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F-35C Procurement Curtailed


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#1 Dawes

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 1129 AM

I suppose if you're looking for a missile hauler, an F/A-18E might be a better choice than an F-35C:

 

http://aviationweek....tandoff-weapons



#2 ScottBrim

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 1219 PM

I suppose if you're looking for a missile hauler, an F/A-18E might be a better choice than an F-35C:

 

http://aviationweek....tandoff-weapons

 

I have the sense that Admiral Greenert understands full well what the stakes are for the US Navy when the F-35 program inevitably blows its cost and schedule objectives by huge margins.

 

The LCS debacle is a mere side show compared to the consequences for the future offensive power projection value of the US Navy's carrier battlegroups if their air wings become progressively obsolete to emerging A2/AD threats.

 

In my own mind, a combination of a multi-mission manned F/A-XX and a suite of three versions, possibly even four versions, of UCLASS will be needed to keep a carrier battlegroup effective over the next two to three decades.

 

But how do we get there from here except by infusing significantly more cash into Navy TACAIR?  Is America's defense industrial base even capable of producing these new aircraft regardless of how much money might be spent on them?



#3 Corinthian

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 2141 PM

Shades of the F-111....

 

I guess we should then wait for Northrop Grumman's answer like Grumman did with their F-14? ^_^

 

Hehehehe



#4 JamesR

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 0112 AM

Looks like they are also planning for a post-stealth future:

 

US Navy's 6th Generation Fighter Jets Will Be Slow and Unstealthy

 

http://nationalinter...nstealthy-12193


Edited by JamesR, 06 February 2015 - 0112 AM.


#5 kaikaun

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 0849 AM

Note that this is only a procurement delay, not a cut in numbers. The Navy still wants the same number of fighters, just later because the budget environment is so tight. It barely has enough money for its shipbuilding programme as is. When push comes to shove, shipbuilding is longer lead time and more important so it gets first dibs.

The more interesting news is actually the cancellation of AIM-9X Block 3. They are keeping the IM warhead, because shipboard safety is important, but I guess having BVR capability for a self defense missile is only "nice to have".

#6 Josh

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 0904 AM

I had thought the main rational for AIM-9x - 3 was to counter prolific modern digital memory ECM. I guess not. Too bad, I thought that was a good way to hedge against AIM-120 being ineffective.



#7 kaikaun

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 0913 AM

I had thought the main rational for AIM-9x - 3 was to counter prolific modern digital memory ECM. I guess not. Too bad, I thought that was a good way to hedge against AIM-120 being ineffective.

I've heard that said before, but it always struck me as not a very sincere reason because the AIM-9X Block 3 is not anywhere near the kinematic equal of the AIM-120. If you really wanted to hedge against active radar not working for the AIM-120, the answer is to give the AIM-9X seeker to it, not to try to make a smaller missile somehow fly as far.

The Navy had this idea of F-35Cs launching a whole bunch of BVR shots like a midget Tomcat. I hope those pilots bring the gun pod, because if you use your AIM-9s like that, you have nothing else left to defend yourself with. I think they realized that it was not such a good idea.

#8 Simon Tan

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 1032 AM

Lies....lies...F-35 is perfect.



#9 JamesR

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 1154 AM

In short, they are adopting the principle of the Typhoon with limited stealth capablity, which was rejected 20 years ago as not able to keep pace with Russian aircraft development.

 

Which looking back on it, is a bit hilarious.

 

That does beg the question as to why the Russians and the Chinese are investing time and resources developing their own line of stealth aircraft? 



#10 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 1204 PM

Monkey see, monkey do?  S/F....Ken M



#11 Dawes

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 1234 PM

 

 

I had thought the main rational for AIM-9x - 3 was to counter prolific modern digital memory ECM. I guess not. Too bad, I thought that was a good way to hedge against AIM-120 being ineffective.

I've heard that said before, but it always struck me as not a very sincere reason because the AIM-9X Block 3 is not anywhere near the kinematic equal of the AIM-120. If you really wanted to hedge against active radar not working for the AIM-120, the answer is to give the AIM-9X seeker to it, not to try to make a smaller missile somehow fly as far.

The Navy had this idea of F-35Cs launching a whole bunch of BVR shots like a midget Tomcat. I hope those pilots bring the gun pod, because if you use your AIM-9s like that, you have nothing else left to defend yourself with. I think they realized that it was not such a good idea.

 

Correct me if Im wrong, but wasnt this actually in the original design concept phase of Aim120, or am I imagining it?

 

Haven't heard of an original requirement for an IR seeker on AMRAAM. It was always considered a direct replacement for the AIM-7 Sparrow.



#12 Josh

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 1242 PM

I think the idea that stealth a/c are obsolete is a little premature. Minimally it forces a new AD system to operate in a different frequency that generates less detail of the target. I suspect this opens up additional options for jamming, decoys, etc that might not otherwise be available. For instance NCTR I bet is not going to work in VHF - is that F-35 or a MALD? Also AFAIK most airborne radars are in the band(s) that are impaired...specifically X. So while volume air search and SAMs might still be effective (I thought most modern SAMs also used X for fire control?), the F-35 likely still has a first look/kill advantage over opposing fighter aircraft, which seems non-trivial. Keep in mind a lot of the F-35's expense is not the shape and structure as much as the incredibly complex sensor fusion and associated code, something that likely will go into any future a/c the US builds regardless. Was it a step to far? Did we need to bother with a STOVL version? Probably 'yes' and 'no', but the low RCS doesn't seem like a bad idea, and I suspect Chinese and Russians still think so.



#13 Josh

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 1319 PM


Haven't heard of an original requirement for an IR seeker on AMRAAM. It was always considered a direct replacement for the AIM-7 Sparrow.

 

I'm not aware of an IR variant ever being in the cards either. The US seems oddly stuck on SARH or ARH for BVR, where as the Soviets and even the French went for long range IR from early on. It seems to me in this day and age of computer controlled ECM that having some kind of alternative that used a different band would be a good idea, if not almost a necessity. Given a GPS two way datalink like the 120D I don't see how terminal IR (or especially IIR) has any major liability these days.



#14 Garth

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 2030 PM

Note that this is only a procurement delay, not a cut in numbers. The Navy still wants the same number of fighters, just later because the budget environment is so tight. It barely has enough money for its shipbuilding programme as is. When push comes to shove, shipbuilding is longer lead time and more important so it gets first dibs.
 

 

It looks like the F-35B buy for the Marines is still going ahead as planned?  So yes, seems like a shifting of resources in challenging budget times, possibly putting the priority on the subtype (STOVL "B") that's more flexible by virtue of being to operate from both LHA/LHDs and CVNs, if needed, until the procurement gap for less flexible subtype that can't operate from LHA/LHDs is closed.



#15 JW Collins

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 2244 PM

I think the idea that stealth a/c are obsolete is a little premature. Minimally it forces a new AD system to operate in a different frequency that generates less detail of the target. I suspect this opens up additional options for jamming, decoys, etc that might not otherwise be available. For instance NCTR I bet is not going to work in VHF - is that F-35 or a MALD? Also AFAIK most airborne radars are in the band(s) that are impaired...specifically X. So while volume air search and SAMs might still be effective (I thought most modern SAMs also used X for fire control?), the F-35 likely still has a first look/kill advantage over opposing fighter aircraft, which seems non-trivial. Keep in mind a lot of the F-35's expense is not the shape and structure as much as the incredibly complex sensor fusion and associated code, something that likely will go into any future a/c the US builds regardless. Was it a step to far? Did we need to bother with a STOVL version? Probably 'yes' and 'no', but the low RCS doesn't seem like a bad idea, and I suspect Chinese and Russians still think so.

I strongly agree with your assessment. Force the enemy into relying upon a certain bandwidth and we can concentrate our EW and ECM efforts there. VHF radars have to be quite large and a large cumbersome radar creates a better target for SEAD efforts than a small one.



#16 kaikaun

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 0156 AM


Note that this is only a procurement delay, not a cut in numbers. The Navy still wants the same number of fighters, just later because the budget environment is so tight. It barely has enough money for its shipbuilding programme as is. When push comes to shove, shipbuilding is longer lead time and more important so it gets first dibs.
 

 
It looks like the F-35B buy for the Marines is still going ahead as planned?  So yes, seems like a shifting of resources in challenging budget times, possibly putting the priority on the subtype (STOVL "B") that's more flexible by virtue of being to operate from both LHA/LHDs and CVNs, if needed, until the procurement gap for less flexible subtype that can't operate from LHA/LHDs is closed.
The last news I heard regarding the USMC is that they were increasing B purchases while cutting an equal number of C. A completely sensible decision, of course, as you say.

#17 Jeff

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 2001 PM

Looks like they are also planning for a post-stealth future:

 

US Navy's 6th Generation Fighter Jets Will Be Slow and Unstealthy

 

http://nationalinter...nstealthy-12193

 

image3_129-10r.jpg

 

“And you can’t become so stealthy that you become invisible — you are going to generate a signature of some sort,”

 

 

I would hope that the CNO knows his comment is a strawman. Stealth was never supposed to be invisible but low-observable.



#18 tankerwanabe

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 2005 PM

IMO, stealth is still needed because while we are able to deliver smart weapons with a 300 standoff range, I expect defensive radar and missile technology to catch up as well - and extend the air defense umbrella out to 300 miles. And while the downing of the F117 was unlikely a fluke, losing 1 aircraft compared to the amount of sorties flown is still incredibly successful, probably the highest survivalbility of any attack design in air history. 



#19 Chris Werb

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 2224 PM

TW, have a look at a map of Europe, or Taiwan and China. If the enemy can throw an AD umbrella out 300 miles they probably have the capability to take out all of the airfields your stealth aircraft will operate from, and everything else of significance by D+15 minutes. This is what South Korea has planned for the North.



#20 JasonJ

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 0024 AM

Hyunmoo cruise missile.

http://en.m.wikipedi.../wiki/Hyunmoo-3

Japan has a stealth fighter development program, the ATD-X. Its first flight is scheduled this year in April. The current plan is that in 2018, Japan will decide whether or not to make a production fighter out of it.

 

edit for grammar failure


Edited by JasonJ, 08 February 2015 - 0345 AM.





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