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Why Cant We Try This Idea

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posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 02:19 PM
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Instead of waiting 20 years between newer models and costs in the hundreds of billions, why not let the Pentagon provide say 2B a year to each major defense contractor with the agreement that said funds would be used to design / manufacture revised models of existing aircraft every few years.

For example lets take the old F-14 tomcat.

Assume it was 1980, why not provide a small stable funding to Grumman for them to devote one core group to continuous improvement to the F-14 model? That way they can continually modify the bird and lets say after 5 years the navy may want to produce Revision 3.6 instead of Tomcat 1.1?

I see the current model of procuring these major systems as completely outdated and stupid, quite frankly.

Imagine if Ford and GM didnt design new trucks but every 20 years?

Being able to constantly produce newer models, albeit 1 per year or even just tinkering constantly would allow a much more rapid progression of capability and knowledge amoung the companies.




posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 02:24 PM
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a reply to: BigTrain

They already do that. If you were to look at an F-15 from 1980 compared to one today, they'd be almost completely different internally. The upgrades are ongoing still. They just upgrade existing aircraft instead of buying new airframes that are upgraded.
edit on 10/14/2015 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 03:08 PM
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The thing is that every now and again you reach a point where trying to bodge something newer into the airframe just won't work and so its time to make something to meet the needs going forward, its a bit like how far can you mod a model T ford to have all the latest tools before you have to say "well i think we need a new chassis"



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 03:13 PM
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a reply to: Maxatoria

Which we're approaching with the older legacy fleet. They've gotten a bit of a reprieve with digital upgrades, but they're starting to run into cooling issues, even with brand new aircraft.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 06:51 PM
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What your talking about is through life support and development, which is a major business in itself for both OEM and other service providers. It's been going on for years.
Take a look at the Harrier Aircraft through GR3 to the GR9 (AV8B) for you lot over the water that should give you a good idea. they probably don't share even one component.

In the past we waited 20 years for design stage to become production, these days with the use of some pretty clever development software and manufacturing techniques the lead time is becoming a lot less, 3 years in some instances I know of (rapid prototype development etc)

So there you have it, it can be done and we are doing it.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 09:32 PM
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a reply to: BigTrain

The Russians have been doing this same thing for many years with the Su 27/30/33/35/37/35S. It does the job, but then you end up with a mixmastered fleet with non-homogeneous capabilities. Granted you can go farther with the updates because you can fundamentally change parts of the airframe that you couldn't if you were upgrading an existing fleet, but you also have the problem of literally forcing yourself never to standardize across the board.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 11:51 AM
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a reply to: Darkpr0

I think everybody missed what I was really saying, these programs you are talking about do not actually make the plane much different than what the original was. And the original body never changes.

Think of what im talking about as more a Tomcat to the Super Tomcat, there was significant differences.

Same with Hornet versus Super Hornet, but problem was it took 20 years to get to Super Hornet.

Lets take the A-10 warthog, if they had continually upgraded it and revised it, today you would have say 50 of the most advanced tank killers in the world, and it probably wouldnt look anything like the original.

Im not referring the F-16 Block 1-II and Block 16 etc etc which are small mods here and there to the original airframe. Im talking about new airframes every couple years, with newer materials, changes in aerodynamic shape, changes in electronic packages, not just the typical upgrades that must be fleet wide. And then say after 5 years once youve really made the bird much much better, instead of having 500 fighters of Revision A that you rolled off the asembly line 1 after the next all the same model, you get 50 the first block, then 5 years later a more advanced Rev 2 at 50 planes then 5 years later.......



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 12:08 PM
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a reply to: BigTrain

You're talking about having to redesign the aircraft, wind tunnel test it, flight test it, run systems tests, etc. It would take longer and cost a lot more to do that than it does to do an incremental upgrade, like they do now. It's not just a matter of saying "I'm going to change the wing and go flying".

What you keep describing is how it's done. During production they find changes that can be made as they go, so they make them, and then add them on to the previously built aircraft afterwards. So the last aircraft built, is quite a bit different from the first.
edit on 10/15/2015 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 12:13 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Yeah, agree with Zaphod. Just redesigning the wing could have a huge impact on weapons separation, due to the dynamic airflow changes. I like the how the Russians do this, with their mods on existing airframes, but I don't think they uphold the same rigor of testing that the US holds. And don't be fooled, the Super Hornet is a totally new aircraft, not a mod from the vanilla hornet.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 03:54 PM
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originally posted by: BigTrain
a reply to: Darkpr0

I think everybody missed what I was really saying, these programs you are talking about do not actually make the plane much different than what the original was. And the original body never changes.


Canards, folding wings, internal changes, and retooling entire assemblies to be made out of new materials aren't exactly stick-on changes either. These things are difficult, and doing them improperly has serious implications for the people riding inside them. Or underneath them.


Im not referring the F-16 Block 1-II and Block 16 etc etc which are small mods here and there to the original airframe. Im talking about new airframes every couple years, with newer materials, changes in aerodynamic shape, changes in electronic packages, not just the typical upgrades that must be fleet wide.


If the changes to the Flanker series are not as serious as what you want, then what you want is an entirely new airplane every couple of years, and that's not something that is feasible. You would need to keep engineering and manufacturing funded and working for years on end just to keep reiterating. Really what you're talking about at that point is just taking the same process of making a new plane like we do every 20-30 years and, instead, doing it every 2-3 years. That's technically feasible, but nobody is going to put such an insurmountable amount of money into speeding up what we already do by an order of magnitude.



And don't be fooled, the Super Hornet is a totally new aircraft, not a mod from the vanilla hornet.


Also this. They look similar. Nothing else. They do not interchange. Ask the guys who have to calibrate the arrestor cables.
edit on 10/15/2015 by Darkpr0 because: Reasons



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 07:30 PM
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a reply to: Darkpr0

I think they're called Super Hornet so it could be sold as an upgrade without requiring competitive bidding.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 07:34 PM
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a reply to: mbkennel

The basic structure started as a Hornet, and was changed into the Super Hornet, like they did with the F-15E. It's still related to the Hornet, but they don't have the commonality that an F-16 Block 30 would have with a Block 50/52.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 07:41 PM
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a reply to: mbkennel

The super hornet is quite a bit larger than its little brother.




posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 07:58 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

They made it larger in response to the complaints about the short legs of the Hornet. They started out making the wings bigger to add more fuel, which meant a larger fuselage. Which ironically, the Rhino has the same problems with range that the Bug does.



posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 12:06 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

It's a flying gas can. They put fuel cells in the vertical stabilizers. The problems that came with the SH are exactly why the aircraft mods can't happen real easy.

Good example: The Super Hornet, in bomb separation testing, would gain a new wingman. Vortices under the wings, would keep the bomb nestled near the aircraft as the jet flew along. So the pilot would pickle the bomb, and it would separate and then "fly" next to the jet. In order to disrupt these vortices, they canted the aux fuel tanks outwards, inducing huge drag.

And don't get me started on the sandpaper on the wings.
So, all that gas didn't help much, but proved how important Ops Eval is to those aircraft.



posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 01:20 PM
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a reply to: cosmania

They didn't really have a choice though. The A-D barely had enough fuel to get through an exercise without tanking, let alone combat missions. Like you said, the Rhino has its own issues, ironically, one still being range, but it's better than it was.



posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 03:51 PM
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a reply to: cosmania

Exactly why they should have just went with the Super Tomcat.



posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 05:23 PM
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a reply to: BigTrain

The Hornet, with all its drawbacks is a better ground attack aircraft than any version of the Tomcat. It's also slightly better in a WVR fight, due to its high alpha capabilities.

Once the Tomcat lost the Phoenix its days were numbered. Between losing its long range punch, and years of engine issues, it was time to retire them.

The Super Tomcat would have had to go through the same testing that the Super Hornet did, probably leading to issues found and years of development. Even though it was an upgrade of existing aircraft, they still would have to prove the concept and that it met the requirements of the Navy.



posted on Oct, 21 2015 @ 07:39 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

You might be the only person outside Boeing who believes the SH was a better pick than even the legacy tomcat.

Now, its also a bit unfair to compare the SH with todays newest targeting and E package to the legacy tomcats. Talking about range, speed, payload, accel, manueverability, supercruise, theres not even a debate to be had.



posted on Oct, 21 2015 @ 07:48 AM
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a reply to: BigTrain

A platform designed from the start to have a ground attack capability is going to be better at the mission than a platform designed as an interceptor with ground attack added on. The Tomcat beats the Hornet hands down in range, BVR capability, speed and payload. That doesn't make it a great bomber.

The F-15C can drop bombs, and has beenshown that it can, and even carry a decent payload doing it, but the E model is far better at it.

They would have to completely rebuild every Tomcat airframe, which would have cost as much or more than the Hornet program did.
edit on 10/21/2015 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



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