FOR ISR, NORTHROP GRUMMAN AIMS LOWER

For a corporation that is producing the USAF’s next-generation stealth bomber, plus the Global Hawk and other high-tech, high-altitude ISR platforms, it seems a bit strange that Northrop Grumman is now marketing a relatively low-tech, Medium-Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) aircraft. Without $$$$$ from the Pentagon for development. But NG is convinced that its Firebird design … Continue reading FOR ISR, NORTHROP GRUMMAN AIMS LOWER

QUESTION MARKS REMAIN OVER F-35 AVAILABILITY, SUPPORT

There has been a lot more adverse publicity about the F-35 recently, including about practical, in-service issues. In this article, written for the Paris editions of Aviation International News (AIN), I try to provide a balanced assessment. But I doubt whether the operating costs of fifth-generation fighters will ever match those of fourth-gen ones: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2019-06-16/question-marks-remain-over-f-35-availability-supportContinue reading QUESTION MARKS REMAIN OVER F-35 AVAILABILITY, SUPPORT

BIG CLAIMS, BIG COST FOR SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE SYSTEMS

Here's another story that I have written for the Paris Air Show editions of Aviation International News (AIN). The ballistic missile threat and stealth aircraft are driving new developments, but how effective can they be, and at what cost? Read this story here: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2019-06-12/big-claims-big-cost-surface-air-missile-systems

DOES JSTARS DEMISE SPELL THE END FOR AIRBORNE ISR?

The USAF dropped the JSTARS replacement because it was becoming too vulnerable to modern air defences. But wouldn't the same problem apply to other recce platforms like Global Hawk, Rivet Joint and Sentinel? I wrote this story for the Paris Air Show coverage by Aviation International News (AIN). You can find it here: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2019-06-15/does-jstars-demise-spell-end-airborne-isr Addendum, … Continue reading DOES JSTARS DEMISE SPELL THE END FOR AIRBORNE ISR?

THE SPEAR 3 MISSILE – IS THE HUGE EFFORT JUSTIFIED?

“Probably the most complex airborne weapon that MBDA has ever done”. That’s how the chief engineer of the SPEAR 3 described this new British air-surface missile in a presentation to the Royal Aeronautical Society in London last week. As Stephen Temple described the ongoing development, I marveled at how his team are meeting a very … Continue reading THE SPEAR 3 MISSILE – IS THE HUGE EFFORT JUSTIFIED?

AT LAST, THE EUROFIGHTER IS A TRUE MULTIROLE AIRCRAFT

Fifteen years after it entered service, the Eurofighter Typhoon has finally achieved true multirole capability. Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) says that a three-year effort to add the long-range Storm Shadow cruise missile and the shorter-range Brimstone ground attack missile has been completed. The Typhoon was already capable of dropping Paveway ‘smart’ bombs. BAE Systems, … Continue reading AT LAST, THE EUROFIGHTER IS A TRUE MULTIROLE AIRCRAFT

HYBRID AIRSHIPS: THE PROMISE NOT YET FULFILLED

For many years now, the prospect of a huge and revolutionary new form of aerial transport has been looming. The hybrid airship gains 60% of its lift from helium, but the other 40% is gained aerodynamically. There are many potential applications, such as long-endurance surveillance, airlift into remote locations without runways, and luxury tourism. Operating … Continue reading HYBRID AIRSHIPS: THE PROMISE NOT YET FULFILLED