posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 12:25 AM
As I known US always go ahead of other countries at every programmes, esp. for aircraft navy etc.... But since T-38 has been being in flight for prox.
The T-38C is the only aircraft officialy in the pipe as far as I know. New inlets (officially de-sonicing the jet apparently?) and a bra for the
reprofiled nose plus glass cockpit.
The basic Talon/Freedom Fighter has a remarkably hardy design and J85's are relatively benign in their fuel consumption so the USAF foolishly assumes
that nothing more is needed.
Obviously this is not the case but IMO, the difficulty lies with the way they come at the process.
T-45 T-38 Heavy Helo Tracks
Is a foolishly extended process.
Though I don't believe in 'privatization' through public flight schools, IMO, the screener system (as a separate airframe in the T-41) was always a
waste of time and the TProp teaches more bad habits than it provides basic flight skills for the coming stepup in speed.
With decent simulators, the route should be an 'air academy' (NOT the AFA) program whereby qualified students are given directed courses throughout
highschool and then complete graduate technical skills /as/ they finish a basic four year program and flight candidacy. i.e. As the Israeli's do it
with more flying years after a younger graduation date. All monitored within service bounds and on the Government's hook. Provided they continue to
show proficiency and GPAs worth the effort.
During this period, the students should be given initial simulator and famflight rides in a variety of _high speed_ (biz jet would be my preference as
it gives you 2-3:1 student:instructor ratio and /hours/ more navtraining and basic handling qualities as well as around-the-base performance checks)
Past which (fast-jet qualification track) entry point they should ab initio immediately go on to a high quality LIFT with all the bells and
Whether MAKO or T-50 or some as yet unnamed system, these would be the basis of all subsequent UPT and tactical training and indeed would form the
conversion unit standard by which pilots _arrived_ at their squadrons ready to assume basic wingman qualifications (i.e. the tactical community
needs to get off their asses and make the program high enough quality and standardized enough that there is no initial probation period).
Most importantly, with perhaps as few as 500 and no more than 1,100 F-35 replacing several thousand existing types, these jets would also form a
significant percentage of the _line squadron's_ inventory, allowing for a much reduced effort to maintain the 'cherry six' (or 8) warjets which
must be ready for deployment at all times. By effectively not putting hours on them.
If you have 10-12 combat capable jets and 8-10 'virtual' trainers with similar agility and required supersonic performance but _half_ the initial
acquisition costs and 1/3rd the MMH:FH (no sensors or munitions, it's all datalink and onboard database stuff ala OBEWS) plus $$:flight hour costs,
you can readily have all the sport wars you care to while maintaining basic home competencies and training curriculum.
Because the one time and continuing costs are minimal and there is little or no conversion to type beyond the initial tactical track.
Obviously, this would mean /some/ changes in terms of squadron trainers at least having a mirror image cockpit compareable to their F-22/35
operational platform. But again, _with out real sensors_ (excepting a seeker head, who needs'em when you are simulating BVR weapons drops and
missile engagements anyway?) there should be a significant cost savings that translates directly into manning ratio (never under 1.7:1) and flight
hours for a much smaller 'core force' of aviators.
i.e. Suck it up and even the pilots will come out happier than going in because they will not have to deploy as long and they will be able to fly more
Btw. it was indeed a fools choice to reneg on the F-22B. Not only did they lose a PR hack for the Congressional Hawks to look silly-grinned standing
in front of. They also lost a valuabe option as a strike/combat controller for UCAVs on Day-1. And they ensured that every checkride is going to be
a twoship which DOUBLES your training expenses on a 'check the box' basis.
And before you ask: IMO, the F-35 cannot be a twincab because of the way the fuselage boxframe has to endcap the basically hollow areas around the
plenum well/fuel cell and inlets.
And why should it be? CDL-X has the potential to make every fighter a multi kilowatt comms node which means you can LINK through to (useful) UCAVs
from air or ground assets /without/ the pilot's 'permission'. Using his radar or a satellite.
Even as the notion of flying a stealth jet with high installed T/Wr goes right out the window when you look at the kinds of fuel states the F-35 will
be operating on. And the constriction of U.S. range airspace around local bases is making running full up 'wargames' training every more difficult
on allowable hours, emissions and even BDU/drill round carriage through safe corridors.
Make the signature (detection ranges, flyout modifiers etc.) 'rangeless'. Emulate munition weight and release through the FLCS (GBU-39 = 50nm or
more). And synthesize the entire threat catalog and a radar/flir model that allows you to shoot images of a given target area, WITHOUT reference to
the real world (i.e. no pilot jading factor due to known-range exploitation/cheating).
Do all these things and the only thing left is basic 'handling skills' as a function of pilot G tolerance and HOSAT manipulation under dynamic
The latter of which should also be limited because VLO doesn't encourage radical maneuvering (though a lightweight T-50 could easily match the basics
of the F-35 in most areas with an F414 installed, as could Mako with the EJ-200).
Given, it wouldn't work for the squids because they need to carqual and take more airframes to sea, more often (snicker). But they are such a
pathetic contributor to total sorties that it doesn't really matter while, for the AF, it's a way to keep the old machine running on an economical
basis until common sense takes over and we ditch the worthless bloodbags completely.