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  #201  
Old 10-15-2018, 05:35 AM
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Tyndall is the home to training for F-22 crews. They are not there for the air sovereignty mission (like shooting down an aircraft attempting to invade U.S. airspace). That mission for that is assigned to the Air National Guard F-15 squadron in Jacksonville.

Why training in Florida? Lots of sunny days. The Navyís Blue Angels flight demonstration team is based not far away in Pensacola.
  #202  
Old 10-15-2018, 12:40 PM
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How much do these cost?
According to Wikipedia, they cost $150 million per plane in 2009 dollars. The F-35B (the most expensive variant) is listed at $115.5 per plane in what I assume is current dollars.
  #203  
Old 10-15-2018, 12:46 PM
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But just to be clear, a new F-22 cannot be bought today. There is no production line anymore.

RAND did a study on how much it would cost to re-open the production line for another 194 airplanes. The cost was estimated to be about $50 billion, or a quarter billion dollars per plane, plus inflation.

https://www.documentcloud.org/docume...ssessment.html
  #204  
Old 10-15-2018, 12:48 PM
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Here is a fairly current article on the price of the jets:

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President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials have criticized the F-35 program for delays and cost overruns, but the price per jet has declined as production increased. The price of the last batch of F-35A’s in 2017 cost 7 percent less than the previous jet order.

Greg Ulmer, head of the F-35 program at Lockheed, said the Bethesda, Maryland-based company expects to cut the cost of the F-35A to $80 million by 2020.

In addition, negotiations were ongoing for a multi-year deal that was said to be worth more than $37 billion, and encompassing a record 440 F-35 fighter jets.

...

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 10-15-2018 at 12:49 PM.
  #205  
Old 10-15-2018, 02:11 PM
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But just to be clear, a new F-22 cannot be bought today. There is no production line anymore.

RAND did a study on how much it would cost to re-open the production line for another 194 airplanes. The cost was estimated to be about $50 billion, or a quarter billion dollars per plane, plus inflation.

https://www.documentcloud.org/docume...ssessment.html
Wasn't Japan pushing for getting manufacturing rights to build their own? I don't know if that finally died (obviously, they are buying F-35) but I thought they were still trying to get this fairly recently.

At any rate, you are correct that the US isn't going to re-open the lines to build new ones at this point. What we have, we have. F-35, if it's built in the sorts of numbers they were talking about, will be the main front line fighter for the next few decades.

Now folks are talking about 6th generation fighters being studied, so we will probably get to go through all of this again in another decade or two...
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  #206  
Old 10-15-2018, 02:16 PM
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So, I'm way late to the party about the overheating issues (a year ago upthread,) but when a fighter jet is at 30,000 feet, shouldn't the extreme cold be enough to heat-sink away the hot-avionics issue?

And if not, then what do they expect to do when the jet is on the ground and the ambient air temp might be 110 F (i.e., in the Middle East sun?)
  #207  
Old 10-15-2018, 02:20 PM
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But just to be clear, a new F-22 cannot be bought today. There is no production line anymore.

RAND did a study on how much it would cost to re-open the production line for another 194 airplanes. The cost was estimated to be about $50 billion, or a quarter billion dollars per plane, plus inflation.

https://www.documentcloud.org/docume...ssessment.html
Considering that the U.S. defense budget was abruptly hiked under Trump from $580 billion (Obama's last year in office) to $716 billion in FY2019, seems like $50 billion isn't much at all if amortized over, say, two decades ($2.5 billion per year.)

Not saying it would be a good idea, but when the defense budget looks like it might hit a trillion per year by the 2030s, having two hundred more Raptors manufactured looks like but a drop in the bucket annually.

Last edited by Velocity; 10-15-2018 at 02:21 PM.
  #208  
Old 10-15-2018, 02:25 PM
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Considering that the U.S. defense budget was abruptly hiked under Trump from $580 billion (Obama's last year in office) to $716 billion in FY2019, seems like $50 billion isn't much if amortized over, say, two decades ($2.5 billion per year.)

Not saying it would be a good idea, but when the defense budget looks like it might hit a trillion per year by the mid-2020s, it looks like but a drop in the bucket annually.
No, it's a stupid investment. Spending ~$250m for additional F-22s, instead of buying literally three F-35s for the same price, is a silly proposition.

What's more, the Air Force announced a couple years ago that it was starting development of a replacement for the F-22, usually called "Next Generation Air Dominance" or NGAD. Plowing a ton of money into that, rather than a fighter that was designed 30 years ago, is obviously more productive.

ETA: and if the defense budget goes up again next year, rather than staying flat with today's level or more likely going down somewhat, I'll be shocked. Who knows what the defense budget will be in 2030 or whatever -- the pilots the Air Force will be recruiting then are basically playing with crayons and Legos right now.

Last edited by Ravenman; 10-15-2018 at 02:28 PM.
  #209  
Old 10-15-2018, 03:45 PM
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Same reason the Russians keep fighters and interceptors in Tundra, Pakistan high up in the Himalayas, the Chinese on their coasts and the RAF in Scotland. Since that is where the likely enemy attack is going to come from.
Note quite sure if you're serious here. China, UK, and Russia, yes, on the borders. The US gulf coast??? Any threats from Cuba vanished half a century+ ago.

Maritime patrols for smuggling and search/rescue are valid. Advance fighters, strictly political. Simply not necessary for dealing with all the thugs, murderers, and rapists coming our way from the lands of slightly darker skinned peoples.
  #210  
Old 10-15-2018, 04:56 PM
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So, I'm way late to the party about the overheating issues (a year ago upthread,) but when a fighter jet is at 30,000 feet, shouldn't the extreme cold be enough to heat-sink away the hot-avionics issue?

And if not, then what do they expect to do when the jet is on the ground and the ambient air temp might be 110 F (i.e., in the Middle East sun?)
When it's in the air, at least at high altitudes, that IS enough. There was a big to-do over the F-35 because someone suggested they paint the fuel trucks white in AZ so that the fuel wouldn't get too hot before the jet was airborne. My understanding of the issue was that once the jet was in the air, it was fine, but that it had an issue where if the fuel was too hot when it was fueled on the ground, it might not be able to take off.

This is the story that started the big to-do and this is some level-headed commentary on the topic.
  #211  
Old 10-15-2018, 05:00 PM
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Note quite sure if you're serious here. China, UK, and Russia, yes, on the borders. The US gulf coast??? Any threats from Cuba vanished half a century+ ago. ...
Venezuela is down that way. Somebody's got to clear the skies of Su-30s in the run-up to the ground invasion. Might as well be F-22s.



ETA: I agree that politics plays a huge role in basing decisions, unfortunately.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 10-15-2018 at 05:02 PM.
  #212  
Old 10-16-2018, 09:50 AM
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Note quite sure if you're serious here. China, UK, and Russia, yes, on the borders. The US gulf coast??? Any threats from Cuba vanished half a century+ ago.

Maritime patrols for smuggling and search/rescue are valid. Advance fighters, strictly political. Simply not necessary for dealing with all the thugs, murderers, and rapists coming our way from the lands of slightly darker skinned peoples.
Russian bombers do fly to the Gulf Coast of the US.. In addition there is the threat of cruise missiles. A Kh-55 has a range of 2500 km and can fly a preprogrammed flight path, meaning it can be programmed to penetrate from the Gulf even if the launcher A/C never gets near that region. Plus Kalibr have a range of 1000 miles and are launched by submarines. The F22 has look down, shoot down capability, which is useful against such weapons. As far as I recall early model F15 did not, and I am not sure National Guard has the late model ones that do.
  #213  
Old 10-16-2018, 10:39 AM
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Once again: it's a training base.
  #215  
Old 10-16-2018, 12:07 PM
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I'm trying to dumb it down to get the message through. The air defense mission is handled by the Air Guard in Jacksonville.
  #216  
Old 10-16-2018, 12:24 PM
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I'm trying to dumb it down to get the message through. The air defense mission is handled by the Air Guard in Jacksonville.
How is Air Defence organised and handled in the US? Probably not a priority mission for several decades I imagine, since the USSR collapse, although itís obviously increasing in importance again. Is it integrated, say with ANG, USAF, USN fighters and Army SAM batteries under direct control of a unified HQ?
  #217  
Old 10-16-2018, 12:38 PM
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Wasn't Japan pushing for getting manufacturing rights to build their own? I don't know if that finally died (obviously, they are buying F-35) but I thought they were still trying to get this fairly recently.
No. Lockheed was offering to partner with them to build a "domestic" F-35 variant, similar to the Mitsubishi F-2 program which was basically an upsized F-16.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 10-16-2018 at 12:38 PM.
  #218  
Old 10-16-2018, 12:44 PM
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No. Lockheed was offering to partner with them to build a "domestic" F-35 variant, similar to the Mitsubishi F-2 program which was basically an upsized F-16.
No, I thought they were looking into building a local variant of the F-22...I knew the F-35 was off the table. I'm probably mis-remembering, so don't worry about it. I haven't had time to look it up and like I said, I'm probably not remembering correctly.
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  #219  
Old 10-16-2018, 12:57 PM
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How is Air Defence organised and handled in the US? Probably not a priority mission for several decades I imagine, since the USSR collapse, although itís obviously increasing in importance again. Is it integrated, say with ANG, USAF, USN fighters and Army SAM batteries under direct control of a unified HQ?
NORAD, I think. I don't know if they integrate Navy assets, but there appears to be at least some coordination with the Army.

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The Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR) provides airspace surveillance and control and directs air sovereignty activities for the continental United States (CONUS). Co-located with Headquarters First Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, a Combined Air Operations Center coordinates CONR sector activities and executes the NORAD air sovereignty mission for the continental United States. CONR plans, conducts, controls, and coordinates all Air Force forces for the Commander of NORAD. The best of the US Air Force and Air National Guard fighter inventory, the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor, fly as CONRís primary weapons systems. CONR is presently divided into two defense sectors: the Western Defense Sector, with its headquarters located at McChord Air Force Base, Washington; and the Eastern Defense Sector, with its headquarters located at Rome, New York. Within CONR is the National Capital Region (NCR) in the Washington DC area, which is protected by the NCR Integrated Air Defense System (NCR IADS) consisting of a system of radars, cameras, visual warning system, alert aircraft and Army air defense artillery assets.
(emphasis mine)
  #220  
Old 10-16-2018, 01:33 PM
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NORAD, I think. I don't know if they integrate Navy assets, but there appears to be at least some coordination with the Army.
The Navy can contribute data to the system, but in the context we are talking about, the job of having pilots ready to intercept aircraft or other threats to the United States falls on roughly 18 or so bases around the U.S. The Air National Guard ends up having primary responsibility for those operations.

So, for the Washington, D.C. region, there are a small number of F-16s that are ready to take off at very short notice at all times. Other sites rely on F-15s to do the missions. The oddballs are Hawaii and Alaska, which have associated units (I think that's still the right term) of Air Guard and Air Force personnel in the same squadron, and it just so happens that both of those states have F-22 squadrons assigned to that mission. There was a study recently that questioned the value of using F-22s in those roles, because of the limited numbers of the aircraft, the cost involved, possible conflicts with training duties, etc.
  #221  
Old 10-16-2018, 01:40 PM
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No, I thought they were looking into building a local variant of the F-22...I knew the F-35 was off the table. I'm probably mis-remembering, so don't worry about it. I haven't had time to look it up and like I said, I'm probably not remembering correctly.
There was for a number of years a statutory prohibition on selling the F-22 to any other country (cough cough Japan cough). Japan has in fact bought ~40 F-35s, and there's rumors of maybe more... and then there was a out-of-left-field idea recently to restart production of the F-22 airframe and jam it full of F-35 sensors etc. That didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but it's pretty clear that it is going nowhere.

I'll also admit I can't keep track of Japan's incoherent efforts to pursue a domestically-sourced advanced fighter. It's a saga I've vaguely tracked for quite some time, but it always seemed like a total mess.
  #223  
Old 10-24-2018, 05:56 PM
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Just an update on this, it looks like some of the F-22s that were left behind to weather the storm at Tyndall have been flown out now:

The Aviationist: Here Are The Photos Of The Surviving F-22s Being Flown Out Of Tyndall following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael

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After the first assessment the Air Force’s top leaders said the F-22s that had remained in Tyndall when Hurricane Michael struck were not as badly damaged as originally feared. According to the first reports, as many as 17 aircraft were possibly damaged by Michael. The Air Force has not disclosed yet how many Raptors were exactly damaged and the extent of such damages but the more recent figures point to 10 to 14 Raptors.
  #224  
Old 10-24-2018, 08:21 PM
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How hard is it to make aircraft hangars hurricane-proof?


(Sincere, not snarky, question)
  #225  
Old 10-25-2018, 01:39 AM
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How hard is it to make aircraft hangars hurricane-proof?


(Sincere, not snarky, question)
Making one large enough to house a bunch of F-22s (44' wingspan, 17' tall) hurricane-proof is probably rather pricey. You can play around with this calculator to get a sense of the sort of wind loads this hangar might experience at hurricane-force winds (hint: it's a lot), and then account for the fact that those 130mph wind gusts are going to flinging a lot of ... well ... shit against the walls / roof of your hangar in addition to the wind load.

In some places people make "hardened aircraft shelters" with a whole bunch of concrete. Those would probably stand up to a hurricane decently well, but they're very expensive.
  #226  
Old 12-19-2018, 01:40 AM
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Back to the OP thread: Japan now plans to buy an additional 105 Lightning II jets. Deal has yet to be formally approved by the Diet and Trump administration, but if goes through, it would probably guarantee the F-35 program's survival and longevity once and for all. A death spiral for the death spiral?

https://www.defensenews.com/global/a...ational-buyer/

Last edited by Velocity; 12-19-2018 at 01:41 AM.
  #227  
Old 04-09-2019, 03:20 PM
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Scratch one of the Japanese purchases. It only cost them around $10 million per day of operation.
  #228  
Old 04-09-2019, 05:20 PM
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And the Japanese crash shows one of the U.S. Navy's biggest worries: that a single-jet fighter, flying over the ocean, can't get home if its solitary engine goes out.

(not that this was necessarily engine-related, but it was a huge deal in making the Navy balk over the F-35C for a while)
  #229  
Old 04-10-2019, 10:21 AM
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And the Japanese crash shows one of the U.S. Navy's biggest worries: that a single-jet fighter, flying over the ocean, can't get home if its solitary engine goes out.

(not that this was necessarily engine-related, but it was a huge deal in making the Navy balk over the F-35C for a while)
Two engines also mean roughly double the chances for engine problems, and (as I understand it) even single engine failures on double engine fighter aircraft are often unrecoverable due to speeds, loads, and complexity involved.

I think historically double engines were safer, but on more recent aircraft (i.e F-16 vs. F-15 over the last 20 years) its the reverse.
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Old 04-11-2019, 08:50 AM
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1. Two engines also mean roughly double the chances for engine problems, and (as I understand it)
2. even single engine failures on double engine fighter aircraft are often unrecoverable due to speeds, loads, and complexity involved.

3. I think historically double engines were safer, but on more recent aircraft (i.e F-16 vs. F-15 over the last 20 years) its the reverse.
1. Sure, for same engine and other related systems
2. That's quite true of some twin engine prop planes. Some modern small civil twins for example are difficult to handle on one engine, for some of their typical pilots, due to the asymmetry. Among modern combat a/c it was somewhat true of the F-14 because the engines were relatively far apart. It's not particularly true AFAIK of current operational US twin fighters (F-15, F-18, F-22) with engines pretty close together.
3. The USAF posts lots of accident stats here:
https://www.safety.af.mil/Divisions/...on-Statistics/

See the sub-links on engine related mishaps single and twin. For F-16 and F-15 it varies considerably within each by sub type of F100/F110 engine and in some cases no version of both planes uses the exact same sub type, but the F-16 numbers are definitely higher in general.

The loss of the Japanese F-35, the second total loss of an F-35 in the program's history, made me think from some press reaction: do they think F-16's are never lost in normal peacetime operations? 337 a/c in the plane's history in the USAF and it used to average in the teens per yr ca late 80's to ca. 2000 though it has since dropped to a range of 0-6 per year, partly due to a smaller fleet but partly from real safety improvements.

Last edited by Corry El; 04-11-2019 at 08:52 AM.
  #231  
Old 04-11-2019, 11:26 AM
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3. The USAF posts lots of accident stats here:
https://www.safety.af.mil/Divisions/...on-Statistics/
See the sub-links on engine related mishaps single and twin. For F-16 and F-15 it varies considerably within each by sub type of F100/F110 engine and in some cases no version of both planes uses the exact same sub type, but the F-16 numbers are definitely higher in general.
In general, yes, but when you look specifically at the F100-229 (the most modern one common to both planes) engine mishaps, it paints a different picture (8 class A mishaps on the F-15 vs. 0 for the F-16, but the F-15 only has 3X the flight hours).

Maybe this is just statistical cherry picking, however.
  #232  
Old 04-11-2019, 04:57 PM
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2. That's quite true of some twin engine prop planes. Some modern small civil twins for example are difficult to handle on one engine, for some of their typical pilots, due to the asymmetry.
Like the saying goes, you can always depend on twin engine aircraft. When the first engine quits the second will surely fly you to the scene of an accident.
  #233  
Old 04-15-2019, 09:55 AM
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And the Japanese crash shows one of the U.S. Navy's biggest worries: that a single-jet fighter, flying over the ocean, can't get home if its solitary engine goes out.
I don't think the Navy genuinely had concerns about that. The Navy would happily take an aircraft whose loss rate due to engine failures was 1% higher if it meant it was more capable in other areas. Losses due to engine failures are a relatively small fraction of operational losses generally. The link is for F-15s but won't be hugely dissimilar from the numbers for Navy aircraft, except that the Navy numbers will have a lot more crashes on landing.

The Navy's problem - and perhaps not an unreasonable one - was that it didn't think a single-engined aircraft could carry a big enough payload. The Navy wants twin-engined aircraft because it is used to operating large, heavy missile sleds. The safety issue was probably a canard.

Which brings us to a much more sensible question than the one asked in this thread originally: was the decision to use a shared airframe for the U.S. services (and Royal Navy) a good one in the end?
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  #234  
Old 04-15-2019, 09:59 AM
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... Which brings us to a much more sensible question than the one asked in this thread originally: was the decision to use a shared airframe for the U.S. services (and Royal Navy) a good one in the end?
I don't think the answer to that is knowable. It would hinge on what the USAF, RAF, USN, RN, & USMC would have done if the JSF program didn't exist. We don't know what aircraft they would have if they'd run their own individual procurement programs, or how much they would cost, or what their performance / timeline / quantity would be.
  #235  
Old 04-15-2019, 10:08 AM
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I don't think the answer to that is knowable. It would hinge on what the USAF, RAF, USN, RN, & USMC would have done if the JSF program didn't exist. We don't know what aircraft they would have if they'd run their own individual procurement programs, or how much they would cost, or what their performance / timeline / quantity would be.
I was going to say that the jury is still out, but it's probably not knowable at this point, now. We did what we did and didn't do what we didn't do. It's hard to say if things would be different had we gone the other route and just had everyone build their own. I will say that, from past history, advanced air frames often get cancelled when they are individual, vertical projects. Even this one, that had all of the hooks for multi-service and multi-state support has been pretty rocky wrt funding, cuts and even folks trying to pull the plug.

Personally, I think this air frame will be a winner in the end, and an air craft that will be with us for decades, but it's certainly not been an easy project. Any time you push the technology you are going to have things like this happen, though. And I expect there to still be some serious teething problems going forward. But eventually, they will get worked out, IMHO anyway and FWIW.
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  #236  
Old 04-15-2019, 10:31 AM
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Which brings us to a much more sensible question than the one asked in this thread originally: was the decision to use a shared airframe for the U.S. services (and Royal Navy) a good one in the end?
I think XT's point is fair, that it's hard to see what the services would have done otherwise. But once more: the airframes aren't actually the same between the three variants; it's more like they are cousins of each other. The carrier variant has wings that are substantially larger; the STOVL has a big fucking hole in the middle where the lift fan goes, and the CTOL is what it is.

In my opinion, the Air Force pretty much is getting what it would have gotten if there had not been a joint program. The Marine Corps is getting something substantially better than otherwise, and the Navy wishes the whole thing never happened.

But I must also add that if the Air Force had pursued an F-35A in the absence of the other services' involvement... things probably would not have changed that much from the way they played out. The software probably still would have been a mess, flight test would have taken the same amount of time, and so on. Those problems really had little to do with the jointness of the program. This is merely informed speculation, of course.

Last edited by Ravenman; 04-15-2019 at 10:32 AM.
  #237  
Old 04-16-2019, 04:54 PM
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I saw today that the USAF is deploying F-35A's to the Middle East for the first time.
  #238  
Old 04-18-2019, 05:53 PM
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It has to be said that despite all its teething problems, the F-35 is looking like a success now. Pilots are reporting that it's a dream to fly, and I think it's been scoring something like 20-1 kill ratios against its competitors in wargames. Apparently the low observability is a huge asset, because it's much harder for smaller, less powerful radars in planes and missiles to track the thing, even if powerful radars on the ground can find it.

If it comes down to $80 million per copy that's in line with what other air superiority fighters have cost. For example, the last F-14's cost $38 million per copy in 1998, which is right around $60 million in today's dollars. The F-16E/F is $50 million per copy. The F-35 is much more advanced. There are now nine partner nations planning on buying about 3100 of them during the program.

I'd say that reports of a death spiral are greatly exaggerated.

Last edited by Sam Stone; 04-18-2019 at 05:54 PM.
  #239  
Old 04-18-2019, 06:14 PM
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It has to be said that despite all its teething problems, the F-35 is looking like a success now. Pilots are reporting that it's a dream to fly, and I think it's been scoring something like 20-1 kill ratios against its competitors in wargames. Apparently the low observability is a huge asset, because it's much harder for smaller, less powerful radars in planes and missiles to track the thing, even if powerful radars on the ground can find it.

If it comes down to $80 million per copy that's in line with what other air superiority fighters have cost. For example, the last F-14's cost $38 million per copy in 1998, which is right around $60 million in today's dollars. The F-16E/F is $50 million per copy. The F-35 is much more advanced. There are now nine partner nations planning on buying about 3100 of them during the program.

I'd say that reports of a death spiral are greatly exaggerated.

Yes, while it was a huge program that seems to have been badly managed, the combination of stealth and IT will enable new tactics that just weren't possible; Like a flight of F-35 destroying huge numbers of targets by flying over enemy territory, spotting targets, calling in off-board missiles and providing terminal guidance without ever firing a shot themselves. Networked warfare is going to be to 21st century warfare what combined arms warfare was to the 20th century and the F-35 will be a mainstay of it. Hopefully enough of an advantage that it never gets to shine by showing what it could do against a peer adversary.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:00 AM
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In my opinion, the Air Force pretty much is getting what it would have gotten if there had not been a joint program. The Marine Corps is getting something substantially better than otherwise, and the Navy wishes the whole thing never happened.
But the Air Force and Navy wouldn't have built a plane with space for a big fucking hole in the middle. The point about the program working out for the Marine Corps is well taken, although ISTM that the Marines field far smaller numbers of aircraft than the other branches anyway.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:07 AM
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But the Air Force and Navy wouldn't have built a plane with space for a big fucking hole in the middle. The point about the program working out for the Marine Corps is well taken, although ISTM that the Marines field far smaller numbers of aircraft than the other branches anyway.
The Marines should probably have been told that if they wanted something, they should ask the Navy, like usual.

It might make complete sense for countries that don't have aircraft carriers or in-flight refueling to have VTOL fighters although I doubt the US was thinking about that when designing it.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
But the Air Force and Navy wouldn't have built a plane with space for a big fucking hole in the middle. The point about the program working out for the Marine Corps is well taken, although ISTM that the Marines field far smaller numbers of aircraft than the other branches anyway.
If not for the jointness of the program, my opinion is that the Marine Corps would have gotten out of the business of having jets on big deck amphibs. It's hard for me to believe that the Marine Corps would have invested in their own unique fixed-wing strike platform during the same period they were making large investments in the V-22, two new amphibious fighting vehicles, a new tactical wheeled vehicle, a massive heavy lift helicopter, a recap/modernization of their H-1 fleets, etc.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:13 AM
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The Marines should probably have been told that if they wanted something, they should ask the Navy, like usual.

It might make complete sense for countries that don't have aircraft carriers or in-flight refueling to have VTOL fighters although I doubt the US was thinking about that when designing it.
Eh? The primary purpose of VTOL fighters is to operate from carriers (though they were originally envisaged as a hedge against the vulnerability of airfields).
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  #244  
Old 04-25-2019, 11:06 AM
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Eh? The primary purpose of VTOL fighters is to operate from carriers (though they were originally envisaged as a hedge against the vulnerability of airfields).
I should have said: "The C version is sufficient for a military that has fullsize aircraft carriers whereas the B version would have a lot of value to countries that don't have carriers or only small ones."

If you're going to have a 100 000 ton and 1000 feet long carrier anyway, why does it need to be vertical TOL as opposed to short TOL?

Perhaps the B version would be worth it if you could get rid of fullsize carriers and replace them with small ones or even by having a "distributed aircraft carrier array" where a group of 5000-20 000 ton ships carry a handful of airplanes each. I suppose that will eventually happen when they're unmanned.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:13 AM
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I'm not following what you're talking about. The STOVL variant was designed with ~40,000 ton carriers (in U.S. terms, large deck amphibious assault ships) in mind. That's it.
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:00 PM
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My bad:

I agreed with RNATB that it wasn't worth it to compromise version A and C for the sake of version B since the Marines didn't need to have their own stealth fighter deployed from LDAAS, they could have relied on in-flight refueled F-35As from the Air Force and aircraft carrier-deployed F-35Cs from the Navy's fullsize carriers.

The F-35B might be worth it in other circumstances, though, like for other countries or if the US wanted to replace its fullsize carriers with smaller motherships.
  #247  
Old 04-25-2019, 01:45 PM
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The F-35B might be worth it in other circumstances, though, like for other countries or if the US wanted to replace its fullsize carriers with smaller motherships.
Or for F-35Bs to operate from amphibious ships -- since that is 100% the plan from the beginning, and there is no plan (in the next few years at least) to replace CVNs with "smaller motherships."

It's just strange to me that you're jumping to this "replace supercarriers sometime in the future" logic while skipping over the factual matter that we already have smaller aircraft carriers and the F-35B was literally built to operate from, and currently is operating from.
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:55 PM
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Or for F-35Bs to operate from amphibious ships -- since that is 100% the plan from the beginning, and there is no plan (in the next few years at least) to replace CVNs with "smaller motherships."

It's just strange to me that you're jumping to this "replace supercarriers sometime in the future" logic while skipping over the factual matter that we already have smaller aircraft carriers and the F-35B was literally built to operate from, and currently is operating from.
Do you think it was worth it to include the B variant in order to gain the capability to operate from Marine LDAAS, given the design compromises and the value of LDAAS themselves? I get the impression it wasn't but you may well know something I don't since you often do on these matters.

I offered the last part as a possibility in which it might make sense in other circumstances. Maybe that muddied my message too much.
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Old 04-25-2019, 02:05 PM
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Do you think it was worth it to include the B variant in order to gain the capability to operate from Marine LDAAS, given the design compromises and the value of LDAAS themselves? I get the impression it wasn't but you may well know something I don't since you often do on these matters. ...
I know the question wasn't addressed to me, but I definitely think it was "worth it". It's not just the Marines that get a carrier-lite out of the deal. A whole bunch of our allies (that could never have afforded a "supercarrier") will now have the option of real serious naval airpower: Japan, South Korea, Australia, Italy, Spain, etc.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 04-25-2019 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 04-25-2019, 02:29 PM
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I know the question wasn't addressed to me, but I definitely think it was "worth it". It's not just the Marines that get a carrier-lite out of the deal. A whole bunch of our allies (that could never have afforded a "supercarrier") will now have the option of real serious naval airpower: Japan, South Korea, Australia, Italy, Spain, etc.
I agree that it could be worth it in that way, especially for Japan and South Korea when it comes to dealing with China. That might have been what the US was thinking or what US allies asked for in the early design phase.

Looking at the cost on Wikipedia, the F-35B costs about 116M and the F-35C costs 108M. An extra $8M/plane and 25% shorter range might be a lot cheaper than getting a fullsize carrier, especially considering how tempting a target fullsize carriers are and the fact that South Korean and Japanese carriers would be within range of Chinese ballistic missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles.

The more I think about it, the more it seems it was worth it less for the Marines than for allies, especially Asian ones.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 04-25-2019 at 02:30 PM.
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