Is Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter a “bomb truck,” optimized for the stealthy attack of ground targets but of limited value as a defender of airspace? Critics and rivals of the multibillion-dollar international program have been sniping at the F-35’s air-to-air maneuvering performance for years.
United States Air Force
If all goes well, the German air force could be the first air arm to routinely operate a military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in European airspace. The first Euro Hawk should fly from the U.S. to the Manching test base in southern German during mid-2010 and begin operational flight evaluations from Schleswig-Jagel air base a year later.
The Pentagon is increasing production of the General Atomics Predator and Reaper armed UAVs and withdrawing 250 strike aircraft. The long-awaited statement on the U.S. Fiscal Year 2010 budget by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates confirmed an end to F-22 production at 187 aircraft, offset by a slight advance in the pace of the F-35 program.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has exceeded Mach 1 for the first time–a timely achievement after a recent Rand study suggested that the design lacked maneuverability for air-to-air combat. Lockheed Martin said that the Lightning II accelerated to Mach 1.05 with a full internal load of inert weapons–5,400 pounds–on November 13. The design top speed is Mach 1.6. The Rand study on Air Combat discussed the potential performance of U.S.
While the U.S. Air Force’s KC-X tanker replacement program is held in abeyance–waiting for the incoming Administration to sort out–the support contract for the service’s existing KC-135 fleet is building into a saga of epic proportions. A U.S.
The history of the Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey military tiltrotor is that of the rankest of Hollywood cliffhangers.
Yesterday’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter briefing turned into a celebration of the recent first flight of the F-35B STOVL version. The three customers for the new-generation jump jet (the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.K. and Italy) lined up to sing its praises. Test pilot Graham Tomlinson from BAE Systems was on hand to describe the maiden flight.
Appearing for one day only, the F-22 Raptor thrilled the Farnborough crowd yesterday with a majestic display of power and agility. Now the Raptor heads home to join the rest of its unit at Langley, Virginia, as the F-22 fleet gathers experience and capability.
Raytheon is launching here at Farnborough the latest member of its growing family of AESA (active electronically scanned antenna) radars. Known as the Raytheon advanced combat radar (RACR, “racer”), the new sensor is aimed at both the retrofit market, for aircraft such as the F-16, F/A-18 and others, or for installation in new-build fighters.
Gulfstream Aerospace recently delivered the first of an order for five C-37A special mission versions of the GV to the U.S. Air Force. The lease and support service agreement is valued at $477 million and the remaining aircraft are slated for delivery at intervals through September next year. The first aircraft was delivered at Gulfstream’s Savannah, Ga.