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Showing posts from April, 2015

F-35's engine troubles

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It would seem fair to say that the most important component on an airplane is the engine.

UAVs can fly without a cockpit.  Lifting bodies can fly without wings.  Without a method of propulsion, an aircraft is considered a glider.  An underpowered aircraft finds itself few fans.  Unreliable engines end up making the wrong kind of headlines.

So, yeah...  Engines are a big deal.  Especially when it comes to $100 million jet fighters.

When one reads news about the JSF, the fighter that will represent the vast majority of allied airpower for the next 30 to 40 years, headlines describing the F-35 engine as both "unreliable" and "costly" are bound to give one pause.


A recent Pentagon Inspector General report slammed the JSF's Pratt & Whitney F135.  The report accounted of 61 instances where the engine did not meet the Pentagon's regulatory standards during inspection.  These issues were widespread, including project management, software, supply lines, and …

Indian Rafale confusion.

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The on again/off again Indian Rafale deal has finally moved on to the next chapter...  The problem is, nobody seems to know how long the book goes on for.

What was to be a order for 126 aircraft has shrunk to a mere 36.  All of those aircraft will be bought ready-to-fly from the French government.  In the original deal, 108 of the 126 Indian Rafales would be license-built in India by HAL.

Ultimately, it was those HAL-built aircraft that ended up being the sticking point.  Dassault declined responsibility of quality control for Indian-made Rafales.  This, along with other factors stalled negotiations to a full stop.

Of course...  This leaves a 90-fighter sized hole in India's air force.

For now, India has "bought some time" to decide what to do next.  Do they submit a new RFP (request for proposals) and start the process over again?  Do they simply continue to negotiate for more Rafales?  Or do they simply bolster their already existing (and varied) fighter fleet type…

Back at it!

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Sorry about my recent exile.  Real life has been getting in the way again.

There is a lot of stuff to catch up on, especially the India/Rafale shenanigans.  I hope to put some more content up in the very near future.

Thanks for putting up.

Planned obsolescence: F-35 upgrades are on the way.

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Any person who has bought the latest and greatest technological gadget knows the pain.  The sheer joy of showing off that slick new piece of kit turns to frustration when its successor is announced.

The F-35 Lightning II is still months away from its IOC, yet the USAF is already looking into future upgrades.  Not just minor upgrades, like additional weapons, but major upgrades like radar and engines.  Considering the massive amount of PR stating that the F-35 is the most "advanced fighter in the world", one might start to question why the USAF is already planning on the current model becoming obsolete.

The JSF has been criticized for its flaws.  It is seen as too heavy, too slow, too expensive, and not that much better than legacy F-16s and F/A-18s it is destined to replace.  It is reasonable to assume that the addition of a new, more powerful engine, improved avionics, and even laser weapons would make it more palatable to its critics.  After all, who doesn't like mor…

Why I still think the Gripen is the best fighter for Canada.

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A lot has happened in the three years (has it been that long?) since I started blogging about my preference for the Saab Gripen over the F-35 for Canada's CF-18 replacement.  Not the least of which was a total "reset" officially putting the Gripen in the running...  Only for Saab to drop out.

Looking back, dropping out may have been a wise move.  While Saab has quietly plugged away at Gripen E development, the JSF has continued to meet one controversy after another.

An engine fire, a no-show at its own international debut, a gun that does not shoot, bombs that will not fit, continued worries about costs, and reliability issues continue to make the F-35 the Kim Kardashian of the aviation world.

Meanwhile, Saab has continued to work on its JAS-39E (aka: Gripen NG).

The Gripen E takes many of the legacy Gripen criticisms head-on.  Redesigned fuel tanks and wings increase payload and range.  A new engine adds power and the ability to supercruise.  Detection capabilities a…

Stealth snowmobile already years late, millions over budget.

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In a recent report, it was revealed that the Canadian military's plans for a covert snowmobile are already in dire jeopardy due to design flaws and blown budgets.

Originally allotted $620,000 to study the concept of a hybrid snowmobile, a source inside the Department of National Defence (DND) has revealed that the Dual Action Tactical Arctic Stealth Snowmobile prototype is grossly overweight.  In order for it to meet requirements, heavier steel components will be resigned with costly composite materials, and the hybrid engine will increase in size, requiring a much larger battery (thus resulting in further weight gains).

This major redesign has set the project roughly 28 months behind schedule.  It will also require an addition $1,041,500 worth of funding.

The Department of National Defence has stated that it is fully committed to the Dual Action Tactical Arctic Stealth Snowmobile (DATASS).
While not everybody approves of DATASS, we certainly do.  It really is beautiful.  We will…