Monday, September 28, 2020

Bigger fighters for the USAF? Weaponized tankers?


via Aviation Week

One option for reducing demand on tankers is a new fighter aircraft that is designed to carry more fuel. 

“Maybe having [the] small, currently sized fighters is not the way to go in [the] future,” Roper said. “And since we’re all abuzz with digital engineering and thinking about what the future fighter force could look like, thinking about bigger fighters is a natural question.”

Another way to make the KC-46 fleet more survivable, and thus operate closer to the forward edge of contested airspace, is to weaponize the aircraft, he said. 

“We don’t put weapons and sensors on tankers to shoot down aircraft, but the current KC-46 is a big airplane with the ability to mount sensors and weapons under the wings,” Roper said. “We just don’t do it because we can use a fighter combat air patrol to defend high-value assets.” 


This is some pretty exciting stuff.  The USAF is finally getting its head around the fight in the Pacific.  

I don't know who the bubba was that eviscerated the Strategic Air Command but that decision is biting us hard.  We have an unbalanced USAF and its showing now.

He's talking about a bigger fighter?  He's actually talking about something that's the size of the F-111, or the canned F-108 or any number of projects that came out during the 60's that had high speed and long range.

Weaponizing tankers?

Kinda stunning.

You do get the force of connection don't you?

I guess a wargame showed that enemy fighters WOULD break thru and hazard tankers.  That's sobering to say the least.

I would pay good money to get a look at that classified wargame that has everyone jumping thru hoops.

Those two decades chasing tribals in the Middle East really fucked us up good. Now we're playing catchup and everyone is throwing shit against the wall to see what sticks.

Side note.  Is all this an indictment of the F-35?  They're talking about a new, bigger fighter and this plane isn't really in service yet.  Will it even make it to 2035 much less 2050?

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