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Monday, October 28, 2013

Interesting Articles of the Week

Author's Note: I aught to have more time to work on the blog since my midterms are almost over. In the meantime, I recommend you take a look at one or two of these if you have the time.

India Concerned About Fifth-Gen Fighter Work Share With Russia - By Jay Menon

"Indian government officials are expressing concern over the country’s work share in its Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) collaboration with Russia...India’s work share in FGFA research and development and other aspects of the multi-billion dollar project at the moment is only around 15%, even though New Delhi is bearing 50% of the cost. The total program is expected to cost India about 1.5 trillion rupees ($25 billion)." 

"The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS, will deliver 'superhuman strength with greater ballistic protection' by providing a powered exoskeleton to haul heavier equipment, liquid armor capable of stopping bullets, built-in computers and night vision, as well as the ability to monitor vital signs and apply wound-sealing foam. Put together, the capabilities would make the already elite Special Operation Forces nearly invincible in the field, says the Army."

China’s Arms Industry Makes Global Inroads  - Edward Wong and Nicola Clark 

"In the past, Chinese companies have been known mainly as suppliers of small arms, but that is changing quickly. From drones to frigates to fighter jets, the companies are aggressively pushing foreign sales of high-tech hardware, mostly in the developing world. Russian companies are feeling the greatest pressure, but American and other Western companies are also increasingly running into the Chinese."

"When the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) puts to sea later this year, it will be different from any other ship in the Navy's fleet in many ways. The $3.5 billon ship is designed for stealth, survivability, and firepower, and it's packed with advanced technology. And at the heart of its operations is a virtual data center powered by off-the-shelf server hardware, various flavors of Linux, and over 6 million lines of software code."

"The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) last week notified Congress of another massive sale to Gulf countries by American companies. Saudi Arabia is buying air-launched weapons worth $6.8 billion for its new F-15SA Strike Eagles; the UAE is buying air-launched weapons worth $4 billion for its F-16s."

"Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the two largest defense companies in the world, are teaming up on the next-generation bomber...The team would combine Boeing’s bomber experience, including maintenance and upkeep, with Lockheed’s stealth experience. Even so, Northrop may still be in the lead position, given its experience with the stealthy B-2 Spirit and an early, aggressive campaign that included a three-story tall poster at this year’s Air Force Association conference in National Harbor, Md."

Can You See Me Now? - Code One, photo by Paul Kelly

"A US Air Force F-22 Raptor serves as a Red Force aircraft during a detect-to-engage training exercise over the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG-88) on 24 September 2013. Preble is on patrol with the USS George Washington (CVN-73) Carrier Strike Group in the US 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The Raptor pilot is assigned to the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and is currently deployed from Langley AFB, Virginia."

Unfortunately, Code One does not elaborate on any more details and I was unable to find much else on the training exercise in terms of specifics. 


  1. Today we get a non-news report on the high-level JSF CAPE meeting they held last Monday when "officials would receive an update on how the program was meeting cost and schedule targets, as well as progress on technical challenges including the millions of lines of software code being written for the planes."

    The only "news" on that important meeting was that the program must put new language in its future contracts to assure "the quality and reliability of the F-35 fighter jet" and this must have been correct because it came from "officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly."

    No cost figures, no test results. Nada, zip, zilch. So the cover-up continues, as does the stealth JSF program with higher production rates. It's a symptom of a larger problem, what Bob Woodward has called the "secret government."-- “They need to review this secret world,” he said of the Obama administration on “Face the Nation" on CBS. “You get to a point where it’s what do you worry about? Secret government."

    1. I would argue that the US Government has been reasonably transparent with regards to the F-35 procurement process even if some find the decisions themselves to be objectionable. For example, if you would like to see cost figures I'd refer you to the Selected Acquisition's Report (SAR) on the F-35 as well as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the F-35.

      A plethora of publicly accessible information exists, its just a matter of knowing where to look. The amount of Government oversight on the F-35 program is really unparalleled. Some aspects of the program are naturally secret but the type of information that is not accessible to the public in the case of the F-35 is not unique when compared to other aircraft. In many instances, more information is available on the F-35 than other new types of military aircraft.

    2. Nope, the GAO Report -- an accounting report, after all -- did not include information on unit cost of the airframe, and there is no informatioin on engine cost either. While significant problems with the plane itself were reported as late as last June, with Dr. Gilmore's testimony, there has been nary a peep about the correction of those significant problems proven by test.

      The fact remains that the cost and performance information reported in this CAPE meeting last week must have been bad because otherwise it would have been released. "Look here, we've improved this and that, and got the airplane cost down to X." But nothing, as I said.

      It's a stealth program because it's full of failure of every kind -- management, cost and performance. The fact that the most expensive military acquisition program in human history isn't unique in this regard is no comfort.

  2. Matt take your time with study and chasing girls, the blog will always be around, and one night stand with a Blond, Blue eye size 8 girls, priceless.

    All the best with the exams.

  3. I'm left wondering how many places on the intent Don has left that exact same comment. This makes the third time I've come across it. Color me unsurprised.

    Best of luck on the midterms.

    1. Internet, not intent. Ah, the wonders of a spellcheck with a mind of it's own.....

    2. Internet, not intent. Ah, the wonders of a spellcheck with a mind of it's own.....

      lol, at least i am not the only one.

  4. No one can agree on how much the F-35 will have cost U.S. taxpayers — not to mention a coalition of international partners — after the F-35 enters service. Bogdan’s office insists the price over the 50-year lifecycle of the aircraft sits at $857 billion and is slowly falling as cost is driven from all aspects of development, operation and sustainment.

    Frank Kendall, under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in late September that the official government estimate still rests at more than $1 trillion.

    “That’s the big rhinoceros,” Bogdan said of the $1.1 trillion estimate at the Air Force Association’s annual conference in September. “That is the number that has been hanging around for three years now. That cost estimate has not changed for three years because they haven’t done a cost estimate in three years.”

    Oh dear, "they" haven't done a cost estimate when he's (Bogdan's) supposed to be responsible for the F-35 acquisition program.

  5. Matt Have a read of these

    1. Thanks stone, sorry for the late response. Pretty interest read although it would be awesome to have, I"m not entirely sure if its practical given the current budgetary situation. To me this represents an interesting departure from stealthy UAV's like the RQ-170 and its possible successor. The SR-71 provided valuable information but the problem is everyone would know that you knew (mind games lol jk). I favor the stealthy "conventional" approach as your low profile, lower cost, and its technologically feasible. My only reservation comes from the Iran incident. I'd recommend this interview with an SR-71 pilot, its pretty awesome. He said that they'd occasionally be tasked with booming foreign heads of state at diplomatic meetings as a way to remind them the US was watching.