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A Kao thread. Is it planes, or is it spiders?Follow

#1 Feb 20 2013 at 1:57 PM Rating: Good
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It's planes. Nominally, at least.

I'm on record as stating that my knowledge of military tech extends about as far as Ace Combat and Call of Duty, so I won't claim to know the intricacies of this sort of stuff. But I found this article interesting:

Quote:
On March 1, if lawmakers fail to reach a new federal budget deal, the automatic sequester cuts will go into effect. Under these cuts, a variety of federal agencies and programs will lose funding, including the Pentagon. If those sequester cuts go into effect, the Pentagon will face more than $500 billion in spending cuts.

Cue Republican war hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham. Appearing on Fox News Sunday over the weekend, Graham said that, in order to avoid the looming sequester budget cuts that would, he said, "destroy" the military, we should instead eliminate healthcare to the 30 million Americans who are covered under Obamacare.

Instead of taking healthcare away from millions of Americans, lawmakers in Washington should kill the zombie of the F-35.
The Pentagon is facing $500 billion in budget cuts if the sequester goes into effect. And, amazingly, that's about the amount left in the Pentagon budget for the F-35.

The fact of the matter is eliminating the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program really won't put a dent in America's military power.


The argument hinges on a belief that the F-35 is already semi-obsolete, by virtue of its immense development cycle. Is this the case? Are drones superseding such manned crafts? Should the program be pared back, modified, or axed entirely? I feel like the author makes a compelling argument for the latter, but I'm not up-and-up on the situation.

Edited, Feb 20th 2013 2:58pm by Eske
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#2 Feb 20 2013 at 2:03 PM Rating: Good
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Well, right off the top of my head I know that it costs about $2.5m to train a fighter pilot versus something like $600,000 per airlift (drone) pilot. You also really can't argue about the safety between the two types of pilots.

Edited, Feb 20th 2013 3:04pm by lolgaxe
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#3 Feb 20 2013 at 2:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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Don't know enough about this, but how comfortable are we with our drone security? Because bombing random people riding camels in the desert is one thing, but those Chinese have been having fun hacking most of the western world lately and would love to get their hands on a state of the art drone I imagine.
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#4 Feb 20 2013 at 2:36 PM Rating: Good
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I have no opinions about the plane itself. However, I see several issues with using it as a panacea for the sequester cuts. One, people are working on that project. Cutting it would no doubt result in the elimination of a solid number of jobs related to the project. So from an economic standpoint, there's probably not much gain. The current plan is for mandatory furlough days; one a week for 22 weeks (i.e. a 20% pay cut for that period). Spread the pain around but don't eliminate anyone's job directly.

Another issue is that the defense cuts are to come from from civilian contractors employed by the Pentagon, not government defense workers. So there's no telling how practical it would be to cut a single project since there's no doubt numerous federal defense workers on the job..

Edited, Feb 20th 2013 2:38pm by Jophiel
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#5 Feb 20 2013 at 2:37 PM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
Don't know enough about this, but how comfortable are we with our drone security? Because bombing random people riding camels in the desert is one thing, but those Chinese have been having fun hacking most of the western world lately and would love to get their hands on a state of the art drone I imagine.


Comfortable enough to give up the F35 program in order to provide health care to millions of my fellow citizens.
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#6 Feb 20 2013 at 2:46 PM Rating: Good
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The whole JSF thing is just one big failure as far as I'm aware. It's only costing governments billions of dollars and it doesn't seem like anyone actually wants it anymore, it's just that they don't want to pull out because then the money they've spent so far has been wasted.
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#7 Feb 20 2013 at 10:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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The F-35 program has had its problems, and more than a few of those were inflicted by the program architects themselves. at the same time, it's also suffering from the impacts of various congressional decisions along the way. The F-35 basically started out life as a replacement for the F-16. Historically we have maintained a small force of fast intercept fighters (p-51 mustangs, F-4 Phantom II's, F-15 strike eagle, F-22, etc) to protect our shorelines and deployed bases. That number is usually around 600 or so aircraft +/- repair units, spare parts, crashed airframes, what have you. The rest of the land fleet has typically been a less expensive, more numerous variant of aircraft of some sort, in the most recent case, the F-16. There are around 1,200 of those. There are another 600 various fighters floating around, including the ground attack units (250 A-10 warthogs,) trainers (another 200 or so), research aircraft, etc. The strike fighters are typically deployed in groups of 4 at a minimum to bases, usually with at least one spare bird for maintenance. So you need a certain number at a minimum just to replace our aging and failing F-15 fleet.

The problem is they didn't build enough F-22's to cover the entire F-15 fleet. Only about 200 of the 600 they needed. So, rather than building more, congress decided that the F-35 could fill that role. The F-35 was already too many replacement programs tacked into one program (the lift fan variant should have been a follow on design for example) trying to be a frontline fighter, but also a carrier based fighter, a harrier replacement for the marines, and an export grade fighter we could sell to our allies, which is the real reason the lift fan variant got pushed ahead so far. England and france wanted it.

The F-16 was a departure for jet designs at the time. Take the biggest fighter jet engine you can find at the time, and strap the smallest possible, most manouverable aircraft around that will still fit a human. Add a few hard points and some landing gear, and you have an F-16. only one engine, so it was fairly cheap compared to a twin engine F-15, build thousands of them so the price stayed low per aircraft, export a ton of them to our allies and hope they stay our allies, It was a formula that worked pretty well for the most part, and one they tried to repeat with the F-35. The F-35 is about the closest thing you will find to a stealth F-16, with the same strengths and weaknesses. the base aircraft and carrrier variants are fairly fast, manouverable, and can carry a large armament. They aren't as manouverable or as fast as the F-22, but they weren't meant to be. Had they just left it at a replacement for the F-16 the program would be on time, and under budget. When you throw the lift fan variant in the mix with the requirement to have comanality of parts throughout the airframe, then the redesigns to make the lift fan version work started impacting the cost per airframe of all the F-35s, including the export variants making them less attractive than other foreign competitors.

At the same time thats all going on, you have the Navy in mild revolt against the idea of making a single engine aircraft their primary fleet strike aircraft. So they decide to go with the F-18E super hornet, but never really pull out of the F-35 project. And there is good reason to not want a single engine aircraft anywhere near an aircraft carrier. Seawater and carrier landings are hard on engines. F-16's have a very nice engine, but they are notorious for engine failures. The F-35 will have that same problem due to the aperature size of the intake. There is a reason the F-16's nickname is the "Flying Lawn Dart" if that happens on land, you eject and the nice men in the fire truck come and pick you up. If you do that on an aircraft carrier takeoff, you get ran over by the aircraft carrier and then the sharks eat you. So anyways, that block of funding the F-35 team was kind of banking went elsewhere until congress mandated that the aircraft carriers would field a stealth aircraft of some sort.

Which brings us to the lift fan variant debacle. The lift fan units will account for maybe 200-300 of the 1,600 ish aircraft fleet including exports. those 300 aircraft have used around 60% of the entire program budget so far, making the cost per unit far higher than any of the partner development nations were expecting. At the same time we suckered England into selling their harriers early on military e-bay, and then we bought them all for our marines and put them back in service once we realized the F-35 was going to be delayed again.

At the same time this is all going on, the various drone programs finally start getting off the ground with performance features and payloads that make them useful for combat. Mainly due to advances in very small very accurate gyroscope technology from the cruise missile programs, but it finally became cheap and effective to field a reconisance aircraft with some combat capability and no pilot at risk. The pilot life support systems typically make up 20-30% of the weight of a fighter aircraft, so right away everyone starts seeing doller signs. A drone can go faster, climb higher, carry more weapons, and if it blows up, who cares, we have 40 more!

The problem for me, and what I think alot of people forget is the nature of the enemy we are likely to fight. It's either going to be china, or a resurgant russia. Either of them have advanced aircraft building capabilities, with plenty of pilots, airstrips and people to throw at them. They also both specalize in radio interference and EMP weapons, far more than even the U.S. ever has It is quite concievable that either of them could disrupt or outright disable a large number of drones. Those same scenarios wouldn't necessarily disable a human piloted aircraft. I suspect in the future we'll end up with drones paired with local piloted controll aircraft to intervene or reestablish control.

The most pressing reason to go ahead with the F-35 at this point is that the cost of maintaining or rebuilding all our existing aircraft would be much, much, much higher than the 500 billion remaining in the F-35 build budget. The cost of building a fleet of 1,200 x-47B's would also be way up there, and even if they did cancel the F-35 at this point, the cancellation costs would be enormous.

China has fielded a stealth fighter / bomber. it files, it is almost as stealthy as our birds, and given what they got from the tail of that stealth helicopter in pakistan and the crashed drone from Iran, they know everything we know about stealth aircraft coatings. They almost certanly have a strike fighter they haven't shown us yet too. So far their engine building techniques can't match the fuel cooled engines we are using in the F-22 and F-35, and probably won't for a decade or more, but they are closer than I feel comfortable with in most of the other aspects of their aircraft. Controlls its about a wash, avionics and sensors we have an edge, missiles we have a smaller edge, and we have alot of experianced pilots and excellent training programs.

I dunno . I like drones, and I can see where they have alot of utility, but we need piloted aircraft, even if only in a backup capacity for when the drones are neutralized Anything that relies on a teather back home of any sort to operate and function has a weakness. We also need more damned F-22's!

Besides, england and australia will probably declare war on us if we cancel the F-35 at this point.
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#8 Feb 21 2013 at 1:28 AM Rating: Decent
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
...


The average late model F16 costs 20 million per plane. That's 50 planes per $1 billion. For 1/5th the cost of the remaining $500 billion F35 budget, we could have another 500 F16s. $200 billion would get us 1000 F16s. Hell, even the B2 is a mere $2 billion, so $100 billion gets us 50 more B2 bombers. Smiley: eek

What I'm saying is, despite the potential benefits of the F35 program, there's much value to be found in our current technology, and at a time when every dollar spent is under the microscope, I don't think Congress or the military proponents of F35 funding can continue to push for what the public and many government officials perceive to be a program that has become little more than a money pit, especially at the expense of domestic programs (i.e. health care). I don't hate the F35, nor do I suspect most people. It just doesn't make fiscal sense at this time.

Oh yeah, those predator drones the Air Force uses... $5 mil a piece. $100 billion would net
us 20,000 drones. At that point, we could just send wave after wave of drone, with a few B2s sneaking in the back side. Again, so many options with current technology for a fraction of the cost.
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#9 Feb 21 2013 at 5:10 AM Rating: Excellent
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Its all about survivability and obsolesence. A brand new F-16, though fairly fast and agile, has a radar cross section the size of a large buick. 500 F-16s is still 500 dead F-16's if someone starts shooting any of the latest generation missiles at them.

You could probably refit the F-16 design to have slightly better stealth characteristics if you were willing to accept about a third more again cost per aircraft, but you would still be looking at a much bigger radar cross section than the F-35.. You're looking at roughly $133 million per F-35 at the moment for the total program cost. The F-16 latest variant costs around 47 million per aircraft at the moment, so its closer to a 3 to 1 ratio. The question is does the survivability of the stealth airframe and make it worth the surcharge. There is also the maintenance cost to consider. Whatever else you say about it, the F-35 will cost much less to maintain than the F-16 simply because it was designed with ease of maintenance in mind. For example, swapping an engine on an F-35 is a 2 hour operation compared to a day or so for the F-16 just because you don't have to take as much of the aircraft apart to do so. There will be a labor savings component and a higher sortie rate when compared to the F-16 which will offset some of the higher cost. Not anywhere near close to all of it, but some of it certanly and depending on the life of the aircraft lenght, that could be considerable over time.

Regarding your B-2 comment, do a quick search for the B-3 development program. Also known as the Next Generation bomber, or the 2018 bomber respectivly. You may find it intriguing.

The MQ-1 predator drone can indeed fire air to ground missiles and fly slowly in a straight line. They can't currently fire an air to air missile. Even if they could, they have no buisiness being anywhere near a fighter dustup. You can strap a missile to a cessna, but its still a cessna in the end even if you have a bunch of them. Then there is the question of bandwidth and pilot control. You can certanly tie more than one drone to a single control station, and they do have some autonomous takeoff and landing functionality built in (better in the MQ-9 class at 36.9 million per aircraft) but the weapon fire portion of the mission currently requires a human presence in the loop. In a combat scenario, you would need 20,000 remote pilots and remote piloting stations, along with sufficient wireless bandwidth to operate that many drones simultaniously. Given what I know of civilian side 35 mile range UHF transmitters and assuming the military has much better toys available to it via satilite data links, i'd estimate you might be able to get a few thousand operating at the same time if you had the control stations to do it, in the same theater. Even then, you have a missile platform that might as well be stationary if someone wants to kill it from the ground. Conventional anti aircraft batteries which are normally pretty useless against fighters these days would do the trick at that point, and the latest fire control radar/lidar guided variants of those would kill all 20,000 of your drones at a fraction of the cost. They don't have the airframe strength to evade and manouver, and aren't meant to be survivable if attacked. Would 20,000 cavemen armed with clubs eventually kill a single M1 A2 abrahms tank? probably, but the exchange ratio would be horribly in the tank's favor. Same scenario for the predator in a dogfight.

No one knows how much the production version of the X-47B is going to cost per unit yet. So far the program has been allocated 2.4 billion dollars and produced exactly 2 airframes. That includes development cost for the X-47C of course, but at this point us civilians don't know what the cost per unit will end up being. It should be less than a conventional fighter, but not by much because the telemetry relays cost almost as much as the life support systems of a fighter. The x-47 is so far the only drone we have in production that could take on the roles of a frontline fighter aircraft. Thats assuming of course a hypothetical enemy didn't just start microwaving the control satilites and EMPing the sh*t out of the oncoming wave.

If you cut the costs of the F-35B lift fan variant from the program, the cost per airframe of the F-35 A and C becomes much more reasonable and closer to the cost of an F-16 (it ends up somewhere around 58 million per airframe in that scenario for the A variants. the carrier version costs a bit more than that due to the stronger landing gear and tail hook). Its the lift fan variant that skews the price so high. It really should have been its own development program.
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#10 Feb 21 2013 at 5:30 AM Rating: Decent
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
Its all about survivability and obsolesence. A brand new F-16, though fairly fast and agile, has a radar cross section the size of a large buick. 500 F-16s is still 500 dead F-16's if someone starts shooting any of the latest generation missiles at them.


IMO, that's a strategy problem, not an aircraft problem. We have stealth bombers for heavy ground targets, and drones that can strike smaller ground targets. Manned fighters should be relegated to aerial support (escort missions, ground troop cover, etc...), mostly situations where SAM sites can be taken out in advance or are of little concern. The days of manned strike missions should be written into the history books.

Edited, Feb 21st 2013 5:32am by BrownDuck
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#11 Feb 21 2013 at 6:17 AM Rating: Good
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The main issue is it's a multi-role fighter, so it absorbs costs and inefficiencies of a broad spectrum weapon system.
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#12 Feb 21 2013 at 6:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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What a lot of people don't realize is one of the reasons why various DoD programs increase in cost is due to our own government. When law makers start screwing with quantity purchased, i.e. lower the number, the costs start going up. When contracts are awarded, the vender is supplying X number for Y amount. The Y amount is based on their own sub-contractors supplying various components based on the total number purchased. Usually, those numbers are locked in at a set price. If you decrease the total amount of end-items purchased, the prime vender has to raise their per-unit-cost based on cancellation fees to their sub-contractors/increase costs of material due to less purchased (discount in bulk purchase), etc. Now that the unit cost has increased, the law makers begin to point fingers at the prime venders saying they are milking the government and decrease numbers again. I site the F-22 program as a prime example. The per-unit-costs would be more exceptable if the USAF was allowed to purchase their initial requested quantity of 650 airframes. As our government fiddled with the defense budget during the '90s, they decreased that total number to 450, then 300, then finally down to 187. The total cost of the program was now divided by the lesser amount of airframes, the price then goes through the roof. Don't get me wrong here, all vendors are businesses and their job is to make money so I am very certain they will take buck if it's handed to them for free. But they aren't always the reason why costs are so high.

In the case of F-35, both the government and the DoD are at fault. In order to not repeat the mistakes of the F-22 program, the DoD attempted to run the program under concurrency. This is where you attempt to design out as many problems at the start to reach a stable base-line. Once you start production, you run the test program at the same time as airframes are hitting the ramps of the training units. You slowly open up the envelope and capabilities of the aircraft while still getting basic flying/maintenance training. The main problem with this type of program is anytime an issue comes up, it costs more to repair/fix because you are already in a production setting. Lockheed and the DoD were hoping that most of the expensive problems would be designed out prior to reaching that baseline. It didn't happen and costs increased. The program has been restructured several times, and now they are on the right track to getting the airframe out to the fleet. They have slowed production while the vender focuses on fixing problems.

There are a few issues with the F-35 they are still working on, namely the helmet (affects all 3 versions), the tailhook design (affects navy version only), and some of the main structure for the vertical takeoff (usmc). The helmet is mainly a software issue (delay in symbology displayed versus head movement). The aircraft does not have a head-up display, all information is displayed directly on the pilot's visor. One very cool feature of the helmet/aircraft system is that it lets the pilot see through the cockpit and continue to track his target(s). There are small cameras at various locations on the outside skin of the jet supply the images to the helmet. Structure fixes for both the navy and marine versions aren't so much problem with can we fix it, it's a problem with weight of the fix. Increased weight on an aircraft cuts into total internal fuel carried, external fuel/munitions carried, and bring back loads. A long time ago, many of the Navy's aircraft didn't have much in the way of bring back loads (how much the aircraft can land with on a carrier without coming apart) and they would dump fuel and munitions in the ocean prior to landing. Or attempt to burn off more fuel to increase the load to save the munitions. That's been corrected since the early '70's but being back loads are still an issue they need to consider in the design.

For those that say, why don't we purchase more F15/F16/F18s since they worked so well in the past? I say would you buy a car from 1975 that has a modern radio in it? It sounds silly but that is the truth of the matter. Yes you can change the avionics packages, newer engines, and construction material. In the end though, you are still buying a plane that was designed in the late '60s early '70s. And it still costs money to adapt that older aircraft with newer technologies. The capabilities designed into the F35 is light-years ahead of those older airframes. On older aircraft, each avionics system was installed as a separate system. RWR was RWR, it has it's own set of LRUs and control panels in the cockpit. The only time the RWR interfaced with anything is with the CC to show symbology on the HUD or a threat display. It doesn't talk with the RADAR, or the weapons system, or the countermeasure system. The pilot had to take those inputs and decide what he will do. The F35's system is all tied together so the pilot gets one complete picture for SA, reducing pilot load and increasing his response to threat time.
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#13 Feb 21 2013 at 2:37 PM Rating: Excellent
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BrownDuck wrote:
Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
Its all about survivability and obsolesence. A brand new F-16, though fairly fast and agile, has a radar cross section the size of a large buick. 500 F-16s is still 500 dead F-16's if someone starts shooting any of the latest generation missiles at them.


IMO, that's a strategy problem, not an aircraft problem. We have stealth bombers for heavy ground targets, and drones that can strike smaller ground targets. Manned fighters should be relegated to aerial support (escort missions, ground troop cover, etc...), mostly situations where SAM sites can be taken out in advance or are of little concern. The days of manned strike missions should be written into the history books.


We don't have enough stealth bombers. We never have. And our conventional bombers rely on holes in the defenses being opened up by missile strikes ahead of time. Drones definitly can strike ground targets quite effectivly, but they can only operate in a location where we already have complete air superiority. If there are any enemy fighters left, or significant anti aircraft ground stations, the drones die. You need other fighters to take out enemy fighters, and you need your own fighters to protect your assets from incoming enemy bombers.

"taking out a SAM site in advance" is only possible if you are fighting someone who is not well prepared. The chinese and the russians both field mobile and man portable surface to air missiles that are very effective. by the time you launch a cruise missile at a mobile sam site, it won't be there, and tracking man portable weapons isn't feasable if they are deployed in quantity. Those in particular have difficulties engaging fast stealth aircraft, but drones and conventional bombers would be a piece of cake. We didn't build the fast version of the B1 lancer so we can't just bypass them at speed to attack heavy targets. Right now we deal with them by fielding fighters with anti radiation missiles.

If nothing else, some sort of aircraft delivered strike mission is still highly relevent because a short range missile is a hell of alot less expensive than a long range cruise missile. And you need something to kill the enemy aircraft in the air far enough from your own assets that they don't get a chance to nuke you.
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#14 Feb 21 2013 at 2:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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Kao wrote:
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Quick everyone, I've got him distracted. Now's your chance to do stuff.

Edited, Feb 21st 2013 3:41pm by Eske
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#15 Feb 21 2013 at 2:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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#16 Feb 21 2013 at 3:00 PM Rating: Good
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#17 Feb 21 2013 at 3:25 PM Rating: Good
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Hey Kao, which one of these aircraft do you think is the most impressive and why? And which one is your favourite? (assuming they're not the same plane)




someproteinguy wrote:
There's... there's nothing I want to do. Smiley: frown
There, you now have time to think of what you may want to do.
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#18 Feb 21 2013 at 3:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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I like the little white rectangular one.
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#19 Feb 21 2013 at 3:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:

someproteinguy wrote:
There's... there's nothing I want to do. Smiley: frown
There, you now have time to think of what you may want to do.


I think I'm hungry. Know of a good place to eat around here?
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#20 Feb 21 2013 at 5:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Hey Kao, which one of these aircraft do you think is the most impressive and why? And which one is your favourite? (assuming they're not the same plane)


Hmm. Thats a tough one For favorite, I have to go with the SR-71 of course, though with a different mix pictured the answer would be different. As for which is the most impressive, A few of those are very important technical precursors. The X-31 there on the lower left and the modified Canard F-15 were our first Thrust Vectoring prototypes after the technique was accientally discovered by a pilot trying to land with a failed rudder. The tiny X-36 in the middile was essentially the direct precursor to the B-2 bomber and the YF-23 (which incidentally would have made a great carrier aircraft) . That Asymetrical wing modified F-16 is impressive simply due to the fact that it actually flew and they found a pilot brave enough to try it. The X-38 crew return vehicle in the lower right hand corner is impressive due to it being a spaceship and all. I'm not really sure why the F-106 is on there, but it is a Nasa airplane I'm also not really sure what that little yellow drone in the middle is. But for my money, the most impressive aircraft on there is also the SR-71

Even though it was built in the 60's, the SR-71 still has one of the most impressive engines ever devised, the Pratt and Whitney J58-P4. It was and remains as far as we know unique in that it was completely variable, to the point where it essentially was able to transition from a bypass turbofan with an afterburner at low speeds to essentially a ramjet at higher speeds, bypassing the rotating parts of the engine.
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It's an ingenious design, and someone somewhere has to have retrofitted the concept to work with the F-119 F22 powerplant in some super secret SR-71 replacement we know nothing about. The airframe itself was also quite impressive, especially considering it was designed before computer modeling was in widespread use. They invented whole new generations of tools and techniques just to make the tools required to build the SR-71, and from an aerospace perspective it has very few rivals in complexity or speed. The XB-70 and the Space shuttile being two notible exceptions.

Edited, Feb 21st 2013 3:14pm by Kaolian
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#21 Feb 22 2013 at 4:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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This is interesting depending on where the failed blade was in the engine. If it's near the intake its probably just a FOD engine ingestion, which happens. If its in the mid pack or the rear, it has major, major implications for the engine itself. The process that a modern jet fighter engine fan blade goes through in construction these days involves so many integrety and strenght tests that it is next to impossible for a badly made part to make it onto an engine. Each fan blade gets x-rayed, density checked, hairline crack checked, and examined more times than most other items on the planet before they are ever installed. which means it might be a design deficiency of some sort. That could be as simple as a sensor or fitting coming lose from the inside of the engine upstream, or it could lead to a redesign of the fan blade, which would be catestrophic for the program, especially given all the political capital expended during the cancellation of the second style engine for the F-35. This could get ugly, and quickly

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57570848/pentagon-grounds-f-35-fleet-after-engine-crack-found/

The Pentagon on Friday grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets after discovering a cracked engine blade in one plane.

The problem was discovered during what the Pentagon called a routine inspection at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., of an F-35A, the Air Force version of the sleek new plane. The Navy and the Marine Corps are buying other versions of the F-35, which is intended to replace older fighters like the Air Force F-16 and the Navy F/A-18.

All versions -- a total of 51 planes -- were grounded Friday pending a more in-depth evaluation of the problem discovered at Edwards. None of the planes have been fielded for combat operations; all are undergoing testing.

In a brief written statement, the Pentagon said it is too early to know the full impact of the newly discovered problem.

The F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program at a total estimated cost of nearly $400 billion. The Pentagon envisions buying more than 2,400 F-35s, but some members of Congress are balking at the price tag.

Friday's suspension of flight operations will remain in effect until an investigation of the problem's root cause is determined.

The Pentagon said the engine in which the problem was discovered is being shipped to a Pratt & Whitney facility in Connecticut for more thorough evaluation.
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#22 Feb 22 2013 at 5:26 PM Rating: Good
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#23 Feb 22 2013 at 6:33 PM Rating: Good
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Wasn't there a proposal for a stealth variant of the F-15 that would have been a fraction of the cost of the F-22. Now the F-35 is a classic case of too many fingers in the pot.
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#24 Feb 22 2013 at 6:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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I don't know, I keep trying to click ont he link but every time I do I hit that pesky red arrow instead for some reason...

RavennofTitan wrote:
Wasn't there a proposal for a stealth variant of the F-15 that would have been a fraction of the cost of the F-22. Now the F-35 is a classic case of too many fingers in the pot.

Yeah, there is a boeing Project along those lines http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_F-15SE_Silent_Eagle

It's stealthy-ish from the front, but the sides, rear and top stand out like a normal F-15 on radar. WHich doesn't really help you if an enemy fighter is on your 6:00 shooting missiles at you. Plus you're still talking about a very old system. At Allanois a few years back in Chicago, there was an Air show. THey had a F-15E come out and do full out aerobatic manouvers for around 15 minutes. Very cool stuff. Then they had the F-22 come out. The F-22 did everything the F-15 did, faster, with more horsepower to spare, then it popped a whole bag of tricks of its own out. It's the first time i've literally ever seen a fighter aircraft other than a harrier dodge to a point in space, stop, pivot 360 degrees, then take off in a completely different vector and do a backflip. Not a loop, an actual backflip. Anyone who has ever seen the F-22 fly beside the F-15 or the Mig 29 knows that the F-15 is obsolete. Could you upgrade an F-15 to F-22 standards? Sure. They did, it's called an F-22. Short of that though tthere isn't much point. I do think at some point you'll see a sucessful F-18e stealth program of some sort. The navy really likes their super hornets and they really don't like the F-35. They really should have gone ahead with the naval F-22 variant, but no one with enough clout ever got behind the program to get it off the ground.
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#25 Feb 22 2013 at 9:58 PM Rating: Good
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RavennofTitan wrote:
a classic case of too many fingers in the pot.


The rare mixed-metaphor-sexual-innuendo.
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#26 Feb 24 2013 at 4:09 AM Rating: Excellent
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
BrownDuck wrote:
Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
Its all about survivability and obsolesence. A brand new F-16, though fairly fast and agile, has a radar cross section the size of a large buick. 500 F-16s is still 500 dead F-16's if someone starts shooting any of the latest generation missiles at them.


IMO, that's a strategy problem, not an aircraft problem. We have stealth bombers for heavy ground targets, and drones that can strike smaller ground targets. Manned fighters should be relegated to aerial support (escort missions, ground troop cover, etc...), mostly situations where SAM sites can be taken out in advance or are of little concern. The days of manned strike missions should be written into the history books.


We don't have enough stealth bombers. We never have. And our conventional bombers rely on holes in the defenses being opened up by missile strikes ahead of time. Drones definitly can strike ground targets quite effectivly, but they can only operate in a location where we already have complete air superiority. If there are any enemy fighters left, or significant anti aircraft ground stations, the drones die. You need other fighters to take out enemy fighters, and you need your own fighters to protect your assets from incoming enemy bombers.


That's why it's a strategy problem. If we want to be competitive in the air with drone craft, we'd need dedicated light ASF-style drones. Due to the way air to air fighter engagements work, the optimization trajectories favor the extremely tight frame and maneuverability design considerations that you can do in a remote craft that you can't do in a manned aircraft. There's economics at work here too, Being able to field a wolfpack of these craft for the same resource cost as one manned craft is incredibly important. If enough targets can engage in their range envelope, even an inferior design can quite rapidly roll up a fighter squadron with numbers. Manned Fighter jets just don't deal well with being engaged from multiple vectors.
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#27 Feb 25 2013 at 8:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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I can't wait until it's an iPhone app.
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#28 Feb 25 2013 at 12:07 PM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
I can't wait until it's an iPhone app.


Ok.
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#29 Feb 25 2013 at 12:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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What freaks me most about the F-35 is that supposedly there are no buttons. It's all touch-screens. Touch-screen mis-keys, or touches that don't transmit at all until I have mashed my finger 5 times on my touchscreen, while annoying, are not really a problem when buying books on kindle. Touchscreen technology in use to fire missiles, or avoid enemy fire? Dear god in heaven tell me they spent some of the over-run on better touch technology!
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#30 Feb 25 2013 at 12:39 PM Rating: Good
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Aripyanfar wrote:
What freaks me most about the F-35 is that supposedly there are no buttons. It's all touch-screens. Touch-screen mis-keys, or touches that don't transmit at all until I have mashed my finger 5 times on my touchscreen, while annoying, are not really a problem when buying books on kindle. Touchscreen technology in use to fire missiles, or avoid enemy fire? Dear god in heaven tell me they spent some of the over-run on better touch technology!


"There's a bogey on your 6 Wolf-2!! Evade!! Get outta there, man!!!"

"I'm trying!! It just keeps opening Fruit Ninj----*beeeeeeeeeeeep*.........."




Yeah, that could be a problem.

Edited, Feb 25th 2013 1:40pm by Eske
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#31 Feb 25 2013 at 12:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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Maybe it'll have a similar interface to fruit ninja, just slashing your way through enemy airplanes instead of fruit.
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#32 Feb 25 2013 at 12:54 PM Rating: Good
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I'd imagine more tapping than slashing.
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#33 Feb 25 2013 at 1:00 PM Rating: Good
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Shake to evade.
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#34 Feb 25 2013 at 1:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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Goddamn 10 billion dollar Etch-a-sketch still doesn't erase properly.
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#35 Feb 25 2013 at 1:06 PM Rating: Decent
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"Maverick, how about some help? Engage, damn it!"

"Hold on, let me recalibrate my touch screen..."
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#36 Feb 25 2013 at 1:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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n00bs.

What you want to do is link it via Bluetooth to your PS3 controller...
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#37 Feb 25 2013 at 1:12 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
n00bs.

What you want to do is link it via Bluetooth to your PS3 controller...

No ThrustMaster? Smiley: dubious
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#38 Feb 25 2013 at 1:12 PM Rating: Good
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Maybe it'll have a similar interface to fruit ninja, just slashing your way through enemy airplanes instead of fruit.


Screenshot


Who knew that the Swat Kats would envision the weapons of the future.

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#39 Feb 25 2013 at 1:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'll wait for the Buzz-Saw Missiles.
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#40 Feb 25 2013 at 4:20 PM Rating: Good
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I'm a fan of the cement gun, myself.
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