Saturday, August 26, 2017

The new hope to save the F-35? An adaptive engine...

via Next Big Future.
The U.S. hasn’t designed a clean-sheet fighter in twenty years, and Penetrating Counter Air (PCA) will differ from the F-22 and F-35 in some ways to deal with new strategic realities. PCA will emphasize range to fly escort missions for B-2 and B-21 bombers over Russia and against China in the Asia-Pacific.

The Air Force hopes for the best of both worlds with so-called “three-stream propulsion,” which uses a third air stream to make the engine more efficient or provide more thrust.

PCA will also be stealthy, and likely lose vertical tail fins that are standard on all aircraft, from the P-51 Mustang to the F-22 Raptor.

Funds are being requested to create a new super missile – Air Dominance Air-to-Air Weapon to replace the 30 year old AIM-120 AMRAAM.
The Air Force Research Laboratory has been working with GE and Pratt and Whitney on adaptive, “three-stream” engine technology for several years, under a science and technology program called Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD).

Fixed-cycle engines powering today’s military aircraft are limited to one capability: either maximum power or fuel efficiency. The adaptive engine concept enables new engines to switch between the two. Where most fighter jet engines have two “spools” of air, the adaptive engine design adds a third stream around the outside of the engine. By changing that air stream, engineers can adapt the engine to get optimal performance throughout the flight envelope.

“It’s like shifting a gear in your car, shifting a gear on your bicycle,” Kenyon explained. “You change the way the machinery works together so you match the conditions you are running out.”

The AETP funds building and test full-up engines. AETP program should boost fighter and bomber engines by 20% thrust and 25% fuel efficiency and range by 30% in mid-2020s.
Story here. 

A few things....

1.  This airplane has NOT entered full rate production.  Forget the IOC declared by the USAF and Marine Corps.  That's bullshit.  The plane cannot enter full rate production BY LAW until it completes development.  The Pentagon has so lost its way that it has begun "lawyering" the law to get around the spirit of it and to play with the wording.

2.  The plane hasn't entered FULL RATE PRODUCTION yet and they're already looking to upgrade the engines.  That's telling.  That lets you know one thing. All the talk about its kinematics being adequate for the mission is bullshit.  How much money has been pumped down this rabbit hole?  Too much.  I lost the e-mail but Denmark is getting a bit of buyers remorse because the hidden cost of BASE MODIFICATION (wonder how much the USAF & USMC are being hit) is tearing up their budget...that's in addition to buying the airplane.

3.  Does anyone have a problem with every system we're designing geared toward offensive warfare.  Penetrating fighters, penetrating bombers, and penetrating tankers?  The best defense is a good offense but I wonder what that tells you when we are basing our entire military on fighting over someone else's country instead of defending ourselves and our allies.

Much more to come I'm sure but this is interesting.  I wonder if these new engines will cost as much as a gripen fighter!

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