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/

SAAB’s RAPID 3D MAPPING for Military Aircraft

RAPID 3D MAPPING is a superior awareness system able to generate three dimensional maps. It processes pictures shot by digital and thermal sensors added to live georeferenced data onboard aircraft; drones; and helicopters.

It was chosen by the SDMA – Swedish Defence Materiel Administration – in order to provide 3D imagery to Gripen simulators last year.

The images can be compared several hours apart to establish whether threats can be considered in the latest analysis. As you can see in this video, the result looks quite accurate and useful for network centric warfare (NCW) purposes:

BOEING 787 Dreamliner maiden flight to JAPAN

It was the first time a Boeing B-787 Dreamliner had taken off for Japan. The Japanese ANA – All Nippon Airways – has ordered 40 Boeing B-787-8; and 15 B-787-9. This video was shot a month ago as the wide-body jet airliner departed from Seattle on July 3, 2011:

X-47B bat-winged unmanned aircraft – Maiden flight

The US Navy X-47B UCAS-D (Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration) successfully completed its first flight at Edwards AFB on February 4, 2011.

The flight which was conducted by a US Navy/Northrop Grumman test team, lasted 29 minutes. The flight test was aimed to provide test data to check the system software for guidance and navigation, and the aerodynamic control of the tailless drone. The X-47B is deemed to safely take off from, and land on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Other flight tests should be performed to validate the airworthiness of the drone in Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax River), Maryland till 2013. Here is the maiden flight video:

Beware of the dragon hidden in cheap computers !