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Aircraft Industrial Base 2030

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posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 01:24 PM
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I've been mulling this over for a bit now. Industrial policy is one of the epic failures of the Pentagon, IMO. While there was NO WAY we could support the number of defense contractors we had at the end of the cold war, we have put our eggs to so few baskets now, we're in danger of going the route the Europeans have: single large defense contractor that does, well, everything.

Or are we? Could we 'fix' the situation between now and, say, 2030?

Or am I overreacting a bit?

For manned fighters, we have three contracts: Lockheed, Boeing and Northrop.

Lockheed has the F-35 contract and that will last at least through the 2030s. They're now looking at the F-35D, which will extend the contract at least to around 2040. So, as far as Lockheed is concerned, I think its taken care of. There's some danger it will end up in the situation Boeing is in now, but, if they go for a replacement for the F-35, it might be doable to keep them going. Smaller contracts, like a U-2 replacement and hypersonic work would be good bones to throw here.

Northrop is in the second best position. They just got the LRS-B. It'd be tempting to throw them the T-X since its a new build and would help shore them up. They are very heavily invested in the Sixth Generation Fighter development and based on noises the navy is making for their FA-XX, Northrop is really aligned with their requirements with their efforts. I could see them winning one of the two birds here.

Boeing is in a pickle right now. Yes, they are getting some Rhino orders and even a bit of Eagles as well. However, the question becomes, what's next? And they have a VERY cloudy future in 5 years. The only thing I can think of is throwing them some bones for the CBARS and maybe a Sixth Gen. However, everything I've seen and read of theirs (and rumors) makes it sound more navy friendly that air force. Perhaps a second gen arsenal plane might be an idea.

A lot also hinges on when the UCAVs start being ordered on large scale. However, that has another player (General Atomics) too.


thoughts?




posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 01:28 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I haven't seen anything serious about an F-35D anywhere.

As for the rest, it's all going to boil down to the T-X and next round of fighters to determine the market base. Lockheed and Northrop aren't in any danger, so Boeing will probably get the T-X to throw them some work.



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 02:42 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The 35Ds are being talked about in the laser world a lot. The Air Force has been asking some hard and serious questions about integrating a laser internally using the B as a base. I'd venture to guess to make up for the reduced combat range on internal fuel, they have an ADVENT engine. If its a 20% increase in range for a given fuel consumption (that correct?), they'll get 89% of the As range back.

Is the Boeing T-X a clean sheet or something derived from Saab's Gripen since they are teamed? That'd be...weird and amusing if the USAF had 300 odd Gripens.

Just imagine the snark: yup, your light front-line fighter is our trainer. oy.



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 03:00 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I wouldn't put much stock in that happening. The Air Force is having to delay buying airframes as it is, and with the bomber, tanker, trainer, JSTARS, and potentially AWACS all coming up, without adding the new fighter, there's no money for it. They may want it, but they want a lot of things.



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 03:30 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The plan for the D isn't for a while yet. They are looking for the tech they need to make it work and NOT lose the combat radius. Something of an under the table EMD phase.



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 03:34 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Even so, they're booked into the 2040s on development and integration. The JSTARS, and AWACS are going to be expensive programs alone, even if they go with smaller aircraft and smaller numbers. There are going to be a lot of new technologies involved, which is going to keep costs pretty high.



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 04:23 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Surely, by 2030 the triangles will be the overwhelming technology of the day and the whole outdated thinking of conquest and defense by typical aircraft of any kind will be a thing for history books. As I've stated many times, I've seen a massive triangle moving low, slow and silent. They are the future, and that future is here if clumsily hidden as long as they can be kept as the greatest secret weapon of all time.



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 07:22 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

From what I understand, they are aiming for ~2030 for the first ones.

We'll see if they actually get anywhere.

It may be its decided the 35D will be too antiquated by that point, even with being something of a gen 5.5.

There's a lot that can happen in the world in 15 years.



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 07:59 PM
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a reply to: anzha

And by 2030, they're going to be approaching IOC for the bomber, with production in full swing, the next batch of tankers (remember they have two more competitions to go), the T-X hitting full strike, the E-8 replacement, the AWACS replacement should drop before then as well....

Where is the money coming from?



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 09:01 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I suspect the budgets are going to change. However, I am in agreement as of now, IDK where the money is coming from.

Is 2030 the IOC for the bomber? I'm...a bit surprised its that late. For some reason I thought it was five years earlier in 2025.



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 09:01 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I suspect the budgets are going to change. However, I am in agreement as of now, IDK where the money is coming from.

Is 2030 the IOC for the bomber? I'm...a bit surprised its that late. For some reason I thought it was five years earlier in 2025.



posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 09:14 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Anticipated IOC is 2025, but that will move as the program goes along. More realistic is closer to 2030 as the real aircraft are developed. They'll save a lot of time and effort with the demonstrators flying, but not everything that's going into the bomber has been put into the demonstrators. The major components have been, but there are a few things they'll change for the first EMD aircraft, that will slow things down.

The budgets are going to change, but they're not going back to the almost unlimited budget that they had before. They're going to be forced into a smaller, more capable force as the years go forward.
edit on 2/16/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 03:07 AM
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Surely soon the budget will grow, we are at the edge of a world war 3 and not in a distant futur. The F-35 D may be a good idea to boost the capability of the not real performant F-35, may be the futur production lot in the year 2025 will be with the D.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 03:38 PM
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originally posted by: Aliensun
a reply to: anzha

Surely, by 2030 the triangles will be the overwhelming technology of the day and the whole outdated thinking of conquest and defense by typical aircraft of any kind will be a thing for history books. As I've stated many times, I've seen a massive triangle moving low, slow and silent. They are the future, and that future is here if clumsily hidden as long as they can be kept as the greatest secret weapon of all time.


And how do you know that those vehicles are actually suitable for aerial interception, combat and air to ground interdiction?

We don't know what the technology or capabilities of those are. They might be heavily limited in performance, or easily vulnerable to enemy fire. Suppose they were lighter than air with an electrostatic propulsion---very quiet and good for some missions (e.g. special forces insertion/logistics) but could be terrible at something else.

Can it land on a carrier? Can it land on a carrier 2,000 times? (bang!) Can you hose it off with salt water? Can it be repaired by 19-year old enlisted personnel?

It may be something truly amazing, but still improper for the major missions.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 08:39 PM
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a reply to: mbkennel

That was one thing I always thought about the so called Big Black Triangles, that they sounded to me like some form of black world lighter than air craft.



posted on Feb, 18 2016 @ 01:18 AM
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we're in danger of going the route the Europeans have: single large defense contractor that does, well, everything.


This isn't true at all. "Europe" have:

BAE Systems
ThyssenKrupp
Navantia
Saab
Airbus Group
Finmeccanica
Dassault
DCNS
Thales

Some of these are somewhat specific to certain countries (e.g. Saab) but it's not as if a single country can have multiple large companies.

The defence industry should not be a jobs program. I do agree that some sort of thought has to go into maintaining the industrial base, but if there's insufficient work then let the companies merge.
edit on 18/2/16 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 26 2016 @ 04:44 PM
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a reply to: C0bzz

BAe: british
Airbus: Euro general.
Dassault: French

If you assume the EU is one nation, you're fine. But between the immigrant crisis and Brexit and Russia, the EU is still trying to figure out whether its going to become a tighter union or loosen up more than it has been for the last 20 years.

Flipping back.

I am going to double down and say I think the arsenal plane will get awarded to Boeing, including a 'low cost' drone derived from a big plane. Perhaps it'll be the seed money for a B747 follow-on.

Northrop keeps the B-21.

Lockheed gets something. This is looking like a DARPA derived hypersonic, whether its an SR-72 or RB-22.

Then the sixth gen high end gets split between two, probably Boeing and Northrop. Lockheed does the F-35D or gets the competed F-35 replacement circa 2035 to 2040.

Plus the veritable armada of drones. And there will be a lot of them.




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