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Raptor to get improved net-centric abilities

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posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 01:44 PM
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Northrop Grumman to Expand Capabilities for F/A-22 Raptor

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 2, 2005 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has begun work on an F/A-22 modernization program that will add capabilities to the aircraft's communications, navigation and identification (CNI) system to enhance network-centric operations for the next-generation, air-dominance fighter weapon system.

The CNI avionics are being developed by the Radio Systems business of Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector, under contract to Lockheed Martin. When fully developed, the system will enable numerous critical CNI functions for the F/A-22.

A key concept in the U.S. Department of Defense's vision for the future is network-centric warfare, which links sensors, communications systems and weapon systems in an interconnected grid that allows for seamless information flow to warfighters, decision makers and support personnel.

To support this vision, Northrop Grumman's F/A-22 modernization program will ensure that the CNI architecture is compliant with the requirements of the Joint Tactical Radio System program. Northrop Grumman will also add Link-16 capability to the CNI system. Link-16 is a tactical data link that provides greater situational awareness through the jam-resistant transfer of voice and data between battle participants.

"The F/A-22's expanding information capabilities will increase the pilot's ability to engage targets with unmatched battlespace awareness," said Jim Byloff, F/A-22 program director, Radio Systems, Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "Our modernization program will not only reduce the cost of the F/A-22's CNI system, it improves interoperability and increases sharing of unique information from the best sensors in the fleet."

Northrop Grumman's CNI system utilizes sophisticated software-defined radio technology to simultaneously support numerous capabilities such as various voice and data communications, automatic acquisition of fly-to points and friend-or-foe identification. The system can also dynamically reconfigure these functions to support priorities defined by missions. Using software-defined radio technology, Northrop Grumman's CNI system is a fraction of the size and weight of the single-function radios previously required to implement the same functions. This "smart-box" approach allows for increased performance, quicker deployment, higher availability, enhanced scalability and lower lifecycle cost.



This thing keeps getting better.




posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 01:53 PM
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Thats so awesome. It connects real well to the discusion going on in the F/B-22 thread. The claim of one the guys there saying that the F-111 could do the bombing role better then the 22. Im sorry but if you have this CNI at your disposial you can pick out the best target when your in mid flight and still have exact bombing ie virtually 100% hits even when changing targets. this is the same for anything in the air. The 22 pilot could see what another pilot is seeing on his radar and change his attack accordingly with out an awacs. I agree this thing gets sweeter and sweeter.



posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 02:14 PM
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Cool, They sure are putting a lot money in the Raptor...


[edit on 10-8-2005 by Figher Master FIN]



posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 02:28 PM
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I don’t like the term "modernization" used in this context. The F22 was designed to have swappable, plug and play type electronics and computers for exactly this reason. It’s what the plane is all about.

That’s why the plane is so great, it will adapt as the technology becomes available. Actually, correction: The hardware is so far ahead of the software that it’s just now catching up; as the physical plane is being deployed they are just now installing the software that was always intended.

My feeling is that the hardware is ahead of the software and (as always) and upgrades like this will always be happening.

I like the word "upgrade" better.



posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 02:48 PM
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From the sounds of what your saying skippytjc the raptor also has other upgrades pending. Does anyone have any info with sources with what else is planed to be upgraded in the raptors?



posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 03:05 PM
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as posted by Canada_EH
Does anyone have any info with sources with what else is planed to be upgraded in the raptors?


Canada_EH, to answer your question,
Block 20:


Current planning envisages the introduction of the
GBU-39/40 Small Diameter Bomb in the Block 20
aircraft by 2007, together with high resolution SAR radar
modes, improved radar ECCM, two way voice and data
MIDS/Link-16 capability, improved crew station
software, and improved electronic countermeasures.
The Block 20 configuration is the baseline for the Global
Strike Task Force (GSTF) fleet, and will include JSF
common radar modules, a dedicated high-speed radar
processor, and COTS technology CIP processors.


Block 30:


The Block 30 configuration, planned for 2008-2011,
extends the growth seen in the Block 20. Side-looking
radar arrays are envisaged to provide a significant ISR
capability in the aircraft along with enhancements to
provide full air defence suppression (Wild Weasel) and
time-critical target engagement capabilities. A Satcom
terminal will be added to provide continuous network
connectivity during deep-strike profiles.


Block 40:


The post-2011 Block 40 aircraft is intended to be the
definitive Global Strike configuration, including
incremental enhancements to Block 30 additions, to
provide full sensor networking, range enhancements,
highly integrated ISR capabilities, and a Helmet
Mounted Display similar to the JSF. Longer term
planning for post Block 40 envisages an Electronic
Attack variant, essentially replacing the lost EF-111A
Raven. A stealthy stores pod for JDAM and SDB is also
in development to enable carriage on external pylons.
As a strike aircraft the F/A-22A will have similar internal
payloads to the JSF, but will be vastly more survivable
due to better stealth to evade air defence missile
batteries, plus better speed/altitude performance, more
defensive internally carried air-air missiles and the ability
to kill opposing fighters with no difficulty. The spiral
development program for strike capabilities is
incremental, and primarily involves software and
integration of networking equipment and new weapons.
As a result, it is an affordable proposition. The Block 20
enhancements were covered within the original 2004
production budget.


More can be read here;
F/A-22 Raptor - Stealth, supercruise, firepower




seekerof

[edit on 10-8-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 03:09 PM
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What Skippy is saying is they designed the F-22 to be modular. Anything that engineers come up with in the future can thusly be added to the F-22 cheaply and quickly. This decision will supposedly give the F-22 platform longevity in the grand scheme of things. Is the F-35 going to be similiar I wonder. These two planes might be the last manned Combat Jets ever(barring some miraculous Intertial Dampening technology that is) Personally I believe the F-22 is going to be relegated to the dustbin in 30 years as it will become clear that Unmanned is the future.



posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 05:06 PM
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Originally posted by Canada_EH
Thats so awesome. It connects real well to the discusion going on in the F/B-22 thread. The claim of one the guys there saying that the F-111 could do the bombing role better then the 22. Im sorry but if you have this CNI at your disposial you can pick out the best target when your in mid flight and still have exact bombing ie virtually 100% hits even when changing targets. this is the same for anything in the air. The 22 pilot could see what another pilot is seeing on his radar and change his attack accordingly with out an awacs. I agree this thing gets sweeter and sweeter.


I think that I am the guy that Canada_EH is referring to. What I said is that the F-111 was more versitile in the types of weapons that it could carry and in that it had a two man crew. All of this net-centric and other computer improvements are great, when they work. When the fecees impacts the air distribution system will they still work? Will they be maintainable? Look at the B-2, fantastic aircraft, some of the best money that the US has ever spent, but have you seen the support equipment and maintenance personel that it takes to take care of them? Will the Raptor be forward deployable? Will all of this whiz-bang computer aided equipment be able to be fixed by a 19 year old kid who has had 2 hours of sleep in the last 2 days? That is the point that I am trying to make.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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question Jim wouldn't a 19 year old who got 2 hours of sleep be in deep # for any plane he was working on? and while i agree with your saying that things can go wrong that is also a fact of anyplane.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 10:09 AM
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Originally posted by Canada_EH
question Jim wouldn't a 19 year old who got 2 hours of sleep be in deep # for any plane he was working on? and while i agree with your saying that things can go wrong that is also a fact of anyplane.


I agree but in a combat situation that is the rule not the exception. I spent 5 years as an Aviation Machinist Mate and Aircrewman in the early 80's. I can remember working a 12 hour shift, 2 hour briefing, a 4 hour flight that lasted 6 with a hot fuel and then working another 12 hour shift. This was in peacetime. What I am concerned about is that we are making these aircraft too complex to be maintained by the squadrons flying them. A military aircraft technician these days is nothing more than a component swapper. That's great if you have a steady supply of good components.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 10:40 AM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499

Originally posted by Canada_EH
question Jim wouldn't a 19 year old who got 2 hours of sleep be in deep # for any plane he was working on? and while i agree with your saying that things can go wrong that is also a fact of anyplane.


I agree but in a combat situation that is the rule not the exception......

What I am concerned about is that we are making these aircraft too complex to be maintained by the squadrons flying them. A military aircraft technician these days is nothing more than a component swapper. That's great if you have a steady supply of good components.


First off you opening statement i have no problem with. I infact completely agree with you on that subject. In war things have an added pressure im sure of that. You described what you did in peace time now add the fact that the pilots plane your working on has to bring his ass home from a combat situation. No problems with that when it comes to understanding.

But your last part about making the plane to complex? You went on to say that all they (technicians) are is people to swap out components. Those to things seem to tell me to different things. one says over complex the other one say simple.
Wondering if you could clear this up for me thanks.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 11:31 AM
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Originally posted by Canada_EH
First off you opening statement i have no problem with. I infact completely agree with you on that subject. In war things have an added pressure im sure of that. You described what you did in peace time now add the fact that the pilots plane your working on has to bring his ass home from a combat situation. No problems with that when it comes to understanding.

But your last part about making the plane to complex? You went on to say that all they (technicians) are is people to swap out components. Those to things seem to tell me to different things. one says over complex the other one say simple.
Wondering if you could clear this up for me thanks.


The aircraft are simpler to maintain due to the fact that the tech just swapping components. The aircraft that I worked on when I was in the Navy was the Sikorsky Sea King. At that time the majority of them were at least 25 years old. I once had to replace a fuel line. I got the part number for the fuel line and went to supply to get a new one. The guy at supply gave me 6 ft of 1/2" diameter stainless steel tubing and a bag of fittings. I had to bend and flare the tubing to get my line. In the shop next door the F-14 squadron also had to replace a fuel line. When they got theirs it was pre-bent and had the fittings already in place. All he had to do was to remove two screws from the line supports and disconnect the fittings and do the opposite to replace the line. This is great and it is easier on the tech, but what happens if there isn't another ready made line there? The tech in the F-14 squadron no longer has the skills to make a new line. Heck the supply system probably doesn't stock the correct fittings.

I was in the Navy when the first F/A-18 squadrons started to deploy. The F/A-18 was supposed to be a maintenance guy's wet dream to maintain. It actually had a computer that told you what was wrong with it. Funny thing they actually grounded all of the F/A-18s on the Forrestal because the EPROM chips in that computer had the wrong version of the software. There was no back-up plan in place to maintain the planes without the computer. There is now.

Up unitil the 1980's a person completing the military's aircraft maintenance training program got credit for it when taking the FAA tests for the Airframe & Powerplants licenses. Now they don't, because the military no longer trains its people in aircraft maintenance, it trains them in component swapping.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 11:50 AM
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Wow thanks man thats really helpful for someone that has had the chance to work in a situation like that. I think that you really do have a point in saying that the tech's that now work on planes arent even mechanics any more really from the sounds of it. I was wondering what you think will happen in the next say 7 years when all of the sudden no one knows how to bend a fuel line like in your example.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 12:25 PM
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Originally posted by Canada_EH
Wow thanks man thats really helpful for someone that has had the chance to work in a situation like that. I think that you really do have a point in saying that the tech's that now work on planes arent even mechanics any more really from the sounds of it. I was wondering what you think will happen in the next say 7 years when all of the sudden no one knows how to bend a fuel line like in your example.


I am more concerned about now. If the US tries to take on Iran or North Korea our supply system is going to be stretched to its limits. If you think about the amount of parts and hardware that make-up a modern jet fighter and that all of them have to get to the people who need them it gets scary. A famous saying is that "Civilians think strategy, Professionals think logistics." That is because logistics defines strategy. Remember the "Battle of the Bulge" in World War II? The Germans actually planned on using captured Allied fuel depots because they were short on fuel. That defined their attack.
I did a deployment on the Independence into the Indian Ocean in 1984. We were at the end of a pretty long supply chain there. We had to change an engine in one of our helicopters so we had the Jet Engine shop on the ship pull one out of its storage cannister and get it ready for us. Part of them getting it ready involved running it up on a test stand and calibrating the fuel control on it. We got the engine and installed it. When we ran it up in the aircraft it wouldn't reach full power. We thought that we had gotten a bad engine from supply, it had happened before. So we had them pull out another engine and send it to us. Same problem. Supply now thought that they had gotten a bad batch of engines. So now here we are 2000 miles from land with no spare engines. What we ended up doing was taking the helo that we had in corrosion inspection and removing its engines. One of them replaced the bad engine and we had one for a spare. When that helo was ready to come out of inspection we pulled the engines out of the one that was coming in for inspection and put them in the helo that had just finished inspection. We did this for two months. Finally we got a batch of fresh engines from the US. The first one we pulled out and installed had the same problem. The trouble was finally traced to a fault in the test stand. There was nobody on the ship who could fix the test stand, they had to have a factory technician fly out to fix it. All of the engines were good they were just calibrated wrong in the test stand.

The reason that I bring this up is "What if a deployed F-22 squadron gets a bad batch of black boxes that can't be fixed in the field? What if the plane carrying replacement boxes or the people and equipment to fix them, crashes or gets shot down? You now have a bunch of expensive high tech paperweights.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 12:35 PM
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I can't really argue with you about that. the question i guess thats now posed is how can it be changed.



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