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Slater

US Air Force's radical plan for new fighters...

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It could be done. A new fighter in five years. Then ten years to iron out the snags another five to get software debugged. 😁

 

I'm optimistic! 

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I suppose if North American can conceive, design, build, and fly the Mustang in five months time, this should be doable :D

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Technical and other difficulties aside, how could developing and producing new fighter every five years bring more income than upgrading and maintaining current types for decades? Profit still reigns supreme. Cheers

Jure

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An interesting approach that however can be very risky..

Designing and building a new aircraft in 5 years is not really something too difficult to achieve, afterall the YF-22 flew only 4 years after the contract was awarded.

The problem today is to get a new fighter operational to the level of system reliability that we expect in the 21st Century, and this is something that is very, very different... @noelh already expressed the problem very accurately: how long is it going to take to debug every system in the new aircraft ? Sure, digital engineering and innovative software development philosophies can help in reducing the time required but the matter remains that any aircraft operational today must pass through so many tests that it's hard to be sure of when everything will work according to the customer's requirements.

It was much easier in the days of the Century Series, when the idea was to put a new type into service first and then worry about systems reliability and performance issues, leaving to the pilots the job of discovering any hidden vice of their new shiny mounts...

Again, digital simulations today can help a lot in getting to a flying aircraft without vices and sorting manufacturing issues, in any case I'll be curious to see if the acceptance procedures for these new fighters will allow such a quick entry into service.

 

Then there's the matter of the financial sustainability of this approach.. the trend toward the reduction of types in service is due in large part to the savings that result from simlified training and logistics chains, how will this new "Century Series" approach affect these costs ? Sure the use of open architectures will result in the use of a large part of common systems, at the same time however I'd expect many other components to be different among the the various types, resulting in the presence of parallel logistics chains.

Same for training, flight simulators will likely do most of the job but at the same time there will be a need for specialised units dedicated to the qualification of pilots on a certain type, meaning more personnel required.

Now the Air Force may well decide that it's worth to spend something more in return for the increase in capabilities given by a wider number of types, however how will Congress react ?

 

Interesting approach, but I'm a bit skeptical....

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On 9/16/2019 at 2:19 PM, noelh said:

It could be done. A new fighter in five years. Then ten years to iron out the snags another five to get software debugged. 😁

 

I'm optimistic! 

Not to mention political dithering  and indecision, arguments over budgets, the inevitable huge cost overruns,redrawing the specs to "save " money, changes of policy/government, software/hard ware that does not work.....! 

 

And that's just got starters. To say that I am a tad sceptical is perhaps a bit of an understatement

 

Allan

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I will bet a good bottle of whiskey that the new F-X will not be operational in 5 years. 🤡

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

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10 hours ago, Albeback52 said:

Not to mention political dithering  and indecision, arguments over budgets, the inevitable huge cost overruns,redrawing the specs to "save " money, changes of policy/government, software/hard ware that does not work.....! 

 

And that's just got starters. To say that I am a tad sceptical is perhaps a bit of an understatement

 

Allan

Fair enough - this is the US, though, not the UK!

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Five years.... Did they accidentally leave the "twenty-" off the front of their estimate? The US defence (UK spelling!) complex couldn't invent a new set of cutlery in five blimmin' years.

 

Chris. 

Edited by spruecutter96
Adding some info.

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13 hours ago, GMK said:

Fair enough - this is the US, though, not the UK!

😂. Is there really any difference between the two with regard to such matters?

The UK record on defence procurement issues is, shall we say, less than stellar!

 

Allan

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I don't have the knowledge to comment on whether its possible or not in practical terms.  I think you would need to have industry experience for that.

 

I can see a logic in there though.  Given the pace at which tech is changing is there not a risk that allowing design to evolve over 15 years plus results in an aircraft that was highly competitive for the last generation of aircraft and already reaching obsolescence compared to its contemporaries.  Back to the 1930'3 there.   I had the feeling that while the Typhoon is a highly capable aircraft that it might lean towards that observation, perhaps not.  

 

My other thought is that whatever they produce in 5 years it will still be gray (grey?)

 

 

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I will be very happy if they manage to get something new up and flying in that amount of time. At the current speed of design and introduction I have calculated that I may see one more new fighter type into USAF or RAF service before I head off to the great scrap yard in the sky myself. Oh joy...

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