reply to post by aaa2500
I am not entirely convinced that the downplay of the F-117 tech is correct.
There are some lessons they could learn from it - though exactly what would be pretty specific to the F-117.
However, the math and various LO principles employed in the construction of the F-117 have been in the public domain for quite some time; some dating
back to the 50s, before the F-117 was constructed.
Remember that almost everything on the F-117 was radically different.
It represented a considerable departure from classic aviation engineering, sure.
The paint is the most obvious, but the materials of the internal and external structure were radical as well.
But not exclusive. Better composite materials existed, in 1990, in the civilian market, and a number of specialized paints developed for the industry
were not all that different from those used on the F-117 (but focused on a different spectrum or to different temperature tolerances).
The computersystems were a departure from the ordinary as well
A graphing calculator is more sophisticated than the avionics on the F-117. That's a bit hyperbolic, as the key to Fly-By-Wire controls are
ultra-fast sampling and response times; a different area of focus than a graphing calculator - but you get the drift. The computer you're using to
post on these forums has enough theoretical computing power to fly the entire fleet of F-117s simultaneously (and still offer considerable
contributions to your Folding At Home or Seti At Home 'guild.')
They'd learn more from your average PLC.
with non radar based targetting and a fly by wire system for an aircraft that had to be coerced into flying.
Really, there's not much they could learn, in that regard, that they didn't know, already. Sensitive electronics would have self-destructed when
the pilot ejected. Flying aerodynamically unstable aircraft is unique to each airframe.
They've had FLIR systems for quite a while, at that.
All in all, I am not convinced that there were no lessons to be learned, particularly since Chinas biggest problems lie in materials and
Mostly in quality control. They have a #-ton of people to put to work. They would rather have fatigued human laborers performing a given task than a
tireless, precise machine. They are currently running into huge employment problems because, to remain in the industry, they are having to shift to
more modern methods of manufacturing (precision and machinery).
The huge problem, though, is that very little of the F-117 is applicable to aircraft like the F-35 or F-22. There would be little to no insight into
the construction of such an aircraft present within the F-117. The materials have changed, considerably. The airframe has changed. The avionics
have -completely- changed. And the weapons systems are on a completely different level.
Aircraft like the F-18E can be considered a "Generation 4.5" aircraft. The F-117 is more like a "Generation 4B" - a different take on the 4th
generation of aircraft design.