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New F-16 Replacement

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New F-16 Replacement

Old 18th Feb 2021, 06:33
  #1 (permalink)  
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New F-16 Replacement

And there goes the USAF planned buy if 1763 x F-35As. As a reminder the F-35 was supposed to be the cheap “low end” replacement for the F-16.....


“Clean Sheet” F-16 Replacement In The Cards: CSAF Brown

WASHINGTON: Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown is launching a study, in tandem with DoD’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE), on the service’s future mix of tactical aircraft......

The study will include a “clean sheet design” for a new “four-and-a-half-gen or fifth-gen-minus” fighter to replace the F-16, Brown elaborated. Rather than simply buy new F-16s, he said, “I want to be able to build something new and different, that’s not the F 16 — that has some of those capabilities, but gets there faster and uses some of our digital approach.”

Brown explained that the idea would be to build on the lessons learned in digital engineering for the “e-series” T-7A Red Hawk trainer, and the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD). In particular, Brown said he would like to see any F-16 replacement sport “open-mission systems” that would allow near-real-time software updates to meet new threats.

The idea of the tactical aircraft (TacAir) study is “to look at what is the right force mix,” he said, explaining that the service needs fifth-generation fighters such as the F-35; it needs NGAD “to remain competitive against our adversaries;” and, it needs capabilities for the “low-end fight.”.....
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Old 18th Feb 2021, 07:34
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" a new “four-and-a-half-gen or fifth-gen-minus” fighter"

But wasn't the whole point of the F-16 NOT be anywhere near state-of-the-art but cheap enough to buy in bulk? Especially so it could be sold in vast quantities to Johnny Foreigner?
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Old 18th Feb 2021, 09:23
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Whole Point

I'd say that the F-16 certainly met that original goal. That the aircraft has since been able to absorb decades of added capabilities is testament to the brilliance of the design.
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Old 18th Feb 2021, 11:33
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Arguably, the jets that entered service in the 70s represented the point where airframe performance stopped being the dominant factor, to be replaced by signatures and sensor/weapons integration.

Lots of developments in the weapons and targetting pods - plus relative lack of a peer competitor post 1989 - meant those basic airframes were "good enough". The significant (and highly expensive) exception being true LO capability.

Before those 70s frames, most types had a front-line service life of 20 years or so, less the further back in time you go. These days, the benchmark is closer to 40+ years for the basic configuration (if not batch/block).
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Old 18th Feb 2021, 13:17
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I don't know what this new guy is thinking. There could be more politics in there than we "proles" know about.

As far back as the late 90's and the JSF flyoff, and being in the bidness back then, plus staying connected with state of the art weapon development and ...... I do not know of anyone who thot the JSF was gonna be cheaper than the F-16, The goal was to reduce overall DoD acquisition/support budget that is not possible with three new planes and all their logistics tail. Despite misgivings by many of us after the TFX debacle back in the 60's, the doggone thing seems to have worked, despite adding an array of new equipment and computer technology.

The current acquisition cost ( unit cost the way DoD figures it, which is not a simple amount of $$$ at the production facility) of the F-35 is extremely competitive with the latest block Vipers. And those things are not LO and do not have the "friendly folks" coordination capability that the F-35 provides.

A bare bones Viper would be a real bargain for the "low end" of capability in the modern arena. Its aerodynamic capability would be damned good, and it could carry and effectively employ many new weapons. The logistical infrastructure/supply lines would already be there, making operational costs low. But it would still not have the overall capabilty of the F-35.

... Gums sends...

Last edited by gums; 18th Feb 2021 at 15:33.
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Old 18th Feb 2021, 15:20
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yeah but you might get more than 60% of them airborne at any one time Gums..................
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Old 18th Feb 2021, 15:45
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If one would make them unmanned the cost/dangers of not being stealthy would not matter so much and one could fully exploit their high g maneuvering potential for missile avoidance and such.
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Old 18th Feb 2021, 15:53
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@ Asturias

The advertised availabily now is 70% or so. I do not have the exact equipment list that determines full mission capability (FMC) for the beast, but unless the motor, the cosmic radar and the Darth Vader helmet cannot be replaced easily, you have problems. Otherwise....

When dealing with $$$ you get to "fix" things, govment outfits will whine amd moan and.... The USAF criteria for FMC is harsh, and if you can get the thing airborne without some pissant backup system working or even something like the "here I am" doofer the F-35 uses when not "cloaked", they will launch the things. Been there, done that, and in combat with two different jets.

The "mission capable" criteria is based on a pure world, the contractual specifications of all the systems and worst case mission requirement. In the "real" world, you fight with what you have. Nevertheless, I saw our very first operational F-16 unit back in 1981 mobilize and launch all of their aircraft within 24 hours to pass their first readiness inspection. At kick off we had about 20 of the jets called "operational", and even when all the squad launched we had one or two with minor gripes. BFD. Could they fight? Yep. Did every single pissant thing work to advertised capability? Nope.

About the only plane I flew in combat that had damned near everything working like advertised was the Dragonfly. My recollection is we ran over 50 sorties a day with the FMC number at maybe 80% or so of our 24 platforms.

The way you find out what the plane will do is a 24 hour exercise starting with no notice versus the expected and unexpected threat. No notice. And then see what the unit can do with available kits and boxes and .... The planes since the Viper have many boxes for the avionics and engine electronic fuel controls that can be replaced easily.

Oh well, the naysayers can naysay. The doggone F-35 is turning out better than many of we old farts thot, and reminds me of the mid-nineties when we had to ask the outfit that hired us what "email" was, heh heh.

...Gums sends..

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Old 18th Feb 2021, 17:09
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
If one would make them unmanned the cost/dangers of not being stealthy would not matter so much and one could fully exploit their high g maneuvering potential for missile avoidance and such.
These days, if yr avoiding missiles, you've already lost.
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Old 18th Feb 2021, 19:12
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Cynicism alert... with both of the European fighter programmes at critical stages of gestation, might this be expert trolling by the US, sowing enough doubt over LO requirements and export potential to make governments limit their commitment at the very point when a substantial investment would ensure viability?
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 15:50
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 16:39
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I am not against progress, but........

If it isn't broken, don't fix it........

The F-15 EX is progress - great......

I know nothing about the F-35 - but it doesn't look right......

The F-16 looks right - and when I flew it, I loved it.......

If an updated F-16 at the relatively low cost it attracts can be improved on what it already is, then it gets my vote.......

Of course, my vote is worth nothing............!!
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 18:24
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I am with you ex-fast, and I was skepticsl of the F-35 when they started to have problems with the HUD and then the ALIS logistics thing, but then the insiders started to give clues.

I talked with a pilot or two and some maintenance folks. The wrenchbenders thot ALIS was a POS, but not worse than what they dealt with in legasy planes. They thot it was as easy or better to replace LRU boxes but had to be careful due to coatings and seams and...

The pilots thot it was gonna be great and they had not even exploited the data transfer capabilities with other players.

I would rather have the USAF buy a stripped down Viper for a low end platform that could still bomb and fight A2A with most potential adversaries, especially if Vipers have the new 'winder. The old architecture can handle anything built to 1760 standards, so no problem there. So maybe enhance the comm and datalink, but if you want all the bells and whistles, go with one of the later blocks.

My feeling is there are "pressures" on the new CSAF from some folks that are not all in for the F-35 or think they can save money to use for other purposes/dreams.

..Gums sends..

P.S. Part of the press from the U.S. CSAF claimed that a low-end tactical plane could save 1.9 trillion $$$ over ten years. That is really funnny looking at the "covid relief" $$$ last year and the new proposal. LMAO.

Last edited by gums; 19th Feb 2021 at 22:43. Reason: addendum
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 12:46
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Maybe time for BAe to dust off Tornado 2000 then...

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Old 21st Feb 2021, 00:59
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[QUOTE=Lima Juliet;10994119]Maybe time for BAe to dust off Tornado 2000 then...

Great idea, as long as they replace the wings, fuselage and engines too! And remove the backseat...
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 01:25
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c'mon, Late Arm....

Fight fair! And don't forget the AESA radar and ......

...Gums sends...
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 01:59
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I think he means this?

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Old 21st Feb 2021, 02:29
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The chance that the USAF could source a new designed F-16 replacement that costs less than an F35A is precisely zero. By the time the USAF got through with everyone's wish list, the resultant aircraft would be twice the size of the F-16 and cost four times as much.
Heck, it was a bit of a miracle that the F-16 made it - and even it ended up nearly twice the size and weight of the original concept.

My experience on the 767-2C/KC-46 was quite the eye-opener. While Boeing certainly shoulders much of the blame for that fiasco, the contribution of the USAF brass was far from insignificant. We started out with a 767 - which was a fine, very successful aircraft - and the USAF seemed intent on totally mucking that up. Trying to explain to anyone in the USAF that a requirement was simply non-sensical - adding great complexity and cost for zero value added - was an exercise in futility.
Remember that cartoon of a camel being a horse designed by committee? Who ever came up with that had probably dealt with the USAF...
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 07:28
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Not surprising - if you're appointed to a Committee or a Task Force to bring a new aircraft in to service how many points will you get for saying "its fine- we'll take it exactly as is..." - ZERO whereas you can load on something for every eventuality safe in the knowledge that you'll be long gone by the time the consequences are clear

It's not just the USAF - the Royal Navy has a distinguished record in doing the same
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 11:56
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Best VFM, perhaps, would be a weaponised T-7 Red Hawk. Cheap as chips compared to a clean sheet design, plus no additional support / airworthiness chain to fund and by 2030 most of your pilots are already qualified on it, so as a first tour, or if an urgent need arose to bolster the front line, it would help get bums in cockpits quickly. Make it ‘more SAAB (ie Gripen) and ‘less Boeing’ and it could be an effective real ‘Gen 5 minus’ as opposed to the real Gen 5 / Gen 6 it is designed to prepare crews for. Probably not enough ‘pork’ for the current USAF Brass to get their noses into post retirement I guess......
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