Corruption in Afghanistan costs US taxpayers – again

The Afghan Air Force has had to acquire be given (at US expense) four used Lockheed Hercules transports – because the planes it was originally given (also at US expense), while more suitable for its needs, were sidelined by rampant corruption within its ranks, and among Afghan politicians. In 2012 Afghanistan announced that it would cancel the contract to buy and use 20 C-27A transports. The official reason was the inability of the Italian maintenance firm to keep the aircraft operational. The unofficial reason was the unwillingness of the Italians to pay as much in bribes as the Afghan officials were demanding. Over half a billion

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Did Israel bomb Iranian targets in Iraq?

News reports in Israel and from an Arab news source suggest that they did. Israel has expanded its operations against Iranian targets to Iraq, where Air Force jets have struck twice in ten days, a report said Tuesday morning. . . . Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic-language newspaper published in London, cited Western diplomatic sources as saying an Israeli F-35 plane was behind a July 19 strike on a rocket depot in a Shiite militia base north of Baghdad. The Saudi-based al-Arabiya network reported at the time that members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and Hezbollah had been killed in the strike. It said

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Perfectly legal technology, but it makes me nervous

I note the availability of a “TF-19 WASP Flamethrower Drone Attachment“, that is “highly compatible with most cinema/industrial drone platforms with a payload capacity of 5 lbs or more“.  Here’s a promotional video. This is, of course, entirely legitimate technology in a number of industries and activities.  The supplier lists: Clear debris from power lines Pest management and nest elimination Forest fire containment back-burns / pre-burns Remote agriculture burns Nothing wrong with any of those.  However, I can’t help thinking how much damage it could do in the wrong hands. What if a disaffected person got hold of one of

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That’s the strangest airliner I’ve ever seen

. . but I’m sure Klingon passengers would be happy!  It’s a conceptual aircraft in art and model form, presented by Airbus at this week’s Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in England.  They’ve dubbed it the Airbus Bird Of Prey, although it’s not armed, unlike its fictional namesake.  (In fairness, Airbus specifically links the name to birds of prey here on earth, but given the number of Trekkies out there, it’s inevitable that the science fiction association will be made, too.) According to the company’s press release: Airbus has unveiled a bird-like conceptual airliner design with the goal of motivating the next generation of aeronautical engineers, underscoring

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Doofus Of The Day #1,046

Today’s award goes to the Patrouille Suisse, the aerobatic display team of the Swiss Air Force, for this mistake. A rather unusual as well as bit embarrassing “incident” occurred to the the Swiss Air Force’s “Patrouille Suisse” Display Team on Saturday Jul. 6, 2019: the team’s jets were scheduled to fly over Langenbruck, in northwestern Switzerland, south of Basel, where the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the death of Swiss aviation pioneer Oskar Bider was held, but they flew over Mümliswil, missing the target by about 6 km (about 3¾ miles). “Unfortunate circumstances” were the root cause of the mistake according to a spokesman of

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A spectacular flame-out

The Aviationist reports: An Indian Air Force (IAF) SEPECAT Jaguar or “Shamsher” was involved in a bird strike incident on takeoff from Ambala Air Force Station outside the Indian town of Ambala on Thursday, June 27, 2019. Video of the accident posted in Indian media and on Twitter showed the aircraft fly through a group of birds, emit flame from at least one engine, and then jettison its underwing stores. Some of the stores carried by the Jaguar were reported to be “Carrier Bomb Light Stores” pods (CBLS) that exploded on impact. . . . The Indian Air Force praised the pilot on Twitter, reporting

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Another electric aircraft to transport paying passengers?

A few months ago, I noted that an electrically powered conversion of the De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver aircraft would soon be flying for Harbor Air Seaplanes.  As far as I know, this will be the first commercial use of electrically powered aircraft in the world. Now comes the news that a brand-new electric aircraft design is set to enter commercial operation in the north-eastern US. Israeli start-up Eviation Aircraft has announced Cape Air as the commercial launch customer for its Alice all-electric aircraft, with the “double-digit purchase option” from a long-established airline helping to validate the in-development design and put the nascent sector on the map. Eviation has not disclosed how

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A spectacular arrival

Take an international air show filled with spectacular flying displays.  How does one impress a crowd so jaded with aerial expertise?  This isn’t a bad start (or end, actually).  Here’s the USAF’s newest tanker aircraft, the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus, landing in true military style at the Paris Air Show. From the looks of it, that might have been a teeth-rattler!  The long-distance shot tends to minimize the sheer size of the aircraft.  Anywhere else but an air show, where display is the name of the game, that sort of landing might lead to penalties for the pilot(s) concerned. Peter

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A Far Eastern not-so-“Freedom Fighter”

At this year’s Paris Air show, currently in progress, Pakistan demonstrated the JF-17 Thunder light fighter aircraft. The background to this aircraft is interesting from many perspectives. Back in the 1980’s, during the period of rapprochement with China that preceded the Tiananmen Square massacre, US firm Grumman became involved with Pakistan and China to design an upgraded version of the latter country’s Chengdu J-7, itself a licensed variant of the late-1950’s-vintage Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21.  They came up with a concept they called the Grumman/Xian Super-7, shown in the outline drawing below. Due to various factors, particularly the disastrous effect of the Tiananmen Square massacres on Sino-US relations, the

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