Apaches heading to Iraq

•July 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Apache Longbow

The ever ever evolving mess that is Iraq continues to slog down its path of despair. While I wanted to write a much larger and more I depth piece on this, time simply doesn’t allow. While the media is making much of SU-25’s being delivered to Iraq from Russia, and Iran, the deployment of  US Army AH-64 Apache attack helo’s is drawing scant attention.

Look for further US boots on the ground soon. This mess is just beginning, and will spiral much further down the rabbit hole, involving men and women from many nations. So it begins……….again.

Adding a bit more fuel to the fire

•June 13, 2014 • 2 Comments

Looks like Canada is one step closer to finally selecting a replacement for the aging CF-18. Due to the increasing number of nations selecting the F-35 I feel it likely Canada will do the same. Furthering that believe is the knowledge that Canada is a program partner, with a domestic aerospace industry hungry for the financial uptick this program brings.

Should things go the way I feel they will, the day this decision is announced to the world will be a delicious one. I say that due to the cries of outrage sure to choke the internet for the days, weeks, and months to follow.

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-given-green-light-for-f-35-jet-decision/article19151099/

This clown car is missing its clowns….

•June 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

PAKFA Damage \

Photo courtesy of Sukhoi

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Above is a photo of a recent mishap that took place aboard one of the five T-50 prototypes. According to an account found online, the above seen T-50 took to the air and shortly after takeoff communications with ATC (Air Traffic Control) was lost. Shortly after loss of comms, an engine chip alarm (metal shavings detected) sounded, forcing the pilot to shut down the starboard side engine. Soon after, the pilot landed the aircraft, and taxied to the shutdown point on the tarmac. Once at a stop, the pilot took notice of “intense black smoke pouring from the port engine”. Jumping from the aircraft, the pilot saw a puddle of burning fuel beneath the aircraft and sprinted away.

The T-50 is a young program, and these things are known to happen. What I find amusing is the deafening silence from Sukhoi fanboys and F-35 critics alike. One of my favorite anti-JSF mouth breathers responded by saying the T-50 proved it can successfully land on one engine. As this specific individual weights his every comment as an F-35 barb, the spirit of his comment is clear. To that I find myself laughing until my sides hurt. Mouth breather, we’ll call you Eric, or the drive by blogger if you like, the F-35 demonstrates the ability to land with a single operational engine each and every time it flies due in large part to the fact that the F-35 is a single engine aircraft. Obvious, I know.

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Often, F-35 critics use the T-50 as a tool to proclaim doom, gloom, and the impending failure of the JSF program. Isn’t it odd that those who lionize the T-50 are silent on this event, or dismissive at best? I think so. Consider what these same individuals would have said if this event had befallen an F-35 for a moment. The gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts would have taken place high and low across the web. Several individuals whom Sukhoi fanboyism runs strong within have issued proclamations that the above test aircraft will be repaired soon, and nothing to worry about exists because Sukhoi has said as such. Keep in mind that these are the same individuals who claim everything uttered by Lockheed Martin is nothing more than propaganda at best, and a lie at worst. Why the double standard my dear mouth breathers? Is this clown car missing its clowns? Perhaps Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman hasn’t yet circulated talking points to his merry band of clowns……one wonders.

Had a single event of this magnitude taken place aboard an F-35 critics would have proclaimed blood is in the water. Consider for a second that the above shown T-50 represents 20% of the total T-50 fleet in existence. Not only has an event of this magnitude never taken place aboard an F-35, not a single test article has been lost. Imagine the outrage if twenty percent of the F-35 fleet had just been rendered unusable. From the photo above it is abundantly clear that this was a Class A mishap. Personally, I wouldn’t put great odds on this T-50 ever flying again.

The single most interesting portion of the event was not the event itself, but who was present to witness the whole show. This test flight was more of a demonstration flight meant to woo an Indian delegation. The Indian/Russian relationship as it relates to the T-50 has been a somewhat strained one this last year, and I’m sure this didn’t help much at all. Anyone who believes this event, witnessed by an Indian delegation, will not alter India’s thinking on the T-50 is absolutely delusional. Add this unfortunate event to the already present concerns India harbors on work share, technology transfer, etc, and you have a recipe to bake a wonderful cake that will be purchased from a nation other than Russia.

If India bails on the T-50, you have a program that is suddenly teetering on the edge. Abandoning the program would mean Indian developmental funds would also vanish. Remove the one hundred plus airframes the Indian’s intend to purchase, and you have a massive increase in per aircraft purchase price for Russia, who at this time only plan on around two hundred airframes. Combine this with a Russian economy that is in serious trouble and you have an unaffordable program. JSF critics love to chant ‘death spiral’. Funny, no such death spiral has gripped the F-35 yet it may sink the T-50.  Recent forward movement to finalize India’s Rafale deal opens the possibility that a portion of funds India intends to pour into T-50 may end up instead being used for further Rafale orders. Time will tell.

In closing, it is my sincere hope that those suffering from Sukhoi fanboyism and those who carry a rabid and unhealthy hate for the F-35 hop back in their clown car. Look where it has taken them so far!

h3BAFDCD3

….

•March 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Things have been quiet on the blog for far too long. Sometimes life has a way of dictating the pace of the day. For those who follow this blog, love it or hate it, I offer a sincere apology. Expect a return to my normal posting schedule soon.

Notice For Possible Super Hornet Purchase Retracted

•November 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday, the Navy retracted a recently published notice covering the possible purchase of up to thirty six Super Hornets. ‘Up to’ could mean one, or thirty six. The Navy has gone on record, stating that no plans to purchase further Super Hornets or Growlers in fiscal year 2015 exist. The current Navy budget calls for Super Hornet funding to end in fiscal year 2014. Production of the Super Hornet will end in 2016, unless foreign orders are found to keep the production line going.

Boeing had hoped for a decision from Brazil, to purchase Super Hornet’s. That deal, in the wake of NSA activities, has since faltered. Boeing’s other hope for an export order rests with Malaysia. The Malaysian Prime Minister has gone on record, stating that any potential purchase could be delayed due to budget pressure.

In certain circles of the internet, F-35 critics are pointing to this event as proof of Lockheed Martin bribery, or wrongdoing. I strongly disagree with these claims, and find them, frankly, ridiculous.

F-35 Weapons Testing

•November 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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An F-35A, AF-6, recently fired the AIM-120 AMRAAM. Targeting an aerial drone, the F-35 fired the AMRAAM over a sea test range. Test telemetry and observers confirmed the F-35 used mission system sensors to target the drone, pass the track to the missile, and then engaged the drone. The AMRAAM successfully acquired it’s target, and followed an intercept course. Before the AMRAAM could destroy the drone, the missile was given the self destruct signal. This was done to preserve the target drone for future tests.

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BF-17 / Flight 57 / Maj Richard Rusnok / GBU-12 Impact

Several days ago, another weapons test also took place. This test, involving an F-35B, successfully made use of the GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bomb, against a fixed ground target in the form of a tank. This GBU-12 did not contain an explosive filler. Released from an altitude of twenty five thousand feet, the weapon fell for thirty five seconds before striking it’s target.

Using the F-35’s Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS), the pilot identified, designated, and accurately delivered the GBU-12 to target.

Yet another step towards IOC. These tests come on the heels of the decision being reached in the Pentagon to increase production numbers for the F-35.

Zumwalt Launched

•October 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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Zumwalt, first of her class, was floated this week. Maine’s Kennebec River just became home to the Navy’s newest surface combatant. At nearly six hundred feet in length, Zumwalt is the Navy’s largest destroyer yet built. Currently, Zumwalt is nearly ninety percent complete, and delivery is anticipated for next year. I see Zumwalt as an exciting design, and believe she will live up to her potential.