Saturday, June 29, 2013

Stealth in the 2020s

Aviation Week notes the three tiered approach the world has to stealth combatant aircraft.  Stealth manned aircraft, stealthy drones and reduced RCS aircraft.  Europe is going with reduced RCS manned aircraft and stealthy drones.  Russia is going with stealthy and nonstealthy manned aircraft (with big question mark about its unmanned efforts).  China is going stealthy all the way around, much like the US,  (or as much of this the US can afford).

The space to watch is probably the US Navy.  My guess would be you will see one or two wings of UCLASS UCAVs (probably X-47B derived).  Then a couple wings of F-35Cs.  You're going to have a wing of F/A-18Gs.  The remainder of the fixed wing aircraft will be F/A-18E/Fs until around 2030.  Then either it will be another replacement stealthy manned aircraft or UCAV. 

At any rate, compare and contrast the Russian T-50/PAK-FA vs the American F-22 underbellies.   Its so far from clean, which is necessary for stealth, I'm shocked.  Is that an ugly weld I see on the Russian?Wow.  Just plain wow.

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