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Aircraft Super Thread Mk.VII


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On 3/20/2021 at 1:33 PM, kalvasflam said:

Yikes,  it would be horrifying if a company actually came out with something like this, it would signal the end of ingenuity of a country.

I mean, Lockheed is nothing if not consistent.  Remember the early concept designs for the F-16?
f16concepts.thumb.jpg.cba251c5ee576e4144f0b53e52952a8b.jpg

Edited by Chronocidal
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On 3/20/2021 at 1:33 PM, kalvasflam said:

Yikes,  it would be horrifying if a company actually came out with something like this, it would signal the end of ingenuity of a country.

No it wouldn't.  You'd be seeing 5Gen+ Tech in an actually useable airframe that harkens back to the 4Gen+.  While the plane has stealthy features, they are not at the expense of actual performance.  ANd while it might look like an F-16XL (which is a good thing) it would be a 5Gen+ airframe through and through from the materials, to the avionics, sensors, weapon, all of it.  
Even the new F-15EX is a far different aircraft then anything other F-15 out there, and will outperform the F-22 in every area other than stealth.

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I think its worth pointing out that this "F-36" is not an actual USAF proposal, or an industry concept - its basically an aviation magazines imagination, a few steps up from doodling the F/A-9999XZ+ AwesomeMcCoolPlane on your school exercise book.

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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On 3/24/2021 at 9:50 AM, F-ZeroOne said:

I think its worth pointing out that this "F-36" is not an actual USAF proposal, or an industry concept - its basically an aviation magazines imagination, a few steps up from doodling the F/A-9999XZ+ AwesomeMcCoolPlane on your school exercise book.

It's basically speculation based on SecAFs comments on what they want to replace the F-35.  An F-16XL based aircraft is not a bad guess really.

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2 hours ago, Knight26 said:

It's basically speculation based on SecAFs comments on what they want to replace the F-35.  An F-16XL based aircraft is not a bad guess really.

I have to say I find it hilarious that they're speculating about replacing a plane that's literally brand new.  

Though, on the other hand, given the development cycle, they'll probably need to get started in a few years to be done by the time they retire the F-35 fleet. :lol: 

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2 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

I have to say I find it hilarious that they're speculating about replacing a plane that's literally brand new.  

Though, on the other hand, given the development cycle, they'll probably need to get started in a few years to be done by the time they retire the F-35 fleet. :lol: 

Not so much replace but supplement with a lower cost (procurement, operation, maintenance, etc...) aircraft.  The new SeAF realizes that Stealth is pretty much a one trick pony.  It is most usable for initial strikes and operations, but once war gets into the thick, the extensive maintenance and compromised aerodynamics and carriage capacity make stealth of lower utility.  If the F-36 concept lives up to the plan, then you'll be able to buy 4-5 for the cost of a single F-35, and have each of them conduct two operations for every one the F-35 can conduct due to Mx downtime, all using the same core technology, but in a more robust, easier maintained airframe.

It's also not unlike 1950s jets, just stretched out in terms of time frame.  Here's the latest and greatest jet, but oh wait its a maintenance nightmare, and here's a new design that is just as advanced but maybe more traditional in design that can do the job better for a lower cost.

 

Edited by Knight26
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2 minutes ago, Knight26 said:

Not so much replace but supplement with a lower cost (procurement, operation, maintenance, etc...) aircraft.  The new SeAF realizes that Stealth is pretty much a one trick pony.  It is most usable for initial strikes and operations, but once war gets into the thick, the extensive maintenance and compromised aerodynamics and carriage capacity make stealth of lower utility.  If the F-36 concept lives up to the plan, then you'll be able to buy 4-5 for the cost of a single F-35, and have each of them conduct two operations for every one the F-35 can conduct due to Mx downtime, all using the same core technology, but in a more robust, easier maintained airframe.

There's no guarantee that this so-called "F-36" is going to be lower cost or lower maintenance.  This imaginary jet looks to be an all new airframe (with only a superficial resemblance to the F-16XL) instead of being an evolution of an existing fully matured airframe like the F-15EX. Add in things like a new engine, new software, and some new tech that appears in  the future,  I can see purchase and maintenance costs ballooning.  In anycase, I don't see the rationale for spending a massive amount of money to develop and field an aircraft that in the end looks to be no better than the F-15EX or Block 60 F-16E/F of reality.

Besides, this "F-36" looks all wrong with the tail fins out there on the wings. Reminds me more of the Vought Cutlass than the F-16XL. :)

 

 

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I don’t see much of a reason not to develop high speed drones for precision strikes ASAP.  Piloted fighters are immensely cool but for what we’ve been doing lately why?  I can see the need for piloted fighters for close ground support but eventually that role will prob be taken by drones in a decade or 2.   

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I thought the design was supposed to be a "cheap" replacement F-16s, F-18s and the like. Wasn't it proposed to support F-15s, F-35s and F-22s as the workhorse aircraft to lighten the use of the more expensive 35s and 22s with the bonus of using some fo the more advanced software integrated into the plane as a Gen 5+ design instead of Gen 6?

Edited by Falcon
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I suspect its a bit optimistic to think that you could get "four or five" of these for the cost of one F-35. The Hawker Hurricane was less "advanced" than the Supermarine Spitfire, but there were still only around twice as many of them available to the RAF during the Battle of Britain [1], and that was using 1940s aviation know-how, which as we all know was infinitely cheaper, better and still should be the way aircraft should be developed today rather than all these modern doo-hickeys. :p [2]

[1] And an argument has been made that if the Spitfire hadn't suffered its infamous development problems and higher priority given to its production, the RAF may have done even better during that period than they already did).

[2] I jest, but again, its been argued that its often forgotten that the "best" aircraft "back in the day" were the equivalent of F-35s - cutting edge technology deployed for military purposes.   

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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On 3/30/2021 at 11:43 AM, F-ZeroOne said:

[2] I jest, but again, its been argued that its often forgotten that the "best" aircraft "back in the day" were the equivalent of F-35s - cutting edge technology deployed for military purposes.   

I think it'd be more appropriate to call the F-35 "bleeding edge technology."  It's not that its individual technological features have not been tested, but they're all being integrated and rolled out simultaneously in one giant package that's being debugged in real time.  To make a slightly hilarious gaming comparison, if the F-15 can be compared to Skyrim, the F-35 is Star Citizen.  :lol:  

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and we won't really know how this pans out for a long time.  It's a very capable jet, but it is also very much a flying pile of evolving computer code, with all the benefits and drawbacks thereof.

Historically speaking, in terms of the Navy, I've seen a few comparisons made that what the Navy is doing with the F-35C is what they should have done with the F-111B: buy a minimal amount as a stop-gap to support the fleet while they wait for an aircraft they actually want.  The last time the services cooperated to this extent was probably the F-4, but one of the big differences in that case was that the Phantom was a Navy design that the Air Force picked up.  I think the last time the Navy adopted a primarily Air Force design was the Fury, a navalized F-86 Sabre.

 

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13 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

  I think the last time the Navy adopted a primarily Air Force design was the Fury, a navalized F-86 Sabre.

Not to nitpick, but the original FJ-1 Fury was a navy design. The design was reworked into the F-86 Sabre which provided the basis of the FJ-2 and FJ-3 version of the Fury. The design was reworked again to the FJ-4 Fury which only bears a superficial resemblance to the F-86.

 

All this could be rendered moot if you consider the original FJ-1 Fury started as an attempt to strap a jet engine to a P-51 Mustang airframe.;)

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Yes, it was an April Fool's thing but still a funny read.

https://tacairnet.com/2017/03/31/navy-to-explore-resurrecting-the-f-14-tomcat-to-replace-the-f-35/

Quote

Under condition of anonymity, a senior-level official with the Navy has informed TACAIRNET that the service intends on bringing the F-14 Tomcat back from the graveyard to replace the delayed F-35C carrier variant of the Lightning II stealth strike fighter. The Tomcat was retired from the US Navy in 2006, just over eleven years ago, having been superseded by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, a multirole fighter which has more than proven itself over the past thirteen years as an effective carrier-based fighter/attack platform. The Lightning II has seen a considerable number of program setbacks and failures, as described by Luis Jenkins, a defense researcher on Reddit.com, the world’s most trusted source of military technology analysis.

“It just sucks, man, it can’t even fly, it can’t fire its guns, it costs $500 million to build, and we just need a new fighter that can do what the Navy needs it to do,” said Jenkins in an on-the-record phone interview with TACAIRNET. “They shouldn’t even call it the F-35, bro, they should call it the Loser-35. ‘Cause that’s what it is. Get it?”

The aforementioned Navy official confided in us that after seeing a significant amount of negative comments on social media directed towards the F-35 program, which expects to reach full rate production in the near future, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) began to have serious doubts about buying their variant of the stealth fighter. So much so that at an acceptance ceremony for a new F-35C test model, the NAVAIR representative due to formally take charge of the aircraft from Lockheed Martin seemingly got cold feet, leaving the fighter, its builders and a man dressed up as a priest standing in shocked silence at the figurative altar.

The Navy official, in a discussion with us, said: “We’re looking towards the future of fighter aviation in the Navy, and the future is in the past. That’s why we want to bring back the Tomcat. Those armchair generals… err.. excuse me, admirals, on the internet clearly know more about the needs of the Navy than the Navy itself.” In the details forwarded to TACAIRNET, it appears that the Navy will not commission a contractor  to rebuild Tomcats from whatever parts are leftover after the aircraft was phased out of service, but instead carry out the entire project in-house using Navy personnel.

 

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17 hours ago, renegadeleader1 said:

Not to nitpick, but the original FJ-1 Fury was a navy design. The design was reworked into the F-86 Sabre which provided the basis of the FJ-2 and FJ-3 version of the Fury. The design was reworked again to the FJ-4 Fury which only bears a superficial resemblance to the F-86.

 

All this could be rendered moot if you consider the original FJ-1 Fury started as an attempt to strap a jet engine to a P-51 Mustang airframe.;)

Entirely true, I did catch that part, which amuses me on another level that it's just another Navy design that the Air Force adapted. :lol: 

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On 4/1/2021 at 10:57 AM, Chronocidal said:

I think it'd be more appropriate to call the F-35 "bleeding edge technology."  It's not that its individual technological features have not been tested, but they're all being integrated and rolled out simultaneously in one giant package that's being debugged in real time.  To make a slightly hilarious gaming comparison, if the F-15 can be compared to Skyrim, the F-35 is Star Citizen.  :lol:  

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and we won't really know how this pans out for a long time.  It's a very capable jet, but it is also very much a flying pile of evolving computer code, with all the benefits and drawbacks thereof.

Historically speaking, in terms of the Navy, I've seen a few comparisons made that what the Navy is doing with the F-35C is what they should have done with the F-111B: buy a minimal amount as a stop-gap to support the fleet while they wait for an aircraft they actually want.  The last time the services cooperated to this extent was probably the F-4, but one of the big differences in that case was that the Phantom was a Navy design that the Air Force picked up.  I think the last time the Navy adopted a primarily Air Force design was the Fury, a navalized F-86 Sabre.

 

One could almost argue that the F-35 is a Marine Corps design that both the air force and navy had to adopt - since the STOVL requirement was a core element of the JSF project from the beginning.

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48 minutes ago, Vifam7 said:

One could almost argue that the F-35 is a Marine Corps design that both the air force and navy had to adopt - since the STOVL requirement was a core element of the JSF project from the beginning.

To a point, but I'd call the STOVL requirement more of the Marines saying "Give us this, or we're not buying any."  It's not that simple, obviously, and the UK is involved there too, but the base F-35 design itself is almost -purely- what I would call a very typically Air Force design, being that its capabilities essentially work out to being a less nimble stealth F-16, with all the modern bells and whistles they could cram in.

From the Navy side of things, the F-35 is a massive compromise.  They don't like single engines, full stop.  There's a reason they're buying so few.  It's a fleet stopgap to cover the retirement of legacy Hornets, and give them time to develop a design to their own specs.

On the other hand, there's also a good reason the Marines were the first to deploy: they didn't care that all the bells and whistles weren't working yet.  They were coming off of the Harrier, and a fair number of those didn't even have a radar at all.  They just needed an airframe that could land on their short-deck carriers, and they would get the job done one way or another.

I'm probably exaggerating some aspects, but what I've always felt it boils down to is that the F-35 is a plane that the Air Force really likes, the Navy can make do with, and the Marines desperately need.  It's missing a lot of what the Navy would want, and it's got a ton of things the Marines would probably never ask for.

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14 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

To a point, but I'd call the STOVL requirement more of the Marines saying "Give us this, or we're not buying any."  It's not that simple, obviously, and the UK is involved there too, but the base F-35 design itself is almost -purely- what I would call a very typically Air Force design, being that its capabilities essentially work out to being a less nimble stealth F-16, with all the modern bells and whistles they could cram in.

From the Navy side of things, the F-35 is a massive compromise.  They don't like single engines, full stop.  There's a reason they're buying so few.  It's a fleet stopgap to cover the retirement of legacy Hornets, and give them time to develop a design to their own specs.

On the other hand, there's also a good reason the Marines were the first to deploy: they didn't care that all the bells and whistles weren't working yet.  They were coming off of the Harrier, and a fair number of those didn't even have a radar at all.  They just needed an airframe that could land on their short-deck carriers, and they would get the job done one way or another.

I'm probably exaggerating some aspects, but what I've always felt it boils down to is that the F-35 is a plane that the Air Force really likes, the Navy can make do with, and the Marines desperately need.  It's missing a lot of what the Navy would want, and it's got a ton of things the Marines would probably never ask for.

The F-35 can trace its roots all the way back to the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter (CALF) project whose goal from the beginning was to develop a VTOL fighter that can meet the needs of the USMC and RN.  The CALF project then merged with the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) project and then transformed to the JSF project.  Not to mention that the biggest compromise to the F-35 airframe is the need to insert the VTOL tech.  And while I think the Navy's infatuation with twin-engines is a bit ridiculous (considering they've used sngle-engine jets before without major issues and modern jet engines are more reliable than ever before), if the VTOL requirement wasn't in effect, perhaps the F-35 could've been designed with 2 engines.

Edited by Vifam7
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The VTOL/STOL requirement really ought to have been stuck into a separate airframe from the general-purpose airforce and carrier fighter.

The number of limitations it puts on the overall design, even with the lift-fans and VTOL system itself being optional to install, are significant.

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I think the twin engine thing isn't so much about reliability, but more about survivability.  But yeah, I remember the JAST program, but hadn't heard about CALF.  I know some folks who were around back then when it was still JAST, but most of them have retired at this point.

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The talk of a cheaper "4.5 gen" plane to supplement the F-35 makes me wonder if it'll be less of an F-36 and more of a watered down F-35. People forget that the JSF was originally envisioned to have an avionics suite closer to a Block III Super Hornet or Advanced F-16 F-21, but the program managers saw a lot of the possibilities being demonstrated on the F-22 and decided they could add a full ELINT suite with a side of broad spectrum jamming for free because it was all just software. Of course in the real world software development costs a lot of money, and the extra processing power to run it is heavy and expensive while the extra generation and cooling to keep that running is also heavy and expensive. An "F-35D" with all that extraneous crap taken back out would likely be cheaper and also higher performance to boot without all that extraneous weight.

Edited by Nied
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1 hour ago, Nied said:

The talk of a cheaper "4.5 gen" plane to supplement the F-35 makes me wonder if it'll be less of an F-36 and more of a watered down F-35. People forget that the JSF was originally envisioned to have an avionics suite closer to a Block III Super Hornet or Advanced F-16 F-21, but the program managers saw a lot of the possibilities being demonstrated on the F-22 and decided they could add a full ELINT suite with a side of broad spectrum jamming for free because it was all just software. Of course in the real world software development costs a lot of money, and the extra processing power to run it is heavy and expensive while the extra generation and cooling to keep that running is also heavy and expensive. An "F-35D" with all that extraneous crap taken back out would likely be cheaper and also higher performance to boot without all that extraneous weight.

Don't you go giving them more ideas.. the last thing the F-35 program needs is another variant that requires an entirely customized software and hardware suite to clog up the assembly lines. :lol: 

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