International Aerospace Discussion

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ArmenT
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby ArmenT » 22 Sep 2013 07:08

Presenting the new Scorpion attack jet. Looks like a very interesting concept.

Company hopes new jet will save the Air Force a bundle
...
The joint venture, Textron AirLand, introduced its Scorpion aircraft Monday during a trade show in Maryland. The two-seat, twin-engine jet is designed to tackle low vulnerability missions at a fraction of the cost of the planes that now take on those assignments.

"The aircraft's design is well matched to the Air National Guard's missions such as irregular warfare, border patrol, maritime surveillance, emergency relief, counter narcotics and air defense operations," the joint venture's website says.

According to a report from Aviation Week, F-16s, which are currently used in many of those roles, cost about $25,000 an hour to operate. Textron AirLand's goal is for the Scorpion to perform those missions at almost a tenth of that cost, Aviation Week said
...
...
"We relied on commercial best practices to develop a tactical jet platform with flexibility and capabilities found only in far more costly aircraft," Donnelly's statement said.

Former Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters, an adviser to and investor in AirLand Enterprises, said the Scorpion has cost the government nothing so far, in a budget environment where the Pentagon is trying to save every nickel it can.
...
...
"In an impressively short time, the joint venture has designed and built a capable and mission-ready aircraft with no up-front government funding. We believe Scorpion will fill a critical price and performance gap in the tactical military aircraft market," he said in a statement.

Peters told Aviation Week the Scorpion could save the Pentagon $1 billion a year in fuel costs alone. The Scorpion will be able to carry 3,000 pounds of weapons at speeds up to 517 mph, according to the company's website. The plane's ceiling is 45,000 feet.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Kartik » 23 Sep 2013 10:55

Boeing's Advanced Super Hornet has now undergone flight tests. Earlier what was displayed during the MRCA trials was simply a mockup of the CFTs and the Enclosed weapons pod.

Boeing's new tricked out Advanced Super Hornet

The company and its top sub-primes, including Northrop Grumman, General Electric and Raytheon, are still developing all the features, but Boeing modified an assembly-line two-seat F/A-18F this summer for flight tests of two of the most visible enhancements – conformal fuel tanks and a new enclosed weapons pod, both part of an effort to reduce the aircraft’s radar cross section, particularly when viewed from head-on.
...

Neither the fuel tanks nor the weapons pod were operational, as the primary goal of these initial flight tests was to gauge the flight characteristics of the mods and to measure their signatures. Boeing flew the aircraft out of its facility at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, then out to the Navy’s test field at Patuxent River, Md., where, according to a Boeing official, “the Navy will own all the test data.”

All the ASH upgrades are being developed at company expense; the Navy, which has no requirement for the addons, is watching “with interest,” according to an official.

Specific prices have yet to be calculated for the ASH package, but Boeing officials estimate a full suite would run about $6 million to $8 million for a new aircraft, around $9 million for upgrades to an existing plane.
...
The aircraft banks to return to base. Boeing claims there are no maneuverability restrictions with the ASH upgrades, and says the conformal fuel tanks do not add drag.

Installation of the fuel tanks, made by Northrop Grumman, requires modifications to the aircraft's internal plumbing. While the tanks can be removed, the additional tubing would remain on an operational aircraft.


Looks really neat. $6-8 million additional would mean a price-tag of around $61-63 million for fly-away price of a Advanced Super Hornet for the USN and around $70 million for export customers. Still cheaper than a Rafale though.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Kartik » 23 Sep 2013 11:05

More details on the Advanced Super Hornet.

Defensenews article- Boeing Pushing Airframe Envelope

...

The result is the Advanced Super Hornet (ASH). Not a single aircraft, it is instead a package of options that can be bought singly or all together, made to order for new aircraft or retrofitted on existing planes.

“We want to give the customer options,” Paul Summers, Boeing’s director for Super Hornet and Growler programs, told a group of reporters brought last month, at company expense, to the Boeing factory in St. Louis, where all variants of the aircraft are built.

From its beginnings in late 2009 as the Super Hornet International Roadmap, the concept has evolved into a package of enhancements aimed not just at export customers, but at the US Navy, by far the largest operator of the plane.

“It fits the domestic market better right now,” said Mark Gammon, Boeing’s program manager for Super Hornet and Growler advanced capabilities.

The modifications are adaptable to all three Super Hornet variants: the one-seat F/A-18E and two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighters, and the two-seat E/A-18G Growler electronic warfare version.

The ASH package includes a next-generation cockpit featuring all-new displays, an internal infrared search-and-track system, upgrades to the active electronically scanned array radar, enhancements to the General Electric F404 and F414 engines, conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) that merge into the aircraft’s fuselage and wing structure, and an enclosed weapons pod (EWP) to store and launch weapons previously carried on external wing stations.


Taken together, the enhancements greatly improve the Super Hornet’s radar cross section signature, particularly from head-on.

“The current Super Hornet is considered a low-signature aircraft,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing vice president for the Super Hornet and Growler programs. With the ASH enhancements, he said, “we’ve seen a more than 50 percent improvement in frontal signature [along with] improvements in other tactical areas,” upon which he declined to elaborate.


To test the most conspicuous ASH features — the conformal fuel tanks and enclosed weapons pod — Boeing leased a factory-fresh F/A-18F from the Navy for six months. Non-functioning CFTs and an EWP shape were fitted to the aircraft, which began flight tests Aug. 5.

A total of 24 test flights are planned, both in the St. Louis operating area and out of the Navy’s Patuxent River, Md., flight test facility. The test data is being seen by both Boeing and Navy engineers. “They own this data,” Gibbons said of the Navy.

The CFTs are not a new concept, having been developed for previous aircraft models. The ASH fuel tanks are similar in concept to those Boeing is fitting on new models of the F-15, although the placement is entirely different. The Strike Eagle tanks are mounted outboard of the engine nacelles, while the ASH tanks are fitted atop the fuselage in a manner similar to tanks developed for Lockheed Martin’s F-16 fighter.

Designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the ASH CFTs hold 3,500 pounds of useable fuel. Internal piping changes need to be made to accommodate the new tanks, although the tanks also can be removed. Production aircraft can be flown with or without the CFT, Summers said.

The Growler community, he noted, is “particularly anxious to get the CFT,” which would eliminate the need to carry standard 480-gallon fuel tanks and open the wing stations to more carrying capacity, including the Next Generation Jammer under development.

A Growler fitted with CFTs, Boeing claims, would have the same mission performance with 3,000 pounds less fuel, reduce landing weight by more than 600 pounds and provide a clear field under the aircraft for the jammers.


The composite-and-metal CFTs were designed and manufactured by Northrop in 10 months, using — like Boeing — company funds to develop the system.

Some observers have expressed concerns about added drag from the CFTs, but the companies claim “zero/negative drag impact” from the ASH design. “There is less drag than from a centerline tank,” said Northrop’s John Murnane.

The EWP is designed to carry AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120 advanced, medium-range, air-to-air missiles, AGM-154 joint standoff weapons, small diameter bombs and other weapons. Internal carriage provides a cleaner cross section and eliminates the drag produced by hanging weapons on external hard points.

The production version of the EWP, Boeing said, will hold about 2,500 pounds of weapons, and operate through the full envelope of maneuvering capability.

Gibbons claimed development costs for all the ASH features would cost “less than a billion,” although he pointed out that engine enhancements alone, if applied across the fleet, could save about $5 billion in fuel costs.


The fly-away cost for a new Super Hornet today is just over $50 million, Boeing officials said. Adding the total ASH package for a new aircraft would run $6 million to $8 million, Summers said, while a full retrofit would run about $9 million.

The company noted that no US Navy requirement has been issued for the enhancements. The Navy, though, is watching the developments with keen interest.

“There are a number of enhancement to the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet that will sustain its lethality well into the 21st century,” a Navy official in Washington said in a statement. “These upgrades include critical growth capability and enhanced survivability.

“Naval aviation continues to study the capabilities required when the F/A-18 E/F reaches the limit of its service life beginning in 2025. It will evaluate a full range of consideration for addressing future Navy needs and recapitalization issues, including manned, unmanned and system-of-system options.”

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 23 Sep 2013 15:09

Yes,the Adv.F-18 SH is a tempting prospect for existing users who can retire their legacy Hornets and equip their air forces at affordable cost with a later version,since there has been the delay in the JSF arriving into service and Qs about its final costs.The Netherlands has just cut its order by half and SoKo looks like it is confirming a buy of F-15s on steroids,in similar fashion. With the pendulum also swinging towards a faster induction of UCAVs,esp. from carriers, a balance of stealthy manned and unmanned aircraft looks arriving by the end of the decade.This may see the number of manned stealth aircraft dropping in inventories,esp. for the strike role.5th-gen manned stealth aircraft will face competition from their sister unmanned ones.

The Textron Scorpion is indeed an interesting prospect for air forces on a tight budget.Some time ago I posted a feature on the resurgence of turbo-prop COIN aircraft like Tucanos,etc.,as air forces found them to be more cost-effective than jets for the GA role in the current spats which are more predominant than conventional wars between nations.Such COIN aircraft could be used by us against the Naxals too.In fact,this segment of aircraft ,light t-props and jets should be opened up to Indian pvt. industry.There is a large market for business aircraft,for tourism,crop-dusting,etc.The Eclipse small biz-jet costs just under $3M ,easily affordable for our corporate honchos.They could either assemble.build in JVs or even build to new designs.In fact,pvt. industry could manufacture HAL's HTT-40 ,would probably do a better job,export the same,which would allow HAL to use its scarce human resources on more important projects like getting the IJT into production,LCA,FGFA,etc.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 23 Sep 2013 16:55

The ASH is a good substitute for the FGFA and of course the Rafale.

India should cancel both these efforts and order the ASH through FMS.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 24 Sep 2013 00:02


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 24 Sep 2013 00:06

Life Cycle Cost in another form:

Sept 17, 2013 :: Sweetman :: How To Win The Bomber Contest

If you can be in, around or anywhere near the Air Force Association show on the outskirts of Washington DC this week, you will be reminded that Northrop Grumman built the USAF's last stealth bomber and would be very happy to be selected to build the next one. It is a lobbying task, however, that is rather complicated by the fact that contractors are not permitted to use the program's name (Long Range Strike - Bomber or LRS-B), let alone discuss any technical details of the new aircraft. Northrop Grumman has chosen to promote its stealth credentials by handing out copies of a new book by air power extern Dr Rebecca Grant. "B-2: The Spirit of Innovation", like a Victorian children's story, comes with a moral: building aircraft like this is difficult and should be left to people with experience. Grant is quite candid about the difficulties that Northrop (as it then was) encountered in the development of the B-2, and at the same time singles out people who are now Northrop Grumman's technical leaders, but who cut their teeth on the B-2 project.

A Tuesday morning panel chaired by Lt Gen Dave Deptula, retired boss of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for the USAF and now dean of the ADA's Mitchell Institute, gave some unofficial pointers on the status of the LRS-B program. Lt Gen Mark Shackelford, who retired in 2011 as the USAF's senior acquisition officer, advised delegates that "keeping the program sold will be critical for some time" and that industry would be well advised to continue investing on its own rather than waiting for contract awards -- which, apparently, some are expecting in the first quarter of 2014. (These presumably are study contracts preparatory to a request for proposals.) "Industry has to be prepared to bridge until the government funding starts to flow," Shackelford said.

LRS-B probably will not be like the KC-46 tanker program, where the government laid out a series of firm requirements and made it clear that the least costly bid would win, Shackelford said. However, neither will it follow earlier programs where the customer "picked the most glittery proposal that they thought they could afford". Instead, the government will give credit for over-threshold performance in specific areas -- and those will be related "to the five areas where the government has already invested in risk-reduction". The program will get "a lot of attention from AT&L" (the office of the deputy secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, currently headed by Frank Kendall), according to Shackelford. "You can expect a should-cost environment, where not all the money assigned to the program will be released to the project office." Some funding will be retained to cover unknowns, he said. Also, "incentives will be tied to tangible performance" rather than milestones such as reaching preliminary design review on time.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 24 Sep 2013 02:38

Image
A B-1 on the tarmac in July, 2013, at an undisclosed base in southwest Asia.

Sept 20, 2012 :: Air Force Kills Fly with Sledgehammer

With many defense experts concluding that the Air Force’s B-1 bomber fleet should be retired to save money (for a newer, better bomber, of course), the B-1’s backers aren’t giving up without a fight.

“Ten to 20 years from now, we are going to need a bomber force,” says Todd Harrison, a defense-budget expert at the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “How do you do that? Well, if you are going to need a new bomber program, you may have to give up some of your legacy bombers.”

Not so fast, say the Bone’s backers (don’t confuse “Bone,” as in “B-one,” the needle-nosed bomber’s unofficial nickname, with its official nickname of the Lancer…not to be confused with the British medical journal the Lancet). The Air Force recently used one of its $200 miilion B-1 bombers to take out a small, moving boat in the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s an age-old story: as a weapon begins to show its age, those whose careers are invested in it scurry to find new ways to justify its continued operation.

“Many of the dynamic targeting skills we’ve refined over the past decade on land are directly applicable in the maritime environment,” Captain Alicia Datzman, an Air Force weapons expert, says in a service news story. “This is the perfect opportunity to validate and refine these tactics.”

Adds Lieut. Colonel Alejandro Gomez, the special projects officer with the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron that carried out the test Sept. 4: “Future wars might not all be on land, some may include surface combat, so we are evaluating the way we employ the B-1 to aid in completing the mission.”

Many of the bombs dropped from the B-1 are guided to their targets by GPS, which isn’t much help when it comes to taking out moving targets, like motorboats. But a laser designator can follow a moving target and guide the bomb to it.

With terrorists — OK, “pirates” if you must — increasingly using small boats to seize commercial vessels in the Indian Ocean, and with the Pentagon’s pivot to the Pacific, best known for 64 million square miles of water, what better mission for an aging strategic bomber, than sending small boats to Davy Jones’ locker?

Of course, Navy and Marine aircraft, far more common in the Pacific, also carry the GBU-10 laser-guided bomb the B-1 used to blast the boat.

It’s a bit of a step down for a warplane — resurrected by Ronald Reagan, after Jimmy Carter killed it — built to make the Kremlin cower.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby TSJones » 24 Sep 2013 13:10

S. Korea rejects Boeings $7.7 billion fighter jet deal....

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/south-kor ... 11325.html

....err, so what are they going to do? Develop their own I guess.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Lilo » 24 Sep 2013 13:17

NRao wrote:A B-1 on the tarmac in July, 2013, at an undisclosed base in southwest Asia.


Diego Garcia is pretty much a disclosed base. So is there some another undisclosed base in our vicinity ?
Or worse within - like that Thiruvanthapuram faux pas by that Pacific command Gernail ..

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby krishnan » 24 Sep 2013 16:17

maybe its Saudi Arabia

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby joygoswami » 24 Sep 2013 16:47


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Hiten » 24 Sep 2013 19:04


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Cosmo_R » 25 Sep 2013 01:19

Lilo wrote:
NRao wrote:A B-1 on the tarmac in July, 2013, at an undisclosed base in southwest Asia.


Diego Garcia is pretty much a disclosed base. So is there some another undisclosed base in our vicinity ?
Or worse within - like that Thiruvanthapuram faux pas by that Pacific command Gernail ..


Qatar:

http://defensetech.org/2013/08/22/inves ... b-1-crash/

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Cosmo_R » 25 Sep 2013 01:27

The unmanned F-16 ^^^ has huge implications for legacy, operating costs and civilian sector.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24231077

1. Recycling legacy a/c. Many years an BRF, N3 was walking me through the difference between UAVs/UCAVs/Cruise Missiles. At the time I suggested converting the MiG-21s to UCAs

2. Implications for LCA-1. If you take the pilot related stuff out of the loop, would performance meet the moveable feast of ASQRs? pilot training

3. Could end hijacking (much like employees do not know combination to safe)

The retrofitting part is the key

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby GeorgeWelch » 25 Sep 2013 03:43

Cosmo_R wrote:The unmanned F-16 ^^^ has huge implications for legacy, operating costs and civilian sector.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24231077

1. Recycling legacy a/c. Many years an BRF, N3 was walking me through the difference between UAVs/UCAVs/Cruise Missiles. At the time I suggested converting the MiG-21s to UCAs

2. Implications for LCA-1. If you take the pilot related stuff out of the loop, would performance meet the moveable feast of ASQRs? pilot training

3. Could end hijacking (much like employees do not know combination to safe)

The retrofitting part is the key


The US has been converting F-4s to target drones for years. They're finally moving on to F-16s since they're beginning to run out of F-4s.

http://www.fencecheck.com/content/index ... get_Drones

The QF-4 – the "Q" prefix signifies a drone conversion – is the latest of many distinguished Air Force fighters to adopt the drone role at the end of its days, following the Convair PQF-102 Delta Dagger (used from 1974 to 1985), North American QF-100 Super Saber (1983-1992), and Convair QF-106 Delta Dart (1990-1998). The F-4 was a logical choice to succeed the QF-106. Hundreds of surplus Phantoms were available following the type’s phase-out. Its suitability for drone use had been proven by the Navy, which had operated QF-4s in its own drone program since 1972.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby TSJones » 25 Sep 2013 10:12

The US has been using unmanned target and research drones made from obsolete planes since right after WWII. B-17 bombers and other aircraft, etc. I remember as a kid in the 1960's thinking , "gee what a waste of some cool stuff". The ultimate flying model airplane.

I remember once in the 80's when NASA took an old 737 and crash landed it and video taped the inside to see what happend to all the crash dummies in the seats. Frightening. A true nightmare.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby krishnan » 25 Sep 2013 11:46

they just showed that footage on discovery channel today morning, my kid was watching it and asking all sorts of question

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby pankajs » 25 Sep 2013 11:53

S-350E system on display
Almaz-Antey has publicly displayed prototypes of the three vehicles used by its new S-350E medium-range air defence missile system - the 50K6E combat control post, 50N6E multifunctional radar, and 50P6E launcher - for the first time. The entire system has the service designation S-350E (in its export form) and the industrial index 50R6A

<snip>

The main difference between the S-300P family of systems and the new S-350E is that the latter uses a much higher degree of automation in order to reduce the number of personnel needed and is armed with the new 9M96D-1 variant of the 9M96 series of missiles first introduced in 1998.

<snip>

According to Almaz-Antey, aerodynamic targets can be engaged at ranges from 1.5 km to 60 km and at altitudes from 10 m to 30,000 m. Ballistic targets can be engaged at ranges of 1.5 km to 30 km and at altitudes of 2,000 m to 25,000 m.

On the development timelines.
Development of the new medium-range system started in 2007 under a programme designated Vityaz-PVO. The goal had been to have hardware in service during 2012 in order to replace the oldest S-300P systems.

This schedule proved unrealistic. First trials of the S-350E are expected to begin in the near future, allowing field trials to begin in 2014. The first operational S-350 systems will enter Russian Armed Forces service in 2015.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 27 Sep 2013 04:19

Ukraine, Brazil Prepare for 2015 Cyclone 4 Launch

Brazilian-Ukainian joint venture Alcantara Cyclone Space (ACS) continues preparations for the 2015 debut of a new variant of the Cyclone rocket from a 30-year-old launch facility on Brazil's north-Atlantic coast.

At 2.3 deg. N. Lat., Alcantara is even closer to the Equator than Europe's Guiana Space Center in Kourou, where commercial launch services consortium Arianespace manages missions of Europe's heavy-lift Ariane 5, Russia's medium-class Soyuz and Italy's Vega light launcher. From Alcantara, ACS's three-stage Cyclone 4 rocket—equipped with a restartable upper stage engine and 4-m payload fairing—is designed to put 5,685 kg. (12,500 lb.) into a circular low Earth orbit at 200 km (124 mi.), and a 3,910-kg spacecraft to a 400-km sun-synchronous orbit.
For geostationary missions, Cyclone 4 will initially deliver a 1,600 kg into geostationary transfer orbit. The goal, however, is to gradually boost performance to 2,200 kg with per-launch costs ranging from $50-$55 million.

“Originally, we were planning to focus on LEO only. But now, as we're witnessing the growth of electric propulsion satellites, we're working to increase payload capability,” says ACS Chief Commercial Officer Sergiy Guchenkov.

Manufactured in Ukraine by the Yuzhnoye State Design Office, Cyclone 4 will use first and second stages similar to the Soviet-era Cyclone 2 and Cyclone 3 rockets. Guchenkov notes that the first and second stages of the Cyclone 2 and Cyclone 3 rockets have launched 228 times with just one failure, which he says was due to a first-stage propellant leak.

An all-new third stage based on Ukrainian Zenit and Dnepr technology will carry up to 9 tons of propellant and allow Cyclone 4 to execute up to five burns.

Since breaking ground on the ACS launch pad in 2010, the government-backed venture has spent close to $300 million developing the site, which is now 48% complete. The project is running almost three years behind schedule, however, as funding delays and legal wrangling with local tribes has stalled development of the launch center. In May, Guchenkov says the governments of Ukraine and Brazil jointly approved an increase in total ACS spending for the site, from around $487 million to $918 million.

He says ACS is planning to complete construction of the launch pad at Alcantara next year, with Cyclone 4 hardware delivery and testing at the site to begin in early 2015. He says the launch vehicle is 76% complete and has undergone 73% of its scheduled test regime, including completion of ground tests.

Guchenkov says ACS expects to conduct a qualificaiton mission of Cyclone 4 in late 2015, launching multiple small payloads to low Earth orbit, including a Japanese satellite

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 27 Sep 2013 07:51

Could Gripen spawn USAF trainer?

As expected, the US Air Force’s long-anticipated T-X trainer need is one of the hot topics at AFA, with whisperings that Boeing and Saab may be close to announcing an offer based around the Swedish firm’s Gripen fighter. Interesting stuff, as I for one had thought that the US company had been working on a new-start design as a potential Northrop T-38 Talon replacement.

So, could a derivative of the Gripen make sense to the USAF?

Two of Saab’s key selling points for the type have always been its low acquisition and operating costs, so faced with offers of high-end dedicated trainers like the Hawk T2, M-346/T-100 and T-50 then why not, beyond the obvious fact that it isn’t a lead-in trainer in its current guise?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 27 Sep 2013 07:52


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby nikhil_p » 27 Sep 2013 08:39

Just a thought - After the IOC, can we pitch the LCA as a trainer (in the GE404IN20 guise) to the USAF? It has acceptable levels of rate of turn, G capable, cheaper to operate and use (as designed) and we do the T-o-T. Also parts commonaility helps us as well.
Just a thought...

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby vina » 27 Sep 2013 09:10

Pilotless F-16

Hmm. Future of aircombat I guess. F16 flying without a pilot!

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singbhai » 28 Sep 2013 01:24

@ArmenT
Most of the design work for the aircraft has come from Cessna while composites related work was done by Bell Helicopter.
The prototype is in final stages after about 2 years of work put up in complete secrecy. Program is not funded by US DoD and completely funded through Textron's internal IRAD and hence the platform comes much cheaper that it would. Scorpion's envisaged missions are - irregular warfare, border patrol, maritime surveillance, emergency relief, counter-narcotics, and air defense operations as per company's website. But having tandem seating and with minor modifications - it can also be used as a trainer aircraft.

http://www.avionics-intelligence.com/articles/2013/09/textron-scorpion.html

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 28 Sep 2013 02:50

vina wrote:Pilotless F-16

Hmm. Future of aircombat I guess. F16 flying without a pilot!


Errr............. Pilot on the ground for these pups. They are meant to be targets.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 28 Sep 2013 03:44

What I mooted earlier.What do you do with about 200 legacy MIG-21s,plus hundreds of others? Turn them into UCAVs or one-way kamaikaze missiles!

The advent of the X-47B and the first carrier trials of the same,is seeing a rush by other UCAV manufacturers all lining up for the lucrative UCLASS contract.By 2020,defence sources in the US say that the navy's demand for more UCLASS birds will start impinging upon even the JSF acquisitions.Sweetman in another AWST piece in August wrote that with an approx 20% budget trimming,and a combined acquisition rate of about 70 JSFs per year for the 3 services,one would still by 2030 have half the USAF's fighters more than 40 yrs. old,far fewer being acquired than those retired.A UCLASS acquired at a far lesser cost than that of a manned aircraft is going to be an attractive alternative (UCLASS combat radius upto 1000nm carrying standoff missiles extending the target range).What the numbers of the mix is eventually going to be is a moot Q,it cannot be answered right now,but what is certain is that unmanned aircraft are the way of the future.Def. Today had a pic of "dozens" of mini-UAVs flying in formation in the London night sky forming the Star Trek logo.It is a shock to see pics of dozens of them like locusts on a hangar floor.The value of them on the battlefield for surveillance can only be imagined.

Here's a real turn up for the book! Turkey,NATO member rejects the US .Co-development of weapon systems with a willing China (unwilling west),which has acquired western def. secrets through espionage, is beginning to make inroads into countries like Pak that once bought mainly western systems.The sign of things to come?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/ ... SC20130927

Chinese firm under U.S. sanctions wins Turkish missile deal


Reuters) - NATO member Turkey announced on Thursday it had agreed a $4 billion co-production deal for a long-range air and missile defense system with a Chinese firm hit by U.S. sanctions, rejecting rival bids from Russian, U.S. and European firms.

The decision to take the FD-2000 from China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC) underlined the growing strength of China's defense industry as well as Beijing's political interest in the Middle East and Turkey's increasingly independent line towards Western partners.

Some Western defense analysts said they were surprised by the choice of the Chinese system, having expected the contract to go to the U.S. Raytheon Co company, which builds the Patriot missile, or the Franco/Italian Eurosam SAMP/T.

The U.S., Germany and the Netherlands each sent two Patriot batteries and up to 400 soldiers to operate them to south-eastern Turkey early this year after Ankara asked NATO for help with air defenses against possible missile attack from Syria.

Certainly the use of a Chinese rather than a Western system by Turkey would pose questions of compatibility and security for the North Atlantic Alliance.

"You need to be able to link those missiles to NATO C2 (command and control)," one NATO diplomat in Brussels said. "I think it is going to raise difficulties."

Christina Lin, a former U.S. official and now fellow at the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington DC. described the Turkish decision, announced by the Defense Ministry in Ankara, as a "wake-up call" for Western allies.

"China is looking to get a lot more involved in the Middle East and it is being increasingly accepted there," she said. "Turkey is increasingly frustrated with the EU and has made it clear that it is pivoting towards the east as well."

In February, the United States announced sanctions on CPMIEC for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.

It did not say precisely what CPMIEC had done, but Washington has penalized the company before. In 2003, Washington said it was extending sanctions on the firm for arms sales to Iran. It was unclear when those measures were first imposed.

Turkish analysts said they believed Ankara had chosen its Chinese partner for technological reasons as well as a lower price.


"Turkey's NATO allies are distanced to the idea of co-production and technological transfer," Atilla Sandikli, the chairman of think-tank Bilgesam and former high-level officer in the Turkish army, said.

"But the Chinese firm states the opposite. I think Turkey's choice is a message to its NATO allies in this sense."

CPMIEC was not immediately available for comment.

NATO STANDARDISATION

Turkey has long been the United States' closest ally in the Middle Eastern region, bordering during the Cold War on the Soviet Union. The U.S. military exercised great influence over a Turkish military that strongly influenced domestic politics.

Under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, elected in 2002, the role of the Turkish military in politics has been curbed. Political and military relations between Ankara and Washington, while still close, play a less central role and this could be reflected in procurement policy.

Nick de Larrinaga, Europe Editor of IHS Jane's Defense Weekly, said the Chinese bid was long understood to have 'massively undercut other bidders'. He said Western competitors were also offering wide involvement for Turkish industry.

"The decision...is undoubtedly a surprise," he said.

"Meanwhile IHS Jane's understood that the Franco/Italian Eurosam SAMP/T was preferred by many in the Turkish Armed Forces from a capability point of view...although it was also believed to be the most expensive of all the bids."

The winning Chinese FD-2000 system beat the Patriot, the Russian S-400 and the French-Italian Eurosam Samp-T.

Raytheon, which builds the Patriot, said it had been informed about the Turkish decision and hoped to get a briefing soon. It said there were 200 Patriot units deployed in 12 countries, including Turkey.

"NATO has long supported the system, deploying Patriots in five aligned countries and, in 2012, providing a requested Patriot deployment to Turkey. Given this strong performance, we hope to have an opportunity to debrief and learn more about this decision," Raytheon spokesman Mike Doble said.

CPMIEC does not make missiles itself. The two main manufacturers are China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC) and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC). CASC makes intercontinental ballistic missiles, while CASIC focuses on short- and intermediate-range rockets.

After decades of steep military spending increases and cash injections into local contractors, experts say some Chinese-made equipment is now comparable to Russian or Western weaponry.

China last year became the world's fifth-biggest arms supplier with 5 percent of the market, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Pakistan was its biggest buye
r

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 28 Sep 2013 04:11

Another report on the Turkish decision.It gives details of other areas where Turkey intends developing its own weapon systems.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/326c5442-278c ... z2g8ZaKxY1

September 27, 2013 5:45 pm
Turkey to buy $4bn air defence system from China

By Daniel Dombey in Istanbul

Turkey has announced plans to buy a $4bn air defence system from China, a decision that has surprised and dismayed some of Ankara’s Nato partners.

A government committee chaired by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister, decided this week to proceed with buying the long-range anti-aircraft and ballistic missile system from the state-owned China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation, rejecting rivals bids from western groups. This was despite concerns that the new technology might not work with other Nato systems.

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Furthermore, the US Treasury has imposed sanctions on CPMIEC a number of times, including this year, because of charges that it has been involved in the sharing of missile technology with countries such as North Korea.

Turkish officials said the decision was made on technical and price grounds, an argument echoed by several analysts who say Ankara is keen to get hold of new technology that the US is reluctant to share. Nevertheless, the move comes amid increasing strains with some of Turkey’s allies.

“I doubt that Ankara wants to make grand political statements with tenders of this kind,” said Semih Idiz, a Turkish foreign affairs commentator. “If anything, it needs Nato at the moment.”

But he also noted that Washington and Ankara had recently been at cross purposes. Mr Erdogan is a leading supporter of a sustained military campaign against Syria, for example, a course the Obama administration has chosen not to take.

Western diplomats said they were surprised and disappointed by Ankara’s preference of the Chinese group over rival systems that included Raytheon and Lockheed Martin’s Pac-3 Patriot missile system, and emphasised their worries that the system would not be interoperable with Nato’s defence architecture.

Turkey hosts a radar station at the heart of Nato’s missile defence system. It also temporarily hosts six Patriot missile batteries from the US, Germany and the Netherlands, which have been deployed to the southeast of the country against possible threats from Syria.

The other disappointed bidders were Eurosam, a French-Italian consortium, and Rosobornoexport of Russia.

Ismet Yilmaz, Turkey’s defence minister, said Ankara would seek to draw up a final agreement with CPMIEC and emphasised that the system would be jointly produced in Turkey itself, a concession other bidders balked at.

Aaron Stein, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, the defence and security think-tank, said the tender showed that Turkey was focused less on rapidly acquiring battlefield-tested technology and more on bolstering its own domestic defence industry.

The country is also seeking to develop its own jet fighters, a satellite launch vehicle and early warning satellites, a long-range missile and a small aircraft carrier.

“This type of arrangement, which requires the transfer of design information, is not feasible for American military firms,” Mr Stein added. “The Patriot Pac-3, for example, is a top-of-the-line item and it would be difficult because of US export controls and intellectual property rules for Raytheon and Lockheed to just simply hand over critical design information to Turkey.”


PS:If the above highlighted info. is true,then how is the US going to enter into JVs with India (like Brahmos) ,a non-NATO ally that too to boot! The defence talks in Washington about JVs would then be meaningless.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 28 Sep 2013 04:17

What I mooted earlier.What do you do with about 200 legacy MIG-21s,plus hundreds of others? Turn them into UCAVs or one-way kamaikaze missiles!


Terrible idea. For a couple of reasons. First, JDAM is a much cheaper alternative that is already there. Secondly, one needs to fund, design and build up the technology to fly them remotely.

(Besides, kamikaze and pilot-less do not go together.)

Build them for target practice is one things, but even then you are still talking of a generation older in the MiG-21 than one would face in the field I would imagine, so even there it is not worth it.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Victor » 28 Sep 2013 04:39

Philip wrote:PS:If the above highlighted info. is true,then how is the US going to enter into JVs with India (like Brahmos) ,a non-NATO ally that too to boot! The defence talks in Washington about JVs would then be meaningless.

The US says they want to joint develop weapons with us just like the Russians did. What you are saying is we should not believe them.

The worst that can happen is they share nothing with us and we do likewise. ie. we stay exactly where we are but with a much better idea of how they do things. A net + IMO.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 28 Sep 2013 05:33

No,we have both UCAVs and Kamikazes for those on their last legs.Plus,we do not have JDAMs and hundreds of desi birds are better than imports, what? As for cost,I'm sure that the costs will be far less than developing and manufacturing new ones.Other nations have already started developing low-cost drones out of their legacy aircraft.

Here is one report where obsolete helicopters are being used for directing drones.
http://breakingdefense.com/2013/01/11/a ... rones-tac/
Army Aviators Face New Threats With Old Helicopters: Drones, Tactics Key

Here is what the USAF is doing,converting its old F-16s into "a fleet of drones",what I've been saying for aeons.Why cannot the IAF do likewise? If legacy aircraft can perform aerial "tricks" as targets,then they certainly can be used for dropping ordnance on the battlefield.The US already has a large fleet of new unmanned UAVs and UCAVs for their long range/loiter requirements,but we do not possess either the funds or the numbers of such types,having had to buy them from Israel at considerable expense.There is another aspect as well.On a radar screen,it will be impossible to distinguish an unmanned MIG-21 from a manned Bison,complicating Paki air defences.The PAF has a far smaller fleet than the IAF and cannot be everywhere at the same time.Drones out of legacy aircraft could be used to fool them chasing after false alarms (along with dozens of mini-drones!).An idea worth exploring.

http://gizmodo.com/the-air-force-is-con ... 1377651994
The Air Force Is Converting Its Old F-16s Into a Fleet of Drones

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Eric Leiderman » 28 Sep 2013 05:40

Turkey is looking at developed systems, India is jointly developing , apples to oranges comparison
Also we have the leverage of volume, and that (the profit motive)
is a good driver

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby SaiK » 28 Sep 2013 05:55

what is that on the under carriage of advanced sh?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 28 Sep 2013 06:49

Philip wrote:http://gizmodo.com/the-air-force-is-con ... 1377651994
The Air Force Is Converting Its Old F-16s Into a Fleet of Drones


Like I said, from that very article:

An awkward thing happens late in the life of a fighter jet. It becomes too decrepit for combat but too functional for the junkyard. Don't worry, though. The Air Force has a plan: convert them all into drones in order to offer fighter pilots in training more realistic target practice.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 29 Sep 2013 02:34

Sept 26, 3013 :: Pratt & Whitney and AFRL start testing on adaptive fan test rig

Pratt & Whitney and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have begun testing with an adaptive fan engine test rig that is based on the company’s F135 afterburning turbofan found on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

According to P&W, the fan rig test is being conducted at the AFRL Compressor Research Facility in Dayton, Ohio, in tandem with the USAF’s Adaptive Engine Technology Demonstration (AETD) programme, the US Navy Fuel Burn Reduction (FBR) programme and other company-funded efforts.

“Developing an effective adaptive fan concept is a critical step in advancing technology that will ensure next generation air dominance for our military,” says Jack Hoying, the AFRL’s programme manager for the AETD effort.

Next-generation adaptive fan engines will allow a fighter-sized afterburning turbofan to alter its bypass ratio for different phases of flight by using a third stream of air. For low speeds below about Mach 0.85, the third air stream will be used to increase the engine’s bypass ratio and boost its propulsive efficiency.

However, at transonic and supersonic speeds where high specific thrust is needed, that third stream will run through the core and increase the jet velocity of the exhaust. The third airstream can also be used for cooling the engine during especially demanding operations.

“We’re building on our foundation of proven fifth generation capabilities, and we are now mastering adaptive technologies – really expanding the boundaries of state of the art engine technology critical for the next sixth-generation aircraft,” says Bennett Croswell, president of P&W military engines.

The results of the P&W adaptive fan rig tests will flow into the AETD programme, which has a stated goal of improving fuel consumption by 25% while providing a 10% increase in thrust compared with current fifth-generation fighter engines such as the F135. The navy’s FBR programme hopes to deliver a better than 5% fuel burn reduction on an F135 demonstration engine.

The jointly USAF and USN-funded adaptive fan test effort was launched in late 2011, with testing of the adaptive fan concept taking place from August through September 2013, according to P&W.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby pankajs » 03 Oct 2013 23:42

The 1987 missile treaty holding back America's drone industry
FORTUNE -- The unmanned aerial systems space remains the fastest-growing segment of the global $700 billion aerospace and defense industry, but the potential high-tech job growth and $82 billion in economic impact associated with the burgeoning American UAS industry is already being somewhat blunted by a 1987 missile export ban created to stem the flow of nuclear missile technologies.

<snip>

"The idea of the regime was to make it so that this technology did not spread from the folks that already had it to other locations, and it's functioned very effectively in that broad sense," McClafferty says. "At the same time, there's a belief in the community that folks are going to develop these technologies internally using their own resources, and it's tough to slow this development that a lot of these technology control regimes are designed to slow. So as the rest of the world catches up, the export control rules definitely hurt U.S. manufacturers, and there are a lot of people who would love to see the rules change."

<snip>

But changing or withdrawing from the MTCR -- both politically toxic solutions -- are not the only ways around the language in question. The MTCR itself is non-binding and not enforced by any international body -- it's up to each of the 34 signatory nations to implement the spirit of the MTCR into its own export regulations and to make a strong case as to why any exemption to the spirit of the MTCR should be granted. Right now the U.S. government's interpretation of the spirit of the MTCR is still roughly the same strict interpretation it developed in 1987, before UAS matured into their own industry and a technology with myriad non-military applications. That interpretation that could change enough to give the UAS industry some room to maneuver.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby pankajs » 03 Oct 2013 23:46

Inside the drone economy
FORTUNE -- Last month the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the unmanned systems industry's largest trade organization, released its first economic study detailing just how an expected $82 billion in economic impacts resulting from the integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the national airspace will be spread across the 50 states. But perhaps "detailing" is the wrong word. While the report is arguably the most thorough examination of the burgeoning drone industry's potential economic impacts to date, even the report's own author admits the UAS industry remains so nascent that the data necessary to make comprehensive projections simply doesn't yet exist.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 04 Oct 2013 07:29

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 56460.html

Russian 'space troops' are not prepared for battle with aliens, says official

We are not ready to fight extraterrestrial civilizations, says defence official
Rob Williams
Thursday 03 October 2013


On top of the troubling news this week that the Twitter account of Nasa's Near-Earth Object Program, which monitors potentially hazardous asteroids and comets, isn't operational because of the US shutdown, today comes further worrying news from Russia regarding threats from space.

Russia’s Aerospace Defence Troops, or 'space troops' as they have become known, are not prepared for an alien invasion, a defence official has said.

Russia Today reported that during a press conference at the Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Centre near Moscow, the centre’s deputy chief Sergey Berezhnoy was asked about extraterrestrial security.

“So far we are not capable of that. We are unfortunately not ready to fight extraterrestrial civilizations,” Berezhnoy replied.

“Our centre was not tasked with it. There are too many problems on Earth and near it,” he added.

The Russian Space Forces were established initially in August 10, 1992 after the break-up of the Soviet Union. It was replaced in 2011 by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces. This branch of the Russian military is responsible for air and missile defence and the operation of military satellites.

One of its tasks is also "monitoring space objects and the identification of potential threats to the Russian Federation in space and from space, prevention of attacks as needed."

Russia Today reassures readers that despite the inability to defend the country against attacks from outer space the Russians do have "extremely effective and high tech means for dealing with terrestrial issues and threats."


I don't know how many recollect Reagan's talk with Gorby,where he spoke of a joint US-Russian defence against any alien attack.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby kmkraoind » 09 Oct 2013 23:38

From Twitter and accompanied pictures

@NATOSource:
#1: Pentagon Builds Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Site in Romania l DoDBuzz http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/na ... in-romania … pic.twitter.com/4QQSoUEZ43
Image
#2: Lockheed’s Nick Bucci: Preparations for Romanian missile defense site are already underway http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/na ... in-romania … pic.twitter.com/Jk6M2lQZ1h
Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby chackojoseph » 10 Oct 2013 07:55

Assembly of Carlo Kopps' pet hate begins First F-35 Lightning II assembly for Australia begins


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