Could RAFALE benefit from F-35 glitches?

 

JSF F-35 Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II

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:

 

 

RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 - © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/
RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

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… 🙂

 

Photo 1: © Recce 233 Savoie; Photo 2: © Xavier Cotton – http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

JSF F-35 Lightning II at Paris Airshow 2011

The U.S. F-35Cs – 5th-generation-fighter a/c – showed below are CATOBAR fighter jets. CATOBAR stands for Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery. It means that this variant of the F-35 JSF – Joint Strike Fighter aka Lightning II – is designed to be launched from a CV (Carrier Vessel aka aircraft carrier), and it is designed to land thanks to arrestor (or arresting) wires and hooks – Video:

Chinese 5th-generation fighter « J-20 Black Eagle » HD video

The first J-20 BLACK EAGLE taxiing-test snapshots have popped up throughout the blogosphere for a few days. These so-called leaked pictures reveal a design that comes straight from the J-XX with the front part similar to the F-22 Raptor’s one, and the aft a bit like the Sukhoi PAK FA’s one.

Thanks to ChineseKungFu100, you can watch below a High-Definition video in which you can see a huge glass cockpit. It is believed that the J-20 is likely to be cheaper than the PAK FA / T-50, and far cheaper than the JSF F-35 and the F-22, with lower performance though longer radius of combat, and bigger strike capability. The shapes after the forward canards and the chine, may be low-RCS caret air intakes with DSIs – Diverterless Supersonic Inlets – which maintain high-quality airflow to the engines over a wide range of conditions. It is believed that the J-20 may have Russian engines. She is likely to be equipped with an AESA radar.

With this new fighter aircraft, and its brand new aircraft carrier, the PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) could be on a par with the lead air forces in the world.

RAF and Royal Navy HARRIER jets farewell

The Harrier entered in service 41 years ago. Then, the Harrier II (GR5, GR7, and GR9) took off in 1985 for the first time. The F-35 Lightning II or JSF – 5th-generation Joint Strike Fighter – should replace these V/STOL (Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing) fighter aircraft.

Sixteen RAF Harriers conducted a farewell flypast yesterday while the last four Harriers left HMS Ark Royal forever. Both the Ark Royal and the Harriers are to be decommissioned under cost-saving plans. Click on the video below:

F-35B – Lightning II STOVL variant