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    US Air Force: Discussion and News

    GarryB
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  GarryB Tue Jul 06, 2021 11:08 am

    They already stuffed up 5th gen... what chances of getting 6th gen right... assuming 6th gen is a gen ahead of 5th gen by their own terminology should be a whole level higher and harder.

    Perhaps the real secret is that 6th gen is actually 4+ Gen... it lowers the bar to make it easier... it rescales everything so everybody passes and gets a gold star for turning up.
    LMFS
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  LMFS Tue Jul 06, 2021 1:34 pm

    GarryB wrote:They already stuffed up 5th gen... what chances of getting 6th gen right... assuming 6th gen is a gen ahead of 5th gen by their own terminology should be a whole level higher and harder.

    Perhaps the real secret is that 6th gen is actually 4+ Gen... it lowers the bar to make it easier... it rescales everything so everybody passes and gets a gold star for turning up.

    It is simply grotesque, they want to start developing a 4.5G substitute for the F-16 in 2030 while they are supposed to be developing something like 6.5G with the second iteration of NGAD. It is like designing the F-15, 15 years later ordering the Phantom instead and ten years later starting developing a F-104 equivalent... Embarassed
    Pretty much like they are doing with the B-21, this first stage NGAD is just going to be a "non beta" version of the previously released "5G" plane, which is useful for nothing, travestied as 6G. Of course covering up this disaster is nothing short of impossible, but they are giving their best and their pirouettes are really fun to watch Razz
    Finty
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  Finty Fri Jul 16, 2021 10:50 pm

    https://www.airforcemag.com/fairchild-kc-135-super-wing-tanker-fleet-changes/

    Fairchild KC-135 ‘Super’ Wing Deploys Nonstop Amid Tanker Fleet Changes

    uly 16, 2021 | By Brian W. Everstine
    FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — For a barometer of the military’s unrelenting thirst for aerial refueling, look to the sprawling flight line here in the Inland Northwest.

    Fairchild is the home of the Air Force’s only “super” tanker wing, with four KC-135 squadrons. The fourth, the 97th Air Refueling Squadron, activated in 2019, reached initial operational capability in October 2020, and then quickly deployed.

    The base’s 92nd Refueling Wing is unique among the Air Force in that it always has a squadron deployed downrange. The base has the most resources—63 total aircraft in its inventory—meaning it is the Air Force’s first call for when refueling is needed.

    “We get the call more than anybody else, and part of that reason is because we have more resources,” 92nd ARW Commander Col. Cassius T. Bentley III said in an interview. “But also I think it’s because we have better Airmen.”

    The Air Force’s mobility fleet is undergoing massive change as it brings on the new KC-46 Pegasus. While the KC-46 will not be operationally capable until about 2024, the service needs to free up personnel and ramp space to get ready for the new tanker.

    This has meant force structure changes.

    With McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., shifting to becoming Air Mobility Command’s main KC-46 operating base, the service needed a home for additional KC-135s and Airmen, so it looked to Fairchild.

    The addition of the squadron made Fairchild the world’s largest tanker wing “by a lot,” Bentley said. If Fairchild became its own country, it would have the world’s second largest refueling fleet behind the rest of the U.S. Air Force and ahead of both China’s and Russia’s fleets.

    “[The requirement] goes up as we have more tails and more aircrews who can execute more missions,” Bentley said. This has made Fairchild the “911 call for the Air Force,” he said.

    Fairchild likely flew more in 2020 than it has before, including short-notice calls to help with the withdrawal of troops from Somalia—called Operation Octave Quartz. The team got the call Christmas morning to head out for the mission. “The team is always ready, and they were the first ones to show up,” Bentley said.

    When the 97th ARS deployed in late 2020 after reaching full operational capability, it replaced Fairchild’s 93rd ARS downrange. That squadron was deployed as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, extending their time in the region and making their deployment the longest ever for a KC-135 unit. That same squadron just redeployed, landing at Incirlik Air Force Base, Turkey, in mid-July.

    The squadrons deploy on four-month rotations, soon to shift to six months, as part of a new mobility force generation model that uses one squadron to meet a deployment request as opposed to sending smaller groups of Airmen and aircraft from multiple units.

    In addition to always having a squadron deployed for combat operations, Fairchild tankers sit on nuclear alert missions, on stand-by for homeland defense missions, supporting coronet fighter deployments, refueling bomber task force deployments, and refueling USAF and other service training missions such as Red Flags, among others duties.

    Crews not deployed have been working on USAF initiatives such as agile combat employment and joint all-domain command and control, Bentley said.

    Fairchild is focusing on developing a hot-pit refueling capability. Wing aircrews have been practicing every Thursday since March, and the 93rd ARS recently deployed with 100 percent of its crews trained on hot-pit refueling. Across the wing, 70 percent of crews are currently trained.

    Fairchild’s KC-135s are looking at additional ways to contribute to a fight, including more command and control capability. This is taking shape with the planned installation of 42 Real-Time Information in the Cockpit systems, which use the Link 16 data link to improve its situational awareness. These modifications begin in August.

    The wing is using its location and number of aircraft to train for the Air Force’s agile combat employment both at home and forward, austere locations. Recently, Fairchild KC-135s and aircrews deployed to far-off places such as Wake Island in the western Pacific, the type of location that would be important in a near-peer battle in the Indo-Pacific. Fairchild crews fly these sorts of missions once or twice per month, and sometimes deliver cargo as well.

    “We’re trying to change the narrative of the 135s,” Bentley said. “Because a lot of the time you think, ‘Hey, they take off, they offload gas, they come back to their home station.’ We’re changing the narrative and we’re really moving out on this agile combat employment. … The tanker can do more than just give gas. It’s their primary mission, but there’s more we can do.”
    Backman
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  Backman Mon Jul 19, 2021 4:58 am

    “**** stealth!” An F-15 pilot opines on why the Eagle II is needed (and the story of the ‘Eagle Eye’ hunter scope)

    https://hushkit.net/2021/05/27/****-stealth-an-f-15-pilot-opines-on-why-the-super-eagle-is-needed-and-the-story-of-the-eagle-eye-hunter-scope/
    Isos
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  Isos Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:51 am

    Backman wrote:“**** stealth!” An F-15 pilot opines on why the Eagle II is needed (and the story of the ‘Eagle Eye’ hunter scope)

    https://hushkit.net/2021/05/27/****-stealth-an-f-15-pilot-opines-on-why-the-super-eagle-is-needed-and-the-story-of-the-eagle-eye-hunter-scope/

    The link doesn't work. L&M were not happy it seems. Very Happy

    I understand them. Trillion dollar f-35 doesn't work. Russians present a new 5th fighter easily. And then a US pilot want to talk about how the stealth isn't needed.

    zepia, Hole and Backman like this post

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    GreyHog

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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  GreyHog Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:00 am

    Isos wrote:
    Backman wrote:“**** stealth!” An F-15 pilot opines on why the Eagle II is needed (and the story of the ‘Eagle Eye’ hunter scope)

    https://hushkit.net/2021/05/27/****-stealth-an-f-15-pilot-opines-on-why-the-super-eagle-is-needed-and-the-story-of-the-eagle-eye-hunter-scope/

    The link doesn't work. L&M were not happy it seems. Very Happy

    I understand them. Trillion dollar f-35 doesn't work. Russians present a new 5th fighter easily. And then a US pilot want to talk about how the stealth isn't needed.

    The link works. The problem is this forum's profanity filter because the actual webpage does not censor those four asterisks. Try replace it with a well-known four-letter profanity, or simply punch it into search engine Wink

    Isos likes this post

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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty USAF F-16S IMPROVE WITH AGE

    Post  Finty Wed Aug 04, 2021 9:36 pm

    Decent F-16 article from a few years ago.

    https://www.key.aero/article/usaf-f-16s-improve-age
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty A US Air Force war game shows what the service needs to hold off — or win against — China in 2030

    Post  Finty Sun Aug 08, 2021 9:25 pm

    https://www.defensenews.com/training-sim/2021/04/12/a-us-air-force-war-game-shows-what-the-service-needs-to-hold-off-or-win-against-china-in-2030/
    Finty
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty The F-15X Is No True Competitor for Russia or China

    Post  Finty Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:46 pm

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/f-15x-no-true-competitor-russia-or-china-192681

    ere's What You Need to Know: Rather than clinging to Cold War-era platforms that are quickly being outpaced by the enemy, the USAF must stay the course to prioritize the acquisition and modernization of the 5th generation F-35 fleet, focus on operational readiness and invest in next-generation air dominance technology— we must not deviate from investing in 5th generation fighters.

    The United States Air Force maintains the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. Attaining and maintaining air superiority has been a top priority of U.S. military leadership since World War II. This has resulted in a never-ending pursuit of advanced technology to deal with the current and projected enemy threat.

    Recently, a proposal has been put forth to produce a variant of the F-15 to add to the United States Air Force’s current fighter inventory. To some, this has resonated positively. However, upon further investigation, the rationale and validity of this proposal fall apart.

    As a former F-15 pilot, I love the aircraft. It was my first and the only front-line fighter I flew throughout my 40-year career and 2500 plus F-15 flying hours. It pains me greatly to write this article, but decision makers must accept what I have – the F-15’s air superiority days have come and gone! The 5th generation era has arrived, and the global near-peer threat is evolving to meet that capability.

    The F-15 Eagle, designed in response to the Air Force’s requirement for an aircraft dedicated solely to the air superiority mission, was first flown in the early 70s. Like the P-51 and the F-86, that were the greatest air superiority fighters of their generation, the F-15 was the greatest air to air fighter of its generation – the 80s and 90s. However, like the P-51 and the F-86, the F-15 has been surpassed by a more capable fighter. Like it’s legacy aircraft counterparts, the F-15 is a fighter built for the threats of its timeframe – the 20th century. Not a fighter built in anticipation of what capability and survivability would be needed in the 21st century.

    The average age of U.S. Air Force aircraft, including fighter jets, is currently at a record-setting rate due to restrictive defense budgets of past administrations. Therefore, it is more imperative than ever for the USAF to replace the aging fleet with the most technologically advanced, survivable fighter that delivers the maximum performance within budget allocations, and more importantly, that can continue to be modernized with leading-edge technology.

    Wisely, the U.S. Air Force has invested in the F-35 Lightning II, the most advanced stealth multi-role operational fighter aircraft in the world. This 5th generation aircraft is transforming air combat with distinctive speed, range and weapons capacity coupled with stealth, sensor capability, information fusion and network connectivity that brings unprecedented capability to warfighters.

    Chinese and Russian Surface-to-Air and Air-to-Air threats are proliferating in quantity, advancing in capability and being deployed to critical areas of U.S. interests. To survive in the modern battlespace, a fighter must have stealth, advanced 360-degree sensor capability, advanced electronic warfare, and the ability to connect to sea, air, and space assets. The F-35 does all of these things – the F-15x can do none of them.

    Some say 5th Generation fighters make 4th Generation fighters better; this is true, but the corollary is true that while protecting 4th Generation fighters, 5th Generation fighters are sub-optimized. Where 4th generation fighters are forced to adapt to an advancing battlespace, the F-35 was specifically designed to operate in it. With stealth, electronic avionics systems and infrared sensors – capabilities the F-15 does not have – the F-35 defines the battlespace that adversaries are striving unsuccessfully to adapt to.


    For those in favor of bolstering 4th generation aircraft for Homeland Defense, they need to keep in mind that in the worst case scenario of an attack on our homeland, we will see highly advanced enemy 4th generation aircraft and even 5th generation aircraft.

    The 5th generation fleet is growing as the F-35’s capabilities are proving reliable where it matters most for the U.S. Air Force:

    The F-35 fleet is growing at a pace unmatched by any fighter in the world. By 2023, about 1,000 aircraft will be operating from over 40 bases and ships. In less than six years, more than 600 aircraft will be integrated into global operations, while supporting the stand up of about 25 additional bases and ships.

    The F-35 weapons system reliability continues to improve, and newer jets are now averaging greater than 60% mission capable rates. A number of operational F-35A squadrons have nearly 70% mission capable rates, which are among the highest in the USAF fleet.


    By 2023, the F-35’s will have Technology Refresh 3 capability, which will further widen the capability gap between F-35s and 4th generation aircraft.

    Today’s battlespace is a complicated multi-domain fight with space, air, ground and cyber assets. Only the F-35 can lead this modern battlespace in capabilities and modernization, and remain within budget allocations.


    Faced with funding shortfalls and sequestration, the Air Force opted to continue 4th generation investments because the threat environment allowed it, and the cost to acquire and to operate legacy jets was much more affordable than advanced capability aircraft like the F-35. That is no longer the case.

    The price of an F-35A is now $90 million, which is less than the reported price that the political leadership of the Pentagon will reportedly pay for legacy generation fighters – and the operations cost has started down the same cost reduction curve that the unit cost has already demonstrated. Recent international competitions and DoD analysis have shown that all 5th generation fleets will be more cost-effective than mixed fleets.


    Additionally, just as the government and industry drastically reduced F-35 production costs, F-35 sustainment is also estimated to be reduced by more than 40 percent.

    Though the F-35 program has been criticized in the past on cost – as traditionally occurs with new military programs – by 2025 the cost to operate an F-35 per year is expected to be about equal to any 4th generation fighter – including the F-15. Also by 2025, the F-35 is anticipated to cost $25,000 per flight hour – which is equal to or less than any 4th gen fighter. Additionally, while some have reported the actual cost to acquire the F-15X will be $80 million – this is without any external sensor pods, targeting pods and pylons to carry weapons and fuel.


    F-15X advocates have stated that the aircraft will cut operations and sustainment costs in half compared to the F-35; however, that is not necessarily the case. First and foremost, buying new F-15s will require the Air National Guard to maintain multiple aircraft sustainment systems for decades to come, rather than eventually sun setting their F-15s all together and only paying to operate and sustain the 5th generation F-35.

    According to reporting, a new F-15X will cost nearly $100 million to acquire in the 2020 budget. In 2020, the F-35A is estimated to cost $80 million. As Bloomberg recently reported the initial cost for 8 F-15X aircraft would be $1.2 billion. For that same price, the Air Force could acquire 15 of the significantly more capable F-35As.

    From a unit cost perspective, there is no debate – the F-35 is by far the more affordable option, by nearly $20 million.

    If I had it my way, the F-15 would fly forever, and so would I. However, the cold, hard REALITY is that time marches on, and the F-15’s mission as the front-line fighter is complete, and my fighter flying days are over! The United States leaders must develop budgets for America’s future fighter fleets that look to the future, and not be lured into investing in a 47-year-old aircraft that is more costly and less capable.

    Instead, to ensure our military and USAF maintains its air superiority against any threat, not just today but for decades to come, tactical air power investments must be prioritized to the programs that will survive and deliver lethality in any future conflict.

    Rather than clinging to Cold War-era platforms that are quickly being outpaced by the enemy, the USAF must stay the course to prioritize the acquisition and modernization of the 5th generation F-35 fleet, focus on operational readiness and invest in next-generation air dominance technology— we must not deviate from investing in 5th generation fighters. Our future, our country’s future, and our warfighter’s success and survival depend on it.

    General William R. Looney III (USAF Ret.) served 40 years in the United States Air Force and retired as a 4 Star General. During his career, he commanded an F-15 squadron, 2 F-15 fighter wings, and an Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Southwest Asia in addition to numerous other command tours.
    JohninMK
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  JohninMK Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:58 am

    BAE moving ahead with US money on what looks like innovative drone design. Interesting its not a US company.


    BAE Systems will progress the design and testing of revolutionary flow control technologies that could deliver “significant operational enhancements”.

    According to a release from the firm:

    “The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded the contract to BAE Systems to design a full scale demonstrator concept with Active Flow Control at its core. The aircraft’s ability to maneuver in flight without conventional flight control surfaces will enable improved performance, maintainability, and survivability.

    The contract award forms part of DARPA’s Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) project, which intends to inject Active Flow Control technology early into the aircraft design process to demonstrate significant efficiency benefits, as well as improvements to aircraft cost, weight, performance, and reliability.”

    BAE Systems’ say that its role in Project CRANE builds on its innovation demonstrated through MAGMA in 2019, where a subscale aircraft was successfully maneuvered in flight using supersonically blown air and Active Flow Control technologies for the first time in aviation history.

    Speech marksTom Fillingham, Senior Vice President – US Programs, BAE Systems Air said:

    “BAE Systems has been at the forefront of digital design for more than 20 years. This award enables us to progress Active Flow Control and our digital engineering capabilities at full scale, in collaboration with DARPA and the University of Manchester in the UK. Since our groundbreaking MAGMA trials, our engineers across the UK, US, and Australia have continued to innovate to identify improvements in the aircraft digital design process to deliver military value and operational advantages to the warfighter.”

    As military aircraft confront increasingly contested and sophisticated threat environments, BAE claim that Active Flow Control offers potential military benefits that “could deliver operational advantage in the battlespace”.

    “Active Flow Control technologies can supplement or replace conventional moveable control surfaces to improve the performance of an aircraft at various points in the flight regime, as well as reduce mass and volume compared to aircraft with conventional controls to enable greater payloads and greater flexibility to the operator.”

    The contract will see BAE Systems mature design, integration, and de-risking activities, including wind tunnel testing at its facilities in the North West of England in 2022.



    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Baedesign1.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&crop=top&fit=crop&h=580&ixlib=php-3.3

    https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/bae-selected-by-u-s-darpa-for-revolutionary-aircraft-design/
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty A US F-22 Raptor pilot describes the challenge of going up against F-35 red-air aggressors

    Post  Finty Mon Sep 13, 2021 5:25 pm

    https://www.businessinsider.com/f-22-pilot-describes-going-up-against-f-35-aggressors-2021-8?amp

    The US Air Force turned up the pressure this month at its premier air-to-air combat-training exercise, for the first time adding F-35 stealth fighters flown by dedicated red-air aggressor pilots — who emulate the tactics of an enemy force — into the mix of threats that blue-air pilots face.

    Red Flag, which takes place at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, started as an air-combat exercise but has evolved to include not just increasingly advanced aerial aggressor threats but also surface-to-air, space, and information threats.

    "My job is not to give blue an easy day," Col. Scott Mills, the 57th Operations Group commander and an F-35 aggressor pilot, said in a recent statement. "My job is to give blue the absolute toughest day that I can. And the way for me to do that is to bring the F-35 into the fight."

    Capt. Patrick "Smokah" Bowlds, an F-22 instructor pilot at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia who was one of the blue-air pilots at Red Flag, told Insider the addition of the F-35 aggressors definitely made the training more challenging.


    Capt. Patrick Bowlds
    Capt. Patrick Bowlds Courtesy photo
    "Having them on red air adds a level of complexity" to an already "complex scenario" involving numerous threats, he said.

    "When you have a stealth platform on red air, it makes our job a lot more difficult in terms of knowing where they are, how we are going to protect allied forces or protect points on the ground or whatever the mission set is at that point in time," Bowlds said.

    "It is challenging, even flying the Raptor, to have good [situational awareness] on where the F-35s are," he said.

    The F-22 is a fifth-generation fighter built for air superiority, giving it certain advantages in air-to-air combat, while the F-35 is a newer fifth-generation multi-mission fighter with a wider range of capabilities.


    Bowlds said that inserting F-35 aggressors into Red Flag made things "more challenging because there is a little bit of an unknown in terms of what they are going to be able to do."

    Additionally, "red air detects are happening at further ranges," Bowlds explained. "It inherently poses more of a threat to allied blue-air forces than older aggressors," such as the fourth-generation F-16s.

    The F-35s "have better detection capabilities kind of against everybody just because of their new radar and the avionics they have," he said. "It definitely adds a level of complexity."

    An F-22 Raptor taxiing at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
    An F-22 Raptor assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, taxis prior to a Red Flag-Nellis 21-3 mission at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Aug 4, 2021. US Air Force photo by William R. Lewis
    The combat training pilots do at Red Flag helps US pilots maintain their edge against emerging higher-end threats. For instance, both China and Russia are developing their own fifth-generation stealth fighters: the J-20 and the Su-57.


    "I've seen adversary aircraft or surface-to-air threats becoming more and more advanced. It is a significant challenge," Bowlds told Insider. "Things continue to evolve, and so we need to be constantly aware of that and ready to evolve with them so we can be that leading edge."

    During Red Flag, blue-air pilots are assigned a mission, which could be anything from an offensive strike on an adversary target to defending a critical position. Red-air pilots are tasked with stopping blue-air pilots from achieving mission success.

    "What aggressors are able to present to them is a more challenging problem for blue-air assault," Lt. Col. Chris Finkenstadt, the 64th Aggressor Squadron commander, said in a recent statement.

    "The aggressors know the threat replication a little bit better, and they have studied the adversary and the way that the adversary would actually react to a specific situation," he said. "Based on our focus toward great power competition, we need to make sure that those guys are ready."


    During the training, there is a lot going on, which is one reason the addition of F-35 aggressors really makes things tough for blue-air pilots.

    "I've flown against red F-35s locally," Bowlds said, telling Insider that "it's always challenging." That challenge is amplified in a large exercise like Red Flag. "There's a lot of different things out there that want to hurt you, and that's where you can start to lose track of the stealth adversaries," he said.

    That challenge, though, is welcomed by blue-air pilots like Bowlds, who told Insider that "if you're complacent for very long, that's when bad stuff starts to happen."
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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty F-117s Make Surprise Appearance At Fresno Airport To Train Against Local F-15s

    Post  Finty Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:06 pm

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/42360/f-117s-make-surprise-arrival-at-fresno-yosemite-airport-to-train-against-local-f-15s



    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 F117-Fresno

    Fresno-Yosemite International Airport had a very strange pair of visitors this afternoon. Two F-117s landed at the airport in north-central California and taxied over to the 144th Fighter Wing's base, which is located just to the south of the passenger terminal. You can just imagine people's surprise when they saw the long-retired (officially) flat-black faceted Nighthawks touch down and taxi to the base with their white drag-chutes billowing behind them. It's worth noting that at least one of the jets was not fitted with radar reflectors.

    We reached out to the 144th Fighter Wing's public affairs department for comment as to what the stealth jets were doing on their ramp. They informed us that their arrival was fully planned and that they would be training with the Wing's F-15C/D Eagles over the coming days. This is a major development, as even though we have known the F-117s have been providing 'red air' aggressor capabilities for a long time now, that mission has never been fully acknowledged by the USAF. Fresno's F-15s are nearly entirely focused on the air-to-air combat mission set.

    As we have stated for years, the F-117's utility as dissimilar low-observable (stealthy) targets has become a premium offering as stealth technology proliferates among America's potential adversaries—namely China and Russia. But beyond that, cruise missiles, which fly low and have small radar and infrared signatures, remain a major concern for units that are tasked with the homeland air defense mission, especially those that protect America's maritime borders.

    New active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars have been installed on many USAF fighter aircraft tasked with this mission, including the 144th Fighter Wing's F-15C/Ds, so that they could better spot and engage small radar cross-section targets like cruise missiles. Their Sniper targeting pods—traditionally an air-to-ground sensor system—also give them the ability to visually identify these targets at long range, day or night, so that they can be engaged before it is too late. The Sniper pod can be slaved to a radar track and vice-versa, helping to quickly identify and track potentially hostile targets.


    This is where the F-117, officially retired 13 years ago and just celebrated its 40th 'birthday,' really shines as a dissimilar aggressor. Most pilots have never flown against anything like it before and its reduced infrared and radar signature will give them very advanced training on what it is like to intercept such a hard to detect and unfamiliar target.

    This is the first in likely many more F-117 'road tours' we will see in the future as the type, and the "Black Knights" who fly and maintain them, step out of the shadows. So far they have been to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California on a short deployment and the type was seen operating out of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada once again, the latter of which not far from the Nighthawks' clandestine home at Tonopah Test Range Airport. There was also some chatter that they may have gone to Eglin or Tyndall Air Force Bases in Florida for a recent exercise, as well, although that deployment remains unconfirmed. Now that they can refuel from any USAF KC-135, they can expand their reach with ease.

    It's worth noting that the F-117s also support developmental and test initiatives and are part of what seems to be a larger, secretive airborne radar cross-section testing task force that has other exotic assets at its fingertips.

    Regardless, this is a big step in the F-117's now-notorious second shot at life and yet another indicator that they will become a more common sight at various installations around the U.S. in the future.
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    Post  Hole Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:00 am

    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 E_mnsg10
    This jets look familiar. Very Happy

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    Post  ALAMO Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:26 pm

    Best wishes from Su-35s that just fly by Laughing

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    Post  Finty Sun Sep 19, 2021 1:54 pm

    USAF PA often get slagged off for their… lack of attention to detail!
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    Post  Hole Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:01 pm

    The people in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia, Syria and Yemen could tell you stories... but a lot of them are dead because of this lack of attention.

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    US Air Force: Discussion and News - Page 16 Empty Lockheed Says LMXT Bridge Tanker’s Range and Refueling Gear Set It Apart

    Post  Finty Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:34 pm

    https://www.airforcemag.com/lockheed-lmxt-bridge-tanker-range-refueling-gear/

    Officially launching its bid to supply the Air Force’s KC-Y “bridge” tanker, Lockheed Martin said its solution would offer the service longer range and persistence than current tankers by virtue of the aircraft’s larger size. To sweeten the deal, if Lockheed Martin wins the KC-Y contest, Airbus will build A330 airliners, on which the LMXT is based, in the U.S. at the same location.

    Tony Frese, Lockheed Martin vice president for air mobility and maritime missions, said range is one of the “big discriminators” for the LMXT, which stands for Lockheed Martin “Next” Tanker. The aircraft meets the Air Force’s desire for a proven, commercial derivative tanker, he said, as it is based on the Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), a version of which lost out to the KC-46 in the KC-X competition. Lockheed Martin submitted information about the updated LMXT to the Air Force in August, in response to a USAF request for information.

    “We see [LMXT] as complementary” to the Air Force’s extant KC-135 and KC-46 tanker fleets, Frese said. The aircraft would buy back some of the single-aircraft range and refueling ability that will retire with the KC-10 before the KC-Y goes into production.

    The Air Force has used the term “bridge tanker” to refer to a tanker that would continue to replace the KC-135 and KC-10 while a new, potentially stealthy, tanker for operations in contested airspace could be developed. The service has not definitively said how many aircraft will be in the KC-Y program.

    The LMXT could “nearly double” the KC-46’s reach in the Indo-Pacific, Frese said, with longer time on station, assuming a full load of fuel. Carrying only the same fuel load as the KC-46, it would also be able to get into “30 percent more airfields” in the region—196 versus 150—by virtue of its larger wings generating more takeoff and landing lift, he asserted. The jet’s ability to use many airfields is one question the Air Force has already asked about the LMXT, he said.

    In the KC-X competition, the Airbus offering did not fare as well in airfield operations because fewer of the jets could fit on smaller airfield ramps. It’s not clear if the Air Force will weight that factor the same way in the KC-Y contest.

    Lockheed Martin established a partnership with Airbus for a potential future tanker competition in 2018 and is evaluating a number of locations where the LMXT could be built in the U.S. It will consider the cavernous space in its Marietta, Ga., facility as a location for final assembly, as that space is now vacant following the completion of the C-5 re-engining and update program. The plant can hold four C-5s and so will be able to accommodate at least four MRTTs, Frese said. Mobile, Ala., where Airbus now builds its A320 airliner, is also under consideration, but Mobile and Marietta are not the only places where Lockheed Martin is looking, he said.

    The company has lined up 150 suppliers in 34 states for LMXT and expects that figure to grow, Frese said.

    The jet will be fully compliant with “made in America” rules, Frese noted, but he declined to specify how much of the content would be from U.S. manufacturers. That metric is proprietary and still evolving, he said.

    Lockheed Martin is also touting a new autonomous refueling system for the tanker, already in testing, as a key advantage in the next head-to-head contest with the KC-46, which has had chronic problems with its boom operator 3-D vision system.

    “It’s a highly advanced, fly-by-wire boom system,” which will be “fully automated,” he said.

    “It’s already completed developmental testing that’s seen over 330 wet and dry contacts,” and a daytime operation certification is expected this year, he said, with nighttime operations expected to be certified in 2023.

    The system has high-definition, panoramic 3-D vision gear “with high processing capability and low latency.”

    The system “automatically allows the boom to engage with the receiver, with an operator observing, not having to be in the loop,” he explained. While the specific technology that permits this is proprietary, he said it “relies on the imagery” to work. There are “a couple of international customers” for this capability already, “ahead of the U.S. Air Force.” The work is being done by Airbus for the MRTT, “which we will incorporate into the LMXT,” Frese said. The system doesn’t require any equipment or special activity on the part of the receiver aircraft, he noted.

    “Obviously, this is a big discriminator for us,” Frese said. Whether the Air Force opts to reduce crew size to take advantage of the automated systems would be up to the service, he added.

    Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works advanced development shop also contributed self-defense measures and Advanced Battle Management System technology to the LMXT concept.

    The two-deck tanker would also be able to carry cargo on its lower deck, while Frese said the upper deck could be configured for airline-style passenger transport, cargo, aeromedical evacuation, or other missions. The Air Force already has tremendous cargo capacity with the KC-46, he said, as its volume is roughly equivalent to that of the C-17 strategic airlifter, so Lockheed Martin is aiming for different applications.

    The LMXT would also be able to serve as a node in the joint all-domain command and control network. There will be three stations on the upper deck for JADC2 operations, and there will be cockpit displays for those operations as well.

    The MRTT is a “combat-proven” performer, Frese said, as the U.K. Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force have used it during wartime operations in Iraq. The MRTT has also racked up some 60,000 air refueling contacts across 250,000 hours and has operationally refueled 10 different kinds of U.S. airplanes in joint operations. These include the A-10 attack plane, B-1 bomber, C-17, E-3 AWACS, and F-15, F-16, F-22, and F-35B fighters, as well as the Navy’s P-3 patrol plane. There are 49 MRTTs in service, flown by 13 countries.

    Some 1,600 A330 airliners have been built, Frees said. He expects certification of the LMXT to go smoothly, as the jet has been in service a long time and “we have lots of experts” on the certification process.

    Frese said the company will participate in an Air Force industry day this week, and “we expect to see more” requests for information “very soon.”
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    Post  LMFS Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:21 pm

    Wow, I did not expect this to happen so quickly Laughing

    https://federalnewsnetwork.com/air-force/2021/09/air-force-planning-restructure-for-future-competition-and-savings/

    The F-22 will transition to the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter. NGAD will use the F-22 airframe, but will add better technology and sensors.


    Couple of months ago:

    https://www.russiadefence.net/t3351p350-us-air-force-discussion-and-news#330070

    Let us see how this ends up, but by now it does look as if they are just acting as silly as predicted Rolling Eyes

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    Post  PapaDragon Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:30 pm


    So, they are doing full F-22SM?

    Learning from F-15SM F-15X Very Happy

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    Post  LMFS Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:46 am

    PapaDragon wrote:
    So, they are doing full F-22SM?

    Learning from F-15SM F-15X Very Happy

    But them being Americans, will claim is 6G and what not. They are always "special" Laughing
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    Post  kvs Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:11 am

    It is all about propaganda when it comes the USA. The F-22 is so overhyped that anything "less" would be bad optics.
    The F-22 frame ain't all that. The billboard sized rudders are a design fail. The 2D limitation on thrust vectoring is
    another issue which will require a hack to resolve.

    You would think that the technological supremacy would allow for a proper all new design after over 40 years. And the F-35
    is clearly a failed program if this F-22 makeover is going to proceed. Shouldn't they "fix" the F-35 by starting from the
    same frame?

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    Post  zepia Wed Sep 22, 2021 6:39 am

    LMFS wrote:Wow, I did not expect this to happen so quickly  Laughing

    https://federalnewsnetwork.com/air-force/2021/09/air-force-planning-restructure-for-future-competition-and-savings/

    The F-22 will transition to the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter. NGAD will use the F-22 airframe, but will add better technology and sensors.


    Couple of months ago:

    https://www.russiadefence.net/t3351p350-us-air-force-discussion-and-news#330070

    Let us see how this ends up, but by now it does look as if they are just acting as silly as predicted  Rolling Eyes


    How much "Next Generation" it could be if it carry limitations of an old airframe.
    There is nothing reusing a whole airframe design could offer apart from cost saving in design phase.
    Which I doubt if it could save that much, since Sukhoi just demonstrated us the way to efficiently design an airframe using existing elements.

    Raptor is of course an LO design, but after 30 years radar and other surveillance technologies have come a long way.
    Its aerodynamic have not even match our majestic flanker. (Not my word tho.)
    It need a redesign, especially that billboard fins as kvs said.

    Moreover, it never designed to be a multirole or to fly a ground attack mission,
    so its cramped weapon bays cannot bear stand-off weapons or anything but two 1,000lbs JDAMs.
    Well, even the aircraft that intent to be multirole from the get-go like F-35 have similar ground attack loadout in LO form,
    that made me wonder if they're really capable of design something practical.

    It may be, can be, a big leap, but will never be a generation leap.
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    Post  GarryB Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:24 am

    So is the Next gen light strike aircraft going to be an F-117?

    B-21 is a B-2, next fighter is F-15s rebuilt... next fighter going forward is F-22M, F-16 to be upgraded... why no love for the F-14?

    New transport planes... the C-5 and C-141...

    The recycling revolution is really taking effect in the US.

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    Post  Finty Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:36 am

    Mixed feelings, I like the F22’s design/aesthetics so am glad it’s staying around for longer in modified form (whatever that looks like) but it hasn’t changed that much in looks since 1988. Something new would be nice!
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    Post  LMFS Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:17 pm

    zepia wrote:How much "Next Generation" it could be if it carry limitations of an old airframe.
    There is nothing reusing a whole airframe design could offer apart from cost saving in design phase.
    Which I doubt if it could save that much, since Sukhoi just demonstrated us the way to efficiently design an airframe using existing elements.

    Raptor is of course an LO design, but after 30 years radar and other surveillance technologies have come a long way.
    Its aerodynamic have not even match our majestic flanker. (Not my word tho.)
    It need a redesign, especially that billboard fins as kvs said.

    Moreover, it never designed to be a multirole or to fly a ground attack mission,
    so its cramped weapon bays cannot bear stand-off weapons or anything but two 1,000lbs JDAMs.
    Well, even the aircraft that intent to be multirole from the get-go like F-35 have similar ground attack loadout in LO form,
    that made me wonder if they're really capable of design something practical.

    It may be, can be, a big leap, but will never be a generation leap.

    They have neglected the F-22 all these years to protect the JSF from any threat and they even said lots of BS about the impossibility of restarting the production, so they have painted themselves into a corner and need some excuse, no matter how poor, to somehow take care of the plane again. One possibility was also the F-22/F-35 they suggested for Japan, in the hope that they may find someone else to pay for this and a suitable excuse to restart the work on the F-22. As to the NGAD, they are talking about a first and a second iteration of the program, plus different designs for different operational theaters, plus already flying full sized demonstrators... before they even talked about freezing the requirements. So the likelihood that they have some sort of upgraded F-22 in the making covered under the argument that it is 1st iteration NGAD is rather big, and quite logical BTW.

    As to further evolutions to solve some of the topics you mention, a F-22 based airframe enlarged for 2x F135 sized adaptive engines would be easier to develop than a fully new plane and have both more range and way better payload. It would be expensive as hell, but in MIC this is not necessarily a problem, while technically it would make a lot of sense and would add serious capability to the USAF which is badly needed, and do it rather quickly, so it is an option they may explore indeed.

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