It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Northrop secretly building a clean sheet T-X trainer...New T-X aircraft will also be Aggressor.

page: 1
2

log in

join
share:

posted on Feb, 6 2015 @ 10:32 PM
link   
With Northrops recent public revelations (superbowl commercial, tour of the production line facilities for the press, and now announcing clean sheet T-X design), it seems more and more likely that the ATS aviation board theory that Boeing/LM has already been chosen as the LRS-B winner is correct. It seems that for the last year, Northrop has been secretly designing and building a clean sheet prototype for the new air force T-X program, a program that will add around 350 aircraft to the inventory to replace the aging T-38s in service. The T-38, most would say, is an excellent aircraft to use for the training of future fighter and bomber pilots. However, the T-38 is becoming limited in what it can do when we start talking about training future pilots to fly our fifth generation aircraft like the F-22 and F-35.



A Northrop Grumman-led team is dashing its plan to propose a modified BAE Systems Hawk trainer for the U.S. Air Force’s T-38 replacement program, opting instead for a clean-sheet design for the $1 billion program.

The shift is more bold than it is surprising. The team is paying for a brand-new prototype despite a slump in defense spending. But it has become increasingly evident that the Hawk is unsuited for the mission due to shortfalls in the fast-jet trainer’s ability to sustain Gs, perform high angle-of-attack maneuvering and execute tight turn rate and radius.

Scaled Composites, wholly owned by Northrop Grumman since its purchase in 2007, formed a small team to build a suitable aircraft from the ground up.


For instance, the only thing that the T-38 can replicate of fifth gen aircraft is basically that the jet can fly supersonic. Thats about it. lol. The requirements for the T-X will put it more on par with the capabilities of the raptor and lightning. While a request for proposals is still a couple years away, the requirements are starting to be known to the defense industry. The Air Force is looking for a supersonic (one or two engines isnt known yet) aircraft, with advanced avionics and limited sensor fusion, and more hard points for carrying bombs/missiles, as well as different pods for various purposes. However, now that they have decided to replace the F-16s in the Aggressor role, that requirement list could get a little bit more complex.




The so-called T-X will eventually be used to train future F-22 and F-35 pilots with advanced skills. Adding to the requirements is an Air Force decision in the fiscal 2016 budget plan to expand T-X to cover a requirement for a new “red air” aggressor “stores aircraft interface” kit to include adding a radar, datalink and hard points for weapons and a jamming pod. The T-X aggressors will replace F-16Cs used in that role now at the Air Warfare Center at Nellis AFB, Nevada. The Hawk would be unable to meet the demands of an aggressor aircraft.

The “red air” T-X is needed to tax the technology and skills of future F-22 and F-35 pilots, says Col. Adrian Spain, commandant of the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis. During live-fly training, the aggressors not only use enemy tactics but the aircraft must also emulate adversary platforms well enough to “fool” the Air Force’s aircraft into “thinking” they are an actual enemy system.

“The potential near-peer threat has improved pretty substantially over the last decade, [and] we want to be able to replicate that threat here so we can train against a threat that is realistic and relevant,” Spain tells Aviation Week. “With an older, fourth-gen system, you can probably trick it into thinking [an aggressor] is something else. But in an F-35 and an F-22, the sensors are advanced enough that they’ll know the difference. So we need to have capability on the range to fly against.”


I'm dying to know if they are going to try and make this trainer "stealthy" or not. A big problem that one of the four star generals brought up in the last couple months (cant remember his name) was the fact that the aggressor aircraft couldnt simulate a fifth generation aircraft well enough to get decent training for the raptor and lightning pilots. Essentially in a fifth gen vs fourth gen fight, the match would be over before the fourth gen aircraft even knew the newer jets were in the area...

But adding stealth to a trainer seems like a waste of money to me. Perhaps limited stealth, like a nice planform design, with perhaps internal stores for just the aggressor aircraft would do the trick enough. At least something to help replicate other fifth gen aircraft coming online in the next decade. I dont like the idea of our fighter pilots having to use simulators just to get a bit of realistic training for them. Otherwise why even have Red Flag?

Anyway, Northrop plans on having a first flight of this aircraft by the years end. We will see what kind of design it actually came up with. With this move towards a more advanced trainer, as well as the requirement for use by the aggressors, theres a real big loser in this deal. Theres an aircraft competing for the T-X competition that i happen to really like for its role in ISR and light strike duties and thats Textron's Scorpion aircraft. I'm afraid that with the new requirements, the scorpion will get left in the dust, especially since it has the RCS of a 747. Also, I think that Lockheeds entry of the T-50, while a damn fine trainer aircraft with the potential to be either an A-50 or F-50, is just a formallity. Theres no way that the Air Force allows LM to win the JSF, the LRS-B, and the T-X. That would be a monopoly that other defense compaines would never recover from, and it would be bad business for the government and their competitive programs.

T-X




posted on Feb, 6 2015 @ 10:42 PM
link   
With the inclusion of the :aggressor" role would this platform be practical for a lower cost CAS role also. Possibly even constructing a dedicated low threat environment replacement for the venerable A10?



posted on Feb, 6 2015 @ 10:49 PM
link   
a reply to: boomer135

Unless Boeing and Saab come up with a kick but craft, I wonder if NG might be awarded the contract as a consolation prize for loosing the LRS-B.



posted on Feb, 6 2015 @ 10:51 PM
link   

originally posted by: Kukri
With the inclusion of the :aggressor" role would this platform be practical for a lower cost CAS role also. Possibly even constructing a dedicated low threat environment replacement for the venerable A10?


See i saw the scorpion aircraft as a possible a-10/CAS replacement aircraft. But if they are going to go to a more advanced aircraft for T-X, then the scorpion would get left in the dust.



posted on Feb, 7 2015 @ 10:32 AM
link   
a reply to: boomer135

The wing box was designed to accept a swept wing, and the T-X version is/was alleged to have higher rated engines, but I don't know if it is going to be stressed well enough for the requirements now.



posted on Feb, 7 2015 @ 10:37 AM
link   
About a year ago, our company was asked to make a new cockpit window, for the Air forces training planes. Im starting to wonder whether this is what it was about. I need to ask around, and see whether they just decided against it, or got another supplier.

Well after looking at the pics, of that aircraft, it was definetly that aircraft. What they wanted was 2 pieces of glass that they could then stick the material between and sandwich into shape. I have a feeling they went against that kind of process, for an easier process I still have all the prototype glass. its a hell of a bend when your dealing with glass
edit on 7-2-2015 by Glassbender777 because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-2-2015 by Glassbender777 because: added some comments



posted on Feb, 7 2015 @ 11:24 AM
link   
a reply to: boomer135

I worked in metrology for Northrup during the B2 program. Been looking to return to it since the gaming industry isn't what it use to be. If Northrup is awarded the T-X program I'm off to Florida.

Thanks for the heads up Boomer.




posted on Feb, 8 2015 @ 04:43 PM
link   
Interesting to say the least.

If they can build it with the kind of capabilities that will tax F-22/F-35 class aircraft and assuming it does have therefore some form of LO, advanced sensors, internal carriage and is highly maneuverable to the point it makes a near peer or even basic peer aggressor, then it may end up eating into orders for other aircraft types. Particularly if it has a respectable range and most importantly it can be built cheaply. Could this be NG's way or even the DoD's of having a secret backdoor alternative to the F-35? If it does have the above capabilities then it may be an attractive alternative to some foreign buyers balking at the JSF's buy in and running costs, particularly if they dont project a need for that level of sophistication. I can see this potentially eating into ATDX or KF-X territory, IF it has these requirements.

LEE.



posted on Feb, 9 2015 @ 12:33 PM
link   
a reply to: thebozeian

I like this a whole lot, especially as this platform could potentially serve as another Viper-type aircraft in the air force's arsenal, and would be perfect for ANG outfits, etc that'll be needing to replace their F-15's etc sooner rather than later, but will have neither the need or the budget to keep even F-35's.

If this thing is the backdoor bid job that it appears to be, it could be sweet, sweet revenge for N-G given their recent LRS-B woes.



posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 01:30 AM
link   
a reply to: boomer135

I'm more than very worried about LM/BA having a monopoly on all of this. One of my insiders has painted a scenario where Boeing absorbs NG and we are left with two primes. From what I've more than heard the DoD is on this and are actively trying to dissolve the TACAIR game the into a two prime market.

A two contractor market allows for super-normal profits and a good-cop-bad-cop option for the Air Force.

It is and I've speculated that Boeing and Lockheed had word of this, which is why they teamed up against Northrop. The Pentagon has been trying to get rid of NG from some time now and they've been paying attention. After this competition, Boeing and LM will part ways happily becoming the two primaries for the Pentagon, having taken down Northrop together. Boeing will pick up whatever is left of NG and we will have a two prime market.

The LRS-B will be touted as a mainly Boeing achievement and with this "new" experience they will take over modification and maintenance on the current B-2 fleet as the -52's are phased out. See how this works? The Northrop areas of Plant 42 will be turned over to Boeing, not LM. Mark my words.

NG will retain some radar and unmanned vehicle control surface programs but their aircraft division will be lost. This includes the T-X, sorry fellas.

This is what I've heard.

edit on 10-2-2015 by aholic because: typo



posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 12:08 PM
link   
a reply to: aholic

If I were in N-G's shoes, I'd be tempted to extend the middle finger to everyone and merge with BAE.



posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 08:00 PM
link   

originally posted by: aholic
a reply to: boomer135

I'm more than very worried about LM/BA having a monopoly on all of this. One of my insiders has painted a scenario where Boeing absorbs NG and we are left with two primes. From what I've more than heard the DoD is on this and are actively trying to dissolve the TACAIR game the into a two prime market.

A two contractor market allows for super-normal profits and a good-cop-bad-cop option for the Air Force.

It is and I've speculated that Boeing and Lockheed had word of this, which is why they teamed up against Northrop. The Pentagon has been trying to get rid of NG from some time now and they've been paying attention. After this competition, Boeing and LM will part ways happily becoming the two primaries for the Pentagon, having taken down Northrop together. Boeing will pick up whatever is left of NG and we will have a two prime market.

The LRS-B will be touted as a mainly Boeing achievement and with this "new" experience they will take over modification and maintenance on the current B-2 fleet as the -52's are phased out. See how this works? The Northrop areas of Plant 42 will be turned over to Boeing, not LM. Mark my words.

NG will retain some radar and unmanned vehicle control surface programs but their aircraft division will be lost. This includes the T-X, sorry fellas.

This is what I've heard.


Cant say i dont agree with everything here. It makes sense because that is the only way i can think of that lockheed wouldn't want to use its own design for the competition. Unless they are using a lockheed design. But you gotta think that skunkworks has a better design that phantomworks does. So why team up? unless the end goal was to knock out NG.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 02:12 AM
link   
a reply to: boomer135

I'm afraid that's what I've heard. Which kills me because I've got Grumman blood that goes back generations to the Apollo program.




top topics



 
2

log in

join