U.S. drone captured in Iran

The USAF RQ-170 Sentinel – ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) + Ground-attack stealth drone – recently captured in Iran should remain indefinitely according to the latest news:

“No one returns the symbol of aggression to the party that sought secret and vital intelligence related to the national security of a country,” Iranian General Hossein Salami said.

Nothing more was revealed but the U.S. Air Force admitted that the UAV would have had a malfunction on its course to Iran after leaving Afghanistan. The pictures of the fuselage cannot show evidence of shooting down, and nothing proves what the Iranian officials suggested about EW (Electronic Warfare) means which might have brought down the drone to the ground perhaps by jamming.

To be continued…

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FIGHTERJETS compared: Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA vs F-22 RAPTOR

First of all, here is a video on the first T-50’s public display (Moscow – MAKS 2011, August 17, 2011):

The Lockheed Martin/BIDS F-22 Raptor, and the brand new Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA are the current leading-edge 5th generation fighter aircraft. Lots of people would like to assess the capabilities of the two fighterjets. However, no aircraft can be compared regarding its specifications only as fighter aircraft are designed within a wider system – radars; weapon systems; training; and sharing information through data links.

All we know is that the F-22, and the PAK FA are equipped with excellent AESA radars. Though still secret, the Raptor’s stealth is deemed to feature a record-breaking RCS (Radar Cross Section). The T-50, which is to be fielded within the Indian and Rusian air forces, might be equipped with anti-AWACS missiles. The Chinese Chengdu J-20 has not disclosed much information so far, but it will be interesting to this new 5th-gen fighter with the two other aircraft.

Click on the infographics below to read some elementary specifications about the Russian 5th generation fighter aircraft:

 

The T-50 fifth-generation fighter

13:28 19/02/2010 The T-50’s specifications and performance compared to the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor>>

 

 

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MACH-20 AEROSPACECRAFT

New-York to Los Angeles in 12 minutes… It would have been a record-breaker, had it worked:

The DARPA and USAF FALCON project might give anybody the thrill of speed as this « aerospacecraft » has been designed to reach Mach 20 i.e. around 20,000 km/h; 5.6 km/s; 10,800 knots; or 12,400 mph depending on the air temperature, and the altitude which might be above at least FL900!

DARPA USAF FALCON HTV-2 hypersonic aerospacecraft - 22 April 2011
DARPA HTV-2 - 22 April 2011 ---- Photo: DARPA, US Federal Government

Unfortunately, the project seems to encounter major difficulties as the last test which unfolded on August 11, 2011 failed again. The previous one – also on an HTV2 – had failed in April. Click on the right-hand side picture to get further information on the first test. The Blackswift (HTV-3X)  had been designed by ATK; Boeing; Lockheed Martin; and Skunk Works to provided a strategic strike anywhere in the world within an hour. It was cancelled due to a lack of funds (see the HTV-3 shown in the following video):

 


 

  • DARPA stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • FALCON stands for Force Application and Launch from CONtinental United States
  • FL stands for Flight Level (FL x 100ft = altitude)
  • HTV stands for Hypersonic Test Vehicle or Hypersonic Technology Vehicle
  • RCS means here in the videos: Reaction Control System (and not Radar Cross Section)

Click on the picture below, and then on the blue arrows to watch the different phases of light:

Flight Overview slide, MACH-20 DARPA AEROSPACECRAFT
Flight Overview slide - Interactive picture: DARPA, U.S. Federal Government

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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:

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INDIA’s Fighter Aircraft Deal – RAFALE & TYPHOON still incompetition

The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) should be a European fighter jet. India shortlisted the Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Rafale for a $12 billion fighter jet deal. 126 fighter aircraft are to be ordered! As controversial rumours have spread for months through the Internet and the Indian channels, nobody could be certain of the sort of decision that could be made. For instance, remember this idea of purchasing two different combat aircraft that was issued a few months ago. Then, the news came right out of the blue yesterday April 28, 2011. Indeed the American, Russian, and Swedish jetfighters have been discarded.

According to the video hereafter,

The high-flying American campaign to win the $10 billion multirole combat aircraft tender has crashed.

The Indian Defence Ministry confirmed that the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the latest F-16IN were out of the race. Neither of these U.S. fighters would have met the Indian Air Force’s technical requirements during the trials that were also submitted to the JAS-39 Gripen; the MiG-35; the Rafale; and the Typhoon.

RAFALE aerobatics at La Ferté Alais Airshow 2010
RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 - Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

One may wonder why the Gripen was not selected in this competition. Well, this excellent aircraft is not equipped with any arrestor hook, and that is probably why it has not been kept in the race for this tender.

According to previous articles in this very website, the assumption that a Rafale might have shot down an F-22 Raptor plus some other rumours about the French combat aircraft performance left my readers in utter disbelief two years ago.

It is important to notice that the Rafale purchase is a rather expensive option. However, it should also be noted that, in spite of the modest political clout of France in India, as well as its price tag – $90 million – the Dassault Rafale remains in the final competition. A transfer-of-technology amendment might be added to the contract.

As the Super Hornet and the Super Viper have been rejected, this is a deep disapointment for Lockheed Martin; McDonnell Douglas; Boeing; General Dynamics; as well as a real watershed in the geopolitical approach in Asia.

Photo courtesy: Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

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