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Retire the C-5's?


Slater

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I would suspect that the lack of a  flight crew to endanger is still the primary issue. 

Sure, pilots aren't exaclty lightweight when the life support and volume are figured in.

Sure, you can design a more stealthy aircraft without a pilot, and you could build a more manueverable one without the+ 9G -5G?  limit of the pilot.

 

SO far I haven't seen any evidence that anyone has actually tried to use the greater G tolerance.

 

Now THAT might be a potent dogfighter.  Imagine a 12-15 G capable plane?

IIRC conventional jet engines start self destructing due to warpage at 20+

A Ramjet or Scramjet might be less susceptible, but I don't know. 

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In terms of pure flight (g-load) performance yes but there are significant limitations to unmanned fighters.

 

It remote-operated, control of the aircraft is susceptible to being lost due to any number of reasons.

 

If autonomous, there is currently no "AI" system "smart" enough to handle the complexities of a modern dogfight.

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In terms of pure flight (g-load) performance yes but there are significant limitations to unmanned fighters.

 

It remote-operated, control of the aircraft is susceptible to being lost due to any number of reasons.

 

If autonomous, there is currently no "AI" system "smart" enough to handle the complexities of a modern dogfight.

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Even retard level UAV's are autonomous and can perform all manner of things without ground control. WTF, is your fetish with dogfighting? Dogfighting is generally the result of assed up ROE's and staff guys(occasionally pilots) too scared to pull the trigger BVR. If you're flying UCAV's, everyone will be more aggressive when it comes to pulling the trigger on the BVR shot. S/F....Ken M

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Been done already.  Hell, we've been using them to adjust artillery fire since Lebanon.  S/F....Ken M

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I think Burncycle360 meant the UAV as the artillery.

Edited by pfcem
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Even retard level UAV's are autonomous and can perform all manner of things without ground control.  WTF, is your fetish with dogfighting?  Dogfighting is generally the result of assed up ROE's and staff guys(occasionally pilots) too scared to pull the trigger BVR.  If you're flying UCAV's, everyone will be more aggressive when it comes to pulling the trigger on the BVR shot.  S/F....Ken M

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We have been told that the day of the dogfight was over before.

 

They were wrong then to.

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We have been told that the day of the dogfight was over before.

 

They were wrong then to.

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It's too, as in also. And pray tell, how do you know they'll still be dogfighting? You're making an assumption, based on your previous comments re UAV performance, an ill informed one. It would be a very simple matter to program your UCAV to use an offboresight missile or turreted gun for that matter, to target non-IFF ID'd targets in a furball where ground contact has been lost. The tech is simple, a freaking 6lb COTS tech Dragoneye has enough computing power to autonoumously carry out a full mission and RTB with no ground contact after you launch the thing, I've done it. S/F....Ken M

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Not to mention the fact that if a UCAV can pull at least 50% more G than a manned fighter, any dogfight between the two would be pretty easy for the UCAV. It would be like shooting fish in a barrel, which should not be too hard to program. The physical advantages of a UCAV more than outweigh its disadvantages in intelligence.

 

Heck, why not build the UCAV to have higher speed and maneuverability as threat AAMs and simply outfly them? An AAM is just a kamikazi UAV, so a bigger UCAV of the same generation should be able to pull more G and fly faster. A vital reason why AAMs work currently is that no manned aircraft can be faster and more maneuverable than an AAM due to the pilot. When that limitation goes away the only weapons that can shoot UCAVs down will be lasers and hypervelocity projectiles.

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EchoFiveMike & kaikaun,

 

Do either of you have a degree in Eletronics or Software Engineering?

 

I have a degree in Electronics & there are some on this board who have degrees in Software Engineering. We can tell you for a fact that it is not as simple as you make it out to be. If it were, it would have been done already. We have only recently begun employing the simplest of unmanned robotic vehicles for recon (the simplest of task) & are, according to most estimates, decades away from being able to do what you describe.

 

The closest thing we have to "strike" capability with UAVs is for the UAV to fire a laser guided weapon (such as a Hellfire) in which the targeting is actually done by troops on the ground. The UAV is given the command (not autonomous) to point the weapon in the general direction of the target, & fire once the target has been designated & the weapon is in range.

 

I agree that the F/A-22 & F-35 may very well be the last generation of manned fighters but they are unlikely to be replaced before 2030.

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EchoFiveMike & kaikaun,

 

Do either of you have a degree in Eletronics or Software Engineering?

No, I just use the things. I do actually have real world experience using the things being discussed. In the interest of being a smug prick, I'll ask if anyone anywhere has a degree in Eletronics since I'm not quite sure what that is :P

 

I have a degree in Electronics & there are some on this board who have degrees in Software Engineering.  We can tell you for a fact that it is not as simple as you make it out to be.  If it were, it would have been done already.  We have only recently begun employing the simplest of unmanned robotic vehicles for recon (the simplest of task) & are, according to most estimates,  decades away from being able to do what you describe.

 

Well, based on all the nifty prototype stuff I saw in Iraq, I'd guess you were wrong.

 

The closest thing we have to "strike" capability with UAVs is for the UAV to fire a laser guided weapon (such as a Hellfire) in which the targeting is actually done by troops on the ground.  The UAV is given the command (not autonomous) to point the weapon in the general direction of the target, & fire once the target has been designated & the weapon is in range.
Well, here I know you're wrong. Predators have on board designation for Hellfire, that's how they smoked that AQ asshat in Yemen or where ever last year. And it's the same for Viper Strike and I'm sure more weapons will be integrated shortly and capabilities will expand accordingly.

 

I agree that the F/A-22 & F-35 may very well be the last generation of manned fighters but they are unlikely to be replaced before 2030.

 

Well, I'd say that very much depends on the procurement process. The UAV's were/are emergency capability type stuff and progress is extremely fast. F-22 and F35 are old school style procurement and, as such, are taking an exceedingly long period of time. UAV's are going to go quick because you don't have any test pilots to get killed, thus you can push the tech faster due to less at risk. S/F....Ken M

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We have only recently begun employing the simplest of unmanned robotic vehicles for recon (the simplest of task) & are, according to most estimates,  decades away from being able to do what you describe.

 

The closest thing we have to "strike" capability with UAVs is for the UAV to fire a laser guided weapon (such as a Hellfire) in which the targeting is actually done by troops on the ground.  The UAV is given the command (not autonomous) to point the weapon in the general direction of the target, & fire once the target has been designated & the weapon is in range.

 

Er - no. The USAF was using simple unmanned robots for recon 40 years ago, in Vietnam. The Vietnamese shot down a few dozen. Is that "recently begun"?

 

UAVs have launched laser-guided missiles self-designated, or designated by other UAVs. First case I heard of was a Predator firing a Hellfire at a car in Yemen, a couple of years ago (2002? 2003?). It was done because they couldn't get close to the guy on the ground. If troops had been able to get close enough to point a laser designator at the car, the Predator wouldn't have been needed.

 

Your theory is some years behind the practice.

 

[EDIT] Dammit, already been said.

Edited by swerve
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I would suspect that the lack of a  flight crew to endanger is still the primary issue. 

Sure, pilots aren't exaclty lightweight when the life support and volume are figured in.

Sure, you can design a more stealthy aircraft without a pilot, and you could build a more manueverable one without the+ 9G -5G?  limit of the pilot.

243636[/snapback]

 

In the context of a transport (which is what I was speaking to), none of that is really material. One of the limits on the system is crew rest, and automation can eliminate that. Someone was trying to say that a UAV transport would remove the crew from danger, but with a transport that just really isn't an issue.

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G tolerance theoretically still has application in the role of SAM avoidance. However, when you start talking about aircraft pulling 15+ Gs you are talking about a whole new generation of aircraft structures, adding a helluva lot of empty weight. Which impacts range/endurance/payload. Modern nations that can design and build UAVs will probably find it better to design their larger UAVs with onboard active defense.

 

Dogfighting may still occur occasionally in the future, but its not going to be a design driver. AAMs are too good these days. Ironically, with the advent of numerous cheap air defense UAVs and attack UAVs, we may see a return to the Missileer concept of the late 1950s.

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That's right, I was comparing the cost of building F-35A/B/C to that of the F/A-18E/F in same year dollars.  What do you know, the F/A-18E/F is more expensive.  Also note that the cost of the F/A-18E/F in 2003/2004 was over $80million each.

 

Same year dollars without any R&D costs (which have yet to be spent).

 

And if the F-35 hits its estimated production price range, it'll be the first plane in history.

 

Yes, F-16s are comparatively inexpensive by themselves but you need to add to that the additional cost of additionl support aircraft needed for the F-16 to perform the same missions as the F-35.

 

Or standoff weapons.

 

Besides, you can buy a lot of support sorties for the difference in price between one F-16 and one F-35.

 

Look, I agree in a perfect world, with unlimited budgets, having the F-35 is preferable to not having it. Unfortunately we don't live in that world. We live in one of shrinking budgets and program price explosion.

 

It is unlikey that we will get enough F/A-22s for their primary role as air-superiority (err... Air Dominance) much less strike missions.

 

If we axe the F-35 we'll have plenty of money for additional F/A-22s.

 

As has already been pointed out CUAVs are unproven sysytems that will not be able to perform many missions (they will likley work marvaleously at so missions but be completely incapable of performing others) & still a ways off.

Yes, they are unproven. They should perform marvelously at hitting fixed targets. They should do ISR well. SEAD will be a harder but manageable task. CAS may be tough, but I think we can make it happen. OCA/DCA will be out of their league for a while. This would be the biggest hit in my plan, though a larger buy of Raptors would help.

 

Look at the numbers again.  The producion cost for the F-35 could be anywhere within that range - not neccessarily at the highest value.

Again, comparing production cost using same year dollars.

 

The per unit cost of the F/A-18E/F continues to go up (it is already over $80million each).

 

And LockMart has such a wonderful reputation for coming in under budget! :rolleyes: :blink:

 

You continue to ignore the fact that some of the developement cost have already been spent & that canceling the project (even significantly reducing it) will result in punitive damages.  And then you still have to but new airframes of some kind.

 

And you continue to ignore my posts! I've said repeatedly that, yes, we'll have to pay cancellation costs. I just believe they'll be a drop in a $250 billion budget.

 

Yes, some dev costs are sunk. That would need to be part of the evaluation.

 

At some point, a few years from now, it won't make sense to cancel the F-35. But right now, I still think it's worth considering.

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Heck, why not build the UCAV to have higher speed and maneuverability as threat AAMs and simply outfly them? An AAM is just a kamikazi UAV, so a bigger UCAV of the same generation should be able to pull more G and fly faster. A vital reason why AAMs work currently is that no manned aircraft can be faster and more maneuverable than an AAM due to the pilot. When that limitation goes away the only weapons that can shoot UCAVs down will be lasers and hypervelocity projectiles.

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Lack of a human crew does not make AAMs "faster" than manned aircraft, else the Shuttle would have to launch and reenter at speeds below Mach 2, which is of course impossible. AAMs are faster because their mission profile allows for use of inefficient rocket motors, plus their payload is light and compact eliminating the need for a draggy wing, plus they have extremely simple takeoff and landing constraints, plus they aren't designed for reusability, plus they are designed for a relatively short flight and thus don't have to haul around a lot of fuel, plus ...

 

If you design a UCAV such that it can outturn and outrun an AAM, you'll end up with a UCAV that is essentially a missile with an unacceptable payload/range capability.

 

Pretty much by definition, an AAM will always have the advantage over an unmanned large general purpose combat aircraft. The way any large reusable aircraft beats AAMs and SAMs is the same as for manned aircraft; low observables, SEAD, decoys, and staying inside a safe altitude/speed envelope.

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Do either of you have a degree in Eletronics or Software Engineering?

 

I have a degree in Electronics & there are some on this board who have degrees in Software Engineering.  We can tell you for a fact that it is not as simple as you make it out to be.  If it were, it would have been done already.  We have only recently begun employing the simplest of unmanned robotic vehicles for recon (the simplest of task) & are, according to most estimates,  decades away from being able to do what you describe.

 

I have a degree in Computer Engineering and have worked as a Software Engineer for 15 years (many of which in the defense industry).

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Dogfighting may still occur occasionally in the future, but its not going to be a design driver. AAMs are too good these days. Ironically, with the advent of numerous cheap air defense UAVs and attack UAVs, we may see a return to the Missileer concept of the late 1950s.

 

European companies, particularly SAAB, have been talking about the idea of fighters as UAV "swarm leaders" for a few years. So you have a group of fighters, swapping data & able to hand-off targets to each other (the Swedes were doing that many years ago), so most of then will not be radiating, accompanied - probably preceded by - a swarm of UCAVs with AAMs & sensors. All getting data from ground based sensors and/or AWACS.

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Same year dollars without any R&D costs (which have yet to be spent). 

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Just comparing apples to apples. Unlike you.

 

 

 

And if the F-35 hits its estimated production price range, it'll be the first plane in history.

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Really? :o

 

 

 

If we axe the F-35 we'll have plenty of money for additional F/A-22s.

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So you are willing to buy more $100-200million (where ever the F/A-22 ends up at) planes instead of $50-75million planes (where ever the F-35 ends up at).

Good luck getting that through Congress!

 

 

 

Yes, they are unproven.  They should perform marvelously at hitting fixed targets.  They should do ISR well. SEAD will be a harder but manageable  task.  CAS may be tough, but I think we can make it happen.  OCA/DCA will be out of their league for a while. This would be the biggest hit in my plan, though a larger buy of Raptors would help.

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A lot of Raptors. More than Congress would ever likely agree to.

 

 

 

And you continue to ignore my posts!  I've said repeatedly that, yes, we'll have to pay cancellation costs.  I just believe they'll be a drop in a $250 billion budget.

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No, you are ignoring mine.

 

The vast majority of the F-35 budget is procurement. Procurement that the USAF, USN, & USMC say they need to continue doing their job in the future. If it is not spent on F-35s, it will have to be spent on something else to do the jobs that the F-35's are intended to do.

 

Cancelling the F-35, in theory, wil save some developement costs but, in reality, will not.

Any money "saved" from not continueing the F-35 developement then goes to the developement/upgrade costs of whatever you replace the F-35 with.

 

 

 

Yes, some dev costs are sunk.  That would need to be part of the evaluation. 

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So why do you imply that cancelling the F-35 will save all this money?

 

 

 

At some point, a few years from now, it won't make sense to cancel the F-35. But right now, I still think it's worth considering.

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It does not make sense to cancel the F-35 now.

 

You still ignore that cancelling the F-35 will not actually save any money because all of the money "saved" (& more) will have to be spent on something to replace the F-35.

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European companies, particularly SAAB, have been talking about the idea of fighters as UAV "swarm leaders" for a few years.

 

The US Army planned to add that sort of thing to the Comanche, albeit for relatively small numbers of UAVs (IIRC was conceptually sold primarily for videorecon, but obviously several small UCAVs armed with Hellfires and/or HARMs makes more sense than just passive sensing.

 

Interesting that the integration of manned and unmanned combat aircraft argues for 2 man crews of the manned aircraft. While computers etc were supposed to reduce cockpit workload so that one could do the work of two, capability growth pushes the optimal design back to two.

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Interesting that the integration of manned and unmanned combat aircraft argues for 2 man crews of the manned aircraft. While computers etc were supposed to reduce cockpit workload so that one could do the work of two, capability growth pushes the optimal design back to two.

 

Yes, SAAB suggests this is a role for 2-seater Gripens.

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Just comparing apples to apples. Unlike you.

 

No you're not. The only 'apples' that matter are future dollars. There ARE significant development costs left in the F-35 program. They aren't ready to roll off production lines, as you assume.

 

 

So you are willing to buy more $100-200million (where ever the F/A-22 ends up at) planes instead of $50-75million planes (where ever the F-35 ends up at).

Good luck getting that through Congress!

 

I'm willing to replace a force of 2400 F-35s with a combination of 5-700 Raptors (enough for two squadrons per AEF), some significant number of J-UCAS, and as many gap-filler F-16C/E/Fs and F-18E/Fs as needed.

 

IMHO, we don't need 2400 new tactical fighters. The QDR will undoubtably show this.

 

 

The vast majority of the F-35 budget is procurement.  Procurement that the USAF, USN, & USMC say they need to continue doing their job in the future.  If it is not spent on F-35s, it will have to be spent on something else to do the jobs that the F-35's are intended to do.

 

$199 billion of the $245 billion is procurement.

 

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05271.pdf

 

BTW, $199 billion for 2443 aircraft comes to $82 million each. That's just the procurement cost if, somehow magically, LockMart cuts all the 'red-tape' and managed to start shipping them tomorrow, as you seem think they can.

 

Cancelling the F-35, in theory, wil save some developement costs but, in reality, will not.

Any money "saved" from not continueing the F-35 developement then goes to the developement/upgrade costs of whatever you replace the F-35 with.

So why do you imply that cancelling the F-35 will save all this money?

 

Some money can go towards buying upgrading new F-16s and F-18s. Some can go towards upgrading the F-22. Some can go towards speeding the J-UCAS program. Some can go towards munitions. Some can go towards tankers and C4ISR. Some can go towards long-ranged strike options.

 

$200+ billion can go a long way.

 

You still ignore that cancelling the F-35 will not actually save any money because all of the money "saved" (& more) will have to be spent on something to replace the F-35.

 

No, not all - some.

Edited by Smitty
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