Friday, March 19, 2010

Spetsnaz Vid...

Wow.  They take training rather seriously.  Live rounds are one thing but live explosives against a target vehicle during a demonstration?  The West has lost its balls.  We could never get away with that!

Marines TV...another video on the F-35B vertical landing...

The Marine Corps is really pushing this program. This is the second video that the USMC have released on this program within the last 2 days. Interesting. What's even more interesting is the fact that the first Training Squadron stands up next month and pilots will start training this fall....too big to fail...too far along to stop...

video

Rafale Flight Demo...

Impressive flight demonstration but...is dog fighting still valid in an age of hyper agile missiles?  Can a fighter today really expect to out fly an AIM-9X, Python 5 or IRIS-T?

I don't think so, but I could be wrong.  Additionally with over the shoulder shots now possible, will a fighter pilot ever put themselves in a dog fight position?

Editorial....


ELP wrote a blog post titled Crystal Ball..in it he made some statements that I feel warrant a response.
Of all the services, the USMC will be the most secure with getting F-35s—barring anymore program surprises. The Navy won’t be able to afford their original F-35 goals. And where is the first flight of CF-1 rolled out almost a year ago?. The USAF is in a similar boat—AF-1 etc dragging. So, because the USMC F-35B can do STOVL it brings something that the other two models don’t have; lots of appearance of worth for appearance sake.
I'm kinda surprised by this one.  ELP lives in Australia and is well aware that this program is international in scope.  Not only is the US Marine Corps heavily depending on the F-35B for its future air arm but so are the Italians and Brits who both see it as a replacement for the AV-8B Harrier II.  Additionally, other nations are participating that view either the F-35A or the F-35C as being important not only to their future defenses but also as part of their economic base.  The tentacles of the F-35 extend far and wide.  If the F-35 weren't important to a nations defense then it would be important to its job sector.
The USMC will have to define “austere”. Each F-35B sortie will require 7 tons of gas. What kind of airfield surface or flight deck can tolerate F-35B STOVL ops is yet to be seen. And it better be some kind of enemy to justify the cost per hour to put this aircraft aloft. This is important to consider when vertical take-off and landing CAS can be performed by attack helicopters and precision tubed and rocket artillery are redefining fire-support (without collecting flight pay); and that UAV thing.
If any service has defined "austere" then its the USMC.  Battlefield logistics are just part of what we do.  You think 7 tons of gas is tough???, then convert gallons of water into tons and figure the requirements for a Marine Infantry Battalion operating in the desert.  Add to it the requirements of keeping a M1A1 Main Battle Tank Company in the field  and on the march.  Living in the mud and dirt is nothing new.  We do "austere" everyday.  As far as close air support--the Marines invented it.  Attack Helicopters and artillery are just tools in the tool kit.  Each has it place...as does fast jets.
If the F-35B is successful—where the definition of “successful” will be majority of flights that have an equal number of take-offs and landings—the U.S. Navy will have small STOVL carriers forced down its throat. The Defense budget will be cut. The Navy will discover it can no longer afford big deck carriers. With that, we will see smaller air wings, each with only one squadron of 12 F-35Bs on deck.
I seriously doubt it.  The Navy has a ship building plan in place that will have carriers produced for quite a while.  The latest version is already under construction and its decks will be filled with F-35C's, F/A-18E-F's and X-47B's.  Navy Aviation is going to be fine.

I have been doing alot of thinking on the "F-35" problem and it all boils down to a couple of hard facts.
1.  For the USMC the F-35B is a reality.  It will be bought, it will go into service---by any means necessary.
2.  There is a vocal, educated and organized effort on an international level to kill the program.  I don't doubt the sincerity of the individuals involved.  They might well be right.
3.  For many of our allies, they're in too deep to withdraw.  Turkey, the UK, Australia and a few others are rock solid behind the program.  Besides the airplane, local economics and politics will force their continued participation.  Can you imagine a British Defense Minister telling BAE to shut down production because they're pulling out of the program?  The British populace will go crazy!
4.  Added buys are going to be forthcoming...In the east their is an arms race.  Japan will get a deal...so will S. Korea.  Israel --hoping to maintain a qualitative advantage will also come aboard.
5.  Any thoughts of the USAF down sizing its buys is really nonsense.  The Air Force will disband itself if it doesn't keep men in the cockpit.  I predict that they will not only buy their full allotment but will seek to increase the buy.

Australia remains firmly in the F-35 camp...


via DefenseNews.com....

Australia Unruffled By F-35 Delays

SYDNEY - Australia's minister for defense, Sen. John Faulkner, is unruffled by the latest cost and schedule difficulties afflicting the Joint Strike Fighter program. And senior defense officials in Canberra say they believe that Australia's plans to acquire up to 100 F-35A Lightning II aircraft aren't much affected by the JSF project's cost overruns.
That's because of budget and schedule buffers built into the Royal Australian Air Force's New Air Combat Capability (NACC) program, which is buying the planes, he said.
A senior defense official in Canberra said March 18 that Australia's budget for the program, and the timing of its orders, are based on the NACC program office's own independent estimates of the JSF program's cost and schedule. These take into account the estimates from the Joint Program Office in Washington and from Lockheed Martin, the JSF's prime contractor, but they include a contingency margin, he said.
So the NACC program office's conservative estimates mean that Australia doesn't really need to take any action or change any of its plans as a result of the JSF program's Nunn-McCurdy breach.
In a March 12 statement, Faulkner stood by the F-35A, calling it the right choice for the RAAF, and saying that it will enable the Australian Defence Force to keep "a strategic air combat capability advantage" until 2030.
"As with all highly complex and cutting-edge projects, risks are to be expected," Faulkner said. "The Australian government's staged acquisition strategy for the JSF includes significant cost and schedule buffers to deal with project risks which will ensure initial operational capability in 2018 is met."
The F-35s will replace the RAAF's 24 F-111C strike aircraft, which are due to retire at the end of this year, and its 71 "classic" F/A-18 Hornet fighters.
Sources declined to discuss the purchasing plans of other JSF partner nations. But a senior official said that if a partner nation withdraws from the JSF production program, it can't count on maintaining its existing workshare in the project, and the other partners would be very unhappy at the prospect of other nations enjoying the industry benefits of the JSF program without actually buying the aircraft themselves.
In November, Australia became the first of the eight JSF partner nations to order the warplane, announcing a 3.2 billion Australian dollar ($2.9 billion) purchase of 14 F-35As, along with initial training and support infrastructure. These are the first of 72 aircraft the RAAF plans to purchase under a combined Phase 2A and 2B of the NACC project, code-named Air 6000.
Those first 14 jets will be delivered beginning in 2014, with 10 remaining in the United States for training and operational testing and four F-35s scheduled to reach Australia in 2017. The RAAF plans to declare Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2018, and its third squadron will be operational in 2020-21.
"Approval of the next batch of aircraft and all necessary support and enabling capabilities, sufficient to establish three operational squadrons, will be considered in 2012," said Faulkner's deputy, Greg Combet, the defense materiel, personnel and science minister.
On March 18, Combet told students and faculty at Australia's Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, at the Australian Defence College in Canberra, "This will fulfill our [2009 Defence] white paper commitment to acquire three operational squadrons comprising not fewer than 72 aircraft."
According to senior RAAF sources, Phase 2C of Project Air 6000 will acquire the balance of the F-35s, bringing the total up to 100. Funding approval for this is scheduled for the latter part of the next decade.
However, the RAAF's original schedule for Project Air 6000 stated an IOC of 2015. On that basis, the service's "classic" F/A-18 Hornets, which recently have been upgraded, were scheduled to retire by 2018.
Last year, a program to replace their center fuselage sections was cancelled at a saving of some 400 million Australian dollars because the aircraft had sufficient service life remaining until 2018. But if they are now required to serve a further two years, some of them may require a center barrel replacement to ensure their structural integrity.
Meanwhile, as a hedge against delays in the JSF program in 2007, Australia's then-defense minister, Brendan Nelson, announced a 6 billion Australian dollar order for 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets. The first four of the two-seat warplanes are due to arrive at the RAAF's Amberley base, near Brisbane, at the end of this month, where they will replace the service's aging F-111C strike aircraft.
The Super Hornets are intended to serve for 10 years before being sold back to the U.S. Navy, replaced in turn by the final batch of F-35s under Phase 2C of Project Air 6000.
Interesting.  

Gates to Mexico...

Keep an eye on this.  If the Secretary of Defense is heading to Mexico, then that would indicate either an increase in military hardware to the country, US Advisers or both.  I would guess both, but if US troops are going to aid the Mexican military then you can bet that it will be a clandestine effort.
Gates to Mexico

F-35B...first airplane to Short Take Off--Supersonic Flight---Vertical landing...

And here's the video...take that Yak-41 Fans!

Problems in Haiti...


via Stars and Stripes...

Keen: If you’ve left Port-au-Prince, don’t come back


GONAIVES, Haiti — The U.S. will keep troops in Haiti through September to work alongside Argentine peacekeepers in a volatile part of the country where tens of thousands fled to after January’s earthquake.
Joint Task Force Haiti commander Lt. Gen. Ken Keen said Wednesday that as many as 500 personnel at a time will be deployed to Haiti from June through September to do humanitarian assistance and medical projects, mostly in the town of Gonaives, a mid-sized city between Port-au-Prince and the country’s north coast. Currently, about 4,300 troops are on the ground with another 2,300 on Navy vessels off the coast.
The goal of the mission, which will fall under the military liaison section at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti once the joint task force stands down, is to provide services that will help convince people displaced by the earthquake to stay in Gonaives, he said.
An estimated 600,000 people fled Port-au-Prince after their homes collapsed, Keen said, adding that most have been absorbed into other communities without the creation of the sort of tent cities found in the capital.
“There is a family structure in Haiti and they have taken care of their own to a great degree,” he said. “A family of five [in an area outside the capital] may now have 15 people living in their home.”
The goal of the Haitian government and the United Nations is to dissuade those who have left the capital from returning, something that could make matters worse in a town that is struggling to find safe areas for earthquake survivors’ camps.
“If 600,000 people returned to Port-au-Prince, that would double the problems there,” Keen said....

How Grenades Work...

via Gizmodo from NextRound.net


Answer this for me...

Why are the bomb bay doors open in this photo?  They didn't have to do that for the X-35.  Is this something new?  Does it add some type of safety margin?  And is this how they'll operate in the fleet?