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Showing posts from August, 2014

More tweaking...

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I have made some minor changes to the site's design.

The "PAGES" have been relocated to the right hand side (the black boxes).  I have also added a "POPULAR POSTS" section.

I also hope to change the top picture every so often.  The current one was taken by yours truly...  I really need a more powerful zoom lens!

Anyway, I hope everybody likes the new look.

F-35 engine fire news. "Potential design change" needed.

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Officials are still tight-lipped about what caused an engine fire that caused the JSF to miss its international debut last month.

The incident has almost certainly resulted in the loss of a quarter-billion-dollar airframe.  All that has been released so far is that "excessive rubbing" inside the engine was the root cause.  What is not know is whether or not this is an inherent design flaw, the result of flawed maintenance, or simply a fluke occurrence.  USMC Commandant, General James Amos, has dismissed the mishap as "one-off".

Despite this nonchalant view towards the JSF's self immolation, the F-35 has undergone strict flight restrictions.  These have been relaxed somewhat, but it is enough to slow down testing that is already far behind schedule.


Now comes word that Pratt & Whitney, the manufacturer of the F-35's F135 engine, is close to developing a fix.

The need for a design change likely confirms that the Lightning II's engine fire was the re…

Fighter Jet Fight Club: Gripen vs. Rafale!

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At this point in FJFC, I actually have to look back and double check to make sure I have not already pitted two aircraft together.  Looking back, I realize that some match-ups were rather easy to judge, while others required much wracking of brain.

The match-ups that always seemed to cause me the most troubles were the one that included one of the fighters presented here today.  Both fighters are damn good in their own right, but with minor weaknesses that really only come to light when put in direct comparison with other fighters.

As similar as the Rafale is to the Typhoon, it shares even more in common with the Gripen.  Both aircraft originate from a single nation, both are close-coupled canard designs, and both were designed with a balanced approach towards being a true "multirole" fighter.  In essence, the only real basic difference between the two is the number of engines.

The two aircraft have progressed different paths, however.  Over the years, Saab has attempted …

Too funny not to share...

Geography can be tough. Here’s a guide for Russian soldiers who keep getting lost & ‘accidentally’ entering #Ukrainepic.twitter.com/RF3H4IXGSp
— Canada at NATO (@CanadaNATO) August 27, 2014

You want to resurrect the Arrow? Fine! Here's how...

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Some legends die hard.

It seems that nary a week goes by without a mention of the CF-105 Avro Arrow.  Not only is it revered in a historical sense, but many still think it would be the answer to our CF-18 replacement dilemma.

Let me get this right out of the way.  I LOVE THE ARROW.  I love the very idea of it.  Canada building a world class interceptor during the hight of the Cold War makes my inner fanboy squeal.  I also think that the Avro Arrow is, without a doubt, the most esthetically pleasing aircraft of all time.  It is simply gorgeous.  It is iconic.  Like the original iPhone, the starship Enterprise, or Jaguar E-Type; the Arrow has an elegant simplicity to its design that is made even more impressive by the wonderfulness of what lies beneath its skin.  As far as aircraft go, only the Concorde and SR-71 Blackbird come close.

Looking back, the Arrow does seem impressive, with a higher top speed than many modern fighters, and technology that seemed far ahead of its time.  So …

Fighter Jet Fight Club: Super Hornet vs. Silent Eagle!

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Like many of you, I grew up in the shadow of an older sibling.  That older sibling always seemed to be so much better at everything.  Everything just sort of fell in place for him.  High school was a breeze, followed by university, followed by a prestigious and high-paying job.

My story was a little different.  I was the awkward kid in high school, flunked out of university, than wandered around from one low-paying job to another until I finally got my act together.  By the time I did, by older brother was already living in a nice house, driving a fancy sports car, and dating one beautiful woman after the other.

In retrospect, it was all about timing.  My brother was born 10 years before I was, giving him an ample head start.  He graduated university at a time when a diploma was all you needed to land a high-paying job (even a Bachelor of Fine Arts).  The economy was good and everybody was hiring.

I was not so lucky.  Intent on challenging myself, I chose the more difficult courses …

The X-47B Pegasus: Doing what the F-35C has yet to do.

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While the F-35 program continues to stumble along at a snail's pace, progress towards the UCLASS (unmanned carrier launched airborne surveillance and strike) has progressed rather quickly and cleanly.  This was demonstrated recently when Northrop Grumman's X-47B Pegasus demonstrated its ability to operate alongside other aircraft types aboard an aircraft carrier.  Meanwhile, problems with the F-35C's tailhook has delayed carrier testing until later this fall.

On September 10, the Pentagon will decide the ultimate fate of the UCLASS program.  Given the X-47B's successful testing, it would seem foolish to simply give up on the concept.  In little over three years, the X-47B has proven itself.  Its performance has been so consistent that testing has actually been cut short for the simple reason that the UAV has nothing left to prove.

How has the Pegasus fared so well when other modern military developments have been stuck in quagmire?

Believe it or not, simplicity.  D…

Meteor vs. AMRAAM... Minor upgrade or paradigm shift?

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European nations have been quick to embrace the MBDA Meteor as their preferred BVR A2A missile.  Integration testing is underway for the Eurofighter Typhoon and already completed for the Saab Gripen.  The Rafale is planned to provisions to carry two Meteors by 2018.

American fighter manufactures do not seem to be as enthusiastic, however.  There appears to be no plans as of yet to integrate the Meteor with the F-15, F-16, or F/A-18.  There has been talk about a variant of the Meteor "clipped" to fit inside a F-35's weapon bay, but no funding has been approved for this project thus far.

For the time being, the USAF, USN, USMC, as well as the RCAF will be sticking with the AIM-120 AMRAAM (advance medium range air to air missile).  The latest version, the AIM-120D, will be the "default" air-to-air weapon for the F-35 Lightning II.

So what is the difference?  Is the Meteor really that much better than the battle-tested AMRAAM?

What sets the Meteor apart is its me…

Fighter Jet Fight Club: F-35 vs Typhoon!

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Given the mixed reaction to last week's installment of FJFC, this week I forgo the culinary references.  Given that the Eurofighter is the product of Britain, Germany, Spain, and Italy, this is probably for the best.  Fish n' chips, paella, and bratwurst, smothered in marinara sauce would probably result in a terrible case of heartburn.

Instead, this episode of FJFC will look at how both of these controversial aircrafts' development has been shaped by world events.  Less than 10 years separate these two aircraft's development cycles, yet those 10 years resulted in a massive shift geopolitically.

The idea for the Eurofighter Typhoon came about in the early 1980s.  The Cold War was still in full swing, and military budgets were high.  European nations were concerned with the recently discovered MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker.  These two aircraft looked to be equal to, if not superior than, NATO fighters like the F-16 and F-15.  The USA met this new threat with its Ad…