Archive | January, 2013


DOD to allow women to serve in direct combat roles

This isn’t exactly aviation related, but it is noteworthy. A senior defense official at the Pentagon announced that the US Department of Defense will be allowing women to serve in direct combat. Currently women are not allowed to serve as infantrymen, or Special Forces soldiers and Navy SEALs etc. “I can confirm media reports that […]

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VIDEO: RAF puts Hawk T2 through its paces

Thanks to the good folks at the Royal Air Force’s 4 Sqn for putting together a punchy video showing their Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer in action. There’s some nice footage of the aircraft being put through its paces from the unit’s Valley home on Anglesey in locations including the nearby Pembrey Range and in […]

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DARPA’s new prototype attack helicopter

In this week’s issue of Flight International, I wrote a feature about the Pentagon’s plan to launch a prototype attack helicopter program in order to help preserve the US rotary-wing industrial base. Unfortunately, this country has not produced a successful clean-sheet military helicopter design since the 1970s. The Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey doesn’t count; it’s not […]

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Russia’s T-50 fighter stretches its legs

Almost two years and more than 200 flights into its test programme, Russia’s PAK-FA/T-50 fifth-generation fighter has made its first “long-distance” sortie. Completed on 17 January using Sukhoi’s fourth prototype, the multi-legged flight between the Komsomolsk-on-Amur production plant and the Zhukovsky military test centre near Moscow covered a cool 3,400nm (6,300km). Piloted by Sergey Bogdan, […]

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F-35B grounded, Lockheed responds to DOT&E report

This has not been a good couple of weeks for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Late last week, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) released his annual report. The F-35 section highlighted myriad problems. Then, a couple of days ago on the 16th, an F-35B at Eglin AFB, Florida, suffered a […]

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Pratt & Whitney delivers last Raptor engine

Today, Pratt & Whitney delivered the last of 507 F119 engines to the US Air Force. The F119, as most of you are undoubtedly aware, powers the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. One USAF engineer working on Raptor told me that in his personal opinion, “The F119 is the single best fighter engine ever built.” Indeed, […]

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‘Salut’ to France’s first A400M

Airbus Military has today released a fresh-from-the-paint-hangar image showing the first production A400M Atlas in the colours of launch operator the French air force. With some of the Armee de l’Air’s aged C160 Transall and C-130H Hercules tactical transports currently supporting its Operation Serval activity in Mali, MSN7′s move towards first flight and a mid-year delivery […]

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Pentagon lowers F-35 performance bar…

The annual Pentagon Director of Operational Test and Evaluation report has become available this week–and sheds some light on last February’s Joint Requirement Oversight Council’s decision to relax some of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s key performance parameters. At the time, it looked like it was mostly the aircraft’s range that was impacted. […]

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New Saab JAS-39 Gripen NG video

Saab has released a new animated video showing what a hypothetical combat mission might look like in a JAS-39 Gripen NG fighter. In this video, an unnamed, but presumably western, country appears to have intervened in some sort of conflict in an arid region of the world defending an “unarmed country, desired for its strategic […]

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Friday fun: Royal Navy denies coup allegations

It’s hard to follow the excellence of Dave’s GI Joe drone operator post, but I thought that in the spirit of Friday, this computer-generated image (courtesy of Rex Features) depicting one of the UK Royal Navy’s future aircraft carriers parked outside the nation’s seat of power was worth an airing too. No, this isn’t some […]

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