Friday, October 30, 2015

Fighter Jet Times - October 30, 2015

October 30, 2015

News reports suggest that the latest classified documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden confirm that Chinese hackers have successfully gained access to sensitive data surrounding the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Russia and India are reportedly finalizing terms for the sale of Russia's new PAK-FA fighter.  According to the unconfirmed reports, India will take deliver of 154 of the new stealth jets.

News reports suggest that India and France have concluded terms for the sale of 36 Rafale fighters to India.  Under the reported terms of the sale, Dassault would agree to invest 50% of the contract value for the jet into related Indian industries.

After years of opposing further development of the airplane, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has closed a deal for the delivery of 100 Mk 1A versions of the Tejas (formerly Light Combat Aircraft) fighter.  According to various reports, the addition of the Israeli-developed EL/M-2052 AESA radar as part of the proposed avionics package for the Mk 1A variant was a key element in the decision to reverse IAF opposition and purchase the fighter.  AESA radar technology roughly doubles radar detection and tracking range as compared to traditional radar technology, and also allows for more targets to be simultaneously tracked.  Only 20 copies of the Mk 1 version of the Tejas - which had a conventional, mechanically scanned radar system, were purchased.  Another version of the EL/M-2052 radar is also expected to be part of an ongoing upgrade package for 61 Indian Jaguar fighters.

F-35 program head Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan has cautioned that although the U.S. was offering some flexibility regarding the ability of Israeli contractors to upgrade the F-35 fighters procured by Israel, that there would still be some items that the U.S. would prevent Israel from upgrading on its own.  The comments came as Israeli and U.S. defense officials were scheduled to meet in Washington.

The Pentagon announced this past week that Northrop Grumman had won the contest to produce the LRS-B (long range strike bomber), beating out a combined team from Boeing and Lockheed Martin.  Despite the announcement, few details surrounding the new airplane have been released.  Not even the engine for the new airplane has been named.  The U.S. Air Force is proposing to build 100 of the new stealth bombers under an $80 billion program.  Analysts have already warned, however, that the government will find it increasingly difficult to simultaneously fund multiple large programs of this scale - including the LRS-B and F-35 - in succeeding years.

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