Friday, October 11, 2013

T-50. Flight Demo Vid. via Defense Update.

Partial stealth.

Full agility.

Super Cruise.

Huge AESA.

More than 200 to be produced.

Why do I think we headed down the wrong path?  Consider the fact that China and Russia are getting closer militarily (remember the joint exercises earlier this year?).  Consider the fact that despite the USAF's best efforts those F-22's are getting long in the tooth in airplane years.  Consider the fact that the F-35 is in reality a bomb truck.

What should send chills down the spines of aviation enthusiast, engineers and pilots is the obvious that I had trouble wrapping my head around.

Flashback in time to the 1960s.  BAE had developed the Harrier and someone decided that to save money we would use that airplane for all three services.  The land and carrier based versions wouldn't have STOVL capability and the carrier based model would have larger wings but all three would use it.

That's basically what we're doing with the F-35!

The Harrier is perfect for the role intended by the USMC, but fails when pushed into requirements for the USN and USAF.  The Marines need a bomb truck.  The USAF and USN need fighters.  Fleet defenders.  Interceptors.

What was needed was a hyper upgraded, carrier capable F-16 (oh wait the USN already has the Ultra Hornet waiting in the wings).  What we got was a mess that is going to be the end of allied airpower within a decade.


  1. For the long foreseeable future it looks like a vast majority of US forces will need to rely on the Super Hornet for most combat operations just because the USAF can't seem to keep the F-22 young and weren't willing to buy any new legacy aircraft to counter F-35 delays. Instead they are willing to cut any legacy aircraft to protect the F-35. The USMC is going to stretch the life of the Harrier to its limit, but the Harrier still has a lot of things it can't be counted on to do.

    The Super Hornet is easy to keep young and was designed to be maintenance friendly for the long term. It is going to be reliable and rugged for a long time. It may not be the best at anything, but it's good at a lot of things and will last us for the long term.

    1. the Super Bug is a mediocre A2A jet.

      And what's all this about it being maintenance friendly?

      The F-22 has a very young fleet life.

    2. Mediocre A2A jet it maybe, the Super Hornet is still better than the F-35C which is nothing but an attack jet.

      The EPE engine will transform the Super Hornet into a Tomcat lite, and keep the naval aviation relevant until the F/A-XX comes along.

    3. The Navy knows that the Super Hornet doesn't have the agility or the aerodynamic performance of Flanker variants. That's why they focus on making the best pilots in the US armed forces. The pilot matters more than the aircraft. Apart from that the Navy has decided to make several upgrades to the Super Hornet to allow it to hold its own against stealth fighters. Among these upgrades are the AIM-9X Block III Sidewinder missile, which is a BVR infra-red imaging missile designed for killing stealth fighters. The AIM-9X Block III will have a detection range that exceeds the AIM-120 AMRAAM and a rocket motor that is comparable to it as well. The Super Hornet is also getting a brand new IRST pod that is mounted on the front of a center line fuel tank. The IRST uses the most advanced tech to date and is being developed by Lockheed Martin. It will have detection ranges that beat out most radars. Apart from that the Super Hornet will be accompanied by the Growler with its next generation jammers. This combination will allow the Super Hornet to defeat any fourth generation fleet and to match stealth fighter fleets.

      The Super Hornet has a proven record of being maintenance friendly. It was a requirement that the Navy asked Boeing to put into its design and they did an excellent job. The Super Hornet has 40% fewer parts than the Legacy Hornet with easy access to the ones that need to be replaced often. Low maintenance hours per flight hour and a high readiness rate are testaments to the success of its design. It's also currently the cheapest fighter to operate in the US arsenal. The US Navy said that the Super Hornet fleet was built with a standard of 6,000 flight hours for each aircraft in mind and could also have an additional 3,000 flight hours added with low cost and at "low risk." They also mentioned that extending the life of the Super Hornet beyond that would be fairly cheap and straight forward as well. The Super Hornet can be ready for a fight anywhere and anytime with short notice for many years to come.

      The F-22 Raptor has been a hanger queen since 2005 when it entered service. Several problems led to it being grounded on a few occasions. Its coatings have proven to be vulnerable to rain and the aircraft has proven to be extremely expensive to maintain. The F-22 fleet may be young in terms of actual years, but as a complex maintenance nightmare its age in terms of aircraft years has gotten pretty old pretty fast. In fact, the way it looks now I would not be surprised if the Super Hornet stays in service longer than the Raptor.

  2. Why do you so readily believe Russian and Chinese claims about their aircraft?

    1. I don't know either. If he took the claims at face value, Sol should not want more Super Hornets, as the Russians and Chinese say that their newest jets are as good as the F-22, or at least are better than the F-15.

    2. Well, at least Russian Su-35 claims about its exchange ratio against the F-35 is verified through multiple western simulations.

    3. ah, the old "computer simulation is as good as a real war" argument.

      Good thing RAND has complete access to the F-35s classified and secret systems when they made that sim, plus, the Flankers didn't shoot any F-35s down, they just blew up the refueling tankers.

      Not to mention that most Russian Flankers are 1980s vintage. Russia will only induct 48 or so Su-35s.

      I remember reading about Sims in the 1970s saying that an F-5E would easily be able to take out and F-15, as it was smaller, and therefore harder to hit. Or an easily F-4E taking out an F-15, as the F-15 only had 1 pair of eyes, as opposed to 2 in the F-4E. And yet, the F-15 is considered the finest A2A jet of the 20th century........

  3. Looking at this jet up close and from a lot of distance shots, I really question how stealthy she is. I know they're only calling it "partial stealth" which is fine I suppose, but I think even that term should be called into question. Stealth is really an all or nothing ball game. No? Modern radars are extremely sensitive. You have to do more than throw some RAM on a jet for it to be "stealth".

    Somethings to note:
    * The engines on that jet are completely bare.
    * The rivets are glaring at you.
    * There appears to be no attempt to hide the intakes.
    * I see no real attempt to hid the pilot

    I don't know. I'm sure she's very lethal, very agile; all the things the Russians are famous for. Stealth though? I have a lot of doubts.

    1. Well, Boeing seems to think that lathering the Super in RAM makes it as good as an F-35.......

    2. Touché.

      Given that, though, I'd question how "stealthy" those jets are too.

    3. David McSpadden

      The Boeing claim against the export-grade F-35 is true, because export-grade F-35s have an RCS rating of 0.15 m2 which could easily be matched by the Silent Hornet.

    4. In addition to the Canadian vice defense minister implying 0.15 m2 RCS for CF-35 in his letter to the Canadian parliament(, an unnamed ROKAF officer is also second confirming 0.15 m2 RCS rating for the F-35 offered to Korea. His description was that the F-35 had an RCS rating 1/100th of the F-15K.

      As you may already know, F-15E/K has an RCS rating of 15 m2, so 1/100th is indeed 0.15m2 once again. This is why Boeing is so adamant that its Silent Eagle and Hornet jets could match the export-grade F-35's RCS rating.

      Of course I am sure that the F-35 models by US services would have much lower RCS rating than 0.15 m2, but the F-35 won't be the stealthiest fighter jets on export market; the J-31 and the Gripen E will have a lower RCS than the export grade F-35.

  4. Hey, Solomon, have you heard anything about this book?:

    It sounds like something you might be interested in.

  5. Sol, the Russians talk alof of talk, but they can't even induct 42 Su-34s into the Russian AF on time, and the Mig-35 was delayed by 2 years due to "technical issues"

    Will the T-50 eventually come into service? Yes, but I doubt before 2018 or so, and certainly not before 2016.

    Also, the Russians STILL haven't demonstrated an AESA radar that works (outside of a lab) yet.

    Oh, and those F-22s are niot "long in the tooth" at all.

    Shit, most Super Hornets are older than the F-22s.

  6. The Super Bug a mediocre A/A airplane? 
    Has the smallest RCS of the 4.75+ fighters. In the Advaveced version is even smaller.
    Can supermaneuver carring a lot of missiles, not just in clean configuration as the rest, has a functional AESA radar, HMD and Aim-9X, can practically stop in the air with out loosing altitude and if it's used in conjunction with the Growlers become undetectable.
    Put EPE engines and you will have the best dogfither and multirrol for years to come.

  7. Well, Boeing president says they could still sell the Silent Eagle to Korea in split buy.

    The ROKAF explicitly said they wouldn't need more than 20 F-35s even if they went out shopping for it, and it was the dumb ass civilians deciding that they knew better than the ROKAF generals what the ROKAF needed to operate.

  8. Speaking of bomb truck, its not worth its salt as a bomb truck because its main selling point (being stealth) is eliminated when you put the wing hardpoints on it (correct me if I'm wrong), so at that point it becomes an F-18, a really really expensive F-18...

    1. How many bombs can the F-18 (sic) carry with no external pylons attached?

    2. I know what you're trying to do, but that in no way invalidates chaos56's point.

    3. Nonsense, how many bombs/missiles can an F-18 Super Hornet carry inside the jet...... Is that a ZERO that I hear?

      If you want to use an "enclosed pod", I am SURE an F-35 can carry those too.

  9. How many Aim-9X can the F-35 can carry internally?...
    Zero. How many 22mm cannons internally? the F-35B... Zero, How many Jammers internally? ....Zero. At the end is pretty much an Super Expensive advanced Super Hornet, not even close to a Growler for ellectronic attack. in clean configuration is less maneauverable than a SH with weapons and even worse if it carries weapons externally or the external cannon pod, and absolutely less capable in close air support, and to complete the mess, wih only one engine.

    In the only thing that is absolutely superior is in the cost.

  10. I forgot to mention, it has not space for antiradiation missiles internally... and for maritime attack...the SH can carry 4 harpoons.


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