Archive | November, 2008

Pierre Sprey’s ideal US airpower fleet

Pierre Sprey — father of the A-10, co-father of the F-16 and ardent F-22/F-35 critic — has teamed up with ex-Vietnam fighter jock Col Robert Dilger to propose a fascinating vision for an “effectiveness-based” airpower fleet. (Read more here, pp 159-162) 4,000 smaller, more agile A-10s = $60 billion 2,500 turboprops as forward air controllers […]

Continue Reading

John Young DWG transcript: EPX, CSAR-X, F-22

John Young is the undersecretary for acquisition technology and logistics, reporting to Secretary of Defense Bob Gates. Last week, Young appeared at the Defense Writer’s Group, a kind of Breakfast Club for journalists that periodically meets with key defense officials. The reporters ask questions between bites on ridiculously over-priced eggs and bacon, while the poor […]

Continue Reading

EADS comments on 6-9 month MRTT delay

Australia’s Ministry of Defense has confirmed the first KC-30 will be delivered at least six to nine months late. This delay will surely play a factor in the currently suspended debate about the US Air Force KC-X tanker selection, whenever the incoming Obama administration gets around to restarting source selection.Meanwhile, here’s the EADS statement on […]

Continue Reading

Robot killer ethics, continued

The New York Times has a great read today on Dr. Ron Arkin’s research for the US Army. Dr. Arkin recognizes that armed vehicles, including aircraft, are only a few years away from the ability to autonomously kill people on the battlefield. I’ve written about his research before here: “On the ethics of killing with […]

Continue Reading

Gone fishing in Norway

Norway’s surprise decision last week to support the Lockheed Martin F-35 was based largely on an analysis by the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment. Among other things, its computer simulations found the F-35 superior to the Gripen NG in dogfights against the SU-30.  So I called Oslo this morning to ask for an interview with the […]

Continue Reading

USAF findings on F-15D crash that killed top aggressor pilot

Associated Press has an interview today with the US Air Force’s head of the accident review board. A strange combination of factors — radome “imperfections”, imbalances caused by two external fuel tanks, etc — caused Lt. Col Thomas Bouley (pictured) to lose control of his F-15D during a basic maneuver on July 30. The commander […]

Continue Reading

DARPA’s submersible aircraft explained

Alert to DARPA fans: hold your cursor over this link for a few seconds. The agency’s recent briefing on the submersible aircraft concept should pop up. (You can also read it here and read about it here.) Talk about a “DARPA-hard” challenge. Here’s a sample from the brief:  

Continue Reading

CSAR: John Young asks “why?”

Pentagon acquisition chief John Young really got on a roll last week. In addition to attacking the costs and reliability of the US Air Force’s prized F-22, Young also questioned the fundamental need for combat search and rescue helicopters. Of course, you might like to think that these kinds of doubts could be sorted out […]

Continue Reading

GAO calculates C-17s vs C-5s tradeoff

The GAO weighed in on Friday on the C-17 vs. C-5 debate. The report says: Additional investments in C-17 aircraft may become moreattractive. Currently, a new C-17 would cost about $276 million compared to$132 million to fully modernize a C-5. Each new C-17 potentially adds 100percent of its cargo capacity toward meeting the total airlift […]

Continue Reading

F-22 will come in two flavors

At Wednesday‘s Congressional hearing, Pentagon acquisition chief John Young let slip an interesting detail about the US Air Force’s upgrade plans for the F-22. The USAF plans to develop two distinct versions of the F-22 with “significant differences in capability between them”.

Continue Reading