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Air Force Shocks Defense Sector As Secret Fighter Jet Takes Flight

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by NYC Fred, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. NYC Fred

    NYC Fred Formula Junior
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    (((The Air Force is already test-flying a highly secretive prototype of a sixth-generation fighter jet, a top official revealed Tuesday, years sooner than expected.

    The so-called Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter would be a follow-on to Lockheed Martin's (LMT) F-22 stealth jet, which is a fifth-generation fighter. But instead of a single fighter, the Air Force envisions a "system of systems" that includes piloted and unpiloted aircraft.)))


    https://www.investors.com/news/sixth-generation-fighter-prototype-flies-secret-air-force-tests/
     
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  3. ralfabco

    ralfabco Two Time F1 World Champ
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    This is the correct approach.


    The entire dogmatic procurement approach needs to be refined.

    The F-35 prototype flew a long time ago. The F-35 airplane has barely achieved IOC. Quite a few F-35 jets are not the full updated version and the early block versions are not nearly as capable.
     
  4. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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  5. ralfabco

    ralfabco Two Time F1 World Champ
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    No way the A.F. buys anywhere near 1700 F-35 jets.

    I hope the NGAD is manned.
     
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  6. David_S

    David_S F1 Veteran
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    Is it fair if I would wish that the "NGAD" program would consider, something like a "flight of 3," with a manned "lead," and a couple AI "wing men/women/bots?"
     
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  8. Jaguar36

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    The DoD has learned from their attempts at having a joint procurement process between the various branches. It won't happen with this as its just an Air Force platform. It procurement process would be more like the B-21 or the Armies FLRAA program which seem like they work pretty well. I'm very curious what this is though, if its really a new design or if its modified F-22 or F-15 or just some unmanned drone. I find it very hard to believe that you could get a brand new manned aircraft flying without it being known years ahead of time. Even if you could hide the budget, you'd never be able to hide the quantity of hiring that would need to happen. Nor would I imagine this would be how it was announced.
     
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  9. ralfabco

    ralfabco Two Time F1 World Champ
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    No computers during the Pursuit era :D.

    No doubt you cannot stop progress and it is only a matter of time b4 it is all AI, with just a few keyboard operators with a plastic spoon in the flight suit pocket. yawn.

    I have no interest following hi-tech robotic aviation platforms (drones and other crap). Without manning it is just a tool to complete a job.

    May as well follow updated power drills and other efficient tools.
     
  10. ralfabco

    ralfabco Two Time F1 World Champ
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    #8 ralfabco, Sep 17, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
    Using any of the F-15 components is not going to happen. Perhaps some updated derivative of the current engines used, by the USAF. I did read a few months ago that significant technological breakthroughs with jet engines were on the immediate horizon. Maybe the NGAD is using those engines.

    The F-117 borrowed some different components from other platforms. The XF-35 first flight was in 2000. Something has to change to more efficiently demonstrate full IOC, in less than 20 years. Like almost everyone else I have no clue about the NGAD airframe, avionics, and weapons. Lockheed will not be selling new build F-35 jets to the DOD twenty years from now.
     
  11. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
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    They did a pretty good job of hiding the F-117A for years. No reason this should be any different.
     
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  13. tritone

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    Understatement.........
     
  14. Jaguar36

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    That was a very different time both from an information, contracting, and engineering perspective. In addition the F117 was a much smaller and significantly simpler aircraft than an F-22 successor would be. It would take at least 10x the number of people to develop, and probably way more than 10x the budget. I don't see a way you could hide that in this day and age.

    Now he might be talking about something like the Have Blue prototypes that were much smaller scale versions of the F117, but why you would mention that at all is bizarre. Rather I suspect he is talking about something like the J-UCAS program, perhaps their is a successor to that or maybe a fighter version of the MQ-25 in the works.
     
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  15. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    Disagree. Get management out of the way and allow a very, VERY lean core group of engineers off the leash and things will get done, aka Kelly Johnson incarnate. A prototype such as this does not need all the bells and whistles, nor the same design standards as a production fighter meant to have a 20-30yr lifespan. HOWEVER, you also don't want to fall into the Rutan trap of developing a subscale vehicle that then is impossible to scale up to workable full-scale design.
     
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  16. tritone

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    Skunkworks! Sadly, I don't know if we can do this anymore, except in an old Dale Brown novel......
    prove me wrong.......please!
     
  17. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Skunksworks is still active and so is Phantomworks. Have worked with both. X-37B was one of the black programs kept under pretty good wraps until they decided to go public. N-G has something similar to SW and PW. Keeping things under wraps is simple since jail time is involved for leaks. Limited access programs operate widely in the DOD. Harder to get access to than most SCI info.
     
  18. tritone

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    To elaborate a bit; I think we have the technical abilities, esp given the advances in tech, I worry more about the will, and the politicization of things.....tho I guess that's nothing new....probably why KJ and others like him were/are so rare.
     
  19. Jaguar36

    Jaguar36 Formula Junior

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    The problem is two fold, first for something the size of an F-22 you need a large team. A bigger aircraft isn't just the same number of parts all scaled up, its alot more parts. It's also not like a commercial jet where there is ton of acreage structure thats all the same. Plus it would need to be all composite, which takes alot more work to size efficiently than the metallic structures of Kelly Johnson's day.

    Secondly, the aerospace industry is hugely risk averse these days. That means a ton of testing, analysis and review boards. Any new aircraft, even a one-off tech demonstrator will be fully gauged, and proof tested before its ever off the ground. Both of these mean that a full size, 50,000 lbs, manned aircraft is gonna take alot of people to get flying. The airframe engineer community is not very large, and when a program like that starts up word gets out. Like I said, I think its far more likely that Roper was talking about something small and probably unmanned. I think the best similar story in recent times would be the B-21. Everyone knew for years before it was announced that Boeing and NG were working on something and it didn't take a genius to figure out it was the next bomber.
     
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  20. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I'm surprised that Northrop Grumman never gave their ADP group a fancy name. Considering the name of one of their products, how about.....Spirit Works?
     
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  21. kevin956

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  22. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    The size of the aircraft does not dictate the size of the team. You actually contradict yourself in this regard when mentioning acreage type structure on a large commercial jet. Yes you need people to cover all aspects of structure/systems/propulsion/etc, but that does not mean you need to have a large group of people in each of those disciplines. Properly designed composite structure can actually reduce part count, and is no more difficult to size than metallic structure.

    Just about everything you wrote is the antithesis of my statement. I was very fortunate to be in R&D at the beginning of my career. Had I been thrown into a production type environment at the beginning my career path likely would have been decidedly different. The last 23 yrs as an independent consultant has only reinforced my opinions regarding bloated top heavy organizations.
     

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