Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning and F-22 'Raptor' : News & Discussion

Bon Plan

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The stealth fighter crash-landed at 12:51 pm (local time) on the runway at an air force base in Seosan, an official told Yonhap News Agency.

Officials told Yonhap that unspecified issues with an avionics system caused the landing gear to malfunction, forcing the pilot to put the aircraft down with the landing gear up.



"Its landing gear should have been down, but it wasn't," a South Korean Air Force official told Stars and Stripes. "So, it made a belly landing."

This type of landing comes with a number of potential risks, not just to the aircraft but to the pilot as well, but in this case, the pilot "walked out from the plane," the official explained. Yonhap reported that the pilot made it through the incident "unscathed."

The South Korean Air Force has suspended F-35A flights as it investigates Tuesday's crash-landing alongside the US military and manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

A South Korean F-35 stealth fighter in Daegu, South Korea, October 1, 2019.Jeon Heon-kyun/Pool via REUTERS
There are three variants of the fifth-generation F-35. The A variant is specifically built for air force operations and is equipped with a 25 mm internal cannon. This variant, along with the short-takeoff/vertical landing B variant, has been sold to both the US military and international partners.
Tuesday's crash is believed to be a first for the South Korean fleet of F-35As, but it is not a first for the variant. In April 2019, for instance, a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force F-35A crashed into the Pacific Ocean, killing the Japanese pilot.
In May 2020, a US Air Force F-35A crashed as it came in for a landing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida after a routine nighttime training flight. The next month, another US Air Force F-35A's landing gear collapsed as it was landing at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The pilots were able to walk away after both of the incidents.
shit happens !
 

Bon Plan

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Draughr

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We've been flying them in heavy snow. Norwegian F-35s have supplanted the F-16 in QRF duties at Evenes Air Base, Norway's main Northern Air Station. Average summer temp is 13c, average winter temp is -6c.

20220106tk_I1399.t61d6f7d4.m800.xRAhROXis.jpg


20220106tk_I1433.t61d6ca43.m800.xjBNs8LEF.jpg


...

2020-03-07-aircraft-photo-1920-clean.jpg




The answer to the headline is that they were test and evaluation models not meant for long-term operational usage.
 

Herciv

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The stealth fighter crash-landed at 12:51 pm (local time) on the runway at an air force base in Seosan, an official told Yonhap News Agency.

Officials told Yonhap that unspecified issues with an avionics system caused the landing gear to malfunction, forcing the pilot to put the aircraft down with the landing gear up.



"Its landing gear should have been down, but it wasn't," a South Korean Air Force official told Stars and Stripes. "So, it made a belly landing."

This type of landing comes with a number of potential risks, not just to the aircraft but to the pilot as well, but in this case, the pilot "walked out from the plane," the official explained. Yonhap reported that the pilot made it through the incident "unscathed."

The South Korean Air Force has suspended F-35A flights as it investigates Tuesday's crash-landing alongside the US military and manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

A South Korean F-35 stealth fighter in Daegu, South Korea, October 1, 2019.Jeon Heon-kyun/Pool via REUTERS
There are three variants of the fifth-generation F-35. The A variant is specifically built for air force operations and is equipped with a 25 mm internal cannon. This variant, along with the short-takeoff/vertical landing B variant, has been sold to both the US military and international partners.
Tuesday's crash is believed to be a first for the South Korean fleet of F-35As, but it is not a first for the variant. In April 2019, for instance, a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force F-35A crashed into the Pacific Ocean, killing the Japanese pilot.
In May 2020, a US Air Force F-35A crashed as it came in for a landing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida after a routine nighttime training flight. The next month, another US Air Force F-35A's landing gear collapsed as it was landing at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The pilots were able to walk away after both of the incidents.
And that's not the first emergency because just one month ago in Japan ...

Tokyo, Dec. 9 (Jiji Press)--A computer system glitch has been found in an F-35A state-of-the-art stealth fighter of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force that made an emergency landing on Wednesday, Gen. Shunji Izutsu, ASDF chief of staff, said Thursday.
The ASDF will fix the faulty parts of the system of the aircraft, which made an emergency landing at Hakodate Airport in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido at 12:18 p.m. on Wednesday (3:18 a.m. GMT), and inspect all F-35As in its fleet.
It will suspend the scheduled flights of F-35As for the time being, conduct safety checks and train pilots, Izutsu told a news conference.
According to the Defense Ministry, a problem occurred with the fuselage of the F-35A, which belongs to the ASDF's Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture, northeastern Japan, around 11:58 a.m. on Wednesday during a training flight over the Sea of Japan.
The computer system glitch was found in an inspection led by Misawa base technicians. A similar malfunction hit an F-35A in the past, according to the ASDF.

Computer Glitch Causes ASDF Jet's Emergency Landing - JIJI PRESS
 
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Picdelamirand-oil

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Why is Norway paying more for fighter jets than Finland?

ct that Finland can buy F-35 fighter jets at a much lower price than Norway has provoked reactions in the Norwegian parliament (Storting). Several parties are now demanding answers.

Finland will buy 64 fighter jets from American Lockheed Martin and estimates the average price per plane at NOK 1.3 billion.

Norway is paying NOK 90.2 billion for its 52 aircraft of the same type, and this gives an average unit price of NOK 1.74 billion – NOK 440 million more.

“Norway should never have chosen the F-35,” Red Party (Rødt) leader Bjørnar Moxnes, who sits on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Storting, said on Wednesday.

Slap in the face

“WikiLeaks documents reveal that the USA exposed Norway to massive secret influence in order to force the choice of the American fighter aircraft F-35, the most expensive tax-financed purchase in Norwegian history,” Moxnes pointed out.

“That the Americans have also deceived Norway by demanding many billions more for the planes than the other country has to pay, is a slap in the face to Norway and emphasizes the need to investigate the entire scandalous purchase, as Rødt has proposed and will propose again,” Moxnes told NTB.

Warned

“The Progress Party has long feared galloping costs. We warned against this early in the project and wanted assurances of better cost control,” the party’s foreign policy spokesman Christian Tybring-Gjedde said.

“Development of high-tech projects often meets unforeseen challenges, which naturally increases the cost limits. Having said that, it is of course not inconceivable that we have been overly cautious in the negotiations with the Americans,” he said.

Norway originally planned to buy 56 aircraft, but the Storting later reduced this to 52. This should also be more than enough, Tybring-Gjedde believes.

“In the light of hindsight, it should not be ruled out that Norway has ordered more fighter jets than the need should indicate,” he told NTB.

Defense industry

Tybring-Gjedde believes that the United States may have gone to great lengths in the negotiations with Finland to secure a customer outside NATO.

“It makes the USA’s competitiveness vis-à-vis the European defense industry stronger,” he believes.

“The F-35 project has otherwise been good for the Norwegian defense industry,” said Tybring-Gjedde, who also pointed out that the Kongsberg Group alone has received contracts worth billions.

“The development and sale of the Joint Strike Missile is an economic and technological success story that would not have been possible without Norway making an early decision to participate as a partner in the development of the fighter aircraft,” he said.

“Cost bomb”

Ingrid Fiskaa, who sits on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Storting for the Socialist Left Party (SV), does not agree.

“The project has become a cost bomb, and the promises of repurchases and massive benefits for Norwegian industry are far from being fulfilled. The parliamentary majority has repeatedly ignored this. We risk paying the price for this in the future,” she said.

The SV has encouraged the government to investigate whether it is still possible to reduce the price of the aircraft that have not yet been delivered and also wants new estimates of how much it actually costs to keep the new fighter aircraft in the air.

According to the Armed Forces, it costs NOK 110,000 per hour to fly an F-35, but the US Armed Forces estimate that it costs around NOK 310,000.

“We challenged the previous government on this and got very vague answers. Hopefully, the new government can give us a better answer to this,” Fiskaa said.

Answers wanted

The fact that the cost of the planes has decreased in step with increased production is natural, according to the Conservative Party’s defense policy spokesman Hårek Elvenes.

“There are also many variables that form the basis for the unit price per aircraft, and it will depend on which equipment is included and how large a share of lifetime costs is calculated,” he told NTB.

However, Elvenes wants answers as to why Finland can buy the F-35 at a lower average price than Norway.

“The Conservatives are now sending a question to the Minister of Defense asking for an assessment of what is known about the Finnish agreement,” Elvenes said.

Needed

Åsmund Aukrust, who represents the Labor Party in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, believes that it was necessary for Norway to be among the first to buy the F-35.

“The background for the time was the operational need and an old F-16 fleet,” he told NTB.

“The fact that the price of the planes would fall has been clear from the outset,” said Aukrust, who believes that it will be wrong to compare the average unit price Norway and Finland have to pay.

“I do not know the details of the Finnish project, and it is therefore not possible to compare directly. It will also not be correct to divide the sum by the number of aircraft,” he said.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayFinance
 

Picdelamirand-oil

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"The WikiLeaks documents reveal that the US exposed Norway to massive covert influence to force the selection of the US F-35 fighter jet, the tax-funded purchase of which is the most expensive in Norway's history"
[...]
The SV is also seeking new estimates of the actual cost of keeping the new fighters in the air.
According to the armed forces, it costs NOK 110,000 per hour to fly an F-35, but the US armed forces estimate that it costs about NOK 310,000.

So the story is that the Americans are using their secret service to put pressure on the decision-makers to get Norway to choose F-35s.

The decision makers don't want anyone to know that the decision was wrong and hide the real cost of the MCO so as not to make any waves.

After that the US sells F-35s to Finland at a rock-bottom price thinking they will get their money back with the MCO, and to those who are worried about the price it will cost, they say look at the price in Norway, the MCO is not that expensive!
 

Herciv

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For info on the basis of LM fastafct for the f-35:

in 2020 the average volume of f-35 was 550 (January 2020: 491, January 2021 610) and the volume of hours performed was 115000 hours

in 2021 the average volume of f-35s was 680 (January 2021: 610, January 2022: 750) and the volume of hours performed was identical to 2020, i.e. 115,000 hours.

We should therefore have a lower Mission Capable rate in 2021.

It is likely that engine problems have impacted the availability of the F-35, but at the height of the 2021 f-135 crisis, 42 engines were missing. Now we have the equivalent of 680-550 = 130 F-35s that have not flown at all if we reason on the basis of the availability recorded in 2020, which is the best one so far. Then F-135 was probably not the only problem affecting the MC rate.
 

Picdelamirand-oil

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For info on the basis of LM fastafct for the f-35:

in 2020 the average volume of f-35 was 550 (January 2020: 491, January 2021 610) and the volume of hours performed was 115000 hours

in 2021 the average volume of f-35s was 680 (January 2021: 610, January 2022: 750) and the volume of hours performed was identical to 2020, i.e. 115,000 hours.

We should therefore have a lower Mission Capable rate in 2021.

It is likely that engine problems have impacted the availability of the F-35, but at the height of the 2021 f-135 crisis, 42 engines were missing. Now we have the equivalent of 680-550 = 130 F-35s that have not flown at all if we reason on the basis of the availability recorded in 2020, which is the best one so far. Then F-135 was probably not the only problem affecting the MC rate.
To give some elements of comparison, NATO standards, which are applied in France with the Rafale, imply that 115,000 hours/year can be carried out with 460 aircraft and in the event of an emergency, we could carry them out with 115 aircraft. So it's as if 90 planes were unavailable on average in 2020 and 220 planes in 2021 without any safety margins to compensate for the shortfall.
 
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AbRaj

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Boeing Unveils New Two-Stage Long-Range Air-To-Air Missile Concept​

The new missile offering from Boeing uses two stages instead of one to increase range and lethality.​

BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK SEPTEMBER 20, 2021
THE WAR ZONE
A model of Boeing's Long Range Air-to-Air Missile concept.


@FranticGoat
Boeing has shown off a new long-range air-to-air missile design at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference, which opened today. The weapon, referred to as the Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or LRAAM, has a two-stage configuration with a "kill vehicle" attached to a booster section that falls away after it is burned out, something that has been seen in previous U.S. military air-to-air missile concepts.
A Boeing representative told The War Zone that the company had crafted the LRAAM design in response to a so-called Broad Area Announcement (BAA) from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) last year that asked companies to submit ideas to meet a host of advanced technologies desired for future long-range air-to-air missiles. AFRL said design submissions could be based around single and multi-stage rocket motors, as well as air-breathing engines, such as ramjets. However, it added that it was particularly interested in, among other things, throttleable “multi-pulse solid rocket motors” and novel “propellants, grain configurations, cases, and liners” that would be able to deliver greater speeds, as well as ranges, compared to existing weapons, such as the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
message-editor%2F1632177512307-boeing-lraam-side-view.jpg

A model of Boeing's Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile concept.

Boeing said that LRAAM, which is very much still in the conceptual stage of development, is focused mainly the "boosted" propulsiton aspect of the design, in which the rear section, which has a body very similar to that of the kill vehicle attached in front, provides an initial burst of speed and carries the entire weapon out to a certain range, at which point it falls away. Another rocket motor in the front section would then ignite and propel it during the remainder of its flight.
The kill vehicle and booster bodies, which share what appears to be an identical core shape, are not directly based on any existing Boeing design, the company representative told us. Using the same basic body design for both sections would help give it a more uniform form factor and could help simplify production and keep costs down.
The weapon also leverages technology Boeing developed for separate projects and work on the concept has made use of new digital engineering and design techniques, which are becoming increasingly popular, in general, among American defense contractors and within the U.S. military itself.

Given the weapon's early state of development, there is limited information about LRAAM's expected performance and other capabilities. However, the concept, overall, is supposed to provide a missile that has significant speed and range, as well as a high degree of maneuverability in the terminal stage of an engagement. The expected added ability to maneuver comes from using a separate kill vehicle, which reduces drag and weight compared to a similarly sized single-stage weapon throughout its flight.
The term "kill vehicle" here may also indicate a hit-to-kill design that uses the sheer force of impact to destroy the target, rather than a warhead. Not needing a warhead would allow Boeing to optimize the weapon's fuel capacity and maneuverability, while also keeping the overall package relatively small.
It is also worth pointing out that this configuration opens up the possibility of using the front section by itself as a weapon for shorter-range engagements. Depending on the exact size of something like LRAAM's kill vehicle, it might also be of interest as a compact missile that stealthy aircraft could carry internally in greater quantities than existing designs, such as the AIM-120. It's not clear whether or not the design allows for more than one booster to be used in combination with a single kill vehicle.
message-editor%2F1632178414870-f-22-aim-120.jpg

USAF
A US Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighter fires an AIM-120 AMRAAM from its main internal weapons bay.
Boeing also specifically said that it was their view that LRAAM would not compete with existing air-to-air missile programs of record, indicating that the company sees this weapon as providing an added capability for the Air Force, rather direct replacement for any other design. This would make some immediate sense given that the AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile(JATM), a separate effort that the Air Force is working on with the U.S. Navy, is intended to be, at least in part, a direct replacement for the AIM-120.
In addition, the Air Force has made clear in the past that AIM-260 is unrelated to another advanced air-to-air missile project, called the Long Range Engagement Weapon (LREW), a project that had been run through the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Previous LREW concept art also showed a two-stage missile design, one that was depicted as being small enough to fit inside an F-22 Raptor stealth fighter's main internal weapons bay.
message-editor%2F1632178333775-lrew-artwork.jpg

DOD VIA FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM
An artist's conception of a notional Long Range Engagement Weapon (LREW).
All of this could also point to LRAAM, or other air-to-air missile projects AFRL may be looking to support through this technology development effort, having a distinct mission set from the future AIM-260 and the existing AIM-120. Over the past two decades, the Air Force has worked, sometimes in cooperation with the Navy, on at least three different programs to develop a very long-range air-to-air missile, but one that would also be able to function as anti-radiation missiles to engage air-defense radars and other emitters on the ground. You can read more about all of these developments here. LRAAM seems optimized for air-to-air target sets alone.
It's also interesting to note that, earlier this year, it emerged that the Air Force was looking to integrate a new "outsize … air-to-air" missile onto its forthcoming F-15EX Eagle II aircraft. Though no further details were provided about this weapon, it seemed highly unlikely that this was a reference to the AIM-260, which is expected to have a general form factor similar, if not identical, to the existing AIM-120. The AMRAAM is certainly not an outsized design. This, in turn, has prompted discussion about whether this might point to continued work on LREW, or a follow-on project. As already noted, LRAAM would, in many ways, seem to suggest it is related, at least tangentially, to these other past long-range air-to-air missile developments.

message-editor%2F1632178916325-f-15ex-air-to-air.jpg

BOEING
An artist's conception of a pair of F-15EX jets with air-to-air loadouts consisting of 10 AIM-120s. The Air Force is looking at these aircraft, which have impressive overall payload capacities, as potential platforms for a host of new weapons, including a new, outsized air-to-air missile.
Regardless, the demand within the Air Force, as well as the Navy, for longer-ranged air-to-air missiles is only increasing. It is known that China's PL-15, analogous in very broad strokes to the AIM-120D variant of the AMRAAM, was a key factor behind the start of the AIM-260 program. Pictures have previously emerged of a Chinese J-16 Flanker fighter jet carrying a much larger air-to-air missile, which could be intended to bring down American airborne early warning and other similarly high-value supporting aircraft, such as tankers and intelligence gathering platforms, at extreme ranges.
It would not be surprising for the Air Force to be now looking to adopt its own similar mix of longer-range air-to-air missiles.

With Boeing's LRAAM in such an early stage of development, and it being in response to a broad Air Force technology development effort, the missile's design may well change significantly as time goes on or see certain features leveraged to support work on other weapon concepts. Regardless, it does seem to reflect another distinct category of air-to-air weapon that the service feels will be an important addition to its future aerial arsenal.
Contact the author: [email protected]


That’s some novel concept for a BVRAAM. What’s interesting is unlike the most BVRAAMS, the Boing LRAAM have to carry only fraction of its original body leading to longer range and better terminal manoeuvrability.
 
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Innominate

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Mein people thinking about possible F-35's?!? o_O


Optimist I'm borrowing your article, ja? :)

-Christine Lambrecht prepares to buy fighter jets
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has prepared two controversial armaments projects. With this, the coalition wants to meet NATO requirements.
January 8, 2022, 8:23 a.m.Source: ZEIT ONLINE, dpa, ces 544 comments
Hear article
Bundeswehr: Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD)
Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) © Bernd Wüstneck / dpa
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has started preparing two long controversial armaments projects. The SPD politician already spoke to Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) about the successor to the tornado, as the news agency dpa learned from government circles in Berlin.

Lambrecht's predecessor in the ministerial office, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU), decided to buy F-18 combat aircraft in the USA as the successor to the Tornado fleet introduced 40 years ago . The US model is intended to enable so-called nuclear participation in US weapons for Germany. A certification of the European model Eurofighter for this seemed associated with more effort or even impossible in the foreseeable future. NATO's nuclear deterrent concept provides that in the event of war allies have access to US nuclear weapons, i.e. must be able to carry the bombs to the target.

After Scholz talked to Lambrecht, several test orders were placed. The aim is to clarify once again whether buying the more modern F-35 aircraft could be an alternative and whether the Eurofighter could be considered for a second task for the Tornado fleet: electronic combat. The necessary steps and time sequences for arming the new Heron TP Bundeswehr drone should also be recorded.

Armed drones agreed in the coalition agreement
The SPD, Greens and FDP decided in their coalition agreement in November to enable drones to be armed . These could help protect soldiers on deployments abroad, it says. The three traffic light partners also agreed to procure "a successor system for the Tornado fighter aircraft at the beginning of the 20th legislative period". "We will accompany the procurement and certification process with a view to Germany's nuclear participation objectively and conscientiously."


Germany's participation in nuclear participation has recently been controversial. In Büchel in the Eifel, 20 thermonuclear B61 gravity bombs of the US armed forces are to be stored, which can be latched under German tornadoes.

The previous deterrent concept stipulates that tornadoes specializing in electronic combat would protect the bombers. According to previous plans, around 30 Super Hornet version F-18s should be procured for nuclear participation. For electronic air combat - disrupting, holding down and fighting enemy air defense positions - 15 F-18s in the Growler version should also be purchased.

french plane fanboys just got chills down their spine with the thought of German F-35s.
F-35-Luftwaffe.jpg


I hope Lt. Gen. Karl Müllner gets his job back. Poor guy got fired for recommending zee F-35.
 
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Innominate

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= The sole bomb effectively released by the flying turkey.
Flying turkey is your plane my child. Your planes can't reach its top speed with a combat load it has to be clean while the F-35 can carry a full internal combat load and reach its tops speed full of gas too. So next time you see your plane with a combat load say to it, gobble gobble and it will respond back.
 
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Picdelamirand-oil

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Flying turkey is your plane my child. Your planes can't reach its top speed with a combat load it has to be clean while the F-35 can carry a full internal combat load and reach its tops speed full of gas too. So next time you see your plane with a combat load say to it, gobble gobble and it will respond back.
Ah yes, you're right, it can reach its maximum speed with its full charge. Only its maximum speed is Mach 1.2 for one minute and thirty-five seconds, after which its special paint starts to blister and makes it lose its stealth. Oh, and I forgot that it is recommended to open the bays every ten minutes after this kind of exercise to facilitate cooling which would otherwise be detrimental to the weapons carried.

:ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
 
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Innominate

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Ah yes, you're right, it can reach its maximum speed with its full charge. Only its maximum speed is Mach 1.2 for one minute and thirty-five seconds, after which its special paint starts to blister and makes it lose its stealth. Oh, and I forgot that it is recommended to open the bays every ten minutes after this kind of exercise to facilitate cooling which would otherwise be detrimental to the weapons carried.

:ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
Trolling as usual. Not surprised you're trolling to outdated issues that have been resolved. It seems trolling from french plane fanboys comes naturally including from so called "serious experts" like yourself.

This topic has been debunked on this thread alone by me with sources/facts but a fanboy like you doesn't rely on facts it relies on feelings and what other morons tell you, eh? If you were as smart as you like to think you are you'd not bring up this topic but you're so desperate for some brownie points that you stupidly bring up issues already resolved.

So have you been able to talk to your buddies at Dussalt to get the date your plane super cruised with 4 missiles and a center tank or is that info still super duper secret?

Tell me again how impressive your plane is being able to carry "four air-to-air missiles and two guided bombs (no fuel tanks) at a speed of Mach 1.4, impressing the IAF evaluation team" while the F-35 can carry six GBU-31s and four air to air missiles over mach1 plus... :sneaky:
 
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halloweene

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So have you been able to talk to your buddies at Dussalt to get the date your plane super cruised with 4 missiles and a center tank or is that info still super duper secret?
Have you been able to get the date when the F-35 flew at top speed with max load? Or is it super duper secret?
 
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Innominate

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Have you been able to get the date when the F-35 flew at top speed with max load? Or is it super duper secret?
2008 and we know for a fact that two F-35 pilots have taken it to mach 1.6 with a full internal load in interviews unlike your french plane where there is not even a year given of when your plane super cruised with 4 missiles and a tank. Yours is just a claim with no substance to back it up other than it can while the F-35 has at least two pilots in interview talking about taking it to that speed with a full internal combat load.

But nice try, champ.
 

Innominate

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New German government revisits Tornado replacement options
By Sebastian Sprenger

WASHINGTON – Germany is once again weighing its options for replacing the country’s aging Tornado aircraft fleet, which could put the F-35 back on the table.

The plan, first reported by German press agency DPA over the weekend, follows a pledge in the coalition government agreement late last year.

The review would re-open a recommendation made by then-Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen in early 2019 for phasing out Germany’s nearly 90 Tornados by the end of the decade. It ditched an F-35 option, fearing purchasing that fighter jet would upset the Franco-German defense alliance with the Future Combat Air System at its core.

Officials instead favored buying a roughly equal number of Eurofighters and new-generation Boeing F-18s. The latter would fly electronic-attack missions and serve as a bomb carrier under Germany’s NATO nuclear-sharing commitments, the thinking went.

The German defense ministry on Monday declined to say whether the F-35 is now expressly back under consideration. Conversations between Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht and Chancellor Olaf Scholz about Tornado replacement options, reported by DPA as having happened last Thursday, are considered “internal,” a spokeswoman told Defense News.

Officials pointed to a Dec. 19 Lambrecht interview in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, where she was quoted as favoring a “European” plane for the nuclear-sharing mission while at the same time leaving open the possibility that the requisite U.S. certifications may not happen in time, or at all.

“I will consider all options,” Lambrecht said.

Germany’s Tornado replacement debate is a recurring exercise for the country’s defense intelligentsia. For the nuclear mission, it is now believed Washington would likely only allow a U.S. aircraft, although even the degrees of atomic readiness among the F-35 and the F-18 are disputed.

Against that backdrop, the nuclear mission is controversial to begin with, treated as a necessary evil by the new government in the formulation of a defense and security agenda that also includes nonproliferation goals.

For the electronic-attack mission, the German defense industry, led by Airbus Defence and Space, had lobbied against an F-18 Growler choice ever since Von der Leyen’s recommendation, arguing the Eurofighter could be developed to at least a similar level of capability.

Meanwhile, introducing the F-35 back into the mix of German considerations, even the talk of it, could lead French officials to question Berlin’s commitment to the Future Combat Air System. That, in turn, risks not only toppling the sixth-generation aircraft program but the European Union’s defense-industrial ambitions as a whole.

The question is if FCAS could co-exist with a German F-35 acquisition, especially given that the DPA report suggests those planes would primarily work doomsday stand-by duty.

German industry should not be expected to actively support any U.S. aircraft in the Tornado-replacement decision, Reinhard Brandl, a member of the opposition Christian Social Union and the parliamentary defense committee, told Defense News in an interview. At the same time, he noted it’s primarily the electronic-attack portfolio that German companies are most keen on guarding against American products.

And the French-German cooperation on FCAS is far from going swimmingly at the moment, according to Brandl, who blamed France’s Dassault for refusing to sign an industry contract for the aircraft portion of the program.

“Dassault is not ready to accept Airbus as a partner on equal terms,” he told Defense News. “They are saying, ‘We’ll do FCAS, but only by our rules.’”

With Dassault’s export order books for its Rafale fighter full, the company may see less reason to agree on an FCAS fighter and focus on upgrades for its own jet instead, Brandl argued. In that sense, German talk of of an F-35 buy may serve as a fall-back option, he added.

A Dassault spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a question about the status of the industry contract.

They will go F-35. They see how happy their Euro neighbors are with their F-35s and they will want in. They will likely ask for some tech transfer via UK to get them to select the F-35.

The french will never have a stealth fighter if and when Germany selects the F-35. In 10 years the french will realized their 4th gen fighters are vulnerable to IADS, Russian and Chicom stealth fighters and will likely ask the US for the F-35s... at least the french navy will. :)
 
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