Home » Air » Navy plans to fund four in UCLASS development

Navy plans to fund four in UCLASS development

by Mike Hoffman on March 27, 2013

The Navy has pushed forward with its intentions to build a carrier-based drone by 2016 with the announcement it plans to fund four companies in the competition to develop it.

Service officials have worked hard to keep the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) program alive despite threats from budget cuts to include sequestration. The presolicitation is towards raising the necessary funding on Capitol Hill.

The Navy hopes to issue a formal Request For Proposals for the UCLASS this summer. According to a report by Flight Global, the Navy stated in its announcement that Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Atomics and Northrop Grumman all “have credible, existing, comprehensive UCLASS design solutions, and associated production capabilities and facilities.”

In December, Northrop Grumman demonstrated its X-47B in tests aboard the USS Harry S Truman.

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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

STemplar March 27, 2013 at 3:22 am
STemplar March 27, 2013 at 3:22 am
STemplar March 27, 2013 at 3:24 am

Ill be interested in the RFP greatly. Payload dimensions on the internal baysin particular.

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STemplar March 27, 2013 at 4:20 am

grrrrr, stupid forum error messages.

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FormerDirtDart March 27, 2013 at 11:07 am

You can delete them

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TonyC March 27, 2013 at 6:13 am

The US Navy has stated repeatedly that the F-18 does 80% of what they want it to do.
Their faith in the F-35C is waning and they really want the UCAS as a way to clear an airspace with modern antiaccess weapon systems. The UCLASS is the first step in that direction and if they perfect the UCAS, they won't need the F-35C at all. The
F-35C is looking more and more like the F-111B debacle. This time there isn't money to develop a new airframe, the F-111B cancellation resulted in the F-14A development. The F-18 with conformal fuel tanks and a more powerful engine will be closer to giving the F-18 the range to reach targets in the pacific rim, should that ption be necessary.

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tiger March 27, 2013 at 8:28 am

Funding beats faith. The C model buy is needed to balance the cost of the A & B's. The USN is the only buyer for the C model. So the Navy will have to buy them to make the numbers work.

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blight_ March 27, 2013 at 8:52 am

Poor Navy, eh? Let's make you buy stuff and take it out of your budget for other things…

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BlackOwl18E March 27, 2013 at 9:02 am

I think The Navy should just buy F-35As at this point. If the only reason we are buying the C-model is to make the A-model affordable, then lets just go full blown on the A, which is significantly cheaper, and kill the C. This way we can save money and better fulfill the real political-based goals of the Navy's F-35 purchase.

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Booflebart March 27, 2013 at 10:12 am

The F-35A isn't carrier capable; the F-35C is.

M4918 March 27, 2013 at 10:19 am

The C model was specifically designed for carrier ops. Its got the bigger wings for the lower approach speeds and the stronger airframe and landing gears to take repeated catapult launch and arrested landing. The A model don't have any of this. If you try to retrofit them on the A then its pretty much a C anyway.

blight_ March 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I don't see why the Navy should be punished for jets it can't afford.

It's like punishing a woman for being raped by marrying her to the rapist.

BlackOwl is saying that if the sole role of the USG government is to soak up F-35 airframes to bring the price down, we might as well can the -C and buy more -A and -B. And to implement that, the Navy would buy some -B's, or some -A's. It wouldn't be able to use them on carriers, but considering how much land ops we find ourselves doing, it's not like we wouldn't get any use out of them.

The alternative is buying more -A and -B than we need and park them in airbases around the country as war reserves. Or you could put them in AMARC, they'll be the newest birds there.

STemplar March 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm

It isn't the only reason they are buying the C model. The plane overall clearly has issues, but we are buying the F35, that's pretty clear. Now I'm sure the USN will buy as few as they can get away with as well. I will say l like the talk out of the USN more than the USAF. The USAF is all in on the F35 and l think that is a colossal mistake to invest all our eggs in the tacair basket. Given all the access issues and basing rights we have had over the last 10 years you would think the USAF would be far more interested in a B3 and not have those worries.

tiger March 27, 2013 at 8:36 am

If Northrop has a proven bird in the X47B, Why try & screw them out of a contract with this competition? All the others have defense contracts on other projects to keep the doors open.

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Ronaldo March 27, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Competition is a bad thing now ?

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STemplar March 28, 2013 at 4:27 am

The X47 was a test platform. I'm sure the dimensions of the internal bays are very much in question, so the final product may be physically different.

I'd rather we not have a horse before the cart scenario like with the F35. Ideally if the system can maintain the 1500 nm combat radius and it could be built to carry a JASSMER, or two, internally, that would give a CSG a 2000 nmi unrefueled strike radius which is phenomenal.

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STemplar March 28, 2013 at 4:30 am

I guess that should be cart before the horse, late, my bad.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 11:08 am

Oh boy. This has the makings of a very large argument. Really though, I was wondering about the X-47. What happened to it? A drone for a carrier will be interesting, but once again, why? A Super Hornet doesn't get the attention it deserves. Most people simply underestimate the aircraft.

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ronaldo March 27, 2013 at 5:44 pm

It is the lowest performing fourth generation fighter out there. Even as an American I believe that the Rafale would be a better choice….if fighter performance is the issue and not blind nationalism.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Once again, underestimated. I comment around here somewhere claims that an E-18 Growler hit an F-22. That really says something. The F-18E/F almost seems like its restricted. I personally think that Boeing/the Navy could get more out of it, but it would require funneling money from the ever so holier-than-thou F-35 program. As for the Rafale, eh. Mixed feeling about it. I mean, its a good aircraft, but its a good aircraft for the French. Its kinda like saying that we should sell all the F-15s and replace them with Eurofighters. Maybe the Eurofighter is better, but overall, I would rather sit in a Eagle than a Euro any day.

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Davis April 8, 2013 at 2:42 am

Have to agree with your F-15 statement; it's record speaks for itself. Over a 100 kills and not a single loss to an enemy aircraft. Eurofighter and Rafale are undefeated as well but haven't seen nearly as much action as the Eagle. And lets not forget the in the 90's the Eurofighter was plagued with setbacks and disappointments much like the F-35 is today.

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Ben March 27, 2013 at 11:50 am

Sooo we're still doing that stupid thing where we throw money at companies in competition to produce prototype aircraft?

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James Hasik March 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Governments don't buy new aircraft models sufficiently frequently to make the risks of independent development palatable to firms.

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Ben March 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Yeah, but when there's little to no risk of loss to the competitors (only less gain) companies have been notoriously known to come up with less than fantastic designs. They're only encouraged to be ambitious and efficient enough to just squeek by.

It's why we're currently beating our heads against the wall with the F-35.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Well, I don't know about contractors not putting in a lot of effort. I think there is slightly less than usual, but not completely. If every aircraft that will be produced from this day forward is held to expectations at least at the F-22 range, then we can avoid any problems. And whenever the choice for this new drone is made, I think that most likely it will be a primarily US aircraft. Europe usually comes together to loose money I MEAN make aircraft. So that leaves our other customers, but I don't really see any needing a carrier-borne drone.

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blight_ March 29, 2013 at 8:26 am

Not enough guaranteed-buy or export chances to make new aircraft development profitable. People aren't throwing away their 2012 F-16's for the 2013 model.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 29, 2013 at 11:15 am

Yeah, the US doesn't buy aircraft like people buy iPhones. I mean, just because the F-16 has a new Block improvement (which is seems like every other day) the US doesn't go out and buy it. Rather, they would just put in new tech into aircraft.

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gar guddy March 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm

simplify or perish!

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gar guddy March 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I'd rather watch a swarm of killer bees attacking a company of well armed marines then one Apache. Which offensive weapon system will succeed at disrupting the tactical intent of the marines, longer? Which system will more likely survive the encounter with the marines? I'll put my money on the cheaper swarm. The Apache is down and out while the marines are still on task.

gar guddy

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 7:54 pm

You can't compare a gunship to people carrying guns coming off ships. Apache is CAS. Marine soldiers fight ground to ground. Apache is a two man flying tank. Marines are essentially infantry. Both are critical, and one should not be sacrificed for another.

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Taylor March 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I have serious doubts about a remote controlled fighter. Don't really believe they could win in a real time dogfight. Keep the F35s.

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Ben March 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm

It's a surveillance and strike aircraft, meaning ground attack not air superiority.

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STemplar March 28, 2013 at 4:22 am

If you are in a dog fight you already screwed up and failed in the SEADs mission.

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gar guddy March 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I'd rather watch a swarm of killer bees attacking a company of well armed marines then one Apache. Which offensive weapon system will succeed at disrupting the tactical intent of the marines, longer? Which system will more likely survive the encounter with the marines? I'll put my money on the cheaper swarm. The Apache is down and out while the marines are still on task.
Refer to 'Ironman" as a sweetly modified example, of force multiplication of 7.62 rounds(swarm), while reducing the crew to one, and cheaply focusing the task. The other two can become full time riflemen or even one extra 'ironman'. WOW! how more powerful will that squad or platoon will become?

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Okay, you are really going to use the movie "Ironman" as your base for information? ?! Huh! I explained in another comment that Apaches are CAS, and marines are infantry. You need one for the other to function. They are interdependent. And you should never under/over estimate an Apache, or the US Marine Corps.

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blight_ March 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I'll be interested once the Navy decides to integrate a GCS onto the next Fords. Do we seriously expect to teleoperate carriers from Creech off a carrier flight deck?

For perspective, here's a Pred-B GCS:
http://www.piersystem.com/external/content/docume

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Dfens March 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Oh boy, the Navy is going to pay another "for profit" contractor $1.10 for every $1.00 they spend developing another new aircraft. What do you bet they will pay out the ass for development and then the program will get canceled just before or shortly after it goes into production? Damn those defense contractors have gotta love you stupid taxpayers. You fall for the same scam time after time after time. You're really too stupid to be allowed to keep your money. You should have to give it to them. They are clearly much smarter than you are.

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Pappy March 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Don't necessarily disagree with the point of your comment, but it should be directed at the Pentagon, not the taxpayer. The taxpayer is forced by law to hand over their money to Uncle Sam or go to prison. The Pentagon is the agency that gets handed money from Congress and then wastes it on ill-conceived programs and other non-value goodies for their buddies at the prime contractors.

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Pasqua April 6, 2013 at 11:49 pm
greg March 27, 2013 at 7:38 am

I don' t know what this UCLASS has to do with the SuperHornet.

The article clearly states that they need to redesign the engine, and they are not sure if they can get the power goals that they with to obtain.

Also note that they said the fighter has the worst transsonic acceleration of any other 4th gen fighter. That being said, I really don't agree with buying more f-18s.

I don't know what the solution is, maybe it's not the f-35, but the f-18 seems to be a poor performer when it comes to performance.

You seem obsessed with this topic though, and comment on it in about every post,whether it has to do with the navy or not.

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Big Dean March 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Good call black owl. The Navy seems to have waken up from the F-35 induced stupor that the other services are still in, and they seem to want to put the F-35 behind them as quick as possible- BZ to Navy tac air. The F-18 roadmap is the way to go along with rapid and massive UCLASS development. As our CNO said, it's all about the payload and not the platform.

One the other hand, I wish the surface forces would wake up from their deep deep LCS haze stupor comma. Here LCS warriors, take anther hit on the LCS bong and tell us that everything is great.

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Dfens March 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm

They spent billions of tax dollars on development and now are trying to bail just before any actual aircraft are built. Wow, who could have possibly seen that one coming? F'ing morons! How many times will you fall for the same damn scam?

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BlackOwl18E March 27, 2013 at 9:14 am

You missed my point entirely. The F-35C is at the bottom of the priority list for the Navy. The Navy wants the UCLASS and more Super Hornets because they can provide what they need and the F-35C can't. The F/A-18E/F is not the best performer, but it is still good enough to go toe-to-toe with anything that our enemies can put in the air for now and for the foreseeable future. With skilled pilots, advanced ordinance, and good numbers we can still maintain our edge. Also, the EPE engines will in all likelihood curb or reverse the performance reduction that would result from the addition of the CFTs. If a Super Hornet were to have the EPE engines and no CFTs it should have a significant increase in performance in the aerodynamic regimes.

Perhaps you're right about me being obsessed with this, but the fact is that everything I have been saying for the past 3 years on this topic has finally started happening. The only problem is that no force in the United States can stop us from wasting billions more on the F-35 program because pushing against the amount of political protection of the project is the same as hitting a brick wall. It is a great injustice and misuse of tax payers dollars and we need to find a way to stop this, especially now when the US economy is not at its best.

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BlackOwl18E March 27, 2013 at 10:35 am

No, what I mean is that the Navy is no longer buying the F-35C for its maritime tactical operations. It is now only buying the F-35C to satisfy the national strategy of making the F-35A affordable for our allies. So we should just go full blown on the strategy and change our C-model orders to A-models so we can satisfy that strategy. In all likelihood we'd never use the jet in combat and would probably keep them to serve as aggressors.

Apart from that, the F-35A is nearly $100 million dollars cheaper than the F-35C. For every F-35C order changed to an F-35A we could buy a full Super Hornet and still save about $30 million. Think about it.

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Kole March 27, 2013 at 11:30 am

I feel the same way. I remember in 2009 when an E/A-18G was able to get a simulated AMRAAM kill on an F-22A through DRFM jamming (Testing). Not many people talk about that too much, but I was saying ECM and AESA SuperBugs are the future since then.

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BlackOwl18E March 27, 2013 at 1:08 pm

That's what the Navy does for the US armed forces I guess. We take one for the team when the other services can't do their jobs due to incompetence. What I'm really hoping is that the USN could some how sell the F-35As that it buys to the foreign customers to get the jets to them sooner. We'd probably have to do it at a lower price than we buy them, but at least we would lose much less money if we managed to get a system for it that worked.

I really want the entire F-35 program cancelled, but I think right now the only thing that can kill it is if our allies get the balls to back out first. I have for the first time in over 3 years come to accept the fact that the F-35 cannot be killed from within the US and this is the least bad option that I could think of.

I think I'm gonna be sick… I also want to cry…

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Hmm. Well buying up more airframes is alright. Its what the government should have done for the F-22, anyways. My question is more in long term. Eventually, we will have to replace the 35. I am personally afraid/glad that this plane is like the modern F-4. Built for all the branches that operate aircraft, but not really fulfilling the roles complete. Now, the F-4's retirement brought about the F-14, F-15, F-16, and so forth, and those planes were pretty effective. Overall, I say take money out of the F-35 program, buy up more F-22's, give them to Marines, and move on. Scale back the F-35B, to much of a hassle.

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blight_ March 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm

“We need the F-35C,”
“It has to be integrated into the air wing.”
“If we bought no C's, it would be very detrimental to the overall program”

Those are the three quotes you provided. It sounds more fiscal at this point than mission capability based, though maybe your audience is not a warfighting one. It's that last quote that disturbs me a little.

I'm assuming you're talking about the McAleese conference?

Working on finding full remarks, but having trouble.

http://www.equities.com/news/industrial/2013-03-1
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists

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@PanikaFalcon March 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm

B model can,,,,, VTOL on Big deck is vaste but still….
Bu it is to late money were already spent on development so no savings would resoult in not buying C model….
So what about make Iar force to buy C models too ? In time of need they could be used on CV… Becouse when SHTF there is now time to wait for new build models…

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Well then. If a 18 could take the F-22, I mean THE F-22, then dang. I always felt though that the F-18 was always under appreciated, almost hated, as it replaced the venerable F-14. Some videos of the F-18 have suggested that it could do the useless Cobra. Not needed (unless you want to get the crowd at a Russian air show scared) but still. Pretty versatile plane, the F-18.

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blight_ March 28, 2013 at 10:26 am
USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm

F-35 doesn't need to be shunned, just scaled back. Reduce the order. I mean it seems like very other day something new about the F-35 comes out, whether the B-model failing some inspection, to the RAF sending over pilots to fly the trainers. I say cutback on the F-35, (just hold like one or two squadrons per carrier, and that covers everything) and build more Zumwalts! And Virginia class subs. And improve the CIWS on carriers. There. Agenda for Navy. No need for an argument, though I imagine I have already made some people irate.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Well, there are two points here. tiger isn't trying to eliminate competition (I think) but rather is saying that is a bit unnecessary. We have the X-47. Why go back to the beginning, after all the money spent on an X-47, to just end up with an X-47? If the X-47B works, keep it. If it doesn't, hold a competition. Plain and simple.

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Defense Tech Fan March 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Competitions rarely reward the best airplane. They reward the best lobbyists.

Let's also not forget that certain companies bid a dollar cheaper to win a contract and end up failing miserably when it comes to actually meeting their commitments.

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blight_ March 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm

The F-22 would only benefit the Air Force. Naval and Marine aviation still needed platforms; and navalizing the -22 would've been relatively expensive and might not have succeeded either.

I think the -A's would've made more sense, and the -B's are relatively important.

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Big-Dean March 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm

DId you see the CIWS mounts get a massive work out on the movie Battleship ;-D

Poor poor Flight II's didn't get CWIS mounts and they got blown out of the water- stupid Navy, did they know they'd be fighting aliens with motars

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Man what is up with you an movies with the US military in them?! Next you might claim that Abrams tanks/F-35 are terrible cause a big green rage monster tore one to pieces. Okay, maybe the F-35 (don't kill me for that!) CIWS needs improvement. Maybe a longer range missile system. That is quite accurate.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Possibly. Honestly though, we are asking the F-35 to stretch and take every job in the air. Its kinda hard on the plane. And then, when it fails a test, we all stand around and wave pitchforks and SAMS at it. Seeing a Navy F-22 would be something though. But yes, my daydreaming aside, there is practically zero chance for a Navy version. But for the Marines? I don't see what would be bad. The Marines have the old, but reliable, Harrier. So just supplement its air-to-air service with the F-22.

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BlackOwl18E March 28, 2013 at 12:22 am

I do not want the US Navy to purchase any F-35Bs at all. If we switched from the -C to the -B we won't save any money. In fact we would lose more. The UK, Italy, and the USMC can have that animal and keep it on their own.

If we switched -C's to -A's then we save enough money to buy more Super Hornets and/or upgrade them as well as better accomplish the political mission simultaneously.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Eh. no. YF-23 vs YF-22 competition is a classic example. The YF-23 was faster, and more stealthy (which I didn't know was possible) but it lacked maneuverability. So overall, the YF-22 met the goals set by the Pentagon shaped building just outside Washington DC. And once again, we have a person who testifies to the evils of Defense Contractors. I, eh, no. Defense Contractors have their own problems, but we need them to make, say, aircraft. NASA won't do it, as they don't have enough money. The Air Force does make aircraft, just their a bit top secret and are held at Area 51.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Yeah, but I can see Apple trying their hand at a drone. The iDrone or something. But you are claiming that all this software is used to shoot down aircraft if the drone doesn't have a human controller. I personally think that drones can do high-g maneuvers, its just that pilots don't have a 180 degree or greater view around them.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Well it doesn't matter if it was the article or not. The "suit" is far from being the Ironman/Stark you see. I still think that the Apache shouldn't be done away with, no matter what this guy is referring to.

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blight_ March 27, 2013 at 11:25 pm

The air force is more afraid of the death spiral that comes with bombers. Look at the B-2's costs. Chances are the Aerospace Cost Inflation Spiral would double the cost of the B-2's unless they "bought enough". But when you have enough B-52's with low hours on 'em; the accounting suggests the old bomb truck is cheaper than R&D, let alone buying lots of bomb trucks.

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STemplar March 28, 2013 at 4:21 am

Unless you do want to penetrate contested air space, in which case a platform that can do so without having the aforementioned basing/access rights among 'allied' nations enters into the equation.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 28, 2013 at 10:30 am

B-2s plays the role of the "first stealth" strike, or the sort of USAF bomber aircraft designed for the Blitzkrieg. B-52 play the role of the carpet bomber. The B-1B plays the role of a low-level relatively CAS, strike role. The B-2 was expensive cause it was so advanced. No tail, just wing. And pilots. The B-52 is an EXTREMELY important bomber in the USAF. But it is important to note that the B-1carries more payload, quicker. And B-2 is WAY stealthier. Really, I think that the USAF bomber fleet it almost completely balanced. The B-2's cost is a lot, but I think we should have purchased maybe 4-5 more of those planes, while the assembly line was still open. It plays a key role in tactics. But other than that, the USAF has the bombers sorted out.

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blight_ March 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

What would be the point of the Navy buying non-catapult aircraft? Unless Navy aviation is getting into the permanent land aviation business. Sure, there are plenty of NAS to fly non-catapult aircraft from, but…

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blight_ March 28, 2013 at 11:04 am

B-2 was built on Northrop's prior experience with flying wings. B-2 was also Northrop's first stab at low RCS aircraft, instead of giving the monopoly to Lockheed. We paid for Northrop's learning curve.

Then we again, Reagan wanted B-1B's, B-2 and B-52, preserving the B-1 as part of an election-day ploy.

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Big-Dean March 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm

relax Enterprise, I only made one movie reference and you're getting all worked up

";-D" means "I'm joking around"

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USS ENTERPRISE March 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Yeah, I know. I was kinda adding to the joke. If I was serious, I wouldn't have punctuated like that.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 29, 2013 at 11:14 am

I am well informed of the history of the B-2. As for the B-1 that is in service today, it has been derived from the B-1A, which was a Mach 2 capable bomber. The B-1 is quite important. Like I said, it carries the most payload. The B-52 is also important; you got to have a mid-high- altitude bomber. Oh, and they function well to provoke North Korea.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Okay. Firstly, the YF-22 was made by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics. Thats three contractors. Contractors with an S. Also, a lot of the tech in the US military is made by the above mentioned corporations. I was waiting for someone to say something about defense contractors, as these people like to claim that they are terrible people. No, they further advancement in defense, space, and medicine. Boeing FTW.

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Defense Tech Fan March 31, 2013 at 8:48 pm

That's strange. I don't remember saying defense contractors were terrible people. What I said was the best airplane does not always win the contract due to politics.

My reference to the YF-22 was made to point out the fact the the YF-23 did not share those blunders, yet it won the contract.

If you think politics are not involved in the industry, you are very mistaken.

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USS ENTERPRISE March 31, 2013 at 11:07 pm

That's strange. I never said that politics is not involved in industry. I am saying that in the YF-22/23 case, you have to look at the competitors. The Flanker series was the main opposition. And well, if we are honest, F-22>Flanker. Any series of Flanker. Same with PAK FA and J-21, if history repeats itself. Anyways, it wasn't really politics here. It was how well the plane performed. Now I know you will jump in say that I am just defending the US government. No. I am not. The US government has done questionable/controversial things, but choosing the YF-22 wasn't one of them. To further reinforce my point, take this for instance. Operation Red Flag was created to help pilots train for combat. It was born out of the need for a program that could simulate air-to-air combat, after the terrible performance of pilots in Vietnam. (Oh, and the F-15's specs came from the same source.) Anyways, the problem was that pilots couldn't/didn't know how to maneuver their aircraft. The "premier" aircraft, the F-4 at the time, was designed to fly farther, faster, and higher, than anything. And overall, the F-4 turned into a plane where you either like it or hate it. However, notice its successor, the aforementioned F-15. It was designed with maneuverability in mind, along with the other criteria. Now lets fast-forward to the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition. The YF-23 met the faster criteria, as well as the stealthy criteria, BUT NOT MANEUVERABLE. The YF-22 only slightly lacked in faster and stealthier criteria, but excelled at maneuverability. And that is what makes the difference. You simply can't go around saying that the YF-22 was a bad decision because it didn't make the criteria. Cause its just wrong. Personally, I don't think that the YF-23 is dead. I imagine that it will be brought back to the USAF's testing runways at Plant 42. The YF-23 might help supplement the F-15E, and maybe replace the entire F-15 line altogether, (nothing seems to put down the F-15, F-22 isn't made in large enough numbers, and the F-35 isn't designed to replace it). Either way, the F-15 is a great aircraft, and its "successor", the F-22, is really the only operational aircraft that is "worthy" to take the title has King of the Air. Finally just on record, the F-15 corresponds to the F-22. They are both relatively big, costly, operated by a handful, if any, countries yet the main "battlewagons" of the skies of air-to-air combat. The F-35 is like the venerable F-16. Cheap (eventually), small, light, operated by everyone, and the kinda underdog. The YF-23 will be around soon enough. Maybe a larger version in the bomber fleet? Maybe a strike aircraft? Who knows? But I do know that the YF-22/YF-23 competition had more to do with capabilities than politics.

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