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The case for an optionally manned LRS-B

The US Air Force’s new ultra-stealthy Long Range Strike-Bomber will be optionally manned when it enters service in the mid-2020s, the service says. The aircraft will need a crew, particularly when operating inside a comms degraded/comms denied environment deep inside hostile airspace. Moreover, unmanned aircraft just don’t have the reaction times and the on-site judgment offered by […]

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USAF’s LRS-B bomber proceeds, but is completely classified

The US Air Force’s new Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program is entirely classified. The USAF isn’t just withholding technical data, the service won’t even share programmatic details such as if there is a system program office in place or a competition or anything else. “Specific LRS programmatic details are protected with enhanced security measures,” says […]

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The Chinook’s 50th anniversary in service…

50 years ago today, the US Army received its first CH-47A Chinook tandem-rotor helicopter. It’s probably not likely that anyone that day could have foreseen that exact same helicopter would not only be flying, but also receiving upgrades so that it can continue to fly for the foreseeable future. Moreover, it’s entirely possible that the […]

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Sukhoi starts testing new AESA radar on PAK-FA

The United States doesn’t have a monopoly (anymore) on developing fifth-generation fighters, Russia seems to be making good progress on its next-generation Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA stealth fighter–a version of which will also serve with the Indian Air Force. PAK-FA apparently stands for Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks-Frontovoy Aviatsii–if anyone cares. It is amazing that the Russians managed to […]

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Amazing Boeing CH-47 Chinook video from RIAT 2012

The Boeing CH-47 Chinook entered into service 50 years ago.Though its subsystems have evolved over the years, the basic design remains thesame. Given the US Army’s current plans, the venerable Chinook might well bethe first 100 year rotorcraft design… I’m willing to bet there will be at leasta few of these magnificent machines still flying […]

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Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle adds upgraded helmet mounted cueing system

Yesterday, my friend and colleague Greg Waldron, our defense reporter for Asia, reported that Boeing has integrated a new version of the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) onto its F-15SE Silent Eagle demonstrator aircraft.  The new helmet is called the JHMCS II/h–and it is designed to be lighter and better balanced. Read his story here […]

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Lockheed Martin unveils Sea Ghost concept for USN’s UCLASS program

Looks like the US Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program is starting to take-off. The USN has already completed its analysis of alternatives for the program. Right now, the service’s three-stars are hashing out the future aircraft’s key performance parameters. This is a Lockheed Martin rendering of the Sea Ghost–looks a lot […]

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Manned aircraft are going to around for a while… UAVs aren’t up to the A2/AD challenge

The USAF believes that manned aircraft aren’t going anywhere anytime soon especially in the light of ever growing anti-access/area-denial threats. That’s why the service needs the F-35 and the nascent Long Range Strike-Bomber (and associated family of systems), the service’s outgoing chief of staff Gen Norton Schwartz says. Unmanned aircraft just don’t have that kind […]

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Second Chengdu J-20 makes its debut

Photos of China’s second prototype Chengdu J-20 tactical aircraft have emerged on Chinese internet sites–including the government-backed Global Times. This second jet, apparently called aircraft 2002, appears to have a few a modifications to the original aircraft–called aircraft 2001. The most obvious one is that the air data probe appears to have been moved to […]

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US Navy Next Generation Jammer proceeds…

The US Navy is going ahead with its Next Generation Jammer program, but if and when the F-35 gets that hardware is very much in doubt.  The service is going to have the EA-18G operating in the fleet through the mid-2030s–but what comes after that could be very different from what we currently fly. Read […]

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