Discussion in 'Techforge' started by Tuckerfan, Sep 16, 2020.
It went from concept to test-flight in record time.
Who are we keeping up with?
Who has an air force that's any fucking threat to us anymore?
You should look at what the Chinese are doing. They've come a long way very quickly and are fielding stealth fighters that compare pretty favorably with our F-22 and F-35. They apparently stole enough information to essentially copy the latter.
It would seem that there wouldn't be any breakthrough technology. Using established technology would be the only way I can see to safely develop a viable plane. That doesn't mean it won't be a bad-ass piece of hardware, though.
The F-22 and F-35 have their origins in the 1990s, and, although their designs allow for continual updates, it may be that technology that's become mature in the last decade or so is more readily integrated into a new airframe rather than adapted to an existing one.
It's all speculative, of course, since we don't have any specs. We usually imagine that the next generation of fighters will be faster and more agile, but this may not be the case. It may be that new fighters won't need such high performance because their operations don't entail mixing it up with other fighters, at least not in dogfighting terms. If so, the new plane may not be any faster, it may just be much more efficient, being able to go the same speed with less fuel or having longer range. The new plane may be autonomous, or remotely controlled, and not even have a pilot on board. It may incorporate new coatings, new geometries, or new materials that make it less detectable by radar and infrared. Or it may incorporate weapons systems that we haven't seen before, or integrate with other planes and systems in a force-multiplying way.
A former Navy pilot once told me that the military blew it by not making the F-22 an unmanned vehicle. His reasoning was that the potential performance was hotter than a human could withstand. That kind of performance would be what you would want from an air superiority/supremacy fighter, I would think. I wonder if that's the direction they've gone along with the enhancements Paladin mentioned.
I think the F-22 would've been a little early to make an autonomous fighter, but we should be well past the threshold of being able to do it now.
It's only and matter of time. A fighter loses a lot of weight, volume, and complexity if it doesn't have to support a pilot. A pilotless fighter can perform manuevers that would leave a pilot unconscious or dead. If the plane is pilotless, it can undertake missions longer or more demanding than a human could. And it won't make human mistakes.
I saw this elsewhere when the news broke a few days ago:
Interesting, but it raises the question in my mind of whether there's anything the Russians or Chinese have that our current generation of fighters couldn't effectively intercept. It's also interesting that during the Cold War, the Air Force brass were obsessed with "higher/faster". It doesn't seem to be that way anymore.
Higher/faster was conceived around the idea of getting up really high really quickly to launch missiles at enemy targets . . . mainly bombers. Early generation air-to-air missiles, however, lacked accuracy and reliability and then air combat experience in VietNam showed that the days of dogfighting were not as over as had been assumed. Nowadays technology has caught up with vision and missiles can kill shit from beyond visual range and at pretty much all aspects.
If our pilots are dogfighting with enemy planes, we're doing it wrong. The bad guy should have no awareness we're in the vicinity until a missile blows him out of the sky.
Pretty sure the future of air combat is with UAVs.
Yup. Think the Stargate SG-1 episode with the Nazis who had VR-flown UAVs. That feels like the future we're headed towards.
We may have our answer.
Even if nobody does, I assume it takes constant R&D to keep it that way... and I want our Air Force to keep it that way.
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