Active & Future Fighter Aircrafts - Around the World | Page 10 | World Defense

Active & Future Fighter Aircrafts - Around the World

Gripen9

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another article about the above.


The Air Force Secretly Designed, Built, and Flew a Brand-New Fighter Jet​

And it all happened in just one year. Yes, that's mind-blowing.

BY KYLE MIZOKAMI
SEP 16, 2020
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The U.S. Air Force revealed this week that it has secretly designed, built, and tested a new prototype fighter jet. The fighter, about which we know virtually nothing, has already flown and “broken records.” (The image above is Air Force concept art from 2018). The Air Force must now consider how it will buy the new fighter as it struggles to acquire everything from intercontinental ballistic missiles to bombers.

The Air Force’s head of acquisition, Will Roper, made the announcement yesterday in an exclusive interview with Defense News, in conjunction with the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference.


The Air Force built the new fighter under its Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, which aims to build a jet that would supplement, and perhaps even replace, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

The Air Force built 186 Raptors, of which only about 123 are capable of the jet’s full spectrum of combat roles. And at current readiness levels, only around 64 of the fifth-generation fighters are ready to fight at a moment’s notice.

According to Defense News, the Air Force developed the new fighter in about a year—a staggeringly short amount of time by modern standards. The Air Force first developed a virtual version of the jet, and then proceeded to build and fly a full-sized prototype, complete with mission systems. This is in stark contrast to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The X-35, an early technology demonstrator, first flew in 2000, four years after Lockheed Martin signed the contract to build it. It might be better, however to compare this new mystery jet to the first actual F-35 fighter, which flew in 2006.

That means it took the Air Force just one year to get to the point with NGAD fighter that it reached in 10 years with the F-35. This appears to be the "record" the Air Force claims the new plane is smashing, and it's probably right.
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Lockheed Martin concept art for a Next Generation Air Dominance fighter.

We don’t know which defense contractor designed and prototyped the new jet, though it's almost certainly one of the big aerospace giants (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing). We don’t know where it flew and where it is now. We don’t know how many prototypes exist. We don’t know what it looks like, what it's called, how fast it flies, how maneuverable it is, and what special capabilities it has. We don’t know anything.

So what do we do when we don’t know anything? Speculate wildly!

The Air Force designed the NGAD to ensure the service’s “air dominance” in future conflicts versus the fighters of potential adversaries. The new fighter, then, is almost certainly optimized for air-to-air combat. It’s a safe bet the fighter uses off-the-shelf avionics, engines, and weapons borrowed from other aircraft, such as the F-35 and F/A-18E/F. In fact, NGAD may look a lot like one of these fighters, though if the Air Force wanted a stealthy design to riff off, there’s only one (F-35) currently in production.

The most interesting, and perhaps revolutionary, thing about NGAD is that the Air Force developed and built it in just one year. The world hasn’t seen such a short development time since World War II. In fact, the trend has been for fighters to require longer, more expensive development times as technology becomes more complex—particularly with the adoption of stealth.

China’s Chengdu J-20 fighter, for example, broke cover in 2011 after at least 10 years of development time, while Russia's Sukhoi Su-57 “Felon” fighter still hasn't entered production, despite the fact that we first saw it in 2010.

The possibility that a 10-year development cycle has been sheared to just one year presents unprecedented opportunities. If the Air Force and industry can design a new fighter in one year, it could come up with all sorts of cool new planes.

This could encourage the development of more exotic, riskier designs that contractors would not otherwise want to devote a full decade to develop. The ability to fail—or succeed—faster will drive innovation in the world of fighter jets in ways not seen for a half century or more.

One thing we can be reasonably sure about the new NGAD fighter? It’s designed to kill fighters like the J-20 and Su-57.

The Air Force first conceived the F-22 Raptor in the late 1980s and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the 1990s. China and Russia built the J-20 and Su-57, respectively, with the F-22 and F-35 in mind, while the American fighters would have to adapt their existing capabilities to face the new Russian and Chinese fighters. But thanks to the Air Force’s new breakthrough design techniques, we could see a new, operational fighter to dominate these potential adversaries very, very shortly.

Still, NGAD enters a crowded shopping basket. Over the next 10 years, the Air Force is committed to buying and developing, if necessary, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F-15EX Advanced Eagle, B-21 Raider strategic bomber, T-7 Red Hawk jet trainer, KC-46 Pegasus tanker, and Ground Based Strategic Deterrent ballistic missile.

How will it pay for all of them? That's to be determined. But given the Air Force’s bent toward air-to-air fighters, it seems certain NGAD will advance to the top of that list.

master.m3u8
This is interesting. The Airforce, not a private co. like Boeing or Lockheed designed and built a prototype within a year and what I would presume to be fraction of the cost of the F-35 program. As a taxpayer, I love it!
 

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A Russian research center called Zaslon is developing a system for the Mi-28NM helicopter gunship to fire suicide drones from its missile launch tubes, a source in the defense-industrial complex was quoted as saying by TASS today.

Zaslon's missile launching module B8V10-UV can be adjusted for each specific task (for launching mini-drones or missiles). Also, it boasts weapons programming instruments.

"Built-in instruments transmit information from the helicopter's weapons control system to the payload, be it controlled detonation missiles, guided missiles, mini-drones or suicide drones. For instance, it can charge the drone's battery, transmit the activation command, and turn the drone on to send it on a pre-programmed mission," the source said.

Originally, the new unguided aviation missile cluster was designed for the helicopter Mi-28NM, but it will be usable on all of Russia's combat helicopters equipped with a weapons control system, such as Mi-28, Ka-52 and attack configurations of the Mi-8.

Small size attack drones besides also robots and exoskeletons will be integrated with Russia's new generation soldier gear, the commander of ground forces, General of the Army Oleg Salyukov told the government-published Rossiiskaya Gazeta in a recent interview.

"One of the current research and development projects, being carried out at the request of the ground forces' command, envisages creation of a new generation combat gear incorporating elements that enhance the personnel's physical abilities, such as combat and special exoskeletons, and the integration of combat and support robots as well as small reconnaissance and attack drones," Salyukov said.

Such equipment will enhance each soldier's situational awareness, facilitate the performance of combat missions and minimize the level of physical effort and risks to life.

Earlier, the Russian corporation Rostec said that the new generation combat gear Sotnik, being developed by one of its affiliates - the Central Scientific-Research Institute for Precision Machine Engineering TasNIItochMash - will incorporate micro-drones, connected with a tactical level automated command system. Images from its cameras will be projected to the soldier’s helmet visor or protective glasses.

The Russians may be joining the Americans in recognizing the use of small drones as Kamikaze killers. US defence contractor, Aerovironment has developed its "Switchblade" concept, a shoulder-launched loitering munition that will strike to kill at a command from the soldier.

The Switchblade drone may soon be given US soldiers on special missions in urban areas where spotting camouflaged enemy and taking him down is the priority.
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Scorpio

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No fewer than 13 companies will compete for their share of a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars in total to help develop various technologies that could go into “loyal wingman” type unmanned aircraft and autonomous unmanned combat air vehicles as part of the U.S. Air Force Skyborg program. The service is meanwhile seeking to begin work on a drone using Skyborg’s AI technologies before the end of the year.

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The contract awards are for the Skyborg Prototyping, Experimentation and Autonomy Development portion of the project, or SPEAD, work under which is expected to continue until 2026.

As well as working on Skyborg “missionized prototypes,” the latest contracts encompass subsequent experimentation and development of autonomous capabilities, including operational trials.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) issued this second round of awards under the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract, which has a shared funding ceiling of $400 million.

The following vendors are now among those competing for individual task orders under the overarching Skyborg contract:

• AeroVironment Inc., Simi Valley, California

• Autodyne LLC, Boston, Massachusetts

• BAE System Controls Inc., Arlington, Virginia

• Blue Force Technologies Inc., Morrisville, North Carolina

• Fregata System Inc., St. Louis, Missouri

• Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, Texas

• NextGen Aeronautics Inc., Torrance, California

• Sierra Technical Services, Tehachapi, California

• Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas

These companies join Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, and Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems, which had been the first to receive awards under the larger Skyborg contract in July. This all follows a formal call for proposals issued in May.

“This second phase of awards establishes a diverse and competitive vendor pool by adding several non-traditional and traditional contractors we saw as important additions to the effort,” explained Air Force Brigadier General Dale White, the Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Advanced Aircraft and one of the Skyborg program leaders.

The next milestone for Skyborg, which was first unveiled publicly in March 2019, will include air vehicle prototype designs, which the Air Force expects to begin developing later this year.

The idea of having multiple contractors has been baked into the Skyborg program from the outset and the AFLCMC has said it wants to “award as many IDIQ contracts as practicable, and to include additional contractors over time.”

Compared to modern manned fighter jets, for example, the threshold to entry in the development of attritable drones is significantly lower. This factor should ultimately be reflected in a drone, or family of drones, that comes in at a comparatively low cost. By their nature, the Skyborg systems should be affordable enough that commanders are willing to use them in higher-risk scenarios from which they might not return.

The Skyborg program is also beginning to show possible parallels with the Air Force’s much-discussed “Digital Century Series” concept for the development of future combat aircraft, Like that initiative, the service says that the second phase of Skyborg awards demonstrates “continuous efforts to identify applicable technology and expeditiously inject it into the program to meet warfighter needs.”

The high priority assigned to the Skyborg program was confirmed in late 2019 when it was earmarked as one of the first three so-called Vanguard programs under the Air Force Science and Technology (S&T) 2030 initiative. The other two were Golden Horde, which will demonstrate autonomous weapons, such as missiles, that are networked together so that they can work collaboratively as a team, and the Navigation Technology Satellite 3 (NTS-3), which is expected to “enhance space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing across the ground, space and user equipment segments.”

Crucially, these Vanguard developmental efforts are all planned to field systems rapidly. This is exactly what the Air Force needs from Skyborg, with plans to field an initial version of the system operationally in 2023.

The U.S. Air Force wants Skyborg to provide the technologies for a highly autonomous, low-cost, teamed aircraft that can fly in contested environments including campaigns against near-peer adversaries. Rather than being a single platform, the program’s goal is to yield a family of interrelated unmanned aerial vehicle technologies to support a range of Air Force missions. There’s also a suggestion that, as autonomous technology matures, the Skyborg program will introduce new capabilities even faster and cheaper than in its initial iterations.

Inside one of the Skyborg autonomous attritable aircraft, we can expect to see resilient communications and navigation systems, as well as flight-control software to ensure that it can still complete its mission even if denied access to GPS navigation or otherwise subjected to jamming. In addition to that, the drone’s autonomy means it is expected to perform the simpler parts of the mission — take-off and landing, etc — independently.

Earlier this year the Air Force gave an idea of how Skyborg would also be able to operate in networked groups “tethered” to manned aircraft or operate fully autonomously.

In terms of how it will operate alongside manned aircraft in a “team,” the Air Force has confirmed that the Skyborg will not have a role in “lethal decision-making,” but will provide information to human pilots to aid decision-making and boost situational awareness. Making use of onboard sensors and algorithms, a Skyborg-equipped UAV could provide data to the pilots of manned aircraft that might relate to air and ground threats, as well as presenting options for attacking or evading enemy aircraft.

The Air Force expects the Skyborg to make use of open-architecture and modular systems that won’t just enable new technology and capabilities to be inserted, but also ensure that the system as a whole can be scalable and be introduced to various platforms.

Despite some previous concept artwork, it’s unclear exactly what the Skyborg host vehicles might look like. In the past the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) said it aimed to first test Skyborg on a loyal wingman-type attritable drone. Elements of the system could then potentially progress to a fighter jet-sized unmanned combat air vehicle. Given the companies involved so far, there will certainly be multiple competing air vehicle design concepts.

Beyond that, there’s potential for the same systems to migrate into manned aircraft. The concept of an artificial-intelligence-driven virtual co-pilot is something the Air Force is exploring under its R2D2 program. Similar efforts are underway elsewhere within the U.S. military, as well.

Speaking back in March 2019, Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said he wanted to see “real, operational demonstrations” of Skyborg architecture “within a couple of years.”

With that in mind, together with this latest contract announcement, we might not have to wait long until we see the Air Force’s autonomous attritable aircraft technology under test.
 

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Boeing’s First Australian-designed & developed Unmanned Aircraft to be Assembled in Queensland Australia

AUSTRALIA, Oct. 5, 2020 — Queensland is poised to take another bold step in aerospace and advanced manufacturing with an historic opportunity to be the final production home for unmanned defence aircraft – the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said a visionary new partnership with Boeing Australia means more high-skilled jobs, local supply opportunities and defence industry stimulus as Queensland continues to recover and grow from the COVID downturn.

“The creation of additional new aerospace capability could see unmanned defence aircraft produced here by the middle of the decade, with prototype testing and certification taking place before that,” the premier said.

“We are carrying out our plan to recover and grow, including into new industries, and it’s very important that we do that not just as a government but with key partnerships.

“Our investment in this advanced manufacturing project will provide critical skills for suppliers, academia and Boeing, and culminate in Queensland becoming the primary final assembly facility for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, conditional on orders.

“Supporting this project is a significant investment in the Queensland defence and manufacturing industries and will strengthen ties between Australia and the global defence market.

“The unmanned teaming aircraft is Boeing’s first military aircraft to be designed and developed outside the U.S and uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms.”

The first aircraft prototype, called the Loyal Wingman, was unveiled with the Royal Australian Air Force in May this year.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the Boeing partnership demonstrated the Palaszczuk government’s commitment to advanced manufacturing.

“Manufacturing is a vital part of the Queensland economy, which is why supporting manufacturing is one of the centrepieces of our Unite and Recover Economic Recovery Plan,” the treasurer said.

“Our government’s longstanding commitment to advanced manufacturing is one of the reasons Queensland is already home to Boeing’s largest workforce outside the United States.

“Boeing has 1,700 staff in Queensland and supports 400 Queensland-based suppliers.

“Loyal Wingman will mean even more highly skilled advanced manufacturing jobs, further reinforcing Queensland’s status as a centre for defence industries.

“It was precisely to attract projects like this that the Palaszczuk government developed our 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan for Defence Industries. Today is proof that plan is delivering for Queensland.”

Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific President Brendan Nelson said the partnership with the Queensland government to develop an advanced manufacturing capability was a significant milestone for the company.

“It’s one that will build cutting-edge skills to stimulate the innovation ecosystem in Queensland,” he said.

“This includes introducing technologies such as advanced robotics; investment in universities, small-to-medium enterprises and start-up companies; as well as creating global export opportunities for Australia’s supply chain.

“This investment could unlock global defence and aerospace opportunities for Queensland to gain future work share in other Boeing programs.”

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 160,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.
 

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United States has approved a foreign military sale of F-35 Joint Strike and Fighter and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft to Finland.

The Government of Finland has requested to buy fifty (50) F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft; eight (8) F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft; fourteen (14) EA-18G Growler aircraft; one hundred sixty-six (166) F414-GE-400 engines (144 installed and 22 spares) as well as different types of weapons including missiles and bombs.

The proposed sale of F/A-18E/Fs and EA-18Gs and associated weapons will provide Finland with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. Forces. The proposed sale will replace Finland's retiring F/A-18C/Ds and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability. Finland will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.

The principal contractors will be The Boeing Company, St. Louis, MO; Northrop Grumman, Los Angeles, CA; Raytheon Company, El Segundo, CA; Raytheon Missile Systems Company, Tucson, AZ; General Electric, Lynn, MA; and Lockheed Martin, Troy, AL. This proposal is being offered in the context of a competition. If the proposal is accepted, it is expected that offset agreements will be required. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor(s).

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of six (6) additional U.S. contractor representatives to Finland on an intermittent basis for a duration of the life of the case to support delivery of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft and provide supply support management, inventory control, and equipment familiarization.

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Finland of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft with air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground precision guided munitions and related equipment for an estimated cost of $12.5 billion.

The Government of Finland has requested to buy sixty-four (64) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter CTOL aircraft; sixty-six (66) Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines (64 installed and 2 spares) as well as different types of weapons and onboard equipment.

The proposed sale of F-35s and associated missiles and munitions will provide Finland with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces. The proposed sale will replace Finland's retiring F/A-18s and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability. Finland will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.

The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, TX; Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, CT; The Boeing Company, St. Charles, MO; and Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Tucson, AZ. This proposal is being offered in the context of a competition. If the proposal is accepted, it is expected that offset agreements will be required. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor(s).

Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Finland involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, program management and training over the life of the program. U.S. contractor representatives will be required in Finland to conduct Contractor Engineering Technical Services (CETS) and Autonomic Logistics and Global Support (ALGS) for after-aircraft delivery.
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Qatar Emiri Airforce have officially asked for F 35s from US.

Qatar already bought 36 Dassualt Rafales a 4++ Generation Fighter Jet from france.

Then 24 Eurofighter Typhoons another 4++ Generation Fighter Jet. One of most Advanced 4++ Generation Fighter Jet.

And 36 F 15 Qx. From US which is also a 4++ Generation Fighter Jet. And is coming with AESA Radar and ability to carry upto 22 Amraams.

Now Qatar have officially asked for F 35s... A fifth Generation Stealth Fighter Jet...

Qatar is also looking for Turkish Drones Bayrakter TB 2 and Apaches

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Russian New Engine for Su-57 Stealth Jet to be classified as 5+ Gen
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The upcoming ‘Second Stage’ engine for the Russian Su-57 fighter jet could be classified as 5+ generation, due to its increased thrust over current fifth-generation fighter aircraft engines.

“I would even say that this (Second stage engine) is the 5+ generation, slightly ahead of the 5th generation, because the specific characteristics of this engine correspond to this generation. The main thing is specific thrust, specific consumption and specific gravity, “explained Yevgeny Marchukov, general designer - director of OKB, - a branch of United Engine Corporation (UEC) which is developing the engine.
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“No other engine in the world produces such specific thrust. Otherwise, it makes no sense (to create such powerful aircraft engines. Its life-span is 30-50 years," said Yevgeny Marchukov in an interview with the Zvezda TV channel of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

This is the first time a senior technical head of the project has spoken about the engine performance characteristics, though the exact numbers remain a secret. If the general-director’s words are to be interpreted, it means the second stage engine could be more powerful than P &W F-135 engine that powers the F-35 jet which is the only fifth generation fighter aircraft in the world operational with several countries.

Videos from the Zvezda TV channel report show an engine on a test bench undergoing static tests. The thrust vectoring nozzle of the engine can be clearly discerned. That the engine is on a test bench indicates that the powerplant is still under development and may be some years before it is qualified to fly on the Su-57.

Currently, prototype of the Su-57 has been photographed flying with the AL-41 FP engine derived from the Su-35. A test aircraft has also been seen flying with AL-41 engine in one bay and the Second Stage engine in another.

The Su-57 has entered serial production with the first production versions fitted with the AL-41FP engines. These aircraft are expected to enter Russian air force service by 2022.

 
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