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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

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F-35 Cancelled, then what ?

Old 5th Aug 2015, 09:41
  #7221 (permalink)  
 
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Differences in Sensor Fusion Ability

Obviously the answer to this question is in principle unknown as the F35's sensor fusion is not fully functioning at the moment as I understand it.

Much has been made of the ability of the F35 to fuse all the information from its sensors to give a competitive advantage in Situational Awareness to the war fighter, also by communicating this information by LPI links to gather more of the picture from other F35s.

My question is how much of a leap is the prospective F35 sensor fusion above the levels being achieved with latest tranche Typhoons, Rafales, F18s and Gripens, or should I say the 4.5 Gen fighters?

Is the level of situational awareness about the same and the USP of the F35 is it's stealth?

Or

Is the F35 planned to be way in advance of what is currently latest operational technology?
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 10:02
  #7222 (permalink)  
 
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Slightly off topic, but I've always thought that if an aircraft looks right, it flies right (with the notable exception of the A10). Anyone agree that the F35 looks darn right ugly? Especially the B with that see-through flap.

Am sure it does/will fly well given the amount of time and money invested but don't see it becoming a 'loved' aircraft.
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 11:12
  #7223 (permalink)  
 
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kbrockman,

"I think the Dutch way of ordering a limited amount of F35's in combination with another, lighter and cheaper, platform might be the way to go for us (maybe something like F35 and Gripen)"

Can you point me at where the Dutch have said something like this?

I think the Dutch, Belgians and Danes would be better buying a larger number of only Gripens.

Do you really care if you can't go bombing downtown on day one?

Thought not!
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 11:18
  #7224 (permalink)  
 
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KenV,


>
Few weeks ago in a Flight Global piece by Dave Majumdar, Bill Flynn, Lockheed test pilot responsible for flight envelope expansion activities for the F-35 had claimed that all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter will have better kinematic performance than any fourth-generation fighter plane with combat payload, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
>


http://theaviationist.com/2013/03/07/f-35-visibility/


The F-35 rides body lift off the forward fuselage which, like the F-22, allows the jet to push the wing as far back as possible to maintain an aspect ratio compatible with transonic acceleration.


Just punching the Mach will give you a +20% F-Pole advantage in terms of range for time of flight.


However; in maneuvering flight you end up having a 'two airfoil airplane'. One forward whose AOA rises with the nose at one index angle and the other aft, which rises as the much higher, shoulder mounted, wing does.


What this means is that as the lifting body is running out of juice the wings take on more and more of the pitch rate + lift sustainment to keep the aircraft moving around the turn.


There is some help here in that the large vortices which wash aft from the corner 'horns' of the inlets help keep the wing lifting but, unlike the F-16 for instance, there is no reflex moment as the LEF/TEF move to 2` up and the stabilator moves back down to form it's own lift component so that the aircraft pulls rather than pushes (down, as tail force) around the turn.


The tails have to pull more and more lift as the lift from the fuselage runs out and this puts both greater down force on the wing and robs them (the stabs) of tail down moment sufficient to stabilize the nose point.


As a result, to keep the jet 'carefree' in it's zero-departure handling characteristics, it _must_ start to rob the tails of further pitch authority which is where you hear the Test Pilot complain that the jet doesn't have enough pitch rate in the 'transitional' 20-26 AOA range, even though it is supposedly stable to well in excess of 60` alpha, just like a Hornet.


If you can't use the absolute alpha point for guns because the rate of nose pitch is too slow and if that same rate issue prevents the sudden out-of-plane maneuvering that allows the jet to deflect and defeat equivalent gun/missile shots; it is not a capable Air Combat Platform.


Now, we all know that the JSF is shy of A2A weapons in comparison with the F-22 and that the F-35B in particular is also unable to load a BRU-61 with GBU-53 onboard due to wiring difficulties in the shorter bay. Finally, we know that the a is 8 seconds, the B is 16 seconds and the C is 43 seconds off predicted acceleration. Indicating a lot of lift at drag issues on what it likely a much heavier jet than the program wants to admit.


Without adequate shot count (CUDA) and without standoff (Meteor or T-3) weapons and with poor acceleration robbing it of that 20% F-Pole boost, the F-35 _will_ be brought to the merge because it can't fire enough, from far enough, to run away from it.


Now add to this the reality of a very poor pitch rate with _empty_ weapons bays and recall that the F/A-18E/F, the only other in-production fighter we can turn to if the JSF turns out to be a failure, ALSO failed it's KPP in OPEVAL with suboptimal alpha rates, loaded roll, pitch down and acceleration from a loaded state.


The F-35 is not simply across-the-board closer to a Corsair II than an F-16 as Bill Flynn stated but it is so in an arena where, for the Navy and Marines, there are no alternative choices, particularly in a high radar threat GBAD environment where the F-35 would normally be operating alone anyway.


I would like to bring up another set of points which I believe are relevant to your statement about the jet being a world class strike fighter.


As a function of shock tactics and agit prop defense, the JPO recently ALSO stated (as a direct contradiction of prior statements) that the F-35 has superior front quarter signatures to the F-22.


A. If they lied about performance, how do we know they aren't lying about signature values?


B. If the signature values are truly -50dbsm, -25dbms, -20dbsm for front quarter, beam and rear aspect signatures what happens when you try to bring a 12.5nm ranged GBU-31 or 32 into a target terminal area where the threats popup BEHIND THE JET???


Increasingly, you don't design a stealth jet as a standalone item and then slap on already fielded munitions as though the signature values alone are all the matter.


First, because a dumb bomb with a rough-cast casing is going to be a valid transonic target in it's own right. Second, because if you hit the target, you don't need even the 500lbs of a PWIV or GBU-12. And third because stealth enables standoff as a function of BOTH kinematic performance and sensor graze angles. Getting close to a target is violating the 'no see'em too good' understanding that Stealth needs to hide behind a wall of jamming and that jamming is more effective if the jet itself doesn't have to approach any closer than 25-30nm BRL for GBU-39/53. If F-35 could carry the SDB and if the SDB was cleared into service as part of the initial weapons load. It can't and the munition isn't.


With all these defaults in performance, the F-35 is neither a capable air superiority platform nor a capable strike fighter. It will be seen. It will be shot. And it lacks the energy performance to either improve it's F-Pole or runaway from threat counterfire. It even lacks an internal DRFM jammer or DIRCM (the latter of which was promised) to help defeat missiles already inbound.

This is why Bill Flynn was scoffed at by both RAF Typhoon and USAF Raptor pilots in making his superior kinematics claims. And it's starting to look like he was indeed talking from the rear as it were. Unless the F-35 has an AGrav generator or a really effective HPM mode in it's radar, all three of our services are in deep deep trouble as far as this aircraft replacing the entire fleet of Gen-4 types without being an operationally suitable, functionally well integrated, weapons system.
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 11:51
  #7225 (permalink)  
 
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Can you point me at where the Dutch have said something like this?
Luchtmacht overweegt Italiaanse vliegtuigen

Weaponized M346's to complement the F35.

BTW Belgium is looking at both the Gripen NG and/or F35 very seriously.
More offset works possible for the Gripen but the EU ban on compensation possibilities for defense work creates a big hurdle, also it is a government to government negotiation iso a government to supplier one pretty much closing the door for non NATO nations to bid seriously.
Also they want to keep the Americans as friends so the Super Hornet and F35 are in pole position.

The TF-X program might deliver some serious new possibilities too.
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 11:59
  #7226 (permalink)  
 
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Looking at that link kbrockman, it doesn't say anything about the M-346s being weaponised. As far as I can make out (according to the English translation), it says they're being procured for training only.

Do you have any other information regarding them being operated as frontline combat jets to complement the F-35s?
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:01
  #7227 (permalink)  
 
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My question is how much of a leap is the prospective F35 sensor fusion above the levels being achieved with latest tranche Typhoons, Rafales, F18s and Gripens, or should I say the 4.5 Gen fighters?
A large portion of the Sensor suite is from Northrop who have stated ever since 2010 that it is available for sale and (according to them fairly straightforward) integration into other weapon systems (vehicles, fighters, larger aircraft and helos).
Nobody up until today seems to have been interested seriously enough.
Might not say anything at all but it certainly seems not to be such a big item on many clients wish-list.
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:06
  #7228 (permalink)  
 
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My question is how much of a leap is the prospective F35 sensor fusion above the levels being achieved with latest tranche Typhoons, Rafales, F18s and Gripens, or should I say the 4.5 Gen fighters?
Depends on who you ask. Ask folks like LtCol Berke who has flown the latest and greatest Gen 4 fighters (F/A-18, F-16 and Typhoon) and both of the Gen 5 fighters (F-22 and F-35) and he says the leap is huge and requires a whole new mindset and way of fighting. He also says pilots of Gen 4 aircraft (including himself) have a tough time making that leap.

I don't know if this is a proper analogy, but lets try it.
Suppose warfare was entirely based on hand weapons like swords and spears (as it was for centuries) and someone gives one army rifles. It takes a whole new way of fighting to make best use of the rifle. The naysayers will say it can't work because what happens when you run out of ammo? A sword never runs out of ammo. Guys used to swords have a tough time adjusting to the new way of fighting where you avoid the merge rather than aggressively push for the merge. And what happens when opposing forces do merge (and of course it is "obvious" that the forces "must" merge) and everyone is fighting hand-to-hand? Sure, you can attach a bayonet to the rifle and use it like a sword, but it's a lousy sword.

I see the F-35 in much the same way. It requires a whole new skill set to operate, and a whole new set of tactics to employ to best effect. And while it has the ability to merge and fight close-in, that's not what it was designed for. Further, if you get to that point you haven't used/fought the weapon correctly.

Bad analogy?
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:07
  #7229 (permalink)  
 
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Looking at that link kbrockman, it doesn't say anything about the M-346s being weaponised. As far as I can make out (according to the English translation), it says they're being procured for training only.

Do you have any other information regarding them being operated as frontline combat jets to complement the F-35s?
Sorry for the Dutch link but it says that they initially would be bought for pilot training and keeping their hours up and that ;
En hoewel de Luchtmacht vooral inzet voor trainingsdoeleinden voor ogen heeft, is de M346 ook operationeel inzetbaar, omdat het toestel voorzien kan worden van wapensystemen.
meaning that it can also be used operationally and equipped with weapon systems.

edit:
Also they buy weapons for it too;
The weapons carried include: MK82 500lb and MK83 1,000lb free fall or retarded bombs; rocket launchers; AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles; Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles; MBDA (formerly Alenia) Marte MK-2A anti-ship missiles.
This in combination with what they said on air pretty much clarifies their intent on using it as a cheap operational fighter/attack wherever the F35 is not needed in non contested airspace meaning in 90% of conflicts all but the first days of war.

Last edited by kbrockman; 5th Aug 2015 at 12:18. Reason: extra info
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:11
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Slightly off topic, but I've always thought that if an aircraft looks right, it flies right (with the notable exception of the A10).
I challenge that!! I think the A-10 is a lovely son of a @!%*!?. It looks as bad-a$$ as it is. ;-)
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:15
  #7231 (permalink)  
 
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KenV - fair point - I did add the bit in brackets as an afterthought! If function followed form, there is no better.......
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:20
  #7232 (permalink)  
 
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KB, yes like most trainers, they can weaponise it. When was the last time a decent air force sent a trainer to war?
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:22
  #7233 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks kbrockman. If the Dutch are buying weapons for it, that does certainly suggest they plant to field it operationally.

The F-35-force multiplier is an interesting market, and one that you'd think would be prime for the Textron Scorpion to clean up in (half the price to procure than even the M-346!)
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:23
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KB, yes like most trainers, they can weaponise it. When was the last time a decent air force sent a trainer to war?
Is the M-346 any less capable than the AMX, which the Italians sent to Afghanistan?
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:28
  #7235 (permalink)  
 
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May I weigh in on the Dutch/Belgian view of a high-low mix where F-35 is high and M-346 is low? Two decades ago USAF said F-35 was part of a hi-low mix, with F-22 high and F-35 low. And two or more decades before that USAF said F-16 was part of a high-low mix with F-15 high and F-16 low. Holland and Belgium bought F-16.

It seems to me that the hi-low mix has been bantered about for around half a century now and is nothing new. But high-low is relative. One force's low is another force's high. And one force's trainer is another force's low end fighter (Hawk? F-5 Tiger? A-37?, etc). And with the M-346 being offered to fill USAF's T-X requirement and likely their "red aggressor" requirement, the M-346 could become a very capable (and maybe cheap) weapon platform and effective for conflicts other than near-peer. Or would used and refurbed A-10s be even better and cheaper?
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:31
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Or would used and refurbed A-10s be even better and cheaper?
I'm not sure that's even an option anymore Ken - USAF rules out international A-10 sales - 7/24/2015 - Flight Global
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:31
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Suppose warfare was entirely based on hand weapons like swords and spears (as it was for centuries)

The victors of Agincourt and Crecy would beg to differ.

However, if you really want an analogy comparable in magnitude to the introduction of powder and shot, I suggest that you need to look to directed-energy weapons.
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:34
  #7238 (permalink)  
 
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@ Mel, I think it was to sell them to Astan, wasn't it?
Alenia offers surplus AMX fighters to Afghanistan for close air support - 9/22/2009 - Flight Global
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:41
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I'm not sure about that a1bill, but they certainly flew operationally which I think was the gist of the earlier comment http://theaviationist.com/2012/01/28/cleared-hot/
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 12:42
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The Dutch M-346 situation is interesting, a sort of stealth mission creep.

It begins with saying "We need access to high-performance trainers", because they can afford only 37 (two squadrons) of F-35s and they're all single-seat. (The first high-g pull in a $100m F-35 is no time to find out that you just don't handle g very well.)

Next, you download some of your multi-aircraft training, so that your 2 v 2s are two F-35s v two M-346s. This requires some LVC training features and simulated weapons.

But then, if you have an Afghan/Iraq/Mali kind of operation with no air threat, you have combat-trained M-346 pilots and the aircraft is much less costly to deploy than the F-35.
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