International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

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brar_w
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 03 Sep 2020 18:09

m_saini wrote:
Wish we could've gotten some free Rafales too. But oh well.


As Vivek_ahuja points out there is probably some geopolitical angle to this vis-a-vis the French Turkish relation at the moment. Rest assured, even the French AF probably wishes they gor some free Rafale fighters. It's been a while since they got the aircraft and are running way behind where they'd like to be with their fleet modernization :)

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby m_saini » 03 Sep 2020 20:38

brar_w wrote:
As Vivek_ahuja points out there is probably some geopolitical angle to this vis-a-vis the French Turkish relation at the moment. Rest assured, even the French AF probably wishes they gor some free Rafale fighters. It's been a while since they got the aircraft and are running way behind where they'd like to be with their fleet modernization :)


Oh no doubt, it was mostly a joke on my part :D I do realize that things rarely are free in life much less the million dollar warplanes

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby chola » 03 Sep 2020 21:04

The KFX is taking shape. Looks a lot like the AMCA doesn't it?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 03 Sep 2020 21:32

chola wrote:The KFX is taking shape. Looks a lot like the AMCA doesn't it?


Somewhere in a retirement community, those who cobbled up the design of the YF-22, some 30+ years ago, are quietly patting themselves in the back :)

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< Image of final assembly of first YF-22 prototype from early to mid 1990 via Code One>

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby chola » 03 Sep 2020 21:40

^^^ Yes, it had set the standard planform.

I liked the YF-23 more though!

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 03 Sep 2020 21:58

The YF-23 was a very promising design and performed really well in some aspects of the envelope based on data shared in the ATF manager's book. However, the Northrop and McDonnell Douglas team was not the best at running a program, building and validating a prototype in short amount of time (in a way that inspires confidence to the decision makers), and de-risking design and production. Lockheed, with its Skunk Works legacy, was, and continues to be, a master at that.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Vayutuvan » 04 Sep 2020 00:42

https://www.aerodefensetech.com/component/content/article/adt/stories/insider/37557

Image: Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign test the new salt-based propellant.

In smaller spacecraft such as CubeSat satellites, a salt-based monopropellant is showing promise. The propellant, called FAM-110A, is a mixture of two commercially available salts. It can be used in a combined chemical-electric thruster.

A rocket engine using the propellant could be practical at almost any pressure level; however, it also leaves a significant amount of liquid residue after it burns. This is undesirable because it means that the combustion is incomplete. The formulation requires changes in order to improve efficiency of its combustion.


Original source is here.

https://aerospace.illinois.edu/news/under-pressure-nontoxic-salt-based-propellant-performs-well

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 04 Sep 2020 14:52

Not totally unexpected as the Koreans always had a need for more fighters but had set a ceiling on the initial spend that limited the number of aircraft they acquired in the first round -

South Korea To Double Down On F-35 And Procure STOVL Variant For LPX-II


The South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) has decided in August to double its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets. A total of forty additional "Joint Strike Fighters" will be procured, including 20 F-35B short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant for its light aircraft carrier project known as LPX-II.

According to multiple local media reports quoting officials, South Korean military authorities plan to acquire an additional 40 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, among which 20 F-35B will be acquired by the Republic of Korea Navy (ROK Navy). The transfer of F-35B data and technology is seen as essential for designing the future 30,000-tons LPX-II vessel, which should be operational by 2033:

“Detailed information of the F-35B is absolutely necessary for the design of the main parts of the ship such as the deck,”

In parallel, the Republic of Korea Air Force will order 20 additional F-35A variant aircraft to fulfill its requirement for 60 5th generation fighters. South Korea green lighted an initial procurement of 40 F-35A on 24 September 2014. About a dozen of F-35A from this first batch entered operational service with the Air Force in December 2019.

Although the F-35B are set to be procured by the ROK Navy’s budget, Naval News understands that the aircraft will be flown by ROK Air Force pilots. While ROK Navy personnel flies fixed wing aircraft (P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircrafts, to be replaced by the P-8A Poseidon), it lacks pilots with experience with fast jets.

An initial power struggle between the Air Force and Navy was resolved by granting wishes of both branches: The ROK Navy will receive the F-35B first to accommodate the LPX-II program. The ROK Air Force will operate the Navy’s F-35B while also getting their own additional F-35A after the F-35B are delivered. In the end, South Korea will operate a total of 80 F-35 (60 A variants and 20 B variants).

The final approval is expected during a Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting held in October 2020. The contract is expected to be signed between 2021 and 2022 with delivery beginning around 2025.




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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 14 Sep 2020 15:52

Greece announced that it would order 18 Rafales from France and will upgrade 10 of it's surviving Mirage-2000EGMs to the -2000-5 standard.

Dassault's press release

Saint-Cloud, France, September 12, 2020 – Greece announced today its intention to acquire 18 Rafales to equip its air force.

This announcement illustrates the strength of the partnership that has linked the Greek Air Force and Dassault Aviation for more than 45 years, and demonstrates the enduring strategic relationship between Greece and France.

Greece ordered 40 Mirage F1 from Dassault Aviation in 1974, then 40 Mirage 2000 in 1985 and finally 15 Mirage 2000-5 in the year 2000; this latest contract also includes the modernization of 10 Mirage 2000 to the 2000-5 standard with a large contribution from Greek industry.

“I am delighted with this announcement, which reinforces the exceptional relationship we have had with Greece for nearly half a century, and I thank the Greek authorities for their confidence in us once again. Dassault Aviation is fully mobilized to meet the operational needs expressed by the Greek Air Force, and thus contribute to ensuring Greece’s sovereignty and the safety of the Greek people,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.


Greece upgraded 10 Mirage-2000EGMs to the -5 standard earlier. So out of 40, 10 were upgraded, remaining 30 continued as is and 10 of those will also be upgraded to the -5 standard.

That'll leave about 20 Mirage-2000EGMs that as per Greek reports will be replaced by the 18 Rafales. Hopefully, the IAF will approach Dassault to assess the condition of these 20 Mirage-2000EGMs and see if they're fit to be upgraded to the -2000I standard. If so, would allow the IAF to add 1 more Mirage-2000 squadron.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 14 Sep 2020 16:08

Plenty more details on the Greek decision to go in for 18 Rafales. Apparently, it would include 6 new build Rafales and the remaining 12 will be second-hand Adl'A Rafales F3-O4T that will be donated for free. This was done to reduce the deal price. Not a bad deal at all!

Greece officially confirms intention to buy 18 Rafales

The article also mentions that these 18 Rafales would replace 17 Mirage-2000 EGMs. Fingers crossed, those will be picked up by Dassault, and offered for sale after upgrading.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 15 Sep 2020 06:25


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 15 Sep 2020 21:06

The USAF RPA fleet, developed to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, is going to be turned into a more survivable fleet in the coming years with MQ-Next and beyond. The RQ-180 being already operational is leading that transformation..with MALE platforms following now..

Reaper Replacement Reveals Bold New GA-ASI Vision


In December 2018, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems executives still felt the bitter sting of a losing bid two months earlier for the U.S. Navy MQ-25 contract, but a clearly disappointed company president vowed to return for the next competition against the aerospace industry’s largest companies. “If the [request for proposals] comes out for a major program of record, we’re all-in,” said David Alexander in that December 2018 interview in his offices in Poway, California.

“We’ll maybe have a few more lessons learned on what to do and what not to do,” he added. "But we’ll go in with both feet planted again and go after it.”

Eighteen months later, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) is doubling-down on Alexander’s commitment, releasing exclusively to Aviation Week a concept rendering of a next-generation unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that reflects the characteristics the company’s designers view as essential for the class of aircraft that could replace the MQ-9 by the early 2030s.

GA-ASI was among at least five industry teams that responded to the U.S. Air Force’s request for information (RFI) for a next-generation intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike UAS to enter service in fiscal 2030. Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin shared concepts for next-generation UAS designs on Sept. 11. Boeing and Kratos also responded to the Air Force RFI by the July 15 deadline but declined to release concepts at this nascent stage of the bidding process.

Arguably, GA-ASI invented the role of the ISR/Strike UAS with the MQ-9, and the company’s concept for the Reaper is no less provocative, featuring a jet-powered aircraft with distinctive, tear-shaped inlets and a long, high-aspect-ratio wingspan that appear optimized for ultra-long-range flight at high altitudes.

“We’re embracing ultra-long endurance to keep our next-generation ISR/Strike UAS in the fight for longer periods than many ever imagined possible,” Alexander said in a statement to Aviation Week.

Although GA-ASI released no specifications with the rendering, it is clear Alexander means the next-generation concept should have even longer range that the 27-hr. endurance currently offered by the Air Force’s MQ-9. The Air Force Research Laboratory defined ultra-long-endurance in 2019, when a popular light sport aircraft, the Pipistrel Sinus, was modified to fly autonomously for 2.5 days over the Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. The modified aircraft was called the Ultra-Long-Endurance Aircraft Platform.

How the new GA-ASI concept achieves ultra-long endurance is likely to include intriguing surprises beyond the disproportionately long, thin-chord and highly swept wings. The tear-shape inlets appear to feed airflow through parallel ducts down the middle of the fuselage into a mysterious propulsion system. Alexander’s statement hints that the aircraft’s engine is a critical element of the ultra-long-endurance capability.

“Our advancements in propulsion technology will give commanders a longer reach than ever before,” Alexander said.

In the late-1990s, GA-ASI designed the MQ-9 to perform the hunter-killer UAS mission’s three “F’s”—find, fix and finish—by itself if necessary, with a targeting sensor embedded beneath the nose and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles along with GBU-12 laser-guided or GBU-38 GPS-guided gravity bombs under the wing. GA-ASI’s next-generation UAS concept appears capable of performing the role in a similar stand-alone fashion. A faintly visible bulge under the leading edge suggests capacity for a large payload bay, allowing the future concept to carry sensors and weapons internally, unlike the MQ-9.

But the Air Force’s concept of operations is changing. Whether manned or unmanned, any aircraft in the future combat fleet must be capable of finding and striking targets on their own, but they are expected to be able to operate as part of a network. Data from onboard sensors must be shared to the network, and data coming from other sensors elsewhere on the network must be receivable. GA-ASI’s concept is adapted to that approach, Alexander said.

“We envision [the] next-gen ISR/Strike [aircraft] as a conduit, supplier and consumer of information,” hesaid. “We believe it is imperative that future unmanned systems are able to communicate, share information and collaborate—together and intuitively with their human counterparts—across systems and domains in record time.”

The next-generation UAS also addresses the workforce needed to operate the MQ-9, including separate teams of pilots and sensor operators during cruise flight and takeoff and landing. GA-ASI notes that the company has already qualified technologies to enable the existing fleet to taxi, take off and land automatically as well as a ground control system that allows a single pilot to control six UAS.

“Our team has been developing and delivering automation solutions for years,” Alexander said.




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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 19 Sep 2020 08:18

The first operational cruise for the F-35C is fast approaching. CVN 70 is out of her availability and is now spooling up and doing the trainning and CQ activity in anticipation for a 2021 4 month deployment. She will serve as the vessel for the maiden operational deployment of both the F-35C and the CMV-22B both during the same cruise.

USS Carl Vinson, Navy’s first operational F-35C squadron conduct flight deck certification


USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) successfully completed several certifications, including flight deck certification (FDC) and carrier air traffic control center (CATCC) certification, Sept. 17, after nearly a week of flight deck operations designed to ready the carrier for future operations.

The underway also marked the first time that Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and Vinson, both part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, fully integrated and operated together since the addition of the F-35C Lightning II.

“The flight deck certification is one of many ways the Navy ensures the safety and readiness of our equipment and personnel,” said Rear Adm. Timothy J. Kott, commander, CSG-1. “The fact that Vinson was able to safely and successfully complete the flight deck certification while operating with the Navy’s first operational F-35 squadron is an exciting bonus.”

FDC is required for the carrier to embark aircraft, the primary weapons system for the platform, and is designed to provide operational continuity and proficiency training for carrier crews. During FDC, the carrier is evaluated on its ability to launch and recover aircraft in a safe manner in both day and night time operations.

Vinson, along with CVW-2 squadrons, also achieved certification in precision approach landing systems (PALS), joint precision approach landing systems (JPALS) and carrier qualifications for the six fixed-wing squadrons.

“These certifications ensure that Vinson meets the standards and, in our case, we went above and beyond the certification requirements,” said Capt. Matthew Paradise, Vinson’s commanding officer. “I’m not surprised we did so well because every day the teamwork I saw demonstrated by the ship’s crew and the air wing was fantastic. Their technical expertise, attention to detail and hard work resulted in our successful completion of certifications.”

Prior to integrated operations with the air wing, Vinson underwent a 17-month maintenance availability to receive major upgrades in support of 5th generation aircraft, making Vinson the first aircraft carrier equipped to support both the F-35C Lightning II and CMV-22 Osprey. Upgrades included enhanced jet blast deflectors able to take the increased heat generated by the F-35C and the addition of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), the new computer network that supports the unique maintenance and tactical operations functions of the advanced aircraft.

With its recent modifications, no other weapons system has the responsiveness, endurance, multi-dimensional might, inherent battlespace awareness or command and control capabilities of the Vinson and CVW-2.

Other components of the air wing include three U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) that fly the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, one Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) that operates the EA-18G Growler, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) that operates the E-2D Hawkeye, one Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) and one Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC). Through multiplatform integration, CVW-2 will provide fleet commanders the ability to achieve the advantage across multiple domains: air, land, sea and electromagnetic.

Integration between the air wing and ship’s company is crucial to the everyday success of carrier operations. These flight operations take detailed coordination between ship's company and the air wing squadrons, and flight deck certification was an opportunity to build that relationship.

“In the carrier environment, teamwork is everything,” said Capt. Matt Thrasher, commander of CVW-2. “Our Sailors and aircrew are focused on the task at hand and the path forward to deployment. Our success with the Vinson team is a direct result of the dedication, training and deployment-ready mentality we embrace daily.”

With the flight deck and air traffic control center now fully qualified, Vinson is eligible to perform carrier qualifications for new pilots and other missions to support the Fleet. Next, Vinson will complete a series of additional “work ups” and certifications in preparation for future operational tasking.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Philip » 19 Sep 2020 10:51

What's with the latest news about the recent secret testing of the US's 6th-gen aircraft rumoured to be a revolution in warplane design?
The replacement of the F-35 for the USN is also on the drawing board. By 2030, 75% of our current aircraft of the 4th.-gen. will be obsolete and long in the tooth,rendering them much inferior to 5th. and 6th.- gen birds entering and in service. Why the IAF must accelerate the AMCA over other desi fighter programmes.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 19 Sep 2020 10:59

Philip wrote:The replacement of the F-35 for the USN is also on the drawing board.


No it is not. The US Navy only declared the F-35 operational last year and have recently retired their Classic Hornet fleet, which the F-35C is replacing. The program of record is for nearly 300 F-35C's between the US Navy and USMC's CVN deploying force. They still have over 200 of those deliveries remaining.

The US Navy has a FA-XX, next generation fighter program, which has now been stood up, but that is not an "F-35 replacement" but a Super-Hornet replacement. These are distinct types in the USN that service different, though at times overlapping, missions. F-35C replaced the Classic Hornet, while the F/A-XX will replace the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G types. Except for a very breif period of time (the last couple of years), the USN has operated t least a couple of types of aircraft in its air-wing. With the F-35C doing its first long duration operational cruise next year, and the MQ-25 expected to come aboard in 2024 this will again begin adding some diversity to the CAW. F/A-XX will add yet another type as it will have to co-exist with the F-18E/F just due to the fleet replacement cycle alone. Expect FA/XX to come in and begin replacing the early SH's in the first half of the 2030s. Full type replacement probably won't occur till well into the mid 2040's. There would be a need for replacing 700+ aircraft starting about the early 2030s.

The USAF is far along into its 6th gen program and has already flown, at least one demonstrator and is assembling the first dozen or so adaptive engines (6 each from GE and P&W) to kick of their testing. They are also looking at fielding at a timeline that is roughly half that of what it took to field the F-22 or F-35 which suggests they have been at it longer than is publicly acknowledged .

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Thakur_B » 22 Sep 2020 05:28

Wickberg wrote:I never said it was swedish. I just said It´s not a licensed produced version of the GE F404. It´s a Volvo Aero engine called RM12, which is based on the GE404. After the JT8D and the Viggen export failure IG JAS made sure the Gripen would not be sanctioned due to engine,


I love Swedish Humour.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 Sep 2020 18:46

More on the USAF 6th Gen demonstrator program. The effort is likely too important to have just one team working on a flight demonstrator so expect some news of others prototyping and flying their demonstrators in the coming months/years as well. My guess would be that Boeing flew its NGAD demonstrator with others to follow soon. Lockheed has an unmanned program that it is likely focusing on for a similar "portfolio" of capabilities that will be fielded as part of the effort.

The Nearly Decade-Long Story That Led To NGAD Flight Demonstrator


The first confirmation of the existence of a flying, full-scale flight demonstrator for the Next-Generation Air Dominance program by the U.S. Air Force on Sept. 15 dropped like a lightning bolt from the black world of secretly funded military projects.

But the exciting, albeit terse, announcement during the virtual Air, Space and Cyber Conference, hosted by the Air Force Association, comes after a long series of revealing statements by defense officials over nearly a decade that point to the existence of such a program and illuminate critical details about the scope and limits of the project.

Most of the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program details remain among the Air Force’s most tightly guarded secrets. But two parallel objectives are clear: to revolutionize the air superiority mission by fragmenting the mission set among multiple aircraft types and to disrupt how the defense industry produced most of the state-of-the-art combat aircraft during the past half century.

The NGAD flight demonstrator confirmed by Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, plays a critical role as a proof of concept for both objectives.

Senior Air Force officials attending the virtual conference declined to elaborate on the only two statements provided by Roper about the NGAD flight demonstrator.

“NGAD has come so far that the full-scale flight demonstrator has already flown in the physical world,” Roper said during his keynote address. “It’s broken a lot of records and is showing digital engineering isn’t a fluke.”

Pressed for elaboration during two follow-up appearances with journalists, Roper offered only one other direct comment about the aircraft’s performance so far: “All I can say is the NGAD [flight demonstrator] test flights have been amazing. Records have been broken, but I’ve been impressed at how well the digital technology transitions to the real world.”

Before Roper’s comments, the closest hint of the flight demonstrator’s existence came about a year ago. In previously unreported comments, Gen. David Goldfein, the then-chief of staff of the Air Force, offered the most explicit, unclassified description of the NGAD program during a September 2019 press conference.

Here’s our NGAD strategy: We have five key technologies that we’re investing in that we don’t intend to have all come together on a single platform,” Goldfein said. “They will all mature and accelerate at difference paces. As they become ready, you will see us adapting them on existing platforms, sensors and weapons and also looking at new platforms, sensors and weapons.”

With the exception of an adaptive-cycle propulsion system, the Air Force has not specifically linked other new technologies to the NGAD program. But the new family of systems is likely to require further advances in communications and networking, onboard electrical-power generation, thermal management of waste heat and potentially new types of armament and sensors, such as directed-energy weapons and passive detection systems. Such technologies can be developed and tested on the ground but still must be validated in-flight in a relevant air vehicle configuration. In his comments in 2019, Goldfein hinted about the necessity of a flight demonstrator but stopped short of providing a timeline for the first flight.

“There has to be a test article to be able to take some of these technologies to mature,” Goldfein said. “That’s probably about as far as I can go.”

But the Defense Department’s interest in developing new prototypes to support the air dominance mission goes back nearly a decade. In 2014, DARPA completed an Air Dominance Initiative study, in which leading military and technology experts concluded that “no single new technology or platform could deter and defeat the sophisticated and numerous adversary systems under development,” according to written testimony by a Pentagon official to Congress in March 2014.

That study prompted DARPA to launch the little-known Aerospace Innovation Initiative (AII) in fiscal 2015. The official’s testimony outlined the explicit purpose of AII: “to develop and fly two X-plane prototypes that demonstrate advanced technologies for future aircraft. Teams will compete to produce the X-plane prototypes, one focused on future Navy operational capabilities and the other on future Air Force operational capabilities.”

The Defense Department stopped referring to the AII program shortly after submitting the fiscal 2016 budget request, but DARPA’s website remains active for the Aerospace Projects Office, which manages the AII prototyping program.

In 2016, the Air Force followed up on DARPA’s study by establishing an enterprise capability collaboration team to produce the Air Superiority 2030 flight plan. The unclassified version of the plan released in late 2016 echoed elements of the DARPA study, especially the need for a family of systems. “There is no single capability that provides a silver bullet solution,” stated the 11-page summary of the classified flight plan.

But the Air Force flight plan still appeared to focus on one specific member of the family called the Penetrating Counter-Air (PCA) system. This platform appeared to resemble the sixth-generation fighter concepts released about the same time by major defense companies, such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The industry concepts invariably featured a large, tailless, supersonic and highly stealthy aircraft with certain exotic capabilities, such as defensive lasers. The flight plan described the role of the PCA as targeting and engaging other aircraft by itself as well as using the data from its sensors to feed targeting information to standoff aircraft carrying long-range missiles.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has used the PCA concept to project Pentagon aircraft spending. In December 2018, the CBO forecast that the first of 414 PCA aircraft would enter service in 2030, costing an average of about $300 million each. Overall procurement spending for PCA could total $130 billion between 2028 and 2050, CBO reported in January 2020.

The CBO’s cost estimates for PCA appear to be based on a concept of a monolithic weapon system, such as the Lockheed F-22 and F-35. Both of those aircraft are equipped with all the sensors and weapons necessary for the aircraft to perform any mission within its operating role by itself, although they also possess a limited ability to collaborate with other aircraft types in stealth mode.

During the same period, however, the Air Force’s approach to the NGAD program significantly changed. As Goldfein noted, in 2019, the conventional understanding of a PCA aircraft as a monolithic system able to perform a wide set of missions by itself no longer applies. A glimpse into the internal debate that led to the transformation of the NGAD into its current form first appeared in September 2018. Roper had assumed control of Air Force acquisition seven months earlier and spearheaded a dramatic reimagining of the concept.

I would say [NGAD now] looks more like a portfolio than a single initiative,” Roper told reporters during a September 2018 press conference.

The transition to a federated architecture for the NGAD program carried significant budget implications. Four months later, the Air Force released a spending plan for fiscal 2020-24. The NGAD budget over the five-year period amounted to $6.1 billion. Only a year before, the Air Force had planned to spend $13.2 billion during the same five-year period on NGAD. Air Force officials justified the 50% five-year reduction for one of the service’s most high-profile weapon systems, saying any trace of a traditional monolithic fighter had been eliminated.

“Instead, NGAD is investing in technologies and prototypes that have produced results and demonstrated promise,” the Air Force said in a statement released to Aviation Week in June 2019 (AW&ST June 17-30, 2019, p. 92).

At the same time, Roper introduced a new element of the NGAD strategy. The goal was no longer merely to revolutionize air warfare technology. The NGAD is a critical element of the Air Force’s strategy to disrupt the traditional business model for developing, fielding, modernizing and sustaining combat aircraft. The Digital Century Series effort kicked off in October 2019, seeking to use a new set of digital engineering tools to break the traditional model.

In his indefatigable style, Roper has proselytized his vision for a “digital trinity” of engineering systems that unite the digital models for flight performance, production and sustainment into the same database. In his vision, this approach would allow designers to immediately realize the full impact of even a minor design tweak on the life cycle of a new aircraft, including the effect on the cost of production and the service life of the part.

Moreover, the Air Force—not the prime contractor—would own the underlying design rights and source code for the operating system. The aircraft designer would deliver a set of digital blueprints, but the production, modernization and sustainment of the aircraft could be opened to competition by any company.

Although the concept invokes the Century Series of six fighters that entered service in the 1950s, Gen. Mark Kelly, the newly appointed head of Air Combat Command, says the concept more closely resembles elements of the F-117 program. Lockheed produced only 59 F-117s over the life of the program, a remarkably short production run. The F-117 also ushered a transformational capability into combat in 1991 by introducing an airframe configuration with a very low radar cross-section. Despite the F-117’s record, the Air Force unsentimentally retired the fleet from regular service less than two decades later, although a handful of aircraft continue to be sighted flying on test ranges.

“It was a bleeding-edge technology that was a unique, game-changing product in the field, which we fielded and operated for a specific amount of time and then moved on to another rapidly emerging technology that we just couldn’t adapt to that exact same platform,” Kelly says.

The Air Force’s approach to the NGAD program will be similar. Leveraging the five key technologies referenced by Goldfein a year ago, multiple types of aircraft will be developed and fielded simultaneously in small production runs, then retired within 15 years, Roper said. If realized, his vision poses severe implications for the defense industry. Defense companies are now oriented to capture winner-take-all contracts for major new weapons systems, then wield a monopoly power based on rights to the underlying intellectual property to sustain the platform over a life cycle that can last a half century or longer.

But the success of the Digital Century Series approach hinges on Roper’s “digital trinity” vision. For such a dramatic departure from the traditional system, there seems little evidence that such an approach could be successful. Boeing embraced the digital engineering philosophy for the T-X program. In partnership with Saab, Boeing delivered the first T-7A prototypes within three years of launching the self-funded program during the competition for the contract. But the first production version of the T-7A has not yet flown, and the type is still four years away from the scheduled initial operational capability milestone.

By unveiling the flight demonstrator for the NGAD program now, Roper delivered a message to any critics of his approach in the industry, in Congress or, indeed, within the Air Force. As a digitally engineered aircraft fully reflecting the “digital trinity” philosophy, the NGAD flight demonstrator offered the proof his approach could deliver the next generation of combat aircraft faster and more cheaply than the traditional approach.

As proof, however, the newly revealed NGAD flight demonstrator suffers from some drawbacks. The knowledge of DARPA’s AII program dating back to fiscal 2015 suggests an NGAD prototype could have been developed and flown two or three years ago. All schedule, design and performance details of the flight demonstrator remain classified, so there is no way to verify how close the concept validated Roper’s vision for the NGAD program.

Although Roper declined to elaborate, the suggestion that the flight demonstrator has already “broken a lot of records” may be significant. In a traditional program, the assumption would be that he was referring to performance records, such as an average speed flown between two cities or the amount of time required to climb to a certain altitude. The spirit of Roper’s vision for NGAD suggests the broken records are more likely related to production schedules, development costs and upgrade options.

Even the term “flight demonstrator” appears intentionally vague. It has been loosely applied to full-scale, competitive prototypes, such as the Lockheed YF-22, but the term was also used for the F-16A Advanced Fighter Technology Integration aircraft that played a role as an early testbed in the Advanced Tactical Fighter and Joint Strike Fighter programs.

The budget documents released by the Air Force this year contained another surprise about the NGAD program. For the first time, the Air Force revealed that the Next-Generation Adaptive Propulsion (NGAP) program is scheduled to deliver a certified engine in fiscal 2025. Not all members of the NGAD family of systems may need an adaptive-cycle propulsion system, but the timing of the NGAP program suggests that an application for such an engine is likely to enter flight testing as early as fiscal 2026 and not merely as a flight demonstrator. At that point, Roper’s vision will be put to the next test.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 23 Sep 2020 22:23

First glimpse of the Next Generation Jammer - Low Band demonstrator pod. They were able to get away with modifying the existing pod and RAT set up due to the efficient nature of this part of the spectrum and jamming. This was important for drag as the Mid-Band pod exceeded the existing pods power generation requirement by a factor of more than 3 (MB at baseline generates 65kW per pod (across a larger envelope) and is much larger than what would have been desirable. Both L3 and Northrop have proposed a multi-band GaN based system for the low-band need. Would be interesting to see how massive the high band pod gets if they ever decide to do one (a tactical fighter not a very good platform for the high-band jamming mission)

E/A-18G Growler Sports Its New Jamming Pod In The Anechoic Chamber In This Very Sci-Fi Pic


Low-Band NGJ (centerline) -

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Mid-Band NGJ -

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 28 Sep 2020 17:35

First Brazilian F-39 Gripen takes flight in Brazil

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The Brazilian Air Force’s first Saab Gripen E multi-role fighter completed its maiden flight in Brazil on September 24 – just four days after it arrived in-country, having been shipped from Norrköping in Sweden.

The fighter flew from Navegantes International Airport in Santa Catarina to the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC) at Embraer’s facility in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo. Locally designated as the F-39 Gripen, this aircraft has been used in a flight test campaign since it first flew in August 2019 and will undergo further testing at the GFTC. The aircraft will be officially presented to the country on October 23, during the national Aviator’s Day and Brazilian Air Force Day ceremony in Brasília.

In Brazilian service, the Gripen E will conduct a range of missions, including air policing, attack and reconnaissance operations. Brazilian Air Force/Sgt Bianca
Micael Johansson, president and CEO of Saab, said: “Gripen’s arrival in Brazil and its first flight are major milestones in the Brazilian Gripen programme. We are proud of this journey alongside so many qualified and committed professionals from both countries.

“We are following the delivery schedule for the aircraft and we continue to maintain our long-term commitment to Brazil,” he added.

In 2014, Brazil awarded a US$5.4bn contract to Saab for the production of 28 single-seat Gripen E and eight two-seat Gripen F multi-role fighters, completing a fleet of 36 aircraft. Of this, 13 examples will be produced at Saab’s Linköping facility in Sweden and the remaining 23 will be locally built in Brazil.

..

AirForces Intelligence data states that the first 11 serial production Gripen Es are scheduled to be handed over to the Brazilian Air Force in October and November 2021. Production of the first Gripen F for Brazil began earlier this year, with the first expected to be delivered in 2023. Deliveries are expected to conclude in 2024.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 28 Sep 2020 19:33

While the 6th generation/NGAD flight demonstrator hogs up all the attention, this program is probably a lot more important. It is the Assault Breaker of its generation and much bigger and ambitious in scope - Seamlessly linking up the entire Joint Force within a rapidly configurable, self-healing network capable of maintaining track custody across thousands of miles (including against hard to find targets) and true fire-control level connectivity to enable any-sensor-any-shooter level of integration. They've already used a USMC surveillance radar to provide EW for a US Air-Force controlled US Army howitzer to bring down a cruise missile aimed at an air-base and that is before much of the specific program tech is fielded which should allow much deeper level of integration including with the surface, sub-surface and space forces.

ABMS Goes to the Pacific in ‘Valiant Shield’


American military forces used a large-scale training exercise in the Pacific this month to experiment with new ways of commanding troops as part of the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System effort.

The Air Force’s third ABMS demonstration, known as an “on-ramp,” quietly unfolded Sept. 14-25 within the biennial “Valiant Shield” exercise spanning Hawaii, Guam, and the Mariana Islands Range Complex. About 11,000 Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps personnel, 100 aircraft, and several ships participated.

As the U.S. postures against China, the scale and location of Valiant Shield offered a chance to practice passing surveillance, targeting, and other data between the services to better respond to threats in the vast Pacific region.

“This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas,” according to U.S. Pacific Fleet. “The range of capabilities include maritime security operations, anti-submarine and air-defense exercises, amphibious operations, and other elements of complex warfighting.”

It’s the third ABMS exercise so far and the second this month, following a homeland defense training event in early September that practiced shooting down a cruise missile surrogate.

Over the course of two weeks, U.S. forces sunk the decommissioned USS Curts frigate with fire from Navy and Air Force aircraft, multiple cruiser ships, and a fast-attack submarine. The USS Antietam also struck an island off the coast of Guam with a Tomahawk cruise missile, using targeting data provided by Marines. Troops also pulled in virtual training to simulate more aircraft and ships than could participate in real life.

“What we did this time was use different ABMS options to link the joint force in the Multidomain Operations Center-Forward that we were experimenting with, which contained a joint fires cell manned by [representatives] from all the services and links to the Multidomain Task Force, the carrier strike group, as well as all the USAF locations,” Col. Brian Baldwin, 36th Air Expeditionary Wing commander at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, told Air Force Magazine in a Sept. 24 email.

Air Force personnel communicated with parts of the Navy carrier strike group, like fighter jets and command-and-control assets. “The F-22 is a state-of-the-art aircraft,” Rear Adm. James Aiken, Carrier Strike Group 3 commander, told reporters on a Sept. 24 call. “With joint all-domain command and control, the Navy can actually leverage a fifth-generation aircraft. It becomes a force multiplier for all the services being integrated.”

Software automated some processes, like pulling air tasking order information to tell pilots what time they should meet a tanker to refuel and what route they should take, Baldwin said.

Another app showed commanders the real-time status of various bases they could use to store resources and where to launch and land planes. That software in the deployed ops center could shape how the military thinks about spreading forces around an area where installations are threatened or where formal infrastructure doesn’t exist.

Valiant Shield tested the idea of using a group of multiple aircraft to “talk” to others and direct them around the battlefield.

“We had the KC-46 in Hawaii with a lot of the cloud network-sharing applications that we’re working on for [ABMS],” Baldwin added on the call. “They integrated with F-22s and [a] C-17 out of Hawaii as a forward node that would enable the joint fight over a wide area, and enhance that data-sharing through the network.”

Pacific Air Forces boss Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach recently told reporters he hoped the exercise would show troops in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command how to communicate without fail.

“If all you had was text messaging on your phone, you journalists would be in big trouble, because your cell coverage may be down or whatever, so you have backup ways to communicate,” he said. “The same holds true of me. We’ll want to be able to talk to everybody all the time with backups, so that it becomes very difficult to take away our communication. The way you do that is with multilayered and with networked systems.”

About one-third of the ABMS objectives were pared back because of timing and the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

The military is still wrestling with how best to share information and react quickly in a place like the Pacific Ocean, where combat assets could be thousands of miles apart and interrupted by signal jammers or other weapons.

“If there was an easy button, we would love to hit it,” Baldwin said. “Working on getting all of those sensors that have data out there, to then get those available for all the joint warfighters, to then make decisions and employ the right kind of effects, is what we are after.”

Earlier this week, 15 more companies received contracts to try out their data analytics, communications, and other technologies in future ABMS demonstrations. They include: Amazon Web Services, Anduril Industries, Colorado Engineering, Edgy Bees, Environmental Systems Research Institute, Global C2 Integration Technologies, General Atomics, Grey Wolf Aerospace, Kratos Technology and Training Solutions, LinQuest, Oddball, Red River Technology, SES Government Solutions, Venator Solutions, and VivSoft Technologies.

More than 60 companies have been tapped to participate in ABMS so far, though not all of their products will end up in regular military operations. They are each eligible for up to $950 million in federal contracts over the next five years as the military decides which hardware and software to buy.



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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 28 Sep 2020 19:54

^From earlier (prior to the third on ramp exercise), for additional context. Lengthy but informative on what they are attempting to do and the complexity involved given the scale and other challenges.

Gone are the days when you had a tiny bandwidth software defined radio with J series and L16 compatibility and you could just check the box on "connectivity".

ABMS Demo Proves AI Chops For C2

Perhaps most importantly, new Northern Command head Gen. Glen VanHerck told reporters this evening, the demo convinced him that artificial intelligence-driven software systems will be able to actually make recommendations that commanders can rely on to make decisions about what they need to do to prosecute a fast-paced battle with peer competitors China and Russia.

“I am not a skeptic after watching today,” he said.

Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper told reporters during the same briefing that one of the exercise’s big successes was the shoot-down by a novel hypervelocity projectile of one of the surrogate cruise missiles, played by BQM-167 target drones flying over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The small projectile, which can fly at Mach 5, was developed by the Navy and the Army, he said, and was launched from an Army M109 Paladin-based 155mm howitzer and a Navy deck gun during the demo.

But the “star of the show,” Roper said, was the way data was used to enable the kill chain using both 4G and 5G networking and the cloud to produce a kill chain “that took seconds, not minutes.” He noted that there were some 60 different types of data feeds utilized in the demo.

VanHerck concurred that the information sharing aspects of the demo was key as far as operators are concerned.

“From my perspective, this is all about domain awareness,” he said. He said he was most impressed by the ability to share domain awareness data from all domains among Combatant Commanders “in a common place where that information can then be utilized by decision-makers from a strategic level all the way to the tactical level.”

While the first ABMS “on-ramp” held in December 2019 focused on proving capabilities to link sensors via machine code, this larger much more ambitious demo was focused squarely on the command and control (C2) element of a fight, according to the NORTHCOM briefers.

As Breaking D readers know, the goal of the multi-faceted ABMS effort is to develop the backbone connections required to build a military Internet of Things (IoT). That military IoT, in turn, would enable the US military’s future Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) network of networks to combine data from multiple sensors across all domains, create a common operational picture (COP) and allow commanders to choose and assign shooters to targets via direct machine-to-machine links, all in minutes, not the hours or days needed today.

The move to “bring direct action on board for the first time” in today’s on-ramp was “one of the key innovative leaps that’s happened since December,” one NORTHCOM officer said.

“We got a lot of feedback from the first one — ‘You keep saying JADC2, but so far you’ve been really only talking about JADSA, JAD situational awareness. So where’s the C2 in what you are doing? This isn’t any good to me if I can’t tie it into something that can direct action’,” he explained.

The officials explained that the problem ABMS is trying to solve is that the technology available to commanders today for “domain awareness, command control, and deterrence to defeat” of threats is outdated and incompatible.

In particular, sensors are stovepiped — one person sees one radar; another sees “blue force” tracking data, etc. — but nothing is integrated. Instead, “we play a 12-minute-long telephone game” with individuals calling each other. “And the only time that all of that data ever comes together is in the mind of the O-6 [the rank level of an Air Force colonel) at the command and control center who is making the decision,” one briefer said.

The scenario for the demo started with Russian action against US interests overseas, resulting in US force movements designed as deterrence measures. (“Things get sporty with Russia,” one participant quipped.)

The situation quickly escalated to include cyber attacks, then jamming and laser dazzling of US communications and imagery satellites. Finally, six ‘Russian’ conventional cruise missiles were launched against the homeland from the air and sea.


The action was scripted in four phases, one participant explained. The first focused on early indications and warnings, the phase during which the Intelligence Community usually leads the way. In phase 2, the focus was determining what “red” assets were doing — where the ‘Russian’ bombers and ships were moving for example — and figuring out their intent. The third phase concentrated on the surrogate cruise missile attacks — detecting them, identifying them as cruise missiles and not other aircraft in the area, tracking them and then engaging them.

Sensors ranged from the Raytheon-built AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel missile warning radar to novel acoustic and unattended ground-bases sensors, to new sensor towers (built by start-up Anduril Industries) that combined radar with electro-optical infrared cameras.

The ABMS program refers to the various products linking sensor data and finding targets to create of an all-domain COP for commanders “omniaONEs.” The ability to use AI/machine learning software systems to provide virtual reality-type battlefield awareness is at the heart of the ABMS effort, Roper said. He explained that there were five different products being evaluated for omniaONE use, all competing, but using standards developed by DoD to allow plug and play operations.

One example was the Lattice system provided by Anduril.

“What Lattice is focused on is sensor fusion command and control and distributed networking,” Chris Brose, former head defense staffer for Sen. John McCain and Anduril’s chief strategy officer, told me in a Zoom interview. “We don’t do robot dogs, or 5G,” he said with a laugh. “We do all the unsexy and necessary things related to data that actually enable the Joint Force to fight differently and better.”

Brose explained that Lattice is an “open and extensible software platform. So, I can bring sensor data of any different kind of modality from any different kind of deployed system into the software environment. I can employ machine learning and computer vision to process that information and fuze it to generate objects of interest — targets — and tracks of those targets.”

The last phase of the on-ramp focused on “blue” force ability to move forces around the country under the evolving concept of “agile combat employment.”

This involved using a number of new technologies to scramble a security convoy to protect Nellis AFB in Nevada — including the ability to track individual soldiers and sailors, according to the NORTHCOM officials. It also involved the “robot dogs” built by Ghost Robotics for perimeter defense that were supposed to be involved in the first ABMS but were unable to connect due to bandwidth issues. (The robot dog that reporters got a look at at Andrews was surprisingly realistic, complete with a fetching personality that practically begged to be petted.)

All of this computer processing, of course, takes serious bandwidth. And bandwidth, experts say, is one of the crucial challenges to JADC2 and a fully networked battlefield. Access to bandwidth is already a problem, and is bound to become more limited during combat due to enemy attacks on satellites and communications links, the NORTHCOM briefers explained.

Thus, one of the main thrusts of the ABMS program is developing a secure cloud networking capacity for warfighters. ABMS has developed a strategic level cloud, “cloudONE,” and is working on a cloud at the tactical edge called “edgeONE.” The edgeONE application will allow data to be saved at the user’s end when connectivity to the central data cloud is lost, but automatically update once the connection was re-established, Roper explained.

Roper said one of the “good failures” during today’s on-ramp was the less than optimal connectivity among the four different national test ranges involved. “Things dropped out,” he said. “It was something we fought with all day.” One of the causes, he explained, was “weather challenges'” at some of the sites. These are problems, he said, that are indicative of likely real world issues that ABMS will need to handle.

He added that the demo also showed that the ability of AI assistant applications, such as DoD’s Project Maven, to generate “courses of action,” or COAs, for commanders to use in making decisions about actions is not yet ready for prime time.

“I think our COA generation tools generated by artificial intelligence and machine learning have more work to do,” Roper said. “I would not give it the check box.”

This was despite the fact that VanHerck and operators from four other Combatant Commands (and all of the services) were impressed, and would happily take that capability as it is today, Roper added.

Roper and VanHerck agreed that the ABMS “cloudONE” is one of the products ready to enter into the field. Roper said the acquisition method for transitioning ABMS tech to users would first be indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contracts with vendors, but stressed that any decisions to buy products would be made by Combatant Commands.

“Certainly the ability to to utilize the cloud to share information is there and we need to move quickly and rapidly down that path,” VanHerck said. “I was very encouraged by the status, if you will, of those systems and capabilities. I think they can be brought online within a year or less.”

The next ABMS on-ramp is actually scheduled for two weeks from now, based on a Pacific Command scenario, Roper said. The short turn-around is due to the fact that today’s demo was delayed. The fourth demo, being planned for next year, will involve allies for the first time, he added.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Bharadwaj » 28 Sep 2020 22:59



Video of the Brazilian Gripen being lifted from the ship. Something very simple about the whole deal. Buy a fighter like any other off the shelf equipment. One can somewhat understand the allure of proven imports for the Forces. Mission ready from day one(or after a few days of testing :wink: ).

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 28 Sep 2020 23:23

They wanted something very similar to the MMRCA but with some local industry assembly and testing involved. With Sweden onboard the Tempest train, it remains to be seen how much of the Sweden Gripen C fleet is eventually replaced by the Gripen E and how they field the Tempest in the 2040 time-frame. Brazil may well be stuck with a platform that lacks the critical mass to ensure affordable upgrades and technological refresh a couple of decades from now.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 02 Oct 2020 01:15

The US has approved both the Super Hornet, and the F-35A for Switzerland, allowing both to compete for the procurement program there. While this is just a DSCA notification and represents a theoretical max for a negotiated award and not the contract size, it is still interesting to note that the way they've asked these aircraft to be priced (to their requirement), the F-35A package comes in 10+% cheaper. And these are the block-4 F-35A's, and not the standard block 3F (which will require hardware and software upgrade to blk 4 standard) variants that are no longer being sold.

The Government of Switzerland requested to buy up to forty (40) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft; forty-six (46) Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines; forty (40) Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II+ (Plus) Tactical Missiles; fifty (50) Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs); six (6) Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II Special Air Training Missiles (NATMS); four (4) Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II Tactical Guidance Units; ten (10) Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II CATM Guidance Units; eighteen (18) KMU-572 JDAM Guidance Kits for GBU-54; twelve (12) Bomb MK-82 500LB, General Purpose; twelve (12) Bomb MK-82, Inert; twelve (12) GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) All-Up Round (AUR); and eight (8) GBU-53/B SDB II Guided Test Vehicle (GTV). Also included are Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence/Communications, Navigational, and Identification (C4I/CNI); Autonomic Logistics Global Support System (ALGS); Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS); Full Mission Trainer; Weapons Employment Capability and other Subsystems, Features, and Capabilities; F‑35 unique infrared flares; reprogramming center access; F-35 Performance Based Logistics; software development/integration; flight test instrumentation; aircraft ferry and tanker support; Detector Laser DSU-38A/B, Detector Laser DSU-38A(D-2)/B, FMU-139D/B Fuze, KMU-572(D-2)/B Trainer (JDAM), 40 inch Wing Release Lanyard; GBU-53/B SDB II Weapon Load Crew Trainers (WLCT); Cartridge, 25 mm PGU-23/U; weapons containers; aircraft and munitions support and test equipment; communications equipment; spares and repair parts; repair and return support; personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical documents; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated cost is $6.58 billion. LINK


The Government of Switzerland has requested to buy up to thirty-six (36) F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft; seventy-two (72) F414-GE-400 engines (installed); four (4) F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft; eight (8) F414-GE-400 engines (installed); sixteen (16) F414-GE-400 engines (spares); forty-four (44) M61A2 20MM gun systems; twenty-five (25) Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR)/other targeting pod; fifty-five (55) AN/ALR-67(V)3 Electric Warfare Countermeasures Receiving sets; fifty-five (55) AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Countermeasures systems; forty-eight (48) Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems – Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS-JTRS); forty-eight (48) Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS); two hundred sixty-four (264) LAU-127E/A guided missile launchers; forty-eight (48) AN/AYK-29 Distributed Targeting Processor – Networked (DTP-N); twenty-seven (27) Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems; forty (40) AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder tactical missiles; fifty (50) AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs); six (6) AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder Special Air Training Missiles (NATMs); four (4) AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder tactical guidance units; ten (10) AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder CATM guidance units; eighteen (18) KMU-572 JDAM Guidance Kits for GBU-54; twelve (12) Bomb MK-82 500LB, General Purpose; twelve (12) Bomb MK-82, Inert; twelve (12) GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) All-Up Round (AUR); and eight (8) GBU-53/B SDB II Guided Test Vehicle (GTV). Also included are AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars; High Speed Video Network (HSVN) Digital Video Recorder (HDVR); AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles (NVG); AN/AVS-11 Night Vision Cueing Device (NVCD); AN/ALE-47 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Systems; AN/ARC-210 Communication System; AN/APX-111 Combined Interrogator Transponder; AN/ALE-55 Towed Decoys; launchers (LAU-115D/A, LAU-116B/A, LAU118A); Training Aids, Devices and Spares; Technical Data Engineering Change Proposals; Avionics Software Support; Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS); Data Transfer Unit (DTU); Accurate Navigation (ANAV) Global Positioning System (GPS) Navigation; KIV-78 Dual Channel Encryptor, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF); Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CADs/PADs); Technical Publications; AN/PYQ-10C Simple Key Loader (SKL); Aircraft Spares; other support equipment; Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE); aircraft ferry; transportation costs; other technical assistance; engineering technical assistance; contractor engineering technical support; logistics technical assistance; Repair of Repairables (RoR); aircrew and maintenance training; contractor logistics support; flight test services; Foreign Liaison Officer (FLO) support; auxiliary fuel tanks, system integration and testing; software development/integration; and other related elements of logistics and program support. For AIM-9X: containers; missile support and test equipment; provisioning; spare and repair parts; personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical data; and U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and other related logistics support. For GBU-53/B SDB II and GBU-54: Detector Laser DSU-38A/B, Detector Laser DSU-38A(D-2)/B, FMU-139D/B Fuze, KMU-572(D-2)/B Trainer (JDAM), 40-inch Wing Release Lanyard; GBU-53/B SDB II Weapon Load Crew Trainers (WLCT); weapons containers; munitions support and test equipment; spares and repair parts; repair and return support; personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical documents; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated cost is $7.452 billion. LINK
Last edited by brar_w on 02 Oct 2020 04:48, edited 1 time in total.

Mort Walker
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Mort Walker » 02 Oct 2020 01:23

^^^At those prices for, India could have had 60 F-35 with all weapons and spares, instead of the same for 36 Rafale. Probably delivered faster with higher reliability too.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby titash » 02 Oct 2020 01:34

Mort Walker wrote:^^^At those prices for, India could have had 60 F-35 with all weapons and spares, instead of the same for 36 Rafale. Probably delivered faster with higher reliability too.


The key capabilities that come with the Rafale package that do not come with the F-35 are:
1) Hard wiring for nuclear weapon delivery - India is a non-NATO country and an "unrecognized" nuclear weapon state
2) No veto on usage - if Biden wins the election, rest assured you'll see de jure / de facto vetos and spares shortages on usage of other US equipment
3) A veto in the UNSC as required

Just like the Russian SSNs the IN's leasing, there are some things dollars can't buy from the US

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Mort Walker » 02 Oct 2020 04:45

titash wrote:
Mort Walker wrote:^^^At those prices for, India could have had 60 F-35 with all weapons and spares, instead of the same for 36 Rafale. Probably delivered faster with higher reliability too.


The key capabilities that come with the Rafale package that do not come with the F-35 are:
1) Hard wiring for nuclear weapon delivery - India is a non-NATO country and an "unrecognized" nuclear weapon state
2) No veto on usage - if Biden wins the election, rest assured you'll see de jure / de facto vetos and spares shortages on usage of other US equipment
3) A veto in the UNSC as required

Just like the Russian SSNs the IN's leasing, there are some things dollars can't buy from the US


Seems like weak reasoning. Ultimately only domestic Indian platforms are the only solution. They are the most sanction and foreign interference proof platforms.

The hard wiring for nuclear strike should be on the Su-30MKI. The Rafale gives air superiority and delivery of conventional PGMs. US political instability should have prevented the acquisition of tens of billions of dollars starting years back. A Jihadi Joe admin can coerce others to stop France and Israel from delivery of spares too. A whole alphabet soup of treaties have been signed with the US.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 02 Oct 2020 18:21

Electrically powered munition wants to give the SRM and jet fuel powered systems a run for their money -

AeroVironment unveils anti-armour Switchblade 600 loitering munition


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After months of public teases, AeroVironment has unveiled its Switchblade 600, a loitering munition with a larger, anti-armour warhead.

AeroVironment had previously said such a weapon was under development, but details about its capabilities were lacking. Switchblade 600 is the first in a series of new loitering munitions the unmanned air vehicle (UAV) manufacturer plans to offer, the company said on 30 September.

The new loitering munition weighs 22.7kg (50lb), is man-portable and can be set up for deployment from a launch tube in less than 10min. It also can be configured for launch from a vehicle or slow-moving aircraft.

The UAV is powered by an electric battery and propeller. It has endurance to fly 43nm (80km) and make multiple orbits above a target before striking. That equates to about 40min of flight endurance, says AeroVironment. It has a dash speed of 100kt (169km/h).

Like its smaller predecessor, the anti-personnel Switchblade 300, the new loitering munition has a set of four wings that pop out, like a switchblade, after launching from a tube using compressed gas.

The Switchblade 600 has a set of electro-optical/infrared cameras inside a nose-mounted gimbal for navigation, surveillance and targeting. The weapon can lock onto and dive bomb a fixed or moving target. It also can be automatically waved off in case nearby friendly forces or civilians are present. The loitering munition is piloted with a tablet-based fire control system that allows operators to guide the UAV to the target manually or autonomously.

AeroVironment says it eventually plans to offer different versions of the Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600. Both weapons have modular warheads and electronics which could be swapped out for new mission payloads. For instance, an anti-radiation sensor and warhead package could be added to the loitering munition in order to seek, find and attack radar sites, says Todd Hanning, product line manager of tactical missile systems.

The company believes the range of its Switchblade series should grow as the power density of batteries available on the market increase.

“That is what we think is our magic sauce, our ability to stay on top of the marketplace of different battery technologies, and our battery management and power management, and efficiency of driving electric motors is really at the core of our capabilities for small [UAV] and tactical missile systems,” says Brett Hush, senior general manager of product line management for tactical missile systems with AeroVironment. “Quite frankly, if our main competitors were really good at that, instead of good at rocket motors and more traditional missile capabilities, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

AeroVironment says it is under contract for the loitering munition for several undisclosed Department of Defense customers. It notes that the product was originally developed for the US Army’s Single Multi-Mission Attack Missile programme.

The company says it is proposing the weapon for the US Marine Corps’ Organic Precision Fires-Mounted programme, a loitering munition development effort which is expected to conduct a fly-off competition in January 2021 to select a single supplier. As part of that programme, the Switchblade 600 would be also repackaged into a vehicle-mounted multipack launcher.

AeroVironment has been testing the Switchblade 600 for a couple of years. So far, all tests have been ground launches.

“We’ve been going against fixed and moving targets. We’re up to over 60 flights in our test programme,” says Hanning. “We’ll continue to do that through this next year. And then, eventually, we want to progress into both maritime and the air launch environment as well.”

The company sees the loitering munition as a candidate for various air-launched effects programmes. Air-launched effects is a catch-all term for UAVs that are launched from an aircraft and can be used as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drones or as loitering munitions.

“Long term, it could be [placed on] a variety of things,” says AeroVironment chief executive Wahid Nawabi. “But at the short term, we think that rotary-wing is the ideal fit for it.”

The unmanned variant of the Kaman K-Max, the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout and optionally-manned helicopters would be likely contenders, he adds. The company has not done any work yet on integrating the loitering munition with the US Army’s specifications for its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, however.

Forward-launching the Switchblade from an aircraft would require an airspeed of around 10kt, says Hush. “If you fire it backwards, it could be at a higher [speed],” he says. “And then, there’s approaches to restrict excessive wing loads by retarding wing deployment; if you want to launch at a faster speed, then gradually let those wings deploy.”

AeroVironment says it wants to use the Switchblade 600 to displace older rocket-powered, anti-armour weapons such as Hellfire, Javelin and TOW missiles. The company notes that those missiles made up about $1 billion in Department of Defense spending in fiscal year 2020.

When asked if the Switchblade 600 would be cheaper than those legacy missiles, Nawabi declines to say, but emphasises its loitering capability and the lack of support infrastructure needed to deploy the weapon.

“We’re very aware of the cost structure and the price points of these other missile systems,” he says. “Obviously, we’re in very early stages of development. We are discussing these price points with our customer. They’re very, very competitive and affordable.”

The company has started low-rate initial production of the Switchblade 600 and plans to build 200 examples of the weapon within its first-year production run.




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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 05 Oct 2020 19:30

Here's an interesting data-point on the F-35's AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare suite and capability. Do recall (or reference the original JSF thread if it's still around) that there was a pretty sizable media campaign (led by Bill Sweetman of Av Week IIRC) that pounced on the largely classified nature of the F-35 EW capability and claimed that the aircraft was only capable of jamming in the X-band using its radar and that it had only a passive EW suite. This, despite of the official EW brochure claiming that it could provide "simultaneous jamming w/o interfering with radar". BAE/LM couldn't really say anything more than the operators wanted them to say in public. The APA's, and Sweetsman's of the world pounced on this and this was soon picked up by Boeing, SAAB and other competitors that were struggling to to compete for orders.

The comparison here is to the Growler which is obviously a completely different beast (F-35 will have a self-defense EW/EA role with limited capability as a SO jamming system, while the EA-18G is a dedicated SO jammer) but it does reveal capability which was previously contested by some in the media and competitors who could hide behind classification and use it as a talking point.

8 LtGen Steven Rudder has stated to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the F-35 can providing jamming
across most frequencies
, however there are deficiencies which can only be provided by the EA-18G. Statement of
Lieutenant General Steven Rudder before the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Seapower [hearing]
on Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Programs in Review, March 6, 2018, pp. 57-58...

During a 2018 hearing on the Navy and Marine Corps aviation program review, Lieutenant General Steven Rudder
stated that although the Marine Corps was retiring the EA-6B, the Marine Corps’ new F-35Bs
would have sufficient EW capability for most Marine Corps contingencies

LINK



And this statement (made under a formal submission under oath) was made prior to Block IV contract award which expands the F-35A's EW suite and capability significantly.
And the interesting thing is that with Block IV which is now starting to get developed and delivered in sub-parts, the EW capability is being expanded to include additional frequency band coverage not found in the baseline F-35 block 3F suite in addition to cognitive EW capability and other enhancements -

Image

Also note, that published evidence has emerged that also shows that the F-22A has Electronic Attack capability (independent of its AN/APG-77 radar) which was also previously claimed to not exist. In fact, Bill even mentioned that in his book as a fact (which is now debunked).
Last edited by brar_w on 05 Oct 2020 22:04, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 05 Oct 2020 19:47

And here is the info on the "active" element of the F-22A ECM suite (publication cites its sources) -

Image

Image

Image

Source: https://www.amazon.com/Military-Avionic ... 0470016329

The F-22A has received 2 substantial upgrades since entering service so the current state of coverage and capability is not known to the same specificity as the baseline. A classified sensor upgrade is also currently underway and is in the latest USAF budget.

And this, unlike a journalist writing based on limited knowledge, involved research done by subject matter experts for a publication that is broadly accepted as a first rate work on the (highly specific - mil avionics -) subject at hand -


After 20 years in the Royal Air Force, Ian Moir went on to Smiths Industries in the UK where he was involved in a number of advanced projects. Since retiring from Smiths he is now in demand as a highly respected consultant. Ian has a broad and detailed experience working in aircraft avionics systems in both military and civil aircraft. From the RAF Tornado and Apache helicopter to the Boeing 777, Ian’s work has kept him at the forefront of new system developments and integrated systems implementations. He has a special interest in fostering training and education in aerospace engineering.

Allan Seabridge is the Chief Flight Systems Engineer at BAE SYSTEMS at Warton in Lancashire in the UK. In over 30 years in the aerospace industry his work has included avionics on the Nimrod MRA 4 and Joint Strike Fighter as well as a the development of a range of flight and avionics systems on a wide range of fast jets, training aircraft and ground and maritime surveillance projects. Spending much of his time between Europe and the US, Allan is fully aware of systems developments worldwide. He is also keen to encourage a further understanding of integrated engineering systems.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 06 Oct 2020 00:52

Prem Kumar wrote:
brar_w wrote:That isn't necessarily true in all possible concepts of employment. There is some utility in being fast and then going slow. The former provides great time to target and bypasses many mid-and terminal course defenses. The latter allows the unleashing potential sensors and sensor/shooters that offer higher fidelity targeting and hunter-killer like applications (especially when you have to pick a ship from a group or from decoys (emitters)). Hypersonic BGV's are already trading speed for survivability (compared to ballistic missiles) so it isn't out of the realm of possibilities that other concepts do similar things to enhance the probability of successfully finding and fixing the right target.

https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... onic-entry

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... onic-speed


Always good to hear such counter-points. In the realm of Nirbhay type loitering missiles, I agree that there is a lot of value in the fast-slow mode. Get to the general target area quickly, then slow down to recce, relay images back, have a cup of chai & pick out a target! Hope some future variation of Nirbhay/Brahmos will do this.

Then, there is the Klub style slow-fast mode, that takes advantage of efficient cruising to cover long distances while skimming low, followed by a supersonic sprint to defeat air-defences in the endgame


Right and with BGV's you are talking about peak speeds of Mach 15 - 20, and then the ability to unleash loitering sub-munitions that can coordinate an attack. Similarly, if you are reliant on a multi-spectral approach to target discrimination (such as high frequency RF and IIR) then you could benefit from slowing down because you are limited by the scan rates of your slowest sensor. It is different when you are picking a ship in an open ocean, compared to picking a target among many similar targets with similar radio frequency and even visual signatures which could be the case if there is decoying and deception at play (intentional or unintentional). It also helps when your long range ISR capability is degraded which will happen in war anyways. Essentially, there are various reasons why you might find it favorable to be very fast and very hard to target (high sub atmospheric flight) but then switching to a different attack vector using smaller kill vehicles / sub-munitions with different sensing and targeting properties.

Prem Kumar wrote:Hope some future variation of Nirbhay/Brahmos will do this.


Before high supersonic became unfashionable and all investment $$ went into hypersonic cruise, this was exactly what was being done by the USN/AF and Lockheed -

https://www.flightglobal.com/skunk-work ... 68.article

Image

For land based use, think of a vehicle penetrating air-defenses at high Mach and then unleashing a hypothetical payload of 4-6 sub-munitions that can each independently target (with sensors) an element of that air-defense (like a TEL, command post, antennas etc etc). If they can coordinate (as in a swarm) then they are going to be even more deadlier.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 08 Oct 2020 01:20

Rollout of the Boom one-third-scale (Baby Boom) supersonic demonstrator. Designed by a team of Skunk Works, Space X and Scaled Composite alumns, it aims to fly at Mach 2+.

Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby nachiket » 08 Oct 2020 06:01

^^Interesting. Made me read up about the Boom Overture, the planned 50 seat supersonic trijet that looks like a smaller Concorde with three engines in renderings. They are planning to make it accelerate to and cruise at Mach 2.2 without using any afterburners. Quite a tall ask.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 08 Oct 2020 06:29

nachiket wrote:^^Interesting. Made me read up about the Boom Overture, the planned 50 seat supersonic trijet that looks like a smaller Concorde with three engines in renderings. They are planning to make it accelerate to and cruise at Mach 2.2 without using any afterburners. Quite a tall ask.


Yeah they have a very high risk path to success. But these are the type of teams where innovation in business or broader commercial travel is likely to come from. Boeing and Airbus don't really have much of an incentive in risking their existing portfolio and duopoly with a high risk disruptive design. For now they have access to capital and even some USAF (executive transport) interest and have a pretty good (by any standards) talent pool (background and prior industry and engineering experience) so the team will be busy for a while I think.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby nachiket » 08 Oct 2020 08:07

brar_w wrote:Yeah they have a very high risk path to success. But these are the type of teams where innovation in business or broader commercial travel is likely to come from. Boeing and Airbus don't really have much of an incentive in risking their existing portfolio and duopoly with a high risk disruptive design. For now they have access to capital and even some USAF (executive transport) interest and have a pretty good (by any standards) talent pool (background and prior industry and engineering experience) so the team will be busy for a while I think.

With ex skunk works people in the team I have no doubt they will nail the airframe design. Their problem will be with engines. There has been zero investment and research into engines for supersonic commercial travel for several decades now. All the time and money has been spent in making engines which are super fuel efficient with absurdly large fan diameters and bypass ratios. Totally useless for a supersonic transport. They are saying they have an agreement with RR for the engines so lets see. Maybe RR can recreate the Olympus magic albeit without afterburners this time.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 08 Oct 2020 08:23

Yeah engines will be trickiest, but this is where at least partial backing (though it isn't a financial backing) from the USAF will help in legitimatizing their work and making engine OEMs to pour some internal R&D. GE has an engine family that is geared towards this side of the envelope but RR is also a good partner given that they are running around looking for marketshare since their commercial business is taking a beating of late. Their chief test pilot is a former Super Hornet squadron commanding officer and a Stamford PhD (aeronautics) so they are attracting some good talent which is probably also an advantage when raising capital.

https://www.geaviation.com/bga/engines/ge-affinity

Their challenge will still be primarily getting past the funding threshold when they have reach a maturity state where they can begin talking to customers. If they slip there, then money could just vanish.

Full rollout broadcast -

Last edited by brar_w on 08 Oct 2020 21:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 08 Oct 2020 21:39

Exclusive: Qatar makes formal request for F-35 jets - sources


Qatar has submitted a formal request to the United States to buy stealthy F-35 fighter jets, three people familiar with the deal said, in a deal that if pursued could strain U.S. ties with Saudi Arabia and Israel.


The request for the Lockheed Martin Co jets was submitted by the Persian Gulf state in recent weeks, the people said.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said, “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”

The Qatari embassy in Washington, D.C. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Keen to counter Iran in the region, the U.S. helps to arm allies including Qatar, host to the largest U.S. military facility in the Middle East, and home to 8,000 U.S. service members and Department of Defense civilian employees.

The request follows an August deal between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates in which Washington agreed to consider giving the Gulf state approval to buy F-35s in a side deal to a U.S.-brokered agreement called the Abraham Accord to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel.

Israel has signaled stiff opposition to a UAE sale and would likely be just as resistant to one with Qatar, fearing it could undercut its military advantage in the Middle East.

In Washington, a fourth person familiar with the matter said concern about Qatar’s links to Hamas have frequently surfaced over arms sales to the Gulf state. But in the case of an advanced warplane like the F-35, it could be a deal breaker.

One of the people said Qatar’s letter of request for the jets, the first formal step in the legal process of foreign military sale, was not directly linked to its adoption of the Abraham Accord. Nor has Qatar shown any sign it will normalize ties with Israel.

U.S. and Qatar have close ties. In September Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani met in Washington as the U.S. hopes to move forward with naming Qatar as a major non-NATO ally.

Despite being U.S. allies, both the potential Qatari and UAE F-35 deals must satisfy a decades-old agreement with Israel that states any U.S. weapons sold to the region must not impair Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” guaranteeing U.S. weapons furnished to Israel are “superior in capability” to those sold to its neighbors.

Saudi Arabia, Washington’s most powerful and closest partner among the Gulf Arab states, is also likely to oppose the United States supplying F-35s to Qatar. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt remain locked in a three-year standoff with Qatar that the Trump administration has tried to end, so far without success.

A formal letter of request typically contains specifications that would be used to furnish pricing data to a customer, but currently the F-35A, a fifth generation stealthy fighter jet, costs around $80 million.

Any F-35 sale could take years to negotiate and deliver, giving a new U.S. presidential administration ample time to halt the deals. Any sale would also need congressional approval.

Poland, the most recent F-35 customer, purchased 32 of the jets, but will not receive its first delivery until 2024.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 09 Oct 2020 21:45

Another DSCA "package" notification where the F-35A is cheaper than the competing F/A-18E/F/G based solution -

Finland F-35A Package: Estimated $12.5 billion (this is a DSCA estimate, a negotiated contract could be much lower)


- 64 Blk 4 F-35A Aircraft (and spare engines)
- 500 GBU-53/B Small Diameter II bombs (and associated captive carry and test systems)
- AIM-9X Block II+ missiles (F-35)
- AGM-154C-1 JSOW-C munitions
- 200 JASSM-ER (I assume part of this contract would also pay for F-35A JASSM integration which should be easy now that both parties (blk 4 F35 and JASSMER) are UAI)
- 150 JDAM Guidance Kits and associated munitions
- F-35 Performance Based Logistics
- Software development (probably related to JASSM integration)

LINK



Finland SH/Growler Package: Estimated at $14.7 billion (this is a DSCA estimate, a negotiated contract could be much lower)


- 72 Fighters (50 x F/A-18E, 8 x F/A-18F, 14 x EA-18G - Block III Super Hornet's and higher block Growlers)
- Similar weapons package to the F-35 deal
- 74 AN/AYK-29 Distributed Targeting Processor – Networked (DTP-N)
- 16 Next Generation Jammer pods

LINK



^ The above F/A-18 package includes 0 Next Gen Jammer Low Band pods which are still going through competitive development and aren't available for non-partner nation export just yet (they need to be included in a formal acquisition program before they are offered for sale). So a year or two from now, Finland would have to place that order as well. This deal also does not appear to create any Growler specific range, test and training environment which means they will share some sort of European training or use simulator training for the very high end threats that the Growlers would need to train against. Or Finland would need to order the next generation threat emitters, threat radar systems and associated management and controls systems separately at a later date.

Keep in mind that these are what the OEM's sought approval for. The finnish air force and MOD require a capability so the "package" is the best estimate of what the OEM's (and the F-35 program office in case of the F-35 offer) thinks is the best package to meet that published requirement. What the OEMs ultimately negotiate could deviate from this. For example, Boeing could throw some extra goodies as part of the Growler program and Lockheed could throw in some ground surveillance radars to sweeten the deal. The commercial side of these deals (if there are) don't need to be disclosed ahead of time and can be announced after the deal is signed.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Chinmay » 10 Oct 2020 13:18

brar_w, even though these are clearly estimates, how does the Shornet being 2 billion dollars more expensive work out for in its favour?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 10 Oct 2020 18:39

Chinmay wrote:brar_w, even though these are clearly estimates, how does the Shornet being 2 billion dollars more expensive work out for in its favour?


It doesn't but that is the package Boeing asked for it to be approved. Boeing is producing about 2 dozen Super Hornets a year. And zero Growlers (so there will be program restart costs). Lockheed will probably be producing between 150 and 170 F-35's a year when those aircraft enter production so it is going to be very difficult to compete on unit price alone. I think the max ceiling for the contract for Finland is something like $10 Billion so both of these contracts will be negotiated downwards when the commercial offers are made (and when the program office does its final submissions in case of f-35). The state department is pretty bad at estimating cost and as a habit errs in overestimating the cost as well as the scope of the package (they approve absolutely everything (so that they don't need a follow-up notification to account for modifications) while the customers usually negotiate down). That said, Boeing chose the mix of Hornets and Growlers and the individual configurations of each of those so quite a bit of that is due to this. If they just wanted a really cheap offer then they could have just submitted a request for 62 single seat Super Hornets (to replace 62 classic hornets the Fins currently have). But their offer is a mix of single seat and dual seat block III SH's and more than a dozen Growlers which is quite a bit more expensive than the Super Hornet to buy and kit out.

Also, these requests and approval probably somewhat mask what the plans for final submission are since you don't want the SAAB's of the world to know exactly what package Boeing is bidding with (for competitive reasons) since no other government (that sells these equipment) that I know of has a process of laying out, in this detail, the entire package during the competitive stages of a potential selection.

For the F-35A this is not as much as an option since Lockheed cannot bid on its own (The US government through the program office has to submit a an estimate of what the costs are likely to be) but there too LM can sweeten the deal or ask for a different combination of aircraft and weapons package. Also, the program office submitted price may be different than the state department estimate because those lots of F-35 have not been negotiated yet since the way the F-35 is structured a future buyer pays what the negotiated cost is for the lot of contracts that support production of the lots they requested aircraft from so they will always get a government estimate whereas Boeing can include not-to-exceed commercial terms in its contract .


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