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kitplane01
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Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:02 am

* The Air Force Chief of Staff wants clean-sheet fighter that’s less advanced than the F-35 to replace the F-16.
* "four-and-a-half-gen or fifth-gen-minus"
* Not an order for an advanced version of the F-16. He was vehement that the F-16 — even a much-improved version of the 1970s-era jet — is not the right choice for the future Air Force
* The new aircraft to feature “open-mission systems” that would allow the new fighter to receive software updates in rapid succession, potentially even during a mission.
* Higher speed would not only help boost sortie rates but also increase survivability in contested environments.
* The proposed new tactical fighter might be optimized to some degree for low-end warfare
* This is NOT the NGAD

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... place-f-16

He kind of describes the F-16 with better software and then says "Not the F-16".
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:48 am

Boeing has been heavily marketing the fighter variant of the T-7. How can people not read between the lines and see the USAF is getting a fighter variant of the T-7. Name a country and Boeing has sent a sales team for this new aircraft. I have been harping on this for the last 12 months. The main marketing point is the T-7 fighter variant pays for itself versus operating older F-16's. The USAF is 100% sold on the idea.

The same technique was used by Boeing for the F-15EX where the hourly operating cost of new builds was so much lower than keeping the heavily worn F-15C fleet.

Unfortunately the USAF can't just sole source the Boeing T-7 they must run a competition. Now that the T-7 has the trainer contract Boeing has a big advantage. Commonality between the fighter and trainer will give a cost advantage in both production cost from scale and maintenance cost. Lockheed and Northrop Grumman would need to do a cleansheet that can outperform the T-7 and also beat it on price. I don't see how that is possible while turning a profit.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 5:16 am

I think what you wrote totally makes sense.

Maybe he’s being coy, but it’s not what the chief of staff of the US Air Force said. No one would describe an attack version of a T-7 as a 4.5 GEN fighter, nor faster than an F-16.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:14 am

I would definitely describe a fighter version of the T-7 as 4.5 Gen. It has all of the attributes of a 4.5gen fighter in a slightly smaller package. With weapons and sensors reducing in size a smaller fighter no longer means less capable.

The T-7 has more advanced aerodynamics than the F-16. The T-7 has larger leading edge extensions and twin tails giving better post stall maneuverability. The T-7 has similar thrust to weight ratio of the other 4.5 gen fighters. In terms of dogfighting the T-7 will be up there with the best and will definitely be good enough to be called 4.5 Gen. Note the F-22, F-35 and SU-57 use a mid wing and rear tail. It is superior to a delta canard in my opinion in terms of cruising and sustained turn performance. So the T-7 has the best layout.

Avionics and radar wise the side intakes allow it to fit a F-16/Rafale/Gripen class radar. With avionics and computer processing getting much cheaper it will easy to reach the standards of what fits the definition of 4.5gen while keeping the budget down.

The F-35 sits in a clear class above the other western fighters in terms of fuel fraction. It based off decades of operations where 4th gen fighters flew around with external tanks all of the time. Having large internal fuel baked into the design is so much more efficient than external fuel tanks even conformal tanks.

The T-7 apparently has a good fuel fraction. A single seat variant would be even higher and much higher than the F-16 This would allow the smaller T-7 to carry a light weapon load further than a larger F-16 when both are on internal fuel. Even with medium loads and a pair of drop tanks the T-7 should retain a range advantage. It would only be with heavy loads would the smaller frame start to have less range but the F-16 no longer performs these missions.

The T-7 fighter variant will be able to match the performance of a F-16 Block 70 at two thirds of the weight and half the upfront and ongoing cost. That should not be surprising as it has been over 40 years since the F-16 came out.
 
LTEN11
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:26 am

RJMAZ wrote:
I would definitely describe a fighter version of the T-7 as 4.5 Gen. It has all of the attributes of a 4.5gen fighter in a slightly smaller package. With weapons and sensors reducing in size a smaller fighter no longer means less capable.

The T-7 has more advanced aerodynamics than the F-16. The T-7 has larger leading edge extensions and twin tails giving better post stall maneuverability. The T-7 has similar thrust to weight ratio of the other 4.5 gen fighters. In terms of dogfighting the T-7 will be up there with the best and will definitely be good enough to be called 4.5 Gen. Note the F-22, F-35 and SU-57 use a mid wing and rear tail. It is superior to a delta canard in my opinion in terms of cruising and sustained turn performance. So the T-7 has the best layout.

Avionics and radar wise the side intakes allow it to fit a F-16/Rafale/Gripen class radar. With avionics and computer processing getting much cheaper it will easy to reach the standards of what fits the definition of 4.5gen while keeping the budget down.

The F-35 sits in a clear class above the other western fighters in terms of fuel fraction. It based off decades of operations where 4th gen fighters flew around with external tanks all of the time. Having large internal fuel baked into the design is so much more efficient than external fuel tanks even conformal tanks.

The T-7 apparently has a good fuel fraction. A single seat variant would be even higher and much higher than the F-16 This would allow the smaller T-7 to carry a light weapon load further than a larger F-16 when both are on internal fuel. Even with medium loads and a pair of drop tanks the T-7 should retain a range advantage. It would only be with heavy loads would the smaller frame start to have less range but the F-16 no longer performs these missions.

The T-7 fighter variant will be able to match the performance of a F-16 Block 70 at two thirds of the weight and half the upfront and ongoing cost. That should not be surprising as it has been over 40 years since the F-16 came out.


You say all that, but still ignore one important thing than man says....He wants more speed and he's not going to get that from the T-7 no matter how much of a fancy spin you put on it.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:43 am

LTEN11 wrote:
You say all that, but still ignore one important thing than man says....He wants more speed and he's not going to get that from the T-7 no matter how much of a fancy spin you put on it.

He is getting that. The T-7 can clearly supercruise :bigthumbsup:

Current stats have the T-7 with a thrust to weight ratio as high as the F-22 and Eurofighter which are two of the fastest fighters on the market. Being small does not mean slow.
 
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SeamanBeaumont
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:06 am

RJMAZ wrote:
LTEN11 wrote:
You say all that, but still ignore one important thing than man says....He wants more speed and he's not going to get that from the T-7 no matter how much of a fancy spin you put on it.

He is getting that. The T-7 can clearly supercruise :bigthumbsup:

Current stats have the T-7 with a thrust to weight ratio as high as the F-22 and Eurofighter which are two of the fastest fighters on the market. Being small does not mean slow.

Any official source for the T-7 empty and gross weights or just your WAG...?
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:24 am

LTEN11 wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
I would definitely describe a fighter version of the T-7 as 4.5 Gen. It has all of the attributes of a 4.5gen fighter in a slightly smaller package. With weapons and sensors reducing in size a smaller fighter no longer means less capable.
...

The T-7 fighter variant will be able to match the performance of a F-16 Block 70 at two thirds of the weight and half the upfront and ongoing cost. That should not be surprising as it has been over 40 years since the F-16 came out.


You say all that, but still ignore one important thing than man says....He wants more speed and he's not going to get that from the T-7 no matter how much of a fancy spin you put on it.


I think a combat version of the T-7 makes sense.

He also said "clean sheet".
 
LTEN11
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 10:11 am

RJMAZ wrote:
LTEN11 wrote:
You say all that, but still ignore one important thing than man says....He wants more speed and he's not going to get that from the T-7 no matter how much of a fancy spin you put on it.

He is getting that. The T-7 can clearly supercruise :bigthumbsup:

Current stats have the T-7 with a thrust to weight ratio as high as the F-22 and Eurofighter which are two of the fastest fighters on the market. Being small does not mean slow.


So the T-7 has an advertised top speed of 1300 kmh, the F-16 has an advertised top speed of 2410 kmh, I'm not sure how you would call the T-7 fast compared to what a new fighter would likely be replacing, such as the F-16. I realise of course that these would be top speeds whilst carrying little load, if any, but the T-7 just isn't a speed demon.

Don't get me wrong, I think the T-7 has a bright future, but not as a front line fighter for the U.S.A.F. Smaller air forces, absolutely and apparently it's being looked at as the next lead in trainer for the R.A.A.F. which personally I think would be great.
 
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 3:03 pm

SeamanBeaumont wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
LTEN11 wrote:
You say all that, but still ignore one important thing than man says....He wants more speed and he's not going to get that from the T-7 no matter how much of a fancy spin you put on it.

He is getting that. The T-7 can clearly supercruise :bigthumbsup:

Current stats have the T-7 with a thrust to weight ratio as high as the F-22 and Eurofighter which are two of the fastest fighters on the market. Being small does not mean slow.

Any official source for the T-7 empty and gross weights or just your WAG...?



There is no way the T-7 has an empty weight that low
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 3:07 pm

So why not scale up the T-7 like what they did with the Hornet and SH. With digital manufacturing, the structure and system side would be easier.

How much more flight test and certification would be a question, but you can still maintain significant commonality.

bt
 
VMCA787
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:10 pm

The empty weight of the ET-7 is 7165lbs/3250kgs and MTOW is 12,125lbs/5500kgs.


https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraf ... ft_id=1647
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:50 pm

bikerthai wrote:
So why not scale up the T-7 like what they did with the Hornet and SH. With digital manufacturing, the structure and system side would be easier.

Scale up for what engine?

The T-7 is already fully optimsed. It is sized for the cheap, reliable and export approved F404 engine while being able to have agility, acceleration and sustained G performance that equal the best 4th and 5th gen fighters in the world.

If you scale it up and keep the same engine all performance numbers reduce. If you scale it up and fit an F-16 class engine you will no longer get the cost savings.

Adding weapons on the wings of the T-7 will already see performance drop below the clean trainer variant. So you definitely don't want to start scaling the design bigger with the same engine.

The Super Hornet gains 426kg of fuel when the rear seat is removed. Now if we assume this T-7 has the same fuel load of the T-50 2,690kg once the back seat is removed we nearly have the same internal fuel capacity of the F-16 but at two thirds of the weight. I could see the fighter variant of the T-7 keeping an empty weight below 6,000kg. There are no public weight figures for the fighter variant Serbia is getting.

Gripen 6,800kg
T-50 6,470kg
Tejas 6,560kg
F-20 5,357 kg
All use the F404 engine.

Now the T-7 sustains "well above" 6.5G according to Boeing. I believe the requirement was 130 degree with less than 10% loss in speed. This is already above the Eurofighter and Rafale.
 
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SeamanBeaumont
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:55 pm

VMCA787 wrote:
The empty weight of the ET-7 is 7165lbs/3250kgs and MTOW is 12,125lbs/5500kgs.


https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraf ... ft_id=1647

That link... "Values presented on this page for the Boeing-Saab T-X are estimated on the part of the author. They will be revised when official specifications of the aircraft are revealed by the manufacturer."

So I ask the same pesky question... Any official source for the T-7 empty and gross weights or just your WAG...?
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:59 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
The T-7 is already fully optimsed.


Caviate. T-7A is optimized for training mission and low cost. You can theoretically optimize it for performance by using more composites at an increase in cost. How much? Who knows.

Although if Mach 1 plus dash speed is required, then composite skin will make it much more expensive.

bt
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 9:02 pm

SeamanBeaumont wrote:
I ask the same pesky question... Any official source for the T-7 empty and gross weights or just your WAG...?


Probably won't get anything until after they finish assembling the first production frame and put it on the scale to verify their estimated weight.

bt
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 9:14 pm

I'm trying to picture the fighter the general asked for. It can't be like a twin engine Eurocanard like the Typhoon or Rafale because that's probably not very cheap. It cannot be a combat version of the T-7 because that's neither faster than an F-16 nor clean sheet. And it cannot be the F-16 even though that's the closest existing analog, he explicitly said not the F-16.

Basically, I think he's asking for something like the Gripen or Tejas-with-good-electronics. But clean sheet and American made.

(Neither of those is actually faster than the F-16. No cheap plane is faster than the F-16.)
 
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SeamanBeaumont
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 9:16 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
So why not scale up the T-7 like what they did with the Hornet and SH. With digital manufacturing, the structure and system side would be easier.

Scale up for what engine?

The T-7 is already fully optimsed. It is sized for the cheap, reliable and export approved F404 engine while being able to have agility, acceleration and sustained G performance that equal the best 4th and 5th gen fighters in the world.

It is easy for an aircraft to do this when it has essentially no internal systems, no radar, no MAWS, no RWR, no chaff/flares, no datalink blah blah blah.

RJMAZ wrote:
If you scale it up and keep the same engine all performance numbers reduce. If you scale it up and fit an F-16 class engine you will no longer get the cost savings.

Why not. The F-16 engine is cheap, already in use with then USAF in both F-15n and F-16 and globally more available…

RJMAZ wrote:
Adding weapons on the wings of the T-7 will already see performance drop below the clean trainer variant. So you definitely don't want to start scaling the design bigger with the same engine.

Weapons and tanks and pylons, this concept is fanciful…

RJMAZ wrote:
The Super Hornet gains 426kg of fuel when the rear seat is removed. Now if we assume this T-7 has the same fuel load of the T-50 2,690kg once the back seat is removed we nearly have the same internal fuel capacity of the F-16 but at two thirds of the weight. I could see the fighter variant of the T-7 keeping an empty weight below 6,000kg. There are no public weight figures for the fighter variant Serbia is getting.

Gripen 6,800kg
T-50 6,470kg
Tejas 6,560kg
F-20 5,357 kg
All use the F404 engine.

None of those supercruise, all are shorter ranged and are not better than a current F-16. Why does "change my mind twice a week Brown" want anything like that?

RJMAZ wrote:
Now the T-7 sustains "well above" 6.5G according to Boeing. I believe the requirement was 130 degree with less than 10% loss in speed. This is already above the Eurofighter and Rafale.

How can an airframe “sustain” but lose speed…
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 9:17 pm

The more I think about this .. the more I would have chosen different requirements.

Why be 4.5th generation. Is this plane really going to engage in BVR air-air? Don't we have F-35s? Also, 30 years from now non-stealthy planes will probably not fare well in BVR combat against a near-peer.

Why be faster? Isn't an F-16 in air-ground mode fast enough?

Basically, I want a newer A-10 or maybe a combat T-7.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:31 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
It can't be like a twin engine Eurocanard like the Typhoon or Rafale because that's probably not very cheap.

That's a common misconception. Yes, there are some additional costs that come with more engines, but overall, your costs are really dominated by the installed thrust. The F-16 has 80 kN dry, the Typhoon and Super Hornet have 120 kN dry and the F-15E has 160 kN dry thrust. The F-35 gets 130 kN and is supposedly slightly cheaper to operate than the Typhoon and SH (with fewer flight hours, though, because simulators).

If you want F-16-like costs, you'll need an F-16-sized airframe regardless of the number of engines.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 2:10 am

kitplane01 wrote:
The more I think about this .. the more I would have chosen different requirements.

Why be 4.5th generation. Is this plane really going to engage in BVR air-air? Don't we have F-35s? Also, 30 years from now non-stealthy planes will probably not fare well in BVR combat against a near-peer.

Why be faster? Isn't an F-16 in air-ground mode fast enough?

Basically, I want a newer A-10 or maybe a combat T-7.

The T-7 light fighter will be escorting the tankers and AWACS. It will perform the secondary roles like homeland defense. An AMRAAM missile is just as lethal when launched from a 6,000kg fighter as from a 12,000kg fighter. It would make a good cheap BVR platform.

In ground attack a fully loaded T-7 with drop tanks and maximum bomb load will have low maneuverability and will be subsonic only. It will be a cheap little bomb truck. This is great for low intensity CAS missions like a Super Tucano.

This does not mean the F-35 is a failure one bit. The original plan was always for the F-16 to stick around until around 2040 as thousands of F-35 can't be built overnight. The F-16's were going to do these lower end missions. The only thing that has changed is Boeing has shown that a cleansheet light fighter design can be purchased and operated for less than just the operating cost of older F-16's. No F-35 orders will be cut. F-16's will simply be retired early.
 
744SPX
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 2:43 am

Scale up the Rockwell HiMAT and size it for the F119 with some F135 hot section upgrades for better fuel economy. You'd get supercruise and could outmaneuver anything flying. The way the wings blend into the fuselage you could probably incorporate some internal weapons carriage as well.
 
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 3:57 am

RJMAZ wrote:
The T-7 light fighter will be escorting the tankers and AWACS.


That would be wasting pilots. I see future tanker/AWACs escort will be handled by wingman drones controlled by the big birds themselves.

bt
 
art
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 4:56 am

Why not stick the F414 in the thing? IIRC the dimensions are the same or almost the same as the F404.
 
angad84
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 8:22 am

art wrote:
Why not stick the F414 in the thing? IIRC the dimensions are the same or almost the same as the F404.

What we found with the Tejas (and Saab did with the Gripen C - to - E) was that F404 to F414 is not a straightforward swap.

That said, given Saab's involvement with the T-7, this programme has the best shot at up-engineing (it's a word) this aircraft. Hell, if Saab's been smart -- and the rear fuselage is their baby -- they've designed those margins in from the get go.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:20 am

bikerthai wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
The T-7 light fighter will be escorting the tankers and AWACS.


That would be wasting pilots. I see future tanker/AWACs escort will be handled by wingman drones controlled by the big birds themselves.

bt

That depends how far you look into the future. F-15EX was a very near term cost saving measure. T-7 light fighter is much more near term than an AMRAAM capable loyal wingman.

Even if the USAF gets 10 solid years out of an armed T-7 they have already saved money versus operating the F-16 over the same period. Training for the new pilots will be very simple from the T-7 trainer to T-7 light fighter. Conversion costs and training maintenance crew can be a large portion of the cost in the short to medium term. The T-7 trainer and light attack having high commonality eliminates this issue.

Loyal wingman will definitely come but there is plenty of time for a stop gap measure.
 
kanye
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 10:34 am

"He pointed to the Viper’s inability to receive software updates at the speed that’s desired and its lack of open-architecture software protocols that would allow it to be rapidly reconfigured."

That's a description of Gripen E and the difference from the C version. So make something similar.
Take the engine from the F16, make a more modern and aerodynamically efficient design powered with a more modern hardware and sofware architecture and that's the F16 replacement he wants.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:21 pm

kanye wrote:
"He pointed to the Viper’s inability to receive software updates at the speed that’s desired and its lack of open-architecture software protocols that would allow it to be rapidly reconfigured."

That's a description of Gripen E and the difference from the C version. So make something similar.
Take the engine from the F16, make a more modern and aerodynamically efficient design powered with a more modern hardware and software architecture and that's the F16 replacement he wants.


This is the biggest thing that modern militaries are demanding. The biggest parts of evolution are now all in sensors and avionics. The airframe will fly for a lot longer than the internals will last for. If someone snapped their fingers and made an F-16 with a full open-architecture that cost about the same as the current F-16s? Then you'd probably get a lot of buy in from various nations. The big problem with that is it's such a huge change you may as well make some airframe improvements given all the sensors and fuel modern strike aircraft are required to have. That's one of the big benefits of the F-35 after all, lots of internal fuel storage.

You also see this pluggable architecture elsewhere in the military with warships and increasing use of software defined radios. The increase in use of things like FPGAs, custom ASICs, self assembling/healing mesh networks, etc. will only push the need for open architectures even more.

I could even see such an F-16 replacement be more focused on being a command node for loyal wingmate UCAVs. Reducing the need for raw speed and agility in the crewed airframe. And even reducing the raw weapon uplift capability. That would probably help keep the price down for such an aircraft.

The biggest problem though is such a cheaper aircraft does nothing to address the training and retention costs for pilots and other military crew. There's no point in having 500 planes if you can only effectively operate 100 due to not having enough people. This is a problem most all nations are having.
 
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SeamanBeaumont
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:34 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
kanye wrote:
"He pointed to the Viper’s inability to receive software updates at the speed that’s desired and its lack of open-architecture software protocols that would allow it to be rapidly reconfigured."

That's a description of Gripen E and the difference from the C version. So make something similar.
Take the engine from the F16, make a more modern and aerodynamically efficient design powered with a more modern hardware and software architecture and that's the F16 replacement he wants.


This is the biggest thing that modern militaries are demanding. The biggest parts of evolution are now all in sensors and avionics. The airframe will fly for a lot longer than the internals will last for. If someone snapped their fingers and made an F-16 with a full open-architecture that cost about the same as the current F-16s? Then you'd probably get a lot of buy in from various nations. The big problem with that is it's such a huge change you may as well make some airframe improvements given all the sensors and fuel modern strike aircraft are required to have. That's one of the big benefits of the F-35 after all, lots of internal fuel storage.

You also see this pluggable architecture elsewhere in the military with warships and increasing use of software defined radios. The increase in use of things like FPGAs, custom ASICs, self assembling/healing mesh networks, etc. will only push the need for open architectures even more.

I could even see such an F-16 replacement be more focused on being a command node for loyal wingmate UCAVs. Reducing the need for raw speed and agility in the crewed airframe. And even reducing the raw weapon uplift capability. That would probably help keep the price down for such an aircraft.

The biggest problem though is such a cheaper aircraft does nothing to address the training and retention costs for pilots and other military crew. There's no point in having 500 planes if you can only effectively operate 100 due to not having enough people. This is a problem most all nations are having.

This isn't a "Saab can only do this S**t" thing.

Putting Kubes in an F-16
https://gcn.com/articles/2020/01/07/af- ... s-f16.aspx

Updating the aircraft in flight...
https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... ight-test/

Also doing digital twin stuff for F-16 as well,
https://www.aflcmc.af.mil/News/Article- ... ital-twin/
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:40 pm

kanye wrote:
Take the engine from the F16, make a more modern and aerodynamically efficient design powered with a more modern hardware and sofware architecture and that's the F16 replacement he wants.

Or take the F404, make a modern and aerodynamic efficient design powered with a modern hardware and software architecture and that's the F-16 replacement he wants.

Now just add pylons to the T-7 and away you go. Boeing has already baked that capability into the trainer design.

Why is everyone insisting on using F-16 class engines? The whole point is to save money on the low end fight versus operating older F-16's. The smaller the fighter the better when it comes to operating costs with everything else being equal. An cleansheet F-16 class fighter might never pay for itself as the cost savings would be too small.

It is not like the USAF plans for this aircraft to carry four 2,000lb bomb on a regular basis. The USAF has never operated their F-16's like that. The missions that the F-16 has been doing for the last decade could easily be performed by a smaller F404 engined fighter.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Fri Dec 03, 2021 2:20 am

The cost benefit analysis is pretty simple to see why the T-7 is the only option in the running.

Adding an AESA and weapons to the T-7 would be a fraction of the development cost compared to larger cleansheet design that used the same AESA and avionics. This extra development cost has to be added onto the purchase price of the larger fighter. The larger fighter also burns more fuel. It is also an orphan with more expensive parts and higher operating cost.

Option A: T-7 light fighter might cost $40 million fly away with $5,000 per hour costs.
Option B: Cleansheet with F-16 size engined might cost $60 million with an $8,000 per hour cost.

In face value they might not seem much different but only one passes the cost benefit analysis.

Now the goal might be to replace 300 F-16's with an average hourly cost of $15,000. That hourly cost reflects higher maintenance 10 years from now. If we assume 200 hours per year how long does each option take to break even?

The T-7 breaks even at 20 years.
The larger cleansheet breaks even at 43 years.

Anything bigger than the T-7 or with a purchase price over $40 million could never provide a financial saving over just operating F-16's until they fall apart. This is why ideas of beefing up the design and using the F414 is actually hurting the business case. The purchase price needs to be half that of a new build F-16 or Gripen E.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Fri Dec 03, 2021 5:52 am

A F/T-7 might shift a lot of flight hours to it, pilots of other planes could perform sorties that an armed fighter is needed but is primarily a training flight. This could substitute a big chunk of flight hours from a frame having $ 20K/hr costs to a plane with $ 5K/hr, basically quadrupling the flight hours in the same budget. It is an interesting concept.

The big question, will the T-7 actually be the great plane it appears to be, or have issues that affect its day to day operations. (ie- will it be the great sports car or just one that look pretty)
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Fri Dec 03, 2021 8:20 am

Do you all remember a thread about the usefulness of light fighters?

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1457231&hilit=Light+attack

I remember reading LOTS of people writing things like “they are useless”. Some of those same people are now in favor of a combat T-7, but hated the idea of something like a combat F-50 or M-346.

It’s OK to change your mind but what did change your mind?
 
art
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:11 am

deleted
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Fri Dec 03, 2021 1:18 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Some of those same people are now in favor of a combat T-7, but hated the idea of something like a combat F-50 or M-346.

It’s OK to change your mind but what did change your mind?

No one has changed their mind. Well I certainly haven't. That post was specifically asking about the M346 and T-50. Both are still useless nothing has changed. They are both overpriced with poor bang for buck and the performance is too low to replace the F-16. Phillipines have to put in a request for F-16 because their F/A-50 is that poor.

We can go back 18 months ago and I even predicted the armed T-7 will dominate. Here is my quote:

RJMAZ wrote:
How many years until they make a single seat version with AESA and AMRAAM capability?

I think this aircraft will definitely replace the F-16 as the budget fighter of choice in the coming decades. Being designed from the ground up to be cheap to manufacture and maintain will allow it to reach used F-16 life cycle costs. It might be slightly more expensive to purchase but the hourly operating costs will be lower.

The T-50 and the Saab Gripen would never be abe to hit the price levels due to it being designed 20 years ago. It would have more parts, more fasteners and less 3D printing.

With 26 F-16 operators some will not be able to afford to go to the F-35 with its much higher maintenance cost.


The big advantage the T-7A has over all of these examples is an assembly process that is ahead of the competiton. It is all about bang for buck. The F-5 back in the day might have provided 40% of the capability for 60% of the cost of the F-4. The T-7 fighter version might provide 60% of the capability at 40% of the cost of a Eurofighter.

Capability per dollar is the most important requirement.


viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1431397&p=22247389&hilit#p22244373

Looking at that thread 18 months ago in May 2020 I was the only one saying the armed single seat T-7 would be amazing. My post was well before any of the news came out that the USAF wanting a cheap F-16 replacement. It is like I have access to non public information.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Fri Dec 03, 2021 1:37 pm

Reading between the lines on the thread title.

I wonder if the general isn't just grand standing.

He saw what could be done with the T-7A. So he make the statement setting up congress for the PR battle to come knowing full well that the F/T-7A is the airplane that is closest to what he wants and probably quickest to field.

Similar to how those air force generals started to drop hints about the E-7. Hints became drumbeats and now they are looking for budget for the 2023 fiscal year.

bt
 
TaromA380
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Fri Dec 03, 2021 5:42 pm

I really don't see how would a T-7 get to 2400 km/h speed.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:22 pm

TaromA380 wrote:
I really don't see how would a T-7 get to 2400 km/h speed.


Concur going past Mach 1 is not going to be inexpensive.

bt
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:29 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Some of those same people are now in favor of a combat T-7, but hated the idea of something like a combat F-50 or M-346.

It’s OK to change your mind but what did change your mind?

No one has changed their mind. Well I certainly haven't. That post was specifically asking about the M346 and T-50. Both are still useless nothing has changed. They are both overpriced with poor bang for buck and the performance is too low to replace the F-16. Phillipines have to put in a request for F-16 because their F/A-50 is that poor.


How would an armed but cheap T-7 be much different than a combat T-50? Same engine, similar airframe.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 2:20 am

TaromA380 wrote:
I really don't see how would a T-7 get to 2400 km/h speed.

Same here. That is faster than the F-16, F-35, Rafale and Eurofighter. Top speeds without weapons are irrelevant. All 4th gen fighters can easily burn through their entire fuel capacity in under 15 minutes when at max afterburner.

The only important speed related metric for actual combat would be how fast an aircraft can accelerate from Mach 0.8 to Mach 1.2 with a typical weapon load. All fighters even the F-22 cruise and transit at Mach 0.8 as it gives the best range.

When engaging, disengaging, firing missiles or avoiding missiles it is best to be flying supersonic. But as no fighter can maintain supersonic speeds for any reasonable distance it is very important to go from cruise speed to supersonic very quickly.

kitplane01 wrote:
How would an armed but cheap T-7 be much different than a combat T-50? Same engine, similar airframe.

The same reason it won the trainer competition. Vastly cheaper and vastly more capable.

T-50 and T-7 has 14 years between first flights. The F-4 and F-15 also has 14 years between their first flights.

Computer processing power has increased by more than a 100 fold in the last 14 years. Being designed from the ground up with fewer parts and 3D printing no existing design could even match the construction or operating cost for similar capability.

While Boeing only needs to invest a small amount of money to make the T-7 combat capable any competitor would need to do a full cleansheet to be able to match it. The extra cost of a full cleansheet would have to be passed onto the customer so it could never win.
 
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 2:48 am

RJMAZ wrote:

kitplane01 wrote:
How would an armed but cheap T-7 be much different than a combat T-50? Same engine, similar airframe.

The same reason it won the trainer competition. Vastly cheaper and vastly more capable.

T-50 and T-7 has 14 years between first flights. The F-4 and F-15 also has 14 years between their first flights.

Computer processing power has increased by more than a 100 fold in the last 14 years. Being designed from the ground up with fewer parts and 3D printing no existing design could even match the construction or operating cost for similar capability.

While Boeing only needs to invest a small amount of money to make the T-7 combat capable any competitor would need to do a full cleansheet to be able to match it. The extra cost of a full cleansheet would have to be passed onto the customer so it could never win.


I dunno. The T-50 (non-combat version) is about $40M each as per the recent deal between Korea and Indonesia (with an unknown amount of support). Probably less if you buy in bulk. And development is already paid for.
The T-7 was $9.2B for 351 aircraft, 41 simulators, and an unknown amount of support. That's $26M each, so "vastly" seems inaccurate. (Still the T-7 is surprisingly cheap.)

Any electronics you want to put into a a T-7 probably fit into a T-50.

What's the combat relevant difference in airframe performance between a T-50 and a T-7? Why is the airframe "vastly" more capable?
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 5:50 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Any electronics you want to put into a a T-7 probably fit into a T-50.


Not necessarily. Also the T-7A is designed to have those boxes easily maintained. Can we say the same about the T-50?
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 6:05 am

kitplane01 wrote:
I dunno. The T-50 (non-combat version) is about $40M each as per the recent deal between Korea and Indonesia (with an unknown amount of support). Probably less if you buy in bulk. And development is already paid for.
The T-7 was $9.2B for 351 aircraft, 41 simulators, and an unknown amount of support. That's $26M each, so "vastly" seems inaccurate. (Still the T-7 is surprisingly cheap.)

$26 million to $40 million is a huge difference. That is two third of the price. The T-7 is vastly cheaper than the T-50.

That is probably the price ratio difference between the F-15 and F-16 back in the day or the Mig-29 and SU-27. Imagine if the cheaper F-16 outperformed the more expensive F-15 in every performance metric. The F-15 production would have been cancelled on the spot.

kitplane01 wrote:
What's the combat relevant difference in airframe performance between a T-50 and a T-7? Why is the airframe "vastly" more capable?

For arguments sake let's say the T-7 has a 10% empty weight advantage, 10% fuel fraction advantage and a 10% aerodynamic advantage over the T-50. This seems small but the combination of all three makes a massive performance difference. This is same percentage differences between the F-4 and F-15.

Load up both the T-7 and T-50 for a combat mission with the same combat radius. The T-50 would need an external fuel tank just to match the T-7 without an external tank.

How do they both turn and accelerate in this config? You would be looking at 4g versus 6g sustained G thanks to that external tank. With acceleration through transonic from Mach 0.8 to Mach 1.2 a small increase in drag has a huge effect on acceleration. The T-7 might do it in 1 minute and the T-50 in 3 minutes. Survivability of the T-50 plummets. A sitting duck.

Image

Putting new avionics into the T-50 can't make it lighter, improve its internal fuel capacity or improve its agility.
 
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:01 am

RJMAZ wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
I dunno. The T-50 (non-combat version) is about $40M each as per the recent deal between Korea and Indonesia (with an unknown amount of support). Probably less if you buy in bulk. And development is already paid for.
The T-7 was $9.2B for 351 aircraft, 41 simulators, and an unknown amount of support. That's $26M each, so "vastly" seems inaccurate. (Still the T-7 is surprisingly cheap.)

$26 million to $40 million is a huge difference. That is two third of the price. The T-7 is vastly cheaper than the T-50.

That is probably the price ratio difference between the F-15 and F-16 back in the day or the Mig-29 and SU-27. Imagine if the cheaper F-16 outperformed the more expensive F-15 in every performance metric. The F-15 production would have been cancelled on the spot.

kitplane01 wrote:
What's the combat relevant difference in airframe performance between a T-50 and a T-7? Why is the airframe "vastly" more capable?

For arguments sake let's say the T-7 has a 10% empty weight advantage, 10% fuel fraction advantage and a 10% aerodynamic advantage over the T-50. This seems small but the combination of all three makes a massive performance difference. This is same percentage differences between the F-4 and F-15.

Load up both the T-7 and T-50 for a combat mission with the same combat radius. The T-50 would need an external fuel tank just to match the T-7 without an external tank.

How do they both turn and accelerate in this config? You would be looking at 4g versus 6g sustained G thanks to that external tank. With acceleration through transonic from Mach 0.8 to Mach 1.2 a small increase in drag has a huge effect on acceleration. The T-7 might do it in 1 minute and the T-50 in 3 minutes. Survivability of the T-50 plummets. A sitting duck.

Image

Putting new avionics into the T-50 can't make it lighter, improve its internal fuel capacity or improve its agility.



No one knows the performance numbers for the T-7. They are not published. So to say they are “vastly” better than the T-50 is just guessing.
 
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:04 am

bikerthai wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Any electronics you want to put into a a T-7 probably fit into a T-50.


Not necessarily. Also the T-7A is designed to have those boxes easily maintained. Can we say the same about the T-50?


We can say that designing for easy access has been a concept for a very long time. I bet this idea is well known in both Boeing and Korea.

The same boxes performing the same functions in the T-7 and the T-50 ought to require about the same maintenece.

Of course neither of us has access to the actual data, but I don’t see any reason to think the people in Boeing are smarter than the people in Korea.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:36 am

kitplane01 wrote:
We can say that designing for easy access has been a concept for a very long time. I bet this idea is well known in both Boeing and Korea.

Clearly not. The T-50 for the T-X bid had to add the extra systems on the outside of aircraft down the spine. The T-50 has no room for growth.

kitplane01 wrote:
No one knows the performance numbers for the T-7. They are not published. So to say they are “vastly” better than the T-50 is just guessing.

Thousands of people know the numbers from multiple countries. There has been a big international sales campaign. There is definitely no guessing by me but you will have to wait for your Wikipedia link.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:48 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
but I don’t see any reason to think the people in Boeing are smarter than the people in Korea.


It's not a matter of individual smarts. It's a matter of collective experience and priorities. Small tricks in design learned over decades can add up in capabilities.

Starting with the JSF competition, more emphasis on electronics maintenance. But even with the F-32, computing open architecture was not adopted.

Boeing and to some extent Airbus has the additional cross pollination of their commercial experience which helps from both the design and manufacturing perspective.

bt
 
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Devilfish
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 5:36 pm

This is eerily reminiscent of the TIGERSHARK saga when the U.S. needed a cheaper, lightweight fighter to sell to friendly states. This time around, LockMart is again the spoiler - although the standardized F-16V was advertised @ ~$50M a copy with a formidable kit package. One would think that through FMS, there'd be some who would sign on the dotted line. Now comes beleaguered Boeing 40 odd years later reprising Northrop's former role. :eyebrow:


RJMAZ wrote:
Both are still useless nothing has changed. They are both overpriced with poor bang for buck and the performance is too low to replace the F-16. Phillipines have to put in a request for F-16 because their F/A-50 is that poor.

The KAI F/A-50 was meant to be a transitional asset for the PAF all along. It has been very useful so far and to say it's overpriced is a bit misleading and disingenuous as the air force would never have been able to acquire it otherwise. Guess what...the status quo remains and the country is still without a dependable MRF. The Gripen C/D is still the only affordable fighter within its reach, but it's just a tad better than the F/A-50.

Meanwhile, the belligerent giant across the puddle is wantonly annexing every coral outcrop above the water in the Philippines' EEZ. To wait for the T-7A to morph into a killer HAWK would be catastrophic. Why can't Boeing accept humble pie and cooperate on the Gripen E and market it through FMS? I realize that there are contractual prohibitions between Brazil and Sweden against this but all stand to gain by it...why stifle it with diplomatic mumbo jumbo :?: First among those are countries without a minimum credible defense posture. Heck, if it's good enough for Brazil and Sweden, it sure would be great for the Philippines.
 
art
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 6:37 pm

Devilfish wrote:
Meanwhile, the belligerent giant across the puddle is wantonly annexing every coral outcrop above the water in the Philippines' EEZ. To wait for the T-7A to morph into a killer HAWK would be catastrophic. Why can't Boeing accept humble pie and cooperate on the Gripen E and market it through FMS? I realize that there are contractual prohibitions between Brazil and Sweden against this but all stand to gain by it...why stifle it with diplomatic mumbo jumbo :?: First among those are countries without a minimum credible defense posture. Heck, if it's good enough for Brazil and Sweden, it sure would be great for the Philippines.

Why not buy the Gripen E direct from Sweden if you need a better than FA-50/Gripen C fighter fast and you/Sweden can finance it?
 
kelval
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Re: Air Force Boss Wants Clean-Sheet Fighter That’s Less Advanced Than F-35 To Replace F-16

Sat Dec 04, 2021 7:56 pm

Because you need to feed the US "militarindustrial" lobby.

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