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Author Topic: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?  (Read 7519 times)

Offline shawn a

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Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« on: April 02, 2012, 05:29:46 AM »
Given the F-35 mess, and the F-22 that the Defense Secretary said we only can afford 187 (now 185) of, does anyone think that Lockheed (Martin) will ever get to produce another fighter for the US Air Force?
Can they ever again produce a new design on time and within budget?
I think they have destroyed the confidence the Defense Department once had in them.
Opinions, anyone?

Offline F-111 C/C

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2012, 04:55:27 AM »
I don't really have an opinion on that but it made me remember that Lockheed/Martin will be delivering their 4500th F-16 (tomorrow I believe).
Wars are won by carrying the 'heavy iron' downtown!

Offline shawn a

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2012, 07:15:16 AM »
Without doing any math, it seems as if they've made more F-16s for other air forces than for the USAF.
And most likely most, if not all, of the latest and most capable variants belong to other air forces.

Offline F-111 C/C

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2012, 02:43:24 PM »
 I agree when you consider the other nations who are flying or have flow the F-16 below (and I'm probably forgetting some):
 Bahrain
 Belgium
 Chile
 Denmark
 Egypt
 Greece
 Indonesia
 Iraq
 Israel
 Italy
 Jordan
 Morocco
 Netherlands
  Norway
 Oman
 Pakistan
 Poland
 Portugal
 Republic of China (Taiwan)
 Singapore
 South Korea
 Thailand
 Turkey
 United Arab Emirates
 United States
 Venezuela
The success of the F-16 as an export came mostly from it's relative simplicity and low cost without compromising on the end product. This allowed an affordable option for less wealthy nations (and the option to build their own versions) that the F-35 doesn't really offer. This will greatly reduce the clientele list for the F-35. Truth be told, I can't see any future aircraft ever having the worldwide success that the F-16 has had.
 
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Offline shawn a

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2012, 07:23:25 PM »
 ;D Let us not forget--- The F-16 is not really a Lockheed plane, it's a General Dynamics Fighting Falcon. (How did the pilots get "Viper" out of that)?

Offline F-111 C/C

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2012, 05:28:45 AM »
Not to be semantic but it WAS a General Dynamics F-16. It's been built by Lockheed/Martin since 1995 ;). I never understood (or cared for) the 'Viper' nickname either. I never worked on them so I guess I wouldn't understand. I asked that question years ago and was told it's due to it's resemblance to a viper snake (which I don't see either) and others have said it's named after the Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper starfighter. I don't recall ever hearing it called a Viper until after I retired in '91.

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Offline shawn a

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2012, 06:45:08 AM »
Try asking a Super Hornet pilot where the "Rhino" nickname came from.  :o
"Designed by General Dynamics, Made by Lockheed"--kinda like my Apple computer--"Designed in California, made in china"
We need another fighter in the pipeline. Lockheed is welcome to apply

Offline Webmaster

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2012, 06:58:54 AM »
Well hopefully another snakename is available for the F-35, because otherwise next gen will be calling it just Lightning (like Phantom, while it's Phantom II), remembering P-38 maybe, but certainly the B.A.C. Lightning will be forgotten...  >:(

As for the original question, I don't know either, will there be another manned fighter after F-35? If so, there's a good chance going up against Boeing only LM will win design again. If unmanned, then there's NG and others to enter, then a no to your question may be more likely. Sometimes I also wonder where Raytheon is going... it's getting bigger and bigger, or is that just my impression? I wouldn't be surprised if in future they'll be main contractor.
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Offline shawn a

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 08:44:57 AM »
As far as I know, Raytheon has not ever built a manned aircraft, right?
I think they should engage in cyberespionage of chinese designs, and come up with a cheaper, and more modern copy of the F-20.
We need new players.

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 01:18:09 PM »
Right, they haven't, and they won't. But we know NG and GD aren't going to, Raytheon comes next on the list of biggest contractors. The rest is far off or doesn't have much to offer and it's not exactly something a start-up can do, hehe.  I'd say Raytheon is best bet if there's going to be a new American player. They probably would need to do a few acquisitions though. Honestly though, don't see it happening in my lifetime, but it's not like we're going to see new startups or the smaller defence companies coming to compete with Boeing. Unless there's real innovation for fighters... but then it's probably not going to be manned, nor big.


So light fighter with single-engine modern equivalent of what was F404 but with AESA radar and true multirole capability including EW and recce... you do know we've already got a modern F-20, right? It's called Gripen NG. Not light enough, then FA-50 comes to mind. A light fighter deriative of the T-50 Golden Eagle. So we've already got it, there are new players, they are just not in the league. So what you need then is a US contractor that will take these and turn them into US offers, ow dang, we know how that's going to work out... ouch: US101, C-27J, KC-30, A-29.

However if with "modern copy" you mean stealth and internal weapon carriage, then I'm pretty sure that it will bloat to become another F-35. Not that an alternative would be bad. But I bet there will be nothing left of the "F-20 inspiration" so to speak.

Other than all that, sounds good to me. There's a lot of countries out there with F-5s on their last legs and cash-strapped F-16 operators, and these are now almost forced to get "exotic" in terms of suppliers or overspend on fighters that are frankly way better than they needed and far too expensive to maintain/sustain. At the end of the day for the majority of countries, all it needs in added capability is to be able take down or scare off a Flanker or two and guide a few bombs. Then it will already be a huge improvement over its predecessor and be good enough. For countries with bigger requirements/ambitions, I really believe in mixed fleets, but clearly mixed fleet of two overly expensive types isn't the way to go (ahum, with a few exceptions, but maybe in those cases a low-med-high mix would be better than low-high capability where low means great and high super capable).

Finally, if you want a cheaper F-20 equivalent, then don't look to China. Their designs are heavy, their only cheap and light fighter is a MiG-21 copy, and it ain't that good. Or did you mean FC-1/JF-17, just ask Pakistan, can swap F-16 for one? It's really overrated in my opinion. It's overall closer to the F-20 probably than anything else, but that doesn't make it a winner. At least that's how I feel.

« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 01:22:47 PM by Webmaster »
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Offline shawn a

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2012, 07:39:57 AM »
Serendipity.
I meant to say (sarcastically) J-20, but mistyped F-20. But what I was thinking was a stealthy F-20 with that F-135 engine for power and supercruise.
I think the T-50 has cheek inlets which would make it's design a candidate for stealthy inlets, and then just clean up the planform stealthwise, add RAM, and -- voila!!
Right, and I'll just carry this snowball through hell!
Will the Gripen NG have the 414 engine? That's a start. I like my idea (of course) of a stealthy FA-50, with that huge engine, with lots of bypass and cooling, and stealthy inlets and exhaust, and an internal weapons bay, with several pylons for the "second day" of the war. But I'm just a dreamer....
Do you really think that manned fighters are going to be a thing of the past?
Use a good engine that exists, design a stealthy airframe shape, design the airframe for the latest RAM, and consider advances in the RAM coatings for later upgrades, and realize that stealth is a very fragile technology. Build large quantities.
Right, and I'll just carry this wheelbarrow of snow through hell!
Can't wait to see the Raytheon F-39!!  ;)

Offline Webmaster

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Re: Will Lockheed ever get another contract to build a fighter?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 05:00:18 PM »
Ow, haha, F-20 made sense, lol. I thought you wanted to go cheaper, lighter, smaller to complement the expensive F-35/F-22 combo ánd be a more suitable candidate for countries that are buying off-the-shelf and want to cut spending to 1% or lower of GDP.

Yeah, F414. The engine is just one piece of the puzzle that makes the NG a much serious contender than the original Gripen though. But yes, F414 is quite the improvement over F404. F414 btw is also on the development track of the T-50, so if a FA-50 materializes, it could have a F414. Also planned for LCA Tejas Mk.2, finally it seems the Indians dropped their own engine dev and got smart :P

About unmanned, I think so, but not sure! Considering the F-35 will probably have a 30yr production run... we're looking at 2045... 100 yrs since jet engined fighters. If it's not unmanned (and I don't see any other breakthrough on the horizon for truly nextgen platforms) then something must have happened that halted development (since a war will only accelerate it, we're talking huge natural disasters or something). The way sensors and datalinks (bandwidth especially) are evolving but also interfaces/visual representation of data, why not? Not saying F-35 will be the last manned fighter... but by 2045, we should be looking at a nextgen unmanned. That said, I think it will still be operated remotely by a "pilot". By that time, we'll be saying of course it should be unmanned and take the F-22 oxygen trouble, F-35 "information overload", and expensive/overbudget CSAR platforms, G-factor, and even potential weight/fuel savings, as prime reasons of why you don't want to have a pilot in the thing and all bets will be on unmanned then, like they are now on stealth, I don't see why not. And on the fragile stealth thing, that's just another reason to go unmanned. We've got unmanned recce (UAS), strike/attack (UCAS), bombing (NGB), fighters are next...

Bit off-topic maybe.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 05:03:19 PM by Webmaster »
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