The currently funded $billion+ dollar programs will take the NG propulsion to TRL-6+ by early next decade. Further risk reduction could be performed if they incorporate more advanced prototype flight testing (that is an option built into the AETP). That is from what we know. On the AII-X's non propulsion side we do not know where a lot of the technology currently sits but I wouldn't be surprised if a heck of a lot of stuff was or will be matured by other programs leaving the PCA with an integration challenge as opposed to a technology development challenge (same thing with the B-21).
It isn't like they aren't aware of the cutting edge sensor technologies or aren't invested in it themselves. The US is funding some of the most extensive research and acquisition of GaN systems at a very substantial scale and pace. Whether that is new family of sensors on the AEGIS combat system, upgrading other Ballistic missile defense applications, high power jammer systems or developing the Next Generation of long range ground based surveillance radars and large airborne sensors. The sensor modernization, and semiconductor material S&T and R&D pipeline is pretty robust. In many instances this is being done by the same organizations (services) or industry partners (companies) that are going to be tasked with developing the PCA or other advanced systems.
Last edited by bring_it_on; 20th March 2017 at 13:59.
Old radar types never die; they just phased array
Last edited by TomcatViP; 20th March 2017 at 20:43.
LM reject T-50 for OA-X but some hints suggest a rotary airframe
Source:Instead, the company is still weighing its options, with [Orlando Carvalho, executive vice-president of Lockheed’s aeronautics business] hinting that a solution may come not from the fixed-wing side of the company but rather from its rotary and mission systems business.
The photonic radar other great advantage is that it is software defined, meaning the band of emission can change at will spanning from low band to millimeters one in just one fitting, that would even be lighter than actuals.
IMHO the point of maximum technological/tactical advantage of VLO technologies is even actually being trespassed and it would further deteriorate as time passes by.
So, I sincerely hope that the programs that FBW are listings would take a whole different road to the first anticipation they send out but I still am quite worried they are starting from a wrong assumption i.e. trying to keep a level of advantage over competitors that the stealth once granted them 'cause an initial complete lack of efforts from their adversaries on that field.
Now, there is not any new technologies that are not actively pursued by competitors also, so the relatively advantages would be just relative, as it usually was before the case in question.
Flying wings are very aerodynamically efficient in cruise though and therefore a desirable planform for any design that requires range or endurance; Flying wing designs have been pursued since before the advent of jet engines let alone VLO requirements.(because at the moment a multiband VLO plane would mean just a flying wing)
It's not really much of a disadvantage for Strike, ISR/SEAD, strategic bombers or support aircraft to use a flying wing design with the advent of FBW.
Also wouldn't a fighter sized low band radar be extremely limited due to it's small size?
VHF is 30-300 Mhz compared to X-band at 8-12 Ghz. To raise the noise floor to the same level in both bands, you would need to pump out nearly 15 times the energy for X-band than you would for VHF. Also note that building antennas and transmitters capable of operating in the whole VHF band is massively more difficult than doing the same for X-band. A full VHF band antenna would have a fractional bandwidth of ~1.6 vs 0.4 for X-band, so it is unlikely for a VHF radar to be able to operate in the entire 30-300 Mhz spectrum. A closer comparison would be a VHF AESA that can use 200-300 Mhz vs an X-band radar that uses 8-12 Ghz. In that example, the VHF radar can be jammed with 1/40th the power output you would need for the X-band. If the tech exists for a VHF radar to operate in a wider slice of spectrum, then the tech also exists for a radar that can use the C, X, and Ku bands at the same time.
I think current technology is already sufficient to build a SAM battery with a large X band AESA that would have no problem seeing legacy non-VLO jets at significant range even if they are supported by massive ECM. While VLO jets will undoubtedly need EW to defeat the IADS of the future, legacy jets may be absolutely unsurvivable with such support.
What I was contesting is not the VLO in se but the sort of intention than I see underlined but in some cases also clearly expressed, in some US programs to try to replicate the, repeat again, absolute technological advantage the stealth once gave them.
Now the genie is going back in the bottle i.e. also the others are introducing advanced VLO planes and there is not any more bottle around i.e. not any new technological advancements others can't cope in a reasonable length of time.
So, if the PCA program would evolve in the realistical sense of explore ways to cope with advanced AD defence be absolutely my guest, if is an attempt to design some sort of wunderwaffe in the hope to replicate an one in a lifetime exceptionally favourable condition, I fear they would hit a very thick and hard wall.
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