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New Air Fighters After 2030, Any Pilot?  
User currently offlineolle From Sweden, joined Feb 2007, 268 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6201 times:

Dear All;

With the very fast development of drones what will happen with the very expensive fighter concept as we see it today?

Will 80 - 90% of the fleets be drones when the current airfighter fleets ends it funcional life span?

Would US had invested so much in the F35 concept if they saw the developments of the drones in mid 1990s as we see it today?

BR

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15693 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 6132 times:

If you want unmanned fighters by 2030, you'll have to have a flying prototype in the next five years or so and I doubt that will happen. Maybe some black projects are significantly further along than things we've seen up until now, but it would be a great leap.

I think we'll see one more generation of manned fighters, but the most advanced ones (US and European probably, maybe Russian, but they seem to be lagging on the unmanned thing) will be designed with systems architecture to either operate autonomously on some missions or have a future unmanned variant.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1661 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6092 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
If you want unmanned fighters by 2030, you'll have to have a flying prototype in the next five years or so and I doubt that will happen. Maybe some black projects are significantly further along than things we've seen up until now, but it would be a great leap.

I think we'll see one more generation of manned fighters, but the most advanced ones (US and European probably, maybe Russian, but they seem to be lagging on the unmanned thing) will be designed with systems architecture to either operate autonomously on some missions or have a future unmanned variant.

In addition, the infrastructure to support UAV's need to be dramatically expanded, such as the need for more satellite bandwidth. Also, there are major concerns about of completely autonomous UAV's dropping bombs and shooting missiles due to the many known technical issues with artificial intelligence.

I agree that we will see another generation of fighters developed, and maybe that generation will have the capability of being optionally manned.


User currently offlineolle From Sweden, joined Feb 2007, 268 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5909 times:

In a swedish technical newspaper SAAB writes about that they consider a future Gripen version without Pilot:

Sorry in Swedish;

http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/fordo..._motor/flygplan/article3519936.ece

fast google translation:

It's probably technically possible to build on the JAS 39 Gripen to an unmanned version. It confirms the manufacturer Saab AB, in a comment on Ny Teknik revealing today.

Gripen manufacturer Saab AB did not previously comment Note investigation on a future unmanned Super-Jas (the next generation of the system). But after Ny Teknik revealing today confirms that participated in discussions about developing the plane to a driverless version.

The company sees no major technical obstacles to implementing such conversion projects.

-JAS 39 Gripen system is basically done to further development. As we see it, it would probably be technically possible to build on the plane, said Sebastian Carlsson, Saab's new press officer who previously worked for the Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt Prime Minister.

He stresses that the company is in the current situation does not have a mandate to develop the plane, or the study of such a development.

-We have no such orders from any customer. But we see, of course, that such systems are likely to be part of a country's air defenses in the future and think it's funny that they are noticed, says Sebastian Carlsson.

Chief imagines that the unmanned plane - like manned Gripen - will be able to switch between fighter, attack and reconnaissance.

-In the future, probably manned and unmanned systems exist side by side. But the backbone of an air defense will continue to be manned Gripen, notes Sebastian Carlsson.

Although he looks, like Supreme Commander and other experts, however, technical challenges ahead because an unmanned Gripen must be integrated into and work with, for example air traffic control and battle management systems.

Saab is working in the short term, mainly by unmanned monitoring system, said Sebastian Carlsson.

Since manufactures the much smaller unmanne


User currently offlineolle From Sweden, joined Feb 2007, 268 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5905 times:

Since manufactures the much smaller unmanned helicopter variant Skeldar. And as a New Technology told last summer studying now also prerequisites to build a larger unmanned planes for reconnaissance and intelligence missions. The latter is described to be the same size as the Gripen, but is described based on a different aircraft construction.

Previously the company involved in the development of European military drone Neuron.


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5818 times:

6th gen fighters will be 'optionally' piloted. Meaning, they may have a cockpit, but can be used as a UAV/UCAV. They may even have removable cockpit modules to save weight or give additional fuel capacity.


I see a flight of fighters going out, 1-2 are manned, the remainder are UCAV. Whether remotely operated or autonomous in command and control by the manned fighters... that is to be seen. It is conceivable to think that a flight of 6th gen unmanned fighters being controlled by an AWACS or even a B-1R missile truck hanging way in the rear.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 5676 times:

At some point, we won't use fighters anymore at all. Like the canon ball, at some point they are not very useful anymore. Unless the military industrial complex keeps selling politicians expensive junk, much to the joy of any possible enemies.

Take the Navy air fleet for instance.

Modern AIP powered subs can now easily penetrate aircraft carrier groups. Even the Song class Chinese sub did this in 2006, while shadowing the USS Kitty Hawk. It surfaced close by the Kity Hawk and surprised the US NAVY during an exercise in 2006 off Okinawa. A Swedish sub design has been leased by the US Navy and operated from San Diego to see how they can defend against this. The lease was extended by 1 more year.

these new subs are very small and quiet, their propulsion emits no vibrations, have sonar absorbing exteriors, no heat signature and use non-magnetic exterior metal - that makes them almost impossible to detect. They can stay submerged for weeks and can go up to 20 knots submerged. By these standards, our Nuclear subs are dinosaurs and loud, not to mention huge and expensive. Yes the US subs are faster and can stay under for longer, but also more detectable and cost many times more. A carrier battle group consists of a Los Angeles class nuclear attack sub and it was not able to detect the Chinese sub in 2006, so that's no good.

So where are the manned US Navy planes supposed to land on, given this threat? At the very least it would force the carriers waaaay off shore - too far away to be practical for manned carrier based aircraft of today and even tomorrow to do any good.

Secondly, consider against whom would we send fighters out against? If we really feared an attack, we could best defend with patrols of UAVs guided by AWACS type planes or ground stations and tightly knitted air defenses based on the ground or at sea. Fighters have too short a range and are too slow, even if they super cruise at MACH 2. Fighters can not shoot down a MACH 4-5 missile fired from an enemy platform, while ground based missiles can.

9/11 is a good example. No fighter was in range or within time of the 9/11 aircraft - an airliner traveling at subsonic speeds - even using full afterburners. Mach 4 - 5 missiles, no chance.

We're fighting like it's WW2. Today, fighters can not defend against Mach 4-5 Missiles fired from hundreds if not thousands of miles away nor numerically superior stealth drones and numerous stealth cruise missiles fired simultaneously or AIP stealth subs sinking large ships and subs.

We need to defend against the threats that are in fact there today and tomorrow, not the ones of yesteryear. If we waste all our resources on the wrong threats we will be vulnerable, no matter how much we spend.

So to answer the OP, if we do this right, in the future there will be no manned fighters anymore after 2030. UCAVS have longer ranges, longer loiter times, are more stealthy and cheaper on all metrics and can be sent on one way missions if needed. Being far cheaper, they can be more numerous and defend a larger area than a few very expensive planes. There is just no contest on the military capabilities a country can get using UCAVS.

For the US Navy, the matter is even more pressing, due to the threat the carriers are exposed to by enemy UCAVS, missiles and AIP powered subs. That's why they are going full tilt with UCAVS, including tests with the X-47B and looking into the future to operate modern capable UCAVS.

[Edited 2013-02-20 14:04:28]

[Edited 2013-02-20 14:14:03]

User currently offlineolle From Sweden, joined Feb 2007, 268 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5553 times:

The swedish defence, navy airforce and coastal army has been made for giving the Soviet invasion fleet a gauntlet run if they tried to get to Sweden.

Submarines east of Gotland, Then the E1, the attack airforce of Sweden together with a high tech navy west of gotland and hope fully there was nothing to take care of for the army north and south of Stockholm.

Sweden did not consider to use the airforce for the harbours in east baltics because to high losses was expected, after the atomic bomb projects was abandoned late 60s. Instead USA promised to do this job in case of such crises.

Today with drones or gripen with unmanned versions could come back doing this, but the question is the cost. The last RB15 has more or lett cruise missile capabilities and the investment is already done.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4215 times:

http://defensetech.org/2013/05/06/vi...utes-shore-based-arrested-landing/

X-47B is making trap landings on land and will do so on the USS Harry S. Truman by the end of this month, beating the F-35 to that mile stone. This reality is much closer than anyone thinks, IMHO.

I think that if this technology continues development at this speed, the US Navy will not order many F-35s. Instead they'll get unmanned bombers based on this technology, because they're cheaper and more capable in every metric over the F-35 including range and stealth - all at the same time.

Basically it's the Navy's mini B-2, operating from Carriers.
Just my opinion.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1661 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 2 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4186 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 8):
X-47B is making trap landings on land and will do so on the USS Harry S. Truman by the end of this month, beating the F-35 to that mile stone. This reality is much closer than anyone thinks, IMHO.

FYI, the carrier based testing for F-35C was pushed out due to Sequestration. Originally, testing was supposed to happen this year.

The X-47B is only a proof of concept aircraft. The X-47B will need major redesign in order for it to see service, namely, inclusion of folding wings for carrier storage among other things. The prototype doesn't have folding wings and this, from what I hear on the grapevine, resulted in the X-47B being a very troublesome aircraft to handle in the hangar the last time it went to sea.

Furthermore, sustained UCAV operations onboard the carriers will require the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS). F-35 and any new UCAV won't work with the existing radar-based autoland and air traffic management systems onboard the carriers because of their reduced radar signature.

The Navy's efforts in a UCAV are focused in UCLASS, and that project is expected to go through the competition phase sometime between 2018 and 2020, so still, a long way's off.


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4142 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 8):
I think that if this technology continues development at this speed, the US Navy will not order many F-35s.

Big UCAVs are a loooooong way from being a viable weapon platform, especially for the USN. Other than making the thing fly and land... keeping it in your control seems to be something to look at a little harder, Iran has a pretty nice RQ-170 in their invintory.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (1 year 2 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4129 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 9):
FYI, the carrier based testing for F-35C was pushed out due to Sequestration.

I thought the F-35 program had all the money it needed for now and was not affected:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...aid-to-be-unscathed-in-budget.html

Lockheed’s Troubled F-35 Unscathed in Pentagon’s Budget


Does anyone know when the F-35 will do a carrier landing? Is it even scheduled?

Anyway, talking about the UCAVs, of course the X-47B is not a combat design. Any combat models will be up to Navy specs. Impressive is the speed of development and the low cost. If the Navy can get a UCAV by 2020, that is about the same time frame as the F-35 will be fully combat ready and able to build fully combat capable versions.

2018 is the time horizon, beating the F-35 onto carriers:

“We remain committed to getting a squadron of UCLASS (Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System) on board an aircraft carrier by 2018,” said Roughead. “I would say if you are a young Sailor coming into naval aviation today you are looking at an entirely new fleet.”

Read more: http://www.defencetalk.com/ucavs-on-...ays-usn-chief-34275/#ixzz2Sx0ghrnj


User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2293 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (1 year 2 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4102 times:
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Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 9):
The X-47B is only a proof of concept aircraft. The X-47B will need major redesign in order for it to see service, namely, inclusion of folding wings for carrier storage among other things. The prototype doesn't have folding wings and this, from what I hear on the grapevine, resulted in the X-47B being a very troublesome aircraft to handle in the hangar the last time it went to sea.

FWIW, even without the wing fold, the X-47B has only a slightly larger footprint than an F-18, albeit turned 90 degrees. So storage should not be too much of an issue, although movement would be. Although if it came to it, rigging something so you could rotate the mains 90 degrees (assuming the nose gear can already turn 90 degrees) so you can move the thing sideways would probably be simpler and lighter than the wing fold.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1661 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 2 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4090 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 11):

Does anyone know when the F-35 will do a carrier landing? Is it even scheduled?

It was supposed to be late 2013, but the new date is expected to be in early 2014.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 11):
2018 is the time horizon, beating the F-35 onto carriers:

2018-2020 is the date expected for SELECTION, not deliveries. It will be many more years after that before anything from UCLASS will make it into carrier service.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 11):
“We remain committed to getting a squadron of UCLASS (Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System) on board an aircraft carrier by 2018,” said Roughead. “I would say if you are a young Sailor coming into naval aviation today you are looking at an entirely new fleet.”

That's from 2 years ago. Plans have changed due to budget.

FYI, the X-47B or a derivative is not even considered to be a front runner in the UCLASS programme. The leading contender is from Lockheed Martin. They are working on a advanced drone that combines technology and components from the F-35 in with the RQ-170 drone. Boeing and General Atomics round out the quartet of competitors for UCLASS.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 11):
Impressive is the speed of development and the low cost.

I will note that all of the competitor's are using or modifying existing drones or concepts. A derivative is cheaper and easier to develop than whole new design.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (1 year 2 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3936 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
The leading contender is from Lockheed Martin.

Says who? You? They only announced their concept on April 09, 2013. Just like I am still waiting for Singapore to order the F-35 - I suggest you divorce your personal bias from reality and realize they are two different things.

[Edited 2013-05-12 00:01:01]

User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1661 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 2 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3900 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 14):
Says who? You?

There's a couple of articles regarding the topic, including one from Business Insider, which acknowledge that Lockheed Martin has a technical edge because unlike any of the other competitors, their base design, the RQ-170 Sentinel, is already in service with the US military. And it is the only semi-stealthy, jet-powered UAV in operational service with any military today.

There is no edge for Northrop Grumman as the Navy has already announced that they are going to competitively bid here, and make available government-owned technology from the X-47B to all competitors. Lockheed, of all of the competitors has the most to gain here as they have already a technical and experience edge over their competitors by virtue of having the base design already in service for a number of years.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 14):
They only announced their concept on April 09, 2013.

Lockheed's concept was known as the 'Sea Ghost', and the general details were known well prior to April 2013. As early as the middle of 2012 did Lockheed Martin make available some details regarding what they were proposing.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (1 year 2 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3832 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 15):
There is no edge for Northrop Grumman

- Other than their jet is the one making the trap landings

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 15):
and make available government-owned technology from the X-47B to all competitors

- Not all technology on the X-47B belongs to the NAVY

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 15):
Lockheed, of all of the competitors has the most to gain

- The others have just as much to gain

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 15):
And it is the only semi-stealthy, jet-powered UAV in operational service with any military today.

- I think you are forgetting the X-47B. While not operational, it's not meant to be. The Global Hawk, while not stealthy, is another jet powered UCAS in service. Other UCAS are also in operation made by others, in have been extremely successful in operation. Jet or turboprop powered is not relevant, IMHO, as that alone is no real challenge to a manufacturer these days.

Northrop's experience with stealth technology goes all the way back to the B-2 they developed. From what I can tell, the B-2 is the stealthiest manned plane ever built. And the X-47B looks like a mini B-2 to me.

Technologically, I think several contractors can develop a competent frame and system for the US Navy very quickly. They all have the capability, IMHO.

However, I think and I hope that the US Navy will consider other metrics here as well, like: program management track records, past ability to develop on time and on budget, proposed costs, contract type (fixed cost) and probably other program related items. Lockheed would have a severe disadvantage in those departments, IMHO. Because recently they've bungled too many project, including the F-35 and LCS Navy ship, for them to say with a straight face that they're the best in the business on those metrics, IMHO.

I would also question the conflict of interest for Lockheed by developing a platform that would compete against their own F-35 in certain key areas. That alone would be a reason for me to select another contractor for this.



[Edited 2013-05-12 12:08:43]

User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1661 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 2 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3827 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 16):
- Other than their jet is the one making the trap landings

Their design requires major redesign for full carrier suitability, or for any sort of capability.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 16):
- Not all technology on the X-47B belongs to the NAVY

Lots of it is. Technology from the X-47B, includes government-owned hardware, software and aircraft-ship interfaces.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 16):
Technologically, I think several contractors can develop a competent frame and system for the US Navy very quickly. They all have the capability, IMHO.

Not just an airframe, but it is the associated systems that matter. The UCLASS programme consist of an air segment, which includes the air vehicle, ISR hardware and remote vehicle control system. But the UCLASS would also include a control system and connectivity segment that would be able to link to other US military assets and a carrier segment for shipboard interfaces, shipboard facilities and aircraft launch/recovery apparatus.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (1 year 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3639 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 9):
The X-47B will need major redesign in order for it to see service, namely, inclusion of folding wings for carrier storage among other things. The prototype doesn't have folding wings and this, from what I hear on the grapevine, resulted in the X-47B being a very troublesome aircraft to handle in the hangar the last time it went to sea.

Where on earth do you get your information from? Or are you just making stuff up?

X-47B Folding Wings


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