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  • can a single seat aircraft do that though?

    I know they are drones and all, but for the pilot, how much does it add to the workload?

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    • I doubt the pilot will actually be piloting the drones remotely.

      More likely in my opinion is that the drones will have several pre-programmed options such as (fly route X, assume formation X around my aircraft, hold position, maintain X distance from me, attack target X with weapon Y, refuel from aircraft X, return and land, etc.) where the pilot can pick the behavior he wants from a menu, and then fill in X from a list of choices or manually if necessary.

      This would certainly add additional things for the pilot to think about, but hopefully it wouldn't require constant input on his part.

      The reports I've seen from F-35 pilots suggest that the workload of flying the jet is already significantly lower than current fighter aircraft. Indeed this seems to have been a central tenet going into the design of the jet.

      The most striking difference I've read was a comparison between vertically landing a Harrier (by all accounts a nerve wracking experience) as opposed to the F-35 where you push a button and it essentially lands itself.

      Sensor fusion also seems like an attempt to take a load off the pilot by just showing them a complete picture rather than requiring the pilot to monitor a number of different instruments and having to piece the situation together in his head.

      It can even be seen in the self diagnostic maintenance systems even if they haven't gotten all the kinks worked out just yet.

      I wouldn't be shocked to discover that this drive to reduce pilot workload was carried over to as many aspects of operating the jet as possible. If this frees up the pilot to have more time to consider the situation and command a swarm of drones, then so much the better.
      Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 16 Dec 14,, 21:50.

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      • also suspect that there would be a requirement for a stealthy, longer endurance 2 seater of some kind.

        Future RIOs might have more fun than the pilots.

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        • Originally posted by bfng3569 View Post
          can a single seat aircraft do that though?

          I know they are drones and all, but for the pilot, how much does it add to the workload?
          Maybe they can build the vapourware 2-seater version of the F-35?

          Attached Files
          "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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          • Originally posted by citanon View Post
            also suspect that there would be a requirement for a stealthy, longer endurance 2 seater of some kind.

            Future RIOs might have more fun than the pilots.
            Sounds like that might be right up the alley of the Next-Generation Bomber.

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            • Originally posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
              Sounds like that might be right up the alley of the Next-Generation Bomber.
              It's possible, the problem is it would be very expensive. Then again there may not be money in the budget for a 2 seater fighter bomber or a 2 seat F-35 and there is going to be 100 of the NGBs (right? right????? ;) ).

              However, the fighter bomber concept might merit a second look again if it only has to carry defensive weapons and fuel and can leave the ordinance carriage to the UCAVs. You then end up with a lower priced platform that has the stealth and range to keep up with UCAV strike packages, while leaving the NGB for other missions. It would also give the Navy something it can fly off its decks. If only NGBs were involved then Navy carriers could end up in the unglamorous position of launching and retrieving UAVs just for the air force boys to command.
              Last edited by citanon; 17 Dec 14,, 00:41.

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              • Yeah, based on the prices we're already seeing and F-35 production already slotted through at least 2035, I don't see how we manage to design and squeeze another model into the production schedule.

                As far as workload...controlling drones is going to add quite a bit, all at the busiest time of the mission. We've already seen F-22 pilots getting overloaded just playing the mini-AWACS role, and this is even more complex no matter how user friendly the system is.

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                • Originally posted by Jimmy View Post
                  Yeah, based on the prices we're already seeing and F-35 production already slotted through at least 2035, I don't see how we manage to design and squeeze another model into the production schedule.

                  As far as workload...controlling drones is going to add quite a bit, all at the busiest time of the mission. We've already seen F-22 pilots getting overloaded just playing the mini-AWACS role, and this is even more complex no matter how user friendly the system is.
                  Same goes for replacing the growler with the F-35 in the future, if the plan is to retire the Superhornet fleet, I cant see a single seat dedicated 'growler' version.

                  and maybe this will complete the circle, but I can't see a two seat version of the f-35 without....... two engines and an increase in size.

                  which would be akin to the ASF-14 vs Superhornet in that you would probably be lookin at the same idea/concept of a clean sheet redesign......

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                  • While a dual seat F-35 would undoubtedly grow heavier, trying to add a 2nd engine would be a drastic step. Considering the improvements made over time in the venerable F100 series of engines increased thrust by around 25%, I think there is a distinct possibility that the F135 engine could already have some serious enhancements coming down the pipeline. It may be enough to offset the increased weight of a 2 seater variant without having to make huge compromises.

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                    • Originally posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
                      While a dual seat F-35 would undoubtedly grow heavier, trying to add a 2nd engine would be a drastic step. Considering the improvements made over time in the venerable F100 series of engines increased thrust by around 25%, I think there is a distinct possibility that the F135 engine could already have some serious enhancements coming down the pipeline. It may be enough to offset the increased weight of a 2 seater variant without having to make huge compromises.
                      the current F-35 engine is already having issues, and if i remember right its got one of the highest outputs for a fighter engine around.

                      plus adding a second seat and keeping it stealthy without affecting range or payload, weight etc etc?

                      i don't see it.

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                      • Originally posted by bfng3569 View Post
                        Same goes for replacing the growler with the F-35 in the future, if the plan is to retire the Superhornet fleet, I cant see a single seat dedicated 'growler' version.
                        It's likely that the EA-18G will remain in service long after the F/A-18E/F has retired.

                        This is what has happened to the EA-6B, only just now retiring from the Navy and still in service with the USMC, 20 years after the A-6E left the fleet.
                        “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
                        ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

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                        • I think that was pretty much the exact situation the F100 was in during the 70s. A highly advanced new engine for the F-15 with a great thrust to weight ratio, but plagued by stalling, hard afterburner starts, excessive wear and maintenance. Then the kinks were worked out, it got a bunch of improvements, and became the old stalwart it is today. I don't see any reason the F-135 engine wouldn't see similar improvements to performance and maintainability, although I naturally couldn't say how much or how soon.

                          According to Major William A. Flanagan circa 1981
                          The present two-seat F-15B weighs only 800 pounds more than the F-15A, and performance figures in flight manuals are identical for the two aircraft. The two-seat F-16B loses 1200 pounds of fuel for installation of the second seat; the F-15B retains all the fuel of the F-15A and loses only the compartment for the tactical electronic warfare support (TEWS), which could be placed elsewhere in the aircraft.
                          If he is to be believed, it sounds like range, payload, and weight, wouldn't take too much of a hit in squeezing a 2nd seat into the aircraft. As far as RCS is concerned, who knows? The guys who could make that determination are unlikely to be too forthcoming about it.

                          I don't expect to see a 2 seat F-35 in the initial production runs, but since it is scheduled for an engine upgrade in block 6 around 2019 I wouldn't be shocked to see the idea bandied about around that time.
                          Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 17 Dec 14,, 22:21.

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                          • Originally posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
                            I think that was pretty much the exact situation the F100 was in during the 70s. A highly advanced new engine for the F-15 with a great thrust to weight ratio, but plagued by stalling, hard afterburner starts, excessive wear and maintenance. Then the kinks were worked out, it got a bunch of improvements, and became the old stalwart it is today. I don't see any reason the F-135 engine wouldn't see similar improvements to performance and maintainability, although I naturally couldn't say how much or how soon.

                            According to Major William A. Flanagan circa 1981


                            If he is to be believed, it sounds like range, payload, and weight, wouldn't take too much of a hit in squeezing a 2nd seat into the aircraft. As far as RCS is concerned, who knows? The guys who could make that determination are unlikely to be too forthcoming about it.

                            I don't expect to see a 2 seat F-35 in the initial production runs, but since it is scheduled for an engine upgrade in block 6 around 2019 I wouldn't be shocked to see the idea bandied about around that time.
                            i suppose a good comparison would be the marine version, and the space for the lift fan being used for a second seat.

                            Global security has the flowing fule loads listed:

                            A-18,500 lbs range = 1200
                            B-13,325 lbs range = 900
                            C-19,625 lbs range = 1400

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                            • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                              It's likely that the EA-18G will remain in service long after the F/A-18E/F has retired.

                              This is what has happened to the EA-6B, only just now retiring from the Navy and still in service with the USMC, 20 years after the A-6E left the fleet.
                              kind of was wondering that, with the whole logistics reduction and stuff.

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