Operational Aircraft

Northrop Grumman/EADS wins $40 Billion USAF Tanker Deal!

The United States Air Force announced last night that the Northrop Grumman/EADS partnership's Airbus 330-based tanker won a $40 Billion contract to supply 179 tanker aircraft, with options for hundreds more. Boeing, whose 767-based entrant lost is outraged.

Long Takeoff Roll

The plane in the flick is an Ilyushin Il-76 that appears to be a little bit to heavily laden. The commentary from the tower crew is priceless... Enjoy.

First B-2 Crash Last Night, Rough Week for the Air Force

The Aero News Network reported early this morning that a B-2 Spirit (stealth bomber) had crashed at Andersen AFB, Guam. Thankfully, the pilots ejected and are fine. The B-2's are normally based with the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. A short press release from that base didn't reveal any more information.

F-15C Midair Fatal for 1

CNN.com reports that a pair of F-15C Eagles from the 58th FS at Eglin AFB were involved in a midair collision yesterday at 3:30 pm EST. Sadly, one of the pilots involved was killed. We'd like to express our condolences to that pilot's friends and family.

The cause of the accident will take some time to determine, but the AP quoted Eglin's wing commander as saying that the aircraft were involved in "basic maneuvers and tactics." For a fighter like an F-15, this can involve some maneuvers that would exceed the abilities of many pilots.

How to Modernize an Air Force?

According to a recent cnn.com article, the US Air Force "needs" $100 Billion over the next 5 years to buy a fleet of F-22's and F-35's...and some other panes too. It's no surprise that the AF wants these jets (who wouldn't right?) Now granted, with F-15's literally falling apart, it makes sense that the Air Force needs something new. If the US got into a fight against a country with a reasonably modern air force it'd want every edge it can get, but it also needs to be able to keep up its current fight.

A Domestic, 5th Generation, Iranian Fighter

Both the Tehran Times and the Iran Focus have articles today announcing the start of production of a stealthy, 5th generation, Iranian fighter. If their aircraft is as good as this limited information suggests, it would be a valuable upgrade to their somewhat outdated air forces.

F-18 E/F vs. F-35?

Aviation Week and Defense News, are buzzing this week about a suggestion made by Boeing to buy F-18 E/F Super Hornets instead of Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, and fly the Hornets while waiting for something better than the JSF.

It could be argued that this is just Boeing trying to steal business from their biggest rival in the lucrative fighter market: Lockheed. Although the Super Hornet lacks some of the stealth and proposed systems of the F-35, it has several strong points:

Indian AF Upgrades to Include C-130J

Per an Agence France Presse article, India hopes to buy 6 new C-130J Hercules aircraft for use with special operations forces. The C-130J will fill a gap between two models of Russian cargo aircraft currently in the IAF fleet, while providing the rugged performance needed for special operations. Fas.org has a pretty good article about the C-130, with a lot of detail about the -J model.

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