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The Mighty F-22

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I attended the Sacramento International Airshow yesterday. The show, overall, was pretty good. I used to fly aerobatics and have never been a big fan of the military acts. I always watch the civilian pilots intently. There were a few fantastic civilian acts. But, I must comment on the F-22.

I remember when this aircraft was in development and flight test. I was still in the aerospace industry and watched, with some concern, as they lost one prototype. Yesterday was the first time I've seen the aircraft fly firsthand. It terms of sheer performance and maneuverability the F-22 far exceeded any other military aircraft. Several times, the aircraft would pass by right on the edge of sonic, with sock wave just starting to become visible (sans afterburners), pull up, and turn 180 degrees with its wingtip as the center of pivot. It did a loop with the tip of its nose at the center of the loop. It performed a completely flat spin and flew away horizontally. Near the end of the routine it did something that shocked me even more. It pullled up right in front of us and throttled back so that it would only climb to about 3000 feet. At that height it hovered, nose pointed straight up. That was surprising enough. But, then it backed down, tail-first, towards the earth - flying backwards for about 1000 feet. The materials and flight controls in that aircraft are obviously on the cutting edge of our knowledge. I would really like to meet the people who pulled off the engineering and shake their hands.

A friend of mine who was at the show with me said he saw the F-22 perform at Oshkosk a couple of years ago and it didn't do nearly as wild a routine then. Perhaps this new routine is a marketing effort to keep the program alive(?) I know a fair amount about the technology involved and I was really stunned by what I saw. Hats off to the designers.

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I attended the Sacramento International Airshow yesterday. The show, overall, was pretty good. I used to fly aerobatics and have never been a big fan of the military acts. I always watch the civilian pilots intently. There were a few fantastic civilian acts. But, I must comment on the F-22.

I remember when this aircraft was in development and flight test. I was still in the aerospace industry and watched, with some concern, as they lost one prototype. Yesterday was the first time I've seen the aircraft fly firsthand. It terms of sheer performance and maneuverability the F-22 far exceeded any other military aircraft. Several times, the aircraft would pass by right on the edge of sonic, with sock wave just starting to become visible (sans afterburners), pull up, and turn 180 degrees with its wingtip as the center of pivot. It did a loop with the tip of its nose at the center of the loop. It performed a completely flat spin and flew away horizontally. Near the end of the routine it did something that shocked me even more. It pullled up right in front of us and throttled back so that it would only climb to about 3000 feet. At that height it hovered, nose pointed straight up. That was surprising enough. But, then it backed down, tail-first, towards the earth - flying backwards for about 1000 feet. The materials and flight controls in that aircraft are obviously on the cutting edge of our knowledge. I would really like to meet the people who pulled off the engineering and shake their hands.

A friend of mine who was at the show with me said he saw the F-22 perform at Oshkosk a couple of years ago and it didn't do nearly as wild a routine then. Perhaps this new routine is a marketing effort to keep the program alive(?) I know a fair amount about the technology involved and I was really stunned by what I saw. Hats off to the designers.

At 200 million dollars a pop, it had better be spectacular.

Bob Kolker

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------------

A friend of mine who was at the show with me said he saw the F-22 perform at Oshkosk a couple of years ago and it didn't do nearly as wild a routine then. Perhaps this new routine is a marketing effort to keep the program alive(?) I know a fair amount about the technology involved and I was really stunned by what I saw. Hats off to the designers.

Unfortunately, the F22 program ("the F-22 was the only fighter in the U.S. Air Force that could penetrate any Russian air defense system") has been canceled with only the units under construction to be manufactured for the US. F22 Canceled However, this may not mean that no F22 will be built as other countries are requesting the plane. The problem will be for the US to come up with some way of protecting classified systems on the plane if it is sold.

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I attended the Sacramento International Airshow yesterday. The show, overall, was pretty good. I used to fly aerobatics and have never been a big fan of the military acts. I always watch the civilian pilots intently. There were a few fantastic civilian acts. But, I must comment on the F-22.

I remember when this aircraft was in development and flight test. I was still in the aerospace industry and watched, with some concern, as they lost one prototype. Yesterday was the first time I've seen the aircraft fly firsthand. It terms of sheer performance and maneuverability the F-22 far exceeded any other military aircraft. Several times, the aircraft would pass by right on the edge of sonic, with sock wave just starting to become visible (sans afterburners), pull up, and turn 180 degrees with its wingtip as the center of pivot. It did a loop with the tip of its nose at the center of the loop. It performed a completely flat spin and flew away horizontally. Near the end of the routine it did something that shocked me even more. It pullled up right in front of us and throttled back so that it would only climb to about 3000 feet. At that height it hovered, nose pointed straight up. That was surprising enough. But, then it backed down, tail-first, towards the earth - flying backwards for about 1000 feet. The materials and flight controls in that aircraft are obviously on the cutting edge of our knowledge. I would really like to meet the people who pulled off the engineering and shake their hands.

A friend of mine who was at the show with me said he saw the F-22 perform at Oshkosk a couple of years ago and it didn't do nearly as wild a routine then. Perhaps this new routine is a marketing effort to keep the program alive(?) I know a fair amount about the technology involved and I was really stunned by what I saw. Hats off to the designers.

At 200 million dollars a pop, it had better be spectacular.

Bob Kolker

More like$340M per plane. But the high cost would go down per plane if more were manufactured.

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And where are the pictures?!?!

Here's some from the Andrews Air Force Base Airshow I went to in May 2009.

I hope you can see them. Let me know if you can't.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#...v=1099256554681

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=...v=1099247434453

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I've seen reports that we already have 187 F22s.

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Dang - videos got removed.

No, they're still there.

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I see this message:

"This video either has been removed from Facebook or is not visible due to privacy settings."

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I've seen reports that we already have 187 F22s.

36 billion $ here, 36 billion $ there. Pretty soon you are talking about real money.

Bob Kolker

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I see this message:

"This video either has been removed from Facebook or is not visible due to privacy settings."

I'll look into moving it somewhere else.

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I've seen reports that we already have 187 F22s.

36 billion $ here, 36 billion $ there. Pretty soon you are talking about real money.

Bob Kolker

What's that? The $9 trillion dollar deficit paper money that grows on trees?

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Just last week, before attending this show, I finished reading the book "Skunk Works". The above assertion that the cost of the aircraft, per unit, would come down if more were purchased is described in that book. I highly suggest this book. Any fan of Atlas Shrugged would really appreciate Ben Rich's comments in the last chapter about government largess and how it is impacting the aerospace business.

Ben Rich took over Skunk Works when Kelly Johnson retired. His description of Mr. Johnson reminded me of my days in the aerospace business; where the best engineers were usually hard-nosed, no-nonsense, politically incorrect guys. The book is a very enjoyable read and I recommend it.

Ben also mentioned that the government could save a bunch of money if it hired the contractors who build the airplanes to maintain them. He described how the Air Force staff would be several times larger than a staff from Lockheed, including a great example with the F-117. In light of this, I was eager to speak with the maintenance crew of the U-2 that was parked at the airshow. After a brief conversation with the crew chief I found him to be a pompous, ignorant ass.

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You saw a

and an F-22!

*dreams of the USA*

Closest I got to a war bird was a B-29 flying maybe 30ft above my roof (this was the Cambridge RAF Squadron having fun at a demo).

His description of Mr. Johnson reminded me of my days in the aerospace business; where the best engineers were usually hard-nosed, no-nonsense, politically incorrect guys.

That sounds very enjoyable a place to work! A place where creativity can thrive (as exemplified by the output from Lockheed and competitors, which still decorates my dreams) and efficiency can rule. In a word, what Engineering really stands (stood?) for.

What do you think of the culture at BAE Systems? The few staff I have met from there seem to have this attitude too (and, amusingly, the person responsible for security at the Cambridge University Engineering Department, with whom I had a medium length and highly amusing discussion on a recent air warfare symposium that the Department had just hosted, complete with highly violent protesting hippies - we exchanged appreciative comments on the slide materials -_-).

To be honest, the US doesn't *need* more F-22s. It is so far ahead in terms of warfare equipment that it can afford to wait out the 10 years or so that it will take socialist nations (Europe included) to catch up. The countries that do pose a threat to the US are so feeble (and the threat so different from conventional warfare) that other than as a tribute to awesome engineering, there is not much point in purchasing the aircrafts. Much better spend the money on welfare -_-

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I've seen reports that we already have 187 F22s.

36 billion $ here, 36 billion $ there. Pretty soon you are talking about real money.

Bob Kolker

The several models of airplanes of the various types that were operated during WW2 showed that they had different fighting characteristics. Some attributes of some planes meant that they could accomplish certain missions better than others, and the airplanes were placed where appropriate in the strategic scheme of things. The wrench in the works was that the enemy's equipment also had certain beneficial or less beneficial characteristics, especially when involved in combat missions against each of the types of the opponent's, that is, our, aircraft, and the mounted or other weapons.

A complex pecking order developed that came into play under all the possible conditions of the battles. Or even storage, for that matter.

Airplanes that had remarkably the same configurations had slightly different characteristics when in operation, or they fared more or less well in battle conditions. P47s began to be seen as excellent ground battle support fighters, and the P51s were found to have slightly better advantages due to a capacity for a few more minutes of air to air battle time after dropping their tanks.

Further, differentiations of advantage and usage occurred as a result of improved weapons, e.g., cannons, machine guns, rockets, fuel tanks, radars, proximity fuses and bombs of various types. During the war there were advantages that adhered to some airplanes when they were improved in terms of the airframes or engines, for example. Subtle changes in the roles, and consequent missions, were possible during, and also as a result of the developments and types of improvements. These subtle differences, for example being able to turn a tighter radius of a difference of a matter of a few feet in several 360^ turns, were significant and resulted in victories. These advantages were unforeseen prior to engagement, and they were unforeseen by the politicians, that's for certain. Some physical structures of the aircraft permitted easier learning curves for the use of the machines in battle or in terms of tactical and strategic uses.

Experts may guess what a given aircraft may accomplish against enemy aircraft, or as their aircraft are improved, however, much of the skill of designing and using the aircraft occurs during warfare, and even during manufacturing.

Where the USA currently has two extraordinary fighter aircraft in development and early production, it is safe to say that no politician can possibly guess in advance just what the improved versions of the aircraft will be able to accomplish in the future under new and different battle conditions.

Now that both aircraft exist, and for the above reasons, it is important to have both types. The future range of improvements to both aircraft will yield unanticipated results, and these, here unspecified, advantages should be developed. If only one location of manufacture for just one of the two fighter plane designs is selected by The Congress, all those members of The Congress who voted for the single fighter program should be let go and replaced by legislators who have superior knowledge of warfare. The developmental possibilities of the two aircraft, however similar they may appear at first glance, should be built upon. A variety of military options should be proliferated only for American use, and then produced, and pilots and military tacticians trained for the use and deployment of the airplanes, regarding all types of anticipated combinations of battle conditions and improvements to tactics, weapons, and airframes.

I say that the USA needs the strengths offered by the two fighter aircraft. That goes for all possible means of conducting warfare.

In the next war numerous enemy bombs will come to America. We are currently asleep. The Congress has switched off a defensive system as if it were an unnecessary light on in the bedroom. We have the sophisticated systems in existence, and were should take full advantage of them.

We should ban the use of illegal narcotics in America, except insofar as they may be legally made available via proper drug manufacturing companies, and pharmacies by means of doctor's prescriptions. In the greater system of checks and balances, that pays for several of the expensive weapons systems right there. Lets live free and protect our liberty. Lets produce and skillfully operate both fighter planes.

Inventor

.

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More like$340M per plane. But the high cost would go down per plane if more were manufactured.

You are totally right.

The costs of designing and engineering an untra-complex product such as the F22 aircraft possibly amount to as much as 25 percent of the selling price. That percentage would apply to the first several planes made. When ten times as many planes are made that component of the selling price drops to near zero, and so does the selling price.

The same is true for the tooling costs and the costs of the fixtures, plant and equipment needed to manufacture the product. That is another 25 percent. When ten times as many units are made the tooling cost percentage also drops. The lower tooling cost component of the selling price also brings down the selling price.

When 1000 units are made those same percentages apply, and when those costs are amortized over the 1000 uints, for example, and the engineering and tooling costs have been paid for, those percentages drop significantly. The resulting units will cost far less after their basic costs have been paid for.

The remaining costs would be net profits and administrative costs, and those remain more or less unchanged thoughout the life cycle of the product.

Other costs are involved, and I don't know just how those are included in the total; and, for example, the costs of training pilots and mechanics, and also developing battle strategies using the new aircraft are there somewhere. Those items may be covered under separate contracts.

The cancelling of the F22 purchase project is a cheap shot. What better way to destroy an enemy than to wipe out 1000s of future planes before they have even been manufactured. That's far cheaper than communist bombs.

Nonetheless, both profits and national security are under attack by the progressives.

Inventor

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Yes...I still do some work in the aircraft business. I started as a structures engineer at Boeing Commercial. I worked on the F-111, which was a Macnamara (one airplane, multiple-branches) fiasco. I'm working in aircraft structres yet again after a decade break from it. I sure love it.

Inventor, you are correct about the early cancellation of the F-22 being a cheap shot. Those programs are bid with agreements and assumptions regarding the quantity of aircraft to be built. I doubt Obama actually understands this. He probably just thinks that money is carried out to the airplane and set on the wing and left there...

I still wonder if the F-22 I saw being demonstrated actually had a pilot in it. I'll admit that's a strange thought...almost as strange as the maneuvers it was performing.

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Yes...I still do some work in the aircraft business. I started as a structures engineer at Boeing Commercial. I worked on the F-111, which was a Macnamara (one airplane, multiple-branches) fiasco. I'm working in aircraft structures yet again after a decade break from it. I sure love it.

[...]

I wasn't clear regarding the way that costs are calculated for manufactured products.

If a product type such as an F-22 is planned to be made in a run of 1,000 units, its costs of engineering may be as much as $1,000,000, for example. The costs of tooling may also be as much as $1,000,000. Together, these costs add to $2,000,000, and they may be amortized over the run of 1,000 units. That comes to $2,000 per unit.

Additional costs would be the costs of project administration and the costs of capital for example. If those costs are the remaining 50 percent, they would add to the sum of, $2,000,000. That is $2,000 per aircraft unit made during the first run of 1,000 units.

All units made from number 1 to number 1,000 will cost $4,000 each to manufacture. However, since both the engineering and tooling costs will have been paid for at the end of the run of 1,000 units, these items will not be charged as costs to the subsequent units made. All subsequent units will have only the cost components of the project administration, including materials, and the costs of capital. Each subsequent unit would cost only $2,000 to make.

The reality of cost accounting is that the 1,001th aircraft will, at $2,000, cost only one half of what the 1,000th aircraft, at $4,000, will cost.

Some products are cheap to make, and in high volume production the nth product will cost a tiny fraction of what the 1st product will cost.

Ordinary TVs after one year or so of sales show significant drops in selling price due to the principle of the amortization of engineering and tooling costs. The USA needs to manufacture large quantities of its means of winning WW3 and to have them ready at an instant's notice. We should be actively using them against Iran. A cheap solution will get the PRC out of our hair, and that is the cessation of trade with them at this early stage.

With aircraft in a wartime competition for product achievement, may improvements, and purpose-designed features are integrated with the general product line. The product life cycles of the improvements and features may be considerably less than the items that the replace. The result is that high production volume is not reached. During WW2 the USA had the advantage of protected means of production. In the next war, the Chinese-Russian-Islamic axis will deprive us of such protection. The high volume of weapons produced during WW2 may not be achievable in WW3. The war will be of shorter duration, with far greater long range bombing. The costs of the weapons units may not reach the level where amortization has been achieved and product costs will remain high.

Notice that the PRC paraded a huge number of all manner and types of missiles, and there were quite a number of the really huge missiles. It appears to me that they will write off most of their non-productive populations. The problem for the PRC will be that they waste their production capital on frivolities that have no relationship to war.

Notice that the Islamic militants, e.g., Soldiers of Islam, have been testing of military installations for years. They will be taking out entire city ground and air transportation systems by means of, for example, NJ Rt 95 junk yard fire and the southern NJ Pine Barons Forest fire. They have achieved success in demonstrating that a Hudson River tunnel can be blown up, with the WTC bombing. They will penetrate airfields to debilitate and destroy aircraft on the ground with 50 cal rifles, and they have proved that they can take out tankers, cruise ships, and freighters with small boats and small arms.

The point being is that the product life cycles will be short. There won't be the opportunity to have long production runs. All the weapons that will be used will have to have been manufactured, stockpiled, and protected for use in advance. That is the only way that the advantages of mass production can be

used.

Why the F-22? Why amortize costs?

When a war costs four times as much, that means that you have 1/4 the number of weapons and material with which to will the war. We outproduced the Axis 1 to 1 and as time went by, 100 to 1, and 1,000 to 1.

It is essential that the USA out-produce its enemies, and that must be done as a defensive measure well in advance of and in readiness for a conflict.

Our current folly is that we are being suckered into flying our good pilot-less planes over an enemy that hopes to get copies of the technology for its own use. Islam is bankrupt, and the PRC probably has scads of cheap to make 4-stroke engine powered cruise missiles. The PRC doesn't need what we've got, and we haven't the defenses against 100,000 cheap stealth painted cruise missiles. They'll buy the anti-radar paint from the Russians if they don't already have it.

The pragmatists gave away the USA's computer technologies to the PRC, in the name of such as earthquake sensors, and who knows what else. That technology has come to kill us, if not to haunt and enslave us.

I've started to rant, however, I've said my piece.

It is essential that the USA keep its weapons, and we should be strong and free.

Inventor

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Inventor...that's a fine rant. You speak of "NRE" or non-recurring engineering (which, of course, involves more than just engineering). I hear ya.

America gives a lot away. We don't appreciate our freedom. We take it for granted. Slowly, but gradually, it's going away.

At the last aerospace business I worked at I routinely worked with a the two guys who ran our tool design department. Both of these guys were into model rocketry. When I learned just how large and powerful some of these toys were I was immediately faced with the realization that they could be adapted to become very effective, cheap weapons. Admittedly, I had dollar signs in my eyes. But, if a schmo like me started to design, test, and build weapons I fear the Feds would lock me away. I have no friends in Congress.

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What is your opinion of the use of drones in the Afghanistan war? Apparently the US employs thousands of them there.

What is your opinion of the new KAF drone? That is shown at,

http://defensetech.org/ .

Inventor

Anyone who sends a man into harm's way when a machine can do the job better is a fool and criminally negligent. I am all in favor of shedding blood by machine. The lives of our troops are too precious to shed their blood unnecessarily.

Bob Kolker

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I'm impressed with what we can do with drones. Of course, I don't know all that we do with them. However, what I've seen looks promising. We have "pilots" who live in Las Vegas, drive north to the base, fly missions while sitting in a trailer, then drive home to have dinner with their families. I'm all for it. The drones don't have the expensive life-safety requirements in their designs that conventional aircraft do. And, every day of my life, I feel gratitude that we are the ones with the huge technical advantage. If the technology tables were turned I wouldn't be able to sit here and type. I'd probably be dead, given my strong-headedness.

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