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What Took The F-22 So Long To Enter Service?  
User currently offlineAfrikaskyes From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 141 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6805 times:

Maiden flight in 1990. Entered serivce in 2005? What took so long to get this bird active? Was it developmental issues?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6795 times:

Quoting Afrikaskyes (Thread starter):
Maiden flight in 1990. Entered serivce in 2005? What took so long to get this bird active? Was it developmental issues?

If you look at the French Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon programs, both of them started out as technology demonstrators in the late 80's or early 90's. Rafale M (navy version) entered service a couple of years ago and Rafale B and C just did enter service this year. Likewise the Typhoon just did go into service with an operational RAF squadron this year. Advanced technology takes time to develop.



Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlinePtrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6786 times:

Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 1):

Yes, it's nothing unusal these days. But it's amazing to remember that the P-51 Mustang, likewise an aerodynamic marvel in its day, was designed and built in just a couple of (war) months - without computer aids.

The very long development time is very much what makes modern combat aircraft virtually unaffordable I think.

Peter Smile



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineMigfan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6785 times:

There is a BIG difference between a P-51 and the F-22...

/M


User currently offlineAislepathLight From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 562 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6765 times:

Quoting Migfan (Reply 3):
There is a BIG difference between a P-51 and the F-22...

Yeah, but he was making the point that only 60 years ago, possibly the most world changing piston engined fighter took less than a year to build, not comparing or saying they were similar in any way (save their greatness).



"We have slain a large dragon, but we now live in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes."
User currently offlinePtrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6761 times:

Quoting Migfan (Reply 3):
There is a BIG difference between a P-51 and the F-22...

Really?  

If it comforts you, let's not take this stealth aircraft but the Eurofighter as an example. There's nothing radically new about that aircraft - just an extrapolating and combining of known techniques if you ask me.
WHY does that take TWENTY or so years develop, when you have supercomputers to do the number-crunching?

[Edited 2006-07-23 23:28:57]


The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineAislepathLight From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 562 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days ago) and read 6749 times:

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 5):
WHY does that take TWENTY or so years develop, when you have supercomputers to do the number-crunching?

You gotta remember that this a European Consortium, which never work well together. Also, you have many suppily chains which complicate everything further. Lastly, there is not the real rush that there would be if there was a war going on.



"We have slain a large dragon, but we now live in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes."
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7760 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days ago) and read 6746 times:

I'd suspect that money in large part is responsible for the speed of weapon systems development these days. That an committment from a state/military interest for the program.

Obviously w/ the P-51 there was considerable need for a long-ranged and versitile fighter/escort aircraft during WWII... the survivability of bomber crews over Europe hinged upon that. With considerable need, and likely considerable resources for the day, pushed the planes development considerably.

With the F-22 project the level of committment to the project by the air force, congress, etc has varied over the past decade and a half. Some folks claimed it wasn't needed, some did, production numbers get cut... all these external factors seem to have a very profound impact on a project. If the politicians and the brass weren't involved the engineers, designers, and end-users of the weapon could likely get it from design to in-service much faster.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineCTR From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 303 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6720 times:

In 1990 the YF-22 Prototype had it's maiden flight. The Lockheed YF-22 may look like the Production F-22. But what is under the skin is completely different.

The YF-22 had none of the advanced avionics of the F-22. The YF-22 airframe was designed without any real regard to fatigue life since it only needed to fly a few hundred hours. Most of the YF-22 vendor parts (landing gear, actuators, etc) were modified versions of existing parts that also had very short expected life.

In brief, there is a big difference between a proto and a prod aircraft. Not to mention the infrastructure (tooling, buildings, training) that needs to be created to build a production aircraft.

Have fun,

CTR



Aircraft design is just one big compromise,,,
User currently offlineMigfan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6705 times:

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 5):
WHY does that take TWENTY or so years develop, when you have supercomputers to do the number-crunching?

The Eurofighter is a multi-national project, the P-51 was a US venture, although the Brits saved it with the Merlin engine. It is kind of like four people in a car, only one can drive at a time. That is the problem with multi-national projects. IMO the Eurofighter sucks, it is alot of BS for little return. That is just my opinion. I would place myself an F/A-18E over that.

I think a good pilot in an F-15C could do the job, just my opinion...

/M


User currently offlineRAPCON From Puerto Rico, joined Jul 2006, 671 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6701 times:

Quoting Migfan (Reply 3):
There is a BIG difference between a P-51 and the F-22...

Understatement of the year!!!

The biggest problem the F22 had was that its actual mission had to be justified to Congress vis-a-vis the decrease threat situation of the 90's. Things have changed, and the budget faucet was opened for the F22. The Typhoon saw a dramatic decrease in orders and was almost cancelled. The F22's initial procurement maybe small, but it will more than likely replace USAF F15's on a airframe by airframe basis. Just wait and watch Congress work it's "magic"!



MODS CAN'T STOP ME....THEY CAN ONLY HOPE TO CONTAIN ME!!!
User currently offlinePtrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 6687 times:

The reasons you're giving why it takes so long all make sense I suppose...
Still, I think the manufactures could do it much, much quicker and cheaper when given a deadline, and could still come up with competent aircraft like they could in the past.
However, it will be true for years to come that

Quoting Migfan (Reply 9):
a good pilot in an F-15C could do the job

and that's probably why the development of new aircraft can only be justified when they're considered perfect.

Quoting AislepathLight (Reply 4):
(save their greatness).

Although it may be considered perfect, the F-22 is far too green to have achieved greatness.

Quoting Migfan (Reply 9):
the P-51 was a US venture

No, it was not. It was designed only for the British, without whom it would not have been. But of course, there was a minimum of red tape in 1940.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineScouseflyer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2006, 3383 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6595 times:

I attended a conferance where one of the speakers was a chap who helped gather the original requirements for the F22.

They started with a vision that was something like "To make the baddest, fastest, most manourverable fighter jet that will leave holes in the sky where the bad guys used to be"

and from that they identified, catalogued and prioritised 6 million separare requirements - that's why it took so long to go into service.


User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6534 times:

Perhaps it would be more instructive to compare airliner development to fighter development. There are fewer government issues in airliner development....

User currently offlineBoeing4ever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 week 2 days ago) and read 6497 times:

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 11):
Still, I think the manufactures could do it much, much quicker and cheaper when given a deadline, and could still come up with competent aircraft like they could in the past.

I'm working as an intern for the summer for an aircraft parts supplier. This company is responsible for fabrication of aircraft components on a variety of programs...F-22 included. Currently, we are working on getting F-35 Lightning II (JSF) parts out the door.

Let me assure you, with gee-whizz computer modeling (CATIA), and number crunching, the demand for perfection only increases. And of course, the computerization of the industry only adds to the complexity. This means engineers have to do more to ensure a quality, competative product.

Take the NC group for example...they use Lockheed engineering models of JSF parts to write computer code for the NC machines that will actually cut metal. And for some of these parts...that takes time, skill, and more time. A small change to the engineering model can completely throw an NC program into disarry. Let's not forget that with the advent of CATIA, Solid Works, Pro-E, and other CAD/CAM software packages, the tolerances that we have to work with are shrinking.

Don't kid yourself...just because we've had powered flight for 103 years now, doesn't mean that designing an airplane has gotten any easier. Tight competition, customer demand, and advancing technology have made it challenging at best.

If you want a whizz-bang fighter like the F-22, you gotta have patience...lots of it.

And everything I just described are but a small taste of the challenges on the MANUFACTURING side alone. How about say R & D?

 airplane B4e-Forever New Frontiers airplane 


User currently offlineTexfly101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6487 times:

The F-22 is probably one of the most computer intensive airplanes to have ever flown. Millions of lines of code...Every piece of equipment has to be validated in test first, then in flight. And all that equipment has to be written into the code for both its job, and its maintenance. So its as much a computer engineering project as it is an aerodynamic project. Add in that its capable of super cruise and you have a very complex animal that is just has to be checked, revised, checked again, revised again, before finally being released for production.
So the Air Force and Lockheed's approach to this is a modular building block approach. Start with the basics, get it off the ground and flying, then add in functionality. All the while, revising the code to stay current and eliminating bugs. Its at least two years for each block of development. And to add another time eating aspect, they had to develop test methodologies, maintenance equipment, and acceptance regimes for all this. A wonderful airplane, but maybe one that its mission, like the battleships of WWII, has been left in the rear view mirror.


User currently offlinePtrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6483 times:

Quoting Cloudy (Reply 13):
Perhaps it would be more instructive to compare airliner development to fighter development. There are fewer government issues in airliner development....

Interesting point. These days, a large airliner is developed rather quicker than a fighter, which certainly wasn't true in the past.

However, your posts have convinced me that the problems for cutting-edge combat aircraft are really technical in nature and not just red tape.

Which doesn't mean that engineers and generals need not worry about the very long, cost-escalating development times, because chances are you'll produce

Quoting Texfly101 (Reply 15):
A wonderful airplane, but maybe one that its mission, like the battleships of WWII, has been left in the rear view mirror.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2098 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6413 times:

The P-51 comparison may be a bit off, but what I've always been baffled by is if you compare the F-22's development time to that of let's say the SR-71 family. The Blackbird was certainly as revolutionary and groundbreaking as the 22, several things from tires to fuel had to be invented just for the extreme heats sustained by the flight, there still isn't a piloted air breathing plane that is faster and yet it went from a mere thought to flying in 3 years... without the benefit of computers at all.

I know the F-22 is an outstanding aircraft and I realize some of the reasons for disparity in gestation times (such as Kelly Johnsons Skunk Works brilliance, pretty much autonomous operation, limitless budget, etc) but it still is humbling to see how quick we could push out a totally new technology that was tremendously successful back that long ago. They would have never believed 40 years in the future it would take 15 years for a fighter to go from first flight to service.

For the Blackbird example I'm going from memory that I believe they came up with the design in 1959 and the A-12 first flew in 62, the SR in 64, just an fyi.



Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlinePtrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6407 times:

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 17):
but it still is humbling to see how quick we could push out a totally new technology that was tremendously successful back that long ago. They would have never believed 40 years in the future it would take 15 years for a fighter to go from first flight to service.

The Apollo/Moon programme is an even more incredible example of this. A man on the moon 'before this decade is out'..! Yes, admittedly with a limitedless budget.

Now, there's talk of going to the moon again, but merely RETURNING there will take far LONGER... and I have a feeling that this would be true even with a limitedless budget, and even if it were done in a crude sort of way (short of copying Apollo).
No matter what you'd tell them, project managers these days would always identify

Quoting Scouseflyer (Reply 12):
6 million separare requirements

that needed to be researched at length. before anything could be done...

One gets the feeling that maybe the Chinese could do it, thanks to cruder technology...



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineDeltaDC9 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 2844 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 6344 times:

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 2):
Yes, it's nothing unusal these days. But it's amazing to remember that the P-51 Mustang, likewise an aerodynamic marvel in its day, was designed and built in just a couple of (war) months - without computer aids.

Here is the P-51 timeline.

9/9/1940 Demonstrator ready after 102 days, and yes that is amazing, but it crashed was repaired, and was joined by the First Mustang I a couple months later

8/24/1941 First XP-51 off production line arrives for testing

It took until Mid 1944 to see significant replacement of other types of fighters

So it really was not two months. More like 4 years to be at the same place the F-22 has taken 15 to get to.

But your point is still valid.



Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
User currently offlinePtrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 6328 times:

Quoting DeltaDC9 (Reply 19):

Scott,

Good point - the P-51 took more than a few months to enter service. However, remember that it first saw service with the RAF - the Mustang Mk I entered squadron service (which is where the F-22 is now) in April 1942 (and saw combat one month later). So it took two years, not four.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineDeltaDC9 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 2844 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6291 times:

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 20):
Good point - the P-51 took more than a few months to enter service. However, remember that it first saw service with the RAF - the Mustang Mk I entered squadron service (which is where the F-22 is now) in April 1942 (and saw combat one month later). So it took two years, not four.

I will give you that, I was looking at it from the point of "significant numbers" which was much later.

To me 50 F-22s is a very significant number, thats more than all the F-117s. 50 Mustangs in WWII was a drop in the bucket. 1 F-22 probably equals a whole wing of Mustangs so a plane for plane comparison is hard.

Another issue is that we are in no hurry to put the F-22 in combat, so that makes a comparison in timelines difficult. The Mustang was desperately needed and was put in prematurely by many accounts. The F-22 may not see combat until the next conflict, whatever that may be.

Just goes to show you that events can be interpreted in many different but accurate ways.



Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
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