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Posted: 5/13/2005 7:10:02 AM EST
Boeing hedges against JSF delays with stealthier Super Hornet

A Boeing Phantom Works team is working on the design of a stealthier version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, known internally as the Block 3. The design is being studied as a hedge against further delays with the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which has already slipped by at least a year.

Block 3 studies are being led by the Phantom Works' low-observable (LO) team, headed by Alan Wiechmann. (Super Hornets are now being delivered in the Block 2 configuration, with a revised nose to accommodate the Raytheon APG-79 radar.) The basic Super Hornet already incorporates some LO technology, including edge alignments, swept inlets and treated blocker vanes in front of the engines, and the Phantom Works has been working since the early 1990s on ways to reduce the radar cross-section (RCS) of conventional aircraft and external stores. Boeing engineers acknowledge that the Block 3 would not be as stealthy as the JSF, and state that there are no plans to change the external shape of the aircraft, but assert that even today's aircraft has more LO technology in it than is generally recognised.

Meanwhile, US Navy (USN) Super Hornet programme manager Captain Don Gaddis disclosed at the Avalon air show that the USN has changed it s future force mix. Previously, it planned to field 20 squadrons of F/A-18E/Fs, a fleet of EA-18G jamming aircraft and 20 squadrons of JSFs. Now, however, the USN plans to operate 22 F/A-18E/F squadrons and 18 F-35C squadrons. The change will not make any immediate difference to aircraft purchases, Capt Gaddis said. The reduction in JSF numbers will not take effect until the end of the programme, while the extra Super Hornet squadrons will be filled by higher utilisation of the basic aircraft and by rationalising test and training assets
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 7:34:36 AM EST
Now it can replace the F-117!!!!111one
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 7:35:51 AM EST
What's with all the Hornet bashing on this site???

Personally it's one of my favorite planes. Oh well.

I love the bug.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 7:42:58 AM EST

Originally Posted By macman37:
What's with all the Hornet bashing on this site???

Personally it's one of my favorite planes. Oh well.

I love the bug.




I like it too.

It's just kinda traditional, what with the Navy trying to fit the SuperHornet peg into every aviation hole they have.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 7:45:03 AM EST
sounds good to me, now if they could give it some longer legs then they probably could replace everything with it.

f18s are cool
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 8:38:20 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/13/2005 8:38:42 AM EST by Spade]
Here's a random question.

Those 18 F-35 squadrons, where are they gonna take their names and numbers from? Deactivated F-14 squadrons or what?

Also, does the F-35 have a name yet, or did I somehow miss it?
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 8:48:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By Spade:
Here's a random question.

Those 18 F-35 squadrons, where are they gonna take their names and numbers from? Deactivated F-14 squadrons or what?

Also, does the F-35 have a name yet, or did I somehow miss it?



The F-18 will replace everything. All your base are belong to F-18 Super Hornet.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 8:57:00 AM EST
Most of the F-14 squadrons (VF-211 for example) have converted to the F/A-18 and have changed their name to reflect their new mission.

VF-211 became VFA-211.

They keep the history of the previous squadron, just like when they were F-4 squadrons and F-8 squadrons and so-on.

The F-35 is un-named.
I'll go out on a limb and say that each of the services will place their own name on their version of the JSF.


Originally Posted By Spade:
Here's a random question.

Those 18 F-35 squadrons, where are they gonna take their names and numbers from? Deactivated F-14 squadrons or what?

Also, does the F-35 have a name yet, or did I somehow miss it?

Link Posted: 5/13/2005 8:57:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By Spade:
Now it can replace the F-117!!!!111one



Sorry. An airplane with external carriage will never have a RCS as low as an airplane with internal weapons bays.

Well, maybe not never, but not with the current arsenal.


Cole-Carbine -
Can you cite a source for that article? Some folks here might be interested.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 8:59:38 AM EST
Janes UK.
Google News search on the headline...

Boeing hedges against JSF delays with stealthier Super Hornet
Jane's, UK - 6 hours ago
A Boeing Phantom Works team is working on the design of a ... is being studied as a hedge against further delays ... Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which has ...



Originally Posted By AeroE:
Cole-Carbine -
Can you cite a source for that article? Some folks here might be interested.

Link Posted: 5/13/2005 8:59:40 AM EST

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By Spade:
Here's a random question.

Those 18 F-35 squadrons, where are they gonna take their names and numbers from? Deactivated F-14 squadrons or what?

Also, does the F-35 have a name yet, or did I somehow miss it?



The F-18 will replace everything. All your base are belong to F-18 Super Hornet.



If the F-35 progam stumbles and falls, I'll wager you will see the USAF being told to buy the F/A-18E/F, the new guy at DoD purchasing favours a cross service solution to all the services air needs.…

…and if the F-35 fails you will see the RAF & Royal Navy flying the F/A-18E/F too..

I suspect Beoing is positioning itself for market share from a possible F-35 program collapse and cancellation.

ANdy
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 9:00:11 AM EST
So someone with a subscription to Janes can post the entire article....
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 9:02:14 AM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
Janes UK.
Google News search on the headline...

Boeing hedges against JSF delays with stealthier Super Hornet
Jane's, UK - 6 hours ago
A Boeing Phantom Works team is working on the design of a ... is being studied as a hedge against further delays ... Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which has ...



Originally Posted By AeroE:
Cole-Carbine -
Can you cite a source for that article? Some folks here might be interested.




I tried a search on "Hornet Block 3" while you were posting, but didn't uncover anything pertinent. Thanks.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 9:04:28 AM EST

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Originally Posted By Spade:
Now it can replace the F-117!!!!111one



Sorry. An airplane with external carriage will never have a RCS as low as an airplane with internal weapons bays.

Well, maybe not never, but not with the current arsenal.





Please take note of the, uh, punctuation I used.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 9:11:00 AM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
So someone with a subscription to Janes can post the entire article....



I'm trying to locate the article in our internal web site - no joy, they don't make navigating the damn site easy.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 9:11:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/13/2005 9:15:58 AM EST by AeroE]

Originally Posted By Spade:

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Originally Posted By Spade:
Now it can replace the F-117!!!!111one



Sorry. An airplane with external carriage will never have a RCS as low as an airplane with internal weapons bays.

Well, maybe not never, but not with the current arsenal.





Please take note of the, uh, punctuation I used.



okay
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 9:13:45 AM EST
I'd love to see a side-by-side model similar to the SU-32. It could take on old A-6 roles and be bad-ass at the same time.



Link Posted: 5/13/2005 9:17:00 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/13/2005 9:19:28 AM EST by vito113]

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Originally Posted By KA3B:
Janes UK.
Google News search on the headline...

Boeing hedges against JSF delays with stealthier Super Hornet
Jane's, UK - 6 hours ago
A Boeing Phantom Works team is working on the design of a ... is being studied as a hedge against further delays ... Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which has ...



Originally Posted By AeroE:
Cole-Carbine -
Can you cite a source for that article? Some folks here might be interested.





I tried a search on "Hornet Block 3" while you were posting, but didn't uncover anything pertinent. Thanks.



Jane's does not come up on the search engines as it's subscription only.

And my copy of Janes is in the tray at work and as it's 7.20pm in the evening here I ain't going back to fetch it.

ANdy
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 9:17:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By Spade:
Here's a random question.

Those 18 F-35 squadrons, where are they gonna take their names and numbers from? Deactivated F-14 squadrons or what?

Also, does the F-35 have a name yet, or did I somehow miss it?



The F-18 will replace everything. All your base are belong to F-18 Super Hornet.



If the F-35 progam stumbles and falls, I'll wager you will see the USAF being told to buy the F/A-18E/F, the new guy at DoD purchasing favours a cross service solution to all the services air needs.…

…and if the F-35 fails you will see the RAF & Royal Navy flying the F/A-18E/F too..

I suspect Beoing is positioning itself for market share from a possible F-35 program collapse and cancellation.

ANdy



More likely we'll end up buying Fantans and F-22 knock-offs from China. They'll have F-35s before we do.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 9:25:25 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 1:19:34 PM EST
let me know when they mount the fricken laser beam on it.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 1:33:49 PM EST
I have heard that the Navy wants a COD (carrier on board delivery) version of the F-18, using big underwing cargo pods, as well as an AWACS version. They are struggling to fit the radome on the AWACS version, but the engineering is mostly done. That way they can operate only one airframe for all carrier roles.

Seriously, this one airframe thing is getting a little out of hand. The f-18E/F is a fine plane, but it still represents late 1970's aerodynamic technology, no matter how many ipods and HDTV's you stuff into it.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 1:41:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By Slufstuff:

Seriously, this one airframe thing is getting a little out of hand. The f-18E/F is a fine plane, but it still represents late 1970's aerodynamic technology, no matter how many ipods and HDTV's you stuff into it.



You ain't seen nothing yet. In season 2 of Battlestar Galactica they are going to replace all of their lost Vipers with Superhornets.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 1:48:31 PM EST

Originally Posted By ArmedAggie:
I'd love to see a side-by-side model similar to the SU-32. It could take on old A-6 roles and be bad-ass at the same time.

slamysoft.ji.cz/letadla/images/2014.jpg




God, I've gotta go buy LOMAC.

Link Posted: 5/13/2005 1:49:29 PM EST


Coming soon to Star Fleet!

ANdy
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 1:52:28 PM EST
Limey Wanker.


Originally Posted By vito113:
Jane's does not come up on the search engines as it's subscription only.
And my copy of Janes is in the tray at work and as it's 7.20pm in the evening here I ain't going back to fetch it.
ANdy

Link Posted: 5/13/2005 1:56:43 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/13/2005 2:37:01 PM EST by PeteCO]
A friend of mine owns a trucking company, I think he is buying Superhornets this year to replace some of his older equipment.....

That reminds me, I need a new toaster. Can I get a Superhornet with a 4-slice module?


Ohhhwww, I kill myself......I'll be here all week folks. And make sure to try the roast beef, it's great.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 3:55:31 PM EST
Did you here about the SuperHornet that had a runway collision with an F-22 Raptor?

It destroyed the Raptor but did 2 million dollars in improvements to the SuperHornet.

Just kidding, I am an old Air Force guy.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 4:14:39 PM EST

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
Boeing hedges against JSF delays with stealthier Super Hornet

A Boeing Phantom Works team is working on the design of a stealthier version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, known internally as the Block 3. The design is being studied as a hedge against further delays with the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which has already slipped by at least a year.




McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) did exactly this same thing with the F-15 versus the ATF (i.e., offered a "stealthy" version of the F-15 in lieu of the F-22).

I guess we know how that one turned out.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 4:33:42 PM EST
Speaking as a guy periferally involved in maintaining EA-6Bs, the EF-18G can't be fielded fast enough.

Retire the Prowler, please!
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 4:42:23 PM EST
As long as Sailors drink beer and the Navy buys Scotch-Weld and Mil-S-8802 they will continue to fly Prowlers.



Originally Posted By Unknown1Sailor:
Speaking as a guy periferally involved in maintaining EA-6Bs, the EF-18G can't be fielded fast enough.

Retire the Prowler, please!

Link Posted: 5/13/2005 5:12:55 PM EST

Originally Posted By Slufstuff:
... but the engineering is mostly done ...



Might be a manager - all of ours believe the work is done when the sketches show up on powerpoint slides.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 5:33:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/13/2005 5:35:25 PM EST by AeroE]

Originally Posted By RodeoFan:

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
Boeing hedges against JSF delays with stealthier Super Hornet

A Boeing Phantom Works team is working on the design of a stealthier version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, known internally as the Block 3. The design is being studied as a hedge against further delays with the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which has already slipped by at least a year.




McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) did exactly this same thing with the F-15 versus the ATF (i.e., offered a "stealthy" version of the F-15 in lieu of the F-22).

I guess we know how that one turned out.



MDC offered the F-15XX as an interim airplane to be used until the F-22 or F-23 was available - it had ATF engines, a 900 square foot wing, and some other stuff, least of which was RCS reduction. At the time, none of the projects were hardware - if anything, at least the F-15 had flown some of the ATF technologies in preparation for ATF. At any rate, all three airplanes missed four or five of the required performance parameters, and they all missed them by numbers in the fuzz (i.e., they were so close as not to matter), except the F-15XX couldn't make RCS. [At the time, MDC was not a major player in the world of low signature, but that wouldn't have helped the F-15 airframe anyway. Today, well, we are.]

Besides the airplane's performance, our second, real advantage was cost - we estimated that we could build 325 F-15XX airplanes for the non-recurring cost of ATF. That could be considered a major bargain for the taxpayer.

The ATF SPO didn't like this threat to their pet and before the smoke cleared, the director of F-15 Advanced design was accused of being a traitor by a USAF general at the SPO, and he was fired shortly after.

I know this story because I was there; thank God we didn't need the airplanes.
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 9:21:50 AM EST

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Originally Posted By RodeoFan:

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
Boeing hedges against JSF delays with stealthier Super Hornet

A Boeing Phantom Works team is working on the design of a stealthier version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, known internally as the Block 3. The design is being studied as a hedge against further delays with the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which has already slipped by at least a year.




McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) did exactly this same thing with the F-15 versus the ATF (i.e., offered a "stealthy" version of the F-15 in lieu of the F-22).

I guess we know how that one turned out.



MDC offered the F-15XX as an interim airplane to be used until the F-22 or F-23 was available - it had ATF engines, a 900 square foot wing, and some other stuff, least of which was RCS reduction. At the time, none of the projects were hardware - if anything, at least the F-15 had flown some of the ATF technologies in preparation for ATF. At any rate, all three airplanes missed four or five of the required performance parameters, and they all missed them by numbers in the fuzz (i.e., they were so close as not to matter), except the F-15XX couldn't make RCS. [At the time, MDC was not a major player in the world of low signature, but that wouldn't have helped the F-15 airframe anyway. Today, well, we are.]

Besides the airplane's performance, our second, real advantage was cost - we estimated that we could build 325 F-15XX airplanes for the non-recurring cost of ATF. That could be considered a major bargain for the taxpayer.

The ATF SPO didn't like this threat to their pet and before the smoke cleared, the director of F-15 Advanced design was accused of being a traitor by a USAF general at the SPO, and he was fired shortly after.

I know this story because I was there; thank God we didn't need the airplanes.



Not buying the F-15XX was a dumb move of the first order, 325 advanced F-15's in the hand (back in the day), is worth 170(ish) F-22's in (the budget constrained) bush.

ANdy
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 3:07:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Originally Posted By RodeoFan:

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
Boeing hedges against JSF delays with stealthier Super Hornet

A Boeing Phantom Works team is working on the design of a stealthier version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, known internally as the Block 3. The design is being studied as a hedge against further delays with the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which has already slipped by at least a year.




McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) did exactly this same thing with the F-15 versus the ATF (i.e., offered a "stealthy" version of the F-15 in lieu of the F-22).

I guess we know how that one turned out.



MDC offered the F-15XX as an interim airplane to be used until the F-22 or F-23 was available - it had ATF engines, a 900 square foot wing, and some other stuff, least of which was RCS reduction. At the time, none of the projects were hardware - if anything, at least the F-15 had flown some of the ATF technologies in preparation for ATF. At any rate, all three airplanes missed four or five of the required performance parameters, and they all missed them by numbers in the fuzz (i.e., they were so close as not to matter), except the F-15XX couldn't make RCS. [At the time, MDC was not a major player in the world of low signature, but that wouldn't have helped the F-15 airframe anyway. Today, well, we are.]

Besides the airplane's performance, our second, real advantage was cost - we estimated that we could build 325 F-15XX airplanes for the non-recurring cost of ATF. That could be considered a major bargain for the taxpayer.

The ATF SPO didn't like this threat to their pet and before the smoke cleared, the director of F-15 Advanced design was accused of being a traitor by a USAF general at the SPO, and he was fired shortly after.

I know this story because I was there; thank God we didn't need the airplanes.



Not buying the F-15XX was a dumb move of the first order, 325 advanced F-15's in the hand (back in the day), is worth 170(ish) F-22's in (the budget constrained) bush.

ANdy



I wasn't saying the F-15 with the ATF engines was a bad airplane. Although I didn't work that project, I heard that it met almost all the performance metrics (and that the ones it missed, it didn't miss by much). But, the USAF wanted stealth. Did they absolutely need it? Maybe not. But if you think politics doesn't play a part in a multi-billion dollar program, you are mistaken. The USAF got ticked-off at MDC for peeing in their pool with the unsolicited F-15XX option. It's not hard to imagine the same thing happening in a battle between a stealthy Super Hornet and the JSF. That was my only point.
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 3:15:39 PM EST
... You biotches can line up to kiss my dimpled arse!

... Of the few things Big Blue does right - It's the manufacturing of the Super Hornet!

... It seems we're in the same company as the M4, 1911 & M14 - they're old. they perform fabulously, but are hated by the "trailer park elite"
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 3:27:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By Winston_Wolf:
... You biotches can line up to kiss my dimpled arse!

... Of the few things Big Blue does right - It's the manufacturing of the Super Hornet!

... It seems we're in the same company as the M4, 1911 & M14 - they're old. they perform fabulously, but are hated by the "trailer park elite"



Yes, the Hornet is a fine plane with a mission.

Using it for every task thinking it will perform all those tasks as well or better than a purpose built plane is idiocy plain and simple. If you pay attention, THAT is the issue most people here have a problem with, not the plane itself.

There is plenty of money around to go back to building purpose built planes, but of course that would mean scrapping much of the leftists welfare nanny state programs, and I doubt that will happen any time soon if ever.
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 3:29:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By A_G:

There is plenty of money around to go back to building purpose built planes.



... I guess I'm just not as convinced of this as you are - believe me, I'd like to be
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 3:36:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By Winston_Wolf:

Originally Posted By A_G:

There is plenty of money around to go back to building purpose built planes.



... I guess I'm just not as convinced of this as you are - believe me, I'd like to be



Hence my disclaimer, of sorts, following that sentence.
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 4:20:04 PM EST
AG nailed it. I have no problem with the Superhornet itself. What I find disturbing is this one size fits all doctrine the flying services are suffering from. The Navy in particular seems hellbent on reducing the carrier air wings to one operational airframe. I think the Navy would be tickled pink at this point to see the JSF fail so they could do just that with the Superhornet.

I also think the inability of the aerospace industry to TIMELY produce new designs is a huge problem. All the new CAD technology that was supposed to speed up design seems to have had the opposite effect. The F-18, by way of the F-17, first flew in 1975. That is 30 year old technology. Sure the bells and whistles have been updated. But it is still 70's technology. The Superhornet would have been a great evolutionary design, if it was entering in full scale service in 1990 instead of 2005. My point is, we should be well onto the next all new design by now, if not the third generation.
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 4:25:45 PM EST

Originally Posted By Winston_Wolf:

Originally Posted By A_G:

There is plenty of money around to go back to building purpose built planes.



... I guess I'm just not as convinced of this as you are - believe me, I'd like to be



Never mind the money (which I'm not convinced we have...budget woes getting worse and worse); we don't have the deck space. The navy likes the versatility of multi-role craft, and they're here to stay.
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 5:45:12 PM EST

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Originally Posted By RodeoFan:

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
Boeing hedges against JSF delays with stealthier Super Hornet

A Boeing Phantom Works team is working on the design of a stealthier version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, known internally as the Block 3. The design is being studied as a hedge against further delays with the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which has already slipped by at least a year.




McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) did exactly this same thing with the F-15 versus the ATF (i.e., offered a "stealthy" version of the F-15 in lieu of the F-22).

I guess we know how that one turned out.



MDC offered the F-15XX as an interim airplane to be used until the F-22 or F-23 was available - it had ATF engines, a 900 square foot wing, and some other stuff, least of which was RCS reduction. At the time, none of the projects were hardware - if anything, at least the F-15 had flown some of the ATF technologies in preparation for ATF. At any rate, all three airplanes missed four or five of the required performance parameters, and they all missed them by numbers in the fuzz (i.e., they were so close as not to matter), except the F-15XX couldn't make RCS. [At the time, MDC was not a major player in the world of low signature, but that wouldn't have helped the F-15 airframe anyway. Today, well, we are.]

Besides the airplane's performance, our second, real advantage was cost - we estimated that we could build 325 F-15XX airplanes for the non-recurring cost of ATF. That could be considered a major bargain for the taxpayer.

The ATF SPO didn't like this threat to their pet and before the smoke cleared, the director of F-15 Advanced design was accused of being a traitor by a USAF general at the SPO, and he was fired shortly after.

I know this story because I was there; thank God we didn't need the airplanes.



Sorta like TA Wilson trying to get the USAF to buy 747's instead of C-5B Galaxy's. PO'd the Air Force big time.
Link Posted: 5/14/2005 5:56:01 PM EST
I find it interesting to contrast the USAF and USN strategies.
The USAF is waiting on their hand-built sports cars and the Navy is upgrading its family sedan now.
Link Posted: 5/15/2005 2:41:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By Slufstuff:


I also think the inability of the aerospace industry to TIMELY produce new designs is a huge problem. All the new CAD technology that was supposed to speed up design seems to have had the opposite effect.



It's all about money. You interested in knowing the number one impediment to designing and fielding these complex machines? It's access to wind tunnels.

The second impediment is politics, inter agency bickering, and lack of leadership in the Pentagon.

The third is analysis methods and lack of automation. Airplane design is way more than drawing a bunch of parts with CAD, they also must be analyzed. In fact, the drafting and conversion to manufacturing tools are outrunning our ability to provide sufficient analysts. Structural analysis will never lend itself to automation because of the infinite combinations and configurations. [Anyone that believes that everything can be handled by running finite element programs does not understand the problem or the job.] Small pieces, such as lug analysis can be sped up with the appropriate computer routine, but I can do many of those by hand quicker than I can fire up a clunky computer program, often designed by somone that is not an analyst and doesn't know how to arrange the work.

Here is an example- when I first started as a strength analyst, we estimated our work as 3 designers for every strength engineer for new design and 5 to 1 for sustaining and manufacturing support. Nowadays you better plan on a minimum of 3 strength engineers for every designer in structures, and 2 for every subsystem designer, and that is only possible with leaders that know what the hell they are doing.

An airplane design can be turned around in 36 months if the stars align and every single player involved is on board and committed. Construction of parts and ordering of long lead pieces can start somewhere around 12 months after the first powerpoint chart. The problem is, there is no will in this country to work this way.


Link Posted: 5/15/2005 2:48:01 PM EST

Originally Posted By AeroE:
Originally Posted By Slufstuff:


An airplane design can be turned around in 36 months if the stars align and every single player involved is on board and committed. Construction of parts and ordering of long lead pieces can start somewhere around 12 months after the first powerpoint chart. The problem is, there is no will in this country to work this way.





We call it 'gold plating'… everyone wants to build the 'perfect' plane not one that is 'good enough'. And 15 years down the road when the parts are ordered they cost so much due the enormous amount of R&D and stuff people say "How much!!!! F**k me! It must be gold plated and diamond tipped at that price!"

ANdy
Link Posted: 5/15/2005 2:49:44 PM EST
So how did we get to the point where it takes 15 years, plus or minus a couple, to get a new plane operational (the F22 in this case)?


In the 50s to 70s new designs were conceptualized and then in the air within a couple of years. I too had the impression that with the advanced design and manufacturing tools we have today, this should be an even faster process.

Could part of the reason be far, and I mean FAR less competition among aircraft companies since most of the companies that existed in the 50s-70s have been bought out or merged?
Link Posted: 5/15/2005 3:08:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Originally Posted By Slufstuff:


I also think the inability of the aerospace industry to TIMELY produce new designs is a huge problem. All the new CAD technology that was supposed to speed up design seems to have had the opposite effect.



It's all about money. You interested in knowing the number one impediment to designing and fielding these complex machines? It's access to wind tunnels.

The second impediment is politics, inter agency bickering, and lack of leadership in the Pentagon.

The third is analysis methods and lack of automation. Airplane design is way more than drawing a bunch of parts with CAD, they also must be analyzed. In fact, the drafting and conversion to manufacturing tools are outrunning our ability to provide sufficient analysts. Structural analysis will never lend itself to automation because of the infinite combinations and configurations. [Anyone that believes that everything can be handled by running finite element programs does not understand the problem or the job.] Small pieces, such as lug analysis can be sped up with the appropriate computer routine, but I can do many of those by hand quicker than I can fire up a clunky computer program, often designed by somone that is not an analyst and doesn't know how to arrange the work.

Here is an example- when I first started as a strength analyst, we estimated our work as 3 designers for every strength engineer for new design and 5 to 1 for sustaining and manufacturing support. Nowadays you better plan on a minimum of 3 strength engineers for every designer in structures, and 2 for every subsystem designer, and that is only possible with leaders that know what the hell they are doing.

An airplane design can be turned around in 36 months if the stars align and every single player involved is on board and committed. Construction of parts and ordering of long lead pieces can start somewhere around 12 months after the first powerpoint chart. The problem is, there is no will in this country to work this way.





Wind Tunnels? Is there just no interest in building them?

The days of design to production in a year is gone, because of the incredible complexity of these things. In the 1940's, it was an airframe, an engine, and you stuck the guns, controls, and fuel somewhere. Now we have radar, RWR, refueling systems, weapon targeting and release systems, FLIR, countermeasures, engines...you get the idea.
Link Posted: 5/15/2005 6:00:39 PM EST

Originally Posted By mmx1:

Wind Tunnels? Is there just no interest in building them?

The days of design to production in a year is gone, because of the incredible complexity of these things. In the 1940's, it was an airframe, an engine, and you stuck the guns, controls, and fuel somewhere. Now we have radar, RWR, refueling systems, weapon targeting and release systems, FLIR, countermeasures, engines...you get the idea.



We were still chugging out planes in two years or less in the 70s, and they had/have pretty much all those things.

I still wonder why it takes so long to get a plane flying these days, and why it costs so goddamn much.
Link Posted: 5/15/2005 7:25:20 PM EST
Two years??

The design of what was eventually to emerge as the McDonnell F-4 Phantom began in August of 1953.

The YF4H-1 prototype made its maiden flight on May 27, 1958, taking off from Lambert-St. Louis Municipal Airport.

Initial carrier trials were carried out by BuNo 143391, (fourth production F-4 built) which was first launched and recovered aboard the USS Independence (CVA-62) on February 15, 1960. Board of Inspection and Survey trials began at NATC Patuxent River in July of 1960.

The last US built Phantom was delivered on Oct. 25, 1979 (Phantom No. 5057).
Link Posted: 5/15/2005 7:53:45 PM EST
I really hope the F-35 program gets off the ground running without too many stumbling issues. That will be a badass aircraft and I love it almost as much as I love the F-22. If it gets shitcanned in favor of the F-18 Super Hornet, I think I'll puke.
Link Posted: 5/15/2005 8:53:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
Two years??

The design of what was eventually to emerge as the McDonnell F-4 Phantom began in August of 1953.

The YF4H-1 prototype made its maiden flight on May 27, 1958, taking off from Lambert-St. Louis Municipal Airport.

Initial carrier trials were carried out by BuNo 143391, (fourth production F-4 built) which was first launched and recovered aboard the USS Independence (CVA-62) on February 15, 1960. Board of Inspection and Survey trials began at NATC Patuxent River in July of 1960.

The last US built Phantom was delivered on Oct. 25, 1979 (Phantom No. 5057).



Wasn't the F14 flying in about two years since it was conceived? I know the U2 was, not sure about the F15 and F16 but I assume it was close to that amount of time. What about the SR71? I don't claim to be an expert when it comes to military aviation, so if I've made errors above, please educate me.
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