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US Air Force Delaying F-X Sixth Gen Fighter by a Year?

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posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 02:47 PM
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It's looking like the air force is having second thoughts on pursuing a sixth gen fighter. They want to rapidly prototype different technologies before jumping towards doing the AOA. They are convinced if they start now, they will end up with a 'true' sixth gen, but have found there is no silver bullet for a single aircraft to counter, well, everything. So, they are going to go the 'family of systems' route.

First off, no shbt, sherlock. No single system will EVER be able to cover all the requirements. That's why the US has traditionally had several aircraft to cover the different roles.

Secondly, the idea of shoehorning EVERYTHING into a single aircraft is frakking stupid and seems to have come to its logical conclusion that a single type cannot do everything. The problem is the USAF is becoming paralyzed rather than covering what it can and seeking what they truly need.

What we will end up doing is ... NOTHING.

This is turning into UCLASS again.

these guys ought to be fired. gah.

www.flightglobal.com...




posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 03:27 PM
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a reply to: anzha


Hypothetical: If you were the government with a long-operational secret craft with UFO-like capabilities--we can call it a "black triangle"-- that actually has that "all-in-one" capabilities with armament,
speed, agility, defense, counter-defense and whatever capability that you would want in an aerial fortress, then, maybe, hypothetically anyway, you can understand why we don't really need more billion dollar packages for jets, refueling fleets, or even needed a replacement for the long-gone space shuttle. So, I'm not asking that you believe in UFOs and their type of hardware, but just hypothetically think about it.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 04:03 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Considering they haven't even written the requirements yet and were looking at 2018 even to drop an RFI of course it's going to be delayed. Sorry but there are other priorities right now than the next whiz bang fighter.

I want to see it flying as much as the next person but it's far more important to get it right than to get it flying.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 04:04 PM
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a reply to: anzha

What I cannot understand is why they want to build all these fancy objects in the first place. Some of the most lethal aeroplanes ever launched for the purpose of making war, were also extremely cheap when compared with today's efforts.

I would argue that it is better to build many fast, hard, violent aircraft, than build a small fleet of all rounders. It makes no sense to me what so ever.

Look at the A-10. The airframes may be aged, but what is stopping the people who build aircraft from building more of them with brand new materials? Harder, lighter armour, better avionics, improved target acquisition systems, but the same exact shape and size? The gun does not need updating, it's a beast. The shape flies well, and does not need updating, because? Yes, it's a beast. And no, a plane should not be asked to perform in a CAS role, and be a dogfighter, and a bomber, and a EW delivery mechanism! It is STUPID to insist on that, until or unless technology moves on from jet propulsion and traditional aviation entirely. Till that point comes, and most of our war is fought in vacuum anyway, the whole idea is utterly bogus.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 04:09 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Because right now defenses are growing faster than countermeasures. A fourth generation in a straight up peer fight against existing countermeasures has a life span of 2-3 missions at best. Against the next generation of defenses it will be measured in minutes, not missions.

Yes, aircraft like the A-10 are a beast and are important, but if it came that it had to go up against defenses that hadn't been virtually destroyed, they'd never get near the target area. The only way to solve that is to build aircraft capable of countering those defenses. There are two ways to go with that. Build something capable of more than one mission, or spend double or triple building two, three, or even four different types, and spend years on each of them getting them through development.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 04:33 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

But what you end up with is not something which does all things amazingly.

What you invariably end up with, is a flying machine which can do everything, but is a master of nothing at all. That serves no purpose, because air war is about using specific tools, to do specific jobs.

And as for the A10 being a post penetration aircraft, reliant on a certain level of air dominance and ground pacification in order to operate...so what? It has ever been thus! You would never deploy the thing in a zone where a rival airforce was at work, and ground mounted countermeasures were still in place! That is not what it is for, any more than an F16 was ever going to be a good replacement for a Superfortress! You cannot carpet bomb a city with a reaper drone, and you cannot perform recon missions at close proximity in a B52 bomber either.

But those craft are very good at what they were designed for. Unless these modern flying machines are going to out perform every single craft they replace at their specialised tasks, I really cannot see this combining of many trades turning into anything but a barely competent handyman of an aircraft, rather than the craftsman it ought to be.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 04:45 PM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit
Look at the A-10. The airframes may be aged, but what is stopping the people who build aircraft from building more of them with brand new materials?


What is stopping them is the far higher performance of anti-aircraft missile seekers now widely available.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 05:03 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

And no one can afford to drop $20-30B a platform just for the development phase and develop five different aircraft for five different missions, it's that simple. If you want aircraft to do the mission, it's going to be multirole. The days of one platform, one mission are gone.

As for the A-10, until the MiG-29 and Su-27 and newer missiles really came into their own in the 90s, the A-10 was a Day One platform. The Soviets and later Russians simply didn't have anything that could get into the weeds with it, or that had a true look down/shoot down capability until the Fulcrum.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 05:03 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit


I would argue that one of the main reason is that these Projects are work horses. These Projects keep 2 to 300 000 People With Income.


Even the government are arguing now that the F-35 might have been reaching to far With just one airframe. In the future we will probable see different airframes for the different demands compared to a all in one airframe.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 05:23 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Why so many billions?

By the time it gets in the air, it will be out of date, as is invariably the case with aircraft. It was that way with the Eurofighter, it was that way with the F35 even! They were spit balling that thing when I was in short trousers! Tens of billions for a project that will not even get off the runway in the same decade as it was conceived in, is a little ridiculous if you ask me.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 05:44 PM
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a reply to: spy66

To an extent. You won't see another F-35 typeplatform, but you aren't going to see one platform for each type of mission either.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 05:46 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Because of the technology involved. If you want something that can survive a high threat environment it's going to require a lot of new and fairly new technology. There's no way around it. The threat has evolved so far in the last 10-15 years alone that it's not funny.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 05:50 PM
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a reply to: spy66

The problem isn't even making it a multi-branch aircraft, it's that the roles are so disparate that you can't just stretch a single platform to cover them all anymore.

If they had wanted to, they could have gone with a single type for the F-14/F-15, just as they could have gone with a single type for the F-16/18, because both the USAF and the USN craft had such similar/compatible roles.

Meanwhile, with the F-35, the roles were so disparate between the branches (the USMC needed a VTOL stealth F-16, the Navy needed to replace the F-14 and the A-6, and the USAF wanted some sort of stealth F-111) that it's no wonder we got a fantastic avionics suite in an overweight compromised mongrel of an aircraft.

With F-X, what they really need to do is go for a the high/low approach and build a relatively barebones X-2 type aircraft to replace the F-16 and the F-18, while building a larger, more capable platform to replace the F-14 (finally) and the F-15.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 09:40 PM
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a reply to: Aliensun

My Dad always used to say, "if you see it flying or hear about it, it's at least three generations old." I always figured he knew what he was talking about and took him at his word.



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 10:49 PM
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Gen 6 I think will be waiting to see how the B21 and F35 pan out with its technologies.Aerodynamically the design was nutted out 20 years ago..



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 11:28 PM
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The AF is right to look at alternatives. It's time to end the generation system. The programs have gotten stupidly complex, take far too long to develop, for far too much money. We need to change the paradigm and do something different.



posted on Apr, 8 2016 @ 11:11 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

What direction would you like to see them go in?



posted on Apr, 8 2016 @ 11:50 AM
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a reply to: Barnalby

A mix. Something that can be developed quickly, along with new weapons. We need an AMRAAM replacement, a new antiship missile, and many new aircraft as well. We need to be able to develop new capabilities quickly, efficiently, and cheaper than we are now.



posted on Apr, 8 2016 @ 12:20 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I think the rate at which China can get something from paper to real aircraft should scare the bejesus out of the DoD and hopefully speed the process of development up some. I think the trick to that is if they can still get a quality product at the end.



posted on Apr, 8 2016 @ 12:45 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So, basically take the "evolutionary, not revolutionary(with lots of cool missiles)" path that the Russians have taken, but with an actual budget so you can get all of those 4.5th-5th gen aircraft out onto the tarmacs in meaningful numbers.

I'm all for the high/low model, and while the F-22 was a phenomenal example of what a "high" aircraft should be, we struggle mightily when it comes to building an equally ambitious "low" craft.

Back to the Russians, the T-50 is a great model for what a workhorse "low" aircraft for the USAF/USN might be, encapsulating a functional gen 4.5 aircraft in a conservative low-observable design with low-maintenance skins for F-117-level stealth.

With our budget, we could build them in numbers that would make Reagan blush.

The problem is that the F-22 and F-35 pushed the formula TOO far, while the F-18 Advanced and the F-15SE don't push it far enough.

As to "high", what's stopping the USAF from scrapping 6th gen entirely and instead choosing to pull a Su-35S and build a second production run of F-22s, re-engined with F135s for Mach 2 supercruise (and fed through diverterless inlets and possibly fitted with 3d thrust vectoring), carrying the F-35's avionics suite, and wrapped in new skins. The ensuing F-22E Super Raptor would be one hell of an aircraft, and would almost certainly qualify as AT LEAST a Gen 5.5 fighter.
edit on 8-4-2016 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



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