estorilm
Posts: 709
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:07 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:32 pm

They must know something we don't, and it's gotta be China as Russia continue to struggle matching technologies the US have had operational for a few decades now.

I thought the general consensus was that there weren't too many advantages to developing the NGAD platform currently? Engine tech could certainly give you some more range... it could be lighter. What else though?

I would expect a shape optimized more for speed and stealth like the YF-23 (or a complete delta even) without cruciform tails, but that'd hit the maneuvering performance hard. I personally don't believe in WVR engagements, but I can promise the internet would lose their minds talking about how it couldn't dogfight lol!

I don't see how the platform can excel at BVR / stealth / speed and retain stellar super-maneuverability. It's pretty much gotta go. The only exception would be to rely on 3D vectored thrust as principal attitude control versus supplemental.

Unfortunately we probably won't hear a peep about this thing till it's unveiled - I still can't believe the secrecy surrounding the B-21. I wonder if Northrop would get the contract?
 
DigitalSea
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:42 pm

estorilm wrote:
I don't see how the platform can excel at BVR / stealth / speed and retain stellar super-maneuverability. It's pretty much gotta go. The only exception would be to rely on 3D vectored thrust as principal attitude control versus supplemental.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_X-36

Anything's possible, the B-2 still utilizes radar masking technology that's still considered classified. How old is that aircraft again?
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1428
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:44 pm

It all sounds very expensive. In addition it may be that more than ac is required to maintain AS. I don’t suppose there’s any chance the west could coordinate and cooperate on this effort.

In addition to any US efforts it seems like there is at least two programs in Europe and possibly one in Korea and Japan so there is a good opportunity to spread rd money.

Obviously a new program model would be required but this is costly enough to warrant a look.
 
estorilm
Posts: 709
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:07 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:59 pm

DigitalSea wrote:
estorilm wrote:
I don't see how the platform can excel at BVR / stealth / speed and retain stellar super-maneuverability. It's pretty much gotta go. The only exception would be to rely on 3D vectored thrust as principal attitude control versus supplemental.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_X-36

Anything's possible, the B-2 still utilizes radar masking technology that's still considered classified. How old is that aircraft again?

True, but the B2 is about the least maneuverable plane in history lol - zero vertical aerodynamic surfaces, it's nearly perfect as far as a stealth platform goes. This is simply impossible for anything like a fighter (or even anything supersonic, as it'll need stabilizing elements of some sort). I think the "Black Widow" was on the right track, but at the time, super-maneuverability was viewed as critical (which was probably the right call). Next time around, probably not so much.
 
DigitalSea
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:21 pm

estorilm wrote:
True, but the B2 is about the least maneuverable plane in history lol - zero vertical aerodynamic surfaces, it's nearly perfect as far as a stealth platform goes. This is simply impossible for anything like a fighter (or even anything supersonic, as it'll need stabilizing elements of some sort). I think the "Black Widow" was on the right track, but at the time, super-maneuverability was viewed as critical (which was probably the right call). Next time around, probably not so much.


Sorry I should have quoted more of your post - the B-2 comment was regards to technology to reduce an aircraft's radar signature. We've come a long way since then and I'm sure there will be some great things in the B-21 that'll give an IADS a run for its money (along with some additional capabilities on some demonstrators out in the desert).

Did you have a chance to check out the X-36 link? That's more in line with the stealth/super maneuverable aircraft part of your post I quoted.
 
DigitalSea
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:51 pm

Relevant regarding the rapid prototyping discussion:

Air Force OK With Failure on New Rapid Prototyping Acquisition Programs

The Air Force expects that some of the prototyping programs launched under its recently minted Section 804 fast-track procurement authority will fail—and it’s OK with that, a senior acquisition officer told AFA’s 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference Sept. 17.

“We’re going to have misqueues on Section 804, and that’s OK,” said Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson, the military deputy in the office of Air Force acquisition head Will Roper.

Indeed, Richardson said some degree of failure was to be welcomed. “I hope there are some that don’t work out, otherwise we’re probably not pushing the envelope hard enough,” he told a panel on industry partnerships.

Section 804 of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act mandated the creation of new “middle tier” procurement authorities that would allow for rapid prototyping and fielding of new defense capabilities.

But the very nature of such programs, Richardson told Air Force Magazine after the event, mean that some weren’t going to succeed. “Because they’re prototypes, we don’t know ahead of time if they’re going to work,” he said.

What the service needs to avoid is “oversteering” and condemning the whole idea because some don’t work out, he said. “The important thing is to figure out why it failed and then learn from it, not just say ‘Well, I guess we shouldn’t do 804s anymore.’”

The authority was designed to allow new technology to get to the warfighter faster, but that also means accepting more risk, Richardson said, something that needs to be reflected in the way programs are managed. “We have a tendency to run the small programs just like the large ones and we shouldn’t do that, that doesn’t make sense. The financial risk is much lower to us” for a small program, he pointed out.

Recognizing that faster acquisition means greater risk also has implications for the way that personnel need to be incentivized, he added.

“Right now the workforce is very fairness based, which is fine, and very process based. And the reason they’re so processed based is because they don’t want to make a mistake because they don’t want to get hurt for it. And that’s what slows us down sometimes.”

Asked how the service could overcome this notorious risk aversion of its acquisition community, he replied, “Simple: By not shooting them” if they get it wrong.

Acquisition officials need to know that “As long as the program plan is solid and well executed with due diligence, they’re not going to get hurt,” career-wise, by failure, he said. “We have folks who’ve been promoted that have worked on programs that have been canceled. … I’ve worked on canceled programs and I’m still here,” he concluded.



http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/September%202019/Air-Force-OK-With-Failure-on-New-Rapid-Prototyping-Acquisition-Programs.aspx
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 4268
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:42 am

DigitalSea wrote:
Relevant regarding the rapid prototyping discussion:



“Right now the workforce is very fairness based, which is fine, and very process based. And the reason they’re so processed based is because they don’t want to make a mistake because they don’t want to get hurt for it. And that’s what slows us down sometimes.”

Asked how the service could overcome this notorious risk aversion of its acquisition community, he replied, “Simple: By not shooting them” if they get it wrong.

Acquisition officials need to know that “As long as the program plan is solid and well executed with due diligence, they’re not going to get hurt,” career-wise, by failure, he said. “We have folks who’ve been promoted that have worked on programs that have been canceled. … I’ve worked on canceled programs and I’m still here,” he concluded.


Thanks for posting that, it definitely adds to the discussion. I agree the USAF is prepared to adjust its risk profile to match what it needs to do even though as expected the USAF itself acknowledges that it currently has a very high aversion to risk.

The question then is whether Congress and the public are also willing to accept that higher risk profile. The impression I get is that Congress potentially isn’t and from my following of the F-35 program is the general public, or perhaps more succinctly the press reporting to the public and marketing hysteria, is nearly rabidly against under performing, over budget or delayed programs.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1428
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:15 pm

The recent attacks on SA highlight how vulnerable infrastructure is.

For most countries and the more developed the more vulnerable, a few hundred to a few 1000 precision strikes would cripple the ability to defend itself w/o resorting to nuclear strikes.

The combination of LO and precision weapons have dramatically increased the importance of air superiority and the advent of uav’s will further up the ante.

It won’t be long that any fixed target including leadership targets will be at risk w/I weeks of any conflict.

I suspect we will see this play out in Israel and Lebanon with in a few years.
 
DigitalSea
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:44 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
The recent attacks on SA highlight how vulnerable infrastructure is.

For most countries and the more developed the more vulnerable, a few hundred to a few 1000 precision strikes would cripple the ability to defend itself w/o resorting to nuclear strikes.

The combination of LO and precision weapons have dramatically increased the importance of air superiority and the advent of uav’s will further up the ante.

It won’t be long that any fixed target including leadership targets will be at risk w/I weeks of any conflict.

I suspect we will see this play out in Israel and Lebanon with in a few years.


Hard to address this without going off topic, but that's just a risk in peace time, no one plans on violence occurring.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1428
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:20 am

Zooey should have referenced the posts that stimulated my response.

I was responding to several posts questioning the need for the research into air superiority.

Regards your comments about no one expects violence we have a professional military whose job it is to think about such risks and develop plans to deter [email protected]&

This thread is largely about how to use air superiority to defend and deter aggression so unless you want to restrict the conversation to specific attributes of AC discussing the larger issues enriches the thread.
 
estorilm
Posts: 709
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:07 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:54 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
Zooey should have referenced the posts that stimulated my response.

I was responding to several posts questioning the need for the research into air superiority.

Regards your comments about no one expects violence we have a professional military whose job it is to think about such risks and develop plans to deter [email protected]&

This thread is largely about how to use air superiority to defend and deter aggression so unless you want to restrict the conversation to specific attributes of AC discussing the larger issues enriches the thread.

I don't think anyone wants to restrict the scope of the thread - I do however question the need for such an aircraft in the first place. The F-22 has been sitting around idle for over a decade with absolutely zero (deployed) aircraft to challenge it. I'd assume it's far enough ahead of the power curve with avionics and sensors/engines that this will continue for another decade. The F-35 (from a systems standpoint) is even more advanced.

It's cool for PR, but no one is going to be challenging US fighters head-on unless they have a death wish. The battlespace element / picture and data-sharing are another critical facet of this scenario, as (presumably) all US aircraft will have a complete and integrated battlespace picture of what's going on, and can task / allocate targets depending on visibility and weapons loadout accordingly. Developing that type of integrated network/communication is probably far more lethal than specific stealth or fighter technologies on their own.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 4268
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:44 pm

DigitalSea wrote:
Relevant regarding the rapid prototyping discussion:


I listened to the latest Aviation Week Check 6 podcast which is titled A New Century Series For the Air Force? here, https://aviationweek.com/defense/podcas ... -air-force

It is worth a listen to understand how Will Roper is proposing this new century series build, including that he wants to decouple design from manufacture and have digital design houses build the aircraft and then hand that off to a separate vendor who will bend the metal. Steve Trimble is thinking the same as myself in that this would be better applied to the loyal wingman/drone concepts and leave the manned airframes to the more traditional processes given the technology and market forces that are present in that specific sector. The changes proposed are really so radical that they are unlikely to be compatible with the companies who actually have the capability to build aircraft for the NGAD program.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1428
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:39 am

estorilm wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
Zooey should have referenced the posts that stimulated my response.

I was responding to several posts questioning the need for the research into air superiority.

Regards your comments about no one expects violence we have a professional military whose job it is to think about such risks and develop plans to deter [email protected]&

This thread is largely about how to use air superiority to defend and deter aggression so unless you want to restrict the conversation to specific attributes of AC discussing the larger issues enriches the thread.

I don't think anyone wants to restrict the scope of the thread - I do however question the need for such an aircraft in the first place. The F-22 has been sitting around idle for over a decade with absolutely zero (deployed) aircraft to challenge it. I'd assume it's far enough ahead of the power curve with avionics and sensors/engines that this will continue for another decade. The F-35 (from a systems standpoint) is even more advanced.

It's cool for PR, but no one is going to be challenging US fighters head-on unless they have a death wish. The battlespace element / picture and data-sharing are another critical facet of this scenario, as (presumably) all US aircraft will have a complete and integrated battlespace picture of what's going on, and can task / allocate targets depending on visibility and weapons loadout accordingly. Developing that type of integrated network/communication is probably far more lethal than specific stealth or fighter technologies on their own.


You could very well be right that money is better spent elsewhere. My only point is that while the West has enjoyed air superiority since ww2 it will be more important than ever to so as air launched weapons are making step change improvements in lethality.
 
Planeflyer
Posts: 1428
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:49 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:41 am

Ozair wrote:
DigitalSea wrote:
Relevant regarding the rapid prototyping discussion:


I listened to the latest Aviation Week Check 6 podcast which is titled A New Century Series For the Air Force? here, https://aviationweek.com/defense/podcas ... -air-force

It is worth a listen to understand how Will Roper is proposing this new century series build, including that he wants to decouple design from manufacture and have digital design houses build the aircraft and then hand that off to a separate vendor who will bend the metal. Steve Trimble is thinking the same as myself in that this would be better applied to the loyal wingman/drone concepts and leave the manned airframes to the more traditional processes given the technology and market forces that are present in that specific sector. The changes proposed are really so radical that they are unlikely to be compatible with the companies who actually have the capability to build aircraft for the NGAD program.



In a set up like this How do you prevent finger pointing?
 
DigitalSea
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:22 am

Planeflyer wrote:
In a set up like this How do you prevent finger pointing?


Earlier in the thread, there was an article that was explaining how the Air Force is willing to forgo the finger pointing in favor of innovation.
 
estorilm
Posts: 709
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:07 am

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:02 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
estorilm wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
Zooey should have referenced the posts that stimulated my response.

I was responding to several posts questioning the need for the research into air superiority.

Regards your comments about no one expects violence we have a professional military whose job it is to think about such risks and develop plans to deter [email protected]&

This thread is largely about how to use air superiority to defend and deter aggression so unless you want to restrict the conversation to specific attributes of AC discussing the larger issues enriches the thread.

I don't think anyone wants to restrict the scope of the thread - I do however question the need for such an aircraft in the first place. The F-22 has been sitting around idle for over a decade with absolutely zero (deployed) aircraft to challenge it. I'd assume it's far enough ahead of the power curve with avionics and sensors/engines that this will continue for another decade. The F-35 (from a systems standpoint) is even more advanced.

It's cool for PR, but no one is going to be challenging US fighters head-on unless they have a death wish. The battlespace element / picture and data-sharing are another critical facet of this scenario, as (presumably) all US aircraft will have a complete and integrated battlespace picture of what's going on, and can task / allocate targets depending on visibility and weapons loadout accordingly. Developing that type of integrated network/communication is probably far more lethal than specific stealth or fighter technologies on their own.


You could very well be right that money is better spent elsewhere. My only point is that while the West has enjoyed air superiority since ww2 it will be more important than ever to so as air launched weapons are making step change improvements in lethality.

Well that's the problem here, I agree with that - however I don't see how air superiority will really impact the deterrence or threat mitigation of such weapons. At some point, you're just talking apples and oranges - and I think we're at parody now. Fighters will engage fighters, and fixed systems will engage missiles (ships have highly advanced anti-missile systems, same with ground-based installations).

There's no advantage that a so-called 6th gen fighter would bring to the table really. The kinematic performance of the F-22 is absolutely exceptional, I can't envision a missile which requires higher performance than what the F-22 could deliver. Most of these so-called hypersonic missiles will likely be deployed by conventional platforms like the B-52 anyways. Hell you could throw one in a B-1B and still achieve speed, with greater range than the F-22 even.
 
DigitalSea
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Re: USAF PCA and other 6th gen fighters

Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:03 am

estorilm wrote:
Well that's the problem here, I agree with that - however I don't see how air superiority will really impact the deterrence or threat mitigation of such weapons. At some point, you're just talking apples and oranges - and I think we're at parody now. Fighters will engage fighters, and fixed systems will engage missiles (ships have highly advanced anti-missile systems, same with ground-based installations).

There's no advantage that a so-called 6th gen fighter would bring to the table really. The kinematic performance of the F-22 is absolutely exceptional, I can't envision a missile which requires higher performance than what the F-22 could deliver. Most of these so-called hypersonic missiles will likely be deployed by conventional platforms like the B-52 anyways. Hell you could throw one in a B-1B and still achieve speed, with greater range than the F-22 even.


Have you been reading about the PCA and what the US Air Force has been talking about doing with it?

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