Skip to comments.U.S. Navy Starts Search for a Sixth Generation Fighter
Posted on 04/18/2012 6:45:23 AM PDT by maddog55
New fighter will complement the F-35
The F-35 program is still ongoing and infamously over budget, yet the U.S. Navy is kicking off the early steps in the search for a sixth generation fighter to replace the current F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. This first step in searching for new fighter aircraft is a Request for Information from companies interested in participating with the program.
The document reads, "To support OPNAV N98s request, this is a Pre-Material Development Decision (MDD) market survey for the purpose of determining market interest, feasibility, and capability of potential sources and does NOT constitute a Request for Proposals. NO SOLICITATION DOCUMENTS EXIST AT THIS TIME."
You may be wondering if this means that the F-35 as far as the Navy's concerned could be dead. Well, this new program has no bearing on the F-35 - the Navy document states the new sixth generation fighter will complement the F-35 and a planned unmanned aircraft.
"The intent of this research is to solicit Industry inputs on candidate solutions for CVN based aircraft to provide multi-role capability in an A2AD operational environment. Primary missions include, but are not limited to, air warfare (AW), strike warfare (STW), surface warfare (SUW), and close air support (CAS).
Also, consider the ability of your concept to provide other capabilities currently provided by strike fighter aircraft, such as organic air-to-air refueling (AAR), Tactical Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA), and airborne electronic attack (AEA). "
Interestingly, the Navy is accepting pitches for unmanned, optionally manned, and manned aircraft. The fighters proposed could be brand-new, clean-sheet designs or concepts derived from current aircraft. Of all the missions the aircraft should perform, one the most interesting is the ability to refuel other fighters in the air.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailytech.com ...
Odd use of the word “search”. As if the plane exists out there somewhere and they just have to find it.
Microchip US soldiers uniforms for IFF. Create an organic compound that can eat through something. Give it a 24 hour shelf life before it destroys itself. Design it based on DNA, which can identify age, sex, etc.
Put 50,000 of the little buggers into the micro-robots being developed for spying, Fit it into a drone and release onto the battlefield.
No need for a plane
I don't know why this would be interesting. Using a drone for Navy style tanking would be easy. Program an orbit, track, or course and the manned aircraft come in and plug as they need to. In Navy tanking the tanker needs to be in the right place at the right time and that is about it. It does take some skills to work the pattern as the recovery tanker, hawking low fuel state birds. A good recovery tanker will be just upwind when the low state airplane reaches the ship. If the low state aircraft gets waved off or misses the arresting gear he should be able to look just in front of him and see the tanker waiting. The A-6 guys were awesome at that.
>>That statement assumes that the F-35 actually enters service.<<
The F-35 JSF is the perfect example of the old adage that a camel is a mouse built to government specifications.
It was a great idea — combine the F/16 and F(A)/18 into a single low cost homogeneous platform — basically make a Southwest Airways maintenance model. Make it better than the rest but not the best of the best (that was supposed to be the F-22).
And I was its biggest fan.
They screwed that up so badly that the F-35 being built doesn’t even resemble what was envisioned. Billions of dollars thrown away with no discernible ROI.
As I said before, the stalwart F/16 and FA/18 are good for another 20 or 30 years until the US Government decides it really wants a real MRF platform. I don’t think this “search” will result in one.
LOL -- I am SO going to steal that term!!!!!
Different era. Aircraft now are built by consortia to spread the risk. Back in those days and with a major war going on Grumman could offload the Wildcat production to the Eastern Aircraft Group (General Motors) and begin re-tooling for the Hellcat all while the Hellcat's design was still being worked out (testing the Zero captured in the Aleutians).
The Brits taught us how to use the Corsair on a carrier flight deck, but by then the Hellcat was beginning to supplant the Wildcat. I don't think that there was a plan there. Just the way it worked out.
I'm skeptical about semi-autonomous drones and their capabilities in A2A and Close-Air Support. But I'm thinking that another manned 'bridge' between the drones and 4th/5th generation fighters may be redundant given that we're talking about 2030 as a target date -- and that will undoubtedly slide to 2040 or later.
All we hear are the shortfalls of the F-35. How about some good news?
Boeing X-32 ?
autonomous - Humans can't handle the G-s that the machines can.
It has wings.
There isn’t any...
It’s not odd if you are looking for other countries to make your fighter jet for you because it’s way cheaper!
Bring back the F-4 Phantom ............
I would add to your excellent post that the F-22 line should be re-started. There is simply nothing out there or in the planning/development stages that comes close to it.
“But there isn’t much you can do to turn a bomb truck into a fighter.”
Except for the F-15E. . . .just say’n
I think the best bet would be to go for a ship redesign, with the idea of creating a “drone aircraft carrier” to complement our manned aircraft carriers. Some things that may be wanted in such a design include:
1) Three operational modes. Semi-submersible (SS), surface (S) and elevated (E) modes. The SS mode is for “semi-stealthy” operations, with little or no radar profile. S operational mode for rapid movement. And an E mode for both drone launch and recovery and for torpedo evasion, especially against the Russian “wake homing” torpedoes, which are a serious threat.
2) The drones themselves can be of several types, all brought to the launch deck by elevator. The smallest would be light reconnaissance and asub drones, the largest number; then high performance fighter drones, faster and more maneuverable than manned fighters; and finally medium range bomber drones, somewhat like the latest version of the Reaper, called Altair, that has a 3,000lb payload.
3) The actual size of the ship is a good question, and there could be two or more sizes, used as part of a traditional carrier group.
Except for the F-15E. . . .just sayn
I think it is great that the F-15E (and other variants) was able to almost casually say, "well, we own the sky so why not drop some ordinance so we can own the ground as well?"
We have the chicken and egg conundrum: since there is no craft that can challenge the F-15 does that just mean it has easy and clear access to the targets? Or does its ability to kill ground targets guarantee clear skies?
I will make one unequivocal statement: there will never be a more beautiful craft than the F-15. (F-14 #2, F-16 #3, F-18 #4 -- FWIIW, I have been told that the F4 are the most beautiful for the 'nam guys who got support from them)
I really love the look of the F-22. Until it came along, the old Corsair, Spitfires and P-38 Lightenings were my favorites. The F-22 just looks sexy.
“I will make one unequivocal statement: there will never be a more beautiful craft than the F-15.”
I think that mark has already been hit with the F-22. It is a great looking airplane, and has it all over the F-15 in performance as well.
Of course, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. :-)
The F-22 is uber-cool in appearance. But cool<>beautiful. The F-15 always looked to me like an elegant swan. Every line so artfully drawn, every plane so sophisticated.
And her cool younger cousin:
There was another airplane with swept wings and 2 jet engines called the ME262 that was an elegant Swallow.
To end the old joke... "this Fokker was in a Messerschmidt"
No question, this was the F-22 of its day.
According to the engineers at Boeing, and the flight-line old guys at St Louis (they service and repair the jets), the F-15E is 80% different from the Gay Eagles. Don’t even have the same landing gear. Totally different jet.
If you just go by looks as most non-aviation types usually do, then yeah, but if you actually look at the components of the jet it is not.
The F-15E is a terrific multi-role jet.
“I will make one unequivocal statement: there will never be a more beautiful craft than the F-15”
Yeah, agree. . .but also think the A-10 is so ugly it is beautiful. . .but that’s just me.
I have never understood the "warthog ugly" thing with the A-10. With those big old shoulders and the ability to damn near stand still, it is like the Da Vinci's sculpture of David -- muscled and elegant. The only people who would not find it beautiful are the denizens of the hard targets it is about to rain hellfire down upon. The A-10 rips armored targets apart like aluminum beer cans.
Don’t know of any of the f-22s engines catching on fire for being temperamental.
One of the few things “Red Tails” got right was the sound of the American Browning .50 caliber vs the slower thump of the ME262’s MK108 30mm cannons.
The design team for that aircraft had to read the book by Hans-Ulrich Rudel. He popped over 500 Russian tanks with a cannon armed Stuka.
They actually had to create a higher level of iron cross award for Hans’ commie-killing accomplishments.
...the ME262. And like the Third Reich, we did not build enough of them (the F-22) to win any serious war.