Sweetman: No VIFF’ing Allowed

In case any of you are keeping score at home, it has been suggested by visitors to this blog that the very cool Vectoring in Forward Flight (VIFF) feature of the Harrier jet could be one aerodynamic advantage employed by the short-takeoff-and-landing F-35B. Well, apparently not. Bill Sweetman, who literally wrote the book on the […]

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The Defense Industry’s Disease, Eloquently Explained

When I read, it’s not always about weapons and defense policy. I sometimes go slumming in books about the airliner biz. It says something that it’s pretty hard these days to write a book about the business of selling airliners without devoting a bunch of pages to defense programs — the in-bred cousins of many […]

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Army forsees natural gas crisis

This blog once discussed the possibility of the Pentagon going oil-free by 2050. But oil apparently is among the least of the army’s energy problems. According to this newly-minted memorandum, the army’s assistant chief of staff for installation management is more worried that the worldwide supply of natural gas will dry up within 25 years. […]

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Speaking of … (Part 2)

… and check out this elegant web tutorial by Popular Science on the F-35B’s "magical" engine. I’m guessing this one is the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, not the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 alternative. It’s another great Bill Sweetman creation. This is probably a good time to wish Bill good luck in his role as editor-in-chief […]

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Speaking of the F-35B …

Check out this page on the Popular Science web site for an excellent graphic of the F-35B, composed by my friend and colleague Bill Sweetman. Note the $110 million price tag. If I learned Flash I think I’d be dangerous.

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Porpoise vs Hair

China announced last week that it will spend 18% more on defense in 2007, the largest one-year jump in a decade for the People’s Liberation Army. It’s an arms race! Finally, sixteen years after the Soviet Union went to that great "ash heap of history" in the sky, the Pentagon’s big-spenders have a reason to […]

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Quote of the Day

From a very good Kansas City Star article about the usefulness (or not) of the 30,000lb Massive Ordnance Penetrator: “If we can’t attack a target using 5,000-pound bombs, it’s probably nature’s way of telling us it’s pointless,” said Owen Cote, the associate director of security studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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UCAR Lives!

Anybody remember the Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (aka, UCAR)? UCAR was one of those futuristic concept vehicles that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (aka, DARPA) swoons over until the Army (aka, army) sees the bill, and then — poof — the program dies. Well, it’s back — kind of. When UCAR got the budget […]

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Why Russia Cheers Me Up

If you’re frustrated by what you see happening with the US defense industry, here’s good way to cheer up: read about the state of Russia’s defense industry. Worked for me anyway. Stephen J. Blank, a professor at the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College, has published a new monograph, entitled: "Rosoboroneksport: Arms Sales […]

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The F-35 Debate Continues

For those following the great V/STOL/Harrier/F-35B debate, here’s some great responses to my responses from Mr. Ehling. Everyone feel free to join the fray. Me: Do you really think that it’s anything like an equalizer? Ehling: I don’t know. I’ve been told viffing gave the Harrier an edge at low altitude engagements against our own […]

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