Friday, June 12, 2015

Ketchup time...


Yeah yeah...  I know...  I've been away.  That real life stuff happening again.

I'm not going to apologize too much.  The weather has finally turned nice which means I can actually go outdoors and enjoy a beer instead of hunching over a keyboard.  You can pretty much guess which one I find more enjoyable!

Anyway, time to catch up...

The Rafale gets a (small) boost.

I'm still not exactly sure what's going on...
The Indian Rafale deal has finally come to a...  Middle?

The seemingly perpetual on again/off again nature of negotiations between France and India have led to a token buy of 36 French-built Rafales, down from 126; most of which would be built by HAL, India's indigenous aircraft manufacturer.  India's own government seems confused about how and why this all went down the way it did.

India's air force is simply baffling in its variety, why should its procurement be any different?

The blow has been softened considerable for Dassault, with both Egypt and Qatar each ordering 24 Rafales each.

One year ago, the Rafale had no export sales whatsoever, over the last three months, the ink is drying on contracts for 84 Rafales sold...  Not bad.

The Pentagon has lost its dang mind...

"That'll buff right out..."
So what does The Pentagon do when the F-35 is years late, billions over budget, and still cannot make it over the Atlantic ocean due to a tendency to catch fire on the runway?

ORDER MORE!

Not just a few more, but a "group buy" of 450 airframes over 3 years.  This would enable JSF production to proceed at full steam without annual congressional approval.  There is also the "hope" that such a solid commitment combined with increased production will result in a price drop.  This, despite the fact that F-35 prices have shown no evidence of dropping due to increased production in the past.  

I think we all know the real reason behind this.

Committing to 450 airframes would finally put the JSF past the point of no return, not only for the USA, but for its foreign partners as well.  The F-35 is precariously close to that point already, thanks to a lack of true competition for its largest buyers (USAF, USMC, and RAF).  A bulk buy order at this point would ensure the JSF program's survival by virtue of simple momentum.

Peter MacKay steps out


Former Defense Minister Peter MacKay announced his departure from politics a couple of weeks ago, disappointing editorial cartoonists everywhere.  

To say MacKay has had a colorful career in politics would be an understatement.  His tenure as Defense Minister alone was enough to make him a household name, what with the F-35 purchase (and reset), shipbuilding, Cyclone teething problems, hitching helicopter rides, and the like.  His time as Justice Minister was just as "interesting", being behind controversial laws like C-51 and C-36 prostitution bill.  Add to all that is personal life, being romantically linked with Belinda Stronach and Condoleezza Rice, and you have a character is certainly is larger-than-life.

I had the pleasure of meeting the Honorable Peter MacKay, in a record store of all places, and I must say, he was a very well spoken and intelligent man.  I may not agree with him on many things, but I certainly do respect him.  

It just isn't going to be the same without him.

Hungary grounds its Gripens

Ouch
Both Hungary and Czechoslovakia have grounded their Gripen fleets after two Hungarian Gripen crashes in as many months.  

While the timing of both crashes are uncomfortably close together, there seems to be little connecting the two crashes.  The first crash was caused when the aircraft overran the runway.  The second was caused by a malfunctioning front landing gear.  Neither incident resulted in a fatality, but the pilot in the second crash did suffer a spinal injury.  

Investigations are underway to determine the underlying cause of both crashes.  

Summer slow-down


Given the choice between sitting at a computer or riding my bike...  I'll choose my bike.  

This last winter was miserable here in Nova Scotia so I intend on enjoying this summer to its fullest.  With that in mind, I will only be sporadically updating over the next few months.  I also will not be monitoring comments too closely (I barely have time to do that as it is!).

Things will likely heat up again as the election approaches in the fall.  More so if any of the political parties actually have the guts to take a stand on military procurement (yeah right!).

Until then...  Enjoy your summer.

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