The F-35 thread

Dave

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I read that as referring to the stealth planes having an internal weapons payload, not the 15s.
The F35 has both internal and external hard points to carry weapons. As shown in the post three places above yours ;)
 

Dave

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I think that is the point of using a flying missile boat. Augmenting the advantages of each platform.

The F-35 literature definitely boasts about this capability.

Putting the potential conflict of interest by the new SecDef aside, I think this is an excellent idea.
Though I think the idea of an unmanned missile platform (or platforms) controlled from an F35 are gaining more traction. Why risk a highly trained pilot in an F15 that can be seen for 100’s of miles (and that will therefore be at a much higher risk) in a contested environment?
 

ponder

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The F35 has both internal and external hard points to carry weapons. As shown in the post three places above yours ;)
Yes but that negates it's stealth properties. The F-15x will have a heavier weapons payload, cheaper unit cost & cheaper operation cost. If you're going to hang weapons on the wings and use it as an interceptor the F-22 & F-35 become bad value propositions & the F-15x is better suited for that role. The one won't replace the other, they have different roles.
 

Dave

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The F-15x will have a heavier weapons payload, cheaper unit cost & cheaper operation cost.
And be a lot more likely to get shot down, western airforces tend to value their pilots above the value of their airframes, why would you want to put pilots in unnecessary harms way?
 

ponder

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And be a lot more likely to get shot down, western airforces tend to value their pilots above the value of their airframes, why would you want to put pilots in unnecessary harms way?
The f-35 is not a one size fits all solution contrary to what it's advocates might tell you. Putting a F-35 into a interceptor role means it's in visual range of it's adversary. The israelies & japanese still see the need for the F-15, they can do things the F-35 cannot. I suspect they will be first in line to order the x if and when it comes around.
 

Dave

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The f-35 is not a one size fits all solution contrary to what it's advocates might tell you. Putting a F-35 into a interceptor role means it's in visual range of it's adversary. The israelies & japanese still see the need for the F-15, they can do things the F-35 cannot. I suspect they will be first in line to order the x if and when it comes around.
Except you don’t need a new megaload “missile truck” or even something linked to the F-35 for air interceptor duties.

The current F-15 can do that job already (or the Typhoon in the case of allied airforces).
 

Blu82

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Actually forgot to answer your actual point after being sidetracked. I don’t know how viable the “gun truck” F-15 idea is as they seem to be going down the Loyal Wingman drone concept now, where an F-35 controls multiple unmanned aircraft on a strike mission, each of which can be independently dispatched to a forward target by the F-35 pilot.

https://www.defensenews.com/unmanned/2018/03/26/check-out-this-new-video-with-the-air-forces-coolest-future-tech/
I suspect the Pentagon badly wants this capability but currently can't afford funding the development program. So they are selecting an aircraft that exists and probably will have a cheaper per unit cost than those drones.
 

Dave

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I suspect the Pentagon badly wants this capability but currently can't afford funding the development program. So they are selecting an aircraft that exists and probably will have a cheaper per unit cost than those drones.
More like a cheaper development cost than cheaper unit cost, building UAVs is always going to be significantly cheaper than manned aircraft as you can leave out all those pesky (and expensive) systems to accommodate (and keep alive) that human in the driving seat.
 

OrbitalDawn

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The Pentagon's Latest Assessment Of The F-35 Is In, And It Ain't Pretty

The egregiously expensive and notoriously unreliable F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are even more of a disappointment than you previously thought, according to a new Department of Defense assessment obtained by Bloomberg News.

The 2018 report from the Pentagon's operational testing and evaluation arm, set for public release this week and obtained early by Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio, indicates that ongoing reliability issues have drastically shortened the service life far below expectations, so far that there's "no improving trend in" available aircraft for training and combat missions — a dangerous combination for a perpetually buggy aircraft.
 

Dave

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Some interesting (and some a bit scary, like a tactical nuke capability) modifications coming for the F-35.

New weapon systems due to be integrated in the Block 4 that will significantly expand the F-35’s maritime strike, air-to-ground capabilities and air-to-air lethality.
How the 'Block' 4 F-35 Stealth Fighter Could Become A Navy Killer (And Much More)

After years of expensive development, the first fully combat-capable Block IIIF F-35 stealth fighter are due to enter service in 2019. However, the Pentagon is already looking ahead to adding dozens of additional capabilities to a follow-up model called the Block 4—an upgrade so ambitious, its already budgeted to cost a whopping $16 billion.

A companion article details the major software and hardware upgrades to the F-35’s sensors, communication and propulsion systems, as well as Block 4’s troubled financial footing. Here, we’ll look at the new weapon systems due to be integrated in the Block 4 that will significantly expand the F-35’s maritime strike, air-to-ground capabilities and air-to-air lethality.

One major addition is the GBU-54/B Stormbreaker, also known as the Small Diameter Bomb II. Like the GPS-guided GBU-39 SDB I already integrated on the F-35, the 208-pound Stormbreaker is only six to seven inches in diameter, allowing eight to be stowed in the F-35’s confined internal weapon bays. If stealth is not a factor, a further sixteen can be stored on the wings.

However, the SDB II can additionally adjust course to hit moving targets in all weather conditions up to forty-five miles away, thanks to its tri-mode guidance options: an uncooled infrared seeker, a millimeter-wavelength active radar, and ability to home in on a target illuminated by laser. It also has datalink enabling two-way communication with launching F-35, allowing adjustment or even cancelation of the strike. The Stormbreaker’s 105-pound shaped charge warhead can lands on average within one meter of its target, and is effective against personnel, boats, and ground vehicles—even including main battle tanks, which have thin top armor.

The Pentagon hopes the Stormbreaker, combined with the F-35’s advanced electro-optical targeting system and synthetic-aperture radar, will enable the policing of potential no-drive zones—that is, areas in which military ground vehicles are forbidden to pass, based on the concept of the no-fly zone interdicting military aircraft.

However, Stormbreakers aren’t cheap at $115,000 each, so the Block 4 may also integrate the shorter-range GBU-54 Laser-JDAM. The 500-pound laser and GPS-guided bomb costs only around $20,000 and can also engage moving targets.

Another weapon due for full integration is the AGM-154 JSOW-C1, a larger thousand-pound glide bomb with a datalink and infrared seeker for terminal guidance designed to penetrate and destroy moving maritime targets up to seventy miles away when released at high altitude. These will give Navy F-35Cs significant maritime-strike capability.

More expensive, longer-range munitions like the far-reaching JASSM-ER and Long Range Anti-Ship Missile may only be integrated in a future Block 5 or Block 6 F-35. As the Lightning can approach closer to defended targets, integrating such long-range weapons is a lower priority. Meanwhile, non-stealthy fourth-generation fighters and bombers can benefit more from their use.

In terms of air-to-air capability, the F-35B is set to gain compatibility with the Block II model of the highly-maneuverable AIM-9X short-range missile, which the pilot can direct using a helmet-mounted sight. The Block II’s Lock-On-After-Launch capability means it can be fired from the F-35’s internal bay without a lock, then, following guidance transmitted via the F-35’s datalink, turn up to 180 degrees towards a target acquired by radar or even optically using the pilot’s helmeted-mounted sight, before finally homing in for the kill using its heat-seeker.

Speaking of the Helmet Mounted Display System, which uses cameras allowing Lightning pilots to “see through” their own plane, that is due be modified for lower weight and will also allow pilots to “look” directly behind them without having to turn fully around.

Addition of dual-rail missile racks for the F-35’s bays will also allow it to carry up to six longer-range AIM-120 air-to-air missiles instead of four, helping mitigate the still significant risk F-35s may be overwhelmed by more numerous aerial adversaries.
Article continues at https://news.yahoo.com/block-4-f-35-stealth-070000574.html?guccounter=1
 

Dave

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It still blows my mind that the A-4 Skyhawk is designed to carry tactical nukes and even includes a nuke shield in the cockpit to protect the pilot
Low altitude “toss” bombing with a nuke? that sounds quite suicidal in a slowish plane like an A-4.
 

Blu82

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Low altitude “toss” bombing with a nuke? that sounds quite suicidal in a slowish plane like an A-4.
Yep, it also has that extended ungainly landing gear to be able to carry one of those nukes.

 
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NarrowBandFtw

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Some interesting (and some a bit scary, like a tactical nuke capability) modifications coming for the F-35
A nuclear gravity bomb though?!?

Su-57 being fitted with nuclear capable hyper-sonic missiles (Kh-59MK2 being tested and X-50 believed by US intelligence to fit the bay anyway) ...
 

Compton_effect

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Low altitude “toss” bombing with a nuke? that sounds quite suicidal in a slowish plane like an A-4.
SAAF Pilots used to do that with conventional weapons during the Bush War. We were masters of that technique. And if we ever used a nuke - it would have probably been a joker toss like that.
 
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