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/

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RENO AIR RACES CRASH – Pilot Tried to Avoid Bleachers

74-year-old Jimmy Leeward, a movie stunt pilot was flying a P-51 Mustang called « Galloping Ghost » for the Reno Air Race yesterday September 16, 2011.

On the video you can see that shortly after lifting-up to reach the middle part of a loop, the aircraft dived towards the bleachers, and crashed very close to them. According to the news, 3 died, and 54 would have been injured, 12 of which in severe conditions. A Mayday emergency call would have been heard a few seconds before the accident.

The Reno Air Races have been cancelled even if the families insisted on letting the airshow go on. Some videos on the Internet show how violent the impact was. The area has been cordoned off as the NTSB is still investigating, as well as FAA officials were on the spot, and a mass-casualty situation has been reported.

Jimmy Leeward would have tried to dodge the bleachers as his P-51 was going down. The famous pilot would have saved hundreds of potential casualties before he died, according to this eyewitness account:

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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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Rio-Paris Flight 447 Crash Analysis

Special thanks to Thierry Hermas who teaches English radiotelephony at the French Air Force Academy (EOAA Salon de Provence). Indeed, he has analyzed, and compiled some extracts of the Air France Flight 447 reports issued by the BEA (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile – Flight safety investigations and analyses bureau www.bea.aero) for training purposes.

CLICK HERE (updated):                        

Images and publications of Rio-Paris crash
 
 
 

Another update – 2012 FINAL REPORT OF RIO-PARIS FLIGHT 447

 
 
 

In addition to this document, Mr Hermas suggested two videos about the Rio-Paris crash which happened on June 1, 2009. The video hereafter is the first of a series of four:

The second video is available here: http://www.france24.com/en/20110527-air-france-flight-rio-paris-pilots-crash-brazil-airbus

Here is another video about a few extracts of the cockpit audio transcript translated into English:

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