U.S Navy Reaches Out To Industry For Next Gen Fighter

  • Our Bureau
  • 12:16 PM, September 11, 2014
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U.S Navy Reaches Out To Industry For Next Gen Fighter
U.S Navy Reaches Out To Industry For Next Gen Fighter

The U.S Navy has sought technical insights from the defense industry for the next-generation replacement for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler in the 2030s, USNI reported.

The Technical Interchange Meetings (TIMs) to be conducted are a sign to an analysis of alternatives (AOA) for the F/A-XX strike fighter aircraft replacement program that is expected to start in 2015.

The TIMs are to focus on several areas including affordability, modifying current jets (Super Hornet and F-35C) to meet the F/A-XX requirement according to a posting on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

The Navy might also explore other options like including a completely new aircraft design or a Family of Systems (FoS) approach. The TIMs will also discuss mission systems, avionics and next-gen weapon systems for the F/A-XX according to the report. The AoA is intended to start in the coming year.

“The platform itself may or may not be a new one, nor focused on manned or unmanned. Rather it truly is going to look at filling a void from a FoS approach informed by future budgets,” a Naval Officer was quoted as saying.

Under the Navy’s vision for its Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) battle network, an individual platform would not necessarily need to have a full suite of sensors—rather it could rely on off-board data.

Data-linked information from another platform in the air such as the Northrop Grumman E-2D or at sea like an Aegis cruiser or destroyer could provide targeting information or even guide a weapon launched from a platform like a future F/A-XX.

“So the F/A-XX may show up as something that is a Hornet-like aircraft with new weapons that can strike further and allow the Navy to fight its way into an AOR (Area of Responsibility) – maximizing the range of its weapon systems with linked fire control. As it stands now with NIFC-CA not implemented yet, our missiles can go further than we can tell them to, he added.

Therefore, the F/A-XX air vehicle might be more of a “truck” carrying a “payload” rather than a fully integrated weapons platform like a Super Hornet or F-35 that can find, fix, track, target, engage, and assess on its own.

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