Friday, May 8, 2009

Wheels-up C-17 crash caused by pilot error

Wheels-up C-17 crash caused by pilot error: "Pilots of a C-17 Globemaster failed to lower the transport’s landing gear, forcing them to make a crash landing at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, an Air Mobility Command investigation concluded."

(Via Air Force Times - News.)

Tough Day for the USAF

Tough Day for the USAF: "

The United States Air Force is putting on a brave face. Senior budgeters are proclaiming the Fiscal 2010 budget a ‘rebalancing.’ But, what is starkly evident in this request is the lack of programs and initiatives.

Among them is a tiny pot of money for the Joint Dual-Role Air Dominance Missile (JDRADM), envisioned to replace both the Amraam and the Harm/Aargm. There are no funds for the Next-Generation Unmanned Aerial System (NG-UAS), a Predator/Reaper follow-on and there is only a little money ($5 million) for the analysis of alternatives for an Air Force One replacement. The Air Force also got stiffed on a new gunship - funding isn’t included in the budget for one. And, the service is still smarting from the proposed end to F-22 production in Georgia and C-17 production in California.

Of note are some adds. The service will buy two Army H-60M helicopters as replacements for earlier losses in HH-60G Pave Hawk combat search and rescue helicopters. During the May 7 DOD budget briefing, Vice Adm. Stephen Stanley, director of force structure and resources for the Joint Staff, said that perhaps the Bell/Boeing V-22 could handle some future CSAR requirements. That platform was quickly dashed from an earlier Pave Hawk replacement competition after the service said it was looking for a lower cost solution.

One item that the service may consider a brief success: the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (Jassm) wasn’t killed despite entering its third year of performance and reliability issues. Production of the program has been on hold pending the outcome of flight acceptance tests of the most current lot production. Stanley, during the briefing, justified not terminating the program by simply stating ‘We need this,’ and there is a ‘viable way ahead.

Also of note is the $439 millon set aside in Fiscal 2010 for a USAF tanker competition and downselect in the middle of next year.

Here are some USAF aircraft numbers:

F-22 - 0

C-17 - 0

JSF - 10

Reaper - 24

Global Hawk - 5

Predator - 0 (funds went to Reaper)

MC-12 - 0 (program completed)

CV-22 - 5

MC-130J - 4

HC-130J - 5

C-130J - 3

C-27J - 8 (program management transferred from US Army)

C-37A - 1

C-40 - 3

In the space world, the termination of TSAT means procurement of AEHF 4 and advance funding for WGS 7. Also, the service is buying another Sbirs GEO satellite and fourth Sbirs HEO payload. Five EELVs are included in the budget.

(Via Ares.)

White House official quits after New York flyover

White House official quits after New York flyover: "President Obama has accepted the resignation of Louis Caldera, the director of the White House Military Office responsible for the controversial low-altitude flyover of New York by a 747 plane used as Air Force One, the White House said Friday. The White House also released a photograph and a report on the flyover, which officials said was both a training mission and a government-sanctioned photo shoot.



Picture: Sneak Peek at 6th Gen?

Picture: Sneak Peek at 6th Gen?: "

What should I spy while wandering around the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space show at Washington's National Harbor this morning but this...

blog post photo
Concept: Boeing

It's Boeing's latest artist's conception of the U.S. Navy's proposed F/A-XX replacement for the F/A-18E/F, notionally needed on carrier decks around 2025. It's described as '6th generation', but quite what that means I'm not sure - expect that it's tailless for all-aspect broadband stealth, like that other F/A-XX candidate, Northrop Grumman's N-UCAS.

blog post photo

I'm also not sure whether it owes more to Boeing's Phantom Works advanced designers or the graphic artists of Hollywood, particularly those that worked on the movie Stealth. But it looks more'like a 6th-gen fighter'than earlier impressions from Boeing.

Meanwhile don't hold your breath. The Navy is still in the early days of evaluating its requirements for an F/A-18E/F replacement. It's planning to fly the X-47B UCAS demonstrator from a carrier around 2011, and that will do a lot to shape its thinking about whether the next naval strike aircraft should be manned or unmanned, or both.


(Via Ares.)

Raven Rules UAV Roost

Raven Rules UAV Roost: "

The small Raven unmanned aircraft is the king of the Pentagon’s UAV fleet, at least in terms of numbers. The Fiscal 2010 budget request provides enough money for the U.S. Army to buy 704 of the air vehicles.


blog post photo


Unmanned aircraft did well pretty much across the board. That’s to be expected given what Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said. Here's some of the details:

The U.S. Air Force is planning to buy five Global Hawk high-altitude UAVs.

The service is, however, ceasing procurement of the General Atomics Predator UAV. From now on, the service will be buying MQ-9 Reapers only, the more powerful Predator derivative.

General Atomics will still sell Predators, though. The U.S. Army is buying 36 air vehicles - or three systems - with the Fiscal 2010 budget plan.

The U.S. Navy is buying five MQ-8 Fire Scout helo UAVs. And for the Marine Corps, the service has included 11 Shadow unmanned aircraft in the spending plan.

[Photo: Pentagon]


(Via Ares.)


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