Showing posts from February, 2015

Another friendly reminder...

Alright, listen...

I got a family and a full time job.  This blog is a happy little "side project".  I simply do not have the time to break up fights like some elementary school hall monitor.

I would suggest everybody reacquaint themselves with the rules posted here:

They are pretty damn simple.

I don't like to ban people, but I came damn close to banning two commentators today (you probably know who you are).

You want to participate in the discussion?  Great.  You want to argue for the sake of arguing?  Go bug Solomon at SNAFU or go join  How can you tell the difference between an argument and a debate?  A debate is civil.

No more warnings.  I will start suspending or banning any commentators who can't behave like adults.

Israel buys 14 more F-35s... With American money, of course.

In a move that should surprise nobody, Israel has announced that it intends to buy a few more F-35s to add to the 19 it initially ordered in 2010.

The newest order provides for a minimum of 14 F-35s, with an option to order up to 17 more.

The Israeli order is interesting for several reasons:

First is the fact that those F-35s are completely funded by the American taxpayer.  Not directly, of course, but the USA doles out approximately $3 billion worth of military aid to Israel annually.  That $3 billion also just so happens to be the cost of those 14 shiny new F-35s.  Coincidence?  Maybe.

The second reason the Israeli JSF buy is interesting is due to the fact that Israel, while putting very little investment into the program, seems be reaping plenty of benefits.  As a "Security Cooperative Participant", Israel would be below "Level 3" partners like Canada or Denmark.  Despite this relatively low tier status, Israel's first F-35 purchase came with industrial o…

T-X gets more interesting...

The USAF has yet to declare an open competition to replace its venerable T-38 Talon trainer.  Despite this all signs point to this one as "one-to-watch".  Competitors would very much like to prove that they still have the chops to build a fighter-type aircraft.  At its current pace, this could very well turn into another "Battle of the X-Planes".

As the USAF finalizes the capabilities it wants for the T-X, more manufacturers are deciding to forego license-building proven designs and will offer "clean sheet" designs instead.

Boeing, which has partnered up with Swedish-based Saab, was the first to do this.  This despite the initial rumors of a "downgraded" Gripen being used as the basis.

Northrop Grumman, soon after taking the lead over from its partner, BAE, has decided that it will also develop a clean sheet design instead of offering a version of BAE's Hawk.  While some were rather surprised by this announcement, one has to wonder what c…

I'm Back! Time to play catch up.

After an enjoyable (if somewhat hectic) vacation, I am back!

Thankfully for me, there is not a whole lot of news to catch up on.  Just some very good news for the Dassault Rafale and an "editorial" that left me rolling my eyes.  Here is quick review.

Great news for the Rafale (finally)!
The biggest news, which I touched on briefly before, is the new found sale of 24 Rafales to Egypt.  This comes to a huge relief to Dassault, no doubt, which is anxious to finalize the much-delayed Indian deal for 126 fighters.

That Indian deal now looks like it could be finalized as soon as the this spring.  This, despite rumors that the deal has been cancelled in favor of Russian-sourced aircraft.

Adding to the good news are reports that Qatar may order up to 36 Rafales in the near future.  The deal, which would lead to an order of 24 fighters with an option for 12 more, would certainly give the Rafale some much needed sales momentum.

Needless to say, signing deals for almost 200 Rafales w…

Egyptian Rafales?

I may be on vacation, but my flight is not until tomorrow and this is pretty big news for Rafale fans:
While India may be dragging its heels on the Dassault Rafale, it now looks like Egypt would like some and is now in talks to buy 24. 
Not only would this be the Rafale's first foreign sale, but it would give a much needed shot in the arm to French fighter production.  It is not same scale as the 126 to be sold to India, but all 24 Egyptian Rafales would be built in France, helping to keep that assembly line running a bit longer. 
More here:


Between my hectic and very stressful "day job" and the heavy snow bombing the maritimes has been getting...  I need a break.

The family and I are packing our bags and going someplace warmer.

I'll be back in about 2 weeks.

USN cuts its F-35C order by a third!

In news that will surely have repercussions to the JSF program, the United States Navy has chosen to cut back their F-35C orders until 2020 by as much as a third. 
Instead, the USN will pursue more stand-off weapons (ie: ALCMs). 
The news can be seen here:
"The Navy’s budget priorities reflect the views of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert. In June 2012, shortly after he was appointed as CNO, Greenert published an article in the Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine that downplayed the importance of advanced platforms, including stealth aircraft, in favor of “payloads” including standoff weapons."
In order for the F-35 to meet its production goals over the next few years, those USN sales will have to be made up some other way. Otherwise, its price will remain high, resulting in the "death spiral" or, at least, a "zombie shuffle".

What does Canada REALLY need?

When discussing which modern fighter jet would be best for Canada, there is a tendency to go off on tangents when debating each aircraft's strengths and weaknesses. "Fighter X" may be faster, while "Fighter Y" can carry a heavier payload, etcetera.  Sometimes we get so bogged down in various minutia that we lose sight of how well a particular aircraft would function as a whole.

One thing that I like to stress here is that this is not simply "Best Fighter" but "Best Fighter for Canada".  That means that we are not simply looking for the best fighter jet, but the best one that actually fits Canada's needs.

But what does Canada truly need?

The Past
During the Cold War, when defense budgets were flush and Canada was still willing to design and build its own military aircraft.  This allowed us the freedom of "custom" building a fighter based on our needs at the time.  So what did Canada choose to go with when we had the freedom of …