Thursday, February 11, 2016

Stealth Saga #29: Japanese ATD-X/X-2 Begins Taxi Tests


The X-2 has started its taxi tests.  Its maiden flight will not be far behind.

Mitsubishi has revealed details behind the planned development of the Japanese stealth fighter.

X-2 vs J-31 with an appearance of the F-35 video:


China may have a full squadron of J-20 stealth fighters by the end of 2017.

The Indians and Russians have once again restarted their negotiations


Russia has started doing engine tests for the PAK-DA.

In a REALLY bad sign for the PAK-DA, Tu-160 production restart has been postponed, possibly as late as 2023.


The budget request for the LRS-B effectively doubles the R&D spending on bombers.

The US Air Force has updated its expected costs for the LRS-B.  The total price has come down significantly.

Rumors have it that the Boeing/Lockheed & Northrop LRS-B prototypes were flown on actual combat missions.  This is...surprising and stretches credibility a bit.

The GAO is required to uphold or dismiss the LRS-B protest brought by Boeing by February 16.


The draft RFP for the unmanned tanker for US Navy aircraft carriers is expected to be out this year.  However, in a weird twist, they are keeping the RAQ-25 designation rather than changing to something like a KQ-xx as tankers normally are.  It seems the reason for the designation retention is because the US Navy wants to retain a basic strike and recon capability for the CBARS.

Sixth Generation Fighters:

A bit more information on the Northrop ad here.


The Italian Air Force has successfully flown the first F-35 across the Atlantic.  More photos.  And even more photos.

The first Luke AFB pilot has achieved 500 flight hours in the F-35A.

The F-35 still has problems according to a report.  Some are calling the problems a fundamental, unfixable issue for the F-35.  There are still 419 problems to be resolved.

The Pentagon is planning on buying 404 F-35s over the next 5 years.  However, the US Air Force is planning on deferring 45 F-35As over the same 5 years, buying ~45 per year until 2021 when it will jump to 60.  The US Air Force is downplaying the deferral of F-35 purchases.

General Bogdan is predicting by 2019, an F-35A will cost between $80 to $85 million each with engine included.

The first ASRAAMs have been delivered for integration testing for the British F-35s.

The US Air Force will be reinstating the loading competition it used to do for the F-15 for the F-35.

Here are the biggest development risks left for the F-35.

Six F-35As have flown to Mountain Home AFB to simulate a foreign deployment.

 US Air Force Budget:

The USAF cannot afford all of its needs under the current and projected budget plans.  This is what happens when you delay so as to have to replace everything at once.

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