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-   -   USN Seek F-35C Surrogate Training Aircraft (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/636982-usn-seek-f-35c-surrogate-training-aircraft.html)

ORAC 23rd Nov 2020 16:00

USN Seek F-35C Surrogate Training Aircraft
 
https://aviationweek.com/defense-spa...nov-20-26-2020

Navy May Seek New Training Aircraft

The U.S. Navy has approached industry to look at options for a surrogate training aircraft that could eventually double as an adversary platform.

A senior naval aviation official, speaking under Chatham House Rules in an online forum, said there was a growing need for a platform that was cheaper to fly than the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and could help pilots maintain their live flying hours. Such a platform would be multirole and adapted for use in the aggressor/adversary role.

“It is incredibly expensive to fly the F-35, and I don’t believe it will be significantly less expensive to fly Next-Generation Air Dominance for FA-XX,” the official said. “If we can find a platform that we can use as a surrogate, we may also have the ability to turn that platform into a potential adversary.”

The official said the Navy was working with the U.S. Air Force and studying what it was planning to do with its new Boeing T-7 Red Hawk jet trainer. The platform could also be adapted from one selected as the Navy’s T-45 Goshawk replacement as part of its Undergraduate Jet Training System program, the details of which emerged last spring.

The Navy is particularly eager to replace both the aging Northrop F-5 Tiger and legacy-model Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, which are still being used by aggressor units in the Navy. The legacy Hornets are due to be replaced by Super Hornets in 2021.

Due to the high cost of operating the platform, several international air forces have previously discussed the use of a surrogate platform as a way of maintaining flying hours for F-35 pilots. In 2015, the Netherlands was studying the Italian M-346 jet trainer for the task. But this plan appears to have fallen by the wayside.

OK465 23rd Nov 2020 17:01


It is incredibly expensive to fly the F-35
I thought that's what all those fancy super fidelity F-35 simulators with HLA combat scenario linking are for.

Asturias56 24th Nov 2020 07:35

More Hawks??

GeeRam 24th Nov 2020 07:58

If you can't afford to fly it, then you shouldn't be buying it........?


Reminds me of the guy I used to know that saved up to by a Porsche, for bragging rights down the pub, with his far richer mates, but he hardly ever drove it as when he was with his older normal mates (us) he was moaning all the time about how little it did to the gallon, how much it cost to insure and how much Porsche dealers charged to service it.....all things we had pointed out to him before he bought it, but didn't listen.

charliegolf 24th Nov 2020 08:36

2-seat Hunter?

CG

tdracer 24th Nov 2020 18:22

Wasn't the F-35 supposed to be the economical replacement?
By the time the USN (and congress) get done with it, any 'surrogate' aircraft that mimics the F-35 close enough to be a training replacement will cost twice as much to build and fly as the F-35...

Asturias56 25th Nov 2020 15:14

Sad but very, very true

Hueymeister 25th Nov 2020 17:40

Aeralis?
https://aeralis.com/

fallmonk 25th Nov 2020 20:29

Would grippen be a acceptable compromise,? one of its biggest selling points is its very low operating hours.
SAAB where proposing a sea grippen so that would suit the US Navy, training option.
its obviously able to do mixing up with other aircraft as its a current front line aircraft.

Just a question???

orca 26th Nov 2020 07:19

I honestly hate myself for saying this - but I now believe, after decades of cynicism, that synthetic is the answer. Pilots do not need hours - they need skills.
I get the emergency handling, poor weather, cockpit kinematic points I really do...but I suspect that most F-35 operators worldwide are flying a similar amount of hours. Some seem to have the vision, or maybe culture, to adopt a progressive stance on synthetics - others might not.
What I really don’t get is the notion of a surrogate...because other than the poor weather case - everything else will be different than the things you’re actually training for - won’t they?
In the case of the USN - will the surrogate be able to go to the boat? If not then the argument becomes a little more tenuous.

OK465 26th Nov 2020 18:02

Yes, the simulation capabilities these days are pretty impressive, and effective, to the extent that the only thing missing in modern devices is fear, although a clever, demanding instructor can instill that at times. :}

With the extensive use of the ultimately more economical contract adversary support these days, with all the podded capability to emulate just about anything, why a service operated T-7 or T-45 that you'd just hang a pod on to emulate something else anyway?

Foghorn Leghorn 26th Nov 2020 23:08


Originally Posted by orca (Post 10934931)
I honestly hate myself for saying this - but I now believe, after decades of cynicism, that synthetic is the answer. Pilots do not need hours - they need skills.
I get the emergency handling, poor weather, cockpit kinematic points I really do...but I suspect that most F-35 operators worldwide are flying a similar amount of hours. Some seem to have the vision, or maybe culture, to adopt a progressive stance on synthetics - others might not.
What I really don’t get is the notion of a surrogate...because other than the poor weather case - everything else will be different than the things you’re actually training for - won’t they?
In the case of the USN - will the surrogate be able to go to the boat? If not then the argument becomes a little more tenuous.

I’m yet to come across a current front line fighter pilot that thinks synthetics is the answer. It has its place in training, but it’s most definitely not the answer.

orca 27th Nov 2020 08:00

They wouldn’t - would they?😉

But to be clear I do believe that synthetics are the answer to skill fade attributed to pilot hours in primary war going platform being ‘lower than historical norms’.

I don’t believe in 100% synthetics.

Bob Viking 27th Nov 2020 15:31

Sim vs Real
 
My feeling is that, whilst we (and other Air Forces) have more than one platform, F35 should be a second tour.

A pilot that has built up a solid base as either a Creamie/FAIP or Typhoon (insert other type here) pilot will have a solid base of airmanship and then F35 is a great stepping stone. The lack of airborne hours will not matter so much then.

Obviously this is not an enduring solution (although it could be) and it does not mean that first tourist F35 pilots will not be perfectly capable but it does fill an obvious hole with regard to airborne experience.

Companion trainers are obviously not a new thing. They do not necessarily need to be identical to their companion. They just mean that people can get airborne and build up airmanship in a representative (fast jet) type.

It’s interesting that even a large Air Force can see the same problem that we have identified ourselves.

BV

Runaway Gun 28th Nov 2020 06:23

I thought the RAF was a large Air Force? ;)

Less Hair 28th Nov 2020 07:05

As there are quite a few (hundreds) early built F-35 with limited combat capabilities wouldn't they make for perfect training aircraft? Otherwise I'd pick something like a Pilatus PC-21 for the high g environment.

Ascend Charlie 28th Nov 2020 07:33

Having a different type for a surrogate will introduce errors due to muscle memory, different placement of instruments, different weapons capabilities, and so on. Simulators keep all the right stuff at their fingertips without the risk of dying. If they just want hours turning jet fuel into noise, use the F-16 or some smaller cheaper solution.

Easy Street 28th Nov 2020 08:43

According to this article on the T-38s used as companion trainer to the B-2, the difference between the aircraft is exactly the point as they are used for exercising different parts of the pilots’ skill set. Interesting that they make the (few) ab-initios fly 2.5 years in the T-38 before even touching a B-2, which speaks to BV’s point.

Sims will increasingly be the best way to carry out tactical training; the primary gaps I can see are physiological (tolerance to ‘g’, airsickness and disorientation) and general airmanship. The latter could potentially be overcome if the synthetic environment was made more realistic in terms of things like ATC, other ‘random’ traffic, radio chatter, weather, etc - today’s sims are a rather sterile environment where the focus is very much on the exercise.

Just This Once... 28th Nov 2020 15:05

My reservations on sim vs real flying is the artificial halo you can build around your true capability and readiness. In the universe championed by some air officers the aircrew stay sharp in the box and the support personnel practice their skills on training rigs, CBT, simulated workloads and time-coordinated maintenance.

But life isn't fair.

The sickening madness in not training as you fight will leave whole swathes of essential support elements unbloodied and untested. Steady-state manning of engineers and other support personnel will be chipped away in peacetime in the hope that it will be 'just like the modelling' come the surge to a near-peer conflict. On-the-job training and experience will atrophy, yet a state board of 'serviceable' (but not flown recently) aircraft will give a veneer of skills that may not prove to be much, come the inevitable. Chiselers and sycophants will keep their careers alive by papering over the cracks declaring readiness states and capabilities that would evaporate if actually tested. Aircraft with low hours and low cycle rate but increasing age will diverge from maintenance predictions. Latent failures that only manifest themselves during high cycle rates will remain latent and design issues will be overcome by the slack of peacetime ops, rather than designed-out during the early years.

A few years ago the then AOC 1Gp was struck dumb when it transpired that a deployed squadron had zero experience of an actual engine change. Phoning around the usual suspects revealed nobody currently in the RAF had completed one either. What should have been a routine event became a major hurdle, with contracts let and 'experience' bought in from the civilian world. During the engine change itself some impact damage was noted on one of the highly machined mating parts on the aircraft's engine mounts and wheel of faff was prodded along by the long-screwdriver of disbelief... "just how did we get here?".

As a parting shot from an ex-T&E chap I can only nod towards the recent F-35A accident where the 'aviate' bit for the pilot saw him make the correct final flying control input - full aft stick and hold, whilst selecting AB, to throw away a bad approach. It is what the book said to do and it also works just fine in the sim. Regrettably he became the accidental test pilot of that part of the flying control law envelope. Nobody has found a way to make a simulator truly representative; errors and omissions in FCS logic remain dormant until found and nobody consciously designs FCS flaws into the sim.

We need synthetics to cover the tactics and procedures that we may not be able to practice outside of a real shooting war. Using synthetics to save the last few % of through-life costs of a complicated weapon system is sheer folly. Those of us that preached from this book are easily dismissed as yesterday's men, but the future will not be so forgiving.






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