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Thread: USAF T-X

  1. #1
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    USAF T-X

    Its about time that this competition gets its own topic.



    USAF will downgrade T-X requirements to shave cost
    By: DAN PARSONSWASHINGTON DC Source: Flightglobal.com 19 hours ago
    In an effort to reduce cost and speed up its often snail-paced acquisition system, the US Air Force intends to water down the capabilities it expects to see in a new jet trainer, as well as several other ongoing acquisition programmes.

    USAF Secretary Deborah Lee James said on 14 January that the Air Force is specifically targeting four programmes for capabilities downgrades, including the T-X trainer replacement for the Northrop Grumman T-38 jet trainer. Also in the crosshairs of the so-called cost-capability analysis (CCA) programme are the long-range standoff weapon, the follow-on to the space-based infrared system (SIBRS) and the multi-domain adaptable processing system (MAPS), which is envisioned as a pod to enable communications between stealth fighters.

    “By gathering data from a range of sources it should be possible to identify instances where small changes in capability could have a major effect on cost,” James said during a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC.

    The four programmes will be the first to undergo what will be a “specific industry engagement process” to identify capability reductions that the air force could stomach if they are offset with significant cost savings.

    “Say we have a requirement for a new jet to fly 500mph, but discovered we could achieve significant cost savings if we amended the requirement to 450mph,” James offered as a hypothetical scenario. “Maybe we might choose to modify that requirement.”

    James said the Air Force was about two years from issuing a request for proposals (RFP) on the T-X programme, but did not offer specific examples of what capability requirements might be amended. The program will consider alteration of both “higher level” and “bare bones” requirements, she says.

    The air force still refuses to water down the requirements for its top three modernization programmes: the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the Boeing KC-46 aerial refueling tanker and a new long-range strike bomber. James specifically mentioned the bomber replacement in her remarks.

    “It is one of our top three acquisition priorities,” she said. “It is a new programme that is highly classified. There have been no changes to speak of in the parameters, but when we roll out the FY16 budget, it will similar to what was projected in the FY15 budget.”

    The Obama administration is expected to publish its budget in early February.

    The air force suffers from systemic acquisition sluggishness, James says. In sole-source cases where there is a single known supplier, it takes an average of 17 months to award a contract, she says. Several initiatives are aimed at bringing that gulf to single digits.

    Later this month at George Mason University, the air force will unveil the PlugFest Play initiative where it will solicit industry demonstrations of specific technologies with the intention of awarding a contract within months. The first system to undergo the operation will be the distributed common ground system, which collects and distributes multiple sources of signals intelligence for both the air force and Army.

    James also announced a $2 million X-Prize for a midsize turbofan engine that could power both commercial and military aircraft.
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...e-cost-407923/

    The BAE/Northrop chaps must be feeling very, very smug by now, on the other hand LM and KAI offer just took a body blow...
    Last edited by Sintra; 15th January 2015 at 18:35.

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    Interesting news indeed. I did think the USAF might be tempted to write the requirements around a US design, but this does play into BAE/Northrop's hands.

    That said, didn't BAE lose out in Poland partly down to costs?
    "Quicquid agas age"

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbritchford View Post
    Interesting news indeed. I did think the USAF might be tempted to write the requirements around a US design, but this does play into BAE/Northrop's hands.

    That said, didn't BAE lose out in Poland partly down to costs?
    It was more the oposite, it was not that the BAE was extremely expensive (it was in the midle) but the Alenia Aermachi offer was vastly inferior in costs over the other two competitors.
    But the thing is, whatever aircraft is chosen, it will be built in the States, that levels the production costs; in this case the smaller aircraft, with the least thrust has an obvious advantage, on top of that there are hundreds of a very similar aircraft with the US Navy logo on it, the logistical advantage is also obvious.
    It can go to any other airframe, but if the USAF is willing to water down the performance KPP´s in order to lower costs i am willing to bet that the Northrop chap responsable for the T/X offer is wearing a very bright smile on is face, the LM equivalent on the other side...
    Last edited by Sintra; 15th January 2015 at 21:02.

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    From an acquisition perspective, dumbing down the requirements is typically done to keep all the dogs in the hunt. It doesn't guarantee the least capable/lowest cost bidder will win.

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    Thats true, but I think they may seriously be making an effort here to really easy and simplify the development and acquisition process in order to pick the lowest cost/ lowest risk solution. Progressively emphasizing that aspect would hopefully bake that into contenders and reflect in their ultimate proposals
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Quote Originally Posted by djcross View Post
    From an acquisition perspective, dumbing down the requirements is typically done to keep all the dogs in the hunt. It doesn't guarantee the least capable/lowest cost bidder will win.
    actually, it does.

    should they select anything but the lowest bidder, they'd face legal action as the lowest bidder could claim it satisfied the requirements and, therefore, should be selected as a better deal.

    remember the tanker bidding, even if airbus was more capable and preferred to boeing, boeing managed to cancel the airbus selection through legal action and get the market
    Last edited by TooCool_12f; 16th January 2015 at 10:42.

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    Successful acquisitions have to pass through two gates before reaching the desk of the Source Selection Authority, SSA.

    The first gate is a technical assessment. The government technical evaluation team determines if KPPs thresholds have been met. Low KPP/KSA thresholds are a way to dumb down the requirements and keep all the dogs in the hunt. If thresholds are not met, the bid is disqualified. And the government technical team can determine a threshold has not been met even if the bidder believes it was. Exceeding thresholds and achieving stated KPP "goals" can get a bidder special consideration by the SSA, even if the bidder's price is high. The government sets a cost value in achieving KPP goals.

    The second gate is a cost assessment. The government cost evaluation team determines how much to "plus-up" bidder costs to compensate for inadequately mitigated development risk. And there are always multiple risks in every bid. The "plus-ups" can be substantial. It is the "plus-up" costs that go to the SSA.

    The SSA reviews the government team's technical and cost assessments and makes his/her own independent evaluation. That evaluation can include factors not contained in the RFP, such as health of the industrial base or convenience of the government. The SSA has the final say about who provides the "best value" to the government and wins the contract. Note that "best value" is not necessarily the cheapest price. If there is a bidder who has shown the ability to achieve KPP goals, that bidder could win for providing "best value" even if his price is not the lowest.
    Last edited by djcross; 16th January 2015 at 05:37.

  8. #8
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    I'm still expecting supersonic and will be disappointed if its performance is worse compared to T-38A.
    Go Huskers!

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    If costs are going to be such a big factor then the Boeing-Saab consortium may not be in too good a position with a clean-sheet design offering..adding the costs of research and development to the price tag will make their offering quite a bit costlier, especially when compared to the Hawk and M-346 offerings.

  10. #10
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    The reduced spec might suit this http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...et-for-407943/

    Regards
    David Mylchreest
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    impressive (Textron AirLand’s Scorpion)
    The design met its $3,000/h operating cost target in its first year, and demonstrated a 95% availability rate

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post
    The reduced spec might suit this http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...et-for-407943/

    Regards
    The Scorpion is a 800 km/h / 6 G aircraft, thats reducing the spec by a huge amount, so much in fact, that sudenly things like a PC-21, or an uprated T-6 would look apealing.

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    Just select the T-50 and be done with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackArcher View Post
    If costs are going to be such a big factor then the Boeing-Saab consortium may not be in too good a position with a clean-sheet design offering...
    I was under the impression it wasn't quite a full clean-sheet...?


    Certainly, if it was me in charge - I'd be doing an investigation into how much cheaper a non-Afterburning Gripen C/D without full mission avionics would be in both build and maintenance costs.

    I would also then investigate how quick and expensive it would be to refit an afterburning engine and mission avionics as a means to augment front line strength if required.

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    I think SAAB has categorically denied that this would be a dumbed down Gripen.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Quote Originally Posted by bring_it_on View Post
    I think SAAB has categorically denied that this would be a dumbed down Gripen.
    This?

    http://aviationweek.com/defense/boei...ose-gripen-t-x

    Update: On Sept. 12, Lennart Sindahl, Saab´s execuctive vice president and head of Saab’s Business Area Aeronautics, sought to clarify the company’s position regarding a potential teaming arrangement with Boeing on the T-X program using a Gripen derivative.

    “With the new development of the Gripen E version we expect it to remain in that position for many years to come. But a great fighter aircraft does not necessarily make a good trainer. We remain focused on the continued development of the Gripen E and the fighter will never be a trainer,” Sindahl says. “As we stated previously, Saab always keeps its doors open to new business opportunities and if any of those should be further realized, they would be announced at the appropriate time.”

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    Ah, OK, this would suggest its def not based off Gripen:

    http://www.defensenews.com/article/2...king-Approach-

    When Boeing and Saab unveil their co-design of a new trainer for the US Air Force, it will look different from the Swedish firm’s Gripen fighter, the head of Boeing’s defense arm said Sunday.

    “I can unequivocally tell you it’s not Gripen, or son of Gripen,” Chris Chadwick said during a media briefing held at Boeing’s London office ahead of this week’s Farnborough International Airshow.

    Not sure I agree with their decision, but there you go.

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    I wonder, couldn't they reuse old APG-68s from the retired F-16s for basic air defense roles. Maybe the FA-50 could be equipped with it with minor modifications. It would be great if the trainer had an air to air capability for air policing at minimum cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotshot View Post
    I wonder, couldn't they reuse old APG-68s from the retired F-16s for basic air defense roles. Maybe the FA-50 could be equipped with it with minor modifications. It would be great if the trainer had an air to air capability for air policing at minimum cost.
    Same for the proposal From Boab (pronounced Bob ) - forget about the RWR etc. Just add a PS-05/A to the nose...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amiga500 View Post
    Same for the proposal From Boab (pronounced Bob ) - forget about the RWR etc. Just add a PS-05/A to the nose...
    I was thinking more of reusing existing radars. They could take radars from F-16s stored at AMARG that cannot be reactivated. Say APG-66s, and maybe take the IFFs from the F-16 ADFs.

    I don't think the USAF would want to spend much on air to air capabilities for the TX. They want to keep the cost as low as possible.

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    TX-32 anybody?

    as affordable stealth trainer? ^^

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    The USG has two categories of training.

    The most advanced is Joint Mission Training, where the newly graduated pilot is taught by the training wing for his assigned type/model/series (e.g. F-15, F-16, F-18, F-22 or F-35). There he/she learns how to use the jet as a weapon.

    Basic Qualification Training teaches the student how to fly in two stages. The first stage is primary flight training (T-6). The second stage is advanced flight training, which provides skills using a higher performance jet (T-38 or T-45).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotshot View Post
    I was thinking more of reusing existing radars. They could take radars from F-16s stored at AMARG that cannot be reactivated. Say APG-66s, and maybe take the IFFs from the F-16 ADFs.

    I don't think the USAF would want to spend much on air to air capabilities for the TX. They want to keep the cost as low as possible.
    You have to think about the support costs, as well. How much would it cost to refurbish those radars & keep them working, & how would that compare to the cost of a basic new set such as Vixen 500E? IIRC one of the reasons why US Customs and Border Protection replaced secondhand APG-66s in their patrol aircraft with Vixen 500E was expected lifetime cost, it being expected to be much cheaper to maintain.
    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotshot View Post
    I was thinking more of reusing existing radars. They could take radars from F-16s stored at AMARG that cannot be reactivated. Say APG-66s, and maybe take the IFFs from the F-16 ADFs.

    I don't think the USAF would want to spend much on air to air capabilities for the TX. They want to keep the cost as low as possible.
    USAF won't do this for the same reason they refuse to buy any upgraded legacy fighters - anything with mission overlap on F-35 that gets purchased means fewer F-35s.

    That and the fact that the US simply doesn't need an armed trainer. For air policing they have more capable F-35s and F-22s. For low intensity COIN ops they have drones, for peer-adversaries or ones with near-peer capabilities an armed trainer would be SAM fodder.

    So getting back to the trainer question, what are the technical requirements likely to stipulate?
    "Quicquid agas age"

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    Quote Originally Posted by swerve View Post
    You have to think about the support costs, as well. How much would it cost to refurbish those radars & keep them working, & how would that compare to the cost of a basic new set such as Vixen 500E? IIRC one of the reasons why US Customs and Border Protection replaced secondhand APG-66s in their patrol aircraft with Vixen 500E was expected lifetime cost, it being expected to be much cheaper to maintain.
    AESAs are said to be significantly cheaper to operate, so indeed this has to be taken into account, although I don't think a trainer would really need a high performance radar. We will see if they want a radar in the TX.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbritchford View Post
    USAF won't do this for the same reason they refuse to buy any upgraded legacy fighters - anything with mission overlap on F-35 that gets purchased means fewer F-35s.

    That and the fact that the US simply doesn't need an armed trainer. For air policing they have more capable F-35s and F-22s. For low intensity COIN ops they have drones, for peer-adversaries or ones with near-peer capabilities an armed trainer would be SAM fodder.
    The stealth aircraft would be deployed abroad in case of conflict, so I guess the role of air defense would be done more by F-16s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotshot View Post
    AESAs are said to be significantly cheaper to operate, so indeed this has to be taken into account, although I don't think a trainer would really need a high performance radar. We will see if they want a radar in the TX.
    They dont. The KPP/KSA documents were publicaly released a year and a half ago.

    KSA #5 Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) Training Capability

    6.3.5.1 Radar. Simulated radar system capabilities, to include display, multiple target (up to 10) search, acquire and track a single target, and weapons envelope/launch/fly-out displays. It will be mechanized through hands on throttle and stick switchology (HOTAS).
    6.3.5.2. Datalink. Simulated datalink that simulates exchanges o f basic intra- and inter-flight messages .
    6.3.5.3. Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)/Defensive Management System (DMS). Simulated RWR/DMS system capabilities, to include display, multiple (up to 10 different targets simultaneously) threat depiction using F-35 type symbology (pre-programmed surface and air search, track and launch threats) up to 5 threats, and threat warning/launch event marking for debrief.
    6.3.5.4. Situation Awareness Display. A situation awareness display that provides moving map, area and relative position orientation awareness (e.g., pre-planned threat envelopes, route depiction, etc.).
    6.3.5.5. Debriefing. Shared audio and visual/video information with in flight recording systems for use with debriefing systems.
    6.3.5.6. Display. Use a glass cockpit/multi-function display approach similar to that in the F-22/F-35 aircraft .
    Here:
    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/th...raft-t-x-kpps/

    https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&m...=core&_cview=0

    An actual radar on the aircraft would amount to an upgrade to the KSA/KPP.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Sintra; 16th January 2015 at 18:49.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sintra View Post
    They dont. The KPP/KSA documents were publicaly released a year and a half ago.


    Here:
    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/th...raft-t-x-kpps/

    https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&m...=core&_cview=0

    An actual radar on the aircraft would amount to an upgrade to the KSA/KPP.

    Cheers
    Thanks for the links.

    The first link doesn't have any info on a radar indeed, but the second says:
    One of the requirements is that it should be able to take the place of the F-22 bridge course (Eight rides in a two-seat F-16, doing night aerial refueling and making sure the new guys can pull 9Gs while operating the radar and what not) before new pilots head to the Raptor B-course.
    I take it that it will have no radar, but is it sure?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotshot View Post
    Thanks for the links.

    The first link doesn't have any info on a radar indeed, but the second says:


    I take it that it will have no radar, but is it sure?
    Unless the KPP´s are upgraded (the document is still a draft), yes its sure.
    On that second link, the fbo link, on the bottom, there´s a downloable doc (an excell) that describes the KPP/KSA/APA/HSI that are required, the radar "capability" is described on KSA5:

    6.3.5.1 Radar. Simulated radar system capabilities, to include display, multiple target (up to 10) search, acquire and track a single target, and weapons envelope/launch/fly-out displays. It will be mechanized through hands on throttle and stick switchology (HOTAS).
    Its a simulator, not a real radar. Thats the common method/system used by almost everyone who has bought advanced jet trainers for quite some time.

    Cheers

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    Even if the manufacturer wanted to have a fighter/attack variant for the future, both the RACR and SABR are scalable systems.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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