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Some interesting history

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Bille Floyd

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That is a sadder story , than the cancellation of the Northrop B-35 and B-49 program! :(

Bille
 

bmcj

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Political factors can drive advanced development like this, but politics and budgets (also affected by politics) can also be the death knell for many designs. Look at designs like the XF5U and the F22. The 5U never had a chance to prove (or disprove) itself and the F-22 tooling was destroyed, all in the name of politics.

Though the 1957 Arrow was an amazing design, it was not that far ahead of the curve. Remember that the SR-71/YF12 design started in 1959 and was operational just a few years later.
 

scramjetter

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The F-22 tooling and process documentation still exists in full at the Sierra Army Depot in California. There were studies done to restart Raptor production but apparently the USAF went in a different direction and has created a new fighter in secret.

Politics certainly plays a huge role in these endeavors.

The 5U never had a chance to prove (or disprove) itself and the F-22 tooling was destroyed, all in the name of politics.
 

Tiger Tim

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Though the 1957 Arrow was an amazing design, it was not that far ahead of the curve.
My understanding is that the Arrow was a gathering of all the best tech of the time, right up until Sputnik launched ad made it immediately appear obsolete. Who needs an expensive interceptor when the bad guys look like they are going to be skipping the bombers and lobbing unstoppable bombs from space?
 

Hephaestus

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That and nuclear tipped bomarc missles... Why have squadrons of interceptors when you can just lob a nuke in their general direction
 

GregThomson

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch... While the best and brightest in North America were working on military contracts, the second string engineers were competing against non military companies like Toyota, Sony, etc. and losing. They succeded in preventing a hot war, but lost the economy. If USA had a Diefenbaker things might have turned out different.
 

Tiger Tim

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What kind of HBA did Diefenbaker design / build / fly?
None, though while he was cutting defence budgets he was also secretly building several bunkers across the country for himself. We named an airport after him too if it helps.
 

cblink.007

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That is a sadder story , than the cancellation of the Northrop B-35 and B-49 program! :(

Bille
The B-35/B-49 was pretty much "disappeared" back in the day. Awful story...to this day the it has not been able to be told in full. Aircraft and tooling destroyed, documentation destroyed, name it. All so Stuart Symington's pals at Convair can have their B-36 contract.


Also a good documentary:


 

Aesquire

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No different than discussing Mustang cooling systems or Fokker wing failures.

Fokker D. VIII wing failures can teach 2 very important HBA things.
1. Workmanship matters. So does good glue.
2. Adding extra reinforcement because it seems like it would make a plane stronger at the cost of a few pounds, can actually weaken the plane by moving stress concentrations or changing torsional flex.

The original design worked, if built with care. The Government officials thought it a bit wimpy, so ordered the rear spar on a cantilever wing beefed up. Then flight loads at higher speeds & Gs twisted the leading edge up in front, a positive feedback loop that tore the wing off... So that extra layer of carbon fiber seems clever...
 

Aesquire

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I admit the government choices to abandon manned aircraft in favor of robot killing machines, missiles in the 1950s, and drones in the early 21st century, seems more remote to home builders.

But I recall the aluminum shortage when the 747 was getting into production that increased costs and wait time for material. The budget cuts made the surplus materials home builders used vanish with Mach 3 interceptor contracts. Last decade propeller companies were busy making drone props, and a poor choice to abandon slow commercial sales in favor of Big Military Money might have reduced your choices to get the pilot cooling fan ideal for your project.

Otoh while relevant, if weirdly, politicians who IMHO wrecked entire industries ( see British White Papers & domestic aircraft ) are problematic here as opinions vary and there's little good in infuriating folk. Except Redacted. Redacted deserves criticism! ;)
 

Aesquire

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The B-35/49 failures to fill the skies with lovely flying wings is political. But also a good example of designing an aircraft for engines that never made it into production.

Which... Understanding that a New Airframe with a New Engine more than doubles the complexities and time to develop, sure seems to apply to at least one controversial thread here. ( cough, Raptor!, Cough )

Otoh complaining about that rotten so and so politician just torques people off.
 

gtae07

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The F-22 tooling and process documentation still exists in full at the Sierra Army Depot in California. There were studies done to restart Raptor production but apparently the USAF went in a different direction and has created a new fighter in secret.

Politics certainly plays a huge role in these endeavors.
The problem was that restarting F-22 production would have been absurdly expensive. Huge initial costs and several years to get everything back up and running, plus a lot of engineering and development time to replace and qualify equipment that is no longer available because the suppliers went out of business, the components aren’t made any more, etc. And that doesn’t even include having to re-learn all the processes and institutional knowledge that goes away when programs shut down and the people involved move on to other projects, retire, die off, etc.

Everyone thinks “but we have The Tooling, so we can build more!” but this isn’t 1950 and we’re not talking about homebuilts. There’s a whole lot more to producing advanced aircraft (civil or military) than just The Tooling, and besides, the advent of widespread CNC has resulted in a need for somewhat less tooling (in the traditional sense).

In the end I figured they could probably get at least 3 F-35s for the price of each new-build F-22, and have most of them in the air before the first new Raptor rolled off the line.


There are rumors that the F-22 successor has a prototype flying around but I strongly suspect it’s only a tech demonstrator at the X-32/X-35 level, if that. Hand-built airframe with scavenged systems, either an off-the-shelf or tech-demonstrator engine, and only vaguely similar in aerodynamics/appearance. No stealth coatings or detail features and no mission systems of any kind.
 
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