The F-35 thread

The_Assimilator

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Warthog is becoming more and more obsolete for two reasons:

1. It's slow to get to its target, has to strafe that target, and burns lots of ammo without any guarantee that the target is actually destroyed. A supersonic jet can deliver a far more accurate laser-guided JDAM-equipped bomb in less time with much greater kill probability.
2. If you need long loiter time and/or continuous fire on a target, the AC-130 gunship is a much better bet. Originally with a 25mm + 40mm + 105mm cannon, the new versions have 30mm cannon + lots of missiles + GBU-39s.

Indeed, but the Russians are doing it quite a bit faster at least: PAK-FA design contract awarded in 2002, first flight 2010 (Jan 2010, so close to calling it 2009) and delivery of the first operational planes scheduled for late 2016. 8 years from design to flight, 14 years from design to operation.
Actually the PAK-FA was conceptualised in the 1980s, just like the F-22, and there were two forerunners/prototypes (MiG 1.44 and S 37/SU-47), plus some of the tech was trialed on the Su-35S. And a new engine is currently being developed because the current one is unsatisfactory. The project still has a long way to go to prove itself.
 

NarrowBandFtw

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Actually the PAK-FA was conceptualised in the 1980s, just like the F-22, and there were two forerunners/prototypes (MiG 1.44 and S 37/SU-47), plus some of the tech was trialed on the Su-35S. And a new engine is currently being developed because the current one is unsatisfactory. The project still has a long way to go to prove itself.
A concept might have just been a dream in someone's eyes, the forerunners were brainchildren of the USSR and the whole thing collapsed ... the entire political regime that is, not just the projects they were working on.

Not that I'm an expert on the topic, this is all from wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_PAK_FA

But that entry claims that officially "in 2002, Sukhoi was selected as the winner of the PAK FA competition and selected to lead the design of the new aircraft"

More recent links remain steadfast in the claim that the first production version will go into operation this year still though, so we will see (e.g. http://sputniknews.com/science/20150918/1027173091.html)
 

ghoti

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If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.

Should have taken an existing, working design, and enhanced it.
Well they already do that and also its not that simple. The F-15 is still in operation today, its still the top fighter in service. The F-22 is not really designed for the type of combat the F-15 can do. When they attack they seldom have fighter to fighter combat rolls. Most of the time their purpose to come in after the the stealth bombers have launched MALDs (these are missiles that create a fake radar signature to get enemy RADAR systems to switch from passive to active) to light up the enemy SAM and RADAR sites. They then take the out the SAM sites and then bombers escorted by F-15's generally take over. If an F-22 is ganna take on another jet its generally ganna be an over the horizon fight. Based on what I have seen in Russian systems... they wont even know the missile is on its way to them.
 

thestaggy

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Well they already do that and also its not that simple. The F-15 is still in operation today, its still the top fighter in service. The F-22 is not really designed for the type of combat the F-15 can do. When they attack they seldom have fighter to fighter combat rolls. Most of the time their purpose to come in after the the stealth bombers have launched MALDs (these are missiles that create a fake radar signature to get enemy RADAR systems to switch from passive to active) to light up the enemy SAM and RADAR sites. They then take the out the SAM sites and then bombers escorted by F-15's generally take over. If an F-22 is ganna take on another jet its generally ganna be an over the horizon fight. Based on what I have seen in Russian systems... they wont even know the missile is on its way to them.
True. The F-22 was never intended as a ''dog fighter''. However, if it does need to engage another aircraft chances are that aircraft won't even know it has been targeted. The average exercise between 4 Raptors and 20 - 24 ''red'' aircraft results in 20 - 24 ''red'' aircraft being downed with not even a single missile being fired at a Raptor. The average NATO excercise has a 30:1 K/D ratio in favour of the Raptor.

In trials the minute an F-15 activated its radar it was basically dead. ''Blind'' Raptors would be able to hone in on the F-15's own radar signature and engage it.

Major downside though in air-to-air engagements is the small missile capacity of the F-22. They only carry 6 AMRAAMS. To try and offset this F-22s have actually provided targeting for supporting F-15s so they can assist with the elimination of hostiles. Hostiles may be aware of the F-15's presence but they won't know where the F-22 providing targeting is.
 

pinball wizard

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Designing 5th-generation fighters is difficult, just ask the Russians and Indians how the PAK-FA and HAL AMCA are working out.
Designed in 2002 by the look of things, first flight in 2010, and delivery late this year maybe. Looks like they can show the Yanks a thing or six...
 

The_Assimilator

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NarrowBandFtw

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The US were claiming the Raptor would be operational long before it actually became so. It's not operational until it's accepted into service, regardless of what any and all source may claim.
Sure, that's why I said "if it happens". Their development cycle does seem accelerated though so they're off to a good start (i.e. they hit the first flight milestone much faster than the F-22 etc).

The 2011 airshow display you can see on youtube is also quite impressive for a prototype, but only time will tell if it goes operational by next year.
 

FoXtroT

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The F-22 and the F-35 have been so successful that the USAF is pressing for accelerated development of a new fighter and a new ground attack aircraft. They also stated that more F-22s is not an option.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-wants-on-time-f-x-not-more-f-22s-422950/
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-studying-future-attack-aircraft-options-422936/
Yes, they have already begun development of a 6th gen aircraft but that will only come into fruition decades from now. However as to your last point, there are apparently rumblings of them thinking of producing more upgraded F-22s that would be more multi-role than they currently are.
 

snoopdoggydog

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An epic miscalculation on the price of a warplane is going to cost taxpayers $1.5 trillion

Once upon a time, there was an F-22 Raptor. It was a good plane — some even called it "the most capable air superiority combat jet in the world" — but it cost a lot.

At a sticker price of $412 million per plane, the U.S. Air Force couldn't afford to buy a lot of F-22s.

So, to ensure it had a good quantity of fighter jets, as well as a few of good quality, the Air Force proposed a "high-low" solution.

On the high end, it would buy a handful of ultra-expensive F-22s to ensure air dominance.

On the low end, to boost its numbers and ensure its ability to carry a lot of bombs into combat, it would buy a whole mess of F-35 Lightning II fighter jets -- projected to cost just $35 million each. (Lockheed Martin, which builds both planes, was happy to oblige on both ends).

That was the plan. Instead, the F-35 fighter jet is turning out to be the most expensive fighter jet ever built, and is expected to ultimately cost taxpayers as much as $1.5 trillion.
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-air-forces-f-35-plan-fell-through-2016-3
 

Sneeky

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All hail the Hog!

[video=youtube;3CLfKDR16c0]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CLfKDR16c0[/video]
 

garyc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/hundreds-of-deficiencies-could-push-f-35-tests-to-2-433177/

Hundreds of deficiencies could push F-35 tests to 2019

Plagued by a delayed delivery of crucial software and shortfalls with its automated maintenance system, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will begin initial operational test and evaluation more than a year after its planned August 2017 date.

In his last scathing report on the F-35, outgoing top Pentagon weapon tester Michael Gilmore gave early 2019 as an optimistic target date for initial operational test and evaluation. Even as the F-35 Joint Programme Office plans to reduce time in developmental testing in order to move ahead with IOT&E, Gilmore warns that hundreds of deficiencies will push full combat tests to late 2018 or early 2019 at the earliest.

...

“Fleet pilots reported that the oscillations were so severe that they could not read flight critical data,” Gilmore writes. “Most of the pilots locked their harness during the catapult shot which made emergency switches hard to reach, again creating, in their opinion, an unacceptable and it unsafe situation.”

...

“Environmental effects, such as high humidity, often forced pilots to fly closer to the target than desired in order to discern target features and then engage for weapon employment, much closer than needed with legacy systems, potentially alerting the enemy, exposing the F-35 to threats around the target area or requiring delays to regain adequate spacing to set up an attack,” he says.
and:

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/trump-teases-possible-f-35-competition-433084/

President-elect Donald Trump has hinted again at a potential competition between Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

...

“Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!"
 
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