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F/B-22 with electrochromatic panels?

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posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 10:22 AM
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This was sent to me in the USAF AIM Points


Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 9, 2005
By Dave Hirschman
The next aircraft Lockheed Martin wants to build in Marietta is a flying chameleon with electrified skin that changes color to match the sky around it.The high-speed, high-altitude bomber known as the F/B-22 will be able to alter its shape to become slimmer and more aerodynamic as its fuel tanks drain on long-distance flights. It would be invisible to radar, carry precision bombs and missiles, and fly fast enough to outrun most fighters.

The technology that allows planes to change color to match sky conditions is being pioneered on unmanned aircraft being developed by rival aircraft makers. It consists of a sensor that detects surrounding colors and transmits them to an electified coating that takes on hues of blue and gray.

Lockheed hasn't tried the coloring technology on any of its production planes but says the process of shading the F/B-22 is relatively simple...



Full Article Here

The article does mention that there will some challenges to get the airplane into production ie. budget constraints, and UAV competition.
It would be interesting to find out what other aircraft have the chameleon stealth

J~Rock




posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 10:32 AM
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They had some animations of this on the History channel last night. Quite impressive. You could still see the plane, but you most certainly would need to be looking for it to do so. The Animation depicted a plane that basically changed colors just a moment or two after the ambient colors around it changed. Amazing if they can pull this off.

Imagine a raptor that an an enemy radar cant really see AND the enemy pilot cant make out visually. Thats a tough plane to beat.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 02:39 PM
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Errrr....so much for the article
damn it...

I really hope the FB-23 trials will be persued but I highly doubt it...



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 06:00 PM
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In the first post you mention something about it changing shapes... Is that really even practical in this day and age? The cost would likely be at least that of a B-2. There has to be much work done to see what shape(s) would retain its stealthynes and what shape it becomes vulnerable at. And that is just if it just becomes slightly thinner like a balloon would if you let a bit of air leak out.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 06:56 PM
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I.R. and Electric/magnetic shielding would make more sense, but the visual stealth story that originated with Popular Science 10 years ago has more sex appeal, and as a last chance defense mechinism has some small merit.
Conformal tanks are already being used by the Israeli's on thier F-16's, and flexable skin technology is well advanced, so an elastic tank is practical.
Not sure all this is the best bang for a buck, though.

[edit on 11-1-2005 by Realist05]



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 10:37 PM
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Its rumored that this skin's testbed was the "bird of Prey" aircraft, its also being rumored that either the X-45C or the X-47B will have this capability.

Not sure how its going to change its shape though, its allready a delta wing, so they cant use the same design as the F-14 sweep wing idea. The whole "change its shape" thing confuses me, I dont see how, unless done by hydraulics or electric motors to maybe have the wing go into itself, and by that I mean...kinda like a vehicles electric antenna, how each section is smaller then the last so it can go into itself.

and they must be doing major upgrades or a new engine all-together to be able to go faster then most all fighters.



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 09:14 AM
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Sorry, I forgot I was getting it from a .mil site

Here is the full article



Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 9, 2005

Lockheed's Next Big Idea Is Far Off The Radar Screen

Stealthy offshoot of Raptor would change colors, shapes -- and share 85% of its parts.

By Dave Hirschman

The next aircraft Lockheed Martin wants to build in Marietta is a flying chameleon with electrified skin that changes color to match the sky around it.

The high-speed, high-altitude bomber known as the F/B-22 will be able to alter its shape to become slimmer and more aerodynamic as its fuel tanks drain on long-distance flights. It would be invisible to radar, carry precision bombs and missiles, and fly fast enough to outrun most fighters.

The technology that allows planes to change color to match sky conditions is being pioneered on unmanned aircraft being developed by rival aircraft makers. It consists of a sensor that detects surrounding colors and transmits them to an electified coating that takes on hues of blue and gray.

Lockheed hasn't tried the coloring technology on any of its production planes but says the process of shading the F/B-22 is relatively simple. The idea of shedding fuel tanks for additional speed has been around since World War II, when U.S. fighters carried external tanks to extend their range, then dropped them to become lighter and more maneuverable in combat.

The stealthy F/B-22 takes that idea a step further.

The bomber would take off with extra fuel in "conformal" tanks or saddlebags that, once empty, could be pulled into the airplane during flight. With fuel tanks tucked inside, the F/B-22 could fly at supersonic speeds while retaining a shape that would allow it to fly anywhere in the world undetected by radar.

So far, the plane is only an idea in the minds of Lockheed engineers. The company has fewer than 50 people working on the F/B-22 full time.

Right now, a far more pressing issue for the Marietta plant is whether the Pentagon further cuts orders for F/A-22 Raptor fighters and curtails C-130J cargo plane purchases next year, as outlined in a recent budget document. Some analysts say those moves -- should they survive congressional review -- could spell the end of aircraft manufacturing in Marietta.

Lockheed, however, sees the F/B-22 as a logical follow-on to the F/A-22 project. It wants to sell the bombers to the Air Force in time to begin building them in about 10 years, when current F/A-22 production is scheduled to end at about 300 planes. The Pentagon is considering stopping the Raptor assembly line in five years at 160 airplanes, however, and that would require dramatically accelerating the F/B-22 timetable.

The bombers would share the Raptor's cockpit, fuselage, tail and engines and be built on the same assembly line. By using 85 percent common parts, Lockheed said it can reduce costs.

"There's pretty strong congressional support for a new bomber," said Larry Lawson, Lockheed's vice president for Raptor production in Marietta. "We have a very old bomber fleet, and the F/B-22 looks very favorable when you compare the added performance and costs."

No price tag set

Current Air Force bombers include hulking B-52s that first flew more than 50 years ago, supersonic but non-stealthy B-1s made in the 1980s, and stealthy but slow B-2s that are so vulnerable to fighters they only attack at night.

Lockheed officials haven't set a price for F/B-22s. But they say the planes would be significantly less expensive than Raptors because they won't carry the fighter's complex thrust-vectoring system, which directs engine exhaust to aid maneuverability. Raptors currently sell for about $130 million each, and Lockheed officials say prices will go down if production rates increase.

Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst for the Teal Group, said Lockheed is recognizing economic reality by pitching a derivative of an existing airplane rather than starting from scratch.

"The Air Force just doesn't have the money to launch an all-new bomber program," he said. "Lockheed wouldn't get to first base if it tried that approach."

Unmanned rivals

The F/B-22's stiffest competition is likely to come from unmanned aircraft such as the X-45 and X-47 being tested by rivals Boeing and Northrop Grumman, and a new generation of cruise missiles. The unmanned aircraft are stealthy and can cover long distances. But those under development carry much smaller payloads than the proposed F/B-22.

The Air Force is already committed to buying two Lockheed fighters -- the Raptor and the single-engine F-35. Aerospace analysts say any new bomber is likely to be a lower priority to top Air Force officers, many of whom are former fighter pilots.

"Tactical fighters are going to take precedence in a funding crunch," Aboulafia said. "Right now, there's a major funding crunch. But when that's over in a decade or so, the F/B-22 is going to be a real possibility. It blends speed and stealth, and that's very attractive to the Air Force."

Loren Thompson, defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, says outgoing Air Force Secretary Jim Roche is the main proponent for a new long-range bomber. With his departure, a plane such as the F/B-22 loses a powerful advocate.

Budget crunch

Also, huge budget deficits are likely to curtail growth in defense spending, an area that has been invulnerable in Washington in recent years.

"The [Bush] administration is questioning right now whether it can go forward with the Raptor and the F-35," Thompson said. "It's hard to see a way forward for the F/B-22 in this environment."

Thompson said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld favors the F-35, a single-seat fighter and attack plane that will be used by the Air Force, Navy and Marines, rather than Raptors or F/B-22s that only the Air Force would fly.

Lockheed expects Pentagon approval in early 2005 to increase Raptor production in Marietta from about 20 airplanes a year to more than 30. The plant is running two shifts a day and now employs about 7,800 workers -- an increase of about 800 from two years ago. Roughly 2,200 work on Raptor production.

"Lockheed and the Air Force will hold the line on Raptor production this year," Thompson said. "But asking for a variant is pressing their luck. The Air Force is going to have a huge burden protecting their existing programs, and I don't think they're going to get real creative by pursuing new ones."

Beyond visual range: F/B-22 fighter bomber

Lockheed Martin has been quietly designing the F/B-22, a long-range strike variant of the F/A-22. The wings of the F/A-22 would be converted to a delta wing.

Fuel saddlebags -- Extra-capacity fuel tanks would retract as they empty to make the plane more aerodynamic and less visible to radar.

Tail -- Would incorporate tail characteristics from the F/A-22.

Speed and agility -- The F/B-22 would be the Air Force's fastest bomber, retaining the super cruise (faster than sound without afterburners) characteristics of the F/A-22. However, it would not be nearly as maneuverable.

Weapons -- The F/B-22 would carry bombs internally. These include: four 2,000-pound bombs; two air-to-air missiles; four 250-pound bombs.

Camouflage -- With the aid of embedded sensors, the F/B-22's exterior coating changes color when exposed to an electric charge, allowing it to adopt blue and gray hues to match the surrounding sky conditions.

Specifications -- Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney F119s, Crew: Two, Weight: 120,000 pounds with full fuel and bombs, Range: 1,600+ miles



I think the shape changing part is the fuel saddlebags. This is a very interesting concept. Then again the whole aircraft is an interesting concept

J~Rock



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 11:01 PM
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yeah, I like the plane and idea but.....MONEY. The AF should say no to this, not because its not an excellent bomber concept, but because they have to many different projects going on right now, and they are overlaying there capabilities. I think they should go ahead with the FB-22 only if they ditch the B-1 bomber, it would have no place anymore if the F/B-22 emerges. Its only benifit is its our only super sonic bomber, if it the Bomber Raptor can do that feat then it might as well die off. Even the AF future stealth bomber the X-45C only goes mach .8, So.....Umm...I think I would build it, cancel the B-1 by having it fade out of service when the FB-22's enter.



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