Posts Tagged ‘Aircraft’

Air Force Perils

March 8, 2009

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The perils of flying aging aircraft was an issue at last February’s Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., and it remained on the mind of Gen. John Corley, Air Combat Command head, at this year’s event. During his presentation Friday, Corley reminded attendees that, this time last year, the Air Force was still in the midst of ascertaining what caused an F-15C to break apart in flight over Missouri in November 2007, and numerous F-15s remain grounded. This year, the rigors of age are continuing to plague the A-10 fleet, Air Force Magazine quotes the general. Corley said 108 A-10s—in a fleet of roughly 350—remain on the ground due to a systemic issue with wing cracks in the thinner winged variant of the aircraft. And, 53 more have yet to be inspected; probably 10 of those will end up grounded, too, he said.

JSF STOVL Lift Fan Tests Begin in April 2009

December 18, 2008

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The Joint Strike Fighter program will wait until April to start transitioning the short-take-off, vertical-landing (STOVL) variant of the aircraft in vertical lift mode during tests, when the aircraft will have a fully qualified motor, the program’s deputy executive officer told Inside Defense.

Read the full report at www.insidedefense.com (paid subscription required)

Lockheed Martin Delivers C-5M Super Galaxy

December 14, 2008
C-141 Starlifter

C-141 Starlifter

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Lockheed Martin delivered the first fully modernized C-5M Super Galaxy to the U.S. Air Force at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins AFB, Ga on 9 December.

The aircraft is the first of three developmental test C-5M aircraft to be delivered, with the other two to be delivered to Dover AFB, Del., in February 2009. All three aircraft successfully completed developmental testing in August 2008. Current Air Force plans call for Lockheed Martin to deliver 52 modernized C-5Ms.

“The C-5 fleet is now beginning to realize its full operational potential as we begin fielding both Avionics Modernization Program and Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program enhanced C-5s for the Air Force,” said Lorraine Martin, vice president of the C-5 Program at Lockheed Martin. “The combined U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin team can take great pride in its success, which is keeping this national strategic airlift asset viable for decades to come.”

The C-5M Super Galaxy is the product of a two-phase modernization effort. The Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) provides a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and a digital backbone to support the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) modifications. Forty-six C-5 aircraft have completed the AMP modifications. The aircraft already returned to the fleet have logged more than 45,000 hours with the new systems, including many hours flown in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

RERP is the second phase of the modernization effort, which adds new GE CF6-80C2 commercial engines (military designation F108-GE-100) and 70 other enhancements or replacements of major components and subsystems. The additional 10,000 lbs of thrust per propulsion system creates 40,000 lbs of additional thrust across the platform, significantly improving operational performance. This comprehensive modernization program improves the fleet mission-capable rate (aircraft availability) and the overall reliability and maintainability of the aircraft while reducing total ownership costs. C-5 modernization is expected to pay for itself with operational savings.

The C-5 has been the backbone of strategic airlift in every engagement since it entered service. It is the only aircraft capable of carrying 100 percent of certified air-transportable cargo, with a dedicated passenger compartment enabling commanders to have troops and their equipment arrive in an area of operation simultaneously. The C-5 can carry twice the cargo of other strategic airlift systems. With more than 70 percent of its structural service life remaining, Lockheed Martin is committed to sustaining the C-5 fleet throughout its lifecycle. The C-5M Super Galaxy will continue to be a force enabler through 2040.

Heinz: Joint Strike Fighter Program ‘Aggressive,’ but Balanced

December 14, 2008

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Despite a recent report that warns of burgeoning costs in the Joint Strike Fighter program over the next six years, the program’s deputy executive officer argues that the aircraft’s development is supposed to be more aggressive than legacy aircraft and called it a “fundamental fallacy” to rigidly compare the JSF to F/A-18 and F/A-22 aircraft, reports Inside Defense.

Read the full report at www.insidedefense.com (paid subscription required)

Bat-Inspired Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs)

December 14, 2008

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Air Force-funded researchers from several universities are studying the flexible, flapping wings routinely used by bats and insects and mimicking their biological attributes to improve agility, speed and adaptability in MAV systems.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research manages two projects on biologically-inspired flight, both part of the 2007 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), which provides funding for topics that rely on expertise in multiple disciplines.

Dr. Kenny Breuer, a fluid mechanics professor from Brown University, and Dr. Wei Shyy, an aerospace engineering professor from the University of Michigan, each lead a MURI project. Though their respective teams focus on different biological and engineering aspects of this problem, they share the same overall goal of understanding bat flight and its potential applications to MAVs.

“Future MAVs will need to be agile, robust and maneuverable, and our research will provide some guidance as to how we might incorporate these features using inspiration from biology,” says Breuer.

If successfully transitioned, this research could lead to small remote controlled aircraft that have the ability to move in complex environments such as forests, interiors of buildings, caves or tunnels.

“Birds, bats and insects have some highly varied mechanical properties that we really have not incorporated in engineering,” explains Shyy. “They’re not only lighter, but they also have more adaptive structures. These natural flyers have outstanding capabilities to remain airborne through wind gusts, rain and snow.”

Facing many of the same challenges posed by this complex, biological system, Dr. Breuer is working on a variety of efforts to unlock the mystery. One such effort involves capturing video footage of bats flying in a wind tunnel and measuring the fluid velocities in their wakes. Another involves studying flight properties in different environments and among different species of bats.

The results of these experiments and others have allowed Dr. Breuer to construct engineering models that mimic specific features found in bat flight.

His MURI partners from Oregon State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland are also doing innovative research. They are developing computational methods for simulating complex, moving, flexible structures; mapping the neurophysiology of bat sensor and motor systems; and creating control systems that might be of use in MAV technologies.

Dr. Shyy’s team, comprised of faculty and students from the University of Michigan as well as colleagues from the Universities of Florida and Maryland, is focusing on hovering and forward flight modes of MAVs.

“Birds, bats and insects can fly in turbulent environments with fast, unpredictable wind gusts; yet, they can react almost instantaneously and adapt with their flexible wings,” says Shyy.

Knowing this, his team has placed particular emphasis on learning how and why flexible wing structures affect lift and thrust generation, especially in unsteady environments.

“If handled appropriately, flexible wing structures can delay stall, enhance stability and increase thrust,” Shyy adds.

This research should be very beneficial to the Air Force as it addresses two of the eight Focused Long Term Challenges (FLTCs) identified by the Air Force Research Laboratory. These FLTCs form a forward-looking science and technology plan that is vital to the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.

Molly LaChance

Navy Plans to Reprogram $43 Million For F-35 Carrier Variant

December 13, 2008

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Due to funding cuts, the Navy will ask Congress for permission to reprogram $43 million to the Joint Strike Fighter program to avoid a delay of up to six months in the initial operational capability of the sea service’s carrier variant aircraft, according to Marine Brig. Gen. David Heinz, JSF deputy program executive officer, reports Inside Defense.

Read the full report at www.insidedefense.com (paid subscription required)

When Will Obama Reveal National Security Strategy?

December 12, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Pentagon observers disagree on how soon President-elect Barack Obama’s team will develop its new national security strategy and whether his administration will have time to conduct a new, sweeping national security review before completing the Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, reports Inside Defense.

By law, Obama is required to submit a comprehensive national security strategy report within 150 days of taking office. A Defense Department briefing slide reviewed by Inside the Pentagon suggests the new team might develop high-level planning guidance next spring, followed by a new national security strategy next summer. In early 2010, the Obama team’s first QDR report would be issued, along with a National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy, according to the slide.

Full report at Inside Defense (paid subscription required)

Spirit of Guam

December 1, 2008

A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber of the United States Air Force flies over Guam.

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Officials See Room for Sensor Growth in RC-12 Intelligence Aircraft

November 9, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

The Air Force is outfitting its rush-to-war RC-12 intelligence planes with hardware systems that will allow for plug-and-play sensor expansion, according to Air Combat Command officials.

Read the full report at Inside Defense

USAF Eyes Slashing Fighter Inventory

October 21, 2008
F-15 Eagle & F-16 Fighting Falcon

F-15 Eagle & F-16 Fighting Falcon

F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets have been the backbone of US Air Force combat power for more than two decades. Give these warbirds the place of honor they deserve on your wall. Find the F-15 / F-16 “Aggressors” poster, framed art print, or 12-month 2009 calendar at The PatriArt Gallery. (Make great Christmas gifts for the Air Force veteran or military aviation fan on your list, too!)

The U.S. Air Force is seeking to retire early more than 300 fighter aircraft next year to save $3.4 billion in the hope of funding advanced fighters and other modernization efforts, a published report said on Wednesday, citing internal Pentagon documents.

The plan would retire 137 F-15 and 177 F-16 fighters plus nine A-10 close air support attack aircraft as much as 11 years before the end of their scheduled useful lives, InsideDefense.com, an online news service, reported.

 

“Without accelerating these retirements, we are left with a larger, less-capable force unable to penetrate anti-access environments,” the Air Force was quoted as telling John Young, the Pentagon’s top arms buyer.

Read the complete report at Reuters