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.
F-35 Lightning II
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.
The Yak-130 advanced jet trainer is not cavorting about the skies over Farnborough, but company executives are on hand at the Irkut stand (Hall 1 E8) to discuss its capabilities and give an update on the program.
Last week Saab received two orders from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration for equipment to upgrade the Swedish air force’s fleet of Gripen fighters. The first, worth around $54 million, covers the provision of electronic warfare systems, scheduled for delivery this year or next. The second, worth approximately $42 million, provides weapons pylons compatible with GPS-guided weapons. Deliveries are scheduled for 2009 to 2011.
Sukhoi’s Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Industrial Association (KnAAPO) has started manufacturing the first development prototypes of an advanced fifth-generation fighter. Sukhoi told AIN that it will complete an experimental aircraft in the second half of next year, after which it will start flight trials.
When Lockheed Martin chose a test pilot to take the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) version through development and into the air, the company realized there is no substitute for experience. Therefore, when aircraft F-35BF-1 took to the skies over Texas last month, a 58-year-old British pilot was at the controls.
Boeing’s F-15 Eagle has racked up an enviable 104-0 combat record, as one of the world’s top-flight air-superiority and air-to-ground assault fighters. Although the Eagle made its first flight 36 years ago, the latest U.S. Air Force plan says it won’t be leaving its inventory any time soon. Current considerations call for the F-15C/D to remain in service for another 17 years, and the F-15E for another 27.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will cost much more than currently predicted, and the expected cost per flight hour already exceeds that of the F-16, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems Division revealed here yesterday the latest in its growing active electronically steered antenna (AESA) radar family. The Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) builds on the company’s expertise of developing AESA radars for the F-22, F-35 and F-16 Block 60.
Some international partners in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program could delay signing up for production airplanes until 2013. George Standridge, Lockheed Martin F-35 vice president for business development, said that funding of long-lead items would be required 36 months before first flight, with a larger down-payment due 12 months later.