F-35 Lightning II goes Supersonic

F-35 JSF Joint Strike Fighter

U.S. Navy photo: Chief Petty Officer Eric A. Clement

Written on November 15, 2008  8:00 am by Frontier India Strategic and Defence

USA flag billowing The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flew supersonic for the first time yesterday, achieving another milestone. The aircraft accelerated to Mach 1.05, or about 680 miles per hour. The test validated the F-35 Lightning II’s capability to operate beyond the speed of sound and was accomplished with a full internal load of inert or « dummy » weapons on the one-hour flight.

« The F-35 transitioned from subsonic to supersonic just as our engineers and our computer modeling had predicted, » said Jon Beesley, Lockheed Martin’s chief F-35 test pilot. « I continue to be impressed with the aircraft’s power and strong acceleration, F-35 JSF Joint Strike Fighterand I’m pleased that its precise handling qualities are retained in supersonic flight, even with a payload of 5,400 pounds (2,450 kilograms) in the weapons bays. »

F-35  USAF photo  Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes

Beesley said it was also a significant achievement for a test aircraft to fly supersonic for the first time with the weight of a full internal load of weapons. The milestone was achieved on the 69th flight of F-35 aircraft AA-1. Beesley climbed to 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) and accelerated to Mach 1.05, or about 680 miles per hour, over a rural area in north Texas. The F-35 accomplished four transitions through the sound barrier, spending a total of eight minutes in supersonic flight. The flight was preceded by a high-subsonic mission earlier in the day. Future testing will gradually expand the flight envelope out to the aircraft’s top speed of Mach 1.6, which the F-35 is designed to achieve with a full internal load of weapons.

F-35 AA-1, a conventional takeoff and landing variant (CTOL), and F-35 BF-1, a short takeoff/vertical landing variant (STOVL), together have combined for 83 test flights.

X-35 JSF fighter aircraftThe F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.

X-35 JSF – U.S. Air Force photo

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TRIAL IMPERIAL HAMMER in SARDINIA

French Dassault Mirage F1CRs ER 02/033 Savoie reconnaissance aircraft

Mirages F1CR belonging to the 2/33 Savoie Reconnaissance Squadron.

Seventy French airmen along with fourteen other nations took part in an electronic warfare field test in Sardinia from September 27th to October 17th.

Boeing E-3 Sentry airborne early warning and control AWACS

French AWACS

This NATO exercise called « Trial Imperial Hammer » aimed at training the armed forces to fuse information gathered from various inteligence sources – aircraft, radars, satellites. An AWACS from the 702 French Air Force Base at Avord; 2 Mirages F1CR from 2/33 « Savoie » Reconnaissance Squadron at Reims, and a C160 Gabriel from Metz took part in the implementation of this field trial together with the French Navy and the French Army.

French Air Force C-160G Gabriel electronic warfare aircraft

C-160 Gabriel

The development of the information management and communication capabilities is critical to ensure support for the operations.

Source et photos: SIRPA AIR (http://www.defense.gouv.fr/air/)

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Boeing Posts Lower Third-Quarter Results on Reduced Commercial Deliveries

  • Third-quarter revenues declined to $15.3 billion from $16.5 billion as labor strike and supplier production problems pushed airplane deliveries out of the quarter.
  • EPS declined to $0.96 per share, reduced by an estimated $0.60 on the lower deliveries and by $0.08 due to tax adjustments.
  • Backlog grew to a record $349 billion as near-term demand remains strong.
  • Updated financial guidance to be provided after strike concludes.

BOEING courtesy (www.boeing.com)

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First RAF pilot to fly F-22 Raptor

(source: http://www.af.mil)

A former RAF Leeming F3 pilot has spoken for the first time since arriving in the United Kingdom at the controls of one of the United State’s 5th generation fighters – the F-22 Raptor.

Speaking after a 7 ½ flight which involved eleven refuelling transfers, Flt. Lt. Dan Robinson spoke of his fortune at being the first RAF pilot to fly the aircraft. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

© UK Crown copyright 2008

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Why not fly NUCLEAR AIRCRAFT ?

I was reading a gripping blog in French called “Objets du ciel » (broken link) when I bumped into an amazing article written by Carl Conrad. I first thought that this post was unbelievable. I daresay that all the articles he writes are amazing. I am going to report hereafter what I have read about this topic – nuclear-powered aircraft – from different sources, but Carl Conrad’s article is the one that inspired me most.

Convair NB-36H X-6

© Photo: National museum of the USAF

As a major oil crisis is looming, airlines are cancelling some less financially viable air links of theirs. The future of aviation as we currently know it, seems to be in jeopardy. Nothing seems to be used as a substitute for any current kind of energy, not even electricity. What about nuclear-powered engines?

Nowadays, nobody would bear any nuclear-powered test flights. However those tests did occur within a USAF-carried-out weapons system (WS 125-A) nuclear-powered bomber aircraft programme. Those tests were performed with a 1,000-kilowatt-nuclear jet engine airborne on a Convair NB-36H. This aircraft named « The Crusader », took-off 47 times during the 50s. The engine was not used for propelling. It only worked at an altitude which was deemed sensible. Those tests allowed to assess the nuclear engine drive performance. Every flight would involve troops deployment in the area to prevent as soon as possible from any accident fallout spreading. The aircraft was modified in order to enhance the five crew member’s safety. The USAF considered the concept not realistic and gave the programme up in late 1956.

However, this technology might be coming back to fly some drones for long-lasting flights. People might be relunctant to see nuclear-powered drones taking-off and flying past over their heads. Who knows? Maybe some day.

Another project to mention: Project Orion should have become a 4,000-ton, long-range spacecraft powered by controlled nuclear pulses, or explosions. For this purpose, a small test vehicle was built. It was dubbed « Hot Rod », and was conventional-explosive-powered craft. Finally, Orion was cancelled in 1965 because it would not have been politically correct and because of technical challenges.

I have not found a piece of information about nuclear-powered craft after the year 2004. By the way, if someone knows further information about nuclear-powered aircraft, they will be welcome if they want to add some comments.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Span: 230 ft. 0 in.
Length: 162 ft. 1 in. (as B-36H, the NB-36H was slightly shorter)
Height: 46 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 357,500 lbs. (max. gross weight)
Armament: None
Engines: Six Pratt & Whitney R-4360-53 radials of 3,800 hp each (takeoff power) and four General Electric J47-GE-19 turbojets of 5,200 lbs. thrust each
Crew: Five ( pilot, copilot, flight engineer and two nuclear engineers)

PERFORMANCE:
Maximum speed: Approx. 420 mph at 47,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 235 mph
Service ceiling: Approx. 47,000 ft.

Sources:
http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/

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