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Thread: 2018 F-35 News and Discussion

  1. #601
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    My post about the plan for Turkish plants for maintenance of the F135, was made in full knowledge of the December 2014 announcements.
    There were two extra bits: -
    1) Has the facility actually been constructed yet? If so has, has all the necessary technology been transferred?
    2) How many western F35 users would be comfortable having their engines being serviced in Turkey, with the present economic difficulties and the Russian influence in the country?
    Just trying to get a picture in my mind.

  2. #602
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    No, Turkey will not get F-35s and we will have to wait and see if the US Department of State issues an ITAR finding which would prohibit any transfer of military materiel or technology to Turkey.
    Turkey is a very complex nation (politically). I don't think that any one of us can predict easily what will be the future of US relationship… Even the ones of us posting... from the country.

  3. #603
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    Norwegian Air Force Major Morten Hanche, who piloted one of the Norwegian F-35s, said the mock fight with the F-22s was great practice, especially since the F-35s generally surprise and overpower other non-stealthy aircraft.
    He declined to name the winning aircraft, saying only: "The F-22 is a very formidable opponent."
    interesting

  4. #604
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    Not really interesting without details. These types of exercises mean little without context:
    What were the RoE? Did the F-35 get to simulate external Aim-9x?

    Reality is, the F-22 is the superior pure fighter. In a merge either could win, a fighter that can sustain means little these days in close in 1 v 1 fight, it’s rate and weapons system. The F-35 has an HMD that neutralizes an angles fight to some degree. But the F-22 will always retain more energy to gain a positional advantage. It’s like the F-16, F-18 all over again, except the fight is tens of seconds rather and a minute or two. In many v many.... the F-35’s ability to track multiple targets and display them on HMD is a massive advantage.

    If the money ever comes down the pike (feels like we’ve been saying this for close to a decade) to equip F-22’s with a helmet mounted sight, it won’t be a much of contest in the merge between the two. Even now, the F-35 has one good turn to win a “fights on” neutral position BFM setup. Then it at a disadvantage to an F-22, Rafale, or Typhoon. Not that it matter much in real world situations those aircraft will face, but good training.
    Last edited by FBW; 16th August 2018 at 03:48.

  5. #605
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    You probably have already forgotten all the critics rating the F-35 as inferior as most 4th gen airframe… This kind of comments from a professional are still necessary to sweep away all that silly dirt and help all to understand the reality of what is obviously a formidable airframe.
    Last edited by TomcatViP; 16th August 2018 at 17:07.

  6. #606
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    The Turks claim their contractors are the sole providers for the F-35’s panoramic cockpit display and missile remote interface unit, and without their cooperation these capabilities would be delayed for years.

  7. #607
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    @TomcatViP:

    respectfully, I think a certain level of criticism to the F-35 airframe is well justified and more importantly, necessary. If I am not wrong, the plane has improved compared to the F-16 mainly in that due to twin tails and FCS it has practically removed AoA limits. F-18 is already controllable up to 50º AoA and beyond. So this is a positive but hardly an advantage compared to many modern aircraft and essentially all potential 5G rivals.

    In regards of weight, plane grew from the X-35 demonstrator to the point it is already in the limits (especially the C version) of being a heavy strike fighter. This makes very difficult for a single engine to provide a level of performance in line with i.e. the F-22. It has also complicated the logistics for USN due to engine size growth

    Very big cross section (>8 m2) , wing design and very short and thick body are indeed an issue where supersonic performance is needed. Max speed of the plane is below cruising speed of F-22... and many feet below. Therefore, engagement windows will not look very symmetrical for both.

    Rivals of the F-35 are not the F-16 and rest of 4G fighters, but other 5G designs. That it has some decent kinematic parameters is mainly due to an extraordinary engine that compensates for the airframe... when compared to 4G designs. If other countries finish their development of 5G engines, or if in the West 4G fighters receive modern, F-119 derived ones, the perspective can turn grim all of a sudden.

  8. #608
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    You can't make a "Light Strike Fighter" and maintain a VLO airframe with decent range. Adding an internal bay and internal fuel necessitates the size.

    With the F-35's ability to automatically track all WVR objects combined with HOBS weapons datalinks, the need for more than 55 A0A is questionable.

    High AOA & engine performance is not going to win a significant number of future battles, it will come down to detection and weapons.

    Don't get me wrong, the F-35 has issues but it's shape was dictated by the requirements. Just thank God we did not end up with the F-32 "Monica".
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  9. #609
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    so......offer the now (I guess) ex-Turkish 35s to Greece.

  10. #610
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    Lol.. How will they pay for them?
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  11. #611
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpudmanWP
    You can't make a "Light Strike Fighter" and maintain a VLO airframe with decent range. Adding an internal bay and internal fuel necessitates the size.

    With the F-35's ability to automatically track all WVR objects combined with HOBS weapons datalinks, the need for more than 55 A0A is questionable.

    High AOA & engine performance is not going to win a significant number of future battles, it will come down to detection and weapons.

    Don't get me wrong, the F-35 has issues but it's shape was dictated by the requirements. Just thank God we did not end up with the F-32 "Monica".
    Agree to the first statement. That is why some say the requirements set was not right. "Light", "VLO" and "strike" are not that easily compatible. I find the results, given the requirements, quite ok, but nevertheless worse than a bigger, longer airframe would have achieved as a strike fighter and not really cheaper in the end.

    Engine performance is very important, I don't know how this could be disputed. Determines lots of aspects of BVR and WBR combat. You cannot put all your hopes in avionics or supporting assets when designing a plane for A2A role, the advantage is not always going to be there in the needed amounts to compensate for worse kinematics. SW for avionics specifically is a field that can and will be developed by other countries with cheaper labour costs than US to the point where it is going to be difficult to maintain the technological gap. As to weapons, their size and amount are limited in a small VLO airframe, so this is also not a positive for the F-35

    As to AoA, I think the best approach is to avoid as many weak spots as possible, since the enemy will design their tactics to exploit them. So if it comes to dogfight, a plane needs to be capable as well, other 5G planes are also LO and more battles could end up in the merge than it could be thought.

  12. #612
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    To begin with, it's not a question of how we would pay, but if we really want them.

  13. #613
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    Engine performance is very important, I don't know how this could be disputed. Determines lots of aspects of BVR and WBR combat. You cannot put all your hopes in avionics or supporting assets when designing a plane for A2A role, the advantage is not always going to be there in the needed amounts to compensate for worse kinematics. SW for avionics specifically is a field that can and will be developed by other countries with cheaper labour costs than US to the point where it is going to be difficult to maintain the technological gap. As to weapons, their size and amount are limited in a small VLO airframe, so this is also not a positive for the F-35
    Well to discuss this piece by piece:
    1. Engine performance, by which I believe you are referring to thrust to weight, acceleration, etc.
    Reality is, that it is not a determining factor in the merge. The USAF did multiple studies on “dogfighting” both during and directly after the Cold War. One specific thing that was determined was that in the time that it takes for superior thrust to become a factor, the fight would be over. It was not a determinate of success. Not to say that acceleration isn’t critical in combat, it is, just not so much in the WVR arena. And the F-35 has excellent subsonic acceleration.

    2. Speaking on one factor that was determined to be important in WVR combat “dogfighting” was situational awareness. So “putting your hopes in avionics” is exactly what research showed. Aircraft die in the merge because they lose track of overall tactical situation, become easy prey. And again, kinematic performance is not a determinant factor between fighter aircraft in a merge.

    Looking at what I had written in previous post above, vis a vis F-22/-35. The F-22 was designed to operate at higher altitudes and speeds than the F-35 (or most any other fighter). It will outperform the F-35 at higher altitudes, and enters the fight with more energy. In BFM exercises with “canned” setups, different simulated weapon performance, etc. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn the F-35 is at a slight disadvantage to the F-22, Typhoon, Rafale. On the other hand, in simulated combat scenarios like Red Flag, I also am not surprised how welll the F-35 performs.

    In regards to the exercises mentioned above, the RoE determining the setups would be interesting to know.
    Last edited by FBW; 17th August 2018 at 13:11.

  14. #614
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    Well to discuss this piece by piece:
    1. Engine performance, by which I believe you are referring to thrust to weight, acceleration, etc.
    Reality is, that it is not a determining factor in the merge. The USAF did multiple studies on “dogfighting” both during and directly after the Cold War. One specific thing that was determined was that in the time that it takes for superior thrust to become a factor, the fight would be over. It was not a determinate of success. Not to say that acceleration isn’t critical in combat, it is, just not so much in the WVR arena. And the F-35 has excellent subsonic acceleration.
    Fair enough. Some comments:

    > Did such studies considered things as DIRCM and other countermeasures? Pk is going to be affected and therefore your need to endure a longer fight, both in terms of using more missiles, other kinds of them or even the cannon, manoeuvring and accelerating accordingly.
    > Merge is maybe (in fact probably) complex and not only one on one.
    > Good subsonic acceleration of F-35 is known, and is important. Remains to be seen, how it looks like against newer fighters and what F-135 updates can do in that regard.
    > It is interesting to hear such argument used that way. Normally when pondering Russian designs, Western sources submit that, by trying to point the nose to the opponent at high AoAs they loose speed and become vulnerable. Following your logic, they would have won by then and hence the loss of speed would not be relevant, wouldn't you agree?

    2. Speaking on one factor that was determined to be important in WVR combat “dogfighting” was situational awareness. So “putting your hopes in avionics” is exactly what research showed. Aircraft die in the merge because they lose track of overall tactical situation, become easy prey. And again, kinematic performance is not a determinant factor between fighter aircraft in a merge.
    Do not dispute that knowing what surrounds you is crucial, it obviously is. What I mean is, avionics and sensors are much easier and faster to update than airframe issues. Therefore should be of little comfort to have an advantage on the avionics but a handicap on the airframe side. One may go away, the other will remain.

    Looking at what I had written in previous post above, vis a vis F-22/-35. The F-22 was designed to operate at higher altitudes and speeds than the F-35 (or most any other fighter). It will outperform the F-35 at higher altitudes, and enters the fight with more energy. In BFM exercises with “canned” setups, different simulated weapon performance, etc. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn the F-35 is at a slight disadvantage to the F-22, Typhoon, Rafale. On the other hand, in simulated combat scenarios like Red Flag, I also am not surprised how welll the F-35 performs.

    In regards to the exercises mentioned above, the RoE determining the setups would be interesting to know.
    Would also like to know more about those exercises of course, sadly we get very little info. Thing with the F-35 is, it will be the main air superiority asset of most of the involved air forces buying it. For them it is of little comfort to know that the USAF always thought in the F-22 as back-up of the F-35 for air dominance. That is not enough for them.

  15. #615
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    Fair enough. Some comments:

    > Did such studies considered things as DIRCM and other countermeasures? Pk is going to be affected and therefore your need to endure a longer fight, both in terms of using more missiles, other kinds of them or even the cannon, manoeuvring and accelerating accordingly.
    > Merge is maybe (in fact probably) complex and not only one on one.
    > Good subsonic acceleration of F-35 is known, and is important. Remains to be seen, how it looks like against newer fighters and what F-135 updates can do in that regard.
    > It is interesting to hear such argument used that way. Normally when pondering Russian designs, Western sources submit that, by trying to point the nose to the opponent at high AoAs they loose speed and become vulnerable. Following your logic, they would have won by then and hence the loss of speed would not be relevant, wouldn't you agree?
    This binary comparison between the F-35 and "other 5th gen" aircraft is rather moot because you fight as a system and everything from the organic capability of the platform, supporting network and assets, quantity, to pilot training comes into the picture and influences performance. You design your platforms as parts of that system and not in isolation. The F-35, for the US is a n F-16 and F-18 replacement and here among many performance requirement determinants, one most important was quantity and cost. This is going to be a benchmark for mass produced 5th and 6th gen fighters so factoring this into the equation is also very important and I would argue that once you go down the entire JCIDS process (for example) all these things matter.

    Secondly, technological advances are always a moving target. Did the makers of the DIRCMS and other defensive systems you site, also factor in the advances in other areas of targeting and networking that are going to come down the pike? This is always a moving target. Like FBW said, most processes of requirements formulations begin with a hypothesis about which areas are more important and why, and then you go down the road and conduct research to see if these are valid. You ABSOLUTELY red-team these things and it is an integral part of the process. What FBW pointed to was published research work that looked at one aspect of the problem in that they were trying to figure out what influenced successfull outcomes in aerial combat...obviously in this area and in the academia and research around air-combat folks will be looking at other things as well. Your decisions are then based on what you know best..it may not always be accurate but you go with what have obtained after investing in the effort to look into these things.
    But again, keep in mind that the requirements are never exclusively about just performance..they factor things like cost, quantity to be produced, doctrine, training and a whole lot of other things. By focusing exclusively on 1 vs 1 performance one can easily loose track of the bigger picture in that in the US, and even with NATO (the bulk users of the F-35), there would be a large number of combat coded F-35 squadrons all supported by F-22 squadrons, FCAS squadrons, and NGAD squadrons in the future all linked up with future networks and battle management concepts. This is the construct in which the F-35 is going to operate over the next 3-4 decades of its operational life.

    Would also like to know more about those exercises of course, sadly we get very little info. Thing with the F-35 is, it will be the main air superiority asset of most of the involved air forces buying it. For them it is of little comfort to know that the USAF always thought in the F-22 as back-up of the F-35 for air dominance.
    On the contrary, majority of the F-35 users are either part of an alliance (NATO) or from the F-16, F-18 or Harrier community and none has access to the F-22 because it is no longer in production. In the absence of this, and in the absence of them maintianing a diverse fighter fleet (which is cost-prohibitive) they will look at what is the most advanced option available to them at a cost that they can afford. Most of those nations look at the market and have placed their bets on the F-35.

    That is not enough for them.
    ??? A lot of these nations operated the F-16 for years knowing "that the USAF always thought in the F-15 as back-up of the F-16 for air dominance".
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    Last edited by bring_it_on; 17th August 2018 at 16:05.
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  16. #616
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    The F-22 was designed to operate at higher altitudes and speeds than the F-35
    how is F-22 designed to operate at higher altitude and speed when it is not carrying more fuel than F-35 and F-22 TWR is not much better. it will need a lot of fuel in takeoff. the days of tanker of support are practically over that's why long range hypersonic weopons are introduced for precision strike on ground.

  17. #617
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    Engine performance is very important, I don't know how this could be disputed.
    I was talking about it in terms of performance over and above what the F-35 has, ie 55 AoA, 9gs, and Mach 1.6 while combat loaded with 5000lbs of munitions.
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  18. #618
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    HMS Queen Elizabeth sails for the United States – here’s the plan

    QE’s is expected at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia in early September. She will unload Royal Marine equipment and take on test equipment required for the F-35 flight trials programme.....The F-35 flight trials off the east coast will consist of two Developmental Testing periods (DT-01 and DT-02) which are scheduled to last around about 3-4 weeks each, with a break in between. The first F-35 landing on QE will probably be in the 3rd week of September.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  19. #619
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    Great news about the Queen Elizabeth getting ready for the F-35B trials, September can't come soon enough.

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    @bring_it_on:

    thanks for your insight, much appreciated. My point was to argue that, in order to be safe from possibly wrong threat evaluations and technological changes, the best option (even more when designing a multi-role platform which is going to be the main combat aircraft of many nations) is to make it as balanced as possible. This was in reference to my claims that airframe performance of F-35 are a notch below what technology allows right now.

    On the contrary, majority of the F-35 users are either part of an alliance (NATO) or from the F-16, F-18 or Harrier community and none has access to the F-22 because it is no longer in production. In the absence of this, and in the absence of them maintianing a diverse fighter fleet (which is cost-prohibitive) they will look at what is the most advanced option available to them at a cost that they can afford. Most of those nations look at the market and have placed their bets on the F-35.

    A lot of these nations operated the F-16 for years knowing "that the USAF always thought in the F-15 as back-up of the F-16 for air dominance".
    F-15 was offered to allies, F-22 was not.

  21. #621
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    My point was to argue that, in order to be safe from possibly wrong threat evaluations and technological changes, the best option (even more when designing a multi-role platform which is going to be the main combat aircraft of many nations) is to make it as balanced as possible.
    Not really. The point is or rather should be to do a complete analysis of your needs, formulate requirements that meet those, then analyze for other variables such as cost, number of aircraft requirement etc etc and build a specification that factors all that in. You should build the "most balanced aircraft" (whatever that means in quantitative terms) only if that is what you are seeking. Otherwise, build requirements that meet your objectives (where performance, though important, is not the only variable in consideration) and build the design to those requirements. Keep in mind that the decision makers aren't looking at the problem from a 1v1 perspective..they do so at a systems level in that they are looking at requirements for a weapons system that will provide the best boost to the capability of the system within other constriants (cost, complexity, risk, technological maturity, timelines etc etc).

    This was in reference to my claims that airframe performance of F-35 are a notch below what technology allows right now.
    The performance is built to a requirement which was formulated after doing many scrubs to find an optimal set of traits that meet the mission effectiveness requirement and other important parameters such as cost, risk and quantity. None of the aircraft you are benchmarking the F-35 to are being produced in any sort of quantity at the moment so you can go crazy on the perfromance and sacrifice on other metrics which was exactly what happened with the F-22. The first and foremost requirement for the F-35 was to be able to be affordable enough to replace thousands of retiring F-16's and F-18's not to mention other types in the US and foreign forces such as the A-10 and Harrier. If you built something that was so capable but yet so expensive so as to not allow this to happen then you have failed. Some would argue that this is still the case in that the aircraft is over-designed and some unit cost could have been avoided had they made some more compromises in perofrmance. Again, requirements are formulated based on a process and not from the point of view of " how can I build the best performing aircraft". They do not simply and almost exclusively look at one parameter (performance) as you seem to be stressing. There are a lot of other factors to consider.

    F-15 was offered to allies, F-22 was not.
    This is besides the point. The same user base was operating a "lesser" pure A2A aircraft for decades but did well because of its multi-role nature and economics. Most couldn't afford the F-22 even if it were on offer so they must choose something from the alternatives that best meets their capability and cost curves. So unless a Nation X (F-35 customer) has XX Billion to spend to develop something on their own, they will look at the market and buy something that meets their demands. Some took less risk and hit lower price points hence we ended up with the 4.5 Gen aircraft instead of pure 5th generation fighters (Across Europe and even in the US with the SH) which also shows what they valued as part of their requirements which was risk and cost given substantially lower production runs.

    On paper the idea of the "most balanced aircraft/weapons system" sounds very good but in reality, your requirements are almost always being pulled in a thousand different ways and you have to trade one requirements influencer for another. Hypothetically, assume I had a magic wand and went to the USDOD and told them that I could improve the F-35s Air to Air performance by 25% if they just allowed me to get rid of the 2000 lb Bomb capability. Would they take it? Probably not, because in their own analysis they (or one of the services at least) determined this to be a valuable capability. Same goes for radius..What if we were to say that range could be improved if they traded speed..say kept the aircraft as a subsonic aircraft only...We can do this all day but I think the point is that as part of your analysis you look at all these things collectively and then determine which combination is going to yeild the most optimal results and mission effectiveness.

    Quantitatively, in academia, this has been studied and you can find research papers on this topic..Folks have looked at things like the influence of top/cruise speed on cost, or the influence of better acceleration on cost and through it quantity, or the cost impact of a certain size of payload or even sensor capability..At the end of the day, what drove the JSF was the need to be able to crank a $hit load of aircraft out at an affordable cost relative to the capability. At $80 Million URF you are getting a fair bit of capability...What capability could you have gotten if you were willing to pay 25% more? What would you have had to give up if you were to lower the URF down by 25%? Who knows but this is an area that a lot of folks study and research and is always going to be evolving as we gather more data and sure up assumptions (technology also can disrupt with things like robotics and AM in the future).
    Last edited by bring_it_on; 18th August 2018 at 20:08.
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  22. #622
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    By the way when you say this
    Quote Originally Posted by LMFS
    F-35 are a notch below what technology allows right now.
    You should understand all the rubbish in it: the F-35 is an incredibly manoeuvrable fighter jet that can out AoA most fighter out there including the bests known in that domain so far (the SH) while retaining full authority in yaw, something unseen until now for something without TVC.
    The F-35 is then indeed the best of what technogy has to offer when looking only at this narrow domain of BFM. So, I fail to understand your point.

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    @TomcatViP:

    I already acknowledged this improvement in AoA performance above the F-16 (which AFAIK was conceived also with twin tails but ended up with only one because of costs) and essentially matching the F-18 (maybe you can correct me but it is also stable at high AoAs which means unless I am wrong keeping yaw authority). This is good but nothing special today, sorry.

    The point was nevertheless not referring only to manoeuvrability but essentially to the design decisions that shaped the F-35 airframe and hence conditioned its performance, especially in the A2A role (but also in A2G). To make it clearer:

    > Frontal section + finesse ratio + wing design limit supersonic performance. This is serious since conditions capacity to control engagement and survivability both in A2A and A2G
    > Short body and engine placed in a forward position limit internal space for weapons, which detracts from the aircraft's capacity as strike platform.

    IMHO this could have been originated roughly with the following logic during design phase (please excuse simplicity for reasons of space and time)

    > Light, single engine fighter + STOVL determine short body and engine position forward and hence bays on the sides of the engine
    > Weapons bays at the sides force a big frontal area
    > Strike requirements force weight up and further increased frontal area
    > Weight increase + increased frontal area force increase in engine size and hence further weight creep
    > As a positive consequence of the above and given the ample cross section available, Lockheed wisely gave a huge fuel load to the plane and optimized subsonic performance
    > Reshaping an already crammed airframe lead to degradation of LO shaping
    > All the previous efforts spent fighting contradictory requirements lead to loss of commonality, cost overruns and delays, as well as forced the services to give up on some requirements
    > Lack of brilliance in airframe-related aspects (i.e. kinematics, payload, growth and cooling capacity, pilot visibility etc.) leads to exaggerate development and marketing of "nice-to-haves" and gadgets such as the new helmet and associated HW/SW (just an example) which are quite interesting but have low maturity and neither are critical to the performance nor contribute to cost / schedule discipline (I am not willing to argue here that the levels of concurrency in the program were result of negligence but forced by circumstances... maybe it is worse than that). Also to create a lot of IMHO false narratives over modern warfare and over-reliance on potentially short-lived advantages as stealth and information management capabilities that can even lead to further wrong decisions in the services due to investment of political capital.

    I could go on but I think you get it. You may think this is all a load of BS and I am ok with it, since I am not pretending being an expert, but IMO the evolution from X-35 to F-35 and further program issues provide ample evidence to support what is stated above and much more.

    @bring_it_on:

    Again, nothing to dispute in the theory, I think you explained very convincingly how requirements are shaped from a technical perspective and how they determine the platform under development as a collection of trade-offs, 100% agree. I am not suggesting that a "light" fighter needs to be designed for maximum absolute performance or that limiting analysis to 1 vs 1 is a serious approach BTW.

    I nevertheless disagree that F-35 was a program developed 100% out of technical considerations without political interference. The words "too big to fail" come to many observers' minds when looking at the project. Out of curiosity, would you personally agree that the levels of concurrency in the project are technically sound? They are disturbingly far from reasonable best practices in project management for me, to be honest. Do you happen to know the studies that supported the requirements' base of the aircraft and personally agree with them or you are referring only broadly to how this process works / should work?

    Many of your comments refer to the cost perspective as determining in the project. Nevertheless, the plane is still quite expensive both in unit costs, development, retrofits and operation. And all that while main cost driver, the use of top tech in every aspect of the plane, was adamantly kept and cultivated as a trademark feature of the project. A light fighter to be manufactured in the thousands needs to be cheap. Otherwise it risks degrading the capabilities of its operators instead of increasing them, due to reduction of squadron numbers, availability and pilot training.

    Was it analysed what would be so bad about leaving more of the "bells and whistles" for future modernization?
    Was a sensibility analysis conducted regarding to what happens in a peer/near peer conflict scenario if the favoured and very expensive "stealth" component turns sour because of possible developments of radar technology during the life of the plane? Modern IADs with low frequency radars, passive detectors etc are being deployed now. Apparently rofar and quantum radar prototypes are already operating, while the F-35 needs to remain operative for many decades to come.

  24. #624
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    ^ There are some statements in there that are objectively not true. I'm on the road so will let someone else do a deeper dive but will take up some for now..

    Nevertheless, the plane is still quite expensive both in unit costs, development, retrofits and operation.
    I don't agree. "Expensive" is a relative term. Only data we have to peg against is an absurd cost estimate (pre-acquisition reform) that was quite unrealistic. However, at roughly $90 Million URF (CTOL) pre Rate Production, the aircraft comes in at around $61 Million in SDD start dollars. If in 2000 you were to tell me that I could be buying 60 F-35As a year at $61 Million a pop in 2000 BY$, I would find that quite OK given the size of the US economy and the overall defense spending levels. Nations around the world are buying $100 Million 4+ generation aircraft and none of them have any sort of defense spending levels as the US. Even looking at the PAKFA as an example, if and when the Russians begin to produce it at a decent rate, do you think at say $70 Million a pop, it is as affordable to them as the F-35A is to the USAF at $80 Million URF?

    One could similarly look at other broader measures of cost such as APUC and PAUC. It roughly slots in between older 4+ generation aircraft like the F-18E and the super expensive F-22A which is where you wanted it to be i.e. closer to the advanced 4th generation side but knowing that you will have to pay a little bit extra for higher capability which it has.

    I nevertheless disagree that F-35 was a program developed 100% out of technical considerations without political interference.
    Remove the F-35 from the sentence and add pretty much any other aircraft ever developed or fielded. If you waited for a set of circumstances to present themselve where a program, that has public spending attached to it, is devoid of politics or or biases then you will never ever get off the ground.

    would you personally agree that the levels of concurrency in the project are technically sound?
    I look at concurrency on the program from the program's size and perspective. Like I posted earlier, it accounts for roughly $1.4 Billion in US cost or roughly less than 0.5% of the overall spend on the program (development and procurement). Could it have been avoided even further (remember quite a bit was avoided by moving ramp up to the right)? Perhaps! However, when you look at the various other things that influence decision making you can also understand the other side's perspective that they wanted to get over the "hump" and begin producing at a higher rate to both lower cost, and through it gain political breathing room, and get that technical hurdle out of the way because producing 5th generation aircraft at close to triple digits a year is no easy feat. Decisions on concurrency and whether to have it or not were made at the time of inception and to a large part were baked in. This has historically been the case and was also the case with the F-16 and F-22. That said, the current program management made and continous to make decisions in the best interest at the time. They do not have the luxury of going back and doing an academic disection of the program - they are decision makers!

    I also hate the term "too big to fail" for what it has come to represent in popular culture (basically everything one wishes to attribute). The F35 is too important to fail and the entire reason it was re-baselined and more attention and resources devoted to it was precisely because how important getting it right was to the US. Remember, part of the reason for reporting a breach due to technical or cost reasons is for the US Congress to sit down with the US DOD and determine whether a program that has had the breach is important enough (not big enough) to devote the extra resources or to simply take all resources away and essentially cancel it. As it has turned out, the F-35 came out of its probation better and has since performed quite well. The variant that put it there is performing well with the Marines and is currently deployed in two continents and is going to be sailing off to a "hot" region shortly.

    A light fighter to be manufactured in the thousands needs to be cheap.
    The JSF was never designed to be a Light Fighter. This simply was not the requirement. It may have been your wish or a consideration pre JSF, but when the requirements framers set in stone the payload and range requirement along with other parameters and overlayed that on CALF work, they essentially locked in a size for the Air Vehicle.

    Spend a little time, if you haven't already, and go over this - https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3367

    Was it analysed what would be so bad about leaving more of the "bells and whistles" for future modernization?
    Was a sensibility analysis conducted regarding to what happens in a peer/near peer conflict scenario if the favoured and very expensive "stealth" component turns sour because of possible developments of radar technology during the life of the plane? Modern IADs with low frequency radars, passive detectors etc are being deployed now. Apparently rofar and quantum radar prototypes are already operating, while the F-35 needs to remain operative for many decades to co
    \

    As I had mentioned, Red-Teaming is a standard part of the process. You can google it to see how the USAF (not the only organization responsible for red-teaming strategic technologies and processes) uses it as there is published material available on it. That said, I'm not sure what you are asking? Do you think that somewhere there is classified information out there with any of us, that we can simply provide to you so that all your questions are answered? This is absurd. Do you think the USAF or any other organziation in the US and abroad is going to simply share the entire breadth of its requirements formulation, red teaming, and analysis for the interest of the public?

    What you are essentially saying (or coming across as..) is that "I have these views and ideas of what they should have done but I'm not sure that they did any of it.." and are asking us whether this was indeed done. How is anyone here supposed to answer this question? All I can do is say that at an academic level there are multiple layers of processes that look at some of the things you have mentioned. Capability and requirements are scrubbed multiple times and red-teaming is a very very important part of the process when dealing with technology advantage and planning for strategic surprise. This is taken quite seriously. Beyond this, I can help guide you towards that process but do keep in mind that none of us here, will ever have complete knowledge (which will naturally be classified) to answer each and every one of your questions.

    Chapter 7 of the linked book can help you gain some perspective on USAF's Red-Teaming efforts (keep in mind that no open source resource is likely to capture the full extent of this effort due to its stratgic importance) - https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/persp...stems-analysis


    Generally speaking a red team might ask a series of questions such as the following:
    - What are the key gaps in my system or capability that an adversary might exploit?
    - What are the countermeasures that an adversary could develop to exploit those gaps and how effective would those countermeasures be?
    - How difficult would it be for an adversary to implement the countermeasures?
    Would the countermeasures be a 10-line software modification, or would it require building a new system from the ground up?
    How much detailed information about the US system does the adversary require to make the countermeasure effective? Does the adversary just need to know our system’s general concept, or would the countermeasure depend on specifics that are classified or otherwise difficult to acquire?
    - How difficult would it be for the United States to counter those countermeasures that might be effective? How much information would be required about what the adversary is doing to effectively counter the countermeasures?

    The Air Force Red Team is much more than a systems analysis group to explore these questions. Much of the Red Team's work involves the development and testing of prototypes of potential future threat systems. Importantly, these prototypes are not based solely on intelligence estimates of what technologies our adversaries are investing in. Instead, the red team process uses systems analysis to determine the technologies that would result in the most pertinent threat capabilities, and then develops prototypes that could be used to test the real-world impact of those technologies in tactically relevant scenarios. Prototyping and testing alone, however, can rarely be used to explore the full impact of a potential threat in a broad range of tactical situations. Therefore, the results of the testing are used to validate the systems analysis models, which can then be extended to assess a range of relevant scenarios. This integrated program of systems analysis, prototyping, and instrumented testing is the core of the highly successful Air Force Red Team. The real benefit of the analysis in this context is to sort through the large number of potential threat responses and narrow down to the few that are most important. those few can be the subjects of more intensive prototyping and testing campaigns to understand the full impact they might have on our systems.
    One example often cited was the prototyping of an advanced (at the time) VHF radar in the mid to late 1980s to study the impact of these surveillance sensors on "Low Observable Air Vehicles". Needless to say, that the data gathered at the time played an important role in developing models for the future, and there is no reason to believe that this practice of studying both known advesarial investment tracks (such as VHF radars) and potential counter-systems (which you think could challenge your systems in the future but are not neccesarily currently being invested in by the advesary) is not ongoing given its strategic importance in many areas of technological investment.

    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e60...5bbe8748c1.pdf

    Was it analysed what would be so bad about leaving more of the "bells and whistles" for future modernization?
    Some things were moved to future blocks (block 4 and 5) and perhaps other things could very well have as well. I don't neccesarily disagree with that. However, around the early to mid 2000s, "Spiral Development" (which this essentially would entail) was a term that began to loose favor with the US Congress, which authorizes and appropriates money, because they began pushing back and blaiming the services for pushing cost and risk out into the future once they had committed to the Weapons System. It was this environment in which the JSF was pursued and in democracies, particularly ones such as the US where there is quite polorized politics you have to develop your program to fall in line with the political obligations and therefore here, as in many things in life/business/technology you often trade away effeciency for effectiveness.

    So if you ask " Do they look at longevity of stealth and counter stealth capability like you highlighted in your prior post", the answer is YES. There is an entire section devoted to this within each US service and at the broader DOD/OSD level. In the past, they have not only looked at this theoretically but have also gone in and invested money and time to build prototype systems on the RF and IR side to test the hypothesis and develop additional data not possible without these initiatives. They have then likely formed databases and use it to test their models. This probably continues to happen in this particular area and in others given the vibrant RF/Sensor industrial base in the United States. Periodically, we get images from the Nevada Test site showing uniquely configured aircraft around currently operational stealth aircraft. For example, RAT-55 has been seen alongside the B-2, F-22 and even the RQ-170. These are some of the larger aircraft that are physically harder to hide or keep out of site. Other smaller, more mobile assets for example can easily be emplaced and displaced as and when required and may never be seen. For example, the USAF can very easily call in on one of its contractors to field modern (AESA) UHF or L band radars if they needed to develop or refine models against this threat using the current crop of aircraft. In fact, one of these very contractors had a UHF AESA deployed to one of the test ranges for weeks (a few years ago). Same with VHF sensors and given the cost of one or two sensors, we may never even be able to pick this up on the black budget. Yet we are also unlikely to see physical proof of these like we can for the RAT-55 for example given the nature of these products. If one understands the process, and follows the history one can be reasonably well assured that if these things are "OBVIOUS" to internet chat rooms and blogs, then the actual Subject Matter Experts, who get millions of dollars in funding for this very reason would have also looked into this.

    https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/for...ic,6366.0.html

    Are they going to be always correct? No. No one will ever get everything 100% correct, 100% of the time. What is important is the process, analysis, redteaming and how you test out your systems for strenghts and vulnerabililties. If you have a good process in place, and have an industrial base and SME pool to constantly deliver then you are setting yourself up for success. It is a lot better than just shooting questions in the air, without any technical assesment as we are doing here. Same also holds true for the other side, its strategy, investments and process.
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    Last edited by bring_it_on; 19th August 2018 at 16:14.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  25. #625
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    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Was a sensibility analysis conducted regarding to what happens in a peer/near peer conflict scenario if the favoured and very expensive "stealth" component turns sour because of possible developments of radar technology during the life of the plane?
    Just focusing on two of your points:
    1. I think amongst Russian posters (or even a widely lauded statement amongst LO luddites from a Russian General) there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of “stealth”. They tend to focus incessantly on RF reduction. Low Observable technology isn’t simply RF reduction.
    First off, LO aircraft aren’t, were never claimed to be invisible to radar. What LO shaping does do it reduce distance at which a target can be dectected. LO shaping is particularly effective on mid-bands used for fire control radar. The US has always employed the strategy of balanced observables, meaning that RF, IR, electronic emissions are detectable at roughly the same range.

    VHF/UHF radar isn’t a new development. And as BiO pointed out the potential for those to detect LO aircraft was studied from Very early in development of LO aircraft. Can they detect LO aircraft at tactically significant distances? Possibly, in controlled conditions. These radars also have significant drawbacks; to date not accurate enough for targeting, physically large size, susceptible to jamming, and the simple fact that what makes them seem as promising for detecting LO targets is their sensitivity that makes them susceptible to false returns, reliant on filter algorithms. How good are these?


    Modern IADs with low frequency radars, passive detectors etc are being deployed now. Apparently rofar and quantum radar prototypes are already operating, while the F-35 needs to remain operative for many decades to come.
    We need to separate the theoretical/experimental from practical/operational. There aren’t prototypes of either of Rofar or quantum radar. There are experimental demonstrators to test whether these developments are practical, and the level of technological readiness. It could be a decade, two, three before either become practical. Testing of Active electronic arrays were experimental in the 1950’s, prototyped in the 1960’s, and there were even (somewhat unsuccessful) attempts to field a practical operational array in the USN. The technology didn’t become truly practical until MMIC development and production reached maturity. Even then, development of a fighter sized array was considered one of the more technologically risky parts of the ATF project.

    Point is won’t be one dramatic breakthrough that suddenly makes LO technology obsolete overnight. Many countries are working on developing counters, but the issue remains; there is a significant difference in being able to detect and being able to detect, track, target and engage. And a bigger issue in doing so in a contested EM environment with multiple decoys, Standoff and escort jamming, SEAD/DEAD methods (including improved ARM, cruise missile strikes, unmanned swarming attacks on AD assets).
    Last edited by FBW; 19th August 2018 at 16:30.

  27. #627
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMFS
    > Frontal section + finesse ratio + wing design limit supersonic performance. This is serious since conditions capacity to control engagement and survivability both in A2A and A2G
    > Short body and engine placed in a forward position limit internal space for weapons, which detracts from the aircraft's capacity as strike platform.
    Frontal section: if you mean the total projected area of the fuselage as a mean to estimate the drag of the airframe, as it was discussed thousand of times here, you have more chance to fall off the real value than to get a proper estimation. here is an exemple of how non-intuitive drag estimation is :

    [img]262335[/img]
    Finesse ratio is certainly not one good parameter to estimate the drag. For exemple the bulky F-4 Phantom outspeed the pointy X-3 by far that compare even poorly with the F-100!
    Wing design: It's all about providing lift. With better lift and trim management for example, you need far less surface area. The formidable F-35 load carrying parameter is a good hint at what kind of lift that tiny wing and lifting fuselage can generate. Such as is the 50+ AoA performance.

    The position of the engine is not as much dictated by the VTOL config than by other requirements. Stealth come in my mind as the strongest one: with the airframe surrounding the engine nozzle, you hide critical surface from radars, wash-out more air in the hot airstream or reduce your trim drag and surface deflections using far projected trim surfaces.

    To conclude rapidly, I would say that you can't claim an argumentation because you are not able to see how it is done or build but should trust the fact that most KPP parameters were exceeded in term of performances (and multi-service requirements have historically not been the more complacent!)


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    Last edited by TomcatViP; 19th August 2018 at 17:12.

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    H/T to Stephen Trimble via Twitter..

    Here meets the world's best combat aircraft across Norway

    "I had to allow myself to smile a couple of times as we flew in formation over Ørland together with F-22, gliding champion Morten Hanche.

    And he has reason to do that. For the 15th of August, F-22 - the world's best-known fighter plane - came to Norway for the first time. After a training round with two Norwegian F-35 over the Norwegian mountain world, the four aircraft landed at Ørland at 12 o'clock. Morten Hanche is one of Norway's most experienced combat flyers, and he was pleased after training with his American colleagues.

    "It was incredibly polite to fly to F-22. We met them in the training area south of Rondane and trained air combat with them. The most fun was to see how quick and easy it was to coordinate with the F-22 aircraft. It shows that there is a point to work out, says Hanche.

    GET BETTER
    Also the chief of 132 airwing on Ørland, Colonel Hans Ole Sandnes, was pleased with the training with the American F-22s.

    - It's a big day. And it is important for Norway and the Air Force to train and cooperate with allies in this way. This is the first time we have the opportunity to fly our F-35 together with another five-generation combat aircraft. We hope to be able to do more, says Sandnes.

    It also hopes Hanche.

    "We get better at the user level and better when we get into an operation together. It was easy to plan this exercise because we do things the same way. For us, this is a good confirmation that shows that the cooperation with our allies is credible. We show that we can get around and collaborate in a short period of time.

    - ******* WELL
    The two American F-22s are temporarily stationed at the Spangdahlem Air Base, west of Germany, and belong to the American Air Force's 95th Squadron in Florida. For two weeks, the planes will train in Europe as part of the American European Deterrence Initiative. The initiative will strengthen cooperation between the United States and the country's European Allies. Both F-22 and F-35 are five-generation combat fighters, and together they form a formidable combat force.

    "There is no doubt that it's a very fast airplane that kicks off well. This was also the first time my American colleague got training on an F-35, so it was a good intro for us to fly and work out, "Hanche says.

    IMPRESSED ON F-35
    Even though F-22 is referred to as the world's most powerful fighter, neither is Norway's F-35 anybody. The Air Force has gained experience after almost one year of testing in Norway.

    "The F-35 is a very impressive machine, and we are very pleased with what we have received so far here in Ørland. We have spent a lot of time testing things we've tested in the United States, but have also started testing for special-purpose stuff. It is as expected something "grums", of course, but also a lot that works very well, says the experienced champion.


    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    I would find that quite OK given the size of the US economy and the overall defense spending levels. Nations around the world are buying $100 Million 4+ generation aircraft and none of them have any sort of defense spending levels as the US. Even looking at the PAKFA as an example, if and when the Russians begin to produce it at a decent rate, do you think at say $70 Million a pop, it is as affordable to them as the F-35A is to the USAF at $80 Million URF?
    why would PAKFA cost $70m?. The truck driver salary in US is 10 times now compared to Russia and all that F-35 related factories are in hot Texas or overseas transport of parts. I will let you figure out the energy cost and wear tear due to heat and all the maintaince that motors need. but Russia priority is now change to 6G fighter longe range high speed and stealthy weopons and bombers. 5G is too incremental upgrade compared to 4+++.

  30. #630
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    but Russia priority is now change to 6G fighter longe range high speed and stealthy weopons and bombers. 5G is too incremental upgrade compared to 4+++
    ..
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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