International Aerospace Discussion

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby soutikghosh » 26 Jun 2008 23:14


Sanjay M
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 01 Jul 2008 11:46


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 02 Jul 2008 03:07

France plans revolution in space
By Matt McGrath
BBC science correspondent

Ambitious plans for European missions to the Moon and Mars are being considered by the French government.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Vick » 02 Jul 2008 09:11

There are over 100 a/c parked at the FedEx ramp at Memphis international. Also notice the C-5s off to the side. This magnitude of airlift capability has implicit strategic connotations.

Click image for bigger pic
Image
http://www.abpic.co.uk/photo/1108051/

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 02 Jul 2008 09:23

indeed - between Fedex, UPS and DHL they can muster a gigantic palletized
airlift capability, leaving the C5 and C17 for bulkier and specialized cargo.
onlee thing is except the C17 to some extent they all need paved and long
runways.

=> a bad idea to let Unkil buildup at leisure. Unkil has to be put on mat
before all that combat power is deployed

in India our desi operators like bluedart seem to be slowly bulking up and
there is talk of Ambani Sr starting his own cargo airline once the navi
mumbai SEZ comes up. A fleet of 100 cargo 737-800s/A321 for domestic
duties makes a huge difference.

even the IAF could pickup some A321/B737 on the cheap with present
lull in airline industry and use them for palletized cargo - cheaper opex
than IL76 for sure.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 03 Jul 2008 08:48

Long Live the Glorious Akkomplishments of the Glorious European Union of Socialist Republiks (EUSR):

http://eursoc.com/news/fullstory.php/ai ... _Moon.html

The Frankophone Komrades will now seize the kommanding heights of the kosmos, to bring glory to the new EUSR with a new era of space politiks.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 07 Jul 2008 18:49

there are implications for India in this excerpt from a defence industry daily
article on Brazil signing a $1b+ order for Cougar helis.

..

On the other hand, the global medium helicopter market is currently very tight, with demand outstripping supply. EH101 production is backlogged to the point that Britain moved to buy Denmark’s fleet rather than wait for factory deliveries of extra machines for the front lines. NHI/Eurocopter’s smaller NH90 is in an even worse state, and is backlogged by years; so is Boeing’s heavy-lift CH-47 Chinook. Sikorsky’s medium-heavy CH-53K will not be a realistic option before 2016 or so. Its smaller H-92 Superhawk has yet to be delivered, has not been ordered in a military transport version, and currently has just small one military customer in Canada. This leaves Russia’s Mi-17, which may have a large Saudi order to work on and attracts questions about its Rosoboronexport’s support and negotiating approaches, or Eurocopter.

An additional production line and firm orders for the EC725 offer Eurocopter additional capacity to meet global demand, while fulfilling their existing commitments. It also offers them a key reference customer beyond France, giving their new model credibility as a viable long-term choice for existing Puma and Super Puma operators.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 07 Jul 2008 18:58

my pick for the heavy component of our air mobile brigades proposed.
http://www.flightglobal.com/assets/geta ... emID=12220

he U.S. Marines have a problem. The CH-53E Super Stallion medium-heavy lift helicopters they rely upon to move troops, vehicles, and supplies off of their ships are wearing out. Fast. Yet the pace demanded by the Global War on Terror is relentless. Attrition is taking its toll, and CH-53s are being recalled from “boneyard” storage at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ, in order to maintain fleet numbers in the face of recent losses and forced retirements. By 2012-2015, replacements will be urgently needed.

Enter the Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program, also known as the CH-53X and given the formal designation CH-53K in April 2006.

HLR calls for development and procurement of 156 new-build helicopters derived from the CH-53E Super Stallion, with initial flight tests in 2010-2011 and initial operating capability in 2014-2015.


July 19/06: Jane’s reports that EADS Eurocopter is seeking partners for a “super lift” helicopter to be fielded around 2020 with the French & German militaries, and confirms that talks have been held with Sikorsky regarding a modified CH-53K with European avionics and a larger cabin.

The Germans apparently want to replace their CH-53Gs (actually modified CH-53Ds) around 2020, and will look for upgrade programs to bridge the gap. The French currently lack heavy-lift helicopters in the CH-53 or CH-47 class, though the supergiant Russian Mi-26 was evaluated recently. E


The CH-53K’s maximum gross weight will increase to 84,700 pounds, versus 73,000 pounds for the CH-53E. It is being designed to carry a cargo load of 27,000 pounds (13.5 tons) 110 nautical miles, operating at an altitude of 3,000 feet and an ambient temperature of 91.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This is nearly double the capacity of the current CH-53E Super Stallions.

Those altitude and temperature qualifications matter, too, because “hot and high” conditions lower aircraft load carrying capabilities and combat radius – especially for helicopters. This reduced performance has recently been a factor during operations in Afghanistan and relief efforts in Pakistan, for instance, and has been a factor with earlier models of the C-130 Hercules as well. Figures for the CH-53K operating entirely around sea level and in cooler temperatures would be higher, but would not be double that of existing CH-53Es.

As an example of these variables at work, Sikorsky’s CH-53K brochure states that the improved CH-53K will have a maximum external load of 16.3t/ 36k lbs. Realistically, in an operation that carries an externally-slung load from sea level to a point 3,000 feet above sea level, with a total range there and back of 220 nautical miles/ 407 km, and 30 minute loiter at the landing zone… that same brochure gives its maximum mission load as 12.25t/ 27,000 lbs.

It should be noted that external payloads create more drag than internal loads, and reduce range, but the point is clear.

Even at sea level, however, increased lift capacity will be important. As the Hummer’s fundamental lack of survivability begins to marginalize it on the battlefield, the Marines are leading the charge to field “MRAP” blast-resistant vehicle designs instead. While an up-armored HMMWV weighs about 9,100 pounds empty, the lightest Category 1 MRAP patrol vehicles check in at weights ranging from 16,000 – 31,000 pounds. Those weights mean that tactical operations to airlift mobile forces ashore beyond the beach, or within the zone of operations, will have only one helicopter available that can get the job done: the CH-53.

Technologies under consideration for the CH-53K include a joint interoperable “glass” [digital] cockpit, high-efficiency rotor blades with anhedral tips, a low-maintenance elastomeric rotorhead, upgraded engines, a cargo rail locking system; external cargo improvements, survivability enhancements, and enhancements designed to extend service life.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby rkhanna » 10 Jul 2008 00:21

This is something Interesting. South Korea is partnering up with SAAB to develop their own 5th Gen Fighter..
Something India could have done instead of the "PAK-FA" route. Or can still do with the MCA.

It's twin GE F414 and 3 internal bays...last year Saab said they would pick up 30% of the R&D costs for 10% of the production share. I guess that depends on the number being built tho.. if it will ever happen.

http://img388.imageshack.us/img388/610/ksaab78ja1.jpg

http://img387.imageshack.us/img387/8220/ksaab108ou1.jpg

http://img378.imageshack.us/img378/2743/ksaab248xd2.jpg

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby shyamd » 10 Jul 2008 01:57

UAE are in negotiations for Rafale since early this year. UAE wants France to take back its Mirage 2000's in exchange for new Rafale's. 63 in total. Possibly see India getting some of these?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby ranganathan » 10 Jul 2008 02:05

Why should India spend on MRCA, LCA and Mirage 2k which after refurbishment will cost almost same as Mig-35?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 10 Jul 2008 05:11

Because it makes Abdul Kalam types feel like they have something to do.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby sunilUpa » 10 Jul 2008 05:24

Sanjay M wrote:Because it makes Abdul Kalam types feel like they have something to do.


Excuse me?!!

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rahul M » 10 Jul 2008 05:33

Sanjay, could you clarify ?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 10 Jul 2008 05:39

Like I said, India seems to fund these endlessly delayed programs which rarely turn out their much ballyhooed next-gen weapons, just so that they can give the scientists and engineers something to do.

India's track record in the development of such competitive weaponry seems to be quite poor. I, for one, am glad there is an effort to bring in more private sector participation.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 10 Jul 2008 05:40

Meanwhile, a new heavy transport VTOL aircraft is being jointly developed by SkyHook and Boeing:

http://www.gizmag.com/skyhook-and-boein ... raft/9618/

India could benefit from having such craft, as it would permit more development of infrastructure in remote, otherwise inaccessible areas.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby narayana » 10 Jul 2008 11:41

shyamd wrote:UAE are in negotiations for Rafale since early this year. UAE wants France to take back its Mirage 2000's in exchange for new Rafale's. 63 in total. Possibly see India getting some of these?



i think it will be a bad idea to buy used Mirage 2000's we are upgrading our Mirages already,if we have vision upto 2030,if required we should go for additional rafale or Typhoons for medium category

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Dhanush » 10 Jul 2008 15:40

ranganathan wrote:Why should India spend on MRCA, LCA and Mirage 2k which after refurbishment will cost almost same as Mig-35?


The MRCA is going to drag on for years. It could as well end up like the helicopter contract being cancelled because of allegations. Especially looking at the candidates for MRCA (and also at the progress of it), I dont think MoD is very serious about it. Also, if the government changes, no one know what is going to happen to it.

LCA is in light category. I assume we are discussing about the 'medium' category.

Mirage2K is a proven platform which has performed very well in high altitude conflicts (which is bread and butter business for IAF). Everyone knows the importance attached to it (remember Kargil). The russian aircrafts have not matched up to it. Also, inducting more of it does not bring in any new logistics headache. Also remember, IAF already has a logistics nightmare, being one of the few airforces to maintain so many different types of aircrafts. No one really knows how good Mig-35 is for IAF (also keeping in mind supplier diversification, it is not a great idea).

This would be my reasoning.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Kunal » 10 Jul 2008 17:13

Sanjay M, please show some respect for those "Abdul Kalam" types. They are revered by many on this forum. I'm sure you did not want to offend their sensibilities.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 10 Jul 2008 18:40

when Massa bahadur decides to act rough, its the efforts of these "abdul kalam" types that will
save our bacon.

its either that or take the pants off and gubo for whoever is the gorilla looking for a all-lie.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby PaulJI » 10 Jul 2008 20:48

ranganathan wrote:Why should India spend on MRCA, LCA and Mirage 2k which after refurbishment will cost almost same as Mig-35?


UAE Mirage 2000s are rather new, & already have almost all the goodies in the upgrade of the old Indian Mirages. Therefore no need for an expensive upgrade.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby ranganathan » 11 Jul 2008 00:00

UAE M2k-5 are most likely customized for them and IAF will consider them compromised until modified (RADAR etc). I am not sure how much it will cost after all the changes. PAkis also could have had used these machines.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 11 Jul 2008 03:41

Singha wrote:when Massa bahadur decides to act rough, its the efforts of these "abdul kalam" types that will
save our bacon.

its either that or take the pants off and gubo for whoever is the gorilla looking for a all-lie.



Private sector can do the job more efficiently.
We should re-orient our research pipelines towards actually producing marketable products.
Even the South Africans have a better record than us in R&D, despite much smaller budgets.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby ranganathan » 11 Jul 2008 04:03

South africa had a lot of help from israel and france and more importantly their armed forces were ready to accept their own duds unlike Indias's. What great R&D are you talking about? Roovialk which stopped at 12? MBT like Oliphaunt? Atlas oryx which is basically a puma? umkhonto, which is inferior to barak? Their navy is ready to accept frigates with just 16 umkhonto, IN wouldn't accept a frigate with such armament The private sector is only coming into play today. They are simply incapable of make a MBT, missiles or LGB's. Give them a decade or so before you go about claiming they can make the next f5G ighter aircraft.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 11 Jul 2008 09:21

Their artillery is pretty famous. It's not like their African opponents were fielding topline fighter aircraft against them to begin with.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby ranganathan » 11 Jul 2008 09:40

Thats the problem. IA and IAF cannot accept substandard equipment that does not give them a decisive edge over chinks and porkis. Anyway I don't think India trusts SA enough to go into joint venture with them. They will have to depend on brazil. India has better options with israel.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby putnanja » 12 Jul 2008 03:22


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby saptarishi » 13 Jul 2008 23:20

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080709/113624747.html

Russian air force to buy 182 SU-35BM]

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik) - The first demonstration fight of the Su-35 on July 7, 2008 attracted much attention to this aircraft, which has been undergoing tests since February. The latest addition to the large T-10 (Su-27) family is to become the interim fighter for the Russian Air Force before fifth-generation aircraft are launched into mass production.

The Su-35, more precisely the Su-35BM, is the second model of the T-10 family to carry that designation. The first Su-35 was manufactured 20 years ago, taking to the skies in 1988 under the designation Su-27M.

In 1991, it was decided to launch the Su-27M into mass production under the designation Su-35. The first serial aircraft took off in April 1992, though this model was never produced in large numbers. Due to the lack of funding between 1992 and 1995, only 12 Su-35's were delivered to the Air Force. These aircraft have been used for tests and demonstration flights.

Soon the Su-37 was developed on the basis of the Su-35. Often confused with the experimental C.37/Su-47 aircraft, the Su-37 was equipped with thrust-vectoring engines, which was the main difference between this model and the Su-35. The No. 711 Su-37 prototype impressed specialists greatly by its outstanding maneuverability, but remained one-of-a-kind.

In the late 1990's the Su-35 was given a new lease of life, as the issue of rejuvenating the Russian Air Force was raised again. To avoid excessive growth of designation numbers, the new aircraft was given the designation Su-35BM ("Big Modernization").

In 2008, the 117C engine was developed, enabling the designers to start the flight tests of the new aircraft, scheduled to be finished by 2010. The state armament program for 2006-2015, adopted in 2006, envisages mass production of the Su-35BM for the Russian Air Force, and the Defense Ministry is expected to purchase 182 of these aircraft. In addition, technology developed within the Su-35 project will be used to upgrade the Su-27s to the Su-27CM2 standard.

The creation of the Su-35 is an important step for the Air Force and the aircraft industry. Taking into account that a fifth generation fighter would not be in mass production in Russia before 2015, the Su-35BM will help to close the gap, replacing the older Su-27s, which will be decommissioned starting from the next decade.

The technical characteristics of the Su-35 are high enough to fulfill this task, outmatching all the modern American, French and EU generation 4+ fighter designs, including the Super Hornet, Rafale and Typhoon. The Su-35 is even able to withstand the world's only fifth-generation fighter now in production, the F-22, though it is much cheaper than the American fighter - its cost is around $40 million dollars compared with $300 million for F-22.

Regarding the Defense Ministry's plans, the question emerges whether the Russian industry would be capable of launching production in the required numbers within the scheduled period. The answer is more likely to be positive: the industrial capacities are beyond doubt, as the production of numerous modifications of Su-27s and Su-30s for export is on the rise. What the program requires is uninterrupted state funding.

With the Su-35 launched into mass production in 2011, the 182 aircraft ordered by the Defense Ministry would be delivered by 2020. By that time the Russian Air Force would have between 120 and 140 upgraded Su-27s and 30-40 fifth-generation fighters, enabling the Air Force to maintain its combat potential in the next 2-3 decades.

There have been many successful designs in the history of aviation, but only a few could match rising combat requirements for a number of years, like the famous Messerschmitt Bf-109 and P-51 Mustang fighters, the Tu-95 and B-52 strategic bombers, and the Su-27. The T-10 prototype made its maiden flight in 1977, and another flight in 1981 after major improvements.

The fighter went into mass production as late as 1984, and it still has the combat potential sufficient to remain one of the world's best aircraft. The Su-35BM, taking to the skies in 2008, showed even higher performance, an unprecedented improvement on a design developed 30 years ago.

It's not easy to forecast what lies ahead for the Su-35, but no doubt it will live through a few decades of service with gradual renewal of armament and avionics, until the moment when this fighter, along with more sophisticated aircraft, will be replaced by aerial vehicles based on new physical principles.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Aditya_M » 14 Jul 2008 21:58

Private sector can do the job more efficiently


Pardon my French, but that is rubbish. The Private sector can be as corrupt, as inefficient and as clueless as the average govt. dept.

Secondly, the R in the Indian private sector R&D is woeful (I have worked in it). This is as much to do with lack of qualified people, as with clueless management and badly allotted finance. Do not, EVER expect the private sector to come out with something as highly precise and indigenous as what military tech needs to be.

And the South Africans are not the best comparison. They don't have active destabilizing enemies on their borders that get high tech equipment (and their designs) for free.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby srai » 15 Jul 2008 01:18

Dhanush wrote:
ranganathan wrote:Why should India spend on MRCA, LCA and Mirage 2k which after refurbishment will cost almost same as Mig-35?

...

Mirage2K is a proven platform which has performed very well in high altitude conflicts (which is bread and butter business for IAF). Everyone knows the importance attached to it (remember Kargil). The russian aircrafts have not matched up to it. Also, inducting more of it does not bring in any new logistics headache. Also remember, IAF already has a logistics nightmare, being one of the few airforces to maintain so many different types of aircrafts.
...

This would be my reasoning.


There was a MOD publication a couple of years back which mentioned that IAF has an infrastructure setup to accommodate something like 150 Mirage 2000s. It was IAF's long term interest to induct the Mirage 2000s in bulk until the MRCA tender changes forced it hand.

It wouldn't hurt the IAF to raise another 2-3 more squadrons of Mirage 2000s to act as a guaranteed safety net for at least another 15 years to account for the possible delays in many programs such as the LCA, MRCA and PAK-FA. It's a proven platform and the IAF is really fond of it. And with the current mid-life upgrades, they should be viable well into the 2020s.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby ArmenT » 15 Jul 2008 11:56

Upgrade drags Stealth Bomber into the 90s
It's getting Pentium processors and C code replacing JOVIAL

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JaiS » 15 Jul 2008 18:07

MukulMohanty wrote:Sorry this is going to be the wrong post on the wrong place...

But wondering if any of you need photos for the Farnborough... I hope to get my tickets for the weekend.. I am struggling with my camera so tis going to be only Static Displays....

Static Display's are as follows:
STATIC AIRCRAFT (as of 26 June 2008)

AGUSTA WESTLAND
AW101
Super Lynx 300
AW139 SAR
AW139 Commercial
AW149
Grand EMS
Grand VIP
AW109 LUH
AW129
AW119
NH90

ALENIA AERONAUTICA
C-27J
Eurofighter
Sky-Y
ATR 42 MP

ALENIA AERMACCHI
M-346
M-311

ANTONOV
AN26 (Slovakian Air Force support for MiG. Short stop only)

BELL
Bell 429
Bell 407 ARH

BN
Defender 400
Islander


ATR
ATR 72-500

Boeing
Boeing 777-300ER
Boeing C-17
Diamona HK36 (Fuel Cell)
FA 18

Bombardier
Dash8 Q300 Field Aviation/Swedish Coast Guard
Dash 8 Q400
CRJ 900
Global 5000
Challenger 605
Learjet 60 XR

Cessna
Cessna Grand Caravan
Cessna Sovereign
Cessna Mustang
Cessna Citation XLS
Cessna 172
Cessna 206
Cessna 400
Cessna 406 Rheims Aviation

Dassault
7X
2000 EX

DoD
F-15
B1-B
T1

Embraer
ERJ 135BJ Legacy 600

Gulfstream
Gulfstream G550

IAI Israel
Gulfstream G550 AEW variant

LM
F-16 Block 50
C-130J

MiG
2 x MiG 29 Slovakian Air Force

Pilatus
Pilatus PC12 - Pilatus
Pilatus PC21 “
Pilatus PC12 ( FLIR)

SAAB
2000 AEW (Company aircraft)

SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems/Galileo Avionica
*UAV*
ASIO
STRIX
FALCO

Sikorsky
S92 Helicopter

Socata TBM850 (Air Touring Biggin Hill Sun – Wed)
Gipsland Airvan
SAAB 2000 AEW Gripen International Ltd
LH-10 Elipse Aerosport
Dornier 328 JET
MD 80

Public Days
Do 228 German Navy
DG1000 Glider
GAF Tornado
DHC Beaver – Army
Hunter T7
Jet Provost

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JaiS » 15 Jul 2008 18:08

MukulMohanty wrote:And Saturday's flying display...

Saturday 19 July
Aero Sekur Shooting Stars
Airbus A 380
HAL Helicopter
Great War Display Team
Vickers Vimy
Swordfish
Spitfire
Sea Fury
The Red Arrows
Kestrel JP10
MiG 29
EADS Eurofighter
Sea Hawk
F 16
F 18
Guy Westgate Glider Display
Avro Vulcan
111 Sqn Celebration
MB 346
AB 609
MB 311
DC6
The Aerostars
BBMF
Catalina
The Blades

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby MukulMohanty » 15 Jul 2008 18:12

Thanks, I couldn't find the relevant post.

Regards,

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby JaiS » 15 Jul 2008 20:45

MukulMohanty,

You are welcome. Please take care about posting in the relevant thread. Thanks. :)

Singha wrote:my requests: NH90, G550 AEW, and the Selex products.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Nmistry » 17 Jul 2008 12:40

http://www.janes.com/news/defence/jdw/jdw080714_1_n.shtml

MBDA launches Meteor's final test phase

MBDA is preparing for the final phase of testing in the development of the Meteor BVRAAM (beyond visual range air-to-air missile).

Following an initial safe-separation test, two guided firings (GF1-2) will validate the full end-to-end range and performance of the ramjet-powered missile. Four further guided firings (GF3-6), which will prove the missile's seeker and datalink and its resistance to countermeasures, will conclude MBDA's development contract.

The GF1 launch is planned for early 2009 at QinetiQ's Hebrides sea range, where all remaining live-fire trials will be conducted. Range qualification flying could start before the end of this year. Some concerns remain regarding the size of the Hebrides range. Even when the sea area was extended for the May 2007 control and dispersion test the missile's very long range left a tight safety margin.

With GF testing completed MBDA will submit the Meteor for customer approval to verify that the system behaves as required. Three guided evaluation tests (GE1-3) are planned. The weapon's demonstrated performance will determine how the entire programme moves forward. The GE tests are scheduled towards the end of 2010.

Image: Filmed from an MQM-107B target drone during the last guided firing development (GFD) test in March 2008, a Meteor passes within lethal distance of the target (MBDA)

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 17 Jul 2008 12:46

so just 9 tests to verify most of it - impressive...and bodes well for a simpler
project like astra

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Nmistry » 17 Jul 2008 13:54

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htnavai/articles/20080716.aspx

Hornets Hurting
July 16, 2008: The U.S. Navy has found that both their older F-18C Hornet fighters, and their newer F-18E "Super Hornet" are wearing out faster than expected. This was sort of expected with the F-18Cs, which entered service during the late 1970s and early 80s. These aircraft were expected to last about twenty years. But that was based on a peacetime tempo of operations, with about a hundred carrier landings (which is hard on the airframe) per year. There have been more than that because of the 1991 Gulf War (and the subsequent decade of patrolling the no-fly zone) and the war on terror. So to keep enough of these aircraft operational until the F-35 arrives to replace them in the next decade, new structural components (mainly the center barrel sections) are being manufactured. This is good news for foreign users of the F-18C, who want to keep their aircraft operational for longer.

The F-18E entered service about a decade ago, and was supposed to last 6,000 flight hours. But the portion of the wing that supports the pylons holding stuff (bombs, missiles, equipment pods or extra fuel tanks) is now expected to be good for no more than 3,000 flight hours. The metal, in effect, is weakening faster than expected. Such "metal fatigue", which ultimately results in the metal breaking, is normal for all aircraft. Calculating the life of such parts is still part art, as well as a lot of science. Again, unexpectedly high combat operations are the culprit. One specific reason for the problem was the larger than expected number of carrier landings carrying bombs. That's because so many missions flown over Iraq and Afghanistan did not require F-18Es to use their bombs or missiles.

The navy is modifying existing F-18Es to fix the problem, which is a normal response to such situations. Sometimes these fixes cost millions of dollars per aircraft, but this particular fatigue problem will cost a lot less to fix. The wing metal fatigue problem does not occur with the older F-18s (the A, C and D models) because, while they are also called F-18s, they are not the same as the F-18 E, F and G models. That's because, when the navy decided to build a replacement for the earlier F-18, they found they could get away with calling it an upgraded F-18 model. Thus, instead of it being called the F-24 (the next number available since the start of the Department of Defense's standard designation system in 1962) it could be called the F-18 E and F. While the F-18F looks like the original F-18, it is actually quite different. The F-18E is about 25 percent larger (and heavier) than the earlier F-18s, and had a new type of engine. By calling it an upgrade, it was easier for the navy to get the money from Congress. That's because, in the early 1990s, Congress was expecting a "peace dividend" from the end of the Cold War, and was slashing the defense budget. There was a lot of commonality between the two F-18s, but they are basically two different aircraft. Thus when used more heavily than expected, they developed metal fatigue in different parts of the airframe.

NRao
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 17 Jul 2008 17:30



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