Archive | January, 2009


Patent alert: Chinook augmented by vectored thrusters

How do you make a CH-47 Chinook cruise at 250-knots? Vectored thrusters!  Piasecki Aircraft, the Chinook’s legacy inventor, has filed a patent application for this unusual Chinook configuration. Two ducted fans, with differential pitch propellers and horizontal vanes, are attached to each side of the CH-47 fuselage. Thrust generated by the fans can be vectored […]

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New EADS-Boeing US defense battle heating up

Flight’s European editor Niall O’Keefe confirmed yesterday that EADS North America will offer an armed version of the UH-72 light utility helicopter (LUH) for the armed reconnaissance helicopter contract. The ARH-72, a twin-engined version of the Eurocopter EC145, will likely battle the single-engine Boeing AH-6S Phoenix for the potentially $6 billion contract.Most interestingly, as Niall […]

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F-22 word puzzler

Lockheed Martin’s annual earnings statement today contains some cryptic remarks about the F-22 program. The bamboozling statement — strangely repeated twice in the same paragraph — seems to express something negative. The context of the statement is the fact that operating profit at the company’s aeronautics division dropped in 2008. This is one of the […]

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Net-centric warfare, but with actual nets

The US Air Force is now seeking suppliers for a “counter ultra light aircraft/paratrooper system” (CULAPS, for short). According to the solicitation, here’s the basic idea: The CULAPS system is envisaged as a lightweight net aimed and firedfrom the ground that envelopes the target and thereby removes thetarget’s lift bringing it to the ground. The […]

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VIDEO: BAE Systems demonstrates hostile fire indicator

BAE Systems has released new video showing their new hostile fire indicator (HFI) in action. An AK-47 is fired as a HFI-equipped MD Helicopters MD520 approaches within a few hundred yards. It’s not possible from the video to verify the results, but BAE claims the demonstration was a success.The US Army has been seeking a […]

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Don’t look now, but CSAR-X is back

The deadline for submitting bids in the third round of the CSAR-X competition passed today in awkward silence. It’s only a $15 billion contract award now entering source selection, yet it was almost ignored.But maybe the silence is understandable. No one is sure if the new administration will allow the US Air Force to award […]

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When does F-22 praise imply F-35 criticism?

When does a word of praise for the F-22 imply a latent critique of the F-35? Consider the following statements by Senator Saxby Chambliss. It’s from a press release on 16 January. Forty-four senators have signed a letter urging President Barack Obama  to continue F-22 production. Some have suggested filling the remaining F-22 requirement with […]

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Obama’s first USAF flight on FlightBlogger

Hat tip to my colleague and fellow journo-blogger Jon Ostrower for getting an exclusive promo clip of President-elect Barack Obama’s first ride aboard the C-32 (a modified Boeing 757). Click here to watch video.I’ve actually had the pleasure of flying this jet to Europe with then-Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen. I recommend the halibut — […]

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What’s Russian for ‘a really lousy deal’?

The Russian defence ministry announced this week it will buy the 28 MiG-29 SMT and UBT fighters originally sold to Algeria, completing, a bizarre 15-year circle for those previously homeless jets.In 2007, Algeria forced Russia to take back the first 15 MiG-29s after determining the aircraft were duds. My source in Moscow tells me the […]

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US Marine Corps finally divulges F-35B order count

It seems the most closely guarded secret in the F-35 program has been, strangely enough, the order breakdown between the US Navy and US Marine Corps. The combined purchase is 680 aircraft. But the order split between the USMC’s F-35B and the USN’s F-35C has remained a mystery. I’ve heard suggestions of a roughly 50/50 […]

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