Pentagon Unveils Program to Help Build 6th Generation Fighter

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
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On one hand, I understand this. Technology takes time to develop and mature. On the other hand, are you kidding me? Already talking about how to replace an aircraft which isn't even operational?

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2015/01/28/p...generation-fighter/?comp=1198882887570&rank=3

The new research program will involve the Pentagon’s research arm, called the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, or DARPA. It will focus on new airframe and engine technology for future jet fighters, cargo planes and unmanned systems. Among other topics, the research effort will work closely on what 6th–generation fighter aircraft technologies will be needed to build an aircraft to succeed the 5th–generation F-35.

Digging past that there are some other disconcerting "gems."

The Navy is in the early conceptual stages of an effort called F/A-XX designed to replace the F-18 in the 2030s. Service officials have not said much about this effort, in part because it is so early and there is plenty of scrutiny on the fifth generation fighters.

Uh, I thought the F/A-18 replacement was called the F-35? Also, what about all of the UCAV work the Navy's touted? Now it wants to essentially replace the F-35 in two decades? Nonsense, these guys are blowing smoke.

When asked by a lawmaker, Ramsay said it would probably take about 15-years to develop a new, fully-developmental next-generation aircraft to replace the A-10 Warthog.

This is just insulting. Killing the A-10 is based on funding the F-35...and now they are talking about a next-gen A-10? In 15 years? GTFO. The Navy and Air Force would have us believe they will augment or supplant the F-35 for certain roles within two decades? That's insulting to anyone with half a brain. Nice funding pitch, but only a moron would buy those tales.

Look at the F-22, F-35, and Osprey programs. A perfect blend of military, defense contractor, and political incompetence. The Tucano vs. Texan II battle, ugly politics playing a role. CSAR-X and KC-X...more ineptitude, but we're supposed to buy into two major programs by the 2030's? It makes for a good sound bite or two, but I don't see how anyone could take this seriously.
 

Viper1

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Dear Santa,
I know it's early, but here is my wish list for the USAF.
1. C-17, the Cadillac of cargo aircraft
2. All C-130 models, especially the J-model and AC-130W, everyone's best friend
3. A-10, an SF guys best friend
4. Whatever air-to-air platform that ISN'T the f-35 or f-22. See F-5, F-16, F-15, F-18 etc.
5. A prop CAS platform... See A-1 Skyraider
6. MC-12
7. Helos, even foreign ones, so we can teach others on their stuff and get creative on infil.
 

LimaOscarSierraTango

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Dear Santa,
I know it's early, but here is my wish list for the USAF.
1. C-17, the Cadillac of cargo aircraft
2. All C-130 models, especially the J-model and AC-130W, everyone's best friend
3. A-10, an SF guys best friend
4. Whatever air-to-air platform that ISN'T the f-35 or f-22. See F-5, F-16, F-15, F-18 etc.
5. A prop CAS platform... See A-1 Skyraider
6. MC-12
7. Helos, even foreign ones, so we can teach others on their stuff and get creative on infil.


I like your list. I would venture to replace the -12 with a -8 though. For reasons I'd rather not mention here (with one exception - they have built in bathrooms, not a trash bag... and a bucket if you are lucky).
 

DA SWO

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Dear Santa,
I know it's early, but here is my wish list for the USAF.
1. C-17, the Cadillac of cargo aircraft
2. All C-130 models, especially the J-model and AC-130W, everyone's best friend
3. A-10, an SF guys best friend
4. Whatever air-to-air platform that ISN'T the f-35 or f-22. See F-5, F-16, F-15, F-18 etc.
5. A prop CAS platform... See A-1 Skyraider
6. MC-12
7. Helos, even foreign ones, so we can teach others on their stuff and get creative on infil.
Why a prop CAS Bird?
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
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-8's have been beasts of burden over here and while I don't know their availability I do know they are flying every single day with only 3 airframes.
 

Brill

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Dear Santa,
I know it's early, but here is my wish list for the USAF.
1. C-17, the Cadillac of cargo aircraft
2. All C-130 models, especially the J-model and AC-130W, everyone's best friend
3. A-10, an SF guys best friend
4. Whatever air-to-air platform that ISN'T the f-35 or f-22. See F-5, F-16, F-15, F-18 etc.
5. A prop CAS platform... See A-1 Skyraider
6. MC-12
7. Helos, even foreign ones, so we can teach others on their stuff and get creative on infil.

It hurts me that you listed the Liberty at 6 vice 2 or 3. ;-)
 

Viper1

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Never worked with the MC-8 but if it is anything like the MC-12 crews I've worked with, I'm down for the cause. The numbers are just a listing as they popped into my head, as I was typing on my phone. I listed the F-5/F-20 because Chuck Yeager called it one of the best he'd ever flown. http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/what-might-have-been-f-20-tigershark/ I just can't believe they want another billions-of-dollars per aircraft new-age fighter. The list isn't all inclusive. Buddies have been successfully serviced by B-1 Lancers and B-52's with great effect. Those old workhorses just keep ticking. Also, I didn't include surveillance platforms. I understand satellite technology is amazing but the U-2 and SR-71 were amazing aircraft. Imagine those flying over Africa or Ukraine, etc.

As far as prop CAS, I realize it has limitations on range and payload, but like the A-10, the pilot may have better situational awareness than a fast mover. Too many times I've had fast movers who couldn't ID/gain situational awareness quickly. A-10, AWT, SWT and AC-130W, no issue. Any platform that's comfortable with gun runs works for me too. Met a lot of Vietnam vets (Papa Viper included) who have fond memories of A-1 Skyraider support.
 

LimaOscarSierraTango

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Never worked with the MC-8 but if it is anything like the MC-12 crews I've worked with, I'm down for the cause.

You probably worked off of information gleaned from -8 missions. They run a completely different mission set. The guys you are used to working with would benefit from a slightly larger aircraft. A -7 might fit the bill too.
 

SpitfireV

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Dear Santa,
I know it's early, but here is my wish list for the USAF.

4. Whatever air-to-air platform that ISN'T the f-35 or f-22. See F-5, F-16, F-15, F-18 etc.

What's wrong with the F22 for A2A? It's very capable, more so than anything else in the world at the moment.
 

TLDR20

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I think the -35 and -22 are amazing aircraft. In a high threat environment they will be the bees knees. We need to continue to push the envelope there, at the cutting edge. Aircraft do more than CAS. Our air power is a deterrent.
 

CDG

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I think the -35 and -22 are amazing aircraft. In a high threat environment they will be the bees knees. We need to continue to push the envelope there, at the cutting edge. Aircraft do more than CAS. Our air power is a deterrent.

I agree, our airpower is a deterrent. I'm concerned that due to the massive budget overages of the F-35 and all the controversy surrounding it, the generals will be hesitant to turn it loose where it is really needed. Nobody wants to be the first one to get an F-35 shot down. And I don't see it ever really being allowed to do CAS, even though that's been one of the missions it's supposedly capable of performing. I think we definitely need an aircraft like the F-35, but the way it has been done is just so wrong. The budget issues, timelines, outdated software, 3rd-gen pods, engine fires, etc. We do need more than CAS, but we can't afford to consistently relegate CAS to the back-burner.
 

TLDR20

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I agree, our airpower is a deterrent. I'm concerned that due to the massive budget overages of the F-35 and all the controversy surrounding it, the generals will be hesitant to turn it loose where it is really needed. Nobody wants to be the first one to get an F-35 shot down. And I don't see it ever really being allowed to do CAS, even though that's been one of the missions it's supposedly capable of performing. I think we definitely need an aircraft like the F-35, but the way it has been done is just so wrong. The budget issues, timelines, outdated software, 3rd-gen pods, engine fires, etc. We do need more than CAS, but we can't afford to consistently relegate CAS to the back-burner.

Yeah but with a wing mounted pod it is up to date. If they are doing CAS they are probably in a permissive environment aerially and can sacrifice stealth for sit awareness. Not too mention the awareness the F-35 pilot has due to his sensor suite is way beyond anything anyone in the world has. Yeah it has issues, but making a plane that has a carrier landing capability, is stealth, and has a VSTOL capability is hard and expensive.
 

Gunz

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As far as prop CAS, I realize it has limitations on range and payload, but like the A-10, the pilot may have better situational awareness than a fast mover. Too many times I've had fast movers who couldn't ID/gain situational awareness quickly. A-10, AWT, SWT and AC-130W, no issue. Any platform that's comfortable with gun runs works for me too. Met a lot of Vietnam vets (Papa Viper included) who have fond memories of A-1 Skyraider support.

When I was there the VNAF was flying most of the A-1 missions, and they did a credible job. They made me a believer. I don't know if an A-1 type AC would be suitable to the battlefields of today, but considering our enemies are still using a lot of the same weapons they used in Vietnam, I don't see why that kind of platform wouldn't be viable, at least in asymmetric warfare situations. I think A-1s were less vulnerable than helos to RPG or AK groundfire.
 
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CDG

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Yeah but with a wing mounted pod it is up to date. If they are doing CAS they are probably in a permissive environment aerially and can sacrifice stealth for sit awareness. Not too mention the awareness the F-35 pilot has due to his sensor suite is way beyond anything anyone in the world has. Yeah it has issues, but making a plane that has a carrier landing capability, is stealth, and has a VSTOL capability is hard and expensive.

I think we mostly agree. My big concern is that even in a permissive environment, the aircraft will not be utilized to perform CAS, and that if it was, the amount of CAS training the pilots would have would be negligible at best. I know we need it, but I think it could have been handled much better.
 

AWP

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I have misgivings about the F-35 but those are probably best left for a seperate post. I think being everything for everyone is a bad idea.

At any rate, whether we agree or not CAS isn't viewed by many as "work south to north with 20mm." Gun runs and rockets aren't on our planning radar or they are afterthoughts. "CAS" is now any PGM dropped in support of a TIC. Minus DS/DS we've raised a generation (or two) of pilots who have never operated in contested airspace. The last decade+ has seen us without ANY threat whatsoever. We've discussed the risk adverse nature of our military ad nauseum, so I don't think it is unrealistic to believe our future leaders will only prosecute CAS in a permissive environment.

The F-35's cost has ballooned to the point where the AF is robbing Peter to pay Paul. I won't argue the F-35's eventual contribution but the first air force it destroys/ attrites will be our own. I think the odds of a dedicated CAS platform are marginal at best. Personally, I'd expand the 6th SOS to a Wing and give them 1 or 2 Tucano squadrons.
 

Viper1

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I think the -35 and -22 are amazing aircraft. In a high threat environment they will be the bees knees. We need to continue to push the envelope there, at the cutting edge. Aircraft do more than CAS. Our air power is a deterrent.

I agree and I also understand the USAF has continually pushed the envelope with aircraft, some being staples for many years (F-4, F-16, F-15) while others have been expensive but went the way of the dodo bird (F-106). It is a deterrent, but at what cost to other programs? As I've said before, regardless of whether the next-gen F-35 works or not, the USAF is able to persuade and influence effectively for funding. Good on them.

If they ever do have to prove themselves in an air-to-air setting, I have no doubt they'll be successful; however it will also mean something big and different has kicked off.
 
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