Low, fast and stupid

This video, apparently dating from 2014, shows a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-24 (a Soviet equivalent to the US F-111) making a very low, very fast pass over other Ukrainian aircraft at the Starokostiantyniv air base. At that speed, and that (lack of) height, one slip and he’d have been a smear of metal and strawberry jam on the earth . . . Peter

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Another cost that’s killing US military budgets

Next Big Future has an interesting article comparing purchase and operating costs of US Air Force and US Navy combat aircraft.  Among its features was this graphic (click it for a larger view). If you do a little basic arithmetic, you find that the cost of buying, say, an F-35 (as cited in the article) will be matched by its operating costs within less than half the aircraft’s expected service lifespan – less, if inflation drives up those operating costs (as it almost certainly will).  Therefore, even after the aircraft have been bought, their ever higher operating costs will continue

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Dusty!

Courtesy of The Aviationist, here’s an amazing video clip of a USAF C-5 Galaxy transport – the largest aircraft operated by that force – taking off from the just over 7,000 foot runway at Ilopango Airport in El Salvador.  For an aircraft that large, carrying an unknown cargo but clearly heavily laden, it’s quite an achievement. The wingspan of the C-5 is about 80 feet wider than the runway, hence the clouds of dust raised during the last part of the takeoff run, when the jet exhaust is angled down towards them. I’d call that dusty in anyone’s language! Peter

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Catch-and-release drones?

I was interested to see this video clip about DARPA’s Gremlins program for air-deployable, reusable unmanned aerial vehicles.  The technology appears to be advancing by leaps and bounds. When you consider this in the light of “swarm” UAV technology, it looks even more interesting.  The day may not be too far away when almost all aerial activity over a heavily contested battlefield will be UAV’s, launched, recovered and supported from distant platforms, which may themselves be manned or unmanned. Peter

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Big airport OOPS!

An Asiana Airlines Airbus A330 airliner got too close to a Turkish Airlines Airbus A321 at Istanbul Airport yesterday.  I don’t know why the Turkish Airlines plane was so far back in its parking position.  It doesn’t look like it was being pushed back after loading passengers. You can read more about the collision here. I wonder how long both jets will spend in the body & fender shop? Peter

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Sounds like a match made in (the) heaven(s)

It was reported yesterday that the US Coast Guard is looking for a number of long-range reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) for coastal patrol. The US Coast Guard issued a request for demonstrations of long-range, ultra-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in US coastal transit zones that are highly trafficked by illegal drug and migrant smugglers. The requested drone would be land-based, must have the ability to fly for more than 24h and a service ceiling of 15,000ft above sea level, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s RFP. The UAV’s sensor payload must be

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“Naval Air: A Disaster Of Epic Proportions”

That’s the title of an article at Strategy Page, analyzing in some depth the apparent failure of the US Navy’s new aircraft carrier catapult system.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. In February 2018 the U.S. Navy confirmed that it had major problems with the design and construction of its new EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System) catapult installed in its latest aircraft carrier; the USS Ford (CVN 78) and the three other Ford class carriers under construction. . . . An EMALS catapult was supposed to have a breakdown every 4,100 launches but in heavy use EMALS actually failed every

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