Posts Tagged ‘aircraft’

Light Attack Aircraft: A Niche That Doesn’t Exist

Monday, August 7th, 2017

The Air Force has an experimental program to deliver a low-cost light attack aircraft for ground support duties. The light attack aircraft experiment, or OA-X project, has produced propeller-driven aircraft that look like a cross between a Diamond DA40 and a rejected ME-109 prototype with modern weapons on underwing hardpoints.

The program theoretically exists because it’s not cost-effective to use an F-35 (at $32,000 per hour of flight time) to kill poorly-armed insurgents.

I think the entire program is bunk. (And not just because John McCain is pushing for it.)

It’s not that the need for a light, low-cost aerial attack platform doesn’t exist, it’s just that there’s no military or technological justification (at least in the American armed forces) for that platform to be a manned aircraft. Those mission parameters are already satisfied by cheaper drones whose capabilities continue to improve by leaps and bounds. The problem isn’t that the Air Force can’t fly drones (the MQ-9 Reaper is extremely capable), but that the Army, the Navy, the Marines and the CIA can all fly them as well.

The entire Light Attack Aircraft program exists because of an inter-service political issue: The Air Force neither wants to do close air support, nor wants to give up that role to the Army. Put a pilot in a fixed-wing aircraft, and the Air Force gets to keep the mission, along with the money and headcount that go with it.

And as for why the Air Force keeps trying to kill the one plane they already have perfectly suited for ground support, the A-10 Warthog, well, I and others have already written about that at length. As Jerry Pournelle once put it, “USAF will always retire hundreds of Warthog to buy another F-35. Always, so long as it exists. And it will never give up a mission.”

USS Gerald R. Ford Commissioned

Monday, July 24th, 2017

On Saturday, President Donald Trump helped commission the USS Gerald R. Ford, a new aircraft carrier and the first of her class.

The Ford is the first complete carrier redesign since the launch of the Nimitz class in 1975. The Ford has a number of innovative features that distinguish it from Nimitz-class carriers:

  • It can launch about 33% more aircraft than previous carriers.
  • It has a crew of 2,600 sailors, 600 less than a Nimitz class carrier.
  • Two new nuclear reactors, giving he Ford 250—300% more electrical capacity than previous carriers.
  • It uses a new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) to launch aircraft rather than the old steam catapults. The linear acceleration puts less stress on aircraft frames.
  • Greatly improved duel-band (X and S) radar with a smaller footprint, allowing a smaller island (which is also situated further aft than previous characters).
  • A larger flight deck.
  • Aircraft lifts have been reduced from four to three.
  • Ordnance is moved via higher-capacity weapon lifts. “FEC’s Advanced Weapons Elevator demonstrates a 24,000-pound lift capacity, with 150% overload capacity. Designed to move at 150 feet per minute, it accelerates to full speed in 2 seconds. The state-of-the-art elevators increase capacity over 200% and speed by 50% compared to the legacy elevators.” Ordnance movement paths do not cross aircraft movement paths, reducing traffic problems in the hangars and on the flight deck and lowering rearming time.
  • Fully air-conditioned crew compartments.
  • The Ford’s more powerful reactors will allow it to mount laser defense weapons in the future.
  • Here’s a video of President Trump praising the ship’s namesake President and his naval career.

    Here’s President Trump’s entire speech:

    Here’s Captain Richard McCormack talking about the Ford’s shakedown cruise and the ship’s many innovations:

    Here’s a video showing EMALS being tested:

    The next Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79, not to be confused with the previous, already decommissioned USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) aircraft carrier, the US Navy’s last non-nuclear carrier) has already been laid down, and is scheduled to begin sea trials in 2018 and commissioned in 2020.

    Note that in his speech, President Trump called for a 355-ship, 12-carrier navy, which has lead to some talk of bringing the non-nuclear USS Kitty Hawk out of retirement. I think that’s unlikely, though stranger things have happened…

    LinkSwarm for June 23, 2017

    Friday, June 23rd, 2017

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! There’s so much news I’m going to punt “The Pelosi Question” to the weekend:

  • In case you hadn’t noticed, illinois is going bankrupt.
  • John Podesta to testify before the House Intelligence committee. Hopefully they’ll ask him about the allegations in Shattered that he and Robby Mook cooked up the entire “Russia hacked the election” fantasy within 24 hours of Hillary’s loss. And also about his and his brother’s documented financial ties to Russia.
  • Former state Department/CIA employee charged with espionage for China:

    A former State Department employee was arrested Thursday and charged with espionage for allegedly transmitting Top Secret and Secret documents to a Chinese government agent, according to an affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA.

    Kevin Mallory, 60, of Leesburg is a self-employed consultant who speaks fluent Chinese. Court filings show that Mallory was an Army veteran who worked as a special agent for U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service from 1987 to 1990. Since then, Mallory has worked for various government agencies and defense contractors, maintaining a Top Secret security clearance. The Washington Post reports that Mallory was also an employee of the CIA.

  • A lot of hardcore Democrats are becoming increasingly uneasy about the way that Trump Derangement Syndrome has warped their party:

    We do know that Wednesday’s congressional attacker, James Hodgkinson, shared a conspiracy-tinged Change.org link on March 22, accompanied by the caption, “Trump is a traitor.” Once again, it has to be stressed that this information is woefully insufficient to conclude that the perpetrator was motivated by Russia-oriented conspiracy theories. Motivations are multifaceted, and often political beliefs “intersect” with mental distress, causing people to act violently. But the sharing of the link does indicate that Hodgkinson has been affected by the frenzied climate Democrats have stoked around the Russia issue.

    Once again, for extra emphasis: calling attention to the link Hodgkinson shared is not to say that Democrats are directly culpable for this shooting. That would be ridiculous. But the shared link does show that he was to some extent enmeshed in the conspiratorial paranoia that Democrats have knowingly fostered, at full-blast, for approaching an entire year. One ancillary consequence of fostering conspiratorial paranoia for a full year is that certain people with unstable mental predispositions may latch on and commit violent acts. But Democrats and liberals, in their self-assuredness, have been reticent to acknowledge this byproduct of their current political strategy. Proclaiming that the president engaged in treason — as many members of Congress and media figures have — is going to have an influence on the broader public, and included in that broader public are people who might be deranged and/or have violent inclinations.

    If you deny that the kind of overblown rhetoric that Democrats have specialized in over the past months — warning about traitorous subterfuge and foreign infiltration — can have any trickle-down effect on regular people, you’re deluding yourself.

  • It looks like Democrats are learning all the wrong lessons from Jon Ossoff’s loss:

    Democrats want a resistance. They want to impeach the President. They want full-blown socialism. They want to go further to the left than the tea party wanted to go right. A lot of activist Democrats are already interpreting Jon Ossoff’s loss as him not being aggressively anti-Trump enough.

    The Democrat base has moved way further left than where the American public is and at a time we seem to be in a pendulum swing back to the right, that could hurt them. As they start challenging Democrat incumbents with more liberal activists and start winning primaries in swing seats with radical progressives, they risk their ability to win.

    What makes this fun to watch is knowing they reject that idea and think the more radical and more militant the more likely their candidates will win. I cannot wait to watch their slate of moonbat crazy challengers.

  • All those “Ossoff’s loss was a moral victory” excuses? Vox says don’t believe it: “Don’t sugarcoat it — Ossoff’s loss is a big disappointment, and a bad sign, for Democrats. Democrats need to outperform Hillary Clinton to take back the House. Ossoff did worse than her.”
  • As bad as political violence is now, the 1960s and early 1970s were much worse.
  • Phil Montag, technology chairman for the Nebraska Democratic Party, was caught on audio saying he was glad Rep> Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot and wishing he had died. Make that the ex-technology chairman for the Nebraska Democratic Party. Good. Pink slips seem to be the only thing these people pay attention to. (Hat tip: Gabriel Malor’s Twitter feed.)
  • “A professor at a Connecticut college said he was forced to flee the state after he received death threats for appearing to endorse the idea that first responders to last week’s congressional shooting should have let the victims ‘f**king die’ instead of treating them.” Step right up, Trinity College Professor Johnny Eric Williams! You’re the next contestant on “Trump Derangement Syndrome Ruined My Life!”
  • And speaking of Democrats losing it, “Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz accused ex-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson of lying under oath when he said the DNC refused the help of the DHS in their hacking scandal.”
  • “This May was the Democratic National Committee’s worst May of fundraising since 2003. The DNC raised $4.29 million in May of this year, according to data recently released by the Federal Election Commission. It is the weakest take for national Democrats since May of 2003, when the party raised a paltry $2.7 million.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Did 5.7 million illegal aliens vote in 2008? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • President Trump follows through on his campaign promise to kill deferred action for illegal alien parents, AKA DAPA.
  • TPPF’s Chris Jacobs is not impressed with the Republican Senate ObamaCare replacement bill. TPPF’s Chip Roy said:

    Simply put, the bill doubles down on the fundamentally flawed architecture of Obamacare and if implemented, will neither increase the actual care available to the people nor drive down the cost of care or insurance. It maintains Obamacare’s subsidy regime, retains almost the entirety of the regulatory architecture driving up people’s premiums and deductibles, continues the previous Administration’s unconstitutional bailouts to insurers, and maintains the Medicaid expansion for five more years before slowly attempting to reform the program.

  • More on the same subject: “Top Ten Ways Senate Obamacare Bill Is #FakeRepeal.”
  • ObamaCare tweet:

  • Liberal lawyer Alan Dershowitz states that Presidnet Trump’s tape bluff is perfectly legal. “What President Trump did was no different from what prosecutors, defense attorneys, policemen, FBI agents and others do every day in an effort to elicit truthful testimony from mendacious witnesses.” Also: “We must declare an armistice against using our criminal justice system as a political weapon in what has become a zero-sum bloodsport.”
  • Saudi king replaces crown prince with his own son.
  • Saudis foil Iranian sabotage attack on their offshore oilfields.
  • “Trump Imposes New Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine.” Insert record scratch sound over derailment of the “Trump is Putin’s stooge” narrative here. Oh, also, New York Times: When you invade, occupy and annex territory, it’s not an “incursion,” it’s an “invasion.”
  • Helmut Kohl, the chancellor who oversaw German reunification, dead at age 87. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Remember all those “refugees” Angela Merkel invited in? “Up to three quarters of Germany’s refugees will still be unemployed in five years’ time.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Trump Administration Begins to Dismantle Obama Campus Rape Tribunals.” Good.
  • “CENTCOM confirms Islamic State’s ‘Grand Mufti’ killed in airstrike…Turki al-Bin’ali was killed in a May 31 airstrike in Mayadin, Syria.”
  • Amazon buying Whole Foods ties into their overall strategy of high fixed costs and returns to scale.
  • Alternate view: Amazon buying Whole Foods is this cycle’s AOL/Time Warner merger.
  • East Lansing, Michigan punishes man for daring to express pro-Christian thoughtcrime on Facebook.
  • “The amount of labor that once bought 54 minutes of light now buys 52 years of light. The cost has fallen by a factor of 500,000 and the quality of that light has transformed from unstable and risky to clean, safe, and controllable.”
  • The year-by-year descent into airline hell. But: More people are flying than ever before, and airlines are actually profitable. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Man almost dies after getting swept away by a river while hiking, learns important survival lessons. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Harvard introduces segregated commencement ceremony for black students. next up: Their own water fountains.
  • “A mentally ill homeless woman in Florida is accused of vandalizing a policeman’s patrol car and smearing feces on a church where she left the walls defaced with nonsensical writings against ‘patriarchy.'”
  • F-35 puts on an impressive demonstration at the Paris Air Show. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • F-16 catches fire at Houston airport.
  • The meaning of Bill Cosby’s hung jury:

    The extraordinarily high prosecutorial burden of proof in any criminal trial is intentionally designed to heavily favor defendants, because we long ago embraced as a society Blackstone’s principle. Formulated in the seventeen-sixties by the English jurist William Blackstone, the presumption is that it is better to have ten guilty people go free than that one innocent person suffer. Hard as it is to stomach today, embracing that calculus means that we should even want ten rapists (not to mention terrorists and murderers) to go free in order to protect the one falsely accused. Unfortunately, Cosby is one of those to escape criminal punishment. And, to put a fine point on the over-all gendered impact of requiring proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the inevitable effect of the heavy tilt toward defendants is that in sexual-assault trials, which involve mostly male defendants and mostly female accusers, men are favored over women.

    What works in Bill Cosby’s favor also works in Bill Clinton’s favor… (Hat tip: Christina Hoff Summers’ Twitter feed.)

  • 15 companies that made great games that still went bust. Spoiler: The phrase “bought by EA” appears a lot.
  • Colin Kaepernick seems to have decided that his career is indeed over. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Whipped cream fatality.
  • And that gives me the thinnest of possible justifications to post this classic:

  • That Poor Spitfire

    Friday, June 16th, 2017

    A Friday night video that caught my eye:

    “Pilot Cédric Ruet escaped the frightening accident without serious injuries.”

    LinkSwarm for July 29, 2016

    Friday, July 29th, 2016

    Finally, the Democrats have a presidential candidate that combines the honesty of Bill Clinton, the electrifying personality of Walter Mondale, the down-to-earth demeanor of Adlai Stevenson, the even temper of Lyndon Johnson, and the humility of Barack Obama.

    In short: The candidate they deserve.

    A LinkSwarm:

  • Angela Merkel decides that she isn’t going to let a little thing like repeated terrorist attacks and mass rape dissuade her from welcoming lots more Muslims into Germany. It’s like she’s a sleeper agent designed to destroy the CDU from within…
  • DNC unable to fill seats, hires actors to fill them up.
  • Did Palestinian flags outnumber American flags at the DNC? I’m sure they did Monday, when the DNC realized they had no American flags…
  • John Stossel explains how Clinton Cash works. (Disclaimer: You just can’t read that site without AdBlock.)
  • Clinton Foundation investigation referred to IRS. I wouldn’t get my hopes up that anything comes of it.
  • It seems some disgruntled DNC delegates altered their HILLARY signs to read LIAR.
  • Seen on Facebook:

  • You’re not allowed to tweet about the Olympics without approval. So much for my live tweeting the 100 Meter Zika Infection…
  • Speaking of futile bans, China bans Internet news reporting. That’s not in any way the last-gasp desperation move of a country whose smoke-and-mirrors economy is imploding…
  • Trump gets big post-convention bounce.
  • UK Union of Students works to make the organization Judenfrei. Funny how “antizionism” starts to look a whole lot like garden-variety antisemitism…
  • Examining top world fighter planes, including the F-22, China’s Chengdu J-20, Russia’s T-50/PAK FA, the Eurofighter and the Sino-Pakistani JF-17. (Hat tip: Bad Blue.)
  • “Nearly 15 Years After 9/11, Retired Colonel Meets the Man Whose Life He Helped Save.” Man, there sure is a lot of pollen in the air today… (Hat tip: Ted Cruz’s Facebook page.)
  • NFL all-pro cornerback Richard Sherman reiterates that all lives matter. I find it hard to believe this is even remotely controversial… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo? Could work pretty well. He was excellent in Hail, Caesar!.
  • Woman assaults man with burrito, then knife.”
  • Florida Man Charged With Picking Magic Mushrooms While Carrying An Alligator. Oh Florida Man, don’t ever change…
  • Wyoming Man Found with 30 Eyeballs in His Anal Cavity. Authorities are keeping an eye on him…
  • Iran Plays “Make Believe Airplane”

    Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

    Iran has unveiled an advanced new stealth fighter plane.

    And by “an advanced new stealth fighter plane,” I mean “a large plastic RC aircraft that’s obviously not suited for combat, stealth, or actually carrying a pilot.”

    So says many experts in military aviation from all around the world.

    A few tidbits of analysis:

  • “The engine section lacks any kind of nozzle: engine afterburners could melt the entire jet.”
  • “The cockpit seems to be too small, to such an extent a normal pilot doesn’t properly fit in the ejection seat. Have you ever seen a pilot with his knees above the side borders of the cockpit and his helmet well beyond the ejection seat’s head pad?”
  • “The canopy lacks transparency and looks like it is made of plexiglass.”
  • Many viewers have said that the cockpit instrumentation resembles that of a Cessna rather than a fighter aircraft.
  • Maybe they should have left the fakery to their vaunted Al-Aqua Photoshop Martyrs Brigade