•Air Force will consider UAS to replace some F-16s
•ACC sets 60% goal for fifth-gen mix in fighter fleet

In late February, Holmes suggested that low-cost and attritable unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) might be considered by ACC as a replacement for F-16 Block 25/30 jets (also known as “pre-block F-16s”) within 5-8 years. In congressional testimony on March 12, Holmes added that ACC’s goal is to achieve a fighter fleet ratio of 60% fifth-generation jets, such as F-35As and F-22s, to 40% fourth-generation aircraft, including F-15s, F-16s and A-10s. He also said a recent analysis by the Office of the Secretary of Defense recommends an even split between fourth- and fifth-generation fighters.

Barring a significant increase in the Air Force’s authorized force structure, both statements appear to jeopardize the mathematical possibility for the F-35A to achieve the full program of record.

As fleet acquisition plans stand today, the F-35A program of record appears sound. Lockheed has delivered at least 224 F-35As to the Air Force so far. The public program of record calls for the F-35A to replace A-10s and F-16s, which currently number 281 and 1,037, respectively, according to Aviation Week and Air Force databases. In 2010, Lockheed and F-35 Joint Program Office officials also confirmed that the F-35 would replace the F-15E fleet after 2035, which currently numbers 228 aircraft. Adding the number of F-35As already delivered, the Air Force has a replacement population of 1,770 aircraft.

But Holmes’ statements could significantly alter the equation. The service’s latest budget justification documents show about 325 of the 1,037 F-16s now in the Air Force fleet form the “pre-block” fleet that could be retired by attritable UAS instead of F-35As.

Holmes’ goal of a fighter fleet with a 60% share of fifth-generation jets also complicates the forecast for the F-35A. Including the F-22 fleet’s 186 aircraft, as well as 234 F-15C/Ds, the Air Force today operates a total fleet of 2,190 fighters. A 60% share of the fleet results in 1,314 total fifth-generation aircraft. After subtracting the numbers of F-22s, the Air Force would have room for only 1,128 F-35As, which implies a 34% reduction from the program of record of 1,763.


The head of the Air Force’s F-35 Integration Office acknowledges the numerical disparity implied by Holmes’ statements, but he stands by the F-35 original program of record.

“The program of record for this aircraft is really long,” Brig. Gen. David Abba said on March 9, referring to the Air Force’s plans to continue F-35A production into the mid-2040s. “I understand that’s a natural question to ask, but I don’t think anybody’s ready to make that sort of a declaration.”

Altering the program of record would not change the steady, downward trajectory of the F-35A’s recurring unit costs. Last year, Lockheed agreed to a priced option for Lot 14 deliveries in fiscal 2022, which falls to $77.9 million. But changing the overall procurement quantity does have an impact on the program acquisition unit cost (PAUC), which calculates the average cost per aircraft, including recurring and nonrecurring costs. In the program of record, the PAUC estimate is currently $116 million each for all three versions of the F-35.

Noting the forecast length of the F-35 production program, Abba recommends taking a long-term view.

“I would focus less on the program of record element,” Abba said, and more on the Air Force’s plans “to keep options open.”


Brar_w, do you see the possibility of a drop in USAF procurement of the F-35A leading to a possibility of wanting to bring in more partner nations into the F-35 program? Plus, the loss of the 100 unit Turkish order, makes me think that industry may want the US Govt. to broaden the customer base, by relaxing some of the restrictions in place right now that preclude an IAF order for F-35As. What is your take on it?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 30 Mar 2020 09:57

From AW&ST


Germany To Make Split Buy Of Super Hornets, Eurofighters, Reports Say


Germany will make a split buy of Eurofighters and U.S.-made F/A-18 Super Hornets to replace its aging Panavia Tornadoes, media reports have suggested.

Germany wants 90 combat aircraft to replace the Tornado. The order will likely be split equally with 45 aircraft of each type, German newspapers Handelsblatt and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported. The Super Hornet order would likely be further split between 30 standard models—probably two-seat F/A-18Fs—and 15 of the electronic warfare EA-18G Growler derivative.

The Super Hornet would likely fulfill the so-called dual-capable aircraft (DCA) mission, carrying the dual-key B61 nuclear weapon for the NATO alliance’s deterrent mission. But the Super Hornet is not yet certified to carry the weapon. It is likely German officials believe the Super Hornet can be certified for the weapon quicker that the Eurofighter could be.

Berlin has not confirmed the reports, although an announcement is expected by the end of the month.

The decision is likely to be criticized by industry and workers unions. Earlier this month, workers union IG Metall wrote to German ministers urging them not to select a U.S. platform as the Tornado replacement even as a split buy, fearing it could impact jobs and even Germany’s role in the European Future Combat Air System (FCAS). Airbus is offering Germany an improved Typhoon with an increased air-to-ground capacity, a more capable active electronically scanned array radar and more powerful versions of the Eurojet EJ200 engine. A Growler order could also mean that Airbus’ proposed Eurofighter ECR development equipped with jamming pods may not come to fruition.


A split order means Germany will not be reliant on a single aircraft type for all missions. The addition of the Growler would also allow Germany to meet its long-standing Luftgestützte Wirkung im Elektromagnetischen Spektrum (Airborne Action in the Electromagnetic Spectrum) for a standoff and escort jamming capability.

But critics question the survivability of the Super Hornet in the DCA role when facing advanced double-digit air defense systems. Critics also suggest that the U.S. would probably certify the Eurofighter for the DCA mission if Germany had opted for an all-Eurofighter fleet because the DCA mission is too politically important, particularly for NATO.

Germany had drawn up a shortlist of Western fighters to replace the Tornado, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which was favored by the German Air Force. But the Lockheed Martin fighter was dropped from the list along with an advanced version of the Boeing F-15 Eagle early last year. This followed pressure, particularly from the French, that a selection of the F-35 would result in the FCAS partnership being dropped.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 30 Mar 2020 10:46

Kartik wrote:
Brar_w, do you see the possibility of a drop in USAF procurement of the F-35A leading to a possibility of wanting to bring in more partner nations into the F-35 program? Plus, the loss of the 100 unit Turkish order, makes me think that industry may want the US Govt. to broaden the customer base, by relaxing some of the restrictions in place right now that preclude an IAF order for F-35As. What is your take on it?


I have commented on this 50% and 60% 5th gen. fleet #s in the past and it recently came up again because a couple of Congressionally mandated and Pentagon funded studies pointed to that.

The USAF really doesn't drop its annual procurement when it adjusts the Program of Record (POR). As I have mentioned earlier in the now dead JSF thread, the POR has very little influence on the cost of the F-35. A vast majority of the influence comes from the buy rate. I would guess that nearly all of that is determined by the buy rate. The way the POR is adjusted is that say the SDD base-line in 2001 was for 1700+ aircraft and in 2020 they decided to have a fleet plan assessment and decide to re-baseline to say 1500 or 1300 or whatever arbitrary number. What they do to the program is maintain their trajectory and truncate the program a few years early. So instead of 2044 as is currently envisioned (with a 1700+ POR), the USAF would buy its last F-35A in say 2038 if the F-35A buy is reduced down to say 1350 or so. Annual buy rates and the long term FRP contracts dictate what the USAF would spend to acquire these aircraft so as long that annual buy rate remains stable, and they keep going through a 3-5 year multi-year procurement at FRP the cost trajectory will remain mostly the same.

But the Program of record is always subject to change and it isn't for Mike Holmes or his successor to decide. It is a decision that will have to be taken in the late 2020's/ early 2030's and will be based on an operational need, which is dictated by how much capacity the Combatant Commanders require, and how well the service is executing on its Next Gen. Air Dominance portfolio.

I certainly see the USAF fighter fleet shrinking in the future as the fighter aircraft isn't the most suitable platform in a Pacific focused National Defense Strategy. For this reason, I have always predicted a very big divergence in the USAF NGAD and the European FCAS to the point that it would be a big stretch to call the NGAD a "fighter" in the traditional sense while the FCAS will essentially be a twin-engined F-35++.

But things will change over time. The US Navy has now thrice increased its program of record for the Super Hornet after once predicting (very early on into the program) that it may reduce the top line acquisition numbers. What happened in-between was just a very strong pace of deployment to the Middle East and carrier operations not seen this side of the original Gulf War. As a result they chewed through their airframe hours and as such were forced to buy more tails. That same could very well happen to the USAF depending upon what happens in the 2020's, in hot spots around the world.

In the US, the capacity is largely dictated by the COCOM commanders. The individual services, the chiefs and the planning organizations only train and equip the force. The equip part of that is determined by the demand signal that comes from those COCOM leaderships.

So, I don't really see this decision, or lack of one, to materially impact the F-35 export policy or get them to look to bring additional partners and customers in beyond the efforts that they already do to expand the group. The Turkish removal and orders were offset by the Japanese decision to increase the buy. Western European order reductions will likewise be offset by new customers in the East (Poland for example) etc. If Japan wants a flat top F-35 capability, then it quite likely the South Koreans will want one as well. Singapore is already lining up and starting negotiations. So over the next 5-8 years they are going to be busy with new customers and more orders from existing partners. It may have an impact on Lockheed in the long run (like over a 2-3 decade horizon) but I don't think the USAF or the Pentagon will really be impacted in any significant way. The USAF is now buying F-15's after a nearly two decade + buying holiday. Boeing managed to keep production going in the interim. Now if there is a material shift in the annual buy rate for the F-35 which then impacts the annual build rate then that will hurt the unit cost and make it difficult for the USAF to modernize within its DOD allotted budget. If that were to happen then the USAF may lobby the DOD to be more lenient as far as export is concerned. But there is no indication that this is going to happen. The current budget deliberations aren't even deliberating for a FRP budget for the F-35, yet the Congress is already indicating of a 98 aircraft annual buy for the FY21 budget. This is more than enough to get the total production close to that 150 number when partner and FMS orders are factored in.

Aviation Week also does not game out the scenarios to the extent possible. For example, I can well see one scenario where the USAF begins fielding the NGAD in the early 2030's and proposes to retire the entire F-22A fleet early - say by the mid to late 2030's. This will result in a lot of saving as sustaining and modernizing a small fleet of 140-150 combat coded fleet of 5GFA is not going to be cheap then. Adding a couple of years worth of F-35A buys will be cheaper in the long run with the money saved going towards buying and sustaining the NGAD fleet. This is a legitimate scenario because the USAF is thinking of doing something very similar on its bomber side in that it wants to begin retiring B-2's as soon as the B-21 is certified for the nuclear mission. The USAF could also decide to buy the aircraft faster and end the production earlier. If budgets were unconstrained, I see the USAF buying around 1,100 F-35A's and moving all in on the NGAD as early as they can (possibly even by the end of this decade). I would go even lower down to maybe 900-1000 F-35A's and use the money on buying more B-21's. But budgets are seldom unconstrained and when you have financial pressures you end up reverting to the most affordable option which is just adding to the number of F-35s. So the short to medium term goal is to reach and sustain an economical and operationally advantageous buy rate. The USAF can probably absorb no more than 70ish F-35A's a year without incurring dis-proportionally higher construction and training costs and disruptions. Now if they sustain that for 15 years or 20 years is going to be a decision that probably needs to reviewed once or twice a decade based on operational requirements and how well the future programs are going. Lockheed will still sell a $hit load of F-35's. They may take longer to sell their internal predicted sales but I don't think the USAF or the Pentagon are going to care much for that unless it begins to materially impact their acquisition and sustainment costs (which is buy/build rate dependent).

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby deejay » 30 Mar 2020 13:12

Rahul M wrote:
narmad wrote:Could not find a relevant thread, so posting here.

legendary-special-operations-aviator-reveals-bin-laden-mission-details-for-the-first-time

Englen’s lone Chinook on its way back was engaged 3 times by a Pakistani F-16.

'It was as an electronic fight...I was able to evade him electronically. That’s all I’ll say. But, he was searching and hunting for me, & 3 times came very close to actually launching a missile."

I found it interesting that an NCO was piloting the chopper and indeed was in charge of the air operations of Neptune s spear.
AFAIK, in our forces, piloting is an officer only job.
Deejay, care to weigh in ?


Saw this only now.

In India, yes, Pilot's are only officers. But through various other snippets in news I think the USAF or other arms of US Military do not restrict pilot duties to officers only.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 30 Mar 2020 17:53

Not a full "gloves off" exercise, assuming that the photos represent the configurations used there, but still pretty good at building up competence with the new platform that is new to both sides. Those US F-35As from Hill are probably the most experienced F-35A pilots currently out there and have 2-3 major large force exercises under their belt. The unit is also on its second Middle East deployment. But still early days assuming the old adage that it takes a decade of institutional experience to truly exploit a brand new weapons system..Israel too has probably used its F-35Is on several missions into Syria etc and have 2-3 joint or trilateral exercises under their belt.

First US-Israel "Enduring Lightning" bi-lateral F-35A Exercise in Israel (Translated from the IDF website)

Yesterday, the "Enduring Lightning" exercise - a joint training of "mighty" (I35-F) aircraft of 140 ("Golden Eagle") with 35-F aircraft of the American 34 Squadron. Also, the 122 Squadron ("Nachshon") operating the "Nachshon" (Gulfstream) control aircraft took part in the exercise. The teams practiced air-to-air and ground-air descriptors. A full cooperation between the troops was included, which included learning and learning together.This is the number one partner for the third time that the Adair planes jointly with foreign 35-F aircraft: In June 2019, the Tri-lightning training was conducted with the US Air Force and the British Air Force, in November 2019 The International Flag hosted the Italian 35 F aircraft and, as mentioned, yesterday, the Israeli Air Force was practicing with American aircraft. The uniqueness of the current exercise is in its position - for the first time, US 35-F jets take part in training over the skies of the State of Israel.

"Americans are our number one partner," says Major T. T., head of the Abroad Exercises section. "It is of great importance to work with the most advanced aircraft in our territory, when we host them. It is important for the IAF to work with the Americans, leaders of the 35-F project, to see how they operate, to learn from them and to collaborate on advanced technology in the aviation world." Major M., the drill leader on behalf of the 140th Squadron adds: "This is the second time we are flying with a 35-F American. We strive to be as connected as possible to the partners in the project - training with the Americans is excellent as they have a great deal of knowledge and experience on the subject. The exercise we performed was intimate. They flew two quarters together and the connection with the American squadron was made directly and not through an indirect channel.

"The exercise took place only in the air, with no face-to-face meeting of the Israeli and American teams, with briefing and debriefing conducted in classified media - all in light of the spread of the Corona virus worldwide. "Having a joint international exercise with the most advanced platforms in the world, along with meeting all the restrictions - is not a given at this time," describes Major T. The training is the foundation for future exercises in the home field of the State of Israel. "Our intention is to produce an exercise that will become a home exercise," explains Major T. "That is, one of the times the Americans will come here to do joint training. We aim to create a basis for a series of exercises of this kind - to be held regularly."



Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 30 Mar 2020 23:56

Thanks for the very detailed reply brar_w. So basically, the decision may change at a later date based on future requirements and there is no likelihood of relaxing the ban on sales of F-35 to nations that may field S-400 batteries to boost export numbers.

Seeing the Israeli F-35s, I am again reminded of how disappointed I was to see their F-35s being of the same color scheme as that of all the other nations. Was hoping against hope to see their F-35s sharing a similar paint scheme as their beautiful F-16s. Something to do with the color of the RAM coatings?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 31 Mar 2020 00:02

Kartik wrote: So basically, the decision may change at a later date based on future requirements and there is no likelihood of relaxing the ban on sales of F-35 to nations that may field S-400 batteries to boost export numbers.


Never say never but I don't see that changing as a broad policy anytime soon.

Kartik wrote: Something to do with the color of the RAM coatings?


Yeah. Basically two shades are cleared for now, the older gray and the newer one.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 31 Mar 2020 04:41

In other news, the USAF's ACC has reversed it's decision to award a sole bidder contract for T-50s and will instead create a new competition for it's Reforge POC.

From AW&ST

Air Combat Command (ACC) has dropped a plan to award a sole-source contract to Hillwood Aviation to supply four to eight Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50s for a five-year demonstration program, and instead will open the acquisition to competitive bidding, a U.S. Air Force spokeswoman said March 26.

ACC announced the decision a week after Aviation Week uncovered the sole-source decision and the objections of Mission Support Services (MSS), a Texas-based engineering firm with access to competing Leonardo M-346 jets, to the absence of a competitive process.

A notice of intent released by ACC in January for the RFX contract describes a plan to lease the advanced jet trainers for five years to validate the concept of operations for Project Reforge, a plan to reform the Air Force’s training process for fighter and bomber pilots ahead of the arrival of the Boeing T-7A. The January notice also said ACC intended to award the RFX contract to Hillwood without a competition.

“Based on industry responses to the Reforge proof-of-concept notice of intent, the Reforge team has determined that a competitive acquisition is in the best interest of the government,” the ACC spokeswoman said. “Currently the team is conducting market research to determine the most effective and efficient acquisition.”

The Air Force’s position marks an abrupt change from ACC’s policy since last May. ACC’s first request for information for RFX specified an advanced jet trainer with supersonic speed, ruling out the M-346. After MSS interjected, ACC softened the speed minimum to include subsonic jets, but added a new requirement for the aircraft to carry a radar, which the M-346 available to MSS can’t support.


“We are excited to learn that ACC is now planning to compete its Reforge Project,” said David Nichols, MSS president.

Although a temporary need by ACC, the RFX contract now revives the competition between the T-50 and M-346, the two runner-ups in the Air Force’s decade-long T-X competition claimed by the Boeing/Saab T-7A in September 2018.

It’s not clear yet if the Air Force will withdraw the requirement for the RFX contractor to carry a radar. Besides the T-50 and M-346, ACC also could choose between multiple aircraft now competing to win a role as an adversary air trainer, with aircraft including the Dassault Mirage F1, Boeing F/A-18A/B, Lockheed Martin F-16A Block 15 and Northrop F-5E.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 31 Mar 2020 04:44

Interesting concept. But the 3D printed parts would not be spares, just meant to allow the Gripens to fly to larger air bases where they can be repaired.

From AW&ST


Credit: Saab



Saab is developing a containerized battle-damage repair system for its Gripen combat aircraft that will use additive manufacturing to get aircraft back in the air.

The concept, revealed by the company during its annual Gripen seminar held March 26, would see forward-deployed units equipped with a 3D scanner and printer.

If an aircraft returns from a mission with battle damage, the deployed team can scan the damaged section and the associated surfaces used for mounting the replacement part, which would then be designed before being sent to the 3D printer.

“This 3D scan technology allows personnel to reverse engineer and 3D-print spare parts when no other option is available,” Ellen Molin, Saab’s head of support and services, told the seminar.

Once produced, the part can be fitted to the aircraft, allowing it to leave the deployed location and return to its main operating base for more in-depth repairs.

Molin said the 3D-printed parts would have a limited life and should not be used as replacement parts.


Saab appears to be aiming the concept at the Swedish Air Force , which regularly deploys its Gripen fighters to remote airstrips as part of its dispersed airbase plans. The OEM suggests that the battle damage repair system could be operated by conscripts “with basic 3D printing knowledge and the support of an engineering program.”

Countries like Hungary and the Czech Republic could also make use of the technology when they deploy their Gripens on NATO Air Policing missions in the Baltic States.

The company is using scanning technology because damage results in the need for a unique replacement part. But officials note they are also looking into the use of a parts database, although Saab notes there could be security challenges associated with such an option.

The concept aligns with Swedish Air Force plans to rebuild the remote basing concept it mastered during the Cold War, in light of the new threat posed by Russia. Remote basing sees the Swedish Air Force deploy its Gripen fighters to remote airfields. In 2017, Sweden restarted conscription, one of the key elements in building the manpower to rebuild the remote basing concept. For every aircraft dispersed it is supported by one or two full-time technicians and a team of conscripted personnel to load the weaponry and fuel the aircraft. They also provide perimeter protection.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Gerard » 31 Mar 2020 04:47

Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar satellite stops working

Venesat is retired to graveyard after suspected power issue
The satellite, which uses the Chinese-built DFH-4 bus, reportedly lost one of its solar-array drive mechanisms in February, followed by the second solar-array drive the following month.
An emergency attempt was made to raise the spacecraft a few hundred kilometers above the standard geostationary orbit. However, this only half worked, leaving just the apogee fully raised. There is speculation that the spacecraft’s battery power ran out as it tried to raise the perigee as well.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 31 Mar 2020 18:15

Kartik wrote:In other news, the USAF's ACC has reversed it's decision to award a sole bidder contract for T-50s and will instead create a new competition for it's Reforge POC.


This is a dumb and shortsighted move. Those companies that will buy the aircraft will want to re-purpose it for something else once the experimentation and demVal phase of the effort is over. It is going to be really difficult to accommodate a subsonic aircraft without a radar (at the moment) into a red-air fleet, especially given its brand new, and no one leases a trainer for training needs etc. etc.. It is quite likely that the need to compete will delay the program as they'll wait for the Grifo to be fully integrated into the M-346. The T-50 is much closer to performance of the T-7A and would have resulted in a better cost/benefit and capability analysis which is the entire point of this POC(though the training element and simluators on the M-346 are an older generation version of what the T-7A will have (but cost and capability of the training system is hardly going to be something that needs to be validated at the squadron level).

The most surprising comment was from the M-346 crew in the last AvWeek article:

AvWeek wrote:“You still have factions within the Air Force that are looking for a high-performance aircraft for a trainer aircraft, and the T-50 scratches that itch,” Nichols says.


There may be a "faction" within the US Air-Force that perhaps looks at a proof-of-concept requirement and wishes that the platform conducting the POC closely match the performance of the platform that will ultimately perform this mission if the POC ends up being a success? :roll: That's called common sense.

The M-346 falls short of the T-7A on many fronts and it was always questionable whether the M-346 even met many of the requirements for the USAF TX/APT program in the first place (Raytheon literally walked out of their partnership with Alenia Aermacchi upon seeing the final T-X RFI). The T-50 is probably a closer match to what they are trying to prove out. And if they can do a couple of things with the same contract and program (also demonstrate what the costs and performance and training value of a radar equipped T-7A are likely to be at the squadron level) then that too makes sense.

If they want this to be competitive how about finding two companies that both bid their services with the T-50.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 31 Mar 2020 23:19

From the Tejas thread:

Rakesh wrote:What are those specific missions? Nine times out of ten, would they be flying with a dozen AIM-9Xs?


Not AIM-9X's but the AIM-X, its replacement. Many (the US included) are developing systems that aid combat aircraft in the future. The USAF program is known as a loyal wingman (and the first example is currently flying) and the FCAS system calls it "remote carriers". The Russians and Chinese probably have something similar planned. So you, in the future, would have to fight your way through not only combat fighters but pickets of these attritable or reusable systems along with other targets such as decoys that are not seen in any significant capacity at the moment (besides what the USAF fields). Basically the number of targets you were expected to defeat to either kick down the door or fend off an attack is going to continue to grow. One way to do this would be to have remote carriers of your own but IWB load outs are going to have to grow as well. Another way you would have to up this game would be sensor technologies that can help you discriminate and prioritize, in a smart way, high value, mid -value and low value targets. However no one approach is likely to exclusively help here and it will be a collection of solutions. Many, including, myself predict magazine capacity to grow in future systems (new ones and upgrades to existing ones). Some are ahead of this and are already conducting trials on these new missiles.

shaun wrote:What was the missile loading per strike A/c during desert storm ( even that wont be a good example as the opponent could not pitch enough A/c against !!)


That varied with what the mission was, and whether the aircraft were preforming a primary mission or helping out with other missions. The F-15C and F-14 were platforms that almost exclusively performed the OCA/DCA mission, fleet defense, and escort (though others performed it as well but not exclusively) and there a typical load out would be 8 missiles (4 x AIM-9 + 4 x AIM-7) for the F-15C and 8 missiles for the F-14 (usually 2 AIM-54's, 4 AIM-7's and 2 AIM-9's). Strike aircraft load outs would be too variable to list but some strike aircraft, like the F-16 had the AMRAAM (and got a MiG-25 kill with it as well) though the AMRAAM showed up on the F-15C towards the last stages of the conflict at which time Iraqi wasn't really putting up a lot of aircraft in the air (nearly half of all gulf war air-air kills happened in the first week of the air campaign).

It wasn't a coincidence that the ATF and Naval ATF were required to carry 8 internal missiles. This came out from the operators.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby shaun » 31 Mar 2020 23:37

brar_w wrote:From the Tejas thread:

shaun wrote:What was the missile loading per strike A/c during desert storm ( even that wont be a good example as the opponent could not pitch enough A/c against !!)


That varied with what the mission was, and whether the aircraft were preforming a primary mission or helping out with other missions. The F-15C and F-14 were platforms that almost exclusively performed the OCA/DCA mission, fleet defense, and escort (though others performed it as well but not exclusively) and there a typical load out would be 8 missiles (4 x AIM-9 + 4 x AIM-7) for the F-15C and 8 missiles for the F-14 (usually 2 AIM-54's, 4 AIM-7's and 2 AIM-9's). Strike aircraft load outs would be too variable to list but some strike aircraft, like the F-16 had the AMRAAM (and got a MiG-25 kill with it as well) though the AMRAAM showed up on the F-15C towards the last stages of the conflict at which time Iraqi wasn't really putting up a lot of aircraft in the air (nearly half of all gulf war air-air kills happened in the first week of the air campaign).


Thank you so much,standard load of 8 for the heavies and if you please don't mind how many( Max number ) AAM carried by F16s

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 01 Apr 2020 00:22

shaun wrote:
brar_w wrote:Thank you so much,standard load of 8 for the heavies and if you please don't mind how many( Max number ) AAM carried by F16s


The F-16 was primarily used as a multi-role strike fighter and other sorties so carried a mix of missiles, bombs, pods and other payloads.There were units that exclusively performed SEAD with the HARM and jammer pods, and there were others that had LANTIRN so were kept for night strike sorties. Typically a couple of AIM-9's would be included with Mavericks and other guided and unguided A2G munitions. I'm not sure what a pure Air-Air load out looked like for the F-16 during the Gulf War and at what stage of the conflict it was asked to perform those missions. In the balkan conflicts the F-16's carried 6 missile load outs when mission demanded..but not sure whether this was being done during the GW on a regular basis ( the level of the AIM-120A inventory in the GW would have probably made that less likely given that towards the last third of the conflict the F-15C were also cleared for the weapon).

I would assume that if the USAF tasks its F-16C's as primary OCA/DCA then those units would be similarly kitted. So 6 missiles which they can carry now. If a hypothetical scenario called for the USAF to convert some of those squadrons to primary Air to Air duties then I could even envision the USAF asking that those new racks being added so they could get a couple of additional missiles without giving up the external fuel. The F-35 will carry 6 internal AMRAAM class missile as well. But because the AIM-X will be half the length of the AIM-120 this means that sometime in the 2020's the F-35 would be able to carry potentially double of this load out or a mixed load out of 4 AIM-260 missiles and 4 AIM-X missiles in its internal bays. The AIM-X should easily out range the baseline AMRAAM and may even match the AIM-120 C in its range so an all AIM-X loadout wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility given some mission demands.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby shaun » 01 Apr 2020 00:28

Thanks again for your kind patience ... informative

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 01 Apr 2020 01:38

So 8 missiles per F-15 or F-14 was the typical loadout for OCA/DCA, fleet defense and escort missions? I would expect similar loadouts for the heavy Su-30s of the IAF in those kind of roles. No other IAF fighter can carry that many, bar the Rafale and is a silver bullet force that will likely be tasked alongwith the Su-30s together.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 01 Apr 2020 01:46

^ Yeah typically that is how they were loaded though I don't know how the AIM-120A arrival into the F-15C fleet changed that towards the end of the mission there. The A2A mission changed over time and towards the latter half of the GW they were essentially hunting for any Iraqi AF aircraft fleeing to Iran or elsewhere. But 8 for OCA was the prevailing loadout and thus the requirements for the ATF/NATF which required 6 AIM-120 and 2 AIM-9 class missiles. I wonder if anyone would want to fund the F-35 Beast Mode demonstration now that Block 4 software is being incorporated into the tapes. Theoretically, the aircraft could carry about 16 AIM-120D's and still have about the same range and signature as an F-15C (with 8 ) while doing it.

Kartik wrote:There was and is a serious concern in the USAF that if a shooting war were to erupt between the US and China, the PLAAF will swamp the limited number of F-22 and F-15 fighters with much larger numbers of fighters that will eventually overwhelm the technologically superior force. The simple reason being that when flying away from their bases, and carrying 4-6 missiles each, each F-22 or F-15 will fire salvos at each target and within no time be all out of missiles. At that time the numerically larger PLAAF fighter force would extract a heavy toll on the defending USAF fighters and tanker and AWACS assets. There was a very interesting RAND study that did a simulation of such a scenario and came up with very uncomfortable results for the USAF. It is one of the primary reasons why there are development programs for smaller form factor missiles that can be carried in larger numbers.


The answer to the Chinese flooding their aircraft is to double down on offensive strike to prevent or throttle sortie generation. Of course this works both ways so that's why I think the fighter aircraft dominance in the USAF is on its way out.

A more stressing threat is going to come from decoys, loyal-wingmen and other similar concepts. It will be difficult to discriminate between who is who, prioritize threats, and then dedicate resources accordingly. This was the major thrust behind SACM/AIM-X where essentially they want an AMRAAM class missile (range) but with the agility that is better than the AIM-9 as far as CCM duties are concerned. You need to potentially be capable of shooting at a lot more targets to really try to bring a sizable impact on the enemies capability to deny you access etc. It's not just fighter aircraft any more looking at threats 2030 and beyond.

You'll need a lot of missiles when China fields something like this (it's a question of when and not if).

Image

You can put holes in runways and they'll take time to repair thus slowing their SGR. But this sucker doesn't need a runway to either take off or land.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Larry Walker » 01 Apr 2020 22:52

brar_w wrote:^ Yeah typically that is how they were loaded though I don't know how the AIM-120A arrival into the F-15C fleet changed that towards the end of the mission there. The A2A mission changed over time and towards the latter half of the GW they were essentially hunting for any Iraqi AF aircraft fleeing to Iran or elsewhere. But 8 for OCA was the prevailing loadout and thus the requirements for the ATF/NATF which required 6 AIM-120 and 2 AIM-9 class missiles. I wonder if anyone would want to fund the F-35 Beast Mode demonstration now that Block 4 software is being incorporated into the tapes. Theoretically, the aircraft could carry about 16 AIM-120D's and still have about the same range and signature as an F-15C (with 8 ) while doing it.

Kartik wrote:There was and is a serious concern in the USAF that if a shooting war were to erupt between the US and China, the PLAAF will swamp the limited number of F-22 and F-15 fighters with much larger numbers of fighters that will eventually overwhelm the technologically superior force. The simple reason being that when flying away from their bases, and carrying 4-6 missiles each, each F-22 or F-15 will fire salvos at each target and within no time be all out of missiles. At that time the numerically larger PLAAF fighter force would extract a heavy toll on the defending USAF fighters and tanker and AWACS assets. There was a very interesting RAND study that did a simulation of such a scenario and came up with very uncomfortable results for the USAF. It is one of the primary reasons why there are development programs for smaller form factor missiles that can be carried in larger numbers.


The answer to the Chinese flooding their aircraft is to double down on offensive strike to prevent or throttle sortie generation. Of course this works both ways so that's why I think the fighter aircraft dominance in the USAF is on its way out.

A more stressing threat is going to come from decoys, loyal-wingmen and other similar concepts. It will be difficult to discriminate between who is who, prioritize threats, and then dedicate resources accordingly. This was the major thrust behind SACM/AIM-X where essentially they want an AMRAAM class missile (range) but with the agility that is better than the AIM-9 as far as CCM duties are concerned. You need to potentially be capable of shooting at a lot more targets to really try to bring a sizable impact on the enemies capability to deny you access etc. It's not just fighter aircraft any more looking at threats 2030 and beyond.

You'll need a lot of missiles when China fields something like this (it's a question of when and not if).

Image

You can put holes in runways and they'll take time to repair thus slowing their SGR. But this sucker doesn't need a runway to either take off or land.


If Chinese can make un-piloted aircrafts fully autonomous in attack and defense modes, then rather than investing so much effort and money into autonomous flight development, why can't they impregnate their existing cruise missiles and air-defense systems with the AI that these future autonomous aircrafts are supposed to deploy ? Wouldn't that be cheaper and quicker ?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 01 Apr 2020 23:34

Larry Walker wrote:
If Chinese can make un-piloted aircrafts fully autonomous in attack and defense modes, then rather than investing so much effort and money into autonomous flight development, why can't they impregnate their existing cruise missiles and air-defense systems with the AI that these future autonomous aircrafts are supposed to deploy ? Wouldn't that be cheaper and quicker ?



These loyal-wingman do not need to be autonomous or leverage AI to be highly effective force multipliers. In fact, even the initial USAF systems will be semi-autonomus with full AI a future goal. China already has the UAS technology to develop these from a flight and other aspects..what they need to work on are more survivable shapes and runway independent launch and recovery. Tough problems but not something they cannot do field over the next 10-12 years IMO. Their initial systems may be crude and may allow others to more easily jam them or discriminate between them and more higher value targets. But ultimately, if they invest enough time and money, they'll get to capable systems. [This is why I mentioned that linear growth in airborne (SWaP constrained) radar performance (like the currrent state of GaA to GaN) isn't going to solve future problems despite the hype around them.]

These aren't a substitute for Cruise Missiles or missile defense systems (those too will continue to get smarter - just look at the USAF's Golden Horde program). Loyal Wingman will play a significant force-multiplier role even outside any combat capability (like carrying weapons). For example, one of the missions the USAF is offloading to its Skyborg is as a communication and network gateway that ensures LPI comms are maintained when the less survivable forms of comms are jammed and when satellites are degraded or completely destroyed. Electronic Warfare is another area as multiple systems, when kitted, can help manned aircraft triangulate emitters while staying silent - thus the force multiplier nature.

The F-35 now fields multi-ship IRST capability, which is an autonomous mode where a 4 ship (or more) can task sections of the airspace and collaboratively scan for targets thereby improving the scanning and revisit rates that will then allow them to set priority zones that need to be revisited more often and safe zones which only need to be monitored less frequently. Now imagine if each of those 4 F-35's have a couple of Skyborg's each with a small IRST sensor. In fact this is how the USAF will ultimately replace the E-3 capability. There are a lot of possibilities and all are important enough that one would need to deny this capability.

Finally, these systems can aslo carry weapons. I think the point is that they can perform missions across the spectrum and this will require denying an enemy which uses them this capability. This isn't 3-5 years out but also not a 20 year problem but these systems will start coming online, in multiple countries, within the 2020's itself. 1st generation systems might not be all that great but these products won't have 20-25 year life-cycles. More like iterative variants every 5-6 years. The USAF already fields a very large Air-Launched decoy and decoy-jammer fleet and that is only getting more capable with larger vehicles coming online over the next 5-10 years. Russia, China and others would field similar systems.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 02 Apr 2020 01:28

And now the UK is standing up an experimental squadron purely to look at the 'Swarm' drone concept. China won't be far behind in getting this swarm drone capability.

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UK stands up swarming drones development unit

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has stood-up an experimental unit dedicated to developing an operational ‘swarming drones’ capability, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Jane’s .

216 Squadron was reactivated at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on 1 April, the MoD said. Previously, the ministry explained that the unit will be tasked with bringing the RAF’s “ambitious” swarming drones capability into service and continue its development.

As previously reported by Jane’s , the then-Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson said in February 2019 that by the end of that year the RAF would operationally field “swarm squadrons of network-enabled drones capable of confusing and overcoming enemy air-defence systems”. In July 2019 the then-Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier clarified the minister’s comments by saying that 216 Squadron would be stood-up by the end of the year to develop the concept, with the capability itself to be delivered by about July, with further development to follow.


This is still the MoD’s stated intention. However, Jane’s understands that 216 Squadron has been reformed with minimal manning for now, and that work is ongoing to assess the effects of the current coronavirus pandemic on future plans, manning, and timelines.

In terms of the potential solution to the ‘swarming drones’ requirement, the RAF has previously said that the timelines meant it would not be looking to develop a bespoke platform but would instead be using something that was already available. No further details have been provided for commercial confidentiality reasons.

While the near-term timelines and milestones for 216 Squadron and the wider swarming drone capability are currently subject to developments with the ongoing coronavirus emergency, the MoD noted earlier that progress during recent trials has exceeded expectations in several unspecified areas. A source familiar with the trials noted to Jane’s that the results so far were “looking promising”.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 02 Apr 2020 01:31

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Bangladesh receives final surplus UK C-130J airlifter

Bangladesh has received the last of five UK-surplus Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft it ordered, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Jane's on 1 April.

Aircraft ZH 887, a short-bodied C-130J (designated C5 in Royal Air Force [RAF] service), was transferred to the Bangladesh Air Force on 3 February, ahead of the MoD's previously stated target date of "the end of March".

As previously reported by Jane's, Bangladesh ordered the surplus C-130Js in two batches of two and three aircraft in 2018 and earlier in 2019, respectively. The deals were initially revealed via maintenance contracts announced by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (ADG), although the MoD later confirmed the total number to Jane's.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 02 Apr 2020 01:34

Image

KC-46A Pegasus fuel system leaks excessively


The US Air Force (USAF) has upgraded an existing deficiency of the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tanker to the most serious category after identifying excessive fuel system leaks in 16 aircraft.

The leaks were first discovered in July 2019 after an air refueling test, according to the USAF. The service and Boeing are working together to determine the root cause and to implement corrective actions.

Boeing spokesman Larry Chambers said on 31 March that the KC-46A fuel system is equipped with redundant protection for fuel containment. In some cases with this issue, Chambers said aircraft maintenance crews are finding fuel between the primary and secondary fuel protection barriers within the system.


Boeing is implementing assembly and installation improvements, and has repaired several affected aircraft, and will continue to implement repairs as needed. The company has fixed seven of the 16 affected aircraft.

Each affected KC-46A is being sent to a "rapid response" Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas, that is equipped to handle aircraft maintenance and other work. The fuel system improvements made there are also being incorporated into the assembly of the company's new tanker aircraft.

Boeing expects inspection and repairs of the fuel system to take roughly 10 days for each aircraft. Chambers said the platforms will fly to San Antonio on a non-interference basis according to the USAF schedule. Boeing, he said, is making it a priority to complete these inspections and repairs as soon as possible.

The KC-46A programme office continues to monitor the entire KC-46A fleet and is enhancing acceptance testing of the fuel system to identify potential leaks at the factory where they can be repaired prior to delivery.


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