The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has bid a fond farewell to the VC10 air refueling tanker, a type that has been in British military service for 47 years.
AIN Blogs » AIN Defense Blog
We’ve been hearing about unmanned aircraft strikes on suspected terrorists in the tribal regions of Pakistan, in Afghanistan and lately in Somalia and Yemen, for years now. So it’s surprising that the U.S. government’s first official acknowledgement that it uses remotely piloted aircraft—drones, if you must—to take down terrorists came just one week ago.
Next month marks the 60th anniversary of the birth of one of aviation’s great “might-have-beens.” The start of development of an aircraft that became a source of national pride. The start of an aircraft that could have been a world-beater. I’m referring to Canada’s mighty Avro CF-105 Arrow fighter. But an even more recent anniversary looms on Monday: the 53rd anniversary of its death.
More than the usual number of reporters descended on the Pentagon January 5, hopeful of learning how, specifically, the Department of Defense will cull billions of dollars from its budget over the next decade. Would the troubled F-35 program be further restructured or reduced? Would the V-22 get clipped?
I have been following with interest the developing story of how Iran has reportedly managed to capture some of the U.S.’s most sensitive surveillance technology, and I still have to shake my head at what a waste it was.
A century ago, the U.S. Navy purchased its first airplane after a series of tests in which a brave pilot–wearing inflated bicycle inner tubes as a lifejacket–demonstrated one could land safely aboard a ship and then take off from the same vessel. The date of that purchase–May 8, 1911–is considered the birthday of naval aviation. In the hundred years since, the aircraft carrier has evolved from a scouting tool to a leading strike weapon.
The briefing requests started three weeks out: “[company executive] available to discuss new products at our exhibit. Can we arrange a meeting?” In advance of the Unmanned Systems North America conference last week, I received nearly 40 such invitations, still only a fraction of the reported 510 exhibitors at the four-day event held in Washington, D.C.’s cavernous downtown convention center.
Prominent U.S. defense programs are feeling pressure from more than just Congress and Pentagon cost police. Before and during the Paris Air Show, Boeing’s KC-46A tanker and Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II faced flak from the aviation press and, in the latter case, an ally’s speech.
The McDonnell Douglas A-12 Avenger II’s radical, wedge-shaped design still looks exotic, even in the 20 years since the program was cancelled after an outlay of billions of dollars that failed to produce even one real airplane. The proposed Navy attack bomber has fascinated me ever since the first time I saw an artist’s rendering of it.
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