OT: the F-22s replacement has flown.
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Thread: OT: the F-22s replacement has flown.

  1. #1

    OT: the F-22s replacement has flown.

    Sorry, no actual information on the design itself yet. NGAD has flown.

    The article is mostly about how Roper wants the USAF to not sustain old designs, but buy new planes about every eight years. The money to pay for them would come from not having to keep old designs flying, which is very expensive. Also, because of our digital technology, we can design a lot faster and with better results much faster now. I think they are also developing the systems that go on board the aircraft separately now, and not as part of an individual program. The systems are becoming more "plug and play," so to speak.

    I think this vehicle, or vehicles, were developed under a DARPA program started back in about 2015. I believe there were supposed to be two competing contractors developing for this contract. Most of the aerospace manufacturers have had research programs on rapid development and construction of aircraft going on for over a decade now. I know Boeing had their Black Diamond program and NG and LM had their own programs as well. I'm willing to bet there was a lot more additive manufacturing that went into the(se) prototype(s).

    Edit: In a press conference, Roper adds only this: “All I can say is the NGAD [flight demonstrator] test flights have been amazing. Records have been broken. But I’ve been impressed at how well the digital technology transitions to the real world.”

    Edit 2: I should note that this is most likely a demonstrator vehicle, not necessarily the actual replacement. It's hard to say at this point, since so much of the NGAD program is classified. It's not clear at this point if warrants an "X" for experimental or a "Y" for prototype. I lean toward the latter, based on what they're attempting to do technology wise with this program.

  2. #2
    So if they're looking at a shelf life of 10 years for a fighter design, they should have the software fully debugged just in time for the flight to the boneyard...

  3. #3
    The F-22A was simply built in too few numbers to achieve any reasonable level of good fly-away cost and affordability maintaining it over the long term. It is an aged design and it's design parameters were envisioned for a different time. It lacks current JHMCS helmet, it's upgrade to use the AIM-9X has been painfully slow (and that implementation is rather pointless without the JHMCS and/or a DAS/EOTS system like the F-35 has). The other problem, Thrust Vectoring seems like a great idea but between the human limitations and the fact that advanced sensors and thrust vectoring air to air weapons which have such high off-boresight capability pretty much render nose-on-tail merge dogfighting as a thing of the past. The expense of maintaining complex systems & the extra weight for thrust vectoring as well as the wear and tear such maneuvering causes adds to the cost and complexity and high AoA maneuvering can be accomplished without the need for TV. I hope the 6th Gen Fighter follows an updated philosophy regarding these points and much more. The F-15EX is also going full bore ahead as well so it will be interesting to see where things go during the timeline being projected on this program.

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  4. #4
    SOH-CM-2022 jmig's Avatar
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    Yep, we have to design faster than the Chinese and Russians can steal it.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jmig View Post
    Yep, we have to design faster than the Chinese and Russians can steal it.
    With regard to the Chinese, most of it they don't need to steal; we trained them. When I was in school back in the 80's (Aero Engineering) at least 50% of the grad students were Chinese Nationals, paid for by the Chinese Government to get their education here. Which, don't get me wrong, is smart for any nation to do.

    Having said that, stealing the design is one thing. Possessing the ability to manufacture it is another. Especially with regard to propulsion systems. The U.S. is still number one in that technology, at least as it applies to combat aircraft. Partly because they keep their processes proprietary.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by StormILM View Post
    The F-22A was simply built in too few numbers to achieve any reasonable level of good fly-away cost and affordability maintaining it over the long term. It is an aged design and it's design parameters were envisioned for a different time. It lacks current JHMCS helmet, it's upgrade to use the AIM-9X has been painfully slow (and that implementation is rather pointless without the JHMCS and/or a DAS/EOTS system like the F-35 has). The other problem, Thrust Vectoring seems like a great idea but between the human limitations and the fact that advanced sensors and thrust vectoring air to air weapons which have such high off-boresight capability pretty much render nose-on-tail merge dogfighting as a thing of the past. The expense of maintaining complex systems & the extra weight for thrust vectoring as well as the wear and tear such maneuvering causes adds to the cost and complexity and high AoA maneuvering can be accomplished without the need for TV. I hope the 6th Gen Fighter follows an updated philosophy regarding these points and much more. The F-15EX is also going full bore ahead as well so it will be interesting to see where things go during the timeline being projected on this program.
    Just an FYI, the YF-23 was capable of meeting the ATF high AOA requirements without TV. Also, TV doesn't add too much weight if you keep the nozzle axisymmetric. It's when you go to the 2D nozzle shape it adds a lot more weight. Also, it wouldn't have mattered if the F-22 was built in more numbers, as what they're talking about is airframe life, more so than replacement parts.

    What I find really interesting is the virtual flight test environment they're developing to test the new designs in.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by DennyA View Post
    So if they're looking at a shelf life of 10 years for a fighter design, they should have the software fully debugged just in time for the flight to the boneyard...
    As I noted, it seems they're going more plug and play, which is smart. All of the networked systems will be developed separately on their own timelines and applied when ready. In a way, it's sort of like what is happening with the B-21, they can develop it relatively rapidly, because the majority of the systems going into it already exist in other systems, such as the F-35.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jmig View Post
    Yep, we have to design faster than the Chinese and Russians can steal it.
    Many a true word spoken in jest

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Sundog View Post
    With regard to the Chinese, most of it they don't need to steal; we trained them. When I was in school back in the 80's (Aero Engineering) at least 50% of the grad students were Chinese Nationals, paid for by the Chinese Government to get their education here. Which, don't get me wrong, is smart for any nation to do.

    Having said that, stealing the design is one thing. Possessing the ability to manufacture it is another. Especially with regard to propulsion systems. The U.S. is still number one in that technology, at least as it applies to combat aircraft. Partly because they keep their processes proprietary.
    Given that we've paid China to manufacture most everything we use, I'm pretty sure they'll be getting up to speed in the manufacturing part of the equation....

  10. #10
    I'd LOVE to see the Air Force ACTUALLY adopt different planes for different missions (which worked very well in WWII) as was discussed in the article linked in the linked article instead of the bloated multi-mission aircraft that have failed to perform as well as they might have over and over again over the last 50 years. I'm not sure the bureaucracy is capable of limiting the specifications on aircraft, though. "Oh, and we need this other, thing, too... and this... and that..."

    (see the book BOYD for an excellent discussion of the F-16 program. Granted, the F-16 was rather successful, but it could have been better).

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Sundog View Post
    Just an FYI, the YF-23 was capable of meeting the ATF high AOA requirements without TV. Also, TV doesn't add too much weight if you keep the nozzle axisymmetric. It's when you go to the 2D nozzle shape it adds a lot more weight. Also, it wouldn't have mattered if the F-22 was built in more numbers, as what they're talking about is airframe life, more so than replacement parts.

    What I find really interesting is the virtual flight test environment they're developing to test the new designs in.
    One of my old friends (now a retired Col) was on the F-22 maintenance dev team at Edwards as the program evolved. It's always been short of spares due to the low numbers and that is precisely we built so few. It's never been maintained to the level it should be because of a finite supply system and before long, most of them will be permanently grounded and used as spare parts cows as some already are. The TV system does add considerable weight and complexity that adds to the headache of maintaining the jet and hard maneuvering using the system drastically reduces the airframe life. My friend only noted he was glad he wasn't a maintenance officer at the wing/squadron level with the F-22. It's a hated airframe and then some.

    I agree about the YF-23, I think it was the way to go. Maybe the F-22's replacement will get this right and be more practical. I hope it is a Northrop as Lockheed and Boeing seem to be a dumpster fire nowadays.

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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by StormILM View Post
    One of my old friends (now a retired Col) was on the F-22 maintenance dev team at Edwards as the program evolved. It's always been short of spares due to the low numbers and that is precisely we built so few. It's never been maintained to the level it should be because of a finite supply system and before long, most of them will be permanently grounded and used as spare parts cows as some already are. The TV system does add considerable weight and complexity that adds to the headache of maintaining the jet and hard maneuvering using the system drastically reduces the airframe life. My friend only noted he was glad he wasn't a maintenance officer at the wing/squadron level with the F-22. It's a hated airframe and then some.

    I agree about the YF-23, I think it was the way to go. Maybe the F-22's replacement will get this right and be more practical. I hope it is a Northrop as Lockheed and Boeing seem to be a dumpster fire nowadays.
    You know, I never thought about what the maintainers thought about the F-22, but I do remember due to the limited access as a result of maximizing stealth it was a PITA to work on. Something they were trying to correct with the F-35. I honestly think the smartest "affordable" stealth design I've seen yet is the Korean KFX.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Sundog View Post
    You know, I never thought about what the maintainers thought about the F-22, but I do remember due to the limited access as a result of maximizing stealth it was a PITA to work on. Something they were trying to correct with the F-35. I honestly think the smartest "affordable" stealth design I've seen yet is the Korean KFX.
    My friend told me that with any of the Stealth platforms (even the F-35) every time they open the sealed maintenance panels/bays that they had to perform an RCS checks which took a specialized crew to perform. The F-35 is supposedly better in this regard but the F-117A, F-22A and B-2A are a major headache. The B-2's Major Overhaul Cycles was just changed to lower the unavailability of the airframes to boost the Mission Capable Rates. That's another reason the B-2, F-22 and F-117 were so expensive to maintain, fewer numbers mean less airframe availability on each side of the MOH/TO cycles. One thing I am glad to see is that they are developing much better diagnostic systems now that lower the total maintenance hours which also prevents repetitive & costly test flights trying to hunt down & fix issues.

    Also of note, I saw a new study that indicated that the new F-15EX will be considerably more expensive than the F-35 due to it being a limited run aircraft. Now the SECAF is talking about extending the production to replace the F-15E as well. It will be interesting to see how the programs go in terms of cost and procurement.

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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by StormILM View Post
    Also of note, I saw a new study that indicated that the new F-15EX will be considerably more expensive than the F-35 due to it being a limited run aircraft. Now the SECAF is talking about extending the production to replace the F-15E as well. It will be interesting to see how the programs go in terms of cost and procurement.
    I have trouble seeing how the F-15EX will be that much more expensive than the F-35. Just given the fact that it's just continuing current production. I mean, to a certain extent, it should be more expensive. It's a much larger aircraft and 80,000lbs of "stuff" should cost more than 50,000 lbs of " relatively the same stuff." Having said that, the F-35 requires about twice the maintenance of the F-16, so operationally, I think the F-15EX will be more cost effective. Also, as you've been saying, the F-15EX should have better operational readiness, simply based on the fact that it doesn't have all of the stealth of the F-35. I think that's one of the reasons the F-15EX appeals to so many in the USAF. At this point, when I see articles going back and forth on the cost and effectiveness of both aircraft, I think most of that is simply about the "F-35 at all costs" camp.

    I, personally, think the F-15EX is one of the smartest choices the USAF ever made. Because it offers a lot of capability that should be even more reliable then current F-15Es. What they're doing now with the F-35 reminds me of the eighties, when you could have any plane you wanted, as long as it was an F-16. So much so that they even tried to make a variant of the F-16 to replace the A-10, which I'm sure you know about with the 30mm gun pod. Of course, it failed. The other aircraft I think they should have bought, because it offered so much capability for the cost, was the YA-7F. It offered attack capabilities well beyond those of the F-16 at a fraction of the cost and it could carry a larger payload farther and or longer. It really would have been a work horse for the wars we've been fighting the past two decades.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Sundog View Post
    I have trouble seeing how the F-15EX will be that much more expensive than the F-35. Just given the fact that it's just continuing current production. I mean, to a certain extent, it should be more expensive. It's a much larger aircraft and 80,000lbs of "stuff" should cost more than 50,000 lbs of " relatively the same stuff." Having said that, the F-35 requires about twice the maintenance of the F-16, so operationally, I think the F-15EX will be more cost effective. Also, as you've been saying, the F-15EX should have better operational readiness, simply based on the fact that it doesn't have all of the stealth of the F-35. I think that's one of the reasons the F-15EX appeals to so many in the USAF. At this point, when I see articles going back and forth on the cost and effectiveness of both aircraft, I think most of that is simply about the "F-35 at all costs" camp.

    I, personally, think the F-15EX is one of the smartest choices the USAF ever made. Because it offers a lot of capability that should be even more reliable then current F-15Es. What they're doing now with the F-35 reminds me of the eighties, when you could have any plane you wanted, as long as it was an F-16. So much so that they even tried to make a variant of the F-16 to replace the A-10, which I'm sure you know about with the 30mm gun pod. Of course, it failed. The other aircraft I think they should have bought, because it offered so much capability for the cost, was the YA-7F. It offered attack capabilities well beyond those of the F-16 at a fraction of the cost and it could carry a larger payload farther and or longer. It really would have been a work horse for the wars we've been fighting the past two decades.
    Yeah... but... but... why does the Air Force need to worry about ground attack missions in close quarters with constant ground fire? I mean, who needs ground troops anyway when you've got an Air Force? You can do that with any plane, right?


  16. #16
    The F-22 came out of the USAF requirements for the ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) program back in the early 1980s.
    I worked on proposals (all Secret Need to Know at the time) while at Rockwell - North American Aircraft Operations.
    Can't remember who we teamed up with but we didn't get the contract and were still building B-1Bs. It is that old.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by fsafranek View Post
    The F-22 came out of the USAF requirements for the ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) program back in the early 1980s.
    I worked on proposals (all Secret Need to Know at the time) while at Rockwell - North American Aircraft Operations.
    Can't remember who we teamed up with but we didn't get the contract and were still building B-1Bs. It is that old.
    So, did you know Dan Raymer? I wish he had come out with his book when I was in school. The first edition didn't come out until a few years after I had graduated. I'm writing a book now on many of the early ATF/ATS (1970s program) early supercruise designs. I have some awesome Rockwell designs from that time frame. I have a FOIA request for a lot of documents from the mid to late 70's. The book will be available online for free as a PDF. It will be titled: ATS to ATF: The development of Tactical Supercruise Aircraft. Note that the ATF program in the 70s was for a supercruise strike aircraft. It eventually morphed into what we know now as the ATF program from which the YF-22 and YF-23 came to be. The various programs during that time were a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms, as you probably know, having been there.

    Once I have time to get back to modeling for MSFS I'm going to be making some of the designs for MSFS. The first on the list is Grumman CDAF.



    Here are a couple of the late 70's Rockwell NA designs you might be familiar with.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails RockwellBasepoint2.jpg   ATS.png   grumman_03.jpg  

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Sundog View Post
    So, did you know Dan Raymer? I wish he had come out with his book when I was in school. The first edition didn't come out until a few years after I had graduated. I'm writing a book now on many of the early ATF/ATS (1970s program) early supercruise designs. I have some awesome Rockwell designs from that time frame. I have a FOIA request for a lot of documents from the mid to late 70's. The book will be available online for free as a PDF. It will be titled: ATS to ATF: The development of Tactical Supercruise Aircraft. Note that the ATF program in the 70s was for a supercruise strike aircraft. It eventually morphed into what we know now as the ATF program from which the YF-22 and YF-23 came to be. The various programs during that time were a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms, as you probably know, having been there.

    Once I have time to get back to modeling for MSFS I'm going to be making some of the designs for MSFS. The first on the list is Grumman CDAF.

    Here are a couple of the late 70's Rockwell NA designs you might be familiar with.
    I worked in Data Services -- essentially publications -- and later as Editor of employee newspaper for El Segundo and Palmdale.
    Dan's cubical was about 20 feet from our room in Building 100 in El Segundo.
    I do recall coordinating a couple briefings for him and quite a bit on the ATF reports getting them published.
    The image of the ATF we used was pretty generic because of the classifications. Not as interesting as the ATS.
    Good times for sure.

  19. #19
    SOH-CM-2021 warchild's Avatar
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    personally, I think they need to re-visit this guy..


  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by fsafranek View Post
    I worked in Data Services -- essentially publications -- and later as Editor of employee newspaper for El Segundo and Palmdale.
    Dan's cubical was about 20 feet from our room in Building 100 in El Segundo.
    I do recall coordinating a couple briefings for him and quite a bit on the ATF reports getting them published.
    The image of the ATF we used was pretty generic because of the classifications. Not as interesting as the ATS.
    Good times for sure.
    What I find interesting, is that of all of the ATF submissions, the ones we still haven't seen are Grumman's and Rockwell's. Although, the Paul Metz book on the YF-23 did show some more developments of the generic model that I hadn't seen before, including the subscale demonstrator they proposed to be built by Scaled Composites. With regard to the Grumman submission, I have some images of the canard/sept wing concepts they were working on at the time (G-719J) and their submission was supposedly somewhat similar.

    Edit: BTW, I didn't know Rockwell was in El Segundo. I knew NAA was in the L.A. area, but I wasn't sure where. Also, Kindelberger came from Douglas, so that should have been my first clue.
    Last edited by Sundog; September 18th, 2020 at 19:52.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by warchild View Post
    personally, I think they need to re-visit this guy..
    Where the SR-71 beat this design on performance (Speed, altitude, and range) I think the Kingfish was more advanced with regard to it's stealth. Of course, it was winning the competition until Kelly Johnson decided to dial back a bit on Mach 4 at 120,000 ft and add stealth. General Dynamics did some really outstanding design work on highspeed aircraft throughout the years.

  22. #22
    SOH-CM-2021 warchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundog View Post
    Where the SR-71 beat this design on performance (Speed, altitude, and range) I think the Kingfish was more advanced with regard to it's stealth. Of course, it was winning the competition until Kelly Johnson decided to dial back a bit on Mach 4 at 120,000 ft and add stealth. General Dynamics did some really outstanding design work on highspeed aircraft throughout the years.
    Welll, However fast it could travel, the SR-71 with its ability to outrun missiles was nothing to sneeze at, bat as far as a front line fighter goes, it was lacking ( being originally designed as a possible bomber/missile platform ( The YF-12A if I remember correctly. 60 years is a long time, even for something as impressive as that ) ). The Kingfish on the other hand ws smaller, nimbler and leaning more towards a front line interceptor like the F-4 became. The odd thing is, it remained classified for over fifty years and aspects off it may be classified to this day. I dont think we evenh know what it really looked like as all these images are artists interpretations, but those interpretations really dont look a whol lot different than whats shown in this thread above.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by warchild View Post
    Welll, However fast it could travel, the SR-71 with its ability to outrun missiles was nothing to sneeze at, bat as far as a front line fighter goes, it was lacking ( being originally designed as a possible bomber/missile platform ( The YF-12A if I remember correctly. 60 years is a long time, even for something as impressive as that ) ). The Kingfish on the other hand ws smaller, nimbler and leaning more towards a front line interceptor like the F-4 became. The odd thing is, it remained classified for over fifty years and aspects off it may be classified to this day. I dont think we evenh know what it really looked like as all these images are artists interpretations, but those interpretations really dont look a whol lot different than whats shown in this thread above.
    That image is very accurate as to what the Kingfish looked like. There's very good pictures available of the L.O. pole model that were quite detailed.

    If you like highspeed, You might like these McDonnell Douglas Mach 3+ and Mach 4+ interceptors. The one on the left is the Mach 4+ design and the one on the right is the Mach 3+ design.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mission-B1.jpg   Mission-A1.jpg  

  24. #24
    Would love to see the Kingfish in MSFS or P3D or some of the Lockheed concepts that came prior to the A-12!

  25. #25
    SOH-CM-2021 warchild's Avatar
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    Nooo, I'm not so much into speed. Its a non contender any more.. But looking at The ATS, and being one who believes we should build on the successes of the past I think we should look closely at revisiting the design of the Kingfish. Lets do a little comparison and youll maybe see why..

    The F-22 is a 62 foot long modified delta wing twin engine aircraft with angled intakes to aid in its stealthiness.
    The Convair Kingfish is a 73 foot long pure delta wing twin engine aircraft with angled intakes to aid in its stealthiness.

    The exhaust nozzles on the F-22 aare rectangular and allow for the blending of cold air with the exhaust to decrease its thermal signature.
    The exhaust vents on the Convair Kingfish are rectangular and in the same location laterally as the nozzles on the F-22.

    The F-22 was designed to scatter radar reflections away from the sending source.
    The Convair Kingfish was designed to scatter radar reflections away from the sending source as much as possible.

    These two aircraft have so much in common, its not funny, but the Kingfish was designed for Mach 3 and 70000 feet while the F-22 was designed as a mach 2+ super maneuverable air superiority fighter.. It's not much of a stretch of the imagination to see how the Kingfish design from 1959 could easily be updated into the design for the next US airsuperiority fighter of 2024...




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