Saturday, November 04, 2017

Stealth Saga #67


The baseline twin engine design has been decided on, but refinements are still being made.  The first prototype roll out is expected in 2022 with an ambitious 2026 entry into service.  The Indonesian variant, called the IF-X is apparently virtually the same as the KF-X, except it will lack stealth coatings and also lack an internal weapons bay.


China is moving the J-20 into production.

This stealth fighter is operational.  Really.


The Russians are claiming the Su-57 will be (or can be) upgraded with 6th generation fighter capabilities.


More reports the Indian Air Force does not want to continue their participation in the Su-57 program.

Sixth Generation Fighter:

Lockheed scored the laser portion of the SHIELD program, something that will likely lead to a weapon for fifth and especially sixth generation fighters.

The US has been working on a new long range AAM for two years.

Northrop patented a kinetic kill anti missile system for stealth aircraft.

Model 401:

Scaled Composites flew their Model 401 for the first time.  The aircraft looks like a cross between the 1960s Quiet Bird and the General Atomics Avenger.


Is the B-21 meant to be a high altitude bomber?

Will the B-21 have morphing wing technology?


The B-2 got a night time photo op.

Some interesting details on how the B-2 trained for potential strikes on North Korea.

The B-2 flew over Japan for the first time.


In 2006, the largest known formation of stealth aircraft flew over Holloman Air Force Base.


Six F-22s have deployed to Britain at RAF Lakenheath.

One of them landed with an open missile bay.

Upgrades to the F-22s might cost $1.7 billion over 11 years.


An overview of the F-35 program.

The F-35 had a week of good and bad news.

Corrosion issues are delaying F-35 deliveries by a month.

F-35 deliveries were lagging behind already.

Serious, serious spare parts issues are hitting the F-35 program: depots are six years behind on maintenance already.

F-35s are getting a significant software update.

The USAF has graduated its 500th F-35 fighter pilot.

The USAF has sent one F-35A to Eielson AFB for testing in preparation of the arrival of two F-35 squadrons in 2020.

Two F-35As participated in a South Korean air show.

12 F-35As are being deployed to Japan.  They stopped at Hawaii along the way.

As many as 108 F-35As may not get the most recent software that allows them to be considered combat coded.

The first internationally assembled F-35B has flown its first short take-off and vertical landing.

F-35Bs in Japan performed a night refueling exercise.

The US Navy has been forced to shift qualifying the VFA-125 on the F-35C from the Lincoln to the Vinson by hurricane Irma.

F-35 data was stolen from an Australian defense contractor through hacking.  None of it is supposed to be classified.

The RAF has increased the F-35's risk rating.

A rumors are spreading about an attempted SAM attack on an Israeli F-35I after the Israelis ground their F-35s for a supposed bird strike.

A RNAF F-35A has been sent to Eielson AFB for the second stage of the drag chute testing.

Norwegian F-35As were to return to Norway on November 2nd (they landed).

Turkey is interested in the F-35B.

The F-35 is increasingly important to Lockheed's profitability.

Orbital ATK will be building composite components for the F-35.

Counter Stealth:

The US Navy's newish E-2D Hawkeye is intended (supposedly) to watch for Chinese stealth fighters.

Iran is building air defenses with stealth aircraft in mind.

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