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Thread: Su-57 Will Not Be Mass Produced

  1. #16
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    So, we could really keep using F-15s, 16's and 18's for a long while. Modernize our F-16 fleet, buy the upgraded F-15s that we are selling to our allies and buy the latest version of the F-18s, all while cutting back on the F-35s and we would still have Air Dominance. And save money.

    Nah, that would never happen.
    It's too late for that, the F-35 program has reached the point that it's more cost efficient than legacy aircraft. Dramatically so if you're comparing the capability bought per dollar and still very comparable if you're judging solely by numbers of hulls.

    The price for lot 11 aircraft is down another 6% to $89 million per F-35A and is the prelude to a multi-year buy that's going to cut into that price even further.

    That's within spitting distance of a Block 70 F-16, and you won't get any F-15s for that price. That doesn't even factor in that building legacy aircraft means you also need to buy all the gadgets that are baked into an F-35 separately in podded form to close the capability gap. Buying that new F-15 or F-16 means you're going to be on the hook for gas bags, sniper pod, IR pod, if you want to come close to the F-35's range and sensor capabilities which ups the cost even more. Even so, it still leaves big holes where the DAS, secure directional comms, and radio triangulation, and jamming capabilities exist.

    Legacy aircraft also require more airframes to accomplish missions than F-35s. For example: Hitting a few targets defended by an IADS system currently requires either putting strategic B-2 assets at risk or a complex attack involving deception, jamming, CAP, and SEAD/DEAD. That requires tens or hundreds of tactical aircraft along with the requisite refueling and AWACS aircraft to control the whole thing.

    Alternatively a 4 ship of F-35s can do it without breaking a sweat, freeing up all those other aircraft for more productive uses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    No, the money is turning and flowing in that scenario also. What it really boils down to is "NEW".

    Say you have a great 2017 low mileage car and just saw a new 2019 and just have to have it. Ooo, ahhh!

    Do we really think Generals and Admirals are any different from us when it comes to the allure of NEW?
    Gents,

    The cost savings on the F-35 (yes, despite enormous amounts of sunk costs) is on the economy of scale. Cutting back on the number of aircraft will drive per unit....and more importantly, spares...up to where it breaks budgets.

    We are too far past the upgrade our current generation of airframes to recoup anywhere near enough savings to offset the above.


    And the Army DOES NOT WANT THE A-10!!!

    It may seem sexy but we don't have the infrastructure to support it and it is not a core part of our mission. Organic fixed wing is a Marine Critical Mission, not an Army.
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    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    And the Army DOES NOT WANT THE A-10!!!

    It may seem sexy but we don't have the infrastructure to support it and it is not a core part of our mission. Organic fixed wing is a Marine Critical Mission, not an Army.
    Why would the Army invest in something like the A-10 when they can call in precision strikes organically from assets they already have? Guided 155mm Excalibur artillery shells have caught on very well, and for longer ranged work both the M-270 and HIMARS can fire guided MLRS artillery with a variety of effects to choose from while keeping up with maneuver forces. The ability to put rockets or 155mm artillery fire exactly where you want it makes it even better suited to use near friendlies than an old school A-10 driver squinting out the window at little figures on the ground. As cool as the 30mm gun sounds it's notorious for blue on blue incidents.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I see a lot of conversation regarding this or that aircraft replacing the A-10, particularly with regard to CAS. The fact of the matter is that no other aircraft is replacing the A-10 because precision guided munitions already killed the need for it.

    Even the A-10 no longer does CAS low and slow like an "A-10". Low and slow improves accuracy with unguided weapons and used to allow for better eyeballs on the ground. Now it flies at medium altitudes and drops JDAMs like an F-16, while seeing a lot more than ever before via a Sniper POD and ROVER to send video back to the guys on the ground. Unfortunately it's also slow to arrive and has no radar. That means no SAR ground mapping capability which severely impacts the A-10s utility in adverse weather or at night, and all but eliminates its ability to defend itself from anything else in the air.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 16 Jul 18, at 17:23.

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    For the US military, the fixed wing with the highest combat loss rate has been the A-10. For the Russians and their allies, it has been the SU-25. Two family members have E's for aerial gunnery. Their rate 20.2 and 20.3 percent. You're really really good if you can hit the target every fifth shot. I know technology has improved accuracy and made the plane smarter since the 50's and 60's, Still using ballistics to strike a target is still a daunting task.

    The F-22 is great on the performance numbers but its avionics is not even up to 4th standards and they didn't build that many.

    What with the cost and the logistics involved in building maintaining and deploying a modern military. Is a major military conflict sustainable for anybody not named NATO or the US, maybe China? If Turkey closed off the Bosporus, Iraq closes their airspace, Rusia and Iran have a hard time getting to Syria.
    Last edited by Dazed; 17 Jul 18, at 03:40.

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    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazed View Post
    The F-22 is great on the performance numbers but its avionics is not even up to 4th standards and they didn't build that many.
    Have a citation for that?

    The avionics on the F-22 are more advanced than anything else in the air excepting the F-35, and you'd be mistaken to think that the F-22's haven't benefited directly from investments in to the F-35 program.

    Examples we know of are updates to the F-22's radar and stealth coatings leveraging technology developed for the F-35. The idea that the F-22's avionics haven't seen similar improvements as well seems pretty far fetched.

    Lt. Col. David Berke who has flown instructed and flown F-16s, F-18s, F-22s, and F-35s gives a great rundown of what makes a fifth gen aircraft so dominant against 4th gen opponents, and it has almost nothing to do with performance. Give it a read, it's enlightening.

    https://daedalians.org/fifth-generat...e-air-warfare/

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A few choice quotes:

    “Everybody loves the maneuverability and speed of the Raptor, but F-22 pilots understand that the airplane’s least important attribute is its speed- which should suggest just how amazing the other, more important attributes really are. What people never see at an airshow is what’s on the pilot’s display- what sort of information the pilot is getting that allows him to make really smart decisions in combat, and kill everything that he sees- and that has nothing to do with speed. In fifth generation combat, the fastest airplane out there is just the first one to die.”

    “This is not an Industrial Age aircraft, it is a Digital Age aircraft; it changes the way we do business.” Formerly, essential mission information used by combat aviators was acquired, compiled, “fused” into useful information, and then supplied to the aviators by airmen at headquarters. Later, this point of fusion was pushed forward, to the Combined Air Operations Centers (CAOCs), and then even further forward via aircraft such as the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). “Today, fusion occurs at the point of execution- it happens in the F-35 and F-22 cockpits, and they are pushing the information backward and into the entire network. Multi-Domain Command and Control requires a philosophical shift, recognizing that this fusion is happening at the execution level.”

    "Fifth generation pilots know that information is paramount. 100 percent of pilots would choose better situational awareness over improvements in any other area.”
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 17 Jul 18, at 15:02.

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    New technology for new weapon systems allows for better tech to be used to upgrade existing inventories.

    For instance, when the M1 Tank came out it had the TIS Thermal sight. It was revolutionary for the US and the first serviceable thermal system for a tank. However, the research into developing the TIS lead to an improved system, the TTS. The TTS was installed in the M60A3 series as they were getting rebuilt and fielded. The TTS was a much better thermal than the TTS. Added to the laser range finder the M60A3 TTS was one hell of a tank (my favorite!) The TTS was later installed in the M1A1.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    Have a citation for that?

    The avionics on the F-22 are more advanced than anything else in the air excepting the F-35, and you'd be mistaken to think that the F-22's haven't benefited directly from investments in to the F-35 program.

    Examples we know of are updates to the F-22's radar and stealth coatings leveraging technology developed for the F-35. The idea that the F-22's avionics haven't seen similar improvements as well seems pretty far fetched.

    Lt. Col. David Berke who has flown instructed and flown F-16s, F-18s, F-22s, and F-35s gives a great rundown of what makes a fifth gen aircraft so dominant against 4th gen opponents, and it has almost nothing to do with performance. Give it a read, it's enlightening.

    https://daedalians.org/fifth-generat...e-air-warfare/

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A few choice quotes:

    “Everybody loves the maneuverability and speed of the Raptor, but F-22 pilots understand that the airplane’s least important attribute is its speed- which should suggest just how amazing the other, more important attributes really are. What people never see at an airshow is what’s on the pilot’s display- what sort of information the pilot is getting that allows him to make really smart decisions in combat, and kill everything that he sees- and that has nothing to do with speed. In fifth generation combat, the fastest airplane out there is just the first one to die.”

    “This is not an Industrial Age aircraft, it is a Digital Age aircraft; it changes the way we do business.” Formerly, essential mission information used by combat aviators was acquired, compiled, “fused” into useful information, and then supplied to the aviators by airmen at headquarters. Later, this point of fusion was pushed forward, to the Combined Air Operations Centers (CAOCs), and then even further forward via aircraft such as the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). “Today, fusion occurs at the point of execution- it happens in the F-35 and F-22 cockpits, and they are pushing the information backward and into the entire network. Multi-Domain Command and Control requires a philosophical shift, recognizing that this fusion is happening at the execution level.”

    "Fifth generation pilots know that information is paramount. 100 percent of pilots would choose better situational awareness over improvements in any other area.”
    It's a fluff piece from 03/17 but yes. http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...to-use-with-it. I work with a couple ANG guys who went from F-15/F-18's into the F-22. F-15/16 aircraft that for the last decade have helmet sights and all versions of the AIM-9X and can talk to f-35. They love the performance of the F-22 the best flying they get in a month.

    Updating avionics. F-35. t6tT/KC-46, F-22 crossing the international date line for the first time. Avionics are probably the biggest problem and driver of cost overun in aircraft procurement.
    Last edited by Dazed; 17 Jul 18, at 22:32.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazed View Post
    It's a fluff piece from 03/17 but yes. http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...to-use-with-it. I work with a couple ANG guys who went from F-15/F-18's into the F-22. F-15/16 aircraft that for the last decade have helmet sights and all versions of the AIM-9X and can talk to f-35. They love the performance of the F-22 the best flying they get in a month.
    I'm not terribly surprised that AIM-9X/HMCS isn't a huge priority when it comes to F-22 upgrades. It's built to be the premier BVR machine in the world and frankly helmet sights and HOBs missiles aren't all that relevant up at 65,000 ft.

    Getting the most out of the AIM-9X is far more important to the strikers that play down on the deck and could suddenly find themselves too close for comfort with a hostile that pops over terrain or out of a canyon.

    I'll concede that the lack of MADL on the F-22 fleet is a problem that is long overdue to be remedied.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 17 Jul 18, at 23:09.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    I'm not terribly surprised that AIM-9X/HMCS isn't a huge priority when it comes to F-22 upgrades. It's built to be the premier BVR machine in the world and frankly helmet sights and HOBs missiles aren't all that relevant up at 65,000 ft.

    Getting the most out of the AIM-9X is far more important to the strikers that play down on the deck and could suddenly find themselves too close for comfort with a hostile that pops over terrain or out of a canyon.

    I'll concede that the lack of MADL on the F-22 fleet is a problem that is long overdue to be remedied.
    I thought the problem with fighting the US and it Allies was not just the shiny weapons but the command and control of the theater. The F-22 is handicapped it's inability to securely and efficiently to communicate with other assets. One of the reasons Sec of Defense Gates canceled the program.

    Hazards of upgrading aircraft avionics. https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018...t-of-problems/ This is all off the shelf technology tweaked for the KC-46

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazed View Post
    I thought the problem with fighting the US and it Allies was not just the shiny weapons but the command and control of the theater. The F-22 is handicapped it's inability to securely and efficiently to communicate with other assets. One of the reasons Sec of Defense Gates canceled the program.

    Hazards of upgrading aircraft avionics. https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018...t-of-problems/ This is all off the shelf technology tweaked for the KC-46
    Command and control is absolutely one of the biggest US strengths, and I think it's clear from the evolution from F-22 to F-35 how much additional emphasis was placed on networking, communication, data links, sensor fusion, and information dominance, but also sustainability, even at the cost of cutting edge kinematics. (NIFC-CA and the system of systems approach has a ton of potential)

    In a lot of ways I think Gates saw the F-22 as being more useful as a tool to gain experience to benefit the following program rather than as an essential warfighting tool in and of itself. By the time Gates was in office it was becoming clear that sustainability was a huge issue for the F-22 and a large buy could endanger follow on programs that were more important, namely F-35 and B-21. It may be a controversial opinion but I believe Gates made the right choice with regard to the F-22. He states in his memoirs that intelligence was confident that Russia and China would not field threatening numbers of stealth fighters until the 2020s. Thus redirecting resources from the F-22 towards platforms fielded closer to those dates and recapitalizing other parts of the fleet (KC-46) was more important. The recent implosion of the SU-57 program and engine trouble plaguing the J-20s is a good indication that he was right, and by the time they stand up more than a handful of operational stealth fighters the US and allies will be in possession of thousands of stealth fighters to counter them with 6th gen around the corner.

    A lot of lessons learned from the F-22 informed design choices in the F-35.

    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 18 Jul 18, at 03:40.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    • There was a huge focus on sustainability and ease of maintenance to allow for large numbers of airframes to be built and sustained without crippling budgets, the whole focus was on lifetime program costs rather than fly away costs. Quantity has a quality of it's own and all that. (Lockheed states that 50 percent of the maintenance performed on the F-22 is related to repairing the Low Observable (LO) stealth coatings that are damaged when the aircraft is opened up for routine maintenance.) The F-35 program hit the materials science hard to come up with the damage resistant fiber mat stealth coating, and put a lot of thought into access panels and ease of maintainince at the lowest level possible. Then there's the massive undertaking that ALIS represents that will yield huge dividends over the lifetime of the program despite the difficulties it's encountered early on.
    The F-35 is a success story for the Acquisition Logistician workforce. For decades the ACQLOG folks were always brought in on a program long after they could impact design. What is hammered into us is Availability...i.e., you need systems mission ready. And the best way to make system available is to make them reliable. Minimize that which can break. When it does break get it fixed quickly. To do this you minimize hands on maintenance requirements and limit the number of tools needed. $1 million dollars spent during the design to look at sustainability issues can save a program tens of millions of in life cycle costs.

    So all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the issues with the F-35 during development ae the exact reason why the AQGLOG guys won...the turned that aircraft program on its head. We are going to see a very robust fleet going forward because of those efforts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    It's too late for that, the F-35 program has reached the point that it's more cost efficient than legacy aircraft. Dramatically so if you're comparing the capability bought per dollar and still very comparable if you're judging solely by numbers of hulls.

    The price for lot 11 aircraft is down another 6% to $89 million per F-35A and is the prelude to a multi-year buy that's going to cut into that price even further.

    That's within spitting distance of a Block 70 F-16, and you won't get any F-15s for that price. That doesn't even factor in that building legacy aircraft means you also need to buy all the gadgets that are baked into an F-35 separately in podded form to close the capability gap. Buying that new F-15 or F-16 means you're going to be on the hook for gas bags, sniper pod, IR pod, if you want to come close to the F-35's range and sensor capabilities which ups the cost even more. Even so, it still leaves big holes where the DAS, secure directional comms, and radio triangulation, and jamming capabilities exist.

    Legacy aircraft also require more airframes to accomplish missions than F-35s. For example: Hitting a few targets defended by an IADS system currently requires either putting strategic B-2 assets at risk or a complex attack involving deception, jamming, CAP, and SEAD/DEAD. That requires tens or hundreds of tactical aircraft along with the requisite refueling and AWACS aircraft to control the whole thing.

    Alternatively a 4 ship of F-35s can do it without breaking a sweat, freeing up all those other aircraft for more productive uses.
    Not really, as we saw in Syria a B-1 loaded with JASSM-ER's can hit anything within 600 miles with stealthy ordnance. That is well outside the radar range of any SAM system on earth. A single B-1 can can carry more ordnance than 4 F-35's while keeping crew risk limited to bird strikes and mechanical problems. At least when it comes to theater level SEAD and high value targets the F-35 is a non-starter. It has limited range and ordnance if it wants to stay stealthy. China is banking on A2AD, our answer seems to be extreme range standoff weapons like submarine launched cruise missiles and air launched JASSM's that can be flown from CONUS bases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Not really, as we saw in Syria a B-1 loaded with JASSM-ER's can hit anything within 600 miles with stealthy ordnance. That is well outside the radar range of any SAM system on earth. A single B-1 can can carry more ordnance than 4 F-35's while keeping crew risk limited to bird strikes and mechanical problems. At least when it comes to theater level SEAD and high value targets the F-35 is a non-starter. It has limited range and ordnance if it wants to stay stealthy. China is banking on A2AD, our answer seems to be extreme range standoff weapons like submarine launched cruise missiles and air launched JASSM's that can be flown from CONUS bases.
    You can just keep firing TLAMs at anything within 1000 miles of blue water too, but neither of those options work so well against air defense assets that like to move around.

    Something has to find and smash those pesky TELs that love to pick up and hide. Scud hunting was difficult enough in the desert, it only gets harder in mountainous, urban, or forested terrain. The B-1 can carry a big war load but it isn't going to be going out and hitting the bricks while hunting for cleverly hidden HQ-9s. Nor is sneaking a recon drone in, then waiting an hour for a JASSM to fly 600 miles at .8 mach a great solution. When those same mobile air defenses are alerted that B-1s have been spotted at standoff range for cruise missiles they're going to break camp and setup elsewhere. The F-35 has the combination of stealth, sensors, and jamming to get in there and find those air defenses with a reasonable expectation of survival even if they stumble across them unexpectedly, along with the firepower to smash them before they can escape.

    The F-35 can also provide interdiction or CAS despite the fact that some undiscovered TELs are still out there in the wild. In order for 4th gens to accomplish the same you have to field them in huge numbers for mutual support (Recon, Ewar, SEAD, and Air Cover just to support a few Strikers) which exponentially increases the number of refueling assets required, along with the C&C and logistics required to put that kind of package together. A few F-35s can handle the same job without all that support which means they can actually be responsive to immediate needs instead of waiting for HQ to draw up an elaborate battle plan.

    Big strategic installations are going to be delegated to the B-2/B-21s anyway, I don't think anyone is arguing the F-35 is going to replace heavy bombers for deep strikes.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 18 Jul 18, at 18:32.

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