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Air Force once again looking for a replacement for it's aging F16 Falcons. It's a signal of F35 fail?

JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
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The new fighter plan,
which calls for an aircraft that amounts to a half-step
from aircraft like the current F-16 and F-18 Super Hornet
is essentially an acknowledgement by General Brown
and the United States Air Force
that the F-35 program have failed to meet
the Air Force's goals
 

JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
27,317
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The future belongs to cheap, expendable drones and expensive UASs. Risking pilots is pointless.
true.

the military has a 2 prong strategy for warplanes.
lots of cheap planes (ie: F16) for basic security and a few expensive ones when needed (ie: F22 Raptor).

The F35 was supposed to replace the cheap plane role of the F16.
but it's costs ballooned to it costing nearly as much as the F22. :eek:

Drones can fulfill the role of cheap planes.
 
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kage69

Lifer
Jul 17, 2003
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Cost of F35 has pretty much done what proponents said it would do; go down. It's more competitive plus more survivable than the current F-18, isn't it? Things could be worse.

Consider me another vote for 'get with the drones'. Swarm, wingman, infantry over watch, torpedo conversion, you name it. The effectiveness of loitering suicide munitions is as convincing as the economics involved, there's no real denying it anymore. Just look what Turkey accomplished in both Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.
 
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SKORPI0

Lifer
Jan 18, 2000
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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I wonder if R&D ever do 'exercises' along the lines of redesigning an F16 with more modern processes to see what improvements can be brought (e.g. a far cheaper F16, a far lighter F16, one that's quicker to produce), because it seems to me that such a project could be looked at from so many different angles, and maybe the F35 was the result of trying to bring in too many angles and improvements at the same time (as well as general purpose concerns).
 

maluckey1

Senior member
Mar 15, 2018
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I wonder if R&D ever do 'exercises' along the lines of redesigning an F16 with more modern processes to see what improvements can be brought (e.g. a far cheaper F16, a far lighter F16, one that's quicker to produce), because it seems to me that such a project could be looked at from so many different angles, and maybe the F35 was the result of trying to bring in too many angles and improvements at the same time (as well as general purpose concerns).
The U.S. tinkered quite a bit with the F16 platform, as did Israel and Japan.

$$$$ rules in the U.S., and apparently there was no cash to be had with making the F20 Tiger shark, which was cheap, robust and could actually kill a pilot from the g-forces it could generate (not necessarily a good thing I suppose)
 

AMCRambler

Diamond Member
Jan 23, 2001
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The U.S. tinkered quite a bit with the F16 platform, as did Israel and Japan.

$$$$ rules in the U.S., and apparently there was no cash to be had with making the F20 Tiger shark, which was cheap, robust and could actually kill a pilot from the g-forces it could generate (not necessarily a good thing I suppose)
Chuck Yeager said the F20 was the best fighter ever made. He ought to know a thing or two.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
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the only thing i can contribute to this thread is that i've heard surprisingly differing opinions on the actual F35 experience, from pilots.

or, from online trolls. You can't be sure of anything anymore.

I've heard people-alleged-pilots saying it handles like a brick, and again that it handles like a dream.

But yeah essentially what Jedi said. Regardless of how (if) much better the F35 can be, there is no replacement for having a metricfuckton of F16s in the sky, in a real-war scenario. Also, we are moving away conceptually from a "real-war" scenario and towards tactical operation exclusively, so UAVs over pilots. Not only it takes money to train and maintain pilots, it takes time.
 

Micrornd

Golden Member
Mar 2, 2013
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Regardless of how (if) much better the F35 can be, there is no replacement for having a metricfuckton of F16s in the sky, in a real-war scenario.
Seems like the Polish Cavalry said something similar in '39.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
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Seems like the Polish Cavalry said something similar in '39.
honestly, i have seen this argument and i don't think so. I mean, it's not that it isn't a valid argument, the F35 is supposed to be superior in maneuverability. In theory, if you get to the point where the new technology can beat the old one 9 times out of 10, then yeah. But, is it really?
Do the technical differences between the F35 and F16 make it so superior that it can be compared to cavalry charging tanks?

Also, keep in mind that there are other factors that apply, one in primis being logistics. You can't keep a pilot up 24hours a day. You can't keep a pilot up EIGHT hours a day. Google says the US has 250x F35 and 1250x F16.
Also, in a scenario where there is an actual war, you know, dogfights, bombings, military personnel shooting other military personnel, instead of shooting radar installations, and the enemy happens to have a technologically superior fighter, what prevents you from just flying missions of 4 aircraft instead of 2 aircraft?
Keep in mind that F16 and F35 use the same missiles.

If you are looking for a better, closer comparison, think of the early japanese Zero. Vastly superior maneuverability, more experienced pilots too. And yet, they still took casualties - it's just the fact that war is chaotic.

You need a much bigger technological divide between two forces before one starts to take almost no casualties. Even the british with guns lost to the Zulus at Rorke's Drift.

Aside from that, there's just the fact that F35s are new. And F16 are not. Not being new makes it easier to fix the airplanes, find parts, find mechanics that know what's going on; it makes it easier to find qualified pilots, and there is a library of years of experience being passed along.

Dude, if it just was so easy to move to new tech, there wouldn't be such a thing as legacy systems in IT.
 

JeepinEd

Senior member
Dec 12, 2005
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My fear, in regards to switching to drones, is what happens when the enemy is able to jam your link?
 
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spacejamz

Lifer
Mar 31, 2003
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My fear, in regards to switching to drones, is what happens when the enemy is able to jam your link?
or infect the network with some type of virus or trojan...might even be able to take control of them...that would not be good...
 

Ajay

Diamond Member
Jan 8, 2001
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My fear, in regards to switching to drones, is what happens when the enemy is able to jam your link?
or infect the network with some type of virus or trojan...might even be able to take control of them...that would not be good...
Pilotless 'combat' aircraft will be pointless till we have really good onboard autonomous systems.
I mean, seriously, IRAN hacked the command signal of one of our drones in 2011 (and has done so on newer systems as well).
 
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Ajay

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Jan 8, 2001
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No, it's not. Several of it's features, still oriented in Russian design philosophy (that being the development of extremely maneuverable fighters), decrease it's stealth capabilities quite considerably to the F-35. And there are more problems than this. Also, Russia only plans to make 57 of these aircraft.

But, more to the point: Russia's integrated air defense system relies much more heavily on high density multi-ranged SAM systems than fighter jets. Additionally, Russia focuses much more heavily on ground capabilities (tanks, artillery, SSMs, infantry, etc.), as their primary instrument of offense. So, comparing individual items in the US and Russian military items isn't very relevant without taking in the whole war fighting strategy and capacity of each nation.
 
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kage69

Lifer
Jul 17, 2003
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My fear, in regards to switching to drones, is what happens when the enemy is able to jam your link?
Active data links are a liability. Broadcasting something to jam is going to be a nonstarter I think, that's painting the source as a target for an opponent with no shortage of competent missiles. The future is either all passive (so limited AI direction), short distance line of sight burst communications with manned aircraft quarterbacking from out of reach, or both.

I'm more worried about drones being magnitudes more expensive to produce in America than in China.
 
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ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
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The new fighter plan,
which calls for an aircraft that amounts to a half-step
from aircraft like the current F-16 and F-18 Super Hornet
is essentially an acknowledgement by General Brown
and the United States Air Force
that the F-35 program have failed to meet
the Air Force's goals
this is the worst haiku ever.
 

Ken g6

Programming Moderator, Elite Member
Moderator
Dec 11, 1999
15,484
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or infect the network with some type of virus or trojan...might even be able to take control of them...that would not be good...
I tend to think if they could hack a drone they could hack any modern plane. Unless somebody finally gets fed up with hacks (or chip shortages) enough to make a computer-free modern fighter jet.
 

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