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NGAD and F/A-XX

Old 12th Jan 2023, 07:57
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NGAD and F/A-XX

A question for those of you from the greatest nation on the face of the earth...
You currently have the USAF procuring (and apparently already flying) the NGAD.
At the same time the USN is procuring the F/A-XX.
I get that when it comes to the Navy and Air Force there is intense rivalry - and that the last time someone tried a common jet design, it ended up with three variants and a huge sticker price.
But the combined cost of these two new programs must also be astronomical.
How does procurement in the US armed forces work on these mega projects?
Forgive the gross oversimplification, but do the heads of each service just say "...we're designing our own jet because the other guy's jet won't work for us..."
Does the Pentagon have any authority to reign each service in - or does that rest solely with Congress approving or not approving funding?

Last edited by Chock Puller; 12th Jan 2023 at 13:06. Reason: Profanity is not acceptable.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 08:42
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"Forgive the gross oversimplification, but do the heads of each service just say "...we're designing our own jet because the other guy's jet won't work for us..."

Yes and of course we have to provide a route for retired officers to get jobs in the aerospace industry

And remember the enemy of the USAF is not the Russians - its the US Navy
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 09:07
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
"Forgive the gross oversimplification, but do the heads of each service just say "...we're designing our own jet because the other guy's jet won't work for us..."

Yes and of course we have to provide a route for retired officers to get jobs in the aerospace industry

And remember the enemy of the USAF is not the Russians - its the US Navy
The inter-service rivalry between them is just - astonishing.
What I'm trying to understand is who bashes their heads together... is it Lloyd Austin?
Or procurement wise, are they just basically laws unto themselves - that can only be restrained by lawmakers refusing to give them any more cash?
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 10:03
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Originally Posted by tartare View Post
A question for those of you from the greatest nation on the face of the earth...
You currently have the USAF procuring (and apparently already flying) the NGAD.
At the same time the USN is procuring the F/A-XX.
I get that when it comes to the Navy and Air Force there is intense rivalry - and that the last time someone tried a common jet design, it ended up with three variants and a huge sticker price.
But the combined cost of these two new programs must also be astronomical.
How does procurement in the US armed forces work on these mega projects?
Forgive the gross oversimplification, but do the heads of each service just say "...we're designing our own jet because the other guy's jet won't work for us..."
Does the Pentagon have any authority to reign each service in - or does that rest solely with Congress approving or not approving funding?

You are talking 2 different aircraft, so first the overarching program is NGAD, the USAF fighter is PCA (penetrating counter air) and the USN is FA-XX program, NGAD also contains the skyborg program and probably stuff we dont know about

Both of them want different fighter USAF is looking at a large fighter with extreme combat ranges ( thousand plus nautical miles ) and [email protected] and all the bells and whistles basically rumors are saying its going to be between an F111 and a B-21 in size. USN is getting a smaller less fancy aircraft that can be flown of aircraft carrier

Last edited by Chock Puller; 12th Jan 2023 at 13:07. Reason: Removed profanity from quoted post. Profanity is not acceptable.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 10:24
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Originally Posted by tartare View Post
A question for those of you from the greatest nation on the face of the earth...
You currently have the USAF procuring (and apparently already flying) the NGAD.
At the same time the USN is procuring the F/A-XX.
I get that when it comes to the Navy and Air Force there is intense rivalry - and that the last time someone tried a common jet design, it ended up with three variants and a huge sticker price.
But the combined cost of these two new programs must also be astronomical.
How does procurement in the US armed forces work on these mega projects?
Forgive the gross oversimplification, but do the heads of each service just say "...we're designing our own jet because the other guy's jet won't work for us..."
Does the Pentagon have any authority to reign each service in - or does that rest solely with Congress approving or not approving funding?
An intriguing question for British posters....

Jack

Last edited by Chock Puller; 12th Jan 2023 at 13:08. Reason: Removed profanity from quoted post. Profanity is not acceptable.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 10:35
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The reason there are two programmes is that the requirements are different - and history has shown that trying to make one type fit both land-based and carrier-based is rarely successful. F111B is the poster-boy for that.

What that tends to suggest is that the airframes have to be different in both strength, low-speed response, approach characteristics etc and then you're into material resistance to seawater corrosion, sealants, EMI/EMC when in proximity to high-power emitters.

That doesn't stop you using common components in the design - engines (if materially compatible), radars, comms etc (see EMI/EMC), seats and so-forth. It's probably where you might find the most savings logistically, but the devil will be in the detail. Which is probably why most primes spent quite a bit of time re-inventing the wheel so to speak, because its sometimes quite difficult to prove that component X (acquired for an AF programme) meets all the requirements for operating off ships.

Not entirely sure in this case that the performance / role requirements are that different. The USN could really do with leggier jets than the SuperBug.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 13:49
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"and history has shown that trying to make one type fit both land-based and carrier-based is rarely successful."

that's sometimes correct but often the "other service" makes so many crazy demands for changes it turns out to be another aircraft all together - read Bill Gunstons "Jet Bombers" for the saga of the A3d Skywarrior/B66 Destroyer saga - they took out the wing fold, changed the profile and plan, changed the engine type, redesigned the slats and leading edge, took out the extra strength for carrier ops etc etc etc and finished up with an aircraft that did exactly the same things but was slightly faster. had shorter range and was 3 years later than if they'd just bought the Navy aircraft to start with
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 15:17
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Back to the original question, the services have input, but the political realities are often very complex, and often driving, factors. The US services do not seem to be the ones driving combined programs, it has usually come from higher in the organization, namely the Secretary of Defense and senior Pentagon managers, Congress and other pressures for jointness and perceived cost savings. If it were left to the services they would prefer aircraft that best suit their unique requirements. Cost realities do come into play, and the services sometimes realize that they need to bundle programs, and it would be cost prohibitive to have multiple programs going at once- and the fact that if a program gets to "too big to cancel" that might be better to have a "good enough" aircraft than no program at all. The services do provide requirements (often changing, often gold-plating) to the program offices for solitary or joint programs. Some requirements are complementary, many are not.

The joint F-111 was largely driven by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who as one derider noted "knew the cost of everything, and the value of nothing"

The jointness on the MV-22 Osprey (before the Army dropped out) was largely driven by a convoluted allegiance of senior DoD, congressional and industry partners. A later SecDef tried to cancel it, but got out maneuvered.

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) resulting in the F-35 was largely driven by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, and was a conglomeration of a dizzying array of JAST, CALF, MRF programs to replace various US, UK and allied airframes. There has been general acknowledgment that the diverse requirements for the A, B and C versions compromised each one, and continued arguments whether two or three different aircraft would have been better off after all. While the F-35 is maturing, I cant help but think that it was over compromised.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 21:44
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Originally Posted by Union Jack View Post
An intriguing question for British posters....

Jack
...posted with deep irony!
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 21:45
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Originally Posted by sandiego89 View Post
Back to the original question, the services have input, but the political realities are often very complex, and often driving, factors. The US services do not seem to be the ones driving combined programs, it has usually come from higher in the organization, namely the Secretary of Defense and senior Pentagon managers, Congress and other pressures for jointness and perceived cost savings. If it were left to the services they would prefer aircraft that best suit their unique requirements. Cost realities do come into play, and the services sometimes realize that they need to bundle programs, and it would be cost prohibitive to have multiple programs going at once- and the fact that if a program gets to "too big to cancel" that might be better to have a "good enough" aircraft than no program at all. The services do provide requirements (often changing, often gold-plating) to the program offices for solitary or joint programs. Some requirements are complementary, many are not.

The joint F-111 was largely driven by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who as one derider noted "knew the cost of everything, and the value of nothing"

The jointness on the MV-22 Osprey (before the Army dropped out) was largely driven by a convoluted allegiance of senior DoD, congressional and industry partners. A later SecDef tried to cancel it, but got out maneuvered.

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) resulting in the F-35 was largely driven by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, and was a conglomeration of a dizzying array of JAST, CALF, MRF programs to replace various US, UK and allied airframes. There has been general acknowledgment that the diverse requirements for the A, B and C versions compromised each one, and continued arguments whether two or three different aircraft would have been better off after all. While the F-35 is maturing, I cant help but think that it was over compromised.
Thank you - that was the kind of insight I was looking for.
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 01:03
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Salute!

Only two jets I can think of that had good use by the carriers and USAF were the F-4 variants and the A-7D or A-7E.

The new F-35 seems to be a player, especially with the Bee for the USMC and foreign customers.

Problems is roles and missions that determine the required capabilities of the planes as much as the politics.

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Old 13th Jan 2023, 02:03
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Here in the UK , the Navy & RAF made good use of the Buccaneer , but I think the RAF only got it as a result of TSR2 cancellation & us being too poor to buy the F-111.
Others will know more.
gums It ain’t a Jet but in your time in Vietnam , didn’t both the airforce & Navy use the Skyraider too?
Is this mainly a fixed wing difference in requirements?
Both seem to use quite a few of the same helicopters.
Whatever the rivalry , your kit budget seems bottomless!
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 04:22
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didnít both the airforce & Navy use the Skyraider too
They did, also the South Vietnamese Air Force. Like the F-4 and A-7, the A-1 was first designed and built as a naval aircraft.
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 08:10
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"the Navy & RAF made good use of the Buccaneer , but I think the RAF only got it as a result of TSR2 cancellation "

The RAF fought for years to avoid taking the Bucc. - it was only when it was that or nothing they relented
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 08:37
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Similar problems with the Wessex 2 v Wessex 5 when the RAF found they had to go to sea occasionally...
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 08:46
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It was only when Healey changed UK defence policy that the UK abandoned F-111K following the assassination of TSR-2 by the Wislon government, which assassination had earlier been aided and abetted by Mountbatten and Zuckerman...

The P.150 version of the Buccaneer which was proposed for the RAF in 1968 was considerably superior to the S.2, but Healey wouldn't hear of it... So the RAF had no option but to order the S2.

There was also the AFVG - but rather like P.1154, competing RAF and RN requirements put the kybosh on it - and the French pulled out of the programme too.
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 11:31
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"and history has shown that trying to make one type fit both land-based and carrier-based is rarely successful."
I'd say that's the exception rather than the rule. Everyone points to the F-111B, but conveniently forget the F-4, A-4, Buccaneer, F/A-18, Rafale, etc, that are all highly successful carrier and land-based aircraft.
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Old 13th Jan 2023, 11:52
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Originally Posted by melmothtw View Post
I'd say that's the exception rather than the rule. Everyone points to the F-111B, but conveniently forget the F-4, A-4, Buccaneer, F/A-18, Rafale, etc, that are all highly successful carrier and land-based aircraft.
I didn't want to highlight the common factor in those successful types, lest I be accused of bias.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 06:50
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Procurement of major weapon systems in the US Armed Forces is a complex process that involves multiple stakeholders, including the military services, Congress, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Each service has its own unique mission requirements and priorities, which can result in different procurement decisions and programs.

In the case of the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, the US Air Force (USAF) is responsible for procuring a new advanced air superiority fighter to replace its aging fleet of F-22 and F-35 aircraft.

Similarly, the Navy is procuring the F/A-XX program, which is a new advanced carrier-based fighter for the US Navy (USN) to replace their F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft.

It's true that the cost of these programs can be astronomical and the different services may have different requirements and priorities. This is why the OSD and Congress play a critical role in the procurement process to ensure that the programs align with the overall national defense strategy and are cost-effective.

The OSD is responsible for overseeing the procurement process and ensuring that the programs align with the National Defense Strategy. This includes working with the services to establish requirements, evaluating program proposals, and making recommendations to Congress on funding levels.

Congress also plays a critical role in the procurement process by approving funding for weapon systems and overseeing the program's execution. They also have the power to authorize, fund, or de-fund programs based on their priorities.

In summary, while each service has its own unique mission requirements and priorities, the procurement process is guided by the overall national defense strategy, and the OSD and Congress play a critical role in ensuring that the programs are cost-effective, align with the national defense strategy, and has appropriate funding.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 07:38
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well going the other way

Gladiator, Hurricane, Vampire, Hornet, Fury,.....................
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