Sunday, January 13, 2019

China Claims to have Tested a TBCC Engine, Allowing for Hypersonic, Airbreathing Flight

China's home-grown turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine system has completed its design and development stage and entered the aircraft-engine integration test phase, a major step toward the development of the country's next generation hypersonic drone.

An article published by the WeChat account of Chengdu Aircraft Research and Design Institute, a design facility of the Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Co, on Thursday said the TBCC engine flight test project is led by the institute's chief architect Wang Haifeng, who also led key national defense projects, such as the development of the J-20 and J-10 fighter jets.

The TBCC engine combines a turbine and a scramjet engine, which offers an ideal single-engine solution to achieving the shift from low speed to hypersonic speed, said Liu Xingzhou, a prominent ramjet expert and Chinese Academy of Engineering academician at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Cooperation, in 2011.

The TBCC engine will allow the aircraft to fly at speeds of up to Mach 6, which means five to six times faster than the speed of sound, said Wei Xudong, a Beijing-based military analyst.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Stealth Saga #43

Sixth Generation Fighters:

The USAF's 6th gen PCA may cost $300M each or so thinks the CBO.  Some think that is unaffordable.

The USAF AWFICS has been considering the 6th gen.

Has the USAF started prototyping its 6th gen PCA fighter?

Germany and France are inviting Spain to be a full partner in the FCAS.

Japan is feeling its way forward with the F-3 program despite ordering more F-35s.


Indonesia has resumed making payments for the KF-X/IF-X fighter program.

Neuron UCAV:

The Spanish Eurofighters conducted tests with the French Neuron UCAV demonstrator.


The Su-57 is supposedly going to be equipped with a hypersonic attack missile.  This won't help the aircraft.

The Russians have also updated the stealth coating on the Su-57.


Russia is reminding everyone they are working on the PAK-DA bomber.

Sky Hawk UCAV:

China has flown its Sky Hawk UCAV demonstrator and it has been upgraded for potential aircraft carrier use.

The Sky Hawk may also have Have Raider/Loyal Wingman esque capabilities.


Speculation resurfaces China is building a carrier based variant of the J-31/FC-31.


A fake J-20 showed up at Savannah, Georgia.  It turns out to have been a mockup for OPFOR training paid for by the USMC.

USAFA Target Drone:

The USAFA is building the first stealthy target drone for the USAF.

Stealth Special Ops Transports:

The Warzone has a two part article on the multi decade quest for stealthy special ops transports for the US.

They also discuss the origins of the StealthHawk helicopter we saw the tail of from the bin laden raid.


The B-21 program completed a review and project remains on track.  Rumors were true and this was the CDR.

The USAF feels it needs more bombers.


Whiteman AFB released a video of a B-2 dropping two 30,000 lbs bombs.

The B-2 overflew the Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade.

The USAF is sending B-2s to Hawaii for exercises.


Some of the Tyndall AFB F-22s are now based in Alaska.


Major Rachael Winiecki has become the first female F-35 test pilot.

The F-35 has begun IOT&E testing.

The Block IV F-35s will have improved maritime strike capabilities.

The USAF announced a new F-35 areobatic display for the 2019 airshow season.

An F-35 oooed and aaahed folks with its flight through Star Wars Canyon.

F-35 operators are switching the version of the AIM-9 they are using.

F-35As will probably replace the F-22s at Tyndall AFB.

The 388th Fighter Wing’s 421st Fighter Squadron received its first F-35A.

The US Navy's first operational F-35C squadron is declared safe for flight.

The  US Navy's F-35Cs have a 15% readiness rating.

The F-35C is on track, despite the above, to be declared to have reached IOC.

Australia's first two F-35s are due to arrived on Dec 10th.

Watch British F-35Bs with F-15s and Rafales.

The Brits are on a roll after their testing of the F-35B.

The British RAF/RN are in a tug of war over the order of the F-35s.

The British have declared IOC for land based ops for its F-35s.

Israel has started making its own wings components for the F-35C.

More on Italy declaring IOC for its F-35As.

Italy will review the F-35 program in 2019.

Japan is replacing 99 F-15SJs with F-35s.  The F-4 Phantoms will also be replaced with already planned F-35s.

Some are convinced Japan's intent to convert its helicopter carriers to VSTOL carriers using F-35Bs is going to be harder than people think.  Japan is moving forward, however, to counter Russia and China.

With this latest order, Japan is on track for to become the second largest operator of F-35s.

The Pentagon stated if Turkey is removed from the F-35 program, there won't be a devastating impact.

Turkey is endangering its F-35 purchase by not cancelling its S-400 buy.

Leonardo figured out how to overcome overheating issues with the internal F-35 training system.

Lockheed met its production target for 2018 and delivered 91 F-35s.

Lockheed also got a contract for updating the F-35's avionics.


A course to integrate 4th & 5th gen fighters took place.

The US Congress' CBO floated the idea of postponing the B-21, 6th gen fighter, getting rid of the F-22 and ending manufacture of the F-35 to save on the budget.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Shutdown Postpones SpaceX Dragon V2 Flight to February

ASA and SpaceX are continuing to work on the activities leading toward the Demo-1, uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station. NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than February for the launch of Demo-1 to complete hardware testing and joint reviews.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Russians Claim to Have Successfully Tested the Avangard Boost Glide Weapon

The Russian Defence Ministry, on orders from President Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday conducted a successful test launch of an Avangard missile from the Orenburg region, hitting a target in Kamchatka, the Kremlin press service reports.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Terminator Times #53

Unmanned AerialVehicles (drones):

The USAFA Cadets are building a stealthy target drone.

The USAF gave General Atomics a $293M contract to support the MQ-9 Reapers.

The US Army has teamed with Lockheed to create a UAV armed with a high powered microwave weapon.

The US Coast Guard Commandant wants a small UAV like the ScanEagle for its future patrol cutters.

The US Navy has modified the contract for Boeing to continue work on the MQ-25A Stingray.

China has developed a kerosene burning variant of its CH-4 uav.

China has exported its 100th Wing Loong UAV.

A second Chinese made CH-4B has been shot down in Yemen.

Egypt is buying a second lot of Chinese UAVs.

The Europeans have finished the design definition of the program formerly called the EuroMALE.

A Russian company has created the Carnivora UAV to intercept other drones.

The Russian army will be receiving drones in 2019.

Airbus' VSR700 flew its first autonomous flight.

Does Elbit's rise mean the downfall of IAI?

Elbit and Adani opened a joint UAV center.

Schiebel demonstrated new payloads for its S-100 VTOL UAV for the Australian army.

V-BAT aspires to replace the Shadow UAV.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos & Ogres):

The Brits' new bomb disposal robot has haptic feedback for its operators.

Endeavor Robotics unveiled details of its Scorpion UGV.

Israel's Rafael envisions a mobile command center/mothership for unmanned ground vehicles.

Rheinmetall's Mission Master UGV gets profiled and a weaponized variant is in the works.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (robo subs):

Are swarms of underwater drones the future of mine clearing?

China's Haiyan underwater glider UUV operated for 141 days and travelled 3619 km in the South China Sea.

Russia has begun testing its intercontinental nuclear torpedo/UUV called Poseidon according to reports.

Thales teamed with msubs to work on UUVs.

Software Bots:

How the Pentagon is working on a two pronged approach to "AI."

After the Pentagon's relationship with Google collapsed, it's seeking its own AI talent.

Counter UAV:

The Russian Pantsir air defenses may be unable to defend against drones.  The Russians claim they have developed a new targeting system in response.


Friday, January 04, 2019

India Approves Budget for 2022 Human Spaceflight

Giving a boost to the country's maiden human spaceflight programme, the Union Cabinet on Friday approved a budget of Rs 10,000 crore for India's Gaganyaan project, whose 2022 deadline was fixed by PM Narendra Modi + during his I-Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 2018.

"The Union Cabinet has approved the Gaganyaan project under which a three-member crew will be sent to space for at least seven days," Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced at a press conference on Friday.