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SU-57 CHECKMATE: THE BEAR'S GAMBIT?

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  Russia pulled a sneaky on everyone.   While every military analyst has been focused on China's J-20 , Russia has upped the ante by unveiling the Su-75 "Checkmate".  One look at it tells you all you need to know, this aircraft will be a direct competitor against the F-35; both in the skies and the marketplace.   More modest than the J-20 and Su-57, the Checkmate utilizes a single-engine design that obviously strives for stealth.  Unlike The Shenyang FC-31, which simply looks like the twin-engine F-35, the Su75, simultaneously looks like nothing else in the air whilst also being hauntingly familiar.   Why does it look so familiar?   Because the Su-75 utilizes elements from two fighter designs that lost to the F-35.   The most...   Interesting  design choice has to be that front engine intake.  A similar intake appeared on Boeing's ill-fated JSF contender, the X-32.  This very intake earned the aircraft its infamous nickname:   MONICA .   (No, this isn't a Friends

SUPER HORNET IS OUT. BOEING HAS NO ONE TO BLAME BUT ITSELF.

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  Reports that there would be a "down selection" in the competition to replace Canada's aging CF-18s have turned out to be true...  Sort of.   Despite "industry insiders" predicting that the Saab Gripen will be removed from consideration , that dubious honor will go to Boeing's Super Hornet instead.  This is indeed a big surprise...  If you have not been paying attention.   The most striking fact about the Super Hornet's departure is that, at one point, it WAS going to be Canada's next fighter.  Well...   On an interim basis, anyway .  When the Liberal government formed in 2015, they had done so on the promise of cancelling Canada's F-35 purchase.  The F/A-18E/F seemed to be the most likely alternative.  In 2016, it was announced that Canada would be purchasing 18 Super Hornets as a way of filling a " capability gap ".  While these 18 Super Hornets would not be a replacing CF-18s per se , they could have definitely been used a reason t

UPDATE: MISCELLANEOUS MUSINGS MESSING WITH MY MIND...

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Sorry it's been a minute since my last post.  Over the last few months, I've made the foolish decision to attempt basement renovations whilst being a healthcare worker in the time of COVID.  Skyrocketing building material prices, forced overtime, and general sensation of existential DREAD has not been kind on my free time...  Nor my psyche .   But hey!  Whenever I feel like I'm in a never-ending clusterf*ck being constantly told "It will all be over soon." I remind myself...  Canada's CF-18 replacement program should also be over soon! Or will it? After years of speculation, controversy, a few Federal elections, an " interim fighter purchase " (that went south) and other nonsense...  Canada really does not seem to be much closer to buying new  fighter jets...  Just a few used ones.  This, despite speculation that the newly formed Liberal government would choose two finalists shortly after reconvening  last month.  So far, it has done no such thing. 

NO, THE F-35 IS NOT DEAD.

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  I know I said I was needed to take a break but this one is a doozy. " THE US AIR FORCE JUST ADMITTED THE F-35 HAS FAILED " (Forbes) " Powerful lawmaker calls F-35 fighter jet a ‘rathole,’ " (Washington Post) This Country Is Spending $1.7 Trillion on Planes That Don't Work  (Esquire) 10 Reasons Nearly Nothing Can Stop the F-35 Stealth Fighter   (Sorry.  This one is from notorious F-35 cheerleader Loren Thompson and his "pay-to-play" think tank) Okay... Deep breath... Slow down... Relax... First of all, (to paraphrase Mark Twain) reports of the F-35's demise are greatly exaggerated.   The Lightning II has not been cancelled.  Production has not been stopped.  The JSF is still very much a thing and will continue to be well into the future.   All of this started with General Charles Q. Brown Jr, the Air Force Chief-of-Staff, announcing a study to look into a "5th-Gen Minus" fighter  to help replace the USAF's inventory of aging F-16s.

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