Friday, March 11, 2016

Stealth Saga #36


Aviation Week has another bit of coverage on the Anglo French stealthy UCAV project.   It is behind a paywall though.


The US Navy is shedding the RAQ-25 designation for the Stingray tanker.  The Stringray will be redesignated as an MQ-25 for the RFP.  The stealth aspect will be scaled back and the payload increased.  I'd speculate this will be a S-3 payload equivalent.  The Navy is hitting the gas on the project:  A flyoff is expected in 2018, along with the contract award and the MQ-25 will on deck in 2021. 


Procurement debates are delaying the Turkish TFX fighter program.


Japan's ATD-X/X-2 continues to do well in the taxi testing. Maiden flight is imminent.


Supposedly three more prototypes of the PAK-FA are to be delivered shortly (see the six gen below).  Apparently, there are four current prototypes and two test beds only.

Sixth Generation Fighters:

Russia keeps stating they are working on their 6th gen fighter.

The US Air Force has revealed they want the F-X 6th Gen fighter on time and within budget rather than restarting the F-22 line. The US Navy is starting the analysis of alternatives for their Sixth Gen FA-XX.


Sen McCain is pushing for a fixed price contract for the B-21 development instead of the price plus fee.  The USAF has made it clear cancelled the current contract would incur not only a recompete with the costs associated but also a $300 million penalty to be paid to Northrop.

The USAF has kicked off the naming contest for the B-21.

Likewise, they have named some of the contractors working on the bomber.

Something folks are having a hard time getting over is the fact the B-21 looks a lot like the B-2.   Many are even calling it the B-21.

The head of the F-35 program believes that with the ramping up of the B-21 program will cause the F-135 engine prices to drop.  This is probably because the F-135 shares tech with the B-21's engine.  Multiple sources have stated the ADVENT engine uses a -135 core.


3 B-2s were sent to Diego Garcia to act as a deterrent to China.


Congress is fine with giving the USAF more F-35s and is hinting it wants to restart the F-22 line. (see sixth gen above)

The F-35 will be showing up at air shows around the world this year. 

The F-35 had a problem in flight where the AESA radar had to be rebooted.  Some are saying that's the least of the problems for the F-35.

The F-35 isn't even in service yet and the USAF is looking at modernization in the 2020 to 2025 time frame.  Lockheed is working on new sensors for the F-35.

The ALIS logistics system will not be ready in time, or at least probably not, for the projected Air Force IOC.


Rumor has it that Bill Sweetman is leaving Aviation Week to go work at Northrop.

No comments: