Archive for November, 2008

F-35 – unarmed


Originally uploaded by Lockheed Martin

“…the JSF is often referred to as a “bomb truck” that will attack ground targets once the skies have been cleared of any enemy fighter threat by dedicated air superiority fighters like the F-22 Raptor and F-15 Eagle.”

I guess the designers really stuck by this logic – especially for the Navy/Marine Corp version of the JSF. Because only the Air Force (CTOL) version will have an internal gun.

[At first I thought it was a trade off between the internal gun and the VTOL system, but even the Marine Corps CTOL version will not have the internal gun]

That seems to be a serious compromise – which I am sure that the pilots will grumble about from the start.

There is a reason that the F-4 Phantom was redesigned to include an internal gun on the ‘E’ model. I guess none of the Lockheed-Martin designers have studied history.


The Russian’s have been busy over the Thanksgiving holiday

Topol Intercontinental

Originally uploaded by Danner Gyde

First – on Wednesday (11/26) – they test fired a new RS-24, MIRV capable ICBM from Plesetsk to the target range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Then on Friday (11/28) – they test fired a new ‘Bulava’ SLBM from the White Sea also to the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Hopefully Cobra Ball got some good info about both tests.

Maybe the new Administration will realize that we better start putting some R&D into the Triad, since the newest US ballistic missile is the Trident 2 D5 (using late 70’s/early 80’s technology).


Boeing EA-18G Growler

The EA-18G Growler is being developed as the replacement for the EA-6B Prowler. The three Electronic Warfare Officers (EWO) on the EA-6 are being replaced by a single EWO (and lots of electronics) on the EA-18.

The only clue that this isn’t a normal Super Hornet – is the fact that the wingtips don’t have the normal Sidewinder load. Instead this is where the EW pods/antennas are mounted.


Ahoy! Pirates! [UPDATED]

Why is this situation not getting the attention it deserves?

As long as the pirates can keep funnelling money to support the radicals destabilizing Somalia – there will be a safe haven for terror.  There is no way that the Somali government (if one still exists) can even compete when you are talking about the radicals getting millions of dollars in ransom for each ship.

Stop the pirates and you have a chance to restore order to Somalia.

Read the rest of this entry »


Russian’s launch new recon sat

According to

Russia launched a top secret military satellite Friday in an unannounced flight from the country’s northern space base, according to news reports.

A Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 1550 GMT (10:50 a.m. EST) Friday. The launcher released the classified satellite payload about nine minutes later.

Russian officials did not provide details of the spacecraft’s mission, but the satellite is likely a Kobalt spy satellite with retrievable film canisters that return to Earth.

The satellite was delivered to an orbit with a high point of about 200 miles and a low point of about 110 miles. The orbit’s inclination is about 67.2 degrees, according to U.S. tracking data.

Russia is calling the satellite Kosmos 2445 under the military’s naming system for defense spacecraft.

They are still using FILM capsules? Hasn’t it been like 20 years since the US has had to do that?

This seems fishy…..


F-35 prototype goes Supersonic for the 1st time


Originally uploaded by Lockheed Martin

The much maligned F-35 Lightning prototype broke the sound barrier during a test flight yesterday.

From Ares (AviationWeek’s blog) – – – –

It was AA-1’s second flight of the day and the 69th since its maiden sortie on Dec. 15, 2006. Total flight time is just past the 95-hour mark – not a huge amount, but if anyone is plotting this out, the curve has been reasonably steep in the last few weeks.

LM says AA-1 completed four runs to Mach 1.05 for a total supersonic time of 8 minutes. The aircraft was also carrying a full 5,400 lb. internal load of (inert) weapons.


Submarines are dangerous places

The deaths aboard the Russian Akula II submarine last week – need to serve as a reminder that submarines are a dangerous place.  And simple mistakes cause people to be killed.

The US has had its share – but nothing as deadly as either the Akula or the Kursk – in the last 40 years.

+ USS Greeneville (this one appears to be cursed – and should be decom’d);
– Feb 2001 – Surfaces under Japanese Fishing boat – kills fishing boat crew
– Aug 2001 – Runs aground entering Saipan harbor
– Jan 2002 – collides w/ USS Ogden during personnel transfer at sea

+ USS Hartford – Oct 2003 – runs aground leaving Sardinia harbor

+ USS Newport News – Jan 2007 – collides w/ Japanese tanker in Arabian Sea

+ USS San Francisco – Jan 2005 – collides w/ an uncharted sea mount at flank speed. One killed. Reports say that boat was almost lost (due to loss of buoyancy from the forward ballast tanks). Repairs completed at Puget Sound Shipyard in Oct 2008 (yes – last month) by using the forward hull from the USS Honolulu (which had been decommissioned).

+ USS Minneapolis-St.Paul – Dec 2006 – loses 4 crew overboard during rough seas departing Plymouth (England) Harbor. 2 men recovered. 2 men pronounced dead at local hospital.

As for the Canadians – they don’t have a current sub in service. They have the old UK Upholder diesel electrics – and while they got them for a bargain price – they learned why the price was a bargain. The boats had been laid up for a couple of years before the Brits sold them to the Canadians, and it took a bit of repair work to get them ready for transfer. Wiki link has a lot of detail that I won’t bore you with here.

HMCS Chicoutimi –  Oct 2004 – crippled by on-board fire after water came in a hatch during rough weather in the North Atlantic. One killed.