The brand new 5th-generation fighterjet Shenyang J-31 – or F60, which would be nicknamed Gyrfalcon – took off on October 31, 2012. She thus performed a test flight – probably her maiden flight – on Wednesday.
This futuristic PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) stealth multirole jetfighter looks like an F-35 Lightning II though the Gyrfalcon (or Falcon Eagle?) turns out to be a twin-engine a/c. She would be more maneuverable but smaller than the latest Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle stealth fighter. Her radar cross section (RCS) might be very small, and stealthier than recent 5th-generation fighter aircraft as the radome mounting looks as if it were – like the rest of the airframe – designed with reentrant shapes.
This fighter aircraft would not exceed Mach 2, and she features a DSI (Diverterless Supersonic Inlet) so that the airspeed can be reduced while entering the air intake, thus preventing the engine from breaking up.
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (IATA: SAB, ICAO: TNCS) on the island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles is located on a small plateau above the Caribbean Sea. Its runway is very short – 400 meters long.
Toncontin International Airport (IATA: TGU, ICAO: MHTG) or Teniente Coronel Hernan Acosta Mejia Airport – at one thousand metres altitude – is located in a hollow on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Its 2,021-meter long runway – even though it was extended in 2009 as it was 1,863 metres long only – is one of the shortest ones among the international airports. A very dangerous hillside at the end of the runway was removed in 2009 too. This airport was ranked second in this top 10 before.
Gibraltar International Airport or North Front Airport (IATA: GIB, ICAO: LXGB) is located in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, and belongs to the UK Ministry of Defence though it is a civilian airport too. There are around 3,000 aircraft movements per year. The main road intersects the airport runway, and the road traffic is stopped whenever an airplane takes off, or lands.
Los Roques Airport, or Aeropuerto Los Roques, in Spanish (IATA: LRV, ICAO: SVRS). It is a domestic airport with a one-kilometre long runway on the El Gran Roque island, Venezuela.
Saint Maarten International Airport (IATA: SXM, ICAO: TNCM) (also known as Princess Juliana International Airport) is located on the Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin. Viral videos, and pictures are regularly posted on the Web as the runway threshold is only a few meters from the beach, and tourists can feel the turbulence, and even the blast of heavy aircraft when they land, or take off.
Madeira Airport (IATA: FNC, ICAO: LPMA), or Funchal Airport (as Funchal is the name of the nearest cathedral), is an international airport in Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz, Madeira, Portugal. Its two runways are a bit short, and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and mountains.
The British Harriers were to be replaced by the F-35Cs. Do you remember? You may have learnt from the recent news that the carrier variant of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Joint Strike Fighter – CV JSF (Carrier Vessel variant’s Joint Strike Fighter) – F-35C was unable to catch the wire onboard the aircraft carrier during the latest landing tests.
Strange as it may seem, the F-35C’s designers may have not forecast what would unfold during a test flight while landing on an aircraft carrier:
The arresting hook (tailhook) never engaged the arresting wire as the clearance between the tail hook and the main landing gear’s tyre tread is too short for such a speed. An F-35C Lightning II missing her carrier landing has been reported even though some U.S. officials would have dismissed such information which might result from simulated tests.
Added to that is a software bug which had grounded the CV JSF for 6 days a few month earlier for the fifth-generation fighter aircraft might have encountered wing-folding input while flying!
As a result, the British Ministry of Defence might find a Plan-B solution as these design flaws, and some others which date back to November 2011 are deemed unacceptable for such an expensive fighter aircraft – $139.5 million for the F-35C (CATOBAR – Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery), and $150 million for the F-35B (STOVL – Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing). The latter can land on carriers but she is more expensive, and the JSF program costs have already increased several times.
Moreover, the JSF would not be able to fire AMRAAM air-to-air missiles as reported in this video:
And there’s even more: according to a Pentagon study team report, 13 areas of concern that remained to be addressed in the F-35 would have been identified. For instance, the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) would not work properly…
The British MoD is therefore considering the purchase of either F/A-18E Super Hornets or RAFALEs for the RAF. The French Dassault which has already lost the Swiss NAC tender due to replace the Swiss Air Force’s F-5s, would be proposing a new offer with 18 RAFALEs at a cost deemed lower than the 22 SAAB Gripens’ one according to the Swiss press.
The RAFALE is still in competition with the Eurofighter in the Indian MMRCA tender. the Indian officials are expected to make a decision this week. To be continued… ==> We have just learnt (on January 31, 2012) that the RAFALE has won the MMRCA tender… 🙂
The Pearl Harbor Attack(called Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters – Operation Z in planning – and the Battle of Pearl Harbor) happened on Sunday December 7, 1941 ie 70 years ago. Here is a video of remembrance of the infamous day which dragged the United States of America into World War II: