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Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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Lord Jim
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 24 Apr 2019, 16:35

Japan has often gone with American kit, mainly for commonality reasons, and that it did what it did on the tin for a good price. The Japanese have always wanted to be self reliant as well, but understand their limitations, and have always followed an incremental approach to the development of home grown equipment.

Europe can now bring some very interesting options ot the table, with two combat proven platforms in service and two joint programmes moving forward that would be able to compliment the F-35s. I believe the UK/Swede.Italian prgramme is more in sync with the Japanese timetable though. The US is concnetrating most of its next gen efforts on its new bonber, relying on the F-35 so there is an opportunity for Tempest.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 24 Apr 2019, 18:26

Lord Jim wrote: I believe the UK/Swede.Italian prgramme is more in sync with the Japanese timetable though.
The long range requirement would point to PCA and the German rqrmnts for the joint development with France, but both might be too far out, timing wise, and hence LM might be able to play, as a partner to the Japanese:
" seems possible, if not probable, that the company's proposal involves an airframe derived as much from the F-35A as the F-22. This could possibly include a configuration that eliminates the tradeoff in the F-35's basic airframe design required to maintain commonality with the short and vertical takeoff and landing-capable F-35B."

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 25 Apr 2019, 00:41

Out of control costs almost wrecked and certainly curtailed the F2 programme, developing a F-22/F-35 hybrid has the same written all over it. One of the main problems as always is the small production run and the bespoke nature of the platform. Joining a European programme, being able to have some influence on its direction, may be a cheaper and productive path.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 25 Apr 2019, 04:47

Lord Jim wrote:almost wrecked and certainly curtailed the F2 programme, developing a F-22/F-35 hybrid has the same written all over it

Agree with all you say, but there are even more shared traits than are obvious (like the short production run for a bespoke version).

Namely more range means bigger/ heavier a/c and the whole F-16 concept was 'not an ounce for A2G'.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 25 Apr 2019, 08:33

I think they were a bit more forgiving, say not a "Pound for A2G".

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 26 Apr 2019, 01:29

Hmmm, yes : (p)ound...gr(ound)
I am sure, though :) , that the original design parameter was an ounce, and it only then got loosened to - as they do - lbs... several of them

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby SW1 » 26 Apr 2019, 16:00

Near certain the slogan not a pound for air to ground was the F15s tag line not the f16.

If your considering tactical a/c adding air to ground ordnance to a fighter oriented design gives a much better result than trying to do it the other way round.

The best result with least amount of compromises is obviously to keep the two disciplines separate by designing two aircraft but no ones seems interested in that these days.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 26 Apr 2019, 21:18

Cost in all areas

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 27 Apr 2019, 01:39

SW1 wrote:was the F15s tag line not the f16
if true (I'm not leaning in either direction), what a spectacular fail if one considers Strike Eagle

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 27 Apr 2019, 02:28

Yes it was the mantra of the ATF programme that developed the F-15. Its evolution into the F-15E just shows how sound the platform is as it still retains is effective A2A capabilities whilst also being a top class strike aircraft. In some ways the F-16 followed the same path from simple day fighter to true multi role platform. Of that generation only the F/A-18 was designed to be multi-role or more correctly swing role from the start.

What it does show is that it is usually more effective to evolve a fighter into a strike platform than the other way around. The only real success in this was the Tornado F3, which was a long range interceptor rather than a fighter, but ended up a pretty effective platform. Other attempts like the F-111B have not been a great success.

However, what ever result from these on going research and development will have to be a swing role platform to be effective and will have to be able to switch between multiple roles at the flick of a switch, A2A, A2G, SEAD, AC&C, ISTAR and so on. the speed at which avionics and other systems are developing should make this not only possible but affordable. One question though, will it require the return of the second seat or will a rudimentary AI system be available to cope with the workload?

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby SW1 » 27 Apr 2019, 10:09

I’m not sure any new aircraft has to switch between roles at the flick of a switch more I think the roles will change depending on what it will carry. Obviously modern radars have many modes that will cover a number of areas but various roles can be undertaken if we take a more simple approach the configuration and integration of podded systems and make that process as simple as possible.

Add to that the possibility of offloading elements of strike missions or recon missions to an unmanned system the tactical aircraft can control. A storm shadow or tomahawk are effectively an unmanned 1000lb bomb. If we can get to a point were a unmanned vehicle can be reusable and drop a similar warhead against pre planned targets at a similar cost then it removes some requirements off the manned jet. If you can swap the bomb payload for a sensor that provides targeting data then you maybe able to use a traditional aircraft with more stand-off weapons.

Getting the balance right between cost and complexity and keeping as much of expensive sub systems common and integration cost down will be of high importance going fwd. something major OEMs will be reluctant to do.

I think a second crew man in the cockpit of the manned jet will be a benefit on some missions as will the likes of growler type missions or future unmanned teaming so I think the future maybe a 2 seater which occasionally has a crewman in the back seat and occasionally not depending on mission.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 27 Apr 2019, 23:10

Lord Jim wrote:Tornado F3[, which] was a long range interceptor rather than a fighter, but ended up a pretty effective platform
Mig-31 was around then... and still is, now
Lord Jim wrote:AC&C
I like that; but what is it (in a fighter a/c)?
SW1 wrote: If you can swap the bomb payload for a sensor that provides targeting data then you maybe able to use a traditional aircraft with more stand-off weapons.
I like that, too
SW1 wrote:keeping as much of expensive sub systems common and integration cost down will be of high importance going fwd. something major OEMs will be reluctant to do.

Israel has been very successful with that, off-loading also their older airframes with such ' goodies' attached
... but lately the 'OEM Gvmnt' has slammed the brakes on that activity

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 28 Apr 2019, 23:55

ArmChairCivvy wrote:I like that; but what is it (in a fighter a/c)?


Airborne Command & Control, in this case managing allies UAVs and UCAVs. This was one of the reasons I think we might see the return of the second seat.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 29 Apr 2019, 00:03

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Mig-31 was around then... and still is, now


Russia has always had a number of rather unique requirements for Air Defence, one being the need for a long range interceptor to protect its norther border. This was the role the Tu-28P Fiddler was built for before being superseded by the Mig-31. Of course they also have the advantage of being able to have multiple platforms in service such as the Su-27 and Mig-29 families at the same time.

We are going to need our future platforms to be able to do multiple tasks simultaneously. We need a counter to the F-35, and develop a platform that is optimised for A2A but very capable at other tasks. This is important because the future growth of the F-35 could mainly be in the A2G role.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby shark bait » 29 Apr 2019, 08:52

Lord Jim wrote:This was one of the reasons I think we might see the return of the second seat.


I too was wondering if the second seat would make a comeback for the same reasons. However none of the new concepts feature a back seat, instead the rely on software to reduce the pilots works load enough to take on these extra tasks. Sounds like a cheaper way to reach a similar effect so I guess that's the direction that will win.
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 29 Apr 2019, 13:34

Cheaper is not assured by taking the software option, isn't that where a lot of the cost increases and delays with the F-35 have come from?

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby shark bait » 29 Apr 2019, 13:39

Might be more expensive to design, and then it cuts the crew training bill in half forever. At £6 million each + routine training its significant.

A second seat is not free either, physical costs to build, plus reduced performance. Software is likely cheaper.
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby SW1 » 29 Apr 2019, 19:26

shark bait wrote:However none of the new concepts feature a back seat,



I wouldn’t been entirely sure about that..

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Pseudo » 29 Apr 2019, 19:48

Lord Jim wrote:
ArmChairCivvy wrote:I like that; but what is it (in a fighter a/c)?


Airborne Command & Control, in this case managing allies UAVs and UCAVs. This was one of the reasons I think we might see the return of the second seat.

I'd be surprised if "wingman" UCAV's are intended to require the level of micromanagement that would necessitate a second seat.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 29 Apr 2019, 22:31

I have very conservative views as to the maturity of "Wingman" UCAVs. I am sure in the future they will be effective but having come of the next generation with a Back Seater would allow a manual input into things such as target priorities. Saying that the Back Seater could be virtual so that if needed a platform could have a Pilot on board and his Back Seater sitting at a console back at base. This is just an idea, who knows what other ideas Tempest will develop.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 29 Apr 2019, 22:46

Pseudo wrote:I'd be surprised if "wingman" UCAV's are intended to require the level of micromanagement that would necessitate a second seat.


I agree (except if we are talking about attack helos).

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 04 May 2019, 20:46

I suppose it depends on how the ratio of manned to unmanned is determined moving forward. If it is one or two "Wingmen" to each manned platform I agree, but what if each manned platform is more a "Raid Commander", and has half a dozen or more UCAVs under its control. A combination of airborne and ground based control maybe needed to allow the maximum utility of the unmanned platforms.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby shark bait » 07 May 2019, 09:16

It shouldn't matter how many wingmen there are.

If the wingman is a single large aircraft the pilot will be monitoring a single unit. If the wingman is multiple small aircraft the pilot will be monitoring a single swarm.

As far as the pilot is concerned they should be interfacing with a single off board system.
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby SW1 » 07 May 2019, 13:56

A divergence of requirements. Possibly the same conundrum facing the next uk a/c

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... th-457968/

A penetrating fighter, the Navy doesn’t have to do that. So some of that inherent design of the aircraft it does drive costs and if you don’t need that for our mission area then you don’t necessarily want to pay for it,” she says, noting the shape of a highly stealthy penetrating fighter, presumably without a vertical stabliser, would be more expensive to develop. Instead, the USN would conduct penetrating airstrikes against an advanced adversary with long-range standoff missiles or the mission would be deferred to the USAF, says Knappenberger.

That’s not to say that the two services’ next-generation fighters won’t share systems, such as electronic warfare, radar, networking and weapons systems.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Postby Lord Jim » 07 May 2019, 15:06

shark bait wrote:It shouldn't matter how many wingmen there are.If the wingman is a single large aircraft the pilot will be monitoring a single unit. If the wingman is multiple small aircraft the pilot will be monitoring a single swarm. As far as the pilot is concerned they should be interfacing with a single off board system.


I suppose it will depend on how "Intelligent", the Wingmen are. What are we aiming for here? If we are talking swarms then the platforms will be a lot smaller than the ones shown possibly carrying one or two SPEAR each. They would be tasked to sanitise an area in the A2G role or if equipped with A2A literally act as Wingmen with the manned platform playing quarterback.

IF we go down the full AI route, which I believe is s=till some way off from being operationally viable, then the Manned platform would be more of a monitoring platform and managing the big picture.

But as I said at the beginning, it depends on what we want from these "Wingmen", the resultant requirement will dictate the size and AI level needed and hence cost and development time.


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