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GOT TO TAKE A BREAK... SORRY.

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  Sorry guys...  But I got to take another sabbatical from the blog.     This last year has been rough on me and I find myself in need of a mental health break.   Yes, I realize that the USAF has lost confidence in the JSF program and is now looking at developing a " clean sheet " design.  This would undoubtedly have ramifications on the F-35's bid to replace the CF-18. Yes, I have seen the recent updates in the Tempest and FCAS programs.   The trouble is... I just can't bring myself to care .   My "day job" has been putting me through the wringer lately and I fear I cannot muster the mental energy needed to post blog updates.  Not for lack of trying, mind you...  I just lack the focus to muster my usual rantings and ravings.   In the meantime, I want to assure you that is a temporary predicament.  As the COVID-19 pandemic (hopefully) starts to wane things will (hopefully) get a little easier and I'll be able to devote more time and energy back here.

NITPICK: GRIPEN PYLONS

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    [Welcome to "NITPICK"!  For the next few weeks I will be examining a single aspect of the potential fighters that just drives me nuts.  These are not dealbreakers, or even major flaws.  They are simply one aspect of the aircraft THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BETTER.] Since we have gone over the (canted) pylon problems with the Super Hornet and the (lack of internal) pylon problems with the JSF, it seems only fair that we nitpick the Gripen's pylon problems as well. There is nothing wrong with the Gripen's pylons per se .  They are certainly there.  They do a serviceable job attaching various weapons to the aircraft.  They all point in the same forward direction (* cough*Super Hornet).   Yet...  There is something unsettling about the Gripen's pylons.   Admittedly, it took a while for me to figure it out.   Even "clean" the Gripen's sleek lines are interrupted by pylons.  Pylons on each wingtip.  Two more pylons underneath each wing.  Another pylon mi

NITPICK: SUPER HORNET PYLONS

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    [Welcome to "NITPICK"!  For the next few weeks I will be examining a single aspect of the potential fighters that just drives me nuts.  These are not dealbreakers, or even major flaws.  They are simply one aspect of the aircraft THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BETTER.] You knew  we were going to have to mention this. It is a tale almost as old as the Super Hornet itself.  Whenever a bunch of fighter nerds gather to talk about the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, someone will almost inevitably bring it up: "BUT WHAT ABOOT THOZE CANTED PYLONZ?" What about them? As we all know, the Super Hornet was developed in response to the cancellation of the A-12 Avenger II .  Intended to replace the aging A-6 Intruder, the stealthy A-12 was kiboshed after years of being behind schedule and overbudget.  Faced with an aging fleet of F-14s and A-6s, the USN split the difference by "upsizing" the F/A-18 Hornet.   It was a genius move in retrospect.  While its kinematic performa

COMMENT SECTION: PLEASE READ

 I'm back from a self-imposed Holiday break.  Moving forward, I have a few more "nitpicks" to get off my chest, then we will just have to see where the wind takes us.   I appreciate all the comments, good or bad.  I don't get a chance to read them all, doing so would distract me from creating new content.  This is why I have appointed several moderators.   I would ask all of you to respect the moderators and their decisions.  Blocking them is NOT ACCEPTABLE.   Thanks!

NITPICK: F-35 SIDEWINDER PYLONS

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  [Welcome to "NITPICK"!  For the next few weeks I will be examining a single aspect of the potential fighters that just drives me nuts.  These are not dealbreakers, or even major flaws.  They are simply one aspect of the aircraft THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BETTER.] Like all other aircraft that place an emphasis on stealth, the F-35 Lightning II was designed to carry weapons tucked away inside.  This is not just a feature  of the JSF, it damn near defines  it.   By storing weapons internally, an aircraft greatly reduces its radar cross section.  This has made internal weapon storage almost mandatory for any aircraft aspiring to low observability.  Some have even expressed the opinion that storing weapons externally on a stealth fighter all but cancels out any advantages of a stealth platform.   Without the advantage of stealth, the F-35 becomes rather underwhelming.  It still offers plenty of cutting edge technology, but its kinematic performance falls behind older fighters li

NITPICK: ALL THOSE GRIPEN POINTY BITS

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  [Welcome to "NITPICK"!  For the next few weeks I will be examining a single aspect of the potential fighters that just drives me nuts.  These are not dealbreakers, or even major flaws.  They are simply one aspect of the aircraft THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BETTER.] The Gripen is pointy.  Really, really , pointy.   It does makes sense that a Mach 2 fighter jet would be pointy.  Most of them are.  Just look at the needle-like F-104 Starfighter or F-106 Delta Dagger.   The Gripen takes things to a whole new level, however. Look at it.  It is all sharp edges, angles, and spearpoints.  There is nary a soft crease or a graceful curve.  Its like someone built a fighter jet out of knives and hypodermic needles.  The Gripen is aerospace cutlery. Let us start at the front.  Before we even get to the narrow cone of the radome, there is a needle-like pitot tube.  This is followed by a blade-like apparatus on either side of front nose cone.  Before we even get to the cockpit, the Gripen l

NITPICK: F-35 CANOPY

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  [Welcome to "NITPICK"!  For the next few weeks I will be examining a single aspect of the potential fighters that just drives me nuts.  These are not dealbreakers, or even major flaws.  They are simply one aspect of the aircraft THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BETTER.] The F-35 Lightning II is a controversial aircraft.  To some, it represents the future of combat aviation.  To others, it stands out as a horribly flawed trillion-dollar boondoggle.  As usual, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. One undeniable truth about the JSF is that its canopy is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. Look at it.  LOOK AT IT! Other than the fact that is is transparent, just about everything about the F-35 cockpit seems...   wrong.  Compare the F-35 cockpit to the one of its predecessors, the F/A-18: The Hornet has a pretty decent canopy.   The pilot's view is unimpeded except for a thin frame present at the opening seam.  Fortunately, that thin frame houses several rear-view mirrors that help  the