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USS Gerald R. Ford heading back to port

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Looks like General Electric will be footing the bill for this one.

There is accountability and liability for products provided to the military.  There is also possible jail time for outright fraud in materials and workmanship.

The article states they already admitted fault in the manufacture.

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Quote in House of Representatives late 1960's:  "Gerry Ford can't walk and chew gum at the same time."

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New ships have problems. The more new crap you stick on them at the same time, the more problems they'll have. That's why they undergo trials and shakedowns for years. Ford, as the lead ship in a new class, and one where everything but the kitchen sink is new, will be worse then normal. It'll basically be going shakedowns for years.

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40 minutes ago, Captain_Dorja said:

New ships have problems. The more new crap you stick on them at the same time, the more problems they'll have. That's why they undergo trials and shakedowns for years. Ford, as the lead ship in a new class, and one where everything but the kitchen sink is new, will be worse then normal. It'll basically be going shakedowns for years.

100% agreed.  It always strike as amazingly dumb when politicians complain about new ships or new planes not being anything but absolutely perfect when they're a new design.  New ships, particularly new ship classes such as the Ford, and new plane designs always end up with unforeseen problems that need to be worked out.  Expecting otherwise is profoundly stupid to me.

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1 hour ago, AVR_Project said:

Looks like General Electric will be footing the bill for this one.

There is accountability and liability for products provided to the military.  There is also possible jail time for outright fraud in materials and workmanship.

The article states they already admitted fault in the manufacture.

Not necessarily so:

1. It's the Navy saying "machining error" in the thrust bearing, and GE is simply saying they produced the "gears" (probably meaning reduction gear, of which the thrust bearing is a part). There is no statement made by GE acknowledging a machining error. It's possible the thrust bearing was sourced from a third party.

2. It's possible the Navy knew about and signed off on said machining error before receiving the ship. I used to work for a shipbuilder to the Navy, and there is a process in place for the shipbuilder and/or vendors to report manufacturing deviations, evaluate the effect/severity of them, and either reject the parts/materials, or submit the deviation to the Supervisor of Shipbuilding (Naval office supervising the yards building ships for the Navy) for approval. Major stuff gets sent up to NAVSEA, or further. So, it's possible fingerpointing could go on for some time.

3. So, if GE went through the system, and the Navy accepted the manufacturing defect in the process, the liability picture won't be so cut-and-dried.

34 minutes ago, Captain_Dorja said:

New ships have problems. The more new crap you stick on them at the same time, the more problems they'll have. That's why they undergo trials and shakedowns for years. Ford, as the lead ship in a new class, and one where everything but the kitchen sink is new, will be worse then normal. It'll basically be going shakedowns for years.

You are right there. Even in a fairly stable technology like a reduction gear, a new design of a gear casing might be prone to a first-off machining error in oil passages, etc.

1 minute ago, Crucis said:

Expecting otherwise is profoundly stupid to me.

Yesssss, but you are describing congressional oversight, there...it's hard to expect anything other than profound stupidity from them...but we should.

I have some concerns about the thoroughness of the article, because of one simple statement made in it:

"The CVN-78 is the official name of the Gerald R. Ford."

The official name of the Gerald R. Ford is "Gerald R. Ford". CVN is the official ship type designation and 78 is the official hull number.

It's a picayune thing, but it makes me wonder if other details are muddied in the writing of the article.

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A new ship with new systems filled with so much pork and passing the buck I'm amazed it made it out of port. Nobody wanted to spend actual money and time to put the new systems through proper testing and prototyping and when they finally had a completed ship, nobody wanted to do the stress testing because they knew the Ford was a terrible mess of a carrier.

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13 minutes ago, MannyD_of_The_Sea said:

Not necessarily so:

1. It's the Navy saying "machining error" in the thrust bearing, and GE is simply saying they produced the "gears" (probably meaning reduction gear, of which the thrust bearing is a part). There is no statement made by GE acknowledging a machining error. It's possible the thrust bearing was sourced from a third party.

2. It's possible the Navy knew about and signed off on said machining error before receiving the ship. I used to work for a shipbuilder to the Navy, and there is a process in place for the shipbuilder and/or vendors to report manufacturing deviations, evaluate the effect/severity of them, and either reject the parts/materials, or submit the deviation to the Supervisor of Shipbuilding (Naval office supervising the yards building ships for the Navy) for approval. Major stuff gets sent up to NAVSEA, or further. So, it's possible fingerpointing could go on for some time.

3. So, if GE went through the system, and the Navy accepted the manufacturing defect in the process, the liability picture won't be so cut-and-dried.

1) Third party or not, there is a test/inspection record chain that is supposed to follow the materials back to the hillside the ore was mined from.  (I'm being silly here, but this is the intent).  Failure to maintain these records is punished.  Failure to diligently verify sources is another offense..   ALL parts used in military system must be traced, and that trace specifically prohibits things like 'Bought it on Ebay'.

2) It's called a 'Issuing a Variance'.  Those are rarely (read never) issued in propulsion system bearings.  Are you serious??  We're talking the main propeller shaft here.  That's like issuing a variance for nuclear power rods or aircraft propellers..   These are mission critical items.  Those go bad at sea, and lives will be lost.

3) Whatever Navy official who accepted this defect had better have the rest of his life planned out after Leavenworth.  "Hey, the main propeller shaft bearings are bad..  Is that OK?"..   Only makes sense if that statement is followed by, "Here's $5 Million for your troubles".

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25 minutes ago, Crucis said:

100% agreed.  It always strike as amazingly dumb when politicians complain about new ships or new planes not being anything but absolutely perfect when they're a new design.  New ships, particularly new ship classes such as the Ford, and new plane designs always end up with unforeseen problems that need to be worked out.  Expecting otherwise is profoundly stupid to me.

To be fair - with the F-35 program aside from the fact it was delayed multiple times and bean to go way out of budget which was really the bulk of the issue for a "not quite stealth" plane when compared to platforms like the F-22 or the F-117. The military had to accept, to prevent further delays, reduced range on the A variant, and longer takeoffs on the B. While yes, the first ship of a line is basically the test bed because it's more cost effective and the limited numbers - by all accounts I've read LM had a finished production design and were working off that with 0 actual flight testing assuming that it'd work right. And then it didn't. Without using external pylons, which would reduce stealth capabilities, it can carry far as I can find maybe 6 missiles internally, though at one point for air to air the plan was 2 - The F-14, 15, 16 and 18 carry 8-10. It may have a 25 mm cannon, but listed info at this time is about 180 rounds. Of those 4 I listed the F-16 has the fewest at just over 500 and the F-15 the most at over 900. All 4 are currently listed as faster and, far as I recall, better thrust-weight ratio's. Not to mention just the sheer number of things listed on pentagon reports that were problems that needed resolving as the aircraft was entering service. 

There were really just a ton of issues with that whole program. Without it even meeting certain expectations like part commonality percentage.

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1 hour ago, WanderingGhost said:

To be fair - with the F-35 program aside from the fact it was delayed multiple times and bean to go way out of budget which was really the bulk of the issue for a "not quite stealth" plane when compared to platforms like the F-22 or the F-117. The military had to accept, to prevent further delays, reduced range on the A variant, and longer takeoffs on the B. While yes, the first ship of a line is basically the test bed because it's more cost effective and the limited numbers - by all accounts I've read LM had a finished production design and were working off that with 0 actual flight testing assuming that it'd work right. And then it didn't. Without using external pylons, which would reduce stealth capabilities, it can carry far as I can find maybe 6 missiles internally, though at one point for air to air the plan was 2 - The F-14, 15, 16 and 18 carry 8-10. It may have a 25 mm cannon, but listed info at this time is about 180 rounds. Of those 4 I listed the F-16 has the fewest at just over 500 and the F-15 the most at over 900. All 4 are currently listed as faster and, far as I recall, better thrust-weight ratio's. Not to mention just the sheer number of things listed on pentagon reports that were problems that needed resolving as the aircraft was entering service. 

There were really just a ton of issues with that whole program. Without it even meeting certain expectations like part commonality percentage.

Ghost, I think that the problem with the F-35 is reminiscent of the F-111 project from the 1960's.  That is, a project across multiple services that tried/tries to produce multiple versions of a plane to be able to be a Swiss army knife.  I remember thinking this from the first day I heard about the F-35 project, and it seems to have proven true.  I realize that this is probably an effort to save money by making it a jack of all trades, but it just ends of feeling like no one learned from the history of the F-111 project.  Or perhaps they felt that this time, they could succeed where the F-111 project failed.

 

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3 hours ago, MannyD_of_The_Sea said:

Yesssss, but you are describing congressional oversight, there...it's hard to expect anything other than profound stupidity from them...but we should.

I have some concerns about the thoroughness of the article, because of one simple statement made in it:

"The CVN-78 is the official name of the Gerald R. Ford."

The official name of the Gerald R. Ford is "Gerald R. Ford". CVN is the official ship type designation and 78 is the official hull number.

It's a picayune thing, but it makes me wonder if other details are muddied in the writing of the article.

Good point about congressional oversight.  

 

As for: "The CVN-78 is the official name of the Gerald R. Ford."

That just tells me that the writer is rather clueless about military jargon and nomenclature.  Sort of like calling the Bradley a "tank", or calling a destroyer a "battleship".  IMO, this kind of ignorance in a journalist who is covering the military is unacceptable, and shows that the journalist in question didn't do their homework.

 

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The tone of my response is determined by your one phrase:

9 hours ago, AVR_Project said:

Are you serious??

YOU are making too many jumps in logic, both about the article and about my statements.

9 hours ago, AVR_Project said:

1) Third party or not, there is a test/inspection record chain that is supposed to follow the materials back to the hillside the ore was mined from.  (I'm being silly here, but this is the intent).  Failure to maintain these records is punished.  Failure to diligently verify sources is another offense..   ALL parts used in military system must be traced, and that trace specifically prohibits things like 'Bought it on Ebay'.

Yeah, and in the branch of shipbuilding for the yard I worked in, it was called the SUBSAFE program. And the ethos, and nearly literal wording, of the material identification and certification markings "tracing it back to the hole in the ground it came from" (I'm quoting MY past, not yours, so don't flatter yourself thinking I'm misquoting YOU) was very much a part of basic orientation. I received that orientation over thirty years ago from individuals a lot less pedantic than you. So spare me.

You have no knowledge that such failures as you describe have occurred in the chain in this instance, but you're talking about it as if it's a given. You don't know Jack.

And your characterization of "bought it on Ebay" is your own ludicrous interpretation.

9 hours ago, AVR_Project said:

2) It's called a 'Issuing a Variance'.  Those are rarely (read never) issued in propulsion system bearings.  Are you serious??  We're talking the main propeller shaft here.  That's like issuing a variance for nuclear power rods or aircraft propellers..   These are mission critical items.  Those go bad at sea, and lives will be lost.

 

Variance. Yep. Know what it's called. Been there, done that. We once received notification from a vendor about a significant deviation from specifications, about mission-critical nuclear submarine propulsion plant components. We (our team of 5-6 of us in Engineering) did our in-house analysis on the problem. We went to the vendor facility, discussed the matter face-to-face. We thought the condition was acceptable. Sought the concurrence of the Lead Design Yard and did not get it. Issued our request for variance to NAVSEA anyway, and arranged a meeting at NAVSEA offices in DC (Crystal City), and our little team, with the Lead Design Yard representatives present and stating their case in opposition to us, sold our position and obtained the frikking variance. And the phone NEVER rang in the following years with anyone to day, "hey, this one bit us on the a$$." Maybe it's as rare as you say, and perhaps my perceptions are colored by the one and only time I was involved in such a thing resulting in success.

I recall now some of the NAVSEA nuclear engineers I had the occasion to know. They had their bilious, acidic personalities, but technical minds that were sharp and beyond reproach. You remind me somewhat of them. The personality part, that is. The sharpness part, no.

 

9 hours ago, AVR_Project said:

Are you serious??....

Yes, - in all pertinent experience, intent, ability, and success - I am.

You, on the other hand, despite your bluster, I cannot take seriously.

 

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1 hour ago, MannyD_of_The_Sea said:

The tone of my response is determined by your one phrase:

YOU are making too many jumps in logic, both about the article and about my statements.

Yeah, and in the branch of shipbuilding for the yard I worked in, it was called the SUBSAFE program. And the ethos, and nearly literal wording, of the material identification and certification markings "tracing it back to the hole in the ground it came from" (I'm quoting MY past, not yours, so don't flatter yourself thinking I'm misquoting YOU) was very much a part of basic orientation. I received that orientation over thirty years ago from individuals a lot less pedantic than you. So spare me.

You have no knowledge that such failures as you describe have occurred in the chain in this instance, but you're talking about it as if it's a given. You don't know Jack.

And your characterization of "bought it on Ebay" is your own ludicrous interpretation.

 

Variance. Yep. Know what it's called. Been there, done that. We once received notification from a vendor about a significant deviation from specifications, about mission-critical nuclear submarine propulsion plant components. We (our team of 5-6 of us in Engineering) did our in-house analysis on the problem. We went to the vendor facility, discussed the matter face-to-face. We thought the condition was acceptable. Sought the concurrence of the Lead Design Yard and did not get it. Issued our request for variance to NAVSEA anyway, and arranged a meeting at NAVSEA offices in DC (Crystal City), and our little team, with the Lead Design Yard representatives present and stating their case in opposition to us, sold our position and obtained the frikking variance. And the phone NEVER rang in the following years with anyone to day, "hey, this one bit us on the a$$." Maybe it's as rare as you say, and perhaps my perceptions are colored by the one and only time I was involved in such a thing resulting in success.

I recall now some of the NAVSEA nuclear engineers I had the occasion to know. They had their bilious, acidic personalities, but technical minds that were sharp and beyond reproach. You remind me somewhat of them. The personality part, that is. The sharpness part, no.

 

Yes, - in all pertinent experience, intent, ability, and success - I am.

You, on the other hand, despite your bluster, I cannot take seriously.

 

Anyone can have a bad day..   I seem to have picked one of yours.

Sleep it off.

Sorry --it sent as I was typing..

Fact is..   Carrier limping home like a Zumwalt is a bad thing..  Oh sorry.... Zumwalt had to be towed home.  These things happen.  They still get investigated.

And I regret to inform you that I'm not permitted to post where I work.  But I assure you my job is to ensure this stuff has to work before it gets out the door.

Two sides of a coin:  On time shipment and it has to meet spec.

The only time I've ever see variances is when somebody obviously screws up a drawing and puts a decimal point in the wrong place on a resistor.

Had one chassis we tested:  Failed miserably.  Looked at design -- can't pass.  Wanted to see test results from earlier suppliers -- they never ran the tests.

Pie in the sky 'temporary' dream specs become fact as soon as they get the product to work.  This thing was built by others for 30 years and nobody ever went through the required tests.  They claimed if they stuck it into the bigger machine, and the bigger machine works, they shipped it.  We were building spare parts and not the 'bigger machine'.

Manufacturer basically stripped down the test spec to practically nothing...   Customer looked at that and was within their rights to recall every unit built in the last 30 years.

..

Had a microprocessor that was failing, drawing excess current, acting whacky.  Collected all the bad ones and X-rayed them -- all were different -- even though that were date-code stamped the exact same way...   That's 'Product Substitution' and outright fraud as we were paying $1200 each for these things.  Found another one last week. 

People do this stuff.  It's like an aiming hack in this game.  They scoff at the silly fools trying to follow the rules, and laugh all the way to the bank.

Now I'm having a bad day.   Good night.

Edited by AVR_Project
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20 hours ago, Crucis said:

Ghost, I think that the problem with the F-35 is reminiscent of the F-111 project from the 1960's.  That is, a project across multiple services that tried/tries to produce multiple versions of a plane to be able to be a Swiss army knife.  I remember thinking this from the first day I heard about the F-35 project, and it seems to have proven true.  I realize that this is probably an effort to save money by making it a jack of all trades, but it just ends of feeling like no one learned from the history of the F-111 project.  Or perhaps they felt that this time, they could succeed where the F-111 project failed.

 

Most likely as a lot of lessons seem to have been ignored. Honestly with the way tech evolved - we had 4, now 3, multi-role aircraft albeit I don't think any were truly designed after 1980. Between guided and unguided ground attack munitions all you'd need to pick is one of the F-14, 15, 16, and 18 and make it a universal aircraft used by all branches. Albeit the truth is - your always going to need a specialized aircraft even if in smaller numbers. Your going to want a dedicated air to air platform because it's going to have weight trimmed by not needing as much ground fire protection or carrying heavier bombs and all, and really, you can't beat something like the A-10 in ground attack because it's built around the gun and the role. I'd just about bet the F-35 is nowhere near as stable a platform as it's wings while seemingly bigger, are akin to the F-15 and 18. Great for speed and maneuvering, not so much stability and stall speed which, okay, the Marine version can hover - which leaves it as vulnerable as a hovering helicopter to an RPG. Hell it's why there's been talk and trials of instead of using helicopters in places like Afghanistan where we have air control locked, but choppers are still at risk to ground fire, using higher speed propeller driven planes. At which point the plane they were loaned is a bit sensitive to ground fire at which point I say just modernize the F4U's design a bit with newer engines and all cause it did well in the role into what, the 60's? Anyway, That and the fact trying to make it stealth means the only way you achieve that is only use the internal weapons bay, meaning a lower payload. And even at that at this point, they have maybe 5-10 years before what stealth they have is basically obsolete.

They really would have just been better off with a newer conventional design without STOVL/VTOL just the right size for CV use but still use-able by the other branches, with the ability of a mixed payload of bombs/rockets/missiles, and as much speed as possible. Leave stealth to the Raptor and Spirit. But yeah, they'd rather make fancy new toys that are overly complex. Queue "Pen vs pencil in space" joke.

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4 hours ago, WanderingGhost said:

Most likely as a lot of lessons seem to have been ignored. Honestly with the way tech evolved - we had 4, now 3, multi-role aircraft albeit I don't think any were truly designed after 1980. Between guided and unguided ground attack munitions all you'd need to pick is one of the F-14, 15, 16, and 18 and make it a universal aircraft used by all branches. Albeit the truth is - your always going to need a specialized aircraft even if in smaller numbers. Your going to want a dedicated air to air platform because it's going to have weight trimmed by not needing as much ground fire protection or carrying heavier bombs and all, and really, you can't beat something like the A-10 in ground attack because it's built around the gun and the role. I'd just about bet the F-35 is nowhere near as stable a platform as it's wings while seemingly bigger, are akin to the F-15 and 18. Great for speed and maneuvering, not so much stability and stall speed which, okay, the Marine version can hover - which leaves it as vulnerable as a hovering helicopter to an RPG. Hell it's why there's been talk and trials of instead of using helicopters in places like Afghanistan where we have air control locked, but choppers are still at risk to ground fire, using higher speed propeller driven planes. At which point the plane they were loaned is a bit sensitive to ground fire at which point I say just modernize the F4U's design a bit with newer engines and all cause it did well in the role into what, the 60's? Anyway, That and the fact trying to make it stealth means the only way you achieve that is only use the internal weapons bay, meaning a lower payload. And even at that at this point, they have maybe 5-10 years before what stealth they have is basically obsolete.

They really would have just been better off with a newer conventional design without STOVL/VTOL just the right size for CV use but still use-able by the other branches, with the ability of a mixed payload of bombs/rockets/missiles, and as much speed as possible. Leave stealth to the Raptor and Spirit. But yeah, they'd rather make fancy new toys that are overly complex. Queue "Pen vs pencil in space" joke.

I always get nervous when there's talk of universal aircraft.  Each service has its own unique requirements.  Navy planes have to stronger air frames and landing gear to deal with punishing carrier landings.  The Marines seem to care about rough landing capability.  Not sure what the Air Force's special requirements might be.

No doubt that the A-10 was great in its day, but I wonder if it's not time to replace it, if for no other reason than its rather old and I expect that the air frames are wearing out.  Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that back during the second Gulf War, the A-10's were forced to fly at higher altitudes because it was getting too dangerous to fly at their intended normal low altitudes.   And if this is true, could it be that the A-10 is no longer the plane that's required?  Mind you, I always get a bit edgy when it comes to the Air Force's requirements for planes because it always seems like the AF is run by fighter jocks who care first and foremost about how fast the planes can go and how many air-to-air missiles they can strap on it.  Beyond that, I remember reading something a while back that the AF really never wanted the A-10 and only accepted building it to keep Congress from allowing the Army from building their own close support fixed wing air craft.

As for using prop planes for close support, a few thoughts.  One, if the A-10's really were forced to fly higher because it wasn't safe even for them at lower altitudes, I can't see that it'd be any better for propeller planes.  Two, I'm not sure how safe prop planes would be when you didn't have air superiority.  Three, for those times when you do have Air Sup., are those situations common enough to justify investing in such a force of dedicated fixed wing prop planes for ground support?  I mean, sure, they might come in handy over Afghanistan right now.  But after we leave there,  are such planes worth having around for the "next" similar conflict, and worth the cost to acquire?  And would a plane alone the lines of the Douglas A-1 Skyraider  be what you're thinking of?  Basically, a propeller drive bomb truck of sorts.  Another interesting one was the Bronco .

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm enjoying the conversation and happy that I posted this. 

Learning a lot! :Smile_honoring:

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On 5/9/2018 at 10:37 AM, Eisennagel said:

 

Naming the carrier for such may have jinxed it.  

I really hate that they are naming carriers after politicians anyways.  The old naming conventions are better.  If you want to name a ship after polititians, use support ships.

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8 hours ago, WanderingGhost said:

Most likely as a lot of lessons seem to have been ignored. Honestly with the way tech evolved - we had 4, now 3, multi-role aircraft albeit I don't think any were truly designed after 1980. Between guided and unguided ground attack munitions all you'd need to pick is one of the F-14, 15, 16, and 18 and make it a universal aircraft used by all branches. Albeit the truth is - your always going to need a specialized aircraft even if in smaller numbers. Your going to want a dedicated air to air platform because it's going to have weight trimmed by not needing as much ground fire protection or carrying heavier bombs and all, and really, you can't beat something like the A-10 in ground attack because it's built around the gun and the role. I'd just about bet the F-35 is nowhere near as stable a platform as it's wings while seemingly bigger, are akin to the F-15 and 18. Great for speed and maneuvering, not so much stability and stall speed which, okay, the Marine version can hover - which leaves it as vulnerable as a hovering helicopter to an RPG. Hell it's why there's been talk and trials of instead of using helicopters in places like Afghanistan where we have air control locked, but choppers are still at risk to ground fire, using higher speed propeller driven planes. At which point the plane they were loaned is a bit sensitive to ground fire at which point I say just modernize the F4U's design a bit with newer engines and all cause it did well in the role into what, the 60's? Anyway, That and the fact trying to make it stealth means the only way you achieve that is only use the internal weapons bay, meaning a lower payload. And even at that at this point, they have maybe 5-10 years before what stealth they have is basically obsolete.

They really would have just been better off with a newer conventional design without STOVL/VTOL just the right size for CV use but still use-able by the other branches, with the ability of a mixed payload of bombs/rockets/missiles, and as much speed as possible. Leave stealth to the Raptor and Spirit. But yeah, they'd rather make fancy new toys that are overly complex. Queue "Pen vs pencil in space" joke.

The last of the successful multi-service aircraft are the F-4 Phantom (everyone used it) and the F-18 Hornet (the US Navy and some foreign air forces use them). The 3 versions of the F-35 are basically different aircraft, that are stealing parts and development work from each other. In The USAF and most of it's users, it's an F-16 replacement (IOW fighter-bomber), I think the level of stealth in the aircraft is more a case of reducing the amount of time air defenses have to react, rather than trying to be outright invisible. The F-35 also has external hardpoints if it needs to be a bomb truck and you don't care if anyone can see you.

The problem with the A-10 is threefold: The aircraft is getting old, and supporting it is a problem. The aircraft can no longer do it's job in a first world threat environment (most modern AA weapons were built to kill tough aircraft like the A-10, because of the A-10) . The aircraft has excessive capabilities in less useful areas, and poor capabilities in more important ones today.

The going back to a propeller driven light attack aircraft is more cost driven than anything else. Helicopters are high cost per flying hour aircraft, F-35's are costly and keeping the flying hours off of them when you can is a good thing. So, an inexpensive aircraft to both procure and operate in low threat environments starts sounding good. Even better they can be supplied to countries like Iraq and Afghanistan where expensive and high tech pose their own issues. Revamping old WWII designs isn't really a good idea, most aircraft from that era had serious flaws and issues that were perfectly normal for the time, and required excessive labor to manufacture and maintain by today's standards.

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The problem with attack aircraft is really about being displaced and disrupted by drones.  Much cheaper to operate, much more expendable, will not cost the life of the pilot, will take off from anywhere, much cheaper to procure, high mission tempo, fairly stealthy and very deadly accurate.   

 

Since the US doesn't want to supply drones to Middle East countries, Chinese drones, bought by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries have been doing quite a number on Daesh and Houthi.

 

 

 

Some graphic footage in the video shown by this article.

 

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/04/27/drone-wars-how-the-uaes-chinese-made-drone-is-changing-the-war-in-yemen/

Edited by Eisennagel
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On 5/9/2018 at 10:50 AM, MannyD_of_The_Sea said:

Not necessarily so:

1. It's the Navy saying "machining error" in the thrust bearing, and GE is simply saying they produced the "gears" (probably meaning reduction gear, of which the thrust bearing is a part). There is no statement made by GE acknowledging a machining error. It's possible the thrust bearing was sourced from a third party.

 

Not trying to nit-pick, but that isn't how they are on CV's.  different than other classes.  Not part of the reduction gear itself usually (although I admit not certain on Ford, but I doubt it).

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Drones will never replace manned attack craft in symmetrical, high intensity conflict.

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On 5/9/2018 at 9:53 AM, WanderingGhost said:

To be fair - with the F-35 program aside from the fact it was delayed multiple times and bean to go way out of budget which was really the bulk of the issue for a "not quite stealth" plane when compared to platforms like the F-22 or the F-117.

Officials have stated the F-35 to be stealthier than the F-22:

Quote

 

During a flight debriefing, Col. Chris Niemi and Maj. Nash Vickers both said a comparison of the radar-absorbing F-35 to its nimble but less stealthy twin-engine F-22 cousin might not reveal the whole story.

Niemi has eight years in the cockpit of an F-22 and is one of the few Air Force pilots who is qualified in both the Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II. He said he wanted to set the record straight on the Lightning II, once and for all. “Many have compared the F-22 to the F-35 but that comparison is unfair. With the F-35 Lightning, this fighter sees better, has more range, and is stealthier than any of its predecessors.”

https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2015/august/04/f35-lightning-public-debut-shows-the-right-stuff

Quote

Hostage caused a stir in late spring when, in press interviews, he said the F-35 would be stealthier than the F-22, its larger USAF stablemate. Conventional wisdom had pegged the F-22, with its angled, vectored-thrust engines, as a stealthier machine than the F-35. Hostage also said the F-35 would be unbeatable when employed in numbers, which is why the full buy of aircraft is "so critical."

"I would say that General Hostage … is accurate in his statement about the simple stealthiness of the F-35 [with regard] to other airplanes," Bogdan said in the interview. The statement was accurate for radar cross section, as measured in decibels, and range of detectability, he said, and he scoffed at the notion that anyone can tell how stealthy an aircraft is just by looking at it.

http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2014/December 2014/The-F-35-on-Final-Approach.aspx

Quote

But during development, something happened. First, program officials began hinting the F-35 might be stealthier than the F-22; hard to believe, given its less-disciplined shape. Then officials started referring to a material secret, a “conductive layer . . . where the magic happens.” In May of 2010, Tom Burbage, then executive vice president for the F-35 program, disclosed the incorporation of “fiber mat” technology, describing it as the “biggest technical breakthrough we’ve had on this program.”

The fiber mat would replace many RAM appliques by being cured into the composite skin, making it durable. Burbage further specified the mat featured a “non-directional weave”— which would ensure EM properties do not vary with angle. Baked into the skin, this layer could vary in thickness as necessary. Lockheed declined to provide further details, citing classification. Without further evidence, fiber mat would imply use of fibers, rather than particles, which would make for stronger surfaces and the word “conductive” points to carbon-based RAM.

But only a month before Burbage’s disclosure, Lockheed filed a patent claiming the first method of producing a durable RAM panel. The patent details a method for growing carbon nanotubes (CNT) on any kind of fiber—glass, carbon, ceramic or metal—with unprecedented precision in control of length, density, number of walls, connectivity and even orientation. The CNT-infused fibers can absorb or reflect radar, and connectivity among the CNTs provides pathways for induced currents.

Significantly, the CNTs can be impregnated with iron or ferrite nanoparticles. Fibers can have differing CNT densities along their lengths and homogenous fibers can be layered or mixed. The embodiments described include front layers with impedance matching air, use of quarter-wavelength depths for cancellation, stepped or continuous CNT-density gradients and continuously varying densities at specific depths for broadband absorption. The fibers can be disposed with “random orientation” in materials including “a woven fabric, a non-woven fiber mat and a fiber ply.”

The patent claims composites with CNT-infused fibers are capable of absorbing EM waves from 0.1 MHz to 60 GHz, a bandwidth unheard of in commercial absorbers, with particular effectiveness in L- through K-band. The patent does not quantify the absorptivity, but does say the panels would be “nearly a black body across . . . various radar bands.” Also, interestingly, a layer can be composed so an attached computer can read the induced currents in the fibers, making the layer a radar receiver.

http://aviationweek.com/aircraft-design/magic-behind-radar-absorbing-materials-stealthy-aircraft

https://patents.google.com/patent/US20100271253A1/en

Quote

While yes, the first ship of a line is basically the test bed because it's more cost effective and the limited numbers - by all accounts I've read LM had a finished production design and were working off that with 0 actual flight testing assuming that it'd work right. And then it didn't. 

Concurrency was baked into the program-by DoD-from the beginning. The schedule was far too aggressive and program management from 2001-2011 was atrocious, which has led to many of the problems that JPO is dealing with today.

Quote

The military had to accept, to prevent further delays, reduced range on the A variant, and longer takeoffs on the B.

False, all variants meet range requirements and the Bravo meets STOVL requirements. Proof (PDF). See page 18. Demonstrated range trends towards the objective requirement and is well above the threshold.

Quote

Without using external pylons, which would reduce stealth capabilities, it can carry far as I can find maybe 6 missiles internally, though at one point for air to air the plan was 2 - The F-14, 15, 16 and 18 carry 8-10.

How many missiles can they carry while maintaining stealth? None, because they aren't stealth. If necessary, the F-35 can carry 14 AIM-120s and 2 AIM-9s and still be stealthier than any of the teen series.

Quote

It may have a 25 mm cannon, but listed info at this time is about 180 rounds. Of those 4 I listed the F-16 has the fewest at just over 500 and the F-15 the most at over 900.

The F-35 carries more gun ammunition than any foreign competitor (180 rounds internal for the Alpha, 220 podded for the Bravo and Charlie):

GSh-301 (Su-27, -30, -33, -34, -35, MiG-29, -35, Su-57): 150 rounds

Mauser BK-27 (JAS 39A, C, E): 120 rounds

Mauser BK-27 (Eurofighter): 150 rounds

GIAT 30M 791 (Rafale): 125 rounds

The teen series are outliers, carrying far more gun ammunition than any of their contemporaries.

Quote

All 4 are currently listed as faster and, far as I recall, better thrust-weight ratio's.

Mach 1.6 was specified in the original request for proposal in the late 90s. American fighters have exceeded mach 1.6 in combat exactly once (a F-4 in Vietnam, and only for a few seconds before depleting its fuel reserve). Also, I guarantee that the Alpha can exceed mach 1.6, given that the Bravo and Charlie can hit that speed as well despite having less thrust or higher wave drag, respectively.

Thrust-to-weight is quite good, but the plane is punished in these spec sheet comparisons by its massive internal fuel load (265% that of the F-16, versus the F-35A; F-35B vs AV-8B=171%; F-35C vs FA-18C=180%).

Quote

There were really just a ton of issues with that whole program. Without it even meeting certain expectations like part commonality percentage.

Commonality had to be sacrificed for the greater good of the program. It was never going to meet spec with high commonality. Even so, critical systems are still common. The Alpha and Charlie use the same engine (despite different designations) and the Bravo uses the same core and turbine. Sensors and avionics hardware are identical. RAM is identical. IMO, this is the commonality they should have aimed for in the beginning: keep the electronics and important systems, let the airframes differ as needed.

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4 hours ago, Crucis said:

I always get nervous when there's talk of universal aircraft.  Each service has its own unique requirements.  Navy planes have to stronger air frames and landing gear to deal with punishing carrier landings.  The Marines seem to care about rough landing capability.  Not sure what the Air Force's special requirements might be.

No doubt that the A-10 was great in its day, but I wonder if it's not time to replace it, if for no other reason than its rather old and I expect that the air frames are wearing out.  Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that back during the second Gulf War, the A-10's were forced to fly at higher altitudes because it was getting too dangerous to fly at their intended normal low altitudes.   And if this is true, could it be that the A-10 is no longer the plane that's required?  Mind you, I always get a bit edgy when it comes to the Air Force's requirements for planes because it always seems like the AF is run by fighter jocks who care first and foremost about how fast the planes can go and how many air-to-air missiles they can strap on it.  Beyond that, I remember reading something a while back that the AF really never wanted the A-10 and only accepted building it to keep Congress from allowing the Army from building their own close support fixed wing air craft.

As for using prop planes for close support, a few thoughts.  One, if the A-10's really were forced to fly higher because it wasn't safe even for them at lower altitudes, I can't see that it'd be any better for propeller planes.  Two, I'm not sure how safe prop planes would be when you didn't have air superiority.  Three, for those times when you do have Air Sup., are those situations common enough to justify investing in such a force of dedicated fixed wing prop planes for ground support?  I mean, sure, they might come in handy over Afghanistan right now.  But after we leave there,  are such planes worth having around for the "next" similar conflict, and worth the cost to acquire?  And would a plane alone the lines of the Douglas A-1 Skyraider  be what you're thinking of?  Basically, a propeller drive bomb truck of sorts.  Another interesting one was the Bronco .

 

10 minutes ago, SgtBeltfed said:

The last of the successful multi-service aircraft are the F-4 Phantom (everyone used it) and the F-18 Hornet (the US Navy and some foreign air forces use them). The 3 versions of the F-35 are basically different aircraft, that are stealing parts and development work from each other. In The USAF and most of it's users, it's an F-16 replacement (IOW fighter-bomber), I think the level of stealth in the aircraft is more a case of reducing the amount of time air defenses have to react, rather than trying to be outright invisible. The F-35 also has external hardpoints if it needs to be a bomb truck and you don't care if anyone can see you.

The problem with the A-10 is threefold: The aircraft is getting old, and supporting it is a problem. The aircraft can no longer do it's job in a first world threat environment (most modern AA weapons were built to kill tough aircraft like the A-10, because of the A-10) . The aircraft has excessive capabilities in less useful areas, and poor capabilities in more important ones today.

The going back to a propeller driven light attack aircraft is more cost driven than anything else. Helicopters are high cost per flying hour aircraft, F-35's are costly and keeping the flying hours off of them when you can is a good thing. So, an inexpensive aircraft to both procure and operate in low threat environments starts sounding good. Even better they can be supplied to countries like Iraq and Afghanistan where expensive and high tech pose their own issues. Revamping old WWII designs isn't really a good idea, most aircraft from that era had serious flaws and issues that were perfectly normal for the time, and required excessive labor to manufacture and maintain by today's standards.

SgtBeltfed sorta beats me to the punch on the A-10 answer and all, but yes, they did have to change operations and yeah, they are getting old. That's the issue with almost the entirety of the US's jet fleet - the newest aircraft in it are the Super Hornets. F-22 and F-35 aside. Thing is  that the A-10 is now vulnerable against most modern SAM sites so you'd have to take those out before they roll in to do anything or else wise have counters. That and you have to have established air superiority as it is. 

As to old aircraft designs - Yes, the Skyraider does also fit the bill, I lean more toward the Corsair mostly because of the rather distinct whistling sound it'd make as it dove in AKA why it was called "Whistling Death". Similar psychological tactics to the sirens on Stuka's albeit, less performance hurting I think. To which point I'm not saying we directly build the exact planes, pretty sure I said to update them, fix most of those issues or use them as a base template for something new. I just know what they currently use is a modified civilian plane with a liquid cooled engine as I recall which presents it's own issues.

But yes, in a modern actual war a prop aircraft would be woefully out classed however, as said above - this is in places we have control of the air and against enemies that at most maybe have some leftover stingers or other MANPADS. More often the weapon of choice is the RPG which is less likely to be able to hit a plane diving in at a few hundred MPH unless the guy has the aim skills of Hawkeye/Deadshot/any other character that might as well be called "captain aim bot". Which then leaves small arms like AK's, .30/.50 cals, don't think they'd have any autocannons which, anything built in the realm of old USN radial engine aircraft or the P-47 can usually shrug those hits a bit. I was pretty sure something about cost was in it, but I saw the article once months ago I think it was, couldn't remember. 

And I do get it's not supposed to be the same stealth level as something like the Raptor or B-2 but at the same time, whats the point? Okay it has enough stealth to reduce reaction time now if it uses only the internal bays. If I recall correctly the F-22 while not as optimized for the role maybe, can carry AGM's or some form of bombs that can be used at about the same capacity. Okay well, it doesn't have the same kind of external hardpoints to carry the same payload as an F-35. But in doing that, the F-35 pretty much loses it's stealth capabilities - so, why then is it not better to have a next gen F-15? or an F-18? That can carry as much, if not more, and are in fact faster so they can get the hell out of dodge and if what I heard is true, actually better in an air to air fight if they have to. Other than part commonality - which was supposed to be 80% but is apparently only 20%, what does it really add or do or fill not already possibly filled by other aircraft or that could have been filled by a standard next gen fighter? Cause correct me if I'm wrong isn't some of the materials for the stealth coating harder to maintain and I think something the USN may have had an issue with. I look at the project and honestly, I can't see what purpose it really serves as it has met almost none of it's requirements, suffered tons of delays, and cost way more than it was supposed to, and it's job could easily be done, hell it has been done for the last 40 years, by "less advanced" aircraft. Especially when they talk that withing the next few years, what stealth it does have may be inconsequential due to advancements that counter it at which point you put all that time  and energy into a stealth multi-role and service aircraft - that has no stealth ability. Kinda falls back into that thing where sometimes, going forwards means going backwards. I hear things of "oh, we need new missiles cause are current ones are more easily jammed and fooled, same with bombs. Our smart rounds aren't exactly as reliable anymore due to countermeasures" - Well, can't jam or fool a 20 mm cannon round or a dumb bomb or a unguided 16 inch shell. But that's my view on things and opinion. To me - the F-35 is unnecessarily over engineered. Just as well off with a standard aircraft, no stealth or STOVL, that can carry a decent mixed payload, has good speed, and can dogfight. Though, I had forgotten the F-4 was actually used by all branches. But again - why not something like that other the F-35?

 

And @Crucis pretty sure USAF just has requirements of being a good air to air platform that can maybe do air to ground, and capable of mid-air refueling, not sure they have any unique requirements where as Navy/USMC are more likely launching from CV's/different bases and need to be a bit more multi-role and sturdier. Bit easier to take a plane built for the Navy and just remove something like the tailhook or some of the reinforcing on the gear and all to save weight than take an USAF aircraft and adapt it to a CV operational one. A universal aircraft can be made to fit the needs of all, they just may have slight variances, but can use common parts which makes supplying parts easier, production easier, etc. And can also be cheaper which, is always good because your acquiring more meaning production cost will hopefully be lower. It has worked in the US in the past, it has worked in other countries, and honestly sometimes you have to look at the simple stuff. Yes - the Navy and USMC may need a sturdier air frame than a USAF plane. But at the end of the day especially with a multi-role fighter - they all have the same basic function: Fly with no issue, preferably fast, blow things out of the sky, blow things up on the ground, and land safely. Being a Navy plane didn't stop F-14's from landing at the inland Navy base near where I live, design it a bit more around Navy needs, sure a plane fits the USAF needs just as well.

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5 minutes ago, WanderingGhost said:

As to old aircraft designs - Yes, the Skyraider does also fit the bill, I lean more toward the Corsair mostly because of the rather distinct whistling sound it'd make as it dove in AKA why it was called "Whistling Death". Similar psychological tactics to the sirens on Stuka's albeit, less performance hurting I think. To which point I'm not saying we directly build the exact planes, pretty sure I said to update them, fix most of those issues or use them as a base template for something new. I just know what they currently use is a modified civilian plane with a liquid cooled engine as I recall which presents it's own issues.

But yes, in a modern actual war a prop aircraft would be woefully out classed however, as said above - this is in places we have control of the air and against enemies that at most maybe have some leftover stingers or other MANPADS. More often the weapon of choice is the RPG which is less likely to be able to hit a plane diving in at a few hundred MPH unless the guy has the aim skills of Hawkeye/Deadshot/any other character that might as well be called "captain aim bot". Which then leaves small arms like AK's, .30/.50 cals, don't think they'd have any autocannons which, anything built in the realm of old USN radial engine aircraft or the P-47 can usually shrug those hits a bit. I was pretty sure something about cost was in it, but I saw the article once months ago I think it was, couldn't remember. 

The changes would be so extensive, it would be a whole new aircraft.

For Example, modernizing a Vought F4U Corsair. The original R-2800 engine weights about 2300 lbs, a comparable modern turbine engine is only 700 lbs or so, that's a lot of weight that vanished from the nose of the aircraft, so now you're moving the wing aft in order to maintain the center of gravity, you're designing a new fuselage. You don't even want to think about the headaches of dealing with old school radial engines, they're made in small numbers today for style points, kinda like flathead Ford V-8's. If the aircraft stayed a taildragger, you keep all the ground handling problems inherent to that configuration, if you watch footage of old WWII fighters on the ground, you'll see one of two things, someone sitting on the wingtip while they're taxiing, or the aircraft weaves down the taxiway. This is because the pilot can't see past the engine. Going to a more modern tricycle configuration would involve adding a nose gear and relocating the main gear aft of the center of gravity. More all new design work.

The wing mounted oil coolers on the Corsair are responsible for the distinctive sound,  and they would pretty much go away with a turbine conversion. It wouldn't whistle. This whole exercise has been done before with the P-51.

The North American P-51 Mustang became the Cavalier F-51D and ultimately the Piper PA-48 Enforcer. It didn't work then either. There's a reason why aircraft like the Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano are getting looked at.

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