Archive | May, 2008


STUAS/Tier II: What a real competition looks like

Twenty-five years ago, the US Air Force wanted to design a new aircraft called the “advanced tactical fighter”. No fewer than seven companies — Boeing, General Dynamics, Grumman, Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas, Northrop and Rockwell — answered the USAF’s initial call for bids with serious proposals. (Rockwell’s rejected concept for what became the F-22 is pictured […]

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The turbofan: Not dead yet

The ducted turbofan jet engine, the world’s most efficient machine, is now 43 years old. General Electric introduced the TF39 in 1965 to power the mammoth Lockheed C-5A. This now ubiquitous source of power for aircraft would seem to be a “mature” (read: dead) technology, closed to new opportunities for innovation. Whether the goal is […]

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Boeing doesn’t make civil helicopters. Why?

At last week’s Boeing shareholders meeting gathering for Wall Street analysts, Morgan Stanley aerospaceguru Heidi Wood popped an unexpected question to Integrated Defense Systemspresident Jim Albaugh. Why, Wood queried, is Boeing still the only US militaryhelicopter manufacturer lacking a product to offer the rapidly growingcommercial market for vertical lift? I’ve noticed over the years that […]

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Must-see: F-35′s BF-1 in test stall

An anonymous YouTuber posted this video three days ago. It has to be less than a week old.

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Canada’s Bombardier smells the BACN

I can’t tell you what the future holds for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN). It’s history has been surprisingly controversial inside the US Department of Defense. It is championed by one sector of the US Air Force (ie, the AFC2ISR Center) but seemingly opposed by other sectors in the acquisition establishment. I’ve written about […]

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VIDEO: Lockheed documentary on satellite strike

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How to grow an aerospace supplier’s worth by 1,500% in six years

Two key supply and demand trends in aerospace manufacturing today: global outsourcing  of the manufacturing supply chain and surging demand for specialty metals, such as titanium and nickel. Two weeks ago, I was offered an invitation to visit a major production site for specialty alloys in Monroe, North Carolina. My host was Allegheny Technologies Inc. […]

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Costanza update: Kevin wins

Who is the George Costanza of the US defense industry? Many suggestions — some quite elaborate — have poured in to answer the question I posed on this blog last week, but Kevin is the first to name the correct one. He simply writes: “I vote for Bell Helicopter.”Yes, that is correct. Now, can anybody […]

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Tom Cassidy on life after BAMS for navalized Predator

As we all know, the US Navydid not select the Mariner unmanned aircraft system – offered by LockheedMartin and General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) – for the Broad AreaMaritime Surveillance (BAMS) contract. Indeed, Lockheedhas protested the USN’s decision to select the Northrop Grumman RQ-4N GlobalHawk. That process is ongoing. Meanwhile, I was offered an opportunity yesterday […]

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What’s Ralph Crosby’s next move?

Last Friday, myself and a few other reporters sat with Ralph Crosby on a round-trip flight to Columbus, Mississippi, and back. Crosby, CEO of EADS North America, wanted to show off his company’s scantly-covered factory where Eurocopter EC-145s will be assembled as UH-72s for the US Army. My purpose was related, but different. I wanted […]

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