The F-35 Moves Forward

If you are a red-blooded American, or just a red-blooded friend of America, you will be gratified to know that there is good news about the JSF:

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Rodger Hardy delivers the fourth F-35A Lightning II to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The aircrafts modern engine delivers more than 60 percent more thrust than any other aircraft of the same weight  Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/05/02/5th-generation-f-35-stealth-fighter-makes-headway/?intcmp=features#ixzz2SC5dpwL5

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Rodger Hardy delivers the fourth F-35A Lightning II to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The aircrafts modern engine delivers more than 60 percent more thrust than any other aircraft of the same weight.

F-35 Lighting II, the future jet, will give the U.S. the capability to fly into enemy space first and attack a target with precision weapons at long ranges to clear the way for further forces — without ever being detected.

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II is a 5th-generation stealth fighter developed to safely penetrate areas without enemy radar seeing them — an enhanced degree of “invisibility” that the 4th generation cannot achieve. Last Friday, the U.S. Marine Corps’ VMFAT-501 training squadron in Florida’s Eglin AFB launched its first F-35B eight-ship, flew a mission, hot-pit refueled and went back up again.

This mission is the latest in a series of promising steps forward for the F-35.

Last month, the stealth fighter also had its landmark first short takeoff and vertical landing during a night mission. The test provided further data on the fighter’s special helmet and lighting in operations at night.

The JSF is pieced together in 46 states. I wonder what four missed the boat?

British Aircraft Carriers Carry What Aircraft?

I thought we had issues with shipbuilding, what with our recent overruns on new ship construction. But the Brits have problems that absolutely dwarf ours:

Britain’s decision to change the basic design of its new aircraft carriers, centerpiece of the nation’s biggest arms program, for the second time in as many years is raising doubts about the country’s defense decision-making at the highest level.

In early May, the British Defense Ministry dumped its late-2010 plan to convert one and possibly both in-build Queen Elizabeth II-class aircraft carriers to operate the F-35C catapult-arrest version (known as the CV) of the Joint Strike Fighter. The U.K. opted instead to revert to the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) F-35B.

Queen Elizabeth II-class aircraft carrier

The first decision to switch to the F-35C was based on simple arguments, put forward by Prime Minister David Cameron in late 2010. The F-35C has a larger weapons load than the F-35B, thanks to a larger bomb bay, and longer range than the F-35B because it carries fuel where the latter has its lift fan. The F-35C was said to be less costly to buy and operate than the mechanically complicated F-35B. The F-35B was on probation at the time, so was deemed to be risky by the U.K. The more capable F-35C would also make up for the fact that the U.K. would not be buying 138 JSFs, as originally envisaged.

The switch to the C was contingent on using the U.S.-developed Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (Emals). The idea of fitting dedicated steam generators to the turbine-electric carriers never looked attractive, and by late 2010, the once-problematic Emals had started showing success in U.S. testing.

I could tell the Brits that EMALS work great. I sent about 20 today alone. . .