The US Navy has formally authorized the AOA, Analysis Of Alternatives, to identify the future replacement of the F-18 fleet embarked on aircraft carriers.
The Next Generation Air Dominance program, previously called the F / A-XX, could give birth to a variety of platforms to replace the F-18E / F and EA-18G Growler, ranging from electronic attack. The decision to focus on various cells has been suggested by the Navy as a result of the potential threats that the air group embarked will face starting in 2030.
The NGAD will have to balance a number of requirements (lethality, convenience and survivability) for a new family of systems capable of performing broad-spectrum missions. The US Navy primarily asks assets that can ensure air superiority and an ability to attack in a hostile environment. Among the emerging threats, they mention the new fighter Chinese and Russian missile defense systems like the S-400/500. The autonomy for NGAD will be crucial. It must guarantee, in fact, an optimal range in a limited context.
The American aircraft carriers are a symbol of the projection of US power in the world, but carriers may operate only in certain contexts permissive. China's Rise with Dong Feng missiles, for example, requires the US to work at a safe distance Marina. This means a restriction on the ability of US power projection in the globe and the revisiting of American air and naval strategy.
The decision to cancel the substitute dell'Intruder, the A-12 Avenger II, is now considered one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the US Navy. With the retirement of beloved Tomcat service, a missile platform for Phoenix, the navy began to take on the F / A-18 Hornet, which was originally conceived as a fighter for combat maneuvered and light attack.
Analyzing the projection capabilities, it turns out that the most powerful navy in the world has grown from a range in the projection of 800 nautical miles in 1996 to 500 in 2006. Paradoxically, the reduction of the US embarked projection coincided with the entry in service of Anti-Access / Area Denial Chinese systems and weapon systems with a range greater than a thousand nautical miles. The Navy hopes to counter emerging threats, thanks to the capacity of NGAD family, maintaining the central role of the carrier in future contexts.
The US Navy is expected to buy between 250 and 430 F-35C: the AOA for the Next Generation Air Dominance complicates things a bit. The US Navy, in fact, has never entered in primary specifications for its future fighter boarded a low-observable platform. Accomplice to the viewing of the future F-35 use (no more universal fighter, but adapted to how general directives never shared in full), the Navy now (a few years ago the approach was different) wants a multirole attack platform capable to impose air superiority and not a tactical fighter.
It 'true some confusion, even considering the development (already advanced) to the drone Penetrating Counterair (PCA), also for the US Navy, which also would be responsible for air dominance. Within six months it will be compiled a final report which will be presented results of the study and it suggests solutions. Should it be considered sufficient, the Navy will begin the capability development process. By the middle of 2017 you could already see the light the first concept.
There is only one question: how will the Navy to fund the program NGAD?
(Photo: Lockheed Martin / Boeing)
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