Friday, February 05, 2016

Stealth Saga #28


Russia claims it will put the PAK-FA into service by the end of the year and that it will be able to launch cruise missiles.


China remains ahead, so goes the narrative, between the nations in Asia to acquire stealth aircraft.


Rumor has it the US Navy is considering changing the mission of the UCLASS drone from recon and strike to air to air refueling.  Yup, a tanker.  This is going to really, really annoy Congress.  Congress stated they wanted a stealthy, long range strike plane for the UCLASS and funded the procurement even for competitive fly-off.  Well.  umm.  yeah.  Here is more info.

Here's an editorial in support of the shift of the UCLASS from strike to tanker.

If Congress agrees with the conversion, the tanker drone will move to the Terminator Times posts.

IMNSHO, it would be best to do the tanker and start the development of the strike asset.  It takes time to develop those capabilities and get them on the deck.  The tanker will get there faster and will be of great use.  However, the strike asset will take MORE time and we need capability in the 2030 time frame.  If we start now, we'll barely get it on deck in time.

Tacit Blue:

Take a virtual tour of the Tacit Blue's cockpit.  Tacit Blue was another stealth aircraft black project from the 1980s.  It flew from 1981 to 1985 built by Northrop.  The intent was to have a stealthy spycraft right at the enemy lines with loads of sensors.  For whatever reason, probably risk, the program was cancelled and the sensors were used on the JSTARS aircraft.  The JSTARS is in process of being replaced now.



One of the consequences of the UCLASS change is more F-35Cs are being ordered for the US Navy.  The Navy will get more F-35Cs.  Apparently, 10 more F-35s more than planned over the next 5 years.

A report is that the F-35's test schedule is unrealistic.

The British will be receiving their last test F-35 shortly.

One analysis predicts the F-35 will revolutionize the Israeli Air Force.

F-35A operating costs have come down considerably and its operational readiness has been increased.

The US Air Force has cut its request for 48 F-35As to 43.

The top weapon's tester is expressing opposition to doing a bulk buy of the F-35 until after testing is complete.

Four F-35As will deploy to Mountain Home AFB in Idaho to test whether or not the F-35A can be declared as having IOC this summer as planned.

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