Navy shapes UCLASS acquisition strategy

Navy shapes UCLASS acquisition strategy

Upcoming shore-based and carrier tests will help the Navy determine its acquisition strategy for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS), a large, carrier-based, next-generation drone likely to have a large wingspan and high-tech sensors engineered to gather and send back images and data, service officials said.

“The UCLASS will be the first deployed carrier based unmanned air vehicle with persistent ISR and a strike capability,” said Navy spokeswoman Jamie Cosgrove.

There are two related and interwoven trajectories with this UAS technology; the Navy is currently testing an early “demonstrator” model of the aircraft while simultaneously preparing to conduct a full and open competition have the UCLASS ready to fly by 2018 to 2020, service officials explained.

At the same time, the demonstrator will inform the development of what will be the future UCLASS program and next-generation technological capability, said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Unmanned Combat Air System Program Manager.

“The UCAS-D program is an essential early step that will demonstrate the suitability of a low observable relevant unmanned air system operating in the [carrier] environment. The X-47B UCAS {Umanned Combat Air System} demonstrator will conduct launch, recovery, and carrier controlled airspace [CCA] and flight deck handling demonstrations,” he added.

The 10-foot tall 44,000-pound Navy drone is slated for shore-based arrested landings at Paxtuent River, Md., and will then embark upon a series of tests aboard the USS George Bush in May, said Engdahl.

“During the test period, the UCAS-D test team will perform deck handling and ship integration tests, the first aircraft launches from the ship’s catapults, carrier approaches with the aircraft, and potentially the first carrier landings on the flight deck,” Engdahl explained.

So far, two UCAS-D aircraft have been built and delivered by Northrop Grumman, however, many vendors are expected to compete for the upcoming formal Navy competition to develop and build the UCLASS, Navy officials explained.

Two upcoming Requests For Proposal (RFP) are likely to shape the upcoming competition; a draft RfP for a Preliminary Design Review is slated for May to be followed by a formal Technology Development RFP a month later, Cosgrove said.

“We are demonstrating the technology and taking lessons learned from the UCAS-D effort to help the UCLASS program. We are still working on our acquisition strategy,” she added.

The UCAS-D conducted successful flight tests last December aboard the USS Truman, she added.

“Additionally, the UCAS-D program includes Automated Aerial Refueling (AAR) demonstration on a manned surrogate to prove out multiple AAR technologies. Lessons learned from UCAS-D support follow-on acquisition programs,” said Engdahl.

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Like it or not, here comes the future. It’s not that the X-47B MUST replace piloted aircraft, only that it CAN…
Only a fool throws away their old toolkit, just because they got a new tool…

We’ll know UAVs are here when the Navy puts a GCS on the CVN.

Something to consider, the Navy currently has to send out manned aircraft to protect unmanned aircraft in the Gulf.

Anyway, how many of these things does the Navy plan a CVN to carry?

I heard the Navy is planning their NextGen carriers, the DCVNBC class…
They’re flex-fuel drone carriers that also run on biodiesel, and coal…

So, why does a UCAV have to look and behave like a manned carrier aircraft? Why not vertical takeoff (or JATO rock assisted) to get airborne, and a STOVL type landing? This expensive toy is too costly a solution for the unmanned role. It’s a reflection of the manned aviation community in denial about technical solutions, like a missile (either warhead or munitions dispenser), controlled via satelite. That’s callled a cruise missile, and will cost only a fraction of this puppy! This is how we bankrupt ourselves. Exotic technical solutions.

Unless what you build can carry something like a JASSMER internally, in which case your quadruple the range of the JASSM from a CSG.

I think this article speaks to your question. I don’t think they are sure how many they carry. What this is saying in a very subtle way is just how much can this system replace, if at all, manned options.


UCAS-D is a demonstrator, UCLASS is the program of record. The Navy is putting out 4 sole source contracts for UCLASS. There is no plan to deploy UCAS that I have heard of. That said, Northrop will likely bid an X-47 based UCLASS concept unless the requirements favor a different airframe.

Also, it seems unlikely that the UCAS-D tests will have a big impact on the acquisition strategy which is already being implemented is not really driven by the carrier demonstration of a UAV. I guess they could delay it if the UCAS-D tests go poorly but they are not planning a sole source award. Plus, the CDD is apparently being signed off already.

So this article seems to add confusion rather than providing clarity.

I’ve come to almost dread reading the comments section of a post about Drones.

2 things I think the Drones would be good for is refueler and as a missile hauler like they wanted to do with the A-6 upgrade.

I wonder if they may pick more than one if each is able to accomplish specific missions better than the other?

Also, cruise missiles aren’t flexible. They are a great option for strikes, but for recon, CAS, CAP and the like you still need to have an aircraft on duty as cruise missiles have pretty much zero loiter time. The only thing that cruise missiles threaten the viability of is strategic bombers.

The new block TLAMs actually have like a 30 min loiter time I believe, cameras, and the ability to be re targeted in flight. This is still essentially a 30 or 40 year old design too. It’s a good reason to be exploring gen 5 and gen 6 weapons as opposed to gen 5 aircraft. A new gen cruise missile could be built to accept variable payloads, kinetic and non kinetic attack options, EW/ECM/Cyber payloads. It’s where we should be focusing our R&D $ and not on trying to make a lead goose like the F35 viable.

I’m not going to defend the F35, but 30 minutes is nowhere near enough loiter time for most missions. But if you scale up missiles to carry multiple payloads, stealth and sensors, you’ll pretty much end up simply building a drone like the avenger. A drone is pretty much a scaled up cruise missile with more fuel, sensors and actual payload bays anyhow.

I know what the Navy should do. They should pay a contractor $1.15 for every dollar the contractor spends on design and test of the new aircraft, then we can all sit back and wonder why the design and test phase of the program are dragging on for such a long time, and why costs are going through the roof. Then we can really teach the winning contractor a lesson by cancelling the whole program just before they build a single operational airplane without regard to the fact that the contractor is already rolling in profits made from dragging out the development phase of the program for a couple of decades or more. Aren’t I brilliant? I could run the Navy’s procurement office, I’m so business savvy.

That’s because there aren’t any unmanned aircraft that can fire “real” air to air missiles. At best, they’ve fitted a Stinger missile to one, but those are woefully inadequate against fighters.

Next is to argue there aren’t enough American engineers and the ones we have are totally unskilled, and we must import them from foreign countries for nickels on the dollar.

If it works for the life sciences, physical sciences, engineering and medicine, it’s good enough for the defense industry!

I like Taxpayer’s approach– we need to break the ‘manned aircraft’ mindset in both Navy and AF applications. But in this case, recovering the vehicle via carrier landing seems logical, esp since we are not ready to do away with manned, carrier-based aircraft for other missions.

I don’t know if you’re brilliant, but unfortunately, you’ve probably hit the nail on the head with your prediction about how the UCLASS development is likely to play out. The Navy has not yet demonstrated that they’ve learned anything from JSF as it relates to how to run a high risk development contract, and this thing will be high risk. So, chances are that the source selection winner will have drastically low bid their estimate to secure the award, and the Navy will play along like sheep. Then when the actual development costs become apparent, it will be too late to pull the plug.

Hey, don’t sell the defense industry short, they already to that to the extent they can. We have those pesky laws about buying stuff from “designated countries”, which is all that keeps them from outsourcing every weapons system we have to Communist Red China. It’s a great time to be an engineer in good old US of A, isn’t it?

Yeah, gallows humor is all I have left after too long in the defense industry. It’s not so much that the companies under bid. It’s that they continue to push the limits on credulity when it comes to dragging these programs out longer and longer. In the ‘70s and ‘80s if you would have told someone that it would take longer than 5 years to take a fighter jet from clean sheet of paper to operational status, they’d have laughed you out of town (even in Washington DC). Today it takes around 30 years and who knows how long the next airplane program will drag on. It’s all politics, though. Once you’ve accepted 30 years, then why not 35 years, and next 40 years, then 50?

The X-47B was on the USS Harry S. Truman CVN-75 just last year. Why didn’t they learn anything then? They loaded it aboard with a crane. Was it only to make others think it was up and running? I wonder why they put it on there?

The technologies used in today’s manned aircraft isn’t that advanced. Stealth technology has been around since the 1970s, as have helmet mounted displays. Composites have been around longer than both, although some of the better carbon fiber stuff was from the ‘80s. These are just the excuses the defense contractors have used in the press as opposed to saying, “hey, as long as you pay us more profit to drag out development, we’ll be happy to come up with all kinds of new ways to do just that.” Otherwise, taking the person out of the aircraft does not provide many opportunities for new technologies. Sensors and avionics don’t like to be too hot or cold, just like people. The only thing a large unmanned plane doesn’t have that a large manned version has is a seat and oxygen.

Fun one from El Reg:

It undoubtedly has implications outside of computer science.

Everybody who has posted here, should get a DoD paycheck, for our work here, on the “Ad Hoc Design Strategy Team”…“Either/Or” thinking is so LAST Century…21st Century Design is “also/and”…lots of little projects, better managed, yields more options, more Total Force Strength and Resilience…good job, guys…Heck, yes, I’m serious..

Did I say multiple payloads? Multiple options maybe but not multiple payloads. Just a new cruise missile that could be loaded with different types of options. 30 minutes is enough time if the original targets is gone when you get there and you need some time to pick another one and re target the weapons.

cruise missles? STOVL manned aircraft?.…..when is the USN goin’ join the 21st century w/cheap, reliable & lethal RPV’s? Thay can swarm like a colony of po’d hornets rainin down hellfire + air to ground munitions, guided from 5k miles away w/o worrin’ about DF-21D’s raining down on your “Soverign American Soil at Sea” behemonths?

cruise missles? join the 21st century will ya, how much do those 25+ y/o “improved weapon sys” cost?

we’re already “importing” H1B visa holders to do defense work.…..duh

they built the blackbird @ the skunkworks from paper to A-12 in how many DAYS!, those were defense contractors, not what POTUS E warned us about.

u left out asymetrical warfare! and then theirs the one NOBODYS talkin’ about: a contagion that leads to a pandemic.……whoooooa we’re over due by about what 30 years based upon the last 150 years.

DoD should look at much smaller and less expensive UAS that are submarine launched.

Yes ago I suggested to the powers that be that we should push our demonstrator technologies to the limit and as fast as we could go, using the government labs, test and evaluation infrastructure. Once the developmental/operational kinks were identified and worked, we move into production in quantity to quickly fill out the inventories. That would save money overall. But our current acquisition strategy is (a) to draw out development and production to maximize government jobs and contractor profits; and (b) do both concurrently, to increase the probability something bad happens, for which a program is restructured (longer, more costly), increasing government job costs and contractors profits.

We should be able to do even better now. We have the technology, but all we use it for is surfing the ‘net and word processing. Ok, there’s 3D CAD too, but holy hell, the hoops they make you jump through to get a drawing released these days would have St. Francis of Assisi swearing like a sailor.

Have you heard of “rapid avionics prototyping”? It’s really good stuff. Basically it’s a software model of your avionics system. If we were worth a damn, avionics vendors would make software models of their avionics boxes available for free to any aircraft manufacturer. It should be possible to have a complete model of the avionics system done including pilot and other operator stations in a matter of 3 to 4 months, not decades. Pilots should be flying that avionics model in a high fidelity simulator in 6 months.

Airplane designers (we need to bring them back) should have a variety of 3D aircraft designs already to go in their CAD systems ready to scale up or down to fit the mission hardware requirements. Flight deck designers should have both small and large aircraft flight deck designs ready to go. Engines should be off-the-shelf. Mission stations should be sitting ready to go except for sensor inputs and final software tweeks.

We should be able to complete aircraft capable of amazing feats in a few months if necessary now. Instead we use our technology to keep people from being productive instead of using it to allow them to be more productive.

I think we’d be better off to demonstrate new aircraft systems than we are to demonstrate entire new aircraft. That would encourage aircraft manufacturers to have the major pieces in place with which to design their next new airplane instead of being a self contained product development that ends with an aircraft but nothing from that airplane is used on the next one because of the NIH principle (not invented here). So you have, for instance, a core avionics system that you demonstrate as it might be tailored to fit a fighter role, then show how it could also adapt to a bomber role, then that system could be continually updated as new avionics and sensor technologies become available. Then the core group that developed that system would go on to work the next production airplane program and take that system with them and adapt it to whatever mission it is to have.

Makes my blood boil just reading it. Of course, engineering salaries have been flat to declining for 20 years, but they can’t figure out how to get more students to go into science and math fields. So the answer is to hire more foreigners who will work for lower wages and further depress engineering salaries decreasing the number of Americans who would even consider going into a technical field.

Ahoy out there all you swabbies when are you going to realize that aircraft carriers are going the way of the Dinasours. It not just the carrier but it takes a whole battle group to defend it. Battleships– mindsweepers destroyer.One placed missal and it is done.aircraft and all.Billy Mitchel lhad it right. Plus what do the Marines need a air division for? The Air Force could replace it all. They would be there and back before they could get the anchor up.

Yeah, yeah, been hearing this same refrain for years now. It’s intensified lately due to the DF-21 ‘scare’. Sorry, not buying. Andersen AFB is a lot more vulnerable to missile attack than a CVN that’s constantly changing it’s location. Yes, they’re expensive, but there’s currently no substitute for the flexibility provided by a CVN battlegroup. It’s not that they can do everything better than anyone else, it’s that they can do everything.

Yea see it doesn’t work that way. In fact what your suggesting has been proven wrong around 5–6 times already starting in Korea. So yea.

spot on! whoa!!!!

Testing how it would work onboard. Taking off and landing are only 2 parts of a very complicated dance which is required for carrier aviation.

we need to break the air-sea battle doc. 1st! I’m a ground pounder, and its makes no sense, other than in a altered-reality state of mind 4 it to integrate, let alone “marry” these 2 arms of our military. 2nd the USN needs 2 really have a honest bottom to top review of its carrier centric power projection war fighting doctrine. The FBM arguement is another thesis. Letting the Army dwindle to 490K of AD troops is absurd.….oh that’s right we have the NG & Res Comp. to mobilize, to some it up during the VPOTUS debates, VPOTUS Biden basically said, heck.….…I can’t see us fighten’ a ground war any time soon.….what idiocy!

u keep thinkin’ that way & ur goin’ wake up one mornin’ &.….…well pappy may be datin’ himself.…but boy was LTC Mitchell right? what 10 years before it happened! And who flew the 1st modified B-25 Mitchell off the deck of the U.S.S. Wasp (?) yeah yeah the DF-21D “scare” check out that hull in the Gobi desert, what do u think the PLA is doing w/that, ur a product of a culture of its been this way, it is this way, & it will be this way until the lets say the Iranians came at one of ur glorified CVN’s w/300 high speed boats, 1 of which carries a implosion device and poof!!!!!.….golly we never discussed that at the USNWC in civiys so I don’t know what 2 do now skipper??

And what is the 2 I.D. doin’ in Korea along with supporting AF units in SK & Japan. you deck apes just don’t get it, Korea??? wtf are u talking about?

yup they can do it all, ur right, spot on!!! as long as JUST ONE DF-21D doesn’t get through. U guy’s this past year have had a tough time just not crashing into each other>

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B is the first contender for the UCLASS; but Lockheed has just rolled out their design which will incorporate technology from their RQ-170 stealth drone and the F-35 JSF meaning it’s not going to be easy to pick a winner. UCAVs are the way of the future as they can make turns that a human pilot cannot as their limitations will depend on what the aircraft can handle.

You might be interested in the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) program. In particular the USN’s MALD-J variant:

So you want a virtual machine of aircraft avionics? It’ll work.

But in the long run, I think decoupling fancy doodads from new aircraft platforms is the only way to save procurement. We can’t buy a new car and re-invent the engine, transmission, seats, steering wheel and interior every time.

I’m sure we all wish, but it gets in the way of procuring shiny new aircraft that are also super awesome. The Air Force is trying to get too many steps ahead by bundling new avionics and new aircraft together; but the gamble has clearly failed.

…yeah, well my Bro ALPHACLAW, sez…the DNF-35 ain’t just a pipedream…replace the pilot-space with a GE-777 turbonuke, and hardpoint the RQ-170’s, and you got a *PACKAGE*DEALER*…

*SHhhhhh.…..*60th Anniversary Reunion BLOW-OUT coming soon…Let’s Get This PARTY STARTED…
…buy a round for Lil Kim’un…

IRAN…???…wtf…???… Why U tryin 2 scare US, KrazyCOL, …WHAT, 6-POINTS run out of LONG LEG EAGLES again…???…

VMAA will only work as a platform for Design Stabilization…If the SHTF in a few months, would you rather have 1,000 legacy f-14D’s sitting at Davis-Monthan, or an F-35 production line running at full current capacity…???…

Something that should also be brought up is the predator-derived Avenger is in production, and also has the sensor tech from the F-35 and is a stealth design. Although not a naval design, it should be cheaper to navalize it than produce a new model. Of course, it’s unknown what the Navy weights most for in performance.

Yes, but that missile would have to penetrate layered defenses, and missile launch sites are also vulnerable to attack. The biggest threat to carriers in the foreseeable future is railgun weaponry, which may bring back something similar to battleships and competing for funding. I have yet to see a convincing report that a battle group could be defeated by any reasonable force. On the other hand, I know that one well placed missile is one dead bomber. And while bombers are cheaper than carriers, missiles are cheaper still.

Navy Brass feather-weights “performance”… Acquisition criteria maximizes unit-cost… Rules: planned-obsolescence, production delays… When the SHTF, Navy will simply RE-CALL of DUTY thousands of fully-trained F-14 pilots for brief refresher courses, to crew the 1,000’s of F-14D’s in long-term dry storage…
OG!, navy…

“The biggest threat to carriers in the foreseeable future”, actually, is all the non-native Pentagon Brass still standing in long lines waiting to sign up for their *DIGITAL*NATIVE* GREEN CARDS…

The UCLASS is an ultra-cool pilot’s lifesaver!


Next, could you enlighten us as to a ballpark ‘operational cost’ per hour for say, a 1.5 hr one-way Cruise missile sortie… vs… say, a future UCAV’s 16 hr round-trip ISR sortie?

Perhaps around $4-5m for the 1-way operational cost (w/ limited scope), vs maybe $3–4,000(?) per hr for a platform which as a bonus, if need be, could further deploy a 1-way $4m cm, reducing risk and extending the reach out 3-fold?

Absolutely there is good argument to be increasing Defense investments in next-gen stand-off munitions as an asymmetrical cost-effective force-multiplier (vs dumping same investment solely into 5th gen platform development)… but you are talking apples and oranges if trying to argue cruise missiles should replace all future UCAV type platform development.

To some extent you can’t do that. If you give an airplane a new mission, you’re going to need new sensors and possibly new emitters. Plus different air forces have different radio preferences and different secure communication hardware. Also different certifying authorities are going to require different structural pieces in a few cases. Companies used to be able to accommodate these differences when all they had was paper and pencil records. It should be a lot easier to make these changes now with bar coded hardware and automated parts storage.

VMAA? As far as the F-14 or F-35, who’s the enemy, a bunch of bumbling terrorists, or China? If it’s China, I want stealth, if it’s terrorists the F-14 would put a lot of explosives where it hurts. If I had my choice we’d have a few thousand F-23’s sitting on the tarmac right now. The US taxpayer paid for that airplane to be designed. The USAF should put a group together to put that design into production shape right now.

The point now is to put as many different things together in one program as possible, giving a single program as broad of a political base as possible. So if, for instance, you put electronically scanned radar into the F-22 program, then every other program that wants that kind of radar put in the nose of their jet suddenly becomes a lobbyist for F-22. F-35 took the concept even further by being something for every service. Today bigger is better. If we made these defense contractors fund their own airplane development programs, that would turn around in a heartbeat.

when have u had a drug test last.…wtf r u tryin’ 2 say?

LOL.….I’m locked & loaded, got the grid mapped & my sparklers are in place, all we need is to take out Kim lil dung’s tubes, hand a bowl of rice 2 anyone who makes it s.of DMZ & let the ROK & JAPAN take care of the rest, wtf do u think jpn’s korea 1 program is for?

jcross.….ur def.USN! how many underground MILES are there lets say 40 miles inland from the PLA’s coastline, a saturation attack with a mix of different rocket weapon platforms &.…well.….only one has to get through and poof.…..then what’s plan B

Why not add an increased range & “loiter” capability (to go after Time Sensitive Targets) to our cruise missile and not bring back an unmanned aircraft to the flight deck? To preserve these aircraft SA is REQUIRED. Not sure they have that in a UCAV.

sorry brad, I think the swabbies developed a shear machine that “cut” the F-14’s (My dad w.@ Grum.) to a 3″ max xsection (so some scumbag couldn’t send spare parts 2 the Persians, they tried 2 send a entire aircraft in/a ship/cont.) and trahed them all. Its a shame.…what a beaut. aircraft, just underpowered because of a political b.s. switch of engines.

sorry brad 2nd post: Grum rolled off i think 450 + some trainers throuth Calverton + 50 4 the Persians complements of POTUS Carter.……a Navy man.….lol

some one of you bubble heads help me out.….…wtf is “a decorated attack boat captain”…I thought that was a 0–5 command, and did i miss a ship being sunk when I was asleep 4 a month? or does the usn give out a bronze star 4 going to bs missiles on a fa & yelling Launch into 2mc?.….……tell me it ain’t so!!!!!!!!!!

Ok I’ll give you the history lesson. So before Korea the Airforce convinced Congress and mostly took over the power in the DoD. The Understood by all logical and up to date people was that all wars would now be fought with Nuclear bombs. So the reasons for carriers were now over. So carrier aviation basically went on the afterburner.

Well in Korea we found out that wasn’t true. The Airforce flying from friendly bases spent all of their fuel getting over to the sites they needed to attack. No time to stay and loiter over the battlefield. So the Navy came into play and turned out was much more able to respond and could spend far long on station. Again this has played out over and over.

BTW not a deck ape just a guy who has talked to a LOT of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and even coasties.

However I’m sure you can convince me how all of weapon X means system Y is useless. Imean like the tank.…wait those still are great in combat…or artillery…wait still use those. How about aircraft. Missiles and all of that. Oh wait we have system after system to fight those.

Its systems working with systems and the men and women who use them.

Plane be is why are the carriers themselves within range of the land based batteries. With the exception of the small number of DF-21Ds, the missiles’ range is much less than the range offered by Battle Group based Tomahawks and Carrier air wings. And the small numbers of –21D missiles is not enough to penetrate defenses.

Even if they didn’t cut them up there are no 1000s of F-14Ds. There were less than 100 F-14Ds total, both newly built and rebuilt from F-14As.

Stealth technology has made major leaps since the ‘70s, both in the shaping and design of aircraft, as well as the actual materials used. Helmet mounted displays have existed in different forms for some time now, yet there is a huge difference between early systems and the HMDS in development today.

There is plenty of room for lots. Consider the Nimitz class was designed for 90 aircraft. The standard airwaing back in the 80’s was about that big. Today’s are nowhere near that.

Do you think after the Shah fell that Iran would just kindly hand over the F-14’s they took delivery of?

The Shah was our friend against the Soviets. So like every other friend of ours against the Soviets, we gave them weapons.

Like, say, Pakistan. And more optimistically, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Germany, the UK, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Japan, and the former Republic of Vietnam.

One dud (Pakistan), one regime change (Iran), one militarily defeated because we gave up on them (RVN), but 9 winners (Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Germany, UK, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Japan).

Boy, I remember when I started my first job after getting my undergraduate engineering degree. I was pretty mad, too, that it wasn’t all like Iron Man and Tom Swift. I got over it.

“Airplane designers (we need to bring them back) should have a variety of 3D aircraft designs already to go in their CAD systems ready to scale up or down to fit the mission hardware requirements”


so your master solution for the defense industry’s problems is to just design everything that we might need right now and save it as a bunch of STEP files or something?

Let me guess: You’re a systems engineer, one of those guys who thinks that design is like some simple secondary thing that a high-school kid could do, and that the REAL hard work of aerospace development is in writing the “shall” statements properly.

I love how you just handwave all that away. Like changing from a mechanically-scanned dish to a full-airframe AESA is just swapping a couple black boxes.

I mean, they can totally draw the outline of an F-15 and then draw a square on the wing leading edge with a little text box saying “AESA emitter”, it must be *super* easy to actually do that.

not quite b man, the B-29’s in japan pounded the crap out of the nk’s & later the chinese, yes carrier borne marine & usn prop (80% of all air opns) were very effective. So were the f-86’s when they went down low. But they mostly stayed on station (loitered) in MIG alley to protect. the bombers. “The Airforce flying from friendly bases spent all of their fuel getting over to the sites they needed to attack. No time to stay and loiter over the battlefield”. From japan to nk used up all of the 6k combat radi of a b-29?, combat radi of an F-86 used up flying from japan? are we talking about the same war. The one advant. of a carrier was stayin’ on station diff. day, diff. stat. other than that u need to study the Korean War. & as far as over & over b-52 from t-land over the trail or let’s say khe sanh couldn’t loiter? man I wouldn’t say that to a BUFF pilot! u talked to a lot of servicemen, I had deploy’s to DS/DS, OEF, OIF & a vacation in Kos. I didn’t see a whole lot of Naval Aviation in my AO’s. (Not knock’n them!) but they didn’t have the RANGE to get 2 were I was plain & simple.

I know the range of the DF-21D & other missles I can’t list. U just can’t handle the truth! Land based batteries? what about ­the subsonic: YJ-82 (C-802) · ­YJ-8 (C-801) ­C-704 ­C-705 ­YJ-7 (C-701) ­FL-10 ­C-703 ­YJ-62 (C-602) ­TL-10 ­FL-8 ­TL-1 ­TL-2 · ­TL-6 ­FL-9 · ­SY-2 · ­SY-1 · ­HY-4 (C-401) · ­HY-2 (C-201) · ­HY-1 · ­C-611 · ­XW-41 and then the supersonic:­DH-2000 · ­HN-2000 · ­YJ-91 · ­YJ-83 (C-803) · ­FL-7 · ­HY-3 (C-301) · ­FL-2 (C-101) · ­CJ-1 · ­YJ-12 · ­YJ-22 · ­3M-80MBE/E Moskit (SS-N-22) · ­3M-54E/E1 Klub (SS-N-27) · ­C-302 · ­C-303 · ­YJ-2 · ­YJ-1 u better have a sheet load of Aegis capab’ ships around.….…

You don’t need Aegis for the most of those. Frigates, modified missile barges/JHSV types and even heavy corvette escorts armed with ESSM would enable more defense per dollar asset invested (ships which sadly/dumbly the USN has decided to ditch in favor of impotent LCS and fancy nxt gen Destroyers). As far as the range goes… future Naval based UCAV/UCLAS and even the Super + CFT(?) and JSOW-ER/LRASM gives credible range. Cheers and keep your finger off that trigger, Krazy ;)

How about a mix of F-16XL + F23 for that manned high-low mix portfolio? Supplement with future UCAV. Can we make a deal on that?

Sure, put a cranked aero wing on it, extend the chine up the nose, add the appropriate angles to the intake and put twin canted verticals on it. I’ve always thought the F-16 was the best candidate of the ‘70s fighters to receive after market stealth. If Boeing’s entry for the JSF competition hadn’t been even worse than Lock Mart’s, we’d probably be better off than we are now.

What, you don’t approve of systems engineering? For all the apologizing you do for today’s crap version of aerospace, I thought you’d love systems engineering. It’s a product of your beloved “profit on development” procurement system. Systems engineering didn’t show up in a big way in aerospace until the late ‘80s. Someone had to take the place of the vehicle designers. Systems engineering proposed that a “trade study” was better than having a vehicle designer because it was more objective. Pretty funny now, isn’t it? Come on, you need to learn what you’re supposed to be apologizing for if you’re going to be a proper schill.

You might be able to come up with something relevant to say if you read the previous comments before responding.

Yep. Taxi tests aboard the flight deck… Make sure it could “drive” safely on deck before it landed there. No gimmicks; that part of the test was fully publicized.

Relative concerns aside, the deviation from standard warfare has reached a functional shift but not a Zeitgeist as of yet. There is, as of yet, no discussion on the information systems that can and will be breached by the east when cellular technology catches up with the west. Europe is our best bet for guarding the air waves as the shift to a global cellular community is already maturing faster there than here.

Good point about being paid! At least by posting in comments, the source of an idea is known. As it stands now, DoD subcontractors can use public information AND private contractual IP and Trade Secrets for their own profits and proposals without disclosing their sources. Even if you have a solid contract establishing your ownership of a design or part of a design, you will never be able to find a legal team to help you obtain a settlement, nor an investor to pay the upfront bond money. A billion dollar profit on your design requires a billion dollar (at risk) bond, up front before you can proceed. Public domain information is usable by anyone, anywhere.

Another factor preventing alternatives to the Big 4 Aerospace companies mentioned in this article are the Federal Government requirements on “manufacturability” and “Medium Sized Businesses”. This locks out all small businesses and individuals. If that doesn’t do the trick, they will just classify it and then deny you clearances due to some excuse about your credit history or finances or lack thereof.

The “cost plus” contract model includes giant numbers of employee salaries and executive profits, is for the most part unregulated and also involves political debate as it usually benefits a specific geographical area, due to the manufacturing facility location.

The damage to inventors and innovators as well as technical achievements and breakthroughs is causing the U.S. to fall behind in the gap distance between warfare equipment with China, in particular.

All of this is compounded by the fact that computer endpoints are not secure online and information can be snooped en route, making any idea available as soon as it is digitized. Now and certainly in the future, the original thought is picked up by brain wave potential measurements.

Add to that a Global phenomenon of media repeating concepts like “ideas belong to the whole world”, and “free unpaid open source programmers” and anonymous thieves of proprietary information, etc… it is becoming painfully obvious that education, genius, time spent working on problems, etc… is not putting food on the table and paying the rent.

We “technocrats” are becoming enslaved and if there is to be a war to end all wars, the victor will win it with our designs and additive manufacturing, not the Big 4 Aerospace Dinosaurs.

UCLASS is only going to be used to put a bullet in the F-35C which is so far from being a ‘fighter’ that it gives the Air Navy the shakes to look at it (things like a 43 second acceleration time lag from M=.8 to 1.2 mean the JSF-C is yet another bomber for a Navy that already has a new one on deck…).

UCLASS puts the F-35 to sleep and then the USN migrates it’s AF paid for techbase to F/A-XX as the means to beat the F-22A which is what their ‘egos’ are really twisted in knots over and have been ever since ATF trounced ATA.

Give us our own fighter program or we will hang you by your own ‘cheap fighter’ petard on this UCLASS.
The USAF will have to agree as the dropout of the USN will make the entire economic spectacle that Admiral Steidle warned about (less than 1,600 on the front end and the backside becomes unsustainable as an export-sales profit motive, causing Lockheed to default the contract, much as GDM did on the A-12).

Our biggest enemies are own protectors and this is no where more true than among the competing egos of the Air Services. What it will take to stop it is two things:

1. The collapse of the USD and the national receivership of the United States under an 80 trillion dollar debt.
2. The advent of DEW weapons with 20-30km range.

If either of those things happen, ‘Big Air’ (as in four Air Forces for one nation) will pop and explode like the giant ugly zit on our defense spending as economy that it has become.

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