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YF-23, F-117, And The Future Of Fighter/bombers  
User currently offlinePanAm788 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 291 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10705 times:

Hello everyone! I have a proposal that I wanted to share. Unfortunately, I'm not sure its realistic today, but I'm not quite sure why it didn't happen.

We all know that the F-117 was a dedicated light bomber. It had a niche role in the air force that prved to be very useful in the two Gulf Wars. Today, it's retired and its role is essentially shared by the F-22 and F-15E. What I never understood is why the YF-23 Black Widow was never used to replace the Nighthawk (an F-123  Smile ). The YF-23 has better stealth than the F-22, is bigger (more payload), and can carry air to air missiles (the F-117 could, hypothetically too). It seems to me that this would be a perfect match. Obviously budget is the reason it wont happen today, but i think the DoD should have split the Raptor's contract and replaced the Nighthawk too. It would hav been perfect and now it seems we're missing a fighter/bomber that can perform the role of the F-117. Do you think an aircraft will be develpoed to fill this role?


heroes get remembered but legends never die
32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 10645 times:

These days in dangerous places unmanned vehicles hang around identifying tagets (and they already know where to look), determine target's exact location or point a laser and someone far away releases / shoots. Or the vehicle shoots itself.

User currently offlineEBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 10632 times:

Your idea regarding the YF-23 as a fighter-bomber is an interesting one and one that I hadn't even begun to consider. However, as the F-22A also has air-to-ground capabilities now, it's very unlikely we'll see the YF-23 project revived. Sure do like the way you think though. I've always liked the YF-23 and definitely wish it'd won the competition.


Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 10557 times:



Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 2):
I've always liked the YF-23 and definitely wish it'd won the competition.

Personally I liked the look of the YF-23 over the YF-22. Unfortanetly for Northrup looks don't win fly off's.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30877 posts, RR: 86
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 10544 times:
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The YF-23 was the stealthier and faster model, but the YF-22 had better maneuverability.

As to the YF-23 being a fighter-bomber, there have been rumored "black" projects like the A-17 or the "HARP" (High-Altitude Reconnaissance Platform) that were based on the YF-23.


User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 10533 times:



[Edited 2009-02-05 08:12:45]

User currently offlineTGIF From Sweden, joined Apr 2008, 276 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 10495 times:



Quoting PanAm788 (Thread starter):
It would hav been perfect and now it seems we're missing a fighter/bomber that can perform the role of the F-117. Do you think an aircraft will be develpoed to fill this role?

Isn't this were the F-35 would be a perfect fit? Similar range, similar payload (internally, in 'stealth mode') etc.

Personally, I'd love to see a F/B-23. That is one fine looking aircraft!


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30877 posts, RR: 86
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 10440 times:
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I would not be surprised if a variation on the FB-23 is what NG is providing for the new bomber RFP.

User currently offlineEBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10374 times:



Quoting Stitch (Reply 7):
I would not be surprised if a variation on the FB-23 is what NG is providing for the new bomber RFP.

I thought I had read the new bomber was to be subsonic. Reduce the engine power for the sake of longer range? Increase dimensions across the board to allow carriage of greater internal weapons load?



Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlineEBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10373 times:

Incidentally, where was that model photographed and what was the occassion? I had heard rumors of an F/B-23 but they seemed to be little more than speculation ... or wishful thinking. Is this a Northrop/Grumman produced model?


Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10138 times:

Why not simply bring back the FB-111, in an updated version (FB-111J?)? The tooling has not been scrapped, it is stored out at DM.

User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10131 times:



Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 9):
Incidentally, where was that model photographed and what was the occassion? I had heard rumors of an F/B-23 but they seemed to be little more than speculation ... or wishful thinking. Is this a Northrop/Grumman produced model?

Amusingly, the photo of the model FB-23 was on EBay for a short time before it was unceremoniously removed.


User currently offlineEBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 10056 times:



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
Why not simply bring back the FB-111, in an updated version (FB-111J?)? The tooling has not been scrapped, it is stored out at DM.

Personally, I never understood why the F-15E replaced the original F-111. I may be wrong but I don't believe the Eagle can do what the Aardvark can do in the fighter bomber role.



Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7119 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 10042 times:



Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 12):
Personally, I never understood why the F-15E replaced the original F-111.

Everyone wants new toys, the saying that if it ain't broke don't fix it does not apply to big boys and their toys. The mud hen was new, the Varks old, funny thing is in these hard economic times, one would think that you could restart Vark production cheaply, I'm willing to bet that it will be no cheaper than a new design, and take just as long to get to the forces, how? They will probably offer up new engines, stronger frames, improved avionics, more this, more that, etc. etc.

As for the F-117, it had to go to get more F-22's, by the time that project was ready to see the light of day, the unit cost made it unaffordable.

I like the notion of LM proposing a modified YF23 for the new tactical bomber, always thought they got screwed, note I said I thought.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30877 posts, RR: 86
Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 10029 times:
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Quoting Par13del (Reply 13):
I like the notion of LM proposing a modified YF23 for the new tactical bomber, always thought they got screwed, note I said I thought.

Lockheed-Martin and Boeing offered the YF-22, which won the fly-off and RFP.  Wink

Northrup-Grumman and McDonnell-Douglas offered the YF-23.

Now that Boeing owns McD, I wonder if NG can even offer something based on the YF-23?

Especially since Boeing is teaming with LM for the next bomber RFP.


User currently offlineTexL1649 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 295 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 10016 times:

The FB-111/F-15E mission is going to be taken over by UCAV's, and rightfully so.

Why spend $200MM (after over-runs/development) for a new generation fighter bomber (if the USAF could even get 150-200 of them), when you can spend about 1/4 that amount for smaller, stealthier higher-endurance UCAV's which can likely also defend themselves better, while delivering the JDAM's/bunker-busters just as well?


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7119 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 10003 times:



Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 15):
Why spend $200MM (after over-runs/development) for a new generation fighter bomber (if the USAF could even get 150-200 of them), when you can spend about 1/4 that amount for smaller, stealthier higher-endurance UCAV's which can likely also defend themselves better, while delivering the JDAM's/bunker-busters just as well?

Not sure how a UCAV can defend itself better than a manned platform, I thought the thinking was that a UCAV does not place a human at risk, or allows arm chair officers to get closer to the action while staying at home.  Smile

Here's a question, how much money was or is being spent developing the technology, what protections exist to protect the technology when the a/c is shot down, an enemy nation could gain valuable intel on the technology when one falls into their hands, be able to build theirs without the R&D.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 14):
Lockheed-Martin and Boeing offered the YF-22, which won the fly-off and RFP.

I stand humbly with my head bowed in shame  Smile


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30877 posts, RR: 86
Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 9999 times:
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Quoting Par13del (Reply 16):
Here's a question, how much money was or is being spent developing the technology...

Boeing has been pushing it hard since they lost the JSF program, since that pretty much means they're out of the manned fighter business once the F-15, F-18 and F-22 programs all successively wind down.


User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1846 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 9947 times:

Lockheed offered a larger version of the F-117 against Northrops B-2 as a stealth bomber for $200 million a copy. Northrop won out for a few good reasons and a lot of bad ones, and we wound up paying ten times the price per plane. (Admittedly more capable)
Now Lockheed is doing the same thing by offering a heavier version of the F-22 as the new bomber. Maybe it's time to quit spending 15 years and $20 billion on an entirely new platform every time they need a new plane.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 9932 times:



Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 18):
Northrop won out for a few good reasons and a lot of bad ones, and we wound up paying ten times the price per plane. (Admittedly more capable)

For a whole lot fewer of them than when the B-2 was planned, which is primarily responsible for the huge costs. That wouldn't have changed had Lockheed won the contract.


User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1846 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 9913 times:



Quoting Thorny (Reply 19):


Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 18):
Northrop won out for a few good reasons and a lot of bad ones, and we wound up paying ten times the price per plane. (Admittedly more capable)

For a whole lot fewer of them than when the B-2 was planned, which is primarily responsible for the huge costs

The development time and costs would have been a whole lot less. The faceted stealth technology was known and flying. The smooth Northrop design took an incredible amount of the computing capacity that was available back then. For the same 40 billion they spent on 20 B2s they probably would have gotten 100 BFF-117s. The original idea was to fit one standard rotary launcher in the bay, compared to the B-2s two launchers and the range would have been less, so it's not a 1-1 comparison.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 9864 times:



Quoting Par13del (Reply 16):
Not sure how a UCAV can defend itself better than a manned platform,

An aircrafts maneuvers are limited to how many Gs a pilot can handle... which is about 9G for short periods (IIRC). A UCAV would be limited to structural G load tolerance... which could be a fair bit higher than 9G. I'm sure you can imagine what a aircraft with thrust vectoring could do if it could exceed 9Gs in a turn in a dog fight or avoiding missiles.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7119 posts, RR: 8
Reply 22, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 9781 times:



Quoting Oroka (Reply 21):
An aircrafts maneuvers are limited to how many Gs a pilot can handle... which is about 9G for short periods (IIRC). A UCAV would be limited to structural G load tolerance... which could be a fair bit higher than 9G. I'm sure you can imagine what a aircraft with thrust vectoring could do if it could exceed 9Gs in a turn in a dog fight or avoiding missiles.

I agree that with high g flying a pilot is a limiting factor, the reason why I was not even thinking about that is because I don't believe that the sensors, camera's, sat. images etc. have improved to the point that the situational awareness of the UCAV operator matches that of a pilot in the cockpit.
When we start using UCAV's for fighter combat the operator will probably have to sit in something like a full fledged simulator, do they have anything approaching that in service now for the Predators?


User currently offlineTexL1649 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 295 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 9764 times:

Predators are the equivalent of the Wright flyer for UCAV's.

If an airplane is smaller, it's harder to shoot down/spot, in addition to the maneuverability stuff.

It will be comical when we get the first "desk ace."


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 9620 times:

In addition to the high G loads, a computer (under human guidance) would be much more aware of the overall threat picture. Information would be transfered and instantly added into the massive piles of data, immediately acknowledged and understood by the UCAV. The time it would take for a pilot to receive the new info, figure out how it fits into what is going on, and how to respond would be eliminated.

IMO when the next BIG conflict breaks out (China vs the West), it will be a numbers game. If air force tech stayed as it is now, you would get a swarm of Chinese J-10s on a few F-22s. A flight of UCAVs with a few F-22s would clean up pretty easily. The UCAVs would all know what everyone else is doing, who is targeting what, and what opportunities could be had by doing thousands of simulations of the fight in a second. The F-22 pilots would just hang back and watch the fight and keep executive control over the UCAVs.


Not only would the UCAVs have superior maneuvering, but also superior situational awareness, and the advantage of running simulations. These advantages would quickly overwhelm a opposing fighter group and they (the baddies) would start making fatal mistakes.


25 Post contains links Keesje : Now with if the technological gab is small / non existant and they still have many more? That would kick us out of our comfort zone.. http://img222.i
26 Oroka : Even if the PLAAF had their own F-22s, a UCAV with F-22 technology would still be superior. China will not field a 5th generation fighter of F-22 qua
27 Acheron : And you know this because...? Or is this just another case of "East sux, west ruls. We are awesum!!!11" so common nowadays in military forums all ove
28 Oroka : Wow... that was quite the reply. No, it is a case of "oh, China cant produce a domestic engine design of their own to match what they are getting fro
29 ThePointblank : The Chinese are more than capable of indigenous production of the J-11; their current version, the J-11B uses a Chinese weapons outfit, Chinese avion
30 Oroka : Then why are they dependent on a Russian engine for the J-10? The 'current version' of the J-11 is the knock off which only a few were built, AND the
31 ThePointblank : Because rule number 1 about designing a successful aircraft is to either have a mature airframe with a new engine, or a mature engine on a new airfra
32 Oroka : I did read that the J-8 had both MiG-21 and SU-15 influences, but really that is speculation and sources 30 years after the fact. When it comes down
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