Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fighter Jet Times - April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017

As part of the first deployment of the F-35 to Europe, U.S. Air Force F-35As have arrived in Estonia for NATO wargames, in what many are interpreting as a signal to Russia.

For the fourth time in the same week, U.S. fighters were scrambled to intercept Russian strategic bombers off of the Alaskan coast.

Three additional F-35 fighters arrived in Israel this past weekend, complimenting the two aircraft delivered last December.  Israel has a total of 50 F-35s on order.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report cautioning legislators not to rush into a multiyear block-buy for the F-35 fighter, as has been recently proposed, until the terms for such a contract have been settled between the Pentagon and the airframe and engine manufacturer.

The GAO has also issued a study warning that the cost for correcting software problems with the F-35's avionics are likely to be much higher than the $532 million cited by the Pentagon, and could easily total $1.7 billion before the Block 3F software becomes operational.  Many of the weapons systems and sensor integration algorithms on the F-35 require the Block 3F software to become operational.

Boeing has elected to withdraw as a contender to replace Belgium's F-16 fighter fleet, citing an "unfair" competition.  Lockheed Martin's F-35 is widely expected to win the Belgian contract.

The RAF has deployed four Eurofighter Typhoons to Romania as part of a four-month NATO deployment.

The third Dassault Rafale fighter destined for Qatar has made its first flight.  The Qatari aircraft have a different avionics suite from their French counterparts, and are expected to undergo extensive testing prior to their delivery in 2018.

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E crashed while attempting to land on the USS Carl Vinson, south of the Philippines.  The pilot ejected safely and was recovered aboard the carrier.  The cause of the crash has not been announced.

North Korea has announced its "largest ever" live fire exercise, after the U.S. warned North Korea against conducting additional ballistic missile or nuclear weapons tests.

China has launched its first domestically-built aircraft carrier, amid considerable fanfare.  The vessel will join an existing carrier which China purchased from Russia.

Analysts have continued to ridicule Iran's purported Qaher F-313 "stealth fighter", pointing out that the tire pressure for the aircraft - which is clearly stenciled on the outside of the "prototype" shown taxiing in recent videos - is indicative of a lightweight airplane with very limited fuel and payload capacity.

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